European Spyware Investigators Slam “Israeli” Regime Over Sale of Pegasus

 September 23, 202

By Staff, Agencies

European Parliament, which is investigating the use of “Israeli” spyware by EU governments, has slammed the Tel Aviv regime for a lack of transparency in allowing the sale of Pegasus to European governments to use it against critics.

The European lawmakers condemned the approach of the Polish government for refusing to meet and talk with them during the meeting of the fact-finding committee in Warsaw, which ended on Wednesday.

“It is regrettable and we condemn the fact that the Polish authorities did not want to cooperate with our investigation committee,” Jeroen Lenaers, the head of the delegation, said at a news conference in Warsaw.

“We think it also is a telling sign of the complete lack of importance this government attaches to checks and balances, to democratic scrutiny, and to dialog with elected representatives.”

The European Union’s fact-finding committee is investigating the use of the entity’s Pegasus spyware and other invasive surveillance tools by the European governments, saying the technology poses a serious threat to democracy in European countries.

Pegasus is “Israeli” spyware that was designed and developed by the entity’s NSO group and is used to break into mobile phones and spy on a large part of personal information including text messages, passwords, locations, and microphone and camera receivers.

The “Israeli” company marketed this technology as a tool to target its desired targets in the world.

Many European governments have used this controversial software to suppress dissidents, journalists, and political opponents around the world.

In Europe, some cyber detectives have found traces of the use of Pegasus or some other spyware in Poland, Hungary, Spain, and Greece.

Sophie in ’t Veld, the rapporteur of the inquiry, said the committee found out in its research that the NSO group sold this spyware to 14 European Union member states with official permission from Tel Aviv.

According to reports, Poland and Hungary are not allowed to buy this spyware from NSO due to some political issues, details of which remain unclear.

“Why can we not say with certainty that Poland was one of the two countries of which the contract has been terminated?” she said.

“Why is it that NSO is allowed to operate in the European Union, conduct its finances through Luxembourg, sell its products to now 12 member states, products that have been used to violate the rights of European citizens and to attack democracy of the European Union?”

Recently, Greece revealed that Nikos Androulakis, a member of the European Parliament and the head of the third largest political party in Greece, was monitored using Predator software last year when he was running for the leadership of the PASOK party.

It is said that a journalist from Mali was also under surveillance.

Recently, it was revealed that Poland, Hungary, and some Catalan separatists in Spain were using this software to suppress their critics and opponents.

The 10-member delegation of the EU’s fact-finding committee during its trip that began on Monday met with Poles targeted by the Pegasus spyware, including a prosecutor and a senator, and some members of the opposition-controlled Senate.

A report of the obtained results as well as some recommendations and solutions are supposed to be published on November 8 of this year.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned of the threat posed by spying programs such as the Pegasus spyware to UN human rights activists in a report to be released next week.

In recent days, Pegasus and some other spyware have threatened a group of UN human rights activists.

Guterres warned that the increase in digital surveillance by governments and some non-governmental sources has affected the activities of civil society activists in providing reliable information to the world body and has made them vulnerable to fear and threats of retaliation.

“United Nations actors have pointed to growing and concerning evidence of online surveillance, privacy intrusion, and cyberattacks by state and non-state actors of victims and civil society communications and activities,” the UN chief noted.

“The lack of trust in the digital sphere among those sharing information and testimony with the United Nations on sensitive issues can discourage future cooperation.”

The findings are part of an annual report that tracks the challenges facing those seeking to work with the organization and focuses on April 2021 to May 2022.

During this period, much of the UN’s activities following the Covid-19 pandemic have gone digital, and at the same time, espionage threats have increased.

According to UN officials, this software has also spied on the activities of Palestinian, Bahraini, and Moroccan organizations and some human rights activists of the UN during this period.

In his recent report, Guterres warned that in 2021, the mobile phones of employees of three prominent Palestinian NGOs – Addameer, Al-Haq, and Bisan Center for Research and Development – were hacked using Pegasus spyware.

The “Israeli” NSO Group has earned notoriety for trying to have its spy apparatuses maintain an edge over their international counterparts.

The regime makes extensive use of Pegasus and other locally-made spyware for espionage.

According to observers, Tel Aviv has treated NSO as a de-facto arm of the regime, granting licenses for the sale of the spyware to countries to forge stronger security and diplomatic ties.

In January, the New York Times reported that the FBI had purchased Pegasus software in 2019.

It also stated that in 2018 the CIA had purchased Pegasus for the government of Djibouti to conduct counterterrorism operations, despite that country’s record of torturing political opposition figures and imprisoning journalists.

Yemen: “We Are the Terrorists.”

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Phil Butler
We are the terrorists. Americans are the terrorists creating tremendous suffering and tragedy around the world. And no, I am not the only one admitting to this. Deep down, all of my fellow citizens know what we are up to. A recent incident in Yemen drives home the hegemony my country has created, having looted, and still looting the whole.

I watched talk show host Jimmy Dore a few moments ago, laying out how the US, France, and other nations are robbing other people of this world to prop up failed super-capitalism. Dore, who has an uncanny ability to drive at the heart of matters, was interviewing Ethiopian-American Journalist Hermela Aregawi in a story about the French Foreign Legion securing Yemeni natural gas for sale to the EU. The story begins something like this from The New Arab:

“France could be gearing up to help protect a gas facility in Yemen to allow for exports in a bid to cut Europe’s reliance on Russia, according to an ex-Yemeni foreign minister.”

Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, told reporters the other day that the French Foreign Legion has arrived in Yemen’s Shabwah province to secure control of the Balhaf gas facility. He said the French are making “preparations being made to export gas from the Balhaf facility.”

Hermela Aregawi commented with Dore about how current American policies are building up massive resentment toward the United States, even in countries that were once highly favorable towards us. I know from my experience here in Greece too. As recently as three years ago, criticizing the US in any way at all brought about a look of shock among the Greek population. Today, many Greeks question our role not only in Greece but in Ukraine and other lands where proxy wars over resources burn.

The larger Yemen story also reveals the meaning of a July Paris – Abu Dhabi LNG cooperation that depends on securing Yemen’s gas resources via the Balhaf facility, owned by French multinational oil and gas company Total.

Abdulaziz Saleh bin Habtoor, Yemen’s Prime Minister, has called the world’s attention to the recent looting by the Saudi-led coalition under the watch of the United States. He says Washington is bent on getting control of the resources through Gulf proxies.

Yemeni forces have been in deadly clashes with UAE-backed southern separatist forces in Shabwa province, where Balhaf is located. Looked at in the broader scope, the Yemen situation is just a facet of a much larger looting program underway. Syria, where U.S. forces have essentially taken over the eastern oil-producing region, and the Ukraine conflict reveal the larger canvas. Looking from outer space, the battle for Earth has been raging for decades. But now, the conflict and competition have reached a crisis stage. America and the Europeans are out of gas, literally. And no matter who has to suffer and die, the liberal order cannot let the big lie slip out. Worse, the people in the so-called west don’t want to know or admit our role in pirating the whole world.

Finally, On 22 August, Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Ezzi warned that the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf of Aden or any part of Yemeni waters is illegal. The minister was speaking in response to US Fifth Fleet Admiral Charles Bradford Cooper’s announcement that the US will deploy unmanned drones in the Gulf of Aden. However, the entire Yemen situation is easier to break down by revealing what all these nations want there. And, of course, the answer is precious oil and gas. I’ve discussed this before and the nature of so-called “peak oil.”

To fully cordon off Russia, Europe needs oil, gas, and plenty of it. The US cannot supply enough. It’s too far away, and America has her own needs. Yemen, however, is a relatively untapped source. Only two of the 12 significant basins on and offshore have been developed. The other ten are what’s known as “frontier basins,” according to readily available data. I believe, however, that Total and other significant players know full well another bonanza is offshore of Yemen. This GEOExPro report hints at this. The information puts current Yemen recoverable oil reserves at 4.731 Bbo, and proven gas reserves at 18.6 Tcfg. But this is 2010 estimates.

We do not need to establish the oil and gas reserves the Yemeni people are entitled to benefit from. The fact the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the EU have their militaries, bureaucrats, and energy corporations sinking their teeth in is proof enough that the blood of Yemen children will be spilled not for some high romantic future, but so that the same people bleeding Syria, Ukraine. So much of the rest of the world dry can thrive. The French Foreign Legion defending an oil depot in the middle of nowhere says it all. We, the collective “west,” are the real terrorists.

The United States responded to Griner’s sentence by kidnapping a Russian

August 06, 2022

Vinnik faces virtually life imprisonment in the United States

source: https://m.vz.ru/society/2022/8/5/1171157.html

A Russian national, Alexander Vinnik, who now faces more than 50 years in prison, has been arrested in the United States. On Thursday, he was actually fraudulently taken out of Europe to San Francisco in violation of all international legal norms. Apparently, this is how Washington responded to the verdict of the Brittney Griner, convicted in the Russian Federation for drug smuggling. Why is Washington abducting Russian citizens and is there a way to stop this, in fact, hostage-taking?

Alexander Vinnik, whom the United States accuses of cybercrime, was taken from Greece to the United States. “Everything happened and was staged as a kidnapping,” RIA Novosti reports the words of one of Vinnik’s family members. Relatives reported that the Russian citizen was taken from Greece to Boston on a private plane in violation of all legal procedures. “Alexander was allowed to call home from Boston,” a member of Vinnik’s family said. Later, the Russian was transported on a company plane to San Francisco.

The police at the Athens airport on Thursday evening claimed that they knew nothing about Vinnik’s extradition and that he had been taken to Athens. Employees of the consular department of the Russian Embassy in Greece were not allowed to see a Russian citizen, although he asked for a meeting. The Kremlin is monitoring the fate of Vinnik, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The procedural norms of Greek law did not allow to immediately send Vinnik from Greece to the United States, but in Athens “they turned a blind eye to this,” a relative of the captured Russian told RIA Novosti. “The Greeks will again say that they did not know, forgot, were confused, that they are sorry. As before, there was an extradition document with a fake signature of the Minister of Justice, and then it turned out that he did not sign anything,” the source said.

From an international legal point of view, the entire mechanism of Vinnik’s deportation to the United States via Greece is inadequate, so Russia equates such cases with kidnappings, Pavel Gerasimov, Honored Lawyer of the Russian Federation, Vice President of the Union of Lawyers of Russia, explained to the newspaper VIEW. “In any case, foreign security forces had to appeal to the representatives of Russia in Interpol with the justification for sending Vinnik to the United States. But no one contacted either our Foreign Ministry or law enforcement officers,” the lawyer stated.

It should be noted that simultaneously with the American operation to kidnap a Russian from Greece, Joe Biden complained about the “unlawful” detention in Russia of US citizen Brittney Griner and the “unacceptable” sentence. Recall that a Russian court on Thursday found Griner guilty of smuggling drugs into our country. The judges sentenced the American to nine years.

Biden promised that the US authorities would use “all possible means” to return Griner and another American serving time in Russia, Paul Whelan, to their homeland. In mid-June, the Moscow City Court found this former Marine guilty of espionage and sentenced him to 16 years in a strict regime penal colony.

It can be assumed that the American side will try to use Vinnik captured in Greece (along with another compatriot of ours serving time in the USA – Viktor Bout) to bargain for the extradition of Griner and Whelan. Note that at the end of July, reports appeared in the American press that Biden approved a plan to exchange Whelan and Griner for Booth. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed the exchange of prisoners in a telephone conversation. Lavrov urged the head of the State Department to return to “quiet diplomacy” on this issue, the Foreign Ministry said.

It is also worth noting the briefing held on Thursday by the Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council (NSC) USA by John Kirby. According to TASS, a White House official was asked whether Washington believes that Russia will accept the American proposal, which does not involve an equal exchange of prisoners – one for one or two for two? That is, it was initially assumed that the United States intended to offer one Russian in exchange for two Americans. “I can say that we have made a serious offer… I won’t go into details, but we urge them (the Russians) to accept it,” Kirby replied evasively. It can be assumed that Vinnik, who was taken by private plane to the United States, may become this second Russian, who is supposed to be exchanged for convicted drug smuggler Griner and spy Whelan.

Regardless of whether a person is guilty (in this case, a Russian Vinnik) or not, the law must act, but the absolute arbitrariness on the part of the United States is comparable to extortion,

State Duma deputy Oleg Morozov told the newspaper VIEW. “This practice is on a par with the bombing of Iraq, when the United States didn’t care what others thought about it. They are detaining a Russian citizen on the territory of a third country and they don’t care what the law says and the world community thinks about it,” the politician stressed. Incidents like the capture of Vinnik have long been part of the international practice of the United States, stated Deputy Morozov. “There are many cases when Russian citizens are detained on the territory of third countries, and then absolutely illegally and secretly extradited to the territory of the United States, where they are put on trial,” the source said.

Let’s explain – several countries are involved in the Vinnik case, which has been going on for more than five years, and the Strasbourg Court was involved. In July 2017, a Russian IT specialist was arrested in Greece at the request of the United States. The American investigation accused Vinnik of creating a BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange without a license from the United States authorities, through which, according to the American side, billions of dollars were laundered. The Russian was also accused of failing to register his activities with the US Financial Intelligence Service (FINCEN) and failing to comply with anti-money laundering requirements. In the United States, 33-year–old Vinnik faces 55 years in prison – in fact, life imprisonment.

In January 2020, Greece extradited Vinnik, not to the United States but to France. Here, a Russian IT specialist was charged with 19 criminal offenses. A French court acquitted Vinnik of all charges brought by France and sentenced him to five years on one American charge. Moreover, the judges considered that the Russian had committed not a criminal offense, but a misdemeanor. The term of imprisonment ended, but Vinnik remained in prison. He was already supposed to be returned to Greece for extradition to the United States. However, the European Court of Human Rights banned the transfer of Vinnik to Greek justice. On Thursday, a Paris court decided to release Vinnik as part of the extradition case to the United States – Paris formally refused to transfer the Russian to the Americans. But the same French court immediately ordered to detain the Russian citizen and redirect him under escort to Greece. The very next day, a private plane took Vinnik from Athens to Boston.

As lawyer Gerasimov explained, the normal scheme from the point of view of international law should have looked like this: Greece detains Vinnik at the request of the French, since the case against him was opened in France. Further, in the French court, the process takes place with the participation of a representative of Russia, and the Russian consulate had to respect the rights of our citizen. Including consideration of the issue of Vinnik’s extradition to Russia.

“But the participation of American representatives in this case without substantiating the cross–border nature of the crime in general would be impossible by law, since Vinnik is not a US citizen,” the lawyer pointed out. – Another justification for American involvement could be that it was the United States that suffered the main damage from Vinnik’s alleged crime. But Washington has not provided any justification.” Moreover, at the stage of discussing extradition, the American side did not contact Moscow in any way, so the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a note of protest.

Now, in order to be able to exchange Vinnik or simply extradite him to Russia, he must be convicted in the United States, Gerasimov explained. “After that, Moscow tells Washington that the Russian side is ready to accept Vinnik to serve his sentence in Russia. This starts a two-way dialogue. If the two states agree, and if Vinnik arrives in Russia, then here he has the right to appeal for a judicial review and try to prove that the American court made an unfair decision,” the lawyer detailed.

At the same time, lawyer Gerasimov added, it cannot be ruled out that the arrested Russian may be transported to Puerto Rico or to the base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where a special prison is still operating. “Legally, this will not be an American territory, but the same US law enforcement agencies will “work” with the detainee there,” the lawyer noted. “You can only be safe without committing crimes. But in any case, it is better to rest in the Crimea, and not abroad,” the interlocutor added, not without sarcasm.

The issue of countering American international racketeering is primarily a political issue, said Deputy Morozov. “It’s impossible to live by the principle of “what if the Americans accuse me of something, so I can’t move beyond the Ural Mountains.” The only way to answer is what Russia, China and many other countries are doing now: they break the world order established by the Americans, refuse to participate in an unfair world order and will offer the world completely different norms and rules,” the interlocutor stressed. – Sooner or later we will come to a world where Americans will no longer be allowed to engage in extortion. In the meantime, the United States, unfortunately, acts on the principle of might is right, that they themselves are the law.”

In the meantime, the Russian Foreign Ministry has outlined Moscow’s position: our side is ready to discuss the exchange of prisoners with the United States, but only within the framework of the channel that was approved by the presidents of the two countries at a meeting in Geneva last June. This was stated on Friday by the head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov, commenting on reports about the plan approved by Biden to rescue Griner and Whelan.

إسرائيل تعرض تأخير الترسيم إلى ما بعد انتخابات الكنيست… وقلق في اليونان | المقاومة: إقرار كامل بالحقوق… وسريعاً

الإثنين 8 آب 2022

الأخبار 

سياسة قضية اليوم 

تطورات متسارعة ومتناقضة ترافق انتظار لبنان عودة الوسيط الأميركي عاموس هوكشتين، بعدما حمل من بيروت الى تل أبيب، الأسبوع الماضي، الموقف اللبناني الذي وثّقه اجتماع بعبدا بموقف موحّد من الرؤساء الثلاثة، يقوم على الإقرار بحق لبنان في الخط 23، مع كامل حقل قانا، وإعطاء ضمانات للشركات بالتنقيب بعد إنجاز الترسيم، ورفض أي كلام عن أي تنقيب مشترك تتولّاه شركة واحدة.

ومع أن هوكشتين عقد اجتماعات مع كبار المسؤولين الإسرائيليين، وناقشت الحكومة الإسرائيلية المُصغرة الأمر الأربعاء الماضي، إلا أنه تبيّن أن العدو لم يصل إلى قرار في هذا الشأن، وأن التركيز كان على خطة العدوان على قطاع غزة. فيما يبدو أن الحكومة الإسرائيلية المؤقتة تميل إلى التسويف وتأخير بتّ الملف الى فترة لاحقة، مع إعطاء إشارات متناقضة، من بينها احتمال تأخير بدء الاستخراج من حقل «كاريش»، بالتزامن مع معلومات عن أن انشغال الإسرائيليين بالعدوان على غزة قد يؤخّر مهمة هوكشتين، علماً بأن الأخير حاول خلال زيارته لبيروت التقليل من أهمية تهديدات حزب الله، من زاوية أن «إسرائيل لا يمكنها الخضوع لابتزاز حزب الله لأن ذلك سيفتح الباب أمام ممارسة أطراف أخرى هذا النوع من الابتزاز»، بخلاف السفيرة الأميركية دوروثي شيا التي قالت لزوار لبنانيين ولمسؤولين في الإدارة الأميركية إنه ينبغي التعامل بجدية مع تهديدات الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله.

وسيط عربي
وعلمت «الأخبار» أن رسائل أميركية وصلت الى الجهات اللبنانية المعنية بالملف، ليس عبر القناة القطرية هذه المرة، بل عبر الكويت التي نقل مسؤول فيها أن الولايات المتحدة حصلت من إسرائيل على ضمانات بأنها ستعطي لبنان ما يريده في مسألة الترسيم، لكنها تميل إلى تأجيل الأمر الى ما بعد انتخابات الكنيست في إسرائيل. وبدا ناقل الرسالة مهتماً بمعرفة موقف المقاومة من هذا الطرح أكثر من أي أمر آخر.

وأفادت المعلومات بأن الوسيط الكويتي سمع كلاماً واضحاً بأن المقاومة غير معنية بالانتخابات في إسرائيل، وهي أساساً لا تميّز بين حكومة وأخرى وبين حزب حاكم وآخر، بل تعتبر الجميع مسؤولين عن كيان عنصري يحترف الحروب وسرقة موارد العرب وثرواتهم وحقوقهم. كما أن المقاومة تعمل وفق أجندتها وليس وفق الأجندة الإسرائيلية أو الأميركية، وهي غير معنية من قريب أو بعيد بالتفاوض القائم المتروك للدولة اللبنانية، لكنها معنية بحصول لبنان على كامل حقوقه من دون زيادة أو نقصان. كما أنها معنية أيضاً بأن يفهم الأميركيون قبل الإسرائيليين أن حقوق لبنان تعني سيادة كاملة على المناطق الاقتصادية الخاصة به، وحرية العمل فيها وفق ما يراه مناسباً، وبالتالي فإن رفع الفيتو الأميركي عن عمل الشركات العالمية في التنقيب والاستخراج في الجانب اللبناني مطلب أساسي.
وبحسب المعلومات، فقد أُبلغ الوسيط (لم يعرف ما إذا كان هناك لقاء مباشر بينه وبين المقاومة أو عبر وسيط) أن على العدو أن يتذكّر بأن المقاومة أعلنت أنها لن تنتظر طويلاً وأن المهلة الزمنية غير مفتوحة قبل أن توجّه ضربات مباشرة الى منصات العدو.
ورغم أن الأميركيين سبق أن أشاروا الى ضرورة إنجاز الملف من دون ربطه بالانتخابات الإسرائيلية، انتشرت تحليلات بأن حكومة يائير لابيد ستجد نفسها أقوى في حال خروجها من معركة غزة قوية، ما يمكّنها الذهاب نحو اتفاق يتضمّن «تنازلات» في ملف ترسيم الحدود البحرية.

شياطين التفاهمات
وسط هذه التطورات، قالت مصادر رفيعة المستوى إن «لبنان ينتظِر الرد الإسرائيلي المكتوب»، وإن «اجتماع بعبدا تولّدت عنه مقاربة جديدة لملف الترسيم، بيّنت أن العدو الإسرائيلي يريد أن ينُجز حلاً في المضمون، لكنه يبحث في الشكل عن مخارج له»، علماً بأن «كل ما حصل منذ الزيارة لم يصل إلى مرتبة الإجراءات العملية»، معتبرة أننا في حالة من «اللاسلبية واللاإيجابية في آن».
ولفتت المصادر إلى أنه في حال عودة هوكشتين حاملاً الجواب المكتوب «سيدعى الوفدان اللبناني والإسرائيلي إلى الناقورة مجدداً لتوقيع النصوص برعاية الأمم المتحدة».
وقالت مصادر سياسية إن «التفاهمات المفترضة حول ملف الترسيم لن تكون رهن توافق عام فقط»، لأن «ما طرحه الوسيط الأميركي كان على أساس أن يتولى هو مواصلة المفاوضات وصياغة التفاهم، وأن يصار الى عقد اجتماع واحد أو اجتماعين في الناقورة لأجل الإقرار». لكن رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري قال لزواره إن «العناوين العامة جرى النقاش حولها، وهو (هوكشتين) سمع منا وذهب الى الإسرائيليين ليعود بجواب، ونحن ننتظر. وفي حال حصول تقدم، سيحال الأمر الى مفاوضات غير مباشرة في الناقورة».
وبحسب المصادر، فإن «ما يهدف إليه الوسيط الأميركي ولو برعاية الأمم المتحدة هو توقيع اتفاق أو تفاهم بين لبنان والعدو برعاية دولية يشتمل على كل نقاط الخلاف». وبالتالي، يعتقد مطّلعون في بيروت أن مثل هذا الأمر «لا يقف عند حدود تفاهم عام، بل هو مرتبط بتفاهم مفصل». ما يعني أنه سيكون هناك جهد حثيث، له بعده القانوني والأمني والتقني، وهذا يتطلب فريقاً متخصصاً، ما يعيد الحديث عن تشكيل الوفد اللبناني الى جولات التفاوض غير المباشر في الناقورة.
ورأت المصادر نفسها أن كلام رئيس كتلة الوفاء للمقاومة النائب محمد رعد عن «أننا نريد أن نرى بأعيننا الاتفاق لا أن نسمعه مجرد أخبار»، يتضمن إشارة واضحة الى أن «المقاومة ملتزمة بموقفها منع العدو من أي عملية استخراج قبل الوصول الى تفاهم يحفظ كامل حقوق لبنان. وهو ما يعني ضمناً أن المقاومة التي تنسّق مع الرؤساء الثلاثة وتتواصل مع جهات دولية، لن تكون بعيدة عن تفاصيل الاتفاق، من دون أن تكون شريكة لا في التفاوض ولا في الصياغة».

اليونان تتراجع وتقرّ بملكية سفينة الاستخراج وتخشى على حياة العاملين على متنها


وكان لافتاً ما تمّت الإشارة إليه من أن لبنان لم يحصل بعد على إقرار إسرائيلي كامل بحقه في كل ما هو شمال الخط 23، بالإضافة الى بقية حقل قانا. إذ لفت مصدر مطّلع الى أن «نائب رئيس مجلس النواب إلياس بوصعب كان قد تهرّب من سؤال الصحافيين حول هذه النقطة بعد اجتماع بعبدا الأخير،. ليتبيّن أن الأميركيين يشيرون الى أن إسرائيل قد تقبل بأن يُصار الى التمييز بين الملكية والسيادة القانونية. بمعنى أن تحسب كامل حصة حقل قانا للبنان، على أن تحتفظ هي بحقها في جزء من الحقل عند الترسيم، وهو أمر يرفضه لبنان بصورة قاطعة».
ورغم انشغال قيادة العدو بالعدوان على قطاع غزة، إلا أن الدبلوماسية الأميركية تتحدث كما الجهات الأوروبية (التي يقول دبلوماسيوها بشكل صريح إن الملف كله في عهدة الأميركيين) عن استمرار المساعي والاتصالات لضمان حصول الوسيط الأميركي على موقف إسرائيلي يعود به الى بيروت لضمان الأجواء الإيجابية، وخصوصاً أن هوكشتين لم يتمكن من الحصول على أي وعد من أي جهة لبنانية بأن المقاومة ستقف مكتوفة الأيدي أمام المماطلة.

قلق يوناني
إلى ذلك، طرأ تطور تمثّل في تبدّل الموقف اليوناني من مسألة ملكية سفينة الاستخراج «إنيرجيان». وقد طلبت سفيرة اليونان في لبنان كاثرين فونتولاكي موعداً للاجتماع اليوم مع وزير الخارجية عبد الله بوحبيب لمناقشة ملف ترسيم الحدود والسفينة.
وكان الوسيط الأميركي قد استغرب نفي اليونان علاقتها بالسفينة، مؤكداً أن اليونانيين يملكون الحصة الأكبر من الشركة وأن مديرها العام يوناني. وفي وقت لاحق من الأسبوع الماضي، سارع اليونانيون الى تبديل روايتهم الأولى، بعدما أبلغوا لبنان، بعد تهديدات الأمين العام لحزب الله، عبر رسالة رسمية أن اليونان تملك حصة تأسيسية في الشركة. قبل أن تعود أثينا، في الأيام القليلة الماضية، إلى إبلاغ لبنان رسمياً أن يونانيين يملكون أسهماً كبيرة في الشركة، وأن المدير التنفيذي يوناني الجنسية وأن معظم البحارة العاملين على السفينة يونانيون. ويعكس هذا التطور، بحسب مصدر معني، القلق اليوناني المتعاظم من احتمال ضرب السفينة. وبحسب معلومات، سمع اليونانيون الذين تواصلوا مع مسؤولين في حزب الله كلاماً واضحاً بضرورة سحب السفينة، وأن أثينا وأصحاب السفينة يتحمّلون المسؤولية عن أي ضرر مادي أو بشري يصيبها.

مقالات ذات صلة

أميركا وأوروبا تتدخّلان لحماية «إسرائيل»: «كاريش» جزء من أمن الطاقة العالميّ

 الخميس 30 حزيران 2022

الأخبار 

الكلام «الإيجابي» الذي سُرّب في اليومين الماضيين، في واشنطن وبيروت، حول مستقبل مفاوضات ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع فلسطين المحتلة لم يتجاوز حدود الرسائل التي لا تستند إلى وقائع صلبة. فحتى اللحظة، لا يبدو أن «الوسيط» الأميركي عاموس هوكشتين في صدد العودة إلى لبنان، فيما دخل الأوروبيون على الخط لمصلحة إسرائيل. في وقت شهدت المياه الإقليمية اللبنانية والفلسطينية المحتلة سلسلة خطوات عسكرية وأمنية توحي بدرجة عالية من التوتر.

وبحسب معلومات «الأخبار»، فإن سفينة الاستخراج التابعة لشركة «أنيرجيان» تقدّمت مع سفينة أخرى نحو الخط 29، وتجاوزت إحداهما الخط بأميال قليلة، في وقت كشفت مصادر في قوات اليونيفل عن وصول بوارج حربية أميركية إلى قبالة حقل «كاريش»، ومباشرتها إجراءات لتوفير حماية للمنصة العائمة. وترافق ذلك مع قيام سرب من طائرات تجسس بريطانية وأخرى تابعة لحلف شمال الأطلسي بمسح لكل المنطقة البحرية التي تلامس الحدود اللبنانية وتجاوز المياه الإقليمية لكل من لبنان وفلسطين المحتلة.

وأوضحت مصادر الأمم المتحدة في لبنان أن المناورة العسكرية البحرية التي أجرتها قوات بحرية من اليونيفل قرب الحدود خلال الأيام القليلة الماضية لا تستهدف أحداً، وأنها «تمرين عادي يواكب التطورات السياسية والأمنية في المنطقة». لكنّ مصادر معنية لفتت إلى أن طبيعة المناورة التي جرت بالذخيرة الحية «لا تقود إلى هذا الاستنتاج، خصوصاً أنها تزامنت مع نشر الأميركيين قطعاً بحرية عسكرية قبالة حقل كاريش، في وقت فعّل حلف الناتو عمل طائرات مُسيَّرة ذات طابع تجسسي في كل المنطقة البحرية، بالتزامن مع نشاط أمني إسرائيلي في محيط حقل كاريش».
في غضون ذلك، سمع لبنان الرسمي «نصائح» أوروبية غير مباشرة، خصوصاً من فرنسا وبريطانيا وألمانيا، بعدم التصعيد في هذا الملف. وبحسب المصادر فقد شرح الأوروبيون لمسؤولين لبنانيين بأن «ما تقوم به إسرائيل هو استخراج كميات من الطاقة التي تحتاج إليها أوروبا، وهي بالتالي تحظى بغطاء دولي، أميركي وأوروبي، وأن عملية استخراج النفط أو الغاز من حقل كاريش باتت جزءاً من أمن الطاقة العالمي، وأن تهديدات حزب الله لن تفيد في معالجة الأمر». وفي الوقت نفسه، تحدّث الأوروبيون عن مساعٍ يقومون بها لإقناع إسرائيل بالتوصل إلى تسوية تتيح للبنان بدء التنقيب والاستخراج لمواجهة أزمته الاقتصادية والمالية المتفاقمة.
إلى ذلك، علمت «الأخبار» أن المنسّقة الخاصة للأمم المتحدة في لبنان يوانا فرونتيسكا زارت تل أبيب أخيراً وبحثت مع المسؤولين الإسرائيليين في ملف ترسيم الحدود، وعادت إلى لبنان بـ«مناخات لا تتطابق مع الكلام المسرّب عن استعداد إسرائيلي لتقديم تنازلات جدية». وقد زارت الدبلوماسية الأممية الرئيس ميشال عون أمس ووضعته في أجواء زيارتها للكيان الإسرائيلي. وفيما يُفترض أن تتبلّغ الجهات الرسمية في لبنان تفاصيل المحادثات خلال الساعات المقبلة، فُهم أن الإسرائيليين يطرحون مجدداً الخط الـ 23 المتعرّج الذي سبق أن اقترحه هوكشتين على لبنان في شباط الماضي وتبلّغ رفضاً شفهياً له الشهر الماضي.

منسّقة الأمم المتحدة تعود من تل أبيب بأجواء سلبية ومناورات عسكرية إسرائيلية وأممية وأميركية وأوروبية قبالة سواحل لبنان وفلسطين


ويُفترض أن السفيرة الأميركية في بيروت دوروثي شيا، التي عادت إلى بيروت أمس، تحمل رسالة من هوكشتين بعد المحادثات التي أجراها مع مسؤولين إسرائيليين لمناقشة الردّ اللبناني. وقال مقرّبون من مرجع رئاسي إنه يجب الاستماع إلى الوسيط الأميركي بصورة أوضح قبل الركون إلى ما تسرّب عن لسان مسؤولين أوروبيين وأمميين. وكرّرت المصادر أن الجديد في ما نُقل عن الإسرائيليين يتلخّص بأن التنازل عن الخط 29 يعني أن حقل «كاريش» هو حصة إسرائيلية كاملة، وأن «الخط 23 هو خط التفاوض الجديد انطلاقاً من كون الخزان الكبير الموجود في حقل قانا يجب حسم حصة كلّ من الطرفين فيه، ما يشير مجدداً إلى فكرة الخط المتعرّج، الأمر الذي يرفضه لبنان».

توضيحات يونانية

في غضون ذلك، وبعد زيارة قام بها دبلوماسي يوناني رفيع إلى حزب الله لشرح موقف أثينا، أبلغت الخارجية اليونانية القائمة بأعمال السفارة اللبنانية في أثينا المستشارة رانيا عبدالله رسائل إلى لبنان تطابقت مع الكلام الذي أبلغه الدبلوماسي اليوناني لحزب الله، وفيه:
أولاً، إن اليونان ترفض «الخطاب غير اللطيف» للأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، انطلاقاً من أن اليونان ليست طرفاً في المشكلة.
ثانياً، إن سفينة الاستخراج ليست يونانية ولا تحمل العلم اليوناني، بل تتبع لشركة عالمية ويوجد بين مالكيها من يحملون الجنسية اليونانية.
ثالثاً، اليونان تدعم توصل لبنان وإسرائيل إلى اتفاق، وترفض أيّ اعتداء من إسرائيل على حقوق لبنان في المياه الإقليمية.
رابعاً، اليونان ليست على عداء لا مع الحكومة اللبنانية ولا مع حزب الله ويُفضل عدم إقحامها في هذه القضية.

فيديوات متعلقة

فيديوات متعلقة

US navy claims warships in Strait of Hormuz ‘harassed’ by IRGC speedboats

Over the past year, the IRGC has stepped up efforts to stop the theft of Iranian oil in the high seas, including attempts by the US navy

June 21 2022

(Photo credit: Reuters)

ByNews Desk

A US navy official has claimed that three speedboats belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had a near-miss encounter on 20 June with two US warships in the Persian Gulf.

The IRGC vessels allegedly came within 45 meters of the two US warships at “dangerously high speed.”

“[The Iranian Navy] did not meet the international standards of professional or safe maritime behavior, increasing the risk of miscalculation and collision,” said the spokesman for US Central Command (CENTCOM), Colonel Joseph Buccino.

Buccino added that the USS Sirocco, a Cyclone-class patrol ship, and the USNS Choctaw County, a fast transport vessel, were in “routine transit” through international waters in the Persian Gulf.

According to an unnamed US official, the IRGC vessels diverted course only after the Sirocco issued an audible warning signal and fired a flare.

Iranian officials have not yet responded to the US allegations.

“CENTCOM forces will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere in the area of responsibility international law allows while promoting regional stability,” Buccino went on to add.

The alleged confrontation comes at a time when tensions are rising between Iran and the west over Washington’s refusal to provide guarantees to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Over the past year, the IRGC navy has led efforts to stop the smuggling of Iranian oil by foreign actors, including the US.

Last month, Washington illegally seized a shipment of Iranian oil in Greek waters, before a court in Athens ruled against what Tehran described as “maritime piracy.”

Last year, the IRGC released footage of a daring operation to stop the US navy from stealing oil from an Iranian tanker in the Sea of Oman.

The operation was launched after US forces tried to redirect the tanker to an unspecified location in order to steal the cargo. However, the IRGC navy took control of the tanker by boarding it with helicopters, and were able to direct it toward Iranian territorial waters.

In response, the US sent out helicopters and warships hoping to redirect the ship, even blocking its path, but their attempts were unsuccessful.

What is the EU’s alternative to Russian gas?

16 Jun, 2022 

The West is looking to the Eastern Mediterranean to replace supplies from Moscow

© Getty Images / Matthias Kulka

The European Union on Wednesday inked a deal with Egypt and Israel for shipments of liquified natural gas (LNG) to its member states. Brussels hopes the agreement will help the continent to reduce energy dependence on its major supplier, Russia. RT explores whether those expectations are realistic.

  1. What does the trilateral agreement mean?
    It is expected to increase Israel’s exportation of natural gas through pre-existing pipelines to Egyptian ports, where it can be pressurized and liquefied, before being transported to Europe by sea. Some Israeli gas is already being sent by pipeline to liquefaction plants on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, from where it is re-exported as LNG.
  2. How much gas could Israel export?
    Israel currently sends around five billion cubic meters of gas per year to Egypt. Cairo had earlier signed contracts with the country for the purchase of 64 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas over a decade. The two sides later extended the deal to 15 years, with an increased volume of supplies of up to 6.9 bcm per year.
  3. How much fuel could be rerouted to Europe?
    Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar stated earlier that it’s unlikely the country would be able to send “huge quantities,” given that most of its present capacity is committed to Egypt, Jordan and the domestic market. Officials have said it would likely take a couple of years before the exports could be significantly expanded.
  4. Is the infrastructure adequate?
    According to estimates, a significant increase in gas exports by Israel would require major long-term infrastructure investment. Moreover, Egypt’s extensive natural gas facilities on the Mediterranean have stood largely inactive since the country’s 2011 uprising.
  5. Is there any other route for Israeli gas to the EU?
    The EastMed project, a seafloor pipeline linking Israel to Greece and Italy via Cyprus, could be another option for gas supplies to the European countries. The project, which is heavily supported by the United States, is expected to deliver around 10 bcm of natural gas to the European Union through Greece and Italy. However, the EastMed is expected to meet just 10-15% of the EU’s projected natural gas needs.
  6. Could the volumes be sufficient for Europe?
    No. Europe’s total gas demand stands at 512 bcm a year. According to estimates, Israel’s supply, extracted from three offshore Mediterranean gas fields, will be nowhere near Russian capacity. Israel produces roughly 12 bcm of natural gas a year, though industry analysts say at least double that amount exists in unexploited reserves.
    Meanwhile, Egypt’s Idku and Damietta LNG plants have a total capacity of 12.2 million tons per year, which could provide around 17 bcm of natural gas. A significant boost in supplies would require the development of new large gas deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean area.
  7. How much gas has Russia supplied to the EU?
    In 2021, the European Union imported 155 bcm of natural gas from Russia, accounting for about 45% of its gas imports, and close to 40% of its total gas consumption. The trade bloc has faced energy difficulties since imposing sweeping sanctions on its major gas supplier.
  8. Can Europe replace its Russian gas?
    It won’t be easy and it won’t be cheap. The European Union will have to compete with Asia and other buyers for limited global supplies, and will pay higher prices – much higher. Europe relies on Russian natural gas to heat homes, cook meals, and generate electricity in most of the bloc’s 27 member states. Weaning the continent off cheap and abundant Russian gas would be a far more disruptive prospect for the region’s economy.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

منصة التنقيب في “كاريش”.. كيف بدأت القصة وما علاقة مالكيها بـ”إسرائيل”؟

السبت 11 حزيران 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

رماح اسماعيل 

“إسرائيل” تستعين بشركة يونانية – بريطانية للتنقيب عن النفط والغاز في حقل “كاريش”، فما العلاقة التي تربط هذه الشركة بـ”إسرائيل”، ولماذا أبدت حماساً لعمليات التنقيب في الحقل؟

ما هي شركة “إنرجيان باور” مالكة باخرة التنقيب في كاريش؟

“على الشركات المالكة لسفينة التنقيب في كاريش أن تسحبها سريعاً، وعليها تحمل مسؤولية ما سيلحق بها من أضرار مادية وبشرية”. هذا ما جاء في كلمة الأمين العام لحزب الله، السيد حسن نصر الله، يوم الخميس، حين وصف تنصيبَ الشركة البريطانية اليونانية منصة في حقل “كاريش” لاستخراج الغاز خلال 3 أشهر، بأنّه اعتداء على لبنان.

بدأت حكاية شركة «إنيرجيان» اليونانية – البريطانية مع مياه البحر الفلسطيني المحتل قبل 3 أعوام، تحديداً في العام 2019، بعد أن جذبتها رائحة الغاز من السواحل اليونانية نحو سواحل الشرق الأوسط، ولا سيما حقل “كاريش” الشمالي، على بعد 90 كم من حيفا.

ويقع جزء من حقل “كاريش” ضمن الخط الحدودي رقم 29 الذي يعدّه المفاوضون اللبنانيون حدوداً لبنانية، وبالتالي فإنّ الأعمال التنقيبية التي تقوم بها هذه الشركة بتوصية من “إسرائيل” غير شرعية.

من هي شركة “إنرجيان باور” مالكة باخرة التنقيب؟

أنشأت شركة “إينرجيان باور” في أوائل العقد الأول من القرن الحالي، وهي شركة لاستخراج وتنقيب النفط والغاز تركز على منطقة شرقي البحر الأبيض المتوسط، وتنشط حالياً في اليونان و”إسرائيل”، وتتوسع إلى مواقع جديدة في أوروبا وشمال أفريقيا.

أسسها رجلا الأعمال اليونانيان ماتيوس ريجاس وستاثيس توبوزوغلو، وتم تسجيلها في قبرص، وفي العام 2018 أصبحت شركة عالمية محدودة مقرها المملكة المتحدة، ومدرجة في بورصتي لندن و”تل أبيب”.

نمت الشركة بشكل كبير في بضع سنوات، بفضل ضخ السيولة من عدد من المستثمرين العالميين الأميركيين والبريطانيين والإسرائيليين، وأكبر مساهم فيها هو صندوق “النقطة الثالثة”، الذي يملكه الملياردير الأميركي دان لوب الذي استفاد بشكل كبير من المقامرة على السندات اليونانية خلال أزمة الديون في البلاد.

وتمتلك الشركة مكاتب في اليونان (أثينا وكافالا) والمملكة المتحدة (لندن وأبردين) و”إسرائيل” (“تل أبيب” وحيفا) وقبرص ومصر والجبل الأسود، وفي بداية العام 2019، كان لديها 416 عاملاً، حوالى 80% منهم يعملون في مكاتب كافالا. 

وتعتمد آلية عملها على امتيازات النفط والغاز التي تخولها البحث عن مصادر الطاقة في مناطق محددة، ويتم منح عقود “الامتياز” من قبل الحكومات، وتستمر لعقود، وقد تدفع الشركة رسوماً ثابتة مقابل الامتياز، و نسبة مئوية مما تنتجه أيضاً.

يأتي عمل الشركة على ثلاث مراحل:

-التنقيب: البحث عن النفط والغاز، باستخدام أدوات مثل المسوحات الزلزالية (التي تشمل الانفجارات وغيرها من التقنيات المدمرة)، ثم اختبار الحفر.

-التطوير: وضع البنية التحتية من منصات الحفر، وخطوط الأنابيب، وما إلى ذلك لاستخراج النفط والغاز.

-الإنتاج: حفر وضخ النفط أو الغاز، ويمكن أن تستغرق كل من مرحلتي الاستكشاف والتطوير وقتاً طويلاً، لذلك قد لا يبدأ الامتياز فعلياً في الإنتاج لعدة سنوات، وبعض الحقول قد لا تنتج أي شيء على الإطلاق.

وبمجرد استخراج النفط والغاز، يتم نقله باستخدام الشحن أو الأنابيب إلى العملاء، وتكريره إلى منتجات مختلفة، وهنا لا تشارك «إنيرجيان» في هذه المراحل النهائية، فهي تبيع منتجها مباشرة إلى شركات أخرى مسؤولة عن “offtake”، حتى خلال المراحل الأولية، لا تمتلك «إنيرجيان»” الموارد للقيام بكل العمل بنفسها، بل تتعاقد مع شركات شريكة ومساهمين ومستثمرين لإتمام عملياتها.

أين بدأت  العمل؟

كانت صفقة «إنيرجيان» الأولى، ضمن آبار في حوض برينوس قبالة الساحل اليوناني الشمالي الشرقي في كافالا، ويتضمن الموقع 3 حقول نفط تسمى برينوس، وبرينوس نورث، وإبسيلون، إضافة إلى عقد منفصل في حقل غاز مجاور جنوب كافالا.

في العام 2018، بلغ حجم مبيعات الشركة حوالى 90.3 مليون دولار كان معظمها من بيع النفط الخام لشركة “بريتيش بتروليوم” من آبار حوض برينوس.

ووقعت شركة «إنيرجيان» صفقة لشراء أصول النفط والغاز لشركة “اديسون” الإيطالية، والتي تشمل آباراً نشطة في مصر والجزائر وإيطاليا وكرواتيا.

وتدعي شركة «إنيرجيان» أن لديها سجلاً “نظيفاً” في ما يتعلق بالتسريبات النفطية أثناء عمليات الاستخراج والتنقيب، لكن شركاءها في الحفر مسؤولون عن بعض أكثر كوارث النفط شهرة في العالم مثل شركة “هاليبيرتون”، التي كان لها دور في أكبر تسرب نفطي على الإطلاق في مياه أميركا الشمالية.

المعروف عن شركة «إنيرجيان» أنّ مالكيها ومستثمريها يراهنون على النفط والغاز، لذا كانوا يتطلعون دائماً إلى توسيع نشاطهم بشكل أكبر في حقول البحر الأبيض المتوسط، لذا أخذت الشركة تتطلع إلى مد نشاطها في حقول أكثر عبر البحر المتوسط، مثل حقلي “كاريش” و”تانين” اللذين يحتويان على أكثر من 5 أضعاف احتياطيات الأصول اليونانية الحالية للشركة، حسب تقاريرها.

علاقتها بـ “إسرائيل” وقصتها مع “كاريش”

تربط شركة «إنيرجيان» علاقات وثيقة بالحكومة الإسرائيلية، والشركات الإسرائيلية أيضاً، ويعتبر أكبر مقرض لها هو بنك “هبوعليم” الإسرائيلي، الذي يمول المستوطنات غير القانونية. وأحد مساهميها الرئيسيين هو “مجموعة التنمية أي بي دي “، وهي شركة قابضة تمتلك العديد من الشركات المتورطة في أعمال غير قانونية في الأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة.

وعلى مدى سنوات، كانت هذه الشركة المشغل المحلي الوحيد لحفر آبار النفط في اليونان، ثم انتقل نشاطها إلى “إسرائيل” وفازت بعقود تشغيل حقلي غاز “كاريش” و”تانين”. كان هذا بداية لتوسع سريع للشركة، تم تمويله من قبل عدد من المستثمرين العالميين.

في العام 2017، استحوذت شركة «إنيرجيان» على امتيازات حقلي غاز “كاريش” و”تانين” قبالة سواحل البحر الفلسطيني المحتل، وبدأت حفر الآبار في الحقلين في آذار/مارس 2019، وتوقعت حينها البدء في الإنتاج عام 2021.

في نيسان/أبريل 2019، أعلنت «إنيرجيان» أنها حققت اكتشافاً جديداً للغاز في شمال “كاريش”، ما أدى إلى زيادة سعة الحقلين بشكل كبير، إذ تقدر إجمالي الاحتياطيات بنحو 297 مليون برميل.

وبحسب مخطط الشركة، بعد التنقيب والاستخراج سيذهب الغاز في البداية لتزويد السوق الإسرائيلية، وسيتم نقل الغاز إلى “إسرائيل” عبر خط أنابيب بدأت «إنيرجيان» ببنائه بالفعل، لكنه انتقل إلى شركة مملوكة للاحتلال تسمى “خط الغاز الطبيعي الإسرائيلي ([ي أن جي أل).

وتستخدم «إنيرجيان» سفينة متخصصة لاستغلال الحقول، بدلاً من المنصات الثابتة التقليدية أو بجانبها، وقالت الشركة إنّ السفينة المستخدمة في المياه المحتلة تم بناؤها في الصين وسنغافورة ووصلت مياه البحر المتوسط للتنقيب في حقل “كاريش”.

وبحسب صحيفة “هآرتس” الإسرائيلية، فإن “سلاح البحرية الإسرائيلي يقوم بحراسة المنصة”، وقام بتأمين انتقالها منذ خروجها من قناة السويس آتية من سنغافورة، حتى وصولها مياه الحقل.

Europeans are urged to prepare for new inflation and price shocks as the EU agrees to “phase out” Russia’s oil

June 4 2022

European Union approval of the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, including the phasing out of Russian crude and petroleum products, is more likely among politicians, business leaders, economists and market experts. Caused a fierce debate about. Bruegel’s director, Bruegel, a Brussels-based economic think tank, said Guntram Wolf, a “treasure of war” or Europe is plunging into a recession with shocks of new energy prices and rising inflation.

Spiegel. Economists predict that businesses and consumers will feel a pinch of rising energy prices as well. Economists also predicted that the European Central Bank would be caught in a bond between tackling inflation by raising interest rates and keeping interest rates from rising, oil and gas market experts. “The new decision turns Russia into other markets and the EU refuses to expire energy contracts,” said Steffen Bukold, head of Energy Comment, a Hamburg-based research and consulting office.

Spiegel recalled that the EU’s attempt to ban the transportation of Russian oil through tankers owned by European companies could not be driven by the support of Greece and Cyprus. Resistance to ideas. Brussels agreed to ban insurance on Russia’s oil supply, but Moscow predicted that it would “probably find an insurance company from another region.”

A similar trick has already been done. In April, Bloomberg was sent by the British and Dutch energy giant Shell by mixing 49.99% Russian diesel and 50.01% non-Russian oil in the Baltic countries and sending supplies with the non-Russian mark. Reported on how to make “Latovia Blend” diesel fuel. West. According to Bloomberg, “many” oil companies and commodities traders apply tricks to meet European energy demand, while ensuring that Shell is not “subsidizing Vladimir Putin’s war machinery.” There is only one.

In 2021, nearly 40% of oil demand, 55% of gas and 53% of coal will depend on Russia for steel production and power generation, expressing serious concern about the economic implications of attempts to break these relationships. doing. Network agency Chairman Klaus Müller warned Germans of possible gas shortages, saying economic minister Robert Habeck could not eliminate the shortage of gasoline supplies.

In April, the German state-sponsored interdisciplinary institute, the Julich Research Center, said it would cut Russia’s gas supply by two-thirds (Brussels recommends) to help industrial companies fill the country’s gas storage. He warned that he would be forced to stop for several months. Because there are no alternative sources available. At the same time, the government encourages the general public to wear a sweater to keep them warm, not to wash them with hot water until a penny pinch, and to ride a bicycle to save gas. Friday’s new sanctions prohibit “buying, importing, or transferring crude oil.” “Specific petroleum products from Russia to the EU”.

A “phasing out” is expected to take 6 months for crude oil and 8 months for refined products. A “temporary exemption” will also be provided to oil pipelined to European countries in landlocked countries where Russia’s energy “has no viable alternative”, threatening Hungary to block restrictions indefinitely. A carve out was added later. “In addition, Bulgaria and Croatia will benefit from temporary criticisms of Russia’s imports of offshore crude and vacuum gas oil, respectively,” the EU directive said. Last month, Putin said Moscow could not stop Europe’s “economic suicide.” “We must proceed from practical and primarily our own economic interests” in order to respond to the “unexpectedly chaotic” decision made by our western partners in Russia.

https://sputniknews.com/20220603/lets-be-even-handed-indian-fm-calls-out-wests-hypocrisy-on-russian-energy-purchases — video-1095970397.html

https://sputniknews.com/20220529/german-farmers-set-to-lose-up-to-3-million-tonnes-of-harvest-due-to-eu-ukraine-related-sanctions-1095862737.html

https://sputniknews.com/20220603/eu-approves-6th-package-of-sanctions-against-moscow-include-russian-oil-phase-out-1095961978.html

Sputnik International

BREAKING: Iran seizes two Greek-flagged oil tankers in the Persian Gulf

 May 27 2022

The US navy says they are ‘looking into the incident,’ which came in retaliation for the theft of an Iranian oil cargo by Greece and the US

ByNews Desk

Naval forces from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized two ships sailing under the Greek flag in the Persian Gulf on 27 May, in retaliation of the coordinated theft of its oil by Greece and the US.

Local sources have confirmed the ships’ names are the Delta Poseidon and Prudent Warrior, with just the former being operated by a Greek crew. They were seized near the Iranian ports of Bandar Lengeh and Asalouyeh.

The Prudent Warrior vessel loaded its cargo at Basrah, Iraq, and was on its way to the US. The Delta Poseidon also loaded its cargo at the same port, however its destination remains unknown.

According to AP, the US navy’s 5th Fleet said it was “looking into” the seizures, which came on the heels of Tehran threatening to take “punitive action” against Athens.

Earlier in the day, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss chargé d’affaires in order to lodge a complaint over Washington’s illegal seizure of its oil, which was confiscated from a Russian-operated Iranian tanker impounded by Greece the day before.

“The Swiss chargé d’affaires was summoned to convey Iran’s concern and strong protest over the continued violation of international laws and maritime conventions concerning free navigation and trade by the US administration,” Director-General of the Foreign Ministry’s department for US Affairs said in a statement.

Switzerland’s envoy is the official representative of the US in Tehran.

The Foreign Ministry also called for the immediate release of the tanker and the confiscated oil, as the Swiss chargé d’affaires assured officials that Iran’s message has been conveyed to US officials.

On 25 May, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Greek embassy chargé d’affaires in Tehran, explicitly condemning the seizure of the tanker and laying the responsibility on the Greek government, who it accused, alongside the US, of engaging in “maritime piracy.”

Iran’s Ports and Maritime Authority said that the vessel had to stop in Greek waters due to bad weather conditions and technical problems. However, the ship did not receive assistance and was instead seized by the Greek government.

A day later, the US seized the tanker’s oil cargo, and is reportedly shipping it to a US port aboard another vessel.

The illegitimate seizure was confirmed by a separate western source familiar with the matter, who added “that the cargo was transferred onto the Liberia-flagged tanker Ice Energy, which is operated by Greek shipping company Dynacom.”

Iran openly condemned the Greek decision, referring to it as an “unacceptable” surrender to US pressure.

This is not the first time the US illegally seizes Iranian oil in international waters. In August of 2020, the US seized four Iranian tankers headed for Venezuela in the Straits of Hormuz. According to reports, the Iranian oil was then sold for over $40 million.

The oil seizure comes as the sanctions-removal talks in Vienna have been stalled due to Washington’s unwillingness to meet Tehran’s conditions, such as the removal of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) off the terrorist list.

“Now, we have reached a point [during the negotiations in Vienna] that if the American side makes a realistic decision, an agreement would be within reach… Zionists tell many lies about Iran’s nuclear issue, but Americans exactly know what they must do if they want to return to the JCPOA,” Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on 26 May.

‘Israel’ Nearing Dark Destiny: Hezbollah War Necessitates Wartime Haven in Greece or Uganda

March 18, 2022

The Israeli media outlets continued reflecting the case of frustration prevailing in the occupation entity in light of the latest developments ‘locally’, regionally and internationally.

to begin with, Mossad chief appears in the worst situation of weakness after a cyber attack hacked his personal laptop, which exposes the electronic security of all the Israelis.

Moreover, the Iranian missile attack on the Zionist intelligence sites in Erbil and Tehran determination to strike again of the Mossad posts remain in Kurdistan indicate that Iran is engaging in a wider military confrontation with ‘Israel’.

Meanwhile, the United States is heading towards rejoining the Iranian nuclear, which would give Tehran an opportunity to improve its capabilities in the various fields of confrontation with Tel Aviv.

Last but not least, the scenes of the refugees escaping the war in Ukraine abandoned by the West have augmented the Israelis’ fear of a similar destiny in case of any war with the Resistance.

Amid such developments, Zionist politicians and journalists started proposing purchasing deterred territories in Greece and Uganda in order to evacuate the settlers into them during the war.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Reated

Beyond the EastMed pipe dream: Can Turkey become Europe’s gas hub?

The Ukraine crisis presents a unique opportunity for Turkey to realize its long-term vision of transforming itself into a global gas transit hub. But will the US, Russia, Iran, and the EU allow it?

March 10 2022

By Daoud Baalbaki

As the Russia-Ukraine crisis intensifies and western sanctions pile up against Moscow, Europe is once more grappling with its foreign gas dependency – 50 percent of which has traditionally been supplied by the Russian Federation.

Will the Ukraine conflict position Turkey as the world’s gas transit hub, or will Ankara have to choose sides and settle for less?Photo Credit: The Cradle

While sanctions on Russian energy supplies have been considered, the potential inflationary backlash and mass shortages Europeans could face make this a dangerous gambit.

The endgame in Ukraine will likely see some seismic shifts in global energy and financial networks. One of these will take place in the Eastern Mediterranean, where in recent years, competing states have jockeyed for primacy in constructing gas pipelines to Europe.

At the moment, in the East Med contest, all eyes are on energy-poor Turkey, which has for decades tried and failed to establish itself as the energy hub connecting Asia to Europe. Recent developments, however, suggest that this situation could very well change.

Russia and Turkey

Eurasian energy giants like Russia and Iran – facing their own geopolitical standoffs with NATO, of which Turkey is a member – have their own preferential oil and gas routes mapped out, and are unlikely to place all their bets on a Turkish hub. That also appears to be the position of Ankara’s western allies, at least under the leadership of Turkey’s longtime President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Until Ukraine reared its head, the Eastern Mediterranean gas issue was the one around which alliances and policies in West Asia were rapidly shifting. In the last months, remarkable developments have taken place around Turkey’s role in this critical theater, opening the way for Ankara to assume a leadership role.

Despite the Russian-Turkish geopolitical competition across multiple regions, the two Eurasian nations have managed to cooperate across a range of areas, and significantly so in the energy sector.

For instance, despite mounting tensions between the two states along the Turkish-Syrian border and their support of opposing sides in the Syria conflict, Moscow and Ankara were able to find common ground in replacing the SouthStream pipeline with TurkStream in 2020 (which passes through Turkey before entering Bulgaria). In doing so, Russia assisted Turkey in achieving its longstanding ambition to be a transit point for gas pipelines entering Europe.

EastMed Gas Forum

At the same time, Turkey was feeling isolated from its US ally in the region, who excluded it from joining the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, or the EastMed Gas Forum (EMGF), and planned to deliver gas directly to Europe, bypassing Turkey altogether.

The EMGF, is an international organization formed by Israel, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Italy,  Jordan, and Palestine and is headquartered in Cairo. Established as an international body on 16 January 2020, the forum is the region’s first declared alliance in the gas sector. It is also the first case of Israel being invited to join Arab countries organizationally, with the participation of EU member states.

The alliance also received backing by the US, which along with France, joined the Forum as a member and permanent observer respectively. In December 2020, the UAE was granted observer status at the EMGF, although its membership was vetoed by Palestine last year.

With an estimated cost of $7 billion, and scheduled to be completed by 2025, the Eastern Mediterranean Pipeline Project is expected to run for some 1,900km, starting from Israel’s Levantine Basin, transiting through Cyprus to Europe, and projected to transport at least 11 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

However, the project has been hampered, if not altogether derailed, by the withdrawal of US support earlier this year due to reservations about the project’s financial feasibility.

The US instead voiced its support for the planned EuroAfrica interconnector from Egypt to Crete and the Greek mainland, and the EuroAsia interconnector, linking Israeli, Cypriot and European electricity grids.

Turkey’s opposition to the EastMed pipeline

Washington’s withdrawal was welcomed by Turkey which had perceived the alliance as a means to bypass Turkish interests in the eastern Mediterranean and isolate the country in the vital gas sector.

At the time, Ankara had reacted strongly against what its foreign ministry termed the “axis of malice,” and claimed that the maritime demarcation agreements signed by the Republic of Cyprus (ROC) with other countries were invalid. Turkey claims that Cypriot maritime activities to the west of the island may overlap with Turkey’s continental shelf. Since Turkey does not recognize the ROC, these agreements, it contends, do not represent the Turkish Cypriot population of the island.

After the collision between a Turkish and Greek warship in the disputed zone in August 2020, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement that, no matter what, Turkey will “resolutely continue to protect both her and Turkish Cypriots’ rights in the Eastern Mediterranean stemming from international law,” adding that “no alliance of malice will manage to prevent this.”

In response to the planned pipeline – which gained official status following an intergovernmental agreement signed between Israel, Greece and the ROC – Ankara hurried to sign its own deal with Libya’s then-interim Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli. Turkey and its Qatari ally supported the GNA while the UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, and Russia backed the Tobruk-based rival forces led by Khalifa Haftar.

This agreement demarcated its own version of the continental shelf zone boundaries between the two countries within the Eastern Mediterranean. Erdogan used the Ankara-Tripoli deal to draw a hard red line for his competition: “Other international actors cannot conduct exploration activities in the areas marked in the [Turkish-Libyan] memorandum. Greek Cypriots, Egypt, Greece, and Israel cannot establish a natural gas transmission line without Turkey’s consent.”

Although the Libya-Turkey maritime deal may have served its purpose in disrupting the EastMed pipeline project, it may already be in jeopardy following recent internal political developments in Libya, where the Tobruk-based House of Representatives has sworn in new Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha, replacing incumbent and embattled Turkish-ally Abdul Hamdi Dbeibeh who has refused to hand over power, except to a government elected by the people.

Turkey as a European gas hub

Natural gas is key to shaping Turkey’s role as a decisive regional power as it sits on the crossroads between natural gas suppliers in Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and West Asia on one hand, and the European Union, as a huge natural gas consumer, on the other. This strategic location has motivated Turkey’s ambition to become a natural gas hub, or at least the main transit country, and to promote its position on the geopolitical map.

Until the end of the last decade, Turkey did not export large enough gas quantities to fulfill its ambition of becoming a natural gas transit country. In 2007, Turkey began exporting natural gas to Greece through the Turkey-Greece Natural Gas Interconnector via Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field. While the exported quantities have remained only between 1 percent and 2 percent of the imported gas, this figure is expected to change by the beginning of the new decade.

Established in 2018, Azerbaijan’s Shah Denis 2 gas field added 16 bcm (billion cubic meters) of natural gas yearly, with 6 bcm earmarked for Turkey via a direct pipeline, and 10 bcm destined for European consumers via the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) that runs through Turkish territory, connecting with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

TAP started delivering Azerbaijani natural gas to European markets on December 31, 2020, and in September 2021 the company announced a transport milestone of 5 bcm.

The TurkStream pipeline

Another step for Turkey on the road to becoming a transit country was in January 2020, when Turkey announced the launch of the TurkStream project with Russia. As previously mentioned, TurkStream replaced the SouthStream project, which was originally intended to supply Russian gas to southern Europe via underwater Black Sea pipelines.

Following a military clash between Russia and Turkey on the Syrian border, the two sides agreed in 2016 to build the TurkStream pipeline, and interestingly, signed the agreement just one month before the Syrian government launched its successful campaign to liberate the city of Aleppo. The TurkStream project will consist of two parallel pipelines with a total capacity of 31.5 bcm per year (15.75 bcm each).

One of the pipelines is intended to fulfill Turkey’s domestic gas demand and also, incidentally, to replace the Trans-Balkan pipeline which runs from Ukraine to Turkey. This way, Russian gas would bypass Ukraine, which may prove critical in light of the current conflict there.

The other pipeline is intended to feed southeastern and central European markets via Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary. Russia’s majority state-owned Gazprom began gas deliveries to some markets via TurkStream in January 2020, using partially completed and existing infrastructure.

The second phase of the project TurkStream 2 (the European part) comprises new and existing infrastructure. Pipeline construction in Bulgaria and Serbia, totaling about 550 miles in length, is largely complete, while several compressor stations and a segment connecting TurkStream to Hungarian infrastructure have not yet been completed.

However, this part of the project is now under threat of US sanctions because it would deepen Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas, and reduce Ukraine’s role as a transit state.

Will Turkey join the ‘Axis of Malice’?

Turkey’s goal now is to prevent the direct passage of large gas quantities to Europe through the Mediterranean corridor which can weaken Ankara’s position as the southern hub for European gas.

In 2013, Turkey began talks with Israel to build a pipeline from Israeli fields to Turkey, only to then watch Israel prioritize the EastMed pipeline and its alliance with Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece in the EMGC.

Following the US withdrawal from the project, Erdogan actively re-emphasized that Turkey is the only viable route for Israeli gas sales to Europe: “This cannot happen without Turkey.”

Well in advance of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s visit to Ankara this week, Erdogan openly stated that Turkey “could use Israeli natural gas in our country, and beyond that, we could also work together to carry it to Europe,” according to Daily Sabah.

Amid the thawing of ties between Israel and Turkey, and with Herzog’s historic visit to Ankara this week, Turkey’s role as a transit point for Israeli gas has become a focal point of interest. Yesterday, Israeli sources confirmed that Erdogan did in fact propose a Israel-Turkey-Europe project during their meeting.

This development is taking place in parallel with several diplomatic shifts elsewhere in West Asia that could even trigger regional realignments. Ankara launched talks with Cairo in May, while renewed dialogue with the United Arab Emirates culminated in a reconciliation visit by Abu Dhabi’s crown prince in November. Erdogan is also expected to visit Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks.

These changes are, in part, a result of President Biden’s policy shifts in the region. Washington is trying to end rifts between its allies in order to obstruct Turkish-Russian rapprochement by sacrificing the EastMed pipeline, so to speak.

It now remains to be seen whether Ankara will join the so-called “malice alliance,” and dump its Russian TurkStream 2 project under US pressure. Equally possible is that Erdogan will seek to avoid that hard choice, try to juggle both sides, and shoot for a pre-election miracle by recasting Turkey as a global gas hub.

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

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Erdogan and Macron, between Competition and Hostility, there’s One Understanding! إردوغان وماكرون.. بين المنافسة والعداء تفاهم واحد!

ARABI SOURI 

Erdogan and Macron, between Competition and Hostility, there’s One Understanding!

France Macron and Turkey Erdogan

Macron’s visit to the region comes to obstruct what Erdogan is striving for regionally and internationally.

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

A week after the visit of the “biggest enemy” Mohammed bin Zayed to Ankara and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s talk of his desire to achieve similar reconciliations with Egypt, “Israel”, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, French President Emmanuel Macron came to the region to obstruct what Erdogan is striving for, regionally and internationally.

Abu Dhabi was Macron’s main station, where he persuaded bin Zayed to buy 80 Rafale planes and 12 helicopters, and he agreed with him to coordinate and joint cooperation on all the issues discussed. This is what Macron reached during his talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, after winning his affection, because he is the first Western president to visit Saudi Arabia after the crime that targeted Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, which everyone blamed bin Salman for it. The duo’s contact with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati was the first fruit of this coordination and cooperation, and it was translated into practice through Saudi-French projects and plans backed by the United States, which will target Hezb Allah and through it Syria and then Iran.

As for Qatar (Erdogan will visit it on Sunday), which is Macron’s third station, Prince Tamim welcomed him warmly, perhaps as a response to the hospitality with which his ally Erdogan received his enemy Mohammed bin Zayed in Ankara, especially since Macron’s visit came two days after the agreement signed by Cyprus with Qatar National Petroleum Company and the American ExxonMobil Company for gas exploration in the vicinity of the island, this was strongly denounced by Ankara and pushed Erdogan to visit Doha (Sunday), especially since this signing came on the day the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee ratified an agreement with Doha under which Ankara would allow 36 Qatari warplanes to come and stay in Turkish bases and fly in the Turkish air, in conjunction with the visit of Pope Francis to Cyprus and Greece.

This is in the narrow context of the competition between Erdogan and Macron, and it seems clear that it has acquired the character of direct hostility over the past few years. This explains the violent attack which was launched and is being launched by President Erdogan from time to time on Macron personally, and the latter responds to him with two strikes, without preventing them from reconciliation and warm hugs on various occasions, the most recent of which was the G20 summit in Rome at the end of last October, at a time when Paris was confronting President Erdogan’s plans and projects in many arenas, the most important of which are Libya, Somalia, and Karabakh, and after Ankara mobilized all its capabilities to compete, if not confront, the traditional French role in its former African colonies that Erdogan visits from time to time, and hosts their leaders In Turkey constantly, and without Erdogan neglecting the interest in the Turkish community in France, which numbers about 600,000, in an attempt to incite it and incite the Arab Islamists (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) and those residing in France and Europe in general against Macron.

The latter had previously accused the Turkish intelligence of adopting sabotage acts in his country and Europe in general, at a time when many see the position of Paris, which recognized the Ottoman genocide against the Armenians in 1915 and President Macron (in February 2019) announced the 24th of April of each year a day of national mourning in remembrance of this genocide, as one of the main causes of hostility between the two sides. While recalling the other reason, which has historical roots, as France and Britain occupied the land of Anatolia after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. France and Britain were a major party to the Sèvres Agreement (August 1920) and its goal was to establish a Kurdish state in the region.

With Ataturk’s rejection of this agreement and its failure after the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, and Paris’s efforts to win Ankara’s friendship again, and through cooperation with it in the issue of the Alexandretta Strip (Liwa Iskandaron 1938 – 1939), the French interest in the Kurds remained one of the most important causes of apathy and tension between the two parties and still is. Paris has supported and continues to support the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, directly or indirectly, which is what it is doing with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units in Syria. Macron (last July) and Hollande (February 2015) received some of its military and political leaders at the Elysee.

As for the traditional support of France (along with the UAE, Egypt, “Israel” and sometimes Saudi Arabia) for Greece and the Greek Cypriots, it was also and still is one of the most important causes of apathy and tension between Ankara and Paris which is in solidarity with Nicosia and Athens in their differences with Ankara on many issues, The most important of these are the problems of territorial waters in the Aegean Sea, and the search and exploration for gas in the vicinity of Cyprus, which Ankara, on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots, objects to, and refuses to talk about the Armenian genocide.

While awaiting the results of the eighth round of the Iranian nuclear talks (and the visit of Faisal Miqdad and Tahnoon bin Zayed to Tehran on Sunday and Monday) and most importantly, the meeting of Presidents Biden and Putin (December 7), President Macron will continue his regional moves that he wants to achieve for Paris political, military, and economic gains on the eve of the upcoming presidential elections, and after he lost the submarine deal with Australia, with Britain and America plotting against him. The timing of these elections acquires another meaning for Turkey because its second round will be on April 24, the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Macron seeks to get out of these elections victorious, after achieving his goals in Lebanon in coordination with Riyadh which Mohammed bin Salman wants to return to a major party in the region’s equations in the face of other parties who took advantage of Saudi Arabia’s isolation after the Khashoggi’s crime and wanted to convince Washington that they are the most important. This explains the alliance of the Emirates and Qatar separately with Egypt and Turkey, the two regionally important and historically competing countries and ideological enemies who indirectly agree to confront the Iranian role in the region in general.

It also explains the alliance of everyone against Damascus at the beginning of the crisis in 2012 when Paris, London, Berlin, and Washington were in constant contact with Ankara to get rid of President Assad, and Erdogan predicted his downfall within months, saying in September 2012 that he would pray soon in the Umayyad Mosque. The calculations of everyone, led by Turkey and France, met in Syria and through it in Lebanon as if they were and are still saying all, including Macron and Erdogan, “My brother and I are against my cousin, and my cousin and I are against the stranger,” but without it being clear who the brother is and who the cousin is, and why ‘Lebanon the Resistance’ is the strange thing in the play of the West, in which everyone has his role according to the place and time determined by the author of the saying “I” who does not want anyone else to say “Me too”!

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إردوغان وماكرون.. بين المنافسة والعداء تفاهم واحد!

كانون الأول 5 2021

في انتظار مكالمة بايدن.. كيف يستعدّ إردوغان؟ | الصحيفة السياسية

المصدر: الميادين نت

حسني محلي

زيارة ماكرون إلى المنطقة تأتي لعرقلة ما يسعى من أجله إردوغان إقليمياً ودولياً. 

سبق لماكرون أن اتهم الاستخبارات التركية بتبنّي أعمال تخريبية في بلاده.

بعد أسبوع من زيارة “العدو الأكبر” محمد بن زايد لأنقرة وحديث الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان عن رغبته في تحقيق مصالحات مماثلة مع مصر و”إسرائيل” والسعودية والبحرين، جاء الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون إلى المنطقة ليعرقل ما يسعى من أجله إردوغان إقليمياً ودولياً. 

كانت أبو ظبي محطة ماكرون الرئيسية، حيث أقنع ابن زايد بشراء 80 طائرة رافال و12 مروحية، واتفق وإياه على التنسيق والتعاون المشترك حول مجمل القضايا التي تمت مناقشتها. وهو ما توصّل إليه ماكرون خلال مباحثاته مع ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، بعد أن كسب ودّه، لأنه أول رئيس غربي يزور السعودية بعد الجريمة التي استهدفت جمال خاشقجي في القنصلية السعودية في اسطنبول في تشرين الأول/أكتوبر 2018 وحمّل الجميع ابن سلمان مسؤوليتها. وكان اتصال الثنائي برئيس الوزراء اللبناني نجيب ميقاتي أولى ثمار هذا التنسيق والتعاون، وتمّت ترجمته عملياً عبر المشاريع والمخططات السعودية-الفرنسية المدعومة أميركياً، والتي ستستهدف حزب الله وعبرها سوريا ثم إيران.

وأما في قطر (يزورها إردوغان غداً الاثنين) وهي محطة ماكرون الثالثة، فقد رحّب الأمير تميم به ترحيباً حاراً، وربما كردّ على الحفاوة التي استقبل بها حليفه إردوغان عدوّه محمد بن زايد في أنقرة، وخاصة أن زيارة ماكرون جاءت بعد يومين من الاتفاقية التي وقّعتها قبرص مع الشركة الوطنية للبترول القطرية وشركة أكسون موبيل الأميركية للبحث والتنقيب عن الغاز في جوار الجزيرة، وهو ما استنكرته أنقرة بشدة ودفعت إردوغان إلى زيارة الدوحة (الأحد)، وخاصة أن هذا التوقيع جاء في اليوم الذي صادقت فيه لجنة العلاقات الخارجية في البرلمان التركي على اتفاقية مع الدوحة تسمح بموجبها أنقرة لـ 36 طائرة حربية قطرية بالمجيء والبقاء في القواعد التركية والتحليق في الأجواء التركية، بالتزامن مع زيارة بابا الفاتيكان فرنسيس لقبرص واليونان.

هذا في الإطار الضيّق من المنافسة بين إردوغان وماكرون، ويبدو واضحاً أنها قد اكتسبت طابع العداء المباشر خلال السنوات القليلة الماضية. ويفسّر ذلك الهجوم العنيف الذي شنّه ويشنّه الرئيس إردوغان بين الحين والحين على ماكرون شخصياً، فيردّ عليه الثاني الصاع صاعين، ومن دون أن يمنعهما ذلك من المصالحة والعناق الحار في المناسبات المختلفة، وآخرها قمة العشرين في روما نهاية تشرين الأول/أكتوبر الماضي، في الوقت الذي كانت فيه باريس تتصدى لمخططات الرئيس إردوغان ومشاريعه في العديد من الساحات، وأهمها ليبيا والصومال وكاراباخ، وبعد أن استنفرت أنقرة كل إمكانياتها لمنافسة، إن لم نقل مواجهة، الدور الفرنسي التقليدي في مستعمراتها الأفريقية السابقة التي يزورها إردوغان بين الحين والحين، ويستضيف زعماءها في تركيا باستمرار، ومن دون أن يهمل إردوغان الاهتمام بالجالية التركية في فرنسا وقوامها نحو 600 ألف، في محاولة منه لتحريضها وتحريض الإسلاميين العرب (المغرب والجزائر وتونس) والمقيمين في فرنسا وأوروبا عموماً ضد ماكرون.

 وسبق للأخير أن اتهم الاستخبارات التركية بتبنّي أعمال تخريبية في بلاده وأوروبا عموماً، في الوقت الذي يرى فيه الكثيرون في موقف باريس، التي اعترفت بالإبادة العثمانية ضد الأرمن عام  1915 وإعلان الرئيس ماكرون (في شباط/فبراير 2019) 24 نيسان/أبريل من كل عام، يوم حداد وطني إحياءً لذكرى هذه الإبادة، من أهم أسباب العداء بين الطرفين. مع التذكير بالسبب الآخر، وهو ذو جذور تاريخية، حيث كانت فرنسا ومعها بريطانيا تحتلان أرض الأناضول بعد سقوط الدولة العثمانية 1918. كما كانت فرنسا ومعها بريطانيا طرفاً أساسياً في اتفاقية سيفر (آب/أغسطس 1920) وهدفها إقامة دولة كردية في المنطقة. 

ومع تصدّي أتاتورك لهذه الاتفاقية وإفشالها بعد قيام الجمهورية التركية عام 1923 ومساعي باريس لكسب ودّ أنقرة من جديد، ومن خلال التعاون معها في قضية لواء اسكندرون (1938 – 1939) فقد بقي الاهتمام الفرنسي بالكرد من أهم أسباب الفتور والتوتر بين الطرفين وما زال. فقد دعمت باريس وما زالت تدعم حزب العمال الكردستاني بنحو مباشر أو غير مباشر، وهو ما تفعله مع وحدات حماية الشعب الكردية في سوريا، واستقبل ماكرون (تموز/يوليو الماضي) ومن قبله هولاند (شباط/فبراير 2015) البعض من قياداتها العسكرية والسياسية في الإليزيه. 

وأما دعم فرنسا (ومعها الإمارات ومصر و”إسرائيل” وأحيانا السعودية) التقليدي لليونان والقبارصة اليونانيين، فقد كان هو الآخر وما زال من أهم أسباب الفتور والتوتر بين أنقرة وباريس التي تتضامن مع نيقوسيا وأثينا في خلافاتهما مع أنقرة حول العديد من القضايا، وأهمها مشاكل المياه الإقليمية في بحر إيجة، والبحث والتنقيب عن الغاز في جوار قبرص، وهو ما تعترض عليه أنقرة، وباسم القبارصة الأتراك، كما ترفض الحديث عن إبادة الأرمن. 

ومع انتظار نتائج الجولة الثامنة من مباحثات النووي الإيراني (وزيارة فيصل المقداد وطحنون بن زايد لطهران الأحد والإثنين) والأهم من ذلك، لقاء الرئيسين بايدن وبوتين (7 كانون الأول/ديسمبر) سيستمر الرئيس ماكرون في تحركاته الإقليمية التي يريد لها أن تحقق لباريس مكاسب سياسية وعسكرية واقتصادية، عشيّة انتخابات الرئاسة المقبلة، وبعد أن خسر صفقة الغواصات مع أستراليا بتآمر من بريطانيا وأميركا ضده. ويكتسب التوقيت الزمني لهذه الانتخابات معنى آخر بالنسبة إلى تركيا، لأن جولتها الثانية ستكون في 24 نيسان/أبريل، ذكرى الإبادة الأرمنية.

ويسعى ماكرون للخروج من هذه الانتخابات منتصراً، بعد أن يحقق أهدافه في لبنان بالتنسيق مع الرياض، التي يريد لها محمد بن سلمان أن تعود طرفاً رئيسياً في معادلات المنطقة، في مواجهة الأطراف الآخرين الذين استغلوا عزلة السعودية بعد جريمة خاشقجي، وأرادوا أن يقنعوا واشنطن بأنهم الأهم. ويفسّر ذلك تحالف الإمارات وقطر على حدة مع مصر وتركيا الدولتين المهمتين إقليميا والمتنافستين تاريخياً والعدوتين عقائدياً والمتفقتين بنحو غير مباشر على مواجهة الدور الإيراني في المنطقة عموماً.

ويفسّر أيضاً تحالف الجميع ضد دمشق في بداية الأزمة عام 2012 عندما كانت باريس ولندن وبرلين وواشنطن على اتصال دائم مع أنقرة للتخلص من الرئيس الأسد، وتوقّع إردوغان سقوطه خلال أشهر، ليقول في أيلول/سبتمبر 2012 “إنه سيصلّي قريباً في الجامع الأموي”. فالتقت حسابات الجميع، وفي مقدمتهم تركيا وفرنسا، في سوريا وعبرها في لبنان، وكأنهم كانوا وما زالوا يقولون جميعاً، بمن فيهم ماكرون وإردوغان، “أنا وأخي على ابن عمي وأنا وابن عمي عالغريب”، ولكن من دون أن يكون واضحاً من هو الأخ ومن هو ابن العم، ولماذا لبنان المقاومة هو الغريب في مسرحية الغرب التي لكلٍ فيها دوره بحسب المكان والزمان اللذين يحدّدهما صاحب مقولة “أنا” ولا يريد لأحد غيره أن يقول “وأنا أيضاً”! 

Lebanon Confirms Its Rights To Confront ’Israel”… What Are Its Power Elements?

Source

Lebanon Confirms Its Rights To Confront ’Israel”… What Are Its Power Elements?

Charles Abi Nader

Apart from the political contending that preceded and accompanied the administrative-legal path of the Lebanese Maritime Borders Amendment Decree [6433], which also takes its constitutional and diplomatic path [as soon assumed] to the United Nations, it can be said that Lebanon – the government and the institutions – through its delicate and decisive decision to amend that decree, has imposed itself as a powerful player in the game of regional and international interests and conflicts.

The statement that Lebanon has imposed itself as a powerful player in the game of international interests and conflicts may be misplaced or inappropriate if we compare it to the crisis situation in Lebanon today, and what it is experiencing in terms of what looks like a financial, economic and social collapse, in addition to its fragmentation and political imbalance. But in reality, despite all the tragedies that have passed through Lebanon, its position has brought the highest level of challenge to many regional and international players.

First of all, the field of interest in which Lebanon has created itself by amending the decree defining its pure economic waters, is almost the entire eastern Mediterranean region, which is apparently very rich in gas and oil, between Syria and Turkey eastward and northward, between the occupied Palestine and Egypt southward and southwestward, and between Cyprus, Turkey and Greece westward. We are talking here about a maritime field, which is currently experiencing a delicate conflict and danger over the division and determination of the exclusive economic waters of the aforementioned countries, not far from the possibility that it will cause a military confrontation, such as between Greece and Turkey or between Cyprus and Turkey.

On the other hand, while ‘Israel’ is considered Lebanon’s fiercest opponent in this maritime border dispute, and due to its urgent need to exploit the huge wealth from the occupied Palestine’s coasts and to accelerate and advance its partnership with the Forum of Eastern Mediterranean States [Egypt, Cyprus and Greece], which is based on the initiation of the extraction and supply of gas and since it has completed the completion and preparation of the administrative, technical and legal structure for the initiation of the exploration in the Karish border field with Lebanon, which was affected by the aforementioned Lebanese amendment in more than half of its area, it will consider the Lebanese position regarding the amendment of its maritime rights in the south as a declaration of war against it, which would call for a non-simple reaction, not only as it threatened to stop indirect negotiations with Lebanon.

At a time where Lebanon is experiencing this almost complete collapse at all levels, and where most of the external parties involved in the conflict or the file contribute to deepening the collapse by exerting a lot of additional pressure on Lebanon to force it to surrender or submit to the maritime or other border file, and as these parties consider that the Lebanese position is supposed to be lenient and lax, in other words, disregarding what they see as their rights, so that they can make quick use of their needs before its inevitable collapse, Lebanon declares this strong position.

Therefore, the fundamental question remains: On what does Lebanon depend in this powerful position? And what are Lebanon’s power elements in the delicate game of defiance that it got itself involved in?

Of course, the consistent position of His Excellency the President of the Republic as a key official actor in guiding the negotiation process has been instrumental in amending the decree and establishing Lebanese maritime rights by fully supporting and embracing the perspective of the experts in the Lebanese Armed Forces and the specialists of the negotiating delegation in the demarcation process, which highlighted in a scientific-legal manner the correct maritime borders, that must be at first: A valid document for deposit with the United Nations and relevant institutions of the international community, and secondly: a platform for indirect negotiation with the enemy and for the demarcation and precise determination of the border based on it.

On the other hand, the legal and technical point of view presented and proved by the Lebanese Army in scientific details, from which its position was clear and decisive, regarding the necessity of completing indirect negotiations with the enemy on its basis, and in terms of the futility of its completion without it, proves without any doubt that the military, as a matter of national responsibility and duty, will be an essential party in fixing, protecting and supporting the amendment decision, with all possible military or security implications, dangers or repercussions.

Also, it is absolutely impossible to overlook the important role of the unified internal Lebanese position on the amendment, which was finally demonstrated by all concerned, official, partisan and political parties, and despite some initial reservations, which were in good faith in order not to lose the opportunity of demarcation and to benefit from the wealth as soon as possible, due to the urgent need for it today, this united position in terms of cohesion and non-division was essential in confirming the Lebanese decision to amend against all external parties.

In the end, the decisive role remains for the resistance, with its deterrent capabilities and balance of force against the ‘Israeli’ enemy, which is the main foundation in stabilizing and protecting the delicate, sensitive and bold Lebanese position, in terms of modification in general, and in terms of its sensitivity to hit the center of the Karish field, which ‘Israel’ considers to be under its control [within the areas occupied in the Palestinian waters], which had completed all appropriate measures to initiate exploration and exploitation of its wealth, with possible implications and developments, that will produce a provision that the enemy will regard the official Lebanese amendment to the decree as war or targeting what it claims to be its rights. As the Resistance has always stated, it is behind the Lebanese government in supporting and protecting what the latter determines in terms of national rights, land or maritime borders or the borders of Lebanese sovereignty, thus it [the Resistance] will, with its qualitative capabilities, remain the most powerful and solid safety valve for the protection, maintenance and stabilization of these national rights.



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The Arab yacht summit plotters have fallen out

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

David Hearst

15 March 2021 15:09 UTC 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Money like rice?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Biden factor

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

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

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

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

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

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

The second wave

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enters Turkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repairing ties with Egypt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related

Erdogan and Libya… Will the Ottoman Dream End?

ARABI SOURI 

Erdogan the Ottoman Caliph Wannabe - Syria Libya Yemen Africa Azerbaijan

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

The last week of last year witnessed interesting developments in the Libyan file, and it seems that it will become more hot and interesting during the next few days and weeks; after the fiery statements made by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar calling for the “expulsion of the Turkish occupier”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not delay in responding by sending the Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar and the commanders of the armed forces to Tripoli, in a new attempt from him to flex the muscles, which he relatively failed in after his “strategic ally” Fayez al-Sarraj refused to receive the delegation that met the pro-Ankara figures led by the Minister of Interior, Fathi Bash Agha, who has Ottoman origins, in the midst of information that started talking about differences, splits and conflicts between the forces, factions, and armed groups that support the government Al-Wefaq, some of which are loyal to Turkey, which the Misrata factions attach special importance to, considering that their militants are a remnant of Ottoman rule, according to President Erdogan’s classification.

Erdogan had talked about a million Libyans of successive Ottoman origins, since Sultan ‘Suleiman the Magnificent’ responded to the request for help from the Libyans to protect them from the attacks of the Knights of Malta and Rhodes in the year 1553, and this Ottoman rule continued until 1911 when Italy occupied Tripoli.

The press information also talks about an important role for Abdul Hakim Belhadj, who lives in Turkey, and who owns the “Wings” aviation company, which played an important role in the transfer of Syrian mercenaries to the Mitiga base near Tripoli. Belhadj, who fought alongside bin Laden, is considered one of the most important leaders of the armed factions in the relationship between Ankara and the rest of the Libyan groups that helped it to establish two air bases in Mitiga and Al-Watiyah, and another navy base west of Misrata.

The Turkish officers are training the Libyans in these bases on various types of weapons, including the use of drones and heavy guns, which explains the words of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who said during his press conference with Lavrov in Sochi on December 29: ‘Haftar or any other country has no right to ask Turkey to leave the Libyan territories and stop its support for the legitimate government, Turkey will not leave,’ which is the main topic in the discussions of the Libyan parties under the auspices of the United Nations, and had previously agreed to hold elections on December 24, That all foreign forces and mercenaries be expelled from Libya until that date.

Everyone knows that this talk specifically targets Turkey, which is the only country that has officially sent military forces to Libya, and it is the only country that, with President Erdogan’s admission, transferred thousands of Syrian mercenaries to Libya.

And the entry of Egypt on the line of its crisis came to embarrass President Erdogan. The information expects that he will seek to host the Speaker of the Libyan Parliament, Aguila Saleh, in Istanbul, in response to Cairo’s efforts in dialogue with the Libyan parties in Tripoli, which was visited by an Egyptian military, intelligence, and political delegation a day after the visit of Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s call to his Libyan counterpart, Muhammad al-Sayala, and after that al-Sayala’s visit to Moscow and his meeting with Minister Lavrov, came amid information that talks about a joint Russian-Egyptian move to bring together Sarraj and Haftar at a summit that settles all matters on the road to final reconciliation.

This may mean ending the Turkish military role in Libya, in which Paris also seeks to play an important role in it, and at all levels, and everyone knows that this role was and will remain against the calculations of Ankara, which is facing many difficulties and problems in its relations with the European Union, and the main reason for this is the President Emmanuel Macron solidarity with Greece and Cyprus.

With Macron remaining in power in the next May elections, he will continue to create problems for Erdogan’s Turkey, and the latter will then find himself in an unenviable position, with possible pressure from President Biden, in the absence of his “traditional friend”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will give up her position in this coming September.

All these rapid and successive developments did not prevent Erdogan from continuing to implement his agenda in Libya, in which he sees his important arena to challenge his regional and international enemies, especially Cairo and Paris, which he hopes will return to its normal relations with Ankara in the event that Macron loses in the next elections.

Erdogan did not neglect the appointment of his new ambassador in Paris after he has found the right person for that, a former friend of Macron at the university. The information talks about the Turkish president’s desire to achieve a similar breakthrough in the relationship with Cairo, which Minister Cavusoglu spoke a few days ago about “open intelligence channels with it, as is the case with Tel Aviv,” and perhaps to face all future possibilities.

In all cases, whatever the possible results of the Libyan reconciliation efforts, which information of Ankara’s attempts to obstruct it, it has become clear that Erdogan will mobilize all his Libyan, regional and international capabilities to stay in Libya, for many reasons, the most important of which are psychological, and because he will not accept defeat easily.

Erdogan also does not want his efforts to go to waste, and he is the one who planned to obtain a share in Libyan oil and gas on land and in sea, and also planned to send Turkish companies to Libya, to contribute to the reconstruction of what the war has destroyed, which will bring Turkey a large income that will help it overcome its difficult financial crisis.

The wager on the ideological side that he attaches to special importance in all of his calculations and movements since the so-called “Arab Spring” remains. Without this aspect, Erdogan will not remain the leader of all Islamists in the world, and he will lose his most important weapon in addressing his supporters and followers at home, who are the ones he accustomed to his Ottoman national, religious and historical statements, and he succeeded in convincing them that the whole world is jealous of Turkey and envies it for its victories and feared its greatness!

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إردوغان وليبيا.. هل ينتهي الحلم العثماني؟

إردوغان تحدث عن وجود مليون ليبي من أصول عثمانية في ليبيا.
إردوغان تحدث عن وجود مليون ليبي من أصول عثمانية في ليبيا.
حسني محلي
باحث علاقات دولية ومختصص بالشأن التركي

حسني محلي 

المصدر: الميادين نت

يجري تداول معلومات عن تحرك روسي- مصري مشترك لجمع السراج وحفتر في قمة تحسم كل الأمور على طريق المصالحة النهائية، وقد يعني ذلك إنهاء الدور التركي العسكري في ليبيا.

شهد الأسبوع الأخير من العام الماضي تطورات مثيرة على صعيد الملف الليبي، ويبدو أنه سيزداد سخونة وإثارة خلال الأيام والأسابيع القليلة القادمة، فبعد تصريحات نارية أطلقها المشير خليفة حفتر، ودعا فيها إلى “طرد المحتل التركي”، لم يتأخر الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان في الرد على ذلك بإرسال وزير الدفاع خلوصي آكار وقادة القوات المسلحة إلى طرابلس، في محاولة جديدة منه لعرض العضلات، وهو ما فشل فيه نسبياً بعد أن رفض “حليفه الاستراتيجي” فايز السراج استقبال الوفد الذي التقى الشخصيات الموالية لأنقرة، وفي مقدمتها وزير الداخلية فتحي باش آغا ذو الأصول العثمانية، وسط المعلومات التي بدأت تتحدث عن خلافات وانشقاقات وصراعات بين القوى والفصائل والمجموعات المسلحة التي تدعم حكومة الوفاق، وبعضها موالٍ لتركيا التي تولي فصائل مصراتة أهمية خاصّة، باعتبار أن مسلحيها من بقايا الحكم العثماني، وفق تصنيف الرئيس إردوغان. 

وكان إردوغان قد تحدث عن مليون ليبي من أصول عثمانية متتالية، منذ أن لبى السلطان سليمان القانوني طلب النجدة من الليبيين لحمايتهم من هجمات فرسان مالطا ورودوس في العام 1553، واستمر هذا الحكم العثماني حتى العام 1911، عندما احتلت إيطاليا طرابلس.

وتتحدث المعلومات الصحافية أيضاً عن دور مهم لعبد الحكيم بلحاج المقيم في تركيا، والذي يملك شركة “الأجنحة” للطيران، التي أدت دوراً مهماً في عملية نقل المرتزقة السوريين إلى قاعدة معيتيقة قرب طرابلس. كما أن بلحاج الذي قاتل إلى جانب بن لادن يعدّ من أهم قيادات الفصائل المسلّحة في العلاقة بين أنقرة وباقي المجموعات الليبية التي ساعدتها لإنشاء قاعدتين جويتين في معيتيقة والوطية، وأخرى بحرية غرب مصراتة.

ويقوم الضباط الأتراك بتدريب الليبيين في هذه القواعد على مختلف أنواع الأسلحة، بما فيها استخدام الطائرات المسيرة والمدافع الثقيلة، وهو ما يفسر كلام وزير الخارجية التركي مولود جاويش أوغلو، الذي قال خلال مؤتمره الصحافي مع لافروف في سوتشي بتاريخ 29 كانون الأول/ديسمبر المنصرم: “لا يحق لحفتر أو أي دولة أخرى أن تطلب من تركيا مغادرة الأراضي الليبية ووقف دعمها للحكومة الشرعية، تركيا لن تغادر”، وهو الموضوع الأساسي في مجمل مباحثات الأطراف الليبية برعاية أممية، وسبق أن اتفقت على إجراء الانتخابات في 24 كانون الأول/ديسمبر القادم، على أن يتم إخراج كل القوات الأجنبية والمرتزقة من ليبيا حتى ذلك التاريخ.

ويعرف الجميع أن هذا الحديث يستهدف تركيا تحديداً، وهي الدولة الوحيدة التي أرسلت رسمياً قوات عسكرية إلى ليبيا، وهي الوحيدة التي قامت باعتراف الرئيس إردوغان بنقل الآلاف من المرتزقة السوريين إلى ليبيا.

وجاء دخول مصر على خط أزمتها ليحرج الرئيس إردوغان. وتتوقع المعلومات أن يسعى إلى استضافة رئيس البرلمان الليبي عقيلة صالح في إسطنبول، كرد على مساعي القاهرة في الحوار مع الأطراف الليبية في طرابلس التي زارها وفد عسكري واستخباراتي وسياسي مصري بعد يوم من زيارة وزير الدفاع التركي خلوصي آكار. 

وجاء اتصال وزير الخارجية المصري سامح شكري بنظيره الليبي محمد السيالة، ومن بعده زيارة السيالة إلى موسكو ولقائه الوزير لافروف، وسط المعلومات التي تتحدَّث عن تحرك روسي – مصري مشترك لجمع السراج وحفتر في قمة تحسم كل الأمور على طريق المصالحة النهائية. 

وقد يعني ذلك إنهاء الدور التركي العسكري في ليبيا التي تسعى باريس أيضاً لأداء دور مهم فيها، وعلى جميع الأصعدة، ويعرف الجميع أنَّ هذا الدور كان وسيبقى ضد حسابات أنقرة التي تواجه الكثير من المصاعب والمشاكل في علاقاتها مع الاتحاد الأوروبي، والسبب الرئيسي في ذلك هو الرئيس إيمانويل ماكرون المتضامن مع اليونان وقبرص.

وببقاء ماكرون في السلطة في انتخابات أيار/مايو القادم، سوف يستمر في خلق المشاكل لتركيا إردوغان، وسيجد الأخير نفسه حينها في وضع لا يحسد عليه، مع الضغوط المحتملة من الرئيس بايدن، بغياب “صديقته التقليدية” المستشارة الألمانية أنجيلا ميركل التي ستتخلّى عن منصبها في أيلول/سبتمبر القادم. 

ولم تمنع كلّ هذه التطورات السريعة والمتلاحقة إردوغان من الاستمرار في تطبيق أجندته في ليبيا، التي يرى فيها ساحته المهمة لتحدي أعدائه الإقليميين والدوليين، وبشكل خاص القاهرة وباريس، التي يتمنى لها أن تعود إلى علاقاتها الطبيعية مع أنقرة في حال خسارة ماكرون في الانتخابات القادمة.

ولم يهمل إردوغان تعيين سفير جديد له في باريس، بعد أن وجد الشخص المناسب لذلك، وهو صديق سابق لماكرون في الجامعة. وتتحدث المعلومات عن رغبة الرئيس التركي في تحقيق انفراج مماثل في العلاقة مع القاهرة، التي تحدَّث الوزير جاويش أوغلو قبل أيام عن “قنوات استخباراتية مفتوحة معها، حالها حال تل أبيب”، وربما لمواجهة كل الاحتمالات المستقبلية.

وفي جميع الحالات، وأياً كانت النتائج المحتملة لمساعي المصالحة الليبية، والتي تتحدَّث المعلومات عن محاولات أنقرة لعرقلتها، فقد بات واضحاً أن إردوغان سيستنفر كل إمكانياته ليبياً وإقليمياً ودولياً للبقاء في ليبيا، لأسباب عديدة، أهمها نفسية، ولأنه لن يتقبل الهزيمة بسهولة.

كما لا يريد إردوغان لأتعابه أن تذهب هباء منثوراً، وهو الذي خطط للحصول على حصة ما في النفط والغاز الليبي براً وبحراً، كما خطط لإرسال الشركات التركية إلى ليبيا، لتساهم في إعادة إعمار ما دمرته الحرب، وهو ما سيحقق لتركيا دخلاً كبيراً يساعدها على تجاوز أزمتها المالية الصعبة. 

ويبقى الرهان على الجانب العقائدي الذي يوليه أهمية خاصة في مجمل حساباته وتحركاته منذ ما يسمى بـ”الربيع العربي”. ومن دون هذا الجانب، لن يبقى إردوغان زعيماً لجميع الإسلاميين في العالم، كما سيخسر سلاحه الأهم في مخاطبة أنصاره وأتباعه في الداخل، وهم الذين عوَّدهم على مقولاته القومية والدينية والتاريخية العثمانية، ونجح في إقناعهم بأن العالم أجمع يغار من تركيا ويحسدها على انتصاراتها ويهاب من عظمتها!

Turkey pivots to the center of The New Great Game

Turkey pivots to the center of The New Great Game

December 28, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

When it comes to sowing – and profiting – from division, Erdogan’s Turkey is quite the superstar.

Under the delightfully named Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the Trump administration duly slapped sanctions on Ankara for daring to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defence systems. The sanctions focused on Turkey’s defence procurement agency, the SSB.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s response was swift: Ankara won’t back down – and it is in fact mulling how to respond.

The European poodles inevitably had to provide the follow-up. So after the proverbial, interminable debate in Brussels, they settled for “limited” sanctions – adding a further list for a summit in March 2021. Yet these sanctions actually focus on as-yet unidentified individuals involved in offshore drilling in Cyprus and Greece. They have nothing to do with S-400s.

What the EU has come up with is in fact a very ambitious, global human-rights sanctions regime modeled after the US’s Magnitsky Act. That implies travel bans and asset freezes of people unilaterally considered responsible for genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity.

Turkey, in this case, is just a guinea pig. The EU always hesitates mightily when it comes to sanctioning a NATO member. What the Eurocrats in Brussels really want is an extra, powerful tool to harass mostly China and Russia.

Our jihadis, sorry, “moderate rebels”

What’s fascinating is that Ankara under Erdogan always seems to be exhibiting a sort of “devil may care” attitude.

Take the seemingly insoluble situation in the Idlib cauldron in northwest Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra – a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria – honchos are now involved in “secret” negotiations with Turkish-backed armed gangs, such as Ahrar al-Sharqiya, right in front of Turkish officials. The objective: to boost the number of jihadis concentrated in certain key areas. The bottom line: a large number of these will come from Jabhat al-Nusra.

So Ankara for all practical purposes remains fully behind hardcore jihadis in northwest Syria – disguised under the “innocent” brand Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Ankara has absolutely no interest in letting these people disappear. Moscow, of course, is fully aware of these shenanigans, but wily Kremlin and Defence Ministry strategists prefer to let it roll for the time being, assuming the Astana process shared by Russia, Iran and Turkey can be somewhat fruitful.

Erdogan, at the same time, masterfully plays the impression that he’s totally involved in pivoting towards Moscow. He’s effusive that “his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin” supports the idea – initially tabled by Azerbaijan – of a regional security platform uniting Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Erdogan even said that if Yerevan is part of this mechanism, “a new page may be opened” in so far intractable Turkey-Armenia relations.

It will help, of course, that even under Putin pre-eminence, Erdogan will have a very important seat at the table of this putative security organization.

The Big Picture is even more fascinating – because it lays out various aspects of Putin’s Eurasia balancing strategy, which involves as main players Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the assassination of Gen Soleimani, Tehran is far from cowed and “isolated”. For all practical purposes, it is slowly but surely forcing the US out of Iraq. Iran’s diplomatic and military links to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon remain solid.

And with less US troops in Afghanistan, the fact is Iran for the first time since the “axis of evil” era will be less surrounded by the Pentagon. Both Russia and China – the key nodes of Eurasia integration – fully approve it.

Of course the Iranian rial has collapsed against the US dollar, and oil income has fallen from over $100 billion a year to something like $7 billion. But non-oil exports are going well over $30 billion a year.

All is about to change for the better. Iran is building an ultra-strategic pipeline from the eastern part of the Persian Gulf to the port of Jask in the Gulf of Oman – bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, and ready to export up to 1 million barrels of oil a day. China will be the top customer.

President Rouhani said the pipeline will be ready by the summer of 2021, adding that Iran plans to be selling over 2.3 million barrels of oil a day next year – with or without US sanctions alleviated by Biden-Harris.

Watch the Golden Ring

Iran is well linked to Turkey to the west and Central Asia to the east. An extra important element in the chessboard is the entrance of freight trains directly linking Turkey to China via Central Asia -bypassing Russia.

Earlier this month, the first freight train left Istanbul for a 8,693 km, 12-day trip, crossing below the Bosphorus via the brand new Marmary tunnel, inaugurated a year ago, then along the East-West Middle Corridor via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, across Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

In Turkey this is known as the Silk Railway. It was the BTK that reduced freight transport from Turkey to China from one month to only 12 days. The whole route from East Asia to Western Europe can now be travelled in only 18 days. BTK is the key node of the so-called Middle Corridor from Beijing to London and the Iron Silk Road from Kazakhstan to Turkey.

All of the above totally fits the EU’s agenda – especially Germany’s: implementing a strategic trade corridor linking the EU to China, bypassing Russia.

This would eventually lead to one of the key alliances to be consolidated in the Raging Twenties: Berlin-Beijing.

To speed up this putative alliance, the talk in Brussels is that Eurocrats would profit from Turkmen nationalism, pan-Turkism and the recent entente cordiale between Erdogan and Xi when it comes to the Uighurs. But there’s a problem: many a turcophone tribe prefers an alliance with Russia.

Moreover, Russia is inescapable when it comes to other corridors. Take, for instance, a flow of Japanese goods going to Vladivostok and then via the Trans-Siberian to Moscow and onwards to the EU.

The bypass-Russia EU strategy was not exactly a hit in Armenia-Azerbaijan: what we had was a relative Turkey retreat and a de facto Russian victory, with Moscow reinforcing its military position in the Caucasus.

Enter an even more interesting gambit: the Azerbaijan-Pakistan strategic partnership, now on overdrive in trade, defence, energy, science and technology, and agriculture. Islamabad, incidentally, supported Baku on Nagorno-Karabakh.

Both Azerbaijan and Pakistan have very good relations with Turkey: a matter of very complex, interlocking Turk-Persian cultural heritage.

And they may get even closer, with the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INTSC) increasingly connecting not only Islamabad to Baku but also both to Moscow.

Thus the extra dimension of the new security mechanism proposed by Baku uniting Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia: all the Top Four here want closer ties with Pakistan.

Analyst Andrew Korybko has neatly dubbed it the “Golden Ring” – a new dimension to Central Eurasian integration featuring Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and the central Asian “stans”. So this all goes way beyond a possible Triple Entente: Berlin-Ankara-Beijing.

What’s certain as it stands is that the all-important Berlin-Moscow relationship is bound to remain as cold as ice. Norwegian analyst Glenn Diesen summed it all up: “The German-Russian partnership for Greater Europe was replaced with the Chinese-Russian partnership for Greater Eurasia”.

What’s also certain is that Erdogan, a master of pivoting, will find ways to simultaneously profit from both Germany and Russia.

Turkey Making Ties With Israel

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12.12.2020 

Author: Vladimir Odintsov

In recent years, one can more and more often find articles in various media about Turkey’s apparent desire to develop and strengthen its diverse ties with Israel. New Eastern Outlook has also repeatedly addressed the issue of assessing the current state of relations between the two countries, dealing with one issue in particular: Turkey and Israel: Enemies or Allies?

Relations between the two countries have developed in waves over the past decades, most notably sparking a crisis in 2010 after the Israelis shot and killed 10 Turkish activists who were trying to reach the shore on the Mavi Marmara in besieged Gaza in support of the Palestinians. Ultimately, in May 2018, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and recalled its own because of Israeli attacks on Gaza and the United States’ decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At the same time, it is no secret that economic ties have been maintained, and among the construction companies engaged in building Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory since the 1990s, there are also Turkish companies, such as the Yılmazlar Construction Group, which renewed its relationship with Israel in 2002.

As for Israel, it sees Turkey as a country with important financial flows for it and as one of the centers of world trade, a key and strategically important place for its domination in the Middle East. This explains Tel Aviv’s moves to agree to secret contacts with Turkey, one of which was the recent communication between the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Service, Hakan Fidan, and Israeli officials as part of Turkey’s efforts to normalize relations. These latest contacts, according to sources, have involved, among other things, restoring ties between Turkey and Israel back to the envoy level.

As The Jerusalem Post notes in this regard, Turkey expects not only to show its friendly attitude towards Israel and the Jews, but also to get dividends in the eyes of Joe Biden’s administration. At the same time, the publication stresses that “this is a model that has been used before… However, it is still unclear whether Israel will pander to Turkey and ignore its support for Hamas.”

The other day there was another offer from Ankara to reconcile with Israel and end the lingering bilateral conflict. Cihat Yaycı, a retired admiral and political science professor who is close to Erdoğan, has published an article in the December issue of Turkeyscope, a monthly magazine of the Moshe Dayan Center of Tel Aviv University, proposing a solution to the maritime economic border between Israel and Turkey. He sees this, in particular, at the expense of reducing the interests of Cyprus, with which Ankara’s relations have recently seriously deteriorated against the background of Turkish expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is true that in the comments to this article, the editor-in-chief of Turkeyscope, Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak, PhD in Oriental Studies, noted: “In order to raise the level of Israel’s relations with Turkey, in order to achieve a real normalization, it is necessary to restore mutual trust, for which, above all, it is necessary to return the envoys and consuls.”

The essence of the Turkish proposals is to establish a sea economic zone border between Turkey and Israel at the expense of Cyprus and, by redrawing the sea economic zones, to transfer a number of Cypriot blocks to Israel. In announcing these proposals, Ankara is trying to play on the fact that the border zones between Israel and Cyprus are still disputed, despite all the signed agreements. And since economic waters are concerned, where on the Cypriot side there is the Aphrodite gas field with 100 billion cubic meters of gas worth $9 billion, the new demarcation of the sea border is presented by Ankara as a very expensive gift to Tel Aviv, but only on one condition: Israel will only have business with Turkey and absolutely nothing with Cyprus, whose opinion does not interest Erdoğan in the slightest. At the same time, Ankara makes no secret of the fact that it, too, has “claims” to Cyprus, thus suggesting that Israel should conduct an “exchange of interests” by signing an agreement.

Admiral Cihat Yaycı also advises Israel not to build the expensive EastMed gas pipeline to Greece through Cyprus, but to connect to the Turkish pipeline for gas supplies to Europe, which is more practical and cheaper, clearly referring to the “Southern Gas Corridor” from Azerbaijan, which passes through Turkey.

It is worth noting that Turkey had already signed earlier a very similar agreement, only at the expense of Greece, with the Libyan government in Tripoli, which angered not only Athens, but also Brussels, Cairo and Tel Aviv. Moreover, it was the former Turkish admiral Cihat Yaycı, who suggested the idea of this agreement with Libya.

As the Israeli media commented on Yaycı’s proposal, this is the second time in the last four months that Ankara has used the energy sector in an attempt to negotiate a truce with Israel. The clearly targeted rapprochement on Turkey’s part is evidenced not only by the increasing frequency of contacts between representatives of the secret services of the two states, but also by the fact that Erdoğan himself has stopped his openly insulting attacks against Israel in recent months.

Regarding Israel’s proposed sea border agreement with Turkey, Israeli observers have already called it a “Turkish gambit,” in which Erdoğan intends to sacrifice another piece instead of a pawn… That piece being Cyprus, with which Israel has not yet agreed on a sea border.

Ankara’s proposed agreement on the mutually beneficial delimitation of the sea economic zone has so far been received rather negatively in Israeli expert circles. In particular, there is a clear warning that, if agreed on, it could pit Israel not only against Cyprus and Greece, but also against its new peace partner, the United Arab Emirates, whose formal ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Zayed, recently signed a defense treaty with Greece. At the same time, it is not ruled out that tensions between the UAE and Erdoğan with his partners in Qatar could also lead to a serious conflict between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.

Under these conditions, experts believe that Israel certainly will not accept Ankara’s proposed agreement and betrayal of its ally Cyprus, which, in turn, casts doubt on the “Turkish gambit’s” success. As for Turkey, Tel Aviv insists that it must first change its public attitude towards Israel, stop delegitimizing it in the eyes of the Turkish population, and end its relations with Hamas. In doing so, Israel shows that if Erdoğan follows through, the Jewish state will find ways to restore the formal, mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries that it had in the past.

Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The Secret Agenda of the World Bank and IMF

The Secret Agenda of the World Bank and IMF
Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.Peter is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.
Peter is also co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020) Peter

November 17, 2020

by Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) work hand in glove – smoothly. Not only are they regularly lending huge sums of money to horror regimes around the world, but they blackmail poor nations into accepting draconian conditions imposed by the west.

In other words, the WB and the IMF are guilty of the most atrocious human rights abuses.

You couldn’t tell, when you read above the entrance of the World Bank the noble phrase, “Our Dream is World Free of Poverty”.

To this hypocrisy I can only add, ”…And we make sure it will just remain a dream.” This says both, the lie and the criminal nature of the two International Financial Institutions, created under the Charter of the United Nations, but instigated by the United States.

The front of these institutions is brilliant. What meets the eye, are investments in social infrastructure, in schools, health systems, basic needs like drinking water, sanitation – even environmental protection – over all “Poverty Alleviation”, i.e. A World Free of Poverty. But how fake this is today and was already in the 1970’s and 1980’s is astounding. Gradually people are opening their eyes to an abject reality, of exploitation and coercion and outright blackmail. And that, under the auspices of the United Nations. What does it tell you about the UN system? In what hands are the UN? – The world organization was created in San Francisco, California, on 24 October 1945, just after WWII, by 51 nations, committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

The UN replaced the League of Nations which was part of the Peace Agreement after WWI, the Treaty of Versailles. It became effective on 10 January 1920, was headquartered in Geneva Switzerland, with the purpose of disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries, through negotiation diplomacy and improving global welfare. In hindsight it is easy to see that the entire UN system was set up as a hypocritical farce, making people believe that their mighty leaders only wanted peace. These might leaders were all westerners; the same that less than 20 years after the creation of the noble League of Nations, started World War II.

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This little introduction provides the context for what was eventually to become the UN-backed outgrowth for global theft, for impoverishing nations, around the world, for exploitation of people, for human rights abuses and for shoveling huge amounts of assets from the bottom, from the people, to the oligarchy, the ever-smaller corporate elite – the so-called Bretton Woods Institutions.

In July 1944 more than 700 delegates of 44 Allied Nations (allied with the winners of WWII) met at the Mount Washington Hotel, situated in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after WWII. Let’s be sure, this conference was carried out under the auspices of the United States, the self-declared winner of WWII, and from now on forward the master over the financial order of the world – which was not immediately visible, an agenda hidden in plain sight.

The IMF was officially created to ‘regulate’ the wester, so-called convertible currencies, those that subscribed to apply the rules of the new gold standard, i.e. US$ 35 / Troy Ounce (about 31.1 grams). Note that the gold standard, although applicable equally to 44 allied nations was linked to the price of gold nominated in US dollars, not based on a basket of the value of the 44 national currencies. This already was enough reason to question the future system. And how it will play out. But nobody questioned the arrangement. Hard to believe though that of all these national economists, none dared question the treacherous nature of the gold-standard set-up.

The World Bank, or the Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), was officially set up to administer the Marshall Plan for the Reconstruction of war-destroyed Europe. The Marshall Plan was a donation by the United Stated and was named for U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, who proposed it in 1947. The plan gave $13.2 billion in foreign aid to European countries that had been devastated physically and economically by World War II. It was to be implemented from 1948 to 1952 which of course was much too short a time, and stretched into the early 1960s. In today’s terms the Marshall plan would be worth about 10 time more, or some US$ 135 billion.

The Marshall Plan was and still is a Revolving Fund, paid back by the countries in question, so that it could be relent. The Marshall Plan money was lent out multiple times and was therefore very effective. The European counterpart to the World Bank-administered Marshall Fund was a newly to be created bank set up under the German Ministry of Finance, The German Bank for Reconstruction and Development (KfW – German acronym for Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau”).

KfW, as the World Bank’s European counterpart still exists and dedicates itself mostly to development projects in the Global South, often in cooperation with the World Bank. Today there is still a special Department within KfW that deals exclusively with Marshall Plan Fund money. These funds are used for lending to poor southern regions in Europe, and also to prop up Eastern European economies, and they were used especially to integrate former East-Germany into today’s “Grand Germany”.

Two elements of the Marshall Plan are particularly striking and noteworthy. First, the reconstruction plan created a bind, a dependence between the US and Europe, the very Europe that was largely destroyed by the western allied forces, while basically WWII was largely won by the Soviet Union, the huge sacrifices of the USSR – with an estimated 25 to 30 million deaths. So, the Marshall Plan was also designed as a shield against communist Russia, i.e. the USSR.

While officially the Soviet Union was an ally of the western powers, US, UK, and France, in reality the communist USSR was an arch-enemy of the west, especially the United States. With the Marshall Plan money, the US bought Europe’s alliance, a dependence that has not ended to this day. The ensuing Cold War against the Soviet Union – also all based on flagrant lies, was direct testimony for another western propaganda farce – which to this day, most Europeans haven’t grasped yet.

Second, The US imposition of a US-dollar based reconstruction fund, was not only creating a European dollar dependence, but was also laying the ground work for a singular currency, eventually to invade Europe – what we know today, has become the Euro. The Euro is nothing but the foster child of the dollar, as it was created under the same image as the US-dollar – it is a fiat currency, backed by nothing. The United Europe, or now called the European Union – was never really a union. It was never a European idea, but put forward by US Secret Services in disguise of a few treacherous European honchos. And every attempt to create a United Europe, a European Federation, with a European Constitution, similar to the United States, was bitterly sabotaged by the US, mostly through the US mole in the EU, namely the UK.

The US didn’t want a strong Europe, both economically and possibly over time also militarily (pop. EU 450 million, vs US pop. 330 million; 2019 EU GDP US$ 20.3 trillion equivalent, vs US GDP US$ 21.4 trillion. Most economists would agree that a common currency for a loose group of countries has no future, is not sustainable. In comes the European Central Bank (ECB), also a creation inspired by the FED. The ECB has really no Central Bank function. It is rater a watch dog. Because each EU member country has still her own Central Bank, though with a drastically reduced sovereignty.

Out of the currently 27 EU members only 19 are part of the Euro-zone. Those countries not part of the Eurozone, i.e. Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Sweden – and more, have preserved their sovereign financial policy and do not depend on the ECB. This means, had Greece opted out of the Eurozone when they were hit with the 2008 / 2009 manufactured “crisis”, Greece would now be well on her way to full recovery. They would not have been subject to the whims and dictate of the IMF, the infamous troika, European Commission (EC), ECB and IMF, but could have chosen to arrange their debt internally, as most debt was internal debt, no need to borrow from abroad.

In a 2015 bailout referendum, the Greek population voted overwhelmingly against the bailout, meaning against the new gigantic debt. However, the then Greek President Tsipras, went ahead as if the referendum had never taken place and approved the huge bailout despite almost 70% of the popular vote against it.

This is a clear indication of fraud, that no fair play was going on. Tsipras and / or his families may have been coerced to accept the bailout – or else. We may never know, the true reason why Tsipras sold his people, the wellbeing of the Greek people to the oligarchs behind the IMF and World Bank – and put them into abject misery, with the highest unemployment in Europe, rampant poverty and skyrocketing suicide rates.

Greece may serve as an example on how other EU countries may fare if they don’t “behave” – meaning adhere to the unwritten golden rules of obedience to the international money masters.

This is scary.

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And now, in these times of covid, it is relatively easy. Poor countries, particularly in the Global South, already indebted by the plandemic, are increasing their foreign debt in order to provide their populations with basic needs. Or so they make you believe. Much of the debt accumulated by developing countries is domestic or internal debt, like the debt of the Global North. It doesn’t really need foreign lending institutions to wipe out local debt. Or have you seen one of the rich Global North countries borrowing from the IMF or the World Bank to master their debt? – Hardly.

So why would the Global South fall for it? Part corruption, part coercion, and partly direct blackmail. – Yes, blackmail, one of the international biggest crimes imaginable, being committed by the foremost international UN-chartered financial institutions, the WB and the IMF.

For example, the whole world is wondering how come that an invisible enemy, a corona virus hit all 193 UN member countries at once, so that Dr. Tedros, Director General of WHO, declares on 11 March a pandemic – no reason whatsoever since there were only 4,617 cases globally – but the planned result was a total worldwide lockdown on 16 March 2020. No exceptions. There were some countries who didn’t take it so seriously, like Brazil, Sweden, Belarus, some African countries, like Madagascar and Tanzania – developed their own rules and realized that wearing masks did more harm than good, and social distancing would destroy the social fabric of their cultures and future generations.

But the satanic deep dark state didn’t want anything to do with “independent” countries. They all had to follow the dictate from way above, from the Gates, Rockefellers, Soroses, et al elite, soon to be reinforced by Klaus Schwab, serving as the chief henchman of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Suddenly, you see in Brazil, a drastic surge in new “cases”, no questions asked, massive testing, no matter that the infamous PCR tests are worthless according to most serious scientists (only sold and corrupted scientists, those paid by the national authorities, would still insist on the RT-PCR tests). Bolsonaro gets sick with the virus and the death count increases exponentially – as the Brazilian economy falls apart.

Coincidence?

In comes the World Bank and / or the IMF, offering massive help mostly debt relief, either as grant or as low interest loans. But with massive strings attached: you must follow the rules laid out by WHO, you must follow the rules on testing on vaccination, mandatary vaccination – if you conform to these and other country-specific rules, like letting western corporations tap your natural resources – you may receive, WB and IMF assistance.

Already in May 2020 the World Bank Group announced its emergency operations to fight COVID-19 had already reached 100 developing countries – home to 70% of the world’s population with lending of US$ 160 billion-plus. This means, by today, 6 months later and in the midst of the “Second Wave” the number of countries and the number of loans or “relief’ grants must have increased exponentially, having reached close to the 193 UN member countries. Which explains how all, literally all countries, even the most objecting African countries, like Madagascar and Tanzania, among the poorest of the poor, have succumbed to the coercion or blackmail of the infamous Bretton Woods Institutions.

These institutions have no quarrels in generating dollars, as the dollar is fiat money, not backed by any economy – but can be produced literally from hot air and lent to poor countries, either as debt or as grant. These countries, henceforth and for pressure of the international financial institutions will forever become dependent on the western masters of salvation. Covid-19 is the perfect tool for the financial markets to shovel assets from the bottom to the top.

In order to maximize the concentration of the riches on top, maybe one or two or even three new covid waves may be necessary. That’s all planned, The WEF has already foreseen the coming scenarios, by its tyrannical book “Covid-19 – The Great Reset”. It’s all laid out. And our western intellectuals read it, analyze it, criticize it, but we do not shred it apart – we let it stand, and watch how the word moves in the Reset direction. And the plan is dutifully executed by the World Bank and the IMF – all under the guise of doing good for the world.

What’s different from the World Bank and IMF’s role before the covid plandemic? – Nothing. Just the cause for exploitation, indebtment, enslavement. When covid came along it became easy. Before then and up to the end of 2019, developing countries, mostly rich in natural resources of the kind the west covets, oil, gold, copper and other minerals, such as rare earths, would be approached by the WB, the IMF or both.

They could receive debt relief, so-called structural adjustment loans, no matter whether or not they really needed such debt. Today these loans come in all forms, shapes and colors, literally like color-revolutions, for instance, often as budget support operations – I simply call then blank checks – nobody controls what’s happening with the money. However, the countries have to restructure their economies, rationalizing their public services, privatizing water, education, health services, electricity, highways, railroads – and granting foreign concessions for the exploitation of natural resources.

Most of this fraud – fraud on “robbing” national resources, passes unseen by the public at large, but countries become increasingly dependent on the western paymasters – peoples’ and institutional sovereignty is gone. There is always a corrupter and a corruptee. Unfortunately, they are still omni-present in the Global South. Often, for a chunk of money, the countries are forced to vote with the US for or against certain UN resolutions which are of interest to the US. Here we go – the corrupt system of the UN.

And of course, when the two Bretton Woods organizations were created in 1944, the voting system decided is not one country, one vote as in theory it is in the UN, but the US has an absolute veto right in both organizations. Their voting rights are calculated in function of their capital contribution which derives from a complex formula, based on GDP and other economic indicators. In both institutions the US voting right and also veto right is about 17%. Both institutions have 189 member countries.
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Covid has laid bare, if it wasn’t already before, how these “official” international, UN-chartered Bretton Woods financial institutions are fully integrated in the UN system – in which most of the countries still trust, maybe for lack of anything better.

Question, however: What is better, a hypocritical corrupt system that provides the “appearance”, or the abolition of a dystopian system and the courage to create a new one, under new democratic circumstances and with sovereign rights by each participating country?

International Reaction to Turkey’s Aggressive Foreign Policy Approach

05.11.2020 Author: Valery Kulikov

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According to numerous observers, the “aggressive approach” the Turkish leader R. Erdogan implies in Turkey’s foreign policy every day evokes more and more hostility and opposition across the world.

It is through the fault of Ankara that many of the faded conflicts have flared up with renewed vigor lately. Thus, in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey is striving for shelf hydrocarbons, causing a wave of indignation not only from Greece, but also from the European Union. And although the clash of interests here has not yet reached outright bloodshed, nevertheless, Turkey is no longer shy about ramming opponents with their ships and vessels. This, in turn, causes an increase in the degree of tensions both within the EU and between NATO member states, the outcome of which so far few can predict. The drift towards divisions is on in spite of Washington’s calls to all NATO member states urging them to “keep Turkey in the West.”

After the terrorist attack on October 16 in the Paris suburbs of Conflans-Saint-Honorine, when an 18-year-old Islamist, motivated by religious enmity, killed a school history and geography teacher, a new diplomatic scandal erupted between Turkey and France, which significantly increased tensions between these countries in Libya, where they support opposing sides of the conflict.

Numerous media voices are increasingly citing factual evidence of Ankara’s intervention in the Libyan conflict, and not only in the form of supplying weapons there in violation of the imposed international embargo, but also sending numerous mercenaries from the war zone in Syria.

Recently, the growing criticism of Turkey on sending mercenaries not only to Syria and Libya, but also to the Karabakh conflict zone, has been confirmed by the intelligence services of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries. As a result, today no one, including Turkey itself, can claim that in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it acts as an impartial or neutral party, since it views this conflict as an opportunity to expand its influence in another neighboring region, the Southern Caucasus.

The summit of the EU states, which ended in late October, condemned the aggressive rhetoric and actions of Turkey aimed at the EU states, and the head of the European Council Charles Michel indicated that the EU leaders would discuss further actions with regard to Turkey at the planned summit in December. “We have expressed our determination to make Ankara respect us. Turkey has not yet chosen a positive path in relations with the EU. We condemn the recent unilateral actions of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, provocations and aggressive rhetoric against the EU countries, which is absolutely unacceptable,” Charles Michel said on October 29 following the EU summit held in the video conference format.

NATO also declares its “bewilderment” by Turkey’s actions, openly hinting to Erdogan about “unpleasant moments” and readiness to take a tougher position with regard to Ankara.

Today Turkey has strained its relations with many countries. In addition to the deepening conflict with the United States (after the acquisition and testing of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system), France, Greece and the EU as a whole, the list of Turkey’s “opponents” includes Israel (due to the conflict over the Palestinian problem), Syria (where Erdogan introduced Turkish troops), Iran (with which Ankara has intensified contradictions because of Erdogan’s actions in Syria), Saudi Arabia (relations with which have especially worsened because of the “Khashoggi case”). Even with the United Arab Emirates Erdogan’s conflict has become so widespread that this struggle unfolds from Morocco to Syria, most fiercely manifesting itself in the field of “soft power”, with mutual accusations of seeking to destabilize the Arab world. The Arab monarchies are particularly concerned about Ankara’s policy in the Persian Gulf, where Turkish troops are now stationed in Qatar, another Turkish base is located in Somalia, and Erdogan himself actively supports and finances the Muslim Brotherhood religious and political movement (banned in Russia – ed.) , to which the monarchies of the Gulf are more than wary.

As a result, as noted not only by the Western, but other regional media, Erdogan risks isolating his country from both the West and Arabs with Persians. “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear that he has no desire to be a bridge between Europe and the Arab world. Instead, he decided to reshape Turkey in line with its imperial past and make it a competitor to the two regions,” UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash is being cited.

In response to the aggressiveness of Erdogan’s policy, France has already called off its ambassador from Turkey “for consultations”. The Canadian government, after the Bombardier Recreational Products company “unexpectedly” learned that its engines were being installed on the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 (“Flag Bearer”) operational tactical attack drones (these has been actively used in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh), took the decision to stop supplying them, as well as other weapons to Turkey. Canada stressed that “the use of attack drones by Turkey often goes beyond the framework of agreements within the NATO format.”

For its part, Turkey has no choice but to launch its own production of engines for Turkish drones, or to intensify military-technical cooperation with Ukraine in this regard, which was indirectly confirmed in the speeches of representatives of the industrial and business circles of Turkey, in particular, Turkish Aerospace Industries.

Against the backdrop of these events, the fall of the Turkish lira became uncontrollable, and Ankara no longer has the resources to keep the situation under control. Since the beginning of the year, the lira has fallen by 39% against the US dollar, which has become the worst indicator dynamics among all currencies in Eurasia, despite the fact that the dollar this year is clearly not up to par. The savings of the Turkish state itself continue to fall: according to the investment bank Goldman Sachs, Turkey has spent about $130 billion from its reserves over the past year and a half. At the same time, the reserves do not cease to decline, and if in the summer their volume reached $90 billion, now they have dropped below $80 billion. The situation is complicated by the need to fight the current economic crisis. In addition, unemployment in the country approached 14%, and among young people it reached 25%.

According to the forecasts of the former IMF Managing Director Desmond Lachman, in the event of a liquidity crisis in the world, Turkey will become one of the first countries to declare a default. Under these conditions, in order to mitigate the consequences of the recession, the state again has to borrow a lot from foreign creditors, but because of Erdogan’s aggressive policy, reliable friends (except, perhaps, Ukraine, whose situation is even worse), to whom you can turn for loans, today are getting more and more scarce…

Valery Kulikov, a political analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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