Alleged Russian S-300 system spotted near strategic Libyan city: photo

By News Desk -2020-08-06

S-300 PMU-2 long-range air defense system deployed by the Algerian army in southern Algeria.

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 A.M.) – A Russian-made S-300 air defense system has been spotted near the strategic port-city of Sirte in north-central Libya.

According to conflict observers, a photo taken east of Sirte allegedly shows the presence of an S-300 air defense system, which is something that Libya did not previously possess.

However, while some claim that this is an S-300 system, the Russian publication, Avia.Pro, said that the photo does not necessarily confirm its presence, as it is only possible to confirm the ownership of the radar.

“At the moment, there is no complete confidence that we are talking about the S-300 complex, since it was only possible to confirm the ownership of the radar; however, given the fact that Russian military aircraft regularly fly to Libya, landing at air bases controlled by the Libyan National Army. Moreover, we are talking about Russian military specialists, analysts are inclined to believe that we are talking about these complexes,” the publication said.

The Libyan National Army has not commented on the claims of the S-300 system’s deployment to Sirte.

It should be noted that neighboring Egypt does possess an S-300 system and given their alliance with the Libyan National Army, the deployment of this weapon could very well be possible.

Related

انهيار الإتحاد السوفييتي – فترة رئاسة “ميخائيل غُورباتشوف”!

عن الذين عَوّلوا على أميركا - بوابة الهدف الإخبارية

الطاهر المعز.

في ذكرى 23 تموز/يوليو 1952 (إقامة النظام الجمهوري في مصر) وفي ذكرى إنهاء النظام الملكي وإقامة النظام الجمهوري في العراق (14 تموز/يوليو 1958)، وما جرى بين هذين التاريخَيْن من محاولة بناء السد العالي وتأميم قناة السويس والعدوان الثلاثي (البريطاني والفرنسي والصهيوني، سنة 1956 ) ضد مصر،

نستذكر دور الإتحاد السوفييتي (رغم الإختلافات معه، ورغم النقد الذي يمكن توجيهه بشأن المسألة القومية وقضية فلسطين، وغيرها)، ونستذكر الدّعم (رغم الشّروط) الذي مَكّن مصر من استكمال بناء السّد العالي، ومساندة مصر سنة 1956، ومن إعادة تسليح الجيش المصري، ليقوم ب”حرب الإستنزاف”، بعد هزيمة حزيران/يونيو 1967، ونقف على الوضع العالمي، حاليًّا، بعد انهيار الإتحاد السوفييتي، حيث لا رادع للإمبريالية الأمريكية وحلف شمال الأطلسي، سوى إرادة الشّعُوب، ونضال الفئات الكادحة…

بَدأت عوامل الوَهَن تظهر على الإتحاد السوفييتي، منذ عُقُود، وساهم “سباق التّسلّح” والوضع الإقتصادي (الجفاف وإغراق أسواق العالم بالنفط السعودي الرخيص…)، وحرب أفغانستان، وغيرها في تَسْرِيع عملية الإنهيار، زيادة على نمو فكرة التخريب من داخل الحزب الشيوعي السوفييتي وقيادة الدّولة الإتحادية، وخصوصًا عندما تولّى “ميخائيل غورباتشوف” (كَرَمْزٍ لتيار مُعادي للشيوعية، داخل البلاد) رئاسة الحكومة، بالتوازي مع انهيار أسعار النفط (المورد الرئيسي للعملة الأجنبية)، قبل توليه قيادة الحزب والدّولة…

حصل “غورباتشوف” على العديد من الجوائز، منذ بَدَأ (مع مجموعة من الحزب والدّولة السوفييتِيَّيْن) العمل على تخريب وانهيار الإتحاد السوفييتي، وعلى “إثبات” فشل مبدأ أو فكرة الإشتراكية من أساسها، وليس فشل وسائل تطبيقها، ومن بين هذه الجوائز “ميدالية أونوهان للسلام” (1989)، و”جائزة نوبل للسلام” (1990) التي فقدت من قيمتها عندما مُنِحت للعديد من المُجْرِمين الصهاينة، وللخونة، مثل أنور السادات، وجائزة “هارفي” (1992)، والعديد من شهادات الدكتوراه الفَخْرِية، وشهادات التّقْدِير…

ما الدّاعي لِمَنْحِهِ هذه الجوائز، في حين خان الرجل (الإنسان والزعيم السياسي والرئيس ) بلادَهُ، وباعها بثمن رخيص للإمبريالية الأمريكية وللبنك العالمي، وصندوق النقد الدّولي… يكْمُن سِرُّ هذه الجوائز في مكافأة رجُل نفّذ بإخلاص وتفاني خطط وكالة الإستخبارات الأمريكية، وساهم في تهديم ما بنَتْهُ أجيال من السوفييتيين، وخيانة تضحيات ملايين الشُّهَداء الذين سقطوا دفاعًا عن وَطَن الإشتراكية…

نَشر موقع “إلهيرالدو كوبانو” (كوبا)، يوم الثامن عشر من أيلول/سبتمبر 2017، تعليقًا على بعض الوثائق التي أصبح اطّلاع الباحثين عليها مُتاحًا، بعد إفراج وكالة الإستخبارات المركزية (الأمريكية) عنها وخروجها عن نطاق السرية، واقتصر التعليق على بعض ما نُشِر عن خطط غورباتشوف ومجموعته ( من بينهم زوجته “رايسا” و “شيفرنادزي” و “ياكوفليف”…) “للقضاء على الشيوعية”، بحسب تعبيره في مداخلة علنية، سنة 2000، بالجامعة الأمريكية، في تركيا، كما تكشف هذه الوثائق دعْمَ وكالة الإستخبارات الأمريكية لمجموعة “غورباتشوف”، سياسيا وإعلاميا، لعدّة عُقُود، فيما تكفلت مؤسسات الملياردير “جورج سورس” بتمويل نشاط وإعلام “المُنْشَقِّين” السوفييتيين، وجميعهم يمينيون وصهاينة.

نشر “واين مدسن” (موظف سابق في وكالة أمن الفضاء – إن إس إيه ) من جهته، وثائق تتضمن بعض الوقائع والحقائق، ومنها تصرحات”ميخائيل غورباتشوف”، العلَنِيّة، وكذلك تمويل النشاط والإعلامي السياسي لحكومة “غورباتشوف”، ونشر عبارات “بريسترويكا” (إعادة الهيكلة) و “غلاسنوست” (الشفافية)، على نطاق واسع، والإدّعاء أن “غورباتشوف” ثوري يُكافح ويُجاهد ضد البيروقراطية والجمود، وحصل التمويل والإعلام على نطاق واسع، بغطاء حكومي أمريكي، وبواسطة مؤسسات “جورج سورس” والمنظمات الأمريكية، الموصوفة “غير حكومية”، من 1987 إلى 1991، ومن بينها منظمة “يوس” (أو معهد دراسات الأمن شرق-غرب” )، ونجحت هذه الحَمْلَة الأمريكية في خلق انشقاقات داخل الأحزاب “الشيوعية” التي كانت لا تَحيد قيد أُنْمُلَة عن الخط الرسمي للإتحاد السوفييتي، ولكن عندما يظهر الإنقسام داخل قيادة “الأخ الأكبر”، ينعكس ذلك على بقية الأحزاب التابعة.

عندما عقد اجتماع عام 1986 بين رونالد ريغان وميخائيل غورباتشوف ...

أظهرت وثائق الإستخبارات الأمريكية أن ما حصل في المَجَر وبولندا وتشيكوسلوفاكيا، وفي الإتحاد السوفييتي لم يكن بمحض الصّدفة، أو نتيجة صراعات داخلية فحسب، بل كان تتويجًا لمسار طويل، لِخِطّة مدروسة، رغم بعض التّغييرات، وقع تَبَنِّيها، منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية، وتَمثّلَ دور “ميخائيل غورباتشوف” ومجموعته في تكرار الدّعاية الأمريكية بأن “النظام الإشتراكي” (وليس التجربة السوفييتية، فحسب) فاشل، وغير قادر على حل المشكلات الحديثة للمجتمعات، وبذلك استبق هذا الشق في الحزب الشيوعي السوفييتي “فرنسيسكو فوكوياما”، صاحب نظرية “نهاية التاريخ” والإنتصار النهائي للرأسمالية، و”صامويل هنغتنغتون” المعروف بترويج نظرية “صراع الحضارات”، بدل صراع الطبقات، وصراع الأمم المُضْطَهَدة، ضد الإمبريالية والإستعمار…

قامت وكالة المخابرات المركزية بتصميم وتنفيذ عملية تغيير هيكلي كبرى ، في الاتحاد السوفييتي وأوروبا الشرقية، وتم تمويل هذه العملية من خلال شبكة المنظمات الممولة من الملياردير “جورج سوروس”.

فيما يتعلق بالاتحاد السوفييتي، أعلن غورباتشوف في الجامعة الأمريكية في تركيا عام 2000: “استفدت من موقعي القيادي داخل الحزب وفي البلاد ، لتغيير قيادة الحزب والدّولة، في الإتحاد السوفييتي، وكذلك في جميع البلدان الاشتراكية في أوروبا “.

الملياردير الامريكي سوروس: النظام الصيني يشكل تهديدا للاتحاد ...

منذ العام 1987 ، قامت وكالة المخابرات المركزية، وشركة الأغذية متعددة الجنسيات “كارغيل” (التي تتعامل تجاريا مع الاتحاد السوفياتي منذ عقود) ، و معهد دراسات الأمن شرق-غرب” أو ( IWSS )، وشبكة سوروس ومنظمات “حقوق الإنسان”، التي تتعامل معها وتمولها، بتشجيع ومساعدة الحركات المعارضة والإنفصالية، والمُنشَقِّين، لإضعاف الاتحاد السوفييتي، ثم الاتحاد الروسي الجديد (منذ العام 1991). كما دعمت، ومَوّلت الصناديقُ والأوقافُ الأمريكيةُ حركاتِ الاستقلالِ، أو الإنفصال، في كوزباس (سيبيريا)، من خلال حركات اليمين المتطرف في ألمانيا، ومولت النشاط والتدريب للقوميين الشوفينيين ( اليمين المتطرف) من ليتوانيا، وتتارستان، وأوسيتيا الشمالية، وإنغوشيا، والشيشان، وفقًا لهذه الوثائق الأمريكية.

أقامت منظمات سوروس فروعًا في جميع البلدان المجاورة لروسيا: في أوكرانيا وإستونيا ولاتفيا وليتوانيا وفنلندا والسويد ومولدوفا وجورجيا وأذربيجان وتركيا ورومانيا ومنغوليا وقيرغيزستان وكازاخستان وطاجيكستان وأوزبكستان… كانت هذه الفروع بمثابة قواعد تدريب لأعضاء الجماعات الإرهابية، منها الجماعات الفاشية الأوكرانية والجورجية والهنغارية والمولدوفية.

في العام 2017، طردت الحكومة الروسية العديد من المنظمات من شبكة سوروس (مثل مؤسسة المجتمع المفتوح) وغيرها من المنظمات غير الحكومية التابعة لوكالة المخابرات المركزية الموجودة على الأراضي الروسية ، مثل NED (المؤسسة الوطنية للديمقراطية)، والمعهد الجمهوري الدولي، ومؤسسة ماك آرثر، ودار الحرية (فريدوم هاوس)، وغيرها، وصنَّفت الحكومة الروسية هذه المنظمات “غير مرغوب فيها وتشكل تهديدًا لأمن الدولة الروسية”. هذه المنظمات نفسها (أو الفروع التابعة لها) هي التي تضع خططًا لزعزعة استقرار بلدان أمريكا الجنوبية (كوبا ، فنزويلا ، بوليفيا ، إكوادور ، نيكاراغوا …) أو إيران والدول العربية، وآخرها “الجزائر”، حيث أوردنا في مقال سابق، بمناسبة الذكرى الثامنة والخمسين للإستقلال، بعض نماذج العمل التّخريبي لمثل هذه المنظمات، والدّعم الذي يحظى به بعض الرموز الرجعية والمُتصهْيِنة، والمُساندة للإستعمار…

رابط الموقع الكوبي:
Se abre paso la verdad sobre la caída de la URSS.


نشرة “كنعان” الإلكترونية
2020-07-25

TURKEY CRIES FOUL ABOUT DEPLOYMENT OF EGYPTIAN TROOPS IN IDLIB. WHAT’S GOING ON?

The Egyptian military has deployed about 150 troops on the frontline in the Syrian region of Greater Idlib to support forces of the Damascus government, Turkish sources claimed on July 30.

“The troops were later deployed in the Khan al-Asal area in the western countryside of Aleppo and around the city of Saraqib in the southern countryside of Idlib,” the Anadolu Agency quoted its source as saying. The news agency claimed that the Egyptian service members had arrived via the Hama Air Base.

Later, Youssef al-Hamoud, a spokesman for the Syrian National Army, a coalition of Turkish proxy groups based in northern Aleppo, said that the number of Egyptian troops is in fact 148. They supposedly deployed in Syria in 3 groups via the Hama Air Base. According to him, 98 Egyptian personnel reportedly came from the city of Ismailia on July 26 and then were deployed in Khan al-Asal. 50 others arrived from Cairo Airport on July 27. They are supposedly deployed in Saraqib.

However, no flights from Egypt to the said base were recorded over the past few days. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to hide the deployment of foreign troops on the frontline in the conditions of the Syrian war, when almost every second fighter has a mobile phone and social media accounts and uses them to share pictures and videos from the battlefield.

Most likely, Turkish state media and proxy groups loyal to Ankara found a new original way to justify the illegal presence of their own forces in Syria. The accusation of other parties doing something that the Erdogan government does itself is something that Turkish media outlets regularly do.

In the earlier stages of the conflict, Turkey and its intelligence services openly allowed various terrorists aiming to join ISIS and al-Qaeda to use the territory of Turkey and camps on the Syrian-Turkish border as a transport hub on their route to Syria. At the same time, Turkey was actively involved in illegal oil trading with ISIS.

Later, when the Russian military operation, including mass bombings of ISIS oil infrastructure, convoys, and public revelation of the facts of Turkish cooperation with ISIS, put an end to this, Turkish official propaganda shifted its attention to accusations of all other parties involved in the conflict of cooperation with ISIS. It even claimed that its military operation against Kurdish militias in Afrin was aimed against ISIS.

Ankara sent almost 10,000 Syrian militants to Libya to support the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord. Nonetheless, Turkish outlets are crying foul about the small number of Russia-linked private military contractors hired by the UAE to support the Libyan National Army against Turkish-backed forces.

Over the past years, Turkey has occupied a notable part of northern Syria and deployed thousands of troops in Greater Idlib to protect al-Qaeda-linked terrorists there from the Syrian Army. Therefore, it would be logical for Ankara to find some ‘foreign force’ that it can accuse of deploying its own troops in the country.

At the same time, if the deployment of Egyptian troops to support the Syrian Army turns out to be true, this will be really bad news for Turkey. Ankara still seems to be unable to control its local al-Qaeda partners and the chances of a new round of escalations in the region are increasing.

The mighty Turkish Armed Forces have thus far failed to defeat the Syrian Army exhausted by years of conflict with terrorists. The outcome of the new escalation will be even more gloomy for Turkey if Egyptian forces will join the coalition supporting Damascus.

الذكرى الثامنة والستون لأمّ الثورات!

Gamal Abdel Nasser Facts for Kids

د. محمد سيد أحمد

حلّت علينا هذا الأسبوع الذكرى الثامنة والستون لثورة 23 يوليو/ تموز 1952، وعلى الرغم من مرور ما يقرب من سبعة عقود على قيامها، إلا أنها لا زالت تثير العديد من القضايا الإشكالية، فمؤيدوها ما زالوا يحتفلون بالذكرى ويمجّدون قائدها الذي انتصر للفقراء والكادحين والمهمّشين وحقق لهم إنسانيتهم وأعاد إليهم كرامتهم المهدورة داخل وطنهم، وحقق انتصارات وضعته في قلوب الملايين سواء في وطنه الأصغر أو وطنه العربي الأكبر بل ومن قبل كلّ الأحرار في العالم، ورغم الانكسارات ظلّت الجماهير متمسّكة به باعتباره القائد والرمز والأمل القادر على تجاوز الصعوبات والمحن، وعند وفاته خرجت الجماهير في أماكن عديدة على سطح المعمورة، كالطوفان لتودّعه ولتخلد ذكراه.

أما معارضوها فما زالوا يستغلون الذكرى ليجددوا الهجوم عليها وعلى قائدها ويصفونهما بكلّ نقيصة، ويحاولون تشويه كلّ إنجازاتها بل وصل الأمر للخلاف حول مسمّاها ذاته وهل هي ثورة أم لا؟ ولا شكّ في أنّ هؤلاء المعارضين المهاجمين للثورة وقائدها قد أصابهم بعضاً من ضرر نتيجة قيام الثورة وانحيازها لجموع الشعب وبالتالي سحبت من تحت أقدامهم جزءًا من ثروة وسلطة ومكانة كانوا يحصلون عليها قبل قيام الثورة في ظل حكم ملك غير مصري (ألباني) استولى على الحكم بالوراثة، ومندوب سامٍ للمحتلّ البريطاني كان هو الحاكم الفعلي للبلاد، وكان آباء وأجداد المهاجمين للثورة وزعيمها اليوم يحصلون على الثروة والسلطة والمكانة من خلال قربهم وتقديم فروض الولاء والطاعة للملك والمندوب السامي.

وما بين هؤلاء المؤيدين وألئك المعارضين يدور دائماً السجال، لكن الغريب في الأمر حقاً هو اتساع دائرة المعارضين لتضمّ إليها أبناء وأحفاد بعض من انتصرت لهم الثورة من أبناء الفلاحين المعدَمين الذين كانوا يعملون بالسخرة وفي ظلّ ظروف غير إنسانية لدى البشوات الذين منحتهم أسرة محمد علي (الألباني) مئات وآلاف الأفدنة دون وجه حق فقط لأنهم كانوا يعملون في خدمة البلاط الملكي، وجزء من حاشية الملك المغتصب ثروات الوطن، ويأتي تطاول هؤلاء على الثورة وزعيمها في محاولة لإخفاء أصولهم الاجتماعية الحقيقية بعد أن تمكنوا من الصعود لأعلى السلم الاجتماعي بفضل الثورة وإنجازاتها على المستويات كافة.

وعندما تسأل هؤلاء هل كان أبوك أو جدك باشا منحه الملك قطعة أرض من الخاصة الملكية، فتكون الإجابة لا كان أبي وجدي فلاحاً معدماً حافي القدمين، حصل على خمسة أفدنة بفضل الثورة وقانون الإصلاح الزراعي، ولدينا داخل البيت صورة للزعيم جمال عبد الناصر وهو يسلّم أبي أو جدي صك الملكية، وبفضل هذه الأفدنة الخمسة استطاع أبي أو جدي تعليمنا وإدخالنا للجامعة بعد أن أصبح التعليم مجانياً بفضل الثورة، وبعد التخرّج حصلنا على وظيفة بفضل القوى العاملة التي أنشأتها الثورة، وأرسلنا لبعثات بالخارج وعدنا لوظائفنا المحفوظة وتدرّجنا بها إلى أن أصبحنا في مكانة مرموقة توازي مكانة البشوات في العصر الملكي!

إذن لماذا تهاجمون الثورة وزعيمها؟! وهنا تجد إما عجزاً عن الإجابة أو إجابات خارج نطاق العقل والمنطق.

ومن القضايا الخلافية على الثورة حتى الآن هو مسمّاها، فالمعارضون لها ما زالوا يصفونها بالانقلاب في محاولة للتقليل من شأنها والنيل منها، ولهؤلاء نقول إنّ الثورات لا يُحكم عليها إلا بنتائجها، فالتعريف العلمي للثورة يقول: «إنها إحداث تغيير جذريّ إيجابيّ في بنية المجتمع الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والسياسية والثقافية». ومن هذا المنطلق يمكننا التأكيد وبما لا يدع مجالاً للشك في أنّ ما حدث في 23 يوليو 1952 هو ثورة بكلّ ما تحمله الكلمة من معنى، فقد أحدثت الثورة تغييراً جذرياً إيجابياً في بنية المجتمع على المستويات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والسياسية والثقافية كافة، ومكّنت الغالبية العظمى من المصريين من ثروات وخيرات بلادهم، وأحدثت تغييراً جذرياً في البنية الطبقية، فخلال أيام معدودة تحوّل الفلاحون الأجراء إلى ملاك وانتقلت آلاف الأسر من الطبقة الدنيا إلى الطبقة الوسطى مباشرة، وخلال سنوات معدودة أيضاً انتقل آلاف آخرون من أسفل السلم الاجتماعيّ إلى أعلاه بفضل التعليم المجاني وفرص العمل.

وبعد كلّ ذلك يأتي مَن يحاول تشويه الثورة والنيل منها ومن زعيمها وإنجازاتها فتجد مَن يهاجم تأميم قناة السويس ويدعو لعودة تمثال ديلسبس، ومَن يهاجم السدّ العالي الذي حجب الطمي والأسماك خلفه، ومن يهاجم القطاع العام لسوء إدارته ويسعى لبيع ما تبقى منه، ومن يهاجم التعليم والصحة المجانية نظراً لعدم جودتهما، وإذا كان ذلك المهاجم من أبناء أو أحفاد بشوات ما قبل الثورة كان يمكننا أن نجد له العذر لهذا الحقد وهذه الكراهية للثورة وقائدها، لكن غالبية المهاجمين لها اليوم هم من أبناء الفقراء والمعدَمين الذين لولا الثورة ما حصلوا على مكانتهم الحالية وكان وضعهم الحقيقي عمالاً زراعيين حفاة عراة يعملون بالسخرة لدى بشوات ما قبل الثورة كما كان وضع آبائهم وأجدادهم. وفي الذكرى الثامنة والستين للثورة نقول لهم عودوا إلى رشدكم، فثورة 23 يوليو/ تموز 1952 هي أمّ الثورات، اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

EGYPT AND FRANCE CARRY OUT NAVAL DRILL AS SHOW OF FORCE TO TURKEY

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Egypt and France Carry Out Naval Drill As Show Of Force To Turkey

On July 25th, the Egyptian and French Navies held naval drills in the eastern Mediterranean, with the participation of the Egyptian Ghost frigate and French Ghost frigate (ACONIT).

In a statement, the Egyptian Armed Forces reported the following:

“The exercises included many training activities that focus on methods of organizing cooperation in the implementation of combat missions in the sea against hostile marine formations with the actual use of weapons in engagement with surface and air targets in addition to the implementation of confrontational battles, with the use of aircraft.”

The statement further said:

“The training showed the professionalism of the crews of ships in carrying out combat missions with accuracy and high efficiency, with a focus on common coordination points between all the common elements.”

It added that “these drills come in the framework of supporting the pillars of joint cooperation between the Egyptian and French armed forces, and identifying the latest fighting systems and methods in a manner that contributes to honing skills and combat and operational experiences and supporting efforts of maritime security, stability and peace in the Mediterranean.”

This is a show of force at a time when Egypt and France, alongside Greece and Cyprus are opposed to Turkey over its interference in Libya, but mostly due to the agreement it signed with Libya’s Government of National Accord.

The agreement allows Turkey to extract resources from Libya’s EEZ in the Mediterranean Sea.

In the face of the actions of Turkey, France and Egypt had a recent rethinking of their relations, which have apparently grown closer in the face of a “common enemy.”

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RIPPLE EFFECTS: GREECE AND TURKEY OPEN NEW NORTHERN FRONT ON LIBYAN CONFLICT

Source

 25.07.2020 

Ripple Effects: Greece And Turkey Open New Northern Front On Libyan Conflict

Greece’s navy has declared a state of heightened alert and deployed ships to the Aegean Sea in response to a Turkish vessel conducting seismic surveys for energy exploration purposes close to a disputed maritime area.

On Tuesday the Greek foreign ministry issued a formal protest to Turkey following the announcement that a Turkish drilling ship would conduct explorations in the maritime area south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo in the south eastern Aegean. The foreign ministry also released a statement:

We call on Turkey to immediately cease its illegal activities, which violate our sovereign rights and undermine peace and security in the region.”

Following Turkey’s rejection of the protest, the Greek Navy has sent ships to patrol in the area.

“Navy units have been deployed since yesterday in the south and southeastern Aegean,” a navy source told AFP, declining to give further details.

Athens has stated that Turkish surveys in sections of the Greek continental shelf constitute an escalation of the tension in the region where the two countries dispute the boundary of their respective maritime areas. LINK

Experts cited in media reports have interpreted Turkey’s conduct as designed to test Greece’s determination to defend its interests in the eastern Mediterranean region, and believe that the Turkish leadership’s moves may also be linked to the Libyan conflict. According to this interpretation of the latest developments, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apparently seeks to “test” the reaction of his opponents. LINK

A report in Xinhua suggests that Greece’s response is to draw even closer to Egypt. Greece and Egypt have been holding negotiations over the demarcation of an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean, however the boundaries of the area they are discussing overlaps with the area which was subject to a maritime agreement signed by Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in Libya late last year (the two parties also signed a military agreement pursuant to which Turkey has sent thousands of fighters and a large amount of weapons and supplies to the Government of National Accord).

Ripple Effects: Greece And Turkey Open New Northern Front On Libyan Conflict

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi received a phone call from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday, during which they discussed regional issues, with a focus on the Libyan crisis.

According to the Xinhua report, Sisi expressed Egypt’s opposition to “illegitimate foreign intervention” in Libyan domestic affairs, citing that they would further exacerbate the security conditions in Libya in a way that affects the stability of the entire region, said Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady in a statement.

For his part, the Greek prime minister also voiced rejection of foreign interference in Libya, while highlighting the political course as a key solution for the Libyan issue.

He hailed Egypt’s “sincere efforts” that seek a peaceful settlement to the Libyan crisis, according to the statement.

Over the past few years, the Egyptian-Greek ties have been growing closer, with their growing enmity with Turkey also resulting in them developing a similar position on Libya. The talks between Sisi and Mitsotakis took place just a few days after the Egyptian parliament approved a possible troop deployment in Libya to defend Egypt’s western borders with the war-torn country. LINK

A perceptive analysis of the emerging Turkey-Libya (Tripoli) relations published last month remains just as salient to describe the situation today:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gambled big in Libya and won big – so far. This victory portends important changes in the politics of the Mediterranean, for Turkey has succeeded not only in demonstrating its determination to become the dominant player in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also in showcasing its military prowess and wherewithal. The latter might precipitate a deeper conflict and crisis in the region, extending north toward Greece.

Erdogan threw his support behind the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) against General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which had besieged the GNA’s capital, Tripoli. Haftar suffered a humiliating defeat as Turkish drones, troops, navy vessels and some 10,000 Syrian fighters transported by Ankara to Libya stopped him in his tracks and then forced him to abandon bases and territory. A last-minute call for a ceasefire by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was rejected by the victorious GNA, which has set its aims at capturing other towns, including the critical port city of Sirte.

Indirectly, this was also a defeat for the countries that had backed Haftar: Egypt, the UAE and Russia. The UAE had contributed military equipment and the Russians non-state mercenary forces.

Turkey’s Libya expedition has to be seen from two perspectives. First, the GNA concluded a deal with Ankara that delineated their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in such a way that it divides the Mediterranean Sea into two sections. Turkey’s purpose is to hinder efforts by Egypt, Cyprus, Israel and Greece to export natural gas, either through a pipeline or on LNG vessels, to Europe. Turkey has aggressively interfered with efforts by these to drill for gas. Ankara claims that most of the waters around Cyprus actually belong to Turkey or to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a country recognized only by Turkey.

However, more important than simply preventing Eastern Mediterranean gas exports is the underlying strategy driving this push against Haftar. From the moment he assumed power in 2003, Erdogan has striven to elevate Turkey’s international role to that of a regional, if not global, power. Initially, his strategy was one of “zero problems with neighbors,” which served to emphasize Turkey’s soft power. The primary driver, however, was the desire for Turkey to assume a hegemonic position over the Middle East. This policy foundered and was essentially buried by the Arab Spring.

What has replaced it is a more aggressive and militarized posture that takes the fight to perceived enemies. That could mean anyone and everyone, since Turks tend to see most countries as a threat, even if they are allies. LINK

While Turkey has bet big and won big so far, it appears that the period of relatively easy victories is over and its aggressive moves are going to face more resistance in future. As Turkey continues to shows no sign of moderating its expansionist claims and manoeuvres, the region is now moving irrevocably towards a catastrophic military clash as Turkey and Egypt have drawn incompatible ‘red lines’ in Libya, with the coastal town of Sirte likely to be the detonator (or possibly the Jufra airbase to the south).

An international agreement promoted by the UN in 2014-2015 established an executive body and a legislative body to govern Libya and pave the way for a more permanent arrangement. However, fundamental disagreements between the two quasi-State organizations resulted in a complete split, with the executive arm becoming the ‘UN-backed’ Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and the House of Representatives relocating to Tobruk (thus the legislative arm is also ‘UN-backed’, though this detail is usually omitted from mainstream media reports).

Turkey has allied itself with the Government of National Accord (GNA), Egypt has allied itself with the House of Representatives (and its armed forces, the Libyan National Army – the LNA – headed by Khalifa Haftar). More generally, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia are invariably reported as supporting the LNA, while the GNA is mainly backed by Turkey and Qatar.

Following the drastic changes on the battlefield over the last two months as the GNA swept the LNA from its positions around Tripoli following a failed attempt to capture the Libyan capital, both Turkey and Egypt have committed themselves to positions that are in direct conflict, indicating that a major armed clash is inevitable unless there is a major diplomatic breakthrough or one of the two sides accepts a humiliating backdown.

Specifically, Turkey and the Government of National Accord are demanding that the Libyan National Army (which recently gave Egypt permission to send its armed forces into Libya) withdraw from the two areas (Sirte and Jufra) and have expressed their determination to take the areas by force if necessary. The Libyan National Army and Egypt have stated that any attempt to capture the two areas will result in Egypt entering Libya in force, which would result in a direct confrontation between Turkey and Egypt. While Egypt has the advantage of sharing a long land border with Libya, in the event of a major conflict air and maritime power could be decisive.

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Mohammed bin Zayed’s Mission Impossible: Alliance with Israel

By David Hearst
Source: Middle East Eye

The Abu Dhabi crown prince wants to turn his statelet into another Israel

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed has extended the UAE’s reach across the region in conflicts from Yemen to Libya (AFP)

The mentor

Islamism in any form, political or militant, is a fraction of the force it used to be in 2011, and for the foreseeable future it is incapable of summoning hundreds of thousands onto the streets, and toppling regimes, as it once did in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.

Islamism in any form, political or militant, is a fraction of the force it used to be in 2011

And yet the counter-revolution, unleashed when Mohamed Morsi was toppled as Egypt’s president in 2013, continues furiously. 

It produces identikit dictators: Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi in Egypt, Khalifa Haftar in Libya, all pour scorn on free elections, live like pharaohs, and create dynasties for their family and sons. 

They are all beholden to one man who has either funded, armed or mentored their rise to power. 

This man is the organising genius of coups in Egypt; he has become a major player in the civil war in Libya; he is leveraging his country’s ports to become a presence in the Horn of Africa; he has pushed the Saudis into a war in Yemen to promote late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son, and then ditched that strategy to promote southern separatists; he was instrumental in launching the blockade of his neighbour Qatar; he introduced an unknown Saudi prince to the Trump clan and cast the CIA’s man in Riyadh on the scrap heap. 

There is no pie in which Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, doesn’t have a finger. He rarely makes speeches or gives interviews and when he does he comes across as casual, reticent, softly spoken.

On the rare occasions he talks to a journalist as he did to Robert Worth of the New York Times, he portrays himself as the reluctant first responder, the fireman dousing dangerous wildfires: the September 11 attacks (two of the hijackers were Emiratis) and the Arab Spring were two such galvanising events. 

This is an act, and largely for a Western audience.

MbZ’s ‘Islamist menace’

 As time has elapsed, this can not be the whole story. As MbZ has developed his counter-jihad, so have the ambitions expanded of this quiet, English-speaking, Sandhurst-trained prince. 

MbZ knows how to manipulate decisions in the White House. He can read their ignorance, arrogance, and personal greed. His money goes directly into their pockets

Thwarting the looming Islamist menace – as he describes it – can no longer account for the ambition, scope and cost of his dreams. The Islamist menace of his nightmares is largely dormant.

A shrewd observer, he can see, as clearly as anyone, the US crumbling as an organising power in the Middle East. He knows how to manipulate decisions in the White House. He can read their ignorance, arrogance, and personal greed. His money goes directly into their pockets. He can play on the chaos of real-time decision-making in the Oval Office like a mandolin.

It must have occurred to him that the Middle East needs a new ruler. Why not him? It’s time, he has judged, to move out of the shadows and lay out his own stall.

So what’s the mission?

Mission statement

This was, some might say boldly, put into words by MbZ’s best operator abroad, his ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, recently. 

The op-ed he wrote in Israel’s Yedioth Ahronot was ostensibly to warn Israel that annexation was a bridge too far. Writing in Hebrew, Otaiba posed to a Jewish audience as a friendly Arab – “one of three Arab ambassadors in the East Room of the White House when President Trump unveiled his Middle East peace proposal in January,” he reminded them.

The UAE and Israel are an item. No need for the loving couple to hide behind the bushes

In fact, the letter was no such thing. It certainly wasn’t a message from the Palestinians themselves. The UAE has no problems with the Israeli occupation and will overtly send two planes full of personal protection equipment (PPE) to Ben Gurion airport and make any number of high- profile trade deals with Israel to reinforce their intent to normalise relations. 

The days of disguising the flight plans of aircraft from Abu Dhabi to Ben Gurion airport by making them disappear over Jordan are long gone. The UAE and Israel are an item. No need for the loving couple to hide behind the bushes. Nor was it a message from Jordan, which regards annexation of the West Bank as an existential threat to the kingdom. 

It turned out to be a message from liberal Jews in America to right-wing Jews in Israel. The mastermind of this operation was the American Israeli billionaire Haim Saban, according to a report in Axios. A former adviser to Netanyahu, Caroline Glick called the letter Saban’s brainchild.

In any case, it had little to do with Arab opinion. It did, however, contain another more important message: MbZ’s mission statement appears in two key paragraphs Otaiba wrote.

“With the region’s two most capable militaries, common concerns about terrorism and aggression, and a deep and long relationship with the United States, the UAE and Israel could form closer and more effective security cooperation. 

“As the two most advanced and diversified economies in the region, expanded business and financial ties could accelerate growth and stability across the Middle East,” Otaiba wrote.

In these sentences, UAE not only claims to have a military stronger than that of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia but, fantastically, it also claims to have the strongest and most diversified economy in the Arab world.

Those are some boasts for the crown prince of a tiny Gulf city state to make. 

“Little Sparta” has big ambitions.

Israel’s junior partner

By comparing its military reach to Israel’s, the UAE is sidelining its allies in the Saudi and Egyptian armies. But this is of little importance. Mohammed bin Zayed wants to turn his statelet into another Israel.

Both countries are small in size and population. Both are deeply militarised societies. Israel’s “citizen’s army” is well known. The draft that MbZ introduced for Emirati men in 2014 and expanded from 12 to 16 months in 2018 is less well known.

Both countries have a military and economic reach which extends far beyond their borders and into the heart of Africa. If Israel has shown it has a long arm that can reach to Entebbe and all over the world to exact revenge, so too has UAE shown its long arm in Libya, Turkey, Syria – nations far away from the Gulf. 

Both have a dynamic population that can serve Western interests.They have common enemies – Islamism, Turkey, Iran. They have a common strategy to control the region. The two largest regional challenges for the Emirates and Israel are Turkey and Iran respectively.

The Emiratis confront the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan head-on. They funded an attempted Gulenist coup in 2016. They oppose his forces in Idlib by paying Bashar al-Assad to break the ceasefire arranged by the Russians, and the UAE confronts Turkish forces in Libya.

When unidentified bombers attacked Turkish air defence batteries in the newly recaptured Libyan airbase of Al-Watiya, Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an advisor to the Emirati royal court, tweeted: “On behalf of all Arabs, the UAE has taught a lesson to Turks.”

There can only be one bulldog on the block and Israel has no intention of sharing that role with an Arab with ideas above his station

He deleted it afterwards.

But Israel itself stays in the background. It regards the Turkish military as its main threat. As I reported in January last year, Yossi Cohen, the head of Mossad, told a meeting of diplomats from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt in a Gulf capital that Israel considered Turkey’s military to be more capable and less easily containable that Iran’s. But Israel itself does not confront Turkey.

Similarly the UAE does not confront Iran, even when tankers are mined outside an Emirati port. The kinetic stuff is done by Israel, which is believed to be responsible for a large explosion in Natanz in workshops which assemble centrifuges to enrich uranium, and possibly for up to six other mysterious explosions in Iran too.

Regionally, the UAE and Israel work in tandem, each covering the other’s back. But this does not mean that the project itself is stable or long term. Israel may indeed find it useful to play along with MbZ’s ego to serve its own interests of keeping the Palestinians under permanent occupation.

But its national interests come first.

Otaiba’s chutzpah sparked a lively reaction from Glick who wrote in Israel Hayom: “No one is doing anyone any favors. And if we’re already on the subject of favors, the stronger side in this partnership is Israel. The Israeli economy is much more robust that the oil economies of the Persian Gulf. Who does Otaiba think he’s scaring with his threats when oil is selling at $37 a barrel?”

There can only be one bulldog on the block and Israel has no intention of sharing that role with an Arab with ideas above his station.

The second problem with MbZ’s mission is his Sunni Arab allies. When the Saudis and Egyptian military elites realise that their own national and commercial interests are suffering, they will start to look at MbZ’s pyrotechnic adventures differently. 

The maritime deal that Turkey signed with the UN-backed government in Tripoli gives Egypt greater access to maritime riches than it could possibly have in a deal with Cyprus and Greece, and yet Egypt denounced the deal as illegal.

Similarly the carving up of Yemen by the UAE, which has now occupied the Yemeni island of Socotra and is backing southern separatists in Aden, is not in the interests of Riyadh, which is primarily concerned about maintaining the security along its southern border and installing a puppet regime in Sanaa.

History lessons

Israel should not be fooled by expressions of support from the UAE’s satraps, like Abdul Salam al-Badri, deputy prime minister of the eastern Libyan-based government in Tobruk, or Hani bin Breik, the vice chairman of the Southern Transitional Council in Aden, who by the way is a Salafist.

History bodes ill for MbZ’s project. Every Arab state that has worked with or recognised Israel is today weaker and more divided as a result

History bodes ill for MbZ’s project. Every Arab state that has worked with or recognised Israel is today weaker and more divided as a result. This goes for Egypt and for Jordan, both of whose diplomats, who once thought of themselves as pioneering, regret what they did in the name of peace. It proved a bitter false dawn.

The economic miracle both countries were promised at the time never materialised, the Palestinian conflict is as intractable as ever, and historic Palestine is weaker and smaller than ever before. 

Jordan, which has worked more closely with Israel than any other Arab country, is tottering on the verge of bankruptcy, mass unemployment and social breakdown. Its strategic interests in the West Bank and Jerusalem counts for nothing with the dominant settler right-wing in Israel.

Fatah, which recognised Israel, is asking itself the same questions. Why did we do it at Oslo? What was it for? That debate is bringing them closer to their rivals Hamas. 

A doomed alliance

The reality is that the dalliance between Israel and the UAE is doomed. It is the work of individuals ,not peoples. MbZ’s plots and staretegems are his own, not his nation’s.

The Arab street is implacably opposed to recognising Israel until a just solution is found for the Palestinians, a solution involving their own land and their own right of return. 

MbZ’s mission is mission impossible and the sooner his Arab allies see that, the sooner they can prevent a second decade of regional war

The MbZ-Israel project is poison for the region. it is not Israel coming to terms with its neighbours. It is making fools out of them.

Before the Syrian and Libyan civil wars, Turkey did not have an interventionist foreign policy. It has one now. Similarly, Iran’s military reach never really extended beyond the Shia minorities of the Sunni Arab states, and that is taking its military support for Hezbollah and its financial support for Hamas into account.

Iran never actually threatened Israel’s military dominance as Cohen himself acknowledged in that meeting in a Gulf state over a year ago. Iran, from Mossad’s point of view, is containable. 

MbZ’s mission is mission impossible and the sooner his Arab allies see that, the sooner they can prevent a second decade of regional war.


By David Hearst
Source: Middle East Eye

خرافة تحييد لبنان!


طلال سلمان.


لبنان الآن على كف عفريت… تحييد البلد المفلس والمتزاحم ابناؤه على السفارات بطلب “الفيزا” للخروج منه في زمن انتهى فيه معسكر عدم الانحياز.

مع وصول السفيرة الاميركية الجديدة في لبنان، دوروثي شيا، وهجومها المباشر (والخارج على الاصول الدبلوماسية وركائز العلاقات بين الدول الصديقة) على “حزب الله”، محرر الجنوب من الاحتلال الاسرائيلي، وصاحب كتلة نيابية وازنة وجماهير عريضة في معظم انحاء لبنان.. هبت رياح الدعوة إلى تحييد لبنان عن المنازعات والصراع في المنطقة.

تحييد البلد المفلس والمتزاحم ابناؤه على السفارات بطلب “الفيزا” للخروج منه، في زمن انتهى معسكر عدم الانحياز بقيادة جواهر لآل نهرو وجمال عبد الناصر وتيتو الذي حفظ وحدة يوغسلافيا. فما أن غاب حتى عادت دولا شتى لا قيمة لها في اوروبا ولا دور لها في العالم كالذي ابتدعه لها تيتو.

تتبع “الدولة” سياسة انكار ما لا يمكن انكاره” فالجوع اصدق إنباء من الكتب”، ومن حسان دياب ومناورات جبران باسيل وسط الإغفاءات المتقطعة لفخامة رئيس الجمهورية، كلها تشهد بأن لبنان بخير..

وماذا اذا استفقنا على سوريا مدمرة أو محتلة، شمالها للأتراك، بذريعة مقاتلة الاكراد، والساحل- طرطوس- اللاذقية – بانياس- للروس مع دوريات مؤللة تلاقي الاتراك بود ظاهر، اما قلبها – دمشق وضواحيها – فللحرس الثوري الايراني مع مقاتلي “حزب الله”.

كذلك فان العراق الذي بالكاد انتهى ترميمه بعد حروب صدام حسين التي دمرت أرض الرافدين، وجعلت الخزينة العراقية خاوية الا ما يلزم كشرهات لمن يتولى الحكم، وبقرب بغداد قوات اميركية، وفي أنحاء شتى قوات من الحرس الثوري الايراني، والكرد ما زالوا يطالبون بنصيبهم في الحكم بعد نيلهم رئاسة الدولة وعدد وافر من الوزارات، مع مناصب رفيعة في مؤسسات النفط الخ.. كل هذا من دون أن يتنازلوا عن مطلبهم بإقامة دولة كردستان المستقلة في شمالي العراق، حتى والجيوش التركية تقتحم تلك المناطق بذريعة مطاردة الاكراد الاتراك المقهورين في ظل السلطان اردوغان.

المهم أن النشيد الوطني الجديد الذي انطلق من الديمان وتولى الترويج له بضعة من السياسيين من ذوي الانتماء “المحايد” أخذوا يرددون نغمة “الحياد” بديلاً من النشيد الوطني.

الحياد بين من ومن؟

بين الاتحاد السوفياتي ومعسكره الاشتراكي الذي سقط بالضربة البوتينية القاضية؟ أم بين دولة الامارات وقطر العظمى؟ أم بين السعودية المذهبة واليمن الذي يموت أهله جوعاً..هذا إذا هم نجوا من رصاص الاخوة – الاعداء من ابطال الاحتلال السعودي – الاماراتي! أم بين الغزو التركي بقيادة السلطان الذي أقحم المعلم التاريخي الذي كان كنيسة آيا صوفيا، في الماضي وغداة نشوء السلطنة، وقرر تحويله إلى مسجد، متنكرا للتاريخ وحتى لأصول الصلاة عند المسلمين، اذ دخل الكنيسة التي صيرت مسجداً، بحذائه خلافاً لقواعد الصلاة.

أما مصر فمشغولة بهموم سد النهضة في الحبشة، خوفاً على السد العالي الذي انقذ المئة مليون مصري من العطش، والذي افتتحه الرئيس الراحل جمال عبد الناصر مع خروتشوف، اظرف رئيس عرفته موسكو، والذي خلع نعليه ليطرق بهما على منصة وفده في الامم المتحدة، حين بدأ الرئيس الاميركي خطابه.. وكان ذلك تعبيراً عن موقف الاتحاد السوفياتي من مشروع الغزو الاميركي لدولة فيديل كاسترو في كوبا.. وهي الجلسة التي حضرها معظم اقطاب دول عدم الانحياز: جواهر لال نهرو، وجمال عبد الناصر وتيتو، في حين كان الوفد الاميركي برئاسة جون كيندي.

يومها، كما يحب الاميركي أن ينسى، ترك كاسترو مبنى الأمم المتحدة في نيويورك ونزل ليجول في أحياء “السود”، الذين كانوا يحاولون الانتفاض ضد الظلم الاسود في البيت الابيض في واشنطن… وهو الظلم الذي تجلى مؤخراً في قتل جورج فلويد بحذاء بعض رجال الحرس، بينما صار البيت الابيض مقراً للمهووسين بقيادة دونالد ترامب، الداعم الاخطر للمشروع الصهيوني الذي يعمل على انجازه رئيس الحكومة الاسرائيلية المشتركة بين نتنياهو ومعارضيه، والذي – يشمل في ما يشمل – منطقة الاغوار التي تحفظ تلالها اجداث بعض ابطال فتح دمشق ومنهم ابو عبيدة الجراح.

يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الامم…

لبنان الآن على كف عفريت. وسوريا تتمزق أمام عيون الاخوة العرب، والروس والاتراك والايرانيون يتقاسمن اراضيها، والرئيس الروسي بوتين يستقبل الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد في مقر السفارة الروسية في دمشق، ممتنعا عن الصعود للقائه في القصر الجمهوري على بعض الروابي التي غناها امير الشعراء احمد شوقي بقوله:

قُمْ نَاجِ جِلَّقَ وانْشُدْ رَسْـمَ مَنْ بَانُوامَشَتْ عَلَى الرّسْمِ أَحْدَاثٌ وَأَزْمَانُ
هَذا الأَديـمُ كِتابٌ لا انْكِفَـاءَ لَـهُرَثُّ الصَّحَائِفِ، بَاقٍ مِنْهُ عُـنْوانُ
بَنُـو أُمَـيَّـةَ للأنْبَـاءِ مَا فَتَحُـواوَللأحَـادِيثِ مَا سَـادُوا وَمَا دَانُوا
كَـانوا مُلُوكاً، سَرِيرُ الشّرقِ تَحْتَهُمُفَهَلْ سَأَلْتَ سَريرَ الغَرْبِ مَا كَانُوا؟

Time is Not on Our Side in Libya

Photograph Source: Abdul-Jawad Elhusuni – CC BY-SA 3.0

by VIJAY PRASHAD

JULY 22, 2020

Ahmed, who lives in Tripoli, Libya, texts me that the city is quieter than before. The army of General Khalifa Haftar—who controls large parts of eastern Libya—has withdrawn from the southern part of the capital and is now holding fast in the city of Sirte and at the airbase of Jufra. Most of Libya’s population lives along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, which is where the cities of Tripoli, Sirte, Benghazi, and Tobruk are located.

Haftar, who was once an intimate of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is now prosecuting a seemingly endless and brutal war against the United Nation’s recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli and led by President Fayez al-Sarraj. To make matters more confusing, Haftar takes his legitimacy from another government, which is based in Tobruk, and is formed out of the House of Representatives (HOR).

Ahmed says that the quiet is deceitful. Militias continue to patrol the streets along the Salah al-Din Road near where he lives; the rattle of gunfire is anticipated.

On July 8, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres made a statement that could have been delivered at any point over the last decade. “Time is not on our side in Libya,” he announced. He laid out a range of problems facing the country, including the military conflict, the political stalemate between the GNA and the HOR, the numbers of internally-displaced people (400,000 out of 7 million), the continued attempts of migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea, the threat from COVID-19, and the “unprecedented levels” of “foreign interference.”

The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution to send a Fact-Finding Mission to Libya to investigate human rights violations in this war, including the mass graves found in Tarhouna. The credibility of the Council is in doubt. An earlier Commission of Inquiry on Libya set up in 2012 to study war crimes in 2011-2012 was shut down largely because the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) refused to cooperate with the investigation. A second inquiry, set up in March 2015, closed its work in January 2016 with the political deal that created the Government of National Accord.

Guterres did not mention the NATO war in 2011. I am told that he wants to appoint a joint Special Representative with the African Union and he would like a full review of the UN mission. All that is well and good; but it is short of what is necessary: an honest look at the NATO war that broke the country, fomenting a conflict that seems without end.

Foreign Interference

Statements about Libya drip with evasion. These terms—“foreign interference” and “foreign-backed efforts”—are dropped into conversations and official statements without any clarification. But everyone knows what is going on.

I ask Rida, who lives in Benghazi (now under the control of General Haftar), what she makes of these phrases. “We all know what is going on,” she tells me via text. “The government in Tripoli is backed by Turkey and others; while Haftar is backed by Egypt and others,” she writes.

At the core, she says, this is a dispute between two regional powers (Turkey and Egypt) as well as a contest between the Muslim Brotherhood (Turkey) and its adversaries (Egypt and the United Arab Emirates). Wrapped up in all this are contracts for offshore drilling in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, which additionally involved Cyprus and Greece.

It is not enough that this is a regional conflict. There is accumulating evidence that General Haftar is being supported by armed mercenaries (from Russia and Sudan) and by arms shipments from France, while the United States seems to have hedged its bets with support to both sides in the conflict.

Last year, General Haftar’s forces moved swiftly toward Tripoli, but were eventually rebuffed by the intervention of Turkey (which provided the Tripoli government with military aid as well as Syrian and Turkish mercenaries).

In late December, Turkey formally signed a military and security agreement with the Tripoli-based GNA, which enabled Turkey to transfer military hardware. This agreement broke the terms of the UN resolution 2292 (2016), recently reaffirmed in UN resolution 2526 (2020). Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have openly been supplying Haftar.

Now, the forces of the Tripoli government have moved to the central coastline city of Sirte, which has emerged as the key hotspot in this contest.

The Tobruk government, which backs General Haftar, and a pro-Haftar tribes council urged Egypt’s General Abdul Fatah El Sisi to intervene with the full force of the Egyptian armed forces if Sirte falls to the Turkish-backed government. Egypt’s military drill—called Hasm 2020—came alongside the Turkish navy’s announcement of maneuvers off the Libyan coast—called Navtex.

This is a most dangerous situation, a war of words escalating between Turkey and Egypt; Egypt has now moved military hardware to its border with Libya.

Oil

Of course, oil is a major part of the equation. Libya has at least 46 billion barrels of sweet crude oil; this oil is highly valued for Europe because of the low costs to extract and transport it. Countries like the UAE, which are pushing the embargo of Libyan oil, benefit from the withdrawal of Libya, Iranian, and Venezuelan oil from already suppressed world oil markets. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has stopped oil exports since January; from about 1.10 million barrels per day, Libyan oil production fell to nearly 70,000 barrels per day.

Neither Haftar nor the Government of National Accord in Tripoli can agree on the export of oil from the country. Oil has not left the country for the better part of the past six months, with a loss—according to the NOC—of about US$6.74 billion. General Haftar controls major oil ports in the east, including Es Sider, and several key oil fields, including Sharara.

Neither side wants the other to profit from oil sales. The United Nations has intervened to try and resolve the differences, but so far there has been limited progress. The entire conflict rests on the belief that either side has that it could win a military victory and therefore take the entire spoils; no one is willing to compromise, since any such agreement would mean a de jure partition of the country into its eastern and western halves with the oil crescent divided between the two.

Demilitarized Zone

UN Secretary-General Guterres has surrendered to reality. In his recent statement on Libya, he listed a series of “de-escalation efforts, including the creation of a possible demilitarized zone”; this “demilitarization zone” would likely be drawn somewhere near Sirte. It would effectively divide Libya into two parts.

Neither Ahmed nor Rida would like their country to be partitioned, its oil then siphoned off to Europe, and its wealth stolen by oligarchs on either side. They had misgivings about Muammar Qaddafi’s government in early 2011; but now both regret the war that has ripped their country to shreds.Join the debate on FacebookMore articles by:VIJAY PRASHAD

Vijay Prashad’s most recent book is No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (New Delhi: LeftWord Books, 2015).

مختصر مفيد ثورة جمال عبد الناصر

ناصر قنديل

يقدّم لنا نموذج القائد التاريخي جمال عبد الناصر بعد نصف قرن من الرحيل مسيرة رجل من أبناء الفقراء والبسطاء وفي موقع عادي في هرميّة مؤسسات الدولة والمجتمع تحمّل المسؤولية عندما رأى وطنه يحتضر ويُهان وشعبه يجوع والأجنبي يهيمن على القرار والثروات، فلم يسأل عن تبعات التحرك والمواجهة وخاضها حتى النهاية بكل ما أوتي من قوة، من دون أن ينتظر عشيرة أو حزبا أو دولة يدعمونه، مستعداً لتحمل المخاطر بأعلى تجلياتها وهو زوج وأب وموظف.

خلال توليه المسؤولية قدّم لنا جمال عبد الناصر نموذج المسؤول الصادق الذي بقي أميناً لما أعلن من مبادئ، والذي بذل كل جهد ممكن للتعلّم والتزوّد بالمعارف والتواضع في كسب الخبرات وسماع الآراء حتى اختار أفضل ما يخدم قضية شعبه وبلده وأمته وبذل في سبيله وقتاً وجهداً وتضحيات، فكانت معارك وحروب وحصار وعقوبات، وولدت مشاريع بحجم مصانع التعدين والسد العالي وقرارات بحجم تأميم قناة السويس وتوزيع الأراضي على الفلاحين.

خلال مسؤولياته الجسام خاض عبد الناصر حرباً وخسرها، فما كان منه إلا أن قدّم استقالته مستعداً لتحمل تبعات الهزيمة، وقد قدم في سيرته الشخصية مثالاً استثنائياً حول الزهد بالمال والترفع عن المكاسب الشخصية له ولعائلته وعاش حياة البسطاء وغادرنا. وهو كما دخل الحكم بجيوب فارغة.

عظمة المثال في كونه لا يترك عذراً لأحد، فيقول بالوقائع أن كل شيء ممكن، فهو يقول لشبابنا تحمّلوا المسؤولية ولا تقيسوا قراراتكم في قضايا أوطانكم بحجم ما بين أيديكم وبضمانات الفوز مسبقاً. فحاولوا وتشجعوا وتحملوا التبعات، والنجاح ممكن دون عشيرة أو حزب أو دولة يقفون وراءكم، ويقول لمن يتولى المسؤولية أي مسؤولية، أن تغيير حياة الناس أمر ممكن، وأن تغيير حال الوطن أمر ممكن، وأن مواجهة الحصار والعقوبات أمر ممكن، ويقول لكل من يتعاطى الشأن العام أن الجمع بين العمل العام والأخلاق أمر ممكن، وكل من يقارن قرارات عليه الحسم بشأنها ويخامره بعض اليأس والتردّد مدعوّ لتخيل ماذا واجه جمال عبد الناصر وكيف اتخذ قراراته.

يستطيع الناس الاختلاف في تقييم تجربة حكم جمال عبد الناصر، و/أو في صواب قراراته، لكن أحداً لا يستطيع أن يشطب من ذاكرتنا أنه كان عنوان المرحلة الذهبية في التاريخ العربي المعاصر، عندما صار للعرب والشرق والعالم الثالث كلمة.

Russian Navy showcases its military might in large-scale drills off Syrian coast: video

Source

News Desk -2020-07-250

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:50 A.M.) – The Russian Navy carried out large-scale drills off the coast of Syria’s Tartous Governorate this week, showcasing their military capabilities in the eastern Mediterranean region amid increased tensions between several nations.

According to Sputnik Arabic, the Syrian coastal region witnessed the qualitative training of the Russian Navy, as they used their warships, military choppers and combat aircraft to simulate the effectiveness of their forces in battle.

Sputnik filmed the naval drills from the coastal governorate of Tartous this week, which is where the Russian Navy is currently based in the eastern Mediterranean.

The publication reported the use of the advanced Raptor waterboats, which are classified among the fastest military boats in the Russian fleet, as they are able to sail at speeds of up to 50 knots, and to carry out various missions in the coast guard teams such as surveillance, and guard missions and rescue missions.

In addition to the training of the Raptor, large marine vessels, including the “Krasnodar” submarine and a missile cruiser, also took part in the military drills.

These Russian naval exercises come at a time of increased friction in the eastern Mediterranean, as Turkey’s role in Libya and their offshore drilling agitates Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece.

EGYPTIAN PARLIAMENT AUTHORIZES POSSIBLE DEPLOYMENT OF TROOPS TO LIBYA

Source

21.07.2020

Egyptian Parliament Authorizes Possible Deployment Of Troops To Libya

Egypt’s parliament on Monday unanimously approved the deployment of armed forces abroad if necessary to defend Egypt’s national security following the rapid expansion of Libya’s Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which appears to be preparing for a major assault to capture the key coastal city of Sirte.

The stage is set for a dramatic escalation of the conflict in Libya, which appears to be certain to occur if the armed forces of the Government of National Accord and its major ally Turkey attempt to capture Sirte. They appear determined to do so, notwithstanding repeated warnings by Egypt’s president that Egypt will join the battle in force if this occurs.

Under Egypt’s constitution, the president, who is the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, shall not declare war or deploy troops outside the country without first seeking the opinion of the National Defence Council and the approval of a two-thirds majority of MPs.

Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament, the House of Representatives, has already granted permission for Egypt to deploy its armed forces in Libya if deemed necessary. Now, the Egyptian Parliament has cleared the way for any future deployment by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

In an official statement following a closed-door session, the parliament said it “unanimously approved sending elements of the Egyptian armed forces in combat missions outside the borders of the Egyptian state to defend the Egyptian national security in the western strategic front against the acts of criminal militias and foreign terrorist elements until the forces’ mission ends.”

“The Egyptian nation, throughout history, has advocated for peace, but it does not accept trespasses nor does it renounce its rights. Egypt is extremely able to defend itself, its interests, its brothers and neighbours from any peril or threat.”

“The armed forces and its leadership have the constitutional and legal licence to determine when and where to respond to these dangers and threats.” LINK

The decision was announced several days after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt “will not stand idle” in the face of any attack on Sirte, which he earlier described as a “red line” for Egypt’s national security and warned it would prompt military intervention by Cairo.

President El-Sisi also met with Libyan tribal leaders on 16 July in Cairo, where they called on the Egyptian Armed Forces “to intervene to protect the national security of Libya and Egypt.” El-Sisi said that Egypt “will quickly and decisively change the military situation” in Libya if it intervenes, adding that the Egyptian Army is one of the strongest in the region and Africa.

Earlier in July, the Egyptian Armed Forces conducted an exercise near Libya’s border. The drills, codenamed Resolve 2020, took place in the north-western district of Qabr Gabis, about 37 miles from the Libyan border.

The parliament also reviewed the outcomes of a meeting on Sunday of the country’s National Defence Council (NDC) headed by El-Sisi. The closed-door session was also attended by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Alaa Fouad and Major General Mamdouh Shaheen, assistant minister of defence.

The statement of the NDC after Sunday’s meeting declared that Egypt seeks to stabilise the current situation in the field and not to cross declared lines — referring to the Libyan cities of Sirte and Al-Jafra — with the aim of bringing about peace between all Libyan parties.

“Egypt will spare no efforts to support the sister Libya and help its people to bring their country to safety and overcome the current critical crisis, grounded in the fact that Libya is one of the highest priorities for Egypt’s foreign policy, taking into account that Libyan security is inseparable from Egyptian and Arab national security.”

The NDC affirmed commitment to a political solution to put an end to the Libyan crisis, in a manner that maintains its sovereignty and national and regional unity, eliminates terrorism, and prevents the chaos of criminal groups and extremist armed militias. It also asserted the importance of limiting illegal foreign interference that contributes to aggravating the security situation and threatens neighbouring countries and international peace and security.

The meeting of the National Defence Council also discussed ongoing trilateral negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia concerning the latter’s Renaissance Dam Project.  LINK

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Conflict Looms for Egypt and Ethiopia Over Nile Dam

Source

Conflict Looms for Egypt and Ethiopia Over Nile Dam - TheAltWorld
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cunningham_1-175x230.jpg

Finian Cunningham Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

July 17, 2020

Ethiopia appears to be going ahead with its vow to begin filling a crucial hydroelectric dam on the Nile River after protracted negotiations with Egypt broke down earlier this week. There are grave concerns the two nations may go to war as both water-stressed countries consider their share of the world’s longest river a matter of existential imperative.

Cairo is urging Addis Ababa for clarification after European satellite images showed water filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia has stated that the higher water levels are a natural consequence of the current heavy rainy season. However, this month was designated by Addis Ababa as a deadline to begin filling the $4.6 billion dam.

Egypt has repeatedly challenged the project saying that it would deprive it of vital freshwater supplies. Egypt relies on the Nile for 90 per cent of its total supply for 100 million population. Last month foreign minister Sameh Shoukry warned the UN security council that Egypt was facing an existential threat over the dam and indicated his country was prepared to go to war to secure its vital interests.

Ethiopia also maintains that the dam – the largest in Africa when it is due to be completed in the next year – is an “existential necessity”. Large swathes of its 110 million population subsist on daily rationed supply of water. The hydroelectric facility will also generate 6,000 megawatts of power which can be used to boost the existing erratic national grid.

Ominously, on both sides the issue is fraught with national pride. Egyptians accuse Ethiopia of a high-handed approach in asserting its declared right to build the dam without due consideration of the impact on Egypt.

On the other hand, the Ethiopians view the project which began in 2011 as a matter of sovereign right to utilize a natural resource for lifting their nation out of poverty. The Blue Nile which originates in Ethiopia is the main tributary to the Nile. Ethiopians would argue that Egypt does not give away control to foreign interests over its natural resources of gas and oil.

Ethiopians also point out that Egypt’s “claims” to Nile water are rooted in colonial-era treaties negotiated with Britain which Ethiopia had no say in.

What makes the present tensions sharper is the domestic political pressures in both countries. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is struggling to maintain legitimacy among his own population over long-running economic problems. For a self-styled strong leader, a conflict over the dam could boost his standing among Egyptians as they rally around the flag.

Likewise, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is beset by internal political conflicts and violent protests against his nearly two years in office. His postponement of parliamentary elections due to the coronavirus has sparked criticism of a would-be autocrat. The recent murder of a popular singer-activist which resulted in mass protests and over 100 killings by security forces has marred Abiy’s image.

In forging ahead with the dam, premier Abiy can deflect from internal turmoil and unite Ethiopians around an issue of national pride. Previously, as a new prime minister, he showed disdain towards the project, saying it would take 10 years to complete. There are indicators that Abiy may have been involved in a sinister geopolitical move along with Egypt to derail the dam’s completion. Therefore, his apparent sudden support for the project suggests a cynical move to shore up his own national standing.

Then there is the geopolitical factor of the Trump administration. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump weighed in to the Nile dispute in a way that was seen as bolstering Egypt’s claims. Much to the ire of Ethiopia, Washington warned Addis Ababa not to proceed with the dam until a legally binding accord was found with Egypt.

Thus if Egypt’s al-Sisi feels he has Trump’s backing, he may be tempted to go to war over the Nile. On paper, Egypt has a much stronger military than Ethiopia. It receives $1.4 billion a year from Washington in military aid. Al-Sisi may see Ethiopia as a softer “war option” than Libya where his forces are also being dragged into in a proxy war with Turkey.

Ethiopia, too, is an ally of Washington, but in the grand scheme of geopolitical interests, Cairo would be the preferred client for the United States. Up to now, the Trump administration has endorsed Egypt’s position over the Nile dispute. That may be enough to embolden al-Sisi to go for a showdown with Ethiopia. For Trump, being on the side of Egypt may be calculated to give his flailing Middle East policies some badly needed enthusiasm among Arab nations. Egypt has the backing of the Arab League, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Egypt has previously threatened to sabotage Ethiopia’s dam. How it would do this presents logistical problems. Egypt is separated from Ethiopia to its south by the vast territory of Sudan. Cairo has a strong air force of U.S.-supplied F-16s while Ethiopia has minimal air defenses, relying instead on a formidable infantry army.

Another foreboding sign is the uptick in visits to Cairo by Eritrean autocratic leader Isaias Afwerki. He has held two meetings with al-Sisi at the presidential palace in the Egyptian capital in as many months, the most recent being on July 6 when the two leaders again discussed “regional security” and Ethiopia’s dam. Eritrea provides a Red Sea corridor into landlocked Ethiopia which would be more advantageous to Cairo than long flights across Sudan.

Nominally, Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace deal in July 2018 to end nearly two decades of Cold War, for which Ethiopia’s Abiy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. However, the Eritrean leader may be tempted to dip back into bad blood if it boosted his coffers from Arab money flowing in return for aiding Egypt.

There will be plenty of platitudinous calls for diplomacy and negotiated settlement from Washington, the African Union and the Arab League. But there is an underlying current for war that may prove unstoppable driven by two populous and thirsty nations whose leaders are badly in need of shoring up their political authority amid internal discontent.

There Is a Dark and Dangerous Forest Behind These Burning Trees…

Source

 • JULY 14, 2020


Roughly half-way through the year 2020 it is becoming pretty obvious that there are a number of major developments which almost got our total attention, and for good reason, as these are tectonic shifts which truly qualify as “catastrophe” (under the definition “a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth“). These are:
  • The initiation of the global collapse of the AngloZionist Empire.
  • The immense economic bubble whose ever-growing size is the best predictor of the magnitude of the huge burst it will inevitably result in.
  • The implosion of the US society due to a combination of several and profound systemic crises (economic collapse, racial tensions, mass poverty, alienation of the masses, absence of social protections, etc.).
  • The COVID-19 (aka “it’s just like the seasonal flu!!“) pandemic which only exacerbates all the other major factors listed above.
  • Last, but not least, it is hard to imagine what the next US Presidential election will look like, but one thing is certain: by November we will already have a perfect storm – the election will only act like a battery which will feed even more energy into this already perfect storm.
To be sure, these are truly momentous, historical, developments whose importance cannot be over-stated. They are, however, not the only very serious developments. There are, in fact, several areas of serious political tensions which could also result in a major explosion, albeit a regional one “only”!
I will list just a few, beginning with the most visible one:

Turkey

Erdogan is up to no good. Again. What a big surprise, right? Every time I hear somebody writing something about Erdogan the dreaming of becoming the sultan of a new Ottoman Empire, I tend to roll my eyes as this is a cliche. Yet, there is no denial that this cliche is true – the neo-Ottoman ideology is definitely alive and well in Turkey and Erdogan clearly wants to “ride that horse”. So let’s list some of the things which the Turks have been up to:
  1. Syria: The Turks have clearly been dragging their feet in northern Syria where, at least according to the deal Erdogan made with Putin, the “bad terrorists” should have left a long time ago and the key highway should have been under the joint protection of the Russian and Turkish forces. Well, Turkey did some of this, but not all, and the “bad terrorists” are still very much present in northern Syria. In fact, they recently tried to attack the Russian Aerospace Forces base in Khmeimim (they failed, but that is still something which the Turks have to answer for since the attack came from a zone they control). Protecting terrorists in exchange for promises of immunity from their attacks has been tried many times in the past and it has never worked – sooner or later the terrorist groups always slip out of the control of their masters and even turn against them. This is now happening to Turkey.
  2. Libya: The Turks are also deeply involved in the Libyan civil war. In fact, “deeply involved” does not give enough credit to the Turkish military which used Turkish-made drones with devastating effectiveness against the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, the commander of the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (which is backed by both Russia and Egypt). Only the prompt (and rather mysterious) deployment of Russian air defenses and a number of unidentified MiG-29s succeeded in eventually bringing down enough Turkish drones to force them to take a pause. The Egyptians have made it clear that they will never allow the so-called “Government of National Accord” to take Sirte or any land East of Sirte. The Libyan Parliament (of East Libya) has now given Egypt the official authorization to directly intervene in Libya. This makes some kind of Egyptian intervention an almost certain thing.
  3. Hagia Sophia: And just to make sure there are enough sources of tension, the Turks have now declared that the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul will no longer be a museum open to all, but a mosque. Now the CIA-puppet modestly known as “His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch” Bartholomew should be the most vocal opponent to this move, but all he can do is mumble some irrelevancies (he wanted to go down as the Patriarch who patronized the Ukrainian schism and, instead, he will go down in history as the Patriarch who did nothing to prevent the Ottomans from seizing one of the holiest sites of the Orthodox world. Truth be told, he probably could not have prevented that (Erdogan’s move is entirely due to upcoming elections in Turkey) – but he sure could have tried a little better. Ditto for the head of the Moscow Patriarchate (and, for that matter, the Russian government) who expressed stuff like concern, or dismay, of some form of condemnation, but who really did nothing to make Erdogan pay for his move.
What the Turks just did is a disgrace, not only for Turkey itself which, yet again, proves that the Ottoman version of Islam is a particularly toxic and dangerous one. It is also a disgrace for the entire Muslim world which, with a few notable exceptions such as Sheikh Imran Hosein, has done nothing to prevent this and, if anything, has approved of this move. Finally, this is a disgrace for the entire Orthodox world as it proves that the entire worldwide Orthodox community has less relevance and importance in the eyes of the Turkish leader than the outcome of local elections. Russia, especially, would have the kind of political muscle needed to inflict all sorts of painful forms of retaliation against Turkey and yet Russia does nothing. This is a sad witness to the extreme weakness of the Orthodox faith in the modern world.
Add to this all the “traditional” sources of instability around Turkey, including the still unsolved (and unsolvable!) Kurdish issue, the tensions between Turkey and Iraq and Iran, Turkish low-key support for anti-Russian factions in the various former Soviet Republics and the constant confrontation with Greece).
Turkey remains one of the most dangerous states on the planet, even if most people remain unaware of this. True, in the recent years Turkey lost a lot of its power, but it still has plenty of formidable assets (including a very strong domestic weapon systems manufacturing capability) which it can use for a vast spectrum of nefarious political and military interventions.

Egypt

Egypt is another country which regularly makes some headlines and then disappears from the public’s radar. Yet, right now, Egypt is faced not with one, but with twopossible wars!
  1. Libya: as I mentioned above, should it come to an open clash between Turkey and Egypt in Libya, there could be a rapid horizontal escalation in which initial military clashes in Libya could turn into clashes over the Eastern Mediterranean and even possible strikes on key military objectives in Turkey and Egypt. The only good news here is that there are a lot of major actors who do not need a shooting war in the Eastern Mediterranean and/or the Middle-East. After all, if it came to a true military confrontation between Turkey and Egypt, then you can be pretty sure that NATO, CENTCOM, Greece, Israel and Russia would all have major concerns. Besides, it is hard to imagine what kind of military “victory” either Turkey or Egypt could hope for. Right now the situation is very tense, but we can hope that all the parties will realize that a negotiated solution, even a temporary one, is preferable to a full-scale war.
  2. Ethiopia: Egypt has a potentially much bigger problem than Libya to deal with: the construction by Ethiopia of the “The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD)” on the Blue Nile river. While nobody really knows what the eventual impact of this dam will be on Sudan and Egypt, is is pretty clear that a civilization built along the Nile river will face a major threat to its way of life if the way the Nile river flows is disturbed in a major way (which this dam will definitely do).
Of the two possible conflicts I mentioned above, it is the second one which has me most worried. At the end of the day, neither Turkey nor Egypt will get to decide what happens in Libya which is mostly a kind of multi-player “chessboard” where “big guys” (US, France, Russia) will eventually decide the outcome. In the case of the dam in Ethiopia, the local actors will probably have a decisive say, especially since both sides consider that this is an existentially important issue for them.
If you look at a map of the region, you will see that the distance between the Egyptian border and the location of the dam on the border between Ethiopia and Sudan is a long one (about 1’200km or 745 miles). Should it come to a military confrontation between the two countries, this distance will pretty much decide the shape of the warfare we shall see: mainly air and missile strikes. The main problem here (for both sides) is that neither side has the kind of air force or missiles which would allow it to effectively strike the other country. This, however, could change very rapidly, especially if Russia does sell 24 of its advanced Su-35 multi-role air superiority fighters to Egypt, and even more so if Russia throws in a few capable air-to-ground strike missiles into the package (the delivery of the first Sukhois appears to be imminent). Then there is this “minor detail” of Sudan being stuck between the two combatants: Khartoum simply cannot look away and pretend like all is well if two of its major neighbors decide to fight each other over Sudanese airspace.
In theory Egypt could also try to mount some attack from the Red Sea, but right now the Egyptian Navy does not pack the kind of punch which would allow it to effectively strike Ethiopia (especially with Eritrea in between the Red Sea and Ethiopia). But that could also change, especially since Egypt agreed to purchase the two Gamal Abdel Nasser (ex-Mistral) class amphibious assault ships and helicopter carriers which, while not ideal, would definitely boost the Egyptian’s command and control capabilities, especially if the Egyptians succeed in deploying AWACS and strike aircraft (rotary or even light fixed wing V/STOL) on these ships. In practice, however, I think that the Egyptians could engage these ships much more effectively in Libya than they would in the Red Sea (especially since these ships are poorly defended against missile strikes).
Finally, not only is the GERD defended by decent air defense systems (along with a few decent, if aging, air force aircraft), a dam is a pretty hard target to disable: it is big, strong, and has a large volume which, by itself, also contributes to the “hardness” against attacks.
So there are reasons to hope that a conflict can be avoided, but it will be very hard to get the two sides to agree to compromises on issues which both sides see as vital to their national security.

The Ukraine

Yes, the Ukraine. Again. This insanity which began with the Euromaidan has not stopped, far from it. In fact, ever since the election of Zelenskii the Ukraine has become something of a madhouse which would be outright hilariously comical if it wasn’t also so tragic and even horrible for millions of Ukrainians. I will spare you all the details, but we can sum up the main development of the past months as “Zelenskii has completely lost control of the country”. But that would not even begin to cover the reality of this situation.
For one thing, the war of words between Trump and Biden over the Ukraine-gate has now “infected” the Ukrainian political scene and each side is now busy with what is known locally as “black PR”: trying to dig up as much dirt against your opponent as possible. Zelenskii is so weak that, amazingly, the previously almost totally discredited Poroshenko has now made a strong comeback and thereby acquired the support of a lot of influential nationalists. The latest incredible (but true!) “informational bomb” was set off by a member of the Ukrainian Rada, Andrei Derkach, who released a recording of Joe Biden and Poroshenko discussing the pros and cons of organizing a terrorist attack in Crimea (see here for details about this amazing story). This makes both Biden and Poroshenko “sponsors of terrorism” (hardly a surprise, but still). Other “juicy” news stories about the Nazi-occupied Banderastan include Zelenskii possibly fathering a kid with an aide and the brutal attacks on the members of a small (but growing) “Sharii” opposition party which the authorities not only ignored, but most likely ordered in the first place. It is not my purpose here to discuss all the toxic intricacies of internal Ukronazi politics, so I will only look at one of the major dangers resulting from this dynamic: there is talk of war with Russia again.
Okay, we have all heard the very same rumors for years now, and yet no real and sustained Ukrainian attack on the LDNR or, even less so, Crimea ever took place (there were constant artillery strikes and diversionary attacks, but those remain below the threshold of open warfare). But what we hear today is a little bit different: an increasing number of Ukrainian and even Polish observers have declared that Russia would attack this summer or in September, possibly using military maneuvers to move forces to the Ukrainian border and attack. Depending on whom you ask, such an attack could come from Belarus and/or from central Russia – some even worry about a Russian amphibious operation against the Ukrainian coastline and cities like Mariupol, Nikolaev, Kherson or Odessa.
The Ukronazis are truly amazing. First they cut off all the electricity and even water from Crimea, and then they declare that Russia will have to invade to retake control of the water supply. The notion that Russia will solve Crimea’s water problem by peaceful and technological means is, apparently, quite unthinkable for the Ukronazi leaders. In the real world, however, Russia has a comprehensive program to comprehensively solve Crimea’s water problems. This program has begun by laying down water pipes, improving of the irrigation system of Crimea, the use of special aircraft to trigger rain and might even include the creation of a desalination plant. The simple truth is that Russia can easily make Crimea completely independent from anything Ukrainian.
And just to make things worse, the head of the Ukrainian Navy (which exists on paper mostly) has now declared that a new Ukrainian missile, the Neptune, could reach as far as Sevastopol. The problem is not the missile itself (it is a modernized version of an old Soviet design, and it is slow and therefore easy to shoot down), but the kind of “mental background noise” that this kind of talk of war creates.
From a purely military point of view, Russia does not even have to move any troops to defeat the Ukrainian armed forces: all Russia needs to do is to use its powerful long-range stand-off weapons and reconnaissance-strike complexes to first decapitate, then disorganize and finally destroy the Ukrainian military. Russia’s superiority in the air, on the water and on land is such that the Ukrainians don’t have a chance in hell to survive such an attack, nevermind defeating Russia. The Ukrainians all know that since, after all, their entire military could not even deal with the (comparatively) minuscule and infinitely weaker LDNR forces (at least when compared to regular Russian forces).
Still, the Ukrainians have one advantage over Russia: while this would be extremely dangerous to try, they must realize that, unlike in the case of their attacks on the Donbass, should they dare to attack Crimea, President Putin would not have any other option than to order a retaliatory strike of some sort. Any Ukrainian attack or strike on Crimea would probably fail with all the missiles intercepted long before they could reach their targets, but even in this case the pressure on Putin to put an end to this would be huge. Which means that it would not be incorrect to say that whoever is in power in Kiev can force Russia to openly intervene. This means that in this specific case the weaker side can have at least some degree of escalation dominance.
Now the Ukraine definitely cannot achieve strategic surprise and is even most unlikely to achieve tactical surprise, but, again, the actual success of any Ukrainian strike on Crimea does not require the designated targets of the strike to be destroyed: all that would be needed, in some plans at least, is the ability to do two things:
  • Force Russia to openly intervene and
  • Choose the time, place and mode of attack most problematic for the Russian side
Finally, I would suggest that we look at this issue from the point of view of the AngloZionist Empire: in many, if not most, ways, the Banderastan the West created in the Ukraine has outlived its utility: the USN won’t get a base in Crimea which is now lost forever (it is now one of the best defended places on the planet), Russia has not openly intervened in the civil war, the Ukronazi forces were comprehensively trounced by the Novorussians and in economic terms, and the Ukraine is nothing but one big black hole with an ever growing event horizon. Which might suggest to some in the US ruling elites that to trigger a losing war against Russia might be the best (and, possibly, only) thing their ugly creation could do for them. Why?
Well, for one thing, such a war will be bloody, even if it is short. Second, since the Russians are exceedingly unlikely to want to occupy any part of what is today the Nazi-occupied Ukraine, this means that even a total military defeat would not necessarily result in a complete disappearance of the current Banderastan. Yes, more regions in the East and the South might try to use this opportunity to rise up and liberate themselves, and should that happen Russia might offer the kind of help she offered the Novorussians, but I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that Russian tanks will be seen on Kiev or, even less so, Lvov (nevermind Warsaw or Riga). So a military loss against Russia would not be a total loss for Banderastan and it might even yield some beneficial dynamics to whatever consolidated Ukronazi-power might come out from such a conflict. Actually, should that happen I fully expect the Ukronazis to declare a kind of jihad to liberate the Moskal’ -occupied Ukraine. This means that the initial bloodbath would be followed by a festering low to medium level military conflict between Russia and the Ukraine which could last a very long time and also be most undesirable for Russia.
During my studies I had the honor and privilege to study with a wonderful Colonel of the Pakistani Army who became a good friend. One day (that was around 1991) I asked my friend what the Pakistani strategy would be during a possible war against India. He replied to me: “look, we all know that India is much stronger and bigger than Pakistan, but what we all also know is that if they attack us we can give them a very bloody nose”. This is exactly what the Ukrainian strategy might be: to give Russia a “bloody nose”. Militarily, this is impossible, of course, but in political terms any open war against the Ukraine would be a disaster for Russia. It would also be a disaster for the Ukraine, but the puppet-masters of the Ukronazis in Kiev don’t care about the people of the Ukraine anymore than they care about the people of Russia: all they want is to give the Russians a big bloody nose.
In summary, here is one possible scenario which might result in a regional catastrophe: whoever is in power in the Ukraine would begin by realizing that the project of an Ukronazi Banderastan has already failed and that neither the EU nor, even less so, the US is willing to continue to toss money into the Ukie black hole. Furthermore, clever Ukie politicians will realize that neither Poroshenko nor Zelensii have “delivered” the expected “goods” to the Empire. Then the East-European US vassal-states (lead by Poland and the Baltic statelets) also realize that EU money is running out and that far from having achieved any real economic progress (nevermind any “miracle”), they are also becoming increasingly irrelevant to their masters in the EU and US. And, believe me, the political leaders of these US vassal-states have realized a long time ago that a war between Russia and the Ukraine would be a fantastic opportunity for them to regain some value in the eyes of their imperial overlords in the EU and US. To people who think like these people do, even an attempted Neptune strike against Sevastopol would be a quick and quite reasonable way to force Putin’s hand.
Lastly, we can now look at the situation in Russia

Russia

One would think that following the massive victory the Kremlin has achieved with the vote on the changes to the Russian Constitution, the political situation in Russia would be idyllic, at least compared to the sinking Titanic of the “collective West”. Alas, this is far from being the case. Here are some of the factors which contribute to a potentially dangerous situation inside Russia.
  1. As I have mentioned in the past, besides the “official” (pretend) opposition in the Duma, there are now two very distinct “non-system” oppositions to Putin: the bad old “liberals” (which I sometimes call the 5th column) and the (relatively new) “pink-nationalist” Putin-haters which I christened, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I admit – as a 6th column (Ruslan Ostashko calls them “emo-Marxists“, and that is a very accurate description too). What is so striking is that while Russian 5th and 6th columnists hate each other, they clearly hate Putin even more. Many of them also hate the Russian people because they don’t “get it” (at least in their opinion) and because time and again the people vote with and for Putin. Needless to say, these “5th and 6th columnists” (let’s call them “5&6c” from now on) declare that the election was stolen, that millions of votes were not counted at all, while others were counted many times. According to these 5&6c types, it is literally unthinkable that Putin would get such a high support therefore the only explanation is that the elections were rigged. While the sum total of these 5&6c types is probably not enough to truly threaten Putin or the Russian society, the Kremlin has to be very careful in how it handles these groups, especially since the condition of the Russian society is clearly deteriorating:
  2. Russia has objective, real, problems which cannot simply be dismissed. Most Russians clearly would prefer a much more social and economically active state. The reality is that the current political system in Russia cares little for the “little man”. The way the Kremlin and the Russian “big business” are enmeshed is distressing to a lot of Russians, and I agree with them. Furthermore, while the western sanctions did a great job preparing Russia for the current crisis, it still remains true that Russia does not operate in such a favorable environment, revenues are down in many sectors, and the COVID19 pandemic has also had a devastating effect on Russian small businesses. And while the issue of the COVID19 virus has not been so hopelessly politicized in Russia has it has in the West, a lot of my contacts report to me that many people feel that the Kremlin and the Moscow authorities have mismanaged the crisis. So while the non-systemic opposition of the 5&6c cannot truly threaten Russia, there are enough of what I would call “toxic and potentially dangerous trends” inside the Russian society which could turn into a much bigger threat should a crisis suddenly erupt (including a crisis triggered by an always possible Ukrainian provocation).
  3. More and more Russians, including Putin-supporters, are getting frustrated with what they perceive as being a lame and frankly flaccid Russian foreign policy. This does not necessarily mean that they disagree with the way Putin deals with the big issues (say Crimea, or Syria or the West’s sabre-rattling), but they get especially frustrated by what they perceive as lame Russian responses against petty provocations. For example, the US Congress and the Trump Administration have continued to produce sanctions and stupid accusations against Russia on a quasi-daily basis, yet Russia is really doing nothing much about that, in spite of the fact that there are many options in her political “toolkit” to really make the US pay for that attitude. Another thing which irritates the Russians is that arrogant, condescending and outright rude manner in which western politicians (and their paid for journalists in Russia) constantly intervene in internal Russian matters without ever being seriously called out for this. Sure, some particularly nasty characters (and organization) have been kicked out of Russia, but not nearly enough to really send a clear message Russia’s enemies.
  4. And, just to make things worse, there are some serious problems between Russia and her supposed allies, specifically Belarus and Kazakhstan. Nothing truly critical has happened yet, but the political situation in Belarus is growing worse by the day (courtesy of, on one hand, the inept policies of Lukashenko and, on the other, a resurgence of Kazakh nationalism, apparently with the approval of the central government). Not only is the destabilization of two major Russian allies a bad thing in itself, it also begs the question of how Putin can deal with, say, Turkey or Poland, when Russia can’t even stabilize the situation in Belarus and Kazakhstan.
To a large degree, I share many of these frustrations too and I agree that it is time for Putin and Russia to show a much more proactive posture towards the (eternally hostile) West.
My problem with the 5th column is that it is composed of rabid russophobes who hate their own nation and who are nothing but willing prostitutes to the AngloZionist Empire. They want Russia to become a kind of “another Poland only further East” or something equally insipid and uninspiring.
My problem with the 6th column is that it hates Putin much more than it loves Russia, which is regularly shows by predicting either a coup, or a revolution, or a popular uprising or any other bloody event which Russia simply cannot afford for two main reasons:
  1. Russia almost destroyed herself twice in just the past century: in 1917 and 1991. Each time, the price paid by the Russian people was absolutely horrendous and the Russian nation simply cannot afford another major internal conflict.
  2. Russia is at war against the Empire, and while this war remains roughly an 80% informational/ideological one, about 15% an economic one and only about 5% a kinetic war, it remains that this is a total, existential, war for survival: either the Empire disappears or Russia will. This is therefore a situation where any action which weakens your state, your country and its leader always comes dangerously close to treason.
Right now the biggest blessing for Russia is that neither the 5th nor the 6th column has managed to produce even a halfway credible political figure who at least appears as marginally capable of offering realistic solutions. A number of 5th columnists have decided to emigrate and leave what they see as “Putin’s Mordor”. Alas, I don’t see any stream of 6th columnists leaving Russia, which objectively makes them a much more useful tool for outfits like the CIA who will not hesitate to infiltrate even a putatively anti-US political movement if this can weaken Russia in general, or Putin personally.
Right now the Russian security services are doing a superb job countering all these threats (including the still very real Wahabi terrorist threat) all at the same time. However, considering the rather unstable and even dangerous international political situation, this could change if all the forces who hate Putin and what they call “Putinism” either join forces or simply strike at the same time.

Conclusion

There are, of course, many other potential flashpoints on the planet, including India, Pakistan and China, the South China Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Korean Peninsula and many others. Thus the above is only a sampling of a much larger list.
The huge changes taking place before our eyes are real, and they are huge. But we should not follow the lead of the corporate media and focus on only one or two “hot” topics, especially not when there are plenty of very real dangers out there. This being said, there is no doubt that what will happen in the next couple of months inside the United States is by far the biggest and most important development out there, one which will shape the future of our planet no matter what actually happens. And I am not referring to the totally symbolic non-choice between Biden and Trump.
I am referring to how the US society will deal with a virulently anti-US coalition of minorities which hate this country and everything, good and bad that it stood for in the past. Right now the US elites are committing national suicide by not only failing to oppose, but also by actively supporting the BLM thugs and everything they stand for: BLM & Co. remind me of Ukronazis whose main expression of national identity is to hate everything Russian – the BLM thugs do the same thing: their entire worldview is pure hatred of the hetero White male and the western civilization; and just as the Ukies regale each other with stories about the “ancient Ukrs” the BLM folks imagine that they will somehow turn the US into a type Wakanda before expelling (or worse) all those who are not willing to hand over their country to roaming gangs of illiterate thugs.
While Russia has to face the potential of internal violence, the United States is already facing a dangerous and violent insurrection which is likely to become much worse as the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic fully explodes. So far, the effects of this crisis have been somewhat tempered by a combination of 1) political denials about the nature of the threat (“oh, nonsense, it is just like the seasonal flu!“) 2) the mass distribution of money (which has only helped temporarily) 3) the existence of a huge financial bubble which will only make matters worse, but which temporarily can create the illusion that things are not nearly as bad as they really are.
It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. This is true. It is also true that the collapse of the Empire has now created several vacuums which will be filled by new actors, but there is no guarantee at all that this transition will be peaceful. So while we are watching some very big trees burning, we should not forget that behind these trees there is a big forest which can also burn, possibly creating a much bigger forest fire than the trees we see burning today.

Assad Sends Pantsir Air Defense Systems To Counter Turkey In Libya

The Syrian government seems to be deploying Pantsir-S1 air defense systems to Libya to assist forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in their battle against the Turkish-controlled Government of National Accord.

An unusual Pantisr-S1 air defense system was for the first time spotted in Libya last week, when local activists released a video of a Libyan National Army convoy moving towards the port city of Sirte besieged by Turkish-led forces.

A spokesman for the GNA forces in the region, Brig. Abdul Hadi Draa, also said that the Pantsir-S1 systems and other weapons were deployed at the Sirte airport on July 11. One of the convoys moving towards the airport included the Pantsir-S1 system on the unusual KAMAZ-6560 8×8 chassis. Previously, all the Pantsir-S1 systems operated by the LNA were based on the German MAN SX 45 8×8 chassis. This variant was supplied by Russia to the UAE, which later supplied systems to the LNA.

Other discriminant marks of the filmed Pantsir-S1 were a desert yellow paint and the older passive electronically scanned array search radar. The only country in the Middle East that operates Pantsir-S1 systems with such specifications and supports the Libyan National Army is Syria.

Earlier in 2020, Syria officially established diplomatic ties with the House of Representatives, a democratically elected body that supports the Libyan National Army and manages the daily social and economic life in the territories controlled by it.

Damascus also sees the Libyan National Army and the House of Representatives as a natural ally because they also fight against the occupation of their country by Turkey.

In the last few weeks, Syrian Il-76 cargo planes made several unusual flights between Damascus International Airport and the al-Khadim Air Base in northeast Libya. The base is known to be hosting service members of the UAE that are involved in the assist and advice mission to support Haftar’s forces. The Pantsir-S1 system spotted on the road to Sirte may have been shipped from Syria to Libya during one of these flights.

At the same time, the Syrian government currently have good relations with Egypt, the UAE – the main backers of the Libyan National Army, and obviously with Russia – the producer of Pantsir-S1 systems and the country that provides background diplomatic support to the UAE-Egypt bloc in the conflict.

The Syrian Air Defense Forces operate dozens of Pantsir-S1 systems. Most of the Syrian systems are equipped with the advanced active electronically scanned array search radar. Therefore, Damascus may have opted to sell a part of its older systems to Haftar.

If this is confirmed, this move will likely allow Syria to improve its relations with the Libyan National Army, the UAE and Egypt, complicate Turkish plans to capture Srite, and last but not least strengthen the Syrian regional positions, which were significantly undermined by the ongoing war inside the country.

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Eastern-Based Libyan Parliament Gives Green Light to Egyptian Army to Interfere in Libyan Conflict

Egyptian army members wearing protective face masks, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) complete a new area at the Ain Shams field hospital prepared to receive COVID-19 patients in Cairo, Egypt June 16, 2020

Source

 13.07.2020

CAIRO (Sputnik) – The eastern-based Libyan parliament, which supports the Libyan National Army (LNA), has given go-ahead to the Egyptian armed forces to intervene in the Libyan conflict.

In early June, Egypt put forward the Cairo peace initiative, outlining a path for a political settlement in Libya and calling for warring parties to cease fire since 8 June. The proposal was welcomed by the Arab League, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but was rejected by the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey.

“We call for joint efforts between the two brotherly nations – Libya and Egypt – in order to defeat the occupier and maintain our common security and stability in our country and region,” the statement read.

It added that the parliament “welcomes the words of the Egyptian President, spoken in the presence of representatives of Libyan tribes.”

“The Egyptian armed forces have the right to intervene to protect Libyan and Egyptian national security if they see an imminent threat to the security of our two countries,” the statement added.

Last week Egyptian armed forces conducted an exercise near Libya’s border. The drills, codenamed Resolve 2020, took place in the northwestern district of Qabr Gabis, some 37 miles (60 kilometres) away from the Libyan border.

Libya has been suffering from internal conflict since its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011. At the moment, the east of the country is ruled by the parliament, while the west is controlled by the Tripoli-based Government of GNA, which was formed with the help of the United Nations and the European Union. The authorities in the east cooperate with the LNA, which has been attempting to take control of Tripoli.

Related

Lebanon economic crisis: Sovereignty and solidarity are the keys to prevent collapse

Source

9 July 2020 11:14 UTC | 

By Hicham Safieddine, He is a lecturer in the History of the Modern Middle East at King’s College London. He is author of Banking on the State: The Financial Foundations of Lebanon (Stanford University Press, 2019).

As the US ramps up financial pressure, a political struggle is underway over whether Lebanon should turn eastwards to China, Russia and Iran for relief

Lebanese protesters take part in a symbolic funeral for the country in Beirut on 13 June (AFP)

Lebanon has joined the club of sanctioned nations by proxy. Limited sanctions were already in place, but the US Caesar Act targeting Syria has cast its net over Lebanon’s entire economy. 

The country’s crumbling financial system had been gasping for fresh foreign funds. It is now stuck between the anvil of morbidly corrupt Lebanese elites obstructing reform, and the hammer of financial coercion by western powers.

On top of accelerating inflation that has rippled into Syria, the spectre of sanctions in the wake of failed International Monetary Fund talks has triggered a political tussle inside Lebanon over turning eastwards to China, Russia and Iran for relief.

Wedded to the West

This is not the first time that Lebanon has been unhinged by shifts in the global and regional balances of power. But it is one of the most dangerous crises. Sanctions on top of financial bankruptcy, oligarchic manipulation, regional instability, coronavirus and a global slump, are a recipe for total collapse.

There is no denial of the impending calamity. But the undignified media spectacle of apocalyptic suffering, divorced from a serious discussion of the tough choices Lebanon faces, borders on sanctions-mongering and accentuates this very suffering.

Aside from being a historic fiction, Lebanese neutrality today is wishful thinking

The first choice is clinging to the West and forgetting the rest through negative neutrality. In real terms, this means passive normalisation with Israel and active distancing from Syria, both of which meet western expectations. Aside from being a historic fiction, Lebanese neutrality today is wishful thinking. 

Firstly, calls for neutrality underestimate the nature and extent of the ongoing geo-economic war, of which the Caesar Act is the latest salvo. Having lost the proxy war militarily, Washington is flexing its powerful financial muscle – powered by dollar supremacy in global markets – to spoil reconstruction efforts in Syria by its lesser rivals, Russia, China and Iran. 

More broadly, financial sanctions are now a fixture of US foreign policy, with the majority of affected states in the Middle East. These sanctions are part of a multi-front war that involves tertiary actors such as Turkey, Egypt and the Gulf states and are tied to reconstruction in Iraq and Syria, geo-military rivalries in Yemen and Libya, settler-colonial expansion in Palestine, and control over gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean. Lebanon is engulfed by these conflicts from all four cardinal directions.

Political suicide

Secondly, neutrality vis-a-vis Syria in particular is economic euthanasia and political suicide given the two countries’ shared borders, common history, interdependent economies, joint threat of Israeli aggression, oligarchic and authoritarian governing elites, and – as these sanctions have shown – converging financial crises. 

Neutrality would cut Lebanon off from its only land lifeline to Syria and the wider region at a time when air and sea travel are grounded thanks to Covid-19. It would also revive animosity between the two peoples while doing little to alleviate the crisis or topple ruling elites. 

Lebanon protests: We should not let the ruling class reproduce itself again Read More »

In addition, western powers continue to play the game of double standards, feigning concern while tightening the noose. While Washington slapped criminal sanctions on the entire population of Lebanon, its ambassador in Beirut singled out the usual suspect, Hezbollah, for destabilising the country. The accusation was parroted by her British counterpart, while a sniffer dog at London’s Heathrow Airport – as this author witnessed firsthand – frisked Lebanese expatriates carrying much-needed cash back home. Travellers caught “red-handed” were interrogated without cause. 

To top it off, Gulf states within the western orbit are also withholding aid while awash with trillions of dollars in sovereign funds.

Finally, US allies themselves, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are anticipating a decline in the global role of the US. More to the point, European states, as well as the US, have multibillion-dollar trade and financial ties with China and the rest of the east – but they have no qualms about denying Lebanon and the region their sovereign share of ties.

Going East

Despite these realities, resistance to seeking eastern alternatives persists. Dependency on western and Gulf capital runs deep within Lebanese society, beyond the banking and business sectors. 

The private education and NGO sectors, home to large segments of highly visible pro-uprising activists, are heavily reliant on western funding. These material ties are augmented by an internalised cultural affinity to all things western and prejudice against all things eastern. Some resistance is also driven by a blind rejection and immature ridicule of any proposals uttered by status-quo forces.

A man walks past a money exchange company in Beirut on 1 October (AFP)
A man walks past a money exchange company in Beirut on 1 October (AFP)

In theory, turning eastwards increases bargaining power vis-a-vis the West, diversifies sources of foreign investment, and could offer practical and quick solutions to pressing problems such as power generation, waste management and transportation infrastructure. But in reality, it is not the easy way out it is being portrayed to be.

Firstly, its current proponents reduce the turn eastwards to a tool against western intervention that would strengthen ties with the Syrian regime without holding the latter accountable for its role in the killing, displacement and destruction in Syria, or curbing the stranglehold of Syrian oligarchs associated with the regime on the country’s economic future. 

Nor is the turn eastwards preconditioned by cleaning house in Lebanon itself. The oligarchs who looted public wealth for so long will not bear the costs of financial loss, let alone face justice for their crimes. Without these corrective measures, Chinese or other foreign investments are likely to turn into dividing up the spoils of sanctions. It will reinforce existing structures of oppression, clientelism and inequality.

Secondly, Chinese capital is not manna from heaven or a communist free lunch. Reports of plans for nine development projects worth more than $12bn sound promising and may offer some respite, but these come with strings attached.

They include possible privatisation of state assets, government guarantees to compensate potential losses that will ultimately come out of citizens’ pockets, continued – even if partial – reliance on dollar-based banking systems, and access to energy resources, which in the case of Lebanon are confined to potential energy reserves in a hotly contested sea zone. 

Sovereignty deficit

Formal state-to-state protocols are preconditions for all of the above, the same way they are for requesting legal assistance to return stolen assets deposited in Switzerland or other offshore financial havens. 

Whether turning west, east or inwards, fixing Lebanon’s political regime is crucial to restoring external and internal sovereignty

Government decrees are also needed internally to to implement the basic demands of the uprising and resolve the crisis in a fair and expedited manner. These include legislating capital controls, forcing the oligarchs and their banking agents to bear the costs of collapse, implementing universal healthcare, redistributing wealth through progressive taxation, clearing up violations of coastal beaches to revive tourism in a competitive neighbourhood, reforming unjust labour and personal status laws, and subsidising productive economic activity. 

In other words, whether turning west, east or elsewhere, fixing Lebanon’s political regime is crucial to restoring external and internal sovereignty, without which major change is unlikely to happen.

Since its founding, Lebanon has had a sovereignty deficit in relation to foreign powers and its ruling oligarchy. It is now facing the twin challenge of restoring both amid unfavourable conditions. 

The path to sovereignty does not place all foreign actors in the same basket. Aware of its own economic limitations and position as part of the Global South, and in the face of US threats, Lebanon should adopt a strategy of positive neutrality that plays on the contradictions of the ongoing geo-economic war to maximise the gains of its people – not its usurping elites or neocolonial masters, old or prospective. 

Dignity and social justice

Fighting for sovereignty on both fronts, external and internal, in the face of global powers, requires the mustering of tremendous political strength. This is not possible without a well-organised mass movement that is still missing in Lebanon, let alone the absence of regional solidarity stretching from Iraq to Palestine, which incorporates geopolitics into revolutionary struggle. 

In Lebanon, the starting point is necessarily Syria. Whatever the sensitivities, prejudices and complications associated with Syrian-Lebanese relations, they need to be reconfigured in a manner that serves rather than sidelines the fundamental demands of both uprisings for political dignity and social justice. 

Lebanon protests: The people want the downfall of the banks Read More »

This includes, first and foremost, confronting the contradictions of fighting against the two major historical forces impacting them today: oppressive regimes on the one hand and Zionist colonisation and occupation on the other.

All proclamations to the contrary, this is not a straightforward matter given the alignments on the ground. 

Another would be redrawing the terms of struggle across class, rather than nationalist, lines. This means finding common cause with Syrian and Palestinian workers in Lebanon, beyond the liberal paradigm of refugee rights, as well as uniting efforts to dislodge the ruling elite in both countries without further foreign intervention.

A third would be a united vision of managing the global shift from West to East in coordination with fellow Global South nations.

Devising solutions to these and other thorny issues that are both morally defensible and politically viable is not an obvious or easily achievable task. But with street mobilisation on the wane and community solidarity in the face of hardship taking a front seat, they may be the necessary rites of passage for both struggles beyond the current stalemate.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

في مواجهة «صفقة القرن» ومخرجاتها

معن بشور

نعقد على مواقع التواصل الالكتروني على مدى يومي السبت والأحد في 11 و 12 تموز/ يوليو الحالي «الملتقى العربي: متحدون ضدّ صفقة القرن وخطة الضم» بدعوة من ستة هيئات عربية (المؤتمر القومي العربي، المؤتمر القومي/ الاسلامي، المؤتمر العام للأحزاب العربية، اللقاء اليساري العربي، الجبهة العربية التقدمية، مؤسسة القدس الدولية) ويشارك في الملتقى أعضاء الأمانات العامة لهذه الهيئات وقادة فصائل المقاومة والاتحادات المهنية العربية وشخصيات محدودة من فلسطين والأردن بما يجعل الملتقى جامعاً لممثلين عن معظم مكونات العمل الشعبي العربي، ومن غالبية تياراته الفكرية والسياسية في تحدّ واضح ليس لـ «جائحة الكورونا» ومتطلبات مواجهتها فحسب، بل في تحدّ للمشروع الصهيو/ أميركي الذي يسعى الى تجزئة الأمة، وتقسيم كياناتها الوطنية، وتشظي مجتمعاتها وقواها الشعبية، ليتمكن من تنفيذ كلّ مخططاته الرامية الى نهب موارد أمتنا وتعطيل مشروعها النهضوي وضرب مقوماتها الروحية والمادية…

واذا كانت المبادرة بعقد هذا الملتقى قد جاءت من المغرب، من خلال شخصية بارزة لها باع طويل في النضال من أجل فلسطين وقضايا الأمة، وهو المناضل خالد السفياني المنسّق العام للمؤتمر القومي الإسلامي وأمين عام مؤسسة المفكر الكبير الراحل الدكتور محمد عابد الجابري، فإنّ التجاوب السريع معها قد جاء من أقطار الوطن العربي كافة، كما من تيارات الأمة المتنوعة، والتي باتت تدرك انّ المدخل السليم لمواجهة التحديات الضاغطة على حاضر الأمة ومستقبلها إنما يكمن بتلاقي تياراتها النهضوية كافة وتجاوز كلّ الجراح الأليمة التي أصابت العلاقات بينها في ظلّ مراجعة نقدية جريئة وصادقة ومنزهة لا مكان فيها لتبرير أخطاء وخطايا وقعنا بها، او للتشهير ببعضنا البعض وتحويل ماضي العلاقات بيننا الى سجن نبقى في أسره بدلاً من أن يكون مدرسة نتعلم منها…

وإذا كان التحرك المباشر للدعوة الى هذا الملتقى، كما الى الملتقى المماثل السابق في بيروت في 7/7/2019، هو التصدي لـ «صفقة القرن» بالأمس ولخطة الضمّ الصهيونية اليوم التي لا ينبغي اعتبار تأجيل الإعلان عنها – رغم انّ التأجيل هزيمة لنتنياهو وداعميه في واشنطن – إسقاطاً لها، فإنّ المشاركين في هذا الملتقى، يدركون، رغم تباين المواقف الفكرية والسياسية بينهم، انّ لـ «صفقة القرن» مخرجات عدة تمتدّ من المحيط الى الخليج، وأبرزها دون شكّ هو استمرار الحروب على أقطار والاحتراب داخل أقطار أخرى، حيث أثبتت الأحداث الأليمة التي نمرّ بها جميعاً أنّ أحداً من أبناء الأمة قد ربح من هذه الحروب أو الاحتراب، وأنّ الرابح الأكبر هو المشروع الصهيو – استعماري الذي بدأ بالتجزئة ليستمرّ بالتفتيت.

ولعله من بديهيات القول إنّ البداية الحقيقية لـ «صفقة القرن»، إنما بدأت باحتلال العراق، بعد حصار جائر استمر 13 عاماً. وهم يسعون اليوم الى تطبيقه في فلسطين وسورية ولبنان واليمن وصولاً الى الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران.

ولم يكن من قبيل الصدف أن يعلن جورج بوش الابن بعد إتمام مهمته في الحرب على العراق عام 2003، ان مشروع الشرق الأوسط الجديد قد بدأ تنفيذه، والذي هو في نهاية الأمر نسخة مبكرة عن «صفقة القرن»… فلكلّ حاكم في الولايات المتحدة او دول الغرب الاستعمارية مشروعه لـ «صفقة القرن» باسم حلف من هنا، او مشروع من هناك، او قانون من هنا او مخطط من جهة ثانية.

من أول مخرجات الصفقة والضمّ التي باتت واضحة للأردنيّين عموماً، ملكاً وحكومة وشعباً، هو أن يدفع الأردنيون، مع الفلسطينيين، الثمن المباشر للضفقة المشؤومة ولخطة الضمّ، وهو ما يتطلب تنسيقاً قوياً ومتواصلاً بين الأردن وفلسطين. وتماسكاً شعبياً داخلياً يمنح القيادة الأردنية قدرة أكبر على المواجهة.

يتقدّم هذه المخرجات أيضاً، هو ما يشهده لبنان من ضغوطات وحروب وحصار تستهدف تجريده من مصادر قوته والمتمثلة بوحدة شعبه وبمقاومته الباسلة التي حققت في سنوات انتصارات، ما عجزت عنه حكومات ودول وجيوش…

كما يتقدّم هذه المخرجات أيضاً ما تشهده سورية من حرب عليها وفيها، واعتداءات صهيونية وأميركية متواصلة، وصولاً الى «قانون قيصر» الذي يدّعي «حماية المدنيين في سورية» فيما المتضرّر الأكبر منه هو الشعب العربي في سورية الذي يدفع أغلى الأثمان بسبب هذه الحرب الظالمة المفروضة عليه منذ عشر سنوات. بسبب مواقفه القومية التحررية التاريخية تجاه قضايا الأمة كلها، وفي طليعتها قضية فلسطين التي شكلت سورية على الدوام العقبة الكأداء في وجه محاولات تصفيتها كما شكلت والسند المباشر لكلّ حركة مقاومة في وجهها.

من مخرجات هذه الصفقة أيضاً هو ما تشهده مصر من استهداف مباشر لأمنها المائي من خلال سدّ النهضة، وأمنها الوطني من خلال الإرهاب في سيناء، وأمنها القومي من خلال ما يجري في ليبيا… وهذا الاستهداف لا يمكن مواجهته إلا بتعزيز الالتفاف العربي والإسلامي حول مصر، وبذل كلّ جهد ممكن لتعزيز الجبهة الداخلية في القطر العربي الأكبر.

والحرب في اليمن أيضاً، سواء من خلال ما يتعرّض له شماله من عدوان وقصف وتدمير وحصار، او ما يتعرّض له جنوبه من احتراب بين حلفاء، تستخدم ايضاً في إطار خدمة «صفقة القرن» ومعاقبة شعب عظيم، كان وسيبقى، متمسكاً بفلسطين وكل قضايا أمته.

أما تحويل الساحة الليبية الى ساحة حروب إقليمية ودولية، فليس هدفها فقط تدمير بلد عربي، كان شعبه ولا يزال، حريصاً على عروبته وإسلامه وحريته وكرامته، وهي حرب بدأت مع الغزوة الأطلسية قبل تسع سنوات لتستمر اقتتالاً لا يهدّد الأمن الوطني لليبيا، بل هدفها أيضاً استهداف الأمن القومي لشمال أفريقيا، وغربها، لا سيما مصر ودول المغرب العربي التي تسعى المخططات الاستعمارية الى إشعال كلّ أنواع الفتن في ربوعها…

أما دول الخليج والجزيرة العربية، فهي ليست بعيدة عن دائرة الاستهداف، بل انّ المشروع الصهيو – استعماري يدفع الى إغراق بعضها في سياسات محلية وعربية وإقليمية لن تؤدي إلا الى تبديد ما تبقى من مواردها، وابتزاز أكبر قدر ممكن من أموالها، وإشعال الاضطرابات في داخلها، ودفعها لأن تكون القاطرة الأولى في قافلة التطبيع الذي هو في رأس أهداف «صفقة القرن» المشؤومة …

ولعلّ ما يشهده السودان اليوم من استغلال مطالب مشروعة في الحرية والعدالة والكرامة الإنسانية، من أجل إيقاع السودان في مهاوي الصراع الداخلي، والتفكك الوطني، والتطبيع مع العدو، ليس بعيداً عن مخرجات «صفقة القرن» وأهدافها الخبيثة…

وبالتأكيد تبقى تصفية قضية فلسطين هي الهدف، والغاية من هذه الصفقة، والمدخل من اجل ترسيخ التجزئة وتعزيز مشاريع التفتيت في المنطقة، وهو ما يتطلب تعزيز التوجه المبارك لتجاوز الانقسام المدمّر للمشروع الوطني الفلسطيني، وتوحيد الطاقات والجهود الفلسطينية لإطلاق انتفاضة كبرى لن تؤدي الى سقوط «صفقة القرن» ومخرجاتها فقط، بل تؤدي الى دحر الاحتلال عن الأرض الفلسطينية المحتلة وعاصمتها القدس.

وإذا كانت مواجهة «صفقة القرن» ومخرجاتها مهمّة الأمة بكلّ أقطارها فإنّ الردّ الشامل عليها يكمن في تبني لمعادلة الخلاص التي أعلناها بعد احتلال العراق وتقوم على مهمات أربع، 1- مقاومة احتلال الأرض، 2- مراجعة للتجارب والعلاقات بين أبناء الأمة وقواها وتياراتها لنطوّر الإيجابي منها، ونتخلص مما علق بها من شوائب، 3- مصالحة تبني للمستقبل وتخرجنا من سلبيات الماضي، 4- فمشاركة تسمح لكلّ أبناء الوطن المساهمة في تقرير مصيرهم…

«صفقة القرن» إذن ليست المشروع الصهيو – استعماري الوحيد الذي واجهته الأمة، وما تزال، ولن يتوقف الأعداء على إخراج مشاريع مماثلة من أجل سحق أمتنا والقضاء على مستقبلها وآمالها، وتحويلها من أمة قائدة في الإنسانية الى أمة تابعة وذيل للدول الاستعمارية ومقاومة هذه الصفقة اليوم، بكلّ مخرجاتها وفي مقدمها خطة الضمّ الصهيوني تكون بالاستمرار في مقاومة المشروع الصهيو/ استعماري الممتدّة منذ عشرات السسنوات، وفي وحدة الأمة بكلّ أقطارها وتياراتها، فحيث كانت هذه الوحدة تتوفر، كانت المقاومة تنتصر، وحيث كانت تتعثر كانت المقاومة تتراجع.

من هنا، يكتسب ملتقى «متحدون» كخطوة على طريق توحيد الرؤى والجهود أهمية استثنائية في ظروف استثنائية.

الأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

U.S. has admitted military and political failures in Syria: Russian academic

Source

July 8, 2020 – 15:26

TEHRAN – An associate professor in the Department of Comparative Politics at RUDN University believes that the United States has admitted its military and political failure in Syria.“The United States recognizes its military and political failure in Syria,” Vladimir Ivanov tells the Tehran Times.Ivanov says Washington’s main goal of overthrowing the Assad government has not been realized. However, the scholar says, Russia, unlike many other foreign powers, “has managed to maintain good (or at least normal) relations with all participants in major regional conflicts.” Following is the text of the interview:

1.    Turkey accuses Russia of increasing its military intervention in Libya. This accusation was made while Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visited the Libyan capital, Tripoli. What is your comment? 

Recently, the Libyan national army has destroyed Turkish military equipment stationed at a strategically important airbase al-Vatiya. “The U.S. cannot influence the processes in a particular region of the world by military force,” Vladimir Ivanov says. 

The day before, it became known about Ankara’s intention to participate in the Libyan conflict openly. Turkey sides with the Government of National Accord and comes into conflict with France over Libya. 

Turkey is outraged by the attack on the al-Vatiya airbase in Libya, which the Ankara-backed Government of National Accord led by Faiz Saraj recaptured from the Libyan national army of Marshal Khalifa Haftar. 

Ankara tried to establish a military base located 140 kilometers south of Tripoli but deployed Turkish air defense systems (US-made Hawk anti-aircraft missile systems) were damaged in the air attack and couldn’t even protect themselves. 

Although Turkey has not yet openly accused any side of the air raid on al-Watiya, “transparent hints” are being made, that two “external” forces supporting the LNA are behind the strikes: Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, in Arab world several analysts describe the situation as “the UAE has taught a lesson to the Turks”. 

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was in Tripoli July 3 and 4, where he held talks with the military and political leadership of the Government of National Accord. Ankara is going to openly participate and intervene in the conflict in Libya after Faiz Sarraj concluded a defense agreement with the Turkish side. In accordance with the new Treaty, Turkey gets the right to place its military base on the territory of Libya.

2. What is your evaluation of the Astana peace process in regard to the Syria crisis? Was it successful cooperation between Russia, Turkey, and Iran?

For now, it’s obvious that Moscow’s actions in the region were more effective than those of its Western rivals, due to high-quality expert analysis and awareness of the real situation in the Middle East (West Asia). 

While the U.S. leadership often relied on biased assessments of pro-Western dissidents and political immigrants, the Kremlin always had the analytics of professional research scientists, and data from a broad intelligence network on the ground was inherited from the Soviet Union.

According to some experts, Russia (unlike many other foreign powers) has managed to maintain good (or at least normal) relations with all participants in major regional conflicts. Russia did not undertake numerous political and security commitments in the region and, unlike the United States, is not limited in flexibility by any rigid alliances. Thus,  Moscow is in a better position than Washington to serve as a mediator in negotiations between influential actors in the region.

3. How do you assess the presence of U.S. troops in Syria while Washington, besides some Arab capitals, blames Russia and Iran for supporting Assad’s government?

Having lost the confrontation in Syria, the U.S. intends to move to the second phase of aggression – to subversive work, including information. By entering the information war platform, the United States recognizes its military and political failure in Syria. The main goal of overthrowing B. Assad has not been achieved. The U.S. is announcing the deployment of psychological and subversive operations, which they are quite adept at. At the same time, American troops seizure Syrian oil fields. Another thing is that today the United States, as it seems, simply cannot influence the processes in a particular region of the world by military force. We can witness the acute desire of the U.S. government not even to change the regime in Damascus. The main aim for them now is to squeeze Russia out of its strategic position in Syria.

4. American sources claim Russia did pay extremists to attack U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. What is your analysis?

This “information” of American media is a typical fake and has already been officially denied by the American President. Russia has never cooperated with the Taliban and only those who either have a poor understanding of the situation in Afghanistan or deliberately distort the facts speak of any collusion between Moscow and the Taliban. The Afghan radical Taliban movement is conducting its own investigation based on media reports about alleged Russian collusion with the movement and calls these accusations baseless, invented by intelligence, and aimed at damaging the peace process in the country. Press Secretary of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov expressed regret that once the largest and respected world media promoted those fakes. The Russian Embassy in the United States demanded that the country’s authorities respond adequately to threats that come to diplomats because of news about Russia and Afghanistan. The white house, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence said that there is no confirmation of the reports at the moment and that D. Trump was not informed about them.

WAR PREPARATIONS: EGYPT AND TURKEY KICK OFF LARGE-SCALE DRILLS NEAR LIBYA

Source

Turkey and Egypt are flexing their military muscles off the Libyan shores as chances of a potential war in the eastern Mediterranean continue growing.

Firstly, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense announced that soon it will hold large-scale naval exercises off the Libyan coast. The official statement said that the drills, called “Naftex”, will take place in three different regions: Barbaros, Turgutreis and Chaka Bey. Turkey says that the exercises will involve 17 warplanes and 8 ships proving “Turkey’s ability to control the region by air and sea”.

The current stalemate on the frontline between pro-Turkish forces and the Libyan National Army, backed up by Egypt and the UAE, near the port city of Sirte did not stop Turkey from sending new weapons and equipment to the frontline. The Turkish military also deployed additional equipment to the al-Watiya Air Base in western Libya. The airbase, which earlier this year became a strongpoint of Turkish forces, was recently bombed by the LNA Air Force. At least one MIM-23 Hawk medium-range air-defense system and a KORAL electronic warfare system of the Turkish military were reportedly destroyed. Pro-Turkish sources claim that the equipment recently deployed to the base included air defense systems that will give the LNA a ‘lesson’.

On July 9, the Egyptian Armed Forces kicked off its own drills in the region involving land, air and naval forces deployed near the Libyan border. The land component of the drills, codenamed Resolve 2020, took place in the northwestern district of Qabr Gabis. By this move, Egypt sent Turkey and its proxies a signal that an attempt by Turkish forces to capture Sirte is a red line and if crossed, they will face a Egyptian military response.

Taking into account, the logistical difficulties of Turkish forces and the apparent Egyptian military advantage in the event of a confrontation near its western border, the open intervention of Egypt into the conflict will put an end to Turkish hopes to consolidate its recently increased influence in Libya.

Meanwhile, ISIS have been trying to exploit the escalation for their own cause. According to reports, ISIS cells that still hide in the desert area in central Libya have recently increased their activity and resumed attacks on civilian targets mostly looting small villages and robbing civilian convoys. ISIS’ self-proclaimed Caliphate deteriorated into just a loud brand used by various gangs to justify their criminal behavior. Despite this, even such gangs will become a serious security issue if the conflict in Libya enters a new hot phase.

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