SYRIAN WAR REPORT – FEBRUARY 19, 2018: SYRIAN ARMY AND YPG WORKING TO REACH DEAL OVER AFRIN

SOUTH FRONT

The Syrian military has deployed a large force, including the Tiger Forces, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Republican Guard and other pro-government factions, near the militant-held pocket in Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta. The force is led by the Tiger Forces’ commander, Gen. Suheil al-Hassan.

Late on February 18, artillery pieces and rocket launchers of the SAA started shelling positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra), Ahrar al-Sham and other militant groups in the neighborhoods of Nashabiyah, Tel Ferzat, Mesraba, Hawsh Ashari, Autaya, Eyen Tarma, Irbin, Harasta and Jobar. Warplanes of the Syrian Air Force also carried out airstrikes on identified ammo depots and HQs belonging to the militant groups.

Early on February 19, sporadic clashes were reported in few areas of the pocket. However, a large-scale SAA advance has not yet started.

On February 18, Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki released an official statement announcing that they had merged and formed a new militant group entitled “the Syrian Liberation Front”. The declared goal of the new militant group is to fight the SAA, its allies as well as other enemies of the so-called “Syrian revolution”.

According to reports, the group will be led by Jaber Ali Basha, a senior commander of Ahrar al-Sham. Syrian experts believe that the groups are trying to use the merger to hide a trace of beheadings and terrorist attacks associated with the brands of Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki as well as to use it as a card in competition for the power in Idlib with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Considering that the both groups have some ties with Ankara, the merger may be conducted within the wider Turkish plan aimed at expanding its influence in the area.

The story with Damascus-YPG negotiations over a possible SAA deployment in the Afrin area is still developing as Kurdish sources provide conflicting reports and statements on the issue.

While the Kurdish political leadership are bargaining, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army continued their advance and captured the villages of Hecika Fuqani, Hecika Tahtani and Dervish Ubashi.

Meanwhile, the YPG media claimed that YPG members had conducted an attack on a TAF HQ in the village of Qiri Xane in the southern Turkish province of Hatay and killed 7 TAF service members there. The reports are not confirmed by the Turkish side.

On February 18, the Hezbollah media wing in Syria released a video threatening to strike Israeli offshore oil and gas operations in case of Israeli aggression.

The video quotes remarks of the movement’s leader Hassan Nasrallah over the recent Israeli-Lebanese oil dispute issue over the Block 9 the Block 9 oil and gas field.

“If you prevent us, we prevent you; if you open fire at us, we will open fire; if you hit us, we will hit you;”

The video shows the facilities of Karish, Tamar and Lavthan as targets of possible missile attacks.

In December, Lebanon approved a bid from a consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek for two of the five blocks put up for tender in Lebanon’s first oil and gas offshore licensing round. However, Israel pretends that Block 9 is at least partly located in its waters. On January 31, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman even threatened the companies that will develop the oil field and said that they are “making a grave error.”

Advertisements

استراتيجية محور المقاومة لصناعة الحرب والتسويات

فبراير 19, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– تبدو استراتيجية واشنطن وتل أبيب المبنية على قرار ربط نزاع يمنع التسويات ويثبّت تجميد موازين القوى ويقطع الطريق على محور المقاومة لمواصلة خطّته على محورين رئيسيين، إكمال سيطرة الدولة السورية على كامل جغرافيتها، وتأمين اتصال راسخ ومستقر بين طهران وبيروت مروراً بدمشق وبغداد، مستندة إلى قراءة ما تسمّيانه العجز المتبادل عن تحمل كلفة المواجهة المباشرة والشاملة، بين جبهتي المواجهة. فاليقين لدى واشنطن وتل أبيب معلن، أن محور المقاومة وعلى رأسه إيران ومن خلفه روسيا لا يريد التورّط بالحرب بمثل ما لا تريد واشنطن وتل أبيب، لذلك تتواصل الاستفزازات ويتصاعد تخطّي الخطوط المحرجة في التصادم، ورفع النبرة، لوضع محور المقاومة بين خياري قبول ما تسمّيه واشنطن وتل أبيب قبول قواعد الاشتباك الجديدة، أو الذهاب للحرب. وقواعد الاشتباك الجديدة تعني ارتضاء إطلاق اليد «الإسرائيلية» في سورية، والتعايش مع كانتون كردي بحماية أميركية شرق الفرات، وكانتون سعودي قرب دمشق، وآخر أردني «إسرائيلي» جنوباً ورابع تركي شمالاً. وفي لبنان دخول التفاوض مع «إسرائيل» حول الخطوط الحدودية البرية والبحرية، والتفاوض مع واشنطن حول مكانة وسلاح حزب الله، والتساكن مع صيغة هشة للحدود السورية العراقية يتناوب المحوران عليها في السيطرة وفي القنص، وصولاً لأغلبيات مائعة في البرلمانيين العراقي واللبناني، لا يملك فيها أي من المحورين أغلبية ثابتة تتيح التحكم بالخيارات الإقليمية لكل من الدولتين. وفي الحصيلة تحوّل قرار اعتبار القدس عاصمة لـ«إسرائيل» أمراً واقعاً لا بدّ من التعايش معه.

بعد دراسات ومشاورات عميقة ومكثفة وممتدة لأسابيع قرّرت قيادة محور المقاومة رفض التعايش مع الاستراتيجية الأميركية «الإسرائيلية» الجديدة، ولو كانت الكلفة الذهاب للحرب، وصارحت القيادة الروسية بما توصلت إليه، بانتظار سماع الموقف الروسي النهائي، الذي لم يختلف جوهرياً عن الخلاصة النهائية لمحور المقاومة، بتشخيص طبيعة الاستراتيجية الأميركية وأهدافها، واعتبارها إضعاف روسيا في طليعة الاستهدافات. وكان القرار الروسي واضحاً بعدم الدخول على خط المواجهة الميدانية مباشرة منعاً لانزلاق سريع نحو مواجهة أوسع وحفاظاً على خطوط التراجع أمام الأميركيين، لكن مع تقديم الدعم اللازم لمحور المقاومة والتوافق على ضمّ «إسرائيل» لعنوان المواجهة كأداة للاستراتيجية الأميركية الجديدة.

– ترى قيادة محور المقاومة أن الخاصرتين الرخوتين في المحور الأميركي «الإسرائيلي» تتمثل في تصاعد الاشتباك التركي الكردي، شمال سورية، وأن هذا التحدّي الذي يواجه محور واشنطن تل أبيب أعقد من بقائه تحت السيطرة، ويقدّم فرصة جذب وشدّ لمحور المقاومة، لوضع الأكراد بين مطرقة التهديد التركي والتخلّي الأميركي، في عنوان مصير عفرين، مدينة نصف المليون كردي، والتي لا كيان كردي ولا معنويات كردية، إذا دخلها الأتراك، للوصل لتفاهم يضمن نقل عفرين لسلطة الدولة السورية، وفتح الطريق لمضمون جديد في العلاقة مع الأكراد يضعهم مناصفة بين العباءة الأميركية وعباءة محور المقاومة، وعلى ضفة موازية اعتماد لغة العصا والجزرة مع الأتراك لدفعهم لنقلة جديدة تشبه ما حصل بعد تحرير حلب وولادة مسار أستانة.

– تنطلق قيادة محور المقاومة من القناعة بتفوق قواها الميدانية على قدرة «إسرائيل» في الحرب الشاملة، ولكن أيضاً في المواجهات التكتيكية، ولذلك فإن التغيير الذي تريد واشنطن وتل أبيب فرضه في رسم قواعد اشتباك جديدة، يتيح لمحور المقاومة أن يحوّلها فرصاً لفرض قواعد جديدة معاكسة. وعناوين القوة هنا هي الدولة السورية والدولة اللبنانية، واحدة عسكرياً والثانية سياسياً، ولذلك كانت الإدارة الشجاعة والذكية للرئيس بشار الأسد لمعركة الأجواء السورية في مرحلة أولى وإسقاط طائرة الـ«إف 16» وهي تقصف من الأجواء اللبنانية في المرحلة الأخيرة، وكانت إدارة الرئيسين ميشال عون ونبيه بري وجذب الرئيس سعد الحريري إلى معسكرهما، لإدارة ذكية وشجاعة للمفاوضات مع وزير الخارجية الأميركية حول الثروة النفطية، ولذلك كان الموقف الحازم والمحسوب للسيد حسن نصرالله بتهديد «إسرائيل» بثروتها النفطية، ولكن تحت عباءة الدولة اللبنانية.

– تقوم قيادة محور المقاومة بحسابات دقيقة للمشهد العراقي وكيفية إدارة توازناته، سواء على أبواب الانتخابات، والخيارات الحكومية، ومصير الوجود الأميركي في العراق، ومستقبل الحدود السورية العراقية، قبل أن ترسم صورة السياسات التفصيلية مع الشركاء العراقيين، لكنها تدرك هذه المرة أهمية الخيارات الاقتصادية الاستراتيجية وحاجة شعوب بلدان المواجهة لتلمّس عائدات الانتصارات. وتطرح على هذا الصعيد سلة خطوات تتصل بمساهمة الشركاء في المحور برفع منسوب الاهتمام بالشؤون المعيشية للناس على جدول أعمالهم، لكنها تتضمن مشاريع استراتيجية كبرى اقتصادياً، يتقدّمها البحث الجدي بفتح الأسواق الإيرانية والعراقية والسورية واللبنانية على بعضها بعضاً، والبحث بخطط ربط نوعية لموارد الطاقة في النفط والغاز والكهرباء، وشبكات للنقل الجديدة تربط العواصم وتسهّل تنقل الأفراد والبضائع.

– تبقى القضية الفلسطينية والصراع في فلسطين أولوية قيادة محور المقاومة، وإذا كانت الوجهة العامة هي رفع درجة التصعيد بوجه كل تصعيد ضمن لعبة حافة الهاوية، اختباراً لقدرة واشنطن وتل أبيب في الذهاب للحرب، فإن محور المقاومة صار جاهزاً لمثل هذه الفرضية، ويتصرف على قاعدة أنها واقعة بعد كل جولة مواجهة، فإن الخشية من ذهاب «إسرائيل» للحرب على غزة يواكبها قرار أن الحرب قد تبدأ في جبهة، لكنها ستشمل الجبهات كلها، بحيث يكون على واشنطن وتل أبيب الاختيار بين الحرب الشاملة أو التعايش مع حقائق معاكسة للرغبات عنوانها، التسليم بالخروج من سورية وأبواب التسويات مفتوحة للراغبين، والتعايش مع ميزان الردع مع لبنان وليكن العنوان الدولة اللبنانية، ومع سيطرة محور المقاومة على الحدود السورية العراقية تحت عنوان تعاون سوري عراقي لمواجهة بقايا داعش، وصولاً للتعايش مع مشروع الانتفاضة والمقاومة في فلسطين.

– محور المقاومة رسم استراتيجيته وستظهر التكتيكات تباعاً بصيغة كمائن سياسية وعسكرية يكتشفها الأميركي و«الإسرائيلي» والسعودي تباعاً، في كل عملية تسخين يظنونها محسوبة وتأتي نتائجها عكسية، وأبواب متاحة للتسويات تحت سقوف واضحة ولو بعناوين سهلة الابتلاع.

– تتجه عيون محور المقاومة صوب اليمن لمعرفة حدود القدرة الأميركية «الإسرائيلية» بتحمل أكلاف الحرب العبثية السعودية، وقياس القدرة السعودية على مواصلة حرب الاستنزاف.

Related Videos

Articles Articles

Sayyed Nasrallah: We can Disable Israel’s Offshore Installations within Hours

“Should the Higher Defense Council decide that Israel’s offshore oil installations should cease to operate, I promise you that we can disable them within hours,”

February 16, 2018

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah Friday delivered a televised speech commemorating the anniversary of Hezbollah martyred leaders tackling several local and regional issues.

The ceremony, under the logo “We Kept the Pledge”, was held at Sayyed Shohadaa complex in Beirut’s southern suburbs to commemorate Hezbollah martyred leaders Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Sayyed Abbas al-Mousawi and Leader Imad Mughniyeh.

Sayyed Nasrallah began his speech with pointing to the logo of this year’s anniversary, saying: “Indeed we kept the pledge as we are almost getting out of the harshest regional war, we kept it after July war. Our leaders, the resistance was your will and belief, in 2018, the resistance remains the pledge, and we are following your path.”

“It seems that the entire region has entered the oil and gas battle,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, pointing to huge quantities of oil in the occupied Golan. “The Zionist entity has launched the battle over Block 9 since there are reports about huge quantities of oil in Golan with ‘Israel’ exploiting Trump’s presidency to get a UN resolution on annexing the Golan,” His eminence said, adding that one of the reasons for the war against Syria is the oil wealth found in its land and sea.

“As for the US occupation of eastern Syria, the Americans had said that they would leave the area once ISIL is defeated, however, they are currently protecting ISIL’s small presence there,” Hezbollah’s S.G. said. “The Americans don’t want to withdraw from eastern Syria because the most important oil and gas fields are found there,” his eminence said, adding that the US runs the oil and gas battle in the region. He also warned Kurds to take lesson from previous incidents, assuring them that the US is using them and will eventually abandon them.

Sayyed Nasrallah also pointed out that Trump sees Iraq as an oil field, adding that even the Gulf crisis was because some states wanted to control Qatar’s gas reserves.”

“The oil wealth in the South, like the rest of Lebanon’s wealth, belongs to all Lebanon and will go to the state funds. The oil and gas reserves may be the only hope for economic relief,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, considering that the main reason behind the current conflict is not the territorial border, whose dispute can be easily resolved. “The main issue is the maritime border.”

Concerning the Israeli construction of a wall on the border with Lebanon, Hezbollah leader said a misunderstanding shall reveal, “so far, ‘Israel’ has not built its wall on Lebanese soil, however, the problem will start when the construction begins on the Lebanese land. “The Lebanese have so far been unified over this issue, Sayyed Nasrallah said, hailing the unified official and popular stance. “The Lebanese must not allow the devils to sow discord, and by devils I mean the Americans,” referring to the intensified US visits to Lebanon, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield, in an attempt to mediate over offshore gas and oil rights.

“State institution must be at the level of trust and honesty in this critical file and should approach the file from a strong position with all what we have of strong capabilities.” “Let the state accept the mediator it wants and we will not put a veto, but the Americans are not impartial mediators, especially when the other party is the Israeli entity. The Lebanese people look forward to the state and we support it, so it must have a firm, brave position.”

Sayyed Nasrallah ridiculed the US way of negotiating, saying “the US wants to give us our basic right, the land, to take our hard right, water,” pointing that “Lebanon must tell US to demand concessions on border dispute to restrain Hezbollah from attacking ‘Israel’.”

“Should the Higher Defense Council decide that Israel’s offshore oil installations should cease to operate, I promise you that we can disable them within hours,” His eminence threatened.

Sayyed Nasrallah described the Zionist entity’s assassination attempt against Hamas operative on Lebanese soil as a new attack on Lebanese sovereignty. On January 14, the Israeli Mossad agency attempted to assassinate Hamas official Mohamed Hamdan in Sidon.

Hezbollah’s S.G. described Syria’s downing of an Israeli F16 aircraft as a qualitative military achievement. “Israel is no more free to operate in the skies, the situation has changed.”
But his eminence rebuffed claims that the plane was downed by Iran or Russia, saying “the decision to shoot down the plane was taken by the Syrian leadership and President Bashar al-Assad,” adding that Syrian officers and soldiers were the ones who executed the order.

“$3 billion is the amount of aid allocated to ‘Israel’ by the Pentagon, their aircrafts are open to the Israeli enemy but forbidden to Lebanon,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, reminding of Israel’s expansionist ambitions. “We must remain vigilant. I’m not saying that we’re heading to a war but vigilance is needed. What prevents Israel from waging a war is its inability to make sure that it would emerge victorious in advance.”

Speaking on the Israeli aggression, Sayyed Nasrallah took three Palestinian resistance figures as true role models, Ahed Tamimi, Martyr Ahmad Jarrar, and Omar Al-Abed.

Sayyed Nasrallah congratulated Iran on the revolution’s anniversary, “We are proud allies of Iran, Tehran does not interfere in Lebanese affairs at all. Iran does not detain a Lebanese premier!”

His eminence touched upon the Bahraini evolution on its seventh anniversary, saying “seven years have passed since the revolution in Bahrain and demonstrations haven’t stop despite all that happened, nevertheless, Bahrainis insist on their rights.” “There is a demographic change in Bahrain and the regime in Bahrain gives nationalities to all peoples of the world and withdraws citizenship from the original people of Bahrain, even the rulers are not from the original people of Bahrain.”

On Yemen, Sayyed Nasrallah said there was nothing new there, “but in the face of global silence, there are a few voices in the Arab world speaking out about the injustice against the Yemenis and they want to silence these voices by any means.”

Turning to local issues, Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the new electoral law as one of the most important achievements in the country and that it was the best law in the history of Lebanon.

Sayyed Nasrallah assured some parties that Hezbollah was not seeking the parliamentary majority in Lebanon.
“To Mustaqbal leaders I tell you stay calm, we didn’t call for your coalition in the first place!” he said, assuring that Hezbollah’s electoral battle was not aimed against anyone.
“Our political alliance with the Free Patriotic Movement is strong and steadfast. On the electoral level, we are free and we can coalesce in some areas and compete in other,” his eminence said.

Source: Al-Manar Website

Related Videos

Related Articles

US STATE SECRETARY: CONTROL OVER OIL FIELDS ALLOWS WASHINGTON TO INFLUENCE SITUATION IN SYRIA

SOUTH FRONT

14.02.2018

US State Secretary: Control Over Oil Fields Allows Washington To Influence Situation In Syria

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Speaking on the sidelines of an Iraq donors conference in Kuwait on February 13, US State Secretary Rex Tillerson rejected claims that the US lacks support in Syria. The diplomat epmhasized that Washington controls a large part of the country’s oil fields and area and this allows it to influence the situation.

“The United States and the coalition forces that are working with us to defeat [ISIS] today control 30% of the Syrian territory, and control a large amount of population, and control a large amount of Syria’s oil fields,” Tillerson told media. “This observation that the US has little leverage or role to play is simply false.”

Tillerson added that the US is “very active” in the so-called Geneva format “both in terms of working with the opposition voices to unify them and have them working toward an objective, and we’re working very closely with Russia, who has the greatest influence on the Assad regime and can bring Assad and the regime to the negotiating table in Geneva.”

He further added that Washington cooperates with “a large group of partners” that “see things the same way we [Washington] do in terms of a unified Syria, a democratic Syria, with the Syrian people deciding their own future through a new constitution and election. We have enormous support from our approach in terms of seeking a future for Syria.”

RELATED ARTICLES

The Coming War on Lebanon: Israel, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Prepare “Long-Planned Middle East War”

Global Research, February 13, 2018

This previously published article (December 2017) on Global Research reveals the well-calculated plan of the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia on inciting a “civil war” in Lebanon to defeat Hezbollah. 

Israel – seemingly leading the squad with the green signal from Washington – has just fabricated yet another grounds for war. 

***

Washington’s plan to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ultimately failed. Now Lebanon seems to be in the cross-hairs with tensions between Israel and Hezbollah on the same level that led to the 2006 Lebanon war. There is also the possibility that a new offensive against Syria that might take place as Washington maintains its troop levels in the devastated country caused by ISIS and other terrorists groups they supported. Various reports suggests that the Pentagon may reveal that there are close to 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria even though ISIS has been defeated. So why is Washington staying in Syria? Will there be another attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the near future? Most likely, yes. Adding the Trump administration’s continued hostilities towards Iran, the drumbeats of a new war in the Middle East is loud and clear.

Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have one main objective at the moment and that is to destabilize Lebanon and attempt to defeat Hezbollah before they prepare for another offensive in Syria to remove Assad from power. Before they declare an all-out war on Iran, they must neutralize their allies, Hezbollah and Syria which is by far an extremely difficult task to accomplish.

The Israeli government knows that it cannot defeat Hezbollah without sacrificing both its military and civilian populations. Israel needs the U.S. military for added support if their objective is to somewhat succeed. Israel and the U.S. can continue its support of ISIS and other terrorist groups to create a new civil war in Lebanon through false-flag terror operations which in a strategic sense, can lead to an internal civil war. Can Hezbollah and the Lebanese military prevent terrorist groups from entering its territory? So far they have been successful in defeating ISIS on the Lebanon-Syria border, and will most likely be successful in preventing a new U.S.-supported terrorist haven in Lebanon. Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri who originally resigned from his post while visiting the Saudi Kingdom, then suspending his resignation is a sign that a political crisis has been set in motion. So what happens next?

The Curse: Lebanon’s Natural Resources and the Greater Israel Project

In the case of a devastating war on Lebanon, with a civil war intact, Israel would surely attempt to take control over Lebanon’s natural resources. Since Trump got in the White House, Israel has expanded its Jewish settlements through land seizures throughout Palestine at unprecedented levels and with the occupation of the Golan Heights (a Syrian territory), they already control a portion of oil, gas and vital water supplies. Lebanon would be a huge bonus. In 2013, Lebanese Energy Minister Gebran Bassilestimated that Lebanon has around 96 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and 865 million barrels of oil offshore. With Lebanon’s political chaos and Israel preparing for a long-term war with Hezbollah, all leads to Israel Shahak’s ‘The Zionist Plan for the Middle East’ which states the intended goal for the fragmentation of Lebanon and other adversaries in the Middle East:

3) This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme. This theme has been documented on a very modest scale in the AAUG publication, Israel’s Sacred Terrorism (1980), by Livia Rokach. Based on the memoirs of Moshe Sharett, former Prime Minister of Israel, Rokach’s study documents, in convincing detail, the Zionist plan as it applies to Lebanon and as it was prepared in the mid-fifties.

4) The first massive Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1978 bore this plan out to the minutest detail. The second and more barbaric and encompassing Israeli invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982, aims to effect certain parts of this plan which hopes to see not only Lebanon, but Syria and Jordan as well, in fragments. This ought to make mockery of Israeli public claims regarding their desire for a strong and independent Lebanese central government. More accurately, they want a Lebanese central government that sanctions their regional imperialist designs by signing a peace treaty with them. They also seek acquiescence in their designs by the Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian and other Arab governments as well as by the Palestinian people. What they want and what they are planning for is not an Arab world, but a world of Arab fragments that is ready to succumb to Israeli hegemony. Hence, Oded Yinon in his essay, “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980’s,” talks about “far-reaching opportunities for the first time since 1967” that are created by the “very stormy situation [that] surrounds Israel” 

Israel is gearing up for a long and devastating war against Hezbollah, an Iranian-ally who is . based in Lebanon’s southern region to deter Israel’s expansionist ideas. As Saudi Arabia (Israel’s closest ally in the region) continues its immoral and devastating war on Yemen, it is raising tensions with Iran. According to Thomas L. Freidman’s article ‘Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, At Last’ praising who he calls “M.B.S.” or Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman for his reformist policies. According to Friedman 

“Iran’s “supreme leader is the new Hitler of the Middle East,” said M.B.S. “But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East.”

The Trump administration’s continued support of the Saudi Monarchy which negotiated an arms deal worth billions to take place has only emboldened the Saudi government to take an aggressive stand towards its adversaries in the Middle East namely, Iran.

Lebanon Prepares for Another War

On November 21st, Reuters’ published an article titled ‘Lebanon army chief warns of Israel threat amid political crisis’based on Lebanon’s Army Chief warning his troops to be on high alert concerning Israel’s aggressive behavior along the Southern border. It was reported that 

“Lebanon’s army chief told his soldiers on Tuesday to be extra vigilant to prevent unrest during political turmoil after the prime minister quit, and accused Israel of “aggressive” intentions across the southern frontier” despite Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s return to Lebanon and decided to put his resignation on hold.

Commander-General-Joseph-Aoun (Source: The National)

The army’s Twitter account quoted the Lebanese Army’s Commander General Joseph Aoun who said that

“Troops should be ready to “thwart any attempt to exploit the current circumstances for stirring strife” and that “the exceptional political situation that Lebanon is going through requires you to exercise the highest levels of awareness.”

Israel understands that a defeat against Hezbollah and the Lebanese military will be absolutely difficult to accomplish, therefore preparations to engage the Hezbollah this time will be an effort to create as much damage as possible and reduce their military capabilities, maybe in time for U.S. troops to enter the war through Syria and coordinate targets with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). As I mentioned earlier, and may I add, with an interesting choice of words, a report published by Reuters on November 24th suggests that the Pentagon might announce how many troops they have in Syria:

Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon could, as early as Monday, publicly announce that there are slightly more than 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria. They said there was always a possibility that last minute changes in schedules could delay an announcement. That is not an increase in troop numbers, just a more accurate count, as the numbers often fluctuate

A War That No One Will Win 

The Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), an establishment think-tank based in New York City published an article on July 30th of this year by Neocon warmonger Eliot Abrams who was a deputy assistant and deputy national security adviser for President George W. Bush titled ‘The Next Israel-Hezbollah Conflict’ admits that “the next war is a war that will not be “won” by Israel or Hezbollah.” Abrams said that “Israel’s realistic war aims will not match the damage it will suffer—and the damage it will necessarily inflict” in reference to a strategic assessment ‘by Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies titled ‘Political and Military Contours of the Next Conflict with Hezbollah’ by Gideon Sa’ar, an Israeli politician and a former Likud member of the Knesset and Ron Tira, a strategist, Israeli Air Force officer and a pilot highlights what Israel’s realistic goals should be:

Israel’s objectives in a future conflict will be derived first and foremost from what it wants to achieve in the distinct context (such as, for example, preventing Hezbollah’s buildup of certain qualitative edge capabilities or preventing deployment of high quality Iranian weapon systems in Syria), but a review of the fundamental data reveals a few “generic” objectives that could be applicable in many contexts: postponing the following conflict, shaping the rules for the routine times that will follow the conflict, increasing deterrence with respect to Hezbollah and third parties, undermining the attractiveness of Hezbollah’s war paradigm (use of rockets and missiles hidden among the civilian population), preserving Israel’s relations with its allies, and creating the conditions to reduce Iranian involvement in the post-war reconstruction of Lebanon, as well as imposing new and enforceable restrictions on the freedom of access of the Iran-Alawite-Hezbollah axis

The strategic assessment mentioned what realistic goals Israel can achieve when the conflict takes place according to the assessment:

There is only a limited range of “positive” and achievable objectives that Israel can hope to attain from Hezbollah and from Lebanon. While the purpose of an armed conflict is always political, in many contexts it is hard to find a political objective that is both meaningful and achievable at a reasonable cost, and that is the reason for the basic lack of value that can be found in an Israel- Hezbollah military conflict 

The reason according to Mr. Abrams’s conclusion that an Israeli defeat over Hezbollah is impossible is because of Russia’s presence in the region:

That’s because Russia cannot be expelled, Lebanon will remain roughly half-Shia, and Hezbollah will survive—as will its relationship with Iran. After the war, the best assumption would be that Hezbollah will rebuild, as it did after 2006. But Hezbollah would achieve nothing positive in such a conflict, suffering immense damage and bringing immense destruction upon Lebanon. Its only possible “gain” is the damage it would inflict on Israel. In a way this is the only “good news”

Israel’s Economy During Wartime

David Rosenberg’s opinion piece ‘Israel’s Next War: We Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ on the 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict in the Israel-based news source Haaretz explains the consequences of war and how it effects Israel’s economy. Rosenberg said that

 “In 2014, the missile war wasn’t a threat so much as a spectacle, as Israelis watched Iron Dome missiles bring down Qassam rockets, to applause. Score one for the home team.”

However, Rosenberg claims that the next war with Hezbollah will be different, in fact it will effect Israel’s economy in several ways:

The next war isn’t going to look like that. The round figure everyone uses for Hezbollah’s missile arsenal is 100,000. That is a suspiciously round figure and is probably wrong, but no one disputes that the Shiite militia is well-armed, and more importantly, many of its missiles carry much more powerful warheads and are much more accurate than they were in 2006. Hezbollah’s arsenal includes attack drones and coast-to-sea missiles, too. For its part, Israel is also better prepared. Iron Dome, which is designed to bring down short-range rockets, has been complemented by the introduction of the David’s Sling and Arrow systems, designed to intercept long-range rockets and ballistic missiles, respectively. 

But against an onslaught of thousands of missiles, no Domes, Slings or Arrows will be able to provide the kind of defense Israelis have grown used to. Israel’s infrastructure and economic activity are vulnerable to even a limited missile attack from Hezbollah. Geographically, Israel is a small country with no hinterland, which means facilities for electric power and water are concentrated in small areas. More than a quarter of electric power is generated at just two sites. Natural gas is produced at a single offshore field and delivered via a single pipeline. A large portion of our exports derive from a single industrial plant. A prolonged missile war will almost certainly bring business to a halt

Israel’s economy will shrink within a short-time period according to Rosenberg:

In the worst-case scenario, a post-war Israel would no longer be seen by global investors and businesses as a safe place to put their money and do deals. Imagine Startup Nation without the constant flow of cross-border capital and mergers and acquisitions. The fantasyland of the last 11 years would disappear in a matter of days or weeks

Rosenberg is correct. For example, during the 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict, Israel was faced with economic uncertainties. The Times of Israel published an article during the conflict with an appropriate title ‘War depresses people, economy; strong shekel harmful’ clarified what experts said on how the economy would be effected during a “drawn-out” conflict:

Experts temper the pessimism by noting that in the past, the Israeli economy has been resilient. If the current conflict is resolved quickly, there may be little cause for concern. On the other hand, a drawn out conflict in Gaza may cause investors to worry about the country’s stability and could cause long term damage to Israel’s reputation and position as a key player in the global economy. 

“Our key concerns are the openness of the Israeli economy and our ability to be a key player in the global markets,” Zvi Eckstein, former deputy governor of the Bank of Israel and dean of the School of Economics at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, noted in an interview with The Times of Israel. “It’s really still a key uncertainty how the conflict will end up,” said Eckstein. “Most people predict we will get back to the same relatively stable geopolitical situation as we were in early July, and if so, I would say the economy would rebound back later next year. But if not, the threat to Israel’s economy would be quite devastating”

That conflict was against a weaker adversary, Hamas. For starters, a war with Hezbollah, Lebanon and Syria however would have a negative impact on Israel’s tourism industry where it receives more than 3 million tourists (mainly from the U.S. and Europe) per year. Israel’s level of production will also take a hit. The Street published an interesting article ‘How Is Israel’s Economy Affected by the Current War?’ explains what happened to Israel’s economy during the 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict:

The Israeli economy suffers directly from reductions in productivity every time missile alert sirens send the country’s residents into bomb shelters. The economic costs of the war are estimated upwards of $2.9 billion, and already the war has soaked up 1.2% of the GDP. In the event that quiet prevails after a ceasefire is reached, the Israeli economy is resilient enough to withstand the costs of this operation.

History reflects that the Israeli economy surged at a rate of 6% prior to the 2006 Lebanon war and then slowed down to 2.9% prior to this current conflict. The tourism sector is going to be particularly hard hit, and if a third intifada ensues the economic costs for Israel could be crippling. Since a big chunk of Israel’s workforce is enlisted in the IDF, productivity declines are widespread and costs are mounting. The IMA (Israel Manufacturers Association) has already listed a figure of $240 million in losses as a result of the war effort

Another War, Another Tragedy

Related image

Israel, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. want to permanently eliminate the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance and to achieve that goal, Lebanon will have to become another Libya causing more chaos in an already volatile situation. The only beneficiaries in this coming war is Israel and the U.S. if of course, they are victorious. The U.S. and their allies would re-establish themselves as the hegemonic power in the Middle East with absolute control over the natural resources including oil, gas and water. Israel would also expand and conquer more territory for Greater Israel. Saudi Arabia would remain a vassal state with more political leverage over its neighbors.

And if Saudi Arabia foolishly decided to go to war with Iran, the House of Saud will inevitably collapse since Iran is much more stronger, militarily speaking. Washington plans to keep its military presence in Syria is a signal that removing Assad from power is still on the agenda. Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Trump administration (decertifying the Iran Nuclear Deal with the intention to eventually kill the deal) is a recipe for a planned long-term conflict. Israel’s economy would suffer a major setback if they were to launch an attack against Hezbollah. Besides the fact that a war against Hezbollah would mean that missiles would constantly strike within Israel, creating a massive amount of stress on Israeli citizens and a downturn of the economy would only add another dimension to the wide-reaching full-scale war. Israel hopes that Hezbollah will be temporally neutralized until the U.S. congress and the Trump Administration jointly approve another military and economic aid package worth billions in time to continue its wars. Then there is the possibility of a joint U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israeli orchestrated attack on Syria to remove Assad from power to ultimately isolate Iran, but with Russia and China backing Iran, it would be a no-win situation.  The biggest loser in all of its foreign policy blunders is the U.S. Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Israel’s plan to launch more aggressive wars against its neighbors to further an expansionist objective would come at a great cost to Israeli citizens as their economy sinks into the rabbit hole and with the threat of incoming missiles from southern Lebanon makes it that much more worst. Lebanon and to an extent Israel will be once again devastated by a new war. For both sides of the border, it is a formula for disastrous consequences.

This article was originally published by Silent Crow News.

Featured image is from the author.

» The Americans escalate while the Israelis are under their control The password is an American share of oil and gas in the Mediterranean Sea

Source

فبراير 11, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Apparently, Israel seems that it was the party that started the escalation in order to impose a fait accompli that reserves a seat for it in all the ongoing negotiations about the future of the region, and in order to link every forthcoming settlement with guarantees not to jeopardize the Israeli interests and its security.  But the Americans came as mediators to prevent the escalation and to achieve the common goal which is to link the solutions with negotiation which both the Americans and the Israelis want. The negotiation to distract the rights and to impose the Israeli presence ensures the interests of America, especially when they give it a role of sponsoring the negotiation after the declaration of Jerusalem as a capital of Israel. It tells the Arabs through their Lebanese aides who filled the Arab and the Islamic conferences with the talk about the fall of Washington as an honest mediator and as a sponsor of negotiations; that you will be in need of the American sponsorship and the negotiations.

What is going on in Syria as the coincidence of the American and the Israeli escalation confirms that, and opens different issues from that coincided with the Israeli escalation in Lebanon. In both cases Washington as Tel Aviv want to prove their presence, they know the impossibility of imposing a state of chaos in Syria as an alternative choice of the Syrian state, which was presaged by the political plan presented by the US, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan to share Syria with Russia and Iran,  and to tempt Turkey to play a role in order to demarcate its own canton, supported by the NATO even if Washington was obliged to be watchful for the sake of the Kurds whom it took as a pretext to protect ISIS and to strike the loyal units to the Syrian state whom the Kurds were dreaming of their intervention in order to protect them in Afrin after Washington has abandoned them,  but this intervention became impossible after the participation of the Kurdis in the massacre committed by the Americans against the popular loyal forces.

Washington as Tel Aviv knows that it is impossible to bear the bill of the open confrontation to impose an agenda that contradicts the aspiration of the axis of the resistance, and Russia, and they know that it is impossible to see that they lose the control in favor of the growing forces of the axis of the resistance and the progress of the Syrian project in restoring its geography. They know as well that the date of Raqqa and elsewhere in the eastern of the Euphrates River is so close after Idlib. Neither the American nor the Turkish threats prevented this path and as the Turks did not dare to enter directly to Idlib, the Americans will not dare to enter Raqqa when it is time.

Washington and Tel Aviv witness the progress of Russia militarily as a sponsor force of the Syrian state on one hand, and as a sponsor force of the political path on the other hand, but this becomes realistic with every military progress achieved by the Syrian country and its allies, they witness also the progress of Russia as a sponsor of the reconstruction process in Syria by neglecting the threats of Washington and the Western capitals by linking funding the reconstruction with their political books of term. If the interest in gas and oil file in Syria is by having control on the Eastern of the Euphrates area which is full of oil wealth, gas, and minerals, then this requires the Israeli interference in Lebanon and that is facilitated by an expert in the Lebanese affairs and a friend of Israel as a former ambassador in Lebanon and Israel David Satterfield, and then to be exploited by the expert in gas and oil affairs and whom is entrusted with the interests of the American companies in this sector as a foreign minister exactly as the Europeans did towards Iran, they participated in oil and gas fields in Lebanon through French and Italian companies with the participation of Russia as sponsor of the alliance which is signing today on investment contracts.

The escalation has many political and security functions, but the preparation for the compromises requires freezing the major economic files until the Americans get their share whether in the reconstruction of Syria or in in the investment of Lebanon and Syria of the oil and gas wealth. The proposed settlement will include freezing what is left of blocs for years especially the southern of which, so Lebanon has to be ready. There are those who say why Lebanon does not impose a similar economic situation even as barter, by the announcement of establishing a water dam on the spring of Wazzani, that is not minded by the US mediation to determine the proportion of water sharing, and thus it achieves another kind of balance of deterrence that allows the escape from the Israeli threats and the bombed American offers?

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

الأميركيون يصعّدون و«الإسرائيليون» تحت عباءتهم.. كلمة السرّ حصة أميركية من النفط والغاز في المتوسط

فبراير 9, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– في الظاهر تبدو «إسرائيل» مَنْ بدأ التصعيد بحسابات تتصل بالسعي لفرض أمر واقع يحجز لها مقعداً في كلّ المفاوضات الدائرة حول مستقبل المنطقة، وتربط كلّ تسوية مقبلة لكلّ من ملفاتها بضمانات عدم تعرّض مصالح «إسرائيل» وأمنها لخطر، فتبعهم الأميركيون وسطاء منعاً للتصعيد، وتحقيقاً للهدف المشترك وهو ربط الحلول بالتفاوض، الذي تريده «إسرائيل» وتريده أميركا مثلها. فالتفاوض لتمييع الحقوق وفرض الحضور «الإسرائيلي»، يضمنان مصالح أميركا، خصوصاً عندما يحجزان لها مقعد راعي التفاوض في زمن ما بعد إعلان القدس عاصمة لـ«إسرائيل»، فتأتي لتقول للعرب من بوابة صقورهم اللبنانيين، الذين صدحوا في المؤتمرات العربية والإسلامية عن سقوط واشنطن كوسيط نزيه، وخروجهم من صفة الراعي المقبول للمفاوضات، لا غنى لكم عن الرعاية الأميركية وعن المفاوضات.

– هذا الظاهر كله صحيح، ويؤكده ما يجري في سورية من تزامن في التصعيد الأميركي و«الإسرائيلي»، والذي يفتح ملفات مختلفة العناوين عن تلك التي يفتحها التصعيد «الإسرائيلي» في لبنان، وفي الحالتين تطلّ واشنطن لتؤكد كما تل أبيب وجودها وحضورها، وكلّ منهما تعلم استحالة فرض حال الفوضى في سورية كخيار بديل لقيامة الدولة السورية، وهو ما بشرت به وثيقة الخمسة التي قادتها واشنطن ووقعتها فرنسا وبريطانيا والسعودية والأردن، بعروض تقاسم سورية مع روسيا وإيران، وإغراء تركيا باللعب في منطقة الوسط لترسيم كانتون تابع لها، يؤيده الناتو ولو اضطرت واشنطن للتحفظ مراعاة للأكراد، الذين تتخذهم عنواناً لتقديم الحماية لداعش، وضرب وحدات موالية للدولة السورية، التي كان يحلم الأكراد بتدخّلها لحمايتهم في عفرين، بعدما تخلّت عنهم واشنطن. وهو تدخل صار مستحيلاً بعد شراكة القوات الكردية في المجزرة التي ارتكبها الأميركيون بحق القوات الشعبية المؤيّدة للدولة السورية.

– تعرف واشنطن، كما تعرف تل أبيب استحالة تحمّل فاتورة المواجهة المفتوحة لفرض أجندة مخالفة لتطلعات القوى التي تتمثل في محور المقاومة، ومن ورائها روسيا. وتعرفان في المقابل استحالة التفرّج على الوضع ينفلت زمامه من بين أيديهما، والزمن يتقادم لصالح تنامي مصادر قوة محور المقاومة وتقدّم مشروع الدولة السورية في جغرافيتها المستعادة قطعة قطعة. وتعلمان أنّ موعد الرقة وسواها شرق الفرات لن يكون بعيداً عن موعد ما بعد إدلب، كما لم يكن موعد إدلب بعيداً عما بعد البوكمال، ولم تنفع لا التهديدات الأميركية ولا التركية بمنع هذا المسار ولن تنفع، وكما لم يجرؤ الأتراك على دخول مباشر في حرب إدلب لن يجرؤ الأميركيون دخول حرب الرقة عندما تدقّ ساعتها.

– تشهد واشنطن وتل أبيب تقدّم روسيا كقوة راعية للدولة السورية وتقدّمها العسكري من جهة، وقوة راعية لمسار سياسي يبدو وحده واقعياً وتزداد حظوظه مع كلّ تقدّم عسكري تحققه الدولة السورية وحلفاؤها، لكنها تشهد بالتوازي تقدّم روسيا كراعٍ لعملية إعادة الإعمار في سورية بإدارة الظهر لتهديدات واشنطن وعواصم الغرب باسترهان تمويل الإعمار بقبول دفتر شروطهم السياسي، ويبدو ملف النفظ والغاز في ساحل البحر الأبيض المتوسط، سواء في لبنان أو في سورية، وإذا كان الدخول على خط النفط والغاز في سورية يتمّ من السيطرة على منطقة شرق الفرات المليئة بالثروات النفطية وبالغاز والمعادن، فإنه يستدعي التحرش «الإسرائيلي» في لبنان لتبرير وساطة جاهزة، يمهّد لها الخبير بلبنان من موقعه كصديق لـ«إسرائيل» وسفير سابق في لبنان و«إسرائيل»، دايفيد ساترفيلد، ليبرمج حصادها، الخبير في شؤون النفط والغاز والمؤتمن على مصالح الشركات الأميركية في هذا القطاع، من موقعه كوزير للخارجية، خصوصاً بعدما تفلّت الأوروبيون كما تفلتوا نحو إيران منفردين بلا إقامة اعتبار للتحفظ الأميركي، فتشاركوا في حقول النفط والغاز في لبنان، عبر شركتين فرنسية وإيطالية مع روسيا كراعٍ للتحالف الذي يوقع اليوم على عقود الاستثمار.

– جولات التصعيد لها الكثير من الوظائف السياسية والأمنية، لكن التحضير لزمن التسويات يستدعي تجميد الملفات الاقتصادية الكبرى لحين جهوز الأميركيين لنيل حصتهم منها، سواء في إعادة إعمار سورية أو استثمار لبنان وسورية لثروات النفط والغاز، والتسوية المعروضة ستتضمّن تجميد ما تبقى من بلوكات لسنوات، خصوصاً الجنوبية منها، وعلى لبنان الاستعداد. وهناك مَن يقول لماذا لا يفرض لبنان أمراً واقعاً مشابهاً اقتصادياً ولو من باب المقايضة، بالإعلان عن إقامة سدّ مائي على نبع الوزاني، ولا يمانع بوساطة أميركية لتحديد نسبة تقاسم المياه، فيحقق توازن ردع من نوع آخر يتيح التملّص من التهديدات «الإسرائيلية» والعروض الأميركية المفخّخة؟

Related Videos

Related Articles

Americans to Lebanese: Give Up Half Your Right Before Negotiating!

Firas Al-Shoufi

10-02-2018 | 09:19

Once again, Washington wants to convince the Lebanese that it is an “honest mediator” between them and their enemy, which also happens to be the US’s closest ally. It offers them [the Lebanese] negotiations through the US. The ceiling of those negotiations requires the Lebanese to give up half of their maritime rights to waters that the enemy wants to put its hands on.

US Lebanon

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield’s visit to Beirut and the planned visit by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to the Lebanese capital this month were only part of an integrated scene that began with the visit of Prime Minister Saad Hariri to the White House and his meeting with President Donald Trump last July.

According to ministerial sources monitoring the issue, Hariri made to understand from the Americans that the dossier of the maritime and land border dispute between Lebanon and “Israel” falls under the aegis of the US president’s adviser, son-in-law and businessman Jared Kushner.

It is no coincidence that Trump and the US administration have handed over a dossier of this importance to the president’s son-in-law – the Godfather of the “Deal of the Century” or the deal to terminate the Palestinian cause and replace Al-Quds [Jerusalem] with Abu Dis, while closing the refugee dossier. All this is in preparation for the signing of the Arab-Israeli peace agreement starting from Saudi Arabia and stretching beyond the Gulf.

According to the information, the Americans have since raised with Hariri the issue of the so-called “disputed points” between Lebanon and the occupying entity, on land and sea, and the willingness of the United States to act as a mediator to resolve outstanding issues and “help Lebanon extract oil”.

Hariri returned to Beirut and conveyed what he heard to those concerned, adding that “the relationship with Kushner is positive, and there are serious promises to help Lebanon”. The relationship between the two men has already developed due to efforts of Lebanese mediators in Washington. Without a doubt, Hariri’s detention in Saudi Arabia has brought him closer to the Americans, and he enjoys the cover that the US administration provides, as he is “an important partner for stability in Lebanon.”

However, talk of “American mediation” did not resonate well in Beirut. Based on decades of experience, the concerned Lebanese parties do not see a “fair” mediator in the Americans.

“The American mediations were only in the interest of “Israel” and at the expense of America’s Arab allies.” It is interesting to note, however, that the Americans do not pay much attention to the “disputed points” on land as much as they are concerned with the problem of determining the boundaries of Lebanon’s exclusive economic zone and maritime borders that delineate oil and gas fields.

Satterfield explained this logic during his meetings with Lebanese officials in the past two days, emphasizing “the need not to worry about land points and pay attention to the maritime dispute.” He stressed that his country had officially informed “Israel” that the “border wall” should not be built in the disputed points with Lebanon.

In addition to Satterfield’s thinly veiled threats to the Lebanese of the possibility of “Israel’s” sudden bombardment of Lebanese sites, the American visitor focused on marketing the role of the United States in mediating between Lebanon and “Israel” to resolve the maritime dispute. According to the information, the “Israeli” entity even retreated from the so-called “Hoff Line”, the line that Ambassador Frederick Hoff worked to demarcate the Lebanese-Palestinian border. The “Hoff Line” gives Lebanon back about 550 square kilometers from the 860 square kilometers, separated by the points of dispute between Lebanon and the “Israeli” entity. These points are the so-called Lebanese Point 23 and the “Israeli” Point 1. The Israeli withdrawal from the Hoff Line means that the ceiling of the negotiations will see the Americans offer Lebanon the ability to define the line itself, especially since Satterfield spoke to Lebanese officials about the Hoff line as a “fair solution”. The acceptance by the Lebanese side of the “American offer” ahead of any negotiations, will lead to the loss of about half of the maritime area claimed by the enemy. The negotiation will be on the remaining Lebanese right under the pretext of “expediting the removal of the obstacles that prevent us from benefiting from oil and gas wealth.”

Although Satterfield tried to reassure the Lebanese that the role of the United States would not be at the expense of Lebanon, the impressions he left confirms that he wants to pressure Lebanon to give up this maritime area that the Lebanese are holding on to.

While the Lebanese officials stated a clear position on holding on to every inch of Lebanon’s area – land and sea – there are still differences of opinion regarding American mediation. There were those who emphasize the need to stick to the work of the UN-sponsored tripartite committee between the Lebanese and the enemy’s armies and to confine discussions within the committee. But there are those who advocate accepting and dealing with American mediation since the US role will be a guarantor of Lebanese rights based on Kushner’s promises to Hariri. For its part, ministerial sources said that “Kushner is now sidelined from a lot of dossiers within the US administration, but what is the problem in American mediation? If they presented us with an unconvincing offer, we can simply reject it.”

On the evening of February 8, Satterfield visited the President of the Republic Michele Aoun at Baabda Palace after touring the southern border with the General Director of the Lebanese General Security Major General Abbas Ibrahim and the Commander of the International Emergency Forces in the South of Lebanon [UNIFIL Commander-in-Chief] Michael Perry. They held a meeting at UNIFIL’s headquarters in Naqoura. Satterfield and US Ambassador Elisabeth Richard visited the Armed Forces Commander General Joseph Aoun, who stressed “the Lebanese position that rejects the attempt of this enemy to establish a separation wall that passes through reserved Lebanese territory.” Satterfield and Richard also visited the tomb of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in central Beirut.

Source: Al-Akhbar, Translated by website team 

لأميركيون للبنانيين: تخلّوا عن نصف حقّكم قبل التــفاوض!

عرّاب «صفقة القرن» يطلّ برأسه على بيروت
ساترفيلد: طلبنا من إسرائيل عدم بناء الجدار في النقاط المتنازع عليها (دالاتي ونهرا)
مرة جديدة، تريد واشنطن إقناع اللبنانيين بأنها «وسيط نزيه» بينهم وبين عدوّهم، حليفها الأوثق. تعرض عليهم التفاوض معه عبرها، وأن يكون سقف التفاوض التخلي عن نصف الحق اللبناني في الحقوق البحرية التي يريد العدو وضع يديه عليها
فراس الشوفي
لم تكن زيارة مساعد وزير الخارجية الأميركي لشؤون الشرق الأوسط ديفيد ساترفيلد إلى بيروت، والزيارة التي من المقرّر أن يقوم بها وزير الخارجية ريكس تيليرسون منتصف الشهر الجاري إلى العاصمة اللبنانية، سوى جزء من مشهد متكامل، بدأ مع زيارة الرئيس سعد الحريري إلى البيت الأبيض ولقائه الرئيس دونالد ترامب في تمّوز الماضي.
فبحسب مصادر وزارية متابعة، سمع الحريري بوضوح من الأميركيين أن ملفّ الصّراع البحري والبري الحدودي بين لبنان وإسرائيل، سيكون في عهدة مستشار الرئيس الأميركي وصهره رجل الأعمال جاريد كوشنير. وليس من قبيل الصّدفة أن يُسلِّم ترامب والإدارة الأميركية ملفّاً بهذه الأهميّة لصهر الرّئيس، وهو عرّاب «صفقة القرن»، أو صفقة إنهاء القضيّة الفلسطينية واستبدال القدس بـ«أبو ديس» وإغلاق ملفّ اللاجئين، تمهيداً لتوقيع اتفاقيات سلام عربية ــــ إسرائيلية، تبدأ من السعودية ولا تنتهي في الخليج.
وبحسب المعلومات، فإن الأميركيين طرحوا مع الحريري منذ ذلك الوقت، مسألة ما يسمّى بـ«النقاط المتنازع عليها» بين لبنان وكيان الاحتلال، في البرّ والبحر، واستعداد الولايات المتّحدة للدخول كوسيط لحلّ الأمور العالقة، و«مساعدة لبنان لاستخراج النفط».
عاد الحريري إلى بيروت ونقل ما سمعه للمعنيين، مع الإضافة أن «العلاقة مع كوشنير إيجابيّة وهناك وعود جديّة بمساعدة لبنان»، وهي علاقة تطوّرت بالفعل بين الرجلين، بجهود وسطاء لبنانيين في واشنطن. وبلا شكّ، ساهم احتجاز الحريري في السعوديّة في تقرّبه أكثر من الأميركيين، وشعوره بالغطاء الذي تؤمّنه له الإدارة الأميركية بوصفه «شريكاً مهمّاً للاستقرار في لبنان».
إلّا أن الحديث عن «وساطة أميركية» لم يلقَ صدىً في بيروت، طالما أن الأطراف اللبنانية المعنيّة لا ترى في الأميركيين وسيطاً «نزيهاً» بناءً على تجربة عمرها عقود طويلة، «حيث لم تصبّ الوساطات الأميركية إلّا في مصلحة إسرائيل، وعلى حساب الدول العربية الحليفة لأميركا». غير أن اللافت أن الأميركيين لا يعيرون اهتماماً كبيراً للنقاط «المتنازع عليها» في البرّ، بقدر ما يهتمون بمشكلة تحديد حدود المنطقة الاقتصادية الخالصة للبنان وبالحدود البحرية التي ترسم حقول النفط والغاز.
هذا المنطق تحدّث به ساترفيلد خلال لقاءاته مع المسؤولين اللبنانيين خلال اليومين الماضيين، لا سيّما لجهة تأكيده «ضرورة عدم القلق من النقاط البريّة والاهتمام بالنزاع البحري»، مشدداً على أن بلاده أبلغت إسرائيل رسمياً بضرورة عدم بناء «الجدار الحدودي» في النقاط المتنازع عليها مع لبنان.
وعدا عن «شبه التهديدات» التي حملها ساترفيلد إلى اللبنانيين من إمكانية قيام إسرائيل بعمليات قصفٍ مفاجئة لمواقع لبنانية، انصبّ اهتمام الزائر الأميركي على تسويق دور الولايات المتّحدة في وساطة بين لبنان وإسرائيل لحلّ النزاع البحري.
 
 وبحسب المعلومات أيضاً، فإن كيان العدوّ، تراجع حتى عمّا يسمّى «خط هوف»، وهو الخطّ الذي عمل عليه السفير فريدريك هوف لترسيم الحدود البحرية اللبنانية ــــ الفلسطينية. و«خطّ هوف» يعيد للبنان حوالي 550 كلم مربعاً من مساحة 860 كلم مربعاً فصلها الاختلاف في النّقاط بين لبنان والكيان الإسرائيلي، بين ما يسمّى بالنقطة 23 اللبنانية والنقطة 1 «الإسرائيلية». التراجع الإسرائيلي عن «خط هوف» يعني أن الأميركيين سيعرضون على لبنان تحديد الخط نفسه كسقف تفاوضي، وخاصة أن ساترفيلد تحدّث أمام مسؤولين لبنانيين عن «خط هوف» بصفته «حلاً منصفاً». وسيؤدي قبول الجانب اللبناني بـ«العرض الأميركي»، وقَبْل بدء أي مفاوضات، إلى خسارة نحو نصف المنطقة البحرية التي يزعم العدو ملكيته لها، والتفاوض على ما تبقى من حق لبناني، بذريعة «الإسراع في إزالة العقبات التي تحول دون استفادتنا من ثروة النفط والغاز».
ومع أن ساترفيلد حاول طمأنة اللبنانيين إلى أن دور الولايات المتّحدة لن يكون على حساب لبنان، إلّا أن الانطباعات التي تركها تؤكّد أنه يريد الضغط على لبنان للتخلّي عن هذه المساحة البحرية التي يتمسّك بها اللبنانيون.
وفيما سجّل المسؤولون اللبنانيون موقفاً واضحاً لناحية التمسّك بكل شبر من مساحة لبنان، البريّة والبحرية، إلّا أن هناك تمايزاً في الآراء إزاء الوساطة الأميركية، بين من يؤكّد على ضرورة التمسّك بعمل اللجنة الثلاثية التي ترعاها الأمم المتّحدة بين الجيش اللبناني وجيش العدوّ وحصر النقاشات ضمن اللجنة، وبين من يسوّق لضرورة القبول بالوساطة الأميركية والتعامل معها، على أساس أن الدور الأميركي سيكون ضمانة للحقوق اللبنانية، بناءً على وعود كوشنير للحريري. من جهتها، قالت مصادر وزارية إن «كوشنير حُيّد عن الكثير من الملفات داخل الإدارة الأميركية الآن، لكن ما المشكلة في وساطة أميركية؟ إذا قدّموا لنا عرضا غير مقنع لا نقبله، بكلّ بساطة».
وقام ساترفيلد مساء أمس بزيارة رئيس الجهمورية ميشال عون في قصر بعبدا، بعد أن جال صباحاً على الحدود الجنوبيّة مع المدير العام للأمن العام اللواء عبّاس إبراهيم وقائد قوات الطوارئ الدولية العاملة في الجنوب مايكل بيري، وعقدوا اجتماعاً في مقرّ القوات الدولية في الناقورة. وزار ساترفيلد في حضور السفيرة اليزابيت ريتشارد قائد الجيش العماد جوزف عون الذي شدّد على «الموقف اللبناني الرافض لمحاولة هذا العدو إنشاء جدار فاصل يمر في أراضٍ متحفظ عليها لبنانياً». كما زار ساترفيلد وريتشارد ضريح الرئيس رفيق الحريري في وسط بيروت.
Related Videos

Related Articles

%d bloggers like this: