What Is in Store for Iraq and the Broader Middle East?

What Is in Store for Iraq and the Broader Middle East?

Amro Allan, Global Research 14 Mar 2021

It is still early to be certain what strategy the new US administration will adopt in the Levant. Yet the recent actions of the US and its allies can give a good indication of what is in store for the region. Especially when those actions reinforce the validity of some intelligence obtained from a well-informed source, and when they fit the facts on the ground.

For the past ten years, the US and its allies have been engaged in a war against Syria. However, this war did not achieve its main strategic objective. On the contrary, Syria has become involved with the Axis of Resistance more than ever. And despite the pitfalls in some places, and slow achievements in others, the Axis of Resistance has gained more influence in the Levant overall. One aspect of this is that the route from Tehran to Beirut, through Baghdad and Damascus, is solidifying every day. Securing this route can greatly facilitate trade and economic collaboration between those four capitals- something that will enhance the living situation of the people of those countries and fortify their resilience.

The US understands the strategic challenge that this poses to its influence in the Levant and indeed in West Asia in general; as it has been expressed in many pro-US-articles.

A vital result of securing this route is the leverage it provides to the Axis of Resistance to overcome the ‘maximum pressure’ policy which the US has been pursuing of late, not just against Iran, but also against Syria using the ‘Caesar Act’. And because the events of the past few years exposed the unreadiness of the US to engage in an all-out war against Iran and its allies, that leaves the ‘maximum pressure’ policy as the only cost-effective card for the US to play against the Axis of Resistance.

Another result of the events of the last ten years in the Levant is that the Iraqi and Syrian arenas have become more interconnected. Hence, the aftershocks of any change in the political balance in one domain will be felt in the other. And because of the Russian presence in Syria, as well as the strategic alliance between Russia and the Syrian government, the US margin of manoeuvre within Syria is more constrained than it is in Iraq. Thus, it appears that the new strategy of Joe Biden’s administration is to work towards changing the status quo within Iraq to the advantage of the US, through targeted assassinations and special operations. It seems that the end goal is to strengthen the US allies within the Iraqi ruling class, benefiting from the volatile Iraqi political situation, so as to align Iraq with the US stance in the region.

This strategy, if it succeeds, will achieve two objectives for the US: breaking the Baghdad link in the afore-mentioned route chain, and tightening the economic sanctions imposed on Syria. The latter objective can then be used to force the Syrian government to make political concessions in the upcoming presidential elections and in the negotiations with the ‘separatists Kurdish factions’ in the east of the Euphrates, where the Syrian oil and wheat fields lie.

The latest US airstrike on the Iraqi security forces, the ‘Popular Mobilization Forces’ (PMF), is believed to be in this context despite the US pretexted justification. Choosing to bomb a position on the Syrian Iraqi borders and in the vicinity of a vital Syrian Iraqi crossing point cannot be at random.

Another sign of the US intent to change the political balance in Iraq is the recent 

lengthy interview with Raghad Saddam Hussein on the Saudi-owned news channel Al-Arabiya (the Saudis are a strategic US ally). In this interview, she spoke about internal Iraqi affairs, attacked what she called Iranian influence in Iraq, and refused to rule out a possible future role in Iraqi politics.

A well-informed source confirmed the existence of such a plan: ‘The US has put into action a new plan to shift the balance in Iraq to their advantage through targeted assassinations and inciting strife within Iraq. This plan is to be carried out in collaboration with some top positions in the current Iraqi government, and the Iraqi Ba’ath party’ the source added. On this question, it is worth noting the since-retracted statement by Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby that Iraqi authorities helped the US to carry out ‘successful strikes’ on Syria’s territory in February, and in spite of the Iraqi Defence Ministry denying any knowledge of this airstrike beforehand.

If the next few weeks prove this analysis to be true, then it would be logical to assume that the Axis of Resistance will take countermeasures, and this would very likely raise the stakes in an already heightened situation in a volatile region.

Amro Allan, Palestinian writer and Political researcher

Amro Allan ( amro@amrobilal.net), is an independent Palestinian writer and Political researcher. He publishes in various Arabic news outlets, some of which are Al-Akhbar newspaperRai Al-Youm, and Arabi 21.

أنطون سعاده حلم مشرقيّ وشهيد حي

ناصر قنديل

لم يُنجِب المشرق شخصيّة عبقريّة ونضاليّة بمكانة أنطون سعاده، فقد عرف الشرق أبطالاً خاضوا معارك أسطوريّة وحققوا انتصارات تاريخيّة، أو سقطوا في ملاحم استشهادية، كما عرف الشرق قادة سياسيين نقلوا واقع كياناته ودوله من مراحل إلى مراحل، وكتبوا سيَرَهم بأحرف من نور، وعرف الشرق قادة حركات مقاومة أنجزوا ما عجزت الجيوش عن إنجازه، وعرف الشرق مفكّرين وكتّاب وفلاسفة ألمعيّين تركوا بصماتهم في الفكر الإنساني، لكن هذا الشرق لم يعرف شخصاً جمع كل ذلك في سيرة حياته القصيرة بمثل ما جسّدها أنطون سعاده.

قُدّمت عقائد ومشاريع فكرية سياسية لشعوب المنطقة، عالج بعضُها قضية التحرر من الاستعمار كأولويّة وتفوّق في رسم معاملها، وعالج بعضُها قضية الوحدة وأبدع، وعالج بعضُها قضية العدالة الاجتماعية وتفوّق، وعالج بعضُها قضية الأمراض الاجتماعية وشكل الدولة القادرة على توحيد النسيج الوطني، فوقع بعضُها في العداء مع الدّين، ووقع بعضُها الآخر في محاولة توفيق هشّة بين مفهوم الدين ومفهوم الدولة، لكن التجربة الحية لكل هذه العقائد قالت باستحالة بلوغ مرتبة متقدّمة من الإنجاز في أيّ من هذه العناوين، رغم الإنجاز الأولي المحقق، ما لم يلاقيه تناسب في الإنجاز في العناوين الأخرى، فكانت عقيدة سعاده وحدَها التي نجحت بتقديم الأجوبة المتكاملة على الأولويّات المتزامنة والمتلازمة، وبصورة تفادت خلالها الوقوع في ثنائيّات قاتلة، فتجاوزت الفِخاخ التي وقع فيها الآخرون، فهي متصالحة مع الدين وليست دينيّة، وهي مدنيّة وليست إلحاديّة، وهي نوع من اشتراكيّة لا تلغي المبادرة الفردية، ونوع من رأسمالية لا تلغي دور الدولة، ووحدويّة بحدود المدى الجغرافيّ الأضيق، وتحررية الى المدى الأبعد الذي يمثله اليقين بأمة عظيمة لا تعاني عقدة النقص تجاه الغير شرقاً وغرباً، لكنها تنطلق في التحرّر من فلسطين والصدام الوجوديّ مع كيان الاستيطان الغاصب.

خلال عقود الاحتلال التي عاشها لبنان، تعرّف اللبنانيون على فكر سعاده حزباً مقاوماً، وخلال عقد المواجهة التي خاضها السوريّون مع الإرهاب عرفوا عقيدة سعاده منظومة وحدة اجتماعيّة وسلم اجتماعي، ومقاومين يستشهدون الى جانب الجيش السوري دفاعاً عن وحدة وسيادة سورية، وفي ذروة الأزمات المحيطة بدول المنطقة اقتصادياً وأمنياً، قدّمت عقيدة سعاده مشروع وحدة الحياة بين كيانات المشرق، وما عُرف بالتشبيك الذي دعا إليه مفكّرون كثيرون ليس إلا بعضاً مما قدّمه سعاده.

عرف سعاده أهميّة الجماعة المنظّمة، وعرف أهمّية دم الشهادة، فتلازما مع مسيرته قائداً حزبياً وشهيداً لقضيته وحزبه، وعرف الأخطبوط الداخليّ والخارجيّ الممسك بالسيطرة على بلاد المشرق مبكراً أن سعاده وفكره وحزبه خطر داهم، فتضامنوا وتفاهموا على التخلّص منه بصورة دراميّة لا تزال بصماتها توقظ ضمائر الأحرار، ورغم مضي عقود على ما كتبه سعاده في كل ميدان سيكتشف مَنْ يقرأه ومَن يُعيد قراءته، أنه كتب لهذه الأيام، وأن أضعف الإيمان هو العرفان، وللعرفان موجبات، أولها دعوة الجيل الشاب للتعرّف على مفكّر من لحمه ودمه يشكل عبقريّة استثنائيّة وشخصيّة أسطوريّة، يباهي بها شعوب الأرض، ومن العرفان أن ينهض محبّو سعاده وتلامذته بما يليق بالصورة التي يستحقّها لإعادة تقديمه مخلّصاً يحمل مشروعاً يستطيع أن ينهض بلبنان وسورية وكيانات المشرق نحو التقدّم، وفكر سعاده نسخة علمانيّة غير مستوردة لا تتعارض مع الإسلام والمسيحيّة، ونسخة اقتصادية اجتماعية صُنعت في بلادنا تقدّم حلولاً جذرية لمشكلاتنا، ومشروع مقاومة تتّسع لكل مقاوم بوصلته فلسطين، ومشروع وحدة تتّسع مع أتباع عقيدته، للقوميين العرب والإسلاميين والأمميين، فوحدة بلاد الشام توفر لكل هؤلاء قلعة حرّة تتسع لمشاريعهم التحرّرية والوحدويّة والإنسانيّة.

The “New Shaam” and the Detonation of Jordan الشام الجديد» وتفجير الأردن

The “New Shaam” and the Detonation of Jordan

by Nasser Kandil

Egyptian, Iraqi, and Jordanian meetings are being held to reinforce a trilateral project with an economic title failing to mask political, and possibly, strategic dimensions. This project called “The New Shaam ” does not answer how a project bearing the name of Syria (Al Shaam) could be founded while excluding Syria from its consideration. Those involved in the project are incapable of denying the reality of the role of isolator between Syria and Iran that this trio is playing, in addition to isolating Iraq and Jordan from Syria which geographically falls in the middle between those two countries. Those involved also fail to deny the declared American paternity of this project in parallel to American declared paternity of the Gulf-Israeli normalization, with both projects being complimentary and a guarantee for each other’s success.

The economic return of this “New Shaam” project is not unrelated to its political role. Egyptian electricity to Iraq compensates Egypt for the loss of Suez Canal returns resulting from Gulf-Israeli normalization, while simultaneously acting as a substitute for electricity to Iraq from Iran. Similarly the exchange of Iraqi oil and Egyptian gas via Jordan detaches Iraq from need for Iranian gas, and provides additional compensation for anticipated Suez Canal revenue loss from the reliance of the Gulf trade on Israeli ports after normalization. As for what has been promised to Jordan from this project has been financing to compensate for the halting of goods from Syria in transit via Jordan to the Gulf, and becoming a compulsory junction for the goods arriving at the Occupation’s ports and destined for the Gulf.

The Gulf-Israeli normalization built on the foundation of granting the Occupation a pivotal economic role in the region, redraws the political-economic map of the countries in the region, and markets it using appealing names such as the “The New Shaam.” The new map imposes on Egypt accepting the loss of the role which the Suez Canal has played in exchange for the crumbs meted by the designated replacement role, and imposes on Iraq the role of separating Syria from Iran, encircling Syria with an Iraqi-Jordanian siege, accepting the loss of Iraq’s natural common interests with both Iran and Syria, and placing Iraq’s internal cohesion, unity, and stability in danger. Jordan, however, will be the most vulnerable to the influences and pressures resulting from this project, irrespective of the enticements Jordan is offered to accept this role.

Jordan lies at the intersection of two fault lines portending renewed crises, namely the closed door to a resolution for the Palestinian Cause, and the wide open door to the Gulf-Israeli normalization, along with the connection to a third fault line of high tension entitled separating Syria from Iran, and separating Jordan and Iraq from Syria and besieging her. The question becomes could the delicate situation in Jordan withstand such pressures, given the weight of the Palestinian Cause and its influence on Jordan especially in light of the Palestinian united opposition to the “Deal of the Century” and Jordan’s inability to isolate herself from such Palestinian transformation, and in view of the strong Jordanian-Syrian social and political intertwinement, and the popular climate in Jordan aspiring to speeding up the natural and cooperative relationships between Jordan and Syria? Given the popular demand in Jordan for the closure of the Israeli Embassy, can Jordanians tolerate scenarios of trucks crossing Jordan with goods loaded from the Port of Haifa in transit to the Gulf?

If “The New Shaam” project does not become quadrilateral, open to and inclusive of Syria, refusing the designated role of marketing normalization at the expense of the Palestinian People and Egyptian interests, and rejecting playing the role of isolating and besieging Syria, Iraq and Egypt will pay a political and economic toll from their stability. Jordan, on the other hand, will be facing fateful and possibly existential challenges, similar to what pushed Lebanon in the eve of Camp David.

«الشام الجديد» وتفجير الأردن

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ناصر قنديل

للمرة الثانية ينعقد لقاء مصري عراقي أردني تأكيداً على مشروع ثلاثي بعنوان اقتصادي لا يُخفى البعد السياسي وربما الاستراتيجي وراءه، فالمشروع المسمّى بالشام الجديد، لا يملك جواباً على كيفية قيام مشروع يحمل اسم الشام ويستثني الشام من حساباته؟ بل لا يستطيع القيّمون على المشروع إنكار حقيقة أن الثلاثي الجديد يلعب دور العازل بين إيران وسورية، عدا عن كونه يعزل الأردن والعراق عن سورية بينما هي تتوسّطهما معاً، كما لا يمكن لأصحاب المشروع إنكار ما قاله الأميركيون عن أبوتهم للمشروع بالتوازي مع أبوتهم للتطبيع الخليجي الإسرائيلي، حيث يكمّل أحد المشروعين الآخر، ويضمن نجاحه.

العائد الاقتصادي للمشروع غير منفصل عن وظيفته السياسية، فالكهرباء المصرية للعراق هي من جهة تعويض لمصر عن خسائر قناة السويس الناتجة عن التطبيع الخليجي الإسرائيلي، ومن جهة مقابلة تأمين بديل كهربائي للعراق عن المصدر الإيراني، كما تبادل النفط العراقي والغاز المصري عبر الأردن فك للعراق عن حاجته للغاز الإيراني، وتأمين موارد إضافيّة بديلة عن خسائر ستحلق بقناة السويس من الاتجاه للاعتماد التجاري للخليج على موانئ كيان الاحتلال بعد التطبيع، أما العائدات الموعودة للأردن من هذا الربط فهي لتمويل يعوّض على الأردن ما سيُصيبه من خسائر توقف خط الترانزيت الى الخليج عبر سورية مقابل لعب دور المعبر الإلزامي للبضائع الواصلة إلى موانئ كيان الاحتلال والمتجهة نحو الخليج.

التطبيع الخليجي الإسرائيلي المؤسس على ركيزة منح كيان الاحتلال دوراً اقتصادياً محورياً في المنطقة، يُعيد تشكيل الخريطة السياسية والاقتصادية لدول المنطقة، ويتم تسويق هذه الخريطة بأسماء جاذبة مثل الشام الجديد، فعلى مصر وفقاً للخريطة الجديدة أن تتلقى خسارة قناة السويس لدورها وتصمت لقاء فتات دور بديل، وعلى العراق الذي يكلف بمهمة فصل سورية عن أيران وتطويق سورية بحصار عراقي أردني، أن يرتضي خسارة مصالحه المشتركة الطبيعيّة مع كل من سورية وإيران، وأن يعرّض تماسكه الداخلي ووحدته واستقراره الأمني للخطر، لكن الأردن سيبقى الساحة الأشد عرضة للضغوط والتأثيرات الناجمة عن هذا المشروع رغم العروض التشجيعيّة التي يتلقاها لقبول الدور.

الأردن الذي يشكّل خط تقاطع فوالق الأزمات المستجدّة بفعل التوتر العالي لخطَّي إغلاق أبواب الحلول أمام القضيّة الفلسطينية، وفتح الباب الواسع للتطبيع الخليجيّ الإسرائيليّ، يتم ربطه بخط توتر عالٍ ثالث عنوانه فصل سورية عن إيران، وعزل العراق والأردن عن سورية بنية حصارها، ويصير السؤال هل الوضع الدقيق في الأردن يحتمل هذه الضغوط، في ظل حجم حضور القضية الفلسطينية وتأثيرها على الأردن، خصوصاً مع وحدة الموقف الفلسطيني بوجه صفقة القرن، وعجز الأردن عن تحييد نفسه عن هذه التحولات الفلسطينية، وفي ظل حجم التشابك الاجتماعي والسياسي الأردني السوري، وتنامي مناخ شعبيّ أردنيّ يتطلع لتسريع العلاقات الطبيعيّة والتعاونيّة بين سورية والأردن، وفي ظل مطالبات أردنية بإغلاق السفارة الإسرائيلية هل يمكن للأردنيين تحمل مشاهد الشاحنات العابرة من مرفأ حيفا نحو الخليج؟

ما لم يكن مشروع الشام الجديد رباعياً يضمّ سورية، وينفتح عليها، ويرفض الدور المرسوم لتسويق التطبيع على حساب الشعب الفلسطيني والمصالح المصرية، ويرفض لعب دور العزل والحصار بحق سورية، فإن العراق ومصر سيدفعان أثماناً سياسية واقتصادية، من استقرارهما، لكن الأردن سيكون أمام تحديات مصيرية وربما وجودية، تشبه تلك التي دُفع لبنان نحوها عشية كامب ديفيد.

بعض «اللبنانيين» ومرضهم المزمن مع أحفاد «سايكس» و«بيكو» !

السيد سامي خضرا


لا ينقضي العَجَب عندما نرى كلّ يوم مَن يتذمَّر ويُعْرب عن غضبه وقلقه من الحالة التي وصل إليها لبنان من جهةِ حضور مقاومتِه المُظفَّرة والتي استَطاعت حقيقةً وليس وهماً أن تُثْبت مكاناً له على الساحة الإقليمية بحيثُ أنّ هذه المقاومة أصبحت هي الوجود الأكثر ثِقْلاً على الكيان الاستعماري المُصطنَع.

فالغريبُ أنّ بعض اللبنانيين الذين لا يُحبّون لبنان إلا من خلال الأغاني والعنتريات والكِبَّة والدبكة عندما يُطرحُ أمامهم الاِستقلال الحقيقي عن كلّ التاريخ الاِستعماري السابق يُبادرون فوراً إلى الإنسلاخ عن مظهرهم «الإنساني» ذي النكهة اللبنانية ويَنكفئون إلى نفوسهم «الضَّبعيَّة» لأنّ طباعهم الأصلية غَلَبَت تطبُّعَهم المُتَصنَّع.

والمُتَتَبِّع لهؤلاء يلقى منهم عجباً:

ففئةٌ منهم تفضحهم مواقفهم وسقطاتُ ألسنتهم وقسماتُ وجوههم عندما يَنسونَ أحياناً أنّ ما يقولون ويُعلنون سوف يُنقل بوسائل مختلفة فيغوصون في ساعة تخلّ إلى أعماق نفوسهم ويغفلون عن الذي هم فيه من مكان وزمان ومحيط وظروف فينطقون بما يعتقدون حقيقة دون رتوش ويبُخُّون سمومهم من دون تكلُّف أو تصنُّع اعتادُوه.

لذلك نسمعُ أحياناً وعلناً كلماتٍ ومصطلحات لا يُمكن قَبولها بأيّ ميزانٍ من الموازين.

ومثال ذلك ذاك الذي يتحدثُ عن أهل وطنه وبعض محيطه على أنهم «غرباء» بحيثُ لا تُميِّز في خطابه بين صديقٍ وعدوّ:

فكلّ مَن جاراهم في أكاذيبهم ومهما كان أصله وفصله ومواقفه وتاريخه ومن أيّ جنسيةٍ أو قوميةٍ أو خلفية أو ثقافة… يُعتبرُ صديقاً!

بينما كلّ مَن خالفهم أعتُبِر من المنبوذين ولو كان من أهل الغيرة والأصالة ومن نفس الوطن أو المدينة أو القومية.

وها نحن اليوم نرى على وسائل التواصل كما نسمع من ذاك «الطبيب المُثقف» أنّ لقاحات الكورونا ينبغي أن تكون للبنانيين حصراً وليس للغرباء!

ولا ندري ألِهذا مرجعية سياسية ساكتة أم مُتغافلة أم مُتبَنِّية أم تقبل وتغضّ النظر؟!

وعلى كلّ حال فإنَّ مثل هذا «الطبيب المُتحضر والمُثقف الفينيقي» لا شك ولا ريب أنه أرعنٌ أحمق.

فلكلّ هؤلاء الذين يقفون على الأطلال التاريخية اللصيقة بوحشية الإستعمار نقول لِمن يفهم منهم أو يَعي:

إنّ الأحداث والأوطان لا تُقاس بالعقود الزمنية، فإذا كنتم تعتمدون على تاريخٍ أو وطن مُخترع ومُدعَّم بالأكاذيب والأضاليل فنتيجة ذلك إلى زوال لأنّ النصر يكون لِمن يعتمد على تاريخ الشعوب والحقائق والروابط الجغرافية والإنسانية الضاربة في عمق التاريخ.

فالذي اخترع «لبنان الكبير» وحدَّد بدايته هو ذاته وبيده وبإرادته وبقراره مع شركائه وطبقاً لمصلحته يُحدِّد نهاية لبنان الكبير لو استطاع!

فلبنان اليوم هو بالأصل جزء من «الشام الكبير» بعائلاته وعاداته واجتماعياته وجذوره وتاريخه وعلاقاته وسائر تفاصيل وجوده ومعيشته… وإنْ أنكر ذلك بعض مَن له أقارب وأرحام في كلّ بقاع الشام العزيز من أجل أن يبدو مُتميِّزاً مُتعالياً عن أهله وأصله وأصوله وإخوته وبني عمومته!

فَكُفُّوا عن نغمة الحدود النهائية للكيان، فالبدايةُ لم تكن بأيديكم والنهاية لا تكون بأيديكم.

لأنَّ الجديد الذي تتجاهلوه أنّ مقاومةً باسلةً جهاديةً مَنَّ الله بها على «بلاد الشام» فلم يعد للمستعمر فضلاً عن أذنابه وأبواقه صوتٌ مسموع، فالقرار ليس بيده والأمور تغيَّرت ويبقى أن تتغيّر عقولكم.

والذين اخترعوا سايكس بيكو بكلّ تفاصيله ليكون مع دولةٍ يهودية هي بمثابة حاملة طائرات للغرب ما زالوا أحياء مستمرّين في أحفاد «سايكس» كما أحفاد «بيكو»، ولكن الفرق أننا اليوم لدينا عصا غليظة تَضرب على رؤوسهم فينقلبُوا خائبين.

Naqqash’s solution for Middle East: A Levantine Confederation (Pt. 3)

Source

Description:

In a recent conference held on Zoom and published on YouTube, senior Middle East political analyst Anees Naqqash spoke about his 2014 book titled The Levantine Confederation: The Battle of Identities and Policies.

The book proposes that the solution to the chronic problems of the war-ravaged and tumultuous Middle East region lies in the establishment of a confederation that unites the states of the Levant, or what Naqqash often calls the ‘West Asian region’.

Middle East Observer will gradually be publishing English translations of the author’s online talk over several posts. The following is Part Three.

To read Part One see here.
To read Part Two see here.

Source:  Kalam Siyasi (YouTube Channel)

Date:  Aug 26, 2020

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here)

Transcript:

Anees Naqqash:

In view of this complex situation, I saw that it was our duty to begin the battle for the reestablishment of a new Levant via new political thought, and to determine the priorities of the (ongoing greater) regional conflict and put them in the following order:

The first struggle must be named “national liberation from Western and Zionist hegemony”.  We cannot dream of an economic renaissance and intellectual and social liberation if our countries are still under direct or indirect occupation by Western and Zionist powers. Therefore, the Levantine political parties and movements have to realize that national liberation must be a collective mission to support the resistance movement in the region for the sake of liberating Palestine. During this battle, the American forces in the region must be defeated in order to clear the region of foreign forces and Zionism.

The second mission is to find new political ideas that diverge from Ibn Khaldun’s theory of domination (i.e. there can be no social order without a form of power based upon constraint and domination) because our study of previous empires (shows that) they were ruled by the dominant ethnicities, tribes, clans or families (of those times). The Umayyads were one group who dominated the entire nation just to rule it under the name of the Umayyads. The same applies to the Abbasids and the Ottomans who were the predominant group (in their nation during their respective times). Despite the advantages and the power that these empires had, they were built on domination rather than dialogue. At that time in history, it was probably difficult to have a dialogue that brings together all these ethnicities and peoples in order to build an empire based upon mutual understanding and social contracts. I am saying this to make sure our reading (of events) is realistic. Today, however, domination is no longer acceptable nor permitted, even if it offers a booming economy and heightened regional security. National, innate and religious tendencies remain an obstacle to accepting hegemony and domination of asabiyyah (defined by Ibn Khaldun as social solidarity).

Therefore, our only solution is to present a project of dialogue which we have named “The Levantine Confederation”. This project is built upon an understanding between states that have strong central security, states that are aware of the international conflict and are able to act as a lever to this project by starting a strategic dialogue between each other in order to build a Levantine system similar to the European system.

This (Levantine system) will restore to the Levant its previous empires, not by domination, but by a new socio-political contract that respects (the Levant’s) cultural and religious heritage, respects human rights, and builds a new system without changing the current maps, because changing them may lead to new clashes and instabilities. However, the borders will have minimal restrictions. (In other words,) the black borderline will be turned into a light gray line, similar to the EU borders that are almost non-existent. A person will be able to travel all over the Levant without a need for a travel visa. Goods will be transported from one country to another without paying customs except for a nominal fee. A (Levantine) investor will invest in any (Levantine) country. The economic renaissance can also be integrated with agricultural, industrial and energy – oil and gas – projects, etc.

We will build this (Levantine) system through understanding as Europe did. As a result, we will have fulfilled a big dream of the Islamic movement, i.e. uniting the Ummah (the Islamic community). (This system) would not unite a billion and a half (Muslims), but (at least) it would unite the core (of the Ummah) at the Levant. We will have also realized a huge dream of Arab nationalists who are not chauvinists nor racists. They rather adopted nationalism as an ideology to confront the West or unite Arabs against the Western and Zionist attack, but they failed (to do so).

However, this (Levantine) confederation will include many countries from inside and outside the Arab world, which will contribute towards freeing the Arab region from Zionism and Western control, and ensuring its coexistence with its natural neighbors with whom it shared a history of 1400 years under previous imperial systems.

Consequently, our (project) would have integrated with previous projects that have not succeeded, and we would find a new atmosphere for dialogue away from the atmosphere created by the mouthpiece of Western media financed by petrodollars. Unfortunately, the demonic Western media, with its intellectual toxins that fuel sectarian and ethnic conflicts in our region, no longer comes (to us) in English, nor in French. It is no longer a white man raising these issues to us. Their news rather come via Arab media funded by Arab petrodollars from Gulf countries that have put themselves at the service of the American-Zionist project, which is no longer a secret to anyone.

(To be continued…)


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Lebanon, Syria and the region after the return to nuclear understanding لبنان وسورية والمنطقة بعد العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

لبنان وسورية والمنطقة بعد العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

ناصر قنديل

بعد إعلان الرئيس الأميركيّ المنتخب جو بايدن عزمه العودة الى التفاهم النوويّ مع إيران، وبعد إعلان الرئيس دونالد ترامب قبوله تسليم الرئاسة بعد اجتماع المجمع الانتخابي ونطقه بفوز بايدن، وهو ما بات محسوماً، صار العالم والمنطقة في دائرة البحث عن التداعيات التي ستلي العودة الأميركية للتفاهم النووي، طالما تراجع بايدن عن شروط مسبقة تتصل بالتفاهم على ملفات خلافية أخرى رفضت إيران أي بحث فيها، وصار التطابق الأميركي الإيراني على معادلة، عودة غير مشروطة مقابل التزام إيراني بموجبات التفاهم، وبعدها يكون التفاوض من داخل أطر التفاهم نفسه.

لو لم يكن للتفاهم من تداعيات خطيرة على كل من كيان الاحتلال وحكام الخليج، لما كان هذا الاستنفار الذي جمعهم مع ترامب على قرار الانسحاب من التفاهم وتصعيد الضغوط على إيران، ومعلوم أن العودة للتفاهم ستعني حكماً رفع العديد من العقوبات الرئيسية التي تستهدف الاقتصاد والأموال الإيرانيّة، والقدرة الإيرانيّة على المتاجرة بنفطها وغازها وسائر مصادرها الاقتصاديّة، والمعلوم أيضاً أن إيران ستقوم بمد يد العون بصورة أقوى لقوى المقاومة في المنطقة كلما انفرجت اوضاعها المالية والاقتصادية. وهذا كان إحدى الذرائع التي أوردها ترامب للانسحاب من التفاهم.

الأسئلة تطال ملفات المنطقة الإقليمية، حيث يتمّ تداول تقارير وتحليلات تطمئن جماعات أميركا الى ان العودة للتفاهم لا تعني تغييراً في الاوضاع في لبنان وسورية وسائر ساحات الاشتباك الإقليميّة. وهنا يتم التداول بثقة بأن القوات الأميركية باقية في سورية، وأن مشروع بايدن لتقسيم العراق عائد الى الواجهة، وأن تقسيم سورية سيليه، وأن الضغط على حزب الله في لبنان سيتزايد لصالح تعويض “إسرائيل” خسائرها من العودة للتفاهم بمكاسب من رصيد مكانة حزب الله ومصادر قوته، وبالمثل تتحدّث التقارير ذاتها عن تعويض الخسارة الخليجيّة بعودة التفاهم بحل سياسي للأزمة اليمنية تكون يد السعودية والإمارات هي العليا.

التدقيق في هذه التقارير يكشف بسرعة سطحيتها او انتماءها الى مدرسة حرب نفسيّة هشّة تريد رفع معنويات جماعة أميركا في المنطقة، أو إصابة معنويات جمهور قوى المقاومة، فالتفاهم النووي لم يكن يوماً نووياً، بقدر ما كان محور ومركز ملفات التصادم في المنطقة، ولذلك عندما بلغت الإدارة الاميركية في عهد باراك اوباما وجو بايدن الى طريق مسدود في المواجهة في سورية، ذهبت الى توقيع التفاهم النووي. فالحرب ليست فصولاً منفصلة، بل هي جسد واحد، لأنه في نهاية المطاف كل ملف من ملفات المنطقة يوصل الأمور الى واحد من خيارين التسوية أو الحرب. ومَن يعود للتفاهم النووي وهو الحلقة الأصعب لأنه اختار التسوية بدلاً من أن يختار الحرب، فلن يفعل شيئاً آخر غير الذهاب للتسويات في سائر الملفات، مادام خيار الحرب مغلقاً، ولو كان متاحاً لما كانت العودة للتفاهم.

السعي الأميركي يبدأ مع العودة للتفاهم الى البحث عن مسارات مناسبة لملاقاة خيار العودة للتفاهم في ملفات النزاع. ففي العراق سيكون السؤال هل هناك من يحمي التقسيم الذي كانت فرصه الأفضل عندما أعلنت كردستان العراق انفصالها وتراجعت لأنها تبلغت قراراً أميركياً بعدم القدرة على الذهاب الى حرب، وهذا في عهد ترامب، فكيف في عهد بايدن، وفي سورية سيكون الأسهل الذهاب للوقوف وراء روسيا لترتيب توزيع الأوراق والأدوار مع الأكراد والأتراك تمهيداً للخروج من سورية، وفي لبنان سيكون سهلاً التموضع وراء فرنسا وتسهيل فوزها بفرصة إنجاح المبادرة التي قدمها الرئيس امانويل ماكرون، على قاعدة الانفتاح على حزب الله وتحييد الخلاف الأميركي معه عن إعادة تكوين السلطة عبر حكومة تتولى قيادة مرحلة إنقاذية بدعم مالي دولي. أما في اليمن فالكلام واضح عن سعي بايدن لوقف الحرب من موقع اعتبار العدوان السعودي جريمة يجب أن تتوقف.

التراجع في الملف الأصعب يعني التراجع في الأقل صعوبة، ومرحلة جديدة كلياً توشك أن تبدأ في المنطقة.

Translation

Lebanon, Syria and the region after the return to nuclear understanding

Nasser Qandil

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-224.png

After President-elect Joe Biden announced his intention to return to nuclear understanding with Iran, and after President Donald Trump announced his acceptance of the presidency after the meeting of the electoral college and pronounced Biden’s victory, which is now resolved, the world and the region are in the search for the implications that will follow the U.S. return to nuclear understanding, as long as Biden retracts preconditions related to understanding on other controversial files that Iran has refused any discussion on, and the U.S.-Iran conformity on an equation, an unconditional return in exchange for an Iranian commitment under the understanding, and then from within the frameworks itself.

If the understanding did not have serious repercussions on both the entity of the occupation and the rulers of the Gulf, it would not be the alert that brought them together with Trump on the decision to withdraw from the understanding and escalate the pressure on Iran, and it is known that the return to the understanding will mean a provision to lift many of the major sanctions targeting the Iranian economy and funds, and the ability of Iran to trade its oil, gas and other economic sources, and it is also known that Iran will help the resistance forces in the region whenever their financial and economic situation is resolved. This was one of Trump’s pretexts for withdrawing from the understanding.

The questions are reaching the regional files, where reports and analysis are circulated to reassure American groups that a return to understanding does not mean a change in the situation in Lebanon, Syria and other regional arenas of engagement. And here is the trade with confidence that the U.S. forces remain in Syria, and that biden’s project to divide Iraq returns to the front, and that the division of Syria will follow him, and that the pressure on Hezbollah in Lebanon will increase in favor of compensating “Israel” its losses from returning to the understanding with gains from the balance of hezbollah’s status and sources of strength, and similar reports talk about compensating the Gulf loss by returning the understanding of a political solution to the Yemeni crisis is the hands of Saudi Arabia and theUae.

The nuclear understanding was not a nuclear day, as far as the center and center of the collision files in the region, so when the U.S. administration under Barack Obama and Joe Biden reached a dead end in the confrontation in Syria, it went to sign the nuclear understanding. War is not separate chapters, it is one body, because ultimately each of the region’s files brings things to one of two options of settlement or war. Those who return to the nuclear understanding, which is the most difficult link, have chosen to settle rather than choose war, will do nothing other than go to compromises in other files, as long as the option of war is closed, and if it were available, it would not be a return tounderstanding.

The U.S. quest begins with a return to understanding to find suitable paths to meet the option of returning to understanding in conflict files. In Iraq, the question will be whether there is anyone protecting the division, which was the best chance when Iraqi Kurdistan declared its secession and retreated because it was informed of a U.S. decision not to be able to go to war, and this is under Trump, how in the era of Biden, and in Syria it would be easier to go behind Russia to arrange the distribution of papers and roles With the Kurds and Turks preparing to get out of Syria, and in Lebanon it will be easy to position behind France and facilitate its victory by the chance to succeed the initiative presented by President Emmanuel Macron, on the basis of opening up to Hezbollah and neutralizing the U.S. dispute with him about re-establishing power through a government that leads a rescue phase with international financial support. In Yemen, there is a clear talk of Biden seeking to stop the war from the position of considering Saudi aggression as a crime that muststop.

The retreat in the harder file means retreating at the least difficult, and a whole new phase is about to begin in the region.

Naqqash’s solution for Middle East: A Levantine Confederation (Pt. 1)

September 29, 2020

Description: 

In a recent conference held on Zoom and published on YouTube, senior Middle East political analyst Anees Naqqash spoke about his 2014 book titled The Levantine Confederation: The Battle of Identities and Policies.

The book proposes that the solution to the chronic problems of the war-ravaged and tumultuous Middle East region lies in the establishment of a confederation that unites the states of the Levant, or what Naqqash often calls the ‘West Asian region’.

Middle East Observer will gradually be publishing English translations of the author’s online talk over several posts. This is part one, which revolves around Naqqash’s initial motivation for developing the concept of a ‘Levantine Confederation’.

(Read Part Two here)

Source:  Kalam Siyasi (YouTube Channel)

Date:  Aug 26, 2020

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here)

Transcript :

One does not need to be a political or strategic expert in order to know that our (Arab and Islamic) countries are (currently) living through numerous wars, whether internal wars or those of an external (nature); and that international and local powers are participating in these wars; and that the (Arab and Islamic) nation’s capabilities are being exhausted by these wars and violence. Its unity, territorial integrity, potentials, property and civilization are being consumed (as a result).

The worst thing about these wars is that they often tarnish and distort (true) Islamic thought, thus proving that many of those who bear arms (in this region) are in a state of aimlessness regarding the actual and necessary track that they should pursue in order to confront the true enemies of the nation. In other words, it has been proven that many activists and local actors have a weak (level of) awareness. Thus, these topics must be highlighted in order to put things back on track.

Naqqash's solution for Middle East: The Levantine Confederation (Pt. 1) | Middle  East Observer

The idea of a Levantine Confederation stems from two points. First, history shows that for more than 1400 years our region lived in a state of empire, starting from the Umayyads, to the Abbasids, all the way to the Ottoman Sultanate. Apart from some perversions during the Crusades and the Tatar and Mongol wars, the region lived in (a state of imperial) unity. No foreign power was allowed to intervene in its military, intellectual or economic affairs. However, following the two world wars, the (Arab & Muslim) nation was faced with a set of programs, plans and schemes resulting from its military defeat against the Western powers. This defeat enabled these (Western) powers to set up a very dangerous triangle for us: the Sykes-Picot-Balfour triangle.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement (in 1916) divided the Arab states in the region into small(er) states, while the Balfour Declaration (in 1917) fulfilled the promise of giving Palestine to the Jews for the establishment of a (Jewish) entity, one of the most brutal entities that the (Arab and Muslim) nation has ever faced in the modern era in terms of military, conspiratorial and intelligence capabilities. Today, this (Israeli) entity is posing a new danger, penetrating deep into the nation and the minds of its people.

In addition, these geographical divisions (created by Sykes-Picot and Balfour) established two types of regimes. First, there were the regimes that were built for religious-sectarian reasons, such as the Lebanese state established as a favor for the (Christian) Maronites in Lebanon. However, Lebanon has changed due to shifts in different kinds of balances as Maronites are no longer the largest demographic group (in Lebanon), nor do they occupy the main role in the country. Therefore, Lebanon always suffers from political problems because of its system that is based on sectarian identity, while it is demographically changing in relation to its sects, as some sects weaken and others grow stronger, which causes continuous security disturbances.

In fact, a part of Syrian land was cut off during the drawing of the map of Lebanon. The map of Syria was not drawn by the hands of its people. Rather, it was established based on the lines and borders demarcated by the French, who at that time gave Turkey a part of Syrian territory. Turkey was the only country (in the region) to demarcate its own borders via blood (i.e. through the military sacrifices that it made), because it was defending what was left of the Ottoman Empire. In other words, historically, Turkey was the only country whose borders were drawn with the blood of its people. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s borders were determined by the French Commission (the French body that controlled Lebanon). Many parts of Syrian territory were cut off, and what was left became the Syrian state.

Naqqash's solution for Middle East: The Levantine Confederation (Pt. 1) | Middle  East Observer

The good thing about Syria is that it preserved its unity against the four-zone division project that the French were planning for. (The French) wanted to establish (four states): an Alawite state, a Druze state, and two Sunni states, one in the north and another in the center; but this project was foiled by the national unity of the Syrians.

Iraq did not demarcate its (own) borders either. Not one Iraqi was involved in the drawing up of the map of Iraq. It was Miss Gertrude Bell – an advisor at the British Foreign Ministry – who drew up the map (of Iraq) and proclaimed Faisal the King of Iraq, based on a sectarian equation that would satisfy both the Shias and Sunnis, and she added some Kurds to a part of the current Iraqi map because (she deemed them) as fierce fighters who would fight against Turkey if a clash broke out between Iraq and the new Turkey.

(Winston) Churchill established Jordan and drew up its map. There was no country called Jordan. The establishment of Jordan fully complemented the British project to establish the State of Israel, in addition to Iraq which was also a British protectorate.

In conclusion, the Levant was suffering from the delineation of borders that were carried out without consultation with its people. (The Levant) was divided up, and new, quasi-national territorial identities were established alongside the sectarian and religious identities that continued to play an (important) role too.

(Read Part Two here)

—–

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العاهرة..

البناء

ينعتوني بـ»العاهرة» ويتمادون

يصفقون لـ»عهري» وعلى خاصرة ألمي يثملون

يرتشفون نشوى الذل وعليّ يتلهّفون

إن كُنتُم تروني «عاهرة» فقولوا عني ما تشاؤون

أنا «عاهرة « منذ مئة عام

منذ أن دفنتم رجولتكم وانتشلتم الذل سيفاً

حينما الوطن بعتم

وتقاعستم عن الحق

وبتم للجق والقيل والقال

صفات بلا فحوى الرجال..

عندما زاولتم مهنة الدجال

ونسيتم بأنكم رجال..

نعم أنا «عاهرة» منذ نعومة أظافري

منذ أن كانت أمي تشقى قبل الفجر

لعجن عجينة الأمل..

منذ أن كانت أختي تقصّ ضفائرها

لا تعي ما قاله ذاك الفتى المغوار في الحي..

منذ أن كان أبي يهتف لذاك السياسيّ في النهار

ويجلس في الليل يعدُّ ليرات الدَّين..

لا بل أنا «عاهرة» منذ أخبروا أمي أنت حامل بأنثى..

وكاد وجهها الكظيم يلامس الأرض

ولمَ لا وهي تحمل في أحشائها «عاهرة»..

ومنذ أن تلفظت بواء الحياة

تعلّمت «العهر» بتلك الصفات..

أتنعتونني بـ»العاهرة» لكوني

أحمل كتبي وأسير عكس المسير..

وأضيء شمعة لأنير مجلسي

وأترك لكم ذاك الضوء المثير..

وتتهامسون من حولي

يا لَـ»عهرها» تُدرك من الحياة الكثير..

تتبجّحون بالرجولة وتلصقون «العهر» في أسمائي..

ولكم ولعزّتكم وكرامتكم

كرّست ورسخت حياتي..

يا لَـ»عهركم» لا بل يا لَخبثكم

فـ»العهر» عفواً شرفي وأخلاقي..

فأنا «العاهرة» التي أنشدت البطولات..

وسجلت في التاريخ أساطير التضحيات..

أنا التي ما رضيت الذل يوماً

وتتلمذت على يد أمهاتي «العاهرات»..

أنا التي تألمت

وبكت

وضحكت

وأطعمت

وأشربت

وسهرت

وربت

وحضنت

وحملت

فأنا التي أنجبت رجالاً

لكنما ببغيهم

باتو «أشباه رجال»

لينعتوني بـ»العاهرة»

ويجرّدوني من ألف باء الحياة…

History: The Zionist Origins of Saudi Arabia and Its Royals

Part I

By Rez Karim

Global Research, September 22, 2020

Recognizing the contentious nature of the subject, this two-part article relies only on official treatises, pacts and primary sourced evidence to compile a historically accurate account of the founding of Saudi Arabia and Al Saud family becoming ‘Royals’.

Growing up Muslim in a Muslim majority country, I spent most Friday afternoons at a mosque, attending the Jummah prayer. First part of a Jummah prayer calls for the Imam to perform a Khutbah – a weekly sermon of sorts. It was in one of those Khutbahs that I, as a very young boy, learnt about the plight of the Palestinians for the first time.

Indeed, it’s a common practice among Imams around the world to bring up the Palestinian issue at mosques, especially during Friday sermons, and pray for the Palestinian people. In those prayers and discussions, Israel’s name comes up inevitably. In fact, Israel’s oppression of Palestinians bears no ambiguity in Islamic thoughts. And condemnation of Israel, therefore, comes naturally to Muslims around the world.

However, what escapes awareness in almost all Muslims is the connection between Israel and Saudi Arabia. While zealously castigating Israel for its atrocities, Muslims often revere Saudi Arabia as the custodians of Islam’s holiest sites; completely ignoring the Kingdom’s role in founding the Zionist state in the first place.

Notwithstanding the existence of a deep-seated bias against Israel among Muslims, it’s important to recognize that the lack of criticism for Saudi Kingdom, alongside Israel, doesn’t come from bias. Indeed, this absence finds its roots not in bias, but in a complete lack of knowledge. Knowledge among current generation of Muslims, as well as among the world population, about how Saudi Arabia and its founding king, Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud, played a critical role in establishing the Zionist state of Israel.

Suffice it to say, this ignorance about one of the most critical periods in world history seems anything but normal. Amazingly, the world, especially the Muslim world, had been kept in darkness about this momentous chapter in Middle East history. Propaganda and omissions run rampant within the historical accounts of this period. Official Saudi sources like House of Saud website, for example, avoids any mention of British involvement in founding the KSA. Although this omission seems predictable to many, it’s worth noting that even mainstream media outlets like the BBC, and prominent historians such as Professor Eugene Rogan etc., routinely portray Ibn Saud as having acted independently during WWI, and not as an instrument for the British Empire.

Therefore, recognizing the contentious nature of the issue – and to avoid becoming yet another ‘perspective’ on the subject – this article relies only on primary sourced evidence and the following four official treatises and declarations to compile a historically accurate account of the events:

  1. The McMahon-Hussain Correspondence
  2. The Treaty of Darin
  3. The Sykes-Picot Agreement
  4. The Balfour Declaration

1. The McMahon-Hussain Correspondence

To properly understand the events that led to the creation of both Israel and Saudi Arabia, we must travel back to the early 1900s’ Middle East. At the outbreak of WWI in the region, Sir Henry McMahon, then British High Commissioner in Egypt, offered Hussain bin Ali, Sharif of Hijaz (or ruler of the Hijaz – the western Arabian region in which Mecca and Medina lie), an independent Arab state if he would help the British fight against the Ottoman Empire. Hussein’s interest in throwing off his Turkish overlords converged with Britain’s war aim of defeating the Ottomans. McMahon made this offer via a series of letters exchanged between him and Sharif Hussain, collectively known as the McMahon-Hussain Correspondence. On his 14 July 1915 letter to McMahon, Hussain stated, among other things, the following as one of his propositions:Palestine: Britain Should Apologise for the Balfour Declaration, Not ‘Celebrate’ It

“Firstly.- England will acknowledge the independence of the Arab countries, bounded on the north by Mersina and Adana up to the 37th degree of latitude, on which degree fall Birijik, Urfa, Mardin, Midiat, Jezirat (Ibn ‘Umar), Amadia, up to the border of Persia; on the east by the borders of Persia up to the Gulf of Basra; on the south by the Indian Ocean, with the exception of the position of Aden to remain as it is; on the west by the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea up to Mersina. England to approve the proclamation of an Arab Khalifate of Islam.”

In response, McMahon wrote on 24 October 1915:

“I regret that you should have received from my last letter the impression that I regarded the question of the limits and boundaries with coldness and hesitation; such was not the case, but it appeared to me that the time had not yet come when that question could be discussed in a conclusive manner.

“I have realized, however, from your last letter that you regard this question as one of vital and urgent importance. I have, therefore, lost no time in informing the Government of Great Britain of the contents of your letter, and it is with great pleasure that I communicate to you on their behalf the following statement, which I am confident you will receive with satisfaction:-

“The two districts of Mersina and Alexandretta and portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo cannot be said to be purely Arab, and should be excluded from the limits demanded.

“With the above modification, and without prejudice of our existing treaties with Arab chiefs, we accept those limits.”

Interestingly, throughout history, there has been much disagreement as to whether this promise included Palestine. However, as we can see above, the area promised to the Arabs in McMahon’s letter excluded only the territory to the west of a line from Damascus north to Aleppo. Palestine, far to the south, was, by implication, included. Nevertheless, the British subsequently denied that they included Palestine in the promise and refused to publish the correspondence until 1939.

At the time however, Sharif Hussain believed this official promise from the British Government. He went on to make the most significant contribution to the Ottoman Empire’s defeat. He switched allegiances and led the so-called ‘Arab Revolt’ in June of 1916, which removed the Turkish presence from Arabia.

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire by the British in WWI left three distinct authorities in the Arabian peninsula. Sharif of Hijaz Hussain bin Ali of Mecca (in the west); Ibn Rashid of Ha’il (in the north); and Emir Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud of Najd and his religiously fanatical followers, the Wahhabis (in the east).

2. The Treaty of Darin

On 26 December 1915, Sir Percy Cox, on behalf of the British Government, signed the Treaty of Darin with Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud. Also known as the Darn Pact, the treaty made the lands of the House of Saud a British protectorate. The British aim of the treaty was to guarantee the sovereignty of Kuwait, Qatar and the Trucial States (later UAE). Abdul-Aziz vowed not to attack these British protectorates. He also pledged to enter WWI in the Middle East against the Ottoman Empire as an ally of Britain.

Britain’s signing of Darin Pact in December went against their promises of mutual protection made to Sharif Hussain in October; because Britain’s treaty with Ibn Saud does not oblige him to not attack the Hijaz.

The treaty also saw Abdel Aziz receiving £5000 per month ‘tribute’ from the British Government. After World War I, he received further support from the British. Support included substantially more monetary rewards and a glut of surplus munitions.

3. The Sykes-Picot Agreement 

On May 19, 1916, representatives of Great Britain and France secretly reached an accord, known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The accord aimed at dividing most of Arab lands under the Ottoman rule between the British and the French at the end of WWI. In its designated sphere, it was agreed, each country shall be allowed to establish such direct or indirect administration or control as they desire and as they may think fit.

Two diplomats, a Briton and a Frenchman, divided the map of one of the most volatile regions in the world into states that cut through ethnic and religious communities. The secret agreement largely neglected to allow for the future growth of Arab nationalism; which at that same moment the British government was using to their advantage against the Turks.

A century on, the Middle East continues to bear the consequences of the treaty. Many Arabs across the region continue to blame the subsequent violence in the Middle East, from the occupation of Palestine to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), on the Sykes-Picot treaty.

Indeed, Britain’s signing of this treaty went directly against what it promised to the Sharif of Hijaz in October of previous year. As we will see in Part II of this article, Britain’s betrayal of their promises of an independent Arab state eventually led them to unleash their attack dog, Ibn Saud, on Sharif Hussain and topple him. This allowed the British to effectuate the Sykes-Picot accord, and subsequently establish the Zionist state of Israel.

Read Part II

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Author Rez Karim is an Electrical Engineer and Chief Editor at VitalColumns.com.

Featured image is from the authorThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Rez Karim, Global Research, 2020

Lebanon’s future: Lebanon’s Mutasarrifate Take II:

August 10, 2020

A crossroads of civilizations, Lebanon has been often involved in wars, invasions, and sectarian warfare. Image depicts Lebanese soldiers in 1861, right after a big clash between Maronite Christians and Druze muslims.

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Most of the current instability in the Levant and the whole Middle East is inadvertently and inadvertently a result of the obsession about Israel’s security; both from the Israeli as well as the American sides. That said, many of the region’s problems are deep-rooted and go back to times before Israel was created and before America had any influence.

In the middle part of the Nineteenth Century, and whilst the entire Levant was under Ottoman rule, sectarian strife between Lebanese Maronites (a regional Catholic sect) and Druze (regional esoteric Muslim-based faith) left thousands savagely butchered, towns decimated, and civilians displaced. The strife escalated in 1860-1861, and as it was obvious back then that the Ottoman Empire was not far from its demise, the West was looking for half an opportunity to interfere in the Levant; and under the guise of protecting the Lebanese Maronites, coerced the Ottomans to give Mount Lebanon autonomy, under the auspices of the West.

This all happened prior to WWI, before Sykes Picot, and before any single Western nation could make a claim on Lebanon. The decision had then to be reached by consensus. This is why it was jointly reached by France, Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia. The Ottomans had no choice but to accept and dilute their influence in the region by giving the West a post within the Ottoman Empire.

The French proposed that the ruler should be given the title of Plenipotentriary, and the word was translated to a Turkish word of Arabic origin, Mutasarrif, but that person was appointed by the West; not by Turkey, and the political entity itself was called the Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon.

For readers interested in my take and analysis on Lebanon’s recent history in a more detailed but concise narrative, they can go to this reference. In brief, Grand Liban (Greater Lebanon) was created by the French under the demand of the then Maronite Patriarch Howayyek in 1920. It was meant to give Lebanese Christians a sense of security, and to be a neutral country in the Middle East; with a Western outlook.

This article will not discuss the geopolitical changes that have happened since. They are in the link above. That said, with the many changes over the last century, the situation in Lebanon has become untenable.

In summary, and among other things, Lebanon has to find a way to deal with Israel, with Syria which is the heart of the axis of resistance and support of Hezbollah, its Arab neighbours who are predominantly against Syria and Hezbollah, devise a united policy as to the status and level of the presence of Hezbollah, find a way out of the current financial collapse and redefine the country’s position as either a neutral country or a spearhead of resistance.

But this is easier said than done not only because of the political divisions, but also because of the endemic corruption of its Mafia lords; Lebanon’s ruling elite and their cronies.

These are the family lines of the same lords that led Lebanon into the civil war. They all have little armies, real armies; some with tanks and artillery. The Lebanese Army is incapable of crushing them, and even if it attempts to, it will have to attack them all at once; not one at a time without risking being accused of impartiality and giving favours.

Those leaders are accused of having thieved $800 Bn from Lebanon and siphoned it overseas. And in as much as they loathe each other, they equally need each other because the existence of each of them is contingent upon that of the others.

Much has been blamed in the past on the disunity of the Lebanese themselves, but when literally millions took to the streets in October 2019, they were united, they carried the slogan of ‘kellon yani kellon’ (all of them means all of them). But before too long, meddlers and thugs were set up inside their camps wreaking havoc and disunity. The protestors were hoping that the Lebanese Army would make a move and start arresting the leaders and the cronies implanted amongst them, but the army itself is bogged down in the same game of dirty politics and loyalties.

In simple terms, the Lebanese people can become united if they have the will and they have done so in the past. They have learned this lesson the hard way, but they simply do not have the means and the power to dislodge the ruling families who control everything; all the way from daily bread to election results.

The country has been struggling for years with mountains of rubbish that the government has not been able to process, electricity shortages, water shortages, soaring unemployment just to name a few problems. It is little wonder why the economy collapsed and the Lira lost nearly 80% of its value in the last few months. Add to this COVID-19, the Caesar Act, and now the Beirut Sea-Port explosions.

Of interest to note is that the latest events in Lebanon have been capitalized on to raise the level of dissent against Hezbollah. According to some, Hezbollah was blamed for everything; even including the sea-port disaster.

Sometimes however, disasters offer silver linings. The cries of Lebanese citizens in the streets of major cities did not generate any global compassion, but after the massive blast, there seems a change in this respect.

Many nations have come forward and offered to assist the Lebanese people, and their governments are not shying away from stating that they will not entrust this aid to the Lebanese Government for distribution to those in need. This is because the whole world, not only the Lebanese people, no longer trust Lebanese officials.

Thus far, among a list of nations, aid and offers of aid came from Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the USA, and ironically, even from Israel .

But no aid offer has thus far come close to that of France. French President Marcon did not only make a promise, but he also visited Lebanon and walked on Ground Zero (thereby shooting the concept of nuclear attack in the guts) and made a very intriguing yet audacious promise. He promised Lebanon a ‘new political pact’.

What does a ‘new political pact’ exactly mean?

This promise harks back to the days of colonization when France did not only actually draw the map of the new state of Lebanon and gave it a constitution that was shaped on France’s own, but it also goes back to the days when the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate was created, does it not?

Macron went further and promised to return to Lebanon on the 1st of September 2020, a very ominous date indeed, a date that marks the centenary of the declaration of Grand Liban.

But Lebanon is no longer under French mandate, and France is unable to receive such a mandate without international support. That said, as unbelievable as it may sound, more than fifty thousand Lebanese have signed a petition asking France to take control of Lebanon for the next ten years. And speaking of former colonizers, if such a poll was taken for the return of Turkish rule, perhaps more would sign it as the popularity of Erdogan is growing within the Sunni street.

This is not to say that Lebanese people want to be ruled by a foreign entity. It is simply because they are feeling beaten, robbed, hungry, terrorised, so helpless and have lost total faith in their own leaders and political process and are desperately screaming out for help from outside.

If the events of 1860-1861 have generated enough Western ‘sympathy’ to ‘help’ the people of Lebanon, then the events of 2020 are much more prominent and offer a much bigger opportunity and lure for a new-style intervention.

But once again, France cannot get away with doing this alone. With Russia already on the ground in Syria and America looking for a new role in Lebanon, France would have to get them on board somehow. It is plausible that a new international conference that of course includes Russia but also Turkey, but not Iran, may soon be convened to discuss the political future of Lebanon.

This time, the West will have a significantly larger incentive than the one it had back in 1861, because this time around, it will have one small eye on Lebanon, and the bigger eye on the security of Israel, as well as seeing in this an opportunity they have not been able to achieve by other means in order to reach a deal that stamps out Iranian influence and presence just at the door step of Israel’s borders.

If the international community were serious about helping the Lebanese people and the Lebanese Army, it is quite capable of freezing the assets of the corrupt leaders and repatriating those funds to jump-start the economy again. Lebanon has a huge wealth of highly qualified professionals, many of whom currently are unemployed, and are desperately needing work in a country that desperately needs rebuilding. But would they be trusted, given their miserable track record, and who would they be answerable to if they breached the agreed mandate?

But such a plan, devised by an international conference would not bear fruit unless it puts teeth into the decision, sending troops to disarm the relatively small militia of the corrupt politicians, forcefully if needed. Theoretically, and with good intentions, this is conceivable. However, since when has such an operation ever been genuinely executed and free of abuse and various stakeholder’s pursuing their nefarious agendas. How could we forget Libya? That said, the intervention in Libya was NATO-based, the presence of Russia and possibly China in any international agreement over Lebanon will add more balance.

But no one will be able to disarm the formidable army of the true resistance, Hezbollah, any more than Hezbollah will agree to lay down its weapons.

According to my analysis and predictions, it appears likely that some type of intervention will occur to cleanse the country of the political elite and their private interest militias. The pact will draw a line somewhere in South Lebanon, keep an area under Hezbollah’s control, and have Hezbollah to agree to leave Lebanese politics. This would be the biggest concession that Hezbollah will agree to, if it does. This will not give Israel all of what it wants, because such an outcome will not safeguard it from Hezbollah’s rockets, however Israel cannot expect more than that, if it does.

Russia may use this ‘opportunity’ to reach a way out of the deadlock and find a political settlement with the USA over their differences in Syria. But for this to happen, Syria will also need to agree to remove Iranian influence and presence from Syrian soil, as this fact has caused so much growing divisiveness in the region and provided an excuse for further Israeli aggression and US presence in Syria.

Most ironically in this particular context, even Chairman Nasrallah referred to silver linings in his latest speech on the 8th of August 2020, following the sea-port disaster. He said “from the womb of the tragedy, opportunities are born, and that international discussions emerging from this incident are an opportunity that must be capitalized upon by the Lebanese” I do not profess to know what Chairman Nasrallah meant, but he did add that all of those who are hedging their bets on the failure of the resistance will eventually fail.

Lebanon has probably gone the full circle, and the age of Mutasarrifate Take II is possibly only around the corner.

If Marcon is true to his word, for better or for worse he needs to act fast because he knows that the condition of the Lebanese people is dire. But no doubt, given his country’s history great skepticism prevails.

Tragically, such an outcome will catapult Lebanon right back into the age of Western custodianship. Depending on its fine details, and unless it stipulates the lifting of sanctions on Syria, its outcome may have serious further economic repercussions on Syria. Furthermore, it will take away many of the achievements of the Axis of Resistance, realistically however, such an outcome is not far-fetched.

The murderous, greedy, filthy and corrupt Lebanese political leaders would not have only destroyed Lebanon’s economy, but also returned it to the doldrums of the age of colonization.

مشروعان متناقضان… بينهما حرب وجود ونحن واثقون من انتصارنا

د. ادمون ملحم

ما نشهده في بلادنا من قتل ومجازر ودمار وتهجير في فلسطين والشام ولبنان والعراق والأردن ليس إلا مشاهد من حرب طويلة الأمد مفتوحة على أمتنا وعلى وجودنا الإنساني الحضاري. هذه الحرب فُرضت علينا منذ تأسست الحركةُ الصهيونيةُ العالميةُ بهدفِ إيجادِ وطنٍ قوميٍ لليهود في فلسطين مرتكزةً على فكرةِ «أرضِ الميعاد» الممتدةِ بين الفراتِ والنيلِ التي منحَها يهوه السمسارُ لشعبِه «المختار» من دونِ سائرِ الشعوبِ لتكونَ له ملكاً أبدياً كما جاء في قولِه لإبراهيم في سفر التكوين 7:17: «… أعطي لك ولنسلِك من بعدِك أرضَ غُربتِك، كلَ أرضِ كنعان، ملكاً أبدياً، وأكون إلهَهُم».

وهذه الحرب المصيرية أفرزت مشروعينِ متناقضينِ لا يمكنُ التسويةُ بينهُما:

المشروعُ الأولُ هو المشروعُ الصهيونيُ العدواني الذي يريدُ أن يُقوّضَ مُجتمعَنا من خلالِ طمسِ هويتِنا القوميةِ وتراثِنا المناقبيِ الإنسانيِ وتزويرِ تاريخِنا الحضاريِ وأساطيرِنا الجميلِة وسرقِة ثرواتِنا وكنوزِنا وآثارِنا الخالدةِ والحطِّ من قِيمِنا الأخلاقيةِ والدينيةِ الساميةِ وتشويهِ كلّ إنتاجِنا الحضاريِ ومسيرتِنا الثقافيةِ والسياسيةِ والإبداعية.

المشروع الثاني فهو المشروعَ القوميَ الوحدوي الواضح، مشروعُ سوريةَ الطبيعيةَ الحضاريةَ العريقةَ في جذورِها التاريخيةِ والغنيةِ في معطياتِها الإنسانيةِ والثقافيةِ الماضية.

المشروع الصهيوني هو مشروع استعماري سرطاني مدعوم من الغرب الرأسمالي ومتسلحٌ بأعنفِ الوسائلِ الماديةِ والعسكريةِ المدمّرةِ ويرتكز على مزاعم وهميّة خرافية.

أما المشروع القوميّ فهو مشروعٌ مجتمعيٌ إنسانيٌ راقٍ يرتكزُ على مبدأِ الاشتراكِ في الحياةِ والتفاعلِ الاجتماعيِ الطبيعيِ في البيئةِ الواحدةِ وعلى ملكيةِ الأمةِ التاريخيةِ لِوَطنِها وما فيه من ثرواتٍ وخيرات..

المشروع الصهيونيّ يعتمد البطش والإرهاب ولا يمثل إلا الباطلَ العنصريَ والنفسيةَ الهمجيةَ المتحجرةَ في مُعتقداتِها ومزاعمِها التاريخيةِ الخرافيةِ والمُفعمةِ بالحقدِ واللؤمِ والظلمِ والكراهيةِ والعداءِ للشعوبِ..

أما المشروع القومي فهو مشروعٌ حضاريٌ يمثّلُ النفسيةَ الجميلةَ الخلاّقةَ والمفعمةَ بالفضائلِ والقيمِ الساميةِ ويهدف إلى تحسينَ حياتِنا القوميةِ والمساهمة في رقيِ الإنسانيةِ جمعاء. وهذا المشروع تنهضُ به قوةٌ خلاَّقةٌ مؤمنةٌ بحياةٍ جميلةٍ تشعُّ فيها قيمُ الخيرِ والحقِ والجمالِ والحريةِ والسلام..

إنّ نتائج الحرب المصيرية تتوقف علينا نحن وعلى قدرة هذا المشروعُ القومي الطبيعي. فلكي ينهضَ هذا المشروع وينتصرُ يستوجبُ منا جميعاً الخروجَ من حالةِ الفتنِ المذهبيةِ والشرذمةِ والانقساماتِ إلى حالةِ الوحدةِ الاجتماعيةِ والتسامحِ القوميِ، حالةِ الوضوحِ واليقينِ والثقةِ بالنفسِ والعملِ بإرادةٍ واعيةٍ وخطةٍ نظاميةٍ واضحةِ الأهداف.

لا يمكنُ لنا أن نتغلبَ على الخطةِ الصهيونيةِ النظاميةِ الدقيقةِ ونحن نتبادلُ الأحقادَ الدينيةَ ونتقاتلُ على الجنةِ السماويةِ ونتخبطُ بقضايا الفئويةِ والمذهبيةِ والعشائريةِ والخصوصياتِ.. بل نتغلبُ عليها بعقيدةٍ جلّيةٍ واضحةٍ تُحيي حقيقتَنا التاريخيةَ الحضاريةَ وتعملُ لتأسيسِ مجتمعٍ مدنيٍّ ديمقراطيٍّ راقٍ يعي هويتَه وتاريخَه وقضيتَه القوميةَ ومقاصدَه الكبرى في الحياة.

لا يمكنُ لنا أن نتغلبَ على الخطةِ الصهيونيةِ بأنظمةِ الطائفيةِ والجهلِ والتخلفِ والفسادِ، أنظمةِ الهرولة وكبتِ الحرياتِ..

ولا نتغلَّبُ عليها بالسياساتِ الضيقةِ، بسياسةِ المماحكاتِ والخصوماتِ وبنهجِ التخاذلِ والتسكعِ والمساومات… بل نتغلبُ عليها بخطةٍ نظاميةٍ أشدُ نظاماً وأدهى، خطةٍ عقلانيةٍ واضحةٍ في الرؤيا والأهدافِ ودقيقةٍ في التخطيطِ والممارسةِ والإنجاز.. خطةٍ تعملُ لبناءِ الإنسانِ الجديدِ في فكرِه وقلبِه ووجدانِه، الإنسانِ الحرِ المؤمنِ بنفسهِ وإنسانيتِه، الممتلئ بقيمِ الحياةِ الساميةِ والمتسلحِ بقوةِ العلمِ والمعرفةِ والوجدانِ القومي، الإنسانِ – المجتمعِ الذي يعملُ لخيرِ مجتمعِه ورقيِه والذي يرفُضُ العيشَ الذليلَ ويحيا لقضايا الحياةِ العالية، حياةِ العزِ والشرفِ والانتصار.

ولا نتغلبُ على الخطةِ الصهيونيةِ بثقافةِ الهزيمةِ ولغةِ الإحباطِ، بنفسيةِ الخوفِ والصمتِ والخنوعِ وبأساليبِ الفوضى والتبعيةِ والاتكاليةِ والارتجالِ بل نتغلبُ عليها بخطةٍ ساهرةٍ وراصدةٍ وُمحرِّكةٍ إمكانياتِ المجتمع… خطةٍ هجوميةٍ ومصارعةٍ عواملٍ الضعفٍ والانحطاطٍ والفناء.. خطةٍ تُفكرُ برويةٍ وتستشرفُ المخاطرَ والتحديات.. تراهنُ على إرادةِ الحياةِ فينا وعلى ما يكمُنُ في نفوسِنا من قوةٍ مناقبيةٍ ومن خلقٍ وإبداع.. توقظُ النيامَ وتخاطبُ العقلَ والوجدان.. تنفخُ في الشعبِ روحَ البطولةِ والصراعِ والمقاومةِ وتُنَمِّي فيه روحَ الوعي والمعرفةِ العلميةِ والثقافةِ القوميةِ الصحيحةِ التي تزيلُ الغشاواتِ وتَقْضِي على المبادئ الفاسدةِ والثقافاتِ الرجعيةِ المسؤولةِ عن الكوارثِ القوميةِ التي حلَّتْ بنا.

في مواجهةِ المشروعِ الصهيونيِ لا خيارَ لنا إلا خيارَ المقاومةِ والصمودِ، خيارَ الصراعِ والبطولةِ المؤمنةِ دفاعاً عن الكرامةِ القوميةِ والوجودِ القوميِ والحقِ القومي. بفضلِ هذا الخيارِ فقط يمكن ان ننهي زمنَ الهزائمِ المتعاقبةِ على أمتِنا ونبدأ زمناً جديداً هو زمنُ الانتصاراتِ المشهودة، زمنُ المقاومينَ المؤمنينَ والشهداءِ الأبرارِ الذين بهم وحدهم نهزم المشروعَ الصهيونيَ – الأميركاني وسنهزمه حتماً لأن فينا قوة، كما يقول سعاده العظيم، لو فعلت لغيّرت وجه التاريخ.

Trump’s Kurdish SDF Criminals: More Ethnic Cleansing in Qamishli

Source

July 12, 2020 Miri Wood

Bomb detonated in front of Virgin Mary Church - Qamishli - Hasakah Syria

The Trump regime’s SDF mercenaries continue to engage in the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Syrians from the Qamishli area of the Levantine republic. Local news has reported another attempted bombing of the Church of the Virgin Mary along with two other, unnamed churches, and the closure of fourteen Christian schools in the northeastern region of the country, under the protection of American illegal military troops.

Though the NATO-armed SDF (Arabic acronym, Qasad) militia is claimed to be Kurds yearning to breathe free, the traitorous separatists have merely been cannon fodder under an umbrella gang of foreign wetworkers from various NATO countries, under the protection of war criminal US military. The murderous fodder against Syrians were originally the YPG, but as this gang of thugs is on America’s terrorist list, Pentagon leaders under Obama declared a new name was required, to better market these thugs who have kidnapped Syrians, torched Syrian wheat fields, slaughtered Syrian law enforcement. In short, these terrorists are attempting to ethnically cleanse native Syrians from their land.

qamishli, syria
Liters of blood of the Syrian martyrs in Qamishli, slaughtered by US SDF. [Archive, September 2018]


On 1 July, as a preemptive threat against the probability of Russia and China thwarting an extension of the new Sykes-Picot UN/NATO Treaty, Trump’s ambassador Kelly Craft warned of [more] mass graves in the S.A.R. should the NATO dictum not be accepted. Almost immediately upon the expiration of Security Council Resolution 2504 (2020), news came of another impending false flag chemical attack by al Qaeda operatives occupying Idlib, along with a strange blackmail attempt by certain al Qaeda factions against American illegal Bilal Abdul Kareem — the release of his degenerate, naked selfies (which the friend of child beheaders subsequently referred to as family photos) — the same terrorist faction which recently abducted Tauqir ‘Tox’ Sharif, Brit illegal from a Syrian home which he and his also English wife had been occupying.

afp
Al Qaeda FSA/Zinki branch kidnapped a child & proudly videoed themselves carving off his head.

Demonstrating the utter arrogance western colonialism — even while NATO countries hypocritically decry US racism, and westerners continue to feign concern over the brutal murder of George Floyd, using his death as a cover story to break from the COVID-19 lockdown — imperialist pathogenic illegals in Syria claim that the church was bombed by ISIS.

That there is no such place as Rojava is of no concern when it comes to the rancid white man’s burden to impose empire on nation-states. A gaggle of NATO operatives — represented by a Brit, an American, and a Frenchie — have been squatting in northeast Syria since 2018, and have created the imperial Rojava Information Center, a NATO independent “media bridge” from the separatist, Israelized, Kurds, to the “outside [NATO] world” (because ordinary Syrian Kurds could never run their own newspaper, without NATO operatives).

The war criminal hypocrisy of such humanitarian bastards is a bottomless pit of depravity. Ignoring the fact that the US armed SDF previously blown up vehicles near the Church of the Virgin Mary, that they have stolen Syrian homes and kidnapped Syrian children, forcing them into criminal conscription, this NATO-sponsored gang under the protection of the Trump regime illegals in the SAR, have ironically claimed that the US-created ISIS committed the bombing in Qamishli to disturb the Garden of Eden enjoyed by the US-created SDF and Muslim Arabs and Arab Christians trying to break free of their native country. The vicious sadism of this colonial criminality is further flouted in the incestuous reporting on the ‘RIC’ by the Defense Post/Global Post NATO independent sites created by a Turkish student who allegedly came to the US to study but decided to stay.

Let the western world not be fake concerned over domestic racism while flouting support for peak colonialism.

Let Trump’s imperialism in Syria be brought to an end.

— Miri Wood

عندما يقول التاريخ كلمته…!‏

د. عدنان منصور

شهد عالمنا عبر التاريخ حكاماً، طغاة، مستبدّين، خونة، بأشكال وألوان، منهم العميل والمرتزق، ومنهم العبد والمأجور، ومنهم الخادم والمأمور، ومنهم الظالم والحقود.

لقد عرفت أمتنا على مدى تاريخها كلّ هذه الأنواع من الحكام، على فترات متقطعة، فكانت تتحكّم ولو لوقت بشعوبها، تستبدّ، تبيد، تخمد أفواه الأحرار، وتقتل كلّ إنسان متعطش للحرية، والكرامة، وحقه في حياة حرة كريمة، في ظلّ أمة يريدها موحدة قوية.

غالباً ما يظنّ الطغاة أنفسهم، أنهم يحكمون باسم الشعب، ولخدمة الشعب والأمة على السواء، حتى إذا ما ذهبوا، وذهب معهم طغيانهم، انقشعت الحقيقة، ليصبح الطغاة الذين بغوا وفجروا على ألسنة الأجيال اللاحقة، تلعنهم وهم في قبورهم، وتنشد وتغنّي فكر المناضلين الأحرار. فأين مانديلا من أيان سميث العنصري الباغي في جنوب أفريقيا؟! وأين سلفادور الليندي من بينوشيه في تشيلي؟! وأين فيديل كاسترو من الدكتاتور باتيستا في كوبا؟! وأين باتريس لومومبا من تشومبي وجوزيف موبوتو في الكونغو كنشاسا…؟!

وفي مشرقنا العربي، أين مفكر النهضة أنطون سعاده من حسني الزعيم؟! وأين قافلة الشهداء المناضلين المقاومين للاحتلال الصهيوني، والمناهضين لوجوده، من الحكام الطغاة العملاء الذين تآمروا على أمتهم وشعوبهم، وباعوا قضاياها في بازار السياسة الدولية؟!

في ذكرى يوم إعدام مناضل كبير، ومفكر بارز عمل من أجل نهضة المشرق، والتأكيد على ذاته ومستقبله، نتساءل: من بقيَ في ذاكرة الأحرار، أنطون سعاده الذي بقيَ حياً في نفوس من أراد الحياة الحرة الكريمة، واستشهد على يد الطغاة من أجل عزة أمة ووحدتها وكرامتها، أم زمرة القتلة والمجرمين، والسفاحين، وبائعي الأوطان والمساومين عليها على أعتاب الدول الكبرى؟!

في يوم رحيل أنطون سعاده، يردّد الأحرار في أمّته، من محازبين، ومتعاطفين، ومحبّين، ومعجبين، ومحترمين لفكره ومقولاته وحكمه، وهم في مواجهة العدو الصهيوني وخططه، الذي حذر منه الأجيال. أما القتلة والطغاة سيبقون وصمة عار، تصبّ عليهم لعنة الشعوب الحرة وهم في قبورهم، لعنة تتوارثها الأجيال من جيل الى جيل.

وحدهم المقاومون، المناضلون، الأحرار، الشهداء، يشرّفون تاريخ بلدانهم، لتبقى ذكراهم أنشودة تحيي النفوس وتنعشها، وتحرك ضمائر الجماهير، من اجل إحياء امة، وبعث نهضتها من جديد.

*وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق

ROBERT INLAKESH ON HIS DOCUMENTARY, “STEAL OF THE CENTURY: TRUMP’S PALESTINE-ISRAEL CATASTROPHE”

Source

Robert Inlakesh is a Documentary Filmmaker, Journalist, and Middle-East  Analyst

I recently spoke with him on his visits to Occupied Palestine nd in  particular his two-part documentary, “Steal Of The Century’: Trump’s  Palestine-Israel Catastrophe” , the first part of which he released on  June 5.

Watch part 1

Twitter: @falasteen47

Facebook/Youtube: Robert Inlakesh

Robert’s Patreon

وفد عراقيّ في بيروت: النفط مقابل المنتجات الزراعية

نور أيوب 

 الجمعة 3 تموز 2020

وصل وفدٌ وزاريٌّ عراقيٌّ، أمس، إلى العاصمة بيروت، ضمّ كلاً من وزير النفط إحسان عبد الجبّار والزراعة محمد كريم الخفاجي اللذين التقيا مساءً على العشاء وزراء: الزراعة عباس مرتضى، والطاقة ريمون غجر، والصناعة عماد حب لله. الزيارة، وفق ما تردّد في أكثر من وسيلةٍ إعلاميّةٍ عراقيّة، تهدف إلى «دعم الحكومة اللبنانية»، و«سيلتقي الوفد رئيس الوزراء اللبناني حسّان دياب، على أن يبحث معه ملف استيراد النفط من العراق».

وفيما أكّدت مصادر في رئاسة الحكومة اللبنانية أن الزيارة هي تفعيل للتعاون بين البلدين بناءً على مشاورات بدأت مع تكليف دياب، ومن ثمّ عبر أكثر من قناة، آخرها كانت زيارة المدير العام للأمن العام اللواء عباس إبراهيم لبغداد، قالت مصادر في رئاسة الوزراء العراقيّة لـ«الأخبار»، إن «هدف الزيارة هو تأكيد أهمية العلاقات الثنائيّة، وتأتي في إطار توسيع التعاون بينهما». وأضافت إنّها «تلبيةٌ لدعوةٍ قديمةٍ من الجانب اللبناني»، في حين تشير معلومات «الأخبار»، إلى أن الزيارة أقرب إلى أن تكون «زيارة استطلاعٍ للساحة اللبنانيّة، وبحث سبل مساندة لبنان في أزمته الاقتصاديّة الراهنة».

ووفق المعلومات، فإن الجانب اللبناني، ومنذ أن تسلّم مصطفى الكاظمي منصبه رئيساً للوزراء، طلب منه – غير مرّة – وضع «وديعةٍ ضخمة» في مصرف لبنان، إلا أنّ الأخير اعتذر لعدم قدرة بلاده على ذلك، في ظل الظروف الماليّة الصعبة التي تمرّ بها جرّاء انهيار أسعار النفط عالميّاً، وانعكاس ذلك بشكلٍ مباشرٍ وقاسٍ على التدفقات الماليّة. ويُنقل عن الكاظمي «أسفه» لمآلات الأزمة الاقتصاديّة في لبنان، وهو وجّه أكثر من رسالةٍ لبعض القوى اللبنانيّة، أبدى فيها رغبة بغداد بالوقوف إلى جانب بيروت في هذه الأزمة، واستثمار الموارد المتاحة. وترجمة هذا الدعم هي الوصول إلى «تفاهمٍ» بين الطرفين، يتيح للبنان بأن يُصدّر منتجاته الزراعيّة إلى العراق، مقابل تلبية الحاجات النفطيّة اللبنانيّة.

أبدى الكاظمي رغبة بغداد بالوقوف إلى جانب بيروت في هذه الأزمة


طبعاً، الوصول إلى «تفاهمٍ» – راهناً – دونه عقباتٌ عدّة. المرحلة الأولى، تقضي بـ«إطلاع الطرفين على الحاجيات المشتركة»، وفي المرحلة الثانية «إطلاق عجلة المباحثات، والوصول إلى تفاهمات»، أما المرحلة الثالثة فتوقيع المذكرة بغية البدء في تنفيذها. الكاظمي، سبق أن عبّر أمام زوّاره عن رغبته بضرورة انفتاح العراق والسوق العراقية على جيرانه، والاستفادة من الإمكانات والموارد المتوفّرة لبلورة رؤية «الطرح المشرقي» الذي ينادي به منذ أن كان رئيساً لجهاز المخابرات العراقي.

الحديث – حتى الآن – ما زال في إطاره النظري. توقيع التفاهم مقرونٌ بالتنفيذ، وهذا مقرونٌ أيضاً بقدرة كُلّ من بغداد وبيروت على تخطّي «العقبة الأميركيّة»، والتي يمكن أن تكون حجر عثرةً أمام هذا المشروع. بغداد تنظر إلى الإنتاج اللبناني عموماً والزراعي خصوصاً باهتمامٍ بالغٍ، وفي الوقت عينه تسعى إلى مساعدة بيروت بـ«المتوفّر» حاليّاً، كما تعبّر المصادر. اللافت، أن أكثر من مصدرٍ عراقيٍّ حكوميٍّ يتكتّم عن أهداف الزيارة، لأبعادها «الكبرى»، ما فُهم أنّ الكاظمي «جدّيٌّ في ذلك، ويسعى إلى تحقيق إنجازٍ ما بصمت».

ويبقى غائباً عن المشهد، التنسيق اللبناني – السوري – العراقي المشترك. حيث إن أي اتفاقات بين العراق ولبنان، وتحديداً تلك التي تتطلب نقلاً بريّاً، ستواجه عقبة رسوم الترانزيت المرتفعة التي فرضتها سوريا على الشاحنات، مع حاجتها إلى القطع الأجنبي وانقطاع الحكومات المتعاقبة عن التواصل معها لحلّ هذا الأمر بالأطر الرسمية بين الحكومتين، بما يؤمّن المصلحة المشتركة، ويعيد لخطّ الترانزيت عبر لبنان وسوريا قيمته الجغرافية، من المتوسط إلى العراق والخليج.

مائة عام من الاستقلال تنتهي ب “وطن عربي محتل”!طلال سلمان

2020-‎06-‎29

طلال سلمان

يبدو الوطن العربي، في هذه اللحظة، وكأنه “ارض مشاع” لكل قادر منها نصيب: دوله متهالكة، او تائهة عن مصيرها، او فاقدة هويتها، ومصيرها ووجودها متروك للريح.
حتى جامعة الدول العربية، التي هي مجرد “مبكى”، لا تجتمع الا في مناسبات الحزن او الاغتصاب، كما تفعل الحبشة مع السودان ومصر ببناء “سد النهضة” على حساب جيرانها الاقربين واصدقائها التاريخيين، قبل أن يغزوها الاميركيون ومعهم العدو الاسرائيلي لمنحها فائضا من القوة على حساب مصر والسودان.
وسوريا غائبة او مغيبة عن جامعة الدول العربية بناء لقرار اتخذته امارة قطر العظمى ومساندة عدد من المفيدين منها، ولو على حساب قضايا العرب المقدسة، وفي الطليعة منها فلسطين..

أما العراق المنهك بترسبات حكم صدام حسين، فعلى ارضه، بعد، قوات اميركية وفرنسية، وايرانية، مع غزو تركي لبعض شماله بذريعة مقاتلة الاكراد.. علماً أن تركيا اردوغان قد شفطت من نهري دجلة والفرات ما استطاعت من المياه لتفرض العطش مع الجوع على ارض الرافدين.

..وها هو لبنان يعاني من آثار الحصار الشديد المضروب على سوريا، مع استمرار الغارات الاسرائيلية على مواقع محددة فيها بذريعة ضرب “القوات الايرانية، مع استهداف لوجود “حزب الله” كرديف، ومع تحاشي اصابة القوات الروسية المنتشرة فيها، وكذلك مواقع القوات التركية الغازية التي تحتل بعض الارض السورية في الشرق والشمال ( منبج ثم القامشلي ومحاولة التقدم نحو دير الزور) .

لن نتحدث عن السعودية وامارات الخليج فهي “رهينة المحبسين” الولايات المتحدة الاميركية والاسر الحاكمة.. وبرغم ذلك فإنها لا تتردد في غزو اليمن واعادة تقسمه إلى شمال وجنوب (صنعاء وعدن) مع خلاف حول شبه جزيرة سوقطره الخ..

في الجهة المقابلة تبرز ليبيا، التي جعلها معمر القذافي “جماهيرية” والتي يتزاحم على احتلالها، الآن، السلطان اردوغان بجيش المرتزقة معظمهم من اللاجئين السوريين إلى خليفة العثمانيين، فضلاً عن تطلع ايطاليا لاستعادة ما تعتبره من “املاكها” السابقة، كذلك فرنسا التي كانت تحتل الجنوب (سبها وما احاط بها) فضلاً عن البريطانيين الذين جاءوا إلى طبرق بذريعة أن الجنرال مونتغمري كان يجتاجها لطرد الجنرال رومل وجيش النازي بعيدا عن مصر الواقعة آنذاك تحت الاحتلال البريطاني.


لكأننا في العام 1920 حين تقاسم المشرق العربي (لبنان وسوريا والعراق بين بريطانيا وفرنسا)، كما تم اختراع امارة شرقي الاردن، لاسترضاء الشريف حسين، مطلق الرصاصة الأولى لتحرير الامة، ومن ثم تم اعطاء نجله الثاني الامير فيصل الاول ملك العراق، بدلاً من سوريا التي لم تقبله او لم يقبله (الفرنسيون عليها..)

شعب لبنان محاصر بالجوع، وشعب سوريا بخطر تقسيم الامر الواقع: فشماله مفتوح للغزو التركي، وفي دمشق وسائر المناطق القوات الروسية، وفي بعض انحاء الشمال قوات ايرانية تساندها قوت من “حزب الله”.

لقد دارت الارض بالأمة العربية دورة كاملة، فاذا “الجحاش ملك”، كما تقول العجائز واذا الماضي ذكريات موجعة، واذا المستقبل… لله يا مسحنين!.
يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الامم!

THE US “SOFT WAR” ON IRAN AND ITS ALLIES TURNS AGAINST WASHINGTON

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Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

The US administration under Barack Obama drafted “Caesar’s Law” in 2016 to subdue Syria but kept it in the drawer. President Donald Trump and his administration dusted it off and are now implementing “Caesar’s Law”. In fact, Trump’s policy is manna to Iran: the US administration is playing straight into the hands of Tehran. Iran is reaping huge benefits, including more robust allies and resistant strongholds as a result of the US’s flawed Middle Eastern policies. Motivated by the threat of the implementation of “Caesar’ Law”, Iran has prepared a series of steps to sell its oil and finance its allies, bypassing depletion of its foreign currency reserves.

Iranian companies found in Syria a paradise for strategic investment and offered the needed alternative to a Syrian economy crippled by sanctions and nine years of war. Iran considers Syria a fertile ground to expand its commerce and business like never before. It has also found a way to support the Syrian currency and to avoid digging into its reserves of foreign currencies, skirting US sanctions in both Syria and Iran, while aiding the rest of its allies.

Iran supplied Syria with precision missiles and other anti-air missiles notwithstanding the hundreds of Israeli air attacks which managed to destroy large quantities of these Iranian advanced missiles but without removing the threat to Israel.

Moreover, following the announcement of the implementation of “Caesar’s Law”, Iran sent a large business delegation to Syria to schedule the supply of first necessities and goods in a time of sanctions. Iran has great expertise in this business and, after living for 40 years under sanctions, is in an excellent position to advise President Assad.

Russia also announced – via its vice Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov – that his country rejects the illegal sanctions on Syria, and that Russia will provide President Assad with whatever his country needs.

Idem in Syria: Iran proved its capability to break the fuel siege on Syria by sending several oil tankers to its ally in the Levant. Iran is ready to be paid in Syrian Lira rather than US currency for its oil. By doing this, Iran can pay its tens of thousands of allied persons spread across Syria with local currency, marginalising the US dollar.

In Iraq,

The US and Israel, who worked throughout the years of war in Syria to remove Iran, were in fact the impetus for Iran’s presence (and that of Russia) in the Levant in the first place. The US is now imposing “Caesar’s Law”, which will help Iran cement its presence in the Levant and Mesopotamia. It is planning to build a railway between Tehran and Damascus (and possibly Beirut): this axis will be able to transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil and tons of merchandise. The only way for the US to reduce the collateral damage is to finally accept that all of its “maximum pressure” and harshest sanctions on Iran and its allies have little chance of working. In the meantime, it is Iran that is moving ahead with a robust ring of allies, and the US and Israel which are left with Middle Eastern allies who are both inefficient and insignificant.

To my readers: I can no longer provide open access to my articles. When you subscribe, you are supporting the investigative journalism necessary for a robust understanding of what is happening in the Middle East. Thanks to those who can contribute.

Proofread by:  Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com   2020 

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SYRIA CAESAR’S LAW: WHO DOES IT TARGET, AND HOW WILL IT AFFECT PRESIDENT ASSAD?

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

In mid-June, the US sanctions against Syria will escalate, with the enactment of “Caesar’s Law“, sanctions designed to “pursue individuals, groups, companies, and countries that deal with the Damascus government.” This law – purportedly named after a Syrian army officer who smuggled out thousands of photos of torture by the Syrian army in prisons – is designed to prevent companies and countries from opening diplomatic channels with Syria, and to prevent them from contributing to reconstruction, investment, and the provision of spare parts for the energy and aviation sectors in Syria. The sanctions also affect the Syrian central bank, freezing the assets of individuals who deal with Syria and invalidating any visa to America. Who will abide by this law, and what are its consequences for Syria, Lebanon, and the countries that stand beside Syria?

Torture is a common practice in many nations around the world. Syria practised torture (the case of Maher Arar) on behalf of the United States of America and the Bush administration. At least 54 countries (Middle Eastern and African nations but also western countries like Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and more) supported US “extraordinary renditions” in 2001 and secret detentions under President Barack Obama. Washington thus lacks any moral authority to claim opposition to torture as a basis for its policies. Over recent decades the US has become notorious for authorising gruesome forms of torture, stripping people of their most basic rights, and generally violating human rights in defiance of the Geneva convention and above all the 1984 UN convention against torture. James Mitchell, a CIA contract psychiatrist who helped draft and apply “enhanced interrogation techniques“, disclosed several methods approved by the US administration to torture prisoners placed in detention in “black sites” outside the US, illegally but with official authorisation. Images of torture in Abu Ghraib prisons showed the world that the US use of torture and illegal methods of interrogation against detainees in Iraq. 

Thus, US sanctions on Syria cannot plausibly indicate US concern for human values and opposition to the abuse of power. Moreover, the US administration’s adherence to its own Constitution is in grave doubt, given the reaction of the security forces against demonstrators in America in response to widespread racial discrimination and racially motivated police attacks.

These new US sanctions, under the name of Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, can in no way be ascribed to some moral value, but rather to the failure by the US, Israel and several Western and Arab countries to change the regime in Syria, and their refusal to acknowledge defeat. They keep trying, and in this case, imagine that through harsh sanctions against Syria and its allies they can achieve what they have failed to accomplish through many years of war and destruction.

In the 1990s, the US imposed sanctions on Iraq (oil-for-food). Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens died as a result of US sanctions on Iraq without Saddam Hussein’s regime and his entourage being affected. Consequently, we can predict that US sanctions in general primarily affect the population and not the leaders.

The US fails to realize that it is no longer the only superpower in the world, and in the Middle East in particular. Russia has done what many thought was impossible and elbowed its way into the Levant to remain in Syria and confront NATO at the borders. China has followed as a rising economic superpower to make its way into the Middle East, mainly Iraq and Syria. Iran has already a strong presence and powerful allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Palestine. These three countries, along with Syria, are playing a leading role in actively eliminating US hegemony in this part of the world.

In Beirut, the government cannot adopt and abide by “Caesar’s Law” and close its gates to Syria. Lebanon’s only land borders are through Syria since Israel is considered an enemy. Any national economic plan to revitalise the abundant local agriculture sector and export to Syria, Iraq or other countries in the Gulf would fail if “Caesar’s Law” were put into effect. Any regenerated industry or import/export from the Middle Eastern countries must go through the “Syrian gate”. Besides, the current Lebanese government risks falling if it implements the US sanctions. Washington is not providing any financial assistance to the Lebanese economy in crisis and clearly has no intention of offering necessary and immediate help to the crippled Lebanese economy. The US, as has become the norm, seeks to impose sanctions and conditions on the nations it targets but offers little in return to affected countries. In the case of Lebanon, its budget deficit is close to 100 billion dollars following decades of corruption and mismanagement.

The government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab is, theoretically, a technocratic and non-political government. It does not consider the US an enemy but neither is it likely to follow US dictates, since it is close to the “March 8 Alliance” whose strongest members are not US friendly. Hence, the only solution for this government or any future government is to go east towards China, Russia and Iran. America will likely lose in Lebanon, with its “March 14 Alliance” allies rendered voiceless and powerless. 

There is no doubt that the Christian party within the “March 8” political group will be challenged and affected by US sanctions. These have an international relationship to look after and maintain as well as external bank accounts. Regardless, “Caesar’s Law” cannot be implemented in Lebanon, whatever the consequences of its violation.

As for Iran, it has already been subject to “maximum pressure” and harsh sanctions increasing year after year since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, for daring to reject US hegemony. Hence, it has no consideration whatsoever for the US “Caesar’s Law”. Even more, Iran is certainly not unhappy that the US blocked the return and reopening of Gulf countries’ embassies – who dare not disobey the US wishes – in Syria. Gulf companies are no longer in the field as competitors to divide shares in Iran’s reconstruction contracts related to projects in the field of industry, trade and energy. Iran has already challenged US and EU sanctions on Syria by sending oil tankers to Damascus. Also, Tehran sent five tankers to Venezuela, another country suffering from harsh US sanctions. The Gulf and European countries – US’s allies – are thus losing their opportunity to return to Syria, to be involved in its reconstruction and to regain their foothold in the Levant.

As for Russia, it has just signed a deal with the Syrian government to expand its military airport and naval bases in Tartous, Hasaka and Hmeymim. Furthermore, it is supplying Syria with modern military hardware and fulfilling the Syrian army needs to come up to full strength. It supplied Syria with squadrons of the updated MiG-29 fighters this month in a clear message to the US and its “Caesar Act” sanctions.

As for China, it is now in a “cold war” situation over US accusations that Beijing is responsible for the outbreak of COVID-19. The US is seeking to prevent Beijing from doing business with the European market, and particularly to prevent Europe from embracing China’s 5G network and technology. The US administration is also pushing Israel to curtail trade with China and to call off its billion-dollar contracts signed with China to avoid “hurting the relationship with the US”. Moreover, the Iraqi-US relationship took a severe blow when the former Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi signed off on a $20 billion “oil for reconstruction” agreement with China. Thus China, already involved in different projects in Syria, is not likely to abide by “Caesar’s Law”.

As for Syria, it will never accept starvation nor buckle under the US’s economic siege. President Bashar al-Assad is reconstructing the liberated areas under the government forces’ controls. He is rebuilding infrastructure for the Syrian population present in the homeland, excluding the areas abandoned by refugees who fled the country many of whom will not return. The Syrian government is not suffering from the absence of the five to seven million refugees in Idlib, in refugee camps outside the control of the government or in nearby bordering countries. Those refugees are financed and looked after by the international community and the United Nations. This relieves the central government of a considerable financial burden.

Consequently, Syria does not need to reconstruct the refugees’ homes or provide them with oil, electricity, schools, infrastructure and subsidies for as long as Western countries want them to stay outside Syria. The international community wants these refugees to remain away from the central government’s control and is doing everything in its power to prevent their return so as to be able to reject a future Presidential election- where Bashar al-Assad’s victory is guaranteed.

President Assad will work with Iran, Russia and China to secure his needs. Iran has defied US-European sanctions by sending oil tankers to Syria through the Straits of Gibraltar twice. Iran is building drug and medicine factories in Syria, and is also working on other projects that it shares with Russia and China. Syria is heading toward the east, not the west, since that it is the only remaining option left to it. This is the long-awaited dream of the “Axis of Resistance”. Lebanon, Syria and Iraq are looking to Asia to reverse the US-European sanctions against them and their allies in the Middle East. By imposing further unaffordable sanctions on Syria, the US is helping the Levant come out of the US sphere of influence and presence.

Iran, Russia, China and Syria are uniting as allies with an integrated project against US hegemony. There is no place for the domination of one state over another in this gathering of nations because solidarity is required to help Syria, for example, stand as a healthy and reliable country to confront the US. Their strength grows as the weakness of the US becomes more apparent, at a time when President Donald Trump is struggling domestically and his world influence is weakening. Washington is unilaterally imposing sanctions on nations and populations, forcing some allies to follow but also forcing them to consider seriously future possibilities for detaching from this burdensome “umbilical cord.”  

The US “Caesar’s Law” aims to submit and suppress the Syrian nation and people, as Washington has attempted with Iran and Venezuela, so far failing miserably. This policy can no longer be effective because the Russian – Chinese – Iranian alliance has now become important to many countries in the Middle East. The influence of this alliance now extends to the Caribbean Sea. “Caesar’s Law” will turn against its architects: “he who prepared the poison shall end up eating it.”

Proofread by:  Maurice Brasher and  C.G.B.

This article is translated free to many languages by volunteers so readers can enjoy the content. It shall not be masked by Paywall. I’d like to thank my followers and readers for their confidence and support. If you liked it, please don’t feel embarrassed to contribute and help fund it, for as little as 1 Euro. Your contribution, however small, will help ensure its continuity. Thank you.

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com   2020 

Syria: Will the Great Middle Eastern War Begin in the Levant?

By Elijah J. Magnier

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Hezbollah Syria Israel Iran e205f

The world is in turmoil. 2020 has already brought major multiple crises, with the Iranian-American clash in Iraq which followed the US assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani, and the COVID-19 health pandemic and economic disaster that struck all continents and stole the lives of over 400 thousand people around the world, costing tens of millions of jobs. None of this, however, prevented America from imposing even more sanctions on Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Iran – already under maximum sanctions since 1979 – sent five tankers to Venezuela to break the embargo on components and spare parts much needed to process the low octane Venezuelan oil. In parallel with America’s implosion due to domestic protests caused by deep-rooted racism and injustice, in the Middle East other fronts are taking shape in the shadows, to prevent war or to trigger a wider military confrontation.

A likely front is the Levant, where preparations are being made to confront Israel and end its continued violations of Syria’s sovereignty and bombardment of hundreds of targets in Syria throughout the years of the war. This particular issue may bring the Middle East into an all-out war; one mistake could turn fatal and drag the region into an all-out clash in which Syria will not be alone.

It is well known that Israel possesses enormous firepower and strong armed forces for land, sea, and air combat, and is better equipped than any other army in the Middle East. It is also known that Israel’s main enemy and nightmare, the Lebanese Hezbollah, possesses sophisticated weapons, armed drones, and land attack long-range all-weather subsonic cruise missiles. Hezbollah also has long-range strategic anti-ship missiles, anti-tank laser-guided missiles, anti-air low and medium altitude missiles, and precision missiles. These are pointed at precise targets over all the Palestinian geography controlled by Israel, including ports, airports, military barracks, infrastructure, ships, oil-rigs and flying helicopters or jets at medium altitude. Thousands of Hezbollah’s Special Operation Forces, al-Ridwan, never lost a battle since their first engagement in Syria.

Israel has never ceased acquiring the most modern military hardware but it has failed to develop its fighting spirit. It has no newly acquired military experience on the battlefield, because the last battle it fought dates back to 2006, which was considered the second war on Lebanon (after the first invasion of 1982) which resulted in failure on many levels. Meanwhile Israel’s enemy, Hezbollah, developed and strengthened its fighting spirit following its participation for many continuous years in a very wide geographical military theatre estimated to be almost 12 times bigger than Lebanon and 60 times wider than the area of combat in which it confronted Israel in the south of Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.

Hezbollah fought alongside classic (Syrian, Russian, and Iraqi) armies, gaining battlefield experience against armed groups trained and armed by the CIA and other jihadists affiliated with Al Qaeda and ISIS and possessing highly developed combat skills (combined with classical and guerrilla skills) and high spiritual motivation, far more motivated than the Israeli soldiers. These jihadists fought against the American army throughout its occupation of Iraq and Syria and completed their journey fighting against the Iraqi and Syrian armies and against various organizations, which gave them significant combat experience, an aspiration for martyrdom and advanced guerrilla fighting tactics.

However, their defeat by Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies dashed Israel’s hopes, as expressed by the defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, who said that he preferred “the presence of ISIS on Israel’s borders, not Iran and its allies.” Israel attacked Syrian planes, artillery and intelligence capabilities in support of the jihadists, especially in the Quneitra areas where the Khaled bin Walid army that pledged allegiance to ISIS was deployed, and in areas favorable to al-Nusra – al-Qaeda in Daraa and other southern regions.

However, Israel was not satisfied with these attacks. Israeli jets went on to strike Syria in depth in Damascus, Homs, Hama, Al-Qaim, the desert of the Badia, and any area where there are military warehouses and missiles that Iran supplied to Syria in order to support the Syrian army and rearm it with precision missiles.

Israel was able to hit and destroy a large number of these stores. This prompted Iran to change its armament storage policy for the Syrian army. Syria has built strategic warehouses in the mountains and underground in silos, waiting for the appropriate moment to impose a balance of deterrence – in response to hundreds of Israeli raids – a moment that has not yet come. The Syrian priority is still liberation of its still occupied territories, mainly in Afrin, Idlib and surroundings, without excluding the US-occupied oil and gas fields in the north-east of Syria. 

In Idlib and its countryside, the Turkish army has established large military bases. Groups of the Hayat Tahrir Sham (formerly al-Nusra) and Ansar al-Din (al-Qaeda and the remains of ISIS) still exist in and around the established Turkish military bases (i.e. Idlib and its countryside).

However, Iran no longer wants to accept Israeli strikes on its warehouses without any response. Iranian advisers (a few hundred) are not free to respond to these attacks because the decision is in the hands of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Assad and his allies are aware that any Iranian response from Syria would most likely drag the US into the battle to support its ally Israel and have an impact in the forthcoming US elections in favor of President Trump. Trump, who suffers from countless problems in managing his foreign and domestic affairs, is far from assured of regaining his seat in the White House for another four-year term.

Hence, Iran has decided – according to private sources – to evacuate the sites of the gatherings of its advisers, not for withdrawal or for redeployment but to find bases within the Syrian Army barracks. Hezbollah has taken over the vacated Iranian buildings. Russia has been informed of the change so that the information would reach Israel, which is coordinating with Moscow and its base in Syria (Hmeimim military airport base, north-western Syria) every time Tel Aviv sends its planes to Syria to hit certain targets. It was agreed between Israel and Russia that Moscow and Hmeimim would be informed of the details of any strike hours before it occurred to avoid accidents, especially after Russia accused Israel of deliberately taking cover behind its planes to mislead the Syrian air defenses, downing the Ilyushin-20 and killing 15 Russian officers in September 2018. Russia, in turn, informs the Syrian army and its allies of coming Israeli strikes. Moscow refuses to be involved in the Iran-Syria-Israel conflict. Russia has strategic interests with all belligerents and is not a party to the “axis of resistance”.

Russia has informed Israeli leaders of this move by Iranian advisers and their presence among the Syrian army units. Russia warned Israel not to strike the Syrian army under any circumstance and informed them that the Iranian bases have been handed over to Hezbollah. 

It seems obvious that Hezbollah wants to relieve Syria and Iran from the responsibility for a response. Israel is aware that any attack against Hezbollah’s men in Lebanon or Syria would lead to a direct response along the Lebanese borders and inside Palestine. This means that Israel must think carefully before bombing any Hezbollah objective because retaliation will certainly follow, preventing a US-Israeli response against Syria. Hezbollah is offering a new “Rule of Engagement” in Syria which cripples or limit Israel’s freedom to violate Syria’s sovereignty.

Before any airstrike aimed at specific targets in Syria, Israel’s drones make sure these locations are free of Iranian advisers and that the Russian warning reaches those concerned to evacuate human personnel and reduce casualties. Israel follows the same practice when it attacks Hezbollah cars or trucks, warning drivers and passengers in advance. Israel fires a missile, and on the last occasion two missiles, in front of the car or truck so passengers understand to leave it and take a distance to allow Israel a safe-bombing. In this case, Hezbollah’s deterrent response may or may not be required or painful because only material losses are involved.

Israeli minister Naftali Bennett has stated that “Israel would hit one truck and let five other trucks pass”. Israel is looking to avoid further embarrassment from Hezbollah deterrence as happened when Israel tried to send suicide drones into the suburbs of Beirut last year. Hence, it is likely that Israeli strikes on Syria will decrease in number, or Israel will rely on its intelligence information before hitting any Hezbollah target to make sure it is free of any human presence to avoid losses and consequent further humiliation like that imposed on the Israeli army in the past months on the Lebanese-Palestinian border.

Israel is walking through a strategic minefield. The danger for Israel lies in any potential error that might kill Hezbollah members in Syria. Such an outcome would lead to an escalation that may take the Middle Eastern region into a larger and more comprehensive war. The timing will not be to the advantage of Israel and its ally Donald Trump. His presidency is already mired in foreign crises with Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, and also domestically due to Corona pandemic mismanagement plus the consequences of recent riots and racial unrest after the killing of a black American by the police- and in addition the losses of American jobs in numbers exceeding fifty million.

Hezbollah’s new rules of engagement, its advanced armaments and outstanding military experience amount to a significant deterrent. Nevertheless, wars can start by mistake. Will Israel make such a fatal mistake?

SYRIA: RUSSIA CHALLENGES THE US THROUGH THE LEVANT GATE.

By Elijah J. Magnier@ejmalrai

In 2011, a significant Western-Arab coalition joined together and invested huge finance, media support and military resources in attempting to topple the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. For this purpose, the alliance had established military operating rooms where US, British, Turkish and Arab intelligence services were established in northern Syria, Jordan and Turkey to prepare for the post-Assad stage. But this President had already refused any concessions to US Secretary of State Colin Powell when he visited him in 2003 after the occupation of Iraq. Two years after the beginning of the war, the Syrian President asked his allies in Iran and Lebanon (and then later on Russia) for help for each of them to preserve their interests, strategic goals and obligations with their Syrian partner. The Russian military intervention came in September 2015. It was due to several factors: while the Iranian and allied forces dominated the ground, the troops of Moscow were needed to dominate Syrian airspace, and this turned the tables on the Arab – international coalition. Has the situation changed today for President Assad, now that most parts of Syria have been liberated? What does Russia want: control of the Levant and the removal of Assad?

President Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar did not offer concessions on the Golan Heights, and refused to reconcile with Israel: they would not give up Syrian territory in return for a peace deal. Many years later, President Bashar al-Assad refused to hand over the head of Hamas and “Hezbollah” as he was requested to do by the US in 2003, 2008 and even 2018. During the Syrian war, the United Arab Emirates mediated for a US delegation to visit Damascus in a proposal to end the war and rebuild what was destroyed in Syria in exchange for expelling Hezbollah, Iran and Russia from the Levant.

At the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011, Russia was not ready to emerge from its self-imposed hibernation and kept on ice its international and Middle Eastern role. The then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev allowed NATO to destroy Libya in 2011. However, in 2015 when President Vladimir Putin was in power, the screws were tightened on Syria’s allies in the vast Syrian countryside with the deployment of tens of thousands of jihadists and militants financed and trained by dozens of western and Arab countries. The Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani travelled to Moscow and was able to persuade President Putin to send his planes to the Levant to defend Russia’s interests (naval base in Tartous that the jihadists threateneded to remove) and its Syrian ally.

Since that date, Western and Arab media have not stopped mocking Russia’s military capabilities. Western think tanks hoped that Russia would fail, and predicted its descent into the Syrian quagmire. When Russia proved its efficient air superiority (Iran was committed to securing ground forces to follow through the Russian airstrikes), reckless analysts claimed, in a mirror image of the US intentions, strategy and wishful thinking that Russia wanted to remove President Assad and impose whoever it wanted because Moscow has become the dominant force in the Levant. 

And when this theory is exhausted, another naive approach begins, that there is an American-Russian understanding in Syria to displace or marginalise President Assad. Naturally, those – who have spent nine years believing, promoting and foretelling the fall of President al-Assad and the government of Damascus every month or every year – are in a permanent state of wishful thinking. They ignore what the former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem said when he bravely admitted defeat: “the [quarry] has escaped the trap, and the time has come to acknowledge the reality of our defeat”, he said.

Leading sources within the “Axis of the Resistance” in Syria said “there is no Russian-US understanding, but a clear challenge to Washington’s influence in the Middle East. Russia is harassing US planes, approaching these at a critical distance. Russia aims to be granted Assad’s approval of expanding Hmeimim airport, its Tartous naval base and to create more static bases in northern Syria. Russia has decided that the Middle East is part of its strategic interests for confronting the US forces that are based in the Middle East and Europe. It is only possible for Russia to survive in the Levant if it establishes a strategic relationship with President Assad, Iran and its allies. Iran’s allies take every opportunity to challenge the authority of the US in the Middle Eastern region, which falls perfectly well within Russia’s objectives. “

Since Russia decided to engage within the Syrian arena, its leadership was nevertheless concerned about falling into the Middle East quagmire. Thus, it has depended on Iran and its allies to restore power to President Assad over all the Syrian occupied territories. Therefore, Russia has no intention to earn the hostilities of the Sunni jihadists as well as confronting Shia and Alawites in an unpredictable war of attrition. If this happened, Russia would be facing another 1981-Afghanistan war, an “objective” contrary  to Putin’s plan to establish himself in the Middle East. It is essential to add that Russia does not control the land or need an army to spread, protect, or even start a new costly war, after seeing the confirmed capabilities of Syria and its allies in the battlefield throughout the years of the Syrian conflict.

“Russia has promised to modernise the Syrian air fleet and the defensive-offensive missile capability of the Syrian army. Furthermore, Moscow will invest in rebuilding part of the Syrian infrastructure projects, mainly in the field of energy. In exchange, Russia will expand its combat capability to confront the US and NATO. The Syrian President is dealing with the Russian President as a strategic ally even if Russia has allies – such as Israel – that are the enemies of Syria. Russia has decided to cooperate with several Middle Eastern countries, and this means that it wants strong allies in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. That could only be possible through its relationship with President Assad and with Iran, a strong and influential position in their respective countries,” explained the source.

President Putin has assigned the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence to negotiate with the Syrian state on expanding the military presence and deployment in other bases because Russia certainly does not wish to move away from the Middle East. American unilateralism has ended its era, and Russia’s new robust position in Syria and Libya has created a gap in ​​the NATO area of influence. Russia is no longer passive but, with its positioning, has moved to the confrontation phase. Hence, the expansion of the Russian strategic positioning has little to do with the continuity of President Bashar al-Assad in power. And Assad has decided to hold the forthcoming presidential elections notwithstanding the international attempt, which includes the United Nations, to prevent the return and vote of the Syrian refugees from nearby countries. 

Russia believes the US is weak now. Therefore, it should take advantage of President Donald Trump’s domestic struggle and the challenge he is facing in the coming months when the elections will be knocking on US doors. Russia would like to take advantage of this opportunity to progress on the Middle Eastern front, and thus establish a robust position in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. 

President Trump is struggling domestically due to the mismanagement of the “Coronavirus” pandemic and the large number of Americans finding themselves jobless. Furthermore, for more than a week, he is facing a real challenge to his ruling based on his provocative response to state-sponsored racial discrimination. He is in crisis with China and Russia. He has to swallow Iran’s challenges: not only has it bombed the largest US base in Iraq, but also violated the US sanctions on Venezuela by sending five oil tankers and spare parts to repair the refineries. The US president is showing severe weakness on several fronts and has managed to draw together both the Russian bear and the Chinese dragon to confront him. A new and solid strategic alliance – not a blind alliance – between Russia, China, Iran, Syria, and its allies in the Middle East is picking up and is challenging the US hegemony.

President Putin has appointed a special envoy as a go-between him and President Bashar al-Assad so that there is no hindrance between messages, agreements, and quick decisions that must be taken or to remove any obstacles as quickly as possible. It is the era of partnership between allies, not the age of domination and bullying or dominance, in contrast with the style of America’s usual dealings with the Middle East. The Middle East is living a new era: a balance has been created which was missing for decades.

Proofread by:   C.G.B. and Maurice Brasher

This article is translated free to many languages by volunteers so readers can enjoy the content. It shall not be masked by Paywall. I’d like to thank my followers and readers for their confidence and support. If you liked it, please don’t feel embarrassed to contribute and help fund it, for as little as 1 Euro. Your contribution, however small, will help ensure its continuity. Thank you.

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com   2020 

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