How’s business? Tear gas economy flourishes in Tahrir Square

Clashes between riot police and protesters, Tahrir Square, Cairo, November 19,2011. Violent clashes erupted when riot forces despersed Tahrir sit-in violently, which left one death, and hundreds of injuries.

I went on a shopping spree today, but not my normal kind, for food or clothes. On Tuesday I bought tear gas protective gear: a hard hat, goggles, a plastic filter mask, and a surgical mask.

They were purchased from vendors in Tahrir Square, where clashes between police and protestors continue for a fourth day in the surrounding streets. About 30 people have died so far, according to official tallies.

Karim positioned his stall strategically at the start of Mohamed Mahmoud Street, where much of the fiercest fighting is taking place. He sold goggles for LE5 and a plastic filter mask for LE15, both made in China.

He was too busy selling gear to answer my questions, but said that prior to this he sold T-shirts on Talaat Harb Street. He thinks on his feet.

Hamdi Alam was standing nearby. He sold surgical masks that he bought from a pharmacy. “Anything to protect the people,” he told me. At LE1, these are the cheapest protective gear you can get, but they are much less effective than their plastic counterparts. Still, they are popular – Alam sold about 200 masks on Monday, he said.

Before Saturday, the first day of clashes and when Alam began working in the square, he sold flags on side streets. He is one of many vendors who have become part of Tahrir’s scene, which also includes makeshift field hospitals, as well as tea and food stands.

Not everyone is happy about the vendors, though. Some see them as opportunistic, rather than serving a greater good: the protection of protestors against tear gas fired by security services.

“They are just taking advantage of the revolution, and not helping anyone,” Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, a security worker, said.

But as tear gas continued to fill the air in Tahrir and its side streets for a fourth straight day, reaching as far as Qasr al-Ainy near the cabinet building, the sight of hard hats, goggles and filter masks became more familiar.

“You still get affected by the tear gas, even with all the plastic gear, but it is bearable and much better than the surgical masks,” said Ibrahim Abed, a member of the April 6 Youth Movement who was wearing a hard hat, goggles, a plastic filter mask, and gloves.

Abed bought his gear from the Gomhouriya area where many shops and stalls sell industrial security goods. Traders in Gomhouriya said they had witnessed a large number of people coming to buy protective gear last night with the explicit aim of using it in Tahrir Square.

“Shops in Gomhouriya must have sold around 10,000 items yesterday from the demand coming from the square,” Walid Ali Abbas, a trader, told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Ahmed Magdy, another trader, said he must have had about 50 customers last night, with the fastest-selling items being filters for LE15. His usual customers are companies, who buy the gear to protect their workers.

But Abbas is not happy about this phenomenon, nor were many other traders. They say that the Tahrir vendors are opportunistic middlemen who buy goods from Gomhouriya or elsewhere and then sell them for a profit in the square.

“The revolution’s thieves,” Abbas said of the vendors.

The price of protective gear did not appear to differ much, though, between Gomhouriya and the square. But it does vary depending on where it is made.

Abbas sells Egyptian-made hard-hats for LE6.5, Chinese hats for LE10, Spanish for LE15, British for LE23 and US-made 3M hats for LE125.

The hats are being used by protestors to protect themselves from rubber bullets and birdshot cartridges.

The most prominent weapon, however, is tear gas, which affects not just protestors and police but ordinary citizens going about their daily lives.

The sight of blood-shot eyes, red faces, and people covering their nose and mouth has become common over the last few days, as have white-stained faces – protestors have a milk-based solution poured on them to counter the effect of tear gas.

“We have seen a lot of suffocating, skin irritation, conjunctivitis, and from Monday evening, hypotension, due to the tear gas,” Mohamed al-Zouiry, a doctor at the Tahrir field hospital, told Al-Masry Al-Youm. To date, no one is known to have died from the tear gas.

The hospital had to move its location from behind the restaurant Hardees near Mohamed Mahmoud, after it was hit on Sunday morning at about 4 am with tear gas bombs hitting near both its two entrances, Zouiry said. It is now based in an outdoor space at the intersection of Talaat Harb Street and Bab al-Louq.

By midday, Karim also had to move his stall to Talaat Harb Street as crowds grew at Mohamed Mahmoud.

As I left the square, doctors at the many field hospitals continued treating injured protestors and passersby. And vendors continued selling.

“Protect yourself for one Egyptian pound only,” was the last thing I heard.

( / 22.11.2011)

Israeli tanks fire on Rafah city houses while airstrikes target military training centre

GAZA, Nov 22 (KUNA) — Israeli artillery and bulldozers surrounded the eastern part of the city of Rafah, south of Gaza Strip, on Tuesday.
Five Merkava Israeli tanks were scene accompanied by military bulldozers entering 300 meters inside Al-Nahda area east of Rafah, Palestinian sources told KUNA.
The sources added that Israeli forces were heavily firing on Palestinian houses amid during the incursion along with recon warplanes hovering over.
On a different front, an Israeli recon plane fired at a training center which belonged to Salah Eddin Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian Popular Committees

( / 22.11.2011)

News of Egypte 22.11.2011

Tahrir is secure and jovial and needs a little cleaning up so come on down.
Can anyone get an empty canister of the Gas shot in #Tahrir we need to find what it is #Jan25ReBorn
Nawwar Negem is speaking on Al-Jazeera, her voice is veryy weird…I wonder what Gas are they using #Tahrir #Jan25ReBorn
ManaraRamDeeDee @palyouthvoice photos from the demo in #Ramallah in solidarity wth #tahrir #Egypt
Retweet! Flood CEO of CombinedSystems, makers of tear gas in #Tahrir,w/calls at +1-724-932-2177 ext 0 #Jan25 @monaeltahawy
10 arrested in Libel Bill protests in Tel Aviv
Medical source in the Zeinhom morgue near Cairo’s #Tahrir Square claims that 71 Egyptians have been killed since clashes erupted Saturday.
#Tahrir now! Tantawi, why do you need to go through the whole process Mubarak went through! #Jan25ReBorn
Thousands remain in Cairo’s Tahrir Square despite military vow of rapid handover (DPA) // “…by July 2012” is not rapid.
Egypt’s military council vows to transfer power by July 2012. That’s too late. #Tahrir
#Alexandria makeshift hospital sources say more than 100 protesters injured by rubber bullets, hundreds more by tear gas
The Question of the day: will Tantawi commit to the 3 speeches rule? or will he adopt the Syrian and Libyan models? #Tahrir #Jan25ReBorn
Doctors & morgue officials tell Human Rights Watch of receiving numerous protesters shot with live ammunition

Egypt army ‘agrees national salvation cabinet’

CAIRO (AFP) —  Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has agreed to form a national salvation government and hand power to a civilian authority by July 2012, politician Selim al-Awwa told the state MENA agency.
The ruling military council, which is facing its worst crisis since it took power when veteran president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February, is working to contain mass protests and clashes that have left at least 28 people dead in four days.
“It was agreed at the meeting headed by the deputy of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Sami Enan … to form a government of national salvation which would implement the goals of the revolution,” said Awwa, a presidential hopeful who attended the meeting.
He said it was also agreed that “power would be handed over to an elected civilian president no later than the end of June 2012.”

( /22.11.2011)

The Nasty Party – Istiqlal Manifesto

The remaining political heavyweight Istiqlal party produced their own manifesto a week ago, and by far, it seems as though they have put a lot of thoughts in it.So much indeed, that they might well be the only party with no false promises, and actual commitments for austerity program policies. Paradoxically, the new constitution allows Istiqlal to display more brazenly its conservative credentials, to be, in short, that nasty party so many Moroccans hate and identify as patrician-style, “Fassi-Party”.

First, they are the only political party making sense in terms of broad macroeconomic targets: a 5% GDP growth for 2% inflation target are exactly what the doctor has ordered, although that means Istiqlal is not counting on boosting the economy, merely staying the course and making the best of it in terms of whatever reforms they have included in their agenda; so far, Nizar Baraka -who seems to be inspiring their economic proposals- have displayed a lot more realism and competence than his (former) colleague Finance Minister Mezouar.

Istiqlal claims to close the gap in social inequalities by 25%. I cannot make any sense out of this one: do they mean they will reduce the income ration between the top and bottom 10%? But that is not too important an issue; After all, they have pledge to fund professional schools in order to achieve this goal:

وضع تدابير قانونية جديدة لتيسير الولوج إلى التكوين المهني بالنسبة للشباب الذين انقطعوا عن الدراسة في سن مبكر ( فئة أقل من 14 سنة)، أو لم تسعفهم ظروفهم الأسرية والاجتماعية (أطفال الشوارع مثلا) من التعلم أو من الحصول على أي تأهيل مهني. على أن يراعي هذا التكوين المهن والحرف التي يحتاج إليها سوق الشغل، وذلك حتى لا يعودون من جديد إلى البطالة والتهميش الاجتماعي […]

جعل المعرفة محركا للارتقاء الاجتماعي

تطوير التعليم العالي والتكوين المهني لملاءمته مع حاجيات الاستراتيجيات القطاعية وتنمية الجهات

تشجيع التكوين المستمر مدى الحياة المهنية

تطوير مسالك دراسية موازية للتعليم النظامي (الفرصة الثانية، المدارس الرياضية،…)

The policy might be sound on paper, but given Istiqlal’s disastrous record on education, I fear they might think of professional schools as the only viable alternative for school system, a potentially very discriminant policy that could lead to the vast majority of Moroccan pupils at 14 be given a choice of either giving up on good college education (and I insist on the word “good”) or settling for a lesser school system.

Istiqlal nonetheless, vows to support and strengthen the ailing Middle Class; they pledge to root out poverty and its trans-generational effects (supposedly by empowering those population by means of self-employment) and strangely enough, this Middle Class pledge finds its way to carry Istiqlal’s big idea of reforming the Compensation Fund; though they do not believe a pure accountancy-based approach would not do, they try to instil the idea that somehow, cash relief could perform equally well. My question is why would they propose the following:

توسيع الركيزة المتعلقة بالتعليم: “تيسير”، وهي تهم تمدرس أطفال الأسر الفقيرة إلى حدود 15 سنة (الابتدائي والثانوي الإعدادي) ومحاربة الهدر المدرسي وخاصة في أوساط الفتيات القرويات؛

الركيزة المتعلقة بالانخراط في الأنشطة المدرة للدخل من خلال تقديم دعم نقدي مباشر للأسر الفقيرة مقابل انخراط معيل الأسرة في البرامج التي تحدث هذه الأنشطة (المبادرة الوطنية للتنمية البشرية) وفي الأنشطة التي يتم حصرها في اطار مخططات تنمية الاقتصاد الاجتماعي والتضامني.

ويصل متوسط الدعم النقدي المباشر إلى 400 درهم في الشهر لكل أسرة فقيرة في المناطق المستهدفة، حيث تم تحديد مبالغ التحويلات المالية الموجهة للأسر الفقيرة على الشكل التالي:

– بالنسبة للجانب المتعلق بصحة الأمهات والأطفال “رعاية”: 600 درهم للأم الحامل، 150 درهم لكل أسرة (في حدود ثلاثة أطفال أقل من 6 سنوات لكل أسرة)،

– بالنسبة للجانب المتعلق بالتمدرس “تيسير”: 200 درهم لكل أسرة.

Istiqlal clearly has a reform of the Compensation Fund in its sights, but one that would lift the subsidies, and replace them with too low contributions to these households they pretend to care about. Now, all of this is circumstantial, and I am prone to find evidence in ill-defined policies, but if that were to be true, then the 400 cash relief is not going to be enough to make up for it. True, the wealthiest households will not enjoy subsidies for their own consumption, but their welfare loss is much lower than what poorer families will have to deal with.

Some Moroccans are more equal than others.

Following Istiqlal’s proposal, their Compensation Fund reform should save the budget around 35 to 35Bn, while the cost of 400dhs cash relief to the entire bottom 10% should be at most 2.6Bn (that’s more or less what the outgoing government provided for its aborted “Solidarity Fund” by the way) in pure budget terms, Mr Baraka has solved the Compensation conundrum with one stroke of a pen: cash relief to the poor at a minimum cost, while the compensation fund is set for partial -if not total- phasing out. They do not consider tax relief to the middle class or the 10% bottom Income Tax, they do not consider that a 400dhs cash relief to be too low to even acquire some actual improvement in terms of standards of living; I mentioned in an earlier post that only a combination of 700dhs cash relief and tax breaks can allow the 50% households below median to improve their standards of living; In short, what Istiqlal proposes in terms of Compensation fund phasing out and policies to substitute its effect are going to be disastrous to the purchasing power of a whole lot of Moroccan households. They are doing it wrong, and they can get away with it.

But that brand of local conservatism is obvious in other items listed on their manifesto; they are still clinging to their Pan-Arabism creed, especially when they advocate to:

السعي إلى تبوئ التعاليم والقيم الاسلامية مكانتها الطبيعية في المجتمع، وتوجيه الوسائط التربوية والإعلامية اتجاه تبسيط المفاهيم الاسلامية ونشر قواعدها وفق ما جاء في الكتاب والسنة.

– تشجيع الاجتهاد وحتى يكون تأويل النصوص القرآنية والسنية مسايرا للعقل وروح الشريعة وأصولها متجاوبا مع قضايا العصر.[…]

– الاسراع بتفعيل أكاديمية اللغة العربية واحداث المجلس الوطني للغات والثقافة المغربية لتقوية اللغة العربية وتعميمها في التعليم والإعلام و الحياة العامة، وكل روافدها اللغوية ومنها الحسانية. […]

– ضرورة الكتابة باللغة الرسمية على تلفيف المنتوجات التجارية المعروضة في الأسواق.

As if Islam and the Arabic language alone will not only protect National Identity (what identity?) but strengthen the Moroccan community. Istiqlal, like many other political parties -including progressive ones- still believes Morocco to be too heterogeneous not to consider diversity a threat.

Still and all, Istiqlal remains the one political party with a clear agenda, faithful to its lifelong conservative creed, and before we know it, they could actually lead us into the Austerity program we are rapidly in the process of submitting to.

( / 22.11.2011)

PVV boos over warm onthaal Mekkagangers

Een welkomststand voor moslims die op bedevaart naar Mekka zijn geweest heeft de woede gewekt van de PVV.
De PVV-fractie in de Provinciale Staten in Noord-Holland spreekt van ‘zelfislamisering’. “Onze nationale luchthaven Schiphol is een seculier overheidsbedrijf, dat zich verre dient te houden van dit soort speciale behandelingen van religieuze groepen”, vindt Statenlid Hero Brinkman. Op Schiphol is een kleine ruimte ingericht waar Mekkagangers worden verwelkomd met muntthee en Perzische lekkernijen. Daarboven hang een bord met de tekst: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol heet alle Haci/Hadj welkom. De PVV vraagt of andere terugkerende pelgrims, zoals die naar Lourdes, Fatima of Santiago de Compostella ook zo in de watten worden gelegd.
Ook wil de partij weten waarom er geen kerstbomen op Schiphol te zien zijn, maar wel een ‘stilleven bestaande uit een Perzisch tapijt en ligkussens met een banier erboven.’ “Ligt de afwezigheid van kerstbomen in de aankomsthal erin, dat de aanhangers van de islam hier wellicht aanstoot aan nemen?” Volgens een woordvoerder van Schiphol is dit onzin. “Achter de paspoortcontrole staan al volop kerstbomen. Voor de paspoortcontrole is er in beperkte mate kerstversiering te zien, maar dat heeft niets met moslims, maar alles met Sinterklaas te maken. Als die weer terug naar Spanje is gaan we op en rond de luchthaven los met kerstversiering.”
( / 21.11.2011)

WAFA Monitors Incitement and Racism in Israeli Media

RAMALLAH, November 20, 2011 (WAFA) – Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) monitored incitement and racism against the Palestinians and Arabs published by the Israeli media between August 7 and 18.

Religious newspaper, Hamodia, published a racist article by Menachem Klojmanm, in which he said, “When the Israeli government signed the prisoners’ swap deal with the Palestinians, a new equation has been formed. We learned a lesson a long with the rest of the world that one Jew equals 1027 Arabs. This is the price that the Middle East policy has set for them.”

Kikar Hishbat, Hadriyah Hardam and NFC websites published an instigating article against the Palestinian Prisoners by Rabbi Menachem Brod, in which he criticized releasing the Palestinian prisoners in Gilad Shalit’s swap deal.

He said, “Those who organized the exchange deal tried to give it some creditability by claiming that they have tried their best to free Shalit, but this is not true. Doing your best means to fight, not to give in and sell your values.”

“By releasing those murderers, we damaged the legitimacy of our fight against terrorism,” he said.

Brod said, “The Palestinian Authority, which Israel has signed a number of peace treaties with, pays those murderers high salaries because it considers them ‘captured fighters’. We disobeyed what the Torah ordered us; ‘Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed.’”

Yatad Naaman newspaper published a news piece instigating against firing missiles from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, quoting several statements by right-wing extreme figures.

Knesset Member and Member of the National Union-National Religious Party, Zvulun Orlev said “Israel must fire back at Palestinians and strike Gaza extensively. Israel must clean up the Strip from terrorism as it is currently doing in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).”

Knesset Member, Michael Ben-Ari from the National Union Party said, “We must occupy Gaza and destroy Hamas gangsters.”

Ynet website published news about Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman’s statements, in which he called on to find a replacement for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and stated that “whoever takes his place will be better certainly.”

Lieberman said, “Israel must study the possibility of cutting all relations with PA and overthrowing Hamas in Gaza.”

“We will not accept being the idiots of the Middle-East,” he said.

Ariel Kahana wrote an instigating editorial in Makor Rishon newspaper, in which he called to lunch a military campaign against Gaza.

He said, “killing Palestinians is not worth attention. Israelis don’t care about those who get killed on the other side; the only thing that matters to them is stopping missiles that target them.”

Kahana said, “I wish that they would value life like we do. What we need to do now is clean Gaza.”

Makor Rishon newspaper published another article by Kahana, in which he said, “The extreme supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah are becoming a majority in the Middle East.”

He said, “The main goal of the extreme Arabs became clearer after the year 2000, when former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon visited Temple Mount. The riots, which were launched against the Israelis by those Palestinians, unmasked the Islamic movement’s true intentions against innocent Jews.”

Israeli journalist, Rony Ckad published news in Yediot Aharonot newspaper, in which he alleged that Palestinians textbooks do not follow UNESCO’s standards.

He said, “Palestinian school textbooks represent Jews as ‘invading snakes’. They don’t mention the existence of the state of Israel and promote for Jihad and suicidal bombing.”

Erez Tadmor published an instigating article on NRG website, in which he said that Arab Knesset Member, Ahmad Al-Tibi talked about Palestinians’ contributions in education, science and human culture, yet “the only true and central value they believe in is anti-Semitism.”

He added, “Israel won ten Nobel prizes while the Palestinians bragged about their suicide bombers. The Palestinians reached an unprecedented level of brutality.”

Israel Today newspaper published an inciting article by Prof. Abraham Zion, in which he claimed that there is no way Israelis and Palestinians could ever achieve peace.

He warned of the Palestinians “demographical danger”, saying “The gap between Palestinians and Israelis can’t be filled, because Palestinians want a state within 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital which is a demand that will not be approved by any Israeli government.”

Nurit Granger wrote a racist article, in which she called on to kill Palestinians. She said, “Terrorism, fraud and corruption will never end if we continue feeding them. In 1993, the government signed an agreement with murderer terrorists and brought them back to our Jewish state.”

“Our spiritual leaders ordered us to kill anyone who wants to kill us. The history taught us that we can’t sign a deal with any Islamic entity,” She said.

( / 21.11.2011)

Denmark To Support Palestine At U.N

Denmark will support Palestine if it proposes an upgrade to its status at the United Nations General Assembly, Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal says following a meeting with the Palestinian senior negotiator Nabil Sha’ath in Copenhagen.

“Denmark is closely following the Palestinian application for membership of the United Nations. We also, however, fully realise what the result will be if the application is voted on in the U.N. Security Council,” Søvndal says in a statement.

“I have told Sha’ath, that if the Palestinians choose to put a proposal to the U.N. General Assembly on an upgrade to the Palestinian status, Denmark will be among the large group of Nordic and E.U. countries who I expect to vote in favour of the resolution,” the foreign minister says.

He adds nonetheless that it is “important that the parties go back to the negotiating table, which is the only place that a final solution to the conflict can be found”.

Nabil Sha’ath is currently on a round trip to European countries for discussions on the Middle East and to canvas support for Palestinian views.

The foreign ministry communique said that the two men agreed that the ‘many new Israeli announcements of a growth in settlements are unacceptable and pose a serious problem for the possibility of finding a negotiated settlement’.

( / 21.11.2011)

Help—————-for Egypt

to all free Human in Europe special in Germany, the Tahrir Protesters need HELP so we have list of medical supply that they need, I need your help to get the Help and deliver it to Egypt.
Please contact me

Raef E-Ghamri

every one can help, To save lives

!!!!!!!!!!! DRINGEND !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

an alle freien Menschen in Europa besondere in Deutschland, benötigen Sie den Tahrir Demonstranten benötigen Ihre HILFE,  wir haben Liste der  medizinischen Versorgung, die sie brauchen,Ich brauche Ihre Hilfe, um die Hilfe zu bekommen und liefern sie nach Ägypten.
Bitte kontaktieren Sie mich

Raef El-Ghamri

jeder kann helfen, Leben zu retten

NEEDED:  mainly strong pain killer and for the lungs

Iranian Ambassador to Syria warns of US, Israeli plots against region & says Qatar can be a part of the solution for the problems in the region

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to Syria Mohammad Reza Sheibani warned the regional nations against the plots hatched by the US and Israeli regime against the nations, specially those who have just experienced revolutions.
Sheibani made the remarks in an interview al-Manar TV. The following is the text of his interview.
Q: To where the situation in Syria is going, amid some statements that suggest escalating, like that of the Arab League Secretary-General, who warned of a disaster that may engulf the region and the world shouldn’t the terms of the Arab initiative be implemented?
Ambassador Sheibani: Given the characteristics of Syria, both geopolitical and geostrategic, any development in this country – no doubt – will cast a shadow on the regional states. Moreover, the role played by Syria has been obvious to political observers over the past decades. In this regard, any change in the political geography and social affairs in Syria will not only have profound effects on the region, but also will extend beyond it.
The presence of various ethnic groups in this country, each of which stretches beyond the Syrian borders, Syria’s location which neighbors the Zionist entity, the situation of Occupied Palestine which is directly influenced by Syrian political will and conditions on ground, in addition to the current capacities of Lebanon and the interrelation of its developments with that of Syria via all its various political, social, economic, and military dimensions, as well as neighboring Syria to Iraq which everyone knows its political, social, economic and military situations in recent years – along with Syria’s location on the Mediterranean Sea as a security margin for Europe, all that should be taken into account in the political-security equations and in any development or change in Syria.
From this point, political observers who are experts in regional affairs, express their sensitivity about developments in Syria and warned of blatant foreign interference in its affairs. I think the international community – as well as the regional states – should give serious consideration to the points mentioned above, in order to avoid any decisions that would speed up the developments in the region towards dangerous slip.
It seems to me from the actions and practices of some regional and international parties that regional affairs will not turn to a safe trend.
Q: Do you expect a NATO military step against Syria? In case it happens, what your stance would be?
Ambassador Sheibani: For various reasons – which couldn’t be dealt with here – NATO will not repeat its experience of Libya via military action in Syria. Many military and political observers believe that if the West commits this error, it will undoubtedly pay a heavy price. Syria’s geographical location and strategic influence on its surroundings especially the direct consequences resulting from this location on the occupied Palestine, must be taken into account in any decision-making process of military intervention. The Islamic Republic of Iran has declared that it rejects any foreign interference in the Syrian affairs, whether political or military. In this context, Iran will announce its practical stances when new conditions emerged. Up till then, every session has a different discussion.
Q: How do you read the difference in Turkey’s attitude towards the Syrian government? Before the beginning of current events relations were marked as friendly between both parties, however, after the protest began, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan started to launch statements demanding the ouster Assad regime and a stop to what he called the violence in Syria.
Ambassador Sheibani: In order to confirm Turkey’s declaration at the beginning of the new phase of its regional policy to reset its problems with neighboring countries, it is assumed that the role of neighboring countries based on the assistance in strengthening regional calm and stability. Taking stances that lead to the expansion of instability will not be in the interest of the region and its countries.
During our talks with our Turkish friends, we have repeatedly emphasized the need to develop a joint regional cooperation to overcome the current critical phase; because taking extremist and strict stances ahead of that of the Syrian citizens will not help in solving the problem, but it will exacerbate it instead.
Q: Recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) raises many questions about the possible scenarios in case of international efforts and Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic fail. The available options for the West today are either a military action to halt Iran’s nuclear program or at least delay it, or to get along with a nuclear Iran and the balance of power in the Middle East. Do you entirely rule out a military operation against Iran?
Ambassador Sheibani: For the West, the only scenario towards Iran’s nuclear program is to recognize the Islamic Republic of Iran as a nuclear state. Nuclear Iran has been recognized in the region as a reality. Iran has repeatedly stressed the peaceful nature of its nuclear program and is still moving forward with full toughness towards peaceful use of nuclear energy as a right granted to all the people of the world.
Unfortunately, the IAEA turned away from its professional responsibility by involving political motives in professional affairs. The location of Iran and its own capacities do not allow anyone to just even imagine having confrontation with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Q: In case the West does not take military actions against Iran, and would be reluctant to accept it as a nuclear state, there must be other alternative means to war planned by the Americans and the Israelis. Do you think there are efforts to take the fight to inside Iran by exploiting the Iranian consensus over the nuclear program? Are you prepared for a scenario of this kind, and how?
Ambassador Sheibani: Trying to benefit from meddling in the internal affairs of Iran via some paid elements is no longer feasible. The US has tested various tools through exerting political, military and security pressures for more than three decades since the victory of Islamic Revolution and up till now. Yet, they all ended in abject failure.
Undoubtedly, the extent of American officials’ stupidity is not secret, for this we still do not rule out that the West may use fruitless tools, which had already proved unsuccessful in Iran. In any case, Iran’s Islamic community – thanks to public awareness – has become immune to Western and American conspiracies.
Q: Where is the issue of the Iranian Mansour Arbabsiar who has been detained by the US authorities on charges of planning to assassinate Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to Washington?
Ambassador Sheibani: I believe the US indictment of Iran is nothing but an artificial scenario – created by the Americans in collaboration with the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) to 1) raise the dust to distract public opinion from the heinous defeat and shameful withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, 2) affect the regional relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the neighboring countries, especially Saudi Arabia, 3) distort the public opinion from the multiple internal US problems, the economic crisis in particular, 4) throw dust in the public eyes to cover up the successive defeats of the US Administration Middle Eastern policies, 5) engage the Islamic Republic of Iran in security issues to prevent the strengthening of its regional position amid the popular uprisings in the area, particularly in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, in addition to many other objectives.
Q: How do you read the US occupation army withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the year? Do you think Washington will act to cover the withdrawal?
Ambassador Sheibani: The US withdrawal and ending the occupation of this great Arab country signifies the defeat of US policies in Iraq. In fact, this withdrawal simulates the escape of the occupying Zionist soldiers from southern Lebanon in 2000. To cover up the defeat, the US takes actions to cause harm, in an attempt to punish the regional elements of this defeat and, at the same time, fabricates events to distort the attention of public opinion from the broader dimensions of its defeat.
In this regard, we can refer to the various political and security pressures over the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the crisis escalation in Syria through taking benefits from the Arab League.
Q: You’ve recognized the Libyan Transitional National Council as an official authority in the country; do you think this Council will be able to maintain sovereignty in Libya, specially as it had resorted to the NATO forces to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi?
Ambassador Sheibani: I wish success for the Transitional National Council of Libya. This significant Arab country faces difficult conditions in his political future. The effective presence of the West within NATO – with its colonial trend – creates challenges for the future of Libya.
Q: Thanks to Resistance, 1075 Palestinian prisoner have been liberated, and Palestine has been recognized as a UNESCO member as well due to the diplomatic efforts made by Palestinian Authority; in your opinion, whichever is more useful today for Palestine, resistance or diplomacy?
Ambassador Sheibani: All throughout the last sixty years, the history of Palestine had proved that Resistance is the only and the best way to restore the Palestinian people’s rights. Occupied Palestine and its brave people are entitled to regain their rights through resistance. In Palestinian history, there isn’t even one single example showing the retrieval of the smallest Palestinian right through negotiations.
Moreover, the achievements, which were scored by the resistance, had forced the Zionist entity, day after day to retreat and abandon its expansionism slogans and hegemonic tendency. Undoubtedly, the West and its allies are trying to deviate Palestinian people’s movement from track, through fake concessions and political reforms, and declaring them as strategic achievements in order to deter the great popular movement from trying to achieve its main objectives. However, history has shown that the Palestinian people is more aware than other peoples of its rights and following them up until fulfillment.
Q: Can we assess the popular movements of the Arab world from the same angle? Do not you think the West can re-control those revolutions, especially amid the absence of a clear and strong leadership?
Ambassador Sheibani: That what happened in the region, particularly in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia is a major movement that will lead to the collapse of many traditional equations in the region. Egypt’s entry into the circle of popular movements and overthrowing Mubarak’s regime as an element subordinate to the West and US is a blessed event that will later enhance the real role of this country in formulating the popular policy in the region.
No doubt the West is trying to deviate this great popular movement, which requires vigilance and awareness in this regard. Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution has delivered an important and strategic speech at the opening session of the Islamic Awakening conference in Tehran which presents the right road map and an inspiration for us and shed light on the future horizons of Arab societies, which has witnessed recently a popular movement.
Q: How would you evaluate Iranian-Egyptian relations after the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime?
Ambassador Sheibani: We well understand the circumstances which prevailed in Egypt. What is important for the Islamic Republic of Iran is that Egypt regains its original position in the region to play the role emerged from the will of its own people. As an expert who deeply knows the prevailing thought among the dear people of Egypt, I predict a bright future for the relations between the two countries.
Q: How do you read the Qatari role in each of Libya, which witnesses a direct Qatari interference, and Syria which Qatar wages a war of media against its regime since the beginning of the crisis?
Ambassador Sheibani: Many observers believe that Qatar could play a better role in the settlement of regional issues. The region still remembers the Qatari role in solving Lebanon’s crisis, as well as its role in removing the effects of the Zionist aggression on the country. This role can appear in the current developments in Syria as well. In other words, Qatar can be a part of the solution for the current problems in the region.

( / 21.11.2011)