Monday, October 29, 2012

la Jordanie aurait acquis des lanceurs de missile Himar

Selon le journaliste George Malbrunot, la Jordanie, inquiète d'une possible attaque de la part du régime syrien, aurait récemment acquis auprès de ses alliés américains, douze lanceurs de missiles de type Himar. «Chacun des douze lance-missiles de calibre 220 millimètres est monté sur un camion de type Doge et peut tirer une vingtaine de munitions », précise un expert cité par Malbrunot dans un article publié cette semaine dans Le Figaro. L’expert  évalue à quelque 500 à 600 le nombre de missiles fournis à Amman lors de leur livraison, cet automne. L'armée jordanienne ne possédait jusqu'à présent, selon Malbrunot, que des canons de 105 ou 120 mm. Ces nouveaux missiles, lui permettraient de se protéger contre toute infiltration en Jordanie de la part d’une division syrienne.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The performance of Islamic parties rising to power will define the region's geographic future

Yesterday, I had an interesting argument with an energy expert: are the winds of change blowing over the Arab region threatening modern geography? Will sovereign countries-as we know them today- such as Syria, Jordan, Iraq and maybe Turkey cease to exist in their current form in a decade or two? I believed not, but slowly the idea is sinking in, that the battle in Syria is tantamount to a black hole. One where pulling forces are so strong, they are drawing in neighboring countries- Iraq, Jordan and Turkey at a later stage- in an inexorable spiral. The outcome of the war in Syria will open doorways onto Iraq, a country currently split between Sunnis and Shiites. A Sunni and maybe Islamic dominated Syria will embolden Iraqi Sunnis. After all, the stakes are high in a country blessed with many riches. Jordan would be next in falling into the new Islamic wormhole. If Syria’s power structure was to radically change, it would be very difficult for the King Abdullah to contain possible repercussions. Trans-Jordanians already fear a possible Palestinian West Bank unification with Jordan, which would disrupt the demographic balance in favor of the Palestinian population, already a majority in the Kingdom.  Turkey may be the last to feel the winds of change, nonetheless it cannot remain unscathed, as the emergence of a Kurdish country is becoming day by day an ineluctable reality.  However, one main game changer remains in the performance of Islamic states that have already risen from the rubbles of the revolution. The credibility of Islamic parties is tested every day: can both the Brotherhood and the Salafis meet the promises they have made to disillusioned populations? Are they capable of ruling successfully in a region plagued by corruption, unemployment, slowing growth and poverty? Can they rise-up to the economic challenges? The answer to this particular question will certainly define what road the region will take. Arab countries will nonetheless have to go through a much needed self-cleansing process, one that will be tainted with radicalism, injustice and bloody battles...   

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why March 14 has missed, once again, its comeback


Yesterday’s funeral of Brigadier general Wissam al-Hassan was a poignant moment, one that could have created a new-and much-needed momentum for the movement. Killed in a powerful bomb blast on Friday, al-Hassan had many enemies. As the head of the intelligence unit in the Internal Security Forces ( ISF), al-Hassan led the investigation that implicated Syria and Hezbollah in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik a Hariri. He was close to his son and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. He also contributed to the dismantlement of a network of agents which worked with Israel.  The ISF also played a central role in the arrest in August of former information minister Michel Samaha, who was charged with planning attacks in Lebanon and transporting explosives in collaboration with Syrian security chief Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk.

March 14 could have banked on that. Nonetheless it did not. Sunday’s demonstration dovetailing the burial of Brigadier General Hassan was shameful for all of those who believed in the Cedar revolution. Since 2005, the movement has slowly withered away, a pale copy of its once former glorious independent self and yesterday was no exception. Many mistakes were made during Sunday’s demonstration.

1/ The use of divisive slogans:

March 14 could have gathered more crowds and followers and secured the presence of all of its current and former members ( including Druze leader Walid Joumblat) if it had stuck to its original message : putting an end to Syrian destabilization of Lebanon. Joumblat’s speech was quite clear in the wake of the Ashrafieh bombing. He immediately accused Syrian President Bachar Assad of the killing of al-Hassan. Prime minister Najib Mikati, a business relation of Assad also indirectly linked the killing of Hassan to the Samaha affair, a strong sign for any astute follower of Lebanese politics. However instead of pointing a finger to Syria, March 14 chose to call for the resignation of Mikati’s government ( of which the Joumblat coalition is a member) and encouraged its followers ( in the voice of an obscure TV presenter) to attack the Serail.

2/ Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk:

Hezbollah’s strength on the Lebanese scene is largely attributed to the credibility its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has garnered in recent years. In 2006, members of Hezbollah, Amal, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) were able to maintain numerous tents scattered around the roads leading to the Grand Serail for a period of over 18 months. The demands of the opposition included setting up a national unity government. In 2011, Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, threatened to disrupt the government after claiming to have received advice from the UN-backed special tribunal for Lebanon that several of his members were likely to be indicted for the assassination. He pulled his ministers out of government and on January 18, disciplined crowds of Hezbollah supporters gathered in some Beirut neighborhoods causing fears among the population. March 14 does not have such a level of organization or a disciplined support base. Its promise of an open ended sit-in will need nowhere. Building three tents across from the Serail does not pose a real threat to the current government and will further hurt the movement’s credibility.

3/ A fractioned March 14:

The speeches of March 14 figures on Sunday underlined its many divisions. During the funeral, a pro-March 14 journalist, Nadim Qteish, called on mourners to head to the Grand Serail. There were also rumors that this call was endorsed by one Future MP. At the same time, Saad al-Hariri, the head of the party, urged protestors to demonstrate peacefully. Hariri later declared that “we want to topple the government democratically and peacefully and we are not advocates of violence”.  The absence of Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani from the funeral of al-Hassan, a prominent figure of the Sunni community was another black point for the Cedar Revolution. It did not go unnoticed, further emphasizing the dissensions within the Future movement and its wider March 14 family.

4/ The absence of uniting figures

Martyred Prime Minister Rafic al-Hariri had been loved by most Lebanese. The same could be said of all the prominent March 14 figures who fell at the hands of the Syrian regime since 2005. Damascus’s systematic targeting of the likes of journalist Samir Kassir, Minister Pierre Gemayel and MP Gebran Tueni was careful and calculated. They wanted to strip the March 14 movement of its brain, voice and beating heart. A successful endeavor : today those have remained at head of March 14  are either absent from the local political landscape for security reasons, or perceived as weak and corrupt. March 14 urgently needs to rebuild its core battalions by choosing new young and credible figures who can appeal to a much disillusioned public…

Les djihadistes se dirigent vers le Mali ( Le Figaro)

Selon un article du Figaro, les  djihadistes Mali auraient reçu ces derniers jours des renforts,  des convois d'étrangers comprenant des Soudanais mais aussi d'autres Arabes comme des Tunisiens auraient  pris la direction de Gao. À Gao, Habib Ould Issouf, l'un des dirigeants du Mujao, a confirmé l'arrivée des islamistes étrangers, selon le Figaro. Toujours selon le quotidien, un autre groupe de mercenaires étrangers aurait rejoint Tombouctou, la cité des Saints contrôlée par les Touaregs d'Ansar Dine et par al-Qaida au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi). Ces convois auraient apporte'un arsenal provenant des dépôts saisis à l'armée malienne lors de sa débâcle de mars et des stocks de l'ancienne armée de Kadhafi.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Selon le quotidien Le Monde,  l'Iran aurait averti  son allié syrien que l'éventuelle utilisation d'armes chimiques ferait perdre au gouvernement syrien toute légitimité. "En réponse à une question sur l'utilisation éventuelle par Damas d'armes chimiques et la réaction qu'aurait alors Téhéran, le ministre des affaires étrangères iranien Ali Akbar Salehi a répondu que "si cette hypothèse se vérifiait (..), ce serait la fin de tout". "Si un pays quel qu'il soit, y compris l'Iran, utilise des armes de destruction massive, c'est la fin de la validité, de la légitimité (..) de ce gouvernement", a-t-il affirmé, lundi 1er octobre."