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‘In My Heart, I am a Palestinian‘: Palestine Mourns Legendary Footballer Diego Armando Maradona

November 25, 2020

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

The 20th century’s greatest footballer, Diego Armando Maradona, died in San Andrés, Argentina, at the age of 60. The Argentine Football Association reported that the cause of death was cardiac arrest.

Maradona has been struggling with various health crises in recent years, the most recent of which was earlier this month when he reportedly suffered from a brain hemorrhage. 

Maradona’s fans around the world expressed their shock and deep sadness for his passing. Palestinians were not an exception. However, for Palestinian football fans, Maradona represented more than a mere player, arguably the best in the world. He was something else entirely. 

“In Palestine, you cannot hate Maradona. Your only option is to love him and you couldn’t have any negative opinion about him,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud said. “Maradona inspired something in us as a collective – a man of small built, from a terribly poor background, brown like us, fiery like us and passionate like us, making his way to the top of the world. For us, it was not about football or sports. It was about hope. It felt as if anything was possible.”

“You can only imagine our excitement when we learned that Maradona cared for Palestine, and made many gestures in support of our struggle. Our joy was complete. Indeed, until the very end, he took moral stances for Palestine, affirming, once more, in July 2018 that ‘In my heart, I am a Palestinian,” Baroud added.

The statement of solidarity was communicated then to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. However, this was not the only instance in which Maradona was vocal in his support of the Palestinian cause.

For example, in 2012, Maradona described himself as “the number one fan of the Palestinian people .. I respect them and sympathize with them.” 

During the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, Maradona expressed his outrage. “What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is shameful,” he said in a statement. 

Also, in that same year, media reports spoke of negotiations between the Palestinian Football Association and the Argentinian football legend, who was rumored to be the next coach of the Palestinian national team during the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. 

“Growing up in Gaza, we loved Maradona. In fact, personally, I loved and played football because of him. Whenever he played, whether for Argentina, Napoli or other teams, we would drop everything and gather in front of our small black and white television set to watch him play,” Baroud said. 

In Palestine, we share the struggles of all oppressed, working-class people everywhere, and, in turn, we say ‘In our collective Palestinian heart, we are Argentinians; we Are South Americans,” Baroud added.  

“Thank you, Maradona. You will forever represent something beautiful in all of us.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

الردّ الإيرانيّ آتٍ فلينتظروا

ناصر قنديل

في مطلع العام 2015 قام رئيس حكومة كيان الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو بعملية استهداف نوعية في جنوب سورية سقط بنتيجتها الشهيد جهاد عماد مغنية وعدد من كوادر وضباط المقاومة والحرس الثوري الإيراني، وكان رهان نتنياهو أن اللحظة حرجة ولن تسمح للمقاومة وإيران بالردّ، فالعلاقة الإيرانية الأميركية تحت ضغط حساسيات التفاوض حول الملف النووي الذي يقترب من بلوغ نقطة التفاهم، وبالتالي فإن إيران ستمتنع عن الردّ وتمنع المقاومة من القيام به، ولذلك فالتوقيت مناسب للعملية التي تريد تغيير قواعد الاشتباك وتقول إن جيش الاحتلال لن يسمح بنشوء وضع على حدود الجولان المحتل في جنوب سورية تشبه معادلة جنوب لبنان، في تحد مباشر لما قاله يومها الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، عن التزام المقاومة الردّ على كل استهداف لها في سورية.

قلنا يومها إن ردّ المقاومة آتٍ، وإن حسابات نتنياهو خائبة، وإن المفاوضات وحساباتها ستلزم الأميركي بمراعاة حساسياتها، وبالتالي الضغط على قيادة الكيان لعدم تفجير الموقف، بينما ستكون إيران والمقاومة معنيتين بتثبيت قواعد الاشتباك، وخلال أيام قليلة كان الردّ في مزارع شبعا بعملية نوعية اضطر نتنياهو بعدها للإعلان عن العضّ على الجرح منعاً لتصعيد الموقف بعدما وصلته رسالة علنية من الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما مضمونها، الضربة الموجعة لكنها لا تستحق إشعال حرب.

اليوم يقع نتنياهو بالفخ ذاته فيعتقد أن اللحظة مؤاتية لتوجيه ضربة موجعة أو ضربات موجعة لإيران، التي يظنّها مربوطة الأيدي، تجنباً لفتح الطريق لتصعيد يعقد مهمة الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب جو بايدن الذي تتوقع منه العودة الى التفاهم النووي، وكما كتبنا في أكثر من مقال، تلك هي مشكلة العمليات التكتيكية تفادياً للوقوع في حرب التي يراهن بعض الأميركيين والإسرائيليين على ملء المرحلة الفاصلة عن نهاية ولاية الرئيس دونالد ترامب بها، فتلك العمليات بين خيارين، خيار أن تكون تحت سقف مضمون لعدم استدراج الرد، وهي في هذه الحالة غير موجعة ولا تغيّر معادلات، وبين السعي لعمليات توجع وتغير معادلات وفي هذه الحالة لا ضمان بعدم الردّ، وقد يكون الردّ أشد إيلاماً، ويفرض معادلة الحيرة التي كان يريد نتنياهو إيقاع إيران فيها، وبالتأكيد بات ممكناً بعد توصيف القيادات الإيرانية السياسية والعسكرية لعملية اغتيال العالم النووي الإيراني محسن فخري زادة، وإعلان الالتزام بالرد، والرد المؤلم، أن نقول إن الرد آت لا محالة وقريباً، وإن كيان الاحتلال بعد تقارير نيويورك تايمز وتصريحات المسؤولين الإيرانيين باتهام كيان الاحتلال بالعملية، يجب ان يكون على موعد مع تلقي الرد المقبل، وهو لا يعلم أي الردّين سيكون أولاً، ففي رقبته دين للمقاومة يتمثل بحقها بالردّ على عملية استهداف أدت لسقوط شهيد قرب دمشق، كما لا يعلم الجبهة التي سيكون الردّ عليها.

المأزق الذي سيحكم المرحلة المتبقية من ولاية ترامب، سترسم معالمه عمليّة الرد، وسيكون على ثلاثي ترامب ونتنياهو وحلفائهم في الخليج ان يتخذوا القرار عندها بالعض على الجرح، لأن الضربة موجعة، لكنها لا تستحق حرباً، أو أن يذهبوا للحرب ويتحمّلوا التبعات.

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Sheikh Qassem to Al-Manar: Retaliation to Fakhrizadeh’s Assassination in Iran’s Hands

Removed By Zionist YOU TUBE Click here to watch the interview

November 28, 2020

Hezbollah Deputy Chief Sheikh Naim Qassem in an interview with Al-Manar TV on 27/11/2020
Click the Pic

Hezbollah Deputy Leader Sheikh Naim Qassem said on Friday that the retaliation for the assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was in Iran’s hands, warning that Hezbollah was fully prepared for any Israeli aggression.

“We condemn this heinous attack and see that the response to this crime is in the hands of those concerned in Iran,” Sheikh Naim Qassem said in an interview with Al-Manar’s Hadith Sa’a (Talk of the Hour).

Sheikh Qassem said Martyr Fakhrizadeh was killed by “those sponsored by America and ‘Israel’” and said the assassination was part of a war on Iran and the region.

However, on the possibility of a direct strike on Iran, His eminence said it was unlikely as it would “ignite the whole region”. “We cannot rule out the possibility of a limited attack and the Iranians are ready for this and more, but I don’t see an all-out war on the horizon,” he said.

Asked whether the Zionist entity could attack Lebanon, Sheikh Qassem said he did not believe so but that if it did Hezbollah was “fully prepared” for a confrontation.
“Hezbollah has achieved many victories, one of which that our country is not dependent on the arrogant America or others, and all the pressure put on Hezbollah is because it has achieved many victories in various fields,” the deputy leader stated. “In spite of everything we are worriless. Rather, we act calmly, we realize the importance of the position we are taking.”

“Hezbollah is always ready for any confrontation and Israel knows very well that any step taken by it will have major consequences.”

Regarding the cabinet formation, Sheikh Qassem said that “the methodology of forming the government and American pressures by various means are the reason for the delay of the government onset. Some are waiting for the inauguration of the new US president so that the government will be in line with the American orientations.” He called on the caretaker government to hold permanent constitutional meetings to deal with popular demands in the absence of the new government.

“There is no problem with Hezbollah in forming the government, and the basis of its formation is the understanding between the two presidents,” Sheikh Qassem said. “The approval of the parliamentary blocs is a prerequisite for forming a government, and this is what the American must understand,” he said, noting that “the Launchpad of the French initiative is economic, and we agree on that in principle and we never accept the hegemony of this initiative.”

“Our problem is with corruption that exists everywhere and not with people, whether they are politicians or specialists to form the government,” Sheikh Qassem emphasized, stressing that “fighting corruption should be through the judiciary, the government, and by activating the supervisory and legal mechanisms, and Hezbollah adheres to it exclusively.”

“Hezbollah rejects any conditional aid and accept aid from the International Monetary Fund after being discussed because we know our country very well,” he added, pointing that “the basic rule in solving our problem in Lebanon is to defend ourselves and work for Lebanon’s interest first, and the US does not scare us.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Rare video of Qassem Soleimani and assassinated Iranian nuclear scientist

By News Desk -2020-11-28

TEHRAN, IRAN – SEPTEMBER 18 : Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani attends Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s (not seen) meeting with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, Iran on September 18, 2016. (Photo by Pool / Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader)

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 A.M.) – On Friday evening, the Iranian media published a video clip documenting a meeting between the late commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Major General Qassem Soleimani, and the nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

The video, which was shared by RT Arabic, shows the two men speaking to one another on an undisclosed date in Iran.

The head of the Research and Technology Center at the Ministry of Defense, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated on Friday, November 27, in an attack described by Tehran as a “terrorist operaation.”

In a statement, the Ministry of Defense stated that “armed terrorist elements attacked a car carrying Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh, head of the Research and Technology Center at the Ministry of Defense, on Friday afternoon.”

They pointed out that “during the clash between his security team and the terrorists, Mr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was seriously injured and taken to the hospital, and unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving him.”

Fakhrizadeh’s assassination coincided with Iran’s announcement that the judiciary has formed a committee to pursue those accused of assassinating Qassem Soleimani.

Soleimani was killed along with Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in an American air strike targeting his car near Baghdad Airport Road at dawn on January 3, 2020.

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Prominent Iranian physicist assassinated near Tehran

Friday, 27 November 2020 2:08 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 27 November 2020 9:10 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A file photo of martyred Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

Prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in a terrorist attack near the capital Tehran.

The Fars news agency reported that he had been targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

The attack targeted the vehicle carrying Fakhrizadeh — who headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), the agency said.

The Defense Ministry’s media office said Fakhrizadeh “was severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security team and terrorists, and was transferred to hospital,” where he succumbed to his injuries.

Fars said 3-4 people were killed in the shooting, all of whom were said to be terrorists.

Photos and footage shared online of the attack showed bullet holes on the windshield of Fakhrizadeh’s car and a pool of blood on the road.

The photo shows a car that was targeted in a deadly shooting attack by terrorists in Absard city, near the Iranian capital of Tehran, November 27, 2020. (By Fars news agency)

‘Serious indications of Israeli role’

In a statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif roundly condemned the terror attack, saying there were “serious indications” of the Israeli regime’s role in the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, a professor of physics at Imam Hussein University of Tehran.

“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” he said in a tweet.

The top Iranian diplomat called on the international community, especially the European Union, to “end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.”

‘Harsh revenge awaits criminals’

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri blamed the “savage” attack on “terrorists tied to global arrogance and the evil Zionist regime.”

The assassination, he said, did deal a blow to Iran’s defense industry, but the enemies should know that “the path opened by the likes of Martyr Fakhrizadeh will never end.”

The photo shows the site of a terror attack, which targeted an Iranian scientist, in Absard city, north of the Iranian capital, Tehran, November 27, 2020. (By Fars news agency)

Baqeri said “harsh revenge” awaits the terror groups as well as all those who had a hand in the terror attack.

The commander assured the Iranian nation that the perpetrators of the terror attack will be pursued and brought to justice.

In a similar message, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Hossein Salami vowed a “harsh revenge and punishment” for those behind the act of terror.

The assassination of the Iranian scientist “was planned and run by the fake, terrorist and infanticide Zionist regime,” the chief IRGC commander added.

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi also said in a statement that an operation had been launched to identify the terrorist elements complicit in the “brutal crime,” pledging that the Islamic Republic will avenge the martyr’s blood.

In turn, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, also reacted to Fakhrizadeh’s martyrdom in a tweet, vowing a crushing response to the perpetrator.

“We will come down hard on those who killed Martry Mohsen Fakhrizadeh like thunder and make them regret their deed,” he said.

“In the final days of their allied gambler’s political life, the Zionists are after intensifying pressure on Iran in order to trigger an all-out war,” said Dehqan in a reference to outgoing US President Donald Trump’s final days in office.

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned multiple times in a presentation in 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program.

Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and threatened, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands by a screen with a purported image of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during a news conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

The Tel Aviv regime has made several attempts over the past years to throw a wrench in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear work.

The regime has been behind the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It has also conduced cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.

‘The crime won’t block Iran path to scientific progress’

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi said the “big crime” was carried out by “traitorous elements linked to foreigners and international Zionism with the sinister goal of hindering the country’s scientific progress.”

Raeisi further praised the scientist’s role in speeding up Iran’s advancements in various scientific fields, including the nuclear industry, saying Fakhrizadeh’s martyrdom will not block the country’s path forward.

He called on the country’s security and intelligence institutions in addition to relevant judicial bodies to do their utmost to arrest and serve justice to the criminals and mercenaries involved in the crime as soon as possible.


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Watch again: Giuliani attends election hearing in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Nov 26, 2020

The Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee has held a public hearing to discuss 2020 election issues and irregularities, at the request of Republican senator Doug Mastriano. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani participated in the hearing. Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheIndepende…

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Political Analyst: Fakhrizadeh’s Assassination An Act of War, Antagonists Will Be Punished

Political Analyst: Fakhrizadeh’s Assassination An Act of War, Antagonists Will Be Punished 

By Elham Hashemi

Tehran – On 21 November 2020, The Times of ‘Israel’ said that the ‘Israeli’ regime along with the US are planning ‘covert ops’ against Iran as Trump’s term ends. Only six days later, prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in a terrorist attack in Damavand area near the capital Tehran.

This crime comes as a desperate attempt to put more pressure on Tehran amid the constant US and allies attempts to hamper Iran from advancing in the different fields, including nuclear development for peaceful purposes. Iran’s Fars news agency reported that Fakhrizadeh had been targeted on Friday in an attack involving at least one explosion and shooting by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

The media office of Iran’s Defense Ministry said Fakhrizadeh, who headed the ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research [SPND], “was severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security team and terrorists and was transferred to hospital,” where he succumbed to his wounds and was announced as martyr. 

Commenting on the topic, political analyst and University of Tehran Professor, Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi said “This assassination shows that western intelligence agencies and the terrorist organizations that they support such as the MEK along with the apartheid regime and the other regional actors are waging war against Iranian people.” 

He explained “It is interesting when one remembers that every time a terrorist is arrested, or a terrorist is executed or a spy is captured, Western media immediately say that these people are innocent, and that they are hostages; as if they have some sort of special knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes. Yet it is these very same spies and terrorists that accumulate knowledge and carryout murder and destruction.” 

“Nevertheless, this is an act of war, and the Iranians will make sure that its antagonists are punished as a result of the murder of this high ranking Iranian official,” Dr. Marandi noted. 

Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, vowed in his tweet a crushing response to the perpetrators.

The tweet read “We will come down hard on those who killed Martry Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, just like thunder and we will make them regret their deed. In the final days of their allied gambler’s political life, the Zionists are after intensifying pressure on Iran in order to trigger an all-out war.”

Also, Iran’s Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said in a statement that “The assassins of martyr Fakhrizadeh will see a harsh revenge,” promising that they will be punished. He also assured that the path Farikhzadeh started will never stop. 

The political analyst pointed out that “It is ironic that when Western regimes claim that the Russians attempted to murder or assassinate an asset of theirs in the UK, the whole of NATO, Europe and North America is up in arms. But when an actual act of murder is carried out in Iran, Western media outlets gloat and try to show the victim as the guilty party rather than the terrorists and the regimes that stand behind those terrorists.”   

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned in a presentation in May 2018 by ‘Israeli’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program. Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and said, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

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التهويل بالحرب

ناصر قنديل

امتلأت خلال يوم أمس، الصحافة الأميركيّة والإسرائيليّة ووسائل الإعلام المموّلة خليجياً بالتقارير التي تصف الشهور الباقية من ولاية الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب بالشديدة الحساسية متضمنة الإشارات لفرضية توجيه ضربة موجعة لإيران قبل نهاية ولاية ترامب وفي السياق استهداف قوى المقاومة، خصوصاً في سورية بضربات متلاحقة. والتقارير لا تُخفي أن المقصود هو قطع الطريق على إمكانية قيام تسويات بين ايران ومعها قوى محور المقاومة في المنطقة من جهة وادارة الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب جو بايدن من جهة مقابلة، بخلق أمر واقع يفرض سياقاً مختلفاً للعلاقات يصعب تخطيه ويدفع المنطقة نحو استقطاب جديد بطابع عسكري تجد الإدارة الجديدة أنها محكومة بالبقاء ضمنه.

الأكيد أن فرضية القيام بحماقة أمر لا يمكن استبعاده مع وجود شخص كدونالد ترامب في البيت الأبيض، علماً أنه أظهر عقلانية عالية في تحمل الضربات الموجعة تفادياً للتصعيد، عندما أُسقطت الطائرة الأميركيّة التجسسيّة العملاقة في الأجواء الإيرانيّة، بحيث بدا تهوره دوراً تمثيلياً يؤديه لشعبويّة انتخابية، وبالتوازي عملياً لا يمكن لإيران ولمحور المقاومة إلا أخذ هذه الفرضيات بحذر شديد والبقاء على جهوزية لمواجهة كل تهديد، لكن السؤال هو من الزاوية التحليلية هل يمكن منح هذا الاحتمال فرصاً حقيقية؟ وهل يشكل سياقاً منطقياً وارداً للتطورات؟

العقبة الأولى التي تعترض هذا الطريق، طالما لا نتحدّث عن عمليات كبرى تغيّر سياق الأحداث في المنطقة، وليس عن عمليات إعلاميّة أو ضربات لأهداف تكتيكيّة تمّ استطلاعها، هي أن قبول ترامب دخول المرحلة الانتقاليّة مع فريق الرئيس المنتخب جو بايدن رغم التمسك بالطعن بالنتائج، له موجبات من أهمها أن تصل التقارير الاستخبارية والتحليلات الأمنية الصادرة عن وكالات المخابرات والبنتاغون للرئيس المنتخب وفريق عمله بالصورة ذاتها التي تصل فيها للرئيس الحالي طيلة الفترة الانتقالية حتى دخول الرئيس المنتخب الى البيت الأبيض، وتالياً فإن القرارات الكبرى التي يفكر بها الرئيس المنتهية ولايته موجبة التداول والتشاور مع الرئيس المنتخب، خصوصاً ما قد يرتب تبعات وتداعيات تحكم ولاية الرئيس المنتخب، فكيف إذا كان قصدها أن تفعل ذلك.

العقبة الثانية هي أن خلق هذا المناخ المطلوب من ترامب وفريقه وحلفائه الإقليميين، خصوصاً ثنائي بنيامين نتنياهو وولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، يستدعي القيام بعمل كبير لا يمكن لإيران وحلفائها عدم الرد عليه بقوة، خصوصاً أن تفادي الرد على الاستفزازات يطبع أداء محور المقاومة خلال المرحلة الانتقاليّة، وهذا يعني الحاجة الأميركية للقيام بعمل عسكري أمني كبير يجبر محور المقاومة على ردّ يخلق سجالاً عسكرياً، ويفرض إيقاعاً مختلفاً يقطع طريق السياسة أمام إدارة بايدن، وهذا يعني استدراج رد يصيب القواعد العسكرية الأميركية والأساطيل الأميركية في المنطقة، بصورة تلزم واشنطن الدخول في حالة حرب، لكن بلوغ هذه المرحلة لن يكون من دون أن تسبقه مرحلة تكون فيها منشآت كيان الاحتلال الحيويّة ومستوطناته قد تلقت آلاف الصواريخ الثقيلة والدقيقة، وأن تكون منشآت النفط في الخليج، وخصوصاً القواعد العسكرية الخليجية في دول التطبيع قد تلقت نصيبها من الردّ. وهذا في حال حدوثه سيخلق تدحرجاً لتطورات يصعب تحمل نتائجها. فمدن الزجاج قد تتهاوى ومعها حكوماتها واقتصاداتها، وعمق الجليل قد يكون هدفاً لتوغل المقاومة، وكلها ارتدادات يصعب احتواؤها.

العقبة الثالثة أن مثل هذه المواجهة التي تفاداها ترامب طيلة ولايته يحتاج للقيام بها إلى سبب جوهري يتمثل بعمل عدائي قامت به إيران يمكن تسويقه وشرحه للرأي العام الأميركي والعالمي، وهذا لا يبدو وارد الحدوث، كما أن ترامب يعلم بأن المباحثات والتنسيق الاستباقي لمنع التلاعب بمستقبل التفاهم النووي خلال المرحلة الانتقالية من جانب إدارته هو موضوع تنسيق يجري في باريس بين مبعوثي إدارة بايدن برعاية جون كيري ومبعوثي الخارجية الإيرانية برعاية محمد جواد ظريف، حيث تدرس كل الفرضيات وتبحث كل الاحتمالات.

يقول أحد الخبراء، إذا وقعت الحرب فتشوا عن دبي وأبو ظبي على الخريطة، وعن ديمونا وناتانيا، ونيوم، قبل أن تسألوا عن تل أبيب والرياض.

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei

November 27, 2020

Source

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei

While this press conference contains a shorter Belarus update, it has a wider context and is posted to illustrate Foreign Minister Lavrov’s clear expression of irritation with the west, which he now covers in each of his routine press conferences.  In this one, he handles among other topics, protests across the world, Heiko Maas, Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE), International agencies, including the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner being silent and not doing their jobs, as well as strategic stability.

Joint session of the collegiums of the Russian and Belarusian Foreign Ministries, November 26, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held a joint session of the collegiums of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. By tradition, it took place in a confidential and truly friendly atmosphere.

Using this opportunity, I would like to thank again our Belarusian friends for their traditional hospitality and excellent organisation of work. We highly value these annual meetings in the format of members of the collegiums and other representatives of the two ministries’ top management. They allow us to discuss in detail the most urgent international issues that involve the interests of our countries and need to be addressed.

Despite the complicated epidemiological situation, we managed to meet offline and talk face to face. We had four items on our agenda: relations of our countries with the European Union, participation in UN peacekeeping missions (in part, in the context of the prospects of the CSTO’s involvement in the UN peacekeeping activities), cooperation in the EAEU on forming the Greater Eurasian Partnership and ways of ensuring international information security.

We achieved specific agreements on all of these issues. They are reflected in a resolution that we signed in addition to the plan of consultations between our foreign ministries in 2021. We also spoke about broader cooperation in international organisations, including the CIS, CSTO, EAEU, UN and OSCE.

We and our Belarusian colleagues had to state that unfortunately our US-led Western partners continue persistently promoting their narrow selfish interests in a bid to preserve their hegemony in the world arena. They are using the concept of the “rules-based” world order, setting it directly against universal, commonly recognised standards of international law, including the UN Charter.

We are concerned about the attempts by the Western countries to establish control over international organisations, up to and including privatisation of their secretariats. When this fails, they try to replace collective work in universal formats with private get-togethers where all those who agree with the Western policy make decisions that are later presented as multilateral and binding. It is hardly possible to make us follow these rules. The overwhelming majority of countries are firmly committed to the old, tried-and-tested principle – respect for international law, primarily the UN Charter.

We noted numerous facts of crude interference by the US and those who follow in its wake (I am referring to some European capitals) in the internal affairs of sovereign states. The dirty methods of colour revolutions continue to be used. These include manipulation of public opinion, instigation and support of overtly anti-government forces and contribution to their radicalisation. We are seeing how these methods are being applied to the Republic of Belarus. We spoke about this in detail today both with Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who received us before this meeting.

We were informed in great detail about the current developments in Belarus. We are not indifferent to them. The Republic of Belarus is our ally and strategic partner and also a fraternal nation. We are interested in a calm and stable situation in that country. This will be facilitated by the Constitutional reform that was launched by the Belarusian leadership as a major transformation of the political, economic and legal systems.

We believe the Belarusian people are wise and always act in a balanced manner. They are capable of resolving their problems without any outside prompting or obtrusive proposals on unwanted mediation. It is obvious that attempts to jeopardise normalisation are being made. There are many examples of this: a desire to radicalise the protesters, encouraging people to engage in subversion and high treason, which are made, in part, from abroad.

Today we again reviewed in detail the entire range of our ties and ways of protecting the interests of each of our countries, as well as the interests of the Union State of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation.

I would like to emphasise again that we are content with our joint discussion. We will carry out everything we have agreed on today.

Question (addressed to both ministers): On November 18, 2020, your German counterpart Heiko Maas accused the authorities of Belarus of violently suppressing peaceful protests. Having said this, he urged the Council of Europe to use its instruments for monitoring the situation even in those European countries that do not want to join the organisation. Could you comment on this, please?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Vladimir Makei):  We took note of how Germany took over the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE). German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas first made a speech at a closed CMCE meeting and then held a news conference. His speech was unconventional for the presidency of this pan-European body because the main goal of the Council of Europe, which is recorded in its statute, is to promote greater unity of all European countries. By definition, the President, all the more so in the Council of Europe, must focus on enhancing unity in his future work rather than stir up confrontation.

It is no secret that at the CMCE meeting prior to that news conference, Heiko Maas presented his programme for the next sixth months in a politicised vein and unacceptable tone, in a crude, undiplomatic manner. He made a number of Russophobic statements. He had grievances not only as regards the Republic of Belarus but also made groundless Russophobic accusations in respect of Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria and southeastern Ukraine. His opinion on the Nagorno-Karabakh agreement also sounded rather strange.

At the news conference Mr Maas urged everyone “to respect the rules-based order.” Our Western colleagues are not going to respect international law as a matter of principle. He did say that the principles of the Council of Europe must be imposed by using relevant instruments, including on those countries that are not members of the Council of Europe. I consider this absolutely unacceptable.

It is indeed strange that of all countries it is Germany that has recently decided to act as a driver of aggressive approaches to the countries that are not NATO or EU members.

Those who are objective and pay attention to double standards will note that neither Mr Maas, nor other Western representatives or UN human rights agencies have said a word about rather serious incidents in France and Germany. There were protests by yellow vests in France, demonstrations against COVID restrictions in Germany and some other countries, and protests against a ban on abortions in Poland. They were dispersed in a very tough manner.

International agencies, including the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner, stayed silent. Human rights champions in France covered the yellow vests protests in a completely different manner than they cover events in Russia and Belarus. Only in the beginning did they cautiously urge the sides to overcome their differences. But later the yellow vests began to encounter a tough police response. In the estimate of French human rights activists, almost 15,000 rubber bullets were shot at the protesters; 2,500 people were wounded and 12,000 detained, including 2,000 who were sentenced, in part, to real prison terms. But nobody speaks about this. This is considered normal because these are their compatriots. It is necessary to get rid of this attitude, especially for those who head the Council of Europe.

About a month ago, Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric asked us in Moscow about our assessments of the events in the Republic of Belarus. She received our answers and inquired whether the Council of Europe can contribute to normalisation there in some way. We promised do convey her wish to those concerned. She emphasised that this will be possible only if the Republic of Belarus makes this request itself. But as you can see, the German Presidency has different plans in this respect. This is regrettable.

We will try to compel the Council of Europe, all the more so under the German Presidency, not to forget about the issues that the West is trying to hush up in many different ways. This applies to discrimination against Russian speakers in the Baltic states, the disgraceful lack of citizenship, and the so-called reforms in the field of education and language in Ukraine that are aimed only against the Russian language, as distinct from the languages of other national minorities because they are EU languages. We will not accept the efforts of the Council of Europe (or some of its members) to hush up the facts of the purposeful harassment of the Russian media, not to mention the glorification of Nazism. The German Presidency must remember all this and must not divert the Council of Europe to the discussion of issues that are more comfortable for the West and justify its positions, while ignoring the problems that have become chronic for our Western colleagues.

Question: What are the prospects for concluding new strategic stability treaties with the United States once the new administration is in office? Last year, President Trump mentioned a new trilateral document involving Russia, the United States and China. What will happen now?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a long-standing matter. True, the Trump administration was consumed (I can’t come up with any other word) by a desire to involve the People’s Republic of China in disarmament talks. Initially, they talked about the need to include the PRC in the START Treaty which is still in force, although this is impossible by definition. Then, they proposed creating a new treaty and not renewing the current one, because it’s outdated and bilateral, whereas they would like to take a step towards multilateral disarmament and arms control. Their position was erratic. As a result, they came up with a proposal to extend the treaty for another year, but on the condition that we recount each other’s warheads and put in overseers at the defence plants’ checkpoints. Counting warheads and ignoring carriers and innovative technologies that directly affect strategic stability is a frivolous and unprofessional approach.

Earlier this year, we made proposals to our US colleagues about structuring our future dialogue on arms control and non-proliferation. They stood their ground and insisted on warheads alone. They have long been interested in Russian tactical nuclear weapons, hence their interest in warheads at the expense of everything else. We say we will be ready to discuss non-strategic nuclear weapons, including warheads, when the Americans withdraw their tactical weapons from other countries. In Europe, these weapons are deployed in five NATO countries. Also, NATO structures conduct training in handling nuclear weapons for military personnel from non-nuclear countries in flagrant violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

With regard to the People’s Republic of China, President Putin has repeatedly stated that we have nothing against it, but the decision is up to the PRC. China has officially and publicly stated on several occasions that it is not going to join the talks with Russia and the United States, since its nuclear arsenal is an order of magnitude smaller than the corresponding arsenals of Moscow and Washington. We respect this position. If and when the Americans persuade China to join multilateral talks, we will have no objection to that. We will be willing to participate in them if the PRC agrees to this of its own accord. But we are not going to persuade Beijing to do so just at the whim of the Americans. But if and when a multilateral format in disarmament and arms control talks is created, we will push for France and the United Kingdom to join it as well.

When we told the Americans about this, they told us that these counties are their allies and they vouch for them. Precisely because they are allies of the United States, we would like to see them at the negotiating table, if the talks become multilateral. Washington’s absolutely hostile doctrine towards Russia cannot but raise questions about the motives of the US allies, whether in Europe or Asia. When they enter into a military alliance with a country that declares us a hostile state, we must draw our own conclusions regarding these allies.

I don’t see how we can seriously discuss anything related to the continuation of the arms control process with the Trump administration. We do not know yet what kind of administration will move into the White House or what kind of policy it will conduct. The voting results have not yet been announced officially, but there’s already an understanding that the change-of-command process is underway. Let’s wait and see what kind of assessments will eventually form in the minds of those who will shape the US strategic stability policy after January 21, 2021.

Question (addressed to both ministers): Popular protests have been growing around the world for various reasons, including political ones. The law enforcement reaction is the same everywhere, going as far as the use of force and special equipment. At the same time, such events in Belarus are receiving heightened attention from foreign politicians. What do you think is the reason?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already cited examples of protests being suppressed in France. Those drastic figures are rarely revealed to the general public. Human rights agencies in the UN system, as well as numerous human rights rapporteurs are trying their best to avoid any topics that are uncomfortable for Western representatives.

Speaking of the protests in Paris, there is a huge wave of protest against the global security bill, which includes a ban on photographing, filming or otherwise identifying law enforcement officers. I can imagine the kind of racket a bill like that would have sparked if it were proposed in Russia or Belarus. The French public and human rights groups are concerned, yet we can see no reaction from international bodies. The police used water cannons and noise grenades during rallies against the bill. The protesters, too, provoked the police, using stones and sticks. One police officer was injured. And yet, I repeat, this does not prevent the West from lecturing anyone who is not their ally.

Voting processes in Russia and Belarus have been scrutinised through a magnifying glass. When a similar story happens in the United States, it is declared “normal, it’s democracy, and everything is just fine.” Though, even respected and influential think tanks in the United States openly write about “the problems with the US electoral system.” To put it mildly, that system does not fully comply with the principles of democracy or the rule of law. They write these things themselves, but our international partners prefer to ignore them and concentrate on the countries whose “regimes” they find undesirable.

When UN rapporteurs, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, describe violent clashes in Western capitals, they urge everyone to find a solution through dialogue. When they criticise us or Belarus, they demand a change of the system. This difference is visible to the naked eye. We have long lost any illusions about what kind of standards the West is promoting and how they use double standards. We will fight, and will defend our position at the UN bodies, where these issues should be considered. We will not allow the vices that the Western community is demonstrating to be forgotten.

Question (addressed to both ministers): How can you comment on Pavel Latushko’s last interview, where he spoke about the possibility of unofficial contacts with Moscow?

Sergey Lavrov: Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has just shown me part of that interview. Not only did he mention the possibility of unofficial contacts with Moscow – he said such contacts were underway and were coordinated. He shamelessly declared he could not cite any names, but mentioned “contacts at a sufficiently high level.” He speculated whether I will be allowed to tell my Belarusian friends about it. I will answer briefly: this is a blatant lie, and it once again says something about those trying to make some kind of career with foreign handouts.

ثلاثيّ «صفقة القرن» يقرع طبول الحرب… فما الممكن؟ وما المتوقع؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

رغم المكابرة يبدو أنّ دونالد ترامب سيجد نفسه ملزماً في 20 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2021 بالخروج من البيت الأبيض بعد أن خذلته صناديق الاقتراع. وبذلك يكون ظنّه قد خاب وخسر التجديد، أما الخيبة الأكبر والشعور بالخسارة الأعظم فقد كان من نصيب الضلعين الآخرين معه في مثلث «صفقة القرن» أيّ نتنياهو ومحمد بن سلمان اللذين عملا معه في تلك الجريمة التي بات واضحاّ أنّ أهدافها تتعدّى تثبيت «إسرائيل» بشكل نهائيّ على كامل أرض فلسطين التاريخيّة مع بعض جزر تعطى للفلسطينيّين ظرفيّاً لتذويبها لاحقاً بالكيان العنصري اليهودي، تتعدّى ذلك الى تهويد المنطقة بكاملها وإخراج كلّ من يرفض الاستسلام لـ «إسرائيل» منها، وما القرار الذي اتخذته الإمارات العربية بعد استسلامها لـ «إسرائيل» في إطار ما سُمّي «تطبيع» وفتح أبوابها لليهود من دون تأشيرة دخول، مترافقاً مع منع دخول مواطني 13 دولة عربية وإسلامية إليها إلا أول الغيث وصورة نموذجيّة لما سيكون عليه وجه المنطقة إذا نجح الثالوث غير المقدّس في فرض «صفقة القرن» نموذج يقول فيه الصهاينة وعملاؤهم «لا يدخل علينا شريف يرفض الاستسلام لإسرائيل».

بيد أنّ خسارة ترامب جعلت الثالوث يقلق على «صفقة القرن» هذه، قلق يفاقمه الظنّ بأنّ جو بايدن سيراجع معظم سياسات ترامب في المنطقة ويصحّح ما أفسده، وفي طليعة ذلك الملف النووي الإيراني، ما سيُعقد من أوضاع ضلعَي الصفقة ويثير خشيتهما من المستقبل. لذلك وكما يبدو اتجهت أفكار المثلث الشيطانيّة الى إنتاج واقع في المنطقة ينشر ظلاله على جو بايدن الرئيس الجديد ويلقي بثقله عليه ويمنعه من نقض ما حبكه ترامب، ولأجل ذلك يخطط الثالوث لحرب على إيران بخاصة وعلى محور المقاومة عامة تكون على وجه من اثنين أولهما أن تهاجم أميركا المنشآت النووية الإيرانية بشكل تدميري وتردّ إيران عليها وتندلع الحرب، والثاني أن تبدأ بهجوم «إسرائيلي» على إيران فتستدرج رداً من المقاومة على «إسرائيل» فتتدخل أميركا لحمايتها وفي الحالين سيرسم مشهد ميداني يصبح الحديث معه عن مفاوضات حول إحياء التوقيع الأميركي على الاتفاق النووي الإيراني مع الدول 5+1 حديث من غير مضمون ولا فائدة فيفرض ترامب بذلك قراره على بايدن بعد أن يكون قد خرج من البيت الأبيض.

إنه التخطيط للعمل العسكري ضدّ محور المقاومة إذن، تخطيط وإعداد نفذ في سياقه حتى الآن أكثر من عمل وأتمّ أكثر من سلوك بدءاً بإعادة الانتشار الأميركي في أفغانستان والعراق (حول إيران) مروراً بتحرك بعض قطع الأسطول البحري الأميركي في الخليج وإبعادها عن متناول الصواريخ الإيرانية، ثم نشر طائرات B-52 القاذفات الاستراتيجية الأميركية في قواعد جوية في الشرق الأوسط، وما أعقبها من اجتماع ثلاثي في «نيوم» السعودية بمشاركة بومبيو ونتنياهو ومحمد بن سلمان، وصولاً الى التعميم العسكري «الإسرائيلي» الصادر عن وزير حرب العدو والموجّه الى جيشه يأمره فيه بالاستعداد لمواجهة ظرف تقوم فيه أميركا بقصف إيران قريباً.

إنّ تحليلاً لكلّ ما تقدّم من معطيات يحمل المقدّر العسكري والاستراتيجي الى وضع احتمال شنّ حرب من قبل المثلث العدواني ذاك كأمر لا بدّ من وضعه في الحساب، ولكن لا يمكن اعتباره الاحتمال الممكن الوحيد لأكثر من اعتبار. ويجب الوقوف على الوجه الآخر من الصورة ربطاً بقدرات الطرف الذي سيُعتدى عليه وعلى إمكاناته وعلى اتقاء الضربة وإفشالها أولاً وعلى قدرته على الردّ وقلب مسار الأحداث عكس رغبات المعتدين.

وفي هذا السياق نتوقف عند مواقف وأحداث لا يمكن تجاوزها في معرض تقدير الموقف هذا، أوّلها كلام السيد علي الخامنئي منذ أيام لجهة قوله بأنّ إيران «جرّبت المفاوضات من أجل رفع العقوبات ووقف التدابير الكيديّة، لكنها لم تحصل على نتيجة وبات عليها ان تجرّب غيرها»، وأضاف «رغم أنّ الحلّ الآخر سيكون مؤلماً في البدء إلا أنه سيأتي بنتائج سعيدة»، كلام ترافق مع القصف اليمنيّ لمحطات «أرامكو» لتوزيع المحروقات قرب جدة، وهو قصف له دلالات استراتيجيّة وسياسية وعسكرية كبرى في مكانه وزمانه غداة الاجتماع الثلاثيّ التحضيريّ للحرب وعلى بعد بضع عشرات الكيلومترات من جدة، ثم إعادة الانتشار التركيّ وتنظيم مسرح العمليات في الشمال والشمال الغربي السوري حول إدلب، بما قد يُنبئ بقرب عمل عسكري قريب في المنطقة، وأخيراً ما يتمّ تسريبه من رفع درجة جهوزيّة المقاومة في لبنان وبكلّ أسلحتها استعداداً لأيّ طارئ ومن أيّ نوع.

على ضوء ما تقدّم نقول انّ مثلث العدوان قد يذهب الى الحرب، لكن محور المقاومة ليس في الوضع الذي يخشى من هذه الحرب، صحيح أنه لا يسعى إليها لكنه لا يخشاها، لا يخشاها بذاتها كما لا يخشى تداعياتها، فإذا تسبّبت الحرب بإقفال باب التفاوض ومنعت العودة إلى إحياء التوقيع الأميركي على الملف النووي الإيراني، فلن تكون المسألة بالنسبة لإيران نهاية الكون، وإذا تسبّبت الحرب بتدمير منشآت إيرانية فإنها ستؤدي حتماً الى تدمير الكثير في «إسرائيل» والسعودية وستؤدي حتماً الى إفساد فرحة «إسرائيل» مما تحقق حتى الآن من «صفقة القرن» وعمليات التطبيع.

نعم الحرب ستكون مؤلمة، كما يشير السيد الخامنئي، أو كما يوحي كلامه ضمناً وستكون طويلة أيضاً، لكن نتائجها ستكون سعيدة وستغيّر الكثير مما نخشاه ويقلقنا في المنطقة.

نقول بهذا من دون أن نتصوّر لحظة انّ «إسرائيل» لا تدرك كلّ ذلك، أو أنّ الدولة العميقة في أميركا لا تحيط به علماً، فإذا كانت رعونة المثلث العدواني قد تدفعه الى الحرب فإنّ مصالح الكيان الصهيوني والدولة الأميركية ستضغط لمنعها، والسؤال لمن ستكون الغلبة للمتهوّر أم للمتوازن؟

احتمال تقدّم المتهوّر في تهوّره لا يمكن نفيه رغم نسبته الضئيلة التي لا تتعدّى الـ 15%، أما احتمال تقدّم المتوازن فهي الأرجح، وهنا قد يتقدّم التصرف العسكري المحدود المتمثل ببنك أهداف أمنية أو عسكرية يستهدفها ترامب قبل رحيله بعد أن يكون قد قبض الثمن الباهظ مقابلها من السعودية، وهنا سيكون بنك الأهداف عبارة عن قيادات هامة تستهدف بالاغتيال على غرار عملية اغتيال الشهيد قاسم سليماني، كما تشمل مراكز عسكرية عملانية لفصائل المقاومة والحشد الشعبي في العراق وسورية، عمليات تتناغم وتنفذ بالموازاة مع ما يجري الآن من إحياء وتنشيط لخلايا داعش في موجة إرهاب جديدة تضرب العراق وسورية برعاية أميركية…

*أستاذ جامعي – باحث استراتيجي.

Detainee Maher Al-Akhras Released

Source

 NOV 26, 2020

Maher al-Akhras, a Palestinian political prisoner who held a hunger strike for 103 days, rejecting his arbitrary Administrative Detention without charges or trial, was released on Thursday morning.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Al-Akhras, 49, was released, and was moved to a Palestinian hospital.

Al-Akhras, from Sielet ath-Thaher town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, went on hunger strike on the day of his abduction, on July 27th 2020, after Israel slapped him with a four-month Administrative Detention order.

During his hunger strike, Israeli intelligence officers tried to get him to quit his strike, by promising without guarantees that the Administrative Detention order will be renewed just one time.

Despite his seriously deteriorating condition during his strike, the detainee refused to end the strike, and insisted on being released.

He suspended the strike after the final commitment by the Israeli authorities to release him on November 26, 2020, and a firm commitment not to renew his administrative detention, as he will spend the remaining period until his release receiving hospital treatment.

Freed Prisoner Al-Akhras Hails Al-Manar TV for Supporting Palestinian Cause: Hezbollah Taught US to Not Negotiate Rights with Zionist Enemy

Capture

The Palestinian ex-prisoner, Maher Al-Akhras, who embraced martyrdom on Thursday thanked Al-Manar TV Channel for its continuous support to the Palestinian cause and resistance.

“Hezbollah taught us not to negotiate rights with the Israeli enemy, and we applied this lesson,”Al-Akhras stressed in an interview with Al-Manar TV.

Sayyed Nasrallah once told the Israelis that as they invaded Lebanon without negotiations, they would be expelled without negotiations, according to Al-Akhras who added that they he memorized this statement.

Al-Akhras was released two weeks after he ended his 103-day hunger strike in protest against the Israeli administrative detention policy.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Maher Al-Akhras Embraces Freedom After Hunger Battle’s Win

Maher Al-Akhras Embraces Freedom After Hunger Battle’s Win

By Staff

‘Israeli’ occupation authorities released Palestinian detainee Maher al-Akhras Thursday morning.

In early November, the Palestinian Prisoner Club announced that the hunger-striking detainee, Maher al-Akhras, has put his hunger strike on hold, after 103 days without eating, following a deal that provides his release on November 26. He was set to spend the remaining period in hospital where he was receiving medical treatment.

In a statement, al-Akhras said that he went for the hunger strike “on behalf of our people and detainees,” adding that “the poor people are killed and detained while nobody is asking about them.”

The liberated detainee stressed that the occupation has been “exposed” through this strike, and thanked all those who stood by him and supported his cause.

Hence, al-Akhras, whose health hardly deteriorated in the last days of his strike, has emerged victorious against the occupation’s supreme court’s decision, which previously rejected all petitions presented by his lawyer to release him immediately, the last of which was in October.

Maher al-Akhras was detained on July 27. He was transferred to the ‘Hawara’ Prison where he started his open hunger strike. He was then transferred to ‘Ofer’ Prison before moving him to administrative detention for 4 months, and the court adopted his detention order later.

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لحّود: لإعادة تكوين السلطة بقانون انتخاب يُفرز طبقة جديدة

رأى الرئيس العماد إميل لحّود، أن «متابعة مناقشات قانون الانتخاب في المجلس النيابي تُعيدنا بالذاكرة إلى فترة مناقشة القانون الحالي التي بدأت باقتراحات وطنية وانتهت بصيغة على قياس البعض، ولعلّ الخشية من حدث 17 تشرين، أدّت إلى محاولة جديدة لتطويع أكبر للقانون خدمةً للبعض، ما يفسّر الكلام التجييشي الطائفي الذي نسمعه في الفترة الأخيرة».

وإذ شدّد لحّود في بيان أمس، على أن «بناء الوطن لا يبدأ إلاّ بقانون انتخاب يعتمد لبنان دائرة واحدة مع نسبية»، توجّه بالتهنئة إلى نقيب المحامين في بيروت ملحم خلف ومن ساهم معه بـ»المبادرة التي طرحها، وتحديداً ما يتعلّق منها بقانون الانتخاب، فهو يعرف، انطلاقاً من لا طائفيته ومن خبرته القانونية، أن ما اقترحه هو الأنسب للبنان».

وعلى صعيد آخر، رأى الرئيس لحّود أن «التدقيق المالي ضرورة، شرط أن يشمل إدارات الدولة كلّها، أي الطبقة السياسية برمّتها والتي يستحيل أن تحاسب نفسها، من هنا فإنّ توقيت طرح التدقيق اليوم غير مجدٍ، بل يجب التركيز على إعادة تكوين السلطة عبر إقرار قانون انتخاب وطني يُفرز طبقة سياسية جديدة ونزيهة قادرة على تطبيق التدقيق الجنائي وسائر قوانين مكافحة الفساد».

ولفت إلى أنه «بقدر الأهمية الكبرى للوضع اللبناني الداخلي، حيث تتراكم المشاكل وتغيب الحلول، يجب ألاّ نغفل عن أن ما يحصل له خلفيات إستراتيجية، وقد بدأ منذ عشرات السنوات عبر إفراز طبقة سياسية فاسدة أوصلت البلد إلى انهيار، ما يخدم العدو الإسرائيلي الذي يقوم بعملية تطبيع تشمل دولاً عرببة عدّة، وتبقى عينه على لبنان، الجار الأكثر إزعاجاً، ما يعني أن استمرار هذه الطبقة الفاسدة في الحكم سيجعل من مقاومة هذا العدو أمراً لا طائل منه، إذ أن ما نربحه عسكرياً نفقده بالفساد والطائفية المسيطرين على البلد».

وختم الرئيس لحّود «آن أوان اليقظة، وليكن حدث 4 آب عبرة، حيث سلب انفجار المرفأ دوره لصالح مرفأ حيفا، وما نخشاه، إنْ بقينا على المسار نفسه، أن يُصبح لبنان كلّه على صورة المرفأ، بناءً محطّماً ودوراً مفقوداً».

SAUDI ARABIA FELLS VICTIM TO EXCHANGE OF ASYMMETRICAL STRIKES BETWEEN IRAN AND ISRAEL

South Front

In the Middle East the Houthi-Iranian alliance continues to harass forces of the Saudi-Israeli-US bloc with renewed vigour.

On November 25, a Greek-managed oil tanker was damaged in an attack on a Saudi petroleum terminal located near the Red Sea city of Jeddah. Col. Turki Al-Malki, a spokesman for the coalition, said the tanker was hit by shrapnel resulting from an attack by the Yemeni Houthis using a water-born improvised explosive device. The spokesman claimed that the WBIED was intercepted. Nevertheless, the tanker’s operator, the Athens-based TMS Tankers, said the Maltese-flagged Agrari received a direct hit.

“The Agrari was struck about one meter above the waterline and has suffered a breach,” the company said in a statement. “It has been confirmed that the crew are safe and there have been no injuries. No pollution has been reported. The vessel is in ballast condition and stable.”

The Saudi Ministry of Energy said firefighters had extinguished a fire that had erupted after the attack. A spokesman for the ministry stressed that Aramco’s fuel supplies to its customers were not affected by the incident. At the same time, satellite images show a large oil spill off the shores of Jeddah’s terminal.

The Houthis (also known as Ansar Allah) have not claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the usage of WBIEDs by the movement was widely documented in the previous years of war.

Just a few days ago, on November 23, the Houthis struck a Saudi Aramco oil company distribution station near Jeddah with a Quds-2 cruise missile. According to the Yemeni movement, the missile was developed and produced by its Missile Forces. Nonetheless, the Houthi successes in missile and drone development during a total naval and air blockade would hardly be possible without Iranian help.

In these conditions, it is interesting to look at the timeframe of the Houthi strikes on Saudi Arabia. The movement says that its strikes on Saudi military and oil infrastructure are retaliatory actions to regular acts of Saudi aggression against Yemen, including airstrikes on civilian targets. Years after the ‘victorious’ Saudi intervention in Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition has still not been able to even reach the country’s capital. So, the Kingdom uses its air dominance to punish the Yemenis for their own setbacks on the battleground. However, it seems that there is one more factor motivating the Houthis. Both recent attacks on Saudi Arabia took place after Israeli strikes on Iranian-affiliated targets in Syria.

Here is the timeframe: On November 18, the Israeli Air Force struck the countryside of Damascus and the south of Syria. On November 23, a cruise missile hit the Saudi Aramco distribution station near Jeddah. Early on November 25, the Israeli military once again launched missiles at Iranian targets near Damascus and in the south. Later on the same day, a WBIED targeted a Saudi terminal off the Red Sea. The slightly delayed response to the November 18 strike could be explained by the fact that the Houthi-Iranian alliance needed a few days to prepare for the resumption of actions against Saudi targets, which were on a relative decrease in the preceding months due to the Houthi focus on the ground offensive in the Yemeni province of Marib and nearby areas. As to Iranian sources, they  are as expected denying any links between Israeli strikes on Syria and missiles, drones and WBIEDs  targetting Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, the Kingdom’s role as lamb to the slaughter in the ongoing regional standoff between Iranian-led forces and the Israeli-US bloc is not news to independent observers. Saudi Arabia predetermined its current position with its own launching of the failed military intervention in Yemen and by actively aligning itself with Israel in both public and clandestine dimensions.

Israel Enjoys Last Weeks Of Love With Trump. Azerbaijan Controls Kalbajar District In Karabkah

On November 25, Azerbaijani troops entered the district of Kalbajar in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The district was handed over to Baku under the ceasefire deal reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan to put an end to the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War earlier in November.

In total, Armenian forces were set to hand over the following districts: Agdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin, excluding the Lachin corridor. Agdam and Kalbajar are already in the hands of Azerbaijani forces. Lachin will be handed over on December 1. Withdrawing Armenians are destroying their properties and even evacuating graves of their relatives. Just a day ago, on November 24, Armenians troops blew up their barracks in Kalbajar.

In these conditions, the presence of the Russian peacekeepers remains the only guarantee of the security of the local Armenian population. And Russian forces already suffered first casualties as a part of this mission. On November 23, a Russian peacekeeper, four employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic were wounded, and an Azerbaijani officer was killed in a mine explosion near the village of Magadiz. A joint group, that also included representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, was searching bodies of those killed in the war.

A large number of IEDs, not exploded ammunition and projectiles are an important security factor that prevents the potential return of displaced civilians to Nagorno-Karabkah. A group of Russian sappers has been already working on demining key roads and areas in the Russian zone of responsibility. Baku also vowed to demine territories that its forces captured and already started building a new road linking the town of Shusha and Ahmedbeyli.

In the coming months, the security and humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabkah will likely improve, but there are almost zero chances the Armenian population that fled the Azerbaijani advance would return. Therefore, the Azerbaijani-controlled part of Nagorno-Karabakh is in fact empty and the Azerbaijani leadership would have to launch some settlement program if it wants re-populate the region.

Pro-Kurdish sources, waging a propaganda campaign against the traditional Azerbaijani ally, Turkey, already claimed that Ankara is planning to settle families of fighters of Turkish-backed Syrian militant groups in Karabakh. According to reports, Turkish authorities opened 2 offices in the Turkish-occupied Syrian town of Afrin for this purpose. If such plans even exist, it is unlikely that Azerbaijan would be happy to support them. The one thing is to use a cheap cannon fodder recruited by the Big Turkish Brother and the very different thing is to allow multiple Syrian radicals to become the permanent factor of your internal security. The implementation of such a plan would inevitably turn the Azerbaijani-controlled part of Nagorno-Karabkah into the hotbed of terrorism.

Meanwhile, Israel has been desperately exploiting the last months of the current Trump presidency term. Early on November 25, the Israeli Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes on targets in the southern countryside of Damascus and the province of Quneitra. According to Syrian state media, missiles were launched from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights. As of now, the Syrian side denies any casualties and claims that the strike caused a material damage only. Pro-Israeli sources insist that the strike led to multiple casualties among Iranian-backed forces and Iranian personnel.

This became the second Israeli strike on Syria in the last 7 days. The previous one took place on November 18 and hit the very same areas, including Damascus International Airport. The activation of the Israeli military activity in the region indicates that Tel Aviv expects a particular decrease of unconditional support that it was receiving from the United States under the Trump administration. Therefore, it seeks to use the last days of this 4-year-long honeymoon as effective as possible. Even more Israeli and potentially US actions against Iranian interests in the region and Iran itself could be expected in the coming weeks.

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Hezbollah SG’s Political Adviser: Al-Moallem Was the Resistance’s FM in All International Fora

Hezbollah SG’s Political Adviser: Al-Moallem Was the Resistance’s FM in All International Fora

By Ali Hassan

Damascus – He was a man that presided over Syrian diplomacy throughout many stages. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon, Syria, and all the resistance in all international fora.

This is what Haj Hussein al-Khalil, the political advisor to the Secretary General of Hezbollah His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, told the family of the late Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem when the party’s delegation offered its condolences Wednesday night in Damascus.

Other members of the Hezbollah delegation included the head of the Baalbek and Hermel bloc, MP Hussein Hajj Hassan and Dr. Hassan Hammoud, the assistant of the SG political advisor.

Al-Khalil told al-Ahed News that the delegation “came to Damascus to convey the warm condolences of His Eminence, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and as well as all the Lebanese resistance fighters to His Excellency, the loyal and persevering President Bashar al-Assad, to the prime minister and members of the government in the Syrian Arab Republic, to the foreign ministry staff, and to the family of the late Walid al-Moallem, who was able to lead this diplomacy and defend the causes of Syria and the resistance.”

“Walid al-Moallem was a national, Arab, and Islamic figure par excellence. He raised the concerns and causes of the Arab nation to the entire world and in all fora,” al-Khalil added. “He diligently carried the cause of resistance and the concerns of Palestine. He sat on the throne of major diplomacy in the Arab world at a time when Syria was going through the most difficult circumstance, as it was being fiercely attacked and subjected to the biggest media war. He defended it with intelligence, sophistication, logic, and a distinguished calmness with which he coaxed the enemies and pleased the friends.”

In his interview with al-Ahed, Hajj Hussein Al-Khalil recalled two of al-Moallem’s stances. The first was when he came from Washington after the Zionist aggression in 1996 to take part alongside the resistance in drafting the April Understanding. This is considered the first foundation for establishing the deterrence base set by the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon with the support of Iran and Syria.

The second stance was in some of the meetings that brought together Arab and other officials during the 2006 “Israeli” aggression against Lebanon. He addressed the then-Lebanese prime minister as the men of the Resistance laid down the most wonderful epics on the ground against the Zionist enemy. Al-Moallem told the tearful Fouad Siniora,

إعتذر يا فؤاد...إعتذر :: موقع النبطية

“Why are you crying? You are the most powerful prime minister in the Arab world because you have the strongest resistance in the Middle East. You should laugh with pride.”

During the memorial service, the Hezbollah delegation stressed the role the late minister played in key events concerning Lebanon and the Resistance – the first of which was his prominent political role in the face of the “Israeli” enemy.

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لقاء نتنياهو وابن سلمان.. لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟

المصدر: الميادين نت

أليف صباغ

أليف صباغ

محلل سياسي مختصّ بالشأن الإسرائيلي

مشاريع “السلام” الاقتصادية لا يمكن أن تخرج إلى حيّز التنفيذ من دون علاقات رسمية بين السعودية و”إسرائيل”، حتى لو طبَّعت الأخيرة مع السودان والإمارات والبحرين.

لقاء نتنياهو وابن سلمان.. لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟
لقاء نتنياهو وابن سلمان.. لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟

انشغل العالم مؤخراً باللقاء “السري” بين رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلية بنيامين نتنياهو وولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان في مدينة “نيوم” السعودية، بمشاركة رئيس “الموساد” الإسرائيلي يوسي كوهين، وبرعاية وزير الخارجية الأميركي مارك بومبيو.

 قبل انتهاء اللقاء، كان أحد المقربين من نتنياهو قد سرَّب خبراً عنه، يقول فيه إنّ “سيّده” يقوم في هذا الوقت “بصنع السلام”، ما أثار حماس وسائل الإعلام لمعرفة سبب إلغاء نتنياهو اجتماعاً كان مقرراً في ساعات المساء. 

في الليلة ذاتها، وقبل إغلاق الصّحف اليومية، سُرّب الخبر أيضاً، وبشكل أوضح بكثير، إلى وسائل إعلام أميركية وإسرائيلية سمحت لها الرقابة بنشره، ويفترض أنه سري للغاية! يقول الخبر إنَّ الطّرفين بحثا مواضيع مهمّة، ولكنّهما لم يتوصّلا إلى اتفاق جوهري.

فجأة، أنكر وزير الخارجية السعودي مشاركة نتنياهو في الاجتماع، ولكنَّ مسؤولين كباراً في المملكة أكَّدوا لوسائل الإعلام الأميركية والإسرائيلية، موقع “واي نت” وصحيفة “هآرتس” و”إسرائيل اليوم”، المقربة جداً إلى نتنياهو، مشاركة نتنياهو في الاجتماع. ليس ذلك جديداً، فالعشق بين الإنكار والاعتراف هو قصة يعيشها الطرفان زمناً طويلاً تعدى مائة عام من الزمن، وانتقل من الأجداد إلى الأبناء، وابتُلي به الأحفاد أيضاً.

هنا، يُسأل السؤال: ما المواضيع التي تهم الطرفين، الإسرائيلي والسعودي، في هذه الأيام، وخصوصاً أن إدارة ترامب الجمهورية تقضي أسابيعها الأخيرة، لتأتي بدلاً منها إدارة جديدة برئاسة جو بايدن الديموقراطي؟ هل ترعى الإدارة الجديدة هذا العشق، كما رعته الإدارة المنتهية ولايتها وأرادت تحويله إلى زواج رسمي أم أنها ستبقيه عشقاً يحلم به الطرفان ويختلفان على المهر المقدم والمؤخر؟

لا يختلف مراقبان على أن المواضيع التي ناقشها الطرفان أو التي تهمهما كالتالي:

أولاً، يتفق الطرفان على موقفهما المعادي لإيران، الصامدة في وجه الإمبريالية الأميركية وطموحات الغطرسة الإسرائيلية في منطقة الشرق الأوسط، وعلى ضرورة قيام إدارة ترامب بعملية عسكرية ضدها أو إبقائها تحت العقوبات الاقتصادية المشددة حتى تخضع من دون قيد أو شرط.

لا شكّ في أنّ هذا الموضوع مرتبط بالموقف من سوريا التي تقاوم الإرهاب، ومن حزب الله الذي تتعاظم قوته في وجه “إسرائيل”. وعليه، يتفقان أيضاً على أن ما يخيفهما أو يقلقهما هو أن الإدارة الجديدة قد تنتهج نهجاً آخر لا يحقّق لهما رغبتهما في المواجهة العسكرية مع إيران. من هنا، يتفقان على ضرورة إشهار هذا التحالف غير الرسمي، في رسالة إلى الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة، خشية أن تعود إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، من دون الأخذ بعين الاعتبار رغبة السعودية و”إسرائيل”.

ثانياً، يتفق الطرفان أيضاً، وفق ما جاء في وسائل الإعلام التي اعتمدت على مصادر إسرائيلية وسعودية كبرى، على أن هذه العلاقة ستشهد تطبيعاً في المستقبل، ولكنّ السعودية تشترطه بشروطها، في حين تريده “إسرائيل” مجانياً. تشترط السعودية أن يكون التطبيع بعد الاتفاق الإسرائيلي مع الفلسطينيين وفق المبادرة السعودية منذ العام 2002، وهو ما صرّح به علناً وزير الخارجية السعودي، فيصل بن فرحان، قبل حصول اللقاء أيضاً. هذا هو شرط الملك سلمان بن عبد العزيز، تقول المصادر، على الأقل لحفظ ماء الوجه، لكن من يضمن استمرار هذا الشرط في حال توفي الملك سلمان وورثه ابنه محمد المتحمس للتحالف مع “إسرائيل”؟ 

ثالثاً، إن الشرط الثاني للسعودية، والذي تحدَّث عنه ابن سلمان في اللقاء المذكور، هو السماح لها بأن تقيم جمعيات في القدس الشرقية وأن تموّلها، لصد التغلغل التركي في القدس كذلك في الحرم القدسي بشكل خاص. كما طلب ابن سلمان من نتنياهو بأن يسمح بإدخال ممثلين عن السعودية في دائرة الأوقاف الإسلامية في القدس، لتحجيم دور الجهات الأخرى، من مثل الأردن وتركيا. 

تفيد مصادر سعوديّة مطّلعة أيضاً بأنّ ابن سلمان يخشى عقوبات أميركية ضده شخصياً في ظل إدارة بايدن. وعليه، فهو يرى في “إسرائيل” حليفاً قادراً على مساعدته لتخفيف اليد الأميركية عنه. من هنا، لا يريد أن يتنازل عن كلّ أوراقه مسبقاً، فقد حصل أأن تنازل لترامب عما يقارب نصف ترليون دولار، ولم يحصل على ما يريد لغاية الآن. 

في المقابل، ووفقاً للتقديرات الإسرائيلية، فإنَّ السعودية هي “مركز المحور العربي لمناهضة إيران”، فهل تتنازل “إسرائيل” عن هذا الدور بسهولة؟ وهل هي مستعدة لأن تدفع الثمن للسعودية بالعملة الفلسطينية؟ سؤال يبقى على الطاولة، وينبئ بلقاءات مستقبلية إضافية، وربما تعقيدات أيضاً. 

رابعاً: ماذا عن اليمن والضغوط الأميركية المتوقعة على السعودية لوقف الحرب الوحشية عليها، والتي لم تحقق أي إنجاز للسعودية، وكانت نتائجها كارثية لغاية الآن على الشعب اليمني وأطفاله وبنيته التحتية، وعلى الاقتصاد السعودي أيضاً؟ وهل تقدم “إسرائيل” أي مساعدة إضافية في ملف اليمن في ظلّ إدارة بايدن؟ ألم يتعلَّم السعوديون وغيرهم أنّ “إسرائيل” لا ترى فيهم إلا سوقاً لبضاعتها وأداة لتنفيذ مخططاتها الاستراتيجية، وإن قدمت لهم سلاحاً على شكل قواعد مضادة للصواريخ أو خبراء أو طيارين، فذلك لمصالح مادية، ولتوريط العرب بمجازر ضد بعضهم البعض، وهو ما يفيد “إسرائيل” ويزيد من نفوذها في الشرق الأوسط على المدى القريب والبعيد.

ماذا يخفي التطبيع الرسمي من مشاريع؟ 

من يراجع تاريخ ما نشر عن المشاريع الاستراتيجية للحركة الصهيونية، المتمثلة بـ”إسرائيل”، في الشرق الأوسط، يدرك أنَّ تلك المشاريع لن تخرج إلى حيز التنفيذ إلا بعد إقامة علاقات سياسية بين “إسرائيل” وبلدان الخليج العربية، أهمّها مشاريع مد أنابيب النفط والغاز من الخليج المنتِج إلى أوروبا عبر الأراضي السعودية، ومنها إلى الشواطئ والموانئ الإسرائيلية، إضافةً إلى سكة حديد تشقّ دول الخليج والأردن والعراق، وشوارع وطرقات سريعة مخطّطة وجاهزة للتنفيذ تربط بين هذه الدول والبحر المتوسط عبر “إسرائيل”، ومشاريع أمنية كبرى تحول البحر الأحمر إلى محور أمني للتعاون السعودي الإسرائيلي بالأساس ضد إيران وتركيا وغيرهما. 

كل هذه المشاريع لا يمكن أن تخرج إلى حيّز التنفيذ من دون علاقات رسمية بين السعودية و”إسرائيل”، حتى لو طبَّعت الأخيرة مع السودان والإمارات والبحرين. تبقى السعودية هي “المحور الأساس”، كما يراها الإسرائيليون.

لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟

انتقد بيني غانتس، رئيس الحكومة البديل، نتنياهو، لتسريب هذه اللقاءات السرية إلى العلن، معتبراً ذلك إهمالاً للمسؤولية وإضراراً بمصلحة “إسرائيل”. وأضاف: “لقد قمت بنشاطات سرية كثيرة في حياتي، ومنها ما كان بتوجيه من نتنياهو، ولكنني لم أصرح عنها”، متهماً نتنياهو بتفضيل المصلحة الشخصية على مصلحة “إسرائيل”. 

أما نتنياهو، فإضافة إلى المكسب الشخصي من تسريب هذه اللقاءات، فهو ليس أول رئيس حكومة يسرب لقاءات سرية مع زعماء عرب، فقد اعتادت الصحافة الإسرائيلية أن تنشر عن لقاءات سرية بموافقة الرقابة العسكرية، وغالباً ما يكون ذلك “نقلاً عن وسائل إعلام أجنبية”، والهدف منه يكون دقّ أكبر ما يمكن من أسافين الشكّ والريبة بين الزعماء العرب، ونزع ثقة المواطن العربي بقيادات نظامه، فيضعف النظام والزعامات المتعاونة، وتصبح أكثر عرضة للابتزاز.

وحين ينزع المواطن العربي ثقته بزعامته، ويرى أنها تتعاون مع العدو، فهل سيحارب عدوه من أجل نظام خائن لشعبه؟ وهل سيمتنع رجل الأعمال عن التعاون مع “إسرائيل”، وهو يعلم أنَّ نظامه رئيسه أو ملكه أو أميره غارق في علاقاته معها؟ إنَّ الهدف الأساس من الإعلان عن هذه اللقاءات هو كيّ العصب الوطني أو ما يُسمى “كيّ الوعي” لدى جماهير الشعب، ليسهل عليها ابتلاع التطبيع والخيانة.

هذا اللقاء الأخير ليس الأخير في مسلسل العشق الممنوع بين الحركة الصهيونية والحركة الوهابية، المتمثلة بمملكة آل سعود، فقد سبق ذلك لقاءات علنية وأخرى سرية في “إسرائيل” والسعودية وأوروبا وأميركا، ورسائل غرام منها ما بقي في السر ومنها ما خرج إلى العلن، ومبادرات استرضاء منسقة مسبقاً برعاية بريطانية أو أميركية منذ مائة سنة تقريباً وحتى اليوم. ولم تكن مبادرة الأمير فهد في العام 1981 إلا واحدة منها، مروراً بمبادرة الملك عبد الله في العام 2002 وحتى اتفاقيات إبراهام بين “إسرائيل” والبحرين والإمارات التي أجريت بمباركة سعودية. 

كلّ هذا المبادرات تأتي ضمن علاقات تاريخية تهدف إلى استرضاء “إسرائيل”، لتضمن الأخيرة في المقابل هيمنها على الشرق الأوسط، إلا أنها لم ترضَ ولن ترضى حتى يصبح الجميع عبيداً مستسلمين لها، كما هي عقيدتها التلمودية.

أما نتيجة هذا كله، فهو ليس إلا مزيداً من الضغط العربي على الفلسطينيين للتنازل عن حقوقهم. ورغم كل التنازلات التي قدَّمها الفلسطينيون على مدى عقود، وغداة كل مبادرة سعودية، فإنَّ ذلك لم يحفّز “إسرائيل” المتغطرسة إلا على طلب المزيد من التنازلات والمزيد من الهيمنة، فهل يفهم العرب عامة، والفلسطينيون خاصة، أن سياسة الاسترضاء، استرضاء المتغطرس، هي التي أوصلتهم إلى هذا الحضيض، وأن نهج المقاومة هو وحده الذي أجبر “إسرائيل” على التراجع في محطات مختلفة من هذا الصراع؟

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

By Ali Abadi, Al-Ahed News

Why are we witnessing the intensification of normalization efforts between Arab regimes and the Zionist entity following the US presidential elections? What options does Donald Trump have during the remainder of his time in office?

Prior to the US elections, it was clear that the goal of the normalization agreements was to boost Trump’s reelection campaign. But the extension of the normalization current beyond the election that Trump lost has other potential objectives:

–    Attracting additional support for Trump in his battle to cling to power by sharpening the capabilities of the Zionist constituencies to support his electoral appeals that don’t have a great chance of success. But Trump has not given up yet in his efforts to reverse the results.

–    Sending important signals to those concerned at home and abroad that Trump still has vigor, as he plans to complete the goals he set and stay on the political scene. If he were to lose the presidency now, he may return in 2024, as those close to him have hinted. In the meantime, he seeks to gain support from the Jewish and Christian Zionist circles as a “man of word and action” in supporting “Israel” absolutely and without hesitation.

With Trump preoccupied with the battle to cling to power at home, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is abroad – touring as “Israel’s” minister of foreign affairs accompanied by Arab ministers to sign more normalization agreements. He is legalizing “Israeli” settlements and the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights and declaring a move to criminalize the campaign of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). 

It’s worth noting that months before the US elections, Pompeo reportedly had his sights set on the 2024 presidential race. As such, Pompeo, who identifies with Trump’s approach and acts as his obedient supporter, plans to be the natural heir to the Trumpian current in the event that its leader is absent due natural causes like death or unnatural causes such as imprisonment due to his legal issues. 

He is also preparing the groundwork for the birth of an “Israeli”-Arab alliance (Saudi, Bahraini, and Emirati) standing in the face of the Islamic Republic of Iran and adding further complications to any possible return of the Biden administration to the nuclear deal.

Saudi and “Israeli” officials are now speaking in one voice about a “no return” to the nuclear agreement, as they set the conditions and limits that they feel the next American administration should abide by. This is also a reflection of widespread concerns over the failure of Trump’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran. 

This was the background for news reports about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meeting “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saudi territory – a get-together arranged by Pompeo.

The choice for war is in the balance

All of the above are possibilities. But does that give way to expectations for a military adventure against Iran, for example, during the transitional period before Joe Biden takes office on January 20?

No sane person can absolutely deny such a possibility. In this context, news about the US strategic B-52 bomber’s flight to the region, the possibility of supplying US bombs that penetrate fortifications to the Zionist entity, the dismissal of US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the withdrawal of US units from Iraq and Afghanistan trickled in. 

The last move may be aimed at withdrawing targets near Iran in the event Washington takes military action against Tehran. However, attacking Iran militarily is not an American desire as much as it is an “Israeli” and Saudi one. The Pentagon has previously opposed military action against Iran, at a time when the US military has not recovered from its wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

This view does not appear to have changed, and US military commanders are unlikely to agree to put the military during the transition period on the course of a new war in the Middle East for personal or populist purposes. 

There are other considerations too. The costs of the war and its consequences are difficult to determine. Trump also knows that the mood of the American public can’t bear sacrifices abroad, financially or on a humanitarian level.

What about other possibilities?

Based on Trump’s behavior over the past four years, it appears the US president prefers to score goals and make quick deals. He is not inclined to get involved in prolonged duels. As such, it’s possible to predict that Trump will resort to localized strikes in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen (there is talk about the possibility of placing Ansarullah on the list of terrorist organizations) or cover a possible “Israeli” strike in Lebanon under one pretext or another. 

He could also resort to assassinating figures affiliated with the axis of resistance, and this possibility is more likely, especially in Iraq and Syria. Trump revealed in recent months that he thought about assassinating the Syrian president, and there are also American threats directed at leaders of the resistance factions in Iraq.

In conclusion, any aggressive military action against Iran appears to be a rooted “Israeli” option that Netanyahu tried to market to the Americans since the Obama era but failed. He is trying to strike Iran via the Americans, but Washington has other calculations and options. 

The Saudis have also urged successive US administrations to strike Iran, according to what appeared in WikiLeaks documents quoting the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The window of opportunity for major military action before Trump’s departure appears narrow. He may consider the rapid operations approach followed by similar actions against Iran’s allies to deal a moral blow to Tehran, cut back its regional leadership role, and besiege its growing influence in the power equation with the Zionist entity that is challenging the US hegemony over the region.

However, we should add that the axis of resistance has its own plans for the confrontation. It withstood the maximum pressure and is able to turn any adventure into an opportunity, relying on its vigilance and accumulated capabilities.

Biden and the Middle East: Misplaced optimism

Khalil al-Anani

25 November 2020

The Arab region in general will not rank high on the list of foreign priorities for the incoming US president

US president-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on 19 November (AFP)

There has been a state of optimism in the Arab world since the announcement of Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s win in the US presidential election.

Even if the optimism is justified, especially in light of the disasters and political tragedies that the Arab region has witnessed and lived through over the past four years under President Donald Trump, this optimism is somewhat exaggerated. Some believe that the region under Biden will witness radical changes, breaking with Trump’s negative legacy – but I don’t think that will happen.

We need to dismantle the various issues that Biden is expected to engage with over the next four years in order to understand whether the situation will remain as it is, or undergo radical change. 

During the Biden era, the Arab region in general is not expected to rank high on the list of US foreign priorities. There are many reasons for this, including Biden’s vision, which does not stray far from the view of former US President Barack Obama on global issues and international conflicts, with Asia and the Pacific given priority over all other matters. 

The US relationship with China is an important file for any US administration, whether Republican or Democratic. As the rise of China represents an economic and security threat to the US, the Obama administration moved its foreign-policy compass towards China and the Pacific region. For Biden, China will continue to represent a top priority. 

The issue has become even more urgent in the wake of Trump’s more hostile policies towards China over the past four years. Observers will be watching as to whether Biden can put an end to what the average US citizen sees as Chinese encroachment and hegemony in global markets, at US expense. Some saw Trump’s China policies as a historic victory, due to the imposition of tariffs on US imports from China. 

The importance of accountability for China might be one of the few issues that has consensus among Americans of all orientations, but there are differences in how the issue is approached and handled. While Republicans, especially under Trump, use the confrontational method through the well-known strategy of “maximum pressure”, the Democrats prefer dialogue and cooperation with Beijing.

Iran, Israel and Arab authoritarians

In the Arab region, the three issues expected to dominate Biden’s agenda are the US relationships with Iran, Israel and the authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

We may witness an important shift in US policy towards Iran, especially on the nuclear file and Trump-era sanctions, which resulted in unprecedented levels of pressure on Tehran since the unilateral US withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018.

It is expected that Biden will bring the US back to the nuclear deal, but with new conditions – unless the Trump administration, in alliance with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, launches military strikes, as Trump has reportedly contemplated.

Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem in 2010 (Reuters)
Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem in 2010 (Reuters)

As for the US-Israel relationship, and in particular the issue of a two-state solution and normalisation with Arab countries, we can expect the status quo to continue. Despite Biden’s embrace of the two-state solution and rejection of Israeli attempts to impose a fait accompli on Palestinians, Biden is not expected to prevent Israel from annexing parts of the occupied West Bank.

US pressure on more Arab countries to normalise with Israel, as Trump pushed with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, may diminish. But this does not mean the Biden administration would impede any such normalisation. On the contrary, Biden welcomed the Gulf normalisation deals with Israel.

The issue of Israel’s security and qualitative superiority is a subject of agreement among Republicans and Democrats alike; none can imagine this changing under the Biden administration.

Condemnation without action

As for the US relationship with Arab authoritarian regimes, particularly with respect to support for human rights and democracy, while Biden may not support human rights violations – especially in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – he is not expected to exert great pressure on these countries if the violations continue.

A Biden administration, for example, would not likely cut off military aid to Egypt, or halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia or the UAE as an objection to the Yemen war or their miserable record on issues of democracy and human rights – despite Biden’s pledge to the contrary during his election campaign. 

Statements and condemnations may be issued from time to time, but it is unlikely that they will translate into real policies and actions. While Biden will not consider someone like Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi his “favourite dictator”, as Trump did, he will not likely sever the relationship or punish Sisi seriously for his flagrant violations of human rights in Egypt.

Perhaps optimists in the Arab world should be wary of getting too hopeful about the incoming Biden administration and the potential for regional change. If it is true that the number of bad guys around the world will decrease due to Trump’s departure from power, this does not necessarily mean that the good guys will make a comeback with Biden coming to power.

Khalil al-AnaniKhalil al-Anani is a Senior Fellow at the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies in Washington DC. He is also an associate professor of political science at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. You can follow him on Twitter: @Khalilalanani.

Pennsylvania State Legislature Holds Public Hearing on 2020 election

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