WORLDMuslim Brotherhood Mob Boss Qaradawi Dies

September 30, 2022

Declan Hayes

The only tragedy about the death at 96 years of age of Youssef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s deadliest terrorist grouping, is that the Muslim Brotherhood did not die along with him.

The only tragedy about the death at 96 years of age of Youssef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s deadliest terrorist grouping, is that the Muslim Brotherhood did not die along with him.

Qaradawi was the Egyptian born spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood murder gang. Typical of the beliefs Qaradawi espoused was that Hitler went too easy on the Jews, that the world’s 100 million Shia, along with all apostates from Sunni Islam, must be exterminated and that his Islamic Caliphate should rule over us all. He lived in Qatar and, when not spewing out misogynistic, Shiaphobic, anti Semitic bile from that excuse for a country on al Jazeera’s top rating TV show. this hateful, Hitler loving demagogue issued fatwas to the Muslim Brotherhood faithful to slaughter Syria’s minorites and “apostates”.

The Muslim Brotherhood, its strong links with Western intelligence forces and dubious Trotsykist groups notwithstanding, is the Arab world’s original, most subversive, and most dangerous terrorist organization. It strongly believes in imposing the Caliphate and, as their countless atrocities in Egypt and Syria show, murdering or subjugating all who resist them. There will be no peace in the Arab or Western worlds until the Muslim Brotherhood is crushed in its Egyptian and Syrian spawning grounds and in those areas of the Western world NATO has allowed it colonize. Syria’s former ruler, the late Hafez el Assad, accurately described these NATO aligned devils in this video.

Following their failed 1982 coup, most Syrian Muslim Brotherhood terrorists fled into safe haven bolt holes from where they built a network of dedicated and highly professional cadres to spew their toxins. Though the Muslim Brotherhood Support Network in the West deserves a lot more scrutiny to determine why supposed left wing groups support these sectarian cut throats, they are, from my experience at least, protected by MI5 and allied intelligence agencies.

Take the case of Omar Gabbar, who shared a platform with prominent child sex jihad proponent Muhammed al-Arefe. Not only did Gabbar’s Hand in Hand for Syria front group secure one of the world’s top child sex jihadist recruiters in their first month of operation “from a Leicester kitchen table” but their original posters were designed by Turkish-based hacks of the terrorist Free Syrian Army, whose flag is emblazoned on the logo of Hand in Hand for Syria. Gabbar should, together with the legal hounds and British armed response units he set on me, consider that decent people, who are not members of the Muslim Brotherhood or any of its satellites, have got very lengthy prison tariffs for much less. Though al-Arefe is now barred from Britain, Omar Gabbar remains there and, like many others, who brought al-Arefe to Britain, is allowed work, as a hospital consultant in his case, where he has access to the young and impressionable children al-Arefe expects to do sex jihad.

The Muslim Brotherhood are allowed leverage the professional status of operatives like Gabbar not only to bring sex jihadist recruiting sergeants like Al Arefe to England to help the Canadian secret service ferry child brides like Shamima Begum to their Syrian caliphate but to collect tens of millions of dollars for the Caliphate under false pretenses thanks, in large part to the control MI5 have over the Charity Commission which can be seen, inter alia, by the example of Samara’s Appeal, a dodgy Anglican cult charity focused on Syria, which is exempted from having to list its trustees.

Gabbar is not the Muslim Brotherhood’s only well placed British asset. Dr Rola Hallam is the daughter of Mousa al Kurdi, one of the head honchos in the supposedly moderate wing of Syria’s Murder Inc; she can drive through ISIS checkpoints at will, as this website based on BBC Panorama’s farcical puff piece plainly illustrates.. Though Hand in Hand for Syria’s collusion with ISIS, as evidenced by their ability to sail through ISIS checkpoints and to work in ISIS strongholds, is a further indication that the moderate and less moderate wings of Syria’s Murder Inc are in bed together and that the British and Irish authorities should consider rounding up the flotsam working with them, that will not happen because Qaradawi’s Muslim Brotherhood are so well engrained at the heart of British and Irish political life.

At the center of the effort to hijack Ireland’s traditional tolerance stand the extremists of the Clonskeagh Mosque aka The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, which Wikileaks’ leaked U.S. cable and all informed writers say, have embedded ties to the most extreme elements of the Muslim Brotherhood murder gang. The mosque or “cultural center”, which gets massive subsidies from the opaque Dubai-based Al Maktoum foundation and sources linked to other totalitarian Gulf states, regularly hosts such “scholars” as Saudi cleric Salman al Awda, who calls for the total extermination of all Americans, and Egyptian demagogue Wagdy Ghoneim, whose views likewise make him an international pariah in places where the writ of the Muslim Brotherhood does not run as deeply as it does in Ireland.

The “cultural center’s” head religious figure is Hussein Halawa, an Egyptian blow-in, who has lived in Ireland for decades but who cannot speak either English or Irish. Halawa reported directly to Yusuf al-Qaradawi through The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) which al Qaradawi controlled. Although the arch-bigot Qaradawi was eventually banned from Ireland, Halawa not only remains at large but his children, who were arrested on Muslim Brotherhood related terror charges in Egypt, became a cause célèbre amongst Ireland’s media and large sections of Ireland’s political class, despite Halawa being a leading supporter of Qaradawi and his cut throats. If Halawa was just an otherwise parasitical, functionally illiterate Egyptian blow-in and if female Irish “reverts” were not ending up in accident and emergency wards after “honor beatings”, some of this idiot’s utterances might be tolerable but the fact that his children felt compelled to rush to aid Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as they persecuted Copts and lynched Shias should be definite warning flags even if an alarmingly large number of Irish politicians and other useful idiots opportunistically support him.

In an earlier piece on MI5 subversion in Iran, I cited the great Gamal Nasser mocking the Muslim Brotherhood over their attempts to destroy secular Egypt. Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood could claim to have got the last laugh both in Egypt and Syria, thanks both to their outright terrorism and the massive support they have received from the intelligence agencies of the United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, Ireland and a host of other countries with no more regard to the harm they do than have any other comparable bunch of sociopaths. Although Syria’s current President has repeatedly warned the West against the spill over effects of Muslim Brotherhood terrorism, Western leaders do not care because it is not how they are hard wired.

As long as the Biden, Obama, Clinton, Cheney, Blair and Bush families, together with their minions, can benefit from promoting the Zelenskys and Qaradawis of this world, innocents will continue to die in Armenia, Syria, Yemen, Russia or anywhere else, Western Europe included, they choose to make a wasteland. So, to conclude, grieve not for Qaradawi but only that the Muslim Brotherhood and all its obnoxious tentacles have survived him.

‘Regime change’ in Hamas and a return to Syria

The removal of Khaled Meshaal from power was necessary for normalization with Damascus to occur

September 26 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By The Cradle’s Palestine Correspondent

In mid-September, Palestinian resistance movement Hamas issued a statement indicating that it had restored relations with Syria after ten years of estrangement, effectively ending its self-imposed exile from Damascus.

After the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, at the height of the so-called Arab Spring, Hamas – in line with its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) – turned its back on its once-staunch Syrian ally and threw its support behind the mostly-Islamist “revolution.”

As governments collapsed in key Arab states, the Ikhwan felt the time was ripe for their organization to ascend to a leadership role from Gaza to Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria.

Yet the decision by Hamas’ leadership to leave Damascus was met with strong opposition from influential circles within the movement, especially in its military arm, the Al-Qassam Brigades.

Despite Hamas’ official position toward Syria, internal opposition to the break in relations remained for years, most notably from Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar, and a number of Al-Qassam Brigades leaders such as Muhammad al-Deif, Marwan Issa, Ahmad al-Jabari and Yahya al-Sinwar.

Today, that balance has shifted notably. Sinwar is currently Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip, and his alliance is in strong ascendence within the movement.

From Amman to Damascus to Doha

But back in 2011, the person with the final say over the decision to abandon its Syrian ally was the then-head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal.

Meshaal was the director of the Hamas office in Amman in 1999 when the Jordanian government decided to expel him. He travelled between the airports of a number of Arab capitals, which refused to receive him, under the pretext that there were agreements with a superpower requiring his extradition.

Only Damascus agreed to receive him. Despite the tension that historically prevailed in the Syrian state’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, Meshaal was given freedom to work and built a personal relationship with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. In the years that followed, Hamas was granted facilities and resources that it did not enjoy in any other Arab capital.

Syria opened its doors to train hundreds of resistance fighters from the Al-Qassam Brigades and to manufacture quality weapons, such as missiles and reconnaissance drones.

One Syrian source told The Cradle that the privileges enjoyed by Hamas leaders and members in Syria were not available even to Syrian citizens. In addition to the high cost of Meshaal’s residence and security in Damascus, the state provided him and his associates with dozens of luxury homes in the capital’s most affluent neighborhoods.

Syria was also at the forefront of countries that facilitated the arrival of high-quality weapons into the besieged Gaza Strip. A source in the resistance tells The Cradle that the first Kornet missile to reach Gaza between 2009 and 2011 came from Syria with the approval of President Assad, and was received by then-Chief of Staff of Al-Qassam Brigades Ahmed al-Jabari.

Also crucial to the Palestinian resistance was the arrival of Iranian and Russian missiles that entered Gaza via Syrian arms depots.

Meshaal chooses Doha

It is important to recognize that while the decision to leave Damascus was not by any means unanimously agreed upon within Hamas, as political bureau chief, it was ultimately Meshaal’s call.

A Hamas source informed The Cradle that in September 2011, six months after the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Meshaal received an invitation from the Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, to visit Doha. Recall that Qatar was one of the first states to fund and arm the Islamist opposition in the brutal Syrian war.

According to al-Thani’s estimates, the “Syrian revolution” was likely to end in the overthrow of the Assad government. He is reported to have advised Meshaal to abandon the sinking ship, so to speak, because if the rebellion is successful, “those who stayed with him [Assad] will drown, as happened with the late President Yasser Arafat, when Saddam Hussein was defeated in Gulf War,” the source described.

In an attempt to win over Hamas from Iran’s patronage, al-Thani offered to financially support the movement and to provide a geographical space for operations in the Qatari capital and in Turkish territory.

Meshaal is said to have informed his host that such a decision could not be taken unilaterally, and that he needed to refer to Hamas’ Political Bureau and Shura Council for buy-in.

Internal dissent 

On his way back to Damascus, Meshaal made pit stops in a number of regional countries to inform Hamas’ leadership of the Qatari offer. Suffice it to say, the deal was rejected by the majority of members of the Political Bureau and the Al-Qassam Brigades.

The Hamas source says: “The second man in Al-Qassam, Ahmad Al-Jabari, rejected the treachery against the Syrian leadership, along with Mahmoud al-Zahar, Ali Baraka, Imad al-Alami, Mustafa al-Ladawi, and Osama Hamdan.

On the other hand, Meshaal had the support of Musa Abu Marzouk, Ahmed Yousef, Muhammad Ghazal, Ghazi Hamad and Ahmed Bahr, in addition to a number of the movement’s sheikhs such as Younis al-Astal, Saleh Al-Raqab, and Ahmed Nimr Hamdan, while the head of the Hamas government in Gaza at the time, Ismail Haniyeh, did not have a decisive position.

Meshaal’s opponents were of the opinion that as Hamas is a resistance movement, it would be ill-advised to sever ties with the region’s Axis of Resistance – Iran, Hezbollah and Syria – and that leaving this alliance left little options other than to join the “Axis of Normalization” [with Israel].

Meshaal then received a call from Kamal Naji, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in which he was informed that the Syrians “are aware of all the details of your visit to Qatar, and of the discussion taking place in the Hamas leadership.”

According to the source, Naji advised Meshaal that Hamas “will not find a warm embrace like Syria, and that despite its historical disagreement with the Muslim Brotherhood, Damascus will not ask Hamas to take any declared position on the Syrian crisis.”

The source in Hamas told The Cradle: “The Qataris felt that Meshaal was unable to take such a fateful stance.” At this point, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (considered to be the spiritual guide of the Ikhwan) intervened to pressure both Haniyeh and Abu Marzouk, who had not yet made up their minds.

Fateful meetings

Meshaal was later invited to visit Turkey, where he met leaders of Syrian armed groups, accompanied by the Qatari Minister of Intelligence and officers from Turkish intelligence.

They convinced him that “a few steps separate the opposition from the Republican Palace in the Mezzeh neighborhood of Damascus, and that the days of the Assad regime are numbered.”

The meeting of Hamas’ political bureau in Sudan was the turning point. In that gathering, to the surprise of some participants, both Haniyeh and Abu Marzouk weighed in to side with Meshaal, and it was decided to “discreetly” withdraw from Damascus.

After the decision was taken, the Qataris worked to further enhance Meshaal’s position within Hamas, through an extraordinary visit by the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, to the Gaza Strip – the first for an Arab head of state. During this visit, al-Thani provided generous support with more than $450 million provided for reconstruction and the implementation of development projects.

Hamas’ fateful decision to abandon Damascus, however, was not met with the same enthusiasm by the movement’s military wing, who believed the move made little strategic sense.

Back to Damascus

In the following years, major regional changes contributed to the downfall of Khaled Meshaal and his removal from his position leading Hamas’ Political Bureau.

The Syrian state remained steadfast in the face of collective NATO-Gulf efforts to unseat Assad; Russian military intervention altered the battlefield balance of power; the Syrian political and armed opposition began to disintegrate and suffer heavy losses; the Ikhwan’s rule in Egypt and its control over Libya and Tunisia began to collapse; and a stand-off with Qatar caused Saudi Arabia and the UAE to alter their position on Syria.

With these stunning regional setbacks, it quickly became apparent that neither Qatari nor Turkish support offered any real strategic value for Hamas’ resistance model – nor could they hope to fill the void left by the reduction in Iranian and Syrian military support.

Moreover, Al-Qassam Brigades found itself facing severe financial difficulties, unable to secure the salaries of its members, let alone sustain any meaningful armed resistance against Israel’s continuous assaults and occupation.

At the time, Hamas’ revenues were derived mainly from taxes imposed on Gaza’s residents, while Qatari support, under US supervision, was limited to providing the expenses of the Hamas leadership in Qatar, and providing seasonal financial grants to government employees in Gaza.

Meshaal’s fall from power  

Cumulatively, these events and the stagnation of the Palestinian resistance convinced Hamas’ leadership of the need to reshuffle its regional cards. The freed prisoner, Yahya al-Sinwar, was the initial spark to revamp a fresh new agenda, following his sweeping victory as the new Hamas leader in Gaza.

Sinwar, one of the historical leaders of Al-Qassam Brigades, decided to reset relations with Iran and Hezbollah, and work toward the movement’s eventual return to Damascus.

Meshaal, realizing that regional changes were no longer in his favor, tried to flatter the Syrian state more than once in media statements. But a firm decision had already been taken across the Axis of Resistance that Meshaal was no longer a welcome or trustworthy figure.

This was especially the case after it became clear to the Syrian security services that Meshaal was involved, along with dozens of Hamas members, in supporting armed groups, exposing secret sites of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Lebanese resistance Hezbollah, smuggling weapons to armed opposition in the strategically-located Yarmouk refugee camp and eastern Ghouta region, and providing them with expertise in digging secret tunnels.

Meshaal’s isolation became crystal clear at the end of December 2021, when Hezbollah refused to receive him during a Beirut visit, even though he was officially the external relations officer for Hamas.

According to the Hamas source, Meshaal tried to disrupt the consensus of the leadership of the Political Bureau and the Shura Council on restoring relations with Syria, when he “leaked, at the end of last June, the decision taken in the Political Bureau meeting to return to Damascus.”

Hamas, post-Meshaal

Meshaal’s leak caused media chaos, followed by attempts to pressure Hamas to reverse course. A statement issued by eight of the most important Muslim Brotherhood scholars, advised Hamas to reconsider its decision because of the “great evils it carries for the Ummah.”

Meshaal meanwhile, remained busy trying to restore relations with Jordan, in parallel with Iran, Lebanon and Syria. However, with the recent announcement by Hamas that it would return to Syria, “the efforts made by Meshaal and the Qataris behind him have gone unheeded,” says the movement’s source.

The normalization of relations between Hamas and Syria is significant, not only for the military dividend it could reap for the Palestinian resistance, but also because it can pave the way for Turkey and Qatar to re-establish their Syria ties, although Doha would do so very reluctantly.

With the decision to sideline the Meshaal camp within Hamas, it would seem that Hamas – and not Syria – has ultimately been the subject of regime change in this regional geopolitical battle for influence.

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

مأزق «إخوان اليمن»: مصالحة صنعاء «شرّ» لا بدّ منه؟

 السبت 24 أيلول 2022

 إسحاق المساوى

يحاول فرع «الإخوان» في اليمن إعادة إصلاح ما فَسد مع السعودية خصوصاً (أ ف ب)

صنعاء |

على رغم أن الحملة الأخيرة التي قادتْها الجماعات الموالية للإمارات في جنوب اليمن أخيراً، ضدّ الأذرع العسكرية لـ«الإصلاح»، جرى ضبطها سعودياً وأميركياً بحيث لا تَقطع «شعرة معاوية» مع الأخير، وتُبقي له منفذاً إلى المناطق الغنيّة بالنفط، إلّا أن الحزب لا يزال يستشعر «مؤامرة» ضدّه تستهدف إنهاء وجوده بالكامل. إزاء ذلك، يحاول فرع «الإخوان» في اليمن إعادة إصلاح ما فَسد مع السعودية خصوصاً، واضعاً تظلّماته أيضاً على طاولة الرُّعاة الدوليين لـ«التحالف»، مُحاوِلاً بهذا تجنُّب تجرُّع الكأس المرّة المتمثّلة في العودة إلى صنعاء، إلّا أن هذه الكأس قد لا يكون ثمّة مناصٌ منها في نهاية المطاف، بكامل الرغبة، أو بنصفها، أو حتى تحت وطأة الظروف القاهرة

في آذار 2015، أيّد حزب «التجمّع اليمني للإصلاح» (إخوان مسلمون)، في بيان رسمي، الحملة التي أطلقها «التحالف العربي» بقيادة السعودية، على اليمن. وبعد سبع سنوات من ذلك، وتحديداً في آب 2022، قاد «التحالف» نفسُه حملة لقصقصة أجنحة «الإصلاح» في محافظة شبوة الغنيّة بالنفط، وتهشيم وجوده في محافظتَي عدن وأبين. إثر هذا، تَجدّدت التساؤلات حول إمكانية حصول تبدُّل في التموضع الاستراتيجي للحزب، خصوصاً أن الأخير ترك، في بيانه الصادر في الحادي عشر من آب، الباب مفتوحاً أمام احتمال لجوئه إلى خيارات مغايِرة لِما انتهجه في السنوات الماضية، وأبْقاه تحت ظلّ «التحالف» الذي فرض الحرب والحصار على بلاده، إذ اعتبر «الإصلاح»، في البيان المذكور، أن تداعيات القضاء عليه «تحُول دون إنهاء الانقلاب واستعادة الدولة في اليمن، وتستهدف في الوقت نفسه مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربي، وفي مقدمته السعودية»، في ما قُرئ على أنه قَرْن شَرْطي واضح بين «أمن السعودية ومشروعها» و«أمن الإصلاح ومشروعه»، من شأن تزعزعه أن يجعل الأخير في حِلّ من أمْره.

إزاء ذلك، يرى القيادي الجنوبي المقرّب من «الإصلاح»، عادل الحسني، في حديث إلى «الأخبار»، أن «استهداف الحزب سيحلحل ملفّات شائكة بين قواعده وقواعد أنصار الله»، لكنه يَعتبر أن «الحديث عن تحالف قيادات الطرفَين مبكر»، مستدرِكاً بأن «الإصلاح لن يجد مخرجاً إلّا بتأجيل معاركه الداخلية، والاتّجاه مع الجميع لإخراج المحتل»، بالنظر إلى أن الحزب بات «يدرك يوماً بعد آخر أنه مستهدَف من قِبَل التحالف أكثر ممّا هو مستهدَف من قِبَل أنصار الله»، كما يقول الحسني. وانطلاقاً من المخاوف نفسها، وحتميّات تفاديها، يُعرب العضو السابق في شورى «الإصلاح»، عبدالله مصلح، في حديث إلى «الأخبار»، عن اعتقاده بأن «الحزب بات يستشعر ضرورة الوقوف في وجه التحالف، ليس فقط من أجل اليمن، وإنّما أيضاً من أجل الحزب نفسه»، الذي أصبح «مهدَّداً في وجوده ومُجبَراً على خوض معركة مصيرية صعبة».
لكن إقدام «الإصلاح» على خطوة «شجاعة»، مِن مِثل الخروج من عباءة السعودية والإمارات نحو مظلّة وطنية أوسع، ربّما لا يسعفه التوقيت، ولا المكان، ولا الشخوص أيضاً. فالحزب الذي تخلّى عن تنظيمه الدولي قد يجد نفسه وحيداً في المبارزة العسكرية أو السياسية، فضلاً عن أن معظم قياداته يقيمون في العاصمة السعودية الرياض، وهو الأمر الذي يجعل أيّ خطوة من هذا النوع، في نظر البعض، «مغامرة». لكن ذلك الواقع نفسه قد تكون نتيجته الحتمية، بحسب البعض الآخر، تقارب «الإصلاح» مع «أنصار الله» على قاعدة «مرغَم أخاك لا بطل». ومع أن مصلح لا يتوقّع حدوث هكذا تقارب، بالنظر إلى أن الطرفَين «تيّاران مؤدلجان عقائدياً، وكلّ منهما يمارس نهجاً عدائياً تجاه الآخر»، إلّا أنه يقول إن «السياسة لا تعرف الثبات في المواقف، فقد يحدث بعض التقارب التكتيكي المحدود والمؤقّت وغير المعلن»، أمّا التحالف أو التقارب الكامل فـ«يتطلّب من كلَيهما المبادرة إلى إثبات حسن النوايا، وهذا ما لم يحدث حتى الآن، وخاصة من قِبَل أنصار الله».

جهود استمالة «الأعداء»
إلى الآن، ينتهج «الإصلاح» سياسة استمالة حلفائه المفترَضين الذين باتوا أعداءً له، حتى لا يضطرّ للركون إلى خيارات أخرى تكون صنعاء أو تنظيمه الدولي وُجهتها، وهو ما يؤشّر إليه حرصه إلى اليوم، في بياناته ومواقفه الرسمية، على عدم قطْع حبل الودّ مع السعودية. لكنّ مصلح يؤكد أن «السعودية والإمارات متّفقتان على تنفيذ هذا المخطّط التمزيقي للبلاد والمكوّنات السياسية الفاعلة، وفي مقدّمتها الإصلاح، إلّا أن قيادة الحزب لا تزال تَنظر إلى السعودية كدولة حليفة»، منبّهاً إلى أن «الدور السعودي أخطر على الإصلاح من الدور الإماراتي الواضح في عداوته، فما لم تستطع الإمارات تحقيقه بالقوّة، تُحقّقه السعودية بأسلوب ناعم ظاهره الوساطة والرحمة وباطنه العذاب والدمار».

تُوثّق الذاكرة السياسية والعسكرية مراحل صدام عديدة بين «الإخوان المسلمين» والسعودية

وكان «الإصلاح» بالغ، على مرّ السنوات الماضية، في مساعيه لاسترضاء السعودية والإمارات، ومن ذلك مثلاً اختياره شهر أيلول 2016، الذي يصادف ذكرى تأسيسه، ليتبرّأ من جماعة «الإخوان المسلمين»، كما وزيارة رئيس هيئته العليا للإمارات في منتصف تشرين الثاني 2018. لكنّ هذه المساعي لم تؤتِ في أيّ مرّة أُكُلها، وهي على الأرجح ستظلّ تفشل مستقبلاً، حتى تتحقّق توصيات ضابط استخبارات سعودي في ختام مؤتمر نظّمته بلاده، وأهمّها «الحدّ من نفوذ الحزب في الجيش الوطني وفي الحكومة»، في مقابل احتواء الخصم الاستراتيجي له، وهو حزب «المؤتمر الشعبي العام». وكانت السعودية توعّدت، في أيلول 2017، على لسان وليّ عهدها محمد بن سلمان، بـ«تدمير الإخوان المسلمين الآن وفوراً»، الأمر الذي قوبل بموقف مماثل من قِبَل المكتب العام للجماعة في نيسان 2018، حيث وصف ما تقوم به القيادة السعودية بأنه «نكوث عن الواجب الديني والقومي»، محذّراً من أن «الدُّول تدقّ مسمار نعشها حين ترمي الناس بالباطل».
وتُوثّق الذاكرة السياسية والعسكرية مراحل صدام عديدة بين أذرع «الإخوان المسلمين» في اليمن، وبين السعودية، من ثورة عام 1962، إلى حرب الانفصال عام 1994، وصولاً إلى اليوم حيث يَرجح خيار تحالف الحزب مع صنعاء أكثر من أيّ وقت مضى، بكامل الرغبة، أو بنصفها، أو حتى تحت وطأة ظروف استهدافه القاهرة. ومع ذلك، لا يزال الحزب يحاول إصلاح الأمور، من خلال التظلُّم لدى الدول الراعية لـ«التحالف»، كما جرى في 12 أيلول الجاري، عندما التقى القائم بأعمال الأمين العام لـ«الإصلاح»، عبد الرزاق الهجري، بسفير المملكة المتحدة لدى اليمن، ريتشارد أوبنهايم. لكنّ اللقاء بدا أقرب إلى وقفة تضامنية بريطانية مع ما بقي من جسد الحزب في البلاد، أو إلى روتينِ «حكومةٍ تستخدم كلمات متشابهة وتعني بها أشياء مختلفة جدّاً».

موقف صنعاء
في مقابل احتماليّة عودة «الإصلاح» إلى التحالف مع صنعاء، فتحت الأخيرة باب العودة لِمَن يرغب، محارباً كان أم مسالماً، بقرار عفو عام صدر في أيلول 2016. وفي أيلول 2019، باشر «فريق المصالحة الوطنية والحلّ الشامل» أعماله، ومهمّته إعادة المنخرطين في صفوف «التحالف»، أفراداً وكيانات، إلى «الوطن». وعلى رغم أن هذه الخطوات نجحت في إعادة نحو 16 ألفاً – كما تشير التقديرات -، بِمَن فيهم أعضاء في «الإصلاح»، إلّا أن كثيرين يستبعدون اتّجاه الحزب، بشكل معلَن وفي الوقت الراهن تحديداً، إلى ذلك المخرج لأسباب إيديولوجية مرتبطة بنشأته، والتزاماته مع الأطراف الخارجية المُعادية لصنعاء. وفي هذا الصدد، يقول عضو وفد «أنصار الله» التفاوضي، عبد الملك العجري، إن «ضغائن الإصلاح الإيديولوجية على أنصار الله أصابتْه بعمًى سياسي، لا يبدو أنه قادر على التعافي منه». ويضيف، في تغريدة، أنه «لو مارس الإصلاح 10% من التعقّل الذي يمارسه مع دول العدوان لمَا وصلْنا إلى ما وصلْنا إليه منذ عام 2014، علماً أن ما حدث له في صنعاء لا يساوي 1% من الصفعات التي تلقّاها من دول العدوان».
ويشي الواقع بأنه كلّما بالغ «الإصلاح» في الصبر، بالغ «التحالف» في استهدافه، والسبب في ذلك، من وجهة نظر عضو المجلس السياسي لحركة «أنصار الله»، عضو فريق المصالحة محمد البخيتي، أن «دول العدوان متأكّدة من أن قيادة حزب الإصلاح لن تجرؤ على فضّ الشراكة معها، والانضمام إلى صفّ الوطن، ولذلك فإنها مستمرّة في تصفية الحزب في المحافظات الجنوبية والشرقية من دون أيّ قلق». وبشأن إمكانية تحالف «الإصلاح» مع «أنصار الله»، يقول البخيتي، في تغريدة، إن «مصالح دول العدوان تتعارض مع مصالح اليمن، وحتى مع مصالح الأطراف التي تَورّطت في استدعاء العدوان، وحزب الإصلاح نموذجاً»، مضيفاً «(أنّنا) لسنا بحاجة إلى تقديم تنازلات لبعضنا، وكلّ ما نحتاج إليه هو أن نتوحّد لتحرير اليمن من الاحتلال، وهذا مكسب كبير للجميع وليس فيه أيّ خسارة لأيّ طرف».

مقالات ذات صلة

Dismantling ‘Israel’

20 Sep 2022 23:52 

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Liberal Zionists, unhappy with the fascist brand, already working on a post-apartheid regime is clear proof that the dismantling of Apartheid “Israel” may come sooner than expected.

Tim Anderson 

Director of the Sydney-based Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies.

The future of the Apartheid Israeli regime in Palestine is often seen as either (1) maintenance of the racist “state”, with more than half the population excluded and brutally repressed or (2) complete collapse of the regime and Palestinian liberation – a simple dichotomy. 

However, tensions among Zionist elites and the historic unraveling of previous racist regimes suggest that the dismantling of Apartheid “Israel” may come sooner than expected but in a more complicated manner. Racist states have often been dismantled with serious compromises. 

The combined forces of steadfast Palestinian Resistance and the plummeting “international legitimacy of Israel” are certainly powerful agents working toward a democratic Palestine. Yet, liberal Zionists, unhappy with the fascist brand, are already working on a post-apartheid regime. This group does not currently have the upper hand in occupied Palestine, but they do have greater say with the colony’s chief sponsor, the USA. 

Meanwhile, the disunity of Palestinian factions – actively encouraged by the Zionist regime – undermines their bargaining position. That leaves the door open for dirty deals.

Let’s remember that the ‘abolition’ of mass slavery in the USA was followed by another century of brutal ‘Jim Crow’ racial discrimination, a system which has often been called ‘slavery by another name’. This next stage racist system was given a legal blessing by the ‘separate but equal’ Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), a decision not overturned until Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision (1954). So ‘abolition’ did not mean emancipation.

Correctly pointing to parallels with the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, Omar Barghouti calls for an increase in boycott and sanction initiatives against “Israel”. Yet, he does not refer to the compromises involved in the South African transitional process, which led to extreme economic inequality and post-apartheid South Africa becoming one of the most unequal countries on earth.

Perhaps even more relevant are the compromises made when the racial regime in Zimbabwe (formerly ‘Rhodesia’) was dismantled at the end of the 1970s. Talks hosted in Britain led to the ‘Lancaster House Accords’ with the following features.

First ‘equal citizenship’ was created, but it was accompanied by several protective provisions. A ‘white roll’ was created to maintain ten (of 40) ‘white’ senators and 20 (of 100) ‘white’ reps in the Assembly. There were then requirements for a 70% parliamentary agreement for constitutional changes. A unanimous requirement to change “the separate representation of the white minority in parliament” gave that group veto power. 

Second, under the “freedom from deprivation of property” provisions, the compulsory acquisition of property was banned and consensual compensation provisions were required. Protective provisions to privilege white minority representation and ban state acquisition of land could, for a period of ten years, only be carried out “by the unanimous vote of the House of Assembly”. That ‘froze’ white colonist control of most of the country’s arable land.

Nevertheless, the Lancaster House agreement went on to claim that “the question of majority rule … has been resolved”. Britain promised to provide capital for land buyouts but failed to do so. Twenty years after independence, as the Mugabe government attempted to ‘fast track’ land reforms, Britain and the USA imposed coercive ‘sanctions’ on the country. 

The land question is particularly important in Palestine, where steady land grabs, house thefts, and demolitions committed by “Israel” have economically marginalized the indigenous population, and in the process exposed the seven-decade-long myth of the ‘two states’. 

Yet, the cost of destroying that myth, for the Zionists, is the naked reality of apartheid, now recognized by six independent reports. Two former Israeli leaders, both of the ‘liberal zionist’ faction, have warned of the existential threat the apartheid brand poses to their dream of a ‘Jewish state’. In 2007, Ehud Olmert warned that “Israel” faces an “apartheid-like struggle” if the “two-state” myth collapses. Similarly, in 2017, Ehud Barak warned that his “state” was “on a slippery slope” toward apartheid.

This matter is of less concern for the more openly fascist Zionists, who dominate the regime these days. However liberal Zionists, with greater influence in the USA, have not been sitting on their hands. They are alarmed at the damage to the reputation of their ‘Jewish state’, by being labeled an apartheid regime and therefore, by the 1973 UN Convention, a crime against humanity and a regime that must be dismantled. 

For these reasons, we see influential former liberal Zionists openly agitating against the apartheid regime. They are not prepared to live with that “shame” and are looking for their own type of restructure. For example, former Israeli negotiator Daniel Levy, now President of the US-based Middle East Project, told the United Nations Security Council that the notion of an ‘Arab state’ was dead and that apartheid in Palestine was a reality. Similarly, Peter Beinart, an editor at Jewish Currents and contributor to The Atlantic and CNNwrote in the New York Times about fake Zionist claims of ‘anti-Semitism’. He said that Zionist groups were “abandoning a traditional commitment to human rights out of blind support for Israel”. 

These developments have important implications for the dismantling of the Zionist regime. The liberal Zionists will use their influence with Washington and London to get sponsorship for talks over a deal with compliant and property-owning elements of the Palestinian community. Almost certainly, the emerging deal will involve the protection of ‘settler rights’, Zionist privileges, and a freeze on property relations. The ‘right to return’ will also be subject to a deal.

Palestinian collaborators in this will not be the small-time agents who acted as informants and later sought refuge in “Tel Aviv” with temporary residence permits which do not allow them to work or get health benefits. Washington and “Tel Aviv” will abandon them.

The likely Palestinian collaborators for a ‘New Israel’ will be those linked to the Arab monarchies, with both property and embedded interests in the Palestinian Authority, which has long functioned as a municipality of the Apartheid “regime”. Religion will be no barrier, as secular collaborators will be joined by those who threw in their hands with the Muslim Brotherhood players, notably Qatar and Turkey, leading ‘false friends’ of the Palestinian cause. 

The Palestinian Resistance and its allies face new challenges. There is a real risk that a coalition of Washington, liberal Zionists, and Palestinian collaborators will begin to cut a deal behind closed doors, regardless of the legacy of Palestinian sacrifice and resistance. Such struggles are often betrayed at the last moment. 

That deal could include a last-minute grab for land, the freezing of property relations, and transitional provisions to protect the colonists. If deep divisions persist among Palestinian resistance factions, that deal will be easier to sell to an unsuspecting Palestinian and world audience. The dismantling of the ‘Old Israel’ will be so dramatic that few will pay attention to key details of the ‘New Israel’. But those details will be very important for the long-suffering Palestinian population.

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

Saad Hariri and the collapse of Lebanon

The Syrian regime-change war and Lebanon’s economic collapse happened under Saad Hariri’s watch, but the Future Movement leader is seldom mentioned for the pivotal role he played in Lebanon’s unravelling

Photo Credit: The Cradle

September 12 2022

By William Van Wagenen

In 2005, US neoconservatives centered around then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s office began collaborating with Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, defected former Syrian Vice President Abd Al-Halim Khaddam, and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to topple the Syrian government.

Washington did so as part of an effort to topple the governments of seven countries in five years, including Libya and Iran, using the so-called ‘War on Terror’ as a pretext.

However another crucial, though overlooked collaborator in the regime change effort was pro-Saudi Lebanese politician Saad Hariri. And his actions would soon see massive repercussions unfold in his own country.

The dynastic Hariris

In 2005, Saad’s father, former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, was assassinated in a massive car bombing, which a highly-politicized UN-backed court pinned on two individuals affiliated with Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah. In the wake of Rafiq’s death, Saad came to head not only the Saudi-supported Future Movement – Lebanon’s leading Sunni political party – but also the multi-billion-dollar Hariri business conglomerate established by his father in Saudi Arabia.

Initially, the US, French, and Israeli governments quickly blamed Syria for Rafiq’s killing. Presumably, Saad was motivated to participate in the US-led regime change effort in Syria as a result.

But business interests also played a role as Saad wished to gain control over Syria’s telecommunication sector. This is something his father had previously tried, but failed to accomplish.

As French journalist Georges Malbrunot details in his book The Road to Damascus, Syria first launched its mobile phone industry in the early 2000’s, and Lebanon’s prime minister at the time, Rafiq Al-Hariri, wanted to invest in one of the two Syrian companies that had just been created for this purpose.

But Rami Makhlouf, cousin of Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad and the dominant investor in the sector, blocked Rafiq’s efforts. Malbrunot notes further that according to a lawyer close to the Syrian government, “there was an immediate veto from the intelligence services against Hariri.”

While the Baath Party may have considered the telecommunications sector to be of strategic importance – and therefore not open to outsiders – Assad would have also been concerned about Hariri’s direct role in bribing top Syrian officials, including then-Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam, prior to his defection, among a broad slate of other grievances.

In the wake of Rafiq’s assassination, Saad was quick to pick up his father’s baton. At the time the Christian Science Monitor reported that:

“[Saad Hariri] may be a newcomer to Lebanese politics, but Hariri is no neophyte. He ran his father’s massive construction company, Saudi Oger, for over a decade and has extensive financial interests in telecommunications in the Middle East. He is ranked at 548 in Forbes Magazine’s annual list of billionaires with an estimated fortune of $1.2 billion. His father was ranked 108th with $4.3 billion. Hariri has adopted his father’s globe-trotting existence, holding talks with Jacques Chirac, the French president and a close family friend, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Middle East leaders.”

Saad’s support of Salafi-jihadists

In addition to running his deceased father’s business conglomerate, Saad was active in protecting Al-Qaeda affiliated militant groups in Lebanon.  Journalist Seymour Hersh notes that according to a 2005 International Crisis Group (ICG) report, Hariri had helped release four Salafist militants from prison who had previously trained in Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and were arrested in Lebanon while trying to establish an Islamic state in the north of the country.

Hariri also used his influence in parliament to obtain amnesty for another 29 Salafist militants, including seven suspected of bombing foreign embassies in Beirut a year prior. Hersh notes that according to a senior official in the Lebanese government, “We have a liberal attitude that allows Al-Qaeda types to have a presence here.”

In the wake of the radical Fatah Al-Islam’s 2007 battle with the Lebanese army, which destroyed the Nahr Al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp, Charles Harb of the American University of Beirut (AUB) observed that Saad was giving “political cover” to “radical Sunni movements” that could be directed and employed against the Resistance Axis of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.

Harb also noted the involvement of Saudi intelligence in cultivating these groups. He explained that “Several reports have highlighted efforts by Saudi officials to strengthen Sunni groups, including radical ones, to face the Shia renaissance across the region. But building up radical Sunni groups to face the Shia challenge can easily backfire.”

Start of the ‘Syrian Revolution’

In early 2011, US planners exploited dissatisfaction among certain segments of Syrian society – not only pro-western liberals but also the country’s Salafi community – to spark initial ‘Arab Spring’ type protests in the country.

Saad Hariri’s interest in gaining control of the Syrian telecommunication network via any successful regime-change operation was hinted at during the first protest in Daraa, a predominantly Sunni governorate, on 18 March, 2011.

As Syrian sociologist Muhammad Jamal Barout revealed, protestors in Daraa chanted against Rami Makhlouf and demanded that his businesses be expelled from the province (recall that Makhlouf held the dominant position in Syria’s telecommunications sector).

Salafist militants, including from Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), quickly began attacking Syrian security forces under the cover of the early protests. US planners facilitated these attacks (with the help of Prince Bandar), in the hope of unleashing a sectarian civil war on the country comparable to that which had destroyed Iraq starting in 2003.

The Future Movement and Salafi terror

Prominent opposition and human rights activist Haitham Manna provided evidence that elements close to Saad Al-Hariri were among those funneling weapons to the Salafist militants in Syria, including in Daraa, in part to secure financial interests.

According to Muhammad Jamal Barout, Manna’ publicly disclosed in an interview on Al-Jazeera on 31 March, 2011, that “he had received offers to arm movements from Raqqa to Daraa three times by parties he did not identify in the interview.”

Barout additionally writes that, according to Manna, there were secret communications between some Syrian businessmen abroad who found themselves bent on revenge against the Assad government because their interests had been harmed by the network of the pro-government businessman Makhlouf.

Furthermore, these groups were willing to fund and arm opposition movements throughout the country. Barout notes that these businessmen apparently had relations with professional networks capable of delivering weapons to any location in Syria and that some members of the Future Movement in Lebanon were among those arranging these weapons shipments.

One name pops up more than others: Okab Sakr, the MP from Hariri’s Future movement made infamous in phone conversations leaked to Lebanese media outlet Al Akhbar, in which he directly discusses large weapons transfers to Syrian militants.

Writes The Guardian of Hariri’s close confidant: “Every time Okab is in town the weapons start to move across the border,” said a rebel colonel from the Jebel al-Zawiya region, who calls himself Abu Wael.

Sakr eventually fled the country to avoid repercussions for his illicit activities, and admitted to his role in arming the Syrian conflict, which dragged Lebanon into the messy and dangerous fray.

Within no time, Fatah Al-Islam and other militants previously under the protection of Hariri and Saudi intelligence in Lebanon were soon identified on the battlefield in Syria. Dr. Haytham Mouzahem, director of the Beirut Center for Middle East Studies explained that, “When the uprising in Syria began in 2011, many of the remaining Fatah al-Islam members crossed the border and joined groups in the Free Syrian Army [FSA].”

This provided one indication among many that the FSA – as it was known then – was not secular, democratic, or comprised primarily of army defectors, as is often claimed, but rather consisted primarily of Salafist militants, including many affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

The role of Al-Qaeda militants from Lebanon came further into focus in the summer of 2011, when Der Spiegel reported that a prominent Salafist cleric in Tripoli was sending fighters into Syria as early as summer 2011 because, in his view, “Assad is an infidel” and “There is a holy war in Syria and the young men there are conducting jihad. For blood, for honor, for freedom, for dignity.”

According to one of the fighters interviewed by the German magazine, around 60 percent of the Lebanese fighters crossing the border from Tripoli to Homs had previously fought in Iraq.

Syrian fallout: Refugees flood into Lebanon

As the months and years passed, more and more jihadists flooded into Syria. As they did, and as fighting with the Syrian army and its allies intensified and became more brutal and sectarian, more and more Syrian civilians flooded into Lebanon to flee the conflict back home.

With the onset of war in Syria in 2011 and subsequent US sanctions, the Syrian economy began to massively contract, which in turn caused the closely connected Lebanese economy to gradually slow as well.

Given that Lebanon is a small country facing its own disastrous economic crisis, it has been unable to provide decent living conditions for even its own 5.5 million residents, let alone for the 1.7 million Syrian refugees present in the country.

Because US planners, along with their many regional collaborators including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Lebanon and others, launched a dirty war on Syria in 2011 causing millions of Syrians to flee their homes and seek refuge in bordering states, it is the US and its close allies that bear most of the responsibility for the current refugee crisis Lebanon now faces.

Accommodating such a large number of refugees would always be difficult, but this became near impossible after the October 2019 Lebanese banking crisis, which in turn caused what the World Bank described as a “brutal” economic contraction of a magnitude “usually associated with conflicts or wars.” Even relatively prosperous and middle-class Lebanese were plunged into poverty, losing most of their life savings, as the Lebanese lira quickly plunged.

A Hariri legacy: Lebanon’s economic collapse

The origins of the crisis can be traced to the creation of a banking infrastructure based on efforts to maintain a currency peg between the Lebanese lira and US dollar.

This system was established by Lebanese central banker Riad Salameh in the 1990’s in the wake of the Lebanese civil war, presumably to restore economic stability needed after the wild currency swings seen throughout the conflict.

Then-prime minister Rafiq Hariri had appointed Salameh – his personal money manager at US brokerage firm Merrill Lynch – as governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank.

To maintain the peg, Salameh effectively established a Ponzi scheme that enriched wealthy Lebanese as well as the bankers themselves. As the New York Times explained:

“Lebanon’s Central Bank promised that 1,507 Lebanese lira would be worth exactly $1 and that Lebanese banks would always exchange one for the other. That policy brought stability, but it also required Lebanon’s banks to hold a large store of U.S. dollars . . . so the banks could make good on the promise to exchange 1,507 lira for $1 at any point. Lebanese firms also needed dollars to pay for imported goods, a large part of the economy in a country that produces little of what it consumes. . . . To keep dollars flowing in, the head of Lebanon’s Central Bank developed a plan: Banks would offer very generous terms — including an annual interest of 15 percent or even 20 percent — to anybody who would deposit dollars. But the only way for banks to make good on these terms was by repaying the initial depositors with money from new depositors. Of course, there is a name for this practice: a Ponzi scheme.”

The receipt of such high interest rates on deposits allowed wealthy Lebanese both at home and abroad to slowly loot the country. Commercial bankers benefitted as well, by receiving a handsome spread on the interest rate paid by the central bank and forwarded to depositors. The Hariri family benefited directly from the system, both as owners of huge US dollar deposits as well as owners of their own commercial bank, Bankmed.

Riad Salameh personally benefitted from the system as well, setting up a brokerage firm with his brother, Forry Associates, that took some $330 million in fees for brokering the sale of government bonds between 2002 and 2015, $200 million of which were allegedly transferred to Salemeh’s personal accounts with various Lebanese banks, including with Hariri’s Bankmed. These transfers led to the ongoing investigation of Salemeh by European officials on charges of money laundering and embezzlement.

As the protracted Syrian war – aided by Hariri and his allies -across Lebanon’s only viable land border tore into Lebanon’s fragile economy, and the flow of new US dollars entering the Lebanese banking system also began to slow, Salameh’s Ponzi scheme became unsustainable, and finally began to collapse in October 2019.

Lebanese banks began to restrict US dollar withdrawals for small depositors to minor amounts, while secretly allowing wealthy and connected clients to pull out huge sums for transfer abroad. Soon, small depositors, who had themselves deposited dollars, were restricted to withdrawing an unreasonable equivalent in Lebanese liras instead.

The value of the lira quickly dropped by some 90 percent, wiping out the life savings of many and causing mass poverty as prices of everything, including essential goods, skyrocketed. According to banker and political commentator, Ehsani, the total losses for depositors amount to roughly $111 billion.

According to Syria’s President Assad, some $40 billion of those frozen deposits may be of Syrian origin, with huge negative ramifications for the country’s finances and reconstruction efforts.

The October 2019 economic collapse was accompanied by wide-spread protests expressing anger against Lebanon’s broader political class, pressuring Saad Hariri to step down as prime minister.

Despite the key role played by the Hariri-Salameh political clique in establishing, benefitting from, and finally collapsing the Lebanese banking system, and subsequently the entire economy, both Hariri and Salameh continue to enjoy diplomatic and political support from their backers in Washington.

In February 2020, amidst criticism of Salameh’s role in precipitating the crisis, US ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea suggested to Lebanese TV it was “a mistake to scapegoat any one person or institution for Lebanon’s economic collapse” and that Salameh, still “enjoys great confidence in the international financial community.”

The reason for this was provided, at least in part, in April 2019 when Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar published minutes of a meeting between the US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism Financing and Financial Crimes, Marshall Billingsley, and the (former) Lebanese Economy Minister, Mansour Bteish. The minutes cite a US official saying:

“We need a governor of the Banque du Liban [central bank] and a deputy governor who we can trust, and who is sensitive and with whom confidential information about terrorist financing and money laundering can be exchanged. The situation today is that we trust Governor Riad Salameh and (former) Deputy Governor Muhammad Baasiri.”

As US planners have not been fighting terrorism, but rather funding and arming al-Qaeda affiliated groups to use as proxies in their war against Syria between 2011 and 2017, this suggests Salameh continues to enjoy US protection to avoid details of terrorist financing, in particular Saad Hariri’s role in arming terrorist groups in Syria on behalf of US planners, from coming to light.

It is difficult to imagine that Lebanon can emerge from its current crisis, or deal with corruption and poor governance plaguing the country, while US influence over Lebanese affairs remains dominant and oppressive US sanctions against Syria remain in place.

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

Peace with Syria: The final piece in Turkey’s foreign policy puzzle

August 15 2022

Ankara has managed to reset relations with several neighbors, yet normalization with Damascus has remained the most elusive, until recently. Why now? And what will it take?

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Hasan Ünal

The 5 August meeting in Sochi between Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin has given rise to speculation in the west over Turkish-Russian rapprochement – and its possible negative impact on western efforts to curtail the imminent multipolar order.

Western NATO states have reason to be concerned about Ankara’s recent moves, given the momentum created on 19 July during Astana talks in Tehran – between Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Erdogan, and Putin – geared to resolve the Syrian crisis.

United against the States

What was striking about the meeting in the Iranian capital was its defiant tone, slamming US-led unipolarity (the so-called rules-based order), and accusing Washington of looting Syria’s resources and sponsoring terrorism, all while demanding that the US exits the region immediately.

Washington has long sought to undermine the Astana Process, launched in January 2017 by Russia, Iran and Turkey to demilitarize the Syrian conflict and establish ceasefires. To that end, it manipulated Turkey’s ill-defined Syria policy, expecting that Ankara and Moscow would collide head-on over “opposition-controlled” Idlib or elsewhere, thereby hindering possible rapprochement between the two Eurasian states.

However, it seems as if the Erdogan-Putin meeting has instead advanced beyond their earlier encounter on 29 September 2021, also held in Sochi, where it was then leaked that the two leaders had somewhat agreed on a broad geopolitical vision.

The two leaders focused on a wide range of areas of close cooperation – particularly on trade and economy – but also on prospective fields of mutual benefit such as defense industry ventures, as well as on regional issues like Syria, Crimea, and Cyprus.

Turkey’s shift on Syria

Although few details have been released following that closed-door meeting, it is interesting to note the discernable change in Ankara’s stance on Syria since then.

There is now serious talk of normalization with Damascus and a renewal of the Syrian-Turkish 1998 Adana Agreement, which will entail a joint effort to defeat US-sponsored Kurdish separatists in Syria, especially in the areas to the east of the Euphrates where the latter are striving to install a US-backed statelet.

As things stand, there is no reason why Erdogan and Putin could not iron out a deal to end the Syrian conflict, especially since Ankara – in an 18-month flurry of diplomatic outreach to regional foes – has largely given up on its Muslim Brotherhood-oriented foreign policy by mending ties with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and even Israel.

Today, Erdogan’s personal obstinacy over Syria remains the main hurdle obstructing an overall peace with Turkey’s war-stricken southern neighbor.

Why make peace?

The Turkish president certainly has a lot to gain from a well-orchestrated rapprochement with the Syrian government. For starters, Ankara and Damascus could agree on a protocol to repatriate millions of Turkish-based Syrian refugees back to their places of origin, and renew the Adana Agreement to create a common front against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliates.

Conceivably, Erdogan could even ask Damascus to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – a very dear issue for Ankara – in return for Turkey’s full support for the re-establishment of Syrian sovereignty over all its territories, including those areas currently under Turkish occupation.

With strong Russian guidance, is not entirely inconceivable that the two states could return to a comfortable neighborly states quo, with trade, investment, and reconstruction activities leading the way.

It would be a far cry from the 1998 to 2011 Syrian-Turkish ‘golden era,’ when Ankara studiously worked to bolster friendly relations with Damascus, to such an extent that joint-cabinet meetings were occasionally held between the administrations of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Erdogan, where the latter would refer to the former as “my brother.”

Today, the emerging multipolar order makes diplomatic and economic re-engagement all the more conducive, because as NATO’s Madrid Summit demonstrated, the west needs Turkey more than ever, and Ankara’s moves to normalize relations with Damascus is less likely to incur a significant cost than before the Ukraine crisis erupted.

Indeed, even before events in Europe unfolded, Turkey undertook several military operations against the PKK/ Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria, much to Washington’s dismay and outrage.

Ankara could proceed with these operations with less censure today, but it has not. Turkey appears to have realized – possibly under Russian advisement – that without normalization with Damascus, Turkish military moves on Kurdish separatists would yield significantly fewer results.

Problems closer to home

Moreover, Erdogan’s administration has been beset by the contentious domestic issue of the millions of Syrian refugees who remain inside Turkey. The days when the president and his close associates were preaching Islamic solidarity in defense of hosting Syrian refugees have long past.

The mood across Turkey has changed dramatically amid rising inflation, a collapse of the lira, and the general public’s disenchantment with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). For the first time since Erdogan’s ascension to power in 2003, the masses sense that his once-unbeatable, Islamist-leaning populist party may be defeated in upcoming presidential polls slated for May-June next year.

True or not, there are public rumblings that the AKP – to escape an election loss – plans to bestow millions of Syrian refugees with Turkish citizenship, allowing them to vote in the pivotal polls.

The disoriented outlook of Turkey’s main opposition party has always played to Erdogan’s advantage in previous elections. The feeble-looking Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who took the helm of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) after a sex scandal involving its previous leader, has never managed to rally the public around him.

Importantly, Kılıçdaroğlu has typically trailed behind Erdogan in opinion polls because of his pro-American, pro-EU approach to almost everything – at a time when anti-US sentiment in the country polls at a startling 85 to 95 percent of the population.

Repatriating refugees

Furthermore, Kılıçdaroğlu and his party do not make any clear-cut pronouncements about a peace with Syria. If anything, the CHP was as critical of Assad as Erdogan’s AKP, and its spokespeople barely weighed in on the divisive Syrian refugee issue, even though economically-challenged Turkey currently hosts more refugees than any other country.

The entry of a new figure – Ümit Özdağ, a professor of Political Science and International Relations, who recently formed the Party of Victory (Zafer Partisi) – onto the Turkish national political scene, has introduced a radical change in the discourse about Syrian refugees and their repatriation.

Almost overnight, Özdağ has gained widespread support from voters across the political spectrum. His unexpected surge in the polls has clearly contributed to a reassessment by the government and ruling party on the Syrian issue.

Ankara needs Damascus

Today, almost all voices from the CHP to the AKP are floating arguments for some sort of repatriation, but as even the Turkish public understands, this cannot be done without normalization with Damascus.

Hence, Erdogan’s test-balloon musings to Turkish journalists on his flight back from Sochi, hinting that Putin had repeatedly recommended that Ankara coordinate with Damascus on any military operation in Syria to rout out the PKK/SDF.

Despite the positive national outlook on normalizing with Syria, Erdogan won’t have a smooth path ahead. Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s untimely remark a few days ago that Ankara should try to bring the Syrian opposition (a clear reference to the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army) and the Assad government together with a view to striking a deal, didn’t go down well at all with those oppositionists.

It almost led to an uprising in Syrian areas under Turkish control – particularly in Azaz, where militants burned down Turkish flags and vowed to fight to the bitter end against the “Assad regime” and even Turkey.

Same old foreign policy

The statement the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued following these events underlined the long hard slog to a Syrian peace settlement, and revealed the depth of the Erdogan government’s involvement with these militants.

As it has predictably done since 2011, the FM statement conveniently shifted blame back onto the Syrian government for foot-dragging toward overall peace and reconciliation.

But Ankara desperately needs to drop its tired old refrain: demanding that Damascus agrees to a new constitution, pushing for federalization of the state, and insisting on new Syrians elections, under a care-taker government, composed of opposition politicians, and preferably without Assad at its helm.

Having failed to oust Assad militarily, Turkey once imagined it could unseat him through this convoluted political and electoral formula. Erdogan’s logic was that the millions of Syrians under Ankara’s influence – both in Turkey, as well as in Turkish-controlled Syrian territories – in addition Syrian Kurds in areas under the PKK/PYD, especially to the east of the Euphrates, would vote Assad out.

Trading the ‘rebels’ for the Kurds

This ‘fantasy’ contrasts sharply with realities on the Syrian ground, and also totally undermines Turkey’s own national interests.

Years of these haphazard AKP policies, premised on the unrealistic scenario of a sudden collapse of Assad’s government, all while stealthily transforming the country into a jihadist paradise – in the name of democracy – has instead become Ankara’s biggest foreign policy quagmire, and has emboldened its separatist Kurdish foes as never before.

Furthermore, Erdogan’s disastrous Syria policy has isolated Turkey for almost a decade in the region, even among Sunni states, and threatened to set off a conflagration with Russia, a major source of energy and tourism for the Turkish economy.

In fairness, the Turkish leader appears to be making some sound political maneuvers of late, and reaching out to Damascus is the most important of these for the region’s stability. Whether Erdogan will crown his new grand foreign policy moves with a Syrian peace by normalizing relations with Damascus remains to be seen.

If he doesn’t take this bold step, particularly in advance of Turkey’s presidential elections, Erdogan runs the risk of joining the long list of politicians determined to oust Assad, who have themselves left or been ousted from office under the weight of the so-called “Assad Curse.”

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

Author

أنقرة تُغضب جماعاتها: خطوة أولى نحو دمشق

السبت 13 آب 2022

خرجت الإضرابات في بعض مناطق الشمال السوري عن السيطرة بعد إحراق العلم التركي (أ ف ب)

 علاء حلبي 

لم يخرج مولود جاويش أوغلو، في تصريحاته الأخيرة حول محادثاته مع فيصل المقداد، عن المؤشّرات التي ما فتئت أنقرة تبعث بها في الآونة الأخيرة، حول رغبتها في الانفتاح التدريجي على دمشق، بهدف إيجاد حلول لأزمة اللاجئين وتحقيق مكاسب ميدانية، يمكن رجب طيب إردوغان تجييرُها لمصلحته في الانتخابات الرئاسية. وعلى رغم أن تلك التصريحات أثارت موجة غضب ورفض في الشمال السوري، قادتها أطراف عدّة تجمع في ما بينها المصلحة في بقاء الوضع القائم، إلّا أن تركيا بدت راغبة في ضبط الشارع بما يتوافق مع تكتيكاتها السياسية، وفي الوقت نفسه استثماره في الضغط على شريكَي «أستانا»، موسكو وطهران، ومِن خَلفهما دمشق


خلال مؤتمر صحافي لوزير الخارجية التركي، مولود جاويش أوغلو، وفي ردّه على سؤال يتعلّق بالأوضاع في سوريا، أجاب رأس هرم الدبلوماسية التركية باستفاضة، شارحاً موقف بلاده من الانفتاح على دمشق، والذي وضع له شروطاً متّصلة بـ«الحرب على الإرهاب»، في إشارة إلى «قسد» التي تَراها أنقرة امتداداً لحزب «العمال الكردستاني»، مشيراً في الوقت ذاته إلى الاقتناع الذي بات مترسّخاً لدى تركيا بضرورة إجراء ما سمّاه «مصالحة» بين الحكومة والمعارضة لضمان وحدة الأراضي السورية. أوغلو أشار أيضاً، في سياق حديثه، إلى «لقاء عابر على الواقف» أجراه مع وزير الخارجية السوري، فيصل المقداد، على هامش اجتماع مجموعة دول «حركة عدم الانحياز» في بلغراد، في تشرين الأول من العام الماضي، نافياً وجود أيّ تواصل مباشر بين الرئيسَين التركي رجب طيب إردوغان، والسوري بشار الأسد، مفنّداً بذلك شائعات أطلقتها وسائل إعلام مرتبطة بحزب «العدالة والتنمية» الحاكم في تركيا بهذا الخصوص، كانت قد نفتها دمشق أيضاً. غير أنه عاد وأكد أن موسكو تدفع في الاتّجاه المذكور، والذي تريد تركيا، في المقابل، أن يبدأ بلقاءات أمنية في الوقت الحالي، تتركّز، بحسب ما يُفهَم من كلامه، على «اتفاقية أضنة» المُوقَّعة عام 1998 بين سوريا وتركيا.
ولم يكد الوزير التركي ينتهي من تصريحاته، حتى بدأت تَظهر دعوات في الشمال السوري إلى الخروج في تظاهرات رافضة لها، تحت عناوين عديدة؛ أبرزها «لا للصلح». على إثر ذلك، شهدت مناطق عدّة تسيطر عليها فصائل تابعة لأنقرة، وأخرى في إدلب التي تَحكمها «هيئة تحرير الشام»، تظاهرات تخلّلتها – في ريف حلب الشمالي – عمليات إحراق للعلم التركي، وهتافات مناوئة لأنقرة. وأفادت مصادر ميدانية، «الأخبار»، بأن هذه التظاهرات خرجت لدوافع عديدة، بعضها شخصي يتعلّق بوجود تيّارات رافضة لأيّ انفتاح على دمشق، وبعضها الآخر مرتبط بجهات بعينها لا ترغب في تغيير الوضع القائم، من بينها صناعيون وتجّار يملكون استثمارات عديدة ويستفيدون من ارتباط مناطقهم بالاقتصاد التركي، وبعضها الثالث تقف وراءه تيّارات تابعة لـ«الإخوان المسلمين»، الذين بدأ نشاطهم يطفو على السطح في أعقاب عمليات إعادة هيكلة قامت بها تركيا لـ«الائتلاف» المعارض، قلّصت بموجبها حضورهم داخله.

تزامنت حركة الإضرابات في الشمال السوري مع ظهور موجة رفض للسلطة الأمنية التي تفرضها تركيا


وجاءت موجة الاحتجاج الجديدة تلك، بالتزامن مع ظهور بوادر تمرّد على السلطة الأمنية التي تفرضها تركيا في الشمال، تجلّت في عمليات شطب لعبارات مؤيّدة لأنقرة، واستبدال أخرى بها ترَفض هذه التبعية، وهو ما أعقبته حملة أمنية ألقت خلالها الفصائل القبض على عدد من الأشخاص، وعمّمت أسماء آخرين، بتهمة «الإساءة لتركيا». ويبدو أن حركة الإضرابات هذه خرجت عن السيطرة في بعض المواقع، وخصوصاً بعد إحراق العلم التركي، والذي استنفرت أنقرة على إثره قادة الفصائل وبعض المؤثّرين في الشارع من أجل استنكار الواقعة بوصْف المحروق «راية مقدسة»، والدعوة إلى احترام «التضحيات التركية والعلاقة المتينة مع أنقرة». كما أصدر «المجلس الإسلامي»، الذراع الدينية لأنقرة في الشمال، بياناً اتّهم فيه «مندسّين» بالوقوف وراء ما سمّاه «حرْف الأمر عن مساره وتهديد مصالح الثورة». وفي السياق نفسه، كشفت المصادر الميدانية أن اجتماعاً عقده مسؤولون أمنيون وعسكريون أتراك، مع قادة بعض الفصائل في ريف حلب الشمالي، أبلغوا فيه الأخيرين ضرورة منع انزلاق الشارع إلى معاداة تركيا، بشتّى السبل، ومن بينها اعتقال الأشخاص «المسيئين»، مُتوقّعة اعتقال مَن أحرقوا العلم وردّدوا شعارات مناوئة لأنقرة بتهم عدّة؛ من بينها «الإساءة لتركيا»، و«إلحاق الضرر بالمال العام»، ولا سيما مع انتشار فيديو الإحراق في وسائل الإعلام التركية، وإثارته مخاوف من موجات عنف جديدة ضدّ اللاجئين السوريين في تركيا. وعلى عكْس حالة الانفلات التي ظهرت في مناطق سيطرة الفصائل، لم تشهد إدلب، التي يُحكِم أبو محمد الجولاني سيطرته عليها، أيّ حوادث تُذكر، في ما من شأنه أن يضيف نقطة إضافية إلى رصيد الجولاني الذي ترغب أنقرة في توحيد مناطق نفوذها تحت سيطرته.
بالتوازي مع ذلك، وفي محاولة لتخفيف حدّة الاحتقان، وفي الوقت نفسه استثمار حركة الشارع في الضغط على دمشق، خرج المتحدّث باسم الخارجية التركية، تانجو بيلجيتش، ببيان لتفسير تصريحات أوغلو، ذكر فيه أن تركيا أدت دوراً رائداً في الحفاظ على وقف إطلاق النار، وإنشاء «اللجنة الدستورية» من خلال عمليّتَي أستانا وجنيف، وقدّمت الدعم الكامل للمعارضة ولجنة التفاوض في العملية السياسية، مُحمِّلاً دمشق مسؤولية عرقلة الحلّ السياسي. وختم بيانه بالتأكيد أن تركيا «ستواصل مساهمتها النشطة في الجهود المبذولة لتهيئة الظروف المناسبة للعودة الطوعية والآمنة للاجئين، وإيجاد حلّ للنزاع وفقاً لخريطة الطريق المنصوص عليها في قرار مجلس الأمن الدولي الرقم 2254، بالتعاون مع جميع أصحاب المصلحة في المجتمع الدولي. وبينما اشتعلت مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي بمواقف رافضة لأيّ انفتاح تركي على دمشق أطلقها قياديون في الفصائل، لم تَخرج عن «الائتلاف» أيّ تصريحات في هذا السياق، في استمرار لسياسة الصمت التي اتّبعها طوال الشهر الماضي، بعد توالي التصريحات التركية حول الرغبة في التعاون مع الحكومة السورية. وتفسّر المصادر نفسها التي تحدّثت إليها «الأخبار»، ذلك، بأنه رغبة من أنقرة في فصْل ما يجري في الشارع عن المسار السياسي، لاستثمارهما معاً في الضغط على دمشق وموسكو وطهران، ما يعني في المحصّلة ربْط أيّ خطوة نحو دمشق باستمرار المصالح التركية، وما ينجم عنها من مكاسب.

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Hamas’ return ticket to Damascus won’t come cheap

The Palestinian resistance movement’s complicated relationship with Syria is headed for a reset, but it won’t be on their terms.

July 06 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

Despite excited media reports of a Hamas-Syria rapprochement, nothing is finalized: the Palestinian resistance movement has much more to prove still.

By The Cradle’s Palestine Correspondent

On 21 June, two unnamed Hamas sources told Reuters that the Palestinian resistance movement had decided to restore ties with Damascus following a decade-long rift after Hamas expressed support for the Syrian opposition.

The news caused a row, and it seems that this may have been the purpose behind its leak.

Shortly after the report, dozens of websites, satellite channels and media commentators in Turkey, Qatar, and the UK who are sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood – the political Islamist group to which Hamas belongs ideologically – distanced themselves from Hamas, which has neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

However, comments made by the head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, has added credence to these claims.

In a speech before the National Islamic Conference in Beirut, on 25 June, Haniyeh said, “The time has come after ten years to make historic reconciliations in the Islamic nation.”

“What is happening in the region today is very dangerous as Israel is paving the way through military and security alliances to fight Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas,” he added.

So how accurate are the reports about “high-profile” secret meetings between Hamas and the Syrians? Is there a relationship between Haniyeh’s visit to Beirut and the timing of these revelations?

The heavy legacy of Khaled Meshaal

When Hamas left Syria over a decade ago, the office of Khaled Meshaal, who was the head of the movement’s Political Bureau at the time, justified the decision as stemming from “moral premises.”

They contended that the Hamas movement stands with the people in deciding who will rule them, saying “even if the ruler supports our right, we will not support his falsehood.” This reverberated within the movement, and the majority of its popular base supported “Syrian revolution” in the face of “the regime that is slaughtering its people.”

That was back in 2011, when the so-called Arab Spring helped sweep the Muslim Brotherhood (MB or Ikhwan) and its affiliates into power in Egypt and Tunisia, and paved the way for the MB-aligned Syrian armed opposition to take control of the outskirts of Damascus. .

But only four years later (2015), the picture was completely reversed: Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi was ousted in a Gulf-backed military coup; Tunisian President Kais Saied turned against the Brotherhood’s Ennahda party and removed it completely from the political scene. And Damascus gradually regained control over the vital parts of Syria.

In the wider region, the regime of Omar Al-Bashir fell in Sudan, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Libya, Yemen, Jordan and Kuwait was severely diminished.

New leadership, a new direction

It was inevitable that these significant region-wide changes would also transform Hamas’ leadership to reflect the new political scene. In 2017, Ismail Haniyeh was appointed head of the Political Bureau, while that same year, Yahya Al-Sinwar, who was released from Israeli prisons in 2011, became the leader of the movement in Gaza.

Seen as a hawk, Sinwar relies on the absolute support of the movement’s military arm, the Al-Qassam Brigades, and as such, introduced a new political approach to Hamas’ regional relations.

Although Sinwar’s first move was to reorganize relations with Cairo after a four-year estrangement, by far his most important change was to revive Hamas’ relations with the Axis of Resistance, making it the movement’s top foreign policy priority.

Within a few years, the Hamas leader in Gaza had re-established full relations with Iran and Hezbollah, but its return to Damascus still remains the biggest obstacle.

In order to thaw the ice with Syria, Iran mediated first, followed by Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and more recently, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). This deadlock was not broken until after the Hamas operation “Sword of Jerusalem” in May 2021.

Testing the waters

In that same month, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad responded to a greeting from Al Qassam Brigades, conveyed by the Secretary General of PIJ Ziad Al-Nakhaleh, with a corresponding greeting. After that, contacts began to increase between Syrian officials and Hamas leaders.

Syrian sources informed The Cradle that a year ago it was decided to “reduce security measures against a number of Hamas members in Syria, release a number of detainees, and reveal the fate of other missing persons.”

But that didn’t achieve normalcy between Syria and Hamas either. There are those within the latter, it appears, who continue to sabotage progress made with Damascus.

To understand the dynamics of this particular relationship – present and its future – it is necessary to review its stages throughout the years.

From Amman to Damascus

Hamas began paving the way for its relationship with Syria in the early 1990s through visits made by its official Musa Abu Marzouk. In 1992, Mustafa Al-Ledawi was appointed as the head of an unofficial office for the Hamas in Damascus.

The great leap occurred with the visit of the founder of Hamas, the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, to Damascus in 1998. This official visit, and the warm reception accorded Yassin, constituted a huge breakthrough in relations, after which the late President Hafez Al-Assad authorized Hamas’ official presence in Syria, providing it with political and security facilities and logistical and material support.

Despite previous bad blood between Damascus and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, notably in regard to the Hama massacre in 1982, there were several prudent reasons for the Syrian government and Hamas to collaborate.

One reason can be traced to the rivalry between Hafez Assad and the late Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat, who sided with the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War (1990–91) after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on 2 August, 1990.

On 21 November, 1999, a plane carrying Hamas’ then-political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal landed at Damascus airport, after being expelled from Jordan and refused a reception by many Arab capitals.

Since then, a number of political bureau members relocated to Damascus, and Hamas’ activities in Syria intensified. Between 2000 and 2010, the relationship further strengthened over several events, including the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the 2005 withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon, the 2006 July war between Israel and Hezbollah, and most importantly, the Israeli aggression against Gaza in 2008.

Syrian support

Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar, who was interviewed by The Cradle in Gaza, talks about an important detail that the media did not mention at the time. When Hamas formed its first government in Gaza in 2007, in which Zahar was foreign minister, “Syria was the only Arab country that recognized the diplomatic red passport issued from Gaza.”

Zahar says: “The Syrian leadership gave us everything. On my first visit to Damascus, we were able to solve the problem of hundreds of Palestinian refugees stuck on the Syrian-Iraqi borders, and Syria adopted the Palestinian calling code (+970), and expressed its willingness to provide support to the elected Palestinian government. For that, it faced an Arab, international, and American war.”

Today, Zahar is the designated official tasked by Sinwar to revive the relationship with Damascus. This was confirmed by sources in Hamas, who said that he traveled to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage, and may head from there to Damascus.

These details are meaningful: it means Egypt is spared the censure of allowing Zahar to travel to Syria, and would avoid an awkward situation for Cairo in front of the US, Israelis and Gulf Arabs.

From Damascus to Doha and Ankara

The Syrian crisis that erupted in March 2011 put Hamas in a unique bind of its own making. Fellow Palestinian Islamists in PIJ, for example, did not take a radical position on the “revolution” from 2011 to 2017, and were content with maintaining their offices in Damascus, although its political and military leadership relocated to Beirut due to deteriorating security conditions.

On the other hand, Hamas issued its first statement regarding the Syrian crisis on 2 April, 2011, in which it affirmed its support for the Syrian people and leadership, and considered that “Syria’s internal affairs concern the brothers in Syria… We hope to overcome the current circumstances in order to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people, and preserve Syria’s stability and its internal cohesion, and strengthening its role in the line of confrontation and opposition.”

This wishy-washy statement did not hide the hostile stance of the movement’s members and elites, who all adopted the anti-Syrian narrative. On 5 November, 2011, the Syrian security forces stormed the offices of Hamas, confiscated its assets, and shuttered them.

In early 2012, Meshaal traveled to Doha, Qatar, before holding a scheduled meeting with Bashar Al-Assad. Hamas declared that the meeting “will not be useful.”

Hamas and the opposition

On 8 December, 2012, the movement burned bridges with Damascus when Meshaal and Haniyeh raised the flag of the “Syrian revolution” during a celebration marking the movement’s launch in the Gaza Strip in front of tens of thousands of their supporters.

In a parade held during the celebration, a number of members of the Al-Qassam Brigades wore the opposition flag on their backs.

The Syrian government’s reaction was no less restrained. Assad accused Hamas of actively participating in the war against the Syrian state by supporting Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra, and by providing instructions to opposition factions on ways to dig tunnels and fortify them to withstand aerial bombardment.

Other opposition militant groups such as Bait Al-Maqdis, Faylaq Al-Rahman and Army of Huda announced that they were affiliated with Hamas.

Once an Ikhwani, always an Ikhwani

In 2016, Assad said in an interview with Syrian newspaper Al-Watan: “We supported Hamas not because they are Muslim Brotherhood, but rather we supported them on the grounds that they are resistance. In the end, it was proven that the Ikhwani (member of Muslim Brotherhood) is Ikhwani wherever he puts himself, and from the inside remains a terrorist and hypocrite.”

All this may seem a thing of the past, but it still affects the formation of a new relationship between the two parties, especially after the return of turncoat Meshaal and his team a year ago to important leadership positions in Hamas.

Although the majority of the movement’s leadership has changed, the old legacy of Meshaal still weighs heavily on everyone, especially in Damascus. There are many in Syria who still warn the “wound is open;” that Hamas has not yet closed it, but rather wants a “free return.”

Understanding Hamas’ structure

Before explaining Hamas’ recent decision to restore ties with Syria, it is necessary to know how the movement is run to ensure representation and accountability. Hamas has a Shura Council of 15 members, chosen in elections in which cadres of certain organizational ranks participate.

These cadres choose their representatives in the local advisory councils from different regions (West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, territories occupied in 1948, and prisons). As for members of Hamas’ base, they elect their representatives in the General Consultative Council, which in turn elects the Political Bureau.

Despite this ‘healthy democracy,’ the position on Syria produced two contradictory currents:

The first current is led by Meshaal, who was head of the Political Bureau until 2017. It includes Ahmed Youssef, a former adviser to Haniyeh, and Nayef Rajoub, one of the most prominent leaders of Hamas in the West Bank.

The second current has no specific leader, but Zahar was the public face before Sinwar joined him.

Between these two viewpoints, Ismail Haniyeh and Musa Abu Marzouk maintain a state of ‘pragmatism’ by taking a middle position between the Qatar-Turkey axis and the Axis of Resistance.

Although the decision to leave Syria was taken with the full approval of the members of the Shura Council and members of the Political Bureau, the entire burden of the decision was placed on Meshaal. The man, who was a personal friend of Assad and Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah, became blacklisted by the Axis of Resistance.

Meshaal’s influence

All prior efforts to restore relations between Hamas and Syria were a “waste of time” as long as Meshaal was at the helm of the movement. This was not only the opinion of the Syrians, but of many Iranians as well.

In 2015, for example, when there were media reports about efforts to restore Hamas-Syrian relations, the Iranian Tabnak website (supervised by General Mohsen Rezaei, a leader in the Revolutionary Guards and currently one of the advisors to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei) launched a scathing attack against Meshaal.

At that time, Meshaal had refused to visit Tehran if he was not received at the highest levels – that is – to meet specifically with Khamenei. The Tabnak website wrote: “Meshaal and the Hamas leaders lined up two years ago on the side of the international terrorists in Syria… They are now setting conditions for the restoration of relations between Hamas and Iran as if Iran did not have any conditions.”

Since that time, Meshaal and his team have remained staunchly reluctant to even talk about restoring relations with Damascus. In addition to their loyalty (to some extent) to Turkey and Qatar, they were aware that reviving relations would weaken their organizational position within Hamas, and contribute to increasing the influence of their rivals.

On the other hand, these rivals remained weak until 2017, as Meshaal managed to marginalize Mahmoud Al-Zahar who did not receive any influential positions.

Re-joining the Resistance Axis

The formation of the new Political Bureau meant there were now a large number of officials who were not involved in any public positions on the Syrian crisis – such as Sinwar, Saleh Al-Arouri, and Osama Hamdan, who maintained a balanced relationship with all parties.

Zahar told The Cradle that Sinwar was “convinced” of his theses about the shape of the “last battle with Israel.” He added: “I spoke with Abu Ibrahim (Sinwar) for a long time about restoring the bond with the components of the nation that have hostility to Israel, specifically Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, and this is the pillar of Hamas’ foreign policy in the future.”

Nevertheless, Zahar believes that Damascus “will refuse to deal with the movement’s leadership, which took the lead during the war.” But it is likely that the Syrians will accept to deal with him personally, which he will seek during his forthcoming visit.

What’s Next?

Well-informed sources in Hamas revealed to The Cradle that the movement’s Political Bureau met this month and made the decision to return to Syria, despite Meshaal’s objection.

The resolution has two aims: first, to build a resistance front in the “ring countries” surrounding Palestine; and second, to establish a maritime line of communication between Gaza and the port of Latakia, in Syria.

The sources also revealed that Jamil Mezher, who was recently elected deputy secretary general of the PFLP, conveyed a message from Sinwar to the Syrian leadership calling for the restoration of relations between the two parties.

After his visit to Damascus, Mezher met with Haniyeh in Beirut to discuss the results. Haniyeh also met Nasrallah, as well as Ziad Al-Nakhaleh in an expanded meeting of the leaderships of Hamas and the PIJ in the Lebanese capital. All these events took place in one week.

According to Hamas sources, Haniyeh informed Nasrallah that the movement has unanimously taken an official decision to restore relations with Damascus. The two sides also discussed the demarcation of the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.

The sources confirm that “Hamas is ready to simultaneously target gas-stealing platforms from the Gaza sea, in the event that Hezbollah targets an exploration and extraction vessel in the Karish field.”

Hamas sources, as well as an informed Syrian source, however, deny holding any recent new meetings between the two parties. The Syrian source reveals that meetings sponsored by Islamic Jihad were held last year.

What does Syria stand to gain?

On the other hand, Damascus has its reasons for postponing the return of this relationship. Of course, internal reasons can be overlooked if Bashar Al-Assad himself makes the decision.

But it is the current regional situation and the re-formation of alliances that worries the Syrian leadership the most.

It is true that Assad the son, like his father, has learned the ropes in dealing with the MB, but now he has no need for a new headache caused by the return of Hamas. There is no great benefit from this return except in one case: the normalization of Syrian relations with Turkey, Qatar, or both.

On Syria’s terms

Only in this scenario, can bridges be re-built with Hamas. But the conditions for this are currently immature, as this normalization will be at the expense of Syria’s relationship with its ally Russia, whether in the issue of gas supplies to Europe or stopping the military operation that Ankara is threatening against Kurdish terrorists in northern Syria.

Syria, which has already improved its relations with the UAE, and is currently working to improve its relations with Saudi Arabia and Jordan, will not include a “losing card” in its stack of cards now.

It will also not compete with Egypt over a file – the relationship with Hamas – which Cairo considers its monopoly in the region.

Also, Damascus is not in the midst of a clash of any kind with the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah movement, which took advantage of the exit of Hamas to consolidate their position in the Syrian capital and improve their relationship with Assad.

However, when news broke about the possible resumption of Hamas-Syrian relations, this time Damascus did not launch an attack on the movement and did not comment negatively on the news of the rapprochement and the restoration of the relations – as it did previously.

There is no doubt that the battle of the “Sword of Jerusalem” and the presence of a new leadership in Hamas’ Political Bureau has thawed the ice significantly. But the answer to when full rapprochement will be achieved is a decision likely to be made between Assad and Nasrallah.

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

Sabahi: ‘Israel’ is hated in Egypt, resistance noblest thing in nation

June 28, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Secretary-General of the Egyptian Popular Current tells Al Mayadeen that “Every nation that does not resist is a nation that is in danger of defeat.

The Secretary-General of the Egyptian Popular Current, Hamdeen Sabahi

The Secretary-General of the Egyptian Popular Current, Hamdeen Sabahi, affirmed Monday that every Arab is eager to restore Egypt to its role in the Arab nation and in defending the resistance.

In an interview for Al Mayadeen, Sabahi considered that the opposition in Egypt has been exhausted for years as a result of the restrictions imposed on it.

Sabahi acknowledged that a number of political prisoners were released in Egypt, but with a smaller number than what was expected.

The Egyptian politician called for the release of every political prisoner who was not a partner or instigator of violence, considering that if the Muslim Brotherhood movement wants to participate in a dialogue, they must initiate and request that, which means that they recognize the existing authority.

The Secretary-General of the Egyptian Popular Current pointed out that one of the things that threaten Egyptian national security is terrorism, in addition to depriving Egypt of its rights to the waters of the Nile.

Sabahi stressed that “Israel” is hated in Egypt as it was before the Camp David accords, affirming that every nation that does not resist is a nation that is subject to defeat, and resistance is the noblest thing in the Arab nation.

He added that when the Secretary-General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah takes up arms against the Israeli occupation, he raises the banner of late Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser.

He also pointed out that when the popular demands in Syria turned into confrontations that endanger the unity of Syria, the decision was to stand with the unity of this country.

Sabahi indicated that if Saudi Arabia had spent money on Arab development projects rather than spending it on weapons, the life of the Arabs would have been better.

حماس في قلب محور المقاومة

الثلاثاء 28 حزيران 2022

فلسطين 

ابراهيم الأمين 

الضغوط التي تتعرض لها حركة حماس من جهات فلسطينية أو عربية أو دولية تكاد تكون الأولى من نوعها في تاريخ الحركة. ورغم أن التنظيم الإسلامي الفلسطيني لم يكن بعيداً عن التأثيرات السلبية لانهيار تجربة الإخوان المسلمين في الحكم في عدد من الدول العربية، إلا أن تثبيت حماس قاعدة تفكيرها ونشاطها وبرنامجها على أساس أولوية المقاومة ضد الاحتلال، ساعدها على البقاء في قلب المشهد، وفتح لها الأبواب لترميم شبكة واسعة من العلاقات العربية والإسلامية وحتى الدولية من باب المقاومة.

في السنوات العشر الماضية، غرقت الحركة في موجة من المواقف السياسية التي أدت الى تضرّر صورتها كحركة مقاومة. ومثلما تعرّض حزب الله في لبنان لحملة بسبب وقوفه الى جانب الدولة السورية في مواجهة الحرب عليها، تعرضت حماس لحملة من التيار المقابل، واتُّهمت بمجاراة برنامج الإخوان المسلمين الهادف الى الاستيلاء على الحكم في عدد من الدول العربية، حتى إن قواعد من الحركة دعمت الحروب الأهلية التي وقعت في أكثر من بلد عربي؛ منها سوريا.
لكنّ تبدلاً جدياً طرأ منذ ما بعد حرب عام 2014، وتطور الأمر بعد انتخاب قيادة جديدة للحركة عام 2017. وبعد استرداد كتائب القسام المبادرة وجعل الأولوية المطلقة للمقاومة، بدا أن الحركة تتقدم خطوات سريعة باتجاه الخروج نهائياً من دائرة التجاذبات حيال ما يجري داخل كل دولة عربية، وهو ما سهّل لها استئناف التواصل مع مصر ومع حكومات عربية أخرى في بلاد الشام أو الخليج أو المغرب العربي. ورغم أن تركيا سهّلت للحركة إقامة مريحة لقيادتها السياسية، إلا أن حماس بدت أكثر تصميماً على الانخراط في الجبهة التي تعدّ المقاومة خياراً وحيداً وإلزامياً ومجدياً لتحقيق التحرير.

سيكون محور المقاومة أمام وقائع جديدة بعد التفاهمات التي توصّل إليها هنيّة ونصر الله


خلال العامين الماضيين، تقدمت حماس خطوات كبيرة الى الأمام في سياق التموضع ضمن محور المقاومة. وجاءت معركة سيف القدس لتختبر التفاعل العملاني مع القوى الأساسية في المحور. وأظهرت تطورات الأشهر القليلة الماضية أن السعي الأميركي – الإسرائيلي – السعودي – الإماراتي لبناء جبهة سياسية واقتصادية وأمنية وإعلامية تعمل على مواجهة محور المقاومة، أن على حماس تعزيز خيارها وموقعها داخل محور المقاومة. وهي اتخذت قرارات كبيرة، لا تدخلها في صدام مع أحد، وخصوصاً مع تركيا وقطر، ولكن لا تمنعها من تعزيز علاقتها مع قوى المقاومة بدءاً بإيران، وصولاً الى حزب الله في لبنان وأنصار الله في اليمن، وحتى إطلاق اتصالات أولية مع فصائل المقاومة في العراق. ولكن الخطوة الأهم تمثلت في قرار المكتب السياسي استئناف العلاقة مع سوريا، وإفساح المجال أمام الوسطاء الذين ينشطون بين القيادة السورية وقيادة حماس للتقدم أكثر صوب تحقيق المصالحة التي تقول قيادة الحركة إنها تحتاج إليها من أجل تعزيز المقاومة.

حماس اليوم أمام تحديات جديدة. وكلما زاد تمسكها بخيار المقاومة، ستجد أنها أكثر ثباتاً داخل فلسطين وأكثر حضوراً وفعالية في المنطقة العربية، وسيكون محور المقاومة أمام وقائع جديدة بعد الزيارة الأخيرة لرئيس الحركة إسماعيل هنية لبيروت وطبيعة المناقشات والتفاهمات التي توصّل إليها مع الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله بعد سلسلة من اللقاءات بينهما…

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

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

June 22 2022

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

ByNews Desk- 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syrian Revolutionaries are Revolting against Turkey

 

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Steven Sahiounie
Hundreds of Syrians took to the streets in the city of Afrin on June 3 to protest against routine blackouts and a sharp hike in the prices of electricity provided by Turkey.  The electricity is available a mere 10 hours per day, while the summer temperatures are 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in recent days.

Afrin, in the Aleppo province, has been under Turkish military occupation since 2018, after President Trump gave Turkish President Erdogan the green light to invade Syria.

The protesters stormed the main building of the local electricity company, “Turkish-Syrian Energy” or STE Enerji company, and set it on fire before Turkish-backed mercenaries opened fire on them.  The protesters also set fire to Afrin’s local council building.

The areas occupied by the Turkish military also have Syrian mercenaries in the employ of the Turkish government.  The mercenaries are from the now defunct ‘Free Syrian Army’ which was organized by President Obama and supported by US Senator John McCain.  The mercenaries follow a political ideology called Radical Islam, which is the same ideology as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Erdogan and his ruling party, AKP, are followers of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Local reports say at least one protester was killed and two others were injured. As the protests grew in size, demonstrators were seen chanting “Turks go out of Syria” and “Syria is free.”

Similar protests were reported in the cities of Jindires, Suran Marea, and Al-Bab, also in the Aleppo governorate. In Marea, protesters set the local headquarters of the Turkish-backed Local Council on fire.

Shortly after these protests swept through Aleppo, Turkish forces shelled a high voltage power line that supplies power to Tal Tamr and other villages in the countryside of Hasakah governorate, leaving the area in a black-out.

Afrin was occupied by Turkey and its mercenaries during the military offensive against the Kurdish fighters in 2018, causing the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Since the invasion, the residents have suffered through violations of human rights, lack of basic services, and constant insecurity.

Similar protests were reported in other Syrian cities under Turkish occupation such as Azaz on Friday. Discontent has been brewing against the Turkish occupation, as mercenaries allied with Turkish forces have been accused of embezzling millions in humanitarian aid and of using the global fuel and wheat crisis to hike the price of daily necessities.

Turkey proposed attack

The demonstrations come as Erdogan has renewed his threats to carry out a fresh military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria. Recently he announced that his troops will proceed with the planned military invasion of Syria, starting with the cities of Tal Rifaat and Manbij.

The operation will resume efforts to establish a 30-kilometer long ‘safe zone’ along Turkey’s southern borders to curb threats from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which Ankara labels as terrorist organizations.

Turkey says US-backed SDF forces pose a threat to its borders, and in response, Turkish troops have occupied large swathes of northern Syria.

In northeastern Syria, US and Russian forces mobilized intending to stop Turkey from carrying out a new attack against SDF. While US forces moved on the ground, Russian warplanes scrambled in the air.

Fighters of the Syrian opposition factions loyal to Turkey

Residents of Manbij, in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, have documented the outcome of the attacks, warning that the Turkish operation will lead to the displacement of the indigenous population and the city’s religious, sectarian, and ethnic components.

Turkey informed the United States it is committed to taking necessary measures against “terrorist organizations” threatening its national security, and that it will not tolerate the escalation of attacks against Turkish territory from the areas controlled by the US-backed SDF in northern Syria.

Ankara reports that the risk of terrorist attacks from SDF-run areas in Syria against Turkey has increased recently, and emphasized that the PKK-affiliated terrorist organizations are an existential threat not only to Syria’s territorial integrity but also to Turkey’s national security.

Ankara considers the SDF, and its military backbone, the YPG, a terrorist organization and an extension of the PKK, which is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the US, and the EU.

The US position

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, visited the border between Turkey and Syria to assess a long-running UN operation delivering humanitarian aid into northwest Syria, near Hatay, Turkey on June 2, 2022.

UN trucks delivering food and aid into Syria from Turkey were observed and reported by Serena Shim, an American journalist. She saw they contained armed terrorists and weapons being delivered into northern Syria. Not long after her reporting, she was mysteriously killed in a car accident, after a cement truck hit her small car in Turkey.  The accident and the driver were never investigated, even though he fled the scene.

In 2017 President Trump shut down the CIA operations which funded, trained, and supported Radical Islamic terrorists in Turkey to fight in Syria for regime change.

Turkey informed the United States it is committed to taking necessary measures against “terrorist organizations” threatening its national security, and that it will not tolerate the escalation of attacks against Turkish territory from the areas controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria.

The US occupies areas in Syria, and the US military was tasked by Trump with stealing the oil produced in the largest oil field in Syria and allowing the US-backed SDF to sell the oil to fund their operation.

The Russian position

The Russian military was invited into Syria by the government in 2015. Russia has fought against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and all affiliated terrorist groups which follow Radical Islam.  The Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Russia, Syria, Egypt, and the UAE. US Senator Ted Cruz has tried to pass legislation in the US Congress to designate the Muslim Brotherhood in the US as a terrorist group but came up against heavy opposition from both Democrats and Republicans who are influenced by the group.

Recently, the Russian army reinforced its ground and air forces at the airport of Qamishli, in Hasakah province.

The Turkish military and Radical Islamic mercenaries   

Turkey concluded two separate deals with both the United States and Russia during its Operation Peace Spring, which it launched in northern Syria on October 9, 2019.

According to the agreements, Russia and the US pledged to withdraw YPG units to a depth of 30 km to the south of the Turkish border, but Ankara says they did not fulfill their promises.

Washington says that Turkey did not abide by the understanding signed between them. Russia had a signed agreement with Turkey to secure the M4 highway from Latakia to Aleppo, by removing all Al Qaeda groups from Idlib.  However, Turkey has protected and reinforced the terrorist groups in Idlib, which is the last terrorist-occupied area in Syria.  Turkey established a network of military outposts which protect the Al Qaeda affiliated groups who occupy Idlib.  The highway remains closed to trucks and passengers for fear of attack.

SDF, YPG, PKK

During the chaos of the US-NATO attack on Syria, which began in 2011, some Kurds in Syria formed military units and got the backing of the US government, while advancing a separatist agenda in the region.  The SDF and YPG were partners with the US troops who invaded Syria to fight ISIS.  This US support of a terrorist group that has killed 40,000 people in Turkey over decades has driven a very big wedge between Ankara and Washington, DC.

Turkey’s proposed safe zone

Under Erdogan’s plan, he will rid the north of Syria of the terrorist group who plans to establish their own ‘homeland’ there, and he will convert the area into a safe zone to settle Syrian refugees now living in Turkey.  The Turkish people have decided the refugees must go home, and they blame all their economic woes on the Syrian refugees.

Pro-Turkey revolutionary

Zahran Alloush had been the leader of a Radical Islamic terrorist group, Islamic Army, backed by Saudi Arabia in East Ghouta, the suburbs of Damascus, along with his brother, Mohamed Alloush, who now lives in Turkey and owns a chain of restaurants there.

In 2016 he was an official with the Syrian National Coalition, which the US government recognizes as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people.  His position was the chief negotiator representing the US position in the Geneva talks to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict.  In 2017 he was chosen as the speaker of the delegation for the revolutionary movements at the Astana peace process talks for peace in Syria.

After he resigned, he was accused of stealing $ 47 million, which he embezzled from funds supplied to the terrorists in Syria to fight the US-sponsored regime change.

Recently, he bought a company in Turkey that mines chrome, Al Ghuraba, (The Strangers).


Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist

زلّة لسان

الإثنين 23 أيار 2022

بثينة شعبان 

صحيح أن العيون تتّجه إلى أوكرانيا لمعرفة نتيجة الحسم العسكري بين روسيا وحلف الناتو العدواني هناك، ولكن ما يجري بالتوازي من إعادة تشكُّلات وصياغات في عالم اليوم قد يكون هو الأهم.

لم تكن زلّة لسان الرئيس جورج بوش الابن لتحدث في ظروف أكثر مواءمة وخدمة لما تحاول الصين وروسيا أن تؤكداه، وسط أحداث متسارعة ومعقدة؛ فقد قال الرئيس بوش الابن: ” قرار رجل واحد لشن غزو وحشيّ غير مبرّر للعراق… آه… أقصد لأوكرانيا”، وضحك الجمهور، وأعاد هو: “العراق، العراق”، وسط أنباء جادة يتحدّث بها الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ عن شكل العالم المقبل، في كلمته المهمة في الـ 21 من نيسان/ أبريل لمنتدى بواو الآسيوي، ووسط إعلان وزارة الخارجية الروسية بعد مناقشة نسخة جديدة من مفهوم السياسة الخارجية الروسية في ضوء الحرب الغربية على روسيا باستخدام أوكرانيا.

زلّة لسان

وبدلاً من أن يستنكر القرّاء والمشاهدون كل القرارات الأحادية والحروب غير الشرعية التي شنّتها الولايات المتحدة على الشعوب الآمنة في أفغانستان والعراق وليبيا وسوريا واليمن، فقد أتت زلّة لسان جورج بوش الابن، المسؤول هو وأبوه عن مقتل الملايين من المدنيين العراقيين حصاراً وقتلاً وإرهاباً ووباءً، لتكشف ما حاول هو وإدارته والإدارات السابقة واللاحقة أن يخفوه، وبرهن (ولتبرهن) أنه يسكن في “لا وعيهم” من غزو ظالم وغير مبرر للعراق، ما زال الشعب العراقي يدفع ثمنه في كل يوم من حياة أبنائه.

كما أنّ عمليات النهب الأميركية للموارد العراقية والليبية والسورية جريمة تطال لقمة عيش جميع أبناء الشعب العربي في هذه البلدان، لأن هذا النهب الاستعماري لموارد الشعب السوري واحتلال أرضه وسرقة نفطه وقمحه قد تمثّل زلّات لسان لرؤساء ومسؤولين أميركيين في المستقبل، ولكنه (ولكنها) جريمة إبادة جماعية لما سببه (سبّبته) من آلام وموت للمدنيين المحاصرين.

ولكن العالم اليوم لم يعد بحاجة إلى الكشف عن المستور، لأنه لم يتبقَّ هناك مستور أصلاً سوى حملات التضليل الإعلامية التي يصدّرها الغرب للعالم، وينسج من خلالها أكاذيبه وأوهامه. والخطوة الأولى المجدية في عالم اليوم هي أن يتبنّى جميع الحريصين على حياة البشر إما مقاطعة هذا الإعلام الغربي المزيّف، وإما التساؤل بشأن كل سردية يتبنّاها حيال أي قضية في العالم. إنني أجد نفسي أعيد صياغة ما أقرأه من إعلام غربي حول سوريا أو فلسطين أو لبنان أو إيران أو أوكرانيا أو الصين، وأتساءل اليوم ما هي جدوى قراءة إعلام أصبحنا نعلم علم اليقين أنه مكرّس لخدمة أهداف استعمارية لمن يشنّون الحروب على دولنا ويقومون باحتلال أرضنا ودعم الإرهاب ضد شعبنا وتمويله وإرسال الإرهابيين وتسليحهم واحتلال أرض أشقائنا وأصدقائنا، ويعطّلون أيّ قرارات أمميّة تحاول أن تحقق ولو جزءاً من العدالة للشعوب المستضعفة؟؟ 

فإذا كان اجتماع وزارة الخارجية الروسية قد ناقش مهامّ السياسة الخارجية الروسية في ضوء الحقائق الجيوسياسية المتغيّرة جذرياً، فإن هذه الحقائق قد تغيّرت بالنسبة إلى العرب منذ وعد بلفور وسايكس بيكو واحتلال فلسطين من قبل عصابات الإرهاب الصهيونية، ومنذ غزو العراق وقصف ليبيا، وشنّ حرب إرهابية على مدى عقد ونيّف على سوريا، وتدمير حياة المدنيين العرب في اليمن، ومع ذلك لم يعقد العرب اجتماعاً واحداً لدراسة الوضع المستجد حيالهم، ودراسة الخطوات التي يمكن اتخاذها لحماية أنفسهم من سياسة التشظّي وتفتيت البلدان والشعوب إلى طوائف وأعراق وإثنيات على حساب اللُحمة الوطنية المنشودة، وهي سياسة فرّقْ تسُدْ الاستعمارية التي تستهدف العرب جميعاً.

إنّ النقاش الدائر في روسيا والصين يُري أن البلدين يدركان أن العالم قد تغيّر، وأن لا عودة تُرتجى إلى عالم ما قبل الـ 24 من شباط، وهو تاريخ انطلاق العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا، ولذلك فإنهما منشغلان بوضع المرتسمات الجديدة لعالم ما بعد اليوم وعالم المستقبل. ومن يقرأ كلمة الرئيس شي جين بينغ يجد أنها تضع رؤية للتحديات التي طرأت على عالم اليوم، ومساراً للتعامل معها بجدية لضمان السير إلى الأمام رغم كل التحديات. ويؤكد خطاب بينغ أن زمن الحرب الباردة ونزعة الهيمنة وسياسة القوة ستكون جزءاً من الماضي، وقد طرح مبادرة الأمن العالمي من خلال التمسّك بمفهوم الأمن المشترك والشامل والتعاوني والمستدام، والعمل معاً على صيانة السلام والأمن في العالم، ومعارضة السعي إلى الأمن القومي على حساب الأمن القومي للغير.

في هذه المرحلة المفصلية بتشكُّل عالم جديد وسعي الأطراف في الشرق لأن تكون فاعلة في تشكيل هذا العالم، لاقتناعهم بأنّ أسس الهيمنة الغربية آيلة إلى الزوال، وأنها أصبحت مرفوضة وغير قادرة على الاستمرار، وأنها تخوض معركة منازعة أخيرة مهما بدت أنها طويلة اليوم، ولكنها ستكون الأخيرة.

في هذه المرحلة يتهدّد العرب جميعاً خطران أساسيان، إضافة إلى خطر الصهيونية الجاثمة على ضمير الأمة وأرض فلسطين والجولان، ألا وهما: الخطر العثماني الإخواني، وخطر أن لا يجد العرب لأنفسهم موطئ قدم إذا ما استمروا في حالة الفرقة والتشظّي التي يعيشونها اليوم، والتي لا يبدو أن هناك جهداً حقيقياً وواعداً للتخلص منها. فالخطر العثماني الإخواني اليوم حقيقي على سوريا والعراق وليبيا، حيث يحتل الأرض ويقيم القواعد وينشر لغته وثقافته وأكاذيبه وعملاءه من إخوان الشياطين، ويُلبس هيمنته لبوس الحرص على اللاجئين أو المسلمين أو محاربة التنظيمات الكردية، وهو لبوس لا يقل خطراً علينا جميعاً من وعد بلفور واتفاقية سايكس بيكو.

واللافت أنه بدأ بأسلوب مختلف بمحاولة تدنيس أرض الجزائر الطاهرة، من خلال اتخاذ الجزائر بوابة للدخول إلى شمال أفريقيا وأفريقيا، بعد أن فشل في أن تكون تونس منصة انطلاقه لنشر فكر الإخوان المسلمين وعقيدتهم في شمال أفريقيا. وفي هذه البلدان تتعدّد أساليبه وأدوات مكره؛ فحيث لا يستطيع (يتمكّن من) الاحتلال المباشر، قد يلجأ إلى التسلل الاقتصادي أو العقائدي كي يثبّت أقدامه في المكان، وينطلق منه لتحقيق غاياته وأهدافه التي لا تختلف بين شمال قبرص والشمال السوري والشمال العراقي والليبي والعمق الجزائري.

صحيح أن العيون تتّجه إلى أوكرانيا لمعرفة نتيجة الحسم العسكري بين روسيا وحلف الناتو العدواني هناك، ولكن ما يجري بالتوازي من إعادة تشكُّلات وصياغات في عالم اليوم قد يكون هو الأهم، لأنه هو الذي يُرسي أسس العالم الجديد وشكله، وسوف تكون الغلبة، ولا شكّ، لمن يخطط ويفكّر من اليوم أو من البارحة، أين سيكون تموضعه في هذا العالم، وكيف وما هي الميزات والأدوات التي يمتلكها كي يكون رقماً صعباً في عالم يسهم في بنيانه ويشكّل جزءاً من هويته وتوجّهاته.

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

Erdogan’s Plan to Israelize Northern Syria with a Million Settlers on Track

ARABI SOURI 

Israelize northern Syria is the real plot: reports from Turkey claim that the Turkish madman Erdogan is planning to ‘return’ up to a million Syrian refugees to their country with the help of city councils in Azaz, Jarabulus, and Tal Abyad.

One of the sites, the Saudi regime’s mouthpiece Al Arabiya reported: ‘Erdogan said on Tuesday that Ankara was aiming to encourage one million Syrian refugees to return to their country by building them housing and local infrastructure there.’

Saudi Bin Salman’s propaganda outlet claimed that Turkey is home to more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees,’ adding ‘Erdogan is facing rising public anger over the refugees’ presence and is wary of the issue dominating next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.’

From my knowledge of this creep flip-flop hypocrite mafia-business partner, and war criminal Erdogan, I believe he’s ‘returning’ the families of his followers, not the Syrians uprooted from those areas infested by the Turkish army and a collection of terrorist groups spanning from the so-called National Army to ISIS (ISIL) all of which follow the same offshoot sect of Islam that Erdogan managed to radicalize the Sufi sect of Turkey into.

The Turkish madman Erdogan is replacing the people of northern Syria with terrorists and their families from other areas and from other countries from China to Latin America who joined the ranks of the ‘foreign legion’ he helped create.

That foreign legion includes his beloved and loyal anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi terrorists including the Chinese Uighur, the Northern Africans, and others from the Central Asian stans of Turkic origins he collected.

We have repeatedly reported that the Turkish neo-Ottoman sultan wannabe wants to Israelize a buffer region in northern Syria to separate secular Syria from the radical Muslim Brotherhood Turkey he and his AKP clan are ruling (see hereherehere, and in other places on our site,) we devised the term ‘Israelize‘ to describe these evil plans.

On the other hand, the NATO-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists have been actively working on a similar agenda to Israelize the parts of northern Syria they occupy with the help of the Biden oil thieves regiment of the US Army, also with the help of Israel and all of NATO combined, even Russia had supported them in the past and is yet to declare a new position toward their war crimes against the Syrian people in the provinces of Hasakah, Deir Ezzor, Raqqa, and Aleppo.

Make no mistake, the Saudis are hand-in-hand with the Turks, Qataris, US, Israelis, and the rest of NATO in the plot against Syria, any differences between them do not affect their joint efforts to destroy the Levantine country and slaughter its people, Syria, the last secular nation in the region and way beyond is an existential threat to entities like the temporary settlement dubbed Israel, the Al Saud fiefdom dubbed Saudi Arabia, the Arabia gas station dubbed Qatar (pronounced Gutter), and what Turkey has turned into under the rule of the UK empire-invented Muslim Brotherhood clan.

If Erdogan manages to carry out his agenda, he will be planting the seeds of a never-ending civil war his masters in Tel Aviv and Washington have long sought for the region. There will be no rest in the places where people were forcibly uprooted from their land and their land was gifted by those who do not own it to other people who do not deserve it; more than a century of the Palestinian cause hasn’t taught these fanatics that the real owners of the land will not give away their rights to their land to imported settlers even if all of the world’s superpowers and super-rich countries with all their evilness work toward achieving such war crime.

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Hamas and Turkey: Is the honeymoon over?

Hamas’ rifts with Turkey are not unprecedented, but this time Erdogan risks losing the Palestinian resistance card to Iran, Syria and Lebanon if he continues to overplay his hand.

May 06 2022

The recent Hamas-Turkey crisis illustrates how the Palestinian resistance movement is split from within. Although Hamas has institutionally decided on a strategic alliance with Iran, the revived Meshaal faction still curries favor with an unreliable Turkey.
Photo Credit: The Cradle

By The Cradle’s Palestine Correspondent

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas is no longer able to hide its problem with Turkey. In 2011, Hamas took a hard line on Syria in favor of Turkey and Qatar. But eleven years later, the relationship is witnessing an impasse that Hamas can no longer hide, not only from its members, but also from the public. So what exactly is going on?

The Cradle interviewed a number of Hamas leaders, from the second and third leadership ranks, in Istanbul, Ankara, Beirut and Gaza, to get these details. They stipulated that their names not be mentioned for “organizational reasons,” or for reasons related to their place of residence.

More than a criticism

On the surface, Arab, Western and even Israeli media has tended to view the crisis as a new development, one that transpired after the recent Turkish-Israeli rapprochement – and Hamas’ criticism of it.

The revival of Ankara’s ties with Tel Aviv has been under discussion for a year or more, and culminated in early March with the visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Ankara where he met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Until then, Hamas was able to juggle its Turkish relations with some difficulty, and contented itself with a short statement criticizing the visit. But the Turkish condemnation of Palestinian guerrilla operations inside occupied Palestine in April placed Hamas in an impossible position, forcing the movement to issue a direct condemnation of the Turkish statements – and more.

Arab and Israeli media outlets then began to spread the news that Turkey was expelling Hamas military members or preventing a number from reentering its territory. Neither parties confirmed or denied those reports, which led to even more questions: Why is Turkey silent? Why didn’t Hamas launch a stinging attack against Ankara, as it did against Damascus 11 years ago? Had Syria expelled Hamas from its territory before 2011, would its war have happened – at least on this magnitude?

“Well-rehearsed game”

Sources we met in Istanbul say that what we are witnessing today is not an isolated incident, and has occurred more than once in the past years. In many cases, the Turkish authorities have requested certain Hamas members to temporarily leave the country, or to reduce their activities for a given period, after which things go back to normal. One source adds: “Everything is monitored in Turkey … what was happening was turning a blind eye to some activities at times, and tightening control at other times.”

These sources are close to Hamas’ external leader, Khaled Meshaal, who is the movement’s closest figure to Doha and Ankara, and its number one enemy in Damascus.

American “Muslim” Brotherhood

To indicate that things are normal between Hamas and Turkey, they point out that Sheikh Saleh al-Arouri, the official in charge of the group’s West Bank file, is still visiting Turkey.

Al-Arouri left Turkey in 2015 at an Israeli request, settled in Beirut, and has moved between Doha and Tehran and even Damascus at times. “But he still comes here (Turkey) from time to time to meet Abu al-Abed (Hamas’ Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh),” the sources reveal.

The truth is that Turkish authorities have now instructed Hamas that Al-Arouri must now coordinate his visits to Turkey in advance – ostensibly because he uses more than one passport, under different names.

So, this is all a well-rehearsed game. It is true that there is “Turkish tightening” of Hamas movements and activities, but “this took place in coordination with the movement, and upon an understanding on these details before Herzog’s visit. Therefore, there is no media clash between us and the Turks, and there are no statements and responses to them either,” the source continues.

In Gaza, however, there is another side to this story. Sources in the besieged territorial strip deny the existence of an ‘agreement’ between Hamas and Turkish officials. It confirms that the news about preventing the movement from carrying out any military or security activity from Turkish territory is accurate, especially if the action targets the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the 1948 areas.

The Gaza sources also confirm that some Hamas members have been prevented from entering Turkey, others were asked to stop their activities, and worst of all, the residencies of a number of them were not renewed without valid reasons provided, which means that they have to leave Turkey immediately. Although the number “does not exceed 100 with their families, but it is annoying, and it is considered to be in compliance with Israeli conditions.”

The Turks have taken further measures this time, ostensibly for “security purposes:” they have reduced the number of visas granted to Palestinian students and to tourism companies in Gaza. And from December 2021 onward, any Palestinian in Gaza or the West Bank who wishes to obtain a Turkish visa must come to a consulate in person to provide fingerprints and an instant photo, where previously it was sufficient to send their passport in.

But the most punishing measure by Ankara is the almost complete cessation of Turkish relief work in Gaza since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The reason provided by Turkish authorities to its Hamas counterparts in Gaza was that Ankara is “shifting support to other regions.”

Bear in mind that Turkish relief activities that began in Gaza in the aftermath of Israel’s bombing devastation of the strip in 2009, have been significantly reduced since starting work in Ramallah four years ago (2017-2018).

Hamas vs Hamas

Hamas sources in Istanbul and Ankara say that their counterparts in Gaza “exaggerate” when describing the Turkish measures. They point to the fact that Hamas’ Gaza-based leader Ismail Haniyeh is a “semi-permanent resident” in Turkey as he is unable to hold all his meetings in Doha, and cannot visit Beirut whenever he wants. Therefore, he visits Ankara or Istanbul for a few weeks occasionally to hold these meetings. And since Haniyeh is the “head of the movement,” then “if there was a central Turkish decision to restrict Hamas, it would have been sufficient to prevent him from entering and stop hosting him, which never happened,” they argue.

“The movement’s leadership is holding a lot of meetings in Turkey so far, and it has not been prevented from doing so,” says one source. “According to our experience, everything that is requested now is temporary, regardless of how long it will last.”

“The Turks must give the Israelis what they are satisfied with, even if it is only in the media. But the reality is different. There are specific names under discussion, and it is not a broad and comprehensive process of expulsion or deportation,” he adds.

In late April, however, Israel Hayom newspaper reported that the Israelis handed the Turks a list of Hamas figures, including information about some of them being involved in military activities, in order to deport them.

Hamas sources in Turkey say that Ankara still allows entry to holders of the diplomatic (red) passport issued by the Hamas government in Gaza, while the majority of countries (such as Malaysia, Sudan, Syria and sometimes Lebanon) have responded to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority’s request to stop doing so.

They also point to Meshaal’s new TV channel venture that will air from Istanbul, as an alternative to Al-Quds channel broadcast from Beirut which was closed down years ago due to “financial crisis.” Sources in Gaza instead say that that the aim of the closure was to “isolate Meshaal.”

The opening of Meshaal’s channel, which announced in October 2021 that it would begin hiring staff, comes on the back of recent Hamas political bureau elections, which resulted in the return of Meshaal and his team back into the game. Meshaal, who is also known as Abu Al-Waleed, is a supporter of strengthening the relationship with Turkey and Qatar at the expense of Hamas’ relationship with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

Effectively sidelined by Hamas for the past few years because of his monumental miscalculations during the Syrian war, in the past few months, Meshaal has been “very angry” because of Hezbollah’s refusal to meet during his Beirut visit in December. It is likely also why Meshaal’s name will never appear on an Israeli ‘ban list.’

The Hamas defense in Istanbul is therefore this: “Is it possible to open a new channel for the movement at a time when Turkey is expelling us?” Meshaal’s call not to clash with the Turks is based on his argument that Erdogan is facing difficulties now; that Hamas must understand this temporary situation until the Turkish presidential elections in 2023 pass peacefully; that an Erdogan loss will have repercussions on the movement that cannot be compared to any Turkish measures or restrictions now. This is the same theory of ’empowerment’ (tamkeen) to which the Muslim Brotherhood adheres.

Sources close to Meshaal argue that Turkey treats Israel on an equal footing, and it may respond to some Israeli requests as part of its political maneuvering, but that it will not meet all of these requests. This ‘political maneuvering’ is what prompted Erdogan to improve his relationship with the UAE – even though it contributed to the 2016 coup against him – and with Saudi Arabia – which killed a Saudi dissident with a chainsaw on Turkish soil. It is realpolitik, they argue. All for money, investments, gas – and to retain his presidency.

Secrets revealed for the first time

Hamas sources in Ankara and Istanbul revealed further private details to The Cradle, saying the recent Turkish measures did not include Hamas members who have obtained Turkish citizenship: “These have become Turkish citizens, and Israel cannot ask their state to expel them or prevent them from entering the country… We are talking here about dozens of active people.”

They also reveal that “Turkish intelligence protects Hamas members, not only from killing or kidnapping, but also from espionage.” In this context, the sources point to the arrest last October of a cell of 13 to 15 spies working for the Mossad. They were spying on a full range of Hamas and supporters’ activities in Turkey, especially the Palestinian and Syrian students who submitted projects related to drones or engineering that could serve the movement’s military arm. These students are still studying in Turkish universities today.

The Turkish measures also follow US and Israeli diktats that while Ankara and Doha must “contain Hamas,” they should also not lose control of them. One sources explains: “It is true that there are limits to Hamas’ work in Turkey and there is full control over its activities. But if everyone is expelled from here, this will mean throwing these people into the arms of Iran, Syria and Lebanon, because Qatar or any other country will not be able to bear their presence on its soil… and this is last thing the United States and even Israel would want.”

Indeed, despite some ‘collateral damage’ such as military, security and financial activities, it seems that there is a great benefit to the Israelis and the Americans from Hamas’ presence in Turkey, and it is unlikely that Israel will ever request the complete expulsion of the movement and prevention of all its activities.

During this investigation, The Cradle heard many complaints within Hamas about the behavior of some of its members who live in Turkey. Many of these, after obtaining citizenship or residency, engage in investment and real estate projects, and leave work in the movement, and some of them travel to Europe, Canada and even the United States.

Anger in Gaza

The arguments of the Meshaal camp in favor of ‘tolerating’ Turkey’s new measures do not convince Hamas sources in Gaza, who say that a “comprehensive review” of the relationship with Turkey is underway. This review does not intend to end or sabotage the movement’s relationship with Turkey, but instead to assess its “feasibility” and “benefits.”

‘Turkish normalization’ with Israel has caused great embarrassment within Hamas and its members, as well as among its supporters. Many are seriously demanding to know what Turkey has done over the past decades for Palestinian resistance. Even in the years when the relationship between Hamas and Ankara improved, they note that the relationship between Ankara and Tel Aviv was progressing more quickly, and in more areas.

This anger is what prompted the release of leaks and statements over the past two months criticizing Turkish behavior. But the Meshaal-dominated leadership abroad was able to prevent the ‘deterioration’ of the situation, and pledged to communicate with Turkish officials to clarify their position. So far, the issue has not been resolved. It seems that officials in Ankara are in no hurry to provide an answer.

It may be more important, however, to pay attention to what the leadership in Gaza is planning that may ultimately affect the future of the movement’s relationship with Turkey. Sources in Gaza say that the Hamas leadership has taken a decision to bring the relationship with Iran to the level of a “strategic relationship” and not just an alliance, and that this is a decision that has been adopted by the entire movement.

This is why since the end of the last war in May 2021, the speeches of Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, have focused on the relationship with the “Jerusalem axis.” In his most recent speech on April 30, Sinwar spoke about Hamas’ coordination with the axis  “to open the sea route to and from Gaza.”

This is the same route that the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara tried to take in 2010, before the attempt ended with an Israeli massacre. But Erdogan has quickly forgotten his threats over the incident, and was satisfied with an apology over the phone from former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – after Washington’s mediation – which asked Netanyahu to pay compensation to the Turkish victims. Israel at the time “expressed regret” but did not cough up an apology, and offered to pay what it described as “humanitarian funding” to compensate the families of the victims.

Because Hamas’ relationship with Iran has become strategic, and the Gaza leadership attaches great importance to it – to the point that it believes a “war of liberation” is close – it seems almost certain that its relationship with Turkey will continue to decline.

This does not mean that the Iranians have reservations about the relationship between Hamas and Ankara. But “the past and the present reveal the near and distant future,” as described by those we spoke with in Gaza.

They raise a serious issue that is being exposed for the first time. The leadership in Gaza has learned that the Turks are using members of Hamas to help organize programs for Turkish visits to Jerusalem and to persuade Turkish citizens to participate. This is being done under the heading of “supporting Al-Aqsa Mosque,” but it ultimately aims to improve the relationship with Israel, especially as the Turkish visitors will enter the occupied territories on an Israeli visa.

These visits have been very active since late 2021, and come with the encouragement of both the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs and the support of Erdogan, who has a number of associations concerned with this matter under his direct administration.

In April, a huge controversy erupted on social media platforms about the visit of the famous Turkish ‘Chef Burak’ Ozdemir to Al-Aqsa. Many believed the visit was “not innocent” in its timing, as it coincided with the Palestinian confrontation with Israeli forces over the holy mosque. However, Burak was better received by the Palestinians than the Gulf ‘visitors.’

Anxiety in Beirut

Those we contacted from Hamas in Beirut were less angry, but more anxious. They also refer to a “restriction in the granting of visas” through the Turkish embassy in Lebanon dating back to around six months ago. The embassy spun this as a natural reduction in Palestinian applications from Syria, after the Palestinian embassy in Damascus made it easier for Palestinians to obtain a passport issued in Ramallah – which could be used to visit Turkey to obtain residency or purchase real estate instead of via asylum documents.

Whatever the real reason for this restriction, it cannot be separated from the latest set of Turkish measures that were recently placed on Hamas. But the biggest concern in Beirut is about the future of the relationship. This concern is not a result of the difference in viewpoints within the movement, because in the end the decision will be issued collectively and institutionally.

The concern is over the fate of the relationship with Ankara, which appears to be adopting a different approach with the Muslim Brotherhood, after taking harsh measures against its members. The last of these measures was the expulsion of the Mkamelin channel and the suspension of its broadcasts from Turkish territory. Will a similar measure affect Hamas institutions soon?

For these reasons, their concerns appear realistic, especially given the acceleration of reconciliation between Ankara and Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, all of whom are avowed enemies of Hamas – with Doha potentially affected by Turkey’s new behaviors as well.

The answer to this question can perhaps be found back in 2018. This year reveals a lot about events transpiring today.

The 2018 crisis

This was not a good year in the relationship between Hamas and Turkey. Turkish measures against the movement were similar to its actions today: refusal to arrange high-level meetings between the Hamas leadership and Turkish officials, freezing the renewal of residency permits for its members, and poor treatment of the wounded Palestinians from Gaza, among other measures.

That year, Turkey had expressed “disappointment” with the Syrian war, and with Hamas, which had decided in 2017 to improve its relationship with Egypt, start wooing Syria, and strengthen its relationship with Hezbollah and Iran.

The Hamas-Turkish crisis was then based in Ramallah. The President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas did all he could to sabotage the relationship between the two parties and he succeeded in that well.

At that time, Abbas met Erdogan, and provided him with information about an alleged ‘alliance’ between Hamas and the dismissed leader of Fatah, Muhammad Dahlan, who receives Emirati support, and who is accused of participating in plotting the coup against the Turkish president.

Hamas was unable to alleviate Erdogan’s wrath in this instance, and the latter ordered the transfer of the management of relief works from Gaza to Ramallah, and restricted Turkish aid to the PA in the West Bank. While the relationship gradually improved over time as tensions decreased, ties between Hamas and Ankara did not return to their previous levels.

Erdogan’s supportive statements about Palestine ebb and flow, and he stands accused of exploiting the Palestinian cause in order to gain popularity when facing internal crises. The Palestinian cause is still very popular on the Turkish street, and the president’s outreach to Israel has not been well-received.

Today, since Ankara’s relationships with Ramallah, Amman and Tel Aviv are thriving, and may improve soon enough with Cairo too, why does Turkey even care about the Hamas card and Palestinian resistance? It is a troubling question for the movement that its leaders often ask among themselves.

It seems that the coming months, not years, will hold an answer to that. While Erdogan’s actions are unpopular in Turkey, they serve his geopolitical agenda for now. On the other hand, with an uncertain 2023 election result looming, he will need his ‘Palestinian card’ to appeal to constituents – many of whom have now also turned critical of the US, which Erdogan is ever eager to please. It is an almost impossible balancing game for the Turkish presidency.

In the meantime, any Turkish actions against Hamas will not be surprising, but the movement has been put on notice, and its reactions may surprise Turkey right back.

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

Erdogan with Assad: There is no Reconciliation before the Arabs and “Israel” إردوغان و”إسرائيل”.. من المصالحة إلى التحالف العسكري؟

ARABI SOURI

Reconciliation with Damascus will mean for the Turkish President Erdogan to abandon his strategic calculations and projects.

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

The news published by Hurriyet newspaper, loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on April 3, has received wide attention in most Arab media outlets, as the newspaper stated, “The Turkish authorities are conducting their discussions with the aim of dialogue with the Syrian government, in order to restore relations between the two countries to its nature.”

The media and those who wrote in it did not pay attention to what was stated in the news, as it was said that “Turkey, in all its contacts with the Syrian administration, affirms 3 basic things, namely, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, ensuring the lives of refugees returning to their country, and preventing the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party from any activity in Syria.

Contrary to what President Erdogan asserts on every occasion, Ankara controls about 10% of the Syrian territory, which contradicts the notion of sovereignty and the unity of the Syrian territory. It also provides all kinds of support to tens of thousands of militants of the so-called “National Army” established in Turkey, which it pays the salaries of all its personnel.

On top of that, Ankara’s objection to the Syrian army’s liberation of Idlib and its vicinity, without heeding the accusations leveled against it regarding the relationship with the terrorist of “Al-Nusra Front”, which includes thousands of foreign militants, and which obtains all its needs from Turkey, near Idlib.

As for the return of Syrian refugees to their homes, many, including the leaders of Turkish political parties, wrote and spoke about Ankara obstructing the return of Syrian refugees to their country, and it tells them that the living and security situation in Syria is very bad, and it meets the needs of all Syrians residing in the areas controlled by the Turkish army west and east of the Euphrates, as Defense Minister Hulusi Akar previously said that “Turkey meets the needs of 9 million Syrians, 3.5 million of whom are in Turkey, and the rest are inside Syria.”

Ankara believes that this Turkish position “contributes to the increase in Erdogan’s popularity in Syria in general.” As for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which means the “SDF” and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the Syrian arm of the PKK, everyone remembers how Ankara had a close relationship with Salih Muslim, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Union Party, and sought to persuade him until the summer of 2015 “to rebel against the Syrian state in exchange for promises to meet his demands in the new Syria after the overthrow of the regime in Damascus.”

As everyone knows, Ankara, under the pretext of the aforementioned Kurdish militias, succeeded in persuading Washington and Moscow to allow it in October 2019 to penetrate east of the Euphrates and control a border strip of 110 km in length and 30 km in depth in some areas, which helped the Turkish forces to take control of strategic locations in the region, as is the case in the Afrin region after taking control of it in March 2018.

All of this explains Ankara’s failure to abide by its commitments in the Sochi and Moscow agreements on Idlib and the Turkish military presence in northern Syria in general, despite the possibilities of a heated confrontation with the Syrian and Russian armies in the region, as happened in February 2020.

It also explains President Erdogan’s constant talk about his rejection of any solution to the Syrian crisis, without recognizing the main Turkish role in this solution, which must meet the Turkish conditions in coordination and cooperation with the Syrian opposition, both political and armed, all of which are moving according to the Turkish agenda supported by Qatar, which is what President Erdogan exploits in his overall bargaining with all parties interested in the Syrian file regionally and internationally, especially with the continuation of their current positions, which can be summed up in not rushing to take any decisive decision to close this file.

President Erdogan sees this regional and international situation as a source of strength for him, as long as the Arab capitals are not encouraged to reconcile with President Assad, and he will not think of reconciling with him until after the leaders of the main Arab countries, led by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar, reconcile.

Reconciliation in President Erdogan’s concept is for these leaders and others to contact President Assad, exchange visits with him, and open their embassies in Damascus with Israeli consent, as they all did (Erdogan as well) with the putschist Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (of Sudan), and together they abandoned Imran Khan (of Pakistan) on American instructions!

In other words, President Erdogan will not take any initiative toward Damascus as long as he sees Assad as his “subordinate governor”, and sees himself as the “Ottoman Sultan”, this is what Assad said, which President Qais Saeed (of Tunisia) reminded last week when he responded to Erdogan’s statements, who described his decision to dissolve the parliament as a “coup,” so he said: “Tunisia is not a province, and we are not waiting for a firman (from the Ottoman Sultan).”

We do not ignore President Erdogan’s efforts to reconcile with Cairo, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi, which he personally accused of plotting against Turkey, at a time when President Assad and the Syrian state did not undertake any hostile action against Turkey, which proved, through its recent actions, that it favors “Israel” with its terrorist regime over neighboring Syria, which through it, it entered the Arab region after the first visit of Prime Minister Abdullah Gul to Damascus at the beginning of 2003.

Although Gul, and even Davutoglu, who was said at the time to be the architect of Turkish foreign policy, became in the trench against Erdogan, it became clear that the prospects for Turkish reconciliation with President Assad will never be easy for the Turkish president.

Erdogan sees such reconciliation as a recognition of the defeat of his (Muslim Brotherhood) ideological project, even if he abandoned it during his bargains with “Tel Aviv” (Hamas and the Palestinians in general), Cairo (Egypt’s Brotherhood), Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

In addition, reconciliation with Damascus will mean at the same time abandoning his calculations, projects, and strategic plans, especially after he established a network of complex military, intelligence, and political relations intertwined with very wide Syrian sectors and groups, and that abandoning it will not be easy for Ankara (what will it do with tens of thousands of militants?), which sees northern Syria as an extension of Turkish geography and a strategic depth for its national security, which Turkish officials have been repeating since the beginnings of the Syrian crisis, and its main player is Erdogan, it seems clear that he will not give up this role until his last breath, as long as no one asks him to do so, and President Assad will not surprise him by visiting Ankara!

Erdogan is waiting for the positions of the Arab capitals, and more importantly, “Tel Aviv”, because he thinks, rather he believes, that it will not initiate any reconciliation with Assad, of course, if he had not agreed with Herzog and Ibn Zayed on that, otherwise reconciliation with Syria must be a priority for Erdogan and the others, this is, of course, if they are not together at the disposal of “Tel Aviv”, the only beneficiary of the years of the bloody “Arab Spring”, during which they were all together in one trench against President al-Assad, and with the confessions of Hamad bin Jassem, who is still whining because “the prey escaped from them.” and catching it again needs more than a miracle!


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Denote

إردوغان و”إسرائيل”.. من المصالحة إلى التحالف العسكري؟

حسني محلي 

المصدر: الميادين نت

2022  الاثين 18 نيسان

ينتظر أن يزور خلوصي أكار “تل أبيب” خلال الأيام القليلة المقبلة، يليه زيارة رجب طيب إردوغان.

العلاقات التركية – الإسرائيلية يُتوقّع أن تشهد قفزة نوعية بعد الزيارة التي سيقوم بها إردوغان إلى تل أبيب.

بعيداً عن اهتمامات الإعلام التركي والعربي والدولي، تشهد العلاقات التركية مع الكيان الصهيوني تطورات مثيرة قد تجعل من تل أبيب حليفاً عسكرياً استراتيجياً لأنقرة التي يبدو واضحاً أنها تستعد لمثل هذه المرحلة الجديدة، داخلياً وخارجياً. فقد أعلن وزير الخارجية مولود جاويش أوغلو (14 نيسان/ أبريل) أنه سيزور تل أبيب قريباً جداً، ومعه وزير الدفاع خلوصي أكار، بدلاً من وزير الطاقة الذي كان عليه أن يبحث مع المسؤولين الإسرائيليين تفاصيل التنسيق والتعاون المشترك لنقل الغاز الإسرائيلي والقبرصي والمصري إلى تركيا، ومنها الى أوروبا، وهو الموضوع الذي قيل إنه يحظى بدعم أميركي، كما هي الحال بالنسبة إلى مشروع نقل غاز كردستان العراق إلى تركيا ومنها إلى أوروبا، بتنسيق تركي-إسرائيلي مشترك. ويفسّر ذلك الزيارات المتتالية التي قام بها رئيس إقليم كردستان العراق نيجيرفان برزاني ورئيس حكومة الإقليم مسرور برزاني إلى أنقرة خلال الشهرين الماضيين فقط، وتمّ خلالها أيضاً مناقشة الدور التركي في تأليف الحكومة العراقية الجديدة.  

وعودة إلى زيارة وزير الدفاع خلوصي أكار، والتي من المتوقع لها أن تكون خلال الأيام القليلة المقبلة، وستلحق بها زيارة الرئيس إردوغان إلى تل أبيب، فلا بد من التذكير بالاتفاقية التي سبق أن تمّ التوقيع عليها بين الطرفين في العام 1995-1996. وكان حينها الإسلامي نجم الدين أربكان رئيساً للحكومة، واتفق مع تل أبيب على تحديث طائرات أف-5 وأف-16 ومعها دبابات أم-60 التركية، مقابل المليارات من الدولارات. كما لا بد من التذكير بشراء تركيا (2005) لمجموعة من الطائرات المسيّرة الإسرائيلية، واستخدمتها ضد مسلحي حزب العمال الكردستاني جنوب شرق البلاد وفي شمال العراق. وجاءت موافقة أنقرة (أواسط 2011) على القاعدة الأميركية جنوب شرق البلاد قرب مدينة مالاطيا، في إطار المساعي التركية لتطوير علاقاتها مع تل أبيب. وكانت مهمة هذه القاعدة هي رصد التحركات العسكرية الإيرانية، وإبلاغ تل أبيب بأي صواريخ إيرانية قد تستهدفها حتى يتسنّى للقبة الحديدية التصدي لها قبل دخول الأجواء الإسرائيلية. 

الفتور والتوتر اللذين عانت منهما العلاقات التركية – الإسرائيلية خلال السنوات الأخيرة، لم يمنعا أنقرة من تطوير علاقاتها الاقتصادية والتجارية التي حققت أرقاماً قياسية لا تتناسب مع مقولات الرئيس إردوغان ضد “إسرائيل”. ولكنها تتفق مع الموقف التركي المتناقض، حيث لم تستخدم أنقرة حق الفيتو ضد انضمام “إسرائيل” إلى منظمة التعاون الاقتصادي والتنمية OECD (أيار/ مايو 2010) وانضمامها بصفة مراقب إلى الحلف الأطلسي (أيار/ مايو 2016). 

التناقضات التركية في العلاقة مع تل أبيب بما في ذلك إغلاق ملف سفينة مرمرة (كما هي الحال في إغلاق ملف خاشقجي) يشبّهها البعض بتناقضات السلطان عبد الحميد الذي قيل عنه إنه لم يتنازل عن فلسطين لليهود في الوقت الذي تثبت فيه الوثائق التاريخية عكس ذلك، حيث قدّم الكثير من التسهيلات لليهود للهجرة إلى فلسطين وشراء الأراضي وبناء المستوطنات فيها. 

مع التذكير أيضاً بتلاقي الأهداف التركية والإسرائيلية في سوريا، حيث دعمت أنقرة الفصائل المسلحة التي تقاتل ضد دمشق في الشمال، وكانت تل أبيب تفعل ذلك في الجنوب بدعم من الأردن ودول الخليج، كما هي الحال للوضع على الحدود مع تركيا، وباعتراف حمد بن جاسم. 

زيارة جاويش أوغلو وأكار التي تهدف إلى تحقيق التوازن في علاقات أنقرة مع تل أبيب ودول المنطقة الأخرى بعد المصالحة مع الرياض والقاهرة (سامح شكري سيزور تركيا قريباً) يريد لها الرئيس إردوغان أن تبعد تل أبيب عن نيقوسيا وأثينا، وسبق لهذه الدول الثلاث أن وقّعت على العديد من اتفاقيات التعاون العسكري والأمني والاستخباري، وكان ذلك تارة برضى ودعم مصريين وأخرى إماراتي وسعودي، في الوقت الذي ستسعى فيه أنقرة خلال الزيارة إلى إقناع تل أبيب بأن لا تعترض على بيع طائرات أف-35 الأميركية لتركيا، بعد اتفاق الطرفين التركي والأميركي حول قضية صواريخ أس-400 الروسية التي اشترتها أنقرة من موسكو قبل عامين، من دون أن تقوم بتفعيلها بعد ردّ الفعل الأميركي. 

العلاقات التركية – الإسرائيلية التي يُتوقّع لها أن تشهد قفزة نوعية بعد الزيارة التي سيقوم بها إردوغان إلى تل أبيب، يسعى الطرفان إلى دعمها في شتى المجالات، بما فيها تبادل الزيارات الاستخبارية والإعلامية والأكاديمية ورجال الأعمال، بل وحتى الوفود الدينية في إطار ما يُسمّى حوار الأديان والحضارات المدعوم أيضاً من الإمارات، الطرف الثالث في الحوار والتنسيق، ولاحقاً التحالف التركي – الإسرائيلي. 

ويفسّر ذلك وصف إردوغان لما قام به الشباب الفلسطيني بالعمل الإرهابي، ومن دون أن يقول ذلك بحق عمليات القتل والإجرام التي يقوم بها الجيش والأمن الإسرائيليّان يومياً ضدَّ الفلسطينيين داخل المسجد الأقصى. واعتبر ذلك إبراهيم كالين، المتحدث باسم إردوغان، “خطاً أحمر بالنسبة إلى تركيا”، ناسياً أن أنقرة قد نسيت وتناست كل خطوطها الحمر، عندما سلكت كل الطرق والوسائل من أجل مصالحة تل أبيب، بما في ذلك لقاء إردوغان مع حاخامات اليهود. والأغرب من كل ذلك، أن بعض الدول العربية التي تجرّأت وأصدرت بيانات “الاستنكار” لِما قامت به تل أبيب داخل المسجد الأقصى، رجّحت الحديث عن “استخدام مفرط للعنف بحق الفلسطينيين”، كما ورد ذلك في بيان الخارجية العراقية، وتتوقع لها تل أبيب أن تكون البلد العربي الجديد في مسلسل التطبيع، بعد تسلّم جماعة مقتدى الصدر وحلفائه السلطة في بغداد. وهو الاحتمال الذي يجعل من التنسيق والتعاون والتحالف المحتمل بين تل أبيب وأنقرة أكثر أهمية في حال فشل المساعي الإقليمية والدولية لإعادة ترتيب أمور المنطقة، قبل أو بعد الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، ولذلك علاقة بالتطورات المحتملة في الحرب الأوكرانية. فالدور الإسرائيلي في هذه الحرب لا يختلف كثيراً عن الدور التركي، ما دامت لأنقرة وتل أبيب علاقات وطيدة جداً بكييف في جميع المجالات، والأهم العسكرية والاستخبارية، وهو ما قد يتطلب حواراً وتنسيقاً تركيين -إسرائيليين ينعكسان بنتائجهما المستقبلية المحتملة على موازين القوى في المنطقة، وخاصة إذا فشلت المساعي الإقليمية والدولية في إبعاد إيران عن الحدود مع “إسرائيل” سواء كان ذلك في سوريا ولبنان أم عبر باب المندب الاستراتيجي بالنسبة إلى تل أبيب.

ويبدو أنها تستذكر مقولات مؤسّسها بن غوريون الذي قال: “إسرائيل بحاجة إلى ثلاث رئات تتنفس عبرها الأكسجين في محيطها العربي المعادي، وهي تركيا وإثيوبيا وإيران”.

وبخسارة الأخيرة ترى في كسب الأولى والثانية قضية وجودية، منذ أن اعترفتا بكيانها فور قيامه فوراً، واحتفظتا دائماً معه بعلاقات علنية وسرية، مهما كانت شعارات حكامها المتناقضة، كما هي الحال في علاقات أنقرة بحماس، وضَحّت بها بين ليلة وضحاها من أجل الحليف الجديد! 

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

Saudi Arabia Abandoning its Puppet in Yemen: Coming to Terms

April 13, 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Hussam AbdelKareem 

KSA can no longer “pretend” that things are under control and going according to plan. Actually, there is no plan, and no horizon, for the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia Abandoning its Puppet in Yemen: Coming to Terms

News just broke in from Yemen that the so-called “legitimate” Yemeni President AbedRabbu Mansur Hadi (widely mocked as a Saudi puppet) announced that he’s surrendering “power” to a new “Presidential Council”. The “Presidential Council”, Hadi’s statement goes on, will have to enter into negotiations with other parties in Yemen to reach a political settlement. This important step comes after about one week of Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it’s halting its military operations and easing restrictions and blockade on Yemeni ports for a two–month period. 

After seven long years of aggression in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is coming to painful terms with the truth on the ground. The Saudi enterprise in Yemen has failed miserably in all directions. The Saudi-led coalition “to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen,” the banner under which KSA launched its war on Yemen in 2015, has all vanished. Only UAE is still in it, though half-heartedly. The large sums of money that KSA invested in Yemeni espionage groups have gone in vain, with no real achievement on the ground. The government of Hadi does not have a significant real presence or control in Yemeni territories. The Hadi government is still stationed in a Riyadh hotel, leaving Ansar Allah in control of the North and West of Yemen (where the main population is concentrated), and the secessionist Transitional Council controls most of the South and Eastern parts of Yemen (with the sporadic presence of Al Qaeda & ISIS). After seven years of war, Hadi and his government are practically powerless and irrelevant.

But what’s more catastrophic for the Saudis is the way military operations are going. The war launched in 2015 is now back-firing very badly. ARAMCO, the giant Saudi oil company, has become a regular target of the Yemeni attacks. Yemeni missiles and drones are reaching strategic economic and military targets inside KSA more frequently than ever before. That’s an unimaginable and embarrassing situation that the Saudis have never anticipated. 

To put it in a word: It’s obviously defeat, plain and simple. KSA can no longer “pretend” that things are under control and going according to plan. Actually, there is no plan and no horizon for the Saudis. Realities on the ground must be acknowledged, the sooner the better. That’s the background for Hadi’s dismissal. The Saudi know very well that Hadi, in his position for ten years, cannot be entrusted with leading a new stage in Yemen. A totally new group will be needed for the negotiations with Ansar Allah and Sanaa government. It was noted that Hadi’s deputy and strong military commander, Ali Mohsin Al Ahmar, was also dismissed.

The person who was chosen to replace Hadi, as head of the “Presidential Council”, is Rashad Al Olaimi. Al Olaimi was known in the Yemeni circles as one of the closest personalities to the USA, always advocating for a more American role in Yemen. Al Olaimi’s selection gives further indication that negotiations with Ansar Allah will be the top priority for the new Saudi–backed Yemeni side. The Biden administration has long advocated a political arrangement in Yemen that includes Ansar Allah as a main party.

What’s next?

We’ll have to wait and see the reaction of Ansar Allah to the new call for a Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue with the new “Presidential Council”. It is known that Ansar Allah so far has insisted on negotiating with KSA on a state-to-state basis, i.e. Yemeni-Saudi negotiations, refusing to grant KSA the image of the mediator or sponsor to the peace talks between the Yemenis. 

However, this time things look serious. Saudi Arabia appears keen to get off the tree and embark on real negotiations with its adversaries in Yemen, Ansar Allah. There is a pressing interest for the Saudis to prolong the brittle ceasefire that is now in place and try to make it permanent. The Saudis don’t want to see their oil facilities in flames any time soon. Therefore, they will be ready for real concessions. A kind of negotiated settlement in Yemen that sees Ansar Allah holding major positions in the national Yemeni government is probably in the minds of Saudis. Ansar Allah, in its turn, has always wanted peace with dignity in Yemen. Yemenis always wanted the peace that preserves Yemen’s sovereignty, and if the Saudis are ready for it, then Ansar Allah will be there. And let’s not forget that the Saudis have tried to negotiate with Iran about Yemen’s issues, during many rounds held in Iraq, but received a firm answer from the Iranians that Sanaa, and only Sanaa, is the right address for that purpose.

For that higher goal, formalities could be overlooked. Ansar Allah and Sanaa government could accept to negotiate with KSA indirectly through its “Presidential Council”. Without a doubt, negotiations will be very difficult and complex, because of the broad range of horny issues like the South-North sensitivity maps, the role of Al Islah Party (Muslim Brotherhood), and Yemen’s political positioning in the region. But the beginning itself is a positive step. If Saudis give up the “victory” notion and start readiness to acknowledge the Yemeni realities, then this will be a starting point to achieving peace in the war-torn country.

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

تونس ليست إيالة عثمانية يا إردوغان

الثلاثاء 12 نيسان 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

خالد البوهالي 

يرى إردوغان أن هزيمة حزب “النهضة” في الانتخابات التشريعية، في حال إجرائها، ستكون ضربةً قاصمةً للنفوذ التركي في تونس.

تونس ليست إيالة عثمانية يا إردوغان

أثارت تصريحات الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان بخصوص حل البرلمان التونسي والدعوة إلى انتخابات جديدة حفيظة الرئيس التونسي قيس سعيد، ما جعله يرد بشكل عاجل عليه بأن تونس ليست إيالة عثمانية، في حين استدعت وزارة الشؤون الخارجية التونسية السفير التركي المعتمد لديها، وسلمته مذكّرة احتجاجٍ عبرت فيها عن رفضها التدخل في الشؤون الداخلية التونسية، واتصل وزير الخارجية التونسي بنظيره التركي من أجل الموضوع نفسه.

وقد ذكر بيان وزارة الشؤون الخارجية التونسية أن “تونس بقدر التزامها بثوابت سياستها الخارجية وحرصها على بناء علاقة وثيقة مع الدول الشقيقة والصديقة، قوامها التعاون والتضامن والتشاور والثقة المتبادلة، فإنها أيضاً تتمسك باستقلال قرارها الوطني، وترفض بشدة كل محاولة للتدخل في سيادتها وخيارات شعبها أو التشكيك في مسارها الديمقراطي الذي لا رجعة فيه”.

أولاً، ينبغي التأكيد أن من حق القيادة التونسية، سواء اتفق البعض أو اختلف معها، تقديم مذكرة احتجاج على تركيا، لأن مثل هذه التصريحات غير المسؤولة التي أطلقتها الحكومة التركية يعدّ تدخلاً سافراً في شؤون دولةٍ مستقلةٍ ذات سيادة، وبالتالي إنّ رد فعلها يبقى مسألة مفروغة منها، لأنها الجهة المخولة اتخاذ ما تراه مناسباً من القرارات التي تراها تصب في مصلحة البلاد، ولأن هذا الأمر لا يخص سوى الشعب التونسي وحده، الذي يملك حق اتخاذ المتعين من دون تدخلٍ أو تأثيرٍ من أية جهاتٍ خارجيةٍ في ما يخص مستقبله السياسي، وهو ما تكفله له المواثيق والأعراف الدولية.

منذ اندلاع ما سُمي بأحداث “الربيع العربي”، لم يتورع الرئيس إردوغان المهووس والمسكون بتحقيق حلم الخلافة العثمانية البائدة عن التدخل بشتى الوسائل في الشؤون الداخلية للدول الإسلامية والعربية، سواء في منطقة الشرق الأوسط أو شمال أفريقيا، كما لو أنها ما زالت تشكل جزءاً من الإمبراطورية العثمانية التي ترامت أطرافها بين أوروبا وشمال أفريقيا.

سعت تركيا منذ اندلاع الثورة التونسية في العام 2011، التي أطاحت حكم الرئيس التونسي الراحل زين العابدين بن علي، إلى دعمها بكل الوسائل المادية واللوجستية، لمعرفتها المسبقة بأن المنطقة الإسلامية والعربية مقبلة على تحولات دراماتيكية تمس المشهد السياسي وتصب في مصلحة تيار الإسلام السياسي الذي يشكل حزب العدالة والتنمية التركي أحد روافده.

وقد سهل وجود حزب “النهضة” التونسي في سدة الحكم، توسيع مجال النفوذ السياسي والاقتصادي لتركيا إدوغان -بسبب وحدة الأيديولوجيا التي تربط بين الحزبين- من خلال الاستثمارات التركية والمبادلات التجارية بين البلدين، التي لم تكن متكافئة بين الطرفين التونسي والتركي، إذ تميل كفتها لمصلحة الأخير، بسبب رفع الصادرات التركية نحو تونس، من دون رفع صادرات الأخيرة نحو تركيا.

 وصول عجز الميزان التجاري إلى حوالى مليار دولار بين تونس وتركيا شكل عبئاً كبيراً على الاقتصاد التونسي الذي يعاني أزمات عدة، ما دفع السلطات التونسية مؤخراً إلى مراجعة كل الاتفاقيات التجارية المبرمة مع أنقرة. 

كما أن البرلمان التونسي صوت قبل سنتين على مشروع قانون ينص على فرض رسوم جمركية على 90% من السلع والبضائع التركية، ما أثار غضب نواب حركة “النهضة” التي رفضت هذا الإجراء، وانسحبت فور بدء عملية التصويت عليه، إرضاء للحليف التركي.

ويبدو أن الدافع الحقيقي وراء تصريحات الرئيس التركي تجاه تونس هو توجسه من خسارة حزب “النهضة” التونسي الانتخابات التشريعية المقبلة، وبالتالي تقهقره في المشهد السياسي التونسي، بعد أن تداعت إحدى قلاع الإسلام السياسي المتمثلة بحزب العدالة والتنمية المغربي الذي يتزعمه الأمين العام الحالي عبد الإله بن كيران، الذي مني بخسارةٍ فادحةٍ في الانتخابات التشريعية التي نظمت في أيلول/سبتمبر من العام الماضي، في ضربة جديدة لأحلام إردوغان الذي كان يمنّي النفس بحكم حزام إخواني يمتد من سوريا، مروراً بمصر، إلى دول الاتحاد المغاربي، بدعم ومساندة من التنظيم الدولي للإخوان المسلمين.

وتأسيساً على ذلك، يرى إردوغان أن هزيمة حزب “النهضة” في الانتخابات التشريعية، في حال إجرائها، ستكون ضربةً قاصمةً للنفوذ التركي في تونس، وبالتالي تقويض بنيان ما بناه الرئيس التركي طيلة سنواتٍ بتحالفٍ مع صديقه زعيم حركة “النهضة” راشد الغنوشي، الذي يرعى المصالح التركية في تونس، لأن انحسار حضور الأخير يعني عملياً تراجع، إن لم يكن أفول، نجم التأثير السياسي والاقتصادي التركي في تونس، ونهاية أحلام إردوغان في بسط سيطرته على الدول التي كانت واقعة تحت الحكم العثماني.

زد على ذلك، أن الرئيس التركي، ورغم كل ما يشهده من أزمة داخلية بسبب سياساته، يفتعل أزمة خارجية لصرف أنظار الرأي العام التركي عن الداخل. هذا السلوك إن دل على شيء، إنما يدل على أن الرئيس إردوغان أضحى يعيش أسوأ حياته السياسية.

لا شك في أن القرارات التي اتخذها الرئيس التونسي قيس سعيد منذ 25 يونيو/تمور 2021، من قبيل تجميد عمل البرلمان لمدة 30 يوماً، وإقالة رئيس الحكومة هشام المشيشي حليف حزب “النهضة”، طبقاً للمادة 80 من الدستور التونسي، إضافةً إلى العديد من الإجراءات الأخرى المصاحبة لها، أطاحت طموحات إردوغان.

ختاماً، إن الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان لم يستوعب بعد حقيقة أن عهد وصاية الباب العالي وحكم الدايات والبايات والإيالات ولى إلى غير رجعة، وأن عقارب التاريخ لا يمكن إرجاعها إلى الوراء، لأن الشعب التونسي ليس قاصراً، وهو قادر على قيادة سفينة بلاده نحو بر الأمان، من دون تدخل جهات خارجية تملي عليه ما يجب أن يفعله. لذا، يمكن القول إن تونس ليست إيالة عثمانية يا إردوغان.

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

مردوا على النفاق

نيسان 11 2022

المصدر: الميادين.نت

بثينة شعبان 

إن تاريخ الاستعمار العثماني لبلادنا وعداءهم للعرب وأطماعهم بضم أراضينا وتواطأهم مع الصهاينة واضح للعيان بشكل يثير الشكوك بأصول حكامهم المشبوهة.

الغريب أن هناك بعض العرب ما زالوا يصدّقون أكاذيب إردوغان التي تدعي الدفاع عن الإسلام

حين قام الرئيس قيس سعيد باتخاذ قراراته الجريئة في 25 تموز/يوليو 2021 كتبت زاوية بعنوان “أول الغيث قطرة” آملة أن يكون هذا التحرك هو الإشارة الأكيدة لاجتثاث ما تبقى من التراث الدموي لعصابة الإخوان المسلمين من الوطن العربي بعد أن أسستها المخابرات البريطانية وفق نظريتهم الاستعمارية “فرّق تسد”، وبعد أن فشلوا في مصر وسورية وتوضح دورهم كأداة تخدم المصالح الإسرائيلية ضد العرب، ولذلك اتخذت دول عربية عديدة إجراءات حازمة ضدهم. وفي الأيام الأخيرة، وبعد أن أخذ الغنوشي يحاول عرقلة خطوات الرئيس قيس سعيد اتخذ الرئيس سعيد قراراً بحلّ البرلمان وحينها لم يعد زعيم عصابة الإخوان المسلمين العميلة في المنطقة “إردوغان” قادراً على التزام الصمت فانبرى يتدخل في الشؤون الداخلية لتونس حيث قال: “إن التطورات في تونس تشويه للديمقراطية وحل البرلمان الذي لا يوجد فيه مسؤولون منتخبون مدعاة للقلق على مستقبل تونس وضربة لإرادة شعبها.” 

من الواضح أن خطوات الرئيس قيس سعيد قد أثارت حنق الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان الذي مازال يمارس النفاق مع كل الأطراف الإقليمية والدولية وهو في حقيقته لا يتعدى كونه زعيم مشروع إسرائيلي يستخدم الإخوان المسلمين كأداة إرهابية ضمن مخطط مجهز من قبل المخابرات الإسرائيلية وبدعم من المخابرات الغربية المعادية للعرب، وإردوغان هذا مجرد طاغية وعثماني جديد يعيد مسيرة أجداده من سلاطين الظلم والتجهيل، ودوره واضح في التواطؤ مع الصهاينة ضد فلسطين وشعبها سابقاً ولاحقاً، وهو الذي يقوم جيشه باحتلال أجزاء من سورية والعراق، وهو من درب وسلح وأرسل مئات الألوف من الإرهابيين لقتل وتهجير الملايين من السوريين والعراقيين في تناغم لا يطاله الشك مع مخططات الحركة الصهيونية في المنطقة وإلحاق بالغ الأذى بالعرب والوطن العربي تاريخاً وثقافة وحضارة وحاضراً ومستقبلاً. 

والغريب أن هناك بعض العرب ما زالوا يصدّقون أكاذيب إردوغان التي تدعي الدفاع عن الإسلام أو التعاضد مع جيرانه العرب تماماً كما صدقوا وتوارثوا الكذبة التاريخية المماثلة أن الاحتلال العثماني للأمة العربية كان فتحاً إسلامياً وخلافة إسلامية، وهناك من يصدّق الدعاية التي تروجها المخابرات التركية بأن السلطان عبد الحميد قد رفض الموافقة على إعطاء أرض فلسطين كوطن قومي لليهود، وكثيرون بين ظهرانينا ما زالوا يؤمنون بصحة ذلك حتى هذا اليوم رغم أن الوقائع التاريخية الدقيقة تثبت أن التواطؤ العثماني كان أساسياً وهاماً في تمكين الصهاينة من الاستيطان في فلسطين.

ورغم كل مناورات وفرمانات السلطان عبد الحميد والتي تشبه إلى حد بعيد كل مراوغات ونفاق إردوغان في العقدين الأخيرين فإن الحقيقة التاريخية هي أن السلطان عبد الحميد لعب دوراً فاعلاً في الهجرة اليهودية إلى فلسطين وتنامي المستوطنات، وقد بدأت هذه العلاقة بين السلطنة العثمانية والصهاينة من السلطان العثماني عبد المجيد الأول الذي وقع اتفاقاً عام 1840 مع موسى مونتيفوري بمعاونة هنري جون تيمبل رئيس وزراء بريطانيا يقضي بمنح اليهود امتيازات داخل فلسطين وفي كل أرجاء الدولة العثمانية حيث شكّل هذا الاتفاق بداية سرطان الاستيطان  الصهيوني الذي سرى في جسد فلسطين وبدأ يأخذ الشرعية بفرمانات السلاطين المتلاحقة إلى أن جاء عهد عبد الحميد الثاني سنة 1876، ومع عصره بدأ سرطانهم يتوحش ويأخذ أبعاده على أرض فلسطين كلها بدعم من الدول الاستعمارية الغربية.

فقد كانت علاقة السلطان عبد الحميد الثاني وطيدة جداً مع زعيم الحركة الصهيونية العالمية تيودور هرتزل تماماً كعلاقة إردوغان بالصهاينة اليوم، ورغم التحايل من أجل عدم كشف الدعم الحقيقي الذي قدمه للحركة الصهيونية إلا أن الوقائع تثبت عدد وأسماء المستوطنات الصهيونية التي بنيت على أرض فلسطين خلال فترة حكمه من عام 1876-1909. فخلال فترة حكم السلطان عبد الحميد الثاني أسس اليهود ثلاثاً وثلاثين مستوطنة على أرض فلسطين واستحوذوا على مئات الآلاف من الدونمات من أرض فلسطين وقاموا بتهجير عشرات الآلاف من يهود أوروبا إلى فلسطين، وقد تم تأسيس الكثير من هذه المستعمرات في وقت ادّعت فيه الدولة العثمانية أنها شددت من إجراءاتها لمنع دخول اليهود! بل واعترفت الدولة العثمانية بوجود المستعمرات وهو ما سمح للبارون روتشيلد بتسجيل الأراضي التي اشتراها باسمه وسمحت لليهود بشراء الأراضي، فقد كان عدد اليهود في فلسطين عام 1882 أربع وعشرين ألفاً فقط بينما وصل في نهاية القرن التاسع عشر إلى خمسين ألفاً وفي عام 1908 إلى 80 ألفاً أي نحو ثلاثة أضعاف ما كان عددهم عام 1882 .

إن تاريخ الاستعمار العثماني لبلادنا وعداءهم للعرب وأطماعهم بضم أراضينا وتواطأهم مع الصهاينة للسماح لهم بالهجرة والاستيطان في فلسطين العربية واضح للعيان بشكل يثير الشكوك بأصول حكامهم المشبوهة بينما يحاول عملاؤهم من الإخوان بدفع من المخابرات التركية أن يبرّؤوا العثمانيين من هذه الجريمة التاريخية من خلال تلاعبهم بالفرمانات والسرديات والتصريحات ويعتبر أنموذجاً يتبعه إردوغان منذ توليه الحكم في تركيا وتحركاته البهلوانية من سفينة مرمرة إلى كل التصريحات الكاذبة التي يطلقها دعماً للفلسطينيين بينما تتوطد علاقته المخابراتية والعسكرية والاقتصادية بشكل لا لبس فيه مع الكيان الغاصب ويبلغ حجم تبادله التجاري مع هذا الكيان مليارات الدولارات بينما لم يقدم دعماً واحداً للقضية الفلسطينية العادلة سوى التصريحات الكاذبة والمنافقة والتي تهدف إلى التضليل وذرّ الرماد في العيون، بينما يحتل الأرض العربية في سورية والعراق ويشيد القواعد العسكرية في قطر وغيرها تهديداً للدول العربية وشقاً لصفوفها.

إن احتلاله لأجزاء من الأراضي السورية والعراقية وتدخله الخبيث في ليبيا واليوم تطاوله بالتدخل في الشأن الداخلي التونسي كما تدخل في الصراع في ناغورني كاراباخ ضد إيران وفي أوكرانيا ضد روسيا، كل هذا كفيل بتعرية نفاقه واتضاح صورته أمام العالم برمته وخاصة أمام العرب في مختلف أقطارهم وأمام الحليف الروسي الذي أسقط عدداً من طائرات بيرقدار التي أرسلها أردوغان إلى حكومة أوكرانيا لقتال روسيا.

إن الله سبحانه وتعالى وضع المنافقين في الدرك الأسفل من النار لأنهم أخطر من الكافرين، وفي كل عقاب يتقدم المنافقون على الكافرين لأنهم الأخطر على حياة البشر وجميع مناحي حياتهم فكيف إذا كانوا قد مردوا على النفاق باسم الإسلام ماضياً وحاضراً وأتقنوا التلاعب بأدواته لتحقيق أهدافهم الخبيثة.

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

اليمن: السعوديّة تسلّم الأميركيّ السلطة

الأخبار السبت 9 نيسان 2022

ناصر قنديل

لم تستطع السعودية الذهاب الى الخيار الأمثل لوقف الحرب في اليمن عبر إعلان انتهاء عمليتها العسكرية التي بدأت قبل سبع سنوات ولم تنجح في تحقيق أيّ من أهدافها، بل زادت التعقيدات التي كانت عشية بدئها تعقيداً وتجذراً، فلم يكن يومها العمق السعودي تحت التهديد، ولا كان بمستطاع اليمن أن يفرض شراكته في أمن إمدادات الطاقة والملاحة في الخليج، ولا كانت مهابة السعودية كقوة إقليمية كبرى موضع تشكيك، وتعمق الجرح الموروث تاريخياً بين اليمنيين والسعوديين بصورة يصعب أن يعالجه الزمن، مع عشرات الآلاف من الشهداء ومئات آلاف الجرحى وملايين المهجرين والجياع، ولم يفد السعودية حشد حلف ضمّ الإمارات والسودان عملياً، وآخرين اسمياً، ولا الرعاية التسليحية واللوجستية والاستخبارية وأحياناً كثيرة العملياتيّة لأميركا وبريطانيا و”إسرائيل”.

وقف العدوان وفك الحصار كان شعار أنصار الله للبحث بأي حل سياسيّ، ورغم ذلك تجاوبوا مع الإعلان عن وقف الغارات من جهة والفتح الجزئي لمطار صنعاء وميناء الحديدة من جهة موازية، رغم عدم وضوحهما كإطار لفتح باب الحل السياسيّ، ولم تستطع السعوديّة الذهاب الى المطلوب مباشرة، رغم قراءة السعودية لتغير المشهدين الدولي والإقليمي، بصورة تجعل الاستمرار بالحرب مستحيلاً، وسبباً للمزيد من الخسائر، فلا الأميركي جاهز ولا هو حاضر أو قادر على تقديم المساندة في ظل همومه المتعاظمة، وصعود روسيا والصين لم يعد فرضية محتملة بل صار واقعاً غير قابل للإنكار، تبدو الحاجة لعدم استفزازه سياسة لا بد منها بمقدار من التوازن، والإسرائيلي في وضع لا يُحسَد عليه، وقد تبخر وهم الحديث عن (“إسرائيل” ليست عدواً بل حليف محتمل)، وتبخّرت صفقة القرن، وتبخّر التطبيع، و”إسرائيل” جحش أعرج وليست حصاناً يُسرَج عليه. و”إسرائيل” تحت ضربات الفلسطينيين تحتاج من يعينها، وليست في وضع يتيح لها تقديم العون، ومَن طبّع معها ومنحها امتيازات وموطأ قدم في بلاده، يستشعر بأنه جلب الدب الى كرمه، وفتح الباب لتهديد استقراره دون مقابل، وعلى الضفة المقابلة يبدو المحور الذي كانت الحرب أداة لتحجيم حضوره، وهو يتعاظم، والأميركي ينفتح على مفاوضات العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران لبلوغ الاتفاق مجدداً، والأموال المجمّدة يفرج عنها تباعاً، والعودة للطلب على النفط الإيراني رغم العقوبات تضاهي ما كانت عليه قبلها، وما تمّ تدبيره في العراق أو ما خطّط له في لبنان يصطدم بالجدار. وفي فلسطين تنهض المقاومة بمعادلات ردع في قلب الأراضي المحتلة عام 48، ومعادلات اليمن الرادعة من جهة وصمود اليمنيّين في جغرافيا بلدهم من جهة موازية يجعلان الخروج من الحرب بأقل الخسائر خياراً وحيداً ممكناً.

ذهب السعوديّون الى خيار الباب الموارب، ففتحوا الباب لوقف النار والرفع الجزئيّ للحصار، واستداروا نحو تركيبة السلطة اليمنيّة، فأزاحوا “الشرعية” التي قالوا إنهم دخلوا الحرب لحمايتها، وسلموا رجل المخابرات الأميركية منذ عهد الرئيس علي عبد الله صالح مقاليد السلطة، وجمعوا حوله زعماء الميليشيات التي تقاتل معهم، بمن فيهم التشكيلات المنتمية إلى فكر تنظيم القاعدة وحزب الإخوان المسلمين، وأسموهم جميعاً مجلساً قيادياً مؤقتاً بصلاحيات رئاسية كاملة، وقالوا إن مهمة المجلس التوصل الى وقف للنار مع أنصار الله، وقال أركان المجلس الجديد إنهم يستعدّون للحرب والسلم معاً، لكن جوهر الخطوة السعوديّة في مكان آخر. فالرياض تقول لواشنطن، ها هي عدة الشغل في اليمن، وعلى رأسهم رجلكم فيه فتولوا أنتم القيادة، وخذوا القرارات التي تريدونها. فالسعودية لم تعد هي مرجعية الحرب، وتريد لوقف النار أن يمتدّ، لكنها غير قادرة على تقديم الأثمان التي يستدعيها ذلك.

المأزق هو نفسه سواء تسلّم الأميركي ام السعودي دفة القيادة العلنية. فالقرار بيد الأميركي بالأصل مهما كانت الواجهة، وأنصار الله لن ينشغلوا بالتفاصيل، بين الأصيل والوكيل، وبوصلتهم لن تتوه، فقضيتهم واضحة، سيادة كاملة ورفع كامل للحصار وانسحاب للقوات الأجنبية ينهي الاحتلال، طريق وحيد لفتح باب الحوار السياسي الداخلي حول تفاصيل إدارة شؤون الحكم والاحتكام في تكوين السلطة الجديدة إلى صناديق الاقتراع.

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