Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Golan Heights

I can figure out how the next pre-emptive war of Israel on Syria and Lebanon will unfold.

Since 2008, and for 33 days, Israel with the planning and total support of USA and Saudi Kingdom, launched an 8th pre-emptive war on Lebanon.  The plan decided for September was advanced in June 22 after Hezbollah managed to capture Israeli prisoners and kill 8 more in a hurried counter-attack by a tank commander.

Ever since, Israel is totally wary to contemplate another foolish and devastating military defeat, agreed by most world community observers. Israel had to beg Bush Jr to desist pressuring it to continue the fight and UN resolution 1701 was voted on for a cease fire.

The next day thousands of Lebanese refugees, fleeing war, returned to their homes. They discarded the warnings of the government and threw makeshift bridges to cross destroyed bridges and bombed highways. It took the Israelis 6 months to return to their homes.

Every year, Israel spend plenty of money in military maneuvers to convince Hezbollah that it is ready for another match of revenge. Most Israeli commentators agree that Israel internal readiness is Not prepared for any such kinds of long-protracted war and the army itself don’t want any such adventure: the soldiers are still in shock and receiving treatment for the surprises they were Not warned of them.

No, Israel, on its own volition will Not attempt another pre-emptive war, but since USA considers Israel as its land fighter carrier, the possibility that Israel will be dragged manu-military to engage in another war on Lebanon and Syria if USA decided to frighten Iran by a “Chock and Awe” massive bombing tactics.

There will be no short war and matter will deteriorate.

Pressured by US for military support in a critical pre-emptive war in the Persian Gulf, Israel will lukewarmly launch a massive airstrike in the neighboring States, hoping that it would be a short-term war for face saving initiative and a divergence tactic for the real US engagement on Iran.

Hezbollah reaction will be to target all Israel airfields and communication centers and ignite monster fires everywhere in Israel. The next missile strikes will target the electrical and energy grids.

If Iran decides to prolong the war, it will order Hezbollah to fall back on the plan of effective incursions inside Israel.

Then the third missile launch will focus on Israel military and logistic centers, civilian and military, in Israel central region, to disturb transportation and movement of troops.

The fourth missile strikes will target the essential ports and submarines concentrated in Eshkelon and in central Israel.

Hezbollah navy commandos will land on the seashore in central Israel, capture a few ports and towns around them. This attack will divide Israel into two parts and pressure Israel to decide where to focus its army.

If Israel transfer troops from the north by the Golan Heights, Syria army will launch a counter-offensive to re-conquer the Hights, all the way to the Houla city.

If Israel transfer troops from around Gaza, Hamas and Jihad Islamic militias will attempt to link with the West Bank.

From then on, all possibilities are open to be contemplated.

If the West Bank Palestinians managed to acquire and store weapons, strategic settlements around West Jerusalem will be first attacked and massive fleeing of Israeli to East Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will be underway.

Settlers would prefer to vacate the lands in West Jerusalem, hoping that a negotiated cease fire will allow them to return to a few settlements.

Hopefully, Hezbollah has a plan to move and capture Nablus up north, re-take a few strategic settlements around this city and start transferring weapons and foodstuff to Palestinians in that region for a protracted defensive resistance.

The cease fire will ensure that Israel Parliament rescind its law that Israel is Only for the Jews and that West Jerusalem is the Capital of the Palestinian Homeland State.

The defunct British mandated law of administrative detention will be cancelled.

Palestinian refugees will be allowed to return.

Note: This narrative is based on current situation. If the monarchy in Jordan is deposed in the blood, the longest border with Israel will become the coup-de grace for Israel existence. Palestinians in Jordan will infiltrate and occupy settlement along the Jordan river.

No land mines or massive bombing will prevent the stampede on existing settlements for the Return Home and witnessing the mass fleeing of Israelis.

Once The Palestinians in Jordan link up with the West Bank, a totally new scenario will be negotiated at the UN for a new status of Palestine and Israel.

General Electric  vying to plunder Lebanon water resources?

General Electric is trying to do in Lebanon what ARAMCO did in Saudi Arabia in the 1960’s, where they formed a joint mutual interest entity between Saudis & Americans to exploit exclusively Saudi Oil fields at the very early times of the Oil revolution.
And then to commit Saudi Kingdom to sell it only in US dollars for them to keep printing US Dollars of the recurring  inflation.
Lebanon wealth is in its waters for it being a natural basin reservoir in the Near East (Levant States), where GE says we have 3 trillion m3 of renewable waters every year, to exploit it they’d dig at 400 m of altitude and let this underground basin of water burst into waterfalls and lakes, then channel it to the Arabian gulf countries like Saudi and Kuwait and sell them 1 trillion m3/year each.
Our government is asked here to manage  the monetization of our waters as a natural resource and ask market makers in the USA to create future contracts in this resource and price it  same like Oil and float it as a basic commodity before any step or contract is undertaken
If this happens, we’re the wealthiest nation on earth to become!
Lebanon holds all the waters the middle east needs and it is renewable from melting snow and rainfalls every year. (Climate change is reversing this trend: rain fall and snow capping mountains have become rare events in the latest years)
GE runs most of the 23 desalinisation plants in Saudi Kingdom and they consume 287,000 barrels of Oil a day to purify 3 million m3 of sea water each day, representing 60% of water needs. This produced water still lack minerals and many natural component to be drinkable.
The very high cost to get water in the Arabian peninsula has sent GE staring at Lebanon waters as the natural basin of the Middle East.
When this commodity is priced, monetized and floated in the financial markets it can be the major component of Peace in the region, and properly distributed to all, to drink, use it in agriculture and power generation dams. It is as scarce as Oil but more valuable.
Kiwan opinion is “I am for the fact to return other giant companies in the deal to implement competition although I believe sincerely that there need the United States of America in order to conclude an exploitation of our resources in waters, for several reasons.
One, this will be a strategic alliance as the future markets of amenities exist exclusively in the USA, a vital factor has the monetization of our water resources.
Two, our wealth of waters is strategic for Israel and a major component of peace in the region (What kind of peace? “What is ours is ours, and what is yours is still ours”?)
Three most of “our clients” who crave potable water like the Arab Gulf countries are of Allied strategic with the USA, where our re-entry for this convenience and our economic stability based on the sale of the Lebanese waters has abroad”.
Note 1: Turkey has been adopting this strategy of using its vast resources in water to blackmail other regional States like Syria, Iraq and Iran. It has been foolishly building many dams, just to retain water from other countries and be paid for this natural resource.
Note 2: Israel is keeping Syria Golan Heights for its vast sources of water and denying the Palestinians their share in water.

Israel Defends ISIS And Attacks Syria Near Golan Heights

AL KOM , Syria – Israel has attacked Syria with a missile strike targeting a position held by the Syrian Arab Army in al-Kom, a town near the occupied Golan Heights in  Syria.

This comes  as the government forces crackdown on ISIS and related jihadi groups in the area.

Israel’s history of supporting ISIS has been documented  by Atlanticist press as well. “Israel ‘giving secret aid to Syrian rebels’, report says.

Direct funding, food, fuel and medical supplies allegedly provided by Israeli state to keep Isis and Iranian-allied forces in neighbouring civil war at bay “, according to the report covered by the Independent.

Today’s strikes represent what could be moves of desperation on the part of the Zionist entity, and generally are meant to test the geopolitical waters.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. A ceasefire was signed on June 11th 1967, and the Golan Heights came under Israeli military administration. Israel has been illegally occupying the Golan Heights since 1967.

Israel is positioning herself as anti-Russian party in that part of the world, this is clear to anybody with a bit of intelligence. And as far as I know, the US foreign policies are influenced to a certain extent by the Zionist and Extremist Evangelical Zionists lobby in US.

Israel keeps attacking Russia’s ally Syria, over, and over, and that is not an act of friendliness to Russia by Israel.

Their so called “we are defending ourselves against the terrorist Hezbollah” is a distortion of the reality. It is Israel who is supporting the terrorists in Syria, and it is Israel who has been committing acts of aggression against Syria.

I think Russia should give Syria the weapons she needs to effectively defend herself from any and all aggressors.

Israeli Jet and Drone Shot Down over Golan Heights by Syrian Air Defences

As usual: 100% US media blackout on this story. US media totally controlled by the administration?

News is coming in of a statement from the Syrian Military Command, claiming that Syrian air defenses have brought down an Israeli warplane and drone illegally entering Syrian airspace in Quneitra. 

Quneitra is the largely destroyed and abandoned capital of the Quneitra Governorate in south-western Syria. It is situated in a high valley in the long disputed Golan Heights.

This report from Syrian Arab News Agency:

“Quneitra, SANA – The General Command of the Army and the Armed Forces announced on Tuesday that the Israeli enemy’s air force attacked a Syrian military position in the countryside of the southern Quneitra province around 1:00 am on September 13, 2016.

The General Command said the Syrian air defense forces responded to the attack and shot down an Israeli warplane to the southwest of Quneitra and an Israeli drone to the west of Sa’sa’.

It noted that the Israeli attack came in support of the armed terrorist groups and in a desperate attempt to raise the deteriorating morale of their members due to the heavy losses they have suffered in Quneitra.”

OK, what’s Israel and the USA are up to now? Trying to start a wider war? This could get very interesting, and dangerous too…

Vanessa Beeley |
Note: For decades, the Syrian government refrained from responding and reacting to Israeli engagements on its territories and suffered hundreds of casualties in its armed forces. This current forceful reaction must be taken as readiness to counter any Israeli “faire comme chez vous” military attacks.
Last year alone, Israel has already targeted many people inside Syria with airborned missiles.

The Lion and the hyenas in Lebanon and Syria (1971-2005)

Hafez Assad of Syria died in 2000 of cancer. This dude is a master in holding on to power for 3 decades and enjoying the respect of his foreign enemies and the crippling fear of his citizens to any opinion shared even within the confine of the family.

He was born in a poor family and jumped at the occasion to topple half a dozen military coups in 2 decades, all of them masterminded by the USA and financed by Saudi Arabia. It is recounted that the people in Damascus knew that a coup is being prepared each time the Saudi ambassador leaves.

Hafez denied the airforce support when the regime advanced its tanks to come to the rescue of the Palestinians in Jordan who were being massacred by King Hussein in 1969. Israel just flew over the advancing Syrian tanks and made them backtrack in their advance toward Jordan.

Strong with the backing of Hussein and Saudi Arabia, Hafez did a successful military coup in 1971, put in prison all the political leaders and officers who could challenge his power, including strongmen from his Alawi sect. They rotted in prisons till they died.

In the meantime, he blockaded all the entrances of Damascus by the military so that he could have advance notice of any military attempt to a coup.

When he came to power, Suleiman Frangieh was president in Lebanon. This dude of Frangieh had massacred 40 people in a church in his hometown of Ehden in the mid 1950’s a fled to Syria. Hafez welcomed Frangieh in his home until things cooled down in Lebanon.

Consequently, Hafez was convinced that he could control Lebanon under the presidency of Frangieh who was elected by a single vote majority in 1969.

Actually, Hafez was more intent on controlling most of the potent Palestinian resistance factions in Lebanon and elsewhere in order to strengthen his political and strategic standing.

Yasser Arafat, head of the PLO, gave Hafez a lot of headaches because he wanted to be self-autonomous in dealing with Arabs head of States and the hefty funding he received from the oil-rich countries.

In Sept. of 1973, Hafez coordinated with Sadat of Egypt the counter-offensive on Israel that occupied Sinai and the Golan Heights. The Bar Lev line fell within hours in Sinai on the canal of Suez and the Syrian troops re-occupied all of the Golan in a single day.

Israel warned the US that it will use its nuclear arsenal if no immediate US air supplies are Not forthcoming.  Sadat refrained from advancing in the Sinai according to the deal, on the excuse that the Sam missiles didn’t cover the air space in the Sinai. Israel focused all its power on the Syrian front and recapture the lost occupied land.

Sadat made a peace deal with Israel in 1978 in return of the Sinai, and spoke at the Knesset. Hafez fomented a coalition against Sadat and kicked Egypt from the Arab League.

By 1981, Hafez Assad of Syria was plotting to kill several birds in one shot. The family Al Assad (The Lion) was originally Al Wa7sh (The Beast) before it was changed.

The Palestinian Arafat of the PLO and Sadat of Egypt had started to foment violent opposition by the Syrian Sunni Moslem Brotherhoods against the Alawit Assad regime.

Arafat was the staunchest enemy of Hafez in his attempt to control Lebanon, and Sadat because Hafez directly and publicly opposed Egypt peace deal with Israel.

Hafez negotiated with the Israeli to enter Lebanon and push forward to put siege and then enter Beirut until the PLO is kicked out of Lebanon.

While Israel was engaged in its nth pre-emptive war in Lebanon, Hafez put siege on Hama for 6 months and then entered this stronghold city of the Brotherhood and slaughtered 15,000. The punishment and harassment continued for another 3 decades on the Brotherhoods who opted to immigrate overseas.

After capturing Beirut, Israel reneged on the deal with Hafez and decided to pressure the deputies to elect Bashir Gemayyel (Lebanese Forces leader) as President of Lebanon. Israel went even further by pressuring Bashir to proclaim his intention for a peace treaty with Israel before the swearing ceremony.

Hafez reacted by assassinating Bashir on the eve of the ceremony and followed it by successive martyred car bombing on Israel checkpoints throughout Lebanon.

Israel finally retreated to a swath of land in south Lebanon as was the initial deal.

Sadat was also assassinated during the national military parade by Egypt Moslem Brotherhood.

Since 1983 to 2005, Syria was the main power broker in Lebanon and controlled the internal security.

The Lebanese militia warlord hyenas were on the surface at the beck of Syria dictate.

Actually, they were running the show: Nabih Berry (of the Amal militia), Walid Jumblat (the Druze warlord leader) and the late comer Rafic Hariri (Saudi designate Sunni leader).

When Hafez gets angry and reclaim the spoil, they retract momentarily and satisfy themselves with the carcases.

They were the hyenas who most of the time did the kill and resume the eating when the Lion is kept busy on other Arabic problems.

Even after the Syrian troops retreated from Lebanon in April 2005, the triumvirate (Berry, Jumblat and the Hariri clan) continued to rule and control Lebanon.

They transformed Lebanon political system into an Anomie structure where the politicians are the main business men in Lebanon and holding monopoly over every sector of the economy.

They controlled the Judicial system, the internal security, the syndicates, and almost every institution.

The Constitution was a piece of paper and the Parliament extended its tenure by voting for repeated extensions and increased allowances and privileges.


Israel Grants First Golan Heights Oil Drilling License To Dick Cheney-Linked Company

Israel has granted a U.S. company the first license to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights, John Reed of the Financial Times reports.

A local subsidiary of the New York-listed company Genie Energy — which is advised by former vice president Dick Cheney and whose shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdochwill now have exclusive rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the Golan Heights.

That geographic location will likely prove controversial.

Israel seized the Golan Heights in the Six-Day War in 1967 and annexed the territory in 1981. Its administration of the area — which is not recognized by international law — has been mostly peaceful until the Syrian civil war broke out 23 months ago.

“This action is mostly political – it’s an attempt to deepen Israeli commitment to the occupied Golan Heights,” Israeli political analyst Yaron Ezrahi told FT. “The timing is directly related to the fact that the Syrian government is dealing with violence and chaos and is not free to deal with this problem.”

golan heightsWikimedia Commons There are about 20,000 Israeli settlers in the Golan Heights.

Earlier this month we reported that Israel is considering creating a buffer zone reaching up to 10 miles from Golan into Syria to secure the 47-mile border against the threat of Islamic radicals in the area.

The move would overtake the UN Disengagement Observer Force Zone that was established in 1973 to end the Yom Kippur War and to provide a buffer zone between the two countries.

Reed notes that recent natural gas finds off Israel’s coast in the Mediterranean have made the country’s offshore gas reserve one of the largest of its kind in the world, meaning Israel may become a significant energy exporter in its region.

 Note: Israel has been exporting wines exploited in the Heights that are under economic sanctions as well as exploiting the water rich Heights and selling it to the Palestinians

Nine brands you can start boycotting

Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) are big news in 2014.

If Scarlett Johansson’s Sodastream fiasco didn’t grab your attention, perhaps the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli universities did, or Netanyahu’s increasing talk of million-dollar PR campaigns, legal offensives and diplomacy efforts to counter the BDS threat.

Opinion pages are filled with debate.

John Kerry has warned Israel that it could be facing a delegitimization campaign “on steroids” and voices from all sides are speculating that a boycott movement against Israel could be about to break into the mainstream.

But what would that actually mean in supermarkets and shopping baskets?

The BDS campaign covers all Israeli products: It’s a broad tactic aimed to pressure the state itself to change. But it also reserves a special focus for companies that are actually involved in — and make hefty profits from — occupation policies.

These organizations may be forced to pay attention to the boycott very soon — and they may not be the ones you’d expect.

1. Sodastream

Via: AP

Thanks to Scarlett Johansson’s recent adventure in international politics, most of us now know about Sodastream’s role in perpetuating the occupation of the West Bank.

The fizzy drinks makers are produced in Ma’ale Adumim, one of the many illegal Israeli settlements that cuts through Palestinian land, seizing resources and making the development of an independent Palestinian economy look impossible.

“The Israeli army forcefully expelled 200 Palestinian families from their homes to make space for the construction of Maale Adumim,” says Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the BDS National Committee. “Recently, it announced a plan to expel another 2,300 Palestinians to make way for the settlement’s growth.”

2. Jaffa Oranges

Via: AP

Brands like Carmel Agrexco and Mehadrin, which export the famous Jaffa brand of oranges, make big profits from farming on Palestine’s land.

Many of the companies’ fruits and vegetables — which include avocados, sweet potatoes and pomegranates — are grown and packaged in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, where 94% of land is under direct Israeli control.

As well as violating international law, commercial farming in the area deprives Palestinians of agriculturally-rich farmland and seriously limits access to water, which local people are often forced to buy by the tank at vastly inflated prices.

3. Ahava

Via: AP

Ahava means love in Hebrew, but the story behind is unromantic.

The company’s major factory — and its plush visitors’ centre — is based in Mitzpe Shalem, a settlement in the occupied West Bank that also owns 37% of the brand.

The location gives Ahava privileged access to the minerals and mud of the Dead Sea, which form the big-selling ingredient in their face masks, body scrubs and moisturisers.

The company makes about $150 million a year from the sale of these miraculous products while Palestinians continue to be effectively barred from utilising the resources of the Dead Sea.

4. Golan Heights Wine

Via: AP

According to its website, this winery is located in Israel’s prime location for world-class vineyards.

However, that place is the Golan Heights: occupied territory seized from Syria in the War of 1967. Then, most of the 140,000 Syrians that lived in the Golan were displaced and have not been allowed to return, and today the area is home to some 20,000 settlers.

Although the Golan Heights Winery is one of Israel’s biggest exporters, it’s far from the only producer of settlement wine.

The Carmel, Tshibi and Barkan wineries all own vineyards in the Golan Heights, while Teperberg 1870 and Binyamina operate in the West Bank.

5. Victoria’s Secret

Via: AP

Victoria’s Secret is targeted by BDS campaigners because of where the brand sources its fabrics.

America’s largest brand of lingerie gets its textiles from Delta Galil Industries, a company with a warehouse in the Barkan Industrial Zone, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

It also runs stores in Ma’aleh Adumim and Pisgat Ze’ev — both in occupied territories.

Settlements like these destroy the contiguity of a future Palestinian state and are widely considered to be the biggest obstacle to the success of the peace process.

Victoria’s Secret, however, is not the only company to buy its materials from the settlement industry: Delta Galil also supplies to companies like Walmart, Calvin Klein, Nike and Columbia, among others.

6. Sabra Hummus

Via: AP

Food appropriation is a big deal in the Middle East, where the adoption of falafel and hummus as Israel’s national snacks is a point of contention for Palestinians.

Sabra, however, is a BDS target for other reasons: The USA’s top hummus manufacturer is owned by Strauss Group, an Israeli company with strong ties to the IDF.

The corporation has “adopted” the Golani Brigade, an “elite unit” of the Israeli Army with a reputation for bad behavior that ranges “from revolts against commanders to abuse of Palestinians,” according to Haaretz.

Golani troops were on the front line in Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-9 assault on Gaza which killed some 1,400 Palestinians.

Strauss, apparently, provided the lunches, exclaiming on its website that it provides “food products” for missions and “personal care packages for each soldier.”

After U.S. BDS groups targeted Sabra in 2010, Strauss removed the wording from its Corporate Social Responsibility pages. But it has said nothing of withdrawing its support for IDF troops.

7. Medjool Dates

These super-sweet dates are a Palestinian staple, traditionally eaten to break the Ramadan fast.

But today, over half the global harvest of medjool dates is produced by Israel, often on settlements in Palestinian land and especially in the Jordan Valley.

There, illegal labor practices have been recorded on a significant scale.

In 2008, 7,000 Palestinian children were found to be working on settlement date farms. What’s more, the provenance of settlement dates is often concealed with a “produced in Israel” label — Hadiklaim, one of the biggest settlement producers, markets its products under the brand names Jordan River, Jordan River Bio-Tops and King Solomon.

8. Eden Springs Water

Much of Eden Springs’ bottled water — which is widely marketed to universities, local authorities and other institutions — comes from the Salukia spring in the Golan Heights.

Israel’s occupation of the Golan has been condemned by the U.N., and, as Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reminds us, international law only gives occupiers a limited right to use the water resources of occupied territory.

Despite that, settlers in the Golan can use as much as 17 times more water per capita than the area’s other inhabitants — a state of affairs that is not helped by the commercial exploitation of springs.

9. Hewlett Packard

Hewlett Packard’s slogan is a predictably Silicon Valley coinage: “If you’re going to do something, make it matter.”

For Palestinians, however, some of the things HP does matter more than others. The firm owns EDS Israel, which supplies the computer systems of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and produces hi-tech equipment like the Basel System, a biometric permit system that controls the movement of Palestinian workers through checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank.

HP equipment is used by Israeli prisons and the army, and the company has also invested in the technological development of illegal settlements, taking part in the Smart City project in Ariel.

Bethan Parry

Bethan is a writer and editor currently based in Palestine and Israel. She’s written for a range of publications in the US, UK and Middle East, was previously a staff writer for The Day, where she wrote analysis on everything from fiscal policy …

Why Syrian people revolted against the French mandated power (1924-26)?

Particularly the Druze in the Houran and Golan Heights?

Captain Carbillet was the appointed commander in the main city of Soueida in the Jebel Druze. The captain was intent on transforming this “backward” province into a semi-republican and “democratic” region. He acted as the appointed dictator, and he constructed aqueducts to bring in water to Soueida, built schools, roads, and started archeological digs…

The other side of the coin enraged the people.

The captain wanted to treat every one as equal under the law, particularly the punishment for “breaking the mandated Laws“. The tribal leaders and notables were meted with the same treatment as common people.  They cut stones, they were incarcerated in coal caves…

The captain’s cat was found hanging from a window, and the entire city was penalized to pay retribution for his beloved cat.

Captain Carbillet neglected to consider that reforms need plenty of time. And not only in societies where religious and civic aristocracies were traditionally respected for centuries and were well implanted in the society political and social structure…

Captain Carbillet believed that he could transform a quick radical evolution when the French Revolution of 1789 took centuries to apply its reforms

People who apparently accept quickly new suggestions are not about to desist from centuries of habits and customs

Banal events provoke violent reactions and the administrators have to deal with illogical manifestations

Emissaries from the Jebel Druze were sent to meet the French officials in Damascus and were turned away because they had no idea how to satisfy their requests.

The emissaries then decided to travel to Beirut to meet with the governor General Herod Serrail, a newly appointed governor whom the majority of Sunnis thought was favorable to their cause. The former governor Weygand favored the minorities such as the Christians, Armenians, Alawits ( the sect that is currently in power in Syria for 4 decades now)…

Herod Serrail didn’t even meet with the emissaries and they returned feeling totally humiliated and their dignity trampled to the ground.

They assembled the people to explain the results of their endeavors and how they were badly treated.

Serrail got apprehensive and convoked 5 of the emissaries to see him in Damascus.  Two of them were suspicious and didn’t go. The other three emissaries were detained and imprisoned in Palmira.

It is to be noted that all the appointed ministers in the Syrian government were Turkish by origin, as if Syrian Arabs were not qualified to take on viable responsibilities… At the first upheaval in 1924, all these ministers rushed to Beirut to wait for better conditions to return to Damascus.

As if all these struggles against the Ottoman Empire and the fighting along side the allied forces in WWI were of no consequences…

The French War Council was in permanent audience, and shot prisoners without trials

The French authorities bombarded towns surrounding Damascus (Reef Dimashk) with heavy artillery guns and airplanes. and burned entire villages on the outskirt of Damascus (Midan, ChaghourGhouta) and in the Houran. Fleeing villagers were shot point blank and everything stolen and sold in the souks.

And the mandated power imposed a fine of 100,000 gold pound on the inhabitants of the demolished towns and villages. Otherwise, the troops will resume bombarding what still remained…

Within 2 days, 15,000 people fled their hometown on foot.

From October 18 to 21, 1925, the French troops bombarded the capital Damascus and destroyed and burned entire blocks and the center, including the famous and ancient Souks.

Over 1,500 were killed and four folds that number were injured.

Note 1: Extracts from the diaries in the French book “In Damascus under the bombs” by Alice Poulleau. (First Published in 1926, and republished in 2012)

Note 2: France has lost most of its young educated citizens (civilian and officers) during WWI, over one million.  The new generation didn’t go to schools during the war and were practically illiterate, and spoke only the dialect of their provinces. These new recruits from the distant provinces had no backing to save them from being sent overseas. The officers dispatched to the colonies were mostly handicapped (mentally and physically) and were seeking “Revenge” against almost every one.  France relied on its Foreign Legion that gathered soldiers fleeing from ravaged countries sand  who wanted a French citizenship

“The weathervane” Jumblatt discusses current politics of Lebanon. Or maybe Not

Walid Jumblatt is the Druze warlord during Lebanon civil war that lasted 14 years. After his father Kamal was assassinated by the Syrian President Hafez Assad in 1976, Walid naturally inherited the traditional coat of leadership of his tribe.

Walid is a graduate of the American University of Beirut (AUB).  As the US began its preemptive war on Iraq, Walid sided with the US invading forces saying: “I’d rather be a street sweeper in New York than a leader in Lebanon”.

Somehow, Walid believed that the wind was strongly shifting on the US side and that it is urgent to ally with Bush Jr. against the Syrians and the Iranian… and the countless imaginary enemies that he think are vying for the leadership of the districts of Chouf, Alley, and Rashaya

Alex Rowell posted in Lebanon Now, on Nov.20, 2012: “Uncertain breeze in Moukhtara. Talking to Walid Jumblatt”

“As we shuffled into a lavish sitting room in his Ottoman-era mansion in Moukhtara first thing Tuesday morning, Walid Jumblatt’s day job was already underway. We joined what soon became a line of people waiting, for whatever purpose—requesting tuition fees for children, resolving a dispute with the neighbors in Clemenceau—to meet the Druze chieftain.

When Jumblatt entered, his tall, lanky frame stooped as he walked, his facial expression half-annoyed and half-amused, as though incredulous at having to deal with such banality.

After speedily acceding to a few requests, he ushered us into another sitting room, adorned with a floor-to-ceiling portrait of slain Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

The following interview was done with Walid Jumblatt, leader of Lebanon Progressive Socialist Party (PSP):

In general, walking through the house feels like touring Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace. “But I don’t have the Bosphorus outside. Istanbul is a beautiful city. The only other city as beautiful, until they destroyed it, was Aleppo.” he replied (Referring to the latest round of fighting in Aleppo between the Syria regular army and the rebels)

Such was the tone for much of our conversation with the enigmatic Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader. His reputed political acumen—along with his less-flattering notoriety for abruptly switching allegiances—have earned him the nickname “the weathervane” .

The nickname as Michael Young explained: “a local leader whose every premonitory move is dissected by those trying to get a sense of Lebanon’s political winds.”

If that is so, there appears to be an uncertain breeze in Moukhtara today. For though Jumblatt tells NOW that he is “not March 8 coalition” (the current power) those in the March 14 coalition hoping for Jumblatt jumping ship once again to their side may well be in for disappointment.

There were reports over the weekend that the PSP is planning an initiative to ease internal strife and promote dialogue. Why did you decide to do this?

Jumblatt: We have an initiative parallel to the efforts of the President Suleiman who is calling for dialogue. We just want to help President Suleiman. At the same time we have consulted with Prime Minister Miqati and [Parliament Speaker] Nabih Berri.

We have to find a way to get out of this blockade where nobody is speaking with anybody, and the only way to reach that is launching an initiative. I hope it will succeed, I don’t know. I have charged my comrades in the party to go and visit all the political parties and actors possible, starting tomorrow, from March 14 to March 8 to independents.

Why did you not join March 14’s recent boycott of the cabinet?

Jumblatt: Why should I join them? I’m not March 14!

But you openly blamed Syria for the assassination of Wissam al-Hassan.

Jumblatt: Yes, and March 14 are blaming Miqati. Miqati did not kill Wissam al-Hassan. I’m sorry, I refuse categorically all the accusations of March 14 against Miqati.

The day after Hassan’s death, we saw PSP flags at the March 14 Youth rally.

Jumblatt: They have removed those flags. This is a small trap fixed by some idiots. We are not March 14. And I’m not March 8. I’m just in this coalition trying to fix up things as much as I can, taking into account the environment which is terribly sectarian, and some people don’t care, it seems. They’re just attacking here and there; they don’t care about the possible sectarian strife that could engulf Lebanon.

Which people are you referring to?

Jumblatt: Some high-ranking leaders. Because in this country everyone is becoming high-ranking, nobody is low-ranking.

What do you think of the Ahmad al-Assir movement?

Jumblatt: When the moderate Future Movement is absent, any vacuum is filled, so this is why Sheikh Saad [Hariri] should come back and lead what his father did: the moderate Sunni trend.

How are your relations with Hariri?

Jumblatt: We are friends on personal terms but we differ on political issues. We speak occasionally.

Regarding Hassan’s assassination, do you think any Lebanese parties were also involved?

Jumblatt: I just accused the Syrian intelligence. Of course they have partners and agents here. But I’m not going to accuse a political party, like others did, because they don’t care if there is sectarian strife.

And I was very clear, just as with the murder of Rafiq al-Hariri, that if Hezbollah has enough evidence that Hariri was killed by the Israelis, as Sayyed Hassan claimed at one point, then let him present this evidence to the international tribunal. I’m not going to accuse any party because my concern is that civil strife must stop.

So even if you have suspicions, you’re not going to voice them so as to maintain stability?

Jumblatt: I do not have suspicions. I am not a lawyer or a prosecutor. You have an international tribunal where people can go and present evidence.

If you believe the Syrian regime is killing senior Lebanese officials, then why do you support the “dissociation” policy (al na2e bel nafss)? Shouldn’t Syria be considered an enemy state, like Israel?

Jumblatt: Syria being an enemy state? Not at all, I’m sorry. This is a monstrosity.

We are accusing the regime, but Syria is Syria, Syria is our background, Syria helped us during the civil war, it fixed the balance inside Lebanon, it helped create the Taif Agreement, it supported the resistance. We have to distinguish between the regime and the people. And the army, which fought very bravely against Israelis during the 1982 invasion.

So the regime itself should not be considered an enemy?

Jumblatt: OK, if it is, then what? Tell me what can we do? This is the 19th month of the Syrian revolt and the whole international community is just doing nothing. They are watching Syria being systematically destroyed. It seems the “Friends of Syria” don’t care about Syria.

How can the Syrian conflict be ended?

Jumblatt: Well, if you have a solution, tell me. Just after the battle of Baba Amr (a quarter in south Homs), I called everybody in the West that I know—the British, the French—to help the rebels to get adequate weapons to shoot down helicopters. They said, “We can’t do it because it will end up in civil war.” And at that time, the civil war began.

How do you feel about the Druze in Syria?

Jumblatt: I’m concerned about Syria. The Druze are Syrian people. I don’t look at the sectarian aspect.

If there is no intervention in Syria, what happens?

Jumblatt: Nobody asked for intervention in Syria; just helping the Syrian rebels. Now it’s chaotic, because everybody is intervening in his own way, from the Arab world and from individuals, and now we have the situation whereby yesterday in Aleppo some so-called free brigades announced they don’t want to be part of the Doha Agreement, they have announced the “Islamic Emirates” in Aleppo.

This is the disorganized help of the Arab and Western world because everybody is sponsoring somebody else. And what’s the result? Total chaos.

Do you worry about a Sunni-Shiite war in Lebanon?

Jumblatt: When I say sectarian strife I’m speaking about some Sunnis and some Shiites. This cannot be solved except by sitting at a table and talking to each other. That’s it.

And if some in March 14 still insist that the weapons of Hezbollah can be delivered at any price? No. The weapons are a very sensitive issue, and these weapons should be part of the defensive strategy that is being elaborated by President Suleiman.

One day these weapons could be part of the Lebanese army, but that cannot be at the push of a button, we have to wait. I mean it took the Irish 20 years to decommission the weapons between Protestants and Catholics. Now, it’s a much more difficult issue in Lebanon.

You said recently that it will take a new Taif Agreement to resolve Hezbollah’s weapons. What did you mean by that?

Jumblatt: I was assaulted, directly by everybody, by all the excited people of March 14. I did not say that. Even if I said that, it was a slip of the tongue. [Laughs] (See note 1)

In that case, how do you advocate resolving the issue?

Jumblatt: You have to adequately address the Shiite community. You have to speak to them. But at the same time, some have committed a big error, because they have been ordered, by the Iranians, I don’t know, to go and fight inside Syria for the regime. But this is not their policy, this is the policy of Iran.

I hope that one day the Iranians will change and address the Syrian people and not the regime, because they are losing a lot of support for their stance. At the same time, some parties of March 14 also are arming the rebels, so the policy of [dissociation] should be addressed to both parties; to Hezbollah and March 14.

Regarding elections, is there an electoral law you favor?

Jumblatt: I’ve not been consulted by anybody. I just hear rumors that some high-ranking people want 50 districts, and others want proportional representation. I have not been consulted. I am ready to discuss to see. Because some people have already started fixing their Armani dresses to become president.

Do you feel the law needs to be changed?

Jumblatt: Of course, one day we have to fix up a modern law, but to do that you have to fix up a modern Lebanon, and to fix up a modern Lebanon, my father spent 19 years trying to do it, and he failed to deconfessionalize the system. I mean we are not even able to fix the civil marriage issue, which is stupid. We oblige the young Lebanese people to go to Cyprus, to Istanbul, to Paris, but here we don’t allow it because the clerics, Muslim and Christian, are against it. They have privileges; they get money to separate the people.

Going back to elections, if we assume the 2009 law is used again, you will likely win in Shouf and Aley, so the question on many minds is whether you will align with March 8 or 14?

Jumblatt: I will align with myself for the time being. I stick to my own belief that we have to fix up a kind of middle ground to avoid this terrible division between 14 and 8.

Do you foresee any changes in Christian districts?

Jumblatt: I have no idea, I don’t work on statistics. They work, they are obsessed with statistics. Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea are obsessed, I really don’t care. My concern is how to deal peacefully with each other.

After Hassan’s assassination, do you fear assassination yourself?

Jumblatt: I have never spoken about myself, like others, who like to speak about themselves, and to have bodyguards and huge convoys. Like my father, I have relied on destiny. I am here just because I like it.

So you’re not more or less afraid than before?

Jumblatt: I was never afraid. When you get afraid like others you get paralyzed mentally.

Do you think the Gaza conflict might affect Lebanon?

Jumblatt: No, Gaza just proved once again that the arrogance of Israelis can just be destroyed, [like] when the Israelis invaded Beirut in 1982. This myth of Israeli superiority is again buried by the rockets of Hamas, by the people of Lebanon, seven times. So it’s a myth, but what can we do, this state is based on a big fallacy supported by the West.

One day, the West will discover that the huge amount of money they spend on Israel is just a catastrophe. Because only a peaceful solution based on two states can—maybe—reach some stability.

I think maybe it’s too late, because now with the settlers there’s no space for two states.

So you prefer a one-state solution?

Jumblatt: Well this was an intellectual approach by people like Edward Said, but consider now the right-wing tendency of most Israeli society and the absence of the peace movement, except one wise guy, he’s a friend of mine and we correspond with each other, Uri Avnery, and I always read his articles and send comments. Amos Oz too, and Amira Hass, she’s excellent. But Israel peace movement, which demonstrated in Tel Aviv after Sabra and Shatila genocide and which caused Sharon’s downfall, is no more.

You wrote this week that Gaza could lead to a “new status quo.” What did you mean?

Jumblatt: After the 1973 war, came the Camp David agreement, which separated Egypt from the Arabs. But now Gaza is fixing up a new formula. The inner land of Egypt is Gaza, and the Egyptians are always concerned about the fate of Palestine. So Gaza is defying the old order.

Same thing in Golan, one day the ceasefire agreement of 1973 will be changed by [whoever] comes in control of the Golan Heights. Lebanon will also have a new status quo [once] we get back the Lebanese occupied territories of Shebaa. Israel is no more safe from its surroundings. Later on, I hope that King Abdullah will fix up reforms. But the surroundings of Israel have changed. Fortunately that’s good.

Are you worried about the rise of Islamists across the region?

Jumblatt: No, not at all. We cannot change the Arab world. Do you want somebody to convert them? To what?

We have to take into account the rise of Islam, be it Shiite or Sunni, and try to see the future and develop, not only culturally but economically.

We have so much wealth in this Arab world spent stupidly on buying weapons or treasury bonds.
We can have our own development in all the Arab world.

This interview has been condensed and edited. Justin Salhani contributed in the questioning.

Read more:

Note 1: The weathervane is famous for his “strategic slip of tongues” that he terms as “La7zat takhali“, a way of asking forgiveness for wrong and faulty political directions. Walid Jumblatt changes his political positions as he feels that his local hold on power is threatened. For example:

1. After the Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon in 2005, Jumblatt named the Assad regime with all kinds of monstrous fish and recanted a few years later as he found out that Syria is still the most influential regional power in Lebanon.

2. When Bush Jr. invaded Iraq in 2003, Jumblatt claimed that “I’d rather be a street sweeper in New York than being a leader in Lebanon…” . Jumblatt thought that the winning power in the Middle-East was definitely the US, and then recanted when Israel was defeated in the preemptive war of July 2006.

3. Jumblatt excited the government to crack down on Hezbollah’s ground communication lines in 2007 and demanded peace and forgiveness as Hezbollah invaded the branches and arm safe-houses of his party and the Hariri clan movement (The Future) in Beirut…

The only other warlord that displaces Jumblatt in faulty strategic political decision is Samir Geaja, whose decision brought calamities and disaster to the Christian communities…

Any difference between a Statesman and a Leader? For example, comparing Bashar with Hafez Assad of Syria…

In context:

President Bashar Assad of Syria is the second son of Hafez. The eldest son of the dictator Hafez, Bassel, died of supposedly a car accident, driving his fast Porsche. The youngest brother of Bashar died of cancer.

Hafez Assad ruled as a dictator for 30 years from 1971 to 2000.

During Hafez Assad, Syria had to contend with much more powerful enemies on its borders.

1. Saddam Hussein of Iraq was the prime nemesis to Hafez because they led the same party Al Baath in two adjacent States, and Iraq was far richer, more populous and its military hardware was diversified, including French weapons.

2. Israel still occupied the Golan Heights, and a third of Lebanon territory.

3. Turkey was not engaged in the Middle-East problems: Turkey of the Moslem Brotherhood will come to power in 2002 and has been in power for an entire decade…

4, Iran Islamic Republic was entirely focused on the long protracted war with Iraq (8 years of brutal and all-out terror).

5. Hezbollah in Lebanon was in its infancy (created in 1983).

6. Oil was not yet produced in Syria, and Syria relied completely on the Soviet Union for armement…

During Bashar, Iraq was totally impotent of doing much harm to its neighboring State because of the No-Fly-Zone and international embargo… The US invaded Iraq in 2003 , and Saddam was “ousted” and then hanged.

Israel still occupies the Golan Heights, but had to withdraw all its troops from Lebanon without any preconditions.

Turkey is getting engaged in the Middle East region and lately has been virulent and supporting the insurgents (sort of recalling its former Ottoman Empire status…)

Iran is more powerful than ever, more stable from within, and acquiring strategic interests in the region.

Hezbollah has grown and developed as a mighty structured and well-trained military machine.

Syria troops occupying Lebanon as a de facto mandated power withdrew in 2005 after the assassination of Rafik Hariri PM.

Bashar inherited a Syria with established institutions, an oil producing country, weaker States on its borders, and firmer control on many levers for negotiating better deals…

Hafez Al Assad had great patience:

1. He would never engage in any operation that might get foreign superpowers concerned before securing total support of the winning party of the moment in the region.  For example, Hafez knew that there existed a Red Line between the US and the Soviet Union in the Middle-East. Russia was not to expand beyond Turkey and Iran, these two States were to be within US sphere of influence, including Syria, Iraq… Consequently, any operation that would anger the US in the Middle-East had to be negotiated at length, whatever time it took to reach an agreement…

2. Hafez made it a point of honor to “deliver” on any promise or agreement. Thus, unless Hafez secured internal cohesion and alliance to his agreement, he would refrain from any promises that he might not be able to demonstrate his power to deliver…

This reminds me of the story of Tsar Paul I of Russia when Napoleon was only First Consul of Revolutionary France. It was not conceivable at the time for absolute monarchs to negotiate with a common person, even if he grabbed power. Paul I wrote to Napoleon: “I am ready to deal with you: You are a person who demonstrated he can deliver on agreements…”

This position angered the British Empire and they made sure for Tsar Paul I to be assassinated…

What follows are examples of how Hafez Assad operated to achieve his goals:

1. In 1970, King Hussein of Jordan was militarily annihilating the Palestinian resistance movement in Jordan: Over 70% of the Jordanians have origin in Palestine.  The Syrian defense minister dispatched tanks toward Jordan to pressure Hussein in stopping the carnage. Israel sent a couple of jets to over fly the frenzied speeding Syrian tanks.

Hafez was the chief of the air force at the time and got the message right: He refrained from engaging the Syrian air-force or to give aerial support to the tanks.  The advancing tanks stopped and returned… What was the price?

1. Hafez received “foreign” support when he waged a successful military coup in 1971.

2. The PLO was cornered to deal directly with Hafez who nibbled on the Palestinian Organization to get full hold on its internal decisions… The civil war in Lebanon was a tag of war on how much the PLO can secure self-autonomy from direct Syria interventions

In September 1973, The small Syrian army of barely 100,000 soldiers in total managed to recaptured the Golan Heights, only to retreat from the conquered part after the US established the largest airlift in its history to supply Israel with all the military hardware, satellite intelligence, and even pilots…

In 1981, Syria Moslem Brotherhood, mostly concentrated in Homs, was very virulent and had been attacking Syria institutions and targeting Hafez Assad elite people for a couple of years now. Hafez was very patient and trying to negotiate a deal with the Brotherhood. Why?

Sadat of Egypt had rallied Egypt Brotherhood around him and Hafez was dissatisfied with Sadat unilateral peace with Israel… but Syria Moslem Brotherhood kept backing Sadat of Egypt and giving serious trouble to Hafez…

Hafez negotiated with the US at length and receive the green light to put down the Brotherhood uprising. The action was irreversible, brutal, unconditional…and thousands of Brotherhood members and supporters were persecuted for years.  Hundreds in jails (mainly in Palmira , Tadmor) were executed on a weekly basis…

And the invasion of Lebanon, starting in 1976, at the instigation of the Christian leaders as the PLO and Lebanese left opposition alliance advanced into the “Christian” region…Hafez waited until the PLO got heavily engaged in Lebanon’s morass…

And the support of Desert Storm and sending a contingent to fight alongside the US troops as Saddam’s troops invaded Kuwait. And what was the price in return? A mandated power over Lebanon that lasted 15 years til 2005…

And what of his second son Bashar Assad who replaced Hafez in 2000?

The eldest son,  Bassel, had died from a car accident, driving a fast car. He was an extrovert person and was liked among the military…

And Bashar, studying ophthalmology (eye doctor for corrective lenses…) was summoned from England to return and get initiated and educated to the labyrinth of power…

Hafez had cancer for many years (since 1983?) and was being treated in Russia, and his days were counted and he was accelerating the position of responsibilities assigned to Bashar… But Bashar is an introvert…

Bashar public speeches are a pain in the ass… He cannot differentiate between political speeches and official lecturing on what is rational, logical, and should be done (logically and rationally). I had watched many Arab leaders snoozing during Bashar’s lengthy speeches…

Syria “Constitution” was modified in order to permit young Basher (33 instead of 40 in age) to become President in 2000.

In that year, Israel was forced to withdraw unilaterally from south Lebanon, and Bashar was barely in power and trying to affirm his hold, and missed a golden opportunity to withdraw his troops from Lebanon…

Those  leaders who hate Bashar or Syria, blame him for failing to deliver on agreements and promises….

Mind you that time had changed: Bush Jr invaded Iraq and didn’t ask for Bashar’s input on the decision.

Bashar was delivered ultimatum to fully side with the US forces… and to outdo the US capabilities in preventing infiltrated Iraqi nationalists from entering Iraq and engaging the US occupation troops….

And Saudi Arabia was not pleased with Bashar blocking any Wahhabi sect doctrine and activities to overwhelm the Syrians with free Wahhabi tailor-made Korans, and appointing Wahhabi sheikhs to Mosques…

And Turkey Moslem Brotherhood in power wanted to believe that opening up to Syria will ultimately encourage Bashar to extend a hand to the Syria Moslem Brotherhood and include them in the government and institutions… Mind you that Turkey Moslem Brotherhood have been in power for a decade…

Time has changed.

Bashar had to juggle with Iran strategic interests in the region: Iran during Bashar is not the same Iran during Hafez, trying to defend itself from Saddam invasion of its lands and waging a war that lasted 8 years…

Time has changed. Bashar has no longer troops in Lebanon in order to find himself in any solid position to “deliver” on agreements…

Time has changed. Bashar has reorganized the army and expanded it in order to confront eventual Israeli preemptive wars with the total support of the US.  The Syrian army is no longer a force to maintain Hafez in power, but to safeguard Syria from demanding foreign and regional powers…

Time has changed: Syria is currently floating on gas, the largest reserve in the world, and every potential country wants to have a piece of the pie and laying pipeline through Syria…

And Syria was engulfed in a “civil war” two years after the Arab Spring in 2011.

And Syria infrastructure are disturbed and its main cities (Aleppo and Homs…) are in ruin…

And the Syrians are fleeing in droves to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan (over one million refugees are relying on the UN to survive in make-shift tents…) as is the case of the Palestinians when they were forced to leave their towns and villages in 1948 and in 1967…

Is Hafez Assad a stateman, a leader, both or neither?

Is Bashar Assad a stateman, a leader, both or neither?

Hafez was ruthless, and he established a dynasty. He gave Syria 3 decades of relative stability and continuity. He invested in the infrastructure of remote regions, spread public schools and health care. Hafez demonstrated the saying that:

“If war against Israel is tenuous without Egypt, a comprehensive peace cannot be reached without Syria…”

Hafez was considered a key player by all regional powers in Middle-East dynamics and his opinion was taken seriously…

Hafez initiated two decades of terror against the Syrian Moslem Brotherhood members and tortured and detained for extended prison terms to their family members and  “potential” opponents.

Bashar started a young president and did all the mistakes a young leader can do, and failed to grab the many opportunities opened to him.

He started arrogant, coy, and behaved as a son spoon-fed in silver utensils. Most probably, he has no patience for other people opinions and love to listen to his own talks, and tends to see the world more on the black and white aspect…

The current problems in Syria are the last opportunity to salvage his reign: Either he lose or prevails over the new wave of Moslem Brotherhood cultist dictatorship sweeping in the Middle-East.

If Bashar vanquishes, on the rubble of Syria, he will be remembered as the main leader who saved this region from this monster storm that is in total cohort with the US strategic plan for the Greater Middle East domination.

Time changes: Do you think potential political leaders are harder to locate?

Time changes: Do you think potential statemen are harder to form and discover?




March 2023

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