After the Earthquake and ISIS Massacring 58 Farmers; Israel Bombs Damascus


Israel bombed Damascus residential neighborhoods after midnight, the Syrian Arab Army’s air defense units managed to shoot down some incoming missiles, others caused damage to buildings, the story is developing.

Syrian Arab Army air defense units addressed an Israeli bombing targeting the upscale Kafr Soussah, Mazraah, and Baghdad Street neighborhoods in Damascus, with reports of several casualties among the civilians in the targeted neighborhoods.

The video is also available on Rumble, and BitChute,

At least one of the missiles struck a residential building, eyewitnesses confirm, and columns of fire and fumes of smoke could be seen from kilometers away, I was still working on an update to yesterday’s horrific massacre committed by the US-sponsored ISIS terrorists in the central Syrian desert killing 53 farmers and at least 5 policemen who came to the rescue.

Eyewitnesses from the site targeted by the Israeli bombing say there were casualties, dead and injured, from this aggression.

Watch this post for further updates.

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5 were killed and 15 wounded in the heinous Israeli bombing with barrages of missiles of the residential neighborhoods in Damascus and its outskirts shortly after midnight.

A Syrian military spokesperson said in a statement carried by the Syrian news agency SANA:

“At exactly 22:00 in the morning today, the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression with bursts of missiles from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting some points in the city of Damascus and its surroundings, including residential neighborhoods inhabited by civilians, and our air defense media intercepted the missiles of aggression and shot down most of them.”

The military spokesperson concluded: “The aggression led, as a preliminary outcome, to the death of five martyrs, including a soldier, and the wounding of 15 civilians, including critical cases, and the destruction of a number of civilian homes, and material damage to a number of neighborhoods in and around Damascus.”

Israel bombs Damascus residential district

Israel bombs Damascus residential district
Israel bombs Damascus residential district
Israel bombs Damascus residential district
Israel bombs Damascus residential district
Israel bombs Damascus residential district

Israel continues to enjoy the privileges in its aggression against Syria provided to it by Russia, one of Syria’s main allies in the war on terror, as the anti-Jewish Zionist state coordinates with the Russian military before bombing sites in Syria based on a weird agreement between them, and Russia’s withholding the activation of its outdated S300 air defense systems it delivered to Syria in September 2018 only after Israel used a Russian plane as a human shield to bomb Syria killing 15 Russian servicemen on that plane.

Russia had earlier postponed the delivery of the same systems bought by Syria in 2010 upon a request from Israel, the system, if it was in Syria and was operational when it was supposed to be delivered, would have not invited the evil forces of NATO and Israel to wage their now 12 years war of terror and attrition against the only country that never stabbed Russia in the back and never made deals on the account of Russia.

On the contrary, Syria rejected a very sweet deal to allow the passage of natural gas from Qatar to Europe to bypass Russia and starve Russian and Iranian economies back in 2007. Syria’s refusal of that offer angered the USA and its European and Gulfies lackeys and at the same time allowed Russia and Iran to build and diversify their economies to sustain the current western sanctions and hybrid wars.

It’s about time that Syria develops its own air defense and other weapons aside from what it buys from Russia, obviously, the Russian air defense systems are incapable of protecting the Syrian capital from Israeli bombing.

Iranian drone bombs Israeli oil tanker in retaliation for Isfahan explosion

February 18 2023

Iran retaliated to previous Israeli attacks targeting military facilities in Isfahan

(Photo credit: Trend News Agency)

ByNews Desk- 

An Israeli-linked oil tanker was attacked one week ago by Iranian forces, BBC Persia reported on Friday 17 February.

Though not initially reported, the Liberia-flagged “Campo Square” oil tanker was attacked on 10 February, and is owned by Zodiac Maritime, a shipping company led by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.

According to US military sources, Iran used Shahed-136 suicide drones from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as well as naval vessels from the elite force in the Persian Gulf.

Senior Israeli security officials confirmed the report and suggested the Iranian attack was an attempt at revenge for attacks attributed to Israel against Iran.

Iran has accused Israel of attacking a number of sensitive military and nuclear sites in the past few years.

No casualties were reported and the damage to the tanker was allegedly not significant.

However, on 14 February, Iranian state media reported that Iran had killed two Israeli officers in retaliation for a 29 January sabotage attack in Isfahan.

According to a report by Iranian state media, an Israeli spokesman confirmed that two Israeli officers had been killed in accidents. The report noted that other Israeli sources have indicated that the killing of the two officers came as part of an Iranian operation in response to the Isfahan attack.

On 29 January, a powerful explosion occurred at an Iranian Defense Ministry ammunition depot in the city of Isfahan. According to Israeli sources, this was a booby-trapped drone attack. No casualties were reported. Additionally, a large fire broke out in a major refinery in Tehran. The cause of the fire remains unclear.

Days later, Iranian officials blamed Israel for the attacks and promised retaliation. Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Amir Saeed Irbani submitted a letter to the interim president of the UN Security Council claiming that the initial investigations carried out in Iran indicated that the “Zionist regime” was responsible for the “terrorist attack” at the Defense Ministry facility in Isfahan.

Irbani wrote further that “Iran has a legitimate right to defend its national security and to respond resolutely to any threat or injustice of the ‘Zionist regime’, at any time and in any place.”

The Iranian attack on the Israel-linked oil tanker came amid pledges between the US government and six Gulf states for increased cooperation against Iran. Bloomberg reported on 17 February the US and Gulf nations “voiced concern about what they said was Iran’s deeper cooperation with “state and non-state actors,” an apparent reference to Iran’s alleged support for Russia in its war against Ukraine, and called “Tehran a growing threat to regional security.”

كانتون إدلب … وكانتون القامشلي… كفى!

 الثلاثاء 14 شباط 2023

ناصر قنديل

ــ في المشهد الإجمالي للمنطقة سؤال كبير يطرح اليوم، بعد كارثة الزلزال، ما هي الفائدة التي يمكن أن تجنيها تركيا من بقاء قواتها في سورية، وتركيا تكتشف مع الزلزال حاجتها لحشد إمكاناتها لسنوات قادمة على عملية إزالة آثار الزلزال، وحاجتها لفعل ذلك إلى أفضل العلاقات مع دول الجوار، وها هي تسعى لتطبيع العلاقات مع اليونان كما قال الرئيس التركي رجب طيب أردوغان، بينما كان أردوغان قد دعا الى هذا التطبيع مع سورية في مرحلة سابقة على الزلزال، بنية التخفف من أعباء العبث الذي بدّد الكثير من قدرات تركيا ومكانتها، وجلب الخراب والإرهاب الى سورية، فكيف بعد الزلزال؟ ومعلوم أن أي علاقة طبيعية بين تركيا وسورية مشروطة بانسحاب تركيا من الأراضي السورية.

ــ ليس من متابع للملف التركي السوري إلا ويعلم أن ما بدأ مع اكتمال عقد الرباعية الروسية التركية الإيرانية السورية كان مقرراً له قبل الزلزال أن يترجم بعقد لقاء أمني عسكري رباعي لمناقشة آليات معالجة الوضع الشاذ في شمال غرب سورية، بعدما تمت مناقشة الوضع المشابه في شمال شرق سورية. وهذا يعني أن الانشغال بكارثة الزلزال وما فرضه ايقاع الأيام الأولى لن يدوم طويلا قبل أن يصبح المضي قدماً بهذه الخطوة حاجة ملحة في ضوء التداعيات التي ترتبت على الزلزال. وهذا يعني وضع مستقبل كانتون شمال شرق سورية وكانتون شمال غرب سورية على طاولة البحث، لارتباطهما عضوياً بقرار الانسحاب التركي من سورية، حيث تسعى تركيا لربط هذا الانسحاب بإنجاز أمني تقول بموجبه لشعبها إنها أنهت تحدي الكانتون الكردي، وتربط سورية تعاونها في إنجاز هذه المهمة سياسياً وأمنياً بالتزام تركي بالتعاون في إنهاء الكانتون شمال غرب سورية، وتقف موسكو وطهران في هذا الشأن مع دمشق.

ــ السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه هنا، هو ما هي خطة القيادات السياسية السورية التي تحمل ألقاباً فخمة في مواقع قيادة ثورة مزعومة، وما هو موقع تمسكهم بالكانتون في شمال غرب سورية في رؤيتهم المستقبلية لسورية، وهل هم يملكون أصلا هذه الرؤية، وقد بات أكيداً أن الحديث عن عمل عسكري يتيح التوسع والتمدد في مناطق سورية تحت سيطرة الدولة، لم يعد قابلا للنقاش حتى على سبيل الهلوسة، وهل يجرؤون على إعلان نيتهم اقامة دولة مستقلة في المنطقة الخاضعة لسيطرتهم، وهل هم يسيطرون عليها فعلاً، أم أن السيطرة هي لتشكيلة تضم عصابات مسلحة متعددة الانتماءات، تمسك بالمنطقة التي تربط الطريق الدولي بين أوروبا والخليج مرورا بتركيا وسورية، لفرض الخوة المالية على العبور، ويسرقون المعونات الإنسانية ويبيعونها للسكان، الذين يعيش أغلبهم من التمويل السياسي الآتي من بعض دول الخليج، وبعض الجمعيات التي تشجع على التطرف في دول أخرى من الخليج، بالإضافة لما تبقى من التنظيم العالمي للإخوان المسلمين، لكنهم يعلمون أنه دون العباءة التركية لا مستقبل لهذا الكانتون. فهل فكروا بالإجابة عن سؤال كيف سوف يتعاملون مع الانسحاب التركي عندما تدق ساعته، وقد باتت قريبة؟

ــ في شمال شرق سورية صورة مشابهة، فلا أفق عسكري يمكن أن يراهن عليه قادة تنظيم قسد لتوسيع دويلتهم، والقول إنهم جزء من حركة سورية تسعى للسيطرة على كامل الجغرافيا، ولا هم قادرون على إعلان دويلتهم في هذه المنطقة وإعلان الانفصال عن سورية، ولا هم قادرون على توظيف هذه السيطرة لتفاوض يتجاوز سقف الدولة السورية الواحدة نحو صيغ من الفدرالية. فماذا سيقولون لمن يسألهم عن استراتيجيتهم، إذا ما تم الاتفاق بين الدولتين السورية والتركية بشراكة روسية إيرانية على إنهاء الكانتون، والجواب هو أنهم لا يملكون قرارهم، فهم مجرد تتمة شكلية لبقاء الاحتلال الأميركي يزولون متى زال، وحتى ذلك الحين يتعيشون على فتات الاحتلال بمشاركته بسرقة النفط والقمح، وهذا يجعلهم كنظرائهم الذين يسيطرون على شمال غرب سورية، نماذج لا أخلاقية ساقطة للعمل السياسي. ولعل ما تحمله وقائع الأبنية التي تهدمت مع الزلزال، داخل تركيا وداخل سورية، أنها جميعاً بنيت خلال سنوات الحرب، سواء في مناطق شمال غرب سورية، أو في شرق حلب خلال سيطرة الجماعات المسلحة عليها، أو في المناطق التركية للمتاجرة وبيع بعضها للسوريين، والحصيلة كانت كارثة سببها لا أخلاقية معايير البناء.

ــ مع السقوط الوطني والأخلاقي لهذه الجماعات، آن الأوان للقول كفى للكانتون في إدلب والكانتون في القامشلي، فمواجهة الكوارث وتداعياتها تحتاج دولاً حقيقية، والعصابة لا تتحول إلى دولة.

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الغرب – سوريا: «الوحوش الباردة» تبدّل حساباتها

  السبت 11 شباط 2023

(أ ف ب )

وليد شرارة

«الدولة أبرد الوحوش»

فردريك نيتشه، «هكذا تكلم زردشت»

بعد عدة أيام من التجاهل الغربي الكامل للضحايا السوريين بفعل الزلزال المروع الذي ضرب سوريا وتركيا، أصدرت وزارة الخزانة الأميركية ترخيصاً عاماً يسمح بجميع المعاملات المتعلّقة بالإغاثة من الزلزال، والتي كانت محظورة بموجب لوائح العقوبات المفروضة على سوريا، وذلك لمدة 180 يوماً. وعلى الرغم من أن هول الكارثة التي حلّت بالسوريين يحض على الإفادة من أيّ خطوة أو قرار لمواجهة آثارها وتداعياتها، فإن السعي للفهم الدقيق لخلفيات مثل هذه الخطوات والقرارات، يبقى أمراً شديد الأهمية، خاصة في حالة سوريا. فحرب التدمير المنهجية التي تعرّض لها هذا البلد من قِبل ائتلاف دولي – إقليمي متعدّد قبل الزلزال الأخير، وما نجم عنها من خراب عميم، تدفع تلقائياً إلى إمعان النظر في «يقظة الضمير»، المفاجئة، لدى بعض أفرقاء هذا الائتلاف، حيال المأساة السورية الراهنة.

قد يكون من المفيد بدايةً إعادة النظر في بعض المفاهيم التي يَكثر استخدامها في السياق الحالي، وفي المقدمة منها مفهوم «المساعدات الإنسانية». فهذا النمط من المساعدات ينطلق تعريفاً من اعتبارات مبدئية وقيمية «إنسانية»، أي منزّهة عن حسابات المصالح وتعظيم النفوذ، ومتحرّراً من الانحيازات والانتقائية التي تُمليها مثل هذه الحسابات. على أنه لا يمكن إدراج المساعدات التي تقدّمها دولة ما لجهة حليفة، إن كانت دولتية أو غير دولتية، في خانة «الإنسانية»، لأنها تأتي ترجمة للتحالف، أو لتقاطع في المصالح، وإن كانت غايتها الإسهام في العون على مواجهة مفاعيل كارثة طبيعية أو خسائر بشرية ومادية متأتية عن نزاع. وحتى عندما تبادر الدول إلى إرسال مساعدات وفرق إغاثة إلى بقعة أخرى من العالم، يرتبط ذلك بدبلوماسية المساعدات، وغايتها تعزيز الموقع الدولي للجهة «المساعِدة»، والتأكيد أنها قوة فاعلة لا غنى عنها، وتحسين صورتها وسمعتها و«قوتها الناعمة»، وما يستتبع هذا من زيادة في نفوذها في البقعة المذكورة وعلى الصعيد العالمي.

الدول ليست جمعيات خيرية ولا هيئات إنسانية، خاصة تلك التي كانت حتى زمن ليس ببعيد مركزاً إمبراطورياً للعالم، نشرت في أنحاء جنوبه الموت والدمار وتحكّمت بمصائر شعوبه وثرواتها لقرون طويلة. دول المركز الإمبريالي الغربي، قبل غيرها، «وحوش باردة» لا ضمير لها، يحرّكها المفهوم السائد في أوساط نخبها لِما تراه مصالح عليا للدولة، غالباً ما تتطابق مع مصالحها الخاصة، واستراتيجيات السيطرة والتحكّم التي تعتمدها تجاه البلدان والشعوب الأخرى. سبق للفيلسوف فردريك نيتشه في كتابه «هكذا تكلم زردشت»، أن اعتبر أن «الدولة أبرد الوحوش»، واستعاد الرئيس الفرنسي، شارل ديغول، المقولة نفسها في حوار شهير مع مساعديه. من الممكن خوض نقاش طويل حول الدور الفعلي الذي تضطلع به الهيئات والوكالات التابعة للأمم المتحدة، وأيضاً حول دور المنظمات غير الحكومية، المعنية بالشأن الإنساني، ومدى تأثير القوى الغربية على أجنداتها وسياساتها، لكن ما يعنينا هنا هو تسليط الضوء على دور الدول بالذات، والمساعدات التي تقدّمها أو تسمح بتوفيرها. فقد أضحى سلاح العقوبات، أي حصار وتجويع شعوب بأسرها إلى درجة حرمانها من أبسط مقوّمات البقاء في بعض الأحيان، أحد أمضى أسلحة الحروب الهجينة الغربية التي تُشنّ ضد شعوب منطقتنا منذ عقود، وبينها الشعب السوري، ولن يتحوّل مهندسو هذه الحرب، بفعل زلزال كارثي، إلى هيئة إغاثة!

استراتجية خنق سوريا بالعقوبات، وبحرمانها من مواردها الطبيعية، التي يقع جزء رئيس منها في مناطق الشرق السوري الخاضعة لسيطرة ميليشيات «قسد»، «الحليفة» للولايات المتحدة الأميركية، كانت سياسة رسمية لواشنطن في عهد إدارة دونالد ترامب، وهو ما أشرنا إليه في مقال في «الأخبار» بعنوان «وصفة لخراب سوريا» في 1 آذار 2021، وهي لم تتغيّر على أرض الواقع في ظلّ إدارة جو بايدن. وقد أقرّ جويل رايبورن، المبعوث الأميركي الخاص إلى سوريا أيام ترامب، أمام الكثير من زواره، أن «لا ضير من صوملة هذا البلد»، إن كان ذلك سيفضي إلى كسر هذه الحلقة المركزية في محور المقاومة. ما الذي تغيّر اليوم؟ من البديهي أن واشنطن لا تنظر بعين الرضى إلى شروع الإمارات في تطبيع علاقاتها مع سوريا، وإبداء السعودية في مناسبات عدّة استعدادها لفعل الأمر عينه. وعلى الرغم من أن تلك الأطراف تحرص على التأكيد أن هكذا خطوة ستزيد من قدرتها مستقبلاً على التأثير على الموقف السوري، والسعي لإبعاد دمشق عن طهران قدر المستطاع، لم تقنع حجّتها الطرف الأميركي الذي تدخّل أكثر من مرة لتعطيل عملية التطبيع المشار إليها. ولا شك في أن ما اتّضح من تباعد في السياسات بين دول الخليج والولايات المتحدة، على خلفية الأزمة الأوكرانية، والتطور الكبير في علاقات الأولى مع الصين، والذي فُسّر على أنه مؤشّر إلى اتّساع هامش استقلالية هذه البلدان حيال واشنطن، هو من بين أسباب معارضة واشنطن لانفتاح خليجي على دمشق يستند أساساً إلى أجندة خاصة لا إلى الأجندة الأميركية.

الكارثة الإنسانية قد تكون عامل تسريع لعملية الانفتاح المذكورة، وقد تشجّع أطرافاً إقليمية ودولية أخرى على اتخاذ قرارات مماثلة. فقد كشفت معلومات جرى تسريبها إلى وسائل الإعلام الفرنسية أن هناك جهوداً إماراتية لحمل باريس على تطبيع تدريجي مع سوريا. صحيح أن وزيرة الخارجية الفرنسية، كاترين كولونا، ساقت في مقابلة مع «الشرق الأوسط»، أياماً قبل الزلزال، سلسلة اتهامات لسوريا ورفضت أي تطبيع معها، إلا أن مقالاً للصحافي جورج مالبرونو في «لوفيغارو»، أفاد منذ يومين بأن مثل هذا النقاش يدور في أوساط الرئاسة الفرنسية، وأن البعض يرى ضرورة المباشرة في حوار مع دمشق حتى لا تبقى باريس خارج مسار يتسارع في المنطقة. في كلّ الأحوال، وبمعزل عما إن كانت دول غربية ستتجرّأ على عدم الالتزام بالإملاءات الأميركية، فإن تطبيعاً عربياً مع سوريا، في الظروف الراهنة، سيعزّز من موقفها، ويخفّف من وطأة الحرب الاقتصادية التي تخاض ضدها، من دون أن تقدّم من جهتها أي تنازل بالنسبة إلى دورها في الإقليم وثوابتها المعروفة. في مثل ذلك السياق، يأتي قرار وزارة الخزانة الأميركية كتكتيك يهدف إلى عرقلة مساعي التطبيع، عبر محاولة التمييز بين المساعدات المقدّمة لمواجهة حالة الطوارئ الراهنة التي تعاني منها سوريا ومثل هذه المساعي. «الوحش البارد» الأميركي يلجأ إلى مناورة مكشوفة للمضيّ في حربه ضد سوريا، ومن يريد الوقوف إلى جانب شعبها عليه القطع الكامل مع سياسات التنكيل به التي اتُّبعت في مرحلة سابقة، وفتح صفحة جديدة في علاقاته معها.

من ملف : الغرب – سوريا: حسابات الوحوش الباردة

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Iran Must Not Fall

February 11, 2023


By Davor Slobodanvich Vuycachich

Nasser Kan’ani, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman, last month justifiably declared that the Western hybrid war, which has been continuously waged against Iran in military, economic, political and psychological campaigns, has suffered a complete failure. Precisely because of this, the USA is now rapidly preparing the military aggression of the unnatural coalition of Israel and regional Arab countries against Iran, which, along with Russia and China, is undoubtedly the biggest American enemy. The task of this military conglomerate would be to deal deadly blows to Iran that would lead to its disintegration and the establishment of a puppet regime on the remains of the country. There is no doubt that the USA could participate in the planned aggression. The recently held, largest in history, joint US-Israeli military exercises “Juniper Oak 23.2” clearly hint at such a possibility, although it is not impossible that the US’s European allies could also participate in this massive operation. Military analysts from the West estimate that a military intervention against Iran, a kind of repetition of what we have already seen in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, could begin this summer, but this publicly stated assessment is probably just an attempt at deliberate deception. There is evidence that the attack on Iran could happen much earlier.

The drone attacks on the Iranian city of Isfahan for which Israel is certainly responsible, either directly or through the use of Kurdish terrorists as its proxy military forces, was undoubtedly a deliberate provocation meant to force Iran into hasty and disproportionate retaliation. Such a reaction, no matter how justified it may be in fact, would be used by the US and Israel to portray Iran as an aggressor in front of the “international community”. The reporting of some Israeli media such as “The Times of Israel” in which they announced, or rather, wished for “Iranian retaliatory” attacks on Israeli civilian targets, clearly testifies to sinister intentions of Israel. Тhere is clearly an Israeli plan to provoke Iran as soon as possible. What we might soon expect are Israeli false flag operations that would be blamed on Iran. It is more likely that the territories of the Arab vassals of the US and Israel would be attacked, rather than Israel itself. In this way, Israel would also ensure the igniting of anti-Iranian hysteria among its Arab allies and at the same time ensure the earliest possible start of aggression against Iran, which is obviously very important to Israel. Namely, Iran should officially join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in April, which will bring it great international support. Israel is therefore in a hurry to start aggression before this happens because it mistakenly believes that in that case, it could avoid the wrath of Moscow and Beijing. Another reason for Israel’s haste is that in a little more than a month, Iran should receive at least 24 Su-35 multi-role fighters from Russia, for which it already has well-trained Iranian pilots. Finally, the US and Israel know that time will work against them if they allow the intensive military cooperation between Iran and Russia to continue and deepen, and the big question is how much concrete intelligence they have about its details. Therefore, the aggression against Iran could begin immediately before or exactly on the Iranian New Year in Farsi known as Nowruz, which this year is celebrated on March 20. This is also the date that was mentioned in connection with the delivery of Russian jet fighters.

Israel has been talking for a long time about the necessity for the US to provide it with full support because of the alleged threat that Iran represents to the region, but it will rather be that the US stands behind this entire project, because none of America’s vassals has the ability to conduct foreign policy independently. Admittedly, Israel is probably the most independent of all American allies, but it is still obliged to coordinate all its major decisions with Washington. As for threats to the region, Israel is a state that was created and is maintained on the basis of a policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide and is the only regional power from the Middle East region that has undisguised imperialist ambitions and territorial claims towards its neighbors. The UN Human Rights Commission condemned Israel for violating almost all 149 articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention and this is the best illustration of Israel’s aggressive policy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as an exponent of such a policy, rushed to visit Paris recently, where he asked France for support for the planned aggression against Iran. After Netanyahu’s visit, Radio France reported that Israel really wants to attack Iran as soon as possible and has already identified around 3,000 possible targets. Nevertheless, Israel is afraid of an independent showdown with Iran and is trying to provide itself with as much concrete military support as possible. As for the American Arab satellites, in the planned attack on Iran, Israel will probably be able to count on the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, Sudan and Morocco. Azerbaijan is certainly being pressured to join the coalition, but the leadership in Baku probably sees how dangerous it could be if Russia were to get directly involved in the conflict on Iran’s side, which is more than possible.

Prior to Netanyahu’s visit to the Champs Elysées, the UK Government at the beginning of this year аlready called for the immediate creation of a Grand Military Coalition against Iran. The official pretext under which this shameless campaign against Iran is conducted is, first of all, its nuclear program. However, in these accusations against Iran, it is deliberately forgotten that two Iranian Ayatollahs, Khomeini and Khamenei, have publicly spoken out against the development of a nuclear arsenal in Iran. In September 2014, Mohsen Rafighdoost, minister of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps during the eight-year defensive war against Iraq, in an interview he gave to Gareth Porter, a journalist specializing in US national security policy, testified that he personally asked Khomeini to start developing nuclear and chemical weapons on two occasions, but was refused both times. The reason for Khomeini’s refusal was his claim that Islam forbids weapons of mass destruction. Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa in the mid-1990s against the acquisition and development of nuclear weapons, which was officially disclosed only in August 2005 in Vienna, at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Israel, on the other hand, possesses nuclear and certainly, chemical and biological weapons and unlike Iran, represents a real threat. As for nuclear weapons, Israel has Jericho II (YA-3) missiles with a range of 1,7700 km and Jericho III (YA-4) with a range of up to 11,500 km. Israel can also use its F-15 and F-16 fighters for tactical and strategic nuclear strikes. Even the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment estimated that Israel possessed undeclared offensive chemical and biological weapons. With such an arsenal, Israel could be considered a global threat, and Russia and China are certainly very aware of that.

Unlike Netanyahu and Israel’s political elite, Israeli military intelligence experts publicly state that they do not consider Iran a real threat to Israel. These weeks, mass protests against Netanyahu’s regime have been taking place across Israel, and the Israeli opposition has openly called his ultra-right government a far greater threat to Israel than Iran. Finally, we must also mention the assessment of Israel’s prestigious Institute for National Security Studies, according to which the greatest security threat to Israel is the deterioration of relations with the USA. Are internal political pressures, the struggle for power, and Netanyahu’s desire to please his American allies, in that case, the main reasons why the prime minister of Israel recklessly rushes into a very risky military conflict with Iran? Namely, the aggression against Iran could easily merge with the conflict in Ukraine and turn into a total world war. As the Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Vyacheslav Volodin, recently reminded, the entire foreign policy of the USA and its vassals is based solely on lies. Just as the pretext for the US-British invasion of Iraq was false accusations, the planned aggression against Iran has nothing to do with Iran’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.

There are other accusations against Iran, but they are equally meaningless and just an excuse for planned aggression. Iran does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries in the region and is not a breeding ground and financier of terrorism. Admittedly, Iran as a country very often and with full rights condemns the persecution of Shias in the region, but no more than it condemns the persecution of Palestinians, for example, who are overwhelmingly Sunnis. Similarly, Iran condemned Azerbaijan’s aggressive policy towards Armenia, despite the fact that both Iran and Azerbaijan are predominantly Shia states while Armenia is an Oriental Orthodox Christian country. Iran simply leads a responsible and principled foreign policy. The frequent accusations of Iran’s alleged “sectarian” fanaticism are equally meaningless to genuine connoisseurs of the situation in the region. The USA, Israel, the UK, and other European former colonial powers, are the ones who are trying to spread hatred and fratricide among Muslims by financing and arming extremists in the region. Another strategy is to buy favors from existing regimes or, if that fails, to bring puppet regimes to power. It is a skill that Americans have brought to the level of art and perfection, and no other world power is more experienced and successful in this business than them. One of the strategies of the US and the collective West is to divide as much as possible the different schools and branches of Islam that they maliciously call “sects”, in order to then easily rule all the Muslim nations and their natural resources. Contrary to the attempts of the Western conglomerate to spread discord and hatred among Muslims, Ayatollah Khamenei in his speech on October 24, 2021 was very clear about Iran’s views on the necessity of unity, stating that “Islamic Unity is definitely a Koranic obligation”. Iran more than sincerely wants harmony among Muslims, which is not surprising at all, because it is one of its most vital security interests, as it is also the vital interest of all other Muslim nations in the region.

Iran has the second-largest natural gas reserves and the fourth-largest oil reserves in the world. Of course, as we all know very well, it is precisely in this fact that the real causes of the aggressive intentions of the USA, Israel, the UK, the EU and their Arab vassals, in relation to Iran, are hidden. However, on the other hand, for Iran, its natural wealth facilitates inclusion in the Eurasian economic space and leads to the intensification of all other Eurasian integrations. On the one hand, the export of Iranian energy products to Eurasian space really benefits China and not Russia, but on the other hand, Moscow and Tehran are rapidly developing an ever closer military and security cooperation. The frequent visits of Russian officials to Tehran, for example, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, are a good indicator of that process. There are many geopolitical moments that have brought Iran and Russia closer together. First of all, these are the two nations on which the West has imposed the most sanctions in the history of mankind. Second, and more importantly, both countries are in a deep and long-term political conflict with the US and its vassals. Finally, the Western conglomerate has been waging an intense hybrid and proxy war against both nations for a long time. The Russian-Iranian strategic alliance exists and has been developing for a long time, but it was only Russia’s military conflict with the de facto Nazi regime from Kiev that forced Moscow to recognize its reliable strategic ally in Iran. Admittedly, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi once said that the trade and economic relations between the two countries are not satisfactory, but obviously, there is a desire of both countries to improve them and that is starting to happen. As for China, Iran signed a somewhat secretive 25-year deal with its powerful Eurasian partner on March 27, 2021, but its concrete results are still not visible. It is true that China has a strong economic interest in cooperating with the Arab states of the Middle East region, some of which have very bad relations with Iran. However, Western analysts make a big mistake by focusing on the economic aspect of the cooperation of Eurasian nations. It is American hegemony and imperialism that forces Iran, Russia, China and other Eurasian powers to put economic interests on the back burner and give priority to issues related to the development of strategic security alliances.

Iran has formidable military potential that should not be underestimated. No matter how zealous the US and Israeli intelligence services are, Iran is a regional power that could give Israel and its allies extremely unexpected and very unpleasant and painful blows in places where they are least expected. Iran would not passively suffer the blows but would seek the opportunity to immediately transfer the conflict to the aggressor’s territory and this is something Iranian generals can surely achieve. Another very important moment is that Russia and China simply must not allow an Israeli-American coalition attack on Iran to happen in the first place because the risks are too great to ignore, and it is likely that after certain intelligence, the two superpowers will strongly, timely and jointly react to protect their vital interests in the region. Iran’s downfall is simply out of the question for Russia and China because it would imply a deep penetration of the US into the belly of Eurasia, which would result in a dramatic weakening and possible disintegration of the two superpowers. The question remains: what specific steps will the two Eurasian giants take to protect their common ally from aggression? The freedom-loving Iran, a multiple world champion in the fight against American hegemony, simply must not fall!

Iran on the Erdogan – Assad Rapprochement Path, Meaning and Timing

 FEBRUARY 6, 2023

It seems clear that the entry of Iran into the line came at the request of Damascus, which thus wanted to balance the Iranian role with the information that constantly talks about common and intertwined personal and official interests between Presidents Putin and Erdogan.

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published on 2nd Feb 2023 on Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

Two days after President Erdogan’s statements, in which he said, “Let Turkey, Iran, and Syria meet to discuss possibilities for a final solution,” Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said, in the press conference, with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, in Moscow, “Today, an agreement has been reached aimed at Iran’s participation in the process of settling and normalizing relations between neighboring Turkey and Syria.

This means Cairo’s approval, perhaps on behalf of other Arab countries, of the Iranian role. This was recognized, the day before yesterday, by Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan’s spokesman, when he said, “We will be happy with Iran’s contribution to the mediation efforts with Damascus because Tehran is an important player in the Syrian crisis from the beginning.”

Minister Lavrov’s words came after a series of contacts and visits by his Iranian counterpart, Hussein Abdollahian, to Beirut, Damascus, and Moscow, followed by the visit of the Foreign Minister of Qatar, Ankara’s ally, to Tehran, days after the Abu Dhabi summit, in which the leaders of a number of Arab countries, including Qatar and Egypt, participated. This explains Minister Lavrov’s taking advantage of Minister Shukri’s visit to Moscow to talk in his presence about Iran’s involvement in the mediation efforts between Erdogan and President Assad.

It seems clear that Iran’s entry into the line came at the request of Damascus, which thus wanted to balance the Iranian role with the information that constantly talks about common and intertwined personal and official interests between Presidents Putin and Erdogan, which was reason enough for Moscow not to put pressure on Ankara on the issue of Idlib and the Syrian north. in general, but succeeded in persuading Ankara to seek rapprochement with Damascus.

There is much talk in the Turkish media about Russian financial support for Erdogan, to help him win the upcoming elections, which are crucial for Erdogan, Turkey, and Russia as well.

It has become clear that Turkey, before and after these elections, will witness interesting developments related to Erdogan’s foreign calculations, which will have direct and indirect repercussions on the internal situation. The Syrian crisis comes at the forefront of these calculations, and the reason for this is the problem of the Syrians in Turkey, which will be an important electoral material that the opposition will use against Erdogan.

It has also become clear that he, that is, Erdogan will make the minimum concessions required of him to ensure his meeting with President Assad before these elections, and his chances are still few, according to all independent opinion polls, especially after the “Nation Alliance” announced its electoral project that includes 2,300 items aimed to fix everything Erdogan destroyed during his 20 years of rule.

Among these concessions was his acceptance of Iran’s entry into the line of rapprochement between him and President Assad at this time, when Tel Aviv, Washington, Western countries, and its other allies are conspiring against Iran, which was attacked by unknown drones that targeted a military complex in the city of Isfahan.

In parallel, tension appears between Baku and Tehran due to the armed attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in Iran and the killing of one of the embassy guards. This is what some nationalist circles in Turkey and Azerbaijan exploited to launch a hostile campaign against Tehran, which they have been doing for a long time due to Iranian support for Syria in the years of the so-called “Arab Spring”.

On Tuesday, the leader of the National Movement Party, Devlet Bahchali, who is an ally of President Erdogan, said, “Azerbaijan is a state and nation of Turkish origin, the same as South Azerbaijan,” meaning northwestern Iran. This Turkish nationalist provocation is accompanied by a similar provocation and escalation from the nationalist circles in Azerbaijan, which has established and developed in recent years intertwined military and intelligence relations with “Tel Aviv”, which has established a number of espionage bases near the Azerbaijani border with Iran, which is what it did in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, especially in areas under the rule of Masoud Barzani

At a time when the Jewish lobby controls most of the Azerbaijani media, which is waging a hostile and violent campaign against Iran, which coincided with the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to Azerbaijan, and a day later to Armenia, the two neighbors of Tehran.

Minister Lavrov’s talk about an “agreement” on Iran joining the Russian mediation between Assad and Erdogan seems clear that it came in support of the Astana process, but this time with Egyptian and Gulf approval, which may be reflected in support for the Egyptian-Turkish reconciliation path, that is, of course, if the Gulf capitals are sincere in their desire to return things to normal with Damascus.

It is not clear what practical positions the aforementioned capitals will take towards Iran entering the rapprochement line, which, if achieved, will undoubtedly be with the consent of the Gulf, which Erdogan hopes to support him financially, politically, and psychologically on the eve of the elections that will be on May 14.

Everyone knows that Erdogan was and still needs significant financial support from abroad, just as he needs media materials to help him gain more support, which will be achieved by meeting President Assad and announcing together their agreement to return Syrian refugees to their country. It is the issue that, if Erdogan succeeds in it, he will pull the rug out from under the feet of the opposition, which holds him responsible for the refugees and the entire Syrian crisis.

And while waiting for the American, Israeli, and European reaction to Iran’s entry into the mediation line between Erdogan and Assad, which is a victory for Iranian diplomacy at this particular time, everyone is waiting for President Erdogan to take practical and quick moves to resolve the issue of rapprochement before he is exposed to any external pressure, and the situation east of the Euphrates will be one of the most important elements of these pressures, since the rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus will aim, first or second, at joint action against the Kurdish “SDF” and “People’s Protection Units”.

This will be the biggest challenge for Erdogan and before Assad, especially if the Americans think about confronting Russian plans through Turkey, Syria, Iran, and perhaps Iraq as well. This may lead to a real and serious crisis in the relationship between Ankara and Washington, and it has enough reasons for such a crisis, as Turkey is a member of NATO which has many of its bases on its soil.

Ultimately, the bet remains on the success of Russian diplomacy in persuading Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar (Erdogan’s ally) of the necessity of urgency in achieving the Turkish-Syrian rapprochement, and by completing it, Erdogan’s reconciliations with Cairo, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh will acquire practical importance from which everyone will benefit.

And without it being clear how Tel Aviv will respond to these Russian moves, which Washington will obstruct by various means, and its biggest weapon for that is the Syrian Kurds with their extensions in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. They are Tel Aviv’s weapon also until the Gulf regimes convince Netanyahu and his allies in the terrorist government that the war is no longer in their interest and that the Palestinian youth generation, after the events in Jenin and the heroic Al Quds (Jerusalem) operation, is not the generation that will surrender to the conspirators against it internally, regionally and internationally, as long as there are those who stand and will stand by its side among the honorable people of the nation, and everyone knows them and they are the true source of terror for the Zionist entity and its allies in the region!


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Iran Before Imam Khomeini…

January 31, 2023

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Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was very arrogant and insolent. He enjoyed all of the Iranian wealth and resources while neglecting the conditions the people have been living through, until he fled the country and Imam Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini returned.

Iran Before Imam Khomeini…
Iran Before Imam Khomeini…
Iran Before Imam Khomeini…
Iran Before Imam Khomeini…
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What prompted the urgent, secretive summit in Abu Dhabi?

January 20 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Key Arab heads of state convened this week for an emergency meeting that excluded the Saudis and Kuwaitis. The likely hot topics under discussion were Egypt’s economic collapse and Israel’s aggressive escalations.

By Abdel Bari Atwan

On 18 January, the United Arab Emirates hastily arranged a consultative summit in Abu Dhabi, which included the leaders of four member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Heads of state of the Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and the UAE attended the urgent summit, along with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

The absence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and either Kuwaiti Emir Nawaf al-Ahmad or his Crown Prince Mishaal al-Ahmad was noted with some surprise. No official statements or press leaks have yet emerged to explain the omission of the two GCC leaders or their high-level representatives from the urgent consultations.

This surprise summit came on the heels of a tripartite meeting in Cairo on 17 January, which included President Sisi, King Abdullah, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Directly afterward, the Jordanian monarch flew to Abu Dhabi carrying a message for Emirati Emir Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) that prompted him to immediately convene a summit the next day.

What was so urgent to necessitate an emergency meeting of Arab leaders? Why did the top Saudi and Kuwait leaders give the  summit a miss? There are several possibilities behind this swift convening of key Arab leaders in Abu Dhabi.

First, is the rapid deterioration of Egypt’s economy after the decline of the Egyptian pound to its lowest levels in history (32 pounds to the US dollar). Spiraling inflation rates, harsh conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – most notably the floating of the national currency and a heavy reduction of private contracting and trade companies affiliated with the Egyptian army – have added sharply to the economy’s downward turn.

There are reports that the IMF has asked GCC countries to provide $40 billion in immediate aid to Egypt, otherwise the state’s collapse is imminent and inevitable.

Second, are the dangerous policies currently under consideration by the right-wing government of Israel’s new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These include, most notably, threats to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the practical abolition of Jordan’s Hashemite Custodianship over Jerusalem, the illegal annexation of the West Bank, and the deportation of hundreds of thousands of its Palestinian residents to Jordan.

Third, former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, warned his neighbors a few days ago on Twitter of an imminent US-Israeli aggression against Iran that could fundamentally shake the security and stability of the Gulf.

The risk of economic collapse facing Egypt was perhaps the most important and urgent factor on the summit agenda. Financial assistance from the Gulf – once a reliable source of emergency aid – has completely stopped. Even if it continues, funds will no longer arrive in the form of non-refundable grants and unconditional deposits, as in years past.

That approach to funding has changed as Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed bin Jadaan made clear in his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 18 January. In previous statements, Egypt’s President Sisi has confirmed his country’s financial woes by revealing that Gulf states have stopped their aid completely.

The absence of the Emir of Kuwait from the consultative summit may be understandable in this context – if, in fact, Egypt’s economy was the top of the summit’s agenda. The Kuwaiti National Assembly (parliament) has adopted a decision to prevent his government from providing a single dollar in aid to Egypt.

Gulf states have provided Egypt with $92 billion since the ‘Arab Uprisings’ began to tear through the region in January 2011.

Currently, Kuwait’s own internal governmental crisis, in addition to the deterioration of its relationship with Cairo over its deportation of Egyptian workers, can explain the emir’s absence. What is not understood so far, is why Saudi’s MbS was a no-show in Abu Dhabi.

While Emirati leader MbZ’s warm and friendly reception of his Qatari counterpart Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani raised hopes of easing bilateral tensions, news leaks suggested that Saudi-Emirati relations are in their own state of crisis – based on growing differences over the Yemeni war and other regional issues. Perhaps this crisis is what led to a thaw in Qatari-Emirati relations.

In addition, Egyptian-Saudi relations have collapsed to an state unprecedented for years. A report last month by US media outlet Axios revealed that Egyptian authorities have halted practical procedures in their transfer of the strategic Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi sovereignty. Egyptian official media has also launched a fierce attack on the Saudi-owned “MBC Egypt” channel and its presenter Amr Adib, accusing him of working for the Saudis amid fears the station will stop broadcasting from Egypt.

Besides the economic aspects, the differences, squabbles, and fluctuating relations between the countries of this axis, there are other issues of significant gravity that may have been addressed at the Abu Dhabi summit.

A key topic may have been the ambitions of Netanyahu’s unprecedentedly right-wing Israeli government – notably its prevention of Jordan’s ambassador from visiting Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, as a first step to abolish the Hashemite Custodianship over the ancient city.

While the failure to invite Palestinian President Abbas to the Abu Dhabi summit (there is an Emirati veto against it) may suggest otherwise, Jordan – currently under US and Israeli pressure to participate in the second Negev summit in Morocco – and its monarch may have pressed this issue in Abu Dhabi.

Gulf states that have normalized relations or opened communications with Israel would have been asked to use their influence to de-escalate these pressures. The ramifications of continued Israeli aggressions in Jerusalem and the West Bank are a direct threat to Jordan’s security and stability.

Interestingly, all the states represented at the Abu Dhabi summit – with the exception of the Sultanate of Oman and Qatar – have signed normalization agreements with Israel. The absent Saudis and Kuwaitis, have notably not yet joined that club.

Details of the Abu Dhabi emergency summit of heads of states have not yet emerged, but the days ahead could provide some answers. Will billions flow to Egypt to extract the country from its financial crisis? Or will the Arab House remain the same? We will have to wait to see.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

نصرالله: خطوة إلى الوراء… خطوتان إلى الأمام في المواصفات الرئاسية

 الجمعة 20 كانون الثاني 2023

ناصر قنديل

ــ برغم التوضيحات المتكررة التي قدّمها الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله حول عدم حاجة المقاومة لرئيس يحميها أو رئيس يغطيها، وحول أن القصد من رئيس لا يطعن المقاومة في ظهرها ليس الحرص على المقاومة التي تعرف كيف تحمي نفسها من التآمر والطعن، بقدر الحرص على البلد الذي سيضعه خيار الرئيس الطاعن للمقاومة في دائرة الخطر، ويعرّض سلمه الأهلي للاهتزاز، بمحاولته لوضع مقدرات الدولة في مواجهة المقاومة، بقي البعض يردّد مقولة إن المطلوب رئيس يحمي البلد لا رئيساً يحمي المقاومة، فقرر السيد نصرالله التراجع خطوة الى الوراء، ويقول بمعزل عن طعن المقاومة وعدم طعنها في المواصفات الرئاسية تعالوا لنبحث معاً أي رئيس نريد؟

ــ بدأ السيد نصرالله جوابه على سؤال حول ما إذا كنا في قلب الانهيار، وما إذا كنا نتحمل ست سنوات رئاسية عنوانها استمرار الحال على ما هو عليه، ليقول إن لبنان يحتاج الى رئيس لأنه لا يستطيع تحمّل المزيد من الانهيار والتدهور، ولأن مدخل كل مواجهة للانهيار هو مؤسسات الدولة التي يبدأ تفعيلها من انتخاب رئيس جديد للجمهورية يليه تشكيل حكومة جديدة، لرسم السياسات واتخاذ الخطوات باتجاه يضمن الخروج من الانهيار ووضع لبنان على سكة الحل. والرئيس الذي يشكل انتخابه تمديداً للشلل في مواجهة المخاطر الداهمة التي تزحف بلبنان نحو الأسوأ، يعني رصاصة الرحمة على لبنان واللبنانيين، لأن لبنان لا يحتمل هذا الشلل لستة شهور، فكيف يتحمل ست سنوات؟

ــ قدّم السيد نصرالله في الجواب على أي رئيس نريد من أجل الخروج من الانهيار، نسختين من السيناريوات المطلوبة رئاسياً، النسخة الأولى هي سيناريو ما يتعرّض له لبنان من دعوات للسير بسياسات يتداولها خصوم المقاومة تحت شعار دعوتهم لمواصفات الرئيس الجديد، وهي رئيس يقبله الغرب وعلى رأسه الأميركي باعتباره الفريق الذي يمسك بالمعادلات المالية الدولية وعبر كسب رضاه تنفتح أمام لبنان أبواب الحلول المالية، ورئيس يرضى عنه العرب وفي طليعتهم الخليج وفي مقدّمته السعودية، لأنهم مَن يملك المال ولبنان يحتاج إلى المساعدات، وغضب السعودية ومن خلفها الخليج على لبنان حرمه من هذه الأموال، ورئيس إن لم يذهب للسلام مع كيان الاحتلال وصولا للتطبيع فعلى الأقل رئيس لا يعرّض لبنان لامتحانات التوتر مع الكيان، ورئيس يؤمن بالعمل مع صندوق النقد الدولي الذي يملك وحده الوصفة السحرية التي تفتح أمام لبنان أبواب المؤسسات الدولية المالية والجهات المانحة، ورغم كون كل هذه المواصفات تنتخي بوصفة الابتعاد عن المقاومة وتصل إلى وضع رأسها على طاولة المساومة؛ وهو ما سبق وقصده السيد نصرالله باختصار مواصفاته الرئاسية برئيس لا يطعن المقاومة في ظهرها، قرّر السيد نصرالله تجاوز ذلك ومناقشة الفرضية بعيداً عن المقاومة وظهرها، فالتفت إلى الجغرافيا القريبة حيث تقدّم مصر مثالاً لا يمكن تخيّل قدرة لبنان على مضاهاته في ترجمة هذه الطلبات. فمهما فعل لبنان لن يبلغ منزلة مصر في الاقتراب من الغرب وأميركا خصوصاً، ومهما فعل لبنان لن يصل إلى مكانة مصر الخليجية والسعودية خصوصاً، ومهما فعل لبنان فلن يصل في تبريد الصراع مع كيان الاحتلال الى ما فعلته مصر عبر اتفاقيات كامب ديفيد، ومصر سبّاقة في تنفيذ وصفات صندوق النقد الدولي، ليخلص للقول خذوا العبرة من مصر وهي تنهار، ونريد رئيساً يجنبنا هذا الانهيار، أي ملك شجاعة القول لا لدعاة هذه الوصفات البائسة التي لا تُغني ولا تُسمن عن جوع، ولا تأتي إلا بالخراب.

ــ انتقل السيد نصرالله الى النسخة الثانية من السيناريو، وهي أنه مقابل الضغط والحصار من الجانب الأميركي وتداعياته العربية والخليجية، هناك دول لم يستطع الأميركي إلزامها بالامتناع عن تقديم الدعم للبنان، سواء بتقديم الهبات والمساعدات كحال هبة الفيول الإيرانية، أو تقديم العروض الاستثمارية التي لا تكلف الدولة قرشاً للنهوض بقطاعات حيوية في أي خطة نهوض اقتصادية، سواء قطاع الكهرباء أو قطاع النفط أو قطاعات النقل، وأهمها العروض الروسية والصينية. وهنا طريق الضغط الأميركي هو لبنان وليس الجهات المانحة أو المستثمرة، ولبنان يحتاج رئيساً شجاعاً يقبل المساعدات ويفتح الطريق أمام الاستثمارات، ولا يخضع لدفتر الشروط الأميركي.

ــ الرئيس السيادي هو الذي يملك شجاعة اتخاذ الموقف بقياس المصلحة الوطنية، لا بقياس المطلوب الممنوع خارجياً، ولذلك فإن التمسك بالسعي لإيصال رئيس بهذه المواصفات يستدعي عدم التهاون مع محاولات الضغط لفرض المجيء برئيس «كيف ما كان» لأن رئيس الـ «كيف ما كان» هو رئيس تعميق الانهيار وتسريع السقوط.

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Turkey and Syria Meeting in Moscow May Result in Peace Plan


Steven Sahiounie

Tomorrow, the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Syria will meet in Moscow.  This is the highest level meeting between the two countries who have been on opposite sides of the US-NATO war on Syria for regime change since 2011.

The outcome of that meeting, and the expected follow-up meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, may form the basis for the recovery of Syria, circumventing the UN resolution 2254, which has failed to produce results.

The US has lost the war, but has used armed militias to remain occupying parts of Syria, and to impose a stalemate which prevents a peaceful solution and recovery for Syria.  America is no longer the only superpower, and decisions made in the new Middle East no longer depend on orders from the US State Department.

Erdogan is up for re-election in June and faces heavy opposition. The economy is dismal, and people blame the Syrian refugees for lost jobs and social ills.  Erdogan and the opposition promise to send the refugees packing.

The Turkish export market to Syria in 2011 represented half of the entire global export market for Turkey.  That was lost when Damascus banned all Turkish imports because of their participation in the war on Syria. Erdogan could get the Syrian market restored by repairing the relationship.

In order to win re-election, Erdogan proposes a rapprochement with Assad.  The US has voiced its displeasure at any attempt of any country to repair relations with Syria.  However, Erdogan will not be swayed by US opinion or threats, in light of the fact that the US supports, trains and supplies weapons to the Kurdish militia (SDF and YPG) linked to an internationally banned terrorist organization (PKK), which have killed thousands in Turkey over three decades of terrorism. The Kurds know that Turkey is a much more important ally to the US, and the US will never fight Turkey to save the Kurds.  Former US envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, told the Kurds they should repair their relationship with Damascus for protection. The US never supported a “homeland” for the Kurds.

Syria and Turkey are united in their goal to demilitarize the Kurdish northeast of Syria.  Syria and Turkey share a common enemy (the Kurds), and a common ally (Russia). This may be the basis of forming a new foreign policy between the two neighbors.


Syrian officials have met with Turkish officials and Arab Gulf officials.  Some Arab embassies in Damascus were re-opened, and Assad made a visit to the UAE.

The Assad administration in Damascus controls the vast majority of the Syrian territory.  The exceptions are: Idlib province in the northwest is under the occupation of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a Radical Islamic terrorist group which was the former Al Qaeda branch in Syria, and the Kurdish administration region in the northeast under the occupation of about 600 US troops and two local Kurdish militias (SDF and YPG) which follow a communist political ideology first promoted by the jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

Syria and Russia have been prevented from attacking and liberating Idlib from terrorist control. The US uses the three million civilians living under occupation as human shields to prevent attack. The US and its allies in the UN demand that the UN food and medical supplies be delivered to Idlib. The civilians are being fed and clothed, but the terrorists and their families are as well. The international community is supporting the welfare of the terrorists, who are there at the behest of the US, to prevent peace and recovery in Syria.  Despite the UN protocol which demands all UN members to fight Al Qaeda, or their affiliates, anywhere on earth, the US and Turkey have circumvented the protocol and use the terrorists as guards of the political stalemate which the US imposed on Syria.

The US

America has maintained an iron grip on Syria through the use of US sanctions and a brutal military occupation which has prevented the Syrian citizens from fuel for transportation and home heating, and to generate electricity.  Syrian houses, hospitals, schools and businesses have between 15 minutes to 1 hour of electricity in four intervals per day because of the US imposed sanctions, which have not affected the Syrian government, but have brought the Syrian people to desperation. Kidney dialysis machines require electricity constantly.  A gasoline powered generator can suffice when there are blackouts, but the US sanctions also prevent the importation of gasoline.  How can Syrians survive?

Despite Richard Haass writing in 1998 that US sanctions are ineffective and immoral against civilians, the US State Department hangs on to sanctions as a tool for regime change.


Iran and Syria have been united in their resistance to the occupation of Palestine Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms.  Iran stood firmly with Syria during the US-NATO attack on Syria because it is a key in the land route from Iran to Lebanon. Recently, there are some cracks appearing in the relationship between Damascus and Tehran.  Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s meeting in Damascus was postponed recently. Some experts feel Iran has been asking too much of Syria, and with new opportunities for improved relations with the Arab Gulf and Turkey, Syria may be taking time to evaluate its options.

Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries want to see Iran out of Syria.  As long as Iran is in Syria the Israeli airstrikes will continue, which have been deadly and destructive.

There were 32 Israeli raids in 2022 that destroyed and struck 91 targets, including civilian infrastructure, buildings, weapons caches and vehicles. Eighty-eight military personnel were killed and 121 wounded in the attacks.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the United States’ largest foreign military sales customer, with more than $100 billion in active cases.  In the US there is a saying, “The customer is always right.”

Perhaps this may explain why the US takes no action against Saudi Arabia even when there have been deadly issues, or when Biden asked the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to pump more oil, and he refused.

MBS is making huge reforms, which includes loosening restrictions on women, and creating new tourism and international sports opportunities.

MBS and Netanyahu are united in a common issue: to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, despite Iran insisting on wanting nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes, such as energy production and medical research.  Netanyahu has stated one of his main priorities in office will be to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.

The Arab League

The upcoming Arab League Summit will take place in Saudi Arabia, traditionally scheduled yearly in March.  Depending on the outcome of meetings between now and spring, Syria could possibly be reinstated and occupy their seat at the table.  Big changes have been taking place in the region involving the relations between Arab countries and the US, China and Russia. Saudi Arabia is in the driver’s seat and will use their hosting of the summit to project their ranking as the Middle East’s power broker.


Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has announced that the next Abraham Accords summit will be held in Morocco in March 2023.

The US had brokered in 2020 the Abraham Accords for the normalization of relations between Israel, Morocco, the UAE and Bahrain. Later, Sudan joined the accords.  Areas of shared interests are: defense, investment, agriculture, tourism, and energy.

The meetings and realignments between Syria and Turkey, mediated by Russia, may produce lasting changes in the Middle East, and bring enemies together as new friends.  The Israeli occupation of Palestine will continue to be the primary cause of instability and violence in the region.  It fuels religious extremism and terrorism. If Israel values the establishment of relations with their Arab neighbors, they must first look at their closest neighbors in Gaza and the West Bank.  The Middle East and the world wait for a peace summit to begin the process of peace for Israel and Palestine, and the host country will not likely be the US.

Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist

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President Assad Resisting Russian Pressure to Help Erdogan


Russian President Putin continues his extensive efforts to help the Turkish madman Erdogan in ruling Turkey, economically, Russia has done its uttermost to help the Turkish economy after the US and European Union pressure on it and despite the policies of Erdogan prior to the Russian special military operation in Ukraine were very harmful to Russia itself. The latest attempt by Mr. Putin to help the Turkish madman is to pressure President Bashar Assad to meet Erdogan in a photo-op summit which Erdogan will sell to his people as a sign of resolving the Syrian refugees issue in Turkey.

Syria’s response to previous attempts to mend ties with Turkey falls very much under the principles of international law, the UN Charter, and the bases of the Adana Accords, Turkey has interfered in Syria militarily, politically, economically, and by sponsoring tens of thousands of al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists, Syria has not harmed Turkey in any way possible.

After a meeting in Moscow that joined the Syrian minister of defense to his Turkish counterpart with the presence of the Russian minister of defense, Erdogan started selling his election promise that he’s on the verge of rapprochement with Syria that will see millions of refugees return to their home country.

The Turkish regime has even set dates for a meeting between the foreign ministers of Syria and Turkey which prompted the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates to visit Damascus and ask President Assad to include his country in such a meeting.

Syria’s response to further meetings with the Turkish side are varying from negative to suspicious regarding the Turkish commitments, after all, Turkey is a NATO member state and the leaders of this ‘defensive’ alliance are not known to keep their words, especially Erdogan. Russia knows that firsthand and now even more after the revelations of former German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande that they were never serious to implement the Minsk agreements regarding the Donbas and were using them only to buy time for Ukraine to build up a strong army and threaten Russia.

Erdogan has also not only failed to implement the Idlib agreements in which he promised to cease supporting Al Qaeda and ISIS and to dismantle these terrorist groups, but he also went on beefing up these terrorists with more imported terrorists, supplies of weapons, and by sending the Turkish army, NATO’s second-largest army to protect those terrorists turning posts which were supposed to serve as observation posts to see the dismantling and withdrawal of al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists into military bases to support those terrorists inside Syrian territories.

All of this has not stopped Mr. Putin from adding more pressure on President Assad to help the Turkish madman in the upcoming elections to the extent of sending his special envoy, Mr. Lavrentiev, to Damascus to try to convince President Assad.

After receiving the Russian envoy President Bashar Assad said:

“The meetings with the Turkish side must be based on prior coordination and planning between Syria and Russia in order to be fruitful, and in order to reach the tangible goals and results that Syria wants from these meetings.”

President Assad then added:

“The objectives of the meetings stem from the national constants and principles of the state and the people, which are based on ending the Turkish occupation of the Syrian lands, and stopping support for terrorism.”

Al Qaeda, ISIS (ISIL – Daesh), their affiliates, and offshoots are considered terrorist groups by Syria, and most of the world including the United Nations General Assembly, and the United Nations Security Council, however, the regime of the Turkish madman Erdogan considers these same terrorists as moderate rebels and builds its policies toward Syria over a potential essential role for these terrorists in Syria’s future political leadership!

Yet, seems that the Russian leadership, and especially President Putin sees the Turkish madman Erdogan as a winning card against NATO and a reliable person.

The failed foreign policies of the Turkish madman Erdogan have stripped him of his friends in his country and abroad, the biggest failure was in Syria when he vowed to pray in the Grand Omayyad Mosque in Damascus as a conqueror after toppling the government of Bashar Assad, it was President Assad who saved the Turkish economy under Erdogan and Gul after the European Union doors were closed in its face when the Syrian gates were opened for Turkish businesses inside Syria and through it to the Arab world.

All of Turkey’s economic gains in the past two decades are merely because of President Bashar Assad, and all of Turkey’s economic losses in the past few years are merely because the Turkish madman Erdogan failed to topple the only person who helped him and his country stand on its feet no matter how much Qatar, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, and now the combined Gulfies help Turkey. With the southern gates blocked and with millions of refugees pressuring the Turkish economy, there’s no way Erdogan can win the upcoming elections.

Erdogan’s future without the presidency is in a confined prison cell, his and his family’s corruption is beyond comprehension, even his own partners in the Turkish mafia went against him, by winning the elections, the Turkish dictator can immune himself from the prosecution he’s promised by the Turkish opposition, and can solidify more powers under him to rule without opposition, anyway, most of the Turkish opposition are either in jail or in exile.

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An adviser of the Turkish madman Erdogan exposed his boss’s real intentions toward Syria: Erdogan will not implement any agreement he strikes with President Assad before the Turkish elections, and will allow 1.5 million to 2 million Syrian refugees to return to their home country only if Aleppo is placed under the administrative control of Turkey!

Will the Russian leadership of Mr. Putin continue to pressure Syria into helping Erdogan win re-election coming this mid-May, or understand that the likes of the Turkish madman Erdogan cannot be trusted no matter what other concessions the Russians are able to get out of him?

It was the war criminal and former US President George W. Bush who tasked the Turkish madman Erdogan with a leading role in the region if he helps the USA implement its PNAC (Project for the New American Century) by dismantling all secular Arab countries especially Syria to protect the creation of the Jewish state of Greater Israel aka Greater Middle East Project, known in biblical terms as the kingdom of the antichrist; the Turkish madman Erdogan will become the neo-Ottoman sultan of the divided Muslim world in exchange. The whole world changed after the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood project of Erdogan failed miserably in Syria which caused a reverse domino effect in the Arab states in which it succeeded earlier: Tunisia, Sudan, Libya, Morocco, and Egypt.

The Turkish madman Erdogan started the war on Syria turning his country into the main hub for all sorts of terrorists hired by the different ‘intelligence’ agencies of NATO and Gulfies to fight the Syrian state, and it’s in the hands of the Turkish madman to end the war on Syria and secure re-election, Russia must not ask of Syria to help Erdogan, it must pressure Erdogan to at least comply with the agreements the latter signed of which Russia and Iran were the guarantors.


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استراتيجية أميركا في لبنان: ليكن الفراغ… ونحمل حزب الله المسؤولية

 الجمعة 6 كانون الثاني 2023

غسان سعود

في الفراغ الرئاسي السابق، كان الرئيس سعد الحريري يستعجل العودة إلى السلطة بعيد إخراجه منها قبل سنوات، وكان الرئيس ميشال عون يعدّ الأيام مدركاً أن مرورها ليس لمصلحته أبداً، وكان رئيس حزب القوات اللبنانية سمير جعجع يبحث عن مخارج مفترضاً أن ميشال عون أهون الشرور، وكان سيناريو الغرب يقوم على المواجهة المباشرة. وبالتالي، كان التحدي: من يلين أو ينكسر أولاً… فانكسر الحريري، ثم جعجع (أو العكس، كما يحلو للقوات القول)، وانتصر فريق بانتخاب مرشحه رئيساً.

اليوم لا شيء من هذا كله. لا الحريري هنا ولا عون ولا جعجع، أو من ينوب عنهم في أدوارهم السابقة. فيما انتقلت الولايات المتحدة والسعودية من المواجهة المباشرة بكل ما تحمله من تسرع، إلى استراتيجية الأرض المحروقة الطويلة الأمد، حيث يمكن للفراغ أن يستمر لسنوات طالما أن الماكينة الإعلامية الممولة منهما تنجح في تحميل الحزب المسؤولية عنه، وعن استمرار الانهيار. وعليه، فإن لعبة «عضّ الأصابع» التي حكمت الاستحقاق السابق ليست موجودة اليوم. فلا أمر عمليات أميركياً اسمه انتخاب رئيس للجمهورية، تُحشد له الجيوش الديبلوماسية والإعلامية و«المجتمعات المدنية». ولم تتجاوز محاولات إقناع رئيس التيار الوطني الحر جبران باسيل بتأييد ترشيح قائد الجيش جوزف عون حدود رفع العتب، قبل أن يسحب المعنيون بترشيح القائد بساطهم من تحت هذا الترشيح، مؤكدين أنهم ضد وصول مرشح مدعوم من الحزب، لكنهم ليسوا مع أي مرشح محدد آخر. «يمكن أن يأتي أي كان رئيساً للجمهورية، شرط أن لا يكون انتخابه انتصاراً لحزب الله»، تقول ديبلوماسية أوروبية.

وإذا كان الأميركيون يفضلون، بما لا يقبل أي شك، خوض معركة جدية للتمديد لجوزف عون في اليرزة أكثر بكثير من خوض معركة انتقاله إلى بعبدا، باعتبار وجوده في اليرزة أكثر أهمية على المستوى الاستراتيجي من وجوده في بعبدا، يمكن للكتل المحسوبة عليهم أن تتسلى بترشيح ميشال معوض فالنائب السابق صلاح حنين ثم ثالث فرابع. ولا مشكلة في عدم الوصول إلى نتيجة. المهم هو الظهور أمام الرأي العام بمظهر من يحاول ويحاول ويحاول، فيما الحزب يقول: سليمان فرنجية أو لا أحد، تماماً كما كان يقول سابقاً عون أو لا أحد. وهناك من يستعد، في الأسابيع المقبلة، ليزرع في لا وعي هذا الرأي العام أن قوى 14 آذار تراجعت خطوات من مرشح رأس حربة كمعوض إلى شخصية أكاديمية كتلوية هادئة ليس في أرشيفها أي موقف مستفز كحنين، فيما يرفض الآخرون ملاقاتها في منتصف الطريق.

ويقول ديبلوماسي أوروبي، في هذا السياق، إن المسؤولين الأوروبيين يقولون كلاماً واضحاً لنظرائهم اللبنانيين عن التزامهم مبدأ رفع العتب في حثهم اللبنانيين على انتخاب رئيس، لوجود مشكلات أهم بكثير بالنسبة لأوروبا من رئاسة الجمهورية اللبنانية. وحتى الاجتماع الرباعي المقبل في باريس، لا يعدو كونه محطة إضافية من محطات رفع العتب، إذ إنه من دون أي خريطة طريق أو نية جدية بالتدخل، لأن القرار واضح: هناك أزمة يتحمّل العهد والحزب مسؤوليتها، انتهت إلى فراغ رئاسي يتحمّل الحزب وحده مسؤوليته اليوم. لذلك، المطلوب إطفاء كل المحركات التي يمكن أن تفضي إلى انتخاب رئيس وترك الحزب يتحمل المسؤولية. وإذا كانت الأمور مقبولة نسبياً في الفراغ السابق لأن شريحة مهمة من الرأي العام المسيحي كانت تتمسك بوصول العماد عون إلى بعبدا ولأن حكومة الرئيس تمام سلام وجدت آلية للقيام بعملها، فإن وضع التعايش مع الفراغ أصعب اليوم في ظل الأزمة الاقتصادية وانتقال الجمهور العوني وقيادته إلى المقلب الآخر المندد بمبدأ «فلان أو الفراغ» والتعطيل النسبي لعمل مجلسي الوزراء والنواب.

في ختام جلسة طويلة مع أحد الديبلوماسيين العرب، يسأل عما يمكن أن تفعله لو كنت صانع القرار في الإدارة الأميركية:

• تدفع ثمناً داخلياً أو خارجياً باهظاً مقابل انتقال جوزف عون من مكان أثبت فيه إنتاجيته بالنسبة إليك إلى مكان فخريّ لا قيمة تنفيذية له؟

• تصارع للفوز بالرئاسة حتى يحملك الجميع المسؤولية عن كل ما توارثته الأجيال من مشاكل في هذا البلد؟

• تعمل على إطالة الفراغ أكبر فترة ممكنة طالما أن ماكينتك الإعلامية تحمّل الحزب المسؤولية عنه؟

• تسهّل، بعد فراغ طويل، فوز المرشح المدعوم من الحزب لتواصل الحصار ست سنوات إضافية من تحميل العهد والحزب المسؤولية عن كل ما يحصل لتتضاعف النقمة أكثر؟

الديبلوماسي العربيّ يحرص على القول إنه يسأل نفسه هذا السؤال منذ أشهر، من دون أن تكون لديه أي معلومة في هذا الشأن. إلا أن ما ينشر من تقارير أميركية يبين مقارنة واشنطن بين استراتيجية المواجهة المباشرة (التي اعتمدت في لبنان بين عامي 2005 و2018) واستراتيجية الأرض المحروقة المحاصرة عن بعد (التي اعتمدت منذ عام 2019)، والخروج بنتيجة أن حصيلة السنوات الماضية كانت أفضل بكثير سواء من حيث النقاط أو التكلفة.

لا مبالاة عربية وغربية برسائل بطريركية عن أسماء تحظى بقبول وثقة كل من باسيل والسعودية والغرب

هذا ما يفسر، ربما، عدم اهتمام طرفي النزاع بمبدأ النقاش في ما بعد الرئاسة، اقتصادياً واجتماعياً ومالياً وتشريعياً، الذي يطرحه رئيس التيار الوطني الحر جبران باسيل. وكأن الطرفين يسلّمان باستمرارية الأوضاع على حالها. فرغم رسائل سعودية إيجابية في إشارتها إلى التقاطع الهامشيّ، لكن الأول من نوعه مع باسيل (بعد كل ما نقله القطريون لهم) في ورقة الأولويات، فإن أحداً اليوم لا يطرح حلاً يبدأ بانتخاب الرئيس.

مصادر ديبلوماسية تؤكد أن بكركي طرحت مع مراجع عليا، إقليمية ودولية، أكثر من ثلاثة أسماء تحظى بثقة الدول الخليجية والأوروبية، وأبلغت البطريركية المارونية هؤلاء أن باسيل و16 نائباً من كتلته سيصوتون لأحدها إذا تأمنت موافقة كتل وازنة أخرى عليه. كما يحسم المطلعون بوجود أكثر من اسم يمكن أن تمثل تقاطعاً جدياً بين التيار وقوى أخرى تخاصمه منذ سنوات. لكن كل هذه الطروحات لم تصل إلى نتيجة. إذ يبدو أن ما من نية خارجية حتى اليوم لفتح هذا الباب. وكل المطلوب هو الإبقاء على الفراغ، وتحميل الحزب مسؤوليته.

اكتئاب ينتظر دوروثي… وسفراء مسرورون بمغادرتها

المسرورون بمغادرة السفيرة الأميركية في بيروت دوروثي شيا ليسوا كثراً في لبنان، وليسوا جميعاً لبنانيين. والمرجح أن السفيرة ذات الصيت المهني الضعيف، ستعاني اكتئاباً حاداً بعد أشهر قليلة على مغادرتها. صحيح أن هاتفها سيظل موصولاً بعشرات السياسيين والإعلاميين ورجال الأعمال والأصدقاء في لبنان، وستتمكن من تمضية بعض الوقت معهم، وتجيب بعبارات من نوع: ربما، أعتقد أنه من الأفضل، أشعر بأن الأمر سيكون على هذا النحو، انتبهوا ، حدثوني عندما تحتاجون إلى شيء، إذا واجهتم مشكلة مع خلفي، الفتوا انتباهي، إضافة إلى توصيات في صلب جدول أعمالها، من نوع: لا تنسوا أن المشكلة هي في حزب الله، اهتموا بالمنظمات غير الحكومية لأن دولتكم فاشلة، لا تثقوا بهذا السياسي فهو كان يكذب علينا، إلى آخره، من قاموس يحمله غالبية الديبلوماسيين الغربيين الذين يغادرون لبنان على مضض، ويعودون إلى حياة طبيعية، حيث لا مواكب ولا مآدب مفتوحة، ولا دهشة على الوجوه، ولا كاميرات تلاحق، ولا قائمة طلبات لمواعيد لا يكفي العام لتغطيتها.

بعض المسرورين من غير اللبنانيين، هم من نظراء للسفيرة الأميركية، وهؤلاء بدأوا منذ الآن التدقيق في هوية الخلف وقوته ونفوذه. إذ إن الأوروبيين منهم، خصوصاً الفرنسيين والألمان، يأملون بديبلوماسي يحتاج إلى وقت طويل للتعرف إلى الملف اللبناني، ما يتيح لسفيري فرنسا وألمانيا المجال للقيام بأمور كثيرة، من دون الخشية من تعرض مشاريعهما لضربة عاجلة كتلك التي كانت دوروثي شيا تقوم بها طوال الوقت. وبعض المسرورين أيضاً، هم سياسيون يعتقدون أن شيا كانت تبالغ في ادعاء المعرفة بالتفاصيل اللبنانية، خصوصاً أولئك الذين كانت تعاقبهم بالتجاهل، أو تنهر الموفدين منهم. أما الأكثر قلقاً واستنفاراً، فهم الذين يديرون الجمعيات الممولة من السفارة الأميركية، وسبق لهم أن تدربوا على كيفية التعامل مع السفيرة ويعرفون ما الذي يغضبها أو يفرحها، خصوصاً أن الخشية تسود غالبية هذه الجمعيات من الغضب الأميركي، كون التمويل الأوروبي بدأ يتراجع، والتنافس الآن هو على الأموال الأميركية، وهي أموال كانت تصل أيضاً إلى خزائن مؤسسات رسمية في الدولة، لا سيما منها الأجهزة العسكرية والأمنية. 

على أن الأهم في كل ما سيحصل، هو أن اللبنانيين سيكتشفون سريعاً، أن السفارة الأميركية في بيروت، ليست لديها استراتيجية متماسكة حيال التعامل مع مشكلات لبنان، وأن العنوان الوحيد الذي يجري العمل عليه تلقائياً ومن دون الحاجة إلى توصيات، هو العمل على تطويق حزب الله وحلفائه، والاعتماد على ترويع من يتواصل معهم، والسعي الدائم إلى خلق أرجل اصطناعية لتثبيت رجال السفارة من كل الطوائف والمذاهب.

مقالات ذات صلة

Netanyahu Passes the Standard to Ben-Gvir Announcing the Fall of the Entity

December 20, 2022

by Nasser Kandil

Those talking day and night about a wave of normalization invading the Arab world, in the midst of whom voices for resistance have been a dissonant chord, should fall silent. Suffice it for them to read or listen well or view and consider the hundreds of reports swarming in all forms of Israeli media, written, broadcast, and telecast, about the shift of the interest in Qatar’s Mondial from a celebration of normalization to its obituary and burial, regardless of the Qatari authorities’ stance which had granted the Israeli media all necessary facilitation confirmed in Israeli media reports about the catastrophic surprise which awaited their crews who had been sent by their Israeli media headquarters carrying the background intention of holding a celebratory festival side by side with the Mondial entitled normalization, only to find in every corner and every street and with every Arab citizen from Morocco, to Saudi Arabia, to Lebanon, to Qatar, to the Emirates a rejection of normalization to the degree of dealing with an Israeli as a plague requiring handwashing after contact, from the taxi driver, to the restaurant waiter, to passerby Mondial supporters among whom the Israeli media crew utterly failed to find one Arab who agreed to a photo op with them, but instead, faced what one media crew member described, as panic and fear when a mobile phone was snatched and photos taken deleted, or the kicking out of a passenger and leaving him stranded in the middle of a deserted road, or forcibly removing a group of media crew from a restaurant and throwing them to the street. Such signals, the dimensions of which are important and analyzed by the Israelis, and ignored by promoters of normalization of the Arabs, say beyond a doubt, that the span of normalization is packing its luggage and leaving.

Benjamin Netanyahu who accompanied the Deal of the Century and normalization projects and frequently boasted that they were the most important compensation for the fears raised by the growth of the resistance in Palestine, and the growth of its strength on Palestine’s borders, knew fully well that the normalization phenomena in the Gulf were only appetizers awaiting the main dish of Saudi Arabia joining the normalization option, and on the outcome of such joinder, when it occurs, as the remaining hope to restore the entity’s regional role, in the shadow of its receding ability to seize it through omnipotent military superiority, with Netanyahu also knowing that such hope being dependent on American success in bringing Saudi Arabia into obedience, and trading conferring legitimacy on the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamad Bin Salman and bypassing the dossier of the killing of the journalist Jamal Kashoggi as a strong point to pressure him into an advanced step in normalization with the Occupation Entity. Following stumbles during U.S. President Joe Biden’s last visit to Saudi Arabia a few months ago, and in translating the invitation for Saudi Arabia to participate in merging “Israel” in both Gulf and Arab milieus, came the rising setbacks in American-Saudi relations, with Saudi positioning mid-road between Washington, Beijing, and Moscow. Enter the American announcement of judicial immunity to the Saudi Crown Prince, and Netanyahu’s burial of his last dreams and hopes.
The return to Palestine, no longer an option, became a fate for Netanyahu or any other leader in the Entity with the failure of the bet on a wave of normalization as a strategic shift after of Saudi Arabia’s joining. The wailing scenes of the Israeli media about the lie of normalization has fired the bullet of mercy on that delusion, and Netanyahu’s return to Palestine implies a return to the conflict considerations well known to Netanyahu, who knows that he lies when he talks the language of challenge with Al Mukawama (Resistance), being the one who, with deterrence power in the gutter, agreed to a cease fire after the Seif Al- Quds conflict. It was under his successive premierships that the transformation of the resistance in Gaza from a defensive force to one of offense occurred, and the resistance in Lebanon obtained its precision missiles despite his lavish rhetoric about targeting them through Syria, and his inability to respond convincingly to the Israeli interior about the secret regarding not targeting them in Lebanon since he was boasting about his power and knowledge about where they were stored, and displaying photos at the UN General Assembly which he said showed the missiles’ depot locations. For all those reasons, Netanyahu knows that he faces a dead end if he decides to return to classic rules of engagement, and knows well that the loss is certain and the erosion unquestionable. Because Netanyahu knows all of this, his last bet was on a wave of normalization in the hope of changing the rules of engagement, and particularly its Palestinian dynamics with Saudi Arabia’s joining, and what it promises the Israelis economically and in terms of expanding the horizon for their hope to remain in the entity, and reproducing a centrist power in the Israeli aggregate which historically had formed the base for a project of “statehood” and “politics,”, and in the absence of which the project of “statehood” gave in to the ideologues and settlers, and the project of “politics” to bloody civil confrontations on one side between the Palestinians as the authentic inhabitants, and on the other side the Settlers. Netanyahu, who is aware of the fall of the projects of “statehood” and “politics” knows the limits of his options, and in view of his retreat from his threat of withdrawing from the agreement of the division of the economic areas with Lebanon by stating that he would give it the same treatment as the Oslo Agreement, will not even dare to do that, i.e. not to comply, because he knows the consequences, and has been the first in avoiding them and seeking to deal with them realistically.

Netanyahu, returning after the elections, reads the fall of the entity with the rise of the Zionist ideology and Settlement bloc and its call to ethnic cleansing, deportation, and killing represented by its rising star Itamar Ben-Gvir, and despite his awareness of the American and European stance and the consequences of granting the internal security cabinet to Ben-Gvir on internal security itself, and on “Israel’s” image abroad and its positon among general opinion groups and Western rights organizations, undertakes such a step in acknowledgement that the era of the “State of Israel” has ended, and that handing over the standard to the tide of settlers and ideologues, either succeeds in creating a new formula inside Palestine which brings back the chance of uniting the entity under a power ceiling, and restoring its regional position through that gateway, similar to the Independence war of 1948, through the deportation of Palestinians and creating an open massacre against them in Jerusalem and the West Bank and the land occupied in 1948, or such risk results in to more disintegration and rehabilitates politics and the project of “statehood,” with Netanyahu being on the grabbing end in both cases.

In Palestine, a new stage dawns, entitled no voice above the battle’s clamor, and no sound above that of bullets, and with Ben-Gvir, no need for Mahmoud Abbas’ authority or his security forces and coordination with the occupation, but rather need Fateh and the Cyclone Forces and the Aqsa Brigades side by side with the resistance factions from Al Qassam to Saraya Al Quds to Areen Al Ousoud, and just like the Palestinian blood defeated the first wave of normalization and prevented the second, it will successfully undertake defeating its remnants at the sound of the horn of confrontation when Ben-Gvir takes over the Ministry of Internal Security, with the Axis of Resistance who is aware that the preservation of the national and nationalist interests of its forces cannot be secured outside the dialectic of confrontation with the occupying entity, standing as a referee in the same trench with the people of Palestine and its resistance forces.

نتنياهو يسلم الراية لبن غفير معلناً سقوط الكيان

نوفمبر 26, 2022

ناصر قنديل

ــ يجب أن يخرس الذين يتحدّثون صباح مساء عن موجة تطبيع تجتاح العالم العربي، ويشكل دعاة المقاومة الصوت النشاز فيها، فيكفي أن يتقن هؤلاء القراءة أو أن يجيدوا السمع والمشاهدة ويتوقفوا أمام مئات التقارير المكتوبة والمرئية والمسموعة التي تعجّ بها وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية، حول انتقال الاهتمام بمونديال قطر من الاحتفال بالتطبيع إلى نعيه ودفنه، والأمر لا علاقة له بموقف السلطات القطرية التي منحت لكل وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية كل التسهيلات اللازمة، كما تقول التقارير الإعلامية التي تتحدث عن مفاجأة كارثية كانت بانتظار المراسلين الذين أوفدتهم وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية بخلفية إقامة مهرجان احتفالي إلى جانب المونديال عنوانه التطبيع؛ فإذا بها تجد في كل زاوية وكل شارع ومع كل مواطن عربي من المغرب والسعودية ولبنان وقطر والإمارات موقفاً يصل رفضه للتطبيع حد التعامل مع الإسرائيلي كأنه طاعون يجب غسل الأيدي بعد ملامسته، كما علّق أحد هؤلاء المراسلين، من سائق الأجرة الى نادل المطعم الى المشجعين الى العابرين في الشوارع عجزت فرق الإعلام الإسرائيلية عن إيجاد عربي واحد يقبل صورة ودّية مع أعضائها، بل إنها واجهت ما وصفه أحد المراسلين بالذعر والخوف مع مصادرة الهاتف النقال ومحو الصور منه، أو إنزال الراكب في منتصف طريق مهجور وطرده، أو إخراج الفريق من مطعم عنوة ورميه في الشارع. وهذه العلامات التي يهتم بها ويحلل أبعادها الإسرائيليون ويرغب بتجاهلها مروّجو التطبيع من العرب، تقول بما لا يقبل الشك إن زمن التطبيع يحزم حقائبه ويرحل.

ــ بنيامين نتنياهو الذي رافق صفقة القرن ومشاريع التطبيع وطالما تباهى بأنها التعويض الأهم عن المخاوف التي يسببها تنامي المقاومة في فلسطين وتنامي قوتها على حدود فلسطين، يعرف أن ما جرى من ظواهر تطبيع في الخليج كانت صحون المقبلات بانتظار الوجبة الرئيسية التي يمثلها انضمام السعودية إلى خيار التطبيع، ورهان نتنياهو على النتائج الناتجة عن مثل هذا الانضمام عند حدوثه كان الأمل المتبقي لرد الاعتبار لدور الكيان الإقليمي، في ظل تراجع قدرته على انتزاع مكانته الإقليمية بقوة تفوقه العسكري المطلق، ويعرف نتنياهو أن هذا الأمل كان رهن نجاح أميركي بجلب السعودية الى بيت الطاعة، ومقايضة منح الشرعية لولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان وتجاوز ملف قتل الصحافي جمال الخاشقجي كورقة قوة أميركية للضغط عليه، بقبول السعودية الذهاب الى خطوة متقدمة في مجال التطبيع مع كيان الاحتلال. وبعد التعثر خلال زيارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن الى السعودية قبل شهور، في ترجمة دعوته السعودية للمشاركة في دمج “اسرائيل” في البيئتين الخليجية والعربية، جاءت أزمة العلاقات الأميركية السعودية الآخذة في التصاعد مع تموضع سعودي في منتصف الطريق بين واشنطن وبكين وموسكو. وجاء الإعلان الأميركي عن منح الحصانة القضائية لولي العهد السعودي، ليدفن نتنياهو آخر أحلامه وآماله.

ــ العودة إلى فلسطين لم تعد خياراً بل صارت قدراً بالنسبة لنتنياهو او لسواه من قادة الكيان، مع سقوط الرهان على موجة تطبيع تشكل تغييراً استراتيجياً تنتج عن انضمام السعودية إلى هذه الموجة. والمشهد البكائي لوسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية عن كذبة التطبيع يطلق رصاصة الرحمة على هذا الوهم، والعودة إلى فلسطين تعني العودة الى حسابات الصراع التي يعرفها نتنياهو جيداً، وهو من يعلم أنه يكذب عندما يتحدث عن لغة التحدي مع المقاومة، فهو من قبل وقف النار بعد معركة سيف القدس وقوة الردع في الحضيض. وفي ولاياته المتتابعة تحولت المقاومة في غزة من قوة دفاعية الى قوة هجومية تهدّد ثم تفتح النار في سيف القدس. وفي ولاياته المتتابعة امتلكت المقاومة في لبنان صواريخها الدقيقة رغم كثرة كلامه عن استهداف هذه الصواريخ عبر سورية، وعجزه عن تقديم جواب مقنع للداخل الإسرائيلي عن سر عدم استهدافها في لبنان طالما أنه يتفاخر بقوته ويعرف أماكن تخزينها، كما فعل بإظهار صور قال إنها تظهر أماكن مستودعات الصواريخ أمام الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة، ولذلك كله يعرف نتنياهو أن الكيان يواجه طريقاً مسدودة إذا قرر العودة الى قواعد الاشتباك التقليدية، ويعرف ان الخسارة محتومة وأن التآكل حتمي.

ــ لأن نتنياهو يعرف كل ذلك كان رهانه الأخير على موجة التطبيع أملا بتغيير قواعد الاشتباك، وخصوصا ديناميكيتها الفلسطينية بتأثير انضمام السعودية، وما تعد به الإسرائيليين اقتصادياً وتفتح أمامهم آفاق الأمل بالبقاء في الكيان، وتعيد إنتاج قوة وسطية في التجمع الصهيوني شكلت تاريخياً قاعدة مشروع “الدولة” و”السياسة”، وبغيابها غاب مشروع “الدولة” لحساب جماعة العقيدة والمستوطنين، وغابت السياسة لحساب مشروع المواجهات الدموية الأهلية، بين الفلسطينيين كسكان أصليين من جهة والمستوطنين من جهة مقابلة، ونتنياهو المدرك لسقوط مشروع “الدولة” وسقوط “السياسة” يعرف محدودية خياراته، فهو الذي تراجع عن التهديد بالانسحاب من اتفاق تقاسم المناطق الاقتصادية مع لبنان وقال إنه سيكتفي بالتعامل معه كما تعامل مع اتفاق أوسلو، لن يجرؤ حتى على فعل ذلك، أي عدم التطبيق، لأنه يعلم العواقب، وهو أكثر من تجنّبها وسعى للواقعية في التعامل معها.
ــ نتنياهو العائد بعد الانتخابات يقرأ سقوط الكيان بصعود كتلة العقيدة الصهيونية والاستيطان، ومعها دعوات التطهير العرقي والتهجير والقتل التي يمثل ايتمار بن غفير نجمها الصاعد، فيقرر رغم إدراكه المواقف الأميركية والأوروبية ومعرفته بتداعيات تسليمه حقيبة الأمن الداخلي، على الأمن الداخلي نفسه، وعلى صورة “إسرائيل” في الخارج ومكانتها بين تشكيلات الرأي العام والمنظمات الحقوقية الغربية، يقدم على الخطوة لأنه يعترف بأن زمن “دولة إسرائيل” قد انتهى، وأن تسليم الراية لتيار المستوطنين والعقائديين، إما أن ينجح بإنتاج معادلة جديدة داخل فلسطين تعيد الفرصة لتوحيد الكيان تحت سقف القوة، وتعيد إنتاج مكانته الإقليمية مجدداً عبر هذه البوابة، اسوة بما حدث في ما يسمونه حرب الاستقلال عام 48، عبر تهجير الفلسطينيين وإقامة مذبحة مفتوحة بحقهم في القدس والضفة الغربية والأراضي المحتلة عام 48، أو تؤدي المخاطرة الى مزيد من الانهيار فتعيد الاعتبار للسياسة ومشروع “الدولة”، وفي الحالتين يكون نتنياهو أول من ينتظر لتلقف النتيجة.

ــ في فلسطين تبدأ مرحلة عنوانها لا صوت يعلو فوق صوت المعركة، ولا صوت إلا للرصاص، ومع بن غفير لا حاجة للفلسطينيين لسلطة محمود عباس وأجهزة أمنه وتنسيقها مع الاحتلال، بل هم يحتاجون فتح وقوات العاصفة وكتائب الأقصى إلى جانب فصائل المقاومة من القسام الى سرايا القدس وعرين الأسود، وكما فعل الدم الفلسطيني فعله في إسقاط الموجة الأولى من التطبيع ومنع الموجة الثانية، سوف يتكفل بإسقاط ما تبقى منها مع نفير المواجهة الذي يبدأ مع تولي بن غفير وزارة الأمن الداخلي، ومحور المقاومة الذي يدرك أن الأمن الوطني والقومي لقواه ودوله لا يمكن تأمينه خارج منطق الصراع مع كيان الاحتلال، يقف حكماً في الخندق ذاته مع شعب فلسطين وقواه المقاومة.

Xi of Arabia and the petroyuan drive

Xi Jinping has made an offer difficult for the Arabian Peninsula to ignore: China will be guaranteed buyers of your oil and gas, but we will pay in yuan.

December 16 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

It would be so tempting to qualify Chinese President Xi Jinping landing in Riyadh a week ago, welcomed with royal pomp and circumstance, as Xi of Arabia proclaiming the dawn of the petroyuan era.

But it’s more complicated than that. As much as the seismic shift implied by the petroyuan move applies, Chinese diplomacy is way too sophisticated to engage in direct confrontation, especially with a wounded, ferocious Empire. So there’s way more going here than meets the (Eurasian) eye.

Xi of Arabia’s announcement was a prodigy of finesse: it was packaged as the internationalization of the yuan. From now on, Xi said, China will use the yuan for oil trade, through the Shanghai Petroleum and National Gas Exchange, and invited the Persian Gulf monarchies to get on board. Nearly 80 percent of trade in the global oil market continues to be priced in US dollars.

Ostensibly, Xi of Arabia, and his large Chinese delegation of officials and business leaders, met with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to promote increased trade. Beijing promised to “import crude oil in a consistent manner and in large quantities from the GCC.” And the same goes for natural gas.

China has been the largest importer of crude on the planet for five years now – half of it from the Arabian peninsula, and more than a quarter from Saudi Arabia. So it’s no wonder that the prelude for Xi of Arabia’s lavish welcome in Riyadh was a special op-ed expanding the trading scope, and praising increased strategic/commercial partnerships across the GCC, complete with “5G communications, new energy, space and digital economy.”

Foreign Minister Wang Yi doubled down on the “strategic choice” of China and wider Arabia. Over $30 billion in trade deals were duly signed – quite a few significantly connected to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.

And that brings us to the two key connections established by Xi of Arabia: the BRI and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The Silk Roads of Arabia

BRI will get a serious boost by Beijing in 2023, with the return of the Belt and Road Forum. The first two bi-annual forums took place in 2017 and 2019. Nothing happened in 2021 because of China’s strict zero-Covid policy, now abandoned for all practical purposes.

The year 2023 is pregnant with meaning as BRI was first launched 10 years ago by Xi, first in Central Asia (Astana) and then Southeast Asia (Jakarta).

BRI not only embodies a complex, multi-track trans-Eurasian trade/connectivity drive but it is the overarching Chinese foreign policy concept at least until the mid-21st century. So the 2023 forum is expected to bring to the forefront a series of new and redesigned projects adapted to a post-Covid and debt-distressed world, and most of all to the loaded Atlanticism vs. Eurasianism geopolitical and geoeconomic sphere.

Also significantly, Xi of Arabia in December followed Xi of Samarkand in September – his first post-Covid overseas trip, for the SCO summit in which Iran officially joined as a full member. China and Iran in 2021 clinched a 25-year strategic partnership deal worth a potential $400 billion in investments. That’s the other node of China’s two-pronged West Asia strategy.

The nine permanent SCO members now represent 40 percent of the world’s population. One of their key decisions in Samarkand was to increase bilateral trade, and overall trade, in their own currencies.

And that further connects us to what has happening in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in full synchronicity with Riyadh: the meeting of the Supreme Eurasia Economic Council, the policy implementation arm of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU).

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Kyrgyzstan, could not have been more straightforward: “The work has accelerated in the transition to national currencies in mutual settlements… The process of creating a common payment infrastructure and integrating national systems for the transmission of financial information has begun.”

The next Supreme Eurasian Economic Council will take place in Russia in May 2023, ahead of the Belt and Road Forum. Take them together and we have the lineaments of the geoeconomic road map ahead: the drive towards the petroyuan proceeding in parallel to the drive towards a “common paying infrastructure” and most of all, a new alternative currency bypassing the US dollar.

That’s exactly what the head of the EAEU’s macroeconomic policy, Sergey Glazyev, has been designing, side by side with Chinese specialists.

Total Financial War

The move towards the petroyuan will be fraught with immense peril.

In every serious geoeconomic gaming scenario, it’s a given that an enfeebled petrodollar translates as the end of the imperial free lunch in effect for over five decades.

Concisely, in 1971, then-US President Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon pulled the US from the gold standard; three years later, after the 1973 oil shock, Washington approached the Saudi oil minister, notorious Sheikh Yamani, with the proverbial offer-you-can’t-refuse: we buy your oil in US dollars and in return you buy our Treasury bonds, lots of weapons, and recycle whatever’s left in our banks.

Cue to Washington now suddenly able to dispense helicopter money – backed by nothing – ad infinitum, and the US dollar as the ultimate hegemonic weapon, complete with an array of sanctions over 30 nations who dare to disobey the unilaterally imposed “rules-based international order.”

Impulsively rocking this imperial boat is anathema. So Beijing and the GCC will adopt the petroyuan slowly but surely, and certainly with zero fanfare. The heart of the matter, once again, is their mutual exposure to the Western financial casino.

In the Chinese case, what to do, for instance, with those whopping $1 trillion in US Treasury bonds. In the Saudi case, it’s hard to think about “strategic autonomy” – such as what’s enjoyed by Iran – when the petrodollar is a staple of the Western financial system. The menu of possible imperial reactions includes everything from a soft coup/ regime change to Shock and Awe over Riyadh – followed by regime change.

Yet what the Chinese – and the Russians – are aiming at goes way beyond a Saudi (and Emirati) predicament. Beijing and Moscow have clearly identified how everything – the oil market, global commodities markets – is tied to the role of the US dollar as reserve currency.

And that’s exactly what the EAEU discussions; the SCO discussions; from now on the BRICS+ discussions; and Beijing’s two-pronged strategy across West Asia are focused to undermine.

Beijing and Moscow, within the BRICS framework, and further on within the SCO and the EAEU, have been closely coordinating their strategy since the first sanctions on Russia post-Maidan 2014, and the de facto trade war against China unleashed in 2018.

Now, after the February 2022 Special Military Operation launched by Moscow in Ukraine and NATO has devolved into, for all practical purposes, war against Russia, we have stepped beyond Hybrid War territory and are deep into Total Financial War.

SWIFTly drifting away

The whole Global South absorbed the “lesson” of the collective (institutional) west freezing, as in stealing, the foreign reserves of a G20 member, on top of it a nuclear superpower. If that happened to Russia, it could happen to anyone. There are no “rules” anymore.

Russia since 2014 has been improving its SPFS payment system, in parallel with China’s CIPS, both bypassing the western-led SWIFT banking messaging system, and increasingly used by Central Banks across Central Asia, Iran and India. All across Eurasia, more people are ditching Visa and Mastercard and using UnionPay and/or Mir cards, not to mention Alipay and WeChat Pay, both extremely popular across Southeast Asia.

Of course the petrodollar – and the US dollar, still representing under 60 percent of global foreign exchange reserves – will not ride into oblivion overnight. Xi of Arabia is just the latest chapter in a seismic shift now driven by a select group in the Global South, and not by the former “hyperpower.”

Trading in their own currencies and a new, global alternative currency is right at the top of the priorities of that long list of nations – from South America to Northern Africa and West Asia – eager to join BRICS+ or the SCO, and in quite a few cases, both.

The stakes could not be higher. And it’s all about subjugation or exercising full sovereignty. So let’s leave the last essential words to the foremost diplomat of our troubled times, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov, at the international interparty conference Eurasian Choice as a Basis for Strengthening Sovereignty:

“The main reason for today’s growing tensions is the stubborn striving of the collective West to maintain a historically diminishing domination in the international arena by any means it can… It is impossible to impede the strengthening of the independent centers of economic growth, financial might and political influence. They are emerging on our common continent of Eurasia, in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.”

All aboard…the Sovereign Train.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Enmity ongoing, normalization fragile: Israeli media on Qatar WC

27 Nov 2022

Source: Israeli Media

By Al Mayadeen English 

Israeli media comments on the everyday videos being published about Arab fans being hostile toward Israelis in solidarity with occupied Palestine.

A Moroccan fan carrying the Moroccan flag and a Palestinian banner at the Qatar World Cup on November 27, 2022

Israeli media commented Sunday in a very disgruntled manner on the way the Arabic crowds are reacting to Israeli correspondents showing up in Qatar under the guise of reporting on the World Cup and trying to get positive statements that serve the process of normalization from the Arab fans there.

An Israeli Hayom article entitled “The World Cup in Qatar, A Mirror for the Israelis: They Do Not Like Us nor Want Us” argued that the World Cup put the Israeli occupation before a harsh and bitter reality for the Israelis.

The Israelis clarified that they saw for the first time they saw a large-scale experience of rejection, neglect, hatred, and the non-acceptance of Israelis in an Arab-Muslim country.

“Everyone claiming that the people of the Gulf do not have enmity toward Israel saw that they have been tricked, and they are experiencing a different reality,” the article added.

“News reporters in Israeli channels enthusiastically went to Qatar and set up their cameras, waiting for the Arabs living in the Gulf and the various other Arab countries to praise Israel,” it said. “However, they soon found themselves subject to contempt, avoidance, and mockery from those same Arabs.”

An Israeli news channel showed earlier in the day Moroccan fans refusing to talk to an Israeli reporter, chanting in support of Palestine and against the occupation, despite the Israeli correspondent stressing that “your government normalized ties with us… we must be at peace now!”

Israeli media commented on how a group of Arabs refused to be interviewed by an Israeli reporter and confronted him by saying “there is no such thing as Israel. It is Palestine.” The author said this was expected, noting that he “was not surprised that the overwhelming majority of Arab football fans refused to be interviewed by Israeli television channels.”

Embarrassing situation

“It is only those that do not understand how the people feel in the Arab World that will rush and set up a camera, begging an Arab to be interviewed by an Israeli channel,” the author added.

He described what the Israeli reporters were subjected to, from humiliation to embarrassing situations and even having to conceal their identity by saying: “It is shameful to see an Israeli journalist begging and hugging whoever allows him to interview them to urge them to speak positively about Israeli, only for it to appear that they don’t consider that there is an Israel, only Palestine.”

Normalization takes a hit

“This is a series blow to anyone who thought normalization was right at the corner and that normalization with Arab countries was just a matter of time,” the author wrote.

“The behavior of the average Arab citizen toward Israel shows an enmity that is more than 70 years old, and it indicates that the root of the problem is still very much alive, kicking us down, and dealing blow after blow to us.”

This is the truth and this is reality, the article stressed. “Whoever does not want to see that must close their eyes. But the harsh, bitter, and, in my opinion, painful reality is that unless the Palestinian cause is solved somehow that is acceptable by all parties, we are not and will not be welcome in Arab countries. Even in countries that have signed normalization agreements.”

“It is enough to look at the normalization agreements with Egypt to understand how we did not make any progress with the Egyptian people, which is still among the most hostile Arab peoples toward Israel,” he stressed.

Normalization agreements fragile

Former Shin Bet official Doron Matza wrote in an article on the Makor Rishon website titled, “The hatred of Israel in Qatar indicates that the Abraham Accords have a glass ceiling,” that “the rude way Arab football fans are dealing with Israeli media correspondents surprised reporters, which opened their eyes to the status quo in the Middle East and Israel’s ties in the region.”

“They do not like us in Qatar and, as apparently, in the whole Middle East, and this is the conclusion that the journalists drew in light of the unpleasant interactions with Saudi, Qatari, and Iranian fans, among others,” Matza added.

“It turns out that nothing has changed… Even if it is good to be optimistic, we must not ignore reality,” he stressed.

He also said the normalization agreements signed with Arab regimes were lackluster in terms of influencing the people, saying they “were formed against the less ideological parties in the region, such as the United Arab Emirates.”

The author then concluded that the normalization agreements signed did not influence anything in terms of how the people of the region felt toward the Israeli occupation.

“The events that took place in light of the Qatar World Cup prove that Israel’s regional standings and the contents of the Abraham Accords have a glass ceiling,” the author underscored.

An Israeli KAN public broadcaster correspondent in Qatar complained Thursday about “unpleasant” incidents he was subjected to in Qatar during the channel’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup championship being held in the country due to him being Israeli, a heavily opposed “nationality” in the region.

Hoffman also said that when he and his team arrived at a restaurant at a local beach with his team, he took some photos. The restaurant’s owner inquired about their nationality, asking them where they were coming from. “When he found out that we are from Israel, he brought the restaurant’s security guards, and they kicked us out. They also took my phone and deleted all the photos I had taken.”

Another Israeli correspondent said a few days ago that he was bothered by the stances of the Arab fans attending the 2022 World Cup, saying that they would refuse to be interviewed by him due to his allegiance.

According to the correspondent, young Lebanese men were enraged when they found out that he was Israeli, saying: “I would also like to say that even off the air, whichever Arab fans we meet there with and introduce ourselves to, they reject talking to us altogether.”

Since the World Cup kicked off, there have been various videos that went viral of Arab fans refusing to be interviewed by Israeli media.

“All attempts to talk to football fans in Doha did not go according to plan,” Israeli media has said. “Videos are being circulated online are of Saudi fans, a Qatari shopper, and several Lebanese fans purposely avoiding Israeli reporters.”

Israeli Channel 12 correspondent, Ohad Hamo, expressed his frustration from the “maltreatment” of the Arab masses he came across in the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Arab people of all nations refused to be interviewed by him, an Israeli, during a live TV broadcast. 

“Everyone knows us, perhaps from the widespread Tik Tok videos. They come to us and criticize us being here,” Hamo said in objection. “I don’t know why,” he cried out. 

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The Middle East and US global power: Fossil Fuel- Lifeblood of the American Empire

November 22, 2022


by Phillyguy


Among all of the events shaping post-civil war US economic development, one of the most prominent was the establishment of Standard Oil by John D. Rockefeller in 1870. Working with other US industrialists, along with domestic and international financial and banking interests, including the Rothschild’s London banking cartel, Standard oil decedents have dominated the fossil fuel industry and shaped US economic and social development and foreign policy to the present day.


The current world security architecture arose following WWII, which established the US as the dominant global power. Since that time, US global supremacy has rested on unrivaled military and economic power, control of world’s energy reserves (primarily in the Middle East), and maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency [1]. There has been much current discussion about promoting ‘green’ policies, including sustainable development and increasing the use of renewable energy sources, clearly articulated during the UN Conference on Environment and Development (aka ‘Rio Conference’; ‘Earth Summit’), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Jun 3-14, 1992) [2], and Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN on Sept 23, 2019 [3], where she accused world leaders of failing younger generations by not taking more aggressive actions to stop climate change. Despite this push for Green policies, fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are still the dominant source of energy, currently supply over 80% of the world’s energy [4]. In addition, the dollar (aka ‘petrodollar’) is the primary reserve currency held by foreign central banks [5] and main currency used for commercial energy transactions [6] [7].

In 1863 John D. Rockefeller joined Maurice B. Clark and Samuel Andrews in an oil-refining business in Cleveland, Ohio, which was subsequently expanded and incorporated as Standard Oil of Ohio in 1870. Rockefeller was a shrewd and aggressive industrialist, acquiring additional refining capacity by “buying up and squeezing out of rivals by every device at hand—legal or illegal’ and as a result, Standard Oil would soon control over 90% of American oil refining capacity. Facing increasing resistance from the business community and the Ohio legislature, Rockefeller incorporated the Standard Oil Trust in New Jersey in 1982. This Trust consisted of seven subsidiaries- Standard Oil of Kentucky, Standard Oil of California, Standard Oil of New York, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of Indiana, The Standard Oil Co (Ohio) and The Ohio Oil Company. In Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States (1911), the US Supreme Court found the Standard Oil Trust guilty of engaging in anti-competitive practices, a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, breaking the company up into 34 separate entities, some of which the Rockefellers held major stakes [8] [9]. Ironically, decades after the Standard Oil Trust was ‘broken up’, these separate firms would subsequently merge into Chevron [10], ExxonMobil [11], British Petroleum (BP) [12] and Marathon [13], which are currently among the top 10 global energy companies [14]. The Rockefellers reach was vast- David Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, was Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations (1970-1985) and Chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank (1969–1981) [15] [16].

The geographic location of the US, circa 8000 km (5000 miles) from major war theaters in Europe and 9700 km (6000 miles) in Japan shielded the US from the massive devastation that took place in Europe and Asia during WWII. As a result, many large US corporations were able to profit handsomely by supplying the War Department with fuel, aircraft, ships, motor vehicles, armaments and ammunition to equip American soldiers and allied forces. Some of these firms were working both sides of the conflict, supplying Nazi Germany with financial backing and war material; some of these firms include Alcoa, Brown Brothers Harriman, Coca-Cola, Dupont, Kodak, Chase Bank, Dow Chemical, Ford, IBM, General Electric, General Motors, Woolworth, Random House and Standard Oil [17]. Prescott Bush, father of George HW Bush (41st President) and grandfather of George W. Bush’s (43st President), was a partner of A. Harriman & Co Investment bank and later served as Senator from Connecticut (1952-1963). Prescott Bush was directly involved with companies that profited from their commercial involvement with Nazi Germany [18] [19]. It should be pointed out the WWII is the most expensive war in American history, costing taxpayers more than $4 trillion, adjusted for inflation [20].

To the victor go the spoils

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s foremost military and economic power, the dollar was anointed the status of world reserve currency at the Bretton Woods Conference (1944) and established as the primary currency used for energy transactions following the meeting between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, aboard the USS Quincy, in the Suez Canal on Valentine’s Day, 1945 [21].

Post-WWII US economic development saw the continued rise of the American economy which translated into robust corporate profits and better living standards for many working people. In 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act (aka National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956) described as the ‘Greatest Public Works Project in History’, allocating $25 billion (circa $274 billion in inflation- adjusted dollars) from taxpayers to develop a 41,000-mile system of interstate highways that Eisenhower promised would eliminate unsafe roads, inefficient routes and all of the other things that got in the way of “speedy, safe transcontinental travel.” [22] [23]. The Highway act would enrich the ‘pro-highway coalition of energy companies, automobile manufactures, truckers, bus operators, tiremakers, insurance companies, auto clubs, etc. It directly led to increased use of private automobiles for transportation and the systematic dismantling of energy- efficient public transportation, creation of suburbs, shopping centers, ‘strip malls’, and proliferation of McDonald’s and other ‘fast-food’ outlets, which have led to the current health crisis in the US- increased obesity, type II diabetes and related health problems [24] [25]. In addition, some of these highways were literally built through urban neighborhoods and frequently minority communities [26] [27], such as the Cypress Freeway in Oakland, CA, I95 in Chester, PA and the Cross Bronx Expressway in NYC [28] [29].

As a result, the functioning of the American economy and society has become very dependent on fossil fuel consumption (for more detail see [30]).

1. Energy consumption & generation– the US has 4.25% of world’s population (339 million people) but consumes ~17% of the world’s energy and has the highest per capita energy consumption and is the largest total energy consumer. In 2021, approximately 60% of US electricity was generated from fossil fuels- coal, natural gas and oil [31].

2. Suburban development– as described above, passage of the Highway act of 1956 [22], accelerated the development of low-density housing suburbs, which were only accessible by automobiles using fossil fuel.

3. Transportation– The average American relies on energy-inefficient automobiles and jet airplanes for transportation. Most US cities lack a comprehensive, energy-efficient public transportation system. Indeed, the US does not have 1 mile of high-speed rail lines. By contrast, China has 40,000 km (24,855 mi), Spain has 3,100 km (1,926 mi) and Japan has 2,830 km (1758 mi) of high-speed rail.

4. American agriculture is very energy-intensive, requiring 15 calories of energy to produce 1 calorie of food. The average food commodity transits 1500 miles from production to consumption point- e.g., California-grown produce, shipped to the US east coast, usually via diesel fueled trucks.

5. Information technology– US society is heavily reliant on information flow. This system encompasses local computers, the internet and fiber optic cables serving as data pipelines, computer server farms and “cloud” storage facilities, all of which consume lots of electricity.

6. Military– The Pentagon is the largest single consumer of fossil fuel and polluter in the world. To give this some perspective, on average, the US military consumes 12,600,000 gallons (48,000,000 L) of fuel per day. One F-16 fighter jet consumes over 20K gallons of Kerosene per hour (333 gal/min) [32].

American capitalism is dependent on fossil fuel consumption to function and serves as the lubricant for American power projection around the world. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have approximately 57% and 41% of proven oil and natural gas reserves, respectively (see Table 1 and [33]). Thus, it is not surprising that the US ruling elite have a major interest in this region and the energy reserves therein [34]. US attempts to control oil in the MENA region has been carried out in several ways. This has involved setting up client regimes in countries with vast energy deposits, such as the Gulf monarchies in the Persian Gulf (Figure 1), attacking and/or invading countries who attempt to follow an independent energy policy, such as Iraq and Libya or issuing frequent verbal threats, seizing assets and imposing economic sanctions on countries that the US has been unable to achieve regime change or are capable of defending themselves, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran [35] and Venezuela.

As part of this effort, the US has set up military bases in multiple ME countries including Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Turkey (Türkiye), UAE and Syria (See Figure 1 and Table 2) [36]. Due to its geographic location, Israel is crucial to US foreign policy goals. The ‘state’ of Israel/Zionist project was the creation of British imperialism (Balfour Declaration, 1918) [37], was driven, at least in part, by the desire of the British ruling elite to establish a reliable (read non-Muslim) proxy force that would assist the UK in controlling the region and its abundant hydrocarbon reserves [38]. The US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading military and economic power and assumed the role of Israel’s benefactor, providing $152 billion since 1949; $3.8 billion in 2020 [39] [40]. While Israel does not host a formal US base, she is a de facto appendage of the Pentagon, is fully integrated into NATO and serves as a reliable and well-armed US proxy in the region [41] [42], ranking 18th in global military power [43]. Israel conducts regular attacks on Syria [44] and estimated to have a stockpile of circa 90 nuclear weapons (likely a low estimate).

This effort has become all the more urgent as: the Russia-China-Iran axis has attained economic and military parity with the West, Iran is now a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) [45], has applied for membership to the BRICS [46] and recently announced that it has developed a hypersonic missile, that is ‘capable of penetrating all defense systems’ [47]. One would infer that Iran received technical help developing this weapon system. As Iran’s ties with Russia and China continue solidifying, they are becoming increasingly ambivalent about rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA; aka Iran nuclear deal) [46], which was negotiated during the Obama Administration [48]. Trump unilaterally exited the JCPOA in 2018, stating ‘We cannot prevent an Iranian bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement’ [49].

We hear a lot about ‘Green’ energy, the ‘Green new deal’, reducing our ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘sustainable development’, policies which are being promoted by a wide range of extremely committed environmental and conservation groups such as the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Clean Air Council in the US and many international organizations and prominent politicians. ‘Green’ polices have been promoted by US Vice President Kamala Harris, encouraging Americans to purchase [expensive] electric cars and endorsed by the paper of record (NYT) and other corporate media outlets. Any policy that reduces the production of ‘greenhouse’ gasses, such as CO2, is certainly a noble and worthwhile objective, that should be supported. Unfortunately, most of these groups, at least in the US, where I live, are missing the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’. This includes:

1. The entire structure of American society has been built around fossil fuel consumption. This includes the use of automobiles and jet airplanes for transportation. The profits of very powerful corporate interests, including energy corporations, automobile manufactures and their suppliers, banks and insurance companies and law firms to name a few, are highly dependent on fossil fuel consumption and ‘greenhouse’ gas production. They are not about to give this up without a big fight, including going to war.

2. The military is a key pillar of a [declining] American empire, with the Pentagon serving as the ‘enforcer’ of US global power, but is also the largest of consumer of fossil fuels and largest polluter in the world [32]. The Pentagon is supported by all factions of the ruling elite, readily apparent from the near-unanimous bipartisan support for every military appropriation in Congress (appropriation for 2023 is $773 billion). Not surprisingly, most environmental groups, which are dependent on funding from corporate-backed foundations, such as the Ford Foundation, Home Depot Foundation, etc. [50] are not going to ‘bite the hand’ that feeds them. Likewise, US corporate media is controlled by 6 large corporations whose class interests reflect those of the petrochemical companies and other large corporations [51] [52] [53]. Any reporter who steps out of line- i.e., criticizes the functioning of the US empire, including fossil fuel consumption, is immediately reprimanded and/or fired. 1) Reporter Emily Wilder was fired from AP because she had posted pro-Palestinian material on social media [54]. 2) In 1996, investigative reporter Gary Webb published a series of articles entitled ‘Dark Alliance’ in the San Jose Mercury News, linking the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles with the Nicaraguan Contra rebels and the CIA. Not surprisingly, Webb’s story was met with outrage by MSM outlets such as the LA Times and Washington Post. Webb committed suicide in 2004 [55].

Concluding remarks

The survival of the American Empire is highly dependent on fossil fuel consumption and control of global energy reserves. This dependency has created irresolvable problems and led to a chaotic and at times, contradictory foreign policy. While there has been a lot of ‘whining’ about energy prices in the US and EU, the oil industry is reaping record profits. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter levied a “windfall” profits tax on the American oil industry in response to increasing gas prices and corporate profits [56]. While these taxes have had mixed results, no doubt a result of aggressive industry lobbying, there has been little discussion of taxing high corporate profits at the present time. Indeed, petrochemical industry profits were barely addressed in the recent US ‘midterm’ elections, as many candidates receive campaign contributions from energy companies. Fossil fuels still dominate US foreign policy. This can be seen from the enduring presence of military bases throughout the ME and maintaining generous financial support for Israel and the ruling families of Gulf Monarchies [57]. At the same time, these ruling families have watched the US/UK/NATO ferment coups in Iran (1953) [58] [59] and steal resources, invade and/or destroy Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen; impose crippling economic sanctions and/or confiscate the assets of countries deemed a threat to US global power such as Iran, Venezuela and Russia and sabotage energy infrastructure (see below). Not surprisingly, KSA and other Gulf Monarchies have been reaching out to Russia and China; multiple reports indicate that KSA is ‘eager’ to join the BRICS Bloc [60]. No doubt, this was a motivation for President Biden’s trip to KSA in July of this year, meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) at Al-Salam Palace in the Red Sea port of Jeddah. On Nov 18, the State Department recommended that MBS be granted ‘legal immunity’ for the brutal assassination of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct 2, 2018 [62] [63]. It should be noted that while campaigning for President, then candidate Joe Biden stated: he would “cancel the blank check” the Trump administration had given Saudi Arabia during its war in Yemen and during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that “America’s priorities in the Middle East should be set in Washington, not Riyadh” and advocated making Saudi Arabia an international “pariah” for butchering Jamal Khashoggi [61]. Rhetoric notwithstanding, Biden’s polices towards the MENA region are largely a continuation of those of Trump and the ruling elite they represent. Biden has not rejoined the JCPOA and has continued Trump’s bellicose position towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US continues supporting Israel, the US Embassy in Israel remains in Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic), which is not Israeli land and thus, a blatant violation of International law [64], US troops remain in Iraq and Syria while the Pentagon continues assisting KSA in their genocidal war on Yemen [65]. Trump continues his financial dealings with KSA, recently signing a $1.6 billion deal with a Saudi real estate developer [66]. It will be interesting to see how the US reacts when KSA joins BRICS [67].

On Sept 26, 2022, Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany, under the Baltic Sea were blown up [68] [69]. Shortly after the explosions, erstwhile British Prime Minister Liz Truss allegedly sent a message to US Sec of State Anthony Blinken stating ‘it’s done’ [70]. While the actual perpetrators of this attack have not been identified, it is likely that the US at a very minimum was aware of this action, as pointed out by Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University) during a Bloomberg interview [71]. The end result is that Germany and other countries in the EU will no longer have access to cheap and plentiful Russian energy, but will now be forced to purchase much more expensive liquified natural gas from the US or other countries. It should also be noted that nearly 8 decades following the conclusion of WWII, the Pentagon maintains circa 900 foreign military bases worldwide [72] [73]. Europe is still occupied by circa 100K troops [74], 35K in Germany alone [75]. Thus, Germany is not really a US ‘ally’ but rather a subordinate. This begs the question; will Germany and other countries in the EU continue serving as de facto US vassals or begin following a more independent foreign policy? One could argue their very survival as functional states depends on this.


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Figure 1. Map of the Middle East


Table 1. Middle East Energy Reserves by Country

(TJ, tera joules; 1 TJ= 163 barrels of oil)

Source: iea;

CountryOil (TJ)Natural Gas (TJ)

Table 2. US Military Bases and Facilities in Middle East [36]

*Numbers in parenthesis, estimated total number of US troops (thousands) deployed in each country; ** Estimated number of US troops (thousands)

Bahrain (9K)US Naval Forces Central Command/ US 5th Fleet4.7
Shaikh Isa Air Base
Muharraq Air Base (Navy)
Iraq (2.5K)Al Asad Air Base
IsraelDimona Radar Facility
Mashabim Air Base / Bisl’a Aerial Defense School
JordanMuwaffaq Salti Air Base (Azraq)
Kuwait (13.5)Ali Al Salem Air Base1.5
Camp Arifjan9
Camp Spearhead Army Base
Camp Buehring
Camp Patriot3
Oman (<1K)RAFO Masirah
Muscat International Airport
RAFO Thumrait
Al-Musannah Air Base
Port of Duqm
Port of Salalah
Qatar (10K)Al Udeid Air Base- Special Operations Command Central10
Camp As Sayliyah
KSA (3K)Eskan Village
Turkey (5K)Incirlik Air Base5
Izmir Air Station
UAE (2K)Al Dhafra Air Base2
Port of Jebel Ali
Fujairah Naval Base
Syria (<0.2K)Al-Tanf garrison (ATG)

KSA fears Yemen due to strategic location, resources: Sanaa

November 19, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen & Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The head of the Sanaa negotiating delegation, Mohammed Abdul Salam, stresses that Saudi Arabia’s fears of Yemen’s strength and independence are unreasonable.

KSA fears Yemen due to strategic location, resources: Sanaa

Riyadh’s payment of the salaries of Yemenis and the lifting of the siege on Yemen are basic demands and conditions for any agreement, the head of the Yemeni negotiating delegation, Mohammad Abdul Salam said on Friday.

This came in an interview published by the Majal forum, under the title “Does the new Yemen represent a threat to Saudi Arabia?”

“It is normal that Riyadh and Sanaa exchange visits on the humanitarian and political levels,” Abdul Salam said, stressing that “paying the salaries and lifting the siege are prerequisites for any agreement, and matters depend on how the Saudi regime will handle the new stage’s requirements.”

“Saudi Arabia’s fears that a strong and independent Yemen rises are unreasonable,” he said, explaining that “mercenaries are working to exaggerate these fears in order to invest them at the expense of the country’s security and interest.” 

Abdul Salam emphasized that the humanitarian issue is what should be the first point for any future agreements.

Unreasonable fears

“We believe that the Saudi side’s concerns are due to the strategic location of Yemen and its population and abundant resources,” Abdul Salam noted.

“The Saudi regime is afraid that countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council and other countries in the region be independent and strong, let alone Yemen, the country with the largest area after the Kingdom in the peninsula, in terms of area, population, capabilities, and strategic location,” he pointed out.

“Saudi Arabia’s best interest is for Yemen to have an independent, stable, and prosperous state,” Abdul Salam continued, stressing that “if the state is not self-managed, in accordance to its strategic interests and obligations to its people, it will be managed by external powers. This was the problem of the recent mortgage regimes, which were unable to achieve any strategic interests for Yemen.”

However, Abdul Salam stressed that “if there are other concerns related to borders, region, and security, it is only natural that discussion of such issues takes place between the countries, as happens between any two countries.”

The head of the Yemeni negotiating delegation then talked about the role played by some mercenaries, who stand by Saudi Arabia, “in exaggerating many fears and drawing many regional conflicts into the Yemeni arena.”

This role “keeps Saudi Arabia from looking at the chances of peace,” Abdul Salam explained.

Humanitarian file is a priority, and the ball is in Riyadh’s court

Abdul Salam affirmed that “the end of the truce came as a result of previous agreements ending, which were concluded under the auspices of the United Nations, given that it had completed or exhausted its options, and the payment of salaries became a basic requirement.”

He pointed out that the ball is in the Saudi regime’s court, because “relations between Sanaa and Riyadh are primarily linked to the latter’s position and the way it deals with it.”

“Sanaa is on the defensive, and this is clear. As for Riyadh, it is the one leading a major international coalition and working in the international corridors on continuing the blockade on Yemen and keeping the diplomatic pressure, with the United States of America and the United Kingdom behind the scenes,” he said.

Regarding the recent mutual understandings and visits of delegations, Abdul Salam explained that “meetings and visits between the parties for humanitarian or political goals are normal.”

Speaking on behalf of the Sanaa government, he added that the Yemenis “support these directions, and the most important thing is that there be a tendency to discuss all humanitarian aspects, not just the prisoners’ issue, which is considered one of the basics, in addition to opening airports and ports, removing restrictions on goods, and lifting the unjust siege on Yemen.”

International developments are an opportunity to realize the need to end the aggression

With regard to the changes in the international and regional arenas and their connection to the Yemeni issue, the head of the Yemeni negotiating delegation stressed that despite the effects, “We believe that it will not have a significant impact, because the US and British standpoints, as well as, unfortunately, the Saudi and Emirati, are similar.”

He pointed out that the only possible effect “goes to the Saudi side realizing that the war and aggression against Yemen are no longer in the interest of the Saudi regime, nor the future relations between the two countries or the future of the two peoples.”

“These developments may be an opportunity to re-evaluate the situation in Yemen, in terms of peace and stability,” Abdul Salam concluded, stressing that the interest of the two countries is understanding, coexistence, dialogue, and eliminating problems.

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Why the US & Israel are Preventing Aid from Reaching Lebanon


Robert Inlakesh
Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah march in Beirut, Lebanon August 9, 2022. © ANWAR AMRO / AFP

Efforts to stop Iran from spreading its influence are preventing the alleviation of Lebanon’s economic crisis

Despite the recent signing of a historic maritime border agreement, tensions continue to remain high, with both Israel and the United States attempting to force Lebanon into compliance with their regional agenda.

Although Israeli and Lebanese leaders signed letters of intent earlier this month ending their long-standing maritime border dispute and averting a major escalation in their ongoing conflict, the two sides still remain technically at war. Beirut refuses to recognise the Israeli state, maintaining the stance that first the Palestine issue must be resolved, as Israel maintains control over the Shebaa Farms area which Lebanon claims to be its territory.

Last week, drone strikes were reported to have killed up to 25 people after targeting a fuel aid convoy that had just passed the Al-Qaim crossing into Syria from Iraq. There are conflicting reports on who actually carried out the attack, with both Israel and the United States accused of having been behind it. The US military instantly distanced themselves from the incident, by denying they had carried out any strikes, whilst the Israeli government refused to comment and is now widely assumed to be culpable. According to Iraqi authorities, the fuel trucks, numbering 22 according to Iranian state-media, were approved for heading out of the country and seemed to be part of Iran’s new agreement with Lebanon to provide free fuel.

Despite opposition from top US officials, in August Lebanese Prime Minister Nijab Mikati accepted an offer from Tehran to supply Lebanon with fuel free of charge. Although the US ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, had warned Beirut not to take the offer from Iran, it was decided that going ahead with receiving the Iranian gift was in the Lebanese national interest. It is likely that the temporary US silence following this was in large part to do with the then-ongoing maritime border dispute between Israel and Lebanon. The US has repeatedly attempted to counter Iranian influence in Lebanon, even going as far as claiming Beirut is not in need of the Iranian fuel, whereas the country is clearly in a state of economic collapse and suffers a shortage.

After Hezbollah, one of Lebanon’s most popular political parties, organized Iranian fuel shipments in 2021, Washington quickly took to countering any future attempts for Tehran to come to the aid of the Lebanese economy. A deal was then organized in September of 2021, under US supervision, for Egypt to supply natural gas through Jordan and Syria into Lebanon, in order to ease the energy crisis. However, the US government had pledged to amend its Caesar Act sanctions that it currently implements against Damascus to allow for the deal to go ahead, but has so far failed to do so. Although the Lebanese State is now quickly taking to exploring and, it hopes, extracting natural gas from the offshore Qana prospect, which it secured its rights to under its maritime border agreement with Israel, this process could take years to bear fruit.

In the short term, Lebanon needs a solution to its energy crisis and Iran is offering free fuel to supplement part of its needs. The US and its close ally Israel see this as a plot between Hezbollah and Iran to take control over the Lebanese State. Although Lebanon is technically an independent state, the reality is that France, the US and the Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia, hold huge shares of influence in the political and economic affairs of the country, and none of them feel comfortable with the idea of Tehran having a significant influence.

The regional strategy of the United States government, which Israel is also in lockstep with, is to combat the influence of the Iranian government. Part of this strategy is to pressure more Arab States to normalize ties with Israel and to give up on the consensus amongst Arab League States to adhere to the Arab Peace Initiative. The initiative maintained that recognition of Israel by Arab states, along with the establishment of military, economic and political ties, could not come without the realisation of a Two-State solution under which the creation of a viable Palestinian State would be established. So far the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Sudan and Jordan have all normalized ties with Israel, abandoning the Palestinian cause for statehood. The US Biden administration is clearly seeking to add Saudi Arabia to the list, but eventually wants to go further than that.

At the recent COP27 climate meeting, held in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh, Lebanese, Iraqi and Israeli representatives were all photographed standing near each other and had agreed to a distant cooperation on combating climate change. In Israeli and US media, this has been framed as somewhat of a breakthrough, despite being officially undermined by both Baghdad and Beirut. What is certain, however, is that the US and Israel are continuing to send a message to Lebanon, that they will not let it simply go about its business and thrive without adhering to their own agenda. Hence the US has not allowed for the Egypt-Jordan-Syria deal for transfer of fuel into Lebanon.

The most insidious part of the stance maintained by the US government is that Lebanon cannot simply leave the Iranian sphere of influence altogether and Washington is well aware of this. As long as Lebanese Hezbollah remains a popular force in the country, there will always be a link between Tehran and Beirut. This means that the US policy is designed to punish the Lebanese people for not getting rid of Hezbollah, something that neither the US nor Israel will dare try to do themselves. If Israel and the US are both in lockstep about preventing Iranian fuel from reaching Lebanon, then this means that they are simply depriving Lebanon of its ability to get back on its feet, all in the name of combating Iran and Hezbollah. In their eyes, if the Lebanese people perceive the Iranian fuel imports to be their saving grace, this runs counter to US hegemony and, together with the latest perceived victory for Hezbollah in forcing the Israelis to negotiate a maritime border settlement, Tehran would come off with greater support in Lebanon.

The US and Israel are proving incapable of allowing the Lebanese people to achieve a greater standard of life, due to the fact that Hezbollah and Iran are still there. Meanwhile, getting rid of Hezbollah would not only be militarily impossible, but there is also no evidence that such a move would actually bring stability – as evidenced with the case of Sudan, which normalized ties with Israel and earned itself a place in the good books of the US government, but the West is yet to aid the country, which endures a continuous state of crisis.

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the Palestinian territories and currently works with Quds News. Director of ‘Steal of the Century: Trump’s Palestine-Israel Catastrophe’.

Turkey in Yemen: An evolving foreign policy

Throughout the eight years of war in Yemen, Ankara has seen its policies towards the country shift several times due to Turkey’s own changing political and economic situation.

November 07 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Mohammad Salami

Turkey’s foreign policy under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is based on the ideology of “Neo-Ottomanism.” Ankara employs soft power and military intervention to promote three priority axes: the Muslim Brotherhood, Pan-Turkism, and moderate Islamism to serve as a model for Sunni activists in the region and beyond from West Asia and North Africa to Central Asia.

Despite Turkey’s active foreign policy in the region, Yemen has been an exception for Ankara owing to several reasons. These include: geographical distance, lack of active foreign policy in Sanaa before the Saudi-led military intervention, and the country having been Riyadh’s backyard for decades.

Western-oriented approaches of previous Turkish governments -with recent priority given to Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean  – have also played a part in Ankara’s limited activity in Yemen.

Despite this relative inactive foreign policy, Ankara has swiftly passed through three stages in Yemen: it has veered from supporting the Saudi-led coalition, to silence, followed by de-escalation. At present, Turkey’s preference of diplomacy with neighboring countries has opened the door to similar attitudes towards Yemen.

What does Turkey want in Yemen?

As mentioned, Turkey’s current foreign policy has three axes -among them, the promotion of moderate Islam, which in turn is a projection of soft power. Despite a bitter history of the Ottoman Empire in this corner of Arabia, and unlike the main foreign stakeholders in the conflict, the modern Republic of Turkey is a relative newcomer to the complex political arena of contemporary Yemen.

This has encouraged Ankara to try influencing the hearts and minds of Yemenis through this soft power in order to advance its own interests.

As the effective inheritor of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey presents itself as a Muslim power that is far more responsible and ethical than influential Arab states. In early 2019, Turkey’s Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Çatakli visited Yemen’s southern port city of Aden to discuss the humanitarian situation and infrastructural investments.

Around that time, Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoglu stated that “finding a solution to the Yemeni issue will be one of Turkey’s priorities in 2019,” placing particular blame on coalition partners Saudi Arabia and the UAE for the current humanitarian crisis. More recently, in May, Ankara’s chief diplomat accused Abu Dhabi of fuelling the chaos in Yemen.

Through promoting its soft power, Turkey hopes to forge a role as a provider of humanitarian aid so that after the end of the crisis, it can further develop relations with a future government of Yemen and build a bridge for its future policies.

Given the circumstances, where Turkey has less political and economic influence in Yemen than other competitors – namely, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, and even the US – this may be the best option for Ankara. A prominent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey is also trying to deepen its ideological ties with the Islah Party, widely seen as the Yemeni chapter of the Brotherhood.

Ankara’s strategic interests

From a Realist approach, Ankara’s real interests arguably lie in developing a strong presence in the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa. In December 2016, Turkey signed an agreement with the northeastern African country Djibouti, to establish a free trade zone of 12 million square meters with a potential economic capacity of $1 trillion.

In September 2017, Turkey established its biggest military base overseas in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia and a key city in the Horn of Africa. The lifting of US sanctions on Sudan in the following month, also caught the attention of the Turkish government. As the first Turkish president to visit Sudan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed $650 million in deals, including $300 million of direct investments.

Turkey considers Yemen as the gateway to Africa and the Red Sea; the Strait of Bab al-Mandab, the Gulf of Aden, and the ports of Yemen in the Red Sea are all strategic areas where Turkey can exert influence in the southern entrance of the Red Sea.

The Bab al-Mandab strait is where the oil of the Persian Gulf Arab sheikhdoms is transported to the Red Sea and from there to the Suez Canal to be sent around the world. Therefore, the presence of Turkey can potentially apply political pressure on these oil producing nations.

In this regard, in early 2020, the Yemeni Minister of Transport, Saleh al-Jabwani, traveled to Ankara to negotiate with his Turkish counterpart to form a joint committee for the development of transportation infrastructure in Yemen, including the modernization of ports and airports.

However, while it illustrates Turkey’s intention to invest in and use Yemeni ports to strategic ends, this decision was rejected by the former exiled-Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Three stages of diplomacy in Yemen

At the beginning of Riyadh’s military intervention in March 2015, President Erdogan announced that Turkey supported the coalition’s objective of toppling the Ansarallah-led government in Sanaa. He also went onto to criticizing Iran’s regional ambitions in both Yemen and Iraq. “The aim of Iran is to increase its influence in Iraq,” he added, “Iran is trying to chase Daesh from the region only to take its place.”

There were several reasons for Turkey backing the coalition. Firstly, Ankara is engaged in a rivalry with Iran through sponsoring opposing sides in Syria and Iraq, and now in Yemen, with most of power lying with the Iran-allied Sanaa government. The Saudi-backed Islah Party are also among Ansarallah’s main opponents on the ground, who as mentioned earlier have drawn closer to pro-Brotherhood Turkey.

Second, Saudi Arabia’s paradoxical shift toward the Brotherhood changed after King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud came to power in January 2015. His predecessor, the late-King Abdullah, was in favor of eliminating threats from Muslim Brotherhood movements in Arab countries such as Egypt, but under King Salman, Riyadh focused on improving relations with Doha and Ankara to counter Iran, and was less concerned about the Brotherhood.

This provided Ankara with an additional incentive to support the war against Yemen, because it meant weakening Iran while coordinating with the Saudis on their mutual animosity toward the Islamic Republic’s regional role.

A non-interventionist approach was the second stage of Turkey’s diplomacy toward Yemen. Since 2017, along with the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar, Ankara felt that it’s alignment with the coalition would eventually prove costly and therefore decided to pursue a non-interventionist policy in Yemen.

Turkey’s economic downturn in 2018 and its decision to normalize relations with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Iran have also influenced this foreign policy shift.

The “active” approach is the latest stage of Turkish diplomacy toward Yemen. After pursuing its destabilizing policies based on a competitive foreign policy with its neighbors over spheres of influence, Ankara gradually realized that pursuing these policies was eroding its own power.

This was especially so following the growing domestic unrest, driven by economic mismanagement and mistrust of the Turkish government. It was around this time that Erdogan pursued a policy of de-escalation with the UAE, Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia to adapt to the changing political landscape.

A back-door entry into the Yemen conflict

The warming of ties between Ankara and Riyadh has given rise to the speculation that Turkey intends to join the Arab front against Iran and to covertly become involved in the Yemen war. This limited involvement may come in the form of increased support for the Islah or arms sales, especially advanced Turkish drones, to Saudi Arabia in exchange for Riyadh’s investment in Turkey.

In April 2021, Al-Monitor reported that although there was no accurate information about Turkey’s entry into the Yemeni fray, the so-called Syrian National Army, an armed group backed by Turkey, has been working to send dozens of mercenaries to Yemen with a monthly salary of $2,500. Similarly, the Violations Documentation Center in Northern Syria said Turkey’s intelligence agency assigned an opposition commander to recruit fighters to be sent to Yemen.

Additionally, a Turkish armed drone was reportedly downed by Ansarallah-backed forces in the al-Jawf region, further fanning claims about possible Turkish involvement in the conflict. Sanaa’s military spokesman Yahya Saree said the downed drone was a Turkish-built Vestel Karayel aircraft. Saudi Arabia acquired these drones as part of a contract last year with Vestel Defense worth $200 million.

Yemen provides an opportunity for Turkey to further its regional ambitions with potential low-risk and low-cost benefits. The geopolitical and ideological upside of Turkey’s possible presence in Yemen – and Ankara’s recent de-escalation with Saudi Arabia and the UAE – have convinced Turkish officials to take a closer look at this strategic part of the Arabian Peninsula.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Arab League Summit – Hopes and Aspirations


Viktor Mikhin
The next summit of the League of Arab States (LAS), whose participation has been confirmed by the heads of state of numerous Arab countries, will be held in Algiers in early November. On the agenda, of course, are primarily issues related to the reconciliation of a number of Arab countries and their consolidation in the face of various external threats. However, the Arab media and even politicians are already saying that no breakthroughs can be expected from the summit, as the Arab League has lost its once-authoritative status in recent years.

Arab leaders have held two consecutive high-level meetings in 2019. In the spring, they met in Tunisia at the annual Arab Summit. In May, they met again in Mecca at the invitation of Riyadh for an extraordinary Arab summit. At issue was Saudi Arabia’s and other Persian Gulf Arab countries’ concern about Iran’s regional policies and opposition to Tehran’s plans to increase its activities in a number of countries in the Arab world. The 31st ordinary Arab summit is now scheduled to be held in Algiers on November 1, with a concluding session on November 2. The Algerian government wanted the summit to take place on the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1954 Algerian Revolution, which led to Algeria’s independence from France in July 1962.

Some fears are related to domestic political developments in Algeria, while others stem from Algeria’s relations with other Arab countries, which are not without nuances of disagreement over the choice of a common Arab and regional policy. This concerns the events in Libya, the position on the problems in North and East Africa, including the situation in Western Sahara, and the position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Syria is another major stumbling block given Algeria’s determination to rejoin the Arab League system after being expelled from it in 2011. At the time, this was done under the far-fetched pretext of the alleged use of force by President Bashar al-Assad to quell discontent among some segments of the population. Afterward, incidentally, it was found that the Persian Gulf countries and the West, led by the United States, had a hand in stirring up passions there. Then the situation turned into an endless civil war in which foreign fighters actively participated on the side of the Syrian opposition, generously paid by the same Persian Gulf Arabs.

It is worth remembering that the world and Arab countries look distinctive today than they did in 2019 when the last Arab summit was held. The world has changed since then, and not only the Covid-19 pandemic, but also a host of other Arab, Middle Eastern, and international events have changed the overall context in which the Algiers Summit will take place. Three major international developments are expected to influence discussions at the Arab Summit.

The first, in chronological order, is the change of government in the United States. After four years of foreign policy by former US President Donald Trump, who tried to move away from old problems that had plagued previous administrations, current US President Joe Biden has returned to an interventionist US foreign policy based on forming new military alliances while strengthening existing ones, such as NATO. The second major event was the war in Ukraine, which was prepared and unleashed by the West under the leadership of the United States to bleed and damage Russia. The third is the growing US-China tension over Taiwan, also initiated by the United States. These three events have had and continue to have a direct impact on the Arab world, and they are clearly not favorable to the Arabs. This concerns both the issue of food security and the high energy prices affecting Arab states that are not oil producers, such as Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, Morocco, and some others.

From a regional perspective, there have also been fundamental changes in the Arab country’s relations with Israel, Turkey, and Iran, which will undoubtedly impact the work and conclusions of the Arab Summit. For example, building on Trump’s diplomacy, Israel signed the so-called “Abraham Accords” with four Arab countries in the second half of 2020. The previous Trump administration spoke of the Arab-Israeli normalization process as being deliberately separated from the Palestinian issue, to the detriment of the Palestinians and the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. While the Biden administration advocated for a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine from day one, it refrained from using its influence with the Israelis to resume peace talks with the Palestinians that ended in April 2014.

While Trump in May 2018 roughly withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a nuclear agreement between Iran and a group of 5+1 countries, and pursued a strategy of “maximum pressure” on Iran, the Biden administration has worked assiduously to join the JCPOA under a formula known as “control over control.” This means that the United States will join the agreement if Iran is the first to meet all of its obligations. But if the “control over control” formula is implemented, followed by the lifting of some sanctions, the Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, will be very concerned about what the Iranian government will spend the billions of dollars that will flow to Iran as a result of the resumption of oil sales. Will Tehran spend the money on developing the Iranian economy, or will it fund pro-Iranian regimes in the Arab world? If the latter, how will the US respond, and will Washington be able to side with the Saudis?

Turkey will also have to face a fierce controversy, as many Arabs see positive developments in Turkish-Arab relations despite the reassessment of Turkey’s strategy in the Middle East, Libya, or the Eastern Mediterranean. Ankara has now significantly tightened its policy in the Arab world, reminding left and right of its “right” as heir to the Ottoman Empire. This presupposes, Erdoğan says, Turkey’s leadership role in the created joint Arab Union. But here there will be clear opposition from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries, given Erdoğan’s recent flirtations with Iran, which is the main enemy of Persian Gulf Arabs.

The Algiers summit also comes after the end of the boycott of Qatar by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain and the resumption of diplomatic relations between these countries. One of the most positive results of this intra-Arab reconciliation was the official visits of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to Qatar and the official visit of the ruler of Qatar to Egypt last July. Clearly, this much-needed reconciliation will have a positive impact on the Arab Summit discussions and decisions, both politically and economically. At the same time, the Arabs are taking into account the huge gas reserves in Qatar and its ability to export gas to the Arab states.

In addition, special attention is being paid to the situation in Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Tunisia. The Arab world is interested in helping these countries manage them successfully. The financial issue will be one of the main topics of the summit, and here the Persian Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, are likely to have a weighty say. In any case, this summit will provide Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud with an excellent opportunity to strengthen and expand his authority in the Arab League and throughout the Arab world.

As for the situation in Libya, Arab leaders are expected to call on Libyan political factions to resolve the ongoing crisis in their country by holding free and fair elections. Experts warn that this must happen as soon as possible to prevent Libya from reverting to the violence that nearly tore the country apart three years ago.

The next summit of Arab states in Algiers should prove that the Arab world is united and seeks only Arab solutions to Arab problems. And this requires the unity of all countries in the region. Will the ambitious Arab leaders be able to speak with one voice, or will everyone pull the covers over themselves? — the upcoming Arab League summit will clearly show this.

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