سنة سلام سورية وولادة نظام عالمي جديد؟

سنة سلام سورية وولادة نظام عالمي جديد؟

ناصر قنديل

سنة سلام سورية وولادة نظام عالمي جديد؟

نوفمبر 22, 2017

– ليست مصادفة تلك الحركة المتزامنة بين مجموعة مسارات عسكرية وسياسية سواء في الميدان السوري أو في الاتصالات الخاصة بسورية بين قادة العالم والمنطقة، أو في التحضيرات القائمة على قدم وساق في الرياض وسوتشي للخروج بما يتناسب مع متطلبات جنيف، وفقاً لما رسم في فييتنام بين الرئيسين الروسي والأميركي، فبعد البوكمال وتحريرها وتواصل الحدود الإيرانية العراقية السورية اللبنانية، مرحلة جديدة وميزان قوى جديد. وما تلقاه الأميركيون عن قرب رحيل قواتهم من سورية بعد سقوط الذريعة، تلقاه الأكراد عن أحادية المسار السياسي لاستيعابهم، بدلاً من مغامرة معلومة النتائج يدفعون ثمنها وأمام أعينهم المثال في كردستان العراق، والأتراك تلقوا بدورهم الرسالة عن مسار سياسي ينتهي بمسؤولية الدولة السورية عن الأمن داخل حدودها، معطوفاً على لا شرعية بقاء أيّ قوة أجنبية على أرضها.

– سورية التي تنهض دولتها كطائر الفينيق من تحت الرماد، وينتصر جيشها بمعونة حلفائه وفي طليعتهم المقاومة التي شيطنتها الجامعة العربية و«إسرائيل وأميركا، هي سورية التي لا يمكن تخيّل نظام عربي جديد لا يتأثر بالمتغيّر الذي تحمله إليه، وسط تراجع سعودي في المهابة والمقدّرات، وغرق في الفشل العسكري والسياسي من اليمن إلى قطر، مقابل صعود عراقي آتٍ من رحم الإنجاز في كسر الإرهاب وإسقاط الانفصال، ومع انشغال الجميع من البار بين العرب بحروبهم، عودة جزائرية لقوة ناعمة قادرة على لعب دور الوسط، وهي بعافيتها الاقتصادية والعسكرية، ليشكل الثلاثي السوري العراقي الجزائري قوة الجذب الجديدة في النظام العربي الجديد، متجهاً نحو مصر لاستنهاضها، وتشكيل رباعي القيادة الجديدة للنظام العربي الذي يلفظ أنفاس نسخته السعودية مع البيان الأخير للجامعة العربية الإسرائيلي المضمون، كما وصفه موشي يعلون، والمترجم من العبرية إلى العربية.

– ليست مصادفة أيضاً أن يبدأ الأميركي مع التسليم بالوجهة التي تسلكها سورية، بالاستعداد للخروج في العام نفسه من أفغانستان، وقد مدّد لوجود قواته فيها ثلاثة أعوام مرّة مرّة، لأنّ رهاناته على الحرب في سورية كانت تمنحه الأمل بتغيير وجهة سورية. والرابط واضح من اليوم الأول، بلوغ الصين للبحر المتوسط عبر الحدود البرية المتصلة من أفغانستان إلى إيران فالعراق فسورية. وما دام الأمل بإغلاق الممرّ البري أمام الصين من مكان ما في الحدود بين سورية والعراق، أو في سورية نفسها، كان البقاء في أفغانستان ضرورياً، ومع تلاشي الأمل، لم يعد لهذا البقاء حاجة، وقد صار عبئاً لا يُحتمل. وفي هذه الحالة فقط يصير ممكناً طلب المعونة الصينية الكاملة في تسوية الملف النووي لكوريا الشمالية، ويصير التحرك الفرنسي بلسان أوروبا لحماية التفاهم النووي مع إيران حاجة أميركا لمخاطبة الكوريين بعدم حاجتهم للسلاح النووي أسوة بإيران، ومخاطبة الإيرانيين بعدم حاجتهم للنموذج الكوري ما دام الاتفاق بخير. وتصير هنا الأزمة اللبنانية التي فجّرها السعوديون لنيّة، فرصة للتوظيف بنيّة أخرى، وربما بنيّات، يكشفها تضمين الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون للائحة اتصالاته التي شملت الرئيس الإيراني والملك السعودي والرئيس المصري، رئيس حكومة الاحتلال، فتحاً لباب ربط الأزمات تمهيداً لربط الحلول، وللمثل القائل الجمل بنيّة والحمل بنيّة والجمال بنيّة ، من دون أن يكون واضحاً مَن هو الجمل ومَن هو الجمال، إذا كان الحمل معلوماً وقد انتقل من السعودية إلى باريس، فالقاهرة في طريق العودة إلى لبنان.

– قال الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين في عام 2016 إن نظاماً عالمياً جديداً يولد من الحرب السورية، كما قالت غونداليسا رايس يوماً إنّ شرقاً أوسط جديداً يولد من رحم حرب تموز 2006. عشر سنوات حملت الكثير من المتغيّرات، كانت المقاومة، التي أرادت حرب رايس سحقها وسحق عظام قادتها لتسهيل المخاض على شرقها الأوسط الجديد، وقال السفير الروسي في بيروت إنها تستحق الشكر على دورها في تصفية دولة داعش والنصر على الإرهاب، هي الثابت الوحيد.

– 2018 سنة سلام سورية وولادة نظام عالمي جديد ونظام إقليمي جديد!

 

Related Videos

 

Related Articles

Advertisements

Saudi-Israeli Friendship Is Driving the Rest of the Middle East Together

Saudi-Israeli Friendship Is Driving the Rest of the Middle East Together

FEDERICO PIERACCINI | 20.11.2017 | WORLD

Saudi-Israeli Friendship Is Driving the Rest of the Middle East Together

Through its top official, Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia continues a wave of internal arrests, having seized nearly $800 billion in assets and bank accounts. A few days later, MBS attempted to demonstrate his authority by summoning Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Saudi Arabia, where he was forced to resign on Saudi state TV. Trump tweeted support for Bin Salman’s accusations against Iran and Hezbollah, and the future Saudi king even obtained Israel’s secret support. Iran, meanwhile, denies any involvement in Lebanon’s domestic affairs or involvement with the ballistic missile launched by Houthi rebels towards Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport a few days ago. Meanwhile, Trump, Putin and Xi met recently and seem to have decided the fate of the region in an exercise of realism and pragmatism.

News that upends the course of events has now become commonplace over the last few months. However, even by Middle East standards, this story is something new. The affair surrounding Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hariri generated quite a bit of commotion. Hariri had apparently been obliged to announce his resignation on Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya news channel while being detained in Riyadh. His most recent interview seemed to betray some nervousness and fatigue, as one would expect from a person under enormous stress from forced imprisonment. In his televised resignation statement, Hariri specified that he was unable to return to Lebanon due to some sort of a threat to his person and his family by operatives in Lebanon of Iran and Hezbollah. The Lebanese security authorities, however, have stated that they are not aware of any danger faced by Hariri.

In an endless attempt to regain influence in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has once again brought about results directly opposite to those intended. Immediately after receiving confirmation that the resignation had taken place in Saudi Arabia, the entire Lebanese political class demanded that Hariri return home to clarify his position, meet with the president and submit his resignation in person. Saudi actions have served to consolidate a united front of opposition factions and paved the way for the collapse of Saudi influence in the country, leaving a vacuum to be conveniently filled by Iran. Once again, as with Yemen and in Syria, the intentions of the Saudis have dramatically backfired.

This Saudi interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign country has stirred up unpredictable scenarios in the Middle East, just at the time that tensions were cooling in Syria.

Hariri’s detention comes from far away and is inextricably linked to what has been happening over the past few months in Saudi Arabia. Mohammed bin Salman, son of King Salman, began his internal purge of the Kingdom’s elite by removing from the line of succession Bin Nayef, a great friend of the US intelligence establishment (Brennan and Clapper). Bin Nayef was a firm partner of the US deep state. Saudi Arabia has for years worked for the CIA, advancing US strategic goals in the region and beyond. Thanks to the cooperation between Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, Bin Nayef, and US intelligence agencies, Washington has for years given the impression of fighting against Islamist terrorist while actually weaponizing jihadism since the 1980s by deploying it against rival countries like the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the Iraqi government in 2014, the Syrian state in 2012, and Libya’s Gaddafi in 2011.

MBS has even detained numerous family-related princes, continuing to consolidate power around himself. Even Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the richest men in the world, ended up caught in MBS’s net, rightly accused of being one of the most corrupt people in the Kingdom. It is speculated that family members and billionaires are detained at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, with guests and tourists promptly ejected days before the arrests began. Mohammed bin Salman’s actions are not slowing down, even after seizing $800 billion in accounts, properties and assets.

MBS is intensifying his efforts to end the conflict in Yemen, which is a drain on Saudi finances, lifting the naval blockade of the Port of Aden. Not only that, the two main Syrian opposition leaders, Ahmad Jarba and Riyadh Hijab, have been arrested by Riyadh in an effort to demonstrate to Putin the good will of MBS in seeking to resolve the Syrian conflict. Not surprisingly, King Salman, in a frantic search for a solution to the two conflicts that have lashed his reputation as well as the wealth and alliances of the Saudi kingdom, flew to Moscow to seek mediation with Putin, the new master of the Middle East.

MBS has undertaken an anti-corruption campaign for international as well as domestic purposes. At the national level, the collapse of oil prices, coupled with huge military spending, forced the royal family to seek alternatives for the future of the Kingdom in terms of sustainability, earnings and profits. MBS’s Vision 2030 aims to diversify revenue in order to free Saudi Arabia from its dependence on oil. This is a huge ask for a nation that has been thriving for seventy years from an abundance of resources simply found under its ground. This delicate balance of power between the royal family and its subjects is maintained by the subsidies granted to the local population that has allowed the Kingdom to flourish in relative peace, even during the most delicate periods of the Arab Spring in 2011. There is an underlying understanding in Saudi Arabia that so long as the welfare of the population is guaranteed, there should be no threat to the stability of the royal family. It is no wonder that after losing two wars, and with oil prices at their lowest, MBS has started to worry about his future, seeking to purge the elites opposed to him.

The Kingdom’s reality is quickly changing under MBS, the next Saudi king, who is trying to anticipate harder times by consolidating power around himself and correcting his errors brought on by incompetence and his excessive confidence in the Saudi military as well as in American backing. The ballistic missile that hit Riyadh was launched by the Houthis in Yemen after 30 months of indiscriminate bombing by the Saudi air force. This act has shown how vulnerable the Kingdom is to external attack, even at the hand of the poorest Arab country in the world.

In this context, Donald Trump seems to be capitalizing on Saudi weakness, fear, and the need to tighten the anti-Iranian alliance. What the American president wants in return for support of MBS is as simple as it comes: huge investments in the US economy together with the purchase of US arms. MBS obliged a few months ago, investing into the US economy to the tune of more than $380 billion over ten years. Trump’s goal is to create new jobs at home, increase GDP, and boost the economy, crucial elements for his re-election in 2020. Rich allies like Saudi Arabia, finding themselves in a tight fix, are a perfect means of achieving this end.

Another important aspect of MBS’s strategy involves the listing of Aramco on the NYSE together with the switch to selling oil for yuan payments. Both decisions are fundamental to the United States and China, and both bring with them a lot of friction. MBS is at this moment weak and needs all the allies and support he can get. For this reason, a decision on Aramco or the petroyuan would probably create big problems with Beijing and Washington respectively. The reason why MBS is willing to sell a small stock of Aramco relates to his efforts to gin up some money. For this reason, thanks to the raids on the accounts and assets of the people arrested by MBS, Saudi Arabia has raised over $800 billion, certainly a higher figure than any sale of Aramco shares would have brought.

This move allows MBS to postpone a decision on listing Aramco on the NYSE as well as on whether to start accepting yuan for payment of oil. Holding back on the petroyuan and Aramco’s initial public offering is a way of holding off both Beijing and Washington but without at the same time favouring one over the other. Economically, Riyadh cannot choose between selling oil for dollars on the one hand and accepting payment in another currency on the other. It is a nightmare scenario; but some day down the road, the Saudi royals will have to make a choice.

The third party to this situation is Israel in the figure of Netanyahu, Donald Trump’s great friend and supporter right from the beginning of his electoral campaign. Trump’s victory brought positive returns to the investment the Israeli leader had made in him. Ever since Trump won the election, the US has employed harsh words against Iran, turning away from the positive approach adopted by Obama that managed to achieve the Iran nuclear deal framework. Nevertheless, the Israeli prime minister has had to deal with numerous problems at home, with a narrow parliamentary majority and several members of his government under investigation for corruption.

Donald Trump pursued a very aggressive policy against Tehran during the election campaign, then went on to annul the Iran nuclear deal a few weeks ago. The decision is now for Congress to certify, with a difficult mediation between European allies (other than China and Russia), who are opposed to ending the deal, and the Israelis, who can count on the support of many senators thanks to their lobbying efforts. Israel, for its part, sees in Saudi Arabia and MBS the missing link between Saudi Wahhabism and Israeli Zionism. Various private cablegrams leaked to the press have shown how Israeli diplomats around the world were instructed to support Saudi  accusations of Iran interfering in Lebanon’s internal affairs.

The interests of MBS and Netanyahu seem to dovetail quite nicely in Syria and Yemen as well as with regard to Iran and Hezbollah. The two countries have a common destiny by virtue of the fact that neither alone can deal decisively with Hezbollah in Syria or Lebanon, let alone Iran. Rouhani himself has said that Iran fears American strength and power alone, knowing that Saudi Arabia and Israel are incapable of defeating Tehran.

Trump’s approval of the arrests carried out by MBS is based on a number of factors. The first involves the investments in the economy that will be coming America’s way. The other, certainly less known, concerns the subterranean battle that has been occurring between the Western elites for months. Many of Clinton’s top money sources are billionaires arrested by MBS, with stock options in various major banks, insurance companies, publishing groups, and American television groups, all openly anti-Trump. In this sense, the continuation of Trump’s fight with a portion of the elite can be seen with the halting of the merger of AT&T and Time Warner involving CNN.

Trump seems to be accompanying Saudi and Israeli urgings for war with multiple intentions, potentially having a plan for a broader, regional and global agreement between the parties.

At a regional level, Trump first supported the Saudi crusade against Qatar, resolved with Riyadh not getting Qatar to accede to any of its advanced demands. During the crisis, Doha approached Tehran and Moscow, who immediately took advantage of the situation to establish trade relations and commence negotiations with Qatar to tame its terrorist influence in the region, especially in the Syrian conflict. Turkey and Qatar have practically announced a military alliance, cementing a new front that includes China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Qatar, now potentially all on the same side of the barricades, opposed to Saudi dictates and Israel’s efforts to foment war with Iran.

With the US withdrawal from the region, as is increasingly evident from Trump’s reluctance to embark on a Middle East conflict, Israel and Saudi Arabia are increasing their desperate cries against Iran, observing how the gains of the resistance axis have led Tehran to dominate the region with its allies. The visit of King Salman to Russia, and the four meetings between Putin and Netanyahu, give the idea of which capital is in charge in the region. This all represents an epochal change that further isolates Riyadh and Tel Aviv, two countries that represent the heart of chaos and terror.

The Saudi attempt to isolate Qatar has failed miserably, and the continuous effort to paint Iran as the main cause of tension in the region seems to have reached a point of no return, with the latest stunt involving Hariri. Sunnis, Christians and Shiites agree on one point only: that the premier must return home. Riyadh hopes to light the fuse of a new civil war in the region, with Israel hoping to take advantage of the chaos brought about by an attack on Hezbollah. This is not going to happen, and the disappointment of the House of Saud and the Israeli prime minister will not change anything. Without a green light from Washington and a promise from Uncle Sam to intervene alongside his Middle East allies, the Israelis and Saudis are aware that they have neither the means nor strength to attack Iran or Hezbollah.

Trump is playing a dangerous game; but there seems to be some degree of coordination with the other giants on the international scene. The main point is it is impossible for Washington to be an active part in any conflict in the region, or to change the course of events in a meaningful way. The “End of history” ended years ago. US influence is on the decline, and Xi Jinping and Putin have shown great interest in the future of the region. In recent months, the Russian and Iranian militaries, together with the Chinese economic grip on the region, have shown a collective intention to replace years of war, death and chaos with peace, prosperity and wealth.

MBS and Netanyahu are having a hard time dealing with this new environment that will inevitably proclaim Iran the hegemon in the region. Time is running out for Israel and Saudi Arabia, and both countries are faced with enormous internal problems while being unable to change the course of events in the region without the full intervention of their American ally, something practically impossible nowadays.

The new course of the multipolar world, together with Trump’s America First policy, seems to have hit hardest those countries that placed all their bets on the continuing economic and military dominance of the United States in the region. Other countries like Qatar, Lebanon and Turkey have started to understand the historical change that is going on, and have slowly been making the switch, realizing in the process the benefits of a multipolar world order, which is more conducive to mutually beneficial cooperation between countries. The more Saudi Arabia and Israel push for war against Iran, the more they will isolate themselves. This will serve to push their own existence to the brink of extinction.

Al-Jaafari: Saudi Regime is living state of hysteria and political deficiency

November 2017 10:51

New York – Syria’s Permanent Representative at the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari stressed that the regime of Al Saud and its backers and sponsors are living in a state of hysteria and political deficiency after the Syrian Arab Army defeated their Wahhabi terrorist scheme in Syria.

In a statement delivered at the UN General Assembly before the 3rd Committee regarding the draft resolution titled “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” al-Jaafari said “Again this committee is convened to discuss an arbitrary draft resolution proposed by the US, England, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, these countries which support terrorism, incite sedition, destroy countries, kill nations, and occupy lands,” SANA reported.

“How are we going to justify to ourselves and to our nations that we would trust those who spread corruption, invade sovereign states, rob the nations, kill millions, fabricate facts, and don’t respect the UN Charter and the principles of the international law,” he asked.

He added what is taking place today is an insult to the issue of human rights, and continuing to politicize this noble issue will one day undermine the work of the mechanisms established to pursue this issue.

Al-Jaafari clarified that the states who proposed the draft resolution are an alliance of governments who are conspiring against each other and are terrorizing and blackmailing each other, and they only unite for supporting international terrorism, shedding blood, and spreading chaos and destruction in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and other countries.

He referred to the details of the documented “dirty deal” which was made by the forces of the US-led international coalition in Syria through its militias on the ground along with Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organization to let hundreds of its terrorists get out of Raqqa city along with their arms and head for areas which are under the control of the Syrian Arab Army to hinder the liberation of certain areas from the terrorism that is backed by the same states which proposed the draft resolution today.

He said that it’s scandalous that the Al Saud government can present a resolution on human rights, thinking that they can buy consciences and distort the UN Charter, asserting that shame and scandal will be attached to the UN after it was subjugated to the Saudi blackmail and decided to keep silent towards the crimes of Al Saud which caused the death of thousands of innocent civilians in Yemen and destroyed their country.

“But the biggest disgrace and scandal are represented in supporting the Saudi draft resolution on human rights in Syria, since everyone knows that Saudi Arabia is the greatest and most dangerous dictator on Earth, as it employs money and distorts the principles of religion to suppress its people in the first place and to support terrorism in Syria and every spot and city in this world,” al-Jaafari said.

“The draft resolution proposed to us today reflects the state of hysteria and political deficiency of the Al Saud regime and its allies, backers, and sponsors after the Syrian Arab Army defeated their Wahhabi terrorist scheme in Syria,” Syria’s Representative said, bringing to attention the confessions of former Prime Minister of Qatar Hamad Bin Jassim, noting that the Saudi and Qatari regimes disagree on everything, but they agree on continuing to support terrorism, and they seek to destroy Syria because they follow the same Wahhabi extremist mentality.

He added that the regimes of Al Saud and Qatar have spent USD 137 billion to destroy Syria, according to the confessions of Bin Jassim on the official Qatari TV last week, saying “In addition to that, huge sums were also spent on destroying Yemen, Iraq, and Libya and others. This is what the Saudi regime is doing with the huge wealth which it possesses. It supports, funds, and promotes terrorism, and it destroys the image of the Arabs and Muslims in the world.”

Al-Jaafari described the Saudi regime’s draft resolution, submitted on behalf of a group of its sponsors and exploiters including Israel, as a strange paradox because the Saudi dictator regime is the last one which has the right to talk about human rights due to his black record in the humanitarian and legal domains towards its people and the foreigners who were treated as slaves, describing Saudi Wahabism as the fourth weapon of mass destruction

He directed frank accusation against the Turkish regime which, through supporting terrorism in Syria, contributed to the displacement of millions of Syrians, as well as mistreating and exploiting them to put political pressure on the European Union.

Al-Jaafari said that the Turkish regime opened its borders to tens of thousands of foreign terrorists from more than a hundred states according to the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team pursuant to Security Council, pointing out that some of those terrorists crossed the Turkish borders while carrying chemical weapons which were brought from Libya to Syria under the supervision of the Turkish authorities.

If the Syrian people had waited for the UN to protect them from terrorism that is sponsored, armed, and financed by the Saudi and Qatari regimes, we would not achieve victory today over Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists, al-Jaafari stressed.

He added that Syria is waging a war against terrorism on behalf of the entire world, and the Syrian people and army backed by the supporting and allied forces are achieving victories in the war against international terrorism.

Al-Jaafari called upon UN member states to not fall behind the Saudi and Qatari mental abnormality which doesn’t take into account the stance adopted by the Non-Aligned Movement sates that are based on principled refusal to discuss specific resolutions on human rights in the member states, adding that Israel joining Saudi Arabia in adopting the draft resolution unveils the hidden alliance between them.

He concluded his statement by calling upon the UN member states to vote against the unjust and politicized draft resolution, as this would prevent terrorists and their sponsors from targeting the Syrian people and Syria’s stability again, adding that voting against it means voting against re-exporting terrorism to some of this UN member states.

In a response to representative of the Turkish regime, al-Jaafari accused the Turkish intelligence agencies of helping a terrorist to enter Syria with two liters of sarin gas that came from Libya, gas which was used in attacking Khan al-Assal town near Aleppo and in several other areas in Syria.

He indicated that since the first moment of using the chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal, a decision was taken to prevent anyone from identifying those who used it in Syria, as the influence of the major anti-Syria states and the Saudi and Qatari money foiled the mission of the fact-finding team and the joint investigative mechanism.

 

Related Videos

Saudi: Palestinian Abbas Must Endorse US’ Plan or Leave

By MEM

November 14, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman has told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he has to back Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace deal or resign.

According to Israeli sources Abbas was offered an ultimatum after he was summoned to Riyadh last week for a meeting with Bin Salman days after Us Presidential advisor Jared Kushner made an unannounced visit to the Saudi capital to meet the young crown prince. The two are reported to have thrashed out a plan in which Abbas seems to have had no say.

Riyadh had offered to normalise relations with Israel in 2002 on the condition that it agreed to the two-state formula, which more and more Israeli’s, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have rejected.

It’s still not clear what peace deal has been offered to Abbas, but Palestinians will be concerned by Bin Salman’s readiness to rally behind the US President who is described by close associates as the most pro-Israeli president in years. Trump is said to be drafting a deal put together by his son-in-law, Kushner, who is a strong advocate of Israel and his support for the country, say critics,  is odd even by American standards. Kushner has given money to Israeli settlements and his family are close friends of Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli sources also mentioned that Abbas was instructed to stop any further rapprochement with Hamas; an ultimatum that could jeopardise the reconciliation process between the two main Palestinian rivals. If Israeli sources are to be believed than the ultimatum given by Bin Salman seems to be identical to the one made by Netanyahu who is also strongly opposed to the Palestinian unity government.

Though Abbas has rejected the claims made by the Israeli Channel 10, details of the meeting seems to be in line with the Saudi, UAE, Israeli and US vision for the region agreed prior to Trump’s inauguration.

It was widely reported that the US gave its backing for the unpredictable young prince while endorsing a regional plan that included unreserved support for Gulf monarchies; revision of the Iran nuclear deal; and a new Israel-Palestine peace plan.

The Saudis appear to be fully behind this deal whose blueprint has been drawn up by senior members of Trump’s exceptionally pro-Israeli administration.

Since his election, Trump has gone on to describe Saudi Arabia as a “magnificent country” while taking the unprecedented step of visiting the Gulf state in his first official visit, having condemned the rulers during his election campaign. Trump also struck a multibillion dollar deal with the Saudi royals in May.

Trump’s new fondness for the Saudi’s saw him backing the Saudi-UAE media onslaught on Qatar and, last month, he announced he was decertifying the Iran nuclear accord. Last week, when Saudi Arabia arrested scores of princes and businessmen in an “anti-corruption” purge, the president also tweeted his support.

Palestinians no doubt had hoped that a Saudi crown Prince would be a trusted ally who could at the least present their cause with sympathy. They will be concerned over Bin Salman’s ultimatum, which appears to have been coordinated by people that support Netanyahu’s vision for the region which is nothing more than a “state-minus” for the Palestinians.

This article was originally published by Middle East Monitor –

See also –

Saudi document lays out plans for peace with Israel: Foreign Ministry paper allegedly offers peace with the Jewish state in exchange for US pressure on Iran.

 

Related Articles

The Real Syria Story No One Wants You to Know About

RSFP

The conflict in Syria and the flashpoint of Daraa, a town near the Syria-Jordan border where the CIA, working with the Muslim Brotherhood, attacked police and set the stage for a conflict that has so far claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Syrians. The proxy war is designed to take down a secular government and replace it with a Salafist principality controlled by the Brotherhood, a longtime CIA and British intelligence asset. ~ Notes HERE

Behind the Saudi Troublemaking

Behind the Saudi Troublemaking

Saudi Arabia’s monarchy is bombing Yemen, locking up domestic rivals and stirring up trouble in Lebanon, while a slow-burning confrontation continues against Qatar which could split the Gulf Cooperation Council, says Paul Cochrane.

By Paul Cochrane

Five months after the diplomatic spat between the so-called Anti-Terror Quartet and Qatar kicked off, the ante is being upped. Bahrain — one of the quartet alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt — has called for Qatar to be frozen out of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). As the council starts to unravel, what will this mean for Qatar and the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region?

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to the Murabba Palace, escorted by Saudi King Salman on May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to attend a banquet in their honor. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The Bahraini proposal, which would have been coordinated with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, to lock Qatar out of the GCC is a logical move in the nearly six-month-long siege, with the next potential step the removal of Qatar from the Council altogether.

This unprecedented inter-GCC crisis has led to the biggest divisions within the Council – which consists of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman – since it was formed in 1981.

Qatar leaving the Gulf monarchical club would seriously loosen the threads that bind the GCC together, as the original idea of the Council was proposed by Saudi Arabia as a security pact to make sure any challenges to their respective thrones were quashed. Ironically it was the threat of Islamic extremism that prompted the creation of the GCC, and it is the Anti-Terror Quarter (ATQ) accusing Qatar of funding terrorist groups that is driving the GCC apart.

The spur to form the GCC was the siege of Mecca by radical Saudi Islamists in November 1979. It shook the kingdom to its core for two weeks and nearly lost the Saudis the much coveted, and much abused, title of the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.” To deal with the domestic threat, Riyadh encouraged Islamists to go and fight with the Afghan mujahedeen following the Soviet invasion in December 1979. We all know how that ended: Al Qaeda and its offshoots, 9/11, and blowback for the Middle East and much of the world.

Internal power jockeying among royal family members aside (for instance the Qatari Emir’s father, Hamad, deposed his father, as did Oman’s Sultan Qaboos), the only time the GCC has acted in each other’s defense was not the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991, but the Bahraini uprising in 2011.

Bahrain’s rulers, the Khalifas, might have been dethroned by the mass unrest – the royal family is Sunni, which accounts for around 20 percent of the population, the remainder Shia – without GCC military intervention.

It was a brutal and blatant example of how far the GCC will go to ensure its self-preservation. At the same time it brought Bahrain even more into the Saudi camp amid the inter-GCC rivalry to be the leader of the Council.

Traditionally it has been Abu Dhabi and Riyadh jockeying for top position, evidenced in neither capital willing to capitulate to the other over the proposed location of a GCC Central Bank when a Gulf Common Market (GCM) was being mooted in 2008.

But the Arab Spring brought the two closer together in the face of a common enemy: populist uprisings. The relationship has been further cemented by the close ties of the young bucks Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammad bin Zayed (MbZ).

Qatar however did not follow the GCC line, reflecting its assertive foreign policy over the previous decade to steer its own course. This culminated in the UAE, Saudi and Bahrain recalling their ambassadors from Qatar in March 2014 (they did not return until November 2014).

Simmering Tensions

Tensions were ironed out yet not fully resolved, which pointed out some crucial problems within the GCC itself: no framework governing relationships between members, no mechanisms to resolve member disputes, and no GCC court or framework to follow up and back GCC resolutions.

President Trump takes part in ceremony for signing agreement on weapons sales in Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

In addition to the lack of such frameworks, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi lacked any leverage over Qatar. With Qatar having a small populace of 350,000 and one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world, Riyadh cannot use checkbook diplomacy as it did with the UAE’s Sharjah in the 1970s, when the penniless emirate was bailed out by Riyadh in return for greater say in Sharjah’s internal policies, which extended to banning alcohol.

Neither is an uprising in Qatar likely due to its citizens’ wealth, but also the lack of different sects with any grievances that could be externally exploited – the majority are Sunni, of the Wahhabi school, the same as Saudi Arabia – although Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have tried to capitalize this year on tribal divisions to overthrow the Emir. Saudi and the Emirates instead had to resort to info-wars to try and bring Qatar to heel.

The Gulf crisis was sparked in May (2017) by the UAE government hacking Qatari government news and social media sites to plant false statements by the Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The most damning false statement was that the Emir respected the Iranian government – the arch nemesis of the Sunni Gulf monarchies, especially Riyadh. After all, a second core reason for the GCC’s creation was the Iranian revolution, and the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980.

News of the UAE’s hack only came out in July, weeks after the ATQ had cut diplomatic, transport and trade ties with Qatar. The ATQ’s top accusation? Qatar was financing terrorism, sailing too close to the wind with Iran, and pursuing too independent a foreign policy for the ATQ’s liking.

The ATQ, which includes GCC-outsider Egypt, has used all the means at its disposal bar military action to try to isolate Qatar. Kuwait has been acting as a moderator between the two sides, while the Sultanate of Oman is trying to sit on the fence. The Sultanate however is on good terms with Tehran, and has allowed Qatari planes and ships through its territories to circumnavigate the UAE’s blockade of its territorial waters and airspace. Muscat is effectively distancing itself from the Saudi-UAE dominated GCC.

The split has pushed Qatar further into the arms of the Turks, with whom they have a military pact, and the Iranians; both countries are now major providers of food and other goods to Qatar. Turkey is a crucial ally as it is pro-Muslim Brotherhood, a pan-Arab moderate Islamic party; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party has championed the Brotherhood while Qatar has allowed both the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliate, Palestine’s Hamas, to operate out of Doha, much to the ATQ’s chagrin.

The Gulf monarchies have long opposed populist Islamic parties – if the monarchies could not have some sway over them – fearing any threat to autocratic rule by organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood that have broad appeal with moderate and middle-class Muslims.

Hence Saudi Arabia and the UAE opposed the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood when it came to power in the wake of the 2011 uprising in Egypt, and supported the 2013 coup by the Egyptian military, which has banned the Muslim Brotherhood, locked up some 60,000 political prisoners, and imprisoned the former president, Mohamed Morsi.

The ATQ has followed Cairo’s lead by designating the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. It has not stopped there. The UAE has listed 82 organizations it deems terrorists, while the ATQ has published a list of 30 organizations it wants Qatar to expel and stop funding.

A Divergent Approach

With Qatar being a host for Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and, for a spell, the Taliban, they have joined as an outlying member the “Axis of Resistance,” a term spawned following George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech in 2002, to denote the anti-Israeli and anti-U.S. alliance between Iran, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

President Donald Trump touches lighted globe with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman at the opening of Saudi Arabia’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology on May 21, 2017. (Photo from Saudi TV)

The analogy is not quite right though in that Qatar opposed the Syrian regime, gets on with Washington, and is not ideologically nor theologically on the side of Shia Iran or Hezbollah. Instead we have a new, loosely linked axis comprised of Qatar, Iran and Turkey that opposes the Saudi-UAE-led GCC. It is no longer an ascendant “Shia Crescent” pitted against the Sunni Arab states as Jordan’s King Abdullah warned of back in 2004, but a more diverse bloc.

What is clear is that a major cleavage has occurred in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, and that there is no turning back by the ATQ or Qatar to resolve the GCC crisis; there has been too much water under the proverbial bridge between the two camps, and the info-war has been both harsh and personal.

The ATQ’s blockade strategy has not worked, as following the 2014 diplomatic spat Qatar prepared contingency plans to weather a potential siege, which the ATQ was seemingly unaware of. The crisis has also caused the Qataris to rally around the flag.

The ATQ is now trying to strip Qatar of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and has compiled dossiers about Doha’s terrorist financing, although it has not released its “black book” over fears Doha will expose the ATQ’s, especially Saudi Arabia’s, involvement with questionable groups (a case of the kettle calling the pot black) despite Mohammad bin Salman’s public statements to “return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam.”

At present, the ATQ is running out of other options other than a complete divorce if the crisis continues. The step after a Qatar GCC exit, a ‘Qatexit’? Saudi intervention according to analysts, especially if Mohammad bin Salman’s reform plans and Vision 2030 to diversify the economy away from hydrocarbons does not pan out, and the kingdom becomes increasingly cash-strapped due to low oil prices.

Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser at Washington D.C.-based consultancy Gulf State Analytics, posits that Qatar could be brought under Saudi Arabia’s umbrella by force to seize the country’s huge gas reserves, the third largest in the world.

Who knows, black swan events do occur, and the global powers would vocally oppose such a move but likely not exercise military intervention a la 1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. The U.S. troops based in Qatar would just stay in their base; the Trump administration has signaled it has sided with Riyadh, even though the State Department has been more nuanced towards Doha. As for the Turks and the Iranians, they would not want to be brought into a conflagration with Riyadh and the ATQ. That really would tear the MENA apart.

Ultimately, there’s not much to stop a Saudi gas grab. There’s not much desire internationally for yet another Middle Eastern military “adventure” following the debacles in Iraq and Libya, while nobody’s lifted a finger against Saudi Arabia for its war against Yemen. As long as Qatari gas exports remain uninterrupted, the global powers might readily accept a change of management.

That said, such a Saudi move may be far-fetched, but a new GCC without Qatar seems increasingly likely.

Paul Cochrane is an independent journalist based in Beirut, where he has lived since 2002. He covers the Middle East and Central Asia for specialized publications, business magazines and newspapers. His work has been featured in over 80 publications, including Reuters, Money Laundering Bulletin, Middle East Eye, Petroleum Review and Jane’s. Educated in Britain and the US, he earned a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the American University of Beirut. www.backinbeirut.blogspot.com

Qatar’s Former Prime Minister Says US Funded ISIS

Bombshell: Qatar’s Former Prime Minister Says US Funded ISIS

By Free West Media

Qatar’s former prime minister has spoken out about how his country worked with Saudi Arabia and Turkey under the direction of the Obama Administration to funnel arms and money to jihadists in Syria.

The explosive interview is a “public admission to collusion and coordination between four countries to destabilise an independent state, [including] possible support for Nusra/al-Qaeda,” by former Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani.

Al-Thani oversaw operations against Syria on behalf of Qatar until 2013. He confirmed that Gulf nations were arming jihadists in Syria with the approval and support of the US and Turkey:

“I don’t want to go into details but we have full documents about us taking charge [in Syria].”

He added that both Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah – who ruled until his death in 2015 – and the United States had given Qatar a leading role in running covert operations for the proxy war in Syria.

“The former prime minister’s comments, while very revealing, were intended as a defense and excuse of Qatar’s support for terrorism, and as a critique of the US and Saudi Arabia for essentially leaving Qatar ‘holding the bag’ in terms of the war against Assad

“Al-Thani explained that Qatar continued its financing of armed insurgents in Syria while other countries eventually wound down large-scale support, which is why he lashed out at the US and the Saudis, who initially ‘were with us in the same trench,’” Zero Hedge reported on October 29.

The US officials who were in charge at that time, namely President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have remained silent about the allegations.

The Qatari bombshell has been ignored by the American mainstream media. In fact, not a single major outlet in the United States ran the story, except the Ron Paul Institute.

In August 2016 Donald Trump accused Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton of being respectively the “founder” and “co-founder” of ISIS. His accusations caused outrage across the media and political world.

Supposedly “neutral” fact-checkers quickly all denounced Trump as “false,” (FactCheck.org), flirting with “conspiracy theories,” (Snopes) and outright lying as in “pants on fire” (PolitiFact).

But the charge is not new. Money and weapons were being funneled to jihadists when Hillary was Secretary of State in 2012, according to Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo, towards the creation of a “salafist principality,” that became ISIS in 2013.

In 2015, subject to a FOIA request from Judicial Watch, an August 2012 DIA report was made public. It specified that outside support for jihadist forces fighting against the Syrian government created the “possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist [radical Islamic terrorist] principality in Eastern Syria”.

The money and support to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Muslim Brotherhood was exactly what their US handlers had wanted in order to isolate the Syrian regime.

General Michael Flynn, formerly DIA director and former advisor to president Trump, commented that the rise of what became ISIS was not a result of turning a “blind eye” but of a “willful decision” in 2015 already. Flynn told Al Jazeera:

“I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.”

Meanwhile the “fact-checkers” have all ignored efforts to point out their erroneous “facts” denying the funding of ISIS by the US administration.

Featured image is from Free West Media.

%d bloggers like this: