Why did Saudi Arabia wage a war on Yemen?

12 July 2021

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To say the war on Yemen was a major development in the history of West Asia might be an understand. It will certainly go down In history, perhaps not in favor of the Saudis though.

TEHRAN (Iran News) –  Why did Saudi Arabia wage a war on Yemen? To say the war on Yemen was a major development in the history of West Asia might be an understand. It will certainly go down In history, perhaps not in favor of the Saudis though.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia declared that it and some allies had formed a coalition led by Riyadh and began a military operation. At the time, this was something unheard of, especially in the Arab world; that the Arabs had formed a military alliance for the first time in many decades and were conducting wide-scale bombing campaigns with such energy and such enthusiasm. The military campaign was dubbed Operation Decisive Storm. Many in the region had jokingly highlighted what exactly happened that we are suddenly witnessing this courageous will and heroic leadership among a handful of Arab states.

The Storm of the Arabs! In fact it was quite unfortunate. For decades, since 1948, the Palestinians had witnessed one massacre after the other and we never got to see an Arab storm. Not even a breeze of this storm on Yemen. The Palestinians and the Lebanese who also suffered from Israeli occupation had dreamt to only smell an Arab storm of this magnitude. The reasons or excuses at the time, Saudi Arabia offered to wage a war to this extent on another country were THREE. Firstly, the Saudis claimed that the former government of Yemen led by former President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi had requested the military intervention. By the way, the Palestinians had also requested such an intervention and is still requesting such an intervention today but to date, their appeals have fallen on death ears. Instead the Saudis and their allies are accused of conspiring against the Palestinians and sold the third holiest site in Islam in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds to the Israelis.

The Saudis claimed they sensed a threat from Yemen, where peace talks between the former Saudi backed government in Sana’a and the new National Salvation Government broke down and clashes ensued between the two sides. Here it’s important to note, former President Hadi allied with Riyadh, naturally took sides with Riyadh. Whereas the new National Salvation Government backed by a popular public revolution on the ground expressed opposition to Saudi Arabia’s decades old control on Yemen and was seeking independence from the Kingdom.

As Hadi lost grip on the country, so did the Saudis and Hadi quite naturally fled to Riyadh. For arguments sake, even if Hadi’s term had not expired and he was overthrown by a popular  revolution, was this enough to wage such a devastating war? even if Riyadh had claimed it wanted to reinstate what it considers or claims to be the legitimate President of Yemen. Here, again important to note, many other Saudi allies like former Tunisian President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled during the Islamic Awakening in 2011 by the Tunisian Revolution also fled to Saudi Arabia. Where was the Saudi war on Tunisia to reinstate Ben Ali? Likewise Saudi Arabia’s neighbor, Egypt with Hosni Mubarak which Saudi Arabia tried its best to reinstate but not to the extent that it waged a war or militarily intervened. Not only does this prove the Saudi reasoning is false in nature but also puts the spotlight on Yemen. Why only a war on Yemen? Why this quick decisive action to wage war on Yemen, why no talks first, no dialogue or other non-lethal attempts?

The second reason Riyadh stated for this very surprising yet very unfortunate war on its southern neighbor is that the new situation on the ground (the popular revolution spearheaded by Ansarullah alongside the Yemeni army and many legal and popular institutions and committees) poses a threat to Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf as well as the security of the Red Sea. Was this accurate? Did Saudi Arabia present any evidence (even a verbal statement by a Saudi official) to back this accusation to the region or the world. Was the presentation of evidence to back up this claim not necessary to wage a deadly devastating war? It is well known that Yemen is the poorest nation in the region. It was also well known that Yemen had many challenges ahead from legal issues to public issues to security issues for example writing a new constitution, bringing back basic services to its people, fighting Takfiri terrorist cells operating on its land such as al-Qaeda. This needed time for the new Yemeni government. Can a new born country in this state pose a threat to Saudi Arabia, the richest Kingdom in the region or the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea. This also proved to be false. The third and most important reason that was circulating on Saudi media and all Saudi sponsored media in the region and the world at the time, perhaps the most serious allegation by the Saudis is that Yemen has become ‘occupied’ by Iran, ‘controlled‘ by Iran and military intervention is required to return Yemen back to an ‘Arab state’.

In other words, Yemen became Iranian overnight. When you study Yemeni history, literature, culture and recent pride, dignity, resistance and willpower and steadfastness against the Saudis; If the Yemenis are not Arabs, then who are the Arabs?

However, as this was a major accusation, it needs to be documented and examined carefully and with logic. When the Saudis said occupation, let’s tackle the simple aspects first. Where is the evidence that Iran ‘occupies’ Yemen? An occupation tends to have a presence, as with every occupation in the world. Was Iran’s army or Iranian forces occupying Yemen or parts of Yemen. Were there any Iranian military bases on Yemeni territory? The accusation was so absurd it was actually laughable. Let’s assume the Saudis actually didn’t mean a military occupation but some form of Iranian control over Yemen. This also needs to be addressed to understand the misconception not just in Yemen but the entire region.

Here, one has to understand the mentality of the tribal ruling monarchy of Saudi Arabia that is backed by the United States and widely believed to be backed by Israel. This ruling monarchy has an issue with something called independent democratic states in West Asia. An independent Tunisian state or Syrian state or for arguments sake an independent Egyptian state or independent Persian Gulf States or even an independent Saudi Arabian state with democratic institutions. The monarchies in West Asia where one tribe rules an entire population with an iron fist views any form of independence as a form of resistance to its rule of power.

That’s in a nutshell.

The facts and reality on the ground is that this logic by these ruling tribes leads to regular foreign policy miscalculations, losses and diplomatic blunders. It’s difficult to find the last time Saudi Arabia made a real foreign policy achievement. More than six years of Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, which Riyadh predicted would end in a couple of weeks has been a failure, a defeat and a quagmire for the Kingdom.

These are the same statements that we hear again and again and again from regional states like Iraq, like Syria, like Palestine, like Lebanon and others. The lack of a strong Saudi leadership in the region despite all its rich resources and home to the two holiest sites in Islam, this lack of leadership or failed policies is what leads nations to request help from an independent nation in West Asia such as the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Here is where Riyadh needs to change its mentality and be a source of inspiration for West Asia. For example, Lebanon 1982, when Israeli forces invaded and reached Beirut. All the Arab monarchies and dictatorships ignored Lebanon. The only two states that supported Lebanon during its darkest era was Iran and Syria. Both countries under blockade and siege or war and terrorism. Despite that, Lebanon requested help from Iran, a country that itself was facing a war from Saddam’s regime but Iran fulfilled its duty to another oppressed nation by sending a team of military advisors.

However, it’s very important to highlight, despite western and regional propaganda, that the Lebanese resistance that was formed against Israeli occupation was a Lebanese resistance; made up of Lebanese men; commanders and soldiers not Iranian. Until today, the Saudis describe the Lebanese resistance in its media as Iranian without a shred of evidence while there are thousands of shreds of evidence proving otherwise. The same again with Palestine, if Saudi Arabia supported the Palestinians against the Israeli occupation with the same willpower and money and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of weapons it spent on the war on Yemen, the Palestinians may not have turned to Iran for support. The same goes for Iraq and Syria during the era of Daesh’s occupation. Where were the Arab monarchies? had it not been Iranian military advisors, Daesh would have taken over both countries. More important than this, to make the picture clearer (and counter American/Israeli/Saudi propaganda) never once have these nations stated in their history, that Iran ordered us to do something in return for Tehran’s support.

This reality, where independent states, or those still looking to liberate their lands from occupation, can form an alliance and be free or independent at the same time poses a danger to Saudi Arabia and its allies. Elections in Iran, Iraq, Syria or Lebanon or Palestine or Yemen poses a threat to monarchical rule. Saudis nationals are asking (quite rightly) why don’t we have elections, but analysts argue this is why American support for these monarchies (whether Saudi Arabia knows it or not) allows it to maintain its hegemonic presence in West Asia and serve Israeli interests.

Returning to Yemen, prior to March 2015, Saudi Arabia had been interfering in Yemen for decades and in literally every aspect; controlling its governance, policies, army, economy and even faiths and sects. What has Saudi Arabia offered to Yemen after all those years? Where was the infrastructure in Yemen? where was the state of the economy? where was the security? Did Saudi Arabia include Yemen in the Persian Gulf Security Council, considering its alleged staunch support for the country? Saudi Arabia kept Yemen as the region’s poorest nation. The Yemeni people are the ones that reached the conclusion based on their will and took a decision to part ways with Riyadh and reclaim their country, borders, sovereignty, independence and most importantly dignity.

Hamas Chief in Gaza: Palestinian Resistance Used Only 50% of its Military Power During Al-Quds Sword Battle السنوار عن الرشقة الأخيرة في معركة سيف القدس: “وما خفيّ أعظم”

Source

manar-06674190016224720967

June 5, 2021

Hamas Chief in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, indicated on Saturday that the Palestinian resistance used only 50% of its military power during Al-Quds Sword battle, highlighting the military readiness to face any Zionist aggression.

Addressing the academicians in Gaza, Sinwar stressed that if the confrontation erupts again, the entire Middle East will change, underlining that there are great surprises in this regard.

Sinwar pointed out that 130 missiles were fired by the Palestinian resistance at Tel Aviv, adding that the Zionist enemy could not destroy more than 3% of Gaza tunnels.

On the other hand, Sinwar said that the Palestinian resistance will reject any attempt to keep Gaza affected by the destruction caused by the Israeli war, adding that all who plan to support the Gazans or invest in the Strip are welcomed.

Sinwar, also, noted that the PLO must be reorganized in order to be joined by Hamas and the resistance factions, emphasizing that all the political concepts that were adopted by the PLO figures before Al-Quds Sword have become useless.

 Al-Manar English Website

السنوار عن الرشقة الأخيرة في معركة سيف القدس: “وما خفيّ أعظم”

 الميادين نت

05/06/2021

رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس في قطاع غزة يحيى السنوار يؤكد أنه “إذا تفجرّت المواجهة مع “إسرائيل” مجدداً، فإن شكل الشرق الأوسط سيكون مختلفاً عما هو عليه الآن”.

رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس في قطاع غزة يحيى السنوار (أرشيف)

رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس في قطاع غزة يحيى السنوار (أرشيف)

أعلن رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس في قطاع غزة يحيى السنوار، أنه “إذا تفجرّت المواجهة مع “إسرائيل” مجدداً، فإن شكّل الشرق الأوسط سيكون مختلفاً عما هو عليه الآن، فالمقاومة قادرة على تحقيق الردع واستطاعت أن تصنع من المستحيل القوة المتراكمة”.

ولفت خلال لقاء مع الكتّاب والأكاديميين والأساتذة في جامعات بغزة، إلى أن”انتفاضة أهل الضفة الغربية والداخل شكلّت عامل ضغط أكبر من صواريخ المقاومة في العدوان على غزة، فيما الهرولة العربية للتطبيع والانقسام الفلسطيني والوضع الدولي شجعّت إسرائيل على عدوانها”. 

وكشف السنوار أن “ما خفيّ كان أعظم، ففي في الرشقة الصاروخية الأخيرة التي أعددناها، كان القرار بإطلاق كافة الصواريخ القديمة”، موضحاً أن “العدو لن يستطيع فرض واقعه المزعوم في القدس والشيخ جرّاح مستغلاً حالة الانقسام والتطبيع”.

وتابع السنوار قائلاً: “مقاومتنا المحاصرة من العدو والأقربون، تستطيع أن تدك تل أبيب بـ130 صاروخاً برشقة واحدة، والرشقة الأخيرة بمعركة “سيف القــدس” كان القرار أن تدك بكل صواريخها القديمة، وما خفيّ أعظم”، مؤكدا أن “تل أبيب التي أصبحت قبلة الحكام العرب، حولناها إلى ممسحة وأوقفتها المقـاومة على رجل واحدة”.

وأشار السنوار إلى أن “الاحتلال لم يدمّر إلا كسوراً من أنفاق المقـاومة في قطاع غزة، وفشل في تحطيم “مترو حمـاس” لأننا نعشق هذه الأرض كما هي تعشقنا، كما فشل بتحطيم قدرات المقـاومة وفي تنفيذ خطته التي تقضي بقتل 10 آلاف مقاتل من المقاومة، ولم يدمروا أكثر من 3% من الأنفاق، مضيفا أنه “إستعملنا فقط نصف قوتنا”.

وشدد على أنه “لا يمكن أن نقبل دون انفراجة كبيرة يلمسها أهلنا في قطاع غزة، ونحن بعد أيار/مايو 2021 لسنا كما كنا قبله”، مؤكداً بسياق المناسبة أن “المعركة الأخيرة أثبتت أن المقاومة الفلسطينية تضم بين صفوفها عدداً كبيراً من حملة الشهادات العليا”.

انتخابياً، كشف السنوار عن ” تقديم كل تنازل ممكن وأبدينا مرونة عالية جداً من أجل الوصول لحالة تنهي شتاتنا وتنهي الانقسام، لكن الانتخابات ألغيت، وأي شخص يريد الإستثمار بقطاع غزة أو يقدم الدعم لغزة سنفتح له الباب ولن نأخذ أي شيء للمقاومة، والأيام القادمة ستكون  اختباراً حقيقياً للاحتلال وللعالم وللسلطة لترجمة ما تم الاتفاق عليه”.

وأكمل: “أمامنا فرصة لإنهاء حالة الانقسام وترتيب البيت الفلسطيني ونقول كل ما كان يطرح قبل 21 أيار لم يعد صالحاً”، معتبراً أن “منظمة التحرير بدون حركة حمـاس وفصائل المقـاومة هي مجرد صالون سياسي، وأمامنا استحقاق فوري لترتيب المنظمة لتمثّل الجميع ولنضع استراتيجيتنا الوطنية لإدارة الصراع لتحقيق جزء من أهداف شعبنا”.

Iran backs Palestine because it is independent, says Lebanese analyst

May 24, 2021 – 17:18

By Reza Moshfegh

Amin Hoteit

TEHRAN – A senior Lebanese political analyst says that Iran adheres to the Palestinian cause while many Arab countries have neglected Palestine in order to satisfy the colonialists and the Zionist regime and their American master.

Amin Hoteit says Iran has adopted such a policy toward Palestine because it is an independent and sovereign state.

“There is a big difference between a sovereign, independent ruler who safeguards the interests of his nation and a subordinate ruler who guards the interests of foreigners,” Hoteit tells the Tehran Times.

“Iran adheres to Palestinian cause while many Arabs neglect Palestine in order to satisfy the colonialists and the Zionist regime, and their American master,” the Lebanese analyst notes.

After 11 days of Israeli bombing, Gaza remains strong. The Israeli regime was forced to agree to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Resistance forces in Gaza forced Israeli settlers to seek shelters by firing hundreds of missiles at different parts of occupied territories.
Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What is the status of Palestine in the Arab and Islamic world?

A: Palestine is part of the Arab and Islamic lands, and within this framework, we say that the Islamic world should be coherent and united in the face of Israel as God says in Quran: “Indeed this, your religion, is one religion, one and I am your Lord, so worship Me.” (Al-Anbya – Verse: 92)

On the one hand, according to Islamic logic, the attack on Palestine means an attack on the Islamic Ummah.

On the other hand, Palestine contains the most important sanctities of Muslims, including Jerusalem, which hosts Muslim’s first Qiblah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque; and there are other religious symbols related to Islam and Christianity.

Third, the Palestinian people are part of the Arab people and the Islamic Ummah, and attacking that part means attacking the whole. For all of this, Palestine, in its three dimensions -the land, the people, and the holy sites-has a fundamental position for the Arab and Islamic world.

Q: Why does Iran, after the Islamic Revolution, has kept insisting on liberating the Palestinian lands?

A: What distinguishes Iran from other Arab countries is that first it is an independent, sovereign state whose rule stems from the will of the people and was established on the basis of an Islamic revolution that seeks to achieve the nations’ rights and resist the usurpers.

Therefore, Iran is working for the sake of Islam, the people, and the Islamic Ummah. This feature does not exist in most Arab regimes, wherein the ruler is appointed by foreigners.

 In Arab states, a ruler comes and goes by an external decision, and policies and governments are determined by powers outside the countries. Therefore, at a time when we find that Iran is a country in which the rule emanates from the people and takes care of the interests of the people and nations, most of Arab rulers are guardians of the interests of foreign powers.

 There is a big difference between a sovereign, independent ruler who safeguards his nation’s interests and a subordinate ruler who guards the interests of foreigners. For this reason, Iran adheres to the Palestinian cause while many Arabs neglect Palestine in order to satisfy the colonialists and the Zionist regime and their American master.

Q: How do you see the stances of Arab states towards the Palestinian issue? How do you assess normalization of ties with Israel?

A: Unfortunately, some Arabs are heading towards overt surrender to the Israeli enemy.

Under the slogan of normalization of ties with Israel and the forged Abraham Accords, these regimes accepted to be slaves of Israel and servants of American interests, providing it with resources and reassurance. This approach should be stopped.

We call on Arab people to move against this approach adopted by their governments. They need to retreat from this treacherous behavior.

Normalization of ties with Israel, in our opinion, is a betrayal of the Ummah and a betrayal of the Palestinian cause. It violates their rights and legitimacy.
That is why we find that today there are sides and groups in the Arab and Islamic world that condemn normalization of ties with the Zionist regime and call for an end to it and a return to the idea of Palestine from the river to the sea.

Q: Is it possible to bet on the American-European role in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?

A: The Palestinian tragedy is a result and product of European-American conspiracy.

The Europeans continue to insult Palestine and the Palestinian people since they adopted the Sykes–Picot Agreement in Britain and France, which was followed by the Balfour Declaration.

Then, they decided to partition Palestine in the United Nations, which was ruled by Europeans and Westerners. 

They are insulting the Arab world and the Islamic Ummah by aggression against Palestine.

Whoever harmed Palestine cannot heal its wounds, and therefore we are not betting on a real European stance or on a just and fair American position in order to restore rights to their owners.

The only bet is on the peoples, on the will of the Muslim nations, and on the governments that line up in support of the resistance axis, which constitutes a milestone in the modern era.

Resistance forces have succeeded to withstand colonial domination in the region and now are drawing a scheme of liberating Palestine in the people’s minds.

Q: How could Israel preoccupy Islamic countries with internal disputes and divert attention from the Zionist threats?

A: Israel is afraid of the unity of the Arab-Islamic world because if the Arabs and the Muslims get united, what Imam Khomeini said about the Zionist regime’s demise will be realized.

To divide the Islamic world and preventing Muslim unity, Israel is working to undermine the Arab-Islamic frontier. Unfortunately, it finds those who listen to it and engage in its projects.

The comprehensive war that targeted Syria, and the great strife that has been called the Arab Spring, are not but a case of conspiracy plotted by the Zionists and Europeans to disperse and divide Muslims so that they do not unite to liberate Palestine.

RELATED NEWS

Why Israel is joining the Pentagon’s ‘Arab Nato’ لماذا تنضم “إسرائيل” إلى القيادة المركزية الأميركية

Israel’s inclusion in Centcom will further harm the Palestinian cause, drive a wedge between Arab states and raise the heat on Iran

Flags of the US, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are projected on the ramparts of Jerusalem’s Old City in celebration of Israeli normalisation deals with the UAE and Bahrain, 15 September 2020 (AFP)
Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

Jonathan Cook

2 February 2021 12:21 UTC 

With none of the usual fanfare associated with such a momentous decision, the Pentagon announced last month a major reorganisation to bring Israel – for the first time – inside its military command in the Middle East alongside the Arab states.

Until now, Israel has belonged to the US military’s European command, or Eucom, rather than the Middle Eastern one, known as Central Command, or Centcom. The decision effectively jettisoned the traditional wisdom that Israel’s inclusion in Centcom would increase friction between the US and Arab states, and would make the latter more reluctant to share intelligence or cooperate with the Pentagon. 

Those concerns were felt especially keenly when the US had large numbers of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Back in 2010, David Petraeus, then Centcom’s commander, expressed fears that the price of too-overt military collusion with Israel could be exacted on US forces stationed in the region. 

But Israel’s long-standing goal has been to force the Pentagon to restructure Centcom, and pressure had mounted from pro-Israel lobby groups in Washington in the final months of the Trump administration. The decision looked very much like a “parting gift” to Israel from President Donald Trump as he stepped down.

Military ‘normalisation’

Israel’s formal transfer to Centcom has not yet taken place, but the move was cemented last week with the first visit to Israel by General Kenneth McKenzie, the current head of Centcom, since Joe Biden entered the White House. Alongside Israel’s military chief of staff, Aviv Kohavi, McKenzie planted a tree – officially to mark the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat but symbolically representing a new era in their strategic partnership. 

The decision to bring Israel inside Centcom is best viewed – from Washington’s perspective – as the culmination of efforts to push the Arab states into public ‘normalisation’ with Israel

On Friday, after a meeting with the US general, Benny Gantz, Israel’s defence minister, issued a statement praising the Pentagon’s reorganisation, saying it would “afford Israel opportunity to deepen cooperation with new regional partners and broaden operative horizons”.

The decision to bring Israel inside the US military command in the Middle East is best viewed – from Washington’s perspective – as the culmination of efforts to push the Arab states into public “normalisation” with Israel. 

Military normalisation can now be added to the political, diplomatic and economic normalisation that formally began last September when two Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, signed the so-called Abraham Accords with Israel. Morocco and Sudan have also announced their own peace deals with Israel, and other Arab states are likely to follow suit once the dust settles with the incoming Biden administration. 

Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, the UAE has been forging strong trading ties with Israel and has helped to establish the Abraham Fund, designed to finance the infrastructure of occupation Israel has used to deprive the Palestinians of statehood. When flights to Dubai were launched in November, Israeli tourists poured into the UAE to take advantage of the new friendly relations and escape lockdown restrictions back home. 

In fact, it is widely reported that such visits have become one of the main ways Israel has imported new variants of Covid-19. Last week, Israel effectively closed its borders – except to General McKenzie – to keep the virus in check. 

Growing confidence

On the face of it, Israel’s desire to move into Centcom – a kind of Middle East Nato covering several Arab states with which Israel still has hostile relations – appears counter-intuitive. But, in fact, Israel will make major strategic gains. How Gulf states became business partners in Israel’s occupationRead More »

It will align US security interests in the region even more closely with Israel’s, at the expense of its Arab neighbours. It will aid Israel’s continuing efforts to crush the national ambitions of the Palestinians, with many Arab states’ either explicit or implicit cooperation. It will accentuate political tensions within the bloc of Arab states, further weakening it. And it will help to build pressure on recalcitrant Arab states to join the broader consensus against Israel’s one remaining significant regional foe: Iran.

It is significant that Washington’s long-standing concern about Israel’s presence in Centcom damaging US relations with the Arab states has apparently evaporated. 

Once, the US was careful to distance itself from Israel whenever the Pentagon got deeply mired in the region, whether it was the US Gulf war of 1990 or the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Those calculations no longer seem relevant.

The move demonstrates a growing US confidence that the Arab states – at least those that matter to Washington – are unperturbed about being seen to make a military accommodation with Israel, in addition to political and economic engagement. It underscores the fact that the oil-rich Gulf states, alongside Israel, are now the key drivers of US foreign policy in the region and suggests that the most important, Saudi Arabia, is waiting for the right moment to sign its own accord with Israel. 

Move out of the shadows

Israel, it is expected, will continue to conduct military exercises in Europe with Nato countries, but will soon be able to build similar direct relations with Arab armies, especially those being rapidly expanded and professionalised in the Gulf using its oil wealth. 

US Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. (L), Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), shakes hands with Saudi military officers during his visit to a military base in al-Kharj in central Saudi Arabia on July 18, 2019.
US General Kenneth McKenzie (L), commander of US Central Command (Centcom), shakes hands with Saudi military officers on 18 July 2019 (AFP)

As the Israeli scholar Jeff Halper has noted, Israel has shown how effective it is at translating its military and security ties with armies and police forces around the world into diplomatic support in international bodies. 

The Middle East is not likely to be different. Once Israel has become the linchpin of more professionalised armies in the region, those states dependent on its help can be expected to further abandon the Palestinian cause.

Regional divide-and-rule

Another dividend for Israel will be complicating Washington’s relations with the Arab region. 

Not only does Centcom operate major bases in the Gulf, especially in Bahrain and Qatar, but it leads the proclaimed “war on terror”, with overt or covert operations in several Arab states, including Iraq and Syria. 

With Israel inside Centcom, the US and its most favoured Arab states are also likely to be more directly implicated in Israel’s major military operations against the Palestinians, such as the repeated ‘wars’ on Gaza

It will be harder for the US to disentangle itself from Israel’s own openly belligerent operations, including air strikes, in both countries, that are conducted in flagrant violation of international law. Tensions between the US and Baghdad have in the past escalated over Israeli air strikes in Iraq, with threats to limit US access to Iraqi airspace.  

With Israel inside Centcom, the US and its most favoured Arab states are also likely to be more directly implicated in Israel’s major military operations against the Palestinians, such as the repeated “wars” on Gaza. 

This will pose a significant challenge to the region’s cooperative institutions such as the Arab League. It is almost certain to drive an even deeper wedge between pro-Washington Arab states and those accused of being on the wrong side of the “war on terror”.

The result could be a regional divide-and-rule policy cultivated by Israel that mirrors the decades-long, disabling divisions Israel has generated in the Palestinian leadership, most pronounced in the split between Fatah and Hamas.

Anti-Iran front

The biggest bonus for Israel will be a more formal alliance with Arab states against Iran and shepherding more ambivalent states into Israel’s orbit. 

That appears to have been the purpose of the recently well-publicised reconciliation between the UAE and Saudis on one side and Qatar on the other, achieved in the dying days of the Trump administration. One of the chief causes of the lengthy blockade of Qatar related to its insistence on maintaining political and economic ties with Tehran.

the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps Hossein Salami (R) watching a launch of missiles during a military drill in an unknown location in central Iran
Head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami (R), watches missiles being launched during a military drill in central Iran on 15 January 2021 (AFP)

Israel’s aim is to force the Biden administration’s hand in continuing Trump’s belligerent anti-Iran policy, which included aggressive sanctions, assassinations and tearing up the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran signed by Barack Obama. That deal had given inspectors access to Iran to ensure it did not develop a nuclear bomb that might neutralise the strategic clout Israel gains from its nuclear arsenal.

Once Israel has become the linchpin of more professionalised armies in the region, those states dependent on its help can be expected to further abandon the Palestinian cause

Inside Centcom, Israel will be able to work more closely with Gulf allies to sabotage any efforts inside Washington to revive the nuclear accord with Tehran. That point was underscored last week when an online security conference, hosted by Tel Aviv University, was attended by two Gulf ministers.

At the conference, Kochavi, Israel’s military chief of staff, issued an unprecedented public rebuke to Biden over recent statements that he wished to revive the nuclear deal. Kochavi called the agreement “bad and wrong strategically and operatively”, claimed that Iran would launch nuclear missiles at Israel once it had them, and declared that a go-it-alone attack by Israel “must be on the table”. 

Bahrain’s foreign minister, Abdullatif al-Zayani, observed that Israel and the Gulf states would have a better chance of preventing any US conciliation towards Iran if they spoke in a “unified voice”. He added: “A joint regional position on these issues will exert greater influence on the United States.” 

That view was echoed by Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s foreign affairs minister.

Middle East bogeyman

In a sign of how the Biden administration is already fearful of taking on a broad Middle Eastern alliance against Iran, the new president’s pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said last month it was “vitally important” to consult with Israel and the Gulf states before re-entering the deal.Is the UAE plotting with Israel against Palestinian refugees?Read More »

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, desperate to bolster his electoral fortunes and deflect attention from his looming corruption trial, has every incentive to prise open that chink. 

Ensuring Iran remains the Middle East’s number one bogeyman – the focus of western hostility – is in the joint interests of an Israel that has no intention of ending its decades-old obstruction of Palestinian statehood and of Gulf states that have no intention of ending their own human rights abuses and promotion of Islamic discord.

Mike Pompeo, Trump’s departing secretary of state, planted a landmine last month designed to serve Israeli and Saudi interests by highlighting the fact that a number of al-Qaeda leaders have found shelter in Iran. That echoed the Bush administration’s – in this case, entirely fanciful – claim of ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein as a pretext, along with non-existent WMD, for the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.

With Israel’s arrival in Centcom, the lobbying for a repeat of that catastrophic blunder can only grow – and with it, the prospects for renewed conflagration in the Middle East.

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

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition

“ميدل إيست آي”: لماذا تنضم “إسرائيل” إلى القيادة المركزية الأميركية

المصدر: ميدل إيست آي
11 شباط 12:24

إن انضمام “إسرائيل” إلى القيادة المركزية الأميركية سيزيد من إلحاق الضرر بالقضية الفلسطينية وسيدق إسفيناً بين الدول العربية ويزيد من حدة التوتر مع إيران.

صورة تجمع ماكينزي بغانتس وكوخافي خلال زيارته

كتب جوناثان كوك مقالة في موقع  “ميدل إيست آي” البريطاني قال فيه إن البنتاغون أعلن الشهر الماضي عن إعادة تنظيم كبيرة لإدخال “إسرائيل” – لأول مرة – داخل قيادتها العسكرية في الشرق الأوسط، القيادة المركزية الأميركية ، إلى جانب الدول العربية، وهذا القرار الخطير لم يحدث أي من الضجة المعتادة.

وأضاف: حتى الآن، تنتمي “إسرائيل” إلى القيادة الأوروبية للجيش الأميركي، أو ، بدلاً من القيادة في الشرق الأوسط، المعروفة باسم القيادة المركزية . لقد تخلص القرار بشكل فعال من الحكمة التقليدية القائلة بأن إدراج “إسرائيل” في القيادة المركزية الأميركية من شأنه أن يزيد الاحتكاك بين الولايات المتحدة والدول العربية، وسيجعل الأخيرة أكثر إحجاماً عن مشاركة المعلومات الاستخباراتية أو التعاون مع البنتاغون. فقد تم الشعور بهذه المخاوف بشكل خاص عندما كان للولايات المتحدة أعداد كبيرة من القوات في العراق وأفغانستان. في عام 2010، أعرب الجنرال ديفيد بتريوس، قائد القيادة المركزية الأميركية آنذاك، عن مخاوفه من احتمال دفع ثمن التواطؤ العسكري الصريح مع “إسرائيل” على القوات الأميركية المتمركزة في المنطقة.

لكن هدف “إسرائيل” الطويل الأمد كان إجبار البنتاغون على إعادة هيكلة القيادة المركزية، وقد تصاعد الضغط من جماعات الضغط المؤيدة لـ”إسرائيل” في واشنطن في الأشهر الأخيرة من إدارة الرئيس دونالد ترامب. وكان القرار يشبه إلى حد كبير “هدية وداع” لـ”إسرائيل” من ترامب أثناء تنحيه.

تطبيع عسكري

وأوضح الكاتب أنه لم يتم الانتقال الرسمي لـ”إسرائيل” إلى “سنتكوم” بعد، ولكن تم تعزيز هذه الخطوة مع أول زيارة الشهر الماضي إلى “إسرائيل” من قبل الجنرال كينيث ماكنزي، الرئيس الحالي للقيادة المركزية، منذ دخول الرئيس جو بايدن البيت الأبيض. إلى جانب رئيس أركان الجيش الإسرائيلي، أفيف كوخافي، زرع ماكنزي شجرة، رسمياً بمناسبة العيد اليهودي لتو بيشفات، لكنها تمثل رمزياً حقبة جديدة في شراكتهما الاستراتيجية.

وبعد اجتماع مع الجنرال الأميركي، أصدر بيني غانتس، وزير الأمن الإسرائيلي، بياناً أشاد فيه بإعادة تنظيم البنتاغون، قائلاً إنه “سيوفر لإسرائيل فرصة لتعميق التعاون مع شركاء إقليميين جدد وتوسيع آفاق العمل”.

وقال الكاتب إن قرار إدخال “إسرائيل” داخل القيادة العسكرية الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط – من وجهة نظر واشنطن – يعتبر تتويجاً لجهود دفع الدول العربية إلى “التطبيع” العلني مع “إسرائيل”. وأضاف: يمكن الآن إضافة التطبيع العسكري إلى التطبيع السياسي والدبلوماسي والاقتصادي الذي بدأ رسمياً في أيلول / سبتمبر الماضي عندما وقعت دولتان خليجيتان، الإمارات العربية المتحدة والبحرين، ما يسمى بـ”اتفاقات إبراهيم” مع “إسرائيل”. كما أعلن المغرب والسودان عن اتفاقيات السلام الخاصة بهما مع “إسرائيل”، ومن المرجح أن تحذو دول عربية أخرى حذوها بمجرد انتهاء الغبار مع إدارة بايدن.

وتابع كوك: منذ توقيع اتفاقات إبراهيم، أقامت الإمارات علاقات تجارية قوية مع “إسرائيل” وساعدت في إنشاء صندوق إبراهيم، المصمم لتمويل البنية التحتية للاحتلال الذي استخدمته “إسرائيل” لحرمان الفلسطينيين من إقامة دولة. وعندما تم إطلاق الرحلات إلى دبي في تشرين الثاني / نوفمبر، تدفق السياح الإسرائيليون على الإمارات للاستفادة من العلاقات الودية الجديدة والهروب من قيود الإغلاق في الوطن. ويُقال على نطاق واسع إن مثل هذه الزيارات أصبحت إحدى الطرق الرئيسية التي استوردت بها “إسرائيل” أنواعًا جديدة من  فيروس كوفيد -19 الشهر الماضي، إذ أغلقت “إسرائيل” حدودها فعلياً – باستثناء استقبال الجنرال ماكنزي – لإبقاء الفيروس تحت السيطرة.

ورأى الكاتب أنه في ظاهر الأمر، فإن رغبة “إسرائيل” في الانتقال إلى “سنتكوم ، وهو نوع من حلف شمال الأطلسي في الشرق الأوسط يغطي العديد من الدول العربية التي لا تزال “إسرائيل” لديها علاقات عدائية معها، تبدو غير بديهية. لكن في الواقع، ستحقق “إسرائيل” مكاسب إستراتيجية كبيرة. وستعمل على مواءمة المصالح الأمنية الأميركية في المنطقة بشكل أوثق مع مصالح “إسرائيل”، على حساب جيرانها العرب. وسوف تساعد جهود “إسرائيل” المستمرة لسحق الطموحات الوطنية للفلسطينيين، مع تعاون العديد من الدول العربية سواء بشكل واضح أو ضمني. وسيزيد من حدة التوترات السياسية داخل كتلة الدول العربية، ويزيد من إضعافها. وسيساعد على زيادة الضغط على الدول العربية المتمردة للانضمام إلى إجماع أوسع ضد العدو الإقليمي الوحيد المتبقي لـ”إسرائيل”: إيران.

وقال الكاتب “إن من الأهمية بمكان أن قلق واشنطن الطويل الأمد بشأن الوجود الإسرائيلي في القيادة المركزية الأميركية الذي يضر بعلاقات الولايات المتحدة مع الدول العربية قد تبخر على ما يبدو. فذات مرة، كانت الولايات المتحدة حريصة على إبعاد نفسها عن “إسرائيل” كلما غرق البنتاغون بعمق في المنطقة، سواء كانت حرب الخليج الأميركية عام 1990 أو غزو العراق واحتلاله عام 2003. هذه الحسابات لم تعد موجودة. فقد أظهرت هذه الخطوة ثقة الولايات المتحدة المتزايدة في أن الدول العربية – على الأقل تلك التي تهم واشنطن – غير منزعجة من أن يُنظر إليها على أنها تقدم تسوية عسكرية مع “إسرائيل”، بالإضافة إلى المشاركة السياسية والاقتصادية. إنه يؤكد حقيقة أن دول الخليج الغنية بالنفط، إلى جانب “إسرائيل”، أصبحت الآن المحركين الرئيسيين للسياسة الخارجية الأميركية في المنطقة، وتشير إلى أن أهمها، المملكة العربية السعودية، تنتظر اللحظة المناسبة لتوقيع اتفاقها الخاص مع إسرائيل”.

وأضاف: من المتوقع أن تستمر “إسرائيل” في إجراء التدريبات العسكرية في أوروبا مع دول حلف الأطلسي (الناتو)، لكنها ستتمكن قريباً من بناء علاقات مباشرة مماثلة مع الجيوش العربية، وخاصة تلك التي يتم توسيعها بسرعة واحترافها في الخليج باستخدام ثروتها النفطية. ومن المحتمل أن يخرج الضباط الإسرائيليون قريباً من الظل ويقومون بتدريب الجيوش الإماراتية والسعودية وتقديم المشورة لهم كجزء من أدوارهم المشتركة في القيادة المركزية. إن خبرة “إسرائيل” الخاصة، التي تعتمد على عقود من المراقبة والسيطرة والقمع للفلسطينيين، ستكون مطلوبة بشدة في دول الخليج التي تخشى المعارضة الداخلية أو الانتفاضات.

وكما أشار الباحث الإسرائيلي جيف هالبر، أظهرت “إسرائيل” مدى فعاليتها في ترجمة علاقاتها العسكرية والأمنية مع الجيوش وقوات الشرطة في جميع أنحاء العالم إلى دعم دبلوماسي في الهيئات الدولية. ومن غير المحتمل أن يكون الشرق الأوسط مختلفاً. فبمجرد أن تصبح “إسرائيل” العمود الفقري للجيوش الأكثر احترافاً في المنطقة، يمكن توقع أن تتخلى تلك الدول التي تعتمد على مساعدتها عن القضية الفلسطينية.

فرّق تسد 

ورأى الكاتب أن المكاسب الأخرى لـ”إسرائيل” ستكون تعقيد علاقات واشنطن مع المنطقة العربية. إذ لا تقوم القيادة المركزية الأميركية بتشغيل قواعد رئيسية في الخليج فقط، وخاصة في البحرين وقطر، ولكنها تقود “الحرب على الإرهاب” المعلنة، مع عمليات علنية أو سرية في العديد من الدول العربية، بما في ذلك العراق وسوريا. وسيكون من الصعب على الولايات المتحدة أن تنأى بنفسها عن عمليات “إسرائيل” العدائية العلنية، بما في ذلك الضربات الجوية، في كلا البلدين (سوريا والعراق)، والتي تتم في انتهاك صارخ للقانون الدولي. 

وأضاف: تصاعدت التوترات بين الولايات المتحدة وبغداد في الماضي بسبب الضربات الجوية الإسرائيلية في العراق، مع تهديدات بتقييد وصول الولايات المتحدة إلى المجال الجوي العراقي. لكن بوجود “إسرائيل” داخل القيادة المركزية الأميركية، فمن المرجح أيضاً أن تكون الولايات المتحدة والدول العربية المفضلة لديها أكثر تورطًا بشكل مباشر في العمليات العسكرية الإسرائيلية الكبرى ضد الفلسطينيين، مثل “الحروب” المتكررة على غزة. سيشكل هذا تحدياً كبيراً للمؤسسات التعاونية في المنطقة مثل جامعة الدول العربية. ويكاد يكون من المؤكد دق إسفين أعمق بين الدول العربية الموالية لواشنطن وتلك المتهمة بالوقوف في الجانب الخطأ من “الحرب على الإرهاب”.

وخلص الكاتب إلى أنه يمكن أن تكون النتيجة سياسة “فرق تسد” الإقليمية التي ترعاها “إسرائيل” والتي تعكس الانقسامات التي دامت عقوداً، والتي عطلتها “إسرائيل” في القيادة الفلسطينية، والتي تجلّت أكثر في الانقسام بين حركتي فتح وحماس.

الجبهة المناهضة لإيران

وأوضح الكاتب أن المكافأة الأكبر لـ”إسرائيل” ستكون تحالفاً أكثر رسمية مع الدول العربية ضد إيران ورعاية دول أكثر تردداً في فلك “إسرائيل”. ويبدو أن هذا الأمر كان الغرض من المصالحة التي تم الإعلان عنها أخيراً بين الإمارات والسعوديين من جهة وقطر من جهة أخرى، والتي تحققت في الأيام الأخيرة لإدارة ترامب. فمن الأسباب الرئيسية للحصار المطول على قطر إصرارها على الحفاظ على العلاقات السياسية والاقتصادية مع طهران. وتهدف “إسرائيل” إلى إجبار إدارة بايدن على مواصلة سياسة ترامب العدائية المناهضة لإيران، والتي تضمنت عقوبات صارمة واغتيالات وتمزيق الاتفاق النووي لعام 2015 مع طهران الذي وقعه الرئيس باراك أوباما. وقد سمح هذا الاتفاق للمفتشين بالدخول إلى إيران للتأكد من أنها لم تطور قنبلة نووية قد تكسر النفوذ الاستراتيجي الذي تكسبه “إسرائيل” من ترسانتها النووية. 

وتابع الكاتب: داخل القيادة المركزية -سنتكوم، ستكون “إسرائيل” قادرة على العمل بشكل أوثق مع حلفاء الخليج لتخريب أي جهود داخل واشنطن لإحياء الاتفاق النووي مع طهران. فقد أصدر كوخافي، رئيس أركان الجيش الإسرائيلي، توبيخاً علنياً غير مسبوق لبايدن بشأن التصريحات الأخيرة التي قال فيها إنه يرغب في إحياء الاتفاق النووي. ووصف كوخافي الاتفاق بأنه “سيء وخاطئ استراتيجياً وعملياً”، وادعى أن إيران ستطلق صواريخ نووية على “إسرائيل” بمجرد امتلاكها، وأعلن أن هجوم “إسرائيل” بمفردها “يجب أن يكون على الطاولة”.

وأشار وزير خارجية البحرين، عبد اللطيف الزياني، إلى أن “إسرائيل” ودول الخليج ستكون لها فرصة أفضل لمنع أي تسوية أميركية تجاه إيران إذا تحدثت “بصوت موحد”. وأضاف: “الموقف الإقليمي المشترك بشأن هذه القضايا سيكون له تأثير أكبر على الولايات المتحدة”. وكرر هذا الرأي أنور قرقاش وزير الخارجية الإماراتي.

وفي إشارة إلى كيف تخشى إدارة بايدن بالفعل الدخول في تحالف شرق أوسطي واسع ضد إيران، قال انتوني بلينكين، وزيرة الخارجية الأميركي، الشهر الماضي إنه من “المهم للغاية” التشاور مع “إسرائيل” والخليج قبل العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي.

رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو، اليائس لتعزيز ثرواته الانتخابية وصرف الانتباه عن محاكمته التي تلوح في الأفق بالفساد، لديه كل الحافز لفتح هذه الفجوة، وذلك لضمان أن تظل إيران البعبع الأول في الشرق الأوسط – محور العداء الغربي – في المصالح المشتركة لـ”إسرائيل”، التي لا تنوي إنهاء عوائقها المستمرة منذ عقود للدولة الفلسطينية، ودول الخليج التي لا تنوي إنهاء انتهاكات حقوق الإنسان وتعزيز الانقسام الإسلامي.

مايك بومبيو، وزير خارجية ترامب، زرع لغماً أرضياً الشهر الماضي مصمماً لخدمة المصالح الإسرائيلية والسعودية من خلال تسليط الضوء على حقيقة أن عدداً من قادة تنظيم القاعدة وجدوا ملاذاً في إيران. وردد ذلك صدى ادعاء إدارة الرئيس جورج بوش الإبن – الوهمي تماماً – بوجود روابط بين “القاعدة” وصدام حسين كذريعة، إلى جانب أسلحة دمار شامل التي لم تكن موجودة، لغزو العراق واحتلاله عام 2003.

وختم كوك تحليله بالقول إنه “مع وصول إسرائيل إلى القيادة المركزية، فإن الضغط لتكرار هذا الخطأ الكارثي يمكن أن ينمو فقط، وتنمو معه احتمالات تجدد الحرب في الشرق الأوسط”.

ترجمة بتصرف: هيثم مزاحم

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.

When the People Rose up: How the Intifada Changed the Political Discourse on Palestine

December 16, 2020

December 8 marks the 33rd anniversary of the First Palestinian Intifada. (Photo: File)

By Ramzy Baroud

December 8 came and went as if it was an ordinary day. For Palestinian political groups, it was another anniversary to be commemorated, however hastily. It was on this day, thirty-three years ago, that the First Palestinian Intifada (uprising) broke out, and there was nothing ordinary about this historic event.

Today, the uprising is merely viewed from a historic point of view, another opportunity to reflect and, perhaps, learn from a seemingly distant past. Whatever political context to the Intifada, it has evaporated over time.

The simple explanation of the Intifada goes as follows: Ordinary Palestinians at the time were fed up with the status quo and they wished to ‘shake off’ Israel’s military occupation and make their voices heard.

Expectedly, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) quickly moved in to harvest the fruit of the people’s sacrifices and translate them into tangible political gains, as if the traditional Palestinian leadership truly and democratically represented the will of the Palestinian people. The outcome was a sheer disaster, as the Intifada was used to resurrect the careers of some Palestinian ‘leaders’, who claimed to be mandated by the Palestinians to speak on their behalf, resulting in the Madrid Talks in 1991, the Oslo Accords in 1993 and all other ‘compromises’ ever since.

But there is more to the story.

Thousands of Palestinians, mostly youth, were killed by the Israeli army during the seven years of Intifada, where Israel treated non-violent protesters and rock-throwing children, who were demanding their freedom, as if enemy combatants. It was during these horrific years that such terms as ‘shoot to kill’ and ‘broken-bones policies’ and many more military stratagems were introduced to an already violent discourse.

In truth, however, the Intifada was not a mandate for Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas or any other Palestinian official or faction to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people, and was certainly not a people’s call on their leadership to offer unreciprocated political compromises.

To understand the meaning of the Intifada and its current relevance, it has to be viewed as an active political event, constantly generating new meanings, as opposed to a historical event of little relevance to today’s realities.

Historically, the Palestinian people have struggled with the issue of political representation. As early as the mid-20th century, various Arab regimes have claimed to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, thus, inevitably using Palestine as an item in their own domestic and foreign policy agendas.

The use and misuse of Palestine as an item in some imagined collective Arab agenda came to a relative end after the humiliating defeat of several Arab armies in the 1967 war, known in Arabic as the ‘Naksa’, or the ‘Letdown’. The crisis of legitimacy was meant to be quickly resolved when the largest Palestinian political party, Fatah, took over the leadership of the PLO. The latter was then recognized in 1974 during the Arab Summit in Rabat, as the ‘sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people’.

The above statement alone was meant to be the formula that resolved the crisis of representation, therefore drowning out all other claims made by Arab governments. That strategy worked, but not for long. Despite Arafat’s and Fatah’s hegemony over the PLO, the latter did, in fact, enjoy a degree of legitimacy among Palestinians. At that time, Palestine was part and parcel of a global national liberation movement, and Arab governments, despite the deep wounds of war, were forced to accommodate the aspirations of the Arab people, keeping Palestine the focal issue among the Arab masses as well.

However, in the 1980s, things began changing rapidly. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 resulted in the forced exile of tens of thousands of Palestinian fighters, along with the leaderships of all Palestinian groups, leading to successive and bloody massacres targeting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The years that followed accentuated two grave realities. First, the Palestinian leadership shifted its focus from armed struggle to merely remaining relevant as a political actor. Now based in Tunis, Arafat, Abbas and others were issuing statements, sending all kinds of signals that they were ready to ‘compromise’ – as per the American definitions of this term. Second, Arab governments also moved on, as the growing marginalization of the Palestinian leadership was lessening the pressure of the Arab masses to act as a united front against Israeli military occupation and colonialism in Palestine.

It was at this precise moment in history that Palestinians rose and, indeed, it was a spontaneous movement that, at its beginning, involved none of the traditional Palestinian leadership, Arab regimes, or any of the familiar slogans. I was a teenager in a Gaza refugee camp when all of this took place, a true popular revolution being fashioned in a most organic and pure form. The use of a slingshot to counter Israeli military helicopters; the use of blankets to disable the chains of Israeli army tanks; the use of raw onions to assuage the pain of inhaling teargas; and, more importantly, the creation of language to respond to every violent strategy employed by the Israeli army, and to articulate the resistance of Palestinians on the ground in simple, yet profound slogans, written on the decaying walls of every Palestinian refugee camp, town or city.

While the Intifada did not attack the traditional leadership openly, it was clear that Palestinians were seeking alternative leadership. Grassroots local leadership swiftly sprang out from every neighborhood, every university and even in prison, and no amount of Israeli violence was able to thwart the natural formation of this leadership.

It was unmistakably clear that the Palestinian people had chosen a different path, one that did not go through any Arab capital – and certainly not through Tunis. Not that Palestinians at the time quit seeking solidarity from their Arab brethren, or the world at large. Instead, they sought solidarity that does not subtract the Palestinian people from their own quest for freedom and justice.

Years of relentless Israeli violence, coupled with the lack of a political strategy by the Palestinian leadership, sheer exhaustion, growing factionalism and extreme poverty brought the Intifada to an end.

Since then, even the achievements of the Intifada were tarnished, where the Palestinian leadership has used it to revive itself politically and financially, reaching the point of arguing that the dismal Oslo Accords and the futile peace process were, themselves, direct ‘achievements’ of the Intifada.

The true accomplishment of the Intifada is the fact that it almost entirely changed the nature of the political equation pertaining to Palestine, imposing the ‘Palestinian people’, not as a cliche used by the Palestinian leadership and Arab governments to secure for themselves a degree of political legitimacy, but as an actual political actor.

Thanks to the Intifada, the Palestinian people have demonstrated their own capacity at challenging Israel without having their own military, challenging the Palestinian leadership by organically generating their own leaders, confronting the Arabs and, in fact, the whole world, regarding their own moral and legal responsibilities towards Palestine and the Palestinian people.

Very few popular movements around the world, and throughout modern history, can be compared to the First Intifada, which remains as relevant today as it was when it began thirty-three years ago.

 – Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

By Ali Abadi, Al-Ahed News

Why are we witnessing the intensification of normalization efforts between Arab regimes and the Zionist entity following the US presidential elections? What options does Donald Trump have during the remainder of his time in office?

Prior to the US elections, it was clear that the goal of the normalization agreements was to boost Trump’s reelection campaign. But the extension of the normalization current beyond the election that Trump lost has other potential objectives:

–    Attracting additional support for Trump in his battle to cling to power by sharpening the capabilities of the Zionist constituencies to support his electoral appeals that don’t have a great chance of success. But Trump has not given up yet in his efforts to reverse the results.

–    Sending important signals to those concerned at home and abroad that Trump still has vigor, as he plans to complete the goals he set and stay on the political scene. If he were to lose the presidency now, he may return in 2024, as those close to him have hinted. In the meantime, he seeks to gain support from the Jewish and Christian Zionist circles as a “man of word and action” in supporting “Israel” absolutely and without hesitation.

With Trump preoccupied with the battle to cling to power at home, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is abroad – touring as “Israel’s” minister of foreign affairs accompanied by Arab ministers to sign more normalization agreements. He is legalizing “Israeli” settlements and the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights and declaring a move to criminalize the campaign of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). 

It’s worth noting that months before the US elections, Pompeo reportedly had his sights set on the 2024 presidential race. As such, Pompeo, who identifies with Trump’s approach and acts as his obedient supporter, plans to be the natural heir to the Trumpian current in the event that its leader is absent due natural causes like death or unnatural causes such as imprisonment due to his legal issues. 

He is also preparing the groundwork for the birth of an “Israeli”-Arab alliance (Saudi, Bahraini, and Emirati) standing in the face of the Islamic Republic of Iran and adding further complications to any possible return of the Biden administration to the nuclear deal.

Saudi and “Israeli” officials are now speaking in one voice about a “no return” to the nuclear agreement, as they set the conditions and limits that they feel the next American administration should abide by. This is also a reflection of widespread concerns over the failure of Trump’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran. 

This was the background for news reports about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meeting “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saudi territory – a get-together arranged by Pompeo.

The choice for war is in the balance

All of the above are possibilities. But does that give way to expectations for a military adventure against Iran, for example, during the transitional period before Joe Biden takes office on January 20?

No sane person can absolutely deny such a possibility. In this context, news about the US strategic B-52 bomber’s flight to the region, the possibility of supplying US bombs that penetrate fortifications to the Zionist entity, the dismissal of US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the withdrawal of US units from Iraq and Afghanistan trickled in. 

The last move may be aimed at withdrawing targets near Iran in the event Washington takes military action against Tehran. However, attacking Iran militarily is not an American desire as much as it is an “Israeli” and Saudi one. The Pentagon has previously opposed military action against Iran, at a time when the US military has not recovered from its wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

This view does not appear to have changed, and US military commanders are unlikely to agree to put the military during the transition period on the course of a new war in the Middle East for personal or populist purposes. 

There are other considerations too. The costs of the war and its consequences are difficult to determine. Trump also knows that the mood of the American public can’t bear sacrifices abroad, financially or on a humanitarian level.

What about other possibilities?

Based on Trump’s behavior over the past four years, it appears the US president prefers to score goals and make quick deals. He is not inclined to get involved in prolonged duels. As such, it’s possible to predict that Trump will resort to localized strikes in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen (there is talk about the possibility of placing Ansarullah on the list of terrorist organizations) or cover a possible “Israeli” strike in Lebanon under one pretext or another. 

He could also resort to assassinating figures affiliated with the axis of resistance, and this possibility is more likely, especially in Iraq and Syria. Trump revealed in recent months that he thought about assassinating the Syrian president, and there are also American threats directed at leaders of the resistance factions in Iraq.

In conclusion, any aggressive military action against Iran appears to be a rooted “Israeli” option that Netanyahu tried to market to the Americans since the Obama era but failed. He is trying to strike Iran via the Americans, but Washington has other calculations and options. 

The Saudis have also urged successive US administrations to strike Iran, according to what appeared in WikiLeaks documents quoting the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The window of opportunity for major military action before Trump’s departure appears narrow. He may consider the rapid operations approach followed by similar actions against Iran’s allies to deal a moral blow to Tehran, cut back its regional leadership role, and besiege its growing influence in the power equation with the Zionist entity that is challenging the US hegemony over the region.

However, we should add that the axis of resistance has its own plans for the confrontation. It withstood the maximum pressure and is able to turn any adventure into an opportunity, relying on its vigilance and accumulated capabilities.

من فلسطين الخبر اليقين

علينا أن نوثّق كلّ ما يتعلق بهويتنا وعروبتنا
بثينة شعبان

بثينة شعبان 

المصدر: الميادين نت

14 أيلول 00:01

يمكن اعتبار القرن الماضي تجربة خاضها العدوّ الصهيوني في فلسطين، واليوم وفي القرن الحادي والعشرين يعمل على نقل هذه التجربة للبلدان العربية كلّها أو بعضها حسبما تتوافر له الظروف

كان اجتماع الجامعة العربية بهدف اتخاذ موقف من تطبيع الإمارات مع العدو الصهيوني مثيراً للخزي والشفقة والاستغراب؛ ففي الوقت الذي اعتقد كل وفد أنه يعتزم أن يتخذ موقفاً من الورقة الفلسطينية سلباً أو إيجاباً لم يكن يدرك أنه في العمق إنما يتخذ موقفاً من نفسه ومن بلده الذي يمثله ومن مستقبل شعبه وأجياله.

وإذا كان الرافضون لإدانة التطبيع اعتقدوا أنهم انتصروا في هذا الاجتماع وأسقطوا من حساب الجامعة إدانة التطبيع فإنما كانوا هم الأخسرين لأن مستقبل شعوبهم على المحك ولأن المسؤوليات الملقاة على عاتقهم والتي لم يشعروا بها إلى حدّ الآن تحتّم عليهم التفكير بعمق ورويّة حول ما هم فاعلون في مستقبل اختلف جذرياً عن الماضي الذي عاشوه، وفي تسابق أحداث وضغوط دولية معادية تحتاج منهم إلى جهود مضاعفة في الفكر والعقل والسياسة والحكمة كي يضمنوا خلاصهم هم وليس خلاص فلسطين وكي يضمنوا استمرارهم هم وليس استمرار فلسطين.

علّ ما لم يخطر ببال هؤلاء هو أن فلسطين كانت حقل تجارب أعدائهم منذ “مؤتمر بازل” عام 1893 حيث وضع الصهاينة رؤية شاملة للقرن المقبل ولِما يريدون إنجازه وهو تأسيس دولة على شاكلة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تقوم بإبادة السكان الأصليين واستجلاب المهاجرين للأرض الغنية بالموارد الطبيعية وها هم في بداية القرن الحادي والعشرين يشعرون أنهم حققوا خططهم التي وضعوها وفق السياسات التي رسموها وأصبح بإمكانهم أن ينتقلوا إلى مرحلة جديدة هدفها ليس “صفقة القرن” وليس ابتلاع الضفة والقطاع فقط وليس إلغاء “حلّ الدولتين” مرة وإلى الأبد وإنما هدفها هو أسرلة المنطقة برمتها ونشر الثقافة الصهيونية على أنقاض الثقافة العربيّة ومن ثمّ تحويل العرب إلى هنود حمر المنطقة والاستيلاء على ثرواتهم وتاريخهم وحضارتهم.

وبعد ذلك نشر ما يعملون عليه منذ عقود من أبحاث وآثار مسروقة ليقنعوا العالم أنهم هم السكان الأصليون لهذه المنطقة برمتها وأنه تم تهجيرهم والاستيلاء على ممتلكاتهم من دون أي وجه حق، ومن بعدها يبدؤون بمطالبة كلّ الدول العربية بالتعويض عن معاناتهم التي تسببوا بها ويصبح الموضوع الأهم في المنطقة هو المظلومية التي تعرّضوا لها والتعويضات المستحقة لهم ولكن ليس من ألمانيا هذه المرة بل من الدول النفطية المهرولة للتطبيع معهم والاستسلام لقوانينهم وخططهم المرسومة بعناية فائقة.

وما تأكيد الإمارات على كلّ المطاعم أن تستعدّ “لتقديم خيار أكل الكوشر” وأن تقوم بتوفير مستلزماته إلا أول الغيث بهدف إحداث التغيير الثقافي في حياة الناس هناك والذي لا يبغي التواجد مع الآخر وإنما يبغي أن يحلّ محله ويثبت تفوّقه عليه وينفي وجوده لصالح المستقدَم من الأكل والفكر والثقافة.

 قد يشعر القارئ لهذه السطور أنها ضرب من الخيال وهنا أودّ أن أذكّره بالفرق بين من يخطط ليوم أو يومين أو لا يخطط على الإطلاق بل تتسم أعماله بردود الأفعال، وبين من يخطط لمئة عام؛ ففي “مؤتمر بازل” عام 1893 قرّر المؤتمر القومي اليهودي أن الحركة اليهودية التي لم تمتلك حينها مصادر بشرية كثيرة عليها أن تركّز على موضوعين أساسيين يجعلان منها قوة ضاربة في العالم وهما موضوع المال والإعلام، كما كان التوجّه هو العلاقات المتميزة مع الولايات المتحدة والانطلاق منها لنشر نفوذها في بقية دول العالم.

اليوم ورغم ضغوط الولايات المتحدة على الكيان لقطع علاقاته مع الصين نلاحظ أن الكيان يعزّز كل أنواع علاقاته مع الصين كما أنه يتغلغل بشكل ممنهج ومدروس في أفريقيا، وما اتفاقات الاستسلام التي عمل ويعمل جاهداً على توقيعها مع أنظمة عربية إلا مقدمة لتغيير ثقافي وبنيوي وجوهري في هذه البلدان لصالح رؤاه وخططه المستقبلية بصهيَنة المنطقة.

ومن هذا المنظور بالذات فهو يضخّم قدرات كيانه التقنية والتكنولوجية والعسكرية والزراعية ويبثّ الدعايات على أنه قادر على تحويل الصحراء إلى جنان خضراء، وأن من يتّسق بالقول والعمل معه سوف يعبر عتبة مستقبل يحلم به الجميع، ولكن ما لا يتوقف عنده الآخرون هو أنه يعمل على توظيف ثروات وقدرات ومؤهلات هذه البلدان ذاتها التي يفرض هيمنته عليها كي يزيد من شأنه وقوته وقدرته على بسط نفوذه أكثر وأكثر وإيهام العالم أن كلّ ما يتم تحقيقه يعود إلى رؤاه وتدبيره .

من هنا فإن الضرورة تقتضي اليوم التمسّك بما لدينا من مقوّمات الهوية الحضارية والثقافية بغضّ النظر أيضاً عن خيار حكام البلدان العربية الخانعين للضغوط الأميركية المعادية للوجود العربي وبغضّ النظر عن جامعة عربية لم تسجّل للعروبة أي إنجاز يذكر في تاريخها لأن الثقافة والهوية هما اللذان يحققان الوجود التاريخي والأبدي للشعوب والدول.

ولنعلم جميعاً أن المعركة تبدأ اليوم؛ معركة الوجود أو عدمه مع هذا الكيان الغاصب، ولنتعلم من الدروس التي عشناها أو عايشناها في فلسطين؛ فاليوم تنشط العناصر الصهيونية في البلدان الأوروبية والغربية لتشتري من الفلسطينيين ثبوتيات ملكية الأرض في فلسطين حتى وإن كانت أوراقاً قديمة تعود إلى ثلاثينيات وأربعينيات القرن الماضي كي ينسجوا قصصهم بأنهم اشتروا الأرض والبيوت ولم يغتصبوا ولم يهجّروا وهذه إحدى الخطوات التي رسموها في محاولاتهم لإثبات حقهم بأرض فلسطين.

ولا نعلم اليوم كم من الوثائق والآثار نهبوا من سوريا والعراق وليبيا وتونس والمغرب ومصر والأردن، ولا نعلم ماذا تنسج مراكز الأبحاث الصهيونية العاكفة على كتابة تاريخ جديد للمنطقة قد يصفع أحفادنا على وجوههم بعد عقود مقبلة. لدرء كلّ هذا علينا أن نوثّق كلّ ما يتعلق بهويتنا وعروبتنا؛ من مأكلنا إلى ملبسنا إلى موسيقانا إلى أغانينا إلى تراثنا إلى قصصنا ورواياتنا، وعلينا أن نتمسك بثقافة عربية أصيلة لا يجد الاستسلام إليها طريقاً.

مهما فعلت الحكومات الفاشلة وطبّعت واحتفلت؛ فهي لا تستطيع أن تفعل شيئاً سوى الاستسلام للعدو إذا ما أمسكت الشعوب بناصية هويتها وتمسكت بها وبجذورها وأورثتها لأجيالها القادمة موثّقة شاهدة على أحقية العرب في هذه الأرض وفي هذا التاريخ.

يمكن اعتبار القرن الماضي تجربة خاضها العدوّ الصهيوني في فلسطين، واليوم وفي القرن الحادي والعشرين يعمل على نقل هذه التجربة للبلدان العربية كلّها أو بعضها حسبما تتوافر له الظروف؛ فالمسألة اليوم ليست الانتصار لفلسطين فقط ولكنها الانتصار للذات من البلد والشعب ومستقبل هذا الشعب الذي يدكّ العدو الصهيوني أول الأسافين في مدماك مستقبله سواء أدرك بعض الحكام العرب المنهزمين ذلك أم لم يدركوا؛ فلا أحد يخطب ودّهم أو يبغي صداقتهم أو حتى يكنّ الاحترام لهم ولكن الهدف هو نهب ثرواتهم والاستيلاء على أرضهم ومواقعهم الجغرافية وتحويلهم إلى مأمورين بإمرة الصهيوني، ومصيرهم سيكون كمصير من طبّع مع الصهاينة من الحكام العرب قبلهم؛ فسيعاملهم الصهاينة بإذلال باعتبارهم عرباً مهزومين مستسلمين؛ فتعامُل إسرائيل مع المطبعين قبل التطبيع ليس كمثله بعد التطبيع.

فمن يجاهد اليوم فإنما يجاهد لنفسه، ومن يرتمي في أحضان الصهاينة ويطبّع حتى على الهاتف فسيعلم الظالمون أي منقلب سينقلبون. حين يعتبر العرب أنّ الانتصار لفلسطين هو انتصار ضروري للذات وللهوية، وأنّه لا فرق لدى هذا العدوّ بين أبناء العرب في بلدانهم المختلفة حينذاك فقط نكون قد بدأنا بخدمة فلسطين وخدمة أنفسنا وبلداننا ومستقبل شعوبنا  

لا حياد بين الأرض والاحتلال

بشارة مرهج

في ما ضى كان كلّ مسؤول أميركي يزور لبنان والمنطقة العربية يقول لأهل البلاد: «ما بالكم تتشبّثون بالمقاطعة والحصار الاقتصاديّ على «إسرائيل»؟ هذا لا ينسجم مع روح المرحلة ومستلزماتها، ولا يتفق مع شروط العصر ومعطياته. فإذا أردتم أن تكونوا داخل الزمن وحركته كونوا واقعيين. اخرجوا من الصندوق وافصلوا بين السياسي والاقتصادي. دعوا الاقتصاد يسبح في فضائه. ضعوا الحصار جانباً. اتكلوا علينا حتى نتمكن من إقناع «إسرائيل» بالحلّ السلمي الذي يعيد إليكم الأرض والسلام والاستقرار».

وكلما كانت الأنظمة العربية تتجاوب وتسترخي مع الدعوات الأميركية الملتبسة، كانت «إسرائيل» تتمرّد وتتطرّف فيأتي الصوت من بعيد: «مهلاً. لماذا الانفعال، لماذا التذمّر؟ أنتم لم تقدّموا بعد ما هو كافٍ لإرضاء «إسرائيل» والمجتمع الدولي حتى تنحلّ العقد وينفتح باب الحلول. على أيّ حال القرار لكم، لكن كلما تفوّق العقل على العاطفة وابتعدتم عن الشعبوية اقتربتم من مدار العصر وحصلتم على مرادكم».

بعد عقود من الوعود المعسولة لم يعد ثمة مساحة للتراجع. لقد أعطت الأنظمة العربية كلّ ما لديها وما استبقت في يدها شيئاً. أما «إسرائيل» التي أخذت فوق ما أعطاها «الكرم» الدولي فلم يعد أمامها ثمة مساحة للتقدّم. بدأ القلق يساورها. فقد بدأ الحديد يحكّ على الحديد وبات الجميع في الزاوية.

في المقلب الآخر واشنطن تنسى كلّ التعليمات والإرشادات التي أصدرتها، وتتجاهل كلّ الاتفاقات والمعاهدات التي سبق ان أشرفت عليها. بعد خضوعها للاستيطان الإجرامي ها هي بقيادة ترامب تغادر آخر درجة من درجات سلّم القيم الذي تدحرج سابقاً على أبواب بغداد ويتدحرج نهائياً اليوم على أعتاب القدس.

واشنطن التي تجاهلت موقع القدس فلسطينياً وعربياً ودولياً.

واشنطن التي تجاهلت موقع القدس مسيحياً وإسلامياً تربط الرسن السياسي بالملف الاقتصادي وتمارس على لبنان أعلى درجات الحصار موزعة «نصائحها» على العواصم العربية ألا شاركوا في هذا الحصار الاقتصادي الذي تطلبه «إسرائيل»… «إسرائيل» التي انكسرت هيبتها وتزلزلت سطوتها على أرض الجنوب المخضب بدماء اللبنانيين وسائر الأشقاء العرب الذين ما بخلوا يوماً على هذه الأرض بالتطوّع والمقاومة والفداء.

عندما تسقط الأمم تجاه ما ترمز إليه مجازر من مستوى مجزرة صبرا وشاتيلا، وعندما تتخلى الأمم عن الحدّ الأدنى الذي كانت تمثله، أو بالأحرى تدّعي أنها كانت تمثله على صعيد المبادئ والأخلاق، تفقد اتزانها وتضيّع طريقها وتعود بالمدينة إلى الأدغال القريبة. أما الذين يتعرّضون للقهر والحصار فبالتأكيد سيشعرون بالألم والمرارة. لكنهم سيعودون الى الصخر يفتتونه ويزرعونه كما فعل أجدادهم من قبل. إذ لا حياد بين الأرض والاحتلال.

*نائب ووزير سابق.

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U.S. interfering in Arab countries to guarantee Israel’s security: Lebanese journalist

By Mohammad Mazhari

July 4, 2020 – 10:56

Source

TEHRAN – A Lebanese journalist believes that U.S. interference in the Arab countries is first and foremost intended to provide security for Israel.
After U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea’s comments against Hezbollah in an interview with Saudi state-owned broadcaster al-Hadath, her words were rebuffed as open interference in the domestic affairs of Lebanon and a violation of diplomatic norms.
Shea had accused Hezbollah of obstructing economic reforms in Lebanon.
“Frankly, this resembles an act of war against a certain group of Lebanese society,” Abir Bassam tells the Tehran Times 
Bassam says, “It is not the ambassadors’ job in general to discuss the country’s internal affairs.” 
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: What is your comment on the statements of the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon?
A: In the best-case scenario, we can say that the ambassador was critical of Hezbollah in Lebanon. However, it did not stop at this stage. The ambassador accused Hezbollah of taking the Lebanese government hostage and holding back its economic growth.
Firstly, this kind of speech addresses the Lebanese people and their officials and is considered interference in domestic affairs.
“This kind of remarks (by the U.S. ambassador) is provocative to those who have always been aligned with the resistance movement, and even causes frustration to those who are against Hezbollah.”Secondly, this kind of remarks are provocative to those who have always been aligned with the resistance movement, and even causes frustration to those who are against Hezbollah.
Thirdly, it is not the ambassadors’ job in general to discuss the countries’ internal affairs. Besides, this shows Americans’ intentions towards Hezbollah and Lebanon’s stability, which is becoming more and more fragile since the 17th of November 2019.
The ambassador’s accusations present an aggressive political attitude towards a certain group of people who are part of the Lebanese population and are officially represented with Hezbollah parliamentarians in the Lebanese parliament. Frankly, this resembles an act of war against a certain group of Lebanese society.
Q: Do you think these statements signal new developments in Lebanon? 
A: It might be. Or perhaps the Americans are preparing for such a thing. In the end, the Americans’ interferences in the Arab countries have been aimed at one end goal, which is the security of Israel.
However, the Resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, is their biggest challenge to protect Israel. And it is still true. Hence, one element of protection for Israel can be provided by recalling for civil war in Lebanon again.
Q: Why Lebanon’s economy is in crisis? Is Hezbollah really jeopardizing the economy in Lebanon?
A: The Lebanese fundamental economic crisis has started with the economic procedures adopted by the governments of Lebanon since 1991. The economic policy was based on services, turning Lebanon into a service provider state in the region. These services depend mainly on monetary services and different kinds of tourism: from sightseeing to medical tourism. To a large extent, this marginalized agriculture and industry and made Lebanon dependent solely on imports and very little export. However, Lebanon had to compete with other main countries that have been remotely providing these services and doing an excellent job, such as India, Australia, and Belgium. Lebanon, especially after the 15-year civil war (1975-1990), cannot be such a competitor to these states.
This policy was deeply related to the atmosphere that prevailed in 1990, with many Arab countries signing peace treaties with Israel. Syria was leading such peace talks as well, after the first war in the (Persian) Gulf in 1990. However, the foundation of such economic policy proved to be based on cartoon boards. Syria withdrew from the peace talks, Rabin was killed, and Lebanon backed by Syria continued its resistance against the Israeli occupation in South Lebanon. In this period of history, Hezbollah demonstrated formidable Resistance and Islamic Resistance that led to significant accomplishments against Israel until the liberation of the South in May 2000.
Regarding the second part of the question, it can be simply stated in the following manure: the U.S. will not give any financial aid to Lebanon as long as Hezbollah is in the government. The U.S. doesn’t have any problem with Hezbollah as a political party; it has a problem with its Axis of Resistance; in other words, it has a problem with Hezbollah’s advanced missiles arsenal, which brings us back to the basics that are the Israeli’s security! 
Therefore, the World Bank will not be giving any more loans based on its conditions. Hezbollah insists that the conditions should not contradict Lebanon’s sovereignty and its autonomous decisions. It argues that the World Bank is not allowed to interfere in the Lebanese internal and external decisions.
Q: Do you expect the Lebanese government to contain the economic crisis?
A: Diab’s government has been doing fine with all the crises accumulated during the past 20 years. However, this government is not getting the support it needs even from the parties that have brought it into existence. Too many conflicting interests are governing these parties and, in particular, the coming (U.S.) presidential elections.
A sharp fall in the value of the Lebanese currency is the worst thing that was tasked with this government to deal with. Working with a central bank governor who has allowed the smuggling of the dollars outside the country and guarding the U.S. interests are among the major obstacles, as politicians and fiscal specialists have repeatedly accused him of. The dollar price defines the prices in Lebanon, including gasoline, bread, rice, vegetable, meat, medicine, etc. 
The government’s main problem is that it has not been able to present an emergency policy for passing the current stage or a long-term plan to face the following phases. 
The government’s measures are trying to take into account the development of the agricultural and industrial sectors. Still, Lebanon’s borders to the East are closed, even with its sister country, Syria. It is under American restrictions; it seems that Lebanon is unable to face these challenges.
In the end, all should take responsibility for this condition, including the current government and the majority in the parliament. They need to take bold steps towards Syria, Iran, China, and Russia…etc. It should get close to the whole countries mentioned above, or at least Syria. This is a must.
Q: Concurrent with increasing pressure on Hezbollah, the world is witnessing the Israeli move to excavate gas on Lebanon’s marine border. What’s your evaluation of this?
A: In my opinion, it is irrelevant. Israel must have received the U.S.’s approval to take such a step, which meets Trump’s need to establish something he can please his AIPAC voters with.
It will have an added value for both the Israeli and the Americans if the Lebanese government and Hezbollah do not take bold steps in the face of the Israeli move. It will be a retreat for Lebanon and the Resistance.
Still, if they (Lebanon) make a move, the consequences must be measured carefully. At the end of the day, Israel does not want to open war on its “northern borders”. However, if the Americans decided to do so, the Israelis could not refuse, as it happened in 2006. The war was an American decision.
I believe that both the Israelis and the Americans want Iran’s head on a spike first. Thus, Hezbollah will be out of Syria; this is their aim. I came across that in many of my readings. They pushed for war against Iran; it turned out to be very costly for the Americans, especially after what the U.S. had experienced in Ein al-Assad in Iraq. Indeed, this is the scale by which I would measure the Israeli step. Nevertheless, until today, Israel has not come even a meter close to the Lebanese territorial waters. So, let us wait and see!

تحدّيات التطبيع وعناصر المواجهة

د. محمود الشربيني

التحدي الأكبر أمامنا هو أن التطبيع يتسلل إلينا عبر قنوات شديدة الخبث وبشكل ناعم عبر ترويج بعض مصطلحات يقبلها المزاج الشعبي من دون إدراك مخاطرها وما تؤول إليه على سبيل المثال «الحرب بديلاً للمقاومة» أثناء اعتداءات المحتل. ثم وضع المصطلح في جملة استنكارية؛ (هل سنحارب حتى هلاك آخر جندي؟!). وكانت هذه الجملة هي الأكثر شيوعاً في أذهان العامة إبان حرب تشرين 1973لبثّ روح الثقافة الانهزامية مستهدفين بذلك كسر الإرادة الشعبية التي نرتكز عليها في مواجهة الكيان الصهيوني .

كل ذلك كان مقدمة لدخول النظام الرسمي العربي أول مراحل التطبيع العلني مع العدو، والذي انتهى باتفاقية العار «كامب ديفيد»، وما تلاها من وادي عربة وأوسلو …الخ. ثم أخذ التطبيع مرحلة جديدة تتلخص في قبول هذا الكيان عبر محاولات عديدة منها ترسيخ ما يُسمّى بثقافة القبول بالأمر الواقع. وهذه مرحلة متقدّمة جداً في عملية التطبيع، وقد عملت الأنظمة الوظيفيّة التي ارتهنت وجودها ببقاء الاحتلال على خدمة تلك النظرية المسمومة حتى تسللت إلى العقل العربي، والذي غاب عنه الوعي بمصيره وأولوياته المستقبلية بفعل التجريف والتسطيح الممنهج.

إن تعزيز الأفكار الرجعيّة، والمذهبية عبر خلق تنظيمات لها ورعايتها، والعمل على ترويج أفكارها، وتوسيع دورها في مجتمعاتنا، ودعمها بكافة السبل من قبل العدو وأدواته والتي على رأسها أنظمة حكم عربية وظيفية لهو أكبر تحدٍّ، لأن مثل هذه الأفكار يقع العقل العربي أسيراً لها بفعل التجريف المتعمّد لعقود طويلة حيث تغلّب مثل هذه الأفكار أولوية الصراع المذهبي على مواجهة العدو والتصدي حتى لمحاولات التطبيع.

إننا نواجه تحدي شيطنة المقاومة بكافة اشكالها وصورها من خلال الأدوات الإعلامية الضخمة التي يمتلكها العدو عالمياً وحتى عربياً، إلى درجة حظر أي نشاط إعلامي وثقافي للحركة النضالية عبر الإعلام الكلاسيكي (الفضائيات) أو حتى عبر الميديا الجديدة (السوشيال ميديا). في حين أنّ الغالبية من المثقفين في العالم العربي غير متحرّرين من التبعية والنفعية والأغراض المريضة ومن كل خلل في سلم المعرفة والأولويات والقيم الخلقية الإنسانية السليمة.

إن التحدي هنا، هو الصمود أمام الإغراءات المالية والعالمية وأمام إغراء المكاسب وجوائز التلميع والتي تقدمها الجهات الإمبريالية والصهيونية. والمطلوب مراجعة وتدقيق وتغيير أسلوب الخطاب الثقافي ليكون موضوعياً وعلمياً عصرياً ليتصل بالحياة في واقعها من جهة ويخاطب مستقبلها من جهة أخرى. ذلك لأننا معنيون بمواجهة انصار التطبيع وفضحهم حفاظاً على جسد الأمة المقاوم.

المسؤولية تقتضي تحجيم مسيرة الاعتراف بالعدو الصهيوني والتطبيع، بالإضافة إلى تفعيل المقاطعة بأشكالها المختلفة الاقتصادية والثقافية والاجتماعية والعلمية، ثم الانتقال إلى المرحلة التالية بتكوين جبهة قوية من المثقفين والمناضلين من كل الساحات العربية لتعزيز حملات المقاطعة ومقاومة التطبيع. وفي كل تلك المراحل علينا مواجهة الاستبداد الداخلي، وأن نتحمل جزاء تلك المواجهة من صعوبات وتضحيات.

وبالرغم من حزمة التحديات التي نواجهها، واختلال موازين القوى في غير مصلحتنا في هذا السياق الزمني الا أن محاولات الرفض الشعبي تتنامى عند كل أزمة أو مناسبة يخرج فيها التطبيع إلى العلن في أي بقعة عربية وعند كل صحوة ثورية.

ما زال الضمير الشعبي حياً يرسم الأمل أمامنا. فالشعوب العربية هي القوة الحقيقية والمرتكز الجوهري في الدفاع عن حقها بالبقاء في التاريخ.

*أكاديمي وكاتب من مصر.

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أولاً، حياة البذخ والترف التي يعيش فيها أمراء العائلة الحاكمة، التي تعتبر الثروة النفطية في الجزيرة العربية ملكاً لها، ولهذا تحوز على نسبة من عائدات بيع النفط تؤمّن لها العيش برفاهية وترف…

ثانياً، شراء السلاح من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والدول الغربية، والتي قدّرت حتى الآن بمئات مليارات الدولارات، وقد شهدت في السنوات الأخيرة ازدهاراً غير مسبوق أدّى إلى إنعاش معامل صناعة السلاح في الدول الغربية، وحلّ جزء من أزماتها الاقتصادية والاجتماعية النابعة من تراجع معدلات النمو فيها وتزايد نسب البطالة.. وهو ما تجسّد أيضاً في حصول ترامب من ولي العهد السعودي على أكثر من 500 مليار دولار، في أكبر عملية استيلاء على فائض عائدات النفط، تحت عنوان استثمارات في الولايات المتحدة.. الأمر الذي تباهى به ترامب في مواجهة معارضيه في الداخل…

ثالثاً، تمويل كلفة الحرب الوحشية المدمّرة التي تشنها الحكومة السعودية على اليمن منذ اكثر من خمس سنوات، وتجاوزت مئات المليارات من الدولارات.. ويرى الخبراء الاقتصاديين انّ الكلفة، التي لا تزال غير محدّدة، ستكون آثارها كبيرة على الاقتصاد والمجتمع في المملكة، وهي تتجاوز كلفة الغزو والاحتلال الأميركي للعراق، لأنّ الحرب ضدّ اليمن لم تتوقف منذ اليوم الأول لبدئها وحتى اليوم، وهي لا تزال مستمرة، لأنّ الرياض فشلت في السيطرة على اليمن والقضاء على مقاومة الشعب العربي اليمني، التي نجحت في نقل الحرب الي العمق السعودي وزيادة استنزاف المملكة.. عبر ضرب المنشآت الحيوية لشركة أرامكو..

رابعاً، دعم الأنظمة العربية والاسلامية لقاء الحصول على تأييد هذه الدول لمواقف وسياسات المملكة في الجامعة العربية ومنظمة التعاون الإسلامي واستطراداً شراء صمت هذه الدول إزاء المجازر الوحشية التي ارتكبتها الحكومة السعودية، ولا تزال، في اليمن…

خامساً، تمويل الجماعات الإرهابية والجمعيات والمعاهد الدينية في العالم، التي تتبع المنهج الوهابي التكفيري، وكذلك تمويل حروب هذه المنظمات الإرهابية في سورية والعراق وليبيا واليمن إلخ… بما يخدم السياسات والمخططات الاستعمارية الأميركية الغربية الصهيونية من القضاء على محور وقوى المقاومة والتحرّر، وإعادة صياغة خارطة المنطقة بما يكرّس السيطرة والهيمنة الاستعمارية عليها، ويمكن كيان العدو الصهيوني الاستعماري الاستيطاني من تحقيق هدفه في تصفية قضية فلسطين وإعلان الدولة اليهودية العنصرية وانتزاع الاعتراف بها عربياً وإسلامياً ودولياً..

سادساً، تمويل مشاريع التآمر ضدّ الأنظمة التقدمية المعادية للاستعمار الغربي والاحتلال الصهيوني، بدءا بالتآمر ضدّ النظام الناصري التحرري بقيادة الرئيس الراحل جمال عبد الناصر، ومروراً بدعم الحرب ضدّ الثورة الإسلامية التحررية في إيران، وانتهاء بتمويل الحرب الإرهابية لتدمير سورية وإسقاط رئيسها المقاوم بشار الأسد…

سابعاً، دعم جماعات وعصابات المرتزقة الذين تجنّدهم الاستخبارات الأميركية لتقويض استقرار الأنظمة التحررية في أميركا اللاتينية وأفريقيا..وتجنيد وتمويل ما اسمي لاحقاً تنظيم القاعدة لقتال الجيش السوفياتي في أفغانستان وإسقاط حلفه نظام نجيب الله لمصلحة الولايات المتحدة في سياق الحرب الباردة مما سرع في انهيار وتفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي وخروج أميركا منتصرة في هذه الحرب..

ثامناً، شراء وسائل إعلامية والإنفاق على وسائل إعلامية أخرى، إلى جانب شراء ضمائر كتاب وصحافيين بغرض الترويج للسياسات الاستعمارية الصهيونية الرجعية وغسل عقل المواطن العربي وجعله يرضخ ويستسلم للأمر الواقع الأميركي الغربي الصهيوني..

تاسعاً، دعم أحزاب وقوى سياسية عربية وإسلامية في العديد من الدول العربية، لا سيما في لبنان، لأجل تعزيز دور المملكة في داخل هذه الدول والتأثير على قراراتها وسياساتها ومنع تحررها من فلك الهيمنة الأميركية الغربية الرجعية..

انّ هذا الإنفاق الضخم على كلّ هذه المجالات هو الذي مكن المملكة السعودية من لعب دور عربي وإقليمي كبير والتأثير في مجرى سياسات الوطن العربي والعالم الإسلامي خدمة للسياسات الأميركية، ولهذا أسميت مرحلة الفورة النفطية وتعاظم عائدات النفط بمرحلة البترودولار التي ازدهر فيها دور المملكة وجعلها تحوز على دور سياسي عربي واقليمي وحتى دولي.. ومن الطبيعي ان يقود انتهاء عصر البترودولار إلى إضعاف دور المملكة المذكور، والى تراجع تأثيرها في سياسات العديد من الدول.. وان يؤدّي ذلك لأن تفقد قوى سياسية ووسائل إعلامية مصدر تمويلها، وبالتالي تخسر جزءاً كبيراً من تأثيرها.. وهو ما بدأت تظهر مؤشراته في لبنان، وينعكس على مواقف وحسابات بعض القوى السياسية في قوى ١٤ آذار، من حكومة الرئيس حسان دياب والعهد.. ولا شك في انه، عاجلاً ام آجلاً، سوف يكون لهذا التراجع الكبير في القدرات المالية للمملكة تأثيره على مسار الحرب في اليمن، قد يدفع الحكومة السعودية مكرهة إلى قبول وقف الحرب ورفع الحصار عن اليمن وسلوك طريق الحل السياسي.. فالمملكة اليوم لم تعد قادرة على تأمين نفقاتها الأساسية الداخلية وهي مضطرة إلى الاستدانة لتأمين العجز الكبير في موازنتها، فكيف تستطيع والحال هذه الاستمرار في تحمّل كلفة إنفاق باهظة على الحرب في اليمن.. كما أنّ الدول الغربية سوف تتضرّر من تراجع القدرات المالية للمملكة بنفس القدر الذي كانت فيه المملكة تخدم مصالح الغرب وسياساته في المنطقة التي ترتكز على نهب ثروات العرب وامتصاص عائدات النفط ودعم وحماية الكيان الصهيوني باعتباره القاعدة المتقدّمة للغرب في قلب المنطقة.. انطلاقاً مما تقدم فإنّ ضعف القدرات المالية للحكومة السعودية إنما يصبّ في مصلحة جبهة المقاومة وقوى التحرر في الوطن العربي والدول الإسلامية والعالم..

العرب في زمن الكورونا غافلون داخل الكهف

د. وفيق إبراهيم

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تكشف جائحة الكورونا مدى ابتعاد العرب عن هذا العصر والتصاقهم بفكر توكّليّ يتبين بعد المعاينة الدقيقة ان علاقته بالدين الفعلي سطحية لا يريد منها، الا فرض الانصياع على الناس لصالح ما يسميه زوراً «ولي الأمر» الى ان يتبين ان هذا «الولي» هو السلطات الحاكمة الفاسدة في الملكيّات والجمهوريّات.

وهذا واضح من خلال تطور الجائحة المميتة، ففيما تتسارع المختبرات الطبية في العالم لإنتاج علاجات ولقاحات مضادة له على مستوى الانتشار والاصابة، لا تتحرك عشرات المختبرات في الدول العربية لفعل أي شيء سوى اطلاق إرشادات إعلامية مقتبسة عن الاعلام الدولي علماً ان كلفة انشاء هذه المختبرات ترقى الى مليارات الدولارات ذهب معظمها الى جيوب الفاسدين وهي غير صالحة حتى لأداء مهام طبية، لأن ظروف تشكيلها استجابت فقط لحاجات الانظمة. إلى التوظيف وانتحال صفات الدول المؤيدة للعلم على مستوى تشكلات والا كيف يصدق المتابعون ان واحداً وعشرين بلداً عربياً ينتشرون في الشرق الاوسط وشمال افريقيا منفصلون عن هذا العصر على مستوى الحضارة والرقي والعلم، لكنهم يشكلون جزءاً منه في الانتساب الزمني الى القرن الحادي والعشرين انما بعقليات من القرون الوسطى وسلطات تعتقد أن البلاد ملك صرف لها بالأرض والنفط والسياسة والناس.

الآن ايضاً في زمن الكورونا لم يتبين لمجلس التعاون الخليجي اي ضرورة للقاء لربما يعتقد ان رعاته الدوليين في الولايات المتحدة الاميركية يعملون بكدّ واصلين الليل بالنهار لاكتشاف اللقاءاحات المناسبة.

وعندما ينتجونها تسارع الدول الخليجية لشرائها بأثمان عالية كما يجري دائماً.

هذه هي العقلية الريعية التي تحكم انظمة عربية تعرف ان انتقال دولها الى نظام إنتاجي يتطلب نشراً علمياً فعلياً يؤدي الى نشر الوعي، وهذا ما تخشاه هذه الانظمة لانها تدرك انه المنطلق الى إسقاط بنى سياسية وتأييد انظمة ديموقراطية على حساب انهيار الفكر القرون أوسطي.

هذا هو الكهف المتخلف الذي تضع فيه انظمة العرب شعوبها وتسجنها بعيداً من التنور والتطور والحداثة. فأين يمكن ايجاد بلد في العالم يرفع انتاجه النفطي بمعدل 40 في المئة دافعاً البلدان الأخرى الى منافسته برفع الإنتاج ما ادى الى انهيار أسعار البرميل من 45 دولاراً الى 23 فقط؟

هذا ما فعلته السعودية منذ اشهر عدة وتبين انه لخدمة مساعي الرئيس الاميركي ترامب في التجديد له في الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة، فأراد تقديم مشتقات نفطية رخيصة السعر للطبقات الشعبية الاميركية فتنتخبه كما انه أراد مضايقة الروس بإجبارهم على خفض أسعار نفطهم.

لكن الكورونا فاجأت كل الأطراف واصبح من مصلحة ترامب ان يعاود رفع اسعار البترول في محاولة لكسب شركات النفط الصخري الاميركي التي تؤثر في القرار السياسي العام الاميركي، وهناك محاولات لإرجاء الانتخابات الاميركية على اساس ابقاء ترامب رئيساً لمرحلة جديدة ومن دون انتخابات. فعادت السعودية لخدمته بالموافقة على خفض الانتاج.

بذلك تخسر السعودية في شهرين فقط نحو خمسة مليارات دولار تكفي لتأسيس عشرات المختبرات الصحية للتعامل مع كل انواع الأوبئة وذلك في اطار من التنسيق بين الامكانات الطبية العربية.

بما يدل على ان الانظمة السياسية هي التي تضع العرب في سبات أهل الكهف، وتسجنهم، لكنهم لن يمكثوا طويلاً في هذا الوضع ويتهيأوا لتفجير الكهف على اصحابه من الأنظمة وحماتها الأميركيين.

البناء

Solidarity in the Age of Coronavirus: What the Arabs Must Do

April 8, 2020

Using humble means, a refugee worker sterilizes the streets in Al-Shati refugee camp. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Ramzy Baroud

While the Coronavirus continues to ravage almost every nation on earth, Arab countries remain unable, or unwilling, to formulate a collective strategy to help the poorest and most vulnerable Arabs survive the deadly virus and its economic fallout.

Worse, amid growing international solidarity, we are yet to see a pan-Arab initiative that aims to provide material support to countries and regions that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 disease.

The lack of collective Arab responsiveness is not unique as it mirrors Europe’s own systematic failure, exhibiting ‘solidarity’ when it is financially convenient, and turning its back, sometimes at its own brethren, when there are no economic incentives.

For example, when Greece defaulted on its debt to international donors in 2015, Germany, and other European Union countries, pounced on the opportunity to dismantle the country’s major financial institutions and to profit from Athens’ mounting miseries.

All the talk of European solidarity, fraternity and community floundered at the altar of greed and unhindered profits.

That was not the first – nor will it be the last – occasion when the opportunistic EU showed its true colors. In truth, Europe is united, not by common history or unbreakable social bonds, but rather by the shared belief that a united Europe is a stronger economic unit.

The same sordid scenario was recently repeated. As Italy began buckling down under the unbearable burdens of the deadly Coronavirus, it immediately, and naturally, sought the help of its European sister states. To no avail.

Despite its sizable debt, Italy is a major player in the economic arena of Europe and, in fact, the world. Indeed, Italy is the world’s 8th largest economy. But the country’s economy is now experiencing a rare freefall, especially in the poorer regions of the South, where people are literally going hungry.

The first country to come to Italy’s aid was neither France, nor, unsurprisingly, Germany, but China, followed by Russia, then Cuba, and others.

This palpable lack of solidarity among European countries has further empowered the ethnocentric view already prevailing in Europe, and championed by far-right movements like Italy’s League Party of Matteo Salvini. For years, the latter has advocated against European integration.

It will take months, if not years, for the political fallout of the Coronavirus to be fully assessed. But what is already clear is that international and regional economic hubs are actively hedging their bets to consolidate their geopolitical positions in the post-Coronavirus world.

Despite bashful American attempts to join the politically-motivated international solidarity, US President Donald Trump’s humble moves arrived too little, too late. In fact, a sign of the times is that Chinese and Russian aid is pouring in to help the United States, which now has the world’s largest number of COVID-19 cases.

A compelling question, however, is where are the Arabs in all of this?

Italy and Spain, in particular, share historical and cultural bonds, and broad political interests, with many Arab countries, interests that will remain long after the Coronavirus is eradicated. Failing to register on the radar of international solidarity with Italy and Spain will prove a strategic miscalculation.

Israel, on the other hand, is activating its aid agency, IsraAID, which has previously worked in Italy between 2016 and 2019, after a major earthquake killed nearly 300 people and left behind massive infrastructural damage.

Israel uses ‘humanitarian aid’ as a political and propaganda tool. Israeli missions are often under-funded and short-lasting, but their impact is greatly amplified by a powerful, official media machine that tries to project Israel as a ‘peace-maker’, not a war-monger.

The truth is, some Arab governments do, in fact, provide badly needed funds and aid to countries that are devastated by wars or natural disasters; alas, these efforts are often disorganized and self-centered – and frankly, not at all motivated by true solidarity.

That said, the absence of Arab initiatives in the field of international humanitarian solidarity dwarf in comparison to the lack of Arab solidarity within the Arab world itself.

According to United Nation estimates, there are “101.4 million (people) in the region who already live in poverty, according to official criteria, and around 52 million undernourished.”

A new policy brief issued on April 1 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), projects that an additional 8.3 million people are set to join the poor and undernourished masses throughout the Arab world.

Aside from empty rhetoric and useless press releases, we are yet to witness a major collective Arab initiative, championed by, for example, the Arab League, to provide an Arab equivalent to the many economic stimulus plans that have been set into motion in many other countries and regions around the world.

Late March, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, issued a ‘global ceasefire appeal’, pleading to the world, especially to warring Middle Eastern nations, to cease fire and to unite all efforts in one single war against the Coronavirus.

Sadly, that call has so far gone unheeded. The war in Libya is escalating, not subsiding; Israeli killing of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank continues unabated; the flood of refugees out of Syria, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries is yet to slow down.

Times of crisis, especially the kind that targets all of us regardless of race, religion, or geography, often constitute a wake-up call, present an opportunity for a new beginning, a new social contract so that we may resurrect from the ashes of our collective pain to build a better world.

Let COVID-19 be that opportunity that will allow all nations, especially in the Middle East, to take a stance against war, hunger and disease, to share their wealth and to extend the hand of solidarity to Africa and our historic allies throughout the world.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Assad to Russia 24: Erdogan Aligned with Al Qaeda Because of his Muslim Brotherhood Ideology

March 5, 2020 Miri Wood

President Bashar al Assad told Russia-24 TV that Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood ideology, not Turkish national interests, is the cause of his sending troops illegally into Syria, to fight for al Qaeda in Idlib.

Dr. Assad also discussed the challenges of the American occupation of Syrian oil fields and Syrian monies stolen by foreign banks.

Syria News provides the full transcript of the recent interview by Yevgeny Primokov, courtesy of SANA.

Journalist:  Hello! This is “International Review” with Yevgeny Primakov. Today, we are in Damascus, in our temporary studio. His Excellency, President Bashar al-Assad, is not our guest in the studio; rather, we are his guests. Mr. President, thank you very much for receiving us and giving us the time to conduct this interview. We are happy to be with you and to see that you are in good health in these difficult circumstances.

President Assad:  You are welcome. I am very happy to receive a Russian national television station.

Question 1:  Thank you very much Mr. President. Clearly, the most important topic now, besides the war on terrorism that your country is waging, are the events in the Idlib governorate, and the danger of confrontation between the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey. The Turkish forces are directly supporting what is called “the opposition,” although we see in their ranks elements which belong to terrorist organizations, which are affiliated to Al Qaeda and other organizations. Turkish troops are also taking part in attacks against Syrian forces. The question is: what has changed in the relations between you and Erdogan, between Syria and Turkey? Before 2011, Erdogan used to call you “brother,” and your two families were friends. What has changed and pushed things to where they are now?

President Assad:  The core of the issue is American policy.  At a point in time, the United States decided that secular governments in the region were no longer able to implement the plans and roles designated to them; of course, I am referring to the countries which were allies of the United States and not those like Syria which are not.  They decided to replace these regimes with Muslim Brotherhood regimes that use religion to lead the public.

In doing this, things would become easier for American plans and Western plans in general.  This process of “replacement” started with the so-called Arab Spring.  Of course, at the time, the only Muslim Brotherhood-led country in the region was Turkey, through Erdogan himself and his Brotherhood affiliation.  Prior to this, our relations with them were good in both the political and economic fields; we even had security and military cooperation.  There were no problems at all between Syria and Turkey.  We didn’t do anything against them and we didn’t support any forces hostile to them. We believed them to be neighbours and brothers.  But Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood affiliation is much stronger than all of this and he returned to his original identity and built his policies with Syria according to this ideology.

It is well-known that the Muslim Brotherhood were the first organisation to endorse violence and use religion to gain power. Now, if we ask ourselves, why are Turkish soldiers being killed in Syria?  What is the cause they are fighting for?  What is the dispute?  There is no cause, even Erdogan himself is unable to tell the Turks why he is sending his army to fight in Syria.  The single reason is the Muslim Brotherhood and it has nothing to do with Turkish national interests.  It is related to Erdogan’s ideology and consequently the Turkish people have to die for this ideology.  That’s why he is unable to explain to the Turkish people why his soldiers are being killed in Syria.

Question 2:  Is there any hope of establishing any kind of communication between Turkey and Syria gradually, at least between the military and the intelligence, and in the future, maybe, diplomatic relations?

President Assad:  During the past two years, numerous intensive meetings took place between Russian and Turkish officials, and despite the Turkish aggression a few meetings were held between Syrian and Turkish security officials.  Our shared objective with the Russians was to move Turkey away from supporting terrorists and bring it back to its natural place.  For Syria, and for you also, Turkey is a neighbouring country.  It is natural to have sound relations with a neighboring country; it is unnatural under any pretext or any circumstance to have bad relations.  So, as to your question, is it possible?  Of course it is, but we can’t achieve this outcome while Erdogan continues to support the terrorists.  He has to stop supporting terrorism, at which point things can return to normal because there is no hostility between the two peoples.  The hostility is caused by political actions or policies based on vested interests.  On the level of the Syrian nation and the Turkish nation, there are neither differences nor conflicts of interests.  So, yes, these relations should return to normal.

Question 3:  Is this your message to the Turkish people, that there is no hostility against them?  Have I understood you correctly?

President Assad:  Of course, we used to describe them as brotherly people, even now, I ask the Turkish people: what is your issue with Syria?  What is the issue for which a Turkish citizen deserves to die?  What is the hostile act, small or large, carried out by Syria against Turkey during or before the war?  There is none.  There are mixed marriages and families, and daily interactions and interests between Syria and Turkey.  In Turkey, there are groups of Syrian Arab origin and there are groups in Syria of Turkish origin.  These interactions have existed throughout history; it is not logical that there is a dispute between us.

Question 4: Mr. President, I realize that I am talking to a head of state; nevertheless, I can’t but ask about the human dimension. This person [Erdogan] shook your hand, was your guest, you received him, and he called you a brother and a friend, etc.. Now, he allows himself to say all these things. How does that affect you emotionally?

President Assad: I have met people who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood from different countries.  He is one of them from Turkey, there were some from Egypt, Palestine and others; they have all done the same thing.  

They used to say nice things about Syria or about their personal relationship with me, but when things change, they turn against the person.  That’s how the Muslim Brotherhood are: they have no political, social, or religious ethics.  For them, religion is not a form of good, it is violence; this is their principle.  Erdogan is a member of the opportunistic Muslim Brotherhood and so it is normal for him to do what he has done.  The lack of clarity and endless lying are part of their nature.

Question 5: The war in your country has been going on for nine years.  It is twice as long as the World War II, the Great Patriotic War, and soon we will mark the 75th anniversary of our victory in it, which is a very important event for Russia.  What strength does the Syrian people store that enables them to survive and triumph and avoid despair?  What is the secret?  Is it an internal strength, or something else?  Or is it simply that you have better weapons?

President Assad:  There are several factors which should be considered.  The fact that we are a small country, means these factors make us a strong country in this war.  First and foremost, national awareness and public opinion.  Without the widespread awareness of the Syrian people that what is happening is the result of a Western conspiracy against their country, Syria might have perished or been destroyed very quickly.  This popular realization produced a national unity despite different political leanings or different cultural and social affiliations – ethnic, religious or sectarian groups.  This awareness created unity with the state in confronting terrorism; this is a very important factor.

The second factor is the Syrian people’s legendary capacity for sacrifice, which we have witnessed primarily through the Syrian Arab Army.  Under normal circumstances, one would believe that these sacrifices can only be found in movies or novels, while in fact they were apparent in every battle and this is what protected the country.

In addition to the sacrifices of the army, the people themselves sacrificed.  They have been living in extremely difficult circumstances: continuous shelling, sanctions and bad economic conditions.  Nevertheless, the people remained steadfast with their country.

The third factor is the public sector, which has played an important role in keeping the state together.  In the worst of circumstances, salaries continued to be paid, schools kept running and daily essential services were provided to citizens.  Bottom line services continued to be provided so that life continues.

In addition to these factors, there is the fact that our friends have supported us, particularly Russia and Iran.  They have supported us politically, militarily, and economically.  All these factors together have helped Syria remain steadfast up until now.

Question 6: If you don’t mind, I’ll dwell on these factors for more details, and we will start with the Syrian society and what you have said about its diverse culture and tolerance among its different ethnic, cultural and religious groups. The extremist terrorists have struck a severe blow to this Syrian characteristic by promoting extremist demands and an extremist ideology. Yesterday, we were in the Old City of Damascus, and we couldn’t imagine what the situation would be like if the black flag of the caliphate appeared in Damascus, something which can only be imagined with horror. To what extent is Syria ready to rebuild itself as a multicultural state, tolerant, secular, etc.?

President Assad:  What I’m about to say may sound exaggerated, but by nature I speak in real terms and do not like exaggeration.  In actual fact, Syrian society today in terms of coherence and the social integration of its different segments, is better than it was before the war.  This is for a simple reason: war is a very important lesson to any society, a lesson that extremism is destructive and that not accepting the other is dangerous.  As a result, these segments within our society came together.

If you go to the Old City or to any area under government control, you will not see this problem at all.  On the contrary, as I mentioned, things are better than before.  The problem is in the areas which were outside government control.  That’s why I’m not concerned at all in this regard, despite the attempted Western narrative to show that the war in Syria is between sects, which is not true.  A war between sects means that you come today to this area and find one colour, and in another area you find another colour, and in another place a third and a fourth colour; this is not the case. You will see all the colours of Syria, without exception, in the state-controlled areas.  Whereas in the terrorist-controlled areas, they are not looking for a colour, but for parts of one colour, which is the extremist colour.  This is because only extremists at the far end of extremism could live with them and that is why a large number of people fled the terrorist-controlled areas to state-controlled areas.  That is why I’m not concerned at all in this regard.  The challenge, however, will be in the areas which were occupied by the terrorists.

Question 7: This raises the question of the possibility of granting an amnesty. There are many people who were misled by the propaganda of the terrorists and extremists. Some of them committed crimes. Others were members of armed groups which committed terrorist acts. But there are those who did not carry weapons, or carried them without killing people. What are the grounds on which the government can reach out to them? And can there be compromises through which such people can be forgiven? This is a very important moral question. And in addition to the moral dimension, there are legal aspects as to resolving their status and integrating them in society, and maybe in the army as well.

President Assad:  In this type of war, amnesty must be a core element of domestic policy.  We cannot restore stability if we do not grant amnesty for the mistakes that have been made.  From the very beginning of the war, we have regularly enacted amnesty decrees pardoning all those who acted against the national interest. In the areas which were controlled by the militants, we have conducted what we call local reconciliations that have resulted in the state legally pardoning individuals; all those who hand in

their weapons, receive amnesty provided that they return to their normal civil life under the authority of the state and the rule of law. This process has been very successful and restored stability to a large number of areas, and we are continuing to implement this policy.

There are very limited cases which cannot be granted amnesty, for example those who committed criminal acts and premeditatedly killed large numbers of people; most of these are terrorist leaders.  However, in terms of the broader situation, I believe that most people want to return to the state, because a large number of them who carried weapons were actually forced to do so.  They had no choice: either you carry weapons or you are killed.  These people are not necessarily extremists.  They do not have a terrorist past.  They are ordinary people who were forced to carry weapons.

Similarly, there are those who had to take political or public positions in the media in favour of the terrorists for the same reasons, we know this for a fact.  That’s why I believe that most of these people do support the state and were cooperating and communicating with us throughout.  So, I fully agree with you, we must continue providing amnesty and we must continue with this process in the new areas we liberate, especially since we want most Syrians inside and outside Syria to return to their country.

Question 8: Now, we will talk about rebuilding the state, but the state always consists of people. When we talk about terrorists, we either force them to drop their weapons or persuade them to drop them and go back to their senses. Conversely, there are those who have their perceptions of justice; and you certainly meet state officials, whether in the security or police agencies, who have to reach out and resolve the status of those who became terrorists on the other side. These officials might resent that and find it difficult to accept. For instance, if I see this individual who used to aim his weapon at me living with me now on the same street and buying bread from the same bakery as I do, how should I behave? What do you say to state supporters who are not always prepared to accept such an amnesty or such an act of forgiveness?

President Assad:  At the beginning of the war we used to see such cases.  I recall when I passed the first amnesty decree, many Syrians resented it not only within the government, but also the broader public because some may have lost a family member from the terrorism.  In the beginning, it was not easy to tell them that we will grant amnesty in order to restore stability.  However, this was the case for the first few months only.  Today, if you ask anybody or at least those who support the state, regardless of whether they work in the government or not, this is now accepted because they have seen the results.  In fact, in many cases they are the ones pushing for an amnesty and a settlement, which helps greatly.  So, there are no longer different viewpoints, because the facts on the ground have shown that this is the right thing to do and that it is good for Syria.

Question 9: As to the situation on the ground, I’ll not talk about who controls this or that area, because the situation on the ground is fluid and ever-changing and should be left to the military. But it is clear now that the state has restored large areas in southern Idlib governorate. Here, peaceful life will return, as happened in other areas, in Eastern Ghouta, Deir Ezzor, and the other areas liberated previously. What will the state do when it goes into the liberated areas? Where will it start its work? And what is the most important aspect to restoring peaceful life?

President Assad: In many of the areas we have liberated, there are no civilians since most had left when the terrorists arrived.  The first thing we do is to restore the infrastructure in order to enable the local population to return.  The first thing they need is electricity, water, roads, police, municipalities, and other services.  They need all these service providers; this is the first challenge.  The second, which is equally important, is rebuilding schools so that they are able to receive students.  If the infrastructure is available and I can’t send my children to school, what’s the point, it means I can’t go back to this area.  So, schools and health services are fundamental after the exit of terrorists and the restoration of security.  Later, of course, we engage with the local community to identify who was involved with the terrorists through various actions.  As I mentioned earlier, this is an important step towards reconciliation and resolving the status of these people in order to restore normal life to the city.

Question 10: What are the difficulties which emerge during this process? And are there sleeper cells which undermine the process of reconstruction? What are the problems facing you?

President Assad:  When I mentioned that the pardons and reconciliations have been successful, this doesn’t mean that the success was a hundred percent; nothing is perfect.  Some of these people still have terrorist leanings and extremist ideology, and are still cooperating with extremist groups in other areas and carrying out terrorist acts.  In the past few weeks, there have been a number of explosive devices planted in different places or under cars.  These terrorist acts have claimed the lives of many victims.  However, this doesn’t mean that we stop the process of reconciliations, but rather we need to hunt down these sleeper cells.  We have been able to arrest a large number of them, but there are others that are still active.  One sleeper cell might carry out a number of acts giving the impression that a full organisation exists.  Whereas in fact it is one cell made up of a group of individuals and by arresting them you are able to restore safety and security.  However, this challenge will remain, because terrorism still exists in Syria and outside support in the form of weapons and money is still at large.  Therefore, we do not expect to eliminate these sleeper cells in the foreseeable future.  We will continue to eliminate cells and others will appear, until things return to normal in Syria.

Question 11: Mr. President, in two months’ time, if I’m not mistaken, the country will hold parliamentary elections, in these difficult circumstances. How difficult will that be? Or, would they proceed according to plan, and nothing will stop or obstruct them?

President Assad: There is a constitution and we are governed by it.  We do not give in to Western threats or Western wishes, and we do not consider any factor other than the constitution.  The issue of postponing constitutional deadlines, whether for presidential or parliamentary elections, was raised with us several times and we refused to do so during the war.  Parliamentary elections will be held in a few months’ and we will proceed according to the constitutional agenda regardless of anything else.

Question 12: We talked about the domestic situation, let’s now talk about the outer environment. The Syrian Arab Republic has been subjected since 2011 to tightly-enforced isolation, not only by the Americans and the Europeans, which was expected, but also by the Arab League and its member states, including the Arab Gulf states. We know that the UAE embassy was reopened, and that Oman did not close its embassy and continued to work as usual. Do you see a positive change on the part of the Arab world, or is the situation still as it was, and that isolation persists? And what are the prospects of your contacts with the European Union? I’ll not ask about the Americans, for everything regarding them is unfortunately clear.

President Assad: Most Arab countries have maintained their relations with Syria, but not publicly for fear of pressure.  These countries have expressed their support for Syria and their wishes for us to defeat terrorism. However, Western pressure and American in particular, was severe on these countries to remain distant and not to open their embassies in Syria, particularly the Gulf states.  Europe however, is completely different.  In fact, for us, Europe for more than two decades and even before this war, has been absent on the global political arena. Europe has ceased to exist since 2003, after the American invasion of Iraq.  Europe surrendered completely to the United States and its role was limited to implementing what it was charged with by the American administration.

So, whether they communicate with us or not, the result is the same.  Whether they open embassies or not, there is no value.  We have met with a number of security officials from most European countries and they have been reasonable but they are unable to change course.  Some have frankly said, “we are unable to change, our politicians cannot change their policies because the European policy is linked to the American policy.”  They climbed the tree and are simply unable to come down.  That’s why we do not waste our time talking about a European role and European policy.  The master is the American.  We can talk about the Americans and this automatically includes the Europeans.

But in answer to your question, yes, there is a change.  There are clear convictions that this war has not achieved what those countries, or some of the colonialist countries wanted, that the Syrian people have paid the price, that stability has paid the price and now the Europeans are paying the price.  The problem of refugees in Europe is huge, but they will not change in the near future.  This is my conviction.

Question 13: Now, Turkey is blackmailing Europe by using the migrants. And this is what Erdogan is doing right now.

President Assad:  Turkey started sending the second wave of refugees to Europe as a form of blackmail.  Erdogan had threatened that he would send refugees.  Yesterday, there were videos on various media outlets about the beginning of a migrant movement towards Europe.

Question 14: In one of your answers, you touched on the relation with Russia. We consider it a relation of partnership. But this relation went through difficult years when Russia limited its presence in the Middle East and other parts of the world. Many people saw that as a betrayal, and that Russia turned its back on its old allies and partners. Now, how do you describe these relations which have been strengthened naturally during nine years of war? Since our aforementioned opponents, including the Europeans and the Americans, who are “evil tongues” as we say in Russia, claim that Syria is under Russian control. Is that true in reality. For our part, we look at this relation as a partnership and an alliance.

President Assad:  Our relations with you span more than six decades; this is not a short period of time and it covers several generations.  We know each other very well and this relationship has been through various experiences.  Through the different circumstances, including the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, our relations with Russia have always been based on mutual respect, a peer-to-peer relationship.  We have never felt at any time, even during this war, that Russia is trying to impose its views on us.  They have always treated us with respect; even when we differed, they respected the views of the Syrian government.  This is a general rule that has governed the past decades and hasn’t changed because it is based on Russian customs, traditions, and perspectives.  So, on a bilateral level the relationship between Syria and Russia is clearly a partnership, particularly now after the war, this partnership has become stronger and more reliable.

However, if we wanted to view our relationship with Russia from a different perspective, which is Russia’s international role, the issue is different.  Today, many small countries and even countries of medium strength around the world, look towards Russia and rely to a large extent on its role, because it is Russia’s duty today to restore international balance to the global arena.  The presence of the Russian military base in Syria is not only aimed at fighting terrorism but also at creating an international political balance in the Security Council, as well as a military balance in different areas with a view of restoring the Russian role.  Restoring this role is in the interest of all states, including Syria and other small and medium-sized countries as I mentioned.   Therefore, we view this relationship from two perspectives: a partnership on the bilateral level and a relationship based on this international role, which we hope will continue to increase as has been the case since President Putin came to power in 2000 and restored Russia’s position.

Question 15: Now we are talking about military and political support. What about the economy? Going back to rebuilding Syria, are there large Russian – or non-Russian – projects which help in reconstruction? Is there a state or a company which is prepared to come and invest in the Syrian economy without fear of sanctions or political problems caused by the United States and Europe? For instance, there used to be a flourishing pharmaceutical industry in Aleppo, which used to export its products throughout the Middle East, and you, as a doctor, know that. Are there any ideas to restore industrial production in the pharmaceutical field or other fields? And to what extent the lack of resources will affect these economic projects, considering that oil is now outside state control and is controlled by a power, which came from beyond the Atlantic and built its bases there under the pretext of protecting oil?

President Assad:  When we built our infrastructure in Syria in the 1970s and the 1980s, we did not have oil at that time.  It was built with Syrian money and with Syrian capabilities.  So, we know we have the capabilities and can provide the resources.  There is a lot of Syrian capital within Syria and mostly abroad and should most certainly take part in this process.

Since 2018, there has been a great interest from big companies outside of Syria – Arab and non-Arab, to participate in the reconstruction.  However, what’s happening is that the Americans are applying huge pressure and threatening individuals and companies alike; this has no doubt frightened some of these companies.  This is happening even with regard to Russian companies.  There are several Russian companies which want to invest in Syria but fear taking any step.  Chinese companies have the same problem.

However, every problem has a solution.  Most recently, a number of large international companies have started to come to Syria using different methods which enable them to evade the sanctions.  So, there is a possibility now for these companies to work in Syria without facing sanctions.  Of course, I cannot discuss these methods, but we have started to see a return of foreign investment.  It is true that the movement is slow, but I believe it is a good start – a promising start, to support the reconstruction process which we have started.  We did not wait; we have begun in some areas and in order to expand there must be a larger number of companies and investments.

Question 16:  What are the areas which you consider priorities or most attractive to investors?

President Assad:  Of course, the most important is rebuilding the destroyed suburbs.  I think this will be of high interest for investment companies and several have already expressed interest; this is certainly a profitable area.  Another sector is oil and gas, which is also profitable.  There are already a number of Russian companies that have started operating in Syria during the past few years and are now planning to increase production.  The biggest obstacle preventing expansion in this sector is the terrorist and American occupation of the most important sites of oil wells in Syria.  The Americans know this of course, and that’s why they continue to occupy the oil wells and obstruct the reconstruction process.  In short, these are the most important sectors.  Of course, there are many other areas which any society needs, but are less important for international companies.

Question 17: As we know, there is a big problem caused by freezing Syrian funds in foreign banks.  Is it difficult to finance some contracts because of that?

President Assad:  That’s true.  This is robbery in every sense of the word; but if the money is stolen it doesn’t mean that as a state and as a society we should stop creating wealth.  We have many capabilities and this is one of the reasons why we have survived nine years of war.  They are well aware that if the war stopped completely, Syrian society is capable of rising in a strong manner and that we will be stronger economically than we were before the war. This is why they have resorted to threatening Syrian and foreign companies.  In other words, if a Syrian citizen wants to invest in Syria, they will likely be sanctioned, or oil revenues are prevented from returning to Syria. The more important factor is the ongoing war, which discourages companies and prevents them from coming to Syria.  If these three factors are eliminated, we have no problem in rebuilding the country.  We have strong human and material resources in Syria and we also have faithful friends like Russia and Iran who will help us.

Question 18: Mr. President, we talked about Idlib in general, and touched on the oil fields east of the Euphrates river controlled by the Americans, and we know that there is a power outage every four hours, and we know that power plants are mostly fueled by oil products. This factor – controlling oil and oil products – is crucial for Syrian economy. Do you have any plans to restore control over the areas east of the Euphrates? How are you going to proceed in that direction?

President Assad:  Militarily the priority now is Idlib, this is why we see Erdogan using all his force and no doubt under American directives.  This is because by liberating Idlib we will be able to move towards liberating the eastern regions.  As I have said on several occasions, for them, Idlib militarily is an advanced post.  They have used all their power to obstruct the liberation of Idlib, so that we do not move eastward.  However, despite not yet advancing towards the eastern region, we are still in direct communication with the population there.  There is a great deal of anger and resentment on their part against the American occupation and against the groups acting on behalf of the Americans.

I believe that this anger will build up gradually and there will be resistance operations against the occupiers.  It is the national and constitutional duty of the state to support any act against an occupying power.  As time goes by, the Americans will not have a population supporting them but a population standing against the American occupation.  They will not be able to stay, neither for the oil nor to support terrorists like ISIS and al-Nusra or any other reason.  The same of course, applies to the Turks who are occupying the northern part of Syrian territories.  If they do not leave through political negotiations, they must leave by force.  This is what we will do.  This is also our patriotic duty as Syrians.

Question 19: It’s good that we have arrived at this difficult issue. If we talk about the Kurds who live in the east and northeast of the country, and who might not be happy with the Americans and the Turks, particularly the Turks, with whom they have a longstanding enmity. Their relationship with Damascus is difficult because they are separatists and supported the United States at one point and became its allies. The question here is about reunifying the Syrian Arab Republic and reintegrating its territories within its legal borders. How are you going to build your policy regarding the Kurds, taking into account that Damascus has almost accused them of treason because they signed an agreement with the Americans. Do you have a plan in that regard? What’s the price for integrating them? What can you give the Kurds? And what are the things which you cannot give them?

President Assad:  We are in contact with the Kurdish political groups in northern Syria, the problem is that some of these groups, not all of them, operate under American authority.  We do not say “the Kurds” because the larger part of the Kurds are patriotic groups or tribes which support the state; however, these groups have no voice.  Those who control the area are small groups acting with the Americans.

As to what is sometimes referred to as the “Kurdish cause,” there is no such cause in Syria for a simple reason. Historically, there are Kurds who live in Syria; these groups which came to the north did so during the last century and only as a result of the Turkish oppression.  We have hosted them in Syria.  Kurds, Armenians and other groups came to Syria and we had no problem with that.  For example, there is no Syrian-Armenian issue.    There is a great diversity in Syria and we do not have an issue with that diversity, so why would we have a problem with the Kurds?!  The problem is with the groups that started to promote separatist propositions a few decades ago, mainly in the early 1980s.  Yet despite this, when the Turkish state during various periods oppressed and killed the Kurds in Turkey, we supported them.  We haven’t stood against their cause, if they call it a cause.  In Syria, they were given a nationality, even though they were not Syrian.  We have always been positive regarding the Kurdish issue.  Therefore, what is called “the Kurdish cause” is an incorrect title, a false title.

The problem right now is dealing with the Americans.  The Americans are occupiers; they occupied our lands.  The Americans are thieves stealing our oil.  You cannot play both sides: between those who protect the law and those who break it.  You cannot stand with the police and the thief at the same time, this is impossible.  You are either with the police or the thief.  So, we cannot reach results in any dialogue with them, even if we were to meet thousands of times, unless they take a clear position, a patriotic position: to be against the Americans, against occupation and against the Turks because they too are occupiers.

Quite simply, this is our demand.  This is a national position and as a government we are responsible for the constitution and for our national interests.  The whole Syrian people accept nothing less than them taking a stand against the occupation.  As for anything else, if they have other demands, the Syrian people have demands too.  How do we achieve results? We engage in discussions and then we can decide: do we change the constitution? Do we change the law? Or any other measure, this is all possible.  This is a Syrian-Syrian dialogue. However, the government in Syria does not own the constitution; the people own the constitution and therefore they are the ones who can change the constitution.

Question 20: If we take into account what is happening in Idlib, which we talked about at the beginning of the interview, and that Turkey is one of the main opponents of the Kurds, does the idea of reaching a reconciliation with the Kurds tempt you on these grounds? You can choose not to answer this question if you like.

President Assad:  On the contrary, this is a logical question.  These Kurdish groups which claim to be against Turkish occupation and issue statements that they will fight, did not fire a single bullet when the Turks invaded.  Why?  Because the Americans identified which area the Turks would enter and the boundaries that they should reach, as well as the areas that these groups should leave.  So, do we agree on statements or on actions?  We want to agree on the actions.  In their statements, they have said that they are against the Turks, but they are not doing anything against them at all.  They are neutral.  They are moving in line with the Americans and the Turks.  Only the Syrian government and other segments of Syrian society are fighting the Turks and losing martyrs every day.  Other than that, I agree with you.  If they were to say “we will agree with you against the Turks,” my response would be, we are ready, send your fighters so that together we can defend our land.

Question 21: In this region, there is also a very old enemy of the Syrian Arab Republic, which always reminds people of itself, Israel, or the Zionist entity as you call it. How do you see the “great” Deal of the Century, the gift given to us by American President Donald Trump? Where might it take us? I don’t mean to influence your answer in any way. I’m only recalling what is being discussed in Russia, that the deal as a solution for the Palestinian cause is simply a dead end.

President Assad:  Our relations with the United States were restored during the Nixon administration in 1974.  Since that time, we have met with numerous American officials in the administration, with presidents and members of Congress, and we have learned one thing only: anything an American politician does, is first and foremost to serve his personal interests in relation to the next elections.  They do not think of higher national American interests.  They do not think of world stability, or of international law, or the rights of peoples.  This doesn’t exist in their policies.  They only think of their elections and nothing else.

As to the ‘deal of the century,’ this proposition was made at this particular time only for the next American elections.  The presidential elections will be held at the end of this year.  So, the idea is meaningless, an empty shell.  The idea, if applied, is not harmful, but rather destructive to the Middle East and the peace process which started in the early 1990s.  However, when would their idea succeed and when would it fail?  It succeeds if the people of this region agree that it should succeed.  If you review all political and official statements, as well as public opinion on social media, you will find a total rejection of this plan, including from states and governments allied with America and those that have relations with Israel.  So, it’s safe to say that it is a stillborn plan.  Trump might be able to use it in his next elections in order to please the Israeli lobby in the United States.  But after that, we will probably not hear about the ‘deal of the century’ until the next elections. At which point there will be another and worse plan presented for the next elections.

Question 22: Thank you very much Mr. President. I have one final question, maybe a more emotional question. To what extent have these past nine years been difficult psychologically for you? To what extent have they been difficult to your family? Your wife has founded and manages one of the biggest charities in Syria which provides a great deal to children, to the wounded, and to restoration of normal life. I realize that I might be asking embarrassing questions, and I apologize for that, but to what extent have you suffered from what is happening within your family? And when you look back at what you have done during the past nine years, do you say to yourself that you haven’t done what you should have done on certain issues, or that a mistake was made in this regard and the right thing was done on another issue, and more should have been done?

President Assad:  There are two sides to this question: one is the formal, when I think about this war in my official capacity within the state and the other is the personal.

As an official, the first thing you think of in this situation is protecting the country; this is your duty as a head of state.  Here we can take as an example something that lives on as a tradition, which is the Great Patriotic War in Russia.  Your relations with Germany, like any other country, were good.  You had normal relations: agreements, engagements, meetings and you had not done anything against Germany.  Nevertheless, the Nazis attacked Russia and you lost 26 million martyrs, maybe more.  Was there any other choice but to defend your country?  No, that was the only choice.  The decision taken by the Russian leadership at the time was the right decision supported by the Russian people who defended their country.  Were there mistakes?  Of course, there are mistakes in every action.  Are there political or military decisions which could have been better?  Certainly, for everything has flaws and errors.  The same applies to us in Syria.  The decisions which we took from day one, were to preserve the sovereignty of Syria and to fight terrorists until the end, and we are still doing that.  After nine years, I believe that had we taken a different direction, we would have lost our country from day one.  That’s why this decision was the right one.  As to the mistakes made in daily matters, they are always there, of course.  Every time there is a mistake, we should correct it and change the decision.  This is the normal thing to do.

On a personal level, here I am like any other citizen; every individual has ambitions for his country.  Especially that before the war, we were advancing and achieving significant growth, and the country was developing at a fast pace.  It is true that we had many problems because when the reform process moves quickly, it has negative aspects, maybe in the form of corruption or policy mistakes.  But by and large, our national capabilities were improving and developing.  After nine years, when you see how far behind you are economically, technologically, culturally and educationally, of course there is a sense of frustration at times at a personal level.  Certainly, in the end, any war regardless of its causes or outcomes, is a very bad thing.  You cannot have a positive feeling towards any war.  You will always feel pain and frustration.  On a daily basis, you are losing good people and draining your resources.  So, there is certainly a kind of pain that you feel on a daily basis on a personal level.  However, at the same time, this pain should be the motivation and the incentive for you to do more and to have confidence and hope that you are capable of becoming stronger and better than before.

Journalist:  You have confirmed once again that a person like you can only have one position, the position of the statesman, because the views you have expressed are the views and the position of a statesman.

Mr. President, thank you very much for agreeing to give us this interview.  Today we have been with President of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar al-Assad, and this was “International Review.” I am Yevgeny Primakov, wishing you all the best.

President Assad: Thank you.

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حكام العرب في مأزق وليس لبنان… فلا تبتزّوا دياب!

ناصر قنديل

– تتعرّض حكومة الرئيس حسان دياب، التي لا تتبنّى انحيازاً مسبقاً لأي رأي أو محور إقليمي، للابتزاز تحت عنوان، إياكم وأن تُغضِبوا حكام الخليج، فلبنان في مأزق ويحتاج إلى عطف ورحمة هؤلاء الحكام، عساهم يمنّون عليه ببعض مما لديهم من المال. وينطلق أصحاب التحذير من معطىً معلوم وهو حاجات لبنان المالية ومعطيين خاطئين، الأول أن قرار دفع المال للبنان من العرب ليس عربياً، بل هو قرار تتخذه واشنطن، بمعزل عن كيفية تعامل لبنان مع الحكومات الخليجيّة، والثاني هو أن الحكومات العربية والخليجية خصوصاً مرتاحة لوضعها، وآخر همها ما يفعله وما يقوله لبنان واللبنانيون؛ بينما واقع الحال وما يجري في المنطقة يعبر عن ارتباك خليجي خصوصاً وعربي عموماً، سواء تجاه التجاذب الأميركي الإيراني ومخاوف دفع فواتيره، أو تجاه صفقة القرن وكيفيّة التعامل مع الإحراج الذي تسبّبت به لهم، وهم في السرّ شركاء وفي العلن خصوم.

– لبنان عموماً وحكومة الرئيس دياب خصوصاً، رغم ضغط الوضع المالي الصعب في وضع وصفه السفير الأميركي الأسبق جيفري فيلتمان، إن أفرج العرب والخليجيون خصوصاً عن بعض المال اللازم، ليس لديهم سبب ليكونوا في موقع سياسي مناوئ ولا يبحثون عن خصام. وإن لم يفعلوا، وقد ذكر فيلتمان السعودية بأن ديون لبنان بالعملات الصعبة تبلغ 35 مليار دولار أي أقلّ مما تنفقه السعودية على حرب اليمن في عام واحد، فعندها سيسلك لبنان بدائل لا تُفرح واشنطن وربما دول الخليج، ويفتح أبواب التفاوض مع روسيا والصين، سيتغيّر الوضع إلى غير رجعة، وللذين يقولون إن المال عند العرب والغرب ويختصرون الحديث عن المقارنة بروسيا فيتذاكون بالسؤال، وهل روسيا لديها مال لتعطيه؟ لا بد من إجابتهم أننا في النفط والغاز والخيارات الاستراتيجية نتحدث عن روسيا، أما في المال والشركات الناجحة في مجالات الاتصالات والموانئ والسكك الحديدة والمطارات والكهرباء، وهي تنفذ أهم المشاريع في الغرب نفسه، فالحديث هو عن الصين وليس عن روسيا، ويجب أن يقترن بالتذكير أن أكبر حامل لسندات الخزينة الأميركية هي الصين، بما يزيد عن 3,6 تريليون دولار. ومعلوم أن لا الصين ولا روسيا ستُبديان الاهتمام بلبنان إذا لم يكن لهما فيه نصيب سياسي، ولهما عنده مكانة مميزة. وهذا إن حدث يعرف العرب أن لبنان ليس في مأزق، على ذمة فيلتمان، الذي نصح حكومة بلاده والحكام العرب بتمويل لبنان وعدم الدفع بالأزمة أكثر، كي لا تذهب الأمور إلى خيارات يصعب التراجع عنها.

– في السياسة جاء اجتماع وزراء الخارجية العرب وما بعده الإسلامي، ليقولا إن الخطاب اللبناني كان الأكثر انسجاماً مع نفسه. فلبنان مناهض لصفقة القرن تمسكاً منه بالقضية الفلسطينية وإدراكاً منه أنها قلب قضايا المنطقة وأزماتها، وكل حل لها على حساب حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني سيزيد من التأزم والتوتر. وفوق ذلك لإجماع اللبنانيين على أن الصفقة تنهي حق العودة للاجئين الفلسطينيين وتستبدله بتوطينهم في بلدان اللجوء، وهو ما يرفضه اللبنانيون ويعرفون مدى تأثيره السلبي على توازناتهم وسلمهم الأهلي. بينما أغلب الحكام العرب الواقفين في خندق واشنطن فقلوبهم مع الصفقة، لكنهم يدركون بعقولهم أن ما سبق وقالوه لشعوبهم تبريراً للتهرّب من مسؤولياتهم نحو فلسطين قد صار اليوم قيداً عليهم، فهم أصحاب شعار، نكون وراء الفلسطينيين في ما يختارون وما يقبلون وما يرفضون. وها هم الفلسطينيون يقولون لا مدوية لصفقة ترامب. فوجد العرب أنفسهم في الجامعة وفي المؤتمر الإسلامي ملزمون بقول ما لا ينسجم مع ما فعلوا لتصير الصفقة مشروعاً على الطاولة. وحكام العرب يحتاجون لبنان المناوئ للصفقة والذي يملك مقدرات ودور بقوة مقاومته يحسب له الإسرائيليون ألف حساب، ويشكل إلى جانب الفلسطينيين عقبة كبيرة بوجه مرور الصفقة. ولبنان الذي سيذهب إلى سورية من باب مصلحته الوطنية والاقتصادية منسجم مع نفسه، بينما أغلب الحكام العرب في مأزق فهم يدركون حاجتهم أمس قبل اليوم واليوم قبل الغد لإعادة أفضل العلاقات مع سورية، لكنهم ممنوعون بقوة القرار الأميركي من فعل ذلك، فيستطيعون تحميل المسؤولين اللبنانيين الذاهبون إلى دمشق التحيات والاعتذارات، ويراهنون على القول لاحقاً، نحن شجّعنا اللبنانيين للذهاب إلى دمشق، أو إلى بغداد.

– المواجهة الدائرة في المنطقة بين إيران ومعها محور المقاومة من جهة، وأميركا من جهة مقابلة، ليست معركة قابلة للتحوّل إلى حرب كبرى، وإن حدث ذلك فستكون دول الخليج مسرحها أكثر من لبنان، لكن كما يبدو فنهايتها تسوية تضمن خروج الأميركيين، وحفظ ماء وجههم، وترتيبات جديدة في المنطقة. وهذه الترتيبات تؤكدها الخطوات الأميركية نحو إعلان صفقة القرن وهي تدرك استحالة تحولها مشروعاً عملياً لتكون إبراء ذمة تجاه كيان الاحتلال، لأن واشنطن تدرك أنها كي تذهب إلى التسوية مع إيران ومحور المقاومة يجب أن لا تحمل “إسرائيل” معها ولا تحمل مطالبها، ولذلك فعليها أن تمنح لـ”إسرائيل” ما تستطيع كي تتمكّن من الذهاب للتسوية ولا تتّهم بخيانة “إسرائيل” والتخلّي عنها، لكن في النهاية سيربح دوراً من يملك رصيداً في المحور الذي ستكون له الكلمة العليا في المنطقة، ومن حظ العرب أن يمنحوا لبنان اليوم بعضاً من مال، أملاً بأن يمنحهم لاحقاً بعضاً من نتائج الدور.

The Steal of the Century: A Last-Ditch Effort to Cement an Illegal Occupation

By Julia Kassem

Source

Trump Middle East Peace Plan 92ab3

Trump unveiled his and his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s “Deal of the Century,” categorically rejecting the sovereignty and will of the Palestinian people, in fulfillment of ‘Israel’s’ full-scale occupation and colonization scheme to finish off the West Bank and extinguish any prospect of Palestinian territorial, governmental, or military sovereignty.

The proposal, a Trump-style business deal meant to save face while cutting losses following US failures in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, comes at the helm of Netanyahu’s push to annex all of the West Bank and close off a complete occupation of Palestine. As ‘Israel’ underwent years of failures with respect to its plans for external colonization, such as in south Lebanon and Syria in the occupied Golan’s Quneitra and Daara, it buckled down with its moves in total internal annexation and expropriation. Israel did this in the vein of Oslo, picking up where Yitzhak Rabin had left off with signing off the carved-out administrative and security zones in the West Bank to be set aside for a gradual and further procession of ethnic and territorial cleansing of Palestine actualized in the current “Deal of the Century.”

Though the political portion of the deal just unveiled following last June’s announcement of the economic portion, the parts that have been revealed before Tuesday, involving the multi-billion dollar development plans allocated to both Occupied Palestine and the Arab states around it, speaks for itself and exemplifies the material interest underlying any possible political proposal. The plan was brokered last June in Bahrain, a tiny oil-rich island hosting US naval 5th fleet and the US’s first military base established one year before ‘Israel’ in 1947, where years of a relentless uprising against oppression have been hopelessly stifled by the Gulf regime and its neocolonial order.

The plans build upon these age-old schemes and initiatives by enabling ‘Israel’ to annex all of Jerusalem, and over a third of the post-Oslo Area C subdivision in the West Bank, which, under the 1993 agreement had placed it under total ‘Israeli’ security and military domain.

In the largest illegal land-grab since the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, ‘Israel’ would also be allowed to claim nearly every illegal settlement built in the West Bank. Included in this is the Jordan Valley, with, along with Jerusalem, carved out to extend and overreach the Zionist entity’s claims over Palestine’s eastern boundary and isolate Palestinians from their regional neighbors.

The plan claims to offer Palestinians some concessions in proposing a halt to all new settlements and sparing 15 locations in the West Bank from further settlement. However, the plan as it exists does not guarantee or ensure a complete moratorium on settlement-building; an irrelevant concession either way given the Deal’s nefarious demand of ensuring US recognition of all current and exiting illegal settlements and annexation of Jerusalem, all illegal under international law but with most recent settlements officially greenlit by the US in November 2019. Before the deal, an uptick of massive illegal settlement construction, daily violations and instructions of the Al-Aqsa mosque, a higher and more aggressive than usual uptick of forced removals and demolishment, and self-declared annexations by the Occupying entity were so endemic to US policy towards Palestine under the Trump administration where violence, occupation, and expropriation had operated more incrementally before. 2018 saw the US’s attempts at slashing UNRWA, a service that not only provides aid to displaced Palestinians but also recognizes their right to return under international law, the opening of a US Embassy in Jerusalem, the shutting-down of PLO offices in DC, and more aid cut to Palestinian programs, services, and institutions, including the Palestinian Authority in February 2019. This helped seal the deal for the upcoming deal, laying the groundwork that would ultimately position any concession a net gain in ‘Israel’s’ favor.

From the December 2017 declaration to declare Jerusalem as capital of the Occupying Entity rather than Palestine, to the mobilization to build an additional 10,000 illegal settlements in the last year alone, any lip service given to an unguaranteed halt to settlements has already been surmounted by the largest and most violent cases of land expropriation and forced removal Palestinians had to face since 1967. Just last month, a disabled man in East Jerusalem witnessed his home demolished for the first time in 20 years. West Bank Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem, are continuing to be forced out of their homes in droves, with demolitions and forced removals especially high in the last two years. Palestinian residents and families in East Jerusalem have even been forced to demolish their own homes as Israel remains committed towards its relentless pursuit to seize Jerusalem–a practice commonplace before Israel’s anticipation of the Deal, but unprecedented in frequency since then.

These propositions, a means of continuing an age-old project with added characteristics of a renewed, neoliberal development deal, is meant to cement economically what is becoming unsalvageable politically. The deal calls for Palestinians to completely rescind the infrastructure for self-defense and resistance alike, adding to their already feeble military capabilities diminutive in land and absent in air and sea. Though this predictably calls upon resistance groups in Gaza to disarm, it will also force the Palestinian Authority, who post Oslo served as the useful Palestinian containment apparatus of the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF), to also demilitarize.

Though the deal is meant to salvage some semblance of a pre-determined destiny imposed upon the will of the Palestinian people, it rather signals a grave level of defeat on the part of the American empire and its ‘Israeli’ and Gulf allies in the Middle East. The US-‘Israel’-Gulf axis is losing militarily in the Middle East and the Deal of the Century has been the US’s attempts at saving face in the region and consolidating its neocolonial hold on West Asia. Predictably, the shared political interests of Saudi Arabia, the UAE,

Nonetheless, the effects of the Steal-of-the-Century have already proven to backfire. As the “two-state solution” framework long upholding the discourse of the liberal peace shatters to pieces, Palestinians and their Arab neighbors in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria’s Golan under similar situations of military occupation and aggression will further actualize their right to resist, having long exhausted all diplomatic and legal avenues for peace and sovereignty.

The Deal comes as huge swaths of territory in Yemen, east of Sana’a and Idlib and Aleppo. in Syria are being liberated. Palestinians have rallied in Gaza, Ramallah, and elsewhere to mobilize a mass resistance and rejection of ‘Israel’s’ impunity with theft. And this solidarity extends and will expand past Palestinian boundaries into other Arab struggles; Sayyed Abdelmalik Al-Houthi, leader of the Ansarallah movement in Yemen that has resisted Saudi Arabian aggression for years,  just called upon “all people of the region” to act in counter to the “Deal of the Century,” which he called a “US initiative to prop up Israeli occupation with Saudi and UAE money.” Hezbollah, honoring these efforts in popular resistance, regarded “resistance” as the “only option to liberate the land and restore the sanctities” in a recent statement condemning the American administration’s decision and the complicitness of its Arab allies, vowing that the Palestinian people will resist overturning the deal before it can act on its depraved vision.

The $50 billion Trump is proposing to Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Occupied Palestine is not an investment or a package to the Arabs. It’s a bribe, and a package serving only ‘Israel’ and its allies. The Trump administration mistakenly expects complicities of the Arabs of the region with this money, similar to that of its Gulf allies when given such transactions for development and arms deals alike. Yet, the mounting resistance against the Deal–and the reaffirmations from Palestinians that have long declared that Palestine is not for sale, have taken root to uproot occupation and colonization. For better or for worse, the two-state solution is dead–so it’s past time for the US, ‘Israel’, and the Gulf to face up to phasing out of its overstayed un-welcome in the region; lest all regional forces of progress, resistance, and anti-colonialism appropriately take it upon themselves to do so.

Bahrain’s Sheikh Qassem Calls on Muslim Nation to Frustrate “Malicious Deal of the Century”

 February 1, 2020

Bahrain’s prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Issa Qassem lashed out at US’ plan on the Middle East, dubbed “Deal of the Century”, as a “malicious deal”, calling on the Muslim nation to thwart it.

In a statement released on Saturday, Sheikh Qassem described the deal as “a shameful deal orchestrated by ‘axis of devil’ and targets our nation’s identity and existence.”

He lashed out at all the deal accomplices including Arab regimes by saying: “The deal’s shame affects all those who are part in, including this nation’s governments, organizations, members.”

“The deal is a malicious, dangerous and impudent step,” Sheikh Qassem said, stressing that the Muslim nation holds responsibility to thwart this scheme.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

President Assad of Syria Tells the Truth regarding ISIS-Al Baghdadi, for All Who Care to Listen

Global Research, November 03, 2019

Western politicians are perception managers, puppets, deep state stooges. They bow to diktats from largely unelected polities. They are hollow, straw figures who sell out their countries and those whom they proclaim to represent with a whim. They have failed to “Stand on guard for thee”. They project “progressive perceptions” as they support Al Qaeda/ISIS and the conduct of war crimes under a fake humanitarian mandate. 

So, it is refreshing when a political figure tells the truth and takes a bold stand against the international cancer that is destroying international law, nation-state sovereignty, and humanity itself, with its war lies and its international terrorism.

President Assad of Syria tells the truth, for all who care to listen. In an interview with al-Sourya and al-Ikhbarya TV he discusses a number of important issues.

In reference to the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Hollywood-inspired narrative, he succinctly notes:

“This is part of the tricks played by the Americans.  That is why we should not believe everything they say unless they come up with evidence.  American politicians are actually guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around.”

Very true. He might have added that the evidence must be from non-partisan sources, and certainly not from Western terrorist-embedded sources.

When questioned about the Russian-Turkish agreement, Assad immediately iterated another important, but neglected truth.

“Russian principles,” he notes, “have been clear throughout this war and even before the Russian base that started supporting the Syrian army in 2015.  These principles are based on international law, Syrian sovereignty and Syria’s territorial integrity.”

Russian principles present a stark contrast to the unprincipled Western rogue coalition (Washington-led NATO and allies) that daily commits Supreme International war crimes in its Regime Change war against Syria and its peoples.

Whereas most Westerners refuse the truth and thus share responsibility for the crimes committed by those who falsely claim to represent them, Assad shines light on foundational truths. He understands the root of the cancer destroying the world, and he understands the imperative for a correct “diagnosis”. In the following statements he shatters the lies of “Fake Progressives”, of “humanitarian interventions”, of those who pretend to be “liberal” whilst at the same time supporting al Qaeda and ISIS:

“As for Trump, you might ask me a question and I give you an answer that might sound strange.  I say that he is the best American President, not because his policies are good, but because he is the most transparent president.  All American presidents perpetrate all kinds of political atrocities and all crimes and yet still win the Nobel Prize and project themselves as defenders of human rights and noble and unique American values, or Western values in general.  The reality is that they are a group of criminals who represent the interests of American lobbies, i.e. the large oil and arms companies, and others.  Trump talks transparently, saying that what we want is oil. This is the reality of American policy, at least since WWII.  We want to get rid of such and such a person or we want to offer a service in return for money.  This is the reality of American policy. What more do we need than a transparent opponent?  That is why the difference is in form only, while the reality is the same.”

When asked about the Kurds, Assad again shattered orientalist, divisive notions, with these observations:

“As for the Kurds themselves, most of them had good relations with the Syrian state, and they were always in contact with us and proposed genuine patriotic ideas. In some of the areas we entered, the reaction of the Kurds was no less positive, or less joyful and happy than the reaction of other people there.”

He understands the imperial machinations behind balkanization projects and refuses to demonize all “Kurds”, especially since most would likely prefer to remain in a sovereign, pluralist, democratic Syrian state.

Finally, with reference to the Constitution, Assad underscores the importance of international law and UN Resolution 2254 which reinforces foundational rights of sovereignty and self-determination: UN Resolution 2254 reaffirms

“its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations …. ”

Indeed, the failure of the UN and its agencies to implement and enforce its own stated principles has been self-evident throughout the course of this hideous, holocaust-generating imperial war against Syria, and against civilization itself.

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Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017. Visit the author’s website at https://www.marktaliano.net where this article was originally published.


Order Mark Taliano’s Book “Voices from Syria” directly from Global Research.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Voices from Syria 

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 1 new chapter)

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مصر لن تفتح ذراعَيْها للفوضى والأخوان

سبتمبر 30, 2019

ناصر قنديل

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

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

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

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

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

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