What to Expect at the Arab League Summit in Algiers


Amin Qammouria

Algeria’s strong anti-colonial stance and ties to Russia, Syria and Iran ensures that the upcoming Arab League Summit in Algiers will be anything but business-as-usual

Algeria will be taking the political centre stage in the Arab world when it hosts the 31st Arab League Summit on 2 November, the first after a three-year pandemic hiatus.

As a former revolutionary state – once at the forefront of resistance against the western settler-colonialism of the twentieth century, and still today a champion of Arab resistance – it is no surprise that majority-Sunni Algeria continues to take positions that are at odds with those of western-backed Sunni Arab governments of West Asia and North Africa.

Algeria’s principles that irk the region’s pro-west monarchies include its vehement opposition to Zionism, support of the Palestinian cause, insistence on maintaining relations with Iran, and engagement with Syria, with Algiers adamantly demanding that the Syrian state be readmitted to the Arab League.

Diplomacy or distraction?

The host country is pinning great hopes on the success of this summit for several reasons, the most important of which is its desire for a major event that restores vitality to Algerian diplomacy.

The state’s regional clout had receded during the years of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s prolonged illness and death, which inhibited his ability to exercise his duties. During this period, widespread street protests thwarted Bouteflika’s plans to extend his presidential term, ultimately bringing down his administration.

By hosting the summit, Algiers seeks an opportunity to shine regionally and highlight its diplomatic reach, distracting Algerians from the daily grind they’ve endured for years. It is a formula Iraq’s prime minister has used to some degree of success.

In this context, Algeria’s leaders have ensured the summit coincides with the 68th anniversary of the launch of their revolution against colonial France, and have planned an elaborate series of political, cultural, youth and artistic activities to burnish Algeria’s image as a regional powerhouse.

These are intended to project the North African state as the new ‘Mecca of Arab diplomacy,’ just as it remains a hub for liberation movements across the Global South and the ‘Mecca for revolutionaries’ since the 1960s.

It’s not such a wild idea. Algeria has come into play in recent years, not just for championing popular Arab worldviews, but for its geopolitical choices that are now in ascent. Like Syria, Algeria’s military is heavily invested with Russian equipment, training, and know-how. The energy-producing state is also receiving windfall profits from skyrocketing fuel and gas prices globally. And the increasing Russian, Iranian and Chinese (RIC) influence in West Asia – concurrent with the receding US presence – places Arab Algiers in a strong starting position.

Energy and food security

Recent global and regional developments, however, may make this Arab League meeting one of its most complex summits. The reverberations of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine just as the world began to emerge from the repercussions of the pandemic, have added a slate of pressing issues to Algiers’ table in November.

The impact of these two events have reshuffled geopolitical cards everywhere, and caused a global energy crisis that has placed several nations on the brink of severe economic and food crises.

In the unlikely scenario that the war in Ukraine ends before this year’s Arab Summit, its impact will remain on the top of the agenda. On the economic level, oil and gas prices will be a priority for both energy-producing and energy-consuming Arab countries, with expectations that the price of a barrel of oil will exceed $160 if the situation continues as is.

Another important agenda item is food security – especially vital crops such wheat and maize. It is expected that the summit will study the possibility of inter-cooperation to develop agriculture within regional states, with the hope that the studies will not remain as ink on paper as is the usual outcome of these gatherings.

Algeria calls for Syria’s return

Syria’s return to the Arab League after its highly politicized and unprecedented suspension in 2011 is another important challenge facing the summit. Algeria, which has maintained good relations with Damascus, has been adamant that Syria should be re-admitted to the League.

Algiers’ position is supported by several Arab countries such as Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq, the UAE and Bahrain. But Syria’s return depends on buy-in from the remaining members too – with Qatar playing spoiler to Damascus’ regional rehabilitation. This too may change in time, as even Doha’s close Turkish allies are working toward normalizing relations with the Syrian government.

Syria’s membership was suspended at a highly-irregular emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo in November 2011. The move came after the Syrian government failed to implement the terms of the “Arab initiative” that gave President Bashar Al-Assad an unrealistic two weeks to conduct a political dialogue with the opposition, form a “national unity government” within two months, and conduct early presidential and parliamentary elections.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit has said Syria’s participation in the upcoming Arab summit “is still subject to an Arab consensus,” which has not yet been achieved.

It does not seem that the countries that demanded the suspension of Syria’s membership will agree to its return as long as the conditions of suspension still exist. In turn, Damascus is unenthusiastic about returning to the League before certain Arab countries apologize for their material support of the Syrian armed opposition.

In fact, on 4 September, in a phone call with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra, Syrian Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad appeared to unilaterally bow out from the November summit, saying he “prefers not to raise” Syrian’s readmission to the League at this time.

Mikdad said his decision was made to keep the Arab focus on more urgent issues facing the region: “[To] contribute to uniting the Arab world and ranks in facing the challenges posed by the current situation at the regional and international levels.”

Israel’s presence at Algeria’s border

The most pressing diplomatic issue for Algiers though has been its fallout with neighboring Rabat, particularly following the latter’s decision to resume relations and sign defense agreements with Tel Aviv, which has heightened security concerns in Algeria.

It remains to be seen whether Morocco will participate in the summit after Algiers severed diplomatic relations with Rabat in August 2021.

At the heart of the neighbors’ spat is a territorial dispute in the Western Sahara. Both states have long been at odds over this sparsely-populated desert terrain where the Algiers-backed Polisario Front is seeking independence from Rabat’s rule. Morocco, in turn, is believed to have secured Washington’s recognition of its ‘sovereign claim’ to the Western Sahara in exchange for normalizing relations with Tel Aviv.

Morocco fears that, as the summit’s host, Algeria will be able to advance the momentum on this contentious issue and win over other Arab states to its side.

With the escalation in tension between the two countries, Algerian political writer Ahmed Boudaoud expects Morocco to be absent from this summit or reduce its level of representation: “especially with the assurances of Algerian officials that their country’s position will not change as long as the reasons that led to the diplomatic rupture between the two countries persist.”

In order to legitimize the diplomatic and economic estrangement with Rabat, Algeria may insist at the summit on issuing a statement condemning the wave of Arab normalization with Israel.

But such a statement will not be unanimously approved as long as there are influential countries, in addition to Morocco, with which Israel has peace treaties, such as Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Sudan and Bahrain.

Unwavering Palestinian solidarity

As is customary in all Arab summits, the Palestinian issue is given priority on the agenda – though typically without any practical measures that actually support Palestinians and their oft-neglected cause.

But Algerian President Abdel Majid Tebboune made a special gesture toward Palestinians in an attempt to reconcile key factions at the summit, particularly Fatah and Hamas.

On 6 July, Tebboune brought together Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the head of the Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, during their attendance at the 60th anniversary celebrations of Algeria’s independence.

Despite the meeting being praised as “historic” after years of estrangement, the gloomy looks on the faces of those present, and the statements issued thereafter, indicated that reconciliation is far from being achieved.

The limits of Algerian diplomacy

The situation in neighboring Libya, around which both regional and European schisms are intensifying, will be another important issue expected to be discussed in Algiers.

Algeria seeks to consolidate Arab consensus around the  adoption of a “Libyan-Libyan solution” which rejects any external interference that might hinder the unification of the Libyan parties and disrupt the course of upcoming presidential elections.

Some Arab countries such as Morocco, however, have accused Algeria of interference in Libya with the intention to dominate its neighbor’s political discourse – taking particular aim at Algiers’ own diplomatic shortcomings in Libya and its failed mediation attempt in the Egyptian-Ethiopian dispute over the Renaissance Dam.

Cracks in Arab “unity” will also appear in discussions on the growing Iranian and Turkish influence in a number of Arab countries.

Given the significant Arab differences over basic regional and global issues, and the preoccupation of each of states with their internal problems and priorities, the Algeria summit will likely be similar to the summits that preceded it: Luxurious receptions, resonant speeches, projects, plans, and decisions that expire the moment participants return to their respective countries.

Although swimming against a powerful tide of Arab states still servile to western diktats, an Algeria noted for its revolutionary struggle toward genuine independence will not entirely be faulted for sticking to its principles. Instead, Algiers will be able to collect its ‘summit success’ from the popular sentiment of the Arab street, which still shares its worldview stances.

Behind The Scenes Of The July 2006 War on Lebanon

August 18, 2022

By Mokhtar Haddad

Tehran – August is a big month for Hezbollah as the resistance movement marks both the 40th anniversary of its founding or the Forty Springs, and the anniversary of the 2006 victory over “Israel.”

There is still a lot the world doesn’t know about the latter, which is why Al-Ahed News sat down with former Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and gained interesting insights into what transpired behind the scenes 16 years ago. 

Mottaki was Tehran’s top diplomat during the 2006 “Israeli” aggression. He reveals the circumstances of his presence in Lebanon during the war, and talks about a phone conversation between him and Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and the commander of the Quds Force martyr General Hajj Qassem Soleimani.

Mottaki also underscored Iran’s firm support for the resistance movements based on the principles of Islam that were established by Imam Ruhollah Khomeini following the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

July 2006: Saudi Arabia is a political arm of the aggression

Mottaki begins by recounting an important conversation he had in the early days of the war.

“At the beginning of the barbaric aggression, I called Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal at the time, and I spoke to him about the aggression and about this part of Lebanon being attacked, assaulted by the enemy, while heinous massacres were perpetrated.

I told him that something must be done, and the Arabs and Muslims must move and hold an Islamic conference and another in the League of Arab States to discuss a response to the Zionist aggression.

The answer he gave me was that ‘Hezbollah is gambling in the region.’

His response proved to me that Saudi Arabia was fully aware of this attack and was preparing for it. While Hezbollah was enduring a Zionist military aggression, Saudi Arabia was providing the political groundwork for this aggression.”

Mottaki in Lebanon and contact with the leadership of the resistance

Asked about how he risked his life to visit Lebanon during the aggression, Mottaki said, “The Iranian Supreme National Security Council at the time – which was reviewing the developments of the Zionist invasion of Lebanon on a daily basis – agreed that the Minister of Foreign Affairs would visit Lebanon. The Secretary General of the Council at the time, Dr. Ali Larijani, informed me of this decision. We immediately prepared for the visit and headed to Syria. From there, we headed to Beirut by land.”

Upon his arrival in Beirut, Mottaki’s first order of business was to see the battlefield report, and accordingly, he established contact with the leadership of the resistance.

“I was able to have a telephone conversation with His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and the martyr Lieutenant General Hajj Qassem Soleimani, who was accompanied by Sayyed Nasrallah at the time. They told me that things were under control, and we had complete superiority on the battlefield. They also assured me that the resistance would be victorious in this war, because the Zionist entity could not defeat us in this guerrilla warfare.”

On that visit, Mottaki carried with him to Lebanon “the decision of the Supreme National Security Council to declare the Islamic Republic’s support for the resistance and the Lebanese government in the face of the Zionist aggression. Our position was clear, and I delivered it to the then Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora. The message to the resistance was that we stand by you in all fields.”

Between the battlefield and negotiations

Mottaki also touched on the differences between French and British diplomacy. 

“The British wanted to communicate with us during the aggression, but we did not have any direct contact with them.

They lacked accurate information, so they miscalculated the capabilities of the resistance. Therefore, when they sensed the steadfastness of the resistance, they became tense and fearful. As for the French, they were more active and realistic in this regard. They came to Lebanon and expected the course of things, and when I met the then French Foreign Minister Mr. Douste-Blazy in Lebanon, the focus of my discussion with him revolved around convincing France that “Israel” will not win this war. As soon as they realize this fact, it makes a big difference.”

The former Iranian foreign minister believes that “this war changed the course of things, especially after it led to the defeat of the Zionist entity and the victory of Hezbollah.”

He points out that “at the beginning of the war, the Zionists managed to convince the Americans that the war would go in their favor and that they would destroy Hezbollah once and for all. That is why they refrained until the middle of the war from participating in any initiative to stop it, waiting on the aggression to be resolved in favor of Tel Aviv.”

Hajj Qassem and the Ummah

Mottaki recalls a meeting, which was held in the holy city of Mashhad in the presence of Major General Soleimani.

“Grand Ayatollah Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei was in Mashhad, and Hajj Qassem came at that time from Beirut. A number of officials attended to meet the Imam. Hajj Qassem had a battlefield map in his hand. He explained the latest developments in the field during the war with the Zionist enemy. He conveyed a message from Imam Khamenei addressing Sayyed Nasrallah and the resistance. The letter read: ‘Tell our friends and brothers in Lebanon to recite Dua al-Jawshan.’ The supplication had a great impact on the situation on the ground. This meeting with the Imam was unique, where all officials of different ranks were personally present.”

“It will take years and years for our people first, then the peoples of the region and the world to realize the value and role of Hajj Qassem Soleimani,” Mottaki added.

“Hajj Qassem was the defender of the Ummah who had the interests of his brothers, his countrymen, and fellow human beings at heart. 

“Hajj Qasim was the beacon of justice and the preserver of justice in the world. Hajj Qassem was the enemy of the unjust regime that controls the political and international relations in the world. He believed that jihad for the sake of Islam is the highest thing in life, and there is nothing above Islam.

He believed that the school of Islam was comprehensive, complete, and obligatory to manage human societies. Hajj Qassem believed that if two people are companions in the same direction, then one must be the emir of the other. Therefore, he strongly believed that society needs a just, righteous leader and jurist, so he considered that Wilayat al-Faqih is the centerpiece of the cohesion of human societies. 

Hajj Qassem was convinced that Wali al-Faqih’s belief in the people was not just a belief based on the contemporary democratic style, but rather an ideological belief stemming from the bottom of the heart. Hajj Qassem believed in these constants with his entire being.”

Mottaki concludes his interview with Al-Ahed by referring to the final years of Lieutenant General Soleimani’s life.

“In the final years of his life, Hajj Qassem was not interested in anything from this life. He did not cling to it, and he was seeking martyrdom and departing to the other world to see the one and only deity. The last years of his life are the best evidence of his longing for martyrdom, and he fulfilled his dream.”

Without Palestine, There is No Arab Unity: Why Normalization with Israel Will Fail

August 10, 2022

Pro-Palestinian rally in Cairo. (Photo: Ali Martin, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Ramzy Baroud

It seemed all but a done deal: Israel is finally managing to bend the Arabs to its will, and Palestine is becoming a marginal issue that no longer defines Israel’s relations with Arab countries. Indeed, normalization with Israel is afoot, and the Arabs, so it seems, have been finally tamed.

Not so fast. Many events continue to demonstrate the opposite. Take, for example, the Arab League two-day meeting in Cairo on July 31 – August 1. The meeting was largely dominated by discussions on Palestine and concluded with statements that called on Arab countries to reactivate the Arab boycott of Israel, until the latter abides by international law.

The strongest language came from the League’s Assistant Secretary-General who called for solidarity with the Palestinian people by boycotting companies that support the Israeli occupation.

The two-day Conference of the Liaison Officers of the Arab Regional Offices on the Boycott of Israel praised the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has been under intense western pressures for its unrelenting advocacy of international action against Israel.

One of the recommendations by Arab officials was to support Arab boycott initiatives in accordance with the Tunis Arab Summit in March 2019, which resolved that “boycott of the Israeli occupation and its colonial regime is one of the effective and legitimate means to resist.”

Though one may rightly cast doubts on the significance of such statements in terms of dissuading Israel from its ongoing colonization schemes in Palestine, at least, it demonstrates that in terms of political discourse, the collective Arab position remains unchanged. This was also expressed clearly to US President Joe Biden during his latest visit to the Middle East. Biden may have expected to leave the region with major Arab concession to Israel – which would be considered a significant political victory for the pro-Israel members of his Democratic Party prior to the defining November midterm elections – but he received none.

What American officials do not understand is that Palestine is a deeply rooted emotional, cultural and spiritual issue for Arabs – and Muslims. Neither Biden, nor Donald Trump and Jared Kushner before him, could easily – or possibly – alter that.

Indeed, anyone who is familiar with the history of the centrality of Palestine in the Arab discourse understands that Palestine is not a mere political question that is governed by opportunism, and immediate political or geopolitical interests. Modern Arab history is a testament to the fact that no matter how great US-Western-Israeli pressures and however weak or divided the Arabs are, Palestine will continue to reign supreme as the cause of all Arabs. Political platitudes aside, the Palestinian struggle for freedom remains a recurring theme in Arab poetry, art, sports, religion, and culture in all its manifestations.

This is not an opinion, but a demonstrable fact.

The latest Arab Center Washington DC (ACW) public opinion poll examined the views of 28,288 Arabs in 13 different countries. Majority of the 350 million Arabs continue to hold the same view as previous generations of Arabs did: Palestine is an Arab cause and Israel is the main threat.

The Arab Opinion Index (AOI) of late 2020 is not the first of its kind. In fact, it is the seventh such study to be conducted since 2011. The trend remains stable. All the US-Israeli plots – and bribes – to sideline Palestine and the Palestinians have failed and, despite purported diplomatic ‘successes’, they will continue to fail.

According to the poll: Vast majority of Arabs – 81 percent – oppose US policy towards Palestine; 89 percent and 81 percent believe that Israel and the US respectively are “the largest threat” to their individual countries’ national security. Particularly important, majority of Arab respondents insist that the “Palestinian cause concerns all Arabs and not simply the Palestinians.” This includes 89 percent of Saudis and 88 percent of Qataris.

Arabs may disagree on many issues, and they do. They might stand at opposite sides of regional and international conflicts, and they do. They might even go to war against one another and, sadly, they often do. But Palestine remains the exception. Historically, it has been the Arabs’ most compelling case for unity. When governments forget that, and they often do, the Arab streets constantly remind them of why Palestine is not for sale and is not a subject for self-serving compromises.

For Arabs, Palestine is also a personal and intimate subject. Numerous Arab households have framed photos of Arab martyrs who were killed by Israel during previous wars or were killed fighting for Palestine. This means that no amount of normalization or even outright recognition of Israel by an Arab country can wash away Israel’s sordid past or menacing image in the eyes of ordinary Arabs.

A most telling example of this is how Egyptians and Jordanians answered the AOI question “Would you support or oppose diplomatic recognition of Israel by your country?” The interesting thing about this question is that both Cairo and Amman already recognized Israel and have diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv since 1979 and 1994, respectively. Still, to this day, 93 percent of Jordanians and 85 percent of Egyptians still oppose that recognition as if it never took place.

The argument that Arab public opinion carries no weight in non-democratic societies neglects the fact that every form of government is predicated on some form of legitimacy, if not through a direct vote, it is through other means. Considering the degree of involvement the cause of Palestine carries in every aspect of Arab societies – on the street, in the mosque and church, in universities, sports, civil society organizations and much more – disowning Palestine would be a major delegitimizing factor and a risky political move.

American politicians, who are constantly angling for quick political victories on behalf of Israel in the Middle East do not understand, or simply do not care that marginalizing Palestine and incorporating Israel into the Arab body politic is not simply unethical, but also a major destabilizing factor in an already unstable region.

Historically, such attempts have failed, and often miserably so, as apartheid Israel remains as hated by those who normalized as much as it is hated by those who have not. Nothing will ever change that, as long as Palestine remains an occupied country.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Hezbollah Slams the Zionist Attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque, Calls for Supporting the Palestinian People

April 17, 2022

Translated by Al-Ahed News

Hezbollah Media Relations issued the following statement:

Hezbollah strongly denounces the ‘Israeli’ occupation forces’ invasion of the al-Aqsa Mosque’s courtyards, their brutal attacks against the Palestinian worshippers, and their aggressive behavior towards the people of al-Quds, as well as torturing them and vandalizing their properties.

Hezbollah expresses solidarity with the uprising Palestinian people in the occupied al-Quds, who are defending the sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque, and hails the braveness of the Palestinian people and their heroic confrontation of the ‘Israeli’ terrorism machine.

Hezbollah finds that the ‘Israeli’ forces’ practices represent a grave violation of the sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque that harms more than a billion Muslims and provokes all the free people of the world.

Hezbollah urges the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab League, and Arab and Islamic countries and peoples to carry out their religious and moral duties by confronting these terrorist practices and by backing our people of al-Quds by providing them with all possible means of support.

Syria’s Return to Arab League to Be Resolved As Soon As Possible – Lavrov

April 5 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hoped for the restoration of Syria’s membership in the Arab League, saying Arab nations would be able to reunify their positions and resolve their differences if Damascus is readmitted to the organization.

Lavrov made the remarks during a press conference with the foreign ministers of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Sudan — members of the Arab Contact Group on Ukraine — in the Russian capital city of Moscow on Monday.

“We expressed our hope for Syria’s return to the Arab League. The issue will be resolved as soon as possible as it will help Arabs unify their positions in the region and the whole world,” Lavrov said.

The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011, citing an alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria has denounced the move as “illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”

The Arab republic was one of the six founding members of the Arab League in 1945. In recent months, an increasing number of countries and political parties have called for the reversal of its suspension from the Arab League.

Early this year, the secretary general of the central committee of the Palestinian Fatah political party denounced the suspension as “disgraceful” for the entire Arab world, especially as the war-ravaged country is a founding member of the regional organization.

Speaking at a press conference in the Syrian capital of Damascus on January 10, Jibril Rajoub added that Syria must return to the Arab League.

He said that his visit to Damascus at the head of a high-ranking Palestinian delegation is a turning point in light of the ‘Israeli’ regime’s stepped-up aggression and attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

Rajoub noted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas plans to visit Syria in the near future, extending his gratitude to the Syrian people and leadership for their hospitality towards Palestinians living there and for their firm stances vis-à-vis the Palestinian cause despite all the difficulties they have gone through over the past years.

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

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

March 20 2022

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

By Abdel Bari Atwan

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

Four recent developments illustrate this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

زيارة الرئيس الأسد إلى الإمارات

الإثنين 21 آذار 2022

ناصر قنديل

بمقدار ما كانت زيارة الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد الى دولة الإمارات متوقعة بعد سلسلة الخطوات الإماراتيّة نحو دمشق، والتي توّجتها زيارة وزير الخارجية الإماراتي إلى سورية ولقائه بالرئيس بشار الأسد، جاءت الزيارة صدمة قاسية لكل الذين راهنوا على سقوط سورية، الذين اعتبروا رغم الانتصارات السورية، أن استمرار القطيعة العربية معها تعبير عن بقاء الأمل بإضعاف سورية مجدداً، وهم يعلمون أن الإمارات في قلب مركز صناع قرار القطيعة العربي مع سورية الذي يمثله الخليج، وأنها ليست دول هامشية في الخليج، فهي والسعودية كانتا ولا تزالان ثنائي صناعة القرار، رغم حضور دول مستقلة كعُمان، ودول تناصب سورية العداء تلبية لرغبة تركية كحال قطر، وميزة الإمارات التي غالباً ما تنسق مع السعودية في التفاصيل، أنها تملك هامشاً من الحركة أوسع من الهامش السعودي، وأنه رغم ما قد يصدر من واشنطن والرياض حول خطوتها، فإنها الأقرب الى النبض الفعلي لهما، كما يقرأ الكثيرون خطواتها في التطبيع مع كيان الاحتلال، أو أن الإمارات هي الأقل بعداً عن الرغبة بالخصومة مع الرياض وواشنطن، وقد وضع الكثيرون خطواتها بالانفتاح على إيران ضمن هذا السياق الاستباقي لنجاح الحوار الأميركي والسعودي مع إيران، ولذلك فإن ما لا يمثل توجهاً مستقبلياً للرياض وواشنطن، لا تبادر إليه أبو ظبي، إلا إذا اطمأنت أنه لا يقع ضمن دائرة الخطوط الحمر التي تتسبب بالبعد عنهما، ولذلك كانت الزيارة صدمة قاسية على هؤلاء المراهنين ضد سورية، وخصوصاً ضد رئيسها، وعلى رأسهم قادة تشكيلات التورط في الحرب على سورية الذين تصدّروا واجهات المعارضة السورية، وطالما استمتعوا كثيراً بالإقامة في منتجعات وفنادق السبعة نجوم في دبي وأبوظبي، شعروا بانتهاء صلاحيتهم وقد تحولت الزيارة الى الصحن الرئيسي على مائدة احتفالاتهم بذكرى ما سموه ذات يوم بـ «الثورة السورية».

الزيارة تعبير عن نقلة نوعية في العلاقات بين الحكومتين، تقول إن التقدم إلى الأمام خطوة كبيرة بات حاجة ملحة، لكلتيهما، من دون ان يعني ذلك تغييرا في التموضع الأصلي لدولتين لا تتخذ فيهما الخيارات بالارتجال والانفعال، فلا الإمارات بوارد مغادرة محور واشنطن والرياض، ولا سورية بوارد فك تحالفها مع طهران وموسكو، وبمثل ما لا يبدو خيار التطبيع الإماراتي مع كيان الاحتلال مطروحا لإعادة النظر، تبدو سورية أشد تمسكاً بموقعها القيادي الفاعل في محور المقاومة، بينما قد تشهد مناطق تباعد أخرى بين دمشق وأبو ظبي على الطاولة، بصفتها مواضيع تباعد يحتاج حلفاء الفريقين في الإقليم لتلاقي دمشق وابوظبي كنقطة بداية لحلحلتها. فمن جهة طهران الذاهبة للفوز بنصرها النووي مجدداً، والراغبة بتجاوز ملفات التصعيد مع الجيران في الخليج، ومن جهة الرياض التي تدرك حجم تأثير حرب أوكرانيا على تراجع الاهتمام الأميركي والغربي بأزمات المنطقة، وفي مقدمتها حرب اليمن، وتدرك ان واشنطن لم تقم حساباً لتحفظاتها على الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، وتدرك بالتالي ان كلفة التفاهمات الإقليمية تبقى أقل من كلفة انتظار الحلول السحرية الدولية، بل إن في الرياض توجهاً يقول إن صناعة موقع خليجي يتناسب مع موقع الخليج في سوق الطاقة، وفي ضوء قراءة التوازنات الدولية الجديدة، يستدعي مسافة في منطقة وسط تبتعد بنسبة معينة عن واشنطن، وتقترب بنسبة أخرى من بكين وموسكو، وثمة من يقول أكثر من ذلك، إنه يلتقي مع دعوات الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد منذ أكثر من عقد الى قراءة المتغيرات الدولية، ووقع المنطقة في فراغ استراتيجي، والإيمان أنه بمستطاع الخليج وإيران وسائر العرب تشكيل قطب جاذب على درجة عالية من الاستقلال، وهو مضمون دعوة الرئيس الأسد يومها لصيغة دول البحار الخمسة، قزوين والبحرين الأسود والأحمر والبحر المتوسط والخليج.

عشية التحضيرات للقمة العربية في الجزائر، يأتي لقاء القمة السوري الإماراتي، مليئاً بالحديث عن الوضع العربي، والحاجة للتلاقي، والتفكير بصورة مختلفة ومشتركة لاستعادة الدور العربي في السياسات الإقليمية، وتقول الإمارات، إن سورية ركيزة من ركائز الأمن العربي، وتعلن الدعوة لخروج القوات الأجنبية غير الشرعية من الأراضي السورية، والتمسك بحق الدولة السورية بسيادتها الكاملة على أراضيها واستعادة وحدتها، وسط مؤشرات تشير الى تبلور موقف خليجي يضع الانسحاب التركي من سورية كشرط لتطبيع العلاقات الخليجية التركية، وقناعة تقوم على اعتبار سورية جسر ثقة يمكن له التأسيس لعلاقة استراتيجية غير نفطية مع روسيا والصين، يدخل ضمنها الحصول على شبكات صواريخ اس 400 وبناء مفاعلات نووية سلمية، وبيع النفط بسلة عملات تنهي حصرية اعتماد الدولار، وحوار آمن مع إيران، تدخل فيه كل التفاصيل المتصلة بالأمن المتبادل في الخليج، انطلاقاً من التعاون لإنهاء حرب اليمن، التي تقول بعض المؤشرات ان المبادرة الخليجية غير المكتملة تمثل أحد التعبيرات الأولى عن الاقتراب من صياغة موقف خليجي جديد يلاقي إيران في منتصف طريق، ربما يكون مطلوباً من سورية والإمارات صياغته.

اللقاء الإماراتي السوري، هو من جهة تعبير عن اعتراف إماراتي بالنصر السوري، واستعداد إماراتي لتشكيل رأس جسر للاعتراف العربي بهذا الانتصار، وسيكون من السخافة بمكان مطالبة سورية من موقع خلافات كثيرة أخرى مع الإمارات إدارة الظهر له، وبالمقابل فإن هذا اللقاء بمثل ما انه لا يعني تراجعاً سورياً عن أي من ثوابتها، خصوصاً تجاه فلسطين والمقاومة، فهو لا يعني انتقال الإمارات إلى محور المقاومة، وبمقدار ما يستحق اللقاء التنويه والإشارة، فهو لا يكفي للتخلي عن اللغة النقدية لسياسة الإمارات، على الأقل في ملفي التطبيع وحرب اليمن، ولو أن البعض كان ينتظر لحظة نهاية القطيعة الإماراتية السورية ليسارع في تقديم أوراق اعتماده في أبوظبي لحسابات مالية لا سياسية ولا مبدئية، يعرفها الإماراتيون جيداً، لكن الحريصين على تحسين شروط الواقع العربي واثقون بأن للانفتاح على سورية عائدات قد لا يتوقعها أصحابها، ومنها تنفس هواء مشبع بالكرامة العربية قد يبدأ بريح شمالية، لكنه سينتهي حكماً بالهواء القبلي المنعش، الآتي من فلسطين، وحتى ذلك الحين سنبقى نقول إن التطبيع خطيئة وليس مجرد خطأ.

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مراهنةٌ صهيونيةٌ خاسرةٌ على المركزي الفلسطيني

الاربعاء 23 شباط 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

عمرو علان 

جاء اجتماع المركزي ليُرتِّب مرحلة ما بعد محمود عباس، وليُسهِّل وصول رموز التعاون مع الاحتلال – على شاكلة ماجد فرج وحسين الشيخ – إلى قمَّة الهرم في سلطة أوسلو بعد غيابه.

في البدء، كان القرار الفلسطيني المستقل. حُكي آنذاك: يحصل هذا الأمر حتى لا يقدّم النظام الرسمي العربي تنازلاتٍ للكيان الصهيوني من دون اعتبارٍ لأصحاب الحق الأصيل، فصار بعد ذلك شعار النظام الرسمي العربي: نقبل بما يقبل به الفلسطينيون. 

يَخشَى الكيان الصهيوني على استقرار سلطة أوسلو بعد غياب عباس

ومن دون الدخول في نقاشٍ حول وجاهة نظر من قال بفكرة القرار الفلسطيني المستقل، قامت بعد ذلك منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، “الممثل الشرعي والوحيد” للشعب الفلسطيني، بالتوقيع على أوسلو، معترفةً بالكيان الغاصب، ومتنازلةً عن 87% من الأراضي العربية الفلسطينية المحتلة، وتاركةً في مهب الريح مصير ذاك الجزء من الشعب الفلسطيني الذي هُجِّر من دياره في العام 1948، وهي تنازلاتٌ ما كان ليجرؤ النظام الرسمي العربي على تقديمها، لتتوالى بعد ذلك حفلات الاعتراف العربية الرسمية بالكيان الغاصب، ولسان حالهم يقول: لن نكون ملكيين أكثر من الملك.

وفي خضمّ هذا كلّه، كانت مساعي الهيمنة على قرار منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية مستمرةً من قبل حركة “فتح”، وكانت تُحقِّق تقدماً، لتُختزَل منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية في فصيلٍ فلسطينيٍ واحدٍ بدلاً من أن تكون ممثلاً للكلِّ الفلسطيني.

وفي إثر دخول منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية مرحلة أوسلو – المقيتة الذكر – أُنشئت سلطة الحكم الذاتي المسماة السلطة الفلسطينية، ليدخل الوضع الفلسطيني مرحلة أخرى من الانحدار، حتى وصلنا إلى أن يتآمر على أبو عمار، زعيم حركة “فتح” ومؤسّسها، بعضٌ من بطانته، كي يغتاله الإسرائيلي بالسمّ، في جريمة اغتيالٍ تجاهلتها السلطة، مبرّئةً بذلك الإسرائيلي منها.

بعدها، تولى محمود عباس رئاسة السلطة الفلسطينية، ليبدأ باختزال كلٍّ من منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية وحركة “فتح” ذاتها بسلطة أوسلو. وقد نجح في ذلك نجاحاً تحسده عليه كل الأنظمة العربية! فقد أجهز على ما كان قد بقي من منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، وحوَّله فعلياً إلى مجرد اسمٍ ليس له كيانٌ حقيقيٌ في أرض الواقع، يستحضره كختمٍ متى احتاج إليه.

ليس هذا فحسب، فقد نجح عباس في الانحدار بسلطة أوسلو إلى دركٍ تفوَّق فيه على فصائل السلام وروابط القرى مجتمعين، فما معنى أن يصير التخابر مع العدو من أجل حراسة المستوطنات في الضفة، وتأمين المغتصَبات في فلسطين 48، والسهر على أمن قُطعان المستوطنين فيهما وراحتهم، واجباً “مقدَّساً” عند محمود عباس وسلطة أوسلو؟

واليوم، جاء اجتماع المجلس المركزي الفلسطيني الأخير الذي عُقِد في 6 شباط/فبراير 2022، ليشكّل سقطةً جديدةً في مسار هذا التدهور المستمر، فطامة الشعب الفلسطيني لا تنحصر في إصرار عباس على عقد اجتماع المركزي فحسب، رغم مقاطعة الأغلبية الفلسطينية له، إذ قاطعه كلٌ من حركتي “حماس” و”الجهاد الإسلامي” و”الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين”، إضافةً إلى عدم رضا أجنحةٍ من حركة “فتح” ذاتها، بل كانت الطامة الكبرى في المغزى من عقد هذا الاجتماع، وفي مخرجاته التي كانت معروفةً مسبقاً.

يَخشَى الكيان الصهيوني على استقرار سلطة أوسلو بعد غياب عباس، بسبب التجاذبات الحادة في أوساط حركة “فتح”، ولا سيّما بعد فقدان السلطة وفريق التنسيق الأمني فيها الكثير من شعبيتهما عقب معركة “سيف القدس”، وبسبب تغول السلطة في التعاون مع الاحتلال ضد المقاومين الفلسطينيين ومصالح الشعب الفلسطيني، ففي استمرار التنسيق الأمني مع الكيان الصهيوني مصلحةٌ عليا للاحتلال وحفظٌ لأمن المستوطنات والمستوطنين.

وقد جاء اجتماع المركزي ليُرتِّب مرحلة ما بعد محمود عباس، وليُسهِّل وصول رموز التعاون مع الاحتلال – على شاكلة ماجد فرج وحسين الشيخ – إلى قمَّة الهرم في سلطة أوسلو بعد غيابه. حصل كل هذا برضا الاحتلال ومباركته، إذ عُيَّن حسين الشيخ، الأكثر التزاماً بنهج التنسيق الأمني، في منصب أمين سر اللجنة التنفيذية، ما يمهد الطريق أمامه لرئاسة سلطة أوسلو مستقبلاً. وهكذا، وصلنا إلى اختزال سلطة أوسلو أيضاً بفريق التنسيق الأمني، وتم ترتيب القيادة لمرحلة ما بعد محمود عباس برضا الاحتلال ومباركته!

لكن ما غاب عن حسابات الصهاينة في رهانهم على مجموعة التنسيق الأمني هو وجود شعبٍ فلسطينيٍ حيّ ضاق ذرعاً بسلطةٍ باتت نسخةً مكررةً من جيش “لحد” بصورةٍ مفضوحةٍ. ولا أدلّ على وصول الشارع الفلسطيني إلى هذه الحالة إلا عمليات إطلاق النار التي قام بها مؤخراً مقاومون من كتائب شهداء الأقصى التابعة لحركة “فتح” ذاتها، ناهيك بفصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية المتمسكة بخيار المقاومة في الأساس.

وكان البيان المشترك الَّذي صدر عقب اجتماع المجلس المركزي عن حركتي “حماس” و”الجهاد الإسلامي” و”الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين”، والذي رفض الاعتراف بشرعية انعقاد المجلس المركزي وقراراته، ودعا إلى تشكيل قيادة موحدة للمقاومة الشعبية، مؤشراً على شكل المرحلة القادمة.

وغاب كذلك عن حسابات الصهاينة تبدُل أحوال الإقليم، واختلال موازين القوى فيه لمصلحة حركات المقاومة العربية والإسلامية في عدة ساحاتٍ، وتراجع السطوة الأميركية في الإقليم والعالم عموماً، ما يشكِّل رافعةً لحركات المقاومة في الداخل الفلسطيني، ويجعل الرهان الإسرائيلي على استمرار سلطة أوسلو بما وصلت إليه رهاناً خاسراً.

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

Bouthaina Shaaban: ‘US Working With ISIS to Partition Syria!’


We speak to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s political advisor Bouthaina Shaaban. She alleges that the US has been working with ISIS to demographically change Syria and make way for a Syrian Kurdistan, the US’ theft of Syrian oil and natural resources, Israeli bombing of Syria, Syria’s inclusion into China’s Belt and Road Initiative and much more.

عُمان لسورية واليمن والكويت للبنان وقطر لأوكرانيا وأفغانستان!

الاربعاء 2 2 2022

ناصر قنديل

شهد العام الأول من إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن، تبلوراً لمجموعة من المعالم التي ترسم ملامح الحركة السياسية الأميركية، رغم الارتباك والتشوش المخيمين على كواليس صناعة القرار الأميركي، وقد شهدنا تسخيناً للكثير من الملفات الإقليمية حول العالم، سواء ما رافق حرب اليمن أو الضغوط على لبنان أو التشدّد تجاه سورية وصولاً للتجاذب الساخن حول أوكرانيا، بحيث بات الحديث عن الحاجة للتفرّغ للصين، مجرد عامل ذرائعي لتغطية ضعف القدرة على فرض الإرادة، ليبقى الثابت عكس ذلك كله عبر ما اتخذته ادارة بايدن من قرارات ترسم سياقاً استراتيجياً يصعب كسره. وهنا يقع الانسحاب الأميركي من أفغانستان، والمسار التفاوضي الذاهب نحو التفاهم حول الملف النووي الإيراني، وتبدو دول المنطقة التي حجزت مقاعدها للعب دور الوسيط بين واشنطن حول ملفات المنطقة الساخنة مدعوة لتشغيل محركاتها استعداداً لمرحلة جديدة.

حاولت قطر تاريخياً ان تتصدر هذه الأدوار ونجحت في مراحل كثيرة بلعبها، وشكلت لقاءات الدوحة التي انتهت حول لبنان بصياغة تفاهم فتح الطريق لانتخابات رئاسية ونيابية، عام 2008، أبرز تجليات هذا النجاح، بالاستناد الى علاقة خاصة أقامتها قطر مع سورية. ومنذ التموضع الحاد والنافر لقطر في الحرب على سورية أصيب الموقع القطري بالتضعضع، رغم إعادة الوصل مع إيران ومحاولة لعب دور في الملف النووي الإيراني أو في العلاقات الخليجية الإيرانية، ولكن بالنتيجة باءت المحاولات القطرية بالفشل في الحصول على دور في المفاوضات الأميركية مع إيران. ويبدو أن أمير قطر قد تبلغ في زيارته الحالية لواشنطن بضرورة الكف عن التحرك لحجز مقعد في هذا الملف. فالملف يتولاه الرئيس الأميركي مباشرة، والمفاوضات الجارية لا تحتمل المضاربات والمزايدات، وكانت قطر قد تبلغت موقفاً سعودياً رافضاً لأي مسعى للوساطة في التفاوض مع إيران، بعدما حجز هذا المقعد للعراق.

الملفات التي كان أمير قطر يبحث عن تفويض أميركي بإدارة الوساطات حولها تتسع بحجم أزمات المنطقة، من سورية الى اليمن وصولا للبنان، وحاصل النتائج الصادم لقطر هو أن المهام قد توزعت ولا مقعد بينها لقطر. فقطر وسيط غير مقبول في سورية، وغير مؤهل في اليمن، وغير نافع في لبنان، وقد أثبتت سلطنة عُمان أهليتها لقيادة التفاوض حول الملفين السوري واليمني، حيث ترحّب الدولة السورية بمساعي مسقط، ومثلها يفعل أنصار الله، وصولاً لحد أقرب للاشتراط بحصر التفاوض بمعبر إلزامي يمر بمسقط، من كل من دمشق وصنعاء. وزيارة وزير خارجية عمان الى سورية ليست للمجاملة والتضامن فقط، وهي جزء من مسار للدور العماني في ترتيبات تطال العلاقات السورية بالجامعة العربية من بوابة التحضير للقمة العربية المقررة بعد شهرين في الجزائر، وبالغرب من بوابة ملفات عودة النازحين وإعادة الإعمار والحل السياسي، واليمنيون الذي تلقوا إشارات عن إمكانية قيام الكويت بالعودة لدور راعي التفاوض قالوا إنهم يفضلون عُمان، وإن الكويت التي لعبت دور الوسيط في مرات سابقة في الملف اليمني ففقدت فرصها للعودة اليه بعدما تخلت عن الحياد تجاه الدول الخليجية التي تقود الحرب على اليمن. وهنا يجب الربط بين استحالة لعب الكويت لدور الوسيط في الشأن السوري، وتراجع الفرص الكويتية للعودة الى دور الوسيط في اليمن، وبين تقدّم الكويت للمشهد حول لبنان، وتكليفها بمهمة الوسيط فيه. والوساطة هنا هي وساطة ستظهر مع الأيام أنها مسار تفاوضي وليست مجرد إملاءات تهديدية وإنذار بالإذعان بلسان دول الخليج. ويسأل أمير قطر، وماذا تفعل الدوحة؟

الجواب الأميركي إن الدور الذي أعطي لقطر في مرحلة ما بعد الانسحاب من أفغاستان نقلها من الإقليمية الى العالمية. وهذا يجب أن يكون موضع تقدير قطريّ، ويترجم بحمل الأعباء المالية للنهوض بأفغانستان منعاً لتجذر الإرهاب فيها مجدداً، وينتظرها اليوم دور «عالمي» مشابه قبل نشوب حرب في أوكرانيا، عليها الاستعداد له بالتموضع في خانة توفير بدائل الغاز لأوروبا في حال تعرّضها لخطر تدفق الغاز الروسي، وقطر تعرف حدود قدراتها وعجزها عن لعب هذا الدور، وأميرها يعود بخفي حنين من زيارته لواشنطن، مكتفياً بنقل رسائل تشجيع لإيران على المضي قدما في المسار التفاوضيّ لأن واشنطن جدّية بالوصول للاتفاق، رغم كل التصعيد الإعلامي الموجه نحو الداخل، ومثلها رسائل تشجيع لحكام الخليج على الإسراع بإيجاد مخارج منسابة لوقف حرب اليمن، لأن واشنطن لم تعُد قادرة على التغطية سياسياً وعسكرياً.

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Behind Gulf’s “Bright Initiative” for Lebanon: Hezbollah the Main Target!

January 24, 2022

Kuwaiti FM Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah in a press conference following a meeting with Lebanese PM Najib Mikati (Saturday, January 22, 2022).

Al-Manar Website Editor

“Gulf Arab states are looking to mend ties with Lebanon,” Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah said in Beirut where he was on an official visit during the weekend.

The scene here was somehow ‘bright’, as the top Kuwaiti diplomat was presented as a ‘mediator’ whose visit was aimed at solving a standoff between Beirut and Riyadh, which suspended ties last October over comments by then-information minister Georges Kordahi in which he slammed the Saudi Kingdom over its aggression on Yemen.

However, it was not long until it became distinct that Al-Sabah is no more than a ‘spokesman’ who delivered a message by Riyadh. The message was handed over to Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and included 12-point proposals, or by another language ‘conditions’ set on the Lebanese Government.

Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar disclosed on Monday the 12 conditions with at least four of them are directly or indirectly related to Hezbollah.

The ‘initiative’ provides for Lebanon’s commitment to the 1989 Taif Agreement that ended Lebanon’s civil war and what it called “decisions by international legitimacy and Arab league,” according to the Lebanese daily.

It stresses on the ‘civilization’ of the Lebanese State, and that Beirut’s so-called ‘dissociation policy’ must be ‘in words and deeds’.

The paper also stipulates that Lebanon “must put a deadline” for the implementation of UN resolutions 1559, 1608 and 1701, (most of them are related to disarming Hezbollah).

The sixth condition provides for “stopping Hezbollah’s meddling in Arab affairs, especially the Gulf affairs, as it also stipulates for Lebanon’s ‘pledge’ to pursue “any Lebanese side who is engaged in hostile actions against Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.”

The so-called ‘initiative’ calls Lebanon to stop all activities related to “anti-GCC groups,” according to Al-Akhbar.

In the eighth condition, Riyadh points to importance of holding parliamentary and presidential elections in Lebanon on time.

The ninth and tenth conditions provides for tightening inspection and border controls to prevent drug smuggling to the Gulf, the Lebanese daily added.

The paper also calls on Lebanon to set up a security cooperation system in which Beirut “exchanges security data” with GCC states.

The twelfth point urges Lebanon to work with IMF in order to “solve the issue” of Lebanese citizens’ deposits in Lebanese banks.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Yemeni Resistance Targets Saudi, Emirati Depths in Latest Retaliatory Op ’Hurricane Yemen 2’

January 24, 2022

By Staff

{And whoever retaliates after having been wronged – those have not upon them any cause [for blame]} – Holy Quran | Ash-Shura | 41

The Yemeni Armed Forces scored yet another retaliatory operation that targeted the Saudi and Emirati depths in the early hours of Monday.

In a statement, Yemeni Armed Forces Spokesman Brigadier General Yehya Saree announced details about the retaliatory operations, saying the Rocketry Force and the Propelled Air Force carried out a wide-scale retaliatory operation in response to the American-Saudi-Emirati crimes against the Yemeni people.

Today’s strike, dubbed ‘Operation Hurricane Yemen 2’, targeted the Saudi and Emirati depths, the military spokesman said.

“The al-Dhafra military airbase and other sensitive targets were hit in the Emirati enemy’s capital, Abu Dhabi, using several Zolfiqar ballistic missiles. Additionally, vital and important targets in Dubai were hit using several Sammad-3 drones,” Saree went on to say.

Meanwhile, the spokesman added that “several military bases in the Saudi depth, particularly in Sharoura area and several areas, were targeted using several Sammad-1 and Qasef-2k drones; while vital and sensitive sites in Jizan and Assir were targeted using several ballistic missiles, scoring precise achievements.”

“The Yemeni Armed Forces affirm full readiness in expanding its operations in the next phase to confront every escalation with another escalation, and renew their advice for foreign companies and investors in the UAE to leave the statelet after it turned an unsafe place,” according to Brigadier General Saree.

The spokesman finally underscored that the UAE will remain a permanent target as long as it continues its aggression and blockade against the Yemeni people.

Earlier media reports estimated that a large number of ballistic missiles and drones targeted several sites in Abu Dhabi and southern Saudi Arabia.

Al-Mayadeen network’s correspondent cited information that said more than two missiles were launched towards the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, the Sanaa government slammed the Arab League’s recent statement, referring to it as paid and doesn’t reflect the Arab conscience.

Saudi Arabia and several of its allies have been attacking the Arab world’s already poorest nation since March 2015 in an unsuccessful bid to change its ruling structure in favor of its former Riyadh-aligned officials.

The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned the entire Yemen into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The Yemeni forces that feature the Yemeni army and its allied fighters from the Popular Committees have, however, vowed not to lay down their arms until the country’s complete liberation from the scourge of the invasion.

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كلام صادق وصريح للكويت

ناصر قنديل

لا يمكن إغفال أربع حقائق قبل أي نقاش لمضمون المبادرة الكويتية، الحقيقة الأولى أن اللبنانيين يُجمعون على حفظ مكانة خاصة للكويت، ويشعرون بالمرارة عندما ينظرون لتدهور العلاقات معها في سياق الأزمة مع دول الخليج، ويفرحون لتصدّرها مساعي إعادة الأمور الى سابق عهدها. وليس من حاجة لتفصيل أسباب هذه المكانة المميزة للكويت والكويتيين في الذاكرة اللبنانية العابرة للطوائف والتوافقية. والحقيقة الثانية هي أن مؤيدي خيار المقاومة في لبنان ينظرون بعين الإكبار والتحية للموقف الكويتي المتمايز برفض التطبيع مع كيان الاحتلال، ويرون فيه علامة عافية في وضع عربي مريض، خصوصاً ان هذا الموقف الكويتي جامع للحكومة والبرلمان والمجتمع. أما الحقيقة الثالثة فهي أن الكويت تمثل دولة متميزة بتجربتها الديمقراطية الحقيقية، فهي من الدول العربية القليلة التي تمثل الانتخابات فيها استحقاقاً جديا في رسم السياسات والتوازنات، وقد امتلكت تجربة عريقة على هذا الصعيد، وعرفت صحافة حرة ومنفتحة، عبر سنوات طوال، ما يجعل تفهمها للوقائع اللبنانية من موقع تجربتها الخاصة فرصة لحوار مبني على لغة الاحترام والوقائع، لا لغة الفرض والأمر والإذلال والسعي للإخضاع، من منطلقات لا صلة لها بالمعرفة ولا بالحوار ولا بالديمقراطية. وهنا تأتي الحقيقة الرابعة وهي تتصل بموقف الكويت من حرب اليمن، فرغم التضامن الكويتي مع السعودية والإمارات تحت سقف مجلس التعاون الخليجي، فالكويت استضافت جولات حوار رئيسية بين الأطراف اليمنيّة ومرشحة لاستضافة المزيد عندما تنضج فرص الحلول السياسية. وهي بالتالي مؤهلة لفهم معنى عبثية الحرب، وبالتالي الحاجة لإنهائها، ولو لم تقل ذلك.

مبادرة الكويت خطوة الى الأمام تعبّر عن بداية نضج مناخ جديد، والا لما كانت الكويت لتبادر، وهي التي أبلغت لبنان أنها متضامنة مع شركائها في مجلس التعاون داعية لحل المشكلة معهم، والكويت جاهزة للسير بأي حل. والمناخ الجديد هو مناخ خليجي نابع من تطورات تتصل بالحوار السعودي الإيراني ومفاوضات فيينا للملف النووي الإيراني، وبدء التحضير للحل السياسي في اليمن بعدما بلغ التصعيد مداه، ولذلك فهي تستحق التعامل معها بجدية ومسوؤلية. وهذا لا تترجمه اللغة الخشبية للحكومة ورئيسها ووزير داخليتها، بل بمصارحة لا تقفز عن حقيقة المشاكل، وتموّهها بمراهم التكاذب والتزلف، وصولاً لحد التذلل المهين الذي لا يقبله أغلب اللبنانيين، والذي لا يبني علاقات ثابتة ولا يضمن استقراراً، وأول المصارحة هو أن مفهوم الالتزام اللبناني بالموقف العربي مشروط بعودة الوحدة الى الجامعة العربية. فالجامعة من دون سورية ليست هي الجامعة مع سورية، والعرب وعلى رأسهم السعودية كانوا رعاة اتفاق الطائف الذي كرّس ربط عروبة لبنان بسورية، باعتبارها نتاج التاريخ والجغرافيا طالباً من فريق لبناني كان يرى غير ذلك بعدم معاندة هذه الحقيقة النابعة من التاريخ والجغرافيا، وثاني المصارحة هو أن الموقف العربي الملتزم بفلسطين عبر حد أدنى هو المبادرة العربية التي أقرتها قمة بيروت، وفيها حق العودة للاجئين الفلسطينيين، هو غير موقف عربي يسيطر عليه مناخ التطبيع، والتخلي عن القضية الفلسطينية، وصولاً للضغط على لبنان لقبول سياسات تنتهي بتوطين اللاجئين الفلسطينيين.

بفتح هذين القوسين لحق الاختلال والتمايز يصل الحوار الى حرب اليمن، فهل يمكن للكويت إقناع لبنان بأنها ليست حرباً عبثية، وإن لم تكن كذلك فلماذا تنكّبت الكويت مسؤولية ادارة الحوار بين اطرافها طلباً لحل سياسي؟ وان كانت كذلك فسقف الموقف العربي الذي يجب أن يطلب من لبنان الرسمي التزامه هو الدعوة لحل سياسي ينهي الحرب، وليس الانضواء تحت سقف خطاب سياسي وإعلامي ينافق فيه بعض اللبنانيين لتمسيح جوخ السعودية والإمارات بعقلية رخيصة تقوم على اعتبارهم مجرد صناديق مال تجب مجاراتها (أي الضحك عليها) للحصول على أموالها.

في المصارحة أسئلة، اذا كان مسلّماً بأن لبنان لا يقبل أن يكون منصة لتعريض أمن أي دولة عربية للاهتزاز، فكيف يكون لبنان منصة لعدوان كلامي على دول الخليج، وكلمة عدوان مبالغة تضخيمية يُراد منها جعل الانتقاد بمثابة العدوان، لفرض الحرم عليه. وهذا أمر صعب القبول الى حد الاستحالة، أما إذا كان المقصود أن تلتزم الحكومة بعدم تناول سياسات حكومات الخليج بالانتقاد، فهذا أمر يمكن تفهّمه وقبوله، لكن هل المقصود هو ان يشمل الأمر الكتل النيابية والأحزاب، وتالياً الإعلام؟ وهل من حكومة كويتية تستطيع تقديم التزام مماثل إذا تصالحت الكويت مع سورية، بأن الكويت تلتزم بمنع تحوّل الكويت بما في ذلك منابر إعلامها وبرلمانها منصة للعدوان الكلامي، والمقصود هنا هو الانتقاد؟

هل تستطيع الكويت قيادة حوار لإنهاء معضلة بدأتها دول الخليج بتصنيف حزب لبناني مقاوم على لوائح الإرهاب؟ وهذا الحزب الذي كانت له تضحيات لتحرير الأرض والحرب على الإرهاب هو حزب الله. وهذه نقطة البداية الجوهرية لأي مسعى للتهدئة. وهل تستطيع الكويت فتح نقاش خليجي عنوانه أن في لبنان دستوراً وقوانين، فمن جهة هناك تعدّد سياسي وإعلامي وهناك حرية للرأي والتعبير. ومن جهة هناك منع للتعرّض لرموز وقادة الدول الأجنبية، وقانون منع للقدح والذم والتجريح، أسوة بما هو موجود في الكويت، وهذا يعرفه قادة الكويت بالتفصيل.

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Syria has achieved a great victory: Bashar al-Jaafari

22 Dec 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen Net

The Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister sees that Syria has achieved a great victory against terrorism, despite the fact that the war is not over yet.

Syrian deputy foreign minister Bashar al-Jaafari during an interview for Al Mayadeen on December 22, 2021

The past decade for Syria has been one of terrorism and fire, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Bashar al-Jaafari told Al Mayadeen on Wednesday.

“One cannot talk about the end of the war on Syria until the end of the occupation of all Syrian territories,” al-Jaafari asserted.

As part of Al Mayadeen‘s 2021 Roundup coverageAl Mayadeen interviewed Wednesday Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Bashar al-Jaafari. During said interview, al-Jaafari said all of Syria’s enemies become hysterical whenever Syria nears certain victory, seeing that his country “achieved a great victory, but the war is not yet over.”

Discussing Syria’s foreign policies, he said “The west is settling scores with Damascus because it thwarted its regional project.”

Al-Jaafari, who sees that despite Syria being long acquainted with the United States and its policies, asserts that Damascus did not close its doors in the face of any objective US moves toward it. The diplomat also called on the US to act realistically with Syria and the region.

The Deputy Foreign Minister underscored that Damascus is being realistic in its foreign policies, and it acknowledges Washington’s size in international politics. Syria “knows who the occupier is, who the ally is, who the friend is, and who the resistance fighters are,” he underlined.

“The US occupation is still playing the ISIS card until this day,” asserting that there was no clear message from Washington regarding its withdrawal from Syria.

“The US administrations use terrorism and terrorists in Syria and Iraq,” the deputy foreign minister declared, adding that “the decision of Syria’s leadership and its people is that no occupier be present on Syrian soil.”

Relations with Russia and Iran

The Deputy Foreign Minister touched on the Security Council’s resolutions, saying they assert Syria’s sovereignty, “and they are a proof against the occupiers.”

International developments are pushing Damascus to form alliances with Russia, Iran, and the resistance, he highlighted.

“Russian-Syrian relations are historic, and they go far back,” the diplomat reminded. He also revealed that Damascus coordinates with Moscow on a daily basis to discuss various issues, including the Israeli aggressions.

The Syrian diplomat also commented on Iranian-Syrian relations, saying the two countries are connected on the Islamic level, describing the relation between Damascus and Tehran as an alliance.

“We are constantly discussing with our allies issues that matter to us and issues that concern Moscow, Tehran, and the resistance,” al-Jaafari explained, seeing that Syria succeded in establishing the first Arab alliance with Iran.

“The Israelis are well aware Damascus is a dilemma,” he declared, noting that his country was fighting on multiple fronts and prioritizes the combat of terrorism and multiple occupations.

The Arab openness to Damascus

Al-Jaafari also discussed the recent Arab openness toward Syria, which he said was reflected by the Emirati Foreign Minister’s visit to the country.

Regarding Saudi Arabia, al-Jaafari underscored that Riyadh was implementing a non-Arab agenda, explaining that its policies rely on the West’s agenda. “Syria is above responding to the statements of any Saudi employee,” the diplomat argued.

“14 Arab embassies are operating in Damascus, and those who oppose Syria are a minority. We are working bilaterally and normally with the staff of 14 embassies in Damascus.”

Regarding Syria’s return to the Arab League, which has been recently a matter of discussion, al-Jaafari asserted that Syria never left the Arab League, for it is a founding member.

Damascus does not accept any conditions for Syria’s participation in the body’s meetings, al-Jaafari added, accusing Qatar of impeding said participation.

Hamas’ relations with Syria

Damascus has overcome the pain it suffered from Hamas, and it calls everyone to Syria, al-Jaafari told Al Mayadeen, but matters are still not ready enough for Hamas to return to Damascus.

“The Palestinian cause has many allies in the world, including Iran,” al-Jaafari said on Syria’s stance of the Palestinian cause.

The end of a year.. the beginning of an era | With Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Bashar al-Jaafari
Damascus | A dialogue session entitled Challenges in light of the impotence of the global system

Syria’s Ultimate Victory is Imminent: FM’s Aide to Al-Manar Website

October 4, 2021


The Syrian foreign minister’s aide, Dr. Ayman Sousan, stressed that Syria is so close to the ultimate victory over the terrorist war, hailing the steadfastness and sacrifices of the Syrian people as well as army.

In an interview with Al-Manar Website, Sousan pointed out that the Syrian army field progress and achievements in addition to the geopolitical conditions in the Middle East indicate that Syria’s victory is imminent.

Sousan hailed the allies who supported the Syrian army in its battles against the terrorist groups, highlighting the role of Hezbollah, Iran and Syria in this regard.

Meanwhile, Sousan welcomed the Iranian-Saudi talks, underscoring their strategic importance in the region.

Sousan emphasized that Syria’s membership in the Arab League was illegitimately suspended, adding that Syria may never alter its identity.

Finally,Sousan noted that Syria wants to restore its good relations with the Arab countries, stressing that ties with Turkey can never be restored before it withdraws its troops from all the Syrian territories.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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US Made Years-long Efforts to End Boycott of ‘Israeli’ Goods in Yemen


US Made Years-long Efforts to End Boycott of ‘Israeli’ Goods in Yemen

By Staff, Agencies

The Ministry of Information presented on Sunday a number of official documents that reveal early American efforts to end the boycott of ‘Israeli’ goods in Yemen.

The documents presented by the Ministry of Information revealed the US embassy’s request from the Saleh regime to end the economic boycott of ‘Israeli’ products and not to participate in anti-US-‘Israeli’ activities. They also revealed US-‘Israeli’ annoyance at boycotting their goods in Yemen, while confirming that the majority of American companies have a relationship with the Zionist entity.

A document issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated May 9, 1993 showed that the US State Department carried out a campaign of pressure on the authority to open the country to the goods of the Zionist enemy and the companies associated with it.

The Foreign Ministry’s document showed that the Assistant Undersecretary of the US State Department at the time, called for a “reconsideration of the boycott policy imposed on American companies that have a relationship with ‘Israel’, since most of the important American companies have a strong relationship with ‘Israel’. The companies complain about the conditions imposed by the boycott, which calls for proving the absence of a relationship with ‘Israel’, adding that this is contrary to US laws and deprives Yemen of benefiting from the investments of these companies.”

The brief meeting between Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi and the American ambassador in Sanaa, Thomas Krajeski, on Wednesday, June 1, 2005, showed that the US employed Saleh’s authority for lifting the Arab boycott system against the Zionist entity.

The document stated that the American ambassador conveyed a direct American directive to the authority to take a clear position on the Arab boycott conference, which takes place in the same month in the capital, Damascus. The document stated: “The ambassador made it clear that the US sees the futility of the boycott and the need to lift it, not only boycott of the second and third degree but rather the boycott of the first degree for companies that do business with [‘Israel’].”

The US ambassador said: “There is an increasing number of Arab countries that are working to violate the trade boycott system with [‘Israel’].”

The same document did not show at that time opposing the American pressures. The then foreign minister said that “the boycott system is fragile and there is no real boycott, as many Arab countries have opened commercial offices for ‘Israel’ on their lands,” as stated by al-Qirbi.

The documents include a memorandum classified under “Urgent” issued by the US Embassy in Sanaa on the 4th of November 2007 and addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It stated a number of US directives to the former regime, chief among them: “Not to support or send representatives to the biannual boycott meeting held by the Arab League in the office of the Arab League in the Central District of Damascus.

The embassy memo stated: “The Arab boycott meeting not only represents an obstacle to peace in the Middle East, but also constitutes a barrier to participation in the global economy, attracting foreign investment, expanding trade, and improving relations with the United States and the international community. Yemen’s accession to the World Trade Organization requires that the government of the Republic of Yemen has to abandon its initial boycott of ‘Israeli’ goods and services.”

The same document also reveals that the US administration was implementing a wide campaign of pressure targeting the Arab countries whose people adhere to the boycott. “The time has come for the Arab League to take a decision to close the central district office in Damascus.”

The Ministry of Information, publishing these documents to the public opinion as evidence of the American guardianship imposed on Yemen prior to the September 21 revolution, called on the masses of the Yemeni people to commit to the weapon of economic boycott, which has a high effect on the US-Saudi enemies of the nation, and to continue supporting the Palestinian people and confronting aggression against our country until victory.

Trade-Off looming on Syria and Yemen:

Trade-Off looming on Syria and Yemen:

March 16, 2021

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

In the past few weeks much has happened in the area of diplomacy on the part of Russia. Russia is forging ahead after stepping up its presence in the Middle East in the past decade, taking a strong pro-active political role. Moscow during this period has been intent on consolidating its efforts in re-establishing itself as the key player in any political settlements in the Middle East. Ever since Kissinger in the late 1970’s pulled the rug out from underneath the feet of the USSR, striking a deal between Israel and Egypt, excluding the USSR and the rest of the Arab World, the political influence of Russia in the Middle East significantly waned until it came back with deciding force when Russia responded to the Syrian Government’s request for help in September 2015.

Lately, the economic crisis has deepened in Syria following the drastic Western sanctions. And specifically after the implementation of the Caesar’s Act, the Syrian currency took a huge tumble and the cost of living has soared to unprecedented levels. This left many cynics wondering and pondering what was Russia going to do in the face of the collapsed Syrian economy after having achieved an impressive military victory, taking its troops outside its former USSR borders for the first time and heralding the end of the single super power status of the USA.

To this effect, and on the diplomatic side, Russian FM Lavrov has recently visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE for talks pertaining to an array of issues. The agenda issues that transpired to the media include trade, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, as well as issues of global and regional security, albeit vague in details as what ‘security issues’ mean.

It appears that in these meetings, discussions included the return of Syria to the Arab League and the cost of reconstruction of Syria after ten years of war, a bill touted to exceed $Bn200. Expectations have existed for some time that the Arab Gulf states will fork out a huge chunk of this cost. As mentioned above, the bottom line here is that Russia’s military success in its operation in Syria needs to be followed by political success. Partly, this is achieved within the Astana talks which include Turkey and Iran. However, the very same Arab States instrumental in the ‘War on Syria’ are also instrumental in facilitating the return of Syria to the Arab League, the reconstruction efforts in Syria and the easing of sanctions. The Gulf states have always reiterated that there will no return of Syria to the Arab League for as long as Iranian forces remain on the ground. The UAE seemed more open than Saudi Arabia to the prospects of Syria’s return to the Arab League and financing the reconstruction process.

But why would the Gulf States, the same states that spent tens of billions of dollars in order to destroy Syria, be suddenly now interested in the reversal of the process? This is a fair question to ask.

Quite unexpectantly, and almost immediately after the return of Lavrov to Moscow, a top delegation of Hezbollah, headed by Mohamad Raad, was invited to Moscow for talks. Apparently, the visit was cloaked in a veil of secrecy in Russia and was not at all covered in Western media, even though it made news in Arabic mainstream media. It would be politically naïve to imagine that Lavrov’s visit to the Gulf has no relation to this. All issues in the Middle East are related to each other, including the war in Yemen.

To put it succinctly, the UAE had already stepped away from the Yemen war. However, Saudi Arabia remains bogged down in this travesty and seven years on, must have come to the humiliating and painful realization that it is a war it cannot win. This is where Iran and Hezbollah can have leverage in any direct or indirect negotiations with the Saudis, and Russia is the only arbitrator who is able to communicate with all parties involved.

All parties in the Middle East are looking for face-saving tradeoffs; at least partial and interim ones. The Saudis in particular are tired and exhausted,

In an interview given to Sputnik Arabic, one not widely reported in other media, not even Sputnik English, Raad praised the cooperation between Hezbollah and Russia, stating that ‘the invitation we received aims to reopen the dialogue about the next phase after having reached the achievements that serve the interests of the people of the region in the recent past’ .

This is Raad’s first visit to Moscow since 2011. Of that visit, I am not trying to speculate in hindsight of the purpose of it and the achievements of it. Furthermore, Hezbollah has not ever been party to any international dis-engagement or peace negotiations in the past, except for ones relating to exchange of prisoners. The economic demise of Syria and Lebanon, as well as the Saudi-Yemeni impasse, may well have placed Hezbollah in a position of participating in peace-deals negotiations this time.

I am neither referring to peace deals with Israel here, nor any deal involving disarmament. Hezbollah will not be prepared to negotiate disarming itself under any political settlement either today or in the foreseeable future, and Moscow is totally aware of this.

According to my analysis, the deal that Moscow is most likely to suggest is a mutual withdrawal of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria on one hand, and an end of the Saudi war on Yemen. It is simple, Saudi Arabia to leave Yemen and Iran/Hezbollah to leave Syria. I believe that Lavrov has already secured the Saudi acceptance of those terms, terms that will not only end the war in Yemen, but also the return of Syria to the Arab League and a possible easing of the Western economic sanctions on Syria. Had Lavrov not secured the Saudi assurance, he would not have invited Hezbollah for talks.

A deal of this nature can potentially end the criminal human tragedy in Yemen in a manner that will portray the Saudis as the real losers in the war, and this is where they need a face-saving trade-off in Syria. In Syria, they will be perceived as winners by securing an Iranian/Hezbollah exit. But most importantly perhaps for the Saudis, this will put an end to a very costly and humiliating war in Yemen, one which is beginning to draw criticism from some quarters of the international community, including alleged talk of America considering placing arms deal embargos on Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, if Iran and Hezbollah end their presence in Syria, many sanctions are likely to be lifted and the severe economic pressure in Syria will be eased. Such a deal will be a humanitarian win for Syria and Yemen, a strategic win for Saudi Arabia and Iran, and a diplomatic win for Russia.

What will be in it for Hezbollah will largely depend on what Lavrov has put on the table, and it seems obvious that it is Hezbollah that will need more convincing than Iran, and this is why the talks are now with Hezbollah; not with Iranian officials. Perhaps the deal already has the tacit approval of Iranian officials.

It goes without saying; Israel will be watching these developments with keen interest. Israel wants Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. But the trade-off deal I am talking about is not one in which Israel is a direct party.

What is known at this stage is that a meeting has already taken place between the Hezbollah delegation and Russian officials. As I write this, I am not aware if other meetings are to follow and or whether or not the Hezbollah delegation is back in Lebanon.

Was the 2011 Moscow visit of Raad a prelude for Hezbollah to enter Syria? Will the 2021 visit be prelude for Hezbollah to leave Syria? We don’t know. We may never find out the actual detailed outcome of the mysterious-but-not-so-mysterious current Hezbollah visit. It may not even end up with a press release, but in the next coming days, we will find out if a Syria-Yemen trade-off is indeed looming.

Palestinian rights have always been secondary to the ‘national interest’ of Arab regimes

Joseph Massad

28 December 2020 12:18 UTC 

Normalisation with Israel is just the latest example of Arab rulers advancing their own interests at the expense of Palestinians

The Arab League summit meeting held in Mecca on 31 May 2019 (AFP)

Since the First World War, the Palestinians have been used as a bargaining chip by different Arab regimes to advance their own interests by sacrificing Palestinian rights.

Yet, apologists for the Arab regimes, which recently normalised relations with Israel, defend their governments’ decision with the same arguments the earliest normalisers – Egypt and Jordan – used decades ago, namely that these countries made sacrifices since 1948 by placing Palestinian interests above their own “national”, read regime, interests.

Their decisions to normalise with Israel now, they tell us, have finally placed their own national interests first, and yet at the same time in normalising they are also helping the Palestinians!  

American propaganda

A major argument – proffered in this regard – relates to the American-sponsored ideological notion of “peace”, a cornerstone of American propaganda against peoples struggling against colonial and racist oppression, whether in the colonised world or inside the US itself.

Arab regimes have always put their own national interests first and had established ties and collaborated with Israel since 1948

“Peace”, which maintains oppressive colonial and racist relations, we are told, brings prosperity, whereas struggling against injustice and oppression, dubbed “war” in US lingo, brings destruction and poverty.

In contrast with the Arab peoples who have ceaselessly shown solidarity with the Palestinians since Britain issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, Arab regimes, as I have written in Middle East Eye before, have always put their own national interests first and had established ties and collaborated with Israel since 1948 – in the case of the Hashemite Amir Faisal since 1919. Apologists for Sadat’s surrender to Israel claimed for decades that President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s excessive zeal to defend the Palestinians led Egypt, as  Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi put it in 2014, to sacrifice “100,000 Egyptian martyrs” for the Palestinians.  

In fact, Egypt’s losses in the 1948 war, according to Egyptian military sources, were 1,168 soldiers, officers, and volunteers killed (as mentioned in Ibrahim Shakib’s book: The Palestine War 1948, p432-433), whereas other Egyptian official sources  (noted in Benny Morris’ book, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, p406-407) put it at 1,400.

Moreover, King Farouk of Egypt entered the war in 1948 not because he placed Palestinian interests ahead of Egypt’s, but as analysts have shown, on account of his rivalry with the Iraqi monarchy for hegemony over the post-colonial Arab world. 

Not only did Nasser not launch a single war against Israel, but also all of Egypt’s subsequent wars were fought to defend Egypt, not the Palestinians. In 1956 and in 1967, Israel invaded Egypt and occupied Sinai.

photo taken on September 9, 1980 in Alexandria shows Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (L) and President of Egypt Anouar el Sadate (R).
Former Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin (L) and President of Egypt Anwar el Sadat (R) in Alexandria on 9 September 1980 (AFP)

Egyptian soldiers died in these wars defending their country, not the Palestinians. Between 1968 and 1970, Israel and Egypt fought the “War of Attrition” in which Egyptian soldiers were killed defending their country against continuing Israeli aggression, a war fought on Egyptian soil; and in 1973, Egypt launched a war to liberate Sinai, not Palestine, and Egyptian soldiers were again killed defending their country against foreign occupation.

Sacrificing Palestinians

When Sadat signed the Camp David Accords in 1978, not only did he not defend the Palestinians, he in fact sacrificed the Palestinians and their right to independence in exchange for the return of Sinai to Egypt (without full Egyptian sovereignty) and a lavish US aid package that served to enrich the Egyptian upper classes and impoverish most of the population.Arab rulers and Israel’s leaders: A long and secret history of cooperationRead More »

The Jordanian regime, whose army was led by a British colonial general, entered the 1948 war to expand its territory, which it did by annexing central Palestine (renamed the “West Bank”) after the war. In 1967, the Israelis invaded Jordan and occupied the West Bank. In both wars, Jordanian soldiers died for Jordanian regime interests, not Palestinian interests. 

When Jordan signed in 1994 its peace treaty with Israel, Palestinian interests were sacrificed yet again by Jordan’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist on stolen Palestinian land, and by securing some sort of Hashemite role over Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.

In exchange, Jordan also received a lavish US aid package benefiting the regime and the upper classes. In contrast with Egypt’s deal, Jordan’s deal was concluded without even requiring Israel to withdraw from any of the territories it occupied in 1967. Jordan’s “peace” with Israel, as a result, legitimised Israeli occupation and conquest and did not reverse any of it. 

While historically Egyptian and Jordanian soldiers might have been told they fought these wars for Palestine, the truth of the matter is that, unbeknownst to them, they fought them for their regime’s interests. As for Sudan, Morocco, Bahrain and the UAE, it remains unclear how they had ever put Palestinian interests before their own.

Peace ‘dividend’

A related argument is the so-called “peace dividend“, heavily marketed by the Americans since the 1970s, wherein we are told all the money spent on wars and armaments with Israel would now be used for economic development and prosperity.

To prove their allegiance to the anti-Palestinian policies of the US and Israel, Gulf officials have ceaselessly attacked Palestinians in the oil-families-owned Gulf media

The irony, of course, is that the military budgets of Egypt and Jordan, abetted by huge US military aid packages as a reward, skyrocketed since they normalised with Israel.  Economic development and state social benefits were in contrast reduced to unprecedented levels in both countries, bringing about massive poverty, and a decline in educational and health services. Even Jordanian officials who support the peace deal claim that Jordan has not properly cashed in on the “peace dividend”.

On the public relations front, as a result of congressional and media hostility to the Saudis and other Gulf countries after 9/11, the oil ruling families decided yet again to benefit at the expense of Palestinian interests by abandoning demands that Israel abide by international law and withdraw from the occupied territories as prerequisites to warmer relations. They quickly cosied up to Israel and its US lobby to stem the tide of such hostility by promising closer relations, which have now become open. 

 Pro-Palestinian protesters wave Palestinian flags and chant slogans against the US and Israel on December 10, 2017 in Rabat against
Pro-Palestinian protesters wave Palestinian flags and chant slogans against the US and Israel in Rabat on 10 December, 2017 (AFP)

None of this is the stuff of the past, but is part of ongoing normalisation, whereby President Trump announced huge SaudiMoroccanBahraini, and UAE purchases of US arms during the preparation and brokering of the normalisation deals in 2019 and after, which will militarise the region more than ever.

To prove their allegiance to the anti-Palestinian policies of the US and Israel, Gulf officials have ceaselessly attacked Palestinians in the oil-families-owned Gulf media and press in the last few years. Such attacks have recently become more vigorous, especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

National interests

Ironically, the UAE had hoped to obtain the sophisticated F-35 fighter planes from the US in exchange for its peace with Israel. Israel and its supporters in Congress, however, refuse to allow this. Humiliated by this outcome, the UAE has suggested to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in order to assuage Israeli concerns, that Israeli fighter pilots take charge of the F-35s for a temporary period, after which they would train UAE pilots to replace them. How Gulf states became business partners in Israel’s occupation

Read More »

Morocco has also finally received US legitimisation of its takeover and annexation of the Western Sahara and Sudan was removed from the US list of terrorism-sponsoring countries. Neither country conceded nor sacrificed any part of its national interest to obtain such rewards.

Rather, like other Arab countries since 1948, they sacrificed Palestinian rights enshrined in international law to obtain benefits for themselves.  The  Arab League, an enemy of Palestinian interests since its establishment, also refused to condemn these peace deals even though they contradict its standing policy. 

Rather than sacrifice their national interests to defend the Palestinians, the Arab regimes have used every opportunity to sell out Palestinian rights to advance their own interests without respite.

Starting with the Hashemite Emir Faisal in 1919 who cooperated with the Zionists to ensure their support for his then Syrian kingdom, to King Mohammad VI’s normalisation with Israel to legitimise Morocco’s control of the Western Sahara, the Palestinians have been a God-send to Arab regimes which used and continue to use and abuse them for their own benefit.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.Joseph MassadJoseph Massad is Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of many books and academic and journalistic articles. His books include Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan, Desiring Arabs, The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians, and most recently Islam in Liberalism. His books and articles have been translated to a dozen languages.

Will the accelerated “normalisation” actually end the Palestine issue? «التطبيع» المتسارع هل يُصفّي قضيّة فلسطين فعليّاً؟

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation**

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط*

يبدي البعض استغراباً لشدة الوقاحة التي يتصرف بها كثير من الأنظمة العربية الرسمية في مسار الذلة والإذعان والاستسلام للمشروع الصهيوني الاستعماري، وتزاحمهم على ركوب قطار الاستسلام المسمّى تطبيعاً مع العدو «الإسرائيلي».

بيد أنّ عودة الى التاريخ العربي اللصيق أو القريب يجد انّ الاستغراب في غير محله، فتلك الأنظمة لم تكن يوماً عدواً لـ «إسرائيل»، ولم تعمل يوماً من أجل فلسطين لإعادة أهلها إليها بل بالعكس تماماً عملت في الشأن الفلسطيني من أجل تخدير الفلسطينيين وتمكين «إسرائيل» من كسب الوقت لتتمّ عمليات الاحتلال والقضم والهضم وصولاً للإجهاز على كامل فلسطين التاريخيّة التي لم يكن فيها من وظيفة فعليّة لصفقة ترامب الإجرامية إلا كشف المستور والإعلان العملي عن انتهاء وتصفية القضية الفلسطينية بمباركة عربية، وفتح الطريق أمام معظم الأنظمة العربية للسير زحفاً والجثو أمام المغتصب «الإسرائيلي». وانّ وزير خارجية المغرب عبّر بدقة عن حال العرب هؤلاء في سياق ما كان يصف أو ما فاخر به من علاقات تاريخية مميّزة بين المغرب و«إسرائيل» كانت قائمة قبل الإعلان عن التطبيع.

ومع هذا ورغم الألم الذي تنتجه مواقف وكلمات أو صور تظهر موقع «إسرائيل» المميّز عند هذه الدولة العربية أو تلك من قبيل ان ترى العلم «الإسرائيلي» على برج خليفة في الخليج في دبي في الإمارات العربية، أو قول وزير خارجية المغرب بأنّ أحداً من البلدان العربية لا يملك علاقات مع «إسرائيل» بمثل الفرادة التي تنفرد بها المغرب تاريخياً في صياغة تلك العلاقات المميّزة، أو إقدام هذه الدولة العربية أو تلك من دول التطبيع المستجدّ على إعطاء «إسرائيل» موقعاً تفضيلياً في التجارة الخارجية حتى ولو كانت السلع المستوردة من نتاج المستعمرات «الإسرائيلية» في الضفة الغربية، رغم كلّ هذا الألم فإننا نرى في التطبيع وآثاره ومفاعيله صوراً هامة من طبيعة أخرى نذكر أهمّها كالتالي:


ـ أسقط التطبيع الأقنعة وأزال أوراق التين عن عورات الدول العربية تلك، وأظهرها على حقيقتها الخيانيّة لقضية فلسطين ومَن يريد أن يعرف أسفار الخيانات المرتكبة من حكام عرب بحق فلسطين ما عليه إلا أن يُعمِل الذاكرة ويعود الى حرب الإنقاذ وكيف كانت تسلّم الأرض الى الصهاينة بعد تحريرها من تشكيلات جيش الإنقاذ، ومسيرة الخيانة مستمرة لحكام عرب كانت قائمة ولم تتوقف يوماً.


ـ كشف التطبيع بكلّ صراحة ووضوح الدور الوظيفي السلبي للجامعة العربية التي عملت في الآونة الأخيرة بشكل أكثر وقاحة ضدّ مصلحة العرب وضدّ فلسطين وهي الجامعة التي باتت كما يبدو تستعدّ للفظ أنفاسها الأخيرة لتفسح في المجال أمام قيام «جامعة الشرق الأوسط الإقليميّة» التي يتحوّل فيها العرب المطبّعون الى أيتام وخدام لدى «إسرائيل» التي ستمسك بعصا القيادة فيها تديرها بشكل منسّق مع تركيا وبإشراف أميركيّ مباشر، وعلينا أن لا ننسى كيف أنّ جامعة السقوط العربي تلك أخرجت سورية العربيّة من صفوفها وطلبت من الناتو تدمير ليبيا وتفتيتها الى الحدّ الذي تعذّر عليها بناء دولتها مجدّداً رغم مضيّ 10 سنوات على التدمير.


ـ يرسم التطبيع الخريطة الاستراتيجيّة في المنطقة، ويقيم المحاور والتحالفات الخالية من أحصنة طروادة، والخالية من المثبطين عملاء العدو، وبهذا يمكن لمحور المقاومة وحلفائه من عرب ودول إسلامية أن يضعوا استراتيجية المواجهة بوجهيها الدفاعي والهجوميّ من دون أن يقعوا فريسة التضليل والخداع. وهنا لا بدّ من الإشارة الى انّ المقاومة في جبهتها ومكوّنات محورها لم تخسر شيئاً ميدانياً بإعلان تطبيع من طبّع إذ لم يكن هؤلاء يوماً جنوداً لفلسطين وانقلبوا عليها الآن، بل كانوا خونة لفلسطين متستّرين وخرجوا من الصفوف الآن وتراجع خطرهم بعد أن فُضح أمرهم وباتت عمالتهم وخيانتهم علانية.


ـ يضع التطبيع بوصفه عملاً خيانياً الشعوب العربية أمام مسؤولياتها، التي يجب أن تضطلع بها تلك الشعوب تحت عنوانين، عنوان الرفض السلبي بالامتناع الكلي عن التعامل مع كلّ مَن ينتمي او يتصل بالعدو «الإسرائيلي» وشنّ أوسع الحملات للمقاطعة والتصرّف كما وكأنّ التطبيع لم يحصل، وعنوان الضغط الفاعل والنشط على الحكام في تلك البلدان من أجل إفهام الحاكم أنه أخطأ وأنّ الشعوب غير موافقة على خيانته ولن تسير بمقتضاها.


ـ أما العدو الذي يتباهى اليوم بهذا الانتصار الاستراتيجي الهائل، فهو يعلم وفي العمق أنّ اجتياحه للعالم العربي بالتطبيع وفرضه على أنظمة فيه للتركيع، فإنه يعلم انّ التطبيع بهذا الشكل والحجم هو عمل ليس من شأنه أن يوفر له إجابات موثوقة على أسئلة وجودية خطيرة تقضّ مضجعه خاصة أنه يرى في المواجهة جبهة إقليميّة قائمة ومستمرّة ترفض وجوده وترفض التنازل عن فلسطين رفضاً يعلم العدو أهميته خاصة عندما ينظر الى القوة التي يمتلكها الرافضون والتي فرضت على العدو تصرفاً يضع وجوده تحت علامة استفهام كبيرة. في الوقت الذي يعرف أنّ المطبّعين لم يخرجوا من الميدان العسكري في مواجهة «إسرائيل» لأنهم لم يكونوا يوماً فيه ولن يكونوا في الخندق مع «إسرائيل» في مواجهة المقاومة. نقول هذا رغم علمنا بالمزايا العسكرية والاستراتيجية التي تمنحها مسارات التطبيع لـ «إسرائيل» في مواجهة إيران بشكل خاص.

وفي الخلاصة نقول إنّ ما يسمّى التطبيع بصفته الخيانية التي لا شكّ فيها هو انقياد واستسلام للعدو لم ولن يحقق على الصعيد العام سلاماً ولن يوفر لمن طبّع من العرب مصلحة أو يكرّس لهم مكسباً، ورغم أنه سيحقق لـ «إسرائيل» بعض المكاسب والمصالح المتنوعة الاستراتيجية والسياسية والاقتصادية وقد يكون فيها بعض العسكرية، لكنه لن يحلّ لها مأزقها الوجودي في ظلّ قوة محور المقاومة الرافض لهذا الوجود وقوته المتصاعدة رغم كلّ الضغوط الأميركية كما، قوة تعطف على فعالية وجود كتلة ديمغرافية فلسطينية كبيرة حرمتها الخيانة من حقها بالأرض والدولة المستقلة، ولذا ستبقى شاهداً على استحالة تصفية القضية الفلسطينية من غير استعادة الحق لصاحبه.

 ويبقى أن نؤكد انّ التطبيع المزعوم سيلقي بثقل المسؤولية على الشعوب في الدول المطبّعة، لتقول كلمتها وتعلن مواقفها بشكل يجهض أهداف التطبيع ويظهرها بأنها أعمال ذات طبيعة كرتونية غير مجدية، ولهذه الشعوب في الشعب المصري خير اسوة ومثال حيث أنه برفضه لـ «إسرائيل» حرمها من الحركة أو التغلغل أو الوجود المجدي في الشارع المصري بكلّ عناوينه.

* أستاذ جامعي – باحث استراتيجي.  

Will the accelerated “normalisation” actually end the Palestine issue?

Brigadier General Dr. Amin Mohammed Hatit*

Some are surprised by the severity of the insolence with which many official Arab regimes are acting in the path of humiliation, acquiescence and surrender to the Zionist colonial project, and their rivalry to board the train of surrender called normalization with the «Israeli» enemy.

However, a return to recent Arab history finds that astonishment is misplaced as these regimes have never been an enemy of “Israel”, nor ever worked in the interest of Palestine to return its people to it. On the contrary, they worked in the Palestinian affairs in order to numb the Palestinians and enable Israel to gain time to expand its occupation, and annexing the whole of historical Palestine. And one finds that there was no actual function of trump’s criminal deal, so-called the deal of the century, other than announcing the end of the Palestinian issue with Arab blessing, and open the way for most Arab regimes to march and kneel in front of the “Israeli” enemy. The Foreign Minister of Morocco expressed accurately the situation of those Arabs in what he described as historical relations between Morocco and Israel, that relations had existed before the announcement of normalization.

However, despite the pain caused by some behaviours, words, or images that show the privileged position which “Israel“ occupies in this or that Arab country; such as seeing the “Israeli” flag on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, or the foreign minister of Morocco saying that none of the Arab countries have relations with Israel as unique as Morocco’s historical relations with “Israel”, or the preferential position in foreign trade was given to “Israel” by some of the newly normalizing Arab states. Even if the goods imported are the product of the “Israeli” settlements in the West Bank. despite all this pain, we see in the normalization and its effects important images of another nature. The most important of which are:

1. The normalization dropped the masks and removed the fig leaves from those Arab countries, and showed them for their betrayal of the question of Palestine, and who wants to know the journeys of betrayals committed by Arab rulers against Palestine, has to study the war of salvation, when those Arab rulers were handing over the land to the Zionists after the formations of the Salvation Army liberates it. The march of some Arab rulers’ betrayal continues and never stopped.

2. The normalization revealed openly and clearly the negative functional role of the Arab League, which has recently worked more brazenly against the interest of the Arabs and against Palestine, which seems to be preparing to take its last breath to give way to the establishment of the “Regional Middle East League “, in which the normalizing Arabs become orphans and servants of “Israel”, which will hold its stick of leadership, and for this League to be managed in a coordinated manner with Turkey and under direct American supervision. And we must not forget how the Arab League expelled Syria from it. And how it asked NATO to destroy Libya, and break it up to the extent that it was unable to build its state again despite 10 years of destruction.

3 Normalization charts the strategic map in the region, establishes the axes and alliances free of Trojan-horses, and free of disincentives from enemy agents, so that the axis of resistance and its allies from Arab and Islamic countries can put the strategy of confrontation in both its defensive and offensive plans without falling prey to misinformation and deception. Here it must be noted that the axis of resistance did not lose any of its factions on the ground because of those normalization steps, as those who normalized were not soldiers of Palestine and turned on it now, but they were traitors to Palestine in hiding and they came out of the ranks. On the contrary, their danger has decreased after they were exposed and their betrayal became public.

4 Normalization as an act of treason, demands from the Arab people to face their responsibilities, which must be carried out under two headings. First, passive resistance by totally refraining from dealing with anyone who belongs or communicates with the “Israeli” enemy and launching the broadest boycott campaigns for this purpose. Second, mount pressure on the rulers of the normalizing countries in order to make the ruler understand that he made a mistake and that the public do not agree to his betrayal and will not be part of it.

5 The enemy, which today boasts of this enormous strategic victory, knows in depth that its invasion of the Arab world by normalization does not provide him with reliable answers to serious existential questions that haunt him. Especially since he sees an existing and persistent regional front that rejects its existence and refuses to cede Palestine. The enemy knows the importance of this front, especially when the enemy knows what capabilities’ the rejectionists have, which has imposed on the enemy its conduct and places its existence under great question. While he knows that the normalizing countries did not leave the military field against “Israel” because they were never there in the first place, and will not be in the trenches with “Israel” against the axis of resistance.

In conclusion, we say that the so-called normalization as a betrayal, which is undoubtedly a surrender to the enemy, has not and will not achieve peace at the public level and will not provide those normalizing Arabs with any benefits or devote a gain to them. And although it will bring to “Israel” some gains and various strategic, political and economic benefits, and may also have some military benefits too, But it will not solve “Israel’s” existential dilemma under the strength of the axis of resistance, and its rising power despite all the American pressure. Not to mention the existence of a large Palestinian demographic bloc deprived of its right to land and an independent state. Therefore, the Palestinian issue is impossible to be settled without restoring the Palestinian right to its owner.

 It remains to emphasize that the so-called normalization will place the weight of responsibility on the people in the normalizing countries, to say their word and declare their position in a way that thwarts the objectives of normalization, and shows them as acts of a cartoonish nature useless. Those people can take a leaf out of the Egyptians’ book  . As they rejected “Israel”, they deprived it of movement or penetration or meaningful presence in the Egyptian’s streets.

* University professor – strategic researcher.

حان الوقت لتشييع الجامعة العربيّة إلى مثواها العبريّ الأخير!

د. عدنان منصور

بعد اعتراف ستّ دول عربية بالكيان الصهيونيّ، (بما فيها «دولة» فلسطين العليّة)، وكان آخرها اعتراف المغرب رسمياً به بعد مساكنة طويلة مع تل أبيب استمرّت لأكثر من خمسين عاماً، في الوقت الذي يحمل ملكها اللقب الرسميّ «أمير المؤمنين»، ويرأس في الوقت ذاته لجنة القدس…! يستمرّ قطار الاعتراف بالعدو الصهيونيّ في سيره، ينتظر في أكثر من محطة، هرولة أكثر من دولة عربية أخرى تستعدّ بدورها، للصعود إليه، واللحاق بالركب «الإسرائيلي»، بعد أن تدفع ثمن بطاقة الالتحاق.

أمام تزاحم بعض «العرب» للظفر بالاعتراف بالكيان «الإسرائيلي»، يتساءل المواطن العربيّ الحرّ المقاوم للاحتلال الصهيوني لفلسطين، ونتساءل معه: ما الذي بقي أو سيبقى من اعتبار وصدقيّة وكرامة لزعماء عرب، ولمؤسسة عربية رسمية رفيعة، حملت يوماً اسم جامعة الدول العربية، التي كانت أولى اهتماماتها الدفاع على القضية الفلسطينية، والعمل على استرجاع الأرض المغتصبة، وحقوق الشعب الفلسطيني؟! جامعة دول لم نشهد في داخلها، ومنذ نشوئها وحتى اليوم، سوى الاستعراضات، والمناكفات، والتباينات الحادة في المواقف، والعداوات على المستوى الرسمي والشخصي التي لم تتوقف، وتربّص دولة بأخرى، مع ما يرافق هذا من رفعها شعارات برّاقة، ومزايدات على القضايا القومية، من خلال اتخاذ قرارات اعتبروها على الدوام تاريخيّة، ظلت حبراً على ورق، لم يطبّق منها شيء. ولعلّ قرارات الجامعة العربية بمقاطعة «إسرائيل» تدلّ على حجم التناقض بين القول والفعل في تعاطي دول عربية مع هذه المقاطعة ومدى صدقيتها والتزامها بها.

 لقد كانت الجامعة العربية على الدوام جامعة «الخلافات» العربية، والسياسات المتباينة والمتباعدة، والمتناقضة في ما بينها، متعارضة مع روح ميثافها وجوهره، بالإضافة الى ما يختزنه البعض في داخله من أحقاد، وضغائن، وتصفية حسابات شخصية، ونزعات قبلية ثأرية، ما جعلها بعيدة كلّ البعد عن الغاية التي أنشئت من أجلها، مع غياب واضح لوحدة الصف والهدف، وابتعادها عن العمل الجماعي الموحد والثابت.

 نتيجة هذا الأداء الهشّ، والمردود المتواضع الهزيل، والسلوك المتغيّر من آن إلى آخر، أصبحت قرارات الجامعة على مدى عقود، مثار تهكّم وسخرية، من قبل الشعوب العربية، ودول العالم، التي لم تعد تأخذ على محمل الجدّ عمل الجامعة ونتائجها، وأداءها، و»إنجازاتها» وهي تتابع ما يجري من اجتماعات، وترصد حركتها وكواليسها، وقراراتها التي لا فعالية لها ولا طعماً، وتتابع «النتائج» العقيمة، والمواقف المتخبّطة المتذبذبة داخلها. إذ أنها منذ نشوئها وحتى هذا الوقت، لم تحقق الجامعة العربية إنجازاً قومياً تاريخياً واحداً على مستوى الأمة كلها، يليق بها، تستطيع أن تفاخر به، وتتباهى أمام شعوب أمتها، وأمام العالم كله.

لقد كانت الجامعة العربية على الدوام، دون مستوى المسؤولية، وتطلعات وطموحات الشعوب العربية وآمالها. وإذا ما أرادت أن تعرف رصيدها الحقيقي، ما عليها إلا أن تنزل الى الشارع العربي الممتدّ من شاطئ المحيط في موريتانيا والمغرب، الى العراق، وتستطلع رأي المواطن العربي بدورها وأدائها وإنجازاتها، عندها ستعرف مدى حجم الرصيد الفعلي لا الوهميّ، الذي تتمتع به داخل «جامعة الشعوب العربية»!

كيف لا، وهي التي حوت في داخلها تناقضات وحساسيات الأنظمة تجاه بعضها البعض، وهشاشتها وعيوبها. فكانت الشاهد دوماً على خلافات الحكام الرسمية، والشخصية، ونياتهم «الطيبة» المبيّتة حيال بعضهم البعض، وما يختزنه «الشقيق» في داخله من خشية وحيطة وتحفظ وحذر، وغياب الثقة المتبادلة التي تعمّق الكراهية بين الشقيق وشقيقه، حتى إذا ما سنحت الفرصة، أنقضّ أحدهما على الآخر من دون تردّد، متذرّعاً بحجج وأسباب واهية تدفعه الى ذلك…

 سلوك الجامعة العربية، ظهر على حقيقته بكلّ قوة، وبشكل واضح منذ عشر سنوات، بعد أن تورّطت وورّطت نفسها عن سابق تصوّر وتصميم، وزجّت نفسها في المشاكل الإقليمية، وتدخلت بشكل سافر في الشؤون الداخلية لأكثر من دولة عربية، لتكون طرفاً متهوّراً، منحازاً ضدّ طرف آخر، ما شوّه الأهداف النبيلة التي من أجلها أنشئت الجامعة، وكشف بشكل لا لبس فيه، فشل دورها، وأدائها، وعملها، ومسؤوليتها القومية وحيادها وصدقيتها ونزاهتها، بسبب رضوخها لهذا الطرف على حساب ذاك، ضاربة عرض الحائط دستور ميثاقها وروحه وجوهره، حيث تجاوزته بشكل فاضح ومستهجن، ما طرح تساؤلات عديدة. خاصة بعد أن وقفت بجانب قوى الإرهاب، التي ضربت في سورية ولبنان والعراق وليبيا وغيرها، معتبرة إياها قوى معارضة وطنية، تهدف الى التغيير وتحقيق الحرية والعدالة، وصون حقوق الإنسان. جاء هذا، بعد أن صادر قرارها أكثر من دولة عربية، لتصبح الجامعة بمن فيها، في خدمة من يحرّكها ويديرها، ويوجّهها خلف الستار من الخارج، ويحدّد خطواتها، ويرسم سياساتها… ولعلّ الأدلة الدامغة على تورّط الجامعة العربية في تدمير أكثر من دولة عربية، هي التي اعترف بها في ما بعد، رئيس وزراء قطر، وزير خارجيتها حمد بن جاسم، أحد أبرز مهندسي، وراسمي، ومخرجي ومنفذي قرارات الجامعة العربية ذات الصلة، عندما اعترف بصراحة تامة لوسائل إعلام عربية وغربية (جريدة الفينانشل تايمز، وقناة الجزيرة والـ وغيرها)، بتمويل بلاده ومن معها، لعمليات انشقاق في الجيش السوري، وتزويد شخصيات عربية بالمال، مقابل دور كبير في الحرب السورية، موضحاً أيضاً أنّ الدعم العسكري الذي قدّمته قطر للجماعات المسلحة في سورية، كان يذهب بالتنسيق مع الولايات المتحدة، حيث كان يوزع كلّ شيء عن طريق القوات الأميركية والأتراك. (!!!) كما ذهب بعيداً بصراحته ليقول أيضاً: «إننا تهاوشنا على الفريسة (سورية) التي ضاعت منا أثناء تهاوشنا عليها»!

فلتكشف لنا الجامعة العربية، أوراقها و»أسرارها» بكلّ صراحة وشفافية، حول حقيقة الدور وخفاياه، الذي قامت به تجاه الأحداث الدامية التي ضربت دولاً عربية؟! وما الذي فعلته الجامعة لإنهاء الحرب الدائرة في الصومال، وليبيا واليمن، ومواجهة قوى الإرهاب في العراق وسورية، وجرائم الاحتلال الصهيونيّ في فلسطين والجولان السوري، ولبنان وغيره واعتداءاته المتواصلة! ما الذي فعلته لإحباط محاولات الانفصال ومؤامرات التقسيم الجارية في أكثر من بلد عربي؟!

 إنها الجامعة العربية! هدمت ولم تبنِ، فرّقت ولم توحّد، قسّمت ولم تجمع، أضعفت ولم تقوِّ، بدّدت ولم تصُن، رضخت لأولياء النعمة، ولم تُعِر اهتماماً لمصالح شعوبها، وأمتها، وأمنها القومي، فاستسلمت للعدو المهدّد الدائم للسلام والأرض، والأمن القومي للأمة كلها، ورضخت لقوى التسلط، وتراجعت عن دورها، وتخلت عن وعودها ورسالتها، وفرّطت بحقها، وبقراراتها القومية التي اتخذتها وصبّت في صالح العدو وقوى الهيمنة الغربية…

 لقد كانت قضية فلسطين، ساحة خصبة لكلّ التناقضات العربية، التي تزاحم على أرضها اللاعبون من الزعماء العرب منذ نشوئها عام 1945، ليؤدّي على ملعبها كلّ واحد منهم دوره حسب أهوائه، وانتماءاته، وسياساته، وارتباطاته ونياته، وأهدافه. فكان منهم المناضل المقاوم، الثابت على المبادئ والقيم الوطنية القومية العليا، الملتزم بقضايا أمته وحقوق شعوبها، لا يهادن ولا يساوم، ولا يستسلم، خاصة في ما يتعلق بقضية العرب الأولى فلسطين، معتبراً إياها مسألة وجود الأمة وأمنها وحريتها ومستقبلها. ومنهم مَن تآمر، وتخاذل، وساوم على القضية وغدر بها، في بازار قوى المصالح والسيطرة، والنفوذ، ورضخ لإملاءات وأوامر سيده في الخارج، في حين كان يزايد علناً وباستمرار، مظهراً نفسه الحريص كلّ الحرص، على تأييده ودعمه لفلسطين وحقوق شعبها، وغيرته واستماتته في الدفاع عنها بكلّ الوسائل، دون التفريط بها بأيّ شكل من الأشكال.

مزايدات تلو المزايدات كانت تخفي باستمرار في نفوس مطلقيها، كمّاً كبيراً من النفاق، والخداع، والخبث، والغدر، والخيانة…

 اليوم، بعد الزحف والاعتراف بالكيان الصهيوني، لتقل لنا الجامعة العربية صراحة، ومعها المهرولون والمطبّعون، وليقل لنا أمينها العام أبو الغيط، الذي لم نسمع منه موقفاً قومياً شجاعاً، أو تعليقاً مشرّفاً يليق بقضية الأمة المركزية، ويكون على مستوى المسؤوليّة القوميّة والعربيّة، ليبيّن لنا ردّه ورأيه «الواضح» و»الصريح»، حيال الاعتراف العربي بالعدو والتطبيع معه، ومدى التزام الأمين العام، وتمسكه بقرارات «جامعته»، ومعرفة ما إذا كان مع الاعتراف أو ضدّه، حيث جاء صمت الأمين العام، وكأنّ على رأسه الطير، والشاهد الذي «ما شفش حاجة»…

فأين هي قرارات الجامعة العربية حيال «إسرائيل» التي شغلتم العرب والعالم بها لمدة عقود، ومنذ تأسيس كيان الاحتلال، وأين أصبحت اليوم؟! وأين هي لاءات العرب الثلاث: لا صلح ولا مفاوضات ولا اعتراف بـ «إسرائيل»، بعد أن زحف بعض «العرب» على بطونهم للاعتراف بكيانها، في الوقت الذي تصفع فيه «إسرائيل» وجوههم بلاءاتها الستّ: لا لعودة القدس إلى وضعها السابق، لا لعودة اللاجئين، لا لإزالة المستوطنات ووقف الاستيطان، لا لعودة الضفة الغربية كاملة للفلسطينيين، لا للتخلي عن الجولان، ولا لدولة فلسطينية موحدة الأرض والشعب.

 بعد هذا الانهيار والتخاذل، والانحطاط في الموقف العربي، تجاه القضية المركزية والأمن القومي العربي، التي شكلت على مدار الصراع العربي ـ «الإسرائيلي»، محور النضال، وبوصلة العمل العربي المشترك، نقول بصوت عال: ما الذي بقي من صدقية للجامعة العربية كي تواجه بها شعوبها، وتواجه العالم الذي لم ينظر إليها يوماً إلا باستخفاف، وهو الذي خبر جيداً نتائج قممها، وجدية وسلوك حكام دولها وزعمائها، والقيّمين عليها، والمسؤولين فيها، وعرف حقيقة معدنهم، وصدقيّتهم، وما يقولونه في العلن، ويفعلونه في السرّ، ما يضمرونه ويبيّتونه لبعضهم البعض، وما يرفعونه من شعارات لا تعكس بالمرة ما ينفذونه على الأرض… وما فلسطين إلا نموذج وشاهد على أفعالهم.

كيف يمكن لجامعة عربية أن تستمرّ بالدفاع عن الحقوق العربية، والعمل على تحرير الأراضي المحتلة، وتؤدي دورها الفاعل، على الصعيد القومي، والسياسي، والاقتصادي، والعسكري، والثقافي، وفي داخلها دول مقاومة ورافضة لدولة الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي»، ودول ترى في دولة الاحتلال، دولة حليفة لها بل شقيقة؟!

 بعد كلّ الذي نشاهده ونلمسه من واقع مرير، وانحطاط وعمالة وذلّ أدمن عليه البعض في هذه الأمة وتعايش معه، ترى شعوب الأمة العربية كلها، ونرى معها أنها أحوج ما تكون الى «جامعة الشعوب العربية» بكلّ نشطائها وفعالياتها وقواها الشعبية كي تتصدّى بحزم لأيّ تعاون مع العدو، وتجهض تداعيات الاعتراف بالعدو، مثل ما فعله ويفعله شعب مصر والأردن الأصيل برفضه للتطبيع. لذلك لا داعي بعد اليوم، لوجود جامعة عربية من هذا الطراز الوضيع، في نهجها وسلوكها وأدائها، ومهامها، طالما أنّ قرارات النهار، يمحوها أشباح ليل الجامعة المتحكّمون بها، والمهيمنون عليها، لتغدو اليوم جثة ميتة، يصعب إحياؤها. لذلك، ليس أمام المهرولين والمطبّعين بعد الآن، إلا تشييعها الى مثواها العبري، لأنه المكان الوحيد الذي تستطيع أن تحظى فيه على المديح والتكريم والتأبين!


*وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق.

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