The challenges of Hezbollah

June 30, 2011

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Dear Reader,

Greetings and Good Day,

“ What matters most is behavioral attitude, political discourse and reforms achievements “ 

In an immediate evaluation to the cabinet statement approval in Lebanon, and the simultaneous STL indictment revelations; observers are keen to question the upcoming weeks and the consequences of  the  actions of the Lebanese government to upgrade its legitimacy or to lose it.

Areas of uncertainty abound where the Lebanese government should by definition be part of the international community, as we ignore the limits of its own independence and margin of free maneuver.

In concomitance with the Syrian growing protest and capability to maintain the initiative, the question is how will the Syrian losing gang implement reforms in Syria, empower governance in Lebanon and keep faith to its Iranian masters?

There is no doubt that the economic rope tightly put on the Syrian gang, will affect its own survival and shorten the duration of the cycle of decadence. While the Syrian state is witnessing a major transition, toward a very promising future, my hope is that Hezbollah in Lebanon will act in defiance of old dogmas and break the chains of rhetoric.

Lebanon needs most an elite that will lead the Middle East into development and prosperity.

Lebanon needs a behavioral elegance in attitude, an innovative political discourse and an achievement in the reforms process.

There is a golden opportunity for Hezbollah now that it succeeded to be the main power broker in Lebanon to detach itself from all regional players and to express an enlightened policy.

Hezbollah can facilitate the action of the STL and put in place a deal with it to save justice and elaborate modern governance.

Hezbollah can call in tandem with the lebanese president for a national conference and secure a Commission for Truth.

Hezbollah can enact much needed economic, constitutional and administrative reforms.

Hezbollah can set the motion of a political solution with Israel in conformity with Lebanese Interests.

Hezbollah can become the example for Arab Spring popular inspired movements and prepare the terrain for major benefits of the constituencies in an evolving world, fast and connected.   

Hezbollah can embark on an immediate internal reform and evolve itself to meet the challenges and requirements of the 21st century.

In terms of foreign policy, Hezbollah can become the wheel of change in Iran itself and proceed to instate a wind of progress.

Expectations are high that those who liberated South Lebanon will not miss the opportunity to liberate the Middle East from mal governance, historic arrogance and ignorance.    

Will Hezbollah be up to these challenges?

If it will show courage and bravery, independents and liberals will act accordingly.

“ Our duty is to do all possible to give peace a chance, as going to war needs only a second”

 Thank you,   


Time for decisions

June 23, 2011

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Dear Reader,

Greetings and Good Day,

“ When internal problems are not tackled in the proper way, external influence will unavoidably occur’

The above might seem a Lebanese maxim, applied on the local theater as an online game, Libania.

Yet this is true and corresponding also to the Syrian nation.

In a close analysis of events unfolding since March 16, observers are conscious that the visible opposition is causing a major havoc to ordinary dictatorial state affairs.

The gang in power failed so far to end the national protest and even if it is proceeding with multi-tier tracks (salary increase, loyal demonstrations, repression, killings, amnesties, threats, etc) the fact remains that thousands of Syrians are opposing the regime and the national economy is at its knees.

Significantly and surely the gang is losing its grip and the opposition by contrast is continuously holding the initiative.

It is not that distant to see the opposition creating its own leadership and organizing itself in a unified front with a clear agenda acceptable by the multiplicity of the civil society .

In the same token it is not distant to realize that somewhere, the refugees, the transit and the currency problems will knock out the gang.

Although the gang is mastering its oppression inside its own borders, it is lacking the control on the refugees augmenting their numbers on daily basis and will be increasingly under heavy monetary and economic distress and crack.

Furthermore the movements of troops in the northeast and northwest will irreversibly generate tension with Turkey which ultimately will be obliged to act to tutor its own long term interests.

There is a conspicuous believe in many circles that the gang in Syria might well escape its signed fate, however these shortsighted thoughts are based on wishful thinking rather than on accurate evidence.

There is a major difference between exerting horror on a major part of the civil society and exerting sane governance.

The gang is destined to be defeated and the replacement will come along in a genuine way, from stories yet to be lived and events to be registered.

 The complexity of international interests already signed the fate of the gang.

The Lebanese bravery is to avoid any brutal side effects and to negotiate with the international institutions a proceeding to get an honorable political solution for everyone.

 The clan in power in Lebanon should realize that they are standing on the verge of a unique opportunity to transform the liability ahead into a significant game changer in the Middle East.

The new cabinet in fact can launch on the Israeli Peace Initiative and build up on the Arab peace initiative and call for immediate talks with Israel to finalize outstanding issues to tutor the interests of Lebanon in the best way possible.

Hezbollah can still negotiate with the STL and put itself under the state sovereignty by ensuring within the national dialogue framework an honorable solution to the armaments and to the much needed reforms.

Time unfortunately is working against Lebanon and my concern is that sooner rather than later the Syrian internal problems will be ejected outside the borders and Turkey inescapably will see itself directly involved.

From here a Turkish diplomatic initiative can offer a bargain to Iran and Hezbollah, which will consist in civil nuclear energy to Iran and Hezbollah agreement with the STL and Israel, in exchange for a smooth dismantling of the gang in Syria and for an environment favorable to Turkish commercial trade.

Whenever Iran and Hezbollah will not give in to Turkey, I am afraid that Turkish wrath will create a deep buffer zone in Syria in tandem with Israel erasing Hezbollah assets in Lebanon as much as Syrian strategic military assets BCW, Shore to sea Missiles, air defenses, C4RI and mechanized divisions.

Turkish commercial sanctions on Iran will follow and this will hinder irrevocably the ailing but dominant faction of Khamenei supervising an ever fractious political Iranian mosaic.

Iranian influence is at stake and this will be under scrutiny in Iraq and Pakistan.

Time for major decisions is approaching in Ankara, Tehran, Beirut, TelAviv, Aleppo and Damascus.

 Assessing deadlines is not easy, but it is common sense to predict the coming 40 days to be extremely relevant.

“ The geographic position of Syria will reveal to be the best ally of the revolution against the gang”

Thank you,


The Clan in Power

June 17, 2011

Organizational chart of Hezbollah, by Ahmad Ni...

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Dear Reader,

Greetings and Good Day,

“Projecting scenarios is an excellent tool to avoid major losses”

Following the cabinet line up in Lebanon and the building efforts to vote the confidence in the parliament, observers are questioning the cabinet next steps.

From one side it is clear that the side theater brokered by the Syrian dictatorship and junta will be soon exploited to extend a line for survival. 

From another side it is also plausible that other actors, part of the ruling cabinet do have diverging interests and they may well explore a different horizon.

The best strategy in this case is to create a very strong opposition exerting accountability, until this unusual composite will melt.

If it is true that there will be an offensive of Hezbollah and other satellites to reverse the international obligations by resorting to several undertakings, it is also true that other interests represented in the cabinet will nurture a different agenda.  

What can be the horizon ahead and how will the collectivity and the state interests be tutored remain to be clarified, yet the fact is that governance is in the hands of Hezbollah leading the initiative and setting the offensive tempo to erase the international obligations.

What are at stake will be the efforts of many Lebanese to maintain Lebanon inside the international institutions, a reliable and loyal partner willing to play a regional role in stability and in peace making.

Magicians, Tycoons, Ex Generals, Veteran acrobats, Resistance Leaders, Dispossessed vocals or any other game changer will not be capable to alter the Lebanese formula; rather they will all practice a classic: robbery, corruption, nepotism, irrelevance and profiteering.   

Arrogance, threats and ignorance will be the major tools at display by the clan in power, trying to move Lebanon from its anchor to its Arab environment, to Western culture, to Russian bonds, to Chinese special interests and to the Turkish growing influence.

Free citizens will need to be vigilant, strong, and confident in liberty, in the power of life and in the civilization for tolerance, acceptance, progress and respect.

The clan in power will lack any objective response to the call by Israel for negotiation, and a golden opportunity for peace will be thrown away by failed governance.

The clan in power should know that a major portion of the civil society will oppose them and will democratically bring them down.

“ Accountability will be exerted, thus Hezbollah and its brokers are informed, they will be defeated”

 Thank You,


Final Equilibrium

June 14, 2011

Location of the Eastern Mediterranean

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Dear Reader,

Greetings and Good Day,

“Any birth is always welcome, it is how we feed that things matter”

These are definitely very unique moments in the making of history.

Economic problems abound in the US, China, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, while the “Arab Spring” is spurring change in adding complexity to the geopolitical environment.

To start I wish well for the new Lebanese cabinet and expect from it an innovative approach that will put the nation on track again.

Lebanon needs a national forum and a commission for truth it needs to pacify internally through laic reforms and to focus on a modern role.

Lebanon should negotiate a pact with international obligations and extricate itself out of the recent mess.

Lebanon can become a generator of regional peace, a net exporter of energy, a hub for tourism and a pole for financial and fashion investments.

However it is known that to implement a vision, we need to evaluate the local culture, the coherence of politicians, the motivation roots and the civil society composition and cohesion.

If it is true that the Assad junta is under very heavy multiple pressures, it is also true that this dictatorial regime in a “coup de follie” decided to divert the international attention to another theater : Lebanon; from where it will launch soon initiatives in govenance.

Objective attitude do recommend to judge actions, yet the birth of the Lebanese cabinet is a desperate Syrian move to create a side theater.

The strategic calculations of the bloody junta in Syria are based on a simple concept, to play the Lebanese card in a way to ameliorate the chances of their regime survival.

An intricate mass of interests is inducing different actors to converge in two poles.

The faction of Khamenei in Iran, the Assad regime, Lebanese Hezbollah, and the Sadr army in Iraq coupled to Russia and China, form one pole, confronted by Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese oppositions coupled to Gulf Nations, Turkey, the West, Israel and Arab moderates.

How things will unfold is to be discovered, but the fact is that all pieces are placed for a major confrontation that will not spare any asset.

There will be diplomatic, energetic, legal, financial, strategic, social and military moves that will be consumed in an incremental chess game to set the final equilibrium of the coming two decades in the Mediterranean and by extension in the bigger Eurasian theater.

Inevitably the coming two months will reveal to be very important, considering the high stakes.

The nuisance is that engagement was already exhausted with both Iran and Syria, and unfortunately we are heading towards a final game where the objective will be to erase the military assets of Hezbollah from one side and to topple the Assad/ Makhlouf bloody junta from another. 

The reduction of the Khamenei influence will enact an Iraqi request to enable few thousand US trainers to remain in a form or another, it will favor the drawdown of 20,000 troops from Afghanistan to be deployed mainly in Qolei’at in Lebanon to secure the energy coastal line and the off shore drillings of the Eastern Mediterranean.  

I tend to consider that a confrontation is becoming highly likely every day between Israel and Hezbollah protected by the bloody junta in Damascus.

A major final act war preparation is looming, and the result will be the erosion and destruction of Hezb assets, the destruction of strategic military divisions in Syria and the further isolation and loss of soft power of the ailing Khamenei faction which is ruling by force an ever divided Iranian mosaic.             

In a projection into 2020, I can see a flourishing Eastern Mediterranean integrated in world economies, and a fragmented Iran/Pakistan/Afghan theater.    

Russian creative foreign diplomacy will realize that the modern pace for a demographic advancement is to be fully partnered with the West.

The test will be to create a joint Russian/Western venture to develop energy roots to Europe and in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Whenever BP failed in its efforts with a Russian partner, hopefully another sister will be successful.

The Kremlin one day will realize that energy policy is integral part of foreign policy and security and therefore it will play an intelligent hand to co-broker world peace and prepare better opportunities for humanity in Eurasia.

“Feeding secure energy routes and paving the way for better opportunities is a sane governance”

 Thank You,   

 

 


The Old Lira

June 9, 2011

Syrian Old Pound

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Dear Reader,

Greetings and Good Day,

“ The picture is of wrestlers immersed in major waves and people from the shore investigating who will emerge alive and victorious ”

In an effort to accompany events unfolding on daily basis in the MENA area, objective observers are caught between a rock and a hard place.

In truth with the difficulty to have fresh news from reliable and independent sources, one should always rely on rational thinking and sense making.

 The case of the Syrian dictatorship regime failure and loss of legitimacy rivets an extraordinary importance in the geopolitical momentum. Therefore I will focus primarily on it.

In a sound analysis of the Syrian popular just demands for universal rights and prosperity, we need to realize that since almost three months, there is a diffused protest, unrelenting and consistent.

The protest is taking clear shape by becoming an organized opposition, thus gaining the political initiative and seeking dialogue, recognition and tracing a route for transition and reforms.

By contrast the thugs of the junta of the regime are applying only repression and crackdown, losing any coherence , economic policy and leverage versus the collectivity and the citizenry, and most important the international acceptance.

Assuming that major powers, regional & international, want to make a bet to tutor their interests, the facts on ground are determining that there is a very strong protest which is emerging and a regime swallowed in its own survival tactics.

Sooner rather than later the game of the nations, will imply that some powers will lead the way to protect the protestors and others will follow. It is no secret that Britain and France already moved decisively at the UNSC to broker a resolution condemning the regime, although daily advancements by the protestors are capable eventually to crack the repression and evince a lucid support from an always increasing stratum of the civil society.

Time is working evidently against the clan of Assad/Makhlouf and even if there are strategic factors to be evaluated such as the Iranian nuclear step up, the deployment of submarines in the Red Sea, it is unlikely that an oyster Iranian approach exerting pressure from Iraq, and from the Mediterranean will implode Syria and Lebanon and let them down in the hands of the IRCG and the Mullahs.

Ultimately the erosion of Assad is the failure of the IRCG influence and its retreat in the oyster strategy. From here the upcoming months will witness a delicate wrestling inside Syria and outside.

In the waves are immersed two figures that alternate from local to regional and the one who will emerge victorious will carry the prize of influence in the MENA region, from here Russia and China are playing the deaf ear.       

Iran knows very well that having a load of nuclear bombs while lacking soft power in neighboring countries especially bordering Israel will lessen its own status and denting of regional politics, from here the coming 40 days will reveal a cosmic challenge.

This challenge has an extremity where a conflagration will occur and it will become a military intervention by Israel, a worst case scenario, which might benefit the interests of the IRGC, Hezbollah and the Assad/Makhlouf clan. But it has also a body where the interest of the international chancelleries is to erode slowly but surely Assad, and this is the agony of the Syrian regime.

Somewhere the military calculus will impose a major move after opening salvos in a chess game, and this is where the Syrian junta will be risking the most. Analysts agree that this is not a winning strategy, yet this is the only option left for Assad & Co.

Maher Assad will try to sedate the protests, but his endeavor will not be successful, therefore his energies will erode, and he will feel somewhere in need to try the “coup de follie “ before he will be subdued in a Bab Azizya scenario, hidden in bunkers checking bullions and cash.   

The danger resides in the perception of Assad/IRCG/Hezb of their standing. Are they on a cliff or capable to exert obsolete pressure ( The old Lira)  and influence?

While it is true that all parties have no interest to alter the strategic equilibrium and start a confrontation, it is also true that the balances are changing the decisions and a fight is very likely.    

Two things can be done to impede the conflagration. The first is for the lebanese President Mr Suleiman to call imediately for an emergency national conference in Lebanon to tackle the regional situation and to start effective reforms in the nation leading to a revised Taef accord and a new cabinet.

The second is for Israel to carry joint military maneuvers aerial, land and maritime and to launch a diplomatic offensive towards the Palestinians and the international arena to emphasize the nuclear threat at FORDO.

Impeding the conflagration will keep the heat on the IRGC/HEZB/Assad and will lessen the cost of the defeat of the dictators.

“The picture is of liberty emerging like a star illuminating the oceans coming out from all seas”

Thank you,

 


The worst case scenario

June 1, 2011

Lightings in Tel Aviv sky, January 2006. Publi...

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Dear Reader,

Greetings and Good Day,

 “In a changing world, the best bet is on positive and young energies”

While observers are looking at the evolution of the Egyptian and Tunisian transition, three despotic leaders and their respective clans are still trying to survive.

Two of these the Libyan and the Yemeni are resisting without hope and my estimate is that within a month or so, major changes will oblige both to desist. As for the third dictator Mr Assad, although he is applying an astute repression, his end game will be to go in the dustbin of history.    

The perception of world powers evolved about the Middle East and there are efforts to lead the caravan of change and avoid major conflagrations.

Hopefully all will go well, but what I will be looking into is a worst case scenario.

Assuming that buster chopper raids against the Libyan dictator will not succeed to topple him and his clan, and the Yemeni Saleh will prolong his agony, we can think that this might well influence badly the transition in course in Egypt and Tunisia.

Although this will not reverse history, it might well generate bad influence and relent the pattern and the trend of change.

Even if the Turkish arena will not reserve major surprises in the general elections, it is a question mark how Turkey will actively enact a foreign policy in the coming months, to tutor its  expanding markets and inner interests in the Syrian theater.

For sure the months of June and July are extremely important in terms of potential conflagration.

For one the Syrian dictator supported by Hezbollah and Iran, will resort to popular manifestations starting June 5, with sit-ins at the Lebanese border to divert regional and international attention, foment tension and create a costly side theater which will transfer pressure from Damascus to Tel Aviv.

For two, in light of the planned submission to the UN in July, of the demand to declare the state of Palestine, two balls residing in the Israeli camp might not result tenable.

From here the tension will fly high and the usual status quo residing in longstanding tacit accord between the Israeli defense establishment and the Syrian junta will be fully shaken.   

It will be sufficient for UNIFIL to downsize, thus creating major areas without strict control that sirens will start to be heard and a major military Israeli operation becomes extremely likely.

An Israeli military intervention will erase the assets of the Syrian fourth division, irreversibly damage Hezbollah and its entire structure, eliminate Hamas warehouses and impede any unilateral Palestinian move for auto determination.       

Israel will gain a new Syrian regime, an enhanced Lebanese government Hezbollah free, a very weakened Hamas, and a limited Iranian regional influence.

Most of all it will achieve a couple of peace treaties.

It might seem absurd but the interests of many players are all converging towards this scenario, where Iraqi cabinet will feel more comfortable to ask for the US army to remain, in concomitance with a limited Iranian regional influence.

Turkey, USA, France, Britain, Canada, Japan, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco will all benefit from an Israeli intervention, not to mention the peoples of Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Syria.

 “ There is no escape for the new geopolitical environment to take place in the Middle East”

Thank you,