Yemen: Biden Shrugs Off Campaign Promise as US Backs New Saudi Offensive and AQAP Support

July 13th, 2021

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

The US has refused calls to stop arming Saudi Arabia amid its devastating war in Yemen and is now doubling down on a military solution, falling back on its reliance of armed militant groups that it used to devastating effect in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq.

AL-BAYDA, YEMEN — President Joe Biden gave a lot of people a sense of cautious optimism when he took to the campaign trail and promised to bring a swift end to the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The oil-rich monarchy, supported heavily by the United States, has been waging arguably the deadliest military campaign of the past decade on the forgotten country for over six years, exacting a brutal humanitarian toll on its civilian population.

To his credit, Biden sent Tim Lenderking to lead a team of negotiators in an attempt to broker reconciliation between the conflict’s many belligerents. But without the political will to stand up to the Saudi monarchy and the varied American interests that profit handsomely from its wars, Lenderking had little chance of success. Now it seems the Kingdom — once again emboldened, armed, and covered by the United States — has all but abandoned any pretense of reconciliation and doubled down on its brutal war.

A Piercing Star falls to earth

Last week, the Saudi-led Coalition began a massive military operation they’re calling al-Najm al-Thaqib, which translates from Arabic into The Piercing Star. The operation ostensibly aims to recapture large swaths of territory in central Yemen’s al-Bayda province, which was captured by Ansar Allah after a series of long and grueling battles with militants from al-Qaeda on the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP) last fall. AQAP had been entrenched in the province for decades, somehow persevering through concerted military efforts by both the Saudi-led Coalition and at least four consecutive U.S. administrations to dislodge it — including Barack Obama’s infamous drone war.

On August 28, 2020, local tribal partisans backed by Ansar Allah defeated AQAP and myriad extremist allies, including elements of IS, in a week-long operation. This victory came just as AQAP was preparing to sweep the Yemeni provinces of al-Bayda, Dhamar, and Sana’a in an operation that aimed to repeat the scenarios seen in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, where ISIS was able to take and hold a so-called caliphate extending from western Iraq to into eastern Syria.

Al-Bayda and the surrounding provinces saw a state of relative calm in the wake of the operation, as residents experienced life without the yoke of al-Qaeda, some for the first time in their lives. Now, some of those residents fear that Saudi Arabia, backed by the United States, is attempting to resettle those groups in al-Bayda as a hedge against Ansar Allah.

Saudi jets have carried out scores of airstrikes in al-Bayda in recent weeks, flying in from the north to unleash tons of bombs made and supplied by the United States and giving AQAP a potential avenue to retake the province, as the airstrikes have targeted Ansar Allah and their local tribal allies almost exclusively.

According to the nonprofit Yemeni Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC), American-made cluster bombs — which even the U.S. military has pledged not to use, due to their high rate of collateral damage — including the CBU-58, CBU-105, CBU-87, M26, and DPICM M77, have all been used in the offensive.

In a press conference, YEMAC displayed unexploded American bombs used in the operation, including the same GBU-39 and GBU-31 that were used with deadly effect in Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza. YEMAC held the press conference after an unexploded U.S.-made GBU-24 was recovered from a civil-defense building in Sana’a.

While there is not yet conclusive evidence of direct coordination between the Saudi Coalition and AQAP in the offensive, AQAP militants began pushing into al-Bayda from the south almost as soon as the Saudi airstrikes began. The southern villages of al-Zaher and al-Sma’h — including the areas of Jumaima, Wafaa, Sharadeh, al-Sous, Shabakat Dhi Madahi, Akrama, Shawkan and others — have already been recaptured by al-Qaeda according to a number of Saudi state-funded media outlets, which celebrated the putsch as a victory for the Saudi-led Coalition.

No “Certain Victory”

However, the celebrations were short-lived, as Ansar Allah has already begun to recapture areas it gained last August in a military operation it has dubbed al-Nasr al-Mubin, an Arabic phrase meaning “Certain Victory.” That operation has already seen the defeat of AQAP and militants allied with Saudi Arabia in the al-Zahir Directorate as well as dozens of military sites in the al-Dahaki and Al-Soma`h districts, and even areas that Ansar Allah failed to capture from AQAP during its August offensive, according to a statement it issued on Tuesday.

Yemen Marib
An armored vehicle belonging to Saudi-backed militants shows a poster that reads, “martyr commander brigadier general Self Abd al-Rab al-Shadady.” Al-Shadady” was recently killed in clashes in Marib, Yemen, June 19, 2021. Nariman El-Mofty | AP

On Friday, the media bureau of the Houthis’ Operations Command Center published a video showing some of its victories in al-Bayda. Several senior AQAP commanders were killed or captured in the battles, including the infamous Abu Dharr al-Tayabi, Tawfiq al-Farawi and Othman Ahmad Abdullah al-Mushdali. A spokesman for Ansar Allah said:

Despite having mobilized members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Daesh (IS) Takfiri terrorist groups, Saudi [Arabia] failed and has so far reaped nothing other than defeat on every front. The coalition has received severe blows in al-Bayda, even though it has hired al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorists.”

But Ansar Allah is far from a decisive victory. Fierce clashes continue near Lahj province and coalition warplanes continue to pound al-Bayda.

US cooperation with a Jihadi recruiter

According to members of the Houthi negotiating delegation, who spoke to MintPress on condition of anonymity, the escalation in al-Bayda is being used to pressure Ansar Allah to halt its advance on the oil-rich Marib province and to force it to accept conditions that Saudi Arabia and Lenderking’s envoy have imposed on Ansar Allah as a precondition for a peace deal.

For their part, the Houthis have promised to retaliate by resuming drone and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi oil and military targets in the Kingdom’s southern provinces, according to Brigadier General Abed Al-Thor and General Aziz Rashid, who told MintPress that military pressure on the Kingdom will only be increased in the wake of the recent Saudi escalation.

The attacks on al-Bayda come in the wake of meetings between the Saudi-backed vice president of Yemen, Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, and Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. Cooper pushed for intelligence sharing and support for armed militant groups under the banner of curbing the arming of the Houthis by the Iranian government.

Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar
Al-Ahmar speaks to journalists during a 2011 press conference in Sanaa, Yemen. Hani Mohammed | AP

Al-Ahmar has been tied to various extremist groups in Yemen and, according to Reuters, “The Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni Islamists gained strength, particularly under … al-Ahmar, who built a power base in the army. Jihadist fugitives formed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).” According to a 2000 New York Times report, al-Ahmar even “traveled to Afghanistan in the 1980s to meet Osama bin Laden, and assisted in recruiting militants from across the Muslim world for the Afghan struggle.”

The U.S. has long been involved in the training and arming of militants in Yemen, whom it saw as a hedge against Ansar Allah. Al-Ahmar has publicly praised the U.S. for cooperating with him to combat what he called “the Iranian project.”

Grim prospects for peace

On July 1, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the United States was “beyond fed up” with the Houthis’ advance in Marib and laid the blame for the humanitarian situation in Yemen squarely at the feet of the Houthis, claiming it was they who failed to work with the “other parties … who are actively working towards peace,” a reference to Saudi Arabia and its allies in the country.

Price’s statements and the Biden administration’s about-face on Yemen has raised questions among activists struggling to stop the war, especially as the U.S. has largely refused calls to stop arming Saudi Arabia amid a devastating civilian death toll, and now seems to be doubling down on its commitment to a military solution to the conflict, falling back on its habit of supporting armed militant groups that it used to devastating effect in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The Biden administration should have stopped providing weapons and training to the warring parties to ensure that the war would not continue, and not support one at the expense of the other, so logic and reality say,” Dala al-Matari, an activist from the Stop the Bombing of Yemen campaign said. Like many Yemenis, al-Matari believes that President Biden used his seeming opposition to the highly controversial war as a trump card to boost his chances in last year’s presidential election.

For its part, Ansar Allah has outright accused the Biden administration of giving a green light to Saudi forces to attack al-Bayda so that it can more easily provide al-Qaeda and IS with weapons and intelligence information. Officials in Sana’a say the Biden administration is playing with fire by not only destroying peace efforts but also resettling and supporting al-Qaeda, especially amid a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan.

Dhaif Allah al-Shami — the spokesman for the Sana’a-based Yemeni government run jointly by Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress, the largest political party in the country — said that the United States had “run the recent military escalation in al-Bayda.” He accused the Biden administration of being behind the plan, stating: “The United States, which falsely and wrongly claims to be concerned with peace in Yemen, is [the one] fueling the bitter clashes in the al-Zahir district of the province.”

Major General Nasser Al-Atif, minister of defense in the Ansar Allah-led government, said in a statement on Monday:

We have a new strategy to face the new Saudi escalation that will cost the coalition a heavy price if they continue to support terrorist elements, and this is something they should understand well. Saudi Arabia and the United States claim that they are keen on peace, stopping the war, and addressing the inhumane issues, but in fact they are talking all this just for media consumption and the exploitation of international and regional positions.

Saudi War on Yemen Has Killed 17,176 Civilians, Including 3,842 Children So Far

12/07/2021

Saudi War on Yemen Has Killed 17,176 Civilians, Including 3,842 Children So Far

By Staff, Agencies

Eye of Humanity Center for Rights and Development revealed statistics of the crimes of US Saudi-led aggression in Yemen during 2,300 days.

The center said that the US-Saudi aggression has killed 17,176 civilians, including 3,842 children, 2,400 women, and 10,934 men, while 26,715 others were injured, including 4,225 children, 2,832 women, and 19,658 men so far.

The statistics also revealed that 15 airports, 16 seaports, 308 containers and generators were destroyed, in addition to 553 networks and communication stations, 2,397 water tanks and networks, 1,983 government facilities, and 5,224 roads over the course of 2,300 days of aggression.

Meanwhile, the number of economic establishments that were destroyed by the US-Saudi-Emirati aggression are 396 factories, 352 fuel tankers, 11,479 commercial establishments, and 423 chicken and livestock farms, in addition to 7,945 means of transportation, 472 fishing boats, 931 food stores, 397 gas stations, 685 markets, and 858 food trucks.

The statistics revealed that the aggression destroyed 575,353 homes, 179 universities, 1,446 mosques, 369 tourist attractions, 391 hospitals and health facilities, as well as 1,110 schools and educational centers, 7,733 agricultural fields, 135 sports facilities, 248 archaeological sites and 49 media facilities.

The Mossad Spy in Yemen (English subtitles)

اليمن آخر الحروب وأول التسويات Yemen is the last war and the first settlement

**Please scroll down for the Adjusted English Machine translation**

اليمن آخر الحروب وأول التسويات

11/06/2021

ناصر قنديل

 لا يحبّ اللبنانيون تصديق أن بلدهم يشكل جبهة ثانوية في الصراع الكبير الدائر في المنطقة. ورغم الأبعاد الداخليّة الحقيقية للأزمات السياسية والاقتصادية والمالية التي تعصف بلبنان. والتي يأمل البعض أن تشكل أبواباً للتغيير. يبقى أن النظام الطائفي والمتخم بمظاهر الفساد والمحكوم بسياسات اقتصاديّة ومالية فاشلة. بقي على قيد الحياة بقرار خارجي. كان يراهن على تقييد المقاومة بمعادلات لبنانيّة داخلية. أو بمتغيرات ينجح بفرضها في الإقليم. نظراً للكلفة العالية لكل تفكير بمواجهة مباشرة مع المقاومة في لبنان. وعدم وجود نتائج موثوقة لمثل هذه المواجهة. وعندما وصل الرهان على متغيرات الحرب في سورية أو على معادلات الداخل. ونجحت المقاومة بفرض معادلات داخلية أشد قوة مع التسوية الرئاسية وقانون الانتخاب القائم على النسبية. قرّر هذا الخارج وبصورة خاصة الراعي الأميركي والمموّل الخليجي. وقف تمويل هذا النظام. فانكشفت عوراته. وانفجرت أزماته. لكن المصيبة الأعظم هو أن هذا الخارج عندما يفرغ من ترتيبات التسويات ووضع قواعد الاشتباك في المنطقة. وقد قرّر السير بها كبديل عن خيار المواجهة الذي ثبت فشله وظهر أنه طريق مسدود. سيعود لتمويل هذا النظام وتعويمه. لكنه يريد للمفاوضات أن تجري والمقاومة منشغلة بهموم النظام وارتداداتها على الشعب اللبناني.

 سورية التي تشكل عقدة المنطقة الرئيسية بتوازناتها ومكانتها من كل عناوين الصراع الإقليمي، شكلت بيضة القبان في رسم التوازنات التي أسقطت الرهانات على خطط المواجهة. وأجبرت بالانتصارات التي تحققت فيها حلف الحرب عليها بالتراجع وأصابته بالتفكك وفرضت عليه التسليم بالفشل. لكن صورة التسوية في سورية مؤجلة. رغم ما فرضه الشعب السوري في يوم الانتخابات الرئاسية من معادلات ترسم ثوابت أي تسوية بما يتصل بشكل النظام السياسي ومرجعياته. ورغم الاستدارة التي يقوم بها أطراف كثيرون شاركوا بالحرب ويعودون الى دمشق ويفتحون سفاراتهم ويغيّرون خطابهم، إلا أن سورية ترسم أوزاناً جديدة لكل قوى العالم الجديد. ففيها الاحتلال الأميركي والإحتلال التركي ومستقبل الدويلة الكردية والجماعات الإرهابية، ومنها تتقرر قواعد الاشتباك بين محور المقاومة وكيان الاحتلال في الجولان وحول مستقبل الغارات على سورية، وفيها الوجود الروسي والإيراني والمقاوم. ويعتقد الأميركي أنه بالعقوبات واحتجاز النازحين والإمساك بتمويل إعادة الإعمار يملك القدرة على المفاوضة على شرعنة النصر السوري وثمن هذه الشرعنة وشروطها. ولذلك تبدو التسوية حول سورية مؤجلة لما بعد حلقات تسبقها. تضع قطار التسويات على السكة. وتطلق صفارة الانطلاق.

 تقع إيران في قلب الصراع وتشكل قاعدة الارتكاز فيه. ويشكل ملفها النووي عنوان الصراع الذي يختزن ما هو أبعد من النووي، ليطال مستقبل مكانة إيران في المنطقة. وقد كانت كل محاولات الضغط بحجة النووي لتطويع إيران وإضعافها. فيما يشكل التراجع عن العقوبات تحت عنوان العودة للاتفاق النووي تعبيراً عن التسليم بالفشل وسعياً للانخراط في تسويات يدور التفاوض حول مضامينها. وكل الوقائع تقول إن الاتفاق بات منجزاً بنصوصه وتفاصيله. وإن روزنامة التنفيذ الجزئي قبل الإعلان عن العودة للاتفاق قد بدأت. سواء عبر تحرير أموال وودائع إيرانية في الخارج كانت تحتجزها العقوبات الأميركية. وصولاً لما أعلن مساء امس عن اول خطوة أميركية مباشرة برفع العقوبات عن اشخاص وكيانات كانوا تحت نظام العقوبات، كما قالت وزارة الخارجية الأميركية.

 الحرب على اليمن كانت خط الاحتياط الأميركي السعودي في مواجهة نتائج التوقيع على الاتفاق في المرة الأولى. وجاءت نتائجها وبالاً. وشكل اليمن مفاجأة الحروب كلها. فانقلبت الحرب من أداة ضغط أميركية سعودية الى أداة ضغط معكوسة. وصار أمن الطاقة وأمن الخليج تحت رحمة أنصار الله. وبات دخول زمن التسويات مشروطاً بإنهاء الحرب بشروط غير مذلة للسعودية تتيح حفظ ما تبقى من ماء الوجه. لكن سوء التقدير السعودي الذي كان مع بداية الحرب لا يزال مستمراً مع الحاجة لإنهائها، وأوهام تحقيق المكاسب يحكم العقل السعودي الذي لم يعرف كيف يربح ولا يعرف اليوم كيف يخسر. فعرض وقف النار دون إنهاء الحصار تسبب بتعقيد الإعلان عن انطلاق خط التسوية في اليمن. وتسبب بتأجيل الإعلان عن التوصل الى الاتفاق على العودة للاتفاق النووي. لكن الزمن داهم. ولذلك يرمي الأميركيون بثقلهم لمخارج يقول بعض الوسطاء إن بينها توقيع اتفاق لفتح مطار صنعاء وميناء الحديدة بين السعودية وعُمان، وتوقيع اتفاق مماثل بين عُمان وأنصار الله، خلال أيام وربما ساعات يعقبها الإعلان عن وقف النار. ليتسنى السير بالإعلان عن الاتفاق على الملف النووي من فيينا.


Yemen is the last war and the first settlement

11/06/2021

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Nasser Kandil

–  The Lebanese do not like to believe that their country is a secondary front in the great conflict in the region. Despite the real internal dimensions of the political, economic and financial crises ravaging Lebanon, which some hope will open doors to change. It remains that the sectarian system, full of corruption and governed by failed economic and financial policies, survived by external decision, betting on restricting resistance with internal Lebanese equations, or variables imposed in the region. Due to the high cost of direct confrontation with the resistance in Lebanon, there are no credible results of such a confrontation. The bet on the variables of the war in Syria and internal equations failed and the resistance succeeded in imposing stronger internal equations with the presidential settlement and the proportional election law. The abroad, in particular, the American sponsor and gulf financier decided to stop funding this corrupted system. His nakedness was exposed, his crises exploded. But the greatest misfortune is that this outsider, when decided to settlement arrangements and rules of engagement in the region he pursue it as an alternative to the option of confrontation, which proved to be a failure and a dead end. Therefore he will return to finance and float the the Lebanese sectarian corrupted system. But he wants negotiations to take place while the resistance is preoccupied with the regime’s concerns and their repercussions on the Lebanese people.

Syria, which constitutes the region’s main knot, with its balances and its position from all the titles of the regional conflict, formed the weight-bearing egg in drawing balances that dropped bets on confrontation plans. The victories achieved by the War Alliance were forced to retreat, disintegrated and forced to admit failure. But the picture of a settlement in Syria is postponed . Despite the equations imposed by the Syrian people on the day of the presidential elections, that outline the constants of any settlement with regard to the shape of the political system and its references.

Despite the rotation of many parties who participated in the war and return to Damascus, open their embassies and change their speech, Syria is drawing new weights for all the forces of the new world. It includes the U.S. occupation, the Turkish occupation, the future of the Kurdish state and terrorist groups, from which the rules of engagement between the axis of resistance and the occupation entity in the Golan are decided and about the future of the raids on Syria, where the Russian, Iranian and resistance are presence. The American believes that with the sanctions, the detention of the displaced, and the seizure of reconstruction funding, he has the ability to negotiate the legitimacy of the Syrian victory, the price and conditions of this legitimization. Therefore, the settlement over Syria seems to be postponed until after the previous episodes. Put the train of compromises on the rails. The launch whistle sounds.

Iran is at the center of the conflict and forms its basis. Its nuclear file is the title of the conflict that holds what is beyond nuclear, affecting Iran’s future position in the region. All attempts to pressure under the pretext of nuclear power were to subdue and weaken Iran. The rollback of sanctions under the heading of a return to the nuclear deal is an expression of the recognition of failure and an effort to engage in compromises whose contents are being negotiated. All the facts say that the agreement is now complete with its texts and details. The partial implementation calendar before the announcement of a return to the agreement had begun. Whether by freeing Iranian funds and deposits abroad that were held by U.S. sanctions. The first direct U.S. move to lift sanctions on people and entities under the sanctions regime was announced Tuesday night, the State Department said.

 The war on Yemen was the U.S.-Saudi reserve line in the face of the results of the signing of the nuclear deal the first time. Their were bad. Yemen was the surprise of all wars. The war went from a U.S.-Saudi pressure tool to a reverse pressure tool. Energy and Gulf security are at the mercy of Ansar Allah. Entering the time of settlements became conditional on ending the war on non-humiliating terms for Saudi Arabia that would allow saving the rest of the face. But the Saudi miscalculation that was at the beginning of the war is still continuing with the need to end it, and the illusions of achieving gains rule the Saudi mind, which did not know how to win and does not know how to lose today. Offering a cease-fire without ending the siege complicated the announcement of the launch of the settlement line in Yemen. And caused the postponement of the announcement of reaching an agreement to return to the nuclear agreement. But time is running out. Therefore, the Americans are throwing their weight at exits that some mediators say include the signing of an agreement to open Sanaa airport and the port of Hodeida between Saudi Arabia and Oman, and the signing of a similar agreement between Oman and Ansar Allah, within days and perhaps hours, followed by announcing a cease-fire. In order to be able to announce the agreement on the nuclear file from Vienna.

هل تتحوَّل إدلب إلى مخرج نحو نظام إقليميّ جديد؟

أحمد الدرزي

أحمد الدرزي

المصدر: الميادين نت

الجمعة, 11 حزيران 2021

تعتبر كلٌّ من تركيا و”إسرائيل” والسعودية والإمارات وقطر أكثر الدول خسارةً، وفقاً للتصور الإقليمي الجديد الَّذي لم تتضح معالمه النهائية بعد.

هل تتحوَّل إدلب إلى مخرج نحو نظام إقليميّ جديد؟      بقلم: أحمد الدرزي

أثارت الحشود العسكرية السوريَّة على حدود المناطق المحتلَّة من إدلب، وحدّة الاشتباكات اليوميّة مع المجموعات المسلَّحة التي تعمل تحت إدارة الاحتلال التركي، الأسئلة حول احتمال حدوث عمل عسكري سوريّ كبير بغية تحريرها.

وقد تحوَّلت إدلب، بما آلت إليه أوضاعها، إلى مشكلة إقليمية ودولية، بفعل تجمّع العدد الأكبر من المسلَّحين الإسلاميين التكفيريين من جميع الجنسيات فيها، عدا عن كونها بمثابة خرّاج متقيّح قابل للانفجار في وجه الداخل السوري وكلٍّ من روسيا والصين وإيران والعراق. وقد يتجاوزها إلى الدول التي احتضنت هؤلاء ورعتهم ودعمتهم.

إنّ إدلب، قبل كلِّ ذلك، أراضٍ سورية محتلَّة بشكل مباشر من قوات تركية متمركزة فيها بأعداد تتجاوز 20 ألف جندي تركي، تحت حماية مجموعات مسلّحة يصل عددها إلى 110 آلاف، يرتبط 35 ألفاً منهم بتنظيم “القاعدة”.

وفقاً للمصالح الأميركيَّة المستجدَّة في رؤيتها إلى منطقة غرب آسيا وضرورة إخراجها من مشروع “الحزام والطريق” الصيني والمشروع الأوراسي، كان لا بدَّ من الوصول إلى اتفاق مع إيران التي أثبتت قدرتها مع شركائها في سوريا والعراق ولبنان وفلسطين واليمن على الصمود في وجه أعتى العواصف التي هبَّت على المنطقة.

وسيحدّد هذا التصور الجديد الرابحين بأدوارهم الجديدة التي انتزعوها قسراً، وسيشمل منطقة واسعة تمتدّ من أفغانستان إلى البحر الأبيض المتوسط، مع الاعتراف بالدور اليمني الجديد في التحكّم في مضيق باب المندب نحو البحر الأحمر، الذي يعتبر الأهم دولياً كممرّ للتجارة العالمية.

تحوّلت هذه الرؤية الأميركية المتجددة، فضلاً عن العمل عليها، إلى كابوس للأطراف التي راهنت على انتصارها في الحرب على سوريا والعراق واليمن وفلسطين ولبنان بشكل أساسي. وتعتبر كلٌّ من تركيا و”إسرائيل” والسعودية والإمارات وقطر أكثر الدول خسارةً، وفقاً للتصور الإقليمي الجديد الَّذي لم تتضح معالمه النهائية بعد، وإن كان يعتمد على التوافق وفقاً لمعادلات القوة الجديدة، لاستمرار الانكفاء الأميركي وصعود قوى آسيوية دولياً وإقليمياً.

وقد أدركت السّعودية والإمارات مبكراً تحوّلات الولايات المتّحدة وتراجعها، مع خسارتهما الكبيرة في اليمن، بعد حرب تجاوزت السنوات الست، فسارتا باتجاه الاعتماد على قادة تل أبيب، في محاولةٍ لتشكيل تحالف قادر على الوقوف في وجه المتغيّرات الإقليميّة، وفي الوقت نفسه العودة إلى دمشق والإقرار بنظامها السياسي بشكل مباشر من قبل أبو ظبي، التي حزمت أمرها مبكراً في العام 2018. وقد بدأت الرياض تتحرّى سبل العودة لمواجهة طهران وأنقرة من جهة، ومحاولة تقليل الخسائر في اليمن من جهة أخرى، بإيجاد توافق مع طهران ما زالت تتلمَّس حدوده.  

جاءت الانتفاضة الفلسطينيّة في القدس وفلسطين الـ1948 وصواريخ المقاومة في غزة، لتهشّم نتنياهو عسكرياً وسياسياً، ما أتاح للإدارة الأميركية التي تقودها أكبر كتلة يهودية في تاريخ الإدارات الأميركية ممارسة الضغوط الهائلة على نتنياهو، والعمل على إبعاده من المشهد السياسي الإسرائيلي، رغم ما قد يترتَّب على ذلك من إمكانية الهروب نحو حرب إقليمية معروفة النتائج بكارثيتها على الكيان، أو الذهاب نحو حرب أهليّة، في استعادة لمرحلة إسحاق رابين وأكثر من ذلك، وليس أمام الكيان سوى الانضباط بحدود الدّور المحدّد له في المرحلة القادمة.

والآن، جاء دور تركيا باستهداف الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان، الَّذي بدأت عمليّة تحطيمه بكشف المستور في علاقاته بالمافيا والفساد ودعم المجموعات التكفيرية في سوريا، بأمر من الإدارات الأميركية المتعاقبة. ولم يكن أفضل من يقوم بذلك سوى زعيم المافيا التركية، سيديت بيكير، الذي بدأ ببثِّ برنامج عبر “يوتيوب” يتابعه أكثر من 100 مليون إنسان.

لم يتوقَّف الأمر عند ذلك، بل استمرَّ كبرنامج عمل للإدارة الجديدة، وخصوصاً بعد أن سرَّبت صحيفة “التايمز” قرار المحكمة العليا باتهام قطر وأميرها بدعم الإرهاب وتمويل المجموعات الإرهابية في سوريا عبر الإدارة التركية، باستخدام مصرفين حكوميين قطريين ورجال أعمال وأثرياء قطريين.

كلّ هذه الضّغوط التي تنفذها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية على حلفائها لإعادة التموضع مع مقتضيات المصالح الأميركية فقط، تتطلَّب منهم التخلّي عن الهوامش التي أتاحتها إدارة ترامب لهم، والعودة إلى الاصطفاف الكامل مع الاستراتيجية الجديدة التي يتم العمل على إنجازها خلال الأشهر القادمة.

من هنا، تأتي أهميّة الرسائل العسكرية التي توجّهها دمشق وحلفاؤها في موسكو وطهران في إدلب، وخصوصاً قبل اللقاء المرتقب بين بايدن وإردوغان في اجتماع حلف الناتو القادم في 14 يونيو/حزيران في بروكسل.

ولا يوجد خيار أمام أنقرة سوى التعاطي بإيجابية مع علاج خراج إدلب بشكل محافظ، والتخلّي عن كل المجموعات التكفيرية، وهو أمر صعب، بفعل تداعياته على النظام السياسي التركي، وبالتالي لن يبقى هناك سوى العمل الجراحي الاستئصالي، والتخلّص من القيادات الصلبة للمجموعات، مع محاولات إعادة تظهير تنظيم جبهة “النصرة” كفصيل سياسيّ مدنيّ تكفيريّ، مقابل حلّ سياسيّ مخفّف يعيد السلطة المركزية إلى دمشق في كلّ من إدلب وجرابلس وعفرين وشمال شرقي الفرات بأكمله، وعودة تدفّق النفط السوري إلى مصفاتي حمص وبانياس.

تدرك أنقرة طبيعة تهديدات عودة الولايات المتحدة إلى الاتفاق النووي، وإلغاء العقوبات على طهران، وغضّ النظر عن قانون “قيصر”، فذهبت بعيداً في محاولات الضغط في إدلب، ومنع التعامل بالهويات السورية، ونزعها من السوريين، لكنَّ ذلك لن يجدي نفعاً، فقد حان وقت محاسبة من يظنّون أنَّهم يمتلكون القدرة على استثمار المصالح الأميركية خدمة لمشاريعهم الخاصة، والزمن القادم ليس لهؤلاء، بل لمن يفرضون على الولايات المتحدة قبولها بنظام إقليميّ جديد لا تستطيع التحكّم في مفاصله ومساراته، فعهدها الإمبراطوري إلى مزيدٍ من الانكفاء، والدور الذي ترسمه قوى قارة آسيا الصاعدة سيكون محوراً لحركة التاريخ على مدى قرن من الزمان.

وتبقى التحدّيات الداخليّة لدول غرب آسيا الرابحة هي الأكبر، فهي لن تستطيع أن تتصدّى للدور الذي حقّقته، ما لم يترافق مع عمليّة تغيير عميقة في بنى الدولة، وإشراك العناصر الوطنية في إعادة بناء ما تهدَّم عمرانياً واجتماعياً ومعرفياً وثقافياً، فهل ستكون على مستوى التحدي؟

أخبار ذات صلة

US Drops Sanctions on Former Iranian Officials in ‘Routine’ Step

 June 11, 2021

iran flag

The Biden administration on Thursday lifted sanctions on three former Iranian government officials and two Iranian companies involved in the country’s oil industry, a conciliatory gesture days before a potentially decisive round of nuclear talks in Vienna, the New York Times reported.

The administration cautioned against reading too much into the move. Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, claimed there was “absolutely no connection” between the sanctions and discussions among several world powers and Tehran.

Those talks are intended to bring the United States and Iran back into compliance with the 2015 deal that attempted to limit Iran’s nuclear program in return for an end to many of the international sanctions that have squeezed the country’s economy.

In the same statements announcing that the United States had lifted some sanctions, the State and Treasury Departments also said they were imposing new ones on a dozen Iranian individuals, entities and vessels for providing financial support to the Ansarullah revolutionaries in Yemen.

A sixth round of nuclear talks is set to begin in Vienna this weekend. Robert Einhorn, an arms control expert at the Brookings Institution, said that the timing of the US announcements suggested a connection to the nuclear issue, and that it might be a signal of American flexibility.

The United States has been negotiating with Iran since April, though only indirectly, through intermediaries in Vienna, because of Tehran’s refusal to speak directly with American officials.

Biden administration officials have said for weeks that they are prepared to lift sanctions on Iran as part of a mutual return to compliance with the 2015 deal, and that the main obstacle to an agreement is whether Iran’s leadership is prepared to respond by scaling back its nuclear activities.

The 2015 deal, negotiated by the Obama administration and several other world powers, traded Western sanctions relief in return for Iran’s agreement to accept limits on — and international monitoring of — its nuclear program to ensure that it did not try to build a weapon. Iran stresses repeatedly that its program is for peaceful purposes only.

Former US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and hammered Iran with economic sanctions in what he called a campaign of “maximum pressure.” In response, Iran then began expanding its nuclear program and is now enriching uranium to levels and in quantities far beyond those allowed under the agreement.

Source: Reuters

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Sayyed Nasrallah: I Hope that We will Pray in Al-Aqsa, If the State Fails We’ll Buy Iranian Fuel

8/8/2021

Sayyed Nasrallah: I Hope that We will Pray in Al-Aqsa, If the State Fails We’ll Buy Iranian Fuel

Zeinab Essa

Beirut-Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered on Tuesday a speech in the festival held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of establishing Al-Manar TV Channel.

At the beginning of his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah assured all his lovers on his health condition and thanks everybody who was concerned about his health. “I am, thanks to Al-Mighty God, among you, and I have great hope that I will pray in the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

“I still dream of, and I have hope that we will perform prayers together in the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.

According to His Eminence, Al-Manar was established to be the channel of resistance and later resistance and liberation. “Al-Manar TV is not a channel that seeks profit, excitement, and competition. Rather, this channel has a cause and a message that offers sacrifices and pays the price.”

In parallel, Sayyed Nasrallah thanked everyone who contributed to the establishment of Al-Manar TV, atop of which is Sayyed Isa Tabatabei.

He further thanked everyone who contributed to the success and development of the channel since day one until present. “Al-Manar Channel is that of martyrs, the wounded, the prisoners, the scarifying and the victorious people,” His Eminence stated.

“During the July war, Al-Manar was ready and present, and sacrifices were made, and its image and voice did not disappear,” Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized.

Meanwhile, the Resistance Leader underscored that “What is happening in Palestine and Al-Aqsa, the sacred and blessed land, must be followed by all Arab and Muslim nation.”

“What is happening in Palestine, Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Mosque is that we are facing a spiteful and foolish enemy, and it might move forward because of its internal crises,” he warned.

In addition, His Eminence underlined that [“Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu today is defeated and suffering a crisis, and he may resort to different and reckless options to get out of his crises.”

“The Palestinians in Gaza, Al-Quds, the West Bank and the 1948 lands are determined to protect Al-Quds and the holy sites, and the nation must shoulder its responsibilities,” he added, noting that “Al-Quds and the Aqsa Mosque is the cause of the entire nation.”

Sayyed Nasrallah went on to say: “We’re working hard to equate the attack on Al-Quds to the regional war.”

“The first glimpse of the new equation rose from the dear Yemen,” His Eminence mentioned, noting that “The first expression of the new equation for protecting Al-Quds came from dear Yemen, by Sayyed Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi.”

According to Hezbollah Secretary General, “The war on Yemen has proven that the people who are being fought in Yemen are getting stronger. Since day one of the Saudi aggression against Yemen, we believed the Yemeni people can remain steadfast and emerge victorious.”

“Today, we’re witnessing the failure of the Saudi-American war on Yemen,” His Eminence announced, noting that “What we are suffering in Lebanon today is a part of what the Yemeni people have been suffering since years to force them to compromise.”

He also viewed that “The Americans want the war in Yemen to stop but they want the siege to continue.”

On another level, Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the fact that “Al-Manar assumed its responsibilities in confronting terrorism and during the liberation of the Lebanese outskirts.”

“Since weeks, some have been speaking about the postponement of the elections and some European countries also expressed such concerns,” he added, noting that We have not thought of the postponement of the elections and our allies have not told us so.”

Moreover, His Eminence said: “We are against early parliamentary elections as it represents a waste of time because it will not introduce anything new, and it will only distract people from the economic crises.”

“We are with continuing the government formation efforts and there should not be despair. Let those forming the government feel the people’s pain,” Sayyed Nasrallah confirmed, highlighting that “The Lebanese parliamentary elections must be held on time no matter what the circumstances are.”

According to His Eminence, “Early election is not a solution but a waste of time; we are with continuing efforts to form the government and we support Speaker Berri in his initiative.”

“The accumulation of crises has brought Lebanon to what we are suffering today, he said, noting that “Accusing Hezbollah of being the cause of the crisis and ignoring the real reasons is an American and “Israeli” statement.”  

On the internal Lebanese crisis, Sayyed Nasrallah underscored that “Our information is that there exists medicine as well as foodstuffs in the warehouses that are monopolized by drug and food dealers.”

“Today’s monopolists in Lebanon are traitors, murderers and immoral people,” he added, pointing out that “The current official performance is weak in the various files and at the various ministries and the government, ministers and directors general must shoulder their responsibilities, especially that the government formation crisis might protract.”

On this level, Sayyed Nasrallah declared that “The scenes of the queues at the Lebanese gas stations are humiliating. If Lebanon accepts at this very moment, fuel ships would come now from Iran.”

According to His Eminence, “Solving the fuel crisis in Lebanon is possible but needs a courageous political decision,” lamenting the fact that “We are in a country that has surrendered to the United States.”

“We- in Hezbollah-will go to Iran and negotiate over bringing fuel ships to Beirut port and let the state prevent the people from getting this fuel,” he said, pointing out that “Hezbollah offers 20,000 volunteers to support the state in confronting monopoly.”

Sayyed Nasrallah asked “If behind delaying the formation of the government is waiting to stop subsidizing basic needs?”

“We need a bold political decision to resolve the gasoline crisis in Lebanon,” he said, noting that “Awaiting the end of subsidization could be one of the reasons behind the delay in the formation of the new government.”

According to the Resistance Leader, “Forming the new government is the natural way to fight the symptoms of the crises and set the country on the track of solutions.”

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معادلة القدس تفجّر حرباً إقليميّة تشغل واشنطن

03/062021

 ناصر قنديل

فيما انصرف كيان الاحتلال والجوقات العربية واللبنانية المناوئة للمقاومة، لتعميم الشائعات عن صحة الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله أملاً بطمس المضامين الفعلية للمعادلة التي أطلقها في إطلالته النوعيّة في ذكرى عيد المقاومة والتحرير، وحدَها واشنطن فهمت بعمق معنى الكلام الذي قاله الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، عن أن معادلة المرحلة المقبلة هي “القدس تساوي حرباً إقليميّة”، فانصرفت تتعامل مع المعادلة وكيفية الحؤول دون وضعها قيد التطبيق، بعدما أثبتت حرب غزة بما حملت من وقائع كشفت هشاشة كيان الاحتلال، وخطورة انهياره إذا ما بلغت الأمور حدّ تطبيق معادلة السيد نصرالله، وأدركت واشنطن أنها معادلة للتنفيذ وليست مجرد شعار، لأنها تابعت عن كثب ما كان يجري خلال حرب غزة من تحضيرات وما رافق تطوّراتها من قرارات، وعملت بموجب هذه المتابعة على تسريع الوصول لوقف النار منعاً لوقوع الأسوأ على كيان الاحتلال.

بعد نجاح التوصل لوقف النار في غزة، وضعت واشنطن أمامها ثلاثة ملفات تتصل بالمعادلة الجديدة، الملف الأول في الكيان وخطر قيام رئيس حكومته بنيامين نتنياهو بارتكاب حماقة تؤدي الى الانزلاق الى هذه الحرب؛ والثاني في اليمن وخطورة أن يكون محور المقاومة قد أعدّ اليمن ليكون مع لبنان شركاء المرحلة الأولى من تطبيق هذه المعادلة، في حال وضعت قيد التطبيق؛ أما الملف الثالث فيتصل بإيران التي تشكل عمق محور المقاومة، وثقله الاستراتيجي، انطلاقاً من أن بين إيران وكيان الاحتلال حساباً مفتوحاً، سيجد فرصة تصفيته في حال طبقت معادلة السيد نصرالله، إضافة لما لدى إيران من اسباب عقائدية واستراتيجية تجعلها تنظر للحظة الحرب الإقليمية تحت عنوان القدس فرصة تاريخية لا تفوّت.

في الملف الأول المتصل بوضع الكيان، سارعت واشنطن الى إيفاد وزير خارجيتها الى المنطقة وخصوصاً لاستطلاع الوضع في الكيان، وتقدير الموقف، وكانت الحصيلة تقول إن بقاء بنيامين نتنياهو على رأس الحكومة يعادل خطر نشوب حرب إقليمية لثلاثة أسباب، الأول أنه يجد هذه الحرب فرصة لتوريط واشنطن في مواجهة مع إيران ومحور المقاومة عندما يبدو أن الكيان يواجه خطراً وجودياً لا تكفي لتلافيه إمدادات السلاح الأميركي، وهو بذلك يترجم احتجاجه على السياسات الأميركية الذاهبة الى العودة للاتفاق النووي مع إيران، الثاني أن نتنياهو يسير وراء المستوطنين والمتطرفين ويعتبرهم القوة الحيوية الوحيدة التي تضمن له تفوقاً انتخابياً، وهو ليس على استعداد لممارسة أي جهد لضبطهم وكبح جماح عدوانيتهم على الفلسطينيين، خصوصاً في القدس ما يجعل خطر الانفجار وشيكاً، خصوصاً أن الملفات الشخصية لنتنياهو المتصلة بالفساد وخطر السجن والمحاكمة تجعله أسير حسابات ضيقة يتقدمها بقاؤه على رأس الحكومة مهما كان الثمن، والسبب الثالث أن نتنياهو المثقل بتاريخه السياسي الرافض لأية تسوية ليس رئيس الحكومة المناسب لترجمة مشروع واشنطن بتمييع الصراع حول فلسطين عبر نظرية التفاوض للتفاوض، فهوامشه محدودة للمناورة لو أراد التعاون، وحجم المطلوب منه كثير فلسطينياً وعربياً ليكون للتفاوض بعض مصداقيّة، مهما كانت سقوف المعنيين العرب والفلسطينيين بخيار التفاوض للتفاوض منخفضة، بينما أي رئيس حكومة بلا تاريخ نتنياهو يكفي أن يرتضي التفاوض بلا شروط مسبقة حتى يكون ممكناً فتح الطريق لسحب فتيل التصعيد ولو لفترة.

في الملف اليمنيّ برز تطوران، الأول كلام السيد عبد الملك الحوثي زعيم حركة أنصار الله، الذي أعلن التزام أنصار الله واليمن بمعادلة السيد نصرالله حول القدس والحرب الإقليميّة، والثاني هو حجم التفوّق الميداني الذي يظهره أنصار الله ومعهم الجيش واللجان في كل المعارك التي تدور على جبهة مأرب وجبهة الحدود السعودية في جيزان، وفي القدرة على مواصلة تهديد العمق السعوديّ بالطائرات المسيّرة والصواريخ، وللمرة الأولى تحرك الأميركيون على مسارات السعي لوقف النار بطريقة مختلفة، فوضعوا مشروعاً يحاول محاكاة مطالب أنصار الله بربط وقف النار بفكّ الحصار، وبالرغم من عدم تلبية المقترحات الأميركيّة لما يطلبه أنصار الله، والتحفظات السعوديّة على الطرح الأميركي، فإن واشنطن تبدو عازمة على فعل ما تستطيع لتفادي استمرار التصعيد على جبهة اليمن، وفتح الباب للتفاوض السياسي، لاعتقادها بأن وقف الحرب يخفف من مخاطر انخراط اليمن في حرب إقليمية إذا توافرت شروط معادلة السيد نصرالله لها.

في الملف الإيراني، حملت مفاوضات فيينا تطوّرات هامة من الجانب الأميركي، ترجمتها تصريحات البيت الأبيض التي يقرأ فيها التمهيد السياسي والإعلامي للإعلان عن التوصل للاتفاق في الجولة المقبلة للتفاوض، والحساب الأميركي يقوم على الاعتقاد بأن العودة الى الاتفاق النووي ورفع العقوبات الأميركية كنتيجة لذلك، ستخلق مناخاً يعقد انخراط إيران في أية حرب إقليميّة، ويفتح الباب لأصوات تدعو للتريّث ما يمنح واشنطن في أية ظروف مشابهة متوقعة الحدوث هامش وقت أوسع للتحرك لوقف التدهور الذي يفتح باب الحرب الإقليمية.

النصف الأول من حزيران سيشهد تطوّرات في الملفات الثلاثة، بحكومة تقصي نتنياهو في الكيان، والمضي قدماً في مساعي تقديم مقترحات لوقف النار في اليمن، وتسريع العودة للاتفاق النوويّ، ومحور المقاومة سيقطف ثمار هذه التحوّلات، ضعفاً وانشقاقاً في الكيان وانتصاراً في اليمن وإيران، لكن المعادلة باقية لا تتزحزح، لا تمزحوا في القدس، فالحرب الإقليميّة وراء الباب.

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Sayyed Houthi: Yemen’s Ansarullah Will Be Part of Al-Quds Formula as Announced by Hezbollah Secretary General

June 3, 2021

manar-01242770016182505482

Leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah Movement Sayyed Abdul-Malik Badreddin Al-Houthi stressed on Thursday that the Yemenis are part of Al-Quds formula as announced by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and will be present effectively in the battle against the Zionist enemy.

Sayyed Houthi indicated that Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance were not supported by any Arab or Muslim state, except Iran and Syria, highlighting the importance of the recent victory in Gaza.

The Yemeni leader noted that the pro-Israeli traitors accuse the resistance forces of being Iran’s proxy groups, adding that the takfiri war launched against them serves US and ‘Israel’.

Sayyed Houthi stressed that the peaceful solution in Yemen can be reached when the Saudi-led coalition halts its war and blockade on the Yemenis.

Meanwhile, Sayyed Houthi asserted that the US utilized September 11 attacks to intervene in the political, economic and cultural issues of the Islamic Umma, noting that US-Israeli activities are aimed at obliterating the Islamic identity of the region.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah consecrated, during his speech on the 21st anniversary of Resistance and Liberation Day, a new formula, “If Israel tampers with Al-Quds, it will face a regional war.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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الجيش اليمني يكشف عن أوسع العمليات العسكرية في العمق السعودي

المصدر: الميادين


الجيش اليمني ينفذ عملية هجومية واسعة في محور “الخوبة – وادي جارة” بقطاع جيزان من 3 مسارات رئيسية على مواقع الجيش السعودي، ومصدر عسكري يكشف عن تحرير أكثر من 150 كيلو متراً مربعاً في محور جيزان.

الجيش اليمني يعلن تحرير عشرات المواقع على محور جيزان
الجيش اليمني يعلن تحرير عشرات المواقع على محور جيزان

نفّذ الجيش واللجان الشعبية عملية هجومية واسعة في محور “الخوبة – وادي جارة” بقطاع جيزان من 3 مسارات رئيسية على مواقع الجيش السعودي في “جبل الإم بي سي – وتباب الفخيذة والتبة البيضاء – والقمبورة والعمود وتويلق وشرق قايم صياب” وتم خلال العملية التقدم والسيطرة عليها بالكامل وإلحاق خسائر فادحة بقوات العدو.

مصدر عسكري يمني كشف عن تحرير أكثر من 150 كيلو متراً مربعاً في محور جيزان بعملية عسكرية واسعة.

وبدأت العملية عقب رصد دقيق لتحركات الجيش السعودي وتموضّع قواته وآلياته، إذ تواجدت في هذه المواقع قوات مشتركة من القوات السعودية ومرتزقة سودانيين ووحدات من مرتزقة ما يسمى بـ “لواء المغاوير”.

وأظهرت المشاهد تقدّم الجيش واللجان الشعبية نحو مواقع العدو في مدينة قبالة الخوبة في العمق السعودي، وتمكنهم من اجتياز الموانع والتحصينات المعادية قبل الإطباق والاشتباك مع قوات العدو من مسافات قريبة وإلحاق خسائر فادحة بالعدو أجبرته على الفرار. 

الإعلام الحربي في #اليمن ينشر مشاهد لواحدة من أوسع عمليات الجيش واللجان الشعبية في محور #جيزان.#اليمن #جيزان pic.twitter.com/PaH1xcnoDF— قناة الميادين (@AlMayadeenNews) May 29, 2021

كما أوضحت المشاهد الموثقة قنص أعداد من قوات العدو وتدمير تحصيناتهم ومواقعهم، مبينةً حالة من الهلع والإرباك الكبير في صفوف قواتهم وسط الضربات المنكلة.

وتمكّن الجيش من تكبيد العدو خسائر فادحة في الأرواح والعتاد، وسقوط عشرات القتلى والجرحى من الجيش السعودي والسوداني ومرتزقتهم، وإحراق وتدمير العشرات من المدرعات والآليات بالقداحات (الولاعات) والعيارات النارية وضربات مسددة.

عمليات الجيش واللجان الشعبية في محور #جيزان.
17#اليمن pic.twitter.com/y0ZoRahfFm— قناة الميادين (@AlMayadeenNews) May 29, 2021

وبيّنت المشاهد سقوط أعداد من ضباط وجنود الجيش السعودي قتلى وجرحى في كمائن محكمة استهدفت مدرعات حاولت الهروب وتعزيزات أخرى للعدو، ومصرع آخرين تساقطوا أثناء محاولتهم الفرار من منحدرات وعرة في حالة عكست الرعب والهلع الكبير دبَّ في أوساطهم.

عمليات الجيش واللجان الشعبية في محور #جيزان#اليمن pic.twitter.com/dSFvO26Qiv— قناة الميادين (@AlMayadeenNews) May 29, 2021

هذا وأظهرت المشاهد أسر العشرات من قوات العدو بينهم سعوديون وسودانيون، وأعداد كبيرة من الجثث المتناثرة في الشعاب والوديان تركها من تبقى ولاذ بالفرار.

ووثقّت المشاهد اغتنام المجاهدين كميات كبيرة من الأسلحة والذخائر المتنوعة تركتها قوات العدو في المواقع والمخازن التابع لها.

وانتهت العملية بالسيطرة على جميع المواقع المذكورة والتنكيل بالعدو وتكبيده خسائر فادحة، ومصرع وجرح وأسر ا العشرات منهم رغم مشاركة الطيران الحربي والعمودي المعادي، والذي فشل في إيقاف تقدم المجاهدين.

خريطة وزعها الإعلام الحربي اليمني للمواقع التي سيطر عليها الجيش واللجان الشعبية

وفي وقت سابق من اليوم، أعلنت القوات المسلحة اليمنية، عن تنفيذ عملية هجومية استهدفت قاعدة خالد الجوية بخميس مشيط السعودية بطائرتين مسيرتين.

من جهته، أكّد عضو المجلس السياسي الأعلى في اليمن محمد علي الحوثي في حديث للميادين إنه “ما لم يتحقق السلام ستستمر عملياتنا في العمق وسيكون الرد أقسى مما هو حاصل”.

وتوجه الحوثي للسعودية محذراً: “نحذرهم من

الوجع الكبير والمعادلة اليوم لم تدخل في كل أبعادها مرحلة الوجع الكبير”.

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Efforts Underway to Improve Ties between Damascus, Riyadh: Assad’s Advisor

27/05/2021

source

Efforts Underway to Improve Ties between Damascus, Riyadh: Assad’s Advisor

By Staff, Agencies

Political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Bouthaina Shaaban, said efforts are underway to improve diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia after more than a decade of estrangement between the two Arab nations.

“Efforts are being made to upgrade ties with Saudi Arabia, and may soon have positive results,” Shaaban told local Arabic-language Sham FM radio station on Wednesday.

She also hailed the recent visit by Syrian Tourism Minister Mohammed Rami Martini to Saudi Arabia, stating it was the first such trip by a Syrian minister to the kingdom in recent years.

Martini arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday evening to attend the 47th meeting of the World Tourism Organization Committee for the Middle East on May 26 and 27, according to the official Syrian news agency SANA.

His visit came upon an official invitation from the Saudi Tourism Ministry and the World Tourism Organization Committee for the Middle East for Martini to participate in the meeting, SANA added.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief met with his Syrian counterpart in Damascus.

London-based Rai al-Youm news outlet reported that Director General of General Intelligence Directorate Lieutenant General Khalid bin Ali al-Humaidan met with President Assad and Director of Syria’s National Security Bureau Ali Mamlouk on May 4 to discuss restoring diplomatic ties.

The Guardian independently confirmed that Humaidan met with Mamlouk.

Having failed to achieve any of its objectives in the Yemen war and with a change of administration in Washington, Saudi Arabia appears to be recalibrating some aspects of its regional approach, striking a more conciliatory tone with Iran and Syria.

Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic relations with Damascus were severed at the outset of the foreign-sponsored devastating militancy in Syria in 2011.

Riyadh has been central to the large-scale supply of weapons and ammunition to various Takfiri militant groups wreaking havoc in Syria.

The plot against Jordan’s King Abdullah

Jordan’s King Abdullah II is pictured in Amman on 11 April 2021 (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Palace/AFP)
David Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

David Hearst

14 April 2021 

Abdullah fell foul of the axis of Mohammed bin Salman and Benjamin Netanyahu after refusing to go along with the Trump plan to push West Bank Palestinians into Jordan

For once, just for once, US President Joe Biden got something right in the Middle East, and I say this conscious of his abysmal record in the region.

In accepting the intelligence he was passed by the Jordanians that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was up to his ears in a plot to destabilise the rule of King Abdullah, Biden brought the scheme to a premature halt. Biden did well to do so.

His statement that the US was behind Abdullah had immediate consequences for the other partner in this scheme, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel.

While bin Salman was starving Jordan of funds (according to former Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher, the Saudis have not provided any direct bilateral assistance since 2014), Netanyahu was starving the kingdom of water.

Without Washington’s overt support, King Abdullah would now be in serious trouble, the victim of a two-pronged offensive from Saudi Arabia and Israel

This is water that Israel siphons off the River Jordan. Under past agreements, Israel has supplied Jordan with water, and when Jordan asks for an additional amount, Israel normally agrees without delay. Not this year: Netanyahu refused, allegedly in retaliation for an incident in which his helicopter was refused Jordanian airspace. He quickly changed his mind after a call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to his counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi.

Had former US President Donald Trump still been in power, it is doubtful whether any of this would have happened.

Without Washington’s overt support, King Abdullah would now be in serious trouble: the victim of a two-pronged offensive from Saudi Arabia and Israel, his population seething with discontent, and his younger half-brother counting the days until he could take over.

The problem with Abdullah

But why were bin Salman and Netanyahu keen to put the skids under an ally like Abdullah?

Abdullah, a career soldier, is not exactly an opposition figure in the region. He of all people is not a Bashar al-Assad, Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

Abdullah was fully signed up to the counter-revolution against the Arab Spring. Jordan joined the Saudi-led anti-Islamic State coalition, deployed aircraft to target the Houthis in Yemen, and withdrew its ambassador from Iran after the Saudi embassy in Tehran and consul in Mashhad were sacked and Saudi Arabia consequently cut diplomatic relations.Jordan arrested senior suspect over contact with Saudi crown prince Read More »

He attended the informal summit on a yacht in the Red Sea, convened to organise the fight against the influence of Turkey and Iran in the Middle East. That was in late 2015.

In January 2016, Abdullah told US congressmen in a private briefing that Turkey was exporting terrorists to Syria, a statement he denied making afterwards. But the remarks were documented in a Jordanian foreign ministry readout passed to MEE.

Jordan’s special forces trained men that Libyan general Khalifa Haftar used in his failed attempt to take Tripoli. This was the pet project of the UAE.

Abdullah also agreed with the Saudis and Emiratis on a plan to replace Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with Mohammed Dahlan, the Emirati- and Israeli-preferred choice of successor.

Why then, should this stalwart of the cause now be considered by his Arab allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, an inconvenience that needs to be dealt with?

Insufficiently loyal

The answer partly lies in the psychology of bin Salman. It is not good enough to be partially signed up to his agenda. As far as he is concerned, you are either in or out. 

“But there is also a feeling [in Riyadh] that Jordan and others should be with us or against us. So we were not completely with them on Iran. We were not completely with them on Qatar. We were not completely with them on Syria. We did what we could and I don’t think we should have gone further, but to them, that was not enough.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Jordan's King Abdullah II to Riyadh on 8 March 2021 (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Jordan’s King Abdullah II to Riyadh on 8 March 2021 (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)

Abdullah’s equivocation certainly was not enough for the intended centrepiece of the new era, Saudi Arabia’s normalisation of relations with Israel.

Here, Jordan would have been directly involved and King Abdullah was having none of it. Had he gone along with the Trump plan, his kingdom – a careful balance between Jordanians and Palestinians – would have been in a state of insurrection.

In addition, Abdullah could not escape the fact that he was a Hashemite, whose legitimacy stems in part from Jordan’s role as custodian of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy sites in Jerusalem. This, too, was being threatened by the Al Sauds.

The importance of Aqaba

But the plan itself was regarded by both bin Salman and Netanyahu as too big to stop. I personalise this, because in both Saudi Arabia and Israel, there are experienced foreign policy and intelligence hands who appreciate how quickly this plan would have destabilised Jordan and Israel’s vulnerable eastern border.

The plan has been years in the preparation and the subject of clandestine meetings between the Saudi prince and the Israeli leader. At the centre of it lies Jordan’s sole access to the Red Sea, the strategic port of Aqaba.

The two cities of Aqaba and Ma’an were part of the kingdom of Hejaz from 1916 to 1925. In May 1925, Ibn Saud surrendered Aqaba and Ma’an and they became part of the British Emirate of Transjordan.

The price for turning on the tap of Saudi finance was too high for Abdullah to pay. It was total subservience to Riyadh

It would be another 40 years before the two independent countries would agree on a Jordan-Saudi border. Jordan got 19 kilometres of coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba and 6,000 square kilometres inland, while Saudi Arabia got 7,000 square kilometres of land.

For the new kid on the block, bin Salman, a prince who was always sensitive about his legitimacy, reclaiming Saudi influence over Aqaba in a big trade deal with Israel would be a big part of his claim to restoring Saudi dominance over its hinterland.

And the trade with Israel would be big. Bin Salman is spending $500bn constructing the city of Neom, which is eventually supposed to straddle Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Sitting at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, the Jordanian port would be firmly in Saudi sights.

This is where Bassem Awadallah, the former chief of Jordan’s royal court, comes in. Two years before he definitively broke with King Abdullah, and while he was still Jordan’s envoy to Riyadh, Awadallah negotiated the launch of something called the Saudi-Jordanian Coordination Council, a vehicle that Jordanian officials at the time said would “unblock billions of dollars” for the cash-starved Hashemite kingdom.

A giant Jordanian flag is raised during a celebration in the port of Aqaba in 2016 (AFP)
A giant Jordanian flag is raised during a celebration in the port of Aqaba in 2016 (AFP)

Awadallah promised that the council would invest billions of Saudi dollars in Jordan’s leading economic sectors, focusing on the Aqaba Special Economic Zone.

The money, of course, never materialised. Saudi support for the kingdom diminished to a trickle, and according to an informed source, Muasher, Saudi funds stopped almost completely after 2014.Jordan: Why King Abdullah’s troubles are not over Read More »

The price for turning on the tap of Saudi finance was too high for Abdullah to pay. It was total subservience to Riyadh. Under this plan, Jordan would have become a satellite of Riyadh, much as Bahrain has become.

Netanyahu had his own sub-agenda in the huge trade that would flow from Neom once Saudi Arabia had formally recognised Israel.

A confirmed enemy of the Oslo plan to set up a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, Netanyahu and the Israeli right have always eyed annexation of Area C and the Jordan Valley, which comprises 60 percent of the West Bank. Under this new Nakba, the Palestinians living there, denied Israeli citizenship, would be slowly forced to move to Jordan. This could only happen under a Saudi-oriented plan, in which Jordanian workers could travel freely and work in Saudi Arabia. As it is, remittances from the Jordanian workforce in Saudi Arabia are an economic lifeblood to the bankrupt kingdom. 

The money pouring into Jordan, accompanied by a  mobile workforce of Jordanians and  stateless Palestinians, would finally put to bed grandiose visions of a Palestinian state, and with it the two-state solution. On this, Netanyahu and bin Salman are as one: treat them as a mobile workforce, not citizens of a future state.

Hussein’s favoured son

That Prince Hamzah should be seen as the means by which Jordan is enlisted to this plan represents the final irony of this bizarre tale.

If the Hashemite blood runs deep in any veins, it is surely in his. He was King Hussein’s favoured son. In a letter sent to his brother Prince Hassan in 1999, King Hussein wrote: “Hamzeh, may God give him long life, has been envied since childhood because he was close to me, and because he wanted to know all matters large and small, and all details of the history of his family. He wanted to know about the struggle of his brothers and of his countrymen. I have been touched by his devotion to his country and by his integrity and magnanimity as he stayed beside me, not moving unless I forced him from time to time to carry out some duty on occasions that did not exceed the fingers on one hand.”

Abdullah broke the agreement he made with his father on his death bed when he replaced his half-brother with his son, Hussein, as crown prince in 2004.

The new foreign policy establishment in Washington should wean itself off the notion that US allies are its friends

But if Hashemite pride in and knowledge of Jordan’s history runs deep in Hamzah, he of all princes would have soon realised the cost to Jordan of accepting bin Salman’s billions and Netanyahu’s tacit encouragement, just as his father did.

Hamzah’s friends ardently dispute they are part of this plot and downplay connections with Awadallah. Hamzah only owns up to one thing: that he is immensely concerned at how low Jordan has fallen under years of misrule. In this, Hamzah is 100 percent right.

It is clear what has to happen now. King Abdullah should finally see that he must completely overhaul the Jordanian political system, by calling for free and fair elections and abiding by their result. Only that will unite the country around him.

This is what King Hussein did when he faced challenge and revolt by Jordanian tribes in the south of the kingdom; in 1989, Hussein overhauled the political system and held the freest elections in the history of the kingdom. 

The government that emerged from this process led the country safely out of one of the most difficult moments for Jordan: Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent Gulf War.

The real villains

Biden, meanwhile, should realise that letting bin Salman get away with the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has a cost. 

Bin Salman did not learn anything from the episode and carried on in exactly the same way, reckless and swift, against an Arab neighbour and ally, with potentially disastrous consequences.

The new foreign policy establishment in Washington should wean itself off the notion that US allies are its friends. It should learn once and for all that the active destabilisers of the Middle East are not the cartoon villains of Iran and Turkey. 

Rather, they are the closest US allies, where US forces and military technology are either based, or as in the case of Israel, inextricably intertwined: Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel.

Jordan, the classic buffer state, is a case in point.

‘You laugh..but you will soon cry!’: Ansarullah official to Saudi Major General

‘You laugh..but you will soon cry!’: Ansarullah official to Saudi Major General

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyNAuwRaIPM

Description:  Ansarullah official Mohammad al-Bukhaiti and Saudi Major General Abdullah Ghanem al-Qahtani trade barbs over the Yemen war.Source: RT Arabic (YouTube)  Date: 31 March, 2021(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing a sustainable monthly amount https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver?fan_landing=true)

To read transcript: http://middleeastobserver.net/you-laugh-but-you-will-soon-cry-ansarullah-official-to-saudi-major-general/

Transcript:

– Host:
Mr. Mohammad, efforts are now being made to de-escalate the situation, we also have UN initiatives, and there is determination to reach a resolution in Yemen, so why won’t the group (Ansarullah) de-escalate? It continues its shelling inside Yemen, also using drones to strike vital targets at such a sensitive time instead of reaching a resolution in Yemen.

– Mohammad al-Bakhiti, Member of Ansarullah’s Political Council:
The ones who refuse peace are the (countries of) the aggression and their domestic mercenaries. Who escalated? The aggression (states) when they prevented the entry of petroleum-based products into Yemen, and this is tantamount to sentencing the Yemeni people to death. Yes, there is an escalation by the states of the aggression, and this is an escalation by America, by the Biden administration, who refused that petroleum-based products be allowed into Yemen, but who…

– Abdullah Ghanem al-Qahtani, Saudi Major General:
This is the fourth episode in a row that you repeat the same thing, petroleum products petroleum products…

– Al-Bukhaiti:
Well, yes. Why would we target Aramco? Why target oil facilities inside Saudi Arabia? It’s in order to break the siege (on Yemen).

– Host:
But Mr. Mohammad, if you’ll allow me to interrupt you, UN diplomats are saying that a UN team has concluded that it was the Houthis that launched an attack that led to the deaths of 22 people in the airport of Aden upon the arrival of Yemeni officials on the 30th of December. So how can one understand peace initiatives, conditions for de-escalation, and dialogue between the warring parties at a time when these strikes continue, along with the death of Yemenis and non-Yemenis as well?

– Al-Bukhaiti:
As I said, the barring of the entry of petroleum-based products into Yemen is the greater escalation, and the damage caused by the embargo far outweighs the damage caused by the aggression itself. Please notice that Mr. Abdullah is laughing, but they feel a great deal of pain when we bombard the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, and these attacks will increase both in quality and quantity until we force Saudi Arabia to cease its aggression on Yemen, and that’s why you won’t be laughing for long, and the day will come when you will cry, and you’ve already begun to cry, holler, and wail before the international community.

– Al-Qahtani
(Laughing) Please go on…

– Al-Bukhaiti: Laugh, laugh, laugh at your misery
– Al-Qahtani: I feel sorry for you Mohammad, I swear I feel sorry for you. You poor thing…stick to recruiting people for the frontlines, stick to recruiting mercenaries at the frontlines, this is not the place for you.

– Host:

Let’s continue with our discussion please…

Russia Tells Hezbollah: We Want You to Stay in Syria روسيا لحزب الله: نريدكم ان تبقوا في سوريا


Russia Tells Hezbollah: We Want You to Stay in Syria

Russia Tells Hezbollah: We Want You to Stay in Syria

Al-Ahed Translations

5 hours ago

By al-Akhbar Newspaper, Translated by Staff

Over the past years, media outlets hostile to the Syrian regime and its allies [individually and collectively] have published a lot of reports and “information” about actions and measures that Russia has begun to implement to get Hezbollah and Iran out of Syria, or at least reduce their presence there. These reports were based on an assessment that Russia does not want a partner in influence in the Levant, especially the Iranian influence. In the field, it was the opposite that governed the relationship between the parties, there was cooperation on more than one level, and sharing roles sometimes. And when something was not agreed upon, the issue was resolved by regulating the disagreement.

The visit of Hezbollah’s delegation, led by MP Mohammad Raad [a member of Hezbollah’s Shura Council and head of the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc], to Moscow, in the middle of last month, was an occasion in which the Russian leadership clarified its position on the party’s presence in Syria. In Moscow, Hezbollah’s military performance is highly appreciated on the level of professionalism, discipline and the superior ability of its fighters to achieve their battle goals. At the same time, Moscow admires Hezbollah’s “pragmatism.” In the latter regard, it seems concerned with everything that contributes to the protection of the Syrian state, in particular the internal settlements with armed groups in many regions, especially in the south, and the major understandings with Turkey. In either way, the party was committed to everything that could be done to make these settlements and understandings successful.

In Moscow, the military and politicians consider Hezbollah’s presence in Syria more necessary than ever. Any gap left by Hezbollah and Iran in any Syrian province will be filled by the Americans, neither the Russians nor the Syrians. Moreover, some settlement groups, including those who are strengthened with the understanding with the Russians, see no deterrent to their extension except for Hezbollah and the Iranians.

In this spirit, Russian officials have been keen to convey a clear message to Hezbollah’s leadership: Your presence in Syria is as necessary in politics as in the military. We count on future cooperation in both fields.

The Russians do not consider Hezbollah as a Lebanese organization, but rather as a side who has presence in many States of the region. In the meetings with Russian officials, specifically Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, his deputy Mikhail Bogdanov, and officials in the parliament, the situations in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and others were discussed. The parties stressed the need to strengthen their communication and to adopt direct channels of communication between Hezbollah and Moscow, while studying the possibility of establishing a representative office for the party in the Russian capital.

The visit, that was based on a Russian invitation, appeared to be a message from Moscow to Washington that “the ongoing attempts to entrap us up with Iran or Hezbollah will not work. We will not only coordinate with Iran; we want to coordinate directly with Hezbollah.” The Russians have already informed all Western, Arab and regional States and powers that they communicate with about Lebanon that “Hezbollah is a major force, a real and significant case, that should be dealt with on this basis, and that no settlement can be achieved without consulting and agreeing with it.”

Another message Moscow wanted to deliver to Tel Aviv is that it is true that Russia seeks “an understanding with everyone” considering Syria, and there is an understanding between it and ‘Israel,’ but this understanding does not mean “we are helping ‘Israel’ in its strikes. On the contrary, we condemn these strikes, especially those passing through the Lebanese airspace. We remain committed to preventing ‘Israeli’ aircraft from penetrating Syrian airspace.” On one hand, Moscow confirms, based on its intelligence information, that the ‘Israeli’ strikes on arms convoys transported to Lebanon did not achieve their goals and did not prevent Hezbollah from achieving their goals. On the other hand, it does not object to the establishment of a deterrent equation that would prevent ‘Israel’ from attacking the Syrian territories. In the coming months, there is a trilogy that Moscow is seeking to secure the factors for its success in Damascus: the political process linked to the presidential election station, reconstruction, and the return of refugees.

In Lebanon, the Russians insist on not to interfere as other countries do. They do not interfere in the formation of the government, they do not participate in the composition process, and they do not demand shares. It is true that they are interested in the reconstruction of the port, for example, just as they are interested in energy projects, whether those in which they are involved in [oil and gas exploration in the sea, fuel tanks at Beddawi] or those in which they aspire to participate in in the future, such as the reconstruction and operation of the Tripoli refinery. Here, the Russian interest in the sea gas seems remarkable, as estimates in some Moscow-based jurisdictions talk about a huge amount of gas in the Syrian and Lebanese seas. And if those estimates are correct, it is not unlikely that Russia will implement a gas pipeline project in the eastern Mediterranean competing with the “Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum” project [involving Egypt, ‘Israel,’ Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, France and Italy], to transport gas to Europe via Turkey.

Considering Yemen, Moscow seems interested in finding a settlement that saves the Saudi prestige. While for Hezbollah, the key to the solution is to stop the aggression and lift the siege simultaneously, and Ansarullah are keen not to antagonize anyone, except those who take the initiative to start a fight.


روسيا لحزب الله: نريدكم ان تبقوا في سوريا

الأخبار

الثلاثاء 6 نيسان 2021

على مدى السنوات الماضية، نُشر في الإعلام المعادي للنظام السوري وحلفائه (فرادى ومجتمعين) الكثير من التقارير و«المعلومات» التي تتحدّث عن أعمال وإجراءات بدأت روسيا بتنفيذها، لإخراج حزب الله، وإيران، من سوريا، أو على الأقل، الحد من وجودهما. تلك التقارير مبنية على تقدير أن روسيا لا تريد شريكاً لها في النفوذ في الشام، وخاصة النفوذ الإيراني. في الميدان، كان العكس هو ما يحكم العلاقة بين الطرفين. تعاون على أكثر من صعيد، وتقاسم للأدوار أحياناً. وعندما لا يُتفق على أمر ما، كانت القضية تُحل بتنظيم الاختلاف.

الزيارة التي قام بها وفد من حزب الله، برئاسة النائب محمد رعد (عضو شورى القرار في الحزب ورئيس كتلته النيابية)، إلى موسكو، منتصف الشهر الماضي، كانت مناسبة أوضحت فيها القيادة الروسية موقفها من وجود الحزب في سوريا. في موسكو، تقدير عالٍ لأداء حزب الله العسكري: حرفية مقاتليه، وانضباطهم، وقدرتهم الفائقة على تحقيق أهدافهم في المعارك. وفي الوقت عينه، تبدي موسكو إعجابها بـ«براغماتية» حزب الله. في الشأن الأخير، تبدو معنية بكل ما يسهم في حماية الدولة السورية: التسويات الداخلية مع مجموعات مسلحة في كثير من المناطق، خصوصاً في الجنوب، والتفاهمات الكبرى مع تركيا. وفي الحالتين، كان الحزب ملتزماً بكل ما يمكن القيام به لإنجاح هذه التسويات والتفاهمات.
وفي موسكو، يرى العسكر والسياسيون أن وجود حزب الله في سوريا ضروري أكثر من أي وقت مضى. فأي فراغ يتركه الحزب وإيران في أي محافظة سورية، سيملأه الاميركيون، لا الروس ولا السوريون. كما أن بعض مجموعات التسويات، ومنها تلك التي تستقوي بالتفاهم مع الروس، لا ترى رادعاً يحول دون تمددها سوى الحزب والإيرانيين.
من هذا المنطلق، حرص المسؤولون الروس على إيصال الرسالة واضحة لقيادة حزب الله: وجودكم في سوريا ضروري، في السياسة، كما في العسكر. ونعوّل على التعاون معكم مستقبلاً في المجالين.
لا ينظر الروس إلى حزب الله بصفته تنظيماً لبنانياً، بل هو جهة لها حضورها في كثير من دول الإقليم. في اللقاءات مع المسؤولين الروس، وتحديداً وزير الخارجية سيرغي لافروف ونائبه ميخائيل بوغدانوف ومسؤولين في مجلس النواب، جرى التطرق إلى الأوضاع في اليمن والعراق وسوريا وفلسطين وغيرها. وشدّد الطرفان على ضرورة تعزيز سبل التواصل بينهما، واعتماد قنوات اتصال مباشرة بين الحزب وموسكو، مع درس احتمال إقامة مكتب تمثيل للحزب في العاصمة الروسية.

في موسكو، يرى العسكر والسياسيون أن وجود حزب الله في سوريا ضروري أكثر من أي وقت مضى


الزيارة التي تمّت بناءً على دعوة روسية، بدت في جانب منها رسالة من موسكو إلى واشنطن مفادها أن «المحاولات القائمة للإيقاع بيننا وبين إيران أو حزب الله لن تنفع. ونحن لن نكتفي بالتنسيق مع إيران، بل نريد أن ننسّق مباشرة مع حزب الله». وسبق للروس أن أبلغوا جميع الدول الغربية والعربية والإقليمية والقوى التي يتواصلون معها بشأن لبنان، أن «حزب الله قوة رئيسية، ويمثل حالة حقيقية وكبيرة، وينبغي التعامل معه على هذا الأساس، ولا يمكن إنجاز أي تسوية من دون التشاور معه والاتفاق معه».
رسالة أخرى أرادت موسكو إيصالها إلى تل أبيب. صحيح أن روسيا تسعى إلى «التفاهم مع الجميع» بشأن سوريا، وثمة تفاهم بينها وبين «إسرائيل»، لكن هذا التفاهم لا يعني «أننا نساعد إسرائيل في ضرباتها. على العكس من ذلك، نحن ندين هذه الضربات، خصوصاً تلك التي تأتي من الأجواء اللبنانية. وما زلنا ملتزمين بمنع الطائرات الإسرائيلية من اختراق الأجواء السورية». من جهة، تؤكد موسكو، بناءً على معلوماتها الاستخبارية، أن الضربات الإسرائيلية على قوافل الأسلحة التي تُنقل إلى لبنان لم تحقق أهدافها، ولم تمنع حزب الله من إنجاز ما يريد إنجازه. ومن جهة أخرى، لا تمانع قيام معادلة ردع تؤدي إلى منع «إسرائيل» من الاعتداء على الأراضي السورية. وفي الأشهر المقبلة، ثمة ثلاثية تسعى موسكو إلى تأمين عوامل نجاحها في دمشق: العملية السياسية ربطاً بمحطة الانتخابات الرئاسية، وإعادة الإعمار، وعودة النازحين.
في لبنان، يُصرّ الروس على عدم التدخّل بالصورة التي تقوم بها دول أخرى. لا يتدخلون في تأليف الحكومة، ولا يشاركون في عملية التأليف، ولا يطالبون بحصص. صحيح أنهم مهتمون بإعادة إعمار المرفأ، على سبيل المثال، تماماً كاهتمامهم بمشاريع الطاقة، سواء تلك التي يشاركون فيها (التنقيب عن النفط والغاز في البحر، وخزانات الوقود في البداوي)، أو تلك التي يطمحون إلى المشاركة فيها مستقبلاً، كإعادة بناء مصفاة التكرير في طرابلس وتشغيلها. وهنا، يبدو لافتاً الاهتمام الروسي بالغاز في البحر، إذ إن التقديرات في بعض الأوساط المختصة في موسكو تتحدّث عن كميات هائلة من الغاز في البحرين السوري واللبناني. وفي حال صحّت تلك التقديرات، فمن غير المستبعد أن تنفّذ روسيا مشروعاً لإقامة أنابيب للغاز في شرق المتوسط، ينافس مشروع «منتدى غاز شرق المتوسط» (تشارك فيه مصر و«إسرائيل» وقبرص واليونان والأردن وفرنسا وإيطاليا)، لنقل الغاز إلى أوروبا عبر تركيا.
يمنياً، تبدو موسكو مهتمة بإيجاد تسوية تحفظ ماء وجه السعودية. في نظر حزب الله، مفتاح الحل هو وقف العدوان ورفع الحصار في آن واحد، و«أنصار الله» حريصون على عدم معاداة أحد، إلا متى بادر إلى قتالهم.

I Pray for Peace in Yemen

March 25, 2021

A reflection through the eyes of a small Yemeni child

Ragheb Malli – London

The streets are harsh. The sky too. I don’t think I remember what Yemen in peace looked like. Baba said we are lucky we are still alive, but I don’t think it is lucky to be alive just to survive. Taiz was my most beautiful city. I was planning to be a lawyer when I grow older, now I plan to just try and grow older. Mama said that I should be grateful we were still able to put food in our bellies, this isn’t food. My parents are too thin, as am I. Mama’s once pink, round cheeks are hollows of tears. Baba’s smile takes too much of his energy. I don’t know what we have done; all I know is I was living and playing – I swear, I did nothing else. There was an airstrike not too long ago near us, it killed many of Marwan’s relatives. The Saudi airstrike happened in the night, Baba said maybe they didn’t feel it as they must have been all sleeping. I know he is lying, the sounds of their planes always wake me up.

What I don’t understand is why no one is helping us. No one is shouting at Saudi to stop dispersing weapons and bombs. No one is shouting at them to leave our hospitals alone. No one is shouting at them to stop. The ongoing silence hurts me more than the snipers ever can. Yesterday Zahra came and asked me if I wanted to play, Mama grabbed my hand and screamed “Do you want to die?” and I screamed back, “No, I want to play”. She began crying and I felt bad, but I don’t know what I said.

I heard the radio this morning saying that a quarter of all the deaths in Yemen are children. Mama says that is a very big number for such a small people, we must be bad at hiding. Sometimes I try to make sense of this never ending disaster but I just don’t understand how so much suffering can go unnoticed. Baba says a lot of people are trying to help but the Saudi’s are making it impossible, they have blockaded supplies from coming in and now hospitals and everyone has no access to basic health care. I think they don’t want us to get better because Baba says people are afraid of the strong. But they have nothing to be afraid of, I just want to live and grow up and eat ice cream in the summer. Now I just worry where we will get our grains from because the news told us that Saudi planes have bombed the grains port. So now no help, no supplies and no food. People are already dyeing from all three, so maybe it has to be our turn next.

I have lost hope, just as I have lost most of my aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. I am just waiting and thinking about when and how it will happen. Maybe we will die together at home in an air raid, or maybe we will run out of food. I may step on a bomb or I may die of one of those new diseases that are going around. Either way, it will be our turn soon – we’ve been alive for too long, I just pray it doesn’t hurt.

In ten years time, I pray that Yemen will have found peace and that people are chubby. I pray that people will stand up for us and protect us. Baba said if people don’t put pressure on their governments this will continue until there is no Yemen left. He is wrong, there will be a Yemen, just no people left in it. I pray that one day on a hot summer’s day, I will eat ice cream outside without Mama crying.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

NEO – Biden has just crossed the Red Line

Putin is a killer, and Biden, Obama and Trump were not?

BDN

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -March 22, 2021

Valeria Kilkov, with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow, …and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa.

[ Editor’s Note: Putin is a killer, and Biden, Obama and Trump were not? Really? Mr. Obama’s adminstration collected the plum of getting Assad to turn over all of his chemical weapons, where silly me would credit Mr. Assad with half the honor.

Later, the Obama administration claimed Assad to be using chemical weapons, with marginal effect, but which if true would have devastating credibility consequences for Assad’s government, which has never given evidence that it would be so stupid as to hand its head on a silver platter to those trying to destroy it.

VT has not found a shred of credible evidence that Assad ever used such weapons other than when the jihadis fired chlorine gas cannisters at the SAA where it sometimes fired back. Those decisions were made by local units.

You will notice that the endless claims of Syria gassing its own people came from totally discredited sources like the White Helmets. VT debunked one of the claims by having a Turkish film crew go to the scene to interview locals who described the story entirely bogus.

Then we had US pilots flying over the Iraq, Syria border reporting of the endless line of ISIS tankers taking oil through Syria to the back door of Turkey in a mass that high school level astronomy telescopes could see the massed tankers from the moon. The pilots were never allowed to bomb these columns, but the Russians sure did when they came in.

The American government hid (very poorly) its support for terrorist proxies in Syria and Iraq. It now, as cover, admits to training 10,000 ‘resistance fighters’, but thinks we are all too stupid not to know about the former PM and FM of Qatar admitting on the Charlie Rose show that the ‘US coalition’ spent $160 billion trying to carve up Syria. I have never seen the US government refute this.

And then Mr. Biden, you were fully aboard the Yemen disaster, where reports are coming out now that the Al Qaeda presence there was exaggerated to give cause for US forces to operate inside the country.

You are the leader of a country that has a solid provable history of using proxy terror forces. Of all the nice things you are intending to do, I am wondering what you don’t want to ban the use of proxy terrorism or push to have all private military contrators under constant government control to prevent abuses.

The last thing we need from you now is to be a Democratic version of Donald Trump on foriegn affairs, where you have your pet boogie men to defends us from. We are tired of this scam.

The world is much more sophisticated now about fake threats and fake wars. And old intel guys in their 70’s could debate you on this and it would not be pretty if you pretended this was not the case. Please don’t copy Trump on the Mr. Tough guy foreigh policy schtick. It will lower your stature for no gain Jim W. Dean ]

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Yemen

First published … March 22, 2021

In a recent interview that the sitting US president gave to the ABC channel, Joe Biden confirmed that he considers Russia’s president Vladimir Putin a “soulless killer”, adding a series of threats against Russia to those remarks.

Such a statement, that was based purely on Russophobic misinformation, would do no honor to any politician. However, when such remarks are made by a person that occupies the position of the head of the United States, they start looking particularly queer, since Russian leaders, unlike their American counterparts, are not generally known for unleashing bloody senseless conflicts like the Vietnam war or the wars in the Middle East, that resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.

Such improper and aggressive behavior can hardly be attributed to the mental challenges that Biden might or might not be suffering from.

However, there are a lot of speculations going around in the mainstream media about his mental capabilities, that were first started by the Australian TV show host Cory Bernardi that discussed those issues in his show on Sky News as early as last February.

For sure, one cannot rule out that the entire White House and the Biden family got infected with a “biting frenzy” that first affected Joe’s German Shepherd that had a “biting incident” with a member of White House security. However, if the sitting US president did in fact got affected by this “disease”, it still doesn’t excuse his remarks.

What is clear is that this aggressive posturing was met with widespread outrage in different parts of the world.

Biden’s statement is a triumph of political insanity and senile dementia of the US ruling class said the leader of the ruling United Russia party Andrei Turchak. In turn, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalled its ambassador to the US for “consultations”, which occurred for the first time in the entirety of the modern Russian-American relations.

Most of the countries reacted critically to Biden’s statement, as it’s been pointed out by major newspapers and online publications. Readers in their comments to the stories published on those platforms point out that the demonization of Russia and the attempts to publicly insult Russia’s president are plain crazy.

What is curious, even Japanese readers do not hide their surprise and indignation these days. In particular, one can come across comments on Yahoo News Japan, where they argue about Biden’s frail mental state and make remarks that his entourage shouldn’t be allowing POTUS anywhere near the nuclear button.

Indeed, Joe Biden looks weak and his health condition would repeatedly draw the attention of various media outlets. Due to his age, and Biden has recently turned 78, there’s a lot of doubts voiced publicly about his ability to fully perform his duties in the highest position of power. During the presidential race, he would frequently get into awkward situations.

The media discussed his senile gait, his numerous gaffes. When Biden was giving a speech at the beginning of March dedicated to women serving in the US military, he would show symptoms of dementia yet again by forgetting the name of the secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin.

During the presidential campaign, he said that he was trying to get elected to the Senate, and last December he named US vice president Kamala Harris the president of the United States. In November, Biden confused his granddaughter Natalie with his deceased son Beau, he also called his political rival George, confusing Trump him with his predecessor – George W. Bush.

The National Pulse and a number of other American outlets have already pointed out that the better part of important telephone conversations with other world leaders are conducted by Kamala Harris. In this regard, questions about Biden’s physical and mental ability to perform his duties are openly voiced even in the United States.

It’s noteworthy that ever since the days of Franklin Roosevelt both American parties prefer to put forward weak political figures to occupy the Oval Office and Joe Biden that replaced Donald Trump in the capacity of the US president is the pinnacle of this political trend.

One cannot describe such actions as illogical, as it is easier to manipulate such politicians, and when things don’t go the way they were planned those politicians would typically get all the blame for the decisions that were made by someone else.

However, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the duties of a weak president are still performed by a group of hidden functionaries. Therefore, the “collective Biden” makes the decisions that were approved by leading Democratic party figures, sponsors and lobbyists. Those are the people that are calling the shoots and they know perfectly well what they are up to.

Therefore, behind Biden’s antics in the now scandalous interview one can distinguish a clear desire of the ruling political elite to drive the public discussion away from the failed domestic policies by promoting hysteria about Russia or China, or to build a narrative about such “existential enemies” to the US as Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, etc. The escalation of this hysteria, as the “collective Biden” certainly hopes, will justify a new war of words, a new arms race, and even a new military conflict.

It’s clear that the United States will not dare to take any direct military action against Russia, knowing full well that there’s no use planning a war when Moscow has the advantage of superior weapons and the well-trained army.

However, Washington is thoroughly invested in provoking some of its new “satellites” to pursue an armed escalation with Russia. That is why the “collective Biden” is not just shaking the air with loud statements, but also tacitly aggravates tensions on Russia’s borders by allowing NATO to stage provocations with its reconnaissance and bomber aircraft in the Baltic, Black and Barents Seas, by deploying additional military units and American offensive weapons to Romania, Poland, Norway, and the Baltic States.

What is curious is that the population of all these countries hasn’t been informed yet that, in response to such provocations, Russia would prepare to defend itself with the full might of its entire arsenal.

It is a well-known fact that war has always been one of the solutions to internal crises that different aggressive countries faced throughout history. That is why Western countries would start their wars. However, neither the Soviet Union nor the Russian Federation have resorted to this tactics, on the contrary, they would face the necessity to defend themselves from external aggression.

That is why it is highly probable that under Biden, the United States will be dragged into a new military conflict, or into aggravating the situation in the traditional hot spots of the Middle East or Asia. Under certain conditions, the US may fulfill Israel’s demands to launch air-strikes against Iran, without sending any ground troops in.

Getting a large number of boots on the ground in the Middle East will result in an ever increasing number of casualties, which the US cannot afford, thus it will not succeed in a direct assault against Tehran.

Therefore, it is quite possible that in one of his future public speeches Biden will proclaim that Washington needs a small “victorious campaign” in an area that is geographically closer to the United States – for example, in Latin America, or in Southeast Asia.

And that’s why Biden, as he has fallen victim to an age-related loss of direction, will be lashing out not just against Russia, but against China, and a number of other countries supporting the two, an his remarks are to become ever more and more furious.

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

BIOGRAPHYJim W. Dean, Managing EditorManaging EditorJim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. Read Full Complete Bio >>>

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Trade-Off looming on Syria and Yemen:

Trade-Off looming on Syria and Yemen:

March 16, 2021

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

In the past few weeks much has happened in the area of diplomacy on the part of Russia. Russia is forging ahead after stepping up its presence in the Middle East in the past decade, taking a strong pro-active political role. Moscow during this period has been intent on consolidating its efforts in re-establishing itself as the key player in any political settlements in the Middle East. Ever since Kissinger in the late 1970’s pulled the rug out from underneath the feet of the USSR, striking a deal between Israel and Egypt, excluding the USSR and the rest of the Arab World, the political influence of Russia in the Middle East significantly waned until it came back with deciding force when Russia responded to the Syrian Government’s request for help in September 2015.

Lately, the economic crisis has deepened in Syria following the drastic Western sanctions. And specifically after the implementation of the Caesar’s Act, the Syrian currency took a huge tumble and the cost of living has soared to unprecedented levels. This left many cynics wondering and pondering what was Russia going to do in the face of the collapsed Syrian economy after having achieved an impressive military victory, taking its troops outside its former USSR borders for the first time and heralding the end of the single super power status of the USA.

To this effect, and on the diplomatic side, Russian FM Lavrov has recently visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE for talks pertaining to an array of issues. The agenda issues that transpired to the media include trade, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, as well as issues of global and regional security, albeit vague in details as what ‘security issues’ mean.

It appears that in these meetings, discussions included the return of Syria to the Arab League and the cost of reconstruction of Syria after ten years of war, a bill touted to exceed $Bn200. Expectations have existed for some time that the Arab Gulf states will fork out a huge chunk of this cost. As mentioned above, the bottom line here is that Russia’s military success in its operation in Syria needs to be followed by political success. Partly, this is achieved within the Astana talks which include Turkey and Iran. However, the very same Arab States instrumental in the ‘War on Syria’ are also instrumental in facilitating the return of Syria to the Arab League, the reconstruction efforts in Syria and the easing of sanctions. The Gulf states have always reiterated that there will no return of Syria to the Arab League for as long as Iranian forces remain on the ground. The UAE seemed more open than Saudi Arabia to the prospects of Syria’s return to the Arab League and financing the reconstruction process.

But why would the Gulf States, the same states that spent tens of billions of dollars in order to destroy Syria, be suddenly now interested in the reversal of the process? This is a fair question to ask.

Quite unexpectantly, and almost immediately after the return of Lavrov to Moscow, a top delegation of Hezbollah, headed by Mohamad Raad, was invited to Moscow for talks. Apparently, the visit was cloaked in a veil of secrecy in Russia and was not at all covered in Western media, even though it made news in Arabic mainstream media. It would be politically naïve to imagine that Lavrov’s visit to the Gulf has no relation to this. All issues in the Middle East are related to each other, including the war in Yemen.

To put it succinctly, the UAE had already stepped away from the Yemen war. However, Saudi Arabia remains bogged down in this travesty and seven years on, must have come to the humiliating and painful realization that it is a war it cannot win. This is where Iran and Hezbollah can have leverage in any direct or indirect negotiations with the Saudis, and Russia is the only arbitrator who is able to communicate with all parties involved.

All parties in the Middle East are looking for face-saving tradeoffs; at least partial and interim ones. The Saudis in particular are tired and exhausted,

In an interview given to Sputnik Arabic, one not widely reported in other media, not even Sputnik English, Raad praised the cooperation between Hezbollah and Russia, stating that ‘the invitation we received aims to reopen the dialogue about the next phase after having reached the achievements that serve the interests of the people of the region in the recent past’ .

This is Raad’s first visit to Moscow since 2011. Of that visit, I am not trying to speculate in hindsight of the purpose of it and the achievements of it. Furthermore, Hezbollah has not ever been party to any international dis-engagement or peace negotiations in the past, except for ones relating to exchange of prisoners. The economic demise of Syria and Lebanon, as well as the Saudi-Yemeni impasse, may well have placed Hezbollah in a position of participating in peace-deals negotiations this time.

I am neither referring to peace deals with Israel here, nor any deal involving disarmament. Hezbollah will not be prepared to negotiate disarming itself under any political settlement either today or in the foreseeable future, and Moscow is totally aware of this.

According to my analysis, the deal that Moscow is most likely to suggest is a mutual withdrawal of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria on one hand, and an end of the Saudi war on Yemen. It is simple, Saudi Arabia to leave Yemen and Iran/Hezbollah to leave Syria. I believe that Lavrov has already secured the Saudi acceptance of those terms, terms that will not only end the war in Yemen, but also the return of Syria to the Arab League and a possible easing of the Western economic sanctions on Syria. Had Lavrov not secured the Saudi assurance, he would not have invited Hezbollah for talks.

A deal of this nature can potentially end the criminal human tragedy in Yemen in a manner that will portray the Saudis as the real losers in the war, and this is where they need a face-saving trade-off in Syria. In Syria, they will be perceived as winners by securing an Iranian/Hezbollah exit. But most importantly perhaps for the Saudis, this will put an end to a very costly and humiliating war in Yemen, one which is beginning to draw criticism from some quarters of the international community, including alleged talk of America considering placing arms deal embargos on Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, if Iran and Hezbollah end their presence in Syria, many sanctions are likely to be lifted and the severe economic pressure in Syria will be eased. Such a deal will be a humanitarian win for Syria and Yemen, a strategic win for Saudi Arabia and Iran, and a diplomatic win for Russia.

What will be in it for Hezbollah will largely depend on what Lavrov has put on the table, and it seems obvious that it is Hezbollah that will need more convincing than Iran, and this is why the talks are now with Hezbollah; not with Iranian officials. Perhaps the deal already has the tacit approval of Iranian officials.

It goes without saying; Israel will be watching these developments with keen interest. Israel wants Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. But the trade-off deal I am talking about is not one in which Israel is a direct party.

What is known at this stage is that a meeting has already taken place between the Hezbollah delegation and Russian officials. As I write this, I am not aware if other meetings are to follow and or whether or not the Hezbollah delegation is back in Lebanon.

Was the 2011 Moscow visit of Raad a prelude for Hezbollah to enter Syria? Will the 2021 visit be prelude for Hezbollah to leave Syria? We don’t know. We may never find out the actual detailed outcome of the mysterious-but-not-so-mysterious current Hezbollah visit. It may not even end up with a press release, but in the next coming days, we will find out if a Syria-Yemen trade-off is indeed looming.

The Arab yacht summit plotters have fallen out

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DYxJNIWWAAMxxsb.jpg
George Nader (fourth from left) organised a secret summit of Arab leaders on a yacht in the Red Sea in late 2015
David HearstDavid Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

David Hearst

15 March 2021 15:09 UTC 

An alliance of regional rulers that put so much effort into suppressing democracy is weakening now as its participants bear substantial grudges against each other

For the past decade, an alliance of rulers has bent every sinew to halt the onward, and irreversible, fight for human rights in the Arab world.

To preserve their own decaying regimes, this alliance has laid waste to once proud and civilised nations. It has waged wars in Yemen, Libya and Syria, reducing much of them to rubble. It has funded coups in Egypt, and attempted them in Tunisia and Turkey. The blood of hundreds of thousands has been shed in these interventions.

They were fought in the name of defending the region from Islamism and extremism. In this, they attracted the credulous, or cynical, support of former colonial powers France and Britain. But in reality their “jihad” had nothing to do with defending liberalism or secularism.

These regimes had no qualms about enlisting religious forces for political ends. Their quest was for hegemony, or how to transfer autocracy from one generation to another. For them, power was part of the family silver.

Late in 2015 – two years after their first major success, that being the military coup in Egypt, the leaders of this alliance – crown princes and rulers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan – met secretly on a yacht to plot their plans for the region. To summon the same cast of characters on a yacht in the Red Sea today, six years on, would, however, be more difficult. 

For one thing, the fixer of this secret summit is in prison. George Nader is serving ten years on child sex charges. For another, the participants today bear substantial grudges against each other.

Money like rice?

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Egypt have cooled fastest. The Saudis no longer have “money like rice” as the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi once bragged to his chief of staff Abbas Kamel. And any way King Salman is not as generous as his late brother Abdullah was, even if he had the money, which he doesn’t.

Sisi has no interest in following Mohammed bin Salman into the camp of pariah dictators

Sisi tried to get a new line of funding from Riyadh by giving it two uninhabited but strategically placed Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to much protest at home. But the Saudis are no longer interested in such baubles like the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba.  

Their eyes light up when contemplating cheaper and faster ways to the Mediterranean – through Israel. Egypt is not saying it, but it is getting increasingly irritated by plans to bypass the Suez Canal, which it enlarged to the tune of $8.2bn.

Whether it is reversing a once-secret desert pipeline that ran from Iran to Israel during the time of the Shah, or the development of ports and free zones in Israel, or Blue Raman, a new fibre optic cable for the Middle East, it’s all pointing in one direction for Cairo – a huge loss of money and regional influence. 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AFP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AFP)

It is not as if there have not been past divergences between banker and client state. Egypt’s refusal to send troops to fight in Saudi Arabia’s disastrous war in Yemen was one. It has refused to be as hostile to Iran and its allies in Lebanon. But two new factors are persuading Egypt that its national interests are not always best served by its regional allies. 

The Biden factor

The first is the arrival of US President Joe Biden and his obvious antipathy to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – even though he refuses to sanction him. Sisi has no interest in following bin Salman into the camp of pariah dictators. Rather, he has a strong motive to distance himself from that clan.For Trump’s Middle East allies, Joe Biden is a new nightmareRead More »

Bin Salman’s international reputation has been tarnished by the release of the US intelligence report into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. When it was released, Mohammed bin Salman expected that every member of his club, and even those that were not, like Qatar, to send a message of support. 

Most did. King Abdullah II of Jordan; Sudan’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, flew to Riyadh. Others like Bahrain and the UAE issued statements. The only country to fall silent was Egypt.

The second factor was the military defeat of the Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, when his forces were repulsed from Tripoli and retreated to Sirte. The Turkish intervention, and the effectiveness of its drones, came as a shock to Egypt, whose agenda in Libya was driven by the Emirates. Egypt, however, invested considerably in training, arming and supplying Haftar’s forces.

When both the UAE and Egypt discovered that they were on the losing side – and this was sometime before Haftar pushed Sisi to invade – some in the Egyptian media began to question publicly why Egypt was in this position. Libya is important to its neighbour, not least because of the millions of Egyptians who – in times of peace – work there. When Libya prospers, so does Egypt. Haftar’s defeat opened the way for direct talks with the government in Tripoli, and covert talks with Turkish intelligence chiefs. 

As a result, the candidates of the list which lost the election to the post of prime minister had been agreed beforehand by both Turkey and Egypt. When the Libyans rejected those candidates, it did not disturb the tacit understanding between Ankara and Cairo. Nor are things as close between Cairo and Abu Dhabi. The froideur started over a question of money. But it rapidly went much further over Abu Dhabi’s recognition of Israel

The second wave

The second wave of normalisation with Israel displaced the first. Both Egypt and Jordan lost influence as the gatekeepers of the Arab world to Israel, in the same degree to which the UAE gained it.

It’s no coincidence that two of the nations that attended that yacht summit are in the process of softening their hostility to Ankara

When Abu Dhabi announced it would invest $10bn in Israeli energy, manufacturing, water, space, healthcare and agri-tech, it was no coincidence that Jordan at first refused permission for Benjamin Netanyahu’s jet to use its airspace, and he had to cancel his trip to pick up the prize money in person. Netanyahu’s office said the dispute with Amman stemmed from Israel’s decision to cancel the Jordanian crown prince’s plans to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque the day before.  

Much of the legitimacy of the Hashemite dynasty rests on its role as custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, a role that is now being overtly threatened by its Saudi cousin with Israel’s encouragement. Bin Salman is playing a zero-sum game. By advancing his own relationship with Israel, he is weakening the stability of Israel’s safest border. 

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the closing session of an African summit meeting (AFP)
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (AFP)

The yacht summit was convened to counter Turkey and Iran’s resistance to their schemes. So it’s also no coincidence that two of the nations that attended that summit are in the process of softening their hostility to Ankara.

Enters Turkey

Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are being pushed into each other arms by a US president who is hostile to the Saudi crown prince and the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mohammed bin Salman was told by his advisers that if Biden won, he would have to open relations with Turkey. 

Where foreign relations are based on secret pacts between leaders each of whom have good reason to fear their own people, they are built on sand

Bin Salman is not convinced, and can’t overcome the feeling that Erdogan was out to get him for having ordered Khashoggi’s murder. But the relationship between his father, King Salman, and Erdogan was never ruptured and so halting attempts are being made.

Qatar has offered to mediate, which is ironic, because when the boycott of the Gulf peninsula states started, the Turks offered to mediate. Turkey maintains strong relations with Oman and Kuwait and both Ankara and Riyadh have an interest in showing Washington they are regional players.

But is more going on under the table? Recently the Houthis claimed to have shot down a drone that “had proven its worth in Azerbaijan”, an oblique reference to Turkey. It was a Turkish drone, but not one used in Azerbaijan. Last year the Saudi government signed a deal with a local company to supply armed drones after getting a technology transfer from a Turkish defence firm, Vestel Karayel. Six drones were delivered. 

Turkey denies there was anything official about this technology transfer. A Turkish source familiar with the defence industry said Vestel did not seek government authorisation to make such a tech transfer to Riyadh. Still, the incident raised eyebrows. Janes defence news said the Karayel has not been previously known to be in service with the Saudi military.

In any case the Saudi boycott of Turkish goods still continues.

Repairing ties with Egypt

Last week’s flurry of statements from the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, chief counsellor to the president Ibrahim Kalin and the president himself about turning the page with Egypt have been downplayed by Cairo.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, confirming contacts with Cavusoglu, said that Turkey must “align with Egypt’s principles” before relations could return to normal. And the editor in chief of Egypt’s al Watan newspaper published ten conditions before relations could be restored.

This will have the same effect on Ankara as the 13 demands the blockading countries laid on Qatar.

The optimism in Ankara started when Egypt announced an oil and gas exploration bid in the Eastern Mediterranean which acknowledged the coordinates of the continental shelf declared by Ankara. The Greek foreign minister, Nikos Dendias, claims to have since “adjusted” those coordinates after a trip to Cairo.Turkey-Egypt relations: What’s behind their new diplomatic push?Read More »

Turkish intelligence chiefs have, however, met their Egyptian counterparts several times. Apart from Libya, Turkey is offering the Egyptians help in their dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. UAE is doing the opposite by offering help to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmet. 

Mohammed Dahlan, the Abu Dhabi-based former Fatah security chief, visited Addis in an announced visit. What was not announced was that his boss Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed went with him, according to one informed source. Egypt is baulking at the Turkish charm offensive and there has been no breakthrough.

“Egypt wants Ankara to take at least a symbolic step on the presence of Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey,” an official told MEE. 

If that is what is needed, it will not materialise. The Muslim Brotherhood does not have a physical presence like a regional office in Turkey. So there is nothing to close down. To go against individual members of the large expatriate Egyptian community in Istanbul would mean extraditing individuals, which Turkey is not going to do. Nor is there any discernible Turkish pressure on the Egyptian opposition media in Istanbul. Cairo would particularly like Al Sharq television off air.

“The Turkish authorities have nothing to offer nor withdraw when it comes to Al Sharq Channel because we are not funded by Turkey or Qatar,” its owner Dr Ayman Nour, the Egyptian opposition politician, told MEE. “We have not sensed any change on the Turkish side with regard to Al Sharq.”

But the axis itself is weakening and the lessons for everyone in the region are clear. Where foreign relations are based on secret pacts between leaders, each of whom have good reason to fear their own people, they are built on sand. Where they are based on the strategic interests of their peoples, they are more durable. The more national interests are based on the interests of their peoples rather than the rulers, the greater the stability of the region

Thus far it has been warm embraces one day, and stabs in the back the next.

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.

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A Saudi-American fiasco

Yemeni forces advance toward Marib despite U.S.-backed Saudi brutal campaign

March 1, 2021 – 21:29

TEHRAN – Yemen’s government forces have launched a liberation campaign to capture the strategic province of Marib while initiating a new operation against Saudi Arabia, a move that indicates the growing capabilities of the Sanaa government despite the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

The Saudis began a war on Yemen in 2015 in the hope of eradicating Yemen’s Asarallah movement, which they accused of being backed by Iran. 

But after more than five years of nonstop aggression, the Saudis not only failed to defeat Ansarallah, but they also helped the movement become even stronger than ever by continuing their aggression.

This fact was on full display in February when the Ansarallah-led forces launched to separate operations against Saudi Arabia and its allied groups inside Yemen.

On Sunday, Brigadier General Yahya Sare’e announced in a statement that Yemen’s Air Force along with the Missile Force successfully carried out a large and joint offensive operation deep inside Saudi Arabia.

The operation, formally called “5th Operation of Balanced Deterrence,” targeted sensitive sites in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

“The 5th Operation of Balanced Deterrence came in retaliation for the kingdom’s ongoing escalating aggression and siege on our dear people,” Sare’e said.

He explained that the operation was carried out with a Zolfaghar ballistic missile and 15 drones, including 9 Sammad-3 drones, targeting sensitive sites in the enemy’s capital, Riyadh, according to Al-Masirah TV.

The spokesman pointed out that 6 Qasef-2K drones targeted military sites in Abha and Khamis Mushait, stressing that the hit was accurate.

Sare’e stated that the 5th Operation of Balanced Deterrence continued from Saturday evening until Sunday morning.

He confirmed that “our retaliatory attacks are continuing and will expand more and more as long as the aggression and siege on our country continues,” renewing caution to residents of these areas to stay away from all military sites and airports or places that may be used for military purposes.

The fact that the Yemeni forces were able to launch the fifth operation against Saudi Arabia while fighting with Saudi-backed forces inside Yemen is in itself a telling indication. The government in Sanaa has been under Saudi bombardment right from the start. It not only survived, but also managed to become strong enough to fight on various fronts.

The first Yemeni operation that targeted the oil-rich country was launched in mid-August in 2019 when ten drones targeted the Shaybah oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia.

The Yemeni Air Force launched one of its most consequential operations against Saudi Arabia in mid-September 2019, targeting Saudi Arabia’s eastern oil processing facilities of Abqaiq and Khurais, and cutting off half of the country’s oil production – nearly five percent of global oil supplies – for a few days.

Five months later, the Yemeni forces launched another operation in which they hit Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities in Yanbu with 12 drones, three medium-range and long-range missiles.

Last year in June, the Yemeni forces launched their fourth operation in which the Saudi capital of Riyadh was hit with a large number of ballistic and winged missiles as well as drones. 

The fifth operation carried a long-term strategic message at the regional level, especially with the ongoing battles between the Yemeni army and the coalition forces in Marib, according to Al-Masirah TV. 

Citing observers, the channel network said the operation proves once again the increase in Yemeni military capabilities and the failure of Saudi Arabia at the tactical and strategic level despite the capabilities it possesses.

The observers emphasized that the strike at this time is a warning message to stop the mobilization of takfiri and terrorist organizations to Marib. And also, that the Saudi regime may pay a lot for the consequences of not responding to it, in the event that the Yemeni forces are forced to carry out a Sixth Operation of Balanced Deterrence.

Marib has become a battleground that would determine the fate of the Yemen war. Over the past few days, the Sanaa-based government forces have increased their military activities in a bid to liberate Marib from the Saudi-backed forces who appeared to endure a series of defeats on various fronts. A military source close to the Saudi-backed forces told the AFP news agency that more than 20 members of the Saudi-backed forces were killed in the last 24 hours in the fighting. 

Marib is the last bastion of the Saudi-baked forces in northern Yemen. “Fighting continues unabated on all fronts in Marib province,” the source said.

In an attempt to prevent Marib city from falling in the hands of the Yemen forces, Saudi Arabia has launched an air campaign against the Yemeni forces in a number of provinces.

However, Saudi Arabia failed to stop the march of the Sanaa forces toward Marib. This debacle is the latest in a series of failures that Saudi Arabia has faced in Yemen in recent weeks despite enjoying overwhelming international support, including from the United States.

Of course, the U.S. has most recently sought to distance itself from the Saudi fiasco in Yemen by taking a series of measures that seemingly restrict American support for the Saudi war on Yemen.

The Biden administration has ended Washington’s support for offensive operations in Yemen. 

“This war has to end. And to underscore our commitment, we’re ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales,” President Biden said in a recent speech at the State Department while underling the U.S. commitment to ensuring Saudi Arabia’s security and territorial integrity.

The Biden administration also removed Yemen’s Ansarullah movement from the U.S. government’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

But these measures were taken only after the new U.S. administration took office with a clear understanding that the Saudi war on Yemen is bound to end in failure and thus American support for this war will make no difference in the fate of the war.

The U.S. threw its weight behind Saudi Arabia over the years of the Yemen war, selling it state-of-the-art offensive weapons. But this all-out earned the U.S. nothing but a heinous reputation as complicit in the worst humanitarian disaster of the world.

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The Khashoggi Bomb: What Does Biden Want from Riyadh & What Are MBS’s Options?

The Khashoggi Bomb: What Does Biden Want from Riyadh & What Are MBS’s Options?

By Ali Abadi

The release of the US intelligence community’s declassified report on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is more than two years overdue. Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

The sanctions announced by the administration of US President Joe Biden did not include specific measures against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. This despite the fact that the report pins the murder on the royal. The report states that the hit team could have only gotten its marching orders from the Crown Prince, given the latter’s tight grip on the security apparatus.

The CIA report did not introduce any new information. But the intelligence assessment about what transpired and who is responsible are important. The substance of the report was toned down following several weeks of consultations between Biden and his team. The aim was to avoid pushing their Saudi ally into a corner and keeping an outlet for him to modify his behavior in line with the policies of the new US government.

The report asks correlative questions

Do the steps taken by the US administration regarding the assassination of Khashoggi indicate a turning point in the relations between the two states? Are they merely scoring political points in restoring American soft power by pretending to protect human rights? Or are these steps the end of the tolerance phase practiced by former US President Donald Trump and do they mark the start of a new relationship based on new-old foundations?

American review

First, let’s review the steps that have been taken to date by the Biden administration vis-à-vis the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:

– Halting the supply of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE and pushing for an exit from the US-sponsored Saudi predicament in Yemen

– Calling for the release of human rights activists in the Kingdom.

– Stopping US communication with the Saudi Crown Prince and limiting presidential communication with King Salman

– Announcing gradual steps, even if currently conditional, to return to the nuclear agreement with Iran

– Perhaps most importantly, the declaration of a break from the Trump era in several areas, including those related to dealing with Saudi Arabia leading up to the release of the Khashoggi report

It is clear that the new administration in Washington doesn’t enjoy a harmonious relationship with the current ruling team in Saudi Arabia, specifically with Mohammed bin Salman, who seized power by force, imprisoned his opponents [some of whom are in cahoots with officials in the deep state in America] or placed them under house arrest. Bin Salman is attempting to buy the support of the US government for all his reckless actions, while harming American soft power, especially with the open wound in Yemen.

There is a very important point that may be the main motive behind the new way America is dealing with Riyadh. Circles of the American elite, among the Democrats in general and even some Republicans, feel indignant and suspicious regarding the very special relationship between the Saudi Crown Prince and former US President Donald Trump and his entourage. The Democrats, in particular, want to break this relationship and expose it retroactively. There is a current within the Democratic Party that wants to go further than Biden in dealing with Riyadh. However, the US President preferred a traditional approach that separates the relationship with the Saudi Crown Prince from the one with the entire Saudi government, despite the fact that the two are indistinguishable. Even the Saudi King cannot break away from the authority of his favorite son, and this is another story.

How will Saudi Arabia respond?

Saudi Arabia’s official version about the trial of Khashoggi’s killers is irrelevant. The outcome of the trial was always a foregone conclusion, and it ended in limiting the charges to a number of people and removing the accusation not only from the Crown Prince but from his two closest associates, Saud Al-Qahtani and Ahmed Al-Asiri.

The death penalty against the killers was also abolished, while the family of the victim was compelled to waive their right to retribution in exchange for financial compensation [a typical Saudi procedure in such cases]. Of course, we are not interested now in recovering the contradictions of the official Saudi narrative, which involved disjointed narratives since the assassination saga began to unfold.

However, each of the above steps is sufficient to annoy the Saudis, who are very disappointed with the end of the Trump era, in which the Saudi Crown Prince invested hundreds of billions of dollars in order to cover his impulsive policies. Trump left, and the Saudi money went to the US treasury and American companies. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is once again in the dark about the American agenda that represents an extension of the Obama era. Faced with the American moment of truth, the Saudi government will have to deprecate this incomplete revelation through:

– Downplaying the importance of the US measures and the talk that the Saudi judiciary has spoken in the case

– Stirring up patriotism among the Saudis to give renewed legitimacy to the Crown Prince, whose image was tarnished by this crime

– Betting on time to overcome this saga

– Accelerating the relationship with “Israel” in order to use its influence in Washington to moderate the dealings with the Saudi Crown Prince. In this sense, normalization becomes a price [currently hidden] for legitimizing Bin Salman’s status in Washington

– Hinting to the Americans that Riyadh is looking for alternatives to American weapons with China and Russia, for example, in order to push Washington to reduce its criticism of the Saudi Crown Prince

Most of what the Biden administration wants is for Riyadh to return to the ranks of the passenger rather than Saudi Arabia leading the United States to where it wants in the region, especially after the Saudi Crown Prince proved unprecedented recklessness in managing internal affairs and a lack of efficiency in managing regional challenges.

The Biden administration also wants to preempt any Saudi or non-Saudi objection to returning to the nuclear agreement with Iran and to dispel any attempt by Riyadh and others to enlarge their role in a way that disturbs the new government managing this file from the perspective of various US priorities. We should pause here at an interesting point, which is that the Biden administration is adopting a triple containment strategy for objections to the nuclear deal that was reached in the era of the Democrats in 2015.

This strategy includes, in addition to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and “Israel”. In addition to stopping the US presidential communication with Bin Salman and halting offensive weapons supplies to Riyadh, Washington has also stopped arms deals with the UAE and has allowed, in a carefully studied time frame, to publish satellite images of construction operations at the “Israeli” Dimona reactor, at a time when Netanyahu waited weeks to receive a call from Biden.

In conclusion, the new US administration aims to get rid of Trump’s legacy on several levels and reset US-Saudi relations to a purely American rhythm, but the desired justice stopped with Mohammed Bin Salman.

Let’s remember:

– Jamal Khashoggi’s body was never found, and the Saudi side refuses to reveal its fate.

– We are facing a declassified US report, which means that the US administration preferred to keep secret facts under wraps in order to preserve relations with Saudi Arabia and maintain the loyalty of Riyadh.

– We are facing scanty measures against those involved in the crime. Not granting them entry visas to the United States is the weakest measure in the huge US sanctions arsenal, and Washington was satisfied with the weaker punishment.

– The bitter cup was removed from the Crown Prince, although the moral message was received.

– It is important to note the impact of this position on the way European countries and the international community view the Saudi Crown Prince, who will remain in his father’s shadow as long as the latter is alive.

The question remains: What is Mohammed Bin Salman’s fate after the current king? Will his past be overlooked and his position on the altar of American strategic interests be normalized, or is Washington thinking about reopening the path of the caliphate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is currently unavailable after Bin Salman smashed all possible alternatives?

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