حزب الله اللبنانيّ وحزب الله الإقليميّ

ناصر قنديل

تجري محاولة بين عدد من المتعاطين في الشأن العام، وبعض الناشطين والسياسيين والإعلاميين، لتقديم مقاربة ثالثة تتميز بين المقاربتين السائدتين، المقاربة التي تعلن العداء لحزب الله وتتماهى مع الحرب المعلنة عليه من حلف تقوده واشنطن وتتجنّد له “إسرائيل” وتحرّض عليه وتموّله عدد من حكومات الخليج، والمقاربة التي تتماهى مع موقع وموقف حزب الله، في اعتبار قضية سلاحه وحضوره في لبنان والإقليم مصدر قوة للبنان، واعتبار كل محاولة لتحجيم هذا الحضور وجهاً من وجوه حرب الإلغاء التي سيدفع لبنان ثمنها إذا حققت أهدافها، كما عبر عنها الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله. وتقوم المقاربة الثالثة على محاولة إقامة فصل افتراضي بين مفهومين تسمّي أحدهما حزب الله اللبناني والآخر حزب الله الإقليمي، وتدعو حزب الله للتراجع التدريجي عن تمدّده الإقليمي لحساب هويته اللبنانية، وتدعو خصوم حزب الله لاعتبار هذا التموضع الجديد لحزب الله كافياً لوقف حالة العداء ضده، وتراهن على إنشاء مساحة لبنانية جامعة تحت هذا العنوان. وليس خافياً أن التيار الوطني الحر يتصدّر قائمة أصحاب هذه المقاربة، من خلال الدعوة التي أطلقها رئيسه النائب جبران باسيل لتشجيع حزب الله على الانسحاب من سورية، والتخفف من حجم حضوره الإقليميّ.

مع الاحتفالات التي أقامها حزب الله تكريماً للقائد قاسم سليماني، توسّعت دائرة المتحدثين عن هذه المقاربة وشملت أسماء تنطلق من حسن نية وأخرى من سوء نية، لتصير مطلوبة مناقشة هذه الفرضية، خصوصاً أن جمهور هذا المنطق وهذه المقاربة في جمهور التيار الوطني الحر، كحليف رئيسي لحزب الله، يتّسع ويتقدم بيقين أنه صاحب حق وأن مطلبه واقعي، وصار حاجة وضرورة وطنيّة في ظل الحصار الذي يتعرض له لبنان والضغوط الاقتصادية التي تتهدّده بالانهيار. والنقاش هنا ليس بخلفية مسبقة للإثبات أو النفي بل للاستكشاف والاستقراء، من خلال التحري والتدقيق بحساب الوقائع والحقائق، لرصد الخلاصة الموضوعيّة البعيدة عن الرغبات.

في الوقائع يجري الحديث عن تمدّد حزب الله إقليمياً وصولاً لنشوء ما يُسمّى بحزب الله الإقليميّ، من خلال الإشارة المكثفة والمركزة الى دور لحزب الله في اليمن والعراق، بالرغم من كونه كدور يقع حكماً في مرتبة أدنى بكثير من دور حزب الله تجاه فلسطين، سواء بالدعم المعنوي للمقاومة الفلسطينية، وتمسكه بأولوية القضية الفلسطينية، والتزامه بتقديم كل الدعم المادي والتجهيز التسليحيّ، بقياس بعض قليل من هذه المواقف والأدوار تجاه أحداث العراق واليمن، والأدوار المفترضة في اليمن والعراق تقع حكماً في مرتبة أدنى بكثير وكثير جداً، من مرتبة الدور الذي قام به حزب الله ويقوم به في سورية. وتتفرّع عن هذين الدورين البارزين والفاعلين لحزب الله تحت العنوانين الفلسطيني والسوري، وتبدو العلاقة بين حزب الله وإيران أيضاً فرعاً من أصل، وليس العكس رغم مكانتها العقائدية في تجربة حزب الله وتكوينه. والأصل هو التزام حزب الله وإيران بدرجة واحدة لمكانة القضية الفلسطينية والصراع مع كيان الاحتلال في مرتبة الأولوية ضمن جدول أعمال كل منهما، بينما ينظر حزب الله لمعادلات قوى المقاومة في العراق واليمن، إضافة لموقفه التضامني المعنوي، من الزاوية المقابلة للنظرة الإسرائيلية، وجوهر النظرتين، التموضع على ضفاف الحرب المقبلة التي تتشكل من حزب الله و”إسرائيل” قطبي الاشتباك فيها، ويتحلق من حولهما الآخرون.

حزب الله الإقليميّ، هو حزب الله الذي أنشأ شبكة تحالفات عابرة للإقليم تنتظم وراءه في أي مواجهة مقبلة مع “إسرائيل”، وبالتوازي مع أهمية الانتصار على الشبكات الإرهابية في سورية الذي شارك ولا يزال بصناعته، شكّل وجوده في سورية مدخلاً لحقيقتين جديدتين، الأولى هي معادلة جديدة تتجذّر كل يوم على جبهة الجولان تجعل التفكير الإسرائيلي بالحرب أشد تعقيداً، والثانية هي معادلة الصواريخ الدقيقة التي شكلت تحولاً نوعياً قلب موازين المواجهة المفترضة مع الكيان وجعل خيار الحرب أبعد، بينما كانت العلاقة بإيران جوهر هذا التحوّل. وبالتوازي لم تكن لأدوار حزب الله الفلسطينية نتائج على جبهة تعزيز قدرة قوى المقاومة في فلسطين فقط، بل كان من نتائجها أيضاً تعقيد خيار الحرب على حزب الله بالنسبة لقيادة الكيان.

من حيث لا ينتبه دعاة الفصل بين حزب الله اللبناني وحزب الله الإقليمي، فهم يشاركون في فرضيّة وهميّة لا يمكن إثباتها، تقول إن الصراع مع كيان الإحتلال لم يعد العنصر المحوريّ في صناعة السياسة في الإقليم، والمستند الوحيد لهذه الفرضية هو أن عدداً من الحكومات العربية وخصوصاً في الخليج اتخذت من هذه الفرضية ذريعة للانتقال الى مرحلة التحالف مع كيان الاحتلال، بينما الأمر لا يتّصل بالحديث عن قراءة خطاب الاصطفافات، بل عن تحديد جوهر محركات هذه الاصطفافات، فمشاريع التطبيع ليست إلا تأكيداً إضافياً على محورية الصراع مع الكيان في صناعة السياسة، حيث يذهب الكيان المأزوم على جبهته الشمالية بسبب تنامي قوة حزب الله لإنشاء شبكات رديفة للقوة السياسيّة والاقتصاديّة والأمنيّة جنوباً نحو الخليج، ومن يريد للبنان الاستقرار عليه أن يضع في أولوية اهتماماته الإجابة عن سؤال بات ضجيج الصالونات يحجب حضوره، رغم محوريّته الحاكمة، وهو كيف نجعل خيار الحرب الإسرائيليّة على لبنان أشدّ بعداً، في ظل سعي إسرائيليّ محموم لتوسيع التحالفات، تحت عنوان مواجهة حزب الله، وامتلاك المزيد من المقدرات، والانتقال بالتوازي إلى تشبيك اقتصاديّ يستهدف لبنان، وليس حزب الله فقط، ليصير السؤال الأول، هل يفكر المعنيّون وصناع القرار بين أعداء حزب الله بالطريقة التي يفترضها أصحاب المقاربة المفترضة؟ أي هل يعتبر هؤلاء وعلى رأسهم الأميركي، ومن خلفه الإسرائيلي، أن قضيتهم هي موقف حزب الله من اليمن والعراق في الحروب الدائرة هناك، أم موقف اليمن والعراق من حزب الله إذا وقعت الحرب هنا؟ وهل يتغاضى هؤلاء عن صواريخ حزب الله الدقيقة إذا سار حزب الله بروزنامة اللبننة، وإن لم يكن الأمر كذلك فهل سيكون قبول حزب الله كافياً لتبدل مواقف الأطراف اللبنانية المتموضعة على ضفاف العداء لحزب الله، على الأقل، أم سيعتبرون كما أعداء حزب الله في الخارج، ان حملاتهم العدائية بدأت تثمر، وأن ما لم تنجزه هذه الدرجة من العداء سينتجه المزيد من العداء، بينما يكون حزب الله قد جرّد نفسه من مصادر حاسمة في صناعة القوة التي جعلت وتجعل الحرب أشدّ بعداً، فتصير الحرب أقرب وأشدّ قرباً؟

حزب الله اللبناني هو حزب الله الممسك بمقدرات تتصدّرها صواريخه الدقيقة، والمحاط بشبكة تحالفات عابرة للإقليم تشكل حزام الصواريخ الذي يطوق كيان الاحتلال، وهذه التحالفات قالت علناً إنها مستعدّة لمشاركة حزب الله الحرب التي قد تُشنّ عليه، من فلسطين والجولان والعراق واليمن وصولاً الى إيران، ما يجعل فرضية الحرب على لبنان أشدّ ضعفاً، ويجعل الاستقرار اللبناني الخارجي أكثر رسوخاً، بانتظار نجاح اللبنانيين بالبناء على ذلك لصناعة الاستقرار الداخلي، فهل يفعلون؟ وهل يدركون أن عليهم الجواب على سؤال، إذا كان هذا هو حزب الله اللبناني فهل يختلف عنه بشيء آخر حزب الله الإقليمي؟

مقالات ذات صلة

General Soleimani’s legacy: Unifying the Arab resistance against imperialism and hegemony

By Amal Wahdan

January 13, 2021 – 12:51

Today, the masses of the resistance movements in the region are commemorating the first anniversary of the martyrdom of General Qassem Soleimani and his companion Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. 

General Soleimani played a major transnational role across borders and sectarian lines to unite the resistance movements in the region to enable them to confront the vicious plans of the USA, Zionist and Saudi regimes to divide and control the countries of the region.
We have to emphasize and remind the whole world of the nature of this cowardly act by the USA, the Zionist terrorist colonial regime, and the Saudi criminal state. 

The assassination in its nature is an intentional and deliberate crime, a violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is also a violation of the sovereignty of the state of Iraq, which is a member of the United Nations. The Iranian government has every right to take this matter to the ICC against the three countries who were involved in this crime and to the UN Security Council in addition to retaliation.  

Why did the USA assassinate General Soleimani? First of all, General Soleimani was a leader in the Revolutionary Guard, then the General Commander of its Al Quds Force, which by its name considered by the USA as a threat to the Zionist colonial regime in occupied Palestine, their military base in the area.

Second, for his extraordinary role in assisting the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, who was at war with the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon and was able to liberate the South in the May of 2000 with the great help of Iran and Soleimani. He continued to assist through the 2006 Israeli aggression against Lebanon until his assassination. Today, the Lebanese resistance movement has advanced its military and logistic capabilities by almost 100 times since 2000 and 2006.

The third is General Soleimani’s role in promoting the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip without any factional or sectarian discrimination. His strategy was to work with all Islamic and secular resistance organizations who share the ability and fit to fight a long term struggle against the Israeli occupation, “the absolute evil”, as described by him, until liberation and independence. It was General Soleimani who took the decision with Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to negotiate with President Bashar Al Assad to provide the Palestinian resistance with Cornet missiles and he took responsibility to deliver them to Gaza in 2005 which was the cornerstone in deterring military aggression. He transformed the Palestinian resistance to an advanced level.

Fourth, General Soleimani played a great military role in the joint operation room against FSA, ISIS, and Jabhat al-Nusra through the 10 years of the terrorist war against Syria. He fought hand in hand with the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah fighters, provided them with training, ammunition, and supplies.

Fifth, General Soleimani also played a great role in assisting the Iraqi resistance movement regardless of their religious or political backgrounds. He helped unite the different groups under one umbrella: the popular brigades (Hashd al-Shaabi). He provided them with training, ammunition, supplies, and logistics. He was a good companion with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy leader of Hashd al-Shaabi, and worked with him hand in hand in the different fronts in Iraq until they defeated ISIS.     

Sixth, General Soleimani also supported the Yemeni Army, popular committees, and Ansarullah in their fight against the Saudi, the U.S., and Zionist aggression of 2200 days in a row, which has left hundreds of thousands of casualties mainly among children, women, and the elderly.

General Soleimani’s legacy of uniting the resistance movements in the region from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and most importantly uniting the resistance forces in Gaza, the front line against the Zionist colonial apartheid regime. A deterrence power that forced the Zionist military and political apparatus from any aggression attempts or land incursions. 

The general was a man of ethics, principles, and passion; an exceptional military general with strategic thinking and diplomatic skills. He was assassinated while he was on a diplomatic mission. His assassination is a great loss for the axis of resistance and humanity but marks the defeat of the U.S. hegemony and aggression era.
 

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The Empire is losing the energy war

January 12, 2021

The Empire is losing the energy war

by The Ister for The Saker Blog

We can see the ongoing war against Russia’s energy industry as an act of revenge from the Empire – but a war which it is losing.

After Putin prevented the looting of the country’s energy reserves in the early 2000s, this economic war was launched, designed to cripple the nascent Russian Federation’s oil and gas industry and by extension the Russian economy as a whole.

This plan began with the planning of the Trans-Caspian, Nabucco, and Baku Tbisili Ceyhan (BTC) pipelines. The BTC pipeline was erected in 2005, pumping oil from Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea fields through Georgia to Turkey. Next, the planned Nabucco pipeline would have brought Azeri gas from the BTC to the Baumgarten gas hub in Austria, where it would circumvent Europe’s need for Russian energy. As a final blow by NATO, the Trans-Caspian pipeline was intended to cross the Caspian Sea, bringing Turkmen gas and oil to Azerbaijan and eventually to Europe through the BTC and Nabucco routes, isolating Russia.

The Russo-Georgian war can also be understood through this lens. Two days before the outbreak of the conflict, the BTC pipeline suffered from a mysterious explosion. Putin’s victory in the war and subsequent occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia held the Nabucco and Trans-Caspian projects at risk, as Western energy corporations would no longer invest in such an expensive undertaking only miles from a conflict zone. The plans were scuttled. Russia’s oil giant Gazprom now signs deals to purchase Turkmen gas directly in order to disincentivize Turkmenistan from taking part in such a future project.

And while we see the reintegration of Crimea as the return of historically Russian territory, it was also a major victory in the energy war. In the Crimean conflict, Putin’s nightmare was that the overthrow of Yanukovych would be followed by the eventually weakening or removal of Russian military positions on the energy-rich Black Sea. A strengthened position in Crimea was leveraged in the creation of the TurkStream pipeline, which then allowed Russia to bypass Ukraine by shipping gas under the Black Sea to Europe.

Russia’s standing in the pipeline battle has been further cemented by recent events regarding the NordStream 2 pipeline, which will bring Russian gas through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Naturally, America is not a fan of this project and has sought to delay the construction by any means possible.

But even Germany, no friend of Putin or Russia, has pushed ahead with the project. Gazprom will now complete the pipeline alongside partners from British, Dutch, Austrian, and German energy companies. And while America may disapprove from afar, all America exports is its fiat dollar which can offer no substitute for the Russian gas and oil required to power Germany’s industrial clusters.

In December of 2020, Gazprom resumed construction on the pipeline despite America’s protestations. In fact, the German-Prussian state of Mecklenburg Vorpommern has recently voted to create a sanction-proof legal structure that would preempt future attempts by America to interrupt the project.

What a turn of fate: to see America’s omnipotence fade as the Empire’s geopolitical meddling is simply circumvented by peaceful trade

So while Russia’s victory in the pipeline battle has been unequivocal, the war has been fought in other domains. For the last 6 years the Empire has won the pricing battle, with its two primary weapons being the oil of Saudi Arabia and the natural gas produced by the shale revolution.

The oil price battle began when John Kerry and the Saudi King met in September of 2014. An arrangement was worked out where the Saudis would suppress crude prices to weaken the Russian economy in exchange for America’s military support in overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. Because Saudi Arabia has the lowest extraction costs of any major producer (3$ per barrel as of 2020), it can profit at prices much lower than its higher-cost oil-producing opponents such as Russia, Iran, and Syria. Under this new arrangement, crude prices fell to new lows as ISIS was spawned in Eastern Syria, and the Free Syrian Army was given American heavy weapons.

The Russian economy shrank almost 40% over the next two years. By comparison, America’s “Great Recession” almost crushed the entire financial system after a mere 2.5% drawdown in GDP. Russia was able to withstand the enormous contraction because under Putin the country’s monetary policy is focused on maintaining net-zero debt: a far cry from the 1990s when Saudi price-suppression (intended to punish Russia for fighting Islamists in Chechnya) hammered down crude prices and resulted in the 1998 Russian financial crisis. Now that Russia operates without external debt, these price tactics are harmful to the populace but no longer imperil the functioning of the state.

While 2020 has seen a renewal of price suppression by the Saudis, the Kingdom’s long-term prospects are plummeting. Below Saudi Arabia sits the state of Yemen. As the high birth rate outstrips the supply of natural resources, Yemen produces an excess of poor and radicalized young men. In response to Saudi and American airstrikes, the Houthi movement has united Shia and Sunni Muslims in Yemen under a common banner against their northern neighbor. Now Yemeni rebels are targeting Saudi oil facilities with increasingly frequent drone strikes, one of which spiked oil prices by almost 20% in Sep 2019.

Another problem for Saudi Arabia is resource depletion. The Saudis are systematically lying about the amount of oil that’s remaining. Leaked communications showed the former VP of Aramco warning the US that their oil reserves could actually be 40% lower than claimed. Consensus used to be that the Ghawar field had 5 million barrels per day capacity. The IPO filing for Aramco revealed a maximum capacity of 3.8 million barrels per day: and that’s their biggest field, producing a third of the nation’s oil output.

If their oil reserves are fine, why has the Kingdom been panickedly talking about economic diversification for the past 5 years? Why did Aramco even have to IPO? America’s vassal state in the crude oil battle seems to be drying up.

Another weapon in the energy price war has been the shale gas revolution. New advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have allowed America to access previously hard to reach “tight” oil and gas reserves. As many small and mid-sized fracking operations rapidly set up shop in the mid 2010s this flooded the world with cheap natural gas and lowered Russia’s energy earnings. However, many of these firms were unprofitable and existed only due to the ultra-low interest rates available at the time, which enabled companies to operate at a loss for several years: meaning that the profitless shale revolution which hurt Russia was de facto financed by the Federal Reserve.

The fall of US shale seems to be on the horizon, as the industry showed signs of huge weakness in 2020. Oil and gas bankruptcies have quadrupled from 2019 to 2020, and production levels from America’s largest fields have dwindled. The Eagle Ford field is down 30% from 2019, Niobrara is down 35%, and Anadarko is down 40%! The best case for America is that these were voluntary production drawdowns due to cheap prices. The worst case is that these are symptoms of the end stage of depletion – the same fate befalling Saudi Arabia.

Even if the large American fields return to their previous production levels, this wave of bankruptcies will remove many small producers from the market who were essentially drilling at an operating loss for years.

There are other developments that suggest that the Empire is losing the energy war

1. Nikol Pashinian, who targeted Gazprom in Armenia with spurious lawsuits, has been given a black eye by Putin. By brokering the Armenian-Azeri peace deal the Russian military now permanently occupies the Caucasus. Anyone who seriously believes it is limited to 5 years should look to the “temporary peacekeeping operations” that have kept Russian troops stationed in the tiny nation of Transnistria for almost 3 decades. Russia’s position in the region – a crucial energy hub, is now stronger than at any other point since the Soviet Union.

2. In defiance of US sanctions, Iran has restarted its domestic shipbuilding industry by constructing new oil tankers with natively sourced parts. New Aframax size tankers have the capacity to hold 750,000 barrels of crude oil and will be used to surreptitiously deliver oil to Iran’s trading partners

3. Despite feeble efforts by Washington to install Juan Guaido in Venezuela – the only country with comparable energy reserves to Saudi Arabia, Maduro is still in power, and Russia and China are now collaborating to circumvent US sanctions. Throughout 2020, crude from Venezuela arrived at Chinese ports, having been snuck past American detection with the aid of Russian state oil company Rosneft, which made the oil appear as if its port of origin was Malaysia.

So what are the takeaways from these events?

First, we can see that Europe is waking up to the necessity of Russian energy. Despite all America’s bluster, it cannot provide a viable alternative even for the countries with which it aligns ideologically. Sure, there will be haphazard attempts like squirreling tight gas from cracks in the Mediterranean Sea, but those are at best partial solutions. Second, sanctions have backfired: the Russian economy is now fully resilient and profitable. There is no further way to wage economic warfare on a nation that has already been isolated from the global financial system. As far as oil trading is concerned, the willingness of America to impose restrictive sanctions has been matched by the creativity of those hoping to bypass them. Finally, the toughest period of the price war seems to be over and the pipeline battle has been won.

The Empire’s diminishing position in this conflict

Nikol Pashinian who targeted Gazprom is out – and Russia now occupies the Caucasus

Special Report: How China got shipments of Venezuelan oil despite U.S. sanctions | Reuters


The Ister is a researcher of financial markets and geopolitics. Author of The Ister: Escape America

UAE Converted Yemen’s Balhaf Gas Facility into Secret Prison

UAE Converted Yemen’s Balhaf Gas Facility into Secret Prison

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

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

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

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

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

Total SE has 40% stake in Balhaf

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

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

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

The UAE has gradually become a crucial partner for France.

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

French Historian, Sébastien Nadot

UAE worth enough for France to ignore atrocities

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

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

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

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

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

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

Aymeric Elluin, Amnesty International

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

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

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

French presence in UAE is strategic for Paris

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

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

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

Jalel Harchaoui, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime

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

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

Gearoid O’ Colmain, Journalist & Political Commentator

Balhaf mirrors the inhumanity of the Emiratis

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

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Israel deploys Iron Dome and Patriot missiles to Red Sea coast over Houthi threats: video

Israel deploys Iron Dome missile defense system after false alarm in the Golan Heights

 by News Desk

2021-01-10

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 P.M.) – A video was captured of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) moving their Iron Dome and Patriot missile defense systems to the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, in preparation for a possible attack by Yemen’s Houthi forces, the Associated Press reported.

The Houthi forces have recently vowed to strike Israel in response to what they claim is Tel Aviv’s interference in Yemen and their support of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition.

Associated Press cameras recorded on Saturday, footage of Patriot missile batteries and the Iron Dome system on the road leading to the resort city of Eilat in the Red Sea.

According to Israeli media reports, the air defense systems were deployed on the eve of the first anniversary of the assassination of the commander in the Iranian Quds Force, General Qassem Soleimani.

Despite the anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination, the missile system remains deployed amid concerns about regional tensions ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s swearing in.

ALSO READ  

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

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

David Hearst

6 January 2021 17:22 UTC 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Qatar has won’

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

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

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

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

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

Tensions over Yemen and Israel

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

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

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

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

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

Kingdom split

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

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

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

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

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

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

Future turmoil

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

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

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

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

This GCC show of unity can’t hide its weakness

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

A Manufactured Crisis: How Saudi Arabia Uses Oil to Bring Yemen to its Knees

By Ahmed AbdulKareem

Source

By manufacturing an oil crisis in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is able to foment political chaos in the country and stir up popular discontent against domestic oil companies, many of which are run by the Houthi-led resistance.

HODEIDA, YEMEN — Yemen’s oil is in thrall to a complex, intertwined network of elites that control the smuggling of fuel imports and new, thriving black markets. Starving Yemen of petroleum products has always been a conspicuous feature of Saudi Arabia’s nearly six-year-long war on the country, however, the most recent blockade is significantly more extensive than previous ones and comes at a time when a pandemic, diseases, and hunger are spreading rapidly across the country. The most recent byproducts of that blockade: the spread of schistosomiasis, a faltering economy in areas outside of Saudi control, and a dangerous new black market.

Known colloquially as snail fever, schistosomiasis is a rare disease caused by flatworms that thrive in untreated water, something now abundant in Yemen as the diesel fuel needed to power many of the country’s water treatment facilities, especially those in rural areas far removed from any electric grid, has dried up amid the blockade.

In a remote village in the Al-Marawa’ah district, Khalid Abdu looks at his thin daughter, 12-year-old Jamilah, with heartbreak as she lies still in the family’s hut. Jamilah is suffering from abdominal pain, diarrhea, and blood in her stool. Khalid said she has worms in her stomach, now distended and bloated in stark contrast to her otherwise meager frame. Jamilah was later diagnosed with schistosomiasis according to her family, leaving her with just three to ten more years of life if she doesn’t receive proper medical care, a luxury in her war-torn country.

Yemen Famine
Hammadi Issa | AP

Near the family’s hut, hobbled together from a hodgepodge of mud, bamboo sticks, thatch, and reed, sits an old Toyota Hilux, its low tires and thin coating of dust a testament to the fact that it hasn’t moved for weeks. Khalid blames the lack of fuel for the family’s endless problems. “I can’t drive my daughter to the hospital in Aden or bring water to my family, even the treatment plant that I used to go to is closed because there is no diesel,” he said. “Now, we drink, wash our clothes and cooking utensils, and do everything using that old well.” You see the result,” he said, pointing to Jamilah.

Another grim milestone

As the war in Yemen closes in on yet another grim milestone, the end of its sixth year in March, oil-rich U.S. ally Saudi Arabia continues to prevent oil tankers from delivering much-needed fuel to hospitals, water pumping stations, bakeries, cleaning trucks, and gas stations, plunging the entire nation into an unending fuel crisis.

The CEO of Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC), Ammar Al-Adrai, told MintPress that at least nine tankers have been trapped in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan Port, which sits on the Kingdom’s western seaboard painfully close to the Yemeni border. The tankers, Al-Adrai says, have been held despite being checked and issued permits by both the Saudi-led Coalition and the United Nations. He confirmed that the vessels are loaded with oil derivatives and that some of them have been detained for over nine months, leading to the suspension of more than 50% of the operational capabilities in the service, health, industrial and commercial sectors. 

That lack of fuel has caused an acute shortage of even the most basic goods. Khalid told MintPress that “the price of fruits, vegetables, and medicine is skyrocketing and my farm is defenseless against desertification.” Like many farmers, Khalid, who like his daughter Jamilah shows symptoms of malnutrition, is unable to power the pumps needed to irrigate his fields, leaving him unable to grow his own food with which to feed his family and the desert sands encroaching on his now derelict fields. At least 80% of Yemen’s 28 million-strong population is reliant on food aid to survive in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the decimation of the remaining agricultural sector is likely to increase that figure.

“The [Yemeni] government is indifferent and apathetic to the suffering of citizens, even in areas under their control,” Khalid said, accusing the Saudi-backed government of Aden of deliberately compounding the suffering through the proliferation of the black market. “Fuel shortages in the northern provinces are caused by the blockade, but in Aden, we don’t understand what’s going on.”

A manufactured oil crisis

By manufacturing an oil crisis in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is able to foment political chaos in the country and stir up popular discontent against domestic oil companies, many of which are run by the Houthi-led resistance. As a sort of grim bonus, the manufactured oil shortages also to incapacitate the Houthi-run port of Hodeida, increasing poverty and unemployment rates and siphoning cash out of the market, according to the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC). 

YPC released a statement placing the estimated economic damage caused by Saudi Arabia’s refusal to allow tankers to unload their cargo at billions of U.S. dollars. The company also said that demurrage fees are now at an unprecedented level of nearly $107 million and that Saudi forces have illegally impounded 72 Yemen-bound oil tankers last year, resulting in an approximately 45% drop in the amount of desperately-needed fuel shipments arriving at Yemeni ports. 

The fuel blockade has not only forced thousands of Yemenis to wait for days in lines as far as the eye can see, but it has also left water pumps and treatment plants, and hospital generators without fuel. Most drinking water, particularly in rural areas, is extracted using diesel-powered pumps, while the country’s sizable refugee population survives on water brought in by diesel-powered trucks.

Yemen Fuel Feature photo
Hani Mohammed | AP

Food imports which generally arrive via one of the country’s ports are processed and packaged at diesel-fuel-powered facilities, factories in Hodeida or Aden before being transported across the country or sold locally.

Outside of the country’s coastal cities where more than 60% of the population resides, freight is transported by road leaving remote communities at the mercy of trucks that must traverse roads pockmarked and damaged by airstrikes. The few who are willing to undertake the dangerous journey must contend with the high price and scant availability of fuel, pushing the price and availability of even the most basic commodities – food, water, and medicines – through the roof.

A thriving black market is born

The oil crisis in Yemen certainly isn’t new, but it has been growing worse recently amid a black market boom which is adding to the already miserable quality of life for Yemenis. The Saudi government is flooding southern areas of Yemen under its control with cheap fuel, exacerbating regional tensions and creating an ideal environment for black market petroleum products to boom. The stark disparity between the availability of fuel in Saudi-controlled areas versus areas under Houthi control is also causing predictable economic damage to the ladder, which is unable to compete amid the Saudi-imposed blockade. 

Despite the suffocating siege on the country, petrol products are sold illegally on roadsides, streets, and isolated areas in the south and north of the country alike, often at double the official price with prices in some areas reach 11,000 riyals for 20 liters. These black market petrol products are mixed with water and other materials and enter from Saudi-controlled ports in Aden port and border crossings such as Al-Wadiah outlet, Al-Shahr, and the rich-oil Marib province.

Yemen’s oil is now in large part controlled by a complex network of corrupt officials that control smuggling routes, imports, and black market sales. Many members of these elite groups are also key allies of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. They not only plunder wealth and destroy the economy, but they put people’s lives and property in danger. People are now forced to seek their fuel from shady black market dealers and store fuel in their homes to get them through tough times. Smuggled petroleum products are sold in residential areas and unlicensed storefronts that do not meet security and safety standards and exacerbate the human cost of the crisis.

The crisis is set amid a backdrop of theft of Yemen’s own of crude oil by the Coalition and Saudi-backed militants, a daily occurrence in the Mari and Shabwa Blocks. Recently, Saudi Arabia brought in heavy drilling equipment made to deepen existing oil wells in Hadramout aimed at increasing the rate of oil extraction there.

The effect of the blockade on Yemen is acute, even when compared to countries that are reeling from U.S. sanctions such as Iran, Syria, and Venezuela, where fuel somehow manages to find its way to citizens. Yemen, though, is completely at the mercy of Saudi Arabia, forcing the  Houthi-backed Yemeni Army to step up their oil war against the Kingdom in the Red Sea and putting sensitive oil facilities deep inside Saudi territory at risk of being targeted as they have been in recent years according to the prominent field commander, Major General Yusef al-Madani, the Commander of the Fifth Military Region, the region responsible for Yemeni coasts and territorial waters.

The Soleimani legacy: Dr Tim Anderson

Martyr Qasim Soleimani and His Ever-presence in Every Battlefield in Yemen

Martyr Qasim Soleimani and His Ever-presence in Every Battlefield in Yemen

January 05, 2021

by Mansoureh Tajik for the Saker Blog

And never presume those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. On the contrary, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provisions. (Quran, 3:169)

One year ago, Sardar Soleimani, the Commander of Qods Force of the Islamic Revolution was killed in the hands of personalities that are in a tight competition with themselves to win first place in wretchedness and virulence. On the occasion of the 1st anniversary of Sardar Soleimani’s martyrdom, the leader of the Ansarullah Party and the resistance group in Yemen, Abulmalik Al-Houthi sent an official letter the content of which is quite noteworthy and significant.

I have chosen to translate that letter for the Saker blog for three specific reasons. First, to remember Sardar Soleimani’s martyrdom by highlighting Yemeni people’s significant role in regional resistance against the most wretched and virulent characters in the world. Second, to give a glimpse of how Sardar Soleimani has influenced, in life and in death, some of the most prominent personalities and movements in the Resistance camp. Third, to provide some insight into one of the most significant doctrines in Shi’a Islam: that of Mahdawiyyat that relates to notable events of the End of Time.

It is clear that the words and titles Abdulmalik Al-Houthi has used in his letter to describe Sardar Soleimani’s life, the conditions surrounding his martyrdom, his killers, and his role after his martyrdom were carefully chosen and are quite loaded with meaning. The specific verses of Quran he recites, too, carry significant messages especially for those who are deeply informed about Shi’a Muslim’s history and the prophecies regarding Mahdawiyyat signs and symbols in Islam.

Shi’a follows the developments in Yemen with a special interest and care because it is, according to reliable Shi’a sources, from Yemen that the movement and push against world injustices and oppressive transgressors begins its very final march to the heart of the army of the transgressors. Their activities, it is stated, will be supported by those of the Iranian Shi’a, God Willing.

Flag of Iran held side-by-side the most widely-used flag of the Houthies.

In the series regarding Imamat and Wilayat Faqih, I will, Inshallah, cover the concepts of Mahdawiyyat and End of Time according to Shi’a. For now, the Al-Houthi Leader of Yemen’s letter is important to review.

 “Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim.”

“God’s Peace be upon the Great Prophet and his Pure Household.”

“God Almighty states in Quran, ‘Among the believers, there are men who remained truthful to the pledge they made with Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration’ [Surah 33 (Al-Ahzab), Verse 23]. Says the Truth, God, the Exalted, the Great.’”

“After citing this verse, I am remembering the martyr of the Islamic Ummah and the great warrior, Haj Qasim Soleimani (May God, the Exalted, be satisfied with him), upon whom God’s blessings were bestowed so that he is put side-by-side these believing men [refers to the ones singled out in the Quranic Verse]. The believing men whose most important trait is their sincerity and truthfulness with God, the Exalted.”

“Martyr Haj Qasim Soleimani, while in waiting (wa minhum man yantazir), was resolute and steadfast. The sincerity of Martyr Soliemani relationship with God, the Exalted, was evident in his strong will, his tireless efforts, and his dedication in the path of God, the Exalted. He was an ever-present warrior of Islam in every field and in every battle zone with his strong belief and his unwavering resolve.”

“It was God’s Favor and Blessing to have Martyr Haj Qasim Soleimani’s path in life, from his youth, to be an excellent soldier with belief, strong ethics, and highly effective in the path of God, the Exalted, and to serve with utmost sincerity and loyalty and without interruption, under the flag of Wilayat of Imam Khomeini (May God be satisfied with him) and subsequently under Imam Khamenei (May God protect him).”

“Martyr Haj Qasim Soleimani never tired in this path. The more time passed, the more intense his activities and the greater his impact became. He excelled in belief and sacrifice one step after another.”

“He did not alter his stance and no one could force him to do so because he was the true flag bearer of sincerity just as Imam Ali (Allahu-Salam) states, ‘loyalty and sincerity are twins.’ Just as God, the Exalted, states, ‘they never turn their backs to their promises and pledges.’ And this is the core issue in resistance and in steadfastness under all conditions and along the way. People of this caliber are neither influenced by material and non-material temptations and lose their true color nor do they waiver when faced with challenges and difficulties, nor do they succumb to attrition under ongoing sufferings and obstacles, nor do they become unsteady with talks and bickering of hopeless backbiters.”

“People like these are never afflicted with doubt in their stance and with their adherence to Wilayat and their grasp onto the Wilayat of Muhammad (Sallallahu-Alayhu-wa-Allihi-wa-Sallam) and his Pure Household. Haj Qasim had borrowed Ali’s (AS) bravery, Hussain’s (AS) sacrifice, and Abbas’s (AS) strong will and endurance. This brave warrior is a student of Sayydu-Shoahda’s [Imam Hussain] school of thought and he was, in his exemplary struggles, sacrifice, bravery, and humbleness, OF Hussain.”

“However, as he lived in the waiting phase (wa minhum man yantazir) and when he began transitioning into the state of martyrdom in the path of God, the Exalted, (wa minhum man qaza nuhbah), I must reiterate this point that Haj Qasim (May God be satisfied with him) achieved a rather special kind of martyrdom: For, the order for his killing was issued by the Yazid of our time, that is Trump and the US, and the operatives of this order were his criminal soldiers who were just like Shimr.”

“Haj Qasim offered his soul to God, the Exalted, and his body was torn into pieces just like that of Ali Akbar (AS). And it is here when our beloved sister Zaynab (SA) states, ‘O, God, please accept this sacrifice from us.’”

“Haj Qasim (May God be satisfied with him) become immortal in history just as he achieved the company of the Great Prophet Muhammad (SAWAW) and other True Prophets and the Sidiqin [The Truthful] and the martyrs and the good-doers regarding God’s Grace and Blessings. And just as he become immortal in the hearts of all free people of the world and the future generations. Just as he is, right now, present with his impacts and roles in every scene and every battlefield alongside us. He is present among us.”

“It was God’s favor upon him to make him a soldier among God’s, the Exalted, soldiers. He possessed one of the highest degrees of insight, intelligence, authenticity, sacrifice, and humbleness just as he was playing a significant role in every scene and every battlefield. Just as he achieve deliverance with his special kind of martyrdom. The sort of martyrdom that demonstrated how effective and impactful he was and how furious the oppressive transgressors were with him.”

“God, the Exalted, granted him the blessing of jihad so that he could, as God’s, the Exalted, soldier to raise the flag of Islam properly and just as it is befitting of devotees of Imam Hussain (AS). Martyrdom in the path of God is honor and dignity for us.”

“O, God Almighty, accept this righteous warrior, Haj Qasim Soleimani, next to You and assign him the most excellent position among the martyrs and grant us the favor to be followers of his path! Sallallahu-wa-Sallam ala Abdihi wa Rasulihi Muhmmad wa Alihi-Tahirin.”

Abdul-Malik Badriddin Al-Huthi,

11 Jamadi-al-Awwal; 6th Day 1399 [January 2, 2020]

May God grant us, too, His Favor to be in the same path as Shahid Sardar Qasim Soleimani, an authentic Shi’a of Imam Ali (AS). Peace be upon you.

الحوثي في رسالة إلى عائلة سليماني: سيظل خالداً في وجدان الأحرار

الميادين نت

الحوثي: سليماني سيظل خالداً في وجدان الأحرار في كل الأجيال
قائد حركة أنصار الله عبد الملك الحوثي يبعث برسالة لعائلة الشهيد الحاج قاسم سليماني في الذكرى الأولى لاغتياله.

قال قائد حركة أنصار الله عبد الملك الحوثي إن “شهيد الأمة الإسلامية المجاهد الكبير الحاج قاسم سليماني حظي بتوفيق الله ليكون في عداد الرجال المؤمنين الذين عنوان موقفهم هو الصدق مع الله سبحانه”.

وفي رسالة لعائلة الشهيد قاسم سليماني في الذكرى الأولى لاغتياله، أوضح الحوثي أن “سليماني كان ثابتاً في مرحلة “ومنهم من ينتظر”، وكانت تجليات صدقه مع الله في تلك المرحلة عزماً لا يلين، ومثابرة في العمل بكل جد واهتمام كبير وتفان في سبيل الله”.

كما أضاف أن “الحاج قاسم سليماني كان جنديّ الإسلام الحاضر باهتمامه المتميز وإسهامه الكبير في كل ساحات وميادين المواجهة”، مؤكداً أنه “سيظل خالداً في وجدان الأحرار في كل الأجيال الآتية وحاضراً في إنتاجه وآثاره وإسهاماته في كل الساحات”.

وشدد الحوثي على أنه “شهد بمدى تأثير الشهيد سليماني الكبير مستوى انزعاج الطغاة المستكبرين منه، وقد أكرمه الله بكرامة الجهاد”.

يذكر أن قائد قوة القدس الجنرال قاسم سليماني ونائب رئيس هيئة الحشد الشعبي أبو مهدي المهندس استشهدا في 3 كانون الثاني/يناير الماضي بقصف صاروخي أميركي  قرب مطار بغداد الدولي.

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

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

By Staff, Agencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MILITARY AND POLITICAL TRENDS OF 2020 THAT WILL SHAPE 2021

South Front

2020 was a year full of surprises. It marked the advent of a new reality which may, with an equal probability, lead humanity to a new dark age or to a global digital dystopia. In this context, there is little room for a positive scenario of sustainable development that would benefit people in general, as opposed to just a group of select individuals and special interest groups. The heft of shifts in 2020 is comparable to what European citizens felt on the eve of another change of the socio-economic formation in the early 17th  and 20th centuries.

The past year began with the assassination of the Iranian military genius General Qasem Soleimani by the United States, and it ended with the murder of the prominent scholar Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by the Israelis.

Iran's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassinated near Tehran -  YouTube

In early January, Iran, expecting another aggressive action from the West, accidently shot down a Ukrainian civil aircraft that had inexplicably altered its course over Tehran without request nor authorization. Around the same time, Turkey confirmed the deployment of its military in Libya, beginning a new phase of confrontation in the region, and Egypt responding with airstrikes and additional shows of force. The situation in Yemen developed rapidly: taking advantage of the Sunni coalition’s moral weakness, Ansar Allah achieved significant progress in forcing the Saudis out of the country in many regions. The state of warfare in northwestern Syria has significantly changed, transforming into the formal delineation of zones of influence of Turkey and the Russian-Iranian-Syrian coalition. This happened amid, and largely due to the weakening of U.S. influence in the region. Ankara is steadily increasing its military presence in the areas under its responsibility and along the contact line. It has taken measures to deter groups linked to Al-Qaeda and other radicals. As a result, the situation in the region is stabilizing, which has allowed Turkey to increasingly exert control over most of Greater Idlib.

ISIS cells remain active in the eastern and southern Syrian regions. Particular processes are taking place in Quneitra and Daraa provinces, where Russian peace initiatives were inconclusive by virtue of the direct destructive influence of Israel in these areas of Syria. In turn, the assassination of Qasem Soleimaniin resulted in a sharp increase in the targeting of American personnel, military and civil infrastructure in Iraq. The U.S. Army was forced to regroup its forces, effectively abandoning a number of its military installations and concentrating available forces at key bases. At the same time, Washington flatly rejected demands from Baghdad for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops and promised to respond with full-fledged sanctions if Iraq continued to raise this issue. Afghanistan remains stable in its instability. Disturbing news comes from Latin America. Confrontation between China and India flared this year, resulting in sporadic border clashes. This situation seems far from over, as both countries have reinforced their military posture along the disputed border. The aggressive actions of the Trump administration against China deepen global crises, which has become obvious not only to specialists but also to the general public. The relationship between the collective West and the Russian Federation was re-enshrined in “the Cold War state”, which seems to have been resurrected once again.

The turbulence of the first quarter of 2020 was overshadowed by a new socio-political process – the corona-crisis, the framework of which integrates various phenomena from the Sars-Cov2 epidemic itself and the subsequent exacerbation of the global economic crisis.  The disclosure of substantial social differences that have accumulated in modern capitalist society, lead to a series of incessant protests across the globe. The year 2020 was accompanied by fierce clashes between protesters professing various causes and law enforcement forces in numerous countries. Although on the surface these societal clashes with the state appear disassociated, many share related root causes. A growing, immense wealth inequality, corruption of government at all levels, a lack of any meaningful input into political decision making, and the unmasking of massive censorship via big tech corporations and the main stream media all played a part in igniting societal unrest.

In late 2019 and early 2020 there was little reason for optimistic projections for the near future. However, hardly anyone could anticipate the number of crisis events and developments that had taken place during this year. These phenomena affected every region of the world to some extent.

Nevertheless, Middle East has remained the main source of instability, due to being an arena where global and regional power interests intertwine and clash. The most important line of confrontation is between US and Israel-led forces on the one hand, and Iran and its so called Axis of Resistance. The opposing sides have been locked in an endless spiral of mutual accusations, sanctions, military incidents, and proxy wars, and recently even crossed the threshold into a limited exchange of strikes due to the worsening state of regional confrontation. Russia and Turkey, the latter of which has been distancing itself from Washington due to growing disagreements with “NATO partners” and changes in global trends, also play an important role in the region without directly entering into the confrontation between pro-Israel forces and Iran.

As in the recent years, Syria and Iraq remain the greatest hot-spots. The destruction of ISIS as a terrorist state and the apparent killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not end its existence as a terror group. Many ISIS cells and supporting elements actively use regional instability as a chance to preserve the Khalifate’s legacy. They remain active mainly along the Syria-Iraq border, and along the eastern bank of the Euphrates in Syria. Camps for the temporary displaced and for the families and relatives of ISIS militants on the territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in north-eastern Syria are also breeding grounds for terrorist ideology. Remarkably, these regions are also where there is direct presence of US forces, or, as in the case of SDF camps, presence of forces supported by the US.

The fertile soil for radicalism also consists of the inability to reach a comprehensive diplomatic solution that would end the Syrian conflict in a way acceptable to all parties. Washington is not interesting in stabilizing Syria because even should Assad leave, it would strengthen the Damascus government that would naturally be allied to Russia and Iran. Opposing Iran and supporting Israel became the cornerstone of US policy during the Trump administration. Consequently, Washington is supporting separatist sentiments of the Kurdish SDF leadership and even allowed it to participate in the plunder of Syrian oil wells in US coalition zone of control in which US firms linked to the Pentagon and US intelligence services are participating. US intelligence also aids Israel in its information and psychological warfare operations, as well as military strikes aimed at undermining Syria and Iranian forces located in the country. In spite of propaganda victories, in practice Israeli efforts had limited success in 2020 as Iran continued to strengthen its positions and military capabilities on its ally’s territory. Iran’s success in establishing and supporting a land corridor linking Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iraq, plays an important role. Constant expansion of Iran’s military presence and infrastructure near the town of al-Bukamal, on the border of Iraq and Syria, demonstrates the importance of the project to Tehran. Tel-Aviv claims that Iran is using that corridor to equip pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria and Lebanon with modern weapons.

The Palestinian question is also an important one for Israel’s leadership and its lobby in Washington. The highly touted “deal of the century” turned out to be no more than an offer for the Palestinians to abandon their struggle for statehood. As expected, this initiative did not lead to a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Rather the opposite, it gave an additional stimulus to Palestinian resistance to the demands that were being imposed. At the same time, Trump administration scored a diplomatic success by forcing the UAE and Bahrain to normalize their relations with Israel, and Saudi Arabia to make its collaboration with Israel public. That was a historic victory for US-Israel policy in the Middle East. Public rapprochement of Arab monarchies and Israel strengthened the positions of Iran as the only country which not only declares itself as Palestine’s and Islamic world’s defender, but actually puts words into practice. Saudi Arabia’s leadership will particularly suffer in terms of loss of popularity among its own population, already damaged by the failed war in Yemen and intensifying confrontation with UAE, both of which are already using their neighbor’s weakness to lay a claim to leadership on the Arabian Peninsula.

The list of actors strengthening their positions in the Red Sea includes Russia. In late 2020 it became known that Russia reached an agreement with Sudan on establishing a naval support facility which has every possibility to become a full-blown naval base. This foothold will enable the Russian Navy to increase its presence on key maritime energy supply routes on the Red Sea itself  and in the area between Aden and Oman straits. For Russia, which has not had naval infrastructure in that region since USSR’s break-up, it is a significant diplomatic breakthrough. For its part. Sudan’s leadership apparently views Russia’s military presence as a security factor allowing it to balance potential harmful measures by the West.

During all of 2020, Moscow and Beijing continued collaboration on projects in Africa, gradually pushing out traditional post-colonial powers in several key areas. The presence of Russian military specialists in the Central African Republic where they assist the central government in strengthening its forces, escalation of local conflicts, and ensuring the security of Russian economic sectors, is now a universally known fact. Russian diplomacy and specialists are also active in Libya, where UAE and Egypt which support Field Marshal Khaftar, and Turkey which supports the Tripoli government, are clashing. Under the cover of declarations calling for peace and stability, foreign actors are busily carving up Libya’s energy resources. For Egypt there’s also the crucial matter of fighting terrorism and the presence of groups affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood which Cairo sees as a direct threat to national security.

The Sahel and the vicinity of Lake Chad remain areas where terror groups with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS remain highly active. France’s limited military mission in the Sahara-Sahel region has been failure and could not ensure sufficient support for regional forces in order to stabilize the situation. ISIS and Boko-Haram continue to spread chaos in the border areas between Niger, Nigeria, Cameroun, and Chad. In spite of all the efforts by the region’s governments, terrorists continue to control sizable territories and represent a significant threat to regional security. The renewed conflict in Ethiopia is a separate problem, in which the federal government was drawn into a civil war against the National Front for the Liberation of Tigray controlling that province. The ethno-feudal conflict between federal and regional elites threatens to destabilize the entire country if it continues.

The explosive situation in Africa shows that post-colonial European powers and the “Global Policeman” which dominated that continent for decades were not interested in addressing the continent’s actual problem. Foreign actors were mainly focused on extracting resources and ensuring the interests of a narrow group of politicians and entities affiliated with foreign capitals. Now they are forced to compete with the informal China-Russia bloc which will use a different approach that may be a described as follows: Strengthening of regional stability to protect investments in economic projects. Thus it is no surprise that influential actors are gradually losing to new but more constructive forces.

Tensions within European countries have been on the rise during the past several years, due to both the crisis of the contemporary economic paradigm and to specific regional problems such as the migration crises and the failure of multiculturalism policies, with subsequent radicalization of society.

Unpleasant surprises included several countries’ health care and social protection networks’ inability to cope with the large number of COVID-19 patients. Entire systems of governance in a number of European countries proved incapable of coping with rapidly developing crises. This is true particularly for countries of southern Europe, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Among eastern European countries, Hungary’s and Romania’s economies were particularly badly affected. At the same time, Poland’s state institutions and economy showed considerable resilience in the face of crisis. While the Federal Republic of Germany suffered considerable economic damage in the second quarter of 2020, Merkel’s government used the situation to inject huge sums of liquidity into the economy, enhanced Germany’s position within Europe, and moreover Germany’s health care and social protection institutions proved capable and sufficiently resilient.

Coronavirus and subsequent social developments led to the emergence of the so-called “Macron Doctrine” which amounts to an argument that EU must obtain strategic sovereignty. This is consistent with the aims of a significant portion of German national elites. Nevertheless, Berlin officially criticized Macron’s statements and has shown willingness to enter into a strategic partnership with Biden Administration’s United States as a junior partner. However, even FRG’s current leadership understands the dangers of lack of strategic sovereignty in an era of America’s decline as the world policeman. Against the backdrop of a global economic crisis, US-EU relations are ineluctably drifting from a state of partnership to one of competition or even rivalry. In general, the first half of 2020 demonstrated the vital necessity of further development of European institutions.

The second half of 2020 was marked by fierce mass protests in Germany, France, Great Britain, and other European countries. The level of violence employed by both the protesters and law enforcement was unprecedented and is not comparable to the level of violence seen during protests in Russia, Belarus, and even Kirgizstan. Mainstream media did their best to depreciate and conceal the scale of what was happening. If the situation continues to develop in the same vein, there is every chance that in the future, a reality that can be described as a digital concentration camp may form in Europe.

World media, for its part, paid particular attention to the situation in Belarus, where protests have entered their fourth month following the August 9, 2020 presidential elections. Belarusian protests have been characterized by their direction from outside the country and choreographed nature. The command center of protest activities is officially located in Poland. This fact is in and of itself unprecedented in Europe’s contemporary history. Even during Ukraine’s Euromaidan, external forces formally refused to act as puppetmasters.

Belarus’ genuinely existing socio-economic problems have led to a rift within society that is now divided into two irreconcilable camps: proponents of reforms vs. adherents of the current government. Law enforcement forces which are recruited from among President Lukashenko’s supporters, have acted forcefully and occasionally harshly. Still, the number of casualties is far lower than, for example, in protests in France or United States.

Ukraine itself, where Western-backed “democratic forces” have already won, remains the main point of instability in Eastern Europe. The Zelenskiy administration came to power under slogans about the need to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine and rebuild the country. In practice, the new government continued to pursue the policy aimed at maintaining military tension in the region in the interests of its external sponsors and personal enrichment.

For the United States, 2020 turned out to be a watershed year for both domestic and foreign policy. Events of this year were a reflection of Trump Administration’s protectionist foreign policy and a national-oriented approach in domestic and economic policy, which ensured an intense clash with the majority of Washington Establishment acting in the interests of global capital.

In addition to the unresolved traditional problems, America’s problems were made worse by two crises, COVID-19 spread and BLM movement protests. They ensured America’s problems reached a state of critical mass.

One can and should have a critical attitude toward President Trump’s actions, but one should not doubt the sincerity of his efforts to turn the slogan Make America Great Again into reality. One should likewise not doubt that his successor will adhere to other values. Whether it’s Black Lives Matter or Make Global Moneymen Even Stronger, or Russia Must Be Destroyed, or something even more exotic, it will not change the fact America we’ve known in the last half century died in 2020. A telling sign of its death throes is the use of “orange revolution” technologies developed against inconvenient political regimes. This demonstrated that currently the United States is ruled not by national elites but by global investors to whom the interests of ordinary Americans are alien.

This puts the terrifying consequences of COVID-19 in a new light. The disease has struck the most vulnerable layers of US society. According to official statistics, United States has had about 20 million cases and over 330,000 deaths. The vast majority are low-income inhabitants of mega-cities. At the same time, the wealthiest Americans have greatly increased their wealth by exploiting the unfolding crisis for their own personal benefit. The level of polarization of US society has assumed frightening proportions. Conservatives against liberals, blacks against whites, LGBT against traditionalists, everything that used to be within the realm of public debate and peaceful protest has devolved into direct, often violent, clashes. One can observe unprecedented levels of aggression and violence from all sides.

In foreign policy, United States continued to undermine the international security system based on international treaties. There are now signs that one of the last legal bastions of international security, the New START treaty, is under attack. US international behavior has prompted criticism from NATO allies. There are growing differences of opinion on political matters with France and economic ones with Germany. The dialogue with Eastern Mediterranean’s most powerful military actor Turkey periodically showed a sharp clash of interests.

Against that backdrop, United States spent 2020 continuously increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea basin. Additional US forces and assets were deployed in direct proximity to Russia’s borders. The number of offensive military exercises under US leadership or with US participation has considerably increased.

In the Arctic, the United States is acting as a spoiler, unhappy with the current state of affairs. It aims to extend its control over natural resources in the region, establish permanent presence in other countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZ) through the use of the so-called “freedom of navigation operations” (FONOPs), and continue to encircle Russia with ballistic missile defense (BMD) sites and platforms.

In view of the urgent and evident US preparations to be able to fight and prevail in a war against a nuclear adversary, by defeating the adversary’s nuclear arsenal through the combination of precision non-nuclear strikes, Arctic becomes a key region in this military planning. The 2020 sortie by a force of US Navy BMD-capable AEGIS destroyers into the Barents Sea, the first such mission since the end of the Cold War over two decades ago, shows the interest United States has in projecting BMD capabilities into regions north of Russia’s coastline, where they might be able to effect boost-phase interceptions of Russian ballistic missiles that would be launched in retaliatory strikes against the United States. US operational planning for the Arctic in all likelihood resembles that for South China Sea, with only a few corrections for climate.

In Latin America, the year of 2020 was marked by the intensification of Washington efforts aimed at undermining the political regimes that it considered to be in the opposition to the existing world order.

Venezuela remained one of the main points of the US foreign policy agenda. During the entire year, the government of Nicolas Maduro was experiencing an increasing sanction, political and clandestine pressure. In May, Venezuelan security forces even neutralized a group of US mercenaries that sneaked into the country to stage the coup in the interests of the Washington-controlled opposition and its public leader Juan Guaido. However, despite the recognition of Guaido as the president of Venezuela by the US and its allies, regime-change attempts, and the deep economic crisis, the Maduro government survived.

This case demonstrated that the decisive leadership together having the support of a notable part of the population and working links with alternative global centers of power could allow any country to resist to globalists’ attacks. The US leadership itself claims that instead of surrendering, Venezuela turned itself into a foothold of its geopolitical opponents: China, Russia, Iran and even Hezbollah. While this evaluation of the current situation in Venezuela is at least partly a propaganda exaggeration to demonize the ‘anti-democratic regime’ of Maduro, it highlights parts of the really existing situation.

The turbulence in Bolivia ended in a similar manner, when the right wing government that gained power as a result of the coup in 2019 demonstrated its inability to rule the country and lost power in 2020. The expelled president, Evo Morales, returned to the country and the Movement for Socialism secured their dominant position in Bolivia thanks to the wide-scale support from the indigenous population. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that these developments in Venezuela and Bolivia would allow to reverse the general trend towards the destabilization in South America.

The regional economic and social turbulence is strengthened by the high level of organized crime and the developing global crisis that sharpened the existing contradictions among key global and regional players. This creates conditions for the intensification of existing conflicts. For example, the peace process between the FARC and the federal government is on the brink of the collapse in Colombia. Local sources and media accuse the government and affiliated militias of detentions and killings of leaders of local communities and former FARC members in violation of the existing peace agreement. This violence undermine the fragile peace process and sets conditions for the resumption of the armed struggle by FARC and its supporters. Mexico remains the hub for illegal migration, drug and weapon trafficking just on the border with the United States. Large parts of the country are in the state of chaos and are in fact controlled by violent drug cartels and their mercenaries. Brazil is in the permanent state of political and economic crisis amid the rise of street crime.

These negative tendencies affect almost all states of the region. The deepening global economic crisis and the coronavirus panic add oil to the flame of instability.

Countries of South America are not the only one suffering from the crisis. It also shapes relations between global powers. Outcomes of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the global economic crisis contributed to the hardening of the standoff between the United States and China.

Washington and Beijing have insoluble contradictions. The main of them is that China has been slowly but steadily winning the race for the economic and technological dominance simultaneously boosting own military capabilities to defend the victory in the case of a military escalation. The sanction, tariff and diplomatic pressure campaign launched by the White House on China since the very start of the Trump Presidency is a result of the understanding of these contradictions by the Trump administration and its efforts to guarantee the leading US position in the face of the global economic recession. The US posture towards the South China Sea issues, the political situation in Hong Kong, human rights issues in Xinjiang, the unprecedented weapon sales to Taiwan, the support of the militarization of Japan and many other questions is a part of the ongoing standoff. Summing up, Washington has been seeking to isolate China through a network of local military alliances and contain its economic expansion through sanction, propaganda and clandestine operations.

The contradictions between Beijing and Washington regarding North Korea and its nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a part of the same chain of events. Despite the public rhetoric, the United States is not interested in the full settlement of the Korea conflict. Such a scenario that may include the reunion of the North and South will remove the formal justification of the US military buildup. This is why the White House opted to not fulfill its part of the deal with the North once again assuring the North Korean leadership that its decision to develop its nuclear and missile programs and further.

Statements of Chinese diplomats and top official demonstrate that Beijing fully understands the position of Washington. At the same time, China has proven that it is not going to abandon its policies aimed at gaining the position of the main leading power in the post-unipolar world. Therefore, the conflict between the sides will continue escalating in the coming years regardless the administration in the White House and the composition of the Senate and Congress. Joe Biden and forces behind his rigged victory in the presidential election will likely turn back from Trump’s national-oriented economic policy and ‘normalize’ relations with China once again reconsidering Russia as Enemy #1. This will not help to remove the insoluble contradictions with China and reverse the trend towards the confrontation. However, the Biden administration with help from mainstream media will likely succeed in hiding this fact from the public by fueling the time-honored anti-Russian hysteria.

As to Russia itself, it ended the year of 2020 in its ordinary manner for the recent years: successful and relatively successful foreign policy actions amid the complicated economic, social and political situation inside the country. The sanction pressure, coronavirus-related restrictions and the global economic crisis slowed down the Russian economy and contributed to the dissatisfaction of the population with internal economic and social policies of the government. The crisis was also used by external actors that carried out a series of provocations and propaganda campaigns aimed at undermining the stability in the country ahead of the legislative election scheduled for September 2021. The trend on the increase of sanction pressure, including tapering large infrastructure projects like the Nord Stream 2, and expansion of public and clandestine destabilization efforts inside Russia was visible during the entire year and will likely increase in 2021. In the event of success, these efforts will not only reverse Russian foreign policy achievements of the previous years, but could also put in danger the existence of the Russian statehood in the current format.

Among the important foreign policy developments of 2020 underreported by mainstream media is the agreement on the creation of a Russian naval facility on the coast of the Red Sea in Sudan. If this project is fully implemented, this will contribute to the rapid growth of Russian influence in Africa. Russian naval forces will also be able to increase their presence in the Red Sea and in the area between the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. Both of these areas are the core of the current maritime energy supply routes. The new base will also serve as a foothold of Russia in the case of a standoff with naval forces of NATO member states that actively use their military infrastructure in Djibouti to project power in the region. It is expected that the United States (regardless of the administration in the White House) will try to prevent the Russian expansion in the region at any cost. For an active foreign policy of Russia, the creation of the naval facility in Sudan surpasses all public and clandestine actions in Libya in recent years. From the point of view of protecting Russian national interests in the Global Oceans, this step is even more important than the creation of the permanent air and naval bases in Syria.

As well as its counterparts in Washington and Beijing, Moscow contributes notable efforts to the modernization of its military capabilities, with special attention to the strategic nuclear forces and hypersonic weapons. The Russians see their ability to inflict unacceptable damage on a potential enemy among the key factors preventing a full-scale military aggression against them from NATO. The United Sates, China and Russia are in fact now involved in the hypersonic weapon race that also includes the development of means and measures to counter a potential strike with hypersonic weapons.

The new war in Nagorno-Karabakh became an important factor shaping the balance of power in the South Caucasus. The Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc achieved a sweeping victory over Armenian forces and only the involvement of the Russian diplomacy the further deployment of the peacekeepers allowed to put an end to the violence and rescue the vestiges of the self-proclaimed Armenian Republic of Artsakh. Russia successfully played a role of mediator and officially established a military presence on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan for the next 5 years. The new Karabakh war also gave an additional impulse in the Turkish-Azerbaijani economic and military cooperation, while the pro-Western regime in Armenia that expectedly led the Armenian nation to the tragedy is balancing on the brink of collapse.

The Central Asia traditionally remained one of the areas of instability around the world with the permanent threat of militancy and humanitarian crisis. Nonetheless, despite forecasts of some analysis, the year of 2020 did not become the year of the creation of ISIS’ Caliphate 2.0 in the region. An important role in preventing this was played by the Taliban that additionally to securing its military victories over the US-led coalition and the US-backed Kabul government, was fiercely fighting ISIS cells appearing in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which controls a large part of Afghanistan, was also legalized on the international scene by direct talks with the United States. The role of the Taliban will grow and further with the reduction of the US military presence.

While some media already branded the year of 2020 as one of the worst in the modern history, there are no indications that the year of 2021 will be any brighter or the global crises and regional instability will magically disappear by themselves. Instead, most likely 2020 was just a prelude for the upcoming global shocks and the acute standoff for markets and resources in the environment of censorship, legalized total surveillance, violations of human rights under ‘democratic’ and ‘social’ slogans’ and proxy wars.

The instability in Europe will likely be fueled by the increasing cultural-civilizational conflict and the new wave of newcomers that have acute ideological and cultural differences with the European civilization. The influx of newcomers is expected due to demographic factors and the complicated security, social situation in the Middle East and Africa. Europe will likely try to deal with the influx of newcomers by introducing new movement and border restrictions under the brand of fighting coronavirus. Nonetheless, the expected growth of the migration pressure will likely contribute to the negative tendencies that could blow up Europe from inside.

The collapse of the international security system, including key treaties limiting the development and deployment of strategic weapons, indicates that the new detente on the global scene will remain an improbable scenario. Instead, the world will likely move further towards the escalation scenario as at least a part of the current global leadership considers a large war a useful tool to overcome the economic crisis and capture new markets. Russia, with its large territories, rich resources, a relatively low population, seems to be a worthwhile target. At the same time, China will likely exploit the escalating conflict between Moscow and the US-led bloc to even further increase its global positions. In these conditions, many will depend on the new global order and main alliances within it that are appearing from the collapsing unipolar system. The United States has already lost its unconditional dominant role on the international scene, but the so-called multipolar world order has not appeared yet. The format of this new multipolar world will likely have a critical impact on the further developments around the globe and positions of key players involved in the never-ending Big Game.

“Israel’s” Channel 13: The Iranian Capabilities in Yemen Are What Worries ‘Israel’ The Most “القناة 13”: القدرات الإيرانيّة في اليمن أكثر ما يقلق “إسرائيل”

“Israel’s” Channel 13: The Iranian Capabilities in Yemen Are What Worries ‘Israel’ The Most

“Israel’s” Channel 13: The Iranian Capabilities in Yemen Are What Worries ‘Israel’ The Most

 Al-Mayadeen Net

‘Israel’s’ Channel 13 is reporting that Iranian drones, such as those that attacked the Saudi oil company Aramco in the past, could reach ‘Israel’ from Yemen.

‘Israel’s’ Channel 13 touched on the soaring tensions between Iran and ‘Israel’ and their exchanges in the form of “strong action and words.” The broadcaster focused on the alleged deployment of an ‘Israeli’ submarine to the Persian Gulf, the launching of missiles from Gaza last weekend, and the new Iranian threats.

Channel 13 suggested that there were two important events. On the one hand there is “an Iranian desire to avenge the assassination of the nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and this draws ‘Israeli’ attention to what is happening in Yemen.” On the other hand, there is “the first anniversary of the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani on January 3 which prompted the Americans to offer muscle to face the Iranians in the Gulf.”

These two matters reportedly “pushed the ‘Israeli’ security establishment to advance their preparations,” underscoring their existing “fear of Iran’s attempt to accumulate capabilities in Yemen that could pose a threat to ‘Israel’.”

Channel 13 said, “It may sound strange to most ‘Israelis’ when hearing about Yemen, which has never been on the threat map. But yes, it is Yemen. Iranian drones, like those that attacked the Saudi oil company Aramco a year and a half ago, could reach ‘Israel’ from Yemen.”

Channel 13’s military affairs commentator Alon Ben David said, “When you hear about an ‘Israeli’ submarine in the Red Sea – its target not necessarily being in the Gulf – I say that what worries ‘Israel’ most, and the army spokesman has publicly expressed this, is the Iranian capabilities in Yemen.”

It is noteworthy that ‘Israeli’ media, quoting intelligence sources, said recently that “a military submarine belonging to the ‘Israeli’ navy crossed the Suez Canal above water.”

‘Israel’s’ Kan Channel stated that this step comes “amid a very tense period between ‘Israel’ and Iran,” indicating that this “submarine that crossed the Red Sea will head, according to Arab intelligence officials’ estimates, towards the Gulf.”

“القناة 13”: القدرات الإيرانيّة في اليمن أكثر ما يقلق “إسرائيل”

 الميادين نت

“القناة 13” الإسرائيليّة تتحدث عن أنّ الطائرات المسيّرة الإيرانيّة، كتلك الطائرات التي هاجمت شركة النفط السعوديّة أرامكو سابقاً، يمكن أن تصل من اليمن إلى “إسرائيل”.

تظاهرة لجماعة
تظاهرة لجماعة “أنصار الله” في العاصمة صنعاء عام 2019 (أ.ف.ب)

تحدثت “القناة 13″ الإسرائيليّة عن مستوى التوتر بين إيران و”إسرائيل” وتبادلهما رسائل “شديدة بالأفعال والكلمات”، خاصة بعد زعم إرسال غواصة عسكريّة تابعة للبحريّة الإسرائيليّة إلى الخليج، وإطلاق الصواريخ من غزة نهاية الأسبوع الماضي، والتهديدات الإيرانيّة الجديدة.

القناة الإسرائيليّة أشارت إلى وجود حدثين مهمين، من جهة “رغبة إيرانيّة للانتقام على اغتيال العالم النووي محسن فخري زاده، وهذا يشد الأنظار الإسرائيليّة إلى ما يحصل في اليمن”، ومن جهة أخرى “الذكرى السنويّة الأولى على اغتيال الجنرال قاسم سليماني، في 3 كانون الثاني/يناير المقبل، ما دفع الأميركيين إلى عرض عضلات بشكل كبير مقابل الإيرانيين في الخليج”.

هذان الأمران مجتمعان “دفعا إلى رفع الاستعدادات في المؤسسة الأمنية الإسرائيليّة”، بحسب القناة 13، التي أكدت وجود “خشية من محاولة إيران مراكمة قدرات في اليمن، يمكن أن تشكل تهديداً على إسرائيل”.

وقالت القناة 13: “الأمر قد يبدو غريباً لأغلب الإسرائيليين عند سماع اليمن التي لم تكن في أيّ مرة على خريطة التهديدات، لكن نعم إنها اليمن – الطائرات المسيّرة الإيرانيّة، كتلك الطائرات التي هاجمت شركة النفط السعوديّة أرامكو قبل سنة ونصف، يمكن أن تصل من اليمن إلى إسرائيل”.

كما رأى معلق الشؤون العسكريّة في القناة 13 ألون بن ديفيد، أنّه “عندما تسمع عن غواصة إسرائيليّة تتواجد في البحر الأحمر – وليس بالضرورة هدفها الخليج – أقول إن أكثر ما يقلق إسرائيل، وقد أعرب المتحدث باسم الجيش عن ذلك بشكل علني – القدرات الإيرانيّة في اليمن”. 

يذكر أنّ وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية نقلت عن مصادر استخباراتيّة قولها مؤخراً، إن “غواصة عسكريّة تابعة للبحريّة الإسرائيليّة عبرت قناة السويس علناً من فوق الماء”.

وذكرت قناة “كان” الإسرائيلية أن هذه الخطوة جاءت “في خضم فترة متوترة جداً بين إسرائيل وايران”، مشيرة إلى أن هذه “الغواصة التي عبرت البحر الأحمر، ستتوجه بحسب تقديرات المسؤولين الاستخباراتيين العرب تجاه الخليج”.

FM: Zionists’ Interests in the Red Sea will be Legitimate Targets to Yemeni Forces

FM: Zionists' Interests in the Red Sea will be Legitimate Targets to Yemeni Forces

News – Yemen: An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on what was stated by the spokesman of the Zionist army, in which he said that “the Zionists are monitoring the situation in Yemen.”

The source told the Yemen news agency, Saba, that “the Zionist entity should bother with monitoring its own situation in the occupied territory, Palestine, rather than threatening the Islamic region in the Middle East with a lightning war.”

The source added, “The Zionist entity has no business whit the situation in Yemen,” warning that “any reckless action of the Zionist entity in the region would spark a comprehensive war, and Israel would be the first to lose.”

He pointed out that the Israeli enemy seeks to fabricate excuses for hostile actions and movements through which it tries to cover up its continuous aggression against the Palestinian people.

The source added, “if the Zionist entity makes any reckless move or action that affects Yemen, then any interests of this entity or its partners in the Red Sea will be a legitimate target.”

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قاسم سليماني أيقونة الثورة الإسلامية

ناصر قنديل

Photo of المضاربون وحدهم استفادوا
من الأرجوحة الحكوميّة

البحث في شخصية القائد الشهيد قاسم سليماني والمكانة التي احتلها في المقاومة التي خاضتها شعوب ودول المنطقة في مواجهة مشروع الهيمنة الأميركية من فلسطين الى لبنان وسورية والعراق واليمن وباكستان وأفغانتسان، لا بد أن يوصلنا إلى اكتشاف حقيقة أولى تتصل بكونه قد نجح دون تكليف رسمي أو قرار سياسي في الانتقال داخل وجدان حركات المقاومة من قائد إيراني يتولى تنسيق العلاقة بين قوى المقاومة والجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران، ويرعى حاجات هذه المقاومات المختلفة ويتابع معاركها كحليف صادق وصديق، إلى أن يصبح بالنسبة لكل من هذه الحركات والحكومات المعنية بمواجهة الهيمنة الأميركية، كأخ كبير ينتمي لكل من هذه الحركات والحكومات على حدة، بداية بصفة المستشار الخبير والحريص ولاحقا بصفته شريكا في القيادة التي تحمّل فيها خلال المعارك الميدانية مسؤوليات جسامًا وتعرض فيها لمخاطر كبيرة، سواء حيث تجسدت هذه الهيمنة بنسختها العدوانية التي يمثلها كيان الاحتلال، أو بنسختها التي يمثلها الاستبداد الخليجي، أو بنسختها التي تمثلها قوى الإرهاب التكفيري، أو بما جسده الاحتلال الأميركي المباشر.

قاسم سليماني أيقونة الثورة الإسلامية | ناصر قنديل

مع هذا التسلسل الزمني والخط البياني الذي رسمته مسيرة القائد سليماني، صار التنسيق بين حركات وقوى المقاومة متجسدا عمليا بوجود رئيس أركان لجيوش وقوى المقاومة مجمع عليه دون تكليف أو تعيين أو قرار، فقد صار سليماني العارف بظروف ومقدرات كل جبهة وخصوصياتها هو المؤهل ضمنا وبصورة فريدة وسلسة لتولي مهمة لم تنل صفة أو توصيفا، لكنها كانت عمليا رئاسة أركان جيوش وحركات تمسك بالكثير من نقاط القوة في المنطقة، وشكلت هذه الوضعية التمهيد الطبيعي لوجود محور مقاومة يتكامل ويتساند في الميدان قبل تظهيره كمحور، كان معلوما ان القائد سليماني هو رئيس أركان قواته .

لم يكن القائد سليماني بحاجة لصياغة نظرية عن أن القتال ضد الاحتلال في فلسطين وجنوب لبنان والتصدي للعدوان الرجعي الخليجي على اليمن ومواجهة المشروع التكفيري الإرهابي في العراق وسورية ولبنان والنضال لإزالة الاحتلال الأميركي عن أرض العراق وسورية، هي مجموعة معارك في حرب واحدة، وأن الرابط الأعمق بين الذين يقاتلون على كل هذه الجبهات يجب أن يكون إيمانهم بمكانة فلسطين والقدس في قلب مشروعهم الإستراتيجي، كي يستقيم قتالهم نحو الهدف المباشر الذي يتولون السعي إليه، لأن كل شيء يجري في المنطقة يرتبط عضويا بمصير هذا الكيان الغاصب لفلسطين، والقتال لإنهاء هذا الكيان هو ما يجد فيه القائد سليماني ترجمة مهنية عسكرية لتسمية القوة التي يقودها بفيلق القدس في الحرس الثوري الإسلامي.

قاسم سليماني أيقونة الثورة الإسلامية | ناصر قنديل

تاريخيا تبلغ الثورات مراحل نضجها التاريخي، وتثبت أهليتها للاستمرار كقوة دفع تاريخية، بعد أن يتثبت مركزها الجغرافي في قلب صناعة الأحداث، وتمتلك مشروعا تاريخيا وقيادة تاريخية، بأن تصنع رموزها الذين ترسم سيرتهم للشعوب والحركات النضالية مثالا وقدوة، ويتحولون الى ايقونات تجمع النظرية والممارسة، وتترجم بأعلى حالات التضحية مفهوم الثورة، فالإسلام كمحرك ثوري كرس رمزيته الثورية المستمرة بنموذج الإمام الحسين عليه السلام، وقبله وجدت المسيحية نموذجها النضالي المضحي في السيد المسيح عليه السلام. ومن يقرأ تاريخ الحركات التي استوحت من المسيحية والإسلام منهاجها الثوري سيجد لتجربة كل من السيد المسيح والإمام الحسين عليهما السلام مكانة خاصة، وسيجد لظروف عذاباتهما وتضحياتهما وبطولاتهما مكانة أشد خصوصية.

في تجربة اليسار العالمي يتميز اسم تشي غيفارا ويسطع كرمز للثورية والتضحية والنضال، خصوصا للبعد العابر للقوميات والوطنيات الذي جسده غيفارا ولظروف استشهاده على يد العدو الذي يختزن مشروع الاستعمار العالمي الذي تمثله أميركا، ومضمون ما مثله بأدائه الشخصي كجواب على قضية الدولة والثورة.

قاسم سليماني أيقونة الثورة الإسلامية | ناصر قنديل
القدس سره

في المسار الذي رسمه الإمام الخميني (قدس سره) للثورة الإسلامية في إيران، وجسده من بعده الإمام السيد علي الخامنئي، ثمة مفهوم ودور لبناء الدولة في الحفاظ على مفهوم الثورة، وكانت فلسطين تقع في قلب المشروع التاريخي للثورة الإسلامية، وكان بناء جيش من المؤمنين المتعبدين الطالبين للشهادة الهادف لتحرير فلسطين وحماية القدس، يشكل جوهر هذه الإستراتيجية، وكان هذا يستدعي نهضة إسلامية في الدول وبين الشعوب تحت عنوان فلسطين والقدس. ومنذ البدايات كان واضحا أن الثورة الإسلامية قد تعلمت الكثير من قراءة تجارب الثورات العالمية وتاريخ الحركات العابرة للوطنيات والقوميات، ولذلك سعت لتفادي تكرار تجربة الأحزاب الشيوعية، ووضعت الأمانة لفكرة المقاومة وفلسطين معيارا وليس الولاء للجمهورية الإسلامية والتبعية لها. وهكذا تشكّلَ خليط من التحالفات يضم حركات المقاومة في فلسطين على تنوعها وعدم تطابق مفاهميها الفكرية وتباين عدد من الاتجاهات الإسلامية بينها مع نظرة الجمهورية الإسلامية للإسلام، ويضم المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان، والدولة السورية التي يقودها حزب قومي عربي علماني ، وحركات عراقية إسلامية ومثلها في باكستان وأفغانستان واليمن، لا تتطابق فيما بينها في الكثير من وجوه النظرة العقائدية والسياسية، لكنها تجمع بلا تردد او شبهة على مكانة قضية فلسطين ومشروع المقاومة. واذا كانت المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان هي النموذج الأشد قربا بينها من الجمهورية الإسلامية فهما ودورا وموقفا، فإن هذه المقاومة بقيادة سماحة السيد حسن نصر الله، نجحت في تجسيد مفهوم محور المقاومة حتى شكلت مع القائد سليماني القاسم المشترك بين جميع هذه الجبهات.

في التجسيد الفكري ورمزية الدور كان القائد سليماني قد قطع نصف المسافة نحو ترجمة مفهوم الثورة الإسلامية، المتخذ من قضية المواجهة مع مشروع الهمينة الأميركية عنوانا له، وحيث لفلسطين مكانة الروح من الجسد، لكن القيادة في هذا المشروع تحتاج رجلا تكاملت فيه خصال الأولياء والشهداء والقديسين، بدرجة الإيمان والتشبع بأخلاق الأنبياء والأئمة، ليرمز للثورة كثورة إسلامية، بأبهى عناوين الحضور وتفاصيلها النابعة من عاطفة صادقة متدفقة نحو النبي والأئمة وأهل بيت الرسول (ص)، وبشجاعة وعلم حرب يقدمان نموذجا لا يضاهى بين قادة الجيوش مستوحيا من تجربة الإمام علي عليه السلام الكثير، واستعداد مفتوح لبذل الدم وصولا لطلب مستديم للشهادة على طريق الإمام الحسين عليه السلام، وصولا لسيرة عملية جمعت الانتصارات التي بلغ بعضها حد الإعجاز العسكري، كمواجهات الأيام الأولى مع تنظيم داعش الإرهابي حول بغداد، الى نماذج شديدة التعقيد في التخطيط والقيادة كانت في قلبها المعركة التاريخية لتحرير حلب التي أشرف على تفاصيلها وقادها في الميدان، وانتهاء بالاستشهاد غيلة على يد الأميركيين، لينتج للثورة الإسلامية أيقونتها التي تعمدت بها تجربة هذه الثورة كمسار تاريخي يقود الطريق نحو فلسطين.

اذا كانت سيرة القائد سليماني ورمزية قيادته لفيلق القدس منحت المصداقية لمشروع الثورة الإسلامية، فإن شهادته أكملت عدتها التاريخية نحو فلسطين.غرد النص عبر تويتر
(*) رئيس تحرير جريدة البناء | نائب سابق في البرلمان اللبناني

مقالات ذات صلة

Mass Starvation Looms as Yemen’s Currency Nears Historic Freefall

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

“Yemen is now in imminent danger of the worst famine the world has seen for decades,” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres

TAIZ, YEMEN- – Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seem to be doing everything in their power to prevent an end to the suffering in Yemen. Even those living in areas under the total control of the wealthy Gulf monarchies are facing levels of devastation that harken back to the total destruction of European cities during World War II.

With no functioning government to provide residents with even basic assistance and facing a collapsed economy amid a famine that could soon beset all of Yemen according to the United Nations, the collapse of Yemen’s rial, particularly in Saudi-coalition-controlled areas, is proving to be the coup de grâce that will assure the country faces an apocalyptic level of destruction for years to come.

Her black eyes virtually absent and speaking in a muted voice that is difficult to pick up, Umm Abdu does her best to recount her story to MintPress. She was hiding a bony face and emaciated body in a voluminous black abaya robe and hijab. “I am starving myself to feed my children. It is very difficult to reach for this piece,” the Illiterate mother of six muttered as she held a piece of Roti bread. Umm Abdu lives in a poor neighborhood in Taiz, a city in western Yemen under the control of some of the richest countries in the world.

Yemen famine
Severely malnourished infant Zahra is bathed by her mother in a washtub. Hammadi Issa | AP

After nearly six years of war, Yemen remains home to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Millions are hungry and destitute and at least 80% of the population requires humanitarian assistance or protection. Some 13.5 million people face severe food shortages and that number could rise to 16.2 million in 2021, according to International Relief Bodies.

The economy has already collapsed for virtually every Yemeni living in the south, except for the few who managed to profit by working with Saudi Arabia or the UAE. Savings accounts have long been exhausted and by end of November, the rial depreciated to an all-time low of 850 YR to a single U.S. dollar, leaving most of the population unable to afford even the most basic essentials. Like Umm Abdu, people are reducing portion sizes and skipping meals as a kind of “coping strategy index,” one of many tools used to measure food insecurity. Fruit, fish, and meat have become a rare commodity that most can only dream of.

“Even though there is food in the markets, I can’t afford it. Not because we don’t have money, but because of the crazy prices. So we decide to reduce food to keep our children alive,” one shopper told MintPress. However, that strategy may not be enough as food prices are near double where they were in the wake of the recent currency collapse.

According to International organizations, Yemen, particularly areas under the control of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, will return to alarming levels of food insecurity by mid-2020, and a catastrophic food security crisis is looming. They reported that by December 2020, the population facing high levels of acute food insecurity (what they termed IPC Phase 3 and above) would increase from 2 million to 3.2 million people.

An Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report from October 2020 covering southern Yemen highlighted how acute malnutrition rates among children under five are now the highest ever recorded in some districts. The analysis reveals a near 10 percent increase in cases of acute malnutrition this year. The greatest increase is in cases of young children suffering from severe acute malnutrition which has increased by 15.5 percent, leaving at least 98,000 children under age five at high risk of dying without urgent treatment.

Situation Report Yemen 11 Nov 2020 pdf edited
Source: IPC Acute malnutrition analysis (Oct 2020)

A stream of statements from leading aid organization officials reflects how dire the situation has become, including a warning from UN Secretary-General António Guterres that “Yemen is now in imminent danger of the worst famine the world has seen for decades. ”We’ve been warning since July that Yemen is on the brink of a catastrophic food security crisis. If the war doesn’t end now, we are nearing an irreversible situation and risk losing an entire generation of Yemen’s young children,” said Lisa Grande last month,” the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. “The data we are releasing today confirms that acute malnutrition among children is hitting the highest levels we have seen since the war started,” she added.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) raised the alarm about millions of Yemenis risking falling into worsening levels of hunger by mid-2021. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) also described the crisis in Yemen as “the world’s worst.” The WFP said in a tweet that millions are trapped in a cycle of conflict and hunger. “Everyday life in Yemen gets harder for millions as the window to prevent famine narrows. We must act now.”

Although a mass famine event may be unlikely in the immediate future, officials in Taiz warned that many areas could soon start to see deaths from famine. Many children already have signs of severe acute malnutrition, the most dire stage of hunger where legs and feet begin to swell. “We all sleep hungry, there is not enough food even for our children,“ Umm Abdu told us.

For Umm Abdu and her husband, 37-year-old Saeed, the rial’s collapse has meant skipping meals. Saeed was educated as an English teacher and had a job as a tour guide at a local travel agency before the war. Since he lost his job after the war began, he’s been making money selling qat – a mild stimulant that many Yemenis chew in the afternoon. However, that money is not nearly enough to cover rent, let alone basic needs. Now, their situation is getting worse as the availability of Qat has decreased dramatically after the weather turned cold three months ago when winter began. After the recent collapse of the rial, the ability to bring home food has become nearly impossible.

Umm Abdu and Saeed are now considering extreme options. Over the past six years, they have seen Yemen’s steady dissolution from a nation hoping to transition to democracy post-Arab Spring, to a nation fragmented and a land of warring statelets, mass suffering, and despair.  Many of their neighbors have resorted to stealing, human trafficking, and selling their organs to make ends meet, or even marrying off their daughters because they are unable to feed them.

A tale of two cities

Officials in Aden, the de facto center of Saudi-Coalition power in Yemen, blame the collapse of currency on the fact that foreign reserves have dried up. According to them, remittances from Yemenis abroad, the largest source of foreign exchange, dropped by up to 70% as a result of the Covid-induced global downturn. But to Omer, a former fighter in “al-Muqawamah” in Aden who was wounded while fighting with Coalition Forces against the Houthis in 2016, these arguments are grossly inaccurate.

Omer believes that Saudi Arabia has a plan to destroy the national currency in order to intentionally accelerate famine.  “Why is there no collapse of the currency in Houthi areas even though they live in conditions worse than us?” The exchange rate divergence between Houthi-controlled Sana’a and coalition-controlled Aden is indeed stark, with the Yemeni rial worth 35% less in Aden than it is in Sana’a.

Omer was one of the thousands of Yemenis that took the streets in Taiz and other areas this week in a mass protest against the continuing deterioration of the economic situation, denouncing the Saudi-led coalition states and demanding they leave the country. The demonstrators accused coalition countries and ousted Yemeni president Abdul Mansour al-Hadi of practicing a policy of starvation to achieve their personal objectives. They chanted slogans against Saudi Arabia and UAE with phrases like “our revolution is a hungry revolution,” “take your aid, and leave us our oil,” “take your donations, and leave us our ports,” and “take your trust fund and leave us our wealth.”

A gloomy future

According to local economists who spoke to MintPress, the reasons behind the collapse of Yemen’s economy and its currency are many and varied but the expansionary monetary policy that has been taken by Saudi Arabia is one of the key drivers of the Yemeni rial’s devaluation.

Local authorities supported by Saudi Arabia have regularly printed new banknotes in order to meet expenses compounded by the purchase of foreign currencies flowing into markets by foreign organizations.

By the end of 2019, the total rial liquidity in circulation in the country was more than three trillion, according to a source in the Aden-based central bank. As of the beginning of 2020, the bank has printed around 300 billion rials in order to address the budget deficit. The government of ousted president Hadi has largely relied on the central bank’s overdraft financing instrument to cover his spending abroad, including rent, travel, and entertainment.

Recently, Saudi’s proxies in southern Yemen have been selling large quantities of newly-printed banknotes in order to purchase foreign currency from the market and replenish their own foreign currency holdings. This has increased downward pressure on the rial’s value and helped drive inflation.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on countries to provide financial assistance to resolve the severe economic crisis in Yemen, saying in a statement issued via his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric on the second anniversary of the Stockholm Agreement, “I call on all member states to help address the severe economic crisis in the country.”

Umm Abdu has a gloomy future. She has no faith in the UN or the Saudi proxies in the south, who she described as “drenched in treason.” Nonetheless, she places hope in God and in her fellow Yemenis that her country will be freed. “Where else on Earth can you find a nation that has gone through what has happened in Yemen, occupied by foreigners, destroyed, with famine and epidemics, and yet somehow, we still managed to survive.”

CURSE OF SAUDIS: TANKER EXPLOSIONS AND OTHER UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

South Front

A series of unfortunate events linked to the Saudi invasion in Yemen continues to pursue the Kingdom.

On December 14, an explosion hit the Singapore-flagged BW Rhine, a chemical tanker hauling gasoline, off the Saudi port city of Jeddah, which is also known as the distribution center for oil giant Saudi Aramco. The BW Group said that the explosion erupted after the Singapore-flagged BW Rhine was hit by “an external source”, but all 22 sailors on board received no injures. Later, Saudi media claimed that the explosion was caused by an attack with a water-born improvised explosive device. At the time of the attack, the ship was carrying more than 60,000 metric tons of gasoline from the Aramco refinery at Yanbu.

This is not the first attack in the Red Sea waters attributed to the Houthis. About three weeks ago, on November 25, a Greek-managed oil tanker was damaged in a WBIED attack on the Saudi petroleum terminal located near Jeddah. A few days earlier, on November 23, the Houthis struck the Jeddah distribution station with a Quds-2 cruise missile.

The developments in the Red Sea, one of the key areas of global maritime transportation of energy resources, come amid the increase in tensions between Iran and the US-Israeli bloc.

On November 27, the top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in an apparent US-Israeli plot outside of Tehran. This move contributed to the growth of tensions and Iran, expecting even more attacks before President Trump leaves office, even reinforced its defenses on the coast of the Persian Gulf. The Iranian leadership also promised to avenge the assassination. The increase of attacks on US-Israeli interests and their allies in the region is likely a part of this asymmetric response.

On December 14, Israeli media also reported a large-scale cyberattack on 40 Israeli firms working in the financial, technology and logistics sectors. On December 13, a “sophisticated hacking group backed by a foreign government” allegedly committed a cyber attack and stole information from the U.S. Treasury Department and a U.S. agency responsible for deciding policy reguarding the internet and telecommunications, according to reports in mainstream media. US “anonymous sources” expectedly accused the Russians, but there are more candidates.

In the coming weeks tensions will likely continue to grow in the Greater Middle East, as the United States and Israel are working to secure their recent diplomatic breakthroughs and are taking active steps to entrench the legacy of the 4 years of the Trump presidency.

Ansarullah Official Mocks Riyadh: We May Help Protect Saudi Ports If Asked

Ansarullah Official Mocks Riyadh: We May Help Protect Saudi Ports If Asked

By Staff, Agencies

In the wake of an explosion at a Saudi fuel transport terminal, a senior Yemeni official has heaped heavy sarcasm on the kingdom over its failure to protect its ports, saying Yemen, if asked, may consider helping safeguard them.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, chairman of Yemen’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, made the remarks in a post on his Twitter account on Monday after Saudi Arabia said that a fuel transport ship anchored at a Jeddah terminal had been hit by an explosive-laden boat.

The attack resulted in a small fire which was extinguished, but there was no damage to unloading facilities nor any effect on supplies, according to the Saudi Energy Ministry spokesman.

Jeddah — the second biggest Saudi city — is home to a key Red Sea port and distribution center for oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Reacting to the explosion, Houthi said what the Saudi regime has termed as a “terrorist” attack was proof of the failure of the US and the UK to perform their task of protecting the kingdom.

He said in a sarcastic tone that the Yemenis may consider helping protect the Saudi ports, if asked.

“The Yemeni security and military organization has a lot of experience in confronting American terrorism and its branches,” he added.

The Singapore-based shipping company Hafnia said on Monday that there was an explosion and a fire while its oil tanker, the BW Rhine, was discharging at Jeddah port.

The ship’s crew put out the fire and no one was injured, it said, adding that parts of the vessel’s hull had been damaged.

“BW Rhine has been hit from an external source whilst discharging at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at approximately 00:40 local time on 14 December 2020, causing an explosion and subsequent fire onboard,” Hafnia declared in a statement on its website.

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

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

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

What Does The Future Hold For a Suffering Yemen?

Source

08.12.2020 

Author: Valery Kulikov

YEM83222

On November 30, both sides of the Yemeni front line marked the 53rd anniversary of the end of British occupation and Yemen’s complete independence from Britain. However, it should be noted that true sovereignty of the Yemenis is not the reality of this country. The poorest people in the Middle East continue to suffer from foreign interference.

The war between the government of Yemen and the Houthi rebels has been going on since 2014 with the active participation since 2015 of the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which was supported by the United States, Britain, France, Germany. The West’s instigating role in unleashing the Yemeni conflict, in supplying arms to Yemen and various terrorist groups, does not stop either.

The President of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, bluntly told the media on October 6 that the US counterterrorism struggle was a cover for attacks on civilians. “Saudi Arabia and the United States crossed all the red lines in the war against Yemen. They attack all vital targets and civilians with prohibited weapons and use the siege of Yemen as a pressure tool. One of the reasons the United States and Saudi Arabia still did not stop the war in Yemen, lies in the fact that they want to plunder the resources of the Gulf countries and put their mercenaries in power in Yemen,” – al-Houthi stressed.

As the  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs claims, 233,000 people have died in the last five years of the conflict in Yemen.

In addition, hunger, which the world has not faced in decades, threatens Yemen unless urgent action is taken, said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He believes that, in addition to the ongoing hostilities, a significant cause of the famine is the reduction in funding for emergency programs in this country.

A human rights organization in the Yemeni capital, Al-Raidat al-Idala lit-tanimiyya wal-Hukuk bi-Sanaa (Pioneers of Justice for Development and Rights in Sana’a), in its annual report, showed statistics on the crimes of the Saudi coalition and human rights violations against Yemeni women stressing that “direct and indirect violations of women’s rights and their suffering as a result of the continued aggression and siege of Yemen have led to the killings, forced migration of thousands of Yemenis, health, education and nutrition crises, in addition to their psychological and social consequences.”

In view of the damage inflicted on the civilians of Yemen, a court in the city of Saada in the north-west of the Arab country, controlled by the Ansar Allah (Allah’s Helpers, Houthis) rebel movement, sentenced in absentia the highest officials of Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United States “to death. executions for the killing and wounding of more than 100 people in an air strike by the Saudi coalition in August 2018 “. At the same time, the court sentenced “several officials in Yemen, the United States and the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, including King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman, the President of the United States Donald Trump, Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi., for involvement in the deaths of thousands of Yemeni civilians.”

The court also ruled that “the defendants must pay $ 10 billion to the families of the victims.”

Regarding the assessment of the development of the situation in Yemen, Deputy Head of the Yemeni Parliament Abdulaziz Jabari in an interview with the Qatari TV channel Al-Jazeera at the end of September said that “the real master of the situation in the territories not controlled by the Houthis is the Saudi Ambassador Mohammed Al-Jaber, who treats the Yemenis as his own subordinates”, seeking to carry out instructions from the Saudi kingdom and the UAE to establish “control over political decisions in Yemen.” At the same time, the deputy head of parliament stressed that the Yemenis “will not obey anyone,” and the monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the UAE “want to become strong players in the region at the expense of the Yemenis.”

The representative of the Ministry of Information of Yemen Mohammad Qizan said that “there is no talk about any 80% of the Yemeni territories liberated by the Saudi coalition, the government cannot return to any of the allegedly liberated provinces.”

As noted by regional media, recently, not only Saudi Arabia is trying to strengthen its military presence in Yemen. The UAE and Israel are also actively seeking to increase the number of their military installations, in particular on Socotra Island. For example, Israel plans to build its intelligence facilities on the island, and the UAE has begun building military bases and seizing large strategic territories in Socotra, which is controlled by UAE-backed separatists from the Southern Transitional Council.

At the same time, according to experts, by the end of 2020, trends in the Yemeni war were extremely unfavorable for the Saudi coalition. The foreign intervention that Riyadh began in the spring of 2015 with plans of a fairly rapid capture of East Yemen, the fall of Aden and a number of key cities on the coast, did not initially suggest that the war could drag on for so long. Ansar Allah is increasingly demonstrating that, with proper support, it can not only succeed in the Yemeni war, but also become for Iran what Hezbollah has become in Lebanon. “Ansar Allah”, speaking from the standpoint of protecting the territorial integrity of the country, attracts more and more supporters, including from the ranks of former opponents, who are massively deserting by entire tribes and divisions.

Today it is recognized that 2019 was the beginning of a radical turning point in the course of the Yemeni war. The flow of weapons and other foreign aid allowed Ansar Allah to firmly seize the operational initiative and win a series of landmark victories, while the Saudi coalition has not been able to achieve even small successes at the front for the past two years. By the end of November 2020, Houthi troops reached the approaches to Marib, where an attack on Sana’a was planned in June. There is a high probability that even before the end of 2020, the rebels will be able to take Marib, which may entail a significant destruction of the original plans of the Saudi coalition to resolve the Yemeni issue by force. In addition, the protracted Yemeni war continues to drain Saudi Arabia, whose budget has recently been bursting at the seams.

At the same time, unique opportunities are being created for Iran to deliver direct attacks by the hands of the Houthis on the territory of Saudi Arabia in response to the hybrid actions of the United States, Israel and the kingdom against Iranian forces in Lebanon, Syria or Iraq.

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

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