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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Russia Shutters Georgian Democracy

Democracy is in danger once again. The treacherous Putin regime is pressuring Georgia with sanctions, prohibiting flights between the countries and putting it under duress. Naturally, the Russian bear showed its totalitarian face by answering with pressure, a democratic protest of civic society.
The pretext for the protests, which have rocked Georgia since June 21st was a visit by a member of the Russian Parliament and president of the assembly of MPs from Orthodox Christian countries – Sergei Gavrilov. As the head of the assembly, he addressed its session in the Georgian Parliament from the speaker’s seat as proposed by the receiving party.
Opposition politicians doused Gavrilov with water before he was escorted out of the building to protest the “occupier” whom, Georgian politicians stated, was acting as if Georgia was a Russian satellite state.
The United National Movement opposition party and its supporters condemned the occupation of the sacral stool by the Russian citizen. Street riots immediately broke out near the Parliament building. Protestors waved flags of Georgia, the European Union, the US and Ukraine, clashed with police, and stormed the Parliament. Obviously, they did not forget to chant anti-Russian slogans and demand that Putin, the Kremlin and “Russian occupiers” get out of their country. A Russian TV crew was also attacked because of its non-democratic coverage.
To provide some context to the “Russian occupiers” narrative, it’s important to know what the Georgians mean by “occupation”. They describe as occupied two de-facto independent states South Ossetia and Abkhazia. These states declared their independence in the early 1990s after a direct aggression from the Nazi regime of Zviad Gamsakhurdia. During the conflict in these republics, Georgian nationalists practiced mass repressions and cleansing of non-Georgian population. Since then, and until 2008, Russia had not recognized them as independent states. The situation changed in 2008 after war crimes were committed by the Georgian military in South Ossetia. Forces of the Saakashvili regime carried out massive artillery strikes on the city of Tskhinvali. Vehicles carrying refugees were shelled by Georgian troops and foreign mercenaries. Russian peacekeepers which had previously been deployed to South Ossetia were attacked. In the ensuing 5-day peace-compelling operation, Russian Armed Forces delivered a devastating blow to the Saakashvili regime by defeating its forces. The Russian Army reached Tbilisi, but did not enter the city. No territory was annexed and Russian troops returned to their permanent deployment sites. As a result of the conflict, Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.
In the following years, both republics repeatedly asked Russia to accept them into the federation. Moscow rejected these requests and worked with Abkhazia and South Ossetia as with allied, but independent states. In this light, the Georgian government uses the term “Russian occupation” to describe the Ossetians and Abkhazians who survived the ethnic cleansing of the 1990s and the war of 2008. However, there is a historical case that may explain Georgia’s attitude.
In 1918-1919, forces of the Georgian nationalists, assisted by foreign instructors, attempted to seize control of the city of Sochi and the nearby coastal strip of the Black Sea. They lost this conflict. Forces of Georgian radicals also carried out multiple war crimes in Abkhazia and Ossetia in the period from 1918 to 1920. If Tbilisi believes that any place where Georgian nationalists were once present is rightfully Georgian territory, that could explain which “Georgian territories” were occupied by Russia.
Despite the mentioned facts, it would be fair to note that most of these destructive events were instigated by a small radical part of the Georgian population, indoctrinated by radicalism and nationalism, and supported by Western funds. Most Georgians are friendly to Russians and the Russia state.
Democratic media outlets and civic society activists from Georgia, Russia and around the world united in their efforts to condemn Russian provocations and to praise the democratic actions of the Georgian population.  Some hotels and restaurants increased prices for ethnic Russians. Russia is the number one source of travelers visiting Georgia. Cinemas banned movies in Russian.
A host on pro-opposition TV channel Rustavi-2 came on air and continued to insult Russian President Vladimir Putin in an expletive-ridden statement.
On the evening of July 7th, George Gabunia began the program with obscene swearing at Putin. Gabunia addressed the Russian President in Russian and called him “the grubby occupant,” and also said that Putin and “his slaves” have no place on Georgia’s “beautiful land.”
A Georgian branch of the Soros Foundation “Open Society” accused official Tbilisi of “violating the law” because the authorities invited “Russian deputies who do not recognize the territorial integrity of Georgia” to the country. The NGO called for a response to the “anti-state actions” of the Russian Federation.
In 2019 alone, the Soros Foundation sent millions of dollars to projects in Georgia, including programs to combat “Russian disinformation” and the formation of a “right” perception of the Soviet past among the country’s residents.
Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, who had his citizenship revoked, after he was convicted of abuse of office has openly supported the protests, saying that the government would fall against the pressure. He, too, blamed Russia and, more than likely, hopes to be allowed back in the country again, since he handled the situation in 2008 so well.
Initially, Georgian Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze called the United National Movement, founded in 2001 by Mikhail Saakashvili, and its backers “destructive political forces”, and said that they attempted to use the protest to seize power. But later, both the government and opposition decided that it’s better to blame Moscow for organizing the protests against itself because, you know, the only side interested in instigating anti-Russian protests in Tbilisi is Russia itself.
This brilliant explanation of the erupted political crisis did not stop conspiracy theorists from claiming that the June 21 event was a pre-planned provocation in interests of some Georgian elites affiliated with the Washington establishment. The groundless theory is that the goal of the provocation was to exploit anti-Russian hysteria in the internal political struggle. In the long-term perspective, this would strengthen the influence of the Washington establishment in the country.
The democratic action of the Georgian people finds no understanding within the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree prohibiting all flights from and to Georgia and urged tour operators to not organize visits to the country. Moscow enacted travel restrictions due to the potential of danger to Russian tourists.
Additionally, Russia reduced the amount of wine imports from the country saying it would increase investment and shift focus towards domestically produced wines. Although Georgia was not mentioned, Russia is the biggest purchaser of Tbilisi wine.
Lawmakers in Russia’s parliament unanimously backed a resolution on July 9th calling for sanctions to be imposed on Georgia.  The “evil mastermind” President Vladimir Putin, however, rejected the call saying that repairing strained relations with Russia’s neighbor was more important than reacting to the provocations of some scum. Putin  brazenly claimed he was against imposing sanctions on Georgia, “out of respect for the Georgian people.”
But, Georgia is already suffering from the travel ban. According to the head of the Georgian Hotel and Restaurant Federation 80% of the hotel bookings made by Russians had been cancelled. The potential loss to the country’s economy from reduced Russian tourism stands at about $710 million.
Declining export and tourism revenues will also cause Georgia’s current account deficit, which is already large at about 8% of GDP, to widen further.
The June 21 situation and the crisis could be explained in a wide range of ways.
If one takes into account the facts and their consequences, he could conclude that they played into Russia’s hands. The Georgian nationalists and radicals demonstrated that their position is weak and that they lack intellectual assets, international diplomatic and even media support. The Kremlin can state, with reason, that there is a Nazi threat in the Caucasus and react in its own way to contain this threat. The anti-Russian hysteria and threats against Russian citizens in Georgia allow Moscow to justify protectionist economic policies.
Another explanation is that these developments are part of the wider campaign to create tensions and destabilize the situation along Russia’s borders. By instigating tensions in the Caucasus, Russia’s geopolitical rivals are creating a basis for a possible military aggression against Russia and its allies on several fronts simultaneously. This aggression could be carried out by nationalist regimes which receive financial, technical and limited military support from the West. This is the worst case scenario for the entire region.
Most likely, the June 20 crisis was a pre-planned provocation by the Saakashvili faction and Ukrainian nationalists with the intended purpose of being used in the internal political struggle. In this event, they achieved their goal, the mobilization of nationalist and extremist elements of society. As to the situation on the international scene, a kind of detente in Russian-Georgian relations may start in the relatively near future.
The recent crisis demonstrated that, at any moment, even a minor pre-planned effort may be enough to instigate nationalist and radical sentiments of Georgian society. The Caucasus will remain one of the regions of constant geopolitical struggle and inter-ethnic hostility. It is difficult to imagine active development of the Georgian economy and stabilization of its political system under such conditions.
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NATO Terrorists Kill Soldiers in Daraa, Bomb Mill in Hasaka

NATO Terrorists Kill Syrian Soldiers in Daraa Roadside Car Bomb
NATO-ked savages in Syria today attacked a military vehicle on al Yadouda Road west of Daraa City. Five soldiers were martyred and 16 were injured. Other terrorists remotely detonated a vehicle in Hasaka, in an attempt to blow up a mill. Two civilians were injured.
NATO- and NATO media supported terrorists remotely detonated a vehicle in Hasaka. Two civilians were injured.
Video also available on Bitchute:
Transcript of the English translation of the above report by Wafa Shabroni, RT’s correspondent in Syria:
A new explosion shook with it the cautious calm that has long prevailed in the province of Daraa during the first year of its liberation, but it was unable to break the bonds of reconciliation, which was the headline of the return of the south to the Syrian state.
A few months after the first targeting of the Syrian army checkpoint, an attack adopted by groups called the ‘Popular Resistance’, it turned some villages, especially in the northwestern countryside of Daraa, to a permanent theater for similar operations that targeted alongside the Syrian forces, former commanders of the southern factions who later joined the local settlement.
Political Analyst Mustapha Al-Mikdad: More than a year later, it is clear that there are dormant groups that are still operating, perhaps the remnants of the Khalid Army, which is basically an ISIS faction, and perhaps there are external interventions, as the areas are still open in more than one direction.
The (reconciliation) settlement deadline, which was extended for two consecutive terms and its last six months ended in last June, did not see the settlement of the statuses of all the young men of the province, some of whom are still out of sight and refuse to join the Syrian forces to perform military service, which observers attribute to the association of some of these groups in Daraa with those who left it to Idlib, and to try to escalate the situation in the south in conjunction with what is happening in the northern province.
Media Expert Yarub Khairbek: I think it is an attempt from the remnants of groups, some of them went to Idlib, these are remnants of them with whom they have a certain relationship, or attempts from other groups, some of which remained in Daraa to find obstruction or noise to reduce the pressure on Idlib to stop the advance of the army in Idlib because the Battle for Idlib If it didn’t commence yet, it’s on the verge to be fully launched.
Many measures taken by the Syrian government recently to absorb the anger of the people in the south from the release of detainees and amnesty for the wanted in the city and its countryside, but what these groups, which are called by military sources as sleeper cells, are doing is to keep the level of tension high, although remained in limited areas.
At a time when Syrian forces are engaged in repelling insurgent attacks and restoring areas out of their control in the north of the country, the breach against its soldiers in the south comes in attempts that may not exceed the boundaries of tension and insecurity, it does succeed each time, however, in stirring up confusion and claiming more lives in that Region.
From Damascus, Wafaa Shabroni, for RT.
End of English translation transcript.
Please refer to Syria News ‘ featured image. It is a screenshot of a hideous video uploaded to the internet in June 2017, showing the bodies of slaughtered Syrian Arab Army soldiers being mutilatedand taken to a dumpsite, in Daraa, by terrorists including those self-identifying as [Nusra] White Helmets. This degenerate, necrophiliac video disappeared upon it being shown to the monsters of Congress who were engaged in hashtagging their support of al Qaeda in Daraa.
The SAA continues to destroy dens and launching pads of armed killers, and the killers, themselves, in Hama and Idlib.
archive daraa savages
Syria News Featured Image – Archive, June 2017
In Quneitra, a large number of Syrians held a solidarity demonstration outside the governate building for their brothers and sisters under the occupation of illicit, illegal, colonial Israel occupiers of part of the Syrian Golan, where those war criminals plan to erect “wind turbines.” Follow us on Telegram: link will open Telegram app.
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معادلة الخليج: إيران تفعل ما تشاء وترامب يقول ما يشاء

يوليو 20, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– خلال الأسابيع الماضية تحولت منطقة الخليج إلى قبلة أنظار العالم في مشهد افتتحته الحشود الأميركية الواصلة إلى هناك تحت شعار ردع إيران، كما قال الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب وأركان إدارته بالتتابع والتوالي. وخلال الأسابيع الماضية كانت واشنطن التي هدّدت إيران بالويل والثبور وعظائم الأمور، لا تقول إلا الكلام، فهي قالت إن أي استهداف لمصالح أي من حلفائها على أيدي حلفاء إيران سيرتب عقاباً وخيماً لإيران، ثم بدأ أنه مجرد قول، لأن الاستهداف وقع وتمّ وأعلن أنصار الله مسؤوليتهم عن تمدير خطوط أنابيب نقل النفط بين شرق السعودية وغربها، واكتفت واشنطن بالمراقبة ومن ثم بتعديل القول إلى قول آخر مضمونه أنها لا تريد الذهاب إلى حرب، ولذلك لن تتدخل عسكرياً إلا إذا تعرضت قواتها. وجاء الفعل فأسقطت إيران طائرة التجسس الأميركية العملاقة بصاروخ إيراني، واكتفت واشنطن بالقول، وعدلت أقوالها السابقة فهي تتجنب المواجهة طالما لم تكن نتيجة الفعل سقوط دماء.

– خلال الأسابيع الماضية كانت إيران تنفذ قرارها بالخروج التدريجي من الاتفاق النووي، فرفعت كمية مخزونها من اليورانيوم المخصب ورفعت درجة التخصيب، وأعلنت عن وجبة ثانية من الخطوات في ستين يوماً قادمة، ستتضمن تشغيل معمل آراك للماء الثقيل ورفع جديد لنسبة تخصيب اليورانيوم ومواصلة تخزين ما تمّ تخصيبه، اقتراباً من امتلاكها كامل المعطيات والمواد والأدوات اللازمة لبرنامج نووي قابل ليتحوّل عسكرياً إن أرادت طهران ومتى أرادت، وواشنطن تقول إنها ستمنع إيران من الاقتراب من امتلاك مستلزمات إنتاج سلاح نووي حتى لو كانت إيران لا تنوي امتلاك هذا السلاح، لأنها لا تقبل أن تكون ضمانتها هي النيات الإيرانية. بعدما فرطت واشنطن بالطريقة الوحيدة المتاحة لتقديم هذا الضمان التي مثلها الاتفاق النووي ولم تقدم بديلاً عنه، سوى رهان أعمى على فعالية العقوبات بجلب إيران ضعيفة إلى طاولة تفاوض جديدة بالشروط الأميركية، وإيران تبتعد أكثر فأكثر عن الوجهة التي ترغب واشنطن برؤيتها.

– الملاحة الدولية في الخليج كانت عنوان ادعاء واشنطن لمبررات الحشود العسكرية التي دفعت بها إلى المنطقة، وبعد حجز بريطانيا لناقلة النفط الإيرانية وقيام بريطانيا بتمديد الحجز رغم التفاوض على إطلاقها، قال الرئيس الأميركي إن قواته منعت إيران بالقوة من حجز ناقلة نفط بريطانية، فنفت إيران كلام ترامب عن محاولة مزعومة مؤكدة أنها عندما تريد فعل ذلك ستفعل ولن يكون بمستطاع الأميركيين والبريطانيين منعها، ثم لم تلبث طهران أن أعلنت حجز سفينة بريطانية، فتابع ترامب القول، فقال إن سفنه الحربية أسقطت طائرة إيرانية مسيرة فوق إحدى السفن الأميركية، فنفت إيران القول، وأظهرت شريطاً مصوراً لطائرتها تحلق فوق السفينة الأميركية وحاملة الطائرات وتصوّرها، قبل موعد حديث ترامب وبعده، مرجحة أن يكون الأمر هو قيام السفن الأميركية بإسقاط طائرة أميركية عن طريق الخطأ، وتوهم أنها طائرة إيرانية، فجدد ترامب القول إنه واثق من إسقاط طائرة إيرانية، لكن دون دليل يوازي الدليل الذي قدمته إيران، ثم أعلنت إيران فعلاً قيامها بحجز ناقلة نفط بريطانية، لأنها خالفت قوانين الملاحة الدولية .

– خلاصة الأسابيع الماضية حتى ليل أمس تقول إن المعادلة التي تحكم المواجهة في الخليج هي أن إيران تفعل ما تشاء وأن ترامب يقول ما يشاء، سلاح إيران هو الوقائع والأفعال وسلاح ترامب هو التغريدات.

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Shaker Amin: S. Arabia, UAE Throw Stones into Neighboring Yemen Equipped with Ballistic Missiles, Explosive Drones

Shaker Amin: S. Arabia, UAE Throw Stones into Neighboring Yemen Equipped with Ballistic Missiles, Explosive Drones
TEHRAN (FNA)– Shaker Amin, Yemeni journalist and activist, says Riyadh is dependent upon oil and Hajj income, and the UAE “is a mason empire of capitalism that depends on the attraction of foreign investments”, making them increasingly concerned about their fragile security which easily severely undermined by Yemeni missiles or drones strike. in an exclusive interview with FNA, Shaker Amin Shaker said “from the rubbles of our houses struck by the coalition’s jet fighters we could have stood up again on our feet with a faithful will to defeat the enemy and take a revenge for the shattered bodies of our women, children and elderly people.”
Commenting on importance of the drone strikes, he noted “That is the correct definition of effectiveness when you turn to be able to strike deep inside the enemy’s own territories after they announced full destruction of your military capabilities.”
Shaker Amin is a Yemeni journalist and commentator. He has been reporting from Sana’a, exposing the Saudi-led coalition atrocities in the impoverished Arab country.
Below is the full text of the interview.
Q: The bank of targets of Yemeni drone strikes is widening day by day. How effective do you find the Yemeni drone strikes?
A: They are enormously effective to the extent that the Saudi king called for the session of three summits, [Persian] Gulf, Arabs and Islamic. What they just saw is just the beginning, and there is a lot more to come. We say that with confidence because we trust our leaders who have surprised their own Yemeni people before the enemy and the whole world; by producing such high tech devices from the scratch not to mention being under total blockade. From the rubbles of our houses struck by the coalition’s jet fighters we could have stood up again on our feet with a faithful will to defeat the enemy and take a revenge for the shattered bodies of our women, children and elderly people. That is the correct definition of effectiveness when you turn to be able to strike deep inside the enemy’s own territories after they announced full destruction of your military capabilities and infrastructures. Another reason why the drone strikes are extremely effective is that we are fed up with fighting our own people “the mercenaries” in an endless battle that is exhausting our capabilities; human and materialistic. It has been always time from the beginning to make the enemy suffer, feel pain and get burnt by the fire it started in the first place; otherwise, the war’s ending could not be even imagined.
Q: Yemen said the capital of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are within the range. Do you think such drone and missile strikes change the game rules in this war?
A: The drones and missiles resemble an electric shock to the closed-minded closed-eyed hypocritical international community, and send a clear message that their efforts to make the Yemeni war look like a civil war is not acceptable any longer. The free Yemeni people, leaders and army will not tolerate watching the blood-shedding and souls-taking of Yemeni innocent people while the Saudi and Emirati warmongers live in peace. Moreover, our leaders and army will not bear up with the fact that they steal our petroleum resources and other tax and customs incomes while dozens of Yemeni people die of starvation and diseases on daily basis, not to mention victims of air raids and artillery shelling. I think the regional puppets and their super power masters have understood by now that our war is ascending and our capabilities are developing day after another, and that Yemen is not an easy digestible bite, and that the long centuries of Yemeni civilization cannot be erased or stolen by reckless clumsy monarchies.
Q: Why do Saudi Arabia and the UAE deny important places targeted by Yemeni armed drones?
A: Because they want to maintain their image of power before the oppressed people of Najd and Alhijaz. The fake power that allows al-Saud continue stealing petroleum resources and Hajj incomes to support Israel. That’s the absent reality not many people know. As for the UAE, it is a mason empire of capitalism that depends on the attraction of foreign investments. It is a fragile superficial structure of glass that requires ultimate security and stability. So, you can imagine the impact of a missile or drone strikes. This is not a prediction but rather a warning. Do not throw stones on your neighbor’s house if your house is made of glass and your neighbor has ballistic missiles and explosive drones. Saudi Arabia and the UAE deny Yemeni Strikes because they are weaker than spiders’ web, exactly as their cousins in Israel.
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Friday, July 19, 2019

An Alliance That Never Was

An Alliance That Never Was
TEHRAN (FNA)- The so-called alliance between the United States and Turkey is under threat after the first batch of equipment of Russian-made S-400 missile defense system arrived at Murted Air Base in Ankara on July 12.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has decided to slap sanctions on Turkey over its acquisition. Washington plans to announce economic sanctions against Ankara at the end of next week, pendingTrump’s final confirmation.
Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and after Monday’s anniversary of a 2016 coup attempt against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump and his necon team plan to swiftly put Ankara’s head in vice and “inflict varying degrees of pain” for receiving the Russian missile defense system.
NATO has also said it is concerned: “We are concerned about the potential consequences of Turkey’s decision to acquire the S-400 system, which is not compatible with allied weapons.”
We have no reason to assume it is any more substantial than the rubbish to declare Russian-made S-400 missile system incompatible or that it puts at risk the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program, the F-35 fighter jet built by Lockheed Martin Corp. But there is more to this new Mideast saga.
The truth is Turkey’s alliance with the US is written in the sands because of their differences in Syria and the fact that the US supports and arms separatist Kurds. As well, the delivery of the missile system will continue because Turkey says it is a strategic defence requirement. Ankara complains that Europe did not present a viable alternative either.
Translation: Sanctions – and not diplomacy – is still Washington’s usual mantra, a timeless American tradition. If we do that most difficult thing, stay back and take a cold, hard look at the White House, we will find that most US presidents do more or less the same thing to appease the cult of military-industrial complex. This is commonly done by way of scapegoating, sanctions, arms race and regime-change conflicts. The new Turkish case is not extreme, but it must not be seen in isolation.
It is true that Republicans and Democrats are a divided people in many respects. But let us not make too much of this, for they also display a striking unity in their tendency to blame Turkey, Russia and Iran for their difficulties, shortcomings and failures in Syria and the Middle East. It is that easy to extend their current outburst of frustration to their tweeter-in-chief too.
On balance, almost everyone on Capitol Hill gives in to flinching from failures that are all their own. Sooner or later, President Trump will sign off the new sanctions regime against Turkey, and will also assert that the decision to receive the advanced missile defence system from Russia has driven a wedge into the heart of the NATO military alliance.
We are on notice now. Just like Noble Peace Prize winner Barack Obama, the so-called “anti-establishment” Trump has failed to hold his ground and prevail in this ferocious fight of sanctions and who knows what else. Elements within the Pentagon, the CIA, the national-security apparatus, the NATO bureaucracy, and the military-industrial complex have apparently gone to any lengths to prevent whatever kind of détente with Turkey.
The War Party and the mere extras need a hostile world and the 45th president of the United States will also live in one until the American people and the international civil society insist otherwise. He will make a clear choice to destroy his diplomatic position in this regard. We will be watching this choice being made soon when he signs off sanctions against Turkey.
As is often the case, people like Obama and George W. Bush ran the US into the ground after invading Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, while levelling the guns and sanctions at Iran and Russia. Trump should read the clock on history’s time. Close he is once again to this self-defeating trope and timeless tradition.
The only difference this time is that by failing to forge a diplomatic solution he is having it backwards. He and party officials at the White House might as well put the last nail in the coffin of the old alliance by sanctioning a NATO ally.

A War to Remember in July: Stories Told by Al-Manar Reporter

Mohammad Qazan July War
Al-Manar reporter Mohammad Qazan tells his story in covering the Israeli aggression against Lebanon during July war in 2006.
Taking many risks along with Al-Manar team by moving from one town to another across the Lebanese south and under Israeli bombardment throughout 33 days was not easy.
13 years on the divine victory, the reporter wants to talk about his experience, which was etched on his memory, in order to show the Israeli brutality vs the Lebanese heroic steadfastness.
The First Strikes
Image result for ‫محمد قازان‬‎
Al-Manar Reporter Mohamamd Qazan in a photo taken in May 2018.
A day after he covered the press conference of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in Beirut’s southern suburb (Dahiyeh), Mohammad Qazan headed to the south, he says. With the main Beirut-south highway was destroyed at Damour bridge following an Israeli strike, Al-Manar reporter took a minor road in a bid to reach Sidon, the Lebanese south’s gate.
Shortly after he crossed Sainiq bridge, Israeli warplanes carried out a raid, destroying the bridge which was a direct tie between Sidon and other southern towns. The strike threw the reporter’s car tens of meters away. Talking about that incident, Qazan says that several people were injured by that strike and he took some of them to a hospital in Sidon.
After rushing to hospital, Qazan had to continue his trip to the southern town of Nabatiyeh, where he was tasked with covering the Israeli aggression. As he crossed Sidon, Israeli warplanes carried out another strike, targeting the town of Ghaziyeh, near Sidon.
“I was in Ghaziyeh as the strike hit Al-Ghaziyeh. Pieces of smashed glass and shrapnel were scattered on my car due to the raid,”
Qazan says in an article talking about his experience in July War 2006, published by Al-Manar’s Arabic Website.
At Nabatiyeh
At Nabatiyeh, the situation was very dangerous. In the third day of the aggression, Al-Manar team became the only journalist staff in the southern town. All journalists who were delegated by other Lebanese channels left Nabatiyeh after receiving calls urging them to flee the area due to high risks there.
“Unlike the situation in Nabatiyeh, Journalists were allowed to stay in the southern city of Tyre, where they had access to secure places,” Qazan says.
In Nabatiyeh, Qazan and the accompanying team’s mission was duplicated. They had to find a secure place for them to sleep, and a place for the SNG vehicle.
“I was tasked with receiving messages from Al-Manar reporters in Sidon and in the border area. Nabatiyeh was the main point where Al-Manar was live streaming so we had to stay there in order to keep track of Al-Manar’s coverage.”
“We had spent our nights at garages, sometimes in the car or under a tree. But the most dangerous and touching incidents, I remember, are when we knew that the place where we had spent the earlier night was hit by an Israeli strike.”
Heroic Steadfastness
The journalistic mission was less difficult, according to Al-Manar reporter who emotionally talks about steadfastness of the Lebanese people who stayed in their houses despite the brutal aggression.
“In every time we entered a town in the south, we were overwhelmed by the people’s insistence to stay in their houses despite the strikes, the massacres, the destruction and all other risks. Those scenes were so encouraging to go ahead with our coverage despite all dangers.”
“I remember very well when we were surprised to see an elderly farmer watering his field in Kfarrumman, or a shepherd leading his cattle to cross the Jarmaq Bridge which was destroyed by Israeli strikes.”
Talking about the most dangerous incidents in July War, Qazan remembers when he and Al-Manar staff went to Zibdin town shortly after Israeli warplanes committed a massacre there.
“Just few seconds after we left Zibdin, Israeli warplanes carried out another strike.”
Qazan also narrates when he survived, along with Al-Manar cameraman, an Israeli drone attack as they infiltrated into an area close to Al-Ghandouriyeh and Al-Qantara villages where resistance fighters were engaged in fierce clashes with Israeli occupation forces.
“I survived, along with colleague Haidar Al-Jawahari, two missiles shot by an Israeli drone as we were trying to cover the Merkava battle in Wadi Al-Hujair.”
“City of Imam Hussein”
“We never knew how we survived such dangers! Is it because we were abiding by security measures or is it our luck?… Or is it because our love to this profession which is molded with our faith in the resistance? I don’t know… And I couldn’t believe what was really happening during those days. We were moving alone, the cameraman and me, from one town to another throughout 33 days. Surely we were encircled by the God’s providence… for we were in a city called ‘the City of Imam Hussein (a.s.)’,”
Al-Manar reporter says referring to Nabatiyeh city.
Cluster Bombs
Recalling a funny but a scaring story of July War, Mohamamd Qazan remembers when one Civil Defense officer gave him some cluster bombs in the lasts days of the war, saying they were exploded. However, it became clear then, that they were unexploded.
“The bombs appeared in one of my live messages on TV. I put them in my car and they stayed there for several days, thinking that they pose no threat. But when the cessation of hostilities took effect in August 14, we handed over the bombs to a resistance fighter to discover then that they were not exploded and that one of them was about to go off.”
“Our feelings at time were mixed between astonishment, laughter and fear. We were for days holding these explosive remnants in my car!”
Moments to Remember
Qazan speaks with passion about several incidents that he had passed through during July War.
“In the last week of the war we were working on our coverage with peace and calmness. I couldn’t know the secret behind such feeling. We appeared in several live messages with Israeli spy drones were clearly spotted, and sometimes strikes were hitting areas close to us.”
“Sometimes, and despite that we were in rush due to our work and other risks, we didn’t hesitate to provide a medicine for an elderly and to drive a civilian to a more secure place.”
According to Qazan, the most beautiful moments were when he and Al-Manar cameraman, Haidar Al-Jawahari, met resistance fighters.
“The resistance fighters were the reason behind our high morals. They also were facilitating our work. I hope that what we did during July War had offered some support to the resistance and imaged the heroic steadfastness of our country in face of the brutal Israeli aggression.”
“One day, we arrived in my hometown, Al-Taybeh, we got into a house where resistance fighters were gathering in the border village during the war. My colleague, Haidar Al-Jawahari, was surprised by his brother, who was a resistance fighter, in that house. That meeting was really memorable!”
Mohammad Qazan voices pride when talking about his experience in July war. He stresses that Al-Manar’s coverage during the 33-day war had contributed to the divine victory through media resistance and psychological warfare.
“After God, all thanks are to Al-Manar staff who was persistent. The team which included Haidar Al-Jawahari- who escorted me throughout 33 days-, technician Ibrahim Karaki and cameramen: Samir Iskandar, Mohammad Saleh and Ali Fahs. It was an experience of high risk for it was a decisive battle that thwarted a great scheme in our region.”

IRGC says captures British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Fri Jul 19, 2019 05:59PM
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has said that it has captured a British oil tanker for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.
The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been confiscated “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”
The oil tanker was transferred to the coast to undergo the required legal proceedings, the statement added.
(This item is being updated.)

IRGC Navy Seizes British Tanker in Persian Gulf

IRGC Navy Seizes British Tanker in Persian Gulf

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in a statement issued on Friday evening that its naval forces have seized British tanker ship, ‘Stena Impero’, for violating maritime rules and regulations in the Persian Gulf.
“UK tanker ship, Stena Impero, has been detained by the vessels unit of the IRGC Navy’s First Naval Zone at the request of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s office of Hormuzgan province for disregarding international maritime rules and regulations as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz this afternoon,” the statement by the IRGCN public relations said.
The statement said the ship has been escorted to the Iranian coastal waters in Hormuzgan province and its control has been transferred to the Ports and Maritime Organization for further legal procedures and investigations.
A statement by Stena Impero shipping firm said there are 23 crew onboard the UK ship, adding that there has been no report on any harm or injury to the crew members since the vessel came under detention by the Iranian forces.
Media reports said the tanker was heading to Saudi Arabia’s port of Al-Jobail from the UAE port of Fujairah when it was detained by the IRGC.
Director-General of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s office in Hurmuzgan province said he filed a request for the seizure of the British tanker by the IRGCN after reports on its risky moves that made the vessel prone to accident.
Meantime, sources told FNA that “the British ship had switched off its tracking systems in violation of maritime rules and regulations and was making an entry from the exit point of the Strait of Hormuz in the South, disregarding the established procedures that require all entries be made through the Northern pass.
In early July, British marines and Gibraltar police seized an Iranian tanker off the Southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo claimed that the ship was transporting crude oil to Syria “in violation” of the EU sanctions placed on Damascus. Washington has applauded the move, hailing it as a sign that Europe is on board with the US’ unilateral sanctions against Iran.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the “illegal move” of London and described it as “tantamount to piracy”. Tehran accused the UK of doing Washington’s bidding and helping the US attempt to stifle the Islamic Republic’s oil exports, rejecting London’s claim that the supertanker was carrying crude for Syria.
The attorney general announced on Friday that Gibraltar’s supreme court has ruled that the Iranian tanker seized by Britain’s Royal Marines can be detained for 30 more days. The court’s decision came a day after a senior Gibraltar’s official described as “constructive” talks with Iran, raising hopes that the tanker would be released imminently.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has slammed Britain’s illegal seizure of the oil tanker, warning London of a pending response to the seizure of the supertanker that he referred to as a case of “piracy”.
“They commit crimes and make it appear legal. The Islamic Republic and devout agents of the system will not leave such vicious acts without a response and they will respond in a proper opportunity and place,” Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.
On Thursday, naval forces of the IRGC seized a foreign ship smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf, according to a statement by the public relations office of the IRGC Navy’s first zone. The foreign vessel was smuggling a million liters of fuel from Iran and was seized in Iranian waters South of Lark island.
Yet, a statement issued by the IRGC on Thursday denied that any other foreign ship had been seized during the last week as claimed by the western media.
The statement reiterated that the ship had been seized for “smuggling fuel from Iran”, and no other reason.
The recent moves by foreign powers in the Middle East such as US sanctions on Tehran’s oil, UK seizure of Iranian supertanker, as well as, “sabotage operations” on oil ships have intensified the turmoil in the region and the turmoil in the international energy market, affecting global crude prices in recent months.


Iran Seizes British Tanker In Strait of Hormuz
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in the late hours of July 19 that its naval units had captured a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Guards said in a press release that the tanker, Stena Impero, was seized for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.
حرس الثورة يعلن أن الناقلة البريطانية لم تراع قوانين الملاحة البحرية
Stena Impero’s operator Clyde-based Northern Marine Group (NMG) confirmed in an offical statement that the tanker was taken over by force. The group said that 23 seafarers were aboard the tanker when it was captured.
“At approximately 1600 BST on 19th July UK registered vessel Stena Impero (built 2018, 49,683 DWT) was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters. We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran,” the NMG’s statement reads.
In its first response to the Iranian move, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said that it is looking for further information on the incident.
Stena Impero was likely captured by the IRGC as a response to the UK seizure of Iran’s supertanker, Grace 1, off the shores of Gibraltar, earlier this month. Senior Iranian officials, including the country’s Supreme Leader, had warned the UK that Iran will not tolerate such moves.
More on this topic:

Bibi to Decide Whether to Allow Muslim Congresswomen in Occupied Palestine

Democratic US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are planning a visit to the Occupied Palestine in the coming weeks, but “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to decide whether they would be allowed to enter, over the support they have voiced for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement [BDS].
The lawmakers’ planned trip has been first reported on Wednesday, noting that Omar said that the “Israeli” occupation of Palestinian territories will be the focal point of the trip: “Everything that I hear points to both sides feeling like there is still an occupation.”
Though, “Israeli” law allows authorities to deny entry into the “Israeli” occupied territories by individuals who support boycotting the entity. However, the entity’s so-called Foreign Ministry has the authority to recommend to the so-called Strategic Affairs Ministry and the Interior Ministry issuing waivers for political or diplomatic figures, if it deems denying them entry would harm the “Israeli” entity’s foreign relations.
Due to the sensitivity of the congresswomen’s planned visit and its possible ramifications on “Israel”-US relations, Netanyahu would be asked to be the one to make the call on the issue.
Omar and Tlaib broke barriers when they were elected as the first Muslim US congresswomen in November. Omar, who was born in Somalia and immigrated at a young age to Minnesota, and Tlaib, who was born in Michigan to Palestinian parents, have been outspoken about their views on the “Israeli”-Palestinian conflict, as both support the BDS movement.
On Tuesday, Omar introduced a House resolution that “opposes unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad,” and affirms Americans’ right to pursue boycotts “in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad.”
Both Omar and Tlaib hold anti-“Israeli” sentiments. In 2012, Omar tweeted that the “Israeli” entity had “hypnotized the world” to carry out “evil”.
Tlaib conceived of her trip to the West Bank last year, and proposed it as an alternative to AIPAC-organized trips to the “Israeli” entity. She told the Intercept that she was “rejecting [the] ‘Israel’ lobby’s influence over Congress” echoing and that her plan was a “rebuke of a decades-old tradition for newly elected members: a junket to ‘Israel’ sponsored by the education arm” of AIPAC. “I want us to see that segregation and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region,” The Intercept quoted Tlaib as saying.
The trip was reported to be jeopardized on Sunday after the organizing group, the Humpty Dumpty Institute, which describes itself on its website as being “dedicated to tackling difficult global and domestic issues, pulled out of the trip due to scheduling conflicts. Regardless, a spokeswoman for Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, told the Daily News she was “pretty sure” the trip would still be taking place in August.
“My city [of Beit Ur al-Fauqa] is so excited that I am possibly going to come to see her next month,” Tlaib said, according to Jewish Insider. “She is so happy. And I am going to take my two wonderful boys… and they are going to meet their great grandmother. So I am really, really excited about that.”