Economic war on Lebanon, into 2021: Dr Marwa Osman

Dr Marwa Osman’s Press TV program, 13 January 2021

The dark motives behind Saudi Arabia’s push for Gulf unity

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David Hearst is the editor in chief of Middle East Eye. He left The Guardian as its chief foreign leader writer. In a career spanning 29 years, he covered the Brighton bomb, the miner’s strike, the loyalist backlash in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Northern Ireland, the first conflicts in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in Slovenia and Croatia, the end of the Soviet Union, Chechnya, and the bushfire wars that accompanied it. He charted Boris Yeltsin’s moral and physical decline and the conditions which created the rise of Putin. After Ireland, he was appointed Europe correspondent for Guardian Europe, then joined the Moscow bureau in 1992, before becoming bureau chief in 1994. He left Russia in 1997 to join the foreign desk, became European editor and then associate foreign editor. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he worked as education correspondent.

David Hearst

6 January 2021 17:22 UTC 

Mohammed bin Salman could use the detente with Qatar to achieve two objectives: to announce his own recognition of Israel, and to persuade his father to abdicate the throne

It took Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman three years and six months to come to the same conclusion that some of us reached days into the blockade of Qatar: that it was doomed to failure.

The project to silence the voice of an independent neighbour was doomed the moment that then-US defence secretary James Mattis and then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson, a former oilman with extensive links to Qatar, learned of plans to invade the peninsula and stopped them.

As the weeks passed, Qatar’s hand was only strengthened. Turkish troops arrived in Doha to form a physical buffer. Iran gave Qatar the use of its airspace. The blockade could never work with an air bridge established around Saudi Arabia.

If anything, this unpleasant shock has strengthened Qatar. The same goes for Turkish and Iranian foreign policy

It took only months for Qatar to assemble a major lobbying operation in Washington, undoing or rolling back the influence of the principal lobbyist for the Saudis, the Emirati ambassador Youssef al-Otaiba, and establishing solid support of its own. US President Donald Trump did not even acknowledge that Qatar hosted the Pentagon’s most important airbase in the region, Al Udeid, when he tweeted his approval of the blockade in 2017. 

In the end, the Saudi prince overestimated Trump’s influence and underestimated the residual power of the US military. Both Tillerson and Mattis are long gone, but the pressure to reverse this mad act of recklessness never receded; it only grew with time.

With the imminent arrival of a hostile US president in Joe Biden, bin Salman sensed the time had come to put an end to his folly. Today, none of the 13 demands originally placed on Qatar by the blockading states have been met. Neither its hosting of members of the Muslim Brotherhood nor its foreign policy have changed. Al Jazeera has not been closed down. Qatar’s alliance with Iran and Turkey has, if anything, strengthened.

Domestically, Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is held in higher esteem for his defence of the state than he was before, as Qatari nationalism has mounted. Qatar is more self-sufficient and confident than it was before the blockade. 

‘Qatar has won’

If anything, this unpleasant shock has strengthened Qatar. The same goes for Turkish and Iranian foreign policy.

“You could say Qatar has won,” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor of politics in Dubai who was one of the foremost defenders of the blockade three years ago, told the Financial Times. “The cost of fighting was too high – there is a realisation now that this is the black sheep of the family and we just have to put up with it. These have been the worst three-and-a-half years in the history of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council].”This GCC show of unity can’t hide its weakness

But these conclusions are, for the moment, bin Salman’s alone. It is interesting to note who was absent from the display of brotherly love at the GCC summit on Tuesday. The no-show by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed came alongside the absence of Bahrain’s King Hamad and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Bahrain is in the midst of an increasingly bitter border dispute with Qatar, and Egypt remains sceptical about the whole enterprise. Mada Masr quoted Egyptian government sources as saying that Cairo does not see a sufficiently strong foundation to open a new page in relations with Doha. Qatar, they claimed, was still mounting a “methodological campaign aimed at the Egyptian regime”. 

The sources noted that none of the basic demands made of Qatar – closing down Al Jazeera, shuttering a Turkish military base, severing ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and reducing ties with Iran – had been met. It is too early to say whether this signals a fracturing of the counter-revolutionary forces that have held together since they paid for and installed Sisi as president of Egypt after a military coup in 2013.

Tensions over Yemen and Israel

Certainly, there are grounds for a bust-up between mentor bin Zayed and his protege, bin Salman. One is Yemen: who is really in charge of the Saudi-led intervention that bin Salman launched in March 2015 – the Saudis or the Emiratis? Militias funded by and loyal to the UAE have taken control of the south, leaving the Saudis with an unresolved war with the Houthis in the north.

A second source of tension is Israel. In spearheading normalisation with Israel, the Emiratis clearly pitched themselves as Tel Aviv’s principal Gulf partner. Otaiba’s boast that the UAE and Israel had the two most capable military forces in the region raised eyebrows in Riyadh and Cairo. 

The Israeli prime minster and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain participate in a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords in Washington on 15 September (AFP)
The Israeli prime minster and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain participate in a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords in Washington on 15 September 2020 (AFP)

Writing the first-ever op-ed by a Gulf diplomat for an Israeli newspaper, Otaiba boasted before normalisation took place last year: “With the region’s two most capable militaries, common concerns about terrorism and aggression, and a deep and long relationship with the United States, the UAE and Israel could form closer and more effective security cooperation. As the two most advanced and diversified economies in the region, expanded business and financial ties could accelerate growth and stability across the Middle East.”

The Emirati claim to be the principal partner of Israel could cause problems for the future king of Saudi Arabia. Another notable absentee from the GCC summit was the country’s current king, Salman.

Kingdom split

Al Jazeera’s coverage of the tumultuous events shaking the Arab world has waxed and waned. Even before the blockade, it did not, for instance, devote the same attention to the murderous bombardment of Yemen by Saudi warplanes as it did to the Egyptian revolution in 2011. 

While producers and reporters are freer to report than most of their contemporaries in the Saudi-, Emirati- and Egyptian-controlled media, the state of Qatar still has its hands on volume control. There are many examples, including the decision to downplay coverage of the trial of Loujain al-Hathloul, the prominent Saudi activist recently sentenced to five years and eight months in prison.

To deliver Saudi Arabia into the hands of Israel would represent a real prize to the alliance being built over and around the heads of Palestinians

Bin Salman could use this detente with Qatar to achieve two objectives: to announce his own recognition of Israel, and to persuade his father to abdicate and pass the crown to him.

There is no doubt that bin Salman thinks it is time to do both. From the very start of his campaign to become king, establishing close clandestine relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been key to bin Salman’s relationship with US presidential adviser Jared Kushner and his father-in-law, Trump. 

The kingdom is split from top to bottom on the issue of normalisation with Israel. Foreign-policy heavyweights in the family still publicly voice opposition, notably the former Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal. The king himself, to whom Prince Turki remains close, is also opposed, and the issue will have a strong impact on the Saudi people.

Future turmoil

One first step towards resolving this is to neutralise or turn down the volume of the Arab media that could run against bin Salman. This mainly comes from Qatar, which might explain why Kushner himself was present at the GCC summit.

For all the pain involved, the prize is great – and Biden, a committed Zionist, would welcome it. To deliver Saudi Arabia into the hands of Israel would represent a real prize to the alliance being built over and around the heads of Palestinians. Saudi Arabia remains, by dint of its size and wealth, a “real” Arab nation.

While the resolution of the crisis with Qatar is to be welcomed, the motives for doing so could lead to yet more turmoil in Arab world.

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

This GCC show of unity can’t hide its weakness

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

IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS REVEALED UNDERGROUND MISSILE BASE NEAR PERSIAN GULF (VIDEO)

South Front

08.01.2021 

On January 8, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled an underground missile base located on the Persian Gulf coast, in the province of Hormozgan.

IRGC Commander-in-Chief Major General Hossein Salami and the guards’ Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri attended the unveiling ceremony.

A video of the new base shows dozens of Iranian-made anti-ship cruise missiles, including the Nasir and the Noor, as well as several missile launchers. Some of the launchers had been disguised as civilian trucks. The base was apparently built to store anti-ship weapons for the IRGC Navy.

In a speech, Maj. Gen. Salami said Iran’s logic in “defending the territorial integrity, the independence of the country, and the achievements of the Islamic Revolution is strengthening.”

“What you see today is one of several IRGC Naval Strategic Missile facilities,” the IRGC Commander-in-Chief said.

Salami added that Iran’s long-range missiles have a pinpoint precision with a high destructive power and they are capable of resisting electronic warfare.

In the last few years, Iran boosted its military capabilities in the face of political, economic and military pressure from the US. Washington’s pressure is meant to force Tehran to give up its nuclear program, missile capabilities and regional influence.

Earlier this week, the Iranian military held a joint large-scale drone drill, which was seen as a message to the US and its allies in the Middle East, especially Israel.

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Iran Uses Its Grip On Strait Of Hormuz To Fight Back US-imposed Sanctions

South Front

Iran has found an original way of dealing with sanctions and limitations imposed on it by the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign launched by the Trump administration.

On January 4, the Navy of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained a South Korea-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz over an alleged environmental pollution issue. The chemical tanker HANKUK CHEMI was inbound to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. Ahead of the incident, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations naval authority reported that an “interaction” between Iranian authorities and a merchant vessel in the Strait of Hormuz led the ship to alter its course and proceed into Iranian waters.

Following the incident, the South Korean Defense Ministry said that it will send its anti-piracy Cheonghae unit, normally based in the Gulf of Aden, along with helicopters to the Persian Gulf. The 302-strong Cheonghae unit operates a 4,500-ton destroyer, a Lynx anti-submarine helicopter and three speed boats.

The deployment of this unit is a rather a symbolic move than a practical step that should allow to protect South Korea-flagged ships in the region as Iranian forces have an overwhelming dominance there and using its conventional and asymmetric capabilities can even challenge the US military in the event of a limited military confrontation there.

Two days before the seizure of the tanker, Iran said a South Korean diplomat was due to travel to the country to negotiate over billions of dollars in its assets now frozen in Seoul. The total amount of Iranian money blocked in South Korea is up to $8.5 billion and Tehran declared its readiness to barter its money for deliveries of a variety of goods and commodities, including raw materials, medicine, petrochemicals, auto parts, home appliances.

Apparently, Iran thinks that South Korea needs some additional motivation to go contrary to the will of its Big Brother and accept the Iranian proposal.

Another important diplomatic achievement was made by Qatar, which is known as not only a Turkish ally, but also the Gulf monarchy that has constructive relations with Iran. On January 4, Saudi Arabia lifted the 4-year air, sea and land blockade that it together with the UAE, Kuwait, Egypt and Bahrain imposed on Qatar. In June 2017, the blockading countries accused Qatar, among other things, of supporting terrorism and of being too close to Iran. They severed economic and diplomatic ties with Doha and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on it. Qatar rejected all the allegations and refused to comply with a long list of demands announced by the blockading countries. So, now the anti-Qatari coalition is in retreat. The main factors that contributed to this scenario are the following:

a deep crisis faced by Saudi Arabia due to the failed intervention in Yemen and its oil war adventure;
the UAE-Saudi tensions that reached a new level due to the declining power of the Saudi Kingdom;
the growth of the influence of Iran and its popularity among the population of the Middle East due to the public rapprochement of the Gulf monarchies with Israel; the stern stance of Qatar itself that used the blockade to develop alternative alliances and strengthen relations with Turkey, Iran and even Russia to contain the pressure it faced.

The Israeli-aligned Gulf monarchies will likely try to use the lifting of the blockade to convince Doha to officially join the US-led pro-Israeli coalition. However, even if Qatar does this under the pressure of the United States and with hopes of restoring economic relations with its neighbors, this does not mean that Doha would change its de-facto regional strategy as the previous years already demonstrated that the national-oriented approach is much more useful in times of crises than empty hopes on large revenues from Israeli love.

What Educational, Religious, Moral, Humanitarian References Justify Normalization with Zionists?

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By: Prime Minister Dr.. Abdul Aziz bin Habtoor

Translated from Al-Mayadeen

What Educational, Religious, Moral, Humanitarian References Justify Normalization with Zionists?

Middle East: Arab and Islamic various media showed “downward” models of citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries participating, with tremendous joy and overflowing happiness, with the Zionists their joys and celebrations, visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque and also touring with the Zionists on the beaches of Jaffa, Acre and Tel Aviv

With brazenness, they also visited the Syrian Arab Golan Heights, which Donald Trump had “granted” to the Zionist enemy as a “gift”, to send from there audio messages that are closer to ‘spreading the vice’ that they promote without respect the simplest feelings of millions of free Arabs.

If we try to justify the “Arab” rulers for their “normalization” step, and say that they did so under the tremendous pressure that they are subjected to by the Zionist and US administration, and they may not be blamed because of the presence of US warships, bases and military camps in Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and the Saudi Arabia, the Arab and even Islamic public opinion may turn a blind eye to the “normalization” that they committed, which is considered a betrayal.

But how can we explain this “popular” trot by individuals, groups, businessmen, and journalists from those countries, who demand popular “normalization” to the extent of integration and infiltration into Arab families, unfortunately? What kind of people are these from ?! What is their educational, religious, moral and humanitarian reference ?! Here,the question is: Have some of the people of these (financially wealthy) countries lost their connection and ties to their Arabism and religion ?!

This leads us to a general explanation that those belonging to the lavish consumer society in the Gulf have lost their collective consciousness, and their culture and spiritual ties of their belonging to their Arab and Islamic nation have been corrupted, so they no longer distinguish between the occupied Zionist and the oppressed owner of the land. 

There is a permissible amount of openness to others, and there is no harm in it being in a humane and understandable manner, and this relations with others should not make us forget our fateful Arab-Islamic issues.

However, what Arab public opinion showed on the media, was a remarkable phenomenon, the first of its kind, that these “Arab Muslims”, if they are still Arab and Muslims, was abnormal and unacceptable behavior? This is what made us ask: What are the patriotic and religious education that they were brought up with in their families and schools? 

We have witnessed the huge sacrifices made by the Palestinian people in their resistance to displacement, Judaization, starvation and siege. Returning to the history of the national political sacrifices that people made in Palestine, it is similar to the sacrifices made by the Arab peoples who resisted British and French colonialism, offering caravans of martyrs, wounded and missing. Were all these massive sacrifices in the concepts of the ‘new Arabs’ absurd and wrong with no value?

If that were so, we would not have studied in the history the story of the revelution of Spartacus and the slave revolt that did not accept slavery at all. Why do we teach our children and grandchildren concepts of freedom, dignity, morals and shame?

I would like to remind you that the six-year-old Palestinian child, who was enforced to emigrate from his village, returns to his town, his village and the site of his old house, carrying a small bag with him, to take soil of the ground, and he puts it in that bag, after inhaling its perfume saturated with dignity, history and painful memories, then go back to a place and home in the country of expatriation.

This phenomenon is repeated with every Palestinian who was enforced one day to leave his land. They travel thousands of kilometers from where they live and work automatically, without receiving instructions from anyone to do such things.

Therefore, we reiterate that “normalization” with the Israeli enemy has no value nor a real future for it, because the people of Palestine and all the free people of the whole world, will not abandon a just cause, as long as they irrigated its pure soil with their pure blood and planted figs and olives trees in it  to be pegs as mooring mountains.

The Arabs in the Gulf Cooperation Council, rulers or people, except for the free among them, must understand the equation of Palestine as a land and a person, and they must understand the scene of an elderly woman embracing the olive tree to prevent the Zionists from uprooting it.

We have to understand the scene of the children of the stones as they resist the troop carrier and the invading hordes of Zionists soldiers. We have to understand the scene of a Palestinian young woman while she was treating a wounded Palestinian, and she was also hit by a fatal bullet from a reckless Israeli soldier.

Let us remember Laila Khaled and her comrades as they forced the enemy aircraft to surrender, and let us think a lot about the long queue of Palestinain martyrs, including the martyr Sheikh Izz al-Din Al-Qassam, Yasser Arafat, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abu Ali Mustafa, Abu Jihad, Khalil al-Wazir, Wadih Haddad, Fathi al-Shaqaqi, Fatima al-Najjar, Moataz Qassem, Bayan al-Asali, Diaa al-Tahamah, Yahya Ayyash, the child martyr Muhammad Abu Khedira, Muhammad al-Durra, the martyr Razan Ashraf Al-Najjar, and tens of thousands of martyrs.

Talking about these martyrs, the wounded and the steadfast on the borders of dignity is not an old talk of outdated time, as it is promoted by who normalized. No, these are living lessons, and they will continue as long as the Zionist enemy is the same enemy, and as long as the occupation continues. The Zionist hate speech and supremacy remains the same for seven decades. The Zionist attacks on the Gaza Strip continue, and the arrests and killing of Palestinians remain the same. So, what has changed in the scene ?!

We will answer with confidence: As long as the equation does not change, the resistance will continue until liberating the land, and the free Arabs and Muslims will remain supportive of all the Palestinian until victory.

Gen. Soleimani led Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq-Hezbollah coalition against terrorism: Venezuelan ambassad

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January 4, 2021 – 17:50

TEHRAN – The Venezuelan ambassador to Tehran describes the coalition created by Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq, which also includes the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, as one of the most capable alliances in the war against terrorists groups in Syria and Iraq. 

Carlos Antonio Alcala Cordones says this coalition was led by Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a U.S. drone strike near Baghdad’s international airport on January 3, 2020. 

“One of the most important coalitions, led by Martyr Qassem Soleimani, was the Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq (RSII) coalition, which was later renamed as 4+1 due to the joining of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance group. The military coalition was formed to deal with the conflicts in Syria and Iraq,” Ambassador Antonio Alcala Cordones tells the Tehran Times as Iran is marking the martyrdom anniversary of General Soleimani. 

The ambassador also says the United States and its allies have launched a “hybrid war” against Iran which includes both economic sanctions and acts of terrorism.

 “We should mention the hybrid war waged by the United States and its allies through economic sanctions and terrorist attacks against Iran,” the top Venezuelan diplomat to Iran notes.

In the newest act of state terrorism against the Islamic Republic, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top Iranian nuclear expert, was assassinated in a road outside Tehran on November 27. Iran has said Israel is directly responsible for the terrorist act. 

Analysts believe the assassination was a joint project by Israel and the United States. Professor Hossein Askari, who teaches international business at George Washington University, says he is “almost sure” that the assassination of Fakhrizadeh was a joint project carried out by the Israeli prime minister the U.S. president. 

Following is the text of interview with the Venezuelan ambassador: 

Q: Given the specific geopolitical situation in West Asia and the crises that have intensified in the region in recent years, how do you assess Iran’s role in the fight against terrorism in the region?

A: The regional situation regarding the fight against terrorism and the participation of the Islamic Republic of Iran in it is undoubtedly a very complex issue, and in the analysis that we can do, it is important to consider the geopolitical, religious and ideological issues.

In my view, there are various elements that the Islamic Republic of Iran has strongly defended in its foreign policy, which influence its strategies with allied countries and countries with which it is in conflict. First, its effort to achieve the economic development and growth of its nation. Second, defending its territorial integrity as enshrined in the country’s constitution and Islamic principles. Third, defending its religious and ideological beliefs reflected in the confrontation with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States, whose scenario is one of the constant dangers. And finally, the implementation of a strong internal structure that has allowed it to introduce itself as the main hero and guarantor of regional order. All of these elements, in addition to its constant anti-imperialist approach toward the international system, have led Iran to engage with actors associated with its ideology, such as its relationship with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Shiite groups, and strengthen its influence in the region, through traditional actors such as Syria and Russia.

Support for other strategic actors for which religious tendencies prevail over ideological beliefs, such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are other elements that should be considered in the analysis. It is important to note that Iran has increased its political weight in the region since the Iraq war and is now seen as a direct threat by its enemies, turning this classic hostility through supporting actors in various conflicts in the region into an indirect confrontation.

To this analysis is added the historic struggle for supremacy in a conflict-ridden region whose heroes are precisely Iran and Saudi Arabia. As noted, the Arab Spring changed the regional context by reconfiguring the geopolitical map. The two countries have a clear internal cohesion because their religious populations, mainly Shiites and Sunnis, are also found in other regional countries and have significant military, ideological, cultural and economic capabilities, in a way that both countries have acted in countries with domestic divisions such as Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon and Yemen through actors; and in the case of Iran, this has led to a ground gain in the region.

“It (Iran) supports the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors everywhere in the world. This acts as a basis for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s fight against terrorism.”On the other hand, Saudi Arabia also plays an important role, as its foreign policy towards the region is more focused on its neighbors in the Persian Gulf and with a horizontal axis, especially in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC), with the aim of isolating Iran and prevent its growing influence in the region.

Another important element that has reshaped the geopolitical chessboard and should be considered is the revitalization of Iran through the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed on July 14, 2015 in Vienna, under which it was agreed that Iran’s nuclear program be limited for a decade in exchange for the lifting of international economic sanctions. This allowed Iran to maintain its position in the Middle East (West Asia) and seek to secure the role of discourse while expanding its territory in strategic areas. But that fact is changing, as on May 8, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the JCPOA and reinstate U.S. nuclear sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran and once again put Iran in a very difficult position.

These points represent two opposing models domestically and internationally: a revolutionary, anti-imperialist model represented by Iran versus a conservative, pro-Western model represented by Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, the competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the geo-strategic field of energy is expanding. Therefore, it is a valuable point to control the exploitation of resources, maritime traffic and international oil trade via the Strait of Hormuz, through which 17 million barrels cross each day. The Saudi crude oil reserves are located in an eastern province, which has the largest Shiite population. Saudi Arabia has the money to build oil and gas pipelines from the east coast to the west, which will facilitate its outflow from the Red Sea, which is seen as a way to expand its trade to the Mediterranean. Similarly, from the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia supplies oil to Asian countries, its main customers in the region (China and Japan). This is a longer way to go, but it prevents a confrontation with Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, which is a strategic passage in international maritime navigation, because Iran has the longest coastline in the Persian Gulf, and enjoys the opportunity to penetrate these waters in the above-mentioned strait.

It is noteworthy that since the Islamic Republic of Iran’s declaration of existence in 1979, the Iranian government has been accused by the United States of financing terrorists, and providing them with equipment, weapons, training, and shelter, and Iran has been described as a “sponsor of terrorism”. They have described the country as the most important threat to the security of the Middle East (West Asia) and one of the most hostile countries in the international system and they have sought to isolate it.

Recall that the U.S. State Department currently identifies 60 groups as international terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, Hamas, Al-Fatah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah. And last April, Trump labeled the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “foreign terrorist organization” and this is the first time the United States has taken action against another country’s military. According to an old saying, “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter.”

It should be noted that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers, the United States implemented the Patriot Act which was a response by Congress against terrorism and international organized crime. This is an extraterritorial law that includes international powers and is based on international treaties and bilateral agreements, but we all know that the United States systematically fights and acts with the aim of stigmatizing and harassing, under the name of “fighting terrorists” against Islam and to the detriment of various Muslim organizations, which are characterized by anti-terrorism and have connections with the popular, patriotic and social struggles.

But if we ask ourselves why there is violence in the region, we can quote some of the remarks made by Foreign Minister Dr. Zarif, in which he notes that “the increase in violence in the Middle East is rooted in the constant presence of foreign forces, and also in their interference in the internal affairs of regional countries to reshape the structure of the region.” And this is what the interventionist policy of the North American empire constantly states. Likewise, we should mention the hybrid war waged by the United States and its allies through economic sanctions and terrorist attacks against Iran.

The phenomenon of terrorism and its consequences must be discussed and identified on the basis of the reasons that led to its development, or through the intensification and exploitation of religious dogmatism, as in the case of the Islamic State and its intention to incite sectarian tensions with the goal of unifying all the majority Muslim countries under one state and by one caliphate and through jihad, which is still a concern of the international community.

Finally, terrorism has directly or indirectly affected a large portion of humans, because the emergence of terrorism, in addition to increasing drug use and drug trafficking and organized crime networks, intensifies human rights violations, fatal migrations, and also famine.

Q: Iran has been the victim of large and small terrorist acts since the victory of the Islamic Revolution. As a country that has suffered greatly from this ominous phenomenon and has gained valuable experience in the fight against terrorism at the national and regional levels, how do you assess Iran’s efforts to build a consensus among regional countries to fight terrorism?

A: The Islamic Republic of Iran has suffered severe blows since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, including the assassination of four Iranian nuclear scientists between 2010 and 2012, and the recent terrorist attack on nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. In addition to an in-depth look at security systems, this incident has created a scenario of confrontation and tension, given that technological advances have changed the ways in which conflicts have escalated and changed the nature of threats.

“It is also important not to politicize campaign against terrorism, and all countries should unite in this battle, regardless of political or diplomatic relations among them.”Today, the use of artificial intelligence intensifies cyber, physical, and biological attacks, making them more selective and at the same time more anonymous, facilitating these attacks by reducing or even eliminating the need for the physical involvement of humans. This scenario is no longer a concern for human beings. Let us recall the terrorist attack in Iraq against the great martyr, Qassem Soleimani, the hero of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, whose absence is irreparable for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It is difficult to reach a consensus on this issue with several countries in the region, but Iran’s efforts to advance strategies that help combat terrorism are significant, such as the success in reducing the global terrorism index in the governments that it works in, especially because Iran is a country that has the power to challenge the interests of the great powers and has an excellent political, scientific, technological and military platform that supports its foreign policy.

It is also important not to politicize campaign against terrorism, and all countries should unite in this battle, regardless of political or diplomatic relations among them.

Q: In recent years, under the pretext of fighting terrorism, coalitions have been formed with the participation of countries outside the region (and even outside Asia). Alliances whose main goal, according to many political and military experts, is the political and economic exploitation of the current crises in West Asia. Some experts even believe that these countries themselves are the cause of such tensions. Do you think such coalitions can help resolve crises or defeat terrorism?

A: Undoubtedly, the formation of coalitions creates a very complex scenario because different elements are interconnected according to the potential of their constituent countries. As I mentioned earlier, we are currently talking about cooperation in the fields of science, technology, and military, in addition to the political and diplomatic relations between each of the countries.

One of the most important coalitions, led by Martyr Qassem Soleimani, was the Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq (RSII) coalition, which was later renamed as 4+1 due to the joining of the Lebanese Hezbollah military group. The military coalition was formed to deal with the conflicts in Syria and Iraq in the Middle East and currently supports Lebanon’s Hassan Nasrallah.

The coalition consists of the Russian Armed Forces and the Axis of Resistance (the IRGC, Syrian Armed Forces, Iraqi Armed Forces, and Hezbollah forces). The importance of this coalition is that it was created as a counterweight to the U.S.-led international coalition against ISIL, although the RSII’s military objectives are not limited to destroying the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also dismantling other jihadist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda, as well as closing the Iraqi-Syrian borders, which are used as strategic corridors for the entry and exit of militants.

Coalitions should serve to resolve crises, not to promote terrorism, but the situation is not always favorable and has a history of unexpected turns that upset the balance of the intended goal.

Q: Given the need to form a coalition of countries in West Asia to fight terrorism in the region, what role can Iran play in creating such a coalition?

A: In the international context, the unity that countries can create is very important and one of the precise principles of Iran’s foreign policy is the promotion of these alliances, of course through respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and as stated in Chapter 10, Article 154 of the Constitution, it supports the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors everywhere in the world. These elements act as a basis for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s fight against terrorism.

Undoubtedly, Iran has played an important unifying role, and this has earned the respect of the countries of the region for it. Therefore, it is expected that a great unity will be created in the future, whose common interests are the fight against the plague of terrorism in all its forms.

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MILITARY AND POLITICAL TRENDS OF 2020 THAT WILL SHAPE 2021

South Front

2020 was a year full of surprises. It marked the advent of a new reality which may, with an equal probability, lead humanity to a new dark age or to a global digital dystopia. In this context, there is little room for a positive scenario of sustainable development that would benefit people in general, as opposed to just a group of select individuals and special interest groups. The heft of shifts in 2020 is comparable to what European citizens felt on the eve of another change of the socio-economic formation in the early 17th  and 20th centuries.

The past year began with the assassination of the Iranian military genius General Qasem Soleimani by the United States, and it ended with the murder of the prominent scholar Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by the Israelis.

Iran's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassinated near Tehran -  YouTube

In early January, Iran, expecting another aggressive action from the West, accidently shot down a Ukrainian civil aircraft that had inexplicably altered its course over Tehran without request nor authorization. Around the same time, Turkey confirmed the deployment of its military in Libya, beginning a new phase of confrontation in the region, and Egypt responding with airstrikes and additional shows of force. The situation in Yemen developed rapidly: taking advantage of the Sunni coalition’s moral weakness, Ansar Allah achieved significant progress in forcing the Saudis out of the country in many regions. The state of warfare in northwestern Syria has significantly changed, transforming into the formal delineation of zones of influence of Turkey and the Russian-Iranian-Syrian coalition. This happened amid, and largely due to the weakening of U.S. influence in the region. Ankara is steadily increasing its military presence in the areas under its responsibility and along the contact line. It has taken measures to deter groups linked to Al-Qaeda and other radicals. As a result, the situation in the region is stabilizing, which has allowed Turkey to increasingly exert control over most of Greater Idlib.

ISIS cells remain active in the eastern and southern Syrian regions. Particular processes are taking place in Quneitra and Daraa provinces, where Russian peace initiatives were inconclusive by virtue of the direct destructive influence of Israel in these areas of Syria. In turn, the assassination of Qasem Soleimaniin resulted in a sharp increase in the targeting of American personnel, military and civil infrastructure in Iraq. The U.S. Army was forced to regroup its forces, effectively abandoning a number of its military installations and concentrating available forces at key bases. At the same time, Washington flatly rejected demands from Baghdad for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops and promised to respond with full-fledged sanctions if Iraq continued to raise this issue. Afghanistan remains stable in its instability. Disturbing news comes from Latin America. Confrontation between China and India flared this year, resulting in sporadic border clashes. This situation seems far from over, as both countries have reinforced their military posture along the disputed border. The aggressive actions of the Trump administration against China deepen global crises, which has become obvious not only to specialists but also to the general public. The relationship between the collective West and the Russian Federation was re-enshrined in “the Cold War state”, which seems to have been resurrected once again.

The turbulence of the first quarter of 2020 was overshadowed by a new socio-political process – the corona-crisis, the framework of which integrates various phenomena from the Sars-Cov2 epidemic itself and the subsequent exacerbation of the global economic crisis.  The disclosure of substantial social differences that have accumulated in modern capitalist society, lead to a series of incessant protests across the globe. The year 2020 was accompanied by fierce clashes between protesters professing various causes and law enforcement forces in numerous countries. Although on the surface these societal clashes with the state appear disassociated, many share related root causes. A growing, immense wealth inequality, corruption of government at all levels, a lack of any meaningful input into political decision making, and the unmasking of massive censorship via big tech corporations and the main stream media all played a part in igniting societal unrest.

In late 2019 and early 2020 there was little reason for optimistic projections for the near future. However, hardly anyone could anticipate the number of crisis events and developments that had taken place during this year. These phenomena affected every region of the world to some extent.

Nevertheless, Middle East has remained the main source of instability, due to being an arena where global and regional power interests intertwine and clash. The most important line of confrontation is between US and Israel-led forces on the one hand, and Iran and its so called Axis of Resistance. The opposing sides have been locked in an endless spiral of mutual accusations, sanctions, military incidents, and proxy wars, and recently even crossed the threshold into a limited exchange of strikes due to the worsening state of regional confrontation. Russia and Turkey, the latter of which has been distancing itself from Washington due to growing disagreements with “NATO partners” and changes in global trends, also play an important role in the region without directly entering into the confrontation between pro-Israel forces and Iran.

As in the recent years, Syria and Iraq remain the greatest hot-spots. The destruction of ISIS as a terrorist state and the apparent killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not end its existence as a terror group. Many ISIS cells and supporting elements actively use regional instability as a chance to preserve the Khalifate’s legacy. They remain active mainly along the Syria-Iraq border, and along the eastern bank of the Euphrates in Syria. Camps for the temporary displaced and for the families and relatives of ISIS militants on the territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in north-eastern Syria are also breeding grounds for terrorist ideology. Remarkably, these regions are also where there is direct presence of US forces, or, as in the case of SDF camps, presence of forces supported by the US.

The fertile soil for radicalism also consists of the inability to reach a comprehensive diplomatic solution that would end the Syrian conflict in a way acceptable to all parties. Washington is not interesting in stabilizing Syria because even should Assad leave, it would strengthen the Damascus government that would naturally be allied to Russia and Iran. Opposing Iran and supporting Israel became the cornerstone of US policy during the Trump administration. Consequently, Washington is supporting separatist sentiments of the Kurdish SDF leadership and even allowed it to participate in the plunder of Syrian oil wells in US coalition zone of control in which US firms linked to the Pentagon and US intelligence services are participating. US intelligence also aids Israel in its information and psychological warfare operations, as well as military strikes aimed at undermining Syria and Iranian forces located in the country. In spite of propaganda victories, in practice Israeli efforts had limited success in 2020 as Iran continued to strengthen its positions and military capabilities on its ally’s territory. Iran’s success in establishing and supporting a land corridor linking Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iraq, plays an important role. Constant expansion of Iran’s military presence and infrastructure near the town of al-Bukamal, on the border of Iraq and Syria, demonstrates the importance of the project to Tehran. Tel-Aviv claims that Iran is using that corridor to equip pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria and Lebanon with modern weapons.

The Palestinian question is also an important one for Israel’s leadership and its lobby in Washington. The highly touted “deal of the century” turned out to be no more than an offer for the Palestinians to abandon their struggle for statehood. As expected, this initiative did not lead to a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Rather the opposite, it gave an additional stimulus to Palestinian resistance to the demands that were being imposed. At the same time, Trump administration scored a diplomatic success by forcing the UAE and Bahrain to normalize their relations with Israel, and Saudi Arabia to make its collaboration with Israel public. That was a historic victory for US-Israel policy in the Middle East. Public rapprochement of Arab monarchies and Israel strengthened the positions of Iran as the only country which not only declares itself as Palestine’s and Islamic world’s defender, but actually puts words into practice. Saudi Arabia’s leadership will particularly suffer in terms of loss of popularity among its own population, already damaged by the failed war in Yemen and intensifying confrontation with UAE, both of which are already using their neighbor’s weakness to lay a claim to leadership on the Arabian Peninsula.

The list of actors strengthening their positions in the Red Sea includes Russia. In late 2020 it became known that Russia reached an agreement with Sudan on establishing a naval support facility which has every possibility to become a full-blown naval base. This foothold will enable the Russian Navy to increase its presence on key maritime energy supply routes on the Red Sea itself  and in the area between Aden and Oman straits. For Russia, which has not had naval infrastructure in that region since USSR’s break-up, it is a significant diplomatic breakthrough. For its part. Sudan’s leadership apparently views Russia’s military presence as a security factor allowing it to balance potential harmful measures by the West.

During all of 2020, Moscow and Beijing continued collaboration on projects in Africa, gradually pushing out traditional post-colonial powers in several key areas. The presence of Russian military specialists in the Central African Republic where they assist the central government in strengthening its forces, escalation of local conflicts, and ensuring the security of Russian economic sectors, is now a universally known fact. Russian diplomacy and specialists are also active in Libya, where UAE and Egypt which support Field Marshal Khaftar, and Turkey which supports the Tripoli government, are clashing. Under the cover of declarations calling for peace and stability, foreign actors are busily carving up Libya’s energy resources. For Egypt there’s also the crucial matter of fighting terrorism and the presence of groups affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood which Cairo sees as a direct threat to national security.

The Sahel and the vicinity of Lake Chad remain areas where terror groups with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS remain highly active. France’s limited military mission in the Sahara-Sahel region has been failure and could not ensure sufficient support for regional forces in order to stabilize the situation. ISIS and Boko-Haram continue to spread chaos in the border areas between Niger, Nigeria, Cameroun, and Chad. In spite of all the efforts by the region’s governments, terrorists continue to control sizable territories and represent a significant threat to regional security. The renewed conflict in Ethiopia is a separate problem, in which the federal government was drawn into a civil war against the National Front for the Liberation of Tigray controlling that province. The ethno-feudal conflict between federal and regional elites threatens to destabilize the entire country if it continues.

The explosive situation in Africa shows that post-colonial European powers and the “Global Policeman” which dominated that continent for decades were not interested in addressing the continent’s actual problem. Foreign actors were mainly focused on extracting resources and ensuring the interests of a narrow group of politicians and entities affiliated with foreign capitals. Now they are forced to compete with the informal China-Russia bloc which will use a different approach that may be a described as follows: Strengthening of regional stability to protect investments in economic projects. Thus it is no surprise that influential actors are gradually losing to new but more constructive forces.

Tensions within European countries have been on the rise during the past several years, due to both the crisis of the contemporary economic paradigm and to specific regional problems such as the migration crises and the failure of multiculturalism policies, with subsequent radicalization of society.

Unpleasant surprises included several countries’ health care and social protection networks’ inability to cope with the large number of COVID-19 patients. Entire systems of governance in a number of European countries proved incapable of coping with rapidly developing crises. This is true particularly for countries of southern Europe, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Among eastern European countries, Hungary’s and Romania’s economies were particularly badly affected. At the same time, Poland’s state institutions and economy showed considerable resilience in the face of crisis. While the Federal Republic of Germany suffered considerable economic damage in the second quarter of 2020, Merkel’s government used the situation to inject huge sums of liquidity into the economy, enhanced Germany’s position within Europe, and moreover Germany’s health care and social protection institutions proved capable and sufficiently resilient.

Coronavirus and subsequent social developments led to the emergence of the so-called “Macron Doctrine” which amounts to an argument that EU must obtain strategic sovereignty. This is consistent with the aims of a significant portion of German national elites. Nevertheless, Berlin officially criticized Macron’s statements and has shown willingness to enter into a strategic partnership with Biden Administration’s United States as a junior partner. However, even FRG’s current leadership understands the dangers of lack of strategic sovereignty in an era of America’s decline as the world policeman. Against the backdrop of a global economic crisis, US-EU relations are ineluctably drifting from a state of partnership to one of competition or even rivalry. In general, the first half of 2020 demonstrated the vital necessity of further development of European institutions.

The second half of 2020 was marked by fierce mass protests in Germany, France, Great Britain, and other European countries. The level of violence employed by both the protesters and law enforcement was unprecedented and is not comparable to the level of violence seen during protests in Russia, Belarus, and even Kirgizstan. Mainstream media did their best to depreciate and conceal the scale of what was happening. If the situation continues to develop in the same vein, there is every chance that in the future, a reality that can be described as a digital concentration camp may form in Europe.

World media, for its part, paid particular attention to the situation in Belarus, where protests have entered their fourth month following the August 9, 2020 presidential elections. Belarusian protests have been characterized by their direction from outside the country and choreographed nature. The command center of protest activities is officially located in Poland. This fact is in and of itself unprecedented in Europe’s contemporary history. Even during Ukraine’s Euromaidan, external forces formally refused to act as puppetmasters.

Belarus’ genuinely existing socio-economic problems have led to a rift within society that is now divided into two irreconcilable camps: proponents of reforms vs. adherents of the current government. Law enforcement forces which are recruited from among President Lukashenko’s supporters, have acted forcefully and occasionally harshly. Still, the number of casualties is far lower than, for example, in protests in France or United States.

Ukraine itself, where Western-backed “democratic forces” have already won, remains the main point of instability in Eastern Europe. The Zelenskiy administration came to power under slogans about the need to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine and rebuild the country. In practice, the new government continued to pursue the policy aimed at maintaining military tension in the region in the interests of its external sponsors and personal enrichment.

For the United States, 2020 turned out to be a watershed year for both domestic and foreign policy. Events of this year were a reflection of Trump Administration’s protectionist foreign policy and a national-oriented approach in domestic and economic policy, which ensured an intense clash with the majority of Washington Establishment acting in the interests of global capital.

In addition to the unresolved traditional problems, America’s problems were made worse by two crises, COVID-19 spread and BLM movement protests. They ensured America’s problems reached a state of critical mass.

One can and should have a critical attitude toward President Trump’s actions, but one should not doubt the sincerity of his efforts to turn the slogan Make America Great Again into reality. One should likewise not doubt that his successor will adhere to other values. Whether it’s Black Lives Matter or Make Global Moneymen Even Stronger, or Russia Must Be Destroyed, or something even more exotic, it will not change the fact America we’ve known in the last half century died in 2020. A telling sign of its death throes is the use of “orange revolution” technologies developed against inconvenient political regimes. This demonstrated that currently the United States is ruled not by national elites but by global investors to whom the interests of ordinary Americans are alien.

This puts the terrifying consequences of COVID-19 in a new light. The disease has struck the most vulnerable layers of US society. According to official statistics, United States has had about 20 million cases and over 330,000 deaths. The vast majority are low-income inhabitants of mega-cities. At the same time, the wealthiest Americans have greatly increased their wealth by exploiting the unfolding crisis for their own personal benefit. The level of polarization of US society has assumed frightening proportions. Conservatives against liberals, blacks against whites, LGBT against traditionalists, everything that used to be within the realm of public debate and peaceful protest has devolved into direct, often violent, clashes. One can observe unprecedented levels of aggression and violence from all sides.

In foreign policy, United States continued to undermine the international security system based on international treaties. There are now signs that one of the last legal bastions of international security, the New START treaty, is under attack. US international behavior has prompted criticism from NATO allies. There are growing differences of opinion on political matters with France and economic ones with Germany. The dialogue with Eastern Mediterranean’s most powerful military actor Turkey periodically showed a sharp clash of interests.

Against that backdrop, United States spent 2020 continuously increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea basin. Additional US forces and assets were deployed in direct proximity to Russia’s borders. The number of offensive military exercises under US leadership or with US participation has considerably increased.

In the Arctic, the United States is acting as a spoiler, unhappy with the current state of affairs. It aims to extend its control over natural resources in the region, establish permanent presence in other countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZ) through the use of the so-called “freedom of navigation operations” (FONOPs), and continue to encircle Russia with ballistic missile defense (BMD) sites and platforms.

In view of the urgent and evident US preparations to be able to fight and prevail in a war against a nuclear adversary, by defeating the adversary’s nuclear arsenal through the combination of precision non-nuclear strikes, Arctic becomes a key region in this military planning. The 2020 sortie by a force of US Navy BMD-capable AEGIS destroyers into the Barents Sea, the first such mission since the end of the Cold War over two decades ago, shows the interest United States has in projecting BMD capabilities into regions north of Russia’s coastline, where they might be able to effect boost-phase interceptions of Russian ballistic missiles that would be launched in retaliatory strikes against the United States. US operational planning for the Arctic in all likelihood resembles that for South China Sea, with only a few corrections for climate.

In Latin America, the year of 2020 was marked by the intensification of Washington efforts aimed at undermining the political regimes that it considered to be in the opposition to the existing world order.

Venezuela remained one of the main points of the US foreign policy agenda. During the entire year, the government of Nicolas Maduro was experiencing an increasing sanction, political and clandestine pressure. In May, Venezuelan security forces even neutralized a group of US mercenaries that sneaked into the country to stage the coup in the interests of the Washington-controlled opposition and its public leader Juan Guaido. However, despite the recognition of Guaido as the president of Venezuela by the US and its allies, regime-change attempts, and the deep economic crisis, the Maduro government survived.

This case demonstrated that the decisive leadership together having the support of a notable part of the population and working links with alternative global centers of power could allow any country to resist to globalists’ attacks. The US leadership itself claims that instead of surrendering, Venezuela turned itself into a foothold of its geopolitical opponents: China, Russia, Iran and even Hezbollah. While this evaluation of the current situation in Venezuela is at least partly a propaganda exaggeration to demonize the ‘anti-democratic regime’ of Maduro, it highlights parts of the really existing situation.

The turbulence in Bolivia ended in a similar manner, when the right wing government that gained power as a result of the coup in 2019 demonstrated its inability to rule the country and lost power in 2020. The expelled president, Evo Morales, returned to the country and the Movement for Socialism secured their dominant position in Bolivia thanks to the wide-scale support from the indigenous population. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that these developments in Venezuela and Bolivia would allow to reverse the general trend towards the destabilization in South America.

The regional economic and social turbulence is strengthened by the high level of organized crime and the developing global crisis that sharpened the existing contradictions among key global and regional players. This creates conditions for the intensification of existing conflicts. For example, the peace process between the FARC and the federal government is on the brink of the collapse in Colombia. Local sources and media accuse the government and affiliated militias of detentions and killings of leaders of local communities and former FARC members in violation of the existing peace agreement. This violence undermine the fragile peace process and sets conditions for the resumption of the armed struggle by FARC and its supporters. Mexico remains the hub for illegal migration, drug and weapon trafficking just on the border with the United States. Large parts of the country are in the state of chaos and are in fact controlled by violent drug cartels and their mercenaries. Brazil is in the permanent state of political and economic crisis amid the rise of street crime.

These negative tendencies affect almost all states of the region. The deepening global economic crisis and the coronavirus panic add oil to the flame of instability.

Countries of South America are not the only one suffering from the crisis. It also shapes relations between global powers. Outcomes of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the global economic crisis contributed to the hardening of the standoff between the United States and China.

Washington and Beijing have insoluble contradictions. The main of them is that China has been slowly but steadily winning the race for the economic and technological dominance simultaneously boosting own military capabilities to defend the victory in the case of a military escalation. The sanction, tariff and diplomatic pressure campaign launched by the White House on China since the very start of the Trump Presidency is a result of the understanding of these contradictions by the Trump administration and its efforts to guarantee the leading US position in the face of the global economic recession. The US posture towards the South China Sea issues, the political situation in Hong Kong, human rights issues in Xinjiang, the unprecedented weapon sales to Taiwan, the support of the militarization of Japan and many other questions is a part of the ongoing standoff. Summing up, Washington has been seeking to isolate China through a network of local military alliances and contain its economic expansion through sanction, propaganda and clandestine operations.

The contradictions between Beijing and Washington regarding North Korea and its nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a part of the same chain of events. Despite the public rhetoric, the United States is not interested in the full settlement of the Korea conflict. Such a scenario that may include the reunion of the North and South will remove the formal justification of the US military buildup. This is why the White House opted to not fulfill its part of the deal with the North once again assuring the North Korean leadership that its decision to develop its nuclear and missile programs and further.

Statements of Chinese diplomats and top official demonstrate that Beijing fully understands the position of Washington. At the same time, China has proven that it is not going to abandon its policies aimed at gaining the position of the main leading power in the post-unipolar world. Therefore, the conflict between the sides will continue escalating in the coming years regardless the administration in the White House and the composition of the Senate and Congress. Joe Biden and forces behind his rigged victory in the presidential election will likely turn back from Trump’s national-oriented economic policy and ‘normalize’ relations with China once again reconsidering Russia as Enemy #1. This will not help to remove the insoluble contradictions with China and reverse the trend towards the confrontation. However, the Biden administration with help from mainstream media will likely succeed in hiding this fact from the public by fueling the time-honored anti-Russian hysteria.

As to Russia itself, it ended the year of 2020 in its ordinary manner for the recent years: successful and relatively successful foreign policy actions amid the complicated economic, social and political situation inside the country. The sanction pressure, coronavirus-related restrictions and the global economic crisis slowed down the Russian economy and contributed to the dissatisfaction of the population with internal economic and social policies of the government. The crisis was also used by external actors that carried out a series of provocations and propaganda campaigns aimed at undermining the stability in the country ahead of the legislative election scheduled for September 2021. The trend on the increase of sanction pressure, including tapering large infrastructure projects like the Nord Stream 2, and expansion of public and clandestine destabilization efforts inside Russia was visible during the entire year and will likely increase in 2021. In the event of success, these efforts will not only reverse Russian foreign policy achievements of the previous years, but could also put in danger the existence of the Russian statehood in the current format.

Among the important foreign policy developments of 2020 underreported by mainstream media is the agreement on the creation of a Russian naval facility on the coast of the Red Sea in Sudan. If this project is fully implemented, this will contribute to the rapid growth of Russian influence in Africa. Russian naval forces will also be able to increase their presence in the Red Sea and in the area between the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. Both of these areas are the core of the current maritime energy supply routes. The new base will also serve as a foothold of Russia in the case of a standoff with naval forces of NATO member states that actively use their military infrastructure in Djibouti to project power in the region. It is expected that the United States (regardless of the administration in the White House) will try to prevent the Russian expansion in the region at any cost. For an active foreign policy of Russia, the creation of the naval facility in Sudan surpasses all public and clandestine actions in Libya in recent years. From the point of view of protecting Russian national interests in the Global Oceans, this step is even more important than the creation of the permanent air and naval bases in Syria.

As well as its counterparts in Washington and Beijing, Moscow contributes notable efforts to the modernization of its military capabilities, with special attention to the strategic nuclear forces and hypersonic weapons. The Russians see their ability to inflict unacceptable damage on a potential enemy among the key factors preventing a full-scale military aggression against them from NATO. The United Sates, China and Russia are in fact now involved in the hypersonic weapon race that also includes the development of means and measures to counter a potential strike with hypersonic weapons.

The new war in Nagorno-Karabakh became an important factor shaping the balance of power in the South Caucasus. The Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc achieved a sweeping victory over Armenian forces and only the involvement of the Russian diplomacy the further deployment of the peacekeepers allowed to put an end to the violence and rescue the vestiges of the self-proclaimed Armenian Republic of Artsakh. Russia successfully played a role of mediator and officially established a military presence on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan for the next 5 years. The new Karabakh war also gave an additional impulse in the Turkish-Azerbaijani economic and military cooperation, while the pro-Western regime in Armenia that expectedly led the Armenian nation to the tragedy is balancing on the brink of collapse.

The Central Asia traditionally remained one of the areas of instability around the world with the permanent threat of militancy and humanitarian crisis. Nonetheless, despite forecasts of some analysis, the year of 2020 did not become the year of the creation of ISIS’ Caliphate 2.0 in the region. An important role in preventing this was played by the Taliban that additionally to securing its military victories over the US-led coalition and the US-backed Kabul government, was fiercely fighting ISIS cells appearing in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which controls a large part of Afghanistan, was also legalized on the international scene by direct talks with the United States. The role of the Taliban will grow and further with the reduction of the US military presence.

While some media already branded the year of 2020 as one of the worst in the modern history, there are no indications that the year of 2021 will be any brighter or the global crises and regional instability will magically disappear by themselves. Instead, most likely 2020 was just a prelude for the upcoming global shocks and the acute standoff for markets and resources in the environment of censorship, legalized total surveillance, violations of human rights under ‘democratic’ and ‘social’ slogans’ and proxy wars.

The instability in Europe will likely be fueled by the increasing cultural-civilizational conflict and the new wave of newcomers that have acute ideological and cultural differences with the European civilization. The influx of newcomers is expected due to demographic factors and the complicated security, social situation in the Middle East and Africa. Europe will likely try to deal with the influx of newcomers by introducing new movement and border restrictions under the brand of fighting coronavirus. Nonetheless, the expected growth of the migration pressure will likely contribute to the negative tendencies that could blow up Europe from inside.

The collapse of the international security system, including key treaties limiting the development and deployment of strategic weapons, indicates that the new detente on the global scene will remain an improbable scenario. Instead, the world will likely move further towards the escalation scenario as at least a part of the current global leadership considers a large war a useful tool to overcome the economic crisis and capture new markets. Russia, with its large territories, rich resources, a relatively low population, seems to be a worthwhile target. At the same time, China will likely exploit the escalating conflict between Moscow and the US-led bloc to even further increase its global positions. In these conditions, many will depend on the new global order and main alliances within it that are appearing from the collapsing unipolar system. The United States has already lost its unconditional dominant role on the international scene, but the so-called multipolar world order has not appeared yet. The format of this new multipolar world will likely have a critical impact on the further developments around the globe and positions of key players involved in the never-ending Big Game.

Palestinian rights have always been secondary to the ‘national interest’ of Arab regimes

Joseph Massad

28 December 2020 12:18 UTC 

Normalisation with Israel is just the latest example of Arab rulers advancing their own interests at the expense of Palestinians

The Arab League summit meeting held in Mecca on 31 May 2019 (AFP)

Since the First World War, the Palestinians have been used as a bargaining chip by different Arab regimes to advance their own interests by sacrificing Palestinian rights.

Yet, apologists for the Arab regimes, which recently normalised relations with Israel, defend their governments’ decision with the same arguments the earliest normalisers – Egypt and Jordan – used decades ago, namely that these countries made sacrifices since 1948 by placing Palestinian interests above their own “national”, read regime, interests.

Their decisions to normalise with Israel now, they tell us, have finally placed their own national interests first, and yet at the same time in normalising they are also helping the Palestinians!  

American propaganda

A major argument – proffered in this regard – relates to the American-sponsored ideological notion of “peace”, a cornerstone of American propaganda against peoples struggling against colonial and racist oppression, whether in the colonised world or inside the US itself.

Arab regimes have always put their own national interests first and had established ties and collaborated with Israel since 1948

“Peace”, which maintains oppressive colonial and racist relations, we are told, brings prosperity, whereas struggling against injustice and oppression, dubbed “war” in US lingo, brings destruction and poverty.

In contrast with the Arab peoples who have ceaselessly shown solidarity with the Palestinians since Britain issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, Arab regimes, as I have written in Middle East Eye before, have always put their own national interests first and had established ties and collaborated with Israel since 1948 – in the case of the Hashemite Amir Faisal since 1919. Apologists for Sadat’s surrender to Israel claimed for decades that President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s excessive zeal to defend the Palestinians led Egypt, as  Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi put it in 2014, to sacrifice “100,000 Egyptian martyrs” for the Palestinians.  

In fact, Egypt’s losses in the 1948 war, according to Egyptian military sources, were 1,168 soldiers, officers, and volunteers killed (as mentioned in Ibrahim Shakib’s book: The Palestine War 1948, p432-433), whereas other Egyptian official sources  (noted in Benny Morris’ book, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, p406-407) put it at 1,400.

Moreover, King Farouk of Egypt entered the war in 1948 not because he placed Palestinian interests ahead of Egypt’s, but as analysts have shown, on account of his rivalry with the Iraqi monarchy for hegemony over the post-colonial Arab world. 

Not only did Nasser not launch a single war against Israel, but also all of Egypt’s subsequent wars were fought to defend Egypt, not the Palestinians. In 1956 and in 1967, Israel invaded Egypt and occupied Sinai.

photo taken on September 9, 1980 in Alexandria shows Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (L) and President of Egypt Anouar el Sadate (R).
Former Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin (L) and President of Egypt Anwar el Sadat (R) in Alexandria on 9 September 1980 (AFP)

Egyptian soldiers died in these wars defending their country, not the Palestinians. Between 1968 and 1970, Israel and Egypt fought the “War of Attrition” in which Egyptian soldiers were killed defending their country against continuing Israeli aggression, a war fought on Egyptian soil; and in 1973, Egypt launched a war to liberate Sinai, not Palestine, and Egyptian soldiers were again killed defending their country against foreign occupation.

Sacrificing Palestinians

When Sadat signed the Camp David Accords in 1978, not only did he not defend the Palestinians, he in fact sacrificed the Palestinians and their right to independence in exchange for the return of Sinai to Egypt (without full Egyptian sovereignty) and a lavish US aid package that served to enrich the Egyptian upper classes and impoverish most of the population.Arab rulers and Israel’s leaders: A long and secret history of cooperationRead More »

The Jordanian regime, whose army was led by a British colonial general, entered the 1948 war to expand its territory, which it did by annexing central Palestine (renamed the “West Bank”) after the war. In 1967, the Israelis invaded Jordan and occupied the West Bank. In both wars, Jordanian soldiers died for Jordanian regime interests, not Palestinian interests. 

When Jordan signed in 1994 its peace treaty with Israel, Palestinian interests were sacrificed yet again by Jordan’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist on stolen Palestinian land, and by securing some sort of Hashemite role over Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.

In exchange, Jordan also received a lavish US aid package benefiting the regime and the upper classes. In contrast with Egypt’s deal, Jordan’s deal was concluded without even requiring Israel to withdraw from any of the territories it occupied in 1967. Jordan’s “peace” with Israel, as a result, legitimised Israeli occupation and conquest and did not reverse any of it. 

While historically Egyptian and Jordanian soldiers might have been told they fought these wars for Palestine, the truth of the matter is that, unbeknownst to them, they fought them for their regime’s interests. As for Sudan, Morocco, Bahrain and the UAE, it remains unclear how they had ever put Palestinian interests before their own.

Peace ‘dividend’

A related argument is the so-called “peace dividend“, heavily marketed by the Americans since the 1970s, wherein we are told all the money spent on wars and armaments with Israel would now be used for economic development and prosperity.

To prove their allegiance to the anti-Palestinian policies of the US and Israel, Gulf officials have ceaselessly attacked Palestinians in the oil-families-owned Gulf media

The irony, of course, is that the military budgets of Egypt and Jordan, abetted by huge US military aid packages as a reward, skyrocketed since they normalised with Israel.  Economic development and state social benefits were in contrast reduced to unprecedented levels in both countries, bringing about massive poverty, and a decline in educational and health services. Even Jordanian officials who support the peace deal claim that Jordan has not properly cashed in on the “peace dividend”.

On the public relations front, as a result of congressional and media hostility to the Saudis and other Gulf countries after 9/11, the oil ruling families decided yet again to benefit at the expense of Palestinian interests by abandoning demands that Israel abide by international law and withdraw from the occupied territories as prerequisites to warmer relations. They quickly cosied up to Israel and its US lobby to stem the tide of such hostility by promising closer relations, which have now become open. 

 Pro-Palestinian protesters wave Palestinian flags and chant slogans against the US and Israel on December 10, 2017 in Rabat against
Pro-Palestinian protesters wave Palestinian flags and chant slogans against the US and Israel in Rabat on 10 December, 2017 (AFP)

None of this is the stuff of the past, but is part of ongoing normalisation, whereby President Trump announced huge SaudiMoroccanBahraini, and UAE purchases of US arms during the preparation and brokering of the normalisation deals in 2019 and after, which will militarise the region more than ever.

To prove their allegiance to the anti-Palestinian policies of the US and Israel, Gulf officials have ceaselessly attacked Palestinians in the oil-families-owned Gulf media and press in the last few years. Such attacks have recently become more vigorous, especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

National interests

Ironically, the UAE had hoped to obtain the sophisticated F-35 fighter planes from the US in exchange for its peace with Israel. Israel and its supporters in Congress, however, refuse to allow this. Humiliated by this outcome, the UAE has suggested to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in order to assuage Israeli concerns, that Israeli fighter pilots take charge of the F-35s for a temporary period, after which they would train UAE pilots to replace them. How Gulf states became business partners in Israel’s occupation

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Morocco has also finally received US legitimisation of its takeover and annexation of the Western Sahara and Sudan was removed from the US list of terrorism-sponsoring countries. Neither country conceded nor sacrificed any part of its national interest to obtain such rewards.

Rather, like other Arab countries since 1948, they sacrificed Palestinian rights enshrined in international law to obtain benefits for themselves.  The  Arab League, an enemy of Palestinian interests since its establishment, also refused to condemn these peace deals even though they contradict its standing policy. 

Rather than sacrifice their national interests to defend the Palestinians, the Arab regimes have used every opportunity to sell out Palestinian rights to advance their own interests without respite.

Starting with the Hashemite Emir Faisal in 1919 who cooperated with the Zionists to ensure their support for his then Syrian kingdom, to King Mohammad VI’s normalisation with Israel to legitimise Morocco’s control of the Western Sahara, the Palestinians have been a God-send to Arab regimes which used and continue to use and abuse them for their own benefit.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.Joseph MassadJoseph Massad is Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of many books and academic and journalistic articles. His books include Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan, Desiring Arabs, The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians, and most recently Islam in Liberalism. His books and articles have been translated to a dozen languages.

«التطبيع» حرب ضدّ الجزائر بعد إيران و المغرب «المستوطنة»الثانية بعد الإمارات…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

كان حلم الساسة والقادة العسكريون الفرنسيون، بعد احتلالهم للجزائر سنة 1830، ورغم تحدي الثورة الكبرى التي قادها المجاهد الكبير، الأمير عبد القادر الجزائري، ضدّ هذا الاحتلال… وكذلك أنظارهم تتجه غرباً، نحو المغرب الأقصى، الذي يعرف بالمملكة المغربية حالياً.

وقد تحقّق هذا الحلم الفرنسي فعلياً، بعد انعقاد مؤتمر برلين ، الذي عقد في الفترة ما بين 26/2/1885 حتى 15/11/1884 والذي جرى خلاله تقاسم أفريقيا، بين القوى الاستعمارية الأوروبية آنذاك. اذ اتفقت الدول المشاركة على ان تكون المغرب والصحراء الغربية من حصة فرنسا واسبانيا. وهو ما دفع مواطني المغرب الى رفض هذه القرارات والبدء بثورة مسلحةٍ ضد الوجود الاسباني، في شمال المغرب، وذلك سنة 1839، وهي الثورة التي اطلق عليها اسم: حرب الريف، خاصة أنّ اسبانيا كانت تحتلّ مدينة مليلة المغربية والواقعة على ساحل المتوسط منذ عام 1497، والتي تبعتها حرب الريف الثانية 1909 بعد ان بدأت القوات الاسبانية تتمدد خارج مدينة مليلة وتسيطر على محيطها، تمهيداً للسيطرة على كامل الساحل المغربي على المتوسط.

وفي ظل تصاعد المقاومة المغربية للاحتلالين الاسباني والفرنسي عقد اتفاق اسباني فرنسي، سنة 1912، لتقاسم الاراضي المغربية بشكل نهائي ومتفق عليه، بهدف توحيد جهود الدولتين الاستعماريتين، ضد قوات الثورة المغربية في الريف (شمال البلاد بشكل خاصة).

لكن هذه الثورة تواصلت وتصاعدت، خاصة بعد انتهاء الحرب العالمية الأولى، وزيادة النشاط الاستعماري في المغرب من قبل دولتي الاحتلال، فرنسا واسبانيا، الى ان وصلت تلك المقاومة ذروتها في ثورة 1921، التي يطلق عليها اسم: حرب الريف الثالثة، بقيادة الأمير محمد عبد الكريم الخطابي واستمرت هذه الثورة حتى سنة 1926. ولَم تتمكن جيوش الاحتلال الاسبانية (في شمال المغرب) من قمع هذه الثورة الا بعد أن شنت حرب إبادةٍ جماعية، ضد الشعب المغربي في الشمال، مستخدمة الاسلحة الكيماوية وغاز الخردل بالتحديد، حيث قصفت بمدفعية الميدان ومدفعية البوارج الحربية، والطائرات الحربية أيضاً، كل شمال المغرب، قصفاً عنيفاً استخدمت خلاله ما مجموعه عشرة آلاف قذيفة من غاز الخردل، وذلك انطلاقاً من استراتيجية الأرض المحروقة، بحيث تصبح الأرض غير صالحة للحياة عليها لسنوات طويلة، الأمر الذي سيؤدي، حسب خطط المجرمين الاسبان وشركائهم الفرنسيين، الى فقدان الثوار للإسناد الشعبيّ وبالتالي للرفد بالمقاتلين.

وهو ما أدى الى أن ما يقرب من 80% من مرضى السرطان، الذين يعالجون في مركز السرطان الوطني في الرباط حالياً، هم من أهالي الأقاليم الشمالية، التي تعرّضت لهذا الكمّ الهائل من السلاح الكيماوي، قبل مئة عام. وهذا ما تثبته ليس فقط الجهات المغربية المعنية، وإنما هو مثبت رسمياً في أرشيف وزارة الدفاع الاسبانية، ولدى العديد من المنظمات الدولية المختصة (في الوقت الحالي وليس قبل مئة عام). وهذا ما يجعل من الضروري قيام حكومة المغرب بمطالبة اسبانيا بتعويضات مالية عن كل الخسائر المادية والبشرية، التي نجمت عن جرائم الحرب هذه.

وبالعودة الى الأحلام الفرنسية، في ثلاثينيات القرن التاسع عشر، بمتابعة الزحف من الجزائر غرباً، باتجاه المغرب، فإنّ هناك حالياً أحلاماً أميركية شبيهة بتلك الفرنسية، ولكن بالاتجاه المعاكس. أيّ الزحف من المغرب شرقاً باتجاه الجزائر، وذلك لأجل تحقيق أهداف المشروع الصهيوأميركي في المغرب العربي، او ما يسمّى حالياً عملية “التطبيع” الجارية بين المغرب و”إسرائيل”.

وهي في الحقيقة ليست عمليّة معزولةً، عن بقية المسار الاستراتيجي للخطط الأميركية، التي تهدف الى حصار الدول التي تعارض الهيمنة الأميركية في “الشرق الاوسط”، كـ إيران في الشرق والجزائر في الغرب، خاصة أنّ الولايات المتحدة قد أصبحت عاجزةً عن الدخول في مواجهة عسكريةٍ مباشرةً مع هذه القوى، لأسباب عديدة لا مجال للغوص فيها حالياً.

فما هي أهداف المشروع الأميركي الحالي، وأدواته الأعرابية والصهيونيّة والعثمانية، في منطقة “الشرق الأوسط” بكاملها؟

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ـ محاولة خلق موجة جديدة من الفوضى الداخلية المسلحة، في عموم المنطقة، وذلك من خلال إشعال المزيد من الحروب والفتن الطائفية، يكون هدفها العاجل والمباشر إيران في الشرق والجزائر في الغرب، بحيث توكل إدارة وتسعير هذه الحروب الى “إسرائيل”، التي لن تزجّ جيشها ليقاتل على الجبهات، وإنما هي ستقوم بقيادة جيوش من المرتزقه المحليين، التي يطلق عليها اسم جيوش وخاصة في الخليج الفارسي، بحجة مواجهة الخطر الإيراني والتصدّي له!

وهذا يعني إشعال حربٍ “عربية” ضدّ إيران، خدمة للمشروع الأميركي، ولكن دون تدخل أميركي مباشر في هذه الحرب، مما يعني خوض حربٍ أميركيةٍ بالوكالة، ضدّ إيران ومحور المقاومة.

وما موجة التطبيع الخليجية الإسرائيلية، وما تبعها من توقيع اتفاقيات تعاون بين الطرفين وفِي مختلف المجالات، إلا جزء من التحضيرات لنشر الفوضى، خاصة أنّ “إسرائيل” قد بدأت فعلاً ببناء قواعد تجسس وأخرى عسكرية لها، في الإمارات العربية والبحرين والأجزاء التي تحتلها السعودية والإمارات في اليمن وخاصة جزيرة سوقطرى ذات الموقع الاستراتيجي.

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ـ وكما اخترعت القوى الصهيوأميركية عدواً وهمياً، لدول الخليج الفارسي في المشرق العربي، أسمته إيران، ها هي قد اخترعت بؤرة صراع جديدة في المغرب العربي، ترتكز الى الوضع الراهن في الصحراء الغربية، التي تطالب جبهة البوليساريو باستقلالها الكامل عن المغرب.

وما اعتراف الرئيس الأميركي، دونالد ترامب، باعتبار هذه المنطقة جزءاً من المملكة المغربية، وخضوعها للسيادة المغربية الكاملة، إلا الخطوة الأولى على طريق تصعيد عمليات التطويق الاستراتيجي لجمهورية الجزائر الديمقراطية الشعبية، التي ترفض الخضوع للمشروع الصهيوأميركي الهادف لتصفية القضية الفلسطينية. وهي قد أعلنت موقفها هذا عبر أكثر الناصرين للقضية الفلسطينية من كبار المسؤولين الجزائريين.

وبنظرة سريعة، لخريطة الجزائر، يلاحظ المراقب انّ فلول داعش في دول الساحل الأفريقي، والتي تناور بهم واشنطن، عبر ما يسمّى أفريكوم / قيادة أفريقيا في الجيش الأميركي / وذلك على حدود الجزائر الجنوبية، في كلّ من مالي والنيجر وتشاد، حيث توجد غرفة عمليات أميركية/ إسرائيلية مشتركة في نجامينا، عاصمة تشاد لتنسيق تحركات عناصر داعش وتقديم الدعم والإسناد اللازم لها، لتنفيذ عمليات إرهابية، كتلك التي نفذتها هذه المجموعات، ضدّ أهداف نفطية ومحطات غاز طبيعي في جنوب الجزائر أكثر من مرة سابقاً.

ومن نافل القول التذكير بالخطر الإرهابي الذي يهدّد الحدود الجزائرية من ناحية الشرق، ايّ عبر الحدود الليبية الشرقية وعبر الحدود التونسية شمال شرق الجزائر. علماً انّ هذه الحدود تشهد اشتباكات شبه يومية بين الجيش التونسي ومجموعات من داعش وغيرها، تحاول بشكل دائم اختراق الحدود الجزائرية، التي بقيت مؤمّنة بالكامل نظراً ليقظة الجيش الشعبي الجزائري وقدراته القتالية العالية…

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ـ وانطلاقاً من معرفة القوى الصهيوأميركيّة بالقدرة العسكرية الكبيرة للجيش الجزائري، وبالنظر الى انه يملك أكبر سلاح للجو والبحر في أفريقيا وبالنظر للتصريحات المتكرّرة لقادة حلف شمال الأطلسي، والمتعلقة بالمخاطر التي يشكلها سلاح الجو الجزائري وسلاح البحرية الجزائرية، على الحركة الجوية والبحرية لقوات الحلف، في البحر المتوسط، فإنّ قوى العدوان الأميركي الصهيوني قد لجأت الى اختراع صيغة الصراع الجديدة، المشار اليها في البند السابق، والتي تتضمّن تطويق الجزائر من الغرب أيضاً.

وهو ما بدأته هذه الدوائر قبل مسرحية التطبيع، بين المغرب و”إسرائيل”، وبالتحديد منذ أن اتخذ المغرب، بالتنسيق مع واشنطن وتل أبيب، من خلال مستشار ملك المغرب الخاص، اندريه أَزولاي، نقول منذ ان اتخذ المغرب قرار إنشاء القاعدة العسكرية العملاقة في منطقة لاوينات، التابعة لبلدية مدينة جراده، التي تبعد 38 كيلومتراً عن الحدود الجزائرية، وذلك حسب ما جاء في المرسوم الصادر عن رئيس الوزراء المغربي، والمنشور في عدد الجريدة الرسمية المغربية رقم 6884، بتاريخ 21/5/2020، والذي أعلن فيه استملاك الحكومة المغربية مساحة 23 هكتاراً (الهكتار يساوي عشرة آلاف متر مربع) من الأراضي الخاصه لإقامة هذه القاعدة عليها.

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ـ ولا بد هنا من التأكيد على درجة الخطورة العالية، لهذه القاعدة على الأمن الوطني الجزائري، وذلك لسببين هما:

أ) انها ستدار من قبل عدد كبير من الضباط الإسرائيليين، من أصل مغربي، وعلى رأسهم رئيس أركان الجيش الإسرائيلي السابق، الجنرال غادي آيزينكوت، وهو ابن يهودية مغربيّة من مدينة الدار البيضاء وأبٌ يهودي مغربي من مدينة مراكش، هاجرا الى فلسطين بداية خمسينيات القرن الماضي، وذلك الى جانب ضباط الجيش المغربي.

علماً انّ العدد الإجمالي لليهود المغاربة وأبنائهم في فلسطين المحتلة يربو على مليون شخص. وقد تبوّأ العديد منهم مراكز عليا في إدارة دويلة الاحتلال، مثل وزير الخارجية الأسبق ديفيد ليفي، ووزير الحرب الأسبق عامير بيريتس، ورئيس الأركان السابق الجنرال آيزينكوت، ومستشار الأمن القومي الحالي مائير بن شابات، الذي ترأس الوفد الإسرائيلي إلى المغرب يوم أمس (الأول)، وهو مولود لأبوين مغربيّين هاجرا إلى فلسطين المحتلة، في خمسينيات القرن الماضي.

وبالنظر الى أنّ القانون المغربي يعتبر جميع هؤلاء اليهود، المقيمين حالياً في فلسطين المحتلة، مواطنين مغاربة أيضاً، ويحق لهم حمل الجنسية المغربية، فإنّ دمج عدد منهم، او خدمة عدد منهم، في الجيش المغربي سيكون “قانونياً” أيضاً. وهذا ما يضاعف الخطر الكارثي على الأمن الوطني الجزائري. وهو الأمر الذي كرّره العديد من المسؤولين الجزائريين، عندما أشاروا في تصريحات لهم، خلال الشهرين الماضي والحالي، بأنّ ما يقوم به المغرب، من عملية تطبيع، ليس إلا نقلاً للجيش “الإسرائيلي” الى حدود الجزائر.

ولا بدّ في هذا السياق من التذكير بأنّ سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي قد حاول، بتاريخ 10/8/1988، بالاعتداء على الأجواء الجزائرية، لقصف اجتماع للمجلس الوطني الفلسطيني، الذي كان منعقداً في العاصمة الجزائر، حيث صدرت التعليمات لتشكيل جوّي جزائري، مكوّن من مقاتلات اعتراض طراز ميغ 25، بالتصدّي للطائرات الإسرائيلية، من طراز ف 16، والتي اكتشفتها وسائل الدفاع الجوي الجزائرية يومها وهي على بعد 400 كم من الأجواء الجزائرية. وكذلك الأمر فانّ بطاريات الدفاع الجوي، من طراز ، التي كانت قد وضعت في حالة تأهّب قصوى قبيل انعقاد المؤتمر، قد ضبطت الأهداف المعادية، ما أجبرها عملياً على أن تقفل راجعة الى قواعدها في فلسطين المحتلة، بعد اكتشافها انها في مرمى صواريخ الدفاع الجوي وطائرات ميغ 25 الجزائرية.

كما لا بدّ من التذكير أنّ سلاح البحرية الإسرائيلي كان قد نفذَ محاولة اقتراب، من الموانئ الجزائرية شرق العاصمة، وذلك بتاريخ 7/4/1984، بحجة أنّ مجموعة كوماندوز بحري تابعة لقوات العاصفة / فتح / قد انطلقت من تلك الموانئ الجزائرية. وقد تصدّت السفن الحربية الجزائرية ايضاً يومها لزوارق الصواريخ الإسرائيلية الأربعة، التي شاركت في محاولة العدوان الفاشلة، وردّتها على أعقابها من دون تحقيق أي هدف.

اذن فما نقوله ليس “هلوسات” متحمّس وإنما وقائع ميدان تاريخية، تثبت نيات العدوان الإسرائيلي المدعوم أميركياً، ضدّ الجزائر، منذ زمن بعيد. وهو ما يجعلنا ننظر ببالغ الخطورة، الى موضوع إعلان التحالف المغربي الإسرائيلي العسكري، الذي يهدّد الاستقرار في كلّ منطقة المغرب العربي.

ب) اما مصدر الخطر الثاني، على الأمن الوطني الجزائري، والمنبثق من هذه القاعدة، فهو انها ستضمّ قاعدة جوية، تخدم الطائرات المسيّرة في المرحلة الأولى. ولعلّ المتابعين يتذكرون ما صرّحت به مصادر في البنتاغون الأميركية، يوم 19/12/2020، من أنّ الولايات المتحدة ستبيع المغرب أربع طائرات بدون طيار من أحدث طائرات التجسّس الأميركية، التي لا يحتاجها المغرب للتجسس على الصحراء الغربيّة، وإنما للتجسّس على الجزائر، التي ترفض الانخراط في مشروع تصفية القضية الفلسطينية. أي المشروع الذي يُطلق عليه اسم “صفقة القرن”.

وغني عن القول طبعاً بأنّ “إسرائيل” سوف تلعب دوراً اساسياً، في تشغيل هذه الطائرات وغيرها من طائرات التجسس الإسرائيلية الصنع، والتي سيتمّ نشرها في هذه القاعدة، استكمالاً لدور طائرات التجسّس الأميركية، التي تعمل انطلاقاً من القاعدة الجوية التونسية الأكبر في البلاد، في سيدي أحمد، شمال غرب ميناء بنزرت التونسي، على البحر المتوسط، والتي تنكر وجودها (الطائرات الأميركية في جزء من القاعدة) كلّ الحكومات التونسية منذ عام 2011 وحتى الآن، والتي تسمّيها البنتاغون: القاعدة رقم 722، حسب ما نشرته مجلة “ذي ناشيونال انتريست” الأميركية في وقت سابق.

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ـ وقد يقود العرض السابق، للمخطط الصهيوأميركي والدور الإسرائيلي في تنفيذه، الى طرح سؤال محقّ حول ما اذا كانت “إسرائيل” تملك جيشاً يوازي الجيش الأميركي في عدده وعدّته، كي تتمكن من الاضطلاع بهذا الدور الإقليمي الكبير، والجواب بالتأكيد هو: كلا كبيرة. إنّ “إسرائيل” لا تملك القدرات العسكرية، لبسط سيطرتها على كلّ هذا الإقليم او العالم العربي. كما انّ المخطط المشار إليه أعلاه لا يعطي الكيان الصهيوني دور نشر جيشه، وإنما مستشاريه العسكريين والأمنيين، في كلّ بلدان العرب التي دخلت نفق التطبيع معها.

كما أنّ من الضروري ان يفهم المرء انّ عملية التطبيع ليست هدفاً أميركياً إسرائيلياً بحدّ ذاته، وإنما هي وسيلة لدمج “إسرائيل” في المحيط العربي وجعلها كياناً مقبولاً، لا بل حليفاً، “يساعد” الحكام المطبّعين عسكرياً وامنياً، في التصدي للأخطار التي تواجههم سواء من شعوبهم او تلك الآتية من إيران وحلف المقاومة، كما يتصوّرون!

وهو الأمر الذي دفع بالقوى الخفيّة الداعمة لهذا المشروع، حتى قبل الانتخابات الأميركية، بالبدء بالتفكير في صيغة تسمح بضمّ الكيان الإسرائيلي الى منطقة صلاحيات او عمليات القيادة المركزية الأميركية . وهو الموضوع الذي يسمّى بلغة البنتاغون: او منطقة العمليات. الأمر الذي يجعل “إسرائيل” وجيشها في مقام جزء من القوات المسلحة الأميركية، وهو ما قد يُعتبر بديلاً لوجود عسكري أميركي مباشر في “الشرق الاوسط”، من قبل بعض المخططين الاستراتيجيين الأميركيين، خاصةً اذا ما اخذنا بعين الاعتبار انّ تل ابيب سوف تبرم اتفاقيات تعاون عسكري وأمني، مع كلّ الدول العربية التي تعلن تطبيع علاقاتها معها. ما يعني عملياً، وضع القوات المسلحة لتلك البلدان تحت قيادة “إسرائيل” وبتصرفها، وبالتالي تحويلها الى قوات احتياط (بما في ذلك الجيش الإسرائيلي) بإمرة القياده المركزية الأميركية، التي مركزها الدوحة.

علماً انّ “إسرائيل” حالياً تعتبر جزءاً من القيادة الأوروبية في الجيش الأميركي) ولا علاقة لها بالقيادة المركزية، المسؤولة عن “الشرق الاوسط”.

وهذا ما دفع الضابط السابق في البنتاغون، وهو المدير الحالي للمعهد اليهودي للأمن القومي الأميركي ، ميخائيل ماكوڤسكي لكتابة مقال يطالب فيه بضمّ “إسرائيل” الى منطقة عمليات القيادة المركزية في الجيش الأميركي. وهو يقول إنّ هذا الموضوع قد بحث مرات عدة في السابق، لكن الظروف المحيطة به قد تغيّرت في “الشرق الاوسط”، خاصة بعد توقيع ما يسمّى اتفاقيات أبراهام!

وفِي إطار الاستعدادات لتنفيذ هذه الخطوة عملياً فإنّ القيادة المركزية قد نفذت ثلاثة تدريبات جوية مشتركة، مع سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي، هذا العام، مستخدمةً طائرات أميركية، من طراز F 35، مرابطةً في قاعدة الظفرة الإماراتية.

6

ـ لكن الأمر لا يقتصر على ما حدث حتى الآن، بشأن ضمّ “إسرائيل” الى منطقة عمليات القيادة المركزية في الجيش الأميركي، وانما يجب على الكونغرس الأميركي تضمين هذا البند، في برنامج المساعدات العسكرية الأميركية للكيان، بالاضافة الى ضرورة ان تقوم الولايات المتحدة بزيادة كميات الأسلحة الدقيقة الموجهة، التي تزوّد “إسرائيل” بها وتختصر باسم ، يقول ميخائيل ماكوڤسكي، في هذا الصدد.

لكنه يضيف ان ضمّ “إسرائيل” لمنطقة عمليات القيادة المركزية، في الجيش الأميركي، سيسمح لها، في أوقات الحرب، باستخدام مخازن احتياط الذخيرة الأميركية، المخزنة في قواعد عسكرية متقدمة في “إسرائيل” لأوقات الحرب (بالنظر اليها من الولايات المتحدة)،: .

وهذا يعني، حسب ماكوڤسكي انّ هذه الأسلحة الأميركية تبقى تحت قيادةٍ أميركية في ظروف يسمح فيها لاستخدام هذه الذخائر، اذا ما وقعت حرب مع إيران او حزب الله.

7

ـ ويتابع قائلاً إنّ جعل “إسرائيل” جزءاً من منطقة عمليات القيادة المركزية الأميركية، التي تشمل العراق وافغانستان أيضاً، وهما دولتان لا تقيمان علاقات مع “إسرائيل”، إنما سيثير جدلًا، او بعض الإشكاليات، حول الدور الأميركي في هاتين الدولتين، خاصةً أنّ الولايات المتحدة الأميركيّة تواجه تهديدات إيرانيّة، عبر “الميليشيات” المدعومة من إيران، حسب زعمه. وربما تستخدم إيران هذه المسألة (ضمّ “إسرائيل” للقيادة المركزية) كحجة للقيام بتصعيد عسكري ضدّ القوات الأميركية في العراق.

ولكن الأمور ربما تتغيّر، نحو الأفضل، بعد تسلم الجنرال لويد اوستين وزارة الحرب الأميركية في ادارة الرئيس المنتخب بايدن، وهو الذي كان قائداً للقيادة المركزية الأميركية، في الدوحة، من سنة 2013 وحتى 2016، وتربطه علاقات وثيقة بـ “إسرائيل” ويعرف جيداً الأهمية التي تتمتع بها دويلة الكيان الصهيوني في المنطقة.

8

ـ وبناءً على كلّ ما تقدّم فإننا نكاد نجزم انّ جميع الزيارات، التي قام بها كبار العسكريين الأميركيين، خلال الشهرين الماضيين لكيان الاحتلال، قد تمحورت حول هذا الموضوع، وذلك لتحويله الى أمر واقع، قبل رحيل إدارة ترامب من البيت الأبيض، ايّ لوضع هذا المخزون الاستراتيجي الأميركي، من الذخائر (صواريخ) الموجهة الدقيقة تحت تصرّف “إسرائيل”، كي تقوم باستخدامه كما يحلو لها ويخدم مصالحها وليس لخدمة المصالح الأميركية. خاصة أنّ اهتمامات بايدن الاستراتيجية ستختلف تماماً عن اهتمامات ترامب، التي اقتصرت على عقد الصفقات المالية والاستعراضات الدبلوماسية، التي اطلق عليها اسم اتفاقيات التطبيع بين الدول العربية و”إسرائيل”. تلك الاتفاقيات التي لن تقود الى اية حلول لمشاكل المنطقة، وفِي المقدمة منها القضية الفلسطينية ولا تحدي محور المقاومة، الذي يُصرّ على مواصلة استراتيجيته، الرامية الى تحرير فلسطين وإنهاء الوجود الاستيطاني الاحتلالي الإسرائيلي فيها.

وفِي هذا الصدد، يكفي ان نستمع الى التصريحات النارية التي أطلقها بايدن في هذه الأثناء، ضدّ روسيا، والمتعلقة بالهجمات السيبرانية المتواصلة في كلّ أنحاء الولايات المتحدة ومؤسساتها المدنية والأمنية والعسكرية والصناعية بشكل فعّال!

ما يعني أنّ الرياح الآتية من واشنطن لا تأتي على هوى أشرعة سفن نتن ياهو، التي بدأت في هذه الأثناء بالغرق، وذلك بعد حلّ الكنيست وقرار إجراء انتخابات تشريعية جديدة، لن تأتي بنتن ياهو رئيساً للوزراء قطعاً. لا بل إنها ستمهّد الطريق لدخوله السجن لقضاء ما تبقى من حياته هناك.

وهذا يعني أنّ كلّ المؤامرات والألاعيب، التي مارسها ويمارسها نتن ياهو، مع جاريد كوشنر وأعراب النفط، مضافاً اليهم ملك المغرب، الذي يريد “تحرير” الصحراء الغربية، من سكانها العرب والأمازيغ الأصليين، بينما لا يحرك ساكناً لتحرير سبته ومليلة، المحتلتين من قبل اسبانيا منذ قرون، نقول إنّ كلّ تلك المسرحيات ليست لها علاقة بالواقع الميداني، المتعلق بالصراع الاستراتيجي الشامل، الدائر حالياً بين الدول الرافضة لاستمرار الهيمنة الأميركية في العالم، وفِي مقدمة هذه الدول، مع الصين الشعبية وروسيا، إيران وسورية وحلفاؤهما في المنطقة، وفي العالم مثل فنزويلا وكوبا وبوليفيا، في أميركا اللاتينية.

خلاصة نقول إنّ التطبيع حرب استنزاف فتنوية خاسرة بالتأكيد رغم كلّ مظاهر نجاحها الإعلانية البراقة…!

ذلك لأنّ العالم تغيّر كثيراً واهمّ متغيّراته تحوّل محور المقاومة الى لاعب دولي رئيسي بمقام دولة كبرى في المعادلات الدولية بعد أن ظلت منطقتنا مجرد تابع يتلقى الأوامر من سفراء وقناصل الدول الكبرى!

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

How Gulf states became business partners in Israel’s occupation

Jonathan Cook

14 December 2020 12:29 UTC | 

Since signing the Abraham Accords, the UAE and Bahrain have been actively colluding with Israel’s settler movement and military authorities

The professed rationale for the recent Abraham Accords, so-called “peace deals” signed with Israel by the UAE and Bahrain, was to stymie Israeli efforts to annex swaths of the West Bank. 

The aim was supposedly to neutralise another “peace” plan – one issued early this year by US President Donald Trump’s administration – that approved Israel’s annexation of large areas of the West Bank dominated by illegal Jewish settlements. 

In practice, both have quickly jettisoned any pretence that Palestinians will benefit from these deals

The two Gulf states trumpeted the fact that, in signing the accords in September, they had effectively scotched that move, thereby salvaging hopes of a future Palestinian state. Few observers entirely bought the official story – not least because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that annexation had only been put on temporary hold

The real purpose of the Abraham Accords appeared less about saving Palestinians than allowing Gulf states to go public with, and expand, their existing ties to Israel. Regional intelligence could now be shared more easily, especially on Iran, and the Gulf would gain access to Israeli hi-tech and US military technology and weapons systems. 

Separately, Sudan was induced to sign the accords after promises it would be removed from Washington’s list of “terror-supporting” states, opening the door to debt relief and aid. And last week, Morocco became the fourth Arab state to initiate formal relations with Israel after the Trump administration agreed to recognise its occupation of Western Sahara.

Twisting more arms

Israel, in return, has been able to begin “normalising” with an important bloc of Arab states – all without offering any meaningful concessions on the Palestinian issue.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also reported to have been considering doing their own deals with Israel. Jared Kushner, Trump’s Middle East adviser, visited the region this month in what was widely assumed to be a bid to twist arms. UAE-Israel deal: Abraham accord or Israeli colonialism?

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Riyadh’s hesitation, however, appears to have increased after Trump lost last month’s US presidential election to Joe Biden. 

Last week, during an online conference held in Bahrain and attended by Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, a former senior Saudi government official, Turki al-Faisal al-Saud, launched a blistering verbal attack on Israel, saying it jailed Palestinians in “concentration camps” and had built an “apartheid wall”. It was unclear whether he was speaking in more than a personal capacity.

While the covert purpose of the Abraham Accords was difficult to obscure, the stated aim – of aiding Palestinians by preventing Israel’s annexation of the West Bank – was still seen as a vital tool for the UAE and Bahrian to sell these agreements back home.

But in practice, both have quickly jettisoned any pretence that Palestinians will benefit from these deals. Not only that, but already they barely bother to conceal the fact that they are actively and tangibly colluding with Israel to harm Palestinians – by bolstering Israel’s illegal settlements and subsidising its military regime of occupation. 

Trade with settlements

Bahrain demonstrated this month how indifferent it is to the negative impacts on Palestinians. On a visit to Israel, the country’s trade minister, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani, said Bahrain was open to importing products from Israel wherever they were manufactured. “We have no issue with labelling or origin,” he said

The comment suggested that Manama was ready to become a gateway for Israel to export settlement products to the rest of the Arab world, helping to bolster the settlements’ legitimacy and economic viability. Bahrain’s trade policy with Israel would then be even laxer than that of the European Union, a top trade partner for Israel. The EU’s feeble guidelines recommend the labelling of settlement products. 

An illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank is pictured on 19 November 2019 (AFP)
An illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank is pictured on 19 November 2019 (AFP)

After wide reporting of Zayani’s comments, Bahrain’s state news agency issued a statement shortly afterwards saying he had been “misinterpreted”, and that there would be no import of settlement goods. But it is hard not to interpret the remarks as indicating that behind the scenes, Bahrain is only too willing to collude in Israel’s refusal to distinguish between products from Israel and those made in the settlements.

That this is the trading basis of the Abraham Accords is further highlighted by reports that the UAE is already welcoming business with Israel’s illegal settlements. An Israeli winery, using grapes grown on the Golan Heights, a large plateau of Syrian territory seized by Israel in 1967 and illegally annexed in 1981, has reportedly started exporting to the UAE, which has liberalised its alcohol laws for non-citizens.

This is a fruitful turn of events for Israel’s 500,000 settlers in the occupied West Bank. They have lost no time touting for business, with the first delegation arriving in Dubai last month hoping to tap new markets in the Arab world via the UAE. Last week a settler delegation reportedly returned to Dubai to sign an agreement with a UAE company to import settlement goods, including alcohol, honey, olive oil, and sesame paste.

New low-point 

This marks a new low-point in the shift by Arab states away from their original position that Israel was a colonial implant in the region, sponsored by the West, and that there could be no “normalisation” – or normal relations – with it. 

In 2002, Saudi Arabia launched the Arab Peace Initiative, which offered Israel full diplomatic relations in return for ending the occupation. But Gulf states are now not only normalising with Israel when the occupation is actually intensifying; they are normalising with the occupation itself – as well as its bastard progeny, the settlements. 

The peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain will help the settlements entrench further, assisting Israel’s longstanding policy of annexing the West Bank in all but name

Israel has built more than 250 settlements across a vast expanse of occupied Palestinian territory – 62 percent of the West Bank, referred to as Area C under the Oslo Accords. This area was supposed to be gradually transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the government-in-waiting under Mahmoud Abbas, to become the territorial backbone of a Palestinian state. 

Instead, over the past quarter of a century, Israel has used its supposedly temporary control over Area C to rapidly expand the settlements, stealing vital land and resources. These colonies have been highly integrated into Israel, with settler roads criss-crossing the occupied West Bank and tightly limiting Palestinian movement.

The peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain will help the settlements entrench further, assisting Israel’s longstanding policy of annexing the West Bank in all but name, through the creation of facts on the ground – the very outcome the Abraham Accords claimed they were meant to prevent. 

Yossi Dagan, head of the West Bank regional council that visited Dubai last month, declared that there was “no contradiction between our demand to impose sovereignty [annex large parts of the West Bank] and the strengthening of commercial and industrial ties” with the Gulf. 

Al-Aqsa dividend

In other words, settlers see the Abraham Accords as a business opportunity to expand their footprint in the occupied West Bank, not an obstacle. The likely gains for the settlers will include tourism, too, as visitors from the Gulf are expected to flock to al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. 

The irony is that, because of Israel’s physical seizure of areas around the Islamic holy site and its control over access, Gulf Arabs will have far greater rights at al-Aqsa than the majority of Palestinians, who cannot reach it.

Jordan, which has long been the custodian of al-Aqsa, justifiably fears that Saudi Arabia may use a future accord with Israel to muscle its way into taking charge of the Jerusalem holy site, adding it to its guardianship of Mecca and Medina. 

Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in June 2018 (AFP)
Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in June 2018 (AFP)

In occupied Jerusalem, Palestinians are deprived of the chance to develop their own housing, let alone infrastructure to cope with the business opportunities provided by the arrival of wealthy Gulf Arabs. That should leave Israel and its settler population – rather than Palestinians – well-placed to reap the dividends from any new tourism ventures.

In a supreme irony, a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family has bought a major stake in the Beitar Jerusalem football team, whose supporters are fiercely anti-Arab and back the takeover of East Jerusalem by settlers. 

Palestinian laboratories

During his visit, Bahrain’s Zayani observed that, as his country geared up for flights to and from Israel next month: “We are fascinated by how integrated IT and the innovation sector in Israel has been embedded in every facet of life.” Israel-UAE deal: The Emiratis are now under Israel’s thumb

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But Israel’s technology sector is “embedded in every facet of life” only because Israel treats the occupied Palestinian territories as a laboratory. Tests are conducted there on how best to surveil Palestinians, physically limit their movement and freedoms, and collect their biometric data

The hi-tech firms carrying out these experiments may be formally headquartered inside Israel, but they work and profit from their activities in the occupied territories. They are a vast complex of settlement businesses in their own right.

This is why Nabil Shaath, an aide to Abbas, observed of the Gulf’s burgeoning ties with Israel that it was “painful to witness Arab cooperation with one of the worst manifestations of aggression against the Palestinian people, which is the Israeli settlements on our land”. 

Settler ally

How enthusiastically the UAE and Bahrain are getting into the occupation business, and preparing to subsidise its worst features, is highlighted by the Abraham Fund, set up by the US in October. It is a vehicle for Gulf states and Israel to secure billions of dollars in private investment to underpin their new diplomatic relations. 

Again, the official story has glossed over the reality. According to statements from the main parties, the fund is intended to raise at least $3bn to bolster regional economic cooperation and development initiatives.

If the oil-rich Gulf states help pick up the tab, they will incentivise Israel to stay put and steal yet more Palestinian land and resources

The UAE’s minister of state, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, has said: “The initiative can be a source of economic and technological strength for the region, while simultaneously improving the lives of those who need the most support.”

The fund is supposed to help Palestinians, as one of those groups most in need of support. But again, the main parties are not playing straight. The deception is revealed by the Trump administration’s selection of who is to head the Abraham Fund, one of its last appointments before the handover to Biden. 

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the fund will be overseen by Aryeh Lightstone, a fervently right-wing rabbi and ally of Israel’s settler community. Lightstone is a senior adviser to David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel who has his own strong ties to the settlements. Friedman pushed aggressively for the US to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem. Trump finally did so in May 2018, breaking an international consensus against locating diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. 

Checkpoint upgrade

The political priorities of Lightstone are evident in one of the Abraham Fund’s first declared projects: to “modernise” Israeli checkpoints across the occupied West Bank. 

The checkpoint upgrade is being hailed by US officials as designed to benefit Palestinians. It will speed up their passage as they try to move around the occupied West Bank, and as those with permits enter Israel or the settlements to work. One senior Trump administration official promised checkpoint delays that currently keep Palestinians waiting for many hours could be dramatically cut: “If I can upgrade that, which doesn’t cost a lot of money, and have it take 30 seconds, I am blowing up [freeing up] 400,000 work hours a day.”

There are many glaring problems with this approach – not least that under international law, belligerent military occupations such as Israel’s must be temporary in nature. Israel’s occupation has endured for more than five decades already. 

Palestinians make their way through a checkpoint north of Hebron on 4 October (AFP)
Palestinians make their way through a checkpoint north of Hebron on 4 October (AFP)

Efforts to make the occupation even more permanent – by improving and refining its infrastructure, such as through upgrades to create airport-style checkpoints – is in clear breach of international law. Now the Gulf will be intimately involved in subsidising these violations.

Further, the idea that the Abraham Fund’s checkpoint upgrade is assisting Palestinians – “those who most need support” – or developing their economy is patently ridiculous. The fund is exclusively helping Israel, a robust first-world economy, which is supposed to shoulder the costs of its military rule over Palestinians. 

The Abraham Fund’s planned checkpoint upgrade is actually a subsidy by the Gulf to the settlements

The economic costs of occupation are one of the few tangible pressures on Israel to withdraw from the territories and allow Palestinians sovereignty. If the oil-rich Gulf states help pick up the tab, they will incentivise Israel to stay put and steal yet more Palestinian land and resources.

Indeed, the hours being freed up, even assuming that is what actually happens, are unlikely to help the Palestinian economy or bring financial benefits to the Palestinian labourers Israel has made dependent on its economy through the lengthy occupation. To develop their own economy, Palestinians need their land and resources stolen by Israel restored to them.

Herding Palestinians

Seen another way, the Abraham Fund’s planned checkpoint upgrade is actually a subsidy by the Gulf to the settlements. That is because the very purpose of the checkpoints is to enforce Israeli control over where and when Palestinians can travel in their homeland. 

Israel uses the checkpoints as a way to herd Palestinians into particular areas of the occupied West Bank, especially the third under nominal PA control, while blocking their entry to the rest. That includes a denial of access to the West Bank’s most fertile land and its best water sources. Those areas are exactly where Israel has been building and expanding the settlements.From Egypt to the UAE, normalisation with Israel heralds disaster

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Palestinians are in a zero-sum battle against the settlers for control over land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Any help Israel receives in restricting their movement through checkpoints is a loss to Palestinians and a victory for the settlers. Modernised checkpoints will simply be far more efficient at herding Palestinians where Israel and the settlers want them to be.

In partnering with Israel on upgrading checkpoints, the Gulf will be aiding Israel in making its technology of confinement and control of the Palestinian population even more sophisticated, benefiting once again the settlers. 

This is the real story of the Gulf’s Abraham Accords – not simply of turning a blind eye to Israel’s decades-long oppression of Palestinians, but of actively becoming partners with Israel and the settlers in carrying out that oppression. 

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.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

‘Thinking Machiavelli, Acting Mussolini’

By Alastair Crooke
Source: Strategic Culture

Earlier this month, the Lebanese al-Manar TV aired footage of Israeli bases in Upper Galilee, which were filmed by a Hizbullah drone. An Israeli base in Brannite and a command centre in Rowaysat al-Alam in northern Israel can be seen in the footage. According to Southfront, whose military expertise is highly regarded, Hizbullah now operates a variety of drones, some with combat capabilities. Reports suggest that Hizbullah has established a formidable stealth drone and smart cruise missile force (with support from Iran). The Russia-linked, military site, Southfront, concludes that today, the movement is better trained and equipped than many armies around the world.

Israel is convinced that, for the first time, that the ‘next war’ will not be limited to Lebanese territory; that its own borders will be violated; and that offensive combat forces will enter settlements and homes and clash with Israeli troops.

This is giant ‘chess’ – where a combination of armed drones, suicide drones and ‘smart’ missiles likely will predominate (rather than tanks, as in the 2006 war). In its evolving thesis of a new war with Hizbullah, Israel believes that all its airfields will be bombed with precision missiles. (And is therefore trying to get from the U.S., a few squadrons of the new generation F-35B jets that do not need long runways, so as to try to secure its air superiority in the face of a possible swarm drone or missile attack on its air defences).

This represents just one component to Iran’s transmutation of any Israeli or American ‘military’ option against Iran into a suicide ‘Red Pill’ for whomsoever might launch it. Quietly, while all the world was focussed on the ‘Big One’ (putative nuclear weapons), over the last four years, Iran has built a conventional ‘swarm’ and ‘smart’ (and virtually undetectable by radar) ‘ant’s hive’ of ‘micro’ weapons circling across the region – from Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq to Yemen.

Although it is still to sink-in to European and American thinking (obsessed with the possibly now passé framework of the ‘Big One’ – the JCPOA), Iran quietly has inverted the calculus. It possesses the leverage now. And it has other trade options (through looking East) opening to it. Israel and its Gulf State ‘allies’, by contrast are on the defensive.

So what is next? An Iranian law has come into force setting a 60-day deadline for the U.S. to lift sanctions. If the U.S. doesn’t do so, the law states that Iran must raise uranium enrichment levels to 20% and limit UN inspectors’ access to its nuclear sites. The bottom line for Israel is that this new paradigm demands swift, confidential talks with America.

Some in Israel clearly ‘get it’: In one of the split-screen realities, it is all about nukes (on which U.S. politics is focused), but featuring on another screen is Iran’s Red Pill deterrence against the U.S. putting the military option back on the table.

However, as Professor Michael Brenner has observed, “foreign policy has got short shrift over the last two years” in the U.S. (Iran and the JCPOA being the one exception): “Even on that [latter] issue, there is scant dissent from the twin propositions that Iran is a hostile state that threatens our vital interests and that the Islamic state’s disappearance would remove a serious anathema. So pervasive is this consensus that the foreign affairs community has developed something that approximates herd immunity to critical thinking. Political élites, think tankers, and consultancy gurus all sing in chorus from the same hymnal. Such differences as exist are barely noticeable variations on the fundamentally same threat assessments or on tactics for countering those alleged threats. Strategy is nowhere to be seen”.

Today, we are all too highly susceptible, to “techno-chauvinist” perspectives. Because we are incessantly told technology – whether military, or via algorithmic control – is the irresistible driver of change. Consequently, we now simply cannot imagine a future in which the solution to our problems is not more and more technology (or more and better weapons). Clearly, step-evolutions in weaponry can become a strategic game-changer (it just has); yet the best lesson history can offer is that the future is determined by cultural and social dynamics, as much as it is shaped by technology alone

And just as America experiences its cultural Blue versus Red ‘war’, so the Middle East has its’ own cultural wars, which are being exacerbated and made more intractable by that Washington ‘tin ear’ to critical thought, and which insists to define the world around it as a Manichean struggle between the forces of light and of darkness; of freedom versus despotism; of justice versus oppression and cruelty.

Washington truly stares at its own image in the mirror, and throws this wide shawl across the rest of the world. Its’ own Presidential election is no longer purely political, but it too now is configured more as a ‘crusade’ against cosmic evil – a devil, or demiurge (Trump). The salience of this for the Middle East is that, what America defines as ‘evil and malign’, may be no more other societies’ cultural wars (little different to America’s own), playing out.

Here is the point: technology – whether military or financial – is often not the determinant. The Iranian nation has been placed under huge stresses, yet it has found the inner resources to build a solution (its smart weapon deterrence). It has demonstrated societal and cultural energy. This matters.

Jacques Barzun, the philosopher of history, asks the question: “What makes a nation?” He answers his own question. “A large part of the answer to that question is: common historical memories. When the nation’s history is poorly taught in schools; ignored by the young, and proudly rejected by qualified elders, awareness of tradition consists only in wanting to destroy it”.

The December issue of The Atlantic magazine has an interview with Professor Peter Turchin, who is actually a zoologist. He spent his early career analyzing population dynamics. Why does a particular species of beetle inhabit a certain forest, or why does it disappear from that same forest? He developed some general principles for such things, and wondered if they apply to humans, too.

One recurring pattern, Turchin noticed is something he calls ‘élite overproduction’. This happens when a society’s ruling class grows faster than the number of rulers it needs. (For Turchin, “élite” seems to mean not just political leaders, but all those managing companies, universities, and other large social institutions, as well as those at the top of the economic food chain.) As The Atlantic describes it:

“One way for a ruling class to grow is biologically—think of Saudi Arabia, where princes and princesses are born faster than royal roles can be created for them. In the United States, élites overproduce themselves through economic and educational upward mobility: More and more people get rich, and more and more get educated. Neither of these sounds bad on its own. Don’t we want everyone to be rich and educated? The problems begin when money and Harvard degrees become like royal titles in Saudi Arabia. If lots of people have them, but only some have real power, the ones who don’t have power eventually turn on the ones who do …”.

The final trigger of impending collapse, Turchin says, tends to be state insolvency. At some point rising insecurity becomes expensive. The élites have to pacify unhappy citizens with handouts and freebies—and when these run out, they have to police dissent and oppress people. Eventually the state exhausts all short-term solutions, and what was heretofore a coherent civilization disintegrates.

Turchin’s article was intended – and did – resonate as a description of the U.S. in its current state. Yet it describes much of the Middle East to a ‘T’ – particularly in the context of weak oil prices. The region is an economic disaster. And no, Turchin’s observations apply not just to the region’s autocrats, but in certain important respects – i.e. in social poverty and inequality – they apply to Israel, as much as to anyone else.

Cultural ‘war’ is as much about whether a civilisational ‘life’ is ebbing, or is both vital and fertile.

In the wake of the Iranian Revolution; 9/11, and the ‘Arab Spring’, Robert Worth notes in a long essay in the NYT Magazine, key Gulf leaders such as Mohammad bin Zayed (MbZ), shifted from an initial openness to political Islam, to a recognition that the path of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that of his own path to feudal power, simply “were incompatible”.

MbZ incrementally turned implacably hostile to the MB, to Iran, and was wary, even, of the Wahhabi establishment in Saudi Arabia. By 2013, MbZ was deeply worried about the future. The Arab Spring uprisings had toppled several autocrats, and political Islamists were rising to fill the vacuum. Worth expands:

“It was a recipe for apocalyptic violence; and regional powers were doing little to stop it. Turkey was vehemently cheering its own favoured Islamists on and backing some of them with weapons. So was Qatar, the U.A.E.’s oil-rich neighbour in the Persian Gulf. The Saudis were ambivalent, hampered by an elderly and ailing monarch.”

“He would soon enlist as an ally Mohammed bin Salman, the young Saudi crown prince known as MbS, who in many ways is MbZ’s protégé. Together, they helped the Egyptian military depose that country’s elected Islamist president in 2013. In Libya in 2015, MbZ stepped into the civil war, defying a United Nations embargo and American diplomats. He fought the Shabab militia in Somalia, leveraging his country’s commercial ports to become a power broker in the Horn of Africa. He joined the Saudi war in Yemen to battle the Iran-backed Houthi militia. In 2017, he broke an old tradition by orchestrating an aggressive embargo against his Persian Gulf neighbour Qatar. All of this was aimed at thwarting what he saw as a looming Islamist menace.”

Of course, all this, and the Sandhurst-trained monarch’s model ‘Spartan’ army, made him a star in Washington (although he subsequently fell-out with Obama, over the latter’s support for Morsi – and later, over Obama’s JCPOA, which MbZ opposed).

What then was the Gulf and Sunni riposte to this impending cultural war catastrophe? MbZ actualised an ambitious dream: that of “building a state that would show up the entire Islamist movement by succeeding where it had failed. Instead of an illiberal democracy — like Turkey’s — he would build its opposite, a socially liberal autocracy, much as Lee Kuan Yew did in Singapore in the 1960s and 1970s.” The future was a binary choice: repression or catastrophe. He chose repression: “It is ‘culture war’” he said.

This was a coherent, if tiny, civilisation disintegrating. A Gulf cultural tradition was being eviscerated in order to shield it against the Islamist and Iranian ‘virus’’. Even Worth, who visited the region often, described the inhabitants as ‘rootless individuals’, wandering the caverns beneath the hyper-capitalist, glass towers. Energy fades, civilisation gently dies.

But for the Israeli commentator, Zvi Barel, MbZ’s normalisation with Israel is simply the inevitable continuation – a further weave into the fabric of MbZ’s worldview: “His hatred for the Muslim Brotherhood equals only to his fear of Iran, in which he sees a clear and immediate threat to the Emirates in particular – and to Sunni Islam in general”.

In the Middle East, the Shi’a – widely – are enjoying a renaissance, just at the moment when the Sunni ‘old’ establishment is convulsed with fear at being overwhelmed by the region’s Shi’a. Cultural virility can trump repression, as Iran is showing. And the correct response to a cultural resurgence is almost never a ‘military option’. Iran’s readiness to face-off over the JCPOA makes a western course-correction urgent. Will that happen? In Washington, almost certainly not: We shall just have to shuffle unsteadily and nervously along the cliff edge of Israeli and U.S. demands for ‘forever-containment’ – awaiting events.

Persian Gulf in the US and Israel’s Sights

By Viktor Mikhin
Source: New Eastern Outlook

SLM

After more than three years of diplomatic tensions and a hostile media campaign against each other, it seems that Saudi Arabia and Qatar finally decided to settle their relations. Political scientists and experts around the world are now wondering what finally motivated the two rivals to put their differences behind them and start a policy of rapprochement.

In this regard, it should be noted that in June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates — commonly known as the “Arab Quartet” — severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a complete blockade on the tiny emirate of the Persian Gulf. These countries, led by Riyadh, closed their airspace, land and sea routes to Qatari planes, cars and ships, prompting Doha to use Iranian airspace. Kuwait, a country stuck in the middle of a dispute between its neighbors, tried diligently to reconcile the opposing sides, and even the “great peacemaker of the Persian Gulf” — now deceased Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah — entered the case, but to no avail.

In the end, however, Kuwaiti mediation efforts seem to have brought fruit. Kuwaiti Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al Sabah spoke on Kuwaiti State Television to read a statement about the split between Qatar and the Arab Quartet:  “Recently, fruitful discussions took place. All parties expressed their interest in unity and stability in the Persian Gulf and Arab countries, as well as in reaching a final agreement that will ensure lasting solidarity”.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia welcomed Kuwait’s efforts, while Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE, which boycotted the emirate along with the Saudis, remain silent. Some news reports suggest that Riyadh has broken off the ranks of these allies to normalize relations with Qatar under US pressure. Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE are not members of the normalization agreement that the Saudis intend to sign with Qatar. Some Arab media reported that normalization would begin with a bilateral agreement between Riyadh and Doha, followed by Manama and Cairo. The UAE’s stance is still unclear, even if they tend to be reluctant to pursue this issue in the waterway of Saudi Arabia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani expressed the Qatari optimism regarding the solution of the Persian Gulf crisis, adding that the Emirate has a strong positive attitude towards any initiative that brings peace to the region.  Moreover, Saudi Arabia also expressed optimism that the three-year crisis would soon be resolved. Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said at a conference of the International Institute for Security Studies in Manama, Bahrain, that “significant progress” has been made in resolving the crisis that began in 2017.

Although the details of the deal between Qatar and Saudi Arabia have not yet been made public, political analysts and experts in the region have rightly placed the event in the broader context of “boiling tensions” between Iran, on the one hand, and the United States and Israel, on the other. It should be recognized that the current US president Donald Trump is still defending his advantages to the very last, resorting to all visible and invisible methods. Initially, a plan to launch a military strike on the alleged nuclear facilities of Iran was revealed. In this connection, there was even a secret meeting in the White House, where Trump asked his military and advisers about such a possibility. However, the military, accustomed to a quiet and peaceful life, with the situation with Iran, which has modern air defense equipment and missiles, which can easily cover all US bases in the region with a barrage of fire, has somewhat cooled the fervor of the belligerent president. But, nevertheless, the American President’s advisors, among which is the senior advisor of the White House Hasid Jared Kushner, Trump’s favorite brother-in-law, constantly keep buzzing in the President’s ears about the impending threat to America from “bearded Iranian ayatollahs”.

Finally, a solution was reached – Jared Kushner and his team rushed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar to negotiate in a region bubbling with tension and hatred towards Israel and the United States after the despicable assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who had recently worked on the COVID-19 issue.   The delegation included Ambassadors for the Middle East Avi Berkowitz, Brian Hook and Adam Boler, Executive Director of the American International Development Finance Corporation.  Incidentally, the senior advisor and his team have recently been actively involved in negotiations to normalize relations between Israel and Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan. Officials said in public speeches that they would like to promote and sign more such agreements before President Donald Trump transfers power to President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.

American officials believe, and the US media sometimes write, that Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the deal with Israel will encourage other Arab countries to follow their example. But the Saudis don’t seem to have reached such a milestone deal, and officials in recent weeks have focused on other countries concerned about Iran’s regional influence as a unifying factor.

Kushner’s trip took place shortly after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by unknown attackers, whose hand was allegedly pointed by the Israeli Mossad and the American CIA. In fact, a few days before the murder, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Saudi Arabia and met with Mohammed bin Salman, joined by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Given that Joe Biden has repeatedly announced his intention to join an international nuclear pact with Iran, Mohammed bin Salman and Benjamin Netanyahu fear that the future White House master will pursue a policy toward Iran similar to that adopted during Barack Obama’s presidency, which has sharpened Washington’s ties with its traditional regional allies and, in particular, with Israel.

Therefore, there is no doubt that the deal between Qatar and Saudi Arabia will be directed against Iran, although it is not yet clear how it will affect the Iranian-Qatari relationships. Both parties to the deal — Qatar and Saudi Arabia — have not yet gone into detail and, for example, the Qatar embassy in Tehran has refused to comment on any details of the agreement. Yet this deal may not be sufficient to safeguard Qatar’s national interests, especially if it pushes the emirate away from Iran, which has opened its airspace and sea routes to Doha over the past three years. This new arrangement between Riyadh and Doha is obviously of direct relevance to the US, but it is most likely related to Iran, because the situation in the region has not only not changed as a result of thoughtless policies of Washington, but has further strained the situation.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are still in a state of competition in many countries, such as Libya and Syria. When Qatar was under blockade, it sought support from other countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, and therefore, if the Qataris damaged their previous relations by getting closer to the Saudis, there would be very high risks for Doha, the Tehran Times stressed. The newspaper also noted that the establishment of relations between Doha and Riyadh can never be in Qatar’s favor, as Saudi Arabia still does not recognize the role of Doha in regional issues and both countries are fiercely competing in Egypt.

Iran welcomed Kuwait’s mediation efforts to end the three-year crisis between Qatar and the Arab Quartet. But Tehran seems to be closely monitoring the situation in the region in light of US and Israeli efforts to increase pressure on the Islamic Republic.  Iran seeks to strengthen ties with Qatar and other Arab states in the region, but it also seeks to make it clear to those states that it does not accept any restructuring aimed at harming its interests.  “We welcome understandings in the Persian Gulf announced by Kuwait. Iran’s longstanding policy is diplomacy, good neighborly relations & regional dialogue. We hope reconciliation contributes to stability and political & economic development for all peoples of our region,” Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted a few hours after Kuwait issued a statement saying that ”fruitful negotiations“ had been held between all parties to the conflict.

Undoubtedly, the situation in the Persian Gulf is far from any settlement. And even if Riyadh’s Doha settles its difficult relations, the most important question remains — the relations of the United States and Israel with Iran and their futile efforts to change the state system in this Islamic Republic.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Scenarios to Awaken Sleeper Cells with American and Saudi Support: Warnings of ’Security Strife’ سيناريوات لتحريك خلايا نائمة بدعم أميركي وسعودي: تحذيرات من «فتن أمنية»

Scenarios to Awaken Sleeper Cells with American and Saudi Support: Warnings of ’Security Strife’

Scenarios to Awaken Sleeper Cells with American and Saudi Support: Warnings of ’Security Strife’

By Mayssam Rizk – Al-Akhbar Newspaper / Translated by Al-Ahed News

In light of the Gulf-“Israeli” normalization agreements, pressure is mounting on Lebanon to fall in line. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently content with just being a spectator, while the United States is activating its plan to implement a theory shared by Washington and Riyadh: “Let the country collapse so that we rebuild it without Hezbollah.”

Lebanon has taken a huge leap into a zone similar to the Bermuda Triangle, almost as if its demise had become inevitable. The push for that is strongest among those who insist on removing Hezbollah from the entire political scene – either make a lot of concessions, or face the flood. The American war against the resistance, which involves the use of deadlier tools than those employed in Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, and Lebanon in 2006, is continuing in accordance with the aforementioned theory: “Let the country collapse so we can rebuild it without Hezbollah”.

Saudi Arabia strongly believes in this theory even though it has not been put into practice yet. However, it can be set in motion as a financial reserve when the opportunity presents itself.

Until then, work to sow chaos resumes: activating the activities of NGOs and movements with a specific agenda, imposing new sanctions on Lebanese figures, and the prevailing absence of security. All of which will open up the internal arena to a range of possibilities.

A year and two months ago, the objective was to expose the corrupt political class, but now it is time to overthrow it, regardless of the existence of an alternative, or so the information indicates.

The difference between these two periods of time is that in the fall of 2019, there were no Emirates-“Israeli” relations, Bahraini-“Israeli” relations, Saudi-“Israeli” relations. In other words, today “Israel” is present in every Arab country except Lebanon, which means that the latter isn’t permitted to deviate from this path – forcing it to join their ranks is not built on a void. For there is no longer any ambiguity that the corruption of the ruling system and the absence of any serious effort to search for a solution to address the collapse are helping the outside world implement its plan.

Anyone who reads the graph of the country’s movement at all levels will realize that it is heading towards a more painful stage, in light of the downfall scenario that threatens all institutions that are no longer able to contain its dangerous repercussions. In parallel, Washington is activating its policy to destroy Lebanon, in cooperation with local actors entrusted with this task, in addition to a set of basic pillars for its project run by the US administration from abroad and the US embassy in Beirut. The coming stages will unfold as follows:

The first pillar: Reactivating civil society associations, some of which operate according to the Western agenda. And this is done through the implementation of the activities of some groups that try to exploit any righteous movement and divert it to another path. According to some sources, certain movements could cause security incidents that might further exacerbate the situation.

For example, the surprise encounters involving young people who confronted officials and figures in public places may develop into security problems if they move onto private residences. Then, who guarantees, for example, that there will be no casualties should a fight between these youths and the security team of any official take place?

The second pillar: The infiltration of these organizations into certain areas under the guise of aid, specifically Christian ones, and spreading the impression that there is no way to guarantee social security except through the West, with the aim of replacing major parties in these areas, specifically the Free Patriotic Movement.

The third pillar: Putting more Lebanese figures on the sanctions list, in addition to state institutions or even banks, to further destabilize the economic and financial situation and work to sow doubt in these institutions and encourage financial transactions on the black market.

The fourth pillar: undermining security by awakening sleeper cells and sowing sedition. This is no longer a secret, as many political and security forces now talk about reports confirming the existence of serious security threats.

Even though Saudi movements in Lebanon appear to be faint so far, available information suggests that the kingdom is sharing its theory with Washington. However, it will not intervene directly right now, but rather wait for the country’s complete collapse based on the conviction that “this collapse will only negatively affect Hezbollah, weaken it, and force it to back down. Thus, it will be possible to rebuild the state in Lebanon through an American agenda and Saudi funding.”

سيناريوات لتحريك خلايا نائمة بدعم أميركي وسعودي: تحذيرات من «فتن أمنية»

ميسم رزق 

الخميس 17 كانون الأول 2020

في ضوء التطبيع الخليجي – الإسرائيلي يزداد الضغط على لبنان للانضمام إلى الركب. المملكة العربية السعودية تكتفي حالياً بدور المتفرّج، فيما الولايات المتحدة تفعّل خطتها لتنفيذ نظرية تتشاطرها واشنطن والرياض: «دعوا البلد ينهار حتى نعيد بناءه من دون حزب الله»

دخلَ لبنان، جدياً، منطقة شبيهة بـ «مُثلّث برمودا»، وكأنّ سقوطه صار قدراً. الدفع إلى ذلك، على أشدّه عند من يشترط إخراج حزب الله من كل المشهد السياسي مع كثير من التنازلات… وإلا الطوفان. الحرب الأميركية ضد المقاومة، بأدوات أكثر فتكاً مما تعرّضت له أفغانستان (2001)، والعراق (2003)، ولبنان(2006)، مستمرة وفق نظرية «دعوا البلد ينهار حتى نعيد بناءه من دون حزب الله». نظرية «تبصم» عليها الرياض بـ «العشرة»، رغمَ انكفائها حالياً، لكنها جاهزة للتفاعل متى سنحت الفرصة، باعتبارها الاحتياطي المالي. حتى ذلِك الحين، يُستأنَف العمل لاستكمال زرع الفوضى عبرَ: تفعيل نشاط منظمات المجتمع المدني والتحركات التي تنطلِق بأجندة محدّدة، فرض عقوبات جديدة على شخصيات لبنانية، وطغيان الأمن المفقود، مما يجعل الساحة الداخلية مفتوحة على أي احتمال. قبلَ عام وشهرين من اليوم، كانَ العنوان تعرية الطبقة السياسية الفاسدة، أما حالياً فقد حانَ وقت إسقاطها، بمعزل عن وجود بديل، هكذا تقول المعلومات. الفارق بين الزمنين، أنه في خريف 2019، لم تكُن هناك إمارات وإسرائيل، بحرين وإسرائيل، سعودية وإسرائيل، أي أن إسرائيل اليوم موجودة في كل دولة عربية إلا لبنان، بمعنى، أن الأخير لا يُمكن أن يكون شاذاً عن هذا المسار، وإجباره على الانضمام إلى الركب ليسَ مبنياً على فراغ. إذ لم يعُد ثمة لبس في أن فساد المنظومة الحاكمة وغياب أي مسعى جدّي للبحث عن معالجة الانهيار يساعدان الخارج في تنفيذ خطته.

من يقرأ الخط البياني لحركة البلاد على كل الأصعدة، يكتشِف أنها تتجه نحوَ مرحلة أكثر إيلاماً، في ظل سيناريو السقوط الذي يتهدّد كل المؤسسات التي لم تعُد قادرة على احتواء ارتداداته الخطيرة. في موازاة ذلك، تُفعّل واشنطن سياستها لتدمير لبنان، بالتعاون مع فاعلين محليين أُوكلِت إليهم هذه المهمة، بالإضافة إلى مجموعة ركائز أساسية لمشروعها تديرها الإدارة الأميركية من الخارج والسفارة الأميركية في بيروت، وستبدأ بالظهور تباعاً في المرحلة المقبلة، وذلك على النحو التالي:

الركيزة الأولى: إعادة تحريك جمعيات المجتمع المدني، التي يعمل بعضها وفق الأجندة الغربية. وذلك، من خلال تنفيذ نشاطات لبعض المجموعات التي تحاول استثمار أي تحرّك محقّ، وحرفه إلى غير مساره. وهنا، تقول بعض المصادر إن من شأن بعض التحركات أن يؤدّي إلى وقوع حوادث أمنية تفجّر الأوضاع. فعلى سبيل المثال، «الكبسات» المفاجئة التي ينفذها بعض الشباب ضد مسؤولين وشخصيات في أماكن عامة، قد تتطور إلى إشكالات أمنية في حال انتقلت إلى المنازل، وحينها من يضمن مثلاً عدم وقوع ضحايا فيما لو وقع تضارب بين هؤلاء الشباب والفريق الأمني لأيّ مسؤول؟

الركيزة الثانية: تغلغل هذه المنظمات في المناطق تحتَ ستار المساعدات، تحديداً في المناطق المسيحية، وإشاعة الانطباع بأن لا سبيل لضمان الأمن الاجتماعي إلا من خلال الغرب، وذلك بهدف الحلول مكان الأحزاب التي لها ثقل في هذه المناطق، تحديداً التيار الوطني الحر.

الركيزة الثالثة: وضع مزيد من الشخصيات اللبنانية على لائحة العقوبات، بالإضافة إلى مؤسسات في الدولة أو حتى مصارف، لزعزعة الوضع الاقتصادي والمالي أكثر فأكثر، والعمل على بثّ الشك في هذه المؤسسات وتشجيع الحركة المالية في السوق السوداء.

إسرائيل اليوم موجودة في كل دولة عربية إلا لبنان


الركيزة الرابعة: ضرب البعد الأمني في العمق، من خلال تحريك لخلايا نائمة وافتعال فتن. وهو ما لم يعُد سراً، إذ أن الكثير من القوى السياسية والأمنية باتت تتحدث عن تقارير تؤكد وجود تهديدات أمنية جدية.

وإذ تبدو الحركة السعودية في لبنان حتى الآن خافتة، إلا أن المعلومات تؤكّد بأن المملكة تشاطر واشنطن نظريتها، لكنها لن تتدخل الآن مباشرة، بل ستنتظر انهيار البلاد بالكامل، وفقَ قناعة تامة بأن «هذا الانهيار سيؤثر سلباً على حزب الله فقط، وأن ذلك سيُضعفه وسيجعله يتراجع. وبالتالي سيكون بالإمكان إعادة بناء الدولة في لبنان بأجندة أميركية وتمويل سعودي»!

Deep State Wars: Trump vs. Biden On China & Iran

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

7 DECEMBER 2020

Deep State Wars: Trump vs. Biden On China & Iran

Should Biden succeed in seizing power from Trump, he’ll be forced to confront serious internal challenges to his envisioned foreign policy decisions towards China and Iran, which will likely lead to a worsening of tensions within the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) even though the chance still exists for a possible compromise between its two most prominent factions.

“Deep state” deniers — those who refuse to acknowledge the existence of factionalism within the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies — are attempting to mislead the public into expecting that the implementation of Biden’s envisioned foreign policy decisions towards China and Iran will be perfectly smooth if he succeeds in seizing power from Trump. It’s extremely unlikely that such a scenario will come to pass since the Democrat presidential candidate will almost certainly face intense internal resistance from the pro-Trump elements of the deep state that hang around for his possible presidency. What follows is an extended bullet point summary describing the current deep state dynamics, predicting their forthcoming development under a possible Biden Administration, identifying their fault lines with respect to China and Iran, proposing some areas of compromise, and then touching upon some other common points between their largely contradictory worldviews. The purpose in sharing this insight is to debunk the deep state deniers and provide observers with a glimpse of what might transpire across the coming four years.

Deep State Dynamics

* All permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep states”) in the world are comprised of different factions.

* Each deep state has a different dynamic which changes with time.

* The past four years of the Trump Administration proves that zealous individuals will overtly and covertly attempt to sabotage the President’s foreign policy.

* This unilateral assertion of interests (whether individually or in coordination with like-minded supporters) against the chain of command is very worrying.

* It was seen most prominently with respect to Trump’s envisioned desire to reach a “New Detente” with Russia, which his deep state foes feared (sincerely or not) represented a dire threat to national security.

* Even after four years, Trump was still unable to “purge” and/or “politically neutralize” these forces, hence why they continued to hinder the implementation of his policy in that respect.

* Of relevance as well was the Syrian chemical weapons incident of early 2017 which provoked Trump into hypocritically going against his prior criticism of Obama when he threatened to bomb the country in late 2013.

* The specifics of that incident are in dispute, but Russia and Syria officially alleged that it was a provocation carried out by US intelligence-backed “rebels”.

* That being the case, which is consistent with their prior claims about similar incidents, then it proves that elements of the US deep state can stage provocations to pressure the President in a certain direction.

* There’s no reason to predict that this dynamic will change if Biden seizes the presidency, it’s just that this time it’ll likely be anti-Chinese and anti-Iranian elements of the deep state that might be driving this instead.

Bureaucratic Challenges

* Trump thought that replacing the heads of various departments would lead to positive changes down the chain of command, but this proved to not have been the case.

* In Trump’s experience, some of the individuals who he chose to lead those departments (ex: the CIA’s Gina Haspel and former Defense Secretary Mattis) have/had sharp contradictions of vision with him on some issues.

* It’s impossible to know in advance whether a nominee is “ideologically pure” on all issues since the importance is in immediately selecting someone to lead those departments who seems to be on the same page.

* It’s only throughout the course of time that differences might make themselves apparent, whether they preceded that individual’s nomination or independently developed later on.

* There’s nothing wrong with contrasting visions, but they become problematic when the individuals tasked with leading key departments defy the Executive Branch’s will, whether overtly or covertly.

* Even with the most “ideologically pure” individuals, they’re still literally only just one person and cannot exercise full control of the countless people below them, some of whom might be more zealous in their dissent.

* Institutional safeguards and oversight unique to each department are supposed to prevent this from happening by identifying it in advance and/or rigorously responding after the fact to prevent its recurrence.

* That hasn’t always worked as intended, as the storied experience of the State Department’s many disagreements with Trump’s policies attest, and the President wasn’t able to perfectly impose his will.

* The ideal solution then is for the most “ideologically pure” individuals to take charge of departments and ensure that dissenters who might go against the chain of command are identified and rooted out.

* Nevertheless, these actions are regarded in American political culture (whether rightly or wrongly) as “witch hunts” which go against the country’s traditions, which is how they were described when Trump attempted them.

* Biden, however, is held to different standards by a much more supportive media, so any efforts in this direction likely won’t receive the popular pushback that Trump’s did.

* In this case, dissenters might only receive a platform (whether directly or via leaks) to share their views on suppressed media outlets such as Breitbart and a few others, therefore mitigating their impact on public opinion.

* This might in turn embolden Biden and his team to carry out the “purge” that Trump only dreamed that he’d have been able to do, especially since new nominees are career bureaucrats unlike Trump’s relative “outsiders”.

* The unintended consequence of that success might be the development of more powerful groupthink, which could in turn blind policy makers and increase the risk of ideologically radical policies being promoted.

* As a case in point, the Biden team is known to prioritize “spreading democracy” and “protecting human rights” through Obama-era Color Revolutions and “Humanitarian Interventions”.

* Without responsibly expressed dissent within their ranks against these ideological desires, they might be more prone to resort to coercive (including kinetic) means to impose them abroad.

* That could in effect lead to a more militant foreign policy than was pursued under the comparatively less ideological and much more pragmatic Trump, whose vision was kept in check by deep state dissenters.

Deep State Fault Lines: China

* The primary deep state fault line that’s expected to develop within a possible Biden Administration is over the US’ approach towards China.

* If there’s one deep state front that Trump scored some success on, it’s with installing anti-Chinese individuals into these three institutions (the military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies).

* They’ve already developed clear strategies, implemented tangible policies (some of which irreversibly changed the state of play), and published comprehensive policy documents for guiding the deep state.

* For these reasons, it’ll be extremely difficult for Biden to reverse the trajectory of ever-intensifying US-Chinese competition, although he might try to regulate it a bit better.

* There are already several flashpoints between these two countries — namely the Korean Peninsula and territorial disputes (Japan/Taiwan/South China Sea/India) — that could be exploited by the dissident deep state.

* It’s not even so much the fact that it might just be one “rogue” individual who could spoil everything (unlikely), but that there’s an institutional mindset in the military at least not to “be soft” on China.

* With this in mind, Biden will likely have to compromise with members of the dissident deep state with respect to China the same as Trump had to do vis-a-vis Russia, though it’s unclear whether the same outcome will occur where he ends up bending to their will for the most part.

* What’s meant by this is that Biden can only go so far in seeking to regulate the US’ Great Power competition with China since members of the military might go against him just like diplomats defied Trump on Russia.

* Where Biden has much more flexibility then is on the economic front since that doesn’t fall within the typical domain of the “deep state”, which is also why Trump was so successful in pushing through his trade war agenda.

* Biden, therefore, might try to reach a more comprehensive trade deal with China which mitigates economic tensions but retains most of the military legacy thereof that he inherited from Trump.

* A possible compromise with the dissident deep state might be to continue Trump’s strategy of assembling an anti-Chinese economic coalition with the EU.

* Some exceptions might occur, though, such as if “ideologically pure” intelligence and/or diplomatic allies succeed in “reforming” some of Trump’s anti-Chinese containment measures in Asia.

* For instance, the situation in the South China Sea might remain tense, but it might also not get any worse, with Biden’s allies “freezing” the state of affairs in order to prevent it from spiraling out of control.

* That might not be ideal for the deep state dissenters, but it might also not be unacceptable for them either.

* Ultimately, it still remains to be seen how he’ll manage this complex interplay of shadowy interests since the outcome of this intra-governmental competition will greatly shape global affairs across the next four years.

Deep State Fault Lines: Iran

* The second most consequential deep state fault line lies with Iran, especially considering the influence that the “Israeli” and Gulf lobbies hold over the US government in general and the Trump Administration in particular.

* It already seems like dissident anti-Iranian deep state elements opposed to Biden’s possible return to the Iranian nuclear deal are conspiring to sabotage that scenario.

* This speculation is the result of Pompeo’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia, which Netanyahu was reported to have attended as well despite Tel Aviv and Riyadh’s denial.

* Observers are of the opinion that this wasn’t just a “going away party” for Pompeo, but a plot to undermine any Iranian-friendly outreaches by Biden.

* It can only be speculated what form this might take, but the subsequent assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist might suggest possible ways in which this could play out.

* It’s unclear who was responsible, but whether it was the US, “Israel”, or Saudi Arabia, all three (at least under the outgoing Trump Administration) are on the same page that it was a positive development.

* Even in the event that Biden is able to “purge”/”politically neutralize” as much of his deep state as possible of anti-Iranian forces, “Israel” and Saudi Arabia can still engage in similarly destabilizing and provocative acts.

* Moreover, while Gulf influence over the US government can potentially be mitigated, “Israeli” influence is recognized as being much more powerful and unquestionably has strong bipartisan support.

* That observation, however, doesn’t explain why Obama went through with the Iranian nuclear deal in the first place, which shows that there are still some divisions between some of the US deep state and “Israel”.

* That doesn’t mean that a split is imminent, but just that those in the US who might want to assert their view of national interests at “Israel’s” perfecived expense might be emboldened under Biden’s Obama-era team.

* It’s here where Biden’s “purge”/”political neutralization” of anti-Iranian elements will be important because if he roots out Pompeo’s allies, then “Israel” and Saudi Arabia would be more isolated if they sabotaged his policies afterwards.

* Should he fail in this attempt or not do so to the extent that’s needed, then Biden’s Iran policy might be sabotaged from within just like Trump’s Russia one was.

* Unlike with China, it might be more difficult to reach a deep state compromise on Iran because anti-Iranian elements regard the country as an existential threat to their “Israeli” ally, which China doesn’t represent.

* The ideological radicalism influencing their opposition to Iran makes them unlikely to compromise, meaning that this might become the most intense front of dissident deep state subterfuge of Biden’s foreign policy.

* For instance, the military likely won’t agree to any compromise with Iran since it was the military which supported Trump’s anti-Iranian policies the most.

* The intelligence and diplomatic communities, however, were always split in this respect, and if anything, they’ve leaned closer to preferring Obama-era policies, thus making it easier for Biden to promote them.

* Although a compromise is difficult to reach in the Mideast, deep state dissent might be quelled if the US’ return to the Iranian nuclear deal somehow or another has loopholes for intensifying pressure on the country.

* Iranian conservatives were against the initial deal since they didn’t trust the US, and they’re skeptical of any future one which mandates more international inspections and any missile cuts for that reason.

* If Biden were to propose what’s presented (whether rightly or wrongly) as a “perfect deal” but was rebuked, then this might set into motion a chain reaction of escalations that would serve the military’s interests.

* Although it’s only speculative, such a plan of action could be discussed behind closed doors with dissident deep state members from the military to either ensure their support or create staged drama.

* If Iranian conservatives saw that the military vehemently opposed a deal, they might then think that maybe it really is more to their interests than they thought, even if that’s only a ruse to strategically disarm them.

* In any case, it’s still a risky proposal because there’s no way to ensure the military’s support for something that they’re so clearly against even if they promise otherwise, hence why this is only speculation.

Possible Points Of Deep State Compromise

* There are some common points of interest between the Trump and Biden teams, as well as those who are influenced by both of their visions within the deep state.

* The first is the recognition that China is the US’ top strategic competitor, though Trump’s deep state regards it as the greatest threat while Biden’s thinks that Russia fulfills this role instead.

* Nevertheless, they can still find some common ground in strengthening the US’ anti-Chinese alliance system, focusing first on the Quad and 5G, then perhaps on trade (such as what was proposed earlier with the EU).

* The military-industrial complex is also very important to both so there was never any credible risk of either administration — Trump or Biden — pulling away from international affairs and “isolating” despite critics’ claims.

* This nod to the military dimension of the deep state ensures that it remains a prominent force influencing the US’ grand strategic designs, even if the other two (intelligence and diplomacy) override it on topics like Iran.

* Trade and tech (5G especially) are other areas of common interest between the Trump and Biden deep states, and representatives from both spheres regard China as the US’ top global competitor.

* Dissident deep state elements might therefore be appeased if Biden expanded the US’ anti-Chinese global alliance network on the basis of trade and tech even if militarily de-escalating in the South China Sea.

* American values are also important to both too, and these can be incorporated into the basis for a more comprehensive worldwide anti-Chinese alliance system, possibly winning over the dissident deep state.

Concluding Thoughts

As was argued in this analysis, dissident members of the deep state are prone to replicating the Russiagate precedent by actively working to sabotage Biden’s envisioned foreign policy decisions towards China and Iran. While the projected president-elect might make some headway in politically neutralizing the internal opposition to his vision, he’ll more than likely still have to confront significant pushback along these two main fronts. The possibility therefore exists for him to consider a compromise between the deep state’s two most prominent factions which could see the US retaining some elements of its prior strategies against those two countries in exchange for moderating its hostile approach towards them in specific spheres. It’s way to early to predict with a lot of confidence whether this will all play out or not, especially since Biden hasn’t (yet?) been certified as the president-elect, but it’s nevertheless important to begin prognosticating how everything might unfold if that does indeed come to pass. In any case, the importance of this analysis rests with the attention that it gives the deep state level of analysis, which is deliberately neglected by most mainstream analysts.

Biden doesn’t have the luxury of time. بايدن لا يملك ترف الوقت

Biden doesn’t have the luxury of time.

Nasser Qandil

Despite outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s attempt to recall his election victory, there is no one in America or the world that treats Trump as a waste of time in U.S. and international political life, and Americans are preparing to meet President-elect Joe Biden as Washington’s friends and foes prepare for this stage.

– Some of those involved in the U.S. hegemony project imagine that the options are open to Biden, whether intellectually attached to the position of ideological and hostile commitment to everything that is liberating in the world, or politically from the position of their bets on the American role as a lever for projects that reaped failure after failure with the change of American covenants from George Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, and these projects fell in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen and Lebanon, or existentially, as is the case for those who went in escalation to where there is no return, especially in the Gulf and the occupation entity, and they fear any US retreat and its repercussions on the balance of the region and the emergence of new equations.

– Biden has no luxury of options, after Trump’s choices have reached its limit in four years and her limited ability to produce new balances, despite their brutality, bringing ruin and relying on starvation. The settlement is to open a new page with the forces that Trump fought his war against, a page recognising the facts and facts on ground confirming the balance of deterrence despite assassinations and mobilisation of fleets. Does Biden have the ability to go to war, and if this is not the only option, the only alternative is to return to the logic of compromise, which Obama and Biden discovered as the only option, the nuclear understanding with Iran came as the product of this inevitability, and constitutes a return to understanding a first translation of the stability of this imperative.

– Biden has no luxury of selectivity, in selecting the destination of the resolution of choice, whether it is war or compromise, and as long as it is a compromise, what Biden does as a veteran of international politics, and teaches him with his team, which has enough experience, that nuclear understanding with Iran is the centrepiece of Trump’s withdrawal from nuclear understanding is the source of division between Washington and its European allies, and the division has torn NATO apart, and withdrawal from nuclear understanding is the source of the rift with Russia and China turning into an open confrontation. As long as the philosophy of exit from understanding is based on the abolition of liabilities, the destruction of international agreements and conventions and the obligations they impose, and the return to understanding, the international institutions are restored from the institution represented by the United Nations to the IAEA.

– Biden and his team also realize that they don’t have the luxury of time, what Trump did was enough to create a vain skepticism of understandings with Washington, produce an angry public opinion waiting for revenge for crimes, monetization of excess power to impose new equations, and future benefits in Iran will make time in place, in six months Iran will choose a new president, and entitlement will be an answer to the U.S. policies represented by Biden, and this time it will be to stay under the roof of nuclear understanding and its obligations at stake, as noted by the decision of the Iranian Shura Council, which decided to suspend these commitments..

Biden’s future is at stake, with the future of nuclear understanding,. and the future of many equations in the region and the world.

بايدن لا يملك ترف الوقت

ناصر قنديل

رغم محاولة الرئيس الأميركي المنتهية ولايته دونالد ترامب العودة الى التذكير بفوزه بالانتخابات، فليس هناك أحد في أميركا ولا في العالم يتعامل مع ترامب إلا بصفته مرحلة زائلة من الحياة السياسية الأميركية والدولية، وقد بدأ الأميركيون في ظل المرحلة الانتقالية يستعدون لملاقاة تسلم الرئيس المنتخب جو بايدن مقاليد السلطة، فيما العالم من أصدقاء واشنطن وخصومها يستعد لهذه المرحلة.

يتخيل البعض من المتعلقين بمشروع الهيمنة الأميركية أن الخيارات مفتوحة أمام بايدن، سواء كان تعلق هؤلاء فكرياً من موقع الإلتزام العقائدي والعدائي لكل ما هو تحرري في العالم، أو سياسياً من موقع رهاناتهم على الدور الأميركي كرافعة لمشاريع حصدت الفشل تلو الفشل مع تغير العهود الأميركية من جورج بوش الى باراك أوباما الى دونالد ترامب، وسقطت هذه المشاريع في سورية والعراق وفلسطين واليمن ولبنان، او وجودياً، كحال الذين ذهبوا في التصعيد الى حيث لا رجعة خصوصاً في الخليج وكيان الاحتلال، ويخشون أي انكفاء أميركي وانعكاساته على موازين المنطقة ونشوء معادلات جديدة.

ليس أمام بايدن ترف الخيارات، بعدما بلغت خيارات ترامب سقفها خلال أربع سنوات وظهرت محدودية قدرتها على إنتاج توازنات جديدة، رغم وحشيتها وجلبها للخراب واستنادها الى التجويع، وبلغت الأمور حداً صارت فيه الخيارات ضيقة، بين الذهاب للحرب أو الذهاب للتسوية. والتسوية هي فتح صفحة جديدة مع القوى التي خاض ترامب حربه ضدها، صفحة الاعتراف بالوقائع والحقائق التي أنتجتها المواجهة، والتي تقول بأن التوازنات لم تتغيّر رغم الحصار والجوع، وأن المعادلات لم تتبدّل رغم الاغتيالات وحشد الأساطيل، فهل يملك بايدن قدرة الذهاب للحرب، وإن لم يكن هذا هو الخيار فالبديل الوحيد هو العودة لمنطق التسوية، الذي اكتشف ثنائي أوباما وبادين أنه خيار وحيد، وجاء التفاهم النووي مع إيران نتاج هذه الحتمية، وتشكل العودة للتفاهم ترجمة أولى لثبات هذه الحتمية.

ليس أمام بايدن ترف الانتقائية، في انتقاء وجهة ترجمة حسم الخيار، سواء أكان الحرب أم التسوية، وطالما هو التسوية، فما يعمله بايدن كمخضرم في السياسة الدولية، ويعلمه معه فريقه الذي يملك ما يكفي من الخبرة، أن التفاهم النووي مع إيران هو محور التحولات التي يريد إحداثها في العلاقات الدولية لبدء صفحة جديدة من التفاوض الهادئ مع الحلفاء والخصوم، فانسحاب ترامب من التفاهم النووي هو مصدر الفرقة بين واشنطن وحلفائها الأوروبيين وهذه الفرقة مزقت حلف الناتو، والانسحاب من التفاهم النووي هو مصدر تحول الخلاف مع روسيا والصين الى مواجهة مفتوحة. طالما أن فلسفة الخروج من التفاهم تقوم على إلغاء الخصوم، وضرب عرض الحائط بالاتفاقات والمواثيق الدولية والالتزامات التي تفرضها، والعودة الى التفاهم ترد الاعتبار للمؤسسات الدولية من المؤسسة الأم التي تمثلها الأمم المتحدة الى الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية.

يدرك بايدن وفريقه أيضاً أنهم لا يملكون ترف الوقت، فما فعله ترامب كان كافياً لخلق الشك بلا جدوى التفاهمات مع واشنطن، وإنتاج رأي عام غاضب ينتظر الانتقام من الجرائم، وتسييل فائض القوة لفرض معادلات جديدة، والاستحقاقات المقبلة في إيران تجعل الوقت داهماً، فخلال ستة شهور ستختار إيران رئيساً جديداً، والاستحقاق سيكون جواباً على السياسات الأميركية التي يمثلها بايدن، وهذه المرة سيكون البقاء تحت سقف التفاهم النووي والتزاماته على المحك، كما أشار قرار مجلس الشورى الإيراني، الذي قرّر تعليق هذه الالتزامات.

مستقبل بايدن على المحك ومعه مستقبل التفاهم النووي، ومستقبل الكثير الكثير من معادلات المنطقة والعالم. وليس الأمر ولم يكن ولن يكون، كرم أخلاق بايدن أو سوء نياته.

فيديوات ذات صلة

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مقالات ذات صلة

Lebanon, Syria and the region after the return to nuclear understanding لبنان وسورية والمنطقة بعد العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

لبنان وسورية والمنطقة بعد العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

ناصر قنديل

بعد إعلان الرئيس الأميركيّ المنتخب جو بايدن عزمه العودة الى التفاهم النوويّ مع إيران، وبعد إعلان الرئيس دونالد ترامب قبوله تسليم الرئاسة بعد اجتماع المجمع الانتخابي ونطقه بفوز بايدن، وهو ما بات محسوماً، صار العالم والمنطقة في دائرة البحث عن التداعيات التي ستلي العودة الأميركية للتفاهم النووي، طالما تراجع بايدن عن شروط مسبقة تتصل بالتفاهم على ملفات خلافية أخرى رفضت إيران أي بحث فيها، وصار التطابق الأميركي الإيراني على معادلة، عودة غير مشروطة مقابل التزام إيراني بموجبات التفاهم، وبعدها يكون التفاوض من داخل أطر التفاهم نفسه.

لو لم يكن للتفاهم من تداعيات خطيرة على كل من كيان الاحتلال وحكام الخليج، لما كان هذا الاستنفار الذي جمعهم مع ترامب على قرار الانسحاب من التفاهم وتصعيد الضغوط على إيران، ومعلوم أن العودة للتفاهم ستعني حكماً رفع العديد من العقوبات الرئيسية التي تستهدف الاقتصاد والأموال الإيرانيّة، والقدرة الإيرانيّة على المتاجرة بنفطها وغازها وسائر مصادرها الاقتصاديّة، والمعلوم أيضاً أن إيران ستقوم بمد يد العون بصورة أقوى لقوى المقاومة في المنطقة كلما انفرجت اوضاعها المالية والاقتصادية. وهذا كان إحدى الذرائع التي أوردها ترامب للانسحاب من التفاهم.

الأسئلة تطال ملفات المنطقة الإقليمية، حيث يتمّ تداول تقارير وتحليلات تطمئن جماعات أميركا الى ان العودة للتفاهم لا تعني تغييراً في الاوضاع في لبنان وسورية وسائر ساحات الاشتباك الإقليميّة. وهنا يتم التداول بثقة بأن القوات الأميركية باقية في سورية، وأن مشروع بايدن لتقسيم العراق عائد الى الواجهة، وأن تقسيم سورية سيليه، وأن الضغط على حزب الله في لبنان سيتزايد لصالح تعويض “إسرائيل” خسائرها من العودة للتفاهم بمكاسب من رصيد مكانة حزب الله ومصادر قوته، وبالمثل تتحدّث التقارير ذاتها عن تعويض الخسارة الخليجيّة بعودة التفاهم بحل سياسي للأزمة اليمنية تكون يد السعودية والإمارات هي العليا.

التدقيق في هذه التقارير يكشف بسرعة سطحيتها او انتماءها الى مدرسة حرب نفسيّة هشّة تريد رفع معنويات جماعة أميركا في المنطقة، أو إصابة معنويات جمهور قوى المقاومة، فالتفاهم النووي لم يكن يوماً نووياً، بقدر ما كان محور ومركز ملفات التصادم في المنطقة، ولذلك عندما بلغت الإدارة الاميركية في عهد باراك اوباما وجو بايدن الى طريق مسدود في المواجهة في سورية، ذهبت الى توقيع التفاهم النووي. فالحرب ليست فصولاً منفصلة، بل هي جسد واحد، لأنه في نهاية المطاف كل ملف من ملفات المنطقة يوصل الأمور الى واحد من خيارين التسوية أو الحرب. ومَن يعود للتفاهم النووي وهو الحلقة الأصعب لأنه اختار التسوية بدلاً من أن يختار الحرب، فلن يفعل شيئاً آخر غير الذهاب للتسويات في سائر الملفات، مادام خيار الحرب مغلقاً، ولو كان متاحاً لما كانت العودة للتفاهم.

السعي الأميركي يبدأ مع العودة للتفاهم الى البحث عن مسارات مناسبة لملاقاة خيار العودة للتفاهم في ملفات النزاع. ففي العراق سيكون السؤال هل هناك من يحمي التقسيم الذي كانت فرصه الأفضل عندما أعلنت كردستان العراق انفصالها وتراجعت لأنها تبلغت قراراً أميركياً بعدم القدرة على الذهاب الى حرب، وهذا في عهد ترامب، فكيف في عهد بايدن، وفي سورية سيكون الأسهل الذهاب للوقوف وراء روسيا لترتيب توزيع الأوراق والأدوار مع الأكراد والأتراك تمهيداً للخروج من سورية، وفي لبنان سيكون سهلاً التموضع وراء فرنسا وتسهيل فوزها بفرصة إنجاح المبادرة التي قدمها الرئيس امانويل ماكرون، على قاعدة الانفتاح على حزب الله وتحييد الخلاف الأميركي معه عن إعادة تكوين السلطة عبر حكومة تتولى قيادة مرحلة إنقاذية بدعم مالي دولي. أما في اليمن فالكلام واضح عن سعي بايدن لوقف الحرب من موقع اعتبار العدوان السعودي جريمة يجب أن تتوقف.

التراجع في الملف الأصعب يعني التراجع في الأقل صعوبة، ومرحلة جديدة كلياً توشك أن تبدأ في المنطقة.

Translation

Lebanon, Syria and the region after the return to nuclear understanding

Nasser Qandil

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After President-elect Joe Biden announced his intention to return to nuclear understanding with Iran, and after President Donald Trump announced his acceptance of the presidency after the meeting of the electoral college and pronounced Biden’s victory, which is now resolved, the world and the region are in the search for the implications that will follow the U.S. return to nuclear understanding, as long as Biden retracts preconditions related to understanding on other controversial files that Iran has refused any discussion on, and the U.S.-Iran conformity on an equation, an unconditional return in exchange for an Iranian commitment under the understanding, and then from within the frameworks itself.

If the understanding did not have serious repercussions on both the entity of the occupation and the rulers of the Gulf, it would not be the alert that brought them together with Trump on the decision to withdraw from the understanding and escalate the pressure on Iran, and it is known that the return to the understanding will mean a provision to lift many of the major sanctions targeting the Iranian economy and funds, and the ability of Iran to trade its oil, gas and other economic sources, and it is also known that Iran will help the resistance forces in the region whenever their financial and economic situation is resolved. This was one of Trump’s pretexts for withdrawing from the understanding.

The questions are reaching the regional files, where reports and analysis are circulated to reassure American groups that a return to understanding does not mean a change in the situation in Lebanon, Syria and other regional arenas of engagement. And here is the trade with confidence that the U.S. forces remain in Syria, and that biden’s project to divide Iraq returns to the front, and that the division of Syria will follow him, and that the pressure on Hezbollah in Lebanon will increase in favor of compensating “Israel” its losses from returning to the understanding with gains from the balance of hezbollah’s status and sources of strength, and similar reports talk about compensating the Gulf loss by returning the understanding of a political solution to the Yemeni crisis is the hands of Saudi Arabia and theUae.

The nuclear understanding was not a nuclear day, as far as the center and center of the collision files in the region, so when the U.S. administration under Barack Obama and Joe Biden reached a dead end in the confrontation in Syria, it went to sign the nuclear understanding. War is not separate chapters, it is one body, because ultimately each of the region’s files brings things to one of two options of settlement or war. Those who return to the nuclear understanding, which is the most difficult link, have chosen to settle rather than choose war, will do nothing other than go to compromises in other files, as long as the option of war is closed, and if it were available, it would not be a return tounderstanding.

The U.S. quest begins with a return to understanding to find suitable paths to meet the option of returning to understanding in conflict files. In Iraq, the question will be whether there is anyone protecting the division, which was the best chance when Iraqi Kurdistan declared its secession and retreated because it was informed of a U.S. decision not to be able to go to war, and this is under Trump, how in the era of Biden, and in Syria it would be easier to go behind Russia to arrange the distribution of papers and roles With the Kurds and Turks preparing to get out of Syria, and in Lebanon it will be easy to position behind France and facilitate its victory by the chance to succeed the initiative presented by President Emmanuel Macron, on the basis of opening up to Hezbollah and neutralizing the U.S. dispute with him about re-establishing power through a government that leads a rescue phase with international financial support. In Yemen, there is a clear talk of Biden seeking to stop the war from the position of considering Saudi aggression as a crime that muststop.

The retreat in the harder file means retreating at the least difficult, and a whole new phase is about to begin in the region.

عن الصواريخ التي تَحرِم قادة إسرائيل من النوم: رسالة فريدمان إلى «عزيزه» بايدن

وليد شرارة

كتب وليد شرارة في عدد جريدة الأخبار ليوم الأربعاء 2 كانون الأول 2020 المقال الاتي:

عن الصواريخ التي تَحرِم قادة إسرائيل من النوم: رسالة فريدمان إلى «عزيزه» بايدن

الرسالة التي وَجّهها الصحافي الأميركي، الصهيوني العقائدي، توماس فريدمان، تستحقّ القراءة بتمعّن. هي لا تشبه مقالاته وكتبه المشحونة بأيديولوجيا تبشيرية، تشي بقناعاته الشخصية، التي كَذّبتها التطوّرات اللاحقة بمجملها. وغالب الظن أنه يتمنّى أن تُنسى سرديّاته المغفلة عن «العولمة السعيدة» وما ستحمله من إيجابيات وفوائد لشعوب العالم قاطبة، والتي جمعها في كتابين: «سيارة ليكسوس وشجرة الزيتون»، و«العالم مسطّح». هذه المرّة، وفي مقال بعنوان لافت، «عزيزي جو، لم يعد الأمر يتعلّق بالنووي الإيراني»، هو لا ينطق عن هواه. أراد فريدمان أن يخاطب الرئيس المنتخَب، وهو من مؤيّديه المتحمّسين ولديه علاقات وثيقة وتاريخية بالحزب الديمقراطي، نيابةً عن إسرائيل والمنظومة الداعمة لها في الولايات المتحدة، وليس مجرّد اللوبي، بتكليف منهما أو من دونه. المقال – الرسالة شديد الوضوح والصراحة، ويعزّز القناعة بأن جوهر المعركة الاستراتيجية الدائرة بين التحالف الأميركي – الإسرائيلي وأذنابه في المنطقة، وبين محور المقاومة، وفي القلب منه إيران، هو تطوير الأخيرة لقدراتها الصاروخية النوعية ومساعدتها حلفاءَها على القيام بالأمر عينه. بطبيعة الحال، فإن محاولة منع إيران من التطوّر علمياً وتكنولوجياً، خاصة في الميدان النووي، ونتيجة لخياراتها السياسية الاستقلالية، هي بين الأهداف المركزية للتحالف المعادي، وهو ما يؤكده استهداف علمائها ومنشآتها النووية، لكنه ليس الهدف الأول المدرَج على جدول أعماله. الصواريخ الدقيقة، أو «العامل المُغيِّر لقواعد اللعبة» حسب التعبير المستخدَم في عشرات التقارير الإسرائيلية والأميركية والغربية، هي الأولوية الأولى على هذا الجدول، ومن المرجّح أن تبقى كذلك بعد دخول بايدن إلى البيت الأبيض.

لو تَجرّأ كاتب أو خبير عربي على القول إن البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني يَحرم الخبراء العسكريين الإسرائيليين من النوم، لانهال عليه التقريظ والتسخيف من قِبَل «جيوش الخبراء والمحلّلين» العرب «الواقعيين»، باعتباره «بوقاً إعلامياً» للممانعة. لكنّ هؤلاء لن يتجرّأوا على معاملة صديقهم، وفي حقبة سابقة مرجعهم، توماس فريدمان، بالطريقة إيّاها عندما يكتب أن «ما سيعترف به أمامكم بعض الخبراء العسكريين الإسرائيليين هو أن امتلاك إيران لسلاح نووي ليس ما يُبقيهم مستيقظين طيلة الليل، لأنهم لا يعتقدون أن طهران ستستخدمه، لأن ذلك سيكون انتحاراً، والزعماء الدينيون في إيران ليسوا انتحاريين. ما يُقلقهم هو أسلحة إيران الجديدة المفضّلة، أي الصواريخ الدقيقة التي استخدمتها ضدّ السعودية، والتي تواصل محاولة تصديرها إلى وكلائها في لبنان واليمن وسوريا والعراق، ما يشكّل تهديداً قاتلاً لإسرائيل والسعودية والإمارات والقوات الأميركية في المنطقة». لا يَتردّد المنظّر الصهيوني – الأميركي في وصف هجوم أبقيق، الذي استهدف صناعات النفط السعودية بصواريخ مُوجّهة دقيقة ومسيّرات، وفقاً لزعمه، والذي يتّهم إيران بالمسؤولية المباشرة عنه، بـ«بيرل هاربر الشرق الأوسط»، ويرى أن هذه المنطقة أعيد تشكيلها من خلال الصواريخ الإيرانية والردود الأميركية والإسرائيلية والخليجية عليها. هو يَخلُص إلى أن الرئيس الأميركي الجديد سيواجه ضغوطاً هائلة لعدم العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي بصيغته الأصلية، ولإدراج البرنامج الصاروخي في المفاوضات مع إيران، وتوظيف «ورقة القوة» التي تُمثّلها العقوبات القاسية المفروضة عليها لإلزامها بتقديم تنازلات حوله.

ربّما ينبغي التذكير بأن البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني لم يكن قد وُضع تحت المجهر في الفترة التي تمّ التوقيع خلالها على الاتفاق النووي مع إيران. تقدير الموقف الذي استندت إليه إدارة باراك أوباما عندما وافقت على الصيغة الأصلية لهذا الاتفاق، كان يَفترض أن إيران تعاني بسبب ما يشبه الحصار الدولي المضروب حولها آنذاك، وأنها تُستنزف في سوريا والعراق، وأن هذه الظروف تُوفّر فرصة سانحة للتفاهم معها، وهي ليست في أوج قوتها. غير أن المتغيّرات الكبرى التي شهدتها الساحة السورية بعد التدخل الروسي في أيلول/ سبتمبر 2015، أي 3 أشهر بعد توقيع الاتفاق، وما تلاها من عملية نقل لقدرات عسكرية وصاروخية نوعية إلى سوريا، والالتفات الإسرائيلي والأميركي إلى تسارع تطوير البرنامج الصاروخي في إيران، قد تكون من أبرز العوامل التي تُفسّر تباطؤ رفع العقوبات التي نصّ عليها الاتفاق، والحؤول دون قيام شركات ومؤسسات غربية وغير غربية بالانفتاح على هذا البلد والاستثمار فيه، بسبب تحذيرات وضغوط أميركية مبطّنة وأحياناً علنية.

هذه المتغيّرات العسكرية والتكنولوجية والميدانية هي التي حدت بدونالد ترامب وفريقه إلى الانسحاب من الاتفاق واعتماد «الضغوط القصوى» ضدّ طهران، من دون النجاح في وقف النموّ الكمّي والنوعي للترسانة الصاروخية لديها ولدى حلفائها. كيف سيتعامل بايدن وإدارته مع الوقائع «العنيدة» والمغايرة لتلك التي سادت في فترة توقيع الاتفاق النووي؟ المؤكد هو أن أنصار إسرائيل الوازنين في هذا الفريق وخارجه وفي مختلف مؤسسات الدولة الأميركية، أي المنظومة الداعمة لها، سيبقون بدورهم مستيقظين طيلة الليل إن اضطرّوا لذلك، لحمل الرئيس المنتخَب على التشدّد حيال برنامج إيران الصاروخي، الذي يفضي نموّه المستمرّ إلى تحوّل تدريجي في موازين القوى لغير مصلحة إسرائيل والهيمنة الأميركية في منطقتنا.

فيديوات ذات صلة

Warnings of not responding to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhri محاذير عدم الرد على اغتيال محسن فخري زادة

BY Amro Allan

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Writer and political researcher

**Machine translation**

Warnings of not responding to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh

The conclusion that the murder of prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh is the first result of the Three-Way (Israeli) American-Saudi meeting in the Saudi city of Neom is a reasonable conclusion, especially in light of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s description of this crime as a triple (Israeli), American and Saudi plot.

After this crime it became easier to draw a picture of the plan of the Israeli occupation entity for the current period that separates us from the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. It seems that the Zionist entity, in cooperation with the Gulf governments in addition to the Cover of the American administration of Donald Trump, seems determined to direct several effective security strikes to the Islamic Republic and possibly to others in the axis of resistance also during this period. The Zionist enemy aspires to achieve several objectives from these strikes including: 

–      To deliver malicious tactical strikes that could have an effect on Iran’s missile program and civil nuclear program.

–      To complicate the tracks for a possible quick U.S. return to the Iran nuclear deal after Joe Biden’s administration takes office.

–      To undermine Iran’s prestige and to strike harsh moral blows to the Islamic Republic and to the axis of resistance in general, and in return to give a moral boost to the new Zionist entity allies from the Gulf countries.

–      To present tangible security achievements to the new normalization treaties between some of the Gulf countries and the Zionist entity, to be placed in the hands of the Joe Biden administration as a leverage against the axis of resistance in the event of new talks with the Islamic Republic on the Iran nuclear deal in the future. As CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh says “For Biden’s team, Netanyahu is likely a problem to be solved rather than an ally, and this killing suggests in that likely fractious relationship with the new US President that Israel can do useful and aggressive things for the White House. It does not hinder Biden being the good cop, when the bad cop has just shown it can kill one of Iran’s most precious human resources in the secure suburbs of Tehran.”

The last point on the above list is perhaps the most serious of the objectives of the assassination, which forces the Iranian leadership to respond in an appropriate and deterring manner. If the Islamic Republic of Iran shy away from responding to this crime that could send damaging signals that the Islamic Republic is ready to return to the nuclear agreement at all costs, and that the emerging alliance between the Zionist entity and The Gulf countries under Donald Trump is an active alliance on which the United States can rely, and that it can carry out tactical operations that disturb the balances between the axis of resistance and the Zionist-American camp, imposing new facts on which the United States can build on their regional policies.

We do not believe that these calculations are absent from the minds of the leaders of the axis of resistance, and this axis has operational capabilities and tactics on the ground enables it to carry out an equal and deterring response to the assassination of Fakhri Zadeh, in a way that prevents the modification of existing balances or may even improve them in the axis of resistance favor, and in a way that avoids being drawn into open war at the time imposed by the enemy.

محاذير عدم الرد على اغتيال محسن فخري زادة

عمرو علان

كاتب وباحث سياسي

 صحيفة رأي اليوم

يعد الاستنتاج القائل بأن جريمة اغتيال العالم الفيزيائي الإيراني البارز محسن فخري زادة هي أول نتائج الاجتماع الثلاثي (الإسرائيلي) الأمريكي السعودي في مدينة نيوم السعودية استنتاجاً معقولاً، سيما في ضوء وصف الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران هذه الجريمة بالمؤامرة الثلاثية (الإسرائيلية – الأمريكية – السعودية)، وبعد وقوع هذه الجريمة بات من الأسهل رسم تصور عن مخطط كيان الاحتلال الإسرائيلي للفترة الراهنة التي تفصلنا عن تنصيب الرئيس الأمريكي المنتخب جو بايدن، فيبدو أن الكيان الصهيوني، وبالتعاون مع حلفائه من المتصهينين من حكومات الخليج بالإضافة إلى غطاء أمريكي من إدارة دونالد ترامب، يبدو أنه عازم على توجيه عدة ضربات أمنية مؤثرة للجمهورية الإسلامية وربما إلى جهات أخرى في محور المقاومة أيضاً في هذه الفترة، ويطمح العدو الصهيوني إلى تحقيق عدة أهداف من هذه الضربات منها: 

–         توجيه ضربات تكتيكية مؤذية يكون لها أثار على البرنامجين الصاروخي والنووي الإيرانيين.

–         تعقيد المسارات أمام عودة أمريكية سريعة محتملة إلى الاتفاق النووي الإيراني بعد تسلم إدارة جو بايدن مقاليد الحكم.

–         المساس بالهيبة الإيرانية وتوجيه ضربات معنوية قاسية للجمهورية الإسلامية وإلى محور المقاومة عموماً، وفي المقابل إعطاء دفعة معنوية للحكومات المتصهينة في الخليج.

–         تقديم إنجازات أمنية وميدانية عملية لاتفاقات التطبيع الأخيرة بين الكيان الصهيوني والحكومات المتصهينة في الخليج، ليتم وضعها بين يدي إدارة جو بايدن كأوراق ضغط تُعدِّل في التوازنات ضد مصلحة محور المقاومة في حال دخول إدارة جو بايدن في محادثات جديدة مع الجمهورية الإسلامية حول الاتفاق النووي الإيراني مستقبلاً، وفي هذا الشأن كان نِك واليش محلل قناة (سي أن أن) الأمريكية للشؤون الأمنية قد قال أنه برغم العلاقة المرجح أن تكون مضطربة بين بنجامين نتنياهو والرئيس الأمريكي الجديد، يشير هذا الاغتيال إلى أن (إسرائيل) يمكنها القيام بخطوات عنيفة ومفيدة للبيت الأبيض، وهذه الخطوات لا تمنع بايدن من لعب دور الشرطي الرحيم في الوقت الذي يُظهِر فيه الشرطي العنيف قدرته على قتل أحد أهم القدرات البشرية الإيرانية في أحد ضواحي طهران الأكثر تأميناً.

وربما تعد هذه النقطة الأخيرة الأخطر من بين أهداف جريمة الاغتيال التي تفرض على القيادة الإيرانية الرد بطريقة مناسبة ورادعة، فعزوف الجمهورية الإسلامية عن الرد على هذه الجريمة يبعث بإشارات مضرة مفادها أن الجمهورية الإسلامية مستعدة للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي بأي ثمن، وأن الحلف الناشئ بين الكيان الصهيوني وبين المتصهينين العرب برعاية دونالد ترامب هو حلف فاعل يمكن للأمريكي الاعتماد عليه، وأنه يمكنه القيام بعمليات تكتيكية تخل بالتوازنات القائمة بين محور المقاومة وبين المعسكر الصهيوأمريكي، مما يفرض وقائع جديدة يمكن أن يبنى عليها في السياسة.

لا نعتقد أن هذه الحسابات غائبة عن ذهن قيادات محور المقاومة، ولدى هذا المحور من القدرات العملانية والتكتيكات الميدانية ما يمكّنه من القيام برد متكافئ ورادع على جريمة اغتيال فخري زادة، بشكل يمنع تعديل التوازنات القائمة أو ربما يحسّنها لصالحه، وبطريقة تتفادى الانجرار إلى حرب مفتوحة في التوقيت الذي يفرضُه عليه العدو.

**Machine translation**

Warnings of not responding to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh

The conclusion that the murder of prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh is the first result of the Three-Way (Israeli) American-Saudi meeting in the Saudi city of Neom is a reasonable conclusion, especially in light of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s description of this crime as a triple (Israeli), American and Saudi plot.

After this crime it became easier to draw a picture of the plan of the Israeli occupation entity for the current period that separates us from the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. It seems that the Zionist entity, in cooperation with the Gulf governments in addition to the Cover of the American administration of Donald Trump, seems determined to direct several effective security strikes to the Islamic Republic and possibly to others in the axis of resistance also during this period. The Zionist enemy aspires to achieve several objectives from these strikes including: 

–      To deliver malicious tactical strikes that could have an effect on Iran’s missile program and civil nuclear program.

–      To complicate the tracks for a possible quick U.S. return to the Iran nuclear deal after Joe Biden’s administration takes office.

–      To undermine Iran’s prestige and to strike harsh moral blows to the Islamic Republic and to the axis of resistance in general, and in return to give a moral boost to the new Zionist entity allies from the Gulf countries.

–      To present tangible security achievements to the new normalization treaties between some of the Gulf countries and the Zionist entity, to be placed in the hands of the Joe Biden administration as a leverage against the axis of resistance in the event of new talks with the Islamic Republic on the Iran nuclear deal in the future. As CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh says “For Biden’s team, Netanyahu is likely a problem to be solved rather than an ally, and this killing suggests in that likely fractious relationship with the new US President that Israel can do useful and aggressive things for the White House. It does not hinder Biden being the good cop, when the bad cop has just shown it can kill one of Iran’s most precious human resources in the secure suburbs of Tehran.”

The last point on the above list is perhaps the most serious of the objectives of the assassination, which forces the Iranian leadership to respond in an appropriate and deterring manner. If the Islamic Republic of Iran shy away from responding to this crime that could send damaging signals that the Islamic Republic is ready to return to the nuclear agreement at all costs, and that the emerging alliance between the Zionist entity and The Gulf countries under Donald Trump is an active alliance on which the United States can rely, and that it can carry out tactical operations that disturb the balances between the axis of resistance and the Zionist-American camp, imposing new facts on which the United States can build on their regional policies.

We do not believe that these calculations are absent from the minds of the leaders of the axis of resistance, and this axis has operational capabilities and tactics on the ground enables it to carry out an equal and deterring response to the assassination of Fakhri Zadeh, in a way that prevents the modification of existing balances or may even improve them in the axis of resistance favor, and in a way that avoids being drawn into open war at the time imposed by the enemy.

Amro Allan

Writer and political researcher

فيديوات مرتبطة

The Trump Administration Barrels on a Warpath Towards Iran

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December 4, 2020

The assassination of Iran’s preeminent nuclear scientist is a shocking act of terrorism. And there is strong suspicion that Israeli agents were involved in this murderous act with top-level U.S. approval. The world is thus staring into the abyss of war.

This year has been bracketed with two audacious assassinations against the Iranian leadership. Earlier in January saw the murder of Major General Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most senior military commander, by an American drone while he was traveling in an armed convoy from Iraq’s international airport on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Now the year ends with a second assassination after nuclear scientist Mohsen Fahkrizadeh was killed last week when his armed escort was attacked in a ferocious bomb and gun ambush near the Iranian capital, Tehran. Fahkrizadeh, like Soleimani, was a national hero. He was eulogized as the “father of Iran’s nuclear project”.

American President Donald Trump crowed about personally ordering the killing of Soleimani. While Trump and his administration have been reticent about the murder of Fahkrizadeh, there are strong reasons to conclude Washington’s complicity.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani stated this week that Iranian authorities believe Israel was the perpetrator along with agents working on its behalf on the ground. The Israelis have not commented. For such an attack to be mounted against a senior Iranian figure the breach of security would have required sophisticated intelligence conducted at state level.

U.S. media reports cite anonymous senior Trump administration officials confirming that Israel carried out the assassination of Fakhrizadeh. It can be further surmised that Israel would have had at least U.S. approval if not more direct complicity such as from providing the necessary intelligence for executing the hit. Such collusion between the U.S. and Israel is a routine matter. Nearly a dozen Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated over the past decade involving the same modus operandi: U.S.-Israeli intelligence coordinating with Iran-based triggermen supplied by the American-backed terrorist group known as Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK).

This year has also seen a series of sabotage bombings at Iran’s nuclear industry sites. Again, for such operations to be conducted, and conducted successfully, would require state-level intelligence and resources.

All this is in the context of Trump ratcheting up his “maximum pressure” campaign which has comprised a hybrid of verbal threats of military assault against Iran, a tightening of already-crippling economic sanctions imposed on a nation badly afflicted with the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a U.S. military force build-up in the Persian Gulf. Recently, a fleet of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers flew over Israel on the way to Qatar where the biggest American airbase in the Gulf is located, just south of Iran. This week the USS Nimitz, one of America’s lead strike-force supercarriers, entered the Gulf waters.

Only two weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on a more-than-usual jingoistic tour of the Middle East visiting Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Top of his agenda was “deterring” Iran. Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu had previously publicly named Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian nuclear scientist, as enemy number one.

Netanyahu has long been itching for a military offensive against Iran, one involving surgical air strikes on its nuclear sites. There is now the very real danger that Trump in his final fraught weeks in office may oblige the Israelis. The American president has reportedly given Pompeo carte blanche to aid and abet Israeli aggression towards Iran “as long as it doesn’t start World War III”. Trouble is, there is no way of containing such an escalation. What the Trump administration is doing is criminal and insane.

This week saw a particularly incendiary speech by Trump from the White House in which he again reiterated outlandish conspiracy theories whereby he lost the recent presidential election due to alleged “massive fraud” and cheating by Democrat rivals. Some of Trump’s aides are even urging him publicly to suspend the constitution, declare a state of martial law and re-run the election under military supervision. That is tantamount to Trump staging a coup d’état. There is thus no telling what this megalomaniac president is willing to do in order to thwart the scheduled event of his leaving the White House next month in the expected transition to a new administration under Joe Biden.

At the very least, it seems, Trump is hellbent on damaging relations with Iran so badly as to make it impossible for a Biden administration to return to diplomatic negotiations with Iran and possibly, as Biden as suggested, the U.S. returning to the international nuclear accord, which Trump abandoned in 2018.

Previously, Trump has threatened Iran with annihilation. We are dealing with an American president who has no scruples or moral compass. In his outrageously offended ego over electoral loss and perceived foul play by his domestic enemies, Trump is liable to go ballistic with recrimination. In the next four weeks, starting a war with Iran is therefore a most dangerous prospect. Criminal and insane bracket this year, along with assassinations.

فرنسا «الحنون» تدعم تشكُّل قوى سياسيّة لبنانيّة جديدة!

 د. وفيق إبراهيم

أحبطت القوى السياسية اللبنانية، آمال فرنسا بتأمين استقرار داخلي نسبي في بلاد الأرز يسمح لها بالتموضع عند بوابة الشرق الأوسط مجدداً.

لقد بدت نتائج رعايتها للبنان منذ أكثر من عام تقريباً فاشلة تماماً وتدعو الى اليأس من قوى سياسية داخلية تنتمي الى المنظومة الحاكمة نفسها، لكنها تواصل الصراع على الحصص والمغانم وكأن لبنان لم يتعرّض لأعمق كارثة اقتصادية وسياسية يشهدها بلد بحجمه.

فالخلافات لا تزال تندلع حتى على المكاسب التافهة، والرئيس المكلف سعد الحريري يجول منذ أربعين يوماً لتشكيل حكومة جديدة معتقداً أن الدعم الفرنسي له بخلفية أميركية هو أكثر من كافٍ للاستفراد بتعيين وزراء يقول إنهم مستقلون وينتقيهم هو شخصياً وهذه تندرج في باب المعجزات.

وفيما تباشر «إسرائيل» توسيع مرفأ حيفا في فلسطين المحتلة ليلبي النتائج الاقتصادية لتطبيعها السياسي مع دول الخليج، يسكتُ سياسيو لبنان عن مرفأ بيروت، وكأن لا أمل يُرتجى من إعادة إعماره، واستئناف وظائفه السابقة بربط بيروت بالشام والأردن والعراق والخليج.

اللافت للانتباه هنا، أن فرنسا التي ترعى للمرة الثانية مؤتمر مجموعة الدعم للبنان، تركز وللمرة الثانية أيضاً ان محصلة التبرعات التي تؤمنها الدول والجمعيات المشاركة تذهب الى جمعيات خاصة تعمل في المجالات الإنسانية وذلك باستبعاد كامل لأي دور رسمي لبناني.

يبدو أن الذريعة الفرنسية حاضرة وبقوة، وتقول إن لبنان السياسي لم ينجح بتشكيل حكومة جديدة، بالإضافة الى عجز المؤسسات الدستورية اللبنانية عن تنفيذ تدقيق مالي او جنائي وتهرّبها من هذا الموضوع الى درجة انسحاب شركة «مارسال وألفاريز» التي كانت مكلفة بالتدقيق نتيجة رفض حاكم مصرف لبنان رياض سلامة تسليمها الملفات المالية الموازية.

ولم يقبض الفرنسيون بجدية ذلك الإخراج الهزلي الذي اعتمده مؤخراً المجلس النيابي اللبناني بموافقته على مشروع للتدقيق الجنائي في مصرف لبنان والمديريات العامة والصناديق ومؤسسات الدولة في آن معاً، وذلك لأن تنفيذ هذا القرار قد يحتاج الى عقد كامل من قراءة ملفات تملأ مئات الغرف والمكاتب فيما المطلوب تحديد رأس الأفعى في مصرف لبنان المركزي والانطلاق منه. لكن الجهاز السياسي المدافع عن حاكمية مصرف لبنان يدافع عنه لأن أي تدقيق فعلي في طريقة إنفاقه للأموال يكشف أدوارهم في وضع اليد على احتياطات لبنان وودائع الناس وحتى الديون بإدارة رياض سلامة الذي أمن عبر هذه الطريقة، أقوى وسيلة حماية يمكن لحاكم مصرف لبنان ان يحظى بها وهي داخلية في قسم وخارجية في الأجزاء الاساسية، وإلا كيف يمكن للسفيرة الاميركية في لبنان شيا أن تعلن من مقر البطريركية المارونية رفض بلادها أي مساس بحاكم مصرف لبنان.

لمزيد من التوضيح، فالاهتمام الفرنسي لا يزال قوياً ويكفي أن الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون زار لبنان مرتين بين آب وأيلول الماضيين ويستعد لزيارة ثالثة في نهاية العام.

لذلك سعى في مؤتمر مجموعة لبنان الى تأمين شرعية دولية له بدعوة 30 رئيس دولة وأمين عام الامم المتحدة انطونيو غوتيريس وعدد أكبر من رؤساء الحكومات والوزراء والمؤسسات الاقتصادية والمالية ذات الطابع الدولي، مضيفاً الى هؤلاء صندوق النقد الدولي الذي يرفض حتى الآن مفاوضة لبنان حول قروض ممكنة، متبنياً مطالب فرنسا بالتدقيق المالي والجنائي والحكومة الجديدة بشكل مسبق.

وإذا كان مؤتمر الدعم الاول أنتج هبات قدرها مئتان وخمسون مليون دولار فيتوقع الفرنسيون ان تزيد الهبات هذه المرّة عن مليارات عدة ومع مبلغ كهذا يستطيع الفرنسيون تسجيل المزيد من الضغط لتشكيل حكومة جديدة في أواخر الشهر الحالي.

لكنهم يعملون هذه المرة على تسهيل نمو تيارات من المجتمع المدني موالية لهم، وتتكتل على شكل جمعيات إنسانية تستطيع بواسطة أموال مؤتمر الدعم التحول الى الوظيفة الأساسية.

هذه الجمعيات التي تزيد عن خمسين حركة تعلن انتسابها لمدنيّة المجتمع هي التي يسارع الفرنسيون الى الإمساك بها وذلك بديلاً من الاميركيين الذين موّلوها في مراحل سابقة انما من دون جدوى فاعلة.

والكلام هنا هو عن مساعدات أميركية لهذه الجمعيات بلغت مليارات عدة من الدولارات.

وكان الأميركيون يريدون منها ان تكون الوسيلة الجديدة لاختراق الانماط التقليدية للسياسة في لبنان مع اعتمادها كلاعب أساسي يفجر فوضى عميقة على منوال ما يحدث في العراق مثلاً.

إلا أن الفرنسيين ذاهبون الى اعتماد جمعيات فيها تعددية طائفية، اعلنوا بصراحة انها الآليات التي يقبل بها المؤتمر الدولي لتوزيع دعم المتضررين والمحتاجين في لبنان.

هذا يستولد ملاحظات متتابعة أولها أن انتقاء الفرنسيين لجمعيات محددة يؤكد انها تحتوي على قدر كبير من القيادات الموالية لهم. كما ان تجاهل الفرنسيين في عمليات التوزيع حكومة حسان دياب تحديداً وحصراً هو عمل مريب يكشف أن السياسة الفرنسية لا تريد توزيعاً عادلاً للهبات الإنسانية الدولية بل توزيعاً سياسياً يريد تأسيس تيار جديد يواليهم في اطار فرنكوفونية تشابهُ من أبعادها المخفية عثمانية رجب اردوغان.

إن هذا الدعم الجديد لن يكون إنسانياً فعلياً إلا اذا ارتبط بآليات توزيع منزهة عن الأبعاد التسييسية، أما مسألة علاقة فرنسا مع الطبقة السياسية اللبنانية فهذه مسألة تاريخية ترتبط بتغطية الغرب للنظام السياسي اللبناني منذ تأسيسه وحتى مرحلة الحريرية السياسية التي كانت مدعومة من السياسات الأميركية والسعودية والفرنسية، مع غطاء سعودي مرحلي.

فهل تنجح فرنسا في إعادة استحضار فرنكوفونيتها من إطار الذكرى التاريخية الى مستوى الوجود السياسي القوي في لبنان؟

إن حيادية فرنسا في الصراعات الداخلية اللبنانية وتجسيدها لدور الصديق الفعلي للبنان دولياً، هما الأسلوب الوحيد لحضور سياسي فرنسي وازن.

لكن مشكلة الفرنسيين هي أولاً مع الاميركيين الذين يريدون احتكار الشرق الاوسط بكامله، ما يعني ان على الفرنسيين ان يجابهوا الاميركيين اولاً قبل توزيعهم لبعض الإعانات في أحياء الجميزة وساحة ساسين.

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