Sayyed Nasrallah to Macron: You’re Not Lebanon’s Ruler, Hezbollah Open to the French Initiative… US behind Failure

Sayyed Nasrallah to Macron: You’re Not Lebanon’s Ruler, Hezbollah Open to the French Initiative… US behind Failure

Zeinab Essa

Beirut-Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered on Tuesday a televised speech in which he tackled various internal and regional issues.

At the beginning of his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah offered condolences to Kuwait and its people over the demise of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah. “The late Kuwaiti leader played a personal and major role in ending Lebanon’s civil war. The Lebanese people neither forget the role of the late Emir in ending the civil war, nor the Kuwaiti role during the July 2006 war, supporting Lebanon and reconstructing it” he said, noting that “Kuwait still maintains its honorable stance towards Al-Quds and Palestine, unlike the train of normalization.”

Meanwhile, His Eminence praised the coherent stance of Kuwait under its late Emir against pressures on Gulf nations to join normalization with the Zionist entity.

On another level, Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the efforts and sacrifices of the Lebanese army and forces that had recently confronted the armed terrorist groups in Northern Lebanon. “The armed groups in north Lebanon were plotting major military action against the country.”

He further offered condolences to the Lebanese army and the families of the martyrs that have fallen in the battle. “We have previously warned against the attempts to revive Daesh [Arabic Acronym for the terrorist ‘ISIS’/’ISIL’ group] again in Iraq and Syria, and it is natural that preparations began in Lebanon to justify the American forces’ presence in the region,” His Eminence added, pointing out that “After the assassination of martyrs [Qasim] Soleimani and [Abu Mahdi] al-Muhandis, Washington started reviving Daesh.”

In parallel, the Resistance Leader declared Hezbollah appreciates the popular position in the north and the people’s rallying around the army and security forces.

According to His Eminence, “Washington is trying to justify its continuous presence in the region under the pretext of the international coalition to fight Daesh, which it seeks to revive in the region.”

On another level, Sayyed Nasrallah underscored that “The “Israeli” enemy’s army is still at the highest level of alert and is still hiding, and this is the longest period that the occupation army lives in this way without having its soldiers moving [from their places].”

Reiterating that Hezbollah still intends to retaliate to the martyrdom of one of its fighters in Syria, the Resistance Leader responded to “Israeli” PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims that Hezbollah is storing missiles near a gas station.

On this level, Sayyed Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah Media Relations is to invite local media outlets to the site at 22:00, to let the world discover his lies.

“We’re not obliged to invite journalists to any site mentioned by Netanyahu, but we are doing this now due to the sensitivity of the situation after the August 4 explosion,” he stressed, noting that c.”

According to His Eminence, “Our measure is to make the Lebanese people aware amid the battle of consciousness, and to let them know that we don’t put our missile between residential houses.”

On the political front, Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted that “The French initiative was published and we all agreed on it. We said we support it. The first step was to name a PM.”

“The work has started and the parliamentary blocs started to consult to agree on naming Hariri or whomever he names. Meanwhile, the club of the four former PMs was formed. We did not put any conditions when Mustafa Adib was nominated and did not make any prior agreement to show our intention to facilitate the process,” he recalled.

His Eminence went on to say, “There are those who said that the designated PM would hold negotiations, but the parliamentary blocs and the president of the republic have not been contacted.”

Moreover, Hezbollah Secretary General disclosed that “Adib did not consult with the President of the Republic, a prepared file was handed to him, and the most important authority for the President- i.e. to participate in forming the government- would have been dropped out.”

“The French must know where they erred, especially as to eliminating the President’s most important remaining power, which is participation in the formation of governments,” he added, noting that “The one who negotiated with us over the government wasn’t Adib, but PM Saad Hariri.”

Sayyed Nasrallah also mentioned that “The naming of ministers for all sects in Lebanon by a single person is dangerous for the country. The Ex-PMs club wanted to distribute portfolios and name the ministers alone.”

“Some wanted to eliminate the parliamentary blocs and the President’s powers and they sought to introduce new norms,” he stated, pointing out that “When we asked whether the French initiative included what was proposed by the club of ex-PMs, we were answered by ‘NO’.”

In addition, Sayyed Nasrallah confirmed that “We rejected what was presented to us because it forms a threat to the country and is not a subject of discussion. The French initiative neither mentions the number of ministers nor the rotation of portfolios.”

His Eminence underlined that “At one point there was an attempt to form a de-facto government. The way things were tackled with regard to the government is unacceptable in Lebanon, regardless of its sponsor or supporter.”

“We have always said that the reason for our presence in the government is to protect the back of the resistance,” he added, warning that “The coercion method does not work in Lebanon, regardless of its advocates and sponsors, be them the US, France or Europe.”

On the same level, Sayyed Nasrallah reminded that Hezbollah “must be in the government to protect the back of the resistance so that May 5, 2008 will not be repeated in Lebanon,” noting that “The second reason behind our participation in the government is fearing for what has remained from Lebanon economically, nationally and on all other levels.”

“What if a government accepts the conditions of the IMF without any discussions? Do we agree on a government that increases taxes on citizens? What if a new government decides to sell the state’s assets,” he asked, statin, “We fear for the state property and people’s money.”

Meanwhile, His Eminence addressed the French President Emanuel Macron by saying: “Did the French initiative say that the ex-PMs form the government and name ministers? Hajj Mohammad Raad told Macron that we agree to 90% of the French initiative, and here we ask, what is it that we agreed upon and did not respect? What you are asking from us contradicts with democracy. You are asking the parliamentary majority to bow and cede power to the parliamentary minority.”

To Macron, Sayyed Nasrallah sent a clear message: “Look for the party that wanted to control the country and eliminate the political forces under your cover. President Macron, who accused us of intimidation, is the one who practiced the intimidation policy against the heads of parties in order to pass the government.”

He also emphasized that Hezbollah “prevented the country from moving towards the worse, and we hope that the Lebanese will cooperate so that the country doesn’t move into the worst.”

Explaining that Hezbollah has not committed to hand over the country to any kind of government, he told the French President: “We know how we adhere to our promises, fulfill it and sacrifice in order to abide by it. Our enemies and friends know that we honor our pledges. We upset our friends to fulfill our promises.”

Once again, he repeated that Hezbollah “did not go to Syria to fight civilians. We went there at the invitation of the Syrian government to fight the groups that you named as terrorists.”

“It was not us who chose war, the Zionists rather occupied our land and attacked us,” he told Macron, stressing that “We do not accept that anyone speaks to us in this language. A settlement is different than surrender. We do not practice the game of terrorism and intimidation against anyone in Lebanon. We do not practice intimidation, but Arab countries that you protect and are friendly to you, doesn’t allow a tweet that criticizes the king to be written.”

In addition, Sayyed Nasrallah said: ‘Iran doesn’t interfere in Lebanon, and we in Hezbollah and Amal Movement decide what to do.”

He further sent the French President a clear advice: “If you want to search for those who thwarted your initiative, look for the Americans who imposed sanctions and complicated the situation.”

In a sounding message, His Eminence stated: “We do not accept the arrogant behavior and that you accuse us and other Lebanese with committing treason. We welcomed the role of President Macron and the French initiative to help Lebanon but not to be an Attorney General, inspector, judge, guardian or governor of Lebanon. There isn’t any mandate neither for the French president nor for others to be guardian or ruler of Lebanon.”

However, Sayyed Nasrallah kept the door open for discussion: “We still support the French initiative, but the language must be reconsidered because what was attacked the last two days ago is the national dignity,” he said, noting that “We are still open to the French initiative for the benefit of our country, and we insist on cooperation to pass from bad to good.”

On another level, Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the stance of the Bahraini people despite oppression and risks, particularly the Bahraini scholars’ rejection of Al-Khalifa regime’s normalization with the “Israeli” enemy.

“The stance of the Bahraini people is honorable and [truly] represents the people of Bahrain. The authority in Bahrain doesn’t own its decision, it rather operates as a Saudi-affiliated state,” he said, pointing out that “The people of Bahrain, despite their wounds, and despite the presence of many of their leaders and symbols behind bars, have said their resounding word of truth in the era of silence, subservience and submission.”

He also warned of Sudan’s move towards normalization.

In addition, Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the official and popular stances of Tunisia and Algeria against the normalizations, and urged the Sudanese people not to accept being part of the normalization under the pretext of lifting its name from the “terror list”.

“We’re not worried about all what is happening in the region as long as the Palestinian people keep adhering to their rights,” he assured.

Sayyed Nasrallah to Macron: You’re Welcome as a Friend, Not as a Guardian

September 30, 2020

Marwa Haidar

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on Tuesday firmly rejected accusations of betrayal by French President Emmanuel Macron, noting meanwhile that the Resistance party is still committed to the French initiative “but based on respect”.

In a televised speech via Al-Manar, Sayyed Nasrallah clarified fallacies made regarding the formation of the new government in Lebanon and Paris’ initiative regarding the current crisis.

He stressed, in this context, that Macron is welcome in Lebanon “as a friend and ally, not as a guardian of our country.”

His eminence also stressed that Hezbollah has been well known for his credibility and sincerity, calling on the French president to “ask the friend and the enemy” about this issue.

Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed, meanwhile, that excluding Hezbollah from taking part in the new government is “out of question”.

Elsewhere in his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah hit back at Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu who claimed that Hezbollah allegedly has a missile factory near a gas station south of the capital, Beirut.

The Hezbollah S.G. said the party’s Media Relation Office would hold a tour for media outlets’ reporters to head to the area Netayahu had spoken about in a bid to refute lies of the Israeli PM.

Sayyed Nasrallah, meanwhile, hailed the Lebanese Army for foiling attacks by terrorists in the country’s north, warning that the terrorists have been preparing for a major military action in Lebanon.

Emir of Kuwait Demise

Sayyed Nasrallah started his speech by offering condolences over the demise of Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

His eminence praised Kuwait monarch for his role in stopping the civil war in Lebanon, noting that he also stood by Lebanon and contributed to reconstruction of Lebanese towns following the Israeli war on Lebanon in July 2006.

“Emir of Kuwait also adopted an honored stance on Palestine and Al-Quds,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, praising Sheikh Al-Sabah for not striking a deal with the Zionist entity echoing other Arab states.

North Lebanon Confrontations and ISIL Revive

Tackling the latest confrontations between the Lebanese Army and Takfiri terrorists in the country’s north, Sayyed Nasrallah described the Lebanese soldiers as heroes, hailing the Lebanese people for standing by the Lebanese Army.

His eminence warned that Lebanon is facing a threat of major military action by ISIL terrorist group.

“We appreciate the popular stance in the northern villages where people voiced support to the army and security forces.”

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah said that since the assassination of Iranian Major-General Qassem Suleimani, head of the elite Quds Force and Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Hashd Shaabi paramilitary force, US has been working hard to revive ISI in the region.

He called for caution and awareness regarding this threat, urging the Lebanese people to rally behind the Lebanese Army and security forces.

Sayyed Nasrallah Hits back at Netanyahu

His eminence then hit back at Netanyahu claims that a facility south of Beirut allegedly contains Hezbollah missiles, calling on media outlets to tour the area.

“Lebanese media outlets are called upon to tour in the area at 22:00 today in a bid to refute Netanyahu’s lies.”

“We position our missiles neither in Beirut Port nor near a gas station, we know very well where can we preserve our rockets,” Sayyed Nasrallah stated, referring to similar claims by Israeli media shortly after the deadly explosion at Beirut Port on August 4.

Tackling the state of alert on the Lebanese-Palestinian border, Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated an earlier threat to retaliate to the martyrdom of Hezbollah fighter Ali Mohsen in Damascus earlier in July.

“Israeli occupation army has been on alert at the border with Lebanon for more than two months in the longest period of mobilization since 1948.”

Ex-PMs Setting Conditions on Gov’t Formation

Turning to the government issue, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that Hezbollah has been facilitating the formation of the new government following the resignation of caretaker PM Hassan Diab’s government earlier last month.

He said that four ex-PMs Saad Hariri, Fuad Siniora, Najib Mikati and Tammam Salam formed a club in which they were setting conditions on Hezbollah and his allies, noting that they were leading the negotiations in this regard instead of the PM-designate Mustapha Adib, who recused himself from his mission last Saturday.

His eminence mentioned some of the conditions set by the ex-PMs: number of ministers in the government will be limited to 14, portfolios will be rotated and the ministers will be named by them.

In addition to taking the role of the PM-designate, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that the four ex-PMs were also going beyond the authority of President Michel Aoun who has the right to take part in the formation process.

In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah said that Hezbollah repeatedly asked the ex-PMs if such conditions were stipulated by the French initiative, noting that the answer was no.

Excluding Hezbollah from the Gov’t ‘Out of Question’

Sayyed Nasrallah noted that Hezbollah did not agree on the process of naming the ministers, stressing that the Resistance party did not commit to follow a random government and to hand over the country to it.

In this issue his eminence said that Macron was asking the parliamentary majority in Lebanon to hand over the power to the minority, noting that this contradicts the principle of democracy.

Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed here that Hezbollah won’t accept to be excluded from the government, noting that this behavior aimed at defending the back of the resistance in the country and at preventing further collapse of Lebanon on the economic and financial levels.

Betrayal Accusations ‘Rejected’

Hezbollah S.G. hit back at Macron, rejecting his latest remarks when he accused the Lebanese parties of ‘betrayal and blamed Hezbollah and Amal movement of foiling the French initiative.

Sayyed Nasrallah then addressed Macron by saying: “We did not attack any one, we defended our land against the Israeli occupier. We went to Syria upon the request of the government there to fight those militants whom your state consider terrorists.”

“What are the promises which we did not keep? Our credibility and sincerity is well known to our enemies and our friends. Betrayal accusations are unacceptable and condemned.”

“If you want to know who foiled your initiative look for the US which imposed sanctions, and look for Saudi King Salman and his speech at the United Nations General Assembly,” Sayyed Nasrallah said addressing the French president.

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that Hezbollah stance since the beginning of the French initiative was to welcome and to facilitate such efforts, but stressed that Macron’s rhetoric of superiority is not accepted.

“You are welcome as a friend and an ally, not as a guardian and prosecutor who defends the interest of certain Lebanese camp,” the Hezbollah S.G. said.

He concluded this part of his speech by maintaining that Hezbollah is still committed to the French initiative, voicing readiness to hold discussions in this regard “but on base of respect.”

Bahraini People and Deals with ‘Israel’

Sayyed Nasrallah then praised the Bahraini people who took to streets to protest against the Manama regime’s decision to hold so-called peace deal with the Zionist entity.

“We appreciate the moves of the Bahraini people who despite oppression by the regime took to streets and voiced opposition to any deal with the Israeli enemy.”

Hi eminence also said that Hezbollah relies on the stance of the people of the Arab countries and their popular will to oppose their regimes and refuse deals with the Israeli enemy.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Analyst: An Islamic and United Front against Normalization

Analyst: An Islamic and United Front against Normalization

By Nour Rida

There has been recent agreements between the UAE and Bahrain with ‘Israel’ to open formal diplomatic ties as total departure from the Arab consensus over the resolution of the Palestinian issue. ‘Israel’ and the UAE on August 13 reached a deal that will lead to full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two sides, in an agreement apparently brokered by US President Donald Trump. Bahrain also signed the controversial and US-brokered normalization agreements with ‘Israel’ during a ceremony in Washington on Tuesday.

Commenting on the matter, political analyst and expert on Palestinian affairs, and also professor at the University of Tehran Dr. Hadi Borhani told al-Ahed news “At a certain point, all the countries of this region had opposed the presence of the ‘Israeli’ entity in the Middle East and this totally makes sense. ‘Israel’ and the ‘Israelis’ do not belong to the Middle East, they came from thousands of kilometers away from Europe. Their issue was an issue with Europe to begin with, and the British colonialists were the ones who exported this issue to the Middle East by bringing the ‘Israelis’ to the region. The people of the region are well aware of the Sikes-Picot agreement, the Balfour declaration issued by the British government and they saw with their bare eyes how ‘Israel’ occupied Arab and Muslim lands, kicked out its people and removed Palestine off the world map.”

According to the analyst, every person who has reason understands the ‘Israeli’ project and its aggressions and acknowledges it is an occupation. “The majority of the people of the region do enjoy this sense of reason and have eyes that see the reality, including regular people and rulers and officials. This is the general atmosphere. However, some country rulers and governments were pushed into this treason, as ‘Israel’ exploits their weakness points. The major issue in the region, in my opinion, is that Arab governments are busy accusing each other of extremism, westernization, and orientalism and turned these conflict with ‘Israeli’ to one among themselves.”

He went on to explain “You see this in the wars between Arab nationalism and Arab kingdoms, Islamist versus nationalist, etc. If these countries try to respect each other and put differences aside, then they can remain united in face of the ‘Israeli’ occupation and presence in the region. We also see pressure put on Egypt by cutting off the Nile waters, and on Sudan by promising it will be removed off the list of supporters of terrorism if it acknowledges ‘Israel’ as an independent state, and so on.”

Dr. Borhani also noted that “The region does not stand in a right position. If the governments of the region do not wake up and decide to take a serious stance on the presence of the ‘Israeli’ occupation, then the situation will keep deteriorating and it will take the region into historical misery. The countries of this region must be able to see and understand the history of this issue well and make a serious decision to get out of this cycle of humiliation. The first step towards such an accomplishment would be to recognize each other’s existence and differences in opinion and position. The countries of the region must avoid division and enmity and find areas of cooperation and synergy.”

As the expert expresses, “According to Imam Khomeini, if Muslims do not disperse, and unite together, and each one of them pours a bucket of water on ‘Israel’ that would be enough to solve the problem. But without such cooperation, even the most advanced weapons cannot do anything because these weapons are used to weaken each other and that strengthens ‘Israel.’”

Touching on Kuwait’s stance, Dr. Borhani praised Kuwait for its good position on the Palestinian issue. “Kuwait’s relations with Palestine are rooted in history. This position is not only limited to its rejection to the normalization with ‘Israel’ today. Many Palestinian refugees grew up in Kuwait. Many pro-Palestinian organizations were supported by Kuwait as well. This all goes back to the status of Kuwait; its democracy is the best among the GCC and many Arab league countries. Also, the Assembly of the nation of Kuwait is a real assembly and that makes the voice of the people heard. The majority of people in Kuwait oppose ‘Israeli’ presence, and so the resistance against ‘Israel’ will continue in that small country. Moreover, Kuwait is a country of education and culture and this matters a lot. Hence, we can say that the Kuwaiti people are aware of the history of the region and the history of colonization and the occupation of Palestine. This awareness for sure has a positive effect on Kuwait’s position on the Palestinian issue and all Arab countries should follow its lead.” 

As for Iran’s position, Dr. Borhani said that Iran is the most important provider of security in the Persian Gulf. “The security of the Gulf waterway is vital for Iran and the region. ‘Israel’s’ presence in these waters is a matter of concern and could affect the security of the region. Iran has made it clear to the UAE and Bahrain that the countries that provided the ground for ‘Israel’ are responsible for any insecurity and disturbance in the region.”

In terms of Iran’s position, the analyst concluded that “Iran must avoid unilateralism and take positions that are supported and approved by Arab nations and the countries of the region. Iran must enter into serious cooperation with Arab countries to counter the normalization of relations and form an Islamic front against normalization. Many countries in the region oppose normalization. Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Palestine and other countries are in this group.”

Normalisation with Israel: Where do Middle Eastern countries stand?

Source

Since the UAE-Israel deal was announced last week, states in the region have felt pressured to declare their stance on establishing diplomatic ties with Israel

An Algerian demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag during a protest against the 2014 Israeli military offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip and in solidarity with Palestinians, on 25 July 2014 in the capital Algiers (AFP)

By MEE staff

Published date: 19 August 2020

Since the UAE and Israel announced last week that they had reached a deal officially establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, the reaction in the Middle East has been split.

Some Arab countries have expressed support for the UAE-Israel agreement publicly, with BahrainOman and Egypt among the first countries in the world to welcome the deal without reservations.

Bahrain and Oman are expected by Israel to follow in the Emirati footsteps – whereas Egypt has had full diplomatic relations with Israel since 1980.

Others have meanwhile either refrained from commenting or denounced the deal as a normalisation of ties with Israel at the expense of the Palestinian cause, essentially giving Israel a green light to pursue its occupation policies. 

Beyond bilateral ties between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, the question has now been raised regarding which countries – if any – might follow suit.

The administration of US President Donald Trump, which brokered the deal, has hinted that other Arab states might do so.

But in a region where most countries have abstained for decades from having overt relations with Israel, and where civil society is widely perceived as being opposed to normalisation – where do some states stand? 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan cautiously welcomed normalisation on Wednesday, saying the deal – which “suspended” Israeli annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank – “could be viewed as positive.”

“We are committed to the Arab Peace Plan and that is the best way forward to a settlement of the conflict and to normalisation with Israel with all states,” the Saudi foreign minister told reporters in Berlin. “That said, any efforts that could promote peace in the region and that result in holding back the threat of annexation could be viewed as positive.”

The Arab Peace Initiative – sponsored by Saudi Arabia in 2002 – promises Israel full ties with Arab states if a peace settlement is reached with the Palestinians.

Saudi state media has so far published views in favour of the UAE decision, which likely points to Riyadh’s own tolerance to such opinions. The daily Okaz newspaper, for example, published a column that hailed the normalisation deal as reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin wall. 

While Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is largely viewed as favourable to normalisation, his father, King Salman, has so far maintained a more moderate view nominally more supportive of Palestinian statehood.

Trump said on Wednesday that he expected Saudi Arabia to join the UAE-Israel deal.

“I do,” Trump replied when asked at a White House news conference if he expected the kingdom Arabia to join the deal.

The US president called the UAE-Israel accord a good deal and said that “countries that you wouldn’t even believe want to come into that deal.” 

He did not name any other countries besides Saudi Arabia.

Sudan

The Sudanese government on Wednesday sacked a foreign ministry spokesman, following his praise of the UAE-Israel deal. 

Spokesman Haydar Sadig made comments to regional media and confirmed them to news agencies on Tuesday, calling the deal “a brave and bold step” and noting that Khartoum and Tel Aviv already have secret diplomatic contacts.

The foreign ministry said it was “astonished” by Sadig’s comments, and stressed that the government had not discussed the possibility of diplomatic relations.

Israel’s intelligence chief Yossi Cohen, however, contradicted the Sudanese statements later on Wednesday, saying his government is in contact with Sudan and that normalisation is “part of the agenda” of their diplomatic relations. 

Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s ruling council, and reportedly discussed normalisation. 

The meeting at the time was viewed by Sudanese analysts as an attempt by Khartoum to get into Washington’s good graces and obtain the lifting of crippling US sanctions. 

Oman

Oman’s foreign minister, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, spoke with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi on Monday, days after the United Arab Emirates announced plans to normalise ties with Israel. 

The two officially reportedly spoke about the “need to strengthen relations” and “agreed to maintain direct and continual contact” and “continue the important dialogue between the two countries to advance the process of normalisation” in the region, a statement read.

However, bin Abdullah was replaced on Wednesday after 23 years as foreign minister – leading to some speculation. However, analysts have stopped short of saying the move was caused by the call with Ashkenazi, particularly given the fact that bin Abdullah had already publicly called for normalisation in the past.

Lebanon

Lebanese President Michel Aoun initially commented on the deal by saying that “the UAE is a sovereign state” and that he did not rule out future peace with Israel once the roots of the conflict between Beirut and Tel Aviv are settled. 

In other statements, however, he said that he “did not call for peace with Israel” because of the continued Israeli occupation of Lebanese lands, as well as the unresolved issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. 

Lebanon and Israel effectively consider one another enemy states, particularly due to Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon for 18 years, and the Israeli war with the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in 2006.

Should the country’s leadership feel tempted to contemplate normalisation with Israel, they would, however, have to contend with further anger from an already incensed Lebanese public in the wake of a stark economic crisis compounded by the devastation wrought earlier this month by a double explosion in Beirut.

Kuwait

While Kuwait has not made an official statement about the deal, an unnamed official told local newspaper al-Qabas  that his country’s long-standing stance against normalisation remains unchanged.

“Our stance on Israel has not changed following the UAE normalisation agreement, and we will be the last to normalise relations,” the senior official was quoted as saying.

In response to the statements, Jared Kushner, senior advisor to the US president, criticised Kuwait’s stance as “not very constructive” and “a very radical view of the conflict in favour of the Palestinians”.

In the absence of an official statement, Kuwaiti non-governmental organisations and MPs have rejected normalisation. More than 30 NGOs described the agreement as “a dagger stuck in the Palestinian cause and in the back of Arab society”.

Algeria

While the Algerian government has not yet issued an official statement, several political parties and civil society organisations have condemned the agreement.

The conservative Freedom and Justice Party dismissed the deal as a “betrayal” and a “crime” against the Palestinian cause.

Similarly, the National Liberation Front described it as “treason” and “a stab in the back” of Palestinians.

Algerians are widely viewed as some of the most staunch supporters of the Palestinian cause in the region.

Morocco

Morocco has yet to officially comment on the deal, but Rabat is one of many governments in the region known to have not-so-secret dealings with Israel.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International revealed that Israeli spyware was used to target Moroccan activists. Meanwhile, Israeli media reported in February that Netanyahu had lobbied the United States to recognise Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region in exchange for Rabat taking steps to normalise ties with Israel.

Meanwhile, Moroccan writers and scholars nominated for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award – scheduled to be held in the UAE early next year – have announced their withdrawal in protest against the normalisation agreement.

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US Forces Ordered to Stay in Bunkers During IRGC Drills – Reports

US Forces Ordered to Stay in Bunkers During IRGC Drills - Reports

By Staff, Agencies

US military forces deployed to the Gulf kingdoms were reportedly ordered to stay in bunkers as Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC] fired ballistic missiles during normal military drills off the strategic Hormuz Strait.

Citing her “sources” and those of the CNN, a reporter for the BBC wrote in a post on her official page on Tuesday that US troops based in the United Arab Emirates [UAE], Kuwait and Qatar had been briefly put on “high alert” due to “concerns” over Iran’s missile activities.

Other sources identified the facilities as al-Dhafra base in the UAE and al-Udeid air base in Qatar, saying the American troops deployed there had been asked to stay in bunkers.

US forces in Qatar and the UAE “went on high alert early Tuesday and were asked to stay in bunkers, due to intelligence indicators showing an Iranian ballistic missile had been fired and possibly headed their way, US officials tell CNN,” a Twitter user said, indicating that the US forces had misread the trajectory of Iranian missiles.

The reported high-alert notice came as the IRGC started the final phase of large-scale aerial and naval drills, codenamed Payambar-e Azam [The Great Prophet] 14, involving the elite force’s Aerospace Division and Navy.

The maneuvers were held in the general area of the Hormozgan Province, west of the strategic Hormuz Strait, and the Gulf.

The drills featured missiles, vessels, drones, and radars, and are designed to practice both offensive and defensive missions.

Tuesday saw the Corps stage strikes against the life-size replica of a Nimitz-class US aircraft carrier, which the American navy usually sails into the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.

The high-alert notice came a week after Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said Iran would definitely deliver a “counterblow” to the United States over the assassination of top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in January.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget this issue and will definitely deal the counterblow to the Americans,” Imam Khamenei said while receiving visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran last week.

General Soleimani, former commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, was assassinated in a US airstrike at Baghdad airport on January 3 upon an order by US President Donald Trump.

US bases in Middle East were on high alert over Iranian missile fire: report

By News Desk -2020-07-29

The first batch of Rafale fighter jets are set to arrive in India’s Ambala Air Base on Wednesday afternoon after covering the 7,000 kilometers from France. The jets were stationed overnight at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE. The same air base houses US and French troops and aircraft.

An alert was sounded at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) late Tuesday after intelligence indicators hinted at an incoming “Iranian missile possibly headed that way”. The Rafale fighter jets bound for India were also at the UAE base as part of an overnight stay.

Barbara Starr from American news channel CNN reported that there was intel on Iranian missiles, but US officials confirmed that no missile struck the facility. Three Iranian missiles reportedly splashed down in the waters near the base as part of Iran’s current military exercises. More

Watch: Iranian ballistic missiles fired from underground sites

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:45 P.M.) – The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) fired ballistic missiles from underground platforms during the second day of the massive ‘Great Prophet-14’ military drills in the southwestern part of the country on Wednesday.

The successful firing of ballistic missiles fully hidden in camouflage deep under the ground is an important achievement that could pose serious challenges to enemy intelligence agencies, the Fars News Agency reported.

In the final stage of the IRGC’s drills, which took place in the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, the IRGC Aerospace Force’s drones attacked a mock enemy aircraft carrier and targeted its command tower and bridge.

Also, the IRGC’s Sukhoi-22 fighters bombed and destroyed pre-determined targets in Faror Islands with winged bombs.

The IRGC Aerospace and Naval Forces’ joint exercises played an important part of the drills and demonstrated surprising tactics, including the establishment of joint command systems, joint control, combined tactics and combat methods.

Iranian forces conduct naval operation against mock US aircraft carrier: video

Successful missile combat operations were carried out by firing two surface-to-surface Hurmoz and Fateh missiles, and a ballistic missile at specific targets, as well as launching precision-striking air defense missiles.

Also, Shahed 181, Mohajer and Bavar drones successfully attacked and destroyed hypothetical enemy targets and positions at this stage of the drills.

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بين «أم هارون» و«مخرج 7»: mbc وكراً علنيّاً للتـــطبيع الثقافي

زينب حاوي 

الأربعاء 29 نيسان 2020

بين «أم هارون» و«مخرج 7»: mbc وكراً علنيّاً للتـــطبيع الثقافي
من مسلسل مخرج 7

لدى مباشرة مستشار البيت الأبيض وصهر الرئيس الأميركي، جاريد كوشنير، بإطلاق صفقة القرن في حزيران (يونيو) الماضي، والحديث عن «استثمارات مالية» ستتدفق على الأراضي الفلسطينية، والدول العربية المجاورة، دخل الإعلام الخليجي وقتها على الخطّ، واضعاً كلّ ثقله للتسويق للدعاية المسمومة. راح يتلاعب بالمصطلحات ويطوّعها خدمةً للمشروع الأميركي – الصهيوني. قناة «العربية» شكّلت رأس حربة في الترويج للصفقة، من خلال ترداد كلام كوشنير بوصف الصفقة «فرصةً لمستقبل أفضل للفلسطينيين». شكل الإعلان عن «صفقة العار» المدخل الأوضح والمعلَن لتصفية القضية الفلسطينية، ومحاولة إغراق باقي الشعوب التعيسة التي تعيش بجوارها بالأموال. الخطة الأميركية، فرملت، بعد رفض فلسطيني رسمي وشعبي، واجتياح كورونا للعالم. تغيّرت الأجندات، واستحوذ الوباء على المشهد السياسي والإعلامي. لكن مع وصول شهر الصوم، بدأت تتبدى مشهدية أخرى، تتقاطع مع ما حصل قبل عام تقريباً، في دول الخليج. هذه المرة، دخل صنّاع الدراما على الخط، ووضعوا ثقلهم على شبكة mbc السعودية، واستغلوا الشهر الكريم، لبثّ مزيد من السموم، واللعب على المغالطات التاريخية، سعياً للعبور نحو بوابة التطبيع المباشر مع الاحتلال الإسرائيلي وأنسنته.

ضمن هذا السياق السياسي جاء مسلسل «أم هارون» (تأليف محمد وعلي شمس، إخراج محمد جمال العدل)، الذي نجح في إثارة الجدل منذ طرح إعلانه الترويجي قبل أيام من رمضان. تعالت الأصوات، متّهمةً المسلسل بأنسنة الجلاد، واستخدامه الدراما للولوج صوب التطبيع. المسلسل الذي مُنع في الكويت، بسبب تعارضه مع توجهات البلد الخليجي حيال الشعب الفلسطيني، تصدرت بطولته الممثلة الكويتية حياة الفهد، التي جسّدت سيرة «أم هارون» اليهودية، في إطلالة على حياة يهود الخليج، وتحديداً في الكويت خلال أربعينيات القرن الماضي. تتشارك الفهد في إنتاج العمل من خلال شركتها «الفهد» بالتعاون مع شركة «جرناس» للإماراتي أحمد الجسمي. وكلاهما يعمل كمنتج منفّذ لدى الشبكة السعودية. علماً أن المسلسل صوّر بالكامل في الإمارات، بعد حيازته إجازة نصّ هناك.
حراك إلكتروني سريع، جابه الأفكار المسمومة التي يصدّرها المسلسل، ودعا إلى مقاطعته، بما أنه يستخدم اللغة الدرامية، ويتكئ على المغالطات التاريخية، لإثارة التعاطف مع اليهود الذي يعودون إلى «أرضهم» (أي فلسطين) وفق سياق المسلسل! على رأس هذه الحملات «اتحرك» التي دعت إلى مقاطعة المسلسل، واعتباره مروّجاً «لإزالة الحاجز النفسي والعدائي» لدى العرب تجاه «إسرائيل»، من خلال الدعوة إلى التعايش معها. مع بدء حلقات المسلسل، ظهّرت أكثر فأكثر الرسائل التطبيعية والخادعة، خاصة في إخفاء أي ذكر لفلسطين، مقابل الاعتماد على الرواية الصهيونية في عودة الصهاينة إلى «إسرائيل». الجدل المثار حول المسلسل الخليجي، لم يقف عند حدود أخذ ورد عربي، بل دخل الإسرائيليون مباشرةً على الخطّ، والتقطوا الضجّة المثارة حوله، وراحوا يشيدون في إعلامهم بالعمل. وكذلك فعل المتحدّث باسم الجيش الصهيوني أفيخاي أدرعي.

«سعوديون ضد التطبيع» تصدّت للمسلسلين وعرّت مضامينهما


على مقلب مشابه، يسير بالتوازي مع «أم هارون» مسلسل آخر يندرج ضمن إطار الكوميديا: «مخرج 7» (تأليف خلف الحربي ــــ إخراج أوس الشرقي)، يتصدّر بطولته الممثل السعودي ناصر القصبي، ويقحم في حبكته، القضية الفلسطينية أيضاً. وفي بعض حواراته الذي انتشر أخيراً على السوشال ميديا، يجاهر المسلسل باعتبار أنّ «إسرائيل» ليست عدواً، متبنّياً للمرة الأولى خطاباً تطبيعياً واضحاً ومباشراً. في الحلقة الشهيرة للمسلسل، الذي يمثّل فيها القصبي دور الأب القلق على صداقة ابنه الصغير مع صبي إسرائيلي يتشارك معه الألعاب الإلكترونية، يدور حوار بين القصبي وبين الممثل راشد الشمراني. يشنّ الأخير هجوماً على الفلسطينيين، واصفاً إياهم بالأعداء، لأنهم «يهاجمون السعودية»، ومدّعياً أن المملكة «شنت حروباً» كرمى لفلسطين. لكن بحسب الشمراني، هؤلاء لم «يقدّروا» تضحيات السعودية، واعتبرهم «أسوأ من الإسرائيلي»! ويتابع الشمراني كلامه، جازماً: «إسرائيل موجودة عاجبكم أو مش عاجبكم»، ساخراً من الحديث عن نهاية «إسرائيل»، ومستخدماً خطاباً انبطاحياً استسلامياً يعتبر أننا لم نحقق شيئاً إلى يومنا هذا بخصوص القضية الفلسطينية، سوى «الكلام والجعجعة». المقطع تُرجم إلى العبرية، وعُرض على منصات الإعلام الإسرائيلي، وحظي بإشادة منه، بما فيها قناة 12 الصهيونية. إذ نقلت صفحة «سعوديون ضد التطبيع» قبل أيام هذه الإشادة واعتبار القناة الصهيونية في تقرير لها بأنّ المسلسل «ينقل رسائل إيجابية تجاه إسرائيل»، ويدعو إلى التعامل التجاري معها، ويصنف إسرائيل بأنها «ليست عدواً». وخلص تقرير القناة إلى توصيف ما حدث بأنه «تغيير جذري يتجاوز عتبة التطبيع». هكذا، بدا مسار واحد ومباشر يجمع الشبكة السعودية والإعلام الإسرائيلي، في ردّ مباشر والتقاط للغضبة العربية جراّء المضامين التي تخرج علناً للمرة الأولى درامياً. أمر حاولت التخفيف منه أو الاستخفاف به وسائل إعلامية سعودية، كصحيفة «الشرق الأوسط»، التي سمّت ما حدث بـ«فوبيا التطبيع» في محاولة لتسطيح ما يُعرض على الشبكة السعودية.

إلّا أن المنصات الافتراضية المناهضة للتطبيع لم تكتفِ بالشجب، إذ انطلقت حملات عدة على رأسها «سعوديون ضد التطبيع»، التي تضمّ أكاديميين ونشطاء سعوديين، يعملون جاهدين على تفكيك الخطاب التطبيعي المسموم من البوابة الدرامية. هؤلاء نجحوا في الأيام الماضية، في تعرية الرسائل التطبيعية في كلا المسلسلين، وعرضوا نقاشات هادئة وحاسمة، معتبرين أنّ ما تقدمه mbc، يهدف إلى تشويه الوعي التاريخي، وشرذمة الصف العربي المناصر للقضية الفلسطينية… صفّ يقف إلى جانبه السعوديون شعباً لا حكّاماً!

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Even in TV Shows, Saudi Calling for Normalization with ‘Israel’

Even in TV Shows, Saudi Calling for Normalization with ‘Israel’

By Staff, Agencies

In a latest TV series aired during the holy month of Ramadan, the Saudi-owned MBC channel has generated controversy in the Arab world in its drama featuring the life of Jews in the Gulf during the 1940s, and inviting to normalize ties with the Zionist entity.

“Umm Haroun” is a bold account of the Jewish merchant communities that resided in Kuwait.

The series directed by Egypt’s Ahmed Gamal el-Adl in the United Arab Emirates stars a Kuwaiti actress who plays the role of a Jewish midwife of Turkish origin living in the Gulf country before settling in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“Before our footsteps go missing and our lives fall into memory, we will be lost to time,” a Jewish character says in Hebrew in the opening monologue of the first episode.

Hebrew-language outlet N12 reported on Sunday that many believe Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is involved in the series as he is interested in closer relations between the kingdom and the Zionist entity.

Several critics took to social media to express their outrage at the series, saying it portrays Jews as suffering from “injustices” in an Arab country.

Relatively, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas denounced the TV series as a “political and cultural attempt to introduce the Zionist project to the Gulf society.”

“The character of Umm Haroun reminds me of [ex-‘Israeli’ prime minister] Golda Meir, the head of the occupation, who was a murderous criminal,” said senior Hamas official Ra’fat Murra. “This is the goal of normalization: hatred, slow killing and internal destruction.”

Murra said the series aims to falsify history and gradually introduce the Gulf society to normalization with the Zionist occupation, at a time when some Arab rulers are panting to build close ties with Zionist PM Benjamin Netanyahu to protect their thrones.

The al-Quds news network reported that 13 Palestinian groups and organizations had, in a joint statement, urged the Saudi-owned channel to stop airing “Umm Haroun.”

It is worth noting that the Zionist entity has full and announced diplomatic relations with only two Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, but latest reports suggest that the regime is working behind the scenes to establish formal contacts with Gulf Arab states such as Saudi Arabia.

Critics say Riyadh’s flirtation with Tel Aviv would undermine global efforts to isolate the Zionist entity and defend the Palestinian cause.

Saudi Arabia welcomed US President Donald Trump’s pro-‘Israel’ so-called “deal of the century,” which was unveiled in late January and rejected by all Palestinian groups.

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TRUMP IS BEING PUSHED TO CONFLICT WITH RUSSIA AMID ESCALATING OIL WAR

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Trump Is Being Pushed To Conflict With Russia Amid Escalating Oil War
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On March 10th, Kuwait and Iraq, as well as the UAE joined Saudi Arabia in reducing oil prices. Iraq cut the official selling price for its Basrah Light crude for buyers in Asia by $5 a barrel for April shipments.
That’s less than the $6 reduction for Aramco’s comparable Arab Medium grade. Kuwait reduced its selling price to Asian customers by the same as the Saudis.
The UAE, the only major producer that still sets prices retroactively, lowered the cost of its four grades for February sales by $1.63 a barrel from January.
“Any price war to acquire the largest market share does not serve the interests of the producing countries,” Iraqi Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said. His country is trying to bridge oil producers’ viewpoints to reach a deal to stabilize and rebalance markets, he said in a statement.
Iraq’s state oil-marketing company, SOMO, plans to increase exports in April, according to an unnamed person, cited by Bloomberg.
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Kuwait set its April Export Crude OSP for Asian customers at a $4.65 a barrel discount to the regional benchmark, according to a price list seen by Bloomberg. That’s 60 cents lower than Aramco’s Arab Medium and $1.45 below than Iraq’s Basrah Light to the region. Kuwait’s exports to Northwest Europe were set at a record-low of a $12.60 discount.
Meanwhile, Riyadh is continuing on its “warpath” and is about to flood Europe with crude oil at a price of about $25 per barrel. The Saudi shipments, coupled with unprecedented discounts, are turning the European oil market into a major price battlefield.
Diplomatic and OPEC sources quoted by mainstream media directly say that the ongoing Saudi-led effort to crush the oil market is a pre-planned ‘agressive campaign’ against Russia. One of the main targets is the Russian ability to sale oil to Europe. The fall of oil prices allready caused a major fall of the Russian ruble and impacted negatively the Russian economy.
Trump Is Being Pushed To Conflict With Russia Amid Escalating Oil War
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European refiners including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc, Total SA, OMV AG, Repsol SA and Cepsa SA have all received crude allocations from state-owned Saudi Aramco significantly above their normal levels, according to sources cited by Bloomberg.

The increase in volumes, known in the industry as nominations, was confirmed by Aramco to the European oil companies on Wednesday, the same people said, asking not to be named discussing private information. One of Europe’s major refiners got double its normal allocation, an unnamed source said.

Aramco cut its official selling prices by the biggest amount in more than three decades. The company made its biggest cuts for buyers in northwest Europe. An $8 a barrel reduction in most grades amounts to a direct challenge to Russia, which sells a large chunk of its flagship Urals crude in the same region.

Aramco will sell Arab Light at an unprecedented $10.25 a barrel discount to Brent in Europe.
Discounts for Russian crude immediately ballooned. Vitol Group and Trafigura Group Ltd. failed to find buyers on March 9th when they offered to sell Urals crude at the deepest discounts to a regional benchmark in almost two months.
Currently, the two countries who are suffering most from the oil war are Russia and Iran, both are also under heavy sanctions by the US. Iran’s oil sector is especially crippled owing to Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign.
In Iraq, which as above mentioned is a major oil producer, a camp housing US-led coalition troops was hit by more than a dozen Katyusha rockets. The Taji base was hit and two US marines, as well as a British soldier were killed in the attack.
“Three Coalition personnel were killed during a rocket attack on Camp Taji, Iraq, March 11. The names of the personnel are withheld pending next of kin notification, in accordance with national policies,” the statement said.
“Approximately 12 additional personnel were wounded during the attack. The attack is under investigation by the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. Camp Taji is an Iraqi base that hosts Coalition personnel for training and advising missions,” it added.
A spokesperson for the UK Ministry of Defense said, “We can confirm we are aware of an incident involving UK service personnel at Camp Taji, Iraq. An investigation is underway, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Iraq is a hot point in tensions between the US and Iran.

Furthermore, on March 11th, the US House of Representatives approved War Powers resolution, which would require US President Donald Trump receive Congressional approvement for any attacks launched against Iran. He is, however, likely to veto it.

Regardless, this means that if, for example, Yemen’s Houthis strike Aramco’s infrastructure again, and both Riyadh and Washington blame Iran, Trump will have less options in the military sphere and face much more political pressure if he opts such a move. So, one could say that the Washington political establishment is limiting the freedom of actions of the Trump administration against Iran, but, at the same time, keeps the window of opportunities for anti-Russian actions open.

Taking into account that recentl US threatened Russia with more sanctions (this time over the situation in Idlib) and the US mainstream media is in the state of constant anti-Russian hysteria, US ‘experts and analysis’ will easily find the ‘Russian trace’ in any escalation in the Middle East or any other place around the world. They already found that the Kremlin should be blamed for the ongoing oil prices collapse, despite Russia being one of the most affected parties. This happens amid the ongoing consitutional reform in Russia itself. Pro-Western forces inside Russia and the neo-liberal part of the Russian elites are actively trying to use this reform to destabilize the situation in the country and turn its course in what they call the ‘right direction’ (the surrender of the national interests to the global capital). These forces as well as their foreign backers are openly interested in the escalation of tensions between the United States and Russia.

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Why countries are reluctant to join U.S.-led maritime coalition

TEHRAN – The U.S.-led naval coalition to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf formally was launched in Bahrain on Thursday. But the notable point is that countries have not welcomed this plan. Only a few countries with ineffective naval power have joined the coalition.

*By Mohammad Ghaderi

On July 2019, the U.S. proposed a coalition plan to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf. Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, invited U.S. allies such as Britain, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Australia to join the coalition. Although the U.S. has persuaded its allies on various occasions and even applied pressure on them to join the coalition, it was not warmly welcomed. In August, Britain joined the U.S. military coalition in the wake of a conflict with Iran over oil tanker seizures first in Gibraltar and later in the Strait of Hormuz.

Later the Zionist regime and Australia joined the coalition.

Launch of the U.S.-led marine coalition

The coalition, which reportedly aims to “protect shipping in the Persian Gulf”, was launched on Thursday. The U.S. stated that through the coalition it intends to safeguard region’s oil supply against possible threats. Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, has joined the coalition along with the UEA and Saudi Arabia.

James Malloy, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, has claimed that the goal of the coalition is defensive. Malloy said the coalition will last as long as necessary.

Some European countries, including France, has not joined the coalition to avoid escalating tensions in the region. Japan has decided to dispatch its naval forces to the Strait of Hormuz independently, rather than joining the coalition.  It is said that Japan made this decision because it has an amicable relationship with Iran and does not like to be seen as an important country and power in the U.S.-led coalition.

In this regard, the London-based Raialyoum wrote that the announcement of formal launch of the U.S.-led maritime coalition to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf with the participation of only 6 countries reminds the old Arab proverb saying “the mountain was in labor but gave birth to a mouse”. Raialyoum added the limited number of countries joining the coalition reveals that the U.S. influence has been reducing not only in the Persian Gulf region but also all around the world. It seems that the current and former U.S. administrations cannot any longer form coalitions like the ones that launched wars in Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan with the participation of 30 or 60 countries.

The Arab world digital news and opinion website said that it is noteworthy that three Persian Gulf states namely Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar are absent in the coalition. They have refused to join the coalition not because they have taken a neutral stance toward U.S. controversial measures against Iran, but because they do not trust the U.S. and its current government. The source added that the U.S. government has adopted rash policies that can lead to regional and probably international war; furthermore, the coalition can be an element of “tension” not a guarantee for defense and stability.

Raialyoum stated that we do not believe these six countries – Britain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Australia, and Albania – will be able to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf because most of them, except the U.S. and Britain, do not have effective naval power.

However, the marine coalition is a dramatic and hypocritical show and the U.S. is trying to milk the three states of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain. By its presence, the U.S. only disturbs the region’s security. Washington only takes care of its interests.

The security in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf will only be achieved through the reconciliation between regional countries since they are neighbors and they cannot change their geography. The intervention of countries outside the region will only make the situation more complicated.

* Author: Mohammad Ghaderi , Tehran Times editor in chief 

His page on Twitter : @ghaderi62 – and Gmail address : m.ghaderi62@gmail.com

US Bases in the Region: The Precious Catch

By Staff

Palestinian Town Changes Name of Street from “Bahrain” to Kuwait’s “Marzouq Al-Ghanim”

June 29, 2019

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The mayor of Palestine’s Yatta in Al-Khalil (Hebron) in south of occupied West Bank changed one of his towns streets from “Bahrain” to “Marzouq Al-Ghanim”, the Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly, in recognition of Kuwait’s rejection of the Deal of the Century’.

A statement issued by Yatta’s municipality mentioned that upon a lot of appeals sent by the locals, the mayor Ibrahim Abu Zahra decided to change the name of the street, hailing the Kuwaiti support to the Palestinian cause.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Here is where all the US bases are located near Iran

The Pentagon doubled down on the deployment of its carrier strike group on Friday, saying it would beef up its Middle Eastern theatre command’s assets with additional Patriot missile defence batteries, an amphibious assault ship full of Marines and an amphibious dock ship to complement the recently deployed USS Abraham Lincoln and several nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers.

Iran has dismissed both Washington’s threats and President Trump’s simultaneous offer to negotiate with the country’s leadership, with a deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards saying the US was mistaken if it felt it could intimidate Tehran into talks with threats and sanctions.

Senior US officials have claimed that the troop buildup was a response to Iranian behaviour. Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan called the carrier deployment a “prudent repositioning of assets in response to indication of a credible threat” by Iranian forces. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the move was a reaction “to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” and was aimed at sending “a clear and unmistakable message to [Tehran] that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

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However, in light of the vast network of bases that the US has surrounding Iran from virtually all directions, it’s worth asking what the US’s real goal is in the present escalation. Because even without those fresh deployments, the US already has thousands of troops surrounding the Islamic Republic.

The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, whose area of responsibility includes the Middle East and North Africa, has at least 7,000 US troops at its permanent base in Bahrain. In Kuwait, meanwhile, the US Army’s Central Command has its forward command post, where some 13,000 troops are stationed.

ALSO READ  US sends B-52 bombers to Middle East to deal with Iran ‘threat’

Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates contains 5,000 plus US personnel, while Qatar’s massive Al Udeid Air Base has roughly US 10,000 troops.

Along with the bases, the US has special forces troops operating in Yemen, while Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan station thousands more troops, although some politicians in Baghdad have recently threatened to evict the estimated 5,200 troops based in their country.

Along with the bases, the US also has access to a large series of smaller ‘cooperative security locations’, also known as ‘lily pads’with 200 troops or less, as well as access to airfields and ports in countries including Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt.

On Saturday, Iranian Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi brushed aside US allegations about Iran posing a threat to US forces in the Middle East, accusing the Trump administration of using “fake intelligence.”

“These are all allegations which are being produced by the same people who, in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq, did the same,” Ravanchi said, likely referring to John Bolton’s role in pushing the invasion during his work as an adviser in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Given the presence of US troops at bases in virtually every one of Tehran’s neighbours, perhaps it’s Iran’s leaders who should be the ones complaining about “credible threats” and “escalatory indications.”

Source: Sputnik

Regional Powers Partake in Iraq Summit in Blow to ‘Arab NATO’

rouhani

April 20, 2019

Iraq’s parliamentary summit has brought together the country’s neighbors in what has been described as “a display of rare regional unity”, further sidelining a US initiative to form an “Arab NATO”.

The one-day summit, hosted by Iraq’s Parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi, brings together representatives from Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Kuwait on Saturday.

Speaking on Friday, the young Iraqi speaker welcomed the foreign delegations, describing Baghdad as a historical center of “Arabism, Islam and peace”.

“Iraq, proud, prideful and victorious over terrorism, is honored by the presence of its neighbors in Baghdad,” he added.

His deputy, Bashir Haddad, said the summit will have a “significant” impact on cooperation related to the region’s security and stability.

He called the summit “a valuable initiative and opportunity for strategic partnerships between Iraq and its neighbors.”

“This is a positive message to all neighboring countries and the world that Iraq is determined to regain its health and return to its Arab, regional environment and assume its rightful place in the map of the balance of power,” he added.

Iran’s Parliament speaker Ali Larijani is represented by MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the former chairman of the chamber’s National Security Foreign Policy Committee.

Larijani had initially planned to take part in the summit but was unable to do so due to a conflicting work schedule, reports said.

The summit marks yet another important watershed in a recent booming of diplomatic cooperation in a region that was largely been bedeviled by bloody conflicts in recent years.

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EGYPT PULLED OUT OF U.S. EFFORTS TO FORM “ARAB NATO” TO COMBAT IRAN: REPORTS

 

Egypt Pulled Out Of U.S. Efforts To Form "Arab NATO" To Combat Iran: Reports

IMAGE: eipss-eg.org

Source

14.04.2019

Egypt pulled out of US and Saudi Arabia’s effort to form an anti-Iranian “Arab NATO,” Israeli media reported citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

The country told the US and other participants in the Middle East Security Alliance, or MESA ahead of a meeting on April 7th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

One of the anonymous sources said Cairo did not send a delegation to the meeting, the latest gathering held to advance the U.S.-led effort to bind Sunni Muslim Arab allies into a security, political and economic pact to counter Shi’ite Iran.

An Arab source also said that this came as a disappointment:

“We all want Egypt to be a part of an Arab NATO,” said the source, “especially as it has the largest army of any Arab nation, and because it carries importance.”

The reasons behind the decision, according to the sources, is that Egypt doesn’t wish to harm its relations with Iran, as well as it doesn’t believe that US President Donald Trump would be elected for a second term. If Trump is gone that jeopardizes the entire “Arab NATO” idea since the next POTUS may decide not to follow through.

On April 9th, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi visited the US and met with Donald Trump. Trump said that they spoke of security issues, but the Arab NATO nor Iran were mentioned in the press conference following the meeting.

Both leaders praised the warm relations between the countries, which could presumably be spoiled if the reports of Egypt giving up efforts are true.

In addition to the US and Saudi Arabia, the MESA proposed participants include the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Jordan.

Two anonymous sources also told Al Jazeera that the project would be moving forward and that Egypt would be pressured into not revoking its membership. The project was initially proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2017, and was perpetuated by US President Donald Trump.

The aim of the Trump administration with the project is to form a a new security body comprising Sunni Middle Eastern countries that would be geared toward countering Shiite Iran’s ‘regional adventurism’. Reportedly, MESA member-states would seek deeper cooperation in the realms of missile defense, military training and counter-terrorism, while strengthening broader political and economic ties.

“It would serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism and will bring stability,” a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council asserted in reference to the potential association.

“It’s not a new project. However, its implementation is what matters,” said Qassem Qaseer, a Lebanese political analyst. He confirmed that the US has been working with Arab states for a while now to form such a body, noting that “the issue remains with the different agendas and political approach of its member of states.”

Qaseer said that the Arab countries don’t agree on more than one critical issue, pointing out that the Arab NATO is still an idea with no structure.

“They aim to pressure Iran on the ground by such initiative, although, they need to make it a reality first,” Qaseer said.

A Saudi political analyst, Sulaiman al-Oqaily, also said that there must be one strategy among the Arab nations that form the alliance, as well as a clear target in order for such an endeavor to succeed.

Al-Oqaily claimed that there must be one united Arab bloc that has agreed that the “Arab NATO” would protect the Arab world from all kind of threats and security challenges. “Its members’ motives and determinants have to be the same.”

Al-Oqaily says that the sectarianism with which Iran targets the Middle East is more dangerous than Israel.

“Iran is taking advantage of its culture and religious links to the Arab world to expand there and destroy it. Israel can’t violate the Arab society like Iran, but through its intelligence services.”

Between November 10th and 13th, 2018, Egypt hosted the Shield of the Arabs 1 military exercise, with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan.

Egyptian military spokesperson Tamer al-Rifai back then said the exercises were part of Egypt’s efforts to enhance military cooperation with other Arab countries but declined to speculate on whether they could evolve into some sort of a military alliance. 

Egypt on the other hand, appears to have stable relations with Iran currently.

Iran hailed the reports of Egypt giving up on the efforts. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was cited by the IRNA News Agency, praising the possible decision.

He said that it wasn’t yet confirmed, and Iran was examining whether it was true, but if it was confirmed it would be “welcomed.”

“Egypt is an important and powerful country both in the Arab and in the Muslim world that can play a key role in creating peace, stability and security in the West Asia region,” said Qasemi.

He said that Egypt can exercise realism to help foster unity among Muslim countries and bring them closer together.

Qasemi expressed hope that Egypt, ‘as an undeniable power of Arab world’, can carry out its historical duty in the most sensitive conditions of the region.

In addition the decision, if it were true, would help foster better relations in the region and assist in fighting terrorism, provide security and sustainable stability, and give a boost to mutual understanding and multilateral cooperation.

Qasemi also expressed Iran’s doubt that the Arab NATO endeavor would be successful, arguing that NATO was founded in Western world ‘under certain historical and geographical conditions, based on a series of certain values and necessities and even very certain commonalities’ which is not likely to be copied in the Arab world.

Egypt’s relations with Russia also appear to be on the rise. Russia is a key partner of Iran, especially in Syria.

On March 18thRussian outlet Kommersant reported that Russia had inked a $2 billion contract for the delivery of 20 fighter jets to Egypt.

The contract was signed at the end of 2018 and delivery of the aircraft, as well as weapons for the planes, will begin as early as 2020-21.

Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) said that no contracts for aircraft supply were signed in the second half of 2018. So the report may be false.

Regardless, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on April 9th warned that Egypt would be subject to US sanctions if it did, in fact, purchase the Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

“We have made clear that systems were to be purchased that… would require sanctions on the regime,” Pompeo told the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “We have received assurances from them, they understand that, and I am very hopeful they will decide not to move forward with that acquisition.”

Earlier, on October 17th, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also signed a strategic cooperation treaty designed to increase trade, military, and other ties between their two nations.

Putin said the talks encompassed “the whole spectrum of bilateral relations as well as key international and regional problems.”

He added that he and Sisi discussed expanding arms trade and military ties, pointing out that Russian and Egyptian paratroopers were conducting military maneuvers in Egypt.

«Deal of Century»: An Arab NATO in the Making

By Staff, Agencies

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is and ancient proverb that is never outdated when it comes to politics and geostrategic policies. Given the light of the situation in the region, the “Israeli” entity is literally in its pursuit.

“Israel” is smart enough not to tarnish its hands with its dirty work against Iran and have others do that on its behalf. But this time, it’s not the United States – its best friend and long supporting ally – instead, it has been focusing on our side of the globe: the Middle East.

Not long back, the “Israeli” entity has been engaged in normalization efforts with various Arab nations among which are Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman; the same countries which are also part of a Saudi Arabian initiative called the so-called “Arab NATO” – the Middle East Strategic Alliance [MESA] – to combat Iran in the region.

The kingdom on April 8 hosted a meeting with the high-level participation of Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Jordan. According to the Saudi WAS news agency, the meeting was “an important step to launching the alliance, which aims to strengthen the security and stability of the region and the world.”

Sulaiman al-Oqaily, a Saudi political analyst, says there must be one strategy among the Arab nations that form the alliance, as well as a clear target in order for such an endeavor to succeed.

First, al-Oqaily points out that there must be one united Arab bloc that has agreed that the “Arab NATO” would protect the Arab world from all kind of threats and security challenges. “Its members’ motives and determinants have to be the same,” he says.

Al-Oqaily says that the sectarianism with which Iran targets the Middle East is more dangerous than Israel.

“Iran is taking advantage of its culture and religious links to the Arab world to expand there and destroy it,” he claims. “‘Israel’ can’t violate the Arab society like Iran, but through its intelligence services.”

He also speculates that if Iran weren’t involved in Iraq, the latter would have peace by now.

The US administration has since last year been exploring the creation of a new security body comprising Middle Eastern countries that would be geared toward countering Iran. Reportedly, MESA member-states would seek deeper cooperation in the realms of missile defense, military training and counter-terrorism, while strengthening broader political and economic ties.

“It would serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism and will bring stability,” a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council alleged in reference to the potential association last year.

“It’s not a new project. However, its implementation is what matters,” says Qassem Qaseer, a Lebanese political analyst. He confirms that the US has been working with Arab states for a while now to form such a body, noting that “the issue remains with the different agendas and political approach of its member of states.”

For example, Qaseer says that the Arab countries don’t agree on more than one critical issue, pointing out that the Arab NATO is still an idea with no structure.

“They aim to pressure Iran on the ground by such initiative, although, they need to make it a reality first,” Qaseer says. It is noteworthy that the Idea of an Arab NATO coalition is one of the results of the Arab-Islamic summit hosted by Riyadh in May 2017.

Over the past year, senior American officials, including President Donald Trump’s adviser Jared Kushner and international negotiator Jason Greenblatt, have conducted shuttle diplomacy among Middle East capitals. These visits have laid the foundation for MESA, although the notion reportedly was first raised by Saudi Arabia.

Regarding the “Israeli” entity, its relations with regional Arab nations are by most accounts improving, primarily the result of a shared interest in curbing Iran.

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فجور وليس فجراً

13-01-2019

علي البداح 

إن من يعتقدون أن الصهاينة يمكن أن يشكلوا دعما لدول الخليج العربية واهمون إلى أقصى درجات الوهم، فاليهود لم يتخلوا لحظة واحدة عن حلمهم في إنشاء إسرائيل الكبرى، وإن تقريبهم وتسليمهم أغنى بقع العالم سيمكنهم من السيطرة على العالم، وسيقضون على شعوب المنطقة، وفي مقدمتهم الفجرة الذين يدعون إلى التصالح معهم.

الأصوات النشاز التي تدعو إلى التطبيع مع الكيان الصهيوني وبيع فلسطين وأهلها أصوات فاجرة لا تنتمي إلى هذه الأمة ولا تقيم وزنا لها، وللأسف فإن هذه الأصوات تمنح الكيان الصهيوني طوق نجاة بعد أن بدأ العالم ينحسر عن دعم هذا الكيان، ويستنكر ما يقوم به الصهاينة من انتهاكات وقتل وتدمير لشعبنا العربي الفلسطيني واستباحة لأراضينا العربية.

في الوقت الذي اتضح للدنيا الدور القذر للصهاينة في شق الصف العربي وتخريب كياناته وتجنيد المرتزقة لتغذية الطائفية وتدمير وطننا العربي يأتي الفجرة بإعلان الخضوع لهذا الكيان والدعوة للتعاون والتطبيع معه، تماما كما فعل أحد الاستراتيجيين الكويتيين بدعوة الصهاينة لخلق مظلة لحماية دول الخليج، وكأن ما يحدث في وطننا العربي من صنع شياطين آخرين، وليس لنا من يصدهم عنا إلا عدونا الأول ومنتهك عرض بلادنا.

الأصوات النشاز ما كان لها أن تخرج بهذا الفجور لو لم يكن لها من يساعدها من الطامعين بالوصول والمنبطحين للأميركيين والذين يجدون أن الدعم الأميركي لن يكون الا بالانبطاح للكيان الصهيوني، ومرمغة شرفهم وشرف أوطانهم تحت أقدام المغتصبين والمخربين لوطننا العربي. هذا الفجور قد يكون قنبلة اختبار لمعرفة رد فعل الشعب الكويتي من هذا الطرح السخيف المتعارض أصلا مع موقف الدولة الرسمي الحالي، ولا بد أن يسمع الجميع صوت الشعب الكويتي واستنكاره لهذا الفجور، ورفضه أي تقارب مع العدو الصهيوني.

في الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا وهما من أكبر الدول الداعمة للكيان الصهيوني نسمع الآن أصواتا تتكلم ولأول مرة بوضوح وصراحة عن رفض سيطرة اليهود على مجريات السياسة في بلادهم، بل إننا بدأنا نسمع عن خطر اليهود على كل قرار في أوطانهم، وبدأ الشعبان الأميركي والبريطاني يريان في اليهود خطراً على العالم، وبدأت قوى كثيرة تستنكر ما يقوم به الصهاينة من قتل وتدمير في فلسطين، بل بدأت تظهر قوى تدعو للاعتراف بالشعب الفلسطيني سيداً على أرضه.

إن ما يحدث من بعض الفجرة العرب هو عملية إنقاذ للكيان الصهيوني، وكنا نعتقد أن الكويت ستكون أبعد عن هذه المواقف، لكن بعض المرتزقة الفجرة يريدون زج الكويت في عملية الإنقاذ.

إن الذين يعتقدون أن الصهاينة يمكن أن يشكلوا دعما لدول الخليج العربية واهمون إلى أقصى درجات الوهم، فاليهود لم يتخلوا لحظة واحدة عن حلمهم في إنشاء إسرائيل الكبرى، وتقريبهم وتسليمهم أغنى بقع العالم سيمكنهم من السيطرة على العالم، وسيقضون على شعوب المنطقة، وفي مقدمتهم الفجرة الذين يدعون إلى التصالح معهم.

Syrian President does exclusive interview with Kuwaiti newspaper for first time in years

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:50 P.M.) – For the first time during the seven-year long conflict inside his country, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has conducted an exclusive interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper.

President Assad sat down with Kuwait’s Al-Shahed newspaper on Tuesday in order to discuss a wide-range of topics, including the current conflict inside Syria.

In his interview with journalist Sheikh Sabah Al-Mohammad, the Syrian President said that his nation is involved in a serious media war that is distorting the image of the Middle East and his country.

Assad commended Kuwait and its leader, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who he called an “honorable man.”

The Syrian President stressed that Syria would be reentering Arab politics and going back to its “Arab role.”

Assad said that the next phase of the Syrian conflict will concentrate on rebuilding the devastated nation with the help of regional countries.

The Syrian leader also stressed that once the conflict is over, Syria will reopen its doors to the people of region in order to boost its tourism.

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الرئيس الأسد: سوريا عائدة إلى دورها المحوري العربي

أعلن الرئيس بشار الأسد أنه سيسدل قريبا جدا “الستار على الحرب الإرهابية”، معبرا عن ثقته بأن اللعبة السياسية تتغير، وسوريا ستعود إلى “دورها المحوري العربي”.

وشدد الأسد في حديث لصحيفة “الشاهد” الكويتية نشر اليوم الأربعاء، على أن الدولة السورية ستبسط قريبا جدا حكمها وقانونها على جميع الأراضي السورية، “ولن نترك شبرا واحدا من سوريا العروبة خارج السيادة الوطنية”.

ولفت الأسد إلى وجود “تفاهم كبير” بين سوريا وعدد كبير من الدول العربية، مضيفا أن هناك دولا غربية قد بدأت تخطط وتجهز لفتح سفاراتها، كما أن هناك وفودا غربية وعربية سواء كانت دبلوماسية أو اقتصادية أو صناعية قد بدأت بالفعل بالقدوم إلى دمشق لترتيب عودة دولها إلى سوريا.
واعتبر الرئيس  أن دور روسيا في المنطقة “أصبح أمرا واقعا” بالتعاون مع الصين والهند ومجموعة من الدول الصديقة، وقال إن ميزان القوى الدولية سيتغير في المرحلة المقبلة نحو الأفضل، وخصوصا بالنسبة للشرق الأوسط.
ووجه الأسد انتقادات شديدة للإعلام العربي، وقال إنه “انساق وراء المؤسسات الصهيونية الأمريكية التي تحرص كل الحرص على تشويه صورة دول الشرق الأوسط، وبالأخص سوريا”، مشيرا إلى أن حربهم الإعلامية كانت شرسة جدا من خلال الأكاذيب والافتراءات، فضاع الناس بين الحق والباطل”.
وفي المقابل، أشاد الأسد بالدور “المشرف” للإعلام الكويتي في هذا الخصوص، كما أشاد بموقف الكويت وأميرها الشيخ صباح الأحمد الجابر الصباح في قمم المانحين لدعم الشعب السوري.

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وزير الخارجية السوري يسخر من نية البحرين إرسال قوات برية إلى سوريا

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Murdering a Generation: One Million More Children at Risk from Famine in Yemen

Murdering a Generation: One Million More Children at Risk from Famine in Yemen

Local Editor

More than five million children are at risk of famine in Yemen as the ongoing war causes food and fuel prices to soar across the country, charity Save the Children has warned.

Disruption to supplies coming through the embattled Red Sea port of Hodeida could “cause starvation on an unprecedented scale”, the British-based NGO said in a new report.

Save the Children said an extra one million children now risk falling into famine as prices of food and transportation rise, bringing the total to 5.2 million.

Any type of closure at the port “would put the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in immediate danger while pushing millions more into famine”, it added.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International, said: “Millions of children don’t know when or if their next meal will come. In one hospital I visited in north Yemen, the babies were too weak to cry, their bodies exhausted by hunger.

“This war risks killing an entire generation of Yemen’s children who face multiple threats, from bombs to hunger to preventable diseases like cholera,” she added.

The United Nations has warned that any major fighting in Hodeida could halt food distributions to eight million Yemenis dependent on them for survival.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

 

‘Save the Children’ Warns 5 Million Children at Risk of Famine in Yemen

September 19, 2018

Yemeni starved kid held by his helpless mother

British charity ‘Save the Children’ has warned that 5 million children are at risk of famine in Yemen as the Saudi-led coalition continues its devastating war on the impoverished country.

On Tuesday, the coalition launched a campaign to control Yemen’s port of Hodeidah, according to state media in the United Arab Emirates, a partner in the coalition.

‘Save the Children’ has said that damage to the port or its temporary closure would increase food and fuel costs, putting 1 million more children at risk of famine.

‘Save the Children’ International CEO Helle Thorning-Schmidt said the “nutrition crisis… has serious implications” for the country’s young.

“Millions of children don’t know when or if their next meal will come. In one hospital I visited in north Yemen, the babies were too weak to cry, their bodies exhausted by hunger. This could be any hospital in Yemen,” Thorning-Schmidt said.

“What happens in Hodeidah has a direct impact on children and families right across Yemen. Even the smallest disruption to food, fuel and aid supplies through its vital port could mean death for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children unable to get the food they need to stay alive,” she said.

‘Vital lifeline’

The port is a “vital lifeline” for goods and aid for 80% of the country’s population, the organization estimates.

“Even the smallest disruption to food, fuel and aid supplies through its vital port could mean death for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children unable to get the food they need to stay alive,” said Tamer Kirolos, ‘Save the Children’s’ country director for Yemen.

“It could drive up the price of fuel — and as a result transport — to such an extent that families can’t even afford to take their sick children to hospital.”

The United Nations has said an assault on the port city could, in the worst scenario, could kill up to 250,000 people. Around 70% of humanitarian aid passes through the Red Sea port.

The military offensive in the province started in June but fighting stalled, especially in Hodeidah, as the UN tried to bring warring parties to the negotiating table.

The latest attempt was in Geneva earlier this month but the Houthis didn’t travel as all sides blamed each other for obstructing the peace talks.

‘I could see her bones’

‘Save the Children’ provided testimony from Yemenis struggling to provide for their families.

A woman identified by the pseudonym Manal said that her infant daughter turned skeletal after she suffered from malnutrition.

“When Suha was six months she became sick,” she told Save the Children, which also changed the name of her daughter.

“I could see her bones; I could not do anything for her. I had no money for transportation. I had to borrow some money to take Suha to the hospital far away from our village,” she said. “Most of the time we eat two meals a day. In the morning we eat bread with tea and for lunch it’s potatoes and tomatoes. Usually, I don’t eat. I keep it for my children.”

Epidemic looming

Famine is just one humanitarian crisis facing the country’s beleaguered civilians. Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the war-ravaged country is teetering on the brink of a third cholera epidemic.

Cases are increasing near the capital, Sanaa, and Hodeidah, where the recent Saudi-led assault has hindered WHO’s efforts to prevent the disease.

“We’ve had two major waves of cholera epidemics in recent years, and unfortunately the trend data that we’ve seen in the last days to weeks suggests that we may be on the cusp of the third major wave of cholera epidemics in Yemen,” Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response, told a UN briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

More than 1.1 million suspected cholera cases have been recorded in Yemen since April 2017, according to the latest WHO figures, with more than 2,300 associated deaths.

Children killed in airstrikes

The Saudi-led coalition has also been involved in killing civilians, some of them children, including in a devastating attack on a school bus in August.

The bomb used in that attack was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia, munitions experts told CNN.

Yemen has been since March 2015 under a brutal aggression by Saudi-led coalition, in a bid to restore power to fugitive former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been injured and martyred in Saudi-led strikes, with the vast majority of them are civilians.

However, the allied forces of the Yemeni army and popular committees established by Ansarullah revolutionaries have been heroically confronting the aggression with all means, inflicting huge losses upon Saudi-led forces.

The Saudi-led coalition – which also includes UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Kuwait – has been also imposing a blockade on the impoverished country’s ports and airports as a part of the aggression.

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«حجّ» خليجي إلى البيت الأبيض: «تبويس لحى» ببركة ترامب؟


أظهر دونالد ترامب، في بدايات الأزمة، انحيازاً واضحاً ضد قطر (أ ف ب)
يستضيف الرئيس دونالد ترامب في الفترة القصيرة المقبلة، الزعماء الخليجيين كلاً على حدة، في محاولة لتعبيد الطريق أمام القمة الأميركية – الخليجية التي يفترض أن تنعقد الربيع المقبل. محاولة لا يبدو أنها ستؤدي، حتى في حال نجاحها، إلى حسم الخلاف وانطواء صفحته، بالنظر إلى التركيز الأميركي على بعد واحد لا يخلو من الزيف، واستمرار التناوش بين «الأشقاء» على الجبهات كافة
يستعد زعماء الخليج لـ«الحجّ» إلى الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، تباعاً، في شهرَي آذار/ مارس ونيسان/ أبريل المقبلين، للتباحث في إمكانية انعقاد القمة الأميركية – الخليجية التي أضحت تقليداً سنوياً، منذ انعقاد أول لقاء من هذا النوع في منتجع كامب ديفيد الرئاسي الأميركي عام 2015، إبان عهد الرئيس السابق، باراك أوباما.
وفيما لا يزال من غير الواضح ما إذا كانت تلك المباحثات المرتقبة ستسفر عن انعقاد القمة بنسختها الرابعة بعد القمة الأخيرة التي انعقدت في العاصمة السعودية الرياض في أيار/ مايو الماضي، يبدو أن كلاً من طرفي الأزمة الخليجية يستعد لتجميع أكبر عدد ممكن من أوراق القوة في جعبته، والتوجه بها إلى البيت الأبيض، أملاً في تعزيز محاولاته اجتذاب الحبل الأميركي إلى جانبه، في وقت لا تُظهر فيه واشنطن عزماً على حسم الخلاف لصالح أي من حلفائها.
وفقاً للمعلومات التي أدلى بها مسؤولون أميركيون كبار قبل يومين، فإن أول الواصلين إلى ضيافة الرئيس دونالد ترامب سيكون ولي العهد السعودي، محمد بن سلمان، منتصف آذار، يليه ولي عهد أبو ظبي، محمد بن زايد، بعد يومين، ثم يتبعهما أمير قطر، تميم بن حمد آل ثاني، في نيسان. لقاءات تأمل الولايات المتحدة، بحسب ما ذكر أحد المسؤولين المشار إليهم، أن تسفر عن «حل الخلاف قبل القمة» المفترض انعقادها في واشنطن أواخر الربيع، «للسماح بتركيز أكبر على الشؤون الاستراتيجية الأخرى مثل إيران». هذا الهدف يكاد التشديد عليه يكون جامعاً لكل التصريحات الأميركية بشأن الأزمة الخليجية، التي يبدو أن رؤية وزارتي الخارجية والدفاع لحيثياتها وكيفية التعامل معها تركت تأثيرها على البيت الأبيض، الذي بات «أكثر اعتدالاً وتوازناً» في إدارة الخلاف، بعدما أظهر في بداياتِه انحيازاً واضحاً ضد قطر. 
 هل يعني ذلك أن الإدارة الأميركية ستنجح في لمّ شمل حلفائها؟ يوحي التركيز الدائم على ملف «مكافحة الإرهاب» دون سواه، وتشجيع الولايات المتحدة قطر على اتخاذ خطوات «أكثر تقدماً» في هذا المجال، ومكافأتها إياها على «الطاعة» بسلسلة اتفاقيات تم توقيعها خلال «الحوار الاستراتيجي الأميركي – القطري» الذي انعقد أواخر كانون الثاني/ يناير الماضي، بأن واشنطن قد تنجح في جمع القادة الخليجيين تحت هذه اللافتة، بغرض الخروج بمشهد «توافقي» على «تعزيز فاعليتنا على الكثير من الجبهات» (على حد تعبير وزير الدفاع جيمس ماتيس)، وهو مشهد بإمكان أي من طرفي الأزمة ادعاؤه انتصاراً له. تُعزّز الاحتمال المتقدم التصريحات الأخيرة الصادرة عن المسؤولين الخليجيين والتي يتقدمها اثنان: أولهما لوزير الخارجية القطري، محمد بن عبد الرحمن آل ثاني، أعلن فيه استعداد بلاده للمشاركة في القمة الأميركية – الخليجية، معرباً عن اعتقاده بأن «الوضع سيكون تحت السيطرة في النهاية»، مشدداً على أن «قطر لا تدخر جهداً في مكافحة الإرهاب، ويمكن لجميع الدول أن تفعل المزيد». وثانيهما لوزير الدولة للشؤون الخارجية الإماراتي، أنور قرقاش، الذي اعتبر، قبل أيام، أن «لدول المقاطعة الفضل في التنازلات القطرية لواشنطن في ملف تمويل الإرهاب»، مؤكداً أن تلك الدول «ستستمر في ضغطها لتكسب تنازلات إضافية ضد التطرف والإرهاب، حتى وإن جاء الحصاد عبر عواصم أخرى».
لكن هذا الستار الذي يتلطى خلفه جميع المعنيين بالأزمة، لا يخفي حقيقة أن للخلاف بين «الأشقاء» الخليجيين أبعاداً سياسية أخرى، قد لا تكون الإدارة الأميركية راهناً معنية بالعمل على معالجتها، فضلاً عن أن إمكانية توصل الوسطاء المحليين (الكويت مثلاً) إلى تسوية بشأنها تبدو ضعيفة أكثر من أي وقت مضى. من هنا، فإن احتمال تحقق مصالحة بينية مماثلة لما شهده عام 2014 عقب أزمة سحب السفراء يبقى في مستوى الهشاشة أقله على المدى المنظور، لتتقدم احتمالات أخرى (ليس من بينها التصعيد العسكري)، فحواها استمرار دول المقاطعة في محاولة تقويض النظام القطري مع ادعائها خلاف ذلك في العلن، وإصرارها على هامشية «القضية القطرية» (قال وزير الخارجية السعودي، عادل الجبير، الأسبوع الماضي، في بروكسل، إن «قطر قضية صغيرة أمام الملفات الهامة في المنطقة»)، ومحاولتها تكريس هذا الوضع وإرساء تطبيع إقليمي ودولي معه، وفي المقابل مواصلة قطر مساعيها إلى كسر تلك المحاولات عبر تمسكها بخوض الحرب الإعلامية والدعائية والدبلوماسية إلى منتهاها.
ما يدعّم الاحتمالات المتقدمة عدة مؤشرات صادرة من كلا المعسكرين لعل أهمّها اثنان: الأول أن عواصم المقاطعة عاودت محاولاتها إنتاج بديل سياسي لـ«نظام الحمدين»، بعد فشل تجربتها الأولى مع الشيخ عبد الله بن علي آل ثاني، الذي انتهى به مسار التعويم «البائس» إلى ظهوره محتجزاً في أبو ظبي وممنوعاً من الحركة. وما جديد السعودية والإمارات على هذا الصعيد إلا استضافتهما لشخص ثانٍ من العائلة القطرية الحاكمة يدعى سلطان بن سحيم آل ثاني (ابن شقيق أمير قطر السابق، خليفة بن حمد آل ثاني)، كان أول من التقاه – علناً – الملك السعودي، سلمان بن عبد العزيز، خلال الحفل الختامي لـ«مهرجان الملك عبد العزيز للإبل 2018»، قبل أن يحضر جنباً إلى جنبه افتتاح «مهرجان الجنادرية 32»، ليتوجه عقب ذلك إلى البحرين حيث التقى ملكها، حمد بن عيسى، ومنها إلى الإمارات حيث اجتمع بولي عهد أبو ظبي، محمد بن زايد (تداولت وسائل الإعلام القطرية تسجيلاً منسوباً لوالدة سلطان، تحرّض فيه أحد الأشخاص على الانضمام إلى نجلها في تدبير انقلاب على الحكم). وعلى الضفة المقابلة، برزت دعوة أمير قطر، خلال «مؤتمر ميونيخ»، إلى «اتفاقية أمنية جامعة في الشرق الأوسط»، وهو ما رأت فيه دول المقاطعة «دعوة من لاعب ثانوي… ومشروعاً مضاداً لاستعادة العرب لفضائهم، ومتناقضاً مع التوجه الأميركي اتجاه طهران».



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