NO SHEEP IS SAFE IN SYRIA: ISRAEL AND ISIS AGAINST THE HERDERS

South Front

On February 26th, The Biden Administration carried out its first strike on Iranian-backed groups and then praised the success, so far unseen, of its attack.

A response from those same Iranian-backed groups came 5 days later.

On March 3rd, at least 10 rockets struck the Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq’s Anbar province. The base is the largest one in use by US-led coalition forces. The Iraqi military said that no significant losses were caused by the attack.

According to the official version, one individual died – unknown if a soldier or civilian contractor – and not due to the rocket strike directly. Rather, probably spooked by the strike, they died of cardiac arrest. The US-led coalition was able to simply argue that the person’s time had come, and the strike was just an insignificant environmental factor.

This is the same location that Iran struck with ballistic missiles back on January 8th, 2020. There’s also a similarity in the way that there is allegedly insignificant damage as a result of the attack.

If more casualties were to be reported, these could become a string of cardiac arrest deaths in the coming days and weeks, similar to the “epidemic” of traumatic brain injury caused by the previous attack.

With the US and Israel actively operating against Iran in Iraq and also in Syria, this provides ample opportunity for ISIS to carry out its various activities.

In Syria, ISIS’ resurgence is fact. A further fact is that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its Russian support are quite capable of dealing with them at this point.

Having been pushed to the brink, and due to a scarcity of resources, ISIS terrorists have become sheep thieves. On March 2nd, the terrorists attacked a group of shepherds near the town of Rahjan in the eastern countryside of Hama. They wanted to start big, attempting to steal a herd of 400 sheep. Impressive, yes.

Alternatively, this could be a plan by ISIS to broaden the focus of their attacks to include sheep as well as civilians and the various fighters opposing them.

This suggestion is further supported by the fact that Israel continues abducting and arresting Syrian shepherds in and around the occupied Golan Heights.

Tel Aviv’s actions could be intended to force the SAA to spread their forces thinly, because every herd in Syria would eventually need a squad of soldiers to protect it from ISIS attacks on its sheep.

This could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for Bashar al-Assad’s government and its army. Not only do civilians need protection from terrorists, from the “moderate opposition” and from Israel, the country’s oil is being stolen, and now not even the sheep are safe.

These are, indeed, grim times for the Syrian government, and it needs all the help it can get to deal with this calamity.

Israel asked Russia’s Help in Returning an Israeli ‘Girl’ Arrested in Syria

 ARABI SOURI 

Russia President Putin and Israel War Criminal Netanyahu

Israel is pressuring its Russian ally to secure a release of an ‘Israeli girl arrested after Syria by mistake’ offering to release two kidnapped Syrians in exchange, multiple sources confirmed.

SANA, the Syrian official news agency, reported on the news and confirmed there’s a Russian mediation ongoing effort to release the ‘girl’ in exchange with Nihal Al Maqt and Dhiyab Qahmouz, two Syrians kidnapped by the illegal Israeli occupation forces in the Syrian Golan.

Nihal Al Maqt, the sister of the legendary ‘Syrian Mandella’ activist Sidqi Al Maqt who spent 32 years in Israeli detention centers and was released 8 months after Russian military police operating in Syria snatched part of the remains of an Israeli IDF terrorist killed in Lebanon and was buried in the Yarmouk Camp for Palestinian refugees in Damascus.

Syrian Hero Nihal Al Maqt from the Golan kidnapped by Israel
Syrian Hero Nihal Al Maqt from the Golan kidnapped by Israel
Syrian Hero Dhiyab Qahmouz from the Golan kidnapped by Israel
Syrian Hero Dhiyab Qahmouz from the Golan kidnapped by Israel

Nihal was sentenced last June 2020 by a so-called ‘Israeli court’ to 3 years in an Israeli detention center, she’s been prosecuted since 2017 for campaigning to release her brother Sidqi Al Maqt from the Israelis.

Dhiyab Qahmouz was kidnapped from the Syrian village of Al Ghajar in the occupied Syrian Golan in September 2016 along with his two brothers and his cousin, he’s been held captive by Israel since.

Israelis kidnap Syrians, Lebanese, and Palestinians from their homes to later use them in its bargaining deals to secure the release and return of its people killed and arrested in Syria and Lebanon, it does so to boost the ever-diminishing morale among its settlers that they have some value. There are thousands of women, children, and men held captive in Israeli detention centers and Israel refuses all international ‘shy’ requests to release them, of course, no such requests come from its sponsors in the fake humanitarian NATO countries.

Ever since the European radical settlers were exported to Palestine early last century and the region suffers from one war crime after the other by those settlers and their western sponsors.

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War on Syria: Israel and the Kurdish Card

South Front

 01.02.2021 

The conflict in Syria does not seem to be nearing its end despite the diplomatic efforts to find a solution for it. Every participant in the standoff is undertaking actions to pursue their interests, and many of them evidently are in conflict with one another.

Israel and its never-ending fight against the ‘Iranian threat’, as usual, appears to be in the middle of it.

On January 31st, along the separation line of the Golan Heights, a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) post was attacked by unknown gunmen. They came from the Israeli-occupied side, and a loud explosion followed. No casualties were reported, and it is possible that Israel was behind it, since the IDF has done raids such as these in the past, including twice in 2020. According to pro-militant sources, the IDF operation was carried out to deter purported Iranian forces in the area.

Israeli media reported that several months ago that in Damascus itself, an unnamed “Western Intelligence Agency” carried out a raid the headquarters of Iran’s Quds Force Unit 840. While the report remains questionable, at minimum, it can be considered as a direct threat to Tehran and Damascus.

In Northeast Syria, a severe conflict appears to be in the making, as US President Joe Biden seems to want an extremely negative outward scenario in order to reverse the limited involvement approach of Donald Trump.  Soon, MSM may get a new ‘war for democracy’ to cover, so, the population can focus less on what is transpiring inside the US.

The US-supported Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) appear to be the prime candidates to lead the situation towards critical mass. Hillary Clinton, and her daughter Chelsea are already moving with propaganda preparations: a Kurdish soap opera, focused on the lives and struggle of Kurdish women who fought not only against ISIS, but also fought for their liberty and their rights.

The Kurdish “freedom fighters” also fight against Turkey and reject a political settlement with Damascus.

Still, the SDF is now emboldened, it has support from the US, and little else in the region, except the poison hand of “friendship” from Israel. If all hell breaks loose, however, it is dubious whether or not Tel Aviv would come running to help.

This, however, does not stop the Kurdish leadership from employing harsh approaches to suppress local discontent with its anti-Syrian approaches. Just recently in Al-Hasakah, a pro-government protest was democratically put down by live fire and killings by the SDF’s “freedom fighters”.

It is an open secret the SDF-controlled area is in fact run by the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) “shadow government” and the SDF itself is full of PKK members, including the SDF commander in chief himself. This creates conditions for a continuous fight against the Turkish forces, and provides additional motivation for the SDF rejection of a political settlement with the Damascus government.

The Kurdish leaders are happy to receive weapons and funds from the US in exchange for loyalty to the project of the dismantling of the Syrian state.

Emboldened by the supposed support from the US, and the recent large deployments that have been carried out, the SDF and co. have recently become more active in their attempts to hinder the interests of Damascus, Russia and Iran.

The SDF’s mismanagement of the situation is further evidenced by the permanent tensions with Arab locals in the controlled areas and the deep humanitarian problems in SDF-run camps for displaced persons, including those affiliated with ISIS members. There are about 27,000 children in the SDF-run Al-Hol camp, where families of ISIS members and supporters are held. ISIS activity has seen an incredible increase in 2021, and the terrorist group would be more than content with “adopting” these young recruits.

With the new administration in Washington, the wind is blowing towards an incredibly violent scenario. The resumption of the ‘active’ policies to ‘deter’ Russia, Iran and the ‘Assad regime’ by playing the Kurdish card creates conditions for a further destabilization of Syria’s northeast. In some scenarios, the situation could swiftly descend into complete chaos.

To avoid this scenario, Kurdish leadership needs to remember that they are short on allies in the region and adapt a more constructive approach towards a political settlement with Damascus. Otherwise it is “highly likely” that dark clouds are soon to come on the horizon and the SDF card will once again become a small coin in the Big Middle Eastern Game.

Syria categorically denies the false news spread by some media about Syrian-Israeli meetings

Tuesday, 19 January 2021 12:31 

Damascus, (ST) –  Syria categorically denied the false news that some dishonest media outlets spread about convening the Syrian-Israeli meetings, affirming that the forces that stand behind these lies are the same ones that that are eager to seek normalization with this entity.

An official source at Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in a statement on Monday that, “the Syrian Arab Republic categorically denies the false news spread by some mass media about holding any Syrian-Israeli meetings in anywhere,”

The source added that, “Syria affirms that its’ policy and decisions, are still clear and they serve the national interest and just causes of the Arab nation, foremost of which is the Palestinian cause. The liberation of the entire occupied Syrian Arab Golan and the occupied Arab lands in accordance with the relevant international decisions are also into its initial consideration”.

The source concluded that, Syria stresses that the forces behind these lies are the same ones that are seeking normalization with the Israeli entity and are trying to to draw the whole region into Western Zionist alliances. When these forces fail, they resort to such naive methods by spreading false news.

Raghda Sawas

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إدارة بايدن… فلسطينياً

سعاده مصطفى أرشيد

استطاع بن يامين نتنياهو اعتصار الأيام الأخيرة من رئاسة ترامب، ساعة بساعة ودقيقة بدقيقة، في سباق لاهث مع موعد العشرين من هذا الشهر، وها هو قد حقق على أرض الواقع مجموعة من النقاط والمكاسب الشخصية والانتخابية له، ولجمهوره المتطرّف، ثم لمجموع «الإسرائيليين»، وهي مكاسب من النوع الذي يفرض واقعاً ويكون من الصعب تجاوزه أو العودة عنه لأيّ رئيس وزراء قادم في (إسرائيل) حتى ولو كان ببعض المقاييس معتدلاً، وكذلك على الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة إنْ رغبت – وهي لن ترغب، إذ إنها مرتاحة جداً بما حققت سياسات ترامب – نتنياهو، فما تلك السياسات إلا تعبير عن رغباتها وأمانيها المضمرة ومنسجمة مع قناعاتها، وهي وإنْ كانت تحسب لتنفيذها أكثر من حساب، فإنّ ترامب قد رفع الحرج عنها، سواء في موضوع ضمّ الجولان أو نقل السفارة الأميركية للقدس، أو في صفقته الشهيرة التي منح بها نتنياهو الأغوار والمستوطنات وشمال البحر الميت وبرية الخليل، ويسارع نتنياهو الزمن لتنفيذها خلال الأيام المتبقية، بصمت أو بصوت مرتفع، وكان آخرها إعلان حكومته عن قرارها ببناء مئات الوحدات السكنية الاستيطانية الاثنين الماضي.

أما وقد زال الحرج، ورفع العتب عن الإدارة المقبلة، فإنّ بإمكان بايدن أن يبدو بمظهر المعتدل الحكيم الذي سيحاول معالجة وترميم ما أحدث ترامب من فوضى ودمار، بإعادة إطلاق مسيرة التسوية من جديد، ثم بفتح حوار مباشر مع السلطة في رام الله، وغير مباشر مع غزة. إلى رام الله ستأتي وفود أميركية لعقد لقاءات والتعرّف على عقد ومفاصل الصراع باعتبارهم طارئين عليها، كما يحدث مع كلّ إدارة أميركية جديدة، وستذهب وفود فلسطينية إلى واشنطن، ويزدهر موسم السفر والطيران غرباً برغم عراقيل الوباء. نصيب السلطة من المساعدات المالية سيتسم بالسخاء وتعود وكالة التنمية الأميركية إلى سابق نشاطها في دعم مشاريع ذات شكل يراه الناس، ولكن على أن لا تكون مفيدة، سيُعاد فتح مكتب منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية في واشنطن، كلّ ذلك سيتمّ تسويقه باعتباره انتصاراً للدبلوماسية الفلسطينية، التي سبق لها أن ادّعت محاصرتها للدبلوماسيتين الأميركية و»الإسرائيلية» قبل أيام من الكشف عن مسلسل التطبيع، وقد أعلنت القاهرة الثلاثاء الماضي عن بدء التحضير لاجتماعات رباعية ميونخ لدعم مسار السلام، وذلك بعد عام كامل من الدعوة للاجتماع في مطلع العام الماضي. أما في غزة فسيتولى القطريون إدارة الحوار وينوبون عن الأميركان في تقديم الدعم المالي بحقائب الدولارات الذي ستزيد وزناً وانتفاخاً كلما سارت أمور غزة كما يشتهي ويريد القطري باعتباره الممثل الأول وربما الحصري لسياسات الإدارة الديمقراطية، وبقدر ما تستجيب حركة حماس لخيارات القطري في تركيب وتراتبية قيادتها في المرحلة المقبلة، في الانتخابات الداخلية المقبلة.

ما تقدّم لن يغيّر من حقيقة أنّ الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة لا تقلّ صهيونية ودعماً (لإسرائيل)، وعدوانيّة علينا عن سابقتها الجمهورية في الجوهر، (فإسرائيل) هي ذراعها القوية والضاربة عسكرياً، وقاعدتها المتقدّمة، والنموذج المشابه لها والابن المباشر في السلوك لأبيه، في ادّعاء الديمقراطية والليبرالية وتطبيق نظم الرفاه والرعاية الصحية والاجتماعية، كما يماثله في صفات العدوان والتوحّش وادّعاء التفوّق، ستقوم الإدارة الديمقراطية بدعم وتغطية كامل النشاطات العدوانية والاستيطانية سواء في القدس أو في ما تبقى من الضفة الغربية، فقد أزالت الإدارة السابقة الحَرَج عنها كما ورد آنفاً، وهي تتعامل مع حقائق فاعلة وثابتة على أرض الواقع، هذا فيما يعدّد الفلسطيني انتصاراته وإنجازات دبلوماسيّته، ويحتفي بالضيوف الكرام الوافدين من واشنطن، وإعداد القوائم الطويلة لأعضاء الوفد – الوفود التي ستردّ الزيارة.

العودة إلى مسار التسوية لن يكون فورياً، وقد يستنفذ العام 2021 بأكمله فمن ناحية تجد الإدارة الأميركية أنّ لديها من الملفات الملحّة ما يتفوّق بأولوية على هذا الملف الذي قد لا يكون فيه ما يستدعي الاستعجال، فالعرب يهرولون بتسارع نحو التطبيع، والاهتمام بفلسطين يتآكل بتسارع عربياً وإسلامياً ودولياً، ولا دماء تسيل، ولا اشتباكات تثير فضائيات الأخبار وتشغلها، وسياسات بناء الفلسطيني الجديد وإعادة ترتيب أولوياتة واهتماماته قد آتت أُكُلها، فأمام الرئيس قائمة من العناوين الداخلية المستعجلة وعلى رأسها ملفات وباء الكورونا والانكماش الاقتصادي، وتفكك المجتمع عرقياً وثقافياً، ثم الحالة الشعبوية التي أوجدها ترامب وتجلت في غزوة دهماء على مبنى الكونغرس في الأسبوع الماضي، وملفات خارجية ملحة كالعلاقة مع روسيا والتوتر في بحر الصين ومعها، والملف النووي الإيراني وغير ذلك كثير، ثم أنّ (إسرائيل) ستكون على موعد مع انتخاباتها الرابعة في آذار المقبل، ولا أحد يستطيع الجزم بنتائجها، ولكن مؤشرات عديدة تشير إلى أنّ نتنياهو قد لا يغيب عن مسرح السياسة، والاستطلاعات تعطيه إمكانية الحصول على مقاعد أكثر مما حصل عليه في المرات السابقة، وهو وإنْ غاب عن مسرح السياسة، فإنّ مَن سيرثه في زعامة اليمين، لن يختلف كثيراً عنه إلا في حالة أن يكون أكثر تطرفاً، وأقلّ دبلوماسية ومهارة وخطابة، نتائج الانتخابات بكلّ حال لن تكون حاسمة باتجاه فريق قادر على تشكيل حكومة بسهولة، الأمر الذي سيجعل من مشاورات تشكيلها طويلة، وقد تستمرّ إلى أواخر الصيف فيما يبقى نتنياهو خلال كلّ تلك الفترة رئيساً لحكومة تصريف أعمال، التي قد تنتهي بتشكيل حكومة أو الذهاب إلى انتخابات خامسة، ومن الطبيعي أن ينتظره الأميركي غير المتعجّل الذي سيفضل إطلاق عملية التسوية مع حكومة «إسرائيلية» مستقرة.

هكذا سيمرّ العام 2021، عام انتظار جديد، ولا ندري إنْ كان الأخير، بإمكان الفلسطيني قضاءه في حوارات الوحدة والحديث عن ضرورتها، وعن الانقسام ومخاطره، ثم انتظار فراغ بايدن من معالجة الملفات المزدحمة والملحة على مكتبه، وانتظار مآلات تشكيل حكومة في (إسرائيل) إنْ تشكلت، وقد يجري انتخابات المجلس التشريعي الثالث، بعد عقد ونصف العقد من موعد استحقاقها، بالطبع إنْ وافقت (إسرائيل) على ذلك، مع أو بدون القدس ومناطق (ج) والأغوار، هكذا يحترف الفلسطيني الحزن والانتظار…

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة.

Trump’s disgraceful end

January 9, 2021 – 12:10

By M.A. Saki

It was too late for Americans, especially most of his fellow Republicans, to realize how dangerous Donald Trump was. 

I cannot forget remarks by Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, an expert in global thought and comparative philosophies, who said that “Trump is the most dangerous man in the world.”

On Wednesday, Trump provoked assault on the Capitol in a last-ditch effort to overturn the results of the November 3 election in which he lost with a rather large margin.  

According to CNN, in his first presidential debate on October 1, Trump refused to condemn White supremacists and blamed what he called “antifa and the left” for violence and told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

At last, his Proud Boys, a mob of fanatics, caused mayhem by storming and capturing the Capitol, violently disrupting the ceremonial electoral count. The move by the fanatics came as a severe blow to the heart of democracy that the U.S. has been boasting of.

Trump has been repeatedly claiming that the U.S. presidential election looked like an election in a third world country. But, in fact, it was Trump himself who behaved like a dictator in a third world country as he refused to admit losing the election. 

It is very difficult for the liar-in-chief to admit defeat and resist his egoism. He proved that he is ready to push the United States toward a crisis in order to please his egoism.

Just prior to the elections, he kept claiming that he will win the presidency for a second term otherwise the votes are rigged.

Trump’s entire presidency was filled with numerous lies. He has no principles. In addition, the self-centered president shows no respect to democracy, freedom of expression, human rights, etc. By inciting his supporters, who attacked the Capitol building, he crucified democracy and the rule of law in the U.S. and showed complete disregard for those who had not voted for him.

If the American Constitution had not restrained Trump, he would have acted more irresponsibly and recklessly at home and abroad.

His unprecedented sanctions against Iran under the name of the “maximum pressure” campaign are in violation of international law. The sanctions have pushed millions of Iranian citizens to the verge of poverty and instead made a small percentage of Iranians millionaires because of skyrocketing inflation. This will remain in the memory of Iranians forever. His reckless order of assassinating Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq in January 2020 reminded the people of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria which ignited the First World War. 

Also, his move in recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the stolen Golan Heights and moving the U.S. capital to Jerusalem in violation of UN Security Council resolutions are some other examples of the illegal moves that the Trump administration should be ashamed of.

Trump picked Mike Pompeo as his secretary of state, who according to Professor Adib-Moghaddam, “continued to pursue an essentially ideological foreign policy, driven by a distinctively irrational approach to world politics in general and Iran in particular.” 

Actually, from the very beginning, Trump was unfit for the post of president. However, a great majority of Republicans in Congress, especially in the Senate, kept supporting him just for partisan interests. 

Regardless of certain extremist senators such as Ted Cruz and a considerable number of lawmakers in the House of Representatives who still repeat Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, finally it was realized that the person that the Republicans supported for four years based on party lines dealt the greatest blow to the Republicans themselves. And fortunately, he is being forced, of course legally, to leave the White House in disgrace.  

PA/PA

A New Year’s Wish

See the source image
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

PHILIP GIRALDI • JANUARY 5, 2021 
Source: The Unz Review

Let’s remove Israel from American politics

There has been one good thing about the COVID-19 virus – for the first time many among the general public are beginning to ask why a rich country like Israel should be getting billions of dollars from the United States taxpayer at a time when many Americans are struggling. Inevitably, of course, the press coverage of the questions being asked about the cash flow failed to discuss the real magnitude of the “aid,” trade concessions, co-production projects and dicey charitable contributions that our federal and many state governments shower on the Jewish state, which easily exceed $10 billion per year.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Pollard-and-Netanyahu-600x337.jpg

There has been one good thing about the COVID-19 virus – for the first time many among the general public are beginning to ask why a rich country like Israel should be getting billions of dollars from the United States taxpayer at a time when many Americans are struggling. Inevitably, of course, the press coverage of the questions being asked about the cash flow failed to discuss the real magnitude of the “aid,” trade concessions, co-production projects and dicey charitable contributions that our federal and many state governments shower on the Jewish state, which easily exceed $10 billion per year.

During his 2016 campaign Donald Trump swore that he would be the best friend that Israel has ever had in the White House, a pledge that some of us viewed skeptically as Trump was also committed to bringing the troops home from “useless wars” in Asia, most of whom were in the Middle East supporting Israeli interests. More recently Trump admitted that America was in the Middle East to “protect Israel” and he has indeed proven to be the great benefactor he promised to be in responding fully to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wish list. Trump has increased tension dramatically with Iran, moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, has recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights, and has basically given Israel the green light to do whatever it wants on the Palestinian West Bank, including getting rid of the Palestinians. And as all that has played out the Israelis have attacked and killed thousands of civilians in Gaza, Syria and the West Bank with impunity, protected by the U.S. veto in the U.N. Security Council against any consequences for their actions while a subservient Congress gives Netanyahu twenty-eight standing ovations and bleats that “Israel has a right to defend itself.” Trump has made the United States completely complicit in Israeli war crimes and has committed a few of its own to include the widely condemned assassination of the senior Iranian official Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad one year ago.

Israel more-or-less openly admits that it controls the actions of the United States in its region, its leaders having boasted how the U.S. federal government is “easily moved” when it comes up against the Israeli Lobby. Nor is there any real secret to how the Lobby uses money to buy access and then exploits that access to obtain real power, which is then used to employ all the resources of the U.S. government in support of the Jewish state. The top donor to the Democratic Party, Israeli-American Haim Saban has stated that he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel. This single-minded focus to promote Israel’s interests at the expense of those of the United States makes the Israel Lobby the most formidable foreign policy lobby in Washington and it recalls the warning once issued by George Washington in his Farewell Address, where he stated that “permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges toward another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”

The complete contempt that the Israelis and Israeli supporters in the U.S. have for other Americans and their interests was on full display last week when convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard flew “home,” meeting Netanyahu as he disembarked from a private plane that had departed from Newark New Jersey before being given a hero’s welcome.

Pollard is the most damaging spy in American history, having stolen the keys to accessing U.S. communications and information gathering systems. He was an unlikely candidate to become a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, and one review board determined that he had been hired in the first place under pressure from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). A month after Pollard’s arrest in 1985, C.I.A director William Casey stated: “The Israelis used Pollard to obtain our war plans against the USSR – all of it: the co-ordinates, the firing locations, the sequences, and Israel sold that information to Moscow for more exit visas for Soviet Jews.” According to a C.I.A. after-the fact-damage assessment “Pollard’s operation has few parallels among known U.S. espionage cases…. his first and possibly largest delivery occurred on 23 January [1984] and consisted of five suitcases-full of classified material.”

Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger wrote a forty-six page review of the case that remains largely classified and redacted to this day, detailing what incredible damage Pollard had done. Part of the document states: “In this case, the defendant has admitted passing to his Israeli contacts an incredibly large quantity of classified information. At the outset I must state that the defendant’s disclosures far exceed the limits of any official exchange of intelligence information with Israel. That being the case, the damage to national security was complete the moment the classified information was given over. Ideally, I would detail…all the information passed by the defendant to his Israeli contacts: unfortunately, the volume of .data we know to have been passed is too great to permit that. · Moreover, the defendant admits to having passed to his Israeli handlers a quantity of documents great enough to occupy a space six feet by ten feet… The defendant has substantially harmed the United States, and in my view, his crimes demand severe punishment… My foregoing comments will, I hope, dispel any presumption that disclosures to an ally are insignificant; to the contrary, substantial and irrevocable damage has been done to this nation. Punishment, of course, must be appropriate to the crime, and in my opinion, no crime is more deserving of severe punishment than conducting espionage activities against one’s own country.”

The Pollard trip to his “home” occurred because Donald Trump had obligingly lifted the travel restrictions on him the week before, one more favor to Israel. At the airport, Pollard and his wife knelt to kiss the Israeli soil before Netanyahu handed him an Israeli citizen ID and welcomed him. The 737 luxury-fitted executive jet Pollard and his wife flew on belongs to Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, chief donor to the Republicans and to Donald Trump. Adelson is married to an Israeli and famously has said that he regrets having worn a U.S. Army uniform when he was drafted, much preferring instead that he might have done military service in the Israel Defense Force.

I should point out that permitting dual nationals with singular loyalty to a foreign nation to have such significant influence over the two leading political parties in the U.S. by virtue of money alone is a recipe for disaster, and so it has proven. What were Trump and Hillary Clinton thinking when they tied themselves to Adelson and Saban? Or were they thinking at all?

The Israeli boosters in the United States have flat out corrupted our political process to get where they are. They have bought or intimidated every politician that matters to include presidents, congressmen and even those in state and local governments. Anyone who criticizes Israel or Jewish collective behavior in support of the Israeli state is subject to character assassination and blacklisting a la Mel Gibson and Rick Sanchez. Those who persist are denounced as anti-Semites, a label that is used liberally by Zionist groups.

Anyone who is bold enough to either criticize the Israelis or defend the Palestinians is targeted, and if they happen to be in Congress like Cynthia McKinney, Pete McCloskey, Paul Findlay, James Traficant, William Fulbright and Chuck Percy they are first vilified in the media and then set up against a very well-funded candidate to drive them from office. The end result is that when Israel kills civilians and rampaging armed settlers destroy their livelihoods the United States government chooses to look the other way and shower the rogue state with money so it can continue to do its dirty work.

The corruption extends to the state level, where twenty-six governments have passed Israel lobby-promoted legislation that limits free speech rights if anyone seeks to criticize Israel. This sometimes includes forcing employees, under threat of dismissal, to sign a pro-Israel oath and promise not to support any boycott of the Jewish state. The massive interference in the internal governance of the United States by Israel and its U.S. born lackeys far exceeds that of any other country, including inappropriately vilified Russia or China.

It is well past time to get rid of the Israel parasite that feeds on the American government and people. The special relationship with Israel, sanctified in the halls of Congress and by a Jewish dominated media, does nothing good for the United States and for the American people. Israel’s constant interference in the U.S. political system and economy comes at a huge cost, both in dollars and in terms of actual American interests.

And then there are the hot buttons which, if the U.S. actually had a functional government that is responsive to the people, should have been pushed long ago. Israel is ranked by the FBI as the number one “friendly” country in terms of its spying against the United States. Pollard is an exception, but Israeli spies are routinely slapped on the wrist when caught and never face prosecution. The Mossad agents who were the “Dancing Shlomos,” celebrating while the twin towers went down on 9/11, were allowed to go home. And Israel has never truly paid any price for the horrific bombing and torpedoing of the U.S.S. Liberty fifty-three years ago, which killed 34 Americans and injured over one hundred more. The completely unprovoked attack took place in international waters and was later covered-up by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Congress. May they burn in hell. The surviving crew members are still waiting for justice.

So, let’s all resolve for 2021 to do whatever we can to pull the plug on Israel. Let Israel pay its own bills and take care of its own defense. American citizens who prefer the Jewish ethno-religious state to our constitutional republic should feel free to emigrate. Lacking Washington’s backing, Israel will also be free to commit atrocities and war crimes against all of its neighbors but without the U.S. United Nations veto it will have to begin facing the consequences for its actions. But most of all, as Americans, we will no longer have to continue to carry the burden of a country that manipulates and uses us and also has a certain contempt for us while doing so. And maybe just maybe freeing the United States from Israel could lead to an end to all the wars in the Middle East that Washington has been waging in spite of the fact that we Americans are threatened by no one in the region and have no real interest whatsoever in prolonging the agony of staying there.

Israel Bombs Damascus while World Riveted to Capitol Hill Mayhem

 MIRI WOOD 

Israel bombs southern damascus on Orthodox Christmas eve

At the late night of the 6th of January and while the Orthodox Syrian Christians were celebrating Christmas eve, Israel engaged in yet another war criminal bombing of Syria, in Damascus countryside, taking advantage of the world riveted on the storming of Capitol Hill by ‘peaceful protesters’ ‘democratically’ engaged in trying to prevent the official confirmation of the election of demented Joe Biden.

A military source stated that: “at exactly eleven and ten minutes this evening, the Israeli enemy carried out air aggression through bursts of missiles fired from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan on some targets in the southern region.

People in southern Damascus heard and saw Syrian air defense fired at the incoming missiles and some explosions in the skies and others from the southern direction.

This video is also available on YouTube and BitChute.

Netanyahu and his Trump buddy need an escalation that led to the mayhem in Washington DC, this is the 3rd Israeli attack on southern Syria in the past 2 weeks only, the first bombing was on the eve of the 25th of December and the second was on the 30th of January:

The country that exported its version of democracy to countries that didn’t need it by ways of military invasions, black op covert attacks, destabilizing efforts using 5th column elements, sanctions, stealing wealth of the targeted countries while appointing some of the most despised figures as presidents of those countries, yet it was very much comfortable with dictators and absolute monarchies in countries that do not have a constitution even like in the cases of Saudi Arabi and Qatar, who both jointly funded Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria to the tune of 137 Billion Dollars up until 2017 as per a statement of the Qatari former Prime Minister.

And instead of pushing for the rights of people in Palestine, the US regimes throughout history has empowered and encouraged Israel to attack its neighbors and steal more land to the extent that the current PM of Israel, Netanyahu, takes advantage of his close relationship with the US despot Trump repeating the elections in Israel for 4 times within 2 years because he’s not getting a majority to save him from prison on multiple charges of corruption in the last apartheid regime in the world, we’re here today with the evil powers of the world attacking other countries and trying to ignite more wars and strife so they can remain in power.

What we saw in the US Capital of mobs attacking the center of the fake US democracy and a real ‘peaceful protester’ sitting on the chair of the head of the congress is exactly what the US did to Venezuela and a host of other countries. That was a real peaceful protest compared with what the officials in the US and its stooges worldwide and their mainstream media called as ‘peaceful protesters’ Al Qaeda terrorists torching public buildings in Syria, slitting the throats of kidnapped police officers and public workers and throwing post office workers off the rooftop of their 4 story building. The citizens and residents of the United States of America are lucky there’s no US embassy in Washington, otherwise, it would be a very different scene, a long time ago.

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How Gulf states became business partners in Israel’s occupation

Jonathan Cook

14 December 2020 12:29 UTC | 

Since signing the Abraham Accords, the UAE and Bahrain have been actively colluding with Israel’s settler movement and military authorities

The professed rationale for the recent Abraham Accords, so-called “peace deals” signed with Israel by the UAE and Bahrain, was to stymie Israeli efforts to annex swaths of the West Bank. 

The aim was supposedly to neutralise another “peace” plan – one issued early this year by US President Donald Trump’s administration – that approved Israel’s annexation of large areas of the West Bank dominated by illegal Jewish settlements. 

In practice, both have quickly jettisoned any pretence that Palestinians will benefit from these deals

The two Gulf states trumpeted the fact that, in signing the accords in September, they had effectively scotched that move, thereby salvaging hopes of a future Palestinian state. Few observers entirely bought the official story – not least because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that annexation had only been put on temporary hold

The real purpose of the Abraham Accords appeared less about saving Palestinians than allowing Gulf states to go public with, and expand, their existing ties to Israel. Regional intelligence could now be shared more easily, especially on Iran, and the Gulf would gain access to Israeli hi-tech and US military technology and weapons systems. 

Separately, Sudan was induced to sign the accords after promises it would be removed from Washington’s list of “terror-supporting” states, opening the door to debt relief and aid. And last week, Morocco became the fourth Arab state to initiate formal relations with Israel after the Trump administration agreed to recognise its occupation of Western Sahara.

Twisting more arms

Israel, in return, has been able to begin “normalising” with an important bloc of Arab states – all without offering any meaningful concessions on the Palestinian issue.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also reported to have been considering doing their own deals with Israel. Jared Kushner, Trump’s Middle East adviser, visited the region this month in what was widely assumed to be a bid to twist arms. UAE-Israel deal: Abraham accord or Israeli colonialism?

Read More »

Riyadh’s hesitation, however, appears to have increased after Trump lost last month’s US presidential election to Joe Biden. 

Last week, during an online conference held in Bahrain and attended by Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, a former senior Saudi government official, Turki al-Faisal al-Saud, launched a blistering verbal attack on Israel, saying it jailed Palestinians in “concentration camps” and had built an “apartheid wall”. It was unclear whether he was speaking in more than a personal capacity.

While the covert purpose of the Abraham Accords was difficult to obscure, the stated aim – of aiding Palestinians by preventing Israel’s annexation of the West Bank – was still seen as a vital tool for the UAE and Bahrian to sell these agreements back home.

But in practice, both have quickly jettisoned any pretence that Palestinians will benefit from these deals. Not only that, but already they barely bother to conceal the fact that they are actively and tangibly colluding with Israel to harm Palestinians – by bolstering Israel’s illegal settlements and subsidising its military regime of occupation. 

Trade with settlements

Bahrain demonstrated this month how indifferent it is to the negative impacts on Palestinians. On a visit to Israel, the country’s trade minister, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani, said Bahrain was open to importing products from Israel wherever they were manufactured. “We have no issue with labelling or origin,” he said

The comment suggested that Manama was ready to become a gateway for Israel to export settlement products to the rest of the Arab world, helping to bolster the settlements’ legitimacy and economic viability. Bahrain’s trade policy with Israel would then be even laxer than that of the European Union, a top trade partner for Israel. The EU’s feeble guidelines recommend the labelling of settlement products. 

An illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank is pictured on 19 November 2019 (AFP)
An illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank is pictured on 19 November 2019 (AFP)

After wide reporting of Zayani’s comments, Bahrain’s state news agency issued a statement shortly afterwards saying he had been “misinterpreted”, and that there would be no import of settlement goods. But it is hard not to interpret the remarks as indicating that behind the scenes, Bahrain is only too willing to collude in Israel’s refusal to distinguish between products from Israel and those made in the settlements.

That this is the trading basis of the Abraham Accords is further highlighted by reports that the UAE is already welcoming business with Israel’s illegal settlements. An Israeli winery, using grapes grown on the Golan Heights, a large plateau of Syrian territory seized by Israel in 1967 and illegally annexed in 1981, has reportedly started exporting to the UAE, which has liberalised its alcohol laws for non-citizens.

This is a fruitful turn of events for Israel’s 500,000 settlers in the occupied West Bank. They have lost no time touting for business, with the first delegation arriving in Dubai last month hoping to tap new markets in the Arab world via the UAE. Last week a settler delegation reportedly returned to Dubai to sign an agreement with a UAE company to import settlement goods, including alcohol, honey, olive oil, and sesame paste.

New low-point 

This marks a new low-point in the shift by Arab states away from their original position that Israel was a colonial implant in the region, sponsored by the West, and that there could be no “normalisation” – or normal relations – with it. 

In 2002, Saudi Arabia launched the Arab Peace Initiative, which offered Israel full diplomatic relations in return for ending the occupation. But Gulf states are now not only normalising with Israel when the occupation is actually intensifying; they are normalising with the occupation itself – as well as its bastard progeny, the settlements. 

The peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain will help the settlements entrench further, assisting Israel’s longstanding policy of annexing the West Bank in all but name

Israel has built more than 250 settlements across a vast expanse of occupied Palestinian territory – 62 percent of the West Bank, referred to as Area C under the Oslo Accords. This area was supposed to be gradually transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the government-in-waiting under Mahmoud Abbas, to become the territorial backbone of a Palestinian state. 

Instead, over the past quarter of a century, Israel has used its supposedly temporary control over Area C to rapidly expand the settlements, stealing vital land and resources. These colonies have been highly integrated into Israel, with settler roads criss-crossing the occupied West Bank and tightly limiting Palestinian movement.

The peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain will help the settlements entrench further, assisting Israel’s longstanding policy of annexing the West Bank in all but name, through the creation of facts on the ground – the very outcome the Abraham Accords claimed they were meant to prevent. 

Yossi Dagan, head of the West Bank regional council that visited Dubai last month, declared that there was “no contradiction between our demand to impose sovereignty [annex large parts of the West Bank] and the strengthening of commercial and industrial ties” with the Gulf. 

Al-Aqsa dividend

In other words, settlers see the Abraham Accords as a business opportunity to expand their footprint in the occupied West Bank, not an obstacle. The likely gains for the settlers will include tourism, too, as visitors from the Gulf are expected to flock to al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. 

The irony is that, because of Israel’s physical seizure of areas around the Islamic holy site and its control over access, Gulf Arabs will have far greater rights at al-Aqsa than the majority of Palestinians, who cannot reach it.

Jordan, which has long been the custodian of al-Aqsa, justifiably fears that Saudi Arabia may use a future accord with Israel to muscle its way into taking charge of the Jerusalem holy site, adding it to its guardianship of Mecca and Medina. 

Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in June 2018 (AFP)
Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in June 2018 (AFP)

In occupied Jerusalem, Palestinians are deprived of the chance to develop their own housing, let alone infrastructure to cope with the business opportunities provided by the arrival of wealthy Gulf Arabs. That should leave Israel and its settler population – rather than Palestinians – well-placed to reap the dividends from any new tourism ventures.

In a supreme irony, a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family has bought a major stake in the Beitar Jerusalem football team, whose supporters are fiercely anti-Arab and back the takeover of East Jerusalem by settlers. 

Palestinian laboratories

During his visit, Bahrain’s Zayani observed that, as his country geared up for flights to and from Israel next month: “We are fascinated by how integrated IT and the innovation sector in Israel has been embedded in every facet of life.” Israel-UAE deal: The Emiratis are now under Israel’s thumb

Read More »

But Israel’s technology sector is “embedded in every facet of life” only because Israel treats the occupied Palestinian territories as a laboratory. Tests are conducted there on how best to surveil Palestinians, physically limit their movement and freedoms, and collect their biometric data

The hi-tech firms carrying out these experiments may be formally headquartered inside Israel, but they work and profit from their activities in the occupied territories. They are a vast complex of settlement businesses in their own right.

This is why Nabil Shaath, an aide to Abbas, observed of the Gulf’s burgeoning ties with Israel that it was “painful to witness Arab cooperation with one of the worst manifestations of aggression against the Palestinian people, which is the Israeli settlements on our land”. 

Settler ally

How enthusiastically the UAE and Bahrain are getting into the occupation business, and preparing to subsidise its worst features, is highlighted by the Abraham Fund, set up by the US in October. It is a vehicle for Gulf states and Israel to secure billions of dollars in private investment to underpin their new diplomatic relations. 

Again, the official story has glossed over the reality. According to statements from the main parties, the fund is intended to raise at least $3bn to bolster regional economic cooperation and development initiatives.

If the oil-rich Gulf states help pick up the tab, they will incentivise Israel to stay put and steal yet more Palestinian land and resources

The UAE’s minister of state, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, has said: “The initiative can be a source of economic and technological strength for the region, while simultaneously improving the lives of those who need the most support.”

The fund is supposed to help Palestinians, as one of those groups most in need of support. But again, the main parties are not playing straight. The deception is revealed by the Trump administration’s selection of who is to head the Abraham Fund, one of its last appointments before the handover to Biden. 

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the fund will be overseen by Aryeh Lightstone, a fervently right-wing rabbi and ally of Israel’s settler community. Lightstone is a senior adviser to David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel who has his own strong ties to the settlements. Friedman pushed aggressively for the US to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem. Trump finally did so in May 2018, breaking an international consensus against locating diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. 

Checkpoint upgrade

The political priorities of Lightstone are evident in one of the Abraham Fund’s first declared projects: to “modernise” Israeli checkpoints across the occupied West Bank. 

The checkpoint upgrade is being hailed by US officials as designed to benefit Palestinians. It will speed up their passage as they try to move around the occupied West Bank, and as those with permits enter Israel or the settlements to work. One senior Trump administration official promised checkpoint delays that currently keep Palestinians waiting for many hours could be dramatically cut: “If I can upgrade that, which doesn’t cost a lot of money, and have it take 30 seconds, I am blowing up [freeing up] 400,000 work hours a day.”

There are many glaring problems with this approach – not least that under international law, belligerent military occupations such as Israel’s must be temporary in nature. Israel’s occupation has endured for more than five decades already. 

Palestinians make their way through a checkpoint north of Hebron on 4 October (AFP)
Palestinians make their way through a checkpoint north of Hebron on 4 October (AFP)

Efforts to make the occupation even more permanent – by improving and refining its infrastructure, such as through upgrades to create airport-style checkpoints – is in clear breach of international law. Now the Gulf will be intimately involved in subsidising these violations.

Further, the idea that the Abraham Fund’s checkpoint upgrade is assisting Palestinians – “those who most need support” – or developing their economy is patently ridiculous. The fund is exclusively helping Israel, a robust first-world economy, which is supposed to shoulder the costs of its military rule over Palestinians. 

The Abraham Fund’s planned checkpoint upgrade is actually a subsidy by the Gulf to the settlements

The economic costs of occupation are one of the few tangible pressures on Israel to withdraw from the territories and allow Palestinians sovereignty. If the oil-rich Gulf states help pick up the tab, they will incentivise Israel to stay put and steal yet more Palestinian land and resources.

Indeed, the hours being freed up, even assuming that is what actually happens, are unlikely to help the Palestinian economy or bring financial benefits to the Palestinian labourers Israel has made dependent on its economy through the lengthy occupation. To develop their own economy, Palestinians need their land and resources stolen by Israel restored to them.

Herding Palestinians

Seen another way, the Abraham Fund’s planned checkpoint upgrade is actually a subsidy by the Gulf to the settlements. That is because the very purpose of the checkpoints is to enforce Israeli control over where and when Palestinians can travel in their homeland. 

Israel uses the checkpoints as a way to herd Palestinians into particular areas of the occupied West Bank, especially the third under nominal PA control, while blocking their entry to the rest. That includes a denial of access to the West Bank’s most fertile land and its best water sources. Those areas are exactly where Israel has been building and expanding the settlements.From Egypt to the UAE, normalisation with Israel heralds disaster

Read More »

Palestinians are in a zero-sum battle against the settlers for control over land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Any help Israel receives in restricting their movement through checkpoints is a loss to Palestinians and a victory for the settlers. Modernised checkpoints will simply be far more efficient at herding Palestinians where Israel and the settlers want them to be.

In partnering with Israel on upgrading checkpoints, the Gulf will be aiding Israel in making its technology of confinement and control of the Palestinian population even more sophisticated, benefiting once again the settlers. 

This is the real story of the Gulf’s Abraham Accords – not simply of turning a blind eye to Israel’s decades-long oppression of Palestinians, but of actively becoming partners with Israel and the settlers in carrying out that oppression. 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Under Guise of Green Energy, Israel Entrenches Itself in Syria’s Golan Heights

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

If Israeli energy firm Energix is successful, a sprawling complex of wind turbines will soon cover up to a quarter of the agricultural land still under the control of Syria’s indigenous Golan residents.

Jerusalem — On December 9, Israeli police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at hundreds of Syrians peacefully demonstrating against the development of a wind farm in the occupied Golan Heights.

Ten protesters were injured and eight arrested. According toAl-Marsad, the sole human rights organization in the occupied Golan, the Golan Association for the Development of Arab Villages’ medical clinic received 12 cases of protesters with rubber bullet wounds—some on the upper body and face. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from gas inhalation. According to the police, officers responded with “non-lethal weapons” and four officers were injured from stones being thrown.

The violent confrontation capped off a week of heavy police presence in the Golan Heights. Officers were there to escort employees from Israeli company Energix Renewable Energies as they took soil samples using drilling machines for their wind turbine project being built on Syrian land.

Police road closures prevented 1,000 Syrian farmers from accessing their land. Demonstrators say the excavation work damages agriculture.

Israeli police block farmers from accessing agricultural roads. Photo | Emil Masood

Syrian Druze say the wind farm will disrupt their way of life

The December 9 protest was part of a general strike in the Syrian Druze communities against Energix and the police. But the Syrian struggle against Energix stems as far back as 2018 when Energix was in the final stages of getting its wind turbine project approved.

Now, the wind farm is underway after being approved by Israel’s National Committee of Infrastructure (NIC) and all government ministries despite strong opposition to it from the local residents.

“[This project] will have bad effects for our land, our environment and for us as farmers and human beings,” Emil Masood, an activist and cherry farmer who is organizing against the wind farm, said.

Dubbed the ARAN Wind Project, the plan will install 23 wind turbines onnearly a quarter of Syrian agricultural land. The originalproposal requested 52 wind turbines, but the project was scaled back as it went through the government stages.

Energix denies the project will harm the local economy, environment, and health, arguing, “it will lead to a significant improvement in the quality of life of the residents” and “occupy less than 2 percent of the margins of the agricultural space of the Druze community.” According to the approved project map, the wind farm will span a little more than 3,500 dunams (nearly 870 acres).

Energix-map
A map published by Al-Marsad shows proposed turbine locations in the midst of farmland nestled between Syrian villages

Energix boasts the project will create hundreds of jobs while meeting Israel’s renewable energy goals.Israel entered the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 and agreed to have 10 percent of its energy produced through renewable sources by 2020 and 17 percent by 2030.

But according to expert testimonies filed as part of ajoint objection to the wind farm, the project will significantly harm Syrians’ health, housing, and livelihoods.

Dr. Hagit Ulanovsky, who provided an expert opinion for the community appeal, explained that because of the region’s mountainous topography, residents are going to feel the infrasound from the wind turbines more intensely in their bodies. And these noise disturbances will ultimately prevent Syrian farmers from cultivating their land.

“The noise is going to be impossible. Nobody will be able to stand 200 to 300 meters [about 650 to 980 feet] from each turbine, which is half of the area that’s covered,” Ulanovsky said. “And during the construction phase, thousands of trees will be taken out and basically be dead forever.”

“At least 500 to maybe 5,000 years of Druze people living in the same place and growing the same trees for several generations is going to stop,” Ulanovsky added.

A forgotten occupation

Israel occupied the Syrian Golan during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.Hundreds of thousands of Syrians were forcibly displaced and now roughly 22,000 Syrians remain in the four villages of Majdal Shams, Masada, Buqata, and Ein Qiniyye. In 1981, Israel annexed the Syrian Golan and tried to impose Israeli citizenship on the Jawlani, theSyrian residents of the occupied Golan Heights. Many Jawlani continue to this day to reject Israeli citizenship, with only 20% of the population having acquired it.

Druze farmer Noraldeen Masoud makes coffee on his farm in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Ariel Schalit | AP

Dr. Muna Dajani from the London School of Economics, who also provided expert testimony, explained that because of this refusal to take Israeli citizenship, the Jawlani’s travel documents state they don’t have a nationality. Instead, the Israeli government has labeled them as “undefined.”

“The Jawlani have started relating more and more to the land as their source of identity and their source of belonging to a community because of that exclusion from being Syrian, and that meant they started valuing the land beyond its physical economic value,” Dajani said.

“Constructing these wind turbines in the middle of the land not only undermines the economic viability of their agriculture but also has a detrimental psychological effect on their community well-being, their sense of purpose and sense of belonging,” Dajani continued. “People feel without land they have nowhere, they don’t have an identity left.”

Expert opinions also emphasized the wind farm will restrict the expansion of at least three surrounding Syrian villages, thereby exacerbating the housing crisis in these communities. The collective appeal wassubmitted by Al-Marsad to the NIC in June 2019 on behalf of Syrian agricultural cooperatives, civil society groups, and thousands of civilians. By August of that same year, the NIC rejected all objections and approved the project in September.

Golan Heights wind
Druze farmer Noraldeen Masoud works his orchard where towering wind turbines could soon jut up from the picturesque farmland. Ariel Schalit | AP

Energix plans to connect the wind farm to the electricity grid by the end of 2022. Nizar Ayoub, Al-Marsad’s director, told MintPress News that the organization is collaborating with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Planners for Planning Rights (Bimkom) to utilize every legal tool to stop the wind turbine project. Al-Marsad alleges the project violates international humanitarian law whereby an occupying power is prohibited from exploiting the natural resources of the occupied territory or using their land for economic benefit.

However, the organization is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against them from Energix. In 2019, the energy company sued Al-Marsad, claiming the human rights center defamed them and violated Israel’s Anti-Boycott Law. In addition to the lawsuit against Al-Marsad, Energix also filed five cases against activists.

“There’s no basis in their arguments,” Ayoub said. “They’re just using this strategy to silence the local communities and Al-Marsad.”

The resistance continues

Following this month’s confrontation between Israel police and activists, thelocal committee for planning and construction – Ma’ale Hermon – issued a restraining order to Energix to cease all work. The order was issued after the local village councils filed an appeal to the committee. Energix is aware of the order but said it will not impact their wind turbine project and has no legal grounds.

For activist and farmer Masood, any attempts by local authorities to stop the project are merely a sham.

farmers peacefully protest against Energix
Syrian civilians and farmers peacefully protest against Energix and Israeli police. Photo | Emil Masood

“The municipality doesn’t represent Syrian Arab citizens in the Golan because they’re appointed by the Israeli authorities,” Masood said. “In this conflict, they didn’t invest a lot of effort to stop it. So, all the effort was from social, public, and private initiatives and dependent on us farmers and citizens of the four villages—not the municipalities.” The village councils weren’t available for comment.

The Syrian activists’ next steps rely on how Energix proceeds, Masood said, “if they want to force this project on us, we will react.” Activists are currently working with an engineer to measure the amount of land damage caused and submit it to their lawyer in Tel Aviv for court procedures.

“But in the field, whenever the company will come back,” Masood said. “We will stand and confront it.”

العرب بين انحطاط المطبّعين ومقاومة الجولان

د. وفيق إبراهيم

التطبيع العربي المتسارع مع الكيان الإسرائيليّ مشهد يثير القلق، لكنه لا يستحوذ على كامل تفاصيله، فهناك مشهد آخر يقاومه في كل زاوية من أنحاء سورية، وصولاً إلى الجولان السوري المحتل.

هناك اذاً قتال مسعور بين جزء كبير من الدول العربية، كشف عن علاقاته السرية بـ»إسرائيل» وحوّلها الى تطبيع دبلوماسي، وبالتالي اقتصادي وسياسي وعسكري مقابل سورية التي قرّرت الرد على الانحطاط بتكثيف حركتها المقاومة، لردع ثلاثة احتلالات تنهش من جغرافيتها السياسية وهم الإسرائيليون الذين يحتلون الجولان السوري وفلسطين المحتلة والأتراك في غرب سورية والمناطق الحدوديّة والمحتل الاميركي في شرقي الفرات.

فهل يمكن مقارنة انتفاضة شعبيّة في الجولان بالانهيار العربي في الخليج والسودان والمغرب كتتمة متأخرة للتطبيع المصري الأردني والمتعلق بالسلطة الفلسطينية؟

هل يمكن اعتبار الصمود السوري منذ 2011 وحتى هذا التاريخ في وجه تدخل خارجيّ من قرابة ثلاثين دولة وتنظيمات إرهابية كافياً لجبه الانهيار العربي؟

كانت الخطة الاميركية تلحظ منذ 1990 ضرورة تفكيك العراق وسورية للإمساك بكامل الشرق الاوسط، فتعثرت نسبياً في العراق وسجلت إخفاقاً واضحاً في سورية ما فرض عليها الذهاب مباشرة نحو دفع البلدان العربية المحسوبة على النفوذ الأميركي للتطبيع مع «إسرائيل» في محاولة لمعادلة النجاح السوري في الدفاع عن بلاده وتمكّن حزب الله من طرد «إسرائيل» من لبنان في العام ألفين ومرة ثانية في 2006 وانتصاره على الإرهاب في ميادين سورية وشرق لبنان ولا يزال يؤدي دوراً مستمراً في حماية لبنان من تياراته الداخلية التي تريد التطبيع مع الكيان المحتل، لكن قوة حزب الله الداخلية تمنعها وتحصرها في زاوية ضيقة.

ان نجاح سورية بحماية دولتها لهو من العناصر الأساسيّة في منع الانهيار النهائي من السيطرة على المنطقة العربيّة بكاملها.

قد يعتبر البعض هذه المقارنة مبالغة على جاري الطرق العربيّة في الهرب نحو الإنشاء والبلاغة لتبرير الهزائم، لكن تذكير المشككين بأن الفرنجة في القرن العاشر أسقطوا كامل دول المنطقة وألحقوها بنفوذهم حتى اصبح التوازن الداخلي مفقوداً بشكل كامل وكان كافياً إلحاق هزيمة واحدة بالفرنجة لكي يهرب من تبقى منهم الى بلادهم في أوروبا.

ألا يشبه هذا المشهد ما يحدث الآن في المنطقة، لذلك فإن الأهمية الأولى للصمود السوري هو في منعه الاستسلام الكامل للمنطقة وتأسيسه لحركة مقاومة لرفض الغزو الجديد للفرنجة الجدد الى المنطقة، وما الدول المطبّعة مع الكيان الإسرائيلي والملحقة بالنفوذ الأميركي الا النماذج المماثلة التي كانت قبل ألف عام تقريباً جزءاً من دولة الفرنجة الاستعمارية في بلاد الشام والعراق ومصر.

هنا تكمن أهمية الجولان السوريّ المحتل منذ 53 عاماً متواصلاً.

فهذا المدى الزمني الطويل من الاحتلال والاعتراف الأميركي بيهوديّة هضبة الجولان على شكل هدية قدمها الرئيس الأميركي الحالي ترامب لرئيس وزراء الكيان نتانياهو، كل هذه الأمور لم تقنع أبناء هذه الهضبة بالاستسلام حتى تبين أنهم فخورون بسوريّتهم ولا يقايضون عليها بأي شيء، على الرغم من المحاولات التي قام بها سياسيو لبنان والداخل الفلسطيني لتمرير مطالب «اسرائيل» ببناء مراوح لتوليد الطاقة.

هؤلاء أبناء الجولان انتفضوا في وجه جيش الاحتلال الذي حاول بناء المراوح بالقوة والإرهاب والاعتداء على المتظاهرين ويواصلون استنكارهم بكل أشكال المجابهات غير عابئين بالتهديد الأمني الإسرائيلي من جهة والصمت العربي المتواطئ مع «إسرائيل» ضد مقاومتهم من جهة ثانية.

فكيف يمكن للمغرب أن يُطبّع مع العدو في وقت تهاجم قواته أبناء الجولان؟

وكذلك بالنسبة للإمارات والبحرين والتجاهل المصري السعودي القطري؟

ألا تعادل هذه الانتفاضة في الجولان هذا الانهيار العربي؟ هناك مَن يرى أنها تتفوّق عليه لكن تجاهل الإعلام الغربي لها، ومعه الإعلام العربي قد ينجح في منع تسويقها وتعميمها، لكنه يعجز عن منع تعميمها في كل مكان محتلّ في فلسطين المحتلة وشرق سورية وغربها.

فهكذا اتسعت في مطلع القرن الماضي ثورات سلطان الأطرش في جبل العرب وصالح العلي في جبال الساحل وإبراهيم هنانو في المدن حتى تحرّرت سورية بكاملها.

فهل نحن في وضع مشابه؟

لقد انتصر السوريّون على الاحتلال الفرنسيّ ويجابهون خطة لتفتيت سورية منذ عقد تقريباً بما يؤكد أن ثورات تحرير الجولان وشرقي البلاد وغربها هي من المسائل غير القابلة لأي مفاوضة، وعلاجها الوحيد هو في القتال الاستراتيجي المدروس المبنيّ على قوة داخلية وتحالفات وازنة، وذلك لأن العدو يحتكم على مقدرات متمكنة تحتاج الى إيمان المجاهدين مع قدرات عسكرية من الداخل والخارج، وبذلك يتضح أن مشهد انتفاضة الجولان اكثر وزناً من مشهد التطبيع وأفعل منه لأنه يأتي في سياق جهود دولة سورية مصرّة على تحرير بلادها والتأثير الإيجابي في كامل الإقليم.

«جبهة الجولان»: المقاومة هنا… لتبقى!

«جبهة الجولان»: المقاومة هنا… لتبقى!
«جبهة الجولان»: المقاومة هنا... لتبقى!
يقوم العدوّ بإجراءات لمنع تشكّل بنية عسكرية قوية على الحدود مع الجولان المحتلّ (أ ف ب )

 الأخبار 

الجمعة 4 كانون الأول 2020

يتزايد، يوماً بعد يوم، قلق العدو من الديناميات التي تشهدها المنطقة الجنوبية في سوريا، حيث يتمّ – بحسب تصريحات مسؤوليه – «بناء جبهة من قِبَل إيران وحزب الله» ضدّ إسرائيل. جبهة يؤكّد المعنيّون بها أن عملية تشكيلها مستمرّة بالفعل على قدم وساق، حتى تكون «جبهة سورية بمقاتلين سوريين يمتلكون إرادة وحق الدفاع عن بلدهم، وتحرير المحتلّ منها»دمشق | لا يترك العدو الإسرائيلي مناسبة من دون الحديث عن سعي إيران و«حزب الله» إلى التمركز في المناطق السورية المحاذية للجولان المحتلّ. ويُذكّر العدو، بشكل دائم، بأن هذه القوى تُحصّن مواقعها في المنطقة الجنوبية بالعتاد والعديد والسلاح، وخصوصاً الصواريخ، وهي تقوم ببناء بنى تحتية عسكرية «لشنّ هجمات ضدّ إسرائيل».

قبل عدّة أسابيع، اعتبر قائد «الفرقة 210» في الجيش الإسرائيلي، اللواء رومان غوفمان، أن «أكبر خطر على الجيش الإسرائيلي في منطقة الجولان حالياً، هو حزب الله اللبناني». ورأى قائد الفرقة المعروفة بـ«عصبة النار» المتموضعة في الجولان المحتلّ منذ سنوات طويلة، في تصريح إلى وكالة «تاس» الروسية، أن «الخطر الأكبر هو بناء جبهة من قِبَل إيران وحزب الله في جنوب سوريا ضدّ إسرائيل»، مضيفاً: «هذا هو الخطر الرئيسي (…) في الحقيقة تتسلّل إيران وحزب الله إلى المنطقة ويُحصّنان مواقعهما هناك باطّراد وبشكل متواصل».

كذلك، نشر مركز «ألما» للبحوث والتعليم الإسرائيلي، الشهر الماضي، تقريراً ادّعى فيه أن وجود «حزب الله» في جنوب سوريا «أكبر بكثير مما تمّ الكشف عنه سابقاً»، مُتحدّثاً عن أن «لحزب الله نحو 58 موقعاً، 28 منها للقيادة الجنوبية للحزب، و30 لمشروع الجولان». وأضاف التقرير أن تلك المواقع في محافظتَي القنيطرة ودرعا «تُشكّل أساساً نوعياً لأنشطة حزب الله، من حيث جمع المعلومات الاستخباراتية والتخطيط العملياتي»، الأمر الذي «يشكّل تحدّياً مستمرّاً لإسرائيل والمنطقة».

بناء الجبهة الجنوبية

لا يكتفي العدو الإسرائيلي بضخّ المعلومات حول وضع الجبهة الشمالية عنده، والمنطقة الجنوبية من سوريا، بل هو يقوم بإجراءات عسكرية عالية الوتيرة في إطار محاولة منع تشكّل بنية عسكرية قوية لدى سوريا وحلفائها، على الحدود مع الجولان المحتلّ. قبل نحو أسبوعين، أعلن العدو اكتشاف عبوات ناسفة، بدائية الصنع (تشبه إلى حدّ ما العبوات التلفزيونية)، مزروعة في الأراضي المحتلّة في منطقة الرفيد، قرب معبر حدودي قديم يقع على «خطّ العزل» بين القنيطرة والجولان المحتلّ، وليس بعيداً عن مستوطنة «إليعاد» الإسرائيلية. بعد يومين تقريباً، وفي إطار الردّ على ما اكتشفه العدو، شَنّت الطائرات الحربية الإسرائيلية حملة قصف جوّي استهدفت مكتب قائد اللواء في الفرقة السابعة في الجيش السوري في بلدة سعسع، ولم تنجم عن ذلك أيّ إصابات بشرية. كما استهدف العدو معسكراً يشغله مستشارون عسكريون إيرانيون ويُستخدم في تدريب عناصر من «الدفاع الوطني» السوري (قوّة رديفة للجيش السوري)، في منطقة الغسانية قرب مطار دمشق. وكما جرت العادة، استهدفت طائرات العدو أيضاً منصّات دفاع جوي، تابعة للجيش السوري، حين حاولت التصدّي للصواريخ المعادية.

ويوضح مصدر عسكري رفيع في الجيش السوري أن «النقاط المستهدَفة ليست لها علاقة مباشرة بقضية العبوات الناسفة، بل هي أهداف مدرَجة مسبقاً لدى جيش العدو، وهو يستهدفها باستمرار وبشكل دوري، ونحن نقوم ببعض الإجراءات المسبقة منعاً لوقوع خسائر بشرية». وفي الغارات الأخيرة قبل نحو أسبوع، استهدفت الطائرات الحربية الإسرائيلية مواقع نظامية للجيش على جبل المانع، ومعسكراً للتدريب تابعاً للفيلق الأول في بلدة أم العواميد، قرب الكسوة جنوبي دمشق، بالإضافة إلى مخزن للسلاح في قرية رويحينة قرب القنيطرة.

قبل ذلك بفترة وجيزة، أقدم العدو على سلسلة استهدافات مماثلة، طاولت مراكز عسكرية تابعة للفرقة الخامسة، بالإضافة إلى سيّارتين عسكريتين تابعتين لـ«اللواء 112» في تل الجابية الذي يقع غربي مدينة نوى، في ريف درعا الشمالي الغربي، وهو تلّ استراتيجي مرتفع يشرف على جزء كبير من جبهة الجولان. لكن الرسالة هذه المرّة كانت أوضح، حيث أوصل العدو تهديدات مباشرة إلى ضبّاط كبار في الفيلق الأول في الجيش السوري، عبر برنامج «واتسآب»، من رقم قبرصي، مفادها: «حزب الله والإيرانيون يستغلّونكم للعمل على الحدود ضدّ إسرائيل، وأنتم تتحمّلون المسؤولية، ولن تكونوا بعيدين عن ردودنا». ويشير مصدر قيادي في المنطقة الجنوبية، الى أن «هذه هي المرّة الأولى التي يسجّل فيها إجراء كهذا في المنطقة، فبعدما كان يعمد العدو إلى التهديد في الإعلام، عبر تسريب أسماء قياديين في المقاومة يدّعي أنهم يعملون ضدّه على جبهة الجولان، ها هو اليوم يوجّه رسائل تهديد مباشرة إلى ضبّاط في الجيش السوري، يدّعي أنهم يتعاونون مع قوى المقاومة».

العلاقة بين ضبّاط الجيش المنتشرين في المنطقة والمستشارين من الحلفاء «ممتازة»

لكن على الرغم من هذا، فإن العلاقة بين ضبّاط الجيش المنتشرين في المنطقة، والمستشارين من الحلفاء، «ممتازة»، بحسب وصف مصدر معنيّ، يوضح أنه «تمّت بلورة علاقة جيدة جداً ووطيدة بين الطرفين نتيجة سنوات القتال جنباً إلى جنب». ويضيف المصدر أن الضبّاط الكبار في الجيش السوري يحسنون قراءة المشهد في المنطقة الجنوبية، ويقدّرون قيمة وجود قوى الحلفاء فيه إلى جانبهم، وهم في الوقت عينه يدركون حجم التهديد الإسرائيلي، لكنهم يلمسون فعّالية «منظومة الردع» التي شكّلها وجود قوى المقاومة في المنطقة.

ويؤكّد أحد المعنيّين بملفّ المنطقة الجنوبية، من «الحلفاء»، بدوره، «حرص المقاومة الجدّي على سلامة ضبّاط وعناصر الجيش السوري إلى الحدّ الأقصى». كما يؤكّد «استمرار التعاون الوثيق مع قوات الجيش السوري المنتشرة في المنطقة، وفشل كلّ مساعي التفريق بين مَن قاتلوا سويّاً طيلة سنوات الحرب». ويُجري الجيش السوري، منذ أكثر من عام، مشروع إعادة هيكلة عسكرية لجبهة الجولان المحتلّ، التي تضرّرت إلى حدّ بعيد بفعل الحرب المستمرّة منذ 8 سنوات. ويضطلع الفيلق الأول بالمهامّ الرئيسة في هذا الإطار، بالتعاون مع القوى الحليفة لدمشق. كذلك، يُجري الجيش، بالتعاون مع الحلفاء، عملية إعادة تأهيل البنى التحتية القتالية في المنطقة، حيث يتمّ إنشاء معسكرات تدريبية ونقاط عسكرية جديدة على طول الحدود مع الجولان المحتلّ، وقد استهدفت الغارات الإسرائيلية الأخيرة عدداً منها.

وبحسب المصدر عينه، فإن «المشاريع العسكرية المشتركة مع الجيش السوري في الجبهة الجنوبية (الجولان) لم تبدأ أخيراً، بل منذ سنوات، وهي مشاريع متوسّطة وبعيدة المدى، وهي حق طبيعي للدولة والجيش السوري، ولن تتوقّف أبداً، وهي صارت في مراحل متقدّمة أصلاً». وردّاً على سؤال حول تواجد عناصر المقاومة في الجنوب، يُبيّن المصدر أنهم «موجودون بحسب متطلّبات الخطط، لكن ما يتمّ صنعه هناك هو جبهة سورية بمقاتلين سوريين يمتلكون إرادة وحق الدفاع عن بلدهم، وتحرير المحتلّ منها».

هدوء نسبيّ

وفي مقابل حالة «القلق» التي تسود المنطقة الحدودية الممتدّة من ريف دمشق الجنوبي، مروراً بالقنيطرة، وصولاً إلى ريف درعا الغربي، تعيش المنطقة الجنوبية بشكل عام حالة من الهدوء النسبي في الأشهر الأخيرة، حيث انخفضت وتيرة الإشكالات الأمنية التي كانت في غالبيتها بين الفيلق الخامس المدعوم من روسيا، وعناصر الفصائل المسلّحة التي رفضت التسوية. وكانت قبل أسابيع قد وقعت بعض المشاكل في قرية الشجرة في حوض اليرموك غربي درعا، «لكنها عولجت بعد مقتل ضابط وجندي من الجيش السوري»، بحسب المصادر الأمنية المطّلعة، التي تؤكد أن «المخاوف من قتل عسكريين في الجيش، وخصوصاً الضباط، لا تزال قائمة، ولا سيما الذين يعملون في المناطق التي تخضع لنفوذ الفصائل الجنوبية (مناطق التسويات)».

ولا تزال التسويات مستمرّة على قدم وساق في المنطقة الجنوبية برعاية الجانب الروسي، الذي، على رغم العراقيل الكثيرة والإشكالات المتنقّلة، يصرّ على إتمامها. ويُعدّ أبرز وجوه التسوية، أحمد العودة، القيادي السابق في الفصائل الجنوبية، والذي يقود اليوم الجهود الأساسية في التسويات، وهو يتمتّع بنشاط كبير، ولديه حضور ونفوذ وسط مسلّحي الجنوب. وكما يقوم العودة بجهود التسوية، يضطلع أيضاً بمهامّ قمع المجموعات المسلّحة الرافضة للتسويات، والخارجة عن العباءة الروسية. وتتحرّك الشرطة العسكرية الروسية بحرّية تامّة وشعور فائض بالأمان في المنطقة الجنوبية (يجول عناصرها في الأسواق ويشاركون في المناسبات المحلية)، بعدما امتدّت تسوياتها على غالبية المنطقة، وخضعت غالبية الفصائل إمّا إلى سلطتها، أو إلى اتفاقات وتوافقات معها.

الردّ الإيرانيّ آتٍ فلينتظروا

ناصر قنديل

في مطلع العام 2015 قام رئيس حكومة كيان الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو بعملية استهداف نوعية في جنوب سورية سقط بنتيجتها الشهيد جهاد عماد مغنية وعدد من كوادر وضباط المقاومة والحرس الثوري الإيراني، وكان رهان نتنياهو أن اللحظة حرجة ولن تسمح للمقاومة وإيران بالردّ، فالعلاقة الإيرانية الأميركية تحت ضغط حساسيات التفاوض حول الملف النووي الذي يقترب من بلوغ نقطة التفاهم، وبالتالي فإن إيران ستمتنع عن الردّ وتمنع المقاومة من القيام به، ولذلك فالتوقيت مناسب للعملية التي تريد تغيير قواعد الاشتباك وتقول إن جيش الاحتلال لن يسمح بنشوء وضع على حدود الجولان المحتل في جنوب سورية تشبه معادلة جنوب لبنان، في تحد مباشر لما قاله يومها الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، عن التزام المقاومة الردّ على كل استهداف لها في سورية.

قلنا يومها إن ردّ المقاومة آتٍ، وإن حسابات نتنياهو خائبة، وإن المفاوضات وحساباتها ستلزم الأميركي بمراعاة حساسياتها، وبالتالي الضغط على قيادة الكيان لعدم تفجير الموقف، بينما ستكون إيران والمقاومة معنيتين بتثبيت قواعد الاشتباك، وخلال أيام قليلة كان الردّ في مزارع شبعا بعملية نوعية اضطر نتنياهو بعدها للإعلان عن العضّ على الجرح منعاً لتصعيد الموقف بعدما وصلته رسالة علنية من الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما مضمونها، الضربة الموجعة لكنها لا تستحق إشعال حرب.

اليوم يقع نتنياهو بالفخ ذاته فيعتقد أن اللحظة مؤاتية لتوجيه ضربة موجعة أو ضربات موجعة لإيران، التي يظنّها مربوطة الأيدي، تجنباً لفتح الطريق لتصعيد يعقد مهمة الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب جو بايدن الذي تتوقع منه العودة الى التفاهم النووي، وكما كتبنا في أكثر من مقال، تلك هي مشكلة العمليات التكتيكية تفادياً للوقوع في حرب التي يراهن بعض الأميركيين والإسرائيليين على ملء المرحلة الفاصلة عن نهاية ولاية الرئيس دونالد ترامب بها، فتلك العمليات بين خيارين، خيار أن تكون تحت سقف مضمون لعدم استدراج الرد، وهي في هذه الحالة غير موجعة ولا تغيّر معادلات، وبين السعي لعمليات توجع وتغير معادلات وفي هذه الحالة لا ضمان بعدم الردّ، وقد يكون الردّ أشد إيلاماً، ويفرض معادلة الحيرة التي كان يريد نتنياهو إيقاع إيران فيها، وبالتأكيد بات ممكناً بعد توصيف القيادات الإيرانية السياسية والعسكرية لعملية اغتيال العالم النووي الإيراني محسن فخري زادة، وإعلان الالتزام بالرد، والرد المؤلم، أن نقول إن الرد آت لا محالة وقريباً، وإن كيان الاحتلال بعد تقارير نيويورك تايمز وتصريحات المسؤولين الإيرانيين باتهام كيان الاحتلال بالعملية، يجب ان يكون على موعد مع تلقي الرد المقبل، وهو لا يعلم أي الردّين سيكون أولاً، ففي رقبته دين للمقاومة يتمثل بحقها بالردّ على عملية استهداف أدت لسقوط شهيد قرب دمشق، كما لا يعلم الجبهة التي سيكون الردّ عليها.

المأزق الذي سيحكم المرحلة المتبقية من ولاية ترامب، سترسم معالمه عمليّة الرد، وسيكون على ثلاثي ترامب ونتنياهو وحلفائهم في الخليج ان يتخذوا القرار عندها بالعض على الجرح، لأن الضربة موجعة، لكنها لا تستحق حرباً، أو أن يذهبوا للحرب ويتحمّلوا التبعات.

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Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

By Ali Abadi, Al-Ahed News

Why are we witnessing the intensification of normalization efforts between Arab regimes and the Zionist entity following the US presidential elections? What options does Donald Trump have during the remainder of his time in office?

Prior to the US elections, it was clear that the goal of the normalization agreements was to boost Trump’s reelection campaign. But the extension of the normalization current beyond the election that Trump lost has other potential objectives:

–    Attracting additional support for Trump in his battle to cling to power by sharpening the capabilities of the Zionist constituencies to support his electoral appeals that don’t have a great chance of success. But Trump has not given up yet in his efforts to reverse the results.

–    Sending important signals to those concerned at home and abroad that Trump still has vigor, as he plans to complete the goals he set and stay on the political scene. If he were to lose the presidency now, he may return in 2024, as those close to him have hinted. In the meantime, he seeks to gain support from the Jewish and Christian Zionist circles as a “man of word and action” in supporting “Israel” absolutely and without hesitation.

With Trump preoccupied with the battle to cling to power at home, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is abroad – touring as “Israel’s” minister of foreign affairs accompanied by Arab ministers to sign more normalization agreements. He is legalizing “Israeli” settlements and the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights and declaring a move to criminalize the campaign of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). 

It’s worth noting that months before the US elections, Pompeo reportedly had his sights set on the 2024 presidential race. As such, Pompeo, who identifies with Trump’s approach and acts as his obedient supporter, plans to be the natural heir to the Trumpian current in the event that its leader is absent due natural causes like death or unnatural causes such as imprisonment due to his legal issues. 

He is also preparing the groundwork for the birth of an “Israeli”-Arab alliance (Saudi, Bahraini, and Emirati) standing in the face of the Islamic Republic of Iran and adding further complications to any possible return of the Biden administration to the nuclear deal.

Saudi and “Israeli” officials are now speaking in one voice about a “no return” to the nuclear agreement, as they set the conditions and limits that they feel the next American administration should abide by. This is also a reflection of widespread concerns over the failure of Trump’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran. 

This was the background for news reports about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meeting “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saudi territory – a get-together arranged by Pompeo.

The choice for war is in the balance

All of the above are possibilities. But does that give way to expectations for a military adventure against Iran, for example, during the transitional period before Joe Biden takes office on January 20?

No sane person can absolutely deny such a possibility. In this context, news about the US strategic B-52 bomber’s flight to the region, the possibility of supplying US bombs that penetrate fortifications to the Zionist entity, the dismissal of US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the withdrawal of US units from Iraq and Afghanistan trickled in. 

The last move may be aimed at withdrawing targets near Iran in the event Washington takes military action against Tehran. However, attacking Iran militarily is not an American desire as much as it is an “Israeli” and Saudi one. The Pentagon has previously opposed military action against Iran, at a time when the US military has not recovered from its wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

This view does not appear to have changed, and US military commanders are unlikely to agree to put the military during the transition period on the course of a new war in the Middle East for personal or populist purposes. 

There are other considerations too. The costs of the war and its consequences are difficult to determine. Trump also knows that the mood of the American public can’t bear sacrifices abroad, financially or on a humanitarian level.

What about other possibilities?

Based on Trump’s behavior over the past four years, it appears the US president prefers to score goals and make quick deals. He is not inclined to get involved in prolonged duels. As such, it’s possible to predict that Trump will resort to localized strikes in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen (there is talk about the possibility of placing Ansarullah on the list of terrorist organizations) or cover a possible “Israeli” strike in Lebanon under one pretext or another. 

He could also resort to assassinating figures affiliated with the axis of resistance, and this possibility is more likely, especially in Iraq and Syria. Trump revealed in recent months that he thought about assassinating the Syrian president, and there are also American threats directed at leaders of the resistance factions in Iraq.

In conclusion, any aggressive military action against Iran appears to be a rooted “Israeli” option that Netanyahu tried to market to the Americans since the Obama era but failed. He is trying to strike Iran via the Americans, but Washington has other calculations and options. 

The Saudis have also urged successive US administrations to strike Iran, according to what appeared in WikiLeaks documents quoting the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The window of opportunity for major military action before Trump’s departure appears narrow. He may consider the rapid operations approach followed by similar actions against Iran’s allies to deal a moral blow to Tehran, cut back its regional leadership role, and besiege its growing influence in the power equation with the Zionist entity that is challenging the US hegemony over the region.

However, we should add that the axis of resistance has its own plans for the confrontation. It withstood the maximum pressure and is able to turn any adventure into an opportunity, relying on its vigilance and accumulated capabilities.

Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari’s Statement During the Security Council Session on the Political and Humanitarian Situation in Syria Bashar al-Jaafari at the Security Council 11/25/2020

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Al-Jaafari: countries hostile to Syria, particularly the US and Turkey, support terrorist organizations and separatist militias

25 November، 2020
New York, SANA

Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, said that countries hostile to Syria, on top of them the US and Turkey, continue their violations of the international law, UN conventions and Security council resolutions relevant to the crisis in Syria through supporting the terrorist organizations, separatist militias and perpetrating crimes against the Syrian people and looting their resources.

“The US occupation and its tools of separatist militias continue their practices aiming at looting the Syrian State resources, furthermore, the US occupation forces have lately excavated the antiquities in Hasaka and stolen large quantities of treasures and gold in the presence of French and Israeli experts at archaeological site in al-Malkiyah city and unearthed 12 historic tombs dating back to the Roman era,” al-Jaafari added in a statement to the UN Security council through video on the situation in Syria.

He added that the stolen priceless antiquities which date back to thousands of years are being smuggled through northern Iraq and Turkey in a preparation for transporting them to other destinations, stressing that these crimes are part of continued ones being perpetrated by the terrorist organization of Daesh with the aim of securing the financial resources for its terrorist acts.

Al-Jaafari reiterated that the political process, facilitated by the UN, is possessed and led by the Syrians and that making the work of the Committee for Discussing the Constitution a success entails respecting its principles being agreed upon, in addition to refusing any external interferences and any attempts by some states to impose timetables, adding that only the Syrian people have the right to determine their destiny.

He also renewed Syria’s condemnation, in the strongest terms, the visit of the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Syrian Golan and the West Bank on Nov 19th, referring that this visit emphasizes the absolute bias of the current US administration until the very end of its mandate to the Israeli occupation Entity.

Regarding the International Conference on the return of Syrian Refugees recently held in Damascus on 11th and 12th of November, al-Jaafari affirmed that it has constituted a significant step to the efforts of Syrian State and its allies to ensure the voluntary, safe and good return of the displaced to their areas and their original residences.

Baraa Ali/ Mazen Eyon

Nasrallah: We celebrate Trump’s defeat without illusions about Biden, and we stay ready for war


Date: 23 November 2020

Author: lecridespeuples

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on November 11, 2020, celebrating Hezbollah’s “Martyrs Day”, which honors all martyrs of the Resistance.

On November 11, 1982, the largest resistance action in the history of the Israeli-Arab struggle took place, when the martyrdom of 19-year-old fighter Ahmad Qassir killed more than 100 occupying Israeli officers and soldiers by detonating their headquarters in the Lebanese city of Tyre. We transcribe below two sections of the speech devoted to the recent Israeli military maneuvers and US elections.

Source: https://video.moqawama.org/details.php?cid=1&linkid=2183

Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

Israeli military maneuvers

[…] The second issue (I want to mention) is the Israeli military maneuvers which took place a few days ago, and lasted from Sunday (1st) to Thursday (November 5). Obviously I will not get into the details of these maneuvers, its stages, its objectives, etc. It would take too long. But I will confine myself to the following points.

Of course, these were massive maneuvers, one of the biggest and most important Israeli maneuvers (in history). They are similar to those that took place in 2017 simultaneously in northern occupied Palestine and in the Golan Heights, which they consider to be a single front: these maneuvers were as large or perhaps a little larger (than those in November 2020). It was pretty much the same (exercise) in both maneuvers (i.e. simulating a Hezbollah attack). Of course, during the maneuvers, there were analyzes, threats and clues (according to which) Israel could take advantage of this (maximum) state of readiness and this enormous concentration of forces in northern occupied Palestine and in the Golan Heights to launch an operation against Lebanon or against Syria, to say the least [there was also talk of a possible attack on Iran]. There were analyzes, assumptions of this kind, and of course, these maneuvers were followed with the greatest attention in Israel, although the Lebanese cared little about them, except for Hezbollah who followed it all closely. The enemy Prime Minister came to visit (the forces engaged in these maneuvers), as did the Minister of Defense, and the Chief of Staff and other officials were there throughout the week, and they made countless statements.

With regard to these maneuvers, I want to make a couple of brief comments.

Israel has moved from permanent aggression to a defensive posture

First, when you consider these maneuvers, what was one of their main purposes? They announced it themselves, I’m not talking about secret information. One of the main objectives is that they simulated an invasion by the forces of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah) against the Israeli positions and settlements in Galilee, and the purpose of these maneuvers was for the Israeli army to recover these positions and these settlements, meaning to expel the Resistance forces from them, and launch another response in the border region. It is not about invading (Lebanon) and reaching I do not know where, but simply about organizing a (limited) response in the border area, less far than the Israeli security zone of yesteryear [from 1985 to 2000, Israel occupied all of South Lebanon, in a continuous enclave 10 to 20 kilometers wide]. This is what these maneuvers consisted of, and they involved the air force, infantry, artillery, etc.

What I want to emphasize about this, coming back to what the (Hezbollah) martyrs accomplished (by their struggle and their sacrifice), one of the great achievements of the martyrs is (the following): in 2017, Israel organized military maneuvers where, from the first days, it was all about launching defensive measures, setting up a defensive plan to protect its positions and its settlements in Galilee, in the north of occupied Palestine, (against a Hezbollah attack). And again in 2020, Israel is carrying out similar maneuvers, despite the economic situation, the coronavirus, the difficulties, etc. What does all this prove? This proves that the Lebanese Resistance, for the first time (in the history of the Arab-Israeli struggle), has shifted the Israeli army from an offensive to a defensive position. This demonstrates the power of the Resistance. In the old days, if anyone (among the Arab-Muslim rulers) claimed to invade or attack Israel, upset the equations (in force), enter occupied Palestine (as a retaliation in case) Israel invaded our territory, Israel would laugh (at these empty claims) and mock them. You remember that in previous wars Israel behaved as if Lebanon was negligible, and (considered) that a single musical band was enough to defeat it. This Resistance in Lebanon, the martyrs of this Resistance, the mujaheedeen of this Resistance of which “some have reached their end [martyrdom], and others are still waiting [and they have not changed at all (in their commitment)” (Quran, 33, 23)], have brought Lebanon to a stage where the enemy regards us in a very different way. The enemy is obsessed with the idea of ​​an attack from Lebanon, and when he thinks of attacking Lebanon himself, his mind immediately goes to destruction with planes, artillery, missiles, and he does not think of any invasion or occupation of vast territories, because his ambitions on the ground are very limited. And more so, he switched to a defensive way of thinking. This is why he has designed defensive plans to protect his positions, his settlements, the region of Galilee. He keeps rethinking these plans, he has been making maneuvers in this direction since 2017, and in their light, he is making amendments, and he insists on carrying out new maneuvers in 2020. This is a very important point to know the weight of Lebanon, of the Lebanese Resistance and our strength in the calculations of the enemy. It’s something he would never have thought of in the past. And of course, this must lead us to make exact calculations when thinking about the equations of force in Lebanon, whether it is about negotiations over maritime borders or points of contention over the land border, the equation of deterrence, the protection equation, etc.

An admission of failure and unpreparedness

The second point is the enemy’s insistence on carrying out these 2020 maneuvers, and the fact that the enemy army’s Chief of staff has declared that even if 1,000 soldiers must be infected with the Covid- 19, he was determined to hold the maneuvers. This confirms another truth long evoked by Israeli generals after the 2006 war against Lebanon and after the 2014 Gaza war: they themselves say that the Israeli army, the Israeli infantry is suffering from a real and deep crisis. There is a crisis of preparation, a crisis of officers, soldiers and combatants at the personal, psychological, moral level, a crisis of the (fighting) spirit, a crisis of confidence in officers and leaders, problems of discipline, (a lack of willingness to) advance (in the battlefield), to sacrifice oneself, to go to the front line, etc. This is why in all their maneuvers, the Israelis provide soldiers and officers with every guarantee of security, assuring them that nothing will happen to them, and that their advance will be secure [as if there was such a thing as a safe war]. This is the result of the enormous flaws and weaknesses in the spirit and morale of the troops of the IDF ground forces. This is why Israel needs these maneuvers to remedy this situation, to give its soldiers confidence in themselves, to restore their morale, to give them motivation, guarantees, assure them that they are capable (of facing Hezbollah) with their plan and maneuvers. This is a real crisis affecting the Israeli infantry today.

Regarding the navy, we know that its field of action is (very) limited. In 2006, a single missile took the entire Israeli navy out of the war equation, when we hit the Sa’ar 5 (corvette). And in case of war in the future, the Israeli navy will be unable to achieve the slightest real accomplishment. And as for the Air Force, we do not underestimate nor demean it, and we recognize that it is one of the most powerful air forces in the region. And the United States gives Israel (everything) without limit, so that all developments in air capacity are open to the enemy. But this does not constitute a guarantee, it does not protect the Zionist project in the region, it does not even protect (the survival of) the usurping entity. All the recent wars and battles have confirmed that the Air force alone is incapable of shaping victory, from the 2006 war to the wars in Gaza, all the wars that have taken place in our region, as well as the war that is entering its 6th year in Yemen. All of these wars demonstrate that air power alone is incapable of shaping victory or winning a battle. It is the ground forces that are essential and decisive, whether in defense, attack or victory. Today the IDF is going through real crises in this regard, and we must build (and consolidate our strength) on it.

Hezbollah was on high alert during these maneuvers

Last point concerning these maneuvers, and that I wish the Lebanese and the people to know clearly: because of the assumptions, the analyzes and the possibilities (of Israeli attack against Lebanon or Syroa), I want to say, without creating a state of terror in Lebanon, but I must reveal this fact: the Islamic Resistance was, from Saturday (October 31st), that is before the start of the maneuvers, until the days of the maneuvers, and until after the end of the maneuvers, or after Thursday (November 5), until Friday and Saturday, we were on high alert. Some Resistance units in Lebanon were on full alert, 100%, and others were 75% ready. And at the level of organization, management and control, all the commanders were at their posts. Of course, Israel knew this, and we wanted them to know it, because what mattered to us was to clearly send the following message: we are watchful, we are ready, we are on alert, our finger is on the trigger, and if you are thinking of engaging in any stupid act, any aggression, our response will be ready, quick and immediate. In Syria too… And in Lebanon, of course, we did all this for 7 to 8 days without the Lebanese and the Lebanese people, the villages and the towns feeling the slightest thing that could disturb them, worry them or arouse fear. This is one of the strengths of the Popular Resistance, which is precise, level-headed, measured, far from all excesses and bluster, serious, dedicated and sincere.

Likewise, in Syria, according to my information, the readiness measures of the Syrian leadership and the armed forces were maximum, as well as for their allies on the ground. The message to the enemy was clear: in front of you there are people ready and willing to fight, people neither weakened nor ready to surrender, and unaffected by all the events happening in our region. So much for this point.

US elections

My third point is the US elections. I speak quickly to have time to discuss all the issues. The whole world followed… Of course, I will not do an (exhaustive) analysis on the US elections, but I will talk about what concerns us and concerns our people, our region and our Axis (of Resistance). The whole world has been following what happened and what is happening now in the US presidential elections. And that’s something normal, because the outcome of the elections will influence the whole world. I would like to make several comments on this subject.

A paper Empire and a junk Democracy

First, the unfolding of the US elections, the speeches of the candidates and the contradictory and invective election campaigns, the media hype, etc., I consider that more than ever, all of this has shown the (real and eloquent) image of a number of truths and realities in the United States, whether at the level of the political system, of the forces and parties, and of the people. The peoples of the world, the peoples of our region and all of us need to pay attention (and think thouroughly about these realities). Because in the end, these United States are a global calamity. In our eyes, the US are a problem for all the peoples of the world, both for their friends & allies and for their enemies, both at the same time.

My first point is a simple call to look closely at the numbers and data that were provided during the election campaign, to think about them and learn the lessons, in order to know what these United States really are, because there are people who present them to us as the greatest example that our Arab and Muslim countries and Third World countries (in general) should follow. So let’s see what is the truth of this (alleged) most prominent model. (Let us seek) its truth in its values, in its actions, in its habits, in the results of its behavior and practices, (let us seek) the truth of its democracy, the truth of its political system, the truth of the behavior of its authorities with its people, in its different (ethnico-social) components. All these questions require thought on our part, as (staggering) numbers have been given, incredible things have been seen, and (striking) scenes are visible on TV channels and social media, be it everything that has to do with the economic and financial situation, the scale of the debts weighing on the American treasury –we talk a lot about the debts of Lebanon, but look at those of the United States–, the social situation and the standard of living of tens of millions of inhabitants of the United States… We see images on television of very modern cities, with very modern streets, in which we see people living in makeshift camps, left and right, washing themselves in the streets, and having no home, no social security, etc. Either way, these are staggering numbers, whether talking about the number of people infected with the coronavirus [over 11 million], the number of people affected by terminal illnesses –Biden spoke of huge numbers a few days ago–, mental and nervous illnesses, drug addicts, the scale of the various forms of criminality in American society –murders, injuries, incidents, shootings, thefts, rapes, etc. –, the number of prisoners in jails, the extent of corruption in state administration and political officials, etc. This is (the reality of) the United States that some present to us as (a model of) freedom, democracy, justice, development, prosperity, etc., etc., etc. (Not to mention the) fundamental racism that has been brought to light by the events of recent months. All this deserves –I don’t have time to give the figures and talk about them in detail, others will be able to do it, and everyone can find out by consulting the data, the archives, the images, the evidence, etc.; these are not empty statements from an enemy of the United States who would come and make false accusations, they are their own statements, their own figures and their own statistics as to their situation, their worries, their real domestic ills and problems; and this is the priority which may be imposed on the new administration. This is the first thing that appeared during these elections.

Allegations of electoral fraud are a gross heist attempt

The second point is the humiliation of the (so-called) US democracy that Washington calls on the whole world to take as an example, asserting the primacy of people’s decision, of elections, etc. If the US administration itself, which today is President Trump’s and also his entire administration –because we cannot say that he has an (unprecedented) state of mind, that he is mad, resolved to keep his throne, etc.: the entire Republican Party (supports him). If two (Republicans) Senators congratulated Biden, (it should be noted that) it is the whole Republican Party, officially, all its leaders and executives, all its echelons who support the electoral battle that Trump is pursuing, and who do not recognize the results. What is this (pseudo-)democracy? I remind you of one thing: as (was stated by) all the people who followed (these elections), the special media envoys, even those from the channels close to Trump, during these elections, some citizens voted by mail, some voted early –as did Trump himself– and finally some voted (in person) on election day. When (the vote-counting agents) begin their tally, they count first the votes cast on election day, then the early votes, and finally the mail votes. It is common knowledge that the majority of mail votes are in favor of the Democrats. For early votes, it’s mixed. For direct votes on election day, the majority is in favor of the Republicans. As soon as the vote count of election day ballots ended, Trump rose up and exclaimed, “Stop the vote count! Stop the vote count!” Why? Because he considered himself the winner, hands down, which is natural when only the votes cast on election day are counted. But when you count the 70 million –if not more– early votes, and the mail votes, that will certainly change the outcome. He therefore wants to throw the voices of tens of millions of citizens into oblivion in order to be able to declare “I am the winner, period”. And he has declared himself the winner, and does not acknowledge the results, considering that all that is happening is just a (large) fraud. And the (whole) Republican Party stands behind all this. It would be wrong to say that it is only the action of one person, of a fool, feverish, nervous man, etc., no! And now we don’t know where the Trump administration and the Republican Party want to take all of the United States if they maintain this line. (Let’s keep all this farce in mind) so that no one comes (berating us) with (the alleged virtues of) Western democracy or American democracy, nor present the US as a Master in matters of elections and respect for the vote of the people and the will of the people, neither inside the United States, nor outside.

Israel will always be the main concern of any US administration

Third, what matters to us today about the new administration –I will speak later about the two remaining months of this Trump administration, along with (our) psychological and emotional reaction (to Trump’s defeat)–, (about) the larger question of the new administration (which will take power in January 2021), (it must be emphasized that) in our region in particular –because what can be predicted for other peoples of the world, other states and governments, it is their own assessment to make–, but as far as we are concerned, our greatest calamity is that in our region, for a long time, and for decades, US policies in our region are an Israeli policy. The basis (of thought and action) is Israel, (and all that matters is how to ensure) the strength of Israel, the empowerment of Israel, the security of Israel, the superiority of Israel. It is one of the constants of US policy, whether it is Democrats or Republicans, Bush, Clinton, Obama, Trump or Biden: whoever (the US President) is, they all rush and compete to see who supports Israel the most, who covers Israel the most, who defends Israel the most, who protects Israel the most, who strengthens Israel the most, who supports Israel the most.

Therefore, as far as we are concerned, things are not going to change. Maybe their policy towards Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela or whatever will change. But here, in our region, for everything that has to do with the usurping entity of occupied Palestine, and for the whole area that includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Gulf, Yemen, North Africa, this whole Arab-Islamic region, as far as the United States are concerned, the only fundamental constant, or at least the main one if it is not the only one, is Israel and the domination of Israel. Therefore, building promising hopes in fundamental and strategic changes (in the policies of a Biden administration is futile): let no one be deluded or lie to himself, nor anything like that.

It is true that on certain details (we can expect some minor changes)… For example, I absolutely do not consider as likely the hypothesis that the Biden administration backtracks on the recognition (of all) of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as an integral part of the Zionist entity and the eternal capital of Israel, or moves the US embassy in Al-Quds back to Tel Aviv, or no longer recognizes the Golan as Israeli territory… (All of these Trump steps won’t be reversed). But it is possible that concerning the settlements, the West Bank, the question of the two states and their borders, these are details (on which a margin of maneuver is possible). But even in these details, the core principle and top priority will remain how to make Israel as strong as possible, as dominant as possible, superior to all, etc. So let’s not waste time counting on the new (Biden) administration, imagining various prospects (of a new US foreign policy in the Middle East), and luring ourselves into dreams and illusions.

Axis of Resistance welcomes Trump’s humiliating defeat

Of course, emotionally, there’s no doubt –and I’m talking about my personal feelings here– that when you look at the Trump administration, the Trump government, it turns out to be the worst government (in US history), or, if not the worst, it is one of the worst US governments in history. This government was the most heinous, the vilest, the most despotic, the most arrogant, the most contemptuous of its friends and allies –for example, there was a difference in the way Trump behaved with Saudi Arabia [repeated humiliations], and his way of addressing Iran: when he addressed Iran, he was more balanced, more measured, more cautious; and he will step down from power with bitterness over not having been able to find a single Iranian official to answer him on the phone. It was the most tyrannical, the most despotic, the most arrogant, the most criminal, the most terrorist government… Such was the Trump administration.

Let’s remember what he did for 4 years. For 4 years, he put the whole world on the brink of war, whether he (deliberately) played on the level of psychological warfare, (on the permanent threat) of the brink of the abyss, or whether he was serious (and willing to go to war). Against North Korea, he brought things to the brink of war. Likewise with China, with Iran, with Venezuela, with Cuba, with Syria, with many places in the world. He brought the whole world to the brink of war! As far as states and peoples are concerned, he has intensified blockades, acts of manifest aggression and the most explicit interference in internal affairs… Of course, we recognize in Trump a very important quality, which is that he showed the true face of the United States. This is their true face. Arrogance, tyranny, (permanent) aggression, despotism, imperialism, terrorism, bestiality, crime, (mass) murder, corruption… This is what Trump showed. His predecessors wore make-up and measured their words, but his quality is that he showed the US as they were to the peoples of the world, (without wearing a mask or using false rhetoric).

Therefore, when one sees the long list of his crimes, such as, in Palestine, the attribution of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) to Israel as its eternal capital, the relocation of the US embassy (from Tel Aviv to Al -Quds), the granting of the (Syrian occupied) Golan (to Israel), as well as the Shebaa farms (occupied Lebanese territory granted to Israel by Trump), the strangulation he exerted against the Palestinians, whether the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, the Palestinian people… But despite that, Trump was defeated, and I will come back to it. In Iran, he imposed the most severe sanctions against a country of 80 or 85 million people, the year of the coronavirus, not to mention the (constant) threats of war, and (a permanent flirtation) with the edge of the abyss! Likewise in Syria, constant threats of war, and Caesar sanctions and more blockades. Open support for the Saudi-Emirati war against Yemen and the oppressed people of Yemen. He has revived sedition in Iraq, and is attempting to revive sedition in Lebanon. He tried to overthrow the state of Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, etc. (He has spread blood and chaos) everywhere, to the point that it is (almost impossible) to count his crimes!

Trump’s foreign policy is a monumental failure

But of course, if we are to give a title to all of these actions, it is failure. He failed in all these attempts! He failed to break the will of the Palestinian people, and that is why today no one talks about the Deal of the Century anymore. Where did it go? In the past, when the Deal of the Century was taking shape, I said it was based on 3 pillars: 1. Trump, 2. Netanyahu and 3. (Saudi Crown Prince) Bin Salman. Today, with the grace of God, Trump will go. Either he will leave or he will take the United States in his downfall if he does not recognize the results. The 2nd pillar, Netanyahu, is now in a worse situation than ever. Even with Trump’s presence, he was at the lowest point in his entire political history, and he’s doing even worse now. The same goes for Bin Salman, who is perhaps the most worried of all among the leaders of the region. Who knows if Biden will live up to his election promises to punish Bin Salman and indict him for Khashoggi’s murder and (gruesome) dismemberment with a saw, end US support for the Saudi war in Yemen and stop selling him weapons… If Biden keeps his election promises, Mohammad Bin Salman has every reason to be very worried. So there is a defeated pillar, which will leave the scene (Trump), and two shaken pillars, ready to collapse (Netanyahu and Bin Salman). The likelihood of fall is greatest for Netanyahu, because the political system of the usurping entity (racialist democracy) is different from that of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (absolute monarchy). And this Deal of the Century will disappear with its pillars. The will of the Palestinian people has not been broken despite all the difficulties, the state of siege, the punishments, the suffering. Iran’s will has not been broken, despite the harshest sanctions (in history) and the harsh conditions caused by the coronavirus. Syria’s will has not been broken. The Iraqis are struggling to defeat the daily sedition that is manufactured at home [via US attempts to revive ISIS, etc.]. In Lebanon, we have defeated sedition. I will speak (in more detail) about Lebanon in the last part (of my speech). In Venezuela, (Trump) failed, he failed in Cuba, he failed in North Korea, he failed to subdue China, and he failed, failed and failed (everywhere). Overall, the headline (of Trump’s foreign policy) is (universal) failure.

In the Middle East, no one will regret the assassin of Qassem Soleimani

That’s why I’ll draw two conclusions from this (short) presentation. The first conclusion is that yes, on a personal level, I am happy with the departure, the fall, the humiliating fall of Trump. We don’t care about the new administration, they are all the same, (US foreign policy) will not change. But we have every reason to be happy (about Trump’s defeat), especially given the crime that I left last in the (long list) of his crimes, the (biggest) crime of our time that Trump committed by assassinating the Grand General Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and the Grand General Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, his (multiple) assaults against Iraq and Iran, and the fact that he publicly bragged about this crime. Even during his election campaign I was following (his speeches), on several occasions he pointed out (with pride) to this heinous crime he committed. Therefore, on an emotional level, we have every reason –no one can stop anyone (from rejoicing)– to rejoice in this humiliating defeat of Trump, inflicted by his own people. We don’t pretend we brought him down. It was his (own) people who brought him down. This (American) people whom Trump also demeaned and humiliated, as he strove to humiliate his allies and friends, and continued his aggression against peoples around the world. So much for the emotional level.

Trump demonstrated the weakness of the United States

But at a practical level, we need to know, through our assessment of these four years (of Trump’s rule), that under such an aggressive (US) government, having such a high level of tyranny and willingness to enter into war… Because it is obvious that the possibility of the Trump administration going to war was higher and will remain higher than that of the next administration. This administration was very inclined to go to war. They had no caution, no limits. Despite this, our peoples and the Axis of Resistance have persisted in their determination (to resist), and have succeeded in thwarting (Trump’s plans), and in preventing this project from materializing and achieving (its goals). It means that our will is stronger than their tyranny, stronger than their blockade, stronger than their arrogance. This means that (despite everything) Trump or his government can say, or (even) the government to come, the USA are not a manifest destiny, and the peoples of the world, the governments of the world and the oppressed of the world can stand up and say “No!” (to Washington’s diktats), (and successfully resist) whatever the consequences. And in the end, it is (the peoples of the world) who are victorious. And as for him (Trump) who fought them, assaulted them, and lashed out at them, it is he who will be defeated, humiliated and broken. This must also be one of the lessons of these elections.

Anything can happen in the last two months of the Trump administration

The last thing I want to say about the election concerns what’s left of the last two months (of the Trump administration). Because it has been said in the media that top Pentagon officials have expressed their fears (of a war before Trump’s term ends), as has the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi), and other US officials in the region. Many said that by sacking his Secretary of State for Defense (Mark Esper), replacing him with another (Christopher C. Miller), who became Acting Secretary of State for Defense, he was preparing to do something for the past two months. But what? This is a big question that torments the whole world. I don’t know what he can do in those two months, but anything is possible. With someone like Trump, you have to expect anything. It may be that this sacking was just an impulsive act due to his injured ego, because he figured that Secretary of State Esper was not always docile, that he was opposed to certain things that Trump wanted to do and had prepared his resignation letter, and therefore Trump ate Esper at lunch before Esper ate Trump at dinner. It is entirely possible, it would not be surprising (on the part of a narcisstic buffoon like Trump).

But it is also possible that this move has to do with major and dangerous decisions Trump is about to make. Among these major and dangerous decisions, the whole world immediately thought of the possibility of action outside the United States. Because there are two hypotheses. Either he sacked Esper because last time, when there were (massive) demonstrations (in the United States), and Trump wanted to send the army to suppress the demonstrators, this Secretary of State threatened to resign as far as I can remember, or at least he was opposed to the intervention of the army, I am sure he was against it. I heard he threatened to quit. And maybe Trump saw that one of the reasons for his defeat was that he couldn’t put an end to (these protests) once and for all in recent months, due to (the expectation of dangerous) internal repercussions (if the army had intervened). And it is well known that the main reasons for Trump’s downfall are domestic reasons. Maybe Trump blames Esper for his defeat, and takes revenge on him by punishing him like that. But on the other hand, Esper’s sacking may have been due to Trump’s willingness to use US armed forces inside the US (to stay in power), it’s a possible hypothesis. And the other assumption is (that Trump is going to make a major and dangerous decision) outside the United States: the Republican Party, the far right and their ally Israel (may be thinking) that they should do now something important in the Middle East that they haven’t been able to do in these 4 years, and that they want to catch up in the last two months. This is also a possibility. I have no preference (to favor either of these hypotheses), it takes analysis and these are new things that have just come out, but there may be nothing (serious behind it all), it may be a domestic matter and it may be that something (big) is brewing outside (and the main assumption would be an attack against Iran). Everything is possible.

See the New York Times on November 16th: Trump Sought Options for Attacking Iran

Resistance Axis remains on high alert, ready for any US-Israeli war

Within the Resistance Axis, states, governments, rulers, Presidents, Resistance factions, and Resistance Axis peoples, to say the least, because we are part of it, I call them all to vigilance, to be wakeful, to be careful. In everything we say, in everything we do, in everything we follow (closely), we must be attentive and watchful, take our precautions (and prepare for anything), because that is what wisdom and reason require from us. We must imagine the worst, even if nothing should happen, and be prepared to face it. We must be on high alert during these two months, hoping that with the grace of God they will end well. We must also stand at a high level of preparedness, ready to face any danger, any aggression, any harm, and pay back blow for blow and even more if the imbecility of the United States or Israel goes as far as something like that (a military attack). […]

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Ramzy Baroud on Pompeo’s Designation of BDS as ‘Antisemitic’

Source

November 20, 2020

Ramzy Baroud speaks about Pompeo’s visit to illegal Jewish settlements. (Photo: Video Grab)

The United States Secretary of State has made an unprecedented visit to an Israeli settlement in the illegally occupied West Bank and the disputed Golan Heights – the first chief diplomat from the U.S to do so.

Mike Pompeo visited The Psagot Winery – part of a network of settlements in the West Bank – which are considered illegal under international law.

Well, how significant is this trip? More so, that it comes hot on the heels of the projected victory of President-Elect Joe Biden, a past critic of illegal settlements.

To look into this, we spoke to Skype Dr. Ramzy Baroud, a US-Palestinian journalist, and Editor of the Palestine Chronicle.

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الجغرافيا السياسيّة للتطبيع – دور تركيّ في لبنان؟

ناصر قنديل

Photo of فرصة صفقة القرن لوحدة اللبنانيين

يعرف حكام الخليج أن التطبيع الذي جمعهم بكيان الاحتلال برابط مصيريّ لا ينبع من أي وجه من وجوه المصلحة لحكوماتهم ولبلادهم. فالتطبيع يرفع من درجة المخاطر ولا يخفضها إذا انطلقنا من التسليم بالقلق من مستقبل العلاقة مع إيران، والتطبيع مكاسب صافية لكيان الاحتلال اقتصادياً ومعنوياً وسياسياً وأمنياً، ولذلك فهم يعلمون أنهم قاموا بتسديد فاتورة أميركية لدعم كيان الاحتلال من رصيدهم وعلى حسابهم، ويحملون المخاطر الناجمة عن ذلك وحدهم، خصوصاً أن الأميركي الذي يمهد للانسحاب من المنطقة بمعزل عن تداعيات أزمات الانتخابات الرئاسية ونتائجها، ولذلك فقد تم إطعام حكام الخليج معادلات وهمية لبناء نظام إقليمي يشكل التطبيع ركيزته يحقق لهم توازن قوة يحميهم، فما هو هذا النظام الإقليمي وما هي الجغرافيا السياسية التي يسعى لخلقها؟

تبلورت خلال الأسابيع الماضية صورة الخرائط التي يسعى الأميركي لتسويقها كنواة للنظام الإقليمي الجديد عبر أربعة محاور، الأول محور البحر الأحمر الذي يضمّ مصر والسودان كشريكين في التطبيع، والثاني محور «الشام الجديد» الذي أعلن عنه كحلف أمنيّ اقتصاديّ يضمّ مصر والأردن والعراق، والثالث محور العبور ويضمّ الأردن والسلطة الفلسطينية، والرابع محور الطوق ويضمّ السلطة الفلسطينية والأردن والعراق، فيما يتولى كيان الاحتلال المشاغلة الأمنية لسورية والمقاومة، ويوضع لبنان تحت ضغط الأزمة الاقتصادية والسياسية والفشل الحكوميّ وضغوط ترسيم الحدود.

عملياً، يفقد النظام الإقليمي الموعود كل قيمة فعلية، إذا لم ينجح المحور الرابع الذي يتمثل بالسلطة الفلسطينية والأردن والعراق في الانضمام لخط المواجهة مع محور المقاومة، فالتعقيدات الفلسطينية أمام الجمع بين محور العبور أي حماية قوافل التطبيع العابرة من الكيان الى الخليج وبالعكس، ومحور الطوق الذي يراد منه عزل سورية، كبيرة جداً في ظل التبني الأميركي لخيارين بحدّ أعلى هو تصفية القضية الفلسطينية تحت عنوان مضامين صفقة القرن وحد أدنى هو التفاوض لأجل التفاوض من دون تقديم أي ضيغة قادرة على إنتاج تسوية يمكن قبولها وتسويقها فلسطينياً ويمكن قبولها وتسويقها إسرائيلياً، والأردن المثقل بضغوط القضية الفلسطينية من جهة وبالتشابك العالي ديمغرافياً واقتصادياً وأمنياً مع سورية معرض للانفجار بدوره في حلف عبور قوافل التطبيع في آن واحد، والعراق المطلوب فك ارتباطه العميق بإيران عبر نقل اعتماده على الغاز والكهرباء إلى مصر بدلاً من إيران، وإشراكه بحصار سورية رغم تشابك لا يقل عمقاً بينه وبينها ديمغرافياً واقتصادياً وأمنياً معرّض هو الآخر للانفجار تحت هذه الضغوط.

المشاغلة الإسرائيلية على جبهتي جنوب لبنان والجولان محاولة لرفع معنويات المدعوين للمشاركة في النظام الإقليمي الجديد، بأدوارهم الجديدة، والنجاح الأميركي بالضغط في لبنان وفي سورية يبدو قادراً على شل المبادرة على هاتين الجبهتين، لكن الأكيد أن لا تعديل في موازين القوى الميدانية التي تقلق كيان الاحتلال من جهة، ولا قدرة إسرائيلية على رفع المشاغلة الى درجة الحرب. والأميركي الذي يريد هذا النظام الإقليمي بديلاً لوجوده تمهيداً للانسحاب ليس بوارد هذه الحرب، وتجميد لبنان تحت الضغوط الأميركية يشكل مصدر استنزاف وإرباك للمقاومة، لكنه لا يعدل في مصادر قوتها ولا يعدل في مواقفها، ومزيد من الضغوط المالية والانسداد السياسي سيذهب بلبنان للانفجار وفتح الباب لخيارات تُخرج الوضع عن السيطرة.

التحدي هو في ما سيحدث عندما ينسحب الأميركيون، حيث سينهار البناء الذي يراهن عليه الأميركيون، ويتداعى وضع الأردن والسلطة الفلسطينية والحكومة العراقيّة، ويعود الوضع الى معادلة حرب كبرى لا قيمة لها من دون مشاركة أميركية في ظل العجز الإسرائيلي عن تحمل تبعاتها، أو تسوية أميركية مع محور المقاومة تبدأ من العودة للتفاهم النووي الإيراني، يصير معه ثنائي حكام الخليج وكيان الاحتلال على ضفة الخاسرين ويبدأ المدعوون للانضمام للنظام الإقليمي الحامي للتطبيع بالانسحاب هرباً من شراكة الخسائر.

جغرافيا سياسية ونظام إقليميّ على الورق ستعيش شهوراً قليلة… وتخبزوا بالأفراح.

دور تركيّ في لبنان؟

السياسات الأميركيّة التي تدخل مرحلة التخبّط والمغامرات الخطرة قبل أن تتبلور معالم سياسة جديدة مستقرة تشكل فجوة استراتيجية تتسابق على محاولات تعبئتها القوى الإقليمية التي تحمل مشاريعها المتضاربة تحت سقف السياسات الأميركية، بينما القوى المناوئة لهذه السياسات تئن تحت ضغط الأزمات والعقوبات، لكنها ثابتة على إنجازاتها من جهة، وتترقّب التطوّرات وتسابق المتنافسين على ملء الفراغ من جهة أخرى.

في سورية ولبنان وفلسطين والعراق واليمن ساحات مواجهة بين محور المقاومة وأميركا، وعلى الضفة الأميركيّة من جهة كيان الاحتلال المنخرط في حلف مع دول الخليج، ومن جهة مقابلة النظام التركيّ، لكن في ليبيا مواجهة بين الضفتين الخليجية والتركية، حيث الحلف الخليجي مدعوم بصورة مباشرة من مصر وفرنسا، بينما نجحت تركيا بتظهير حركتها كقوة دعم لموقع روسيا في حرب أنابيب الغاز الدائرة في المتوسط.

في لبنان حاولت فرنسا تظهير مساحة مختلفة عن الحركة الأميركيّة، لكن سرعان ما بدت الحركة الفرنسية تحت السيطرة، وبدا ان مشروع الحكومة الجديدة معلق على حبال الخطط الأميركية للضغط على لبنان سواء في ملف ترسيم الحدود البحرية أو في كل ما يتصل بعناصر قوة لبنان بوجه كيان الاحتلال.

الحلف الخليجيّ الفرنسيّ يبدو رغم تمايز بعض مواقف اطرافه تجاه حزب الله بالنسبة لفرنسا وتجاه سورية بالنسبة للإمارات والبحرين يبدو عاجزاً عن تخطي التمايز الشكلي، بينما نجح الأتراك في أزمتي ليبيا وناغورني قره باغ بتثبيت مواقعهم وفرض التراجع على الثنائي الخليجي الفرنسي، كما نجحوا باستمالة روسيا إلى تقديم التغطية لحركتهم وقطف ثمار الاستثمار تحت سقف الدور الروسي المتعاظم في المنطقة والعالم.

لبنان اليوم في العين التركية وبيدها بعض المال القطري والدعوات لزيارات تركيا وقطر تطال سياسيين وإعلاميين، ومحور المقاومة لم يفتح الباب لمناقشة عرض تركيّ يطال مقايضة دور في لبنان والعراق مقابل تنازلات تركية في سورية فهل ينجح الأتراك باستغلال الطريق المسدود للفرصة التي فتحت لفرنسا وفشلت بالإفادة منها بسبب خضوعها للسقوف الأميركية؟

تركيا وراء الباب طالما المعروض فرنسياً هو استتباع لبنان للسياسات الأميركية بحكومة تنفذ دفتر الشروط الأميركي، وفيه ترسيم الحدود لصالح كيان الاحتلال، والسياسة الخليجية في العراق مشروع فتنة مذهبيّة لاستتباع العراق لخطة التطبيع عبر ثلاثي مصري أردني عراقي يخدم مشروع التطبيع ويحميه ويحاصر سورية، والأتراك ينتبهون لتطلّع روسيا بحذر نحو ملف الغاز اللبناني وموقعه من حرب الأنابيب القائمة في المنطقة ولموقع العراق واتفاقات التسليح التي وقعها العراق مع روسيا وانقلبت عليها الحكومة الجديدة أسوة بالانقلاب على الاتفاق الاقتصاديّ مع الصين!

Revolutionary Changes Awaiting the Middle East?

17.11.2020 

Author: Vladimir Odintsov

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Although some of Donald Trump’s advisers still believe in his possible victory and support his attempts to fight, their number is gradually decreasing. Trump himself also is gradually realising the fact that the election results will not be canceled, and he has lost these elections…

The increasing reality of the failure of Trump’s four-year political activity is forcing politicians in many countries who have orientated towards him to look for a way to resolve their current situation, making adjustments to their rhetoric and actions. A certain group, imitating Trump himself, who has repeatedly abandoned former allies in the name of “his own political game”, are rapidly seeking to reorient themselves to the expected new master of the White House, sending flattering congratulations on “victory” instead of the previous criticism for the recent opponent of Trump in the elections.

As the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung emphasised, “Europe collectively breathed a sigh of relief. The warm reaction of Brussels and representatives of the EU member states has once again confirmed: more than the election of Joe Biden, Europe is happy about the impending departure of President Donald Trump.”

And this is not only a typical reaction for Europe!

Almost all commentary states the obvious fact: the time after Trump will not be the same as the time before Trump. And therefore, the shifting of the “weather vane of political change” is very clearly traced not only in the list of those who have already congratulated Joe Biden “on victory” – even before the official announcement of the highly scandalous and controversial recent presidential elections in the United States – but also in the choice of the words themselves to express servility and plebeian devotion.

Thus, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Joe Biden, calling him “a great friend of Israel.” However most recently, Channel 7 of Israeli television published the results of a national poll, according to which 68% of Israelis expressed their devotion to Trump. Moreover, on November 2, according to Reuters, Israel even held a prayer service for the re-election of Donald Trump. And this is not surprising, since Trump suits Tel Aviv much more. Indeed, it was Trump who on December 6, 2017 recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy there. In May 2018, Trump pulled Washington out of the “nuclear pact” with Tehran. On March 25, 2019, Trump officially recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. On October 15, 2020, Trump held a ceremony to normalize relations between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE in front of the White House in Washington. It was Trump who signed the Justice for Unpaid Survivors Act, which provides for the return of property lost during the Holocaust and other events of the 20th century. He signed a decree on the fight against anti-Semitism on American campuses.

But, in addition to Netanyahu, the leaders of Hamas and the extremist group “Muslim Brotherhood Politics” (banned in Russia – ed.) Sent their congratulations to Biden, calling on the new White House administration to abandon the old Trump policies in the Middle East and “Look towards Palestine.”

According to comments published in recent days by various media outlets, with the arrival of Biden in the White House, one can really expect a significant adjustment to the previous US Middle Eastern policy. In particular, it is believed that Joe Biden will return to the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) Agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, while changing some of the terms of the treaty.

In addition to countering Iran, the next US president will certainly face the need to resolve a number of other crises in the Middle East. As The Jerusalem Post believes, this is first of all, the growing extremism of Turkey, the settlement of the Palestinian problem, the issues in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the great catastrophe in the Sahel and the potential destabilization of Iraq.

According to former US Ambassador to Israel Daniel B. Shapiro, Biden’s undisputed foreign policy initiative related to the Middle East will be the question of creating a Palestinian state. Also, the new head of the White House may cancel the “deal of the century” – the Trump administrations deal to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which was indignantly rejected by the Palestinian authorities and a number of Muslim countries.

A possible adjustment of Trump’s Middle East policy by Biden is already, belligerently expected in Tel Aviv. On November 5, 2020, Israeli Settlement Minister Tsakhi has already voiced threats that the Israeli elite is ready to start a war with the Islamic Republic in response to Washington’s return to the “nuclear pact.”

In Riyadh, Biden’s arrival at the White House is expected with heightened vigilance.

As we are reminded from the November 8, edition of “Al-Arabia”, Biden promised to reconsider relations with Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Hence, even a number of Saudi experts do not exclude that Biden “poses a threat to the crown prince, since he will order the CIA to reveal all the details of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and also force the prince to lift the blockade from Qatar, stop arming Riyadh with weapons and ammunition for the war in Yemen and compel him to release the detained activists and members of the royal family.” There is even a belief regarding the possible removal of bin Salman from his posts, in connection with which there are unequivocal hints that in this situation the crown prince has only one “weapon to withstand these dangers – rapprochement with Israel.”

Developing on this idea,   the head of the ‘Mossad’, Yossi Cohen, bluntly stated that “normalization of relations with Israel will be a gift from Riyadh to the new US president – regardless of whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden wins,” and that this decision could soften ‘Biden the Democrat’s’ stance on the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).

Be that as it may (and obviously not without taking into account these points) on the evening of November 8, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his heir Prince Muhammad finally congratulated Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their election victory.

It will also be difficult time for Turkey starting when the real possibility of a new president of USA comes to power, as they reacted very sharply to the statements of Joe Biden, who, in an interview with The New York Times, spoke negatively about Recep Erdogan, calling him an “autocrat”, criticised his policy towards the Kurds and supported the Turkish opposition.  Although Joe Biden did this interview back in December 2019, the video of him appeared only on August 15. Now Ankara is preparing for the imposition of a number of sanctions against it on several issues at once, in particular, for Operation Peace Spring against the Syrian Kurds, since Biden may recognise them as their main ally in Syria. Ankara also takes into account Biden’s recent calls to increase pressure on the Turkish authorities in order to push them to reduce tensions in relations with Athens: “it is necessary to put pressure on Turkey so that it abandons provocative actions in the region against Greece, as well as threats to use force.”

They also recall how recently Joe Biden demanded that Donald Trump put pressure on Turkey to abandon the decision on the Hagia Sophia issue, saying that Ankara “should open this temple to all confessions.”

Hence how the recent resignation of both the head of the Central Bank   Murat Uysal, and the Minister of Finance and Treasury of Turkey Berat Albayrak (who was Erdogan’s son-in-law) gave rise to active discussions of the processes that have begun in the highest echelons of power against the background of the expected change of the US presidential administration.  After all, the previous head of the Central Bank worked at Halkbank, the investigation around which may enter an active phase under the new administration, and Albayrak may be connected with the “Halkbank case”. Recall that in January 2018, a court in New York found Halkbank Deputy Chairman Hakan Atilla guilty of the fact that he and the bank itself provided intermediary services in the transfer of funds received by the Iranian leadership from the sale of oil and gas.

The Middle East has always been an issue for US presidents, many administrations come to power wanting to “do something” about the region, but the problems and conflicts are not diminishing. Therefore, today many are asking the question: will Biden become the president who is really ready to make this region better and not just another inhabitant of the Oval Office?

Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook“.

Israeli Wings Over Syria. Trump’s Farewell Strike On Iran

Source

The Israeli Air Force is once again bombing targets in Syria amid growing turbulence in the Greater Middle East.

Early on November 18, the Israeli Air Force conducted a series of strikes on targets in Syria. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that the strikes hit “warehouses, command posts and military complexes, and batteries of surface-to-air missiles” belonging to the Syrian Army and the Iranian Quds Force. In total, the strikes reportedly hit 8 targets including the following:

  • an alleged Iranian military complex near Damascus International Airport;
  • some mysterious secret military barracks which act as a housing complex for senior Iranian officials as well as visiting delegations;
  • a command post for Division 7 of the Syrian Army which allegedly cooperates with the Quds Force;
  • surface-to-air missile launchers which had fired in the direction of the Israeli jets during the strikes.

The Israeli side claimed that the strikes came in response to the placement of explosive charges near the contact line between the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights and Syrian-controlled territory. According to IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman, the anti-personnel mines discovered on November 17th were actually planted several weeks before “by local Syrians under the command of Iranian Quds Force.”

“We have long been prepared for the possibility of terror attacks in the northern sector,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said commenting on the attack. “The IDF has the capabilities and the determination to respond severely to any incident both on the Lebanese and Syrian fronts… I say clearly: Syria is responsible for what occurs on its territory.”

In their turn, the Syrian state media reported that the Syrian military had activated its air defense forces in response to the Israeli aggression claiming that a number of missiles were intercepted.  According to the Syian Ministry of Defense, three service members were killed and another one was injured as a result of the strikes. Sources loyal to Israel and militant groups operating in Syria claim that at least 10 Iranian-backed fighters were killed.

Israel justifies its recent attack on Syria with the need to respond to Iranian-backed ‘terror plots’. A more realistic version would be that Tel Aviv, concerned by the reported loss of Donald Trump in the US presidential election, has been trying to exploit the potential last months of the Trump administration’s unconditional support to deliver as much damage as possible to its regional opponents .

Meanwhile, according to reports in US mainstream media, Mr. Donald Trump, well known for his hardcore pro-Israeli stance, is now even considering a plan of strikes on Iranian nuclear objects before he possibly leaves office.

Trump reportedly requested his top aides to provide him with “options” for attacking Iran’s main nuclear site, Natanz, as Iran continues to increase its stockpile of low-enriched uranium as a part of its gradual withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, which the Trump administration had itself destroyed by unilaterally withdrawing from it. The main options, according to reports, are, as always, an old-school cruise missile strike or a massive cyber-attack. The Iranian leadership has already promised a ‘crushing response’ to any kind of aggression. And there can be little doubt that Iran, which already has the experience of shooting down US military drones over the Persian Gulf and launching ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq, would turn its promises into reality.

Especially if Mr. Trump is not able to challenge the outcome of the presidential election successfully in court and is forced to accept his loss, it does not look like the last months of the Trump administration are going to be marked by any kind of calm on the international scene.

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