‘Fattah’: Iran’s New Home-Grown Hypersonic Missile (Video & Photos)

 June 6, 2023

The Aerospace Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled on Tuesday an advanced hypersonic ballistic missile, a new home-grown achievement scored by the Islamic Republic.

The hypersonic missile, named ‘Fattah’, was unveiled by the IRGC in Tehran at a ceremony attended by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Chief Commander of the IRGC Major General Hossein Salami and the Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh.


The projectile, whose name has been chosen by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, has a range of 1,400 kilometers.

‘Fattah’, new advanced hypersonic ballistic missile.

The missile’s warhead has a spherical engine running on solid fuel with a movable nozzle that allows the missile to move in all directions, Tasnim news agency reported.

Due to having great tactical capabilities, Fattah hypersonic ballistic missile can fly at very high speeds and perform various maneuvers in and out of earth’s atmosphere.

Gen. Hajizadeh

Speaking in a ceremony, IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Brigadier General Hajizadeh said that by unveiling the ‘Fattah’ hypersonic ballistic missile today, Iran now became one of the four countries in the world that have this technology.

IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Brigadier General Hajizadeh

Fattah missile cannot be destroyed by any missile due to its movement in different directions and heights, he added.

Stating that the speed of the Fattah missile is Mach 13, the commander said that a missile with such speed will be impossible to be confronted.

Last week, Hajizadeh said the homegrown hypersonic ballistic missile has undergone all tests.

The new missile can penetrate all air defense missile systems and detonate the enemy’s anti-missile systems, the top Iranian commander added last week.

Only a handful of countries, including the US, China, Russia and North Korea have mastered the technology to manufacture hypersonic missiles.

SourceMehr News Agency

’Fattah’: Iran’s Latest Disclosed Military Achievement

 June 6, 2023

By Al-Ahed News

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Hamas, PIJ leaders meet with Egyptian intelligence to discuss Gaza truce

June 05 2023

(Photo Credit: AFP)

The high-level meeting came one day after an Egyptian soldier ambushed and killed three Israeli border guards

By News Desk

The head of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, and the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Ziad al-Nakhala, on 4 June met with Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo to discuss the truce between the Israeli government and the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip.

According to sources familiar with the talks that spoke with UK-based Qatari news outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the resistance leaders reviewed “highly sensitive files” during talks described as “the first of their kind regarding the situation in the Gaza Strip.”

The new truce arrangements would reportedly include a “broader role for Cairo in terms of presence in Gaza,” something that requires the approval of the resistance groups.

A fragile ceasefire has been in effect in the besieged Gaza Strip since mid-May. The deal was reached after five days of battle that saw the PIJ fire hundreds of rockets into Israeli settlements in response to the targeted assassination of the group’s leaders.

Egyptian security officials are reportedly discussing the Gaza crisis with their Iranian counterparts.

Last week, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ordered the foreign ministry to actively pursue the resumption of diplomatic relations with Egypt.

Raisi’s order was given one day after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq in Tehran that the Islamic Republic has “no objection” to normalization with Egypt.

In 1979, following the success of the Iranian revolution, Tehran severed diplomatic relations with Egypt over the signing of the Camp David Accords the year earlier, which saw Cairo and Tel Aviv end decades of hostility between them.

Relations were further damaged in 1980 when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat hosted Iran’s former Shah, the western-backed Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Following this was Egyptian support for Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war.

The talks between Palestinian resistance leaders and Egyptian intelligence came one day after an Egyptian soldier ambushed and killed three Israeli border guards.

The unprecedented attack spiked fears among Israeli commentators that the attack was part of a “multi-front war” being waged by resistance forces in Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon, and supported by Iran, which “weakens Israeli deterrence.”


ceasefire PalestinePIJ

Iran Marks Death Anniversary of Imam Khomeini

 June 4, 2023

Imam Sayyed Rouhullah Khomeini

The Islamic Republic of Iran marks the death anniversary of the Leader of the victorious Revolution Imam Khomeini who passed away on June 3, 1989, after an 11-day hospitalization.

Imam Khamenei

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei delivered a speech at a ceremony held to commemorate the 34th passing anniversary of Imam Khomeini (RA) at his Mausoleum in the south of Tehran on Sunday, where tens of thousands were taking part.

At the start of his speech, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution described the founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini as a role model in rising up for justice and initiating a revolution.

The Leader referred to the noble characteristic of Imam Khomeini (RA), saying that he brought changes to Iran, Islam, and to the world.

Ayatollah Khamenei clarified that in Iran, the late Imam broke the imperial political structure and replaced it with a democracy; in Islam, the issue of Palestine became the first issue of the Islamic world; and at the world level, Imam revived the conditions for paying attention to spirituality even in non-Muslim countries.

Stressing the need for preserving the three developments founded by Imam Khomeini, Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that those changes have still stubborn enemies that try to stop them.

Referring to the animosity of Global Arrogance (Major Western powers) towards the Iranian nation, the Leader stressed that the enemies want to pull Iran back to the pre-revolution era, when the Pahlavi regime was dependent on them.

Ayatollah Khamenei also urged the nation for keeping faith and hope in order to preserve national independence and national interests.

Referring to last year’s West-provoked riots in Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei noted that the planning of last fall’s riots was done in the think tanks at the Western countries.

He added that the riots were instigated and sponsored by the Western security agencies.

The Leader went on to say that the enemies planned last year’s riots with the wishful thinking that the Islamic Republic of Iran would be defeated but they again failed to know the reality about Iranian nation.

Ayatollah Khamenei added that the enemies are seeking to disappoint the Iranian youths with the government by highlighting the country’s problems and and instead by underestimating the achievements in the country.

He pointed to the great achievements in the field of technology in Iran, as an instance and stressed that there are various and promising developments in the country that signal a bright future.

He also urged the officials and organizations to strengthen the faith and hope among the Iranian nation.

At the end of his speech, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution urged for a massive turnout to the polling stations at parliamentary elections slated to be held at the end of this year of 1402 in the Iranian calendar to disappoint the enemies once again.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei

President Raisi

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has underscored that the Islamic Republic is prepared to reestablish relationship with those countries who have expressed readiness to restore ties with Iran, but Tehran will stand against those who want to confront the Iranian nation.

President Raisi made the remarks in a ceremony on the occasion of the 34th anniversary of Imam Khomeini’s passing away in Tehran on Saturday night, noting that the late Imam’s way of thinking is popular in today’s world.

He went on to say that as Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei has underlined transformation is inevitable in today Iran. Imam Khomeini also created a political change in a volatile region, he added.

“We have time and again announced that we” are ready to establish ties with the countries, who have expressed their readiness, but “we will resist in front of the states, who want to stand against us”, he noted.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

In early May, the Headquarters for Commemorating Imam Khomeini (RA) invited all groups of Iranians to participate in ceremonies marking the anniversary of Imam Khomeini’s passing away.

In a statement, the headquarters urged individuals, institutions, organizations, political parties, academics, thinkers, scholars, athletes, and people from all walks of life to attend the programs on the sad occasion.

It also said that with the easing of the coronavirus pandemic, the headquarters is well-prepared to hold the programs more magnificently throughout the country this year.

Imam Khomeini

Rouhullah Khomeini was born on the 24th of September 1902. His father was Agha Mustafa Mujtahid Kamareh’i. Rouhullah was the grandson of Seyyed Ahmad and the great-grandson of Deen Ali Shah.
Rouhullah lost his father when he was four months old.

After learning Qur’an at home Rouhullah went to school at the age of seven. He started to take lessons from Mullah Abul Qasim. He then went to Sheikh Ja’far’s Maktabkhaneh.

Imam Khomeini’s early life coincided with many events in Iran. In Khomein unjust rulers were in charge and the country was unsafe. Life was very difficult for people and with the coming of World War II matters became even worse. Diseases broke out, poverty spread and there were severe droughts.

When Hajj Abdul Karim Ha’eri Yazdi entered Arak he established a School of Theology, which quickly caught up with Isfahan’s Theology School and which at the time was the best in the country. Therefore, Rouhullah decided to join this newly established Theology School and so went to Arak, which is 60 kilometers away from Khomein. There, Imam Khomeini studied for one year under the guidance of the great scholars, Sheikh Mohammad Ali Borojerdi and Agha Sheikh Golpayegani.

Imam Khomeini did not stay long in Arak because Haj Sheikh Abdul Karim Ha’erri Yazdi left Arak for good and went to stay in Qom. Four months after the departure of Abdul Karim, Imam Khomeini also went to Qom and settled down there.

Under Sheikh Ha’erri’s supervision, he specialized in particular areas of Islamic studies.

Imam Khomeini got married at the age of 27. He married the daughter of Mirza Mohammad Thaqafi in 1929. Thaqafi was one of the scholars of Tehran. Imam Khomeini had seven children. Two sons and five daughters, his son’s names were Mustafa and Ahmad. His daughter’s names were Seddiqa-Khanoom, Farideh, Fahimeh, Sa’eedeh, and Latifeh. His last two daughters died during their childhood.

In 1928 Imam Khomeini started to write many books that can be divided into seven different fields namely philosophy and mysticism, theology,  principles of jurisprudence,  ethics,
commentary on the Quran, literature, and poetry, as well as politics and leadership.

This week, the latest software designed for books written by Imam Khomeini (RA) was unveiled in Tehran.

He is regarded as the iconic leader of the Iranian nation in the 1970s against the centuries-old monarchical tyranny. He engineered Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution which led to the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran.

Like in previous years, Muslims have stormed to the Imam’s mausoleum, south of Tehran, to renew allegiance to his ideals.  The late leader is also commemorated by Muslims in varied countries as he inspired many other revolutions all across the world.

Imam Khomeini passed away on June 3, 1989, at the age of 87.

Source: Al-Manar English Website and other websites


Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman to form joint naval force under China auspices: Report

Friday, 02 June 2023 10:37 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 02 June 2023 10:37 PM ]

File photo of an Iranian destroyer in the Persian Gulf (Photo by Tasnim News Agency)

A Qatari website has reported that Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman are to form a joint naval force under China’s auspices towards enhancing maritime security in the Persian Gulf.

Al-Jadid carried the report on Friday, saying China had already begun mediating negotiations among Tehran, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi aimed at reinforcing maritime navigation’s safety in the strategic body of water.

Back in March, Beijing successfully mediated talks between Tehran and Riyadh that led to the Persian Gulf littoral states’ signing of a deal enabling the restoration of their diplomatic ties.

According to observers, the Persian Gulf states’ consent to Beijing’s mediation in such sensitive matters serves to indicate China’s growing influence in the region as opposed to Washington’s waning clout.

Since the 1979 victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Republic has invariably opposed foreign meddling and presence in the region, asserting that the regional issues have to be addressed by the regional players themselves.

The latest instance of the opposition came last Friday when the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy categorically dismissed the US military’s presence in the Persian Gulf under the pretext of securing the maritime region.

Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said only Iran and other regional countries would ensure the security of the Persian Gulf and there was no need for the US and other countries to be present in the waterway. “If we back down against the enemy, it will definitely dominate us and we have no choice but to stand and resist, which is the path to the victory of our nation,” he said.

UAE quits US-led naval force

The UAE has, meanwhile, announced quitting a United States-led naval force.

On Wednesday, the website of the Emirati foreign ministry said Abu Dhabi had withdrawn from the Joint Maritime Forces that operate in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

The ministry said the Emirates had decided to ditch the naval coalition following an extensive evaluation of its security needs.

Analysts say Abu Dhabi has chosen the withdrawal in line with its ambition to diversify its security relationships.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:




Latest News

Water Wars: Drought, disputes, and deadly skirmishes between Iran and the Taliban

June 01 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Recent border clashes have escalated tensions to a critical point between the Islamic Republic and the Taliban over Iran’s unfulfilled water rights. Do the Taliban have a deeper motive, and what are their demands?

By F.M. Shakil

Long spells of drought in Afghanistan and southeastern Iran have reignited a decades-old dispute between the two countries over the equitable distribution of water from the Helmand River, which originates in the mountains north of Kabul, and flows through much of Afghanistan before emptying into the Sistan wetlands in Iran.

One factor contributing to the dispute is the incomplete Kajaki Dam on the Helmand River, a project initiated by the United States in 1950 that has remained inconclusive despite successive deadlines issued by Washington and aid agency USAID.

But the dam has been “successful” in depriving Iran of its water rights, with the reservoir’s significant water storage capacity leaving very little for Iran’s marshes. The situation worsened between 1998 and 2001, when Taliban officials, during one of the worst droughts in the area, cut off Iran’s access to water via the Kajaki Dam.

As a result, the Hamoun Lake area experienced severe dust storms, exacerbating Iran’s public health crisis. To make ends meet, thousands of people from the Hamoun Lake area were forced to leave for the cities.

Iranian agonies

As Afghanistan’s longest river, the Helmand stretches 1,150 km from the majestic Hindu Kush Mountains to the once-captivating Hamoun Wetlands in Iran’s Sistan Basin, and holds immense significance. It generously provides around 40 percent of the country’s surface water, shaping the livelihoods and ecosystems of the region throughout history.

Once upon a time, this area was a thriving habitat for a diverse array of flora and fauna. But sadly, the construction of numerous dams and canals in Helmand, Nimruz, and Kandahar has gradually dwindled the flow of water, resulting in the near disappearance of the Hamoun lakes and their unique vegetation and species.

Adding to the complexity of the situation, the inauguration of the Kamal Khan Dam by former pro-US Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in March 2021 has posed further challenges for Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan Province. This dam has also caused harm to the lower Helmand River dam built in Nimruz. As per the provisions of their 1973 agreement, Kamal Khan marks the point where Iran and Afghanistan share the Helmand River’s resources.

Dubbed a diversion dam with a detour road, the Kamal Khan Dam redirects spilled water to Afghanistan’s Gowdzare salt marsh, leaving Iran with a mere trickle from the Helmand’s precious flow. Iran’s Kabul Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi has expressed concern about this water imbalance. Recent negotiations between Iranian officials and the foreign ministry of the Taliban government have revealed that technical issues with the Kamal Khan Dam have led to increased water wastage.

Border skirmishes

On 27 May, despite repeated assurances from Kabul and warnings from Tehran with regards to the latter’s water rights, tensions finally erupted between Iran and the Taliban. The two sides exchanged heavy gunfire on the border resulting in two or three casualties on both sides before matters de-escalated.

Indian-American political scientist and the University of Delaware professor Dr. Muhammad Abdul Muqtedar Khan tells The Cradle that some social media posts showed the Taliban making extensive use of weapons abandoned in Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union, NATO, and most recently, the US, who unceremoniously withdrew its military forces in August 2021.

“American tanks, machineguns, and an obsolete Soviet howitzer measuring in at 122 millimeters (mm) D-30 are among the weapons that the Taliban brought to the Iran-Afghan border. It was as if American and Soviet military hardware were facing off against Iranian troops.”

The border clashes came hours after Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s acting foreign minister, met with an Iranian envoy to Afghanistan to discuss the Helmand River water-sharing agreement, according to an Afghan foreign ministry official. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency confirmed the meeting and stated that “issues between the two countries will be resolved more effectively through dialogue.”

The source of the problem

The sudden and reckless reaction from Kabul regarding the water rights dispute with Iran can be attributed to several factors, says geopolitical analyst Andrew Korybko. He tells The Cradle that the Taliban’s motivation for engaging in a border clash with Iran can be understood through four key reasons.

First, he argues that the Taliban may believe that such a clash could pressure Iran into publicly recognizing its government as a precondition for negotiating the 1973 agreement. By demonstrating its military prowess, the Taliban aims to strengthen its position and set the stage for future political negotiations.

The second goal may be “to strengthen the Taliban’s grip on the country’s population and factions. A conflict with Iran was meant to appeal to nationalism and ultra-sectarianism.”

Third, “the Afghan-Pakistani border has calmed in recent weeks. This suggests an Afghani agreement or a secret accord may have been reached with Pakistani officials, which is damning for the Taliban’s image at home. Thus, the latest Iran problem may be intended to distract public opinion.”

Fourth, and last, the Taliban may anticipate that their skirmishes with Iran would garner the approval of the US. They hope that such actions would lead to the unfreezing of Afghanistan’s assets and a gradual rapprochement between the Taliban and Washington.

“Given these four goals, the Taliban started this crisis to consolidate control at home and gain international prominence. Iran can only defend itself until the Taliban gives up,” Korybko maintains.

Taliban’s negotiations with Iran

Interestingly, just a week prior to the border clash, the Taliban’s acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, assured Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian via phone that the Taliban government would meet its obligations under the 1973 treaty and reaffirmed its intention to resolve all issues through negotiation.

During the call, Amir-Abdollahian raised the issue of Iran’s water rights and warned that Iran’s water share of the Helmand River is a “serious demand” of Tehran that could undermine bilateral relations.

The top Iranian diplomat stressed the need for the full implementation of a 1973 water-sharing treaty between Iran and Afghanistan, under which Iran is annually entitled to receive 820 million cubic meters of water from the Helmand River.

He suggested that a joint technical committee analyze the state of Afghanistan’s water resources, given that due to decades of instability and conflicts in Afghanistan, the 1973 agreement has never been fully implemented.

Dr. Muqtedar Khan explains to The Cradle that drought conditions have persisted in both nations for the past decade:

“Ninety percent of Iran’s population and farmers may have experienced water scarcity. Afghanistan has the same problem. Iran and Afghanistan base their water distribution on the Helmand Water Sharing Agreement of 1973, which is similar to the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan. According to Iran, Afghanistan is breaking the terms of its water sharing deal by not letting water flow to Iran.”

While negotiations between the two sides are ongoing, he says the question remains as to whether the Taliban will stand by the agreements signed by the previous Afghan government or renege on those promises.

“The war euphoria created with battle songs in Kabul and the fiery speeches made by hard-core Taliban militants is, of course, something to be worried about,” he adds.

‘We will conquer Tehran’

Tensions between Kabul and Tehran have reached such a height that Taliban officials have begun making aggressive statements in response to Tehran’s demand for a fair water distribution formula. General Mobeen, a member associated with the influential Haqqani network and spokesman for the Kabul security department, was quoted by local news outlet Afghanistan International, stating, “For every 10 liters of water, we need 20 liters of fuel from Iran. Iran owes us 75 billion US dollars for the water that flowed into Iran over the past 40 years.”

Online supporters of the Taliban have also contributed to the heated rhetoric on social media, recently sharing a song and video urging Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob – Afghanistan’s acting defense minister and son of the Taliban’s late founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar – to confront Iran.

The song emphasizes the necessity of standing up to the Islamic Republic, boldly proclaiming:

“We are a government; we have power … If we do not stand up to Iran, we will not be the government of the country, says our leader, Mullah Yaqoob. Our commander, Mullah Yaqoob, will stand up to Iran because we are not slaves.”

It is worth noting that even Taliban factions that had significant differences with the Taliban leadership have now emerged to issue threats against Iran. Abdul Hamid Khorasani, a former deputy police chief for central Panjsher province who faced allegations of murder, extortions, hostage-taking, and drug smuggling, released a video message that quickly went viral on social media.

In his message, Khorasani warned Iran not to underestimate the Taliban’s power, stating, “You are behind the curtain with the westerners; we are real Muslims; if the elders of the Islamic Emirates allow us, we will conquer Tehran.”

However, London-based Arabic daily Rai al-Youm warns of a sectarian agenda behind the new, escalatory rhetoric surrounding the water dispute. A 28 May editorial notes the dissatisfaction of certain external parties over the groundbreaking Iran-Saudi rapprochement, which has effectively sidelined negative Sunni-Shia narratives in the region, saying:

“The United States was defeated and lost more than two trillion dollars after twenty years of occupying Afghanistan. It now wants to retaliate by igniting a sectarian war between the Taliban Movement and its most dangerous enemy, Iran. Sadly, there are some Arab parties and even countries that support this blood-ridden scenario from behind the scene.”

Prioritizing water security

Water disputes between Iran and Afghanistan have a long history, dating back to the British rule of Afghanistan in the 1870s. During that time, a British officer demarcated the Iran-Afghanistan border at the main branch of the Helmand River.

Efforts to resolve the conflict began in 1939 when Reza Shah Pahlavi’s government in Iran and Mohammad Zahir Shah’s government in Afghanistan reached a convention on the distribution of the river’s waters. However, the Afghan government did not ratify this agreement.

In 1948, a new attempt to settle the water dispute took place in Washington. Iran and Afghanistan appointed a three-person commission to investigate the matter and provide recommendations, based on an American proposal. The Helmand River Delta Commission published its report on 28 February, 1951, proposing that Iran’s share of the Helmand waters should be twenty-two cubic meters per second.

A significant breakthrough was achieved in 1973 when Iranian Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveida and his Afghani counterpart Mohammad Musa Shafiq signed an agreement allowing for the transfer of 22 cubic meters of water per second from Afghanistan to Iran. It also offered the potential for Iran to receive an additional 4 cubic meters per second during “normal” water years. In return, Iran granted Afghanistan access to the ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar without further requirements.

However, various political and security circumstances in both countries hindered the ratification and full implementation of the agreement: The 1973 Afghanistan coup d’etat, the Soviet presence in Afghanistan, Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, and the subsequent rise of the Taliban in 1995.

The water dispute between Iran and Afghanistan persists, driven by a combination of geopolitical, and internal factors. De-escalation and diplomacy should be prioritized, as they serve the interests of both countries in reaching a mutually beneficial solution.

Kabul should also acknowledge Tehran’s recent statement expressing non-recognition of the government of the Islamic Emirate as a warning of more serious consequences if Iran’s water security continues to be undermined and disregarded.

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

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الجيش للمستوطنين في الشمال: خزّنوا الغذاء والدواء… لن نستطيع الوصول إليكم!

الجيش للمستوطنين في الشمال: خزّنوا الغذاء والدواء… لن نستطيع الوصول إليكم!

 الخميس 1 حزيران 2023


وزّع الجيش الإسرائيلي أمس، على سكّان المستوطنات الحدودية مع لبنان، رسالة تحمل مجموعة من التوصيات في حال «فتح جبهة الشمال». وطالب الجيش، في الرسالة، المستوطنين بإخلاء منازلهم فوراً في حال اندلاع تصعيد، مشيراً إلى أنها «إذا اندلعت حرب إقليمية في القطاع الشمالي، فستكون أقوى بكثير من الحملة التي عشناها في حرب لبنان الثانية». كما من المحتمل – بحسب الرسالة – أن «يتسبّب القتال في انهيار البنية التحتية والكهرباء والمياه والإنترنت (…) وستكون قوة الصواريخ كبيرة جداً». كما حذّر الجيش من أن المستوطنين في المنطقة الشمالية، لن يستطيعوا الحصول على «مساعدة من قوات الأمن والإنقاذ». كما حملت الرسالة توصيات بشراء «صناديق من المياه المعدنية، وطعام جافّ، ومصباح يدوي مع بطّاريات (…) وكذلك الأدوية المزمنة، وخافضات الحرارة ومسكّنات الآلام»، ونحو ذلك.

من ملف : إسرائيل توسّع التهويل: أعداؤنا متوثّبون

إسرائيل تُوسّع حملة التهويل: «الأعداء» يتلمّسون فرصهم

 الخميس 1 حزيران 2023

(هيثم الموسوي)


غزة | ارتفعت أخيراً، في إسرائيل، وتيرة التهديدات والتحذيرات الموجّهة إلى «حزب الله» وإيران، ومختلف قوى «محور المقاومة»، إلى مستوى ربّما يكون غير مسبوق في السنوات الأخيرة، حتى ساد شعور في الكيان بأن الحرب وراء الباب. ودفع ذلك المتحدّث باسم الجيش الإسرائيلي لاحقاً، إلى التوضيح أن «كلام رئيس هيئة الأركان العامة في الجيش، هرتسي هاليفي، ورئيس شعبة الاستخبارات العسكرية، أهارون حليفا، لا يعني أن الحرب على الأبواب». كما تغيّرت نبرة المحلّلين والمعلّقين الذين صاروا أكثر ميْلاً إلى اعتبار التهديدات الصادرة عن قياداتهم الأمنية، محاولات للردع، وليست إيذاناً بالمبادرة. وعلى رغم أن رسائل التهديد الإسرائيلية، جاءت بنتائج عكسيّة على الكيان والمستوطنين، حيث ارتفع سعر الدولار أمام الشيكل مثلاً، وساد توتّر شديد في أوساط الجمهور، إلا أن ذلك لا يعني أن هذه التهديدات أتت من فراغ.

ترى المنظومتان الأمنية والسياسية في تل أبيب، أن الأزمة المتفاقمة في الكيان، والتي يبدو إلى الآن أن لا أفق إيجابيّاً لها، بالنظر إلى فشل جولات الحوار بين الحكومة والمعارضة في التوصّل إلى أي حلول، شكّلت منعطفاً في طريقة تفكير قوى «محور المقاومة». إذ وجدت هذه القوى، وعلى رأسها «حزب الله»، في الأزمة نقطة ضعف جوهرية، يجدر استغلالها والبناء عليها. ولعلّ نجاح الائتلاف الداعم للحكومة في «الكنيست»، خلال الأيام الماضية، في إقرار موازنة عامّة ترفضها المعارضة بشدّة، سيزيد من التوتّر السياسي، ما يفاقم المشكلة ويطيل أمدها، خصوصاً أنه لا يبدو خيار التراجع عن إقرار قوانين «الخطة القضائية» وارداً لدى رئيس الحكومة، بنيامين نتنياهو، وحلفائه، في المدى المنظور.
ويبدو واضحاً أن عملية مجدّو، التي يزعم العدو أن «حزب الله» مسؤول عنها، لا تزال حاضرة بشكل كبير في ذهن القادة العسكريين والأمنيين في الكيان، والذين يرون فيها بدايةً عمليّةً لمسار مختلف يدشّنه الحزب، عنوانه تنفيذ عمليات داخل الأراضي المحتلّة، أو على السياج، ما يرفع التحدّي أمام العدو إلى مستوى غير مسبوق منذ عملية الأسر في تموز 2006. وخلال المؤتمر النسوي الذي ينظّمه «معهد هرتسيليا»، حذّر رئيس شعبة الاستخبارات العسكرية في الجيش (أمان)، أهارون حليفا، من أن فرص اندلاع تصعيد مع «حزب الله»، هي «أكثر ارتفاعاً مما مضى»، وقال إن الحزب «يقترب من خطأ قد يؤدّي من جديد إلى حرب، كما حدث عام 2006». وفي حين لم يذكر حليفا ماهيّة «الخطأ» المزعوم، إلّا أن السياق يوضح اعتقاد قادة العدو بأن المقاومة في لبنان قد تكون في صدد تنفيذ عمليات أخرى، تشبه عملية مجدّو.
كما يتساوق مع المسار الجديد المفترض لدى «حزب الله»، مسار آخر على مستوى «محور المقاومة»، يشكّل بنظر العدو هو الآخر تحدّياً جوهرياً جديداً، وهو مسار «توحيد الساحات»، في الشمال والجنوب، وساحات أخرى أبعد. وهذا ما أشار إليه وزير الجيش، يوآف غالانت، في المؤتمر، حين قال إن لدى أعداء إسرائيل «توجّهاً واضحاً لتوحيد الساحات (…) في غزة والضفة ولبنان وسوريا، والرابط الوثيق بينها هو إيران».

البحث عن «الفرصة»

خلال مؤتمر «هرتسيليا»، الأسبوع الفائت، حذّر رئيس الأركان في الجيش الإسرائيلي، هرتسي هاليفي، من أن «تعزّز حزب الله بشكل كبير في لبنان يشكّل تحدّياً هائلاً». واعتبر أن على إسرائيل أن تعمل في اتجاهين: توسيع الفجوة بين قدراتها وقدرات عدوّها، وأن تدرس دوماً التوقيت المناسب لمبادرة يمكن أن تحقّق «التفوّق». وهذا «المنطق» في التفكير لدى هاليفي وقادة الجيش، تعزّز بشكل كبير بعد عملية «درع وسهم» التي نفّذها العدو في قطاع غزة الشهر الماضي، والتي اقتضت خطتها المبادرة إلى تنفيذ اغتيالات دموية ومركزية، تمسّ مفاصل الجسم العسكري لحركة «الجهاد الإسلامي»، بالتوازي مع استعداد إسرائيلي على طول خطّ الجبهة، وكذلك في الجبهة الداخلية، لاستيعاب ردّ الفعل، والتدرّج في التصعيد في مقابل ردّ المقاومة الفلسطينية، وصولاً إلى تحقيق وقف إطلاق النار، مع أقلّ قدر من الخسائر. وقد نقلت وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية، حينها، عن مسؤولين كبار في الكيان، قولهم إن هذا السيناريو (درع وسهم) يمكن «استنساخه» في ساحات أخرى، ما دفع سريعاً إلى الواجهة تفسيرات أجمعت إلى حدٍّ ما، على أن التهديد موجّه إلى لبنان، سواءً عبر تنفيذ اغتيالات لقادة «حزب الله»، أو لمسؤولي المقاومة الفلسطينية على الأراضي اللبنانية، ما يعني بالتالي كسر خطّ أحمر تجنّبه العدو طوال السنوات الماضية، بفعل معادلات الردع التي تفرضها المقاومة في لبنان. وعاد غالانت إلى تأكيد التوجّه المتقدّم في كلمته في «هرتسيليا»، حيث أعلن «أن ما فعلته إسرائيل في قطاع غزة ضدّ الجهاد الإسلامي، قادرة على أن تكرّره ضدّ آخرين في غزة وفي كلّ ساحة أخرى».

هذه أول مناورة كبرى تحاكي خوض حرب كاملة على عدّة جبهات في وقت واحد

الردعُ نسبيّ

خلال المؤتمر نفسه، تحدث هاليفي عن ما سماه «الردع النسبي»، واعتبر أن حزب الله «مردوعٌ جداً عن حرب شاملة ضد إسرائيل، وهو يعتقد أنه يفهم كيف نحن نفكّر، وهذا يقوده إلى الجرأة في تحدّينا بأمور يثق هو أنها لن تؤدّي إلى حرب». وبناء على ذلك، يعتقد العدو أن هامش التحدّيات، وكذلك الفرص، بالنسبة له، آخذ في الارتفاع. وفي هذا الإطار، يقول هاليفي إنه يرى هنا «سكّة جيّدة لخلق مفاجآت عند الحاجة»، و«المفاجآت» المفترضة، والتي يريد التلميح إليها، قد تكون عبارة عن ردود أفعال غير متناسبة على عمل ما ضدّ إسرائيل، تنفّذه المقاومة، أو تشارك فيه، أو تغضّ النظر عنه، كما قضية إطلاق الصواريخ من جنوب لبنان، بحسب ما خلص إليه المراقبون الإسرائيليون.

الميدان والمناورات

في الميدان، حافظت قوات العدو في المنطقة الشمالية على جاهزية عالية، ولكن غير استثنائية. كما رفعت من وتيرة الإجراءات الميدانية الحدودية، والتي تعتقد أنها كفيلة بعرقلة عمليات مفترضة للمقاومة على الحدود أو خلفها. وبعدما شرعت خلال الشهور الماضية في استكمال إغلاق الثغرات في السياج التقني ومواقع كثيرة، ذهبت خلال الأيام الفائتة إلى حفر خندق طويل، وبعمق مترين، في الأراضي اللبنانية المحتلة في كفرشوبا، أمام السياج مباشرة، وذلك في سياق أعمال هندسية يعتقد العدو أنها تقيّد إمكانية تسلّل مقاومين لتنفيذ عمليات خاطفة وسريعة. كذلك، يُجري الاحتلال حالياً مناورة غير استثنائية أيضاً، أسماها «القبضة الساحقة»، وتحاكي المناورة، التي من المتوقّع أن تمتدّ على أسبوعين، وتتركّز في المنطقة الشمالية، خوض حرب ضد «حزب الله» في لبنان بشكل أساسي، مع إمكانية أن يتوسّع القتال إلى عدة ساحات أخرى، كسوريا وقطاع غزة، وحتى الضفة الغربية، وفي سيناريو متطرّف إيران. والواقع أن هذه هي أول مناورة كبرى تحاكي خوض حرب كاملة على عدّة جبهات في وقت واحد، وهو أحد التحدّيين الأساسيين اللذين يرسمان معالم التقدير لدى قيادة العدو، إضافة إلى تحدّي العمليات الأكثر جرأة وخطورة، والتي من الممكن أن ينفّذها «حزب الله». وعلى رغم أن توقيت التدريبات خدم بطريقة جيّدة التهديدات التي سبقتها ببضعة أيام فقط، إلا أنها لم تُقرّ بسبب مستجدّات عاجلة، بل تمّ التخطيط لها قبل عدة أشهر.

رسائل ردعية

تأتي التهديدات الإسرائيلية القديمة – الجديدة للجمهورية الإسلامية، في سياق ردعي أيضاً، يهدف إلى دفع إيران إلى التخلّي عن طموحات مُفترضة، للوصول إلى القنبلة النووية. وتسجَّل زيادة لافتة في جرعة التهديد، بأن لدى إسرائيل القدرة الكافية، منفردة، على توجيه ضربة عسكرية ثقيلة لبرنامج إيران النووي، من دون الحاجة إلى الدعم الأميركي على المستويين السياسي والعسكري. والظاهر أن العدو يحاول توجيه رسائل ردعية مباشرة وواضحة إلى قادة قوى «محور المقاومة»، وقد وجد قادته الأمنيون والعسكريون في «مؤتمر هرتسيليا»، فرصة مناسبة لتوجيه هذه الرسائل، على اعتبار أن المؤتمر عادة بتغطية إعلامية استثنائية. وساند المستوى السياسي، نظيره الأمني، عبر الإعلان عن دعوة وُجّهت إلى وزراء الحكومة، لعقد جلسة تتعلّق بالجبهة الشمالية، أي في مقابل لبنان وسوريا، لإطلاعهم على آخر المستجدّات الأمنية، وعلى التهديدات والمخاطر المحدقة، وكذلك على الإجراءات الإسرائيلية. وإذ انعقدت هذه الجلسة أول من أمس من دون أن ترشَح عنها أي معلومات أو مواقف لافتة، فإن حملة التهويل الإسرائيلية تبدو في معظمها هادفة إلى ردع «العدو» عن خطوات يَفترض العقل الإسرائيلي أن إيران أو «حزب الله» بشكل خاص، في صددها. كما يبدو احتمال أن تكون هذه التهديدات تمهيداً لعمل عدائي ما، منخفضاً، خصوصاً أنه ليس من الحكمة في شيء، تحذير العدوّ بشكل فاقع، قبيْل مهاجمته، تحت طائلة خسارة عنصر المفاجأة، أو «التفوّق» بحسب تعبير هاليفي.

من ملف : إسرائيل توسّع التهويل: أعداؤنا متوثّبون

مقالات ذات صلة

The Sultan 2.0 will heavily tilt east

May 31 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

It’s not that Erdogan has a scheme to head east at the west’s expense. It’s just that the world’s grandest infrastructure, development, and geopolitical projects are all in the east today.

By Pepe Escobar

The collective west was dying to bury him – yet another strategic mistake that did not take into account the mood of Turkish voters in deep Anatolia.

In the end, Recep Tayyip Erdogan did it – again. Against all his shortcomings, like an aging neo-Ottoman Sinatra, he did it “my way,” comfortably retaining Turkiye’s presidency after naysayers had all but buried him.

The first order of geopolitical priority is who will be named Minister of Foreign Affairs. The prime candidate is Ibrahim Kalin – the current all-powerful Erdogan press secretary cum top adviser.

Compared to incumbent Cavusoglu, Kalin, in theory, may be qualified as more pro-west. Yet it’s the Sultan who calls the shots. It will be fascinating to watch how Turkiye under Erdogan 2.0 will navigate the strengthening of ties with West Asia and the accelerating process of Eurasia integration.

The first immediate priority, from Erdogan’s point of view, is to get rid of the “terrorist corridor” in Syria. This means, in practice, reigning in the US-backed Kurdish YPG/PYD, who are effectively Syrian affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – which is also the issue at the heart of a possible normalization of relations with Damascus.

Now that Syria has been enthusiastically welcomed back to the Arab League after a 12-year freeze, a Moscow-brokered entente between the Turkish and Syrian presidents, already in progress, may represent the ultimate win-win for Erdogan: allowing control of Kurds in north Syria while facilitating the repatriation of roughly 4 million refugees (tens of thousands will stay, as a source of cheap labor).

The Sultan is at his prime when it comes to hedging his bets between east and west. He knows well how to profit from Turkiye’s status as a key NATO member – complete with one of its largest armies, veto power, and control of the entry to the uber-strategic Black Sea.

And all that while exercising real foreign policy independence, from West Asia to the Eastern Mediterranean.

So expect Erdogan 2.0 to remain an inextinguishable source of irritation for the neocons and neoliberals in charge of US foreign policy, along with their EU vassals, who will never refrain from trying to subdue Ankara to fight the Russia-China-Iran Eurasia integration entente. The Sultan, though, knows how to play this game beautifully.

How to manage Russia and China

Whatever happens next, Erdogan will not hop on board the sanctions-against-Russia sinking ship. The Kremlin bought Turkish bonds tied to the development of the Russian-built Akkuyu nuclear power plant, Turkiye’s first nuclear reactor. Moscow allowed Ankara to postpone nearly $4 billion in energy payments until 2024. Best of all, Ankara pays for Russian gas in rubles.

So an array of deals related to the supply of Russian energy trump possible secondary sanctions that might target the steady rise in Turkiye’s exports. Still, it’s a given the US will revert to its one and only “diplomatic” policy – sanctions. The 2018 sanctions did push Turkiye into recession after all.

But Erdogan can easily count on popular support across the Turkish realm. Early this year, a Gezici poll revealed that 72.8 percent of Turkish citizens privilege good relations with Russia while nearly 90 percent rate the US as a “hostile” nation. That’s what allows Interior Minister Soylu to remark, bluntly, “we will wipe out whoever is causing trouble, including American troops.”

China-Turkiye strategic cooperation falls under what Erdogan defines as “turning to the East” – and is mostly about China’s multi-continent infrastructure behemoth, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Turk Silk Road branch of the BRI focuses on what Beijing defines as the “Middle Corridor,” a prime cost-effective/secure trade route that connects Asia to Europe.

The driver is the China Railway Express, which turned the Middle Corridor arguably into BRI’s backbone. For instance, electronics parts and an array of household items routinely arriving via cargo planes from Osaka, Japan are loaded onto freight trains going to Duisburg and Hamburg in Germany, via the China Railway Express departing from Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Changsha – and crossing from Xinjiang to Kazakhstan and beyond via the Alataw Pass. Shipments from Chongqing to Germany take a maximum of 13 days.

It’s no wonder that nearly 10 years ago, when he first unveiled his ambitious, multi-trillion dollar BRI in Astana, Kazakhstan, Chinese President Xi Jinping placed the China Railway Express as a core BRI component.

Direct freight trains from Xian to Istanbul are plying the route since December 2020, using the Baku-Tblisi-Kars (BTK) railway with less than two weeks travel time – and plans afoot to increase their frequency. Beijing is well aware of Turkiye’s asset as a transportation hub and crossroads for markets in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, West Asia, and North Africa, not to mention a customs union with the EU that allows direct access to European markets.

Moreover, Baku’s victory in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war came with a ceasefire deal bonus: the Zangezur corridor, which will eventually facilitate Turkiye’s direct access to neighbors from the  Caucasus to Central Asia.

A pan-Turkic offensive?

And here we enter a fascinating territory: the possible incoming interpolations between the Organization of Turkic States (OTS), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BRICS+ – and all that also linked to a boost in Saudi and Emirati investments in the Turkish economy.

Sultan 2.0 wants to become a full member of both the Chinese-led SCO and multipolar BRICS+. This means a much closer entente with the Russia-China strategic partnership as well as with the Arab powerhouses, which are also hopping on the BRICS+ high-speed train.

Erdogan 2.0 is already focusing on two key players in Central Asia and South Asia: Uzbekistan and Pakistan. Both happen to be SCO members.

Ankara and Islamabad are very much in sync. They express the same judgment on the extremely delicate Kashmir question, and both backed Azerbaijan against Armenia.

But the key developments may lie in Central Asia. Ankara and Tashkent have a strategic defense agreement – including intel sharing and logistics cooperation.

The Organization of Turkic States (OTS), with a HQ in Istanbul, is the prime energizer of pan-Turkism or pan-Turanism. Turkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan are full members, with Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Hungary, and Ukraine cultivated as observers. The Turk-Azeri relationship is billed as “one nation, two states” in pan-Turkic terms.

The basic idea is a still hazy “cooperation platform” between Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. Yet some serious proposals have already been floated. The OTS summit in Samarkand late last year advanced the idea of a TURANCEZ free trade bloc, comprising Turkiye, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and as observers, Hungary (representing the EU) and Northern Cyprus.

Meanwhile, hard business prevails. To fully profit from the status of the energy transit hub, Turkiye needs not only Russian gas but also gas from Turkmenistan feeding the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) as well as Kazakh oil coming via the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) is heavy on economic cooperation, active in a series of projects in transportation, construction, mining, and oil and gas. Ankara has already invested a whopping $85 billion across Central Asia, with nearly 4,000 companies scattered across all the “stans.”

Of course, when compared to Russia and China, Turkiye is not a major player in Central Asia. Moreover, the bridge to Central Asia goes via Iran. So far, rivalry between Ankara and Tehran seems to be the norm, but everything may change, lightning fast, with the simultaneous development of the Russia-Iran-India-led International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), which will profit both – and the fact that the Iranians and Turks may soon become full BRICS+ members.

Sultan 2.0 is bound to boost investment in Central Asia as a new geoeconomic frontier. That in itself encapsulates the possibility of Turkiye soon joining the SCO.

We will then have a “turning to the East” in full effect, in parallel to closer ties with the Russia-China strategic partnership. Take note that Turkiye’s ties with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan are also strategic partnerships.

Not bad for a neo-Ottoman who, until a few days ago, was dismissed as a has-been.

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

Videograph| Kheibar: One of the Most Advanced Iranian Ballistic Missiles

 May 31, 2023

Kheibar (Khoramshahr 4)

Iran’s Ministry of Defense unveiled few days ago Kheibar (Khoramshahr 4) missile, the newest version of the domestically-manufactured Khorramshahr ballistic missile, a medium-range precision-guided projectile.

The missile’s extended range, advanced guidance and control system, and improved structural features further solidify Iran’s status as a formidable missile power.

The following videographic illustrations highlights the main features of the missile:

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Iran Eyes Closer Ties with Turkey As Erdogan Re-Elected

May, 30, 2023

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – President Ebrahim Raisi hoped for the expansion of Iran’s relations with Turkey in a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will remain in power until 2028 after winning the run-off presidential election.

In the telephone conversation on Tuesday, Raisi once again congratulated Erdogan on his election victory, expressing hope that the economic, political, security, cultural and trade relations between Tehran and Ankara would grow further during the new term of the Turkish leader.

Highlighting the influential role of cooperation between Iran and Turkey in strengthening security and stability in the region, the Iranian president called for accelerated interaction between the two neighbors in order to fulfill the interests of the regional nations.

For his part, Erdogan expressed gratitude to the Iranian president for his goodwill, saying the relations between Turkey and Iran will continue to grow more vigorously in various fields during his new term.

He also stated that Ankara is willing to continue regional cooperation with Iran, including within the framework of quadrilateral collaboration among Turkey, Iran, Russia and Syria.

The Turkish president noted that such mutual interaction will have positive and effective impacts on bolstering regional stability and promoting economic and trade cooperation.

Related news

Assad in Jeddah: Tangibly, what does this mean for Syria?

May 30 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Arab reconciliation with Syria is a two-way street, with both sides seeking important concessions from each other. While all solutions can be found within a grand regional compromise, not all Arab states will be willing to challenge Washington’s red lines.

By Giorgio Cafiero

Twelve days after Syria regained its membership in the Arab League, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad addressed the pan-Arab body at its 19 May summit in Jeddah. This was Assad’s first Arab League meeting in 12 years. It was also his first visit to Saudi Arabia since October 2010, making the kingdom the third Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member – after Oman and the UAE – to welcome him for an official visit this year.

His participation at the gathering was a watershed in Damascus’s return to the region’s diplomatic arena and a sign of a collective desire by most Arab governments, with the notable exception of Qatar, to reintegrate Syria into the fold and ends it isolation.

During Assad’s first speech at an Arab League summit since his country’s November 2011 suspension, he lambasted the west and said that “for Syria, its past, present, and future is Arabism.” The Syrian president called for an end to outside interference in Arab countries’ internal affairs. His address centered on the recognition of a new multipolar geopolitical order and highlighted Syria’s reconciliation with various regional governments.

“Today we have an opportunity in a world with several poles as a result of western dominance, which lacks principles, manners, friends, and partners.”

“This Arab League summit is a historic opportunity to address regional issues without foreign interference, which requires us to reposition in the world that is forming today in order for us to play an active role in it as we take advantage of the positive atmosphere following the reconciliations that preceded the summit today.”

Reasserting Arab independence

The Syrian president also told summit attendees that he hopes the event will mark “the beginning of a new phase of Arab action for solidarity among us, for peace in our region, development, and prosperity instead of war and destruction.”

Commenting on Assad’s address, Dr. Joseph A Kechichian, a senior fellow at the King Faisal Centre in Riyadh, tells The Cradle:

“It was ironic that Syrian President Bashar Assad thanked Saudi Arabia for promoting the reconciliation in the region… Still, much of what was discussed in public at Jeddah was superficial, although one assumed that far more substantial conversations occurred behind closed doors.

While embracing his fellow Arabs, Assad lashed out at Turkiye and Israel during his address. Despite Damascus and Ankara’s gradual movement toward reconciliation under Russian auspices, the Syrian president condemned Turkiye’s military deployment into northern Syria and its sponsorship of various anti-government militias.

By citing the “danger of expansionist Ottoman thought” and the Muslim Brotherhood, Assad likely resonated with some attendees whose governments share Syria’s view of the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. He also declared that “there are many issues for which there are not enough words or summits, including the crimes of the Zionist entity [Israel]… against the resisting Palestinians.”

While Assad’s speech carried significant rhetoric and symbolism, the question remains whether Syria’s regained Arab League membership and its warm welcome in Saudi Arabia will deliver the tangible changes the country desperately needs.

Here are five of the most pressing issues facing Syria today, each of which can be solved inter-regionally, if western pressures are held at bay:

Sanctions circumvention

First, with Washington doubling down on its Caesar Act, Damascus will be looking to find Arab partner states to help circumvent or undermine these sanctions, and devise tactics to do so. Thus far, the US’s crippling sanctions on Syria have deterred the wealthier GCC states from investing in the country’s reconstruction and redevelopment.

Camille Otrakji, a Damascus-born, Montreal-based Syria specialist, tells The Cradle that, presently, Arab states find themselves benefiting from the temporary [sanctions] respite provided by the 180-day general license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)” in response to the devastating 6 February earthquake.

“Additionally, these states have forged an understanding with the Biden administration, recognizing that engagement with Syria can yield mutually advantageous outcomes…Nevertheless, there exist indirect avenues through which the Arabs can extend support to the Syrian government without transgressing the boundaries of existing sanctions.”

The Syrian leadership is trying to loosen the US sanctions noose with help from fellow Arab League members, particularly those such as the UAE which have considerable clout in Washington. Arab states also have options for doing business with Syria in ways that could escape the US Treasury Department’s radar – in local currencies, for instance.

These include going through the Russians and Iranians or “construct[ing] barter-like relationships and buy[ing] into long-term shares of things that are constructed in the form of direct transfers of regional currencies,” as Dr. Hussein Ibish, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, DC, recently told CNN.

Regardless of how US President Joe Biden or his eventual successor approach Syria and the Caesar Act, officials in Damascus may conclude that time is on their side, even if patience is necessary. The Syrian government is banking on a new, less west-centric, and more multipolar world order emerging over the next few years.

As Otrakji tells The Cradle, “President Assad, during his address at the Arab summit, articulated Syria’s strategy as one of patient waiting, capitalizing on opportunities while the United States grapples with a diminishing hold on global affairs.”

Indeed, as the world moves toward de-dollarization, US sanctions will have less of an impact everywhere. Influential Arab capitals like Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, now openly engaging and transacting with US-sanctioned Russia, Iran, and China – may be less deterred from doing business with Syria. Others more aligned with or dependent on Washington may be hesitant to do so, which is why Damascus may be hoping for the Saudis and Emiratis to first blaze that path.

Iran’s role

Second, Arab governments eager to bring Syria back to the Arab League may try to leverage these relations to reduce Iran’s role in the war-torn country. For now, according to Arab League Assistant Secretary General Hossam Zaki, the institution’s members “put aside” their demand that Iranian forces withdraw from Syria.

If true, this would be a major concession on the part of GCC states – one that would add to Tehran’s sense of confidence in the region following the 10 March diplomatic agreement with Saudi Arabia that eased the Islamic Republic’s regional isolation.

It is fairly certain that Arab states will continue trying to leverage their reengagement with Damascus in ways aimed at reducing Syria’s strategic dependence on Iran, regardless of whether this is realistic or not. But many experts are doubtful about Saudi Arabia and other GCC/Arab states succeeding on this front.

“History matters,” explains Dr. Marina Calculli, a Columbia University research fellow in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, to The Cradle.

“The alliance between Syria and Iran has an ideological origin. It is grounded in the conviction that Syria and Iran do not have the space they deserve in the international order. Internal opposition to this alliance within the Assad [government] has been obliterated. It is unlikely that Syria will trade its alliance with Iran for some business investments lightly.”

The Captagon trade

Third, is a regional desire to stem the illicit Captagon trade, which Washington and others have largely attributed to Syria and its government. Although Assad did not address this topic in his 19 May Jeddah speech, it is an important agenda item for Arab states flooded with the illicit “war drug.”

The hope is that reestablishing relations with Damascus can mobilize the Assad government to target drug trafficking. With the country still under heavy US sanctions, including the CAPTAGON Act, trade in the highly-addictive amphetamine provides Syrian and other regional dealers with billions in revenue each year.

The Caesar Act has not worked: impoverishing Syria further inhibits access to financial resources that can target the drug trade. Regardless, Iraq and Jordan have reportedly agreed to cooperate with Syria’s government in tackling the Captagon trade across their borders. Whether Damascus’s cooperation on this front has just been about optics and short-term political calculations or reflects a genuine desire to work with other regional states on the issue is unclear.

“Captagon is Assad’s golden card, its strategic asset in the normalization game. He would be willing to take down the Captagon trade only in exchange for meaningful restoration of economic relations with Arab countries and beyond,” argues Dr. Calculli.

The illegal US occupation

Fourth, is the glaring issue of the illegal US military presence in northeastern Syria. Damascus has consistently called on US forces to leave the country, and now Assad’s government is obtaining stronger support from other Arab states – along with Russia, Iran, and China – when making this demand.

In early May, Egyptian, Iraqi, Jordanian, and Saudi officials met with their Syrian counterparts and expressed their collective desire to see Assad’s government take full territorial control of Syria. Whether these US-friendly Arab states supporting the Syrian government’s position on the US occupation of Syria will have any effect on Washington’s policies remains an open question.

Yet, some experts doubt that the Syria’s return to the Arab League will impact the US military presence in Syria where American troops persistently exploit the country’s natural resources. Fatima Alghool, a Damascus-based Syrian journalist, believes what will matter most for the future of the US occupation of Syrian land is the outcome of the 2024 presidential election. She explained to The Cradle that there are two likely scenarios whereby the US military would retreat from Syria:

“The first is an agreement with Damascus, which is unlikely in the foreseeable future. The second is the repetition of the Iraqi scenario, and the withdrawal of the American forces due to the high costs they pay, whether financially or morally.”

Syrian refugee crisis

Fifth, is the conundrum over what to do with more than 5.5 million externally displaced Syrian refugees in the region. As underscored by the way the Syrian refugee issue played out in this month’s Turkish elections, those countries hosting millions of displaced Syrians since 2011 have had to deal with extreme economic challenges in doing so. Today, there is much pressure on these governments to push ahead with plans to repatriate Syrian refugees.

Within the context of normalization talks, Jordanian officials have emphasized the need to bolster the Syrian economy and issue amnesty for refugees – many of whom distrust Assad’s government – so that they are assured of safety and a home to return to. But given the stark reality of economic conditions and political dynamics in Syria, the proposals will require a lot more planning, investment, and wrangling of guarantees than currently exists.

Alghool tells The Cradle that while Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkiye are pushing for repatriation, “Damascus always links the return of refugees to reconstruction as a precondition for their return, arguing that these refugees must find homes to live in.” But how to do this without lifting or bypassing western sanctions aimed at Syria’s reconstruction sector?

“The Saudi vision in this regard coincides with the vision of Damascus, which links the return of refugees to securing the necessary infrastructure and improving living conditions in Syria, indicating Saudi intentions to contribute to the reconstruction of Syria,” she adds.

A Republican win in the next US elections may pave the way forward, suggests Alghool. She points to the “good relationship” between the GOP and the Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, and says Riyadh can apply certain pressures on a Republican president to ease up on Syria “and ensure that Washington will not oppose it.”

Concessions, rehabilitation, and rivalries

Today, most Arab states regard Syria in ways that starkly diverge from Washington’s goal of isolating and sanctioning Damascus into collapse.

There does remain a divide in how far these states may be willing to proceed with Syria. Arab League members like Egypt and Jordan are taking very incremental steps forward, trying to wrest concessions from Damascus for each move along the normalization path. Others like Tunisia and the UAE, on the other hand, seem to demand nothing from Assad’s government in exchange for reconciliation.

There are yet others, such as regional mediator Oman, which never split with Damascus even when the Sultanate’s fellow GCC members did. It comes as no surprise then that Muscat, “the city of secret negotiations,” has recently hosted direct “secret talks” between Syrian and US officials to discuss a variety of pressing issues.

Following Assad’s speech in Jeddah, the Syrian government feels emboldened and will try to push for further reintegration into the Arab world’s diplomatic fold while making as few concessions as possible.

But things are moving quickly in both regional and global geopolitics. How the different Arab League members choose to engage Damascus and how their own rivalries play out in relation to Assad’s government – and western pressure on Syria – will become clearer this year and next.

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


Gov’t Official: Diplomat’s Release from Belgium Prison Victory for Iranians

May 28, 2023

By Staff, Agencies

The release of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat who was detained in Belgium on false terror-related charges, is a victory for the Iranian nation, according to a senior government official in Tehran.   

Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, said in a post on Twitter on Friday that the president of the Islamic Republic had asserted that the first step for “engagement” is the release of the diplomat.

Assadi arrived in Iran on Friday. He was released after five years, following an Oman-brokered deal.

Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian tweeted that the “innocent” diplomat who was “illegally detained in Germany and Belgium for more than two years against international law” was freed after Muscat mediated a deal between Iran and Belgium to swap prisoners.

Iran released Belgian spy Olivier Vandecasteele, who was arrested on a visit to Iran in February 2022 and sentenced in January to 40 years in prison and 74 lashes on charges including espionage.

In his tweet, Jamshidi said, “As Belgian officials used extreme language in parliament & media, on the phone they spoke of major engagement.”

Iran’s top human rights official also on Friday described Assadi’s detention in a Twitter post as “illegal”.

Assadi’s release is the “outcome of efforts by responsible authorities to defend the rights of their fellow citizens abroad,” said Kazem Gharibabadi, secretary of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, promising to continue such efforts.

The Iranian administration’s spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi tweeted on Friday that Assadi’s unlawful detention failed to impact the “steely will” of the “revolutionary diplomat.”

“Asadollah Assadi, our country’s diplomat, returned to his homeland after 5 years of illegal detention,” Bahadori Jahromi said.

He said Assadi’s detention was against international law as he was under mental and physical pressure.

The Iranian administration will employ all its capacities to preserve the rights of Iranians, he added.

In June 2018, Belgian authorities said the country’s police had intercepted a car transporting homemade explosives, claiming the Iranian diplomat handed the material to two people in Belgium.

The diplomat was accused of plotting an attack against the anti-Iran Mujahedin-e-Khalq [MKO] terrorist outfit, a claim categorically dismissed by Iranian authorities.

A Belgian court then sentenced the diplomat, who serves as the third counselor at Iran’s Embassy in Vienna, to 20 years in prison.

Sayyed Nasrallah to Israeli Leaders: Great War Will Lead You to Abyss, if Not Demise (Video)

May 26, 2023

Mohammad Salami

On Resistance and Liberation Day, Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, addressed the recent threats made by Zionist officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, against Lebanon and the entire axis of resistance.

He strongly emphasized that such a “Great War” would ultimately lead the Israelis to their own downfall.

During a televised speech on the Resistance and Liberation Day, Sayyed Nasrallah urged the Zionist officials to avoid making miscalculations in Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank, Palestine, Syria, and Iran.

He made it clear that it is not Hezbollah but the Zionist officials who should be cautious, stating, “Wait! We are the ones who threaten to wage a great war.” He warned that their recklessness could potentially ignite the entire region and pave the way for a disastrous conflict, referred to as the “Great War.” “Your follies, not ours, might blow up the entire region and lead to the Great War,” he said.

Sayyed Nasrallah stated that in the event of an all-out war initiated by the Zionist enemy, there will be an influx of hundreds of thousands of highly skilled fighters onto the battlefields. He emphasized that all borders would be opened, citing a humanitarian advantage over the Israelis in this context.

Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that the Zionist officials withdrew their intimidation after realizing that it has troubled the Zionist settlers, caused a dollar price hike, and threatened the touristic activities.

‘Israel’ must know none of the axis of resistance groups and states is afraid of it

Sayyed Nasrallah discussed several significant geopolitical developments that have shaped the conflict with the Israeli enemy. He emphasized that the axis of resistance has successfully maintained deterrence strategies tailored to each front, including Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Iran.

Regarding the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza, Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted that the deterrence formula remained unchanged, leading the Israeli enemy to issue threats against Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and the Palestinian people. However, he pointed out that the Zionist officials retreated from their intimidation tactics after witnessing Hezbollah’s military maneuvers.

The Hezbollah leader also noted the failure of the US-Zionist plot to impose normalization deals on Arab regimes without considering the will of the Arab people. He emphasized that even the conspiracy to bring the regional countries under Israeli influence was bound to fail, as victorious resistance groups emerged in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

In addition, Sayyed Nasrallah underscored the significant advancements made by Hezbollah and the entire axis of resistance in terms of materialistic, financial, and military development. He specifically highlighted the remarkable progress achieved in the fields of drones and rockets.

Sayyed Nasrallah also drew attention to the deep divisions within Israeli society and the vulnerability of their so-called home front, which undermines solidarity among the groups and states within the axis of resistance.

An important transformation highlighted by Sayyed Nasrallah is the Israelis’ increasing tendency to seek ways to avoid direct confrontation.

Emphasizing the role of human determination in achieving victories, Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized that the axis of resistance relies on this factor to uphold values of bravery and sacrifice.

Sayyed Nasrallah depicted contrasting images of the devout resistance youth and the disillusioned younger generation in Israel. He mentioned that Netanyahu had acknowledged a decade ago that Zionist youths were disengaging from Zionism.

Furthermore, Sayyed Nasrallah underscored the loss of influential leaders within the Zionist entity, in contrast to the overwhelming confidence placed in resistance leaders, movements, and states. He noted that the people within the axis of resistance are willing to sacrifice the lives of their children for this cause.

In response to accusations from America and Israel, Sayyed Nasrallah clarified that the components of the axis of resistance are defenders of their original homelands, not mere proxy groups. He contrasted this with the Zionists, whom he characterized as intruders and occupiers in the region.

Hezbollah Chief reiterated that Palestine will be liberated and that “we will pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

The Secretary General of Hezbollah emphasized that the Israelis are apprehensive about the waning influence of US hegemony in the region and the world at large. He stated that the axis of resistance, which stood against the American era, will benefit from a new world system based on multipolarism.

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that the US retreat and failures have compelled them to reassess their presence and role in the region.

He tackled the strategic changes brought about by the achievements of the resistance in the past few decades, briefly mentioning the demise of the Zionist aspiration for a “Greater Israel” extending from the Nile to the Euphrates in 2000 and 2005 (referring to the Liberation of Southern Lebanon and Gaza, respectively).

Furthermore, he emphasized that even the Zionist objective of maintaining a “Greater Israel” was shattered in 2006 when Hezbollah defeated the Israeli military and in 2008 when the Palestinian resistance overcame Israeli forces in Gaza.

“Israel now hides behind walls and firepower, becoming incapable of imposing its terms in negotiations with the Palestinian people,” remarked Sayyed Nasrallah.

He affirmed that the conflict with the Zionist enemy is ongoing, with the Israelis making daily attempts to attack their territories.


Sayyed Nasrallah reassured that the Israeli feebleness grants Lebanon a larger extent of peace and security which would allow them to pursue their concerns.

In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that the Lebanese would be able to follow up the maritime gas extraction project, adding that reports indicate a serious progress pertaining this file.

His eminence added that developing the touristic sector and attracting tourists requires peace and security in order to cope with the socioeconomic crisis.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the Resistance is capable to protect Lebanon’s peace and security, adding that the army-people-resistance formula contribute to achieving this goal.

Concerning the presidential elections, Sayyed Nasrallah cited a positive regional atmosphere and called for further contacts and negotiations without preconditions in order to elect a new president.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that addressing the BDL governor issue can be addressed through either a personal decision taken by Riad Salameh to resign or a judicial procedure that sacks him, noting the caretaker government cannot take any measure in this regard according to the Constitution.

Pertaining the Syrian refugees file, Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated his call on the government to send a high-ranking delegation to Damascus in order to hold talks about this issue.

Hezbollah Secretary General had started his speech by felicitating the Lebanese people on the 23rd anniversary of Resistance and Liberation Day, stressing that it is a great occasion which recalls a majestic victory.

Sayyed Nasrallah thanked Holy God and hailed the sacrifices made by the Resistance martyrs, injured, prisoners and fighters which contributed to the liberation victory.

Sayyed Nasrallah underscored the role of the other Lebanese and Palestinian resistance factions in addition to the role of the Lebanese Army and Security Forces in reaching this victory, greeting the Lebanese statesmen, politicians and parties which contributed to the feat.

Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria for supporting the Resistance during its fight against the Zionist occupation.

His eminence underlined the importance of conveying the experience of pride to the new generations in order to let them know about the occasion and keep committed to the Resistance that protects this victory.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Hundreds of thousands of resistance fighters ready to fight Israel: Hezbollah chief

May 26 2023

ByNews Desk

Hassan Nasrallah also hailed the ‘failure’ of a US-Israeli normalization plan with Arab states and called on Lebanon’s wanted central bank governor to step down

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses supporters through a screen during a religious procession to mark Ashura in Beirut’s suburbs, Lebanon 9 August, 2022. (Photo credit: REUTERS/Aziz Taher)

During a televised speech commemorating the 23rd anniversary of Lebanon’s Resistance and Liberation Day, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah responded to recent Israeli threats against the resistance, highlighting that “hundreds of thousands of resistance fighters across the region are ready to fight against [Tel Aviv].”

“You cannot threaten us with a large-scale war; it is us who are threatening you with such warfare … Your follies, not ours, might blow up the entire region and lead to the Great War,” Nasrallah said, adding that Israeli leaders should “be careful and not make wrong calculations.”

“The resistance is expanding by the day and has witnessed a great [positive] change in its financial and military capability,” he added.

Nasrallah also asserted that the resistance’s battle against Tel Aviv would continue until the complete liberation of Lebanon, whose Shebaa Farms have been under occupation since 1967.

“Anybody who thinks that the battle against the enemy is over has been afflicted with hallucination since a part of our soil is still under occupation,” he said.

The resistance leader reviewed recent geopolitical shifts in West Asia that have increasingly isolated Israel, stressing that “the Israeli military defeats and the US retreat policy in the region have affected the Zionist entity negatively.”

“Axis of Resistance fighters are defending their homeland; they are not proxy groups, while the Zionists are intruders and occupiers,” the Hezbollah chief further said, highlighting Israel is “hiding behind walls of fire” and is incapable of enforcing conditions in any negotiations with the Palestinians.

Nasrallah also hailed the “failure” of a “US-Israeli plot” to impose normalization with various Arab states, saying this ignored the wishes of the Arab people.

“The circumstances are [rather] moving towards [the emergence of] a multi-polar world, and this is the exact thing that has made Israel fearful,” he stated.

Elsewhere in his speech, the Hezbollah leader took aim at Lebanon’s wanted Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, saying he should either step down or be stripped of his responsibilities.

“In Hezbollah, we believe that there are two options. The first is for the governor to step down of his own volition,” Nasrallah said. The second, he added, is for the judiciary to take legal steps against Salameh and relieve him from his post.

Nasrallah’s remarks were the first time he called for Salameh’s resignation. Several government officials have made similar calls, but a Monday cabinet meeting did not make a formal decision, as caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati continues to protect the embattled central bank chief.

On Wednesday, Salameh was questioned by a Lebanese judge, and his Lebanese and French passports were confiscated following an arrest warrant from France over corruption charges.

Lebanon has also received an arrest warrant from Germany for Salameh, while last week, Interpol issued a red notice alert against the bank chief.


BDLeconomic crisis

Iran Unveils New Precision-Guided Kheibar Ballistic Missile

Friday, 26 May 2023 6:32 PM  [ Last Update: Saturday, 27 May 2023 1:21 AM ]

Iran’s Ministry of Defense has unveiled the newest version of the domestically-manufactured Khorramshahr ballistic missile, a medium-range precision-guided projectile named Kheibar.

Kheibar (Khoramshahr 4) was unveiled Thursday morning in the presence of Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtian during a ceremony marking the 41st anniversary of the liberation of the southwestern city of Khorramshahr.

The missile’s extended range, advanced guidance and control system, and improved structural features further solidify Iran’s status as a formidable missile power.

Kheibar is one of the most advanced missiles designed by the experts of the Ministry of Defense’s Aerospace Industries Organization.

It is a liquid-fueled missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers and a warhead weighing 1,500 kilograms with impressive strategic and tactical capabilities.

The Khorramshahr class of missiles is known for its unique guidance and control system during the mid-flight phase.

This feature allows the missile to control and adjust its trajectory outside the Earth’s atmosphere, and to deactivate its guidance system upon entering the atmosphere, giving it complete immunity against electronic warfare attacks.

Thanks to this advanced control system, Kheibar’s warhead does not require the typical thin-wing arrangement, which in turn allows the missile to pack up a heavier explosive load.

The Kheibar missile also boasts an incredibly short preparation and launch time.

The use of self-igniting (hypergolic) fuel and the absence of the need for fuel injection and horizontal alignment after the verticalization phase have cut Kheibar’s launch time to less than 12 minutes.

Thanks to its powerful engine, the Kheibar missile possesses an exceptional impact force, with a ground impact force of 280 and a vacuum impact force of 300 seconds.

The high speed at which the warhead makes impact with the designated target prevents enemy air defense systems from detecting, tracking, and taking action to shoot down the missile.

Additionally, the engine enables the missile to reach speeds of 16 Mach outside the atmosphere and 8 Mach within the atmosphere.

The unveiling of Kheibar marks a significant advancement in Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities and demonstrates the country’s commitment to enhancing its defense and deterrent power.

Iranian officials have long asserted that the country’s military capabilities are entirely meant for defense, and that its missile program will never be up for negotiations.

Source: Press TV

Latest News

Hezbollah Wargames Say Next Battle against Israeli Enemy will Be in Palestine: Sheikh Qassem

 May 23, 2023

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem stressed on Tuesday that the Resistance wargames sent a message of readiness and deterrence to the Zionist enemy.

In an interview with Al-Manar TV on Resistance and Liberation DAy, Sheikh Qassem indicated that the Resistance wanted to tell the Israeli enemy that the next battle will be in occupied Palestine.

“During the upcoming war, Zionists will not be able to sip coffee in Tel Aviv. The Israelis will see what they have not seen if they commit any folly”

Sheikh Qassem said that Hezbollah military drills displayed only a party of the Resistance arsenal, without showing the precision-guided missiles and much more.

His eminence reiterated that Hezbollah supports unifying the fronts against teh Zionst enemy, pointing out that Israelis must know that they can never violate the deterrence formulas maintained by the Resistance.

Sheikh Qassem indicated USA and ‘Israel’ acknowledge that Hezbollah Resistance has developed several classical weapons, including missiles and canons.

130 mm artillery developed by Hezbollah

Hezbollah Deputy Chief said that Resistance and Liberation Day is a national occasion, adding that those who exclude themselves from this pride are to be blamed.

Sheikh Qassem called for disregarding the remarks that oppose the path of resistance, adding that some of them had cooperated with the enemy during certain stages.

On the other hand, Sheikh Qassem pointed out that maintaining stability among Arab countries serve the Palestinian cause and the entire Ummah, adding that Hezbollah supports the Iranian-Saudi agreement.

His eminence noted that the Syrian President Bashar Assad has attended the Arab Summit with all his pro-resistance stances and after emerging victorious from a 13-year war.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General indicated that the presidential deadlock in Lebanon is caused by the stubbornness of some political parties, calling for resorting the constitutional norms in order to elect a new president.

Sheikh Qassem added that the Free Patriotic Movement and Lebanese Forces intend to have a joint nomination without having a joint project.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Railway of Resistance: A grand project to connect Iran, Iraq, Syria

May 19 2023

Beyond its positive economic implications, the railway project connecting Iran, Iraq, and Syria will be a geopolitical game changer by connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Mohamad Hasan Sweidan

Sir Halford John Mackinder, one of Britain’s most prominent theorists in the field of geopolitics, discusses the significance of land connectivity between nations in his 1904 essay called The Geographical Pivot of History.

Besides introducing his notable Heartland Theory, Mackinder argued that advancements in transportation technology, such as the development of railways, have altered the balance of power in international politics by enabling a powerful state or group of states to expand its influence along transport routes.

The establishment of blocs, like the EU or BRICS, for instance, aims to enhance communication between member states. This objective has positive implications for the economy and helps reduce the risk of tensions among them.

The cost of such tensions has increased considerably, given the growing benefits and common interests achieved through strengthened ties between nations. Consequently, reinforcing connections within a specific region has a positive impact on the entire area.

Therefore, any infrastructure project between countries cannot be viewed solely from an economic standpoint; its geopolitical effects must also be highlighted.

West Asia connected by railway

In July 2018, Saeed Rasouli, head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI), announced the country’s intention to construct a railway line connecting the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea, the Iran-Iraq-Syria railway link. This ambitious project would run from Basra in southern Iraq to Albu Kamal on the Iraqi-Syrian border and then extend to Deir Ezzor in northeastern Syria.

Undoubtedly, this project strengthens communication between the countries of West Asia and increases the need for other powers to collaborate with this important region, which is strategically located in parts of Mackinder’s “Heartland” and Nicholas Spykman’s “Rimland” of Eurasia.

Moreover, in accordance with Mackinder’s proposition, it can be argued that this railway project holds geopolitical significance for the three involved countries – Iran, Iraq, and Syria – and for West Asia as a whole.

The concept of a railway link between Iran and Iraq emerged over a decade ago. In 2011, Iran completed the 17-kilometer Khorramshahr-Shalamjah railway, which aimed to connect Iran’s railways to the city of Basra. Subsequently, in 2014, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Tehran and Baghdad to construct the Shalamjah-Basra line.

As per the agreement, Iran was responsible for designing and building a bridge over the Arvand River, while the Iraqi side pledged to construct a 32-kilometer railway line from the Shalamjah border to the Basra railway station within Iraqi territory.

Final destination: Syria

On 14 August, 2018, Iran announced its intention to further extend the railway from its territory to Syria, with Iraq’s participation. This move aimed to counter western sanctions and enhance economic cooperation.

The railway project would begin at the Imam Khomeini port on the Persian Gulf, located in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province, to the Shalamjah crossing on the Iraqi border. From there, the railway traverses through the Iraqi province of Basra, crossing Albu Kamal on the Syrian border and ending at the Mediterranean port of Latakia.

Iranian official sources stated that this railway would contribute to Syria’s reconstruction efforts, bolster the transport sector, and facilitate religious tourism between Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Iran would bear the costs of the project within its own territory, while Iraq would contribute its share up to the Syrian border.

During the visit of former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Iraq in March 2019, a memorandum of understanding on the project was signed between Tehran and Baghdad. However, despite the agreements, the Iraqi side has faced economic challenges and a lack of funds, resulting in a delay in the construction of the railway.

Proposed railway links between Iran, Iraq, and Syria

Three Sections

The railway project can be divided into three sections: The first section links the Imam Khomeini Port to the Shalamjah crossing on the Iraqi border. According to the Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash, the railway line in Iran has been completed and has reached the zero border point.

The second section will link the Shalamjah Crossing to Basra in southern Iraq, then extend to Baghdad, Anbar province, and finally, the Syrian border. The financing of this section, according to the agreement, falls under the responsibility of the Iraqi government. The commencement of this phase is expected soon.

The third section, within Syria, encompasses two routes: The northern route extends between Iraq’s al-Qaim and Syria’s Albu Kamal, then heads west towards the Syrian port of Latakia. The southern route runs from the al-Qaim crossing on the Iraqi-Syrian border to Damascus via Homs.

It should be noted that although the shortest route to Damascus is through al-Tanf, due to the presence of the illegal US occupation forces there, the longer Homs-Damascus corridor was adopted. This also ensures the passage of railways through a greater number of Syrian cities.

Economic significance

Although the rail line between Iran and Iraq will only span 32 km and cost approximately $120 million, divided equally, its significance extends far beyond its length. It will serve as the sole railway connection between the two countries and play a crucial role in improving communication throughout the wider region by linking China’s Belt and Road Initative (BRI) lines to Iraq via Iran.

Once completed, the project will enable Iraq to easily connect to Iran’s extensive railway network, which extends to Iran’s eastern border. This linkage will open pathways for Baghdad to connect with Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Far East.

Moreover, in the future, the project positions Iraq as a transit route for trade between the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region and Central Asia, as well as Russia. Incidentally, Iran and Russia have just inked an agreement to establish a railway connecting the Iranian cities of Astara with Rasht, as part of the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

The railway line also contributes to the promotion of religious tourism among the three countries, which are home to several important Shia shrines. In September 2022, more than 21 million people from around the world, including 3 million Iranians, visited Iraq for the annual Arbaeen pilgrimage in the holy city of Karbala. This figure is likely to increase significantly with a rail link, leading to increased revenues for the Iraqi treasury.

Furthermore, the project serves as a means to bypass western sanctions and external pressures on the three countries, particularly Iran and Syria. It strengthens the independence of these nations and reduces the likelihood of foreign powers interfering in the economic relations of the project countries.

Obstacles to project implementation

Despite the signed agreements, the Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus railway project has faced mixed reactions in Iraq, leading to a lack of enthusiasm for moving forward with the rail link. Only last month, the Ministry of Transport issued a clarification regarding its rail link with Iran, stressing that the project is related to “passenger transportation only.”

Iraqi politicians have expressed concerns that the rail link with Iran could hinder their country’s Dry Canal project, which aims to connect the port of Faw in Basra province to the Turkish and Syrian borders.

They believe that the Grand Faw Port is strategically positioned as the closest point for sea cargo to Europe, potentially bringing economic benefits and employment opportunities. These concerns arise from the fear that the Imam Khomeini port in Iran could gain increased importance, diminishing the significance of the Faw Port.

But Iraqi concerns actually present an opportunity to link Iran to the Dry Canal, enhancing the strategic importance of both projects and bolstering Iraq’s position as a regional trading hub. In the near future, communication and cooperation between these neighbors will be crucial in thwarting external efforts to impede the economic interdependence of the three countries.

A promising journey

The tripartite railway link project holds immense significance as it connects these countries within a larger network, resembling the historical Silk Road that facilitated trade between the east and the west for centuries.

The railway project has the ability to initiate a major transformation in West Asia if it materializes and expands further afield to countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Their participation would not only reduce tensions among regional states but also yield positive economic outcomes and bolster tourism, particularly religious tourism, and foster stronger inter-regional ties.

By connecting key players in a geopolitically strategic region, the Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus rail link has the potential to lay the foundation for a new West Asian paradigm that promotes connectivity, stability, and prosperity.

As seen by the recent Iran-Saudi and Syria-Saudi rapprochement agreements, the region is in a collaborative mood, actively seeking economic development instead of conflict. With China and Russia – two powers at the forefront of Eurasia’s biggest interconnectivity projects (BRI and INSTC) – brokering and impacting many of these diplomatic initiatives, expect railways, roads, and waterways to begin linking countries that have been at odds for decades.

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

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China’s Peace in West Asia

May 18, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen English

By Janna Kadri 

The Chinese-brokered agreement emerged in retaliation to the US as the latter continues to wage a series of provocations aimed at destabilizing China’s domestic stability with regard to Taiwan.

Under the auspices of China, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore diplomatic relations on March 10. At the time of the deal’s announcement, US President Joe Biden said better relations between “Israel” and their Arab neighbors are better for everybody rather than relations with Iran. Better for “everybody” depends on what is meant for everybody. If it means the US financial classes and their Arab and Zionist comprador in the region, then Biden is spot on. However, for the masses of the Arab World that experience declining living standards, whether by peace or war, the US-Israeli aggression against them will not stop. What must be understood is that the aggression is necessary for Western wealth-making because it extracts regional resources, which should otherwise better Arab social conditions, and ships them to US-European markets in order to feed exponential growth and profits.

Moreover, the aggression, whether military or ideological, is itself an industry in its own right, which fuels wealth accumulation. At a first-principle level, the policies that dominate the air-waves, all aim to foment wars. To extoll the virtues of the market, erect a cultural identity that aborts the potential of labor as a historical agent, and push down the throat of indebted states policies of privatization and private property, leaves little resources for the peoples of the region and delivers them into inter-communal strife. The case of Sudan is one such blatant example. The wars visited upon the Arabs drive away their resources and are therefore a must for the global financial class.

However, capital or the principal social relation governing the remaking of the global order is a two-pronged process. At first, capital is of the same class fabric, and it initially aims at oppressing workers everywhere. This capital against labor is a first contradiction. A second but not secondary contradiction is the inter-capitalist competition for power, which determines the shares of the various circles of capital. For instance, the US sits atop the capital pyramid and receives a fallout in rent depending on its power standing. It would not want lower suzerains to catch more of the rents. It sometimes sacrifices its bourgeois allies to grab their shares. Saudi Arabia was one such candidate readied to be sacrificed along with some sections of its ruling class.

With the rise of China, the global balance of forces shifted, and bourgeois classes disgruntled with the US’s avarice for rents saw a window of opportunity to save themselves. After years of war with Yemen at the behest of empire to secure the Mandeb straits, it was left weakened and alone. Sensing the danger of bourgeois fratricide, the Saudis intelligently decided to maneuver into a position backed by Chinese guarantees of security. China builds capacity and détente abroad, which are measures anathema to US imperialism whose goal is to destabilize in order to snatch resources.

For the US, War Masquerades as Peace

In efforts to normalize relations between “Israel” and the Arab world, the US brokered a series of agreements called The Abraham Accords. They propose a strategy of forging alliances with “Israel” to counterbalance the Axis of Resistance. They base the rationale for joining Arab and Israeli forces on an alleged Iranian threat. Already, these Arab ruling classes were extensions of and under the purview of the US-Israeli ruling classes. Their coming out is nothing less than a sign of weakness to reposition forces around a strengthening Axis of resistance.

These Abrahamic shenanigans provide new venues for class allies to enhance their own aggressive capabilities through the purchase of arms from “Israel”. “Israel”, by the way, is the largest exporter of arms per capita in the world. So far, “Israel” normalizes with Oman, Bahrain, the UAE, Morocco and Sudan, in addition to the earlier trophies of peace, Jordan and Egypt. It shares an informal relation with Saudi Arabia and Doha. It for instance conducts diamond trade in Doha while Saudi Arabia has recently opened its airspace for Israeli commercial airplanes.

The so-called Abraham Accords are an unthinkable ‘promise’ for peace without Palestine and the right of return. They supposedly foster incremental developments with the GCC by precluding even the lowly option of a two-state solution which was endorsed by the Arab Peace Initiative (API). Saudi Arabia maintained that its position remains solely expressed through its commitment to the API, wherein normalization with “Israel” would only be conceivable once the conditions listed in the Arab-brokered initiative are fulfilled. But the fact that UAE, Sudan, Morocco, and Bahrain normalized their relations with “Israel” is indicative of consent by Saudi Arabia. As observed by Israeli writer Henrique Zimmerman, the signatories of the Accords “would not have signed the agreement without the approval of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is the most influential country in the Arab world.” So what would have really prevented an alliance between “Israel” and Saudi Arabia?

In a previous article, I showed how the US failed to fulfill its security commitments toward Saudi Arabia. Whereas Saudi Arabia has boosted the US status as a world hegemon by denominating its oil in dollars, the US has failed to stick to its side of the bargain by ensuring that the Saudi Kingdom has all its security needs, foremost its regime, or ruling class security answered. Fearing the tightening grip of the Axis of resistance around it, normalization with “Israel” went out of the window, while China provided the face-saving arrangement with Iran.  

An agreement “Made in China”

Unlike the US, China needs peace to expand. The Chinese-brokered agreement emerged in retaliation to the US as the latter continues to wage a series of provocations aimed at destabilizing China’s domestic stability with regard to Taiwan. It is retaliatory because it presents a strategic threat to US interests and its hegemonic influence across the Arab region. It is also retaliatory because it threatens to undermine the petrodollar system upon which the dollar supremacy is based on. Since the Saudi-Iran agreement went into effect, it is only fair to characterize the scale of the changes that ensued following its implementation as unprecedented. Very much like a drop of water falling into a puddle, the agreement rippled across the region, bearing fruits in Yemen and Syria.

First are the developments that ensued between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. For eight years Yemen endured a US-sponsored war that has claimed the lives of nearly half a million people. On April 9, Saudi officials met with high-ranking officials from the Sanaa government for peace negotiations, and on April 14, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced that a massive prisoner exchange operation had kicked off. On April 29, senior member of the Ansar Allah political bureau Ali Al-Qahoum admitted that China played a pivotal role in the negotiations for restoring regional peace and warding off Western hegemony. Some challenges however remain with regards to US and UK interference in pushing for another escalation. Yet a positive outlook persist as officials from both sides mobilize efforts for dialogue. 

Secondly, there has been the push to re-integrate Syria into the Arab League through the collective efforts of several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, which has in spearheaded the move. The US and the UK had on the other hand reaffirmed their commitment to remain opposed to the restoring of ties with Damascus but they would continue to work with Arab states that rekindle diplomatic relations.  

Thirdly, there has been news of Saudi Arabia expressing an interest in holding talks with Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia was largely a precursor for designating Hezbollah as a terror organization both at the GCC level as well as in the Arab League. With a shift in policy that appears to be more driven from the Saudi side than from Iran, prospects for political stability in Lebanon are also looming. But the fact remains that Lebanon is sickened with a sectarianism fueled by geopolitical rents that easily plays into the hand of “Israel” and the US.

Fourthly, prospects for normalization with Hamas are likewise on the horizon as talks were recently held between Hamas and Saudi officials. On April 16, the two parties had met in Riyadh to hold discussions on the release of Hamas-affiliated individuals detained in Saudi jails. There are also hopes for relations to improve between Saudi Arabia and Iraq’s movement for resistance, the Kataib Hezbollah.

Finally, whether the deal restores relations between Turkey and Syria is still up to discussion. However, chances are they might broach the issue considering that the project of restoring peace in Syria is part of the wider Iran-Saudi deal agenda. Yet the presence of US troops in Syria remains problematic for two reasons: the first, US troops are stationed in Syria for the sole purpose of toppling the government of Bashar al-Assad. To loot Syria’s oil resources in the north is simply means towards that end; and secondly, because Saudi Arabia’s institutions are closely tied to the US, while the latter holds much leverage inside the Kingdom. As a key regional player, Saudi Arabia could exert pressure to restore Ankara-Damascus relations, but it is unclear how able it is to do so. 

What now?                      

The US has been setback by the China-sponsored peace. Its “rules-based” world order hangs by a thread, while its dollar supremacy wanes. Doubtless, the blow was hard for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who just a month prior to the Iran-Saudi deal said that “Israel” and Saudi Arabia were planning to join forces on the basis of a common goal of stopping Iran. By more sober analysis, normalizing with “Israel” for any regime in the region is an act of suicide, unless the march of history eliminates the working classes as subject of history.

After all the Israeli-Arab war is a war of capital against labor. The principal lesson learnt so far is that regional peace is global-relations-derived peace. The saddest part of this is that Arab progressive forces still prioritize internal demands for higher working-class wages over struggles against imperialism. Without Arab national security, there is no working-class living security.  While the region’s future and much of the Third World will depend on how China unseats the US hegemon, the Arab vanguard is fast asleep.

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Iran-Saudi detente is a setback for Israel

May 17 2023


The China-brokered Iran-Saudi deal marked a significant shift toward establishing Persian Gulf and regional stability, but is a major setback for Israelis who have cultivated Arab-Iranian divisions for years.

By Stasa Salacanin

The recent rapprochement between regional arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran has added a new layer to the already complicated geopolitical landscape in West Asia, especially as the kingdom was once touted to be the next major Arab state to normalize relations with Israel.

Signed in March, the Chinese-brokered agreement, which reestablishes diplomatic relations and reopens embassies in Riyadh and Tehran after a seven-year hiatus, is seen by many as a watershed moment that could potentially reduce bilateral animosity and ease tensions throughout the region.

However, the deal has caused great dismay in Tel Aviv and caught Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu off guard.

It is understandable why Israel is disappointed, as the prioritization of the Abraham Accords has been a cornerstone of Israeli foreign policy in recent years. The accords, initially involving Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain in 2021, was a major foreign policy victory for Netanyahu and part of a broader strategy to isolate Iran in the region.

And normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia, the most influential Arab state today, would have solidified Israel’s ambition to establish diplomatic ties with its Arab neighbors and further enhance its diplomatic influence in West Asia.

Regional stability: A setback for Israel

Consequently, the Saudi-Iran deal is viewed by many observers as a setback to Israel’s ambitions, with some analysts even perceiving it as a diplomatic victory for the Iranians. Importantly, Riyadh’s resumption of diplomatic ties with Tehran has shifted perceptions across the Arab region, creating conditions that make the Saudis joining the Abraham Accords less likely than ever.

Equally, the resetting of relations does not necessarily mean that Iran and Saudi Arabia are putting their differences aside. As Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh of the Middle East Studies Forum at Deakin University, explains to The Cradle, “It does mean that both countries realize that escalation of tensions and the prospects of all-out conflict would be detrimental for both.”

He emphasizes that “diplomatic ties ensure viable lines of communication to ensure the cold war between the two remains on ice.”

Matteo Colombo, a researcher at Clingendael’s Conflict Research Unit, concurs, saying that a major indirect consequence of the shift in the Saudi-Iranian relationship is that regional conflicts are likely to become less violent than in previous years.

Uncertain impact on Saudi-Israeli ties

The impact of the Saudi-Iran detente on Saudi-Israeli ties remains uncertain. Russell Lucas, a professor of international relations and domestic politics and culture of the Middle East at the University of Michigan, believes that while Iran-Saudi normalization does not directly impact Saudi-Israeli relations, one should not expect dramatic moves between Tel Aviv and Riyadh who will maintain mostly discreet ties.

Akbarzadeh argues that expecting a normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia was always going to be a challenging prospect. He highlights the deep sense of injury among Muslims and Arabs due to Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian lands:

“How could Saudi Arabia overlook this sense of injustice and join the so-called Abraham Accords? … such a move would have delivered a major setback to Saudi’s self-image projection as the global champion of Islam.”

Dr. Mehran Kamrava, a professor of government studies at Georgetown University in Qatar, views Israel’s friendship with certain Arab states as purely instrumentalist, driven by the need to contain threats such as Iran. “A simple review of Israeli policies clarifies that Israel is among the biggest contributing factors to regional insecurity and tensions,” he tells The Cradle.

Arab reluctance to normalize

In fact, any prospects of further rapprochement between Israel and other Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia, are complicated under the current far-right Israeli government. This may lead countries that were previously considering normalizing their relations with Tel Aviv to reevaluate their decisions.

While countries that have already normalized relations with Israel are unlikely to reverse the process, they may “apply the brakes at any time” on their joint initiatives in certain sectors, such as military collaboration.

Both Lucas and Akbarzadeh agree that one of the key effects of the Saudi-Iran rapprochement is the reluctance of Riyadh and other Arab states to be drawn into a confrontation with Iran on behalf of Israel. According to Lucas:

“Public opinion in the [Persian] Gulf registering concern about Israel’s right-wing government’s treatment of the Palestinians and fear of escalation has reached leaders in states like Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

Therefore, the current developments suggest that Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states now hold more leverage in their negotiations with Israel as a result of Riyadh’s deal with Tehran, giving them more license to shape their future dealings with Tel Aviv.

Saudi intent matters

Not all views are as rosy, however. Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a CNBC interview that the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran has very “little to do with Israel,” claiming that Saudi Arabia, “has no illusions about who their adversaries are and who their friends are in [West Asia].”

Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, tells The Cradle that Netanyahu is actually right when he talks about Saudi Arabia’s orientation:

“Riyadh’s foreign policy is much more aligned with Israel while the recent reduction of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are to be very temporary – rooted in trying to reduce tensions so that Saudi Arabia can invest in its long term plan of trying to enhance economic development, attract tourists, more foreign investment, and to expand its new policy of modernization under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS).”

Hashemi thinks that “behind the scenes, the Saudi crown prince and Netanyahu both have similar visions for the future of the Middle East [West Asia] rooted in blocking regional democratization, trying to contain Iran, and influence/expand the Abraham Accords between Israel and various Arab states.”

Furthermore, he predicts that “if Donald Trump or the Republicans take the White House, Saudi Arabia’s relations with Iran will go back to the period of 2017 when Saudi Arabia was very much supportive of Trump’s hawkish policy towards Iran.”

Israel’s miscalculation

But Netanyahu’s understanding of the shifting sands in Persian Gulf states – and his claims that Israel is “an indispensable partner for the Arab world in achieving security, prosperity, and peace” – may be oversimplified.

Kamrava, for example, observes that for a long time, Arab and Israeli policies toward Tehran have been guided by the assumption that Iran can be effectively marginalized and excluded from regional security arrangements:

“But the actual experience has shown that such an assumption is indeed incorrect. In fact, efforts to marginalize or exclude Iran only lead to further reactions from Iran. It is for this reason that first the UAE, and now Saudi Arabia, have changed course and have decided to engage with Iran,” he notes.

Tehran, on the other hand, “has consistently shown that it responds positively not to threats but to constructive engagement,” says Kamrava. So, “if a change in Iranian foreign policy is what regional states are after, then talking to Tehran is the best way of achieving that, rather than working to overthrow the entire Islamic Republic system, which is what Israel is advocating,” he explains.

Others concur. Israel would be mistaken to assume that hostility towards Iran is the defining dynamic in the region, as it has been for a significant part of the last decade, argues Matteo Colombo. This, he adds, “makes it more challenging for Tel Aviv to advocate for normalizing diplomatic relations with other countries in the region to contain Iran.”

The China factor

Hashemi offers another hypothesis for Saudi Arabia’s overriding strategy in its rapprochement with Iran. He believes that Riyadh’s latest moves may be viewed as a message to Washington: “Give us what we want in terms of weapon sales and security guarantees and new strategic vision arrangement that Saudi Arabia is demanding from the US for long-term commitments.”

If the US does not provide these guarantees, says Hashemi, “then Saudi Arabia may symbolically break from the US policy and start to engage with some US adversaries, including China.”  He notes that these are very short calculations, as the Saudis are still closely engaged with the west.

But the Beijing-brokered Saudi-Iran detente has created great unease in Tel Aviv and Washington, where the deal is viewed as a loss of US diplomatic initiative and influence on the world stage.

While the agreement has received broad international support, generating optimism for its potential impact against the backdrop of rapidly developing multipolarity, uncertainties persist regarding its specific outcomes. There is a lack of information over of tangible incentives and guarantees from China in ensuring the deal’s success – even while there is confidence in the motivations and commitments of the parties involved.

In terms of impartial and honest mediation, China is regarded more favorably than the US due to its positive and established relationships with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, and its vested interests in maintaining peace and stability in the Persian Gulf, from which it derives much of its energy supplies.

Resistance thwarted Israeli attempts to impose new equations: Haniyeh

  May 14, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

The head of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh says that the Resistance was unified in its battle against “Israel” thanks to efforts made by Palestinian Resistance groups, Iran, and Hezbollah.

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the political bureau of Hamas, speaks after a meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Bierut, Lebanon, 28 June 2021 (Reuters)

The Resistance had the upper ground in the last battle of Operation Avenging the Free as it managed its work through the joint operations room, the head of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh said on Sunday. 

Haniyeh said that the Resistance “thwarted the enemy’s attempt to impose new equations” by “singling out Al-Quds Brigades or driving a wedge between them [Resistance groups],” adding that the Resistance worked in harmony as integrated all its abilities to achieve the goals it set out for the battle.

Haniyeh extended his greetings and appreciation to the Joint Operations Room, mentioning particularly the Al-Quds Brigades for the leading role it adopted in the battle, as he thanked the countries and people who aided the Resistance in altering the balance of power with “Israel”. The leader pointed to Iran and Hezbollah’s exceptional role in completing that process.

Furthermore, the Hamas official thanked the Arab Republic of Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations for their mediation efforts that ensured a cease-fire that was agreed to Saturday night.

“Israel” launched an assassination campaign against leaders of the Palestinian Resistance, murdering 3 leaders alongside children and family members on Tuesday. Haniyeh described the assassinations as treacherous, adding that they will not bring security to “Israel”.

“The assassination of the leaders will bring more resistance,” Haniyeh said, adding that the enemy miscalculated and will pay the price for the crimes it committed.

The Israeli aggression on Gaza lasted for 5 days and led to the martyrdom of 33 Palestinian, 30% of whom were children, as Israeli bombs injured 190 others, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

In a statement on Saturday, the Operations Room said that “a round of fighting, resistance, and steadfastness has ended, but our resistance has once again emerged more powerful and aggressive.”

Former Israeli Security and Finance Minister and current head of the “Israel is Our Home” party, Avigdor Lieberman, criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Gaza Strip policies and said, “It is not possible to live between one round of fighting and another, just as much as another Hezbollah in the south cannot be tolerated.”

Lieberman explained that “Hamas was sitting in the same operations room with the Islamic Jihad,” noting that “Hamas is the one that determines the rules of the game and no one is making it pay.”

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Iran to Back Resistance Front until ‘Israel’ Fully Destroyed: General Qaani

 May 13, 2023

The commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says Iran will continue to provide unwavering support for the Palestinian Resistance until the final annihilation of the apartheid Israeli regime.

Brigadier General Esmail Qaani made the remarks at a ceremony in commemoration of his fallen comrades in Iran’s northeastern holy city of Mashhad on Saturday.

He said Iran will continue to provide support for young Palestinian resistance forces and their “strong heroic front” to the greatest extent possible, both verbally and in practice.

The IRGC commander asserted that such support and concerted efforts will continue until the Israeli regime is fully annihilated.

Young Palestinian fighters have at times carried out more than 30 retaliatory operations in a single day against the Israeli regime in the occupied West Bank, Qaani said, adding that this is the fruit of the resistance front and global mobilization of Muslims.

He said the resistance front has grown into an extensive axis, which has connected different sources and points of resistance in the world together.

“This front has drawn together altruist, educated and erudite people who share many points in common,” he said. “The main commonality among them is their longing to defend Islam, the honor of Muslims. They defend themselves and others collectively.”

Brigadier General Qaani described the mass mobilization of Muslim resistance fighters as an ideal commanded by the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, and achieved by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei.

The chief commander of the IRGC Quds Force also stressed that it does not now last long for resistance fighters in Lebanon, Yemen or anywhere else across the globe to voice solidarity with Palestinians anytime the Zionist regime commits a crime in the occupied territories.

Source: Agencies

Brigadier General Qaani confirms: Gaza won as a result of the cooperation of the people and the resistance, and we will continue to strengthen the axis of resistance.
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