A Major Conventional War Against Iran Is an Impossibility. Crisis within the US Command Structure

Global Research, July 08, 2019

In this article, we examine America’s war strategies, including its ability to launch an all out theater war against the Islamic Republic on Iran.

A follow-up article will focus on the History of US War Plans against Iran as well as the complexities underlying the Structure of Military Alliances. 

**

Under present conditions, an Iraq style all out Blitzkrieg involving the simultaneous deployment of ground, air and naval  forces is an impossibility. 

For several reasons. US hegemony in the Middle East has been weakened largely as a result of the evolving structure of military alliances.

The US does not have the ability to carry out such a project.

There are two main factors which determine America’s military agenda in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

1. Iran’s Military

There is the issue of Iran’s military capabilities (ground forces, navy, air force, missile defense), namely its ability to effectively resist and respond to an all out conventional war involving the deployment of US and Allied forces. Within the realm of conventional warfare,  Iran has sizeable military capabilities. Iran is to acquire Russia’s S400 state of the art air defense system.

Iran is ranked as “a major military power” in the Middle East, with an estimated 534,000 active personnel in the army, navy, air force and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It has advanced ballistic missile capabilities as well as national defense industry. In the case of a US air attack, Iran would target US military facilities in the Persian Gulf.

2. Evolving Structure of Military Alliances

The second consideration has to do with the evolving structure of military alliances (2003-2019) which is largely to the detriment of the United States.

Several of America’s staunchest allies are sleeping with the enemy.

Countries which have borders with Iran including Turkey and Pakistan have military cooperation agreements with Iran. While this in itself excludes the possibility of a ground war, it also affects the planning of US and allied naval and air operations.

Until recently both Turkey (NATO heavyweight) and Pakistan were among America’s faithful allies, hosting US military bases.

From a broader military standpoint, Turkey is actively cooperating with both Iran and Russia. Moreover, Ankara will be acquiring in 2020 Russia’s state of the art S-400 air defense systemwhile de facto opting out from the integrated US-NATO-Israel air defense system.

Needless to say the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is in crisis. Turkey’s exit from NATO is almost de facto. America can no longer rely on its staunchest allies. Moreover, US and Turkish supported militia are fighting one another in Syria.

Iraq has also indicated that it will not cooperate with the US in the case of a ground war against Iran.

Under present conditions, none of Iran’s neigbouring states including Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia would allow US-Allied ground forces to transit through their territory.

In recent developments, Azerbaijan which in the wake of the Cold War became a US ally as well as a member of NATO’s partnership for peace has changed sides. The earlier US-Azeri military cooperation agreements are virtually defunct including the post-Soviet GUAM military alliance (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova).

Bilateral military and intelligence agreements between Iran and Azerbaijan were signed in December 2018. In turn, Iran collaborates extensively with Turkmenistan. With regard to Afghanistan, the internal situation with the Taliban controlling a large part of Afghan territory, would not favor a large scale deployment of US and allied ground forces on the Iran-Afghan border.

The Gulf of Oman

With the 2017 split up of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Oman appears to be aligned with Iran. Under these circumstances, the transit of US war ships to the headquarters of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain not to mention the conduct of naval operations in the Persian Gulf are potentially in jeopardy. (For details see our analysis below)

Visibly, the policy of strategic encirclement against Iran formulated in the wake of the Iraq war (2003) is no longer functional. Iran has friendly relations with neighbouring countries, which previously were within the US sphere of influence.

Under these conditions, a major conventional theater war by the US involving the deployment of ground forces would be suicide.

This does not mean, however, that war will not take place. In some regards, with the advances in military technologies, an Iraq-style war is obsolete.

We are nonetheless at a dangerous crossroads. Other diabolical forms of military intervention directed against Iran are currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon. These include:

  • various forms of “limited warfare”, ie. targeted missile attacks,
  • US and Allied support of terrorist paramilitary groups
  • so-called “bloody nose operations” (including the use of tactical nuclear weapons),
  • acts of political destabilization and color revolutions
  • false flag attacks and military threats,
  • sabotage, confiscation of financial assets, extensive economic sanctions,
  • electromagnetic and climatic warfare, environmental modification techniques (ENMOD)
  • cyberwarfare
  • chemical and biological warfare.

US Central Command Forward Headquarters Located in Enemy Territory

Another consideration has to do with the crisis within the US Command structure.

USCENTCOM is the theater-level Combatant Command for all operations in the broader Middle East region extending from Afghanistan to North Africa. It is the most important Combat Command of the Unified Command structure. It has led and coordinated several major Middle East war theaters including Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003). It is also involved in Syria.

In the case of a war with Iran, operations in the Middle East would be coordinated by US Central Command with headquarters in Tampa, Florida in permanent liaison with its forward command headquarters in Qatar.

In late June 2019, after Iran shot down a U.S. drone President Trump “called off the swiftly planned military strikes on Iran” while intimating in his tweet that “any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force.”

US Central Command (CENTCOM), confirmed the deployment of the US Air Force F-22 stealth fighters to the al-Udeid airbase in Qatar, intended to “defend American forces and interests” in the region against Iran. (See Michael Welch, Persian Peril, Global Research, June 30, 2019). Sounds scary?

“The base is technically Qatari property playing host to the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command.” With 11,000 US military personnel, it is described as “one of the U.S. military’s most enduring and most strategically positioned operations on the planet”   (Washington Times). Al-Udeid also hosts the US Air Force’s 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, considered to be “America’s most vital overseas air command”.

What both the media and military analysts fail to acknowledge is that US CENTCOM’s forward Middle East headquarters at the al-Udeid military base close to Doha de facto “lies in enemy territory”

Since the May 2017 split of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Qatar has become a staunch ally of both Iran and Turkey (which is also an ally of Iran). While they have no “official” military cooperation agreement with Iran, they share in joint ownership with Iran the largest Worldwide maritime gas fields.

The split of the GCC has led to a shift in military alliances: In May 2017 Saudi Arabia blocked Qatar’s only land border. In turn Saudi Arabia as well as the UAE have blocked air transportation as well as commercial maritime shipments to Doha.

What is unfolding since May 2017 is a shift in Qatar’s trade routes with the establishment of bilateral agreements with Iran, Turkey as well as Pakistan. In this regard, Russia, Iran, and Qatar provide over half of the world’s known gas reserves.

The Al-Udeid base near Doha is America’s largest military base in the Middle East. In turn, Turkey has now established its own military facility in Qatar. Turkey is no longer an ally of the US. Their proxy forces in Syria are fighting US supported militia.  Turkey is now aligned with Russia and Iran. Ankara has now confirmed that it will be acquiring Russia’s S-400 missile air defense system which requires military cooperation with Moscow.

Qatar is swarming with Iranian businessmen, security personnel and experts in the oil and gas industry (with possible links to Iran intelligence?), not to mention the presence of Russian and Chinese personnel.

Question. How on earth can you launch a war on Iran from the territory of a close ally of Iran?

From a strategic point of view it does not make sense. And this is but the tip of the iceberg.

Notwithstanding the rhetoric underlying the official US-Qatar military relationship, The Atlantic Council, a think tank with close ties to both the Pentagon and NATO, confirms that Qatar is now a firm ally of both Iran and Turkey:

Put simply, for Qatar to maintain its independence, Doha will have essentially no choice but to maintain its strong partnership with Turkey, which has been an important ally from the perspective of military support and food security, as well as Iran. The odds are good that Iranian-Qatari ties will continue to strengthen even if Tehran and Doha agree to disagree on certain issues … On June 15 [2019], President Hassan Rouhani emphasizedthat improving relations with Qatar is a high priority for Iranian policymakers. … Rouhani told the Qatari emir that “stability and security of regional countries are intertwined” and Qatar’s head of state, in turn, stressed that Doha seeks a stronger partnership with the Islamic Republic. (Atlantic Council, June 2019, emphasis added)

What this latest statement by the Atlantic Council suggests is while Qatar hosts USCENTCOM’s forward headquarters, Iran and Qatar are (unofficially) collaborating in the area of “security” (i e. intelligence and military cooperation).

Sloppy military planning, sloppy US foreign policy? sloppy intelligence?

Trump’s statement confirms that they are planning to launch the war against Iran from their forward US Centcom headquarters at the Al Udeid military base, located in enemy territory. Is it rhetoric or sheer stupidity?

The Split of the GCC

The split of the GCC has resulted in the creation of a so-called Iran-Turkey-Qatar axis which has contributed to weakening US hegemony in the Middle East. While Turkey has entered into a military cooperation with Russia, Pakistan is allied with China. And Pakistan has become a major partner of Qatar.

Following the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is in disarray with Qatar siding with Iran and Turkey against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Qatar is of utmost strategic significance because it shares with Iran the world’s largest maritime gas fields in the Persian Gulf. (see map above). Moreover, since the GCC split-up Kuwait is no longer aligned Saudi Arabia. It nonetheless maintains a close relationship with Washington. Kuwait hosts seven active US military facilities, the most important of which is Camp Doha.

Needless to say, the May 2017 split of the GCC has undermined Trump’s resolve to create an “Arab NATO” (overseen by Saudi Arabia) directed against Iran. This project is virtually defunct, following Egypt’s withdrawal in April 2019.

The Gulf of Oman 

In the case of a war with Iran, naval operations would in part be conducted by the US Fifth Fleet out of Bahrain. The Fifth Fleet is under the command of US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). (NAVCENT’s area of responsibility consists of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea).

With the split up of the GCC, Oman is now firmly aligned with Iran. Under these circumstances, the transit of US war ships to the headquarters of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain not to mention the conduct of naval operations in the Persian Gulf would potentially be in jeopardy.

The strait of Hormuz which constitutes the entry point to the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman is controlled by Iran and the Sultanate of Oman. The width of the strait at one point is of the order of 39km. All major vessels must transit through Iran and/or Oman territorial waters, under so-called customary transit passage provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

More generally, the structure of alliances is in jeopardy. The US cannot reasonably wage a full-fledged conventional theatre war on Iran without the support of its longstanding allies which are now “sleeping with the enemy”.

Trump’s Fractured “Arab NATO”. History of the Split up of the GCC. 

Amidst the collapse of  America’s sphere of influence in the Middle East, Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) consisted at the outset of his presidency in an improvised attempt to rebuild the structure of military alliances. What the Trump administration had in mind was the formation of a Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), or  “Arab NATO”. This US-sponsored blueprint was slated to include Egypt and Jordan together with the six member states of the GCC.

The draft of the MESA Alliance had been prepared in Washington prior to Trump’s historic May 2017 visit to Saudi Arabia, meeting up with King Salman, leaders of the GCC as well as “more than 50 high-ranking officials from the Arab and Islamic worlds in an unprecedented US-Islamic summit.”

The Riyadh Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the summit on May 21, 2017, announced the intention to establish MESA in Riyadh.” (Arab News, February 19, 2019). The stated mandate of the “Arab NATO”  was to “to combat Iranian hegemony” in the Middle East.

Two days later on May 23, 2017 following this historic meeting, Saudi Arabia ordered the blockade of Qatar, called for an embargo and suspension of diplomatic relations with Doha, on the grounds that The Emir of Qatar was allegedly collaborating with Tehran.

What was the hidden agenda? No doubt it had already been decided upon in Riyadh on April 21 with the tacit approval of US officials.

The  plan was to exclude Qatar from the proposed MESA Alliance and the GCC, while maintaining the GCC intact.

What happened was that the Saudi embargo imposed on Qatar (with the unofficial approval of Washington) was conducive to the fracture of the GCC with Oman and Kuwait siding with Qatar. In other words,  the GCC was split down the middle. Saudi Arabia was weakened and the “Arab NATO” blueprint was defunct from the very outset.


May 21, 2017: US-Islamic Summit in Riyadh

May 23, 2017: The blockade and embargo of Qatar

June 5, 2019: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt sever diplomatic relations, cut off land, air and sea transportation with Qatar  accusing it of  supporting Iran.


Flash forward to mid-April 2019: Trump is back in Riyadh: This time the Saudi Monarchy was entrusted by Washington to formally launching the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) (first formulated in 2017) despite the fact that three of the invited GCC member states, namely Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are committed to the normalization of relations with Iran. In turn, the Egyptian government of President Sisi decided to boycott the Riyadh summit and withdraw from the “Arab NATO” proposal. Cairo also clarified its position vis a vis Iran. Egypt firmly objected to Trump’s plan because it “would increase tensions with Iran”.

Trump’s objective was to create an “Arab Block”. What he got in return was a truncated MESA “Arab Block” made up of a fractured GCC with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Jordan, without Egypt. Kuwait and Oman officially took a neutral stance, whereas Qatar sided with the enemy, thereby further jeopardizing America’s sphere of influence in the Persian Gulf.

An utter geopolitical failure. What kind of alliance is that.

And US Central Command’s Forward headquarters is still located in Qatar despite the fact that two years earlier on May 23, 2017, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was accused of collaborating with Iran.

It is unclear who gave the order to impose the embargo on Qatar. Saudi Arabia would not have taken that decision without consulting Washington. Visibly, Washington’s intent was to create an Arab NATO Alliance (An Arab Block) directed against Iran to do the dirty work for us.

Trump and the Emir of Qatar, UN General Assembly, October 2017, White House photo

The rest is history, the Pentagon decided to maintain US Central Command’s forward headquarters in Qatar, which happens to be Iran’s closest ally and partner.

A foreign policy blunder? Establishing your “official” headquarters in enemy territory, while “unofficially” redeploying part of the war planes, military personnel and command functions to other locations (e.g. in Saudi Arabia).

No press reports, no questions in the US Congress. Nobody seemed to have noticed that Trump’s war on Iran, if it were to be carried out, would be conducted from the territory of Iran’s closest ally.

An impossibility?

***

Part II of this essay focuses on the history and contradictions of US war preparations directed against Iran starting in 1995 as well as the evolution of military alliances.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

RELATED ARTICLES
Advertisements

With Palestinian Flags, Iraqis Storm Bahrain Embassy over Manama’s ‘Deal of Century’ Conference

By Staff, Agencies

Scores of Iraqis stormed the Bahrain embassy in the capital city of Baghdad to protest Manama’s decision to host a key summit where the US showcased its so-called deal of century to end Palestinian-‘Israeli’ conflict.

Videos posted on social media on Thursday showed dozens of people with Palestinian flags marching outside the Bahraini diplomatic mission while some of them tried to climb to the roof of an outbuilding.

 

Some reports also stated that the protesters had pulled down Bahrain’s flag at the embassy.

“We took down the Bahraini flag to send a clear message to all those who participated in the Bahrain conference that we strongly reject normalizing relations with the Zionist occupiers and will never abandon our support of the Palestinians,” said a protester. “We are ready to fight for this.”

An Iraqi official speaking on condition of anonymity told media that the protesters stayed in the garden of the embassy complex and did not enter the offices inside the compound.

According to the official, Iraqi security forces tried to disperse the protest by opening fire in the air until reinforcements arrived to secure the Bahrain embassy, which is located in Baghdad’s western neighborhood of Mansour.

Following the protests, Bahrain recalled its ambassador to Iraq for consultations.

The protests indicate the growing outrage in the Muslim world against Bahrain’s decision to host the Manama Workshop, an event that its organizers claim seeks to bring “peace” back to Palestine and ‘Israeli’-occupied territories through a deal masterminded by the Trump administration, in particular Jared Kushner, the US President’s son-in-law.

The so-called “Peace to Prosperity” workshop opened in the Bahraini capital Manama on June 25 and ran through June 26 and sought to garner support for a $50 billion investment plan in Palestine.

Related Videos

 

فلسطين تُسقط «الصفقة» والخليج يحتضن «القرن»

يونيو 26, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يستطيع جارد كوشنر أن يقول إنه فوجئ بالموقف الفلسطيني الجامع في رفض مشروعه المسمّى صفقة القرن، والذي سخّر في التحضير له سنوات وجوده في البيت الأبيض كصهر ومستشار، ووظف لضمان المشاركة الفلسطينية الجزرة الخليجية والعصا الإسرائيلية خلال هذه السنوات وفشل، لكنه لا يستطيع القول إن هذه المقاطعة الفلسطينية بما تشكل من بداية مواجهة لإسقاط مشروع صفقة القرن، وما استنهض من مواقف مساندة لها عربياً ودولياً، تجعل تفاؤله بمشروعه ومستقبل هذا المشروع في مكانهما، فقد بات واضحاً أن الامتحان الأهم لهذا المشروع قد انتهى، وأن ما سيأتي سيكون أشد إيلاماً، فلن تقوم لهذا المشروع قائمة في فلسطين وبين الفلسطينيين، وما قسمته مشاريع التسوية في صفوفهم وحّدته صفقة القرن، وما ضيّعته السياسات الأميركية التفاوضية من بوصلة بعضهم صوّبته صفقة القرن، والآتي أعظم.

– أمل كوشنر ورفاقه بحرب إسرائيلية تكسر شوكة الفلسطينيين وتجرّهم أذلاء إلى حظيرة صفقة القرن كأمل إبليس في الجنة. فزمان القوة الإسرائيلية يتلاشى وزمان القوة الفلسطينية يتعاظم، ومعادلات الحرب والتهدئة في غزة تكفي للاستنتاج، وانتقال الانقسام من الضفة الفلسطينية السياسيّة إلى الضفة الإسرائيليّة، ومعه تحوّل «إسرائيل» إلى «دولة فاشلة» بقياس عدد من المحللين الأميركيين والإسرائيليين، أمر كافٍ للدلالة على مكمن المأزق ومن يعيشه. فالفشل الإسرائيلي في الحرب والخوف من فواتيرها المتعاظمة، والعجز الإسرائيلي عن دفع فاتورة تسوية يرتضيها الفلسطينيون، يقفان سبباً رئيسياً في صناعة المأزق الإسرائيلي، المتعاظم مع تنامي مصادر القلق الوجودي العائدة لتعافي سورية بغير الصورة التي تريدها «إسرائيل»، وتنامي قوة المقاومة، خلافاً للتمنيات الإسرائيلية، وأفضل التوقعات الأميركية والإسرائيلية عن حال الفلسطينيين وقوتهم هي التعايش مع الستاتيكو القائم وليس السعي لكسره، لأنه قد يكسر عكساً، وتصير المشكلة أكبر وأعظم.

– البعد الفلسطيني من صفقة القرن سقط ولن تقوم له قائمة، ومعه الأبواب مقفلة أمام تسويات يمكن البحث فيها مع سورية ولبنان، مع ما تتضمّنه التعهّدات الأميركية في صفقة القرن وخارجها، بتأييد ضمّ الجولان وتأييد التوطين، ولأن الصفقة تقوم بين فريقين، وهي مسمّاة بصفقة القرن ليس باعتبارها الصفقة المذهلة للقرن الحادي والعشرين، بل يمكن مجازاً الظن أنها سميت كذلك لأنها مشروع صفقة، ومشروع قرن، صفقة تنهي القضية الفلسطينية، وقرن التطبيع مع الخليج، أما وقد سقطت الصفقة فقد بقي القرن. وهذا ما يفسر الإصرار الأميركي على المضي بمؤتمر المنامة حتى بعدما تأكدت مقاطعة الفلسطينيين وعزمهم على الانتفاض بوجهه، وبعدما تأكد أن لبنان والعراق وطبعاً سورية خارج لوائح الحضور المحتمل، فقرن التطبيع يجب أن يغرز في الخليج، وأن يتمّ تسميم الجسد الخليجي بجرثومة التطبيع الخبيثة، وها هم حكام الخليج يحتضنون قرن التطبيع ويخرّون له ساجدين كوثن جاهلي تُقدّم له القرابين.

– كوشنر المهزوم سياسياً، كما معلمه وحماه، يفرح بعدّ الأموال، وبكل صفاقة ووقاحة يتحدث عن مليارات الخليج ويوزعها غنائم ومغانم على مسامع أهله، لكن شعوب المنطقة التي سخر منها كوشنر وحماه ومعلمه، قد اختارت طريقها وحدّدت بوصلتها، وهي اليوم تخطو الخطوة الأولى في المواجهة السياسية بعدما توحّدت الصفوف وبدأ الفرز، بين لائحة الشرف ولائحة العار، وستقول الأيام أن الحق منتصر، والحق حيث فلسطين.

Related Videos

Related News

EGYPT PULLED OUT OF U.S. EFFORTS TO FORM “ARAB NATO” TO COMBAT IRAN: REPORTS

 

Egypt Pulled Out Of U.S. Efforts To Form "Arab NATO" To Combat Iran: Reports

IMAGE: eipss-eg.org

Source

14.04.2019

Egypt pulled out of US and Saudi Arabia’s effort to form an anti-Iranian “Arab NATO,” Israeli media reported citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

The country told the US and other participants in the Middle East Security Alliance, or MESA ahead of a meeting on April 7th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

One of the anonymous sources said Cairo did not send a delegation to the meeting, the latest gathering held to advance the U.S.-led effort to bind Sunni Muslim Arab allies into a security, political and economic pact to counter Shi’ite Iran.

An Arab source also said that this came as a disappointment:

“We all want Egypt to be a part of an Arab NATO,” said the source, “especially as it has the largest army of any Arab nation, and because it carries importance.”

The reasons behind the decision, according to the sources, is that Egypt doesn’t wish to harm its relations with Iran, as well as it doesn’t believe that US President Donald Trump would be elected for a second term. If Trump is gone that jeopardizes the entire “Arab NATO” idea since the next POTUS may decide not to follow through.

On April 9th, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi visited the US and met with Donald Trump. Trump said that they spoke of security issues, but the Arab NATO nor Iran were mentioned in the press conference following the meeting.

Both leaders praised the warm relations between the countries, which could presumably be spoiled if the reports of Egypt giving up efforts are true.

In addition to the US and Saudi Arabia, the MESA proposed participants include the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Jordan.

Two anonymous sources also told Al Jazeera that the project would be moving forward and that Egypt would be pressured into not revoking its membership. The project was initially proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2017, and was perpetuated by US President Donald Trump.

The aim of the Trump administration with the project is to form a a new security body comprising Sunni Middle Eastern countries that would be geared toward countering Shiite Iran’s ‘regional adventurism’. Reportedly, MESA member-states would seek deeper cooperation in the realms of missile defense, military training and counter-terrorism, while strengthening broader political and economic ties.

“It would serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism and will bring stability,” a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council asserted in reference to the potential association.

“It’s not a new project. However, its implementation is what matters,” said Qassem Qaseer, a Lebanese political analyst. He confirmed that the US has been working with Arab states for a while now to form such a body, noting that “the issue remains with the different agendas and political approach of its member of states.”

Qaseer said that the Arab countries don’t agree on more than one critical issue, pointing out that the Arab NATO is still an idea with no structure.

“They aim to pressure Iran on the ground by such initiative, although, they need to make it a reality first,” Qaseer said.

A Saudi political analyst, Sulaiman al-Oqaily, also said that there must be one strategy among the Arab nations that form the alliance, as well as a clear target in order for such an endeavor to succeed.

Al-Oqaily claimed that there must be one united Arab bloc that has agreed that the “Arab NATO” would protect the Arab world from all kind of threats and security challenges. “Its members’ motives and determinants have to be the same.”

Al-Oqaily says that the sectarianism with which Iran targets the Middle East is more dangerous than Israel.

“Iran is taking advantage of its culture and religious links to the Arab world to expand there and destroy it. Israel can’t violate the Arab society like Iran, but through its intelligence services.”

Between November 10th and 13th, 2018, Egypt hosted the Shield of the Arabs 1 military exercise, with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan.

Egyptian military spokesperson Tamer al-Rifai back then said the exercises were part of Egypt’s efforts to enhance military cooperation with other Arab countries but declined to speculate on whether they could evolve into some sort of a military alliance. 

Egypt on the other hand, appears to have stable relations with Iran currently.

Iran hailed the reports of Egypt giving up on the efforts. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was cited by the IRNA News Agency, praising the possible decision.

He said that it wasn’t yet confirmed, and Iran was examining whether it was true, but if it was confirmed it would be “welcomed.”

“Egypt is an important and powerful country both in the Arab and in the Muslim world that can play a key role in creating peace, stability and security in the West Asia region,” said Qasemi.

He said that Egypt can exercise realism to help foster unity among Muslim countries and bring them closer together.

Qasemi expressed hope that Egypt, ‘as an undeniable power of Arab world’, can carry out its historical duty in the most sensitive conditions of the region.

In addition the decision, if it were true, would help foster better relations in the region and assist in fighting terrorism, provide security and sustainable stability, and give a boost to mutual understanding and multilateral cooperation.

Qasemi also expressed Iran’s doubt that the Arab NATO endeavor would be successful, arguing that NATO was founded in Western world ‘under certain historical and geographical conditions, based on a series of certain values and necessities and even very certain commonalities’ which is not likely to be copied in the Arab world.

Egypt’s relations with Russia also appear to be on the rise. Russia is a key partner of Iran, especially in Syria.

On March 18thRussian outlet Kommersant reported that Russia had inked a $2 billion contract for the delivery of 20 fighter jets to Egypt.

The contract was signed at the end of 2018 and delivery of the aircraft, as well as weapons for the planes, will begin as early as 2020-21.

Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) said that no contracts for aircraft supply were signed in the second half of 2018. So the report may be false.

Regardless, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on April 9th warned that Egypt would be subject to US sanctions if it did, in fact, purchase the Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

“We have made clear that systems were to be purchased that… would require sanctions on the regime,” Pompeo told the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “We have received assurances from them, they understand that, and I am very hopeful they will decide not to move forward with that acquisition.”

Earlier, on October 17th, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also signed a strategic cooperation treaty designed to increase trade, military, and other ties between their two nations.

Putin said the talks encompassed “the whole spectrum of bilateral relations as well as key international and regional problems.”

He added that he and Sisi discussed expanding arms trade and military ties, pointing out that Russian and Egyptian paratroopers were conducting military maneuvers in Egypt.

«Deal of Century»: An Arab NATO in the Making

By Staff, Agencies

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is and ancient proverb that is never outdated when it comes to politics and geostrategic policies. Given the light of the situation in the region, the “Israeli” entity is literally in its pursuit.

“Israel” is smart enough not to tarnish its hands with its dirty work against Iran and have others do that on its behalf. But this time, it’s not the United States – its best friend and long supporting ally – instead, it has been focusing on our side of the globe: the Middle East.

Not long back, the “Israeli” entity has been engaged in normalization efforts with various Arab nations among which are Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman; the same countries which are also part of a Saudi Arabian initiative called the so-called “Arab NATO” – the Middle East Strategic Alliance [MESA] – to combat Iran in the region.

The kingdom on April 8 hosted a meeting with the high-level participation of Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Jordan. According to the Saudi WAS news agency, the meeting was “an important step to launching the alliance, which aims to strengthen the security and stability of the region and the world.”

Sulaiman al-Oqaily, a Saudi political analyst, says there must be one strategy among the Arab nations that form the alliance, as well as a clear target in order for such an endeavor to succeed.

First, al-Oqaily points out that there must be one united Arab bloc that has agreed that the “Arab NATO” would protect the Arab world from all kind of threats and security challenges. “Its members’ motives and determinants have to be the same,” he says.

Al-Oqaily says that the sectarianism with which Iran targets the Middle East is more dangerous than Israel.

“Iran is taking advantage of its culture and religious links to the Arab world to expand there and destroy it,” he claims. “‘Israel’ can’t violate the Arab society like Iran, but through its intelligence services.”

He also speculates that if Iran weren’t involved in Iraq, the latter would have peace by now.

The US administration has since last year been exploring the creation of a new security body comprising Middle Eastern countries that would be geared toward countering Iran. Reportedly, MESA member-states would seek deeper cooperation in the realms of missile defense, military training and counter-terrorism, while strengthening broader political and economic ties.

“It would serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism and will bring stability,” a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council alleged in reference to the potential association last year.

“It’s not a new project. However, its implementation is what matters,” says Qassem Qaseer, a Lebanese political analyst. He confirms that the US has been working with Arab states for a while now to form such a body, noting that “the issue remains with the different agendas and political approach of its member of states.”

For example, Qaseer says that the Arab countries don’t agree on more than one critical issue, pointing out that the Arab NATO is still an idea with no structure.

“They aim to pressure Iran on the ground by such initiative, although, they need to make it a reality first,” Qaseer says. It is noteworthy that the Idea of an Arab NATO coalition is one of the results of the Arab-Islamic summit hosted by Riyadh in May 2017.

Over the past year, senior American officials, including President Donald Trump’s adviser Jared Kushner and international negotiator Jason Greenblatt, have conducted shuttle diplomacy among Middle East capitals. These visits have laid the foundation for MESA, although the notion reportedly was first raised by Saudi Arabia.

Regarding the “Israeli” entity, its relations with regional Arab nations are by most accounts improving, primarily the result of a shared interest in curbing Iran.

Related Videos

RELATED NEWS

 

Sayyed Nasrallah: Trump Biggest Hypocrite, Internal Battle Against Financial Corruption Began

February 16, 2019

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

Sara Taha Moughnieh

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah assured Saturday that there are between 35 and 40 resistance axes around the world and their common trait is sympathy with the oppressed people and readiness to sacrifice for their sake.

In a speech he delivered during a ceremony commemorating the “martyred leaders”, Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that Sheikh Ragheb Harb refused to shake hands with the Israeli insisting that the occupation will soon end at a time when everyone considered that the occupation has become an imposed fact that they have to live with.

“They taught us patience, hope, belief in God’s promise, courage, good manners, right vision… and these are the traits of the resistance and its people today,” he stated, adding that “the resistance gained its strength and power, and achieved victories in bad circumstances imposed by the US, Israel, and their allies in the region the Takifiris, Saudi alignment, and the Emirates.”

His eminence explained that the “secret of the resistance lies in its faith and spirit not weapons and financial capacities. It lies in its readiness to defend and sacrifice, just like the case was in Syria and Iraq, and this spirit could never be defeated,” yet, he added “it keeps on its humbleness with people, specifically the oppressed ones, but it behaves differently with the thieves.”

As he denied claims about having any brigades in Venezuela or Latin America, he expressed solidarity with Venezuela against the US aggression and reassured that Hezbollah did not have any brigade outside Lebanon and has previously asked his foreign supporters to work separate from Hezbollah so that they wouldn’t be harmed from this relation.

Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated that Israel is aware of Hezbollah’s power and this enough deters it from any attack, indicating that the Israeli entity is aware, according to its own officials, that the Israeli army, specifically its ground force, is incapable of engaging in a war now.

“They don’t trust their army, but we trust our resistance. They are certain that the resistance can enter the Galilee but they are uncertain that their army is capable of entering Lebanon, and this is a great transformation. The concern today is in the Israeli settlements not in the south. This is the deterrence equation and it is of great importance,” he said.

Warsaw Summit

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that “the United States today needed to initiate in a new step, it is trying to seek support for Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and this is why it called for Warsaw Summit, but what was the result? No final statement and just repeated speeches.”

“Warsaw Summit does not scare us, just like Sharm Sheikh conference did not scare us in the past even though our situation was harder back then. This Summit is weak, and its target is the Palestinian cause which was completely absent while the topic raised was fighting terrorism and keeping stability in the region, knowing that Israel is the head of terrorism in the region. The real propose out of it was normalization and bringing out the secret Gulf ties with Israel to Public.

Oman and the Emirate’s ties with Israel have been evident in the past but the Saudi ones are newly publicized,” his eminence noted, considering that “from the positive outcomes of the conference is that when Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi sits near Netanyahu, this reveals the real battle in Yemen, which is a US battle against Yemen and its people, implemented by Saudi and the Emirates. The same applies when Bahrain’s PM sits next to Netanyahu, because the Bahraini regime is part of the US, Israeli equation in the region.”

Hezbollah secretary general further noted that the second target of the summit was Iran which is much stronger today to be threatened with any war.

ISIS Defeat

Concerning ISIS, Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed that “it will be finished in Syria in a couple of hours, just like it was finished in Iraq and Lebanon, and this is a great development and victory,” adding: “I just want to point to the US hypocrisy, as the biggest hypocrite Donald Trump will come out to claim victory even though the US did not have anything to do with the battle against ISIS. The US (Obama and Clinton) created ISIS in Iraq by releasing its leaders from their jails and facilitating their entrance to Iraq by opening borders for them, and it wanted it to extend to Syria. Today it comes out to claim victory even though it wanted the battle to last for years. Just like it created Al-Qaeda then claimed victory against it, and just like it strengthened Saddam Hussein in Iraq by supplying him with weapons of mass destruction then got rid of him under the accusation of owning weapons of mass destruction, today Trump the hypocrite wants to claim victory against ISIS.”

Sayyed Nasrallah reassured that the resistance axis is the one that defeated ISIS in the region not the “US hypocrite who came at the end to play the role of the triumphant”.

“The will of the Iraqi government, the Iraqi Army and resistance factions is what defeated ISIS in Iraq,” he confirmed, adding: “Where did the US fight ISIS in Syria? The largest battles were fought by the Syrian Army, public forces, and the resistance movements under the support of the Russian ally, and the US stood an obstacle when the forces reached Furat river and all ISIS elements escaped to the eastern area.”

Addressing Trump, he said: “You sir have stopped the completion of the battle against ISIS because you wanted to target the latter east Furat, which you also failed in doing.”

Lebanese Cabinet

Internally, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed the importance of dialogue for solving all the issues and files.

Concerning electricity, his eminence assured that “the plan that was put in 2006 for solving the electricity issue in Lebanon with the aid of Iran was rejected by the government back then due to the US/Saudi stance on it, and the Lebanese people have been denied their right for 24/24 hours of electricity for 13 years now because of what I call “political distemper”.”

“Iran is willing to help but it is not chasing that, and the silliest thing I’ve heard is that this would help it take control over Lebanon! I mean does Iran really need a couple of loans to do that if it wanted to?”

Sayyed Nasrallah announced initiating in a battle against corruption after the formation of this government, stating: “The first steps in fighting corruption and financial waste were taken, and the two files proposed were: The first file is about 11 billion dollars that nobody knows how they were gone, and the second file is about negotiations being made to take a 400-million-dollar loan for meaningless issues.”

He asserted: “We are ready to be soldiers in the battle of protecting public money. We don’t care to be in the lead but we want to see results, return the stolen money, and stop any stealth from taking place… because all this money being stolen belongs to the people. We will refer to the legislation auhtority in everything, because the legislation and the whole country should take part in fighting this corruption.”

In conclusion, his eminence said: “With the same courage and steadfastness of Sheikh Raghab, Sayyed Abbas, and Hajj Imad we will hold the responsibility of this file and continue on the road that they were martyred on and had hope in. We will keep their will as well as our weapon and thtis will forever be our stance.”

Source: Al-Manar

Related Videos

Related Articles

The function and goals of Netanyahu’s visit to Muscat وظيفة وأهداف زيارة نتنياهو لمسقط؟

The function and goals of Netanyahu’s visit to Muscat

ديسمبر 12, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The reception of the Prime Minster of the occupation entity by the Sultanate of Oman is an unacceptable and condemned normalization, no matter what were the pretexts and justifications. Israel is the only winner of the ongoing normalization process in the Gulf whether in sports, culture, security, or politics. These are fixed facts, but the question is about the significance and the goals of this visit; is it a preparation for a military act against Iran as some think?  Is it a preparation for a similar visit to Saudi Arabia? Is it just an outcome of the relationship with Oman and Netanyahu wanted to make use of it due to the regression of the image of Saudi Arabia which he presented as a reliable ally? Or is if some of which?

Certainly, now it is not the time of the American-Israeli thinking about the war on Iran in the light of the Saudi weakness. Saudi Arabia is the central country in the Gulf and in the Arab official system and without its restoration of its strength it will not be able to make fateful strategic decisions in the Gulf, in addition, when the goal is security and military, logically it must be surrounded with secrecy rather than the show of the visit in which the senior officials of intelligence of the occupation entity participated.

It is certain that the normalization is a cultural and psychological accumulation, and every step in it is an Israeli gain, but the qualitative step on which the American and the Israeli endeavors depend is the normalization and the alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia, it is a path that has increasingly obstacles despite the secret and the semi-public cooperation. After the new aggravated Saudi dilemma, Saudi Arabia does not seem that it is in a state that can take a step as Israel needs, and the talk about the deal of the century that requires an important Palestinian partner who accepts to abandon Jerusalem seems so far.

It does not seem difficult for Oman since it had previous similar steps as Qatar. The visit of Yitzhak Rabin in 1994 to Muscat and then the visit of Shimon Peres in 1996 say a lot. Many people think that Muscat’s moderation in the issues of the regional disputes comparing with the rest of Gulf countries is the result of the abidance by refusing the normalization. Oman and Qatar want to stand on the compromises line rather than standing on the engagement line. When Qatar lost through its leadership of the Arab Spring that role and played a bigger role, Muscat could replace it in sponsoring the compromises, but there is always an American book of terms for this role, it is a book of terms that includes a prize for Israel.

Israel is in new strategic dilemma, it is unable to wage a war and unable to make compromises and at the same time, the bet on ending the Palestinian cause with the participation of Saudi Arabia under the title of a joint alliance against Iran becomes more difficult. The waiting for the stage of completion of the Saudi developments which is still in its beginning is an Israeli need where Muscat is its gate; therefore, mystery is a need to return to the negotiation when the Saudi opportunity falls. But this is not what is going on, rather it is mere a mobilization of an Omani prize granted to Israel under American request in exchange for granting Muscat the opportunity to sponsor the American-Iranian failure in the light of the prior expected failure of the sanctions and in the light of the Saudi changes, as it is an opportunity to Muscat to lead a negotiation that paves the way for compromise in Yemen during this current Saudi situation.

Israel is the first winner even if it does not have a plan to employ such gain, since Palestine is not the Arab priority and since the Arab interest is canceled from the agendas of the rulers and governments.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

وظيفة وأهداف زيارة نتنياهو لمسقط؟ 

أكتوبر 29, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– استقبال سلطنة عمان لرئيس حكومة الاحتلال تطبيع مرفوض ومُدان، مهما كانت الذرائع والتبريرات، و»إسرائيل» الرابح الوحيد من حفلة التطبيع الجارية خليجياً من الرياضة والثقافة والأمن والسياسة على مساحة دول الخليج. وهذه حقائق ثابتة، لكن السؤال في السياسة هو عن مغزى وأهداف هذه الزيارة، هل هي تمهيد لعمل عسكري ضد إيران كما يعتقد البعض، أم هي تمهيد لزيارة مشابهة لنتنياهو إلى السعودية، أم هي مجرد ثمرة نضجت في العلاقة مع عمان وأراد نتنياهو قطافها في لحظة تداعي لصورة السعودية التي قدّمها كحليف يُعتمد عليه، أم هي بعض من كل هذا؟

– الأكيد أن الزمن ليس زمن التفكير الأميركي الإسرائيلي بالحرب على إيران، في ظل الاعتلال السعودي. فالسعودية هي الدولة المركزية في الخليج وفي النظام العربي الرسمي ومن دون استعادتها العافية لا تبدو قريبة القدرة على اللعب بأوراق استراتيجية ومصيرية في الخليج، عدا عن أن منطق الأشياء يفرض عندما يكون الهدف أمنياً وعسكرياً إحاطته بالسرية بدلاً من الطابع الاستعراضي للزيارة التي شارك فيها كبار مسؤولي المخابرات في كيان الاحتلال.

– الأكيد أن التطبيع تراكم ثقافي ونفسي وكل خطوة فيه هي مكسب إسرائيلي، لكن الخطوة النوعية التي تتركز عليها الجهود الأميركية والإسرائيلية هي التطبيع والتحالف بين «إسرائيل» والسعودية. وهو أمر تزداد العقبات في طريقه العلني رغم حجم المسافات التي قطعها التعاون السري ونصف العلني. وبعد المأزق السعودي الجديد والمتفاقم لا تبدو السعودية في وضع يتيح لها خطوة بحجم ما تحتاج «إسرائيل»، والحديث عن صفقة القرن بما تستدعيه من شريك فلسطيني وازن يقبل بالتخلي عن القدس تبدو أبعد فأبعد.

– الأمر بالنسبة لعُمان لا يبدو صعباً لكونها كانت قد قامت بخطوات سابقة على هذا الطريق، كما كانت قطر وزيارة إسحق رابين عام 1994 لمسقط وبعده زيارة شمعون بيريز عام 1996 تقولان الكثير، ويظن البعض أن اعتدال مسقط في قضايا النزاعات الإقليمية ناجم عن درجة أعلى من سائر دول الخليج من الالتزام برفض التطبيع، فعُمان كما قطر ترغبان بالوقوف على خط النهاية الأميركي وهو خط التسويات، بدلاً من الوقوف على خط البداية وهو خط الاشتباك، وعندما خسرت قطر بقيادتها لمرحلة الربيع العربي هذا الدور ولعبت برصيدها لدور أكبر تعززت فرص عُمان باحتلال مقعدها في استضافة التسويات، لكن دائماً هناك دفتر شروط أميركي لمنح هذا الدور، وهو دفتر شروط يتضمن جائزة تنالها «إسرائيل».

– إسرائيل في مأزق استراتيجي حيث العجز عن الحرب والعجز عن التسويات، وحيث الرهان على إنهاء القضية الفلسطينية بالتشارك مع السعودية تحت عنوان حلف مشترك بوجه إيران يصير أشد صعوبة، والتموضع على خط احتياطي لمرحلة ما بعد اكتمال التطورات السعودية التي لا تزال في بداياتها، ضرورة إسرائيلية تشكل مسقط نافذتها ويشكل الغموض حاجة فيها للعودة إلى مربع التفاوض القديم عند سقوط الفرصة السعودية، لكن هذا ليس هو الراهن، بل مجرد توظيف لجائزة عُمانية تمنح لـ«إسرائيل» لقاء طلب أميركي، مقابل منح مسقط الضوء الأخضر لرعاية التفاوض الأميركي الإيراني في ضوء الفشل المسبق المتوقع للعقوبات، وفي ضوء المتغيرات السعودية، وضوء أخضر آخر لمسقط لقيادة تفاوض يفتح طريق التسويات في اليمن في ظل الراهن السعودي.

– تبقى «إسرائيل» الرابح الأول حتى لو لم تمتلك خطة لتوظيف هذا الربح، عندما لا تكون فلسطين أولوية عربية، وعندما تسقط حسابات المصلحة العربية من جدول أعمال الحكام والحكومات.

%d bloggers like this: