China and Jammu and Kashmir’s new status

August 10, 2019

China and Jammu and Kashmir’s new status

Beijing has a lot of influence over Pakistan and indirectly is in a position to leverage the next moves by Islamabad

M.K. BHADRAKUMAR

In the aftermath of the Indian government’s decision to remove “special status” for Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two union territories, the most keenly awaited regional and international reaction – and a hugely consequential one – would be that of China, not the US or even any of the other three permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

This is for three reasons. First, China is the only P5 member that is party to the Kashmir dispute by virtue of its Faustian deal with Pakistan in 1963 – the Sino-Pakistan Frontier Agreement and Sino-Pakistani Boundary Agreement – as well as because of Aksai Chin being a disputed territory.

Second, it is well known that China has a larger-than-life influence over Pakistan, and therefore, indirectly, is in a position to leverage the next moves by Islamabad on the J&K situation in practical or political terms.

Third, of course, China is a veto-holding P5 member. Although not involved in the making of the UN resolutions on Kashmir in 1948-1949 – which was an Anglo-American enterprise at a juncture when Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru somehow deliberately refrained from seeking Soviet help to counter India’s isolation in the UNSC – nonetheless, China is a powerful protagonist today if the Kashmir file were to reopen in New York at Pakistan’s behest.

Chinese reaction

On Tuesday, the Chinese reaction to the announcement in Delhi on Monday relating to J&K has come in two parts in the nature of remarks by the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman in Beijing – a relatively low-key reaction in diplomatic terms in comparison with a full-fledged statement, as Turkey, for instance, has done. One part exclusively relates to Ladakh’s new status as union territory, while the other one relates to the “current situation” in J&K.

Both remarks are devoid of any stridency, and on the whole India can live with them, although Western media, unsurprisingly, has hyped them. In fact, neither voices any overt backing to Pakistan. And, importantly, there are no new overtones as such in the well-known Chinese stance.

The remark on the change in Ladakh’s status begins by underscoring explicitly that China is voicing its “firm and consistent position,” which “remains unchanged.” That is to say, it regards part of Ladakh to be Chinese territory and India should not unilaterally create facts on the ground through domestic laws. If India does, China will consider that unacceptable and it “will not come into force.”

The remark rounds off stating the Chinese stance that India should speak and act with prudence on the boundary question, strictly abide by relevant agreements on peace and tranquility and avoid precipitate steps.

This is exactly what China has maintained and can be expected to state. No doubt, this is also what India would expect China to observe in regard of the unresolved border dispute. The Indian stance on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a fine example.

The gray area here is whether the administration of Ladakh as a union territory will entail administrative arrangements on the ground that tread on Chinese sensitivity. Prima facie, that is unlikely to happen, since the two militaries present in the vacant spaces observe ground rules.

On the other hand, the interesting aspect of the Chinese spokeswoman’s remark on the J&K situation is that there is no direct reference to the specific situation involving the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution. The remark is of a generic nature. It repeats that the J&K situation is a matter of serious concern, but underscores categorically that “China’s position on the Kashmir issue is clear and consistent.”

‘International consensus’

Most important, it flags that China is in sync with the “international consensus” that the Kashmir issue is a historical conundrum that India and Pakistan have to grapple with by exercising restraint and prudence. This means, however, that the two countries “should refrain from taking actions that will unilaterally change the status quo and escalate tensions.” China calls on the two countries to “peacefully resolve … [their] relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation” in the interest of regional “peace and stability.”

Indeed, the “known unknown” here is to what extent, if any, the current upheaval in Hong Kong influenced Beijing to sidestep the Indian government’s specific move to abolish Article 370 and abandon J&K’s “special status.” To be sure, a grave situation has arisen in Hong Kong, which has assumed anti-China overtones.

No analogy holds 100% in politics, but there are similarities in the public alienation in J&K and in Hong Kong that foreign powers are exploiting. In fact, China also has to contend with its equivalent of India’s Article 370 – the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which is as sacrosanct as an international bilateral treaty, signed between China and Britain on December 19, 1984, in Beijing.

Legally binding

Curiously, the Joint Declaration is also legally binding, and like Article 370, it commits China to allow Hong Kong to “enjoy a high degree of autonomy, except for foreign and defense affairs” even as the territory will be “directly under the authority” of Beijing.

Most important, the Joint Declaration affirms that the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is responsible for the “maintenance of public order … Military forces sent by the Central People’s Government to be stationed in … [the HKSAR] for the purpose of defense shall not interfere in the internal affairs” in the HKSAR.

The treaty is valid for 50 years, but a crisis is looming large on the horizon, and there is much speculation that patience is wearing thin in Beijing. A top Chinese official said on Wednesday: “Hong Kong is facing the most serious situation since its return to China.”

A Beijing-datelined commentary by Xinhua on Monday titled “Bottom Line on Hong Kong brooks no challenge” was furious that “black-clad, masked protesters removed the Chinese national flag from a flagpole in Tsim Sha Tsui of Hong Kong and later flung the flag into the water Saturday, an unforgivable, lawless act that has blatantly offended the national dignity, is an insult to all Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, and must be severely punished in accordance with law.”

All factors taken into account, as the saying goes, the pot cannot call the kettle black. The MEA’s response to the Chinese remarks on J&K has gently drawn attention to the reciprocity that governs inter-state relationships by underscoring that the legislation known as the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill 2019, introduced by the government in Parliament on August 5, is “an internal matter concerning the territory of India. India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise.” India has scrupulously maintained silence on Hong Kong developments.

asiatimes.com

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
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Amb. Jaafari’s Interview Sums Up Latest Developments after Astana Talks

 

Astana (Nur-Sultan) – Kazakhstan: The Turkish regime under instructions from the US has increased its level of supporting armed groups designated as terrorist entities by the United Nations Security Council, such as Nusra Front aka Al-Qaeda Levant, instead of abiding by its own obligations to disarm and remove these terrorists from the battlefield with the Syrian Arab Army.

Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Bashar Jaafari led the Syrian delegation to the talks held in Astana between the Syrian state and US-sponsored Al-Qaeda terrorists about the Idlib Agreement, which Turkey is supposed to be the guarantor of the terrorists to disarm and move back, and Russia and Iran are guarantors of the Syrian state’s obligations based on the agreement that was reached last year and was supposed to deal with the last NATO’s stronghold of terrorists in Syria.

In the following interview over the phone with Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news channel, Dr. Jaafari sums up the latest developments and the Syrian government’s position in regards with the Turkish regime’s intentional failure to meet its obligations it committed itself to. The video is followed with the transcript of the phone interview in both English and Arabic.
https://videopress.com/v/YoAY771S

Video also available on BitChute: https://www.bitchute.com/video/RA10PdGYN91Q/

The transcript of the English translation of the interview with Syrian Ambassador Dr. Jaafari:

Good evening Mr. Imad and thanks to your esteemed channel to host me in this important program.

We are in Astana for the thirteenth time, imagine that in all of these times there are final statements at the end of each round (of talks). Therefore, in terms of comparison (with previous rounds), I said in my press conferences that the statement issued today is the best, the best in terms of the political content, as I mentioned, of course, the statement is not on behalf of all present, is a statement adopted by the attendees, but it is a statement issued by the three guarantor states: the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey.The statement includes an acknowledgment by the Turkish government of an important set of axioms:

  • The first is the recognition of the commitment of the three guarantor states to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.
  • It includes the issue of combating terrorism and the need to combat terrorism in Syria, in the sense that the three countries acknowledge the existence of terrorism in Syria which should be combated.
  • The third point is the continuation of the path of Astana in achieving and implementing the objectives for which it was established, namely, to help the Syrians themselves move forward in a political settlement and that the political process is a Syrian process led by the Syrians themselves and with Syrian ownership.

This, of course, is in line with the Security Council resolutions, and this is not new, but it is a declaration by the three countries that the issue is exclusively Syrian.

  • The fourth point is the rejection of the attempts, calls, movements and secessionist activities in Syria, this is very important.

This is also an acknowledgment by the three countries of the rightness of the Syrian view, which is supported by the allies, of course, that Syrian sovereignty or manipulation of Syria’s future is not allowed by any external forces or even by internal factions acting in favor of external forces.

This is politically important, that’s why we said that today’s statement is the best.

Q: With regard to these positive points, which you referred to Dr. Bashar, to what will establish all this if we consider that a cease-fire in Idlib did not last more than hours and that one of the guarantors states, Turkey, sponsors some factions, or perhaps give them a margin to move to bomb areas within Syrian territory?

This is important, and frankly, and now millions of viewers of your channel hear us, we knew that this agreement will not stand, I might surprise you with this, we in Syria knew that this agreement would not last long and we knew that Turkey would not be committed to its implementation.

But the announcement of the decision in Damascus on the start of the Astana process was a message to the Russian and Iranian friendly guarantors and a test of the intentions of the Turkish regime, and put the Turkish regime in front of its responsibilities in the implementation of the understandings of Astana and the understandings of Sochi between President Putin and Erdogan, therefore, when the armed groups revoked this agreement, this statement confirmed what we were saying to everyone that the Turkish regime is behind these armed groups.

You may ask why Turkey did this and broke the agreement? It violated the agreement because Turkey did not end its project of sponsoring terrorism by the armed groups, meaning that the Turkish regime did not achieve any of its political objectives towards Syria, therefore, the Turkish regime uses terrorism as a weapon of political pressure on the Syrian government.

The Syrian government rejects this political pressure, in the sense that we will not allow terrorist extortion by the Turkish regime to achieve political gains at the expense of the Syrian people and Syrian sovereignty.

Q: The Kazakh Foreign Ministry announced that the majority of Syrian opposition delegations participating in the talks agreed to a ceasefire in Idlib, then, who is firing in Idlib? Who is shaking the situation and seeking to strain it?

There is a wide array of armed terrorist groups in Idlib, some of which the Turkish regime claims it can influence, and another section the Turkish regime claims that it has no influence on, but in the end, it is the Turkish regime that controls the Idlib region and the armed groups there,

Today, military intelligence, intelligence, political science, public opinion, and the media have proved that Nusra Front, which is Al-Qaeda, If Turkey and the United States arm Nusra Front, it means that Turkey and the United States arm and sponsor terrorism that is listed on the Security Council as such, Nusra Front is listed as a terrorist entity on the Security Council’s lists of terrorist institutions, individuals and entities, if the Turkish regime takes care of Nusra Front and arms it and gives shells with a range of more than 40 kilometers, the northern Lattakia countryside and the northern Aleppo countryside and Western Aleppo are shelled by these Turkish-made missiles, This means that the Turkish regime sponsors this terrorist organization in Idlib. Secondly, there are five foreign armed factions, foreign fighters: Hurras al-Din, Jaysh Al-Izzat, whatever, of these names you keep hearing… etc. These are all foreign terrorists from Turkistan, Uighurs, Chechens, Arabs, unfortunately, Saudis, Libyans, Egyptians, Qataris… and, of course, there is a large number of Turkish citizens among these foreign terrorists.

If all these factions are armed, trained and protected by the Turkish regime, how can Turkey claim that it has no control over these terrorist groups? Let’s assume that it has no control, the understandings of Astana and the understanding between President Putin and Erdogan require that Turkey, they swore by their mustaches that they’ll secure the withdrawal of the armed groups 20 kilometers west of Abu Dahour line towards the international line. Where is the implementation of this? It’s been a year now. If the Turkish regime were incapable of carrying out this talk, it would not have made a commitment to President Putin a year ago, and would not have pledged to it in the understandings of Astana more than a year ago, is this true or not?

Q: Is it possible to understand that Turkey wants to maintain this tension in order to obtain some political concessions with regard to the ongoing talks? There is a tripartite summit announced next month between the heads of state guarantors?

Absolutely, this is the proper conclusion. Of course, Turkey is investing in terrorism, as is the United States, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The equation that public opinion has known for years has not changed: these countries continue to sponsor terrorism in my country, Syria.

However, diplomacy, as you know, is the art of rotating corners, so we are trying to rotate corners at these international meetings, whether in Geneva or in Astana, We are trying to make the international community or the so-called international community witness our good intentions, we are trying to make the international community or the so-called international community witness our good intentions. we are trying to accomplish a lot in the fight against terrorism and in the formation of the constitutional committee and in the launch of the political process… Etc.

Everyone is seeing that there are good intentions from the Syrian side. There are presidential decrees issued to settle the situation of Syrian refugees and displaced persons who return from abroad, there is a series of measures that show that the Syrian government is serious about ending this crisis. But we need honest sincere honorable partners who deal with the file as we deal with it, unfortunately, this does not exist in everyone, the Turkish regime so far has no sound and honest intentions.

When they label with Turkish names the Syrian schools in Afrin, Manbaj, Jarabulus, Azaz, Ain Arab and others, when they impose their Turkish lira for dealings when they impose Turkish flag instead of the Syrian flag, when they replace Syrian car plates with Turkish plates, etc. There are Turkish practices that violate international law, violate Syrian sovereignty, and this is not consistent with the misleading Turkish claims that Turkey is keen on the unity, sovereignty, and independence of Syria, that’s why I said at the press conference we want to associate the beautiful words with deeds on the ground, this has not happened so far unfortunately.

Q: You spoke about a global terrorist project that was being prepared to hit Syria and divide it? Has this project ended? Has it been terminated?

Not finished, but it shrank, dwarfed and crushed. We have won the fight against terrorism because we have been able to successfully transfer the so-called International Community from the stage of denial to the stage of recognition, from denial of the existence of terrorism in Syria to the stage of acknowledging the existence of terrorism in Syria. Even more, the United States brags today that it has eliminated the terrorist threat in Syria and Iraq, imagine that they moved from a stage where they say that there is no terrorism in Syria to the stage of the day they say that they were able to successfully win over ISIS in Syria and Iraq, this is a victory. We have been able to impose our political agenda on everyone, including in the Security Council and outside the Security Council.

Today no one can deny that there is foreign terrorism in Syria and that there is Syrian terrorism in Syria sponsored by foreign countries, therefore, when Resolution 2254 was adopted, it mentioned in its articles a Syrian-Syrian solution without external interference and without preconditions.

There has been awareness among everyone that there is an external interference in the Syrian issue and that there are those who put sticks in the wheels so as not to get the Syrian – Syrian solution.

Q: Since you have mentioned the external interference, the American presence in the current dealing in an attempt to reshape the situation in some areas of Syria, training the so-called Maghawir Thawra, you mentioned an attempt to change the names of some organizations such as Nusra Front, Izzat Army, and others, Does this, in your opinion, constitute a project or hide a new US project on Syria?

In all honesty, what we notice from the performance of the American delegation in the Security Council and what we note from the statements of US officials indicates that there is no improvement in the position of the US administration, there is a kind of escalation rather than improvement in the US position, but the US investment in terrorism is still unchanged, the proof for this is their refusal to solve the problem of the Al-Tanf area and the Rukban Camp and their care and training of three thousand of Maghawir Thawra as stated in the statement of the Russian Chief of Staff, they filmed them in audio and video.

Three thousand terrorists are being trained at Rukban Camp, why and for whom? If this region is Syrian and civilians, and about the civilians there we will, in God’s will, get them out soon, there are 16 thousand civilians remaining inside (Rukban Camp) we will be able to get them out, God willing, soon, and therefore there will be no civilians in the area of Rukban except for five thousand thugs trained by the United States of America and five thousand are the families of these militants, so why keep these militants in the Al-Tanf area? Certainly for investing in them and recycling them over Syrian territory from time to time in this or that place.

Q: There are some areas where Americans and Turks meet in Syria, how can we characterize this Turkish project, which sometimes contradicts with regard to the SDF and sometimes converges and interferes with the American project?

The Turks can not be submitted to any action on Syrian territory without American approval, this first. Second, the Turkish and American are negotiating as bandits on the livelihood of others, meaning that the US and Turkey are negotiating on Syrian soil at the expense of the Syrian people and steal Syrian riches, whether oil or gas or artifacts or other, both are in the same level really, therefore, we described the Turkish aggression as an occupation and we also say that the American military presence is an occupation and that the Syrian government is dealing with both parties that their presence is illegal and that the Syrian government has the right to end this occupation and this abnormal situation.

Q: With regard to the safe zone Washington seeks to establish?

Let us ask this question: What is the opinion of the Turkish regime if today Syria would seek to create a safe zone in southern Turkey, for example? What is the view of the United States of America if Mexico wants to create a safe zone within the United States to protect its borders?

This is contrary to the law and contrary to the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, this talk is not upright with good neighborliness, this talk is not consistent with the content of the statements of Astana, which is the result of our meetings from time to time. Who is entitled to establish a safe area in another country? A safe area of what? Between us, there is the Adana Accord, which guarantees security for both parties, and we have not abandoned this agreement and did not give it up and did not say that it is no longer valid.

The Adana Accord is a security agreement that regulates the security relationship between the two countries with the consent of both parties, the two governments signed it that time, and therefore President Putin adopted it as you remember and considered it a good reference to regulate the security relationship between the two countries.

The invention of new mechanisms, new terminology, and new concepts is to get around completely like Israel. Israel establishes settlements and establishes bypass roads to access them at the expense of the Palestinian people, this is the same with what’s happening between us, who authorized you (Turkey) to establish a safe zone?

If the Turkish intentions have a certain sensitivity to the so-called Kurds, the most important ally it must be in stopping this problem is the Syrian government, isn’t it true?

If there are sound intentions, Turkey is supposed to stand by the Syrian government and establish coordination between the two governments to maintain the security of the two countries.

As long as this is not done, as what we are saying, it means that Turkey’s intentions are not fair and that its claims that it wants to justify the establishment of the security zone are false and untruthful.

End of the interview’s transcript in English

نص المحادثة الهاتفية مع السفير السوري للأمم المتحدة د. بشار الجعفري رئيس الوفد السوري المفاوض لمحادثات أستانا حول آخر المستجدات بخصوص مكافحة الإرهاب في سورية والدور التركي الخبيث والهدّام في الأزمة السورية

مساء الخير أستاذ عماد وشكراً لقناتكم الغرّاء لاستضافتي في هذا البرنامج الهام

نحن في أستانا للمرة الثالثة عشرة، تصور أنه في هذه الجولات كلها هناك بيانات ختامية في نهاية كل جولة، ولذلك من باب المقارنة بالشيء، قلت في مؤتمري الصحفي بأن البيان الذي صدر اليوم هو الأفضل، الأفضل من ناحية المضمون السياسي كما أشرت، طبعاً البيان ليس باسم كل الحاضرين، هو بيان يعتمد من قبل الحاضرين، ولكن هو بيان يصدر عن الدول الضامنة الثلاث: روسيا الاتحادية وجمهورية إيران الإسلامية وتركيا

البيان يتضمن إقرار من الحكومة التركية بمجموعة هامة من المسلمات، أولها الإقرار بالتزام الدول الضامنة الثلاث بسيادة سورية واستقلالها ووحدة ترابها، يتضمن في مكان آخر مسألة مكافحة الإرهاب وضرورة مكافحة الإرهاب في سورية، بمعنى أن الثلاث دول تقر بوجود إرهاب في سورية ينبغي مكافحته. النقطة الثالثة هي استمرار مسار أستانا في تحقيق وتنفيذ الأهداف التي أنشئ من أجلها، ألا وهو مساعدة السوريين أنفسهم على المضي قدماً في التسوية السياسية وعلى أن العملية السياسية هي عملية سورية يقودها السوريون أنفسهم وبملكية سورية. طبعاً هذا الكلام يحاكي قرارات مجلس الأمن أيضاً وهذا ليس بجديد ولكنه إقرار من الدول الثلاث بأن الشأن هو شأن السوري حصراً. النقطة الرابعة رفض للنزعات والدعوات والحركات والأنشطة الانفصالية في سورية، هذا الكلام مهم، وهذا إقرار أيضاً من الدول الثلاث بوجاهة وجهة النظر السورية التي يدعمها الحلفاء طبعاً من أنه غير مسموح المساس بالسيادة السورية أو التلاعب بمستقبل سورية من قبل أي قوى خارجية أو حتى من قبل فصائل داخلية تعمل لصالح قوى خارجية

هذا الكلام مهم سياسياً، لذلك قلنا بأن البيان الذي صدر اليوم هو الأفضل

سؤال: بالنسبة لهذه النقاط الإيجابية التي أشرتم إليها د. بشار، إلى ماذا سيؤسس كل ذلك، إذا ما أخذنا بعين الاعتبار أن وقفاً لإطلاق النار في إدلب لم يصمد أكثر من ساعات، وأن إحدى الدول الضامنة وهي تركيا ترعى بعض الفصائل، أو ربما تمنحهم هامشاً للتحرك لقصف مناطق داخل الأراضي السورية؟

هذا الكلام مهم، وبمنتهى الصراحة، والآن يسمعنا الملايين من مشاهدي قناتكم، نحن كنا نعرف أن هذا الاتفاق لن يصمد، قد أفاجأك بهذا الكلام، نحن في سورية كنا نعرف أن هذا الاتفاق لن يصمد طويلاً وكنا نعرف أن تركيا لن تكون ملتزمة بتنفيذه، لكن صدور القرار في دمشق يوم بدء مسار أستانا كان رسالة للضامنين الصديقين الروسي والإيراني وامتحان واختبار لنوايا النظام التركي، ووضع النظام التركي أمام مسؤولياته في تنفيذ تفاهمات أستانا وتفاهمات سوتشي بين الرئيس بوتين واردوغان، ولذلك عندما قامت المجموعات المسلحة بنقض هذا الاتفاق، فهذا الكلام أكد ما كنا نقوله للجميع بأن النظام التركي هو وراء هذه المجموعات المسلحة

قد تسأل لماذا قامت تركيا بهذا الفعل وخرقت الاتفاق؟ خرقت الاتفاق لأن تركيا أولاً لم ينتهي مشروع رعاية الإرهاب من طرفها للمجموعات المسلحة، بمعنى أن النظام التركي لم يحقق أي شيء من أهدافه السياسية تجاه سورية، ولذلك النظام التركي يستخدم الإرهاب كسلاح للضغط السياسي على الحكومة السورية. الحكومة السورية رافضة لهذا الضغط السياسي بمعنى أننا لن نسمح بالابتزاز الإرهابي من قبل النظام التركي لتحقيق مكتسبات سياسية على حساب الشعب السوري والسيادة السورية

سؤال: الخارجية الكازاخستانية أعلنت أن غالبية وفود المعارضة السورية المشاركة في المحادثات وافقت على وقف إطلاق النار في إدلب، من الذي يطلق النار إذاً في إدلب؟ من الذي يحرك الوضع ويسعى إلى توتيره؟

– هناك شرذمة واسعة من المجموعات الإرهابية المسلحة في إدلب، قسم منها يدعي النظام التركي أنه يستطيع أن يؤثر عليه، وقسم آخر يدعي النظام التركي أنه لا يستطيع التأثير عليه، لكن في محصلة الأمور، النظام التركي هو الذي يسيطر على منطقة إدلب وعلى المجموعات المسلحة هناك، اليوم ثبت بالاستطلاع العسكري والمعلومات الاستخباراتية والعلوم السياسية والرأي العام والإعلام أن جبهة النصرة والتي هي القاعدة، فإذا كانت تركيا والولايات المتحدة تسلحان جبهة النصرة، معناها أن تركيا والولايات المتحدة يسلحان ويرعيان إرهاب مدرج على قوائم مجلس الأمن، جبهة النصرة مدرجة ككيان إرهابي على قوائم مجلس الأمن للمؤسسات والأفراد والكيانات الإرهابية، إذا كان النظام التركي يرعى جبهة النصرة ويسلحها ويعطيها قذائف مداها أكثر من 40 كيلومتراً يتم قصف ريف شمال اللاذقية بها وريف شمال حلب وحلب الغربية بهذه القذائف تركية المنشأ، معنى ذلك أن النظام التركي يرعى هذا التنظيم الإرهابي في إدلب، ثانياً، هناك خمسة فصائل مسلحة أجنبية، إرهابيين أجانب: حراس الدين وجيش العزة… الخ، هذه كلها إرهابيين أجانب من تركستان، من الإيغور، من الشيشان، من العرب للأسف سعوديين وليبيين ومصريين وقطريين وغيرهم، وأتراك طبعاً، هناك عدد كبير من المواطنين الأتراك في عداد هؤلاء الإرهابيين الأجانب

إذا كانت كل هذه الفصائل مسلحة ومدربة ومحمية من النظام التركي، فكيف تدعي تركيا أن ليس لها سيطرة على هذه المجموعات الإرهابية؟

لنفرض جدلاً أن ليس لديها سيطرة، فإن تفاهمات أستانا والتفاهم بين الرئيس بوتين واردوغان يقضي بأن تضمن تركيا، هم حلفوا بشواربهم وصدورهم وقالوا نحن نؤمن انسحاب المجموعات المسلحة 20 كيلومتراً إلى الغرب من خط أبو الضهور باتجاه الخط الدولي، أين تنفيذ هذا الكلام؟ صار له سنة؟ لو كان النظام التركي عاجزاً عن تنفيذ هذا الكلام لم يكن ليتعهد به مع الرئيس بوتين قبل سنة، ولا كان تعهد به في تفاهمات أستانا قبل أكثر من سنة، هل هذا صحيح أم لا؟

سؤال: يعني ممكن أن نفهم أن تركيا تريد الإبقاء على هذا التوتر من أجل الحصول على بعض التنازلات السياسية فيما يتعلق بالمحادثات الجارية؟ هناك قمة ثلاثية أعلن عنها الشهر المقبل بين رؤساء الدول الضامنة؟

حتماً، هذا هو الاستنتاج السليم. طبعاً، تركيا تستثمر بالإرهاب، كما هي الولايات المتحدة، كما قطر كما السعودية. المعادلة التي يعرفها الرأي العام منذ سنوات لم تتغير: ما زالت هذه الدول ترعى الإرهاب في بلادي سورية. على كل حال، الدبلوماسية كما تعلم هي فن تدوير الزوايا، لذلك نحن نحاول تدوير الزوايا في هذه الاجتماعات الدولية، إن كان في جنيف أو في أستانا، نحن نحاول أن نجعل المجتمع الدولي أو ما يسمى بالمجتمع الدولي يشهد على حسن نوايانا، نحن نحاول إنجاز الكثير في مجال مكافحة الإرهاب وفي مجال تشكيل اللجنة الدستورية وفي مجال إطلاق العملية السياسية.. الخ، والجميع يرى أن هناك نوايا حسنة من الجانب السوري

هناك مراسيم رئاسية تصدر بتسوية أوضاع اللاجئين السوريين والمهجرين الذين يعودون من الخارج، هناك مجموعة من الإجراءات التي تدل أن الحكومة السورية جادة في مسألة إنهاء هذه الأزمة لكن نحن بحاجة إلى شركاء نزيهين صادقين شرفاء يتعاملون بالملف كما نتعامل نحن معه، للأسف هذا ليس موجوداً لدى الجميع، النظام التركي حتى الآن ليست لديه نوايا سليمة وصادقة. عندما يقومون بإطلاق أسماء تركية على مدارس سورية في عفرين ومنبج وجرابلس وإعزاز وعين العرب وغيرها، عندما يفرضون التعامل بالليرة التركية، عندما يفرضون العلم التركي بدلاً عن العلم السوري، عندما يستبدلون لوحات السيارات السورية بلوحات تركية.. الخ

هناك ممارسات تركية تنتهك القانون الدولي، تنتهك السيادة السورية وهذا لا يستقيم مع الادعاءات التركية التضليلية بأن تركيا حريصة على وحدة وسيادة واستقلال سورية، لذلك أنا قلت في المؤتمر الصحفي نريد أن تقرن الأقوال الجميلة بالأفعال على الأرض، هذا لم يحدث حتى الآن للأسف.

سؤال: تحدثتم عن مشروع إرهابي عالمي كان يتم تحضيره من أجل ضرب سورية وتقسيمها، هل انتهى هذا المشروع؟ هل قضي عليه؟

لا لم ينته، ولكن تقلص وتقزّم وتهشّم، لقد انتصرنا في معركة مكافحة الإرهاب لأننا استطعنا بنجاح أن ننقل ما يسمى بالمجتمع الدولي من مرحلة الإنكار إلى مرحلة الإقرار، من مرحلة إنكار بوجود الإرهاب في سورية إلى مرحلة الإقرار بوجود الإرهاب في سورية، لا بل أكثر من ذلك، الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تتبجح اليوم بانها قضت على داعش الإرهابية في سورية والعراق، تخيل أنهم انتقلوا من مرحلة كانوا يقولون بها أنه ليس هناك إرهاب في سورية إلى مرحلة اليوم يقولون بها أنهم استطاعوا بنجاح أن ينتصروا على داعش في سورية والعراق، هذا انتصار، فقد تمكنا من فرض أجندتنا السياسية على الجميع بما في ذلك في مجلس الأمن وخارج مجلس الأمن. اليوم لا يوجد أحد يستطيع أن ينكر أن هناك إرهاباً أجنبياً في سورية وأن هناك إرهاباً سورياً في سورية ترعاه دول خارجية، ولذلك القرار 2254 عندما اعتمد قال في بنوده حل سوري – سوري دون تدخل خارجي ودون شروط مسبقة

صار هناك وعي لدى الجميع أن هناك تدخل خارجي في الشأن السوري وأن هناك من يضع العصي في العجلات لكيلا يحصل الحل السوري – السوري

سؤال: طالما تحدثت عن التدخل الخارجي، الوجود الأميركي التعامل الحالي من أجل إعادة تشكيل المشهد في بعض المناطق في سورية، تدريب ما يعرف بجيش المغاوير، أشرت إلى محاولة إلى تغيير أسماء بعض التنظيمات مثل النصرة وجيش العزة وغيرها، هل يشكل ذلك برأيكم مشروعاً أو يخفي مشروعاً أمريكياً جديداً حول سورية؟

بكل صدق، ما نلاحظه من أداء الوفد الأميركي في مجلس الأمن وما نلاحظه من تصريحات المسؤولين الأمريكيان يدل على عدم وجود تحسن في موقف الإدارة الأمريكية، هناك نوع من التصعيد بدلاً من التحسن في الموقف الأمريكي، لكن استثمار الولايات المتحدة في الإرهاب ما زال على حاله لم يتغير، والدليل على ذلك هو رفضهم حل مشكلة منطقة التنف ومخيم الركبان ورعايتهم وتدريبهم لثلاثة آلاف من مغاوير الثورة، كما ورد في بيان رئاسة الأركان الروسية، فقد قاموا بتصويرهم بالصوت والصورة، ثلاثة آلاف إرهابي يتم تدريبهم في معسكر الركبان، لماذا ولمن؟ إذا كانت هذه المنطقة سورية والمدنيين سنخرجهم جميعاً، باقي 16 ألف مدني بالداخل (داخل مخيم الركبان) سنستطيع أن نخرجهم إن شاء الله قريباً وبالتالي لن يبقى هناك مدنيين في منطقة الركبان باستثناء خمسة آلاف أزعر تدربهم الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية وخمسة آلاف هم عائلات هؤلاء المسلحين، فلماذا الحفاظ على هؤلاء المسلحين في منطقة التنف؟ أكيد لاستثمارهم وإعادة تدويرهم فوق الأرض السورية من حين لآخر في هذا المكان أو ذاك

سؤال: هناك بعض المناطق التي يتلاقى فيها الأميركيون والأتراك في سورية، كيف يمكن أن نشخّص هذا المشروع التركي الذي يتناقض أحياناً فيما يتعلق بقسد وأحياناً يتلاقى ويتداخل مع المشروع الأمريكي؟

التركي لا يمكن أن يقدم على أي عمل على الأراضي السورية من دون موافقة أمريكية، هذا أولاً، ثانياً التركي والأمريكي يتفاوضان كقاطعي الطرق على رزق الآخرين، بمعنى أن الأمريكي والتركي يتفاوضان على أرض سورية وعلى حساب الشعب السوري ويسرقان ثروة سورية، إن كان نفط أو غاز أو آثار أو غيرها، فكلاهما في نفس السوية حقيقة، لذلك وصفنا العدوان التركي علينا بأنه احتلال ونقول عن التواجد العسكري الأمريكي أيضاً بأنه احتلال وأن الحكومة السورية تتعامل مع الطرفين على أن وجودهما غير شرعي وأن من حق الحكومة السورية إنهاء هذا الاحتلال وهذا الوضع الشاذ

سؤال: فيما يتعلق بالمنطقة الآمنة التي تسعى واشنطن لإقامتها؟

دعنا نطرح هذا السؤال: ما رأي النظام التركي بأن تقوم سورية اليوم بخلق منطقة أمنية جنوب تركيا مثلاً؟ ما رأي الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية بأن تقوم المكسيك بخلق منطقة آمنة داخل الولايات المتحدة لحماية حدودها؟ هذا مخالف للقانون ومخالف لأحكام ميثاق الأمم المتحدة، هذا الكلام لا يستقيم وحسن الجوار، هذا الكلام لا يستقيم مع مضمون بيانات أستانا التي نخرج بها من حين لآخر في اجتماعاتنا، من يحق له أن ينشئ منطقة آمنة في بلد آخر؟ ومنطقة آمنة من ماذا؟ بيننا وبينهم هناك اتفاق أضنة الذي يضمن الأمن للطرفين، وهذا الاتفاق لم نتخلى نحن عنه ولم نتنازل عنه ولم نقل أنه لم يعد صالحاً، اتفاق أضنة هو أمني ينظم العلاقة الأمنية بين البلدين برضى الطرفين، الحكومتين آنذاك وقعتا عليه ولذلك تبناه الرئيس بوتين كما تتذكر واعتبره أنه المرجعية الصالحة لتنظيم العلاقة الأمنية بين البلدين

يعني اختراع آليات جديدة ومصطلحات جديدة ومفاهيم جديدة هو للالتفاف تماماً كإسرائيل، تنشئ مستوطنات وتنشئ الطرق الالتفافية للوصول إليها على حساب الشعب الفلسطيني، هذا هو الكلام نفسه لدينا. من شرّع لك (للتركي) أن تعلن منطقة أمنية؟ إذا كانت النوايا التركية لديها حساسية معينة مما يسمى الأكراد، فإن أهم حليف لها يجب أن يكون في وقف هذه الإشكالية هو الحكومة السورية، أليس كذلك؟ إذا كانت هناك نوايا سليمة فيفترض من تركيا أن تقف إلى جانب الحكومة السورية وتنشئ تنسيقاً بين الحكومتين للحفاظ على أمن البلدين، طالما أن هذا الأمر لا يتم كما نقول، فمعنى ذلك أن نوايا تركيا غير نزيهة وأن ادعاءاتها التي تريد أن تبرر بها إنشاء المنطقة الأمنية هي ادعاءات باطلة وكاذبة

فورد: علاقة واشنطن مع «قسد» ستنتهي يوماً ما

لن تتدخّل القوات الأميركية في إدلب.. وهي تحتلّ منطقة التنف 

يوليو 30, 2019

رأى السفير الأميركي السابق لدى سورية روبرت فورد، أن العلاقة الخاصة بين الولايات المتحدة و»قوات سورية الديمقراطية» قسد سوف تنتهي يوماً ما، وأكد أنه لن يكون هناك تدخل أميركي بالنسبة للوضع في إدلب.

ولفت في مقالة له، الانتباه إلى أن العلاقة الخاصة بين أميركا و»قوات سورية الديمقراطية» قسد ستنتهي يوماً ما.

وأشار السفير السابق إلى أن الولايات المتحدة لن تتدخل في مسألة الوضع في إدلب معتبراً أن سورية لم تهاجم الولايات المتحدة وبالتالي ليس من حق واشنطن التدخل في هذه الحالة، أما الطريق الثاني وهو التدخل عن طريق مجلس الأمن، أوضح أن الولايات المتحدة لم تحصل على تفويض من مجلس الأمن بسبب المواقف الروسية والصينية.

وقال فورد في هذا الصدد، «ها أنا قد تقاعدت عن العمل لدى الحكومة، وأستطيع التحدث بصراحة.

أولاً، في ما يخص الشرعية الدولية، كي يتدخل بلد ما عسكرياً ضد دولة أخرى، عادة ما يحتاج ذلك البلد إما إلى الردّ على هجوم مباشر أو إلى موافقة مجلس الأمن الدولي. لكن سورية لم تهاجم الولايات المتحدة، وستستخدم روسيا والصين حق النقض الفيتو ضد أي قرار لمجلس الأمن يمنح الأميركيين الإذن باستخدام القوة».

وحذر فورد أنه وفي حال شرعت القوات الجوية الأميركية في التحليق فوق إدلب، سيكون هناك احتمال حقيقي للاشتباك مع الطائرات الحربية الروسية. والحقيقة هي أنه لا أحد في الولايات المتحدة على استعداد للمخاطرة بحرب عالمية ثالثة.

فورد، كشف أن «الأميركيين الذين يحتلون منطقة «التنف» السورية «لا يقدمون أي مساعدة لتخفيف المعاناة الشديدة للنازحين في مخيم الركبان»، موضحاً أن الهدف من القاعدة الأميركية في التنف هو «منع إيران من إيجاد طريق هناك»، وفق تعبيره.

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وداعاً للاتفاق النووي الإيراني

يوليو 9, 2019

حميدي العبدالله

بات واضحاً أنّ الاتفاق النووي الإيراني في سبيله إلى الاندثار. الانسحاب الأميركي كان الخطوة الأولى، لكن من الواضح أنّ الدول الأوروبية سوف تتضامن مع الولايات المتحدة، لأنّ القناة أو الآلية التي وضعتها للالتفاف على العقوبات الأميركية هي مجرد حملة علاقات عامة وعملية ذرّ للرماد في العيون. فهذه الآلية لا تشمل قطاع النفط والقطاع المالي، ومحصورة في بيع المنتجات الزراعية والصناعية ذات الطبيعة الإنسانية مثل مستلزمات المستشفيات.

وحتى هذه الآلية، التي وصفتها إيران أنها تشبه برنامج الغذاء مقابل النفط الذي فرض على العراق في عقد التسعينات، سوف تتذرّع الحكومات الأوروبية الموقعة على الاتفاق النووي، بأنّ خطوات إيران تنتهك الاتفاق التي تجعلهم في حلّ من الالتزام بها، بل فرض عقوبات جديدة والتماهي مع العقوبات التي فرضتها إدارة ترامب على إيران.

إضافةً إلى ذلك وضع الرئيس الفرنسي شرطاً جديداً للالتزام بالاتفاق النووي والمضيّ فيه، وهو قبول إيران البحث في دورها في المنطقة، وبحث برنامجها الصاروخي، وهي المطالب الأميركية – الإسرائيلية التي رفضتها إيران، واعتبرتها انتحاراً لإيران واستسلاماً أمام الولايات المتحدة و»إسرائيل».

الأمر الأكثر خطورة، هو ما تمّ الكشف عنه من أنّ الاتفاق يتضمّن فقرة تقول إذا ما تمّت إعادة عرض انتهاكات الاتفاق من قبل أحد الأطراف أمام مجلس الأمن وصوّت تسعة أعضاء على أنّ طرفاً محدّداً خرق الاتفاق، فإنه لا يحق للدول، استخدام حق الفيتو ضدّ قرار يعبّر عن رأي مجلس الأمن وفرض عقوبات على الطرف المنتهك للاتفاق.

ويبدو أنّ الوضع يسير وفق هذا السيناريو إذ أنّ توجه الولايات المتحدة لتقديم شكوى إلى مجلس الأمن، أو تكليف بريطانيا بتقديم هذه الشكوى، وفي ضوء موقف الرئيس الفرنسي وموقف ألمانيا وبريطانيا، فإنه لن يكون صعباً على الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها الأوروبيين بإعادة فرض عقوبات باسم الأمم المتحدة على إيران، وبالتالي إلزام كلّ دول العالم بهذه العقوبات، أيّ العودة بشكلٍ كاملٍ إلى مرحلة ما قبل الاتفاق. بهذا المعنى، يمكن القول وداعاً للاتفاق النووي الإيراني.

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US Think Tank Holds Secretive Meeting on Military Option in Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

The military option has been discussed at a secret off-the-record meeting organized by Washington-based think tank earlier last week.

A military intervention in Venezuela hs been reportedly discussed at a private roundtable hosted on 10 April by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), The Gray Zone reported Sunday.

Straightforwardly named “Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela,” the off-the-record meeting involved some 40 figures, including former State Department, National Intelligence Council, and National Security Council officials, as well as Admiral Kurt Tidd who recently left the post of the US SOUTHCOM commander.

Several senior officials from Colombian and Brazilian embassies as well as representatives of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido also participated in the meeting.

The fact that the meeting took place has been confirmed by two unnamed participants, but no other details are available, The Gray Zone reports.

However, the very existence of a meeting named like this suggests Trump administration considers military operation more seriously than before, the report says, adding that such move could have been fueled by frustration that “every other weapon in its arsenal has failed” to oust Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

The website managed to confirm the existence of the meeting after a check-in list containing names of those invited has been leaked. When The Gray Zone contacted one of the attendees, Sarah Baumunk, a research associate at the CSIS’s Americas Program, she confirmed military options were discussed.

“We talked about military… uh… military options in Venezuela. That was earlier this week though,” she said, referring to the meeting being wrongly dated 20 April in the document. However, when pressed for more details, she refused to talk.

“I’m sorry I don’t feel comfortable answering these questions,” she said.

Another attendee, Santiago Herdoiza, a research associate at Hills&Company strategy and trade consulting agency, also slipped out that the meeting took place.

“I’m sorry, that was a closed meeting. Good evening,” Herdoiza said when contacted by phone.

A military intervention option has repeatedly been hinted at by US officials, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirming earlier this week that “every single tool, every single option remains on table,” despite the Lima Group of Latin American countries rejected such a scenario. The United States also lacks support from the United Nations Security Council.

The US has provided support to opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognizing him as Venezuela’s interim president, while Russia, China, Turkey and a number of other nations consider Maduro as the legitimate leader. Despite Guaido’s efforts to oust legitimate president Nicolas Maduro, he remains in power, controlling the armed forces and the nation’s oil industry. Speaking to Chilean Mega TV, Mike Pompeo admitted that Russian and Chinese support for Maduro makes the president’s leave more difficult, blaming Russia of “intervening without authority,” despite Russia never exceeded terms of earlier military cooperation agreements signed with late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

US RECOGNITION OF GOLAN HEIGHTS AND COLLAPSE OF PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW

South Front

30.03.2019 

US Recognition Of Golan Heights And Collapse Of Public International Law

The US recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory is another sign of the ongoing collapse of the establsihed system of international relations.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force’s (UNDOF) mandate was renewed on December 21st, 2018 to June 30th, 2019.Thus, it’s peacekeeping operation in the Golan Heights continues despite the recent US move to recignize Israel’s sovereignty over this territory.

The latest UNDOF report was published on February 28th, underlying that there are on-going issues of numerous violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement of 1974 and UNDOF’s ability to implement its mandate, including the deployment of appropriate technologies as recommended.

“Given Syria’s reassertion of control over areas of separation and the reopening of the Qunaytirah crossing point, UNDOF may be getting close to an eventual full return to the Bravo side. The return of the situation to pre-2014 conditions may cause the Council to consider requesting the Secretary-General to resume a six-month reporting cycle instead of 90 days, as had been the practice until December 2012.”

The report covers a 90-day period between September 15th and November 20th.

The report noted that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continued to fire across the ceasefire line and into the area of separation. UNDOF personnel also continued to observe crossings by unidentified individuals between Lebanon and the Bravo (Syrian) side and from the Bravo side to the Alpha (Israeli) side on a daily basis. The individuals crossing were usually described in the report as shepherds and farmers. The provided data confirms that Israel is the aggressive party in the situation and no misconduct was noted on Syria’s side.

The most recent data provides details into the period between November 21st, 2018 and March 14th, 2019. It noted that the UNDOF peacekeeping mission could achieve little result in the area:

“On 29 November 2018, UNDOF personnel observed heavy explosions and tracer rounds of heavy and anti-aircraft machine guns in the vicinities of Turunjah, in the area of separation, and Camp Faouar. UNDOF personnel were forced to go into shelters. The Syrian authorities informed UNDOF that the military activity was associated with air defence weapons of the Syrian armed forces directed at “hostile targets”. The Israel Defense Forces informed UNDOF that they “had not engaged any targets in the Syrian Arab Republic” and that the remnants of a Syrian anti-aircraft missile had impacted an area 5 km from Camp Ziouani. An UNDOF team, accompanied by the Israel Defense Forces, visited the scene of the impact on the Alpha side (Israeli-occupied Golan) and saw remnants of an anti-aircraft missile.”

Thus, the UNDOF’s presence in the area appears to be more formal move than anything, since no peacekeeping is being established, the representatives hide in shelters and do not have any actual authority on-site.

The US recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory happened on March 25th, which is in the next 90-day period. So a report elaborating on the results of the action would be presented sometime in June, prior to the expiry of the UNDOF mandate on June 30th, 2019.

The 1,000-strong force was dispatched to a buffer zone between Israel and Syria in 1974 to observe a ceasefire, and it is simply doing that – observing the breaches. It should be reminded that in the overwhelming number of cases Israel is the side that carries out any misconduct.

The US on March 27th said that it wished for the UNDOF peacekeeping force to remain in Golan Heights. US Diplomat Rodney Hunter told a Security Council meeting on the Golan that “this announcement does not affect the 1974 Disengagement Agreement, nor do we believe it undermines UNDOF’s mandate in any way.”

“UNDOF continues to have a vital role to play in preserving stability between Israel and Syria, most importantly by ensuring that the area of separation is a buffer zone free from any military presence or activities other than those of UNDOF,” he added.

The council met at Syria’s request to discuss the US decision, which Damascus said was a “flagrant violation” of UN resolutions.

In total, three UN resolutions call for Israel to withdraw from the occupied Golan Heights. Despite that, the US, the permenent UNSC member, said that the decision would bolster Israel’s security and “can contribute to the stability of the entire Middle East” by keeping Syria and its Iranian ally in check.

The EU said they will continue to view the Golan as Israeli-occupied territory and will not follow in Trump’s footsteps.

At the UNSC meeting, Israel’s Envoy Danny Danon criticized anger over the US decision:

“For 19 years, Syria used the Golan as a forward outpost against Israel, and today it’s Iran that wants to put its soldiers on the shore of the Sea of Galilee,” Danon said in a statement.

“Israel won’t allow such a thing ever, and it’s time the international community recognize the fact that the Golan will remain under Israeli sovereignty forever. The United States and Israel will stand as a united front in the face of the hypocrisy and lies.”

The US recognition of the Golan Heights creates a complicated situation in the UNSC as well, since a permanent member recognized it as Israeli territory, while all UN documents have referred to it as a Israeli-occupied territory since 1974.

It is possible also that the US decision was announced at this moment, since the UN is undergoing deep reforms. It wouldn’t be surprising if it would receive a weaker response, simply due to the changes being introduced in the world body.

At the same time, the decision is a stark reminder that international public law is collapsing, mostly due to US conduct, which is also paving the way for other countries to partake in such misconduct. One of the obvious examples of the US unanimously going against international law is the bombing of Yugoslavia.

The UN and its Security Council managed to establish a somewhat peaceful zone in the Golan Heights, but the US decision threatens it profoundly. Syria had little chance of militarily returning its own territory despite the fact that it has all legal rights to do so. But now, that is questionable, despite Syria claiming that it is prepared to employ all necessary means to take its territory back.

A military escalation in the area has also become more likely. This undermines efforts to de-escalate the Syrian conflict even further. The US already called for Syrian forces to withdrawl from the separation line, but is also unlikely to happen.

For a long period of time, the Golan Heights situation was kept balanced by a large number of internationally recognized documents and mechanisms. However, now, these mechanisms seem to be de-fact destroyed.

The US is, in essence, destroying one of the last standing “pillars of international law,” and is in fact creating a global situation in which the only means of settling conflicts is threat of military power and economic sanctions of individuals, businesses and government bodies.

It’s interesting to note that the US action actually goies in contrary to the US’ won stance twards the Crimea issue. Russia officially, and mostly formally, condemned the US recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. However, in fact, Washington just created a precedent for Crimea to be recognized as an official part of Russia on the highest international level.

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Trump’s Golan Declaration Another Own Goal

Trump’s Golan Declaration Another Own Goal

EDITORIAL | 29.03.2019 | EDITORIAL

Trump’s Golan Declaration Another Own Goal

Hardly a week goes by and the United States falls deeper into global disrepute. This week was a bonanza of own goals for the self-declared “leader of the free world”.

The debacle over the ridiculous “Russiagate” scandal finally imploding was spectacular.

Then there were more horrific reports of US air strikes killing civilians simultaneously in four countries – Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

That was followed by Washington’s ludicrous lecturing to Russia about the US-imposed humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

And then, to top all those own goals, we saw President Donald Trump declaring that Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights is not, in the warped US view, illegal after all. Can you possibly keep score of the mind-boggling inanities and insanities?

Switching metaphors for a moment – because you can hardly just use one when it comes to grappling with American asinine policy – Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova got it right when she likened the US to a “cowboy shooting up the Louvre museum” in its free-wheeling, double-dealing foreign conduct.

Where to begin in dissecting the US and its descent into madness and mafia-style foreign policy? It truly is a brain-wrecking, train-wrecking challenge. Is there a wicked genius to its Mephistophelean madness? Perhaps it is simply down to Washington becoming an absurd circus of incompetence, accelerated under the administration of a former real-estate magnate and reality TV star, President Donald J (for Joker) Trump.

On the Golan issue, Trump’s proclamation this week of recognizing the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as under Israeli sovereignty is a flagrant subversion of international law and the United Nations Charter. Israel has been forcibly occupying Syrian southern territory since the 1967 Six Day War. It formally annexed the strategic plateau in 1981, which was ruled as illegal by the UN Security Council – including a vote from the US at that time.

Trump’s declaration is thus a brazen repudiation of international law and a glaring green light to aggression. Can anything this president says or does be taken seriously? What’s that about Venezuela, or Ukraine?

His declaration this week undermines gravely the foundation of international law in a shocking, reckless affront. It completely demolishes any pretense the US claims to have as a world leader and upholder of international law.

Washington has been slamming Russia for the past five years over alleged “annexation” of Crimea – and then Trump this week turns around and endorses Israeli theft of Syrian territory.

At a UN Security Council meeting called this week by Syria in protest to Trump’s proclamation, the US was seen as a pariah state. All 14 other members of the council (including non-permanent members) slammed the US policy on Golan. They included US allies Britain and France.

Outside the UNSC, other US allies also condemned Washington’s declaration of complicity in Israeli annexation of Golan.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, among others, all slammed the US for daring to legalize the theft of Syrian territory by Israel.

Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, put it aptly. He said that the US move was not only an audacious violation of international and the UN Charter. “This only exacerbates the situation in Syria and complicates the establishment of a political process, but it also creates serious obstacles to normalizing the relations between Israel and the Arab states.”

We will come back to that profound point in a moment. But first, let’s throw out a few other motives for Trump’s outrageous violation of international law regarding Golan and Israel’s annexation.

Trump is no doubt giving his family friend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a timely electoral boost ahead of Israeli state elections scheduled for April 9.

There is also the issue of American oil interests being pursued by designating the Golan as Israeli territory. The mountainous region overlooking the Jordan Valley is reputed to hold untapped reserves on par with those of Saudi Arabia, which US-based Genie oil company has been exploring for years.

But still a more strategic motive is the objective of keeping the Middle East and Syria in particular in perpetual turmoil. By annexing Syrian territory, the US-Israeli move furthers the objective of controlling the wider Arab region.

Syria’s envoy to the UN, Bashar al Jaafari, made that very point at the UN Security Council meeting this week. He said the US-backed annexation of Golan was a part of the US-sponsored covert war against his country. The move is a way to keep Syria and the region in turmoil, said al Jaafari.

This gets back to what the Russian envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, said. The whole point is for Washington to prevent any political settlement to the eight-year war in Syria and to impede any normalization of relations in the region. The US and its client Israeli regime only stand to benefit from perpetual chaos and conflict in the region.

So far so good, as Washington may calculate – albeit fiendishly. But in the final analysis, the US is ending up looking like a complete rogue state without any respect, even among its supposed allies.

The presumed global leader, Washington, is losing foes and allies alike through its disgraceful duplicity and disregard for any pretense of probity. The Golan Heights is another nail in the coffin for Washington’s over-rated self-regard.

In a week of other American absurdities and own-goals, the Golan debacle may turn out to be the moment when Washington is finally seen in the eyes of the world as the utter laughing stock that it surely has become. It’s a laughing stock, but in the creepiest, macabre sense.

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