For Trump’s Middle East allies, Joe Biden is a new nightmare


David Hearst
17 November 2020 14:19 UTC | Last update: 17 hours 25 mins ago

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

The president-elect’s actions in the Middle East will be dictated by events. But the loss of Trump represents a body check for the ambitions and aspirations of Gulf hegemons
Then Vice President Joe Biden during a visit to Saudi Arabia in 2011 (Reuters)

You can detect the shadow of Donald Trump fading from the Middle East in the nervous twitches of his closest allies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accelerating settlements before the inevitable freeze or pause in construction in January when President-Elect Joe Biden takes over. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is releasing just a fraction of the estimated 60,000 political prisoners he has stashed in his jails.

Trump’s Middle East triumphs will soon turn to disaster

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Sisi’s television anchors are, from one day to the next, given different scripts to read out. Take the sad case of Nashaat al-Deehy. When Biden was a candidate, al-Deehy trashed him: “Joseph Biden will become the oldest US president in the history of the United States of America. On 20 November he will be 78 years old. This will impact his mental situation and he suffers from Alzheimer’s and therefore is not fit to be president of the United States of America.”

But once the US media had called Biden president-elect, al-Deehy became respectful. “We have just learned that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi sent a congratulations cable to US President-elect Joe Biden. This man has great respect for Egypt and is known to be wise and he listens well. He does not take decisions frantically. He does not take decisions when he’s angry. All of this was missing in the case of Donald Trump, who was violent and stubborn and arrogant. All of this we’re seeing it.”

Small gestures

The Saudi ambassador in London is in an equal turmoil. One day he hints to the Guardian that jailed women activists could be freed during the G20 summit next week.

“The G20, does it offer an opportunity for clemency? Possibly. That is a judgment for someone other than me,” said Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. “People ask: is it worth the damage it is causing you, whatever they did? That is a fair argument to make and it is a discussion we have back at home within our political system and within our ministry.”

The next day he calls in the BBC to deny what he has just said.

Poor ambassador.

The king himself is by no means immune from wild policy swings. He has started being nice to Turkey.

A week after the earthquake in Izmir, Salman ordered the dispatch of “urgent aid” to the city. Then we learn that the king of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were in talks. The occasion was to present condolences for the death of the Bahraini Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. But direct contact with a satellite of Riyadh would have been impossible without a green light from the diwan, the Saudi royal court.

Ever since Erdogan refused to let the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul drop, he has become a hate figure in Riyadh. Turkey has been declared – repeatedly –  a regional threat by Saudi social media and Turkish goods subject to a growing boycott. Now it has all changed.

These are small gestures, but telling ones, as Trump leaves office.

CIA bites back

Top of the list of nervous allies is the man who used Trump to fashion his rise to power.

Biden has every incentive to encourage MBS’ many enemies in the Royal family to step forward to prevent the over ambitious prince from becoming King

To become crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) had to get rid of, and trash the reputation of his elder cousin Mohammed bin Nayef, who was at the time the CIA’s prime asset in the country and the Gulf region. Before he did this, bin Salman phoned Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law and Middle East adviser, to ask permission. It was given, sources with knowledge of the call told Middle East Eye.

Biden knows bin Nayef personally. Bin Nayef’s chief of staff and former interior minister Saad al-Jabri has fled to Toronto. A few days after Khashoggi’s assassination in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, MBS despatched another crew from the Tiger Squad to kill al-Jabri, according to a lawsuit filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act in the US District of Columbia.

Al-Jabri was lucky. Border agents at Toronto International Airport detected the operation and sent it back home. All this is active evidence. None of this has been dealt with. The CIA’s own assessment that MBS ordered Khashoggi’s killing has never been published.

It is not just Biden himself the crown prince has to fear – although the presidential candidate reserved his sharpest words for the killing of Khashoggi – but the return of the CIA to the top table of decision making in the White House.

Overnight MBS goes from having a president in the White House who “saved his ass”, as Trump put it, to a successor who is not remotely interested in doing the same. Biden has every incentive to encourage MBS’s many enemies in the royal family to step forward to prevent the over-ambitious prince from becoming king. There are enough of them, by now.

Get out of jail card

An Oval Office under new management leaves MBS with relatively few options.

He could use Israel as his get-out-of-jail card, by pushing for recognition and normalisation. There is bipartisan support in Congress for the Abraham Accords signed between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel.

How Mohammed bin Salman is quietly enabling an Israeli axis in the Arab world

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Although the incoming Biden administration will put more emphasis on restarting direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, it would not stop another major Arab state like Saudi Arabia from joining the party.

The opposition to Saudi normalisation with Israel would be at home, not abroad. Recognising Israel would be perilous domestically. However much Saud alQahtani’s social media trolls bully Saudi public opinion, it is ferociously pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist.

Never more so than today, Palestine remains the key source of instability in the Middle East, the conflict that defines it, the conflict that endures as a symbol of European colonisation and Arab humiliation.

The custodian of the Two Holy Mosques recognising Israel? Not over many Muslims’ dead bodies.

Each time MBS has had to walk back on his wish to recognise Israel (and he was very near to flying to Washington and playing the role of smiling sponsor at the signing ceremony in the White House, before cancelling at the last minute) he has turned to his father, the king, to say that nothing has changed and reaffirm official state policy.

This is the Arab Peace Initiative published by his predecessor King Abdullah in 2002 and it only allows  recognition of Israel after a negotiated solution has been found based on 1967 borders.

US President Donald Trump waves to supporters on 15 November (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump waves to supporters on 15 November (Reuters)

The loss of Trump’s “крыша” – or protective roof – and the arrival of a hostile president in Biden will mean that MBS will need his father in the post as king even more than he has done in the past. We know from Saudi sources that at one point MBS was toying with the idea of forcing his father’s premature abdication on health grounds and seizing the crown himself.

The loss of Trump’s protective roof and the arrival of a hostile president in Biden will mean that MBS will need his father in the post as king even more than he has done in the past

In his latest round of purges, MBS targeted leading members of Hay’at al-Bayaa (the Allegiance Council) whose role is to approve a royal succession and the appointment of a new crown prince.

The latest arrests to purge the Allegiance Council of his critics would only have made sense if MBS himself was intending to becoming king. But that was in good times, when bin Salman’s star was rising and he could still visit London and Washington without creating flashmobs of human rights protesters.

In bad times, the king remains the tribal chief, who commands the loyalty of the royal family and the kingdom. Regardless of Salman’s actual mental condition, he is still the head of the family and there will be no rebellion against him. The same would not apply to his son if he pushed his father aside and seized the crown. He would be fair game for a palace coup. This is probably the main reason why the father is still king.

Regional alliance

The fate of the regional alliance that a future King Mohammed was attempting to build around himself also hangs in the balance. The real fight going on in the Sunni Arab world is about who would take over as leader and Western proxy.

Biden must end Trump’s alliance with Mohammed bin Salman

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The purpose of the alliance with Israel – in Emirati eyes – is not to increase wealth but power, power to become, with Saudi Arabia under King Mohammed, the regional hegemon.

That ambition still exists.

But the role that an “Arab Nato” alliance was intended to play to combat and curb Iran will now be diminished by Biden’s attempt to restore the nuclear agreement with Tehran. Iran’s rulers stared Trump in the eyes and did not blink first. They outlasted this US president as they have done to Jimmy Carter and every president who followed him.

The nuclear agreement (known as JCPOA) was Barack Obama’s crowning foreign policy achievement – although it was the fruition of years of negotiation involving many countries and past foreign ministers – the so-called P5 plus one, the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, and Turkey and Brazil before them.

However, each side’s moves are sequenced and whatever difficulties that lie on that path, Biden will pivot once more to restoring this nuclear agreement. Even if some sanctions continue, the policy of using them to exert “maximum pressure” will be over.

Detente will inevitably create a new reality in the Gulf region.

It will also create a new reality for members of the opposing alliance, Turkey and Qatar. Biden is no admirer of Erdogan, with whom he has spent many hours talking. He has apologised to Erdogan once for remarks suggesting that Turkey helped facilitate the rise of the Islamic State group. He is not about to do that again soon.

In a meeting with the New York Times’ editorial board filmed in December, Biden described Erdogan as an autocrat. Asked about how comfortable he felt with the US still basing 50 nuclear weapons in Turkey, Biden said his comfort level had “diminished a great deal” and that he would be making it clear to the Turkish leader that the US supports the opposition.

A volatile world

Once in power, Biden may find it more difficult to express this personal hostility. Whether he likes it or not, Turkey is a more confident regional military power than it was in Obama’s time.

Its military has proved itself as a counterweight to Russian military power in Syria and Libya, and it has just achieved a major breakthrough in Nagorno Karabakh, establishing for the first time access by road from the Turkish border to the Caspian Sea.

This is a strategic win for the Turkish state.

If he is going to partially lift sanctions on Iran, Biden will find that he needs Turkey as a regional counterbalance. There are today too many arenas, from Syria and Iraq to Libya, where Turkey has become a player. Biden has to deal with these “facts on the ground” whether he likes it or not.

Similarly, pressure will also now grow on Saudi Arabia to end its siege on Qatar. Their immediate neighbour, the UAE, will always regard Qatar’s pro-Islamist foreign policy as an existential threat. But the same does not apply to Riyadh, and quiet negotiations in Oman and Kuwait have already taken place.

Biden’s actions in the Middle East will be dictated by events. But the loss of Trump represents a body check for the ambitions and aspirations of Gulf hegemons.

It’s a more uncertain, volatile world.

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

How the Israel-UAE Pact Undermines International Law

Lawrence Davidson (@PointAnalyses) | Twitter

Posted by Lawrence Davidson 

How the Israel-UAE Pact Undermines International Law—An Analysis (22 August 2020) by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—“Normalizing” Relations

Much of the diplomatic world has gone gaga over the 13 August 2020 “normalization” of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—facilitated by years of encouragement coming out of Washington. 

In truth this is but a quasi-new relation, because “Israel and the UAE have been cooperating and normalizing relations under the table for many years.” The UAE’s agreement to the public upgrading of this relationship was reportedly made in exchange for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “suspension of plans to annex parts of the West Bank.” We can now update the old warning to beware of Greeks bearing gifts—beware of Zionists offering compromise.

Though the Israeli Prime Minister’s suspension of annexation is hailed as a major compromise on the part of Israel, it is more illusory than real. Both the Palestinians and Netanyahu himself pointed out that the suspension is not seen as a permanent one. The Palestinians and their supporters also quickly pointed out that this agreement changed nothing in terms of Israel’s illegal behavior on the ground—particularly the de facto annexation represented by the continuing encroachment of Israeli settlements. Under these circumstances, the agreement actually registers the UAE’s acceptance of this criminal state of affairs. The Palestinian spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi put it succinctly: “May you never be sold out by your ‘friends.’ Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it has been doing to Palestine illegally & persistently since the beginning of the occupation.”

Despite the fact that the change from informal relations to something more official and public meant little change on Israel’s part, the leaders of the Zionist state, the U.S., and the UAE were determined to present the event in a way that would convince both themselves and others that something momentous had been realized. 

The joint statement coming from the three governments celebrated a “historic diplomatic breakthrough.” Netanyahu asserted that the agreement marked “a new age in Israel’s relations with the Arab World.” He expected to see more Arab states follow the UAE’s lead. And, indeed, it looks like the disreputable dictatorship in Bahrain might be the next in line. 

President Trump framed the event this way, “By uniting two of America’s closest and most capable partners in the region” — something which his egocentric worldview drove him to insist only his administration could do—“this deal is a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous Middle East.” Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien expressed his opinion that the deal should “solidify a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for Trump.” That would, potentially, put Trump right up there with the ignominious Henry Kissinger.

The Democratic Party candidate for president, Joe Biden, immediately gave his approval. “The UAE’s offer to publicly recognize the State of Israel is a welcome, brave, and badly-needed act of statesmanship. … A Biden-Harris administration will seek to build on this progress, and will challenge all the nations of the region to keep pace.”

Others soon chimed in:

—Egyptian military dictator Abdel Fattah El-Sisi told us “This step will bring peace to the Middle East. We appreciate the efforts of those in charge of this agreement in order to achieve prosperity and stability for our region.”

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas: Germany welcomed the “historic” deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The normalization of ties between the two countries “is an important contribution to peace in the region.”

—United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the agreement, saying “The UAE and Israel’s decision to normalize relations is hugely good news.”

Besides the Palestinians, there were only a few others who saw through the facade. Iran labeled the agreement as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause. “The oppressed people of Palestine and all the free nations of the world will never forgive the normalizing of relations with the criminal Israeli occupation regime.” Turkey’s reaction was similar: “Neither history nor the collective conscience of the region will ever forget and forgive the hypocritical behavior of the UAE, which is trying to depict the deal as a sacrifice for Palestine, when in reality it is a betrayal to the Palestinian cause for its own narrow interests.”

I think Iran and Turkey are correct in their reaction to what is certainly a betrayal. However, I am not sure of the “never forgive” part, keeping in mind the fact that collective memories have, historically, proved fickle. Nonetheless, if anything, these two critical countries did not go far enough in their condemnation. This is so because the Israel-UAE deal is a betrayal of more than the hopes for justice and a better future of oppressed peoples. This bilateral agreement, whether it spreads to the rest of the Arab world or not, is nothing less than the forsaking of the world’s prospects for more civilized and humane international relations.

Part II—The Deep Context 

It would appear that the vast majority of world leaders either know very little history or consider it, as Henry Ford did in 1916, as “bunk.” Yet, the Israel-UAE pact should be measured not only against the historical injustices to Palestinians which it reinforces, but also against the harm it does to a number of progressive historical achievements realized immediately following World War II.

After World War II a number of seminal reforms were undertaken. A revived United Nations was established, a Universal Declaration of Human Rights was inaugurated, international conventions outlawing genocide and crimes against humanity were signed. Eventually apartheid was outlawed and an international criminal court established. These steps, spurred on by the horrors of total war culminating in the Holocaust, represented great forward progress for mankind. They should have strengthened the provisions set forth in the pre-existing Geneva Conventions and acted to restrain aggressive nationalism. They should have acted to educate the masses against racist policies and assured accountability for those who would promote government-level criminal behavior. 

If all of these post-World War II reforms had actually been enforced, it would now be easier to exercise effective pressure to settle the differences between Israelis and Palestinians based on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention. International acceptance of the racist nature of Israeli society and the apartheid-style policies it pursues would be much less likely. Government leaders who promoted near-genocide in places like Myanmar and Sri Lanka would face a truly effective International Criminal Court. George Bush’s unjustified invasion of Iraq in 2003 would have had to be judged every bit as criminal as Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. And the two men’s fates might have been the same. The world would have progressed both in terms of ethics and respect for laws forbidding crimes against humanity.  

The recent Israel-UAE deal is but another sign that these progressive reforms mean nothing. The Israelis can perhaps look forward to “normal” relations with ever greater number of Arab states. The reaction of Western countries to Israeli crimes will be to continue turning a blind eye. All the governments concerned will see the UAE’s behavior as a green light, and thus they too will acquiesce in the destruction of those progressive achievements outlined above.

Part III—Calling Going Backwards Something “New and Innovative”

Back in 2018 I attended a small conference put on by an organization named Middle East Dialogue. The stated aim of this meeting was to “promote dialogue about current policy concerns in the Middle East, and to provide a civil space for discussion across the religious and political spectrum.” The conference theme in 2018 was “A New Collective Vision.” 

While there I attended a presentation on “new and innovative” approaches to foreign policy in the Middle East. The presenters were extolling an environment of national self-reliance—the formation of policy based on assumed national interests without any “unreasonable” restrictions placed on policy by outside organizations. This was, of course, a version of the traditional “realist” approach to foreign policy that conservatives support. However, here the approach was being presented as something new. And, surprise, surprise, the presenters were claiming that Israel was leading the way into this new and bright future.

Come the Q and A session, it took me about 45 seconds to destroy the presenters’ premise. And, if I do say so myself, I did it politely. Their only reply was that my rebuttal was not how they saw things—implying that mine was but another opinion. The presenters were wrong. What I laid out was a short version of the above, based on evidence of the potential progress they sought to destroy. As good Zionists they probably knew that it was only based on the destruction of agreements like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 4th Geneva Convention, that today’s Israel could be accepted as a “normal” state. The United States has long bought into this Faustian restructuring of international relations. Now the UAE leaders can regard themselves as fully part of this ruinous bargain. 

Egypt arrests top Muslim Brotherhood leader after seven years in hiding: Ministry

Mahmoud Ezzat is the acting chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group

Ezzat, 76, has served as acting general guide (chairman) of the Brotherhood since the arrest of the group’s most senior leader Mohamed Badie in 2013 (AFP/file photo)

By MEE staff

Published date: 28 August 2020

The acting leader of Egypt’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, was arrested on Friday after seven years of speculation on his whereabouts, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior announced. 

According to a ministry statement cited by local media, Mahmoud Ezzat was arrested at an apartment in the New Cairo neighbourhood east of the capital “after monitoring his movement for a while”.

During their search of the apartment, security forces found “a number of computers, mobile phones with encrypted programs to secure his communications and management of the leaders and members of the organisation inside and outside the country,” the statement read.

Ezzat is among several Brotherhood leaders and anti-government protesters who have been sentenced to the death penalty since 2013. 

He is facing multiple death sentences issued in absentia, as well as life imprisonment on a range of charges, including espionage and leadership of an unlawful group. According to Egyptian law, those sentenced in absentia stand a retrial once arrested.

It remained unclear who would serve as  acting Brotherhood leader following Ezzat’s detention.

A statement by the group later on Friday held the government responsible for Ezzat’s life, saying he suffers from a number of chronic illnesses.

“Subjecting him to torture in light of his chronic illnesses and advanced age will amount to deliberate and extrajudicial killing,” a statement by the group read. 

Crackdown on Brotherhood leaders

Several Brotherhood leaders have died in custody in recent years, including the late President Mohamed Morsi and former MP Essam El-Erian. Rights groups have said their deaths were most likely due to medical negligence and poor conditions in jails.

Ezzat, 76, had been serving as the acting general guide (chairman) of the Brotherhood since the arrest of the group’s most senior leader, Mohamed Badie, following the military coup of 2013 led by then Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. 

Sisi, now the Egyptian president, ousted his democratically elected predecessor, Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi, in July 2013. Since then, the former army general has led a crackdown on Brotherhood leaders and supporters, as well as secular opposition groups who criticise his rule. 

Human Rights Watch has estimated that over 60,000 political prisoners are languishing in jails since Sisi became president in 2014, while many others have been living in self-imposed exile fearing reprisals at home. 




Ripple Effects: Greece And Turkey Open New Northern Front On Libyan Conflict

Greece’s navy has declared a state of heightened alert and deployed ships to the Aegean Sea in response to a Turkish vessel conducting seismic surveys for energy exploration purposes close to a disputed maritime area.

On Tuesday the Greek foreign ministry issued a formal protest to Turkey following the announcement that a Turkish drilling ship would conduct explorations in the maritime area south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo in the south eastern Aegean. The foreign ministry also released a statement:

We call on Turkey to immediately cease its illegal activities, which violate our sovereign rights and undermine peace and security in the region.”

Following Turkey’s rejection of the protest, the Greek Navy has sent ships to patrol in the area.

“Navy units have been deployed since yesterday in the south and southeastern Aegean,” a navy source told AFP, declining to give further details.

Athens has stated that Turkish surveys in sections of the Greek continental shelf constitute an escalation of the tension in the region where the two countries dispute the boundary of their respective maritime areas. LINK

Experts cited in media reports have interpreted Turkey’s conduct as designed to test Greece’s determination to defend its interests in the eastern Mediterranean region, and believe that the Turkish leadership’s moves may also be linked to the Libyan conflict. According to this interpretation of the latest developments, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apparently seeks to “test” the reaction of his opponents. LINK

A report in Xinhua suggests that Greece’s response is to draw even closer to Egypt. Greece and Egypt have been holding negotiations over the demarcation of an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean, however the boundaries of the area they are discussing overlaps with the area which was subject to a maritime agreement signed by Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in Libya late last year (the two parties also signed a military agreement pursuant to which Turkey has sent thousands of fighters and a large amount of weapons and supplies to the Government of National Accord).

Ripple Effects: Greece And Turkey Open New Northern Front On Libyan Conflict

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi received a phone call from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday, during which they discussed regional issues, with a focus on the Libyan crisis.

According to the Xinhua report, Sisi expressed Egypt’s opposition to “illegitimate foreign intervention” in Libyan domestic affairs, citing that they would further exacerbate the security conditions in Libya in a way that affects the stability of the entire region, said Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady in a statement.

For his part, the Greek prime minister also voiced rejection of foreign interference in Libya, while highlighting the political course as a key solution for the Libyan issue.

He hailed Egypt’s “sincere efforts” that seek a peaceful settlement to the Libyan crisis, according to the statement.

Over the past few years, the Egyptian-Greek ties have been growing closer, with their growing enmity with Turkey also resulting in them developing a similar position on Libya. The talks between Sisi and Mitsotakis took place just a few days after the Egyptian parliament approved a possible troop deployment in Libya to defend Egypt’s western borders with the war-torn country. LINK

A perceptive analysis of the emerging Turkey-Libya (Tripoli) relations published last month remains just as salient to describe the situation today:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gambled big in Libya and won big – so far. This victory portends important changes in the politics of the Mediterranean, for Turkey has succeeded not only in demonstrating its determination to become the dominant player in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also in showcasing its military prowess and wherewithal. The latter might precipitate a deeper conflict and crisis in the region, extending north toward Greece.

Erdogan threw his support behind the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) against General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which had besieged the GNA’s capital, Tripoli. Haftar suffered a humiliating defeat as Turkish drones, troops, navy vessels and some 10,000 Syrian fighters transported by Ankara to Libya stopped him in his tracks and then forced him to abandon bases and territory. A last-minute call for a ceasefire by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was rejected by the victorious GNA, which has set its aims at capturing other towns, including the critical port city of Sirte.

Indirectly, this was also a defeat for the countries that had backed Haftar: Egypt, the UAE and Russia. The UAE had contributed military equipment and the Russians non-state mercenary forces.

Turkey’s Libya expedition has to be seen from two perspectives. First, the GNA concluded a deal with Ankara that delineated their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in such a way that it divides the Mediterranean Sea into two sections. Turkey’s purpose is to hinder efforts by Egypt, Cyprus, Israel and Greece to export natural gas, either through a pipeline or on LNG vessels, to Europe. Turkey has aggressively interfered with efforts by these to drill for gas. Ankara claims that most of the waters around Cyprus actually belong to Turkey or to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a country recognized only by Turkey.

However, more important than simply preventing Eastern Mediterranean gas exports is the underlying strategy driving this push against Haftar. From the moment he assumed power in 2003, Erdogan has striven to elevate Turkey’s international role to that of a regional, if not global, power. Initially, his strategy was one of “zero problems with neighbors,” which served to emphasize Turkey’s soft power. The primary driver, however, was the desire for Turkey to assume a hegemonic position over the Middle East. This policy foundered and was essentially buried by the Arab Spring.

What has replaced it is a more aggressive and militarized posture that takes the fight to perceived enemies. That could mean anyone and everyone, since Turks tend to see most countries as a threat, even if they are allies. LINK

While Turkey has bet big and won big so far, it appears that the period of relatively easy victories is over and its aggressive moves are going to face more resistance in future. As Turkey continues to shows no sign of moderating its expansionist claims and manoeuvres, the region is now moving irrevocably towards a catastrophic military clash as Turkey and Egypt have drawn incompatible ‘red lines’ in Libya, with the coastal town of Sirte likely to be the detonator (or possibly the Jufra airbase to the south).

An international agreement promoted by the UN in 2014-2015 established an executive body and a legislative body to govern Libya and pave the way for a more permanent arrangement. However, fundamental disagreements between the two quasi-State organizations resulted in a complete split, with the executive arm becoming the ‘UN-backed’ Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and the House of Representatives relocating to Tobruk (thus the legislative arm is also ‘UN-backed’, though this detail is usually omitted from mainstream media reports).

Turkey has allied itself with the Government of National Accord (GNA), Egypt has allied itself with the House of Representatives (and its armed forces, the Libyan National Army – the LNA – headed by Khalifa Haftar). More generally, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia are invariably reported as supporting the LNA, while the GNA is mainly backed by Turkey and Qatar.

Following the drastic changes on the battlefield over the last two months as the GNA swept the LNA from its positions around Tripoli following a failed attempt to capture the Libyan capital, both Turkey and Egypt have committed themselves to positions that are in direct conflict, indicating that a major armed clash is inevitable unless there is a major diplomatic breakthrough or one of the two sides accepts a humiliating backdown.

Specifically, Turkey and the Government of National Accord are demanding that the Libyan National Army (which recently gave Egypt permission to send its armed forces into Libya) withdraw from the two areas (Sirte and Jufra) and have expressed their determination to take the areas by force if necessary. The Libyan National Army and Egypt have stated that any attempt to capture the two areas will result in Egypt entering Libya in force, which would result in a direct confrontation between Turkey and Egypt. While Egypt has the advantage of sharing a long land border with Libya, in the event of a major conflict air and maritime power could be decisive.


Mohammed bin Zayed’s Mission Impossible: Alliance with Israel

By David Hearst
Source: Middle East Eye

The Abu Dhabi crown prince wants to turn his statelet into another Israel

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed has extended the UAE’s reach across the region in conflicts from Yemen to Libya (AFP)

The mentor

Islamism in any form, political or militant, is a fraction of the force it used to be in 2011, and for the foreseeable future it is incapable of summoning hundreds of thousands onto the streets, and toppling regimes, as it once did in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.

Islamism in any form, political or militant, is a fraction of the force it used to be in 2011

And yet the counter-revolution, unleashed when Mohamed Morsi was toppled as Egypt’s president in 2013, continues furiously. 

It produces identikit dictators: Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi in Egypt, Khalifa Haftar in Libya, all pour scorn on free elections, live like pharaohs, and create dynasties for their family and sons. 

They are all beholden to one man who has either funded, armed or mentored their rise to power. 

This man is the organising genius of coups in Egypt; he has become a major player in the civil war in Libya; he is leveraging his country’s ports to become a presence in the Horn of Africa; he has pushed the Saudis into a war in Yemen to promote late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son, and then ditched that strategy to promote southern separatists; he was instrumental in launching the blockade of his neighbour Qatar; he introduced an unknown Saudi prince to the Trump clan and cast the CIA’s man in Riyadh on the scrap heap. 

There is no pie in which Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, doesn’t have a finger. He rarely makes speeches or gives interviews and when he does he comes across as casual, reticent, softly spoken.

On the rare occasions he talks to a journalist as he did to Robert Worth of the New York Times, he portrays himself as the reluctant first responder, the fireman dousing dangerous wildfires: the September 11 attacks (two of the hijackers were Emiratis) and the Arab Spring were two such galvanising events. 

This is an act, and largely for a Western audience.

MbZ’s ‘Islamist menace’

 As time has elapsed, this can not be the whole story. As MbZ has developed his counter-jihad, so have the ambitions expanded of this quiet, English-speaking, Sandhurst-trained prince. 

MbZ knows how to manipulate decisions in the White House. He can read their ignorance, arrogance, and personal greed. His money goes directly into their pockets

Thwarting the looming Islamist menace – as he describes it – can no longer account for the ambition, scope and cost of his dreams. The Islamist menace of his nightmares is largely dormant.

A shrewd observer, he can see, as clearly as anyone, the US crumbling as an organising power in the Middle East. He knows how to manipulate decisions in the White House. He can read their ignorance, arrogance, and personal greed. His money goes directly into their pockets. He can play on the chaos of real-time decision-making in the Oval Office like a mandolin.

It must have occurred to him that the Middle East needs a new ruler. Why not him? It’s time, he has judged, to move out of the shadows and lay out his own stall.

So what’s the mission?

Mission statement

This was, some might say boldly, put into words by MbZ’s best operator abroad, his ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, recently. 

The op-ed he wrote in Israel’s Yedioth Ahronot was ostensibly to warn Israel that annexation was a bridge too far. Writing in Hebrew, Otaiba posed to a Jewish audience as a friendly Arab – “one of three Arab ambassadors in the East Room of the White House when President Trump unveiled his Middle East peace proposal in January,” he reminded them.

The UAE and Israel are an item. No need for the loving couple to hide behind the bushes

In fact, the letter was no such thing. It certainly wasn’t a message from the Palestinians themselves. The UAE has no problems with the Israeli occupation and will overtly send two planes full of personal protection equipment (PPE) to Ben Gurion airport and make any number of high- profile trade deals with Israel to reinforce their intent to normalise relations. 

The days of disguising the flight plans of aircraft from Abu Dhabi to Ben Gurion airport by making them disappear over Jordan are long gone. The UAE and Israel are an item. No need for the loving couple to hide behind the bushes. Nor was it a message from Jordan, which regards annexation of the West Bank as an existential threat to the kingdom. 

It turned out to be a message from liberal Jews in America to right-wing Jews in Israel. The mastermind of this operation was the American Israeli billionaire Haim Saban, according to a report in Axios. A former adviser to Netanyahu, Caroline Glick called the letter Saban’s brainchild.

In any case, it had little to do with Arab opinion. It did, however, contain another more important message: MbZ’s mission statement appears in two key paragraphs Otaiba wrote.

“With the region’s two most capable militaries, common concerns about terrorism and aggression, and a deep and long relationship with the United States, the UAE and Israel could form closer and more effective security cooperation. 

“As the two most advanced and diversified economies in the region, expanded business and financial ties could accelerate growth and stability across the Middle East,” Otaiba wrote.

In these sentences, UAE not only claims to have a military stronger than that of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia but, fantastically, it also claims to have the strongest and most diversified economy in the Arab world.

Those are some boasts for the crown prince of a tiny Gulf city state to make. 

“Little Sparta” has big ambitions.

Israel’s junior partner

By comparing its military reach to Israel’s, the UAE is sidelining its allies in the Saudi and Egyptian armies. But this is of little importance. Mohammed bin Zayed wants to turn his statelet into another Israel.

Both countries are small in size and population. Both are deeply militarised societies. Israel’s “citizen’s army” is well known. The draft that MbZ introduced for Emirati men in 2014 and expanded from 12 to 16 months in 2018 is less well known.

Both countries have a military and economic reach which extends far beyond their borders and into the heart of Africa. If Israel has shown it has a long arm that can reach to Entebbe and all over the world to exact revenge, so too has UAE shown its long arm in Libya, Turkey, Syria – nations far away from the Gulf. 

Both have a dynamic population that can serve Western interests.They have common enemies – Islamism, Turkey, Iran. They have a common strategy to control the region. The two largest regional challenges for the Emirates and Israel are Turkey and Iran respectively.

The Emiratis confront the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan head-on. They funded an attempted Gulenist coup in 2016. They oppose his forces in Idlib by paying Bashar al-Assad to break the ceasefire arranged by the Russians, and the UAE confronts Turkish forces in Libya.

When unidentified bombers attacked Turkish air defence batteries in the newly recaptured Libyan airbase of Al-Watiya, Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an advisor to the Emirati royal court, tweeted: “On behalf of all Arabs, the UAE has taught a lesson to Turks.”

There can only be one bulldog on the block and Israel has no intention of sharing that role with an Arab with ideas above his station

He deleted it afterwards.

But Israel itself stays in the background. It regards the Turkish military as its main threat. As I reported in January last year, Yossi Cohen, the head of Mossad, told a meeting of diplomats from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt in a Gulf capital that Israel considered Turkey’s military to be more capable and less easily containable that Iran’s. But Israel itself does not confront Turkey.

Similarly the UAE does not confront Iran, even when tankers are mined outside an Emirati port. The kinetic stuff is done by Israel, which is believed to be responsible for a large explosion in Natanz in workshops which assemble centrifuges to enrich uranium, and possibly for up to six other mysterious explosions in Iran too.

Regionally, the UAE and Israel work in tandem, each covering the other’s back. But this does not mean that the project itself is stable or long term. Israel may indeed find it useful to play along with MbZ’s ego to serve its own interests of keeping the Palestinians under permanent occupation.

But its national interests come first.

Otaiba’s chutzpah sparked a lively reaction from Glick who wrote in Israel Hayom: “No one is doing anyone any favors. And if we’re already on the subject of favors, the stronger side in this partnership is Israel. The Israeli economy is much more robust that the oil economies of the Persian Gulf. Who does Otaiba think he’s scaring with his threats when oil is selling at $37 a barrel?”

There can only be one bulldog on the block and Israel has no intention of sharing that role with an Arab with ideas above his station.

The second problem with MbZ’s mission is his Sunni Arab allies. When the Saudis and Egyptian military elites realise that their own national and commercial interests are suffering, they will start to look at MbZ’s pyrotechnic adventures differently. 

The maritime deal that Turkey signed with the UN-backed government in Tripoli gives Egypt greater access to maritime riches than it could possibly have in a deal with Cyprus and Greece, and yet Egypt denounced the deal as illegal.

Similarly the carving up of Yemen by the UAE, which has now occupied the Yemeni island of Socotra and is backing southern separatists in Aden, is not in the interests of Riyadh, which is primarily concerned about maintaining the security along its southern border and installing a puppet regime in Sanaa.

History lessons

Israel should not be fooled by expressions of support from the UAE’s satraps, like Abdul Salam al-Badri, deputy prime minister of the eastern Libyan-based government in Tobruk, or Hani bin Breik, the vice chairman of the Southern Transitional Council in Aden, who by the way is a Salafist.

History bodes ill for MbZ’s project. Every Arab state that has worked with or recognised Israel is today weaker and more divided as a result

History bodes ill for MbZ’s project. Every Arab state that has worked with or recognised Israel is today weaker and more divided as a result. This goes for Egypt and for Jordan, both of whose diplomats, who once thought of themselves as pioneering, regret what they did in the name of peace. It proved a bitter false dawn.

The economic miracle both countries were promised at the time never materialised, the Palestinian conflict is as intractable as ever, and historic Palestine is weaker and smaller than ever before. 

Jordan, which has worked more closely with Israel than any other Arab country, is tottering on the verge of bankruptcy, mass unemployment and social breakdown. Its strategic interests in the West Bank and Jerusalem counts for nothing with the dominant settler right-wing in Israel.

Fatah, which recognised Israel, is asking itself the same questions. Why did we do it at Oslo? What was it for? That debate is bringing them closer to their rivals Hamas. 

A doomed alliance

The reality is that the dalliance between Israel and the UAE is doomed. It is the work of individuals ,not peoples. MbZ’s plots and staretegems are his own, not his nation’s.

The Arab street is implacably opposed to recognising Israel until a just solution is found for the Palestinians, a solution involving their own land and their own right of return. 

MbZ’s mission is mission impossible and the sooner his Arab allies see that, the sooner they can prevent a second decade of regional war

The MbZ-Israel project is poison for the region. it is not Israel coming to terms with its neighbours. It is making fools out of them.

Before the Syrian and Libyan civil wars, Turkey did not have an interventionist foreign policy. It has one now. Similarly, Iran’s military reach never really extended beyond the Shia minorities of the Sunni Arab states, and that is taking its military support for Hezbollah and its financial support for Hamas into account.

Iran never actually threatened Israel’s military dominance as Cohen himself acknowledged in that meeting in a Gulf state over a year ago. Iran, from Mossad’s point of view, is containable. 

MbZ’s mission is mission impossible and the sooner his Arab allies see that, the sooner they can prevent a second decade of regional war.

By David Hearst
Source: Middle East Eye




Egyptian Parliament Authorizes Possible Deployment Of Troops To Libya

Egypt’s parliament on Monday unanimously approved the deployment of armed forces abroad if necessary to defend Egypt’s national security following the rapid expansion of Libya’s Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which appears to be preparing for a major assault to capture the key coastal city of Sirte.

The stage is set for a dramatic escalation of the conflict in Libya, which appears to be certain to occur if the armed forces of the Government of National Accord and its major ally Turkey attempt to capture Sirte. They appear determined to do so, notwithstanding repeated warnings by Egypt’s president that Egypt will join the battle in force if this occurs.

Under Egypt’s constitution, the president, who is the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, shall not declare war or deploy troops outside the country without first seeking the opinion of the National Defence Council and the approval of a two-thirds majority of MPs.

Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament, the House of Representatives, has already granted permission for Egypt to deploy its armed forces in Libya if deemed necessary. Now, the Egyptian Parliament has cleared the way for any future deployment by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

In an official statement following a closed-door session, the parliament said it “unanimously approved sending elements of the Egyptian armed forces in combat missions outside the borders of the Egyptian state to defend the Egyptian national security in the western strategic front against the acts of criminal militias and foreign terrorist elements until the forces’ mission ends.”

“The Egyptian nation, throughout history, has advocated for peace, but it does not accept trespasses nor does it renounce its rights. Egypt is extremely able to defend itself, its interests, its brothers and neighbours from any peril or threat.”

“The armed forces and its leadership have the constitutional and legal licence to determine when and where to respond to these dangers and threats.” LINK

The decision was announced several days after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt “will not stand idle” in the face of any attack on Sirte, which he earlier described as a “red line” for Egypt’s national security and warned it would prompt military intervention by Cairo.

President El-Sisi also met with Libyan tribal leaders on 16 July in Cairo, where they called on the Egyptian Armed Forces “to intervene to protect the national security of Libya and Egypt.” El-Sisi said that Egypt “will quickly and decisively change the military situation” in Libya if it intervenes, adding that the Egyptian Army is one of the strongest in the region and Africa.

Earlier in July, the Egyptian Armed Forces conducted an exercise near Libya’s border. The drills, codenamed Resolve 2020, took place in the north-western district of Qabr Gabis, about 37 miles from the Libyan border.

The parliament also reviewed the outcomes of a meeting on Sunday of the country’s National Defence Council (NDC) headed by El-Sisi. The closed-door session was also attended by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Alaa Fouad and Major General Mamdouh Shaheen, assistant minister of defence.

The statement of the NDC after Sunday’s meeting declared that Egypt seeks to stabilise the current situation in the field and not to cross declared lines — referring to the Libyan cities of Sirte and Al-Jafra — with the aim of bringing about peace between all Libyan parties.

“Egypt will spare no efforts to support the sister Libya and help its people to bring their country to safety and overcome the current critical crisis, grounded in the fact that Libya is one of the highest priorities for Egypt’s foreign policy, taking into account that Libyan security is inseparable from Egyptian and Arab national security.”

The NDC affirmed commitment to a political solution to put an end to the Libyan crisis, in a manner that maintains its sovereignty and national and regional unity, eliminates terrorism, and prevents the chaos of criminal groups and extremist armed militias. It also asserted the importance of limiting illegal foreign interference that contributes to aggravating the security situation and threatens neighbouring countries and international peace and security.

The meeting of the National Defence Council also discussed ongoing trilateral negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia concerning the latter’s Renaissance Dam Project.  LINK


محظوران أميركيّان في حروب الأمم على ليبيا؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

تتوارى السياسة الأميركية خلف دول مرتبطة بها تتقاتل بِعنف شديد في ميادين ليبيا. فتبدو وكأنها محايد في هذه الحرب التي تغطي مساحات ليبيّة ضخمة تصل بين حدود مصر والبحر الأبيض المتوسط وتونس والجزائر وبعض جهات أفريقيا السمراء.

لماذا يختبئ الأميركيون عسكرياً في ليبيا وهم الذين يهاجمون عسكرياً أو بواسطة منظمات عرقية وإرهابية في أفغانستان والعراق وسورية والصومال واليمن والسودان وينشرون قواعدهم في معظم جزيرة العرب والأردن وتمخر بوارجهم وأساطيلهم بحار المنطقة من دون استثناء.

بداية يجب إسقاط فرضية عدم الحاجة الأميركية إلى ليبيا، التي تمتلك أكبر ثروات من الغاز والنفط وموقع استراتيجي هام يطل على البحر المتوسط الذي تتقاتل الأمم من أقصى الأرض على سواحله وأعماق مياهه التي تحتوي خزاناً كبيراً من موارد الطاقة.

للتوضيح فإن الدول المنخرطة عسكرياً تشمل تركيا وروسيا وفرنسا وإيطاليا والسعودية والإمارات مع إسناد مصري وجزائري. هذا إلى جانب القوتين الليبيتين الأساسيتين، دولة السراج في الغرب ودولة حفتر في الشرق مع بعض الإطلالات الإنجليزية والألمانية والصينية الخجولة.

إنها إذاً حرب عالميّة على ليبيا لربط صلة بثرواتها من جهة وبالصراع على البحر المتوسط من جهة أخرى.

فهل يمكن للأميركيين أن يغيبوا عن الوليمة الليبية الدسمة؟

لم يذكر التاريخ القريب عن أي ضمور في الشهية الاستعمارية الأميركية التي تمزق العالم على جثث ملايين المدنيين في شتى أنحاء الأرض من أجل الهيمنة الاقتصادية.هذه ليست تهمة افتراضية، بل حقيقة يعيشها حتى اليوم الكثير من الناجين.

لذلك فإن الغياب الأميركي في التدخل العسكري المباشر في ليبيا، يرتبط بفشل التدخلات الأميركية المباشرة في أفغانستان والعراق وسورية وكثير من دول أخرى.

وبما أن الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية أصبحت على بعد ثلاثة أشهر فقط (تشرين الثاني)، فهذا يعني أن أي تدخل عسكري أميركي مباشر لن يكون أكثر من تورط من دون إمكانية عقد أيّ حل مع الدول المتنازعة في ساحات ليبيا.

فالأميركيّ القادر على التعاقد هو رئيس باقٍ في منصبه لسنوات عدة على الأقل.

وبما أن الرئيس الأميركي الحالي ترامب المرشح لولاية جديدة لا يريد هدراً لدماء أميركية جديدة في ليبيا تنعكس فوراً على وضعه الانتخابي، فارتأى القتال من الخلف.

هذا إلى جانب القوى المختلفة المتورطة في حروب ليبيا، تحاول الاستفادة مما تسميه وقتاً ضائعاً يأتي عادة قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية بأشهر عدة، وتعتقد أن الاتفاق حول ليبيا لن يكون إلا مع الرئيس الجديد.

لذلك تذهب الدولة الأميركية العميقة إلى التدخل بإدارة الحروب في الميدان الليبي إنما من خلال مشاركات الدول الصديقة وبناء على محظورين أنتجتهما بدقة لمنع أي خلل أو طارئ في هذه الحرب.

ضمن هذا الإطار يجب فهم عدم الممانعة الأميركية القاسية على التدخل العسكري التركي في ليبيا، وعدم رفضها لنقل أنقرة قوات إرهابية في ميادين سورية إلى ليبيا.

هذا الصمت على تورط أردوغان الليبي مطلوب من النفوذ الأميركي لاستكمال مشهد الصراع، ضد التدخل الروسي، وهذا من الأسباب التي ترعى فيها واشنطن تدخلاً عسكرياً مصرياً في ليبيا، وتبدو حذرة من احتمالات تدخل جزائري فيها.كما أن التدخل السعوديّ الإماراتيّ هو أيضاً بدعم أميركي، فتصبح حروب ليبيا، أميركية من جهة تركيا وأميركية من جهة مصر والسعودية والإمارات ولها علاقة نسبية بالتدخل الفرنسي – الإيطالي – اليوناني فيها.

أي أن الأميركيين يضبطون الأطراف المتقاتلة في حروب ليبيا من جهتيها المتقاتلتين ولا يخرج عن نفوذهم إلا شركة «فاغنر» الروسيّة التي توالي السياسة الروسية.

هذا ما جعل وزير الخارجية الأميركي بومبيو يحذّر من الهيمنة الروسية على ليبيا، لكن الروس ينفون علاقتهم بالشركة مضيفين بأن الغرب الأوروبي – والأميركي سرق ليبيا من نفوذهم السوفياتي – الروسي عندما قتل رئيسها السابق معمر القذافي فاتحاً أبواب فوضى عميقة في معظم صحاريها وبحارها.

الروس إذاً هم الوحيدون الذين يخرجون عن النسق الأميركي لحرب ليبيا، وهذا سبب إضافي يضاف إلى حاجات واشنطن باستمرار إدارة الحرب.

هناك إذاً محظوران أميركيان يؤكدان على أن الإدارة الأميركية تريد تأجيل حسم ما في ليبيا أو توقيع هدنة مع الطرف الروسي.

المحظور الأول هو ضرورة مراوحة الحرب عند خط جبهة سرت النفطي واندلاعها بشكل حاد في مختلف المناطق الأخرى.

أما المحظور الثاني فيتعلق بمنع أي حسم في هذه الحرب انتظاراً لاستكمال الانتخابات الرئاسيّة الأميركيّة.هذان المحظوران هما اللذان فرضا على الدولة الأميركية العميقة الاستنجاد بالرئيس المصري السيسي ليرسل جيشه إلى منطقة ليبية من الحدود مع مصر حتى جبهة مدينة سرت.

بذلك يطوّق التدخل الروسي من جهة ويتواصل القتال في عموم ليبيا من جهة ثانية، وذلك للزوم التفرغ الأميركي المقبل لإدارة اقتسام الغنائم على الساحة الليبية بين أميركيين أولاً، يليهم الأتراك والأوروبيون وبعض الفتافيت المتساقطة لمصر السيسي والكثير من الولاءات السياسية على سبيل الوجاهة والمعنويات للإمارات والسعودية.فهل يقبل الروس بهذا الأمر؟

قد يتم إقناعهم بشيء من التعاقد لشركاتهم في ميادين النفط والغاز، مقابل احتمال آخر صاعد يرى أن ليبيا مقبلة عن «كنتنة» كبيرة لأن مساحتها تصل إلى مليون وأربع مئة ألف كيلو متر مربع لشعب لا يصل إلى خمسة ملايين نسمة، تزعم تركيا أن بينهم نحو مليون من التركمان، ينتمي إليهم السراج حاكم دولة غرب ليبيا حالياً.

يتبين بالاستنتاج أن حرب ليبيا طويلة بقرار أميركي يمنع توقفها وحسمها في آن معاً، وهي قابلة للتقاسم لافتقارها إلى دولة وطنية قوية على المنوال السوري تجسد الطموحات الفعلية لأهلها، فحفتر أميركي – مصري – روسي – سعودي – وإماراتي – وأوروبي فهل بقي مكان عنده لليبيا؟

كذلك فإن منافسه السراج إخواني – تركي من أصول تركمانية تعود إلى عصر الإنكشارية الذين كان يحتلون ليبيا فأين ليبيا من انتماءاته؟

يبدو أن حلفاً روسياً – جزائرياً مع تيارات ليبية شعبية هو الحل الوحيد لمنع تحويل ليبيا إلى أشلاء تنهشها الأمم وتحذفها من تاريخ الدول، لتصبح مشيخات تعود إلى عصر الإبل والنوق وسط تصفيق سعودي إماراتي يصر على ربط العرب بالقرون الوسطى ومسابقة أجمل بعير في سباق الهجن.

Conflict Looms for Egypt and Ethiopia Over Nile Dam


Conflict Looms for Egypt and Ethiopia Over Nile Dam - TheAltWorld
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cunningham_1-175x230.jpg

Finian Cunningham Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

July 17, 2020

Ethiopia appears to be going ahead with its vow to begin filling a crucial hydroelectric dam on the Nile River after protracted negotiations with Egypt broke down earlier this week. There are grave concerns the two nations may go to war as both water-stressed countries consider their share of the world’s longest river a matter of existential imperative.

Cairo is urging Addis Ababa for clarification after European satellite images showed water filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia has stated that the higher water levels are a natural consequence of the current heavy rainy season. However, this month was designated by Addis Ababa as a deadline to begin filling the $4.6 billion dam.

Egypt has repeatedly challenged the project saying that it would deprive it of vital freshwater supplies. Egypt relies on the Nile for 90 per cent of its total supply for 100 million population. Last month foreign minister Sameh Shoukry warned the UN security council that Egypt was facing an existential threat over the dam and indicated his country was prepared to go to war to secure its vital interests.

Ethiopia also maintains that the dam – the largest in Africa when it is due to be completed in the next year – is an “existential necessity”. Large swathes of its 110 million population subsist on daily rationed supply of water. The hydroelectric facility will also generate 6,000 megawatts of power which can be used to boost the existing erratic national grid.

Ominously, on both sides the issue is fraught with national pride. Egyptians accuse Ethiopia of a high-handed approach in asserting its declared right to build the dam without due consideration of the impact on Egypt.

On the other hand, the Ethiopians view the project which began in 2011 as a matter of sovereign right to utilize a natural resource for lifting their nation out of poverty. The Blue Nile which originates in Ethiopia is the main tributary to the Nile. Ethiopians would argue that Egypt does not give away control to foreign interests over its natural resources of gas and oil.

Ethiopians also point out that Egypt’s “claims” to Nile water are rooted in colonial-era treaties negotiated with Britain which Ethiopia had no say in.

What makes the present tensions sharper is the domestic political pressures in both countries. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is struggling to maintain legitimacy among his own population over long-running economic problems. For a self-styled strong leader, a conflict over the dam could boost his standing among Egyptians as they rally around the flag.

Likewise, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is beset by internal political conflicts and violent protests against his nearly two years in office. His postponement of parliamentary elections due to the coronavirus has sparked criticism of a would-be autocrat. The recent murder of a popular singer-activist which resulted in mass protests and over 100 killings by security forces has marred Abiy’s image.

In forging ahead with the dam, premier Abiy can deflect from internal turmoil and unite Ethiopians around an issue of national pride. Previously, as a new prime minister, he showed disdain towards the project, saying it would take 10 years to complete. There are indicators that Abiy may have been involved in a sinister geopolitical move along with Egypt to derail the dam’s completion. Therefore, his apparent sudden support for the project suggests a cynical move to shore up his own national standing.

Then there is the geopolitical factor of the Trump administration. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump weighed in to the Nile dispute in a way that was seen as bolstering Egypt’s claims. Much to the ire of Ethiopia, Washington warned Addis Ababa not to proceed with the dam until a legally binding accord was found with Egypt.

Thus if Egypt’s al-Sisi feels he has Trump’s backing, he may be tempted to go to war over the Nile. On paper, Egypt has a much stronger military than Ethiopia. It receives $1.4 billion a year from Washington in military aid. Al-Sisi may see Ethiopia as a softer “war option” than Libya where his forces are also being dragged into in a proxy war with Turkey.

Ethiopia, too, is an ally of Washington, but in the grand scheme of geopolitical interests, Cairo would be the preferred client for the United States. Up to now, the Trump administration has endorsed Egypt’s position over the Nile dispute. That may be enough to embolden al-Sisi to go for a showdown with Ethiopia. For Trump, being on the side of Egypt may be calculated to give his flailing Middle East policies some badly needed enthusiasm among Arab nations. Egypt has the backing of the Arab League, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Egypt has previously threatened to sabotage Ethiopia’s dam. How it would do this presents logistical problems. Egypt is separated from Ethiopia to its south by the vast territory of Sudan. Cairo has a strong air force of U.S.-supplied F-16s while Ethiopia has minimal air defenses, relying instead on a formidable infantry army.

Another foreboding sign is the uptick in visits to Cairo by Eritrean autocratic leader Isaias Afwerki. He has held two meetings with al-Sisi at the presidential palace in the Egyptian capital in as many months, the most recent being on July 6 when the two leaders again discussed “regional security” and Ethiopia’s dam. Eritrea provides a Red Sea corridor into landlocked Ethiopia which would be more advantageous to Cairo than long flights across Sudan.

Nominally, Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace deal in July 2018 to end nearly two decades of Cold War, for which Ethiopia’s Abiy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. However, the Eritrean leader may be tempted to dip back into bad blood if it boosted his coffers from Arab money flowing in return for aiding Egypt.

There will be plenty of platitudinous calls for diplomacy and negotiated settlement from Washington, the African Union and the Arab League. But there is an underlying current for war that may prove unstoppable driven by two populous and thirsty nations whose leaders are badly in need of shoring up their political authority amid internal discontent.

‘We expect a Turkish attack at any time’: Libyan Army


By News Desk -2020-07-10

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 P.M.) – The Libyan National Army spokesman, Ahmed Al-Mismari, said at a press conference this week that his forces are prepared for any provocation by the Turkish forces, especially near the city of Sirte.

Turkey and the GNA are expected to launch a big attack to capture Sirte and Al-Jafra in the coming day,s despite warnings from Egypt and the Libyan National Army.

On Thursday, the Egyptian Armed Forces launched a powerful exercise along the Libyan border that showcased their air, sea, and land strength.

Last month, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi warned the GNA and Turkey that his country will not idly by as they attempt to capture the city of Sirte and nearby Al-Jafra.

Sisi declared Sirte and Al-Jafra as a “red line” for Egypt, pointing out that his country has the “international legitimacy” to intervene in neighboring Libya.

مصر فى دائرة الخطر

د. محمد السعيد إدريس
‏24 يونيو 2020

د. محمد السعيد إدريس يكتب: إيران تنتظر القول الفصل من هلسنكي ...

على الرغم من كل تلك التسريبات التى كان يتم تسريبها عن عمد من جانب دوائر معادية لمصر، تسريبات تشارك فيها أطراف متعدد تكشف مدى التربص بمصر وبالدور المصرى، إلا أن ما يحدث الآن من تهديد متعدد الأطراف وفى تزامن غير مسبوق تجاوز كل مضامين تلك التسريبات التى كانت تؤكد أن “مصر ستبقى مصدراً للتهديد يجب التحسب له”.

من أبرز تلك التسريبات كانت مقولة أن مصر هى “التفاحة الكبرى” أو “الهدية الكبرى” التى جرى إطلاقها فى غمرة تساقط العواصم العربية الواحدة تلو الأخرى، كانت تلك المقولة تحمل إشارات أن “موعد مصر لم يأت بعد”، وأن هذا الموعد “سيأتى حتماً”. الملفت أن معظم هذه التسريبات كانت أمريكية وإسرائيلية، ما يعنى أن توقيع مصر لاتفاق السلام مع إسرائيل، لم يكن كافياً لإرضاء غرور الإسرائيليين، ولم يتوقفوا لحظة عن التعامل معها باعتبارها “العدو التاريخى”، وإن كان الصراع معها يبدو “صراعاً مؤجلاً” لحين الانتهاء من حسم مصائر الملفات الأخرى مثار التهديد. لم تتوقف أنظارهم لحظة عن متابعة تطور القدرات العسكرية المصرية بقلق شديد، سواء من ناحية كفاءة التسليح وتنوع مصادره بعيداً عن “أحادية التحكم الأمريكية” فى مصادر التسليح المصرى، أو من منظور تطور الكفاءة القتالية المصرية. ولم تغب سيناء لحظة عن أطماعهم انتظاراً لمجئ الوقت والحوافز التى تفرض عليهم العودة إليها مجدداً كى يتحول شعار “إسرائيل الكبرى” من “حلم” أو “أوهام” إلى أمر واقع.

لم تكن إسرائيل وحدها هى من يناصب مصر العداء ولكن كانت تركيا وبالذات مع سقوط أحلام رئيسها فى إحياء عهد “الخلافة العثمانية” بالتأسيس لـ “عثمانية جديدة”، مع سقوط مشروع حكم الإخوان فى مصر، وكانت إثيوبيا، ولكن على استحياء، وربما بخبث ودهاء يفوق الدهاء الإسرائيلى ويتجاوز الرعونة التركية، لكن ما يحدث الآن من تناغم فى التخطيط ضد مصر، سواء بتنسيق أو عدم تنسيق، بين إسرائيل وإثيوبيا وتركيا، يكشف، وربما للمرة الأولى أن مصر باتت “فى عمق دائرة الخطر”. فهل من الصدفة أن يتزامن إعلان رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلية بنيامين نتنياهو وتأكيده أن يوليو المقبل هو موعد البدء الإسرائيلى الفعلى فى فرض السيادة الإسرائيلية على الكتل الاستيطانية الإسرائيلية ووادى عربة فى الضفة الغربية المحتلة، مع إعلان آبى أحمد رئيس الحكومة الإثيوبية تحديد يوليو المقبل موعداً لبدء ملء خزان “سد النهضة الإثيوبى” بالمياه، دون انتظار، أو بالأحرى دون اعتبار، لتوافق مع كل من مصر والسودان حول القضايا الخلافية المثارة معهما؟

فرض السيادة الإسرائيلية، بإرادة إسرائيلية مستقلة وبدعم أمريكى على الجزء الأكبر من الضفة الغربية للشروع الفعلى فى تصفية القضية الفلسطينية وفرض مشروع “إسرائيل الكبرى” كدولة يهودية على كل أرض فلسطين، وفرض السيادة الإثيوبية على نهر النيل وتصفية كل الحقوق التاريخية لمصر والسودان فى نهر النيل، التزاماً بقول آبى أحمد رئيس الحكومة الإثيوبية أن سد النهضة “أصبح قضية شرف وطنى ولن نتخلى عنه” وتأكيدات وزير خارجيته بأن “الأرض أرضنا، والمياه مياهنا، والمال الذى يبنى به سد النهضة مالنا، ولا قوة يمكنها معنا من بنائه”. هل هذا كله يمكن أن يكون محض صدفة وأن يكون شهر يوليو المقبل، أى بعد ما يقرب من أسبوع من الآن هو موعد خوض “معركة السيادة” الإسرائيلية والإثيوبية ضد مصر، باعتبار أن مصر أول المعنيين بمصير القضية الفلسطينية من منظور الأمن الوطنى المصرى البحت باعتبار أن فلسطين مكون أساسى فى نظرية الأمن الوطنى المصرى ناهيك عن كونها قضية أمن قومى عربى بالدرجة الأولى، ومصر هى على رأس المعنيين بواقع ومستقبل هذا الأمن القومى العربى.

من الصعب أن نتعامل ببراءة، ولا أقول بسذاجة مع المدلول الفعلى للتزامن فى شروع تل أبيب وأديس أبابا خوض ما يسمونه بـ “معركة فرض السيادة”، فى ظل قوة العلاقات الإسرائيلية- الإثيوبية، ووجود مكون شعبى إثيوبى مهم ضمن مكونات “الشعب الإسرائيلى” (يهود الفلاشا الإثيوبيين) ومجمل الإتفاقيات التى جرى التوقيع عليها بين إسرائيل وإثيوبيا خلال زيارة رئيس الحكومة الإثيوبية لإسرائيل، وفى ظل تأكيدات بأن “إسرائيل طرف قوى فى ملف سد النهضة” و”أطماع إسرائيل فى مياه النيل” وكونها طرفاً مباشراً فى إدارة ملف سد النهضة وتداعياته، سواء من الجانب الأمنى فى ظل تسريبات تؤكد بأن شبكة صواريخ إسرائيلية متطورة باتت مسئولة عن حماية سد النهضة، أو من الجانب التقنى حسب ما أفصحت عنه نائبة المدير العام للشئون الأفريقية فى وزارة الخارجية الإسرائيلية أيثان شيلين فى لقائها مع هيروت زامين وزيرة الدولة الإثيوبية للشئون الخارجية، حسب ما أوردته وكالة الأنباء الإثيوبية الرسمية، حيث أعلنت إسرائيل على لسان إيثان شيلين “استعدادها لتبادل الخبرات مع إثيوبيا فى مجال إدارة المياه”، ووصفت العلاقات الإسرائيلية مع إثيوبيا بأنها “تاريخية وتدعمها علاقات قوية بين الشعبين”.

هل ما يحدث هو توافق أم تحالف إسرائيلى- إثيوبى لإحكام الضغط على مصر؟

السؤال تزداد أهميته، بل وخطورته بدخول تركيا كطرف مباشر فى ما يمكن تسميته بـ “معركة كسر إرادات مع مصر” وهذه المرة فى العمق الإستراتيجى لمصر بالأراضى الليبية. تركيا التى تقاتل بعنف فى شمال سوريا لفرض منطقة نفوذ تركية شمال سوريا معتمدة على تحالفها مع المنظمات الإرهابية المتطرفة، وتسعى لإسقاط النظام فى سوريا، سواء بتنسيق مباشر أو غير مباشر مع كل من الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل لتحقيق نفس الهدف تحت غطاء خوض معركة إخراج إيران من سوريا، اختارت هذه المرة فى عدائها المباشر مع مصر أن تتجاوز احتضان كل القوى المتآمرة ضد مصر على الأراضى التركية، وأن تنقل تهديدها إلى الحدود المصرية المباشرة فى إعلان تهديد مباشر للأمن المصرى من خلال دعم حكومة الوفاق برئاسة فايز السراج، دعماً عسكرياً بالأسلحة المتطورة وبالميليشيات الإرهابية لفرض السيطرة الكاملة على ليبيا. وفى إعلان تهديد مباشر للمصالح الاقتصادية المصرية من خلال السعى لفرض سيطرتها على حقول غاز المتوسط بالشكل الذى تريده إسقواءً بالسيطرة على القرار الليبى بهذا الخصوص.

تركيا تخوض الآن معركة خليج سرت، ويؤكد رئيسها رجب طيب أردوغان أنه “لن تكون تكون هناك أى مفاوضات سياسية، أو وقف لإطلاق النار فى ليبيا إلا بعد سيطرة قوات حلفائه على مدينة سرت” لذلك رفض إعلان القاهرة كمبادرة مصرية لحل الأزمة الليبية سياسياً، ويسعى للسيطرة على مدينة سرت باعتبارها “بوابة الشرق الليبى” حيث آبار النفط والغاز واحتياطياته الرئيسية، وإذا نجح فى هذه المعركة فإنه يعتقد أنه سيكون بمقدوره تكريس النفوذ التركى فى ليبيا سياسياً وعسكرياً.

يحدث هذا كله على حدود مصر الغربية بتزامن مع ما يحدث من تهديد إثيوبى لموارد مصر الحياتية من مياه النيل، ومع المخطط الإسرائيلى للتوسع والتهويد وفرض السيادة على معظم أنحاء الضفة الغربية فى وقت بدأت فيه الإدارة الأمريكية بفرض أقسى وأقصى عقوبات ضد سوريا ببدء تنفيذ أسوأ قانون عقوبات أمريكى على سوريا يحمل اسم “قانون قيصر لحماية المدنيين السوريين” لعلها تستطيع أن تحقق بالعقوبات الاقتصادية ما عجزت هى وحلفاءها عن تحقيقه طيلة السنوات الماضية، بالعمل العسكرى الذى تحول فعلاً إلى “حرب على سوريا” ابتداء من عام 2014، هدفه ليس فقط إسقاط الحكم السورى وإنهاء تحالفه مع إيران بل كان الهدف هو إسقاط سوريا كما أسقط العراق.
ما يحدث هو “هندسة للأزمات” المحيطة بمصر تضعها فى عمق “دائرة الخطر” الذى يجمع للمرة الأولى إسرائيل وإثيوبيا وتركيا فى تهديد مصر وأمنها ومصالحها الوطنية، تطور يفرض على مصر حسابات ومراجعات كثيرة للأهداف والمصالح والقدرات لمواجهة الخطر.

فيديو متعلق

مقالات متعلقة

Ex-Turkish minister warns of direct clash between Egypt and Turkey in Libya


By News Desk -2020-06-22

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:30 P.M.) – Former Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakesh considered that Libya might turn into a direct confrontation area between Turkey and Egypt, stressing the need to stop the tension and give priority to diplomacy.

In an interview with the Turkish newspaper, Cumhuriyet, Yakesh, who assumed the position of Ankara’s ambassador to Cairo between 1995 and 1998, and the Turkish Foreign Minister in 2002-2003, mentioned the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to the western region in Egypt, during which he announced the possibility of sending military forces to Libya, in the presence of tribal leaders on the Egyptian and Libyan sides.

He said: “The border between Egypt and Libya is mixed, as part of the tribes in the region are on the Egyptian side and the other part is on the Libyan side. Egypt’s intervention in Libya and the movement of the army there will be easy because there are no natural barriers. The presence of the tribes on both sides of the border facilitates the mission of Egypt.” .

Yakesh emphasized that the Egyptian administration, led by Sisi, considered the “Muslim Brotherhood” the greatest threat to it, and that Libya, under the leadership of the Al-Wefaq government, which it considered linked to the group, constituted a threat to Egypt similar to the threat posed by the PKK to Turkey.

He pointed out that if Turkey continues to strengthen its presence in Libya and its inability to create common ground, the matter may reach a “violent clash” between the Turkish and Egyptian sides.

He considered that it is currently possible to reach a compromise in the event that an opportunity for diplomacy is given, saying: “In the event of diplomatic contacts, diplomats may be able to find solutions that will reduce the losses of both parties. So Turkey should give priority to this matter but it does not do so at the present time.” .

He explained that the agreement to demarcate the maritime borders signed by Turkey with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) came as a “window of opportunity” for Turkey, adding: “But in diplomacy, we cannot achieve everything we want.”



Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on June 20 that any Egyptian intervention in Libya has an international legitimacy and ordered his army to be prepared for missions inside or outside Egypt.

Al-Sisi made his remarks while he was inspecting Egyptian troops in the western region. The president toured an air base near Egypt’s border with Libya, where thousands of troops as well as state of the art weapon systems are deployed.

“Be prepared to carry out any mission, here inside our borders – or if necessary, outside our borders,” the President said in a speech to his troops, according to Reuters.

The Egyptian President said his country is working to protect its western border, support security and stability in Libya and stop the bloodshed there.

المتحدث الرسمي لرئاسة الجمهورية

-Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency5 hours ago

تفقد السيد الرئيس الوحدات المقاتلة للقوات الجوية بالمنطقة الغربية العسكرية صباح اليوم

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Al-Sisi went on to call for a ceasefire between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Government of National Accord (GNA), warning the latter from attacking the port city of Sirte and the al-Jufra Air Base.

“Let’s stop at the line both sides reached in the western and eastern regions and start a ceasefire … The line of Sirte, al-Jufra is a red line for Egypt and its national security,” al-Sisi said.

The President also revealed that Egypt is ready to train, equip and arm Libyan tribesman in order to defend and secure their own land.

Hinting at the growing Turkish intervention in Libya, al-Sisi called on all foreign forces to immediately withdraw, saying that “illegitimate interventions” are spreading terrorism in the region.

In the last few months, Turkey stepped up its support for the GNA enabling it to secure major gains in northwest Libya. In response, the Egyptian military amassed a large force on the Libyan border. Since then, battles have winded down in Libya, especially around Sirte.

Egypt appears to be determined to stop Turkish expansion in Libya. Nevertheless, Cairo will not likely employ a direct military intervention option before exhausting all diplomatic options.


لن نسمح لقيصر واشنطن تهديد سوريا

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محمد صادق الحسيني

على وقع احتدام الصراع الأميركي الروسي على امتداد حزام شرق المتوسط من بحر اللاذقية حتى جبل طارق قام الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين بإجراء مكالمة مطولة مع الرئيس المصري عبدالفتاح السيسي قبل أيام تطرق فيها الى الملف الليبي بشكل تفصيلي، لكنه تطرق أيضاً بالإجمال الى ما تعدّه واشنطن لكل من إيران وسورية ولبنان!

مصادر متابعة للسياسة الروسيّة وكذلك لما يجري في مطبخ صناعة القرار في حلف المقاومة اطلعت على أجواء تلك المكالمة فأوجزت لنا بخصوص الجزء المتعلق بإيران وسورية ولبنان، في المكالمة الهاتفية المذكورة أعلاه، بما يلي:

أولا: إن خطة العمليات التكتيكية الأميركية، التي يجري العمل على تنفيذها حالياً، خدمةً للهدف الأميركي الاستراتيجي، أوالمتمثل في إخراج روسيا من الشرق الاوسط، تهدف قبل كل شيء، الى زيادة الضغط وبكل الوسائل الممكنة على طهران، من مالية واقتصادية وعسكرية، عبر جماعات مسلحة، مرتبطة بأجهزة مخابرات لدول تابعة للولايات المتحدة، مجاورة لإيران، بهدف إيصال القيادة الإيرانية إلى أن لا طريق للخروج من المأزق سوى الخضوع للشروط الأميركية وتحجيم علاقاتها مع الصين وروسيا ووقف دورها «التوسّعي» في الشرق الاوسط، حسب التعبيرات الأميركية. وأضاف الرئيس الروسي انه لا يستبعد حدوث عمل استفزازي أكبر من ذلك بهدف رفع مستوى التصعيد، بين واشنطن وطهران.

ثانيا: وكذلك الأمر في سورية، فالهدف هو مواصلة الضغط المالي والاقتصادي، عبر تطبيق قانون قيصر، لحرمان الدولة السورية من حاضنتها الجماهيرية وخلق حالة من اليأس تدفع هذه الحاضنة الشعبية لمطالبة الدولة بتقديم تنازلات للطرف الأميركي «في سبيل وقف معاناة المواطنين»..!

كما أضاف الرئيس بوتين أن لديهم معلومات، تؤكد أن أطرافاً معينة في الإدارة الأميركية، تقوم بتشجيع «اسرائيل» على تكثيف عملياتها الجوية، في سورية بهدف زيادة الضغط على الحكومة السورية وإشعار المواطن السوري بعجز الدولة عن الدفاع عن أراضيها، مما يعزز الإيحاء المطلوب بعزلة الدولة عن الشعب، حسب الأوساط الأميركية المشار اليها أعلاه.

ثالثا: أما بخصوص لبنان، فقد أكد المصدر، أن الرئيس بوتين قد أبلغ الرئيس المصري أن نظرة الى وجوه المشاركين في التحركات الاحتجاجية، التي تشهدها المناطق اللبنانية كافية لمعرفة تابعيتهم الحزبية وبالتالي من يحرّكهم ومن يموّلهم، بينما تؤكد شعاراتهم المعادية لجهات لبنانية صديقة لروسيا مرةً أخرى أنهم يدورون في فلك المخطط الأميركي المعادي لروسيا في الشرق الاوسط.

وفي الوقت الذي لم يتطرّق الرئيس بوتين، بشكل مباشر، للطرف الذي يموّل ويحرّك الاحتجاجات في لبنان، فإنه (المصدر وليس الرئيس بوتين) يعتقد ان لدى القيادة الروسية معلومات تفصيلية حول التمويل الإماراتي والشبكة الميدانية الإماراتية المكلفة بإدارة عمليات الاحتجاج. وهي شبكة من اللبنانيين المرتبطين مع كبير المستشارين الاستراتيجيين السابق، للرئيس الأميركي ترامب، ستيف بانون، والذين يديرهم بشكل مباشر مجموعة من ضباط شركة أكاديمية، مقرّها أبوظبي، والتي كانت تسمّى بلاك ووتر حتى سنة 2007، حيث يشرف هؤلاء الضباط على جميع تفاصيل عمليات التوجيه والإمداد والتزويد للمنخرطين في عمليات التخريب التي يطلقون عليها اسم احتجاجات.

ويختم المصدر كلامه بالقول إنه غني عن الذكر ان محمد بن زايد شخصياً هو مَن يقوم بتمويل كل هذه النشاطات لحساب الطرف الأميركي – الإسرائيلي.

هذا وقد نقل المصدر فحوى تأكيد الرئيس بوتين في أن بلاده سوف تتصدّى لكل هذه المخططات بحزم شديد، من دون أن يفصح البتة للرئيس المصري، عن ماهية الوسائل التي ستستخدمها بلاده في عملية التصدي هذه.

لكن مصادرنا الخاصة تفيد بأن أطراف محور المقاومة باتت على يقين تام بأن مجموعة من الخطوات الجدية والعملياتية قد اتخذت لوأد المخطط الأمركي في مهده وأضافت نقلاً عن مصدر كبير معني بالخطط العملانية قوله:

«بأن لبنان وسورية أقوى من قيصرهم،..

وان ما لم يحصلوا عليه بالحرب والتآمر والفتن المتنقلة لن يحصلوا عليه بالعقوبات والضغوط المالية قطعاً…»

وطبقاً لمصادرنا الوثيقة الصلة بمصادر صنع القرار فقد أفاد مصدر أمن اقتصادي مختص بهذا الخصوص بما يلي:

أولا: لا خطر إطلاقاً على الوضع الاقتصادي السوري
ثانيا: سيطرة الدولة على الوضع الداخلي، اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً جيدة جداً ومُحكَمة بالكامل
ثالثا: تم الاتفاق بين سورية وحلفائها على تأمين أي احتياجات مالية للدولة السورية من خلال الحلفاء
رابعا: لا داعي للقلق إطلاقاً وكل الأوضاع تحت السيطرة التامة

هذا في ما يخص سورية، وأما لبنان فيكفي القول بأن قوة لبنان لم تعُد في ضعفه، كما كان ما قبل تحوّله الى دولة مقاومة يُحسب لها الف حساب إن في المعادلة الإقليمية او في المعادلة الدولية، وهو ما يجعل اي رهان على استنزافه في حكم المستحيل ما دامت احتياطيات إيران البالغة أكثر من 189 مليار دولار تقف خلف مقاومته إذا ما جدّ الجد، فضلاً عن الصين وروسيا البالغة احتياطياتهما الى ما يفوق الـ 3 تريليونات دولار ونحو 600 مليار يورو ناهيك عن حجم الكتلة الذهبية الهائلة التي تتسلح بها دول الدفاع عن جبهة المقاومة ضد حرب أميركا الاقتصادية هذه..!

هذه هي جبهتنا الخلفيّة المترامية الأطراف والقوة

فهل يبلغنا المرجفون في المدينة من مروّجي «افيون» قيصر، ماذا تملك جبهة أميركا التي تحتضر على الهواء مباشرة وبالأسود والأبيض..!؟

إنها ساعة الخلاص التي تقترب، قيامتها نصراً مبيناً لنا وخسراناً مدوياً لهم.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله.


South Front

After capturing Tripoli International Airport last week, GNA forces and Syrian militant groups with a direct support from the Turkish Armed Forces forced the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar to retreat from a number of villages and towns including Tarhuna and Dawun.

Retreating LNA fighters left behind dozens of weapons and pieces of military equipment, including T-55 and T-62 battle tanks and howitzers. Pro-GNA sources also showcased a destroyed Pantsir-S system, which the LNA had received from the UAE. The town of Tarhuna was looted and a large number of buildings there were destroyed by Turkish-backed forces. The residents of this town are known for their support to the LNA. A large number of civilians fled the town with the retreating LNA units.

On June 6, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced a new diplomatic initiative for Libya proposing a ceasefire from June 6 and the resumption of the political process. Egypt alongside with the UAE are key backers of the LNA.

Apparently, Anakra and the GNA saw this move as a sign of the weakness. The GNA even announced an advance on the port city of Sirte controlled by the LNA. However, Turkish-led forces failed to reach the city on June 6 and June 7 suffering casualties. According to local sources, over 30 Turkish proxies were killed. A Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat UAV was also shot down. In response, Turkey shot down a Wing Loong II combat UAV operated by the LNA and conducted a series of airstrikes on LNA positions near Sirte. On June 8, the GNA and its allies conducted another attempt to advance on Sirte. Clashes are ongoing.

Egypt reacted to these developments by sending reinforcements to the border with Libya. At least 2 large columns with Egyptian battle tanks were filmed moving towards the border. The geographic location of Egypt allows its leadership, if there is a political will and a strong decision, to freely employ its ground and air forces to support the LNA in the conflict against Turkish proxies. Cairo could opt to choose the strategy of direct actions if Turkish-led forces capture Sirte threatening the LNA heartland in northeastern Libya.

The modern military political leadership of Turkey, in particular President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his inner circle, has views on the needed structure of the Islamic world, which are to a great extent similar to those of the Muslim Brotherhood. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood thinks that the leading Islamic states should be headed by leaders with a rather strong religious agenda.

Egypt traditionally has a complex and balanced cooperation of the religious and secular parts of their society. In the view of the Muslim Brotherhood, the religious factor should be developed further, even at the cost of the interests of the secular part of the society. This goes contrary to the current reality in Egypt, which is ruled by relatively secular leaders. Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood and armed groups affiliated with it are considered terrorist organizations in Egypt. Therefore, Cairo sees the expansion of forces ideologically close to the organization as a direct threat to its national security.

The ominous Jihadis war; From Tripoli to Tripoli:

The ominous Jihadis war; From Tripoli to Tripoli:

May 23, 2020

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

The ‘War on Syria’ is far from being over, and it will continue until all foreign forces illegally present on Syrian soil retreat; either willingly, or defeated.

And even though the American presence in Syria has no clear and realistic political purpose other than wreaking havoc. and making it hard for Russia to help reach a decisive victory, in a twist of fate, the focus of the Russo-American conflict in the region may soon move away from Syria.

In reality, the outcome of the ‘War on Syria’ was never expected by the initial assembly of adversaries when they launched the attack. Furthermore, they had many deep differences and nothing in common other than a shared hatred for Syria, but the unexpected turn of events has intensified their internal conflict and seemingly catapulted the strife between those former allies much further afield to a new hub in Libya.

Whilst the world and its media are busy with COVID-19, a new huge struggle is brewing, and this time, it is drawing new lines and objectives that are in reality going to be fueled, financed and executed by the former once-united enemies of Syria; but this time, it will be against each other.

An array of regional and international issues lies behind the impending conflict; and to call it impending is an under-statement. It is already underway, but hasn’t reached its peak yet, let alone making any significant news coverage.

It is a real mess in Libya now, and the short version of a long story goes like this:

Soon after NATO hijacked the UNSC mandate to enforce a no-fly-zone decision over Libya and manipulated it in a manner that ‘legalised’ bombing Libya culminating in toppling and killing Gadhafi, the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the formal capital Tripoli on the Western side of the coast, was created.

But the ‘revolution’ against Gadhafi was launched in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi. After Gadhafi’s demise, another interim government was formed in Libya’s east under the name of National Transitional Council (NTC).

The NTC, whose flag is the flag of the ‘revolution’, did not recognize the GNA and regarded it as a Western lackey.

After a few years of squabbling, NTC strongman General Haftar decided to militarily disable the GNA.

With little concrete protection on the ground from the West, and under the guise of upholding UNSC mandates, Erdogan jumped into the existing void and the opportunity to grab Libya’s oil, and decided to send troops to support the GNA.

In return, Haftar is getting support from other regional players. Recently, representatives from Egypt, the UAE, Greece, Cyprus and France had a meeting and denounced Turkey’s involvement in Libya. Erdogan perhaps borrowed a term from his American part-ally-part-adversary and referred to the meeting and its decree as an ‘alliance of evil’. Fancy this, a NATO member accusing other NATO members of being in an alliance of evil.

It must be noted that even though Saudi Arabia did not attend the meeting, it was there in spirit, and represented by its proxy-partner the UAE.

The USA took a step further and accused Russia and Syria of working behind the scenes and planning to send fighters to Libya to support Haftar.

But this article is not about the geopolitical hoo-ha. It is about shedding a light on what score-settling is expected to eventuate in Libya, and who is likely to end up doing the fighting against who.

Even though the Afghani Mujahedeen were purportedly the first Jihadi fighters to engage in battle in the 20th Century, their fight was against foreign USSR troops. In terms of an internal force that aimed for fundamentalist Muslim rule, there is little doubt that the first event of such insurgency in the Middle East was the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) revolt that took place in Syria in the early 1980’s and which was quashed by the then President, Hafez Assad. After their smashing defeat, the fundamentalists kept their heads low until they lit the flame again in the Palestinian refugee Naher Al-Bared Camp at the northern outskirts of Tripoli Lebanon in 2007.

There are, for those who are unaware, two cities bearing the name Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast; one is in Northern Lebanon, and it is Lebanon’s second largest city, and the other Tripoli is located on the Western side of the Libyan Coast. They are sometimes called Tripoli of the East and Tripoli of the West, respectively.

Shaker Al-Absi, leader of Fateh Al Islam, a Salafist terror organization, declared jihad and engaged in a bitter fight against the Lebanese Army. He was defeated, remained at large, but any look at Lebanon’s Tripoli after his demise displayed a clear evidence of a huge build-up of Salafist presence in the city.

When the ‘War on Syria’ started only four years later, Tripoli became a major hub for the transport of fighters and munitions from Lebanon into Syria. Nearly a decade later, and with a few Jihadi pockets left in the Idlib province now, their defeat in Syria is imminent.

But who exactly are those murderous head-chopping radical elements that we talking about; past and present?

When the coalition that started the attack on Syria took form, it was comprised virtually of all of Syria’s enemies. Most of them were religious fundamentalists. In an early article, I called them ‘The Anti-Syrian Cocktail’.

Back then, ISIS, did not exist in the form that it became known as. Furthermore, I have always advocated that there was no difference at all between Al-Nusra and ISIS and/or any other Takfiri organizations. They are all terror-based and founded on violent readings of Islam.

In time however, and this didn’t take long, it became apparent that even though the ideologies were identical, there were two major financiers and facilitators to those many different terror organizations. One was primarily funded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the other by Qatar and facilitated by Turkey.

The former group is affiliated with what is known as Saudi Wahhabi Islam. They are also known as the Salafists. The latter group are the MB’s.

As the war was shifting in favour of Syria, their agendas diverged, the schism grew deeper and strong rivalries emerged; especially as the Wahhabis and their sponsors were sent home defeated. Part of this fallout was the ongoing Saudi-Qatari conflict.

But the rivalry that is least spoken about is personal. It is the one between Erdogan and Al-Saud.

They are both fighting over the leadership of fundamentalist Sunni Islam. But Erdogan also has his nationalist anti-Kurdish agenda, and of course, he is desperate to put his hands on oil supplies that he can call his own. He cannot find oil on Turkish soil or in Turkish waters, but he is prepared to act as a regional pirate and a thug and steal another nation’s oil. If no one is to stop him, he feels that he can and will.

Upon realizing that Turkey could not get in Syria either victory or oil, Erdogan is now turning his face west towards Libya. He finds in Libya a few scores that he hopes to settle after his failure in Syria. He wants a face-saving military victory, he wants to assert his position as THE Sunni leader who can reclaim glory, and he wants free oil. Last but not least, In Libya, he will find himself close to Egypt’s Sisi; the political/religious enemy who toppled his MB friend and ally, President Mursi.

On the other side, defeated but not totally out, Saudi Arabia wants blood; Erdogan’s blood.

The Saudis blame Erdogan (and Qatar) for their loss in Syria because he was more focused on his own agenda and spoils rather than the combined ones of the former alliance they had with him. They blame him for abandoning them and making deals with Russia. They hold him responsible for the breakup of the unity of Muslim fundamentalism. They fear his aspirations for gaining the hearts and minds of Muslims who regard him as a de-facto Caliph. As a matter of fact, it was Saudi Crown Prince MBS who used the borrowed word ‘evil’ first when he stated more than two years ago that Erdogan was a part of a ‘Triangle of Evil’. And how can we forget the Khashoggi debacle and the ensuing standoff between Turkey and Saudi Arabia?

We must stop and remember once again that not long ago at all, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were allies, who together, plotted how to invade Syria and bring her down to her knees. These are the heads of the two major countries that facilitated the war machine with Saudi money injecting fighters and munitions into Syria from the south, and open Turkish borders and Qatari money injecting them from the north.

Back to Libyan General Haftar. In his westerly advance along Libya’s terrain, he cleaned up the ISIS elements who stood in his way and hindered his progress. But ironically, he is now fighting their religious rival; the Turks, the protectors of the MB’s.

The USA may accuse Syria of sending troops into Libya, but where is the proof and why should Syria do this after all? And even though the Saudis and the Emiratis are warming up relationships with Syria, the Syrian Army is still engaged in battle and is not prepared to go and fight in Libya. There is nothing for it to gain. Once the war is over, Syria will be concerned with rebuilding a war-torn nation. Syria has no interests in Libya; none what-so-ever.

The role of Russia is not very clear on the ground even though there are clear indications that Russia supports Haftar ideologically. The support began when Haftar demonstrated to the Russians that he was adamant about fighting ISIS and exterminating its presence in Libya. He lived up to this promise thus far and gained Russian respect.

How will the situation in Libya eventually pan out is anyone’s guess. That said, apart from sending regular Turkish Army units, Erdogan is not short on rounding up fighters; and he has attained much experience in this infamous field of expertise from his vicious attack on Syria. With Qatari money in his pocket, he can recruit as many fighters as Qatar can afford.

Erdogan realizes that the West is not interested in backing him up militarily in Libya. The best deal he can get from America is a tacit support. And with France, a NATO member taking part in the above-mentioned five-nation conference, he will definitely have to stand alone so-to-speak.

He has Qatar behind him, but how powerful is Qatar? A ‘nation’ of 200,000 citizens? How can such a small state play such a big role and why?

Qatar is not really a nation or even a state in the true sense. Qatar is an entity, a ‘corporation’ owned by a ruling dynasty that serves the interests of the USA and Israel. This family will outlay any sum of money to guarantee its own protection and continuity.

And Erdogan, the friend-and-foe of both of America and Israel, knows the vulnerabilities and strengths of Qatar, and he is using his deceptive talents to provide the Qatari ruling family with the securities that the shortfalls that America and Israel do not provide. For example, it was he who sent troops to Qatar after the Saudi threats. And even though Erdogan will never take any serious actions against his NATO masters except in rhetoric, the weak and fearful Qataris will dance to the tune of any protector and will sell their souls to the devil should they need to.

On the other hand in Libya, if Haftar finds himself facing a huge Turkish army, he will need assistance on the ground. Where will he seek it from?  His next-door neighbour Egypt? If so, will it be in the form of regular army units or hired guns?

Sisi is neither a religious nor a fundamentalist zealot, but this is not meant to be a complementary statement. He has not taken any serious black-and-white steps in regional politics. This does not mean he is a man of principles. He is probably waiting for dollar signs, and if he sees financial benefits in supporting Saudi Arabia in a proxy war against Turkey in Libya, he may opt to agree; if the price it right.

Whether or not Saudi Arabia can afford a new war, especially with current crude prices, is another story, but as the war on Yemen winds down, the gung-ho MBS is irrational enough to be persuaded. His regional enemy is no longer Assad. His current enemy is Erdogan.

To be fair to MBS, despite his vile, criminal and megalomaniac attributes, he never claims to be a religious leader, but Erdogan does, and many Sunni Muslims see in Erdogan THE leader they have been waiting for. This alone constitutes a huge challenge for MBS because neither he, nor anyone else in the whole of Saudi Arabia for that matter, is regarded anywhere in the Muslim World as a potential leader of the Sunni Muslims.

In reality, as far as Muslim leadership is concerned, the Saudis can only bank on the location of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Apart from this, they only have wealth that enables them to buy supporters, but their oil wealth is becoming increasingly vulnerable.

In the uphill fight against Erdogan within the Muslim World, both of the Saudis and the Turks realize that the fight between them in Syria is over. Actually, the Saudis have no loyal ‘troops’ on Syrian soil left to fight anyone with. This begs the question of whether or not the Turks and Saudis are moving the battle ground and the score settling from Syria to Libya.

This time around, such a potential battle between the two lines of Jihadis may have to morph from a fight between terror organizations to a war between regular armies; the Turkish Army against the Egyptian Army. Such a battle will rage over Libyan soil, with the Turks financed by Qatar and Egypt by Saudi Arabia.

Such a war will not necessarily bring in Iran into the fight. If it eventuates, it will be a fundamentalist Sunni-Sunni war, sponsored by fundamentalist Sunni states, each fighting for and against different versions of radical Muslim fundamentalism, under the watchful eyes of the USA and to the glee of Israel.

The jihadi war that was first ignited in Tripoli Lebanon between a rogue terror organization and the Lebanese Army did not end. It kept moving theatres and objectives and changing players. Is the final score going to be settled in Tripoli Libya?

مصر لن تفتح ذراعَيْها للفوضى والأخوان

سبتمبر 30, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– شكلت زيارتي للقاهرة عشية السنة الخمسين لرحيل الراحل العظيم جمال عبد الناصر، حدثاً وجدانياً وسياسياً، والأهمّ فرصة لسماع وتتبع نمط تعامل شرائح ونخب مصرية عديدة مع ما يجري في مصر، وما يعتقد المصريون بألسنة قادة الرأي بينهم حول ما يتوقّعونه من مكانة حاسمة لمصر في توازنات ومعادلات إقليميّة، يرونه سبباً في لحظات الاهتزاز الكبيرة التي تعيشها المنطقة أن يكون الطلب خلاله على أدوار من مصر، مشفوعاً بالرسائل المشفرة، التي يمكن أن يأتي بعضها أمنياً، كما يقرأون في تصاعد بعض العمليات التي تستهدف الأمن المصري وما قابله من ترتيب جهوزية استثنائية للجيش والأجهزة، وهو ما قالته العمليات الأخيرة في سيناء، ويمكن أن يأتي بصيغة توظيف مدروس لمناخات التعب الاقتصادي والاجتماعي لشرائح شعبية أو مناخات القلق والتذمر والتطلعات لشرائح شبابية، وقد علمهم الربيع العربي، وما حدث مع ثورتهم الأولى، ألا يروا في كل ما يلمع ذهباً، وأن يقتصدوا في استخدام مصطلحات من نوع ثورة وانتفاضة واحتجاجات عفوية، حتى لو كانت لهم مآخذ كثيرة على أداء الحكومة ومؤسساتها، أو على بعض ما يظنونه بروداً في التعامل مع المتغيرات وتبديلَ بعض الخيارات أو تطوير بعضها، يعتقدون أن بلدهم معني فيه، وأن زمن انتظارها قد طال.

– التوق لدور قيادي لمصر في الأزمات الدائرة في المنطقة يبقى نخبوياً بالتأكيد، رغم مشاعر شعبيّة عارمة تفجّرت في ذكرى رحيل جمال عبد الناصر استعادت في بريق العيون ولهفات العناق وبحة الحناجر، تلك الأيام التي كانت القاهرة مركز صناعة السياسة الأول في المنطقة، وأحد المراكز العالمية المعدودة التي يحسبُ حسابها الكبار في قراراتهم. والتوق يبقى أقوى لدى الناصريين الذي يشكلون بيئة ثقافية حيّة وجمهوراً مشبعاً بالقيم والأخلاق، وكل منهم لا يخفي حجم تعلقه بالمقاومة، ووفائه لفلسطين، وعشقه لسورية، ويحكي بلا حساب أحلامه عن التطلع ليوم تكون فيه مصر كما يحب أن يراها درة تاج في هذا المثلث، لكنهم يستدركون بالقول، طبعاً لا ضغط على مصر بوسائل خبيثة ومؤذية أو رهانات مقامرة او انتهازية مشبوهة، طلبا لتحقق مثل هذا الحلم، بل هو أمل بتطوّر موقف الدولة ومؤسساتها، نحو سقوف تعبر فيها بوضوح أكبر عن اصطفافات تستثمر على تطورات المنطقة، وتغيرات موازينها ليكون لمصر بعض مما يحلمون به، ولو بالتدريج وبتواضع التمني، خصوصاً أن ما خبروه من خوف وقلق على مصر ووحدتها وأمنها واستقرارها، ومكانتها وتحالفاتها، ونبض مواقفها، خلال فترة تولي الأخوان المسلمين مقاليد الأمور في بلدهم، جعلهم يضبطون إيقاع مواقفهم، وحتى مشاعرهم، أو غضبهم أحياناً، على التمسك بمعادلة ذهبية أظهرتها عاصفة الخماسين التي سُمّيت ربيعاً وأصابت بلدان المنطقة، وهي أن الأوطان والجيوش توأمان، وبعدهما تأتي السياسة، بعيداً عن التطيُّر اليساري الذي شغل بال كثير من النخب والأحزاب خلال عقود مضت تحت شعار لا للعسكرة.

– الطلب على دور لمصر يأتي من الذين يخسرون معاركهم في الإقليم، وخصوصاً الذين يربكهم عدم انخراطها في أدوار عرضت عليها ورفضتها المؤسسة العسكرية والأمنية والدبلوماسية بقوة، سواء في مراحل الحرب السورية التي سبقت ثورة 30 يونيو، وتسلم الجيش مقاليد الحكم وإطاحته بقوة الشارع ودعمه لحكم الأخوان، أو في مواقع مشابهة، تملصت منها مصر وجيشها بذكاء، ولكن وبصورة أشد خصوصاً، تبدو العيون مفتوحة على التراجع التركي الإقليمي، وحاجة أنقرة التي خسرت رهاناتها في سورية وتخسرها في ليبيا، لمنع مصر من التقدم نحو المنصة السياسية للترتيبات والتسويات، كجهة تلقى القبول والترحيب من أغلب اللاعبين المحليين والإقليميين، ويخشون من أن يكون العبث والفوضى، أهدافاً بحد ذاتها دون سقوف القدرة على إحداث تغييرات كبيرة، تبدو مستحيلة، في ظل معادلات واقعية باتت تحكم مزاج الشارع وعلاقته بالمؤسسة العسكرية كخط أحمر غير قابل للتفاوض من طرفيه. فيصير العبث والفوضى هدفين لبريد رسائل يحاول الضغط والإرباك، ولو استخدم وقوداً له نيات طيبة، او أوجاعاً مشروعة، أو مآخذ ونقاط ضعف تتداولها الناس في صالوناتها وترغب بتلافيها وتفاديها، أو تطلّعات وطلبات ترغب بإسماعها والأخذ بها.

– لا قلق على مصر من الذهاب إلى الفوضى، ولا خوف على مصر من عودة الأخوان، ولا خطر ثالث سوى هذين يراه المصريون هذه الأيام ويضعونه في الحسبان، وبعضهم المتحمّس للدفاع عن أداء مؤسسة الحكم، ولو بقوة عمق ما تعلّموه من عبرة ما جرى عندما خطف الأخوان ثورتهم الأولى، لا يمتنع عن تقديم دفاعاته عن السياسات الرسمية وحساباتها وحجم الضغوط الاقتصادية المحيطة بمصر وحاجاتها الكثيرة، رغم ضيق الموارد، وبالتوازي حجم القيود التي تربك حركتها لتطوير مواقفها ورفع سقف حضورها، ودرجة الحساسيّة العدائيّة المتوجّسة التي تحضر فيها التعاملات الغربية والإسرائيلية مع كل خطوة تخطوها مصر نحو دورها الطبيعي في المنطقة، خصوصاً من البوابة السورية، التي سيلحظ بقوة كل زائر لمصر يلتقي نخبها ويجس نبض شارعها، أنه شأن مصري، لا يزال يتردد معه كلام جمال عبد الناصر سورية قلب العروبة النابض ، أو التذكير بأن الجيش السوري هو الجيش الأول كما جرت تسميته في مرحلة الوحدة السورية المصرية ولا يزال، أو أن مصر هي الإقليم الجنوبي وسورية هي الإقليم الشمالي، وبالمقابل الكلام الذي قاله حكم الأخوان ذات يوم سبق ترحيلهم من السلطة، عن القرار بالذهاب للقتال ضد الجيش السوري، فكانت الخطيئة المحرّمة التي دقت معها ساعة الرحيل.

– بعد كل هذا الكلام المشحون بالقلق والرغبة، بالطموح والخشية، بالعقلانية والحماس، يلتقي كل نقاش مصري على معادلات تختصر، بالثقة بأن ما يجري في المنطقة سيمنح مصر، التي تقف بثبات عند خط رفض الاشتراك في الخطط والمشاريع المسمومة للمنطقة، وكلما هزمت هذه المشاريع وتلقت المزيد من الضربات، فرصاً لتتقدّم مصر أكثر، ولو تأخّرت حيناً أو ترددت أحياناً، ويلتقي كل نقاش عند حد أدنى عنوانه الحفاظ على استقرار وتماسك مصر، وعلى التمسك بعدم التهاون مع كل ما من شأنه فتح الأبواب أو الشبابيك أمام عبث وفوضى يستعيدان مشهد الأخوان، أو تفوح منهما رائحة أجنبية، أو تفضح خلفياتهما الأسئلة المالية عن مصادر التمويل، وكلام كثير عن تصادم واهم خاضه مشروع الأخوان بعنوان الدين بوجه الجيش، وتصادم واهم آخر يسعى إليه البعض بين المال والجيش، لأن المصريين لن يسلّموا رقابهم لأصحاب الشركات، ولا الصفقات، ولا المقاولات، فيما كثير من مآخذهم وعتبهم على حكومتهم ينبع من حجم نفوذ هؤلاء، لكن الخلاصة تبقى ثابتة، مصر لن ترجع إلى الوراء ولو كان التقدّم إلى الأمام بطيئاً، ومثلما كان عنوان التراجع الممنوع هو التورط في الحرب ضد سورية، فعنوان التقدّم المأمول هو الانخراط في صناعة الحضور مع سورية ونحو سورية وفي سورية.

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تظاهرات ليلية في عدد من المدن المصرية: الشارع يتحدى قبضة السيسي

الأخبار الأناضول

السبت 21 أيلول 2019

تظاهرات ليلية في عدد من المدن المصرية: الشارع يتحدى قبضة السيسي

من شارع الفجالة في قلب القاهرة (الأناضول)

للمرة الأولى منذ ثلاث سنوات، وفي تحدٍّ للقبضة الأمنية المحكمة على البلاد، خرجت في العاصمة المصرية القاهرة ومدن أخرى، مساء أمس، تظاهرات مناوئة للرئيس عبد الفتاح السيسي، ومطالِبة برحيله. وعلى رغم أن تلك التظاهرات بدت محدودة لناحية عدد المشاركين فيها، إلا أن ما يميزها هذه المرة أنها لا تأتي بدعوة من جماعة «الإخوان المسلمون» التي تعدّها السلطات عدوّها اللدود وتصنّفها «إرهابية»، وأنها تندلع في وقت ترتسم فيه الكثير من علامات الاستفهام حول حكم «الجنرال» الذي أظهر في الأيام الماضية – وفق ما بدا – استخفافاً بما يمكن أن يفعله مقاول هارب ربما يكون مدعوماً من أذرع من داخل النظام، ولم يخطر في باله ربما أن الشارع سيجرؤ على مواجهة الحشود الأمنية والعسكرية التي استنفرت في الميادين والساحات منذ أول من أمس تحسّباً لأي تحركات محتملة.

وبثّ ناشطون، عبر مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي، مقاطع فيديو قصيرة تظهر تواجد أعداد من المصريين في ميدان التحرير، وسط هتافات ضد السيسي. كما بثوا مقاطع من ميدان طلعت حرب الشهير وسط القاهرة، وأيضاً من أحد ميادين مدينة المحلية العمالية شمالي البلاد، والشرقية (دلتا النيل/ شمال)، والإسكندرية (شمال)، والسويس (شمال شرق). وتحدث الناشطون عن توقيفات طالت بعض المتظاهرين، بعدما كانت وسائل إعلام محلية ذكرت أن سلطات الأمن ألقت القبض على ضياء سعد الكتاتني، نجل رئيس مجلس الشعب المصري السابق المحبوس حالياً، في أحد شوارع مدينة 6 أكتوبر غربي العاصمة، بتهمة التجهيز للتظاهرات. وفيما بات وسم «#ميدان_التحرير» الأعلى تداولاً على «تويتر» في مصر بعد وقت قصير من انطلاق الاحتجاجات، زعمت حسابات مؤيدة للسيسي أن الفيديوهات المتداولة مفبركة، وأن ما يظهر فيها عمره سنوات، قبل أن يعود بعضها ويعترف بوجود تحركات، وإنما للاحتفال بفوز «نادي الأهلي» بكأس السوبر المحلي!

واندلعت التظاهرات في وقت غادر فيه السيسي البلاد مساء الجمعة إلى نيويورك، من أجل المشاركة في اجتماعات الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة. وتأتي هذه التطورات بعدما دعا المقاول والممثل الهارب، محمد علي، إلى الخروج إلى الشوارع للمطالبة بإسقاط «الجنرال»، الذي كان علي وجّه إليه تهماً بالفساد، كاشفاً الكثير من المعطيات حول مشاريع تعتريها المحسوبية والاعتباطية. ومن بعد مرور قرابة أسبوعين على الفيديوهات التي كان علي يبثها تباعاً، مستدرجاً السيسي إلى ردّ خجول خلال «مؤتمر للشباب» نُظّم على عجل، بدأت تسري دعوات مُوجّهة إلى مسؤولين عسكريين تحضّهم على تأييد «الإرادة الشعبية»، توازياً مع حديث عن تحركات لعسكريين سابقين من بينهم المرشح السابق لرئاسة الجمهورية الفريق أحمد شفيق، وكذلك لضباط داعمين للفريق سامي عنان. انطلاقاً من كل تلك المعطيات وتراتبيتها الزمنية، بدا، في خلال الساعات الماضية، أن ثمة أيادٍ من داخل «بيت النظام»، وربما من الجيش تحديداً، تحاول قلب الطاولة على السيسي، وإن كان من المبكر الحكم على طبيعة ما يجري، خصوصاً في ظلّ توجه الرئيس إلى نيويورك مع ما يعنيه الأمر من اطمئنان يستشعره، بعدما كانت الجهات السيادية اقترحت عليه البقاء داخل البلاد. وفي انتظار اتضاح الصورة، يبقى أكيداً أن ثمة مشهداً جديداً بدأ يرتسم في مصر، التي كانت شهدت انتفاضة شعبية في 25 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2011 أطاحت حكم الرئيس الأسبق حسني مبارك، ومن بعدها بسنتين تظاهرات مدعومة من العسكر أزاحت الرئيس الراحل محمد مرسي، ليحلّ محلّه حتى اليوم عبد الفتاح السيسي.


The Lie of the Century. Kushner’s 136 Pages of Lies. Palestinians have No Rights Whatsoever

Global Research, July 01, 2019
IMEMC News 30 June 2019

Well, it’s happened. It’s real. Mr. Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and Senior Advisor of President Trump has delivered 136 pages of lies, suppositions and conjuring tricks to seduce or compel us Palestinians to accept our fate and surrender our rights. What rights? As far as this document is concerned, Palestinians have no rights whatsoever, and, as for a Palestinian perspective, what is that?

The Palestinians were not even invited to Manama, let alone considered. What about the Israelis? Were they there? Were they invited? On the face of it, no. But, in reality, they were amply represented. What is Jared Kushner if not the team captain for the Greater Israel Project? After all, he is Jewish, an ardent Zionist, an investor in the illegal settlements in Palestine and an advocate, par excellence, for Israeli survival and supremacy.

The Lie Of The Century, as I call it, is just that. A lie. From beginning to end, every word, every supposition of this long-winded deception is to ensure that the Greater Israel Project will advance unhindered, and we, the Palestinians, are to accept the crumbs off the table of our land-lords. Or perish.

But, hang on a minute. How could an occupier who seized our land by brute force be made a legitimate land-lord over us? The answer is simple. In the Trumpian universe, all that matters are power and Mammon. Isn’t this what the ‘Deal of The Century’ is all about? American/Israeli power exercised over us Palestinians without mercy? And, what about the money? Oh, yes. There is money, but it is not American nor Israeli money. It’s Arab money — to be extorted from despotic, Arabic regimes in the Gulf, as per usual. Trump demands and the Arab Regimes of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia oblige. If they don’t, as Mr. Trump intimated, their shaky thrones wouldn’t last a week without US protection.

Mr. Kushner promised $50 billion in Arab money to be divided between Palestine, Jordan and Egypt. Nowhere in the document was there any mention of Palestinian political rights, the right of return of the Palestinian refugees or even the Israeli occupation of Palestine. All was conveniently kicked into touch because it doesn’t matter, you see. What matters is Israeli survival and supremacy and the continued, rapid march of the Greater Israel Project.

I say ‘rapid march’ because who is to stop it? The Palestinians do not have an army, an air force, a navy or even a coalition to stop this march. Jordan has already succumbed to American threats and promises of prosperity. The same goes for Egypt, especially under the hand-picked President Abdul Fatah Alsisi, whose sole purpose is to neuter Egypt and serve as a facilitator for American and Israeli hegemony in our area.

Syria? Western powers, Israel and despotic Arab/Muslim states have made sure that Syria is taken out of the equation by embroiling it in a 7-year long devastating war.

The Gulf States? Saudi Arabia? Instead of stopping this advance of Greater Israel they are facilitating it by making a frantic rush towards normalization with Israel and to form a coalition of the willing to combat a perceived threat from another Muslim country, Iran. The honorable exception is the State of Kuwait, who refused to attend this farce and reaffirmed their total support of Palestinian rights and aspirations.

Let’s look closely at the word, ‘surrender’. Many of you might remember an article I wrote recently, entitled, ‘Surrender Or Die’. It didn’t take too long for the Israelis to prove me right. There it is. From the Grand weasel’s mouth, none other than Danny Danon, the Israeli Ambassador to the UN. In an article entitled, ‘What’s Wrong With Palestinian Surrender”, published in the New York Times on June 24th, one day before the Manama ‘Workshop’. “Surrender”, he wrote,” is the recognition that in a contest, staying the course will prove costlier than submission.”

There you have it. To the victor the spoils.

And, then, comes the other Grand Weasel, Mr. Jared Kushner, to deliver the message of surrender to a room full of weasels. All of these aforementioned weasels, who have been gnawing at our heels for over a century, omitted to consider one vital point: The Palestinian character and pride.

Surrender is not in our character. We’d rather die standing up, defending our rights than exist, kneeling at the feet of our self-appointed land-lords and benefactors.

Just in case any of those weasels calling for our surrender might have any interest in what we Palestinians want, here is how Executive Member of the PLO, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, put it:


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Featured image is from IMEMC News

جاكلين والوفاء العظيم .. وخيانة قناة السويس ..بقلم عبد الله رجب


منذ فترة تناقل الوطنيون السوريون خبر رحيل جاكلين خطيبة الاستشهادي الأول الضابط السوري جول جمال الذي فجر نفسه في البارجة الفرنسية التي هاجمت بورسعيد المصرية ابان العدوان الثلاثي على مصر عام 56 ..

جول جمال ضابط سوري “مسيحي” قدم نفسه قربانا سوريا من أجل مصر .. وبقي السوريون مخلصين له ولبطولته الفريدة .. وأخلصت له خطيبته بتقديمها درسا في الوفاء العظيم عندما بقيت تلبس خاتم الخطبة دون ان تنزعه حتى آخر لحظة تنفست فيها في هذه الحياة .. وكأنها تقول له ان وفاءه العظيم لأرضه ومبادئه وشعبه يستحق ان يلاقى بالوفاء العظيم ..

وفي هذه الحرب الوطنية العظمى التي عصفت بسورية منذ ثماني سنوات كان السوريون يكتشفون ان وفاء جول جمال العظيم لارضه كان حالة تعكس ثقافة مجتمع فدائي بلا حدود .. ولكن الاخبار التي يتناقلها الناس وبعض القنوات الرسمية عن انضمام قناة السويس الى الحصار الخانق على الشعب السوري ومنع مرور شحنات النفط الإيراني الى سورية فتق الجراح ونكأها ونزفت دما حتى انها لو وصلت الى قناة السويس لجعلتها حمراء .. فطوابير السيارات بلا نهاية أمام محطات الوقود .. وكل الفقراء الذين يعتمودون على وسائل النقل العام لايصلون الى أعمالهم ولا يقدرون على العمل ويفقدون موارد رزقهم اليومي وخبز أطفالهم ..

ربما لايدري كثير من المصريين أن قناة السويس افتداها ضابط البحرية السوري جول جمال بدمه عندما اندفع الشعب السوري للدفاع عن كرامة مصر وحقها المطلق في تأميم قناة السويس .. ولم يكن جول جمال وجيله من السوريين قادرا على أن يتحمل ان تفقد مصر كبرياءها ومورد رزقها وعنوان استقلالها المتمثل في قناة السويس وان يحاصر الأعداء مصر وشعبها من قناة السويس .. ولكن جاء اليوم الذي تحاصر فيه قناة السويس الشعب السوري الذي أهداها ابنه جول جمال الذي كان افتداها بروحه كي تبقى قناة السويس حرة وملكا لأهلها المصريين ..

كيف تخلص امرأة اسمها جاكلين لبطل ولاتبادله أمة بحجم مصر الإخلاص وهو الذي افتداها وترك من أجلها أمه واباه وترك حبيبته ؟؟..

هل أعتذر من جول جمال أنه حرر قناة السويس كي يأتي يوم تحاصر فيه القناة التي حررها بدمه شعبه وأمه واباه واخوته ورفاقه الذين عادوا من مصر من دون ان يعود جثمانه معهم .. فربما لايزال جسده يطفو ويهيم على وجه الموج وفي أعماق بورسعيد .؟؟.
لاأدري كيف أنقل الخبر الى روحه ولاأدري كيف أكتب له رسالة كي أتجنب النظر في عينيه .. ولاأدري كيف أبدأ الكتابة ..

فهل مثلا أقول له ان سفن فرنسا وبريطانيا وإسرائيل وأميريكا تمر على أشلائه وبقايا جسده فيما سفن سورية وأصدقائها محرمة على القناة؟؟ هل أقول له اغفر لنا اننا لانملك شيئا في تلك القناة التي دفعنا دمك ثمنا لها وان دول العدوان الثلاثي التي دحرها بجسده وأجساد المصريين والسوريين هي التي تقرر من له الحق في عبور القناة .. ؟؟
هل تراني أقول له ان دمك الذي كان وقودا لملايين العرب والمصريين واضاء قناديل المصريين والمشرقيين صار مثل بقعة زيت عائمة تدوسها سفن إسرائيل واميريكا في الذهاب والإياب ؟؟

لو عاد الزمن ياجول الى تلك اللحظة التي وضعت فيها كل الذخائر والمتفجرات في مقدمة الزورق الانتحاري الذي صعدت اليه وودعت اصدقاءك .. لهرولت وقلت لك .. الهوينى ياجول .. انني أرى لحظة في الزمان لو رأيتها لوقفت وقلت لنفسك ماكان دمي يوما بالرخيص الا من أجل الأوفياء والانقياء .. فكيف يامصر لاتحفظين الجميل .. فتخلص لي امرأة .. وتنساني أمة بحجم مصر ؟؟

فيا مصر لا تخذلي من ترك أهله أمانة في عنقك ووضع كل ثقته في أنك لن تخذلي دمه الذي سقاك الحرية …

   ( الأحد 2019/04/21 SyriaNow)

Libya – U.S. Reveals Support For Hafter’s Side

By Moon Of Alabama

April 19, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – The Libyan National Army (LNA) troops of General Hafter attack the militias which support the UN recognized government in Tripoli from the south. The LNA still lacks forces for a larger break through. Several objects at the front changed hands several times. There are bloody skirmishes but no big fights. Those are still to come.

Map by South Front – bigger

Some people doubt that Hafter can be successful:

Analysts believe that Haftar over-estimates the strength of his LNA.

They say the controversial field marshal, who backs an administration rival to the GNA based in eastern Libya, was counting on a quick collapse of Tripoli militias.

But pro-GNA reinforcements from around Tripoli rushed to assist in driving back his forces.

It was never clear if Hafter really hoped that a lightning attack on Tripoli would achieve a fast victory, or if his sudden move was intended to rally support from outside. He is now certainly getting such support and that will be to his decisive advantage in the longer play.

As we described it:

Hafter has open support from France, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia. The Trump administration is not interested to step into the mess. Hafter is an old CIA asset and if he takes control there is a good chance that the U.S. will have influence over him. As long as Libyan oil flows and keeps the global oil price down Trump will be happy. Russia is trying to stay in the background to not give the anti-Russian forces in Washington an excuse to intervene.

The Muslim Brothers, supported by Turkey and Qatar, are still in play in Misrata but have otherwise lost their influence on the ground.

Since then the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia pledged tens of millions of dollars to support Hafter’s move on Tripoli. During the last week Hafter visited President Sisi of Egypt.

Europe is disunited over the issue. Italy wants to keep its influence in its former colony Libya and its historical position in the Libyan oil industry. It is also concerned about a new wave of refugees. It supports the government in Tripoli. France is supporting Hafter with an eye on taking over some oil business. It is also concerned about Islamist activities in former French colonies west and south of Libya. With Italy and France in a clinch, the European Union only issued a weak statement that called for a stop of fighting without naming any side.

Concern over the militias which support the Tripoli government increased too. They not as harmless as many seem to have thought:

A week after an aspiring strongman launched a surprise attack on the Libyan capital, an assortment of criminal gangs and extremists are rushing into the fight against him, raising new questions for the United States and other Western powers that have condemned his attack.

But an increasingly unsavory cast has joined the coalition against him, including a group closely tied to a militia sanctioned as a terrorist organization by the United States and the United Nations; an extremist warlord sanctioned for undermining Libya’s stability; and other militia leaders sanctioned for migrant trafficking. That mix so alarms Western powers that some may deem General Hifter the lesser evil.

Yesterday the U.S., which had said little when Hafter launched his assault on Tripoli, came out of the closet:

The United States and Russia both said Thursday they could not support a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Libya at this time, diplomats said, as mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Russia objects to the British-drafted resolution blaming eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar for the latest flare-up in violence when his Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli earlier this month, diplomats said.

The United States gave no reason for its position on the draft resolution …

Today we learn that Trump spoke with Hafter several days ago:

President Donald Trump spoke on Monday with a Libyan strongman whose forces are advancing on the nation’s capital, the White House said, in a move that may undermine support for the country’s internationally recognized government.

Trump discussed “ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya” with Haftar, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. Gidley called Haftar by the title “field marshal.”

“The president recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system,” Gidley said.

The key point for Trump is the oil price. His administration put sanctions on sales of Iranian and Venezuelan oil. Since the beginning of the year crude oil prices rallied from the low $50 per barrel to over $70 per barrel. Trump plans to reduce waivers he gave to some of the countries that continue to buy Iranian oil. That would further decrease Iran’s output. Any additional disruption of Libya’s oil production would increase the oil price and harm the U.S. economy. It would thereby make Trump’s plan for total sanctions on Iranian oil impossible.

Hafter controls most of Libya’s oil supplies. With open backing from the U.S., Russia and France, support from the military in Egypt, and with enough Saudi cash to finance his army, he surely has all the needed support to sustain a longer fight.

His next move will likely be against the small air force the Misrata gangs assembled. The U.S. might give him a helping hand in that. Hafter could then close down the airspace for flights from Turkey and Qatar. That would cut into the resupply Misrata and Tripoli need for a longer fight.

Those who say that “there is no military solution” to the situation in Libya will likely be proven wrong. Hafter has all he needs to win the fight.

This article was originally published by Moon Of Alabama” –

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