Hezbollah Is Not a Threat to America

Global Research, November 03, 2017

Featured image: Hezbollah’s supporters at Liberation Day, Bint Jbeil, Lebanon, 25 May 2014. (Source: Shutterstock/Gabirelle Pedrini)

Western-backed militants are in retreat, Bashar al-Assad remains president, Hezbollah has stretched its wings regionally, Israeli power is in decline, and Iran is on the rise. Not a pretty result for Washington’s multi-billion dollar investment in the Syrian conflict, especially if it was intended to change the map of the region to favor U.S. interests.

The Trump administration is therefore moving to hit its regional adversaries on alternative, non-military fronts—mainly, employing the sanctions tool that can cripple economies, besiege communities, and stir up public discontent.

The first step was to decertify the nuclear agreement struck between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), which would open up a pathway to further U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The second step is to resuscitate the Hezbollah “threat” and isolate the organization using legal maneuvers and financial sanctions—what one pro-U.S. Lebanese Central Bank official calls “the new tools of imperialism.”

The U.S. listed Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization” 20 years ago this month. Most other states, as well as the United Nations Security Council, have not.

Two weeks ago, at a State Department briefing on the Hezbollah “threat,” National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas J. Rasmussen tried to paint a picture of an organization that was directing “terrorism acts worldwide” and posing a threat “to U.S. interests” including “here in the homeland.”

“Prior to September 11,” Rasmussen claimed, “I think everybody knows Hezbollah was responsible for the terrorism-related deaths of more U.S. citizens than any other foreign terrorist organization.”

This was news indeed.

A check with a State Department spokesperson confirmed that the “deaths of more U.S. citizens than any other foreign terrorist organization” claim was in reference to the following incidents:

“Hezbollah is responsible for multiple large scale terrorist attacks, including the 1983 suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut; the 1984 attack on the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut; and the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, during which U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem was murdered,” explained the spokesperson in an email.

The 1983 attack on the Beirut barracks took the lives of 241 Americans. The 1983 U.S. embassy bombing killed 17 Americans, and the 1984 attack on the relocated embassy facilities killed two Americans.

Hezbollah has officially and consistently denied involvement in these suicide bombings and was not even established as an organization until 1985. Some write off this important discrepancy by arguing that the bombings would have been conducted by one of Hezbollah’s “precursor organizations,” albeit without providing evidence to prove the point. The U.S. secretary of defense at the time of the bombings, Caspar Weinberger, told PBS almost two decades later, in 2001:

“We still do not have the actual knowledge of who did the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut Airport… and we certainly didn’t then.”

What was the U.S. reaction to the Beirut bombings in 1982? Did it retaliate against this phantom Hezbollah or its “precursor” organizations? No. In what was the heaviest shore bombardment by a U.S. naval vessel since the Korean war, the Americans retreating from Lebanon launched 300 missiles inland, killing hundreds of Druze and Shia non-combatants. In their book Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America’s War Against TerrorismDavid C. Martin and John Walcott write about the incident:

In a nine-hour period, the U.S.S. New Jersey fired 288 16-inch rounds, each one weighing as much as a Volkswagen Beetle. In those nine-hours, the ship consumed 40 percent of the 16-inch ammunition available in the entire European theater…in one burst of wretched excess.

It wasn’t until 2003 that Hezbollah was officially fingered in the embassy bombing. In a 30-page decision that resulted from a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said Hezbollah carried out the attack at the behest of Iran and its Ministry of Information and Security. This was based in part with an alleged Hezbollah bomber who said he was directed “to go forward with attacks” in Lebanon at that time. Critics have called this a “show trial,” comparing it to the 2016 U.S. trial that blamed Iran for the September 11 terrorist attacks, despite the fact that 15 Saudis (and no Iranians) were among the hijackers and the U.S. intelligence community has identified links between Saudi officials and some of the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, the Beirut barracks bombing targeted servicemen from the U.S. and France. This was in the context of Israel’s invasion and occupation of Lebanon in 1982. The Israeli military at the time had been heavily armed and outfitted by the United States. The victims were not non-combatants—they were military forces belonging to governments that were perceived by Lebanese as aiding the aggression against sovereign Lebanon.

Whatever the case and whomever the perpetrator, you don’t get to call such an action “terrorism.” It’s an irrational American narrative that time and time again confounds the Middle East: If the U.S. kills you, you are collateral damage. But if you shoot back, you are a terrorist.

Not Hezbollah

“It’s not really Hezbollah’s modus operandi,” mused former UK Ambassador Frances Guy about the massive car bomb that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri along Beirut’s seafront. We were discussing likely perpetrators during my visit to Beirut in 2010, and Guy told me that the Lebanese resistance group doesn’t really “do” high-octane car bombings in public spaces.

Nonetheless, four Hezbollah operatives stand accused of assassinating Hariri by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), a highly politicized UN investigative body that shifted its focus from one western political adversary to another, until finally settling on Hezbollah.

A revealing Wikileaks cable from 2008 shows the STL’s chief investigator begging the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon to provide the names of “leads” to pursue in Syria. “You are the key player,” he implores Ambassador Michele Sison, adding that the U.S. has “a big investment in the Tribunal.”

In a rare candid moment during an off-the-record meeting in 2011, another senior British official dropped this bombshell:

“The [UN] Tribunal is useful for us to keep the Iranians in line. We don’t have too many tools left to do that.”

Shortly after my meeting with Ambassador Guy in 2010, she was raked over the coals for a blog she posted on the passing of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah—a Lebanese Shia cleric the U.S. has consistently, and many believe incorrectly, called “Hezbollah’s spiritual leader.” She wrote:

Frances Guy

When you visited him you could be sure of a real debate, a respectful argument and you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person…The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints. May he rest in peace.

Israelis were incensed by Guy’s admiration for the Hezbollah-supporting cleric, and her blog post was scrubbed. But the UK nevertheless sent an official to pay condolences at Fadlallah’s Hassanein mosque, followed by a procession of ambassadors from France, Belgium, Poland, and Denmark. The French and Spanish ambassadors and the UN secretary general sent condolences to Hezbollah too.

Foreign Policy magazine published a piece upon Fadlallah’s death, subtitled: “How the United States got Lebanon’s leading Shiite cleric dead wrong—and missed a chance to change the Middle East forever.” That cryptic sentence refers, of course, to the monumentally misguided off-the-books assassination attempt against Ayatollah Fadlallah organized by CIA Director William Casey in the aftermath of the barracks and embassy bombings—despite the fact that the U.S., per Weinberger’s claims, had no clue who did not.

According to an interview Casey gave to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, the CIA chief arranged for Saudi funding for the covert operation using Lebanese militias to do the dirty work. Fadlallah escaped death, but 80 others died in the southern Beirut suburb that day, including the brother of a young Imad Mughniyeh, who went on to become a leader of Hezbollah’s security operations.

He had been only nine years old in July 1972, when the Israelis set off Beirut’s first car bomb near the southern suburb where he lived, killing Palestinian poet Ghassan Kanafani and others.

Mughniyeh, you may recall, was himself killed in a car bomb in Damascus in February 2008. In the immediate aftermath of that assassination, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell seemed to misdirect reporters:

“There’s some evidence that it may have been internal Hezbollah. It may have been Syria. We don’t know yet, and we’re trying to sort that out.”

No, it wasn’t Hezbollah and it wasn’t Syria. Seven years later, a series of orchestrated leaks to Newsweek and the Washington Post revealed that the Mughniyeh car bombing came courtesy of a joint operation by the CIA and Mossad.

No Threat to Americans

“Hezbollah is not plotting against us,” former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a small group of anti-government Syrians on the sidelines of the UN’s General Assembly plenary session a year ago.

Kerry’s comments were caught on an audio tape acquired by the New York Times. Asked why the U.S. fights extremist Sunni groups and not Shia ones, he replied:

The reason for [airstrikes against the Sunni Extremists] is because they have basically declared war on us, and are plotting against us, and Hezbollah is not plotting against us— Hezbollah is exclusively focused on Israel, who they’re not attacking now, and on Syria, where they are attacking in support of Assad.

Now, a mere year later, Rasmussen wants us to believe:

“We in the Intelligence Community do, in fact, see continued activity on behalf of Hezbollah here inside the homeland.”

So which is it? Is Hezbollah targeting Americans or not? The evidence of this is extremely slim and is peppered with more use of qualifying terms—-“allegedly,” “reportedly,” “assessments,” “linkages”—than any objective journalist can comfortably swallow. So too are U.S. reports of Hezbollah’s “international terrorist activities.”

American investigative reporter Gareth Porter has done deep dives on various allegations of Hezbollah-linked “terrorism” in ArgentinaBulgariaWashington, DCIndiaSaudi Arabia and other places. The State Department lists many of these incidents as evidence of the “global threat” Hezbollah poses, but always, upon further scrutiny, the accusations ring hollow.

If there was compelling evidence of the Lebanese resistance group’s involvement in all these attacks, then why have so few nations clamored onto the Hezbollah-is-a-terrorist-organization bandwagon? Until the conflict in Syria kicked off, it was restricted to a smattering of western states and Israel. But relentless U.S. pressure, and the seismic battle currently underway in the Middle East between pro-U.S. states and pro-Iran states vying for hegemony, have produced a smattering few recent additions.

In early 2016, the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) designated Hezbollah a terrorist group, followed a few days later by the 21-member Arab League, with Lebanon and Iraq voting against the measure.

Both organizations are heavily dominated by the immensely wealthy and sectarian (read: anti-Shia) Saudis, financial patrons to many Sunni leaders in the region, and a country entrenched in existential proxy battles in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Bahrain (against Hezbollah ally and U.S. foe, Iran).

What stands out, instead, is the European Union’s fuzzy position on Hezbollah. Despite U.S. insistence that the group in its entirely is a terrorist organization, the EU lists only Hezbollah’s “military wing” as such—and that designation was made only in 2013, when the Syrian conflict exploded and nations started taking hard sides in the Middle East. The “military wing” caveat is a critical distinction that reveals there are more layers to this onion than we see in State Department sound bites.

For Lebanon, Hezbollah is more than just the first Arab force to militarily expel the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from its territory permanently. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is a political party too, with members of parliament and seats in the cabinet. The group runs a remarkable array of social services across the country, from subsidized schools, hospitals and clinics, to agricultural centers and environmental programs.

Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan introduced a more nuanced image of the group to a Washington think tank audience in 2009:

Hezbollah started out as purely a terrorist organization in the early ’80s and has evolved significantly over time. And now it has members of parliament, in the cabinet; there are lawyers, doctors, others who are part of the Hezbollah organization … And so, quite frankly, I’m pleased to see that a lot of Hezbollah individuals are in fact renouncing that type of terrorism and violence and are trying to participate in the political process in a very legitimate fashion.

Furthermore, Hezbollah’s appeal is not limited to Lebanon’s Shia community. Since 2006, Hezbollah has been in a political alliance with the country’s largest Christian-based political party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), whose leader, General Michel Aoun, is currently president of Lebanon.

Aoun’s close association with Hezbollah is an irritant to Washington, and so the Trump administration is pushing to tighten the sanctions noose on Lebanon, too. In September, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to strengthen the 2015 Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act. Congressmen claim the new measures won’t harm regular Lebanese civilians, but there is a dangerous trend underway to punish anyone who supports Hezbollah’s civic, social, and religious initiatives.

This concern by the Lebanese is fully justified if you listen to State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan A. Sales, who insists:

Money given to a terrorist organization, even for purportedly non-terroristic purposes, ends up assisting the group’s terroristic activities. If you give money to the so-called peaceful side of an organization, money is fungible. And so that frees up resources that can then be used for malign activities that have nothing to do with charitable work or other purposes that we might regard as legitimate. And so it’s important for us to maintain that distinction as false. The distinction between political and terroristic is false.

The Lebanese resistance was formed in reaction to Israel’s illegal invasion and occupation of Lebanon. As Kerry says, that’s where Hezbollah’s real fight is—with Israel.

Washington should leave it to the two to duke it out. This is not America’s fight. Hezbollah has saved Lebanon—and much of the Levant—not once, but twice, from bloody aggressions. In fact, maybe I’ll take them out to lunch in Beirut and pay the bill. I daresay that could be regarded as a financial contribution to Hezbollah, and that would make me a “terrorist,” too.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Mideast geopolitics, based in Beirut.

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Irish politician to ST: The West, EU, US aggravate Syrian people’s suffering by sanctions

 Thursday, 02 November 2017 09:54

Irish politician to ST: It is not up to anybody other than the Syrian people to decide their representation

The Irish politician Clare Daly, who recently visited Syria along with European delegation, has affirmed that the West and the European Union are aggravating the Syrian people’s suffering by sanctions and the U.S. support for Saudi Arabia and Israel in the region.

She has spoken for many times before the Irish parliament about the terrible suffering that the Syrian people have had to endure and she pushed her country’s government to argue in the EU to lift sanction imposed on Syria and to oppose the influence of Israel as well as to stop the west’s facilitation to those who are waging war on Syria.

“Ireland is a small country in Europe but internationally we punch well above our weight. Our country is supposed to be neutral and our people are very proud of that position, even though our government bends the rules and facilitates the US military in using one of our airports in the west of Ireland. They say this is only allowed on the basis that the planes are unarmed and not involved in military exercises. This is ridiculous. Why do they keep flying through our airport every day if they are not involved in military exercises in the Middle East? We have used the parliament to highlight these issues, have been arrested breaking into the airport at Shannon to try and search the planes ourselves. This put a lot of attention on the issue and what is going on in the Middle East. We push our government to argue in the EU to lift the sanctions and to oppose the influence of Israel, and for the West to stop facilitating those who are continuing to arm and finance those waging war in Syria,” the politician said in an email sent to the Syriatimes newspaper about the role of the Irish Members of Parliament in explaining the reality of events in Syria.

She underlined that western powers or those they are bolstering, who are arming and financing the ‘rebels’ need to back off and facilitate an agreed negotiated settlement to end the war through the offices of the UN or an agreed international body.

“Pre-conditions to such negotiations like the removal of president Bashar al-Assad are unacceptable. It is not up to anybody other than the Syrian people to decide their representation,” Daly added, indicating that the EU delegation’s members, who recently visited Syria, will do what they can to allow Syria decides its own fate far away from outside interference.

“Incredible experience”

The Irish MP told us that the EU delegation came to Syria to see for themselves what life is like for ordinary Syrian people after seven years of war and their real feelings about what the future should hold.

“We had an incredible experience in a very short time. Syria is obviously a very beautiful country with an almost unrivaled history, wonderful food and friendly people. People have suffered much and the presence or effects of war are very obvious everywhere, but we met so many people who are proud of their country and want the chance to rebuild it, that it was a very humbling experience for us. People proudly spoke of Syria’s mosaic of different religions and traditions but all united by the love of their country,” Daly asserted.

She pointed out that the delegation visited areas that had been secured by the Syrian army after they had experienced terrible destruction of homes, buildings, and families.

“There was a strong determination to get things back to the way they were. The people we met who have been displaced are the most vulnerable, many are deeply traumatized and sad and they will need a lot of help and support to move on with their lives,” Daly underscored.

She concluded by saying: “To witness the resilience of the human spirit in the face of huge challenges was really striking. We look forward to our return and will do what we can to urge the world to allow Syria decides its own fate, free from outside interference.”

By the end of last month [October], a delegation composed of activists from Ireland, Romania, Spain, Norway and Sweden visited Syria.

Since 2011, a foreign-backed terror war has been waged against Syria targeting its people, army, civilization and infrastructures in accordance with US-Zionist plot that aims to fragment the region and to have hegemony over its wealth.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

Chief of Iran’s Armed Forces: We Will Quit the Nuclear Deal Once Sanctions are Re-Imposed

Al-Mayadeen

30-10-2017 | 13:01

Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri warned that in case sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program are brought back under other pretexts, staying in the nuclear deal will be in vain.

 

Bagheri


He further stressed that Tehran will quit the nuclear deal immediately if the sanctions were re-imposed.

“The Americans were in the process of eliminating the axis of resistance and widening the circle of their threats to include the Iranian depth; unfortunately, they succeeded in a case or two, but they faced a blowing response in Iran,” he added.

“The Americans have moved Daesh leaders from one place to another several times. They even armed them in many occasions.”

The Iranian military official noted that America’s main goal, through its new strategy, is to topple the Islamic Republic’s system, noting that “this is what the US State Secretary has announced lately.”

Bagheri also made clear that the “Nuclear deal is not a goal or a sacred verse to abide by under any circumstance. It is rather a deal that was agreed on by the United Nations.”

Commenting on the Iraqi Kurdistan issue, Bagheri noted that Iran will lift border restrictions with Iraq’s Kurdistan region “in the coming days following a closure after last month’s Kurdish vote in favor of independence.”

Quoted by ISNA news agency on Monday, Bagheri also said if Kurdistan implemented its plan to break away from Iraq, “there would be bloodshed in Iraq and neighboring countries would be affected.”

Kurdistan’s president said on Sunday he would resign after the independence referendum he championed backfired and triggered military and economic retaliation by the Iraqi government.

Translated by website team

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America First? What is Behind Washington’s ‘Economic War’ Against Europe

Source

Former French President Francois Hollande has berated Donald Trump for pursuing protectionist policies. Speaking to Sputnik, French analysts said that the US often used “hidden protectionism” even before Trump was elected and that EU countries are just starting to determine strategies for resisting competition from American multinationals.

Marc German, a specialist in competitive intelligence and enterprise diplomacy, told Sputnik France that Trump “loudly declares the protectionism of the American economy.”

“But his battle cry, which boils down to the slogan ‘America first’, is in fact an unwritten preamble to the American Constitution. And we have been seeing this for two centuries already!” German added.

He was echoed by Lawyer Olivier Piton, who said that “the United States has always professed protectionism, albeit in a hidden form.”He recalled that “even Barack Obama found a way to save the American automotive industry” during his tenure. At the time, it was reported that it was clearly protectionist measures, and no one made any special hype about this, according to Piton.

“Americans have always believed that they should defend their sovereignty in a number of areas. That is, this phenomenon is not new because Americans have always acted like this,” he said.

 According to Piton, the traditional American use of hidden protectionism in trade policy-making comes amid “the review of multilateral agreements.”
In other words, he added, there is a return to the narrow national vision of trade relations, at least from the American point of view.

German, for his part, recalled that a whole array of enterprises and large corporations in Europe had already started to merge in order to contain competition from American companies.

“In the economic war which has been waged for many decades between the United States, which seeks unipolarity, and the rest of the world, there are movements that resist the Americans,” German said.

Urging Europe to finally “wake up”, German quoted former French President Francois Mitterrand as saying that France is in a “deadly” war with America, which he claimed wants unlimited power in the global arena.Earlier, the French business newspaper Les Echos cited a spate of  strategic industries in which President Trump is ready to abandon market principles to protect his country’ national economy. These include industries related to the production of steel, aluminum, cars, aircraft, ships and semiconductors.

Does Trump dare to withdraw from the nuclear understanding? هل يجرؤ ترامب على الانسحاب من التفاهم النووي؟

Does Trump dare to withdraw from the nuclear understanding?

أكتوبر 17, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

هل يجرؤ ترامب على الانسحاب من التفاهم النووي؟

Many people avoid answering this question lest the developments do not reflect their expectations, or make them lose some of the credibility and confidence which they accumulated among the readers and observers, especially in the light of the escalating positions which  are launched by the US President Donald Trump towards Iran and the understanding on its nuclear file, foreshadowing of the end of the era of this understanding which he perseveres in  describing it with the worst understanding, while many do not consider it far that Trump may do such a step putting the international and the regional relations in front of what he called as the forthcoming storm, many people considered it far  that Iran has the intention and the ability for escalating strong reactions, whether Trump abolishes the agreement or imposes sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, putting the Iranian threats within the context of the psychological warfare.

It is certain that Trump will not dare to announce the abolishment of the agreement because first his powers do not include such of that announcement, what he has is to ask the Congress to revoke the law of ratification of the agreement if he wants to withdraw from it, but the results will be subjected to balances where neither Trump not his dividing team can control. Despite this power which does include the abolishment, it puts Trump in withdrawing position from the agreement beholding the Congress the responsibility. Trump will not use it but he will search for a maneuver that will show him upset from the agreement without getting involved in the call to withdraw from it, this will be through restricting to what is stated by the law of ratifying the agreement by the Congress, such as asking for an annual report from the administration that shows the degree of Iran’s compliance with the agreement. He said that Iran is restricting with the literal obligations which were stated by the agreement, but it does not apply its essence. Trump does not withdraw from the agreement, but he withdraws his confidence in the ability of the agreement to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons, calling the Congress to discuss the ways in order to improve the agreement and to achieve more guarantees. This means getting involved in discussions that last for sixty days, where the Congress will give recommendations to Trump’s administration that will include calls as the seeking with the partners in the agreement as Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany, the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the European Union to formulate more effective understandings to oblige Iran to commit to new obligations, along with going in for separated sanctions system that does not violate the nuclear understanding system, but it pursuits what is called by Washington as the Iranian missile program and what is being discussed by Trump and his team under the title of the interventions of Iran in the region and accusing it with destabilizing the allied regimes of Washington, where Hezbollah will get the main share of sanctions.

Will Trump dare to impose sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard as an organization, after he was allocated them to the Corps of Jerusalem within the Revolutionary Guard?

Trump will not dare to do so; he will choose instead the missile system in the Guard as what he did with the Corps of Jerusalem. He will avoid the challenge of Iran by putting its threats which were issued by the highest governmental and military levels towards the Supreme Leader of the Republic, as in the case of the nuclear understanding and the escape from losing of Europe and the International Atomic Energy Agency through  finding the solution which does not lead to major confrontation, and which preserves the tension and the pressure paper for Trump under the ceiling of small confrontations within a big negotiation, because the decisions concerning the relationship with Iran are decisions issued by the US country not by the sidelines of the President’s movement. The US country which evaded from the major confrontation entitled the prevention of Hezbollah from being present in Syria especially on the Southern and eastern borders, and after seeing that its red lines were violated it knows that the opportunities of a confrontation entitled Hezbollah is greater than the opportunities of a confrontation entitled the Iranian nuclear program, the halting from  the least due to the weakness ensures the inability to proceed towards the most by the illusion of ability

To those who are possessed by the power of America we say: let’s wait and see. Tomorrow is another day

The position of Trump is similar to the positions of the two heads of Kurdistan and Catalonia regions by the calling to hold referendum on the secession then to replace the announcement of the independence with the call for dialogue. These wrong considerations involve their owners, with the difference that Trump lives his presidency as a TV commentator rather than a decision-maker.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

هل يجرؤ ترامب على الانسحاب من التفاهم النووي؟

 

أكتوبر 11, 2017

ناصر قنديل
هل يجرؤ ترامب على الانسحاب من التفاهم النووي؟– يتفادى الكثيرون الخوض في الإجابة عن هذا السؤال كي لا تأتي التطورات عكس توقعاتهم، ويخسرون بعضاً من المصداقية والثقة التي راكموها لدى قراء ومتابعين، خصوصاً في ظلّ المواقف التصعيدية التي يطلقها الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب تجاه إيران والتفاهم حول ملفها النووي، مبشّراً بنهاية عهد هذا التفاهم الذي دأب على وصفه بالأسوأ. وفيما لا يستبعد كثيرون أن يقدم ترامب على هذه الخطوة واضعاً العلاقات الدولية والإقليمية أمام ما أسماه بالعاصفة المقبلة، يستبعد كثيرون أن يكون لدى إيران النية والقدرة على ردود قوية تصعيدية، سواء إذا أقدم ترامب على إلغاء الاتفاق أو على وضع عقوبات على الحرس الثوري الإيراني، واضعين التهديدات الإيرانية في دائرة عضّ الأصابع والحرب النفسية.

– الأكيد أنّ ترامب لن يجرؤ على الإعلان عن إلغاء الاتفاق أولاً، لأنّ صلاحيته لا تطال هذا الإعلان، وما يملكه هو الطلب للكونغرس إبطال قانون التصديق على الاتفاقية إذا أراد الانسحاب منها. وهذا يخضع بالنتيجة لتوازنات لا يتحكم بها ترامب وفريقه المنقسم حول الموقف أصلاً، ورغم هذه الصلاحية التي تقع دون مستوى الإلغاء، لكنها تضع ترامب في موضع المنسحب من الاتفاق ملقياً المسؤولية على الكونغرس، فترامب لن يستعملها، بل سيبحث عن مناورة تظهره كغاضب من الاتفاق من دون التورّط بالدعوة للانسحاب منه، وذلك عبر التقيّد بحدود ما ينصّ عليه قانون تصديق الكونغرس على الاتفاق، من طلب تقرير سنوي من الإدارة يشير إلى درجة تقيّد إيران بموجباتها بالاتفاق، فيقول إنّ إيران تتقيّد بالموجبات الحرفية التي نصّ عليها الاتفاق لكنها لا تطبّق روحيته، وهو لا ينسحب من الاتفاق بل يسحب ثقته بقدرة الاتفاق على منع إيران من امتلاك سلاح نووي، داعياً الكونغرس لمناقشة سبل تحسين الاتفاقية وتحقيق المزيد من الضمانات. وهذا يعني الدخول في مناقشات تمتدّ لمدة ستين يوماً يخرج بحصيلتها الكونغرس بتوصيات لإدارة ترامب، ستتضمّن دعوات من نوع السعي مع الشركاء في الاتفاق وهم الدول الخمس، روسيا والصين وفرنسا وبريطانيا وألمانيا، والأمم المتحدة والوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية والاتحاد الأوروبي، لصياغة تفاهمات أشدّ قوّة وقدرة على إلزام إيران بموجبات جديدة، وبالتوازي السير بنظام عقوبات منفصل لا يخرق منظومة التفاهم النووي، لكنه يلاحق ما تسمّيه واشنطن البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني، وما يتحدّث عنه ترامب وفريقه تحت عنوان تدخلات إيران في المنطقة، واتهامها بالتسبّب بزعزعة استقرار أنظمة حليفة لواشنطن، وسيحظى حزب الله هنا بالحصة الرئيسة من العقوبات.

– هل سيجرؤ ترامب على الذهاب لعقوبات على الحرس الثوري كمؤسسة بعينها، بعدما كان قد خصّصها لفيلق القدس ضمن الحرس الثوري؟

– لن يجرؤ ترامب على ذلك، بل سيختار منظومة الصواريخ في الحرس، أسوة بما فعله مع فيلق القدس، ويتفادى تحدّي إيران بوضع تهديداتها التي صدرت عن أعلى المستويات الحكومية والعسكرية وصولاً للمرشد الأعلى للجمهورية، كما في حال التفاهم النووي والتهرّب من خسارة أوروبا والوكالة الدولية للطاقة النووية، بإيجاد الالتفاف المناسب الذي لا يؤدّي لإشعال المواجهة الكبرى، ويحفظ لترامب أوراق التوتر والضغط واللعب بها، تحت سقف مواجهات صغيرة ضمن التفاوض الكبير، لأنّ القرارات على مسرح العلاقة مع إيران هي قرارات بحجم الدولة الأميركية وليست من هوامش حركة الرئيس. والدولة الأميركية التي تهرّبت من مواجهة كبرى عنوانها منع حزب الله من الوجود في سورية، خصوصاً على الحدود الجنوبية والشرقية، وهي ترى خطوطها الحمراء تداس، تعلم أنّ فرص مواجهة عنوانها حزب الله أكبر من فرص مواجهة عنوانها الملف النووي الإيراني، والإحجام عن الأقلّ بسبب الضعف يؤكد عدم الإقدام على الأكثر بوهم القدرة، فمن لا يستطيع الأقلّ لا يستطيع الأكثر.

– للموهومين بالقوة الأميركية نقول فلننتظر ونرَ، ومَنْ يعِش يرَ، وإن غداً لناظره قريب!

– كم يشبه موقف ترامب موقف رئيسَيْ إقليمي كردستان وكتالونيا، بالدعوة للاستفتاء على الانفصال ثم استبدال إعلان الاستقلال بالدعوة للحوار، هي الحسابات الخاطئة تورّط أصحابها، مع فارق أنّ ترامب يعيش رئاسته كمعلّق تلفزيوني لا كصانع قرار.

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إيران في زمن بدر وخيبر وترامب في «شِعب أبي طالب

أكتوبر 14, 2017

محمد صادق الحسيني

تمخّض الجبل فولد فأراً…

أو أراد أن يكحّلها فعماها…

كما يقول المثل العربي الشهير…

هكذا ظهر ترامب في خطابه المتشنّج والعصبي ضدّ إيران بأنه فعلاً خسر الرهان على حرب ربع الساعة الأخير في معركة العلمين في دير الزور والحويجة والقائم…!

فقد خرجت سورية والعراق من يديه ومسمار جحا البرزاني في طريقه للقلع، وصفقة القرن الغزاوية ستغرق في رمال مخيم جباليا على أيدي «القسام» و«سرايا الجهاد» و«ألوية الناصر» و«أبو علي مصطفى»، وآخرين لم تسمع بهم بعد يا ترامب…!

«الأميركيون غير جديرين بالثقة وناقضو عهود من الدرجة الأولى»… هذه هي أهمّ حصيلة يخرج بها المتتبّع لخطاب ترامب سواء كان المتتبّع إيرانياً أو عربياً أو أوروبياً أو لأيّ ملة أو قوم انتمى، وهو ما سيزيد في وهن وعزلة أميركا…!

ودونالد ترامب أثبت أنه شخصياً لا يمتلك الجرأة ولا الشجاعة على الخروج من الاتفاق النووي، ولا إعلان الحرب على إيران، رغم حجم الاتهامات الهائل الذي وجّهها إليها…!

وكما توقعنا تماماً فقد ثبت أنه مجرد طبل فارغ أطلق ضجيجاً لا يعتدّ به مطلقاً غاية ما تولد منه جملة اتهامات وزعها يميناً ويساراً يحتاج لإثبات كلّ واحدة منها الى مفاوضات أطول وأعقد من مفاوضات الاتفاق النووي الشهير…!

في هذه الأثناء، فإنّ ما أطلقه ترامب من تصريحات نارية حول إيران وصفه متابعون متخصّصون بأنه ليس أكثر من وصفة طبية يُصدرها طبيب فاشل لا يستطيع أحد صرفها في أيّ صيدلية حتى في الصيدلية «الإسرائيلية»…!

حملة تهويل وتزمير وحرب نفسية لمزيد من الابتزاز لإيران والأوروبيين والعرب…

لقد ظهر كما توقعناه بائساً وعاجزاً وجباناً ورعديداً كمن يسير في زقاق مظلم، فيصرخ باستمرار ليخفي وحشته في الطريق وحتى لا يقترب منه أحد أيضاً…!

الإسرائيليون أيضاً في ردود فعلهم الأولية فقد ذهب معظمهم للقول: لا جديد في خطاب ترامب ولا جوهر فيه ولا قيمة تذكر له…!

في الخلاصة نستطيع القول إنّ خطاب ترامب ولد ما يلي:

 ـ كرّس إيران دولة إقليمية عظمى في «الشرق الأوسط»، عندما لم يتجرّأ على التطرّق لأيّ من المطالب «الإسرائيلية»، بشأن الحدّ من دور إيران في سورية ولبنان والمنطقة. أيّ أنّ هذا الوجود أصبح من المسلمات غير الخاضعة للنقاش…! وهذا تطوّر له بعد استراتيجي هامّ ذو أبعاد عملياتية مباشرة على جميع ميادين المواجهة بين المحور الأميركي «الإسرائيلي» ومحور المقاومة.

 ـ لم يتجرّأ ترامب على توجيه أية تهديدات عسكرية لا لإيران بشكل عام، ولا للحرس الثوري بشكل خاص، على الرغم من أنّ قائد الحرس الثوري كان قد هدّد الولايات المتحدة وجيوشها في «الشرق الأوسط» قبل أيام قليلة عندما طالبه بالابتعاد بنحو 2000 كلم عن الحدود الإيرانية…!

 ـ أما العقوبات التي قال إنّ وزارة الخزانة الأميركية ستتخذها ضدّ الحرس الثوري وداعميه فهي إجراء باهت ولا قيمة له، وهو يعلم أنّ الحرس لا يتسلّم موازنته من وزارة المالية الإيرانية، وعليه فلا قيمة لإجراء كهذا…!

 ـ إنّ الخطاب قد أدّى إلى جعل نتن ياهو يشعر بأنه يتيم تماماً، وأنّ صراخه الذي ملأ واشنطن وموسكو لم يؤدّ إلى أية نتيجة، وهو نتن ياهو قد تحوّل الى قاروط القاروط هو يتيم الأب الذي يبقى مضطراً لخدمة أعمامه والآخرين بعد وفاة والده بشكل نهائي ودائم. أيّ أنه مرغم على القبول بدور الخادم للمصالح الأميركية التي هي فوق مصالح القاعدة العسكرية الأميركية في فلسطين والتي يطلق عليها اسم «إسرائيل».

 ـ ومن بين الخائبين من أذناب أميركا في الجزيرة العربية، والذين كانوا بسبب جهلهم وبؤس تفكيرهم ينتظرون قيام ترامب بإعلان الحرب على إيران في هذا الخطاب، فقد باؤوا بغضب من الله وتاهوا في صحراء بني «إسرائيل»…!

 ـ تركيز ترامب على أنّ الاتفاق النووي قد أكسب الأوروبيين كثيراً من الصفقات يشي بأنه يرنو إلى الحصول على جزء من المكاسب التجارية والصفقات مع إيران من خلال تفاهمات معينة مع روسيا .

ـ الخطاب يوازي في أهميته ما حققته إيران بتوقيع الاتفاق النووي، وبكلمات أخرى فهو تكريس لمحاسن الاتفاق النووي كلّها…!

من جديد تبقى اليد العليا لمحور المقاومة في الميادين كلها، بعد أن أصبح واضحاً كوضوح الشمس، بأنّ مركز ثقل العالم لم يعد في واشنطن وقد انتقل من الغرب الى الشرق…

إنه موسم الهجرة إلى مضيق مالاقا وخليج البنغال وبحر الصين…

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله.

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مقالات مشابهة

The whole notion that Iran is a national security threat and state sponsor of terrorism is just as bogus as the Russian meddling

The Deep State’s Bogus ‘Iranian Threat’

David Stockman says they’re no danger at all

Thursday we identified a permanent fiscal crisis as one of the quadruple witching forces arising in October 2017 which will shatter the global financial bubble. Today the Donald is on the cusp of making the crisis dramatically worse by decertifying the Iranian nuke deal, thereby reinforcing another false narrative that enables the $1 trillion Warfare State to continue bleeding the nation’s fiscal solvency.

In a word, the whole notion that Iran is a national security threat and state sponsor of terrorism is just as bogus as the Russian meddling story or the claim that the chain of events resulting from the coup d’ etat fostered by Washington on the streets of Kiev in February 2014 is evidence of Russian expansionism and aggression.

Likewise, it’s part of the same tissue of lies which led to Washington’s massive, destructive and counterproductive interventions in Syria and Libya – when neither regime posed an iota of threat to the safety and security of the American homeland.

To the contrary, all of these false narratives are the cover stories which justify the Warfare State’s massive draw on the nation’s broken finances. We will get to the Big Lie about Iran momentarily, but first it is useful to demonstrate just how enormously excessive the nation’s defense budget actually is, and why the denizens of the Imperial City – especially the neocon ideologues – find it necessary to peddle such threadbare untruths.

Spoiler alert: Iran has actually never attacked a single foreign nation in modern history whereas Washington has chosen to unilaterally intervene in or arm virtually every surrounding country in the region.

Here’s some historical context that dramatizes our point about Washington’s hideously excessive spending on defense. Back in 1962 on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US defense budget was $52 billion, which would amount to $340 billion in today’s (2017$) purchasing power.

Needless to say, the world came to the brink of nuclear Armageddon at a time when the Soviet Union was at the peak of its power and was armed to the teeth. In addition to thousands of nuclear warheads deliverable by missiles and bombers, it had 50,000 tanks facing NATO and nearly 4 million men under arms.

The now open Soviet archives, of course, show that the Soviets had far more bark than bite and never conceived of attacking the US or even western Europe; they didn’t remotely have the wherewithal or the strategic nerve.

Nevertheless, by 1962 false moves and provocations by both sides had created a state of “cold war” that was real. Yet even then, the $340 billion military budget was more than adequate to deter the Soviet threat. Nor is that our view as an armchair historian.

The 1962 defense budget was essentially President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s budget, and it is one that he had drastically slashed from the $500 billion (in today’s dollars) he had inherited from Truman at the end of the Korean War.

That is to say, the greatest general who ever led American forces had concluded that $340 billion was enough. And that came as he left office warning about just the opposite – the danger that the military/industrial complex would gain inordinate political power and pursue foreign policies which required ever larger military spending.

Unlike standard cold warriors, Ike believed that the ultimate national security resource of America was a healthy capitalist economy and that excessive government debt was deeply inimical to that outcome.

That’s why he balanced the Federal budget three times during his tenure and presided over a fiscal consolidation – thanks to sharply reduced defense spending – that generated an average deficit of hardly 1 percent of GDP. That’s an outcome scarcely imaginable at all in the present world.

Even then, the Soviet empire with all the captive republics that have become independent nations since 1991 (e.g. Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan etc.) had a GDP in 1960 that was estimated to be 50 percent the size of the US. So Ike’s bet was that capitalist growth over time was the ultimate source of national strength; that a healthy domestic economy would eventually leave the centralized command-and-control Soviet economy in the dust; and that ultimately the Kremlin’s brand of statist socialism and militarism would fail.

He was right. Russia today is a shadow of what Ronald Reagan called the Evil Empire. Its GDP of $1.3 trillion is smaller than that of the New York metro area ($1.6 trillion) and only 7 percent of total US GDP.

Moreover, unlike the militarized Soviet economy which devoted upwards of 40 percent of output to defense, the current Russian defense budget of $60 billion is just 4.5 percent of its vastly shrunken GDP.

So how in the world did the national security apparatus convince the Donald that we need the $700 billion defense program for FY 2018 – 12X bigger than Russia’s – that he just signed into law?

What we mean, of course, is how do you explain that – beyond the fact that the Donald knows virtually nothing about national security policy and history; and, to boot, is surrounded by generals who have spent a lifetime scouring the earth for enemies and threats to repel and reasons for more weapons and bigger forces.

The real answer, however, is both simple and consequential. To wit, the entire prosperity and modus operandi of the Imperial City is based on a panoply of “threats” that are vastly exaggerated or even purely invented; they retain their currency by virtue of endless repetition in the groupthink that passes for analysis. We’d actually put it in the category of cocktail party chatter.

For crying out loud. Why is Russia considered a threat to the American homeland when it doesn’t even have a blue water navy or any other basis to project offensive power to the North American continent?

Indeed, its “attack” fleet consists of a single, 40-year old smoke-belching aircraft carrier that could never get out of the Mediterranean bathtub ringed by overwhelming US forces.

Beyond conventional offensive power there is the non-power of its 1500 or so deployable nuclear warheads. Whatever you may think of Vlad Putin’s kleptomania and hard-edged suppression of internal dissent, he is surely the “Cool Hand Luke” of the modern world. Do you think he would be rash or suicidal enough to threaten the US with nuclear weapons?

Or for that matter that Russia with its pipsqueak $1.3 trillion GDP and limited military capacity actually intends to invade and occupy Europe, which has a GDP of $17 trillion and sufficient military force – even without the US – to make such a project unthinkable

Likewise, so what if the Chinese want to waste money building sand castles (i.e. man-made islands with military uses)in the South China Sea. It’s their backyard – just as the Gulf of Mexico is ours.

Besides, the great Red Ponzi is utterly dependent upon exporting $2 trillion per years of goods to the US, Western Europe, Japan, South Korea etc. Without those markets its massively leveraged, speculation-ridden, malinvested bubble economy would collapse in 6 months or less. So does anyone really think that the PLA (People Liberation Army) will be bombing 4,000 Wal-Marts in America any time soon?

The truth is, the US defense budget is hideously oversized for a reason so obvious that it constitutes the ultimate elephant in the room. No matter how you slice it, there just are no real big industrialized, high tech countries in the world which can threaten the American homeland or even have the slightest intention of doing so.

Indeed, to continue with our historical benchmarks, the American homeland has not been so immune to foreign military threat since WW II. Yet during all those years of true peril, it never spent close too the Donald’s $700 billion boondoggle.

For instance, during the height of LBJs Vietnam folly (1968) defense spending in today’s dollars was about $400 billion. And even at the top of Reagan’s utterly unnecessary military building up (by the 1980s the Soviet Union was collapsing under the weight of its own socialist dystopia), total US defense spending was just $550 billion.

That gets us to the bogus Iranian threat. It originated in the early 1990s when the neocon’s in the George HW Bush Administration realized that with the cold war’s end, the Warfare State was in grave danger of massive demobilization like the US had done after every war until 1945.

So among many other invented two-bit threats, the Iranian regime was demonized in order to keep the Imperial City in thrall to its purported national security threat and in support of the vast global armada of military forces, bases and occupations needed to contain it (including the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and US bases throughout the region).

The truth, however, is that according to the 2008 NIE ( National Intelligence Estimates) of the nation’s 17 intelligence agency, the Iranian’s never had a serious nuclear weapons program, and the small research effort that they did have was disbanded by orders of the Ayatollah Khamenei in 2003.

Likewise, what the Imperial City claims to be state sponsored terror is actually nothing more than Iran’s foreign policy – something that every sovereign state on the planet is permitted to have.

Thus, as the leader of the minority Shiite schism of the Islamic world, Iran has made political and confessional alliances with various Shiite regimes in the region. These include the one that Washington actually installed in Baghdad; the Alawite/Shiite regime in Syria; the largest political party and representative of 40 percent of the population in Lebanon (Hezbollah); and the Houthi/Shiite of Yemen, who historically occupied the northern parts of the country and are now under savage attack by American weapons supplied to Saudi Arabia.

In the case of both Syria and Iraq, their respective governments invited Iranian help, which is also their prerogative as sovereign nations. Ironically, it was the Shiite Crescent alliance of Iran/Assad/Hezbollah that bears much of the credit for defeating ISIS on the ground in Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and elsewhere in the now largely defunct Islamic State.

In tomorrow’s installment we will address the details of the Iran nuke agreement and why the Donald is making a horrible mistake in proposing to decertify it. But there should be no doubt about the consequence: It will reinforce the neocon dominance of the Republican party and insure that the nation’s $1 trillion Warfare State remains fully entrenched.

Needless to say, that will also insure that the America’s gathering fiscal crisis will turn into an outright Fiscal Calamity in the years just ahead.

David Stockman has agreed to send every Antiwar.com reader a free copy of his newest book, Trumped! when you take his special Contra Corner offer. Click here now for the details.

David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.

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