الحصار تفاوضي… «إسرائيل» عاجزة عن خوض حرب

أبريل 23, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– لستُ في وارد الدخول في مناقشة التسريبات ولا الوقوع في وحول اللعبة الهادفة لمناقشة مصداقية المصادر، وأنا أرى أمامي الوقائع وأقرأها بعيداً عن معلومات صناع القرار، وعلى رأسهم سيد المقاومة وما نسب إليه في سياق هذه الحرب الإعلامية والنفسية، التي تعتمد تقنيات تبييض الأموال ذاتها، فيُرمى كلام مشكوك فيه وبصدقيته في صحيفة، تنقله فضائية من باب التساؤل، ليؤكده محلل يظهر على شاشتها، ثم يؤخذ كلام المحلل في الصحيفة عبر حوار مع محلل آخر ليصير الحديث عن التسريبات كخبر مؤكد. وما يعني القارئ هو السؤال، هل «إسرائيل» بوارد شن حرب في المنطقة تستهدف حزب الله، وما هي حظوظ هذه الحرب وكيفية وقوعها إن نشبت؟

– الواضح أولاً أن أميركا و«إسرائيل» كقوتين قادرتين على التفكير بالحرب من بين أعداء محور المقاومة، في حال تراجع استراتيجي عسكرياً. فالحرب على سورية التي شكلت حربهما معاً تمّت خسارتها بالمعنى الاستراتيجي، لتحل مكانهما كقوى نافذة في الميدان السوري كل من روسيا وإيران، والواضح ان إخراج روسيا وإيران من سورية لم يعد خياراً واقعياً على الطاولة، بل حل مكانه الخيار التفاوضي لشروط هذا البقاء، وما يتصل منه سواء بوقف النار على حدود الجولان، أو بمستقبل دور محور المقاومة الممتد من إيران إلى العراق إلى سورية فلبنان وفلسطين. والسعي لضمان عدم شن حرب مستقبلية على «إسرائيل» كحرب العام 1973، كانت الخشية منها كما كان السعي لاستباقها أحد اسباب الحرب على سورية.

– الواضح أيضاً أن أميركا و«إسرائيل» في حال تراجع تكتيكي، لجهة الحركة العسكرية، فالغارات الأميركية الهادفة لرسم خطوط حمراء لتقدم الجيش السوري تراجعت دون تحقيق أهدافها وسحبت من التداول، والتدخل الإسرائيلي الذي كان عنوانه الشراكة بحصة من سورية المقسمة، سقط وحلت مكانه الغارات الإسرائيلية الهادفة لفرض شروط الإستقرار في سورية بدفتر شروط إسرائيلي، ثم تراجعت لصالح بند وحيد هو إخراج إيران وحزب الله، وتحت ضغط الرعاية الروسية لبناء الدفاعات الجوية السورية، تراجعت عن دخول الأجواء السورية، وصارت تفاوضية ولاحقاً تذكيرية، تشبه عمليات المقاومة بعد العام 2000 في مزارع شبعا، تقول نحن لم نتقبل البقاء الإيراني في سورية لكننا لسنا ضمن خطة إخراجه بالقوة راهناً ولا في وضعية الذهاب للحرب.

– بالتزامن يبدو السعي الأميركي لتعويض إسرائيل بهدايا معنوية عن فقدان القدرة على الذهاب للحرب، وتشترك روسيا جزئياً في ذلك، لكن التعويض الأميركي بجوائز من عيار الاعتراف بضم الجولان وإعلان القدس عاصمة لـ«إسرائيل» تعينان إقفال الباب أمام الدور الأميركي في المفاوضات وسقوط سقف التسويات، بخلاف ما يظنه البعض تمهيداً لصفقة القرن التي لا وجود لها بغياب شريك يملك القدرة على تهديد أمن «إسرائيل» ينضم لصفقة سلام معها. فالإعلانات الأميركية توصيف لواقع لاستحالة التسويات مع محور المقاومة، وتوفير التغطية لـ«إسرائيل» للتعامل مع زمن سقوط التسويات، وحرب الوجود بدلا من حرب الحدود، لكن دون المغامرة بالذهاب لحرب تبدو حاجة من يريد أن يحرر الأرض المحتلة، وليست حاجة من يحتلها.

– بالمقابل يبدو محور المقاومة ليس بوارد الذهاب لحرب تحتاج الكثير من الإعداد والموارد، وهو في مرحلة تثبيت انتصاراته وهضمها وبلورة واقع تكامل مكوناته، وتعزيز حضورها، وعدم استنفاد مرحلة التحالف مع روسيا بسرعة، وفي سورية لم تنته عملية التحرير، وفي اليمن تثبيت التسوية لا يزال مطروحاً على الطاولة، وفي التكامل بين سورية والعراق وإيران ثمة الكثير مما يجب فعله، وبمثل ما يشكل الحصار المالي إحدى أداوت منع ذهاب محور المقاومة إلى الحرب سريعاً، يشكل غياب سقف سياسي للتفاهمات والتسويات سبباً للانزلاق إلى الحرب، في وقت تكثر فيه الإشارات لمحاور تهدئة قد لا تبلغ حد التسويات، لكنها تسحب فتائل التوتر والتصعيد، كالتبدلات في المواقف الأممية من اللجنة الدستورية في سورية وشروطها، ومؤتمر رؤساء برلمانات دول جوار العراق، والرسائل الروسية بين سورية والسعودية.

– المنطقة في مرحلة شد وجذب تحت سقف جديد، بمظلة روسية، وبقدر من عدم الممانعة الأميركية الإسرائيلية، لوضع قواعد اشتباك جديدة، لا تصنع تسويات، لكنها تمنع نشوب حرب، والانزلاق فيها قد يحدث في أي عطل يصيب المكابح.

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Libya – U.S. Reveals Support For Hafter’s Side

By Moon Of Alabama

April 19, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – The Libyan National Army (LNA) troops of General Hafter attack the militias which support the UN recognized government in Tripoli from the south. The LNA still lacks forces for a larger break through. Several objects at the front changed hands several times. There are bloody skirmishes but no big fights. Those are still to come.


Map by South Front – bigger

Some people doubt that Hafter can be successful:

Analysts believe that Haftar over-estimates the strength of his LNA.

They say the controversial field marshal, who backs an administration rival to the GNA based in eastern Libya, was counting on a quick collapse of Tripoli militias.

But pro-GNA reinforcements from around Tripoli rushed to assist in driving back his forces.

It was never clear if Hafter really hoped that a lightning attack on Tripoli would achieve a fast victory, or if his sudden move was intended to rally support from outside. He is now certainly getting such support and that will be to his decisive advantage in the longer play.

As we described it:

Hafter has open support from France, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia. The Trump administration is not interested to step into the mess. Hafter is an old CIA asset and if he takes control there is a good chance that the U.S. will have influence over him. As long as Libyan oil flows and keeps the global oil price down Trump will be happy. Russia is trying to stay in the background to not give the anti-Russian forces in Washington an excuse to intervene.

The Muslim Brothers, supported by Turkey and Qatar, are still in play in Misrata but have otherwise lost their influence on the ground.

Since then the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia pledged tens of millions of dollars to support Hafter’s move on Tripoli. During the last week Hafter visited President Sisi of Egypt.

Europe is disunited over the issue. Italy wants to keep its influence in its former colony Libya and its historical position in the Libyan oil industry. It is also concerned about a new wave of refugees. It supports the government in Tripoli. France is supporting Hafter with an eye on taking over some oil business. It is also concerned about Islamist activities in former French colonies west and south of Libya. With Italy and France in a clinch, the European Union only issued a weak statement that called for a stop of fighting without naming any side.

Concern over the militias which support the Tripoli government increased too. They not as harmless as many seem to have thought:

A week after an aspiring strongman launched a surprise attack on the Libyan capital, an assortment of criminal gangs and extremists are rushing into the fight against him, raising new questions for the United States and other Western powers that have condemned his attack.

But an increasingly unsavory cast has joined the coalition against him, including a group closely tied to a militia sanctioned as a terrorist organization by the United States and the United Nations; an extremist warlord sanctioned for undermining Libya’s stability; and other militia leaders sanctioned for migrant trafficking. That mix so alarms Western powers that some may deem General Hifter the lesser evil.

Yesterday the U.S., which had said little when Hafter launched his assault on Tripoli, came out of the closet:

The United States and Russia both said Thursday they could not support a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Libya at this time, diplomats said, as mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Russia objects to the British-drafted resolution blaming eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar for the latest flare-up in violence when his Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli earlier this month, diplomats said.

The United States gave no reason for its position on the draft resolution …

Today we learn that Trump spoke with Hafter several days ago:

President Donald Trump spoke on Monday with a Libyan strongman whose forces are advancing on the nation’s capital, the White House said, in a move that may undermine support for the country’s internationally recognized government.

Trump discussed “ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya” with Haftar, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. Gidley called Haftar by the title “field marshal.”

“The president recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system,” Gidley said.

The key point for Trump is the oil price. His administration put sanctions on sales of Iranian and Venezuelan oil. Since the beginning of the year crude oil prices rallied from the low $50 per barrel to over $70 per barrel. Trump plans to reduce waivers he gave to some of the countries that continue to buy Iranian oil. That would further decrease Iran’s output. Any additional disruption of Libya’s oil production would increase the oil price and harm the U.S. economy. It would thereby make Trump’s plan for total sanctions on Iranian oil impossible.

Hafter controls most of Libya’s oil supplies. With open backing from the U.S., Russia and France, support from the military in Egypt, and with enough Saudi cash to finance his army, he surely has all the needed support to sustain a longer fight.

His next move will likely be against the small air force the Misrata gangs assembled. The U.S. might give him a helping hand in that. Hafter could then close down the airspace for flights from Turkey and Qatar. That would cut into the resupply Misrata and Tripoli need for a longer fight.

Those who say that “there is no military solution” to the situation in Libya will likely be proven wrong. Hafter has all he needs to win the fight.

This article was originally published by Moon Of Alabama” –

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Regional Powers Partake in Iraq Summit in Blow to ‘Arab NATO’

rouhani

April 20, 2019

Iraq’s parliamentary summit has brought together the country’s neighbors in what has been described as “a display of rare regional unity”, further sidelining a US initiative to form an “Arab NATO”.

The one-day summit, hosted by Iraq’s Parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi, brings together representatives from Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Kuwait on Saturday.

Speaking on Friday, the young Iraqi speaker welcomed the foreign delegations, describing Baghdad as a historical center of “Arabism, Islam and peace”.

“Iraq, proud, prideful and victorious over terrorism, is honored by the presence of its neighbors in Baghdad,” he added.

His deputy, Bashir Haddad, said the summit will have a “significant” impact on cooperation related to the region’s security and stability.

He called the summit “a valuable initiative and opportunity for strategic partnerships between Iraq and its neighbors.”

“This is a positive message to all neighboring countries and the world that Iraq is determined to regain its health and return to its Arab, regional environment and assume its rightful place in the map of the balance of power,” he added.

Iran’s Parliament speaker Ali Larijani is represented by MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the former chairman of the chamber’s National Security Foreign Policy Committee.

Larijani had initially planned to take part in the summit but was unable to do so due to a conflicting work schedule, reports said.

The summit marks yet another important watershed in a recent booming of diplomatic cooperation in a region that was largely been bedeviled by bloody conflicts in recent years.

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Pakistan FM details steps taken to secure border with Iran

File photo shows Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a press conference in Multan on April 7, 2019. (AFP photo)
File photo shows Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a press conference in Multan on April 7, 2019. (AFP photo)

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has briefed the media on steps taken by the country to strengthen security along its porous border with Iran a day before the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is due to arrive in Iran for a long-awaited visit.

Qureshi told journalists in a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday that Pakistan had already taken “six steps” to ensure stability along the Iran border as part of a project dubbed the “border of peace”.

He said a new command has been formed in the Pakistani city of Turbat to improve the effectiveness of border guards deployment in the area while a new Frontier Corps will be responsible for smooth management of the border.

Qureshi said Iran and Pakistan had already started setting up joint border centers while agreeing to synchronize border patrolling exercises and carry out heli-surveillance to prevent incidents like those in the past that have affected security in the region.

The top Pakistani diplomat also elaborated that a project to fence the entire 950-kilometer border between Iran and Pakistan had already kicked off from the points frequently exploited by terrorist groups.

The announcement comes amid Iran’s frequent calls on Pakistan to ensure security along the border and prevent certain groups to cross the frontier and carry out acts of terrorism in Iran.

Some 27 Iranian military officers were killed in February in an attack in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan region, Iran blamed groups active inside the Pakistani territory for the attack.

Qurashi’s remarks also came two days after some 14 Pakistani navy personnel were killed in an attack in a remote area of Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan. Islamabad has said that a group which it claims is active inside Iran was behind the attack.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned the terrorist attack on Thursday, saying it was a sign that extremists and their sponsors were terrified by close relations between Iran and Pakistan.

The border security between Iran and Pakistan will be a key theme of Imran’s imminent visit to Iran. The two-day trip will begin on Sunday with a short visit by Imran to the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad before he comes to Tehran to hold official talks with the Iranian officials.

MILITARY SITUATION IN YEMEN ON APRIL 20, 2019 (MAP UPDATE)

South Front

  • Ansar Allah shot down a Chinese-made UCAV belonging to Saudi Arabia over Saadah province;
  • A new series of ceasefire violations was reported in Hudyadah;
  • A spokesperson for the Yemeni Armed Forces stated that during the last four days of operations in Dhale province, more than 100 villages and points in the area of 250 km2 were recaptured from the Saudi-led coalition;
  • Clashes between Ansar Allah and Saudi-led forces continue in the area of Hayran and the Ahem triangle;
  • Clashes between Ansar Allah and Saudi-led forces continue in the Alab crossing;
  • Clashes between pro-Saudi forces and the Yemeni resistance were reported in the Ajasher desert, Jawf province;
  • Ansar Allah fired a Badr-F missile to the Hakula military camp, Dhale province.

Military Situation In Yemen On April 20, 2019 (Map Update)

Click to see the full-size image

 

Houthi forces shoot down massive drone over northern Yemen (photos)

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:15 P.M.) – The Houthi Forces shot down a massive drone over the Sa’ada countryside on Friday, the group announced this afternoon.

According to the Houthi forces, they shot the drone after it was seen circling their positions near the Saudi border with the Sa’ada Governorate.

Ansarallah media 
Ansarallah media 
Ansarallah media

The massive drone is suspected to be a Chinese-made CAIG Wing Loong unmanned aerial vehicle.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) possess these drones in their arsenal.

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Oxfam: Yemen Risks «Massive Resurgence» of Cholera

By Staff, Agencies

Oxfam warned Thursday that war-torn Yemen risks a “massive resurgence” of cholera, with around 195,000 suspected cases of the disease recorded so far this year.

“Fears that the world’s worst cholera outbreak could be set for a massive resurgence are growing,” the relief organization said.

It said aid agencies were struggling to reach suspected cases.

In a statement, Oxfam pointed to “fighting and restraints on access, including checkpoints and permit requirements imposed by the warring parties,” and warned the coming rainy season was likely to accelerate the spread of the disease.

The water-borne bacterial infection has claimed more than 3,000 lives in Yemen since the outbreak began in 2016, according to Oxfam.

At a medical center for the displaced in the western town of Khokha, Qassem Suleiman had brought his son Alaa for tests after a serious case of diarrhea.

Doctor Wadah al-Tiri told AFP that several patients had been transferred to Aden while others had been treated at the Khokha center.

He said a tent was to be set up for suspected cases.

The doctor said Yemen badly needed international aid to combat the epidemic.

The UN’s humanitarian coordination office OCHA said last month that children under the age of five make up nearly a third of this year’s cases.

The spike, which comes two years after Yemen suffered its worst cholera outbreak, was concentrated in six governorates including in the Red Sea port of Hudaydah and Sanaa province, both combat zones, it said.

Yemen’s conflict has created the perfect environment for cholera to thrive, as civilians across the country lack access to clean water and health care.

UN: Yemen’s Children Suffer ‘Devastating Toll’ in 5-Year Conflict

By Staff, VOA

The United Nations said Monday that the five-year-old conflict in Yemen has taken a “devastating toll” on the country’s children, with thousands killed, maimed and recruited to fight since the war began.

“The impact of this conflict on children is horrific,” Virginia Gamba, UN special representative for children and armed conflict, told a meeting of the Security Council. “All parties to the conflict have acted and reacted militarily to events resulting in the use and abuse of children in multiple ways.”

Since monitoring began in Yemen in April 2013 (before the conflict fully erupted) until the end of the 2018, Gamba said more than 7,500 children had been killed or maimed and more than 3,000 have been verified as recruited or used, and there have been more than 800 documented cases of denial of humanitarian access to children.

Gamba said children reportedly have been forcibly recruited from schools, orphanages and communities to fight on the front lines, man checkpoints, deliver supplies or gather intelligence.

Last year, over half of the children recruited were under the age of 15. During that period, the UN says more than 200 were killed or maimed while being used by the warring parties.

In addition to harm to child soldiers, Gamba said of the more than 7,500 children martyred or maimed between 2013 and 2018, nearly half of the casualties were caused by Saudi-coalition airstrikes.

Another 40 percent of such casualties came in ground fighting, including shelling and mortars.

The UN has been working to end the conflict. On Monday, special envoy Martin Griffiths offered a glimmer of hope that the parties might be ready to take a first step away from the battlefield.

He told council members that both sides of the conflict have accepted a detailed redeployment plan to begin moving their fighters away from the crucial Red Sea port city of Hudaydah.

“We will now move with all speed toward resolving the final outstanding issues related to the operational plans for phase two, redeployments and also the issue of the status of local security forces,” Griffiths told the council in a video briefing from Amman, Jordan.

The parties committed to the plan at talks in Stockholm in December, but efforts to implement the agreement have failed. Griffiths expressed some confidence that they would go forward now.

“When — and I hope it is when and not if — these redeploys happen, they will be the first ones in this long conflict,” he said.

Griffiths acknowledged that the “the war in Yemen … shows no sign of abating,” and said there needs to be real progress on the military redeployments before the focus can shift back to the political track.

US Acting UN Ambassador Jonathan Cohen welcomed Ansarullah acceptance to phase one of the withdrawal plan and said Washington would be “watching closely to see if they make good on that agreement.”

Meanwhile, UN humanitarian operations in Yemen are at risk of running out of money in the coming weeks.

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said that nearly four months into 2019, the response plan has received only $267 million in actual funding.

“UN agencies are rapidly running out of money for essential relief activities,” he warned.

The country, which is facing a cholera epidemic, could see 60% of its diarrhea treatment centers close in the coming weeks if money is not received. UN food programs, which provide emergency food assistance to more than 9 million people every month, would also be impacted.

“Closing or scaling back such programs — at a time when we are struggling to prevent widespread famine and roll back cholera and other killer diseases — would be catastrophic,” Lowcock said.

He also warned that a potential environmental disaster is brewing off of Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

Lowcock said that an oil tanker used as a floating storage and offloading facility, and which is 8 kilometers off the coast at the Ras Isa terminal, is old and has not received any maintenance since 2015. It has about 1.1 million barrels of oil on board.

“Without maintenance, we fear that it will rupture or even explode, unleashing an environmental disaster in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes,” Lowcock said.

A Saudi Arabian-led coalition began bombing Yemen in March 2015. Since then, the UN estimates more than 10,000 people had been martyred, mostly due to US-backed Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.

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Moscow’s Strategy: To Win Everywhere, Every Time

Moscow’s Strategy: To Win Everywhere, Every Time

Moscow’s Strategy: To Win Everywhere, Every Time

Important events have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa in recent weeks that underline how the overall political reconfiguration of the region is in full swing. The Shia axis (Axis of Resistance) continues its diplomatic relations and, following Rouhani’s meeting in Baghdad, it was the turn of Adil Abdul-Mahdi to be received in Tehran by the highest government and religious authorities. Among the many statements released, two in particular reveal the high level of cooperation between the two countries, as well as demonstrating how the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance) is in full bloom, carrying significant prospects for the region. Abdul-Mahdi also reiterated that Iraq will not allow itself to be used as a platform from which to attack Iran:

“Iraqi soil will not be allowed to be used by foreign troops to launch any attacks against Iran. The plan is to export electricity and gas for other countries in the region.”

Considering that these two countries were mortal enemies during Saddam Hussein’s time, their rapprochement is quite a (geo)political miracle, owing much of its success to Russia’s involvement in the region. The 4+1 coalition (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria plus Hezbollah) and the anti-terrorism center in Baghdad came about as a result of Russia’s desire to coordinate all the allied parties in a single front. Russia’s military support of Syria, Iraq and Hezbollah (together with China’s economic support) has allowed Iran to begin to transform the region such that the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance) can effectively counteract the destabilizing chaos unleashed by the trio of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

One of the gaps to be filled in the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance) lies in Lebanon, which has long experienced an internal conflict between the many religious and political currents in the country. The decision by Washington to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel pushed the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, to make an important symbolic visit to Moscow to meet with President Putin.

Once again, the destabilizing efforts of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans are having the unintended effect of strengthening the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance). It seems that this trio fails to understood how such acts as murdering Khashoggi, using civilian planes to hide behind in order to conduct bombing runs in Syria, recognizing the occupied territories like the Golan Heights – how these produce the opposite effects to the ones desired.

The supply of S-300 systems to Syria after the downing of the Russian reconnaissance plane took place as a result of Tel Aviv failing to think ahead and anticipate how Russia may respond.

What is surprising in Moscow’s actions is the versatility of its diplomacy, from the deployment of the S-300s in Syria, or the bombers in Iran, to the prompt meetings with Netanyahu in Moscow and Mohammad bin Salman at the G20. The ability of the Russian Federation to mediate and be present in almost every conflict on the globe restores to the country the international stature that is indispensable in counterbalancing the belligerence of the United States.

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange. Another military and economic example can be found in a third axis; not the Shia or Saudi-Israeli-US one but the Turkish-Qatari one. In Syria, Erdogan started from positions that were exactly opposite to those of Putin and Assad. But with decisive military action and skilled diplomacy, the creation of the Astana format between Iran, Turkey and Russia made Turkey and Qatar publicly take the defense of Islamist takfiris and criminals in Idlib. Qatar for its part has a two-way connection with Turkey, but it is also in open conflict with the Saudi-Israeli axis, with the prospect of abandoning OPEC within a few weeks. This situation has allowed Moscow to open a series of negotiations with Doha on the topic of LNG, with these two players controlling most of the LNG on the planet. It is evident that also the Turkish-Qatari axis is strongly conditioned by Moscow and by the potential military agreements between Turkey and Russia (sale of S-400) and economic and energy agreements between Moscow and Doha.

America’s actions in the region risks combining the Qatari-Turkish front with the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance) , again thanks to Moscow’s skilful diplomatic work. The recent sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, together with the withdrawal from the JCPOA (the Iranian nuclear agreement), has created concern and bewilderment in the region and among Washington’s allies. The act of recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as belonging to Israel has brought together the Arab world as few events have done in recent times. Added to this, Trump’s open complaints about OPEC’s high pricing of oil has forced Riyadh to start wondering out aloud whether to start selling oil in a currency other than the dollar. This rumination was quickly denied, but it had already been aired. Such a decision would have grave implications for the petrodollar and most of the financial and economic power of the United States.

If the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance), with Russian protection, is strengthened throughout the Middle East, the Saudi-Israel-American triad loses momentum and falls apart, as seen in Libya, with Haftar now one step closer in unifying the country thanks to the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France and Russia, with Fayez al-Sarraj now abandoned by the Italians and Americans awaiting his final defeat.

While the globe continues its multipolar transformation, the delicate balancing role played by Russia in the Middle East and North Africa is emphasized. The Venezuelan foreign minister’s recent visit to Syria shows how the front opposed to US imperialist bullying is not confined to the Middle East, with countries in direct or indirect conflict with Washington gathering together under the same protective Sino-Russian umbrella.

Trump’s “America First” policy, coupled with the conviction of American exceptionalism, is driving international relations towards two poles rather than multipolar ones, pushing China, Russia and all other countries opposed to the US to unite in order to collectively resist US diktats.

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