تنمّر بن زايد على بن سلمان: قضيّة خاشقجي نموذجاً!

الأخبار

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ابراهيم الأمين 

الخميس 4 شباط 2021

يحرص الجانبان الإماراتي والسعودي على إخفاء التباينات بينهما حول أمور كثيرة. لكن الأمر لا يكون على هذا النحو لدى الجهات المتابعة، سواء في محيط قادة البلدين، أو لدى الدبلوماسية العربية والغربية النشطة في العاصمتين. والبارز في أن وثائق سرية تثبت ما ينقله دبلوماسيون عملوا في الجزيرة العربية عن أن في أبو ظبي من يشكو ضيق هامش المناورة بسبب طبيعة وليّ العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان. لكن هؤلاء الدبلوماسيين قلّما تحدّثوا عن الجانب الأكثر تعقيداً في العلاقة، وهو المتصل بسعي الإمارات الدائم للقيام بدور “الوصي الرقيب” على سلوك الإدارة السعودية الجديدة. ولذلك، تهتم قيادة الإمارات بأن يعمل دبلوماسيوها في الرياض، وبعض الباحثين المتعاقدين مع وزارة الخارجية وأجهزة الأمن، على إعداد تقارير تخص الوضع السعودي.

دبلوماسي فرنسي عمل في أبو ظبي، قال لزميله اللبناني إن مشكلة أبو ظبي مع الرياض مثل مشكلة لبنان مع سوريا قبل عام 2005. حينذاك، لم يكن بمقدور القيادة اللبنانية القيام بأي خطوة ذات بعد استراتيجي من دون الحصول على موافقة دمشق. وها هي الإمارات تنتظر موافقة الرياض على أي مبادرة. ومتى تصرفت من تلقاء نفسها ارتفع الصوت في قصر اليمامة… لكن في الإمارات يتجنّبون رفع الصوت. وأكثر المتضررين هو محمد بن راشد، الذي يشعر بضيق الأمور على دبي، فهو من جهة يبدو مكبل اليدين، ويرى بأن بن سلمان يريد منافسة إمارته على وجه التحديد، وأن محمد بن زايد لا يفعل له شيئاً.

واضح أن قيادة الإمارات كانت تأمل بعلاقة مختلفة مع الرياض بعد تولّي محمد بن سلمان أمور البلاد، تصرف محمد بن زايد على أن ولي العهد السعودي سيكون شريكاً كبيراً في مشروع توسيع نفوذ دول الخليج في المنطقة والعالم. وتعامل معه على أساس أنهما يمثّلان العقل الجديد للجزيرة العربية. تحالفهما يتجاوز الإضرار بخصمهما الأول تميم بن حمد في قطر، بل يشمل تركيا أيضاً. ولذلك وضع بن زايد ثقله في تطوير العلاقة الشخصية مع بن سلمان، الى أن حصل فجأة ما غيّر الأمور.

يقول الدبلوماسي الغربي: فجأة، تغيرت الأحوال. صار بن سلمان يتصرف بطريقة مختلفة. وما إن أنجز عملية استيلائه على كامل السلطات في بلاده، ونجح في إطاحة خصومه من العائلة وخارجها، حتى صار يتصرف مع بن زايد بطريقة مختلفة.

ولفت الدبلوماسي نفسه الى أن الرياض استاءت من أداء الجانبين الإماراتي والمصري في قضية قتل جمال خاشقجي لأنها كانت تتوقع أن يقفا الى جانبها بقوة. وهو أمر تظهره وثائق سرية حصلت عليها «الأخبار». واللافت أن سلوك الدبلوماسية الإماراتية تجاوز موقع المتابع، ليركّز على تفاصيل تظهر الرغبة الدفينة بتغييرات داخل المملكة من شأنها إضعاف محمد بن سلمان وعودته الى “بيت الطاعة” كما كان عليه الأمر يوم تولّيه المسؤولية. وما تظهره الوثائق، يكشف حجم التوغل الإماراتي داخل الأوساط الحاكمة في السعودية، وقدرة فريقها على استخلاص المعلومات، ما يشير الى القدرة على بناء شبكة علاقات قوية، أو رغبة المعارضين لبن سلمان في إيصال صوتهم الى خارج أسوار الرياض، ولو عن طريق أبو ظبي. بل يظهر بوضوح “حالة التشفي” التي توازي فعل “التنمّر” من جانب فريق بن زايد على فريق بن سلمان.
في هذه الحلقة، تنشر “الأخبار” بعض الوثائق الصادرة عن جهات إماراتية رفيعة المستوى، تعرض لجوانب من هذه الأزمة، وكيفية قراءتها لانعكاسات ما يجري على وليّ العهد السعودي وحكمه داخل المملكة وعلى صورته وموقعه ودوره خارج السعودية.

مقالات ذات صلة

How Saudi Arabia Gets Away with Murder

How Saudi Arabia Gets Away with Murder

By Steven Cook – Foreign Policy

On Wednesday, the Saudis opened their annual confab in Riyadh, officially called the Future Investment Initiative but widely referred to as “Davos in the Desert.” That nickname had always annoyed the people who run the World Economic Forum and its signature event in Davos, Switzerland, because they—like most of the rest of the world that is concerned about protecting their brand—haven’t wanted much to do with Saudi Arabia and its crown prince in recent years.

That trend may be coming to an end, however. Increasingly, things are back to business as usual in Riyadh. A veritable A-list of Wall Street and private equity titans flew in for the event this week. Gone are the days when the leaders of the financial services industry stayed away, fearing the reputational costs of becoming associated with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. The remains of the journalist and onetime courtier to Saudi power centers have yet to be found. But investors have now decided there are deals to be done.

They are making a bet that the stated commitment by human rights organizations, journalists, and a relatively bipartisan group of US lawmakers to hold Saudi Arabia accountable doesn’t amount to much—and they may be right.

There is a general expectation in Washington that the Saudis are going to have a rough time with the new Biden administration. During the presidential campaign, Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris vowed that they would “reassess our [America’s] relationship with the kingdom, end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and make sure America does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil.” After being sworn in as president earlier this month, Biden made good on that promise when he froze—at least temporarily—arms sales to Saudi Arabia that his predecessor approved.

Saudi Arabia is a problematic ally. In the last five years, its crown prince launched a futile military campaign in Yemen that has killed and injured tens of thousands of people, oversaw the hit team that dismembered Khashoggi, presided over the arrests and abuse of reformers, and led an international embargo of Qatar [which is also a not a model ally, but it is a critical security partner for the United States]. There are also lingering questions about Saudi Arabia and the role of its citizens in the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001. As much as the Saudis want Americans to forget, there were 15 young Saudi men on those planes, not Qataris.

It is true that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has overseen important social changes in Saudi Arabia that have improved the lives of his citizens, but that does not diminish the entirely reasonable desire to hold the Saudis accountable for his many transgressions. Doing so may be harder than it seems, however.

There was never a chance that the global business community was going to write off Saudi Arabia. Sure, CEOs stayed away for a while, but even at the height of the outrage over Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder, Saudi Arabia remained a place where people believed they could make money. And since that is the sine qua non of financiers, consultants, and oil companies—and firms that provide all kinds of services—Mohammed bin Salman was forced to spend some time in the penalty box, but he was never made the international pariah some hoped he would become. Yes, the Saudis have a range of economic problems, the wisdom of vanity projects like the would-be high-tech city of Neom escape most people who look at them, and Riyadh’s efforts to restructure its labor market and establish the institutions of a market economy are enormous and difficult tasks—but the Saudis still have the biggest economy in the Middle East, which makes it an attractive partner to those who showed up in Riyadh for the Future Investment Initiative.

There is an argument to be made that just because business leaders want to consort with the Saudis that does not mean that the US government is obligated to do the same. That’s true enough—but that’s not to say Washington is simply free to do whatever it likes. It faces the constraints of geopolitics. At the same time that leaders of industry were rubbing shoulders in Riyadh, the US military was beefing up its presence in Saudi Arabia just in case there is conflict with Iran. US military planners see Saudi Arabia as an important partner in Iran policy. That includes the potential Iran policies under consideration by the Biden administration, whether they involve rejoining the 2015 nuclear agreement or negotiating a new deal. To make either work, the administration is going to need Riyadh to support the deal, which means that American negotiators are going to have to be sensitive to Saudi concerns.

Related to Iran and the geopolitics of the region is the war in Yemen. The Saudi assault on its neighbor to the south, which began in 2015, accomplished everything the intervention was supposed to prevent. As a result of Riyadh’s poorly thought-out and poorly executed military operations, the Iranians now actually do have a relationship with Ansarullah, and Saudi Arabia is less secure. The war is unwinnable, and the Saudis need to get out. What remains to be seen is whether they can do so without US help. The Saudis would no doubt like that help in the form of enhanced border security, including weapons systems.

This is going to be a tough decision for the administration given the strong strain of animus toward the Saudis in Washington and the Biden-Harris team’s own stated policy to “reassess” America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. One argument they might respond with is: Screw them. Let them figure out how to get out of their own quagmire. That is understandable, but it’s not wise. It is in America’s interest both for the Saudis to get out of Yemen and for them to maintain good ties with Washington. Like it or not, Saudi Arabia is Washington’s primary interlocutor in the region, and an American deal with Iran is going to have to run at least partway through Yemen.

But should the United States cut the Saudis off from what they seem to love most about America—its fancy weapons systems? This is no longer in the realm of theoretical. The Biden administration’s ongoing review of Saudi Arabia will assess how it uses American weapons, specifically how many civilians it has killed and maimed in the process. Given the damage inflicted by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, such a reckoning is appropriate. But even if it allows Americans to take further steps to end their complicity in Saudi Arabia’s Yemen debacle, one should also acknowledge that it will not end that war.

Lost in all the discussions about “accountability” is the problem of defining what it would actually look like. Do Saudi Arabia’s critics want to see the crown prince replaced or in the dock? The United States is not going to determine Saudi Arabia’s leader. Even if the US intelligence community releases what it knows about the murder of Khashoggi—as the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, has demanded, and as the new director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, committed she would do in her written response to questions from senators during her confirmation hearings—Mohammed bin Salman will be the crown prince the next day and the day after that and the day after that, and so on. No doubt it would cause an international uproar, forcing those currently attending Davos in the Desert to stay away for a few years or maybe more. But they will find their way back to Saudi Arabia so long as they calculate that doing so is still good for business.

Also missing in the chatter about accountability are the potential consequences of imposing it. This isn’t to dismiss the idea of calling out the Saudis and refusing to sell them weapons out of hand but rather a plea to weigh the costs and benefits of such an approach. The Saudis may prove unwilling to work with the United States on a new nuclear deal with Iran or even try to undermine an agreement. Riyadh may feel encouraged to drift toward Washington’s competitors. Folks in Washington might dismiss that as idle threats, but the Chinese have a lot to offer, and the Russians are particularly good at taking advantage of stress between the United States and its traditional partners in the region. At the very least, tighter ties between the Saudis, Chinese, and Russians can make things harder for the United States, especially since great-power competition is now alleged to be the framework for American foreign policy.

Then again, US policymakers may not care about the downside risks of holding the Saudis accountable. Energy resources from the Persian Gulf are still important to the United States, but not like they once were, diminishing the urgency long attached to the Middle East and importance of close ties with countries like Saudi Arabia. The stakes may no longer be so high, giving the Biden team more room to maneuver. It just seems that up until now few inside the Beltway have worked through what accountability means in a rigorous way. That is unfortunate, because foreign policy by exhortation is likely to fail.

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Axis of Evil: “Israel” Pushes Biden to take it Easy on Saudi Arabia, UAE

Axis of Evil: “Israel” Pushes Biden to take it Easy on Saudi Arabia, UAE

By Staff, Agencies

Senior “Israeli” war officials informed journalist David Barck that the apartheid entity plans to lobby the incoming US administration to avoid confrontations over human rights and other contentious issues with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

This comes as US President-elect Biden has promised to put human rights and democracy at the forefront of US foreign policy, and he skipped over all three when placing phone calls to the leaders of 17 countries after his election victory.

He was particularly critical of Saudi Arabia during the campaign over the aggression on Yemen and human rights issues.

According to Barack, “Israel” sees its security and intelligence relationships with the three countries as central to its strategy to counter Iran and an important pillar in regional security.

Now, “Israel” fears that Biden will not only seek a deal with Iran, but also cool relations with America’s Arab partners.

Behind the scenes, the “Israeli” war officials told David that they plan to make the case to the Biden administration that the region has changed over the last four years, with a new regional alignment forming as “Israel” strengthens its ties with Arab countries.

“We were very close to losing Egypt several years ago and our message to the Biden administration will be: ‘Take it slow, dramatic changes took place, don’t come with predispositions and don’t harm relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE,'” a senior “Israeli” official told the journalist.

Related

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 000_8Y82NG.jpg
David Hearst is the editor in chief of Middle East Eye. He left The Guardian as its chief foreign leader writer. In a career spanning 29 years, he covered the Brighton bomb, the miner’s strike, the loyalist backlash in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Northern Ireland, the first conflicts in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in Slovenia and Croatia, the end of the Soviet Union, Chechnya, and the bushfire wars that accompanied it. He charted Boris Yeltsin’s moral and physical decline and the conditions which created the rise of Putin. After Ireland, he was appointed Europe correspondent for Guardian Europe, then joined the Moscow bureau in 1992, before becoming bureau chief in 1994. He left Russia in 1997 to join the foreign desk, became European editor and then associate foreign editor. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he worked as education correspondent.

David Hearst

6 January 2021 17:22 UTC 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Qatar has won’

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

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

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

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

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

Tensions over Yemen and Israel

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

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

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

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

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

Kingdom split

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

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

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

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

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

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

Future turmoil

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

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

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

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

This GCC show of unity can’t hide its weakness

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

Soleimani geopolitics, one year on

Soleimani geopolitics, one year on

by Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

One year ago, the Raging Twenties started with a murder.

The assassination of Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi militia, by laser-guided Hellfire missiles launched from two MQ-9 Reaper drones, was an act of war.

Not only the drone strike at Baghdad airport, directly ordered by President Trump, was unilateral, unprovoked and illegal: it was engineered as a stark provocation, to detonate an Iranian reaction that would then be countered by American “self-defense”, packaged as “deterrence”. Call it a perverse form of double down, reversed false flag.

The imperial Mighty Wurlitzer spun it as a “targeted killing”, a pre-emptive op squashing Soleimani’s alleged planning of “imminent attacks” against US diplomats and troops.

False. No evidence whatsoever. And then, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, in front of his Parliament, offered the ultimate context: Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission, on a regular flight between Damascus and Baghdad, involved in complex negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh, with the Iraqi Prime Minister as mediator, at the request of President Trump.

So the imperial machine – in complete mockery of international law – assassinated a de facto diplomatic envoy.

The three top factions who pushed for Soleimani’s assassination were US neo-cons – supremely ignorant of Southwest Asia’s history, culture and politics – and the Israeli and Saudi lobbies, who ardently believe their interests are advanced every time Iran is attacked. Trump could not possibly see The Big Picture and its dire ramifications: only what his major Israeli-firster donor Sheldon Adelson dictates, and what Jared of Arabia Kushner whispered in his ear, remote-controlled by his close pal Muhammad bin Salman (MbS).

The armor of American “prestige”

The measured Iranian response to Soleimani’s assassination was carefully calibrated to not detonate vengeful imperial “deterrence”:

precision missile strikes on the American-controlled Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq. The Pentagon received advance warning.

Predictably, the run-up towards the first anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination had to degenerate into intimations of US-Iran once again on the brink of war.

So it’s enlightening to examine what the Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Division, Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1399/10/13/2423366/ told Lebanon’s Al Manar network: “The US and the Zionist regime [Israel] have not brought security to any place and if something happens here (in the region) and a war breaks out, we will make no distinction between the US bases and the countries hosting them.”

Hajizadeh, expanding on the precision missile strikes a year ago, added, “We were prepared for the Americans’ response and all our missile power was fully on alert. If they had given a response, we would have hit all of their bases from Jordan to Iraq and the Persian Gulf and even their warships in the Indian Ocean.”

The precision missile strikes on Ain al-Assad, a year ago, represented a middle-rank power, enfeebled by sanctions, and facing a huge economic/financial crisis, responding to an attack by targeting imperial assets that are part of the Empire of Bases. That was a global first – unheard of since the end of WWII. It was clearly interpreted across vast swathes of the Global South as fatally piercing the decades-old hegemonic armor of American” prestige”.

So Tehran was not exactly impressed by two nuclear-capable B-52s recently flying over the Persian Gulf; or the US Navy announcing the arrival of the nuclear-powered, missile loaded USS Georgia in the Persian Gulf last week.

These deployments were spun as a response to an evidence-free claim that Tehran was behind a 21-rocket attack against the sprawling American embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

The (unexploded) 107mm caliber rockets – by the way marked in English, not Farsi – can be easily bought in some underground Baghdad souk by virtually anybody, as I have seen for myself in Iraq since the mid-2000s.

That certainly does not qualify as a casus belli – or “self-defense” merging with “deterrence”. The Centcom justification actually sounds like a Monty Python sketch: an attack “…almost certainly conducted by an Iranian-backed rogue militia group.” Note that “almost certainly” is code for “we have no idea who did it”.

How to fight the – real – war on terror

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif did take the trouble (see attached tweet) to warn Trump he was being set up for a fake casus belli – and blowback would be inevitable. That’s a case of Iranian diplomacy being perfectly aligned with the IRGC: after all, the whole post-Soleimani strategy comes straight from Ayatollah Khamenei.

And that leads to the IRGC’s Hajizadeh once again establishing the Iranian red line in terms of the Islamic Republic’s defense: “We will not negotiate about the missile power with anyone” – pre-empting any move to incorporate missile reduction into a possible Washington return to the JCPOA. Hajizadeh has also emphasized that Tehran has restricted the range of its missiles to 2,000 km.

My friend Elijah Magnier, arguably the top war correspondent across Southwest Asia in the past four decades, has neatly detailed the importance of Soleimani.

Everyone not only along the Axis of Resistance – Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Hezbollah – but across vast swathes of the Global South is firmly aware of how Soleimani led the fight against ISIS/Daesh in Iraq from 2014 to 2015, and how he was instrumental in retaking Tikrit in 2015.

Zeinab Soleimani, the impressive General’s daughter, has profiled the man, and the sentiments he inspired. And Hezbollah’s secretary-general Sayed Nasrallah, in an extraordinary interview, stressed Soleimani’s “great humility”, even “with the common people, the simple people.”

Nasrallah tells a story that is essential to place Soleimani’s modus operandi in the real – not fictional – war on terror, and deserves to be quoted in full:

“At that time, Hajj Qassem traveled from Baghdad airport to Damascus airport, from where he came (directly) to Beirut, in the southern suburbs. He arrived to me at midnight. I remember very well what he said to me: “At dawn you must have provided me with 120 (Hezbollah) operation commanders.” I replied “But Hajj, it’s midnight, how can I provide you with 120 commanders?” He told me that there was no other solution if we wanted to fight (effectively) against ISIS, to defend the Iraqi people, our holy places [5 of the 12 Imams of Twelver Shi’ism have their mausoleums in Iraq], our Hawzas [Islamic seminars], and everything that existed in Iraq. There was no choice. “I don’t need fighters. I need operational commanders [to supervise the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units, PMU].” This is why in my speech [about Soleimani’s assassination], I said that during the 22 years or so of our relationship with Hajj Qassem Soleimani, he never asked us for anything. He never asked us for anything, not even for Iran. Yes, he only asked us once, and that was for Iraq, when he asked us for these (120) operations commanders. So he stayed with me, and we started contacting our (Hezbollah) brothers one by one. We were able to bring in nearly 60 operational commanders, including some brothers who were on the front lines in Syria, and whom we sent to Damascus airport [to wait for Soleimani], and others who were in Lebanon, and that we woke up from their sleep and brought in [immediately] from their house as the Hajj said he wanted to take them with him on the plane that would bring him back to Damascus after the dawn prayer. And indeed, after praying the dawn prayer together, they flew to Damascus with him, and Hajj Qassem traveled from Damascus to Baghdad with 50 to 60 Lebanese Hezbollah commanders, with whom he went to the front lines in Iraq. He said he didn’t need fighters, because thank God there were plenty of volunteers in Iraq. But he needed [battle-hardened] commanders to lead these fighters, train them, pass on experience and expertise to them, etc. And he didn’t leave until he took my pledge that within two or three days I would have sent him the remaining 60 commanders.”

Orientalism, all over again

A former commander under Soleimani that I met in Iran in 2018 had promised me and my colleague Sebastiano Caputo that he would try to arrange an interview with the Maj Gen – who never spoke to foreign media. We had no reason to doubt our interlocutor – so until the last Baghdad minute we were in this selective waiting list.

As for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, killed side by side with Soleimani in the Baghdad drone strike, I was part of a small group who spent an afternoon with him in a safe house inside – not outside – Baghdad’s Green Zone in November 2017. My full report is here.

Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran, reflecting on the assassination, told me, “the most important thing is that the Western view on the situation is very Orientalist. They assume that Iran has no real structures and that everything is dependent on individuals. In the West an assassination doesn’t destroy an administration, company, or organization. Ayatollah Khomeini passed away and they said the revolution was finished. But the constitutional process produced a new leader within hours. The rest is history.”

This may go a long way to explain Soleimani geopolitics. He may have been a revolutionary superstar – many across the Global South see him as the Che Guevara of Southwest Asia – but he was most of all a quite articulated cog of a very articulated machine.

The adjunct President of the Iranian Parliament, Hossein Amirabdollahian, told Iranian network Shabake Khabar that Soleimani, two years before the assassination, had already envisaged an inevitable “normalization” between Israel and Persian Gulf monarchies.

At the same time he was also very much aware of the Arab League 2002 position – shared, among others, by Iraq, Syria and Lebanon: a “normalization” cannot even begin to be discussed without an independent – and viable – Palestinian state under 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as capital.

Now everyone knows this dream is dead, if not completely buried. What remains is the usual, dreary slog: the American assassination of Soleimani, the Israeli assassination of top Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the relentless, relatively low-intensity Israeli warfare against Iran fully supported by the Beltway, Washington’s illegal occupation of parts of northeast Syria to grab some oil, the perpetual drive for regime change in Damascus, the non-stop demonization of Hezbollah.

Beyond the Hellfire

Tehran has made it very clear that a return to at least a measure of mutual respect between US-Iran involves Washington rejoining the JCPOA with no preconditions, and the end of illegal, unilateral Trump administration sanctions. These parameters are non-negotiable.

Nasrallah, for his part, in a speech in Beirut on Sunday, stressed,

“one of the main outcomes of the assassination of General Soleimani and al-Muhandis is the calls made for the expulsion of US forces from the region. Such calls had not been made prior to the assassination. The martyrdom of the resistance leaders set US troops on the track of leaving Iraq.”

This may be wishful thinking, because the military-industrial-security complex will never willingly abandon a key hub of the Empire of Bases.

More important is the fact that the post-Soleimani environment transcends Soleimani.

The Axis of Resistance – Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Hezbollah – instead of collapsing, will keep getting reinforced.

Internally, and still under “maximum pressure” sanctions, Iran and Russia will be cooperating to produce Covid-19 vaccines, and the Pasteur Institute of Iran will co-produce a vaccine with a Cuban company.

Iran is increasingly solidified as the key node of the New Silk Roads in Southwest Asia: the Iran-China strategic partnership is constantly revitalized by FMs Zarif and Wang Yi, and that includes Beijing turbo-charging its geoeconomic investment in South Pars – the largest gas field on the planet.

Iran, Russia and China will be involved in the reconstruction of Syria – which will also include, eventually, a New Silk Road branch: the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Eastern Mediterranean railway.

All that is an interlinked, ongoing process no Hellfires are able to burn.

Detained Saudi Pilots Will Only Be Exchanged for Palestinian Inmates – Yemen’s Ansarullah

Detained Saudi Pilots Will Only Be Exchanged for Palestinian Inmates – Yemen’s Ansarullah

By Staff, Agencies

Yemen’s Ansarullah revolutionary movement conditioned the release of Saudi pilots in Yemeni custody on the freedom of Palestinian inmates held in the kingdom’s prisons.

Speaking to al-Masirah TV channel on Wednesday, Abdel Kader Mortaza, the official in charge of prisoner affairs at Yemen’s National Salvation Government, said Saudi pilots held in captivity in Sanaa would only be swapped with the Palestinians imprisoned by the Riyadh regime.

Since February 2019, Saudi Arabia has kept 68 Palestinians and Jordanians in detention without any legal reason.

Among the inmates is Mohammed al-Khudari, a high-ranking official from the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement.

Mortaza said a total of 1,087 prisoners from the Yemeni Army and allied popular forces were released from Saudi detention in 2020, 670 of them under UN supervision and 417 through local mediation.

In exchange, he added, the Ansarullah freed 150 captives, including 64 child soldiers recruited by the Saudi-led coalition, which has been waging a deadly war on Yemen over the past years.

A UN delegation visited Sanaa prisons 12 times in 2020, but the coalition does not allow such visits, the official noted.

He further said the enemy was preventing more than 30 prisoner exchange operations this year, reporting 900 cases of prisoner torture at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition in 2020.

Mortaza also said 20 Yemeni inmates were killed this year at the coalition-run prisons due to torture or medical negligence.

Saudi Arabia launched a devastating military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states, and with arms support from the US and several Western countries.

The aim was to return to power a Riyadh-backed regime of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and defeat the Ansarullah movement that has taken control of state matters.

The war has failed to achieve its goals, but killed tens of thousands of innocent Yemenis and destroyed the impoverished country’s infrastructure. The UN refers to the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mortaza expressed Sanaa’s readiness to engage in talks on a prisoner swap in the coming year.

He also said the Islah party, which is the backbone of the self-proclaimed Hadi government, has not accepted an offer by the UN for prisoner exchange talks in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

The UAE has kept hundreds of prisoners from the Yemeni Army and allied popular forces, he added.

Sayyed Nasrallah: Resistance Missiles Multiply in Quantities, Can Reach any Point in Occupied Palestine

Sayyed Mayadeen
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Sara Taha Moughnieh

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah denied Sunday having any data around Israeli or US intention to perform any operation before the end of Trump’s presidency dubbing the latter a “crazy who is in a state of severe madness”.

“It is not something only concerning Iran, Lebanon or Palestine but even the Republican and Democratic leaderships are worried about what he could do,” he pointed out, stressing that “the resistance axis should be cautious throughout these couple of weeks so it wouldn’t be dragged into an uncalculated confrontation…”

In an interview to Al-Mayadeen TV channel, Sayyed Nasrallah revealed that he, along with other Hezbollah leaders are targets for the US, Israeli and Saudi Arabia, adding that the latter have been instigating to assassinate him since many years, even before the Yemeni war began.

“Saudi King, Mohammad bin Salman proposed this issue in his first visit to the US after the election of Trump, and the latter approved assigning this operation to “Israel”,” his eminence clarified, noting that “Saudi Arabia, specifically in the last few years, has been acting with grudge not mindfulness”.

Sayyed Nasrallah disdained Israeli threats assuring that “when you hear Israelis waging threats on media know that there will be no action… and all the action taking place on the borders with Lebanon only reveal Israel’s concern and alertness”.

As his eminence considered that the military operation that targeted Hajj Qassem Suleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis was a trilateral operation by US-Israel-Saudi Arabia, he remembered Suleimani saying “he had a strong charisma and the power to influence anyone who knows him. He was special on the humanitarian and moral levels. He was a frontline man not a man in the operation room, a man of strategy and tactics and very conscious and well-educated on political and cultural levels.”

“In the last period before his assassination, his role and movement was highlighted a lot in Western media. They usually do that before the assassination of anyone to show their people the significance of the man targeted. I was very concerned about him and I warned him about that,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding “I miss him so much, I used to feel that we are one person”.

“As for Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, he was a great leader and resembled Hajj Qassem so much. He had a major role in both victories against the US and ISIL,” he further stated.

In parallel, Sayyed Nasrallah spoke about the strong relation Hajj Qassem had with all the resistance factions in Palestine and his concern that these factions get all the support they need to resist the occupation, revealing that he was the one behind sending Kornet missiles to the resistance in Gaza Strip.

“President Bashar Al-Assad bought “Kornet” missiles from the Russians, and they are the missiles we used in July war. Hajj Qassem demanded that these missiles be sent to Gaza, and I proposed the issue to President Assad who instantly approved,” his eminence explained, asserting that “I am not surprised with the Arab betrayal to the Palestinians because most of the Arab regimes have only been selling words to Palestine and have only used Iran as an excuse to normalize the relations with Israel. This took place because the Palestinian cause has become a burden on them. There is no excuse for anyone to abandon Palestine.”

As he considered that these countries have long had ties with Israel but were not made public, he assured that this new peace deal is positive because it brought this hypocrisy to public and divided the lines.

“When lines are divided this means a great victory is on its way,” he said.

In this context, Hezbollah SG stated that the relation between Hezbollah and Hamas is based on the legitimacy of the resistance and the Palestinian cause despite the conflict that emerged between Damascus and Hamas due to the Syrian developments.

He further assured that the resistance axis is stronger than before and the Palestinian people have not been influenced by the normalization treaties as they still stand firm and steadfast, praising the joint maneuvers between the resistance factions in Gaza.

While his eminence expressed that the Palestinians of 1948 in the occupied territories want the liberation of Palestine more than anyone else, he stated that “as an Islamist, I find the stance of the Justice and Development Party in Morocco concerning normalization with Israelis more painful than other stances”.

On Hajj Qassem’s role in Iraq, Sayyed Nasrallah revealed that the Iraqi resistance factions who defeated ISIL were the ones who performed most of the operations that urged the US to pull out if Iraq, unlike what media portrayed about Al-Qaeda being behind them.

“I assure to you that the Iraqi resistance groups were the ones performing operations against the occupation under the support of Al-Quds force led by Hajj Qassem Suleimani, and we were in contact with them since then,” his eminence said, indicating that “4 800 suicide attacks were waged in Iraq, while the resistance operations were very accurate and merely against the occupation”.

Moreover, he added that “The US Army had threatened Hajj Qassem and Al-Quds Force to bombard locations in Iran if they continue to support the resistance in Iraq… If it weren’t for the Iraqi resistance, the US embassy would’ve been the one ruling Iraq now”.

Based on that, Hezbollah SG pointed out that “despite the significance of Hajj Qassem and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis and their great roles, what happened with them according to our culture, methodology, history and path is a natural and expected outcome because we are in a state of historical conflict… and these two martyrs fell on the path of victories and defeat of great schemes.”

“Our axis does not rely on individuals, and while the goal behind the assassination of Hajj Qassem and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis was to erase the name of the resistance, millions of people came out and shouted “we are all resistance… we are all Qassem Suleimani”.”

Hezbollah SG recalled the speech of Imam Khamenei in which he asserted that whoever ordered and implemented the assassination of these two martyrs should be personally punished wherever he is, stating that “this should be the duty of every honorable person in the world, specifically our people in Iraq as Hajj Qassem was their guest and was martyred on their territories.”

On another level, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that “one day after the toppling of former Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak, Hajj Qassem was in the Southern Suburb of Beirut and expressed discomfort telling us that the Americans will take advantage of the “Arab Spring” to change regimes in the region for their benefit and topple governments that support the resistance specifically in Syria.

“We took his words into consideration and warned the Syrian president who chose to embrace any public movement that takes place. However, funded groups refused any political solution and started using force.”

“We don’t exaggerate when we say it was a global war on Syria. They wanted to replace the regime with another one that supports US policies, submits to Turkey and Qatar, and improves relations with Israel,” his eminence added, noting that “the war on Syria was not only because of its stance from the Palestinian cause but also for its oil and gas and for occupying it and controlling it strategically “.

“President Assad chose to stand firm and never left Syria, and his decision urged us to support him”.

Furthermore, Sayyed Nasrallah revealed that Hajj Qassem went to Moscow and met with President Putin for two hours, playing a major role in convincing him to interfere militarily in Syria.

“After its role in Syria and the regional changes, Russia regained its role in the world through the Syrian gate,” Sayyed Nasrallah assured.

On the Lebanese level, Hezbollah SG stressed that the Israelis have been in a state if alertness for months now expecting a retaliatory attack for the martyrdom of one of Hezbollah members in Syria.

“All the drills and measures the Israeli is taking on the borders are because he is aware that we will respond. The Israeli is in a state of confusion and recognizes that the resistance missiles can reach accurate goals in any place inside the occupied territories, he said, assuring that “the resistance according to the people in South Lebanon is a shield not a burden”.

Answering a question about the influence of Iran-US negotiations on some files in the region, his eminence assured that “Iran, unlike other states, does not buy and sell files in the region. It does not negotiate with the Americans about countries’ affairs on behalf of these countries. It had informed the Europeans that it will not discuss the Yemeni affairs on behalf of the Yemenis and had refused to discuss Iraqi affairs with Washington without the presence of an Iraqi delegation.”

Source: Al-Manar

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FM: Zionists’ Interests in the Red Sea will be Legitimate Targets to Yemeni Forces

FM: Zionists' Interests in the Red Sea will be Legitimate Targets to Yemeni Forces

News – Yemen: An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on what was stated by the spokesman of the Zionist army, in which he said that “the Zionists are monitoring the situation in Yemen.”

The source told the Yemen news agency, Saba, that “the Zionist entity should bother with monitoring its own situation in the occupied territory, Palestine, rather than threatening the Islamic region in the Middle East with a lightning war.”

The source added, “The Zionist entity has no business whit the situation in Yemen,” warning that “any reckless action of the Zionist entity in the region would spark a comprehensive war, and Israel would be the first to lose.”

He pointed out that the Israeli enemy seeks to fabricate excuses for hostile actions and movements through which it tries to cover up its continuous aggression against the Palestinian people.

The source added, “if the Zionist entity makes any reckless move or action that affects Yemen, then any interests of this entity or its partners in the Red Sea will be a legitimate target.”

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Sayyed Nasrallah Vows Punishment for Every Crime: Hezbollah’s Guided Missiles More than Doubled

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By Zeinab Abdallah

Beirut – Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah appeared on al-Mayadeen TV with Ghassan Bin Jeddo in a special episode named ‘Dialogue of the Year’. The four-hour long interview touched upon almost all regional issues that happened this year, although the pivotal segment was about martyr General Qassem Soleimani and Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis less than a week ahead of their first martyrdom anniversary.

Starting with the possible options that would take place during US President Donald Trump’s few days in office, Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that there is not accurate information that Trump or the ‘Israeli’ enemy will take an action. “There are just certain analyses,” His Eminence noted, adding that everybody is anticipating and expecting what Trump might do in the coming days.

“The Axis of Resistance is dealing cautiously, accurately and attentively so that no post of this axis would be lured towards any confrontation that suits the enemies’ timing, but when the enemy creates massive media noise, this means that it won’t do anything, and that it is rather waging a psychological warfare,” Sayyed Nasrallah stressed noting that “this doesn’t mean that we mustn’t remain cautious.”

Regarding the news about a possible ‘Israeli’ landing that has taken place along Lebanon’s Jiyeh coastline, the Hezbollah leader made clear that the party’s information doesn’t provide that any ‘Israeli’ landing has taken place as it was reported in media.”

Saudi attempts to assassinate Sayyed Nasrallah

Moving to the issue of assassination, the crime by which a US drone killed the Islamic Revolution Guard’s Quds Force Commander, and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units’ Second-in-command, Sayyed Nasrallah explained that many sides have warned him about plots to target him especially after the martyrdom of Hajj Qassem Soleimani. “This is something normal and well known,” His Eminence commented.

“I’ve been warned about assassinating me ahead of the US Presidential Elections, and that any targeting might be ‘Israeli’ or American,” the resistance leader explained, going further to uncover that targeting Hezbollah leaders is an American-‘Israeli’-Saudi goal: “I have information that Saudi Arabia has been stirring to assassinate me since the beginning of its war on Yemen, and private sources have informed me that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman requested my assassination in person during his first visit to Washington and his first meeting with Trump.”

Sayyed Nasrallah cited the same sources as saying that Saudi Arabia took it upon itself that in case a war erupts after his assassination, it was ready to pay all the financial costs for this war.

“The Americans have agreed on a Saudi request to assassinate me, and that ‘Israel’ would execute this assassination. Saudi Arabia doesn’t act rationally, it has been acting maliciously especially in the recent years,” His Eminence went on to say, then he accused the US, ‘Israel’, and Saudi Arabia of partnership in the crime of assassinating leaders Soleimani and al-Muhandis.

“The crime of assassinating Hajj Qassem was a clear one, uncovered, and similar to the assassination of Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi.”

Soleimani, the Sayyed’s own self

When talking about martyr Soleimani, Sayyed Nasrallah couldn’t have enough listing his manners and characteristics. He described the martyr as a very special person on the level of ethics. He also referred to him as a charismatic person who had the ability to influence all those who had to know him.

“On the military level, martyr Soleimani was a strategic and tactical leader at the same time,” His Eminence noted.

Describing the time that preceded the martyrdom, Sayyed Nasrallah said that he was very worried about him and he has warned him repeatedly.

“I miss Hajj Qassem very much… We have worked together and faced challenges together. I used to feel that Hajj Qassem and I were one person.”

Hajj Abu Mahdi, the main partner in Iraq’s victories

When talking about martyr Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Sayyed Nasrallah recommended that his identity should be more defined to the people, referring to him as a great person.

“Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is very much like Hajj Qassem, and this is why they met in the battlefield, and Allah has concluded their lives with this martyrdom.”

His Eminence explained that Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was suggested to assume [governmental] responsibilities in Iraq, but he preferred to work in the battlefield.

“Martyr Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was a main partner in making the two victories against Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] and the US occupation of Iraq,” Sayyed Nasrallah went on to say.

“He was one of the leaders of the Axis of Resistance that surpasses Iraq and reaches all regional causes.”

Hajj Qassem, the transnational resistance commander

When tackling the issue of the US presence in Iraq, Sayyed Nasrallah underscored that the Americans have left Iraq by force, humiliated and defeated thanks to the strikes of the resistance.

“The Americans fled Iraq under fire because they begged martyr Soleimani to stop the Iraqi resistance operations against them.”

As for Palestine, the Sayyed added that martyr Soleimani developed ties with all Palestinian resistance factions: “There were not any redlines for martyr Soleimani on the level of supporting Palestinian resistance factions,” uncovering that the ‘Kornet’ missiles reached the Palestinian resistance in Gaza thanks to martyr Soleimani.

“The efforts made by Hajj Qassem Soleimani and the Quds Force in supporting the Palestinian resistance factions were ongoing behind the scenes.”

Additionally, the resistance leader uncovered that the Russian-made ‘Kornet’ missiles Hezbollah used in the July 2006 war were purchased by Syria from Russia, and then Hezbollah took them.

Additionally, Sayyed Nasrallah made clear that Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed that the ‘Kornet’ missiles purchased by Damascus from Moscow reach ‘Hamas’ and the ‘Islamic Jihad’ resistance movements in Gaza.

Sayyed Nasrallah hailed martyr Soleimani and his team’s dedication to present all what could be offered to Palestine on all levels. His Eminence also praised Assad’s willingness to support the Palestinian resistance.

Normalization only took the masks off

On the level of Arab normalization with the ‘Israeli’ enemy, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that it is something that didn’t surprise him, adding that this is because most of the Arab regimes were only telling the Palestinians mere lies.

“We view the normalization deals from the perspective that masks have been taken off, and that those Arab regimes’ submissive realities appeared clearly.”

Iran is just a pretext the Arab regimes use to justify their normalization deals because they find the Palestinian cause as a burden for them, Sayyed Nasrallah added, stressing that there isn’t any reason that justifies the abandoning of Palestine.

Sayyed Nasrallah also lamented Morocco’s Justice and Development Party’s stance which he considered was more painful and more dangerous than that of the regimes’ normalization with ‘Israel’.

The ever-growing Axis of Resistance

In terms of power and numbers, the resistance leader emphasized that the might of the Axis of Resistance has multiplied many more times than its level several years ago, stressing that the most important thing is having a strong will.

“We are an axis in a state of legitimate self-defense, to defend our countries, sanctities, peoples, wealth. The Axis of Resistance has made major and great achievements,” His Eminence underscored.

“Without any exaggeration, the Axis of Resistance is stronger than any time before. The Axis was able to contain the strike of Hajj Qassem Soleimani’s martyrdom although it was very hard,” Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out.

Regarding the Ain al-Assad strike, Sayyed Nasrallah referred to it as an important response that shows how a leadership of a state in the world deals a blow to the United States: “The Ain al-Assad strike was a historical slap because the equation in confronting the Americans is not about killing, and Washington thought that by assassinating leaders it would put an end to the Axis of Resistance, while in fact this axis is not based upon a person by himself.”

His Eminence then vowed that punishing the killers of martyrs Soleimani and al-Muhandis is a goal for every honorable person, warning those who ordered and executed that they will be punished wherever they were.

“What the world should learn is that the blood of the leaders won’t be in vain, and the killers of Hajj Qassem and Abu Mahdi must be punished sooner or later,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

His Eminence praised the joint drills held between the Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza as a very important step and a development that shows their strength and frightens the enemy at the same time.

Martyr Soleimani’s role in Iraq

Sayyed Nasrallah explained that martyr Soleimani’s appearance in media started with the battles against Daesh in Iraq, adding that it was not an intended issue.

“Hajj Qassem Soleimani didn’t seek being mentioned in a news, being in the spotlight or even hailed by anybody, and his relationship with the religious leadership in Iraq was good, especially on the level of main issues.”

Explaining that the vast majority of military operations against the US occupation in Iraq was carried out by the resistance factions, Sayyed Nasrallah said that groups of young Iraqis started the armed resistance against the US troops in Iraq without a political cover.

“Arab satellite channels refused to broadcast the videos that document the Iraqi resistance operations against the American occupation. Meanwhile, resistance in Iraq received real support from al-Quds Force and Hajj Qassem Soleimani.”

Sayyed Nasrallah contrasted al-Qaeda’s 4800 suicide attacks that were carried out against civilians on Iraqi soil, showing the difference when it came to the Iraqi resistance operations that were precisely meant to pressure the occupation and were very keen and accurate to avoid harming any civilian.

That’s why, Sayyed Nasrallah explained, the US Army threatened Hajj Qassem and al-Quds Force to strike their posts in Iran if they continued to support the Iraqi resistance: “The US Army then sent a message to Hajj Qassem to help them withdraw from Iraq without being hit by fire.”

Hadn’t been to the Iraqi resistance, Sayyed Nasrallah said that the US embassy would have been in control of Iraq.

However, Donald Trump keeps his troops in Iraq and Syria to steal their resources and oil, the Hezbollah leader added.

Forecasting the scheme against Syria

Sayyed Nasrallah narrated how martyr Soleimani was concerned about the American attempts to ride the tide of the peoples’ uprisings to target some regimes after America allowed toppling its man in Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak.

“Martyr Soleimani was the first to forecast the risks heading to Syria under the pretext of the ‘Arab Spring’, because the country supports the resistance.”

And while the parties that really backed, funded, and led opposition the groups in Syria rushed for an armed confrontation, Iran contacted opposition groups in accordance with President Assad to reach a political solution, but all of them insisted that we are not in a state of political solution and there won’t be negotiations with the regime, which they predicted will collapse within days, Sayyed Nasrallah went on to say.

“There was a very big international and regional decision in the war on Syria to prevent any political solution for the Syrian crisis.”

Foreign forces supported the Syrian opposition as they believed that the regime would be toppled within two months. They wanted to weaken the regime in Syria and in need of making a settlement with ‘Israel’ and recognize it, the Hezbollah leader recalled.

“We had only two options, either to surrender and let the region collapse, or to resist; and we chose resistance,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, hailing Syria’s independence of decision, braveness of leadership, and neither submitting to the enemies nor to the allies.

“Syria was not only targeted for supporting Palestine and the resistance, but also to be occupied and to allow stealing its oil and gas.”

President Assad’s decision to remain steadfast was the main motivator for his allies in supporting Damascus and engaging in the confrontation next to him.

“Assad didn’t leave Damascus at all over the course of the battles, and in the most difficult times of the war he was strong and solid,” Sayyed Nasrallah added.

Soleimani in Moscow

On the level of the Russian military intervention in Syria, Sayyed Nasrallah labelled it as very influential.

His Eminence recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin was hesitant in the beginning of the war to enter Syria; then Hajj Qassem went to Moscow and explained, with maps, the field situation. At the time, Putin told Hajj Qassem that he was convinced with entering Syria.

“With his charismatic persona, strong logic, and strategic explanation, Hajj Qassem contributed to convincing Putin with entering Syria based on logic and facts.”

Soleimani in the July 2006 War

About memories from the July 2006 war, Sayyed Nasrallah recalled how martyr Soleimani didn’t leave the Southern Suburb of Beirut [Dahiyeh] but for 48 hours to submit his report on the situation and contact the brothers in Syria and Iran.

“All of the ‘Israeli’ aerial bombing during the July 2006 war couldn’t stop the logistic support from reaching the resistance in Lebanon,” His Eminence added.

After the end of the war, martyr Soleimani played a role and shouldered the responsibility of following the project of sheltering the displaced people. “The one who formed the Iranian Committee to Reconstruct Lebanon was Hajj Qassem and martyr Engineer Hossam Khoshnavis.”

Sayyed Nasrallah lamented that he could never forget that there are sides within the Lebanese political authorities who were planning to keep people homeless for the longest possible period of time after the July 2006 war to incite them against the resistance.

Commenting on martyr Soleimani’s successor, Hajj Esmail Ghaani, Sayyed Nasrallah said that he used to meet him repeatedly when he was Hajj Qassem’s deputy: “He was informed with all files. And Hajj Qassem used to say that Hajj Ghaani is to succeed him.”

The void ‘Israeli’ threats

In a strong and confident comment about the Lebanese resistance group, Sayyed Nasrallah underscored that Hezbollah is at it is: “Its strength, morale, and will are the same, or even much powerful.”

All the threats you hear from the enemy are because it knows that we will retaliate for its killing of our martyr in Syria. We are keeping our promise to respond to the ‘Israeli’ enemy’s killing of martyr Ali Mohsen, His Eminence made clear.

“The major alertness of the resistance was on all levels and in front of the ‘Israelis’’ sight. The ‘Israeli’ drones’ movement in the air is very confused as it anticipates the resistance’s response. The ‘Israeli’ knows that we have used the appropriate weapon towards its drones without making this public.”

The Hezbollah leader further announced that the precision-guided missiles owned by the resistance have doubled from the number it had a year ago.

“The resistance today is in a very good condition, and at the best of its capabilities. We believe in the future and trust that we are approaching victory.

The concerned party is the ‘Israeli’ and not the resistance especially as Trump is leaving and Washington might return to the nuclear deal with Iran.

A certain level of Hezbollah’s aerial defense has been exposed to the enemy, but whether there are higher levels or not is a matter that we don’t reveal, Sayyed Nasrallah said, noting that “we are keen to keep the ‘Israeli’ unaware of a lot about what the resistance has.”

“There are many issues that the ‘Israeli’ knows nothing about.”

Our Axis is on the top and it is ‘Israel’ which is in trouble, His Eminence underscored, adding that the resistance’s decision is to carry out an appropriate response that strengthens its deterrence; this won’t be achieved without targeting the enemy’s soldiers, he said.

“We don’t need a demonstrative action along the border that targets dummies. We want an actual response.”

Lebanon’s maritime borders, Gov’t issue

In a question about Lebanon’s indirect negotiations with the ‘Israeli’ regime regarding the demarcation of the maritime borders, Sayyed Nasrallah was confident to say that the negotiations under the current US administration will reach a dead end.

“Our right to prevent any ‘Israeli’ stealing of our waters is natural, and our ability to do this is non-negotiable,” His Eminence underscored.

Elsewhere in the interview, Sayyed Nasrallah said there is a positive atmosphere and cooperation between the Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and Hezbollah.

However, he noted that there is a problem of trust that delays the formation of a Lebanese government, which is mainly between President Michel Aoun and the PM-designate.

The environment embracing resistance

On the level of discussing the resistance’s weapon within its own people, Sayyed Nasrallah said that the people of South Lebanon don’t see resistance as a burden, they rather view it as their shield.

“We support the threatened and targeted environment of resistance which is paying prices for this support, His Eminence said in reference to the sanctions targeting the entire country, “We try and we seek to present aid to the Lebanese people and to our environment with all possible means.”

Sayyed Nasrallah noted, however, that the problem in Lebanon is a problem of choices, and the evidence is that nobody dared to head eastward to find economic solutions.

“There is a misevaluation in linking solving some issues for some countries with the foreign factor.”

From this point, Sayyed Nasrallah went on to explain that Iran is a great regional power and a main axis in the region but it doesn’t negotiate instead of any of its allies in the region.

Iran, a non-interventionist superpower

“Iran doesn’t buy, sell, or negotiate with the Americans instead of the peoples of the region,” the resistance leader noted, adding that the Islamic Republic of Iran informed the Europeans that it is not concerned with negotiating on behalf of the Yemenis or others.

“Washington insisted to negotiate the Iraqi issue with Tehran; Iran, however, insisted that the Iraqis be present and that the negotiations be held in public.”

The Hezbollah-Hamas relations

Hezbollah leader said that he met with Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, brother Ismail Haniyeh several times during his last visit to Lebanon and discussed with him different regional issues that included bilateral relations and the relations with Syria.

“Relations between Hamas and Syria must be rearranged; there is a positive atmosphere even if it takes time. Logically, I believe that Hamas is tending to rearrange its ties with Damascus,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, noting that he talked with Haniyeh that Hamas should help in redirecting tendencies in the region, which include the Islah [Reform] Party’s fighting in Yemen against the Ansarullah movement.

Sayyed Nasrallah also greeted the Palestinians of the 1948 lands whom he described as “our brother and our people, and they are the ones who mostly desire the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea.”

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Pakistan is steadfast… So far. باكستان صامدة… إلى الآن

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation**

باكستان صامدة… إلى الآن

باكستان صامدة... إلى الآن

الاخبار

الخميس 24 كانون الأول 2020

تتعرّض باكستان لضغوط شتّى يراد من ورائها جرّها بالقوّة إلى التطبيع مع إسرائيل والتموضع ضمن محور لا يزال في طور التشكُّل. محورٌ تشتغل السعودية، ومن ورائها الولايات المتحدة، على تعزيزه ورفده بدولٍ ترى في مهادنة إسرائيل مصلحةً لكفّ يد إيران عن المنطقة. لكن حسابات إسلام آباد لا تبدو متطابقة، على الأقلّ في المدى المنظور، مع رغبة حليفتها الحَرِدة في دفعها إلى حضن تل أبيب. وهو حردٌ نما وتمدّد في أعقاب انتقاد البلد الآسيوي نأيَ المملكة بنفسها عن قضية كشمير، وتلويحه بجمع قادة دول إسلامية خارج عباءة “منظمة التعاون الإسلامي” التي تهيمن عليها الرياض، لنصرة تلك القضية. وعلى رغم مساعي باكستان إلى تدارك الموقف، عن طريق إيفاد رئيس أركانها، قمر جاويد باجوا، منتصف آب/ أغسطس الماضي، إلى السعودية لاحتواء التوتّر، لم يفلح التودُّد في رأب الصدع.

وهكذا، كلّما اغتاظت الرياض وارتفع منسوب التوتّر بينها وبين إسلام آباد المكبّلة بالدين، عاجلتها بالدعوة إلى سداد القرض الميسّر. وكما حصل في أعقاب واقعة “التمرُّد” الباكستاني، حين اضطرّت إلى دفع مليار دولار قبل حلول موعد استحقاقها (هي جزء مِن حزمة إنقاذ أعلنت عنها السعودية في تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر عام 2018، بقيمة 6.2 مليارات دولار: 3 مليارات على شكل قروض، فضلاً عن تسهيلات ائتمانية نفطية بـ 3.2 مليارات دولار)، يبدو أن المملكة أرغمت باكستان، مرّة جديدة، على سداد المبلغ المتبقّي، بعدما أعلن رئيس وزرائها، عمران خان، الشهر الماضي، أن بلاده تتعرّض لضغوط مِن قبل الولايات المتحدة و”دول صديقة” لم يسمّها للاعتراف بإسرائيل، مؤكداً أنه لن يُقدِم على خطوة كتلك “ما لم تكن هناك تسوية تُرضي الفلسطينيين”. وإذ سارع وزير الخارجية الباكستاني، شاه محمود قرشي، إلى نفي صحّة التقارير التي تحدّثت عن سداد بلاده قرضاً بقيمة ملياري دولار للسعودية، والتشديد على “العلاقات المثالية” بين البلدين، أكّد مسؤولون باكستانيون لـ”رويترز” أن إسلام آباد أرجعت بالفعل مليار دولار ضمن الدفعة الثانية من القرض الميسّر، واتّجهت إلى طلب قرض تجاري من بكين، لمساعدتها على تخفيف ضغوط دفع مليار دولار أخرى إلى الرياض الشهر المقبل. وفي هذا الإطار، أكّد مسؤول في وزارة المالية أن المصرف المركزي الباكستاني يجري محادثات مع مصارف تجارية صينية، في حين أبلغ مسؤول في وزارة الخارجية، “رويترز”، أن الصين “هبّت لنجدتنا”. وعلى رغم فائض يبلغ 1.2 مليار دولار في ميزان المعاملات الجارية وتحويلات غير مسبوقة من الخارج بلغت 11.7 مليار دولار في الأشهر الخمسة الأخيرة ساعدت في دعم الاقتصاد الباكستاني، فإن مراقبين يرون أن ردّ الأموال السعودية ينطوي على انتكاسة يحتمل أن تواجه باكستان على إثرها أزمة في ميزان المدفوعات بعد الانتهاء من الدفعة السعودية التالية، ولا سيما وأن احتياطياتها الأجنبية لا تزال عند 13.3 مليار دولار.

لم تألُ الرياض جهداً لجرّ إسلام آباد نحو قاطرة التطبيع

بالعودة إلى التطبيع، لم تألُ الرياض جهداً لجرّ إسلام آباد نحو قاطرة التطبيع. وهو ما لفتت إليه مصادر دبلوماسية وعسكرية باكستانية تحدّثت، أخيراً، إلى صحيفة “هآرتس” العبرية، مؤكّدةً أن السعودية كثّفت ضغوطها، في الأشهر الأخيرة، على باكستان من أجل دفعها في هذا الاتجاه، ولكنها توقّعت أن يتوّلى الجيش الباكستاني هذه المهمّة طمعاً في صفقات دفاعية تسهّلها إسرائيل. ويريد وليّ العهد السعودي، محمد بن سلمان، بحسب الصحيفة، أن تمضي حليفته في هذا الطريق، قبل أن يتخّذ أيّ خطوة رسمية تجاه تل أبيب. ولفتت “هآرتس” إلى أن “باكستان ثاني أكبر دولة ذات غالبية مسلمة من حيث عدد السكان، وهي الدولة الإسلامية الوحيدة المسلّحة نووياً، وتطبيعها سيوفّر سبقاً جيّداً للسعودية”، معتبرةً أن الرياض تمتلك “بطاقة قوية لإسلام آباد، تتمثّل في توفير قرض بقيمة ملياري دولار لإنقاذ البلاد”. كذلك، أشارت إلى أن الجيش الباكستاني، وليس رئيس الوزراء، هو الذي يدير فعلياً الدبلوماسية الباكستانية، مُتوقّعةً أن يلجأ الأوّل إلى إضفاء طابع رسمي على العلاقات مع تل أبيب، على افتراض أن ذلك سيساعده في موازنة الصفقات الدفاعية الواسعة بين الهند وإسرائيل.

مقالات ذات صلة

Pakistan is steadfast… So far.

باكستان صامدة... إلى الآن

Al-Akhbar

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Pakistan is under various pressures to force it to normalize with Israel and to be positioned within an axis that is still in the process of being formed. Saudi Arabia, and the United States, is working to strengthen it and provide it with countries that see Israel’s truce as an interest in iron’s hand in the region. But Islamabad’s calculations do not seem to be identical, at least in the foreseeable future, with its fiery ally’s desire to push it into into Tel Aviv’s lap. He) Imran Khan) is a hard-working man who has grown and expanded in the wake of the Asian country’s criticism of the Saudi kingdom’s distancing itself from the Kashmir issue, and Imran waving of the gathering of leaders of Islamic countries outside Riyadh-dominated Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to support Kashmir cause. Despite Pakistan’s efforts to remedy the situation by sending its chief of staff, Qamar Javed Bajwa, in mid-August, to Saudi Arabia to contain the tension, and bridge the rift.

Thus, the more Riyadh is upset and the level of tension rises between Islamabad and Riyadh, which urgently calls for the repayment of the concessional loan, and forced Islamabad to pay $1 billion before its due date (part of a $6.2 billion bailout announced by Saudi Arabia in October 2018: $3 billion in loans, as well as $3.2 billion in oil credit facilities the kingdom have forced Pakistan, once again, to pay the remaining amount, after its Prime Minister, Imran Khan, announced last month that his country was under pressure from the United States and “friendly countries” he did not name to recognize In Israel, stressing that he would not take such a step “unless there is a settlement that satisfies the Palestinians.”

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi was quick to deny reports that his country had repaid a $2 billion loan to Saudi Arabia and the emphasis on “ideal relations” between the two countries, Pakistani officials confirmed to Reuters that Islamabad had already returned $1 billion in the second installment of the concessional loan and turned to requesting a commercial loan from Beijing, to help it ease the pressure of paying another billion dollars to Riyadh next month. A finance ministry official confirmed that the Central Bank of Pakistan was in talks with Chinese commercial banks, told Reuters that China had “come to our aid.” Despite a $1.2 billion surplus in the current balance of transactions and unprecedented remittances from abroad of $11.7 billion in the last five months that have helped support Pakistan’s economy, observers see the Saudi money back as a setback, with Pakistan likely to face a balance of payments crisis after the next Saudi push, especially as its foreign reserves remain at $13.3billion.

Riyadh spared no effort to drag Islamabad towards the locomotive of normalization

Back to normalization, Riyadh spared no effort to drag Islamabad towards the normalization. This was pointed out by Pakistani diplomatic and military sources who spoke to the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz, stressing that Saudi Arabia had intensified its pressure, in recent months, on Pakistan to push it in this direction, but it expected that the Pakistani army would take over this task in the hope of defensive deals. Facilitated by Israel. Between India and Israel

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the newspaper, wants his ally to go down this path, before taking any official step toward Tel Aviv. “Pakistan is the second most populous Muslim country, the only nuclear-armed Islamic state, and its normalisation will provide a good precedent for Saudi Arabia,” Haaretz said, adding that Riyadh has “a strong card for Islamabad, which is to provide a $2 billion loan to save the country.” Haaretz also noted that it was the Pakistani army, not the Prime Minister, that effectively administered Pakistani diplomacy, expecting the former to formalise relations with Tel Aviv, assuming that it would help him balance the broad defence deals between India and Israel.

السعودية راعية التطبيع مع العدوّ

الأخبار

موقع المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان :: ذكرى 14 آب: بين تموزين – إبراهيم الأمين*  – خاص موقع المقاومة الإسلامية

ابراهيم الأمين الإثنين 21 كانون الأول 2020

في معرض شرحه أو تبريره قبول السلطات المغربية الاتفاق العام مع العدوّ الإسرائيلي، يقول دبلوماسي مغربي إن السعودية كانت على الدوام لاعباً مهماً في هذا المجال. لا ينفي الدبلوماسي العلاقات التاريخية التي ربطت العائلة الحاكمة المغربية بالمنظّمات اليهودية العالمية، وانعكاس ذلك علاقات مع المنظمات الصهيونية الداعمة لإسرائيل. ويقرّ بأن العلاقات مع إسرائيل أكثر عمقاً من العلاقات التي ربطت حكام آل سعود مع العدو. لكنه يدعو الى الانتباه إلى أن السعودية كما الإمارات العربية المتحدة تقومان بدور «مموّل هذه الاتفاقات الجديدة»، لافتاً الى أن حزمة المساعدات التي أغرت الولايات المتحدة الدول العربية بها للتعجيل بهذه الخطوة، تستند في جانب منها الى دعم ستوفّره الرياض وأبو ظبي مباشرة، أو من خلال المشاركة في مشاريع استثمارية تقوم فيها إسرائيل بدور مباشر، ولا سيما على صعيد الخبرات اللوجستية والتقنية.

المسألة، هنا، لا تتعلق فقط بهذا الدور المساعد، بل بالخريطة الإجمالية لفكرة التحالف الاستراتيجي مع إسرائيل. لأن من فكر بأن دونالد ترامب استعجل اتفاقات التطبيع لاستثمارها في الانتخابات الأميركية، أدرك بأن الأمر لم يكن بنداً ساخناً على جدول أعمال الناخب الأميركي. حتى الكتلة اليهودية الناخبة لم تتأثّر فعلياً بهذه الأمور. ثمّة ما هو مختلف في مقاربة اليهود الأميركيين للانتخابات الداخلية الأميركية، وهو أمر له أثره على أمور كثيرة، من بينها التباين بين هذه الكتلة وبين رئيس حكومة العدوّ بنيامين نتنياهو. وهو تباين لا يجب البناء عليه بسذاجة من يفكر بأن هناك احتمالاً لانقلاب يهود أميركا على إسرائيل. لكن حدوده متعلقة بالمصالح الاستراتيجية للكتلة اليهودية داخل أميركا نفسها.

صحيح أن النفوذ الكبير ليهود الغرب يفيد من يتحالف معهم أو يخدم مصالحهم، ومن ضمنها إسرائيل، لكن حكام الخليج يحتاجون إلى هذه المؤسسة لاحتواء أي إشكال يقوم مع الغرب، ولمنع قيام علاقات بين الولايات المتحدة ودول مركزية في المنطقة، من دون الأخذ في الحسبان مصالحهم. صار السعوديون والإماراتيون على وجه التحديد، يتصرفون على أساس أن وجودهم مرتبط بتوفير عناصر الأمان على يد الغرب، وفي مقدمته أميركا. وهم، هنا، يشعرون بأن المعركة الوجودية التي قرروا أنهم في داخلها، تتطلب حرباً من نوع مختلف مع المحور المقابل. وعند هذا الحد، لا تعود العلاقات مع إسرائيل محل نقاش، بل ما يبقى للنقاش هو الشكل والإخراج المطلوب لمنع حصول ما ليس في الحسبان.

في إسرائيل ليس هناك من يتوهم بأن العلاقات مع حكومات الإمارات والسعودية والبحرين والسودان والمغرب كما مع حكومات مصر والأردن وقطر، يمكن أن تنعكس تحوّلاً في المزاج الشعبي في هذه الدول. لا بل إن الاستراتيجيين في كيان العدو، يعرفون أن الحكومات المطبّعة غير قادرة على ضرب فكرة المقاومة حيث تنمو.
عند هذا الحدّ، يصبح المهم والأهم هو المتعلق بالواقع الاستراتيجي الذي يخص المصالح الرئيسية لدول التحالف الجديد. السعودية والإمارات والبحرين مثلاً، هي من الدول التي تخشى على استقرار نظامها السياسي والأمني والاقتصادي أيضاً. وهي تعتقد بأن الحماية الأميركية لم تعد كافية، وأدركت تدريجاً، منذ عام 2011، أن الولايات المتحدة لم تعد قادرة على الوجود هنا، ولو بالأجرة. أما إسرائيل التي تدرك أيضاً منذ عام 2006 أنها لم تعد قادرة على خوض الحرب وحدها من دون دعم أميركي، فتظهر الخشية ليس من تمدّد محتمل لمحور المقاومة، وخصوصاً بعد الذي يجري في اليمن، بل من أن انهيار المنظومة الحالية في الخليج العربي سيضيق هامش الحركة الأميركية والأوروبية في هذه المنطقة. وهو ما يتطلّب الحضور الإسرائيلي المباشر. والعارفون بشؤون المنطقة يلمسون أن إسرائيل لم تعد تكتفي بما يردها من معلومات بالواسطة من هذه الساحات. ولم تعد تكتفي بشبكات المتعاونين معها مهما علت رتبهم. صار الوجود المباشر للأجهزة الإسرائيلية المعنية أمراً ضرورياً. وهو يتطلب مشروعية تسهّل الكثير من الأمور التي تبقى معقّدة مهما أتاحت لها الحكومات هوامش للحركة. الى جانب أمر آخر، يتعلق بفئة من المستثمرين الإسرائيليين الذين يريدون هذه السوق مباشرة، أو استخدامها للوصول الى أسواق يصعب الدخول إليها بشكل عادي والتي تمتد شرقاً حتى أفغانستان، وغرباً حتى إفريقيا.

ولذلك، يمكن العودة الى كلام الدبلوماسي المغربي، وفهم الدور السعودي المحوري والأساسي. بمعزل عما يظهر منه إلى العلن الآن أو في أي وقت آخر. السعودية، هنا، باتت حجر الزاوية لهذا التحالف الجديد. وعلى عاتقها مهمات كثيرة. وفي هذا السياق، يمكن فهم التدرّج في الخطوات السياسية وغير السياسية التي يقوم بها حكام آل سعود داخل الجزيرة العربية وخارجها من أجل تثبيت دعائم هذا التحالف.

تنشر «الأخبار» في ما يلي نصّ وثيقة مصدرها البريد السري داخل مراكز الحكم في السعودية، كتبها رئيس المخابرات السعودية خالد الحميدان إلى رئيسه وليّ العهد محمد بن سلمان، تتعلّق بملف التطبيع مع الإسرائيليين. وهو تقرير يشرح الخطوط العامة للتوجّه السعودي في كيفية التعامل مع هذا الملف.

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Persian Gulf in the US and Israel’s Sights

By Viktor Mikhin
Source: New Eastern Outlook

SLM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ميسم رزق 

الخميس 17 كانون الأول 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

إسرائيل اليوم موجودة في كل دولة عربية إلا لبنان


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

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

CURSE OF SAUDIS: TANKER EXPLOSIONS AND OTHER UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

South Front

A series of unfortunate events linked to the Saudi invasion in Yemen continues to pursue the Kingdom.

On December 14, an explosion hit the Singapore-flagged BW Rhine, a chemical tanker hauling gasoline, off the Saudi port city of Jeddah, which is also known as the distribution center for oil giant Saudi Aramco. The BW Group said that the explosion erupted after the Singapore-flagged BW Rhine was hit by “an external source”, but all 22 sailors on board received no injures. Later, Saudi media claimed that the explosion was caused by an attack with a water-born improvised explosive device. At the time of the attack, the ship was carrying more than 60,000 metric tons of gasoline from the Aramco refinery at Yanbu.

This is not the first attack in the Red Sea waters attributed to the Houthis. About three weeks ago, on November 25, a Greek-managed oil tanker was damaged in a WBIED attack on the Saudi petroleum terminal located near Jeddah. A few days earlier, on November 23, the Houthis struck the Jeddah distribution station with a Quds-2 cruise missile.

The developments in the Red Sea, one of the key areas of global maritime transportation of energy resources, come amid the increase in tensions between Iran and the US-Israeli bloc.

On November 27, the top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in an apparent US-Israeli plot outside of Tehran. This move contributed to the growth of tensions and Iran, expecting even more attacks before President Trump leaves office, even reinforced its defenses on the coast of the Persian Gulf. The Iranian leadership also promised to avenge the assassination. The increase of attacks on US-Israeli interests and their allies in the region is likely a part of this asymmetric response.

On December 14, Israeli media also reported a large-scale cyberattack on 40 Israeli firms working in the financial, technology and logistics sectors. On December 13, a “sophisticated hacking group backed by a foreign government” allegedly committed a cyber attack and stole information from the U.S. Treasury Department and a U.S. agency responsible for deciding policy reguarding the internet and telecommunications, according to reports in mainstream media. US “anonymous sources” expectedly accused the Russians, but there are more candidates.

In the coming weeks tensions will likely continue to grow in the Greater Middle East, as the United States and Israel are working to secure their recent diplomatic breakthroughs and are taking active steps to entrench the legacy of the 4 years of the Trump presidency.

Al-Qatif, The Prey of the House of Saud

Al-Qatif, The Prey of the House of Saud

By Latifa Al-Housseiny

Beirut – Saudi authorities are continuing to pursue a relenting campaign of harassment against the Eastern Province in general and al-Qatif in particular despite having their past practices and arbitrary violations exposed.

A few weeks ago, the security services launched a direct assault on prominent religious clerics in Al-Qatif. The residents in the governorate are accustomed to the recklessness of the regime and its unjustified, illegal, and illogical arrests. Each time, the House of Saud reinforces the narrative that it’s the seed of oppression and tyranny and against justice and fairness.

Their routine about their supposed respect for human rights is comical. It doesn’t convince any party that advocates for international humanitarian standards or any organization that considers freedom of opinion and expression its goal and slogan.

According to sources from inside al-Qatif, the abrupt security operations against the people and prominent figures in the region appear never ending.

Speaking to al-Ahed News, the sources reported a number of recent arrests and incursions in al-Qatif and al-Ahsa. They documented around 33 operations involving safe houses and rest houses. Meanwhile, 34 arrests were made, including scholars as well as young men and women through checkpoints and mass summonses.

Our sources indicate that 35 prisoners were arbitrarily detained for purely political reasons. They were tried in secret without any details of their judicial sessions being made public. This as their relatives were deprived of any information that might reassure them and give them a clear picture of their fate inside the prison cells.

Three women are among these oppressed prisoners. They are housed in a detention center after security forces stormed their homes. One woman belongs to the Suleiman al-Dakhil family that hails from Tarout Island. The other two women are members of the Abdel-Al Al-Tarouti family that hails from the Umm al-Jazm neighborhood.

The religious scholars Sayyed Khader Al-Awami, Sheikh Abbas Al-Saeed, and Sayyed Hashem Al-Shakhs share the same fate. They were kidnapped in broad daylight, and ambiguity surrounds the reasons for their imprisonment and their situation. Only one thing is known – they are held in the Mabahith prison in Dammam.

As for the latest information regarding the Husseini orator Mohamed Boujbara, who was arrested along with 14 others for filming a video in Barr Al-Asfar in Al-Ahsa on the occasion of Arbaeen, our sources indicate that he was transferred to the Dammam prison.

One of the grimmer developments involves the demolition of the Imam Hussein [AS] Mosque in Al-Zara, south of Al-Awamiyah. Authorities tore down the mosque a few days ago.

The move is seen as a dangerous escalation that would be interpreted as an abhorrent targeting of everyone who raised their voices against the House of Saud, especially since martyr Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr led the prayers there and guided worshippers to truth and to ward off injustice.

So far, the daily incursions have affected 15 towns in the al-Qatif Governorate, resulting in an increase in the number of detainees to more than 200 from al-Awamiyah alone. This only portends the worst as long as the Saudi leadership ignores human rights appeals and is concerned only with stifling freedoms.

Saudi Arabia’s abominable human rights record

November 30, 2020 – 11:33

By Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman is an American award-winning author, syndicated columnist, and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

Like the U.S., Israel, and other rogue states, the Saudis operate by their own rules in flagrant violation of international laws, norms, and standards. It’s the world’s head-chopping/public whippings capital. Anyone can be targeted for exercising free expression, human rights activism, or other forms of dissent against despotic rule.

They’re also vulnerable for not praying at designated times, improper dress code, non-observance of gender segregation, and other nonconformity with Wahhabi extremism.

Its documented high crimes include state-sponsored murder, torture, arbitrary arrests, and detentions, supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups, partnering in U.S. regional wars, banning free elections, denying due process and judicial fairness, prohibiting religious freedom, human trafficking, kidnappings, committing crimes of war and against humanity, along with virtually every other rule of law breach imaginable.

In mid-November, the London Daily Mail reported the following: “Saudi interrogators forced jailed women’s rights activists to perform sex acts, hung them from ceilings and ‘tortured’ them with electric shocks,” citing a report, titled: “A Stain on World Leaders and the G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia: The shameful detention and torture of Saudi women.”

The report explained that in May 2018, “10 human rights defenders who had successfully campaigned” to end the prohibition against women driving were arrested and detained. 

Weeks later, nine more arrests and detentions followed. Targeted individuals were activists for women’s rights in the kingdom. A few are males who support gender equality were also arrested. Most individuals targeted remain detained. It was learned that they were “subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading conditions of detention, solitary confinement, and unfair trial processes.”

In the report, human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy called on G20 nations to boycott the virtual November 21-22 Riyadh summit until wrongfully detained women are free. Other charges included forcing them to watch pornography, along with performing other sexual acts on interrogators.

One detained woman was reportedly told: “I’ll do whatever I like to you, and then I’ll dissolve you and flush you down the toilet.” Another woman said Saudi King Salman’s younger brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman, oversaw what went on, at one point saying:  “I can do anything I like to you.”

Commenting on her report, Baroness Kennedy said horrendous abuses endured by detained women in the kingdom wouldn’t be tolerated in “decent nation(s),” adding: “Being expected to deliver for interrogators, what that has done to the soul of a woman is so terrible.”

Saudi abuses against nonviolent activist women are typical of how their ruling authorities always operate — showing contempt for the rights of ordinary people, tolerating no dissent.

Crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is the kingdom’s torturer assassin-in-chief. He personally signed off on the October 2018 brutal murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. In 2017, he arrested and detained hundreds of royal family members and Saudi businessmen. Held under house arrest at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, they were forced to pay tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in cash and assets to the regime for release — MBS grand theft on the phony pretext of rooting out corruption. 

He consolidated power by eliminating rivals and terrorizing potential ones. Royal family members, Saudi businessmen, and others in the kingdom not willing to affirm loyalty to his rule risk arrest, detention, torture, and elimination.

Since appointed crown prince in June 2017 — gaining power because his of father’s mental and physical deterioration — he’s ruthlessly gone all-out to solidify it unchallenged. He likely OK’s sexual and other torture of detained women activists.

UN secretary-general Guterres is largely silent about Western, Israeli and Saudi high crimes, serving their interests instead of condemning them. As long as Saudi Arabia is oil-rich, its wealth used to invest in Western countries and buy their weapons, as well as partnering in their regional wars, their ruling authorities will turn a blind eye to the worst of kingdom high crimes.
 

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SAUDI ARABIA FELLS VICTIM TO EXCHANGE OF ASYMMETRICAL STRIKES BETWEEN IRAN AND ISRAEL

South Front

In the Middle East the Houthi-Iranian alliance continues to harass forces of the Saudi-Israeli-US bloc with renewed vigour.

On November 25, a Greek-managed oil tanker was damaged in an attack on a Saudi petroleum terminal located near the Red Sea city of Jeddah. Col. Turki Al-Malki, a spokesman for the coalition, said the tanker was hit by shrapnel resulting from an attack by the Yemeni Houthis using a water-born improvised explosive device. The spokesman claimed that the WBIED was intercepted. Nevertheless, the tanker’s operator, the Athens-based TMS Tankers, said the Maltese-flagged Agrari received a direct hit.

“The Agrari was struck about one meter above the waterline and has suffered a breach,” the company said in a statement. “It has been confirmed that the crew are safe and there have been no injuries. No pollution has been reported. The vessel is in ballast condition and stable.”

The Saudi Ministry of Energy said firefighters had extinguished a fire that had erupted after the attack. A spokesman for the ministry stressed that Aramco’s fuel supplies to its customers were not affected by the incident. At the same time, satellite images show a large oil spill off the shores of Jeddah’s terminal.

The Houthis (also known as Ansar Allah) have not claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the usage of WBIEDs by the movement was widely documented in the previous years of war.

Just a few days ago, on November 23, the Houthis struck a Saudi Aramco oil company distribution station near Jeddah with a Quds-2 cruise missile. According to the Yemeni movement, the missile was developed and produced by its Missile Forces. Nonetheless, the Houthi successes in missile and drone development during a total naval and air blockade would hardly be possible without Iranian help.

In these conditions, it is interesting to look at the timeframe of the Houthi strikes on Saudi Arabia. The movement says that its strikes on Saudi military and oil infrastructure are retaliatory actions to regular acts of Saudi aggression against Yemen, including airstrikes on civilian targets. Years after the ‘victorious’ Saudi intervention in Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition has still not been able to even reach the country’s capital. So, the Kingdom uses its air dominance to punish the Yemenis for their own setbacks on the battleground. However, it seems that there is one more factor motivating the Houthis. Both recent attacks on Saudi Arabia took place after Israeli strikes on Iranian-affiliated targets in Syria.

Here is the timeframe: On November 18, the Israeli Air Force struck the countryside of Damascus and the south of Syria. On November 23, a cruise missile hit the Saudi Aramco distribution station near Jeddah. Early on November 25, the Israeli military once again launched missiles at Iranian targets near Damascus and in the south. Later on the same day, a WBIED targeted a Saudi terminal off the Red Sea. The slightly delayed response to the November 18 strike could be explained by the fact that the Houthi-Iranian alliance needed a few days to prepare for the resumption of actions against Saudi targets, which were on a relative decrease in the preceding months due to the Houthi focus on the ground offensive in the Yemeni province of Marib and nearby areas. As to Iranian sources, they  are as expected denying any links between Israeli strikes on Syria and missiles, drones and WBIEDs  targetting Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, the Kingdom’s role as lamb to the slaughter in the ongoing regional standoff between Iranian-led forces and the Israeli-US bloc is not news to independent observers. Saudi Arabia predetermined its current position with its own launching of the failed military intervention in Yemen and by actively aligning itself with Israel in both public and clandestine dimensions.

لقاء نتنياهو وابن سلمان.. لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟

المصدر: الميادين نت

أليف صباغ

أليف صباغ

محلل سياسي مختصّ بالشأن الإسرائيلي

مشاريع “السلام” الاقتصادية لا يمكن أن تخرج إلى حيّز التنفيذ من دون علاقات رسمية بين السعودية و”إسرائيل”، حتى لو طبَّعت الأخيرة مع السودان والإمارات والبحرين.

لقاء نتنياهو وابن سلمان.. لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟
لقاء نتنياهو وابن سلمان.. لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟

انشغل العالم مؤخراً باللقاء “السري” بين رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلية بنيامين نتنياهو وولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان في مدينة “نيوم” السعودية، بمشاركة رئيس “الموساد” الإسرائيلي يوسي كوهين، وبرعاية وزير الخارجية الأميركي مارك بومبيو.

 قبل انتهاء اللقاء، كان أحد المقربين من نتنياهو قد سرَّب خبراً عنه، يقول فيه إنّ “سيّده” يقوم في هذا الوقت “بصنع السلام”، ما أثار حماس وسائل الإعلام لمعرفة سبب إلغاء نتنياهو اجتماعاً كان مقرراً في ساعات المساء. 

في الليلة ذاتها، وقبل إغلاق الصّحف اليومية، سُرّب الخبر أيضاً، وبشكل أوضح بكثير، إلى وسائل إعلام أميركية وإسرائيلية سمحت لها الرقابة بنشره، ويفترض أنه سري للغاية! يقول الخبر إنَّ الطّرفين بحثا مواضيع مهمّة، ولكنّهما لم يتوصّلا إلى اتفاق جوهري.

فجأة، أنكر وزير الخارجية السعودي مشاركة نتنياهو في الاجتماع، ولكنَّ مسؤولين كباراً في المملكة أكَّدوا لوسائل الإعلام الأميركية والإسرائيلية، موقع “واي نت” وصحيفة “هآرتس” و”إسرائيل اليوم”، المقربة جداً إلى نتنياهو، مشاركة نتنياهو في الاجتماع. ليس ذلك جديداً، فالعشق بين الإنكار والاعتراف هو قصة يعيشها الطرفان زمناً طويلاً تعدى مائة عام من الزمن، وانتقل من الأجداد إلى الأبناء، وابتُلي به الأحفاد أيضاً.

هنا، يُسأل السؤال: ما المواضيع التي تهم الطرفين، الإسرائيلي والسعودي، في هذه الأيام، وخصوصاً أن إدارة ترامب الجمهورية تقضي أسابيعها الأخيرة، لتأتي بدلاً منها إدارة جديدة برئاسة جو بايدن الديموقراطي؟ هل ترعى الإدارة الجديدة هذا العشق، كما رعته الإدارة المنتهية ولايتها وأرادت تحويله إلى زواج رسمي أم أنها ستبقيه عشقاً يحلم به الطرفان ويختلفان على المهر المقدم والمؤخر؟

لا يختلف مراقبان على أن المواضيع التي ناقشها الطرفان أو التي تهمهما كالتالي:

أولاً، يتفق الطرفان على موقفهما المعادي لإيران، الصامدة في وجه الإمبريالية الأميركية وطموحات الغطرسة الإسرائيلية في منطقة الشرق الأوسط، وعلى ضرورة قيام إدارة ترامب بعملية عسكرية ضدها أو إبقائها تحت العقوبات الاقتصادية المشددة حتى تخضع من دون قيد أو شرط.

لا شكّ في أنّ هذا الموضوع مرتبط بالموقف من سوريا التي تقاوم الإرهاب، ومن حزب الله الذي تتعاظم قوته في وجه “إسرائيل”. وعليه، يتفقان أيضاً على أن ما يخيفهما أو يقلقهما هو أن الإدارة الجديدة قد تنتهج نهجاً آخر لا يحقّق لهما رغبتهما في المواجهة العسكرية مع إيران. من هنا، يتفقان على ضرورة إشهار هذا التحالف غير الرسمي، في رسالة إلى الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة، خشية أن تعود إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، من دون الأخذ بعين الاعتبار رغبة السعودية و”إسرائيل”.

ثانياً، يتفق الطرفان أيضاً، وفق ما جاء في وسائل الإعلام التي اعتمدت على مصادر إسرائيلية وسعودية كبرى، على أن هذه العلاقة ستشهد تطبيعاً في المستقبل، ولكنّ السعودية تشترطه بشروطها، في حين تريده “إسرائيل” مجانياً. تشترط السعودية أن يكون التطبيع بعد الاتفاق الإسرائيلي مع الفلسطينيين وفق المبادرة السعودية منذ العام 2002، وهو ما صرّح به علناً وزير الخارجية السعودي، فيصل بن فرحان، قبل حصول اللقاء أيضاً. هذا هو شرط الملك سلمان بن عبد العزيز، تقول المصادر، على الأقل لحفظ ماء الوجه، لكن من يضمن استمرار هذا الشرط في حال توفي الملك سلمان وورثه ابنه محمد المتحمس للتحالف مع “إسرائيل”؟ 

ثالثاً، إن الشرط الثاني للسعودية، والذي تحدَّث عنه ابن سلمان في اللقاء المذكور، هو السماح لها بأن تقيم جمعيات في القدس الشرقية وأن تموّلها، لصد التغلغل التركي في القدس كذلك في الحرم القدسي بشكل خاص. كما طلب ابن سلمان من نتنياهو بأن يسمح بإدخال ممثلين عن السعودية في دائرة الأوقاف الإسلامية في القدس، لتحجيم دور الجهات الأخرى، من مثل الأردن وتركيا. 

تفيد مصادر سعوديّة مطّلعة أيضاً بأنّ ابن سلمان يخشى عقوبات أميركية ضده شخصياً في ظل إدارة بايدن. وعليه، فهو يرى في “إسرائيل” حليفاً قادراً على مساعدته لتخفيف اليد الأميركية عنه. من هنا، لا يريد أن يتنازل عن كلّ أوراقه مسبقاً، فقد حصل أأن تنازل لترامب عما يقارب نصف ترليون دولار، ولم يحصل على ما يريد لغاية الآن. 

في المقابل، ووفقاً للتقديرات الإسرائيلية، فإنَّ السعودية هي “مركز المحور العربي لمناهضة إيران”، فهل تتنازل “إسرائيل” عن هذا الدور بسهولة؟ وهل هي مستعدة لأن تدفع الثمن للسعودية بالعملة الفلسطينية؟ سؤال يبقى على الطاولة، وينبئ بلقاءات مستقبلية إضافية، وربما تعقيدات أيضاً. 

رابعاً: ماذا عن اليمن والضغوط الأميركية المتوقعة على السعودية لوقف الحرب الوحشية عليها، والتي لم تحقق أي إنجاز للسعودية، وكانت نتائجها كارثية لغاية الآن على الشعب اليمني وأطفاله وبنيته التحتية، وعلى الاقتصاد السعودي أيضاً؟ وهل تقدم “إسرائيل” أي مساعدة إضافية في ملف اليمن في ظلّ إدارة بايدن؟ ألم يتعلَّم السعوديون وغيرهم أنّ “إسرائيل” لا ترى فيهم إلا سوقاً لبضاعتها وأداة لتنفيذ مخططاتها الاستراتيجية، وإن قدمت لهم سلاحاً على شكل قواعد مضادة للصواريخ أو خبراء أو طيارين، فذلك لمصالح مادية، ولتوريط العرب بمجازر ضد بعضهم البعض، وهو ما يفيد “إسرائيل” ويزيد من نفوذها في الشرق الأوسط على المدى القريب والبعيد.

ماذا يخفي التطبيع الرسمي من مشاريع؟ 

من يراجع تاريخ ما نشر عن المشاريع الاستراتيجية للحركة الصهيونية، المتمثلة بـ”إسرائيل”، في الشرق الأوسط، يدرك أنَّ تلك المشاريع لن تخرج إلى حيز التنفيذ إلا بعد إقامة علاقات سياسية بين “إسرائيل” وبلدان الخليج العربية، أهمّها مشاريع مد أنابيب النفط والغاز من الخليج المنتِج إلى أوروبا عبر الأراضي السعودية، ومنها إلى الشواطئ والموانئ الإسرائيلية، إضافةً إلى سكة حديد تشقّ دول الخليج والأردن والعراق، وشوارع وطرقات سريعة مخطّطة وجاهزة للتنفيذ تربط بين هذه الدول والبحر المتوسط عبر “إسرائيل”، ومشاريع أمنية كبرى تحول البحر الأحمر إلى محور أمني للتعاون السعودي الإسرائيلي بالأساس ضد إيران وتركيا وغيرهما. 

كل هذه المشاريع لا يمكن أن تخرج إلى حيّز التنفيذ من دون علاقات رسمية بين السعودية و”إسرائيل”، حتى لو طبَّعت الأخيرة مع السودان والإمارات والبحرين. تبقى السعودية هي “المحور الأساس”، كما يراها الإسرائيليون.

لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟

انتقد بيني غانتس، رئيس الحكومة البديل، نتنياهو، لتسريب هذه اللقاءات السرية إلى العلن، معتبراً ذلك إهمالاً للمسؤولية وإضراراً بمصلحة “إسرائيل”. وأضاف: “لقد قمت بنشاطات سرية كثيرة في حياتي، ومنها ما كان بتوجيه من نتنياهو، ولكنني لم أصرح عنها”، متهماً نتنياهو بتفضيل المصلحة الشخصية على مصلحة “إسرائيل”. 

أما نتنياهو، فإضافة إلى المكسب الشخصي من تسريب هذه اللقاءات، فهو ليس أول رئيس حكومة يسرب لقاءات سرية مع زعماء عرب، فقد اعتادت الصحافة الإسرائيلية أن تنشر عن لقاءات سرية بموافقة الرقابة العسكرية، وغالباً ما يكون ذلك “نقلاً عن وسائل إعلام أجنبية”، والهدف منه يكون دقّ أكبر ما يمكن من أسافين الشكّ والريبة بين الزعماء العرب، ونزع ثقة المواطن العربي بقيادات نظامه، فيضعف النظام والزعامات المتعاونة، وتصبح أكثر عرضة للابتزاز.

وحين ينزع المواطن العربي ثقته بزعامته، ويرى أنها تتعاون مع العدو، فهل سيحارب عدوه من أجل نظام خائن لشعبه؟ وهل سيمتنع رجل الأعمال عن التعاون مع “إسرائيل”، وهو يعلم أنَّ نظامه رئيسه أو ملكه أو أميره غارق في علاقاته معها؟ إنَّ الهدف الأساس من الإعلان عن هذه اللقاءات هو كيّ العصب الوطني أو ما يُسمى “كيّ الوعي” لدى جماهير الشعب، ليسهل عليها ابتلاع التطبيع والخيانة.

هذا اللقاء الأخير ليس الأخير في مسلسل العشق الممنوع بين الحركة الصهيونية والحركة الوهابية، المتمثلة بمملكة آل سعود، فقد سبق ذلك لقاءات علنية وأخرى سرية في “إسرائيل” والسعودية وأوروبا وأميركا، ورسائل غرام منها ما بقي في السر ومنها ما خرج إلى العلن، ومبادرات استرضاء منسقة مسبقاً برعاية بريطانية أو أميركية منذ مائة سنة تقريباً وحتى اليوم. ولم تكن مبادرة الأمير فهد في العام 1981 إلا واحدة منها، مروراً بمبادرة الملك عبد الله في العام 2002 وحتى اتفاقيات إبراهام بين “إسرائيل” والبحرين والإمارات التي أجريت بمباركة سعودية. 

كلّ هذا المبادرات تأتي ضمن علاقات تاريخية تهدف إلى استرضاء “إسرائيل”، لتضمن الأخيرة في المقابل هيمنها على الشرق الأوسط، إلا أنها لم ترضَ ولن ترضى حتى يصبح الجميع عبيداً مستسلمين لها، كما هي عقيدتها التلمودية.

أما نتيجة هذا كله، فهو ليس إلا مزيداً من الضغط العربي على الفلسطينيين للتنازل عن حقوقهم. ورغم كل التنازلات التي قدَّمها الفلسطينيون على مدى عقود، وغداة كل مبادرة سعودية، فإنَّ ذلك لم يحفّز “إسرائيل” المتغطرسة إلا على طلب المزيد من التنازلات والمزيد من الهيمنة، فهل يفهم العرب عامة، والفلسطينيون خاصة، أن سياسة الاسترضاء، استرضاء المتغطرس، هي التي أوصلتهم إلى هذا الحضيض، وأن نهج المقاومة هو وحده الذي أجبر “إسرائيل” على التراجع في محطات مختلفة من هذا الصراع؟

MBS said he would be killed by his ‘own people’ if Riyadh normalised ties with Israel: Report

Billionaire Haim Saban claims crown prince made remarks after UAE and Bahrain’s deals with Israel, Haaretz reports

Mohammed bin Salman is the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia
US President Donald Trump has suggested Saudi Arabia may recognise Israel (AFP/File photo)

By MEE staff
Published date: 23 October 2020

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban he would fear for his life if he struck a normalisation deal with Israel, Haaretz reported.

The Saudi crown prince, also known by his initials MBS, said following in the steps of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain would get him “killed by Iran, by Qatar and my own people”, Saban said.

The entertainment mogul made the claim at a pro-Biden online campaign event on Wednesday entitled “Israel’s Security and Prosperity in a Biden White House”, hosted by Florida for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Haaretz reported.

The UAE and Bahrain, which closely coordinate their foreign policies with Saudi Arabia, normalised relations with Israel in August, cementing the move with a signing ceremony at the White House last month.

Saban, a billionaire who founded the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, was one of the few Democrats present when the agreements, dubbed the Abraham Accords, were signed on 15 September.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia to also agree to closer ties with Israel in the coming months.Arab populations continue to oppose normalisation with Israel, survey shows

Read More »

His comments came shortly after Sudan became the third Arab country in recent months to normalise ties with Israel.

Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud said the kingdom would not recognise Israel until there was a return to Israel-Palestine negotiations.

Saban, a longtime donor to the Democratic party, also used his platform at Wednesday’s online event to praise presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden’s “47 years of commitment” to Israel.

“All Jews in America that care about the US-Israel alliance know they can sleep peacefully under a Biden presidency,” he said.

The normalisation deals have largely been met positively among both Democrats and Republicans.

The billionaire also claimed that President Donald Trump played a minor role in securing the Abraham Accords, while most of the credit should go to his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

“All of the credit should be going to Jared Kushner and [his aide] Avi Berkowitz, who worked really hard on it,” said Saban.

Trump has highlighted the Arab normalisation deals with Israel as major achievements as he seeks another term in 3 November elections, with his evangelical Christian base widely supportive of Israel.

Still, the normalisation deals have outraged Palestinians, who have called them “a stab in the back”, pointing out that they reward Israel and allow it to continue its illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as its siege of Gaza.

recent survey found that, despite the moves by the UAE and Bahrain, a majority of Arab populations continue to strongly oppose normalisation with Israel.

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

نتنياهو في جزيرة العرب

الجزيرة العربية

فؤاد إبراهيم

الثلاثاء 24 تشرين الثاني 2020

نتنياهو في جزيرة العرب
تتشكّل خريطة جيوسياسية جديدة وتعيد رسم المشهد الشرق الأوسطي (أ ف ب )

كتب الأمير تركي الفيصل، رئيس الاستخبارات العامة السعودية سابقاً والسفير السعودي السابق في لندن وواشنطن، رسالة في 7 تموز/ يوليو 2014، موجّهة إلى “مؤتمر إسرائيل للسلام” في تل أبيب، جاء فيها: “تخيّلوا أني أستطيع ركوب الطائرة من الرياض وأطير مباشرة إلى القدس.. يا لها من لذة ألّا أدعو الفلسطينيين فقط، بل الإسرائيليين الذين سألقاهم أيضاً، ليأتوا لزيارتي في الرياض، حيث يستطيعون التجوّل في بيت آبائي في الدرعية التي تشبه معاناتها التي نالتها من قهر إبراهيم باشا معاناة القدس على يد نبوخذ نصر والرومان”.

لم تكن تلك من تنبّؤات نوستراداموس، بل هو قرار مضمر منذ عقود، وضعه بن غوريون، أحد مؤسّسي الكيان، نصب أهدافه قائلاً: “إن المصالحة التاريخية بين اليهود والعرب لن تتمّ إلا على يد آل سعود”. في المقابل، آمن الملوك السعوديون بأن شرط وجود كيانهم واستقراره ليس في تعزيز ثقة الشعب، وإنما في بناء تحالف مع الدولة العبرية برعاية أميركية.

زيارة رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي، بنيامين نتنياهو، لجدّة، ومدينة “نيوم” السياحية على وجه التحديد، يوم الأحد الماضي، ولقاؤه ولي العهد السعودي، محمد بن سلمان، سوف تبقى شأناً إعلامياً إسرائيلياً لبعض الوقت، قبل أن تتلقّفه وسائل الإعلام الغربية والأميركية، مع تمنّع سعودي خجول قبل أن يصبح واقعاً، ويتولّى الإعلام السعودي نفسه الدفاع عنه والتطبيل له. وهكذا هي قصة التطبيع السعودي ــــ الإسرائيلي، يبدأ بتسريب خبر في الإعلام العبري، ثمّ يكتسب صدقية بنسبة الخبر إلى مسؤول إسرائيلي يكشف عن هويته لاحقاً، ثم ينتشر فيصبح واقعاً لا يقاوَم.
ما يلفت في خبر الزيارة ليس أصل حصولها، بل ردّ الفعل عليها؛ إذ إنها كانت واردة على الدوام، في ظلّ التسريبات المتلاحقة منذ شهور حول قرب توقيع “اتفاقية سلام” بين الرياض وتل أبيب، والمصمّمة لغرض تأهيل الأجواء لبلوغ التطبيع حيّز الإعلان. السؤال هنا: هل الهرولة السعودية نحو التطبيع تأتي وفق حسابات محلية، كما هي الحال بالنسبة إلى نتنياهو المأزوم داخلياً، أم هي مؤسَّسة على حسابات وطنية وقومية ودينية؟ الجواب كلا، ببساطة لأن شعب الجزيرة العربية في غالبيته الساحقة لا يتمنى اليوم الذي تطأ فيه أقدام الصهاينة جزيرة العرب.

اضطلاع الرياض بدور الموجّه الخفيّ لمسيرة التطبيع في صيغتها الأخيرة، كما ظهرت في تدشين علاقات طبيعية بين الكيان الإسرائيلي وكلّ من الإمارات والبحرين والسودان، ليس منفصلاً عن أدوار سابقة طبعت مسيرة تطبيع تعود إلى عام 1981، حين تَقدّم وليّ العهد حينذاك، فهد بن عبد العزيز، الملك لاحقاً، بأوّل “مبادرة سلام” تتضمّن، من بين بنودها الثمانية، اعترافاً جماعياً بالكيان الإسرائيلي. أريد للمبادرة حينذاك أن تكون “مشروعاً عربياً”، كما أراده فهد في قمّة فاس، ولكن اعتراض عدد من الأنظمة العربية إلى جانب قيادة “منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية”، أفضى إلى سحب المشروع من التداول، وأسبغ عليه صفة “المشروع السعودي”.

نحن أمام معادلة جديدة ربح فيها الإسرائيلي المعركة، وأَخرج السعودية من سوق المزيدات


أثارت المبادرة السعودية أسئلة مشروعة عن الدوافع والغايات، بالنظر إلى قرب عهد العرب بصدمة توقيع الرئيس المصري الأسبق، أنور السادات، اتفاقية سلام مع الكيان الإسرائيلي. كانت الإجابة تَتطلّب قراءة مختلفة لسياق الوقائع الإقليمية والدولية. إذ إن المنطقة كانت تشهد حينذاك تحوّلاً كونياً على وقع الثورة الإسلامية الإيرانية وتداعياتها داخلياً (انتفاضة الحرم بقيادة جهيمان العتيبي في تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر 1979، وانتفاضة المحرّم في المنطقة الشرقية في كانون الأول/ ديسمبر من العام نفسه)، وخليجياً (انتفاضة شعبية في البحرين في كانون الأول/ ديسمبر 1979، وتالياً محاولة قلب نظام الحكم في 1981)، إلى جانب التداعيات العربية والدولية. أدركت السعودية، في وقت مبكر، أن سقوط أحد العمودين المتساندين، أي إيران، يتطلّب إجراءً عاجلاً للحيلولة دون سقوط العمود الآخر. كما أدركت الرياض، حينذاك، أن الوصول إلى قلب البيت الأبيض يمرّ عبر تل أبيب، وهذا ما ظهر جليّاً في كلّ الأزمات التي واجهت الرياض على مدى أربعة عقود. في آذار/ مارس 2002، تقدّم ولي العهد، عبد الله بن عبد العزيز، الملك لاحقاً، بـ”مبادرة سلام” أخرى معدّلة، تضمن حق الكيان الإسرائيلي في الوجود، ولا تتمسّك بحق العودة كثابت غير قابل للنقاش.

كانت السعودية في أسوأ حالاتها، ولأول مرة يتمّ تصنيفها بـ”بؤرة الشر” من قِبَل الحليف الأميركي، على خلفية اتهامات لها بالضلوع في هجمات الحادي عشر من أيلول/ سبتمبر. مَثّلت المبادرة السعودية، التي أُعلن عنها في “قمة بيروت” محاولة لفكّ العزلة الدولية وتلميع صورة النظام السعودي، بصفته الراعي الرسمي لأيديولوجية الكراهية العابرة للقارات. لم تحظ المبادرة بتوافق رسمي عربي، على الرغم من الجهود الكثيفة التي بذلتها الرياض لسنوات طويلة، وتخلّلتها نشاطات تطبيعية، من بينها لقاءات الأمير تركي الفيصل، وعادل الجبير، السفير السعودي ووزير الخارجية سابقاً ووزير الدولة للشؤون الخارجية حالياً، مع مسؤولين إسرائيليين مثل تسيبي ليفني، وزيرة خارجية الكيان سابقاً، ورئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلية الأسبق إيهود باراك في تموز/ يوليو 2013 وآخرين، إضافة إلى مشاركات مكثّفة في ندوات أمنية وسياسية برعاية إسرائيلية، ولقاءات مع مسؤولين إسرائيليين في الخليج وفي عواصم أوروبية وأميركية.

تلزيم “صفقة القرن” لوليّ العهد، محمد بن سلمان، شرطُ تتويج. وقد أمضى الرجل عامَي 2018 و2019 من أجل إقناع الأردن والسلطة الفلسطينية على نحو الخصوص بمتطلّبات الصفقة، وعلى رأسها التخلّي عن القدس الشرقية وحق العودة. كان سقف المطلب السعودي، ومِن خلفه الأميركي والإسرائيلي، عالياً إلى القدر الذي مسّ بصميم السيادة الفلسطينية والشرعية الدينية والتاريخية للعائلة الهاشمية، ناهيك عن رفض كثير من الدول العربية مشروع سلام لا يقوم على حلّ الدولتين ولا تكون القدس الشرقية فيه عاصمة للدولة الفلسطينية.

في النتائج، لم يكن الخروج على المبادرة العربية بنسختها السعودية قراراً إماراتياً أو بحرانياً أو حتى سودانياً، بل كان قراراً سعودياً بالدرجة الأولى. سِجلّ التطبيع منذ مطلع الألفية حتى الآن كان يحمل البصمة السعودية، وقد تكفّلت الإمبراطورية الإعلامية التي يديرها الملك سلمان وأبناؤه والوليد بن طلال وخالد بن سلطان بمهمّة التطبيع النفسي والثقافي والإعلامي. لقد عبث الإعلام السعودي بسيكولوجية الرأي العام الخليجي، وإلى حدّ ما العربي، حتى باتت فكرة التطبيع وحضور المسؤول الإسرائيلي في المنتديات الخليجية بدرجة أساسية أمراً مألوفاً. وللقارئ تخيُّل ردود الفعل، إن وُجدت، على زيارة نتنياهو لبلاد الحرمين، ولقائه وليّ العهد السعودي في مكان لا يبعد سوى أقلّ من مئة كيلومتر عن مكة المكرمة.

لا فائدة مرجوّة من النفي السعودي أو من الصمت الرسمي الإسرائيلي، طالما أن ركب التطبيع يسير كما تَقرّر سعودياً وإسرائيلياً وأميركياً. فنحن أمام خريطة جيوسياسية جديدة تتشكّل وتعيد رسم المشهد الشرق الأوسطي، على وقع انقسامات في النظام الرسمي العربي، واختلال موازين قوى إقليمية ودولية.

خطورة زيارة نتنياهو ليست في الأجندة المباشرة المعلَن عنها، لأن في ذلك تبسيطاً للمستور من أصل العلاقة، بل وأصل الشراكة الاستراتيجية التي سوف تفرض نفسها في العلاقات البينية العربية والإقليمية والدولية. نحن أمام معادلة جديدة ربح فيها الإسرائيلي المعركة، وأَخرج السعودية، شريكه الاستراتيجي، من سوق المزيدات. إذ لم تعد فلسطين بالنسبة إلى الرياض قضية، فضلاً عن كونها القضية، بل باتت العبء الذي تريد الخلاص منه، وهذه المرّة تفعل ذلك بنحر “مبادرة السلام” التي تبنّتها سابقاً، على علّاتها.

زيارة نتنياهو لجزيرة العرب هي تدشين لتاريخ جديد، يضع شعب الجزيرة العربية أمام خيارين: إما القبول بأن يكتب نتنياهو وابن سلمان هذا التاريخ بحبر الخيانة، أو أن يكتبه الشعب بدم التحرير من عار يرتكبه آل سعود بحق شعب يأبى إلا أن يكون مع فلسطين بلا شروط.

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