لماذا يُهدّد نتنياهو بقَصف القصر الرئاسي السوري والقوّات الإيرانيّة في سورية هذه الأيام؟ هل يَجرؤ .. وماذا كان رد بوتين “الصّادم” عليه؟

عبد الباري عطوان 

إذا أردنا أن نفهم حالة “الرّعب” التي تَسود النّخبة الحاكمة في دولة الاحتلال الإسرائيلي هذه الأيام، ووصلت إلى درجة التهديد علانيّةً بقَصف قصر الرئيس السوري في دِمشق، والتجمّعات العسكريّة الإيرانيّة في سورية، ما عَلينا إلا مُتابعة التصريحات التي أدلى بها روبرت فورد، آخر سُفراء أمريكا في سورية، وأحد أبرز مُؤيّدي “الثورة السورية” وداعميها.

مرّةً أُخرى نقول.. فليُجرّب نتنياهو حَظّه.. والأيام بيننا.

السفير فورد وفي مُقابلة مع صحيفة “ذا ناشيونال”، أكّد أن الرئيس الأسد انتصر، وأن الحرب التي انطلقت لإسقاطه وحُكمه قبل سبع سنوات بدأت تَقترب من نهاياتها بشكلٍ مُتسارعٍ، وقال المستر فورد الذي يَعمل حاليًّا زميلاً في مَعهد الشرق الأوسط في واشنطن “أن الرئيس الأسد لن يَخضع لأي مُسائلة لتحمّل المَسؤوليّة عَمّا حَدث في سورية، وأن حُكومته في المُستقبل لن تَقبل بالإدارات المَحليّة، وأن “الدولة الأمنيّة” باقيةٌ ولن تتغيّر”.

توقّعات السفير فورد هذه ربّما تُفسّر لنا، ولغيرنا، حالة الرّعب الشّديد التي دَفعت بنيامين نتنياهو، رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي للسفر إلى سوتشي للقاء الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين قبل أسبوع، طالبًا منه إنقاذ “إسرائيل”، والوقوف إلى جانبها إزاء التغييرات الاستراتيجيّة التي تجتاح سورية هذه الأيام، وتَصب في مصلحة صُعود إيران كقُوّةٍ إقليميّةٍ عُظمى.

***

ما يُريده نتنياهو من الرئيس بوتين، وكرّره علانيّةً للأمين العام للأمم المتحدة أنطونيو غوتيريش، الذي زار تل أبيب قبل يومين، مَنع النّفوذ الإيراني من التّغلغل في سورية، وإقامة مصانع صواريخ دقيقةٍ في شمالها، وأيضًا في جنوب لبنان، مَعقل “حزب الله”، وإلا فإن الطائرات الإسرائيليّة ستَقصف “قصر الأسد”، ومواقع الخُبراء العَسكريين الإيرانيين فيها.
الرئيس بوتين، وحسب تقارير الصّحف العِبرية، التي أكّدتها صحيفة “برافدا” المُقرّبة من الكرملين، كان هادئًا في مُواجهة حالة الانهيار والهِستيريا التي كانت باديةً على ضَيفه الإسرائيلي، وردّ عليه بأسلوبٍ أكثر برودة، بالقول

“أن إيران دولةٌ حليفةٌ استراتيجيّة مع روسيا في الشرق الأوسط، ولن نتنازل عن هذا الحليف من أجل عُيون “إسرائيل”،

وأن موسكو تعتمد على هذا التحالف مع إيران في مُواجهة حلف الناتو العربي الإسلامي، الذي تتزعّمه السعودية، ويَضم الممالك العربية، وتُديره أمريكا من واشنطن”، ورشّ الرئيس بوتين أكياسًا من المِلح على جُرح القَلق الإسرائيلي عندما شدّد على “أن موسكو ستستمر في تعزيز الدّور الإيراني في سورية، وتثبيت سُلطة الرئيس الأسد، وتَسليح حزب الله”.

لا نَعرف بأي حق يُطالب نتنياهو موسكو والأمم المتحدة بمَنع إيران من إقامة مَعامل للصّواريخ في سورية ولبنان، وإجبارها على سَحب قوّاتها من الأولى، فهل يُريد نتنياهو أن تكون سورية ساحةً مَفتوحةً أمام الطائرات الإسرائيليّة لتَقصف ما شاء لها القصف من الأهداف دون أن يكون لديها أي قُدرةٍ للدّفاع عن النفس؟
هل اعترضت سورية وإيران على القُبب الحديديّة الإسرائيلية ومَنظوماتها الصاروخيّة التي تُموّلها جُيوب دافع الضرائب الأمريكي، وهل احتجّت موسكو على إرسال عشرات الطائرات الأمريكية من طِراز “إف 35″ الأحدث في الترسانة العسكرية التي لا تَرصدها الرادارات؟

إنّها قمّة الوقاحة والاستكبار، وكان الرئيس بوتين مُحقًّا في عدم الاستجابةَ لها، فهو لا يَعمل مُوظّفًا لدى نتنياهو، ولا يتلقّى الأوامر منه، فروسيا العُظمى وخُبراؤها ذوو الخِبرة الميدانيّة العالية جدًّا في ميادين الدّفاع والسياسات الاستراتيجيّة، ليسوا بحاجةٍ إلى نتنياهو وأمثاله لكي يُلقي عليهم دروسه، ويقول لهم ما يجب أو ما لا يَجب فِعله، أو كيفيّة إدارة سياستهم الخارجية ومَصالحهم في منطقة الشرق الأوسط.

روسيا لا تَقف إلى جانب “إسرائيل” أو غيرها، مِثلما يُطالبها نتنياهو، وإنّما إلى جانب مصالحها، وهي لا يُمكن أن تنسى أو تتغافل، أن الأخيرة، أي “إسرائيل”، الحليف الأوثق لواشنطن في المنطقة والعالم.

إنّنا نَخشى أن تكون هذه اللّهجة التهديديّة الواضحة التي وردت على لسان نتنياهو، سواء أثناء لقائه مع بوتين، أو مع الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة، هي مُجرّد تمهيدٍ لخُطط إسرائيلية للعُدوان على سورية أو لبنان أو الإثنين معًا، تحت ذرائع التهديدات الإيرانية لأمنها، و”أن هذا العُدوان هو من قبيل الدّفاع عن النّفس″ في مُواجهة الخَطر الإيراني.
وما يَجعلنا لا نَستبعد هذا الاحتمال، أن حبل مَشنقة الفساد يَقترب من عُنق نتنياهو، وربّما يَدفعه إلى إشعال فتيل الحرب لإبعاد الأنظار عن التحقيقات التي تُوشك على إدانته وتوجيه الاتهام إليه، وعَزله من منصبه، واقتياده إلى السجن، ألم يَلجأ إيهود أولمرت، رئيس الوزراء السابق، إلى الخُطّة نفسها عندما اعتدى على لبنان في تموز (يوليو) عام 2006؟

إسرائيل في حالةِ ذُعرٍ وخَوف، ونتنياهو فاقد أعصابه، وعلى حافّة الانهيار، والحِزام الإيراني المُمتد من مزار شريف في أفغانستان حتى الضاحية الجنوبية لبيروت على ضِفاف المُتوسّط، يترسّخ ويَزداد قوّةً، والحرب في سورية تَقترب من نُقطة النّهاية بشكلٍ مُتسارع.

***

هل سيَجرؤ نتنياهو على الهُروب إلى الأمام، وقَصف سورية وقَصر رئيسها، والقوّات الإيرانيّة على أرضها؟ فليُجرّب، ولكن ربّما يُفيد تَذكيره بأن عامين ونصف العام من قَصف طائرات “عاصفة الحزم” من الطّراز الأمريكي نفسه، لم تَفرض الاستسلام على اليمن الفقير المُنهك، الذي يَملك أسلحةً انتهى عُمرها الافتراضي قبل نصف قرن، إن لم يكن أكثر، فهل ستَنجح طائراته في فَرضه، أي الاستسلام، على سورية الذي صَمد جَيشها لأكثر من سَبع سنوات، أو إيران، التي تَملك ترسانةٍ صاروخيّةٍ تَضم أكثر من 200 ألف صاروخ، إن لم يكن أكثر، إلى جانب مِئة ألف صاروخ لدى “حزب الله”.

ثم نَسأل نتنياهو أن يُسمّي لنا حربًا واحدةً انتصر فيها جيشه في لبنان؟ ألم يَنسحب هذا الجيش مَهزومًا من جنوب لبنان، ومن طرفٍ واحد عام 2000؟ ثم في عام 2006؟

ليست الأسلحة الحديثة وَحدها التي تَحسم الحُروب، إنّما الإرادة القويّة، والاستعداد للقِتال حتى الشهادة، والقيادة القادرة على إدارة الحرب بشكلٍ فاعلٍ، وهذهِ العناصر الثلاثة تتوفّر لدى السوريين والإيرانيين وحزب الله وحُلفائهم.
مرّةً أُخرى نقول.. فليُجرّب نتنياهو حَظّه.. والأيام بيننا.

رأي اليوم

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The Saudi-israeli Alliance

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By Abdel Bari Atwan | YemenExtra | July 9, 2017

By Abdel Bari Atwan

The evolving relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia is set to become a key feature of regional politics in the forthcoming phase. This goes beyond the creeping normalization of relations between the two sides and the holding of discreet contacts, to the formation of an undeclared but far-reaching alliance.

Retired Saudi general Anwar al-Eshki shed some light on this in an interview last week on the German TV channel Deutsche Welle, in which he provided insights into a number of unexplained issues: most importantly, why Saudi Arabia has been so adamant about getting the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir transferred from Egypt’s sovereignty to its own as quickly a possible. 

 Eshki made clear that once Saudi Arabia assumes sovereignty over the two islands, it will abide by the Camp David Accords, and that the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace deal — which cut Egypt off from the Arab world and the Palestinian cause and led to the opening of an Israeli embassy in Cairo – would cease to be a purely bilateral agreement.

The general, who has been Saudi Arabia’s main frontman in its normalization process with Israel, explained that the new maritime border demarcation agreement with Egypt places both islands within the kingdom’s territorial waters. Egypt and Saudi Arabia will therefore share control over the Strait of Tiran through which Israeli ships pass as they sail in and out of the Gulf of Aqaba, and the kingdom will accordingly establish a relationship with Israel.

True, Eshki also said that normalization of Saudi relations with Israel was contingent on the latter accepting the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. But he also spoke of an Israeli peace initiative that would ‘bypass’ that plan. According to him, this proposes the establishment of a confederation that would connect the occupied Palestinian territories – he did not specify how or to whom – while postponing discussion of the fate of Jerusalem.

Eshki also used the interview to confirm what Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has often reiterated: that Saudi Arabia does not consider Israel to be an enemy. He maintained that this view is shared by ordinary Saudis, and is reflected in their tweets and comments on social media which they point out that Israel never once attacked the kingdom so is not its enemy, and that these citizens support normalizing relations with Israel.

Eshki is not a policymaker but a mouthpiece. He was carefully selected for the job of saying what he is told and promoting it. To understand what his words are aimed at achieving – and the main features of the new normalization scheme that is rapidly unfolding – we need only paraphrase the statements made by the current Israeli defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman: Normalization between the Arab states and Israel should be achieved first, and then followed by a Palestinian-Israeli peace. Israel cannot accept a situation in which normalization with the Arab states is left hostage to a resolution of the Palestinian issue. After all, Israel has signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan without ending the Palestinian conflict.

The point that the handover of Tiran and Sanafir would commit Saudi Arabia to the Camp David accords, and to all obligations arising from them, was also stressed by the head of the Egyptian parliament’s Defence and National Security Committee, Gen. Kamal Amer.

The conclusion that can be drawn is that the main purpose of the rush to restore the two islands to Saudi sovereignty is to accelerate the pace of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia and ‘legitimize’ their evolving alliance. After all, Saudi Arabia possesses countless thousands of neglected islands dotted along its Red Sea and Gulf coastlines. It has no need for two additional small, barren and uninhabited outcrops. Even if it did, it managed well enough without them for 50 years during which they were either under Israeli occupation or Egyptian protection. Had it wanted, it could have waited and postponed this thorny issue for ten, twenty, or a hundred more years, so as to avoid embarrassing the Egyptian government and angering the Egyptian people.

The Saudi government’s stage-setting for normalization with the Israeli occupation state is already well underway and gaining pace. Following Eshki’s ‘academic’ visits to Israel and former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal’s security encounters, we have now begun to see Saudi ‘analysts’ appearing on Israeli TV. The next step may be for Saudi ministers and princes to do the same.

The Saudi citizens who Eshki claimed were tweeting their support for friendship with Israel on the grounds that it has never attacked their country, and who support normalizing relations with it, are soldiers in the Saudi electronic army. They number in the thousands, and work under the auspices of Saudi intelligence and police. The overwhelming majority of Saudis are opposed to any form of normalization with the occupation state, for religious, Arab nationalist, patriotic, and moral reasons. We have absolutely no doubt about that. But we can understand the pressure they are under when a single tweet expressing sympathy for Qatar or criticism of ‘Vision 2030′ can cost the tweeter 15 years in prison or a $250,000 fine.

According to Haaretz and other Israeli media outlets, Crown Prince Muhammad bin-Salman, who is leading the Saudi march towards normalization and alliance with Israel, occupation state visited occupied Jerusalem in 2015. He has also holds regular meetings with Israeli officials, most recently when during the Arab summit held in Amman in March.

Not long ago Riyadh hosted the American journalist Thomas Friedman. (Perhaps this was a reward for his comment after the 9/11 attacks that the US should have invaded Saudi Arabia – the real source of terrorism — rather than Iraq in retaliation.) Friedman met with a number of officials before being granted a lengthy audience with Muhammad bin-Salman. He reported afterwards that not once during the five-hour encounter did the prince utter the word ‘Palestine’ or mention the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Indeed, I challenge anyone to come up with a single instance in which the up-and-coming Saudi strongman refers to ‘Palestine’ in any of his televised interviews.

Meanwhile, priority has been give to silencing and countering Arab voices that confront this evolving Saudi-Israeli alliance and expose its aims, implications and likely consequences – whether in the social or conventional media. Riyadh’s demand for the closure of the Al-Jazeera channel affirms that the war it is currently waging is not against ‘terror’ but against critical and free media.

We, too, have been and remain on the receiving-end of that war, subject to a furious on-going assault by the Saudi electronic army and a vicious and deliberate campaign of defamation. All one can say in response is to quote the saying: the coward dies one hundred times; the brave and free just once.

 

Going for Regime-Change in Doha

Trump talks tough and calls in the generals after Qatari emir, fearing a trap, snubs his mediation offer

The strongly-worded warning issued to Qatar on Friday by US President Donald Trump – accusing it of being a “funder of terrorism… at a very high level” and demanding that it “stop immediately supporting terrorism” — suggests that the US has not only signed up fully to the Saudi-UAE-Egyptian-Bahraini alliance against Qatar, but assumed its leadership.  It also confirms that the steps taken by the four countries to blockade Qatar and suffocate it economically had prior American approval.

This amounts to a conditional American declaration of war. When Trump announces at a White House press conference, ‘I’ve decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals, and military people, the time has come to call on Qatar to end its funding,’ the meaning cannot be clearer in this regard.

Trump struck this hard-line stance just hours after Tillerson made statements about the crisis in the Gulf that were conciliatory and calming in tone. He urged Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to ease their blockade of Qatar, arguing that it was damaging to US military operations against the Islamic State (IS) group in addition to causing humanitarian harm.

In our view, this sudden toughening of the American position was a response to the way the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin-Hamad Al Khalifa, turned down Trump’s invitation to him and the other principals in the crisis to travel to Washington to explore for solutions. He justified his refusal to attend on the grounds that he could not leave his country while it remained under blockade. This angered the US president, who has been behaving like an emperor and thinks his orders cannot be disobeyed.

Emir Tamim does not trust the US administration, and fears the invitation could merely have been a trap to keep him in the US and prevent him from returning home, while Saudi and UAE forces invade in support of an internal coup that deposes him as ruler and installs a new emir from the other wing of the ruling Al Thani. The 10,000 US troops based at al-‘Udaid in Qatar also could conceivably play a supporting role in such a scheme.

It was striking that during the three summits that were convened for him in Riyadh earlier this month (with Saudi, Gulf and Arab/Islamic leaders respectively), Trump adopted wholesale the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia and the UAE which deems Iran to be the spearhead of terrorism in the region. He supported their severing of ties with and closure of their borders and airspace to Qatar on the grounds that is an ally of Iran and supporter of terrorism, in the view of this new alliance.

When Trump instructs his generals, as he did at the White House press conference, to take practical measures to oblige Qatar to stop funding terrorism, that leaves Doha with very few options. It can either accept the ten conditions to which Saudi Arabia and its allies demanded its immediate compliance, or it must face up to the consequences of refusing to do so.

The summary expulsion, in a harsh manner, of Qatari citizens from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain and the three Gulf countries’ closure of their borders and severing of relations is a declaration of war that spells of the end of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as we have known it. Trump’s adoption of these steps, meanwhile, aborts the so-called ‘Arab/Islamic NATO’ as it was proposed at the Riyadh summits. Instead, this alliance will be reduced to one based solely on the members of the Gulf/Arab anti-Qatar coalition. When Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain enact laws that punish expressions of support for Qatar on social media with 15 years imprisonment or fines of up to one million dollars, this means that all the talk of brotherhood and common bonds between the Gulf states has evaporated forever – along with any remaining lip-service to respecting human rights.

Qatar has announced that it will not submit to tutelage or surrender in the face of attempts to suffocate and blockade it, and will therefore not change its foreign policy. It has begun to seek support and protection from its friends in Ankara and Tehran. This could prompt its adversaries to take even harsher and more aggressive measures against it, such as Egypt preventing Qatari gas exports from transiting the Suez Canal.

Qatar has cards of its own to play, such as shutting down the pipeline that supplies Qatari gas to the UAE, or expelling 200,000 resident Egyptian migrant workers. But it has insisted that it will not resort to such measures, and that Egyptian workers will not be harmed and Qatari gas will continue being pumped.

It was evident from the outset of this crisis that it would becoming increasingly serious, and now it can be expected to escalate further – especially after the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad fell into a state of depression due to the failure of his mediation effort, to which not all sides were responsive.

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Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (Source: da.gov.kw)

When Trump brings his generals – some of them based at al-Aideed — into the crisis and orders them to act to stop Qatar form supporting terrorism, we should expect the worst. The ‘worst’ in this case could mean a military solution and enforced regime-change. And that would mean setting the region, in part or in whole, ablaze.

This article was first published by Raialyoum

 

Chaos And Division

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 The escalating disagreement between Qatar on the one side, and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt on the other side, confirms the rampant chaos and divisions that dominate the  Arab region

tamim.jpg888

By Abdel Bari Atwan

We must admit that this disagreement came as no surprise. What did surprise us, however, are its intensity, the manner in which it was expressed, and the measures and steps that have and may still result from it. After all, four of the aforementioned states are supposedly members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and the Arab coalition that is fighting the Houthis and the General People’s Congress [Saleh] party in Yemen. In addition, the four states, or two of them at least, have pumped in billions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons to fan the flames of the bloody conflict raging in Syria, Libya, and Yemen – and are still doing so.

The GCC has previously witnessed many disagreements, and in fact, political and border wars between its members – especially, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. But what is happening today between the abovementioned states may open a wound that would be difficult to close, and create a rift that will be difficult to bridge, at least in the foreseeable future.

The explosive developments began when the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya and the Emirati-owned Arab Sky News broadcast statements attributed to the Emir of Qatar, Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during a graduation ceremony of a number of recruits.

The Emir allegedly protested against the escalation of the disagreement with Iran, adding that it was unwise to be hostile to it. He also allegedly denounced including Hizbollah and Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations, since both are resistance movements. And he accused Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain of inciting against Qatar and accusing it of sponsoring terrorism and its organizations. He also took a stab at Saudi Arabia by saying that ‘the states that claim to be fighting terrorism are those that are religiously most hardline and are providing pretexts for the terrorists.’ In fact, he went even further by criticizing the hundreds-of- billions of dollars spent on the purchase of weapons rather than on developmental projects, and when he speculated that Trump’s days in office were now numbered.

Al-Arabiya and Arab Sky News picked up these alleged statements and hosted many Egyptian and Saudi analysts who attacked Qatar mercilessly, accusing it of what they portray as terrorism and hosting terrorist organizations, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, al-Arabiya broadcasted an audiotape in which the father of Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, is allegedly heard in a phone conversation with late Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi attacking Saudi Arabia and predicting the collapse of the Al Saud regime. It also reported old statements by former Yemeni president Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh revealing that Qatar’s former Emir had asked him for help in waging sabotage campaigns deep inside Saudi Arabia.

Qatar’s giant media empire, of which Al-Jazeera television is the spearhead, was taken by surprise. It did not respond by issuing clarifications or retaliate in kind. Instead, it continued with its usual programs. This lent some credibility to the anti-Qatar campaign for some time. Then came the first clarification from a Qatari official after a number of hours, in the form of a very short statement claiming that the Qatari News Agency’s website had been hacked by unknown parties, and that the statements attributed to Prince Tamim were false.

But adding to the ‘lack of clarity’ was a ‘Breaking News’ item on al-Arabiya to the effect that Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin ‘Abderrahman has instructed the ambassadors of Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia to leave Doha within 24 hours. The Qatari foreign minister firmly denied this, and said that his statements had been taken out of context.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain took an immediate decision to impose a blackout on Al-Jazeera’s websites and all Qatari newspapers on the Internet. In fact, it is not unlikely for them to resort to jamming Al-Jazeera on the grounds that Qatar’s denial of the statements attributed to Prince Tamim and its insistence that the Qatari News Agency’s website had been hacked were not ‘convincing.’ They did not alleviate the crisis’ intensity or end the campaign on Qatar.

It is worth noting that this crisis in relations between Qatar on the one hand, and the UAE and Saudi Arabia on the other, follows two important developments:

– The first is U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh and his participation in three Saudi – Gulf, Arab, and Islamic – summits. These summits focused on the war on terrorism and on Iran’s role as the latter’s spearhead, accusing it of playing a major role in undermining the region’s stability. Moreover, the U.S. president held a somewhat tense meeting with the Qatari Emir on the summits’ margins.

– The second development was the appearance of a number of articles in U.S. and Western newspapers attacking Qatar. The latest was in Foreign Policy by John Hannah, a former official in the U.S. defense and state departments and one of former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney’s advisors. He accused Qatar of backing terrorism, inciting the killing of Americans in Iraq, using Al-Jazeera effectively to transform the Arab Spring into an extremist Islamic Winter, and of financing Islamist groups with money and weapons to fight in Syria. He also accuses Qatar of covering up the presence in Doha of Khaled Sheikh Mohammad, the architect of the 9/11 attacks, and facilitating his escape to Afghanistan before the CIA arrested him.

Furthermore, Hannah accuses Qatar of ‘double-dealing’: Of hosting the ‘Udeid Air Base from which U.S. warplanes that struck Iraq where launched, while also siding with Saddam Hussein’s regime and backing him in the media. Hannah also confirms that Cheney had discussed the possibility of moving ‘Udeid Air Base from Qatar, and says that Trump supports this option, while the UAE and Saudi Arabia are candidates for hosting it. He also demanded that Qatar should be punished for sponsoring terrorism.

Prince Tamim was given a ‘cold’ reception at the Riyadh summit. He only spoke with Mr. Fahd bin Mahmoud, the Deputy PM of the Sultanate of Oman and the head of its delegation. He also had a short word with Saudi Crown-Prince Mohammad bin Nayef. Sources inside the summit tell us that [Abu-Dhabi Crown-Prince] Mohammad bin Zayid did not speak to him or shake his hand at all; he bypassed Prince Tamim instead and stood next to President Trump in one of the official pictures.

The fact that the Qatari media empire in its various branches has confined itself to ‘clarifying’ the hacking of the Qatari News Agency’s website, denying the statements attributed to Prince Tamim, and ‘retracting’ the decision to expel the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain, suggests that Qatar has uncharacteristically decided to resort to calming down the situation in an attempt to contain the crisis.

However, we believe that the other side may continue to escalate until Qatar ends its support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its media tools, adopt a more hostile attitude towards Iran, and identifies totally and literally with the policies of the Saudi/Egyptian/Emirati triangle.

Gulf sources have leaked reports of a supposed ‘scenario’ that enjoys a U.S. green light for changing the top leadership in Qatar. They add that what is happening today is a prelude to this. However, there is nothing to confirm this scenario, even though it may not be totally unlikely. After all, a coup attempt did occur in 1996, aimed at toppling the former Emir of Qatar and restoring his father to power. It is ironic that the three states – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt – were participants in that failed coup attempt, supporting it with money, weapons, and soldiers.

Will history repeat itself? We have no answer. But the crisis is serious and the estrangement is worsening. And nothing can be excluded these days, in light of the Emirati/Saudi alliance that has not refrained from fighting the war in Yemen and has continued to do so for over two years, and is now beating the drums of another war against Iran, threatening to carry the battle deep inside it.

Here, another question seems legitimate: Who will rush to stand by Qatar’s side and defend it? Will it be Iran, which Qatar and the factions allied with it in Syria and to a lesser extent in Iraq have been fighting? Or will it be Turkey, which is now in a state of hostility with all of its neighbors, as well as with the U.S. and most of Europe’? Or will it be the U.S. ‘Udeid Air Base, which together with its soldiers and warplanes, wants to leave Qatar?

At present, we can do no more than raise questions, and admit that Qatar is in a critical and unprecedented position, facing fierce enemies and having a very small number of allies, at a time when reason and wisdom have been set aside.

But please feel free to correct us if we are wrong.

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Preparing for War on Hizbullah

 

The US and its Arab allies are drawing up plans to suffocate the movement financially as a prelude to eventual militarily action

By Abdel Bari Atwan

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May 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –   The US-led war on the Islamic Sate group under the banner of fighting terrorism may be viewed by many, especially by Arab members of the coalition that is waging it, as legitimate. But in our view it increasingly looks like a cover or smokescreen aimed at paving the way, or bestowing legitimacy on, a different war: one aimed at eliminating resistance to Israel in the region, and specifically the Lebanese Hizbullah movement.

The US war for Kuwait in 1991 was fought for the same purpose. A trap was set, after careful planning and precise distribution of roles, for Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Its aim was to drag him into Kuwait to provide a pretext for destroying Iraq, aborting its scientific progress and military ascendancy and undermining its regional role. It is no exaggeration to say that the proxy war on Syria war has a similar objective– not only to destroy and fragment Syria as an adversary of Israel, but to lure a reluctant Hizbullah into the conflict and thus diminish its enormous popularity and the place it gained in hearts of tens or hundreds of millions of Arabs after its two great victories against Israel: First, when it succeeded in liberating southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation in 2000 after years of persistent resistance, and again in July 2006 when it also fought valiantly and stood fast in epic resistance to an Israeli onslaught that sought to annihilate it.

Most of the regional moves currently being made by the US — including Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Riyadh and the Eager Lion military exercises in Jordan – have one ultimate objective: to declare all-out war on Hizbullah. This includes drying up its financial resources and criminalizing the organization, in the same way Saddam Hussein was criminalized and the Palestinian resistance movement prior to that: first during the days of the PLO and its factions, and then with the rise of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups that continue to fight Israel.

The West has a variety of problems with Iran, and the country’s nuclear ambitions are one of the most prominent. But it is possible to live with, and even contain, these ambitions by various means. However, Iran’s unforgivable sin in the West’s eyes was to support Hizbullah in Lebanon and transform it into a formidable military force that poses a real deterrent and threat to Israel at a time when the Arab states were surrendering to it. Many have stopped referring to it as the enemy and instead begun building bridges of cooperation and normalization with it and treating it as a strategic regional ally.

Hizbullah crossed all American and Israeli red lines by developing a vast missile capability (100,000 missiles according to some estimates) along with fighting skills that most of the region’s armies — including the Israeli army — lack, combining attributes of conventional armies with expertise in guerrilla warfare. Moreover, four years of fighting in Syria has further strengthened, developed, and modernized these skills.

There have been reports in recent days of an unpublicized closed-door meeting in Washington involving a number of Gulf and Arab states aimed at agreeing a strategy for confronting Hizbullah in the coming period. Participants included Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE. This was intended to prepare for the two multilateral summits (with Arab/Muslim leaders and Gulf rulers respectively) that Trump will attend in Riyadh.

Reports from this meeting indicate that the joint Western-Arab plan for confronting Hizbullah include imposing financial sanctions on the organization’s members, supporters and sympathizers around the world, especially Lebanese expatriates in Africa and Europe who provide financial support for the party or institutions affiliated or close to it. This will involve measures to monitor money transfers and dry up all the party’s external funding sources in order to create difficulties for its leadership in financing its political and military structures and its extensive social institutions and activities.

The war on the hardline jihadi groups such as the Nusra Front and IS is drawing towards a close. Nusra is besieged in Idlib, rural Damascus and a few enclaves in rural Aleppo. The recent Astana agreement delegated the task of liquidating it to the so-called moderate Syrian opposition factions backed by the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. As for IS, it has lost most of Mosul, and the war to liberate al-Raqqa by the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is now imminent, and will begin as soon as sufficient supplies of American tanks, armoured vehicles and missiles have been delivered to these forces.

In other words, the destruction of the ‘Islamist’ groups that are internationally designated as terrorist organizations will open the door wide to the more important war on Hizbullah, not only in Syria but in Lebanon too. It is to begin with an economic war and culminate in a military offensive — as, indeed, the wars on Iraq did.

Could this scenario which is being implemented in stages against Hizbullah (and by extension Iran) achieve the same success it did against Iraq – and prior to that against the Palestinian presence in Lebanon, which was ended with the 1982 Israeli invasion? It is hard to give a categorical answer to this hypothetical question. What can be said, however, is that circumstances have changed, and Israel has changed as well. Hizbullah is the pivot of a regional and confessional structure, and has the open and total support of Iran, and of Iraq to a lesser degree. Any war against it will not be easy. If the 1991 scenario succeeded in Iraq, that was due above all to Arab collusion and betrayal, as well as the demise of the Soviet Union which left the US as the world’s unchallenged hegemon.

The wars currently unfolding in the region and the conspiracies being hatched are all for the sake of enhancing Israel’s security and stability and maintaining its military power and supremacy. It is ironic that this is happening around the time of the centenary of the infamous Balfour Declaration and Sykes-Picot agreements. For the task now being undertaken is aimed at consolidating the Zionist presence in Palestine and the region envisaged in that Declaration, while dismembering the states that emerged from the womb of those agreements.

This article was first published by http://www.raialyoum.com

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

عبد الباري عطوان: اللعنة السورية تطال اردوغان.. تركيا تحت شبح التقسيم

تاريخ النشر : 2017-05-13

وكالة أوقات الشام الإخبارية

عبد الباري عطوان

الرئيس التركي رجب طيب اردوغان غاضب هذه الأيام على الجميع، الحلفاء والاعداء معا، غاضب على الولايات المتحدة، غاضب على أوروبا، غاضب على ايران والعراق، وغاضب على دولة الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، وناقم على اليونان، وبات من الصعب ان نجد دولة واحدة راض عنها، او غير غاضب عليها على الأقل.

هذا الغضب له تفسيرات عدة، ابرزها في نظرنا حالة الإحباط التي يعيشها الرئيس التركي من جراء خذلان حلفائه التاريخيين له، والامريكان على وجه التحديد بعد الخدمات التي قدمتها بلاده لهم، من خلال عضوية حلف الناتو على مدى اكثر من ستين عاما.

يوم الثلاثاء المقبل سيحط الرئيس التركي الرحال في واشنطن للقاء الرئيس الأمريكي دونالد ترامب الذي عوّل عليه كثيرا في دعم سياسته، أي اردوغان، في سورية، والشق المتعلق منها بإطاحة حكومة الرئيس بشار الأسد، وإقامة مناطق عازلة، وعدم تقديم أي دعم عسكري او سياسي للاكراد.

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فرص نجاح زيارة الرئيس اردوغان في تحقيق أهدافها تبدو محدودة، واحتمالات الفشل اكبر بكثير من احتمالات النجاح، فادارة الرئيس ترامب لن تسلّم الداعية فتح الله غولن، المتهم بالوقوف خلف الانقلاب العسكري، وأعلنت الخميس على لسان العقيد دون دارن، المتحدث باسم قوات التحالف الدولي لمحاربة “الجهاديين”، انها ستسرع تنفيذ قرارها بتسليح قوات حماية الشعب الكردية السورية بدبابات وصواريخ واسلحة حديثة تؤهلها لشن الحرب لاستعادة مدينة الرقة من “الدولة الإسلامية”، بغطاء جوي ومشاركة برية أمريكية.

والاهم من ذلك ان الرئيس اردوغان شن هجوما شرسا على إسرائيل، واتهمها بالعنصرية على غرار نظام جنوب افريقيا الأبيض، ووصف الحصار المصري لاسرائيلي لقطاع غزة بأنه لا محل له بالانسانية، واعرب عن رفضه لقرار إسرائيلي بمنع الآذان من مآذن مساجد القدس المحتلة، ويأتي هذا الهجوم بعد اشهر من الصمت وتطبيع العلاقات.

وزارة الخارجية الاسرائيلية ردت على الرئيس اردوغان قائلة “ان كل من ينتهك حقوق الانسان بشكل منهجي في بلاده لا ينبغي ان يعظ حول الاخلاقيات للديمقراطية الوحيدة في المنطقة”.

الهجوم بهذه الشراسة على إسرائيل، الدولة التي تحكم حاليا البيت الأبيض، لا يمكن ان يقع بردا وسلاما على قلوب الرئيس ترامب وصهره جاريد كوشنر، اقرب مستشاريه ووزير الخارجية الأمريكي الفعلي، اللهم الا اذا كان هذا الهجوم غير جدي، وغير نابع من القلب، مثلما وصفه يواف غالنت، وزير الإسكان الإسرائيلي في حديث لاحد الصحف الإسرائيلية، الذي قال “ان تركيا وإسرائيل بحاجة الى الحفاظ على العلاقات بينهما.. ان ادلاء اردوغان بتصريحات محرضة بين الفينة والأخرى يعكس مصالحه الخطابية السياسية.. دعوه يتكلم ونحن نعرف كيف نتكلم”.

ما اغضب اردوغان من حليفه الإسرائيلي امران، الأول عدم تهنئة بنيامين نتنياهو له بالفوز في الاستفتاء، والثاني، تمزيق الأخير لوثيقة “حماس″ الجديدة والقائها في سلة المهملات امام عدسات التلفزة، فالاخير، أي نتنياهو، يعلم جيدا ان اردوغان يقف خلف هذه الوثيقة، وما تضمنته من أفكار تمسح ميثاق الحركة وتقبل بدولة فلسطينية على حدود عام 1967 على امل تخفيف الحصار الاسرائيلي والغربي عليها، وفتح ميناء ومطر، في غزة بالتالي بدعم تركي قطري.

الحقيقة التي ربما يرفض الرئيس اردوغان الاعتراف بها علنا، هو شعوره بالخديعة، من قبل من يدّعون انهم حلفاؤه، أي الامريكان، الذين استخدموه، وورطوه في الملف السوري، طوال السنوات الست الماضية، ونسفوا بذلك كل إنجازاته الشخصية والحزبية، ودمروا بالتالي طموحاته السياسية، ثم تخلوا عنه لصالح الد اعدائه، أي الاكراد.

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دعم الرئيس ترامب للاكراد السوريين الذين تضعهم تركيا على قائمة الإرهاب، وتعتبرهم خطرا وجوديا عليها، وتسليحهم بدبابات ومدرعات وصواريخ حديثة متطورة، واعتمادهم كحليف مؤتمن لـ”تحرير” مدينة الرقة، يعني وضع النواة الاصلب لجيش الدولة الكردية، التي يمكن ان تمتد على طول الحدود التركية السورية، وتهدد الوحدة الترابية والديمغرافية لتركيا.

الامريكان استخدموا الاتراك، والرئيس اردوغان تحديدا لطعن العرب في الظهر، وتفتيت دولهم المضادة لهم (أي للامريكان وإسرائيل)، وبعد ان حققوا معظم مهمتهم في العراق وسورية وليبيا، هاهم الآن يخططون الاستخدام الاكراد، وربما غيرهم، لتفتيت تركيا.

الفرصة سانحة امام الرئيس اردوغان لمراجعة سياساته، وتقليص الخسائر، وإنقاذ تركيا والمنطقة من مخططات التدمير والتفتيت، فهل يفعل ذلك؟

لدنيا الكثير من الشكوك.. ونأمل ان لا تكون في محلها، وان يثبت الرئيس اردوغان عدم صحتها.

رأي اليوم

لماذا هذا الحشد لزعماء 17 دولة إسلامية وعربية لفرش السجاد الأحمر للرئيس ترامب على ارض الحرمين الشريفين؟

وما هي الانجازات التي قدمها للعرب والمسلمين غير الكراهية والعنصرية حتى يستحق هذا التكريم من دون زعماء أمريكا والعالم الآخرين؟ وما هي عناصر “الطبخة” التي يجري اعدادها على نار ساخنة؟

عبد الباري عطوان

وجه العاهل السعودي الملك سلمان بن عبد العزيز دعوات الى زعماء 17 دولة عربية وإسلامية لحضور لقاء قمة مع الرئيس الأمريكي دونالد ترامب اثناء زيارته للرياض في العشرين من هذا الشهر، ولم ترشح اي انباء عن جدول اعمال هذه القمة والقضايا التي يمكن ان تناقشها مثلما جرت العادة في مثل هذه اللقاءات، أوروبية كانت او عربية او افريقية او آسيوية، فهل هذا الاجتماع يهدف الى تتويج ترامب زعيما لتحالف يضم هذه الدول “السنية”، ام لتبرئة ساحته، وتنظيف سمعته، كرئيس امريكي عنصري يكن كراهية للاسلام والمسلمين لم يخفها اثناء حملته الانتخابية، وعبر عنها بكل صفاقة في الأيام الأولى لرئاسته عندما اصدر تشريعا بمنع مواطني ست دول عربية من دخول الولايات المتحدة الامريكية؟

كما انه، أي ترامب، لم يظهر أي ود تجاه دول الخليج والسعودية نفسها، عندما مارس ابشع أنواع الابتزاز المالي لها، وقال انها يجب ان تدفع ثمن حماية أمريكا لها التي لولاها لاختفت من الوجود.

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طريقة تقديم الدعوة التي حملها وزير الخارجية السعودي الى بعض العواصم العربية والإسلامية المختارة، مثل المغرب والأردن ومصر والباكستان، توحي بأنها اقرب الى “مذكرة جلب” او “استدعاء” للحضور، مثل تلك التي تصدرها مخافر الشرطة في الدول العربية، او دول العالم الثالث.

فلماذا هذه “الزفة” للرئيس ترامب المكروه من شعبه، ولماذا هذا الاحتفال به، وإعادة تسويقه، وهو الذي يناصبنا العداء كعرب ومسلمين من منطلقات عنصرية صرفة، وهل الامر يتعلق برغبته او تنفيذ خططه، لاشعال فتيل الحرب الطائفية في المنطقة ولخدمة العدو الإسرائيلي؟

ونطرح سؤالا ثالثا او رابعا او خامسا، وهو لماذا تخص المملكة العربية السعودية هذه الحفاوة بالرئيس ترامب، ولا تفعل الشيء نفسه مع الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين او الصيني شي جين بينغ مثلا؟ اليس هذان الزعيمان يمثلان دولتين عظميين أيضا، ولماذا تصوير العرب والمسلمين كما لو انهم اتباع لامريكا؟

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هناك سؤال آخر فرعي وهو عن عدم ممارسة هذه السابقة مع رؤساء أمريكيين آخرين مثل باراك أوباما، او بيل كلينتون، او حتى جورج بوش الابن؟ فماذا قدم ترامب، وهو الذي لم يتولى الحكم الا قبل مئة يوم، للامتين العربية والإسلامية حتى يستحق هذا التكريم، ومن الدولة التي توجد على ارضها المقدسات الإسلامية، وتستضيف مليوني حاج وعشرة ملايين مسلم معتمر سنويا؟ وهل حرر ترامب المسجد الأقصى مثلا؟

نضع أيدينا على قلوبنا من جراء هذه الزيارة، وهذه الحفاوة، ونكتفي الآن بطرح الأسئلة وعلامات الاستفهام، ولكن ستكون لنا عودة، بعد ان يهدأ الغبار، وتتضح ملامح الطبخة الحقيقية التي ربما يجري اعدادها في كواليس هذه القمم.

“رأي اليوم”

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