The truth about what has happened in Lebanon

The UN Tribunal's indictment in Lebanon shows what has been happening there for years, an Arabic-language commentator says. Other topics in today's excerpts: Yemen; Turkish and Saudi views on Syria; and US money for Arab states.

Tribunal unveils a broad diversion plot

The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon's indictment of four Hizbollah members, for the assassination of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri, reveals that since 2000 the region has fallen prey to conspiracies, editor-in-chief Tareq Homayed wrote in the pan-Arab publication Asharq Al Awsat.

The particulars of the indictment show that the crime couldn't have been perpetrated by individuals, no matter how criminally skilled. It was a highly organised effort, supported by organisations that arrange, coordinate and practice deception.

"Had the four indicted individuals worked alone, they would have been uncovered easily by local authorities such as Syrian intelligence that controlled Lebanon at the time," suggested the writer. "It is unlikely that four individuals plotting to commit as huge a murder as this one could go unnoticed."

After the assassination, those seeking to create a diversion were quick to point to a terrorist Sunni group. In fact, for almost a decade now, every terrorist attack in the region has been dumped on radical Sunni groups. In this framework any terrorist action, such as the 15 simultaneous explosions that ripped through Iraq earlier this week, could be blamed on Al Qaeda affiliates.

The real question here is can any terrorist organisation execute such massive widespread attacks without help and support from state powers?


Yemen back to square one as Saleh meddles

Opportunists, thugs, revolutionaries, kidnappers, mercenaries, old-style Marxists, warlords, Taliban and Al Qaeda militants; this is how the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, described his opponents as he announced to his supporters his intention to return to Sanaa soon, columnist Zuhair Qusaibati wrote in the daily Al Hayat.

Some reports said Mr Saleh, who has survived an assassination attempt, has finally decided to step down. But he declared that he is returning, not to assume power, but to salvage Yemen's "constitutional legitimacy" against "coup enthusiasts".

"Thus, Yemen is back to square one after months of dissent among the armed forces and the tribes, culminating in an unexpected escalation by Saleh who is pitting the tribes against each other in an attempt to prevent formation of a long overdue national transitional council."

Mr Saleh's latest recorded speech aimed to confuse and divide the opposition. In view of events in Libyan, Mr Saleh feels encouraged to stand his ground and gamble on time. However, it is hard to anticipate the consequences of fiddling with the precarious tribal balance in Yemen.

The confidence gap between Mr Saleh and the opposition is unlikely to be bridged. And among constitutional legitimacy, an innocent revolution and thieving politicians, Yemen remains at a standstill, on the brink of the crater of a volcano.

Turkish-Saudi alliance to end Syrian regime?

Inside and outside Syria, may are awaiting the next Turkish step, now that Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, has addressed a final ultimatum to the Syrian authorities to stop the bloodshed, the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi said in its editorial.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has recently clearly stated that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are the ones responsible for calling on president Bashar Al Assad to step down.

She declined to make that demand herself.

"Such US rhetoric can be interpreted as a clear instigation to the two major Islamic nations to form a new alliance that would deal with the Syrian case directly, away from any US interference," the editorial said.

Next to Iran, Turkey is the largest Islamic power in the region while the Saudi kingdom is the wealthiest and the most concerned with rising Iranian power.

Since Saudi wants to avoid losing its grip on Syria, as it has lost it in Iraq, it succumbed to pressure from the Obama administration, and officially sided with the Syrian opposition.

"We don't believe however that Saudi and Turkey intend to declare war on Syria, and we dismiss the possibility of Iran risking a regional war to protect its Syrian ally."

Arab states can rely no longer on aid from US

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, recently noted that the US could miss its chance to benefit from the Arab Spring, due to its financial crisis, columnist Mazen Hammad said in the Qatari newspaper Al Watan. In other words, the US may be forced to discontinue its financial support to the states of the Arab Spring.

"It is a grave statement for it entails blatant contradictions. It seems to suggest, according to Mrs Clinton's allegations, that Washington is bearing the costs and the sacrifices, and that its men and women are sacrificing their lives for higher world values while others stand idly by."

It must be noted that these costs and sacrifices aren't offered out of the United States' belief in human values or moral principles, but rather as mediums for more control over the world.

Due to budgetary strains, Americans are worried that the US might lose its chance to remodel the Middle East's politics, which is evidenced by the fact that Washington uses "economic aid" to countries to impose its political agenda on Arab capitals.

"It is high time that Arab states get accustomed to living without US aid, which can be substituted by collective international aid efforts that don't impose pressure on the receiving states' foreign politics."


* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem

Published: August 19, 2011 04:00 AM


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