Iran and the Persian Gulf monarchies: Diplomacy remains their only option

Reconciliation between Iran and the GCC will reap vast mutual benefits, while conflict only serves those outside the Persian Gulf

September 07 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Mohammad Salami

In mid-August, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states the UAE and Kuwait announced the return of their respective ambassadors to Iran after a six year hiatus.

The move represents the latest sign of warming ties between Iran and the Persian Gulf sheikhdoms since the controversial execution of prominent, outspoken, Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr in 2016 interrupted relations.

Nimr’s killing prompted angry protestors to storm the Saudi diplomatic mission in Tehran, leading to a concerted action by several GCC states to sever or downgrade relations with the Islamic Republic.

The reconciliation of two GCC countries with Iran last month was a result of negotiations stretching back several years. These advances also come amid on-going – sometimes stalled – talks between Tehran and Riyadh, hosted by neutral mediators in Baghdad. So far, five rounds of discussions have been held, with the last one held in April and a sixth one looming on the horizon.

Deescalation and diplomacy

Over the past two years, tensions in the Persian Gulf region deescalated as regional states began to seek alternative options to wind down their various proxy fights in West Asia.

The UAE has been at the forefront of these efforts, normalizing relations with Syria – another battleground against Iran – and agreeing to reset relations with Turkey last year after a decade of divergent ideological stances over the wider region.

Following Abu Dhabi’s lead, Riyadh also markedly improved its own relations with Ankara after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day trip to Saudi Arabia, which was reciprocated by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s (MbS) visit to the Turkish capital in June.

Most important for the region, however, is the thorny issue of the longstanding, mutually-perceived threat between Iran and the ‘Saudi camp’ within the GCC. For various reasons, including defeats and setbacks in Syria and nearby Yemen, Iran’s Arab neighbors have come to realize that the continuation of hostilities with Tehran is no longer in their national security interest.

“[Iran and Saudi Arabia] are neighbors. Neighbors forever. We cannot get rid of them, and they can’t get rid of us. So, it’s better for both of us to work it out and to look for ways in which we can coexist,” MbS said in an abrupt about-turn earlier this year.

Such conciliatory views are shared by Tehran, as conveyed by Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani who told reporters on 22 August: “We are optimistic that a positive regional atmosphere is fostering a path of communication and dialogue, and ultimately better relations.”

Rapprochement between Iran and the UAE was preceded by a similar trajectory; after four years of negotiations and five phone calls between Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the two countries concluded that their interests can be better resolved through dialogue.

“Short of confronting Iran, it is wiser to reach out to Mr. [Ebrahim] Raisi. One way to deal with Iran is to continue the conversation and find common ground for good neighborly relations,” AbdulKhaleq Abdulla, the former advisor to the UAE government wrote in an opinion article, in reference to the Iranian president.

The diplomatic moves make sense considering that the UAE and Iran are economically interdependent; trade between Iran and the UAE is extensive, and Abu Dhabi is the largest exporter of goods to Iran. It is worth noting that despite tensions between the two countries, trade never completely ceased during the toughest times.

Motivating factors

Several factors have motivated this wholesale revision of policies towards Iran. Chief among these is the concern that GCC states can no longer depend on unconditional protection from unreliable allies outside the region.

Certainly, US President Joe Biden’s focus on reentering the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran – unilaterally abandoned by his predecessor – is a strong indicator that Washington seeks to defuse its own decades-long standoff with Tehran to address more pressing national security priorities elsewhere.

As the US military and foreign policy establishments recalibrate their focus onto major peer adversaries like China and Russia, Washington has reduced its defense and security commitment to its long-time allies in the Persian Gulf.

This eroding ‘security guarantee,’ which began under former President Barack Obama and his “Pivot to Asia,” became strikingly evident in the 2019 Yemeni attack on Saudi’s Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and subsequent attacks on ships anchored in the UAE port of Fujairah, including two Saudi oil tankers.

After the unprecedented strikes by Yemen’s resistance movement Ansarallah, Washington’s utter failure to provide material support to its closest Persian Gulf allies – who have spent billions to procure US military protection – strongly influenced the GCC’s decision to engage with Iran.

“When the US didn’t follow through on defending its Arab partners following the Aramco attacks “it became imperative [for the UAE] to secure itself without relying on others – the US in particular – and engaging with Iran is a part of that,” Dina Esfandiary, a Middle East adviser at the International Crisis Group think tank explained.

The US’ faltering pledge to safeguard the Arab states of the Persian Gulf was heavily criticized by the Senate Republican Policy Committee. In a statement in early August, it accused Biden of undermining his commitment to Persian Gulf allies and missing an opportunity to take advantage of developments in West Asia and the US-brokered Abraham Accords for a united front against Iran.

Additional factors that accelerated dialogue with Iran include the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic – which encouraged further economic diversification away from reliance on oil revenues – the crisis in Ukraine, global energy shortages, and the issue of regional food security.

Conflict with Iran is ‘off the table’

The 2020 Abraham Accords presented an opportunity for Israel and its new Arab partners to form an anti-Iranian front aimed at reducing Iran’s geopolitical reach. But two years of inactive bluster about an “Arab NATO” has instead demonstrated that none of the Persian Gulf’s monarchies – despite plenty of encouragement from Tel Aviv and Washington – have the political will to take that confrontational regional step.

Instead, in the aftermath of normalization, Arab states such as the UAE sought to gain economic and commercial benefits from Israeli IT technologies and clean energy companies, rather than crow for open confrontation with Iran. For this reason “Middle East NATO was a ‘theoretical’ concept and … for Abu Dhabi confrontation [with Iran] was not an option,” says Anwar Gargash, senior diplomatic advisor to the UAE president.

Other GCC member states like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar have thus far opposed full normalization with Israel. They know that any overt anti-Iranian front – encouraged by the US and centered on Israel – serves primarily to rehabilitate Tel Aviv’s image within Arab countries, where populations remain hostile to Israel.

They are also now painfully aware that the US will not waste its limited and valuable resources in West Asia when the strategic geography of the China Sea and East Asia are of infinitely more intrinsic value to Washington.

Following the Jeddah Summit, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud said decisively: “There’s no such thing as Arabic NATO.”

Pragmatism in the Persian Gulf

Furthermore, for many Arabs, Iran acts as a valuable counterbalance to Israel in the region. The Persian Gulf – Levant and North Africa too – have a shared interest in obstructing Israel’s many troublesome and disruptive regional ambitions. Iran is a useful tool in this respect, as it absolves Arab states from doing the heavy lifting themselves, which would earn Washington’s ire.

In turn, reconciliation with its Arab neighbors will help Iran mitigate the effects of US-imposed sanctions and isolation efforts. Tehran also wants to keep these diplomatic channels open should the nuclear negotiations in Vienna not come to fruition.

Since his election in 2021, Iran’s President Raisi has repeatedly stressed that regional relations are the primary foreign policy focus of his administration. At the same time, Iran has introduced proposals on a mutually-beneficial regional security architecture that would exclude the need for external military forces in the Persian Gulf and its environs.

Tehran believes a region-first approach can strengthen relations with neighbors across all fields and, importantly, build years of depleted trust. The question is whether its Arab neighbors, many of whom rose to power on the back on western colonial projects, can extract themselves from this dependency and forge independent security strategies.

The timing is not bad. GCC states have concluded that the US will not guarantee security in the way they once perceived, and that Washington is – possibly permanently – distracted elsewhere. These events coincide with a global hike in oil and gas prices because of western sanctions on Russia. As a key member of OPEC+, Russia has thus far managed to keep influential Persian Gulf producers onside on production and pricing policies. China is investing billions in the Persian Gulf states on connectivity and infrastructure. Heavily dependent on Gulf energy resources, China – as well as Iran and Russia – is pushing for a new Persian Gulf security architecture run by regional states.

While the moment may be ripe to advance these new ideas, Iran’s reconciliation with its Arab neighbors is contingent on all parties understanding their mutual interests and threats, which is essential to reduce conflict.

The benefits will be game-changing for all. Ensuing stability in the Persian Gulf will bring about a more prosperous regional economy through interdependence, in addition to enhanced political, security, and geopolitical cooperation in the longer term.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Report: “Israeli”–Arab Middle East Military Network is Evolving Overtly & Covertly

August 16, 2022 

By Staff, “Israel” Alma Org.

Efforts by the apartheid “Israeli” entity and some Arab countries surpass mere normalization to the creation of Middle Eastern NATO-like military alliance, as a report by the “Israeli” Alma Center noted.

The July visit by US President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia and to the “Israeli”-occupied Palestinian territories was a means to pave the way for such an alliance.

However, it was likely unrealistic at this stage to expect Riyadh to make public all of the potential ways it might, or already has begun to, cooperate with the “Israeli” entity in the military realm, against the common adversary: Iran and its regional axis.

According to the report, Saudi Arabia, whose cities, airports, and oil sites have come under regular missile and UAV operations by Iran’s ally the Ansarullah revolutionaries in Yemen, is clearly interested in seeing Iran contained, while also avoiding an all-out war with the Islamic Republic.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s conservative social structure also means that the country is unable to change its public orientation to the “Israeli” entity overnight, in the same manner that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain did after signing the August 2020 “Abraham Accords”.

Although the Saudi leadership has indicated that it requires progress on the “Israeli”–Palestinian front before it can go further in normalization, the ability of “Israeli” and Saudi Arabia to cooperate in quieter ways against Iran likely goes significantly deeper than meets the eye, explained the report.

The September 2021 shift of the “Israeli” entity from the area of responsibility of the US Military’s European Command [EUCOM] to Central Command [CENTCOM], the latter being responsible for the Middle East, marked a major milestone in the development of a Middle Eastern architecture, the report pointed.

The report further added that this shift also allowed for much more substantial US-led coordination of operational military activities among the “Israeli” entity, Gulf states, and American forces in the Middle East against Iran’s regional axis.

That makes a collective approach in the region towards common threats smoother between the apartheid entity, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, but also, likely with Saudi Arabia.

Now that the “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] is a formal CENTCOM partner, new opportunities have opened up, the Alma report explains.

This includes joint maritime and aerial training exercises, strategic planning, and work on drawing up regional cooperation doctrines. The sharing of intelligence and the transfer of technological capabilities are all likely on the table.

The entity’s move to CENTCOM formalizes joint military drills involving American, Arab, and “Israeli” forces, creating a platform that can be used to develop common missile defense cooperation, as well as cooperation on maritime security, cyber defense, counter-terrorism, and special operations, the report added.

While every nation in this bloc is responsible, first and foremost, for creating solutions to its challenges individually, the creation of regional arrangements is already underway between the “Israeli” entity and the Gulf states, despite the fact that each has its own threat profile perception when it comes to the Iranian axis.

The IOF can provide an array of capabilities to this bloc, the report said.

Just as Saudi Arabia is now providing overflight rights to civilian airliners flying in its air space, it could, theoretically, do the same for IAF flights, as could other Gulf states that are close to Iran.

Increasingly intimate joint training, such the November 2021 US, “Israeli”, Emirati, and Bahraini joint navy drill in the Red Sea, forms a key pillar of this emerging bloc.

The acquisition of “Israeli” air defense systems, such as Iron Dome, by Gulf states remains on the agenda, as well as the transfer of other “Israeli” defense technology.

The “Israeli” entity is well position to supply UAV interception capabilities to its new Gulf friends, while every country that is under CENTCOM’s area of responsibility can share tracking information of UAV and missile activity by Iran and its allies, creating a regional air defense network, the report stated.

Many of these activities can be expected to occur away from public view, and therefore, official statements by heads of states, including that of Saudi Arabia during Biden’s recent visit, likely only reflect a part of the full picture.

Overall, the so-called Abraham Accords are increasingly becoming a daily tool to facilitated “Israeli”–Arab joint operations. Military to military cooperation between the entity, the UAE, and Bahrain are growing closer in plain sights, and daily IOF operations are increasingly being integrated with regional, CENTCOM-led frameworks.

Biden in Jeddah: mending fences, not building bridges

President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia will likely end in face saving gestures, but no major geopolitical concessions

July 12 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Kristian Alexander and Giorgio Cafiero

Before 2019, never had a US president referred to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a ‘pariah’ on his campaign trail. Joe Biden’s Saudi-bashing as a presidential candidate, plus a host of other delicate issues, have fueled significant friction between the White House and Riyadh.

Today, relations between the US and Saudi Arabia are probably at their worst since the events of September 11, 2001, stymied by a major trust deficit in the relationship between Biden’s White House and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS).

By the same token, the Biden administration views Saudi Arabia as a critical partner in the Persian Gulf and continues to sign massive arms deals with the kingdom.

For all the rhetoric on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose brutal murder MbS is said to have sanctioned, team Biden never imposed state-level sanctions against Saudi Arabia, nor on the crown prince himself.

Meanwhile, the administration praises the role of Riyadh in the Arab world’s trend toward normalization with Israel.

Within this context, Biden’s first presidential trip to West Asia – in which he will go to Israel, the occupied West Bank, and Saudi Arabia this week – will be important to White House efforts to mend fences with Riyadh and salvage this decades-old partnership.

In a US mid-term election year that will likely lead to significant gains for his Republican opposition, Biden seeks to score major foreign policy points in Jeddah that can be used for domestic consumption back in Washington this summer.

Incentivizing Biden to convince the Saudis to increase their oil production are the millions of US motorists struggling with high gas prices and the many average American voters grappling with generational high inflation.

Energy prices are therefore extremely important to Biden’s controversial trip to the kingdom. Yet, this month’s summit in Saudi Arabia is unlikely to give Americans much relief at the gas pump between now and the elections in November.

Shifting the narrative from oil to peace

Determined to ensure that the US public does not tie this tour’s success specifically to a Saudi oil production hike – which could easily result in the Biden administration’s humiliation – the White House message is that this visit to Jeddah largely concerns peace in the region.

As Biden wrote in the Washington Post, avoiding a future in which the region is “coming apart through conflict” is of “paramount importance” to the White House, and he will “pursue diplomacy intensely – including through face-to-face meetings – to achieve our goals.”

According to Biden, if the region comes together through “diplomacy and cooperation” there is a lower chance of “violent extremism” threatening US national security or “new wars that could place new burdens on US military forces and their families.”

This trip comes at a time in which there is a fragile truce in Yemen, where the Saudis and Emiratis have waged a devastating seven-year war. Although the conflict remains unresolved, the drastic reduction in violence and increased humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country have given millions of Yemenis desperately needed relief.

The truce in Yemen has been possible in part because of Saudi and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member support, which makes it easier for Biden to justify his visit to Jeddah. After all, it was the Khashoggi affair and the conflict in Yemen that ‘Biden-the-candidate’ cited as reasons for his ‘pariah’ treatment of Riyadh.

Thus, moving toward a settlement to this conflict, in which the last two US presidents were heavily involved in escalating, helps Biden save face as he makes this trip. If the president leaves the kingdom with some guarantees from the Saudis about their commitment to future truce extensions, that could be interpreted as a win for Biden.

“The US administration is beginning to realize that President Biden can’t just ignore Saudi Arabia and that it’s in the best interest of the two countries to start working together, not just to reduce oil prices and pressure on US consumers, but also to further the stability of the Middle East and contain [the Iranian] threat whether in Lebanon or Yemen,” Najah Al-Otaibi, an associate fellow at the Riyadh-based King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, said in an interview with The Cradle.

Expanding on her point, Al-Otaibi said that “Saudi Arabia has recently agreed to extend the United Nations-mediated ceasefire with Yemen, and Prince Mohammed [bin Salman] played a critical role in this move, according to Biden’s officials who thought it is a step forward to solving the conflict.”

Last month, Biden clarified that, for him, bolstering Israel’s security was a major motivation for the trip to Saudi Arabia. Despite some speculation among pundits that Saudi Arabia will soon join the Abraham Accords, this is highly doubtful, especially with King Salman still on the throne. However, with MbS “the reformer” as future king, normalization between “the Land of the Two Holy Mosques” and Israel is all the more likely.

Insecurity and an ‘Arab NATO’

Even if Riyadh remains outside the Abraham Accords, there is much that Saudi Arabia can do to make it easier for other Arab-Muslim countries to normalize with Tel Aviv, and for the kingdom’s allies, already signatories to the Abraham Accords, to build on their overt relations with the Israelis.

While in Jeddah, Biden will likely push the Saudis to take some more baby steps toward a de facto normalization with Israel, even if it remains unofficial. One way for the kingdom to do so would be by granting permission for Israeli planes to transit Saudi airspace on their way to the UAE, Bahrain, and other countries.

Other avenues could include bolstering involvement by Israeli technology firms in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Saudi–Israeli military cooperation, and more visits by high-ranking Israeli officials to the kingdom that could build on former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s November 2020 visit to Neom.

Shoring up US–Arab partnerships in preparation for the increasingly likely scenario that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) talks with Iran will collapse in acrimony is a high priority for Biden.

Against the backdrop of Iran’s nuclear advancements as negotiations further stall, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states attending the GCC+3 summit are preparing for a post-JCPOA future in which friction between the US and Israel, on one side, and the Islamic Republic, on the other, appears set to intensify in the coming weeks and months.

“I think Iran, not oil, is the main issue as Iran moves closer and closer to having all the parts it needs to put together a nuclear bomb,” David Ottaway, a Middle East fellow at the Wilson Center, told The Cradle. “Only a revival of the Iranian nuclear deal can stop that trend, and nobody is optimistic about that happening now.”

Although Riyadh and Tehran have been in direct talks via Baghdad since April 2021, the Saudi leadership wants assurances from team Biden that Washington remains committed to the kingdom’s security regardless of the fate of the 2015 nuclear accord, and that the US will work with its Arab allies to counter Iran in regional hotspots, such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

Yet, mindful of the little trust Saudi officials have in the Biden administration, it is difficult to imagine the US president gaining enough confidence from Riyadh during this upcoming trip vis-à-vis Iran-related issues. As Ottaway told The Cradle:

“I suspect [Biden] will declare another US commitment to defending the kingdom from its foreign enemies, but after Trump’s failure to take any action after Iranian attacks on Saudi oil facilities in 2019, he needs to say or do something to back up [what are] just words.”

In recent weeks, there has been much discussion about an Arab NATO that includes Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other US-friendly Arab states. Biden will seek to advance this initiative as the west and its allies and partners in West Asia remain worried about Iran’s regional foreign policy agenda.

“[Biden] wishes to reaffirm the historical strength and enduring reciprocity of the alliance, but also to press Riyadh on cooperating more on the energy side – particularly as the US moves as well to create a region-wide defense platform, the so-called Middle East NATO,” Sean Yom, an associate professor at Temple University, pointed out in an interview with The Cradle.

“There is, however, one sticking point that will probably cause a difference: the Saudis continue to desire a strong US presence in the Gulf, one that can police Iran and intervene in a potential militarized conflict, whereas Biden clearly is continuing his predecessors’ anti-interventionist stance,” added Yom.

Nonetheless, many experts have doubts about an Arab NATO ever manifesting into a real alliance, and expect the initiative to remain merely conceptual. This assessment accounts for the opposition of some Arab states to an open military coordination with Israel, as some GCC states, like the Sultanate of Oman, do not want to join an alliance aimed at weakening or intimidating Tehran.

There are also logistical hurdles which would make it difficult for these state militaries to integrate in a NATO-like manner.

“Biden’s plan for a US-backed ‘Arab NATO’ of GCC states plus Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan seems as unlikely to succeed as Trump’s Middle East Strategic Alliance, which never got off the ground,” Ottaway says.

Virtue-signalling human rights

Although Biden’s administration has determined that the moral costs of this presidential trip do not outweigh the perceived benefits, the Khashoggi affair remains a delicate issue – though significantly less so now than in the immediate aftermath of the grisly murder in October 2018.

MbS wants the US government to drop the Khashoggi issue, but elements within Biden’s party maintain that any interaction between him and the crown prince would be “profoundly disturbing.” To placate more progressive politicians, high-profile media pundits, and human rights activists who criticize Biden for “legitimizing” MbS on this trip, the president will seek some human rights concessions, like those which his administration secured at the start of his presidency.

If Biden is successful on this front, he could return to the US claiming that his visit to the kingdom helped advance, rather than hinder, the cause of human rights. Such an achievement would help Biden save face and tell his base that he did not abandon certain principles or so-called ‘American values’ by meeting MbS in the Saudi kingdom.

“His campaign trail rhetoric, like all political campaign rhetoric, was never going to bear much resemblance to executive policy and official diplomacy,” cautioned Yom. “But I do think Biden will exit the meetings by claiming that he squarely put human rights concerns, and potentially even democratic awareness, onto the agenda for Riyadh.”

Yet, whether the Saudi leadership feels it is under sufficient pressure to release any political prisoners, or provide liberties to some recently released Saudis who are banned from traveling, remains to be seen.

From the perspective of the Saudi government, the US and other western governments are inappropriately virtue signaling when raising human rights concerns in the kingdom. The view from Riyadh is that these issues are internal issues that do not concern Washington or European capitals.

Saudi and other Arab officials will often point to US sins in Iraq or police brutality against African-Americans to highlight elements of hypocrisy on the part of US politicians lecturing the Saudi government on the human rights front.

MbS reportedly “shouting” at US national security adviser Jake Sullivan after the high-ranking official brought up the Khashoggi case underscores the effect of these discussions on the leaders of Saudi Arabia.

The grander geopolitical picture 

Biden will visit Saudi Arabia amid a period of increasing east–west bifurcation and intensifying great power competition. Although neither China nor Russia is on the verge of replacing the US as security guarantor of Saudi Arabia or any GCC states, US influence in the Gulf has declined with Beijing and Moscow gaining greater clout at Washington’s expense.

Biden’s trip to Jeddah aims to reassert US influence in the Persian Gulf and attempt to prevent Riyadh and other Arab capitals from moving closer to the Chinese and Russians. An objective of Biden’s is to bring GCC states back into the geopolitical orbit of the west, while slowing down the growth of their partnerships with Beijing and Moscow.

“There were undeniable hiccups in the relationship last year, relating to halting support to the Yemen war, aggressive rhetoric against MbS, and more scrutiny on arms sales,” Yom explained.

“Fundamentally, none of these factors perturbed the great structural core of the US–Saudi alliance, built upon mutual perceptions of energy security, sovereign protections, and regional hegemony. But those hiccups were enough to make the decision-making circles in Riyadh a bit uncomfortable, enough at least to entertain Russian and Chinese overtures for military and energy cooperation.”

The White House and the entire US foreign policy establishment have grave concerns about Sino–Saudi ballistic missile cooperation and the extent to which the Chinese and Emiratis are making their defense and security relations more robust.

It is safe to say that while in Jeddah, team Biden will make it clear that the US will withhold future military assistance if GCC states move militarily closer to China. The extent to which such pressure has any impact on Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s relationships with Beijing remains an open question.

Nonetheless, team Biden must understand that this visit will occur against the backdrop of serious tensions between the US and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has grown frustrated with many aspects of Washington’s agenda in the Biden era.

The Saudi government’s view is that Biden is an ’Obama 2.0’ – a perspective that is not unreasonable when mindful of how many Obama administration veterans, including Biden himself, are serving in the White House.

By moving closer to China and Russia, the Saudis are sending a message, loud and clear, to Washington that Riyadh has other options on the international stage as the world moves towards multipolarity with more Arab statesmen perceiving the US as a power that is withdrawing from West Asia.

Riyadh can exaggerate the extent to which the kingdom has grown closer to Beijing and Moscow to gain leverage over the US and secure more concessions from Washington. That is likely to continue, and Biden would be making a mistake in placating the Saudis in every instance to merely try to stop Riyadh from tilting closer to China and Russia.

Simultaneously, Saudi Arabia is showing itself to be increasingly confident and Biden’s visit to the kingdom will add to Riyadh’s sense of being emboldened, giving the Saudi leadership more reason to pursue its own interests in ways that sometimes align more closely with Beijing and Moscow’s foreign policy objectives than those of western powers.

Despite these geopolitical tensions, the Biden administration and Al-Saud rulers both value Washington and Riyadh’s decades-old partnership, and neither side wants to abandon it. Much anger and a significant trust deficit, however, have built up between these two countries.

Biden will not be leaving Saudi Arabia later this month with all these issues resolved. But the dialogue in Jeddah has the potential to begin a process of mending fences.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Netanyahu highly values MBS role in signing ‘Abraham Accords’

11 Jul 2022

Source: Israeli media

By Al Mayadeen English 

Former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu expresses openly for the first time MBS’ clear contribution to the signing of several normalization agreements with “Israel”.

Former Israeli occupation PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Archive)

Israeli media relayed the appreciation of the leader of the Israeli opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu, to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, for his contribution to the completion of the four so-called “Abraham Accords”.

Netanyahu said that in case he assumes leadership once again, then he intends to achieve full “peace agreements” with Saudi Arabia, as well as with other Arab states.

The former Israeli Prime Minister’s statement comes ahead of an upcoming visit by US President Joe Biden to the Middle East, during which he will meet with Palestinian and Israeli occupation officials.

According to Israeli media, Biden plans to meet with Netanyahu during his upcoming visit to “Israel”.

This is the first time in which an Israeli official openly highlights bin Salman’s clear contribution to the signing of the normalization agreements with the Israeli occupation.

The UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan were part of the so-called “Abraham Accords” brokered by former US President Donald Trump’s administration in 2020 to normalize relations with “Israel”.

Mossad plane lands in Riyadh ahead of Biden’s visit

On Monday, the political affairs commentator for the Israeli Makan channel, Shimon Aran, revealed that a private Israeli plane “that the Israeli Mossad used in the past landed this afternoon in Riyadh.”  

The Israeli commentator confirmed, through his account on Twitter, that the plane landed this afternoon in Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, apparently in preparation for US President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit.

Netanyahu visited Saudi Arabia

It is noteworthy that “Israel” Hayom newspaper had previously revealed that Israeli envoys visited Riyadh several times throughout a period of time that extends for over a decade now. However, these visits have always been kept secret.

There has been one exception to the secret visits and that is Netanyahu’s visit in November of 2020 to the Red Sea city of Neom, which was widely yet carefully publicized, where he met with bin Salman.

Previously, Israeli Security Minister Benny Gantz had visited Saudi Arabia as chief of staff, while Aluf Meir Dagan, Tamir Pardo, and Yossi Cohen arrived as heads of Mossad and Ben Shabbat as head of the “National Security Council.” The purpose of the visit was to develop security coordination, especially against Iran.

Netanyahu, as did most Israeli officials, had flown to Saudi Arabia in a private plane especially leased for this occasion. At the time, it was business contacts that have matured into political, military, and security deals.

 A “road map for normalization”

In the same context, four informed US sources told Axios that the White House has been working on a “road map for normalization” between Saudi Arabia and the Israeli occupation ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to West Asia in July.

Earlier this year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman said, “We do not view Israel as an enemy, but rather as a potential ally in the many interests that we can pursue together, but some issues must be resolved before we can reach that.”

Related Stories

Israeli military officials sent to Qatar as US works to bolster security cooperation

Arrival of officials in Qatar underscores how normalisation impacts Arab states that have not formally established ties to Israel

A general view shows US Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft at al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar (AFP/File photo)

8 July 2022 

By Sean Mathews

Israeli military officials have secretly been dispatched to Qatar as part of a security reshuffle that places Israel in US Central Command’s area of responsibility, current and former US and Gulf officials have told Middle East Eye.

At least one location where Israeli officials have travelled is al-Udeid, a US air base and the forward operating headquarters of all US forces in the Middle East, also known as Centcom, the sources said.

Israel was absorbed into Centcom last year, in a move that built on the 2020 normalisation agreements which saw Bahrain and the UAE establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. Morocco and Sudan normalised relations with Israel soon after.

A Gulf official with knowledge of the matter who spoke with MEE on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive topic did not say how many Israeli personnel were currently in the country.  

The Abraham Accords and Israel’s inclusion in Centcom ‘are forcing all Arab capitals to reassess what their relationship with Israel looks like’

– R Clarke Cooper, former US official

Despite lacking formal relations, Israel and Qatar – two key US allies – maintain ties, and are known to engage on issues including the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

“There is dialogue, and it is a good dialogue,” said the Gulf official.

Qatar publicly acknowledges what it calls a “working relationship” with Israel. Those ties came to the fore during Israel’s offensive on Gaza last year when Defence Minister Benny Gantz reportedly met with Qatari officials in an unnamed country to negotiate aid for the besieged Gaza Strip.

However, the disclosure, not previously reported elsewhere, of Israeli military officials travelling to Qatar underscores how ties are extending beyond traditional areas such as Palestine, particularly as the US works to bolster security cooperation between its Arab partners and Israel.

“The Abraham Accords, as well as the inclusion of Israel into the US Central Command, are forcing all Arab capitals to reassess what their relationship with Israel looks like,” R Clarke Cooper, former assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs under the Trump administration and currently at the Atlantic Council, told MEE.

“Current considerations of military integration to address shared threats like Iran is a real-time example of such reassessment,” he added.

‘Exploring greater security coordination’

In March, Qatari military officials – along with those from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan – reportedly held a meeting with US and Israeli counterparts in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm al-Sheikh to discuss a plan for joint missile defence.

The meeting took place against a backdrop of rising tensions with Iran, as talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal stall. 

In contrast to other Gulf states, Qatar is seen as more supportive of a return to the deal. Qatar shares the world’s largest natural gas field with Iran. Its leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, travelled to the Islamic Republic in May in a push to jumpstart stalled talks. Last month, the US and Tehran held indirect negotiations in Doha aimed at reviving the accord.  

Biden Middle East visit: Why an Israel-led security pact is a paper tiger
Read More »

But Qatar’s geographic position also means that it would be vulnerable to any escalation in the region, analysts say.

“The Qataris, like other smaller countries between Saudi Arabia and Iran, are open to exploring greater security coordination with other actors, whether that be Turkey, whether that be Israel as well,” Anna Jacobs, a senior analyst on Gulf states at the International Crisis Group, told MEE.

Asked about the stationing of Israeli military officials at US bases in Qatar, Centcom referred MEE to the Israeli military. The Israeli military refused to comment on the topic.

Lt Col Dave Eastburn, US Central Command spokesman, told MEE in a written response that the “easing of tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors subsequent to the Abraham Accords has provided a strategic opportunity for the United States to align key partners against shared threats in the Middle East, including our partners in Israel”.

‘Working relationship’

Qatar, a gas-rich country of 2.8 million people, of which only 300,000 are Qatari nationals, has had a complex relationship with Israel.

Qatar was the first country in the Gulf to establish trade relations with Israel. During the Second Intifada, it was reportedly pressured by Saudi Arabia and other states to close its trade office there. A reopened office was subsequently shuttered when Israel launched its 2009 invasion of Gaza.

Qatar has long positioned itself as an advocate of the Palestinian cause. The Al Jazeera Media Network and its affiliates, which are funded by the Government of Qatar, are viewed by many as critical of Israel.

Doha is also close to Hamas, the group that governs the besieged Gaza Strip, and provides hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza in coordination with the UN, and with the backing of Israel.

Doha’s leverage with Hamas helped it negotiate a ceasefire to last May’s fighting which saw more than 260 Palestinians killed in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, and 13 in Israel. Following the truce, Qatar pledged $500m in support of Gaza’s reconstruction.

A few months after the ceasefire, Qatar announced new measures to provide aid to impoverished families in Gaza. Defence Minister Benny Gantz praised Doha, stating: “I would like to thank Qatar for taking a positive role as a stabilising actor in the Middle East.”

“The Qataris have a win-win situation,” Yoel Guzansky, a Gulf expert at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, told MEE.

“They are appreciated on the Palestinian street for not normalising. They have good relations with the US and good relations with Israel.”

Navigating the grey zone

Biden is scheduled to embark on a four-day trip to the Middle East next week, where he will first visit Israel and the occupied West Bank. The visit will then culminate with a major gathering of regional leaders in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah.

Ahead of Biden’s trip, US officials have hinted that new states could take steps to normalise relations with Israel. The US is believed to be negotiating a deal to transfer two Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, in a move that could eventually pave the way for Riyadh to normalise in the future.

Biden Middle East visit: Why the Arab world needs a new leadership
Read More »

Few expect Qatar to take similar measures.

The State Department denied MEE’s request to discuss Qatar and US normalisation efforts. Qatar also didn’t respond to requests for comment by the time of publication. 

In an interview earlier this year, Qatar’s foreign minister ruled out normalising ties with Israel “in the absence of a real commitment to a two-state solution” between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“If I was the Qataris, I would not normalise. And if I was the Israelis, I don’t know if I would want them to,” Guzansky said, explaining that both sides were so far apart on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that it was likely in each’s favour to keep bilateral ties in a “grey zone”.

Navigating that grey zone amid signs that normalisation in the region is proceeding will likely continue to test Qatar’s ability to balance the relationship. 

Algeria: 60 years of endless support for the Palestinian cause

July 5, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net + Agencies

By Ahmad Karakira 

Algeria has always demonstrated unconditional support for the country of Palestine and the Palestinian cause, which dates back to fighting “Israel” and helping Egypt claim back Sinai in the 1973 October War.

Algeria’s unconditional support for the Palestinian cause

On July 5, 1962, after 132 years of French colonialism, Algeria declared its independence. The Evian agreements of March 18, 1962, ended the war between France and the Algerian National Liberation Army (ALN), and a referendum of self-determination took place on the first of July, 1962.

The results of the referendum came in favor of transferring power from the French to the Algerian authorities on July 3, ending decades of occupation, settler colonialism, and massacres.

The date – July 5 – was deliberately chosen by the Algerian government in reference to July 5, 1830, when the city of Algiers was occupied by France.

The seven-year war between the French occupier and the Algerian resistance left around one million Algerian martyrs on the path of Algeria’s freedom and liberation.

Endless stories about heroic epic battles by the Algerian resistance against Western colonialism can be recounted on the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence.

However, this piece aims to shed light on Algeria’s endless support for Palestine, the Palestinian cause, and fellow Arab states against all forms of oppression and occupation since the north African country gained its liberation through resistance.

“We are with Palestinians, be they the oppressed or the oppressors”

To begin with, Palestinians supported the Algerian Revolution from 1954-1962 and showed solidarity through organizing fundraisers for Algeria.

Despite some Arab states shamefully signing normalization agreements with the Israeli occupation in exchange for some benefits, Algeria has strongly opposed such deals, considering normalization with the occupation as a betrayal to the Arabs and the Palestinian cause.

In the early 1970s, former Algerian President Houari Boumediene said his famous phrase, “We are with Palestinians, be they the oppressed or the oppressors.”

It is noteworthy that similar to the official Algerian stance on Palestine, Algerians, according to the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, oppose normalizing ties with the Israeli occupation with a 99% rate.

One would wonder about the secret behind Algeria’s unconditional support for the Palestinian cause.

Historically, Algeria has always been advocating the Palestinian cause and supporting fellow Arab states against the Israeli occupation.

In fact, after only five years of gaining its liberation from the French occupation, Algeria supported the Arab allies against “Israel” by sending troops and aircrafts to fight alongside the Arab states in the 1967 Six-Day War.

The Algerian army also played an important role during the 1973 October war.

Significantly, when Egypt signed the Camp David Agreement and established ties with the Israeli occupation, Algeria severed its ties with Egypt.

In addition, Algeria established close relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), providing it with weapons, training its fighters during the 70s, and helping the PLO obtain observer status in the UN in 1974.

After the former US President Donald Trump’s administration, the UAE, and “Israel” revealed the so-called “Abraham Accords” in August, current Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune stressed his country’s deep commitment to the Palestinian cause, affirming that Algeria deems Palestine as a sacred cause.

Algiers also harshly criticized the normalizing states (the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan). It also paid the price for its anti-normalization stance, as the US acknowledged the Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara after years of unresolved disputes and unachievable status.

In trying to understand the reason behind Algeria’s official and popular support for the Palestinian cause, Sami Hamdi, the Editor-in-Chief of the International Interest magazine, explained that “Algerians feel a deep resonance with the Palestinians who have been colonized for some 82 years and believe that whatever the difficulties, resistance will eventually succeed.”

In the same context, TRT had quoted Jalel Harchaoui, a Senior Fellow at the Geneva-based Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, as saying that Algeria’s “somewhat exceptional history makes resistance against colonial powers writ large a narrative crucially central to the Algerian state as we know it.”

Algeria’s participation in the 1973 October War

Aiming to restore the lands that “Israel” occupied during the 1967 Six-Day War – Sinai in Egypt and the Golan Heights in Syria – on October 6, 1973, Cairo and Damascus launched an attack on the Zionist entity. The war coincided with the holy month of Ramadan.

During that time, Algeria played a significant role in providing Egypt and Syria with Soviet weapons and bringing in troops to the Egyptian front to fight the Israeli occupation, despite its then-instable economic situation as a result of the pre-independence era of French colonialism.

In fact, then-Algerian President Houari Boumedienne reportedly flew to Moscow to secure military aid for the Egyptians and the Syrians.

In a reiteration of its role in supporting anti-colonialist movements, Algeria sent more than 2,100 troops, 815 non-commissioned officers, and 192 officers to Sinai. It also sent 96 tanks and over 50 fighters and bomber aircraft to Egypt, according to the Egyptian authorities.

Algiers also participated in the oil embargo imposed by the Arab members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on the US over its support of the Israeli occupation during the war, which led to significant price hikes around the world.

On October 17, Arab oil producers decided to increase the price of oil by 17% and cut oil production by 5%, vowing to “maintain the same rate of reduction each month thereafter until the Israeli forces are fully withdrawn from all Arab territories occupied during the June 1967 War, and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people are restored.”

Sharon underestimated the power of Algerian forces

In the context of the 1973 October War, the former Chief of Staff of the Israeli occupation forces, David Eliezer, acknowledged in his released diaries that “Israel” lost this war as a result of the arrogance of then-Major General Ariel Sharon, who underestimated the power of the Algerian forces and thought that they wouldn’t stand a chance against the IOF forces, thinking that they would flee as soon as they set their eyes on Israeli tanks.

Eliezer said that 900 IOF soldiers were killed and 172 tanks were destroyed in just one day during the war.

On his part, the former Israeli Security Minister Moshe Dayan revealed that all the intelligence information showed that Algerians did not have weapons capable of intercepting the Israeli forces.

Dayan also said the Israelis received intelligence about a state of division between the Egyptians and the Algerians. The Israelis were surprised by the Algerian forces downing a giant US Lockheed C-5 Galaxy aircraft by a missile, which frightened the US Staff and frustrated the Nixon administration.

The former Israeli minister said the Egyptian forces deceived the Israeli forces, making them believe that the strategic Al-Adabiya port was not fortified enough. However, the Algerian forces were in charge of protecting the port.

One cannot but hail the role of Algeria in supporting the Palestinian cause and anti-colonial liberation movements, whether on the official or popular level. Despite the geographical distances separating Palestine from Algeria, Algerians believe that the two countries share the same pain, torture, grief, sorrow, and hopefully the same liberation to be achieved in the near future.

Related Stories

Israel Murders Iranians While Biden Kills the Iran Deal

June 23, 2022

By Connor Freeman | The Libertarian Institute |

In a clear message to Tehran, an American B-52 flew over the Persian Gulf as soon as Joe Biden entered the White House. Biden promised to return the U.S. to the Iran nuclear deal. But indirect talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which began last April, have stalled for three months without a resolution in sight. Counting on the reliable support of Biden and bipartisan Iran hawks in Congress, the nuclear-armed Israeli apartheid regime intends to kill the deal entirely.

Tehran, a decades-long signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, is neither seeking nor has ever sought nuclear weapons. But the Islamic Republic, once Tel Aviv’s “best friend,” serves as Israel’s favorite boogeyman, superficially justifying billions of dollars in American military aid each year. The JCPOA threatens the racket.

Formally known for years as “Israel’s man in Washington,” President Biden is essentially pursuing ultra-Zionist Donald Trump’s foreign policy regarding Iran and supporting, tacitly or otherwise, Tel Aviv’s relentless attacks against Iran and its allies. Biden is continuously imposing yet more sanctions, increasing the “Maximum Pressure” on the economically crippled Iranian people.

The rial has hit all-time lows. With a population of 82 million, almost half of all Iranians live below the poverty line, and inflation is somewhere between 40-50%.

America’s self-styled sanctions artists delight in seeing the results of their economic war on Iran: excess deathssevere medical shortagesprohibitively high prices for staple goodsplummeting incomesand social unrest over food costs.

This year, Tel Aviv has been bombing Syria, Tehran’s ally, at the usual weekly rate. A recent strike, coming from the illegally occupied Golan Heights, attacked Damascus International Airport. The airstrike targeted the facility’s only working runway Israel had not yet destroyed, rendering the airport temporarily inoperable.

Shortly afterwards, The Wall Street Journal put out a story confirming that Tel Aviv coordinates with the Pentagon on many of its strikes in Syria.

The Israelis just wrapped up month-long war drills, the largest held in decades, aimed squarely at Tehran. Exercises over the Mediterranean Sea, with over 100 aircraft and navy submarines, spanned 10,000 kilometers and were designed to simulate repeated airstrikes on Iran and their civilian nuclear facilities.

Early reports were that the U.S. Air Force would participate, providing refueling planes, but this reportedly did not come to pass. Although General Michael Kurilla, the new head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), observed some of these Chariots of Fire exercises.

On May 22, 2022, the Israelis carried out a high profile assassination of a senior colonel in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei. Shortly afterwards, citing an unnamed intelligence official, The New York Times reported Tel Aviv had informed Washington that it was responsible. Israel’s attacks seem to be primarily focused on the Iranians’ drone program, namely killing people who work on drone technology and attacking related sites.

As Dave DeCamp, Antiwar.com news editor, reported,

Israel was immediately suspected of the assassination since it has a history of carrying out targeted killings and other attacks inside Iran. Israel rarely officially acknowledges such operations, and it’s typical that its responsibility is revealed by leaks to the media, often by Israeli officials.

Israeli officials claimed to the Times that Khodaei was in charge of a secret covert IRGC group known as Unit 840, which Iran denies exists. The Israelis claim Khodaei was involved in plots to kill and kidnap Israeli civilians and officials around the world, but there’s no evidence Tehran was planning to target Israelis abroad.

Two people affiliated with the IRGC told the Times that Khodaei was a logistics officer who played a key role in transporting drone and missile technology to Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon and advised militias in Syria. Iran has said Khodaei was involved in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Israel is suspected to have subsequently poisoned and murdered two Iranian scientists including Ayoub Entezari, an aerospace engineer, who reportedly worked on missile and drone projects, and Kamran Aghamolaei, a geologist.

Last month, a few dozen miles south of Tehran, quadcopter suicide drones attacked the Parchin military complex. The drones hit a building being used for drone development and killed a young engineer. In February, Israel used six quadcopter drones in a strike targeting another Iranian drone facility in Kermanshah which did significant damage. In Tabriz, there were reports of another Israeli attack on a drone factory, as many as three people may have been killed. This month, two additional IRGC members also working in the aerospace industry died during mysterious accidents in Iran. Both deaths were declared “martyrdoms.”

In the midst of these soaring tensions, Robert Malley, Biden’s Iran envoy, is telling Congress “all options are on the table.”

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted to pass a non-binding resolution which insists they would never support a restoration of the JCPOA if the IRGC were removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) blacklist. The FTO designation is ostensibly one of the final sticking points preventing the deal’s straightforward revival. Congress has been sending messages, loud and clear, to Tehran and Biden that the deal has virtually no support.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is peddling baseless stories about Tehran attempting to assassinate his predecessor Mike Pompeo. Pompeo enthusiastically supported Trump’s Maximum Pressure campaign as well as the drone strike murder of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, leader of the IRGC Quds Force. Though these claims of Pompeo’s life being endangered remain unproven, U.S. taxpayers pay millions per month for a security detail to put his and Blinken’s mind at ease.

Much like Tel Aviv’s unproven accusations that the IRGC is out to kidnap and murder Israelis, especially in Istanbul for some reason, this obviously plays well with the overall anti-JCPOA campaign.

The IRGC is the only state military organization on the terrorism blacklist. Considering the myriad preexisting sanctions on the unit, it is a superfluous insult. In 2019, Trump implemented this policy at the behest of Israeli-partisan hawks like Mark Dubowitz at the Foundation For Defense of Democracies, a notoriously anti-Iran think tank. This is one of the largest bricks in the so called “sanctions wall” precluding any of Trump’s successors from ever returning to the deal for fear of the built-in political toxicity. It is enough to keep Biden and the cowardly Democrats from backing what is ultimately Barack Obama’s deal in favor of a neoconservative-style Iran policy.

As May began, Israel started making these claims about a global Iranian plot to kill Israelis. At that time, the JCPOA negotiations were seemingly stalled irrevocably because of the IRGC-FTO issue. But then the Vienna talks’ broker, European Union nuclear negotiator Enrique Mora, traveled to Tehran. He took meetings with Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani as a last ditch effort to break the deadlock. Mora was sent by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. As a result of the American led sanctions blitz on Russia, Europeans are in desperate need of another crude supplier as Borrell has noted. The same week, the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, also made a trip to Tehran and pushed for progress during meetings with President Ebrahim Raisi as well as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. On May 13th, Borrell announced Mora’s mission went “better than expected,” Vienna talks had been unblocked, and a final deal was within reach.

Days later, coinciding with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s visit to Washington, and his meetings with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, Khodaei was murdered in the drive-by shooting. Israel’s assassination campaign had commenced.

Two days after the Khodaei killing, Politico reported that the final decision to keep the IRGC on the FTO list was made. On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked Biden for the “principled decision and for being a true friend of the State of Israel.”

Following Trump, Biden’s administration is also continuing to seize tankers, stealing Iranian oil and pirating it for profit. Ironically, after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, there was some talk from Biden officials about making a deal with the Islamic Republic to put Iran’s abundant oil back on the market to reduce global energy prices. But this was apparently never taken seriously.

Biden instead prefers to kowtow to the genocidal Saudi regime which along with Abu Dhabi and Washington have starved to death and bombed over 400,000 Yemenis, including more than 263,000 children.

Those deaths mean little to the Abraham Accords caucus. This bipartisan coalition in Congress is working to ensure Washington arms these tyrants further while the Pentagon assists them in joining forces, as well as integrating missile defenses with Tel Aviv eyeing Tehran. As Biden heads to the Middle East, there is even talk of the U.S. offering security guarantees to the United Arab Emirates.

For almost a year, the Israelis have been pushing an anti-Iran, NATO-style, U.S. led alliance in the Middle East. In recent weeks, Gantz has openly promoted this strategy which Bennett is said to have suggested to Biden during a White House meeting last year.

As Iran is encircled militarily and strangled economically, the American Empire is refusing to allow them any breathing room. Each day the U.S. forgoes lifting sanctions and restoring the deal the likelihood of a hot war increases.

Given the size of Iran, its population, its geostrategic location, substantial ballistic missile deterrent, its Axis of Resistance partners, and the wide variety of U.S. military targets in the region, a war with Tehran would likely dwarf the catastrophic damage, scope, and deaths of America’s other Middle East wars.

If the JCPOA fails, the hawks armed to the teeth surrounding Iran may try to goad Tehran into leaving the NPT. Whether this happens ultimately or not, Israel may use the coming breakdown in diplomacy to justify instigating its long desired war. Rightfully, the Iranians will see such an Israeli attack as an American declaration of war.

This week, Tehran has formally dropped their demand for removing the IRGC from the FTO list. Washington has not yet responded. Contrary to the corporate press narrative, the ball is now firmly in Washington’s court.

Iran called Biden’s bluff. It is imperative that the American people now assert our support for terminating the unjustified and brutal Maximum Pressure campaign as well as denounce Israel’s murderous aggressions.

The Iranian people deserve to live and trade in peace.

Hamas moves to reinstate ties with Syria in a bid to end feud: Report

The expected conciliation reportedly comes in light of Israel’s growing push to normalize ties with Arab states

June 22 2022

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh in 2006. (Photo Credit: SANA/AP)

ByNews Desk- 

A decade after the unanimous decision by the leadership of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas to leave its base in Syria, a restoration of  ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad now inches closer to reality.

According to a report by Reuters, Hamas is expected to resume ties with Damascus soon, setting aside the long breakup with Syria.

In the period between 18–19 June, a delegation from Hamas reportedly visited Syria and met with officials, in a bid to rebuild their relationship.

Back in 2011, the Arab world was facing unprecedented turmoil that shocked its foundation and dethroned many of its rulers, leaving no Arab state safe from political upheaval.

At the start of the war on Syria, Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal were forced to end the presence of Hamas in Syria in order to preserve its neutrality, in the face of growing popular support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria.

“What pained Abu Walid [Khaled Meshaal] most when leaving Syria were the warm relations with President Al-Assad and the favor Hamas found with the president, which it will never forget,” Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk wrote.

However, it was not long before activists in Hamas were mourned as “martyrs” on social media, fighting against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in Idlib.

In December 2012, Hamas field commander Mohammed Ahmed Kenita was killed fighting the SAA.

According to a report by Palestine Now, Kenita arrived from Gaza four months prior and contributed in the graduation of three military combat courses for rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

But, despite the ever growing sectarian and political differences between the two, Hamas found no other choice but to approach Syria in light of plans by former president Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the signing of the so-called Abraham Accords.

After Syria resumed ties with the UAE and Bahrain, the two states which harshly criticized Syria in the early days of the war, Hamas found the appropriate time to re-establish contact with Syria.

“Haniyeh and I talked about various issues in the region, including Syria, and that the relationship between Hamas and Syria must be re-established. There is a positive atmosphere, even if that takes time. I think that Hamas is moving towards resetting its relationship with Damascus,” said Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in an interview in late 2021.

On 21 June, Ismail Haniyeh landed in Beirut to meet Lebanese officials and take part in the 31st Islamic National conference.

Haniyeh is also expected to meet with the leader of Islamic Jihad Ziad al-Nakhalah and with Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Israel’ Publicly Announces It’s Working with US, Gulf States on Normalization with Saudi Arabia

May 31, 202

By Staff, Agencies

The Tel Aviv occupation regime is coordinating with the United States and Gulf nations on a process to normalize its ties with Saudi Arabia, Zionist Foreign Minister Yair Lapid confessed Monday.

“We believe that it is possible to have a normalization process with Saudi Arabia. It’s in our interest,” Lapid boasted in remarks to ‘Israeli’ Army Radio.

“We’ve already said that this is the next step after the ‘Abraham Accords,’ to talk about a long and careful process,” he added, referring to the 2020 US-backed normalization deals the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity reached with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

“We’re working with the US and the Gulf states on this.”

Despite the fact the Saudi Arabia didn’t announce having official diplomatic ties with the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity yet, covert ties have warmed in recent years. Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman reportedly sees the Tel Aviv regime as a strategic partner in the fight against Iranian influence in the region.

Lapid warned that the process of normalization with Saudi Arabia would be a lengthy one with progress coming in small steps, stressing that both sides have security interests at stake.

“This won’t happen the same way it did last time,” Lapid said in reference to the surprising and rapid nature in which the 2020 normalization deals were announced. “We won’t wake up one morning suddenly and it will be a surprise.”

“It could be that three foreign ministers after me, someone will be standing on the podium and will celebrate this,” Lapid explained the scenario.

His comments came as Saudi Arabia hosted dozens of ‘Israeli’ tech entrepreneurs and businesspeople recently for advanced talks on Saudi investments in ‘Israeli’ companies and ‘Israeli’ investment funds, according to a Sunday report in the Globes business daily.

Last week, a pair of senior US officials were reportedly in Saudi Arabia for covert talks on an agreement that could boost Washington’s ties with Riyadh while also bringing the kingdom closer to normalizing relations with the Tel Aviv regime.

According to the Axios news site, the trip was part of efforts to finalize an agreement on the transfer of Egypt’s Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, Riyadh hosted a senior Zionist official recently for talks on various aspects of security and other coordination, Channel 12 news reported Friday, without citing a source.

The Yedioth Ahronoth daily also reported meetings between figures from both sides, without providing any further information.

The reports come ahead of US President Joe Biden’s expected visit to the Middle East, which will include stops in both the ‘Israeli’-occupied Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia.

Iraq Criminalizes Normalization of Relations with “Israel”

The Iraqi parliament votes by a majority to criminalize normalization with “Israel”

 May 27, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Iraq’s parliament approved a law on Thursday that criminalizes normalizing relations with the “Israeli” entity, at a time when the apartheid entity is pushing to expand its ties in the Arab world under the rubric of the so-called “Abraham Accords”.

The law, titled “Criminalizing Normalization and Establishment of Relations with the Zionist Entity”, was approved on Thursday with 275 legislators voting in favor of it in Iraq’s 329-seat assembly.

The parliament said in a statement that the legislation was “a true reflection of the will of the people”.

Iraq has never recognized the “Israeli” entity and Iraqi citizens and companies cannot visit the entity; there are no diplomatic relations between both Iraq and the entity.

The new legislation also entails risks for companies working in Iraq and found to be in violation of the law, which applies to all Iraqis, state and independent institutions, as well as foreigners working in the country, according to a text carried by the Iraqi News Agency [INA].

The law was proposed by influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr whose party, which opposes close ties with the United States and “Israel”, won more seats in the Iraqi parliament in elections last October.

The cleric called for Iraqis to take to the streets to celebrate the “great achievement” of the legislation’s passing.

Hundreds later gathered in central Baghdad, chanting anti-“Israel” slogans. The gathering occurred in Tahrir Square following a tweet by al-Sadr, who urged his followers to offer prayers of thanks and come out on the streets to celebrate.

“Approving the law is not only a victory for the Iraqi people but to the heroes in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon,” said Iraqi lawmaker Hassan Salim who represents Asaib Ahl al-Haq.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was “deeply disturbed” by the move stating that it jeopardized “freedom of expression” and promoted “an environment of antisemitism”.

“This legislation stands in stark contrast to progress Iraq’s neighbors have made by building bridges and normalizing relations with ‘Israel’, creating new opportunities for people throughout the region,” Price said.

In #Iraq.. Parliament criminalizes normalization with the Israeli entity with a penalty of death

التطبيع الرسمي فلسطينياً وأردنياً: قراءة في مقدمات الاتفاقات “الإبراهيمية”

الثلاثاء 17 أيار 2022

المصدر

إبراهيم علوش 

التطبيع لا ينجح إن لم تضمن “إسرائيل” قطع شرايين الحياة عن الدول المطبِّعة، إن هي قررت تغيير رأيها.

تسلسل الاتفاقات والمعاهدات زمنياً مهمّ جداً، لأنه يدخلنا في الأبعاد الإقليمية للتطبيع مع العدو الصهيوني.

يتيح مرور عقود على توقيع المعاهدات والاتفاقات مع العدو الصهيوني سجلاً زمنياً طويلاً نسبياً لتقييم أثرها ومسارها وصيرورتها، بدءاً من اتفاقات كامب ديفيد التي وُقِّعت عام 1978، ومعاهدة السلام المصرية – الإسرائيلية التي وُقِّعت عام 1979، ودخلت حيز التنفيذ عام 1980، حتى معاهدة وادي عربة، أو معاهدة السلام الأردنية – الإسرائيلية، التي وُقِّعت عام 1994، والتي سبقها “إعلان واشنطن” بثلاثة أشهر بالضبط، والذي نص على إنهاء حالة العداء والبدء بمفاوضات لتوقيع معاهدة بين الأردن والكيان الصهيوني.

سبقت معاهدة وادي عربة عام 1994 اتفاقية أوسلو التي وُقعت عام 1993، وتأسست بناءً عليها قانونياً “السلطة الفلسطينية” عام 1994. وتبعت اتفاق أوسلو اتفاقات متعدّدة، مثل اتفاق أوسلو – 2 (يسمى أيضاً اتفاق طابا) عام 1995، والذي قسم الضفة الغربية إلى المناطق “أ”، و”ب”، و”ج”.  

وكان اتفاق أوسلو – 2 جاء تتويجاً لاتفاق “غزة – أريحا” عام 1994، الذي قضى بانسحاب “إسرائيلي” جزئي من أريحا وغزة لتأسيس السلطة الفلسطينية، وما يسمى برتوكول باريس عام 1994 أيضاً، والذي “نظم” علاقة السلطة الفلسطينية اقتصادياً بالكيان الصهيوني، وكلاهما (اتفاق غزة – أريحا، وبرتوكول باريس) أصبح جزءاً من اتفاق أوسع، هو أوسلو – 2.  

ثم جاء اتفاق الخليل عام 1997 الذي أعطى الاحتلال الصهيوني 20% من مدينة الخليل H2. ثم جاء اتفاق “واي ريفر” عام 1998 الذي كرس مؤسسة التنسيق الأمني رسمياً مع “إسرائيل” والولايات الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، كما كرس دور “السلطة الفلسطينية” في محاربة “الإرهاب” ضد العدو الصهيوني.  ثم جاء “اتفاق واي ريفر الثاني” عام 1999 ، والذي فسر بعض نقاط اتفاق “واي ريفر” الأول، ويسمى أيضاً اتفاق شرم الشيخ، وكان الاتفاق الأول مع نتنياهو والثاني مع إيهود باراك، وبعده جاء اتفاق تنظيم المعابر (معابر السلطة الفلسطينية) عام 2005.

يُضاف إلى تلك الحزمة من الاتفاقات المتناسلة البيانات المشتركة (كما في أنابوليس عام 2007)، وسلسلة اللقاءات التفاوضية مثل كامب ديفيد عام 2000، و”خريطة السلام” عام 2002، و36 جلسة تفاوضية بين محمود عباس وإيهود أولمرت بين عامي 2007 و2009، والمفاوضات المباشرة عام 2010 تحت وعد من إدارة أوباما بإيجاد “دويلة فلسطينية” خلال عام واحد، ثم محادثات تسيبي ليفني وصائب عريقات في الفترة 2013-2014… إلخ. 

ولا يشمل ما سبق عشرات المبادرات الموازية لـ”السلام”، مثل اتفاقية جنيف غير الرسمية بين ياسر عبد ربه ويوسي بيلين عام 2003 لتأسيس “سلام دائم”، وخطة الحاخام بنيامين إيلون للسلام، والتي جرى طرحها وترويجها بين عامي 2002 و2008، والتي تقوم على تجنيس الفلسطينيين في الضفة الغربية بالجنسية الأردنية، والسماح لهم بالبقاء ضيوفاً في الضفة الغربية بعد ضمها إلى “إسرائيل”، وخطة “إسرائيل الثنائية القومية” التي طرحها إدوارد سعيد ابتداءً، وتبناها عزمي بشارة وروّجها بقوة… إلخ.

كل ما سبق مهمّ لأن كثرة العناوين والمبادرات والجلسات التفاوضية وامتدادها عبر عقود، هو أمر مثير للاهتمام بمقدار ما هو مثير للملل، لأنه يقول كثيراً عن انعدام جدوى تلك الاتفاقات والمفاوضات، ولاسيما في ضوء ما تمخضت عنه على الأرض من تزايدٍ للاستيطان وتغولٍ لمشروع التهويد وتطرفٍ متصاعدٍ في المشهد السياسي الإسرائيلي وضلالة الحالمين بـ”حل سياسي للصراع”.

معاهدة كامب ديفيد: الخطيئة الأصلية في السياسة العربية

كذلك، فإن تسلسل الاتفاقات والمعاهدات زمنياً مهمّ جداً، لأنه يدخلنا في الأبعاد الإقليمية للتطبيع مع العدو الصهيوني. فمعاهدة السلام المصرية – الإسرائيلية عام 1979 أخرجت مصر من حلبة الصراع العربي – الصهيوني، ولاسيما أن المادة السادسة من تلك المعاهدة تنص حرفياً على أن الأحكام الواردة فيها تُعَدّ ملزمة ونافذة في حال تعارضها مع أي التزامات أخرى (مثل معاهدة الدفاع العربي المشترك لعام 1950 مثلاً؟!)، وهو ما ساهم في تحجيم دور مصر الإقليمي فعلياً باعتبارها الشقيق العربي الكبير، وأكبر الدول العربية المحيطة بفلسطين، وهو ما يعني موضوعياً فتح الباب للتمدد الإسرائيلي إقليمياً، وكان من عواقب ذلك غزو لبنان واحتلاله عام 1982.

بعد معاهدة السلام مع مصر وقرار الجامعة العربية مقاطعتها ونقل مقر الجامعة العربية من مصر إلى تونس، راح النظام الرسمي العربي يدخل أكثر فأكثر في صيرورة اختلال التوازن والتفسخ والصراعات الداخلية، وكان ذلك كله نتيجة طبيعية لتحييد مصر سياسياً من جانب العدو الصهيوني، وتوهمها أنها يمكن أن تقتنص السلام والازدهار في مصر بمفردها إذا نأت بنفسها عما يجري في محيطها.

العبرة هنا أن تقسيم الوطن العربي إلى دولٍ وسياساتٍ قُطريةٍ متنابذة ليس تاريخاً قديماً أو مشكلة عقائدية يتداولها القوميون العرب فحسب، بل تحمل تجزئة الوطن العربي دلالاتٍ جغرافيةً – سياسيةً عميقةً وراهنةً. وبالتالي، فإن إزالة عمود مركزي، مثل مصر، من معادلة الصراع، كان يفترض بها أن تؤدي إلى انهيار الأقطار الأخرى كأحجار الدومينو، لولا المقاومة والرفض في الشارعين العربي والفلسطيني من جهة، وحالة الصمود والتصدي التي نشأت على الصعيد الرسمي العربي في مواجهة مشروع كامب ديفيد من جهة أخرى. وثبت، بعد عقودٍ من التجربة، أن هذا ليس خطاباً ديماغوجياً أو “لغة خشبية”، كما يهذر البعض، بل إنه يشكل قيمة جغرافية – سياسية ملموسة كحائط صد أعاق الانجراف والانهيار في الوضع العربي على مدى عقود، وإن كان العدو انتقل سياسياً إلى حالة الهجوم. 

بعد التجربة المصرية في السلام مع العدو الصهيوني، برزت عقدة “السلام الشامل” في مقابل “السلام المنفرد”، والتي أعاقت المشروع الأميركي للإسراع قدماً في فرض مسلسل المعاهدات والتطبيع على الصعيد الرسمي العربي، على الرغم من سعي المحور الخليجي لفرض مبادرة الأمير فهد في القمة العربية في فاس في تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 1981، والتي رفضتها سوريا آنذاك وأفشلتها (عن وجه حق، وإدراك ووعي تامّين لما تعنيه من تجريفٍ للوضع العربي وإلحاقٍ له بصيرورة كامب ديفيد من خلال الاعتراف الرسمي العربي جماعياً بحق الكيان الصهيوني في الوجود، على أساس مبدئي على الأقل). 

بعد العدوان الصهيوني على لبنان عام 1982 وعقابيله، انعقدت قمة عربية استثنائية في فاس مجدداً في أيلول/سبتمبر 1982، أُقرت فيها مبادرة الأمير فهد رسمياً، والتي أصبحت تعرف بعدها بمقررات قمة فاس 1982، وهي تعادل، بالنسبة إلى الجامعة العربية، برنامج “النقاط العشر” بالنسبة إلى منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، كما سيأتي.

المدخل الفلسطيني لتعميم مشروع كامب ديفيد عربياً

كانت العقدة المركزية في الإصرار على “السلام المنفرد” هي القضية الفلسطينية والمسؤولية العربية إزاءها، مع أن القصة ليست قصة مسؤولية إزاء القضية الفلسطينية، بمقدار ما هي قصة مسؤولية إزاء الذات في مواجهة خطر المشروع الصهيوني على المنطقة برمتها. ولنا عودة إلى تلك النقطة، لكن كان لا بد من “فرط” العقدة المركزية، المتمثّلة بالموقف الرسمي الفلسطيني؛ أي موقف منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، من أجل تعميم مشروع كامب ديفيد على كل الأقطار العربية، وصولاً إلى الاتفاقيات المسماة “إبراهيمية”.

كان يوجد داخل منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، منذ بداية السبعينيات (وبعض الكتّاب والمعاصرين لتلك المرحلة يقول إنه وُجد منذ نهاية الستينيات) تيارٌ يرى ضرورة التفاهم مع “إسرائيل” والإدارة الأميركية لتأسيس “دولة فلسطينية” وفق حدود عام 1967.  أبرز رموز ذلك التيار، في ذلك الوقت، كان ياسر عرفات ومَن حوله في قيادة المنظمة والجبهة الديمقراطية لتحرير فلسطين.  

جاء الانقلاب الرسمي في موقف منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية في المجلس الوطني الفلسطيني في القاهرة عام 1974، والذي أقر ما يسمى “برنامج النقاط العشر”، والذي مثّل نقطة التحول الجوهرية في برنامج التحرير إلى برنامج تأسيس “سلطة وطنية فلسطينية على أي جزء يتم تحريره من فلسطين”. ومنذ ذلك الوقت، بدأ الانجراف الرسمي الفلسطيني في اتجاه تأسيس الدويلة مع التخلي بالتدريج عن الشروط والضوابط التي وُضعت لها، فالمهم هو تثبيت “المبدأ”، وبعد ذلك تتم زحزحة الشروط والضوابط باللتدريج بفعل عوامل النحت والتعرية السياسيَّين، وكانت تلك هي الرحلة التسووية التي قادت قيادة منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية إلى أوسلو وما تلاها.

جرت المصادقة فوراً على هذا التوجه التسووي في مقررات القمة العربية المنعقدة في الرباط عام 1974: “إن قادة الدول العربية يؤكدون حق الشعب الفسطيني في إقامة سلطة وطنية مستقلة بقيادة منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، بصفتها الممثل الشرعي الوحيد للشعب الفلسطيني، على كل أرض يتم تحريرها”، والعبرة تكمن في تمرير خطاب “سلطة وطنية فلسطينية على كل أرض…”.

للتاريخ، لم يصوّت إلّا ثلاثة أعضاء في المجلس الوطني الفلسطيني عام 1974 ضد برنامج النقاط العشر، أحدهم ناجي علوش (أبو إبراهيم)، والثاني محمد داوود عودة (أبو داوود)، والثالث سعيد حمامي (الذي عدّه متشدداً أكثر من اللزوم لأنه ربطه آنذاك بشروط صعبة!). 

شكلت مفاوضات جنيف بعد حرب أكتوبر عام 1973، واعتقاد قيادة منظمة التحرير أنها “على وشك” أن تتمخض عن “دويلة فلسطينية” بموافقة أميركية – إسرائيلية، خلفيةَ الانجراف الرسمي الفلسطيني نحو وَهْم المشروع التسووي.   

لكنّ صيرورة مشروع كامب ديفيد هي الصلح المنفرد، وبالتالي نشأت مشكلة “الصلح المنفرد” في مقابل “السلام الشامل”، فكان لا بد من تذليل تلك العقبة عبر إقامة صلح منفرد مع منظمة التحرير ذاتها من أجل نزع الذريعة من أيدي رافضي “الصلح المنفرد”.

كان ذلك يتطلب “إعادة تأهيل” منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية ذاتها على نحو يتوافق مع متطلبات الطرف الأميركي – الصهيوني. وأدت حرب لبنان عام 1982، فيما أدت إليه، إلى إخراج منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية من لبنان. وفي الأعوام التي تلت، أشرفت قيادة منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية على ورشة كبرى لإعادة صياغة العقل السياسي الفلسطيني في اتجاه قبول دولة ضمن حدود عام 1967، وصولاً إلى “إعلان استقلال” وهمي في المجلس الوطني الفلسطيني في الجزائر عام 1988، تم الاحتفاء به كثيراً، كان من صاغه الشاعر محمود درويش، ووافقت عليه كل التنظيمات المنضوية في منظمة التحرير وقتها.

جاء الوصول إلى اتفاقية أوسلو بعدها عام 1993 تحصيلاً حاصلاً لتراكمات النهج التسووي، لأن البحث عن دويلة وعن “السلام” و”الازدهار” بالتفاهم مع “إسرائيل” والإدارة الأميركية، بعيداً عن “الشعارات الفارغة”، وعن العرب “الذين تخلوا عنا”، كما شاع في الخطاب السياسي الفلسطيني آنذاك، هو المعنى الحقيقي لشعار “يا وحدنا” الذي رفعه ياسر عرفات، كما أنه لا يزال المآل الحقيقي لكل من يرفع شعار “يا وحدنا” في أي قُطر عربي: التفاهم مع “إسرائيل”.. فالحس القُطري ليس مشروعاً نهضوياً للقطر، بل هو مشروع تسييد الكيان الصهيوني على المنطقة، وبالتالي تدمير القطر ذاته وتفكيكه.

لكنّ تيار البحث عن “الذات القُطرية” في الحالة الفلسطينية بالذات، وتحقيقها في “دويلة”، بعد التخلي عن مشروع التحرير، بالتفاهم مع الطرف الأميركي -الصهيوني، هو مكسب كبير لمشروع كامب ديفيد (الصلح المنفرد)، لأنه يجرح صدقية من رفضوه باسم “السلام العادل والشامل”. وما دام أصحاب القضية الرسميين ساروا في ركبه، فإنه لا تبقى لغيرهم ذريعة، باستثناء موقف أصحاب العلاقة وأولياء الدم: الشعب العربي، من مسألة التطبيع. ولا تزال هذه هي أهم جبهة في مقاومة التطبيع اليوم.  

صيرورة التطبيع على الصعيد الرسمي الأردني

بعد توقيع اتفاقية أوسلو، بات استكمال كسر حلقة دول الطوق مرهوناً بموقف سوريا ولبنان، لأن العلاقات التطبيعية بين النظام الأردني والعدو الصهيوني أقدم من أوسلو، بل أقدم من كامب ديفيد ومن أي مفاوضات بعد حرب أكتوبر 1973. وبحسب مقالة في صحيفة “واشنطن بوست” الأميركية للصحافيين الإسرائيليين، يوسي ميلمان ودان رفيف، في الـ27 من أيلول/ سبتمبر 1987، فإن الملك حسين بن طلال أرسل رسالة عام 1963 إلى رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي آنذاك، ليفي أشكول، فأرسل أشكول مدير مكتبه الخاص من أجل لقاء الملك في لندن في منزل طبيب الملك حسين الشخصي، اليهودي إيمانويل هربرت، في شهر أيلول/سبتمبر 1963. 

في عام 2014 نشر الكاتب الإسرائيلي يوسي ميلمان بعض المعلومات، وردت في صحيفة “معاريف” الإسرائيلية، تتعلق بعلاقة الملك حسين التاريخية بالساسة الإسرائيليين وجهاز الموساد. وورد ضمن المعلومات أن “إسرائيل” أنقذت حياة الملك حسين عدة مرات، إحداها – يقول ميلمان إنه كان شاهداً عليها – كانت بداية “لمواجهة سوريا حين استجابت “إسرائيل” لمساعدته بتركيز قوات من الجيش مكّنته من مهاجمة سوريا التي كانت تنوي مساعدة الفلسطينيين في أيلول/ سبتمبر 1970″.

وتحدث الكاتب عن “مئتي ساعة من المكالمات أو المحادثات للملك مع الزعماء الإسرائيليين، وأن رؤساء الموساد أحبّوا لقاء الملك، وهو ما تم في مقر الموساد في إسرائيل، وفي قصر الملك في عمّان، وفي القارب الملكي في ميناء العقبة، وفي منازل خاصة في لندن وباريس”.

وبحسب الكاتب، فإن “اللقاء الأول تم عام 1963 بين الملك حسين ويعقوب هرتسوغ، الذي كان آنذاك نائب مدير مكتب رئيس الحكومة، في منزل طبيب في لندن، بهدف تنسيق المواقف وفحص إمكان وجود تعاون سري”.

وفي هذا اللقاء – يزعم الكاتب – “جدد الملك حسين، بتأخير 16 عاماً، العلاقة التي كانت بين جده الملك عبد الله الأول بالصهيونية، بحيث أقام عبد الله الأول هذه العلاقات في الثلاثينيات من القرن العشرين”.

وليس الأمر في حاجة إلى كثير من التمحيص، إذ إن قصة العلاقات القديمة بين العدو الصهيوني والملك حسين وردت بالتفصيل في كتاب “أسد الأردن: حياة الملك حسين في الحرب والسلام”، بالإنكليزية، للكاتب الإسرائيلي آفي شلايم عام 2009.  واسم الكتاب بالإنكليزية هو Lion of Jordan: The Life of King Hussein in War and Peace.

باختصار، لا تحتاج قصة الوصول إلى معاهدة وادي عربة إلى تحليل سياسي أو تاريخي مفصّل، مثل الحالتين المصرية والفلسطينية، اللتين مرّ كلٌّ منها في نقطة انقلابٍ ما، من الناصرية إلى الساداتية في حالة مصر، ومن ثقب إبرة “برنامج النقاط العشر” في الحالة الفلسطينية، وإنما هي حالة إخراجِ السر إلى العلن بعد أن أتاحت اتفاقية أوسلو ذاتها ذلك، وكان الأمر “مطبوخاً” أصلاً على الصعيد الرسمي الأردني.  

العِبْرة هي أن اتفاقية أوسلو ذاتها أتاحت الصلح المنفرد للنظام الأردني، بكسرها محظور “السلام الشامل” الرسمي العربي، على نحو يجعل التطبيع “الإبراهيمي” اليوم تحصيلاً حاصلاً، لولا أن معاهدات دول الطوق لم تكتمل بتوقيع مثيلاتها من جانب سوريا ولبنان. وكان يُفترض، على ما يبدو، أن تكتمل في دول الطوق أولاً، وهذا أحد أهم أسباب الحرب المستمرة على سوريا، وعلى المقاومة في لبنان، وتورط الطرف الأميركي – الصهيوني المباشر فيها.

التطبيع يمأسس لإلحاق الأردن بالفضاء الصهيوني

لكن فيما يتعلق بعواقب وادي عربة، لا بمقدماتها الواضحة، يجب أن نذكر أنها كرست قانونياً صيغتين أساسيتين للعلاقة الأردنية – الإسرائيلية:

–       أولاً: السعي لتحقيق تكامل إقليمي، تبلور في خمس عشرة مادة من أصل ثلاثين تتألف منها المعاهدة، غطت كل أوجه الحياة بين الطرفين، مدنياً واقتصادياً.

–       ثانياً: السعي لتحقيق تنسيق رفيع المستوى، أمنياً وسياسياً، أصبح الأردن الرسمي عبره ملزماً بالتعاون ضد أي شكل من أشكال العداء لـ”إسرائيل”، حتى لو كان ذلك على مستوى التحريض اللفظي فحسب، كما جاء مثلاً في المادة الحادية عشرة من تلك المعاهدة.

–       ونضيف أن المادتين الخامسة والعشرين والسادسة والعشرين، من معاهدة وادي عربة، نصّتا على أنها تسمو على كل ما عداها تماماً كما في معاهدة السلام المصرية – الإسرائيلية.

غير أن ذلك كله لم يُعفِ النظام الأردني من دفع ثمن كبير، بعد أن بات من الواضح أن مشروع ضم الضفة الغربية، في ظل “صفقة القرن”، يعني تصدير “المشكلة الفلسطينية” سياسياً إلى الأردن، وحلها على حساب ذاته القُطرية. وبذلك، فإن الاتفاقيات “الإبراهيمية”، كابنة شرعية للاتفاقيات ما قبل “الإبراهيمية”، انقلبت على أمها، وهذا طبيعي، لأن التفاهم مع العدو الصهيوني يعني تفاقم الصراعات العربية الداخلية. لقد دخلت السلطة في فلسطين والأردن في ترتيبات مع العدو تؤدي إلى تجاوزهما، ولولا أن البلاد تدفع ثمن التطبيع، لقلنا: على نفسها جنت براقش!

اتخذ التطبيع في الأردن، بحكم كونه دولة طرفية، وامتلاكه أطول حدودٍ مع العدو الصهيوني، وثقل التأثير الغربي فيه، وفقدان نظامه تراثاً استقلالياً وطنياً (في مقابل تراث وطني استقلالي عريق لشعبه)، صيغةً أكثر طغياناً مما اتخذه في مصر كدولة مركزية، تفصلها صحراء سيناء عن “دولة” العدو، وتملك إرثاً ناصرياً، وتملك قبله إرث دولة مركزية عريقة، على الرغم من استخزاء الأنظمة التي حكمت مصر بعد جمال عبد الناصر للطرف الأميركي – الصهيوني.

فُرِض التطبيع في الأردن بالقوة في كثيرٍ من الحالات، كما قُمِعت الاحتجاجات ضده في كثيرٍ من الحالات الأخرى، مثل اعتصام “جك” السلمي ضد السفارة الصهيونية في عمان، وهو أطول اعتصام في تاريخ الأردن، واستمر أسبوعياً منذ نهاية أيار/مايو 2010 حتى بداية عام 2016، وتم سحقه بالقوة في النهاية. 

وتكريساً لفكرة التكامل الإقليمي، جرى في عز الحرب على سوريا تحويل مرفأ حيفا إلى بوابة تصدير واستيراد، عبر الأردن، إلى الدول العربية. وكتبت صحيفة “جيروزاليم بوست”، في تقرير لها في الـ21 من شباط/ فبراير 2016، تحت عنوان “ارتفاع ضخم في المنتوجات الأوروبية المارة عبر إسرائيل إلى الدول العربية”، أن المنتوجات التركية والبلغارية بصورة خاصة تأتي على متن عبّارات تحمل شاحنات أو في حاويات إلى ميناء حيفا، ليتم شحنها براً إمّا إلى الأردن، وإمّا عبر الأردن إلى العراق والدول الخليجية، وأن عدد الشاحنات التي نقلت منتوجات تركية وبلغارية عبر الكيان بلغ نحو 13 ألفاً في عام 2015، دفع كلٌّ منها رسوماً إل العدو الصهيوني عند دخوله فلسطين العربية المحتلة وخروجه منها، وأن عدد تلك الشاحنات ارتفع بمقدار 25% عن عام 2014، إذ بلغت آنذاك 10.300 شاحنة. وهو ما يشكل، في رأينا المكتوب والمنشور، أهم عائق في فتح الحدود البرية على مصاريعها مع سوريا من جانب قوى الشد العكسي المستفيدة من مرفأ حيفا، في الأردن وخارجه.    

وفي شهر تشرين أول/أكتوبر 2016، أعلن الكيان الصهيوني تدشين خط سكة حديد بيسان – حيفا بتكلفة مليار دولار، الذي كان جزءاً من سكة حديد الحجاز قبل ذلك بقرنٍ ونيف. وقال بوعز تسفرير، المدير العام لشركة قطارات “إسرائيل”، بمناسبة التدشين وقتها، “إن خط قطار حيفا – بيسان سوف يربط ميناء حيفا بجسر (الشيخ حسين)، الواقع في منطقة الأغوار الشمالية، ثم سوف يواصل مسيره إلى الأردن، حيث مدينة إربد وصولاً إلى العاصمة عمَّان. وهو سيكون أيضاً قطاراً لشحن البضائع، وسوف يخدم سكان منطقة وادي الأردن، ويعزّز حركة التجارة لميناء حيفا، كما سيتم تعزيز عمل خط القطار الجديد خلال الأعوام المقبلة”. 

قبل التطبيع “الإبراهيمي” المعلن بأعوام، في 3/2/2017 تحديداً، نشرت وسائل الإعلام تصريحات لوزير المواصلات الصهيوني، يسرائيل كاتس، آنذاك، يقول فيها إنه يدفع في اتجاه تعزيز تبادل المعلومات بين الكيان الصهيوني والدول الخليجية، بسبب ما لذلك من تأثير إيجابي “في خطة التواصل البريّ المزمع إنشاؤها من إسرائيل مع دول الخليج”. كما أشار إلى أنّه، بصفته أيضاً وزيراً للمواصلات، يعمل على الدفع قُدُماً في هذا الاتجاه، وهناك “موافقة من رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيليّة بنيامين نتنياهو، على توسعة خط القطار بين إسرائيل والأردن، ليصل إلى المملكة العربيّة السعوديّة”، مُعتبراً أنّ “الأردن سيكون حلقة الوصل بين إسرائيل ودول الخليج في قضية السكك الحديديّة التي تربط بينهما”.  

وكان رشح، في صيف عام 2015، أن “الإدارة المدنية” للضفة الغربية، والتابعة للجيش الصهيوني، قرّرت المصادقة على مخطط لمدّ شبكة سكك حديدية في جميع أنحاء الضفة الغربية، وأن المخطط يشمل 473 كيلومتراً من السكك الحديدية، و30 محطة قطار في 11 خط سكة حديدية، “يتجاهل الحدود السياسية القائمة”، بحيث ستربط السكك الحديدية بين المدن الفلسطينية، كما ستربط هذه المدن بالمدن في “إسرائيل”، وبالأردن و”سوريا أيضاً”، “وستخدم جميع سكان المنطقة”. وبسبب الطبيعة الجبلية للضفة، فإن المخطط يشمل عشرات الجسور والأنفاق، بحسب مواقع متعددة عبر الإنترنت.

ليس الأردن والسلطة الفلسطينية، إذاً، إلّا منطقتين طرفيتين تمثّلان موطئ قدم للوصول إلى العراق وسوريا والدول الخليجية. وبالتالي، فإن مشروع “الكونفدرالية الثلاثية” (بين الأردن والدويلة الفلسطينية والكيان الصهيوني)، والذي يبرز بين الفينة والأخرى، ليس إلّا صيغة سياسية لتسهيل التغلغل الصهيوني في المشرق العربي.  

أسست معاهدة وادي عربة قاعدة لربط البنية التحتية في الأردن بالكيان الصهيوني من خلال عدد من المشاريع، مثل اتفاقية الغاز مع العدو الصهيوني بقيمة 10 مليارات دولار لمدة 15 عاماً لتوليد الكهرباء عام 2016، والتي أصدرت المحكمة الدستورية قراراً في أيار/مايو 2020 أنها لا يمكن أن تُلغى على الرغم من الاحتجاجات، ولا حاجة إلى عرضها على مجلس النواب… ومن تلك الاتفاقيات أيضاً مشروع قناة البحرين (الميت – الأحمر) لتحلية المياه وإنقاذ البحر الميت، بسبب سرقة “إسرائيل” مياه نهر الأردن، والذي لم يتم إعلان صيغة نهائية له بعد.. وهناك أيضاً المناطق الصناعية المؤهلة Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ’s) والتي يتم بموجبها التصدير إلى الولايات المتحدة منذ التسعينيات من دون جمرك ما دام يوجد فيها مُدخل “إسرائيلي”، وأغلبية الشركات والعمالة فيها غير أردنية أصلاً.. ناهيك بتقارير كثيرة عن تطوير وادي الأردن ومشاريع مناطق حرة وصناعية ثلاثية مع السلطة الفلسطينية.

التطبيع لا ينجح إن لم تضمن “إسرائيل” روافع تمكّنها من قطع الكهرباء والماء والحياة الاقتصادية عن الدول المطبّعة إن هي قررت تغيير رأيها.  فلا أمان للكيان الصهيوني مع رأي شعبي عربي يمكن أن يمارس ضغوطاً تدفع في اتجاه وقف التطبيع. لذلك، فإن النموذج الأردني لإنتاج الكهرباء بغاز فلسطيني مسروق يضع كل مواطن أمام خيار صعب: إمّا أن يقبل التكامل الإقليمي مع “إسرائيل”، وإمّا أن يقبل العيش بلا كهرباء وماء واقتصاد… إلخ. ثم يقال له: إن شئت ألّا تطبّع، فلا تطبِّعْ!  

وستكون لنا عودة إلى البعد الاقتصادي للتطبيع، في مقالات مقبلة، إن شاء الله.

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

US ‘coercive diplomacy’ with Saudi Arabia

While a carrot may advance US interests infinitely better than a stick at this sensitive juncture in US-Saudi relations, all indications are that Biden will resort to the stick.

May 07 2022

The US cannot budge oil production and prices with this geopolitical line-up blocking its path. So Washington may strike at the weakest link – in Riyadh. Photo Credit: The Cradle

By MK Bhadrakumar

Some three weeks after the reported meeting of CIA chief William Burns with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the OPEC+ ministerial held a videoconference on Thursday.

The OPEC+ meeting drew satisfaction that “continuing oil market fundamentals and the consensus on the outlook pointed to a balanced market.” The press release issued in Vienna says the ministerial “further noted the continuing effects of geopolitical factors and issues related to the ongoing pandemic” and decided that OPEC+ should stick to the monthly production adjustment mechanism agreed in July last year “to adjust upward the monthly overall production by 0.432 million barrels/day for the month of June 2022.”

Former Wall Street Journal publisher Karen Elliott House says Burns came to Saudi Arabia for a “mating dance” with MbS — namely, the latter must cooperate on a new oil-for-security strategy to “increase production to save European nations from energy shortages.”

Burns’ visit to the kingdom took place just ahead of the fifth round of Saudi-Iranian normalization talks in Baghdad between the Saudi intelligence chief and the deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi who acted as mediator and attended the talks, told state media last week, “Our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Iran approach the dialogue with a big responsibility as demanded by the current regional situation. We are convinced that reconciliation is near.”

In addition, Iranian outlet Nournews, affiliated with the country’s Supreme National Security Council, reported on 24 April that the fifth round of talks on a possible détente was “constructive,” that the negotiators managed “to draw a clearer picture” of how to resume bilateral relations, and that “given the constructive bilateral dialogue so far, there is a possibility of a meeting between the Iranian and Saudi top diplomats in the near future.”

Burns’ mission couldn’t have been indifferent toward the Saudi reconciliation track with Tehran. With the outcome of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) talks in Vienna still uncertain, Iran’s close ties with Russia and China remains a major worry for Washington. And with Tehran’s stubborn refusal to trim its regional policies to suit US regional strategies, Washington has fallen back on its usual default option to resuscitate an anti-Iran front of its regional allies. The US hopes that Saudi Arabia will come on board the Abraham Accords.

Soaring energy prices

Meanwhile, the issue of energy pricing has returned to centre stage. Indeed, high oil prices mean increased income for Russia. Russia’s sales of oil and natural gas far exceeded initial forecasts for 2021 as a result of skyrocketing prices, accounting for 36 percent of the country’s total budget. The revenues exceeded initial plans by 51.3 percent, totaling a whopping $119 billion. The Biden administration’s best-laid plans to cripple the Russian economy are unravelling. Equally, high energy prices is also a domestic issue for Biden who faces daunting elections this Autumn. Above all, unless Europe finds other oil sources, it will continue buying Russian oil.

The Saudi crown price, however, has a different agenda. After ascending to power, he is likely to rule the kingdom for many decades — half a century if he lives to 86, his father’s age. And MbS has been remarkably successful in creating his own Saudi ‘power base’ without US help. His lifestyle changes have been a smashing hit with Saudis 35 and under — 70 percent of the kingdom’s citizens — and his ambition to transform Saudi Arabia into a modern technological leader ignites the imagination of the youth.

Clearly, his refusal to punish Russia and his $2 billion ‘gesture’ toward a new, untested investment fund started by former US president Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, speak for themselves. MbS has his own reasons for these actions, starting with Biden’s contemptuous reference to Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” state and his refusal to deal with the crown prince in person.

MbS hit back recently by declining to take a call from Joe Biden. Besides the petty stuff, the US restrictions on arms sales to the kingdom; insufficient response assistance to attacks on Saudi Arabia by Yemeni forces; publication of a report into the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi — all these are in play here.

Even if the administration is able to obtain congressional approval for new security guarantees for Saudi Arabia (which is rather problematic), MbS might very well refuse to be swayed, since at the end of the day, high oil prices boost the ailing Saudi budget too.

The paradox is, both Saudi Arabia and Russia are stakeholders in OPEC+ as is evident from the explicit warning to the EU by OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo last month that it would be impossible to replace more than 7 million barrels per day of Russian oil and other liquids exports potentially lost due to current or future sanctions or voluntary actions.

Given the torrential geopolitical and economic crosscurrents at play here, what possibly unnerves the Biden Administration most is talk of an upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia by Chinese President Xi Jinping. There are persisting recent reports that Riyadh and Beijing are in discussions to price some of the kingdom’s oil sales in yuan rather than dollars, which would indeed mark a profound shift for global oil markets, and help advance China’s efforts to convince more countries and international investors to transact in its currency.

The Saudi explanation for the shift to the yuan is that the kingdom could use part of new currency revenues to pay Chinese contractors involved in domestic mega projects within Saudi Arabia, which would reduce the risks associated with the capital controls Beijing imposes on its currency. But, for Washington, that means certain sensitive Saudi-China transactions in yuan do not appear in the rearview mirror of the western-controlled SWIFT messaging infrastructure, making transaction monitoring unviable.

There are persistent US reports that with Chinese support, Saudi Arabia may be constructing a new uranium processing facility near Al Ula to enhance its pursuit of nuclear technology. Riyadh’s generous $8 billion in financial support for Pakistan, unveiled this week, will almost certainly raise hiccups in Washington.

Saudi Arabia is a central pillar of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and ranks in the top three countries globally for Chinese construction projects, according to the China Global Investment Tracker, run by the American Enterprise Institute. Suffice to say, the CIA chief’s call could not have been for a friendly chat with the Saudi crown prince.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Blatant Display of Hypocrisy

2 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Samia Nasir-Khoury 

Despite regularly calling for peace, the Israeli occupation’s actions speak otherwise. From the non-stop aggressions it continues to commit against the Palestinian people to the refusal to make the slightest concession, the occupation seems to understand only the language of force.

Ever since the partition plan of Palestine on November 29, 1947, and the immediate recognition of “Israel” by the United States of America, “Israel” has had the unwavering support of the USA

The sight of the Ukrainian refugees evoked very sad memories of our own eviction from Palestine, which ceased to exist in 1948.  Not only because of the eviction but because of the massacres and the razing of hundreds of villages and reducing leading cities into ghost towns, which took place at the time, so as to obliterate the history of our country, some of which were only made public many years later on by the Israeli new historians.  It was a  historical event known as “the Nakba” (Catastrophe), which turned out to be an ongoing Nakba to this day, as Israel, the occupying power,  continues to deprive the Palestinians of their right of return according to the UN GA  resolution 194  on December 11, 1948, and refuses to withdraw from the rest of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967 according to UN Security Council resolution 242 on November 22, 1967, over and above tits daily violations of Palestinian human rights.

I am not going to dwell on the political atmosphere, and the role of the USA and NATO in provoking that war, but it had hardly started when the cry for sanctions on Russia was loud and clear.  However,  never did the international community come up with the word “sanctions” regarding “Israel”, despite its brutal measures against the Palestinians as well as its flouting of UN resolutions for the last seven decades. It is high time “Israel” realizes that it will never feel secure while it continues to kill, confiscate, and deprive the Palestinians and the prisoners of their freedom and their basic human rights.  Furthermore, it allows the settlers to terrorize the Palestinians in their towns, in their fields, vineyards, and olive groves, as well as in their holy places, all under the protection of the Israeli police force.  In fact, three renowned organizations monitoring the region, Amnesty International, B’Tselem, and Human Rights Watch came to the conclusion in their reports recently,  that “Israel” is an apartheid state.  Of course, “Israel” refuted their reports and labeled them as anti-Semitic. Ironic indeed when one of them is an Israeli organization.

It is unreasonable to forget two facts.  One pertaining to the Oslo Accords, and the other pertaining to the Arab Countries  The Oslo Accords signed between the PLO and Israel on September 13, 1993, gave us the impression at the beginning that they were going to bring about a  new dawn of hope for peace and liberation, especially after seeing the Israeli army withdraw from the Palestinian towns occupied in 1967.  However, it did not take long to expose the loopholes in these accords, especially when the basic issues like al-Quds, borders, as well as refugees, and the building of illegal settlements were deferred to the last stage of negotiations, over a period of five years. This turned out to be an open-ended period of five-times-five that stopped abruptly with the incursion of the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to Al-Aqsa mosque which led to the Second Intifada. That gave “Israel” the excuse to end all the negotiations. The following years gave “Israel” the opportunity to create a new reality on the ground as its settlements mushroomed all over the occupied Palestinian territories.  Over and above, the issue of security for Israel was to be coordinated with the new Palestinian Authority.  This certainly seemed to be a unique situation when the occupied had to coordinate security matters with the occupiers. The absurdity of these two items alone showed that those accords were never studied thoroughly and scrutinized by the PLO before they signed them and recognized “Israel” as a state in the region, whereas Israel never committed itself to recognizing a Palestinian state as it signed those accords with the PLO.

The second fact is the stand of the Arab countries who despite their rhetoric were never able to bring about the pressure to end the occupation. However, all the Arab countries endorsed the Saudi initiative  made by Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabic during the Arab summit meeting in Beirut in 2002 in which the prince presented his initiative calling for “full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, reaffirmed by the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the land-for-peace principle, and ‘Israel’s’ acceptance of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, in return for the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel.”

Had “Israel” been sincere about peace it would have jumped at the Saudi initiative, but it seems that “Israel” cannot survive in times of peace.  However, peace with the Gulf countries was offered to “Israel” on a silver platter. Those countries who signed the “Abrahamic Accords” had no war with “Israel”, nor did they share borders with “Israel”.  Once again a colonial power, the USA, during the Trump presidency, was able to drive a wedge among the Arab countries, and seduce those Gulf countries into a peace agreement with Israel claiming to have common security interests.

Ever since the partition plan of Palestine on November 29, 1947, and the immediate recognition of “Israel” by the United States of America, “Israel” has had the unwavering support of the USA. This has been a major factor in Israel’s flouting of all UN resolutions regarding Palestine without any sanctions. The most we have heard from the USA and the European countries is “concern” about the  clashes and the demolishing of Palestinian homes, and that “the settlements are not conducive to peace.” 

Unfortunately, during these times,  the vested interests of the powerful forces, and their hegemony over-rules the principle of the common good and the welfare of all people, whereby they coerce the weaker people by blackmailing them, supposedly to guarantee their survival. And of course whoever dared to defy those powers had no chance to survive.  

The brutality of the Israeli police while storming the Al-Aqsa mosque and limiting and violently blocking Palestinian Christians in particular from worshiping in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the old city of al-Quds (Jerusalem), the holiest of Christian sites is beyond imagination. “Israel” wants to turn the Palestinian struggle into a religious war whereas it is not, and it has never been so. Nonetheless, with the support of the colonial powers, they have turned the whole region into a fertile ground for religious extremism.

However desperate the situation is, we cannot afford to lose hope, and we will not lose hope because justice is on our side. Furthermore, we hope our Palestinian struggle will become an example of steadfastness, “Sumud” and a guiding force in the struggle of all oppressed people.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

يوم القدس العالميّ ومعادلات نهاية الكيان الصهيونيّ المؤقت

 العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط _

أظهر الإمام الخميني بعد نجاح الثورة الإسلامية في إيران في العام 1979 انّ هذه الثورة ليست لإيران وحدها بل إنها ثورة من اجل حقوق الأمة الإسلامية ومن أجل حقوق المظلومين والمضطهدين في العالم. وبصيغة أخرى هي ثورة من اجل نشر الحرية وتأكيد سيادة الحق في العالم. ومن هذا المنطلق أطلق في مواجهة الكيان الصهيوني جملة من المواقف تلتقي جميعها على هدف واحد هو وجوب إزالة هذا الكيان، لأنه قائم على الظلم والطغيان وسلب حقوق الآخرين.

وفي سياق المواقف الإيرانية في ظلّ الثورة، من هذا الكيان، كانت عملية إغلاق السفارة «الإسرائيلية» في طهران وتسليم مبناها للفلسطينيين ليكون مقراً لسفارة فلسطين التي يجب أن تقوم دولتها على كامل أراضيها المغتصبة من قبل الكيان منذ العام 1948 وكان أيضاً إطلاق يوم القدس العالمي الذي حدّد موعده في يوم الجمعة الأخير من رمضان من كلّ عام وتكون فيه دعوة للمسلمين وللعالم أجمع للتوقف عند مأساة اغتصاب القدس والعمل على إنهائها.

وفي تحليل للإعلان الأخير هذا نجد أنه في جوهره يتعدّى الشأن السياسي الإعلامي الاحتفالي ليصل الى المفهوم الاستراتيجي العميق للمسألة في ما يفرز رزمة من المعاني والرؤى تبدأ بوضع عنوان صارخ جامع للقضية الفلسطينية هو القدس التي تحرّك إثارتها المسلم والمسيحي على حدّ سواء نظراً لما فيها من رمزية دينية وما تحتويه من أماكن مقدسة تخصهم، رمزية ومحتوى تمكن إثارتها من التأكيد علي الظلم الواقع وعلى وجوب فرض نهاية له. فإحياء يوم القدس العالمي الذي دعا إليه الإمام الخميني يعني بكلّ بساطة رفضاً للجريمة وتذكيراً بوقوعها واستمرارها وإنكاراً لأيّ قبول او تسليم بها عملاً وتحشيداً لوضع حدّ لها وإنتاجاً لبيئة عدم استقرار عالمي مع استمرارها وأخيراً ومع موجة التطبيع التي احدثتها اتفاقات ابراهام مع العدو الصهيوني فإنّ ليوم القدس في هذا الوقت بالذات أهمية خاصة من حيث الفرز الذي يحدثه بين معسكرين، معسكر نصرة الحق الذي يحتضن فلسطين ويحمل قضيتها ومعسكر التطبيع الذي يعمل بالباطل الذي تقوم «إسرائيل» عليه.

بيد انّ هذا الإعلان الذي بدأت الاستجابة له خجولة يوم أطلق ومقتصرة على دولتين او ثلاث وبعض الأحزاب الحديثة النشأة بات اليوم يظهر في شكل مختلف وبات بالفعل يوماً عالمياً يحتفل به ويشارك في فعالياته تمهيداً او في يومه بالذات، مكونات متعددة من دول وأحزاب لا تقتصر على محور المقاومة بل وتتعداه الى دول وشعوب أخرى خارج منطقة غربي آسيا والشرق الأوسط، ثم انّ هذا الإعلان وفي هذا العام ومع ما آل اليه العالم من المستجدات والمعادلات يؤكد أهمية اعتماده قبل أربعة عقود ويثبت بأنّ فكرة إنهاء الكيان الصهيوني المؤقت ليست وهماً وطموحاً من غير أساس بل انها مبنية على ما يبرّرها ويؤكد وقوعها بشكل أكيد.

ففي العام المنصرم استطاعت المقاومة الفلسطينية القائمة في غزة ان تفرض معادلة دفاع عن القدس لم تكن تخطر ببال الصهاينة، معادلة فاجأت العدو الصهيوني بمضمونها وبمفاعليها، حيث إنها قامت على فكرة ان «القدس تحمى من داخلها ومن خارجها». وهذا هو المضمون الحقيقي لأهداف عملية سيف القدس التي ترجمت ناراً تنطلق من غزة لتحمي حي الشيخ جراح في القدس وتمنع تهويده وتثبت أهاليه فيه، وقد رضخ العدو الصهيوني للمعادلة تلك والتي أعيد التذكير بها في الأسابيع الأخيرة من شهر رمضان الحالي حيث ان مجرد التلويح بها كان كافيا ليدفع العدو الصهيوني الى وقف الاستفزاز حول الأقصى ويمنع مسيرة الأعلام التلمودية إليه وبعده في كنيسة القيامة يوم سبت النور.

وبعد سيف القدس كان بالغ الأهمية الموقف والدعوة التي وجهها السيد حسن نصرالله في ٢٥ أيار ٢٠٢١ لإرساء معادلة جديدة في مواجهة العدو مضمونها انّ «المسّ بالقدس يعني حرباً إقليمية شاملة»، ونحن نرى أنّ هذه الدعوة ـ الإعلان تشكل ترجمة استراتيجية وميدانية للهدف من إعلان يوم القدس العالمي أساساً، وفيها اعتبار مسؤولية الدفاع عن القدس لا تقع حصراً على المقدسيين او الفلسطينيين او العرب او المسلمين او المسيحيين، بل انها مسؤولية المنطقة بكاملها وان على شعوبها ان تسعى الى أمنها واستقرارها وازدهارها بإخراج العامل المنتهك لحقوقها منها وذلك باقتلاع الغدة السرطانية المسماة «إسرائيل».

انّ ما أحدثته عملية سيف القدس ٢٠٢١ من مفاعيل وما ترمي اليه الدعوة الى إرساء معادلة الحرب الإقليمية الشاملة دفاعاً عن القدس وما ترمز اليه وما تخفيه في ثنايا قضيتها من شأنه أن يجهز على استراتيجية إسرائيلية ثابتة اعتمدتها «إسرائيل» منذ اغتصابها لفلسطين، استراتيجية تقوم على التفتيت والتجزئة والاستفراد وقضم حقوق الأخيرين لقمة لقمة دون السماح لهم بالتوحد او العمل الجماعي لمشترك ضدّها.

وعملاً بهذه القاعدة الصهيونية رفضت «إسرائيل» في العام ١٩٤٨ التفاوض مع وفد عربي مشترك لتوقيع الهدنة وأصرّت على توقيع الهدنة ثنائياً مع كلّ دولة عربية بمفردها وكررت السلوك في مؤتمر مدريد في العام ١٩٩٢. اما في عقيدتها العسكرية فإنها تعتمد مبدأ «العمل على جبهة واحدة وتثبيت الجبهات الأخرى»، كل ذلك لأنها تخشى من وحدة موقف الأعداء ضدها وقد اختبرت عقيدتها اكثر من مرة ونجحت وكانت حرب الـ ١٩٧٣ الاختبار الساطع حيث إن العرب فتحوا جبهتي الشمال والجنوب معاً في الجولان وسيناء فانهزمت «إسرائيل»، ولكن عندما توقفت جبهة الجنوب عوّضت «إسرائيل» هزيمتها في الشمال.

وعملاً بهذا الشأن نجد منطقياً القول بانّ نهاية «إسرائيل» تقترب مع اعتماد اعدائها لاستراتيجية العمل الجماعي المنسق ومنطق واستراتيجية الحرب الشاملة، شمولاً في الجبهات ما يفرض العمل على جبهات متعددة في الداخل الفلسطيني وعلى الحدود مع الجوار وشمولاً في الأطراف المشاركة ما يمنع «إسرائيل» من استفراد أي طرف منها مهما كان حجمه القتالي وشمولاً بأساليب القتال بين حرب من الجيل الثالث أو الرابع أو الخامس.

وبهذا يكون في مضامين يوم القدس العالمي الدعوة للإعداد للحرب الشاملة تلك وتحشيد الطاقات للانخراط بها من اليمن في الجنوب الى لبنان وسورية في الشمال والى العراق وإيران في الشرق ويبقى العامل والمكوّن الفلسطيني هو الجوهر والمحور والأساس في المواجهة في هذه الحرب الشاملة التي اطلق الدعوة لاعتمادها وإرساء معادلتها السيد حسن نصرالله.

وأخيراً لا بد من الإشارة الي انّ إنهاء «إسرائيل» قد لا يستلزم خوض الحرب فعلياً، وقد يكتفى بالإعداد لهذه الحرب والاستعداد لخوضها بشكل جدّي وفاعل ما يحمل العدو على الانهيار الإدراكي والهروب من المواجهة حتى قبل ان تبدأ. والمهمّ أولاً وقبل كلّ شيء اعتناق عقيدة العمل الجماعي المشترك والموحد في مواجهة نظرية التجزئة والاستفراد التي تعتمدها «إسرائيل» وستكون النتائج إيجابية لمصلحة حقّ الأمة في فلسطين من غير شكّ او تردّد.

*أستاذ جامعي ـ باحث استراتيجي

فيديوات متعلقة

مقالات متعلقة

UAE cements its economic ties with Israeli Apartheid

5 Apr 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Marion Kawas 

This betrayal of the Palestinian people by the UAE despotic leaders will never be forgotten.

UAE Cements its Economic Ties with Israeli Apartheid

The United Arab Emirates has completed negotiations on a bilateral comprehensive free trade agreement with “Israel”. On April 1, 2022, the Emirati trade minister sat down in a hotel in occupied Al-Quds to sign off on the first full trade agreement with any Arab country. The negotiations themselves were apparently fast-tracked, and will further accelerate the reported $900 million trade between the two countries in 2021. The UAE is reportedly the second-largest economy in the Arab world and this new deal will cover 95% of “food products, agriculture, cosmetics, medical equipment, drugs and more” of goods currently traded with “Israel”.

The agreement, coming on the heels of the so-called “Negev Summit” (Summit of Shame) held last week, shows the expanding parameters of the economic and political cooperation between the Arab despot regimes and the Zionist state. 

So free trade now with the Emirates for illegal Israeli settlement wine and food products? While activists in Western countries are out on the streets campaigning hard to have such products removed from store shelves, here is an Arab country rushing to confer privileged trade status to these poison fruits of an aggressive and brutal military occupation.

In fact, one of the early economic deals after the signing of the Abraham Accords was between Israeli settler companies that produce wine, tahini, olive oil, and honey and the Dubai distribution company FAM Holdings. And prior to that, bottles from the Golan Heights Winery, in illegally occupied and annexed Syrian territory, were already on store shelves in Dubai.

In the last two weeks, Canadian activists have intensified their push to have Israeli apartheid wines de-shelved in publicly owned liquor stores, especially after multiple provincial governments in Canada rushed within days to remove Russian liquor products. In Vancouver and Victoria B.C., lively pickets and leafletting have taken place and a letter-writing campaign to the BC government has garnered over 1200 signatures to date; the campaign has some notable endorsers, including Roger Waters, former and current Vancouver city councilors, and local artists and professors amongst others.

Will this new free trade agreement cover cyber technology and other military defense products? Like what the newly created Elbit Systems Emirates is set up to offer? They were recently awarded a $53 million contract to supply technology to the UAE Air Force. 

It was reported on April 3, 2022, that the Emirati sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala Capital, was a major investor in the Israeli NGO group which produced the now-discredited Pegasus spyware. Mubadala is chaired by none other than Abu Dhabi’s crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. In January of this year, Mubadala also reportedly invested $100 million in six different Israeli venture-capital firms.

The role of the UAE as an economic regional power, and even a global one in some areas, should not be underplayed. From Dubai Ports World which punished workers in Canada for supporting a #BlocktheBoat picket, to these Israeli defense subsidiaries being opened in the Emirates, to the combined punch of the five leading Emirati sovereign wealth funds that amounts to a staggering $1.4 trillion in aggregate assets: all these factors explain why “Israel” signed this “historic” free trade agreement with the Emirates.

While children in Yemen are starving to death, and UNRWA remains chronically under-funded, and the exorbitant cost of living in Lebanon impoverishes even more people, the obscene wealth controlled by these Emirati regimes is being used to help strengthen the economy and stability of the Zionist state. That wealth is strengthening a state that is beating and terrorizing Palestinians right now in Al-Quds, a state that is extra-judicially assassinating Palestinians in their towns and villages, a state that denies medical treatment to babies resulting in their untimely deaths, and a state that exists on apartheid and supremacism for its survival. This betrayal of the Palestinian people by the UAE despotic leaders will never be forgotten!

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Four signs that a US-Gulf ‘divorce’ is in the making

The rapid-fire ‘messages’ directed at Washington from old Persian Gulf allies are brutal, and strongly suggest that the days of US hegemony are done

March 20 2022

In all the geopolitical salvos issued left and right last week, nothing was less expected than the visit of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to the UAE. It is a strong sign of the Persian Gulf’s dissatisfaction with its US ally.Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Abdel Bari Atwan

If any good has come out of the Ukraine war for the Arab world, it is the diminished status and influence of the US in West Asia. Washington is losing many of its traditional allies in the region, especially in the Persian Gulf, and this trend looks like it will accelerate.

Four recent developments illustrate this.

First, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s visit to the UAE on Friday. The warm welcome laid on for him by its leaders was a slap in the face of the US administration, its strongly stated objections to the visit, and its sanctions aimed at de-legitimizing the Syrian government.

Second, the growing defiance of US hegemony by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, OPEC’s two largest oil producers. Most notable was their rejection of US President Joe Biden’s pleas to increase oil production in order to push down prices and provide extra supplies to enable western sanctions of Russian oil and gas imports.

Third, the failure of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit – on Washington’s behalf – to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, where he conveyed veiled threats to the two countries should they fail to toe the western line on Ukraine, join in imposing economic sanctions on Russia, or break their oil production agreements with it.

Fourth, Saudi Arabia’s invitation to China’s President Xi Jinping for an official visit and Riyadh’s openness to pricing its oil sales to Beijing in yuan. This signals that the kingdom and possibly other Gulf states may be willing to join the new global financial system Russia and China are developing as an alternative to the western one.

Of the four developments, the reception accorded to President Assad in Abu Dhabi and Dubai was the clearest sign of this Gulf rebellion against the US and its domination. The visit didn’t need to take place now; that it did shows more about the mood in the Gulf centers of power than anything else.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have reportedly declined to receive US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who is keen to follow up Johnson’s visit to try to succeed where he failed.

Instead, in a snub seen around the world, the UAE’s foreign minister Sheikh Ahmad Bin Zayed visited Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. The public show of bonhomie they displayed was bound to rub salt into the American wound.

The timing of Assad’s trip – on the 11th anniversary of the start of the US-led war on Syria aimed at toppling its government, and three weeks into the Russian invasion of Ukraine – and the UAE’s indifference to the angry US reaction, are further signs of the start of divorce proceedings with an abusive partner that fleeces and cheats on its allies.

Assad’s visit to the UAE provided important gains for both countries and their leaders. It broke Syria’s official isolation in the Arab world and heralded the breaking of the US embargo imposed on the country. This caps a broader process of Arab ‘normalization’ which is set to see Damascus regain its membership of the Arab League and role in collective Arab decision making, and take part in the Arab summit to be held in Algiers in November.

This bold step also benefits the UAE in many ways. It helps offset the hugely negative impact on its image that resulted from its signing of the so-called Abraham Accords and enthusiastic courtship of the Israeli enemy.

Building bridges of trust and cooperation with the Axis of Resistance via Syria, Iran’s closest ally, could also help the UAE and Saudi Arabia find ways out of their quagmire in Yemen. It may be no coincidence that Riyadh is proposing to host an all-party Yemeni dialogue and has officially invited the Houthi Ansarullah movement to take part.

In short, what we are seeing today are manifestations of a revolt against US hegemony in the Arab world by the axis of Arab ‘moderation’ led by the Egyptian-Emirati-Saudi trio. It is open for other Gulf and Arab states such as Iraq, Algeria, and Sudan to join should they wish. This new axis may take clearer shape at the Algiers summit in the fall.

The process of Arab normalization with Israel is bound to slow down. It is the most grievous error that normalizing countries – old and new – could have made, and should be halted completely. But there is optimism in this regard, as turning against the US also implies turning against Israel.

Meanwhile, Assad’s presidential plane, which over the past decade has only flown to Moscow and Tehran, looks set to do a lot more traveling in the coming weeks and months. Its next destination after Abu Dhabi could be Riyadh or Cairo, despite the best efforts of the US to bar its way.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

ساعةٌ سليمانيةٌ بصواريخ رباعية الأبعاد

الخميس17 آذار 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

عمرو علان 

دمّرت الضربة الصّاروخية المركز المستهدف، وقتلت 4 ضباط من “الموساد”، وجَرحت 7 آخرين، تعدّ جراح 4 منهم خطرة، بحسب المعلومات التي توفرت لدى الاستخبارات الإيرانية عقب الضربة. 

جاءت الضّربة الصاروخية التي تبنّاها حرس الثورة الإسلامية الإيرانية في بيانٍ رسميٍ، والتي استهدفت مركزاً استخبارياً استراتيجياً لجهاز “الموساد” الصهيوني في مدينة أربيل العراقية، لتعيد التأكيد على ترابط كلّ الأحداث الدولية في هذه المرحلة الانتقالية والمفصلية في تاريخ البشرية، ولتبعث عدة رسائل في غير اتجاه للقوى الدولية، ولتعيد تأكيد ثوابت السياسة الإيرانية تجاه التطورات الدولية الراهنة.

يُقرأ في توقيت هذه الضربة تأكيدٌ إيرانيٌ غير مباشرٍ على تحالف إيران الاستراتيجي مع روسيا

بعد مرور نحو شهرٍ على تورط “الموساد” بعدوانٍ غير مُعلَنٍ على موقع للطائرات المسيَّرة، تابع لحرس الثورة الإسلامية في إقليم خرمانشاه الإيراني، قام الأخير باستهداف منزلٍ في مدينة أربيل يقع قرب القنصلية الأميركية، وتعود ملكيته إلى رجل أعمالٍ عراقيٍ، كان يستخدمه جهاز الاستخبارات الصهيوني كمركز استراتيجي لقيادة عملياته التخريبية ضد إيران والمنطقة.

وقال بيان حرس الثورة الإسلامية إنَّه استهدف مركزاً صهيونياً بصواريخ دقيقة. وأوردت وكالة أنباء “تسنيم” الإيرانية “أنَّ حرس الثورة استخدم في الهجوم 10 صواريخ دقيقةٍ من طراز “فاتح 110” البالستية”، وأنَّ “القصف انطلق من المنطقة الشمالية الغربية في إيران”، وتصل حمولة الرأس المتفجّر لصاروخ “فاتح 110” الدّقيق إلى 300 كلغ من المواد المتفجرة. 

وقد دمّرت الضربة الصّاروخية المركز المستهدف، وقتلت 4 ضباط من “الموساد”، وجَرحت 7 آخرين، تعدّ جراح 4 منهم خطرة، بحسب المعلومات التي توفرت لدى الاستخبارات الإيرانية عقب الضربة. 

ويقول توقيت هذه الضربة للأميركي الذي تباطأ مؤخراً في قبول الشروط الإيرانية للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، إنَّ برنامج إيران الدفاعي للصواريخ غير قابلٍ للتفاوض، وإنَّها لن تعود إلى الالتزام ببنود الاتفاق النووي إلا ضمن شروطها المتعلقة برفع كل العقوبات الأميركية، بما فيها العقوبات المفروضة على حرس الثورة الإسلامية. 

ها هو الحرس الثوري يستخدم صواريخه بنجاحٍ في ضرب موقعٍ موجودٍ ضمن دائرة حماية أنظمة الدفاع الجوي الأميركية التي يوكل إليها حماية مبنى القنصلية الأميركية في أربيل. وقد كان لافتاً تصريح علي شمخاني، أمين عام مجلس الأمن القومي الإيراني، عقب الضربة الصاروخية، حين قال: “الميدان والدبلوماسية هما أداة القوة لدى إيران، والتي تُستخدَم بحكمةٍ للدفاع عن المصالح الوطنية والأمن القومي. تجربة الأعوام الأربعين للثورة الإسلامية علَّمت الشعب الإيراني أن الاعتماد على الشرق والغرب لا يضمن حقوقه وأمنه”.

ويصعب أيضاً فصل توقيت الهجوم الصاروخي عن تفاعلات الحرب في أوكرانيا، وعما يمكن وصفه بالخلاف التكتيكي بين طهران وموسكو، إذ طالبت موسكو الأميركي مؤخراً بتقديم ضماناتٍ إضافيةٍ تتعلق بضمان عدم تأثير العقوبات الأميركية المستجدة على روسيا في تعاملاتها التجارية مع إيران، في حال العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي.

ويمكن أن يُقرأ في توقيت هذه الضربة تأكيدٌ إيرانيٌ غير مباشرٍ على تحالف إيران الاستراتيجي مع روسيا، ضمن معركة كسر الهيمنة الأميركية، رغم التباين التكتيكي الَّذي ظهر في فيينا على أثر الحرب في أوكرانيا، ورغم عدم رغبة إيران في الانخراط المباشر في تلك الحرب، ورغم كونها أيضاً تتعاطى مع العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي من زاوية مصالحها الوطنية أولاً. 

تأتي هذه القراءة منسجمةً مع ما قاله الناطق باسم الخارجية الإيرانية، سعيد خطيب زاده، في مؤتمره الأسبوعي الأخير عقب الضربة الصاروخية، إذ قال “إنّ الولايات المتحدة هي التي ترغب في اختزال ما يحدث في فيينا على أنه طلبٌ روسيٌ. إنّ مسؤولية الوضع الحالي الذي نحن فيه الآن تقع على عاتق واشنطن. إذا استجابت اليوم، فيمكننا العودة إلى فيينا… كان نهج روسيا بنّاءً حتى الآن، وكان الأقرب والأكثر دعماً لمفاوضي فيينا. وقد صرَّح المسؤولون الروس في المحادثات، وفي اللجنة المشتركة، أنهم لن يعرقلوا أيَّ اتفاقٍ جيدٍ”.

أمّا الكيان المؤقت، المستهدف الرئيسي بهذه الضّربة، فلا بدّ من أن يقرأ في علانية الرد، وفي أسلوبه ومكانه، تعزيزاً لقوة الردع الإيراني في مواجهته، وتثبيتاً لقواعد الاشتباك التي جاء توقيت الرد الإيراني ليؤكد أنها لا تتأثر بنتائج محادثات فيينا والأزمة في أوكرانيا، ولا سيّما بعد تزامن تعرّض الكيان المؤقت لهجومٍ سيبرانيٍ، وُصِف بأنه الأكبر، مع إعلان التلفزيون الإيراني إحباط محاولة تخريبية “للموساد” ضد منشأة “فردو” النووية، بعد يومين فقط على الضربة الصاروخية، وفي هذا كله مؤشراتٌ على أنَّ الردود الإيرانية ستزداد وتتعاظم في مواجهة الجرائم الصهيونية في الأيام المقبلة.

والظاهر مما ورد في وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية عقب الهجوم الصاروخي الإيراني، أن الكيان المؤقت استوعب الرسالة، لكن لعلَّ هذا الاستيعاب جاء متأخراً، لكون الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله أكد سابقاً، وفي خطابٍ علنيٍ، أن الجمهورية الإسلامية سترد بنفسها على أي اعتداءٍ صهيونيٍ يستهدف أراضيها، وأن الرد لن يكون عبر حلفاء إيران في المنطقة، بل سيكون بشكلٍ مباشرٍ.

أما الرّسائل التي يجب أن تكون قد وصلت إلى سائر دول المعسكر الصهيو-عربي التي ركبت مؤخراً قطار الأسرلة، فهي تتمثل بأنَّ أراضيها لن تكون بمنأى عن ضرباتٍ عسكريةٍ قويةٍ، في حال جعلت منها منطلقاً لأي عدوانٍ صهيونيٍ يستهدف الجمهورية الإسلامية.

وفي هذا تأكيدٌ لما قيل سابقاً، عقب انخراط بعض الدول في ما يُسمى “اتفاقيات إبراهام”، على أنَّ اتفاقيات الأسرلة هذه لن تجلب لها الأمن، بل على العكس، ستعود عليها بالخراب، وستجعل من أراضي تلك الدول ساحة اشتباكٍ بين قوى ودول محور المقاومة والكيان المؤقت.

وختاماً، لا بدَّ من التوقف عند الساعة التي حصلت فيها الضربة الصاروخية، إذ إنَّها جاءت في التوقيت نفسه الذي ارتَكبَت فيه الولايات المتحدة الأميركية جريمة اغتيال الشهيدين قاسم سليماني وأبو مهدي المهندس، وفي هذا رسالةٌ معنويةٌ للأميركي والصهيوني معاً، تقول إنَّ هذا القصف الصاروخي كان بتوقيع الشهيد قاسم سليماني.

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

Why are Italian Students Protesting Israeli Ambassador’s Visit to L’Aquila University?

March 3, 2022

Italian students hold a sit-in against Israeli ambassador’s visit to L’Aquila University. (Photo: Supplied)

By Romana Rubeo

Italian students held a sit-in on Thursday to protest the decision by the University of L’Aquila to host the Israeli Ambassador to Italy, Dror Eydar. 

Eydar was invited to deliver a 30 minutes conference about the so-called Abraham Accords, titled “Diplomacy in the Middle East and the Abraham Accords paradigm shift”.

Students were urged to take part in the conference, which did not include a debate or a Q&A session.

The sit-in was organized by several groups, including political movement Potere al Popolo (Power to the People), UDU L’Aquila (Union of Students), Abruzzo Crocevia and Spazio Praxis.

The sit-in was organized by several groups, including political movement Potere al Popolo (Power to the People), UDU L’Aquila (Union of Students), Abruzzo Crocevia and Spazio Praxis.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FpapLAquila%2Fposts%2F261394812841296&show_text=true&width=500

“We were extremely disappointed when we learned that the University organized such an initiative,” Francesco Pezzuti, the representative of Potere al Popolo, said during the protest. “We believe that academic institutions should not invite official representatives of a state that has systematically oppressed the Palestinian people for decades.”

“We are also surprised by the double standards,” Pezzuti added. “While they show solidarity to the Ukrainian people, and rightly so, our institutions do not show the same kind of sensibility towards the various forms of popular resistance enacted by other oppressed people around the globe, such as in Palestine.”

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fudulaquila%2Fposts%2F2072238036290939&show_text=true&width=500

“The same initiative has been promoted in other Italian regions, with the same exact keywords, trying to promote the so-called Abraham Accords as a new paradigm,” said Luca D’Innocenzo, representative of Abruzzo Crocevia. 

“We have to be aware that this is mere propaganda. Israel’s propaganda uses the Accords to hide ongoing policies of colonialism and apartheid in the Palestinian territories,” D’Innocenzo added.

“That’s what we should talk about inside an academic institution: of the apartheid policies that are systematically implemented against the Palestinian people.”

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgiovanipalestinesi.it%2Fposts%2F4996939077035913&show_text=true&width=500

“We are not alone in this fight,” said Matteo Poletti, from UDU. “We fight along with other students that, across the globe, are boycotting similar initiatives aimed at normalizing relations with a country that despite the continued and reiterated violations of human rights, has never been held accountable by the international community.”

The students in L’Aquila received solidarity and support from the national group Giovani Palestinesi d’Italia (Young Palestinians of Italy), which shared posts on social media and sent a message that was read during the sit-in.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.

Normalization between Arabic countries and “Israel”: Proven record of failure

16 Feb 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Hussam AbdelKareem 

“Israel” knew that it would never settle in the Arab region unless it gets recognized by its people as a “normal state”.

Normalization Between Arabic Countries and “Israel”: Proven Record of Failure

An Advanced Outpost for Colonial Powers

“Israel” had been created in 1948 as an advanced outpost for the colonial-imperial powers keen on dominating the Middle East region and keeping it under control. That’s the plain fact proven at different stages in recent history. And since the announcement of “Israel” as a state on the land of Palestine, it acted exactly like that: a militarized compound disguising in a state’s attire! In 1956 “Israel” was called to service by the then-great Britain and France when they decided to attack Egypt in an attempt to prevent it from liberating itself and nationalizing its Suez Canal. “Israel” joined the evil plot willingly and attacked Egypt without any provocation, showing to its old colonial masters that their investment was paying off. Later, when the British Empire was doomed to demise, “Israel” moved on and joined the camp of the rising star, America, which inherited the old lion. From the sixties of the last century onwards, “Israel” took part in the US’ global efforts in combating national liberation movements, communist-socialist regimes, and people’s revolutions.

When “Israel” was announced in 1948, it was met with unanimous Arab rejection. All Arab nations, many of them still under British – French control, refused to recognize it. Absolutely no Arab felt “Israel” belonged to the region, not culturally nor politically. Nobody was ready to deal with it in any way. Arab People looked at it not as a neighbor but as a group of usurpers who took over Palestine by force and displaced its Arab brothers who became refugees. A solid barrier of rejection and contempt was surrounding “Israel” who stayed in the heart of the Arab region as a bastard state.      

That’s why the normalization of relations with Arabic countries has always been of utmost importance for “Israel”. Even the smallest gesture from anywhere in the Arab world was being warmly welcomed by Israelis if they sense it could create a narrow crack in the rejection wall. “Israel” knew that it would never settle in the Arab region unless it gets recognized by its people as a “normal state”. “Israel” needed recognition more than anything else. “Israel” knew that no matter how strong its army is or how long its occupation of Palestinian lands lasts, it’s Arab recognition that gives it legitimacy and long-term future.

Three Old Normalization Accords

Before the new wave of Arab normalization with “Israel” in 2020, there were three normalization agreements between “Israel” and the Arabs:

-Camp David peace treaty with Egypt (1979)

-Oslo peace agreement with Palestine Liberation Organization (1993)

-Wadi Araba peace treaty with Jordan (1994)

Decades of formal normalization on three fronts resulted in nothing! It is true that written recognition from Arab governments was obtained by “Israel”. However, that can hardly be the real goal that “Israel” was after.

Let’s elaborate:

Egypt and Jordan are both sovereign independent states who were having occupied territories under Israeli control. So they had duty to restitute their lands from “Israel”. That, restitution the occupied land, was the basis for their peace treaties with “Israel”. The governments of Egypt and Jordan presented the matter to their people like that: we have to sign a peace treaty, we have to recognize “Israel” because there is no other way to get our lands back. We, as responsible governments, have to do that, but you, as people, as individuals, as society, have the freedom to make your own decision whether to normalize or not! And it seemed that logic was accepted by most of the people who “excused” their governments and took their own different path.

After four decades of Egyptian normalization, and three decades of Jordan’s, there is no people-to-people relations, no social contacts established, no community initiatives between the sides. The public opinion in Egypt and Jordan is still very much against any dealings with the Israelis. Anyone who “dares” to announce friendly relations with Israelis will be socially isolated and abandoned, swiftly. Civil society, political parties, unions and associations, intellectuals, writers, artists, cinema and sports stars … etc. all refusing to have anything to do with “Israel”. Cultural and economic boycott. The relations between Egypt and Jordan from one side and “Israel” on the other, remain official and limited to political meetings and border security arrangements. This kind of “normalization” can hardly be satisfactory to the Zionists of “Israel”.

The PLO is another story. Palestine is still under Israeli occupation. It’s neither liberated nor independent. Yasser Arafat wanted to have a base at home from which he may continue the struggle towards independence, so he signed an “interim” agreement. The Oslo Accord was supposed to be just a starting point and that’s what made Arafat accept all the unfair and un-advantageous terms imposed by Israelis. Well, Arafat was wrong, and the Israelis turned the “interim” agreement into an ever-lasting one! There are many relations between the Palestinians under occupation and “Israel” but that is, in no way, considered as “normalization” between the peoples. Matters related to borders crossing, transport of goods, water and electricity … are merely living conditions and requirements.

The failure of the decades-long official normalization speaks volumes. “Israel” has not shown any real appreciation of Arab concerns and aspirations. In short, they wanted “peace and normalization” with Arabs as a token of surrender. Palestine land will have to remain under Israeli occupation and Palestinian refugees will have to remain away from home. 

Will the new normalizers have better luck?

In 2020 new Arab normalizers jumped in, under Trump’s patronage, and signed the so-called Abraham Accords (it is telling that the Biden administration keenly avoids the term “Abraham” and refers to the “normalization agreements” instead, intentionally ignoring the religious implications of the term). Unlike Egypt, Jordan and the PLO, the new Arab normalizers are very far away from “Israel”, thousands of miles away! Moreover, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have no “bilateral” or direct conflict with “Israel” and are therefore under no pressure to conclude any deal with “Israel” whatsoever.

The new normalizers were unable to use the “solving pressing problems” excuse to justify their rush towards “Israel” to their people (who were never consulted about the matter!). So they started talking about modernization, civilization and “peace in the region” and other similar broad ideas. They began a faked kind of “heart to heart” normalization that has an artificial element of passion and love towards “Israel” in it! Sudan in particular talked about improving the economy (lifting the US sanctions and getting World Bank loans) as an excuse.

The new wave of normalization will not succeed, not because the signing parties don’t want that, but because there is no real basis for success in these deals. “Israel” is still the same old Zionist entity that Arabs know very well, and Al-Quds still under occupation, Palestinians still deprived of their homeland and “Israel” is still posing a constant threat to Arab nations. Even history tells us that the economic benefits of normalization won’t work! If anybody has doubt about that, a mere look at Egypt’s and Jordan’s economic hardships – after decades of normalization- will be enough to prove that: NORMALIZATION WON’T WORK.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

In First, Israeli PM Heads to Bahrain on ‘Exciting Event’ (VIDEO)

February 14, 2022

Israeli PM Naftali Bennet with Bahrain’s ruler, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. (Photo: via Israeli PM Twitter page)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took off for a 24-hour visit to Bahrain on Monday evening, Israeli media reported. 

According to The Times of Israel, Bennett is set to meet Bahrain’s ruler, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, along with the country’s crown prince and prime minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.

“This is an exciting event,” Bennett was reported by The Times of Israel as saying before departing. “During this stormy period it is important that from our region there comes a message of cooperation, goodwill and a joint stand against threats.”

Bennett’s office declared that the meeting “will revolve around deepening the bilateral relationship between the countries, after they signed a normalization agreement as part of the Abraham Accords.”

The country of Bahrain normalized ties with Israel in September 2020, less than a month following a similar decision by the United Arab Emirates.

%d bloggers like this: