Axis of Evil: “Israel” Pushes Biden to take it Easy on Saudi Arabia, UAE

Axis of Evil: “Israel” Pushes Biden to take it Easy on Saudi Arabia, UAE

By Staff, Agencies

Senior “Israeli” war officials informed journalist David Barck that the apartheid entity plans to lobby the incoming US administration to avoid confrontations over human rights and other contentious issues with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

This comes as US President-elect Biden has promised to put human rights and democracy at the forefront of US foreign policy, and he skipped over all three when placing phone calls to the leaders of 17 countries after his election victory.

He was particularly critical of Saudi Arabia during the campaign over the aggression on Yemen and human rights issues.

According to Barack, “Israel” sees its security and intelligence relationships with the three countries as central to its strategy to counter Iran and an important pillar in regional security.

Now, “Israel” fears that Biden will not only seek a deal with Iran, but also cool relations with America’s Arab partners.

Behind the scenes, the “Israeli” war officials told David that they plan to make the case to the Biden administration that the region has changed over the last four years, with a new regional alignment forming as “Israel” strengthens its ties with Arab countries.

“We were very close to losing Egypt several years ago and our message to the Biden administration will be: ‘Take it slow, dramatic changes took place, don’t come with predispositions and don’t harm relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE,'” a senior “Israeli” official told the journalist.

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بعد رفضه القيام برحلة إلى «تل أبيب».. الإمارات تجمّد عمل طيارٍ تونسيّ

كشفت وسائل إعلام تونسية محلية، أن شركة طيران الإمارات قامت بتجميد نشاط قائد طائرة من أصول تونسية بسبب رفضه المشاركة في رحلة إلى تل أبيب.

وقالت صحيفة «الشارع المغاربي» في خبر لها إن «منعم صاحب الطابع، وهو قائد طائرة تونسيّ يعمل في شركة طيران الإمارات تمّ تجميد نشاطه كقائد طائرة بسبب رفضه المشاركة في رحلة إلى تل أبيب».

من جهته، كشف قائد الطائرة منعم صاحب الطابع، أنه تمّ تجميد نشاطه كقائد طائرة بسبب رفضه المشاركة في رحلة إلى تل أبيب.

وكتب الطابع في تدوينة نشرها على صفحته الرسمية على موقع «فيسبوك» الثلاثاء «تم تجميد نشاطي كقائد طائرة في طيران الإمارات بسبب رفضي المشاركة في رحلة إلى تل أبيب… الله فقط مَن يرعاني… لست نادماً».

هذا وتواصل الشارع المغاربي مع الطيار الطابع، الذي أكد أنه في انتظار مثوله أمام لجنة التأديب. يُشار إلى أن صاحب التدوينة قام بإغلاق صفحته على «فيسبوك» مباشرة بعد نشر التدوينة.

ويذكر أن الإمارات والبحرين وقعتا على «اتفاق التطبيع مع «إسرائيل»» في 15 أيلول/سبتمبر 2020 في البيت الأبيض، بحضور الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب وبرعاية أميركيّة.

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الترسيم البحري: جائزة التطبيع للإمارات!

هل تعيد واشنطن «طرح آموس» لتقاسم عائدات المنطقة المتنازع عليها؟

الأخبار

ميسم رزق 

الأربعاء 13 كانون الثاني 2021

بالتزامن مع انتخاب جو بايدن، أعاد آموس هوكشتاين، مستشاره السابق في مجال الطاقة الدولية، طرح «فكرته» لحل النزاع البحري بينَ لبنان و«إسرائيل». ورشّح الموفد الأميركي السابق الى لبنان شركة «بترول أبو ظبي الوطنية» للقيام بالمهمةقبل أقل من شهر، علّق الموفد الأميركي السابِق إلى لبنان آموس هوكشتاين على تغريدة للخبيرة في المخاطر السياسية في قطاع النفط والغاز منى سكرية، عن انضمام الإمارات إلى منتدى غاز شرق المتوسّط بصفة مراقب، قائلاً: «أعتقد أن أدنوك (شركة بترول أبو ظبي الوطنية) يُمِكن أن تكون جزءاً أساسياً في حلّ النزاع البحري بينَ لبنان وإسرائيل، إذا ما أُعطيَت حصّة تشغيلية في البلوكات الحدودية بين الجانبيَن».

عبر هذه التغريدة، يعود مساعد وزير الخارجية الأميركي السابق لشؤون الطاقة والنفط والغاز، بشكل غير رسمي، إلى الملف الذي تركه قبل عام 2008، وورثه ديفيد ساترفيلد لاحقاً. وأي تفسير منطقي أو عملي لكلام مسؤول من وزن هوكشتاين، لا يُمكن أن يكون خارج سياق التطورات الحالية، وأبرزها التطبيع الإماراتي – الإسرائيلي، وانتخاب جو بايدن (الذي سبق أن عمل هوكشتاين مستشاراً له في مجال الطاقة الدولية) رئيساً للولايات المتحدة.

(علي حشيشو)

في لبنان، لا يُمكن سرد مسار ملف المفاوضات على الترسيم البحري مع العدو الإسرائيلي، من دون استذكار «طرح آموس»، كما يُسمّيه مسؤولون لبنانيون. فالرجل هو صاحب اقتراح «إبقاء المنطقة المتنازع عليها على ما هي عليه، وتكليف شركة مختصة باستخراج النفط والغاز والعمل فيها، على أن توضع الأرباح في صندوق وتُقسّم لاحقاً باتفاق بين لبنان وإسرائيل برعاية أميركية». وهو اقتراح أعيد إحياؤه عام 2017، وأيّده وزير الخارجية الأميركي السابق ريكس تيلرسون، ورفضَه لبنان، لسببين: «الأول، متصل برفض أي تعاون مع العدو، والثاني، تقني يرتبط باستحالة تقسيم الأرباح بهذه الصورة، قبل ترسيم الحدود». (راجع الأخبار – الجمعة 25 أيلول 2020).
ومعروف أن هوكشتاين يعمل في مجال تقديم المشورة لشركات الطاقة لدخول أسواق جديدة وتطويرها. وهو أعاد طرح اقتراحه السابق، ولو بشكل غير رسمي، في وقت تعقّدت فيه المفاوضات بين لبنان والعدو الإسرائيلي، ومع تهديد الأخير بوقفها في حال لم يتراجع لبنان عن سقف طلبه الحصول على 2290 كيلومتراً في البحر.

من يعرفون هوكشتاين، يؤكّدون أنه من المقتنعين بأن لا حل سياسياً لهذه القضية، وأن المخرج الوحيد هو تقسيم الأرباح عبرَ شركة تدير المنطقة المتنازع عليها. وهذا إن دلّ على شيء، فعلى «الطمع الكبير» بالبلوكات الجنوبية الغنية بالغاز، والتي تحاول جهات كثيرة، لا «اسرائيل» وحدها، الاستثمار فيها أو السطو عليها. كما قد يكون لهوكشتاين من وراء التغريدة هدف شخصي، مع انتخاب بايدن، تعبيراً عن الرغبة في العودة الى تسلّم الملف وإدارته، ولا سيما أن المعلومات تتقاطع حول أن مسار ملف الترسيم سيكون مختلفاً بعدَ تسلّم الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة.

مشروع نهب جديد يُعَدّ للبنان للسطو على ثروته البحرية


لماذا شركة بترول أبو ظبي الوطنية؟ المفارقة أن الرأي «غير الرسمي» للموفد الأميركي السابق أتى بالتزامن مع التطبيع الإماراتي مع «إسرائيل»، ودخولها «منتدى غاز شرق المتوسط»، إذ سرعان ما أُلحقت اتفاقية التطبيع باتفاقية لا تقلّ أهمية في مجال نقل النفط وتسويقه، حيث وقع الطرفان اتفاقاً يتعلق بشحن النفط الخام والمنتجات النفطية من الإمارات إلى الأسواق الأوروبية عبر خط أنابيب للنفط في «إسرائيل» يربط بين البحرين الأحمر والأبيض المتوسط. ويقول خبراء في هذا المجال إن «الإمارات تحاول إيجاد موطئ قدم لها في هذه المنطقة في مجال الغاز والنفط في وجه المملكة العربية السعودية وقطر، وهي بالعمل في المنطقة المتنازع عليها تعطي نقطة قوة للتطبيع وتثبته، على أن تتحوّل في ما بعد الى دولة منقّبة وموزعة في المنتدى بدلاً من أن تكون مجرّد مراقب. ولا شكّ في أن إسرائيل تفضّل أن تتولى شركة البترول الإماراتية المنطقة الحدودية بدلاً من أي جهة أخرى».

المؤكد أن فكرة هوكشتاين غير قابلة للتطبيق بسبب التعقيدات الجيوسياسية والموقف اللبناني. لكن المؤكد، أيضاً، أنها عادت قيد التداول، وهي مشروع نهب جديد يُعَدّ للبنان للسطو على ثروته البحرية. وتكمن خطورتها في أنها تأتي في لحظة تعثّر المفاوضات والخلاف الداخلي على مسار استكمالها، وتسلّم الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة التي يُمكن أن تنسف كل ما اتفق عليه سابقاً مع لبنان وتعيد إحياء طروحات سابقة.

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UAE Converted Yemen’s Balhaf Gas Facility into Secret Prison

UAE Converted Yemen’s Balhaf Gas Facility into Secret Prison

Source

Over the past few years, the United Arab Emirates has been pursuing a plethora of agendas in Southern Yemen, whether directly or via backing the separatist Southern Transitional Council [STC].

Among Abu Dhabi’s primary objectives in Yemen are taking control of the country’s western Red Sea coast; the Bab-el-Mandeb, a strait located between Yemen, Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa, and Socotra, an archipelago near major shipping routes.

But this hegemonic ambition has never been just limited to taking strategic locations.

The story of Balhaf is a case in point; a major oil facility in Shabwah Governorate turned by the Emiratis into a detention center, among other things.

The existence of the Balhaf prison was first announced by the United Nations in September 2019.

Two months later, Armaments Observatory released a detailed report about the facility which the Emiratis had turned into a military base and a secret prison.

But what made the story strange was the silence of France since the revelation. Given that Total SE, a French multinational oil and gas company, was the biggest shareholder with nearly 40% of stake, critics say the silence is significant.

The fact that they’ve taken over a gas plant essential for the country’s energy supply, and for its economy, and turned it into a detention camp where torture is being reportedly carried on is just an indication of the brutality of this occupation force in Yemen.

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

Based on witness accounts, the report also accused Emirati soldiers of treating prisoners inhumanely. The UAE had already been accused of running a secret network of prisons across Yemen.

But I think having prisons in other countries, particularly in Yemen, it’s difficult to tell what’s happening in Yemen because there’s a war. So, I mean, it’s much easier to hide political prisoners, torture. It’s much more difficult for human rights agencies to tell what exactly is happening. And it’s much easier for the authorities and the occupation forces to deny that that these abuses are taking place. So I think having a detention center in Yemen is advantageous for the United Arab Emirates in that sense. Remember that the United Arab Emirates, is a country that presents an image of itself as a modernizing country; it’s highly invested in technology. And, you know, Dubai is a major city in the world, major modern city, so it would not work to have this kind of brutality on its own shores.

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

But what made the story strange was the awkward silence of France since the revelation.

Total SE has 40% stake in Balhaf

Given that Total SE, a French multinational oil and gas company, was the biggest shareholder with a nearly 40% stake, critics said the silence was significant.

The French parliament has called on Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to answer questions about the alleged existence of a UAE-built military base and detention center in the vicinity of Balhaf.

French lawmaker Clementine Autain has accused Emmanuel Macron’s government of covering up crimes committed by the UAE at Balhaf.

The UAE has gradually become a crucial partner for France.

“Despite their small size and low profile, the Emiratis play a key role in France’s international strategy.”

French Historian, Sébastien Nadot

UAE worth enough for France to ignore atrocities

A rich federation with a big appetite for arms purchase, the UAE is worth enough for the French to look the other way when the Emiratis are violating human rights at Balhaf, or anywhere else.

In fact, France’s silence could be explained by its lucrative partnership with Abu Dhabi, especially in military cooperation and arms purchases.

[The] United Arab Emirates, of course, have been relying on French technology. They have the tanks, the current tanks and Mirage planes which they’ve been supplied with by the French. The French, continue to maintain those military technologies that they’re using that that equipment that they’re using. And of course that is a key to their war because the equipment, most of it has been bought in the West, in particular in France. And so the French are heavily involved in this whole scenario here, where essentially the country’s energy supply is now being used as a torture and a prison center.

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

Despite public outrage, arms deals have been getting bigger over the past decade between Paris and Abu Dhabi, according to the 2020 report to parliament on arms exports. 

“What we fear today is that these arms could be used to commit those violations and potentially war crimes. We call today through this legal study, for the opening of a real debate, and equally an immediate suspension of the sale of arms from France to those two countries engaged in war in Yemen.”

Aymeric Elluin, Amnesty International

The first French multi-service military base in the Middle East is located in Abu Dhabi “housing around 700 military personnel, the base includes an air base, a naval base capable of receiving a French aircraft carrier, and an army base.”

Well, since 2010 under President Nicolas Sarkozy, the French have upped their investment in other countries, in particular, the United Arab Emirates. They even have a military base in the United Arab Emirates, so they have been very much involved in supplying and modernizing the United Arab Emirates, technology, their military technology. And so that is the main reason that means that the partnership is quite extensive and quite deep. They’ve even allowed the United Arab Emirates to have major exports paintings, for example, have been exported temporarily to the United Arab Emirates, in exchange for continued military contracts, so these military contracts are extremely important for France. I already mentioned Mirage planes, Leclerc tanks and many more, much more technology. This is a multibillion dollar industry.

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

French presence in UAE is strategic for Paris

According to Emma Soubrier, Arab Gulf States Institute, “For France, a presence in the UAE is strategic and will allow easy intervention to prevent possible disturbances affecting access to Gulf oil.”

Abu Dhabi is visibly formulating a regional strategy of influence with a focus on the creation of commercial and military port facilities stretching from the Horn of Africa to the Mediterranean.

“In general, Paris does not want to strike any false note that might spoil its intimate friendship with Abu Dhabi, believing that this symbiotic relationship will in the years to come always lead to success.”

Jalel Harchaoui, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime

Given the military background of Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, the French have little, if any doubt, that the UAE will continue signing big arms deals with them.

The idea that France supports human rights, that it has concerns over rights, is really a myth. The Human Rights discourse is really part of the foreign policy agenda of the French. It’s about presenting a positive image of France as a moral order, as a moral power, when in reality they have never been interested in human rights, the main interest is in Power Projection and economic exchange and exploitation, in particular, of developing countries, and the Gulf, the Gulf states allied with ‘Israel’ and the West, are key to that objective.

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

Balhaf mirrors the inhumanity of the Emiratis

Located on the Gulf of Aden coast in the southern part of Yemen, Balhaf mirrors the inhumanity of the Emiratis who have turned Yemen’s major source of income into a secret, macabre prison and the greed of the French who seem to have preferred petrodollars to anything else in the world.

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The dark motives behind Saudi Arabia’s push for Gulf unity

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 000_8Y82NG.jpg
David Hearst is the editor in chief of Middle East Eye. He left The Guardian as its chief foreign leader writer. In a career spanning 29 years, he covered the Brighton bomb, the miner’s strike, the loyalist backlash in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Northern Ireland, the first conflicts in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in Slovenia and Croatia, the end of the Soviet Union, Chechnya, and the bushfire wars that accompanied it. He charted Boris Yeltsin’s moral and physical decline and the conditions which created the rise of Putin. After Ireland, he was appointed Europe correspondent for Guardian Europe, then joined the Moscow bureau in 1992, before becoming bureau chief in 1994. He left Russia in 1997 to join the foreign desk, became European editor and then associate foreign editor. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he worked as education correspondent.

David Hearst

6 January 2021 17:22 UTC 

Mohammed bin Salman could use the detente with Qatar to achieve two objectives: to announce his own recognition of Israel, and to persuade his father to abdicate the throne

It took Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman three years and six months to come to the same conclusion that some of us reached days into the blockade of Qatar: that it was doomed to failure.

The project to silence the voice of an independent neighbour was doomed the moment that then-US defence secretary James Mattis and then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson, a former oilman with extensive links to Qatar, learned of plans to invade the peninsula and stopped them.

As the weeks passed, Qatar’s hand was only strengthened. Turkish troops arrived in Doha to form a physical buffer. Iran gave Qatar the use of its airspace. The blockade could never work with an air bridge established around Saudi Arabia.

If anything, this unpleasant shock has strengthened Qatar. The same goes for Turkish and Iranian foreign policy

It took only months for Qatar to assemble a major lobbying operation in Washington, undoing or rolling back the influence of the principal lobbyist for the Saudis, the Emirati ambassador Youssef al-Otaiba, and establishing solid support of its own. US President Donald Trump did not even acknowledge that Qatar hosted the Pentagon’s most important airbase in the region, Al Udeid, when he tweeted his approval of the blockade in 2017. 

In the end, the Saudi prince overestimated Trump’s influence and underestimated the residual power of the US military. Both Tillerson and Mattis are long gone, but the pressure to reverse this mad act of recklessness never receded; it only grew with time.

With the imminent arrival of a hostile US president in Joe Biden, bin Salman sensed the time had come to put an end to his folly. Today, none of the 13 demands originally placed on Qatar by the blockading states have been met. Neither its hosting of members of the Muslim Brotherhood nor its foreign policy have changed. Al Jazeera has not been closed down. Qatar’s alliance with Iran and Turkey has, if anything, strengthened.

Domestically, Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is held in higher esteem for his defence of the state than he was before, as Qatari nationalism has mounted. Qatar is more self-sufficient and confident than it was before the blockade. 

‘Qatar has won’

If anything, this unpleasant shock has strengthened Qatar. The same goes for Turkish and Iranian foreign policy.

“You could say Qatar has won,” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor of politics in Dubai who was one of the foremost defenders of the blockade three years ago, told the Financial Times. “The cost of fighting was too high – there is a realisation now that this is the black sheep of the family and we just have to put up with it. These have been the worst three-and-a-half years in the history of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council].”This GCC show of unity can’t hide its weakness

But these conclusions are, for the moment, bin Salman’s alone. It is interesting to note who was absent from the display of brotherly love at the GCC summit on Tuesday. The no-show by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed came alongside the absence of Bahrain’s King Hamad and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Bahrain is in the midst of an increasingly bitter border dispute with Qatar, and Egypt remains sceptical about the whole enterprise. Mada Masr quoted Egyptian government sources as saying that Cairo does not see a sufficiently strong foundation to open a new page in relations with Doha. Qatar, they claimed, was still mounting a “methodological campaign aimed at the Egyptian regime”. 

The sources noted that none of the basic demands made of Qatar – closing down Al Jazeera, shuttering a Turkish military base, severing ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and reducing ties with Iran – had been met. It is too early to say whether this signals a fracturing of the counter-revolutionary forces that have held together since they paid for and installed Sisi as president of Egypt after a military coup in 2013.

Tensions over Yemen and Israel

Certainly, there are grounds for a bust-up between mentor bin Zayed and his protege, bin Salman. One is Yemen: who is really in charge of the Saudi-led intervention that bin Salman launched in March 2015 – the Saudis or the Emiratis? Militias funded by and loyal to the UAE have taken control of the south, leaving the Saudis with an unresolved war with the Houthis in the north.

A second source of tension is Israel. In spearheading normalisation with Israel, the Emiratis clearly pitched themselves as Tel Aviv’s principal Gulf partner. Otaiba’s boast that the UAE and Israel had the two most capable military forces in the region raised eyebrows in Riyadh and Cairo. 

The Israeli prime minster and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain participate in a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords in Washington on 15 September (AFP)
The Israeli prime minster and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain participate in a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords in Washington on 15 September 2020 (AFP)

Writing the first-ever op-ed by a Gulf diplomat for an Israeli newspaper, Otaiba boasted before normalisation took place last year: “With the region’s two most capable militaries, common concerns about terrorism and aggression, and a deep and long relationship with the United States, the UAE and Israel could form closer and more effective security cooperation. As the two most advanced and diversified economies in the region, expanded business and financial ties could accelerate growth and stability across the Middle East.”

The Emirati claim to be the principal partner of Israel could cause problems for the future king of Saudi Arabia. Another notable absentee from the GCC summit was the country’s current king, Salman.

Kingdom split

Al Jazeera’s coverage of the tumultuous events shaking the Arab world has waxed and waned. Even before the blockade, it did not, for instance, devote the same attention to the murderous bombardment of Yemen by Saudi warplanes as it did to the Egyptian revolution in 2011. 

While producers and reporters are freer to report than most of their contemporaries in the Saudi-, Emirati- and Egyptian-controlled media, the state of Qatar still has its hands on volume control. There are many examples, including the decision to downplay coverage of the trial of Loujain al-Hathloul, the prominent Saudi activist recently sentenced to five years and eight months in prison.

To deliver Saudi Arabia into the hands of Israel would represent a real prize to the alliance being built over and around the heads of Palestinians

Bin Salman could use this detente with Qatar to achieve two objectives: to announce his own recognition of Israel, and to persuade his father to abdicate and pass the crown to him.

There is no doubt that bin Salman thinks it is time to do both. From the very start of his campaign to become king, establishing close clandestine relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been key to bin Salman’s relationship with US presidential adviser Jared Kushner and his father-in-law, Trump. 

The kingdom is split from top to bottom on the issue of normalisation with Israel. Foreign-policy heavyweights in the family still publicly voice opposition, notably the former Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal. The king himself, to whom Prince Turki remains close, is also opposed, and the issue will have a strong impact on the Saudi people.

Future turmoil

One first step towards resolving this is to neutralise or turn down the volume of the Arab media that could run against bin Salman. This mainly comes from Qatar, which might explain why Kushner himself was present at the GCC summit.

For all the pain involved, the prize is great – and Biden, a committed Zionist, would welcome it. To deliver Saudi Arabia into the hands of Israel would represent a real prize to the alliance being built over and around the heads of Palestinians. Saudi Arabia remains, by dint of its size and wealth, a “real” Arab nation.

While the resolution of the crisis with Qatar is to be welcomed, the motives for doing so could lead to yet more turmoil in Arab world.

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

This GCC show of unity can’t hide its weakness

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Iran Uses Its Grip On Strait Of Hormuz To Fight Back US-imposed Sanctions

South Front

Iran has found an original way of dealing with sanctions and limitations imposed on it by the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign launched by the Trump administration.

On January 4, the Navy of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained a South Korea-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz over an alleged environmental pollution issue. The chemical tanker HANKUK CHEMI was inbound to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. Ahead of the incident, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations naval authority reported that an “interaction” between Iranian authorities and a merchant vessel in the Strait of Hormuz led the ship to alter its course and proceed into Iranian waters.

Following the incident, the South Korean Defense Ministry said that it will send its anti-piracy Cheonghae unit, normally based in the Gulf of Aden, along with helicopters to the Persian Gulf. The 302-strong Cheonghae unit operates a 4,500-ton destroyer, a Lynx anti-submarine helicopter and three speed boats.

The deployment of this unit is a rather a symbolic move than a practical step that should allow to protect South Korea-flagged ships in the region as Iranian forces have an overwhelming dominance there and using its conventional and asymmetric capabilities can even challenge the US military in the event of a limited military confrontation there.

Two days before the seizure of the tanker, Iran said a South Korean diplomat was due to travel to the country to negotiate over billions of dollars in its assets now frozen in Seoul. The total amount of Iranian money blocked in South Korea is up to $8.5 billion and Tehran declared its readiness to barter its money for deliveries of a variety of goods and commodities, including raw materials, medicine, petrochemicals, auto parts, home appliances.

Apparently, Iran thinks that South Korea needs some additional motivation to go contrary to the will of its Big Brother and accept the Iranian proposal.

Another important diplomatic achievement was made by Qatar, which is known as not only a Turkish ally, but also the Gulf monarchy that has constructive relations with Iran. On January 4, Saudi Arabia lifted the 4-year air, sea and land blockade that it together with the UAE, Kuwait, Egypt and Bahrain imposed on Qatar. In June 2017, the blockading countries accused Qatar, among other things, of supporting terrorism and of being too close to Iran. They severed economic and diplomatic ties with Doha and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on it. Qatar rejected all the allegations and refused to comply with a long list of demands announced by the blockading countries. So, now the anti-Qatari coalition is in retreat. The main factors that contributed to this scenario are the following:

a deep crisis faced by Saudi Arabia due to the failed intervention in Yemen and its oil war adventure;
the UAE-Saudi tensions that reached a new level due to the declining power of the Saudi Kingdom;
the growth of the influence of Iran and its popularity among the population of the Middle East due to the public rapprochement of the Gulf monarchies with Israel; the stern stance of Qatar itself that used the blockade to develop alternative alliances and strengthen relations with Turkey, Iran and even Russia to contain the pressure it faced.

The Israeli-aligned Gulf monarchies will likely try to use the lifting of the blockade to convince Doha to officially join the US-led pro-Israeli coalition. However, even if Qatar does this under the pressure of the United States and with hopes of restoring economic relations with its neighbors, this does not mean that Doha would change its de-facto regional strategy as the previous years already demonstrated that the national-oriented approach is much more useful in times of crises than empty hopes on large revenues from Israeli love.

Detained Saudi Pilots Will Only Be Exchanged for Palestinian Inmates – Yemen’s Ansarullah

Detained Saudi Pilots Will Only Be Exchanged for Palestinian Inmates – Yemen’s Ansarullah

By Staff, Agencies

Yemen’s Ansarullah revolutionary movement conditioned the release of Saudi pilots in Yemeni custody on the freedom of Palestinian inmates held in the kingdom’s prisons.

Speaking to al-Masirah TV channel on Wednesday, Abdel Kader Mortaza, the official in charge of prisoner affairs at Yemen’s National Salvation Government, said Saudi pilots held in captivity in Sanaa would only be swapped with the Palestinians imprisoned by the Riyadh regime.

Since February 2019, Saudi Arabia has kept 68 Palestinians and Jordanians in detention without any legal reason.

Among the inmates is Mohammed al-Khudari, a high-ranking official from the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement.

Mortaza said a total of 1,087 prisoners from the Yemeni Army and allied popular forces were released from Saudi detention in 2020, 670 of them under UN supervision and 417 through local mediation.

In exchange, he added, the Ansarullah freed 150 captives, including 64 child soldiers recruited by the Saudi-led coalition, which has been waging a deadly war on Yemen over the past years.

A UN delegation visited Sanaa prisons 12 times in 2020, but the coalition does not allow such visits, the official noted.

He further said the enemy was preventing more than 30 prisoner exchange operations this year, reporting 900 cases of prisoner torture at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition in 2020.

Mortaza also said 20 Yemeni inmates were killed this year at the coalition-run prisons due to torture or medical negligence.

Saudi Arabia launched a devastating military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states, and with arms support from the US and several Western countries.

The aim was to return to power a Riyadh-backed regime of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and defeat the Ansarullah movement that has taken control of state matters.

The war has failed to achieve its goals, but killed tens of thousands of innocent Yemenis and destroyed the impoverished country’s infrastructure. The UN refers to the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mortaza expressed Sanaa’s readiness to engage in talks on a prisoner swap in the coming year.

He also said the Islah party, which is the backbone of the self-proclaimed Hadi government, has not accepted an offer by the UN for prisoner exchange talks in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

The UAE has kept hundreds of prisoners from the Yemeni Army and allied popular forces, he added.

Israel is an advanced garrison for U.S. in the region: Moroccan analyst

By Mohammad Mazhari

December 28, 2020 – 18:15

TEHRAN – A Moroccan journalist describes Israel as an “unnatural entity” which is “planted” in the region to represent U.S. interests and cause escalations.

“Israel is an unnatural entity based on expansion, and it does not have standards of a state,” Driss Addar tells the Tehran Times. “It is an advanced military garrison for America, which is the hidden state of the Jews of Khazaria.”
The Moroccan journalist calls Israel an arrogant regime that is established based on expansionism.
Following is the text of the interview: 

Q: How do you see the decision of some Arab states like the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan to normalize ties with Israel? 

A: There are multiple reasons for each government, although the context that paved the way for Arab states to normalize their relationship with Israel was apparently the same.

But before answering your question, I would like to point out that regarding Morocco the step of normalization of ties was taken within the framework of joint Arab action and settlements based on the two-state solution. 

The Moroccan step differs in terms of context and historical motives and also even the content of the statement issued in this context.

That is why the Palestinian Authority treated the Moroccan decision differently, in contrast to its position on the Abraham Accords, which was rejected by Morocco too. 

The Arabs today are pushed into a corner, and their interaction with their geopolitics is limited to be a spectator or the functional tool for other powers.

So the Emirates’ normalization of ties with Israel is based on promised goals within the framework of building an Israeli-(Persian) Gulf coalition to confront Iran after America portrayed Tehran as an enemy.

In this concept, the previous friend becomes the enemy and the enemy becomes a close friend who is welcomed.

Israel and the United States are aware that geography in the East is senseless after the creation of chaos, breakup plans, and proxy wars, and today they are investing in this reality, with the certainty that the idea of a new Middle East has become impossible after Syria’s victory over a terrorist war that was imposed on it.

 With the emergence of Russia as a new international power and Iran as a large regional power, the current U.S. administration wants to cripple the next administration by forming an Israeli-(Persian) Gulf alliance to prevent a U.S. return to the nuclear deal or laying landmines for Biden.

Q: Why did Morocco accept to normalize relations with Israel? It seems that there were informal relations with Israel before the announcement of normalization.

A: Morocco provides an explanation and justification for this normalization step and this agreement is limited to the transfer of the Moroccan community and a set of exchanges between the two sides.

 Not to mention America’s recognition of the Moroccan Sahara, it contributed to this step while other countries do not have these incentives, which makes the Moroccan situation different.

Morocco has been playing a mediatory role in the past and wants to continue it now. In the context of the change in the regional system and the escalations over the Palestinian issue, Morocco adopted a different viewpoint that sees itself as more capable for mediation than Egypt or Jordan.

Here Morocco has determined an agenda, including finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Here we are not talking about the best way to achieve consensus within the framework of an official Palestinian demand; the point here is related to Morocco, as it started from the beginning and after the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a political solution and in the same framework that was agreed upon in the Arab world and in the (Organization of) Islamic Cooperation, that is the two-state solution.

So, Morocco has set an agenda realizing that the people reject the normalization of ties with Israel. So it did not call it normalization, but a statement that all wait for the implementation of the demands mentioned in it.

Morocco does not want to exclude the Palestinian cause but rather stated that this issue is equal to its national causes.

The issue is explained clearly in detail. So it is a conditional agreement that pledges a just solution to the Palestinian issue.

Moroccans are monitoring the progress of the agreement. Hence, unlike other forms of normalization, there is no signal of disregard or humiliation for the Palestinian cause in Morocco. 

The agreements between the Arabs and the Israeli regime were raised under initiatives and joint actions, while this is a conditional initiative and not a blank check.

Morocco hopes that all parties in the conflict succeed in finding an opportunity for a fair settlement approvable by international, Arab, and Islamic communities, otherwise it will not be applicable. Any initiative needs to take into account the Palestinians’ rights to succeed. 

I guess what is expected from this agreement is something greater than what is carried out by states that have fully normalized ties with Israel.

Over the years of conflict, the Israeli regime neither abides by UN resolutions nor Arab initiatives, and the siege on the Palestinian people is continuing. 

This is something that cannot be overlooked. Morocco had officially closed the contact office during the second Palestinian uprising (Intifada) in 2000.

The issue here is not who will join the normalization process or not. We must seek the possible conditions to facilitate a comprehensive and complete peace in the Middle East (West Asia).

What distinguishes Morocco is that it has a large community within Israel and also officials in the Israeli government are still associated with their Moroccan origins. 

Therefore, Rabat considers it an opportunity to resolve the conflict in a context that is under regional and international pressure.

Arabs are living in a difficult situation and Morocco is part of the Arab world and is concerned with resolving the Palestinian issue and considers it as a red line.

What happened is a conditional connection to mediate between Israel and Palestine. It is not a full normalization, because it would not be possible before settling the Palestinian issue. 

Here we had to pause at the difference between contact mechanism, which is a pre-condition for any mediation, and full normalization that cannot be achieved in the absence of a solution. 

Rabat says that the agreement does not compromise on the Palestinians’ legitimate rights.

Official Moroccan position has not changed as it sticks to a two-state solution. However, Morocco accepted conditional contact, clearly and within an agenda that approves the Palestinian cause in the context of its first national priority, which is contrary to the content of the Abraham Accords.

Q: Do you think that the normalization will benefit the Islamic and Arab worlds? Do you expect Israel to give up its expansion plans after the normalization of relations?

A: What I said is an explanation and not a justification, and therefore it falls within the framework of understanding the political possibilities.

But strategically it will not change the situation at all, because the problem is very deep, as we face a blockage in the proposed solutions.

Even the two-state solution is a long story presented a long time ago, but it is not practically possible. Given the Israeli rejection and the impossibility of the two states’ existence in this small geography, in which this Israeli regime was planted, this small area cannot host two states in terms of history and religion.

Therefore, it is not possible to expect significant results from normalization unless we go beyond the limits of the current static situation.

Israel is an unnatural entity based on expansion, and it does not have standards of a state. It can even be said that it is an advanced military garrison for America, which is the hidden state of the Jews of Khazaria, according to Tatiana Grachova, the Russian writer and author of the book “Hidden Khazaria”.

Consequently, this regime is established on expansionism, and this is the main reason for escalations in the region. 

Despite Israeli arrogance, in the political process, one can only talk about an attempt to besiege and embarrass this regime.

Q: Don’t you think that Saudi Arabia would join others to normalize ties with Israel sooner or later? What will be its impact on the rest of the Arab countries?

A: The recent signals hint that Saudi Arabia will join the normalization process.

I don’t think that the Saudi normalization will create a different atmosphere or will have more serious repercussions rather than the previous steps in normalization. The main goal of these countries is forming an alliance with Israeli to surround Iran. The rest of the Arab countries, especially those close to the conflict zone, are in a different position. With the exception of Syria, whose position is clear on Israel as an enemy, the rest of neighboring Arab countries not only prefer to support normalization of ties with Israel but also support aggression against the resistance axis and occupied Palestine.

Q: Now how would you describe the position of Arab countries, governments, and people toward the Palestinian cause?

A: It is no longer possible to address the path and options of Arab policies.

But no one is against the right of the Palestinian people to resist the occupation, especially in its difficult circumstances.

Now the question here is how can the demands of the Palestinian people be fulfilled to confront Israeli malicious policies?

If you focus only on the dark reality of our region, you will see that the Palestinian cause is in its worst condition, but a strategic vision will say that the facts suggest important changes in favor of the Palestinian cause.

Rather, the victory of Syria, and the achievements of the resistance axis, is the most important cards that can hinder the deal of the century.

This deal cannot be passed without eliminating the Lebanese resistance and overthrowing the Syrian state, the two goals that were not achieved by the resistance of the nations of the region.
 

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Blood Gold

Blood Gold

PressTV Interview with Peter Koenig

Transcript

Background

The Middle East Eye reports  there are no gold mines under Dubai’s sands with artisanal miners or children toiling away trying to strike gold. But there is the Dubai Gold Souk and refineries that vie with the largest global operations as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) strives to expand its position as a major gold hub.

In recent years, the UAE, with Dubai in particular, has established itself as one of the largest and fastest-growing marketplaces for the precious metal, with imports rising by 58 percent per annum to more than $27bn in 2018, according to data collated by the Observatory for Economic Complexity.

With no local gold to tap, unlike neighboring Saudi Arabia, the UAE has to import gold from wherever it can, whether it be legitimately, smuggled with no questions asked, sourced from conflict zones, or linked to organized crime.

Blood gold

The Sentry’s investigation (Sentry Investigations specialize in private and corporate investigations in the UK) found that 95 percent of gold officially exported from Central and East Africa, much of it mined in Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, ends up in the Emirates.

Gold has become so important to Dubai’s economy that it is the emirate’s highest value external trade item, ahead of mobile phones, jeweler, petroleum products and diamonds, according to Dubai Customs.

And it is the UAE’s largest export after oil, exporting $17.7bn in 2019. Gold’s importance has only increased as Dubai’s oil reserves have dwindled and the UAE has tried to diversify its economy.

The Swiss connection

Dubai is not the only gold player with dirt, and even blood, on its hands.

“It is not just Dubai, it’s also Switzerland. The Swiss get large quantities of gold from Dubai. The Swiss say they are not getting gold from certain countries [connected to conflict gold], but instead from Dubai, yet the gold in Dubai is coming from these countries. Dubai is complicit, but Swiss hands are equally dirty as they can’t cut Dubai from the market,” said Lakshmi Kumar, policy director, at Global Financial Integrity (GFI) in Washington DC.

Switzerland is the world’s largest refiner, while [more than half] of all gold goes through the country at some point, according to anti-corruption group Global Witness. Switzerland’s trade is tied to the UK, which imports around a third of all gold.

—————-

RT Question:
Gold has become such an important commodity for the UAE, that it is the largest export after oil, exporting $17.7bn in 2019. But there is the other side to this story. A report by the UK’s Home Office and Treasury earlier in December also named the UAE as a jurisdiction vulnerable to money laundering by criminal networks because of the ease with which gold and cash could be moved through the country. Is this the case?

PK Reply
First, International Gold Laundering is a gigantic Human Rights abuse, foremost because laundered gold stems from many countries in Africa and South America where massive child labor is practiced. Children not only are put at tremendous risk working in the mines, in narrow rickety underground tunnels that could collapse anytime, and often do – but they are also poisoned on a daily basis by chemicals used in extracting gold ore from the rock, notably cyanide and mercury – and others.

Second, Gold laundering is an international crime, because it illegal and it is mostly run by mafia type organizations – where killing and other type of violence, plus sexual abuse of women – forced prostitution – is a daily occurrence.

There should be an international law – enforceable – issued by the UN – and enforced by the International Criminal Court against anything to do with gold laundering. Infractions should be punished. And countries involved in gold laundering should be held responsible – put on a black list for illegal financial transactions and for facilitating human rights abuses.

The United Arab Emirates — has no gold, so all of the $17.7 billion of their gold exports is being imported and “washed” by re-exporting it mainly through the UK into Switzerland and other gold refining places, like India. With a worldwide production of about 3,500 tons, there are times when Switzerland imports more gold than the annual world production, most of it coming from the UK, for further refining or re-refining, for “better or double laundering” – erasing the gold’s origins.

From the refinery in Switzerland, it goes mostly into the banking system or is re-exported as “clean” gold coming from Switzerland. And its origins are no longer traceable.

Worldwide about 70% of all gold is refined in Switzerland.

Gold mine production totaled 3,531 tons in 2019, 1% lower than in 2018. About 70% of all gold, worldwide is refined in Switzerland. So, it is very likely that the UK, receiving gold from United Arab Emirates, re-exports the gold to Switzerland, for re-refining, for further export to, for ex. India. – Coming from Switzerland it has the “label” of being clean. How long will this reputation still last?

Metalor is the world’s largest gold refinery – established in Switzerland. And they are absolutely secretive, do not say where they buy their gold from, because the Swiss Government does not require the origin when gold enters Switzerland.

Once it is refined – the origin can no longer be determined, because gold does not have a DNA.

RT Question
The Sentry’s investigation found that 95 percent of gold officially exported from Central and East Africa, much of it mined in Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, ends up in the emirate, through what’s known as blood gold: gold obtained through brutal mining practices and illicit profits, including the use of children, how do you see this?

PK Reply
Yes, this is absolutely true.

As mentioned already before – much of the gold from Africa / Central Africa, Ghana and South America, notably Peru, is blood gold. Of course, it passes through many hands before it lands in a refinery in the UK, Switzerland or elsewhere, and therefore is almost untraceable.

But, the company that buys the gold, like Metalor, they know exactly where the gold is coming from, but, as mentioned before, since the Swiss government does not require the importing company to divulge the origin of the gold – the human rights abuses will never come to light, or better – to justice.

It is estimated that up to 30% of all gold refined in Switzerland is considered blood gold. Imagine the suffering, disease, and even death – or delayed death through slow reacting chemicals like cyanite and mercury.

However, if there is no international law – a law that is enforced – that puts the criminals to justice – and put countries that facilitate gold laundering on an international list – for the world to see – and hold them accountable, with for example financial sanctions, little will change.

Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

‘Fruits of Peace’: Beitar Will Remain a Bastion of Israeli Racism

December 26, 2020

Beitar Jerusalem is well known for its anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bias and for its violent, racist supporters. (Photo: File)

By Issam Khalidi

Just recently Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of the UAE royal family, has pledged to invest 300 million shekels, or about $90 million, into the Beitar (Jerusalem) club over the next decade.

It wouldn’t be a big surprise if Al Khalifa invested in a club other than Beitar. This deal even made many Israelis surprised. The question that comes to mind here is why did Bin Nahyan choose to invest in this club? Does he intend to win the sympathy and favor of the most extremists in the Israeli society, or to fit the club’s deflection and adjust its racial behavior?

Indeed, it is merely a trading deal without looking into its political and moral dimensions. Also, as Rina Bassist mentioned in Al-Monitor “Not only was the deal a most tangible and direct result of the normalization agreement between the two countries, but it also confronted Beitar fans with a new, almost unimaginable reality.”

It is an illusion to think that Bin Khalifa and others are interested in purchasing historical documents that were stolen from Palestinian homes, libraries and institutions as a result of the Nakba (i.e., catastrophe) of 1948, or restoring homes and landmarks that were abandoned by their residents who became refugees in neighboring countries.

Bin Khalifa said that his investment represents “the fruits of peace and brotherhood between the two countries and this step will further bring people together through sports.”

Of course, sport is soft power and a great tool for peace, brotherhood, and friendship that could bring people together. However, in order to bring Palestinians and Israelis together through sports few things are required. The most important of which is ending the Israeli occupation. Friendly meetings and tournaments cannot be undertaken under repression, land confiscation, checkpoints, apartheid wall, blockades, arrests, and killings. Rather, under an independent Palestinian state and equal rights for Palestinians.

Israel is the only beneficiary of this deal, as it is the beneficiary of all its normalization agreements with other countries, and other peace agreements signed with Egypt, Jordan, and PLO. This club and its fans cannot be tamed, because the epidemic of racism is so rampant, its roots are so deep in the Israeli society that it cannot be eradicated. Today, it is not surprising to see that a new Israeli generation is born with genes of racism.

Despite the club’s apparent enthusiasm over the deal, many of Beitar’s fans remain upset at this shocking buyout. Fans have reportedly spray-painted offensive and racist graffiti on the walls of the stadium as a sign of their disappointment and anger.

Beitar is considered one of the clubs in the Israeli First Division Football League, known for its hardline stances against Arab and Palestinians, and there is no Arab player among its ranks. Fans of “Beitar Jerusalem” are historically considered hostile to Muslims and Arabs, especially the notorious far-right fan group “La Familia” known for its songs against the Prophet Muhammad. In 2016, nineteen members of the group were charged with attempted murder, including supporters of rival squads.

In October, the Arab member in the Knesset, Ayman Odeh, requested the removal of a racist song by the “La Familia” group that insulted the Prophet Muhammad that was published on “YouTube”. The site later removed the video from its platform.

This football club in specific has never had any Arab player on its ranks. Two Palestinian citizens of Israel who play on Israeli teams describe the racism and violence they are subjected to by Beitar fans. Alaa Abu Saleh, who plays for Bnei Sakhnin, says “It’s like war.”

In June 2019, the club refrained from joining the Nigerian player, Muhammad Ali, because of his name, or changing his name, as a condition for accepting his play with the team.

Beitar team relies on its popularity on the people of eastern sects who usually live-in poor neighborhoods and are known for their hatred of Arabs, and most of them belong to the religious parties and the Likud party.

Beitar was founded by the revisionist Jabotinsky in 1926 emerged as a movement opposed to the workers’ Histadrut in Palestine, and the members wore brown shirts as part of the movement’s fascist coloration. As for those who split from the Haganah in 1930 and established (Etzel) and (Lehi), they were members of Beitar. Its members became involved in terrorist acts in Palestine in the 1930s. Haganah, Palmach, and Vaad Leumi these terrorist organizations played a pivotal role in the establishment of the State of Israel.

The club has been trying to change its image in recent years, and in 2017 it received an award from President Reuven Rivlin for its efforts in combating racism and significantly reducing the number of anti-Arab and Muslim chants in its matches. However, racism in Israel isn’t going away, it’s getting worse and has been spurred long ago by Zionism, which is a racist ideology.

The Jewish Holocaust survivor, historian, author, and a former president of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, Israel Shahak wrote on the racism of Zionism and the State of Israel (1975):

“It is my considered opinion that the State of Israel is a racist state in the full meaning of this term: In this state, people are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin. This racist discrimination began in Zionism and is carried out today mainly in cooperation with the institutions of the Zionist movement.”

– Issam Khalidi is an independent scholar, the author of History of Sports in Palestine 1900-1948 (in Arabic), One Hundred Years of Football in Palestine (in Arabic and English), co-edited Soccer in the Middle East, as well as articles and essays on the subject of sports included at http://www.hpalestinesports.net. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Is Washington going to Maintain its Ties with the Muslim Brotherhood?

Source

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By Vladimir Odintsov
Source: New Eastern Outlook

According to media reports, Republican Senator Ted Cruz recently sent another bill to the US Congress, proposing to declare an Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood (banned in Russia – ed.), a terrorist organization.

Earlier, in late 2014, the US administration, in the face of Congressman Ted Cruz, already made a similar suggestion. In it, he referred to the fact that Egypt, after the President of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in late 2013, declared the organization a terrorist organization, and in March 2014, Egyptian example was followed by Saudi Arabia. In November 2014 the UAE declared the actions of 83 organizations in their territory illegal. This list included the Muslim Brotherhood, while Jordan arrested numerous high up and ordinary organization members, whom they promptly accused of terrorism. In April 2016, however, Ann Petersen, then Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs, speaking before a subcommittee of the US Congress, refused to consider the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, stating that “the organization is represented by legitimate political parties in several Middle Eastern countries, moving away from its violent position that it has held for decades”.

Nevertheless, in 2017, a group of Republicans represented by Senator Thea Cruz introduced a new bill in the US Congress recognizing the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. Soon enough, another bill was introduced against the Islamist organization, proposing that it be declared a terrorist group in the United States.

In order to understand the reasons for the difficulties in having the US authorities officially recognize the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, which has long been recognized as one in Russia and a number of other countries, it seems appropriate to recall the history of its existence and its “friendship” with the US authorities.

The Muslim Brotherhood was established as an international religious and political association in March 1928 by teacher Hassan al-Banna in Ismailia, Egypt. The status of this organization is ambiguous – in some countries it is legal, and political parties associated with it have seats in the parliaments of their respective countries, in particular in Yemen, Sudan (until November 2019), Tunisia, Turkey, etc. At the same time, it is recognized as a terrorist organization in Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, UAE, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Tajikistan.

US cooperation with the Muslim Brotherhood began in 1953 under President Eisenhower, when several dozen Islamic theologians were invited to Princeton University to participate (according to the official version) “in a scientific conference”. In fact, the US authorities thereby intended to enlist the support of the spiritual leaders of Islamic countries to combat the growing “Communist threat” in the Middle East. Moreover,

File:President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Oval Office with Muslim  delegates in 1953.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Said Ramadan (second from the right) in the Oval Office with US President Dwight D. Eisenhower and other Muslim leaders in 1953

in the reports published in the media about this meeting, one of the main representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood at the time, Said Ramadan, who was present at the meeting, was referred to by the US intelligence agencies as a “fascist” and a “Falangist:”.

In his book, “Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood”, Ian Johnson, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, noted that US  interest in the Muslim Brotherhood especially increased after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 to use Islamists in opposition to the USSR in that country at the time.

And then, in September 1981, the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat is assassinated by members of a terrorist group, a splinter group of the Muslim Brotherhood. During the same period, the Muslim Brotherhood actively supported Islamic extremist groups operating in Afghanistan. Since the mid-90s, the Muslim Brotherhood has repeatedly attempted to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, carried out a series of major terrorist attacks on tourist routes against foreign nationals, and participated in military operations in Chechnya and Dagestan on the side of the bandit formations.

After the September 11 attacks, US contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood were frozen for some time. However, given the George W. Bush administration’s clear miscalculations in the two wars in Muslim countries, cooperation with representatives of this Islamist group has been strengthened by Washington in the hope that they will “help ease tensions” in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as in Europe. Therefore, in 2006 in Brussels, with the mediation of the US State Department, a conference was organized, involving the European branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, where representatives of the US and British intelligence agencies discussed the prospects for cooperation with the Islamists.

With the arrival of Barack Obama into the White House, this close cooperation continued, especially since people from George W. Bush’s team, who were developing a strategy for rapprochement with the Muslim Brotherhood, remained in the Obama administration. The leading role in maintaining these contacts was played by the US (CIA) and British (MI6) secret services, as Thierry Meyssan, the founding president of the Réseau Voltaire website, has written about in great detail and accuracy. It was not without the involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood that the United States succeeded in deposing and executing Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Today, the Muslim Brotherhood has great influence not only in a number of countries in the Middle East, but also in Europe and the United States, and it is very well organized. The Muslim Brotherhood is a real international network with decades of experience. In Europe, the centers of this organization are London, Munich and many other major cities.

Given that Washington’s main goal in foreign policy has always been to maintain the role of the US as the absolute global leader, America could ensure its leadership in a global crisis only by, first, creating a climate of chaos in the world, in the midst of which the US would look like “an attractive island of stability”. In addition, it is much cheaper to manage chaos than it is to manage order. Second, America could retain global leadership if the economic and military-political power of China, the only competitor of the US in the battle for world domination, ready to take the crown of the winner from the United States, was severely restricted. Therefore, in recent years, the “friendship” of the United States with the Muslim Brotherhood has taken a blatantly anti-Chinese focus on using these Islamists to wreak havoc in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China and Central Asian countries.

By agreeing to a strategic alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, the US government has opened a Pandora’s box. The Muslim Brotherhood, which has repeatedly proclaimed its desire to build an Arab caliphate based on Sharia principles “from Spain to Indonesia,” intends to conquer new spaces and countries, especially enemies of the United States, with the active support of Washington through terror and propaganda.

As for the United States, under the guise of legal difficulties in officially recognizing the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, it clearly fears the unintended consequences of such a step for its relations with Turkey and Qatar, which support the Muslim Brotherhood on both the religious and political levels. If the assistance of the peninsular emirate in the Persian Gulf is mainly limited to financial support for this Islamist organization, Ankara has made the Muslim Brotherhood one of its “combat wings” in Syria and Libya.

That is why it would be unwise to expect a positive outcome from the consideration by the US Congress of another bill to declare the Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood (banned in Russia – ed.) a terrorist organization, even though relations between Washington and Ankara have noticeably deteriorated lately.

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

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?

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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

السعودية راعية التطبيع مع العدوّ

الأخبار

موقع المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان :: ذكرى 14 آب: بين تموزين – إبراهيم الأمين*  – خاص موقع المقاومة الإسلامية

ابراهيم الأمين الإثنين 21 كانون الأول 2020

في معرض شرحه أو تبريره قبول السلطات المغربية الاتفاق العام مع العدوّ الإسرائيلي، يقول دبلوماسي مغربي إن السعودية كانت على الدوام لاعباً مهماً في هذا المجال. لا ينفي الدبلوماسي العلاقات التاريخية التي ربطت العائلة الحاكمة المغربية بالمنظّمات اليهودية العالمية، وانعكاس ذلك علاقات مع المنظمات الصهيونية الداعمة لإسرائيل. ويقرّ بأن العلاقات مع إسرائيل أكثر عمقاً من العلاقات التي ربطت حكام آل سعود مع العدو. لكنه يدعو الى الانتباه إلى أن السعودية كما الإمارات العربية المتحدة تقومان بدور «مموّل هذه الاتفاقات الجديدة»، لافتاً الى أن حزمة المساعدات التي أغرت الولايات المتحدة الدول العربية بها للتعجيل بهذه الخطوة، تستند في جانب منها الى دعم ستوفّره الرياض وأبو ظبي مباشرة، أو من خلال المشاركة في مشاريع استثمارية تقوم فيها إسرائيل بدور مباشر، ولا سيما على صعيد الخبرات اللوجستية والتقنية.

المسألة، هنا، لا تتعلق فقط بهذا الدور المساعد، بل بالخريطة الإجمالية لفكرة التحالف الاستراتيجي مع إسرائيل. لأن من فكر بأن دونالد ترامب استعجل اتفاقات التطبيع لاستثمارها في الانتخابات الأميركية، أدرك بأن الأمر لم يكن بنداً ساخناً على جدول أعمال الناخب الأميركي. حتى الكتلة اليهودية الناخبة لم تتأثّر فعلياً بهذه الأمور. ثمّة ما هو مختلف في مقاربة اليهود الأميركيين للانتخابات الداخلية الأميركية، وهو أمر له أثره على أمور كثيرة، من بينها التباين بين هذه الكتلة وبين رئيس حكومة العدوّ بنيامين نتنياهو. وهو تباين لا يجب البناء عليه بسذاجة من يفكر بأن هناك احتمالاً لانقلاب يهود أميركا على إسرائيل. لكن حدوده متعلقة بالمصالح الاستراتيجية للكتلة اليهودية داخل أميركا نفسها.

صحيح أن النفوذ الكبير ليهود الغرب يفيد من يتحالف معهم أو يخدم مصالحهم، ومن ضمنها إسرائيل، لكن حكام الخليج يحتاجون إلى هذه المؤسسة لاحتواء أي إشكال يقوم مع الغرب، ولمنع قيام علاقات بين الولايات المتحدة ودول مركزية في المنطقة، من دون الأخذ في الحسبان مصالحهم. صار السعوديون والإماراتيون على وجه التحديد، يتصرفون على أساس أن وجودهم مرتبط بتوفير عناصر الأمان على يد الغرب، وفي مقدمته أميركا. وهم، هنا، يشعرون بأن المعركة الوجودية التي قرروا أنهم في داخلها، تتطلب حرباً من نوع مختلف مع المحور المقابل. وعند هذا الحد، لا تعود العلاقات مع إسرائيل محل نقاش، بل ما يبقى للنقاش هو الشكل والإخراج المطلوب لمنع حصول ما ليس في الحسبان.

في إسرائيل ليس هناك من يتوهم بأن العلاقات مع حكومات الإمارات والسعودية والبحرين والسودان والمغرب كما مع حكومات مصر والأردن وقطر، يمكن أن تنعكس تحوّلاً في المزاج الشعبي في هذه الدول. لا بل إن الاستراتيجيين في كيان العدو، يعرفون أن الحكومات المطبّعة غير قادرة على ضرب فكرة المقاومة حيث تنمو.
عند هذا الحدّ، يصبح المهم والأهم هو المتعلق بالواقع الاستراتيجي الذي يخص المصالح الرئيسية لدول التحالف الجديد. السعودية والإمارات والبحرين مثلاً، هي من الدول التي تخشى على استقرار نظامها السياسي والأمني والاقتصادي أيضاً. وهي تعتقد بأن الحماية الأميركية لم تعد كافية، وأدركت تدريجاً، منذ عام 2011، أن الولايات المتحدة لم تعد قادرة على الوجود هنا، ولو بالأجرة. أما إسرائيل التي تدرك أيضاً منذ عام 2006 أنها لم تعد قادرة على خوض الحرب وحدها من دون دعم أميركي، فتظهر الخشية ليس من تمدّد محتمل لمحور المقاومة، وخصوصاً بعد الذي يجري في اليمن، بل من أن انهيار المنظومة الحالية في الخليج العربي سيضيق هامش الحركة الأميركية والأوروبية في هذه المنطقة. وهو ما يتطلّب الحضور الإسرائيلي المباشر. والعارفون بشؤون المنطقة يلمسون أن إسرائيل لم تعد تكتفي بما يردها من معلومات بالواسطة من هذه الساحات. ولم تعد تكتفي بشبكات المتعاونين معها مهما علت رتبهم. صار الوجود المباشر للأجهزة الإسرائيلية المعنية أمراً ضرورياً. وهو يتطلب مشروعية تسهّل الكثير من الأمور التي تبقى معقّدة مهما أتاحت لها الحكومات هوامش للحركة. الى جانب أمر آخر، يتعلق بفئة من المستثمرين الإسرائيليين الذين يريدون هذه السوق مباشرة، أو استخدامها للوصول الى أسواق يصعب الدخول إليها بشكل عادي والتي تمتد شرقاً حتى أفغانستان، وغرباً حتى إفريقيا.

ولذلك، يمكن العودة الى كلام الدبلوماسي المغربي، وفهم الدور السعودي المحوري والأساسي. بمعزل عما يظهر منه إلى العلن الآن أو في أي وقت آخر. السعودية، هنا، باتت حجر الزاوية لهذا التحالف الجديد. وعلى عاتقها مهمات كثيرة. وفي هذا السياق، يمكن فهم التدرّج في الخطوات السياسية وغير السياسية التي يقوم بها حكام آل سعود داخل الجزيرة العربية وخارجها من أجل تثبيت دعائم هذا التحالف.

تنشر «الأخبار» في ما يلي نصّ وثيقة مصدرها البريد السري داخل مراكز الحكم في السعودية، كتبها رئيس المخابرات السعودية خالد الحميدان إلى رئيسه وليّ العهد محمد بن سلمان، تتعلّق بملف التطبيع مع الإسرائيليين. وهو تقرير يشرح الخطوط العامة للتوجّه السعودي في كيفية التعامل مع هذا الملف.

 اشترك في «الأخبار» على يوتيوب هنا
من ملف : «السعودية – ليكس»: فوائد التطبيع مع اسرائيل

فيديوات متعلقة

مقالات متعلقة

Scenarios to Awaken Sleeper Cells with American and Saudi Support: Warnings of ’Security Strife’ سيناريوات لتحريك خلايا نائمة بدعم أميركي وسعودي: تحذيرات من «فتن أمنية»

Scenarios to Awaken Sleeper Cells with American and Saudi Support: Warnings of ’Security Strife’

Scenarios to Awaken Sleeper Cells with American and Saudi Support: Warnings of ’Security Strife’

By Mayssam Rizk – Al-Akhbar Newspaper / Translated by Al-Ahed News

In light of the Gulf-“Israeli” normalization agreements, pressure is mounting on Lebanon to fall in line. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently content with just being a spectator, while the United States is activating its plan to implement a theory shared by Washington and Riyadh: “Let the country collapse so that we rebuild it without Hezbollah.”

Lebanon has taken a huge leap into a zone similar to the Bermuda Triangle, almost as if its demise had become inevitable. The push for that is strongest among those who insist on removing Hezbollah from the entire political scene – either make a lot of concessions, or face the flood. The American war against the resistance, which involves the use of deadlier tools than those employed in Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, and Lebanon in 2006, is continuing in accordance with the aforementioned theory: “Let the country collapse so we can rebuild it without Hezbollah”.

Saudi Arabia strongly believes in this theory even though it has not been put into practice yet. However, it can be set in motion as a financial reserve when the opportunity presents itself.

Until then, work to sow chaos resumes: activating the activities of NGOs and movements with a specific agenda, imposing new sanctions on Lebanese figures, and the prevailing absence of security. All of which will open up the internal arena to a range of possibilities.

A year and two months ago, the objective was to expose the corrupt political class, but now it is time to overthrow it, regardless of the existence of an alternative, or so the information indicates.

The difference between these two periods of time is that in the fall of 2019, there were no Emirates-“Israeli” relations, Bahraini-“Israeli” relations, Saudi-“Israeli” relations. In other words, today “Israel” is present in every Arab country except Lebanon, which means that the latter isn’t permitted to deviate from this path – forcing it to join their ranks is not built on a void. For there is no longer any ambiguity that the corruption of the ruling system and the absence of any serious effort to search for a solution to address the collapse are helping the outside world implement its plan.

Anyone who reads the graph of the country’s movement at all levels will realize that it is heading towards a more painful stage, in light of the downfall scenario that threatens all institutions that are no longer able to contain its dangerous repercussions. In parallel, Washington is activating its policy to destroy Lebanon, in cooperation with local actors entrusted with this task, in addition to a set of basic pillars for its project run by the US administration from abroad and the US embassy in Beirut. The coming stages will unfold as follows:

The first pillar: Reactivating civil society associations, some of which operate according to the Western agenda. And this is done through the implementation of the activities of some groups that try to exploit any righteous movement and divert it to another path. According to some sources, certain movements could cause security incidents that might further exacerbate the situation.

For example, the surprise encounters involving young people who confronted officials and figures in public places may develop into security problems if they move onto private residences. Then, who guarantees, for example, that there will be no casualties should a fight between these youths and the security team of any official take place?

The second pillar: The infiltration of these organizations into certain areas under the guise of aid, specifically Christian ones, and spreading the impression that there is no way to guarantee social security except through the West, with the aim of replacing major parties in these areas, specifically the Free Patriotic Movement.

The third pillar: Putting more Lebanese figures on the sanctions list, in addition to state institutions or even banks, to further destabilize the economic and financial situation and work to sow doubt in these institutions and encourage financial transactions on the black market.

The fourth pillar: undermining security by awakening sleeper cells and sowing sedition. This is no longer a secret, as many political and security forces now talk about reports confirming the existence of serious security threats.

Even though Saudi movements in Lebanon appear to be faint so far, available information suggests that the kingdom is sharing its theory with Washington. However, it will not intervene directly right now, but rather wait for the country’s complete collapse based on the conviction that “this collapse will only negatively affect Hezbollah, weaken it, and force it to back down. Thus, it will be possible to rebuild the state in Lebanon through an American agenda and Saudi funding.”

سيناريوات لتحريك خلايا نائمة بدعم أميركي وسعودي: تحذيرات من «فتن أمنية»

ميسم رزق 

الخميس 17 كانون الأول 2020

في ضوء التطبيع الخليجي – الإسرائيلي يزداد الضغط على لبنان للانضمام إلى الركب. المملكة العربية السعودية تكتفي حالياً بدور المتفرّج، فيما الولايات المتحدة تفعّل خطتها لتنفيذ نظرية تتشاطرها واشنطن والرياض: «دعوا البلد ينهار حتى نعيد بناءه من دون حزب الله»

دخلَ لبنان، جدياً، منطقة شبيهة بـ «مُثلّث برمودا»، وكأنّ سقوطه صار قدراً. الدفع إلى ذلك، على أشدّه عند من يشترط إخراج حزب الله من كل المشهد السياسي مع كثير من التنازلات… وإلا الطوفان. الحرب الأميركية ضد المقاومة، بأدوات أكثر فتكاً مما تعرّضت له أفغانستان (2001)، والعراق (2003)، ولبنان(2006)، مستمرة وفق نظرية «دعوا البلد ينهار حتى نعيد بناءه من دون حزب الله». نظرية «تبصم» عليها الرياض بـ «العشرة»، رغمَ انكفائها حالياً، لكنها جاهزة للتفاعل متى سنحت الفرصة، باعتبارها الاحتياطي المالي. حتى ذلِك الحين، يُستأنَف العمل لاستكمال زرع الفوضى عبرَ: تفعيل نشاط منظمات المجتمع المدني والتحركات التي تنطلِق بأجندة محدّدة، فرض عقوبات جديدة على شخصيات لبنانية، وطغيان الأمن المفقود، مما يجعل الساحة الداخلية مفتوحة على أي احتمال. قبلَ عام وشهرين من اليوم، كانَ العنوان تعرية الطبقة السياسية الفاسدة، أما حالياً فقد حانَ وقت إسقاطها، بمعزل عن وجود بديل، هكذا تقول المعلومات. الفارق بين الزمنين، أنه في خريف 2019، لم تكُن هناك إمارات وإسرائيل، بحرين وإسرائيل، سعودية وإسرائيل، أي أن إسرائيل اليوم موجودة في كل دولة عربية إلا لبنان، بمعنى، أن الأخير لا يُمكن أن يكون شاذاً عن هذا المسار، وإجباره على الانضمام إلى الركب ليسَ مبنياً على فراغ. إذ لم يعُد ثمة لبس في أن فساد المنظومة الحاكمة وغياب أي مسعى جدّي للبحث عن معالجة الانهيار يساعدان الخارج في تنفيذ خطته.

من يقرأ الخط البياني لحركة البلاد على كل الأصعدة، يكتشِف أنها تتجه نحوَ مرحلة أكثر إيلاماً، في ظل سيناريو السقوط الذي يتهدّد كل المؤسسات التي لم تعُد قادرة على احتواء ارتداداته الخطيرة. في موازاة ذلك، تُفعّل واشنطن سياستها لتدمير لبنان، بالتعاون مع فاعلين محليين أُوكلِت إليهم هذه المهمة، بالإضافة إلى مجموعة ركائز أساسية لمشروعها تديرها الإدارة الأميركية من الخارج والسفارة الأميركية في بيروت، وستبدأ بالظهور تباعاً في المرحلة المقبلة، وذلك على النحو التالي:

الركيزة الأولى: إعادة تحريك جمعيات المجتمع المدني، التي يعمل بعضها وفق الأجندة الغربية. وذلك، من خلال تنفيذ نشاطات لبعض المجموعات التي تحاول استثمار أي تحرّك محقّ، وحرفه إلى غير مساره. وهنا، تقول بعض المصادر إن من شأن بعض التحركات أن يؤدّي إلى وقوع حوادث أمنية تفجّر الأوضاع. فعلى سبيل المثال، «الكبسات» المفاجئة التي ينفذها بعض الشباب ضد مسؤولين وشخصيات في أماكن عامة، قد تتطور إلى إشكالات أمنية في حال انتقلت إلى المنازل، وحينها من يضمن مثلاً عدم وقوع ضحايا فيما لو وقع تضارب بين هؤلاء الشباب والفريق الأمني لأيّ مسؤول؟

الركيزة الثانية: تغلغل هذه المنظمات في المناطق تحتَ ستار المساعدات، تحديداً في المناطق المسيحية، وإشاعة الانطباع بأن لا سبيل لضمان الأمن الاجتماعي إلا من خلال الغرب، وذلك بهدف الحلول مكان الأحزاب التي لها ثقل في هذه المناطق، تحديداً التيار الوطني الحر.

الركيزة الثالثة: وضع مزيد من الشخصيات اللبنانية على لائحة العقوبات، بالإضافة إلى مؤسسات في الدولة أو حتى مصارف، لزعزعة الوضع الاقتصادي والمالي أكثر فأكثر، والعمل على بثّ الشك في هذه المؤسسات وتشجيع الحركة المالية في السوق السوداء.

إسرائيل اليوم موجودة في كل دولة عربية إلا لبنان


الركيزة الرابعة: ضرب البعد الأمني في العمق، من خلال تحريك لخلايا نائمة وافتعال فتن. وهو ما لم يعُد سراً، إذ أن الكثير من القوى السياسية والأمنية باتت تتحدث عن تقارير تؤكد وجود تهديدات أمنية جدية.

وإذ تبدو الحركة السعودية في لبنان حتى الآن خافتة، إلا أن المعلومات تؤكّد بأن المملكة تشاطر واشنطن نظريتها، لكنها لن تتدخل الآن مباشرة، بل ستنتظر انهيار البلاد بالكامل، وفقَ قناعة تامة بأن «هذا الانهيار سيؤثر سلباً على حزب الله فقط، وأن ذلك سيُضعفه وسيجعله يتراجع. وبالتالي سيكون بالإمكان إعادة بناء الدولة في لبنان بأجندة أميركية وتمويل سعودي»!

Israel’s Honeymoon with the United Arab Emirates Is Grotesque

By Belén Fernández

Global Research,

December 10, 2020Jacobin 7 December 2020

Since normalizing relations in September, Israel and the United Arab Emirates have teamed up to do what both do best: trample on democratic freedoms, commit atrocities, and whitewash occupation.

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Back in 2010, the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman issued the following complaint: “Destructive critics dismiss Gaza as an Israeli prison, without ever mentioning that had Hamas decided — after Israel unilaterally left Gaza — to turn it into Dubai rather than Tehran, Israel would have behaved differently, too.”

Never mind that Israel never “left” Gaza — or that even if Hamas had managed to transform the diminutive Palestinian coastal enclave into the capital of Iran, international law would not have authorized the Israelis to then convert it into the “world’s largest open-air prison.” It’s also unclear how any territory could be turned into Dubai while under siege and frequent bombardment, or how Gazans would go about building malls with ski slopes — or building anything, for that matter — when Israel intermittently blocks construction materials from coming into the narrow strip of land.

Now, courtesy of the September normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates — the culmination of a long-standing clandestine love affair — it seems the Palestinians will finally get to experience a taste of Dubai. (And Emirati alcohol consumers will get a taste of Israeli-made wine from the illegally occupied Golan Heights.)

In a recent CNN dispatch titled “The UAE and Israel’s whirlwind honeymoon has gone beyond normalization,” correspondent Ben Wedeman writes of the “mutual enthusiasm” infecting the Israeli government and the federation of Arab sheikhdoms, so much so that the UAE “appears to have dropped, in practical terms, any objections to Israel’s occupation of Arab lands.” That’s no accident. Disappearing the occupation is a primary function of normalization, fitting right in with the Friedmanite approach to Middle East peace, which posits that, if the Palestinians would just stop bitching about being occupied and massacred and get on with their lives, they, too, could be Dubai — the equivalent of telling a person in a burning house to simply ignore the flames.A Special Relationship Born in Hell: The US Should Cut all Ties with War Criminal Israel

Wedeman catalogues the perks of the overzealous Emirati-Israeli honeymoon: mutual visa exemption, the aforementioned wine, an excursion to the UAE by Israeli settler leaders from the West Bank, direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi scheduled to start early next year, and an arrangement where the UAE will “finance with the US and Israel a project to ‘modernize’ Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank used to control and monitor the movement of Palestinians.”

Presumably, “modernization” does not mean that Israeli soldiers will stop beatingkilling, detaining, and otherwise abusing Palestinians at checkpoints. But perhaps the Emiratis can help install state-of-the-art mobile maternity wards to deal with the Palestinian women forced to give birth there.

To be sure, it’s not like the checkpoints aren’t “modern” enough already. As NBC News reported last year, Microsoft has “invested in a startup that uses facial recognition to surveil Palestinians throughout the West Bank, in spite of the tech giant’s public pledge to avoid using the technology if it encroaches on democratic freedoms.”

That’s no turnoff for the UAE, where democratic freedoms are entirely absent and the slightest criticism of the government is grounds for detentiontorture, or disappearance. And what do you know: Emirati-Israeli collaboration regarding surveillance far predated the official unveiling of amorous bilateral relations. In 2015, a Middle East Eye article quoted a description of Abu Dhabi’s Israeli-installed mass civil spying system: “Every person is monitored from the moment they leave their doorstep to the moment they return to it. Their work, social and behavioral patterns are recorded, analyzed and archived.”

Call it modern barbarism — a right-wing neoliberal dream where basic rights are supplanted by skyscrapers, artificial islands, the annual Dubai Shopping Festival, and other distracting obscenities built on the backs of a migrant work force toiling in “virtual slavery.”

For their normalization efforts, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Perverse, unless you recall that former US president Barack Obama, the man who ordered the dropping of at least 26,171 bombs on seven Muslim-majority countries in 2016 alone, also received the prize. “Peace,” meanwhile, is not currently an option for Palestinians, Yemenis, and other regional inhabitants whose lives are sacrificed in the interest of arms industry profits and similar fixtures of “modernity” — all with US backing, and an imperial narrative that insists Iran is the one causing all the trouble.

So the honeymooners are getting off scot-free, whether for killing 2,251 people in Gaza in a matter of fifty days or for helping oversee the sexual torture of Yemeni detainees and mass starvation of Yemeni children as part of the Saudi-led coalition. And as normalization forges ahead, it’s nothing short of terrifying that anyone finds this normal.

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Belén Fernández is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at WorkMarytrs Never Die: Travels through South Lebanon, and, most recently, Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin.

Featured image is from DesertpeaceThe original source of this article is JacobinCopyright © Belén FernándezJacobin, 2020

البندريّة وخطاب التركفيصيليّة..لكلّ مقام مقال

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سعادة ارشيد

بعد زمن قصير من توقيع دولة الإمارات العربيّة والبحرين على اتفاقيات التطبيع مع (إسرائيل)، أجرت إحدى الفضائيّات المحسوبة على السعوديّة، مقابلة من ثلاث حلقات مع بندر بن سلطان، سفير بلاده الأسبق في واشنطن، وأمين سابق لمجلس الأمن الوطني السعودي، استعرض خلالها الأدوار التي قام بها والتي لعبتها بلاده في الجزيرة العربية والإقليم والعالم، واستفاض في حديثه عن الشأن الفلسطيني بشكل مسموم طال القيادة ولم يترك الشعب، فقد اعتبر الفلسطيني محامياً فاشلاً عن قضية عادلة، وأنّ القيادات الفلسطينية تتاجر بالقضية لحساباتها الخاصة، ثم أنها قيادات قاصرة عن فهم السياسة ومتخصّصة في إضاعة الفرص، وفوق ذلك أنها ناكرة للجميل ومتطاولة على مَن يُحسن إليها، وهي عادة فلسطينية حسب المقالة البندريّة. وقد تطايرت سهام هجومه في اتجاهات عديدة لتطال إيران والحوثيين في اليمن، والأتراك والقطريين والمقاومة اللبنانية، وكذلك فضائيتي «المنار» و»الجزيرة»، لكن سهامَه طاشت عن دولة الاحتلال أو أنّ أقواله قد سقطت سهواً أو عمداً… لا يهمّ، إذ إنّ بندر بن سلطان لا يرى فيها دولة عنصرية ولا يعرف عن وحشيتها ودمويّتها، وأنها عنصر من عناصر القلق في الإقليم، التي حدّدها ابن عمه تركي الفيصل منذ أيام، فالشرّ كله حسب بندر هو في مَن أصابته سهامه.

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هذه التوجهات لم تكن مستغربة عند مَن يتابع الأداء السعودي، وعند مَن تابع مسيرة بندر بن سلطان، وما يجيش في أعماقه من عقد نفسيّة، وما مارسه من أدوار في التحريض على الأمن القوميّ من العراق إلى سورية والمقاومة اللبنانية، ثم اليمن وإيران وأفغانستان، ومن عرف علاقاته المشبوهة مع المحافظين الجدد في واشنطن إبان رئاسة بوش الابن، وما يستتبع ذلك من علاقة مع دولة الاحتلال، يُضاف إلى ذلك ما عرف عنه من فساد في صفقة اليمامة، والتي قيل إنّ حجم الرشى والعمولات التي دفعت في تلك الصفقة هي الأضخم في تاريخ الفساد.

لما كانت قناة (العربية) السعودية شبه الرسمية، هي من أجرى المقابلة، ولما كان توقيتها قد أعقب توقيع اتفاقات التطبيع الخليجية، فقد افترض العقل السليم أن المقابلة تمثل تدشيناً لخطاب إعلامي سعودي جديد، يعبّر ويتواءم مع الانهيارات الخليجية ويمثل مقدمة لسياسة سعودية جديدة تتمثل باللحاق بركب التطبيع عندما يحين الوقت المناسب.

بما أنّ مربط خيول البترودولار قد انتقل منذ زمن من لندن إلى واشنطن، وأتت نتائج الانتخابات الأميركية على غير ما يرغبون وبالضدّ من استثماراتهم في دعم المرشح الخاسر، الأمر الذي جعل من ضرورات السعودية أن تتمايز عن شركائها الذين استعجلوا التطبيع ـ وإنْ كانت قد دعمت تلك الخطوة ـ وأصبح من أولوياتها نسج علاقة مع الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة التي سبق أن أبدت عدم إعجابها بالأداء السعودي وبشكل خاص بولي العهد، وربما ستبقى قصة اغتيال الصحافي الخاشقجي السعودي الجنسية والديمقراطي الانتماء والهوى، مخرزاً في عنق ولي العهد لمعاقبته وابتزازه.

في مقلب آخر، يعاني نتنياهو من مصاعب داخلية، خاصة بعد رحيل حاميه ترامب، الأمر الذي دعاه للإلحاح على ولي العهد السعودي لزيارته في مدينة «نيوم» على أن تبقى الزيارة سراً، حتى عن الحكومة (الإسرائيلية) والجيش، ثم قام بتسريب الخبر للصحافة، نتنياهو لا يهمّه إلا مكاسبه حتى لو أخلّ بوعوده وأحرج مضيفه السعودي، الذي وقع في ارتباك وحرج. مثّل ذلك إزعاجاً بالغاً للسعودية، خاصة أنّ الزيارة لم تكن لها أية قيمة أو معانٍ سياسية أو أمنية أو اقتصادية، وإنما كانت بمنظور ولي العهد علاقات عامة لأيام مقبلة، قد يُبنى على مقتضاها التطبيع السعودي عندما تنضج الظروف ويتولى ولي العهد العرش، ولكنها بمنظور نتنياهو، هدف في ملعب خصومه في الحكومة، ونجاح يدعمه في الانتخابات القريبة وأمام جمهوره الذي قد يُسهم في خلق حالة رأي عام تدعمه أمام القضاء الذي سيمثل أمامه لا محالة.

لطالما مثلت السياسة السعودية مظهراً رزيناً وحذراً في العلن، ورسمت لنفسها صورة من الوقار والجدّية، والالتزام بثوابت الدين والسياسة، ولكن نتنياهو قد فضح المستور وبخس تلك الصورة النمطيّة الزائفة. سرعان ما جاء الردّ السعوديّ من قبل الدولة العميقة أو للدقة للعائلة السعودية العميقة، وعلى لسان تركي الفيصل رجل الاستخبارات السعودية العتيق والمحنّك، والذي يُعتبر صندوق بلاده الأسود، في خطابه في المنامة وعلى مسمع ومرأى وزير الخارجية الإسرائيلي والعالم أجمع، أراد تركي الفيصل استرجاع هيبة الدولة والعائلة ومشروعيتهما سواء الإسلامية بسدانة الحرمين وقيادة العالم الإسلامي، والسياسة بقيادة (الاعتدال العربي)، ومجلس التعاون الخليجي، وتركي الفيصل لا يريد لابن عمه ولي العهد بموقعه الرسمي أن يقع فريسة لنتنياهو وحساباته السياسية، أو لأعداء السعودية المتربّصين، الذين سبق لبندر بن سلطان أن عدّدهم بالاسم.

مَن يستمع لخطاب تركي الفيصل قد يلتبس عليه الأمر ويظنّ لوهلة، أنّ الخطيب أحد قادة معسكر المقاومة، أو أنه رجل من الزمن الجميل الذي مضى والذي كان فيه قيمة لنبرة التحدّي، اتهم تركي الفيصل (إسرائيل) بأنها دولة عنصريّة تخالف الشرائع الدولية والإنسانية، فهي تعتقل وتقتل وتهدم البيوت من دون رادع، وأنها وإنْ ادّعت أنها دولة مستهدفة وصغيرة إلا أنها دولة بغي وعدوان، وأنها لا تحمل أية قيم أخلاقيّة سامية تدعيها، ثم أنها امتداد للاستعمار الغربي، وقال غير ذلك كثيراً وللقارئ أن يعود إلى نص الخطاب.

لكن القراءة السياسية للخطاب، تلاحظ أنّ رسائل قد تسرّبت بين فقرات الحماسة والغضب، وقد تكون هي أهمّ ما في الخطاب، تركي الفيصل لا يرى في اتفاق أبراهام كتاباً منزلاً من عند الله، وإنما هو مرتفع من لدن الإدارة الأميركيّة الراحلة، وبالتالي فإنّ تعديلات يجب أن تجري عليه بحيث يقترب من مبادرة الملك فهد بن عبد العزيز 2002 في بيروت والتي عُرفت باسم المبادرة العربية للسلام، والتي يمكن اختصارها: تطبيع شامل مقابل دولة فلسطينية وسلام شامل، هذا الأمر يرى تركي الفيصل أنّ من شأنه إعادة تجميل صورة بلاده، وفي موقع آخر قال إنّ (الإسرائيلي) يصرّح برغبته بأن يكون صديقاً للسعودية، فيما يطلق كلابه من سياسيين وإعلاميين لتنهش في اللحم السعودي، وتشيطن وتشوّه صورة السعودية. وفي هذا إشارة للحملات الإعلامية (الإسرائيلية) والغربية التي تجد في ملف حقوق الإنسان في السعودية ما يُقال، كما أنه يشير بطرف خفي لتسريب الإعلام (الإسرائيلي) لخبر زيارة نتنياهو للسعودية، كما أنه بذلك يضع شرطاً مسبقاً لأيّ لقاء أو علاقة مستقبلية مع (إسرائيل)، بأنّ عليها أن تلتزم باحترام بلاده وعدم التدخل في شؤونها الداخلية وملفات حقوق الإنسان التي طالما وجدها الإعلام الغربي و(الإسرائيلي) مادة دسمة.

معروف عن تركي الفيصل قديماً أنه رائد من رواد التطبيع والعلاقة مع (إسرائيل)، سواء في ملفات الأمن أو السياسة، وقد كان من أدواته وأزلامه في هذا المجال أنور عشقي السيّئ الصيت والسمعة، وبالتأكيد أنّ تركي الفيصل لم يغادر ـ ولن يغادر اصطفافه القديم ـ ولكنه يريد ترشيد العلاقة مع (إسرائيل) وإنضاج التطبيع مع المحافظة على مكانة ودور بلاده، وإبطاء أية اندفاعة متعجلة وغير محسوبة بدقة يقوم بها ولي العهد، ولا يريد وهو من رجال العائلة العميقة أن تكون بلاده وعائلته أداة من أدوات نتنياهو في صراعه مع أشكنازي وغانتس وغيرهم من الساسة (الإسرائيليين). تركي الفيصل لم يغادر موقعه، تماماً مثل ابن عمه بندر بن سلطان، وكلاهما لم ينطق عن هوى أو عن وحي يوحى، وإنما نطق كلّ منهما حسب مستجدات السياسة، والسعودية تستجيب للمتغيّرات، كلاهما مثل العقلية السعودية التقليدية، ولكن من دون أن تتغيّر هذه السياسة او تغادر اصطفافاتها، أو تستقيل من وظيفتها.

*سياسيّ فلسطينيّ مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة

AZERBAIJAN RESCHEDULES ‘VICTORY DAY’ TO PLEASE SULTAN ERDOGAN. HEZBOLLAH DRONE BUZZES ISRAELI FORCES

South Front

An unmanned aerial vehicle operated by Lebanese Hezbollah managed to cross into Israel’s north and monitor the Israeli military drills dubbed “Lethal Arrow”, Lebanese media affiliated with Hezbollah reported on December 3. The incident allegedly took place on November 26, on the second day of the drills.

The Israeli side promoted the drill as an exercise to put to the test a strategy based on network-centered warfare bringing together the capabilities of ground, air, naval and cyber forces to quickly eliminate hostile targets in the event of the conflict in the area. The Hezbollah drone buzzed Israeli forces just during these military exercises. Additionally, on December 3, the Israeli government urged its citizens to avoid travel to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, citing threats of Iranian attacks.

At the same time, the United States and its allies continue demonstrating concerns regarding possible attacks in Iraq in the wake of an expected Iranian retaliation to the assassination of its top nuclear scientist near Tehran in an alleged US-Israeli plot. According to media reports, following the earlier move of the United States, France and Spain are also considering at least partial withdrawal of diplomatic staff from Iraq. US officials speculate that Iranian-backed factions of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, an official branch of the Iraqi military, are preparing attacks on facilities and personnel of the US diplomatic mission.

Meanwhile, in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan for the first time released an official number of its casualties in the Second Nagorno-Karabkah War. According to the defense ministry, 2783 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed, 1245 were injured and over 100 are still missing. In own turn, the Health Ministry of Armenia reported that at least 2718 Armenian soldiers were killed as a result of the conflict. The almost equal casualties of the advancing and defending forces in the standoff in such a complex mountainous area as Nagorno-Karabkah is another factual demonstration of the overwhelming Azerbaijani dominance in the manpower, and firepower, including heavy military equipment, artillery and air support, the in the 1.5-month conflict with the Armenians.

Azerbaijan, however, seems to have already started paying price of its sovereignty for the Turkish support in the war. On December 2, President Ilham Aliyev declared the establishment of the new national holiday ‘Victory Day’ in Azerbaijan. The holiday scheduled for November 10 was dedicated to the start of the implementation of the peace agreements in Karabakh, under which Armenian forces in fact accepted their defeat and agreed to withdraw from Agdam, Kalbajar and Lachin districts.However, a day later Baku was reminded by Ankara that November 10 is the Day of Remembrance of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. So, on December 3, the presidential administration of Azerbaijan changed its order and rescheduled the Azerbaijani national holiday for November 8. Let’s hope the Big Neo-Ottoman Brother is now satisfied. In other case, the Azerbaijani leadership will have to reschedule a few more national holidays and rename ministries to please it.

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Sanaa, beyond Ma’rib: Here is the Great Sabian fortress صنعاء ما بعد مأرب: هنا الحصن السبئي الكبير

Sanaa, beyond Ma’rib: Here is the Great Sabian fortress

Yemen

Doaa Sweidan

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Many battles have been immortalized in history. Some entered it as a pivot that changed paths and altered destinies; The battle to “liberate” Sana’a is perhaps the biggest joke in military history. The track-tracker hardly finds the zero point of its launch from what has been launched over the years. From “Coming, Sana’a”, to ” Victory 1″, then “Victory 2”, to “Victory 3”, the “liberation of Sana’a”, for the Saudi-Emirati coalition, was “a matter of time”, as often echoed by the former spokesman of the Alliance, Ahmed Asiri. However, this question of time has remained unverifiable for four years. (between 2016 and 2019).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 202012522718979637427320389792291.jpg

It is true that the forces loyal to the “coalition” were able to control the stages of the eastern gate of the capital from the side of Marib province, represented by the Directorate of Nahm, which is not more than 60 kilometers from the center of Sana’a, but this “achievement” benefited the Saudis and emiratis only in the “victories” in their media, and to provide the jokes represented by the “war correspondents” for those means absolutely hero. “We’re here, where are you?” A phrase that one of the most prominent of them became famous during his coverage of the battles of Nahm, where he was moving, and the military leaders of the outgoing President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, from Hill to Hill, promising the proximity of “crushing the putschists”, “restoring legitimacy”, and “restoring Yemen to the Arab bosom”. The voice of those who represented them was extinguished, while their camp was confined to limited areas of Marib province. In the past few months since the beginning of this year, the ” putschists ” has been able to restore the entire directorate of Nahm, and to control large areas of al-Jouf and Marib provinces, until now at the gates of Marib city, whose fall appears to be, by war or negotiation, just around the corner (the series of setbacks began). In practice, in late 2018, as the army and popular committees gained control of most of the Saroah district in Marib, revealing the back of the forces opposed to them in Nahm, which caused Sarwah to receive a large share of the air strikes amounted to more than 25,000 raids.

The Coalition has always claimed the fighting in Sana’a for to two main reasons: taking care of civilian lives, and taking care of military life. Two reasons are that there is a lot of misinformation that has become inherent to Saudi-UAE media platforms, particularly in relation to the war in Yemen. In terms of civilian casualties, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have proved that they do not need a major ground battle to expect massacres in the ranks of the unarmed, and what the number of casualties caused by the air strikes, which amounted to 257,000, is the clearest evidence of this. As for seeking to avoid the involvement of a large number of ground forces, this is another “lie” intended to disguise the fact of the inability to engage in such a kind, which is manifested in a minimodel of it in the battles of the southern border, where Saudi soldiers cannot stand up to the attacks of Yemeni fighters, while in the air Saudi aircraft are almost completely blind without the information support of the Western allies, yet they strike a random ness most of the time.

From the beginning, it appeared that both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi played a solo chord.


But even fighters from allied local forces, whose lives are not indifferent to their lives, have not succeeded in putting large numbers of them on the ground, too, at the heart of the equation in Sana’a for saudi arabia and the UAE. Unlike Ansar Allah fighters, they seemed to be friendly enemies of the land on which they were fighting, ignorant of its topography, concealment and ways of its own, and did not help them to reproduce the movement’s experience in generating enthusiasm among its members. It was further complicated by the loss of common motivation to achieve the goal. From the outset, it appeared that both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi played a solo chord. The main concern, for the latter, was how to bite Saudi influence on the eastern front, whether by grooming tribes historically loyal to the kingdom, by the path of the al-Islah (Muslim Brotherhood), a traditional ally of Riyadh, or by attempting to create formations similar to those built in the south, such as the “security belt”, the “Shibwaniya elite” and the “Hadrami elite”, or even by carrying out assassinations and bombings against Hadi’s leaders and forces, such as targeting meetings involving his defense minister once. Although the UAE failed to gain control of the front just before announcing its withdrawal from its base in Sarwah district in Marib province in early July 2019, the differences between it and Saudi proxies have had a bitter impact on their camp, where fragmentation, hatred and lack of motivation have become the main, if not the only, title. These features are compounded by Abu Dhabi’s continued efforts to clamp down on its rivals, through its loyal chief of staff, Sabir bin Aziz, who left no way to weaken the Islah unless he turned to it.

Despite all of the above, the coalition has not given up access to Sana’a. The coalition bet in December 2017 that the explosion of disagreement between Ansar Allah and the late President Ali Abdullah Saleh would push the capital to fall, but that did not happen. In 2018, “Dreams” took the coalition to imagine the possibility of reaching Sana’a through Hodeidah, but the sands of the west coast were not fixed under his feet. In 2019, the coalition wanted to reach his goal this time by igniting mobile tribal sedition in the vicinity of Sana’a (as happened in The Kosher district, the main stronghold of the Hajior tribes, in Hajjah province), but the army and the “people’s committees” quickly moved to quell those seditions and secure the areas where they grewup.

Sana’a, the fort, as it translates its name in The Sabre language, was increasingly, year after year, of the invaders, until it is now absolutely safe.


from file:    Marib expels invaders: Sana’a is an impregnable fortress

صنعاء ما بعد مأرب: هنا الحصن السبئي الكبير

اليمن 

دعاء سويدان 

السبت 5 كانون الأول 2020

كثيرة هي المعارك التي خلّدها التاريخ. بعضها دخلته بوصفها محورية غيّرت مسارات وبدّلت مصائر؛ وأخرى ولجته من بوّابة كونها الأغبى كما هي «معركة كارانسيبيس» التي قاتل فيها الجيش النمسوي نفسه، بينما كان من المفترض أن يحارب العثمانيين. أمّا معركة «تحرير» صنعاء، فلربّما تكون المَضحكة الأكبر في التاريخ العسكري. يكاد المتتبّع لمسارها لا يعثر، أصلاً، على النقطة الصفر لانطلاقها من كثرة ما أُطلقت على مرّ سنوات. من «قادمون يا صنعاء»، إلى «نصر 1»، ثم «نصر 2»، وصولاً إلى «نصر 3»، كان «تحرير صنعاء»، بالنسبة إلى التحالف السعودي ــــ الإماراتي، «مسألة وقت»، مثلما ردّد كثيراً الناطق السابق باسم «التحالف»، أحمد عسيري. على أن مسألة الوقت هذه ظلّت عصيّة على التحقّق طوال أربعة أعوام (ما بين 2016 و2019).

صحيح أن القوات الموالية لـ»التحالف» استطاعت السيطرة ــــ على مراحل ــــ على البوّابة الشرقية للعاصمة من جهة محافظة مأرب، والمُتمثّلة في مديرية نهم التي لا تبعد عن وسط صنعاء أكثر من 60 كيلومتراً، إلا أن هذا «الإنجاز» لم يُفِد السعوديين والإماراتيين سوى في اجترار «الانتصارات» في وسائل إعلامهم، وتقديم المهازل التي مَثّل «المراسلون الحربيون» لتلك الوسائل بطلها المطلق. «نحن هنا، أين أنتم؟»؛ عبارة اشتُهر بها أحد أبرز هؤلاء خلال تغطيته معارك نهم، حيث كان يتنقّل، والقيادات العسكرية التابعة للرئيس المنتهية ولايته عبد ربه منصور هادي، من تُبّة إلى تُبّة، مبشِّراً بقرب «سحق الانقلابيين»، و»إعادة الشرعية»، و»استعادة اليمن إلى الحضن العربي». انطفأ صوت أولئك بما يُمثّلون، فيما بات معسكرهم محصوراً داخل مساحات محدودة من محافظة مأرب. أمّا «الانقلابيون» فاستطاعوا، خلال أشهر معدودة منذ مطلع العام الجاري، استعادة كامل مديرية نهم، والسيطرة على مساحات واسعة من محافظَتي الجوف ومأرب، حتى باتوا اليوم على أبواب مدينة مأرب، التي يبدو سقوطها، بالحرب أو بالتفاوض، قاب قوسين (بدأ مسلسل الانتكاسات، عملياً، أواخر 2018، مع تمكّن الجيش واللجان الشعبية من السيطرة على معظم مديرية صرواح في مأرب، كاشفَين بذلك ظهر القوات المناوئة لهما في نهم، وهو ما جعل صرواح تنال نصيباً كبيراً من القصف الجوي بلغ أكثر من 25 ألف غارة).

دائماً ما عزا «التحالف» المراوحة في معركة صنعاء إلى سببين رئيسيين: الحرص على أرواح المدنيين، والضنّ بأرواح العسكريين. سببان يستبطنان الكثير من التضليل الذي بات ملازِماً للمنصّات الإعلامية السعودية ــــ الإماراتية، وخصوصاً في ما يتعلّق بالحرب على اليمن. على مستوى الخسائر المدنية، أثبتت الرياض وأبو ظبي أنهما لا تحتاجان إلى معركة برّية كبرى حتى تُوقعا مجازر في صفوف العزّل، وما أرقام الضحايا الذين حصدتهم الغارات الجوية التي بلغت حتى عام 2019، 257 ألف غارة، إلا أوضح دليل على ذلك. أمّا السعي إلى تفادي الزجّ بعدد كبير من القوات البرّية، فتلك «كذبة» أخرى يراد من ورائها تمويه حقيقة العجز عن خوض هكذا غمار، والذي تجلّى نموذج مصغّر منه في معارك الحدّ الجنوبي، حيث لا يستطيع الجنود السعوديون الثبات أمام هجمات المقاتلين اليمنيين، فيما في الجوّ تكاد تكون الطائرات السعودية عمياء تماماً لولا السند المعلوماتي من الحلفاء الغربيين، ومع ذلك فهي تضرب خبط عشواء في معظم الأحيان.

منذ البداية، ظهر أن كلّاً من الرياض وأبو ظبي تعزف على وتر منفرد


لكن، حتى المقاتلون من القوى المحلية الحليفة، والذين لا يبدي «التحالف» أدنى اكتراث لحيواتهم، لم يفلح الزجّ بأعداد كبيرة منهم في الميدان، هو الآخر، في قلب المعادلة في صنعاء لمصلحة السعودية والإمارات. بدا هؤلاء، خلافاً لمقاتلي «أنصار الله»، أعداء لدودين للأرض التي يقاتلون عليها، جاهلين تضاريسها وخفاياها وسبل مؤالفتها، ولم تشفع لهم في ذلك محاولتهم استنساخ تجربة الحركة في توليد الحماسة في صفوف عناصرها. زاد الأمرَ تعقيداً فقدانُ الدافعية المشتركة لتحقيق الهدف. منذ البداية، ظهر أن كلّاً من الرياض وأبو ظبي تعزف على وتر منفرد. كان الهمّ الرئيسي، بالنسبة إلى الأخيرة، كيفية قضم النفوذ السعودي في الجبهة الشرقية، سواء عبر استمالة القبائل الموالية تاريخياً للمملكة، أو من طريق مناكفة حزب «الإصلاح» (إخوان مسلمون) الحليف التقليدي للرياض، أو من خلال محاولة إنشاء تشكيلات شبيهة بتلك التي بُنيت في الجنوب كـ»الحزام الأمني» و»النخبة الشبوانية» و»النخبة الحضرمية»، أو حتى عبر تنفيذ عمليات اغتيال وقصف ضدّ القيادات والقوات التابعة لهادي مثلما حدث في استهداف اجتماعات تضمّ وزير دفاعه غير مرّة. وعلى رغم أن الإمارات فشلت في انتزاع السيطرة على الجبهة المذكورة قبيل إعلان انسحابها من قاعدتها في مديرية صرواح في محافظة مأرب مطلع تموز/ يوليو 2019، إلا أن الخلافات بينها وبين وكلاء السعودية خلّفت آثاراً مريرة على معسكرهما، حيث بات التشرذم والحقد وغياب الحافز العنوان الأبرز، إن لم يكن الوحيد. وهي سمات يضاعف تأثيراتِها استمرار أبو ظبي في مساعيها إلى تضييق الخناق على منافسيها، عبر رئيس الأركان الموالي لها، صغير بن عزيز، الذي لم يترك وسيلة لإضعاف «الإصلاح» إلا لجأ إليها.

على رغم كلّ ما تَقدّم، لم ييأس «التحالف» من إمكانية النفاذ إلى صنعاء. راهَن في كانون الأول/ ديسمبر 2017 على أن يدفع انفجار الخلاف بين «أنصار الله» والرئيس الراحل علي عبد الله صالح نحو إسقاط العاصمة، لكن ذلك لم يحدث. وفي عام 2018، أخذته «الأحلام» إلى تصوّر إمكانية بلوغ صنعاء من خلال الحديدة، إلا أن رمال الساحل الغربي لم تثبت تحت قدميه. وفي عام 2019، أراد الوصول إلى هدفه هذه المرّة عبر إشعال فتن قبلية متنقّلة في محيط صنعاء (كما حدث في مديرية كشر، المعقل الرئيسي لقبائل حجور، في محافظة حجة)، غير أن الجيش و»اللجان الشعبية» سرعان ما تحرّكا لإخماد تلك الفتن وتأمين المناطق التي شبّت فيها.

هكذا، كانت صنعاء ــــ الحصن، وفق ما تُترجم به تسميتها في اللغة السبئية، تزداد بعداً، عاماً بعد عام، عن الغزاة، إلى أن باتت اليوم في أمان مطلق.

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من ملف : مأرب تطرد الغزاة: صنعاء حصنٌ منيع

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The Trump Administration Barrels on a Warpath Towards Iran

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☆ ZENITH NEWS® WILL SHARE OUR MILLIONS OF MONTHLY IMPRESSIONS WITH YOU

December 4, 2020

The assassination of Iran’s preeminent nuclear scientist is a shocking act of terrorism. And there is strong suspicion that Israeli agents were involved in this murderous act with top-level U.S. approval. The world is thus staring into the abyss of war.

This year has been bracketed with two audacious assassinations against the Iranian leadership. Earlier in January saw the murder of Major General Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most senior military commander, by an American drone while he was traveling in an armed convoy from Iraq’s international airport on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Now the year ends with a second assassination after nuclear scientist Mohsen Fahkrizadeh was killed last week when his armed escort was attacked in a ferocious bomb and gun ambush near the Iranian capital, Tehran. Fahkrizadeh, like Soleimani, was a national hero. He was eulogized as the “father of Iran’s nuclear project”.

American President Donald Trump crowed about personally ordering the killing of Soleimani. While Trump and his administration have been reticent about the murder of Fahkrizadeh, there are strong reasons to conclude Washington’s complicity.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani stated this week that Iranian authorities believe Israel was the perpetrator along with agents working on its behalf on the ground. The Israelis have not commented. For such an attack to be mounted against a senior Iranian figure the breach of security would have required sophisticated intelligence conducted at state level.

U.S. media reports cite anonymous senior Trump administration officials confirming that Israel carried out the assassination of Fakhrizadeh. It can be further surmised that Israel would have had at least U.S. approval if not more direct complicity such as from providing the necessary intelligence for executing the hit. Such collusion between the U.S. and Israel is a routine matter. Nearly a dozen Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated over the past decade involving the same modus operandi: U.S.-Israeli intelligence coordinating with Iran-based triggermen supplied by the American-backed terrorist group known as Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK).

This year has also seen a series of sabotage bombings at Iran’s nuclear industry sites. Again, for such operations to be conducted, and conducted successfully, would require state-level intelligence and resources.

All this is in the context of Trump ratcheting up his “maximum pressure” campaign which has comprised a hybrid of verbal threats of military assault against Iran, a tightening of already-crippling economic sanctions imposed on a nation badly afflicted with the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a U.S. military force build-up in the Persian Gulf. Recently, a fleet of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers flew over Israel on the way to Qatar where the biggest American airbase in the Gulf is located, just south of Iran. This week the USS Nimitz, one of America’s lead strike-force supercarriers, entered the Gulf waters.

Only two weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on a more-than-usual jingoistic tour of the Middle East visiting Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Top of his agenda was “deterring” Iran. Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu had previously publicly named Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian nuclear scientist, as enemy number one.

Netanyahu has long been itching for a military offensive against Iran, one involving surgical air strikes on its nuclear sites. There is now the very real danger that Trump in his final fraught weeks in office may oblige the Israelis. The American president has reportedly given Pompeo carte blanche to aid and abet Israeli aggression towards Iran “as long as it doesn’t start World War III”. Trouble is, there is no way of containing such an escalation. What the Trump administration is doing is criminal and insane.

This week saw a particularly incendiary speech by Trump from the White House in which he again reiterated outlandish conspiracy theories whereby he lost the recent presidential election due to alleged “massive fraud” and cheating by Democrat rivals. Some of Trump’s aides are even urging him publicly to suspend the constitution, declare a state of martial law and re-run the election under military supervision. That is tantamount to Trump staging a coup d’état. There is thus no telling what this megalomaniac president is willing to do in order to thwart the scheduled event of his leaving the White House next month in the expected transition to a new administration under Joe Biden.

At the very least, it seems, Trump is hellbent on damaging relations with Iran so badly as to make it impossible for a Biden administration to return to diplomatic negotiations with Iran and possibly, as Biden as suggested, the U.S. returning to the international nuclear accord, which Trump abandoned in 2018.

Previously, Trump has threatened Iran with annihilation. We are dealing with an American president who has no scruples or moral compass. In his outrageously offended ego over electoral loss and perceived foul play by his domestic enemies, Trump is liable to go ballistic with recrimination. In the next four weeks, starting a war with Iran is therefore a most dangerous prospect. Criminal and insane bracket this year, along with assassinations.

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