SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JAN. 23, 2019: SYRIA THREATENS TO STRIKE ‘TEL AVIV AIRPORT’

South Front

Late on January 22, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) repelled a major attack by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

According to the Russian military, about 150-200 militants supported by 15-20 vehicles equipped with machine guns attacked SAA positions in the areas of Abu al-Duhur and Abu Sharja. They also employed at least one suicide vehicle borne explosive device. The militants overran the first line of defense and penetrated about 1.5-2 km deep into the SAA-controlled area.

Then, the military deployed reinforcements and with support of artillery units SAA troops repelled the advance and forced militants to withdraw from the recently captured positions.

According to pro-SAA sources, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members suffered significant casualties.

12 service members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were killed in the January 20th Israeli airstrikes on Damascus’s International Airport, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on January 22. The SOHR claimed that the total death toll is 21 people: 6 Syrian Army troops, 12 IRGC service members and 3 other non-Syrian nationals.

On January 22, Syria’s envoy to the United Nations warned that if the UN Security Council did not put a stop to Israeli strikes on his country, Syria would retaliate on its own.

“Syria would practice its legitimate right of self-defense and respond to the Israeli aggression on Damascus International Airport in the same way on Tel Aviv airport,” Bashar Jaafari said.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that the strikes were aimed at Iranian targets in the country. According  to the very same version, IDF aircraft attacked Syrian military positions because they were responding ‘violently’ to Israeli strikes on Iranian forces. It should be noted that the SOHR claims contradict with the data provided by the Russian Defense Ministry. It said that 4 Syrian service members were killed in the attack.

The Russia-delivered S-300 system was not employed by the Syrian military during the encounter. According to Russia’s Kommersant newspaper, the reason is that Syrian S-300 crews are still not ready to operate the S-300 air defense system themselves. According to the report, the S-300 crews have not passed firing exams yet. The newspaper speculated that the crews would not be ready earlier than March 2019. Then, one battalion of the S-300 air defense system will reportedly be deployed in the T4 airbase area.

Citing its own sources, Kommersant stated that Russia is not going to change its current attitude towards Israeli strikes on Syria as long as Russian personnel are not near the targets being hit.

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ISIS Needs the US to Survive

ISIS Needs the US to Survive

Scott Ritter – American Conservative Jan 18, 2019

Scene of the suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria, Jan. 16, 2019

Scene of the suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria, Jan. 16, 2019

“No war is over until the enemy says it’s over,” James Mattis, the former Marine Corps General and recently resigned secretary of state, is quoted as saying. “We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.” Mattis’s statement was made in 2012, well before President Donald Trump, in a surprise announcement on December 19, declared victory over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, better known as ISIS.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the president wrote. He later expanded on that sentiment in a video message, posted on Twitter. “Our boys, our young men and women, are coming home now,” Trump noted. “We won.”

But a recent attack on U.S. forces in Syria, carried out by a suicide bomber which ISIS claimed was operating on its behalf, has led to an outpouring of criticism of Trump’s precipitous decision. “ISIS has claimed credit for killing American troops in Syria today,” Senator Marco Rubio tweeted in the aftermath of the attack. “If true, it is a tragic reminder that ISIS not been defeated and is transforming into a dangerous insurgency. This is no time to retreat from the fight against ISIS. Will only embolden & strengthen them.”

While Mattis’s words were a cautionary warning about premature celebration, Rubio’s sentiments, along with those who share his point of view, miss the point of the ISIS attack altogether. The U.S. was on the verge of withdrawing from Syria, something Rubio and others believe would give ISIS a victory. Why, then, would ISIS attack American forces in such a high-profile manner, creating the condition for a reversal of Trump’s decision and keeping the U.S. military in Syria for the foreseeable future?

As far as military patrols go, the one carried out by forces assigned to the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (SOJTF-OIR) in the northern Syrian city of Manbij on January 16 was as routine as it gets. SOJTF-OIR was authorized under Section 1209 of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to provide assistance to the so-called “Vetted Syrian Opposition,” or VSO. A Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) intelligence specialist, accompanied by a Department of Defense civilian translator, was tasked with meeting with local personnel from the Civil Administration of Manbij and the Manbij Internal Security Forces, ostensibly as part of the overall coordination being conducted with the VSO in preparation for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria announced by Trump last month. The intelligence specialist was accompanied by a small force of U.S. soldiers, tasked with providing force protection commensurate to the threat.

The “threat” as it was, was two-fold. On the one hand you have the Turkish military and allied proxies on the outskirts of Manbij who are threatening to occupy Manbij in the wake of a U.S. withdrawal in order to expel Kurdish forces aligned with the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish political party Turkey accuses of being allied with the PKK, a Turkish-based Kurdish group designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey. On the other, ISIS, an Islamic extremist group which had, until 2016, occupied Manbij. Although ISIS had been driven from Manbij by VSO forces, so-called “sleeper cells” remained. This threat was real—in March 2018 a U.S. Delta Force operator and British commando were killed in a roadside bomb attack carried out by ISIS.

But ISIS apparently was not a major factor in the security plan put in place by the patrol. The planned meeting took place in a popular restaurant located on the main street of Manbij. The owner had fled Manbij when ISIS took over, returning after its liberation to open this particular establishment, which became the “go-to” location for visiting dignitaries (Senator Lindsey Graham claims to have eaten there when he visited Manbij), and was frequented by U.S. soldiers during their “coordination” efforts with the VSO. If an ISIS suicide bomber wanted to pick one location in Manbij where he or she could be certain Americans and high-value local officials would regularly congregate, it would be this restaurant.

This is precisely what happened this week. Alerted by the tell-tale presence of the unique M-ATV vehicles used by U.S. special forces, flying large American flags, the ISIS suicide bomber waited until the Americans had entered the popular restaurant and sat down with their VSO counterparts. The bomber walked to the entrance of the restaurant, detonated a suicide vest carrying explosives and, in the resulting explosion, killed the DIA intelligence specialist, his American interpreter, and two other U.S. soldiers, and wounded three other U.S. soldiers. Eleven locals died in the bombing as well, including at least five members of the Manbij Internal Security Force.

Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria had been met with a wave of high-profile opposition, and prompted the resignations of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk, in protest. Senator Lindsey Graham led a chorus of Congressional opposition to the decision, calling it a “huge Obama-like mistake” and, in doing so, drawing parallels to the December 2011 withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq, an action critics later claimed helped spawn the birth of ISIS. Graham further noted that “An American withdrawal at this time would be a big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al Assad of Syria, and Russia. I fear it will lead to devastating consequences for our nation, the region, and throughout the world.”

While Iran, Syria and Russia have all supported Trump’s decision, ISIS had remained silent—until January 16. “The enemy gets a vote,” Mattis said. On January 16, 2019, ISIS voted, but it wasn’t the vote Senator’s Graham and Rubio have articulated. The ISIS attack in Manbij was a premeditated, carefully calculated event designed to sow chaos in the processes associated with an American disengagement in Manbij.

Manbij is a predominantly Arab city strategically located on the front lines separating Turkish forces from their arch-enemies, the Kurdish YPG, in the contested territory of northern Syria. The Manbij City Council, headed by a former Syrian Parliamentarian named Sheikh Farouk al-Mashi, has been touted as a model for similar Arab-led city councils in former ISIS strongholds such a Raqaa, the one-time capital of the ISIS caliphate. These councils would operate within the framework of a self-governing Kurdish-dominated entity in northeastern Syria known as Rojava. Arab-led city councils like the one in Manbij are viewed by the U.S. as a means of reducing the Kurdish profile in northeastern Syria, thereby placating the Turks, locking in a pro-U.S. Arab element opposed to the Assad regime in Damascus, and providing an Arab-based political entity that can effectively counter the attraction to ISIS on the part of many Syrian Arab tribes.

The problem with this approach is that it can’t work. The Kurds will never grant full autonomy to the Arab city councils, thereby guaranteeing Turkish angst, and the Syrian government, backed by Russia and Iran, has insisted on the return of all Syrian territory to its control. Moreover, the city councils are weak and ineffective, and as such provide the perfect incubator for a residual ISIS presence. The only way the continued existence of city councils such as the one in Manbij is for the U.S. to remain in Syria and continue to prop them up.

The leadership of ISIS knows that its days are numbered once the Syrian government can turn its full attention on the eradication of that organization. ISIS was born in the vacuum of governance created by the collapse of central authority in both Iraq and Syria brought on by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the subsequent support of Islamic extremism as a vehicle of instability in Syria after 2011. As the Iraqi government, with the assistance of Iran, regains control of its own territory, the last remaining bastions of ISIS control are on Syrian soil, in areas controlled by the U.S. military. The correlation between the presence of U.S. military forces and the continued existence of ISIS should not be lost on anyone—ISIS needs the U.S. in order to survive.

The patrol that was attacked in Manbij was not, as the detractors of Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria have stated, furthering the national security objectives of the United States. While it wasn’t their intention, through their actions these Americans were empowering ISIS by furthering a situation from which ISIS in Syria draws its relevance. A U.S. withdrawal from Syria would set ISIS adrift, allowing the Syrian government, backed by Russia and Iran, to defeat it and reassert its control over not only the territory currently occupied by ISIS, but also the hearts and minds of the Syrian Arabs whom ISIS needs for sustainment. By attacking the U.S. military and Manbij City Council on January 16, 2019, ISIS cast its vote in favor of the continued presence of U.S. military forces in Syria. Those who continue to argue in favor of a U.S. military presence in Syria are only giving credence to that vote.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Dealbreaker: Donald Trump and the Unmaking of the Iran Nuclear Deal (2018) by Clarity Press

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A Convenient Killing of US Troops in Syria

A Convenient Killing of US Troops in Syria

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 18.01.2019

A Convenient Killing of US Troops in Syria

With unseemly haste, US news media leapt on the killing of four American military personnel in Syria as a way to undermine President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from that country.

The deadly attack in the northern city of Manbij, on the west bank of the Euphrates River, was reported to have been carried out by a suicide bomber. The Islamic State (ISIS) terror group reportedly claimed responsibility, but the group routinely makes such claims which often turn out to be false.

The American military personnel were said to be on a routine patrol of Manbij where US forces have been backing Kurdish militants in a purported campaign against ISIS and other terror groups.

An explosion at a restaurant resulted in two US troops and two Pentagon civilian officials being killed, along with more than a dozen other victims. Three other US military persons were among those injured.

US media highlighted the bombing as the biggest single death toll of American forces in Syria since they began operations in the country nearly four years ago.

The US and Kurdish militia have been in control of Manbij for over two years. It is one of the main sites from where American troops are to withdraw under Trump’s exit plan, which he announced on December 19.

Following the bombing, the New York Times headlined: “ISIS Attack in Syria Kills 4 Americans, Raising Worries about Troop Withdrawal”. The report goes on, “the news prompted calls from Republicans and Democrats for President Trump to reconsider his plans to withdraw troops from the country.”

A more pointed headline in The Washington Post was: “Killing of 4 Americans in Syria Throws Spotlight on Trump’s Policy”.

The Post editorialized, “the bombing showed that [ISIS] is likely to be a force to be reckoned with in Syria for the foreseeable future.” It quoted politicians in Washington claiming the “bombing deaths… were a direct result of a foolish and abrupt departure announcement [by Trump], and made the case for staying.”

Democrat Senator Jack Reed, who sits on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said: “From the beginning, I thought the president was wrong [in ordering the withdrawal]. It was a strategic mistake for the whole region.”

With macabre smugness, anti-Trump politicians and news media appeared to exploit the death of US troops in Manbij to score points against Trump.

The president’s claims made just before Christmas of having defeated ISIS were widely replayed following the Manbij attack this week by way of ridiculing Trump’s order to pullout US troops from Syria.

Nevertheless, despite the deaths, Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence stated they were still committed to bring the 2,000 or so US troops home. Some military figures also went on US media to defend Trump’s pullout plan in spite of the terror attack in Manbij.

There clearly is a serious division in Washington over Trump’s policy on Syria. For Democrats and supportive media outlets, anything Trump does is to be opposed. But there are also elements within the military and intelligence nexus which are implacably against, what they see as, his “capitulation to Russia and Iran” in Syria. That was partly why his Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned days after Trump made his announced withdrawal at the end of last month.

Having invested years and money in regime-change machinations in Syria, there is bound to be US military and intelligence cabals which are resistant to Trump’s move to pack up. Not that Trump’s move portends a peace dividend for the region. It is more a “tactical change” for how US imperialism operates in the Middle East, as his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Cairo last week.

That is why Trump’s order to take troops out of Syria may not be a clear-cut withdrawal. His National Security adviser John Bolton on a tour of the Middle East last week has already tried to undermine Trump by attaching all sorts of vague conditions to the troop pullout. Bolton and Pompeo have talked about the need to ensure the total defeat of ISIS and of the countering of Iranian presence in Syria.

This brings up the question of who may have carried out the bombing in Manbij? Was it really a suicide bomber? Was it really ISIS? Several observers have pointed out that ISIS have not had any presence in Manbij for the past two years since the Americans and Kurds took control of the city.

As always, the key question arises: who stands to benefit from the killing of the American troops? The scale of the attack suggests it was carried out with a sharp political message intended for Trump.

One potential beneficiary are the Kurdish militants who are being abandoned by the putative US withdrawal. Without their American sponsor on the ground, the Kurds are in danger of Turkish forces launching cross-border operations to wipe them out, as Ankara has vowed to do. A Machiavellian Kurdish calculation could be to “disprove” Trump about “ISIS being defeated”, and that US forces are needed to prevent any resurgence of the terror group in Manbij and northeast Syria.

Another sinister player is the CIA or some other element of US military intelligence. It is certainly not beyond the realm of plausibility that the CIA could facilitate such an atrocity against American personnel in order to discredit Trump’s withdrawal plan.

Certainly, the way the anti-Trump media in the US reacted with such alacrity and concerted talking points suggests there was something a bit too convenient about the massacre.

It would in fact be naive to not suspect that the CIA could have pulled off such a false flag in Manbij. As in 1950s Vietnam, as told by Graham Greene in ‘The Quiet American’, the CIA have been doing such dirty tricks with bombing atrocities and assassinations for decades in order to precipitate wars in foreign countries that the agency calculates are in America’s geopolitical interests.

ISRAEL CONDUCTS MASSIVE STRIKE ON ‘IRANIAN TARGETS’ IN SYRIA

South Front

21.01.2019

On January 20, the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) repelled an Israeli airstrike on positions south of the city of Damascus.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that 4 Israeli F-16 warplanes launched 7 missiles at the Damascus international airport from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea. The SyAADF shot down the missiles with its Pantsir-S1 and Buk-M2E systems.

Following the incident, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced that its Iron Dome anti-rocket system had intercepted a projectile over the occupied Golan Heights.

Later on the same day, the IDF carried out another strike on the outskirt of the Syrian capital of Damascus claiming that it is aimed at Iranian Quds Forces. The IDF claimed that it had targeted munition storage sites, a military site, an Iranian intelligence site and an Iranian military training camp. The Israeli strike destroyed a Syrian Pantsir-S1 air defense system.

According to Syrian sources, the IDF launched over 50 missiles. The Russian military said that Syrian forces had intercepted at least 30 cruise missiles and guided bombs.

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israel’s (apartheid state) Top Commander Finally Spills Secrets Of “Invisible War” In Syria

Israel’s Top Commander Finally Spills Secrets Of “Invisible War” In Syria

Source: ZeroHedge

For years Israel denied allegations that it had a role in funding and weaponizing the anti-Assad insurgency in Syria, and more often military officials responded “no comment” even when confronted with overwhelming evidence of Israeli weapons documented in al-Qaeda linked insurgents’ hands, but this all changed in a new British Sunday Times interview with outgoing Israeli army commander Gadi Eisenkot, who has finally confirmed the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) supplied weapons to rebels across the border “for self-defense,” and further perhaps more stunningly, has admitted to long waging an “invisible war in Syria” that involved “thousands of attacks”.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot 

The interview constitutes the first time that any current top Israeli military or government official has fully acknowledged sending anything beyond “humanitarian supplies,” such as medical aid to Syrian militants seeking to topple the Assad government; and yet it still appears the country’s military chief is slow playing the confirmation, only acknowledging the IDF provided “light weapons” — even after years of reporting has definitively uncovered an expansive Israeli program to arm dozens of insurgent groups and pay their salaries, includingknown affiliates of al-Qaeda in Syria.

This comes after the Syrian government has for years accused Israel of partnering with the west and gulf countries, such as the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey of funding and weaponizing an al-Qaeda/ISIS insurgency as part of covert regime change operations aimed at Damascus and its allies Iran and Hezbollah. Since then, countries like Qatar have come forward to reveal just how vast their covert role in fueling the Syrian war really was, which we covered in our story, In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War.

The Sunday Times relates a key confession that comes out of Lt.-Gen Gadi Eisenkot’s explosive interview as follows:

Eisenkot acknowledged for the first time, however, that Israel had supplied rebel groups in the border area with light weapons “for self-defence”.

Israel was a hidden player on a crowded Syrian battlefield.

Eisenkot positively boasted in the interview that “We operated in an area controlled by the Russians, sometimes attacking targets a kilometre or two from Russian positions,” in order to strike at Iranian assets in Syria.

The rare “confession” of sorts comes at a moment the White House says it’s moving forward on President Trump’s previously announced US troop pullout from Syria, something which has rattled Israel’s leadership, which has argued that Iran will become entrenched near Israel’s border as a result. Eisenkot’s words appear a warning to Iran that Tel Aviv aims to maintain operational capability inside Syria.

On this point the IDF chief admitted to “thousands” of attacks inside Syria:

“We carried out thousands of attacks [in recent years] without taking responsibility and without asking for credit,” he told the Sunday Times.

Given that prior military officials have typically put this number at “hundreds”, often from 200 to 400, this is an astounding admission that confirms Israel and Syria have been in a de facto state of open war since the first acknowledged Israeli airstrikes began in 2013.

Commenting on a prior report, The Times of Israel, summarized the timeline of Israel’s support to the anti-Assad insurgency as follows:

Foreign Policy said that Israel’s support for the rebel groups began in 2013, funding groups in places such as Quneitra and Daraa. It ended this summer as the regime’s forces advanced and made increasing gains in southern Syria against rebels. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops regained control of the border area in July.

The Syrian army said in 2013 that it had seized Israeli weapons in rebel hands.

The report said Israel sent the rebel groups weapons that included assault rifles, machine guns, mortar launchers, and vehicles. It initially sent the rebels US-made M16 rifles that would not identify Jerusalem as the source, and later began supplying guns and ammo from an Iranian shipment to Lebanon’s Hezbollah group that Israel captured in 2009, according to Foreign Policy.

But a number of analysts have suggested Israeli support to the opposition began even closer to the start of the conflict.

A prior Wall Street Journal investigation found that this relationship involved weapons transfers, salary payments to anti-Assad fighters, and treatment of wounded jihadists in Israeli hospitals, the latter which was widely promoted in photo ops picturing Netanyahu himself greeting militants. As even former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell once directly told the Israeli publicIsrael’s “dangerous game” in Syria consists in getting in bed with al-Qaeda in order to fight Shia Iran. 

Prior widely shared photo of Israeli soldiers speaking face to face with al-Qaeda fighters near the Israeli occupied Golan heights in Syria.

In recent years, multiple current and former Israeli defense officials have gone so far as to say that ISIS is ultimately preferable to Iran and Assad. For example, former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren in 2014 surprised the audience at Colorado’s Aspen Ideas Festival when he said in comments related to ISIS that, “the lesser evil is the Sunnis over the Shias.” Oren, while articulating Israeli defense policy, fully acknowledged he thought ISIS was “the lesser evil.”

Likewise, for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive, but the possibility of, in the words of Henry Kissinger, “a Shia and pro-Iran territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut” and establishment of “an Iranian radical empire.”

What is clear, and now finally settled for the historical record, is that for years Israeli concealed its “hidden hand” in the proxy war while feigning merely “humanitarian aid” — something now fully admitted by Israel’s top military commander. In other words the humanitarian smokescreen was cover for a full-on covert war on Damascus, as we and many other independent outlets have reported many times, and for years. Yet another past “conspiracy theory” becomes today’s incontrovertible fact.

After years of speculation, IDF chief admits israel (apartheid state) supplied Syrian terrorists with weapons

After years of speculation, IDF chief admits Israel supplied Syrian rebels with weapons

After years of speculation, IDF chief admits Israel supplied Syrian rebels with weapons

RT | January 15, 2019

The outgoing IDF chief of staff has spilled the beans on a poorly guarded secret of the Israeli military, that it has supplied Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar Assad’s government with weapons “for self-defense.”

Gadi Eisenkot, who was the Israeli Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff for the last three years, told the Sunday Times in a farewell interview that Israel had been directly involved in the Syrian conflict on the side of the Syrian rebels, something that Tel Aviv has been reluctant to acknowledge before.

The general, who is retiring from military service, said that Israel supplied rebels at the border with light weapons for the purposes of “self-defense.”

While the direct links between Syrian rebels and Israeli commanders have been officially revealed for the first time, rumors of close military ties between the armed militants and the Israeli government have been circulating for years.

Foreign Policy magazine reported in September that Israel supplied weapons and gave money to at least 12 rebel groups holed up in southern Syria. The arrangement reportedly included Israeli officials also giving $75-per-person monthly allowances to rebel fighters, in addition to the funds their leaders received to procure weapons on the black market.

In return, rebels were expected to deter Hezbollah and Iran proxies from the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan Heights.

The scheme was reportedly in effect throughout Operation Good Neighbor, which officially kicked off in June 2016 and was wrapped up only last November. Within this undertaking, Israel was openly assisting the rebels but claimed that assistance was strictly humanitarian. Israel treated wounded Syrian rebels and their families in its hospitals, provided some 1,524 tons of food, 250 tons of clothes, 947,520 liters of fuel, as well as a huge amount of medical supplies.

However, until recently Israel kept vigorously denying any involvement beyond that. The Jerusalem Post’s report in September on the IDF confirming that it had provided light weapons to Syrian rebels was promptly pulled from its website. The newspaper told RT at the time that it was forced to remove the article by the army’s censor, apparently, “for security reasons.”

In November, Maj. Gen. Gershon Hacohen, a former senior commander with the IDF, revealed that former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had personally met with a group of Syrian rebels, without specifying the time period. Ya’alon was Israel’s chief of defense from 2013 to May 2016.

The Israeli military seems to have finally begun to reveal the scope of its involvement in the Syrian conflict, previously shrouded in secrecy. In an interview with the New York Times, Eisenkot acknowledged that Israel has been waging a large-scale bombing campaign aimed at degrading Iran’s military influence in the region. In 2018 alone, the IDF dropped 2,000 bombs on alleged Iran-linked targets in Syria. Sorties into the neighboring country’s territory became“near-daily events” after PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s government greenlighted the expansion of the operation in January 2017, according to the retiring general.

الأميركيون يعلنون الحرب على لبنان!

يناير 12, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

هل بات نزعُ التغطية الدولية والإقليمية عن لبنان مسألة وقت لم يعد بعيداً؟ سؤال في موضعه الدقيق بعد «المطوّلات» التي أطلقها وزير الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو في العاصمة المصرية القاهرة، ومن على منبر جامعتها الأميركية.

جزم بأن بلاده تحضر لانسحاب وشيك لقواتها من شرق الفرات والشمال السوريين، إلا أنها تتهيأ ايضاً لمواصلة قتال إيران «بالسبل الدبلوماسية» و»داعش» بوسائل أخرى لم يحددها، لعلها تشبه حربها على منظمة «النصرة» الارهابية التي اجتاحت مؤخراً الشمال وإدلب السوريين وسط صمت وتجاهل أميركي وتركي وأوروبي وخليجي. وحدها الدولة السورية دفعت بقسم من قواتها لمجابهة النصرة وبعض بؤر التنظيمات الموالية لتركيا وداعش ذات الولاء المتنوّع.

ما شكل تغييراً عن نمط الضغط الدبلوماسي الأميركي الذي أشار اليه بومبيو، هو إعلانه عن تنسيق أميركي إسرائيلي لضرب حالة التضخم العسكري السياسي لحزب الله في لبنان متحدثاً عن عشرات آلاف الصواريخ المخبوءة في منازل القرى والبلدات التي تهدد الأمن الاستراتيجي الإسرائيلي، مؤكداً العمل الأميركي الإسرائيلي على إزالتها، وهذه الإزالة غير ممكنة بالفرشاة أو الممحاة.

وتحتاج الى حروب عسكرية كبيرة ومتعدّدة على مستوى لبنان بكامله ومدنييه وقراه ومدنه.

وليس أكيداً نجاحها بتحقيق أهدافها مع حزب بمستوى حزب الله يقاتل منذ 1982 وحتى 2006 في حروب غوار شعبية ويحارب منذ 2011 على الأراضي السورية بالشكلين الشعبي والتقليدي مكتسباً مهارات احترافية تضعه في مستوى أهم جيوش المنطقة مضيفاً اليه الالتزام الايديولوجي الذي يضفي على مقاتليه إمكانات إضافية قد تكون أكثر أهمية من الحديد والنار.

يتبين بالاستنتاج الدقيق أن جماهيرية حزب الله في لبنان وانتشاره على معظم مساحته الجغرافية تجعل من الصعب استهدافه من دون اصابة التجمعات المدنية لكل الطوائف والمذاهب فيه.

لمزيد من التفسير يمكن القول وبصوت عالٍ إن بومبيو يعلن الحرب الإسرائيلية الأميركية على لبنان من دون أن يرف له جفن، وهذه فرصة تتلقفها العدوانية الإسرائيلية المستفيدة من الصراخ الأميركي لتحشيد المنطقة العربية ضد إيران وتحالفاتها.

ماذا يعني إعلان الحرب الأميركية على حزب الله من منبر مصري؟ هذا يدلّ على وجود تغطية عربية خليجية متنوعة، تذهب حالياً نحو تشكيل قوة إسناد عسكرية للحلف الإسرائيلي الأميركي كما أكد بومبيو في كلمته في مصر بمشاركة وزير خارجيتها سامح شكري.

وعندما تجتمع الأطراف الأميركية والعربية والإسرائيلية على ضرورة الانتهاء من ظاهرة حزب الله. فهذا له تفسير وحيد وهو رفع الغطاء الغربي العربي عن لبنان وإعلانه ساحة لكل أنواع الصراعات العسكرية والسياسية.

وإذا كان الصراع العسكري مختزلاً بإعلان الحروب المتنوعة فإن الحرب السياسية تتضمن جانبين:

الأول وقف التعامل مع مؤسساته السياسية والثاني وضعه في دائرة العقاب الاقتصادي.

قد يقول «متفلسف» إن الأميركيين يريدون بهذه المواقف فتح جبهات داخلية لبنانية، في إطار فتنة تتهم فيها أطراف لبنانية أخرى ذات ولاء سعودي وأميركي حزب الله بأنه سبب خراب لبنان، فتؤجج الوضع الداخلي وتدفعه الى احتراب داخلي يدفع باتجاه حرب أهلية.

ولم يهمهم الأمر، يمكن تأكيد أن الساعين المحليين الى الفتنة حاضرون، لكن ما يتمتعون به من امكانات لا يصل الى مستوى إعداد حروب عصابات على شاكلة المافيا وشبيهاتها.

فحزب الله ذو مستوى إقليمي يحارب العدو بقدرة المتمكن ويتعامل مع اللبنانيين بأسلوب الشقيق المتواضع، والجميع في لبنان مُلمٌ بهذه القاعدة، لذلك يكتفي الآخرون بشن حروب إعلامية هدفها رفع سعرهم في التحاصص الداخلي والصفقات.

تدفع هذه المعطيات الى الربط بين الهجوم الأميركي على حزب الله من مصر وبين الانسداد الكبير في حركة تشكيل حكومة جديدة حتى أن المسؤولين يفكرون بإعادة الاعتبار لحكومة تصريف الاعمال الموجودة حالياً لادارة البلد، بشكل اوسع مما يبيحه الدستور لحكومة مستقيلة.

وهنا يجب الربط المباشر والواضح بين عجز القوى السياسية اللبنانية عن تشكيل حكومة جديدة وبين الاستهداف الأميركي الإسرائيلي الخليجي لحزب الله.

فكيف يمكن لقوى وثيقة الصلة بالخارج ان تقبل بحكومة يمتلك حزب الله وتحالفاته فيها وزناً كبيراً في وقت تعمل مرجعياتها الخارجية على ضرب هذا الحزب؟

هذا هو التفسير المنطقي لحالات رفض تمثيل القوى الحليفة لحزب الله في الحكومة الجديدة بموازاة الإصرار الإضافي على تمثيل محدود للحزب في الحكومة.

وكيف يمكن تشكيل حكومة حتى لو كانت ميثاقية من دون الاستناد الى نتائج الانتخابات النيابية الأخيرة؟

وهل يستطيع رئيس الوزراء المكلف تشكيل الحكومة سعد الحريري التمرّد على السياسة السعودية والقبول بحكومة متوازنة تُجسّد كل الأطراف؟

والجواب يعرفه كل اللبنانيين المتابعين لعلاقات السعودية بالحريري الذي أعلن أنه «بَيْ السنة» فيما كان مطلوباً منه ان يكون رئيساً لمجلس وزراء كل كل لبنان.

واذا كان رئيس المجلس النيابي نبيه بري المعروف باعتداله نعى الحكومة قبل أسبوع، معتبراً انها في «خبر كان» فإنه لم يعد يبحث إلا عن طرق «لإدارة الخلاف» وذلك بالابتعاد النسبي عن صراعات الإقليم وتجميد المواضيع التي تتسبب باندلاع خلافات، فهل ينجح؟

هناك سباق بين ادارة أميركية إسرائيلية لتفجير الأوضاع في لبنان وبين محور المقاومة المصرّ على تجنيبه هذا المصير والرابح هو المنتصر في ميادين سورية وليست جماعة من المتوهمين الذي يبنون سياساتهم على قياس ما يريده الخارج حتى لو أدت الى خراب البلاد.

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