ما حقيقة المفاوضات السرية بين أميركا وحركة أنصار الله؟

سبتمبر 9, 2019

د. حكم أمهز

د.حكم أمهز: ابن سلمان نيرون العصر.. مهر عرشه “القدس المحتلة”
تمويهاً للواقع والحقيقة، كان الإعلان من قبل الخارجية الأميركية بأنها تخوض محادثات سرية مع حركة أنصار الله اليمنية بهدف إيجاد حلّ للأزمة اليمنية. توقيت ومكان تصريحات مساعد وزير الخارجية الأميركي لشؤون الشرق الأوسط، ديفيد شينكر، جاءا خلال زيارته الى المملكة العربية السعودية، ما يعكس دلالات فرض القرار الأميركي على السعودية المتخبّطة بالهزائم في المستنقع اليمني.

حاول شينكر ان يحدّد ماهية المحادثات أكثر، بقوله بدأنا إجراء محادثات بقدر الإمكان مع الحوثيين في محاولة لإيجاد حلّ تفاوضي مقبول بالنسبة للجميع بشأن النزاع .

ثم أردف يقول نحن نعمل مع المبعوث الأممي إلى اليمن، مارتن غريفيث، ونقيم اتصالات مع شركائنا السعوديين .

تصريح فيه من الغموض ما يدفع الى طرح الكثير من الأسئلة، هل هي محادثات أو مفاوضات؟ وكيف تجري؟ ومَن يُجريها؟ وأين؟ وكيف؟ وما هي الشروط المطروحة؟

وفقاً لمصادر متابعة، فإنّ المحادثات الجارية هي غير مباشرة بين الأميركيين وحركة أنصار الله، ساحتها سلطنة عُمان، ويديرها رئيس الوفد اليمني المفاوض والناطق الرسمي باسم الحركة محمد عبد السلام، بمساعدة عضده الأيمن عضو الوفد المفاوض عبد الملك العجري.

وللتوضيح أكثر، فإنّ ما يجري هذه الأيام، ترتيبات لمفاوضات محتملة، مع مناقشة شروط حركة أنصار الله للقبول بالمفاوضات، فإنْ أذعن الأميركي لها، يبدأ التفاوض وإلا فلا.

تتولى سلطنة عُمان بشكل أساس، المحادثات التمهيدية غير المباشرة، بين الحركة وواشنطن، وتجري الحركة على جنباتها، اتصالات، مع دول أوروبية، تمثل بعضها في لقاء السفراء الأوروبيّين الذي عقد في الخارجية الإيرانية في طهران وقيل إنه يأتي في إطار مشاورات الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية بغية الحلّ السياسي لأزمة اليمن، وشارك فيه وفد إيراني برئاسة مساعد وزير الخارجية في الشؤون السياسية الخاصة علي أصغر خاجي وهو من كبار الدبلوماسيين الهامين ووفد من أنصار الله برئاسة المتحدث بإسم أنصار الله محمد عبد السلام وسفراء ورؤساء ممثليات أربع دول أوروبية هي بريطانيا وفرنسا والمانيا وايطاليا.

أعقب ذلك تعيين صنعاء ابراهيم الديلمي، سفيراً فوق العادة ومفوضاً في الجمهورية الاسلامية الإيرانية.

أحداث لا تنفصل عن بعضها لا سيما إذا ربطناها، بلقاء عبد السلام، بنائب وزير الخارجية الروسي ميخائيل بوغدانوف، وإجرائه اتصالاً بالسفير الصيني لدى اليمن، ثم لقاء بسفير بريطانيا في اليمن مايكل آرون.

اذن، نفي عضو المكتب السياسي لحركة أنصار الله محمد البخيتي لوجود مفاوضات مع الأميركيين، كان صحيحاً، لأنه ليس هناك من مفاوضات مباشرة فعلاً، اما التصريح الأدق بهذا الشأن، فجاء من العجري، بقوله إنه بـ فرض حصول أيّ حوار مع الولايات المتحدة فسيكون باعتبارها جزءاً من الحرب وتملك الكثير من مفاتيح إيقافها ، مضيفاً «إننا ننظر للدعوات الأميركية بنوع من الريبة ونشك في جديتها ودوافعها سواء انتخابية أو للتخلص من ضغوط الرأي العام أو لإبراء الساحة الأميركية».

المهمّ في الأمر، أنّ طلب اجراء مفاوضات سرية مباشرة بين السعودية من جهة وحركة أنصار الله من جهة ثانية، جاء بطلب من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وليس من صنعاء، لأسباب ابرزها:

وصول الإدارة الأميركية الى قناعة بأنّ الحلّ لن يكون عسكرياً في اليمن، وكلما طال الوقت كانت الهزيمة الكبرى للسعودية في الساحة اليمنية أقرب. وترامب يريد إخراج نفسه وأتباعه السعودية والامارات من مأزق اليمن بعد ان بدأت صواعق اليمنيين تحرق المطارات والمواقع العسكرية والمحطات النفطية السعودية والإماراتية، ما يهدّد بإسقاط نظاميهما، وتكون أميركا و اسرائيل الخاسر الأكبر.

الرئيس دونالد ترامب يعمل على ترتيب أوضاعه تمهيداً للانتخابات الرئاسية وهو لا يريد أن يفاجَأ بأيّ طارئ، لذا هو يعمل على إيجاد تسوية «هرب» من أفغانستان مع طالبان، ويكثف جهوده للحصول على نتيجة مع نظيره الكوري الشمالي كيم جونغ اون، ويكثف الضغوط على طهران، لإخضاعها، ويسرّع في العمل لطرح «صفقة القرن».

أهداف تدركها صنعاء جيداً، ولا تريد أن تبيع لترامب إلا بالأغلى، خاصة أنّ الطلب الأميركي بالمفاوضات يأتي في أعقاب هزائم السعودية في اليمن، وتصدّع وتشقق تحالف العدوان وآخره صراع النفوذ الإماراتي السعودي في جنوب اليمن، وتحوّل اليمنيين من موقع الدفاع الى موقع الهجوم.

أمام هذه الحقائق فإنّ اليمنيين يشترطون قبل بدء المفاوضات:

1 – التأكد من انّ الأميركيين، جاهزون لإنهاء العدوان.

وقال عضو الوفد المفاوض عبد الملك العجري في اتصال أجريته معه شخصياً ، نحن نعتبر التفاوض معهم الأميركيين طبيعي، لأنهم القيادة الفعلية للعدوان مع الرياض، لكن لم تتأكد لدينا جدّيتهم بعد، بأنهم جاهزون لإنهاء العدوان، وليس فقط لإبراء ساحتهم ، وعندما سألته، وإنْ تأكدتم من جديتهم هل تبدأ بعدها المفاوضات؟ أجاب عندها لكلّ حادث حديث .

2- وقف العدوان ورفع الحصار عن اليمن بما فيه مطار صنعاء، قبل البدء بالمفاوضات.

3 – التفاوض لا يكون مع السعوديين بل مع الأميركيين.

4 – توفير مظلة دولية للمفاوضات، دورها، تأمين الضمانات لتنفيذ ما يتمّ الاتفاق عليه، لأنّ ترامب والسعوديين لا يفون بالتعهّدات . وهناك رأي عند بعض مسؤولي حركة أنصار الله أن يُصادق على أيّ اتفاق محتمل في مجلس الأمن الدولي.

بكلّ الاحوال وبمجرد ان تجبر أميركا الراعي الرسمي للعدوان على اليمن منذ خمس سنوات على طلب مفاوضات مع أنصار الله، فهذا يعني:

1 – اعتراف أميركي بحركة أنصار الله كقوة شرعية يمنية، وبأنها قوة تفاوض بشكل ندّي مع الأميركيين لا من موقع ضعف.

2 – إقرار أميركي بأنّ من انتصر في العدوان على اليمن هم اليمنيون وحركة أنصار الله، ولو كانت الغلبة لتحالف العدوان لما اضطر الرئيس ترامب على طلب المفاوضات بل كان أكمل العدوان حتى أكمل القضاء على اليمن وأهله، والدليل انه حصلت مفاوضات عدة مرات سابقاً، وأسفرت عن اتفاقات، وكان ينقضها الأميركي واتباعه في التحالف العدواني.

3 – فشل منظومات الدفاع الجوي الأميركية الأكثر تطوّراً في صدّ وكشف صواريخ أنصار الله البالستية وطائراتهم المسيّرة التي وصلت الى أقصى الأراضي السعودية والإماراتية، واستهدفت مطارات ومواقع نفطية وعسكرية حيوية. وفي المقابل انتصرت وتفوّقت التقنية البالستية اليمنية، والطائرات المسيّرة المحلية الصنع.

اذن حركة أنصار الله لن تبدأ مفاوضات الا إذا ضمنت الحق اليمنيين وإعادة الحق الى أهله.

خبير في شؤون إيران والشرق الأوسط.

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US Bases in the Region: The Precious Catch

By Staff

Rouhani: Foreign Forces Main Source of Tension in the Region

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed that any presence of foreign forces in the Gulf will only cause even more tension in the region, amid reports that the UK and the US are pushing for a joint force to escort oil tankers as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz off Iran.

Iran makes constant efforts to ensure the Sea of Oman, the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz remain safe passageways for international shipping, Rouhani said during a meeting with visiting Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi in Tehran on Sunday.

“The presence of foreign forces wouldn’t help the regional security, and if anything, it would actually be the main source of tension,” he added.

The remarks come as both the UK and the US are leading two sharply different plans for patrols in the Gulf.

Washington has been pushing for a scheme whereby nations protect their own ships but partake in joint operations to monitor the waterways to prevent incidents.

The administration of US President Donald Trump claims that the patrols are needed to protect the ships from threats it says are coming from Iran, following several mysterious attacks that damaged oil tankers and cargo ships in the Sea of Oman over the past weeks.

The US and some of its allies have blamed Iran for the attacks, a claim Tehran has vehemently denied. Iranian officials have warned countries in the region to watch out for false flags by “foreign players.”

The UK, on the other hand, has been trying to put together a European force to protect vessels moving through the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker this month for attempting to flee the scene of a collision with an Iranian fishing boat in violation of international rules.

Tensions flared up between London and Tehran after the UK navy seized Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar, claiming that it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of the European Union’s sanctions against Damascus.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani told Bin Alawi that London’s move was illegal and would prove “costly” for them.

Rouhani asserted that Iran continues to stand against any breaches of law that endangers the safety of shipping in the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.

He argued that all of the regional issues were connected and, therefore, every government in the region needed to help maintain peace and stability there.

Reconstructing Syria and paving the way for Syrian refugees to return, ending the Saudi-led war on Yemen and stopping ongoing “Israeli” crimes against the people of Palestine were some of the key issues that he said had to be resolved.

Rouhani reiterated that Tehran has never started tensions in the region, unlike the American officials, whom he accused of causing frictions with their “delusions” and their decision to leave the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Bin Alawi, for his part, said Oman and Iran needed to overcome all challenges and help keep the region secure.

He emphasized that without Iran it was not possible to keep the region safe.

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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.

*

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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.

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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.

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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.

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