Canada Ends Funding for Terror Linked ‘White Helmets’ -Tied to False Flag Gas Attacks in Syria

By VT Editors -April 22, 2021

From the Globe and Mail:

Canada has ended all funding to Syria’s famed White Helmets rescue group, with the final cut being the severance of $70 a month in stipends to 43 people who were left behind in a Jordanian refugee camp following a Canadian-led evacuation in the summer of 2018.

Canada has long been seen as one of the staunchest backers of the White Helmets, a group of civilians who earned global prominence by racing towards the front lines of Syria’s horrific civil war to try and rescue as many people as possible. The White Helmets have been credited with saving tens of thousands of lives, and the Canadian government has repeatedly boasted of the millions of dollars in annual aid it had provided to the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated group.

But Farouq Habib, deputy general manager of the White Helmets, told The Globe and Mail that Canadian funding of the organization – including specific funding for clearing mines and other unexploded ordnance, as well as money targeted at bringing more women into the organization – stopped at the end of 2019. Documents obtained by The Globe through an Access To Information request show Canadian support to the White Helmets was worth about $4-million per year, with final payments of just under $900,000 being made in March, 2020.

And now the real truth…

VT: We might also add that any NGO, and that means “non-governmental organization” that is paid by governments is 100% fake.  The White Helmets went past 100% as we will prove below.

FORGET OSCAR: GIVE THE WHITE HELMETS THE LENI RIEFENSTAHL AWARD FOR BEST WAR PROPAGANDA FILM

21st Century Wire

by Patrick HenningsonThis has to be historic low for Hollywood and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In your average lifetime, everyone will get their share of war propaganda films. In America, it’s a kind of sacred tradition, where Hollywood does the job of revisionism, paving over an otherwise uncomfortable history with a new coat of stain. It’s necessary – not just to make us feel better about ourselves, but also to cover-up any inconvenient truths and high crimes of the state.

To be honest, when I first heard about this film being promoted by Netflix, I wasn’t surprised at all because ever since the Syria conflict began in 2011, the establishment media has gone out of its way to falsely promote it as a “civil war”, and have used the NGO known as the White Helmets which calls itself the ‘Syria Civil Defense’, as its primary media protagonist in furthering that narrative.

The fact that a documentary about The White Helmets received an Oscar Award simply confirms what a glorious bubble the entertainment industry resides in, and how easy it is these days for a documentary film to used for the purposes of propaganda and made to reinforce a mainly US-UK foreign policy project.

To Hollywood, it’s a feel good documentary, designed to make us feel good about a dirty war in Syria. But this is a level of distortion and spin that would make even Joseph Goebbels’ head spin.

In his essay published at Global Research, Dr. T.P. Wilkinson explains the liberal obsession with cosmetic revisionism:

“The “wrong war” thesis is elemental to what Carroll Quigley called “liberal imperialism” in his history of the Anglo-American establishment.[2] Liberal imperialists, to which the faux gauche (the descendants of Fabianism) also belong, do not oppose empire. They simply want it to be more aesthetically appealing, and lost wars are most un-aesthetic. So what is the liberal imperialist’s answer to unappetizing military defeats? It is cosmetic surgery.”

Expensive war propaganda in Hollywood is nothing new. High profile films like Zero Dark ThirtyAmerican Sniper and Argo were all released to much fanfare. Each of them fulfilled a role in forming a more perfect American narrative, and in some cases completely rewrote history altogether. But these were meant to be theatrical releases so naturally there’s a generous dose of artistic license taken by the director. Nothing unusual there. It’s what Hollywood does. These films also had some distance between the present day and wars which had already lapsed.

A veneer of integrity is always important. Hollywood still purports to put a lot of currency in the truth. During this year’s Oscars, The New York Times ran a TV ad (above) for the first time since 2010 entitled, “The truth is. . .”

This campaign is meant to decry fake news and its ugly cousin ‘alternative facts’ to show what high standards the mainstream media has – which demonstrates the delusional world the in which the establishment exists.  Earlier this month, I wrote an exposé showing exactly how the New York Times has been America’s perennial leader in running fake news for the purposes of advancing a war agenda. It’s ironic that this advertisement would run on a night when an Oscar would be given to one of the most egregious propaganda films of all time.Last Sunday night, The White Helmets, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara, took home an Academy Award for best documentary short. Unlike Argo, or American Sniper, this was a film about a war which is happening now, but this was not a conventional documentary film. The footage was provided by a terrorist-affiliated NGO based in Turkey, operating in Syria, and who is primarily funded by the US State Dept, the British Foreign Office, the Netherlands, and other NATO member and Gulf states to the tune of over $150 million and whose chief remit is producing US-led Coalition propaganda images for mass media consumption. The film, funded and distributed by Netflix, seems to be an extension of that remit.

Watch the film’s trailer here.

Normally we think of documentaries as films that are supposed to speak truth to power, but this film does the opposite. It reinforces an Anglo-American establishment power structure responsible for one of the most violent, dirty wars in modern history. It reinforces a collection of lies placed on heavy rotation by the political and media establishments since the conflict began.

In every way, Syria is the wrong war. For the US and the UK, there’s much at stake – the legacies of two paradigmatic political figures, Barack Obama and David Cameron, along with the reputations of other architects of the west’s dirty war on Syria, like former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and British Foreign Minister William Hague. Back when the war was getting started, both Clinton and Hague were busy front-running their “Friends of Syria” whistle stop tour around the Middle East and Europe, securing Gulf cash commitments while grooming their hand-picked ‘opposition’ government in exile, holding court in various 5 star hotels in Paris, London and Istanbul. The US had tried this only a year earlier with Libya, and at the time in 2011-2012, they had every reason to believe that the Libyan formula could be repeated in Syria. Those hopes were dashed by early 2013, when it became apparent that Libya was officially a failed state. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of extremist foreign fighters and jihadi soldiers of fortune began pouring into Syria. It was an invasion. This was the West’s proxy army, ready to decapitate the government, dismember the state and destabilize the region – with the full blessing of Washington DC and its partners.

The Troika of Washington-London-Paris then doubled down by pouring billions of dollars in lethal weapons to various fighting groups laying in waiting in Turkey and Jordan, as well as those already active in Syria. There were a number of well-documented arrangements, but one of the most successful working models was for the CIA and its European NATO partners illegally supplying the weapons funnelled through Jordan and Turkey – and all paid for by Saudi, Qatari cash. All the while, the public were told by the US-led Coalition all of this was for the “moderate rebels” in Syria. These were meant to be the “freedom fighters” that Ronald Reagan referred to back in the 1980’s. As it turned out, these freedom fighters in Syria were a chip of the old block from the violent, psychopathic US-backed and CIA-trained paramilitary death squads which would wreak havoc and terrorise El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras. In Syria, they are much worse in fact, as they employed  a potent brand of warped, radical Salafi and Wahabist religious fervour as the central axis of their self-styled, Medieval nihilistic raison d’etre. Yes, these are the moderates, backed by the US, UK, France, Turkey, Germany, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, every other NATO member state, and of course, Israel, who has skill fully stayed out of the media firing line. It’s a collective project. Their mission: ‘regime change’ in Syria – to overthrow by force – the government in Damascus.

As dirty wars go, none is more filthy than this one. As the US and the UK are running point on public relations for this criminal enterprise, their big challenge has been selling it to their electorates. In order to justify the dirty war, a narrative has to be constructed and maintained. This requires a relentless negative public relations campaign demonizating the Syrian government and all of its agencies. The following talking points are therefore reinforced:

  1. Syria’s peaceful ‘Arab Spring’ uprising happened in 2011, and was violently squashed by the government.
  2. Assad is a brutal dictator, and is illegitimate.
  3. The Syrian government and its armed forces are deliberately killing their own people.
  4. The US-NATO and Gulf-backed armed ‘rebel’ opposition is legitimate.
  5. Syrian and Russian Airforce are only killing civilians, and not militant and terrorists.
  6. Terrorists do not exist in Syria, only “moderate rebels” and Syrians ‘fighting for freedom’.
  7. Therefore, Assad must be removed from power and replaced with a US-approved government.

Add to this, the entrance of Russia in the fall of 2015 at the lawful invitation of Damascus, and Russia can now be added to the demonization campaign.

These talking points are then repeated and recycled, over and over, and held up as justification for US-led, crippling economic and diplomatic sanction against the Syrian state, and the destructive policy of flooding the region with arms. In the summer of 2014, an added bonus for the US was inserted into the mix – the emergence of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Sham). The appearance of ISIS allowed the US to fly air sorties over Syria, allegedly to fight ISIS, although after 3 years the US has produced little if any verifiable progress in ‘defeating’ ISIS. In truth, the US had hoped that ISIS, along with the other al Qaeda affiliates, would somehow do the job of destabilizing Syria and overthrowing the government of President Bashar al Assad in Damascus. Meanwhile, on-script western media operatives and politicians alike still referred to them as “rebels” and “armed opposition” – violent radical terrorist groups like Jabbat al Nusra (Nusra Front), Arar al Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zinki, Jaish al-Fatah (The Army of Conquest), along with some radical remnants of John McCain’s ‘Free Syrian Army’. This was all part of the public relations con.

But that wasn’t enough. Washington and London needed a face for the evening news. They needed to personalize the conflict in order to help maintain the illusion of a “civil war” in Syria. This is where the White Helmets come in. A merry band of men, comprised of “ordinary citizens, from bakers to teachers to painters,” all donning the White Helmets to save humanity in this moment of turmoil. Raed Saleh, the group’s spokesman says his organization is guided by a verse in the Qu’ran: “To save one life is to save all of humanity.” No doubt a beautiful line, but like so many aspects of the White Helmets – it’s been applied cosmetically. Who would dare be so insensitive as to challenge such a perfect story? For war planners in Washington and London, the White Helmets provided the PR cushion they needed to help sell a filthy proxy war to western audiences. By creating and managing their own ‘first responder’ NGO, the US, UK and its stakeholder partners have been able to leverage public sympathies – enough to keep the project going, until the war was either won or lost, or until someone caught on to the scam.


In his article in Counterpunch back in April 2015, Rick Sterling summarized the White Helmet roll-out and basic agenda:

“In reality the White Helmets is a project created by the UK and USA. Training of civilians in Turkey has been overseen by former British military officer and current contractor, James Le Mesurier. Promotion of the program is done by “The Syria Campaign” supported by the foundation of billionaire Ayman Asfari. The White Helmets is clearly a public relations project which has received glowing publicity from HuffPo to Nicholas Kristof at the NYT. White Helmets have been heavily promoted by the U.S. Institute of Peace (U.S.IP) whose leader began the press conference by declaring “U.S.IP has been working for the Syrian Revolution from the beginning.”

For the last 3 years, the White Helmets have existed for the singular purpose of producing thousands of propaganda segments – videos and images which reinforce the US-led foreign policy narrative for Syria. The brutal dictator Assad using his airforce against his own people, along with his evil Russian partners. Both are callously snuffing-out the fledging and therefore, the White Helmets’ primary financiers – the US State Dept (via USAID), the British Foreign Office, The Netherlands, along with other EU member states and Qatar. Since at least 2011, each of these nation stakeholders has had a vested interest in overthrowing the Syrian government and destabilizing Syria. In 2014, a number of independent researchers in the west began to catch the White Helmets’ unmistakable stench of dupery. Cory Morningstar’s article, “SYRIA: AVAAZ, PURPOSE & THE ART OF SELLING HATE FOR EMPIRE” (April 2014), and Rick Sterling’s piece for Counterpunch, “About Those Chlorine Gas Attacks in Syria,” and also the work of researcher Petri Krohn’s notable wiki site ‘A Closer Look at Syria‘ – first cracked the facade. They were followed by extensive investigations by Vanessa Beeley who has since produced a formidable volume of research and analysis on the White Helmets and other similar NGO projects, all of which are readily available on 21st Century Wire.

Any researcher working on a White Helmets documentary would have had access to all of this information, through a simple key word search.

Interestingly, mainstream media defenders of the White Helmets such as Michael Weiss, a senior fellow at NATO’s own propaganda think tank the Atlantic Council, as well as editor at the dubious Daily Beast, claim that criticism of the White Helmets is a Russian plot organized by Putin himself. Weiss’ conspiracy theory is expected considering his employer’s affiliation, but such typical hyperbolic accusations belie the fact that the first individuals to expose this pseudo NGO are not Russian, but rather independent writers and researchers from the US, Canada and Great Britain and why not – because it’s their tax dollars that is funding the White Helmets. It’s also worth noting that in December 2016 when the Nusra terrorist hold over East Aleppo was collapsing, it was Michael Weiss who is responsible for circulating bogus reports, including that women in East Aleppo were committing ‘mass suicide’ to avoid ‘mass rape’ by Assad’s soldiers. “Seventy-nine of them were executed at the barricades. The rest — everyone under 40 — were taken to warehouses that look more like internment camps. They face an unknown fate,” he said. “This morning 20 women committed suicide in order not to be raped.”

Weiss’ source for these sensational reports: terrorists in East Aleppo. This was just one of many fake news stories disseminated in the mainstream media. Weiss then went on to repeat the fabricated story to a global mainstream audience on CNN’s Don Lemon Show.

In reality, and according to countless first-hand on the ground eye witness testimonies collected by 21WIRE and other media outlets, as the Syrian Army began liberating East Aleppo, the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ promoted by Weiss and other western media operatives were using residents as human shields, and in some cases shooting residents who attempted to flee terrorist enclaves prior to government forces liberating the eastern half of the city.

With direct funding to the White Helmets from US-led Coalition countries already well in excess $150 million – international stakeholders expect a return on their investment. That return comes in the form of dramatic ‘search and rescue’ videos, some of which may have even been produced in Turkey, and which were then sent in  a highly coordinated fashion to the editorial desks of CNN, NBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian and others. At no time have any of these western or GCC-based ‘journalists’ ever queried the authenticity of the staged video and photographic productions supplied by the White Helmets. Mainly, their videos have been produced to promote a No Fly Zone, or ‘Safe Zones’ in Syria by creating the false impression that somehow Syrian and Russian air forces are targeting civilians in a Blitzkrieg fashion, using crude “barrel bombs”. Outside of the White Helmets propaganda, there is scant evidence of these ‘barrel bombs’ supposedly dropped by the ‘Assad Regime’ every day according to the White Helmets.

In the run-up to the White Helmets’ failed Nobel Peace Prize bid in October, CNN even went so far as to plant a fake story about a barrel bomb hitting a “White Helmets Center” in Damascus. Increasing attention has also meant that some people are beginning to question the group’s incredible claim at the time that it had somehow saved 60,000 lives since it started in late 2013. In one letter first published at Canadian Dimension, retired academic John Ryan, PhD, a retired professor of geography and senior scholar at the University of Winnipeg, challenged this narrative, saying:

“It is the White Helmets themselves who have claimed that they have rescued 60,000 civilians; this has not been verified by any other source. Despite such a classic conflict of interest, searching for independent evidence and disqualifying self-serving claims from belligerent parties in Syria has been ignored in much of the western media. As such, this claim by the White Helmets without any verification is next to meaningless.”

Despite the questions, the group continued to raise this figure by about 10,000 every two months. They now claim to have “Saved over 82,000 lives” since they were formed in 2013. Where are the list of names, dates, times, locations and medical reports – so as to corroborate and cross-reference the casualties with the alleged Syrian and Russian airstrikes? What’s the problem – can’t $150 million buy a little bit of administration for the White Helmets? At no point have they ever been able to produce any data to back up there outlandish numbers claims – so we can only conclude that this claim, like so many other claims by the group, are fraudulent. But when has Hollywood ever let facts and data get in the way of a good war propaganda story?

In addition, the White Helmets claim that they have trained some 3,000 ‘volunteers’ throughout Syria, and yet their training facility is actually located in neighboring NATO member state Turkey, on the outskirts of the city of Gaziantep. This is the same Gaziantep that’s been described in reports as “the home to ISIS killers, sex traders…”

‘CIVIL DEFENSE’ FRAUD

Vanessa Beeley’s investigation eventually took her to Syria, where she was able to track down the REAL Syria Civil Defense organization. The US and UK creation of the “White Helmets” required that they steal the name “Syria Civil Defense” from a real existing civil defense group based in Syria. Unlike the fraudulent western construct, the REAL Syria Civil Defense was founded 63 years ago and is a registered member of the International Civil Defense Organization (ICDO) based in Geneva. For the REAL Syria Civil Defence you dial “113” inside Syria. The White Helmets have no such number because they are not a real ‘search and rescue’ organization. Their whole existence is a fraudulent construct. Beeley spoke at length to the REAL Syria Civil Defense and what the crew told her was shocking. During the ‘rebel’ (terrorist) invasion in 2012 of East Aleppo, future members of the White Helmets arrived accompanied by armed terrorists to attack the real Syria Civil Defense headquarters. They stole equipment, killed and kidnapped real civil defense volunteers as part of their operation to loot and destroy the existing institution.

Real civil defense workers also detailed how terrorist ‘Hell Cannon‘ attacks had besieged the Old City of Aleppo, which lies right on the border with the Al Nusra front lines and was a regular target for the ‘rebels’ continuous indiscriminate attacks against residents. Resident testimonies have echoed the same story: while Hell Cannons terrorized the civilians of Aleppo, the White Helmets did nothing – probably because they were with the terrorists who were launching these attacks. Terrorist Hell Cannons use an assortment of containers – gas canisters, water heater tanks packed full of explosives, glass, metal and any other limb-shredding materials – these were fired indiscriminately into civilian neighborhoods throughout Aleppo. These crude artillery guns also just happen to have the exact destructive footprint as the alleged “barrel bombs” which the White Helmets and western media are repeatedly saying are being fired by the “The Regime” (Assad) against civilians.  If the White Helmets are to be believed, Assad’s Barrel Bombs have an impact the equivalent of 7.6 on the Richter scale. This outrageous claim was actually made by White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier on CNN. In fact, 7.6 on the Richter scale is the equivalent of a hydrogen bomb, we begin to get a picture of the scale of the lies which the western narrative has spinning and which they have come to reply on in order to prosecute this dirty war. Preserving this and other key pieces of fiction is central to the US, UK and George Soros funded public relations management of the White Helmets – and essential to their entire Syria narrative which has been described by American writer Rick Sterling as something akin to a “Feel Good Hoax.”

Forget about actual ‘search and rescue’. That’s not the primary function of this ‘NGO’. If you need to know one thing about the White Helmets it’s this: marketing. A central part of the marketing campaign is images of men with beards looking up at the sky – presumably waiting for the next barrel bomb, or the media’s favorite term – the “double tap” (apparently, this is when a sinister Assad or Putin pilot returns immediately after an airstrike just to have another crack at the White Helmets).

ALWAYS LOOKING UP: ‘Waiting for the next barrel bomb.’

In most of their videos, you will also see a large number of bearded men in jeans and T-shirts just standing around on the sidelines, always watching the camera, or looking busy – as if they are cognisant that filming is taking place. When we showed some of these videos to real first responders we were normally met with shoulder shrugs and cynical laughs. People who actually work in this trade will tell you that filming on a first responder call is a luxury no worker really has – aside from maybe a GoPro helmet cam. It’s just not something anyone in their right mind would think about very much if there were really people in need of assistance – and yet, this is all the White Helmets do, all day, every day. They film and produce well-edited emotive videos. Another aspect real first responders will point out to us is that most of the time, the White Helmets often look like they don’t know what they are doing – indicating either a lack of training or experience – which seems to at least contradict their lofty claims of rescuing 82,000 people  in three and half years – certainly that would provide more experience for 2,900 ‘volunteers’ than any other search and rescue worker on the planet. In other words, the White Helmets mythology and pantomime is not very credible to any serious observer. But it seems to be good enough for a Netflix audience, and sadly, good enough for the Academy, too.


AWARD-WINNER: “We got the shot! No need for any first aid spinal procedure here.”


STAGED: Many of the White Helmets’ child ‘rescue’ images are simply ridiculous. 

The other mandatory feature in the White Helmets marketing imagery where men with beards are running to or from a scene, they’re always carrying children over their shoulder. Again, when we showed many of these images to actual rescue workers, we were met with puzzled looks. Firstly, why does 99% of the White Helmets marketing imagery only feature small children? Are there not any adults out of the “82,000 saved” to be rescued from the rubble? The White Helmets claim they were only operational in early 2014, so that’s an average of 75 persons per day, everyday. Considering the amount of people they claim to have trained, spread out over Syria, and where actual air sorties have been flown – it seems like a near mathematical impossibility. As the White Helmets provide no incident data for the alleged 82,00 persons saved, there is no way to validate there sensational narrative. Also, you will rarely, if ever see the $150 million British-trained rescue crew ever use a spinal injury backboard – opting instead to just yank the children by the arm and throw them over the shoulder. When we showed these images to real first-responder workers, they were deemed not credible. So it’s safe to conclude that the White Helmets only care about one thing: pictures and videos – wired via satellite to CNN, the New York Times, or the BBC’s news desk.

SMART POWER & THE NGO COMPLEX

Still, despite the group’s obvious links to the US and UK governments, and to known extremists and terrorists – the western media continues to entertain this NGO as if it were a legitimate ‘Civil Defense’ organization. The pseudo NGO strategy is part of an over-arching western strategy which is related to the term Smart Power (following on from Soft Power) where western governments create shadow state organizations designed to co-opt and ultimately usurp actual state agencies – in effect weakening the real civil body by replacing it with a fake version of the original.


DECEPTION: Early on, the White Helmets used images of women in order to market crowdfunding campaigns to gullible western audiences. 

In the calculus of war planners in the US, UK and France, even if they were unsuccessful in toppling the Assad government in Damascus, these fake NGOs would still be operation in “rebel” areas in the hopes that they might be viewed as legitimate civil organizations and would then replace the real ones.

After 5 years, the US or European authorities could then cite these organizations as legitimate deliverers of public service, thus giving western governments a much-needed foothold in governerates inside the target nation, in this case, Syria. Similar projects have been undertaken to replace municipal police forces with the “Free Syrian Police“, as well as western and GCC-sponsored projects in terrorist-held Idlib to create uniformed civil cleaning staff, and so on. Why doesn’t Netflix make a documentary exposing that? If they did, that would be real filmmaking; instead what we get is more public relations promotion for a failed Western foreign policy.


LA LA LAND: White Helmet filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel basking in the glory of a job well done. 

By now, it should be obvious how this propaganda cycle has been functioning, although apparently, not obvious enough for Netflix’s award-winning filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel. The fact that their beloved White Helmets stole their name from an existing, legitimate and internationally recognized first-responder agency show be cause for alarm. For any journalist researching the White Helmets, you would think the first port of call would be to speak to the official certified civil defense body. This is what 21WIRE and Beeley did. Why didn’t Natasegara and Von Einsiedel bother to check this obvious line of inquiry? The fact they didn’t might be proof that the intention on their film was not to make a legitimate documentary, but rather to glorify to US-led narrative of the ‘moderate opposition’. By definition, Natasegara and Von Einsiedel’s work cannot rightly be called journalistic but propagandist. By promoting a pseudo ‘NGO’ funded by western government, and by giving succor to extremists, their film is directed against the Syrian people – which exactly characterizes the US and UK foreign policy in Syria since 2011.

If Natasegara and Von Einsiedel deserve any reward today it should really be the Leni Riefenstahl Award for Best Propaganda Film.

But even Nazi war propaganda filmmaker Riefenstahl could hardly image propaganda on this scale – a third sector NGO and integrated media arm,  attached to dozens of governments, paramilitary military units, intelligence agencies, hundreds of corporate media outlets, and with a multi-million dollar crowd-funding facility. If nothing else, the White Helmets operation is impressive in its scope. It’s the west’s template for building a Shadow State in target nations. If it’s successful in Syria, this formula will be recreated in other marginal hot zones around the globe. That’s why the White Helmets are being guarded so closely by the western establishment.

DOUBTS OVER AUTHENTICITY

Boston Globe columnist Stephen Kizner was one of many journalists who expressed disappointment over the Academy’s selection:

There is also the problem of obvious staging in many of the White Helmets’ supposed video rescues. The following is perhaps one of the most ridiculous. As with so many of their videos, the editing is highly misleading. In the following “Rag Doll” clip, we first see two separate views of the three men working on the rescue site – and then the edit suddenly cuts to the miraculous rescue of charming little 4 year old girl – supposedly emerging from under tons of concrete and rubble from a collapsed building. Miraculously, she is not crying and looks immaculate, while holding an equally clean rag doll. Then the edit cut jumps, and a little 3 year old boy suddenly appears from the exact same spot. Both children appear to have sustained no injuries, nor any visible cuts or bruises, and no dust. Not bad for being buried under tons of concrete, gravel and dust. Incredible, but par for the course in the completely improbable “first-responder” reality show that is the White Helmets.Watch:

After reviewing this video, it’s difficult to deny that it has all the hallmarks of a staged production piece, designed to tug at the hearts of a western public – conditioned to accept this ‘first responder’ narrative as sacrosanct, for fear of appearing callous in the face of this media-driven, multi-million dollar No Fly Zone’ public relations campaign. This is not the only fraudulent video released by the White Helmets, but even the existence of one fraudulent rescue video should be grounds to question all the group’s material.

Again, the whole purpose of these video and photos is to influence public opinion against the Syrian and Russian governments. Therefore the core mission of the White Helmets media campaign is influence western and Gulf audiences. Its objectives are as follows:

  1. To create public disfavour against the Syrian government.
  2. Maintain crippling western sanctions against Syria.
  3. Gain sympathy for jihad, recruit new fighters from Europe, GCC, Asia and other regions.
  4. Fabricate ‘evidence’ used to implicate the Syrian government and its allies in war crimes.
  5. Reinforce the narrative that Syrian and Russian Forces are deliberately targeting civilians,hospital and schools – and not terrorists.
  6. Blame Syria and Russia for war crimes (when in actuality, these crimes are committed by rebel-terrorists, White Helmets). 

SYRIAN CURVE BALLS

Back in 2003, one man was responsible for delivering the WMD lies that helped to fabricate the US and UK case for invading Iraq. His name was “Curveball”. His motives weren’t exactly straight forward: “My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Iraqi people will suffer from this regime’s oppression.”

In Syria, the west have been constantly farming a series of curve balls – on call and ready to deliver whatever the US State Dept or the British Foreign Office need in order to grandstand in front of the UN Security Council or on the floor of Parliament.

The New York Times reported that during March and April on 2015, the White Helmets claimed that at least 20 ‘barrel bombs’ containing chlorine were dropped in six towns in northwestern Syria. It almost sounded as if the the US and UK were so desperate to establish Assad as crossing the Red Line, that they would go so far as to fabricate a case that chlorine bombs were used by “the regime”:

“Frustrated with the Security Council’s impasse over the issue, rescue workers and doctors are now working to bring evidence of chlorine gas attacks directly to the French, British and American governments for testing. The aim is to give states a solid basis for action against the attacks, in the Security Council or through quieter diplomatic pressure, said James Le Mesurier, the British director of a nonprofit group, Mayday Rescue, that trains and equips the White Helmets, Syrian volunteers supported by the British, Danish and Dutch governments.”

At the time, White Helmet founder Le Messerier was heavily involved in trying to fashion together a chemical weapons case against the Syrian government. In 2015. The NYT stated:

“Going directly to governments that have pushed for Mr. Assad’s ouster creates its own challenges. His allies may dismiss their evidence as politically tainted and can point to recent chlorine attacks in Iraq for which the government there blamed insurgents, not to mention the discredited American claims of an Iraqi chemical weapons program that were used to justify invading Iraq. To deter allegations of tampering or falsification, Mr. Le Mesurier and three Syrian doctors involved said they systematically documented the chain of custody from collection to handover. They have plenty of cases to work with. Since March 16, in Idlib alone, the White Helmets have documented 14 attacks with 26 suspected chlorine barrels that sickened scores of people.”

In the end, none of  this stuck, most likely because the White Helmets’ ‘evidence’ was either fabricated, or the ‘rebels’ (terrorists) themselves were the actual perpetrators of chlorinemustard or sarin attacks – a fact which was born out through multiple investigations already. Once again – more fraud perpetrated by the White Helmets on behalf of the US and UK governments.

In September 2016, the White Helmets were also instrumental in trying to assign blame for an incident where a UN Aid Convoy was attacked outside of the town of Urm al-Kubra, west of Aleppo. The west were quick to blame it on the Russian and Syria militaries – despite the fact there was no evidence to implicate them.

As if by magic, the White Helmets were the first on the scene videoing among the flames. A Syrian Arab Red Crescent warehouse was also said to have been hit. 21WIRE later reported that indeed, the White Helmets had helped to stage the said ‘Russian Bombing’ scene outside of Aleppo – which was automatically accepted by the western mainstream media, John Kerry, Samantha Power and others, as ‘proof’ of Russian and Syrian guilt.

HOLLYWOOD ‘CHANGE AGENTS’

One of the White Helmets documentary’s biggest advocates is none other than Hollywood actor George Clooney (image, left). In the run-up to the Oscars, Clooney, along with his wife – celebrity human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, personally campaigned on behalf of the film. It turns out, Clooney’s interest is more than just that of an liberal activist. AP reported that Clooney is in the process of producing a feature-film version of the “White Helmets.” He stated:

“The White Helmets are the heroes. So if I can help them out at all, and people can know about it, in any way possible, that’s a good use of celebrity, I think.”

As a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Clooney seems to relish in his role of celebrity humanitarian. Unfortunately, fellow members of the Council include an impressive line-up of war criminals and other dignitaries, like Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger, as well as a chief architect of the collapse of Libya and the dirty war in Syria, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, judging by Clooney’s devotion to the White Helmets, it’s pretty clear that he is either ignorant of what he is supporting, or worse – he is using his public profile to push a Deep State agenda. In September 2016, Clooney managed to get an audience with John Kerry and the US State Department in order to promote his new “anti-corruption” NGO called, The Sentry. Not surprisingly, the establishment’s globalist information outlet the Daily Beast was on hand (along with a prime segment which aired on CNN) to get the word out. Editor John Avlon writes:

“Getting Americans to care about human-rights atrocities half-a-world away is hard. Getting them fired up about confronting the corruption that fuels those slaughters is an order of magnitude harder. But that’s what actor George Clooney and human-rights activist John Prendergast are aiming to do with their new project,The Sentry.”

The Sentry, is supposed to help the poor people of South Sudan by ‘taking aim at government corruption.’ Clooney goes on to demonize the South Sudan government as utterly corrupt and redeemable only by way of the international community’ – presumably through the International Criminal Court in the Hague. What Clooney will not tell his fawning public is the CIA’s role in fomenting unrest in Sudan prior to its rather convenient partition in 2010. We say convenient because splitting the country effectively cut-off port access and therefore oil pipeline access for South Sudan of which China has been a major partner on the exploration of energy. This was followed by a dirty war in South Sudan with much of the evidence pointing to the CIA. TeleSur English reports:

“The CIA is using a mercenary warlord named Riek Machar, who has a long history of ethnic massacres and mass murder to his credit, to try and overthrow the internationally recognized government of President Salva Kiir for the crime of doing business with rivals of Pax Americana, the Chinese.”

Again, we hear the familiar tropes about ‘child soldiers’ and ‘mass rape’, and how, “we must act now” – all part and parcel of the neocolonial “helpless Africa” narrative. Clooney’s partner John Prendergast delivers emotive plea:

“The war erupted, it was a fire that just raged across the land…They’ll use attack helicopters. They’ll use rape as a tool of war. They’ll recruit child soldiers and go in and send them as cannon fodder into villages to kill people. The worst human-rights abuses being committed in the world. And this is what South Sudan has dealt with because of this fallout between these thieves over the last 2½ years.”

Watch global policeman Clooney, flanked by his celebrity friend Don Cheadle, unveiling his “forensic investigation” implicating the government of South Sudan:

Interestingly, Clooney’s Sentry Project is nested under the globalist think tank, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies and bankrolled by John Podesta’s Center for American Progress – a Washington DC-based think tank with ties to the military industrial complex. Peace activist and author David Swanson outlined Sentry’s precarious connections to America’s defense industry here.Here, we can point out that the policy of ‘evicting Chinese influence’ from Africa was included in the military directives outlined in US AFRICOM immediately after its official launch in 2007-2008. Similarly, billions in direct Chinese investment in Libya was thwarted by NATO’s illegal abuse of UN Resolution 1973 which led to the complete collapse of the Libyan state. Very quickly, we can see that Clooney’s celebrated “crusade against corruption” is very likely part of a public relations smoke screen to conceal US clandestine efforts to isolate Chinese interests in the Sudans, while nudging forward US and transnational corporate policy in South Sudan, with the ultimate goal of regime change in that country. 

You can’t help but be reminded here of another similar Deep State public relations ploy centered around the exact same location back in 2012. There’s no better example of how Hollywood’s do-gooder war is waged than Kony 2012, described in Atlantic Magazine as a viral video campaign which “reinforces a dangerous, centuries-old idea that Africans are helpless and that idealistic Westerners must save them.” Like with Clooney’s Sentry Project, KONY 2012 leveraged the power of media and celebrity to manufacture public consent through an emotive public appeal, and collected millions in public donations in the process. In this case, the antagonist was the illusive warlord Joseph Kony, leader of the Lords Resistance Army. The only problem was, at the time in 2012 no one had actually seen Kony in 6 years. Still, the campaign lobbied president Obama to deploy US forces to Uganda “find Kony” in order to “saving the children”. Despite the collapse of the project following a very public meltdown by the charity’s founder, Jason Russell, the US still went and deployed US military assets to Uganda under an expansion of US AFRICOM operations in Africa. Mission accomplished. The genius of this was that it concealed the genocide and crimes against humanity carried out by President Obama’s good friend and Uganda’s ‘President for Life’ Yoweri Museveni, whose crimes have since been well-documented in powerful independent non-CIA film production called a Brilliant Genocide. It turns out that Museveni is guilty of all the things and more – which the west had laid on the ghost of Kony. A brilliant deception. Of course, the irony of this is mostly lost on Hollywood’s humanitarian jet-set, all of whom thought KONY 2012 was such a great idea when it was first launched.

What Kony 2012 achieved on a ‘activist’ and public relations level is exactly what The White Helmets documentary is doing – an expensive smokescreen to hide the real horrors of a conflict, namely, the destructive policies of western governments and their local ‘partners’ which foment trouble and strife. In the case of Syria, it’s the US, UK, Turkey, France, and GCC support of violent, armed extremists – who the White Helmets are exclusively embedded with. The cynical use of the classic American gospel hymn, “When the Saints Go Marching In” as the documentary’s theme song by filmmakers Natasegara and Von Einsiedel speaks to level of manipulation of the narrative (see the bottom of this article, with numerous photographs of White Helmet ‘saints’).

Regarding the White Helmets project, Clooney revealed something else in his rhetoric when he remarked:

Clooney said that as a celebrity, “I can’t change policy … but I can make things louder.”

This is an example of the power-activist political set in Hollywood.

We find similar language in an interview with White Helmets director Joanna Natasegara in 2016, at the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Malaysia while promoting her Oscar nominated film Virunga and its new foundation. Natasegara refers to herself as an “Impact Producer” (aka Change Agent) using documentaries to make a big impact by reinforcing or pushing a narrative. In many ways, this is antithetical to the whole process of filmmaking, especially in the research and discovery stages, and in the investigative aspects of historical documentary filmmaking – which is about documenting events but also about looking below popular political narratives to gain deeper insights, and not pushing political or policy outcomes. Power-activism is personified by numerous online marketing campaigns calling for a No Fly Zone in Syria. At the Oscar ceremony, both Natasegara and Von Einsiedel called for ‘an end to the war in Syria’ which everyone can agree on, but it rings hollow next to the words of persons like US Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard and Tima Kurdi, the aunt of 3 yr old Alan Kurdi who washed-up on a beach to become the face of the tragic face of the migrant crisis. Both Gabbard and Kurdi appeared on global media this week calling for the US and its Coalition allies to STOP sending arms, cash and support to extremists and terrorist ‘rebels’ in Syria. Only this can bring an end to the war and allow refugees to to return to Syria said both Gabbard and Kurdi. This plea is real and reflects the facts on the ground, as opposed to the fake narrative constructed by Natasegara and Von Einsiedel, which carefully whitewashes all clandestine involvement by US, UK and its partners (who created and are funding the White Helmets) which has aided in the systematic destruction of Syria over the last 6 years, not to mention the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands. It is no coincidence that many members  of the White Helmets have extremist ties, and the fact that this is being covered-up by Natasegara and Von Einsiedel who are literally portraying the group as “saints” – speaks to the level of deception involved in this story. Now we can see Natasegara’s modus operandi with making the White Helmets film; it’s not so much about documenting history in the conventional sense, so much as it is about ‘making an impact’ politically – on behalf of the governments who created the White Helmets, which veers into the area of propaganda again.

Watch Joanna Natasegara in an interview here from the 2016 IACC Conference:

On the surface, Natasegara appears to be waging the classic international liberal crusade by fighting against mining, oil, and poaching, in the poor, permanently ‘developing’ countries like the Congo. No one will argue that the level of corruption in African countries can be extreme in some cases, but what are the real causes of institutional corruption in those lands? Indeed, “Stopping” them (corrupt officials) in Africa, but doing little to stop them at the actual corporate level in London, Belgium, New York or Washington DC. In fact, many of the biggest corporate donors to these ‘good causes’ projects are connected to the very same corporate behemoth that activists purport to be fighting against. This cycle of power activism feeds into the cycle of neocolonialism – in what researcher Cory Morningstar so rightly refers to as “the wrong kind of green.” As it turns out, the IACC is funded by none other than Transparency International (T.I.), one of the main players in the globalist “anti-corruption” syndicate, which is very much linked to the work of Hollywood activists like Clooney. In the past, T.I. has been accused of cooking its own books in its anti-corruption investigations, including an incident in 2008 where the organization used falsified data to try and frame the Chavez government in Venezuela during one of its anti-corruption investigations. This is a good example of NGO smart power being used to undermine a target nation. Clooney and Natasegara are just two of the many public faces who represent this network.Back in 2016, when the Panama Papers story broke, seemingly out of nowhere, the mainstream media utterly failed in analysing what they were really looking at. Yes, there’s plenty of corruption and shady shell companies in Panama (but no word of the giant offshore corporate maze located in Delaware), but was the endgame of that supposedly independent ‘investigation’? Amid all the mainstream media hype and ‘anti-corruption’ grandstanding, researcher James Corbett was one of the only people who asked the right question: “So why does this new mega-leak seemingly only expose those in the State Department crosshairs or expendable others and not a single prominent American politician or businessman? And what does this have to do with the OECD’s plan for a global taxation grid?” (LISTEN to my full interview last year with James Corbett here)

Nazi propaganda filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl.

Natasegara also goes on about using “activists” and “citizen journalists” to achieve the desired ‘impact.’ Here she is alluding to the scores of Syrian “activists” and the White Helmets, who have supplied western media outlets with the images our governments want in order to reinforce the official narrative. Natasegara is promoting the exact tool she utilized in the deceptive Netflix project where all of the alleged stock ‘rescue’ footage was supplied to producers by the White Helmets themselves. Natasegara claims to have trained 21 year old White Helmet ‘activist’ Khaled Khatib in Turkey before sending him into Syria to shoot much of the footage. NPR claims that he ‘risked his life’ to shoot the film for Netflix. Khatib was later blocked from entering the US to attend the Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles. So the Netflix producers had no way of independently verifying what they’ve been given – effectively relying on al Qaeda affiliated individuals to supply them with made-to-order ‘rescue’ footage.

How can they call this a documentary?

In this case, it didn’t seem to matter to Joanna Natasegara and her co-producer Orlando Von Einsiedel whether its real or staged, so long as the White Helmets narrative was achieved.

Despite the claims by Netflix producers, Natasegara and Von Einsiedel – purpose was to reinforce the US-led Coalition fake narrative on Syria which has never resembled the facts on the ground. The US-UK establishment could not have hand-picked better tools for this job than Natasegara and Von Einsiedel. If they were real filmmakers interested in the truth, they would have paused to question why this group was founded by a senior British Military intelligence officer, James Le Mesurier, why it is based in Turkey and not Syria, and why the group only operated exclusively in Al Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria), Arar al Sham (al Qaeda affiliate) and ISIS-held areas in Syria, why are White Helmets members routinely pictured with weapons, and with terrorists. The answer is simple to anyone with half a brain and who is being honest: the White Helmets are composed of mainly partisan extremists. That’s a fact.

Still, all of this is noticeably missing from Natasegara and Von Einsiedel’s storybook version of the White Helmets, which is inexcusable considering how there’s no shortage of readily available evidence pointing directly to White Helmets’ ties to terrorists. One has to assume that the filmmakers knew about the extremist links and the US-NATO funding of the group but chose to ignore this in favor of producing their expensive piece of propaganda, and as we saw this week, both were all too happy to lap up the awards – even though the fiction they created has aided in giving political cover to illegal weapons transfers by the west and GCC states and has also been instrumental in wrongly demonizing the Syrian government while further legitimizing US-led Coalition-backed terrorism in Syria.

Concealing the White Helmet fraud under the seemingly innocuous guise of “Free Speech”, “Free Press” or “Citizen Journalism” is the absolute dereliction of any journalistic inquiry or responsibility in vetting the footage supplied by the White Helmets.

“Freedom for journalists has to be absolute. There is no such thing as restrictions on media that work,” said Natasegara.

Apparently, Oscar winner Natasegara was not too keen on free speech after Youtube artist Tyranny Unmasked posted a video critical of the Netflix White Helmets trailer. It appears that Natasegara used YouTube’s communitarian censorship system to take down the video critical of her film. Watch:

Being British, one might hope that Natasegara could apply these lofty polemics to the UK – and ask why the government still controls journalists and press through the archaic practice of issuing D-Notices, or the government’s aggressive stance towards whistleblowers with UK authorities threatening imprisonment for simply handling leaked material, or perhaps even the Leveson Inquiry’s attempt at allowing state control over what’s left of the UK’s free press. Similarly, the anti-corruption crowd might consider challenging Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowing which saw freedoms roll back at a record clip over the last 8 years. Certainly, that’s no shining city on the hill, or a role model for the seemingly lowly, poor and hopelessly “corrupt” developing world nations that the globe-trotting Natasegara is after. Only last year, we learned how the Pentagon hired elite UK public relations firm Bell Pottingerpaying them $540 million to produce, among other items, fake al Qaeda propaganda videos – to further prop-up a failed US and UK foreign policy facade. Perhaps Natasegara, or Clooney could do an “anti-corruption” film explaining how many starving children could be fed for a month or how many schools could be built, or how many water wells could be drilled – with $540 million dollars of US taxpayer money.

That’s only one example to demonstrate how the NGO operatives ignore the mountains of institutional corruption in the US and Europe, and the destructive murderous military industrial juggernaut – in favor of trying to yank the rug out from under a government located in some poor African, Asian, or Middle Eastern country which the US and its partners have their eye on for regime change.

CROWD-FUNDING TERROR

One of the saddest parts of this whole story is also that the power of marketing and propaganda means that tens of thousands of unwitting members of the public have been duped into donating their hard-earned money for this dubious NGO. If the wider public knew what Aleppo residents already know – that the White Helmets function as a support group alongside known terrorists groups like Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zinki & ISIS and others (all known extremist groups operating inside of Syria),  the White Helmets would not be celebrated as humanitarian, but rather, they’d be condemned as a multimillion fraud, customized by the West in order to give cover to the illicit practice of arming and supporting ‘rebel’ terrorists by the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others.

By all accounts, White Helmets video and photo propaganda has been instrumental in aiding in the recruitment of new terrorists – new fighters from the West, Middle East and Asia – who see the contrived news reports in their countries of origin and believe the false narrative being portrayed by mainstream media news agencies. In this way, you could say that because the media are not vetting any of this material and are defaulting into a Western foreign policy bias by spinning all of their stories into emotive productions that reinforce a NATO and GCC-led ‘regime change’ and completely contrived “moderate rebel” narrative – the media are complicit in helping to drive the recruitment of terrorists internationally. By anyone’s definition, they are providing material support and comfort to known violent, religious extremists terrorists. When you break it right down, that’s exactly what is happening here. Undoubtedly, Hollywood is guilty of this.

Lastly, to see the White Helmets fundamental terrorist connection, one need look no further than to its ‘President’ Raed Saleh.

TERRORIST CENTRAL: Raed Saleh photographed with his close associate Mustafa al-Haj Yussef, leader of White Helmet Centre in terrorist-held Idlib province (Photo: al-Haj Yussef Facebook page)

Last month, 21WIRE investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley reported on White Helmet leader Raed Saleh’s close partner, Mustafa al-Haj Yussefleader of the White Helmets centre in the Al Nusra-occupied city of Khan Shaykhun, Idlib. The photo, above, clearly demonstrates the close relationship that Saleh shares with his friend and colleague Yussef, and apparently with the armed militant seen standing behind the two White Helmet leaders. On the 1st June 2014, White Helmet deputy Yussef called for the shelling of civilians during elections in Damascus.  He declares that this murderous act would be the “greatest declaration of revolution” .  

Is this the words of a “neutral, impartial, humanitarian”? Here we can see the White Helmets calling for direct violence against civilians who are doing nothing more than exercising their right to vote – in their own country. See the full story here.

So to even suggest that the White Helmets are “unarmed and neutral civilian volunteers” is tantamount to fraud. The fact that filmmakers Natasegara, Von Einsiedel and Netflix are using this false statement in their film and public relations material demonstrates outright deception on their part. 

It crucial to reiterate that the White Helmets are not a Syrian creation, but rather a product of US, British and NATO intelligence special project to use western conceived and western-funded NGO organizations to assist in the stated US-led Coalition foreign policy of ‘regime change’ for Syria by producing western and GCC-oriented propaganda designed to undermine the Syrian government and state. Founded by British military intelligence officer James Le Mesurier, a graduate of Sandhurst Military Academy. It is believed that all totalled including undisclosed funding and solicited donations, that the group has received well in excess of over $250 million dollars since coming online in late 2013. 

The following is list of known funding sources for the White Helmets as of October 2016:

To anyone who bothers to look, the White Helmets extremist links are undeniable. Watch as Al Nusra and jihadi spokesman acknowledges the White Helmets as “Mujahadeen”:

Based on the evidence presented, and the images inserted below, one can safely conclude that at the very least, filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel and Netflix did zero due diligence when researching this multimillion dollar film production. Of course, that’s being generous. It seems more likely that they were fully aware that the White Helmets are attached to the multitude of extremist and terrorist groups – and conveniently ignored this fact in favour of constructing their propaganda narrative. Hence, a case could be made that these filmmakers and their distributor have knowingly provided promotion and political support to known terrorists – which is in direct violation of numerous US, European and International laws.


White Helmet operative, seen here at a “moderate” extremist, Free Sryian Army, meeting in Idlib, clearly demonstrating political affiliation to a widely proclaimed non “moderate” militant group, unable to function without support from better armed & funded terrorist factions such as Nusra Front.  (Photo: Screenshot from video

Not only are the White Helmets embedded exclusively with extremists – they ARE extremists. Certainly, it is the choice of White Helmets members to also join extremist terrorist fighting groups, but by doing so, the White Helmets cannot rightly claim that their members are either neutral, nonpartisan, or ‘unarmed’. To claim otherwise constitutes cunning and deception on the part of the White Helmets and their promotional agents, including Netflix corporate marketing, and the film’s producers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel. If Netflix were to take this issue seriously, after reviewing readily available evidence they would remove this film from their distribution chain, and Natasegara and Von Einsiedel should return their award to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

The following are a series of over 50 visual exhibits which clearly indicate that the White Helmets are not neutral, and whose ranks are in fact filled with extremists, including those with memberships in US-Coalition-backed internationally recognized terrorist fighting groups operating throughout Syria… 

White Helmet members are clearly pictured together with violent terrorists, and also taking part in heinous terrorists acts, as well as war crimes under the Geneva Convention:

Photos below were censored by Google

White Helmet-Terrorist fighting group dual membership:

White Helmet-Terrorist fighting group dual membership:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

As shown previously, a White Helmet speaking on behalf of the Western-backed ‘Opposition” pseudo state, in front of the “moderate” militant, Free Syrian Army, French colonial, “Syrian” flag:

White Helmets with armed opposition acting in the role of ‘victim’ in the notorious staged “Mannequin Challenge” video:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

White Helmet are armed:

White Helmet with Terrorist disposing of mutilated bodies of Syrian National Army soldiers:

White Helmet are armed and embedded with “rebel” (terrorist) fighters:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

White Helmet with TerroristAl Nusra Front flying the terrorist flag:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

US-UK funded White Helmets operatives gloating while taking part in kidnapping, torture and execution of Syrian National Army soldiers, a violation of Geneva Convention on war crimes:

White Helmets pictured here working alongside with Nusra-ISIS terrorists:

“Hand in Hand with Al Nusra” (al Qaeda in Syria):

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

Possible White Helmets involvement of the Terrorist (by Nour al-Din al-Zinki) execution and beheading of 12 year-old Abdulla Issa:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets embedded exclusively in ISIS and Terrorist-held areas:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets ARE militants:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

Rebel media operative demonstrates support for ISIS in Syria:

By Gordon Duff and New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

It’s late July, 2018. In the Middle East, 800 men and their families are heading for Western Europe, Canada and the US, to be resettled as refugees. The true story behind their evacuation by Israel and their proposed “resettlement” as heroes is one of the most devious and frightening tales of our time.

Sources also tell us that among the 800 are top ISIS commanders who will soon be living in Germany, Britain, Canada and the United States, doing what terrorist commanders do, organizing cells and murdering innocent civilians, just like they did in Syria and Iraq and just like the White Helmets had done all along.

The White Helmets are an enigmatic group, lauded as volunteers and life savers, servant of mankind, they were organized by Britain’s MI6 as a black propaganda and anti-Assad organization funded by the governments of Britain, the US, Germany and others. They are not an NGO. There is nothing “non-governmental” about them.

Essentially, they are terrorist mercenaries.

With up to 30,000 opposition fighters inside Syria giving up arms and either rejoining Syrian society under the Damascus government in the last 12 months, or for some being resettled and perhaps continuing the fight, the 800-man force known as the White Helmets is unique.

Perhaps this is why they had to be “disemboweled” from Syria though an illegal military incursion that to the trained observer also demonstrates the curious close relationships between ISIS, al Qaeda and the Israeli Defense Forces, almost as if they were one in the same and the White Helmets were simply just another ISIS or al Qaeda organization.

It was the White Helmet’s fabricated stories of gas attacks and “barrel bombings” that drove Donald Trump to calling the elected Syrian leader “animal Assad” and launching multiple strikes on Syrian territory without UN authorization or NATO consensus.

It was the same Trump advisors and the same Donald Trump who now says he believes President Putin that, not so long ago, took the word of perhaps the sleaziest of all CIA terror operations, the White Helmets, a CIA he now says has always misled him, has always been useless, as justification for attacking Syria.

Why then did Trump attack Syria when the information he based his decision on was, by his own admission, “fake news” from his political enemies. Taking it one step further, not just fake but crazy as well, with Syria triumphant on the battle field. Syria had warned the world that the White Helmets were preparing a provocation in order to justify an American defense of ISIS against a Syria more united than ever under President Assad.

That news was everywhere, certainly across the international and alternative media that Trump is known to monitor nearly 20 hours a day on his smart phone. How did he miss it?

Trump and Putin

One thing the world now knows beyond a doubt is that Donald Trump believes Vladimir Putin. But if this is true, which we know it to be, then Trump’s actions regarding the White Helmets are bizarre and even criminal. Let us take a closer look.

On July 18, 2018, President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

They asked that Israel send IDF units well into ISIS and al Qaeda held territory, into Syria, in violation of the 1974 cease fire agreement.

There, the IDF was to, in less than 4 hours, screen 800 adult males claiming to be “White Helmets,” along with their families, load same onto busses and drive them to CIA controlled training camps in Jordan about 50 miles south of the recently liberated Syria city of Daraa.

The planning and execution of this effort, in less than 24 hours, was both incredible and heroic. Israeli forces met absolutely no resistance from ISIS or al Qaeda but were, rather, greeted with full cooperation and open arms.

Let us remember that, only a week ago, American President Donald Trump met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Trump was effusive in his praise of Vladimir Putin, particularly in his trust of Putin and Trump’s belief that Vladimir Putin is an honest man.

This being the case, one can’t help but wonder why President Trump would ask Israel to rescue the White Helmets from the Syrian Arab Army. Moscow has stated for many months that the White Helmets are, in fact, a terrorist organization and has offered proof at both the United Nations and at The Hague backing its assertions.

In fact, the White Helmets, supposedly a civil defense NGO made up of Syrian volunteers, has long been exposed by journalists like Vanessa Beeley, Nahed al Husaini and Carla Ortiz as guilty of the murder of thousands of Syrian civilians through staged gas attacks and bombings.

The White Helmets, lauded by American leftist and Hollywood actor, George Clooney, have been cited in the media, particularly in Russia, Iran and Syria, but other nations as well, as among the most dangerous terrorists in the world.

Why then, as Trump has stated he values Putin’s opinion so much, and this is a case where Putin’s opinion is backed up by significant and irrefutable evidence, has Trump done something so stupid?

You see, it isn’t just that Trump and Trudeau asked Israel to send troops into Syria in violation of UN agreements and Syria’s sovereignty, a war crime in itself, but Trump and to a lesser extent for Trudeau, knowingly asked Israel to aid terrorists who are guilty of crimes against humanity.

It gets worse.

According to the German newspaper, Bild, the White Helmets, 800 so far, will be sent to Germany, Britain, Canada and the US. There is considerable evidence that this is an army of “800 little bin Ladens,” with many trained bomb makers, nearly all jihadists and most minimally need to be adjudicated as to their crimes against the Syrian people.

Additionally, one might well note that no screening process was employed whatsoever. We are certain that Israel simply loaded anyone who showed up onto a bus.

Let’s take a second and picture this. We have 800 families who traveled to an embarkation point deep inside the ISIS enclave in Southern Syria, an enclave shrinking by the minute.

ISIS fighters are all around, flags and guns, many carrying their head chopping swords, others with cameras and phones, recording and uploading events to their YouTube channels and Facebook accounts that are never cancelled no matter what kind of material they post.

Along side them are IDF units, in uniform, armed, standing side by side with ISIS fighters while dozens of busses are driven in from Jordan.

Does anyone find anything wrong about this picture? Do I have something wrong here?

How was this going to be sold to the public when these ISIS terrorists show up at the Toronto or Indianapolis airports and are rushed through customs and into their new lives, paid housing, free medical care for life, government checks in the mail, their children not seized, no danger of deportation and detention.

Does anyone find anything wrong with this picture as well?

Refugees are beginning to return to Syria as the Damascus government clears out the last of the terrorists from all but Idlib Province. There, al Qaeda and the White Helmets are still active, holding a civilian population in terror, rounding up political prisoners, executing hundreds and planning more chemical attacks so that President Trump will protect their reign of terror.

This is the simple truth of it.

Why America Uses Terror

Few are aware to what extent the American military, the highest paid in the world, was decimated during the contrived War on Terror. Hundreds of thousands were maimed, more wasted away in endless “deployments” while tens of thousands killed themselves.

Pentagon funds are better spent on missiles, aircraft carriers, and mercenaries while Washington political insiders rake off billions in graft.

War had to change, false flag terror, fake aid and refugee groups, fake news and standoff missile attacks while sanctions, blockades and assassinations took their toll. Key to America’s war, or perhaps more appropriately, the war America is fighting on behalf of globalist interests, is a group known as the “White Helmets.”

A Syrian child, living under ISIS terror, is dragged off the street. Bleach is poured on his head by, of all things, a fake first responder wearing a strange white bicycle helmet. His parents are terrified, other children kidnapped in a similar war are found dead, mutilated after being hacked and bashed, then dragged around repeatedly before video teams from Reuters and Aljazeera, fake atrocity victims to justify American military action against Syria.

The child is then dragged into a local hospital where a doctor, held at gunpoint, pretends to examine the terrified child while filming goes on.

Sometimes the filmed victims are paid, even filmed coming back to life, other times real Sarin gas is used, smuggled into Syria from Georgia and Ukraine, according to Serena Shim of Press TV, by mercenaries working for Google Idea Groups, a US State Department contractor.

Serena Shim was murdered on October 19, 2014.

Ensuing chemical weapons investigators find themselves followed, their families threatened and risk financial ruin and smears of any imaginable kind, in particular, being arrested with child pornography placed on their computers.

Protecting the White Helmets, a terror organization now spreading around the world, the story we will be telling here, is what President Trump calls the “fake media.” Behind it all, of course, is Donald Trump himself and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Background

For weeks now, counter-terrorism organizations around the world have been engaged in efforts to identify members of an organization celebrated by Hollywood as among the most honored and revered of our time. We are, of course, speaking of the White Helmets, accused by Russia, Syria, Iran, Turkey, and independent investigators and journalists as a terrorist organization, the “Propaganda Ministry” for both ISIS and al Qaeda.

The White Helmets, a fake NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), totally funded by spy agencies from the US, Britain, Germany, Israel and Saudi Arabia, has, for years, staged chemical attacks killing thousands, staged fake bombing attacks and produced propaganda videos promoted by the mainstream media.

Time and time again, slam dunk proof has been submitted to the UN, the ICC at The Hague and to world media that this organization has committed unspeakable atrocities and its membership is a revolving door of terrorist leaders, crisis actors and Western paid propagandists.

Evacuated by Israel for Reassignment as “Terror Cells”

On July 22, 2018, the Associated Press published the following story about the alleged rescue of a very controversial organization known as the White Helmets. The story itself is beyond understanding, a travesty of falsehood, fakery and fabrication, a narrative that defies imagination.

BEIRUT (AP) — The Israeli military in coordination with its U.S. and European allies evacuated hundreds of Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets from near its volatile frontier with Syria, in a complex and first-of-a-kind operation.

The evacuees, who were hemmed in from one side by advancing hostile Syrian troops and from another by militants affiliated with the Islamic State group, were transported to Jordan, from where they are expected to be resettled in Europe and Canada in the coming weeks.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Sunday that 422 White Helmets volunteers were evacuated, instead of the initial 800 cleared for the operation.

Israel’s military said the overnight operation was “an exceptional humanitarian gesture” at the request of the United States and European allies due to an “immediate threat to the (Syrians) lives.” It posted a video online showing its soldiers handing out water bottles to the evacuees.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a separate video statement, said U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others had asked him to help evacuate the group’s members.

“These are people who saved lives and whose lives are now in danger. I authorized bringing them through Israel to other countries as an important humanitarian gesture,” Netanyahu said.

The U.S. State Department welcomed the rescue of “these brave volunteers” and cited the United Nations, Israel, and Jordan for helping with the operation.

The statement from spokeswoman Heather Nauert also called on Syria’s government and its ally Russia “to abide by their commitments, end the violence, and protect all Syrian civilians, including humanitarians such as the White Helmets, in areas formerly part of the southwest de-escalation zone and throughout Syria.”

The “evacuation” of the White Helmets is part of a larger program of building and organizing a blend of terror groups like the Gulanites that threaten Turkey, the newly deployed ISIS sent to Afghanistan by the CIA or the MEK, a bizarre terror cult the US has deployed against the people of Iran.

Decades ago it was the “contras” and the death squads that killed tens of thousands in El Salvador and up to 300,000 in Guatemala.

Coming to Your Neighborhood

Not all terrorists will continue their Saudi paid and American supported wars in the Middle East and South Asia. In order to foster compliance on the part of NATO and other governments, domestic false-flag terror attacks, even in the United States such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, must continue.

The targets, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy will be foremost on the list with Iran blamed, of course. Such attacks are under planning right now, and the perpetrators who used to be smuggled through Kosovo into Italy and north, are now being flown into Europe and North America as “heroes.”

Normally heroes receive medals, awards, and parades but these heroes, the White Helmets, arrive by the dark of night with fake identities and fat checks from spy agencies. Their “heroic” efforts aren’t over, there are more children to kill, more chemical attacks to stage, more death, more deceit, more false flag terror and a war on Iran to bring to fruition.

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VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff

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The Myth of Peace in the Middle East: Deconstructing the Naturalization Narrative

April 16, 2021Articles,

American-Israeli delegation visit to Morocco in December 2020. (Photo: US Embassy Jerusalem, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Mohamed El Metmari

This critical essay deconstructs the political narrative surrounding the naturalization agreements that have occurred between some Arab countries and Israel formally known as the Abrahamic Accords or Jared Kushner’s plan for peace in the Middle East. It offers unique perspectives and analysis of these accords and their true geopolitical intentions. Primarily, it argues how the peace promised by these newly established ties remains just a myth as it explores the true objectives behind them. Interestingly enough, it also highlights the true goals behind the U.S’ mediations in these Accords.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one of the hottest yet unresolved political issues of today. Whereas this conflict is not heading towards any resolutions soon, the recent naturalization agreements that have occurred between some Arab regimes and the apartheid state of Israel may mark a future shift in Middle East’s political scene.

Earlier to these agreements, boycotting Israel was these Arab nations’ approach to show support for Palestinians and their claims. Before 2020, only two bordering countries have had diplomatic ties with Israel; that is, Egypt and Jordan. This number has risen to six as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have set full diplomatic and economic relations with Israel as part of Jared Kushner’s plan for peace in the Middle East known formally as the Abrahamic Accords.

Celebrating the first occurrence of the Abrahamic Accords, Trump hosted a signing ceremony in the White House and had the following rash statement to announce: “We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.” By this politically immature statement, Trump seemed as if he had finally found a solution to the conflict in the region.

As for peace in the region is concerned, Jared Kushner’s peace plans do not make any sense. Apart from Sudan, none of the countries involved with these accords are in conflict with Israel. On the opposite, Morocco and so the Gulf States have retained very healthy diplomatic relations with Israel, even if they were undeclared publicly. For instance, Morocco has had a fair share of intelligence-sharing with Israel since the mid-sixties. On top of that, the two countries had liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat from Sept. 1, 1994, to Oct. 23, 2000. Not to mention Morocco’s contribution in populating Israel by handing over its Jewish population to the newly established Jewish state during the reign of the Moroccan king Hassan II.

Granted, Israel supports the totalitarian regimes of the region mainly because these totalitarianisms do not demand accountability for its human rights and international law violations. Hence, most Arab dictatorships have been dealing with Israel on political and security levels; especially after the outbreak of the Arab spring where these regimes had to obtain the latest spying and security tech to topple every dissident in their population who desires regime change. Whereas the case of the Washington Post’s correspondent Jamal Khashoggi remains the most covered case, Amnesty International has reported that Moroccan journalist Omar Radi’s phone has also been infected with the Israeli Pegasus spyware.

The Myth of Peace: Deception, Expansion and Dispossession.

Each time an Arab country initiates full diplomatic relations with Israel, its local propaganda machine makes it look as a major historical event that has occurred in the country. Some media outlets have gone far with this. For example, they take the religious tolerance preached in the Muslim faith as a pretext for setting these normalization agreements with this ‘Jewish’ nation. Other media platforms, however, have beautified the image of Israel’s apartheid regime via elaborate historical descriptions of Jewish culture and heritage. This is not wrong at all, but what is wrong is to evoke this history only at this particular event ignoring Israel’s present violations of International Law and Human rights and most of all occupation of Palestinian lands. This is why it is easy to deconstruct the naturalization narrative and prove that it is just a myth.

First of all, the context of these agreements was preceded and controlled by the 2020 US elections. Trump’s administration had tried to convince the American public that it will be the first administration that ends the conflict in the Middle East and thus planning on gaining a potential leverage in the election race. But despite the occurrence of the Abrahamic Accords last year and even Trump’s administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017, it still was not enough to win Trump the approval of the devastated American public. This is mainly because Americans wanted Trump out of the White House at any cost; even if it meant choosing the lesser evil of the two candidates in the elections.

Meanwhile, these events come as a perfect opportunity to boost the reputation of the Likud party and more specifically the reputation of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose image has been stained by his corruption and monopoly of the Israeli political scene. Unlike Trump, the chances of him getting replaced in the upcoming Israeli elections are relatively low because of his firm grip on power and the lack of his equal in the Israeli political arena. Furthermore, with the massive press coverage that comes with such events, Netanyahu, similarly to Trump, wanted the spotlights on him to distract the public from his administration’s terrible handling of Covid-19 and thus gaining significant leverage in the elections.

Second, the biggest gain for Israel from these new ties with the Arab States and Morocco is that it reinforces its political influence in the Middle East. Not only this, but unlocking Israel’s geo-political isolation in the region as well. And since this newly granted influence to Israel is an approved one, it gives it freedom to expand and occupy more without any opposition. Of course, if Israel is gaining a legitimate influence in the region, this means that Palestine’s position will exacerbate. And thus the Palestinian cause will no longer have the leverage it has on the Middle Eastern political scene.

Furthermore, Israel’s decision to create ties with the Gulf countries in specific is not arbitrary. This move was motivated by economic reasons. As it is known, the Khaleeji people are the biggest consumers in the region. Hence the khaleeji market becomes a perfect destination for Israeli goods. Israeli products, foods in specific, can even replace other products coming from other countries because of the close distance and the low shipping costs. Additionally, Sudan may not offer much as markets are concerned, but it is definitely a great source of agricultural imports for Israel. Being the mediator between Israel and its “new” allies, the US benefits from these agreements as well since it is Israel’s biggest ally. After all, any ongoing political conflict between Israel and any of the Middle Eastern countries is primarily endangering US’ political and economic interests in the region. In other words, the mediation of the US in these so-called Peace agreements is not out of a sort of altruism because the US is only after its share of the pie.

Third, to say that these newly established ties will bring “peace” to the region is ludicrous and rash but not totally wrong. But for whom this peace is served; for Palestine, for the Arab States, or for Israel? To give a rather simple and short answer, it is apt to say it remains just a myth for the Palestinians in specific, but it means more security and power for the Israeli side in particular. To put it differently, with Israel having full diplomatic ties with these Arab countries and Morocco, it becomes easy for it to carry its annexation plans and dispossession of Palestinian lands without being held accountable. And the Palestinians are likely to be displaced gradually and implicitly to one of these countries. Apparently, Morocco and the rich Gulf states are the biggest fish that Israel could ever come to terms with. Since they provide financial comfort and political stability, some Palestinians may choose these destinations over their currently Israeli-occupied and war-inflected homes.

However, it is worth mentioning that the Emiratis as well as the Saudis despise the Palestinians. Hence, the Palestinians will never accept the reality of being displaced to one of these two countries. Meanwhile, this does not apply to either Kuwait or Oman in which do not have a strong political influence in the region. Apart from Morocco, they maybe the desired destination Israel is looking for to displace the Palestinians to after annexing their lands. Whether the two countries agree to normalize relations with Israel in the future or not, it does not really matter as long they are subservient to UAE and Saudi Arabia. Apparently, the Palestinians are likely to resist as they usually do.

Concurrently, Israel is likely to pressure them to accept this bitter reality as it has been doing for the last decades. Hence, Israel will possibly seek not only to increase its siege and pressure on the borders and checkpoints, but it may also instigate a war with Hamas as a pretext for a military escalation. Hamas, on the other hand, will be, as always, scapegoated for the whole thing especially that it is classified as a terrorist organization. Therefore, the peace that Israel is seeking is a peace with the Palestinians out of Palestine.

However, Israel is not the only benefactor from these agreements. Clearly, the Gulf States have paid for US military protection by signing these accords. But UAE in specific have had further arms deals and gained even more political protection against the Iranian influence in the Arab peninsula. Nonetheless, when a country signs a peace deal, it does not instantly demand acquirement of advanced F-35 stealth Jet, which is what this Gulf State did, because the two are paradoxical. Therefore, in opposition to the classic definitions of peace treaties, the brokered peace from these agreements is a purchased one like many peace agreements that have been signed before it in the region. After all, Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel so it is de-listed from the state-sponsors of terror, the Gulf States signed them as a payment for US military protection and Morocco got support for its sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Therefore, as all the purchased peace agreements the Middle East has witnessed over modern history- whether it is peace for land, peace in exchange of monopoly or what have you- this one is also doomed to be broken by conflict since it is not based on a balanced compromise where two equal parties meet in the middle. Rather, it is a political move towards accumulation of power where the main side of this conflict, meaning the Palestinians, is not even included in these agreements.

The US, Morocco, and Israel: A Geopolitical Chess Game over Africa

The fact that Israel has pursued diplomatic relations with Morocco- a country so far away from the Middle East’s political discourse- is by no means for peace as it is claimed by any of the Accords’ orchestrators. The moment it was announced that Morocco was to resume relations with Israel, Moroccan propaganda machines overshadowed the controversies that come with this event by preaching to the public about the Moroccan Jewish heritage and the coexistence of the Abrahamic religions in this homogeneous sphere. This normalization was depicted as a win-win situation for Morocco especially that Trump has rewarded Morocco’s approval of its resumption of relations with the apartheid regime by signing a presidential proclamation that recognizes Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The celebrations following this recognition covered up totally for the naturalization. This proclamation has even become an independent narrative of its own. The official discourse in Moroccan media has asserted that this recognition is the fruit of long-lasting diplomatic ties between Morocco and the US and not as a part of the Abrahamic Accords. Moreover, many factors influence politics, but altruism is not one of them. Taking the fact that Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the US in 1777, and the two countries long diplomatic relations, it stands as a surprise that it took so much time for the US to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara or at least support its claim diplomatically.

Meanwhile, political terminology is important here because Moroccan media had it intentionally mixed up to alleviate the Moroccan public’s rage. Trump’s presidential proclamation does not recognize the Western Sahara region as a Moroccan entity as they have claimed, but it only recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over it. These are two different things, because Morocco has already been practicing sovereignty over the region although with some difficulties mainly caused by intense altercations with the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. The only thing that Morocco has needed is legitimacy and this proclamation happens to be it. Obviously, this is a simple treat from the US for Morocco’s acceptance of the resumption of relations with Israel.

Nevertheless, the majority of the Moroccan public welcomed Trump’s move, but they abhorred Morocco’s establishment of ties with Israel. Nasser Bourita, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, has refused to call this an act of “naturalization” of relations. For him, normalization is a Middle Eastern term that does not apply to Morocco which is not a neighboring country to Israel. Indeed, Morocco’s North African location and its large indigenous Amazigh population make it hard to proclaim the country as purely Arab.

Bourita has preferred using the term “resumption” of relations instead. As mentioned earlier, Morocco and Israel had Liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat before Morocco had to close their office in response to Israeli repression of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000. Not to mention, there is a number of almost 800.000 Jews of Moroccan decent living in Israel right now.

Obviously, Israel remains the biggest benefactor from these naturalization agreements. However, the US did not take part in them without purpose. The existence of Israel in the Middle East protects American interests in the region. That is why Zionist lobbies in the US always do their best to empower this regime. And this is what AIPAC is doing and what Christians United for Israel and other Zionist lobbies are doing. As a result, this support for the apartheid regime enables the US to retain its firm grip on Middle East’s political and economic affairs. These are all facts now. But the case of Morocco is still a uniquely dubious one. Pressing Morocco – a country so far away from The Middle East’s frenzy and even terminology to sign these deals seems confusing to say the least; especially that Morocco is not a rich country like the Gulf States.

However, ever since Morocco’s rejoining the African Union in 2017, many countries and the US particularly have started to look for ways to intensify their relations with this African country more than before. To illustrate, Morocco’s main weapon supplies come from the US. Granted, the influence of the US embassy in Rabat has surpassed diplomatic lines to influencing Moroccan cultural context and even influencing Moroccan academia via its grants and many programs and English learning courses. This soft pressure changes the structure of Moroccan society with time. As of now, although French is the official second language in Morocco, the majority of Moroccan youth, many of whom have benefited from US grants and programs, speak English. This is not bad at all, but again, politics is the game of interests and not altruisms. Implemented in these courses and grants are soft ideologies that create sympathy and acceptance of US values and democracy in the Moroccan community. In the long run, acceptance of the US image rises even if its intentions in the region are not necessarily benevolent.

To connect this to the question at hand, Morocco remains the US’ key holder to the African Union and African countries. This strategic move to invest in Morocco politically and economically and then support its sovereignty over its full territorial land comes as the price for infiltrating a fertile network of rising African economies. Hence, these countries become perfect investment destinations for the US. And although China is the biggest player in Africa as economy is involved, not counting the previous colonial powers of Africa, the US is doing the best it can to take this role in the near future. After its degrading failure to do so under pretexts of humanitarian aid and war on terror, the UShas finally chosen this diplomatic direction to overtake Russian and Chinese influences in Africa. It is hence a perfectly played chess game over geopolitical expansion and power. Peace and human rights preached in these agreements however, are turned into industries that are used to further their dominance and hegemony.

Additionally, what makes Morocco exceptional is its officials’ diplomatic maturity and its political stability in comparison to the Middle East and other African countries. Also, Morocco’s ability to repay its debts boosts foreign investors’ confidence to embark on the Moroccan market. Not to mention, Morocco itself needs this kind of political and economic partnership and support as it seeks to take the lead as an African power. However, this pursuit remains far-fetched without having full sovereignty over its lands or without having strong allies.

Meanwhile, Moroccan King Mohamed VI has confirmed that Morocco’s position on Palestine remains unchanged. He has also affirmed that he places his country’s territorial issue and the Palestinian cause at the same level, and that the kingdom will use its new position to push for a conflict resolution in the region. Thus, Morocco is playing it as safe as it could as it is placing itself neither with the current, nor against it.

All in all, Morocco and the Arab regimes’ decision to normalize relations with Israel is not promising of any lasting peace between Palestine and Israel simply because Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories will gain significant legitimacy from the establishment of these diplomatic ties. Especially that these Arab States are not democratic themselves so they can account it for its infringement of international law and human rights. Granted, since the Palestinian question, the right of self-determination and the right of return are not included in the official discourse of these peace agreements, a resolution for the Palestinian- Israeli conflict remains just a myth that appears to be tangible with propaganda and exclusionary media narratives.

– Mohamed El Metmari is an independent writer and researcher affiliated with the faculty of Letters and Humanities of Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Martil, Morocco. He is an Open Hands Initiative’s Conflict Resolution alumnus. Currently, he is conducting a Master’s thesis centered on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. His articles have appeared on Aljazeera Arabic, SasaPost, and Countercurrents. He contributed this essay to The Palestine Chronicle.

مصر وحالة اللامعقول… أمن قوميّ أم أمن الرئيس؟ Egypt and the state of the absurd … national security or the security of the president?

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

مصر وحالة اللامعقول… أمن قوميّ أم أمن الرئيس؟

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد

أثار حادث جنوح الباخرة «إيفر غيفن» منذ أيام وسدّها مجرى الملاحة في قناة السويس، تسونامي من الأخبار والتعليقات والتحليلات، اعتمد كثير منها على نظرية المؤامرة، التي وإنْ كانت غالباً على خطأ، إلا أنها قد تصيب أحياناً، ومما لا شك فيه، أنّ تأثيرات هذا الحدث ولا بد، استراتيجية بامتياز، وسوف تكون لها تداعيات مهمة في الزمن القريب، انه ليس حدثاً عابراً.

تتعطل الموانئ السورية، اللاذقية، بانياس وطرطوس، يتمّ تدمير ميناء بيروت بفعل فاعل، يتوقف ميناءا عدن والحديدة عن العمل بسبب الحرب والحصار، وأخيراً تجنح سفينة «إيفر غيفن» التي تحمل بضائع يقلّ وزنها قليلاً عن ربع مليار طن بسبب الرياح، والنتيجة أن تغلق قناة السويس أمام حركة الملاحة، فيما تعمل موانئ الخليج بنشاط، مثلها مثل موانئ حيفا وأسدود، ويتداول الجميع الحديث عن قناة بديلة، تصل بين البحر الأبيض المتوسط والبحر الأحمر، من عسقلان حتى أيله (ايلات)، وعلى شواطئها مدن صناعيّة وتجمّعات عمالية وفنادق ومراكز ترفيه.

فكرة قناة السويس في البداية، ارتبطت بالغرب وتوسّعه وحركة تجارته العالميّة وتنافسه الاستعماريّ، حفر المصريون القناة بجهدهم وعرقهم في منتصف القرن التاسع عشر، وفقدوا مئات ألوف الأرواح أثناء عملية الحفر، وذلك باستعمال الفأس والقفة، وحققوا خلال عشر سنوات، معجزة هندسيّة تفوق في روعتها وفوائدها وتأثيرها أهرامات الجيزة، لكن ورثتهم لم يحافظوا عليها، وحتى عملية تطويرها التي انتهت عام 2015 لم تكن ذات بال وأهميّة، وهنا يتضح أنّ المسألة ليست مسألة سفينة جانحة بحادث عرضي، أو رياح عاتية، وإنما فشل للنظام.

في عام 1888 وقعت اتفاقية القسطنطينية، لإدارة قناة السويس والتي حدّدت حقوق السفن العابرة للقناة، وكذلك الحقوق والواجبات المترتبة على مصر، ومع تقدّم الزمان، تطوّر القانون الدولي المتعلق بالمضايق والممرات وأضاف على اتفاقية القسطنطينية التي لا تزال معمولاً ومعترفاً بها، بنوداً عديدة تحكم وتنظم عمل القناة، وهي تشمل حرية الملاحة والمرور السريع البريء والآمن للجميع، ومن دون تمييز تجاه العلم الذي ترفعه السفينة الذي يمثل الدولة التي سجلت السفينة بها، ويحظر كلّ من الاتفاقية المذكورة والقانون الدولي إغلاقها، وفي حين تملك مصر حقوقاً في القناة باعتبارها جهداً مصرياً في أرض مصرية، إلا أنها في الوقت عينه ترتب عليها مسؤوليات، وذلك بأن تقوم بما يلزم من أجل سلامة المرور، وصيانة الممر، وتأمين وسائل تيسير الملاحة، وضمان سلامة السفن، وحيازة ما يلزم من آليات الطوارئ في حال تعطلت القناة. فالممرات المائيّة يحظر إغلاقها لما في ذلك من تأثير على السلم العالمي، وأمام خطورة هذا الحدث الذي أثبت أنّ الدولة الفاشلة غير قادرة على إدارة هذا الممر الحيوي، الأمر الذي قد يضع إمكانيّة وضع إدارة القناة تحت رعاية دوليّة أمراً ممكناً.

الفشل عند هذا النظام، لم يبدأ عند حادث السفينة، فالنظام أصلاً لم يستطع المحافظة لا على مكانته العربيّة والأفريقية والإسلامية فحسب، ولا على علاقاته بجواره غرباً في ليبيا التي عادت وستعود عليه بالكوارث، مقابل خدمته لأولياء النعمة ومصدر بقائه في الحكم، أو جنوباً في السودان، الذي تقسّم وأخذ ينحو بشطريه الجنوبي والشمالي بعيداً عن مصر وعن المحيط العربي، وفشل النظام في التعاطي مع سدّ النهضة، الذي أخذ يمتلئ بالماء وأصبح أمراً واقعاً، فيما رجال النظام وقططه السمان يموّلون السدّ المعادي ويقرضون الحكومة الإثيوبيّة، بشرائهم سندات تمويل السدّ، لإماتتهم وإماتة المصريين عطشاً، مقابل فوائد ربوية، فيما حلفاء النظام السعوديين والإماراتيين، الذين يحارب نظام عبد الفتاح السيسي من أجلهم، نراهم يقفون إلى جانب إثيوبيا.

لم يرَ نظام العسكر في مصر، من مخاطر على بلده من الحرب الأهلية وليبيا، ولا في جنوب السودان، وما يحضّر له من سدود ومشاريع مائية، بخبرة وشركات (إسرائيلية) وأموال خليجيّة تقضي على إمدادات المياه من بحيرة فكتوريا والنيل الأبيض، ولا أمام خطر العطش الذي سيصيب مصر بعد اكتمال المشاريع على جميع روافد النيل، ويتنازل عن جزر مهمة لأمنه القوميّ في مضائق البحر الأحمر – تيران وصنافير – والتي كانت السبب المباشر لحرب عام 1967، والتي ستكون متكآت ملاحيّة لمشروع القناة البديلة.

إنها هزيمة لنظام العسكر، لصورة الدولة الشرقيّة في أذهان العالم، أنهم مثال للهزيمة في الحرب، والفشل في الإدارة، والاستبداد بالحكم، وعلى سبيل المثال البسيط، نرى وزير النقل المصري وهو جنرال متقاعد لا يرى في حادث السفينة مسؤوليّة إلا مسؤولية الرياح، التي استطاعت إزاحة سفينة متطوّرة يصل وزنها مع حمولتها إلى ربع مليار طن، في حين يتمّ تداول روايات سخيفة حول سبب الحادث والمسؤولية عنه.

هذا انكشاف لعورات نظام متهافت، فشل في الحفاظ على البلد وعلى أمنها القوميّ، يخوض حروباً بالوكالة في ليبيا، وأخرى في جنوب جزيرة العرب، يتحالف مع «إسرائيل» واليونان في خطوط الغاز، ويفرّط بحقوقه المائيّة التي هي سرّ بقاء مصر المعروفة في التاريخ باسم هبة النيل، عاجز عن التعامل مع الأزمات الاقتصادية الخانقة والمتلاحقة وغير قادر على حلها، البطالة تتفاقم وتزداد بمعدلات مزعجة وترافقها انهيارات اجتماعيّة، فساد مستشرٍ في كافة قطاعات الإدارة القاصرة، أبراج سكنية تنهار فوق أجساد ساكنيها، فيما لا يرى من مهدّدات للأمن القومي إلا في المعارضة الداخليّة، وزجّ 60 ألف من مواطنيه في السجون، بتهمة الانتماء للإخوان المسلمين، فيما بعضهم من الأقباط…

إنه نظام العسكر، ومصر التي نامت نواطير أمنها القومي ومصالحها العليا، فيما عاثت بها الثعالب ضراً وفساداً، لكم تحتاج إلى حاكم بعقلية السلطان العثماني محمود الثاني، الذي أنهى سيطرة العسكر الانكشاريّ على الدولة، بعد أن أصبحوا عبئاً ثقيلاً عليها، ومصدراً من مصادر ضعفها وهوانها.

اليوم في أمّ الدنيا كما يحب أهل مصر تسميتها، نرى في نظام العسكر، انّ الحمار قد أكل الأمن القوميّ وأبقى على أمن الحاكم وضرورات بقائه.

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة

Egypt and the state of the absurd … national security or the security of the president?

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SAADA Mustafa Arshid

The accident of the delinquency of the ship «Ever given» days ago and blocked the course of navigation in the Suez Canal, a tsunami of news, comments and analysis, many of which relied on the conspiracy theory, which although often wrong, but may sometimes infect, and no doubt, that the effects of this event must, strategy par excellence, and will have important repercussions in the near time, it is not a passing event.

The Syrian ports, Latakia, Banias and Tartus are destroyed by an actor, the ports of Aden and Hodeidah stop working due to the war and siege, and finally the ship “Ever Geven” which carries goods weighing just under a quarter of a billion tons due to the wind, the result is that the Suez Canal is closed to shipping traffic, while the Gulf ports are working actively, as are the ports of Haifa and Ashdod, and everyone talks about an alternative channel, connecting the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, from Ashkelon to Ayla (Eilat), and on its shores industrial cities, labor gatherings, hotels and entertainment centers.

The idea of the Suez Canal at the beginning, associated with the West and its expansion and the movement of its world trade and its colonial competition, the Egyptians dug the canal with their effort and sweat in the middle of the nineteenth century, and lost hundreds of thousands of lives during the drilling process, using the axe and the shell, and achieved in ten years, an engineering miracle beyond In its splendor and its benefits and impact the Pyramids of Giza, but their heirs did not preserve it, and even the process of development that ended in 2015 was not significant and important, and here it is clear that the issue of a ship is not a matter of ship accidentally, or high winds, but a failure of the system.

In 1888, the Constantinople Agreement was signed for the management of the Suez Canal, which defined the rights of ships crossing the canal, as well as the rights and duties of Egypt, and as time progressed, the development of international law on straits and corridors, added to the Convention of Constantinople, which is still in force and recognized, many clauses governing and regulating the operation of the canal, which includes freedom of navigation and rapid, innocent and safe passage for all, without discrimination against the flag that the ship flies in, which represents the country in which the ship is registered, and both the aforementioned convention and international law prohibits its closure. While Egypt has rights in the canal as an Egyptian effort on Egyptian territory, it has responsibilities to do what is necessary for traffic safety, maintain the corridor, secure the means of facilitating navigation, ensure the safety of ships, and possess the necessary emergency mechanisms in the event of a breakdown of the canal. Waterways are prohibited from being closed because of the impact on world peace, and in the face of the seriousness of this event, which has proved that the failed State is unable to manage this vital corridor, which may place the possibility of placing the management of the canal under international auspices.

Failure with this system did not begin when the ship accident, for the regime originally could not preserve its Arab, African and Islamic status only, nor its relations with its side to the west in Libya, which returned and will return to it with disasters, in return for its service to the saints of grace and the source of its survival in power, or to the south in Sudan, which is divided and began to turn its southern and northern parts away from Egypt and the Arab ocean, and the failure of the regime in dealing with the Renaissance Dam, which began to fill with water and became a fait accompli, while the regime’s fat cats were financing the hostile dam and lending to the Ethiopian government, by buying bonds to finance the dam, to kill them and let the Egyptians thirst in exchange for usurious interest, while the regime’s allies, Saudi and Emirati whom the regime of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is fighting for, are standing by Ethiopia.

The military regime in Egypt does not see the dangers to its country from the civil war and Libya, nor in southern Sudan, and the dams and water projects prepared, with experience and (Israeli) companies and Gulf funds that eliminate water supplies from Lake Victoria and the White Nile, nor the danger of thirst, which will afflict Egypt after the completion of projects on all the tributaries of the Nile. Moreover, the regime gave up important islands for its national security in the straits of the Red Sea – Tiran and Sanafir – which were the direct cause of the 1967 war, and which will be navigational anchors for the alternative canal project.

This is the exposure of the states of a reckless regime, which failed to preserve the country and its national security, is engaged in proxy wars in Libya, and another in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, allied with Israel and Greece in gas lines, and overrides its water rights, which are the secret of Egypt’s survival known in history as the Gift of the Nile, unable to deal with the economic crises stifling and successive and other Unemployment is worsening and increasing at alarming rates and accompanied by social collapses, widespread corruption in all sectors of the underage administration, residential towers collapsing over the bodies of its inhabitants, while it sees no threats to national security except in the internal opposition, and 60 thousand of its citizens are imprisoned, accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, while some Copts.

Today in the mother of the world, as the people of Egypt like to call it, we see in the military system that the donkey has eaten national security and kept the security of the ruler and the necessities of his survival.

*Palestinian politician residing in Jenin, Occupied Palestine

Welcome to shocked and awed 21st century geopolitics

Welcome to shocked and awed 21st century geopolitics

March 23, 2021

With a Russia-China-Iran triple bitch slap on the hegemon, we now have a brand new geopolitical chessboard

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

It took 18 years after Shock and Awe unleashed on Iraq for the Hegemon to be mercilessly shocked and awed by a virtually simultaneous, diplomatic Russia-China one-two.

How this is a real game-changing moment cannot be emphasized enough; 21st century geopolitics will never be the same again.

Yet it was the Hegemon who first crossed the diplomatic Rubicon. The handlers behind hologram Joe “I’ll do whatever you want me to do, Nance” Biden had whispered in his earpiece to brand Russian President Vladimir Putin as a soulless “killer” in the middle of a softball interview.

Not even at the height of the Cold War the superpowers resorted to ad hominem attacks. The result of such an astonishing blunder was to regiment virtually the whole Russian population behind Putin – because that was perceived as an attack against the Russian state.

Then came Putin’s cool, calm, collected – and quite diplomatic – response, which needs to be carefully pondered. These sharp as a dagger words are arguably the most devastatingly powerful five minutes in the history of post-truth international relations.

In For Leviathan, it’s so cold in Alaska, we forecasted what could take place in the US-China 2+2 summit at a shabby hotel in Anchorage, with cheap bowls of instant noodles thrown in as extra bonus.

China’s millennial diplomatic protocol establishes that discussions start around common ground – which are then extolled as being more important than disagreements between negotiating parties. That’s at the heart of the concept of “no loss of face”. Only afterwards the parties discuss their differences.

Yet it was totally predictable that a bunch of amateurish, tactless and clueless Americans would smash those basic diplomatic rules to show “strength” to their home crowd, distilling the proverbial litany on Taiwan, Hong Kong, South China Sea, “genocide” of Uighurs.

Oh dear. There was not a single State Dept. hack with minimal knowledge of East Asia to warn the amateurs you don’t mess with the formidable head of the Foreign Affairs Commission at the CCP’s Central Committee, Yang Jiechi, with impunity.

Visibly startled, but controlling his exasperation, Yang Jiechi struck back. And the rhetorical shots were heard around the whole Global South.

They had to include a basic lesson in manners: “If you want to deal with us properly, let’s have some mutual respect and do things the right way”. But what stood out was a stinging, concise diagnostic blending history and politics:

The United States is not qualified to talk to China in a condescending manner. The Chinese people will not accept that. It must be based on mutual respect to deal with China, and history will prove that those who seek to strangle China will suffer in the end.

And all that translated in real time by young, attractive and ultra-skilled Zhang Jing – who inevitably became an overnight superstar in China, reaping an astonishing 400 million plus hits on Weibo.

The incompetence of the “diplomatic” arm of the Biden-Harris administration beggars belief. Using a basic Sun Tzu maneuver, Yang Jiechi turned the tables and voiced the predominant sentiment of the overwhelming majority of the planet. Stuff your unilateral “rules-based order”. We, the nations of the world, privilege the UN charter and the primacy of international law.

So this is what the Russia-China one-two achieved almost instantaneously: from now on, the Hegemon should be treated, all across the Global South with, at best, disdain.

An inevitable historical process

Pre-Alaska, the Americans went on a charming offensive in Japan and South Korea for “consultations”. That’s irrelevant. What matters is post-Alaska, and the crucial Sergey Lavrov-Wang Yi meeting of Foreign Ministers in Guilin.

Lavrov, always unflappable, clarified in an interview with Chinese media how the Russia-China strategic partnership sees the current US diplomatic train wreck:

As a matter of fact, they have largely lost the skill of classical diplomacy. Diplomacy is about relations between people, the ability to listen to each other, to hear one another and to strike a balance between competing interests. These are exactly the values ​​that Russia and China are promoting in diplomacy.

The inevitable consequence is that Russia-China must “consolidate our independence: “The United States has declared limiting the advance of technology in Russia and China as its goal. So, we must reduce our exposure to sanctions by strengthening our technological independence and switching to settlements in national and international currencies other than the dollar. We need to move away from using Western-controlled international payment systems.”

Russia-China have clearly identified, as Lavrov pointed out, how the “Western partners” are “promoting their ideology-driven agenda aimed at preserving their dominance by holding back progress in other countries. Their policies run counter to the objective international developments and, as they used to say at some point, are on the wrong side of history. The historical process will come into its own, no matter what happens.”

As a stark presentation of an inevitable “historical process”, it doesn’t get more crystal clear than that. And predictably, it didn’t take time for the “Western partners” to fall back into – what else – their same old sanction bag of tricks.

Here we go again: a US, UK, EU, Canada “alliance” sanctioning selected Chinese officials because, in Blinken’s words, “the PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.”

The EU, UK, and Canada didn’t have the guts to sanction a key player: Xinjiang party chief Chen Quanguo, who’s a Politburo member. The Chinese response would have been – economically – devastating.

Still, Beijing counterpunched with its own sanctions – targeting, crucially, the German far-right evangelical nut posing as “scholar” who produced the bulk of the completely debunked “proof” of a million Uighurs held in concentration camps.

Once again, the “Western partners” are impermeable to logic. Adding to the already appalling state of EU-Russia relations, Brussels chooses to also antagonize China based on a single fake dossier, playing right into the Hegemon’s not exactly secret Divide and Rule agenda.

Mission (nearly) accomplished: Brussels diplomats tell me the EU Parliament is all but set to refuse to ratify the China-EU trade deal painstakingly negotiated by Merkel and Macron. The consequences will be immense.

So Blinken will have reasons to be cheerful when he meets assorted eurocrats and NATO bureaucrats this week, ahead of the NATO summit.

One has to applaud the gall of the “Western partners”. It’s 18 years since Shock and Awe – the start of the bombing, invasion and destruction of Iraq. It’s 10 years since the start of the total destruction of Libya by NATO and its GCC minions, with Obama-Biden “leading from behind”. It’s 10 years since the start of the savage destruction of Syria by proxy – complete with jihadis disguised as “moderate rebels”.

Yet now the “Western partners” are so mortified by the plight of Muslims in Western China.

At least there are some cracks within the EU illusionist circus. Last week, the French Armed Forces Joint Reflection Circle (CRI) – in fact an independent think tank of former high officers – wrote a startling open letter to cardboard NATO secretary-general Stoltenberg de facto accusing him of behaving as an American stooge with the implementation of NATO 2030 plan. The French officers drew the correct conclusion: the US/NATO combo is the main cause of appalling relations with Russia.

These Ides of March

Meanwhile, sanctions hysteria advance like a runaway train. Biden-Harris has already threatened to impose extra sanctions on Chinese oil imports from Iran. And there’s more in the pipeline – on manufacturing, technology, 5G, supply chains, semiconductors.

And yet nobody is trembling in their boots. Right on cue with Russia-China, Iran has stepped up the game, with Ayatollah Khamenei issuing the guidelines for Tehran’s return to the JCPOA.

1. The US regime is in no position to make new demands or changes regarding the nuclear deal.

2. The US is weaker today than when the JCPOA was signed.

3. Iran is in a stronger position now. If anyone can impose new demands it’s Iran and not the US.

And with that we have a Russia-China-Iran triple bitch slap on the Hegemon.

In our latest conversation/interview, to be released soon in a video + transcript package, Michael Hudson – arguably the world’s top economist – hit the heart of the matter:

The fight against China, the fear of China is that you can’t do to China, what you did to Russia. America would love for there to be a Yeltsin figure in China to say, let’s just give all of the railroads that you’ve built, the high-speed rail, let’s give the wealth, let’s give all the factories to individuals and let the individuals run everything and, then we’ll lend them the money, or we’ll buy them out and then we can control them financially. And China’s not letting that happen. And Russia stopped that from happening. And the fury in the West is that somehow, the American financial system is unable to take over foreign resources, foreign agriculture. It is left only with military means of grabbing them as we are seeing in the near East. And you’re seeing in the Ukraine right now.

To be continued. As it stands, we should all make sure that the Ides of March – the 2021 version – have already configured a brand new geopolitical chessboard. The Russia-China Double Helix on high-speed rail has left the station – and there’s no turning back.

الدور الروسيّ العائم…ورمال المنطقة المتحرّكة!

محمد صادق الحسينيّ

يذهب الكثيرون بعيداً في تصنيف القوة الروسيّة الصاعدة بأنها حليف استراتيجيّ لمحور المقاومة ولديهم الكثير مما يخدم تصنيفهم هذا.

فيما يذهب آخرون وهم ليسوا قلة، بتصنيف الروس بأنهم بقايا سياسة قيصريّة تبحث عن مصالح تاريخيّة في منطقتنا من المياه الدافئة، الى مصادر الطاقة الواعدة، وهؤلاء أيضاً لديهم الكثير مما قد يؤكد تصنيفهم هذا.

غير أنّ الجغرافيا السياسية وموازين القوى المتحركة على أرضنا والتحوّلات الدولية المحيطة ببلادنا العربية والإسلامية والتحوّلات الروسية الداخلية ما بعد الحرب الباردة قد تعزز تصنيفاً آخر، فلنرَ ماذا تقول تلك الوقائع:

أولاً: إنّ صعود فلاديمير بوتين لسدة الحكم في موسكو على أنقاض البيروسترويكا والحرب الباردة جعل روسيا الحديثة تظهر بمثابة خليط من القيصرية والسوفياتيّة، ذلك انّ حاكم روسيا الجديد قام ببناء سياسته الخارجية الجديدة على 3 أركان هي:

1

ـ إحياء القومية الروسية.

2

ـ إحياء الكنيسة الأرثوذكسية.

3

ـ إحياء سياسة الاتحاد السوفياتيّ الخارجية تجاه الحلفاء التقليديين (أو ما يسمّونها في موسكو بمحاسن الاتحاد السوفياتي).

وقد شكلت هذه في ما بات يُعرَف بعقيدة بوتين.

ثانياً: برز نجم بوتين ودور روسيا الجديد بالترافق مع تحوّلات دوليّة مهمّة يمكن تلخيصها بأنها نهاية «حرب عالمية» ضدّ الإرهاب كان بطلها محور المقاومة بقيادة الجمهورية الإسلامية ما جعل الحاكم الروسي الجديد الباحث عن إحياء دور بلاده السوفياتية القديمة بحاجة ماسة ليكون المظلة الحامية لهذا النصر التاريخيّ حتى يتمكّن من اقتطاف كلّ ثمار النصر هذا لصالح بلاده مرة واحدة.

ثالثاً: ولأنّ زعيم روسيا القومية الصاعدة يعرف تماماً أنّ بلاده «القارية» في جغرافيّتها السياسية ستكون بحاجة للخروج إلى أعالي البحار إذا ما أرادت أن تلعب دور المنافس الجديد للقوى البحرية الكبرى، لذلك رأى انّ تحقيق حلم استعادة الدور الروسي العالمي يتطلب منه أن يحيي السلوك القيصري التاريخي في التعامل مع كلّ اللاعبين الصغار كما الكبار على حدّ سواء، المنتصرين منهم كما المهزومين في الحرب على الإرهاب.

وهنا تماماً يمكن فهم سلوك موسكو البراغماتي والنفعي المحض تجاه تركيا وأخيراً السعودية والإمارات وقطر، ما جعلها (أيّ موسكو) تظهر على غير توافق مع قوى محور المقاومة وأحياناً على تضادّ، ولو في الشكل.

رابعاً: ثمة عامل رابع شديد التعقيد يدخل في تحديد السياسة الروسية البوتينية إذا جاز التعبير وهو:

علاقة الروس باليهود تاريخياً وحاضراً والتي يمكن تلخيصها كما يلي:

١– كانت روسيا القيصريّة أول مَن شنّت الحملة المناهضة لليهود في ثمانينيات القرن التاسع عشر، فيما عرف بسياسة «البوغروم» باعتبارهم المافيا أو القوة الخفية المسيطرة على المال والاقتصاد الروسي والتي اعتبرت بمثابة التهديد للأمن القومي الروسي القيصري آنذاك.

٢– كانت روسيا أول دولة أو من بين أولى الدول التي اعترفت بالكيان الصهيوني بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية مباشرة.

٣– لدى روسيا نحو مليون ونصف مليون مواطن روسي داخل الكيان يحملون الجنسيّة المزدوجة، يقضي الدستور الروسي بواجب الدفاع عن أمنهم كمواطنين مثلهم مثل المواطنين داخل الاتحاد الروسي.

ولما كان الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين قومياً وقيصرياً في عقله الباطني السياسي، فهو مرة كان مضطراً لمهاجمة المافيا الماليّة اليهودية الموجودة في تلابيب الاتحاد الروسي وقمعها بشدّة وهو في حال صعود وتعزيز موقع قيادته الجديد تحت عنوان الدفاع عن أمن الدولة، فيما هو الآن مضطر كثيراً وكثيراً جداً، لمداراة من تبقى من هذه المافيا التي لا تزال متحكّمة في كثير من دوائر الاقتصاد والإعلام الروسيّين، من أجل توظيف ذلك في سياسته الخارجية التي باتت تتطلب كسب جميع من في الداخل ومن في الخارج من قوى مؤثرة، في إطار مواجهة سياسة الحصار والبطش الأميركي ضدّه.

عقيدة بوتين المشار إليها آنفاً ومجموعة العوامل المؤثرة التي لعبت دوراً في تسلّمه مقاليد الاتحاد الروسي أولاً ومن ثم الجغرافيا السياسية المتغيرة التي رفعته من مجرد حاكم روسيّ قويّ الى لاعب دولي كبير، هي التي تفسّر اليوم وجهَي التناقض في الظاهرة البوتينية تجاه بلادنا العربية والإسلامية، بين مَن يعتبره مقاولاً شريفاً مدافعاً عن حقوقنا في المعركة المناهضة للإرهاب وللامبريالية، وبين من يضعه في صف المقاول المتعارضة مصالحه مع سياساتنا المقاومة ضدّ الامبريالية والصهيونية.

خلاصة القول، فإنه وفي ظلّ التحوّلات الاقليمية والدولية المتسارعة فإنّ موسكو بقيادة بوتين قوة صديقة لنا بقدر ما نحن أقوياء وثابتون ونعرف ماذا نريد وقادرين على توظيف قوّتها باتجاه ما نريد، تماماً كما فعلت ايران وسورية حتى الآن.

وفي غير ذلك فقد لا نستطيع الاستفادة منها، بل وربما خسرانها، في حال فكرنا بطريقة المقاول بدلاً من المقاوم.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

Trade-Off looming on Syria and Yemen:

Trade-Off looming on Syria and Yemen:

March 16, 2021

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

In the past few weeks much has happened in the area of diplomacy on the part of Russia. Russia is forging ahead after stepping up its presence in the Middle East in the past decade, taking a strong pro-active political role. Moscow during this period has been intent on consolidating its efforts in re-establishing itself as the key player in any political settlements in the Middle East. Ever since Kissinger in the late 1970’s pulled the rug out from underneath the feet of the USSR, striking a deal between Israel and Egypt, excluding the USSR and the rest of the Arab World, the political influence of Russia in the Middle East significantly waned until it came back with deciding force when Russia responded to the Syrian Government’s request for help in September 2015.

Lately, the economic crisis has deepened in Syria following the drastic Western sanctions. And specifically after the implementation of the Caesar’s Act, the Syrian currency took a huge tumble and the cost of living has soared to unprecedented levels. This left many cynics wondering and pondering what was Russia going to do in the face of the collapsed Syrian economy after having achieved an impressive military victory, taking its troops outside its former USSR borders for the first time and heralding the end of the single super power status of the USA.

To this effect, and on the diplomatic side, Russian FM Lavrov has recently visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE for talks pertaining to an array of issues. The agenda issues that transpired to the media include trade, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, as well as issues of global and regional security, albeit vague in details as what ‘security issues’ mean.

It appears that in these meetings, discussions included the return of Syria to the Arab League and the cost of reconstruction of Syria after ten years of war, a bill touted to exceed $Bn200. Expectations have existed for some time that the Arab Gulf states will fork out a huge chunk of this cost. As mentioned above, the bottom line here is that Russia’s military success in its operation in Syria needs to be followed by political success. Partly, this is achieved within the Astana talks which include Turkey and Iran. However, the very same Arab States instrumental in the ‘War on Syria’ are also instrumental in facilitating the return of Syria to the Arab League, the reconstruction efforts in Syria and the easing of sanctions. The Gulf states have always reiterated that there will no return of Syria to the Arab League for as long as Iranian forces remain on the ground. The UAE seemed more open than Saudi Arabia to the prospects of Syria’s return to the Arab League and financing the reconstruction process.

But why would the Gulf States, the same states that spent tens of billions of dollars in order to destroy Syria, be suddenly now interested in the reversal of the process? This is a fair question to ask.

Quite unexpectantly, and almost immediately after the return of Lavrov to Moscow, a top delegation of Hezbollah, headed by Mohamad Raad, was invited to Moscow for talks. Apparently, the visit was cloaked in a veil of secrecy in Russia and was not at all covered in Western media, even though it made news in Arabic mainstream media. It would be politically naïve to imagine that Lavrov’s visit to the Gulf has no relation to this. All issues in the Middle East are related to each other, including the war in Yemen.

To put it succinctly, the UAE had already stepped away from the Yemen war. However, Saudi Arabia remains bogged down in this travesty and seven years on, must have come to the humiliating and painful realization that it is a war it cannot win. This is where Iran and Hezbollah can have leverage in any direct or indirect negotiations with the Saudis, and Russia is the only arbitrator who is able to communicate with all parties involved.

All parties in the Middle East are looking for face-saving tradeoffs; at least partial and interim ones. The Saudis in particular are tired and exhausted,

In an interview given to Sputnik Arabic, one not widely reported in other media, not even Sputnik English, Raad praised the cooperation between Hezbollah and Russia, stating that ‘the invitation we received aims to reopen the dialogue about the next phase after having reached the achievements that serve the interests of the people of the region in the recent past’ .

This is Raad’s first visit to Moscow since 2011. Of that visit, I am not trying to speculate in hindsight of the purpose of it and the achievements of it. Furthermore, Hezbollah has not ever been party to any international dis-engagement or peace negotiations in the past, except for ones relating to exchange of prisoners. The economic demise of Syria and Lebanon, as well as the Saudi-Yemeni impasse, may well have placed Hezbollah in a position of participating in peace-deals negotiations this time.

I am neither referring to peace deals with Israel here, nor any deal involving disarmament. Hezbollah will not be prepared to negotiate disarming itself under any political settlement either today or in the foreseeable future, and Moscow is totally aware of this.

According to my analysis, the deal that Moscow is most likely to suggest is a mutual withdrawal of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria on one hand, and an end of the Saudi war on Yemen. It is simple, Saudi Arabia to leave Yemen and Iran/Hezbollah to leave Syria. I believe that Lavrov has already secured the Saudi acceptance of those terms, terms that will not only end the war in Yemen, but also the return of Syria to the Arab League and a possible easing of the Western economic sanctions on Syria. Had Lavrov not secured the Saudi assurance, he would not have invited Hezbollah for talks.

A deal of this nature can potentially end the criminal human tragedy in Yemen in a manner that will portray the Saudis as the real losers in the war, and this is where they need a face-saving trade-off in Syria. In Syria, they will be perceived as winners by securing an Iranian/Hezbollah exit. But most importantly perhaps for the Saudis, this will put an end to a very costly and humiliating war in Yemen, one which is beginning to draw criticism from some quarters of the international community, including alleged talk of America considering placing arms deal embargos on Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, if Iran and Hezbollah end their presence in Syria, many sanctions are likely to be lifted and the severe economic pressure in Syria will be eased. Such a deal will be a humanitarian win for Syria and Yemen, a strategic win for Saudi Arabia and Iran, and a diplomatic win for Russia.

What will be in it for Hezbollah will largely depend on what Lavrov has put on the table, and it seems obvious that it is Hezbollah that will need more convincing than Iran, and this is why the talks are now with Hezbollah; not with Iranian officials. Perhaps the deal already has the tacit approval of Iranian officials.

It goes without saying; Israel will be watching these developments with keen interest. Israel wants Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. But the trade-off deal I am talking about is not one in which Israel is a direct party.

What is known at this stage is that a meeting has already taken place between the Hezbollah delegation and Russian officials. As I write this, I am not aware if other meetings are to follow and or whether or not the Hezbollah delegation is back in Lebanon.

Was the 2011 Moscow visit of Raad a prelude for Hezbollah to enter Syria? Will the 2021 visit be prelude for Hezbollah to leave Syria? We don’t know. We may never find out the actual detailed outcome of the mysterious-but-not-so-mysterious current Hezbollah visit. It may not even end up with a press release, but in the next coming days, we will find out if a Syria-Yemen trade-off is indeed looming.

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

*Media headlines at the 10 year anniversary of the war on Syria.
moi

March 15, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

After many wars built on lies over the decades, people might have developed a good BS radar. Instead, in March 2011, when media and human rights groups pushed propaganda about Syria, the public once again fell for it.

Front page, round-the-clock headlines were pumped out, and transparently hollow Western pundits tut-tutted Syria’s president and claimed the Syrian government was cracking down on “peaceful protesters.”

But this is March 2021, and while Western lies and fake concern have dominated news on Syria, Syrians deserve to have the reality – their suffering under some of the most heinous terrorism the world has known – highlighted instead.

In reality, March 2011 in Syria saw well-armed thugs attacking not only government buildings, but killing soldiers and civilians too.

In the months and years that followed, some of those who had been dubbed as “peaceful protesters” committed massacre after massacre of Syrian civilians and security forces.

Independent observers like Homs-based Dutch priest Father Frans van der Lugt witnessed “armed demonstrators who began to shoot at the police first.”

Flemish priest Father Daniel Maes, based in Damascus’ countryside, said:

I have seen with my own eyes how agitators from outside Syria organized protests against the government and recruited young people. Murders were committed by foreign terrorists, against the Sunni and Christian communities, in an effort to sow religious and ethnic discord among the Syrian people.

From my own fourteen visits from April 2014 and over the next seven years, what I’ve heard and experienced in Syria only confirmed my early suspicions that what Al Jazeera and Western media were purporting were lies.

– While people did aspire to political change (and the government made changes), from the start there was violence from well-armed “protesters.”

– Contrary to what the media would have us believe, there wasn’t wide support for what was dubbed a “revolution,” and it wasn’t actually a revolution. Predominantly Sunni Aleppo rejected the non-revolution.

– The core message of the protesters who continued beyond the first few protests was not about democracy but about driving out Christians to Beirut and killing Alawites. A sectarianism promoted by the West and its Gulf allies.

Although mass media attempted to paint events in Syria as a “civil war,” both Israel and Western nations have long been supporting terrorists in Syria, including Al-Qaeda in Syria (reportedly providing them medical treatment), and even Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

And as I detailed, the West has long been working to change the government of Syria, even decades prior during Hafez al-Assad’s time.

How I saw Syria vs. what it looks like through al-Qaeda-tinted glasses

In April 2014, I met an American living in Latakia who recalled reading a LA Times blog post alleging a protest which had turned violent in her city three years prior, but which never happened. According to her, she had been to the places mentioned in the report that day, and there was no unrest.

Years later in Damascus, I met and interviewed a Syrian doctor who had been based in Dara’a province in March 2011. He described how his hospital operated at normal capacity at the time. At the same time he says he saw a repeated report on another mainstream outlet that said the facility was overwhelmed, not enough doctors were available, and moreover, that the hospital was denying treatment to civilians, when in fact the hospital directives were to treat civilians before soldiers.

Since a core message in regime-change reporting on Syria has been that the people want the president gone, it’s worth noting that President Assad is actually quite popular among Syrians. In fact, I was surprised to come across a January 2012 admission of this, one of the worst purveyors of lies and war propaganda on Syria.

Assad’s popularity has only steadily grown. From the early months of 2011 to late 20112012, and beyond, Syrians held mass demonstrations in support of their president.

In Lebanon in 2014, I witnessed a mass show of support during the presidential election. These were people determined to vote, and people I spoke with proudly declared their support for Assad.

From 2014 to my last visit in 2020, Syrians have maintained to me that while there are a host of changes they do want for the country, seeing President Assad step down is not one of them.

The Syrian government issues visas to journalists from the worst propaganda outlets (including the BBC, Channel 4, the New York Times, CBC). Yet, they have reported a vastly different Syria than that which I or my colleagues know.

In their Syria, the suffering of civilians in government-controlled areas doesn’t exist. If mentioned, they are dubbed “regime supporters,” thus somehow deserving of the shelling and other abuse perpetrated by terrorist factions.

The outlets don’t take into account the millions of internally displaced Syrians who have fled terrorism or fighting elsewhere in Syria and taken shelter in government-controlled areas, frequently coming under attacks of terrorists.

When greater Aleppo, with around 1.5 million people, were for years being attacked with gas canister bombs, mortars, grad missiles and sniping by terrorists occupying areas of the city (by November 2016 resulting in the deaths of nearly 11,000 civilians), media downplayed this, or simply didn’t mention it at all.

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*From my February 2015 “University Hospital, Damascus: Meeting Victims of Western-backed Mortar and Rocket Terrorism

Even when mixed Christian and Muslim areas of Old Damascus were shelled by terrorists occupying eastern Ghouta—and they were shelled for years, until Ghouta’s liberation—this terrorism, and the many maimed and killed, was underreported, if reported at all.

In one instance, after an elementary school was mortared (killing one child and injuring over 60 more) the BBC’s reporter later disingenuously wrote, “the government is also accused of launching [mortar shells] into neighborhoods under its control.”

In summer of 2016, I travelled around Syria, meeting Syrians who had started their lives anew, displaced by terrorists, and meeting Syrians who had survived terrorist attacks only to be living within a few hundred metres proximity and daily at risk of sniping and shelling.

And all the while, the same war propagandizing, script-reading, media glossed over the horrific realities of life under terrorist rule, which included imprisonmenttorturestarvation, rape of women, and public executions of civilians by sword or point-blank assassination.

Fallen’ cities, ‘chemical attacks’ and other lies

I’ve gone to many key cities and towns post-liberation from terrorist factions. Western media inevitably said these areas had “fallen,” bizarrely trying to claim that life under the government would be worse than life under the extremists who easily and routinely murdered civilians in the street.

Civilians under terrorist rule were starving—not by the Syrian government, but by the terrorists—and were often imprisoned in ghastly often underground prisons.

From the old city of Homs, to the ancient Aramaic-speaking village of Maaloula, to eastern Aleppo, to Madaya and al-Waer, to eastern Ghouta and even areas of Idlib province, civilians I met spoke of the hell they had lived under terrorist rule, and of their relief at being liberated.

When mass media said those areas “fell,” they were lying. Those areas returned to peace and stability.

UN representatives may feign concern and neutrality in matters Syria, but the UN has been complicit in ignoring terrorists’ shelling of Damascus. And in silencing the voices of suffering civilians and Syrian representatives at the UN.

Then there is the issue of the alleged and never proven “chemical attacks” by the Syrian army.

I’ve written about the chemical weapons accusations, noting even a lead member of the UNHRC commission of Inquiry, blamed the “rebels.”

Many journalists, including myself, have gone to Douma, the location of the latest alleged chemical attack, and interviewed medical staff and civilians, concluding that a chemical attack did not take place.

Douma witnesses spoke at The Hague, including a boy featured in Western media’s claims. Instead of considering these Syrian sources, pundits and media sneered “obscene mascarade” regarding the testimonies.

Yes, the same media which uncritically endorsed the Twitter account of a seven year old English-illiterate Aleppo girl as gospel in the lead up to the liberation of Aleppo refused to consider the testimonies of seventeen civilians from Douma.

The same media refused the revelations of OPCW whistleblowers who spoke out, damning the final OPCW report for its glaring omissions—omissions that completely changed the narrative around Douma.

In October 2020, the UN Security Council itself refused to allow José Bustani, former General Director of the OPCW, to speak. I urge people to read Bustani’s words on the cover up of OPCW expert findings around the Douma allegations.

*Screenshot I took in 2020 when seeing CNN recycling their lies of 2018–as though it was happening in 2020

Still lying after all these years

Even now, five years after his image was plastered across global media as the “face of suffering in Syria,” allegedly hurt in a Russian or Syrian airstrike, the UK’s Independent has a photo of Aleppo boy Omran Daqneesh as its Twitter cover photo.

But this was a narrative debunked in mid-2017, when I met a healthy Omran and his father. The father specifically said there was no airstrike.

Still other lies that were debunked years ago are being recycled anew, in the West’s ceaseless attempt to criminalize Bashar al-Assad and legitimize the US coalition’s illegal presence in Syria.

But none of the media or pundits who claim to care about Syrians’ well-being address the actual causes (including terrorists) of their suffering, chief among which, the brutal Western sanctions against Syria, which directly impact on Syrian civilians’ ability to live and procure medicine, much less rebuild.

Also impacting on Syrians’ economy and sufficiency, the US’ theft of Syrian oil and cotton, and burning of wheat. And this, along with other US illegal polices in Syria, will only get worse under the Biden administration.

And if you peruse recent headlines, you’ll see the same old Western insistence that things won’t change until Bashar al-Assad is gone. They’ve blatantly said sanctions will continue until then.

And now they’re going after the first lady, a woman who is well-liked on the ground in Syria for dedicating her work to helping the country’s poorest through development and microfinance projects.

The West would have us believe she has, “incited and encouraged terrorist acts,” a claim, emanating from the UK (which most definitely incited and encouraged terrorism), that would be laughable were it not so revolting.

Russia has called this, “psychological pressure on the eve of the presidential election.”

look at the legal entity behind the absurd allegations reveals this isn’t the first time they’ve attempted a legal attack against the Syrian government.

To adequately write about the past ten years of war on Syria would take volumes. For the sake of brevity: it need never have happened, nor the deaths and destruction accompanying it.

This was a premeditated and cruel war on the people of Syria, spurned forth by media who truly do not care about the lives of Syrians.

To quote Father Daniel:

“The media can either contribute to the massacre of the Syrian people or help the Syrian people, with their media coverage. Unfortunately, there are too many followers and cowards among journalists.”

RELATED LINKS:

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

The Terrorism We Support in Syria: A First-hand Account of the Use of Mortars against Civilians

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda

Western media ignoring reality on the ground in Syria

Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”

Overcoming Savagery and Treachery, Maaloula’s Heroic Defenders Fight for the Future

Where is the West’s compassion & condemnation following terror attacks in Middle East?

Torture, starvation, executions: Eastern Ghouta civilians talk of life under terrorist rule

Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate’ ‘Rebel’ Rule

Order Returns To Western Cities as Syrian Civilians Recount Horrors Of ‘Rebel’ Rule

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

Scoundrels & gangsters at UN: Silencing the Syrian narrative

The UK & US alliance brings the UNSC into disrepute by banning Syria chemical weapons briefing from ex-OPCW head

Statement of Concern: The OPCW investigation of alleged chemical weapons use in Douma, Syria

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

As Syria Struggles Under COVID-19 Lockdown, America’s Scorched Earth Policy Ensures Food Insecurity

Syria, Venezuela sanctions

Joe Biden Unlawful Aggression in Syria Signals the Endgame in the Region

Impressions From An Informal Meeting With Asma al-Assad, Syria’s First Lady

The Arab yacht summit plotters have fallen out

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DYxJNIWWAAMxxsb.jpg
George Nader (fourth from left) organised a secret summit of Arab leaders on a yacht in the Red Sea in late 2015
David HearstDavid Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

David Hearst

15 March 2021 15:09 UTC 

An alliance of regional rulers that put so much effort into suppressing democracy is weakening now as its participants bear substantial grudges against each other

For the past decade, an alliance of rulers has bent every sinew to halt the onward, and irreversible, fight for human rights in the Arab world.

To preserve their own decaying regimes, this alliance has laid waste to once proud and civilised nations. It has waged wars in Yemen, Libya and Syria, reducing much of them to rubble. It has funded coups in Egypt, and attempted them in Tunisia and Turkey. The blood of hundreds of thousands has been shed in these interventions.

They were fought in the name of defending the region from Islamism and extremism. In this, they attracted the credulous, or cynical, support of former colonial powers France and Britain. But in reality their “jihad” had nothing to do with defending liberalism or secularism.

These regimes had no qualms about enlisting religious forces for political ends. Their quest was for hegemony, or how to transfer autocracy from one generation to another. For them, power was part of the family silver.

Late in 2015 – two years after their first major success, that being the military coup in Egypt, the leaders of this alliance – crown princes and rulers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan – met secretly on a yacht to plot their plans for the region. To summon the same cast of characters on a yacht in the Red Sea today, six years on, would, however, be more difficult. 

For one thing, the fixer of this secret summit is in prison. George Nader is serving ten years on child sex charges. For another, the participants today bear substantial grudges against each other.

Money like rice?

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Egypt have cooled fastest. The Saudis no longer have “money like rice” as the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi once bragged to his chief of staff Abbas Kamel. And any way King Salman is not as generous as his late brother Abdullah was, even if he had the money, which he doesn’t.

Sisi has no interest in following Mohammed bin Salman into the camp of pariah dictators

Sisi tried to get a new line of funding from Riyadh by giving it two uninhabited but strategically placed Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to much protest at home. But the Saudis are no longer interested in such baubles like the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba.  

Their eyes light up when contemplating cheaper and faster ways to the Mediterranean – through Israel. Egypt is not saying it, but it is getting increasingly irritated by plans to bypass the Suez Canal, which it enlarged to the tune of $8.2bn.

Whether it is reversing a once-secret desert pipeline that ran from Iran to Israel during the time of the Shah, or the development of ports and free zones in Israel, or Blue Raman, a new fibre optic cable for the Middle East, it’s all pointing in one direction for Cairo – a huge loss of money and regional influence. 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AFP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AFP)

It is not as if there have not been past divergences between banker and client state. Egypt’s refusal to send troops to fight in Saudi Arabia’s disastrous war in Yemen was one. It has refused to be as hostile to Iran and its allies in Lebanon. But two new factors are persuading Egypt that its national interests are not always best served by its regional allies. 

The Biden factor

The first is the arrival of US President Joe Biden and his obvious antipathy to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – even though he refuses to sanction him. Sisi has no interest in following bin Salman into the camp of pariah dictators. Rather, he has a strong motive to distance himself from that clan.For Trump’s Middle East allies, Joe Biden is a new nightmareRead More »

Bin Salman’s international reputation has been tarnished by the release of the US intelligence report into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. When it was released, Mohammed bin Salman expected that every member of his club, and even those that were not, like Qatar, to send a message of support. 

Most did. King Abdullah II of Jordan; Sudan’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, flew to Riyadh. Others like Bahrain and the UAE issued statements. The only country to fall silent was Egypt.

The second factor was the military defeat of the Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, when his forces were repulsed from Tripoli and retreated to Sirte. The Turkish intervention, and the effectiveness of its drones, came as a shock to Egypt, whose agenda in Libya was driven by the Emirates. Egypt, however, invested considerably in training, arming and supplying Haftar’s forces.

When both the UAE and Egypt discovered that they were on the losing side – and this was sometime before Haftar pushed Sisi to invade – some in the Egyptian media began to question publicly why Egypt was in this position. Libya is important to its neighbour, not least because of the millions of Egyptians who – in times of peace – work there. When Libya prospers, so does Egypt. Haftar’s defeat opened the way for direct talks with the government in Tripoli, and covert talks with Turkish intelligence chiefs. 

As a result, the candidates of the list which lost the election to the post of prime minister had been agreed beforehand by both Turkey and Egypt. When the Libyans rejected those candidates, it did not disturb the tacit understanding between Ankara and Cairo. Nor are things as close between Cairo and Abu Dhabi. The froideur started over a question of money. But it rapidly went much further over Abu Dhabi’s recognition of Israel

The second wave

The second wave of normalisation with Israel displaced the first. Both Egypt and Jordan lost influence as the gatekeepers of the Arab world to Israel, in the same degree to which the UAE gained it.

It’s no coincidence that two of the nations that attended that yacht summit are in the process of softening their hostility to Ankara

When Abu Dhabi announced it would invest $10bn in Israeli energy, manufacturing, water, space, healthcare and agri-tech, it was no coincidence that Jordan at first refused permission for Benjamin Netanyahu’s jet to use its airspace, and he had to cancel his trip to pick up the prize money in person. Netanyahu’s office said the dispute with Amman stemmed from Israel’s decision to cancel the Jordanian crown prince’s plans to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque the day before.  

Much of the legitimacy of the Hashemite dynasty rests on its role as custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, a role that is now being overtly threatened by its Saudi cousin with Israel’s encouragement. Bin Salman is playing a zero-sum game. By advancing his own relationship with Israel, he is weakening the stability of Israel’s safest border. 

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the closing session of an African summit meeting (AFP)
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (AFP)

The yacht summit was convened to counter Turkey and Iran’s resistance to their schemes. So it’s also no coincidence that two of the nations that attended that summit are in the process of softening their hostility to Ankara.

Enters Turkey

Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are being pushed into each other arms by a US president who is hostile to the Saudi crown prince and the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mohammed bin Salman was told by his advisers that if Biden won, he would have to open relations with Turkey. 

Where foreign relations are based on secret pacts between leaders each of whom have good reason to fear their own people, they are built on sand

Bin Salman is not convinced, and can’t overcome the feeling that Erdogan was out to get him for having ordered Khashoggi’s murder. But the relationship between his father, King Salman, and Erdogan was never ruptured and so halting attempts are being made.

Qatar has offered to mediate, which is ironic, because when the boycott of the Gulf peninsula states started, the Turks offered to mediate. Turkey maintains strong relations with Oman and Kuwait and both Ankara and Riyadh have an interest in showing Washington they are regional players.

But is more going on under the table? Recently the Houthis claimed to have shot down a drone that “had proven its worth in Azerbaijan”, an oblique reference to Turkey. It was a Turkish drone, but not one used in Azerbaijan. Last year the Saudi government signed a deal with a local company to supply armed drones after getting a technology transfer from a Turkish defence firm, Vestel Karayel. Six drones were delivered. 

Turkey denies there was anything official about this technology transfer. A Turkish source familiar with the defence industry said Vestel did not seek government authorisation to make such a tech transfer to Riyadh. Still, the incident raised eyebrows. Janes defence news said the Karayel has not been previously known to be in service with the Saudi military.

In any case the Saudi boycott of Turkish goods still continues.

Repairing ties with Egypt

Last week’s flurry of statements from the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, chief counsellor to the president Ibrahim Kalin and the president himself about turning the page with Egypt have been downplayed by Cairo.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, confirming contacts with Cavusoglu, said that Turkey must “align with Egypt’s principles” before relations could return to normal. And the editor in chief of Egypt’s al Watan newspaper published ten conditions before relations could be restored.

This will have the same effect on Ankara as the 13 demands the blockading countries laid on Qatar.

The optimism in Ankara started when Egypt announced an oil and gas exploration bid in the Eastern Mediterranean which acknowledged the coordinates of the continental shelf declared by Ankara. The Greek foreign minister, Nikos Dendias, claims to have since “adjusted” those coordinates after a trip to Cairo.Turkey-Egypt relations: What’s behind their new diplomatic push?Read More »

Turkish intelligence chiefs have, however, met their Egyptian counterparts several times. Apart from Libya, Turkey is offering the Egyptians help in their dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. UAE is doing the opposite by offering help to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmet. 

Mohammed Dahlan, the Abu Dhabi-based former Fatah security chief, visited Addis in an announced visit. What was not announced was that his boss Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed went with him, according to one informed source. Egypt is baulking at the Turkish charm offensive and there has been no breakthrough.

“Egypt wants Ankara to take at least a symbolic step on the presence of Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey,” an official told MEE. 

If that is what is needed, it will not materialise. The Muslim Brotherhood does not have a physical presence like a regional office in Turkey. So there is nothing to close down. To go against individual members of the large expatriate Egyptian community in Istanbul would mean extraditing individuals, which Turkey is not going to do. Nor is there any discernible Turkish pressure on the Egyptian opposition media in Istanbul. Cairo would particularly like Al Sharq television off air.

“The Turkish authorities have nothing to offer nor withdraw when it comes to Al Sharq Channel because we are not funded by Turkey or Qatar,” its owner Dr Ayman Nour, the Egyptian opposition politician, told MEE. “We have not sensed any change on the Turkish side with regard to Al Sharq.”

But the axis itself is weakening and the lessons for everyone in the region are clear. Where foreign relations are based on secret pacts between leaders, each of whom have good reason to fear their own people, they are built on sand. Where they are based on the strategic interests of their peoples, they are more durable. The more national interests are based on the interests of their peoples rather than the rulers, the greater the stability of the region

Thus far it has been warm embraces one day, and stabs in the back the next.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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From the Earth to the Moon: Biden’s China Policy Doomed from the Start

March 17, 2021

US President Biden and Vice President Harris Meet Virtually with their Counterparts in the ‘Quad’. (Photo: Video Grab)

By Ramzy Baroud

A much anticipated American foreign policy move under the Biden Administration on how to counter China’s unhindered economic growth and political ambitions came in the form of a virtual summit on March 12, linking, aside from the United States, India, Australia and Japan.

Although the so-called ‘Quad’ revealed nothing new in their joint statement, the leaders of these four countries spoke about the ‘historic’ meeting, described by ‘The Diplomat’ website as “a significant milestone in the evolution of the grouping”.

Actually, the joint statement has little substance and certainly nothing new by way of a blueprint on how to reverse – or even slow down – Beijing’s geopolitical successes, growing military confidence and increasing presence in or around strategic global waterways.

For years, the ‘Quad’ has been busy formulating a unified China strategy but it has failed to devise anything of practical significance. ‘Historic’ meetings aside, China is the world’s only major economy that is predicted to yield significant economic growth this year – and imminently. International Monetary Fund’s projections show that the Chinese economy is expected to expand by 8.1 percent in 2021 while, on the other hand, according to data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US’ GDP has declined by around 3.5 percent in 2020.

The ‘Quad’ – which stands for Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – began in 2007, and was revived in 2017, with the obvious aim of repulsing China’s advancement in all fields. Like most American alliances, the ‘Quad’ is the political manifestation of a military alliance, namely the Malabar Naval Exercises. The latter started in 1992 and soon expanded to include all four countries.

Since Washington’s ‘pivot to Asia’, i.e., the reversal of established US foreign policy that was predicated on placing greater focus on the Middle East, there is little evidence that Washington’s confrontational policies have weakened Beijing’s presence, trade or diplomacy throughout the continent. Aside from close encounters between the American and Chinese navies in the South China Sea, there is very little else to report.

While much media coverage has focused on the US’ pivot to Asia, little has been said about China’s pivot to the Middle East, which has been far more successful as an economic and political endeavor than the American geostrategic shift.

The US’ seismic change in its foreign policy priorities stemmed from its failure to translate the Iraq war and invasion of 2003 into a decipherable geo-economic success as a result of seizing control of Iraq’s oil largesse – the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves. The US strategy proved to be a complete blunder.

In an article published in the Financial Times in September 2020, Jamil Anderlini raises a fascinating point. “If oil and influence were the prizes, then it seems China, not America, has ultimately won the Iraq war and its aftermath – without ever firing a shot,” he wrote.

Not only is China now Iraq’s biggest trading partner, Beijing’s massive economic and political influence in the Middle East is a triumph. China is now, according to the Financial Times, the Middle East’s biggest foreign investor and a strategic partnership with all Gulf States – save Bahrain. Compare this with Washington’s confused foreign policy agenda in the region, its unprecedented indecisiveness, absence of a definable political doctrine and the systematic breakdown of its regional alliances.

This paradigm becomes clearer and more convincing when understood on a global scale. By the end of 2019, China became the world’s leader in terms of diplomacy, as it then boasted 276 diplomatic posts, many of which are consulates. Unlike embassies, consulates play a more significant role in terms of trade and economic exchanges. According to 2019 figures which were published in ‘Foreign Affairs’ magazine, China has 96 consulates compared with the US’ 88. Till 2012, Beijing lagged significantly behind Washington’s diplomatic representation, precisely by 23 posts.

Wherever China is diplomatically present, economic development follows. Unlike the US’ disjointed global strategy, China’s global ambitions are articulated through a massive network, known as the Belt and Road Initiative, estimated at trillions of dollars. When completed, BRI is set to unify more than sixty countries around Chinese-led economic strategies and trade routes. For this to materialize, China quickly moved to establish closer physical proximity to the world’s most strategic waterways, heavily investing in some and, as in the case of Bab al-Mandab Strait, establishing its first-ever overseas military base in Djibouti, located in the Horn of Africa.

At a time when the US economy is shrinking and its European allies are politically fractured, it is difficult to imagine that any American plan to counter China’s influence, whether in the Middle East, Asia or anywhere else, will have much success.

The biggest hindrance to Washington’s China strategy is that there can never be an outcome in which the US achieves a clear and precise victory. Economically, China is now driving global growth, thus balancing out the US-international crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hurting China economically would weaken the US as well as the global markets.

The same is true politically and strategically. In the case of the Middle East, the pivot to Asia has backfired on multiple fronts. On the one hand, it registered no palpable success in Asia while, on the other, it created a massive vacuum for China to refocus its own strategy in the Middle East.

Some wrongly argue that China’s entire political strategy is predicated on its desire to merely ‘do business’. While economic dominance is historically the main drive of all superpowers, Beijing’s quest for global supremacy is hardly confined to finance. On many fronts, China has either already taken the lead or is approaching there. For example, on March 9, China and Russia signed an agreement to construct the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS). Considering Russia’s long legacy in space exploration and China’s recent achievements in the field – including the first-ever spacecraft landing on the South Pole-Aitken Basin area of the moon – both countries are set to take the lead in the resurrected space race.

Certainly, the US-led ‘Quad’ meeting was neither historic nor a game-changer, as all indicators attest that China’s global leadership will continue unhindered, a consequential event that is already reordering the world’s geopolitical paradigms which have been in place for over a century.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

The UK’s Suspicious Role in Yemen

The UK’s Suspicious Role in Yemen

By Yahya Salah El-Din

Yemen – The confessions of the British spy cell in Yemen, which was recently arrested by the Yemeni security services in Sanaa, confirmed that there is a scenario whereby Britain wants to return and control Yemen again.

Meanwhile, previous British officials’ moves and statements in the region, and in Yemen in particular, proved this prepared US-‘Israeli’-blessed scenario to switch roles. The plot was first implemented upon then British Prime Minister Theresa May visited Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. In parallel, Jeremy Hunt’s anti-Yemenis statements were made in the course of the British role to control the Yemeni situation and run the Gulf region, this time from the strategic city of Hudaydah instead of Aden. It was because there were many troubles in Aden that include being surrounded by terrorist groups from all sides.

The UK didn’t have another exit but to occupy Hudaydah, to seize control of the Bab al-Mandib Strait under the pretext of protecting maritime navigation, which practically was to control and dominate the entire Gulf region.

Hence, the UK switched roles with the US in the region, unveiling its malign intentions towards Yemen.

The spy cell was recruited by US intelligence officers in the Saudi-controlled al-Ghayda Airport in Yemen’s al-Mahrah Province. They were later tasked to deal with British intelligence officers to continue the hostile role in Yemen.

The agents admitted that they sent the coordinates and information about security and military sites, and civilian and business facilities in different Yemeni provinces for the British intelligence services for $300 US monthly salary.

Yemenis, however, thwarted this conspiracy in which the UK and its agents failed to divide Yemen or bring it back under Washington’s or London’s guardianship.

The war-torn country is moving from one gain to another in the battlefield, and will soon return a regional power that neither the UK nor any other western nation will dare to play with it again.

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Britain hopes to besiege Hezbollah in Lebanon on behalf of Israel

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

Elijah J. Magnier is a veteran war-zone correspondent and political analyst with over 38 years’ experience in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Extended field work in Lebanon, Bosnia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Syria, created his extensive network of trusted military and political contacts. Magnier specialises in real-time reporting and in-depth analysis of political, strategic and military planning, terrorism and counter-terrorism.

By Elijah J. Magnier:

When the Syrian war broke out in 2011, the West – that was a direct participant in the war along with the Gulf countries and Turkey – believed that President Bashar al-Assad would fall after months, or a year or two: he would not last very long in power. Preparations began to lay siege to “Hezbollah” as a pre-emptive step after Assad’s overthrow because Syria was an essential member of the “Axis of the Resistance” and part of the main Hezbollah supply route. Britain took rapid steps to tighten control of the Lebanese-Syrian borders. The management of the Lebanese-Syrian borders was an old Israeli request as a basic during the Israeli 2006 war before it realised that it had not won the war and could not impose its conditions. In 2012, frenetic work began on establishing a military training program for the Lebanese Army in the two airbases of Hamat and Rayak and to enable the capacity of the Lebanese Army institutions. However, the first and last goal is not to strengthen the Lebanese Army. Hezbollah’s objective and its weapons break the balance of deterrence and cause terror to Israel, though not to Britain, which is geographically located very far from Lebanon. So how does the “Axis of Resistance” perceive this British plan against Hezbollah?No country has contributed a penny to support the Lebanese Army and enable it to preserve and protect its own borders with Israel. Rather, the West approved the deployment of the United Nations forces (UNIFIL) on the Lebanese borders to help Israel ensure that no obstacles, traps or sites could pose a threat to any Israeli advance inside Lebanese territory, as has happened over decades. Indeed, the goal of sending the UNIFIL forces – deployed inside the Lebanese territory only – was to help Israel prevent attacks from Lebanon and not the other way round. Moreover, the Lebanese Army is not allowed to possess anti-aircraft missiles or anti- ship missiles because they would be directed against Israel. No one but Israel is violating the country’s Lebanese airspace, waters, and sovereignty. The West is making sure no Israeli forces are under any threat from Lebanon, which enables them to freely violate its sovereignty at any time.

However, western support is pouring into the Lebanese Army to monitor its borders with Syria. Western countries provide all Lebanese security institutions with equipment and light weapons that allow urban warfare. Lebanon has more than 125,000 military and security personnel, a colossal number for any country globally, especially since Lebanon is under the burden of deteriorating economic conditions. The military and security apparatus in Lebanon splashes large quantities of money on trips abroad for their officers and recalls recruits when the need is minimal, particularly when the Army is not able to declare or stand up to any armies on either side of the border.

Billions of dollars have been spent in the hope that Hezbollah might be defeated in the Syrian war or in any future war with Israel. In this case, Hezbollah would obviously become vulnerable, its supplies interrupted and it would be easier to finalise the defeat by an attack from the Lebanese security forces. That was the idea after the Israeli war in 2006 and before Hezbollah’s full participation in the war in Syria in 2013.

Britain alone has trained 11,000 Lebanese soldiers and officers for urban warfare operations. It has also trained about 7,000 soldiers in “protecting” the Lebanese-Syrian borders and helped form the “Land Border Regiment Army”.

However, the current flowed beyond the desires of the UK-US-Israeli ship. The “Axis of the Resistance” was able to win the war in Syria, a victory that gave Hezbollah a significant experience in warfare of becoming a feared force. By raising the level of readiness, Hezbollah was able to store armed drones and tens of thousands of missiles including – according to Israeli sources – hundreds of precision missiles.

Its supply lines are the main artery for Hezbollah’s survival and existence. Following any war, belligerents need to rearm and later modernise their weapons to stimulate development in order to maintain the balance of deterrence. This requires keeping the flow of supplies secured and uninterrupted.

The experienced and well-equipped Hezbollah have threatened Israel – if it declares war on Lebanon -to strike specific military targets in Israel, including those located within civilian cities. Consequently, Hezbollah’s missiles have become a serious threat to Israel, which believes the threat must be removed or destroyed. However, waging war to destroy these missiles became an impossible task because in the meantime Hezbollah changed its military policy.

The 2006 war taught Hezbollah to relocate all missiles from villages in the south of Lebanon and place them in the distant mountains and valleys since their range reaches 500 km, a range that covers the entire geography occupied by Israel. These precision and long-range missiles are of great concern to Israel, the US and the UK.

Britain has – according to a commander in the “resistance axis” in Damascus – constructed 39 observation towers and 7 bases, and a military operations centre, along almost the entire border strip with Syria, starting from the Masnaa crossing to al-Qaa, a length of more than 100 kilometres.

In 2013, British Foreign Secretary Hugh Robertson visited Lebanon to oversee the construction of 12 border control towers and equip them with the latest electronic equipment and satellite communications connected to the Lebanese army command and control, according to a Lebanese Army General.

“All communications linked to satellites can be intercepted by the security and intelligence services operating in the region, including Israel, the US, the UK and France. These can monitor the movements of Hezbollah and its military supply lines along the borders. Because ISIS and Al Qaeda have been defeated in Lebanon and along the Lebanese-Syrian borders, the necessity to keep these satellite-links from the region is no longer an emergency. Smugglers from Lebanon and Syria continue non-stop their illegal activities through official and unofficial routes. Moreover, Syria has the right to demand the reports of these British observatory towers because they overlook Syrian territory. In fact, no country has the right to view these reports apart from Lebanon and Syria”, according to the source.

The “Axis of the Resistance” source believes that Britain’s goal is to cover border points to reveal Hezbollah’s supply lines and caches. These towers may become internationalised – in line with what some Lebanese call the internationalisation of the acute Lebanese crisis. Voices in Lebanon have been raised, asking to impose the siege on Hezbollah’s military movements, with the excuse of that they facilitate smugglers’ routes. They demand the total control by the Lebanese Army of all border crossings between Lebanon and Syria and vice versa.

There is little doubt that these towers gather intelligence information against Hezbollah and the Syrian Army – according to the source – especially with the project to build additional towers on the Lebanese borders overlooking the Syrian city of Homs. The sources believe that these towers could have a hostile role in any future battle between Israel and Lebanon. It is not excluded that the towers’ presence provides a cover for Israeli special units to destroy the missile caches because they provide visibility over vast and sensitive border areas, including the precision missiles of Hezbollah. Hence, the British positions created along the borders are is considered by the “Axis of the Resistance” to be provocative and hostile.

Israel succeeded in dragging Yasser Arafat into a civil war that matured through discontent with the Palestinian leader’s performance against the local Lebanese population, contributing to Lebanon’s invasion in 1982. As for Hezbollah, it succeeded in moving away from controlling Lebanese cities and became an integral part of society. Despite a certain domestic economic crisis, the US has spent ten billion dollars to confront Hezbollah through US allies in Lebanon, non-governmental organisations and individuals- but without succeeding in their objectives. Israel ceased temporarily using suicide drones after their detection during a failed attempt to destroy one of Hezbollah’s warehouses in the suburbs of Beirut. Israel fell under the hammer of highly effective deterrence on the border, with Hezbollah waiting to kill an Israeli soldier at any moment. Consequently, undeclared objectives to strike Hezbollah and control its missile caches are strongly maintained and developed by Israel and its western allies, the US and, in this case, the UK.

الكاردينال وقائد الجيش للزوم إحياء مستحيل للبنان 1920

د.وفيق إبراهيم

تنحصر الحركة الشعبية اللبنانية حالياً في جمهور ينتمي بغالبيته الى مناطق ذات غالبية مارونية. وهذه الحركة تُصرّ يومياً على تأييد قائد الجيش بذريعة أنه يحمي لبنان كما تذهب ناحية التأييد المطلق والكبير للكاردينال الراعي لأنه يحمي لبنان، على حد قولهم.

هذان القياديان يحظيان حالياً بهذا التأييد الأعمى على الرغم من أنهما لم يشاركا في تحرير لبنان من العدو الإسرائيلي المجمع على عداوته للبنان، لذلك يتسجّل هذا التأييد في خانة الصراعات الطوائفية في لبنان، كما يصل هذه المرة حاملاً معه إحساساً مارونياً بإمكانية خسارة الصيغة القديمة بكاملها التي قام عليها لبنان في العشرينيات بدعم فرنسي كامل.

لا بدّ أولاً من التأكيد على أن صيغة 1920 أصيبت بعطب شديد كاد أن يطيح بها كاملاً نتيجة لاتفاق الطائف.

هذا الاتفاق التهم الأحادية المارونية في السلطة وأدخل السنة الحريرية شريكاً عليها من دون منازع وكادت صيغة 1920 أن تسقط كاملة ولمصلحة ثلاثيّة مع الشيعة والدروز لولا تدخلات دوليّة وإقليميّة خليجيّة.

لكن هذا الأمر لم يظهر الى العلن، لكنه أصبح حقيقة سياسية لا يمكن تجاوزها بسبب التفوق النوعي لحزب الله وحلفائه في الأحزاب الوطنية، ولولا هذه التدخلات الخارجية والخليجية لكانت الصيغة الحاكمة في لبنان مشكلة من هذه القوى الشديدة الفاعليّة في هذه المرحلة بالتحديد.

هذه التطورات أنتجت إقراراً مارونياً ضمنياً بالثلاثية السياسية للسلطة في لبنان، لكنها اصطدمت بمحاولات للمحافظة على صيغة 1920 من بعض القوى الداخلية عند الموارنة الذين يعتقدون بإمكانية استمرارها في السلطة.

هؤلاء اختاروا الشارع وسيلة لمحاولة التمسك بآخر ما تبقى من صيغة 1920 معطوفة على الطائف في إطار الاتفاق الإضافي غير المكتوب مع الشيعة بما يؤدي الى تشكيل ثلاثية تحفظ ثلث لبنان للموارنة لأمد طويل.

هذا ما يفعله الموارنة اليوم في الشارع حاملين فيه لواء الكاردينال وعصمة قيادة الجيش معتقدين أن هذين الحرمين يمنعان الضرر عن بقية الصيغة اللبنانية.

لذلك انتقل الصراع بين الأجنحة السياسية المارونية على قيادة الجيش ورئاسة الجمهورية حيث تشهد الشوارع التحاقاً بقيادة الجيش وتصويره وكأنه منقذ لبنان، مع الالتصاق الشديد بالكاردينال الذي «أعطي له مجد لبنان»، كما تقول العامة.

تشهد شوارع لبنان إذاً محاولة مارونية لصون الجزء الثلاثيّ من السلطة الخاصة بالموارنة، لكنها تصطدم بصراعات مارونية داخلية تعمل على الوصول الى رئاسة الجمهورية او بالاستحواذ بالشارع الماروني.

فقسم كبير من المتحرّكين في الشارع هم من جماعة حزب القوات اللبنانية والكتائب مقابل التزام مؤيدي التيار الوطني الحر بمنازلهم تحضّراً لأيام جسام تبدو واضحة في الأفق.

جرى الانتقال اذاً من الصراع الماروني السني وصولاً إلى الصراع مع الشيعة في اتفاق الطائف وصولاً الى الصراع الماروني في الوقت الحاضر بين القوات والكتائب والتيار؟ إلا أن قوات جعجع حاولت أن تنفي مشاركتها في قطع الطرق فيما واصل سامي الجميل رعاية المتحركين باحثاً عن مكانة فقدها حزبه الكتائب منذ صعود الحريرية السياسية التي دعمت القوات وفضلتها على غيرها من القوى المسيحية لأسباب غربية صرفة وأخرى خليجية.

لذلك فإن ما يجري اليوم هو صراع بين قوى مسيحية تحاول الاستحواذ على تأييد الخليج والغرب، وقد يبحث بعضها عن تأييد ضمني إسرائيلي.

فهل ينجح جعجع وسامي الجميل في السيطرة على كتلة كبيرة في الشارع المسيحيّ؟

هناك تأكيد ان القوات والكتائب تتصلان بشكل شبه يومي بألمانيا ومصر والأردن في محاولة لكسب أدوار تمنحها عدداً معيناً من وزارة يشكلها قريباً سعد الحريري.

وألمانيا ومصر والأردن ذاهبون لعقد مؤتمر دولي لبحث أزمات الشرق الاوسط من فلسطين الى لبنان.

أما القوات فيكاد قائدها لا يعبر يوم واحد إلا ويختلي فيه بدبلوماسيين من هذه الدول. ماذا اذاً عن طلب المتظاهرين باستقالة رئيس الجمهورية؟ هذه تندرج في إطار الصراع الماروني الماروني وبما أنها على هذا النحو فلا قيمة فعلية لها، لأنه تمكّن فريقاً صغيراً من الموارنة من إقالة الرئيس اللبناني بفتح المجال واسعاً للبدء بتغيير أي صيغة تحكم لبنان. وهذا يؤدي بدوره إلى الجزم بأن الكاردينال الراعي لا يقبل بهذا الأمر حرصاً على مارونية الرئاسة، كما أن الجمهور اللبناني الكبير الموالي لعون ليس بهذا الوارد، ومستعدّ للمقاتلة، بالإضافة الى ان جمهور حزب الله والأحزاب الوطنية لا يسمح بهذه الترهات التي تعني إلغاء النظام التاريخي اللبناني.

يتبين بالاستنتاج استحالة إحياء صيغة 1920 وإمكانية إلغاء حتى اتفاق الطائف اذا ما انضبطت الطوائف في كهوفها وانطلقت لقرن جديد يبدأ من 2020 ويجب أن يستمر حتى القرن المقبل بلبنان الطائفيّ الهش.

U.S. Targets Russia, Iran with Eyes on China الأميركيّون يستهدفون روسيا وإيران وعيونهم على الصين

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

U.S. Targets Russia, Iran with Eyes on China

Dr.. Wafiq Ibrahim

The Americans have finally chosen the international party they must compete with because it is the main party that causes them economic declines. . What matters to them is to maintain the world’s first economic rank and Russia and others do not seem to be able to compete, as Russia is militarily empowered but economically weak. . Also, some countries in Europe, such as Germany, have an economic power, but without military power, it is enough that American forces are still stationed in Germany since its defeat in World War II, while the rest of Europe, especially France and England, are middle countries with arms and economy and are going after the Americans waiting for opportunities in Iran and the Gulf. .

China is the real competitor to the Americans, especially since it is able to overtake the Americans in the middle of the next decade..

For further clarification, the Yellow Dragon lacks a little weapon to become a global star in the U.S. competition..

It should first be noted that the new U.S. measures in Saudi Arabia have a relationship with China, because any Sino-Saudi rapprochement immediately means a decline in U.S. hegemony in the world because it immediately entails the transfer of Relations of Bahrain and the UAE from the Americans to China, in addition to the possibility of change in many countries of the Muslim world linked to the Saudi leadership..

These are the deep reasons that imposed on the Americans to work diligently to hold Saudi Arabia and since Mohammed bin Salman was the pillar who was working to build a Saudi Arabia that has regional and perhaps international weight, so he was dramatically overthrown. This does not mean that he is a murderer, though he may have killed dozens in order to to pave the way for an easy rule. This is always the case in Gulf-style countries.

It is noticeable then that the United States wants to overcome all the obstacles to avoid the loss of the Gulf and Europe in the battle with China, as well as for Southeast Asia, major consumers in Australia, Canada and the underdeveloped part of the European continent. That’s why they’ve been ahead of China for decades, away from Europe for generations, and they don’t see Russia as a serious competitor for at least a few centuries. .

What is important for Americans is to maintain their unipolarity to have true control over Europe and the Gulf, and it seems that these two matters are close to the logic of the need for these two regions. The Gulf always feels an Iraqi-Yemeni threat, in addition to the Syrian situation and Iran, which causes the Gulf many problems not only in their common maritime borders, but also in Iranian spheres of influence in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and other areas..

It seems, then, that what the Americans need in their war of unipolarity is the Gulf and Europe, and Southeast Asia, Canada, Australia. This confirms unipolarity stability for a long time. Is this possible?

On the other hand, China works silently and moves from one city to another to promote cheap goods in an era of extreme poverty. It is enough that the countries of the earth tend to poverty, which means that they need cheap goods that are no longer present except in China.

Therefore, there is an sharp US-Chinese conflict amid Russian-European observation awaiting results to determine its roles. The problem here is related to production capacity, which only exists in China, America, and Europe, where quality and minimum wages exceed wages in the entire world.

The conflict continues to develop as China focuses on penetrating vulnerable countries, third world countries, the poor part of Europe and most of South-East Asia.. This may take a long time, but it won’t be out of reach because the world is heading for more poverty, and need Chinese cheap commodity..

Thus, the economic conflict in the world is concentrated between America, China and Europe, so Russia is absent, and with it most other countries, but it maintains its military superiority that may exceed the US military advantage.

Thus, the world’s economic conflict between America, China and Europe is concentrated, with Russia and most other countries absent, and Russia maintaining its military superiority that may exceed U.S. military superiority..

Here it is important to note, that Russia, just like the Americans, will not allow China to possess quality weapons, and this is not surprising because Russia is interested in the Sino-American economic conflict, but it does not accept the transformation of China into a military economic power that can jump over the Americans, and and therefore the Russian..

The world, then, is facing a great continuation of the Chinese-American conflict, China without a qualitative destructive weapon, so should it go towards making a qualitative weapon?

It’s hard to go this way, because sinking into the arms industry means a complete blow to the acceptable economic levels and may smash the middle classes struggling with the levels of the European classes, and why they go towards the arms industry and the difference between them and the Americans in this area is very large and needs a great Chinese effort to realize.

The conclusion is that Russia is not the U.S. main target. China, being the actual competitor in the next two decades. is the actual Americans target.

الأميركيّون يستهدفون روسيا وإيران وعيونهم على الصين

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د. وفيق إبراهيم

اختار الأميركيّون أخيراً الطرف الدولي الذي يجب عليهم أن ينافسوه لأنه الجهة الأساسية التي تتسبب لهم بتراجعات اقتصادية. فما يهمّهم هو المحافظة على المرتبة الاقتصادية الأولى في العالم ولا يبدو ان روسيا وغيرها بوسعها المنافسة، فروسيا متمكّنة عسكرياً لكنها ضعيفة اقتصادياً. كذلك فإن بعض بلدان أوروبا كألمانيا تمتلك قوة اقتصادية انما من دون قوة عسكرية، يكفي أن قوات أميركيّة لا تزال ترابط في المانيا منذ هزيمتها في الحرب العالمية الثانية، أما ما تبقى من اوروبا وخصوصاً فرنسا وانجلترا فهي من الدول المتوسطة بامتلاك السلاح والاقتصاد وتسير خلف الأميركيّين انتظاراً لفرص في إيران والخليج.

يتبين بذلك أن الصين هي المنافس الفعلي للأميركيّين لا سيما أنها قادرة على تجاوز الأميركيّين في منتصف العقد المقبل.

لمزيد من الإيضاح فإن التنين الأصفر ينقصه القليل من السلاح ليصبح نجماً عالمياً على مستوى منافسة الولايات المتحدة.

لا بدّ أولاً من الإشارة الى ان التدابير الأميركيّة الجديدة في السعودية على علاقة بالصين، لأن اي تقارب صيني – سعودي يعني فوراً تراجع الهيمنة الأميركيّة في العالم لأنه يستتبع فوراً انتقال علاقات البحرين والإمارات من الأميركيّين الى الصين، هذا بالإضافة الى إمكان حدوث تغيير في الكثير من بلدان العالم الإسلامي ربطاً بزعامة السعودية له.

هذه هي الأسباب العميقة التي فرضت على الأميركيّين العمل الدؤوب على الإمساك بالسعودية وبما أن محمد بن سلمان هو الركن الذي كان يعمل على بناء سعودية لها وزن إقليميّ وربما دولي، لذلك أطيح به بشكل دراماتيكيّ. وهذا لا يعني أنه قاتل ولربما قتل العشرات في مسيرته في الحكم لتمهيد حكم سهل له. وهذا ما يحدث دائماً في بلدان على النمط الخليجيّ.

الملاحظ إذاً أن الولايات المتحدة تريد ضرب كل العقبات التي تؤدي الى خسارة الخليج وأوروبا في المعركة مع الصين، كذلك بالنسبة لجنوب شرق آسيا وكبار المستهلكين في استراليا وكندا والجزء غير المتطور من القارة الأوروبية. وهذا ما يجعلهم متفوقين على الصين لعقود عدة ومبتعدين عن أوروبا لأجيال ولا يرون في روسيا منافساً جدياً لقرون عدة على الاقل.

المهم بالنسبة للأميركيّين أن يحتفظوا بأحاديتهم القطبية. هذا لا يستقيم إلا بسيطرتهم على أوروبا والخليج ويبدو أن هذين الأمرين قريبان من المنطق لحاجة هاتين المنطقتين اليهما. فالخليج يستشعر دائماً بخطر عراقي – يمني ويحاذر الوضع السوريّ متعاملاً مع إيران كخوافة تتسبب لها بالكثير من الإشكالات ليس فقط في حدودهما البحرية المشتركة بل في مناطق النفوذ الإيراني في لبنان والعراق وسورية ومناطق أخرى.

يبدو اذاً أن ما يحتاج اليه الأميركيّون في حربهم للأحادية القطبية هو الخليج واوروبا. مع مدى اقتصادي لتصريف البضائع موجود في جنوب شرق آسيا وكندا وأستراليا والخليج واوروبا. وهذا يؤكد ان الاحادية القطبية مستقرة الى زمن طويل، فهل هذا ممكن؟

تعمل الصين بصمت، وتنتقل من مدينة الى اخرى لتروج لسلع رخيصة الثمن في عصر يسوده فقر شديد، يكفي أن دول الأرض تنحو الى الفقر، ما يعني حاجتها الى سلع رخيصة لم تعد موجودة إلا في الصين.

هناك اذاً صراع حاد أميركيّ صيني وسط مراقبة روسية أوروبية تنتظر النتائج لتحديد أدوارها، لكن المشكلة أن هذا الأمر مرتبط بالقدرة على الإنتاج، غير الموجود إلا في أميركا والصين وأوروبا انما من ذوي الجودة العالمية باعتبار أن الحد الأدنى للأجور فيها يفوق الأجور في العالم بأسره.

هناك صراع إذاً حاد أميركيّ – صيني لا ينفك يتطور وقد يبلغ أشده مع تركيز الصين على اختراق البلدان الضعيفة.

فهل بإمكانها تحقيق هذا الإنجاز؟ نعم بإمكان الصين اختراق بلدان العالم الثالث والقسم الفقير من أوروبا ومعظم بلدان جنوب شرق آسيا. وهذا امر قد يحتاج الى مدة طويلة من الزمن لكنه لن يكون بعيد المنال لأن العالم يتّجه الى مزيد من الفقر فيما السلعة الصينيّة جديرة بالاختراق والسيطرة.

بذلك يتركز الصراع الاقتصادي في العالم بين أميركا والصين وأوروبا فتغيب روسيا ومعها معظم البلدان الأخرى، لكنها تحافظ على تفوّقها العسكري الذي قد يزيد عن التفوّق العسكريّ الأميركيّ.

هناك ملاحظة هامة وهي أن روسيا تماماً كالأميركيّين لا تسمح للصين بامتلاك أسلحة نوعيّة، وهذه ليست مفاجأة لأن روسيا مهتمة بالصراع الاقتصادي الصيني الأميركيّ لكنها لا تقبل بتحول الصين قوة اقتصادية عسكرية يصبح بوسعها القفز فوق الأميركيّ، وبالتالي الروسي.

العالم اذاً أمام استمرار كبير للصراع الصيني الأميركيّ وميزته أنه من دون سلاح نوعي تدميري، فالصين تمتلك سلاحاً معتدلاً فهل تذهب نحو صناعة سلاح نوعيّ؟

من الصعوبة أن تذهب نحو هذه الطريقة، لأن غرقها في صناعة السلاح يعني ضرباً كاملاً للمستويات الاقتصادية التي أصبحت مقبولة لديها وتحطيماً للطبقات المتوسطة التي أصبحت تصارع مستويات الطبقات الأوروبية، ولماذا تذهب نحو صناعة السلاح والفارق بينها وبين الأميركيّين في هذا المجال كبير جداً ويحتاج الى بذل جهود صينيّة جبارة لإدراك التعادل.

يتبين بالاستنتاج ان روسيا ليست هدفاً أميركيّاً كاملاً، وان الصين هي الهدف الفعلي الذي يريد الأميركيّون قصّ رأسه لما يسببه لهم من منافسات فعلية في العقدين المقبلين.

Escape from reform towards hostile foreign alliances فرار من الإصلاح نحو الأحلاف الخارجيّة المعادية

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

Escape from reform towards hostile foreign alliances

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Dr. Wafiq Ibrahim

For more than five decades, religious bodies of all sects have been silently held to support the forces of the Lebanese regime, which bankrupted and robbed the state.

These forces drained the state and people’s funds and throw the homeland on the edge of the abyss, as if they are required to maintain the western direction of Lebanon. It did, and allowed poverty to devour the country, and sectarian powers to swallow everyone.

This scene contrasts with the scene of the popular gathering that the Maronite Patriarch led yesterday in Bkerke, canceling the historical role of Bkerke, turning it into a site that wants to divide the homeland and obstruct the role of the main forces trying to defend it.

It seems that the Patriarch Al-Rahi was terrified by the great national role that Hezbollah and its allies are playing in defending the country against “Israel” and the Western project. The Patriarch believed that the era of internal change had begun to take shape, so he invested the humble crowd to reject any real internal change, intersecting with Western attempts to break Hezbollah’s internal efforts to confront Israel.

What is clear here is that Hezbollah and its allies did not deliberately focus on the issue of internal reform, in order to avoid internal clashes until reaching a historical understandings that provoke communities in depth.

However, His Eminence the Cardinal with his Western sponsors was not convinced of these justifications. To block any internal change he jumped to Bkerke’s festival to serve the Western project against Hezbollah and its allies by supporting the America, Israeli and Gulf supporters.

This is Bkerke’s festival organized by his Majesty yesterday at the Maronite Monastic Headquarters in o block any internal change.

The festival attracted a limited number, such future movement, Lebanese Force and Rifi supporters

In terms of content, the aim is attaching Hezbollah and its allies, without any project to defend Lebanon in the face of Israel’s plans, insisting on preventing any internal change, and full accession to the American project and the intimate relationship with the France, as built since the 19th century, which the Cardinal wants to renew combining a French-Lebanese Alliance – unfortunately gulf-Israeli because it is the only force capable of fighting in the Syrian Lebanese theater.

The Bkerke project is not just an internal offer of an alliance between Bkerke, the Americans and the Gulf, but rather a joining of the American project that seeks to strike at the Iranian-Syrian alliance. In addition, the Al-Rai project is aimed at rebuilding a Lebanese system that excludes the alliance between Hezbollah and the national parties from any approach to the Lebanese regime, even in the slightest rapprochement endeavors. This system was born by the West and, in the view of its Maronite coverage, must remain the same, is this possible?

The Cardinal should realize that the balance of power no longer allows excluding the role of the national parties, which have become an essential part of the Lebanese political interactions with Hezbollah, whether directly or by circumvention.

The comparison here between the nationalist, communist and Nasserist parties shows that their weights have become more prevalent over those sponsored by churches and mosques that receive Gulf billions of dollars.

The Cardinal’s project is therefore very dangerous, because it may lure forces from other sects that may not like his project and see in it a new infiltration of Maronites to seize power in the manner of the twenties of the last century. This is what Walid Jumblatt realizes well in his Progressive Socialist Party and Saad Hariri in his Future Party and his group, Likewise, Geagea, who only thinks about using Bkerke to eliminate the Free Patriotic Movement, without forgetting Sami Gemayel, who is eager to restore the glories of the Phalanges in an impossible time.

Does the Free Patriotic Movement find itself in a difficult position in the project of conflict between Bkerke and Hizbullah?

This does not seem to be the case for several reasons: Because Hezbollah is strong in its sectarian incubator environment first, and with allied parties secondly, and it has non-vibrating regional allies, namely Syria and Iran, to the Russians who coordinate with it in various stages. It also has Yemeni-Iraqi alliances that make it an unbreakable regional force.

Contrary to the Cardinal’s statement that Lebanon is a neutral country, but against whom? Lebanon does not attack “Israel” or America and the West as much as it reflects absolute neutrality. What Hezbollah and its allied parties have done is that they repelled the Israeli invasion, supported by the West and the Gulf. Does the cardinal reject the liberation of the south, or does he believe that this occupation facilitates the Maronite Gulf Control of the state?

Therefore, the Cardinal’s steps appear to be narrow because Hezbollah will not fight it by popular or military methods and may wait a certain period to re-establish an alliance with capable Christian parties such as the Free Patriotic Movement and other national parties to rebuild a Lebanese political current that does not work only in order to control the authority and its regime, but tries to work to establish an actual homeland for all its children.

Is there a possibility for external support that the Cardinal will receive from the Americans, Europeans, and Gulf with an “Israel” cover? Yes, this is possible, but it is not viable because the Syrian-Lebanese-Iranian-Palestinian alliance is very well established and this makes the situation greater than the Cardinal capabilities and the weights of his allies in other sects.

So things are not heading towards popular explosions that Geagea, Hariri and Sheikh Sami Gemayel are working on. This is because the Hezbollah and its allies are blocked for any uncalculated impulses that lead to unfortunate consequences.

Finally, it becomes clear that the Cardinal’s project is nothing more than a heresy in a broken cup of coffee, and things are returning to what they were with attempts to improve it towards deepening deepening the Lebanese-Israeli conflict on the basis of the good defense of Lebanon, On the domestic level, His Excellency may, in this wretched time, bargain to adherence to the Maronite supremacy in power, and this is something Hezbollah does not object to as much as Hariri and his group of dreamers lookin for Gulf-American to support their project to advance in the Lebanese power.

فرار من الإصلاح نحو الأحلاف الخارجيّة المعادي

د. وفيق إبراهيم

أكثر من خمسة عقود تتمسّك الهيئات الدينية من كل الطوائف بصمت وضعها في خانة كبار متعهّدي تأييد قوى النظام اللبناني التي أفلست الدولة وسرقتها.

لم يرفّ لهذه القوى جفنٌ او ارتجف هدب، تستنزف أموال الدولة والناس وترمي بالوطن في حافة الهاوية، كأن المطلوب منها ان تحافظ على الاتجاه الغربيّ للبنان. ففعلت وأتاحت للفقر التهام البلاد ولقوى الطوائف ابتلاع الجميع.

يتناقض هذا المنظر مع مشهد التجمّع الشعبي الذي أحياه البطريرك الماروني يوم امس في صرحه في بكركي، لاغياً الدور التاريخي لهذا الموقع الوطني الهام. وذلك بتحوّله من موقع أساسي يجسّد صورة قسم أساسي في لبنان الى مشهد يريد تقسيم الوطن وعرقلة دور القوى الأساسية التي تحاول الدفاع عنه.

يبدو ان البطريرك الراعي أصيب بذعر من الدور الوطني الكبير الذي يؤدّيه حزب الله وحلفاؤه في الدفاع عن البلاد في وجه «إسرائيل» والمشروع الغربي واعتقد أن عصر التغيير الداخلي بدأت ملامحه بالتشكل، فاحتاط لها بالدعوة الى حشد بكركي المتواضع ليضع البلاد أمام مشروع رفض أي تغيير داخلي فعلي، متقاطعاً مع محاولات غربية لكسر المساعي الداخلية لحزب الله بمجابهة «إسرائيل».

ما هو واضح هنا، أن حزب الله وحلفاءه في الأحزاب الوطنية لم يركزوا من عمد على مسألة الإصلاح الداخلي وذلك إرجاء للصدامات الداخلية او محاولة للزحف بها لاحقاً نحو التفاهمات التاريخيّة التي تستثير الطوائف في العمق.

لكن نيافة الكاردينال لم يقتنع بهذه المبرّرات بتفاهمات مع رعاته الغربيين قافزاً نحو مهرجان في بكركي أراد فيه ومنه خدمة المشروع الغربي المناهض لحزب الله وأحلافه عبر تأييد الحركة الأميركية المناهضة وأعوانها الإسرائيليين والخليجيين. والهدف بالطبع إعاقة أي تغيير داخلي عبر الهرولة وراء المشروع الخارجي – الخليجي وتستفيد منه «إسرائيل» بالطبع.

هذا هو الحشد الذي نظّمه غبطته أمس في مقر الرهبنة المارونية في بكركي.

أما مميزاته، فهي أنه اقتصر على عدد محدود من الحشود جاذباً أحزاب القوات والمستقبل وريفي وتجمّعات شعبية لها أثر محدود جداً.

لجهة المضمون، كان جلياً أنه استهدف الرمي على حزب الله وحلفائه مصرّاً على منع أي تغيير داخلي، ومتشبثاً بلبنان نموذج الطائف او ما يعادله ومتوارياً عن اي مشروع للدفاع عن لبنان في وجه مخططات «اسرائيل»، أما ما هو واضح فإن حشد بكركي مصرٌ على عدم التغيير الداخلي والالتحاق الكامل بالمشروع الأميركي والعلاقة الحميمة مع الفرنسيين المبنية منذ القرن 19 والذي يريد الراعي إعادة تجديدها بلبوس جديد يجمع بين حلف أميركي – فرنسي – خليجي وبكل أسف إسرائيلي لأنها القوة الشرق أوسطية الوحيدة القادرة على النزال في المسرح السوري اللبناني.

مشروع بكركي اذاً ليس مجرد عرض داخلي لحلف بين بكركي والأميركيين والخليج بقدر ما يعبر عن التحاق بالمشروع الأميركي الذي يريد ضرب الحلف الإيراني – السوري. كما أن مشروع الراعي يتوغّل نحو إعادة بناء نظام لبنانيّ يُقصي التحالف بين حزب الله والأحزاب الوطنية عن أي اقتراب من النظام اللبناني حتى في أدنى مساعي التقارب.

فهذا النظام استولده الغرب غربياً ويجب برأي تغطياته المارونية أن يبقى على النحو نفسه، فهل هذا ممكن؟

موازنات القوى الداخلية لم تعُد تسمح بذلك، وهذا ما يجب أن يدركه الراعي وصرحه، كما ان هذه الموازنات ما عاد بوسعها حجب دور الأحزاب الوطنية التي أصبحت تشكل جزءاً اساسياً من التفاعلات السياسية اللبنانية مع حزب الله بالمباشر او بالالتفاف.

المقارنة هنا بين أحزاب القومي والشيوعي والناصري يتضح أن أوزانها أصبح راجحاً على أوزان تتلقى مليارات الدولارات من الخليج وترعاها الكنائس والمساجد وبركات الغيب والحاضر.

مشروع الراعي إذاً خطير جداً، لأنه قد يستدرج تأليباً لقوى من طوائف أخرى قد لا يروق لها مشروعه وترى فيه تسللاً مارونياً جديداً للإمساك المنفرد بالسلطة على طريقة عشرينيات القرن الماضي، هذا ما يدركه جيداً وليد جنبلاط في حزبه التقدمي الاشتراكي وسعد الحريري في حزبه المستقبل ولفيفه، وكذلك جعجع الذي لا يفكر إلا باستغلال بكركي للقضاء على التيار الوطني الحر من دون نسيان سامي الجميل اللاهث وراء استعادة أمجاد الكتائب في زمن مستحيل.

فهل يجد التيار الوطني الحر نفسه في وضع صعب في مشروع الصراع بين الراعي وحزب الله؟

لا يبدو الأمر على هذا النحو لأسباب عدة: لأن حزب الله قويّ بعصبيته الحزبية – المذهبية اولاً وتحالفاته مع الأحزاب الحليفة ثانياً، وله امتدادات من الحلفاء الإقليميين غير قابلة للاهتزاز وهي سورية وإيران وصولاً الى الروس الذين ينسقون معه في مختلف المراحل.

كما أن له تحالفات يمنيّة – عراقيّة تجعل منه قوة إقليمية وازنة غير قابلة للكسر.

يكفي أنه مناقض لما اورده الكاردينال من ان لبنان بلد محايد، إنما ضد مَن؟ فلبنان لا يعتدي على «اسرائيل» او اميركا والغرب بقدر ما يعكس حيادية مطلقة، مما قام به حزب الله والأحزاب الحليفة أنهم صدوا الغزو الاسرائيلي المدعوم غربياً وخليجياً. فهل يرفض الكاردينال تحرير الجنوب أم أنه يرى أن هذا الاحتلال يسهّل السيطرة المارونية الخليجية على الدولة؟

لذلك تبدو خطوات الكاردينال ضيقة تندرج في أدنى المستوى، لأن الطرف المناهض لها لن يكافحها بأساليب شعبية او عسكرية وقد ينتظر مدة معينة لإعادة تأسيس حلف مع أحزاب مسيحية قادرة كالتيار الوطني الحر والأحزاب الوطنية لإعادة بناء تيار سياسي لبناني لا يعمل فقط من أجل السيطرة على السلطة ونظامها بل يحاول العمل على تأسيس وطن فعليّ لمجمل أبنائه.

فهل هناك إمكانية لدعم خارجي يتلقاه الراعي من الأميركيين والأوروبيين والخليجيين بتغطية «إسرائيل»، نعم هذه ممكنة، لكنها غير قابلة للنجاح لأن الحلف السوري اللبناني الإيراني الفلسطيني شديد المراس ويتمكن من مناطقه وشعبيته وهذا يجعل الأوضاع أكبر من إمكانات الراعي وأوزان أحلافه في الطوائف الأخرى.

الأمور إذاً لا تتجه الى انفجارات شعبية يعمل عليها جعجع والحريري والشيخ المقدام سامي وهذا سببه لجم الحزب وحلفائه لأية اندفاعات غير محسوبة تؤدي الى ما لا تحمد عقباه.

يتضح أخيراً أن مشروع الراعي ليس أكثر من هرطقة في فنجان قهوة مثقوب والأمور عائدة الى ما كانت عليه مع محاولات لتحسينها نحو تعميق الصراع اللبناني – الإسرائيلي على اساس الدفاع الحميد عن لبنان، أما التعبير الداخلي فمرجأ بدوره وقد يكون النقطة الوحيدة التي بإمكان غبطته المساومة عليها في هذا الزمن الرديء على أساس التمسك بالتفوق الماروني في السلطة، وهذا أمر لا يعترض عليه حزب الله بقدر ما يضايق الحريري وزبانيته الحالمين بدعم خليجي – أميركي لمشروع تقدمهم في السلطة اللبنانية.

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America’s Middle East Policy Is Outdated and Dangerous سياسة أميركا في الشرق الأوسط خطيرة وعفا عليها الزمن

**Please scroll down for the Arabic Version first published in Al-Mayadeen **

A New Approach to the Gulf States Needs a Better Foundation

U.S. aircraft at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 2016

By Chris Murphy

February 19, 2021

In his 1980 State of the Union address, which came in the wake of the oil shocks of 1973 and 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter described in grave terms the risks of losing access to Middle Eastern oil. “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America,” he said. “Such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” That pledge became known as the Carter Doctrine, and it has remained a defining feature of U.S. Middle East policy ever since.

At the time of Carter’s pronouncement, the United States relied heavily on oil imports to power its economy, and 29 percent of that oil came from the Persian Gulf. Even two decades later, little had changed: in 2001, the United States still imported 29 percent of its oil from the Gulf. But it’s not 1980 or 2001 anymore. Today, the United States produces as much oil as it gets from abroad, and only 13 percent comes from Gulf countries. The United States now imports more oil from Mexico than it does from Saudi Arabia.

Yet even as the driving rationale for the so-called Carter Doctrine has become obsolete, it continues to shape the United States’ approach to the Gulf—emblematic of a broader failure of U.S. policy to catch up with the broader changes to U.S. interests in the region since the 1980s. President Joe Biden should acknowledge new realities and reset the United States’ relationships in the Gulf in a way that promotes American values, keeps Washington out of unnecessary foreign entanglements, and prioritizes regional peace and stability.

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There are myriad reasons for strong relations between the United States and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The decisions by Bahrain and the UAE to establish formal ties to Israel are a clear sign of the positive influence these countries can exert. Kuwait and Oman play powerful roles in mediating regional conflicts. The United States’ counterterrorism partnerships with GCC countries, while frequently flawed, are still crucial, as these governments often have information on extremist networks that U.S. intelligence cannot glean on its own. And the United States is broadening its people-to-people ties with the region: today, tens of thousands of students from the Gulf study at U.S. colleges and universities. Accordingly, the United States must make clear to Gulf allies that its goal is not to pull away from the region but instead to create a more substantive and stable link between the United States and the GCC.

But it is past time to admit that there is a central design flaw in the United States’ current approach to the Gulf: the top two GCC priorities for the relationship—sustaining U.S. military assistance to fight regional proxy wars and maintaining U.S. silence on domestic political repression—will, in the long run, destroy the GCC countries themselves. The United States’ objective must be to replace this broken foundation with a new system that supports a peaceful Gulf replete with stable, diversified national economies and responsive governments—the kind of future that leaders such as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman staunchly claim the Gulf is seeking. A U.S.-Gulf relationship built on economic, diplomatic, and governance ties, rather than just brute security partnerships, will accrue to the benefit of both U.S. and Middle Eastern interests.

AVOIDING PROXY WARS

The first step is for the United States to disengage from the GCC’s proxy wars with Iran. The Iranian government is a U.S. adversary, but the festering series of hot and cold conflicts in the region—in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen—has simply served to strengthen Iran’s influence and create cataclysmic levels of human suffering. A pullback from U.S. intervention in places such as Syria and Yemen will, no doubt, cause immediate consternation in the Gulf. By now, however, the enormous costs of the false belief that the United States can indirectly steer the outcomes in Syria and Yemen are crystal clear. In both theaters, the United States’ tepid, halfway military involvement was never substantial enough to tip the balance and has served instead to extend the conflicts. Washington suffers from a hubristic confidence in its ability to accomplish political goals through military interventions. Instead, the most significant effect of recent U.S. Middle East adventurism has been to fuel perpetual wars that embolden extremist groups and allow anti-American sentiment to grow.

It is past time to admit that there is a central design flaw in the United States’ current approach to the Gulf.

Although the United States should retain its security partnerships with Gulf nations, the U.S. footprint should be smaller. Before the Gulf War, the United States was able to protect its interests in the region without massive military bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia and without billions in annual arms sales to these same nations. The foreign policy community in Washington acts as if this massive military presence is now mandatory to protect U.S. interests, even though it wasn’t prior to the creation of the post-9/11 security state. U.S. bases are costly, drawing focus away from increasingly important theaters such as Africa and Asia; they create pressure on the United States to ignore serious human rights abuses lest criticism puts the troop presence at risk; and they stand out as military targets and propaganda fodder for Iran, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State (or ISIS). As U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin undertakes a global review of the United States’ military posture, the Biden administration should seriously consider reducing its military basing in the region. Reconsidering the costs and benefits of basing the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain would be a good start, as the United States’ massive footprint is becoming more trouble than it is worth.

Finally, although the United States should continue to sell military equipment to its partners, Washington should ensure that it is selling truly defensive arms. Today, too many American weapons are used irresponsibly and in violation of international law. Others, such as the recently announced Reaper drone sale to the UAE, fuel a regional arms race that runs counter to U.S. security interests. As it pulls back on systems with more offensive capabilities, however, the United States should still be willing to provide more advanced defensive weapons, such as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile technology, that fit the Gulf’s real security threats.

If Washington does these things, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will inevitably complain that the United States is abandoning them and empowering Iran. The Biden administration’s task will be to convince them that there is an alternative to a never-ending military contest with Tehran. A regional security dialogue that includes all parties can replace the arms race and proxy wars. This may sound like a utopian fantasy, but it is far from it. The green shoots of this dialogue have been showing for years, and able U.S. leadership, applying both vinegar and honey, can begin to create a structure for détente. And although the United States should not give the Emiratis or Saudis veto power over a bilateral nuclear agreement with Iran, a regional dialogue would tie the Gulf countries closer to the United States on Iran policy and likely give the GCC greater input on any future agreement Washington makes.

TESTING DE-ESCALATION

The Biden administration is best positioned to test the region’s readiness for this kind of de-escalation in Yemen. The pieces that have been missing—meaningful pressure and a credible interlocutor—are now moving into position as the Biden administration ends U.S. support for offensive operations and appoints a new special envoy to support the UN peace process. The United States is the only nation that can move the ball forward. If Washington can find a path toward peace in Yemen, where an inclusive post-Hadi Yemeni government coexists with Houthi leaders as the country rebuilds with international aid, it could be proof of concept for a broader dialogue.

De-escalation should be wildly appealing to the United States’ Gulf partners. Declining oil revenues mean these nations will soon need to make hard choices between investing in economic reforms and fighting wars in foreign countries. Given these persistent conflicts and the state control of local economies, attracting meaningful foreign investment to the region is largely a fantasy. For the United States, another benefit to decreased tensions between the Gulf and Iran is fewer incentives for Gulf interests to spread Wahhabi Islam throughout the Muslim world. This ultraconservative and intolerant brand of Islam often forms the building blocks of extremist ideology, and the Gulf-Iran feud fuels its export (alongside its revolutionary Shiite counterpart).

Biden has a chance to reset Washington’s partnerships with Gulf nations.

The United States must also drive a harder bargain with the Gulf states on questions of human rights. In the wake of Donald Trump’s attacks on American democracy, it will be even more important for Biden to match his talk of the rule of law and civil rights with actions at home and abroad. The United States has difficult work ahead to rebuild its global brand, but ending Washington’s hear-no-evil, see-no-evil approach in the Gulf will help.

Still, the U.S. conversation with the Gulf on human rights should be realistic. These countries will not become modern democracies overnight. If the Gulf really wants to attract international investment, however, it must address ongoing brutal crackdowns on political dissent and the lack of the rule of law. Serious outside private investment is unlikely as long as these nations torture political prisoners, maintain a draconian “guardian system” that restricts women’s ability to travel, and constantly harass dissidents abroad. Frankly, Gulf leaders should see expanding political rights as an existential issue. The United States must help these regimes understand that their long-standing social bargain of “no taxation, but no representation either” cannot last. As population growth outstrips oil revenues, royal families will soon no longer be able to afford that payoff. Once subsidies atrophy but repression remains, a disastrous storm of unrest will brew. Luckily, there are models of limited reform in the Gulf that can help the laggards inch along. Kuwaitis, for instance, elect a parliament that maintains some independence from the crown. Although this is far from modern participatory democracy, it provides some guideposts to which more repressive regimes can look.

NO COLD WAR REDUX

In pursuing this new course, some sky-will-fall adherents to the status quo will argue that if the Biden administration drives too hard a bargain, Gulf leaders will turn away from the United States and toward China or Russia. This argument is a red herring, one that plays on a misunderstanding of both the irreplaceability of military alignment with the United States and the willingness of China and Russia to get their hands dirty in Middle Eastern politics. This isn’t the Cold War: Russia has little to offer in the region, and as global oil usage continues to fall, Moscow will inevitably compete with Gulf countries for buyers. Although China will continue to look for economic opportunities in the region, it will be unwilling to play a real security role anytime in the near future. The Chinese navy isn’t going to come to the aid of a Gulf country under attack. If the Bahrainis, Emiratis, or Saudis threaten to turn to other powers, Washington can afford to call their bluff.

As a general matter, U.S. foreign policy has become dangerously anachronistic, an instrument tuned to play a song that the orchestra no longer performs. But U.S. policy is, perhaps, most inconsonant in the Gulf, where the United States’ interests have changed but its policy has not. Biden has a chance to reset Washington’s partnerships with Gulf nations. It will be difficult, painful, and arouse loud protest. But the resulting order will be mutually beneficial, advancing U.S. interests while moving Gulf states closer to the future they claim to aspire to. As they say, the most worthwhile endeavors are never easy.

سياسة أميركا في الشرق الأوسط خطيرة وعفا عليها الزمن

الميادين نت

*ترجمة: ميساء شديد

طائرة أميركيّة في قاعدة العديد الجويّة في قطر - أبريل 2016 (رويترز)

كريس مورفي – “فورين أفيرز” 19 شباط 22:39

السيناتور الأميركي كريس مورفي، يشدد في مقال له في مجلة “فورين أفيرز“، على أنّه لدى الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن “فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج”.

السيناتور الأميركي كريس مورفي يؤكد في مقال له في مجلة “فورين أفيرز“، أنّ السياسة الخارجيّة للولايات المتحدة “عفا الزمن عنها”، مبرزاً أنّ “السياسة الأميركيّة غير متسقة في الخليج، ولدى بايدن فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج”. فيما يلي نص المقال: 

في خطاب حالة الاتحاد الذي ألقاه في أعقاب أزمتي النفط عامي 1973 و1979، وصف الرئيس الأميركي جيمي كارتر بعبارات خطيرة مخاطر فقدان الوصول إلى نفط الشرق الأوسط. وقال إن “أيّ محاولة من قبل أيّ قوّة خارجيّة للسيطرة على منطقة الخليج، ستعتبر اعتداء على المصالح الحيويّة للولايات المتحدة الأميركيّة.. وسيتمّ صدّ مثل هذا الهجوم بأيّ وسيلة ضروريّة بما في ذلك القوّة العسكريّة”. أصبح هذا التعهد معروفاً باسم “مبدأ كارتر” وظلّ سمة مميّزة لسياسة الولايات المتحدة في الشرق الأوسط منذ ذلك الحين.

حين أدلى كارتر بهذا التصريح كانت الولايات المتحدة تعتمد بشكل كبير على واردات النفط لتزويد اقتصادها بالطاقة وكان 29% من هذا النفط يأتي من الخليج. حتى بعد عقدين من الزمن لم يتغيّر شيء يذكر: في عام 2001، كانت الولايات المتحدة لا تزال تستورد 29% من نفطها من الخليج. لكننا لم نعد في عام 1980 أو 2001 بعد الآن. واليوم تنتج الولايات المتحدة نفس القدر من النفط الذي تحصل عليه من الخارج وتستورد 13% فقط من دول الخليج. تستورد الولايات المتحدة الآن نفطاً من المكسيك أكثر مما تستورده من السعوديّة.

ومع ذلك بالرغم من أن الأساس المنطقي لما يسمى عقيدة كارتر قد عفا عليه الزمن، إلا أنه يستمر في تشكيل نهج الولايات المتحدة تجاه الخليج – وهو رمز لفشل أوسع لسياسة الولايات المتحدة المتمثلة بتغييرات أوسع للمصالح الأميركيّة في المنطقة منذ الثمانينيات. يجب على الرئيس جو بايدن الاعتراف بالوقائع الجديدة وإعادة ضبط علاقات الولايات المتحدة في الخليج بطريقة تعزز القيم الأميركيّة وتبقي واشنطن بعيدة عن التشابكات الخارجيّة غير الضروريّة وتعطي الأولويّة للسلام والاستقرار الإقليميين.

هناك عدد لا يحصى من الأسباب لإقامة علاقات قويّة بين الولايات المتحدة ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي – البحرين والكويت وعمان وقطر والسعودية والإمارات. إن قرارات البحرين والإمارات لإقامة علاقات رسميّة مع “إسرائيل” هي علامة واضحة على التأثير الإيجابي الذي يمكن أن تمارسه هذه الدول. تلعب الكويت وعمان أدواراً قويّة في التوسط في النزاعات الإقليميّة. إن شراكات الولايات المتحدة في مكافحة الإرهاب مع دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بالرغم من كونها معيبة في كثير من الأحيان، لا تزال مهمة حيث تمتلك هذه الحكومات غالباً معلومات عن الشبكات المتطرفة التي لا تستطيع الاستخبارات الأميركيّة جمعها بمفردها.

وتقوم الولايات المتحدة بتوسيع علاقاتها الشعبيّة مع المنطقة: اليوم هناك عشرات الآلاف من الطلاب من الخليج يدرسون في الكليات والجامعات الأميركيّة. وبناءً على ذلك يجب على الولايات المتحدة أن توضح لحلفائها الخليجيين أن هدفها ليس الانسحاب من المنطقة، ولكن بدلاً من ذلك إنشاء رابط أكثر موضوعية واستقراراً بين الولايات المتحدة ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي.

لكن حان الوقت للاعتراف بوجود خلل مركزي في نهج الولايات المتحدة الحالي تجاه الخليج: أهم أولويتين لمجلس التعاون الخليجي في العلاقة – الحفاظ على المساعدة العسكرية الأميركية لخوض حروب إقليمية بالوكالة والحفاظ على الصمت الأميركي تجاه السياسات الداخلية لدوله. القمع – سيدمر على المدى الطويل دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي نفسها. ويجب أن يكون هدف الولايات المتحدة هو استبدال هذا الأساس المكسور بنظام جديد يدعم خليجاً مسالماً مليئاً باقتصاديات وطنيّة مستقرة ومتنوعة وحكومات متجاوبة – مستقبل من النوع الذي يدعي قادة مثل ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان بقوّة أن منطقة الخليج تسعى إليه. إن علاقة بين الولايات المتحدة والخليج مبنية على العلاقات الاقتصاديّة والدبلوماسيّة والحوكمة بدلاً من مجرد شراكات أمنيّة وحشيّة سوف تعود بالفائدة على مصالح الولايات المتحدة والشرق الأوسط.

تجنب حروب الوكالة

الخطوة الأولى هي أن تنفصل الولايات المتحدة عن حروب دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بالوكالة مع إيران. الحكومة الإيرانيّة هي خصم للولايات المتحدة لكن سلسلة الصراعات الساخنة والباردة في المنطقة – في العراق ولبنان وسوريا واليمن – عملت ببساطة على تعزيز نفوذ إيران وخلق مستويات كارثية من المعاناة الإنسانية. لا شك أن الانسحاب من التدخل الأميركي في أماكن مثل سوريا واليمن سيسبب ذعراً فورياً في الخليج. ومع ذلك  فإن التكاليف الهائلة للاعتقاد الخاطئ بأن الولايات المتحدة يمكنها توجيه النتائج بشكل غير مباشر في سوريا واليمن باتت واضحة تماماً.

في كلا المسرحين لم يكن التدخل العسكري الفاتر للولايات المتحدة جوهريّاً بما يكفي لقلب التوازن وخدم بدلاً من ذلك إطالة أمد النزاعات. تعاني واشنطن من ثقة متغطرسة في قدرتها على تحقيق أهداف سياسيّة من خلال التدخلات العسكريّة. بدلاً من ذلك كان التأثير الأكثر أهمية للمغامرات الأميركيّة الأخيرة في الشرق الأوسط هو تأجيج الحروب الدائمة التي تشجع الجماعات المتطرفة وتسمح للمشاعر المعادية لأميركا بالنمو.

على الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة يجب أن تحتفظ بشراكاتها الأمنية مع دول الخليج إلا أن البصمة الأميركيّة يجب أن تكون أصغر. قبل حرب الخليج كانت الولايات المتحدة قادرة على حماية مصالحها في المنطقة من دون قواعد عسكريّة ضخمة في البحرين والكويت وقطر والسعودية ومن دون مليارات من مبيعات الأسلحة السنويّة للدول نفسها.

يتصرّف مجتمع السياسة الخارجيّة في واشنطن كما لو أن هذا الوجود العسكري الضخم أصبح الآن إلزامياً لحماية المصالح الأميركيّة، على الرغم من أنه لم يكن كذلك قبل إنشاء الدولة الأمنية بعد 11 سبتمبر. القواعد الأميركيّة مكلفة ما يجعل التركيز بعيداً عن المسارح ذات الأهمية المتزايدة مثل أفريقيا وآسيا؛ إنهم يمارسون الضغط على الولايات المتحدة لتجاهل الانتهاكات الجسيمة لحقوق الإنسان خشية أن تعرض هذه الانتقادات وجود القوات الأميركية للخطر؛ وهي تبرز كأهداف عسكريّة ومادة دعاية لإيران والقاعدة وداعش.

بينما يجري وزير الدفاع الأميركي لويد أوستن مراجعة عالميّة للوضع العسكري للولايات المتحدة يجب على إدارة بايدن التفكير بجديّة في تقليص قواعدها العسكريّة في المنطقة. إن إعادة النظر في تكاليف وفوائد تأسيس الأسطول الخامس في البحرين ستكون بداية جيدة حيث أصبح الدور الهائل للولايات المتحدة مقلقاً بالرغم من أن الأمر لا يستحق.

أخيرًا على الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة يجب أن تستمر في بيع المعدات العسكريّة لشركائها، يجب على واشنطن التأكد من أنها تبيع أسلحة دفاعيّة حقيقيّة. اليوم يتمّ استخدام الكثير من الأسلحة الأميركيّة بشكل غير مسؤول وفي انتهاك للقانون الدولي. البعض الآخر مثل بيع طائرات “ريبر” بدون طيار التي تمّ الإعلان عنها مؤخراً للإمارات، يُغذي سباق تسلح إقليمياً يتعارض مع المصالح الأمنيّة الأميركية. مع تراجعها عن أنظمة ذات قدرات هجوميّة أكثر يجب أن تظل الولايات المتحدة على استعداد لتقديم أسلحة دفاعية أكثر تقدمًا مثل تكنولوجيا الصواريخ الدفاعية الطرفية عالية الارتفاع (ثاد) التي تناسب التهديدات الأمنيّة الحقيقيّة في الخليج.

إذا فعلت واشنطن هذه الامور فستشتكي السعودية والإمارات لا محالة من أن الولايات المتحدة تتخلى عنهما وتمكنان إيران. تتمثل مهمة إدارة بايدن في إقناعهما بوجود بديل للمنافسة العسكريّة التي لا تنتهي مع طهران. يمكن لحوار أمنيّ إقليميّ يشمل جميع الأطراف أن يحلّ محل سباق التسلح والحروب بالوكالة. قد يبدو هذا وكأنه محض خيال لكنه بعيد كل البعد عن ذلك.

كانت البراعم الخضراء لهذا الحوار تظهر منذ سنوات ويمكن للقيادة الأميركيّة أن تبدأ في إنشاء هيكل للانفراج. وعلى الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة لا ينبغي أن تمنح الإماراتيين أو السعوديين حق النقض (الفيتو) على اتفاقية نوويّة ثنائيّة مع إيران، فإن الحوار الإقليمي من شأنه أن يربط دول الخليج بشكل أقرب إلى الولايات المتحدة بشأن السياسة الإيرانيّة ومن المرجح أن يعطي مجلس التعاون الخليجي مساهمة أكبر في أيّ اتفاق مستقبلي.

اختبار خفض التصعيد

إن إدارة بايدن في وضع أفضل لاختبار استعداد المنطقة لهذا النوع من التهدئة في اليمن. القطع المفقودة من ضغوط ذات مغزى ومحاور موثوق به تتحرك الآن إلى موقعها مع إنهاء إدارة بايدن دعم الولايات المتحدة للعمليّات الهجوميّة وتعيين مبعوث خاص جديد لدعم عملية السلام التابعة للأمم المتحدة. الولايات المتحدة هي الدولة الوحيدة التي يمكنها تحريك الكرة إلى الأمام. إذا تمكنت واشنطن من إيجاد طريق نحو السلام في اليمن حيث تتعايش حكومة يمنيّة شاملة مع قادة الحوثيين وتعيد البلاد بناءها بمساعدة دولية فإن ذلك سيكون على مفهوم حوار أوسع.

يجب أن يكون وقف التصعيد جذاباً بشدة لشركاء الولايات المتحدة في الخليج. انخفاض عائدات النفط يعني أن هذه الدول ستحتاج قريباً إلى اتخاذ خيارات صعبة بين الاستثمار في الإصلاحات الاقتصاديّة وخوض الحروب في البلدان الأجنبيّة. بالنظر إلى هذه الصراعات المستمرة وسيطرة الدولة على الاقتصادات المحليّة فإن جذب الاستثمار الأجنبي الهادف إلى المنطقة هو إلى حد كبير أمر خيالي.

بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة هناك فائدة أخرى لتقليل التوترات بين الخليج وإيران تتمثل في حوافز أقلّ للمصالح الخليجيّة لنشر الإسلام الوهابي في جميع أنحاء العالم الإسلامي. غالباً ما تشكل هذه العلامة التجاريّة المتشددة وغير المتسامحة للإسلام اللبنات الأساسيّة للإيديولوجيا المتطرفة، ويُغذي الخلاف الخليجي الإيراني تصديرها (إلى جانب نظيرتها الشيعية الثوريّة).

يجب على الولايات المتحدة أيضاً أن تقود صفقة أكثر صعوبة مع دول الخليج بشأن قضايا حقوق الإنسان. في أعقاب هجمات دونالد ترامب على الديمقراطيّة الأميركيّة سيكون من الأهم بالنسبة لبايدن أن يطابق حديثه عن سيادة القانون والحقوق المدنيّة بأفعال في الداخل والخارج. أمام الولايات المتحدة عمل صعب لإعادة بناء دورها العالمي لكن إنهاء نهج واشنطن الذي لا يسمع ولا يرى الشر في الخليج من شأنه أن يساعد.  

ومع ذلك يجب أن تكون محادثة الولايات المتحدة مع دول الخليج حول حقوق الإنسان واقعيّة. لن تصبح هذه البلدان ديمقراطيات حديثة بين عشية وضحاها. ومع ذلك إذا كانت دول الخليج تريد حقاً جذب الاستثمار الدولي فعليها أن تتصدى للحملات القمعيّة الوحشيّة المستمرة ضد المعارضة السياسيّة وغياب سيادة القانون.

الاستثمار الخاص الخارجي الجاد غير محتمل طالما أن هذه الدول تعذب السجناء السياسيين وتحافظ على “نظام وصيّ” صارم يحد من قدرة المرأة على السفر ويضايق المعارضين في الخارج باستمرار. بصراحة يجب على قادة الخليج أن ينظروا إلى توسيع الحقوق السياسيّة على أنها قضيّة وجوديّة. يجب على الولايات المتحدة أن تساعد هذه الأنظمة على فهم أن الصفقة الاجتماعيّة القائمة منذ فترة طويلة المتمثلة في “غياب الضرائب والتمثيل السياسي” لا يمكن أن تستمر.

نظراً لأن النمو السكاني يفوق عائدات النفط فلن تتمكن العائلات المالكة قريباً من تحمّل هذا المردود. بمجرد ضمور الإعانات واستمرار القمع ستندلع عاصفة من الاضطرابات الكارثية. لحسن الحظ هناك نماذج للإصلاح المحدود في الخليج يمكن أن تساعد المتقاعسين في التقدم. ينتخب الكويتيون على سبيل المثال برلماناً يحافظ على بعض الاستقلالية عن العرش. على الرغم من أن هذا بعيد كل البعد عن الديمقراطيّة التشاركيّة الحديثة إلا أنه يقدم بعض النقاط الإرشاديّة التي يمكن أن تنظر إليها الأنظمة القمعيّة.

لا داعي للحرب الباردة

في متابعة هذا المسار الجديد سوف يجادل بعض أتباع الوضع الراهن بأنه إذا دفعت إدارة بايدن عن صفقة صعبة للغاية فسوف يبتعد قادة الخليج عن الولايات المتحدة ويذهبون أكثر باتجاه الصين أو روسيا. هذه الحجة مضللة وهي حجة تلعب على سوء فهم كل من عدم إمكانية الاستغناء عن الاصطفاف العسكري مع الولايات المتحدة واستعداد الصين وروسيا لتسخير أيديهما في سياسات الشرق الأوسط.

هذه ليست الحرب الباردة: ليس لدى روسيا الكثير لتقدمه في المنطقة ومع استمرار انخفاض استخدام النفط العالمي ستتنافس موسكو حتماً مع دول الخليج على المشترين. على الرغم من أن الصين ستواصل البحث عن فرص اقتصاديّة في المنطقة إلا أنها لن تكون راغبة في لعب دور أمني حقيقي في أي وقت في المستقبل القريب. البحريّة الصينيّة لن تقدم المساعدة لدولة خليجيّة تتعرض للهجوم. إذا هدد البحرينيون أو الإماراتيون أو السعوديون بالتحوّل إلى قوى أخرى، يمكن لواشنطن ألا تنطلي عليها خدعهم.

بشكل عام عفا الزمن عن السياسة الخارجيّة للولايات المتحدة بشكل خطير وهي أداة تمّ ضبطها لعزف أغنيّة لم تعد الأوركسترا تؤديها. لكن ربما تكون السياسة الأميركيّة غير متسقة في الخليج، حيث تغيّرت مصالح الولايات المتحدة ولكن سياستها لم تتغير. لدى بايدن فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج. سيكون الأمر صعباً ومؤلماً ويثير احتجاجاً شديداً. لكن النظام الناتج سيكون مفيداً للطرفين حيث سيعزز المصالح الأميركيّة بينما يقرب دول الخليج من المستقبل التي تزعم أنها تطمح إليه. كما يقولون فإن أكثر المساعي الجديرة بالاهتمام ليست سهلة أبداً.

*ترجمة: ميساء شديد

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي الصحيفة حصراً

How Britain and U.S. Killed the Bahrain Revolution

Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

Finian Cunningham

February 17, 2021

Britain and the United States worked together to kill the Bahrain revolution of 2011 and its people’s long-held aspirations for democratic governance.

Ten years ago this week, the Bahraini people launched a daring, peaceful uprising against a despised and despotic monarchial regime. During the next four weeks, the Al Khalifa regime was rocked to its shaky foundations as hundreds of thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets of the Persian Gulf island state.

What followed, however, was a crucial – if despicable – intervention by Britain and the United States which unleashed a wave of brutal repression – a repression that continues to this day. Without this British and American operation, the Bahraini regime would have fallen to a popular uprising.

At stake for London and Washington was not just the tiny island of Bahrain itself but the stability of the entire chain of Persian Gulf monarchies, principally Saudi Arabia. The Gulf sheikhdoms are essential for maintaining the geopolitical interests of the Western powers in the Middle East, for propping up the petrodollar system which is paramount to American economic sustenance, and prolonging lucrative trade for British and American weapons manufacturers.

If Bahrain were to succumb to a democratic uprising by its people demanding free and fair elections, independent rule of law, more equitable economic governance, and so on, then the Gulf monarchies would be “threatened” by example. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman are the other Gulf states which are ruled over by monarchs. They are all clients of Western powers, facilitating American and British military bases across the region which are vital for power projection, for example prosecuting wars and confronting designated enemies like Iran. Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet base as well as a new British naval base that was opened in 2016. In short, Bahrain could not be allowed to attain democracy as that would have a domino effect across the entire region jeopardizing U.S. and British interests.

The democratic aspirations of the Bahraini people are poignantly apposite. The majority of the indigenous population are followers of Shia Islam with many cultural connections to ancient Iran which lies to the north across the narrow Gulf sea. The Bahraini rulers descend from a colonial settler tribe which invaded the island in the 18th century. The Khalifa tribe hailed from the Arabian Peninsula originally. Their occupation of Bahrain was one of conquest and pillage. Unlike most Bahrainis the usurpers professed to following Sunni Islam and held the native population in contempt, lording over them and imposing arbitrary, extortionate levies under pain of death. But the British Empire constructed the new rulers into a monarchy in 1820 in order to perform a sentinel duty over the island in a key waterway leading to Britain’s imperial jewel in the crown, India. The British Empire had similar protectorate arrangements with all the other Gulf Arab territories.

Down through the centuries, British colonial officers and soldiers were relied on to enforce the Khalifa regime in Bahrain. Uprisings by the people would recur periodically and would be violently suppressed by British security forces.

The pattern was repeated during the 2011 Arab Spring revolts which swept across North Africa and the Middle East. Some of these revolts were manipulated or fomented by Western powers for regime change, such as in Syria and Libya. But in Bahrain, it was a truly democratic impulse that galvanized the Shia majority to once again demand their historic rights against what was viewed as an imposter, despotic regime.

Such was the regime’s shaky hold on power that the tide of popular uprising nearly swept it aside during the four weeks following the beginning of the Bahrain uprising on February 14, 2011. This author was present during this tumultuous time which saw up to 500,000 people take to the streets – nearly half the population. Pearl Roundabout in the capital, Manama, became a de facto “Republic of Bahrain” with peaceful encampments and daily throngs defiantly telling King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa that it was “game over” for his crony regime. It was a heady time and the regime’s imminent perilous fate was palpable. Plunging the people into a bloodbath would be the escape route for the rulers and their Western sponsors.

On March 14, 2011, thousands of troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded Bahrain and began a bloody repression against unarmed protesters. People were rounded up for mass-detention and torture. Young men were shot dead at point-blank range. The vicious repression that began a decade ago continues to this day – albeit ignored by Western news media. All of the Bahraini pro-democracy leaders languish in prisons without due process. Several prisoners have been executed for alleged terrorist crimes after “confessions” were beaten out of them.

Only days before the Saudi-Emirati invasion of Bahrain, on March 9, 2011, the regime was visited by senior British and American security officials. On the British side were Sir Peter Ricketts, the national security advisor to then Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as General Sir David Richards, the head of British military. In a second separate meeting, on March 11, three days before the onslaught, the Khalifa regime was visited by then U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. We don’t know the details of those discussions but media reports stated at the time that the British and Americans were “offering their support for the royal family”.

Britain and the United States worked together to kill the Bahrain revolution of 2011 and its people’s long-held aspirations for democratic governance. The repression goes on with British and American officials frequently visiting Bahrain to express support for the Khalifa regime. Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the island in August 2020 and fawned over the regime for its support to Washington’s policy of normalizing ties with Israel. There is no sign of the new Biden administration taking a more critical position towards Bahrain. Indeed it was the Obama administration in which Biden was vice president that colluded with Britain in the slaughter of the Bahraini revolution back in 2011.

Thus, when Britain and the United States talk about promoting democracy and human rights in places like Hong Kong, Venezuela, Russia, or anywhere else, just remember their bankrupt credibility as proven by Bahrain. Western news media – despite their claims of freedom and independence – also deserve condemnation. Those media have steadfastly ignored the plight of Bahrainis in deference to their government’s geopolitical interests.

A follow-up commentary on the Arab Spring events 10 years ago will look at how the United States and Britain hypocritically and disingenuously moved to intervene in Libya and Syria at the very same time that these powers were suppressing the legitimate pro-democracy movement in Bahrain.

Why Israel is joining the Pentagon’s ‘Arab Nato’ لماذا تنضم “إسرائيل” إلى القيادة المركزية الأميركية

Israel’s inclusion in Centcom will further harm the Palestinian cause, drive a wedge between Arab states and raise the heat on Iran

Flags of the US, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are projected on the ramparts of Jerusalem’s Old City in celebration of Israeli normalisation deals with the UAE and Bahrain, 15 September 2020 (AFP)
Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

2 February 2021 12:21 UTC 

With none of the usual fanfare associated with such a momentous decision, the Pentagon announced last month a major reorganisation to bring Israel – for the first time – inside its military command in the Middle East alongside the Arab states.

Until now, Israel has belonged to the US military’s European command, or Eucom, rather than the Middle Eastern one, known as Central Command, or Centcom. The decision effectively jettisoned the traditional wisdom that Israel’s inclusion in Centcom would increase friction between the US and Arab states, and would make the latter more reluctant to share intelligence or cooperate with the Pentagon. 

Those concerns were felt especially keenly when the US had large numbers of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Back in 2010, David Petraeus, then Centcom’s commander, expressed fears that the price of too-overt military collusion with Israel could be exacted on US forces stationed in the region. 

But Israel’s long-standing goal has been to force the Pentagon to restructure Centcom, and pressure had mounted from pro-Israel lobby groups in Washington in the final months of the Trump administration. The decision looked very much like a “parting gift” to Israel from President Donald Trump as he stepped down.

Military ‘normalisation’

Israel’s formal transfer to Centcom has not yet taken place, but the move was cemented last week with the first visit to Israel by General Kenneth McKenzie, the current head of Centcom, since Joe Biden entered the White House. Alongside Israel’s military chief of staff, Aviv Kohavi, McKenzie planted a tree – officially to mark the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat but symbolically representing a new era in their strategic partnership. 

The decision to bring Israel inside Centcom is best viewed – from Washington’s perspective – as the culmination of efforts to push the Arab states into public ‘normalisation’ with Israel

On Friday, after a meeting with the US general, Benny Gantz, Israel’s defence minister, issued a statement praising the Pentagon’s reorganisation, saying it would “afford Israel opportunity to deepen cooperation with new regional partners and broaden operative horizons”.

The decision to bring Israel inside the US military command in the Middle East is best viewed – from Washington’s perspective – as the culmination of efforts to push the Arab states into public “normalisation” with Israel. 

Military normalisation can now be added to the political, diplomatic and economic normalisation that formally began last September when two Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, signed the so-called Abraham Accords with Israel. Morocco and Sudan have also announced their own peace deals with Israel, and other Arab states are likely to follow suit once the dust settles with the incoming Biden administration. 

Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, the UAE has been forging strong trading ties with Israel and has helped to establish the Abraham Fund, designed to finance the infrastructure of occupation Israel has used to deprive the Palestinians of statehood. When flights to Dubai were launched in November, Israeli tourists poured into the UAE to take advantage of the new friendly relations and escape lockdown restrictions back home. 

In fact, it is widely reported that such visits have become one of the main ways Israel has imported new variants of Covid-19. Last week, Israel effectively closed its borders – except to General McKenzie – to keep the virus in check. 

Growing confidence

On the face of it, Israel’s desire to move into Centcom – a kind of Middle East Nato covering several Arab states with which Israel still has hostile relations – appears counter-intuitive. But, in fact, Israel will make major strategic gains. How Gulf states became business partners in Israel’s occupationRead More »

It will align US security interests in the region even more closely with Israel’s, at the expense of its Arab neighbours. It will aid Israel’s continuing efforts to crush the national ambitions of the Palestinians, with many Arab states’ either explicit or implicit cooperation. It will accentuate political tensions within the bloc of Arab states, further weakening it. And it will help to build pressure on recalcitrant Arab states to join the broader consensus against Israel’s one remaining significant regional foe: Iran.

It is significant that Washington’s long-standing concern about Israel’s presence in Centcom damaging US relations with the Arab states has apparently evaporated. 

Once, the US was careful to distance itself from Israel whenever the Pentagon got deeply mired in the region, whether it was the US Gulf war of 1990 or the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Those calculations no longer seem relevant.

The move demonstrates a growing US confidence that the Arab states – at least those that matter to Washington – are unperturbed about being seen to make a military accommodation with Israel, in addition to political and economic engagement. It underscores the fact that the oil-rich Gulf states, alongside Israel, are now the key drivers of US foreign policy in the region and suggests that the most important, Saudi Arabia, is waiting for the right moment to sign its own accord with Israel. 

Move out of the shadows

Israel, it is expected, will continue to conduct military exercises in Europe with Nato countries, but will soon be able to build similar direct relations with Arab armies, especially those being rapidly expanded and professionalised in the Gulf using its oil wealth. 

US Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. (L), Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), shakes hands with Saudi military officers during his visit to a military base in al-Kharj in central Saudi Arabia on July 18, 2019.
US General Kenneth McKenzie (L), commander of US Central Command (Centcom), shakes hands with Saudi military officers on 18 July 2019 (AFP)

As the Israeli scholar Jeff Halper has noted, Israel has shown how effective it is at translating its military and security ties with armies and police forces around the world into diplomatic support in international bodies. 

The Middle East is not likely to be different. Once Israel has become the linchpin of more professionalised armies in the region, those states dependent on its help can be expected to further abandon the Palestinian cause.

Regional divide-and-rule

Another dividend for Israel will be complicating Washington’s relations with the Arab region. 

Not only does Centcom operate major bases in the Gulf, especially in Bahrain and Qatar, but it leads the proclaimed “war on terror”, with overt or covert operations in several Arab states, including Iraq and Syria. 

With Israel inside Centcom, the US and its most favoured Arab states are also likely to be more directly implicated in Israel’s major military operations against the Palestinians, such as the repeated ‘wars’ on Gaza

It will be harder for the US to disentangle itself from Israel’s own openly belligerent operations, including air strikes, in both countries, that are conducted in flagrant violation of international law. Tensions between the US and Baghdad have in the past escalated over Israeli air strikes in Iraq, with threats to limit US access to Iraqi airspace.  

With Israel inside Centcom, the US and its most favoured Arab states are also likely to be more directly implicated in Israel’s major military operations against the Palestinians, such as the repeated “wars” on Gaza. 

This will pose a significant challenge to the region’s cooperative institutions such as the Arab League. It is almost certain to drive an even deeper wedge between pro-Washington Arab states and those accused of being on the wrong side of the “war on terror”.

The result could be a regional divide-and-rule policy cultivated by Israel that mirrors the decades-long, disabling divisions Israel has generated in the Palestinian leadership, most pronounced in the split between Fatah and Hamas.

Anti-Iran front

The biggest bonus for Israel will be a more formal alliance with Arab states against Iran and shepherding more ambivalent states into Israel’s orbit. 

That appears to have been the purpose of the recently well-publicised reconciliation between the UAE and Saudis on one side and Qatar on the other, achieved in the dying days of the Trump administration. One of the chief causes of the lengthy blockade of Qatar related to its insistence on maintaining political and economic ties with Tehran.

the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps Hossein Salami (R) watching a launch of missiles during a military drill in an unknown location in central Iran
Head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami (R), watches missiles being launched during a military drill in central Iran on 15 January 2021 (AFP)

Israel’s aim is to force the Biden administration’s hand in continuing Trump’s belligerent anti-Iran policy, which included aggressive sanctions, assassinations and tearing up the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran signed by Barack Obama. That deal had given inspectors access to Iran to ensure it did not develop a nuclear bomb that might neutralise the strategic clout Israel gains from its nuclear arsenal.

Once Israel has become the linchpin of more professionalised armies in the region, those states dependent on its help can be expected to further abandon the Palestinian cause

Inside Centcom, Israel will be able to work more closely with Gulf allies to sabotage any efforts inside Washington to revive the nuclear accord with Tehran. That point was underscored last week when an online security conference, hosted by Tel Aviv University, was attended by two Gulf ministers.

At the conference, Kochavi, Israel’s military chief of staff, issued an unprecedented public rebuke to Biden over recent statements that he wished to revive the nuclear deal. Kochavi called the agreement “bad and wrong strategically and operatively”, claimed that Iran would launch nuclear missiles at Israel once it had them, and declared that a go-it-alone attack by Israel “must be on the table”. 

Bahrain’s foreign minister, Abdullatif al-Zayani, observed that Israel and the Gulf states would have a better chance of preventing any US conciliation towards Iran if they spoke in a “unified voice”. He added: “A joint regional position on these issues will exert greater influence on the United States.” 

That view was echoed by Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s foreign affairs minister.

Middle East bogeyman

In a sign of how the Biden administration is already fearful of taking on a broad Middle Eastern alliance against Iran, the new president’s pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said last month it was “vitally important” to consult with Israel and the Gulf states before re-entering the deal.Is the UAE plotting with Israel against Palestinian refugees?Read More »

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, desperate to bolster his electoral fortunes and deflect attention from his looming corruption trial, has every incentive to prise open that chink. 

Ensuring Iran remains the Middle East’s number one bogeyman – the focus of western hostility – is in the joint interests of an Israel that has no intention of ending its decades-old obstruction of Palestinian statehood and of Gulf states that have no intention of ending their own human rights abuses and promotion of Islamic discord.

Mike Pompeo, Trump’s departing secretary of state, planted a landmine last month designed to serve Israeli and Saudi interests by highlighting the fact that a number of al-Qaeda leaders have found shelter in Iran. That echoed the Bush administration’s – in this case, entirely fanciful – claim of ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein as a pretext, along with non-existent WMD, for the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.

With Israel’s arrival in Centcom, the lobbying for a repeat of that catastrophic blunder can only grow – and with it, the prospects for renewed conflagration in the Middle East.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition

“ميدل إيست آي”: لماذا تنضم “إسرائيل” إلى القيادة المركزية الأميركية

المصدر: ميدل إيست آي
11 شباط 12:24

إن انضمام “إسرائيل” إلى القيادة المركزية الأميركية سيزيد من إلحاق الضرر بالقضية الفلسطينية وسيدق إسفيناً بين الدول العربية ويزيد من حدة التوتر مع إيران.

صورة تجمع ماكينزي بغانتس وكوخافي خلال زيارته

كتب جوناثان كوك مقالة في موقع  “ميدل إيست آي” البريطاني قال فيه إن البنتاغون أعلن الشهر الماضي عن إعادة تنظيم كبيرة لإدخال “إسرائيل” – لأول مرة – داخل قيادتها العسكرية في الشرق الأوسط، القيادة المركزية الأميركية ، إلى جانب الدول العربية، وهذا القرار الخطير لم يحدث أي من الضجة المعتادة.

وأضاف: حتى الآن، تنتمي “إسرائيل” إلى القيادة الأوروبية للجيش الأميركي، أو ، بدلاً من القيادة في الشرق الأوسط، المعروفة باسم القيادة المركزية . لقد تخلص القرار بشكل فعال من الحكمة التقليدية القائلة بأن إدراج “إسرائيل” في القيادة المركزية الأميركية من شأنه أن يزيد الاحتكاك بين الولايات المتحدة والدول العربية، وسيجعل الأخيرة أكثر إحجاماً عن مشاركة المعلومات الاستخباراتية أو التعاون مع البنتاغون. فقد تم الشعور بهذه المخاوف بشكل خاص عندما كان للولايات المتحدة أعداد كبيرة من القوات في العراق وأفغانستان. في عام 2010، أعرب الجنرال ديفيد بتريوس، قائد القيادة المركزية الأميركية آنذاك، عن مخاوفه من احتمال دفع ثمن التواطؤ العسكري الصريح مع “إسرائيل” على القوات الأميركية المتمركزة في المنطقة.

لكن هدف “إسرائيل” الطويل الأمد كان إجبار البنتاغون على إعادة هيكلة القيادة المركزية، وقد تصاعد الضغط من جماعات الضغط المؤيدة لـ”إسرائيل” في واشنطن في الأشهر الأخيرة من إدارة الرئيس دونالد ترامب. وكان القرار يشبه إلى حد كبير “هدية وداع” لـ”إسرائيل” من ترامب أثناء تنحيه.

تطبيع عسكري

وأوضح الكاتب أنه لم يتم الانتقال الرسمي لـ”إسرائيل” إلى “سنتكوم” بعد، ولكن تم تعزيز هذه الخطوة مع أول زيارة الشهر الماضي إلى “إسرائيل” من قبل الجنرال كينيث ماكنزي، الرئيس الحالي للقيادة المركزية، منذ دخول الرئيس جو بايدن البيت الأبيض. إلى جانب رئيس أركان الجيش الإسرائيلي، أفيف كوخافي، زرع ماكنزي شجرة، رسمياً بمناسبة العيد اليهودي لتو بيشفات، لكنها تمثل رمزياً حقبة جديدة في شراكتهما الاستراتيجية.

وبعد اجتماع مع الجنرال الأميركي، أصدر بيني غانتس، وزير الأمن الإسرائيلي، بياناً أشاد فيه بإعادة تنظيم البنتاغون، قائلاً إنه “سيوفر لإسرائيل فرصة لتعميق التعاون مع شركاء إقليميين جدد وتوسيع آفاق العمل”.

وقال الكاتب إن قرار إدخال “إسرائيل” داخل القيادة العسكرية الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط – من وجهة نظر واشنطن – يعتبر تتويجاً لجهود دفع الدول العربية إلى “التطبيع” العلني مع “إسرائيل”. وأضاف: يمكن الآن إضافة التطبيع العسكري إلى التطبيع السياسي والدبلوماسي والاقتصادي الذي بدأ رسمياً في أيلول / سبتمبر الماضي عندما وقعت دولتان خليجيتان، الإمارات العربية المتحدة والبحرين، ما يسمى بـ”اتفاقات إبراهيم” مع “إسرائيل”. كما أعلن المغرب والسودان عن اتفاقيات السلام الخاصة بهما مع “إسرائيل”، ومن المرجح أن تحذو دول عربية أخرى حذوها بمجرد انتهاء الغبار مع إدارة بايدن.

وتابع كوك: منذ توقيع اتفاقات إبراهيم، أقامت الإمارات علاقات تجارية قوية مع “إسرائيل” وساعدت في إنشاء صندوق إبراهيم، المصمم لتمويل البنية التحتية للاحتلال الذي استخدمته “إسرائيل” لحرمان الفلسطينيين من إقامة دولة. وعندما تم إطلاق الرحلات إلى دبي في تشرين الثاني / نوفمبر، تدفق السياح الإسرائيليون على الإمارات للاستفادة من العلاقات الودية الجديدة والهروب من قيود الإغلاق في الوطن. ويُقال على نطاق واسع إن مثل هذه الزيارات أصبحت إحدى الطرق الرئيسية التي استوردت بها “إسرائيل” أنواعًا جديدة من  فيروس كوفيد -19 الشهر الماضي، إذ أغلقت “إسرائيل” حدودها فعلياً – باستثناء استقبال الجنرال ماكنزي – لإبقاء الفيروس تحت السيطرة.

ورأى الكاتب أنه في ظاهر الأمر، فإن رغبة “إسرائيل” في الانتقال إلى “سنتكوم ، وهو نوع من حلف شمال الأطلسي في الشرق الأوسط يغطي العديد من الدول العربية التي لا تزال “إسرائيل” لديها علاقات عدائية معها، تبدو غير بديهية. لكن في الواقع، ستحقق “إسرائيل” مكاسب إستراتيجية كبيرة. وستعمل على مواءمة المصالح الأمنية الأميركية في المنطقة بشكل أوثق مع مصالح “إسرائيل”، على حساب جيرانها العرب. وسوف تساعد جهود “إسرائيل” المستمرة لسحق الطموحات الوطنية للفلسطينيين، مع تعاون العديد من الدول العربية سواء بشكل واضح أو ضمني. وسيزيد من حدة التوترات السياسية داخل كتلة الدول العربية، ويزيد من إضعافها. وسيساعد على زيادة الضغط على الدول العربية المتمردة للانضمام إلى إجماع أوسع ضد العدو الإقليمي الوحيد المتبقي لـ”إسرائيل”: إيران.

وقال الكاتب “إن من الأهمية بمكان أن قلق واشنطن الطويل الأمد بشأن الوجود الإسرائيلي في القيادة المركزية الأميركية الذي يضر بعلاقات الولايات المتحدة مع الدول العربية قد تبخر على ما يبدو. فذات مرة، كانت الولايات المتحدة حريصة على إبعاد نفسها عن “إسرائيل” كلما غرق البنتاغون بعمق في المنطقة، سواء كانت حرب الخليج الأميركية عام 1990 أو غزو العراق واحتلاله عام 2003. هذه الحسابات لم تعد موجودة. فقد أظهرت هذه الخطوة ثقة الولايات المتحدة المتزايدة في أن الدول العربية – على الأقل تلك التي تهم واشنطن – غير منزعجة من أن يُنظر إليها على أنها تقدم تسوية عسكرية مع “إسرائيل”، بالإضافة إلى المشاركة السياسية والاقتصادية. إنه يؤكد حقيقة أن دول الخليج الغنية بالنفط، إلى جانب “إسرائيل”، أصبحت الآن المحركين الرئيسيين للسياسة الخارجية الأميركية في المنطقة، وتشير إلى أن أهمها، المملكة العربية السعودية، تنتظر اللحظة المناسبة لتوقيع اتفاقها الخاص مع إسرائيل”.

وأضاف: من المتوقع أن تستمر “إسرائيل” في إجراء التدريبات العسكرية في أوروبا مع دول حلف الأطلسي (الناتو)، لكنها ستتمكن قريباً من بناء علاقات مباشرة مماثلة مع الجيوش العربية، وخاصة تلك التي يتم توسيعها بسرعة واحترافها في الخليج باستخدام ثروتها النفطية. ومن المحتمل أن يخرج الضباط الإسرائيليون قريباً من الظل ويقومون بتدريب الجيوش الإماراتية والسعودية وتقديم المشورة لهم كجزء من أدوارهم المشتركة في القيادة المركزية. إن خبرة “إسرائيل” الخاصة، التي تعتمد على عقود من المراقبة والسيطرة والقمع للفلسطينيين، ستكون مطلوبة بشدة في دول الخليج التي تخشى المعارضة الداخلية أو الانتفاضات.

وكما أشار الباحث الإسرائيلي جيف هالبر، أظهرت “إسرائيل” مدى فعاليتها في ترجمة علاقاتها العسكرية والأمنية مع الجيوش وقوات الشرطة في جميع أنحاء العالم إلى دعم دبلوماسي في الهيئات الدولية. ومن غير المحتمل أن يكون الشرق الأوسط مختلفاً. فبمجرد أن تصبح “إسرائيل” العمود الفقري للجيوش الأكثر احترافاً في المنطقة، يمكن توقع أن تتخلى تلك الدول التي تعتمد على مساعدتها عن القضية الفلسطينية.

فرّق تسد 

ورأى الكاتب أن المكاسب الأخرى لـ”إسرائيل” ستكون تعقيد علاقات واشنطن مع المنطقة العربية. إذ لا تقوم القيادة المركزية الأميركية بتشغيل قواعد رئيسية في الخليج فقط، وخاصة في البحرين وقطر، ولكنها تقود “الحرب على الإرهاب” المعلنة، مع عمليات علنية أو سرية في العديد من الدول العربية، بما في ذلك العراق وسوريا. وسيكون من الصعب على الولايات المتحدة أن تنأى بنفسها عن عمليات “إسرائيل” العدائية العلنية، بما في ذلك الضربات الجوية، في كلا البلدين (سوريا والعراق)، والتي تتم في انتهاك صارخ للقانون الدولي. 

وأضاف: تصاعدت التوترات بين الولايات المتحدة وبغداد في الماضي بسبب الضربات الجوية الإسرائيلية في العراق، مع تهديدات بتقييد وصول الولايات المتحدة إلى المجال الجوي العراقي. لكن بوجود “إسرائيل” داخل القيادة المركزية الأميركية، فمن المرجح أيضاً أن تكون الولايات المتحدة والدول العربية المفضلة لديها أكثر تورطًا بشكل مباشر في العمليات العسكرية الإسرائيلية الكبرى ضد الفلسطينيين، مثل “الحروب” المتكررة على غزة. سيشكل هذا تحدياً كبيراً للمؤسسات التعاونية في المنطقة مثل جامعة الدول العربية. ويكاد يكون من المؤكد دق إسفين أعمق بين الدول العربية الموالية لواشنطن وتلك المتهمة بالوقوف في الجانب الخطأ من “الحرب على الإرهاب”.

وخلص الكاتب إلى أنه يمكن أن تكون النتيجة سياسة “فرق تسد” الإقليمية التي ترعاها “إسرائيل” والتي تعكس الانقسامات التي دامت عقوداً، والتي عطلتها “إسرائيل” في القيادة الفلسطينية، والتي تجلّت أكثر في الانقسام بين حركتي فتح وحماس.

الجبهة المناهضة لإيران

وأوضح الكاتب أن المكافأة الأكبر لـ”إسرائيل” ستكون تحالفاً أكثر رسمية مع الدول العربية ضد إيران ورعاية دول أكثر تردداً في فلك “إسرائيل”. ويبدو أن هذا الأمر كان الغرض من المصالحة التي تم الإعلان عنها أخيراً بين الإمارات والسعوديين من جهة وقطر من جهة أخرى، والتي تحققت في الأيام الأخيرة لإدارة ترامب. فمن الأسباب الرئيسية للحصار المطول على قطر إصرارها على الحفاظ على العلاقات السياسية والاقتصادية مع طهران. وتهدف “إسرائيل” إلى إجبار إدارة بايدن على مواصلة سياسة ترامب العدائية المناهضة لإيران، والتي تضمنت عقوبات صارمة واغتيالات وتمزيق الاتفاق النووي لعام 2015 مع طهران الذي وقعه الرئيس باراك أوباما. وقد سمح هذا الاتفاق للمفتشين بالدخول إلى إيران للتأكد من أنها لم تطور قنبلة نووية قد تكسر النفوذ الاستراتيجي الذي تكسبه “إسرائيل” من ترسانتها النووية. 

وتابع الكاتب: داخل القيادة المركزية -سنتكوم، ستكون “إسرائيل” قادرة على العمل بشكل أوثق مع حلفاء الخليج لتخريب أي جهود داخل واشنطن لإحياء الاتفاق النووي مع طهران. فقد أصدر كوخافي، رئيس أركان الجيش الإسرائيلي، توبيخاً علنياً غير مسبوق لبايدن بشأن التصريحات الأخيرة التي قال فيها إنه يرغب في إحياء الاتفاق النووي. ووصف كوخافي الاتفاق بأنه “سيء وخاطئ استراتيجياً وعملياً”، وادعى أن إيران ستطلق صواريخ نووية على “إسرائيل” بمجرد امتلاكها، وأعلن أن هجوم “إسرائيل” بمفردها “يجب أن يكون على الطاولة”.

وأشار وزير خارجية البحرين، عبد اللطيف الزياني، إلى أن “إسرائيل” ودول الخليج ستكون لها فرصة أفضل لمنع أي تسوية أميركية تجاه إيران إذا تحدثت “بصوت موحد”. وأضاف: “الموقف الإقليمي المشترك بشأن هذه القضايا سيكون له تأثير أكبر على الولايات المتحدة”. وكرر هذا الرأي أنور قرقاش وزير الخارجية الإماراتي.

وفي إشارة إلى كيف تخشى إدارة بايدن بالفعل الدخول في تحالف شرق أوسطي واسع ضد إيران، قال انتوني بلينكين، وزيرة الخارجية الأميركي، الشهر الماضي إنه من “المهم للغاية” التشاور مع “إسرائيل” والخليج قبل العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي.

رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو، اليائس لتعزيز ثرواته الانتخابية وصرف الانتباه عن محاكمته التي تلوح في الأفق بالفساد، لديه كل الحافز لفتح هذه الفجوة، وذلك لضمان أن تظل إيران البعبع الأول في الشرق الأوسط – محور العداء الغربي – في المصالح المشتركة لـ”إسرائيل”، التي لا تنوي إنهاء عوائقها المستمرة منذ عقود للدولة الفلسطينية، ودول الخليج التي لا تنوي إنهاء انتهاكات حقوق الإنسان وتعزيز الانقسام الإسلامي.

مايك بومبيو، وزير خارجية ترامب، زرع لغماً أرضياً الشهر الماضي مصمماً لخدمة المصالح الإسرائيلية والسعودية من خلال تسليط الضوء على حقيقة أن عدداً من قادة تنظيم القاعدة وجدوا ملاذاً في إيران. وردد ذلك صدى ادعاء إدارة الرئيس جورج بوش الإبن – الوهمي تماماً – بوجود روابط بين “القاعدة” وصدام حسين كذريعة، إلى جانب أسلحة دمار شامل التي لم تكن موجودة، لغزو العراق واحتلاله عام 2003.

وختم كوك تحليله بالقول إنه “مع وصول إسرائيل إلى القيادة المركزية، فإن الضغط لتكرار هذا الخطأ الكارثي يمكن أن ينمو فقط، وتنمو معه احتمالات تجدد الحرب في الشرق الأوسط”.

ترجمة بتصرف: هيثم مزاحم

The “New Shaam” and the Detonation of Jordan الشام الجديد» وتفجير الأردن

The “New Shaam” and the Detonation of Jordan

by Nasser Kandil

Egyptian, Iraqi, and Jordanian meetings are being held to reinforce a trilateral project with an economic title failing to mask political, and possibly, strategic dimensions. This project called “The New Shaam ” does not answer how a project bearing the name of Syria (Al Shaam) could be founded while excluding Syria from its consideration. Those involved in the project are incapable of denying the reality of the role of isolator between Syria and Iran that this trio is playing, in addition to isolating Iraq and Jordan from Syria which geographically falls in the middle between those two countries. Those involved also fail to deny the declared American paternity of this project in parallel to American declared paternity of the Gulf-Israeli normalization, with both projects being complimentary and a guarantee for each other’s success.

The economic return of this “New Shaam” project is not unrelated to its political role. Egyptian electricity to Iraq compensates Egypt for the loss of Suez Canal returns resulting from Gulf-Israeli normalization, while simultaneously acting as a substitute for electricity to Iraq from Iran. Similarly the exchange of Iraqi oil and Egyptian gas via Jordan detaches Iraq from need for Iranian gas, and provides additional compensation for anticipated Suez Canal revenue loss from the reliance of the Gulf trade on Israeli ports after normalization. As for what has been promised to Jordan from this project has been financing to compensate for the halting of goods from Syria in transit via Jordan to the Gulf, and becoming a compulsory junction for the goods arriving at the Occupation’s ports and destined for the Gulf.

The Gulf-Israeli normalization built on the foundation of granting the Occupation a pivotal economic role in the region, redraws the political-economic map of the countries in the region, and markets it using appealing names such as the “The New Shaam.” The new map imposes on Egypt accepting the loss of the role which the Suez Canal has played in exchange for the crumbs meted by the designated replacement role, and imposes on Iraq the role of separating Syria from Iran, encircling Syria with an Iraqi-Jordanian siege, accepting the loss of Iraq’s natural common interests with both Iran and Syria, and placing Iraq’s internal cohesion, unity, and stability in danger. Jordan, however, will be the most vulnerable to the influences and pressures resulting from this project, irrespective of the enticements Jordan is offered to accept this role.

Jordan lies at the intersection of two fault lines portending renewed crises, namely the closed door to a resolution for the Palestinian Cause, and the wide open door to the Gulf-Israeli normalization, along with the connection to a third fault line of high tension entitled separating Syria from Iran, and separating Jordan and Iraq from Syria and besieging her. The question becomes could the delicate situation in Jordan withstand such pressures, given the weight of the Palestinian Cause and its influence on Jordan especially in light of the Palestinian united opposition to the “Deal of the Century” and Jordan’s inability to isolate herself from such Palestinian transformation, and in view of the strong Jordanian-Syrian social and political intertwinement, and the popular climate in Jordan aspiring to speeding up the natural and cooperative relationships between Jordan and Syria? Given the popular demand in Jordan for the closure of the Israeli Embassy, can Jordanians tolerate scenarios of trucks crossing Jordan with goods loaded from the Port of Haifa in transit to the Gulf?

If “The New Shaam” project does not become quadrilateral, open to and inclusive of Syria, refusing the designated role of marketing normalization at the expense of the Palestinian People and Egyptian interests, and rejecting playing the role of isolating and besieging Syria, Iraq and Egypt will pay a political and economic toll from their stability. Jordan, on the other hand, will be facing fateful and possibly existential challenges, similar to what pushed Lebanon in the eve of Camp David.

«الشام الجديد» وتفجير الأردن

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ناصر قنديل

للمرة الثانية ينعقد لقاء مصري عراقي أردني تأكيداً على مشروع ثلاثي بعنوان اقتصادي لا يُخفى البعد السياسي وربما الاستراتيجي وراءه، فالمشروع المسمّى بالشام الجديد، لا يملك جواباً على كيفية قيام مشروع يحمل اسم الشام ويستثني الشام من حساباته؟ بل لا يستطيع القيّمون على المشروع إنكار حقيقة أن الثلاثي الجديد يلعب دور العازل بين إيران وسورية، عدا عن كونه يعزل الأردن والعراق عن سورية بينما هي تتوسّطهما معاً، كما لا يمكن لأصحاب المشروع إنكار ما قاله الأميركيون عن أبوتهم للمشروع بالتوازي مع أبوتهم للتطبيع الخليجي الإسرائيلي، حيث يكمّل أحد المشروعين الآخر، ويضمن نجاحه.

العائد الاقتصادي للمشروع غير منفصل عن وظيفته السياسية، فالكهرباء المصرية للعراق هي من جهة تعويض لمصر عن خسائر قناة السويس الناتجة عن التطبيع الخليجي الإسرائيلي، ومن جهة مقابلة تأمين بديل كهربائي للعراق عن المصدر الإيراني، كما تبادل النفط العراقي والغاز المصري عبر الأردن فك للعراق عن حاجته للغاز الإيراني، وتأمين موارد إضافيّة بديلة عن خسائر ستحلق بقناة السويس من الاتجاه للاعتماد التجاري للخليج على موانئ كيان الاحتلال بعد التطبيع، أما العائدات الموعودة للأردن من هذا الربط فهي لتمويل يعوّض على الأردن ما سيُصيبه من خسائر توقف خط الترانزيت الى الخليج عبر سورية مقابل لعب دور المعبر الإلزامي للبضائع الواصلة إلى موانئ كيان الاحتلال والمتجهة نحو الخليج.

التطبيع الخليجي الإسرائيلي المؤسس على ركيزة منح كيان الاحتلال دوراً اقتصادياً محورياً في المنطقة، يُعيد تشكيل الخريطة السياسية والاقتصادية لدول المنطقة، ويتم تسويق هذه الخريطة بأسماء جاذبة مثل الشام الجديد، فعلى مصر وفقاً للخريطة الجديدة أن تتلقى خسارة قناة السويس لدورها وتصمت لقاء فتات دور بديل، وعلى العراق الذي يكلف بمهمة فصل سورية عن أيران وتطويق سورية بحصار عراقي أردني، أن يرتضي خسارة مصالحه المشتركة الطبيعيّة مع كل من سورية وإيران، وأن يعرّض تماسكه الداخلي ووحدته واستقراره الأمني للخطر، لكن الأردن سيبقى الساحة الأشد عرضة للضغوط والتأثيرات الناجمة عن هذا المشروع رغم العروض التشجيعيّة التي يتلقاها لقبول الدور.

الأردن الذي يشكّل خط تقاطع فوالق الأزمات المستجدّة بفعل التوتر العالي لخطَّي إغلاق أبواب الحلول أمام القضيّة الفلسطينية، وفتح الباب الواسع للتطبيع الخليجيّ الإسرائيليّ، يتم ربطه بخط توتر عالٍ ثالث عنوانه فصل سورية عن إيران، وعزل العراق والأردن عن سورية بنية حصارها، ويصير السؤال هل الوضع الدقيق في الأردن يحتمل هذه الضغوط، في ظل حجم حضور القضية الفلسطينية وتأثيرها على الأردن، خصوصاً مع وحدة الموقف الفلسطيني بوجه صفقة القرن، وعجز الأردن عن تحييد نفسه عن هذه التحولات الفلسطينية، وفي ظل حجم التشابك الاجتماعي والسياسي الأردني السوري، وتنامي مناخ شعبيّ أردنيّ يتطلع لتسريع العلاقات الطبيعيّة والتعاونيّة بين سورية والأردن، وفي ظل مطالبات أردنية بإغلاق السفارة الإسرائيلية هل يمكن للأردنيين تحمل مشاهد الشاحنات العابرة من مرفأ حيفا نحو الخليج؟

ما لم يكن مشروع الشام الجديد رباعياً يضمّ سورية، وينفتح عليها، ويرفض الدور المرسوم لتسويق التطبيع على حساب الشعب الفلسطيني والمصالح المصرية، ويرفض لعب دور العزل والحصار بحق سورية، فإن العراق ومصر سيدفعان أثماناً سياسية واقتصادية، من استقرارهما، لكن الأردن سيكون أمام تحديات مصيرية وربما وجودية، تشبه تلك التي دُفع لبنان نحوها عشية كامب ديفيد.

Atlantic Council Pens Anonymously Authored Expose Calling for Regime Change in China

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by Alan Macleod

Source

The report outlines a plan for the United States to pursue a China without Xi Jinping, with a weakened Communist Party, and operating in a region dominated by the US and its allies.

Influential D.C. think tank the Atlantic Council has printed a 26,000-word report laying out its strategy for combating China. Published anonymously, the report states that “the single most important challenge facing the United States” in the twenty-first century is China’s growth to rival their own power.

To do so, the report states that the U.S. must use “the power of its military,” the dollar’s role as the global reserve currency, and American control over technology and communication to suffocate the nation of 1.4 billion people. It advises President Biden to draw a number of “red lines” past which the U.S. would directly intervene (presumably militarily). These include Chinese attempts to expand into the South China Sea, an attack on the disputed Senkaku Islands, or moves against Taiwan’s independence. A North Korean strike on any of its neighbors would also necessitate an American response against China, the report insists, because “China must fully own responsibility for the behavior of its North Korean ally.” Any backing down from this stance, the council states, would result in national “humiliation” for the United States.

Perhaps most notably, however, the report also envisages what a successful American China policy would look like by 2050: “the United States and its major allies continue to dominate the regional and global balance of power across all the major indices of power;” and that head of state Xi Jinping “has been replaced by a more moderate party leadership; and that the Chinese people themselves have come to question and challenge the Communist Party’s century-long proposition that China’s ancient civilization is forever destined to an authoritarian future.” In other words, that China has been broken and that some sort of regime change has occurred.

Repping the national security state

The Atlantic Council is a NATO-offshoot organization funded by the U.S. and other allied governments, including the Gulf dictatorships. Among its largest corporate sponsors include weapons manufacturers like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing. Its board of directors is full of high statespeople like Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice as well as senior military figures such as retired generals Wesley Clark, David Petraeus, H.R. McMaster, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Lt. General Brent Scowcroft and Admiral James Stavridis. At least seven former CIA directors are also on the board. Thus, the council could be said to represent the consensus opinion of the national security state.

The organization has been responsible for much of the most hawkish, bellicose rhetoric surrounding Russia and China for some time. For instance, it has put out a number of studies that claim that virtually every European political party outside the establishment beltway — from Labour and UKIP in the U.K. to Syriza and Golden Dawn in Greece and PODEMOS and Vox in Spain — are secretly controlled by Russia, functioning as the “Kremlin’s Trojan Horses.”

“The Longer Telegram”

The council’s new anonymous report, named “the Longer Telegram,” is a direct reference to American diplomat George Kennan’s 1946 “Long Telegram.” Kennan’s report, sent from Moscow, argued that the U.S. should completely abandon its wartime alliance with the Soviet Union and immediately pursue a strategy of hostile “containment,” and is considered one of the founding documents of the Cold War. By consciously associating itself with Kennan, the Atlantic Council is implicitly heralding the arrival of a new global conflict with China.

Kennan is appreciated among historians for being one of the most straightforward talkers in the national security establishment. In 1948 he outlined what the U.S. position and interests were:

We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population…. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity…We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction…We should cease to talk about vague and… unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”

Biden takes the helm

Throughout 2020, President Biden’s team quietly stated that their entire industrial and foreign policy would revolve around “compet[ing] with China,” with their top priorities being “dealing with authoritarian governments, defending democracy and tackling corruption, as well as understanding how these challenges intersect with new technologies, such as 5G, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology.” The Trump administration had already begun a global campaign to damage Chinese giants like Huawei and TikTok. From his team’s statements, it appears likely that Biden will carry on its anti-Beijing stance.

However, many top officials in Washington see the prospect of a hot war with China as a distant one. “Most of the U.S.-China competition is not going to be fighting World War Three…It’s going to be kicking each other under the table,” one source told the Financial Times in May. Others argue for a worldwide culture war against Beijing, including the Pentagon commissioning “Taiwanese Tom Clancy” novels, intended to demonize China and demoralize its citizens, bombarding its people with stories of the deaths of their (only) children.

Whatever Washington decides to do, it appears that the groundwork has already been laid at home. Just three years ago, Americans had a neutral view of China (and nine years ago it was strongly favorable). Today, the same polls show that 73% of Americans dislike China, with only 22% holding a positive opinion of the country. Thus, it is far from clear that there will be much public pushback at all to a coming second Cold War.

سورية ولبنان ليسا ضمن الأولويّات الأميركيّة؟

ناصر قنديل

ينقلب الذين كانوا يروّجون دائماً لكون لبنان وسورية تحت مجهر المتابعة الدوليّة، والأميركية خصوصاً، الى حد تصوير حال البلدين ترد في برقية موجزة للرئيس الأميركي كل صباح مع الفطور، للتحدث عن هامشية الاهتمام الأميركي بسورية ولبنان، والتبدّل ليس نتاجاً لوطنية هبطت عليهم فجأة، فما عاد يهمهم الاهتمام الغربيّ عموماً والأميركي خصوصاً، بل لسببين ظاهرين، الأول أن مصدر هذا الاهتمام عائد لما يكرهونه ويرفضونه في البلدين، وهو حال المقاومة والصمود التي يريدون تحميلها مسؤولية تهميش كل من البلدين، والثاني أن وجهة هذا الاهتمام ليست في الاتجاه الذي يرغبونه، وهو التحضير لمزيد من الحروب ومزيد من العقوبات، كانوا دائماً من المحرّضين عليها. وهكذا فجأة بتنا نقرأ لأقلام يسميها البعض مرموقة، أصحابها نجوم صحف عربية مموّلة خليجياً، ونجوم إعلام العلاقات العامة الذي يكثر من الضجيج ويفتقد السعي للحقيقة.

بالتوازي ينقلب هؤلاء لتبييض وجوههم عند المموّل المنتمي للعالم للحر ومنظومة حقوق الإنسان والديمقراطية من حكومات الحليج، للتحدّث عن أولوية حاكمة للسياسات الأميركية الجديدة، تتمثل بالاستثمار على الإنجاز المعجزة لعمليات التطبيع التي خلقت حلفاً جديداً في المنطقة يشكل ركيزة السياسات الأميركية سيتم استرضاؤه، والسعي لوضع أولوياته كأولويات أميركية جديدة، ويتغافلون حيث يكتبون ويعلقون كل ما ينشر ويُذاع عن أن حدود الالتزام الأميركي بثنائي التطبيع الخليجي الإسرائيلي، هو الحماية، أما صناعة السياسة فلن تكون لدعاة وأدعياء الالتزام، لا لشيء إلا لأنهم وكلاء تم الاعتماد عليهم قبل التورط الأميركي في حروب المنطقة وفشلوا فشلاً ذريعاً في مهمتهم المتمثلة بتجنيب أميركا التورط في الحروب، وبعد التورط الأميركي تم اعتماد وصفتهم بالانسحاب من الاتفاق النووي مع إيران والذهاب الى لعبة التصعيد، والضغوط، وجاءت النتيجة كارثية، حيث يقول المسؤولون الأميركيون الجدد، إن تنامي مقدرات محور المقاومة وإيران نمت بصورة مرعبة في عهد هذا الرهان، من امتلاك المقاومة للصواريخ الدقيقة الى تطور برنامج إيران النووي والصاروخي الى تبلور حضور المقاومة في العراق وتدحرج الانتصارات السورية، وسيطرة أنصار الله على أمن الخليج، وفي قلب التغافل والتجاهل يتعامى هؤلاء ومؤسساتهم الإعلامية عن مجرد ذكر ما يصرّح به المسؤولون الأميركيون حول وقف صفقات السلاح، وإعادة النظر بالسيادة المغربية على الصحراء الغربية، وبتصنيف أنصار الله على لوائح الإرهاب، وفتح ملف جريمة قتل الصحافي جمال الخاشقجي.

من الزاوية الواقعية لم يكن لبنان ولم تكن سورية يوماً في مكانة هامشية في السياسات الأميركية، لسبب بسيط هو أن «إسرائيل» ليست في مكانة هامشية في هذه السياسة، ومنذ فشلت إسرائيل في توفير شروط الحماية الذاتية، وصارت واشنطن مسؤولة عن حمايتها، ومنذ صار لبنان وسورية مصدر تهديد جدّي لأمن كيان الاحتلال، دخل البلدان قائمة الأولويات الأميركية، والذي يتبدّل مع السياسات هو وجهة الاهتمام الأميركي، فمع فشل الحروب والضغوط واعتماد الوصفات الغبية للثلاثي، بولتون وبنيامين نتنياهو وبن سلمان، بقي الاهتمام وتغيرت الوجهة نحو كيفية تفادي الأسوأ، وطريق تفادي الأسوأ الذي يحكم السياسة الأميركية الجديدة، انطلاقاً من مقاربة العودة للاتفاق النووي مع إيران، يجد أمامه مع مساعي العودة الآمنة للاتفاق تحت شعار تفادي امتلاك إيران مقدرات إنتاج سلاح نووي، أنه معنيّ بالسير بالتوازي بما يضمن تفادي الأسوأ في ساحات الاشتباك المحورية في المنطقة، والتي نصنع فيها بيئات التصعيد والتهدئة، وخصوصاً لبنان وسورية والعراق واليمن، وليس من باب الفراغ ولا المصادفات، أن تتحرّك واشنطن على الخط اليمنيّ، وأن تتحرّك باريس بإيعاز أميركيّ لاستكشاف وتعديل السياسات بما يتناسب مع مخاطبة المعادلات اللبنانية المحيطة بالمقاومة، وأن يتسابق صناع الرأي والنخب الدبلوماسيّة على تقديم التوصيات والمقترحات لمغادرة الفشل الذريع الذي كانوا رواده وصناعه في سورية، كما هو حال كتابات السفيرين السابقين روبرت فورد وجيفري فيلتمان.

تندّر أحد السفراء الذين رافقوا حقبة فيلتمان اللبنانية، والتي رسمت عبرها سياسات واشنطن نحو لبنان وسورية، وتساءل ماذا لو عين فيلتمان مبعوثاً أميركياً خاصاً في سورية وفقا لتوصياته بالاعتراف بانتصارات سورية ورئيسها، فهل سيجرؤ أصدقاؤه اللبنانيون على مواصلة ما يقولونه عن سورية؟

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