UNDERWHELMING TURKISH INVASION OF LIBYA

South Front

In early 2020, Libya became one of the main hot points in the Greater Middle East with stakes raised by Turkey’s decision to launch a military operation there.

On January 5, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey had sent troops to Libya to support the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). No Turkish soldiers will reportedly participate in direct fighting. Instead, they will create an operation center and coordinate operations. Erdogan pointed that “right now”, there will be “different units serving as a combatant force.” He didn’t say who exactly these troops would be, but it is apparent that these are members of Turkish-backed Syrian militant groups and Turkey-linked private military contractors.

Ankara started an active deployment of members of pro-Turkish Syrian militant groups in Libya in December 2019. So far, over 600 Turkish-backed Syrian fighters have arrived. According to media reports, the officially dispatched Turkish troops included military advisers, technicians, electronic warfare and air defense specialists. Their total number is estimated at around 40-60 personnel.

A day after the Erdogan announcement, on January 6, the defense of the GNA collapsed in Sirte and the GNA’s rival, the Libyan National Army (LNA), took control of the town. Several pro-GNA units from Sirte publicly defected to the LNA with weapons and military equipment, including at least 6 armoured vehicles. With the loss of Sirte, only two large cities – Tripoli and Misrata – formally remained in the hands of the GNA. Misrata and its Brigades in fact remain a semi-independent actor operating under the GNA banner.

From January 7 to January 12, when the sides agreed on a temporary ceasefire proposed in a joint statement of the Turkish and Russian presidents, the LNA continued offensive operations against GNA forces near Tripoli and west of Sirte capturing several positions there. The GNA once again demonstrated that it is unable to take an upper hand in the battle against forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

The GNA formally requested “air, ground and sea” military support from Turkey on December 26th, 2019, in the framework of the military cooperation deal signed by the sides in November. On January 2, 2020, the Turkish Parliament approved the bill allowing troop deployment in Libya. This move did not change the situation strategically. Even before the formal approval, Ankara already was engaged in the conflict. It sent large quantities of weapons and military equipment, including “BMC Kirpi” armoured vehicles, deployed Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles at airfields near Tripoli and Misrata, and sent operators and trainers in order to assist GNA forces.

Turkey could increase military supplies, deploy additional private military contractors, military advisers and special forces units, but it has no safe place to deploy own air group to provide the GNA with a direct air support like Russia did for pro-Assad forces in Syria. Approximately 90% of Libya is under the LNA control. Tripoli and Misrata airports are in a strike distance for the LNA. Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan refuse to play any direct role in the conflict, while the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is still too far away. Egypt, alongside with the UAE and Russia, is a supporter of the LNA. Therefore, deployment there is out of question.

Turkey operates no aircraft carriers. Its TCG Anadolu amphibious assault ship can be configured as a light aircraft carrier, but the warship isn’t in service yet. It is unclear how Ankara will be able to provide the GNA with an extensive air support without endangering its own aircraft by deploying them close to the combat zone.

Turkey could deploy a naval task force to support the GNA. Nonetheless, this move is risky, if one takes into account the hostile political environment, with Egypt, Cyprus, the UAE and Greece are strictly against any such actions. Additionally, this deployment will go against the interests of other NATO member states such as France and Italy that see the expansion of the Turkish influence as a direct threat to their vital economic interests, especially in the oil business. Warships near the Libyan coast will be put in jeopardy from modern anti-ship measures. Yemen’s Houthis repeatedly proved that missiles could be quite an effective tool to combat a technologically advanced enemy. In the worst-case scenario, the Turkish Navy can suffer notable losses, and the risk of this is too real to tangible to overlook.

Another unlikely option is a large-scale ground operation that will require an amphibious landing. Turkey has several landing ships, the biggest of which are the two Bayraktar-class amphibious warfare ships (displacement – 7,254 tons). There are also the Osman Gazi-class landing ship (3,700 tons), two Sarucabey-class landing ships (2,600 tons). Other landing ships, albeit active, are outdated. With 5 modern landing ships, any landing operation will endanger Turkish forces involved, keeping in mind the complex diplomatic environment and the LNA that will use all means and measures that it has to prevent such a scenario.

In these conditions, the most likely scenario of Turkey’s military operation was the following:

  • Deployment of a limited number of specialists;
  • Public employment of private military contractors’
  • Redeployment of members of pro-Turkish proxy groups from Syria to Libya;
  • Diplomatic and media campaign to secure Ankara’s vital interests and find a political solution that would prevent the LNA’s final push to capture Tripoli. Turkey sees the Libyan foothold and the memorandum on maritime boundaries signed with the GNA as the core factors needed to secure own national interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This is exactly what Ankara did. On January 8, Turkish and Russian Presidents released a joint statement in which they called for reaching cease-fire in Libya by midnight of January 12. The joint statement emphasized the worsening situation in Libya and its negative impact on “the security and stability of Libya’s wider neighborhood, the entire Mediterranean region, as well as the African continent, triggering irregular migration, further spread of weapons, terrorism and other criminal activities including illicit trafficking,” and called for the resumption of a political dialogue to settle the conflict. The LNA initially rejected the ceasefire initiative, but then accepted it. This signals that key LNA supporters agreed on the format proposed by the Turkish and Russian leaders. On January 13, the delegations of the GNA, the LNA, and Turkey arrived in Moscow for talks on a wider ceasefire deal. The deal was not reached and clashes near Tripoli resumed on January 14.

Russian and Turkish interests are deeply implicated. Some experts speculated the contradictions within the Libyan conflict could become a stone that will destroy the glass friendship between Ankara and Moscow. However, the joint Russian-Turkish diplomatic efforts demonstrate that the sides found a kind of understanding and possibly agreed on the division of spheres of influence. If the Moscow negotiations format allows de-escalating the situation and putting an end to the terrorism threat and violence in Libya, it will become another success of the practical approach employed by the both powers in their cooperation regarding the Middle East questions.

The 2011 NATO intervention led by France, Italy and the United States destroyed the Libyan statehood in order to get control of the country’s energy resources. Now, Egypt, the UAE, Russia and Turkey are driving France, Italy and the US out of Libya in order to put an end to the created chaos and secure own interests.

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اجتماعا قم وأبو ظبي: مواجهة واشنطن أم الرضوخ؟

العراق الأخبار

 الثلاثاء 14 كانون الثاني 2020

تتمسّك واشنطن بإعادة التموضع/ الانتشار في العراق، وليس الإنسحاب منه (أ ف ب )

بين اجتماع فصائل المقاومة العراقية في إيران، واجتماع بعض القوى السُنّية في الإمارات، يقف العراق أمام مفترق طرق: الأوّل مواجهةٌ سياسيّةٌ ـــــ ميدانيّةٌ ضد الولايات المتحدة، والثاني الخضوع لرغبات إدارة دونالد ترامب، بدءاً بـ«تفهّم» انتشار القوات الأميركية، وصولاً إلى المضيّ في تقسيم البلاد وفق أقاليم طائفيةبغداد | شهدت مدينة قم في إيران اجتماعاً أمس ضمّ قادة فصائل المقاومة العراقية لبحث «آليات إخراج قوات الاحتلال الأميركي من البلاد»، حضره زعيم «التيّار الصدري»، مقتدى الصدر، والأمين العام لـ«منظمة بدر»، هادي العامري، والأمين العام لـ«حركة النجباء»، أكرم الكعبي، والمعاون الجهادي للأمين العام لـ«عصائب أهل الحق»، ليث الخزعلي، والأمين العام لـ«كتائب سيد الشهداء»، أبو آلاء الولائي، والأمين العام لـ«كتائب حزب الله ــــ العراق». بينما اتفق المجتمعون على «تشكيل لجنة تنسيقية تنظّم عمل فصائل المقاومة»، و«تفعيل التنسيق الإعلامي والاجتماعي بينها»، قالت مصادر سياسية إن «الاجتماع أسفر فقط عن موقف موحّدٍ يؤكّد ضرورة إخراج القوات الأجنبية»، مضيفة في حديث إلى «الأخبار»، أن «الإشارة الحقيقية لبدء العمل المقاوم هو الردّ الرسمي الأميركي على دعوة الحكومة العراقية لجدولة انسحاب قواتها»، وأن طبيعة هذا «الردّ» ستكون «إنهاءً للجهود الدبلوماسية، وإيذاناً بالعمل المقاوم». وفي غضون ذلك، صدر تحذير عن «كتلة الفتح» (تجمّع برلماني يضمّ القوى والنوّاب المؤيدين لـ«الحشد») من تصعيد شعبي ومواجهات عسكرية في حال «مماطلة» القوات الأميركية، حيال مطالبة الحكومة بـ«اتخاذ التدابير لإنهاء وجود القوات الأجنبية، ولا سيما بعد قرار البرلمان».

إذاً، تترقّب القوى والفصائل نتائج جهود رئيس الوزراء المستقيل، عادل عبد المهدي، في تنفيذ القرار البرلماني، وقدرته على إلزام، أو التفاهم مع، واشنطن على ذلك وفق مدّة محدّدة. ولذا، يأتي اجتماع قيادات «الحشد» لبحث الأولويّات الأمنيّة والعسكرية. لكن ذلك لا يخفي «تضارب» الاستحقاقات بالنسبة إلى الفريق الحاكم، إذ ثمّة من يسعى إلى حسم الجدل القائم إزاء الحكومة المستقيلة، بين التمديد لها بحجّة «الأمر الواقع»، والبحث عن خيار «غير متوافرٍ» حتى الآن.

تترقّب القوى والفصائل نتائج جهود الحكومة المستقيلة، في تنفيذ القرار البرلماني

في المقابل، تسعى واشنطن إلى استيعاب «الغضب» العراقي، والالتفاف على القرار البرلماني، شاهرة أسلحتها التقليدية: التهويل بالعقوبات، وورقة التقسيم، والفتنة، في محاولة لـ«شراء الوقت»، ما يتيح لها «البحث عن أماكن مناسبة لإعادة التموضع/انتشار قواتها» إن أصرّت بغداد على خروج تلك القوات. فالمؤشّرات تعكس نيّة واشنطن إعادة التموضع/الانتشار، وليس الانسحاب، رغم تمسّك بغداد بقرار البرلمان. هنا، ترجّح مصادر حكوميّة عراقيّة انتشار تلك القوات في المحافظات الغربية والشماليّة، والابتعاد عن «مرمى» نيران الفصائل في المحافظات الوسطى والجنوبية، وهذا ما أكّده وزير الخارجية الأميركي، مايك بومبيو، عندما قال أمس إنهم سيعملون مع القادة العراقيين على «تحديد المكان الأنسب إزاء نشر القوات الأميركية». على الخطّ نفسه، تسعى واشنطن وحلفاؤها الأوروبيون إلى أن يتصدّر خطاب حلفائهم المحليين المشهد السياسي، وهو الخطاب الداعي إلى بقاء القوات الأميركية بحجّة «ضرورتها»، واعتبار انسحابها مطلباً إيرانيّاً وليس عراقيّاً. وعند هذه النقطة، قال بومبيو: «أجريت اتصالات بـ50 شخصية عراقية، من كل الطوائف، بما فيها شخصيات شيعيّة، وكلّها تقدّر، لو بشكل غير علني، الدور الأميركي في ‫العراق».

هذا المسعى توازيه تحضيراتٌ داخلية تخدم الرؤية الأميركية، وتقضي بـ«الاستعداد» لأي طرح تقسيمي للبلاد على أساس الأقاليم الطائفية. فما جرى في الإمارات يؤكّد ذلك. مقرّبون ممن حضر الاجتماع، من رئيس البرلمان محمد الحلبوسي، وزعيم «حزب الحل» جمال الكربولي، ومحافظ صلاح الدين السابق النائب أحمد الجبوري، وسعد البزاز، وآخرين، أكّدوا أن المجتمعين ناقشوا «استعداداتهم اللوجستية لإقامة إقليم سُنّي، في أي لحظة»، خاصّة أن البعض يُمَنّي نفسه بأن يكون العراق جزءاً من «صفقة القرن» الأميركية. وما يعزّز هذا الطرح أن هذا «الإقليم» سيشكّل «البيئة الحامية» لقواعد القوات الأميركية التي ستنتشر هناك، خاصّةً أن الأخيرة عمدت منذ الصيف الماضي إلى تدريب عدد كبير من شباب محافظة الأنبار بـ«حجّة» مواجهة تنظيم «داعش». هذا الحراك رفضته «دار الإفتاء العراقي»، التي قالت في بيانٍ أمس إن «أمراء القبائل وشيوخ العشائر في المحافظة الغربية جميعاً، والمتمثلة بالمذهب السُنّي، تعلن رفضها القاطع لما صدر عن بعض أعضاء تحالف القوى، وترفض رفضاً قطعياً وجود أي قوات عسكرية في العراق، أو فقرة اسمها أقاليم»، معتبرة ذلك «خيانةً لتاريخ العراق، وإضعافاً لمكانته بين العالمين العربي والإسلامي». كذلك، علّق الخزعلي على هذا الحراك بالقول إن «أرض العراق واحدة غير قابلة للتقسيم، بشعبها ومدنها ومحافظاتها».

فيديوات متعلقة

الرفض الاميركي بالانسحاب من العراق وخيارات الرد
مفاعيل الرد الايراني ودور محور المقاومة
إنجاز الرد الايراني والارباك الاميركي

مقالات متعلقة

Gen. Soleimani Key Role in Counter-Terrorism Admitted by All Sides: Australian Prof.

Gen. Soleimani's Key Role in Counter-Terrorism Admitted by All Sides: Australian Prof.
A senior professor and political analyst based in Australia deplored the US move to assassinate Iran’s Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, as “a cowardice attack” and said the revered commander’s key role in combating US-backed terrorism has been acknowledged by all sides.

January, 08, 2020 – 19:16 

Source

“General Soleimani is acknowledged by all sides to have been the key commander in organizing and helping coordinate the campaign against those terrorist groups which were supported by US allies as they had freely admitted these days US allies at one stage from Qatar but also from the (United Arab) Emirates, from Saudi in particular, and from Turkey later on, from Israel as well in the South of Syria for example,” Professor Tim Anderson told Tasnim in an interview.

Professor Tim Anderson is a distinguished author and Director of the Sydney-based Centre for Counter-Hegemonic Studies. He has worked at Australian universities for more than 30 years, teaching, researching and publishing on development, human rights and self-determination in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East. In 2014, he was awarded Cuba’s medal of friendship. He is Australia and Pacific representative for the Latin America based Network in Defence of Humanity. His most recent books are: Land and Livelihoods in Papua New Guinea (2015), The Dirty War on Syria (2016), now published in ten languages; and Countering War Propaganda of the Dirty War on Syria (2017). His next book Axis of Resistance is due out in 2019.

The following is the full text of Anderson comments:

The assassination and murder of General Qasem Soleimani was a terrible crime, a terrible act of terrorism, and a cowardice attack because it came when US occupation forces in Iraq were pretending to be there in the course of fighting ISIS or Daesh with which they coordinated with Iran and with Iraqi forces. So it was a treacherous attack and an unprovoked attack on people who ostensibly they were working with against the scourge of terrorism in Iraq. That was the pretext on which US forces came back into Iraq in 2014.

Now, the excuse that the Trump officials have given for this attack, this assassination, and also the murder of more than 30 Iraqi soldiers in one of the militia under the government’s forces, was that there was an imminent attack now this doctrine of an imminent attack that’s been called the Bethlehem doctrine. It’s the same type of rationale that was used for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. They claimed that the government of Saddam Hussein was just about to attack either the US or Britain or both. Now, it’s been stretched by this advisor called Daniel Bethlehem, who was brought in to Tony Blair’s office and Pompeo, one of Trump’s officials, has used it as the pretext after the fact for the assassinations, for the murders. They claim that there was an imminent attack on US people.

The second pretext, the second lie that’s been put about is that General Soleimani was somehow responsible for hundreds of deaths of Americans. There’s no basis been set up for this the former British diplomat Craig Murray has pointed out. It’s quite a lie. It may be that general Soleimani helped the resistance forces to the Iraq invasion after 2003 but anyone in Iraq was entitled to resist the US illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. So the pretext put about for the assassination are quite false in the same manner as the false pretext was set up for the disgraceful and criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Now, the work that General Soleimani had done in that time since soon after 2003, helping combat the scourge of terrorism introduced by the allies of the US and the US itself in Iraq and Syria for example but also Lebanon, Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, the other proxy forces that were introduced to divide and weaken Iraq and then to do the same to Syria. General Soleimani was a leading commander in that. He was also training other commanders from the beginning in Syria, for example, from the beginning in Iraq you recall the huge wave of terrorism that happened in Iraq that began in 2006 under al-Qaeda in Iraq or the Islamic State in Iraq which went on to become ISIS or Daesh.

General Soleimani is acknowledged by all sides to have been the key commander in organizing and helping coordinate the campaign against those terrorist groups which were supported by US allies as they had freely admitted these days US allies at one stage from Qatar but also from the (United Arab) Emirates, from Saudi in particular, and from Turkey later on, from Israel as well in the South of Syria for example. So, General Soleimani was advising the resistance to Israel in Lebanon. He was a friend of the Palestinians. They’re mourning him now in Palestine.

He played an important role in many of those early battles in Syria against the terrorist groups; Nusra in the western Syria and Daesh in the east and the course against Daesh when they were about to take over Iraq in 2014 and the Americans reentered under the pretext of fighting Daesh. Of course, they did nothing of the sort. It was General Soleimani and the people he coordinated with, the Iraqi people, the Iraqi militia, that were put together to join with the Iraqi army after 2014 when the US-sponsored army was incapable of responding to that threat, General Soleimani was there, of course also defending Iran’s interests but being a tremendously respected and leading figure in the fight against terrorism in the region. Now, we see that this act of terrorism, this cowardly act of terrorism by the Trump regime and undoubtedly there are forces on President Trump, on the one hand, to try and persist with this idea of trying to neutralize the influence of Iran in the region but perhaps also for some short-term political gains in terms of his own domestic sphere.

He’s done nothing over the sort of course. He’s exposed an extraordinary stupidity which I admit I didn’t see. I didn’t see it was as bad as that I thought Trump was a crude man, an ugly man, in many respects but he hadn’t initiated new wars and he seems to have miscalculated very badly because he has forced Iran to respond, to take a revenge because this is such an insult to Iran as a nation. I can’t see any alternative. They’ll be seen as completely useless, completely weak if they don’t make some response. On the other hand, any response directly to US interests in the region is going to assure some sort of reaction as well.

لماذا الحرب الأهلية ممنوعة في لبنان؟

يناير 3, 2020

د.وفيق إبراهيم

لكن حزب الله الذي يؤدي أدواراً داخلية وخارجية تنتج استقراراً وطنياً في لبنان، يدرك مدى استهدافه من الأميركيين والموالين لهم في الداخل،ما يدفعه لبذل جهود رصد ميداني استطاعت حتى الآن الكشف عن تنسيق بين تنظيمات إرهابية سورية وبين بعض المندسين في انتفاضة اللبنانيين.

كما أماطت اللثام عن جهود تركية لاستعمال بعض «التنظيمات الإسلامية» في سبيل تأمين أهمية للدورالعثماني في لبنان، وتحفظ الحزب عن كشف معلومات تتعلق بعلاقات بين دول عربية على رأسها الإمارات، مع تيارات في الانتفاضة.

هذا الىجانب تحرك كبير لمخابرات إسرائيلية تعمل بطريقتين: مباشرة وأخرى من خلال فلسطينيين يعملون معها ولديهم تأثيرهم على مجموعات من المخيمات، هنا يجوز التمعن قليلاً في هوية الكثير من المتظاهرين من جهة طريق الجديدة عند حدودها مع شارع بربور مقرّ حركة أمل ومدى محاولات افتعال فتنة لم تلقَصداها عند جماعة «الأستاذ». هذا من دون نسيان جهود الجيش اللبناني في هذا المجال والتنويه بها.

يتبين أن الحرب الأهلية ممنوعة من جانب حزب الله وحلفائه ولن ينجروا إليها مهما تصاعدت الاضطرابات المفتعلة. لكن المطلوب الاستعجال في تشكيل الحكومة للخروج من حالة «الفراغ» الدستوري الحكومي المعمول عليها أميركياً من لبنان إلى العراق، أي أنها مُصنّعة للوصول إلى الفوضى والاحتراب الداخلي، والغاء الدور الداخلي والخارجي لحزب الله، تمهيداً لإعادة فبركة لبنان جديد، يقوم على تهجير المسيحيين منه، كما قال الرئيس الفرنسي السابق ساركوزي للكاردينال الراعي من أن موقع مسيحيي الشرق هو في الغرب وتوطين الفلسطينيين وقسم من السوريين. هذا ما يؤكد أن المعركة الحالية، هي حرب الدفاع عن لبنان لمنع إلغائه ووضعه في خدمة مصالح «اسرائيل» وبعض الدول العربية المتواطئة معها والمشروع الاميركي في الشرق الأوسط.

MILITARY AND POLITICAL TRENDS OF 2019 THAT WILL SHAPE 2020

South Front

In the year 2019 the world was marked with a number of emerging and developing crises. The threat of terrorism, conflicts in the Middle East, expanding instability in South America, never-ending military, political and humanitarian crises in Africa and Asia, expansion of NATO, insecurity inside the European Union, sanction wars and sharpening conflicts between key international players. One more factor that shaped the international situation throughout the year was the further collapse of the existing system of international treaties. The most widely known examples of this tendency are the collapse of the INF and the US announcement of plans to withdraw from the New START. Meanwhile, the deterioration of diplomatic mechanisms between key regional and global actors is much wider than these two particular cases. It includes such fields as NATO-Russia relations, the US posture towards Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, unsuccessful attempts to rescue vestiges of the Iran nuclear deal, as well as recent setbacks in the diplomatic formats created to de-escalate the Korean conflict.

One of the regions of greatest concern in the world, is the Middle East. The main destabilizing factors are the remaining terrorist threat from al-Qaeda and ISIS, the crises in Libya, Syria and Iraq, the ongoing Saudi invasion of Yemen, the deepening Israeli-Arab conflict, and a threat of open military confrontation involving the US and Iran in the Persian Gulf. These factors are further complicated by social and economic instability in several regional countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and even Iran.

After the defeat of ISIS, the war in Syria entered a low intensity phase. However, it appears that the conflict is nowhere near its end and the country remains a point of instability in the region.

ISIS cells are still active in the country. The announced US troop withdrawal appeared to be only an ordinary PR stunt as US forces only changed their main areas of presence to the oil-rich areas in northeastern Syria. Washington exploits its control over Syrian resources and influence on the leadership of the Syrian Kurds in order to effect the course of the conflict. The Trump administration sees Syria as one of the battlegrounds in the fight against the so-called Iranian threat.

The province of Idlib and its surrounding areas remain the key stronghold of radical militant groups in Syria. Over the past years, anti-government armed groups suffered a series of defeats across the country and withdrew towards northwestern Syria. The decision of the Syrian Army to allow encircled militants to withdraw towards Idlib enabled the rescue of thousands of civilians, who were being used by them as human shields in such areas as Aleppo city and Eastern Ghouta. At the same time, this increased significantly the already high concentration of militants in Greater Idlib turning it into a hotbed of radicalism and terrorism. The ensuing attempts to separate the radicals from the so-called moderate opposition and then to neutralize them, which took place within the framework of the Astana format involving Turkey, Syria, Iran and Russia, made no progress.

The Summer-Fall advance of the Syrian Army in northern Hama and southern Idlib led to the liberation of a large area from the militants. Nevertheless, strategically, the situation is still the same. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, controls most of the area. Turkish-backed ‘moderate militants’ act shoulder to shoulder with terrorist groups.

Turkey is keen to prevent any possible advances of the government forces in Idlib. Therefore it supports further diplomatic cooperation with Russia and Iran to promote a ‘non-military’ solution of the issue. However it does not seem to have enough influence with the Idlib militant groups, in particular HTS, to impose a ceasefire on them at the present time. Ankara could take control of the situation, but it would need a year or two that it does not have. Therefore, a new round of military escalation in the Idlib zone seems to be only a matter of time.

Syria’s northeast is also a source of tensions. Turkey seized a chunk of territory between Ras al-Ayn and Tell Abyad in the framework of its Operation Peace Spring. The large-scale Turkish advance on Kurdish armed groups was halted by the Turkish-Russian ‘safe zone’ agreement and now the Syrian Army and the Russian Military Police are working to separate Kurdish rebels from Turkish proxies and to stabilize Syria’s northeast. If this is successfully done and the Assad government reaches a political deal with Kurdish leaders, conditions for further peaceful settlement of the conflict in this part of the country will be created. It should be noted that Damascus has been contributing extraordinary efforts to restore the infrastructure in areas liberated from terrorists by force or returned under its control by diplomatic means. In the eyes of the local population, these actions have an obvious advantage over approaches of other actors controlling various parts of Syria.

Israel is another actor pursuing an active policy in the region. It seeks to influence processes which could affect, what the leadership sees as, interests of the state. Israel justifies aggressive actions in Syria by claiming to be surrounded by irreconcilable enemies, foremost Iran and Hezbollah, who try to destroy Israel or at least diminish its security. Tel Aviv makes all efforts to ensure that, in the immediate vicinity of its borders, there would be no force, non-state actors, or states whose international and informational activities or military actions might damage Israeli interests. This, according to the Israeli vision, should ensure the physical security of the entire territory currently under the control of Israel and its population.

The start of the Syrian war became a gift for Israel. It was strong enough to repel direct military aggression by any terrorist organization, but got a chance to use the chaos to propel its own interests. Nonetheless, the rigid stance of the Israeli leadership which became used to employing chaos and civil conflicts in the surrounding countries as the most effective strategy for ensuring the interests of the state, was delivered a blow. Israel missed the moment when it had a chance to intervene in the conflict as a kind of peacemaker, at least on the level of formal rhetoric, and, with US help, settle the conflict to protect its own interests. Instead, leaders of Israel and the Obama administration sabotaged all Russian peace efforts in the first years of the Russian military operation and by 2019, Tel Aviv had found itself excluded from the list of power brokers in the Syrian settlement. Hezbollah and Iran, on the other hand, strengthened their position in the country after they, in alliance with Damascus and Russia, won the war on the major part of Syrian territory, and Iran through the Astana format forged a tactical alliance with Turkey.

Iran and Hezbollah used the preliminary outcome of the conflict in Syria, and the war on ISIS in general, to defend their own security and to expand their influence across the region.  The so-called Shia crescent turned from being a myth exploited by Western diplomats and mainstream media into a reality. Iran and Hezbollah appeared to be reliable partners for their regional allies even in the most complicated situations.

Russia’s strategic goal is the prevention of radical Islamists from coming to power. Russia showed itself ready to enter dialogue with the moderate part of the Syrian opposition. Its leadership even demonstrated that it is ready to accept the interests of other actors, the US, Israel, Kurdish groups, Turkey, Iran, and Hezbollah, if this would help in reaching a final deal to settle the conflict.

Summing up the developments of 2019, one might expect that the current low-intensity state of the Syrian conflict would continue for years. However, several factors and developments could instigate the renewal of full-fledged hostilities:

  • A sudden demise or forceful removal of President Bashar al-Assad could create a situation of uncertainty within the patriotic component of the Syrian leadership;
  • Changes within the Russian political system or issues inside Russia which could lead to full or partial withdrawal of support to the Syrian government and withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria;
  • A major war in the Middle East which would turn the entire region into a battlefield. In the current situation, such a war could only start by escalation between the US-Israeli-led bloc and Iran.

The Persian Gulf and the Saudi-Yemen battleground are also sources of regional instability. In the second half of 2019, the situation there was marked by increased chances of open military confrontation between the US-Israeli-Saudi bloc and Iran. Drone shoot-downs, oil tanker detentions, open military buildups, and wartime-like rhetoric became something common or at least not very surprising. The US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel point to Iran as the main instigator of tensions.

Iran and its allies deny responsibility for the escalation reasonably noting that their actions were a response to aggressive moves by the US-Israeli-Saudi axis. From this point of view, Iran’s decision to limit its commitments to the already collapsed Nuclear Deal, high level of military activity in the Persian Gulf, shoot down of the US Global Hawk spy drone, and increased support to regional Shia groups are logical steps to deter US—led aggression and to solidify its own position in the region. Iran’s main goal is to demonstrate that an open military conflict with it will have a devastating impact to the states which decide to attack it, as well as to the global economy.

The US sanctions war, public diplomatic support of rioters, and the Trump administration’s commitment to flexing military muscle only strengthen Tehran’s confidence that this approach is right.

As to Yemen’s Houthis, who demonstrated an unexpected success in delivering retaliatory strikes to Saudi Arabia, they would continue to pursue their main goal – achieving a victory in the conflict with Saudi Arabia or forcing the Kingdom to accept the peace deal on favorable terms. To achieve this, they need to deliver maximum damage to Saudi Arabia’s economy through strikes on its key military and infrastructure objects. In this case, surprising missile and drone strikes on different targets across Saudi Arabia have already demonstrated their effectiveness.

The September 14 strike on Saudi oil infrastructure that put out of commission half of the Saudi oil output became only the first sign of future challenges that Riyadh may face in case of further military confrontation.

The unsuccessful invasion of Yemen and the confrontation with Iran are not the only problems for Saudi Arabia. The interests and vision of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East have been in conflict for a long time. Nonetheless, this tendency became especially obvious in 2019. The decline of influence of the House of Saud in the region and inside Saudi Arabia itself led to logical attempts of other regional players to gain a leading position in the Arabian Peninsula. The main challenger is the UAE and the House of Maktoum.

Contradictions between Saudi Arabia and the UAE turned into an open military confrontation between their proxies in Yemen. Since August 29th, Saudi Arabia has provided no symmetric answer to the UAE military action against its proxies. It seems that the Saudi leadership has no will or distinct political vision of how it should react in this situation. Additionally, the Saudi military is bogged down in a bloody conflict in Yemen and struggles to defend its own borders from Houthi attacks.

The UAE already gained an upper hand in the standoff with Saudi Arabia in the economic field. This provided motivation for further actions towards expanding its influence in the region.

During the year, Turkey, under the leadership of President Recep Erdogan, continued strengthening its regional positions. It expanded its own influence in Libya and Syria, strengthened its ties with Iran, Qatar, and Russia, obtained the S-400, entered a final phase in the TurkStream project, and even increased controversial drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean. Simultaneously, Ankara defended its national interests -repelling pressure from the United States and getting off with removal from the F-35 program only. Meanwhile, Turkish actions should not be seen as a some tectonic shift in its foreign policy or a signal of ‘great friendship’ with Russia or Iran.

Turkish foreign policy demonstrates that Ankara is not seeking to make ‘friends’ with other regional and global powers. Turkey’s foreign policy is mobile and variable, and always designed to defend the interests of Turkey as a regional leader and the key state of the Turkic world.

Developments in Libya were marked by the strengthening of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and backed by the UAE, Egypt, and to some extent Russia. The LNA consolidated control of most of the country and launched an advance on its capital of Tripoli, controlled by the Government of National Accord. The LNA describes its main goal as the creation of the unified government and the defeat of terrorism. In its own turn, the Government of National Accord is backed by Turkey, Qatar, the USA and some European states. It controls a small part of the country, and, in terms of military force, relies on various militias and even radical armed groups linked with al-Qaeda. Ankara signed with the Tripoli government a memorandum on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, it sees the GNA survival as a factor which would allow it to justify its further economic and security expansion in the region. This clash of interests sets conditions for an escalation of the Libyan conflict in 2020.

Egypt was mostly stable. The country’s army and security forces contained the terrorism threat on the Sinai Peninsula and successfully prevented attempts of radical groups to destabilize the country.

By the end of the year, the Greater Middle East had appeared in a twilight zone lying before a new loop of the seemingly never-ending Great Game. The next round of the geopolitical standoff will likely take place in a larger region including the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Consistently, the stakes will grow involving more resources of states and nations in geopolitical roulette.

The threat that faces Central Asia is particularly severe since the two sets of actors have asymmetrical objectives. Russia and China are rather interested in the political stability and economic success of the region which they view as essential to their own political and security objectives. It is not in the interest of either country to have half a dozen failed states in their immediate political neighborhood, riven by political, economic, and religious conflicts threatening to spread to their own territories. In addition to being a massive security burden to Russia and China, it would threaten the development of their joint Eurasian integration projects and, moreover, attract so much political attention that the foreign policy objectives of both countries would be hamstrung. The effect would be comparable to that of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the US political and military establishment. The monetary price of these wars, the sheer political distraction, wear and demoralization of the armed forces, and the unfortunately frequent killings of civilians amount to a non-tenable cost to the warring party, not to mention damage to US international “soft power” wrought by scandals associated with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and “black sites”. Even now, shock-waves in the US military hierarchy continue to be felt regarding the court-martialed senior-ranking US Navy “SEAL” commando charged for the wanton killing of civilians in Northern Iraq during the US military’s anti-ISIS operations.

By contrast, this dismal scenario would be enough to satisfy the US foreign policy establishment which, at the moment, is wholly dominated by “hawks” determined to assure the continuation of US hegemony.  Preventing the emergence of a multi-polar international system by weakening China and Russia is their desire.  This sets the stage for another round of great power rivalry in Central Asia. While the pattern is roughly the same as during the 19th and late 20th centuries—one or more Anglo-Saxon powers seeking to diminish the power of Russia and/or China—the geography of the battlefield is considerably larger for it encompasses the entirety of post-Soviet Central Asian republics.  Also included is China’s province of Xinjiang which has suddenly attracted considerable Western attention, manifested, as usual, by concern for “human rights” in the region.  Historically, such “concern” usually precedes some form of aggressive action. Therefore the two sets of great power actors—the US and other interested Western powers on the one hand, with Russia and China on the other—are locked in a standoff in the region.

The key security problem is militancy and the spread of terrorism. The US and its NATO partners remain unable to achieve a military victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban reached a level of influence in the region, turning it into a rightful party to any negotiations involving the United States. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that a fully-fledged peace deal can be reached between the sides. The Taliban’s main demand is the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country. For Washington, conceding to this would amount to public humiliation and a forceful need to admit that the superpower lost a war to the Taliban. Washington can achieve a military victory in Afghanistan only by drastically increasing its forces in the country. This will go contrary to Trump’s publicly declared goal – to limit US participation in conflicts all around the world. Therefore, the stalemate will continue with the Taliban and the US sitting at the negotiating table in Qatar, while Taliban forces slowly take control of more and more territory in Afghanistan.

Besides fighting the US-backed government, in some parts of the country, the Taliban even conducts operations against ISIS in order to prevent this group from spreading further. Despite this, around 5,000 ISIS militants operate in Afghanistan’s north, near the border with Tajikistan. Member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization are concerned that ISIS militants are preparing to shift their focus to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Russia. The terrorists are infiltrating CIS states, incorporating with organized crime, creating clandestine cells, brainwashing and recruiting new supporters, chiefly the socially handicapped youth and migrants, [and] training them to carry out terrorist activities. The worsening situation in Central Asia contributes to the spread of radical ideas. Now the main threat of destabilization of the entire Central Asian region comes from Tajikistan. This state is the main target of militants deployed in northern Afghanistan.

Destabilization of Central Asia and the rise of ISIS both contribute to achievement of US geopolitical goals. The scenario could devastate Russia’s influence in the region, undermine security of key Russian regional ally, Kazakhstan, and damage the interests of China. The Chinese, Kazakh, and Russian political leadership understand these risks and engage in joint efforts to prevent this scenario.

In the event of further destabilization of Central Asia, ISIS sleeper cells across the region could be activated and a new ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate could appear on the territory of northern Afghanistan and southern Tajikistan. Russia and China would not benefit from such a development. In the case of China, such instability could expand to its Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, while in Russia the main targets could be the Northern Caucasus and large cities with high numbers of migrant laborers from Central Asian states.

Armenia now together with Georgia became the center of a US soft power campaign to instigate anti-Russian hysteria in the Caucasus. Ethnic groups in this region are traditionally addicted to US mainstream propaganda. On the other hand, the importance of the South Caucasus for Russia decreased notably because of the strong foothold it gained in the Middle East. 2020 is looking to be another economically complicated year for Georgia and Armenia.

Throughout 2019, China consolidated its position as a global power and the main challenger of the United States. From the military point of view, China successfully turned the South China Sea into an anti-access and area-denial zone controlled by its own military and moved forward with its ambitious modernization program which includes the expansion of China’s maritime, airlift, and amphibious capabilities. The balance of power in the Asia-Pacific has in fact shifted and the Chinese Armed Forces are now the main power-broker in the region. China appeared strong enough to fight back against US economic and diplomatic pressure and to repel the Trump Administration’s attempts to impose Washington’s will upon Beijing. Despite economic war with the United States, China’s GDP growth in 2019 is expected to be about 6%, while the yuan exchange rate and the SSE Composite Index demonstrate stability. The United States also tried to pressure China through supporting instability in Hong Kong and by boosting defense aid to Taiwan. However, in both cases, the situation appears to still be within Beijing’s comfort zone.

An interesting consequence of US-led pressure on China is that Washington’s actions provided an impetus for development of Chinese-Russian cooperation. In 2019, Moscow and Beijing further strengthened their ties and cooperation in the economic and military spheres and demonstrated notable unity in their actions on the international scene as in Africa and in the Arctic for example.

As to Russia itself, during the year, it achieved several foreign policy victories.

  • The de-facto diplomatic victory in Syria;
  • Resumption of dialogue with the new Ukrainian regime and the reanimation of the Normandy format negotiations;
  • Improvement of relations with some large European players, like France, Italy, and even Germany;
  • Implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project despite opposition from the US-led bloc;
  • Implementation of the Turkish Stream project with Turkey;
  • Strengthening of the Russian economy in comparison with previous years and the rubble’s stability despite pressure from sanctions. Growth of the Russian GDP for 2019 is expected to be 1.2%, while the Russia Trading System Index demonstrated notable growth from around 1,100 points at the start of the year to around 1,500 by year’s end.

The salient accomplishment of the Russian authorities is that no large terrorist attack took place in the country. At the same time, the internal situation was marked by some negative tendencies. There was an apparent political, media, and social campaign to undermine Chinese-Russian cooperation. This campaign, run by pro-Western and liberal media, became an indicator of the progress in Chinese-Russian relations. Additionally, Russia was rocked by a series of emergencies, corruption scandals linked with law enforcement, the plundering of government funding allocated to the settlement of emergency situations, the space industry, and other similar cases. A number of Russian mid-level officials made statements revealing their real, rent-seeking stance towards the Russian population. Another problem was the deepening social stratification of the population. Most of the citizens experienced a decrease in their real disposable income, while elites continued concentrating margin funds gained through Russia’s successful actions in the economy and on the international level. These factors, as well as fatigue with the stubborn resistance of entrenched elites to being dislodged, caused conditions for political instability in big cities. Liberal and pro-Western media and pro-Western organizations exploited this in an attempt to destabilize the country.

Militarization of Japan has given the US a foothold in its campaign against China, Russia, and North Korea. The Japan Self-Defense Forces were turned into a fully-fledged military a long time ago. Japanese diplomatic rhetoric demonstrates that official Tokyo is preparing for a possible new conflict in the region and that it will fight to further expand its zone of influence. The Japanese stance on the Kuril Islands territorial dispute with Russia is an example of this approach. Tokyo rejected a Russian proposal for joint economic management of four islands and nearby waters, while formally the islands will remain within Russian jurisdiction -at least for the coming years. Japan demands the full transfer of islands a term which is unacceptable to Russia from a military and political point of view. The social and economic situation in Japan was in a relatively stable, but guarded state.

Denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea reached a stalemate after the North Korean leadership claimed that Washington was in no hurry to provide Pyongyang with acceptable terms and conditions of a possible nuclear deal. The example of the US unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran also played a role. The positive point is that tensions on the Korean Peninsula de-escalated anyway because the sides sat down at the negotiation table. Chances of the open military conflict involving North Korea and the United States remain low.

In February 2019, the Indian-Pakistani conflict over the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir put the greater region on the brink of a large war with potential for the use of nuclear weapons. However, both India and Pakistan demonstrated reasonable restraint and prevented further escalation despite an open confrontation between their militaries which took place at the same moment. Meanwhile, the February escalation demonstrated the growing power of Pakistan. In the coming years, look to Jammu and Kashmir as a point of constant instability and military tensions, with very little chance that the sides will find a comprehensive political solution to their differences.

The threat of terrorism is another destabilizing factor in the region. In 2019, ISIS cells made several attempts to strengthen and expand their presence in such countries as Malaysia and Indonesia. Law enforcement agencies of both countries are well aware of this threat and contribute constant and active efforts to combat this terrorism and radicalism. It should be noted that Malaysia is in conflict with the Euro-Atlantic elites because of its independent foreign policy course. For example, its government repeatedly questioned the mainstream MH17 narrative and officially slammed the JIT investigation as politicized and nontransparent. So, the leadership of the country is forced to be in a state of permanent readiness to repel clandestine and public attempts to bring it into line with the mainstream agenda.

While the European Union is, theoretically, the world’s biggest economy using the world’s second most popular currency in international transactions, it remains to be seen whether, in the future, it will evolve into a genuine component of a multi-polar international system or become a satellite in someone else’s—most likely US—orbit. There still remain many obstacles toward achieving a certain “critical mass” of power and unity. While individual EU member states, most notably Germany and France, are capable of independent action in the international system, individually they are too weak to influence the actions of the United States, China, or even Russia. In the past, individual European powers relied on overseas colonial empires to achieve great power status. In the 21st century, European greatness can only be achieved through eliminating not just economic but also political barriers on the continent. At present, European leaders are presented with both incentives and obstacles to such integration, though one may readily discern a number of potential future paths toward future integration.

Continued European integration would demand an agreement on how to transfer national sovereignty to some as yet undefined and untested set of European political institutions which would not only guarantee individual rights but, more importantly from the point of view of national elites, preserve the relative influence of individual EU member states even after they forfeited their sovereignty. Even if the Euro-skeptics were not such a powerful presence in EU’s politics, it would still be an insurmountable task for even the most visionary and driven group of political leaders. Such a leap is only possible if the number of EU states making it is small, and their level of mutual integration is already high.

The post-2008 Euro zone crisis does appear to have communicated the non-sustainability of the current EU integration approach, hence the recent appearance of “two-speeds Europe” concept which actually originated as a warning against the threat of EU bifurcation into well integrated “core“ and a less integrated “periphery”. In practical terms it would mean “core” countries, definitely including Germany, France, and possibly the Benelux Union, would abandon the current policy of throwing money at the less well developed EU member states and, instead, focus on forging “a more perfect Union” consisting of this far more homogeneous and smaller set of countries occupying territories that, over a thousand years ago, formed what used to be known as the Carolingian Empire. Like US territories of the 19th century, EU states outside of the core would have to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” to earn membership in the core, which would require them to adopt, wholesale, the core’s political institutions.

The deepening disproportion of EU member state economies, and therefore sharpening economic disputes, are the main factor of instability in Europe. The long-delayed withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the union, which is finally expected to take place in 2020, might trigger an escalation of internal tensions over economic issues which might blow up the EU from the inside. Other cornerstones of European instability are the extraordinary growth of organized crime, street crime, radicalism, and terrorism, most of which were caused by uncontrolled illegal migration and the inability of the European bureaucracy to cut off the flows of illegal migrants, integrate non-radicalized people into European society, and detect all radicals and terrorists that infiltrate Europe with migrants.

The situation is further complicated by the conflict in Ukraine and the destruction of international security treaties, such as the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and its planned withdrawal from the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). These developments go amid constant military and political hysteria of micro-states and Poland instigated by the Euro-Atlantic elites. The EU bureaucracy is using this state of hysteria and ramping up speculations about a supposed military threat from Russia and an economic and political threat from China to distract the public and draw attention away from the real problems.

The return of Russia as the diplomatic and military great power to Africa marked a new round of the geo-economic standoff in the region. The apparent Russian-Chinese cooperation is steadily pushing French and British out of what they describe as their traditional sphere of influence. While, in terms of economic strength, Russia cannot compete with China, it does have a wide range of military and diplomatic means and measures with which to influence the region. So, Beijing and Moscow seem to have reached a non-public deal on a “division of labor”. China focuses on implementation of its economic projects, while Russia contributes military and diplomatic efforts to stabilize the security situation, obtaining revenue for its military and security assistance. Moscow plays a second violin role in getting these guaranteed zones of influence. Terrorism is one of the main threats to the region. The Chinese-Russian cooperation did not go without a response from their Western counterparts that justified their propaganda and diplomatic opposition to Beijing-Moscow cooperation by describing Chinese investments as “debt-traps” and the Russian military presence as “destabilizing”. In 2019, Africa entered into a new round of great powers rivalry.

The intensification of US “soft power” and meddling efforts, social, economic tensions, activities of non-state actors, and organized criminal networks became the main factors of instability in South America. Venezuela and Bolivia were targeted by US-backed coups. While the Venezuelan government, with help from China and Russia, succeeded in repelling the coup attempt, Bolivia was plunged into a violent civil conflict after the pro-US government seized power. Chile remained in a state of social economic crisis which repeatedly triggered wide-scale anti-government riots. Its pro-US government remained in power, mainly, because there was no foreign ‘democratic superpower’ to instigate the regime change campaign. Actions of the government of Colombia, one of the key US regional allies, undermined the existing peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and forced at least a part of the former FARC members to take up arms once again. If repressions, killings, and clandestine operations aimed at the FARC members committed to the peace continue, they may lead to a resumption of FARC-led guerrilla warfare against the central government. The crisis developing in Mexico is a result of the growth of the drug cartels-related violence and economic tensions with the United States. The right-wing Bolsonaro government put Brazil on track with the US foreign policy course to the extent that, the country worked with Washington against Venezuela, claiming that it should not turn into ‘another Cuba’. A deep economic crisis in Argentina opened the road to power for a new left-centric president, Alberto Fernandez. Washington considers South America as its own geopolitical backyard and sees any non pro-US, or just national-oriented government, as a threat to its vital interests. In 2020, the US meddling campaign will likely escalate and expand, throwing the region into a new round of instability and triggering an expected resistance from South American states. An example of this is the situation in Bolivia. Regardless of the actions of ousted President Evo Morales, the situation in the country will continue escalating. The inability of the pro-US government to deliver positive changes and its simultaneous actions to destroy all the economic achievements of the Morales period might cause Bolivia to descend into poverty and chaos causing unrest and possibly, a civil war.

During 2019, the world superpower, led by the administration of President Donald Trump, provided a consistent policy designed to defend the interests of US domestic industry and the United States as a national state by any means possible. This included economic and diplomatic pressure campaigns against both US geopolitical competitors and allies. The most widely known Trump administration move of this kind was the tariff war with China. However, at the same time, Washington contributed notable efforts in almost all regions around the globe. For example, the United States opposed Chinese economic projects in Africa, Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Europe, tried to limit exports of the Russian defense industry, pressured NATO member states who did not want to spend enough on defense, and proposed that US allies pay more for the honor and privilege of provided “protection”. Additionally, Trump pressured the Federal Reserve Board of Governors into lowering interest rates and announced plans to lower interest rates even further to weaken the dollar in order to boost national industry and increase its product availability on the global market. These plans caused strong resistance from international corporations and global capitalists because this move may undermine the current global financial system based upon a strong US dollar. This straightforward approach demonstrated that Trump and his team were ready to do everything needed to protect US security and economic interests as they see them. Meanwhile, it alienated some “traditional allies”, as in the case of Turkey which decided to acquire Russian S-400s, and escalated the conflict between the Trump Administration and the globalists. The expected US GDP growth in 2019 is 2.2%. The expected production growth of 3.9% reflects the policy aimed at supporting the real sector. In terms of foreign policy, the White House attempted to rationalize US military presence in conflict zones around the world. Despite this, the unprecedented level of support to Israel, confrontation with Iran, China, and Russia, militarization of Europe, coups and meddling into the internal affairs of sovereign states remain as the main markers of US foreign policy. Nevertheless, the main threat to United States stability originates not from Iranians, Russians, or Chinese, but rather from internal issues. The constant hysteria in mainstream media, the attempt to impeach Donald Trump, and the radicalization of different social and political groups contributes to destabilization of the country ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

The year 2019 was marked by a number of dangerous developments. In spite of this, it could have been much more dangerous and violent. Political leadership by key actors demonstrated their conditional wisdom by avoiding a number of open military conflicts, all of which had chances to erupt in the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, South America, and even Europe. A new war in the Persian Gulf, US military conflict with North Korea, an India-Pakistan war -none of these were started.  A peaceful transfer of power from Petro Poroshenko to Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine allowed for the avoidance of a military escalation in eastern Europe. China and the United States showed their restraint despite tensions in the Asia-Pacific, including the Hong Kong issue. A new global economic crisis, expected for some time by many experts, did not happen. The lack of global economic shocks or new regional wars in 2019 does not mean that knots straining relations among leading world powers were loosened or solved. These knots will remain a constant source of tension on the international level until they are removed within the framework of diplomatic mechanisms or cut as a result of a large military conflict or a series of smaller military conflicts.

Chances seem high that 2020 will become the year when a match will be set to the wick of the international powder keg, or that it will be the last relatively calm year in the first quarter of the 21st century. The collapse of international defense treaties and de-escalation mechanisms, as well as accumulating contradictions and conflicts among world nations give rise to an especial concern.

انفجار يستهدف عرضاً عسكرياً للمجلس الانتقالي و«أنصار الله» تؤكد الجهوزية لمرحلة الوجع الكبير في السعودية والإمارات

المصدر

ديسمبر 30, 2019

علّق المتحدث باسم القوات المسلحة التابعة لجماعة «أنصار الله» على عملية إطلاق الصاروخ الذي استهدف عرضاً عسكرياً أمس، في مدينة الضالع الخاضعة لسيطرة الانفصاليين الجنوبيين، مما أدى لمقتل ما لا يقل عن خمسة أشخاص وإصابة آخرين.

وبحسب موقع «المسيرة» التابع لجماعة «أنصار الله» قال متحدث القوات المسلحة: «نفذت قواتنا بنجاح عمليات نوعية واسعة شاركت فيها وحدات عسكرية مختلفة وأدّت إلى تحرير وتأمين مناطق واسعة».

وأوضح المتحدث: «من أبرز العمليات الواسعة عملية تحرير مناطق في الضالع وعملية نصر من الله بمرحلتيها الأولى والثانية وكذلك عملية عسكرية واسعة لم يُعلن عنها».

وقالت قوات الحزام الأمني اليمنية أمس، إن «صاروخاً أطلقته جماعة الحوثي المتحالفة مع إيران استهدف عرضاً عسكرياً في مدينة الضالع الخاضعة لسيطرة الانفصاليين الجنوبيين، مما أدّى لمقتل ما لا يقل عن خمسة أشخاص وإصابة آخرين».

وقال متحدّث القوات المسلحة: «نحن اليوم أقوى مما كنا عليه وسنكون أكثر قوة مما نحن عليه، وإيماننا بالله وثقتنا بنصره تجعلنا أكثر قدرة على مواجهة مختلف الظروف».

وأضاف متحدّث القوات المسلحة: «جاهزون لتنفيذ مرحلة الوجع الكبير إذا ما أصدرت القيادة توجيهاتها القاضية بتنفيذ العملية».

وتابع متحدث القوات المسلحة: «سنعتبر عمليات نهب الثروة اليمنية من البر أو البحر أعمالاً عسكرية عدائية تستوجب الرد المناسب».

مضيفاً: «ضمن المستوى الأول من بنك الأهداف 9 أهداف بالغة الأهمية منها ستة أهداف في السعودية وثلاثة في الإمارات».

ووقع تفجير بالقرب من منصة للضيوف أثناء العرض العسكري أمس، وأدى لسقوط كثيرين بين قتيل وجريح. وتحدثوا عن رؤية جثث في المكان.

ولاقى ما لا يقل عن خمسة أشخاص حتفهم وأصيب ثمانية بحسب أرقام سلطات الصحة المحلية التي نقلتها قوات الحزام الأمني وبيان صادر عن المركز الإعلامي المحلي للقوات التي تسيطر على الضالع.

وقال البيان إن «صاروخاً أصاب منطقة العروض التي تقام في حفلات تخرّج الدفعات العسكرية فور انتهاء المراسم التي شاركت فيها قوات الحزام الأمني».

وتسيطر قوات الانفصاليين الجنوبيين على مدينة الضالع التي تقع على الطريق الرئيسي بين الجنوب والشمال والذي يربط بين مدينة عدن الساحلية الجنوبية، الخاضعة لسيطرة حكومة هادي، والعاصمة صنعاء، التي يسيطر عليها الحوثيون. وتمر جبهة قتال عبر محافظة الضالع.

وأعلن الحوثيون في آب المسؤولية عن هجوم بصاروخ وطائرة مسيرة استهدف عرضاً عسكرياً في عدن، وهي مقر الحكومة المعترف بها دوليا، مما أدى لمقتل نحو 36 شخصاً على الأقل بينهم قائد بارز.

وأعلن مصدر عسكري يمني إفشال محاولة تسلّل لقوات التحالف السعودي على مواقع القوات المسلحة اليمنية شمال شرق مديرية حيس في الحديدة، مؤكداً «تدمير خمس آليات عسكرية لقوات الرئيس عبدربه منصور هادي في جبهة الظهرة بالجوف».

كما أعطبت ست آليات عسكرية كانت محملة بعناصر تابعة لقوات هادي والتحالف في صحراء الأجاشر قبالة نجران السعودية.

فيما شنّت طائرات التحالف السعودي 3 غارات على منطقة المدافن الحدودية بين جيزان السعودية وصعدة اليمنية.

القوات المسلحة اليمنية في حكومة صنعاء، قالت من جهتها إن «أي استهداف لليمنيين في مناطق الاحتلال شرق البلاد وجنوبها جريمة تتطلب ردّاً من قبلنا».

وأكدت «سنتعامل مع كل عملية للمرتزقة من قبل تحالف العدوان على أنها جريمة لكونها تستهدف يمنيين بغض النظر عن موقفهم».

صحيفة «26 سبتمبر» التابعة لوزارة الدفاع في حكومة صنعاء نقلت عن مصادر قولها، إن هذه الخطوة تأتي في إطار «التوجه الصادق للقيادة لتوحيد اليمنيين لمواجهة العدو الذي يجب أن يواجهه كافة اليمنيين وهو تحالف العدوان السعودي الأميركي».

وأشارت المصادر نفسها للصحيفة إلى أن القيادة في القوات المسلحة كانت قد اتخذت قرارات مهمة على هذا الصعيد، منها «صدور توجيهات للقوات المسلحة بإتاحة الفرصة لكافة المرتزقة للفرار باتجاهها حفاظاً على سلامتهم لكون العدو يقوم بتكليف ضباطه وجنوده في الصفوف الخلفية بإطلاق الرصاص على المرتزقة في حال فرارهم وتراجعهم عن القتال؛ ولهذا فعليهم الفرار باتجاه قواتنا التي ستتكفل بحمايتهم».

عضو المجلس السياسي الأعلى في اليمن، محمد علي الحوثي تساءل في تغريدة له على تويتر «في أي مادة من الدستور اليمني جرم الاستعمار والارتزاق؟».

وقال الحوثي في تغريدة أخرى إن «السعودية تعاني اقتصادياً وإن ما تقوم به من حلول لم ولن يجدي وعليها الانصياع للسلام لتقليل فاتورة الحرب المجبرة على تسليمها لحلفائها في العدوان على اليمن».

سريع: العام المقبل سيكون عام الدفاع الجوي والنصر..

قال المتحدث باسم القوات المسلحة اليمنية العميد يحيى سريع، إنه في العام 2019 فرضت القوات اليمنية معادلات عسكرية جديدة تقوم على استراتيجيات الضربات المفاجئة.

وأضاف سريع في مؤتمرٍ صحافي أمس، استعرض من خلاله إنجازات العام 2019، أن القوات اليمنية اعتمدت «الردّ بالمثل على عمليات العدو بما يتناسب مع كل عملية وحجمها وهدفها ونتائجها».

سريع شدّد على أن «القوات اليمنية مستمرة بوقف إطلاق النار تجاه من ينسحب من المعركة ولا سيما إذا كان من المرتزقة»، مشيراً إلى «رفع مستوى الردّ على الجرائم التي تستهدف مواطنين بمن فيهم أهل جنوب البلاد وشرقها».

وأوضح أنه «في العام الحالي تم توسيع بنك الأهداف ليشمل أهدافاً حساسة وحيوية على طول وعرض جغرافيا دول العدوان».

ونفذّت القوات اليمنية خلال العام 2019، وفق سريع، 1686 عملية عسكرية من ضمنها 607 عمليات هجومية و1044 إغارة و35 عملية تسلل، في حين نفذّت وحدة «ضد الدروع» 1180 عملية.

وأضاف تصدّت القوات اليمنية لأكثر من 163 عملية هجومية و656 زحفاً و407 محاولات تسلل، فيما بلغ إجمالي عدد غارات «التحالف» خلال العام أكثر من 6534 غارة من بينها 3615 غارة على صعدة، كما أكد سريع، مشيراً إلى تعرّض 19 محافظة لغارات الطيران.

وفي عام 2019 تم قنص 228 جندياً وضابطاً سعودياً، بالإضافة إلى قنص 16050 مرتزقاً محلياً من بينهم 66 قائداً ميدانياً، وفق سريع.

وشهد عام 2019 حسب المسؤول العسكري اليمني، الإعلان عن منظومات صاروخية بالستية ومجنحة وسلاح جو مسيّر ومنظومات الدفاع الجوي.

وقال «أصبحت قواتنا المسلّحة تمتلك القدرة الكاملة على صناعة منظومات صاروخية متكاملة»، لافتاً إلى أن عام 2019 شهد صناعة أجيال مختلفة من طائرات دون طيار الهجومية والاستطلاعية.

وأضاف بلغ عدد إجمالي عمليات القوة الصاروخية 110 عمليات خلال عام 2019، شملت مراكز ومنشآت عسكرية للعدو داخل البلاد وخارجها، وتوزعت على الشكل التالي: 12 عملية بمنظومة قاصم و47 عملية بمنظومة بدر بجميع أجيالها، و3 عمليات بمنظومة بركان الباليستية، واحدة منها استهدفت هدفاً عسكرياً في منطقة الدمام السعودية.

وبلغت عمليات سلاح الجو المسيّر خلال هذا العام 2426 عملية، حسب سريع، منها 5 عمليات هجومية نوعية مشتركة مع القوة الصاروخية، و92 عملية نوعية منها عملية استهداف حقل الشيبة وعملية «العاشر من رمضان»، كما بلغ عدد العمليات المشتركة لسلاح الجو المسير مع سلاح المدفعية 46 عملية.

«عام 2020 سيكون عام الدفاع الجوي وعام النصر إن شاء الله»، وفق المسؤول اليمني، الذي أكّد أن العدوان «لن يستمر في البناء والتطوير على حساب معاناة الشعب اليمني».وتابع: «لا أمن ولا استقرار إلا بتوقف العدوان ورفع الحصار عن اليمن

فيديوات متعلقة

القوات المسلحة اليمنية توسع بنك أهدافها وتعلن الجهوزية التامة لتنفيذ مرحلة الوجع الكبير 29-12 -2019
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إحصائية ضربات طيور الأبابيل… سلاح الجو اليمني المسير لعام 2019
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توسيع بنك الأهداف المشروعة، وتحذيرات يمنية جديدة خلال مؤتمر صحفي لمتحدث القوات المسلحة 29-12- 2019
عدسة الاعلام الحربي 29 12 2019

مقالات متعلقة

Yemeni forces imposed new military equations on enemy: Spokesman

Brigadier General Yahya Sare

Source

Sunday, 29 December 2019 3:11 PM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 29 December 2019 5:23 PM ]Volume 90% 

مؤتمر صحفي لمتحدث القوات المسلحة يكشف تفاصيل المعركة وما وصلت إليه الصناعات العسكرية29 -12- -2019


Yemen’s soldiers have adeptly managed to impose military equations on the Saudi-led coalition involved in a deadly campaign against the impoverished country, says the spokesman for Yemeni armed forces.

“Our forces are fighting battles of independence and liberation, and continue to carry out their tasks and duties in defense of Yemen and the Yemeni nation. They continue to strengthen their defense capabilities by liberating and securing expanses of land across Yemen and confronting the Saudi-led aggression and blockade. They have been able to impose new military equations on enemies based on striking strategies,” Brigadier General Yahya Saree said in a press conference in the capital Sana’a on Sunday afternoon.

The official also lauded the military capabilities of the armed forces who, he said, have delivered unexpected blows to the enemy.

“Yemeni armed forces are able to give befitting response to all enemy military operations given their size and purpose, and target all hostile movements that constitute a threat to our forces, our people, and our country,” the spokesman added.

Saree said the armed forces of Yemen are fully prepared to strike nine strategic targets deep inside the territory of the aggressors, of which six are located in Saudi Arabia and the rest are in the United Arab Emirates.

“It is legitimate to respond with painful strikes as long as the (Saudi-led) coalition of aggression targets our people and our country… Military installations and hardware of the aggressors on our soil, in our territorial waters, and on our islands are legitimate targets for our forces.”

Yemeni army warns Saudi-led coalition against further Hudaydah truce violations

Yemeni army warns Saudi-led coalition against further Hudaydah truce violationsThe Yemeni army warns the Saudi-led coalition and its mercenaries against further violations of the ceasefire agreement on the port city of Hudaydah.

The high-ranking Yemeni military official also warned foreign companies against assisting enemies in plundering Yemen’s natural resources.

Saree went on to say that the next year would be the year of air defense; and Yemeni forces will work to develop their military industries and enhance their inventory of various types of weapons, chiefly strategic deterrence ammunition.

More than half the total number of the coalition attacks, the spokesman said, targeted areas in the northwestern province of Sa’ada. The figure stood at not less than 3,615 raids, he added. The northern province of Hajjah was exposed to more than 1,427 raids, while Sana’a province witnessed more than 424 attacks.

Saree underscored that Yemeni forces carried out 1,686 operations, including 607 offensive operations, 1,044 raids and 35 infiltrations, in the year 2019.

He said the Yemeni armed forces could intercept and target 69 coalition military aircraft, including seven fighter jets, nine unmanned aerial vehicles and 53 spy drones, during the mentioned period.

Yemeni forces hit gathering of Saudi mercenaries in Jawf with ballistic missile: Army

Yemeni forces hit gathering of Saudi mercenaries in Jawf with ballistic missile: ArmyYemeni forces have hit a gathering of Saudi mercenaries in Yemen’s Jawf province with a ballistic missile, the army says.

According to the spokesman, Yemeni snipers carried out 16,643 operations, fatally shooting 228 Saudi troopers, 142 Sudanese mercenaries and 16,050 Yemeni militiamen loyal to former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

“Anti-armor units also conducted 1,180 operations, destroying 192 military vehicles with personnel and military equipment aboard, 138 armored vehicles, 40 military bulldozers, 40 tanks plus 155 heavy and medium-size machine guns.”

Missile attack on military parade in southern Yemen kills 10

Earlier on Sunday, a ballistic missile struck a military graduation parade of newly-recruited forces in the southern Yemeni province of Dhale, leaving ten people dead.

“The missile hit the guest platform just 20 minutes after the end of the military graduation parade, causing a huge blast,” said Fuad Jubary, a pro-Hadi military spokesman.

People inspect the site of a blast, which struck a military graduation parade in the town of Dhale, southern Yemen, on December 29, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

“All the high-ranking commanders had left the sports stadium just minutes before the explosion, so only soldiers were killed on the scene,” he said.

There has been no claim of responsibility so far.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives so far.

The war has also taken a heavy toll on Yemen’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

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