How the West’s War in Libya Has Spurred Terrorism in 14 Countries

How the West’s War in Libya Has Spurred Terrorism in 14 Countries

By Mark Curtis,

The true extent of the fall-out from the Libya war is remarkable: it has spurred terrorism in Europe, Syria, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa

Eight years on from Nato’s war in Libya in 2011, as the country enters a new phase in its conflict, I have taken stock of the number of countries to which terrorism has spread as a direct product of that war.

The number is at least 14. The legacy of David Cameron’s, Nicolas Sarkozy’s and Barack Obama’s overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been gruesomely felt by Europeans and Africans.

Yet holding these leaders accountable for their decision to go to war is as distant as ever.

Ungoverned space

The 2011 conflict, in which Nato worked alongside Islamist forces on the ground to remove Gaddafi, produced an ungoverned space in Libya and a country awash with weapons, ideal for terrorist groups to thrive.

But it was Syria that suffered first.

After civil war broke out there in early 2011, at the same time as in Libya, the latter became a facilitation and training hub for around 3,000 fighters on their way to Syria, many of whom joined al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State-affiliated Katibat al-Battar al-Libi (KBL), which was founded by militants from Libya.

In Libya itself, a rebranding of existing al-Qaeda-linked groups in the north-eastern area of Derna produced Islamic State’s first official branch in the country in mid-2014, incorporating members of the KBL.

During 2015, IS Libya conducted car bombings and beheadings and established territorial control and governance over parts of Derna and Benghazi in the east and Sabratha in the west. It also became the sole governing body in the north-central city of Sirte, with as many as 5,000 fighters occupying the city.

By late 2016, IS in Libya was forced out of these areas, largely due to US air strikes, but withdrew to the desert areas south of Sirte, continuing low-level attacks.

Libya Map

In the last two years, the group has re-emerged as a formidable insurgent force and is again waging high-profile attacks on state institutions and conducting regular hit-and-run operations in the southwestern desert.

Last September, UN Special Representative to Libya Ghassan Salame told the UN Security Council that the IS “presence and operations in Libya are only spreading”.

Terror in Europe

After the fall of Gaddafi, IS Libya established training camps near Sabratha which are linked to a series of terrorist attacks and plots.

“Most of the blood spilled in Europe in the more spectacular attacks, using guns and bombs, really all began at the time when Katibat al-Battar went back to Libya,” Cameron Colquhoun, a former counterterrorism analyst for Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, told The New York Times.

“That is where the threat trajectory to Europe began – when these men returned to Libya and had breathing space.”

Salman Abedi, who blew up 22 people at a pop concert in Manchester in 2017, met with members of the Katibat al-Battar al-Libi, a faction of IS, several times in Sabratha, where he was probably trained.

Other members of the KBL were Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the ringleader of the 2015 Paris attacks on the Bataclan nightclub and sports stadium, which killed 130 people, and the militants involved in the Verviers plot to attack Belgium in 2015.

The perpetrator of the 2016 Berlin truck attack, which left 12 people dead, also had contacts with Libyans linked to IS.

So too in Italy, where terrorist activity has been linked to IS Libya, with several individuals based in Italy involved in the attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis in 2015, which killed 22 people.

Libya’s neighbours

Tunisia suffered its deadliest terrorist attack in 2015 when a 23-year-old Tunisian armed with a machine gun mowed down 38 tourists, mainly Britons, at a beach hotel in the resort of Port El Kantaoui.

The perpetrator was reportedly an adherent of IS and, like Salman Abedi, had been trained in the camp complex at Sabratha from where the attack was staged.

Libya’s eastern neighbour, Egypt, has also been struck by terrorism emanating from the country. IS officials in Libya have been linked to, and may have directed, the activities of Wilayat Sinai, the terrorist group formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has carried out several deadly attacks in Egypt.

After the fall of Gaddafi, the Western Desert became a corridor for the smuggling of weapons and operatives on their way to the Sinai.

Egypt conducted air strikes against militant camps in Libya in 2015, 2016 and again in 2017, the latter following the killing of 29 Coptic Christians near Cairo.

Into the Sahel

But Libya has also become a hub for jihadist networks stretching south into the Sahel. Libya’s 2011 uprising opened a flow of weapons into northern Mali, which helped revive an ethno-tribal conflict that had been brewing since the 1960s.

By 2012, local allies of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had taken control of day-to-day governance in the northern Mali towns of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.

After France intervened in Mali, the ongoing lack of governance in Libya precipitated several groups to relocate their operational centres to Libya, including both AQIM and its offshoot, Al-Mourabitoun, from where these groups could acquire weapons more easily.

With Libya as its rear base, Al-Mourabitoun under its leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar was behind the attack on the Amenas hydrocarbon complex in eastern Algeria in January 2013, which left 40 foreign workers dead; the gun attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali in November 2015, which killed 22 people; and for the attack on Hotel Splendid in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which killed 20 people in January 2016.

Al-Mourabitoun has also attacked a military academy and French-owned uranium mine in Niger.

Disastrous foreign policy

The fall-out from Libya spreads even wider, however. By 2016, US officials reported signs that Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadists, responsible for numerous gruesome attacks and kidnappings, were sending fighters to join IS in Libya, and that there was increased cooperation between the two groups.

The International Crisis Group notes that it was the arrival of weapons and expertise from Libya and the Sahel that enabled Boko Haram to fashion the insurgency that plagues north-western Nigeria today.

There have even been claims that Boko Haram answers to IS commanders in Libya.

In addition to these 14 countries, fighters from several other states have joined IS militants in Libya in recent years. Indeed, it is estimated that almost 80 percent of IS membership in Libya is non-Libyan, including from countries such as Kenya, Chad, Senegal and Sudan.

These foreign fighters are potentially available to return to their own countries after receiving training.

The true extent of the fall-out from the Libya war is remarkable: it has spurred terrorism in Europe, Syria, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Islamic State, although now nearly defeated in Syria and Iraq, is far from dead.

Indeed, while Western leaders seek to defeat terrorism militarily in some places, their disastrous foreign policy choices have stimulated it in others.

Mark Curtis is a historian and analyst of UK foreign policy and international development and the author of six books, the latest being an updated edition of Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam.

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A ” normal nation” to Mike Pompeo is one that regularly, invades, occupies and attacks other nations

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks in Finland: “What we’ve been trying to do is to get Iran to behave like a normal nation.”

Iran hasn’t attacked a country in over 200 years. The US however has invaded/destabilized: Vietnam Nicaragua El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Grenada Panama Iraq Yugoslavia Afghanistan Libya Syria Ukraine Yemen & others Who’s really the one in need of a behavior correction here?

Hezbollah will Eventually Prevail over US Sanctions: Official

Source

April 28, 2019

Deputy Chief of Hezbollah Executive Council Sheikh Ali Daamoush

A high-ranking Hezbollah official says the United States has slapped economic sanctions against the Lebanese resistance movement due to its bitter defeats from the group, stressing that Hezbollah will finally emerge victorious over the punitive measures.

Speaking at a ceremony in the southern Lebanese city of Nabatieh, Vice President of the Executive Council of Hezbollah Sheikh Ali Damoush said Hezbollah will confront the US-led sanctions, and its enemies will definitely fail to achieve their goals.

“Hezbollah, which owes national and moral duties to defend and protect Lebanon against the aggression of the Zionist regime (of Israel), is also responsible for safeguarding the rights and interests of the Lebanese nation and helping prevent economic collapse in the country,” Damoush said.

He added, “The Lebanese resistance movement is targeted by financial sanctions, because it continues to thwart US-Israeli plots in the (Middle East) region. The US, Zionists and their allies have failed in military confrontations with Hezbollah, have fallen short in their psychological war to tarnish the group’s image, and gained not much from designating the Lebanese group a terrorist group.”

Damoush said the strategy of imposing sanctions will not succeed in the face of the strategy of stability and patience, and strong will of Lebanese resistance fighters and Lebanese people, who have managed to thwart enemies’ plots over the past decades.

“Lebanon will not be the arena in which the (the United States of) America can achieve its political objectives. Lebanon has been and will remain to be the place for victories of Hezbollah, and decline in the American role in the region,” the senior Hezbollah official said.

Source: Press TV

Dr. Ibrahim Alloush to ST: US-Imposed Blockade on Syria Should Become a Political Problem for Arab Regimes that Abide by this Blockade

ST

Monday, 22 April 2019 09:24

Damascus, (ST)-What the Syrian people are going through economically is a continuation of the war they have been going through since 2011 by other means, according to the Arab political intellectual and University of Damascus economist Dr. Ibrahim Alloush, who has elaborated on the causes of the current oil crisis in Syria and how the country can survive it.

“The current oil crisis in Syria is the result of compounded factors. On one hand, the war partially or totally destroyed much of the infrastructure of the energy sector in Syria, including the Conoco gas plant in DeirEz-zour, which was targeted repeatedly by the US, always under the pretext of “fighting terrorism”!  It just so happens that both the terrorists and the so-called “Global Coalition against terrorism” have effectively coalesced to destroy Syria’s oil and gas installations all over the country,” he said in an interview with the Syria Times e-newspaper.

Dr. Alloush made it clear that the destruction caused considerable diminishment of Syria’s productive capacity compared to 2010.

“Work is ongoing at a rapid pace to rehabilitate oil and gas fields that have been reclaimed from the hands of terrorists by the Syrian Arab Army and allies. But obviously what has taken decades to build, and months to destroy, cannot be revamped in a few weeks.  Still, these efforts could barely keep up with the increased demand in areas liberated from terrorists, especially with the beginning of the return of Syrian refugees and the re-ignition of economic activity in the country,” he stated.

Moreover, the economist referred to the fact that foreign investment in the energy sector has been particularly hit by EU and other sanctions against Syria.

“EU and other sanctions targeting the energy sector in Syria have prodded Anglo-Dutch Shall, Total, and Gulf sands to halt operations in Syria early on in 2011 and 2012.  Foreign investment in the energy sector has been particularly hit by sanctions, most recently by the so-called Caesar’s Law enacted by the US Congress.   The objective of these sanctions, among other things, is to impede Syria’s ability to rebuild and rehabilitate its ailing energy sector,” Dr. Alloush said.

He went on to say: “ To add insult to injury, economic sanctions targeting the importation of energy products into Syria have been tightened to a halt recently in an attempt to suffocate the Syrian economy.  Oil tankers are prevented from reaching Syria.  Neighboring states have succumbed to US pressure to ban trade in energy products with Syria.  Thus, the tightened and strict enforcement of a total ban on importing energy products into Syria by the US and its allies is the primary reason for the current crunch in the energy sector.  Granted, shortages have existed before.  However, the US is making sure they get worse, thus discrediting every pretense the US and its allies have made about caring for the welfare of the Syrian people.”

The intellectual mentioned another factor related to the fact that the US is making sure that “Syrian Democratic Forces” militias continue to maintain control over the region of Eastern Euphrates, where most Syrian oil and gas deposits lie, in order to deprive the Syrian people and economy of the energy (and agricultural and water) resources they need to rebuild.

“So it all really boils down to US policy,” he affirmed.

How can Syria survive?

In response to a question about how Syria can survive this energy crisis, Dr. Alloush said: “First of all, the Syrian people need to understand that what they are going through economically is a continuation of the war they have been going through since 2011 by other means.  It’s an economic blockade basically, a form of war, and it’s being perpetrated by the US and its allies.  Rationing is common in wars.  For example in WWII, Britain, the Soviet Union and other countries have resorted to rationing as common practice.  In short, there is no substitute for weathering it out while we look carefully at practical solutions to what has grown into a hideous and vexing problem for the people of Syria.”

He believes that practical solutions include quickening the pace of rehabilitating oil and gas fields and installations destroyed by the war.  He added that producing heat or electricity via relatively inexpensive technology by relying on solar energy is quite viable.  He asserted that quicker solutions include giving some leeway to private individuals and companies, both Syrian and non-Syrian, to import energy products into Syria “by any means necessary”, as a matter of survival and national security, and allowing them to sell those energy products as the market will bear.

“Another solution would be to clear the land route between Syria and Iran through Iraq, which is taking place right now, via railroad tracks and what have you.  But that would take longer, and is not immune to attacks from the US or “Israel,” Dr. Alloush added.

He underlined that allies, especially Russian allies, should not stand, hat in hand, watching Syria reeling from this gruesome blockade.

“There are two ways the embargo on importing energy products into Syria could be lifted: either Russia can go ahead and break it directly, or it can provide a staunch political cover for the Syrian Arab Army to reclaim the oil and gas fields of Eastern Euphrates. A political cover means making sure that NATO doesn’t interfere, not that Russia needs to get involved militarily. In both cases Russia’s role is crucial, and it is not much to ask, considering that it was the Syrian theater which allowed Russia to rise to prominence regionally.”

Furthermore, the intellectual described the violation of unjustly imposed sanctions, as was the case in Iraq and Libya before, and as is the case in Syria, Iran, and Yemen right now, as a ‘moral act’.

“It’s an act of defiance against injustice, and against the law of jungle in international relations.  This message should be relayed to fellow citizens across the Arab World and to anti-imperialists worldwide.  Imposing a blockade on Syria should become a political problem for Arab regimes who abide by this US-imposed blockade.  Fellow Arabs should be made to understand that yesterday it was Iraq and Libya, today it is Syria and Yemen, but tomorrow it will be them,” the intellectual concluded.

It is true that cars line up by the hundred outside petrol stations in Syria and long lines of people waiting to buy gas begin forming before dawn, but the fuel crisis has not brought life to a halt in Syrian cities as some western media reports claim.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

Profile of MBS: Suspense, Games of Thrones and Fear of Democratic Win in the US Elections!

By Staff

In a paper entitled “Profile of a Prince: Promise and Peril in Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030” submitted to the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Karen Elliott House wrote:

Relaxing with “Game of Thrones”

When the prince relaxes, he usually plays video games or watch television series like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. More recently, he has also taken to cardio workouts in his palace gym to control his weight and enhance his endurance.

Much of MBS’ energy continues to be devoted to marketing his vision of Saudi Arabia as a ‘strong world actor.’

He also evinces enormous confidence in his political instincts though they have been far from unerring. The risk inherent in change, he tells associates, is less than the risk of doing nothing. If he errs, he can correct it. If he dawdles, the country suffers.

Intrigue plays a large part in Saudi politics. So, too, does brutality. Western sensibilities are offended by the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the Crown Prince’s insistence he played no role. Yet frightening opponents and cunningly avoiding entrapment are admired traditions in much of the Arab world.

Secretiveness and Surprise

Secretiveness is another political instinct of MBS. He is said to confide in no one and to make every effort to keep his aides guessing. In meetings with staff to discuss options, one aide says it does no good to focus on which proposal the prince seems to support. Often he selects one option simply to force his aides to provide even better arguments for one he will choose later. Certainly, his lightening-speed dawn arrests of his royal cousins and their incarceration in the Ritz Carlton in November 2017 was a well-kept secret.

Whether one man can single-handedly wrench a nation into modernity and transform his people into self-reliant citizens is a very open question. Daring decisiveness has been the hallmark of MBS’ brief tenure in power. First came subduing the religious police, then locking up his royal cousins for corruption. Soon followed the decision to let Saudi women drive. And most recently the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

King Salman does seem to be trying to at least put some guardrails around his son’s impulsive tendencies. Some close to MBS say that when he reaches a decision now he sometimes tells his team, “Let’s think on it.” Whether that is a genuine desire to check his thinking or a tactic to leave the appearance of doing so isn’t clear.

Political Crackdown

MBS has two broad responses to the dimming prospects of strong progress on economic reforms. The first is to distract Saudi citizens with a plethora of new entertainment from concerts, cinemas and sporting events described previously in this report. The second is to suppress any dissent.

Saudi Arabia, never an open society, is now the most repressive in at least the past 40 years.

With Vision 2030, MBS essentially proclaimed weaning the Kingdom off oil a national emergency with a strict deadline for success. As a result, he seems to view debate on any issue as potentially disruptive of the essential and urgent measures he is taking. If the Saudi house is on fire, citizens need to shut up and follow him to the prescribed exit seems to be his rationale. Given this mandate against any discussion, most Saudis no longer engage in even tepid tweets on social media, much less criticism.

US-Saudi Partnership under Duress

MBS’ penchant for political repression coupled with the Kingdom’s fumbled explanations for the death of Jamal Khashoggi have strained the US-Saudi alliance more than at any point since the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. Only a year ago the Crown Prince was welcomed by the president in Washington, D.C., by New York’s business elite, by Hollywood’s biggest moguls and by Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs as a young reformer eager to cooperate with America to transform his backward kingdom into a modern nation. A year later he dares not come to America. Hollywood moguls like Ariel Emmanuel have pulled out of plans to invest there. Emmanuel ended his company’s planned $400 million investment in the Kingdom in early March, though other Americans quietly continue to pursue the opportunity to make money in Saudi Arabia.

While Trump is sticking by MBS, accepting his denials of any involvement in the Khashoggi murder, the CIA concluded otherwise and many in Congress are determined to punish him for Khashoggi’s death. And Saudis during January visit there expressed deep concern about the future of the Kingdom’s relationship with the US if a Democrat wins the White House in 2020. “We are going to be singled out for retribution,” frets one Saudi who closely watches his country’s relations with Washington, D.C.

Undeniably, many of MBS’ foreign policy ventures have proved costly. The Saudi boycott of Qatar, which Riyadh accuses of spreading terrorism, has driven that small sheikdom closer to Iran and Turkey without precipitating any change in Qatar’s policies. More importantly to the US, it has undermined American efforts to build greater security cooperation among Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations to reduce the security burden on Washington as the ultimate guarantor of stability in the Persian Gulf. Because the largest US Mideast airbase is in Qatar, the enmity between Qatar and Saudi Arabia has been especially trying for the Pentagon. MBS, who also is Saudi Defense Minister, seems completely unconcerned at his US ally’s discomfort. He continues to resist compromise with Qatar.

The stalemated war in Yemen is costing Saudi Arabia both financially and geopolitically. While Riyadh doesn’t disclose the cost of the war, those in a position to know estimate it consumes at least $25 billion annually. But beyond the financial costs, the growing international opprobrium over the rising number of civilian casualties there is robbing Saudi Arabia of valuable political support. Germany has ended arms sales to the Kingdom until September and made resumption conditional on progress to end the Yemen war. Pressure is growing in Britain and Canada to do likewise. Moreover, the US Congress is vowing to punish MBS for Khashoggi’s murder by blocking weapons sales to Riyadh for the war in Yemen. Trump has vetoed that congressional resolution but the damage to US-Saudi relations likely won’t end there.

Congress and the Trump Administration are also at odds over Saudi Arabia’s effort to purchase nuclear power plants to provide its domestic energy needs leaving its oil available for export. The Kingdom, considering buying nuclear technology from the US, South Korea, China or Russia, hasn’t yet agreed to safeguards that ensure it can’t enrich uranium to weapons grade. A bipartisan congressional resolution seeks to block any US nuclear technology sale without such safeguards leaving the Kingdom free to buy from Russia or China who don’t insist on such safeguards.

Beyond all the threats of tit for tat, what is going on in both Saudi Arabia and the US is a reassessment of the relationship. Since at least the presidency of George W. Bush, Saudi Arabia has been contemplating how to hedge its interests in a post-US Middle East.

لحظة انهيار النظام الأميركي.. هل تخيلتم ذلك؟

المؤسسات الأميركية التي ترتكز على النظام الليبرالي الدولي في خطر شديد. هذه خلاصة الورقة البحثية التي أعدَّها الخبير الاستراتيجي دانيال دريزنر ونشرها موقع “فورين أفررز”.

يشبّه الباحث الوضع القائم بلعبة Jenga حيث تمت إزالة القطع المتعددة وبات الهيكل يفتقر إلى أجزاء هامة تجعله يتأرجح. وكما في اللعبة سيحاول الصمود حتى اللحظة التي ينهار فيها. لذا ينبغي من وجهة نظر الباحث بذل كل جهد ممكن للحفاظ على النظام الدولي الليبرالي لكن الوقت حان أيضاً للبدء بالتفكير في ما قد يحدث بعد نهايته.

“لماذا لن تستعيد السياسة الخارجية الأميركية عافيتها أبداً؟” عنوان ورقة بحثية من جملة أوراق أخرى صادرة في ملخص عن مركز الأمن الأميركي الجديد بعنوان “أصوات جديدة في الاستراتيجية الكبرى” من إعداد مجموعة من الخبراء والاستراتيجيين والأكاديميين وصانعي السياسة انطلاقا من أن النقاش الدائر حول دور أميركا في العالم قد يكون الأوسع منذ عقود.

وتحت عنوان “هذه المرة الأمر مختلف.. لماذا لن تستعيد سياسة أميركا الخارجية عافيتها أبداً؟” يحاول دانيال دريزنر الإجابة على السؤال استناداً إلى آراء الخبراء والاستراتيجيين. في ما يلي ترجمة المقال:

إنها ليست المرة الأولى التي يشكك فيها المراقبون في جدوى النظام العالمي الذي تقوده الولايات المتحدة. الخطر على الغرب لم يكن في يوم من الأيام أكبر مما كان عليه عندما أطلق الاتحاد السوفيتي أول قمر صناعي “سبوتنيك”، أو عندما هددت الصدمات النفطية في السبعينيات من القرن الماضي النظام الدولي الليبرالي، ثم انفجار ميزانية الولايات المتحدة والعجز التجاري في الثمانينيات، ولاحقاً هجمات 11 ايلول سبتمبر وصولاً إلى الأزمة المالية في 2008، والآن هناك ترامب.

إذاً القلق الحالي ليس بجديد لكن الأمر مختلف هذه المرة حيث ينحسر عدد من مصادر القوة الأميركية وتتآكل الدعائم التي أبقت السياسة الخارجية على المسار الصحيح حتى الآن.

وقد يكون من المغري إلصاق مسؤولية هذا التدهور بترامب ووجهات نظره التي أعادت السياسة الخارجية إلى الوراء، بيد أن هذا التآكل سبقه لفترة طويلة.

خطاب السياسة الخارجية كان آخر ساحات التوافق بين الحزبين الجمهوري والديموقراطي لكن الاستقطاب السياسي أدى إلى تدمير الأفكار المطروحة. وعلى الرغم من أن الرؤساء الاميركيين في المستقبل سيحاولون استعادة النسخة التقليدية لسياسة الولايات المتحدة الخارجية إلا أنه على الارجح لم يعد بالإمكان إحياؤها.

إن المؤسسات الأميركية التي ترتكز على النظام الدولي الليبرالي في خطر شديد ولم يعد بالإمكان اعتبار وجود دعائم لهذا النظام أمراً مفروغاً منه. الأمر أشبه بلعبة “”Jenga حيث تمت إزالة القطع المتعددة لكن البرج ما زال قائماً. لذلك خلص بعض المراقبين إلى أن الهيكل لا يزال قوياً لكنه في الواقع يفتقر إلى أجزاء هامة، بل إذا دققنا أكثر فقد بدأ يتأرجح، وكما في اللعبة سيحاول الصمود والبقاء مستقيماً حتى اللحظة التي ينهار فيها. لذلك ينبغي بذل كل جهد ممكن للحفاظ على النظام الدولي الليبرالي لكن الوقت حان أيضاً للبدء في التفكير في ما قد يحدث بعد نهايته.

تكمن خطورة المشكلة في بعض أعضاء مجتمع السياسة الخارجية الأميركية. فالتقدميون يناقشون في ما بينهم ما إذا كان ينبغي عليهم تعزيز القيم الليبرالية في الخارج في حال كان عليهم العودة إلى السلطة. أما المحافظون فيتأملون في ما لو كانت اللحظة الشعبوية تمثل النقلة النهائية في الطريقة التي يجب أن يفكروا بها في السياسة الخارجية للولايات المتحدة. لكن السؤال ليس عن السياسة الخارجية التي يجب اعتمادها بعد ترامب بل عما إذا كانت هناك استراتيجية كبرى قابلة للحياة والاستمرار بعد الانتخابات.

على الرغم من الاتساق الظاهري للسياسة الخارجية الأميركية إلا أنه خلف الكواليس بدأ بعض عناصر القوة الأميركية بالتلاشي. فالولايات المتحدة توقفت عن كونها أكبر اقتصاد في العالم قبل بضع سنوات. قيادتها للمنظومة العالمية ضعفت في مقابل تحسن قدرات الصين وروسيا غير المتماثلة. تراكم الحروب الابدية والصراعات الاقل حدة اثرت على القوات الاميركية المسلحة.

بعد ترامب، سيحاول الرئيس الجديد بلا شك استعادة التعقل في السياسة الخارجية

لطالما احتفى محللو السياسة الخارجية بتركز السلطة في أميركا بيد السلطة التنفيذية وبدا منطقهم صلباً قبل مجيء ترامب. ومع جهل الجمهور وعدم اهتمام الكونغرس بالعلاقات الدولية والجمود السياسي والاستقطاب، نظر الديمقراطيون والجمهوريون المنتخبون إلى السياسة الخارجية على أنها مجرد لعبة للانتخابات المقبلة. وهكذا نظرت معظم نخب السياسة الخارجية إلى الرئيس باعتباره آخر الأشخاص الناضجين في الغرفة.

لكن ما فشلوا في توقعه هو انتخاب رئيس يفتقر إلى النضج العاطفي والفكري ويتحكم فيه غضبه إلى درجة إهانة حلفاء الولايات المتحدة، أو شن حروب تجارية لم تحقق شيئاً أكثر من الاضرار بالاقتصاد الاميركي.

لقد قال إنه يثق بالرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين أكثر من مسؤولي الاستخبارات. لقد انسحبت إدارته من مجموعة اتفاقيات متعددة الأطراف، وأساءت إدارة المؤسسات المتبقية. أما هجماته المتكررة على الاتحاد الأوروبي وحلف شمال الأطلسي فهي خطأ استراتيجي أكبر من غزو العراق.

بعد ترامب، سيحاول الرئيس الجديد بلا شك استعادة التعقل في السياسة الخارجية كأن يلغي حظر السفر ويوقف الخطاب العدائي تجاه الحلفاء وينهي الهجمات على النظام التجاري العالمي. لكن هذه كلها ستغطي على المشكلة الأعمق وهي أن الاستقطاب السياسي أدى إلى تآكل فكرة أن الرؤساء بحاجة إلى الحكم من المركز.

لقد أزال ترامب تلك الفكرة. أما القيود الضعيفة على السلطة التنفيذية فسوف تزيد الأمور سوءاً. أظهر الكونغرس القليل من الاهتمام في لعب دور بناء حين يتعلق الأمر بالسياسة الخارجية. ربما يؤدي الجمع بين ما كان قائماً في الماضي والواقع الجديد إلى ظهور نموذج للسياسة الخارجية تجمع ما بين “أميركا أولاً” و”أممية ثانية جديدة”، لكن مفهوم الاستراتيجية الكبرى المتسقة والدائمة لن يكون مستداماً.

كيف سيبدو الانهيار

السؤال هو كيف سيبدو الانهيار؟ الولايات المتحدة ستبقى بالطبع قوة عظمى لكن تأثيرها سيكون محدوداً في العديد من القضايا في ظل التنسيق بين الصين وأوروبا. من شأن الاستقطاب السياسي الداخلي المستمر أن يشجع حلفاء الشرق الأوسط مثل إسرائيل والسعودية على التحالف مع الحلفاء الأوروبيين مثل ألمانيا والمملكة المتحدة لدعم الديمقراطيين.

إن استمرار غياب أي استراتيجية كبرى متماسكة من شأنه أن يجعل أميركا اللاتينية عرضة للعبة جديدة في ظل التنافس بين القوى العظمى الأخرى على النفوذ هناك. الضغوط الديموغرافية ستؤثر على الولايات المتحدة وسيؤدي تباطؤ الإنتاجية إلى جعل هذه الضغوط أسوأ، فضلاً عن التحديات الأخرى مثل صراع التكتلات الاقتصادية والتغير المناخي.

لا يزال من الممكن للرئيس الذي سيخلف ترامب إصلاح الضرر الذي أحدثه. علماً أنه على الرغم من كل العيوب الموجودة في منظومة السياسة الخارجية الأميركية فإن القوى العظمى الأخرى تكاد لا تدرك وجودها، كما أن الإنجازات التي حققتها الصين وروسيا شهدت ضربات عدة من خلال تراجع مشاريع البنية التحتية من آسيا إلى أوكرانيا ما سيجعل من الصعب على تلك القوى العظمى تحقيق أهدافها.

مع ذلك تكمن المشكلة في سيناريوهات ما بعد ترامب بأن الرئيس الأميركي الخامس والأربعين هو أحد أعراض الأمراض التي ابتليت بها السياسة الخارجية للولايات المتحدة وليس المسبب لها.

صحيح أن ترامب جعل الأمور أسوأ بكثير لكنه ورث نظاماً تم تجريده من الضوابط الرسمية وغير الرسمية على السلطة الرئاسية. هذا هو السبب في أن الرئيس المقبل سيحتاج إلى القيام بأكثر من مجرد إصلاحات سطحية.

سيحتاج هو أو هي إلى اتخاذ الخطوة غير المريحة سياسياً المتمثلة في تشجيع مشاركة أكبر للكونغرس في السياسة الخارجية. ليست كل مبادرة للسياسة الخارجية يجب أن يديرها البنتاغون بل يمكن للرئيس المقبل استخدام منبره وصلاحياته لتشجيع وتبني المزيد من النقاش العام حول دور الولايات المتحدة في العالم.​

المصدر : foreign affairs

Yet Another Senator from Israel: Cory Booker shines at AIPAC

Yet Another Senator from Israel: Cory Booker shines at AIPAC

No holds barred: Cory Booker gushes that there is no “greater moral vandalism” than dividing the US and Israel; he would cut off his right hand before abandoning Israel
Giraldi sums up presidential hopeful Cory Booker: “a complete sell-out to Israel and its Jewish supporters” who tries to be “more Israeli than the Israelis.” Booker claims that there is “no greater moral vandalism than abandoning Israel,” and swears to give Israel even more money.

by Philip Giraldi, the Unz Review

How do you take a typical progressive and turn him or her into a fascist? One possible way is to send the poor bastard off on an all expenses paid trip to Israel where a meticulously crafted and sophisticated brainwashing program will make one believe almost anything regarding the noble and God-chosen Israelis versus the satanic Arab terrorists. Add into that the fact that being pro-Israel is a plus in many career fields and it is easy to understand why a monster like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gets favorable press and commentary in the United States even as he is reviled in most of the rest of the world.

The liberal to fascist metamorphosis is most evident among Democratic Party politicians, who have been successfully targeted by the Israel Lobby and its deep pocketed supporters for many years. It is all part of a massive public relations campaign, which some might instead refer to as disinformation, planned and executed by the Israeli foreign ministry and its diaspora supporters to advance Israeli interests in spite of the fact that the government of Netanyahu has implemented and executed fundamentally anti-democratic programs while at the same time committing war crimes and violating a whole series of United Nations resolutions.

Israel works hard to influence the United States at all levels. Its tentacles dig deep, now extending to local and state government levels where candidates for office can expect to be grilled by Jewish constituents regarding their views on the Middle East. The constituents often insist that the responses be provided in writing. The candidates being grilled understand perfectly well that their answers will determine what kind of press coverage and level of donations they will receive in return.

One-way trip

One of the most blatant propaganda programs is the sponsorship of free “educational” trips to Israel for all newly elected congressmen and spouses. The trips are normally led by Israel boosters in Congress like Democratic House Speaker Steny Hoyer, who recently boasted at an AIPAC gathering how he has done 15 trips to Israel and is now preparing to do another with 30 Democratic congressmen, including nearly all of those who are newly elected.

The congressional trips are carefully coordinated with the Israeli government and are both organized and paid for by an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee called the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). Other trips sponsored by AIEF as well as by other Jewish organizations include politicians at state and even local levels as well as journalists who write about foreign policy.

As noted above, all the trips to Israel are carefully choreographed to present a polished, completely Israel-slanted point of view on contentious issues. Visits to Palestinian areas are arranged selectively to avoid any contact with actual Arabs. Everyone is expected to return and sing the praises of the wonderful little democracy in the Middle East, which is of course a completely false description as Israel is a militarized ethno-theocratic kleptocracy headed by a group of corrupt right-wing fanatics who also happen to be racists.

Even progressive politicians who are aware that the Israeli message is bogus and also resent the heavy handedness of the Israelis and their diaspora friends often decide that it is better to go along for the ride rather than resist. But some embrace it enthusiastically, like Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a liberal Democrat running for his party’s nomination for president, who has, by his own admission, visited Israel many times. Israel and its friends are, of course, both courting and promoting him assiduously.

Booker inevitably reminds one of ex-President Barack Obama because he is black but the similarity goes beyond that as he is also presentable, well-spoken and slick in his policy pronouncements. One suspects that like Obama he would say one thing to get elected while doing something else afterwards, but we Americans have become accustomed to that in our presidents.

More to the point, Booker was and is a complete sell-out to Israel and its Jewish supporters during his not completely successful career in New Jersey as mayor of Newark as well as in his bid for the presidential nomination. Booker is a close friend of the controversial “America’s rabbi” Shmuley Boteach and has taught himself enough Hebrew to pop out sentences from Torah with Jewish audiences.

In his own words

Last week the Intercept published a secret recording of Booker meeting with a group of Jews from New Jersey at the recently concluded AIPAC summit in Washington, which Booker, unlike a number of other Democratic presidential hopefuls, attended enthusiastically. Booker pandered so assiduously that it is hard to believe that he actually knows what he is saying in an effort to be more Israeli than the Israelis. He described an Israel that deserves total commitment from Washington and stated clearly that he wants to create a “unified front” against the nonviolent boycott movement (BDS). He said that there is “no greater moral vandalism than abandoning Israel.”

Phil Weiss on Mondoweiss sums up the high points of what Booker said and did not say in the meeting: “Donald Trump is endangering Israel’s security in Syria; there is no ‘greater moral vandalism’ than dividing the U.S. and Israel; Booker would cut off his right hand before abandoning Israel; he lobbied black congresspeople not to boycott Netanyahu’s 2015 speech because we need to show a ‘united front’ with Israel; AIPAC is an ‘incredible… great’ organization whose mission is urgent now because of rising anti-Semitism; he ‘text messages back and forth like teenagers’ with AIPAC’s president Mort Fridman; and he swears to uphold bipartisan support in the Congress for Israel and give it even more money.

And Booker says not one word about Palestinian human rights or Israel’s persecution of Palestinians. That’s right. A progressive senator who invokes Martin Luther King Jr. over and over again has not one word to say about the Jim Crow status of Palestinians while describing Israel as a ‘country that I love so deeply, that changed my life from the day I went there as a 24 year old.’”

“If I forget thee, O Israel”

Booker elaborated in his own words: “Israel is not political to me. It’s not political. I was a supporter of Israel well before I was a United States Senator. I was coming to AIPAC conferences well before I knew that one day I would be a federal officer. If I forget thee, o Israel, may I cut off my right hand.”

Booker described how he is appalled by the rise of alleged anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. and worldwide. Rather than using that possible development as leverage to get Israel to behave more humanely, he instead prefers to punish all Americans with new legislation intended to strip all everyone of their First Amendment rights. Per Booker “We must take acts on a local stage against vicious acts that target Israel. That’s why I’m cosponsor of Senate Bill 720. Israel anti-Boycott Act.”

Normally progressive Booker, who has criticized the endless war in Afghanistan on the campaign trail, has hypocritically condemned Trump for not continuing war in Syria to protect Israel, saying

“This administration’s seeming willingness to pull away from Syria makes it more dangerous to us, makes it more dangerous to Israel, and this is not sound policy…. When you’re tweeting about pulling out of Syria within days, when that would create a vacuum that would not only endanger the United States of America but it would endanger our ally Israel as well.

We need a comprehensive strategy for that region because Israel’s neighborhood is getting more dangerous than less. Syria is becoming a highway for Iran to move more precision guided missiles to Hezbollah. There has got to be a strategy in this country to support Israel that is bipartisan that is wise and that frankly calls upon all the resources of this country, not just military”.

And because Israel always needs more money, Booker is ready to deliver: “Unequivocally 100 percent absolutely [yes] to the 3.3 billion [a year]. I have been on the front lines every time an MOU is up to make sure Israel gets the funding it needs. I even pushed for more funding.”

Our president?

Do we need a man like Cory Booker as President of the United States? He is articulate enough to cite “moral vandalism” but not perceptive enough to take the concept one step further and appreciate that uncritical close ties to Israel’s feckless and fascist government could easily lead to a nuclear war that would constitute something far worse. He further believes that Israel’s hand deep in the U.S. Treasury is a desirable policy, that unlimited “all resources” support of Israel is a U.S. national imperative, that ending the continued American military presence in the Middle East “would endanger our ally” Israel, and that moves to nonviolently oppose Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians must be made illegal.

One does not see an actual American interest in any of that, but perhaps special spectacles made in Israel are needed, an environment where Booker has clearly spent a great deal of time both physically and metaphorically. Or maybe it’s the Benjamins. Booker will need millions of dollars to mount his campaign and he knows where to go and what he needs to say to get it.

One struggles to see just a tiny bit of humanity in Booker vis-à-vis the Arabs who have lost their homes and livelihoods to Israeli criminality, but none of that comes through in a session in which, admittedly, the Senator from New Jersey is speaking with his Jewish donor/supporters. Booker is on record favoring an Israel-Palestine “two state solution,” which is no longer viable, though he has not objected to Israeli army snipers shooting dead children, journalists, medical personnel and unarmed protesters in Gaza.

Frankly, we already have an American leader who puts Israel first in Donald Trump and we don’t need another round of wag the dog in our next president. Cory Booker should work hard to maintain his perfect attendance record at AIPAC as he texts “like a teenager” with Mort Fridman, but maybe someday he will actually grow up and learn to think for himself. As he is a U.S. Senator that certainly is something we might all hope for.


Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.


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