Normalization: A stab in the back of the Palestinian cause

FEBRUARY 19, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Rasha Reslan 

The recent wave of normalization in the Middle East has resulted in gruesome shifts in regional dynamics and balances most notably regarding Palestine and the Palestinian cause.

Most Arab and Muslim countries are apparently considering normalization, but at what cost?

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco are among the Arab countries that signed normalization deals with the Israeli occupation, echoing Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s recognition of “Israel” in 1977.

Here’s the ugly truth: More Arab and Muslim countries are apparently considering doing the same with the US midwifing the move, not to mention that those who adopted the UAE’s prototype for normalization with “Israel” considered the issue of Palestine as non-existent.

Arab peace initiative?

Despite all claims of an Arab peace initiative, Palestine seems to be an afterthought in normalization deals with “Israel”. The so-called “Abraham Accords” were more about Arab transactions with the US than with “Israel”. In short, normalization with “Israel’” was the charge paid in exchange for the US’ recognition of territorial claims (in the case of Morocco), removal from blacklists (in the case of Sudan), preservation of a totalitarian regime (in the case of Bahrain), or sale of weaponry (in the case of the UAE).

Why Israel is reluctant to give the UAE help against the Houthis

Israeli sources tell MEE that giving air defence systems to Abu Dhabi might compromise Israel’s technological edge – and even anger Washington

Published date: 9 February 2022

By Yossi Melman

Following the recent missile and drone attacks by Yemen’s Houthi movement on Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates’ rulers have turned to Israel for military assistance.

The most recent drone attack occurred during last week’s state visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

It wasn’t the first Houthi threat to Israel. In the past, the Iran-aligned Houthis have threatened to launch their missiles against Eilat, the southern Israel port city located 1,500km from Yemen.

In response, Israel two years ago increased its state of alert in the Eilat region and has occasionally deployed Iron Dome batteries there based on intelligence warnings. Simultaneously, Mossad and military intelligence stepped up their monitoring of Yemen and information-gathering there.

Recently, a high-ranking Israeli delegation consisting of defence ministry officials, Mossad operatives and executives of Israeli arms manufacturers visited the United Arab Emirates.

Emirati officials are especially interested in Israeli-made air defences, such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow, as well as their radar systems.

Until now, all Emirati and Saudi anti-missiles systems are US-made, such as the Patriot batteries.

Israeli sources told Middle East Eye that they are considering the UAE request, but added a caveat, arguing that it is a serious matter that must be dealt with using caution.

Israel will have to balance between its desire to sell weapons around the globe – it was officially announced this week that it granted military export licenses to 139 countries – and the need to protect its homemade sensitive equipment.

Technological edge

The Israeli dilemma is how to maintain its own technological edge while selling systems to strategic partners. In the past, it was reported that Saudi Arabia is also interested in Iron Dome systems.

So far, Israel has sold partial components for Iron Dome, such as radars and ground control, to Singapore and Azerbaijan, but not the intercepting missiles, manufactured by state-owned company Rafael. Washington purchased two Iron Dome systems to evaluate their effectiveness.

The Israeli dilemma is how to maintain its own technological edge while selling systems to strategic partners

Israel claims that during its wars in Gaza, Iron Dome has shown a 92 percent interception rate when downing Hamas’s missiles. In the past, South Korea has also expressed interest in the system, which is capable of intercepting rockets that have a range of around 80km.

However, there is also one more obstacle in the way of Israel delivering air defences to the Gulf, one that is perhaps even stronger: the United States.

The US perceives the region as its sphere of interest. It has a military presence and bases in Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE.

Washington sells them weapons of all sorts, from F-35 fighter jets, drones and intelligence tech, to naval equipment and anti-aircraft batteries.

American security and military corporations would not like seeing Israeli competition entering what they consider as their backyard.

Secret cooperation

For years, the Mossad facilitated secret ties between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which has resulted in close intelligence-sharing cooperation against Iran, as well as sales of intelligence equipment such as the infamous Pegasus spyware.

Israeli firms such as Logic, owned by Mati Kochavi, secretly operated for years in the UAE. Kochavi employed ex-Mossad and Shin Bet officials, as well former experts from Israel Aerospace Industries.

After Kochavi fell out of Abu Dhabi’s ruling Nahyan family’s graces, he was replaced by David Meidan, a former Mossad operative, as the mediator between Israel and the UAE.

All of these clandestine deals and contacts were approved and encouraged by the Israeli defence ministry.

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Since open normalisation began with the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020, Israel has been able to open full diplomatic and commercial ties with the UAE, Bahrain and later Morocco, as well as enhance its intelligence relations.

Cooperation no longer needed to be kept a secret.

Last week, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz visited Bahrain, met with its rulers and signed with his counterpart a memorandum of understanding for security cooperation – the first agreed with an Arab country.

Only the special relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia remain secretive.

Despite the encouragement and lobbying by Donald Trump and his administration, Riyadh refused to take the public plunge.

Yet Israeli security and diplomatic sources told MEE that they have great expectations that once Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sits on the throne, after his old and ailing father King Salman dies, the kingdom will most probably bring the relations into the open.

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states will continue and even accelerate their security collaboration with Israel and purchase more arms.

Abu Dhabi forewarned: More Israel, more missile strikes

The UAE thought it could protect its Yemeni interests with Israel’s help. Then the Israeli president visited Abu Dhabi and Yemen dropped missiles to welcome him.

January 31 2022

UAE Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed meets Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Abu Dhabi, hours before Ansarallah retaliatory strikes hit the city.Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Abdel Bari Atwan

Hours after Israel’s president arrived in Abu Dhabi, marking the first ever visit of its kind, Yemeni resistance movement Ansarallah fired ballistic missiles at targeted sites in the UAE’s capital.

Any question as to how the Houthis will respond to Israel’s military and logistical role in the Saudi-UAE war on Yemen was answered by a few well-timed projectiles. The question now is, how will each side respond?

Israel’s highest officials have been flocking to Abu Dhabi in abundance these days. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit last month was followed, on Sunday, by the jarring spectacle of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s plane crossing Saudi airspace – a video of which was beamed to social media in a jiffy – before landing at Abu Dhabi’s airport.

There, Herzog was greeted by no less a personage than Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed (MbZ), Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces.

This visit, which Herzog described as “historic,” comes just days after the UAE was bombarded with ballistic missiles and drones by Yemen, in retaliatory strikes. The Emirati defense systems, ground and air, failed to confront most of the projectiles, which is why air navigation at Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports were briefly disrupted, and fuel tanks exploded at a refinery belonging to giant oil company ADNOC.

Since the signing of the September 2020 Abraham Accords under intense US pressure, Israelis have lined up in droves to visit the UAE, which has admitted more than two hundred thousand Israelis to date.

The Israeli visitors, it transpires, created more problems than the profits and gains made by the host country. Hebrew newspapers have extensively documented their shenanigans, which include theft, fraud, drugs, and money laundering in the Emirates.

But Herzog is on no ‘apology tour.’ Instead, what was remarkable were his remarks on the battle in Yemen, a brutal war co-launched by his Emirati hosts. The Israeli president seemed keen to “condemn the Houthi missile attacks that targeted the UAE, condemn any attack on its sovereignty by terrorist groups, and affirm their readiness to respond to its security requirements.”

We do not know what the Israeli occupation state thinks it can provide to protect the UAE, its security, and its stability – or how it believes it can succeed where the US and its NATO allies have failed.

When Ansarallah’s ballistic missiles on 24 January targeted the Al Dhafra base in Abu Dhabi, home to 3,500 American and British soldiers and tens of missile systems for US Patriot batteries and their more advanced THAAD systems, these soldiers fled to shelters for safety.

The Israeli army, whose government boasts that it cannot be defeated, was defeated and humiliated several times: the first in 2000 when it fled from southern Lebanon, unilaterally, without an agreement; the second, in the South Lebanon war of July 2006; the third, in May 2021’s Battle of the Sword of Jerusalem, when then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu begged US President Joe Biden to mediate with the Egyptian government to intervene to stop the war on its eleventh day.

Can this army, which is more than 1,500 kilometers away from Abu Dhabi, protect the Emirates and provide it with security and stability? Will it confront the imagined Iranian “aggression,” as Israeli officials claim and pledge?

Tel Aviv sells an illusion to the UAE and other Arab countries that have signed peace agreements with it. Under the facade of ‘peace,’ Israel engages with Arabs mockingly – focused on exploiting every advantage via blackmail, theft, threat and bluster.

In the UAE’s case, Israel works to dispel a double concern – the first for some Emiratis, and the second for most Israelis – which is the growing strength of the region’s Axis of Resistance and its massive and advanced military and missile capabilities.

On Sunday, Israeli military analyst Alon Ben David revealed in a Maariv article why the Israeli government rejected a $3.5 billion arms deal to the UAE – including the transfer of the “Iron Dome” and “David’s Sling.” Put simply, Tel Aviv feared the leaking of these sensitive systems technologies to Iran and Yemen’s Houthis. The UAE has since headed to South Korea in search of alternatives.

This refusal means, at first glance, that the Israeli “ally” does not trust his Emirati counterpart, or his ability to protect himself and preserve these systems and their secrets. It is not to say that Tel Aviv expects Abu Dhabi to hand over its secrets; rather, Israel doesn’t exclude the possibility of an invasion and occupation of the Emirates by a third party, which could then commandeer the Israeli military systems and decipher its technological secrets.

There is another reason for Tel Aviv’s block on the weapons transfer that should not be ignored: Israel’s leadership does not want to directly and publicly involve itself in the Yemen war. It is well aware that providing any notable military or security assistance to the Emirates could result in Ansarallah retaliatory missile responses in the depths of Israel or on its ships in the Red Sea, through which 80 percent of its exports pass.

The distance between Sanaa and Abu Dhabi (1500 km) is the same between Saada and Eilat, and whomever can hit one, will not hesitate to hit the other, if the situation demands.

On Monday, the Israeli president is supposed to inaugurate his country’s pavilion at the ‘Expo 2020’ in Dubai. This highly-hyped Emirati exhibition, according to some Ansarallah spokesmen, is one of the expected targets of missile strikes – if the UAE continues to intervene in two crucial battles in the Marib and Shabwah governorates.

The United Arab Emirates has committed two strategic mistakes. The first, is its involvement in the Yemen war seven years ago. The second, is in signing the Abraham Accords and normalizing relations with the Israeli occupation state.

If the first mistake drained it financially and morally, the second one has created an existential threat for its security and stability.

Simply put, the UAE has placed bad bets on worse allies – successive Israeli defeats, the imminent US withdrawal from West Asia after its humiliating exit from Afghanistan, and the approaching settlement of  the Vienna nuclear negotiations – which, negative or positive, will not hinder Iran’s regional trajectory one bit.

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

As Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ Unravels, Congress Launches New Pro-Israel ‘Cheerleading’ Caucus

January 28th, 2022

By Jessica Buxbaum

Source

In less than two years, former President Trump’s Middle East peace agreement is in shambles and the Israel lobby is desperate to revive it, no matter the cost.

WASHINGTON — Earlier this month, Congress launched the bicameral, bipartisan Abraham Accords Caucus to support normalization between Israel and Arab states. Backed by pro-Israel groups, this new political development can be interpreted as a way for the Israel lobby to regain its power over a U.S. Congress that is increasingly critical of Israel.

Described as a “cheerleading squad” in the Jewish Insider by its co-chair, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), the caucus’s stated goals include expanding the Abraham Accords agreements and fostering regional peace. The group’s other co-chairs are Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), David Trone (D-MD), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Brad Schneider (D-IL).

The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) speculated that one of the caucus’ top priorities may be passing the Israel Relations Normalization Act, a bill requiring the United States Department of State to promote normalization between Israel and Arab countries. The IMEU also outlined why the new caucus is particularly controversial, highlighting how the group could be used to crack down on criticism of the Israeli government.

IMEU said in its policy analysis:

In addition to the problematic nature of reifying Trump-administration deals with authoritarian regimes, this legislation is controversial for additional reasons, among which are: A statement of policy “to oppose efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel.” In other legislative initiatives, this vague phraseology has been used as coded language to propose the suppression and even criminalization of freedom of expression to criticize Israeli policies.

The idea that the Abraham Accords need a “cheerleading squad” is particularly fitting in this political climate in which traditional bipartisan support is waning, Zaha Hassan, a policy analyst at Palestinian think tank Al-Shabaka, explained to MintPress News, adding:

The folks that started the Abraham Accords Caucus decided to pursue this because they see that the U.S. administration isn’t being active enough in expanding and deepening the Abraham Accords.”

Hassan noted that the timing of the caucus’s debut is important to note as well, as politicians — specifically Democratic members of Congress — and the public have started questioning or even condemning Israel’s actions. She explained:

We have organizations like Human Rights Watch and various Israeli legal and human rights organizations talking about an apartheid situation in Israel-Palestine.

And just at that moment when we’re having that conversation, there’s all this uptick in activity around talking about peace, prosperity, regional economic integration, and expanding the Abraham Accords, and that’s now become the focus of attention.”

With a failed peace process and congressional members calling for greater accountability for Israel, Hassan said the conversation around Palestine-Israel is shifting, and  that’s where the new caucus steps in to act as a diversionary tactic:

It’s trying to find a new direction for the conversation to go in, recognizing the peace process can no longer be used as an excuse.

The idea is that since there isn’t a possibility in Israel or among Palestinians for a peace agreement, we should focus instead on bettering the economic situation of Palestinians and the region writ large.”

Deceptive praise

The announcement of the Abraham Accords Caucus was met with a flurry of enthusiasm in the press and among politicians, as noted by the founder and president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Lara Friedman, in the organization’s Legislative Round-Up, where she wrote:

The announcement of the new caucus was accompanied by praise and welcome from the Biden Administration, from the Bahraini government (among others), and a burst of giddy articles/op-eds/editorials promoting the Abraham Accords and/or the caucus, and pressing the Biden Administration to do more to expand normalization.

Friedman emphasized in her analysis the clear congressional hypocrisy when it came to this ecstatic round of approval for the new caucus:

This bipartisan congressional enthusiasm for expanding Arab normalization with Israel stands in stark contrast to decades of Congress’ demonstrated apathy, timidity, antipathy, and outright obstructionism with respect to anything related to trying to secure normal rights for Palestinians.

She suggested that these various gestures of support were simply tactics to encourage the Biden administration — whose response to the Abraham Accords has been tepid — to warm up to the Accords.

Friedman said in her report:

This sudden burst of enthusiasm/support/pressure around the Abraham Accords all appears aimed at pressuring the Biden Administration not only to more strongly support the Accords but to follow in the footsteps of the Trump Administration in using U.S. sweeteners to achieve normalization deals — sweeteners that under Trump meant that the accords were paid for via U.S. arms deals and by the U.S. changing policy on a critical geopolitical/legal question (i.e., recognizing Morocco’s claims to the Western Sahara).

Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ unraveling

In less than two years, former President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace agreement is in shambles. The deal with the United Arab Emirates — the first country to normalize relations with Israel as part of the Accords — is at an impasse. The UAE decided to buy aircraft from France instead of purchasing American F-35 jet fighters, which purportedly was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

According to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, the Abraham Accords were a key legislative agenda item for the American Israel Public Relations Committee (AIPAC). With the F-35 sale now off the table, the Accords are proving to be a failure.

The Accords and its new caucus claim their objective is to foster regional stability, including achieving a peaceful solution for Palestine and Israel. From Hassan’s perspective, however, normalization with Israel is actually about normalizing and cementing Israeli settlements.

“Some of the first follow-on agreements [between Israel and the UAE] involved settler enterprises,” Hassan said, mentioning the established trade partnerships between businesses operating in illegal Israeli settlements and the UAE, and how delegations of settler councils visited the Gulf state following normalization. “So Israel’s incentive with the Abraham Accords is to really solidify its control over the West Bank.”

Backed by the Israel lobby

While the caucus boasted of its bipartisan representation, the groups backing it are anything but politically divided. FMEP’s Friedman wrote:

A serious investment of time and effort (and possibly funding) has clearly gone into establishing the caucus and getting its establishment/objectives maximum attention, …managing to pull together a caucus that is bipartisan and bicameral, and that enjoys support from an array of mainly center/right-wing pro-Israel groups (both Jewish and Christian), as well as one mainstream think tank.

According to a congressional press release, the caucus is supported by:

  • The Atlantic Council
  • The Abraham Accords Peace Institute
  • AIPAC
  • The Anti-Defamation League
  • The American Jewish Committee
  • Hadassah — The Women’s Zionist Organization of America
  • The US-Israel Education Association
  • The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
  • The Israel Policy Forum
  • Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Action
  • The Jewish Federations of North America
  • B’nai B’rith International

The money sources behind the group’s establishment and promotional materials are largely unknown. MintPress News reached out to the aforementioned organizations to determine if their organizational support translated to financial backing, but those requests haven’t been answered.

However, being supported by a majority of pro-Israel groups suggests the caucus’s goals may not be as peace-oriented as its PR suggests. Al-Shabaka’s Hassan explained:

The ones leading the caucus’ establishment aren’t necessarily the most actively supportive of a two-state solution. So it’s difficult to imagine this group is going to be prioritizing that as a part of their support for the Abraham Accords.”

Folks in this Abraham Accords Caucus are less interested in an Israeli-Palestinian political solution than in recognizing Israeli sovereignty. If you have organizations like CUFI backing this caucus, you get the idea of what kind of place Palestinian sovereignty or statehood is going to play in the work of the caucus.”

“Israel” Is Worried After the Abu Dhabi Strike: Our Facilities Are in the Crosshairs of the Yemeni Forces

Jan 21 2021

Translated by Al-Ahed News

The repercussions of the Yemeni strike on Abu Dhabi are reverberating far beyond the Gulf. Yemeni forces struck the UAE capital in response to the escalating aggression against their defenseless population.     

According to the “Israeli” website Calcalist, the attack is a good opportunity for the Zionist entity to continue deepening its security and technological relationship with the Gulf state, and if successful, it may have a positive impact on trade relations between the two sides.

The website notes that recent years witnessed an uptick in the use of drones by a number of organizations in the region. These drones have proven effective in exploiting the weaknesses of different countries.

The site revealed that “Israel” is looking for inexpensive aerial vehicles that fly at low altitudes, and therefore pose a challenge to air defense systems, most of which are designed to intercept large aircraft or ballistic missiles.

The website concludes that the only party in the region that has a proven technological ability to deal with the threat from these aircraft is “Israel”. The site points to “Israel’s” success of intercepting drones in recent years, such as drones on the northern and southern borders of the occupied Palestinian territories, as evidence.

The portal further claims that the main motive for the UAE’s signing of the Abraham Agreement stems from security considerations, and it seems that the time has come for the Emiratis to ask Tel Aviv to take advantage of the advanced “Israeli” systems, and the matter is related to a sensitive issue that this entity must respond to.

“In addition to the possibility of establishing a strong alliance with the UAE in the wake of the attack, the attack could also be a warning signal for ‘Israel’. The drones used by the Yemeni armed forces traveled a distance of no less than 1,500 km, and the hit shows a great and daring operational ability,” the site adds.

Calcalist underscored the threat facing the Zionist entity. Given that the distance between “Israel” and certain areas in Yemen is shorter than to Abu Dhabi, this means that “Israel’s” strategic facilities are within the range of Yemeni and even Iranian suicide bombers.

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America’s ‘Suez moment’: Another strategic mistake would be its last

27 December 2021

“The chance of a global conflict involving real armies and real arms has never been higher. Biden should bear this in mind” (Illustration by MEE)
David HearstDavid Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

David Hearst

In 2021, President Joe Biden truly reaped a bitter harvest from the strategic foreign policy errors of four of his predecessors. But Washington would do well to think before it makes its next move

“America has just had its Suez Crisis,” commented a member of the Iranian delegation at the nuclear talks in Vienna about the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, “but it has yet to see it.”

It’s not just the fall of Kabul.

In 2021, President Joe Biden truly reaped a bitter harvest from the strategic foreign policy errors of four of his predecessors. As he was the vice president for one of them, Barack Obama, he has trouble seeing this as well. The seeds of each of the major global conflict zones post – Afghanistan, Ukraine, Taiwan, and Iran were planted long ago. 

It’s not just the fall of Kabul. What unravelled this year was no less than three decades of bungled US global governance

What unravelled this year was no less than three decades of bungled US global governance.

Each US president in the post-Soviet period shared the belief that he had the file to himself. It was not something to be shared at the UN Security Council. He was the commander-in-chief of the largest, best-equipped and most mobile armed force in the world, one that could stage over the horizon attacks with devastating accuracy. The US president controls 750 military bases in 80 different countries. He also had the biggest pocket, the world’s reserve currency, so, ergo, he could now set the rules.

What could possibly go wrong?

With that belief came two assumptions that proved to be fatally flawed: that the US monopoly on the use of force would last forever – it ended with Russia’s intervention in Syria – and that the US could continue to enforce a “rules-based” world order – so long as it continued to make the rules. Biden has quietly buried both assumptions by admitting that great powers will be forced to “manage” their competition to avoid conflict that no one can win. 

But hang on a moment. There is something not quite right here.

The cause and effect theory

Major conflicts, which have the potential to produce tank battles not seen since World War II, like Ukraine, do not just happen.

There is cause and effect. The cause was the unilateral but at the time uncontroversial decision to expand Nato eastwards in the 1990s, abandoning the model of a largely demilitarised and missile-free Eastern Europe that had been discussed with president Mikhail Gorbachev a decade earlier.Why global conflict is no longer unthinkableJoe Gill Read More »

This was done to give new meaning to Nato, a military pact whose purpose died when its enemy did. Complete rubbish was talked about Nato “cementing” democracy in Eastern Europe by guaranteeing its independence from Moscow. But remember the mood at the time. It was triumphalist. Not only was capitalism the only economic system left, but its neo-liberal brand was the only brand worth promoting. 

For a brief moment, Moscow became an eastern gold rush, a Klondike for venture capitalists, Ikea, Carrefour, Irish pubs, and bible bashers. The Russians, meanwhile, were obsessed with designer labels, not politics.  

The Americans in Moscow – at the time – did not bother much about what their hosts thought or did. Russia became irrelevant on the international stage. US advisers boasted about writing the decrees the Russian president Boris Yeltsin issued. And Yeltsin returned the favour by handing over the designs of the latest Russian tank and the wiring diagram of bugs placed by the KGB in the concrete foundation of an extension being built in the US embassy. 

Then US President George Bush and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev after a two-day US-Soviet Summit dedicated to the disarmament on 31 July, 1991 (AFP)
Then-US president George Bush and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev after a two-day US-Soviet summit dedicated to disarmament, on 31 July 1991 (AFP)

For Russian nationalists, this was nothing less than an act of treason. But doors were open so wide to the West that literally everything that was not nailed down flew through them – nuclear scientists, missile engineers, the cream of the KGB, and suitcases full of cash. Where do you think the Russians who settled in Highgate in North London, or the Hamptons on Long Island, or Cyprus, or Israel got their money from?

For a time, even the word “West” dropped out of Russian political vocabulary because the new Russians thought they had just joined it.

Ukraine, the West’s victim

The first US ambassador to the newly created Russian Federation, Robert Strauss, spent more time defending what happened in the Kremlin than the White House. Western embassies became spokesmen for a Russia they thought they now owned. 

It is now in the US’ strategic interest to staunch any more bloodletting in the battlefields it created this century

Strauss downplayed the first reports of the rise of the Russian mafia state, as a mere bagatelle. “This is what Chicago was like in the 20s,” he told me. This was followed by inanities about the green shoots of democracy and the time it took to mow an English lawn. As if he knew.

Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were similarly blasé about what they did in Russia.

The Russian army was “a joke”. When the Russians sent their armoured columns into Grozny in December 1994, the West thought it could be stopped by small bands of determined Chechens; their pilots had only three hours flying time each month: their frigates sailed in pairs – one to patrol, the second to tow back the first one when it broke down; their submarines sunk.

And so Nato pushed eastwards.

No one at the time bought the argument that all Nato would do was to push the line of confrontation eastwards. Russia’s pleas to negotiate a security architecture for Eastern Europe fell on deaf ears. They are not falling on deaf ears now, with 90,000 Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s borders. 

The victim of this gross act of western stupidity was Ukraine, which for at least the first decade after the fall of the Soviets had survived intact and largely in peace. Civil wars raged all around it, but Ukraine itself maintained its political and social unity despite being comprised of very different communities. With the exception of Western Ukraine, which never forgot that it had been captured by the Bolsheviks from the crumbling Austro-Hungarian empire, Russian and Ukrainian speakers lived in peace.

Now it is divided forever, scared by a civil war from which it will never recover. Ukraine will never regain its lost unity, and for that, Brussels is as much to thank as the bully boys from Moscow.

Ukrainian servicemen take part in the joint Rapid Trident military exercises with the US and other Nato countries not far from Lviv on 24 September 2021 (AFP)
Ukrainian servicemen take part in the joint Rapid Trident military exercises with the US and other Nato countries not far from Lviv, on 24 September 2021 (AFP)

The new cold war

Then there is China. Pivoting eastwards surely did not mean ending one Cold War and starting a new one with China, but that too is inexorably happening. Biden cannot decide whether to calm President Xi down or confront him, but doing each in sequence will not work. 

To get a measure of what mainland China feels when British warships sail through the Taiwan Strait, how would Britain react if Chinese warships appeared in the Irish Sea and sailed between Scotland and Northern Ireland?How to avert a global conflict between China, Russia and the WestMarco Carnelos

Read More »

The game of “managing” competition has human consequences as devastating as the superpower triumphalism of the 1990s, and those can be observed in Afghanistan today. The Afghanistan of the ousted Afghani president Ashraf Ghani truly was a Potemkin village, a facade of independent statehood. 

An astonishing 300,000 troops and soldiers on its government’s books did not exist. “Ghost soldiers” were added to official lists so that generals would pocket their wages, Afghanistan’s former finance minister Khalid Payenda told the BBC. The black hole of the former corrupt regime’s finances was an open secret long before Biden set a date for withdrawal. 

A report for the US special inspector general for Afghanistan (SIGAR) warned in 2016: “Neither the United States nor its Afghan allies know how many Afghan soldiers and police actually exist, how many are in fact available for duty, or, by extension, the true nature of their operational capabilities.”

Now that the tap of US income has been turned off, Afghanistan is on the verge of a nationwide famine. But, incredibly, the US is blaming this situation on the Taliban. It withholds money on the grounds of human rights, the night-time revenge killings on former state employees, or the suppression of education for women.

Much of the Afghan central bank’s $10bn in assets is parked overseas, including $1.3bn in gold reserves in New York. The US Treasury is using this money as a lever to pressure the Taliban on women’s rights and the rule of law. It has granted a licence to the US government and its partners to facilitate humanitarian aid and it gave Western Union permission to resume processing personal remittances from migrants overseas.

But the US does not hold itself to account for having nurtured a state that cannot function without the money that it is now withholding. The US has direct responsibility for the famine that is now taking place in Afghanistan. To withhold money from the Taliban because they took power militarily, rather than negotiate their re-entry with other Afghan warlords, also wears somewhat thin. 

Same story

The Taliban walked into Kabul with barely a shot fired because everything crumbled before them. The speed of the collapse of Afghan forces blindsided everybody – even Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), who are accused by India and western governments of running the Haqqani network of the Taliban. The only country that really knew what was happening was Iran, because officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were with the Taliban as they walked in, according to Iranian sources close to the IRGC.

US President Joe Biden looks at Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) prior to their meeting at the 'Villa la Grange' in Geneva on 16 June, 2021 (AFP)
A child cries on a sidewalk in Kabul, on 27 December 2021 (AFP)

Even the ISI were blindsided by the speed of this collapse. An informed source told me in Islamabad: “We had expected the NDS [National Directorate of Security] to put up a fight in Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, Kandahar and Kunduz. That would have produced a stalemate and the possibility for negotiation a more inclusive government.”

But we are where we are. “There were some improvements in the last 20 years. There was a middle class in Kabul, women’s education. But if you want to lose everything, this is the way to do it. The Taliban will go hardline if the place runs out of money. If you want to protect the liberal elements, you have to make Afghanistan stable.”

Pivoting eastwards surely did not mean ending one Cold War and starting a new one with China, but that too is inexorably happening

The Pakistani source listed 10 jihadi groups, as opposed to the one jihadi group, al-Qaeda, that was around in 2001. And the ISI do not know what happened to the arms the Americans left behind.

“We simply don’t know in whose hands they have ended up,” he said. When they pressed the Taliban on forming an inclusive government, the Taliban shot back at them: “Do you have an inclusive government? Do you have a government that includes the PML-N? What do you think it would be like in Pakistan if you had to reconcile groups of fighters who had killed each other’s sons and cousins?”

Starved of funds, there is only one way for the breakaway groups to go – into the hands of the jihadists. He ended his analysis with the following thought: is it really in the US interest to stabilise Afghanistan? If they let the money through, it would mean supporting the very axis of China, Russia and Pakistan that they were now determined to push back. The faltering talks in Vienna, the crisis on Ukraine’s border, renewed tension and military posturing in Taiwan, are all part of the same story.

Strategic mistakes

Washington would do well to look at the map of the world and think before it makes its next move. A long period of reflection is needed. Thus far it has obtained the dubious distinction of getting every conflict it has engaged with in this century wrong. 

The US has entered a new era where it can no longer change regimes by force of arms or sanctions

The chance of a global conflict involving real armies and real arms has never been higher and the tripwire to using weapons of mass destruction has never been strung tighter. Nor have all the world’s military powers been better armed, able and willing to start their own inventions.

Biden should bear this in mind.

It is now in the US’ strategic interest to staunch any more bloodletting in the battlefields it created this century. That means the US should come to a deal with Iran by lifting the sanctions it imposed on Tehran since the 2015 JCPOA. If it wants to balance the growing Chinese and Russian influence in the Middle East, that is the surest way to do it.

Iran is not going to give up its missiles any more than Israel is going to ground its air force. But a deal in Vienna could be a precursor to regional Gulf security negotiations. The Emiratis, Qataris, Omanis and Kuwaitis are all ready for it. If Washington wants to apply rules, let it do so first with its allies, who have extraordinary impunity for their brutal actions.

If Washington is the champion of human rights it claims to be, start with Saudi Arabia or Egypt. If it is the enforcer of international law, let’s see Washington make Israel pay a price for its continued settlement policy, which makes a mockery of UN Security Council resolutions, and the US’ own policy for a resolution to the Palestinian conflict. 

The Abraham Accords were devised to establish Israel as America’s declared and open regional surrogate. Had Donald Trump secured a second term, such a policy would have been a disaster for US strategic interests in the Middle East. Already Israel thinks it has a veto on US decision making in the region. With this policy fully in place, it would have been in charge of it, which would have meant permanent conflict created by a military power that always strikes first.

Israel acts with ruthless logic. It will use any opportunity to expand its borders until a Palestinian state becomes an impossibility. It probably has already succeeded in that aim. However, this is not US policy. But this expansion continues, almost week in, week out, because no one in Washington will lift a finger to stop it. Doing nothing about armed lynch mobs of settlers attacking unarmed Palestinian villagers in the West Bank is the same as agreeing to them. 

If you want to be a champion of rules, apply those rules to yourself first.

This is the only way to regain lost global authority. The US has entered a new era where it can no longer change regimes by force of arms or sanctions. It has discovered the uselessness of force. It should drop the stick and start handing out bucket loads of carrots. It should get on with the urgent task of deconfliction.

After the damage done this century by conflicts ordered, created and backed by US presidents – Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya – that is not only a responsibility but a duty. 

Another US strategic mistake would be its, and Western Europe’s, last. 

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

Moroccans Rally Calling For End to Rabat’s Normalization with ‘Israel’

Dec 1, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

Angry Moroccans against the butchers of the Palestinian children and those normalizing the savagery in the garb of lucrative military deals on Monday took to the streets in several cities across the country to protest Rabat’s normalization of ties with the Zionist regime and recent military agreements signed between the two sides.

The protesters, including activists and ordinary people, took part in large-scale protests in the cities of Oujda, Berkane, Ben Slimane, Beni-Mellal and Oulad Teima on Monday.

The demonstrators chanted vociferous anti-‘Israel’ slogans, calling for an end to normalization of relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv and voicing their support for the Palestinian cause.

The Moroccan police, however, foiled a similar protest by pro-Palestinian groups in the capital Rabat on Monday, using brute force, according to reports.

The demonstrations protested under the banner of “The Moroccan Front to Support Palestine and against Normalization”, denouncing recent bonhomie between the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime and Morocco.

They also condemned the visit of Benny Gantz, the Zionist war minister, to Morocco and rejected any collaboration with “the enemies of the Palestinian people.”

The pro-Palestine demonstrators said any cooperation with the Tel Aviv regime constitutes a threat to Morocco and the whole region.

Gantz visited Rabat last week, his first known visit to one of the Arab states that normalized ties last year, during which the two sides signed a military agreement and a pact that would see the occupation regime sell drones and weapons to Morocco.

In a statement, Gantz said that the agreement was “very significant and will allow us to exchange ideas, enter joint projects and enable ‘Israeli’ military exports here.”

Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan signed agreements to normalize relations with Tel Aviv in 2020 as part of the so-called ‘Abraham Accords’, brokered by the previous US administration.

The normalization deals sparked widespread protests in these countries, pointing to the overwhelming divide between the rulers and the people, and have also been condemned by all Palestinian political factions, who have termed it a betrayal of their cause.

Monday’s protests coincided with the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, an annual day dedicated to expression of solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.

Time To Pay: Kushner Seeks Gulf Investors for New Firm

Nov 29, 2021

By Staff, Agencies 

Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is seeking investors from the Gulf States for a new firm, according to a report in the New York Times.

The son-in-law of former US president Donald Trump established the Miami-based investment firm Affinity Partners after Trump lost his reelection bid to current president Joe Biden in November of last year.

Kushner has so far struggled to get financial backing from sovereign wealth funds, according to the Friday report, with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates declining. However, Kushner did have success in courting Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s $450 billion Public Investment Fund, sources told the newspaper, and with negotiations over what could be a sizeable amount of money.

Over the summer it was reported that Kushner will also open an office in the apartheid “Israeli” entity that will promote trade ties between “Israel”, India, the Gulf States and North Africa.

Kushner was one of the architects of the so-called ‘Abraham Accords’ that normalized relations between ‘Israel’ and the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

“When former White House officials start cashing in their time served with our government by cozying up to monarchs, it turns the stomach a bit. Is it illegal? No,” Nick Penniman, the head of Issue One, a good-government organization in Washington, told the Times. “Is it swampy and seemingly hypocritical? Yes.”

من هو عبد الفتاح البرهان وما دوره في حرب اليمن واتفاق التطبيع؟

2021, 25 , تشرين اول

المصدر: الميادين نت

عبد الفتاح البرهان، القائد العسكري في السودان، يتردّد اسمه اليوم مع إعلانه حلَّ المجلس السيادي والحكومة، وفرضه حالة الطوارئ في البلاد. فمن هو؟ وما هي المناصب التي تقلّدها في حياته السياسية؟

'سنحرص على تنفيذ الاتفاق'
عبد الفتاح البرهان

يجسّد الفريق أول ركن عبد الفتاح البرهان، الذي أعلن اليوم الإثنين حلّ المؤسسات الانتقالية وحالة الطوارئ في السودان، عودةَ الحكم العسكري، وسط ترحيب من البعض، ورفض مطلق من آخرين ندّدوا بما وصفوه بأنه “انقلاب”.

ظهر البرهان اليوم الإثنين، عبر شاشة التلفزيون، في بزّته العسكرية. وأعلن، في نبرة حازمة، أنه يريد “تصحيح الثورة” التي أطاحت عمر البشير عام 2019. وأكّد إعفاء الوزراء ووكلاء الوزراء من مهماتهم، علماً بأن جزءاً كبيراً من هؤلاء اعتُقلوا منذ الفجر على أيدي قوى عسكرية.

في الشارع، يهتف متظاهرون ضده منذ أيام، رافضين “حكم العسكر”، لكن آخرين يطالبون بحكومة عسكرية، ويعتبرون أن الجيش هو المنقذ الذي سيحل كل مشاكل البلاد الاقتصادية والسياسية.

قبل إطاحة البشير، أدّى البرهان دوراً رئيساً بعيداً عن الأضواء في مشاركة السودان في التحالف العسكري الذي تقوده السعودية ضد اليمن، ثم أصبح في دائرة الضوء حين تولى قيادة المجلس العسكريّ الانتقالي في أعقاب إطاحة الرئيس السابق عمر البشير على يد الجيش، في 11 نيسان/أبريل 2019، في إثر تظاهرات حاشدة استمرت خمسة أشهر.

في 12 نيسان/أبريل، أدّى البرهان اليمين رئيساً للمجلس العسكري، الذي تولّى السلطة بعد البشير. تقلّد البرهان منصبه بعد أن تنازل الفريق أول ركن عوض بن عوف عن رئاسة المجلس العسكري بعد أقل من 24 ساعة من تسلّمه السلطة، تحت ضغط الشارع الذي كان ينظر إلى ابن عوف على أنه من داخل النظام، وحليف مقرّب من الرئيس السابق.

من الظلّ إلى المنصب الأول

تحوّل البرهان من شخصية تعمل في الظل إلى رئيس للبلاد بحكم الأمر الواقع. وقال عنه في حينه ضابطٌ في الجيش، طلب عدم الكشف عن هويته، إنه “ضابط رفيع المستوى في القوات المسلحة.. لم يكن يوماً تحت الأضواء كما هي الحال بالنسبة إلى ابن عوف (الذي كان وزيراً للدفاع) والفريق أول ركن كمال عبد المعروف (الذي كان رئيس أركان الجيش)”.

في آب/أغسطس 2019، وبعد عنف في الشارع ومفاوضات مع “ائتلاف قوى الحرية والتغيير”، الذي قاد الاحتجاجات الشعبية، وقّع المجلس العسكري اتفاقاً مع الائتلاف عُرِف بـ”الوثيقة الدستورية”، نصّ على مرحلة انتقالية يتقاسم خلالها المدنيون والعسكريون السلطة لقيادة البلاد نحو انتخابات وحكم مدني.

ترأّس البرهان، بموجب هذا الاتفاق، مجلسَ السيادة الذي كُلِّف الإشرافَ على إدارة المرحلة الانتقالية. ويتكوّن مجلس السيادة من 11 شخصاً: خمسة عسكريين يختارهم المجلس الانتقالي، وخمسة مدنيين يختارهم “تحالف قوى التغيير”، بالإضافة إلى مدني يتفق الجانبان على اختياره.

بعد سنتين من المرحلة الانتقالية، بات البرهان معتاداً على الأضواء، وبات يتصرف ويعامَل على أنه رئيس دولة، فلقد تلقى، الأربعاء الماضي، دعوةً إلى المشاركة في قمة بشأن ليبيا ستُعقَد في باريس في منتصف تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر. وهو يستقبل بانتظام المسؤولين والمبعوثين الأجانب الذين يزورون السودان.

يظهر، بصورة عامة، في بزّته العسكرية مع أوسمته، وغالباً برفقة نائب رئيس مجلس السيادة محمد حمدان دقلو، المعروف بـ “حميدتي”، وهو قائد قوات الدعم السريع المتهمة بقمع انتفاضة عام 2019.

علاقات بالخارج

خلال المفاوضات بين الجيش والمحتجين بشأن تركيبة الحكم، قام البرهان بزيارات لمصر والإمارات والسعودية. والأخيرتان من أبرز المانحين للسودان.

أمضى البرهان فترة من حياته المهنية ملحقاً عسكرياً لدى بكين. ويقول الضابط السوداني عن البرهان إنه “ضابط كبير يعرف كيف يقود قواته”، مضيفاً “ليست لديه ميول سياسية، إنه عسكري”.

وُلد البرهان عام 1960 في قرية قندتو شماليّ الخرطوم، ودرس في الكلية الحربية، ولاحقاً في مصر والأردن. وهو متزوج وأب لثلاثة أبناء. وكان قائداً لسلاح البر، قبل أن يعيّنه البشير في منصب المفتّش العام للجيش.

حرب اليمن

يشير محلّلون ووسائل إعلام سودانية إلى أن البرهان تولّى عملية تنسيق إرسال جنود سودانيين إلى اليمن في إطار “التحالف السعودي” في الحرب ضدّه.

أرسل البشير قوات سودانية إلى اليمن عام 2015 في إطار تحوّل رئيسي في السياسة الخارجية، شهد تخلّي الخرطوم عن علاقاتها المستمرة منذ عقود بإيران، عبر الانضمام إلى “التحالف” الذي تقوده الرياض.

وتقول ويلو بيردج، مؤلفة كتاب “الانتفاضات المدنية في السودان الحديث”، وأستاذة التاريخ في جامعة نيوكاسل، إن البرهان عمل عن كثب مع قوات الدعم السريع، بموجب تولّيه الملف اليمني، من دون أن تستبعد أن يكون دعم هذه المجموعة ساهم في إيصاله إلى السلطة.

عبد الفتاح البرهان و”إسرائيل”

أشارت وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية اليوم إلى أن التطورات في السودان “تمثل سبباً في قلق إسرائيل وإدارة جو بايدن، على حدّ سواء”، معلِّلة ذلك بأنه يعود إلى ترسيخ اتفاق التطبيع مع الخرطوم. 

وقالت إن “استمرار الاحتجاجات سيصعّب دفع عملية التطبيع قُدُماً في السودان، ويجب الأخذ في الحسبان أن رئيس حكومة السودان عبد الله حمدوك لم يكن هو من دفع إلى تطبيع العلاقات بإسرائيل، بل كانت القيادة العسكرية برئاسة عبد الفتاح البرهان”.

وفي السياق نفسه، انتقد مصدر إسرائيلي موقف واشنطن مما يجري في السودان، وقال لصحيفة “إسرائيل هيوم” إنه “في الوضع الحالي يفضّل دعم الجيش وقائده رئيس المجلس الانتقالي عبد الفتاح البرهان، لا رئيس الحكومة عبد الله حمدوك”.

يُشار، في هذا السياق، إلى أن البرهان قال، رداً على علاقته بـ “إسرائيل”، إنّ “لا عداء بين السودان وأيّ طائفة أو دين أو جهة”.

وأرجع عبد الفتاح البرهان توقيع حكومته اتفاقات “أبراهام” مع الولايات المتحدة و”إسرائيل” إلى “اقتناع الحكومة بأهمية نشر قيم التسامح والتعايش بين الشعوب، في مختلف أديانهم وأعراقهم”، بحسب الإذاعة الإسرائيلية.

وكان الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب أعلن، في تشرين الأول/أكتوبر الماضي، توصُّل السودان و”إسرائيل” إلى اتفاق من أجل تطبيع العلاقات بينهما.

وأدّت السعودية دوراً في دفع عملية التطبيع بين السودان و”إسرائيل”، عبر دفعها 335 مليون دولار إلى الولايات المتحدة من أجل تسريع تطبيع العلاقات بين الخرطوم و”تل أبيب”، بحسب ما ذكرت “ميدل إيست مونيتور”.

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‘Normalization’: Betrayal of Palestine by Arab Regimes No Easy Road

October 1, 2021

Anti-normalization protest in Tunisia. (Photo: Via Twitter)

By Iqbal Jassat

Pinning Palestinians down while applying harsh measures of violent repression accompanied by a fanatical settler movement of arch-racists given free rein to attack and plunder, is a notorious game Israel has elevated to a daily ritual.

In fact, the routine of inflicting war crimes has all the hallmarks of a rogue regime entirely caught up in a misplaced belief that to engage in ethnic cleansing is a religious obligation.

Conflating Judaism with a racist political ideology of Zionism has been part of a strategy designed to deceive, distort and divert. It has its roots in the First Zionist Congress held on the eve of the 19th century.

That this is well documented and widely known is not in dispute. Indeed, awareness of Zionism’s goal to dismember and dislodge Palestinians from their centuries-old homeland, and forcibly impose thereon a foreign entity known as Israel, has always been a bedrock for resistance.

Israel has thus always been considered an enemy thrust upon a native population through the most horrific forms of terrorism. The memories of Deir Yassin remind the world of bloody massacres committed by Zionist terrorists who didn’t spare hundreds of villages to colonize Palestine.

That more than seven decades later the expansionist goals of Zionism are still being pursued at a great human cost to successive generations of the indigenous Palestinian population, is reflected in daily atrocities.

None of these facts, as attested to by historians as well as organs of the United Nations, are contested, although Israel and its supporters seek to distort and malign commentators who speak truth to power as antisemitic.

Yet, against this background of terrorism and current conditions siege, occupation, killings and mass imprisonment – recorded and broadcast via mainstream media for all the world to witness – it is bizarre that a handful of Arab regimes have broken rank with Palestine’s freedom struggle.

And at a time when even Haaretz describes atrocities by Israel as a pogrom:

“Residents of the Palestinian communities in the southeastern West Bank have experience with settler attacks – when they graze their flocks, work their fields, or even have a picnic on their own land. But they cannot recall an attack like the one experienced Tuesday by the small communities of Khirbat al-Mufkara, al-Rakiz and al-Tuwani. On Simhat Torah, dozens of young Jews, most of them masked, conducted what can only be described as a pogrom.”

The treachery associated with what has become known as “normalization” is an outrageous manifestation of betrayal and collaboration. Limited to the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, these regimes have in effect confessed that the protection of their shaky thrones counts for more than legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

As unelected self-imposed despots fearful of democratic values, they have bargained that “normalization” with the usurper of Palestine will “guarantee” safety and protection for them. In other words, just as Egypt has done, these oligarchs have outsourced their intelligence networks and security apparatus to Israel, knowing full well that in doing so, they have abandoned Palestine.

Though the abnormality of implicit recognition of an illegal colonial enterprise has been in sharp contrast to countless Arab League resolutions, the deal of “normalization” pushed by Trump and vigorously backed by the Biden administration has exposed these leaders as surrogates of western imperialism.

The case of Bahrain’s role in the “Abraham Accords” reveals the soft underbelly of Arab dictatorships. Besides being financially dependent on its neighbors, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain’s alliance with Israel is designed to entrench its power and crush any resistance to authoritarianism or efforts towards freedom and democracy.

In 2011, during the onset of the Arab Spring uprisings, Saudi Arabia sent troops to Bahrain to suppress anti-government protests. This trend continues today by Israel equally committed to maintaining the status quo and preventing the success of any popular uprisings.

In this context, one may justifiably condemn Bahrain’s gross insensitivity and abject abdication of Palestine’s freedom struggle as treacherous.

Showcasing Israeli war criminal Lapid’s visit to Manama, where he is set to open the embassy flying Israel’s flag, is utterly outrageous. This follows the opening of a Zionist embassy in Abu Dhabi; another embassy will likely be established in Rabat. Sudan thus far has reportedly said that it has no plans yet to open an embassy in Khartoum.

Not surprising therefore that the Arab street across these capitals have vowed to end “normalization”. The iron-fisted grip held by Arab despots notwithstanding, human rights movements (many banned and leaders exiled) have declared their outright rejection of America’s much-vaunted Abraham Accords.

Stirrings in Sudan are becoming more vocal despite Khartoum’s attempts to silence critics. In Bahrain the main opposition group, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society declared Lapid’s trip as a “threat”, saying, “This is provocative news and this trip is completely rejected, and he (Lapid) should not set foot on Bahraini soil.”

Their message is clear: “Any (Israeli) presence on Bahraini soil means incitement.”

– Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the South Africa-based Media Review Network. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit: www.mediareviewnet.com

MBZ is performing a U-turn that could reshape the Middle East

Profile picture for user David Hearst

15 September 2021 10:57 UTC

David Hearst

David Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He says Middle East Eye is funded by “individual private donors” but he won’t name them. He said that his organisation is not funded by Qatar – or any other state or group – and is here to stay. He appears as a commentator on the Middle East for Al Jazeera English and Alaraby TV, TRT, Masr Al-Aan TV.

For years, Emirati foreign policy has been a disaster. Now, on the anniversary of the fundamentally flawed Abraham Accords, a rethink is underway

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed is pictured in Berlin in June 2019 (Reuters)

The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban has triggered an earthquake that has travelled across the Gulf. The tectonic plates that defined who did what to whom in the region are shifting. 

Alliances that only a year ago seemed to be set in concrete are cracking. The vacuum created by the US withdrawal from Afghanistan has been felt just as keenly in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv as it has in Kabul.

The clearest sign of swaying buildings and buckling tarmac are the pledges and significant amounts of money being promised by the de facto leader of the UAE to Turkey, states that are vigorous competitors for regional influence.

It is pragmatism, not a fundamental change of heart, that is causing the latest handbrake turn in Abu Dhabi’s foreign policy

And Turkey has not been the only sign of the apparent U-turn in UAE policy. Shortly after his recent meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Tahnoun bin Zayed, UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed’s brother and security chief, flew to mend fences with Qatar.

Only a year ago, the UAE was urging Saudi Arabia not to lift the blockade of Qatar. This latest visit is a recognition that the blockade was a spectacular failure. Qatar has emerged as US President Joe Biden’s strongest partner in the Gulf, and the one on whom he depended for evacuating Afghans and communicating with the Taliban.

How different from the start of the blockade, when Qatar was painted as a refuge for terrorists and Islamists, and former US President Donald Trump tweeted his approval of the Saudi action. 

Billions promised

Erdogan is keeping the transcript of his recent telephone conversation with MBZ close to his chest. Only a trusted few know what the crown prince promised. According to my sources, MBZ offered Erdogan more than $10bn in investments.

Unlike the military side of the government of Sudan, or indeed President Kais Saied in Tunisia, Erdogan is not being made to wait long for the money to arrive. The Dubai-based courier Aramex is reportedly in talks to buy the Turkish delivery company MNG Kargo.

There is much secrecy in Ankara, but one thing is clear: the momentum for this reset is coming from Abu Dhabi. Erdogan is wary, and the foreign policy establishment in Turkey is sceptical. Both have good reason for caution.

UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Ankara on 18 August 2021 (Turkish Presidency)
UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Ankara on 18 August 2021 (Turkish Presidency)

This was the state that, according to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, spent $3bn attempting (and very nearly succeeding) to topple Erdogan on 15 July 2016. Cavusoglu did not name the UAE, but it was clear who he was referencing when he mentioned “a Muslim country”.

The same state funds neoconservative Washington think tanks that regularly debunk Erdogan and his ability to sustain the lira. It competes for influence with Turkey in Syria, Yemen, Libya, the Horn of Africa, Egypt and Tunisia. It was the brains behind, and one of the funders of, the counter-revolution that toppled former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi – and it has tried repeatedly to rearrange the furniture in Tunisia, Sudan and Yemen. Emirati planes at one point provided air cover for renegade general Khalifa Haftar’s ill-fated attempt to recapture Tripoli.The UAE’s military interventions have led to disaster – not stabilityRead More »

It has also created armies of “electronic flies” to condition public opinion through social media. The UAE’s interventions far beyond the Gulf have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East. 

Turkey has long been on the receiving end of this. So why would a leopard on a mission to hunt down political Islam and render it extinct, change its spots? It is not a question that can be convincingly answered.

Nor is this the first attempt at a kiss and make up: the UAE made a similar overture to Ankara when it thought Hillary Clinton would become US president. When Trump won, this was instantly dropped. It is pragmatism, not a fundamental change of heart, that is causing the latest handbrake turn in Abu Dhabi’s foreign policy. The sceptics in Ankara are right to be cautious. 

Nevertheless, it could still be happening. The flood of signals coming out of Abu Dhabi towards Erdogan and Turkey mostly take place in private forums, and the message is consistent, even if you don’t believe it.

‘Strategic reassessment’

According to people with knowledge of these conversations, top UAE officials claim to be conducting a “strategic reassessment” of foreign policy.

It starts with Biden. The UAE noted two features of its changed relationship with Washington since his administration came to power: the first was a consistent message from the new US administration to “de-escalate” tensions in the Middle East. The second was the unpredictability of US foreign policy. 

The new policy, then, is apparently to spread influence through economic cooperation, rather than military intervention and political competition

This was surely already apparent under Trump, when he refused to bomb Tehran after Iran and its Iraqi proxies sent armed drones to cripple two Saudi oil facilities, temporarily halving crude production. If ever Saudi Arabia and the UAE felt unprotected by the US military umbrella, it was then.

Coupled with this, they claim, is a hard-headed assessment of what the UAE has actually achieved. Its interventions have indeed beaten the Muslim Brotherhood back as a political force in EgyptTunisiaYemenSyria, and partly in Libya. But the cost of the UAE’s secular jihad is enormous.

Three of these countries are in smoking ruins, and the other two, Egypt and Tunisia, are nearly bankrupt. What has MBZ gained for the billions of dollars he has invested in Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi?

The new policy, then, is apparently to spread influence through economic cooperation, rather than military intervention and political competition.

Saudi-UAE rift

They don’t say it, but when questioned, there is clearly also coolness with Riyadh. One emissary claimed that the UAE delayed its pullout from Yemen for a year to allow Saudi Arabia to end the war with the Houthis, but it is clear that Yemen is a sore point between the two military allies.

Saudi Arabia recently announced a series of moves to weaken Abu Dhabi, the latest being the pullout of Al Arabiya and parent media company MBC from Dubai. It has clamped down on tax-free goods from an Emirati free trade zone, as well as insisting that foreign multinationals base their headquarters in Riyadh rather than Dubai. There is a lot more sibling rivalry to the brotherly relations between the two Gulf countries these days.

MBZ meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah in 2018 (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)
MBZ meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah in 2018 (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)

Publicly, the UAE’s licensed political analysts are hinting at a different set of regional priorities. Political scientist Abdulkhaleq Abudulla tweeted that the main message from Washington was that the US would not defend the Gulf. “And the Arab Gulf states are at a crossroads; how should they adapt to the post-America Gulf stage?”

Spot the notable absences from this list: Saudi Arabia and Egypt, its closest allies in 2013.

Abraham Accords lose value

Abu Dhabi is not the only signatory of the Abraham Accords which is reassessing the value of a pro-US bloc in the Gulf. One year on from the signing in Washington, the Abraham Accords are losing their shine. A year ago, they seemed to have so much going for them. It was a marriage of brains and brawn, the military might and technological superiority of Israel with the dollars of the Gulf.UAE-Israel deal: Abraham accord or Israeli colonialism?Read More »

It was a way of bypassing the Palestinian conflict, without the need for messy, time-wasting things like negotiations, elections or popular mandates. The accords were a solution imposed from above – a fait accompli, which the Arab masses would have to live with.

But like the megacities of Saudi Arabia, the accords were built on shifting sands. 

They had two fundamental flaws. Firstly, they depended on individual leaders – not states – meeting at first in secret as their drivers. This means that when two key players were removed from the picture – Trump and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – the project itself lost sponsorship and momentum. 

The other problem was that they were all about the relationship between regional states and the US. They did not address the fundamental problems of relations between the key regional actors themselves. 

The UAE’s motive for moving closer to Israel was to cement its relationship with Washington. Recognition of Israel was always a means to an end, not the end in itself. 

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed sign the Abraham Accords in 2020 (AFP)
Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed sign the Abraham Accords in 2020 (AFP)

For Israel, on the other hand, the Abraham Accords were all about cementing its own security by increasing its regional influence. It fundamentally misread Arab intentions by conceiving of normalisation as a military and diplomatic safety net for its own continued existence.

Zvi Barel, writing in Haaretz, observed: “The kaleidoscopic shifting of international relations will require Israel to examine its place in the newly-forming alignment. The idea that there’s a pro-U.S. bloc that provides Israel with a military and diplomatic safety net and acts alongside it as an informal coalition against Iran, is beginning to fall apart.”

Regional realignment

The US not only supplied the carrots and sticks necessary to coerce states such as Sudan to join the accords, by removing it from its list of terrorist states. It was the very reason for the accords themselves.

The Emiratis, being quick off the mark, have seen the future shape of the post-oil world. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has yet to reconcile himself to the US military absence. Maybe he will now that Biden has just withdrawn his Patriot missiles from the kingdom and lifted the bar imposed by two of his predecessors to confidential documents on allegations of Saudi government links to two of the 9/11 hijackers

It has taken eight long years for the penny to drop. But if indeed it has, this realisation presents a genuine opportunity to reshape a post-American Middle East

Unlike MBZ, MBS harbours personal grudges. He cannot forgive Erdogan for the role he played in keeping the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the agenda in Washington. In so doing, Erdogan permanently damaged MBS’s international reputation, making a repeat trip to London and the US impossible for the future Saudi king.

MBS’s psychology – for all its modernist patina of posing as a reformer – is still rooted in his Bedouin past. Being the future king, he considers and treats his people as his property. He is their lord and master. Deals with other states are made by him alone. He decides whether his kingdom will recognise Israel or whether, as is now the case, he could turn to Israel to provide him with missile defence systems.

Although all of these moves are brittle and by nature reversible, given that they are triggered by events outside the region and not within it, there could be light at the end of this dark, dark tunnel of permanent intervention. If regional actors themselves can establish a working relationship with each other – and no more than that is required – stability will not depend on a small group of despots. How will US disengagement shape the Middle East?Read More »

Relations between regional powers are more likely to represent state interests, rather than the personal ones of their leaders. That in itself would be progress, if indeed any of this comes to fruition. 

MBZ’s decision to reassess his foreign policy has to be genuine and not a temporary swerve. He is right to reassess his foreign policy. It has been a disaster, a complete waste of his money. It has weakened once strong states, such as Egypt, and caused massive refugee flows. 

It has taken eight long years for the penny to drop. But if indeed it has, this realisation presents a genuine opportunity to reshape a post-American Middle East.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.David HearstDavid Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

Israel-Palestine: ‘No war, no peace’ apartheid is Bennett’s best case scenario

The Israeli prime minister is first since Golda Meir to propose the racist status quo as a political platform

In March 2015, then Israeli economy minister Naftali Bennett during an election campaign gathering in Kibbutz Kfar Etzion in the Gush Etzion settlement in the West Bank (AFP)

By Meron Rapoport

Published date: 7 September 2021 13:02 UTC 

“There is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, nor will there be one,” said a source close to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last week after his defence minister, Benny Gantz, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.Biden-Bennett summit a meeting of wishful thinkers who oppose NetanyahuRead More »

Thus is Bennett’s spiritual world revealed: a world in which Israel, and only Israel, exists, and where the Palestinians will never, under any circumstances, even if they change their positions, be able to attain equality with Israelis and negotiate with them as equals. There is a word for that: racism.

Nearly a decade ago, Bennett entered national politics after serving as director-general of the Yesha Council, the leading settler institution, although he himself was never a settler and doesn’t live beyond the Green Line. In a now-famous interview, he said: “The Palestinian problem is like shrapnel in the butt.” 

Today, his approach has not changed, although as prime minister, he may express himself less bluntly, as he admitted just before taking office in early June.

Bennett expressed this approach in an interview he gave the New York Times ahead of his recent trip to Washington. “This government will not annex, nor establish a Palestinian state, everyone understands that,” he said. “Israel will continue the standard policy of natural growth [of West Bank settlements].” 

In saying this, Bennett became the first Israeli prime minister, with the possible exception of Golda Meir in the years prior to the 1973 war, to propose what amounts to apartheid as a political platform.

Permanent status quo

It is true that the policy of “managing the occupation” is almost as old as the Israeli occupation itself. In February 1973, for example, then-Defence Minister Moshe Dayan said, “We must plan ahead for our actions in the territories [conquered by Israel in June 1967] … so that a situation of ‘no war and no peace’ will not be unbearable for us… Authority for deciding on what happens from Suez to the [Mt] Hermon is in the hands of the Israeli government. We will not idly delineate boundaries for our settlements nor be threatened by smouldering embers.”

But the philosophy Dayan articulated then still exists and every prime minister since, except perhaps Yitzhak Rabin – whose assassination makes it impossible to know whether he meant to break the mould – has adopted it with different variations: “No war, no peace” or, in other words, a continuation of the status quo. Seven months later, the “smouldering embers” that Dayan dismissed had become the firestorm of the October 1973 war, with thousands killed on both sides, forcing Israel to subsequently return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. 

Bennett basically said that this status quo of ‘no war, no peace’ is not an interim situation, but rather the permanent situation

But Bennett has gone one step further. Even Dayan called the territories occupied by Israel a “deposit” to be returned in exchange for a peace agreement meeting Israel’s needs. Since the 1990s, Israeli prime ministers have been discussing, at least officially, support for the two-state solution, including Ariel Sharon and even Benjamin Netanyahu, who adopted the Palestinian state idea in his 2009 Bar-Ilan speech. In 2020, he also accepted former US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” which included the establishment of a Palestinian state, however crippled and fragmented. 

In his New York Times interview, however, Bennett basically said that this status quo of “no war, no peace” is not an interim situation, but rather the permanent situation to which he aspires.

In this situation, Israel, on the one hand, will continue its military rule over the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and continue to accord Jewish citizens in the West Bank preferential rights as compared with Palestinians.

On the other hand, Israel will not accord Palestinians civil rights equal to those of their Jewish neighbours as would be necessitated by a partial or full annexation of the West Bank. This approach also has a name – apartheid – and Bennett believes it to be the only one possible.

‘Shrink the conflict’

We don’t know precisely what was said in Bennett’s discussions with President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, but publicly at least no American reservations were heard about Bennett’s positions. Nor did the Jewish centre-left parties in Israel like Labor and Meretz, which are part of Bennett’s coalition, voice any protest. This is a dangerous precedent.

But it would be overly simplistic to say that the Bennett government will be more rightist or more violent toward the Palestinians. The opposite might be true.How Beita became a model of Palestinian resistance against IsraelRead More »

First of all, Bennett came into office from a position of political weakness. He heads a small party with six Knesset seats out of 120, and most of his coalition members are more leftist than he is – at least for Israel whose Labor Party positions toward the Palestinians would be considered right in Europe.

And there’s more. Bennett himself, along with his coalition partner, Gideon Saar, who had been a senior Likud figure and a leading candidate to replace Netanyahu, has changed his attitude considerably to the Palestinian question.

As the present government was being formed or immediately thereafter, both Bennett and Saar appeared to have relinquished the idea of Greater Israel and/or annexation, partially or wholly, embracing instead the new political concept of “shrinking the conflict”. The term originated with Micah Goodman, an Israeli of American extraction living in a West Bank settlement, whose books on the conflict have become bestsellers.

Goodman argues that the left in Israel has failed to bring an end to the occupation or to establish an independent Palestinian state, whereas the right failed with its idea of Greater Israel. Therefore, instead of talking about ending the conflict or continuing with the status quo, ways should be sought to “shrink the conflict”: to enable the Palestinians to manage their own affairs as independently as possible, while leaving “security” to Israel. After the conflict has been “shrunk,” says Goodman, it will be possible to discuss a permanent solution.

For a decade, Bennett pushed for annexation, but when the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords in 2020, he realised it was impossible.

Goodman was an adviser to Saar and is considered to be close to Bennett. His influence was perceptible in an interview Bennett gave before taking office. “My approach is to shrink the conflict,” he said. “Where it is possible to have more crossings, better quality of life, more business, more industry, we will do it.”

For Bennett, this is a considerable shift. When he entered national politics in 2013, Bennett presented a detailed plan for the annexation of Area C, which is 60 percent of the West Bank. Over the years, he criticised Netanyahu and the Israeli army for not being aggressive enough toward the Palestinians and not “decisive” enough with Hamas. 

For a decade, Bennett pushed for annexation, but when the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords in 2020, he realised it was impossible. He also understood that a “final resolution” of the conflict by achieving a victory over the Palestinian so crushing that they would relinquish their national aspirations was also impossible. Thus, his adoption of the idea of “shrinking the conflict” is coming from failure and weakness, even if he refuses to admit it.

Israeli right in crisis

Bennett, then, reflects the situation of the Israeli right. On the one hand, he sanctifies the status quo and has no desire or intention of relinquishing the occupation or ending apartheid. On the other hand, the right is gradually losing its faith in its own power to shape the Israeli-Palestinian reality as it sees fit. 

The fall of Netanyahu should be viewed in this context. Under Netanyahu, the right in Israel was united in a coherent, homogeneous bloc. The internal contradictions on the right, which Bennett represents, led to the fragmentation of this bloc and the establishment of a mixed government that contains elements of both right and left, including the United Arab List, an Palestinian-Islamist party headed by Mansour Abbas.Palestinian Authority losing control of West Bank, say insiders and activistsRead More »

Outwardly, all of these changes have not affected the situation on the ground. The occupation, and the settlements, continue. The political discourse in Israel remains stuck, in the best case, or else propounds Bennett’s thesis of “no peace, no war”. Israel is so strong – militarily and economically – that something significant would have to happen in order to threaten its control of the Palestinians and its power in the Middle East as a whole.

But at the same time, one cannot ignore the cracks. The ideological right in Israel is in trouble and the question is how and whether the radical left in Israel, or even more so the Palestinians, can turn that to advantage.

“Where there’s a crack, we have to make it a fissure, and where there’s a fissure, we have to make it a chasm,” a left-wing anti-occupation activist told me. Maybe that approach really will accomplish something.

التوقيت: المسار الإبراهيمي

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مفكرة عربية

أغسطس 9 2021

المصدر: الميادين نت

بثينة شعبان

مراجعة متأنية لتاريخنا العربي، وخاصة لتاريخ الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي، تُري أن العدو أحكم استخدام التوقيت بينما لم يحسن العرب ذلك.

لا شك أن الوقت هو هبة الله للإنسان، لأنّ الإنسان في النهاية هو بضعة أيام على هذه الأرض، ولكن إتقان التوقيت هو الذي يجعل هذا الوجود مفيداً أو متميزاً أو مثمراً.

بما أننا لا نستطيع أن نغير شيئاً في الأحداث التي مضت، يتوجب علينا الاستفادة منها لقراءة ما يحاك لنا اليوم

وقد عبّرت الأمثلة التي تطرحها شعوب مختلفة عن أهمية التوقيت؛ فالمثل الإنكليزي يقول “التوقيت هو الجوهر”، والمثل الأميركي يقول “التوقيت هو كل شيء”. وقد لاحظتُ من خلال متابعتي لأمور شتّى أن الإنسان يمكن أن يخسر رهانات هامة في الحياة نتيجة عدم اهتمامه بالتوقيت رغم توفر كافة المؤهلات والشروط التي تمكّنه من كسب الرهان فقط لو أحسن التوقيت.  

ولاحظتُ حيوية ومصيرية التوقيت وخصوصاً في الإعلام والسياسة؛ فحين تتناقل وكالات الأنباء خبراً تعتبره الخبر الأول؛ حينذاك يمكن لك أن تدلي بدلوك وأن تجد آذاناً صاغية لأنها متعطشة لسماع أي شيء يتعلق بهذا الخبر، ولكن إذا انتظرت لليوم الثاني لن تجد من يستقبل خبرك حتى وإن كان أكثر مصداقية وقيمة من كل ما قيل في اليوم الأول. وهذا ذاته ينطبق على السياسة والأعمال أيضاً.

إن مراجعة متأنية لتاريخنا العربي، وخاصة لتاريخ الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي، تُري أن العدو أحكم استخدام التوقيت بينما لم يحسن العرب ذلك، لأنهم لم يعملوا من منطلقات استراتيجية واضحة وكانوا في غالب الأحيان يعالجون ظواهر الأحداث بدلاً من مسبباتها الحقيقية.

وبما أننا لا نستطيع أن نغير شيئاً في الأحداث التي مضت، يتوجب علينا على الأقل الاستفادة منها لقراءة ما يحاك لنا اليوم قراءة معمقة وواعية، لكي نتعامل معها في الوقت المناسب وقبل فوات الأوان.

لقد صدّر الغرب لنا ومنذ القرن التاسع عشر مصطلح “ميثاق إبراهيم” الذي يجمع بين المؤمنين قبل أن يتحول في القرن العشرين إلى حقل دراسات مستقلة للديانات الإبراهيمية، وطبعاً المقصود فيها اليهودية والمسيحية والإسلام وقبل أن تصدر تفرعاته عن مؤسسات أهلية ثقافية وسياحية في الغرب تتحدث عن الأخوة الابراهيمية العابرة للديانات والشعوب والبلدان، إلى أن انطلقت في العام 2004 رسمياً في جامعة هارفارد “مبادرة مسار الحج الابراهيمي” بدعم من مشروع التفاوض الدولي في كلية الحقوق في جامعة هارفارد وبمشاركة عالمية لباحثين ورجال دين وأعمال وخبراء في السياحة البيئية وآخرين.

وهدف المبادرة هو افتتاح مسار سيراً على الأقدام يسلك مواقع ثقافية ودينية وسياحية يتتبع خطى النبي إبراهيم عليه السلام منذ أكثر من أربعة آلاف عام، ويبدأ المسار من مدينة أور العراقية مروراً بإيران وسوريا وصولاً إلى مدينة الخليل الفلسطينية حيث يعتقد أن قبر النبي إبراهيم الخليل هناك.

وبدأت منظمات أميركية أهلية وغربية تدعو إلى إحياء هذا المسار ثقافياً وسياحياً وروحياً وتتحدث عن فوائده الاقتصادية بينما ركز القادة الأميركان على استغلاله لأهداف أخرى؛ إذ حين أشرف الرئيس جيمي كارتر على اتفاق كامب ديفيد بين مصر والكيان الصهيوني قال في كلمته “دعونا نترك الحرب جانباً، دعونا الآن نكافئ كلّ أبناء إبراهيم المتعطشين إلى اتفاق سلام شامل في الشرق الأوسط، دعونا الآن نستمتع بتجربة أن نكون آدميين بالكامل وجيراناً بالكامل وحتى أخوة وأخوات”.

وفي عام 1993 حين أشرف الرئيس بيل كلينتون على توقيع اتفاق أوسلو بين إسحق رابين وياسر عرفات قال: “إن أبناء إبراهيم؛ أي نسل إسحق وإسماعيل، انخرطوا معاً في رحلة جريئة، واليوم مع بعضنا بكل قلوبنا وأرواحنا نقدّم لهم السلام”.

وفي عام 1994 وخلال اتفاقية وادي عربة التطبيعية بين الأردن والكيان الصهيوني قال الملك حسين: “سوف نتذكر هذا اليوم طيلة حياتنا لأجل أجيال المستقبل من الأردنيين والإسرائيليين والعرب والفلسطينيين، كل أبناء إبراهيم”.

وفي إطار توظيف الابراهيمية سياسياً برز في الغرب مصطلح “الدبلوماسية الروحية” وتم تعريفه بأنه مسار من مسارات التفاوض تستهدف حل النزاع أو منع حدوثه من أجل بناء سلام ديني عالمي عبر تقارب الديانات الإبراهيمية أو الدين العالمي الواحد.

وفي هذا الإطار ذاته أتت زيارة قداسة بابا الفاتيكان لمدينة أور الأثرية وللمرجعية الشيعية في النجف السيد السيستاني كي يتم إدخال المرجعية الشيعية في هذا المسار بعد أن طبّعت دول عربية أخرى مع الكيان الصهيوني. ولكن اللافت في تلك الزيارة أن قداسة البابا قد اصطحب معه عشر بعثات أثرية للتنقيب عن الآثار في مدينة أور العراقية؛ فما هي علاقة الآثار بهذا المسار؟

تقول الدكتورة هبة جمال الدين مدرس العلوم السياسية في القاهرة، إن الهدف النهائي لهذا المسار هو الكشف عن آثار تُثبت أن الشعوب الأصلية لهذه المنطقة ليسوا العرب بل اليهود الذين تم تهجيرهم من البلدان العربية، والمطالبة بتعويضات لهم ومحو الثقافة العربية وتأسيس اتحاد الأرض الإبراهيمية المشتركة مع رموز دينية جديدة وثقافة جديدة باشروا بالتأسيس لها من خلال تسجيل “المحكي” أو “الحكي”؛ أي توثيق تاريخ جديد من أفواه من يختارون ليحلّ مكان التاريخ الموجود والمعتمد في المنطقة، وقد كتبت الدكتورة هبة جمال الدين كتاباً عن “المسار الإبراهيمي الملغوم” فنّدت فيه الأهداف السياسية البعيدة لهذا المشروع ألا وهي إزالة الحدود وإزالة الانتماء للدول كما نعرفها اليوم، وتقويم المواطنين كمواطنين ينتمون فقط للديانة الإبراهيمية والتي دون شك سيكون الغرب والكيان الصهيوني هما المشرفان على وضع أسس هويتها والانتماء لها.

وقد تبنى الرئيس الأميركي ترامب هذه التسمية في الوثائق الأميركية، ولكن ومنذ فترة أصدر الرئيس بايدن أمراً بشطب مصطلح الإبراهيمية من الوثائق واستبداله بـ “التطبيع “؛ إذ نتذكر أن الاتفاقات الأخيرة التي عقدت بين الإمارات العربية المتحدة والبحرين من جهة وبين “إسرائيل” من جهة ثانية تمت تسميتها بـ”اتفاقات أبراهام”، والسبب أن الرئيس بايدن أمر بحذف هذا المصطلح لأن هوية المشروع بدأت تتكشف للباحثين والمناهضين له فخاف عليه أن يتم إجهاضه واعتبر أن الوقت لم ينضج بعد للإفصاح عن هذا المشروع الخطير والترويج له.

ويأتي هذا المشروع نتيجة فشل الكيان بالتطبيع مع الشعب العربي في مختلف أقطاره رغم أنه وقّع اتفاقيات مع حكومات متعاقبة في دول عربية مختلفة إلا أن هذه الاتفاقيات لم تحظ بتأييد الشعب ولم تترجم على أرض الواقع ولذلك فإن المسار الإبراهيمي يهدف إلى التطبيع الشعبي مستخدمين غطاء دينياً وسياحياً وإنسانياً للحديث عن المحبة والأخوة في الوقت الذي يتم الإبقاء على احتلال الأرض وقتل أهلها الأصليين ونهب الثروات وابتلاع الحقوق.

إن المطلوب اليوم من المرجعيات البحثية والدينية والسياسية في وطننا العربي هو مقارعة هذا التيار بالفكر والحجة والمنطق والحقوق وعدم إغفاله أو السكوت عنه، والتوقيت هو البارحة واليوم وغداً. وألا يُسمح لمثل هذه الأفكار والرؤى أن تصبح جزءاً من المناهج التعليمية حيث تعمل منظمات مختلفة لدسّ هذه المفاهيم في مناهج عربية، وأن يتمّ تفنيد خطورة الاسم والمسمى والأهداف الملغومة المبطنة لمشروع يستهدف عروبتنا ووجودنا وحقوقنا في حضارتنا وتاريخنا وأرضنا ومستقبل أجيالنا.

How will US disengagement shape the Middle East? “ميدل إيست آي”: “محور المقاومة” هو المؤهل لملء الفراغ بعد الانسحاب الأميركي

Iranians destroy a US flag during a demonstration in Tehran in January 2020 (AFP)

24 June 2021 10:54 UTC

Marco Carnelos

So far, the entity best positioned to fill the power vacuum is the ‘axis of resistance’ led by Iran

The Middle East has always proudly claimed its own culture and, above all, a certain resistance to so-called western modernity. But over the past two decades, reading its tea leaves has become increasingly difficult.

The past two decades have been cataclysmic, and those to come could be even more worrisome. A power vacuum is looming, especially amid multiple signals of a US political and military disengagement from the region. With the notable exception of Israel, it is not certain that Washington’s other local partners will be able to adjust to the new strategic environment.

In the summer of 2000, the Clinton administration believed for a moment that the circle of the historical Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be squared – only to discover, just months later, that this was not on the cards.

The so-called US-led peace process has become essentially an international PR strategy for managing the conflict

At the time, the Americans and Israelis concluded that, no matter how effective their marketing strategies, a bantustan could not be sold to the Palestinians as the state they had claimed and sought for decades to fulfil their unquestionable right to self-determination. Since then, the so-called US-led peace process has become essentially an international PR strategy for managing the conflict. It has given breath and time to a creeping Israeli annexation of the sliver of historical Palestine not yet under Israel’s control.

The Trump administration – more honestly, or less hypocritically, if you prefer – tried to solve the issue by siding openly with Israel, aiming to impose a “bantustan solution” under a different name: the Abraham Accords. To succeed, the formula required the formal adhesion of certain Arab countries, primarily Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Yet, while some Arab states quickly established diplomatic relations with Israel, the absence of Riyadh has left an aura of uncertainty around the ambitious project.

Turmoil in Israel-Palestine

The latest conflict in the streets of Jerusalem, inside Palestinian communities of Israel, and in the Gaza Strip, has likely buried the viability of such a “solution”. Most certainly, it has shown that the Palestinian question is still alive and kicking.

Israel is now in the paradoxical situation of being the strongest regional military and technological power, while facing a highly polarised political framework and a somewhat crumbling internal front. In order to finally remove former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power, Israeli politicians cobbled together the most heterogeneous coalition in the country’s history. The most extremist prime minister ever, Naftali Bennett, had to rely on the support an Arab party with Islamist roots in order to narrowly win power.

Palestinians protest in the occupied West Bank village of Salem on 15 May 2021 (AFP)
Palestinians protest in the occupied West Bank village of Salem on 15 May 2021 (AFP)

Meanwhile, Palestinians are mired between an increasingly ineffective official leadership in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority, and an increasingly popular but “terrorist”-designated leadership in Gaza, Hamas.

After 9/11, the main western political driver for the region changed. The US-led “war on terrorism” aimed to impose, once and for all, a Pax Americana in the region, focusing on Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen.

Two decades later, this strategy is crumbling. The US is withdrawing from Afghanistan without accomplishing anything significant, and after spending trillions in Iraq, the US has been asked by Baghdad’s parliament to leave. A tiny enclave in eastern Syria remains under US control, but all the “useful” parts of the country are again under the control of President Bashar al-Assad.

Spreading anxiety

US disengagement from the region, whether real or perceived, is spreading anxiety, with the sense of an incoming power vacuum that needs to be filled. So far, the only entity sufficiently organised and determined to do so appears to be the “axis of resistance”: Iran and its regional allies, including Syria, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthis and Shia militias in Iraq.

Since its 1979 revolution, Iran has been the main opponent of western modernity and, particularly, a Pax Americana in the region. Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and regional activities have been a constant source of concern for Washington and its regional allies, both Arab and Israeli.

A temporary and partial truce, the 2015 nuclear deal, was quickly removed from the strategic equation in 2018. A heavy sanctions campaign, the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy, did not achieve its claimed objectives: Iran has changed neither its regime nor its behaviour.America Last: Coming to terms with the new world order

As another US administration now attempts to rejoin the nuclear deal, hoping to improve some of its clauses, Iran – with the recent election of Ebrahim Raisi as the country’s next president – is firmly under the control of conservatives, while also seeking a deal with the US and regional rivals. While Major-General Qassem Soleimani might have been eliminated, his regional master plan was not.

There are also other spoilers keen to take their slice of the cake. Turkey seems to be rediscovering its Ottoman past, and combined with its links to the Muslim Brotherhood, it is still viewed as an existential threat to many Arab ruling families.

Russia’s policy has been smarter and more effective, relying on diplomacy reinforced by military power – contrary to Washington’s approach, which used diplomacy only to justify the use of military force. Moscow has held its ground in Syria, obtained important leverage in Libya, and maintained good relations with all regional actors. Two decades ago, Russia was barely relevant in the area; now it is a player. It holds poor cards, but can use them far more effectively than others.

China, as usual, is approaching the region pragmatically, not ideologically. It aspires to leverage the power vacuum to smoothly build up the southern leg of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, aiming to create the world’s biggest economic and trading bloc outside of US political and financial control.

Looming pressures

On a regional scale, the so-called Arab Spring, an overdue and legitimate rallying cry by ordinary people exhausted by a systemic lack of governance, basic services and political rights, turned quickly into an Islamic awakening. It fuelled bloody civil wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen, while achieving only a single, partially accomplished political transition in Tunisia. The rest was an autocratic counter-spring, resembling the concert of powers mustered at the Congress of Vienna after the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.

The Middle East during the past two decades of American unilateralism has been a mess. Could it be even worse without it?

While the US seems engaged in naively challenging both China and Russia, Europe, as usual, is torn by the dilemma over how to position itself. The Middle East may descend further into chaos, with Covid-19, migration and environmental pressures presenting just a few of the challenges that lie ahead.

One self-proclaimed enabler of the vaguely defined “rules-based world order”, the G7, has again failed to display the necessary leadership, which requires not only power, but also intellectual honesty and self-criticism. Its latest communique outlines no inspirational vision for the Middle East, failing to address the bombs that have already exploded (in Israel-Palestine) or the ones still ticking (the forthcoming collapse of Lebanon).

The Middle East during the past two decades of American unilateralism has been a mess. Could it be even worse without it? That’s doubtful, but it would be best to fasten your seatbelts anyway.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.Marco CarnelosMarco Carnelos is a former Italian diplomat. He has been assigned to Somalia, Australia and the United Nations. He has served in the foreign policy staff of three Italian prime ministers between 1995 and 2011. More recently he has been Middle East Peace Process Coordinator Special Envoy for Syria for the Italian government and, until November 2017, ambassador of Italy to Iraq.

“ميدل إيست آي”: “محور المقاومة” هو المؤهل لملء الفراغ بعد الانسحاب الأميركي

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القوات الامريكية تنسحب من افغانستان بحلول سبتمبر المقبل

الكاتب: ماركو كارنيلوس

المصدر: ميدل إيست آي


كتب الدبلوماسي الإيطالي السابق ماركو كارنيلوس مقالة في موقع “ميدل إيست آي” البريطانيا قال فيها إن الشرق الأوسط كان دوماً يدعي بفخر أنه يمتلك ثقافته الخاصة، وقبل كل شيء، أنه لديه مقاومة ما لما يسمّى بالحداثة الغربية. لكن العقدين الماضيين، كانا كارثيين، ويمكن للعقدين المقبلين أن يكونوا أكثر إثارة للقلق. 

وأوضح الكاتب سبب ذلك بأنه يلوح في الأفق فراغ في السلطة، خاصة وسط إشارات متعددة لفك الولايات المتحدة الأميركية ارتباطها السياسي والعسكري بالمنطقة. فباستثناء “إسرائيل”، ليس من المؤكد أن شركاء واشنطن المحليين الآخرين سيكونون قادرين على التكيّف مع البيئة الاستراتيجية الجديدة.

في صيف عام 2000، اعتقدت إدارة الرئيس الأميركي بيل كلينتون للحظة أنه يمكن تربيع دائرة الصراع الإسرائيلي الفلسطيني التاريخي، كي تكتشف، بعد أشهر فقط، أن هذا لم يكن مطروحاً على الورق. فقد خلص الأميركيون والإسرائيليون أنذاك إلى أنه، بغض النظر عن مدى فعالية استراتيجياتهم التسويقية، لا يمكن بيع “البانتوستان” للفلسطينيين كدولة طالبوا بها وسعى لعقود من الزمان لتحقيق حقهم غير المشكوك فيه في تقرير المصير. منذ ذلك الحين، أصبحت عملية السلام المزعومة، بقيادة الولايات المتحدة، استراتيجية علاقات عامة دولية لإدارة الصراع. لقد منحت هذه العملية نفساً ووقتاً لقيام “إسرائيل” بضم زاحف لبقية فلسطين التاريخية التي لم تخضع بعد لسيطرة الاحتلال الإسرائيلي.

وأضاف كارنيلوس: حاولت إدارة الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب – بصراحة أكثر، أو أقل نفاقاً – حل المشكلة بالانحياز صراحة إلى “إسرائيل”، بهدف فرض “حل البانتوستان” تحت اسم مختلف: اتفاقات أبراهام. ولتحقيق النجاح، تطلبت الصيغة الانضمام الرسمي لبعض الدول العربية، وفي مقدمتها السعودية والإمارات العربية المتحدة. ومع ذلك، في حين أن بعض الدول العربية أقامت بسرعة علاقات دبلوماسية مع “إسرائيل”، فإن غياب الرياض ترك هالة من عدم اليقين حول المشروع الطموح.

هبة القدس

وأشار الكاتب إلى أن الصراع الأخير في شوارع القدس، وداخل التجمعات السكانية الفلسطينية في الكيان الإسرائيلي، ومع قطاع غزة، قد يكون قد دفن جدوى مثل هذا “الحل”. لكنه بالطبع، أظهر أن القضية الفلسطينية لا تزال حية وتنطلق. فـ”إسرائيل” اليوم في وضع متناقض لكونها أقوى قوة عسكرية وتكنولوجية إقليمية، لكنها تواجه إطاراً سياسياً شديد الاستقطاب وجبهة داخلية متداعية إلى حد ما. فمن أجل الإطاحة برئيس الوزراء السابق بنيامين نتنياهو أخيراً، قام السياسيون الإسرائيليون بتجميع أكثر تحالف غير متجانس في تاريخ الكيان. كان على رئيس الوزراء الأكثر تطرفاً، نفتالي بينيت، الاعتماد على دعم حزب فلسطيني ذي جذور إسلامية من أجل الفوز بالسلطة بفارق ضئيل.

واعتبر الدبلوماسي الإيطالي أنه في المقابل، فإن الفلسطينيين غارقون بين قيادة رسمية غير فعالة في رام الله، هي السلطة الفلسطينية، وقيادة شعبية ولكنها مصنفة “إرهابية” في غزة، هي حركة حماس. وقال إنه بعد 11 أيلول / سبتمبر 2001، تغير المحرك السياسي الغربي الرئيسي للمنطقة، إذ هدفت “الحرب على الإرهاب” بقيادة الولايات المتحدة إلى فرض “السلام الطويل المدى” الأميركي في المنطقة لمرة واحدة وأخيرة، مع التركيز على لبنان وسوريا والعراق وإيران واليمن.

لكن بعد عقدين من الزمن، هذه الاستراتيجية تنهار. إذ تنسحب الولايات المتحدة من أفغانستان من دون تحقيق أي شيء مهم، وبعد إنفاق تريليونات الدولارات في العراق، طلب البرلمان العراقي من الولايات المتحدة المغادرة. لا يزال جيب صغير في شرق سوريا تحت سيطرة الولايات المتحدة، لكن جميع الأجزاء “المفيدة” من البلاد أصبحت مرة أخرى تحت سيطرة الرئيس بشار الأسد.

ورأى الكاتب “أن فك ارتباط الولايات المتحدة بالمنطقة، سواء كان حقيقياً أو متصوراً، ينشر القلق، مع إحساس بفراغ القوة الذي سيأتي والذي يجب ملؤه. حتى الآن، يبدو أن الكيان الوحيد المنظم والمصمم على القيام بذلك هو “محور المقاومة”: إيران وحلفاؤها الإقليميون، بما في ذلك سوريا وحزب الله اللبناني والحوثيين والميليشيات الشيعية في العراق”.

منذ ثورة 1979، كانت إيران الخصم الرئيسي للحداثة الغربية، وعلى وجه الخصوص الهيمنة الأميركية في المنطقة. لطالما كانت طموحات طهران النووية وأنشطتها الإقليمية مصدر قلق دائم لواشنطن وحلفائها الإقليميين، العرب والإسرائيليين.

وقد تم إلغاء الهدنة المؤقتة والجزئية، الاتفاق النووي لعام 2015، بسرعة من المعادلة الاستراتيجية في عام 2018. ولم تحقق حملة العقوبات الأميركية الشديدة، استراتيجية “الضغط الأقصى” لإدارة ترامب، أهدافها المعلنة حيث أن إيران لم تغيّر لا نظامها ولا سلوكها.

وقال الكاتب إنه بينما تحاول إدارة أميركية أخرى الآن الانضمام إلى الاتفاق النووي، على أمل تحسين بعض بنوده، فإن إيران – مع انتخاب إبراهيم رئيسي كرئيس مقبل للبلاد – تخضع بشدة لسيطرة المحافظين، بينما تسعى في الوقت نفسه إلى إبرام اتفاق مع المنافسين الأميركيين والإقليميين. وفي حين أن اللواء قاسم سليماني قد اغتيل، إلا أن خطته الرئيسية الإقليمية لم تتم الإطاحة بها.

وقال الكاتب إن تركيا تعيد اكتشاف ماضيها العثماني، وإلى جانب صلاتها بجماعة الإخوان المسلمين، لا يزال يُنظر إليها على أنها تهديد وجودي للعديد من العائلات العربية الحاكمة.

وأضاف: كانت سياسة روسيا أكثر ذكاءً وفاعلية، حيث اعتمدت على الدبلوماسية التي تعززها القوة العسكرية، على عكس نهج واشنطن، الذي استخدم الدبلوماسية فقط لتبرير استخدام القوة العسكرية. احتفظت موسكو بموقفها في سوريا، وحصلت على نفوذ مهم في ليبيا، وحافظت على علاقات جيدة مع جميع الأطراف الإقليميين. فقبل عقدين من الزمن، كانت روسيا بالكاد ذات صلة بالمنطقة. الآن هي لاعب، تحمل بطاقات رديئة، ولكن يمكنها استخدامها بشكل أكثر فاعلية من غيرها.

أما الصين، فهي كالعادة تقترب من المنطقة بطريقة براغماتية وليس أيديولوجية. وتطمح للاستفادة من فراغ السلطة لبناء بسلاسة الجزء الجنوبي من “مبادرة الحزام والطريق” الطموحة، والتي تهدف إلى إنشاء أكبر كتلة اقتصادية وتجارية في العالم خارج السيطرة السياسية والمالية الأميركية.

ضغوط تلوح في الأفق

وقال الكاتب: بينما يبدو أن الولايات المتحدة منخرطة في تحدي كل من الصين وروسيا بسذاجة، فإن أوروبا، كعادتها، ممزقة بسبب معضلة كيفية التمركز. قد ينزلق الشرق الأوسط إلى مزيد من الفوضى، حيث يمثل فيروس كورونا والضغوط البيئية والهجرة عدداً قليلاً من التحديات التي تنتظر الأوروبيين.

وأضاف: لقد أخفقت مجموعة الدول السبع، التي نصبت نفسها بنفسها في تمكين “النظام العالمي القائم على القواعد” المحددة بشكل غامض، في إظهار القيادة اللازمة، والتي لا تتطلب القوة فحسب، بل تتطلب كذلك الصدق الفكري والنقد الذاتي. لا يحدد بيانها الأخير أي رؤية ملهمة للشرق الأوسط، وقد فشلت في معالجة القنابل التي انفجرت بالفعل (بين “إسرائيل” وفلسطين) أو التي قد تنفجر (الانهيار الوشيك للبنان).

وختم بالقول: كان الشرق الأوسط خلال العقدين الماضيين من هيمنة الأحادية الأميركية في حالة من الفوضى. فهل يمكن أن يكون أسوأ من دونها؟ هذا مشكوك فيه، ولكن سيكون من الأفضل ربط أحزمة الأمان على أي حال.

*ماركو كارنيلوس دبلوماسي إيطالي سابق. تم تكليفه بالعمل في الصومال وأستراليا والأمم المتحدة. وقد عمل في فريق السياسة الخارجية لثلاثة رؤساء وزراء إيطاليين بين عامي 1995 و2011. وشغل أخيراً منصب مبعوث الحكومة الإيطالية الخاص لعملية السلام في الشرق الأوسط إلى سوريا، وحتى تشرين الثاني / نوفمبر 2017، سفيراً لإيطاليا في العراق.

نقله إلى العربية بتصرف: هيثم مزاحم

The Myth of Peace in the Middle East: Deconstructing the Naturalization Narrative

April 16, 2021Articles,

American-Israeli delegation visit to Morocco in December 2020. (Photo: US Embassy Jerusalem, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Mohamed El Metmari

This critical essay deconstructs the political narrative surrounding the naturalization agreements that have occurred between some Arab countries and Israel formally known as the Abrahamic Accords or Jared Kushner’s plan for peace in the Middle East. It offers unique perspectives and analysis of these accords and their true geopolitical intentions. Primarily, it argues how the peace promised by these newly established ties remains just a myth as it explores the true objectives behind them. Interestingly enough, it also highlights the true goals behind the U.S’ mediations in these Accords.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one of the hottest yet unresolved political issues of today. Whereas this conflict is not heading towards any resolutions soon, the recent naturalization agreements that have occurred between some Arab regimes and the apartheid state of Israel may mark a future shift in Middle East’s political scene.

Earlier to these agreements, boycotting Israel was these Arab nations’ approach to show support for Palestinians and their claims. Before 2020, only two bordering countries have had diplomatic ties with Israel; that is, Egypt and Jordan. This number has risen to six as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have set full diplomatic and economic relations with Israel as part of Jared Kushner’s plan for peace in the Middle East known formally as the Abrahamic Accords.

Celebrating the first occurrence of the Abrahamic Accords, Trump hosted a signing ceremony in the White House and had the following rash statement to announce: “We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.” By this politically immature statement, Trump seemed as if he had finally found a solution to the conflict in the region.

As for peace in the region is concerned, Jared Kushner’s peace plans do not make any sense. Apart from Sudan, none of the countries involved with these accords are in conflict with Israel. On the opposite, Morocco and so the Gulf States have retained very healthy diplomatic relations with Israel, even if they were undeclared publicly. For instance, Morocco has had a fair share of intelligence-sharing with Israel since the mid-sixties. On top of that, the two countries had liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat from Sept. 1, 1994, to Oct. 23, 2000. Not to mention Morocco’s contribution in populating Israel by handing over its Jewish population to the newly established Jewish state during the reign of the Moroccan king Hassan II.

Granted, Israel supports the totalitarian regimes of the region mainly because these totalitarianisms do not demand accountability for its human rights and international law violations. Hence, most Arab dictatorships have been dealing with Israel on political and security levels; especially after the outbreak of the Arab spring where these regimes had to obtain the latest spying and security tech to topple every dissident in their population who desires regime change. Whereas the case of the Washington Post’s correspondent Jamal Khashoggi remains the most covered case, Amnesty International has reported that Moroccan journalist Omar Radi’s phone has also been infected with the Israeli Pegasus spyware.

The Myth of Peace: Deception, Expansion and Dispossession.

Each time an Arab country initiates full diplomatic relations with Israel, its local propaganda machine makes it look as a major historical event that has occurred in the country. Some media outlets have gone far with this. For example, they take the religious tolerance preached in the Muslim faith as a pretext for setting these normalization agreements with this ‘Jewish’ nation. Other media platforms, however, have beautified the image of Israel’s apartheid regime via elaborate historical descriptions of Jewish culture and heritage. This is not wrong at all, but what is wrong is to evoke this history only at this particular event ignoring Israel’s present violations of International Law and Human rights and most of all occupation of Palestinian lands. This is why it is easy to deconstruct the naturalization narrative and prove that it is just a myth.

First of all, the context of these agreements was preceded and controlled by the 2020 US elections. Trump’s administration had tried to convince the American public that it will be the first administration that ends the conflict in the Middle East and thus planning on gaining a potential leverage in the election race. But despite the occurrence of the Abrahamic Accords last year and even Trump’s administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017, it still was not enough to win Trump the approval of the devastated American public. This is mainly because Americans wanted Trump out of the White House at any cost; even if it meant choosing the lesser evil of the two candidates in the elections.

Meanwhile, these events come as a perfect opportunity to boost the reputation of the Likud party and more specifically the reputation of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose image has been stained by his corruption and monopoly of the Israeli political scene. Unlike Trump, the chances of him getting replaced in the upcoming Israeli elections are relatively low because of his firm grip on power and the lack of his equal in the Israeli political arena. Furthermore, with the massive press coverage that comes with such events, Netanyahu, similarly to Trump, wanted the spotlights on him to distract the public from his administration’s terrible handling of Covid-19 and thus gaining significant leverage in the elections.

Second, the biggest gain for Israel from these new ties with the Arab States and Morocco is that it reinforces its political influence in the Middle East. Not only this, but unlocking Israel’s geo-political isolation in the region as well. And since this newly granted influence to Israel is an approved one, it gives it freedom to expand and occupy more without any opposition. Of course, if Israel is gaining a legitimate influence in the region, this means that Palestine’s position will exacerbate. And thus the Palestinian cause will no longer have the leverage it has on the Middle Eastern political scene.

Furthermore, Israel’s decision to create ties with the Gulf countries in specific is not arbitrary. This move was motivated by economic reasons. As it is known, the Khaleeji people are the biggest consumers in the region. Hence the khaleeji market becomes a perfect destination for Israeli goods. Israeli products, foods in specific, can even replace other products coming from other countries because of the close distance and the low shipping costs. Additionally, Sudan may not offer much as markets are concerned, but it is definitely a great source of agricultural imports for Israel. Being the mediator between Israel and its “new” allies, the US benefits from these agreements as well since it is Israel’s biggest ally. After all, any ongoing political conflict between Israel and any of the Middle Eastern countries is primarily endangering US’ political and economic interests in the region. In other words, the mediation of the US in these so-called Peace agreements is not out of a sort of altruism because the US is only after its share of the pie.

Third, to say that these newly established ties will bring “peace” to the region is ludicrous and rash but not totally wrong. But for whom this peace is served; for Palestine, for the Arab States, or for Israel? To give a rather simple and short answer, it is apt to say it remains just a myth for the Palestinians in specific, but it means more security and power for the Israeli side in particular. To put it differently, with Israel having full diplomatic ties with these Arab countries and Morocco, it becomes easy for it to carry its annexation plans and dispossession of Palestinian lands without being held accountable. And the Palestinians are likely to be displaced gradually and implicitly to one of these countries. Apparently, Morocco and the rich Gulf states are the biggest fish that Israel could ever come to terms with. Since they provide financial comfort and political stability, some Palestinians may choose these destinations over their currently Israeli-occupied and war-inflected homes.

However, it is worth mentioning that the Emiratis as well as the Saudis despise the Palestinians. Hence, the Palestinians will never accept the reality of being displaced to one of these two countries. Meanwhile, this does not apply to either Kuwait or Oman in which do not have a strong political influence in the region. Apart from Morocco, they maybe the desired destination Israel is looking for to displace the Palestinians to after annexing their lands. Whether the two countries agree to normalize relations with Israel in the future or not, it does not really matter as long they are subservient to UAE and Saudi Arabia. Apparently, the Palestinians are likely to resist as they usually do.

Concurrently, Israel is likely to pressure them to accept this bitter reality as it has been doing for the last decades. Hence, Israel will possibly seek not only to increase its siege and pressure on the borders and checkpoints, but it may also instigate a war with Hamas as a pretext for a military escalation. Hamas, on the other hand, will be, as always, scapegoated for the whole thing especially that it is classified as a terrorist organization. Therefore, the peace that Israel is seeking is a peace with the Palestinians out of Palestine.

However, Israel is not the only benefactor from these agreements. Clearly, the Gulf States have paid for US military protection by signing these accords. But UAE in specific have had further arms deals and gained even more political protection against the Iranian influence in the Arab peninsula. Nonetheless, when a country signs a peace deal, it does not instantly demand acquirement of advanced F-35 stealth Jet, which is what this Gulf State did, because the two are paradoxical. Therefore, in opposition to the classic definitions of peace treaties, the brokered peace from these agreements is a purchased one like many peace agreements that have been signed before it in the region. After all, Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel so it is de-listed from the state-sponsors of terror, the Gulf States signed them as a payment for US military protection and Morocco got support for its sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Therefore, as all the purchased peace agreements the Middle East has witnessed over modern history- whether it is peace for land, peace in exchange of monopoly or what have you- this one is also doomed to be broken by conflict since it is not based on a balanced compromise where two equal parties meet in the middle. Rather, it is a political move towards accumulation of power where the main side of this conflict, meaning the Palestinians, is not even included in these agreements.

The US, Morocco, and Israel: A Geopolitical Chess Game over Africa

The fact that Israel has pursued diplomatic relations with Morocco- a country so far away from the Middle East’s political discourse- is by no means for peace as it is claimed by any of the Accords’ orchestrators. The moment it was announced that Morocco was to resume relations with Israel, Moroccan propaganda machines overshadowed the controversies that come with this event by preaching to the public about the Moroccan Jewish heritage and the coexistence of the Abrahamic religions in this homogeneous sphere. This normalization was depicted as a win-win situation for Morocco especially that Trump has rewarded Morocco’s approval of its resumption of relations with the apartheid regime by signing a presidential proclamation that recognizes Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The celebrations following this recognition covered up totally for the naturalization. This proclamation has even become an independent narrative of its own. The official discourse in Moroccan media has asserted that this recognition is the fruit of long-lasting diplomatic ties between Morocco and the US and not as a part of the Abrahamic Accords. Moreover, many factors influence politics, but altruism is not one of them. Taking the fact that Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the US in 1777, and the two countries long diplomatic relations, it stands as a surprise that it took so much time for the US to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara or at least support its claim diplomatically.

Meanwhile, political terminology is important here because Moroccan media had it intentionally mixed up to alleviate the Moroccan public’s rage. Trump’s presidential proclamation does not recognize the Western Sahara region as a Moroccan entity as they have claimed, but it only recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over it. These are two different things, because Morocco has already been practicing sovereignty over the region although with some difficulties mainly caused by intense altercations with the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. The only thing that Morocco has needed is legitimacy and this proclamation happens to be it. Obviously, this is a simple treat from the US for Morocco’s acceptance of the resumption of relations with Israel.

Nevertheless, the majority of the Moroccan public welcomed Trump’s move, but they abhorred Morocco’s establishment of ties with Israel. Nasser Bourita, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, has refused to call this an act of “naturalization” of relations. For him, normalization is a Middle Eastern term that does not apply to Morocco which is not a neighboring country to Israel. Indeed, Morocco’s North African location and its large indigenous Amazigh population make it hard to proclaim the country as purely Arab.

Bourita has preferred using the term “resumption” of relations instead. As mentioned earlier, Morocco and Israel had Liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat before Morocco had to close their office in response to Israeli repression of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000. Not to mention, there is a number of almost 800.000 Jews of Moroccan decent living in Israel right now.

Obviously, Israel remains the biggest benefactor from these naturalization agreements. However, the US did not take part in them without purpose. The existence of Israel in the Middle East protects American interests in the region. That is why Zionist lobbies in the US always do their best to empower this regime. And this is what AIPAC is doing and what Christians United for Israel and other Zionist lobbies are doing. As a result, this support for the apartheid regime enables the US to retain its firm grip on Middle East’s political and economic affairs. These are all facts now. But the case of Morocco is still a uniquely dubious one. Pressing Morocco – a country so far away from The Middle East’s frenzy and even terminology to sign these deals seems confusing to say the least; especially that Morocco is not a rich country like the Gulf States.

However, ever since Morocco’s rejoining the African Union in 2017, many countries and the US particularly have started to look for ways to intensify their relations with this African country more than before. To illustrate, Morocco’s main weapon supplies come from the US. Granted, the influence of the US embassy in Rabat has surpassed diplomatic lines to influencing Moroccan cultural context and even influencing Moroccan academia via its grants and many programs and English learning courses. This soft pressure changes the structure of Moroccan society with time. As of now, although French is the official second language in Morocco, the majority of Moroccan youth, many of whom have benefited from US grants and programs, speak English. This is not bad at all, but again, politics is the game of interests and not altruisms. Implemented in these courses and grants are soft ideologies that create sympathy and acceptance of US values and democracy in the Moroccan community. In the long run, acceptance of the US image rises even if its intentions in the region are not necessarily benevolent.

To connect this to the question at hand, Morocco remains the US’ key holder to the African Union and African countries. This strategic move to invest in Morocco politically and economically and then support its sovereignty over its full territorial land comes as the price for infiltrating a fertile network of rising African economies. Hence, these countries become perfect investment destinations for the US. And although China is the biggest player in Africa as economy is involved, not counting the previous colonial powers of Africa, the US is doing the best it can to take this role in the near future. After its degrading failure to do so under pretexts of humanitarian aid and war on terror, the UShas finally chosen this diplomatic direction to overtake Russian and Chinese influences in Africa. It is hence a perfectly played chess game over geopolitical expansion and power. Peace and human rights preached in these agreements however, are turned into industries that are used to further their dominance and hegemony.

Additionally, what makes Morocco exceptional is its officials’ diplomatic maturity and its political stability in comparison to the Middle East and other African countries. Also, Morocco’s ability to repay its debts boosts foreign investors’ confidence to embark on the Moroccan market. Not to mention, Morocco itself needs this kind of political and economic partnership and support as it seeks to take the lead as an African power. However, this pursuit remains far-fetched without having full sovereignty over its lands or without having strong allies.

Meanwhile, Moroccan King Mohamed VI has confirmed that Morocco’s position on Palestine remains unchanged. He has also affirmed that he places his country’s territorial issue and the Palestinian cause at the same level, and that the kingdom will use its new position to push for a conflict resolution in the region. Thus, Morocco is playing it as safe as it could as it is placing itself neither with the current, nor against it.

All in all, Morocco and the Arab regimes’ decision to normalize relations with Israel is not promising of any lasting peace between Palestine and Israel simply because Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories will gain significant legitimacy from the establishment of these diplomatic ties. Especially that these Arab States are not democratic themselves so they can account it for its infringement of international law and human rights. Granted, since the Palestinian question, the right of self-determination and the right of return are not included in the official discourse of these peace agreements, a resolution for the Palestinian- Israeli conflict remains just a myth that appears to be tangible with propaganda and exclusionary media narratives.

– Mohamed El Metmari is an independent writer and researcher affiliated with the faculty of Letters and Humanities of Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Martil, Morocco. He is an Open Hands Initiative’s Conflict Resolution alumnus. Currently, he is conducting a Master’s thesis centered on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. His articles have appeared on Aljazeera Arabic, SasaPost, and Countercurrents. He contributed this essay to The Palestine Chronicle.

The second coming of Ben-Gurion

Source

April 5, 2021 – 17:44

The reasons behind capsizing the Taiwanese cargo ship “Ever Given”, on the 24th of March, have become clear.

The cargo ship capsized in the Suez Canal for more than 6 days. Failing to float the ship is not the news, or that the reasons behind the accident were a human failure. But the real news behind it is the reviving of the old-new plans that were and are still alive in the dreams of the Zionist entity which is enlivening the “Ben-Gurion Canal” project. Yes, Ben-Gurion Canal has surfaced once more.

The project aims to connect the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean through the Negev desert. The idea of digging a canal opposite the Suez Canal began in 1963. It is recommended in a memo submitted by Lawrence Livermore Patriot Laps in the United States of America. The memorandum was proposed as a response to the decision taken by President Gamal Abdel Nasser to nationalize the Suez Canal in 1956. 

The memorandum suggested: In order to ensure the flow of navigation in the Red Sea, an alternative canal should be opened in the Gulf of Aqaba. It will be drilled through the Negev desert, which was described as an empty area that can be dug using nuclear bombs: Firstly, the project was halted due to the radiation that nuclear bombs could cause; and secondly due to the opposition that the project would face by the Arab countries, led by Nasser.

Today, political alliances have changed the face of the region, particularly after the implementation of the Abraham Accords by several Arab countries. Therefore, a political atmosphere is compatible. Hence, serious deliberations of the project, after the Ever-Given capsizing, provide the idea that the accident was contrived. It was intended as a new window for the return of the talks over finding an alternative to the Suez Canal. 

In principle, that the accident was premeditated is a fair assumption. In an article I previously published on the Al-Ahed website, I talked about Israel’s attempt to control and expand access to the gates of the water routes to the Mediterranean through the Abraham Accords. It was not a peace agreement. Rather, it was actually an economic treaty with Morocco, the Emirates, and Sudan. Once Oman signs it, Israel will be able to control the water routes from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Persian Gulf, and finally control the Red Sea through the upcoming Ben-Gurion Canal, which will provide enormous income for Israel.

Firstly, Israel and the United States are in dire need of the project to compensate for the severe economic contraction due to the Coronavirus pandemic and unstable conditions. The treaties were signed between Israel and the Arab countries so as to guarantee Israel’s political and economic stability, and to maintain its presence in the region.  

And secondly, the project is driven by the need to restrain the rise of the economic power of China, and to hold back its ongoing project known as “One Road, One Belt”. The Chinese project aims to build a train line that starts from the provinces of China in the west towards West Asia and secure water routes around the world. It is a multi-billion-dollar investment project. For example, before the Corona pandemic, several parties in Lebanon hosted the Chinese ambassador, who explained the benefits of the project, which will employ tens of thousands of workers, employees, and specialists along the train line, which will be used mainly to transport goods between China and Europe. Therefore, the U.S. is trying to hamper the Chinese trade route by creating an alternative route to compete with. So, the new stage of struggle will witness an economic war aiming to control seaports and global trade routes.

This American-Israeli project has overlapped with joining several agreements and draft agreements. For example, the United States and the United Arab Emirates have joined the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum as observers. And starting Monday, March 29th, the Military Cooperation Agreement between Jordan and the United States will take effect, which probably aims to find an alternative place for the American forces outside Iraq and Syria.

Thirdly, preparations are underway for the implementation of the New Levant Project, which extends from Iraq to Jordan to Palestine across the Arabian Peninsula to the Sinai Desert. The project aims to create a new trade route that does not pass through Syria and Lebanon, but rather through the New Levant lands extending from the Persian Gulf in the south to the Mediterranean in the north, and through it will pass new oil and gas pipelines from Iraq to Jordan, which will replace the Tab line.

The New Levant project might forfeit Syria’s geostrategic importance for the Americans as one of the most important global and historical trade lines between the north and the south throughout history. However, the project lost its momentum at this stage because of Israel’s drive to be part of it, which forced the Iraqi government to cease working on it.

The secrecy of the canal project’s memorandum was revealed in 1994. It was waiting in the drawers for new conditions to revive it. It seems that the capsizing of the ship was the perfect plan. The capsizing oddly coincided with the signing of the 25-year comprehensive strategic partnership between Iran and China. The current events are evidence that the need to change alliances has become inevitable in the region. This explains the economic pressure on Syria and Lebanon and the continued decline in the price of lira in the sister countries. The Americans hoped that through sanctions they would impose conditions for reconciliations with “Israel”, impose the demarcation of borders between the Palestinian and Lebanese borders to the best interest of Israel, and prevent Hezbollah and its allies from participating in the coming government. Eventually, the U.S. would have the upper hand to prevent the Chinese route from reaching its ultimate destination to the Mediterranean Sea. However, the reasons behind Biden’s escalating tone towards China and Syria were revealed once Iran and China signed the document for cooperation. The protocol also revealed the hidden options Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah spoke of in his speech on the 18th of March.

The developments in the region may change the course of the Syrian crisis.  The “One Belt and One Road” project will not achieve its real success until it reaches the port of Latakia, or/and the port of Tripoli, if the Lebanese desire, in exchange for the ports of Haifa and Ashkelon in Palestine. However, this cannot be achieved as long as Syria is still fighting its new independence war against America and Turkey. Yet, the coming of the Chinese dragon to Iran may mark a new era. Syria constitutes one of the main disputes between China and the United States. It seems that the withdrawal of the latter to Jordan under the new military cooperation agreement has become imposed by the new coming reality. The Americans can manage from there any new conflicts in the region or prolong the life of the crisis and thus obstruct the Chinese project without any direct clashes.

The construction of the Ben-Gurion Canal may take several years. However, the project is now put into action. Thanks to “Ever Given” capsizing, the canal building is now scheduled around May 2021. It is clear now who is the main beneficiary of this calamity, which hit one of the most important global navigation points, namely the Suez Canal.

Normalization agreements were primarily aimed to expand Israeli influence over waterways. The disastrous consequences on the region are starting to be unwrapped.  The major target is going to be Egypt. Egypt’s revenue from the Suez Canal is estimated to be 8 billion dollars. Once Ben-Gurion is activated it will drop into 4 billion dollars. Egypt cannot economically tolerate the marginalization of the role of the Suez Canal as one of the most important sources of its national income, especially after the completion of the construction of the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia. Confinement of the Nile water behind the water scarcity will cause the Egyptians to starve. It will have disastrous consequences on Egypt and Europe. Since the latter will receive most of the Egyptian immigrants; however, this is another story to be told.
 

Khashoggi Murder: “He Knew Too Many Saudi Secrets on 9/11 Massacre”. US Intelligence Accused MBS but Forgot Motive

Washington Post journalist might be killed for his “invaluable inside information” after a meeting with an investigator of World Trade Center victims’ families

By Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio -March 11, 2021

by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio 

Versione originale in Italiano

At the moment of his lightning-fast appointment the day after the inauguration of American President Joseph Biden in the White House, the Director of US National Intelligence, Avril Haines had announced the imminent declassification of the dossier on the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Those anxiously awaiting this moment were a little disappointed because the report revealed by the ODNI (Office Director of National Intelligence), the command station for all intelligence agencies from the CIA to the NSA of the Pentagon, did nothing but reiterate – with the fragile official nature of a correspondence by a partisan intelligence – what is already partly known to all the media in relation to the alleged role of “instigator” of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the brutal killing of the famous Arab commentator of the Washington Post.

Khashoggi, a distant relative of the royal family, disappeared in October 2018 after entering the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul. Riyadh initially denied knowing of his fate but later admitted that the journalist had been brutally murdered inside the diplomatic office, denying any involvement of members of the royal family in the murder that he called a “rogue operation. “.

Washington Post columnist Jamal Kashoggi murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

In fact, the journalist had entered the Consulate of his country in Istanbul on the morning of 2 October 2018 to obtain the documents to marry his Turkish girlfriend, Hatice Cengiz, who had remained outside waiting for him in vain. He was in fact killed and his body torn to pieces to make all traces disappear.

«We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi – read on Intelligence paper – We base this assessment on the Crown Prince’s control of decisionmaking in the Kingdom since 2017, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman’s protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince’s support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi. Since 2017, the Crown Prince has had absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization».

Almost three years later, in which those responsible were sentenced by the judges of the Saudi Kingdom first to death and then “pardoned” with enormous reductions in sentences, the documents declassified by the ODNI director, Avril Haines, former CIA deputy director in the administration Obama then became one of the suspected prophetesses of the Covid-19 pandemic together with Bill Gates by participating in the famous Event 201 exercise in October 2019 financed by the Microsoft Tycoon Foundation, they add few certain details and therefore assume the importance of a political move instead that of a contribution to international justice invoked by the UN and the victim’s girlfriend.

THE ROLE OF THE ROYAL GUARD RAPID INTERVENTION FORCE

«At the time of the Khashoggi murder, the Crown Prince probably fostered an environment in which aides were afraid that failure to complete assigned tasks might result in him firing or arresting them. This suggests that the aides were unlikely to question Muhammad bin Salman’s orders or undertake sensitive actions without his consent» adds the US intelligence report which navigates the sphere of assumptions before revealing any circumstantial elements.

«The IS-member Saudi team that arrived in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 included officials who worked for, or were associated with, the Saudi Center for Studies and Media Affairs (CSMARC) at the Royal Court. At the time of the operation, CSMARC was led by Saud al-Qahtani, a close adviser of Muhammad bin Salman, who claimed publicly in mid-2018 that he did not make decisions without the Crown Prince’s approval» the ODNI document reports.

«The team also included seven members of Muhammad bin Salman’s elite personal protective detail, known as the Rapid Intervention Force (RIF). The RIF-a subset of the Saudi Royal Guard-exists to defend the Crown Prince, answers only to him, and had directly participated in earlier dissident suppression operations in the Kingdom and abroad at the Crown Prince’s direction. We judge that members of the RIF would not have participated in the operation against Khashoggi without Muhammad bin Salman’s approval».

The document desecreated by US intelligence on Khasoggi’s assassination – click on image for pdf

The document concludes with a list of Saudis who would have had a role in this “pre-planned” action but it is not known “how far in advance” adds the office headed by Avril Haines before exposing another fundamental random element «We have high confidence that the following individuals participated in, ordered, or were otherwise complicit in or responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi on behalf of Muhammad bin Salman. We do not know whether these individuals knew in advance that the operation would result in Khashoggi’s death».

NO SANCTIONS FOR THE CROWN PRINCE

The information gathered by the “NIO (National Intelligence Officer) for Near East” and by the powerful counter-espionage of the Central Intelligence Agency, however, did not know – or wanted – to reveal the probable motive for the murder, at the time hypothesized by two interesting journalistic investigations that did not they were highly regarded by the US secret services because they risked reopening a sore wound.

Both the Australian Herald Sun and the American Florida Bulldog, in fact, highlighted too many things Kashoggi knew about the role of the Saudis in the 9/11 attacks as the probable cause of the crime.

Before seeing why this track is at least likely and supported by significant clues, let’s analyze the immediate consequences of the ODNI dossier. The document expresses “a high conviction” about the responsibilities of the individuals involved in the journalist’s death.

US President Joe Biden on Friday said that “significant changes” to policies between the US and Saudi Arabia will be announced as early as Monday. “I spoke to the king yesterday, not the prince. I made it clear to him that the rules are changing and that we will announce significant changes,” Biden told Univision in an interview. “We will hold them accountable for human rights violations and make sure that […] if they want to deal with us, they will have to deal with it in a way that deals with human rights violations.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

In practice, however, Saudi prince Mohamed bin Salman will not be hit by US sanctions. Politico reports this, citing sources from the US administration. The US Treasury is preparing to impose sanctions on Saudi general Ahmed al-Asiri, former deputy head of the intelligence services in Riyadh, for the Khashoggi assassination. Sanctions also for the Saudi Rapid Intervention Force involved in the murder.

The US State Department launches the so-called ‘Khashoggi policy’ or ‘Khashoggi ban’ to punish all people who, acting in the name of a government, are thought to have directly participated or participate in activities against “serious and extraterritorial” dissidents . The Bloomberg agency reports. The US administration has already identified 76 people who could be sanctioned with the withdrawal or restriction of visas.

“The government of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment contained in the report concerning the kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit “expressed his support for the statement by the Saudi Foreign Ministry refuting the conclusions of the US intelligence report, underlining that the latter is not a judicial or international body and that the related to human rights should not be politicized ”.

STOP OF AMERICAN WEAPONS FOR SAUDI ARABIA

In just a month since his inauguration, this is the second time that President Biden has targeted the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Previously it had in fact suspended the sale of arms to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi (UAE capital) in relation to the embargo on Yemen, often violated by suppliers such as the American war coropration Raytheon through subcontracts such as the one to the German Rehinmetall which used the branch factory. Italian (in Sardinia) to honor supplies with various escamtoge recently blocked by the government of Rome right after the Biden provision.

However, it should be remembered that the “Abrahamic Agreements” on the normalization of relations between the Persian Gulf countries with Israel will allow Tel Aviv to become an intermediary in the arms business.

Israeli ministers approved $ 9 billion worth of arms purchases with the United States on Sunday, the New Arab reported. The sizeable deal includes the purchase of Chinook helicopters, F-35 warplanes and aerial refueling tankers, as well as a large amount of bombs and ammunition, ”Middle East Monitor wrote on 14 February.

A few days later Biden tweeted: “I spoke today with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and affirmed the firm commitment of the United States to the security of our ally Israel. Our teams are in constant contact to strengthen US-Israel strategic cooperation on all regional security issues, including Iran”. About a week later the POTUS (President of the United States) ordered the US Air Force F-35s to bomb Iranian militias in Syria that have been haunted by Israeli Defense Forces missiles for years.

It should also not be forgotten that Raytheon had an exceptional American consultant until a few weeks ago: General Lloyd Austin, former commander of various missions in the Middle East who discharged from the US army in 2016, appointed by Biden.

CIA TOP SECRET FILE: THE US WAR IN SYRIA PLANNED SINCE 1983

And it is important to remember that during the previous administration of President Barack Obama (of which Biden himself was deputy) the Pentagon and the CIA Mom project supplied Raytheon missiles to the Syrian jihadist factions, with the excuse that they were rebels against the Bashar Al Assad regime. in the attempt of regime change planned by the Central Intelligence Agency itself since his father Haziz ruled in 1983, as confirmed by a document declassified by the USA and published exclusively by Gospa News.

As revealed by the SETA dossier, another study unveiled in Europe by our web media, 21 groups suspected of being linked to Islamic terrorism were in fact given supplies of the deadly BGM-71 TOW anti-tank rockets (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided – launched from a tube, optically tracked, remote guided), designed by Hughes Aircraft in the 1960s, but currently manufactured by Raytheon.

It is therefore reasonable to assume that the precious sale of American bombs to Saudi Arabia will be able to continue through other channels: not only Israel but also the United Kingdom, already protagonist of a colossal business in the Arms Lobby with the Muslim Brotherhood, as we will see in others. reportage.

This is why the truth is always hidden behind a veil of diplomatic hypocrisy as in the case of the murder of the Muslim journalist of the Washington Post.

THE JOURNALIST OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERS

When I was looking for updated information on the September 11 2001 massacre to write a synthetic report aimed at highlighting the international complicity behind the attacks attributed to Al Qaeda, I came across some precious articles that correlated the attack on the Twin World Trade Center Towers with the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

The question is so complex and obscured by misdirections that I do not claim to spread absolute certainties. But the reportages to which I will refer confirm each other and the reliability of one of them is indirectly confirmed by the authoritativeness of a journalist who made various scoops by interviewing some of the American senators who supported not only the thesis of an international intrigue behind the massacre plot but they blamed Saudi Arabia without any hesitation.

In the Australian newspaper Herald Sun, investigative reporter Andrew Bolt already on October 16, 2018 analyzed the complex figure of Kashoggi, suspected of being an Arab secret agent, before becoming a champion of human rights as a columnist for the Washington Post of Jeff Bezos, founder and owner of Amazon but also an exemplary figure of that financial Deep State transversal to Republicans and Democrats, supported by international Freemasonry and military intelligence.

AL BAGHDADI: ISIS CALIPH AND MOSSAD-CIA AGENT HIDDEN BY US

«In truth, Khashoggi never had much time for western-style pluralistic democracy. In the 1970s he joined the Muslim Brotherhood, which exists to rid the Islamic world of western influence. He was a political Islamist until the end, recently praising the Muslim Brotherhood in the Washington Post» Bolt adds perhaps forgetting those who argue that this Islamic political-religious organization would have been created by Western Freemasonry to more effectively control the Middle East through the historical allies of Turkey and Qatar where in fact the Muslim Brotherhood are more influential as highlighted in the reportage Weapons Lobby 4.

Herald Sun then recalls the murdered reporter’s connection with «Yasin Aktay — a former MP for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) — whom Khashoggi told his fiancée to call if he did not emerge from the consulate. The AKP is, in effect, the Turkish branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. His most trusted friend, then, was an adviser to President Erdogan, who is fast becoming known as the most vicious persecutor of journalists on earth. Khashoggi never meaningfully criticised Erdogan. So we ought not to see this as the assassination of a liberal reformer».

Heavy words especially because they refer to a man killed and then dismembered to hide his remains. But which are in perfect harmony with the theory reported in a serial dossier by Irina Tsukerman, a lawyer specializing in human rights and national security in New York, an analyst on geopolitics and on US foreign policy on American and Israeli publications such as Begin- Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (Besa).

«In the wake of Qassem Soleimani’s killing by the US, Iran’s significant role in 9/11 briefly gained currency. What remains completely obscured, however, are the Saudi Islamists hiding in plain sight, who are trading on their past associations with Western intelligence to pursue the same agenda they had pre-9/11. Saudi Islamists have both an ideological and a financial interest in seeing the kingdom’s modernizing Vision2030 fail».

The lawyer wrote on the Israeli website specializing in military intelligence and therefore exposing himself to the risk of having some connection with the Mossad, the notorious counterintelligence of Tel Aviv, suspected of having had an occult direction both in the training of ISIS leader Al Baghdadi as in the attacks of 11 September 2001 as repeatedly reported by Veterans Today, an information portal managed by the former CIA officer, Gordon Duff, and by Gospa News in our previous investigation.

Precisely for this reason we must first verify and carefully analyze the correlations on the World Trade Center massacre mentioned by Tsukerman who, by calling into question the Iranian Shiite Muslim confession, sworn enemy of the radical Sunni-Salafis such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi Wahhabis, already smell of obvious and gigantic misdirection. To confirm the bias of Tsukerman’s dossier, his three reports are no longer traceable on Besa (but we have screenshots).

KHASHOGGI, FRIEND OF BIN LADEN AND SPY IN RIYADH AND LONDON

But one sentence is instead interesting because it is linked to the Australian article: «Much of what everyone thinks they know about the reform efforts of King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) is actually disinformation produced by these “dissidents.” They include former Saudi intel and Muslim Brotherhood members like Jamal Khashoggi, who wanted Saudi Arabia to become more, not less, like the Islamic state envisioned by Khashoggi’s friend Osama bin Laden».

Let’s close this Israeli parenthesis and return to the Herald Sun which continues the analysis: «Khashoggi and his fellow travellers believe in imposing Islamic rule by engaging in the democratic process… This matters because, although bin Salman has rejected Wahhabism — to the delight of the West — he continues to view the Muslim Brotherhood as the main threat most likely to derail his vision for a new Saudi Arabia. Most of the Islamic clerics in Saudi Arabia who have been imprisoned over the past two years — Khashoggi’s friends — have historic ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Khashoggi had therefore emerged as a de facto leader of the Saudi branch. Due to his profile and influence, he was the biggest political threat to bin Salman’s rule outside of the royal family».

Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden

«He had befriended Osama bin Laden in the 1980s and 1990s in Afghanistan and Sudan while championing his jihad against the Soviets in dispatches. At that same time, he was employed by the Saudi intelligence services to try to persuade bin Laden to make peace with the Saudi royal family. The result? Khashoggi was the only non-royal Saudi who had the beef on the royals’ intimate dealing with al Qaeda in the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks. That would have been crucial if he had escalated his campaign to undermine the crown prince» .

«Like the Saudi royals, Khashoggi dissociated himself from bin Laden after 9/11 (which Khashoggi and I watched unfold together in the Arab News office in Jeddah). But he then teamed up as an adviser to the Saudi ambassador to London and then Washington, Prince Turki Al Faisal» adds Andrew Bolt.

Finally, the Australian journalist recalls that «The latter had been Saudi intelligence chief from 1977 until just ten days before the 9/11 attacks, when he inexplicably resigned. Once again, by working alongside Prince Turki during the latter’s ambassadorial stints, as he had while reporting on bin Laden, Khashoggi mixed with British, US and Saudi intelligence officials. In short, he was uniquely able to acquire invaluable inside information».

ELIMINATED THE WHISTLEBLOWER ON 11 SEPTEMBER

Following the thesis of the Australian reporter who demonstrates that he knew the murdered colleague well, one therefore wonders what he wanted to do with that privileged information … Let’s try to respond with an analysis of human psychology first and then a journalistic investigation. As it turns out, Jamal had really fallen in love with his Turkish girlfriend, Hatice Cengiz, so much so that he was willing to challenge the dangers of which he was well aware in order to go to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to collect the documents necessary for the marriage.

It is therefore evident that in order to guarantee a peaceful future for himself and above all for his wife, he may have first made some attempts to mediate a sort of “immunity” from Riyadh and then instead tried to free his conscience about 9/11 by making the secrets public. in his possession in order to frustrate a possible attack against himself.

If I venture into this logical speculation it is only because I have carefully read the article published in the Florida Bulldog by the American investigative journalist Dan Christensen, who became famous for his interviews on the international conspiracy behind the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York.

The attacks resulted in the deaths of 2,996 people (including all 19 hijackers) and the injury of over 6,000 others. The death toll also included 265 on the four hijacked planes (of which there were no survivors), 2,606 in the World Trade Center and surrounding area, and 125 in the Pentagon.

«““Khashoggi was killed not because he was a dissident, but because of his contact with us,” said James Kreindler, a prominent New York attorney who represents thousands of 9/11 family members and survivors who are suing Saudi Arabia. A month after Saudi-born Khashoggi was allegedly killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit team on Oct. 2, 2018, the U.S. intelligence community disclosed intercepts of communications with Khashoggi’s phone to others. One exchange was with Khalid bin Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed’s younger brother who was then serving as the Saudi ambassador to the US» reported Florida Bulldog.

The Washington Post reported on the alleged conversation between KBS telling Kashoggi to go and collect documents at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for his planned wedding assuring him that “it would be safe to do so.” The revelation was part of the CIA dossier that today accuses Mohamed Bin Salman but a few hours later the Saudi ambassador denied the call.

“As we told the Washington Post the last contact I had with Mr. Khashoggi was via text on Oct 26 2017. I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the government to release any information regarding this claim,” Khalid wrote on Twitter on Nov. 16, 2018” Khalid wrote on Twitter on Nov. 16, 2018.

MYSTERIOUS MEETING BETWEEN KASHOGGI AND THE INVESTIGATOR

According to attorney Kreindler, October 26, 2017 was also the day Khashoggi met with a 9/11 family investigator in Washington.

«“Khashoggi was part of the intelligence community and we knew he knew a lot about the Saudi government’s involvement in 9/11. He was connected to the Muslim Brotherhood and to [former Saudi Crown Prince] Muhammad bin Nayef, and that’s the reason our investigator went to speak with him,” said Kreindler. “She said would you come to New York and talk to my boss? He said yes”» wrote Christensen. Then he reports the personal considerations of the lawyer of the World Trade Center victims.

“I’m sure that as soon as she left, he called KBS [Khalid bin Salman] and said, ‘Look, the 9/11 lawyers are on to me. They know that I know what you guys did and I didn’t give ‘em anything, but you’re holding my kid in Saudi Arabia and if you harm him I will.’ So my belief is that Khashoggi was killed not because he was a dissident, there are lots of dissidents, but because he was holding this ax over the Saudis’ heads.” told the lawyer.

According to Kreindler, however, it was a preliminary meeting in which Kashoggi, in voluntary exile from Saudi Arabia since September 2017 due to a “climate of fear and intimidation, did not provide any useful information.

The Florida Bulldog article ends by reminding that “there are still other reasons why the kingdom may have wanted Khashoggi’s death. In early 2018 Khashoggi would be involved in creating a defense group called Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) for a counter-narrative to the skeptics of the Arab Spring, initiated by the Obama-Biden administration.

REPORTER UNDER STOCK FOR THE WTC INVESTIGATION

Journalist Christensen had already highlighted the alleged responsibilities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by participating in a sensational interview by Matthew Ogden with former Senator Bob Graham in Naples, Florida, on November 11, 2014. Senator Graham was co-president of the joint Congressional 9/11 inquiry.

«The subject of the interview is the urgency of declassifying the redacted 28 pages of the Congressional Joint Inquiry’s report to expose the role of Saudi Arabia in financing not only the Al Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001, but also continuing to finance ISIS and related terrorist organizations today». This was also highlighted by Gospa News in relation to the bombing of the Churches of Sri Lanka in Easter 2019 and in reference to the use of death row inmates in the war in Yemen, witnessed by an exclusive document that proves the links of intelligence of Riyadh by sending militiamen to Al Qaeda even after the attacks on the Twin Towers.

«Investigative reporter Dan Christensen of the Broward Bulldog, as well as Miami-based first amendment attorney Tom Julin also participated in the interview. Christensen and Julin have been instrumental in combating persistent stonewalling by the Federal Bureau of Investigations in pursuing crucial leads pertaining to connections between a prominent Saudi family and a cell of 9/11 hijackers in Sarasota, Florida prior to the 9/11 attacks».

It was highlighted years ago by an article by LaRouchePAC, the communication project of the enterprising Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche Junior, a US politician and activist of the Democrats who passed away in 2019, who for years opposed the Deep State by proposing himself as a candidate in the presidential primary multiple times, even when he ended up in jail for some quirky tax violations uncovered by the FBI that he had accused of cover-ups for the World Trade Center tragedy.

AGGRESSIVE DECEPTION AT THE CONGRESS

In the same reportage was reported a public statement released by the same Senator Graham who launched heavy accusations for the international conspiracy and the consequent misdirection which he defined as an “aggressive deception” at the United States Congress and the public in relation to the attacks.

“The connection is a direct one. Not only has Saudi Arabia been promoting this extreme form of religion, but it also has been the principal financier, first of Al Qaeda, then of the various Al Qaeda franchises around the world—specifically the ones in Somalia and Yemen— and now the support of ISIS…I believe that had the role of Saudi Arabia in 9/11 been disclosed by the release of the 28 pages, and by the declassification of other information as to the Saudi role and support of the 9/11 hijackers, that it would have made it much more difficult for Saudi Arabia to have continued that pattern of behavior, and I think [we] would have had a good chance of reining in the activity that today Canada, the United States and other countries either are or are considering going to war with.” stated Graham on October,9,2014.

Bush, Cheney Bandar and Rice on the White House balcony on September 13, 2001 – source LaRouchePac

«It’s not a secret that the Saudi Royal family is very close to the Bushes. In fact, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., whose role in 9/11 is highly questionable, is known to many as “Bandar Bush.” Perhaps the Bush Administration blocked the release of the 28 pages to defend the KSA, whom they view as a close family friend, a business partner, and political ally» is the conclusion of LaRouchePAC who in another reportage shows the photo of former US President George W. Bush jr, Vice President Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and Saudi Prince Bandar on the balcony of the White House on September 13, 2001. Two days after the Holocaust of the Twin Towers.

The 28-page document was then declassified in the following years (we will soon make a summary report of the contents), demonstrating the close links between exponents financed by the Saudi government and the Al Qaeda terrorists who planned the attack by the kamikaze hijackers. But relations between the US and Saudi Arabia did not change one iota and the 9/11 investigation remained shrouded in the dust of the collapse of the two towers and building 6 imploded without ever having been reached as if there had been the reported explosion. by many experts. That dust forms a thicker and thicker blanket on the truth.

Today another US Intelligence dossier arrives, unveiled on the political indication of the new president Joe Biden who accuses Bin Mohamed Salman of the brutal murder of Jamal Kashoggi but, just like then, nothing happens between Washington and Riyadh … It is perhaps specious remember that former Republican President Bush junior made a fundamental endorsement for Biden’s victory in the hot 2020 election campaign that pitted him against outgoing President Donald Trump?

A small reaction to the horrendous execution of the Muslim Washington Post journalist took place in Europe. Reporters Without Borders announced that it had filed a complaint in Germany for crimes against humanity against the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed ben Salman, for his “responsibility” in the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and in the incarceration of a thirty of his colleagues. Presented on Monday to the Attorney General of the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe “for his jurisdiction” on major international crimes “, the complaint” concerns the widespread and systematic persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia “, reads an RSF statement.

Will something happen? We do not believe since the MK 80 bombs used by Saudi Arabia also against Yemeni hospitals were produced in Sardinia by RWM Italia Spa which is a subsidiary of the German Rheinmetall, subcontractor of a contract between the Arabs and the American Raytheon …

The Weapons Lobby is stronger than any massacre: even today’s one started with the Covid-19 pandemic, built in a laboratory according to virology and intelligence experts, and continued with Big Pharma vaccines in a single colossal project of the New World Order to control of the world population first in terms of health, then economic and finally military.

read more…

Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio
© COPYRIGHT GOSPA NEWS for VETERANS TODAY only
no reproduction without authorization – Versione originale in Italiano


MAIN SOURCES

GOSPA NEWS – WUHAN.GATES REPORTS

GOSPA NEWS – CORONA VIRUS DOSSIER

GOSPA NEWS – OSINT INVESTIGATIONS

GOSPA NEWS – WARZONES REPORTS

GOSPA NEWS – JIHADISTS REPORTS

MIDDLE EAST MONITOR – ISRAEL DEAL FOR US ARMS PURCHASES

HERALD SUN – DID SAUDIS KILL KHASHOGGI FOR HIS 9/11 SECRETS

FLORIDA BULLDOG  – KHASHOGGI MET 9/11 VICTIMS’ INVESTIGATOR

LAROUCHEPAC – 28PAGES HIDDEN ON 9/11 INQUIRY

AUTHOR DETAILSFabio Giuseppe Carlo CarisioDirector , Gospa NewsFabio is Director and Editor of Gospa News; a Christian Information Journal. Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio, born on 24/2/1967 in Borgosesia, started working as a reporter since he was only 19 years old in the alpine area of Valsesia, Piedmont, his birth region in Italy. After studying literature and history at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, he became deputy director of a local newspaper and specialized in judicial reporting. For about 15 years he is a correspondent from Northern Italy for the Italian newspapers Libero and Il Giornale, also writing important revelations on the Ustica massacre, a report on Freemasonry and organized crime. With independent investigations he collaborates with Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza in important investigations that conclude with the arrest of Camorra entrepreneurs or corrupt politicians. In July 2018 he found the counter-information webmedia Gospa News focused on geopolitics, terrorism, Middle East and military intelligence. He is a correspondent from Italy for the French news site Reseau International. He worked since many years for the magazine Art & Wine as art critic and curator http://www.art-wine.eu/https://www.gospanews.net/redazione@gospanews.net

Tim Anderson: US and Israeli involvement in the war on Yemen

Do You Read What They Write? Unstated Policies of Trump in Syria هل تقرأون ما يكتبون؟

ARABI SOURI 

James Jeffrey US - Trump policy against Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Russia

One of the facts that James Jeffrey, former envoy of Trump to Syria, reveals in his recent article is: “Turkey, the (Kurdish) SDF, and the armed terrorist opposition groups have worked hand in hand with the United States and Israel in Syria.”

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Bouthaina ShaabanPresident Assad Media Advisor and Arab thinker,she published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

After leaving his position as the US envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey showered us with interviews, statements, and articles, the most important of which was perhaps the article he published in Foreign Affairs on January 15th, 2021, with the title: “Biden Doesn’t Need a New Middle East Policy: The Trump Administration Got the Region Right.”

There is no doubt that this title is an important indication for readers of the direction of James Jeffrey’s discussion and views in the (Arab World) region and the humanitarian catastrophes that befell it as a result of his government’s criminal policies of terrorism, siege, and sanctions.

What is striking in the article are two things: the misleading language, which needs translation, even in the English language, in order to reach the true intended meaning, which the words try to obscure, and the outdated content that was spelled out by events and revealed its falsehood.

Jeffrey says: ‘The goal of the United States’ policy in the Trump administration was to contain Iran and Russia, get rid of the small wars in Iraq and Syria, and hand over the task to our partners in the two countries, but some of his advisers wanted the United States to remain engaged in Syria and Iraq to contain Iran.’

Jeffrey also affirms: “Trump supported Israel and Turkey in Syria and that he would rely primarily on the Gulf states, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel to stand up to Tehran,” and admits that “Trump’s main goal in Syria was to fight the Syrian state and not fight ISIS and in order to achieve these goals the Trump administration ignored the actions of important partners inside their countries, including Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, despite the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Trump administration’s public support for Israel was also a real change in US policy regarding the Golan, Jerusalem, and Western Sahara in order to ripen and bring out the Abraham Accords which are important to Israel.”

Jeffrey says: “Trump’s primary goal in containing Iran is to limit its presence in the region because Trump saw Iran as a regional threat to Israel and considered all other files, including the nuclear file, less important than this Iranian expansion in the region that threatens Israel. Regarding Syria, Trump’s policy has depended on two factors: the attempt to get rid of Assad through armed opposition and terrorism, destroy the infrastructure, impose sieges and sanctions to stifle the economy; and the second factor is reaching a political settlement through the United Nations and this depends on removing Iran from the Syrian and Iraqi equation.

Of course, he describes the plunder of Syrian oil, wheat, and resources: “The Trump administration deprived the Syrian government and its supporters of these resources (to incite the population against their government),” while the Trump administration committed a described criminal theft of the resources of the Syrian people that is no different from its destruction of the country’s resources and capabilities.

But one of the facts that Jeffrey reveals in this article is: “Turkey, the (Kurdish) SDF, and the armed terrorist opposition groups have worked hand in hand with the United States and Israel in Syria.” In other words, the Turkish Kurdish rivalries they claim in northeastern Syria are rivalries over what they plunder, and not on the method and goal of their disgraceful actions. He also reveals that the Israeli attacks on Syria received aid from American intelligence sources and that everything that affects the Syrian people in terms of aggression, murder, and terrorism The impoverishment and theft of resources and the deprivation of fuel, food, and medicine was coordinated between the Trump administration, Israel, Turkey and those who call themselves opposition inside or outside the country, whether armed or unarmed.

In other words, the goal of all that the enemies did was to undermine the Syrian state, weaken it and confiscate its independent decision, and that this war of attrition would continue because it was the only one that was effective against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and that the killing of Qassem Soleimani in Iraq was retaliation against the Iraqi forces that support Tehran and stand hostile to the United States.

What the reader concludes from the outcome of James Jeffrey’s writing and statements is the same that was published by the Israeli National Security Research Center two years ago, which is that the war on Syria has produced a resistance axis from Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Hezb Allah and that the first priority must be focused on striking and dismantling this axis, which is considered an existential threat to “Israel” in the first degree. With a careful look at all the above, it is not difficult to question those who are directing hostility to Iran in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and about the goals that they hope to achieve. It is clear that these are goals in the interest of who targets all of us in this region.

It is not difficult to re-read calls under ethnic or racial banners, as the only name Jeffrey gives to these, including the armed opposition and affiliated with Turkey or the Gulf, calls them: “our partners in the region” who complete the role we play there.

For a long time, I have been calling for us to read what they write and to fight back their ideas and plans wherever possible, but unfortunately, we overlook what they reveal and find ourselves in the midst of facing their plans and do not tire of saying that we were surprised or taken by surprise, while if we were following what they write and what they publish we would be able to extrapolate part of the events that were orchestrated for us, and perhaps we would have taken some measures that mitigate the effects of their crimes against us.

Even though people were stunned by the events of what they called the “Arab Spring” from Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, and Syria, I wrote more than once that the research they conducted on the region in 1997 concluded with a very important paper entitled: “Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” It describes in detail the tools and mechanisms that were adopted in the events of the Arab Spring and in all Arab countries, but we may not have read, and if we read, we did not take protective steps against the plans they draw and the mechanisms they define to achieve their goals in the region.

It is true that Western media is subject to major companies owned by the Zionists, but in the era of metaphorical media and social media, there are capabilities available to make our voice heard, to put our point of view, to deny their gossip, and impose our vision.

What is important in this regard is monitoring the inside, not just the outside, because their plans and scenarios depend on their agents and their tools within countries and not only on the few thousand soldiers they send here and there.

In this regard, it is necessary to be firm in dealing with proposals that are in the interest of the enemies and not to tolerate doubts about friends and allies because the front is one and the battle is one. It is clear from all the statements made by James Jeffrey, Rayburn, and all those to whom the files of this region were assigned, that their planning and thinking includes all our allies, and they have no difference between those who resist them in Baghdad, Tehran, Damascus or Beirut, they ignore all the minor issues in order to undermine this solidarity and alliance, which they see as a major threat to their interests in the region, especially to the usurping entity (Isreal) that belongs to them.

And before Trump’s departure, he placed Israel as a member of the joint forces responsible for the Middle East region, and this predicts stronger future alliances between it and Turkey and the (Kurdish) SDF in Syria, and between all the forces opposing the axis of resistance in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

What we have read and interpreted reveals a sample only for what they are doing that the targeting of national figures and resistance paths by some groupings is not spontaneous or arbitrary, but is part of a plan to serve the enemies and harm our countries, our friends and our allies.

Today the battle is no longer only on the borders but has become inside our country, in every institution and specialization, and in every aspect of thought, action, and evaluation, and throughout history, enemies of the interior, traitors, and insurgents have been more dangerous to national issues and goals than the enemies of the outside.

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هل تقرأون ما يكتبون؟

بثينة شعبان

بثينة شعبان 

إحدى الحقائق التي يكشف عنها جيمس جيفري في مقاله الأخير هي: “أن تركيا وقسد والمعارضات الإرهابية المسلحة عملوا يداً بيد مع الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل في سوريا”.

بعد مغادرته منصبه كمبعوث أميركي إلى سوريا أتحفنا جيمس جيفري بمقابلات وتصريحات ومقالات كان أهمها ربما المقال الذي نشره في مجلة “الشؤون الخارجية” (فورين أفيرز) بتاريخ 15 كانون الثاني/يناير9 2021 وبعنوان: “لا يحتاج بايدن إلى سياسة شرق أوسطية: إدارة ترامب وضعت المنطقة على السكة”.

ولا شك أن هذا العنوان مؤشر هام للقراء عن توجهات نقاش جيمس جيفري وآرائه في المنطقة، وما حلّ بها من كوارث إنسانية بسبب سياسات حكومته الإجرامية من الإرهاب والحصار والعقوبات.

واللافت في المقال أمران: اللغة المضلّلة والتي تحتاج إلى ترجمة، حتى باللغة الإنكليزية، لتصل إلى المعنى الحقيقي المقصود والذي تحاول الألفاظ التعمية عليه، والمضمون الذي تجاوزه الزمن والذي لفظته الأحداث وكشفت زيفه.

يقول جيفري: “إن هدف سياسة الولايات المتحدة في إدارة ترامب كان احتواء إيران وروسيا والتخّلص من الحروب الصغيرة في العراق وسوريا وتسليم المهمة لعملائنا في البلدين، ولكن بعض مستشاريه رغبوا أن تبقى الولايات المتحدة منخرطة في سوريا والعراق لاحتواء إيران”.

كما يؤكد جيفري: “أن ترامب دعم إسرائيل وتركيا في سوريا وأن اعتماده الأساسي كان على دول الخليج والأردن والعراق وإسرائيل للوقوف في وجه طهران”، ويعترف بأن “هدف ترامب الأساسي في سوريا كان محاربة الدولة السورية وليس محاربة داعش، ومن أجل إحراز هذه الأهداف فقد تجاهلت إدارة ترامب تصرفات الشركاء المهمين داخل بلادهم، بمن فيهم مصر وتركيا والسعودية رغم مقتل الصحفي جمال خاشقجي. كما كان الدعم العلني لإدارة ترامب لإسرائيل تغييراً حقيقياً في سياسة الولايات المتحدة بالنسبة للجولان والقدس والصحراء الغربية من أجل إنضاج وإخراج اتفاقات إبراهيم المهمة لإسرائيل”.

يقول جيفري: “إن هدف ترامب الأساسي من احتواء إيران هو الحدّ من وجودها في المنطقة لأن ترامب رأى إيران كخطر إقليمي على إسرائيل واعتبر كلّ الملفات الأخرى بما فيها الملف النووي أقلّ أهمية من هذا التمدّد الإيراني في المنطقة المهدّد لإسرائيل. أما بالنسبة لسوريا فقد اعتمدت سياسة ترامب على عاملين: محاولة التخلص من الأسد بواسطة المعارضة المسلحة والإرهاب وتدمير البنى التحتية وفرض الحصار والعقوبات لخنق الاقتصاد، والعامل الثاني التوصل إلى تسوية سياسية من خلال الأمم المتحدة وهذا يعتمد على إخراج إيران من المعادلة السورية والعراقية”.

وطبعاً يصف نهب النفط والقمح والموارد السورية: “بأن إدارة ترامب حرمت الحكومة السورية ومؤيديها من هذه الموارد (لتأليب السكان ضدّ حكومتهم)”، بينما ارتكبت إدارة ترامب سرقة إجرامية موصوفة لموارد الشعب السوري لا تختلف أبداً عن تدميرها لموارد البلاد ومقدراتها.

ولكنّ إحدى الحقائق التي يكشف عنها جيفري في هذا المقال هي: “أن تركيا وقسد والمعارضات الإرهابية المسلحة عملوا يداً بيد مع الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل في سوريا”؛ أي أن ما يدّعونه من خصومات كردية تركية في شمال شرق سوريا هي خصومات على ما ينهبون، وليس على طريقة وهدف أعمالهم المشينة، كما يكشف أيضاً أن الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية على سوريا تلقت العون من مصادر الاستخبارات الأميركية، وأن كل ما ينال الشعب السوري من عدوان وقتل وإرهاب وإفقار وسرقة موارد وحرمان من الوقود والغذاء والدواء كان منسّقاً بين إدارة ترامب وإسرائيل وتركيا ومن يسمون أنفسهم معارضات داخل أو خارج البلد مسلحة كانت أو غير مسلحة.

أي أن الهدف من كل ما قام به الأعداء هو النيل من الدولة السورية وإضعافها ومصادرة قرارها المستقل، وأن حرب الاستنزاف هذه ستستمر لأنها الوحيدة التي كانت ناجعة ضد السوفييت في أفغانستان، وأن قتل قاسم سليماني في العراق كان انتقاماً من القوى العراقية التي تؤيد طهران وتقف موقف العداء من الولايات المتحدة.

ما يستنتجه القارئ من حصيلة كتابة وتصريحات جيمس جيفري هو ذاته الذي نشره مركز أبحاث الأمن القومي الإسرائيلي منذ سنتين وهو أن الحرب على سوريا قد أنتجت محوراً مقاوماً من إيران والعراق وسوريا وحزب الله، وأن الأولوية الأولى يجب أن تنصّب على ضرب وتفكيك هذا المحور الذي يعتبر تهديداً وجودياً لـ “إسرائيل” في الدرجة الأولى. وفي نظرة متأنية لكلّ ما تقدّم ليس من الصعب أن نتساءل عن الذين يناصبون العداء لإيران في العراق وسوريا ولبنان وعن أهدافهم التي يرجون تحقيقها؛ إذ من الواضح أنها أهداف تصبّ في مصلحة من يستهدفنا جميعاً في هذه المنطقة.

وليس من الصعب أن نعيد قراءة مطالبات تحت عناوين إثنية أو عرقية، إذ أن الاسم الوحيد الذي يطلقه جيفري على هؤلاء بمن فيهم المعارضات المسلحة والتابعة لتركيا أو الخليج يسميهم: “عملاءنا في المنطقة” والذين يكملون الدور الذي نقوم به هناك. 

منذ زمن وأنا أدعو أن نقرأ ما يكتبون وأن نقارع أفكارهم وخططهم حيثما أمكن ذلك، ولكن وللأسف فإننا نغفل ما يكشفون عن أنفسهم ونجد أنفسنا في خضمّ مواجهة مخططاتهم ولا نتعب من أن نقول إننا فوجئنا أو أُخذنا على حين غرّة، بينما لو كنا نتابع ما يكتبون وما ينشرون لتمكنّا من استقراء جزءٍ من الأحداث التي تمّ تدبيرها لنا، ولاتّخذنا ربما بعض الإجراءات التي تخفف من آثار جرائمهم المرتبكة بحقنا.

فمع أن الناس بُهتت بأحداث ما أسموه بـ “الربيع العربي” من تونس إلى مصر وليبيا وسوريا، فقد كتبتُ أكثر من مرة أن الأبحاث التي أجروها عن المنطقة في العام 1997 والتي خلصت إلى ورقة هامة جداً بعنوان: “الاختراق النظيف؛ الاستراتيجية الجديدة للسيطرة على المكان” تصف بالتفصيل الأدوات والآليات التي تمّ اعتمادها في أحداث الربيع العربي وفي كافة الدول العربية، ولكننا ربما لم نقرأ، وإذا قرأنا لم نتخذ الخطوات الواقية من المخططات التي يرسمونها والآليات التي يحددونها لإنجاز أهدافهم في المنطقة.

صحيح أن الإعلام الغربي خاضع لشركات كبرى يملكها الصهاينة ولكن وفي عصر الإعلام المجازي ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي هناك إمكانات متاحة لإسماع صوتنا ولوضع وجهة نظرنا ولتكذيب أقاويلهم وفرض رؤيتنا نحن.

والمهم في هذا الصدد هو رصد الداخل وليس رصد الخارج فقط، لأن خططهم وسيناريواتهم تعتمد على عملائهم وأدواتهم داخل البلدان وليس فقط على بضعة آلاف من الجنود يرسلونها هنا وهناك.

وفي هذا الصدد لابدّ من الحزم في التعامل مع الطروحات التي تصبّ في مصلحة الأعداء وعدم التسامح بالتشكيك بالأصدقاء والحلفاء أو تناولهم لأن الجبهة واحدة والمعركة واحدة، ومن الواضح من كلّ ما أدلى به جيمس جيفري ورايبورن وكل الذين تُوكل إليهم ملفات هذه المنطقة، أن تخطيطهم وتفكيرهم يشمل كل الحلفاء، لا فرق لديهم بين من يقاومهم في بغداد أو طهران أو دمشق أو بيروت، وهم يتجاهلون كل المسائل الصغرى في سبيل النيل من هذا التعاضد والتحالف الذي يرون فيه خطراً كبيراً على مصالحهم في المنطقة وخاصة على الكيان الغاصب التابع لهم.

وقبل مغادرة ترامب وضع “إسرائيل” عضواً في القوات المشتركة المسؤولة عن منطقة الشرق الأوسط، وهذا ينبئ بتحالفات مستقبلية أقوى بينها وبين تركيا وقسد في سوريا، وبين كل القوى المناهضة لمحور المقاومة في إيران والعراق وسوريا ولبنان.

يكشف ما قرأناه وفنّدناه كنموذج فقط عمّا يقومون به أن التصويب داخل بلداننا على شخصيات وطنية وعلى مسارات مقاومة من قبل بعض التجمعات ليس عفوياً ولا اعتباطياً، ولكنه يندرج ضمن خطة خدمة الأعداء وإلحاق الأذى ببلداننا وأصدقائنا وحلفائنا.

لم تعد المعركة اليوم فقط على الحدود، بل أصبحت داخل بلدنا وفي كل مؤسسة واختصاص وفي كل مفصل من مفاصل الفكر والعمل والتقييم، وعبر التاريخ كان أعداء الداخل والخونة والمخترقون أشدّ خطورة على القضايا والأهداف الوطنية من أعداء الخارج. إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

How Gulf states became business partners in Israel’s occupation

Jonathan Cook

14 December 2020 12:29 UTC | 

Since signing the Abraham Accords, the UAE and Bahrain have been actively colluding with Israel’s settler movement and military authorities

The professed rationale for the recent Abraham Accords, so-called “peace deals” signed with Israel by the UAE and Bahrain, was to stymie Israeli efforts to annex swaths of the West Bank. 

The aim was supposedly to neutralise another “peace” plan – one issued early this year by US President Donald Trump’s administration – that approved Israel’s annexation of large areas of the West Bank dominated by illegal Jewish settlements. 

In practice, both have quickly jettisoned any pretence that Palestinians will benefit from these deals

The two Gulf states trumpeted the fact that, in signing the accords in September, they had effectively scotched that move, thereby salvaging hopes of a future Palestinian state. Few observers entirely bought the official story – not least because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that annexation had only been put on temporary hold

The real purpose of the Abraham Accords appeared less about saving Palestinians than allowing Gulf states to go public with, and expand, their existing ties to Israel. Regional intelligence could now be shared more easily, especially on Iran, and the Gulf would gain access to Israeli hi-tech and US military technology and weapons systems. 

Separately, Sudan was induced to sign the accords after promises it would be removed from Washington’s list of “terror-supporting” states, opening the door to debt relief and aid. And last week, Morocco became the fourth Arab state to initiate formal relations with Israel after the Trump administration agreed to recognise its occupation of Western Sahara.

Twisting more arms

Israel, in return, has been able to begin “normalising” with an important bloc of Arab states – all without offering any meaningful concessions on the Palestinian issue.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also reported to have been considering doing their own deals with Israel. Jared Kushner, Trump’s Middle East adviser, visited the region this month in what was widely assumed to be a bid to twist arms. UAE-Israel deal: Abraham accord or Israeli colonialism?

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Riyadh’s hesitation, however, appears to have increased after Trump lost last month’s US presidential election to Joe Biden. 

Last week, during an online conference held in Bahrain and attended by Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, a former senior Saudi government official, Turki al-Faisal al-Saud, launched a blistering verbal attack on Israel, saying it jailed Palestinians in “concentration camps” and had built an “apartheid wall”. It was unclear whether he was speaking in more than a personal capacity.

While the covert purpose of the Abraham Accords was difficult to obscure, the stated aim – of aiding Palestinians by preventing Israel’s annexation of the West Bank – was still seen as a vital tool for the UAE and Bahrian to sell these agreements back home.

But in practice, both have quickly jettisoned any pretence that Palestinians will benefit from these deals. Not only that, but already they barely bother to conceal the fact that they are actively and tangibly colluding with Israel to harm Palestinians – by bolstering Israel’s illegal settlements and subsidising its military regime of occupation. 

Trade with settlements

Bahrain demonstrated this month how indifferent it is to the negative impacts on Palestinians. On a visit to Israel, the country’s trade minister, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani, said Bahrain was open to importing products from Israel wherever they were manufactured. “We have no issue with labelling or origin,” he said

The comment suggested that Manama was ready to become a gateway for Israel to export settlement products to the rest of the Arab world, helping to bolster the settlements’ legitimacy and economic viability. Bahrain’s trade policy with Israel would then be even laxer than that of the European Union, a top trade partner for Israel. The EU’s feeble guidelines recommend the labelling of settlement products. 

An illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank is pictured on 19 November 2019 (AFP)
An illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank is pictured on 19 November 2019 (AFP)

After wide reporting of Zayani’s comments, Bahrain’s state news agency issued a statement shortly afterwards saying he had been “misinterpreted”, and that there would be no import of settlement goods. But it is hard not to interpret the remarks as indicating that behind the scenes, Bahrain is only too willing to collude in Israel’s refusal to distinguish between products from Israel and those made in the settlements.

That this is the trading basis of the Abraham Accords is further highlighted by reports that the UAE is already welcoming business with Israel’s illegal settlements. An Israeli winery, using grapes grown on the Golan Heights, a large plateau of Syrian territory seized by Israel in 1967 and illegally annexed in 1981, has reportedly started exporting to the UAE, which has liberalised its alcohol laws for non-citizens.

This is a fruitful turn of events for Israel’s 500,000 settlers in the occupied West Bank. They have lost no time touting for business, with the first delegation arriving in Dubai last month hoping to tap new markets in the Arab world via the UAE. Last week a settler delegation reportedly returned to Dubai to sign an agreement with a UAE company to import settlement goods, including alcohol, honey, olive oil, and sesame paste.

New low-point 

This marks a new low-point in the shift by Arab states away from their original position that Israel was a colonial implant in the region, sponsored by the West, and that there could be no “normalisation” – or normal relations – with it. 

In 2002, Saudi Arabia launched the Arab Peace Initiative, which offered Israel full diplomatic relations in return for ending the occupation. But Gulf states are now not only normalising with Israel when the occupation is actually intensifying; they are normalising with the occupation itself – as well as its bastard progeny, the settlements. 

The peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain will help the settlements entrench further, assisting Israel’s longstanding policy of annexing the West Bank in all but name

Israel has built more than 250 settlements across a vast expanse of occupied Palestinian territory – 62 percent of the West Bank, referred to as Area C under the Oslo Accords. This area was supposed to be gradually transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the government-in-waiting under Mahmoud Abbas, to become the territorial backbone of a Palestinian state. 

Instead, over the past quarter of a century, Israel has used its supposedly temporary control over Area C to rapidly expand the settlements, stealing vital land and resources. These colonies have been highly integrated into Israel, with settler roads criss-crossing the occupied West Bank and tightly limiting Palestinian movement.

The peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain will help the settlements entrench further, assisting Israel’s longstanding policy of annexing the West Bank in all but name, through the creation of facts on the ground – the very outcome the Abraham Accords claimed they were meant to prevent. 

Yossi Dagan, head of the West Bank regional council that visited Dubai last month, declared that there was “no contradiction between our demand to impose sovereignty [annex large parts of the West Bank] and the strengthening of commercial and industrial ties” with the Gulf. 

Al-Aqsa dividend

In other words, settlers see the Abraham Accords as a business opportunity to expand their footprint in the occupied West Bank, not an obstacle. The likely gains for the settlers will include tourism, too, as visitors from the Gulf are expected to flock to al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. 

The irony is that, because of Israel’s physical seizure of areas around the Islamic holy site and its control over access, Gulf Arabs will have far greater rights at al-Aqsa than the majority of Palestinians, who cannot reach it.

Jordan, which has long been the custodian of al-Aqsa, justifiably fears that Saudi Arabia may use a future accord with Israel to muscle its way into taking charge of the Jerusalem holy site, adding it to its guardianship of Mecca and Medina. 

Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in June 2018 (AFP)
Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in June 2018 (AFP)

In occupied Jerusalem, Palestinians are deprived of the chance to develop their own housing, let alone infrastructure to cope with the business opportunities provided by the arrival of wealthy Gulf Arabs. That should leave Israel and its settler population – rather than Palestinians – well-placed to reap the dividends from any new tourism ventures.

In a supreme irony, a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family has bought a major stake in the Beitar Jerusalem football team, whose supporters are fiercely anti-Arab and back the takeover of East Jerusalem by settlers. 

Palestinian laboratories

During his visit, Bahrain’s Zayani observed that, as his country geared up for flights to and from Israel next month: “We are fascinated by how integrated IT and the innovation sector in Israel has been embedded in every facet of life.” Israel-UAE deal: The Emiratis are now under Israel’s thumb

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But Israel’s technology sector is “embedded in every facet of life” only because Israel treats the occupied Palestinian territories as a laboratory. Tests are conducted there on how best to surveil Palestinians, physically limit their movement and freedoms, and collect their biometric data

The hi-tech firms carrying out these experiments may be formally headquartered inside Israel, but they work and profit from their activities in the occupied territories. They are a vast complex of settlement businesses in their own right.

This is why Nabil Shaath, an aide to Abbas, observed of the Gulf’s burgeoning ties with Israel that it was “painful to witness Arab cooperation with one of the worst manifestations of aggression against the Palestinian people, which is the Israeli settlements on our land”. 

Settler ally

How enthusiastically the UAE and Bahrain are getting into the occupation business, and preparing to subsidise its worst features, is highlighted by the Abraham Fund, set up by the US in October. It is a vehicle for Gulf states and Israel to secure billions of dollars in private investment to underpin their new diplomatic relations. 

Again, the official story has glossed over the reality. According to statements from the main parties, the fund is intended to raise at least $3bn to bolster regional economic cooperation and development initiatives.

If the oil-rich Gulf states help pick up the tab, they will incentivise Israel to stay put and steal yet more Palestinian land and resources

The UAE’s minister of state, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, has said: “The initiative can be a source of economic and technological strength for the region, while simultaneously improving the lives of those who need the most support.”

The fund is supposed to help Palestinians, as one of those groups most in need of support. But again, the main parties are not playing straight. The deception is revealed by the Trump administration’s selection of who is to head the Abraham Fund, one of its last appointments before the handover to Biden. 

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the fund will be overseen by Aryeh Lightstone, a fervently right-wing rabbi and ally of Israel’s settler community. Lightstone is a senior adviser to David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel who has his own strong ties to the settlements. Friedman pushed aggressively for the US to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem. Trump finally did so in May 2018, breaking an international consensus against locating diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. 

Checkpoint upgrade

The political priorities of Lightstone are evident in one of the Abraham Fund’s first declared projects: to “modernise” Israeli checkpoints across the occupied West Bank. 

The checkpoint upgrade is being hailed by US officials as designed to benefit Palestinians. It will speed up their passage as they try to move around the occupied West Bank, and as those with permits enter Israel or the settlements to work. One senior Trump administration official promised checkpoint delays that currently keep Palestinians waiting for many hours could be dramatically cut: “If I can upgrade that, which doesn’t cost a lot of money, and have it take 30 seconds, I am blowing up [freeing up] 400,000 work hours a day.”

There are many glaring problems with this approach – not least that under international law, belligerent military occupations such as Israel’s must be temporary in nature. Israel’s occupation has endured for more than five decades already. 

Palestinians make their way through a checkpoint north of Hebron on 4 October (AFP)
Palestinians make their way through a checkpoint north of Hebron on 4 October (AFP)

Efforts to make the occupation even more permanent – by improving and refining its infrastructure, such as through upgrades to create airport-style checkpoints – is in clear breach of international law. Now the Gulf will be intimately involved in subsidising these violations.

Further, the idea that the Abraham Fund’s checkpoint upgrade is assisting Palestinians – “those who most need support” – or developing their economy is patently ridiculous. The fund is exclusively helping Israel, a robust first-world economy, which is supposed to shoulder the costs of its military rule over Palestinians. 

The Abraham Fund’s planned checkpoint upgrade is actually a subsidy by the Gulf to the settlements

The economic costs of occupation are one of the few tangible pressures on Israel to withdraw from the territories and allow Palestinians sovereignty. If the oil-rich Gulf states help pick up the tab, they will incentivise Israel to stay put and steal yet more Palestinian land and resources.

Indeed, the hours being freed up, even assuming that is what actually happens, are unlikely to help the Palestinian economy or bring financial benefits to the Palestinian labourers Israel has made dependent on its economy through the lengthy occupation. To develop their own economy, Palestinians need their land and resources stolen by Israel restored to them.

Herding Palestinians

Seen another way, the Abraham Fund’s planned checkpoint upgrade is actually a subsidy by the Gulf to the settlements. That is because the very purpose of the checkpoints is to enforce Israeli control over where and when Palestinians can travel in their homeland. 

Israel uses the checkpoints as a way to herd Palestinians into particular areas of the occupied West Bank, especially the third under nominal PA control, while blocking their entry to the rest. That includes a denial of access to the West Bank’s most fertile land and its best water sources. Those areas are exactly where Israel has been building and expanding the settlements.From Egypt to the UAE, normalisation with Israel heralds disaster

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Palestinians are in a zero-sum battle against the settlers for control over land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Any help Israel receives in restricting their movement through checkpoints is a loss to Palestinians and a victory for the settlers. Modernised checkpoints will simply be far more efficient at herding Palestinians where Israel and the settlers want them to be.

In partnering with Israel on upgrading checkpoints, the Gulf will be aiding Israel in making its technology of confinement and control of the Palestinian population even more sophisticated, benefiting once again the settlers. 

This is the real story of the Gulf’s Abraham Accords – not simply of turning a blind eye to Israel’s decades-long oppression of Palestinians, but of actively becoming partners with Israel and the settlers in carrying out that oppression. 

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

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

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