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After explosion, imperialists pressure Lebanon; Iran, China send aid

first_imgFrom jungewelt.de, Aug. 18. The author has been covering Syrian, Lebanon and Palestine for progressive German-language publications for decades. Translation by John Catalinotto.It was only last January — in response to the street protests — that the technocratic government of the engineer and former university professor Hassan Diab was sworn in in Lebanon. One week after the explosions in the capital Beirut, this government resigned on Aug. 10. Diab, who has no party connections and none of   Lebanon’s long-established power structures behind him, announced new elections. According to the Lebanese Constitution, the cabinet will remain in office as a caretaker until the formation of a transitional government or new elections. It is unclear, however, when the latter will take place.The “Street” [popular demonstrations] has already made it clear that the government’s resignation will not be enough. The entire “regime” must be overthrown, people say, and call for nothing less than a “revolution.”“We don’t have one street, we have 100 streets,” Sofia Sadeh, professor emeritus of modern history of the Middle East, noted in an interview with Junge Welt on Aug. 13. “They may agree on what they do not want. But when it comes to what they want, they all have different ideas.” According to Sadeh, foreign countries are using street protests to promote their own interests in Lebanon. After the [Aug. 4] explosion in the port of Beirut, the country was in danger of an international invasion. The French, German and U.S. governments demanded “reforms” before agreeing to allocate aid from international financial agencies. The demands, however, have not been concretized, and there is disagreement about with whom these “reforms” can be implemented — if at all.On Aug. 5, French President Emmanuel Macron was the first leader to fly into Beirut where he called for a “government of national unity.” Within 24 hours, Lebanese had collected more than 50,000 signatures on a petition asking to put Lebanon back under a “French mandate.” [French imperialism held the League of Nations mandate for Syrian and Lebanon from 1923 to 1943. — Translator]Macron promised help, distributing kisses and hugs. But first he declared that all political forces must be involved, including Hezbollah. In the meantime, Macron changed his mind and, like the USA, called for a government “that everyone can agree on.” In Lebanon, however, this is seen as a recipe for stagnation.Support from IranOn Aug. 14, following up on Macron, French Defence Minister Florence Parly also arrived in Beirut. Coincidentally — according to the daily Al-Akhbar — she attended a reception also attended by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Sarif. Parly spoke about reforms and the rapid formation of a government, while Sarif declared that Iran would support medical care in Lebanon and supply petrol and oil to improve the electricity supply. In addition, the country will be supplied with glass to repair the destroyed buildings.While it has not been made public, it is possible that the two politicians also discussed the oil tankers the U.S. hijacked off the coast of Venezuela the day before, the situation in Syria or the future of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the role of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The U.N. Security Council will decide on an extension of the mandate at the end of August. Israel, which recently brought 12 U.N. Security Council ambassadors to the border with Lebanon to show how much Hezbollah threatens Israel, wants to see a tightening of the mandate for UNIFIL or its end.Germany, too, which had sent Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (Social Democratic Party) to Beirut shortly after Macron, is calling for “reforms” in Lebanon without naming them specifically. A lot of money from Berlin is flowing into so-called civil society, which, according to all experience from war and crisis zones, tends to promote rather than stop corruption. See revised article on MSanger in 2. Germany is also backing street protests politically, medially and financially, protests that storm ministries and hang politicians in effigy. Following Maas, David Hale, the former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, finally left his mark in Beirut in the dust of the ruins. “I am with you. I stand by your side, as do my government and the American people,” declared the U.S. politician during a tour of the Gemmayze district, which was badly damaged.Imperialists against HezbollahHale, who is now Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the U.S. State Department, proposed that Nawas Salam, Lebanon’s long-standing ambassador to the United Nations, be made the new Prime Minister. The U.S. administration argues that Hezbollah should under no circumstances play any role in Lebanon’s politics. The organization is accused by the USA, Israel, Germany and Saudi Arabia of having turned Lebanon into an Iranian outpost. They try to ignore Hezbollah’s political role and influence in the country. Hale announced that “at Lebanon’s invitation,” the FBI will land in Beirut to “assist” Lebanese and foreign investigators. The FBI is the central investigative agency of the U.S. government, combining law enforcement and domestic intelligence. Sending the FBI is also a kind of occupation.Wait and seeWhile Western governments are increasing the pressure on Lebanon, Beirut’s Eastern partners are keeping remarkably quiet. Russia, China and Iran have offered and delivered aid and are waiting to see how the Western cockfighting continues.Tehran’s interests lie in strengthening the country against Western influence and Israeli interests. Iran is strengthened by close cooperation with China. Both countries are preparing a trade and security agreement worth around $460 billion U.S. dollars with a term of 25 years. At the beginning of the year, Iran, China and Russia carried out their first joint maneuver in the Indian Ocean. Iran and the Levant — the eastern Mediterranean region — play a central role in Beijing’s economic plans for the “New Silk Road” project. The ports of that region, including Beirut, are earmarked for this. At the beginning of July, a Chinese business delegation offered Lebanese Prime Minister Diab support in modernizing the power supply and expanding public infrastructure. The entire package, worth around $12 billion U.S., is to be financed by Beijing and will be repaid over a long period of time once it comes into operation.Russia is less wealthy than China and is initially locating its interests in Syria — in clear alliance with Iran and China. Moscow sees the U.S. and the EU’s presence in the region as increasing the danger of war and thus as a threat to Russia. For this reason, Moscow presented a security plan for the Gulf region in summer 2019.According to the Israeli government, the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates now presented by the White House follows a new “doctrine” for the Middle East region: “divide and rule” — the opposite of what Moscow has proposed.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Manny Machado makes his Dodgers debut, ready for ‘new journey’ with team

first_imgThe addition of Machado had Kemp in a playful mood in Milwaukee.“I’ve know for a couple weeks,” he told reporters of the trade. “Naw, I’m just playing.”Kemp called Machado “one of the best right-handed hitters in baseball, one of the best defensive players in baseball” and said he was “excited” to see him in the Dodgers lineup.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.“He’s doing a lot of great things at a young age and he’s going to help us win a lot of games,” Kemp said.As news of the trade for Machado broke, Justin Turner and Alex Wood were enjoying an All-Star break vacation. A video soon made the rounds of them high-fiving and celebrating on a boat in Lake Tahoe. The moment might have been recreated but the excitement was genuine, similar to the excitement that rippled through the team plane when news of the Dodgers’ acquisition of Yu Darvish broke at last year’s non-waiver trade deadline. This is bigger, Wood said Friday.“Definitely, Yu is an incredible pitcher but, for me … Manny is a top-five guy in the game,” Wood said. “He might be top three as far as talent. It doesn’t get much bigger than that, to me.”The expectations could not get much bigger either. The addition of Machado – “the biggest difference-maker” expected to change teams this season, as GM Farhan Zaidi put it – reinforces the ‘World Series or bust’ presumption attached to the Dodgers.“I’m going to bring what I bring to the field every day. I’m not going to overdo it, not going to try to do too much, not going to try to carry the team,” Machado said of the expectations. “This ballclub is already good enough without me. I’m just going to go out there and be me, bring what I can bring, try to help win games.“Honestly, just go play. Whatever I do out there will talk for itself.” Relieved that the trade speculation will go away, Machado will now have another question hovering over him. Machado is headed toward free agency this winter with a number of teams likely to line up ready to pay the 26-year-old a king’s ransom to play for them.Can anything happen over the next three months that would change that and convince him to make Los Angeles his long-term home?“Honestly, this has all been so fast, everything is so crazy right now, I haven’t even really thought about it, to be honest,” Machado said. “I’m just trying to live in the moment, trying to enjoy this. Coming here, I saw my jersey, saw my hat. I was excited to put the blue on. I’m just looking forward to putting on that jersey tonight.”There is one thing very LA about Machado already. The Miami native is an admitted fan of the NBA’s Heat but also of former Lakers star Kobe Bryant. His dog, an Alaskan Klee Kai, is named Kobe and Bryant is also part of the reason Machado switched from No. 13 with the Orioles to No. 8 with the Dodgers.“No. 8, I wanted to change up, new beginning, new journey, new team, so I wanted to go that route,” Machado said. “I was a huge Kobe fan growing up … so that had a little bit to do with it as well, along with the new beginning.” MILWAUKEE – After months of speculation and an All-Star break that didn’t give him much of a break, Manny Machado knew exactly how he felt about putting on a Dodgers uniform for the first time Friday afternoon.“Relieved,” he said, sitting in front of reporters at Miller Park in Dodger blue shorts, T-shirt and hat. “Relieved it finally got done.“I’m just excited to be here. I know it’s a great group, a great organization. Got a lot of baseball history. I’m just going to come here, try to fit in as another piece of the puzzle that’s already here. Try to go out there and win some games for the ballclub.”Outfielder Matt Kemp memorably posed for a second-base selfie with his future teammate during the All-Star Game. Machado said it was just a coincidence, that he was going to do it with any All-Star who got as far as second base and Kemp “just happened” to be the first National Leaguer to get there. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more