رهانان أميركيّان استراتيجيّان يسقطان… وتفوّق تكتيكي لمحور المقاومة

 

يونيو 17, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– بات واضحاً أن الأميركيين عندما وضعوا حزمة العقوبات المشدّدة على إيران بنوا رهانهم على سياقين متكاملين: الأول هو الرهان على تأثير العقوبات على جعل القيادة الإيرانية بعد مرور زمن كافٍ يتراوح بين سنة وسنتين، مضطرة للاختيار بين تمويل حاجاتها الاقتصادية الضرورية وتمويل برامج أمنها القومي، أي البرنامج النووي والبرنامج الصاروخي ودعم حركات المقاومة، والرهان الثاني هو خلق إجماع دولي على اعتبار الخروج الإيراني من الاتفاق النووي مساساً بالأمن والسلم الدوليين، يحمّلها تبعات عودة العقوبات من مجلس الأمن الدولي على قاعدة ان موقعها في الاتفاق مختلف عن موقع أميركا. فهي الجهة التي تقع على عاتقها التزامات نووية تمس الأمن والسلم الدوليين والخروج الأميركي من الاتفاق لا يقع تحت هذا البند ولو اختلف معها الشركاء الدوليون في الموقف من خروجها وعودتها الأحادية للعقوبات، وبالتوازي خلق إجماع دولي على اعتبار أي تهديد لأمن أسواق النفط من معابر وممرات الخليج تهديداً للملاحة الدولية، وتحميل إيران تبعات ذلك بالعقوبات وسواها.

– في سياق موازٍ راهن الأميركيون الذين أعلنوا الانسحاب من الاتفاق النووي مع إيران قبل أكثر من عام على خلق دينامية إقليميّة تحاصر إيران عبر حلف أميركي خليجي إسرائيلي يتمكن من فرض حل للقضية الفلسطينية، يرضي أمن «إسرائيل» ويغدق الأموال على الفلسطينيين. وبالتالي وقتوا الحزمة القاتلة من عقوباتهم مع التوقيت الافتراضي لإطلاق كائنهم العجيب المسمّى بصفقة القرن، وكانت الحسابات الأميركية أن يتزامن خلق الإجماع الدولي بوجه خطر خروج إيران من الاتفاق النووي والعودة للتخصيب المرتفع لليورانيوم، مع الإجماع الدولي بوجه أي نشاطات مؤثرة على أسواق النفط العالمية تثبت مقولة إيران بأن نفط الخليج لن يكون متاحاً ما لم تصدر إيران نفطها، مع إطلاق مبهر لصفقة القرن يقف فيه رئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو، الذي وضعت واشنطن كل ثقلها لتمكينه من البقاء قوياً، ويقف مثله رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية ومعهما الرئيس الأميركي وقادة الخليج لإعلان نهاية القضية الفلسطينية، وجنباً إلى جنب كان السعي لهدنة طويلة بين حماس وجيش الاحتلال في غزة، تدعمه مجموعة إغراءات اقتصادية، يحيّد أي تأثير لقدرات المقاومة عن إمكانية تعطيل صفقة القرن.

– اليوم يقف الأميركيون أمام لحظة الاستحقاق، فيكتشفون أنهم يحصدون الفشل الاستراتيجي على الرهانين الكبيرين، العقوبات القاتلة على إيران دون تمكينها من العودة للتخصيب المرتفع ودون تبعات على أسواق النفط، من جهة، وإطلاق صفقة القرن بالتزامن بغطاء فلسطيني وحضور إسرائيلي قويّ، من جهة مقابلة. فالرهانان يسقطان سقوطاً مدوياً. العقوبات التي يحتاج الأميركيون لسنتين كي يبدأ حصادها السياسي تنتج مسارات وتحديات تضع الأميركيين امام استحقاقات كبرى سقفها ستة شهور مقبلة، تكون معها أسواق النفط تشتعل في ظل تحوّل المناخ الدولي للوساطة بين واشنطن وطهران، وتكون إيران قد امتلكت من اليورانيوم المخصب على درجة عالية ما يكفي لإنتاج قنبلة نووية في ظل تفهم روسي وصيني وارتباك أوروبي، وبالتوازي يشهدون إجماعاً فلسطينياً على رفض صفقة القرن، وتهاوياً إسرائيلياً سياسياً، يجعلان المشروع عاجزاً عن الإقلاع.

– الفشل الاستراتيجي الأميركي يمنح إيران وقوى المقاومة تفوقاً تكتيكياً. فالمواجهة أظهرت المكانة المميّزة التي تمكن أنصار الله من احتلالها في مشهد الخليج، بصورة ربطت أي تهدئة بتسوية تحفظ مطالب اليمنيين ومكانتهم، والتحالف الروسي السوري الإيراني مع قوى المقاومة ينجز تفوقاً في إدلب، ويجعل ساعة الحسم في سورية أقرب، فتتراجع الأوهام الأميركية حول قدرة البقاء في شرق سورية حتى ساعة المقايضة بين الانسحاب وانسحاب موازٍ لإيران وقوى المقاومة.

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Convenient “Tanker Attacks” as US Seeks War with Iran

June 13, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO)

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. 

– Brookings Institution, “Which Path to Persia?” 2009 

For the second time since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal, Western reports of “suspected attacks” on oil tankers near the Stait of Hormuz have attempted to implicate Iran.

The London Guardian in an article titled, “Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman,” would claim:

Two oil tankers have been hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman and the crews evacuated, a month after a similar incident in which four tankers in the region were struck.

The article also claimed:

Gulf tensions have been close to boiling point for weeks as the US puts “maximum economic pressure” on Tehran in an attempt to force it to reopen talks about the 2015 nuclear deal, which the US pulled out of last year. 

Iran has repeatedly said it has no knowledge of the incidents and did not instruct any surrogate forces to attack Gulf shipping, or Saudi oil installations.

The Guardian would admit that “investigations” into the previous alleged attacks in May carried out by the UAE found “sophisticated mines” were used, but fell short of implicating Iran as a culprit.

The article would note US National Security Advisor John Bolton would – without evidence – claim that Iran “was almost certainly involved.”

All Too Convenient 

This news of “attacked” oil tankers near the Stait of Hormuz blamed by the US on Iran – comes all too conveniently on the heels of additional steps taken by Washington to pressure Iran’s economy and further undermine the Iranian government.

The US just recently ended waivers for nations buying Iranian oil. Nations including Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China, and India will now face US sanctions if they continue importing Iranian oil.

Coincidentally, one of ships “attacked” this week was carrying “Japan-related cargo,” the Guardian would report.

Also convenient was the US’ recent designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) just ahead of this series of provocations attributed to Iran.

AP in a May 2019 article titled, “President Trump Warns Iran Over ‘Sabotaged’ Oil Tankers in Gulf,” would claim:

Four oil tankers anchored in the Mideast were damaged by what Gulf officials described as sabotage, though satellite images obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday showed no major visible damage to the vessels.

Two ships allegedly were Saudi, one Emirati, and one Norwegian. The article also claimed:

A U.S. official in Washington, without offering any evidence, told the AP that an American military team’s initial assessment indicated Iran or Iranian allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships.

And that:

The U.S. already had warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region. America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran. 

This more recent incident will likely be further exploited by the US to continue building up its military forces in the region, applying pressure on Iran, and moving the entire globe closer toward war with Iran.

The US has already arrayed its forces across the Middle East to aid in ongoing proxy wars against Iran and its allies as well as prepare for conventional war with Tehran itself.

All of this amounts to a renewed push toward a more direct conflict between the United States and Iran after years of proxy war in Syria Washington-backed forces have decisively lost.

It is also a continuation of long-standing US foreign policy regarding Iran put into motion over a decade ago and carried out by each respective presidency since.

Washington’s Long-Standing Plans 

Continued sanctions and the elimination of waivers are part of Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the “Iran Nuclear Deal.” The deal was signed in 2015 with the US withdrawing in 2018.

While the decision is portrayed as political differences between former US President Barack Obama and current US President Donald Trump – in reality – the plan’s proposal, signing, and then withdrawal from by the US was planned in detail as early as 2009 as a means of justifying long sought-after war with Iran.

In their 2009 paper, “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF), the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution would first admit the complications of US-led military aggression against Iran (emphasis added):

...any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. 

The paper then lays out how the US could appear to the world as a peacemaker and depict Iran’s betrayal of a “very good deal” as the pretext for an otherwise reluctant US military response (emphasis added):

The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offerone so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.

And from 2009 onward, this is precisely what the United States set out to achieve.

First with President Obama’s signing of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, up to and including President Trump’s attempts to backtrack from it based on fabricated claims Iran failed to honor the agreement.

The 2009 policy paper also discussed “goading” Iran into war, claiming (emphasis added):

With provocation, the international diplomatic and domestic political requirements of an invasion [of Iran] would be mitigated, and the more outrageous the Iranian provocation (and the less that the United States is seen to be goading Iran), the more these challenges would be diminished. In the absence of a sufficiently horrific provocation, meeting these requirements would be daunting.

Unmentioned directly, but also an obvious method for achieving Washington’s goal of provoking war with Iran would be the US simply staging an “Iranian provocation” itself.

As the US had done in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident, or US fabrications regardings “weapons of mass destruction” Washington claimed Iraq held in its possession, the US has a clear track record of not just simply provoking provocations, but staging them itself.

The Brookings paper even admits to the unlikelihood of Iran falling into Washington’s trap, lamenting (emphasis added):

…it is certainly the case that if Washington sought such a provocation, it could take actions that might make it more likely that Tehran would do so (although being too obvious about this could nullify the provocation). However, since it would be up to Iran to make the provocative move, which Iran has been wary of doing most times in the past, the United States would never know for sure when it would get the requisite Iranian provocation. In fact, it might never come at all.

The alleged sabotaging of oil tankers off the shore of the UAE in May and now additional “attacks” this month could be the beginning of a series of staged provocations aimed at leveraging the recent listing of the IRGC as a “terrorist organization” coupled with increased economic pressure as a result of US sanctions re-initiated after the US’ own withdrawal from the Iran Deal.

Synergies Toward War 

The US has already attempted to leverage allegations in May of “Iranian sabotage” to further build its case against Iran. Washington hopes that either war – or at least the impending threat of war – coupled with crippling economic sanctions, and continued support of political and armed sedition within Iran itself will create the synergies required for dividing and destroying Iran’s political order.

In a wider regional context, the US has seen political losses particularly in Iraq where Iranian influence has been on the rise. Militarily, US-backed proxy forces have been defeated in Syria with Iran and Russia both establishing permanent and significant footholds there.

Despite the setbacks, the success of Washington’s designs against Tehran still depends mainly on America’s ability to offer political and economic incentives coupled with equally effective threats to friend and foe alike – in order to isolate Iran.

How likely this is to succeed remains questionable – decades of US sanctions, covert and overt aggression, as well as proxy wars have left Iran resilient and with more influence across the region now than ever. Still, Washington’s capacity for sowing regional destruction or dividing and destroying Iran should not be underestimated.

The intentional creation of – then withdrawal from the Iran Deal, the US’ persistent military presence in the Middle East, and sanctions aimed at Iran all indicate that US policymakers remain dedicated isolating and undermining Iran. It will continue to do so until its geopolitical goals are met, or until a new international order creates conditions in the Middle East and throughout the global economy making US regime change against Iran impossible.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

ماذا سيفعل الأميركيون لضمان أسواق النفط؟

يونيو 14, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– ليس من إثبات قانوني على مسؤولية إيران عن أي من الحوادث التي تصيب سوق النفط وتتسبب بالمزيد من التدهور في استقراره والمزيد من الصعود في أسعاره، لكن الأكيد أن ما تشهده منطقة الخليج من حوادث تستهدف سوق النفط يتمّ على خلفية النظر إلى مشهد التوتر الناتج عن الاستهداف الأميركي لقدرة إيران على تصدير نفطها من جهة، والرد الإيراني القائم على معادلة، إذا لم نستطع تصدير نفطنا فإن غيرنا لن يستطيع ذلك أيضاً، والعالم كله ينظر للتصعيد القائم الآن وفقاً لمعادلة أبعد من كيف تثبت واشنطن قوتها، أو كيف تردّ واشنطن على ما تتهم إيران به، فالسؤال الكبير دولياً هو مَن يضمن عودة الاستقرار إلى سوق النفط وإلى أسعاره؟

– إذا سلكت واشنطن طريق الاستهداف العسكري المباشر أو غير المباشر، الضيّق والمحدود أو الأوسع، فإن ذلك سيعني تصاعد الوضع أكثر واستدراج ردود على الردود من نوعها، مباشرة أو غير مباشرة، محدودة أو واسعة النطاق، لكن الأكيد هو أن سوق النفط ستبلغ المزيد من الاضطراب والأسعار ستبلغ المزيد من السقوف العالية، وإذا سلكت واشنطن طريق التجاهل واكتفت بالتحذير والسعي لردود دبلوماسيّة، فإن ذلك يقول إن الخط البياني للأحداث التي استهدفت سوق النفط سيتصاعد وبات هو الحاكم المسيطر على معادلات هذا السوق، وعنوانها، إن لم تستطع إيران تصدير نفطها فإن غيرها لن يستطيع.

– بالتوازي تتبقى ثلاثة أسابيع أمام نهاية مهلة الستين يوماً التي ستبادر إيران بنهايتها إلى التخصيب المرتفع لليورانيوم والتخزين لليورانيوم المخصب، وصولاً لامتلاك ما قالت واشنطن ودول الغرب إنه نقطة الخطر، اي امتلاك إيران ما يكفي لإنتاج أول قنبلة نووية، رغم قرارها بعدم فعل ذلك. والسؤال الموازي ماذا ستفعل واشنطن عندها، أو ماذا ستفعل واشنطن قبلها لمنع بلوغ تلك اللحظة، وبمعزل عن المسؤوليات القانونية التي لا تفيد في مثل هذه الحالات تواجه واشنطن أخطر اختبار لمشهد قوتها على الساحة الدولية حيث تبدو كل الخيارات صعبة، ويبدو الزمن الذي تحتاجه واشنطن لاختبار فعالية إجراءاتها الاقتصادية التصعيدية بوجه إيران أكبر بكثير من الزمن الذي وضعت فيه طهران واشنطن أمام اللحظات الحرجة لضمان استقرار سوق النفط ومواجهة مستقبل ملفها النووي.

– الطريق السالك الوحيد أمام واشنطن لتفادي الأسوأ هو استغلال الوقت المتبقي قبل دخول مهلة الستين يوماً حيّز التنفيذ في الشق النووي، والذهاب إلى قمة العشرين في نهاية الشهر الحالي بخريطة طريق، لتأجيل متبادل أميركي وإيراني للحزمة الأخيرة من الخطوات التصعيديّة لستة شهور تمنح خلالها الوساطات الفرص المناسبة للوصول إلى مبادرات سياسية بديلة. وهذا يعني تراجع واشنطن عن كل ما صدر عنها من عقوبات منذ نهاية شهر نيسان الماضي عندما قامت بإلغاء الاستثناءات الممنوحة على شراء النفط والغاز من إيران لثماني دول، وما تلاها من عقوبات على المعادن والبتروكيماويات الإيرانية، مقابل تراجع إيران عن مهلة الستين يوماً، وتوصل الدول المعنية لضمانات للتعاون في منع أي استهداف لأسواق النفط، وسيتلقف الروس والصينيّون والأوروبيّون واليابانيّون هذه المبادرة وتتجاوب معها إيران، التي كان مدخل خيارها التصعيدي التصعيد الأميركي الجديد.

– تبريد التصعيد سيفتح الطريق للبحث عن سقوف منخفضة لتسويات واقعية في سورية واليمن بعيداً عن المطالب الأميركية الوهمية والخيالية. ويفتح طريق تجميد النزاع حول الملف النووي الذي لا يزعج إيران خروج واشنطن منه ولا يريح واشنطن عودتها إليه، ويصعب على الطرفين التنازل في بنوده، وإلا فإن الرعونة الأميركية التي كانت وراء الخطوات الأخيرة في التصعيد تحتاج لخريطة طريق نحو الحرب والفوز بها، وادعاء واشنطن بامتلاكها كذبة ستفضحها كل محاولة للعب بالنار في منطقة تقف على برميل بارود، ربما تكون كلفة الحروب فيه أعلى بكثير من كلفة التسويات، مع فارق أن بين خاسر وخاسر سيختلف الوضع كثيراً. فهناك مَن سيخسر مكانته العالمية كحال أميركا ووجوده كحال «إسرائيل» ونظام حكمه كحال أنظمة الخليج، فوق الخسائر البشرية والمادية المؤلمة التي سيتساوى فيها مع إيران وحلفائها.

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من يقف وراء استهداف ناقلتي النفط… وما هي الآفاق؟

يونيو 14, 2019

حسن حردان

في لحظة اجتماع رئيس الوزراء الياباني شينزو آبي مع مرشد الثورة الإسلامية في إيران الإمام علي الخامنئي ناقلاً رسالة من الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب في محاولة لإقناع طهران بالتفاوض مع واشنطن لإنهاء التوتر الحاصل، والذي افتعلته إدارة ترامب بانسحابها من الاتفاق النووي والتنكّر لتوقيع واشنطن عليه، دوّت انفجارات قوية متتالية في بحر عُمان بعد استهداف ناقلتي نفط عملاقتين محمّلتين بالخام، وشبّت حرائق هائلة على متن الناقلتين المستهدفتين، وهما من الناقلات العملاقة التي تحمل النفط الخام من الخليج…

وقد طرح ذلك التساؤلات حول الجهة التي تقف وراء استهداف الناقلتين، والأهداف التي تسعى إليها، هل هي لإحباط الوساطات الدولية الجارية من أكثر من طرف غربي بين طهران وواشنطن، لا سيما أنّ هذه الوساطات تأتي بناء على رغبة وطلب ترامب…

من الواضح أنّ إيران ليس لها مصلحة في القيام بمثل هذا الهجوم ضدّ ناقلات النفط، لا سيما أنها في وضع مريح في الصراع الدائر بينها وبين الولايات المتحدة، فهي متيقنة من أنّ واشنطن لا تجرؤ على شنّ الحرب عليها، ولهذا تراجع مناخ التهديد بالحرب، وقد عكست ذلك مواقف ترامب التي وضعت حداً لخطاب الحرب الذي كان يروّج له مستشاره للأمن القومي جون بولتون، وفي نفس الوقت تبيّن عدم قدرة واشنطن على تصفير صادرات إيران النفطية.. في ظلّ قرار صيني روسي حازم بالاستمرار في شراء النفط الإيراني، وإعلان اليابان عبر مسؤول في شركة كوزمو اليابانية يوم الاثنين الماضي أنها بدأت باستيراد أول شحنة من النفط الإيراني وشحن 850 ألف برميل من النفط الخام بما فيه 200 ألف برميل من النفط الخفيف و650 ألف برميل من النفط الثقيل…

وقد أعلنت شركة «إس آند بي غلوبال» الأميركية مؤخراً انّ البنوك اليابانية حصلت علي التراخيص اللازمة لاستئناف صفقات شراء النفط الإيراني.. والمعلومات تشير إلى أنّ الناقلتين اللتين استهدفتا تحملان شحنات نفط متجهة إلى اليابان… ما يؤكد أنّ استهداف الناقلتين إنما هو لإحباط جهود اليابان ومعاقبتها على استئناف شراء النفط الإيراني ودورها في التوسط بين واشنطن وطهران.. لهذا فإنّ الجهة التي تقف وراء ضرب الناقلتين متضرّرة من هذه التطورات التي تصبّ في مصلحة موقف إيران الذي يرفض تقديم التنازلات لواشنطن وتصرّ على رفض أيّ تفاوض مع الولايات المتحدة بعد أن خرجت على الاتفاق النووي ولم يعد بالإمكان الوثوق بها، فيما المطلوب أولاً ان تعود واشنطن إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق والتراجع عن فرض العقوبات الاقتصادية ضدّ إيران قبل الحديث عن أيّ تفاوض..

وإذا ما دققنا بالجهات المتضرّرة من التطورات الجارية في مصلحة إيران وتراجع خطاب الحرب في واشنطن، يأتي في المقدّمة كيان العدو الصهيوني الذي يقف بالأصل ضدّ الاتفاق النووي وعمل في ما بعد عبر اللوبي الصهيوني في واشنطن والمحافظين الجدد على ممارسة الضغوط على إدارة ترامب للانسحاب من الاتفاق وهو ما حصل…

كما يأتي في المرتبة التالية دعاة الحرب في واشنطن الذين يعارضون سياسة ترامب في التفاوض مع إيران… وقد تكون السعودية أيضاً لها مصلحة في استهداف الناقلتين، فهي منخرطة في السياسة الإسرائيلية لتوجيه البوصلة من العداء ضدّ كيان العدو الصهيوني إلى العداء ضدّ الجمهورية الإسلامية الايرانية، لا سيما أنّ المسؤولين في الرياض يشعرون بالخيبة من توجهات ترامب بعد تفجيرات ناقلات النفط في ميناء الفجيرة، بعدم الذهاب إلى التصعيد ضدّ ايران وتهيئة المناخ لشنّ الحرب ضدّها..

غير أنّ الاستهداف الجديد لناقلات النفط أكد مجدّداً الحاجة الغربية الأميركية للتهدئة مع إيران وقطع الطريق على الجهات التي تسعى إلى التصعيد لما لذلك من مخاطر تهدّد إمدادات النفط من الخليج وباب المندب إلى دول العالم التي تستورد نحو 20 بالمئة من احتياجاتها النفطية من المنطقة.. ومثل هذا الأمر يصبّ بالتأكيد في مصلحة إيران التي أكدت أكثر من مرة أنه لا يمكن السماح بوقف تصدير نفطها وبقاء الآخرين يصدّرون نفطهم..

لكن إلى أين تتجه الأمور؟

كلّ المعطيات تؤشر إلى عدم ترجيح خيار الحرب لأن لا واشنطن تريد الإقدام عليها بسبب كلفتها الباهظة وتداعياتها على المصالح والنفوذ الأميركي في المنطقة إلى جانب أنها ستؤدّي إلى وقف إمدادات النفط واشتعال أسعاره بشكل جنوني.. وفي المقابل فإنّ خيار التفاوض بين طهران وواشنطن احتمالاته ضعيفة جداً اذا لم يكن مستبعداً لأنّ طهران لن تقبل العودة إلى التفاوض أقله قبل أن تعود واشنطن إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق النووي وما يتضمّنه من التزامات، فيما إدارة ترامب ترفض ذلك وتسعى إلى التفاوض لتعديل الاتفاق عدا أنّ ترامب ليس له مصلحة في التراجع عن هذا الموقف لأنه سيعتبر فشلاً كبيراً لسياساته وهزيمة أمام إيران ويؤدّي إلى خسارته دعم وتأييد اللوبي الصهيوني في الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة التي يطمح فيها للفوز بولاية ثانية… ولهذا فإنّ المرجح أن يبقى الصراع بين إيران والولايات المتحدة تحت سقف لا حرب ولا تفاوض… وبالتالي بقاء التوتر والصراع بوسائل غير مباشرة وعبر الضغوط الاقتصادية التي تمارسها واشنطن ضدّ طهران على الرغم من أنها لن تفلح في دفع القيادة الإيرانية إلى التراجع قيد أنملة عن مواقفها الرفضة لأيّ شروط وإملاءات أميركية…

كاتب وإعلامي

Blast Hits Two Oil Tankers in Gulf of Oman, Iran Rescues All 44 Crew Members of Tankers Hit In Sea Of Oman

tank

Blast Hits Two Oil Tankers in Gulf of Oman

June 13, 2019

Iranian rescue workers saved 44 sailors from tankers after a reported attack on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, and took them to the Iranian port of Jask, the state-run IRNA news agency reported on Thursday.

The US Navy’s 5th Fleet also said that it was assisting the two oil tankers targeted in a “reported attack”, after the vessels sent disstress calls.

It was not immediately clear who attacked the vessels, one of which has been identified as Front Altair, a crude oil tanker owned by Norway’s Frontline and carrying the flag of the Marshall Islands.

According to shipping newspaper Tradewinds, Frontline’s oil tanker had been “torpedoed” off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah.

Taiwan’s energy firm CPC said it had suspicions that Front Altair, which was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, was hit by an unknown onject.

Meanwhile, shipping company Bernhard Schulte said that its oil tanker Kokuka Courageous was also damaged in the incident. Kokuka was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Singapore with a cargo of methanol.

“The hull has been breached above the water line on the starboard side,” the company said in a statement. “All crew are reported safe and only one minor injury reported.”

Earlier in the day, Iran’s Press TV said that two successive blasts affected two oil tankers on Thursday morning in what it described as “attacks”.

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet quoted Oman authorities as saying that at least one tanker had been attacked in Iran’s territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman.

Brent crude climbed 4.5 per cent in the wake of the reports.

Meanwhile, the UK Maritime Trade Operations, a maritime safety group run by the Royal Navy, has warned about an unspecified incident in the Gulf of Oman between the Emirate of Fujairah and Iran’s coast. The group urged “extreme caution”, given the ongoing tensions in the region between the United States and Iran, and said that an investigation is underway.

It comes a month after another apparent attack on vessels in the Gulf. On 12 May, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Emirati and one Norwegian — were targeted off the coast of Fujairah in what the UAE Foreign Ministry described as acts of sabotage.

The three countries whose ships were damaged said in a joint statement that limped mines had been placed in a “sophisticated and coordinated operation” by divers. The UAE suggested that it was likely the work of a “state actor” but stop short of identifying the culprit.

US officials, however, were quick to point the finger at Iran.

Tehran has denied any involvement and called for an investigation.

Source: Iranian Agencies

Iran Rescues All 44 Crew Members of Tankers Hit In Sea Of Oman

By Staff, Agencies

Iran assisted members of two oil tankers hit by yet unspecified accidents in the Sea of Oman, transferring all of their 44 staff to its southern shores.

An informed source said an Iranian rescue vessel had picked up the 23 crew members of one of the tankers and 21 of the other from the sea and had brought them to safety at Iran’s Jask, in the southern Hormozgan Province, IRNA reported on Thursday.

Earlier, media reports said explosions had occurred on the two oil tankers, apparently as a result of attacks.

The source, whose name and affiliation were not disclosed, said one of the vessels caught fire at 08:50 am Iranian time on Thursday and the second one at 09:50.

Details about the incidents are still sketchy, but the ships are known to have sent distress signals to nearby ports and vessels.

While the US Navy claimed it had been assisting the tankers, the Iranian rescue vessel was first to reach them and rescue the crew, who had plunged into and were floating on the sea to avoid the fire.

Why Trump now wants talks with Iran

June 05, 2019

Why Trump now wants talks with Iran

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

 

If Tehran blocks the Strait of Hormuz it could send the price of oil soaring and cause a global recession

Iranian soldiers take part in National Persian Gulf Day in the Strait of Hormuz on April 30, 2019. There is concern about a blockade of the Strait and the disastrous impact that could have on the price of oil and world financial markets. Photo: AFP / Atta Kenare

Unlike Deep Purple’s legendary ‘Smoke on the Water’ – “We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline”, the 67th Bilderberg group meetings produced no fire and no smoke at the luxurious Fairmont Le Montreux Palace Hotel.

The 130 elite guests had a jolly good – and theoretically quiet – time at the self-billed “informal discussion forum concerning major issues”. As usual, at least two-thirds were European decision-makers, with the rest coming from North America.

The fact that a few major players in this Atlanticist Valhalla are closely associated with or directly interfering with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel – the central bank of central banks – is of course just a minor detail.

The major issue discussed this year was “A Stable Strategic Order”, a lofty endeavor that can be interpreted either as the making of a New World Order or just a benign effort by selfless elites to guide mankind to enlightenment.

Other items of discussion were way more pragmatic – from “The Future of Capitalism”, to “Russia”, “China”, “Weaponizing Social Media”, “Brexit”, “What’s Next for Europe”, “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence” and last but not least, “Climate Change”.

Disciples of Antisthenes would argue that these items constitute precisely the nuts and bolts of the New World Order.

The chairman of Bilderberg’s steering committee, since 2012, is Henri de Castries, former CEO of AXA and the director of the Institut Montaigne, a top French think tank.

One of the key guests this year was Clement Beaune, the European and G20 counselor to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Bilderberg prides itself for enforcing the Chatham House Rule, according to which participants are free to use all the precious information they wish because those who attend these meetings are bound to not disclose the source of any sensitive information or what exactly was said.

That helps ensure Bilderberg’s legendary secrecy – the reason for myriad conspiracy theories. But that does not mean that the odd secret may not be revealed.

The Castries/Beaune axis provides us with the first open secret of 2019. It was Castries at the Institut Montaigne who “invented” Macron – that perfect lab experiment of a mergers and acquisitions banker serving the establishment by posing as a progressive.

A Bilderberg source discreetly let it be known that the result of the recent European parliamentary elections was interpreted as a victory. After all, the final choice was between a neoliberal/Green alliance and Right populism; nothing to do with progressive values.

The Greens who won in Europe – contrary to the US Greens – are all humanitarian imperialists, to quote the splendid neologism coined by Belgian physicist Jean Bricmont. And they all pray on the politically correct altar. What matters, from Bilderberg’s perspective, is that the European Parliament will continue to be run by a pseudo-Left that keeps defending the destruction of the nation-state.

Just like Castries and his pupil Macron.

The derivatives clock is ticking

Image: Wikipedia

The great Bilderberg secret of 2019 had to do with why, suddenly, the Trump administration has decided that it wants to talk to Iran “with no preconditions”.

It all has to do with the Strait of Hormuz. Blocking the Strait could cut off oil and gas from Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Iran – 20% of the world’s oil. There has been some debate on whether this could occur – whether the US Fifth Fleet, which is stationed nearby, could stop Tehran doing this and if Iran, which has anti-ship missiles on its territory along the northern border of the Persian Gulf, would go that far.

An American source said a series of studies hit President Trump’s desk and caused panic in Washington. These showed that in the case of the Strait of Hormuz being shut down, whatever the reason, Iran has the power to hammer the world financial system, by causing global trade in derivatives to be blown apart.

The Bank for International Settlements said last year that the “notional amount outstanding for derivatives contracts” was $542 trillion, although the gross market value was put at just $12.7 trillion. Others suggest it is $1.2 quadrillion or more.

 

An Iranian Navy warship is seen in the Strait of Hormuz on April 30, amid talk that Tehran may block the Strait if relations with the US plunge further. Photo: AFP / Atta Kenare

Tehran has not voiced this “nuclear option” openly. And yet General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force and a Pentagon bête noire, evoked it in internal Iranian discussions. The information was duly circulated to France, Britain and Germany, the EU-3 members of the Iran nuclear deal (or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), also causing a panic.

Oil derivative specialists know well that if the flow of energy in the Gulf is blocked it could lead to the price of oil reaching $200 a barrel, or much higher over an extended period. Crashing the derivatives market would create an unprecedented global depression. Trump’s former Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin should know as much.

And Trump himself seems to have given the game away. He’s now on the record essentially saying that Iran has no strategic value to the US. According to the American source: “He really wants a face-saving way to get out of the problem his advisers Bolton and Pompeo got him into. Washington now needs a face-saving way out. Iran is not asking for meetings. The US is.”

And that brings us to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s long, non-scheduled stop in Switzerland, on the Bilderberg’s fringes, just because he’s a “big cheese and chocolate fan”, in his own words.

Yet any well-informed cuckoo clock would register he badly needed to assuage the fears of the trans-Atlantic elites, apart from his behind-closed-doors meetings with the Swiss, who are representing Iran in communications with Washington. After weeks of ominous threats to Iran, the US said “no preconditions” would be set on talks with Tehran, and this was issued from Swiss soil.

China draws its lines in the sand

Bilderberg could not escape discussing China. Geo-poetic justice rules that virtually at the same time, China was delivering a powerful message – to East and West – at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

The Shangri-La dialogue is Asia’s top annual security forum, and unlike Bilderberg, held like clockwork at the same hotel in Singapore’s Orchard Road. As much as Bilderberg, Shangri-La discusses “relevant security issues”.

A case can be made that Bilderberg frames the discussions as in the recent cover story of a French weekly, owned by a Macron-friendly oligarch, titled “When Europe Ruled the World”. Shangri-La instead discusses the near future – when China may be actually ruling the world.

Beijing sent a top-of-the-line delegation to this year’s forum, led by Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe. And on Sunday, General Wei laid down China’s unmistakable red lines; a stern warning to “external forces” dreaming of independence for Taiwan, and the “legitimate right” for Beijing to expand man-made islands in the South China Sea.

By then everyone had forgotten what Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan had said the day before, accusing Huawei to be too close to Beijing and posing a security risk to the “international community”.

General Wei also found time to rip Shanahan to shreds. “Huawei is a private company, not a military company… Just because the head of Huawei used to serve in the army, does not mean his company is a part of the military. That doesn’t make sense.”

Shangri-La is at least transparent. As for Bilderberg, there won’t be any leaks on what the Masters of the Universe told Western elites about the profitability of pursuing the war on terror; the drive toward total digitalization of cash; total rule of genetically modified organisms; and how climate change will be weaponized.

At least the Pentagon has made no secret, even before Shangri-La, that Russia and China must be contained at all costs – and the European vassals must toe the line.

Henry Kissinger was a 2019 Bilderberg participant. Rumors that he spent all his time breathlessly plugging his “reverse Nixon” – seduce Russia to contain China – may be vastly overstated.

Former French Diplomat: Israeli Leaders Want Washington to Engage on Their Behalf in a “Proxy” Military Adventure Against Iran

ST

Created on Friday, 24 May 2019 20:52

(ST)– As a businessman lost in a foreign land, Trump doesn’t care about the art of diplomacy and is unable to have any empathy with the aspirations and feelings of other countries, according to the former French diplomat Prof. Michel Raimbaud, who believes that the “unpredictable President” proved to have adopted as a guideline number one at least for the beginning of his mandate “to destroy everything that Obama was proud of” and considered to be the bulk of his work, externally as well as internally, including the lessening of the conflict with Iran.

The veteran diplomat told the Syria Times e-newspaper: “Any state is good if buying American arms, and bad if refusing to do so or resisting the pressures or the interests of Washington. On this basis, Iran, deeply involved in the Syrian conflict and supporting the legal government along with the Hezbollah, is a Devil belonging to the Axe of Resistance, and having a “strategic” partnership with Russia.

Last but not least, Iran is of course perceived in the States as being a pitiless enemy of Israel.”

 

He pointed out that all the reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) do certify that Teheran has perfectly complied with the obligations imposed by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

A crazy story

Nevertheless, Trump’s administration decided on the 8th of May 2019 to withdraw from the Treaty and impose drastic economic sanctions on Iran, accused of developing a ballistic and atomic Program, under the pretext that the Islamic Republic itself had withdrawn (in retaliation).

“For a couple of weeks, America repeatedly threatened to come to War and managed to escalate the political and military tensions in the region. Let’s read to Trump’s tweets or listen to statements by high-ranking US officials (National Security Advisor John Bolton and State Secretary Mark Pompeo to begin with)…There is no doubt that America poses a threat to Iran and to the region at large, and not vice versa,” Prof. Raimbaud said.

He went on to say: “Trump now declares that he wants to negotiate with Iran, expecting the phone call from the Iranian leadership begging for negotiation. That’s a crazy story, but also a perfect illustration of the Nixon/Kissinger “Madman theory” which inspires – as I have noted very often – the neoconservative power in Washington in its comprehensive policy all over the planet and more specifically in the Arab and Muslim World (America must project abroad the impression that a part of its leadership consists of mad and unpredictable persons, in order to frighten and terrorize the enemies).”

He indicated that a single glance at the map of the Middle East provides the answer to the following question: “Does Iran pose a threat to the United States?”

“The Iranian Territory is physically surrounded and besieged by a dense and tight network of US bases, located in neighboring countries (including Turkey, a NATO member). And we must refer to the omnipresence of Israel in the region, as the real “Beating Heart” of the United States.”

“On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, thousands and thousands of miles away from the Middle East, have a look at the American borders or anywhere on the “new Continent  and you will search in vain to discover any trace of Iranian military presence.”

The professor, in addition, affirmed that the U.S. is responsible for the tensions and the danger of Global War for the time being.

“For the many “experts” who pretend to have some doubts about the real responsibility in the tensions and the danger of Global War for the time being, in the Middle East and elsewhere, I will recall that at least one gross third, if not fifty per cent, of the military expenses in the World, must be attributed to the United States of America,” he stated.

The diplomat added: “All the strategy supporters and blind allies of America should be conscious of this reality, but I am sure that they are…It is the case for Gulf monarchies and…. of course, Israel.”

He made it clear that the relationship between Iran and America until the Fall of the Shah could be qualified as “a strategic partnership against communism”, but the situation was radically disrupted with the advent of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and the assault on the American Embassy in Teheran. Since then, the atmosphere between the two countries has remained very stormy and disturbed for the last forty years.

“In this context, the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) in July 2015, commonly known as the “Nuclear Treaty” between Teheran and the Six (US, UK, Germany, France, Russia and China) had slackened the tensions with the western Partners, this appeasement being searched by Obama for ambiguous reasons. The election of Donald Trump after a campaign very aggressive against Iran marked the re-starting-point of the ongoing wave of American hostility,” Prof. Raimbaud stressed.

He referred to the fact that Trump quickly understood that he wouldn’t be in a position to govern without integrating into his staff eminent representatives of the neoconservative “Deep State”, such as John Bolton…, in spite of their frank opposition to his electoral promises or commitments.

In a response to a question about the reason behind Israel’s silence amid growing US-Iran tensions, the diplomat said: “The Israeli government (all the more with Netanyahu) used to have and has got until today many obsessions with all the neighbors, that are considered as potential enemies, beginning with Syria and Hezbollah and Iran. It is well known that the Israeli leaders are dreaming of triggering a War against Iran, one of the countries which feed their nightmare. Having succeeded to make some friends in the Gulf on the basis of a common obsession on an “Iranian danger”, they have done everything and exerted any kind of pressure and blackmail on Washington to engage on their behalf in a “proxy” military adventure against Iran. That’s what is at stake for the time being.”

He concluded by saying: “Right now onwards, why would Israel find it necessary to say something when the tension has reached its upper degree. Why to water your flowers when it is pouring down….?”

US wants to control all the oil in the world

In this context, the International criminal lawyer Christopher C. Black told us that Israel stays quiet because the US orders it to be quiet.

“The US wants to control all the oil in the world if it can and also it wants to control Iran because it brings them closer to encircling Russia,” he said.

Iran does prose a possible threat to US military in the Gulf region.

The Syrian American journalist Steven Sahiounie replied to our question about Israel’s silence by saying: “the Israeli occupation is quiet because they want to appear not involved, but in fact it was Israeli occupation who sent the photos to the US which claimed to show missiles on small boats for Iran.  When all the media wanted to see the photos, the US quickly said new photos showed the missiles were returned.  The US military could not afford to prove that their intelligence is coming from Israel, when everyone knows that Israel is capable of fabrications in order to promote war against Iran.  Israel has to be silent and maintain a low profile.”

He underscored that Iran does prose a possible threat to US military in the Gulf region.

“There is no indication that Iran would attack the US assets, unless Iran was attacked first.  Iran does not want war, but they want sanctions relief, and they know an attack will not help them, in fact it would harm them, so there is no incentive to attack,” the journalist concluded.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

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