حرب أم تسويات: المشهد المأزوم أم المنفرج؟

سبتمبر 16, 2019

زياد حافظ

سخونة الساحات العربية وفي عدد من بلدان المنطقة والعالم تنذر بأنّ مسار الأمور في الصراعات القائمة وصلت إلى طريق مسدود. والأزمة القائمة عند جميع الأطراف تشبه بالعقد الغوردية التي استوجبت إسكندر المقدوني على قطعها دون الاكتراث إلى حلحلتها بالطرق المعهودة أو المقبولة. فهل يوجد إسكندر مقدوني وهل هناك إمكانية من حلّ العقدة أو الأحرى العقد بتلك الطريقة؟

ما سنحاول مقاربته هو ربما محاولة صعبة ولكن غير مستحيلة، أيّ استشراف تجلّي الأمور في الوطن العربي وفي الإقليم وعلى الساحات الدولية. لقد أشرنا في مقاربات سابقة أنّ منطق الصراعات القائمة هو انعكاس لمنطق التحوّلات التي حصلت وما زالت تحصل على الصعيد الدولي والإقليمي والعربي. فمن جهة هناك تراجع واضح بل أفول لمحور الغرب بقيادة الولايات المتحدة يقابله صعود محور تقوده ما نسمّيه بالكتلة الأوراسية. لكن المسارين لا يفسّران كلّ شيء أو المحطّات التي تشكّل أزمات سواء كانت من داخل المسار القائم أو من خارجه. أيّ بمعنى آخر صعود الكتلة الأوراسية ينعكس في صراعات في عدد من الأقاليم والبلدان بسبب معارضة الغرب من جهة، وبسبب التناقض مع مصالح محليّة لا يمكن التفوّق عليها بالسهولة المتوقعة خاصة إذا ما ارتبطت تلك المصالح بالمحاور العملاقة التي تتحكّم بمسار الأمور في المنطقة. كما أنّ القدرة على فرض حلّ ما من قبل الأطراف المتصارعة غير ممكن في ظلّ الموازين القائمة دون اللجوء إلى مجابهة مفتوحة في كلّ الساحات وبكلّ الوسائل، أيّ الحرب الشاملة.

العجز في التقدم بشكل كاسح بنسبة لمحور الصاعد يقابله عجز في المحور الغربي عن القبول بتغيير الموازين. والعجز في الغرب يعود إلى حالة إنكار بالإقرار بالواقع الجديد. وبما أنّ الغرب، والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص، ما زال يملك أوراقاً يعتقد أنها رابحة فهو يحاول عبثاً تغيير المعادلات. لذلك وصلت الأمور في الساحات الملتهبة في الوطن العربي والإقليم والعالم إلى حالة مواجهة تتراوح بين منطق الحرب ومنطق رفض الحرب. فمن يريد الحرب لا يقدر عليها ومن يقدر عليها لا يريدها. ففي الولايات المتحدة والكيان الصهيوني وبعض الدول الخليجية هناك من يسعى إلى الحرب مع محور المقاومة. وعلى الصعيد شرق آسيا هناك من يعمل على توتير الأجواء كمحاولة لردع الصين وإن أدّت الأمور إلى الحرب. لكن داخل ذلك المعسكر الغربي، وخاصة الأميركي، هناك من يعي أنّ القدرة على الحرب بالأساليب التقليدية محدودة جداً وأنّ اللجوء إلى الحرب بسلاح غير تقليدي قد يؤدّي إلى دمار العالم. ولكن هناك أيضاً داخل ذلك المعسكر أنّ الخسائر المرتقبة من حرب نووية شاملة قد تكون مقبولة معتقدين أنّ قدرة التحمّل عندهم أكبر من عند خصومهم.

مع خروج جون بولتون من أروقة الإدارة الأميركية يبدو أنّ معسكر المتشدّدين في الإدارة الأميركي تلقّى صفعة كبيرة. هذا لا يعني أبدأً أنه لا يوجد صقور بل العكس. فوجود نائب الرئيس مايك بنس ووزير الخارجية مايك بومبيو على قمة هرم الإدارة ووجود إسرائيليين صهاينة داخل البيت الأبيض كصهر الرئيس جارد كوشنر وصديقه اري بركوفيتز مضيّف القهوة في البيت الأبيض! كخلف لجاسون غرينبلاط، ووجود سيغال مندلكر الإسرائيلية المعروفة بتطرّفها لصالح المستعمرين في الضفّة الغربية كرئيسة وحدة مكافحة الإرهاب والمسؤولة عن العقوبات على الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران وحزب الله في لبنان، فجميع هذه الشخصيات ملتزمة بسياسات بنيامين نتنياهو الدافعة نحو مجابهة مباشرة أميركية عسكرياً مع الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران.

لكن كلّ ذلك لا يخفي حقيقة الصراعات الداخلية في عدد من الدول المعنية في المواجهة الاستراتيجية بين المحورين. فكلّ من لبنان والعراق والأردن على سبيل المثال يعاني من صراعات داخلية لها امتداداتها الإقليمية والدولية إضافة إلى حيثياتها الذاتية. والحلول لتلك الصراعات التي تصل إلى حدّ الاستعصاء مرتبطة بالحلول أو التسويات في الصراع بين المحورين. لكن الصراع بين محور المقاومة المنخرط ضمن صراع المحورين الكبيرين، محور الكتلة الأوراسية وحلفاؤها ومحور الغرب وحلفاؤه، هو صراع وجودي وليس سياسياً. من هنا تكمن الصعوبة في استشراف حلول على قاعدة التسوية. هنا تكمن أبعاد اللعبة الصفرية. فوجود الكيان يعني إلغاء وجود محور المقاومة كما أنّ جوهر المقاومة لا يقتصر على تحرير أراضي محتلّة وعودة الحقوق لأصحابها، بل يعني إلغاء الكيان الصهيوني كما نعرفه اليوم. فكيف يمكن التوفيق بين من يسعى إلى إعادة تأهيل «الشرعية الدولية» والقانون الدولي وهذا يقين الموقف الروسي الذي انتهكه كلّ من الولايات المتحدة والكيان الصهيوني مع من يعتقد أنّ القانون الدولي لا يفي بغرض الحق والعدل؟ هنا جوهر العقدة الغوردية التي تكلّمنا عنها في مطلع هذه المطالعة فكيف يمكن قطعها؟ وهل «التسوية التاريخية» للصراع في المنطقة التي يدعو إليها بعض «الواقعيين» هي تسوية بين الحق والعدل من جهة والظلم من جهة أخرى؟

لذلك نعتقد أنّ الولايات المتحدة ومن يتحالف معها أصبحت في موقف العاجز عن صنع الحروب المباشرة وغير المباشرة وبالتالي ما عليها إلاّ القبول بالتسويات. لكن هذه التسويات فوق طاقتها لأنها في المدى المنظور مكبّلة بالالتزام بأمن الكيان الصهيوني. ومنطق التسويات الذي يمكن أن يكون هو في جوهره على حساب الكيان. ففي الحدّ الأادنى ينتفي دوره كشرطي للغرب، وفي الحدّ الأقصى يلغي قواعد وجوده. لكن لا نستبعد ان يستمرّ الوضع على ما هو عليه في الولايات المتحدة. فالأصوات التي بدأت تتساءل حول منطق ثم جدوى تلازم المصلحة الأميركية والمصلحة الصهيونية وترتفع يوماً بعد يوم، وحتى داخل الجالية اليهودية من بين الشباب اليهودي الأميركي. لم تصل إلى مستوى كتلة فاعلة تستطيع قلب الموازين الداخلية لكن نفوذ اللوبي الصهيوني يتراجع رغم الادّعاءات بالعكس. فرغم احتلال اللوبي الصهيوني للكونغرس إلاّ أنّ نفوذه لا يتجاوز منطقة ما يُسمّى بـ «البلتواي» أيّ الحزام الدائري لمنطقة واشنطن الكبرى. فلا ننسى أنّ اللوبي الصهيوني خسر معارك مفصلية على صعيد الولايات المتحدة ككلّ في انتخاب باراك أوباما في الولايتين وفي إخفاق إيصال هيلاري كلنتون إلى البيت الأبيض ضدّ ترامب.

صحيح أنّ الرئيس الأميركي ترامب أعطى للكيان ما لم يعطه أحد ولكن في آخر المطاف لم يعط من رأس ماله السياسي بل من التراكمات السابقة. فقرار نقل السفارة من تل أبيب إلى القدس قرار اتخذه الكونغرس الأميركي عام 1995 وبالتالي لم يأت بجديد، بل «نفّذه» عندما بات واضحاً أنّ المفاوضات مع الطرف الفلسطيني لن تصل إلى أهدافها الصهيونية. من جهة أخرى المصادقة على سيادة الكيان على منطقة الجولان يكرّس أمراً واقعاً اتخذته حكومة الكيان عام 1982 وبالتالي ليس بالجديد. ومن مؤشرات تراجع النفوذ الصهيوني خروج بولتون من الإدارة وهو الابن المدلّل لشلدون ادلسون المموّل الصهيوني الأميركي الأكبر لحملة ترامب. وشلدون ادلسون لديه مرشح آخر أظهر فشله عبر استعداء المجتمع الدولي بأكمله وهي نيكي هالي السفيرة السابقة لدى الأمم المتحدة. لا يسعنا هنا تعداد محطّات التراجع الصهيوني في هذه المقاربة لضيق المساحة إلاّ أنّ النقطة الأساسية التي نشدّد عليها هي تكبيل الإدارة الأميركية الحالية من إقامة أيّ تسوية في المنطقة لا تكون في صالح الكيان، وخاصة طالما نفوذ الانجيليين الجدد على صنع القرار الخارجي ما زال قائماً. ولكن ملامح تراجع ذلك النفوذ بدأت بالظهور والتي تعطي الأولوية للمصلحة الأميركية العليا وليس للكيان. وقناعتنا أن هذا التكبيل لن يطول وقد يتزامن مع المزيد من التراجع الأميركي في العالم وحتى داخلياً. المسألة ليست مسألة إذا بل مسألة متى. ألا يلفت للنظر انّ في نفس الأسبوع الذي أقيل فيه بولتون تنشر وسائل الإعلام الأميركية الموالية تقليدياً للكيان الصهيوني خبراً حول تجسّس السفارة الصهيونية على البيت الأبيض؟

وإذا كانت الإدارة الأميركية عاجزة عن خوض حرب وعاجزة عن الدخول في تسوية فماذا تستطيع أن تقوم به؟ ليس هناك من حلّ إلاّ القبول بمنطق ربط النزاع في الملف الإيراني والملف السوري والملف اللبناني والملف اليمني. هذا يعني التغاضي عن سياسة فرض العقوبات وسياسة الضغوط القصوى على الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران وعلى حلفائها دون التراجع عن مبدأ وجود العقوبات. فالتهويل بالحرب، والعقوبات الخانقة هي حرب لا تقلّ شراسة عن الحرب العسكرية التي قد تجرّ الولايات المتحدة إلى مواجهة مفتوحة هي عاجزة عن خوضها. فنحن في مرحلة لا حرب ولا تسويات ولكن مرحلة ربط نزاع إلى أن تنجلي الأمور.

لذلك في رأينا، الحليف الاستراتيجي لمحور المقاومة الذي يحمل قضية الحق والعدل يكمن في عامل الزمن. إنّ مسار الأمور منذ عدّة عقود يشير إلى تلاشي قدرة الكيان والولايات المتحدة على فرض إرادتهما على الفلسطينيين كما على جميع المقاومين. فالمقاومة في فلسطين التي بدأت مرحلة جديدة عبر انتفاضة الحجارة عام 1987 أصبحت اليوم تملك الصواريخ الدقيقة التي تطال كافة مناطق فلسطين المحتلة. والمقاومة في لبنان التي طردت المحتل الصهيوني من معظم جنوب لبنان دون قيد أو شرط استطاعت إلحاق الهزيمة به في حرب تموز استطاعت تطوير قدراتها القتالية أضعاف ما كانت عليه في تموز 2006. وسورية التي استهدفتها حرب كونية لدورها ومكانتها في الصراع العربي الصهيوني تحقّق الإنجازات تلو الإنجازات في استعادة الدولة لسيطرتها على الأراضي السورية التي خضعت لسطوة جماعات التعصّب والغلو والتوحّش المدعومة إقليمياً وعربياً ودولياً، وذلك بفضل جهود الجيش العربي السوري ومساعدة الحلفاء الإقليميين والدوليين. والعراق الذي احتلّته الولايات المتحدة وفرضت توجّهاً سياسياً معاكساً لموروثه السياسي الطبيعي المناهض للكيان الصهيوني يستعيد شيئاً فشيئاً دوره المحوري في التصدّي للكيان. هذه بعض التحوّلات التي حصلت في الدول العربية المعنية مباشرة في المواجهة. وهناك تصوّر أنّ الدول العربية التي اتصفت بـ «الاعتدالـ« تبدأ رحلة مراجعة سياساتها المنحرفة والمشينة بعد ما تبيّن لها عجز الولايات المتحدة وحتى الكيان الصهيوني في تغيير مسار الأمور في المواجهة مع معسكر المقاومة الذي أصبح جبهة واحدة متماسكة، ما يعنى أنّ استفراد أيّ من مكوّناته أصبح مستحيلاً.

إذاً التحوّلات الاستراتيجية التي حصلت خلال العقود الثلاث الماضية على الأقلّ تدلّ على أنّّ الوقت يعمل لصالح محور المقاومة. من هنا يأخذ مصطلح «الصبر الاستراتيجي» معناه الكامل. وإذا اضفنا إلى كلّ ذلك التحوّلات المتسارعة داخل الكيان التي تكلّمنا عنها في عدة مقالات ومقاربات استراتيجية والتي تكشف هشاشته وتنذر بأفوله ثم انهياره، فهذا يعني أنّ السلاح الاستراتيجي بيد المقاومة هو الوقت الذي يرافق الضغط المستمر على الكيان. فالانهيار من الداخل قد يحصل قبل الانهيار من الخارج إذا ما استمرّ الضغط العسكري على الكيان رغم ترسانته الواسعة والمتطوّرة، فتمّ تحييدها بالصواريخ الدقيقة التي جعلت فقدان العمق الجغرافي الاستراتيجي للكيان أمراً قاتلاً في أيّ مواجهة مع محور المقاومة. الحماقة الممكنة التي قد يقدم عليها الكيان لأغراض محليّة فقط سترتدّ عليه وتعجّل في انهياره ولكن هناك داخل الكيان من يعي ذلك ولن يسمح به. كما لم يُسمح لفلسفة اتفاقية أوسلو أن تثمر فكان اغتيال اسحاق رابين فهناك من لن يسمح بتكرار حماقة شارون في احتلال لبنان أو أولمرت في حرب تموز أو نتنياهو في معاركه الفاشلة في قطاع غزة.

تراجع نفوذ الولايات المتحدة والكيان في الحدّ الأدنى، وأفولهما إنْ لم نقل انهيارهما في الحدّ الأقصى، سيفسح المجال لنهضة كبيرة جدّاً في المشرق العربي وخاصة في بلاد الشام وبلاد الرافدين تمهيداً لتثبيت التشبيك التكاملي السياسي والعسكري والأمني والاقتصادي. وهذا الأمر سينجرّ على سائر الدول العربية كالأردن ودول الجزيرة العربية حيث الوصاية الأميركية والغربية ستكون خارج المعادلة ما يفرض على هذه الدول الالتحاق بما تقوم به الكتلة العربية المشرقية. كما لا نستبعد سقوط معادلة كامب دافيد في مصر، وهناك مؤشرات لذلك لا مجال للتكلّم عنها في هذه المطالعة، فهي تنذر بعودة مصر إلى دورها الطبيعي في الصراع العربي الصهيوني من جهة وفي دورها في نهضة الأمة العربية. وكذلك الأمر بالنسبة لدول الاتحاد المغربي الذي سيأخذ دوره المفصلي في نهضة الأمة ويتجاوز رواسب الاستعمار الأوروبي والوصاية الغربية على مقدّراته.

قد يعتبر البعض، وهم كثر، أنّ هذه الرؤية تفاؤلية بل ربما رغبوية وليست واقعية. نقول لهم انظروا إلى الإنجازات التي تمّ تحقيقها والتي لم تستطع كلّ مؤامرات التفتيت والتجزئة ضربها أو إجهاضها أو تغييبها. فالإنجاز الذي يحقّقه المحور المعادي ليس إلاّ إنجازاً تكتيكياً ظرفياً في مسار استراتيجي متراجع له لا يلغي ولا يعدّل في مسار التقدّم الاستراتيجي الذي يحققه بكلفة عالية محور المقاومة.

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لا تغيير في نهج ترامب أميركا أولاً… والانسحاب سيّد الموقف!

سبتمبر 14, 2019

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محمد صادق الحسيني

إنّ أيّ تحليل عميق لنهج الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب، ومنذ أن بدأ حملته الانتخابية التي أوصلته الى البيت الابيض، لا يمكن إلا أن يؤكد عدم ميله ترامب الى إنشاء ادارة أميركية قوية، كتلك الإدارات الأميركية السابقة والمتماسكة والتي كانت تعمل كمحرك، تنسجم جميع مكوناته، في إنجاز عمل متكامل، عبر نسق من الآليات، خدمة لمصلحة الامن القومي الأميركي في العالم، بل إنّ ما يصبو اليه هو تحقيق رؤية ترامب لمصلحة الامن القومي الأميركي والمعروفة للجميع.

إنها باختصار شديد:

1. التركيز على الوضع الداخلي الأميركي، وإعادة إحياء الاقتصاد والبنى التحتية المتهالكة، في الولايات المتحدة.

2. إعادة التركيز على ضرورة العودة الى مبدأ الرأسمالية المنتجة الصناعية والحدّ من تغوُل رأسمالية المضاربات أسواق البورصات التي يسيطر عليها اليهود .

3. تخفيض الإنفاق العام للدولة وذلك لتوفير الأموال اللازمة للاستثمارات الضرورية للنهوض بالاقتصاد وخلق فرص عمل جديدة إلى جانب تحسين قدرات الولايات المتحدة التنافسية في الأسواق الدولية، لضمان فرص أفضل لمواجهة الصين على الصعيد الاقتصادي والتجاري، حالياً ومستقبلاً.

من هنا قام الرئيس ترامب بالتخلي عن كلّ من عارض توجهاته الشخصية، لتحقيق رؤية ترامب المشار اليها أعلاه، منذ وصل البيت الأبيض حتى الآن. وكان آخر من طرد من المركب هو مستشار الأمن القومي لترامب، جون بولتون، أحد أكثر المحافظين الجدد تطرفاً والصديق اللصيق لنتنياهو، وداعية الحرب ضدّ إيران وروسيا وكوريا الشمالية وفنزويلا وكلّ من يعارض توجهاته العدوانية الخطيرة، والتي يمثلها تيار بعينه في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية.

انطلاقاً من انّ إدارة ترامب ليست إدارة أميركية كلاسيكية ذات استراتيجية واضحة، وبالتالي تعتمد في تنفيذها على أدوات محدّدة، فإننا نرى انّ الرئيس ترامب قد أعطى كلّ واحد من مراكز القوى في الولايات المتحدة ما يريد تقريباً.

فهو أعطى سماسرة الحروب والدولة العميقة، بما فيها البنتاغون، دعاة الحرب بولتون وبومبيو. كما أعطى اللوبيات اليهودية، في الولايات المتحدة، كلّ ما طلبه نتنياهو، من صفقة القرن الى كلّ الأدوار التفضيلية في كلّ المجالات.

ولكنه في الوقت نفسه انتظر موسم الحصاد. فإذا به موسماً لم ينتج شيئاً، حيث إنّ جميع مشاريع الحروب، التي كان يديرها دعاة الحرب، قد فشلت تماماً. لم تسقط الدولة السورية ولم يتمّ القضاء على حزب الله والمقاومة الفلسطينية في غزة وهزم مشروع داعش، في العراق وسورية وبمساعدة إيران قبل أيّ كان. كما هزم المشروع السعودي في اليمن على الرغم من مرور خمس سنوات على أكثر حروب البشرية وحشية وإجراماً، مورست ضدّ شعب أعزل ومسالم ودون أيّ مسوغ.

اما أمّ الهزائم فهي هزيمة دعاة الحرب في المواجهة الدائرة مع إيران، سواء على الصعيد الاقتصادي او على الصعيد العسكري، بعد إسقاط طائرة التجسّس الأميركية العملاقة وعدم قيام الرئيس الأميركي بالردّ على إسقاطها، ما جعل جون بولتون يلجأ الى مؤامرة احتجاز ناقلة النفط الإيرانية، بالتعاون مع بعض غلاة الساسة في واشنطن ولندن، على أمل ان يتمكن هؤلاء من توريط الرئيس الأميركي في حرب مع إيران.

اما في ما يتعلق بشريك بولتون في التآمر والكذب، نتنياهو، فلم تكن نتائج مؤامراتة وألاعيبة ومسرحياته أفضل حظاً من ممارسات بولتون. نفذ اعتداءات جوية على سورية ولبنان والعراق وأخذ كلّ ما أراد من الرئيس الأميركي. صفقة القرن، بما فيها من نقل السفارة الأميركية الى القدس والاعتراف بالمدينة عاصمة لـ»إسرائيل» وصولاً الى الاعتراف بسيادتها على الجولان.

ولكن الرئيس الأميركي تيقن من انّ نتيجة كلّ ذلك هو صفر. حيث أَمر نتنياهو، بصفته وزيراً للحرب، جيشه بترك الحدود مع لبنان والانسحاب مسافة سبعة كيلومترات الى الخلف. أيّ انّ جيشه ليس قادراً حتى على حماية نفسه من هجمات محدودة من قوات حزب الله.

فماذا كان قرار ترامب على ضوء كل هذه الحقائق؟

أ وقف الاتصالات الهاتفية مع نتنياهو، على الرغم من مواصلة الأخير استجداء ذلك، منذ اكثر من أسبوعين.

ب إعلان الرئيس الأميركي أنه سيبدأ مفاوضات سرية، مع أنصار الله اليمنيين، في عُمان.

ج تأكيده عشرات المرات على رغبته في التفاوض مع إيران وتعيينه الجنرال مارك إِسبر وزيراً للدفاع والذي أعلن في تصريح تلفزيوني أنه لا يريد حرباً مع إيران وإنما يريد الوصول الى حلّ دبلوماسي للخلاف.

د طرده لجون بولتون من البيت الأبيض ووضعه لمايك بومبيو على لائحة الانتظار، والذي لن يطول انتظاره اكثر من ثلاثة أشهر. ربما حتى نهاية شهر تشرين الثاني المقبل 11 / 2019 .

وهذا يعني أنّ ترامب قد قرّر العودة الى التركيز على شعارات حملته الانتخابية الاولى، بدءاً بما ذكر أعلاه اقتصادياً ومالياً ووصولاً الى:

الانسحاب العسكري الشامل، من كلّ «الشرق الأوسط» وليس فقط من افغانستان وسورية، وما يعنيه ذلك من تخلٍ كامل عن «إسرائيل» في اللحظة المناسبة… من الناحية العملية، وربما من مناطق عديدة أخرى في العالم وذلك خفضاً للنفقات العسكرية الأميركية تملك واشنطن اكثر من ألف قاعدة عسكرية خارج الولايات المتحدة .

الاستعداد لتحسين العلاقات الأميركية الروسية ومحاولة منع قيام تحالف أو حلف عسكري روسي مع الصين، ربما تنضم إليه دول اخرى.

إيجاد صيغة ما للتفاوض مع إيران وتطبيع العلاقات معها، وما يعنيه ذلك من تخلّ فعلي عن أدوات واشنطن الخليجية وسقوط لهم لاحقاً، ونعني بالتحديد ابن سلمان وابن زايد.

اذ انهم، كما نتن ياهو، فشلوا في تحقيق أيّ نجاح في المهمات التي أوكلت اليهم في طول «الشرق الاوسط» وعرضه، الأمر الذي جعلهم عبئاً لا طائل من حمله.

ولكن ترامب، رجل المال والصفقات، لن يترك ابن سلمان وابن زايد ينجون بجلودهم ويذهبون في حال سبيلهم، دون أن يعصر منهم المزيد من الاموال. اذ انه، ومن خلال الخبراء الأميركيين المختصين، يعمل على الاستيلاء على عملاق النفط العالمي، شركة أرامكو للبترول، وذلك من خلال طرحها للاكتتاب الخصخصة في بورصة نيويورك ومنع طرحها في بورصة طوكيو.

كما أنّ احتياطي النفط الهائل في محافظة الجوف اليمنية، الذي يزيد على كل احتياطيات النفط السعودية، هو السبب الرئيسي وراء رغبة ترامب عقد محادثات سرية مع أنصار الله، بهدف انهاء الحرب. فهو في حقيقة الأمر يريد التفاوض مع ممثلي الشعب اليمني ليس حفاظاً على أرواح اليمنيين وإنما من اجل ضمان إعطاء حقوق استثمار حقول النفط الموجودة في محافظة الجوف لشركات أميركية واستبعاد الشركات الروسية والصينية وحتى البريطانية من هذا المجال.

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله…

Trump: Bolton Was «Way Out Of Line» On Venezuela

Trump: Bolton Was «Way Out Of Line» On Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

Speaking for the first time about reasons for firing his national security advisor John Bolton, US President Donald Trump said he was “way out of line” on Venezuela, even as the State Department doubled down on regime change.

“I disagreed with John Bolton on his attitudes about Venezuela. I thought he was way out of line,” Trump told reporters at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

The failed attempt to effect regime change in Caracas – which Bolton has been at the forefront of since January – was only one of the issues the president brought up. Bolton’s sabotage of denuclearization talks with North Korea, earlier this year, was another.

“We were set back very badly when [Bolton] talked about the Libyan model” with North Korea, Trump added. “That’s not a question of being tough, that’s a question of being not smart to say something like that.”

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had agreed to give up his nuclear and chemical weapons programs to the US, only to be violently overthrown and murdered by US-backed groups in 2011.

Bolton also “wasn’t getting along with the people in the administration that I consider very important,” Trump added, making sure to point out that he had opposed the 2003 Iraq War while Bolton was an unapologetic advocate of it.

None of that explains why Trump hired Bolton and kept him on as his principal foreign policy adviser for nearly 18 months, however. Nor does it explain why Trump agreed to appoint Bolton’s colleague Elliott Abrams as Washington’s point man on Venezuela, despite a history of his Trump-bashing public comments.

The Trump administration on Wednesday showed no signs of abandoning the approach to Caracas championed by Bolton and Abrams since January, despite it having failed miserably. Shortly after Trump’s comments, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US has invoked the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR), which would give legal framework for military intervention in Venezuela.

Pompeo’s pretext is that this was requested by Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed “interim president” of Venezuela recognized by the US and a handful of its allies, but no one else in the world. Guaido’s repeated attempts to take over power in Caracas since January have failed miserably.

Trump maintained that his policy on Venezuela is “humanitarian” and designed to “help” people there, and blamed “socialism” for the country’s economic woes. He has framed his 2020 re-election bid as stopping the “socialist” Democrats from taking over the US.

“I don’t want to talk about that,” Trump said when asked if he would be willing to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. This was in stark contrast to his readiness to meet with the Iranian president, another thing Bolton reportedly opposed.

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World War Bibi

Gilad Atzmon

 

By Gilad Atzmon

Yesterday Netanyahu claimed he’d identified  a third secret nuclear site in Iran where Iran allegedly “conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons.” Yet, despite the hyperbole no one seemed to take Netanyahu seriously: the Israeli press was amused by the desperate election stunt. His political rivals mocked the Israeli PM and a few hours after Netanyahu’s press conference his best ally, President Trump, expressed his wish to meet President Hassan Rouhani. Somehow, world leaders were entertained by seeing the Israeli PM, who threatens the entire region with his country’s nuclear arsenal, performing his victim spiel over Iran’s nuclear enthusiasms.

 One week before the Israeli elections, Netanyahu is in a state of despair. He knows that as things stand he can’t form a right wing coalition and without such a coalition he is destined to be indicted for a number of criminal activities and will probably end up behind bars like his predecessor, former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert.

How does Netanyahu deal with this looming threat? He presents himself as the nation’s saviour. For the last few weeks Mr Benjamin Securityahu has launched attacks against Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and, allegedly, Iraq. He seeks an engagement with Iran that could easily escalate into a regional, if not a global, war.

It is easy to grasp the Israeli PM’s likely reasoning. If Netanyahu’s foreseeable future includes imprisonment and humiliation, a global war might provide a way out of his personal and political dilemma. A war would postpone the election indefinitely. If Israel survives such a war, Netanyahu could well emerge as a heroic figure of bible proportions. And if Israel loses such a conflict, there won’t be much left of the Zionist project anyway.  According to Israeli military analysts, in the next war Israel’s cities will be targeted by thousands of rockets. Devastation is inevitable and in such a scenario, they predict that little will be left of Israel’s power of deterrence.

This is a dark and scary scenario, but we have to bear in mind that Netanyahu is not an unfamiliar figure in Middle East politics. Arab and Iranian leaders know that while Bibi likes to brag about Israel’s capabilities, he is reluctant to test its strength. Netanyahu doesn’t start wars. He isn’t as confident and assertive as he pretends. Like his friend Trump, who regularly threatens the universe with American military aggression but is  repeatedly caught backpedaling, looking for an exit from situations he himself created, Netanyahu is not sanguine about Israel’s military force. He is likely scared of the war he seems to push for and this is not necessarily a bad thing.

My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal and security services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me and others.

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Sayyed Nasrallah: No More Red Lines in Any New Attack, War on Iran to Eliminate ’Israel’

Zeinab Essa

Sayyed Nasrallah: No More Red Lines in Any New Attack, War on Iran to Eliminate ’Israel’

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stressed on Tuesday the axis of Resistance’s support to its leader and its heart, His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei – Leader of Islamic Revolution.

Addressing hundreds of thousands of mourners commemorating Ashura on the 10th of Muharram, Sayyed Nasrallah renewed his party’s eternal pledge to the top cause of our nation, the Palestinian cause.

“We renew with the Palestinian people and Resistance our pledge that there is no choice away from resisting the “Israeli” occupation,” His Eminence said, reaffirming Hezbollah’“ eternal commitment to the Palestinian cause and to confront what is being planned in the ‘deal of the century’ .”

Moreover, he stated that “this stance costs us a lot but it is our commitment.”

He further deplored “Israeli” Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s desecration to the Holy Ibrahimi Mosque. “The Palestinian stance is the main pillar in the confrontation against the US-‘Israeli’ scheme. These people will protect their cause and holy sites.”

“We – in Hezbollah – reaffirm our commitment to the rights of the Palestinian people in Lebanon as honorable refugees, who must return to their homeland,” The Resistance Leader added.

Moving to the Yemeni arena, Sayyed Nasrallah lamented the fact that “the people of Yemen are the title of oppression and siege as [Imam] Hussein was in Karbala.”

“The war on the Yemeni people has turned into a futile war in light of the international community’s silence and the US-British partnership,” he underscored, pointing out that “the recent developments in southern Yemen form an evidence on the Saudi-Emirati aggression’s false allegations regarding protecting Yemen’s legitimacy.”

His Eminence once again renewed the call to an immediate end to the war on Yemen.

In parallel, Sayyed Nasrallah denounced he Bahraini regime’s actions, describing it a “a traitor that went far in normalizing with the “Israeli” enemy as well as in supporting the “Israeli” aggressions against the people of Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria.”

Addressing the peaceful Bahraini revolutionary people, His Eminence said: “You, in your peaceful revolution, are waging a jihad for the sake of Allah.”

On another level, he confirmed that “the unjust sanctions on the axis of resistance forms an aggression practiced by the US administration after the failure of the Zionist wars on the resistance.”

“If our people were oppressed by the sanctions, we must act differently and the state must act as well,” Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized, urging the Lebanese sides to open the file of sanctions because it has put the Lebanese economy under attack.”

In this context, he highlighted that “the government must defend the Lebanese and state institutions must not rush to execute the American desires in terms of sanctions.”

“The Lebanese resistance has been on the sanctions lists for years and this is not new. But

when this aggression expands to target others in Lebanon – banks that have nothing to do with Hezbollah – this needs a different approach. We must reevaluate and study our choices well,” His Eminence went on to say.

Regarding the recent “Israeli” attacks on Lebanon, Hezbollah Secretary General viewed that “the recent aggression against Dahyia [the southern suburbs of Beirut] through the bombed drones was a great one.

In addition, Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the united Lebanese official and popular stances in face of the dangerous “Israeli” aggression. “Today we are setting the equations and strengthening the deterrence that protects our country.”

According to His Eminence, “The invincible “Israeli” army turned to act in Hollywood movies. For the first time, the “Israeli” enemy is building a security zone inside occupied Palestine with a depth of 5 km.”

To the apartheid “Israeli” entity, Sayyed Nasrallah sent a sounding message: “If Lebanon is attacked, Hezbollah will respond to the aggression appropriately to defend Lebanon. Lebanon respects 1701 and Hezbollah is part of the government that respects this resolution but if “Israel” attacks, there will be no red lines at all.”

“Lebanon has imposed itself on world powers and everyone contacted it after the latest “Israeli” attack, prior to the resistance’s response and during the Hezbollah response,” Sayyed Nasrallah added, noting that “Lebanon must know that it is strong through the army-people-resistance equation and all countries in the world contacted our government to thwart us from retaliating to the “Israeli” aggression.”

On the Lebanese economic situation, he assured that “the situation is not hopeless and there is a possibility to address it if there is the necessary seriousness. The same as we discussed the previous state budget we will discuss the 2020 budget.”

“The principles that govern our stance will be the same. We refuse any new taxes on low-income citizens in any economic solutions in Lebanon. Instead of going to the pockets of the poor, let us search for the looted funds, and this should be the leading choice to address the economic situation,” His Eminence said.

On the regional scene, Sayyed Nasrallah rejected any war scheme against the Islamic Republic of Iran because it will ignite the region.

“We will not be neutral in the battle between the truth and falsehood and who thinks that the supposed war will be the end of the axis of resistance I tell them that it will result in the end of both “Israel” and the US domination in our region,” he clarified.

According to His Eminence, “Today, our Hussein is Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Republic of Iran is the heart of the resistance’s axis.”

To Imam Khamenei, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “ We tell you as the companions of Imam Hussein said on the 10th night of Muharram, ‘We won’t leave you, O son of Hussein’.”

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US Bases in the Region: The Precious Catch

By Staff

Will Bibi’s War Become America’s War?

Image result for Will Bibi’s War Become America’s War?
August 29, 2019

Patrick J. BUCHANAN

President Donald Trump, who canceled a missile strike on Iran, after the shoot-down of a U.S. Predator drone, to avoid killing Iranians, may not want a U.S. war with Iran. But the same cannot be said of Bibi Netanyahu.

Saturday, Israel launched a night attack on a village south of Damascus to abort what Israel claims was a plot by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force to fly “killer drones” into Israel, an act of war.

Sunday, two Israeli drones crashed outside the media offices of Hezbollah in Beirut. Israel then attacked a base camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in north Lebanon.

Monday, Israel admitted to a strike on Iranian-backed militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq. And Israel does not deny responsibility for last month’s attacks on munitions dumps and bases of pro-Iran militias in Iraq.

Israel has also confirmed that, during Syria’s civil war, it conducted hundreds of strikes against pro-Iranian militias and ammunition depots to prevent the transfer of missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Understandably, Israel’s weekend actions have brought threats of retaliation. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has warned of vengeance for the death of his people in the Syria strike.

Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani reportedly tweeted from Tehran, “These insane operations will be the last struggles of the Zionist regime.” Lebanese President Michel Aoun called the alleged Israeli drone attack on Beirut a “declaration of war.”

Last Friday, in the 71st week of the “Great March of Return” protests on Gaza’s border, 50 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli live fire. In 16 months, 200 have died from gunshots, with thousands wounded.

America’s reaction to Israel’s weekend attacks? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Netanyahu to assure him of U.S. support of Israel’s actions. Some Iraqi leaders are now calling for the expulsion of Americans.

Why is Netanyahu now admitting to Israel’s role in the strikes in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq? Why has he begun threatening Iran itself and even the Houthi rebels in Yemen?

Because this longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, having surpassed David Ben-Gurion, is in the battle of his life, with elections just three weeks off. And if Netanyahu falls short — or fails to put together a coalition after winning, as he failed earlier this year — his career would be over, and he could be facing prosecution for corruption.

Netanyahu has a compelling motive for widening the war against Israel’s main enemy, its allies and its proxies and taking credit for military strikes.

But America has a stake in what Israel is doing as well.

We are not simply observers. For if Hezbollah retaliates against Israel or Iranian-backed militias in Syria retaliate against Israel — or against us for enabling Israel — a new war could erupt, and there would be a clamor for deeper American intervention.

Yet, Americans have no desire for a new war, which could cost Trump the presidency, as the war in Iraq cost the Republican Party the Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008.

The United States has taken pains to avoid a military clash with Iran for compelling reasons. With only 5,000 troops left in Iraq, U.S. forces are massively outmanned by an estimated 150,000 fighters of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces, which played a critical role in preventing ISIS from reaching Baghdad during the days of the caliphate.

And, for good reason, the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, with its crew of 5,600, which Trump sent to deter Iran, has yet to enter the Strait of Hormuz or the Persian Gulf but remains in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman, and, at times, some 600 nautical miles away from Iran.

Why is this mighty warship keeping its distance?

We don’t want a confrontation in the Gulf, and, as ex-Admiral James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, says:

“Anytime a carrier moves close to shore, and especially into confined waters, the danger to the ship goes up significantly. … It becomes vulnerable to diesel submarines, shore-launched cruise missiles and swarming attacks by small boats armed with missiles.”

Which is a pretty good description of the coastal defenses and naval forces of Iran.

Netanyahu’s widening of Israel’s war with Iran and its proxies into Lebanon and Iraq — and perhaps beyond — and his acknowledgement of that wider war raise questions for both of us.

Israel today has on and near her borders hostile populations in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq. Tens of millions of Muslims see her as an enemy to be expelled from the region.

While there is a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan, the Saudis and Gulf Arabs are temporary allies as long as the foe is Iran.

Is this pervasive enmity sustainable?

As for America, have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?

lewrockwell.com

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

نصرالله يؤكّد ولا يهدّد: الحرب على لبنان مؤدّاها تدمير إسرائيل … وعلى إيران مؤدّاها اشتعال المنطقة برمّتها

أغسطس 19, 2019

د. عصام نعمان

في الذكرى الـ 13 لانتصار المقاومة في حرب إسرائيل على لبنان سنة 2006، استخلص السيد حسن نصرالله ولخّص فصول الصراع في منطقة غرب آسيا الممتدّة من شرقيّ البحر الأبيض المتوسط الى شماليّ أفغانستان في حقائق خمس:

أولاها، انّ المقاومة روح وإيمان وإرادة حياة وجهاد ومواجهة قبل ان تكون فصائل قتال ونزال، وانها بهذا المعنى أضحت محوراً يضمّ أطرافاً عدّة، متجانسة ومتماسكة، وتتميّز بفعالية سياسية وعسكرية تنبع وتتمدّد من فلسطين المحتلة إلى لبنان وسورية والعراق واليمن، وصولاً إلى إيران.

ثانيتها، انّ العدو الرئيس الداهم للمقاومة، بما هي محور متماسك أو أطراف متمايزة، هو أميركا الامبراطورية التوسعية والعدوانية، وانّ إسرائيل مجرد أداة طيّعة في يدها وبأمرها.

ثالثتها، انّ حرب إسرائيل العدوانية على لبنان والمقاومة سنة 2006 كانت بأمر من أميركا، غايتها إقامة شرق أوسط جديد على حساب شعوب المنطقة وحقوقها ومصالحها ومرتجياتها، وانّ هذه الحرب توقفت ليس بسبب ضغوط غربية او عربية بل بسبب فشل الهجوم الصهيوأميركي على نحوٍ كانت تداعياته لو استمرّ تتسبّب بكوارث هائلة لـِ إسرائيل ، بشراً وحجراً وعمراناً واقتصاداً.

رابعتها، انّ أيّ حرب تشنّها إسرائيل على لبنان سيكون مؤداها تدمير الكيان الصهيوني، ذلك انّ قدرات المقاومة تضاعفت 500 مرة عمّا كانت عليه سنة 2006 لدرجة أنه بات في مقدورها تدمير كلّ ما يمكن ان تقذفه إسرائيل الى ميدان القتال من فِرق وكتائب وقوات نخبة، وانّ عملية التدمير الساحقة ستكون على الهواء ومتلفزة ليكون في مقدور الإسرائيليين والعالم أجمع مشاهدتها ومتابعتها.

خامستها، انّ ايّ حربٍ تشنّها أميركا و إسرائيل على إيران سيكون مؤداها اشتعال منطقة غرب آسيا برمتها وبالتالي تدمير أميركا وحلفائها محليّاً في المنطقة، وان الحاكمين في واشنطن وتل أبيب يعرفون هذه الحقيقة ويقدّرون أبعادها وتداعياتها وأضرارها الكارثية، وانهم نتيجةَ ذلك كله يتردّدون في شنِّ حربٍ عسكرية على إيران ويستعيضون عنها بـ حربٍ ناعمة قوامها الحصار والعقوبات الاقتصادية والفتن الطائفية.

يتفرّع من هذه الحقائق للصراع المحتدم في المنطقة مواقف ومقاربات متعددة تخدم أهداف محور المقاومة في تصدّيه الفاعل لأميركا الامبراطورية وأداتها الصهيونية.

لعلّ أهم هذه المواقف إلتزام أطراف محور المقاومة عدم اللجوء الى الحرب في تصدّيهم المتواصل والفاعل للعدو الصهيوأميركي إلاّ في حال الدفاع عن النفس. في هذا السياق، تركّز أطراف محور المقاومة على مقاربات ثلاث:

الأولى، بناء القدرات على جميع المستويات، لا سيما العسكرية منها، وتوخّي الإبداع في هذا المضمار. إيران تمتلك، مثلاً، عدداً من الصواريخ الباليستية بعيدة المدى لا تصل الى إسرائيل فحسب بل الى أوروبا أيضا الأمر الذي يضع قواعد أميركا في غرب آسيا وما يتعدّاها شرقاً وغرباً في مرمى صواريخها المدمّرة. حزب الله بات يمتلك معامل تصنيع للصواريخ، ولديه من الصواريخ الدقيقة ما يمكّنه من تدمير منطقة غوش دان الممتدة بين تل أبيب يافا وحيفا حيث يحتشد أكثر من نصف عدد السكان اليهود في الكيان الصهيوني، وتتركّز فيها المعامل والصناعات الثقيلة والمطارات والموانئ وطرق المواصلات والمرافق الحيوية. فصائل المقاومة في قطاع غزة واليمن أصبح في مقدورها تصنيع الصواريخ والطائرات المسيّرة المتعددة الأغراض.

الثانية، القيام بعمليات ذات طابع عملاني وإعلامي بالغ التأثير كإسقاط طائرة التجسّس الأميركية المتطورة في مضيق هرمز، وإعطاب ناقلتي نفط في ميناء الفجيرة، واحتجاز ناقلة نفط بريطانية رداً على احتجاز ناقلة نفط في جبل طارق تعمل لحساب إيران. وإعلان حزب الله عزمه على تدمير منشآت إسرائيل النفطية في البحر المتوسط في حال إقدامها على منع لبنان من استثمار مكامن النفط والغاز البحرية في المنطقة عينها.

الثالثة، الحرص على تمتين الجبهة الداخلية في الأقطار العربية وإيران لمنع الخصوم من استغلال واقعها التعددي لافتعال فتن طائفية وحروب أهلية وذلك باعتماد سياسة الوحدة الوطنية والتوصل الى صيغ للشراكة والمشاركة في السلطة لكفالة الأمن والاستقرار.

في ضوء هذه الحقائق والمقاربات يبدو السيد حسن نصرالله جدّياً وجاداً في دعوته الى منع أميركا وأداتها الصهيونية من شنّ الحرب على أطراف محور المقاومة. وعليه، ومع التحفظ حيال تصرفات حكومتي أميركا و إسرائيل العدوانيتين، يمكن استشراف وضع المنطقة في المستقبل المنظور بأنه مزيد من الشيء نفسـه على محورين:

ثمة مواظبة عدوانية صهيوأميركية شديدة في قطاع غزة وسورية والعراق واليمن وإيران، وبشراسة محسوبة ضدّ لبنان، مع ميل الى تقليص العدوان تدريجياً على اليمن، والى ضبط التحرّش بإيران، والى تنظيم التعاون بين أميركا وتركيا لإضعاف سورية في محاولة فاضحة، لكن متعثرة، لتقسيمها.

ثمة مواظبة محسوبة وجدّية ومتواصلة لبناء القدرات على مختلف المستويات في دول محور المقاومة وأطرافها، والحرص على التصدّي الفاعل بوسائل متعدّدة عالية المردود لأميركا الامبراطورية وأداتها الصهونية في سياق استراتيجية يُراد لها ان تتنامى وتتكامل لإجلاء أميركا ونفوذها من منطقة غرب آسيا.

… الصراع حامٍ وطويل.

وزير سابق

Punishing the World With Sanctions

Image result for Punishing the World With Sanctions
Philip Giraldi
August 15, 2019

Sanctions are economic warfare, pure and simple. As an alternative to a direct military attack on a country that is deemed to be misbehaving they are certainly preferable, but no one should be under any illusions regarding what they actually represent. They are war by other means and they are also illegal unless authorized by a supra-national authority like the United Nations Security Council, which was set up after World War II to create a framework that inter alia would enable putting pressure on a rogue regime without going to war. At least that was the idea, but the sanctions regimes recently put in place unilaterally and without any international authority by the United States have had a remarkable tendency to escalate several conflicts rather than providing the type of pressure that would lead to some kind of agreement.

The most dangerous bit of theater involving sanctions initiated by the Trump administration continues to focus on Iran. Last week, the White House elevated its extreme pressure on the Iranians by engaging in a completely irrational sanctioning of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The sanctions will have no effect whatsoever and they completely contradict Donald Trump’s repeated assertion that he is seeking diplomacy to resolving the conflict with Iran. One doesn’t accomplish that by sanctioning the opposition’s Foreign Minister. Also, the Iranians have received the message loud and clear that the threats coming from Washington have nothing to do with nuclear programs. The White House began its sanctions regime over a year ago when it withdrew from the JCPOA and they have been steadily increasing since that time even though Iran has continued to be fully compliant with the agreement. Recently, the US took the unprecedented step of sanctioning the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is part of the nation’s military.

American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made clear that the sanctions on Iran are intended to cause real pain, which, in fact, they have succeeded in doing. Pompeo and his accomplice in crime National Security Advisor John Bolton believe that enough pressure will motivate the starving people to rise up in the streets and overthrow the government, an unlikely prospect as the American hostility has in fact increased popular support for the regime.

To be sure, ordinary people in Iran have found that they cannot obtain medicine and some types of food are in short supply but they are not about to rebel. The sanctioning in May of Iranian oil exports has only been partially effective but it has made the economy shrink, with workers losing jobs. The sanctions have also led to tit-for-tat seizures of oil and gas tankers, starting with the British interception of a ship carrying Iranian oil to Syria in early July.

Another bizarre escalation in sanctions that has taken place lately relates to the Skripal case in Britain. On August 2nd, Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing a package of new sanctions against Moscow over the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in March 2018. The order “prohibit[s] any United States bank from making any loan or providing any credit… except for loans or credits for the purpose of purchasing food or other agricultural commodities or products.” The ban also includes “the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance… by international financial institutions,” meaning that international lenders will also be punished if they fail to follow Washington’s lead.

The sanctions were imposed under the authority provided by the US Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act adopted in 1991, which imposes penalties for use of chemical weapons. Novichok, which was reportedly used on the Skripals, is a chemical weapon developed in the labs of the Soviet Union, though a number of states are believed to currently have supplies of the agent in their arsenals. Russia can appeal the sanctions with 90 days by providing “reliable assurance” that it will not again use chemical weapons.

Russia has strenuously denied any role in the attack on the Skripals and the evidence that has so far been produced to substantiate the Kremlin’s involvement has been less than convincing. An initial package of US-imposed sanctions against Russia that includes the export of sensitive technologies and some financial services was implemented in August 2018.

Venezuela is also under the sanctions gun and is a perfect example how sanctions can escalate into something more punitive, leading incrementally to an actual state of war. Last week Washington expanded its sanctions regime, which is already causing starvation in parts of Venezuela, to include what amounts to a complete economic embargo directed against the Maduro regime that is being enforced by a naval blockade.

The Venezuelan government announced last Wednesday that the United States Navy had seized a cargo ship bound for Venezuela while it was transiting the Panama Canal. According to a government spokesman, the ship’s cargo was soy cakes intended for the production of food. As one of Washington’s raisons d’etre for imposing sanctions on Caracas was that government incompetence was starving the Venezuelan people, the move to aggravate that starvation would appear to be somewhat capricious and revealing of the fact that the White House could care less about what happens to the Venezuelan civilians who are caught up in the conflict.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez condemned the move as “serious aggression,” and accused the Trump Administration of trying to impede Venezuela’s basic right to import food to feed its people.

One of the most pernicious aspects of the sanctions regimes that the United States is imposing is that they are global. When Washington puts someone on its sanctions list, other countries that do not comply with the demands being made are also subject to punishment, referred to as secondary sanctions. The sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, for example, are being globally enforced with some few exceptions, and any country that buys Iranian oil will be punished by being denied access to the US financial and banking system. That is a serious penalty as most international trade and business transactions go through the dollar denominated SWIFT banking network.

Finally, nothing illustrates the absurdity of the sanctions mania as a recent report that President Trump had sent his official hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien to Stockholm to obtain freedom for an American rap musician ASAP Rocky who was in jail after having gotten into a fight with some local boys. The Trumpster did not actually know the lad, but he was vouched for by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, both of whom have had nice things to say about the president. The negotiator was instructed to tell Sweden that if they did not release Rocky there would be “negative consequences.” Who can doubt that the consequences would undoubtedly have included sanctions?

It has reached the point where the only country that likes the United States is Israel, which is locked into a similar cycle of incessant aggression. To be sure Donald Trump’s rhetoric is part of the problem, but the indiscriminate, illegal and immoral use of sanctions, which punish whole nations for the presumed sins of those nations’ leaders, is a major contributing factor. And the real irony is that even though sanctions cause pain, they are ineffective. Cuba has been under sanctions, technically and embargo, since 1960 and its ruling regime has not collapsed, and there is no chance that Venezuela, Iran or Russia’s government will go away at any time soon either. In fact, real change would be more likely if Washington were to sit down at a negotiating table with countries that it considers enemies and work to find solutions to common concerns. But that is not likely to happen with the current White House line-up, and equally distant with a Democratic Party obsessed with the “Russian threat” and other fables employed to explain its own failings.

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Gibraltar releases Iran-operated tanker despite US pressure

Press TV

Thu Aug 15, 2019 02:40PM [Updated: Thu Aug 15, 2019 04:35PM ]

This file photo taken on July 20, 2019, shows Gibraltar defense police officers guarding the Iranian-operated oil tanker Grace 1 as it sits anchored after being seized last month by British Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar, southern Spain. (Photo by Reuters)

This file photo taken on July 20, 2019, shows Gibraltar defense police officers guarding the Iranian-operated oil tanker Grace 1 as it sits anchored after being seized last month by British Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar, southern Spain. (Photo by Reuters)

Gibraltar’s government has released an Iranian-operated supertanker, which was seized by British marines in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4, despite pressure from the United States for the vessel’s continued detainment.

“Authorities in Gibraltar have released the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, which was seized on July 4 on suspicion it was shipping 2.1 million barrels of crude oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions,” Reuters quoted the Gibraltar Chronicle as reporting on Thursday.

According to the report, the chief justice of Gibraltar’s supreme court, Anthony Dudley, said there was no US application currently before the court.

Chief Justice Anthony Dudley said that since Iran had guaranteed in writing that the destination of the Grace 1 would not be a country “subject to European Union sanctions… there are no longer reasonable grounds to suspect that the detention of the Vessel is required.”

Spain’s Foreign Ministry reported after the incident that the UK had seized the vessel at the request of the US, which has been trying to trouble Iran’s international oil vessels as part of its campaign of economic pressure against the Islamic Republic.

Gibraltar Chronicle

@GibChronicle

Authorities in have released the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, which was seized on July 4 on suspicion it was shipping 2.1m barrels of crude oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

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Earlier on Thursday, Gibraltar said that the US had applied to seize the Iranian-operated oil tanker after British media reported that the vessel’s release was imminent following a set of diplomatic exchanges between Tehran and London.

“The US Department of Justice has applied to seize the Grace 1 on a number of allegations which are now being considered,” the Gibraltar government said in a statement.

It added that the “matter will return to the Supreme Court of Gibraltar at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) today.”

A diplomatic dispute broke out between Iran and the UK on July 4, when Britain’s naval forces unlawfully seized Grace 1 and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil in the Strait of Gibraltar under the pretext that the supertanker had been suspected of carrying crude to Syria in violation of the European Union’s unilateral sanctions against the Arab country.

However, reports show the confiscation took place upon a call by the US.

Tehran rejected London’s claim that the tanker was heading to Syria, slamming the seizure as “maritime piracy.”

Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization said Tuesday that Britain was expected to soon free Grace 1, after the two sides exchanged certain documents to pave the way for the supertanker’s release.

Iran’s FM: Trump’s piracy attempt indicates his contempt for law

Soon after the report emerged about the release of the Iranian-operated tanker, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to Twitter noting that the seizure of the tanker proved the Trump administration’s contempt for the law.

“This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump admin’s contempt for the law,” Iran’s top diplomat said.

Javad Zarif

@JZarif

Having failed to accomplish its objectives through its —including depriving cancer patients of medicine— the US attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas.

This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump admin’s contempt for the law.

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Zarif added that the US effort to prevent release of the Iranian tanker was aimed at abusing “the legal system to steal our property on the high seas.”

He said this vain attempt followed the US failure in achieving its anti-Iranian goals through economic terrorism.

‘US faced humiliating defeat in its effort to prevent tanker’s release’

Following the decision by the Gibraltar court, Iran’s Ambassador to UK Hamid Baeidinejad said in a tweet on his official Twitter page that the decision by the officials of Gibraltar put an end to 40 days of illegal seizure of the tanker, which carries the Iranian oil.

Hamid Baeidinejad@baeidinejad

لحظاتی پیش با تصمیم مقامات جبل الطارق و تایید دادگاه، نفتکش حامل نفت ایران از توقیف غیرقانونی آزاد گردید.کشورمان درتمامی۴۰ روز گذشته بامشارکت نهادهای ذیربط داخلی تحت مدیریت وزارت خارجه گفتگوهای مستمری در سطح سیاسی،حقوقی و فنی با طرف انگلیسی برای رفع این اقدام غیرقانونی انجام داد.

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“Up to the last minute, the United States tried in vain to prevent the release of the tanker, but was faced with a humiliating defeat,” Iran’s UK envoy added.

Hamid Baeidinejad@baeidinejad

آمریکا با تلاشهای مذبوحانه ی آخرین لحظه ی خود قصد داشت مانع رفع توقیف نفتکش شود که با شکست تحقیرآمیزی مواجه شد.
با تلاشهای روزهای گذشته تمام مقدمات و تمهیدات فنی لازم برای حرکت نفتکش به دریای آزاد نیز تامین شده است و کشتی بزودی منطقه ی جبل الطارق را ترک خواهد نمود.

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Baeidinejad stated that all preliminary steps have been taken to ensure the tanker’s movement toward free waters and “the vessel will soon leave the Gibraltar region.”
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Sayyed Nasrallah to Iran’s Zarif: US, Defeated by Popular Resistance Group, Stands Helpless in Face of Islamic Republic

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Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah sent a cable to the Iranian foreign minister Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, expressing solidarity with him in face of the US sanctions and hailing his powerful stances in face of the world’s tyrants, mainly the US administration, in all international forums.

“When the US administration announced imposing sanctions on you personally, my brethren and I mulled sending a solidarity cable to you; however, we decided to delay it till August 14 which marks the anniversary of Hezbollah divine victory over US ‘Israel’ in 2006 war.”

Sayyed Nasrallah told Zarif that 2006 war was decided and planned by the US administration and carried out by the Israeli army which was chosen because it was considered as the most powerful army in the region.

John Bolton, US Ambassador to the United Nations Security Council at that time, told An Arab official that the war would never be halted before crushing Hezbollah, according to Sayyed Nasrallah’s cable which added that Bolton, at the end of the war, told the same official that if the war had continued, ‘Israel’ would face a catastrophe.

Sayyed Nasrallah wondered how US, defeated by a popular resistance group, would be in face of a major regional country, adding that Bolton (Trump’s National Security Adviser) who is threatening to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran, has never made any achievement throughout his life.

Hezbollah leader hailed the Iranian top diplomat’s powerful stances, which stick to right and truth, in face of the world’s tyrants, mainly the US administration, in all international forums, describing it as the greatest jihad.

“They wanted to besiege, relegate and terrify you, but you have gained a stronger presence, more powerful influence and higher status, and so you will remain, if God wills, defending the oppressed and vulnerable as well as the resistance fighters”

God bless you! Sayyed Nasrallah closed his cable to Dr. Zarif.

 

Source: Hezbollah Media Relations (Translated by Al-Manar English Website

 

Iran’s Zarif Congratulates Lebanon’s People & Resistance on Anniversary of 2006 Victory over ‘Israel’ 

August 14, 2019

zarif

Thirteen years after the victory over the usurper “Israeli” entity in the July 2006 war, Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif congratulated Lebanon’s leadership, people, Hezbollah and the Islamic Resistance on the anniversary of the 33-day war.

In marking the occasion, Zarif told Al-Ahed News that the victory exposed the “truth” about “Israel”.

“The Lebanese people and the Islamic Resistance have proved to the world the truth that the Zionist entity can be defeated. No matter how much this entity wants to wage wars, set fires and shed the blood of the people in this region, it cannot,” Tehran’s top diplomat said in a joint interview with Al-Ahed and Al-Nour Radio.

“This victory was a victory for the entire region, international rights and proper international relations,” Zarif added.

“The people of the region and the world owe it to the resistance of the Lebanese people, the Islamic Resistance and Hezbollah who confronted the arrogance of the Zionist entity. They also confronted the terrorism of the Takfiri group Daesh. They resisted this terrorist and Takfiri threat which was a scourge for the world,” the senior Iranian official explained.

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How pervasive is Saudi penetration of western political systems?

Padraig McGrath, political analyst

When the Royal Marines seized the Iranian-owned Grace 1 supertanker off Gibraltar on July 4th, then British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt hailed the seizure as a sign that Iran had “no place to hide.” On July 19th, when the Iranian government retaliated by authorizing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to seize the Swedish-owned, British-registered tanker Stena Impero in Hormuz, Hunt described it as an act of “state-piracy.”

Now, at first glance, this looks like just another tedious example of the blatant double-standards which we’ve come to expect from western politicians in relation to non-vassal states, and it is certainly that. This is not the first article in which I have drawn attention to Hunt’s tendency to practice blatant double-standards such as these. However, it has subsequently transpired that Jeremy Hunt’s recent campaign for the leadership of the British Conservative Party was largely financed by a close associate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. The South African banker and philanthropist Ken Costa has been described in some quarters as Bin Salman’s “point-man” in the UK.

Or bagman, if you prefer.

It is unsurprising, then, that Hunt publicly bats for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) at every available opportunity, for example in deflecting criticism regarding the Saudi role in the precipitation of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and also in consistently demonstrating hostility toward Iran.

On August 7th, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry met with Saudi Minister for Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih. They are reported to have discussed ways of countering what they see as Iranian attempts to “destabilize” world-oil markets, with Al-Falih indicating that KSA favours the policy of increasing oil-production to moderate any surges in the world-price of crude.

Well, when the US withdraws from the JCPOA as a pretext for unilaterally imposing new sanctions on Iranian oil, “destabilization” is inevitable, but there wouldn’t be any point in making that argument to someone to whom it was not already self-evident.

It turns out that Perry also has a lot of Saudi grit under his fingernails. The US Senate House Oversight Committee has just published a report which is extremely critical of Perry’s role in advocacy for the sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Attempts have been made by IP3, an energy-consulting firm, to persuade the US Department of Energy to facilitate the sale without requiring the Saudis to sign a Section 123 agreement, which would be a commitment regarding the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Can you imagine Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons?

Not that these dubious Saudi entanglements mark the Trump administration in particular, of course. Enormous Saudi funding for the Clinton Foundation prior to 2016 was well documented. During Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, US arms-sales to Saudi Arabia increased by 97%, including a $29.4 billion sale of over 80 F-15 fighters to KSA, and her 2016 campaign-manager John Podesta’s consulting firm was paid $140,000 per month to lobby on behalf of the KSA government. The Clinton Foundation itself also received about $10 billion in donations from the Saudi government while Clinton was Secretary of State.

And let’s not even talk about the Bush family’s history with the Saudis.

So we see, then, that the level of penetration which the Saudi government has achieved in the west’s political systems transcends both nationalities and ideological boundaries. British and American hostility toward the Islamic Republic of Iran is usually analyzed as being primarily ideologically driven. This interpretation is certainly valid on a number of levels.

The Iranian Islamic revolution has been one of the most stunningly resilient and successful anti-colonial movements in history, and therefore many imperial strategists see it as an imperative that the Islamic revolution must be crushed, not simply in order for Iran’s immense natural resources to be looted as they were before 1979, but also for the same strategic-ideological reasons that the western geo-strategic perspective has historically seen it as an imperative that all revolutionary societies be crushed.

Furthermore, we can discern a deeper ideological confluence between Saudi Wahhabism and liberal universalism, currently the Occident’s dominant (but rapidly decaying) ideological paradigm. Both are rooted in 18th century excessively transcendental thought, in an explicitly ahistorical, anti-historical or post-historical way of thinking. Both explicitly reject historical comparison or collective historical experience as a normative basis for the evaluation of social, political, ideological or ethical questions.

While the French philosophes of the 18th century sought to ground their worldview in something which they called “pure reason,” unburdened by any considerations of historical embeddedness or context (a form of philosophical naiveté thankfully not shared by any of the most notable figures in the German enlightenment), Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab sought to rediscover a “pure” version of Islam, unburdened by the allegorical Koranic hermeneutics of sophisticated Persian intellectuals.

In an Inforos column on August 1st, my colleague Sarah Abed argued that the United States’ ultimate objective in Iran remains regime-change, hence the willingness to use any spurious pretext whatsoever in order to re-impose sanctions. She argues that there is a strategy of continuing to economically pressure the Iranian state until it collapses in its current form.

I certainly agree with this analysis, but in breaking down the various motivating factors behind it, our broadly justified emphasis on ideological and geo-strategic issues sometimes blinds us to the role of straightforward corruption and influence-peddling in the process. Saudi financial power has led to a situation wherein KSA exerts very arguably more influence on the foreign policies of western governments than any other foreign entity.

Paranoid liberal fantasies about the Kremlin’s influence in subverting the internal political processes of western countries used to make us laugh, but by now they are simply tedious, and paranoid fantasies about pervasive Israeli influence are almost as tedious. We overlook the point that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has arguably more raw bribery-power than any other nation-state.

Source: InfoBrics

The U.S. has the best Congress and White House that money can buy

Philip Giraldi
August 8, 2019

Think tanks sprout like weeds in Washington. The latest is the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, which is engaged in a pre-launch launch and is attracting some media coverage all across the political spectrum. The Institute is named after the sixth US President John Quincy Adams, who famously made a speech while Secretary of State in which he cautioned that while the United States of America would always be sympathetic to the attempts of other countries to fight against dominance by the imperial European powers, “she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

The Quincy Institute self-defines as a foundation dedicated to a responsible and restrained foreign policy with the stated intention of “mov[ing] US foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace.” It is seeking to fund an annual budget of $5-6 million, enough to employ twenty or more staffers.

The Quincy Institute claims correctly that many of the other organizations dealing with national security and international affairs inside the Beltway are either agenda driven or neoconservative dominated, often meaning that they in practice support serial interventionism, sometimes including broad tolerance or even encouragement of war as a first option when dealing with adversaries. These are policies that are currently playing out unsuccessfully vis-à-vis Venezuela, Iran, Syria and North Korea.

The Quincies promise to be different in an attempt to change the Washington foreign policy consensus, which some have referred to as the Blob, and they have indeed collected a very respectable group of genuine “realist” experts and thoughtful pundits, including Professor Andrew Bacevich, National Iranian American Council founder Trita Parsi and investigative journalist Jim Lobe. But the truly interesting aspect of their organization is its funding. Its most prominent contributors are left of center George Soros and right of center and libertarian leaning Charles Koch. That is what is attracting the attention coming from media outlets like The Nation on the progressive side and Foreign Policy from the conservatives. That donors will demand their pound of flesh is precisely the problem with the Quincy vision as money drives the political process in the United States while also fueling the Establishment’s military-industrial-congressional complex that dominates the national security/foreign policy discussion.

There will be inevitably considerable ideological space between people who are progressive-antiwar and those who call themselves “realists” that will have to be carefully bridged lest the group begin to break down in squabbling over “principles.” Some progressives of the Barack Obama variety will almost certainly push for the inclusion of Samantha Power R2P types who will use abuses in foreign countries to argue for the US continuing to play a “policeman for the world” role on humanitarian grounds. And there will inevitably be major issues that Quincy will be afraid to confront, including the significant role played by Israel and its friends in driving America’s interventionist foreign policy.

Nevertheless, the Quincy Institute is certainly correct in its assessment that there is significant war-weariness among the American public, particularly among returning veterans, and there is considerable sentiment supporting a White House change of course in its national security policy. But it errs in thinking that America’s corrupted legislators will respond at any point prior to their beginning to fail in reelection bids based on that issue, which has to be considered unlikely. Witness the current Democratic Party debates in which Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate who is even daring to talk about America’s disastrous and endless wars, suggesting that the Blob assessment that the issue is relatively unimportant may be correct.

Money talks. Where else in the developed world but the United States can a multi-billionaire like Sheldon Adelson legally and in the open spend a few tens of millions of dollars, which is for him pocket change, to effectively buy an entire political party on behalf of a foreign nation? What will the Quincies do when George Soros, notorious for his sometimes disastrous support of so-called humanitarian “regime change” intervention to expand “democracy movements” as part his vision of a liberal world order, calls up the Executive Director and suggests that he would like to see a little more pushing of whatever is needed to build democracy in Belarus? Soros, who has doubled his spending for political action in this election cycle, is not doing so for altruistic reasons. And he might reasonably argue that one of the four major projects planned by the Quincy Institute, headed by investigative journalist Eli Clifton, is called “Democratizing Foreign Policy.”

Why are US militarism and interventionism important issues? They are beyond important – and would be better described as potentially life or death both for the United States and for the many nations with which it interacts. And there is also the price to pay by every American domestically, with the terrible and unnecessary waste of national resources as well human capital driving American ever deeper into a hole that it might never be able to emerge from.

As Quincy is the newcomer on K Street, it is important to recognize what the plethora of foundations and institutes in Washington actually do in any given week. To be sure, they produce a steady stream of white papers, press releases, and op-eds that normally only their partisan supporters bother to read or consider. They buttonhole and talk to congressmen or staffers whenever they can, most often the staffers. And the only ones really listening among legislators are the ones who are finding what they hear congenial and useful for establishing a credible framework for policy decisions that have nothing to do with the strengths of the arguments being made or “realism.” The only realism for a congress-critter in the heartland is having a defense plant providing jobs in his district.

And, to be sure, the institutes and foundations also have a more visible public presence. Every day somewhere in Washington there are numerous panel discussions and meetings debating the issues deemed to be of critical importance. The gatherings are attended primarily by the already converted, are rarely reported in any of the mainstream media, and they exist not to explain or resolve issues but rather to make sure their constituents continue to regard the participants as respectable, responsible and effective so as not to interrupt the flow of donor money.

US foreign policy largely operates within narrow limits that are essentially defined by powerful and very well-funded interest groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Hudson Institute, the Brookings Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), but the real lobbying of Congress and the White House on those issues takes place out of sight, not in public gatherings, and it is backed up by money. AIPAC, for example, alone spends more than $80 million dollars per year and has 200 employees.

So, the Quincy Institute intention to broaden the discussion of the current foreign policy to include opponents and critics of interventionism should be welcomed with some caveats. It is a wonderful idea already explored by others but nevertheless pretty much yet another shot in the dark that will accomplish little or nothing beyond providing jobs for some college kids and feel good moments for the anointed inner circle. And the shot itself is aimed in the wrong direction. The real issue is not foreign policy per se at all. It is getting the corrupting force of enormous quantities of PAC money completely removed from American politics. America has the best Congress and White House that anyone’s money can buy. The Quincy Institute’s call for restraint in foreign policy, for all its earnestness, will not change that bit of “realism” one bit.

The Hormuz Affair: Why Europe Abstained from the US Naval Mission in the Gulf?

As tensions in the Gulf heightened in recent months, the United States pressured its European allies to participate in its initiative regarding the Gulf.

Almost a third of all oil exports pass through the strait, which is located between Iran and Oman.

Washington proposed the mission earlier this month, alleging it was trying to get a coalition together to offer military escorts to commercial ships in the Gulf.

Speaking on the issue, Strategic Expert Dr. Adel Khalife shed light on the rationale behind the European nonparticipation in the international maritime mission set up by the US to provide – as it claims – maritime security.

As to why the most European countries refused to participate in the US-led flotilla in the Gulf, Dr. Khalife said that, “When the United States proposed the formation of a military coalition force to protect navigation of cargo ships in and around the strait of Hormuz, it had in mind the participation of as states involved in this crisis.”

He went on to say that, “In the meantime, Europeans countries were cautious regarding their participation in the coalition, especially France and Germany. Unlike the United Kingdom which regular follows the US and ‘Israel’ which is much interested in striking Iran”.

Meanwhile, Dr. Khalife explains that by forming this maritime coalition, “the US is trying to weaken Iran and reduce its influence”, saying that it was complying with the desires of the international community”.

Dr. Khalife explained that the US “urged the NATO and its European allies to pressure Iran and have Arabs pay, but all its attempts were fruitless.”

As to why only the UK and the “Israeli” entity participated in the maritime coalition, Dr. Khalife said, “the US was unable to persuade other countries. The Europeans prefer to maintain the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran”.

Despite US sanctions and threats on Iran, as well as the downing of an American drone by Tehran and the seizing of a British ship, Dr. Khalife shed light on the “US’ inability to reduce Iran’s influence or supervision over the strait of Hormuz; especially when it turned out that nobody wants to engage in a war, in the light of Iran’s military and political power in comparison to the helplessness of Arab states – who only provide the funds for such a coalition”.

Regarding the skirmish over oil tankers, “the Iranian response was strict and firm. Iran proved it was not afraid of escalating the situation in the region,” Dr. Khalife said, suggesting that “the most obvious solution is to return to negotiations without any conditions, as Iran wants”.

Given the facts aforementioned, it is decisive to say that Iran has gained momentum. “Iran has face the US in its utmost power, diminishing American influence in the world, specifically in the Gulf region,” Dr. Khalife said.

To this extent, “some Arab countries tried reaching out to Iran”, Dr. Khalife said, adding that “the US tried to suppress Iran, but the latter continued exporting oil outside its boundaries – asserting Iran’s regional power.”

‘Israel’ Concerned about Cracks Hitting US-Gulf Coalition against Iran

August 7, 2019

Capture

The Zionist media outlets mentioned that ‘Israel’ is concerned about cracks hitting of the US-Gulf coalition against Iran, citing the Emirati military redeployment in Yemen.

The Zionist analysts considered that the US refrain from striking Iran after the drone downing incident pushed the Gulf countries into appeasing Iran.

The Israeli reports added that the Zionist officials have been seeking to be part of the coalition aimed at securing navigation in the Persian Gulf, noting that the occupation entity has embarked exchanging data intelligence with the coalition’s states.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Soleimani at Iran’s Foreign Ministry: US Sanctions on Zarif Are Insane, Sign of Defeat

 

By Staff

The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani stressed that the US sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are “insane” and “a sign of defeat.

In his IRGC uniform, Soleimani went to visit the Iranian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Tehran.

Addressing Zarif, Soleimnai hailed Zarif’s efforts by saying: “The American step has proved that you- as an official in charge of the country’s foreign policy- had a profound effect on public opinion and on Americans, exposing US leaders’ ignorance.”

The US imposed sanctions on Zarif on July 31.

“America’s sanctioning of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Foreign Minister is insane and a definitive sign of the White House’s defeat,”Soleimani added.

The top Iranian commander further mentioned: “Defending the national interests and the truthful statements are some of the outstanding characteristics of our Foreign Minister.”

Iran Unveils Three Advanced Homegrown Smart Bombs

By Staff, Agencies

The Iranian Armed Forces unveiled three advanced precision-guided smart bombs, as the Islamic Republic moves to strengthen its defenses in the face of foreign threats.

The domestically-manufactured bombs named “Yasin,” “Balaban” and a new series of the Ghaem missiles were unveiled during a ceremony on Tuesday in the presence of Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami.

Speaking at the event, Hatami said “Balaban” has folding wings designed to increase its range. It is guided by GPS and sensors and could be mounted under aircraft.

Hatami described Yasin as a long-range smart, guided bomb that can be fired from a range of 50 kilometers its target from manned or unmanned aircraft.

Ghaem is also a missile meant for precision strikes and could hit within 50 centimeters of a target, Hatami added.

This type, he noted, is equipped with different visible, thermal and cylindrical seekers and can be installed on various drone, helicopters and fighter jets to annihilate their targets.

The Iranian minister further said the latest defense achievements are yet another manifestation of Iran’s power and “showed that the Defense Ministry will never hesitate to defend the Islamic Republic and boost security despite the malice and conspiracies hatched by the Great Satan, America.”

Iran has recently made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing military equipment and hardware despite facing sanctions and Western economic pressure.

The Islamic Republic stresses that its military power is solely for defensive purposes and does not pose any threat to other countries.

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Pompeo ‘Happy’ to Pontificate in Tehran, Revealing US Tyranny of Arrogance

Finian Cunningham
August 3, 2019
Image result for Pompeo ‘Happy’ to Pontificate in Tehran, Revealing US Tyranny of Arrogance

Imagine the spectacle. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sitting in Tehran and telling the Iranian people via a state media interview how “evil” their government is. No wonder tensions with Iran are reaching a flashpoint when Washington is so arrogant and delusional.

Last week, Pompeo told US media he was willing to go to Iran despite the Americans having no diplomatic relations with Tehran. Pompeo was not intending to suddenly meet with Iranian officials. Instead he wants a putative visit to Tehran to be an occasion to get on state media and address the Iranian people “directly”.

In response to a question about whether he was prepared to go to Tehran, the American top diplomat said:

“Sure. If that’s the call, I’d happily go there… I would welcome the chance to speak directly to the Iranian people.”

“I’d like a chance to go [to Tehran], not do propaganda but speak the truth to the Iranian people about what it is their leadership has done and how it has harmed Iran,” he added.

That’s not diplomatic outreach. It is simply about seeking the chance to pontificate in Tehran. Despite claiming he would “not do propaganda”, the talking points that Pompeo would regurgitate on Iranian media would be the usual baseless slander that has become Washington’s standard depiction of Iran. A depiction that Pompeo as well as President Donald Trump have personally propagated.

Iran, according to Washington dogma, is an evil terrorist-sponsoring regime that ruthlessly represses its 80 million people, fueling conflict all over the Middle East, and secretly building nuclear weapons. Typically, the Americans never provide any evidence to substantiate their caricature of Iran. It’s merely a “truth” solidified by relentless repetition of hollow allegations. In short, propaganda.

And Pompeo wants to insult the intelligence of Iranians by being given a pulpit on Iranian state media.

By saying he wants to “speak directly” to the Iranian people, Pompeo is adverting to the real US agenda of fomenting regime change.

America’s official arrogance and hypocrisy are boundless. Every malign activity that Washington accuses Iran of can be thrown straight back at the US with manifold more accuracy of facts. The US has destroyed the Middle East with numerous criminal wars and covert regime-change operations, has sponsored terrorists as its proxies, and has fueled the danger of nuclear war by illegally arming Israel with hundreds of weapons of mass destruction.

President Trump has sinisterly alluded to potentially using WMD against Iran in recent weeks, threatening to deploy overwhelming force “to end the regime”.

Admittedly, the American president has at times said he is open to talks with the Iranian government. His “offer” is unconvincing of an intention for genuine dialogue. Trump expects Iran to come to the negotiating table in an act of surrender and self-debasement to accept his terms of “disarmament”. All the while using the threat of annihilation as a bargaining tool.

Moreover, Pompeo expressed his entitlement to lecture the Iranians and urge them to liberate themselves from a “theocratic tyranny

” because, he said, the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javid Zarif is allowed “the freedoms of the United States to come here and spread malign propaganda”.

Pompeo was referring to an official visit to the US earlier this month by Zarif who was attending the United Nations in New York City for a diplomatic conference. All foreign diplomats have a sovereign right to attend the UN. Pompeo’s remarks indicate a presumption that the US government has dominion over the UN and international law.

The alleged “malign propaganda” that Pompeo accused Zarif of spreading was an interview he conducted with the NBC news channel at the Iranian ambassador’s residence. During that interview, Zarif did not unload on the litany of factually verifiable war crimes that the US is culpable of.

What Zarif said was a model of restraint and diplomacy. He said that if the US lifted crippling sanctions off Iran, then the “door is wide open” for future negotiations.

Calling for the avoidance of war, the Iranian diplomat pointed out that it was the United States, not Iran, that had undermined diplomacy by walking away from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers, reported NBC.

“It is the United States that left the bargaining table. And they’re always welcome to return,” Zarif added.

What Pompeo calls “malign propaganda” many other people would view as an accurate, if restrained, telling by the Iranian diplomat of how it really is.

Given the unlawful aggression that the Trump administration is wielding against Iran in terms of economic warfare on the country’s vital oil trade and in terms of military force buildup in the Persian Gulf, including nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, what Iran is demonstrating is an immense discipline to maintain regional and world peace.

Iran’s conditions for possible negotiations are eminently reasonable. They include being respected as a sovereign nation and entering into dialogue as a mutual party where discussions can be held on the basis of facts and international law.

Pompeo’s supreme arrogance about America’s presumed exceptional entitlements and superiority are, unfortunately, a sign that Washington is incapable of being a normal state. The real “theocratic tyranny” is in Washington where it has the perverse belief that it has divine right to destroy other nations if they don’t grovel sufficiently at its feet. But those feet are made of the proverbial clay signifying a doomed power, as Iran’s dignity and defiance is revealing.

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Rouhani: War on Iran is The Mother of All Wars, Iran to Emerge Victorious Sooner or Later

By Staff

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that a possible war against Iran is “a mother of all wars”, while peace with Tehran is “the mother of all peace”.

In a speech broadcast live on state-run TV on Tuesday, Rouhani also reiterated Tehran’s readiness to sit down with Washington if it scraps all the sanctions against Iran.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran favors talks and negotiations and, if the US really wants to talk, before anything else it should lift all sanctions”, he underscored.

The Iranian President further highlighted: “We are always ready for negotiation. I tell you this hour and this moment to abandon bullying and lift the sanctions and return to logic and wisdom. We are ready.”

He added that Iran had shifted its approach from “strategic patience” to “reciprocal action” and would respond in kind to any of Washington’s steps related to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

According to Rouhani: “Certain parties in the nuclear deal have violated commitments to deprive Iran of economic benefits.”

“Zionists, reactionary states, and US hardliners sought to destroy JCPOA from the beginning,” Rouhani stated, noting that “Only certain US cronies support [US President Donald] Trump’s decision to withdraw from The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].”

In parallel, he underscored that Iran took calculated step to scale back certain commitments under JCPOA. “Our reduction to nuclear commitments is not a burden on us.”

“All US sanctions against Iran have proved to be its own detriment,” Rouhani stressed, pointing out that “The Americans have proved that their words are far from truth.”

In a clear message to the US and regional rivals, the Iranian President warned: “No one can target our security and seeks peace for himself.”

“Iran to emerge victorious from US restrictions sooner or later,” he concluded.

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A Major Conventional War Against Iran Is an Impossibility. Crisis within the US Command Structure

Global Research, August 03, 2019
Global Research 8 July 2019

Updated, July 21, 2019

In this article, we examine America’s war strategies, including its ability to launch an all out theater war against the Islamic Republic on Iran.

A follow-up article will focus on the History of US War Plans against Iran as well as the complexities underlying the Structure of Military Alliances. 

**

Under present conditions, an Iraq style all out Blitzkrieg involving the simultaneous deployment of ground, air and naval  forces is an impossibility. 

For several reasons. US hegemony in the Middle East has been weakened largely as a result of the evolving structure of military alliances.

The US does not have the ability to carry out such a project.

There are two main factors which determine America’s military agenda in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

1. Iran’s Military

There is the issue of Iran’s military capabilities (ground forces, navy, air force, missile defense), namely its ability to effectively resist and respond to an all out conventional war involving the deployment of US and Allied forces. Within the realm of conventional warfare,  Iran has sizeable military capabilities. Iran is to acquire Russia’s S400 state of the art air defense system.

Iran is ranked as “a major military power” in the Middle East, with an estimated 534,000 active personnel in the army, navy, air force and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It has advanced ballistic missile capabilities as well as a national defense industry. In the case of a US air attack, Iran would target US military facilities in the Persian Gulf.

2. Evolving Structure of Military Alliances

The second consideration has to do with the evolving structure of military alliances (2003-2019) which is largely to the detriment of the United States.

Several of America’s staunchest allies are sleeping with the enemy.

Countries which have borders with Iran including Turkey and Pakistan have military cooperation agreements with Iran. While this in itself excludes the possibility of a ground war, it also affects the planning of US and allied naval and air operations.

Until recently both Turkey (NATO heavyweight) and Pakistan were among America’s faithful allies, hosting US military bases.

From a broader military standpoint, Turkey is actively cooperating with both Iran and Russia. Moreover, Ankara has acquired (July 12, 2019) ahead of schedule Russia’s state of the art S-400 air defense system while de facto opting out from the integrated US-NATO-Israel air defense system.

Needless to say the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is in crisis. Turkey’s exit from NATO is almost de facto. America can no longer rely on its staunchest allies. Moreover, US and Turkish supported militia are fighting one another in Syria.

Moreover, several NATO member states have taken a firm stance against Washington’s Iran policy:  “European allies are grappling with mounting disagreements over foreign policy and growing irritated with Washington’s arrogant leadership style.”

“The most important manifestation of growing European discontent with U.S. leadership is the move by France and other powers to create an independent, “Europeans only” defense capability” (See National Interest, May 24, 2019)

Iraq has also indicated that it will not cooperate with the US in the case of a ground war against Iran.

Under present conditions, none of Iran’s neigbouring states including Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia would allow US-Allied ground forces to transit through their territory. Neither would they cooperate with the US in the conduct of an air war.

In recent developments, Azerbaijan which in the wake of the Cold War became a US ally as well as a member of NATO’s partnership for peace has changed sides. The earlier US-Azeri military cooperation agreements are virtually defunct including the post-Soviet GUAM military alliance (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova).

Bilateral military and intelligence agreements between Iran and Azerbaijan were signed in December 2018. In turn, Iran collaborates extensively with Turkmenistan. With regard to Afghanistan, the internal situation with the Taliban controlling a large part of Afghan territory, would not favor a large scale deployment of US and allied ground forces on the Iran-Afghan border.


Visibly, the policy of strategic encirclement against Iran formulated in the wake of the Iraq war (2003) is no longer functional. Iran has friendly relations with neighbouring countries, which previously were within the US sphere of influence.

The US is increasingly isolated in the Middle East and does not have the support of its NATO allies

Under these conditions, a major conventional theater war by the US involving the deployment of ground forces would be suicide.

This does not mean, however, that war will not take place. In some regards, with the advances in military technologies, an Iraq-style war is obsolete.

We are nonetheless at a dangerous crossroads. Other diabolical forms of military intervention directed against Iran are currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon. These include:

  • various forms of “limited warfare”, ie. targeted missile attacks,
  • US and Allied support of terrorist paramilitary groups
  • so-called “bloody nose operations” (including the use of tactical nuclear weapons),
  • acts of political destabilization and color revolutions
  • false flag attacks and military threats,
  • sabotage, confiscation of financial assets, extensive economic sanctions,
  • electromagnetic and climatic warfare, environmental modification techniques (ENMOD)
  • cyberwarfare
  • chemical and biological warfare.

US Central Command Forward Headquarters Located in Enemy Territory

Another consideration has to do with the crisis within the US Command structure.

USCENTCOM is the theater-level Combatant Command for all operations in the broader Middle East region extending from Afghanistan to North Africa. It is the most important Combat Command of the Unified Command structure. It has led and coordinated several major Middle East war theaters including Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003). It is also involved in Syria.

In the case of a war with Iran, operations in the Middle East would be coordinated by US Central Command with headquarters in Tampa, Florida in permanent liaison with its forward command headquarters in Qatar.

In late June 2019, after Iran shot down a U.S. drone President Trump “called off the swiftly planned military strikes on Iran” while intimating in his tweet that “any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force.”

US Central Command (CENTCOM), confirmed the deployment of the US Air Force F-22 stealth fighters to the al-Udeid airbase in Qatar, intended to “defend American forces and interests” in the region against Iran. (See Michael Welch, Persian Peril, Global Research, June 30, 2019). Sounds scary?

“The base is technically Qatari property playing host to the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command.” With 11,000 US military personnel, it is described as “one of the U.S. military’s most enduring and most strategically positioned operations on the planet”   (Washington Times). Al-Udeid also hosts the US Air Force’s 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, considered to be “America’s most vital overseas air command”.

What both the media and military analysts fail to acknowledge is that US CENTCOM’s forward Middle East headquarters at the al-Udeid military base close to Doha de facto “lies in enemy territory”

Since the May 2017 split of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Qatar has become a staunch ally of both Iran and Turkey (which is also an ally of Iran). While they have no “official” military cooperation agreement with Iran, they share in joint ownership with Iran the largest Worldwide maritime gas fields (see map below).

The split of the GCC has led to a shift in military alliances: In May 2017 Saudi Arabia blocked Qatar’s only land border. In turn Saudi Arabia as well as the UAE have blocked air transportation as well as commercial maritime shipments to Doha.

What is unfolding since May 2017 is a shift in Qatar’s trade routes with the establishment of bilateral agreements with Iran, Turkey as well as Pakistan. In this regard, Russia, Iran, and Qatar provide over half of the world’s known gas reserves.

The Al-Udeid base near Doha is America’s largest military base in the Middle East. In turn, Turkey has now established its own military facility in Qatar. Turkey is no longer an ally of the US. Turkish proxy forces in Syria are fighting US supported militia.

Turkey is now aligned with Russia and Iran. Ankara has now confirmed that it will be acquiring Russia’s S-400 missile air defense system which requires military cooperation with Moscow.

Qatar is swarming with Iranian businessmen, security personnel and experts in the oil and gas industry (with possible links to Iran intelligence?), not to mention the presence of Russian and Chinese personnel.

Question. How on earth can you launch a war on Iran from the territory of a close ally of Iran?

From a strategic point of view it does not make sense. And this is but the tip of the iceberg.

Notwithstanding the rhetoric underlying the official US-Qatar military relationship, The Atlantic Council, a think tank with close ties to both the Pentagon and NATO, confirms that Qatar is now a firm ally of both Iran and Turkey:

Put simply, for Qatar to maintain its independence, Doha will have essentially no choice but to maintain its strong partnership with Turkey, which has been an important ally from the perspective of military support and food security, as well as Iran. The odds are good that Iranian-Qatari ties will continue to strengthen even if Tehran and Doha agree to disagree on certain issues … On June 15 [2019], President Hassan Rouhani emphasizedthat improving relations with Qatar is a high priority for Iranian policymakers. … Rouhani told the Qatari emir that “stability and security of regional countries are intertwined” and Qatar’s head of state, in turn, stressed that Doha seeks a stronger partnership with the Islamic Republic. (Atlantic Council, June 2019, emphasis added)

What this latest statement by the Atlantic Council suggests is while Qatar hosts USCENTCOM’s forward headquarters, Iran and Qatar are (unofficially) collaborating in the area of “security” (i e. intelligence and military cooperation).

Sloppy military planning, sloppy US foreign policy? sloppy intelligence?

Trump’s statement confirms that they are planning to launch the war against Iran from their forward US Centcom headquarters at the Al Udeid military base, located in enemy territory. Is it rhetoric or sheer stupidity?

The Split of the GCC

The split of the GCC has resulted in the creation of a so-called Iran-Turkey-Qatar axis which has contributed to weakening US hegemony in the Middle East. While Turkey has entered into a military cooperation with Russia, Pakistan is allied with China. And Pakistan has become a major partner of Qatar.

Following the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is in disarray with Qatar siding with Iran and Turkey against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Qatar is of utmost strategic significance because it shares with Iran the world’s largest maritime gas fields in the Persian Gulf. (see map above). Moreover, since the GCC split-up Kuwait is no longer aligned Saudi Arabia. It nonetheless maintains a close relationship with Washington. Kuwait hosts seven active US military facilities, the most important of which is Camp Doha.

Needless to say, the May 2017 split of the GCC has undermined Trump’s resolve to create an “Arab NATO” (overseen by Saudi Arabia) directed against Iran. This project is virtually defunct, following Egypt’s withdrawal in April 2019.

The Gulf of Oman 

With the 2017 split up of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Oman appears to be aligned with Iran. Under these circumstances, the transit of US war ships to the headquarters of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain not to mention the conduct of naval operations in the Persian Gulf are potentially in jeopardy.

The Fifth Fleet is under the command of US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). (NAVCENT’s area of responsibility consists of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea).

With the split up of the GCC, Oman is now aligned with Iran. Under these circumstances, the transit of US war ships to the headquarters of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain not to mention the conduct of naval operations in the Persian Gulf would potentially be in jeopardy.

The strait of Hormuz which constitutes the entry point to the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman is controlled by Iran and the Sultanate of Oman (see map, Oman territory at the tip of the Strait).

The width of the strait at one point is of the order of 39 km. All major vessels must transit through Iran and/or Oman territorial waters, under so-called customary transit passage provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

More generally, the structure of alliances is in jeopardy. The US cannot reasonably wage a full-fledged conventional theatre war on Iran without the support of its longstanding allies which are now “sleeping with the enemy”.

Trump’s Fractured “Arab NATO”. History of the Split up of the GCC. 

Amidst the collapse of  America’s sphere of influence in the Middle East, Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) consisted at the outset of his presidency in an improvised attempt to rebuild the structure of military alliances. What the Trump administration had in mind was the formation of a Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), or  “Arab NATO”. This US-sponsored blueprint was slated to include Egypt and Jordan together with the six member states of the GCC.

The draft of the MESA Alliance had been prepared in Washington prior to Trump’s historic May 2017 visit to Saudi Arabia, meeting up with King Salman, leaders of the GCC as well as “more than 50 high-ranking officials from the Arab and Islamic worlds in an unprecedented US-Islamic summit.”

The Riyadh Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the summit on May 21, 2017, announced the intention to establish MESA in Riyadh.” (Arab News, February 19, 2019). The stated mandate of the “Arab NATO”  was to “to combat Iranian hegemony” in the Middle East.

Two days later on May 23, 2017 following this historic meeting, Saudi Arabia ordered the blockade of Qatar, called for an embargo and suspension of diplomatic relations with Doha, on the grounds that The Emir of Qatar was allegedly collaborating with Tehran.

What was the hidden agenda? No doubt it had already been decided upon in Riyadh on May 21, 2017  with the tacit approval of US officials.

The  plan was to exclude Qatar from the proposed MESA Alliance and the GCC, while maintaining the GCC intact.

What happened was a Saudi embargo on Qatar (with the unofficial approval of Washington) which resulted in the   fracture of the GCC with Oman and Kuwait siding with Qatar. In other words,  the GCC was split down the middle. Saudi Arabia was weakened and the “Arab NATO” blueprint was defunct from the very outset.


May 21, 2017: US-Islamic Summit in Riyadh

May 23, 2017: The blockade and embargo of Qatar following alleged statements by the Emir of Qatar. Was this event staged?

June 5, 2019: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt sever diplomatic relations, cut off land, air and sea transportation with Qatar  accusing it of  supporting Iran.

June 7, 2017, Turkey’s parliament pass legislation allowing Turkish troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar

January 2018, Qatar initiates talks with Russia with a view to acquiring Russia’s  S-400 air defense system.


Flash forward to mid-April 2019: Trump is back in Riyadh: This time the Saudi Monarchy was entrusted by Washington to formally launching the failed Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) (first formulated in 2017) despite the fact that three of the invited GCC member states, namely Kuwait, Oman and Qatar were committed to the normalization of relations with Iran. In turn, the Egyptian government of President Sisi decided to boycott the Riyadh summit and withdraw from the “Arab NATO” proposal. Cairo also clarified its position vis a vis Tehran.  Egypt firmly objected to Trump’s plan because it “would increase tensions with Iran”.

Trump’s objective was to create an “Arab Block”. What he got in return was a truncated MESA “Arab Block” made up of a fractured GCC with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Jordan.

Egypt withdraws.

Kuwait and Oman officially took a neutral stance.

Qatar sided with the enemy, thereby further jeopardizing America’s sphere of influence in the Persian Gulf.

An utter geopolitical failure. What kind of alliance is that.

And US Central Command’s Forward headquarters is still located in Qatar despite the fact that two years earlier on May 23, 2017, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was accused by Saudi Arabia and the UAE of collaborating with Iran.

It is unclear who gave the order to impose the embargo on Qatar. Saudi Arabia would not have taken that decision without consulting Washington. Visibly, Washington’s intent was to create an Arab NATO Alliance (An Arab Block) directed against Iran “to do the dirty work for us”.

Trump and the Emir of Qatar, UN General Assembly, October 2017, White House photo

The rest is history, the Pentagon decided to maintain US Central Command’s forward headquarters in Qatar, which happens to be Iran’s closest ally and partner.

A foreign policy blunder? Establishing your “official” headquarters in enemy territory, while “unofficially” redeploying part of the war planes, military personnel and command functions to other locations (e.g. in Saudi Arabia)?

No press reports, no questions in the US Congress. Nobody seemed to have noticed that Trump’s war on Iran, if it were to be carried out, would be conducted from the territory of Iran’s closest ally.

An impossibility?

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Part II of this essay focuses on the history and contradictions of US war preparations directed against Iran starting in 1995 as well as the evolution of military alliances.

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