Yahya Sinwar Elected Hamas’ Gaza Chief

February 13, 2017

Hamas leader Yahia Sinwar attending a rally in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip January 7, 2016.

Yahya Sinwar Elected Hamas’ Gaza Chief

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas elected a member of its armed wing as its new Gaza head Monday, Hamas officials said.

“Yahya Sinwar was elected to head the Hamas political office in the Gaza Strip”, the officials said.

He will succeed Ismail Haniya, who is seen by many observers as the most likely successor to Hamas’s current exiled leader Khaled Meshaal.

In September 2015, Sinwar was added to the US terrorism blacklist alongside two other members of Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

A graduate in Arabic language, he was born in the Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza and founded “Majd,” one of Hamas’s intelligence services.

Arrested by Israeli occupation authorities in 1988 for “terrorist activity,” Sinwar was sentenced to four life sentences before being released in October 2011 under an agreement to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured five years earlier.

Hamas has been conducting internal elections for several months.

Source: AFP

«العسكر» على رأس قيادة «حماس» في غزة

مضت حتى الآن مرحلتان مهمتان قبيل انتخابات المكتب السياسي لحركة «حماس» التي تلعب فيها التزكية دوراً مهما. فبعد التجديد لمحمد عرمان في «الهيئة القيادية العليا لأسرى حماس»، أتمت الحركة أمس، انتخاب قيادتها في غزة

 انتخب القيادي والأسير المحرر يحيى السنوار، المحسوب على «كتائب القسام»، الجناح العسكري لـ«حركة المقاومة الإسلامية ــ حماس» وأحد مؤسسيه، رئيساً للمكتب السياسي للحركة في قطاع غزة خلفاً لإسماعيل هنية، الذي تؤكد غالبية التقديرات انتخابه قريباً لرئاسة المكتب السياسي في الخارج، علماً بأنّ هذه الانتخابات الداخلية تجري منذ شهور عدة.

وعلمت «الأخبار» من مصادر في غزة أن خليل الحية انتخب نائباً للسنوار، فيما يشمل المكتب في غزة ضمن تشكيلته المكوّنة من 15 عضواً كلّاً من صلاح البردويل ومروان عيسى وروحي مشتهى وسهيل الهندي وفتحي حماد وياسر حرب ومحمود الزهار وأبو عبيدة الجماصي وإسماعيل برهوم وجواد أبو شمالة وأحمد الكرد وعطا الله أبو السبح وناصر السراج، وثُلث هؤلاء على الأقل من ذوي خلفيات عسكرية أو يتقلدون مناصب ومهمات في «القسام»، فضلاً عن المقربين من الذراع العسكرية.

المصادر نفسها ذكرت أنه جرى اختيار مازن هنية رئيساً لـ«مجلس الشورى في قطاع غزة»، التابع للحركة، فيما جرى التوافق على خالد مشعل رئيساً لـ«مجلس الشورى في الداخل والخارج»، وبذلك يكون مشعل الذي يرأس الحركة فعلياً منذ عام 2004 بعد اغتيال مؤسسها الشيخ أحمد ياسين ثم خليفته عبد العزيز الرنتيسي، على وشك أن يختم 13 عاماً في منصبه. وكان لافتاً أنّ عماد العلمي ونزار عوض الله لم ينجحا في الوصول إلى المكتب السياسي الجديد، علماً بأنّ صعود إسماعيل هنية إلى المكتب السياسي جرى بالتزكية، على اعتبار أنه كان رئيساً للمكتب في غزة في خلال الولاية السابقة، فيما من المقدر أن تعلن نتائج انتخابات المكتب السياسي مطلع نيسان المقبل.

جراء ذلك، تصدّر الإعلام الإسرائيلي والدولي ردود فعل كبيرة حول اختيار شخص السنوار وتداعيات ذلك على توجهات «حماس» في المرحلة المقبلة، خاصة مع الحديث عن نذر اقتراب مواجهة جديدة بين العدو والمقاومة في غزة.

والسنوار اعتقل للمرة الأولى عام 1982 ثم في 1985، إلى أن جاء الاعتقال الأكبر عام 1988، الذي حُكم فيه عليه بالسجن أربعة مؤبدات إلى أن أفرج عنه في «صفقة جلعاد شاليط» عام 2011.

يُشار إلى أن الولايات المتحدة كانت قد أدرجت في أيلول 2015 اسم السنوار على لائحتها السوداء «للإرهابيين الدوليين» إلى جانب قياديين اثنين آخرين من «حماس» هما فتحي حماد وروحي مشتهى، والأخير ومعه السنوار تتهمهما واشنطن بأنهما «يواصلان الدعوة إلى خطف جنود إسرائيليين لمبادلة أسرى فلسطينيين بهما». كذلك يُنسَب إلى السنوار تأسيس وقيادة الجهاز الأمني للحركة، الذي كان يعرف باسم «مجد»، وكان له دور كبير في التنسيق بين المستويين السياسي والعسكري في الحركة في خلال الحرب الأخيرة في غزة.

أيضاً، كانت «حماس» قد عينت السنوار في تموز 2015 مسؤولاً عن «ملف الأسرى الإسرائيليين» لديها وقيادة أي مفاوضات تتعلق بشأنهم مع الاحتلال، وكان اختياره قد جاء بطلب من قيادة القسام لكونه معروفاً بـ«صلابته وشدته»، وفق المصادر في غزة. في المقابل، نقل موقع «المصدر الإسرائيلي» تقديرات جهات استخباراتية إسرائيلية تقول إن السنوار بصفته «نجح في تخطي كلا المسؤولَين الآخرَين في قيادة الجناح، محمد الضيف ومروان عيسى بفضل نفوذه ومكانته… (كما أن) اختياره في منصب رئيس حماس في غزة يعزز التقديرات بأنّ تأثير الجناح العسكري آخذ في الازدياد، ويتفوق على السياسي». ونقل «المصدر» عناوين رئيسية في صحف إسرائيلية منها «معاريف» التي جاء فيها: «يخاف نشطاء حماس من السنوار أيضاً». وذهبت صحيفة «هآرتس» أبعد من ذلك ورصدت بعض ردود فعل الداخلية، قائلة إن «فلسطينيين التقوا السنوار يعتبرونه متطرّفاً حتى بموجب مفاهيم الحركة، وهو يتحدث بمصطلحات مروّعة عن حرب أبدية ضدّ إسرائيل».

أما رئيس «لجنة الخارجية والأمن» في الكنيست الإسرائيلي، آفي ديختر، فقال مساء أمس، إن على «إسرائيل تعزيز قدراتها لتدمير البنية التحتية لحماس بعد تعيين يحيى السنوار رئيساً جديداً للحركة في غزة… من اليوم صار زعيم حماس في غزة هو شيخ القتلة».

إلى ذلك، أعلنت «كتائب القسام» في بيان أمس، أنها «تزفّ المجاهد أحمد البريم (22 عاماً) من خان يونس الذي ارتقى إثر انهيار نفق للمقاومة»، ضمن ما يسمى «شهداء الإعداد».

(الأخبار)

السنوار مسؤولاً لحماس في غزة

فبراير 14, 2017

فاز يحيى السنوار، أحد مؤسسي الجهاز الأمني لـ«حماس» برئاسة المكتب السياسي للحركة في غزة خلال انتخابات داخلية جرت أمس. ونقلت وكالة «معا» عن مصادر مقربة من «حماس» أن الانتخابات الداخلية لحركة حماس في ساحة غزة قد انتهت، وأفضت إلى انتخاب يحيى السنوار رئيساً للمكتب السياسي للحركة في غزة، وخليل الحية نائباً له، وذلك في إطار الانتخابات الداخلية التي تجريها الحركة بعيداً عن الإعلام والتي يرجّح أن تنتهي بانتخاب اسماعيل هنية رئيساً لمكتبها السياسي خلفاً لخالد مشعل.

ويوصف السنوار «العدوّ الأول» لـ«إسرائيل» في غزة.. بل إن البعض في الكيان الصهيوني يذهب إلى حد اعتباره «الرجل الأقوى في حماس».

واسم السنوار كان يتردّد خلال الفترة الماضية كأحد الأسماء المرشحة لخلافة هنية في غزة أو حتى مشعل في المكتب السياسي. في كل الأحوال فإن انتخابه مسؤولاً للحركة في غزة لا شكّ في أنه يحمل الكثير من الدلالات، خصوصاً ما هو مرتبط بالمواجهة مع الاحتلال الصهيوني. إذ يعدّ السنوار من الشخصيات الرئيسية البعيدة من دائرة الضوء المحسوبة على الجناح العسكري، وإن بدأ يظهر أكثر في العامين الماضيين. وكانت تقارير صحافية تحدثت عن تسجيل الذراع العسكرية للحركة إنجازات في الانتخابات الداخلية التي بدأت نهاية الأسبوع.

بانتخاب السنوار سيترقّب العدو مسار المفاوضات غير المباشرة مع حركة حماس من أجل استعادة جنودها إذ تنظر «تل أبيب» إلى السنوار على أنه من الأكثر تشدّداً في مفاوضات تبادل الأسرى. ويعدّ السنوار الذي يبلغ من العمر 55 عاماً من أوائل الناشطين في كتائب القسام مع بداية الانتفاضة الأولى. ترعرع في مخيم خانيونس للاجئين. اعتقله الاحتلال عام 1989 وحكم عليه بالمؤبد.

أما نائب السنوار خليل الحيّة فهو أكثر ظهوراً إعلامياً ويعدّ من الشخصيات البارزة في الحركة. استشهدت زوجته واثنان من أبنائه خلال العدوان على قطاع غزة عام 2014.

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Netanyahu Under Fire for 2014 Gaza War

Local Editor

24-01-2017 | 13:51

A report that could be damaging to “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu given how he managed the 2014 war in Gaza is likely to be published in the coming days, after regime members of a Knesset subcommittee said they would vote on Tuesday to make the report public.

"Israeli" PM Benjamin Netanyahu

After “Kulanu” MK Merav Ben-Ari, one of the three regime members of the subcommittee, said on Sunday that she would vote in favor of publishing the document, coalition chairman MK David Bitan said on Monday that he and the prime minister were in favor of publishing the report as well.

One of the critical sections of the report drafted by the comptroller deals with concerns that the security cabinet was not warned by the prime minister, the war minister or the “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] chief of staff of the threat posed to the “Israeli” entity by Hamas’ tunnel network ahead of the 55-day “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza in the summer of 2014.

It is also believed that the report criticizes the same trio for failing to warn the security cabinet that the chance of war with Hamas was high, and for not providing sufficient information during the operation.

A public letter issued earlier this week by families of 55 soldiers who were killed during the war put pressure on the government to publish the document.

According to “Israeli” website The Jerusalem Post, Ben-Ari said she had not received any direct pressure against publishing the document.

However, she acknowledged, “the way things were going [it looked like] publication would be prevented, but when we got to the moment of truth, however, everyone understood that the professional issues were more important than the political ones”.

The “Israeli” MK stressed on the importance to publish the document because it will have an impact on all “Israelis”, saying that “At the end of the day, the security cabinet needs to know what’s happening ahead of time and [to be able] to prepare for the next operation.”

Ben-Ari said it was “the right of the public to know how the senior leadership of the state acts in such an important time,” and that the report would be crucial in guiding the IOF and the security cabinet in conducting any future wars and operations in Gaza.

She also noted that the report is critical of the prime minister, the war minister and then-IOF chief of staff Benny Gantz, but would not be withheld based on the potential political impact the report might have.

Ben-Ari, together with Bitan and Shas MK Ya’acov Margi, are the coalition members on the subcommittee of the Knesset State Comptroller’s committee, together with subcommittee chairwoman MK Karin Elharar [Yesh Atid] and MK Eyal Ben Reuven [Zionist Union].

It is not yet clear if the section on the security cabinet will be published immediately, or if publication will on the decisions made on whether to publicize two other sections of the report, which will be passed to the subcommittee later this week.

Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, MKs from the entire political spectrum called on the committee members to vote in favor of exposing it to the public.

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who was the “Israeli” entity’s so-called finance minister and a cabinet member during the operation, said in the party faction meeting on Monday that political considerations should not guide the panel members.

“There are already attempts to prevent the publication of the report,” Lapid said. “As someone who knows the details of it and testified in the comptroller’s office more than once – this report should be revealed.”

Lapid also addressed Netanyahu’s concerns in opening the report to the public. “The Prime Minister’s Office is afraid of the report because it shows severe failures.”

Bennett also expressed his support of exposing the details of the report, but added that it should be taken as constructive criticism.

“We should not ignore the ‘Protective Edge’ report but also [should] not make it a reason for [political] beheading,” Bennett said on Monday. “We should learn from it in order to change our security world view from inclusive to defeating; from dragging it over 50 days to winning in five.

“Only exposing the details will provide us a way to move forward,” Bennett added.

Zionist Union co-chairwoman Tzipi Livni, who served as so-called “justice” minister in the cabinet during “Operation Protective Edge”, echoed the notion that the report should be revealed according to the wishes of the bereaved settler families.

“I was in the cabinet during the operation,” she said. “But I wasn’t among those who leaked [details of meetings] to the media, and I will not do so now from the opposition. But the families and the public have the right to know exactly what happened, in order to create a constructive discussion about it.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

 

 

Israeli escalation in Gaza seeks to ‘change equation’ – but at what cost?

Posted on August 23, 2016

isralitshirt

By Ben White

Late on Sunday night, the Israeli Air Force launched dozens of airstrikes against targetIsraeli military fighter jets in the Gaza Strip – as many as 50, according to an official source – after a single rocket had struck Sderot earlier in the day, causing no damage or injuries.

The airstrikes, which primarily struck sites used by Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), constituted, in the words of one analyst, a “deliberate escalation” by Israeli authorities.

Since the August 2014 ceasefire that ended ‘Operation Protective Edge’, Hamas has not fired a single rocket out of the Gaza Strip into Israel. In May, AQB fired mortar rounds in response to Israeli forces’ efforts to locate cross-border tunnels – but that’s it.

Smaller groups, however, have fired some 40 rockets over the last two years, according to Israelisources, including 14 in 2016. None have resulted in casualties. This latest rocket launch was reportedly claimed by ISIS-affiliated group Ahfad al-Sahaba.

Israel has typically responded to each rocket with limited strikes on AQB facilities, claiming that Hamas is responsible for all attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip. A deadly such airstrike in March, which killed two Palestinian children, highlighted the – at best – irresponsibility of Israel’s approach, which apart from the human cost, has always risked “paving the way towards a new escalation.”

So what is behind the new developments? Some Israeli commentators have suggested that Israel seized an opportunity presented by the rocket launch to “deprive Hamas of operational assets.” There has also been speculation that the influence of hawkish Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman is behind the intensification in response.

One key question is whether this will now become the standard Israeli response to isolated projectile fire. Hamas spokesperson Ismail Ridwan said that the movement will not allow Israel to “impose new equations and change the rules of engagement” in the Gaza Strip, placing full responsibility for the “escalation and its repercussions” on the occupation.

Ridwan also called for Egypt to “rein in the Israeli occupation”, in Cairo’s capacity as the sponsor of the ceasefire agreement that ended ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Other Palestinian factions slammed the airstrikes, which they admit took them by surprise.

Israel’s unprecedentedly intensive series of airstrikes came a few days after Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank arrested Hamas’s representative on the Palestinian Central Elections Commission, the body charged with organising October’s municipal elections.

Israeli officials are worried that the Palestinian local elections scheduled for October will see breakthroughs for Hamas in West Bank municipalities, and have warned their Palestinian Authority “counterparts” of the risks in allowing the elections to go ahead.

It is clear why Israel has an interest in thwarting or undermining elections in which Hamas is a participant, not least because successful polls with Hamas’s involvement are deemed a necessary prerequisite to progress on the stuttering national unity front.

Hamas, for its part, decided to head to elections partly as a result of the challenges the movement is facing – and Israel seems determined to heighten the pressure. Numbers released in the last fortnight confirmed that Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip actually tightened during July, data that Palestinians in Gaza say “refutes Israel’s claims that it has eased the closure of the Gaza Strip.”

The blockade persists in spite of warnings by Israeli military officials that Gaza’s economic recovery is essential from the point of view of maintaining ‘calm’. On Sunday, AQB spokesperson Abu Obeida told a rally in Rafah that “the enemy’s [Israel] leadership keeps committing mistakes and repeats the same stupidities by maintaining the siege imposed on our people.”

Today, meanwhile, following the recent indictments of Gaza-based World Vision and UNDP employees, Lieberman has sought to revive the idea of linking reconstruction to disarmament.

For Hamas, an unrelenting blockade, intensified periodic airstrikes, and an inability to meaningfully participate in local elections, may mean that the pressure on the movement proves too great.

Veteran Israeli defense analyst Yossi Melman, writing in The Jerusalem Post on what he called the “massive Israeli attack”, acknowledged that “Hamas’s argument that Israel intends to ‘change the equation’ is correct.” His conclusion was stark: “The seeds for another war were sowed this week.”

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’Israel’ Must ’Pay Price’ for Return of 4 ’Israeli’ Soldiers

Palestinian resistane said it is holding four “Israeli” soldiers that it captured during the “Israeli” apartheid regime’s 50-day war on the Gaza Strip in 2014.

Hamas: ’Israel’ Must ’Pay Price’ for Return of 4 ’Israeli’ Soldiers

During a Friday televised statement, spokesman of Hamas armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, in Gaza Abu Obeida, said the movement has no contacts with the “Israeli” entity over the prisoners.

“There are no talks or negotiations relating to the prisoners,” said Obeida while speaking on the local al-Aqsa TV with a poster behind him showing black-and-white photos of the four “Israeli” soldiers.

The Palestinian official stressed that the “Israeli” entity “will not [be able to] get information on the four without paying a clear price before and after any negotiations” on the issue.

He said that “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin “Netanyahu is lying to his people” and “deceiving the families of the captive soldiers.”

Netanyahu recently claimed that “important progress” had been made in obtaining the return of two soldiers imprisoned in Gaza.

Tel Aviv had not made any comment on the announcement so far.

Hamas had refused to say whether the soldiers are dead or alive, but the “Israeli” regime had repeatedly announced that the soldiers were killed during the Gaza offensive and asked Hamas to return their bodies back to the “Israeli” entity.

Meanwhile on Friday, Times of “Israel” online newspaper referred to the four as two slain soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin as well as 29-year-old Avraham Mengistu, an Ethiopian “Israeli”, along with a Bedouin-“Israeli”.

Mengistu is said to have disappeared after he “independently” entered Gaza on September 7, 2014, two weeks after the end of latest “Israeli” war on Gaza in the summer of 2015.

The second man, whose name had not been released, is a Bedouin Arab from the village of Hura who reportedly entered Gaza via the Erez Crossing in April 2014.

In early July 2014, the “Israeli” apartheid regime waged a war on the Gaza Strip. The 50-day offensive ended on August 26 with a truce that took effect after indirect negotiations in the Egyptian capital Cairo. Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, were martyred in “Israel’s” onslaught. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – were also injured.

Hamas launched retaliatory missile attacks against “Israel”, with Tel Aviv confirming that 53 “Israeli” soldiers were killed in Gaza war. However, Hamas puts the number at around 100.

The “Israeli” regime and Hamas do not officially maintain direct contacts, and any deal would have to be mediated by international parties. In 2011, kidnapped “Israeli” soldier Gilad Shalit was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian detainees, in a deal brokered with the help of a German diplomat.

The “Israeli” soldier had been held in the besieged Gaza Strip for more than five years.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

02-04-2016 | 14:10

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Will America’s New Deal With Iran Leave Russia Out In The Cold?

Russo-Iranian Alliance

Global Research, July 21, 2015
Mint Press News 17 July 2015

The implications of the recent Iranian nuclear deal extend far beyond centrifuges and uranium enrichment. Russia, which has long played tensions between Tehran and Washington to its own ends, may know this better than anyone.

MONTREAL — Tehran and Washington have both been constrained by their own post-1979 rhetoric about one another. Even after a final nuclear deal was signed in Geneva on Tuesday, officials in Tehran and Washington say they are not normalizing ties. Generally, however, both sides have long wanted to improve relations without making any concessions, giving up their respective strategic goals, or publicly abandoning their ideological positions.

It should not be forgotten that Washington and Tehran started a secret dialogue via diplomatic backchannels in the Sultanate of Oman in 2013, shocking their allies and enemies alike. The U.S. threats to attack Syria in August 2013 may have been aimed at gaining traction and leverage in the secret bilateral talks between Tehran and Washington.

According to Banafsheh Keynoush, a former translator to four Iranian presidents and the Iranian reformist lawyer Shirin Ebadi, Tehran has long wanted to rekindle trade with Washington.

Journalist Gareth Porter makes a similar claim, even arguing that Iranian officials deliberately used uranium enrichment to normalize ties with Washington. Writing for Middle East Eye on Wednesday, Porter contends that during Bill Clinton’s second term in the Oval Office, “Iranian strategists began to discuss the idea that Iran’s nuclear programme was its main hope for engaging the hegemonic power.” There was even a letter faxed by Iran for a “grand bargain” in 2003 that Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, acknowledges as an Iranian response to a misleading signal from a third party claiming to speak on Washington’s behalf.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin walks with  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, in Ufa, Russia, Thursday, July 9, 2015.

Getting down to business

It is no coincidence that as the nuclear talks progressed, chatter about a resumption of business ties between Iran and the United States flared up on Wall Street and in Tehran’s bazaars. When a final deal was announced in Vienna this week, it was also announced inside Iran that a “special plan” has been drafted to export petrochemical products to the U.S., among other places, according to Iran’s Mehr News Agency. The announcement was not hearsay, but made by the prominent Iranian Association of Petrochemical Industry Corporations.

The plan to export Iranian petrochemicals is just the tip of the iceberg, though. Tehran Times reports that on May 23, Gholamreza Shafei, the head of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture, “said the Iranian government has given the green light to private business owners to forge trade ties with their American counterparts.” He also acknowledged that the establishment of a joint Iranian-U.S. chamber of commerce had been discussed for about ten months up until that point. In fact, talk of establishing a joint Iranian-U.S. chamber of commerce was disclosed by the Iranian government’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) in 2013. IRNA reported that discussions about a joint Iranian-U.S. chamber of commerce started at the same time that Washington and Tehran began direct talks in 2013.

The convenience of normalizing trade ties between Iran and the U.S. is that the process could unfold with little public sign of normalization. Iran-U.S. trade and business transactions can ensue without a normalization of diplomatic relations and without any significant changes in the public perception of Iran-U.S. ties in either country. Rhetoric on both sides could, more or less, be kept in place while trade prospers, and hardliners on both sides opposing rapprochement could be kept at bay as well.

Changing geostrategic parameters between the US, Russia, and Iran

Hostilities between the U.S. and Iran have been something that other international actors have long taken advantage of for their own agendas. Tehran and Washington have been cognizant of this.

The Russian government has used the tensions between Tehran and Washington as a card for its own negotiating strategies a number of times. Moscow, however, has always consciously tried not to cross a certain line when playing on Iranian-U.S. differences as it’s sought concessions from Washington. Moscow has never wanted to weaken Iran or let Washington subdue Tehran. The Russians and Iranians both know very well that their security is organically interlocked.

With the normalization of U.S. and Iranian ties and the conciliatory approach that Washington and Tehran took in 2013, the leveraging of Russia’s bilateral ties with Iran against the U.S. is a path Moscow essentially can no longer pursue. The Kremlin realizes this, and since 2013 it has taken earnest steps to cement Russo-Iranian ties as a strategic partnership that could mirror the Sino-Russian partnership. This includes taking steps to establish greater confidence and trust between Moscow and Tehran. Moscow has also atoned for former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s decision to halt the shipment of S-300 missile air defense systems to Iran in 2010 by revoking his ban on the systems’ delivery, upgrading systems, and offering to sell the superior Antey-2500 to the Iranian military if Tehran withdraws its lawsuit against Rosoboronexport for failing to deliver the S-300 at the Geneva-based Conciliation and Arbitration Court of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Non-nuclear bilateral talks between Tehran and Washington have undoubtedly included some type of U.S. effort to turn the Iranians against the Russians, especially now that the European Union needs an alternative energy supplier to replace the Russian Federation. Even when the U.S. pushed the Russians in 2010 to cancel the S-300 deal that Moscow made with Iran in 2007, it was celebrating the fact that the Iranian government took Russia to the OSCE’s Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in 2011 seeking $4 billion in compensation for a breach of contract by the Kremlin.

 

From left, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliev and Russian President Vladimir Putin press a symbolic button to release some young belugas (white sturgeons) to the Volga river, during the Caspian Summit in Astrakhan, Russia, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.

The information war against Russia

The U.S. mainstream media and intelligentsia working within the constellation of U.S. interests have launched an anti-Russian information campaign emphasizing that Iran and Russia are “allies of convenience” and that the Russo-Iranian partnership will not last. They claim Russia is the biggest loser in a nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the U.S., plus Germany). Their talking points decidedly point to the negative aspects of the history between Russia and Iran and emphasize that Moscow and Tehran will be competitors in the energy market, especially in Europe. They also emphasize that the Russians have fearfully rushed to secure trade agreements with Iran before the Iranian market opens for trade to the U.S. and Western Europe. They presuppose that Iran will prefer U.S. and Western European corporations to Russian ones because the Russian ones are not as advanced and the Russian technology is outdated.

At the same time, another narrative claims Russia and Iran are trading places in the international community. This transformation has gradually been described over the last decade as Russia being like Gaullist France, an independent part of the West agitating against Washington. Descriptions then began to paint Russia in terms of the People’s Republic of China when tensions flared between Moscow and NATO during and after the Russo-Georgian war over South Ossetia and the missile shield in Europe. Russia was described as separate from the West, like China, but co-existing.

After EuroMaidan in Ukraine, Russia slowly began being described as the new Iran, a country involved in a hostile relationship with the West. This is why the U.S. government’s Radio Free Europe claims: “After decades as an isolated rogue state, Iran appears to be finally coming in from the cold. And after decades of pretending to be a partner to the West, Russia has gone rogue.”

A lot of these assessments are either polemics or sophistry. One widely circulated Reuters article by Agnia Grigas and Amir Handjani claims that Russia will be the “big loser” in a nuclear deal with Iran, but it’s riddled with mistakes and presuppositions. The authors, both experts in the energy sector, were not aware that the BP Statistical Review of World Energy had announced that Iran held the world’s biggest natural gas reserves with a volume of 1202.4 trillion cubic feet. Nor were Grigas, an expert on Russia and the post-Soviet space, who has consulted for the Eurasia Group, and Handjani aware that it was the Chinese empire — not Iran — that had lost the most territory to Russia in the past.

Putting those errors aside, the Reuters article stipulates that the “Russo-Iranian alliance has been more a marriage of convenience than a genuine partnership.” This is wishful rhetoric from the Washington Beltway. The authors supported this assertion by claiming that, “Russia uses Iran as a geopolitical foothold in the energy-rich Persian Gulf and to poke a finger in the eye of U.S. allies in the region.”

“In return, Iran takes advantage of Moscow’s veto power at multinational forums such as the United Nations,” they continued.

They further presume that, “[a]n Iran that is engaged with the West in areas such as energy, trade and peaceful nuclear power generation would no longer see Russia as protector of its interests.”

Russia has no foothold in the Persian Gulf, and there is no evidence that Moscow has used Tehran to hassle any of Washington’s regional allies in the Middle East. Inversely, the Kremlin has no interest in instigating problems with U.S. allies in the Middle East, like Israel and Saudi Arabia, and instead wants to trade with them and lure them away from Washington.

On the other hand, however, the Iranians will never let themselves be manipulated to do the bidding of another international actor and have always worked as the protectors of their own interests without depending on other countries. There has not been a long track record of Russia using its veto for Iran. Nor is Iran in the same position as its ally Syria, as Tehran does not have any overt fears and concerns with the U.N. Security Council; this is why Iran was not shaken by any of the U.N. Security Council resolutions passed against it.

Bavar-373s, S-300s, and the UN weapons sanctions

On the other side of the spectrum in the information war between Moscow and Washington, sectors of the Russian media point out that the opening of the Iranian market will mean big business for Russian corporations — including Russian arms manufacturers, the Russian nuclear industry, and the Russian energy sector.

An Iranian Bavar-373.

Some Russian experts, however, have warned of Iranian infidelity. In June, the Russian news agency TASS reported that Vladimir Sazhin, senior research fellow in the Russian Academy of Sciences, argued: “Iran does not care at all about Russia’s interests. It needs money and at some future date it will be able to offer considerable competition to Russia, and not in Europe alone: on the oil market, in two or three years from now, and on the gas market, in five to seven years.”

Reports emerging from both the U.S. and Russia are generally exaggerated or they misunderstand Iran. They also fail to recognize that Iran manufactures most of its own military equipment, including ballistic missiles, submarines, combat jets, tanks, helicopter, drones, and radar detectors.

It is correct that the dropping of the weapons sanctions would give a boost to the Russian weapons industry. The boost, however, will not be a business bonanza because the Iranian military is not dependent on Russia for its security or equipment. As mentioned before by this author, even if the Iranians purchase some of their military hardware from the Russians, Tehran has a “policy of military self-sufficiency and primarily manufactures its own weapons.” When Moscow refused to repair three Russian-made Kilo class submarines because Iran was not willing to send them to Russia, the Iranian military did the overhauls itself. The Iranian military even contends that its Bavar-373 air defense system is more or less the equivalent of the Russian S-300.

Iran’s arms industry is “a dynamic and modern industry that is moving ahead; we may supply our needs from friendly states, but we basically believe that our deterrent power should be based on a home-grown technology,” Brigadier General Ali Shadmani, the Iranian Armed Force’s deputy chief of staff, told the Fars News Agency in April, in response to reports that the S-300 was going to significantly safeguard Iranian air space as if Iran could not protect its own skies. Shadmani went on to explain that Tehran did need the missile defense system in 2006 and 2007, and the deal for the S-300, which was solicited by Russia, was a sound move at the time. He further noted that Iran still wanted the system, even though it is producing the Bavar-373, because “production is not fast enough to satiate” the needs of the Iranian military.

It is very likely that the main goal for the Iranians for dropping the arms sanctions was to export their own weapons. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1747, unanimously adopted in 2007 with the consent of both China and Russia, actually kept the Iranian arms industry from competing on the weapons market with the arms manufacturers of the P5+1. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani even addressed the Iranian public, saying all of Tehran’s objectives were fulfilled in Vienna under the terms of the final nuclear deal, even though the U.N. arms embargo against Tehran will partially remain for a few years.

 

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is also Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, center, shakes hands with an official upon arrival at the Mehrabad airport in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Zarif and his entourage returned to Tehran on Wednesday morning, a day after Iran and the West reached a historic nuclear deal. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

While Iran trades with the West, Eurasia will remain its strategic depth

Although there is jockeying to enter the Iranian market, the various assessments in sympathy or hostility toward Russia or the U.S. disregard two important facts. First, it is Tehran that decides who it trades with and who it does not trade with. Second, the Iranians are not limited in their post-Vienna options for trade partners.

Iran has made trade deals with Russia on the basis of preferential treatment for a secured strategic partner and ally. Moscow and Tehran are working to build an insulated strategic alliance in Eurasia, and they aim to establish a bond similar to the one that China and the Russian Federation have.

While the Iranians will not give up their strategic ties with Russia, they will work in their best interests and hope for a balanced strategic partnership with Moscow. Tehran seeks a balanced approach with Russia in a mutually beneficial relationship with the Russian Federation that does not reduce Tehran to becoming subordinate to Moscow. Iran will engage Western European and U.S. businesses, and make deals with them in place of Russian businesses where it is needed and deemed appropriate.

Despite any blossoming of trade with the U.S. and Western Europe, Tehran will maintain its strategic depth in Eurasia. This is why the Iranians have lobbied and applied for Iran to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization alongside Russia and China.

Moreover, Tehran does not trust Washington. As has been stated during the negotiations, the nuclear agreement is not built on trust but on verification and reciprocity.

What of the war clouds?

From the start, the Iranian nuclear dossier was political in nature. Gareth Porter writes that as a “militarily weak but politically influential regional ‘middle power,’” Iran essentially prompted the nuclear standoff as leverage to engage the U.S. with the goal of normalizing ties with Washington. The nuclear standoff, however, was a crisis manufactured by Washington to rein in the Iranians and the “Axis of Resistance,” comprised of Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other regional actors in the Middle East. Allegations that the Iranian nuclear energy program was not peaceful were a convenient tactical charade used by Washington and its allies to try to pressure Iran. The objective of this was to rein in Tehran to restructure the Middle East as part of Washington’s broader unipolar roadmap of targeting the Russians and Chinese and establishing control over Eurasia.

Beijing, Moscow, Tehran, and Washington all have contingency plans for different scenarios. The chances of betrayal do exist and the Iranians are prepared for this. In 2009, the Brookings Institute even recommended that Washington create the illusion that it gave the Iranians a chance to negotiate before attacking them “to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it.” The Pentagon should “strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer — one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down,” the Brookings Institute report “Which Path to Persia?” advises.

For months, while Foreign Minister Zarif and his negotiating team of Iranian deputy foreign ministers were trying to draft a deal with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the P5+1 or EU3+3, Iranian military commanders were making parallel statements about being ready for war and the need for military upgrades. In fact, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave specific directions to the Iranian government and military to increase spending on June 30. Khamenei has ordered them to renew their preparedness for conflict, too. At the conclusion of the nuclear negotiations in Vienna, the supreme leader told President Rouhani that certain members of the sextet that Zarif had inked the final nuclear agreement with were untrustworthy and had to be watched carefully. This mistrust in itself ensures that Iran will take a balanced approach toward the U.S. and Russia.

For Mint Press News by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya. Originally published on July 17, 2015.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian 

  

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

ISIS vows to defeat Hamas in Gaza

ED:

I would say taking cue from Turkey/Qatar and Brotherhood. Rehmat forgot that Brotherhood collaborated with USA at least since 1953. 

President Eisenhower meets with Islamic scholars, including Said Ramadan

He ignored that Hamas Aknaf Beyt Almakdis opened the gates of Yarmouk to Nusra

Rehmat

remote+control+bombing+of+Gaza[1]

Taking cue from Hillary Clinton, the ISIS has declared Gaza-ruling Islamic resistance Hamas a threat to Islam for taking help from Iran and Syria – two enemies of Israel.

Gazzan Abu Azzam, ISIS leader in a recent video message, thanks to Jewish RitaKatz, has urged all practicing Muslims living in Gaza Strip to rise against ‘apostate’ Hamas. He called Hamas ‘tyrant’ by equating it with two anti-Israel resistance groups; Syrian president Assad and Lebanese Islamic Resistance Hizbullah.

He explained: “The Islamic State has its eyes set on Jerusalem and is getting closer day after day to Al-Aqsa Mosque along the path paved by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and Sheikh Osama Bin Laden.”

The Zionist scrip writer forgot that Osama bin Laden collaborated with CIA all his life and never threatened the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem. So was Takfiri Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

A message to the tyrants of Hamas, you are nothing in our reckoning. You, Fatah and all the secularists, we count you as nothing. Allah willing, we shall uproot the state of the Jews. You are nothing but froth that will be gone as we move in. Allah willing, Gaza will be governed by Shariah despite you,” he continued.

Does the idiot know that the Jewish army, claimed to be world’s fourth strongest military force has failed to destroy Hamas since the later took power in Gaza in 2006. Furthermore, Jewish writer, Donald Neff claimed in March 2015 thatHamas has a nuclear bomb!

Hamas worships the idol of democracy other than God. By God, there are idols that are being worshipped apart from Allah just as in the time of Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him. By Allah, we shall punish you severely if you persist on this apostasy and disgrace. But if you believe in Allah alone, then you are our beloved ones and our brothers,” Abu Gazzan said.

If my memory serves me right – even Netanyahu has never accused Hamas of worshipping idols. History tell us that people worshipped idols during the times of all Biblical prophets who came after Abraham. The Jews worshipped idols (Holy Golden Calf) even when prophet Moses was alive.

Towards the end of the video and following the invitation made by the Gazan members of ISIS to Hamas to revert to the true Islamic faith, a number of Gazan ISIS members gathered together and renewed their pledge to “to listen and obey” the Caliphate Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

The mention of Caliph Al-Baghdadi is the stone which killed the Israeli dogbehind the video. Sheikh Al-Baghdadi (born as Simon Elliot) is a Crypto Jew and Israeli Mossad agent. He received military training in Israel.

ISIS threatens to fight Hamas in Gaza! The video is another Israelipropaganda crap to convince its European and American allies that Hamas like ISIS and Al-Qaeda are all enemies of the west. In fact ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab are all American created terrorist.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  

 

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

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