The Palestinian Political Scene is in a State of Paralysis: “The People Reject Normalization with Israel”

An Interview with Abdel Bari Atwan

Global Research, April 01, 2019

American Herald Tribune 18 March 2019

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: What is your analysis of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Gaza?

Abdel Bari Atwan: The Palestinian political scene is in a state of paralysis, which is a direct consequence of the disastrous Oslo process. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is not in good health, so the stage is now set for the post-Abu Mazen period. But nobody has a roadmap for where to go. Abu Mazen is the last of the founding fathers, and his departure will cause the Fateh movement to fragment and lose influence, as happened to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) after the death of George Habash. So chaos and confusion prevail. I wouldn’t be surprised if people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip draw inspiration from the demonstrations in Sudan and Algeria.

MA: What about the Palestinians’ right of return to their lands stolen since 1948 and the deal of the century that removes the Palestinian right of return? Has the deal of the century been abandoned or is it still valid?

ABA: The ‘Deal of the Century’ cannot be pulled off. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi consigned it to an early death, as it plunged the deal’s broker into crisis. No Palestinian could accept it anyway. The Palestinian Revolution began in the refugee camps. It was all about the right of return. To abandon it would be to abandon the Palestinian cause. That right and others cannot be bought off with promises of investment or improved economic conditions, as the deal proposes. Palestine is not Northern Ireland.

MA: How do you explain that at the moment when in Europe and in the USA, we see rising a great critical movement of Israel, like the BDS which advocate different forms of boycott, Arab countries are normalizing their relations with the Zionist and criminal entity of Israel?

ABA: These moves towards normalization are not too worrying, as they are confined to the governments and do not extend to the peoples.The peoples reject normalization with Israel, as the cases of Jordan and Egypt show. It’s the same in every other Arab country. Israel is alarmed by BDS and how it may develop in future. This explains its frenetic efforts to brand all criticism and opposition anywhere in the world as anti-Semitic: it fears to become a pariah state and the only way it can avoid that is to criminalize and close down exposure and discussion of its behavior.

MA: What is your reading of the Warsaw conference of February 13 and 14, when we saw the alliance between Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain, etc. and the Zionist and criminal entity Israel against Iran?

ABA: The Warsaw Conference was a one-man show, starring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was staged for his benefit, but I believe it was a failure. Its original purpose was to launch a new US-led alliance — a so-called ‘Arab Nato’ — that would act as the spearhead of an international coalition against Iran and include Israel as a member, probably informally at first. But the Gulf States that the US is trying to turn into allies of Israel are not representative of the Arab world as a whole. They account for less than 5% of the Arab population, and their own peoples overwhelmingly reject normalization with Israel. In recent years these states have been able to play a dominant role in the Arab world due to their oil wealth and their manipulation of political Islam. But political Islam has been changing in nature, and the importance of oil in the global energy picture has been declining, so their ‘golden age’ is drawing to a close.

MA: How did we get to the fact that some Arab countries come to betray and sell themselves to the Zionist and criminal entity of Israel?

ABA: It’s not new, and mainly it’s a matter of perceived self-preservation. Regimes see the goodwill of the US as vital, and Israel as the key to the US’ heart. They talk about a shared interest in confronting Iran but that shouldn’t be taken at face value. Israel talks up the Iranian threat as a way of trying to sideline the Palestinian cause, and the Gulf States do the same to bolster the rule of their regimes. This also entails the poisonous fuelling of Sunni-Shii sectarianism.

MA: I did an investigation a few years ago about the activities of the Israeli lobby in Congo. What is your reading of Israel’s strategic redeployment in Africa?

ABA: Africa is currently an arena of rivalry for influence and competing interests involving many countries – the US, China, Turkey, Israel, Russia, and others. Israel does not have much to offer Africa, other than political influence in Washington. It is eager to establish a presence and exert influence on the periphery of important Arab countries like Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt.These countries are all in a weakened state at present and preoccupied with internal problems. But they will eventually recover and their governments will awaken. Sub-Saharan Africa is their natural hinterland and they cannot be prized apart in the long term.

MA: The people of Yemen is experiencing a criminal war waged by Saudi Arabia and its allies in total silence. How do you explain this silence of the international community and the media?

Abdel Bari Atwan 1 48e65

ABA: The West turned a blind eye to the Yemen war when it was launched four years ago because of Saudi influence and interests. It gave Saudi Arabia a chance to resolve the conflict in its favor. But neither Saudi Arabia nor the West appreciated the nature of Yemen or its people into account. They should have heeded the advice of the kingdom’s founder, King Abdelaziz, who ordered his sons Faisal and Saud to withdraw when they tried to invade the country. The latest war on Yemen has had a catastrophic effect, but in military terms, it has been a failure. The international silence is now beginning to be broken, and I hope that continues.

MA: What is your reading of events happening in Venezuela? Do you think that the United States will come to a direct military intervention?

ABA: What is happening in Venezuela is a US-sponsored coup attempt and I believe it will fail.

MA: There is no longer any mention of the Khashoggi case, which showed the true face of the Saudi regime and raised a worldwide outcry. How do you explain that?

ABA: The Khashoggi case is closely linked to Trump’s fate. Trump’s opponents in the US seized on it as a stick with which to beat him, due to his close association with the current Saudi leadership. That’s why there was such an outcry over the killing, however horrific, on an individual, but no similar reaction to Saudi actions that caused thousands of deaths such as the war on Yemen (until recently) and the proxy intervention in Syria. It should not be any surprise, however, that US and Western interests ultimately prevailed over human rights concerns, in this case like so many others. The Israel Lobby has also played a part in suppressing the outcry.  But the affair will have a longer-term impact. It laid bare Saudi Arabia’s high-handedness and dominance in the region.

MA: How do you analyze the events taking place in Algeria against the fifth term of Bouteflika?

ABA: The protests were not so much against Bouteflika as against the ruling elite that was using him as a front and was too divided to agree on a replacement for him, long after he should have been allowed to retire. The powers-that-be made three mistaken assumptions: first, that the fifth term could be pushed through; second, that Algerians would rather have stability than democracy; and third, that the terrifying memory of the bloody decade of the 1990s would deter demonstrations or protests, for fear of repeating what happened in Syria or Libya. They seemed to think, perhaps based on Syria’s experience, that concessions are a slippery slope and not compromising pays off in the longer term. But now they have had to give at least the appearance of backing down due to the strength of popular feeling. The question now is what comes next: a measure of genuine but controlled reform as in Morocco or an Egyptian-style scenario where the army runs things behind a facade of pro-forma elections?

MA: Intelligence reports indicate a redeployment of Daesh to Libya. Can we end the terrorism of Daesh and Al Qaeda without really fighting the ideological matrix of these groups? Is it enough defeating these groups militarily?

ABA: Daesh is finished above ground in the Arab world. But it will continue to exist underground because the conditions that incubated still exist. In my view, the challenge is not so much to fight the ideology as to address those conditions. The ideology, or at least its adoption or acceptance in some places and by some people, is a product of these ‘failed-state’ conditions and the marginalization they cause. In many cases – Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen – they are a consequence, in whole or in part, of direct or indirect Western military intervention. Putting an end to these interventions would be a step to tackling the problem.

MA: Are we not witnessing the continuation of the Cold War between the US administration on one side and Russia and China on the other? How do you explain the need for the United States to have an enemy?

ABA: The US can’t sleep unless it has an enemy. It has become an obsession, though creating or talking up external enemies has always been a means of advancing the interests of domestic power elites.But the picture is changing. America is no longer rules the world in matters of war and peace. Its real power is not its military might but the US Dollar. Its abuse of its financial and commercial power has become so extensive that an international alliance is taking shape to deprive it of this weapon.


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Abdel Bari Atwan is a Palestinian journalist born in 1950 in Deir al-Balah, a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He lived in a family of 11 children. After graduating from primary school in the refugee camp, he continued his studies in Jordan. He then studied journalism at Cairo University. After working for many Arab newspapers, he ran until 2013 al-Quds al-Arabi, a newspaper he founded in London in 1989 with other Palestinian expatriates. Today, he is the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, an Arab world digital news and opinion website. He lives and works in London.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen is an independent Algerian journalist. He wrote in several Algerian newspapers such as Alger Républicain and in different sites of the alternative press.

All images in this article are from American Herald Tribune

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The Palestinian people’s principal problem is their own leadership

Abbas at the UN

September 27, 2018

By Abdel Bari Atwan

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ address to the UN General Assembly was disappointing. It repeated the same phrases used in his last eight speeches. Nothing new at all. The same appeals for international sympathy. Even the wording of his complaints about Israel’s failure to respect agreements was unchanged. And his declaration that the US is not an honest broker but biased towards Israel we have heard a million times before.

So it was neither strange nor surprising that the chamber was almost empty of delegates and delegation heads, and that the warm applause came mostly from the Palestinian delegation.

US President Donald Trump will not heed Abbas’ demands that he rescind his recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. Nor will East Jerusalem be capital of a Palestinian state, because there will be no Palestinian state at all. Not according to the US’ ‘Deal of the Century’, which has rapidly begun entering the implementation stage – with US support, the collusion of some Arabs, and Palestinian security coordination.


The US and Israel will not fret about Abbas’ threats regarding their non-compliance with the agreements signed with them. Nor will that arouse the sympathy of UN member-sates. So long as he continues talking Mother Theresa-like about peace, renouncing violence, and joining the fight against terrorism in any part of the world – as he affirmed in his speech – nobody will listen to him or take him seriously.

It was regrettable that the Palestinian president used the UN podium to discuss the agreements he signed with the Hamas movement and threaten not to abide by them. That is the only one of his threats he will actually carry out: to cut off what remains of the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s aid to the Gaza Strip. This amounts to around $90 million in electricity subsidies and salaries, the vast majority of which go to members of Fateh, the PA’s party. Is this the place to make such threats? Does the world benefit from hearing them?

The international community will not thank Abbas for promising not to resort to violence or revert to ‘terrorism” i.e. legitimate resistance to occupation. How could such thanks be forthcoming from UN delegates when so many of their countries gained their freedom through resistance, not by imploring and lamenting the loss of their rights at international forums.

Abbas has been saying for the past ten years or so that peaceful popular resistance is the only option. We ask:

Where is this resistance? Why do the PA’s security forces repress all political activists and throw them in jail, or inform on them to the occupation authorities to facilitate their arrest?  Enough lies and deception, please. Respect your people’s intelligence, and their martyrs and prisoners.


We ask President Abbas:

Why did the US administration cut off all aid to schools, hospitals, PA institutions and UNRWA, while increasing its aid to the Palestinian security forces, at a time when he announced a boycott of any meeting or dialogue with the US? What good did this boycott do in this case?

The fault does not lie with UN, the US, or Israel. It lies with President Abbas, his leadership and administration, his Authority, his security coordination, and his speechwriters and cheerleaders.

When Palestinian leaders chose the course of resistance and sacrifice, the US and Israel and the West in its entirety sought to meet and negotiate with them, recognized them, and feared them.

This farce needs to be ended at once, and the actors stripped of their masks. It has gone too far, and the Palestinian people, both in the homeland and the diaspora, must not remain silent about this situation.

  عن الفريسة السوريّة التي “تَهاوشت” على صَيْدِها السعوديّة وقطر ونَجت بجِلْدِها

عبد الباري عطوان


مُقابلات الشيخ حمد بن جاسم آل ثاني، رئيس وزراء، وزير خارجيّة قطر السابق، تُثير الاهتمام، وتَجذب الكَثير من المُشاهدين والقُرّاء، سواء كانوا من المُواطنين العاديين، أو من كِبار المَسؤولين، لأن الرّجل يتحدّث ببساطةٍ وجراءةٍ وعفويّة، ويَكشف في كُل مرّة عن العَديد من المَعلومات والوَقائع، على غير عادة المَسؤولين العَرب.

في مُقابلته الأخيرة التي خصّ بها تلفزيون دولة قطر الرّسمي، (وليس قناة “الجزيرة” التي قال أنّه كان أحد مُؤسّسيها ويَندم على ذلك)، خاضَ الشيخ بن جاسم في مَواضيع عديدة، لشَرح مَوقف بلاده، من أبرزها المَوضوع السوري، في مُحاولة لتبرئة قطر من بَعض جوانب خِلافها مع السعوديّة (الشقيقة الكُبرى)، وعِتابها على انقلابها على المَوقف القطري، بعد تنسيقٍ وتحالف تامين بين الجانبين، ولكن هذا العِتاب لم يَجد آذانًا صاغية، كما أن التطوّرات المُتلاحقة في سورية هذهِ الأيّام، تأتي في غير مَصلحة الطّرفين، والدّوحة على وَجه الخُصوص.

الشيخ حمد بن جاسم كَشف أنّه التقى العاهل السعودي الراحل الملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز في الرياض، وأبلغه بوجود خُطّة قطريّة بالتنسيق مع القوّات الأمريكيّة وتركيا بالتدخّل في سورية في بداية الأزمة، وأن الملك عبد الله باركَ هذهِ الخُطوة وأعطاه الضوء الأخضر، وقال “نحن معكم، أنتم سيروا في هذا الموضوع ونحن نُنسّق، ولكن فلتبقوا أنتم مُستلمين المَوضوع″، ثم “تهاوشنا” على الفَريسة “فضَاعت مِنّا”.


والأهم من ذلك أن الشيخ بن جاسم اعترف أن الجميع تورّط في سورية، إلى درجةِ دَعم جبهة النصرة، وبتنسيقٍ كامل مع القوّات الأمريكيّة (وكالة المُخابرات المركزيّة)، التي كانت تُشرف على توزيع كُل شيء (المال والسّلاح)، وعندما أصبحت النصرة غير مَقبولة (جَرى وضعها على قائمة الإرهاب) توقّف الدّعم لها.

لا نَعرف رد السّلطات السعوديّة على هذهِ المَعلومات، مِثلما لا نَعرف ما إذا كانت وغيرها ممّا وَرد في المُقابلة، قد خفّف من حِدّة الخِلاف مع قطر، وقَرّب بين البلدين، ولكن ما نَعرفه أن هذا الكَشْف نَزلَ بردًا وسلامًا على قلب الحُكومة السوريّة ومُؤيّديها الذين دَعموها طِوال السّنوات الماضية، وما يُؤكّد وجهة نَظرها التي تبنّتها مُنذ بداية الأزمة، وتُؤكّد أن هُناك مُؤامرة خارجيّة بزعامة الولايات المتحدة لتغيير النّظام في دمشق خِدمةً لمَشروع التّفتيت والتّقسيم.
سورية كانت “فريسةً” فِعلاً، تَقاتل على “جِلدها” الصياديون من أكثر من ستين دولة، انضموا تحت منظومة “أصدقاء سورية” بزعامة أمريكا، وكان دَور السعوديّة وقطر مَحصورًا في التّمويل والتّسليح، أمّا دُول عربيّة أُخرى فلَم يَزد عن دَور “المُحلّل”، أو شاهِد الزّور.

“التّهاوش” لم يَكن سبب فرار “الفريسة” من الشّباك السعوديّة القطريّة، وإن كان، فإنّه سبب هامشي، وليَعذرنا الأشقاء السوريين على تِكرار استخدام توصيف “الفَريسة” غير المُحبّب، فناقل الكُفر ليس بكافر، أمّا الأسباب الأساسيّة فهي صُمود النّظام، وعدم انهيار مُؤسّساته، أبرزها المُؤسّستان الأمنيّة والعَسكريّة، ووجود حاضنةٍ شعبيّةٍ، كَبُرت أو صَغُرت، كانت تلتف حَولهما وقيادتهما في دمشق، حتى في أصعب الأوقات وأكثرها حراجةً، وفي ظِل ضَخ إعلامي استخدمت فيه إمبراطوريّات ومُؤسّسات عُظمى تَملُك ميزانيات بالمِليارات، وتَغييبٍ كاملٍ للإعلام السّوري (جَرى حَظْره وحَذفه من الأقمار الصناعيّة العربيّة، وعرب سات تحديدًا بقرارٍ من الجامعة العربيّة، ووزراء إعلامها)، رغم أن هُناك مآخذ كثيرة على هذا الإعلام وحِرفيّته.

الشيخ حمد بن جاسم أعاد الكَثيرين إلى الوَراء سَبع سنوات، وبالتّحديد عندما ذَهب إلى دمشق حاملاً عرضًا بـ 15 مليار دولار كدُفعةٍ أولى مَشروطةٍ بابتعاد سورية عن إيران، وانضمامها إلى “مِحور الاعتدال” العربي، ومن سُخريات القَدر أن المملكة العربيّة السعوديّة التي أطاحت بدولة قطر من مِقعد القيادة في المَلف السوري، وأرجعتها إلى المَقاعد الخلفيّة، مِثلما اشتكى الشيخ بن جاسم في مُقابلة أُخرى أكثر تشويقًا مع صحيفة “الفايننشال تايمز″، باتت أقرب إلى روسيا، وبالتّالي سورية بطريقةٍ غير مُباشرة، وباتت تَقبل ببقاء الرئيس بشار الأسد في الحُكم، وتتطلّع إلى حلٍّ سِلمي للأزمة، أمّا دولة قطر فتُواجه حِصارًا من أبرز أسبابه قُربها وعَلاقاتها الوثيقة مع إيران.
كَثيرون أخطأوا في حَق سورية، وكثيرون يتهيأون لارتكاب خطايا أكبر تُجاه المِنطقة بالتّحالف مع أمريكا وإسرائيل، ضِد مِحور المُقاومة، وإذا كانوا قد نَجوا بأقل الخسائر من الأخطاء الأولى، وفي حَق سورية وليبيا والعِراق خُصوصًا، ولو مُؤقّتًا، فلا نَعتقد أن الحال سيكون نَفسه في المرّة الثانية.


سوريا تتعافى هذهِ الأيام وبشكلٍ مُتسارع، وتتقاطر البِعثات الدبلوماسيّة على عاصمتها، وكذلك وفود رجال الأعمال الذين يَبحثون عن المال والاستثمار في ظِل قُرب مَعركة إعادة الإعمار، ويكفي الإشارة إلى أن السيد سعد الحريري، رئيس وزراء لبنان، ورجل السعوديّة فيه، والذي كان من أبرز المُعارضين للقيادة السوريّة، ولم يُبقِ كلمةً مُشينة وإلا وجّهها لها ورئيسها، السيد الحريري وَقّع اليوم مَرسومًا بتعيين سفير لبنان جديد في دمشق، وها هو وفد برلماني أُردني كبير يستعد لشدِّ الرّحال إلى العاصمة السوريّة، بعد آخر تونسي، و”المَسبحة كَرّت”، مِثلما يقول المَثل الشّامي.
العلاقة التحالفيّة “الاستراتيجيّة” بين قطر وإيران، وبين قطر وتركيا، وإن كانت الأخيرة بدرجةٍ أقل، هي من أسباب تَوتّر العلاقات بين السعوديّة ومِحورها ودولة قطر، إلى جانب أسباب أُخرى، وأمام قطر خياران، إمّا أن تَقطع هذهِ العَلاقة كُليًّا وتَنضم إلى السّرب السّعودي، ولكن في المَقاعد الخلفيّة، أو أن تَستمر الأزمة وتَتصاعد وتَخترق خُطوطًا قانية الاحمرار.

تَفسيرات وتَوضيحات و”مُرونات” الشيخ بن جاسم تَظل مَحدودة التّأثير في نَفْس الجار السّعودي، ومِن الصّعب أن تَستميل قَلبه “المُتحجّر”، لأنّها تتحدّث عن الماضي، ولا تَقترب من مَطالب المُستقبل، وسواء كانت مَقبولةً أو مرفوضةً، ومن يَحكم السعوديّة اليوم غير الذي كان يَحكمها طِوال السّنوات الخَمسين الماضية، ولا بُد أن الشيخ بن جاسم، الذي نَعترف له بالذّكاء، يُدرك هذهِ الحَقيقة جيّدًا.
رأي اليوم

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Trump Is Playing With Fire

By Abdel Bari Atwan

September 25, 2017 “Information Clearing House – This week’s headlines have been dominated by reaction to US President Donald Trump’s bluster against North Korea during his address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. This has overshadowed the equally threatening and ominous references he made in the same speech to Iran.

Anyone listening to will have been left with two impressions: Trump’s speech faithfully echoed the utterances Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and it brazenly beat the drums of war against Iran.

Trump described Iran as a ‘rogue state’ and ‘corrupt dictatorship’ that exports violence, anarchy, and bloodshed. He also said that he had reached a decision regarding the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran, while declining to reveal what it is. This has led many observers to conclude that he will soon withdraw from the agreement, in line with his electoral promise to tear it up on the grounds that it is the worst agreement in US history, and in deference to the dictates of the Israel lobby.

Trump is widely expected to announce the US’ withdrawal from the agreement in mid-October when he testifies to Congress in his semi-annual review. This is likely to be accompanied by a further tightening of the sanctions and the economic blockade on Iran. And it could prompt the Iranian government to immediately resume the enrichment of uranium at very high levels, giving it the capacity it to produce nuclear warheads.

It was no coincidence that shortly before Trump spoke, Netanyahu demanded that the nuclear agreement be scrapped or altered, while likening Iran to a hungry tiger on a vicious rampage in the region and the world. Nor was it a coincidence for Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot to announce that Israel has plans already in place for attacking Iran and Hezbollah, which he described as an Iranian surrogate whose growing missile and intelligence-gathering capacity (via pilotless drones) was a top Israeli concern.

The Israeli occupation state is the only country that backs Trump’s stance. The EU is opposed to it, especially French President Emmanuel Macron who warned it would be a ‘mistake’ for the US to withdraw from the nuclear agreement. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed the same view and vowed that his country would continue to uphold the deal.

Trump is literally implementing Israeli dictates. He is planning to drag his country and the world into a ruinous war in the Middle East: a war whose main victims will be Arabs and Muslims, and which will not spare the citizens of those states that host American military bases, which along with Israel can be expected to be targeted in any Iranian retaliation.

Iran will certainly not to stand by with folded arms in response to the attempt to cancel the agreement it spent five years negotiating with the six major powers, and ratchet up the economic sanctions that have stifled it for decades and inflicted huge damage on its economy and its people’s livelihoods. President Hassan Rowhani replied by stressing that his country was ready for all scenarios, including that of immediately resuming its nuclear activities. Revolutionary Guard Commander Mohammad-Ali Jafari went further, threatening to deliver a painful blow to the US if compelled to do so. Saturday’s test of a new ballistic missile a few days after Trump’s speech – apparently taking a leaf out of North Korea’s book – was intended to demonstrate that Iran is not prepared to take his threats lying down.

After the failure of his plans in Syria and the entire region, and after the humiliating embarrassment inflicted on him by North Korean President Kim Jong-un, who defied him by carrying out fresh nuclear and missile tests, Trump wants to return to the Middle East in force and start fires there. He is confident that the region’s oil-rich governments will cover the war’s expenses and does not mind turning their citizens into its victims.

But the Israelis who are pushing for this war will also pay heavy price. They too will not be secure, either during or after this war, as hundreds of thousands of missiles will be aimed at their cities and settlements from Iran, Lebanon and Syria. It would be the mother of all wars, and with Israel armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, potentially the region’s last. This time round, however, it will not be one-sided.

Trump is playing with fire. He may not only burn his fingers but also millions of our innocent people unless he is restrained, and unless his deranged tendencies and the megalomania which dominates his behaviour and policies are brought under control.

This article was first published by Raialyoum –

لماذا يُهدّد نتنياهو بقَصف القصر الرئاسي السوري والقوّات الإيرانيّة في سورية هذه الأيام؟ هل يَجرؤ .. وماذا كان رد بوتين “الصّادم” عليه؟

عبد الباري عطوان 

إذا أردنا أن نفهم حالة “الرّعب” التي تَسود النّخبة الحاكمة في دولة الاحتلال الإسرائيلي هذه الأيام، ووصلت إلى درجة التهديد علانيّةً بقَصف قصر الرئيس السوري في دِمشق، والتجمّعات العسكريّة الإيرانيّة في سورية، ما عَلينا إلا مُتابعة التصريحات التي أدلى بها روبرت فورد، آخر سُفراء أمريكا في سورية، وأحد أبرز مُؤيّدي “الثورة السورية” وداعميها.

مرّةً أُخرى نقول.. فليُجرّب نتنياهو حَظّه.. والأيام بيننا.

السفير فورد وفي مُقابلة مع صحيفة “ذا ناشيونال”، أكّد أن الرئيس الأسد انتصر، وأن الحرب التي انطلقت لإسقاطه وحُكمه قبل سبع سنوات بدأت تَقترب من نهاياتها بشكلٍ مُتسارعٍ، وقال المستر فورد الذي يَعمل حاليًّا زميلاً في مَعهد الشرق الأوسط في واشنطن “أن الرئيس الأسد لن يَخضع لأي مُسائلة لتحمّل المَسؤوليّة عَمّا حَدث في سورية، وأن حُكومته في المُستقبل لن تَقبل بالإدارات المَحليّة، وأن “الدولة الأمنيّة” باقيةٌ ولن تتغيّر”.

توقّعات السفير فورد هذه ربّما تُفسّر لنا، ولغيرنا، حالة الرّعب الشّديد التي دَفعت بنيامين نتنياهو، رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي للسفر إلى سوتشي للقاء الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين قبل أسبوع، طالبًا منه إنقاذ “إسرائيل”، والوقوف إلى جانبها إزاء التغييرات الاستراتيجيّة التي تجتاح سورية هذه الأيام، وتَصب في مصلحة صُعود إيران كقُوّةٍ إقليميّةٍ عُظمى.


ما يُريده نتنياهو من الرئيس بوتين، وكرّره علانيّةً للأمين العام للأمم المتحدة أنطونيو غوتيريش، الذي زار تل أبيب قبل يومين، مَنع النّفوذ الإيراني من التّغلغل في سورية، وإقامة مصانع صواريخ دقيقةٍ في شمالها، وأيضًا في جنوب لبنان، مَعقل “حزب الله”، وإلا فإن الطائرات الإسرائيليّة ستَقصف “قصر الأسد”، ومواقع الخُبراء العَسكريين الإيرانيين فيها.
الرئيس بوتين، وحسب تقارير الصّحف العِبرية، التي أكّدتها صحيفة “برافدا” المُقرّبة من الكرملين، كان هادئًا في مُواجهة حالة الانهيار والهِستيريا التي كانت باديةً على ضَيفه الإسرائيلي، وردّ عليه بأسلوبٍ أكثر برودة، بالقول

“أن إيران دولةٌ حليفةٌ استراتيجيّة مع روسيا في الشرق الأوسط، ولن نتنازل عن هذا الحليف من أجل عُيون “إسرائيل”،

وأن موسكو تعتمد على هذا التحالف مع إيران في مُواجهة حلف الناتو العربي الإسلامي، الذي تتزعّمه السعودية، ويَضم الممالك العربية، وتُديره أمريكا من واشنطن”، ورشّ الرئيس بوتين أكياسًا من المِلح على جُرح القَلق الإسرائيلي عندما شدّد على “أن موسكو ستستمر في تعزيز الدّور الإيراني في سورية، وتثبيت سُلطة الرئيس الأسد، وتَسليح حزب الله”.

لا نَعرف بأي حق يُطالب نتنياهو موسكو والأمم المتحدة بمَنع إيران من إقامة مَعامل للصّواريخ في سورية ولبنان، وإجبارها على سَحب قوّاتها من الأولى، فهل يُريد نتنياهو أن تكون سورية ساحةً مَفتوحةً أمام الطائرات الإسرائيليّة لتَقصف ما شاء لها القصف من الأهداف دون أن يكون لديها أي قُدرةٍ للدّفاع عن النفس؟
هل اعترضت سورية وإيران على القُبب الحديديّة الإسرائيلية ومَنظوماتها الصاروخيّة التي تُموّلها جُيوب دافع الضرائب الأمريكي، وهل احتجّت موسكو على إرسال عشرات الطائرات الأمريكية من طِراز “إف 35″ الأحدث في الترسانة العسكرية التي لا تَرصدها الرادارات؟

إنّها قمّة الوقاحة والاستكبار، وكان الرئيس بوتين مُحقًّا في عدم الاستجابةَ لها، فهو لا يَعمل مُوظّفًا لدى نتنياهو، ولا يتلقّى الأوامر منه، فروسيا العُظمى وخُبراؤها ذوو الخِبرة الميدانيّة العالية جدًّا في ميادين الدّفاع والسياسات الاستراتيجيّة، ليسوا بحاجةٍ إلى نتنياهو وأمثاله لكي يُلقي عليهم دروسه، ويقول لهم ما يجب أو ما لا يَجب فِعله، أو كيفيّة إدارة سياستهم الخارجية ومَصالحهم في منطقة الشرق الأوسط.

روسيا لا تَقف إلى جانب “إسرائيل” أو غيرها، مِثلما يُطالبها نتنياهو، وإنّما إلى جانب مصالحها، وهي لا يُمكن أن تنسى أو تتغافل، أن الأخيرة، أي “إسرائيل”، الحليف الأوثق لواشنطن في المنطقة والعالم.

إنّنا نَخشى أن تكون هذه اللّهجة التهديديّة الواضحة التي وردت على لسان نتنياهو، سواء أثناء لقائه مع بوتين، أو مع الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة، هي مُجرّد تمهيدٍ لخُطط إسرائيلية للعُدوان على سورية أو لبنان أو الإثنين معًا، تحت ذرائع التهديدات الإيرانية لأمنها، و”أن هذا العُدوان هو من قبيل الدّفاع عن النّفس″ في مُواجهة الخَطر الإيراني.
وما يَجعلنا لا نَستبعد هذا الاحتمال، أن حبل مَشنقة الفساد يَقترب من عُنق نتنياهو، وربّما يَدفعه إلى إشعال فتيل الحرب لإبعاد الأنظار عن التحقيقات التي تُوشك على إدانته وتوجيه الاتهام إليه، وعَزله من منصبه، واقتياده إلى السجن، ألم يَلجأ إيهود أولمرت، رئيس الوزراء السابق، إلى الخُطّة نفسها عندما اعتدى على لبنان في تموز (يوليو) عام 2006؟

إسرائيل في حالةِ ذُعرٍ وخَوف، ونتنياهو فاقد أعصابه، وعلى حافّة الانهيار، والحِزام الإيراني المُمتد من مزار شريف في أفغانستان حتى الضاحية الجنوبية لبيروت على ضِفاف المُتوسّط، يترسّخ ويَزداد قوّةً، والحرب في سورية تَقترب من نُقطة النّهاية بشكلٍ مُتسارع.


هل سيَجرؤ نتنياهو على الهُروب إلى الأمام، وقَصف سورية وقَصر رئيسها، والقوّات الإيرانيّة على أرضها؟ فليُجرّب، ولكن ربّما يُفيد تَذكيره بأن عامين ونصف العام من قَصف طائرات “عاصفة الحزم” من الطّراز الأمريكي نفسه، لم تَفرض الاستسلام على اليمن الفقير المُنهك، الذي يَملك أسلحةً انتهى عُمرها الافتراضي قبل نصف قرن، إن لم يكن أكثر، فهل ستَنجح طائراته في فَرضه، أي الاستسلام، على سورية الذي صَمد جَيشها لأكثر من سَبع سنوات، أو إيران، التي تَملك ترسانةٍ صاروخيّةٍ تَضم أكثر من 200 ألف صاروخ، إن لم يكن أكثر، إلى جانب مِئة ألف صاروخ لدى “حزب الله”.

ثم نَسأل نتنياهو أن يُسمّي لنا حربًا واحدةً انتصر فيها جيشه في لبنان؟ ألم يَنسحب هذا الجيش مَهزومًا من جنوب لبنان، ومن طرفٍ واحد عام 2000؟ ثم في عام 2006؟

ليست الأسلحة الحديثة وَحدها التي تَحسم الحُروب، إنّما الإرادة القويّة، والاستعداد للقِتال حتى الشهادة، والقيادة القادرة على إدارة الحرب بشكلٍ فاعلٍ، وهذهِ العناصر الثلاثة تتوفّر لدى السوريين والإيرانيين وحزب الله وحُلفائهم.
مرّةً أُخرى نقول.. فليُجرّب نتنياهو حَظّه.. والأيام بيننا.

رأي اليوم

The Saudi-israeli Alliance


By Abdel Bari Atwan | YemenExtra | July 9, 2017

By Abdel Bari Atwan

The evolving relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia is set to become a key feature of regional politics in the forthcoming phase. This goes beyond the creeping normalization of relations between the two sides and the holding of discreet contacts, to the formation of an undeclared but far-reaching alliance.

Retired Saudi general Anwar al-Eshki shed some light on this in an interview last week on the German TV channel Deutsche Welle, in which he provided insights into a number of unexplained issues: most importantly, why Saudi Arabia has been so adamant about getting the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir transferred from Egypt’s sovereignty to its own as quickly a possible. 

 Eshki made clear that once Saudi Arabia assumes sovereignty over the two islands, it will abide by the Camp David Accords, and that the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace deal — which cut Egypt off from the Arab world and the Palestinian cause and led to the opening of an Israeli embassy in Cairo – would cease to be a purely bilateral agreement.

The general, who has been Saudi Arabia’s main frontman in its normalization process with Israel, explained that the new maritime border demarcation agreement with Egypt places both islands within the kingdom’s territorial waters. Egypt and Saudi Arabia will therefore share control over the Strait of Tiran through which Israeli ships pass as they sail in and out of the Gulf of Aqaba, and the kingdom will accordingly establish a relationship with Israel.

True, Eshki also said that normalization of Saudi relations with Israel was contingent on the latter accepting the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. But he also spoke of an Israeli peace initiative that would ‘bypass’ that plan. According to him, this proposes the establishment of a confederation that would connect the occupied Palestinian territories – he did not specify how or to whom – while postponing discussion of the fate of Jerusalem.

Eshki also used the interview to confirm what Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has often reiterated: that Saudi Arabia does not consider Israel to be an enemy. He maintained that this view is shared by ordinary Saudis, and is reflected in their tweets and comments on social media which they point out that Israel never once attacked the kingdom so is not its enemy, and that these citizens support normalizing relations with Israel.

Eshki is not a policymaker but a mouthpiece. He was carefully selected for the job of saying what he is told and promoting it. To understand what his words are aimed at achieving – and the main features of the new normalization scheme that is rapidly unfolding – we need only paraphrase the statements made by the current Israeli defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman: Normalization between the Arab states and Israel should be achieved first, and then followed by a Palestinian-Israeli peace. Israel cannot accept a situation in which normalization with the Arab states is left hostage to a resolution of the Palestinian issue. After all, Israel has signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan without ending the Palestinian conflict.

The point that the handover of Tiran and Sanafir would commit Saudi Arabia to the Camp David accords, and to all obligations arising from them, was also stressed by the head of the Egyptian parliament’s Defence and National Security Committee, Gen. Kamal Amer.

The conclusion that can be drawn is that the main purpose of the rush to restore the two islands to Saudi sovereignty is to accelerate the pace of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia and ‘legitimize’ their evolving alliance. After all, Saudi Arabia possesses countless thousands of neglected islands dotted along its Red Sea and Gulf coastlines. It has no need for two additional small, barren and uninhabited outcrops. Even if it did, it managed well enough without them for 50 years during which they were either under Israeli occupation or Egyptian protection. Had it wanted, it could have waited and postponed this thorny issue for ten, twenty, or a hundred more years, so as to avoid embarrassing the Egyptian government and angering the Egyptian people.

The Saudi government’s stage-setting for normalization with the Israeli occupation state is already well underway and gaining pace. Following Eshki’s ‘academic’ visits to Israel and former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal’s security encounters, we have now begun to see Saudi ‘analysts’ appearing on Israeli TV. The next step may be for Saudi ministers and princes to do the same.

The Saudi citizens who Eshki claimed were tweeting their support for friendship with Israel on the grounds that it has never attacked their country, and who support normalizing relations with it, are soldiers in the Saudi electronic army. They number in the thousands, and work under the auspices of Saudi intelligence and police. The overwhelming majority of Saudis are opposed to any form of normalization with the occupation state, for religious, Arab nationalist, patriotic, and moral reasons. We have absolutely no doubt about that. But we can understand the pressure they are under when a single tweet expressing sympathy for Qatar or criticism of ‘Vision 2030′ can cost the tweeter 15 years in prison or a $250,000 fine.

According to Haaretz and other Israeli media outlets, Crown Prince Muhammad bin-Salman, who is leading the Saudi march towards normalization and alliance with Israel, occupation state visited occupied Jerusalem in 2015. He has also holds regular meetings with Israeli officials, most recently when during the Arab summit held in Amman in March.

Not long ago Riyadh hosted the American journalist Thomas Friedman. (Perhaps this was a reward for his comment after the 9/11 attacks that the US should have invaded Saudi Arabia – the real source of terrorism — rather than Iraq in retaliation.) Friedman met with a number of officials before being granted a lengthy audience with Muhammad bin-Salman. He reported afterwards that not once during the five-hour encounter did the prince utter the word ‘Palestine’ or mention the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Indeed, I challenge anyone to come up with a single instance in which the up-and-coming Saudi strongman refers to ‘Palestine’ in any of his televised interviews.

Meanwhile, priority has been give to silencing and countering Arab voices that confront this evolving Saudi-Israeli alliance and expose its aims, implications and likely consequences – whether in the social or conventional media. Riyadh’s demand for the closure of the Al-Jazeera channel affirms that the war it is currently waging is not against ‘terror’ but against critical and free media.

We, too, have been and remain on the receiving-end of that war, subject to a furious on-going assault by the Saudi electronic army and a vicious and deliberate campaign of defamation. All one can say in response is to quote the saying: the coward dies one hundred times; the brave and free just once.


Going for Regime-Change in Doha

Trump talks tough and calls in the generals after Qatari emir, fearing a trap, snubs his mediation offer

The strongly-worded warning issued to Qatar on Friday by US President Donald Trump – accusing it of being a “funder of terrorism… at a very high level” and demanding that it “stop immediately supporting terrorism” — suggests that the US has not only signed up fully to the Saudi-UAE-Egyptian-Bahraini alliance against Qatar, but assumed its leadership.  It also confirms that the steps taken by the four countries to blockade Qatar and suffocate it economically had prior American approval.

This amounts to a conditional American declaration of war. When Trump announces at a White House press conference, ‘I’ve decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals, and military people, the time has come to call on Qatar to end its funding,’ the meaning cannot be clearer in this regard.

Trump struck this hard-line stance just hours after Tillerson made statements about the crisis in the Gulf that were conciliatory and calming in tone. He urged Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to ease their blockade of Qatar, arguing that it was damaging to US military operations against the Islamic State (IS) group in addition to causing humanitarian harm.

In our view, this sudden toughening of the American position was a response to the way the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin-Hamad Al Khalifa, turned down Trump’s invitation to him and the other principals in the crisis to travel to Washington to explore for solutions. He justified his refusal to attend on the grounds that he could not leave his country while it remained under blockade. This angered the US president, who has been behaving like an emperor and thinks his orders cannot be disobeyed.

Emir Tamim does not trust the US administration, and fears the invitation could merely have been a trap to keep him in the US and prevent him from returning home, while Saudi and UAE forces invade in support of an internal coup that deposes him as ruler and installs a new emir from the other wing of the ruling Al Thani. The 10,000 US troops based at al-‘Udaid in Qatar also could conceivably play a supporting role in such a scheme.

It was striking that during the three summits that were convened for him in Riyadh earlier this month (with Saudi, Gulf and Arab/Islamic leaders respectively), Trump adopted wholesale the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia and the UAE which deems Iran to be the spearhead of terrorism in the region. He supported their severing of ties with and closure of their borders and airspace to Qatar on the grounds that is an ally of Iran and supporter of terrorism, in the view of this new alliance.

When Trump instructs his generals, as he did at the White House press conference, to take practical measures to oblige Qatar to stop funding terrorism, that leaves Doha with very few options. It can either accept the ten conditions to which Saudi Arabia and its allies demanded its immediate compliance, or it must face up to the consequences of refusing to do so.

The summary expulsion, in a harsh manner, of Qatari citizens from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain and the three Gulf countries’ closure of their borders and severing of relations is a declaration of war that spells of the end of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as we have known it. Trump’s adoption of these steps, meanwhile, aborts the so-called ‘Arab/Islamic NATO’ as it was proposed at the Riyadh summits. Instead, this alliance will be reduced to one based solely on the members of the Gulf/Arab anti-Qatar coalition. When Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain enact laws that punish expressions of support for Qatar on social media with 15 years imprisonment or fines of up to one million dollars, this means that all the talk of brotherhood and common bonds between the Gulf states has evaporated forever – along with any remaining lip-service to respecting human rights.

Qatar has announced that it will not submit to tutelage or surrender in the face of attempts to suffocate and blockade it, and will therefore not change its foreign policy. It has begun to seek support and protection from its friends in Ankara and Tehran. This could prompt its adversaries to take even harsher and more aggressive measures against it, such as Egypt preventing Qatari gas exports from transiting the Suez Canal.

Qatar has cards of its own to play, such as shutting down the pipeline that supplies Qatari gas to the UAE, or expelling 200,000 resident Egyptian migrant workers. But it has insisted that it will not resort to such measures, and that Egyptian workers will not be harmed and Qatari gas will continue being pumped.

It was evident from the outset of this crisis that it would becoming increasingly serious, and now it can be expected to escalate further – especially after the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad fell into a state of depression due to the failure of his mediation effort, to which not all sides were responsive.

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Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (Source:

When Trump brings his generals – some of them based at al-Aideed — into the crisis and orders them to act to stop Qatar form supporting terrorism, we should expect the worst. The ‘worst’ in this case could mean a military solution and enforced regime-change. And that would mean setting the region, in part or in whole, ablaze.

This article was first published by Raialyoum


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