Trump’s Middle East triumphs will soon turn to disaster

David Hearst

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

Trump’s Middle East triumphs will soon turn to disaster

29 October 2020 12:11 UTC | Last update: 22 hours 22 mins ago

Palestinian demonstrators burn posters of the US president in Bethlehem’s Manger Square after he declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on 6 December 2017 (AFP)

Every US president leaves his mark on the Middle East, whether he intends to or not. 

The Camp David accord between Egypt and Israel, the Iranian revolution, and the Iran-Iraq war, launched in September 1980, all started under Jimmy Carter.

His successor, Ronald Reagan, supported then Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, and went on to witness the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in October 1981; the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the expulsion of the PLO from Beirut in 1982, and the Sabra and Shatila massacres in September of the same year – a period which ended with and led up to the First Intifada.

George H W Bush picked up with the First Gulf War and the Madrid Conference in 1991.

The shadow cast by George W Bush over the region is longer still: the destruction of Iraq, a once-mighty Arab state, the rise of Iran as a regional power, the unleashing of sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia, and the rise of the Islamic State group. Two decades of conflict were engendered by his decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The grand deception

For a brief spell under president Barack Obama, the flame of a fresh start with the Muslim world flickered. But the belief that a US administration would support democracy was quickly extinguished. Those who dared to hope were cruelly deceived by the president who dared to walk away . Once in power, Muslims were dropped like a hot stone, as were fellow black Americans.

Two pillars of US policy emerge: an unshakeable determination to support Israel, whatever the cost, and a default support of absolute monarchs, autocrats and dictators of the Arab world

On two moments of high tension – the Egyptian military coup of 2013 and the murder of US journalist James Foley in 2014 – Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people,” returned to a game of golf. 

Obama refused to call the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically elected president a military coup, and his secretary of state John Kerry would have dipped into the same playbook had Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not narrowly escaped an assassination squad and the coup there succeeded.

The history of US diplomatic and military intervention in the Middle East was one of serial failure and the list of failed states only grew with each inauguration.

The military retreat that Obama sounded after “leading from behind” in Libya and an “intervention-lite” in Syria resembled Napoleon’s long march from Moscow. Throughout the tumult, two pillars of US policy emerge: an unshakeable determination to support Israel, whatever the cost, however much its prime ministers and settlers undermined peace efforts. And a default support of absolute monarchs, autocrats and dictators of the Arab world.

  US President Barack Obama walks with Middle East leaders in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, on 1 September, 2010 (Reuters)
US president Barack Obama walks with Middle East leaders in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, on 1 September 2010 (Reuters)

Wicked witch

Now enter, stage right, the Wicked Witch of this pantomime.

Trump set about tearing up the rule book on the Middle East, by giving full rein to the Jewish nationalist religious right. This came in the shape of two settler ideologists and funders: Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law and senior adviser, and David Friedman, his ambassador to Israel.

Trump set about destroying the consensus on the Middle East, by giving full rein to the Jewish national religious right

Under the guise of blue sky thinking, they tore apart the consensus that had powered each previous US administration’s search for a settlement to the Palestine conflict – borders negotiated on 1967 lines, East Jerusalem as capital, the right of refugees to return.  

They erased 1967 borders by recognising the Golan Heights and the annexation of settlements, recognised an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and defunded Palestinian refugee agency UNWRA. This culminated in what proved to be the coup de grace for a Palestinian state –  the recognition by three Arab states (UAE, Bahrain and Sudan) of Israel in the territory it currently occupies.

This meant recognition of 400,000 settlers in nearly 250 settlements in the West Bank beyond East Jerusalem; recognition of laws turning settlements into “islands” of the State of Israel; recognition of a third generation of Israeli settlers. All of this, the UAE, Bahrain and now Sudan have signed up for.

Changing the map 

“When the dust settles, within months or a year, the Israeli-Arab conflict will be over,” Friedman boasted. Friedman’s undisguised triumphalism will be as short-lived and as ill-fated as George W Bush’s was after he landed on an aircraft carrier sporting the now notorious banner proclaiming “mission accomplished” in Iraq.US election: Mohammed bin Salman braces for the loss of a key ally Read More »

I part company with those who consign the Abraham Accords to the dustbin of history.

But they are indeed rendered meaningless when Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs found that 90 percent of social media in Arabic condemned the UAE’s normalisation; the Washington Institute recorded just 14 percent of Saudis supported it.

Plainly on these figures, Friedman is going to have to wait a long time before Arab public opinion arrives in the 21st century, as he puts it.

But the absence of public support across the Arab world for normalisation does not mean that it will have no effect. It will indeed change the map of the Middle East but not quite in the way Friedman and the settlers hope. Until he and his like seized control of the White House, Washington played on a useful disconnect between the two pillars of US policy – unconditional support for Israel on the one hand and Arab dictators on the other.

It allowed Washington to claim simultaneously that Israel was the “only democracy” in the Middle East and thus entitled to defend itself in “a tough neighbourhood,” while on the other hand doing everything it could to keep the neighbourhood tough, by supporting the very ruling families who suppressed parliaments, democracy, and preyed on their people.

These are classic tactics of colonial masters, well-honed by the British, French, Dutch and Spanish sea-born empires. And it has worked for decades. Any US president could have done what Trump did, but the fact that they did not meant that they – at least – foresaw the dangers of fusing support for Israel with support for volatile and revolution-prone Arab dictatorships.

Trump is both ignorant and profoundly oblivious, because all that matters to him in this process is him. An adult who displays all the symptoms of infantile narcissistic injury, Trump’s only demand from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was that he, Trump, alone should be hailed as the saviour of Israel.

Speaking to Netanyahu on a speakerphone in front of the White House press corps, Trump asked: “Do you think Sleepy Joe could have made this deal, Bibi? Sleepy Joe? Do you think he would have made this deal somehow? I don’t think so.” Netanyahu paused long and hard. “Uh, well… Mr President, one thing I can tell you is… um, er, we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America… And we appreciate what you have done enormously.”

Going for broke

By going for broke, the era of useful ambiguity in US Middle East policy has now come to an end. Israeli occupiers and Arab despots are now  openly in each other’s arms. This means the fight against despots in the Arab world is one and the same thing as the fight to liberate occupied Palestine. Israel’s deals with the Gulf are a disaster for Egypt Read More »

One might think this is of little consequence as the Arab Spring, which caused such upset in 2011, has been committed to the grave long ago. But it would be foolish to think so, and certainly Israel’s former ambassador to Egypt Yitzhak Levanon is not a fool.

Writing in Israel Hayom, Levanon asked whether Egypt is on the verge of a new uprising: “The Egyptian people dreamed of openness and transparency after the overthrow of Mubarak, who was perceived as a dictator. The Muslim Brotherhood are exiled and persecuted. There is no opposition. A change in the law allows Sisi to serve as president until 2030, and the laws make it possible to control by draconian means, including political arrests and executions. Recent history teaches us that this may affect the whole area.”

Another former Israeli ambassador has voiced his concerns about Trump’s effect on Israel. Barukh Binah, a former ambassador to Denmark and deputy head of mission in Washington, observed that the peace treaties Trump signed were with Israel’s existing friends and did nothing to solve the diplomatic impasse with its enemies.

A Palestinian demonstrator holds a sign during a protest against the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain's deal with Israel to normalise relations, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank September 15, 2020
A Palestinian demonstrator holds a sign during a protest against UAE deal with Israel to normalise relations, in Ramallah on 15 September (Reuters)

“Trump is seen by many as Israel’s ultimate friend, but just as he has done in the US, he has isolated us from the Western community to which we belong. Over the past four years, we have become addicted to a one-of-a-kind powerful psychedelic called ‘Trumpion’ – and the moment the dealer leaves the White House, Israel will need to enter rehab.”

An important lesson

In the Camp David accords, Egypt became the first Arab country to recognise Israel in 1978. In 1994 Jordan became the second, when King Hussein signed a peace treaty at the Wadi Araba crossing. It is one more sign of the lack of thought and planning behind the second wave of recognition that the two Arab states who formed part of the first wave are losing out so heavily.

The new alliance between Israel and the Gulf states has generated other alliances determined to defend Palestine and Muslim rights

One wave of recognition is swamping another. This is not the work of a people who have thought this through. 

Jordan is gradually losing control of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem. Egypt is losing money and traffic from the Suez Canal, which is being bypassed by a pipeline about to transfer millions of tons of crude oil from the Red Sea to Ashkelon. Plans are also afoot to build a high-speed railway between the UAE and Israel. Egypt is about to be bypassed by land and sea.

In 1978 Egypt was the most powerful and populous Arab state. Today it has lost its geopolitical importance. It’s an important lesson that all Arab leaders should learn.

Some regional leaders have understood these lessons. The new alliance between Israel and the Gulf states has generated other alliances determined to defend Palestine and Muslim rights. Just watch how close Turkey is getting to Iran and Pakistan. And how close Pakistan is to abandoning its long-standing military alliance with Saudi Arabia.

The lesson for Palestine

Nor is the West Bank any less volatile than Egypt is. As part of their efforts to coerce Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to accept the deal, Arab aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) had dropped by 81 percent in the first eight months of this year from $198m to $38m.

The PA refuses to accept taxes Israel collects on its behalf, since Israel began deducting the money the PA spent on supporting the families of dead Palestinian fighters. If the PA did accept Israel’s deduction, it too would be dead on arrival. The EU has refused to make up the shortfall.

Abbas would not be minded to suppress the next outbreak of popular discontent, as he has done consistently in the past

With most security co-ordination frozen, and nightly Israeli arrests in the West Bank, the enclave is a tinderbox. Abbas would not be minded to suppress the next outbreak of popular discontent, as he has done consistently in the past. 

Palestinians waited a long time after the creation of the state of Israel to get serious about forming a campaign to regain their lost land. They waited from April 1949 to May 1964, when the PLO was founded to restore “an independent Palestinian state”.

They have now waited even longer for the principle of land for peace to deliver their land back to them. Trump, Kushner and Friedman have pronounced it dead, as they have the two-state solution. The two words they were careful to avoid in all the conferences and presentations of their plans were “Palestinian state”.

 Once again, Palestinians are on their own and forced to recognise that their destiny lies in their hands alone.

The conditions which recreated the First Intifada are alive and kicking for a generation of youth who were yet to be born on 8 December 1987. It is only a matter of time before another uprising will materialise, because it is now the only way out of the hellish circle of Israeli expansion, Arab betrayal, and international indifference, which remains open to them. 

Recognising Israel does not work. Nor does talking. 

This is Trump’s legacy. But it is also, alas, the legacy of all the presidents who preceded him. The Abraham Accords will set the region in conflict for decades to come.

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.

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شركاء جدد للعدوان الخليجيّ على اليمن؟

 د. وفيق إبراهيم

تراجع الحلف السعوديّ – الإماراتيّ ومرتزقتهم في حربهم على اليمن والأزمات التي يتخبّط بها حليفهم الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب تضع حكام السعودية والإمارات في مأزق تاريخيّ.

فلا هم قادرون على الانسحاب بعد خمس سنوات على هجوم قواتهم على اليمن بدعم أميركي بريطاني بالتسليح والتخطيط والتدريب ومرتزقة من السودان وبعض بلدان العالم العربي والإسلامي، مع شراء مفتوح للسلاح من بلدان أوروبية ومشاركات إسرائيليّة متنوّعة ودعم مصري بحريّ.

هؤلاء لم يعد بوسعهم إكمال حربهم التي ادركت في جوانب منها مرحلة الخسارة المتدحرجة، فها هو جيش دولة صنعاء على وشك تحرير منطقة مأرب بما يعنيه من انهيار الدور العدوانيّ السعوديّ في كامل اليمن، والقضاء على طموحه في الاستيلاء على حضرموت والجوف.

كذلك الإمارات التي لم تتمكن حتى الآن من توطيد احتلالها لمدينة عدن وبعض أنحاء الجنوب وجزر سقطرى.

ما أدى الى ولادة معادلة تقوم على ان الانسحاب من حرب اليمن ممنوع بقرار أميركي والانتصار فيها مستحيل لقوة المدافعين عن بلادهم في دولة صنعاء.

هذا الى جانب الذعر الذي أصاب حكام الخليج بسبب تراجع حظوظ وليهم الأميركي ترامب في الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية في الثالث من تشرين الثاني المقبل.

هناك الآن فارق يزيد عن ثلاث عشرة نقطة تؤكد مكاتب استطلاعات الرأي الأميركية ان منافسه بايدن يحوز عليها، وقد تزداد في مقبل الأيام لتخوف الأميركيين من الحالة الصحية المتفاقمة لترامب التي يحاول إخفاءها بالتهريج والضجيج والادعاء انه تمكن من القضاء على وباء الكورونا المصاب به.

لذلك يجب الربط بين الانسداد العسكري للعدوان على اليمن ونجاح الحُديدة في إجهاض كل محاولات إسقاطها من قبل السعوديين والإماراتيين، وأزمات ترامب هي من العوامل التي دفعت مفتي السعودية آل الشيخ لمطالبة المسلمين عموماً بالدعاء لشفاء ترامب.

إلا أن السفير الاميركي في «اسرائيل» ديفيد فريدمان كشف المستور مسقطاً التوريات الدينية، فأعلن أن فوز بايدن على ترامب يمثل خطراً كبيراً على جهود واشنطن وحلفائها في حرب اليمن من جهة والتطبيع الإسرائيلي – الخليجي العربي من جهة ثانية.

فإذا كان الأميركيون أنفسهم يتوجّسون على مشاريعهم الاستعمارية، فماذا حال أدواتهم في الشرق الأوسط وهل لديهم سياسات بديلة؟

ليس لدى السعودية والإمارات إلا العمل لإنجاح ترامب بضخ كميات وافرة من المساعدات لحملاته الانتخابية والإعلامية، علماً ان الفوارق في الأهداف بين الحزبين الأميركيين الجمهوري والديموقراطي هي في اسلوب التطبيق وليس في الأهداف، فالطرفان يعملان على السطو على موارد بلدان الشرق الاوسط وافريقيا وآسيا، لكن الحزب الديموقراطي يميل الى الربط بين الدبلوماسية والنفوذ الجيوبوليتيكي والصفقات الاقتصادية، فيما يسطو الحزب الجمهوري على اقتصاد المرتبطين به بشكل مباشر ومن دون حوارات على الطريقة الترامبية المليئة بالغطرسة والاستكبار.

كما أن الحزب الديموقراطي يميل الى حل الدولتين في فلسطين المحتلة مع تسويات لمصلحة الكيان المحتل، فيما يريد الحزب الجمهوري منح «إسرائيل» كامل فلسطين والجولان والأراضي اللبنانية المحتلة، معززاً فرصها في علاقات كاملة مع العالم الغربي على اساس حل بينهما معادٍ لإيران وروسيا والصين.

فأين المهرب الذي قد يفر اليه الخليج لإجهاض التداعيات المحتملة لخسارة ترامب الانتخابات الرئاسية؟

يبدو ان الخليج ذاهب الى تعميق تطبيعه مع العدو الإسرائيلي الى درجة تقديم دعم مالي مفتوح لهذا الكيان مقابل خدمات عسكرية جوية وبحرية وتقنية وتدريبية ويريد السعوديون والإماراتيون التعجيل في التطبيع السوداني مع «اسرائيل» لهدفين: الاول هو الكسر المعنوي لجبهة الأول الرافضة للعلاقات مع «اسرائيل» فيما يذهب الهدف الثاني إلى مسارعة الكيان الإسرائيلي إلى تدريب قوات سودانية بأعداد كبيرة قد تصل الى ثمانين الف جندي، يعمل نصفها تقريباً على حماية العائلات الحاكمة في السعودية والإمارات فيما يجري زج القوات الباقية داخل معارك اليمن للمحافظة على الأقل على «الستاتيكو» القائم في مأرب وبعض الوسط والجنوب وللدفاع ايضاً عن الجهة السعودية في نجران وجيزان المواجهتين لأعالي صنعاء.

هناك ايضاً محاولات سعودية – إماراتية لطلب مساعدات عسكرية أوروبية لها ميزتان: الاحتراف العسكري والتغطية السياسية لحرب الخليج على اليمن، الأمر الذي يزيد من مناعة النظامين السعودي والإماراتي في الاتحاد الاوروبي والامم المتحدة بالإضافة الى الدور العسكري، فهل تنجح هذه المساعي الشديدة الكلفة في زمن يتراجع فيه استهلاك البترول والغاز، وتختفي موارد الحج والعمرة ومختلف انواع العلاقات الاقتصادية؟ الصمود اليمني المتحول الى هجوميّ لن يتيح لكل هؤلاء فرصة ترقب تحولات ميدانيّة لمصلحتهم. لكن عملية طرد الغزاة السعوديّين والإماراتيّين من اليمن أصبحت مسألة وقت بانتظار تشكل موقف جنوبي يمني يلتقي مع الشمال والوسط المحرّر لإنقاذ بلادهم والمحافظة على ثرواتها ودورها اليمني والإقليمي وبالتالي العربي.

A Biden Victory Would Be Bad For ‘Israel’ – Friedman

A Biden Victory Would Be Bad For ‘Israel’ - Friedman

By Staff, Agencies

US Ambassador to the Zionist entity David Friedman cautioned Sunday that November 3 win for Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden would have an adverse effect on the region and would undermine the progress made by the Trump administration to curb the ‘threat’ Iran poses to the Middle East.

Speaking with the United Arab Emirates-based media outlet Al Ain News, Friedman said that Iran was the “most consequential issue of the election.”

“As you know, Joe Biden was part of the Obama administration that negotiated and implemented the Iran deal, something that President Trump – and I share his view – thinks was the worst international deal the US has ever entered into,” Friedman said in an excerpt from the interview posted to Twitter.

He further warned that a Biden victory could have serious consequences for America’s allies in the Middle East, including ‘Israel,’ Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

“If Biden wins, we will see a policy shift that, in my personal opinion, will be wrong and will be bad for the region, including for ‘Israel,’ Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait,” he told the Emirate daily.

“President Trump thinks was the worst deal the US have ever entered into. It created a path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” he explained adding that currently, Washington is “in a very good place in terms of the sanctions we have imposed upon Iran, and we think if we continue down this path, Iran will have no choice but to end its malign activity.

“We worked really hard to get Iran, I think, to a much better place. I would hate to think a new administration would undermine that but, regrettably, if Biden wins, I think they might,” Friedman added.

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Beyond the Gratuitous Normalization: An Escalating War on Palestine ما بعد التطبيع المجّاني: نحو تسعير الحرب على فلسطين

Beyond the Gratuitous Normalization: An Escalating War on Palestine

By Ali Haidar – Al-Akhbar Newspaper

Translated by Staff

With the opening of a new era in the region, titled “The Declared Arab Alliances with the ‘Israeli’ Enemy”, the war on Palestine is moving towards more extensive levels, in order to escalate pressure on the Palestinians and force them to accept the fait accompli. The statements –published yesterday- of the American ambassador to “Israel”, David Friedman, in which he claimed that the Arabic-‘Israeli’ conflict has reached “the beginning of the end”, are perhaps a clear proof of that. In parallel, there are continued talks about the intention of other states to join normalization, in the light of exposing further information about the trajectory that led to this result, and which was commanded by the Mossad over the past years

After the Emirati and Bahraini regimes have accomplished their task, which is enhancing political, security and economic supplies to the enemy entity, in the context of the war that it is waging against Palestinians and the region, eyes are now focused on the Saudi regime, which is awaiting its next task to be outlined and waiting for setting the time at which it will take the lead of the Gulf States. These states are working on distorting the direction of the conflict to make it fit the “Israeli” priorities and interests. In this context, Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen repeated, in an interview with the entity’s “Channel 12”, that the deal with Saudi Arabia was “within reach”, expressing his conviction that the deal might be sealed “during the current year”. He reiterated that many states, whether Gulf States or others, will join the normalization deals. “Israeli” reports mentioned that Oman was the next state to normalize, as it dispatched its ambassador in Washington to the signing ceremony for the ‘Israel’-Bahrain-UAE “Peace Deal” at the White House.

This ceremony, with all the following seasons of the same series, are just a result of a secret or declared trajectory that has been ongoing for years. This trajectory was supervised by the Mossad, who has to manage relations with non-normalizing states, as one of its official missions. This is what Cohen himself has confirmed, when he said that “The body was always working on creating relationships at various levels. These relations could be, at the beginning, economic, commercial or reciprocal concerning understanding regional and international security relations.” He added that “We all seek, in the end, official relations with Arab States”. Building on this, Cohen considered the two “Israeli” deals with the UAE and Bahrain to be “the culmination of years of efforts and communications that have been managed in a pretty accurate way.” These efforts are being made by the Mossad which comes under the direct authority of the Prime Minister, so the political level brings their rewards. Besides, the Mossad has many plans that target –as declared in the “Israeli” political and media discourse- the Palestinian cause firstly, then Iran secondly since it is considered to be the strategic depth of the axis of Resistance. Concerning this, Cohen said that the signed agreements with the UAE and Bahrain are a great message which is more important than the idea of supporting “Israel”. He added that the agreements were a strategic change in the war against Iran.

Although the attempts to give the ‘Israeli’-UAE and ‘Israeli’-Bahraini deals a strategic nature seem to be exaggerated given the two States’ size and regional role, the situation will be different when Saudi Arabia joins them. It would be possible then to talk about a new regional map that has a strategic nature. However, the engagement of all these regimes in the normalization has less consequences than Egypt’s exit from the confrontation with “Israel”, through the “Camp David Accords” in 1979, which created a radical transformation in the balance of power to the benefit of the “Israeli” enemy. This transformation needed another one on the opposite side, in the magnitude of the Iranian Revolution, to contain its consequences, and realign the movement of the regional reality in directions that are different from the ones for which the enemy was planning four decades ago.

Concerning the direct consequences of the two agreements, it is highly unlikely that the Zionist entity will play a direct role in protecting the regimes that are newly normalizing with “Israel”, or that it will engage in a military intervention for their sake. Also, it is unlikely that “Israel” will take the initiative, in the foreseeable future, to set up military bases in the Gulf as some are saying, simply because the entity doesn’t want to put direct military targets in front of its enemies, since they could restrict its ability to make aggressive operational choices in the region, especially against Iran. On the other hand, the normalizing regimes will continue playing a military role to the benefit of Tel Aviv, but this time, with a fake political legitimacy.  

Regarding the Palestinian cause, it is obvious that the establishment of a new era, titled “The Declared Arab Alliances with the ‘Israeli’ Enemy”, absolutely means the amplification of the attempts to end the Palestinian cause. Accordingly, it seems that the next stage will see an escalating aggression against Palestinians, with the participation of the normalizing regimes that think that the insistence of Palestinians on keeping their cause alive will undermine their efforts and plans, and constitute a durable conviction of them. Hence, they will treat every Palestinian stance that claims one of the Palestinians’ minimum rights as a missile that targets their thrones.

The American ambassador to “Israel”, David Friedman, is the one who opened the direct war against Palestine and its people, by attacking Palestinians again, and considering the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict to have reached the “beginning of the end” in the light of the normalization agreements. In a clear message to Ramallah, Friedman revealed, in a conversation with the “Israeli” newspaper “Israel Hayom”, that the United States was thinking of replacing the former leader of Fatah movement, Mohammed Dahlan, by the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas; but “they didn’t want to reorganize the Palestinian leadership.” It seems that Friedman wanted to suggest that Ramallah’s insistence on rejecting normalization, and refusing the Palestinian legalization of it, will make Washington more willing to topple the current leadership. Friedman sees that “this leadership didn’t stop upholding the same old complaints, which had nothing to do with this issue.”

In parallel, Washington and Tel Aviv are still refusing to provide the UAE and Bahrain with an umbrella, even a fake one, for their normalization choices. Friedman has stressed that the postponement of the annexation plan was just a “temporary suspension”, pointing out that the current US administration was the first one to recognize the legitimacy of settlement, and to share a “Peace plan” that excludes the evacuation of settlers from their homes across the West Bank. Friedman had previously indicated that the West Bank was a part of “Israel”.


ما بعد التطبيع المجّاني: نحو تسعير الحرب على فلسطين

ما بعد التطبيع المجّاني: نحو تسعير الحرب على فلسطين
سيختلف الأمر لدى انضمام النظام السعودي، إذ يمكن عندها الحديث عن خارطة إقليمية جديدة تتّسم بطابع استراتيجي (أ ف ب )

مع افتتاح حقبة جديدة في المنطقة عنوانها التحالفات العربية المعلَنة مع العدو الإسرائيلي، تتّجه الحرب على فلسطين وداعميها نحو فصول أكثر شراسة، بهدف تصعيد الضغوط على الفلسطينيين وإجبارهم على قبول الأمر الواقع. ولعلّ التصريحات التي نُشرت أمس للسفير الأميركي في إسرائيل، ديفيد فريدمان، والتي ادّعى فيها أن الصراع العربي – الإسرائيلي وصل إلى «بداية النهاية»، تُعدّ دليلاً واضحاً على ذلك. على خطّ موازٍ، يتواصل الحديث عن اعتزام دول إضافية الانضمام إلى ركب التطبيع، في ظلّ انكشاف المزيد من المعطيات حول المسار الذي قاد إلى هذه النتيجة، والذي تزعّمه «الموساد» على مرّ السنوات الماضية.

بعدما أكمل النظامان الإماراتي والبحريني مهمّتهما التي أُوكلت إليهما في تعزيز الإمداد السياسي والأمني والاقتصادي لكيان العدو في سياق الحرب التي يشنّها على شعوب فلسطين والمنطقة، تَتوجّه الأنظار نحو النظام السعودي الذي ينتظر اكتمال رسم معالم الخطوة المطلوبة منه، وتحديد توقيت تصدّره القافلة الخليجية التي تعمل على حرف وجهة الصراع نحو أولويات تتماهى مع المصالح والأولويات الإسرائيلية. وفي هذا الإطار، أعاد رئيس «الموساد»، يوسي كوهين، في مقابلة مع «القناة 12» في التلفزيون الإسرائيلي، الحديث عن أن الاتفاق مع السعودية «في متناول اليد»، معبّراً عن اقتناعه بإمكانية تحقق ذلك «خلال هذا العام»، مجدّداً القول إن العديد من الدول، الخليجية وغير الخليجية، سينضمّ أيضاً إلى ركب التطبيع، فيما تحدّثت تقارير إسرائيلية عن أن «الدولة التالية ستكون سلطنة عُمان»، التي أوفدت سفيرها في واشنطن إلى مراسم توقيع اتفاقيتَي «السلام» مع الإمارات والبحرين في البيت الأبيض.

مراسمُ ليست، وما سيعقبها من حلقات إضافية في المسلسل نفسه، إلا نتيجة لمسار سرّي وعلني امتدّ على مدار السنوات السابقة، وأشرف عليه جهاز «الموساد»، الذي من مهمّاته الرسمية إدارة العلاقات مع الدول غير المُطبّعة. هذا ما أكّده كوهين بنفسه، بحديث عن أن جهازه «يعمل دائماً للوصول إلى وضع نقيم فيه علاقات على مستويات مختلفة. ويمكن أن تكون في البداية علاقات اقتصادية، وعلاقات تجارية، وعلاقات تبادلية في فهم الأحداث الأمنية – الإقليمية والدولية. في النهاية، أعتقد أن هدفنا جميعاً هو الوصول إلى علاقات رسمية مع الدول العربية». وانطلاقاً من ذلك، اعتبر كوهين الاتفاقيتين الإسرائيليتين مع الإمارات والبحرين «تتويجاً لسنوات من الجهود والاتصالات التي تدار بطريقة دقيقة للغاية». هذه الجهود التي يبذلها «الموساد»، التابع مباشرة لرئيس الوزراء، يقطف ثمارها المستوى السياسي، ويؤسّس عليها مخططات تستهدف مباشرة، كما هو معلن في الخطاب السياسي والإعلامي الإسرائيلي، قضية فلسطين أولاً، وإيران تالياً باعتبارها العمق الاستراتيجي لمحور المقاومة. عن هذا، قال كوهين إن «الاتفاقيات الموقّعة مع البحرين والإمارات تعتبر رسالة كبيرة جدّاً تتجاوز فكرة دعم إسرائيل. الاتفاقيات هي تغيير استراتيجي في الحرب ضدّ إيران».

من المستبعد جدّاً أن يلعب الكيان العبري دوراً مباشراً في حماية الأنظمة المُطبّعة


وعلى رغم أن محاولات إضفاء الطابع الاستراتيجي على الاتفاقيتين الإسرائيليتين مع النظامَين البحريني والإماراتي تبدو مبالغاً فيها، بلحاظ حجم الدولتين ودورهما الإقليمي، إلا أن الأمر سيختلف لدى انضمام النظام السعودي إليهما، إذ يمكن عندها الحديث عن خارطة إقليمية جديدة تتّسم بطابع استراتيجي. على أن إقدام كلّ تلك الأنظمة على التطبيع لا يوازي في تداعياته خروج مصر من المواجهة مع اسرائيل، عبر «اتفاقية كامب ديفيد» عام 1979، والتي أحدثت تحوّلاً جذرياً في موازين القوى لمصلحة العدو. وهو تحوّلٌ كان يحتاج إلى آخر مقابل بحجم ثورة إيران لاحتواء تداعياته، وإعادة تصويب حركة الواقع الإقليمي في اتجاهات مغايرة لِما كان يُخطَّط له قبل أربعة عقود.

في التداعيات المباشرة للاتفاقيتين الأخيرتين، من المستبعد جدّاً أن يلعب الكيان العبري دوراً مباشراً في حماية الأنظمة المُطبّعة معه حديثاً، أو أن يذهب إلى حدود التدخل العسكري لمواجهة أيّ تهديد تتعرّض له. كذلك، يستبعد أن تبادر إسرائيل، في المدى المنظور، إلى نصب قواعد عسكرية لها في الخليج وفق ما يجري تداوله أحياناً، والسبب – ببساطة – أنها لا تريد وضع أهداف عسكرية مباشرة أمام العدو، يمكن أن تُقيّد قدرتها على اتخاذ خيارات عملانية عدوانية في المنطقة، خصوصاً تجاه إيران. في المقابل، ستواصل الأنظمة المُطبّعة لعب دور أمني لمصلحة تل أبيب، لكن هذه المرّة مع شرعية سياسية مصطنعة.

في ما يتعلّق بقضية فلسطين، من الواضح أن التأسيس لحقبة جديدة عنوانها التحالفات العربية المعلنة مع كيان العدو، يعني بالضرورة تزخيم محاولات تصفية القضية الفلسطينية. ومن هنا، يبدو أن المرحلة المقبلة ستشهد تصاعداً في العدوان على الشعب الفلسطيني، بمشاركة من أنظمة التطبيع التي تعتقد أن إصرار الفلسطينيين على إبقاء قضيّتهم حية سيُقوِّض الكثير من جهودها ومخطّطاتها، وسيشكّل إدانة مستمرّة لها. ولذا، فهي ستتعامل مع كلّ موقف فلسطيني يطالب بالحدّ الأدنى من الحقوق على أنه بمثابة صاروخ مُوجّه إلى عروشها.

تسعير الحرب المباشرة على فلسطين وشعبها افتتحه السفير الأميركي في إسرائيل، ديفيد فريدمان، بمهاجمة الفلسطينيين من جديد، واعتباره أن الصراع العربي – الإسرائيلي وصل إلى «بداية النهاية» في ظلّ اتفاقيات التطبيع. وفي رسالة واضحة الدلالة إلى رام الله، كشف فريدمان، في حديث إلى صحيفة «إسرائيل اليوم»، أن الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تدرس استبدال القيادي السابق في حركة «فتح» محمد دحلان، برئيس السلطة محمود عباس، مستدركاً بأنه «ليست لدينا رغبة في هندسة القيادة الفلسطينية». والظاهر أن فريدمان أراد الإيحاء بأن إصرار رام الله على رفض سياسة التطبيع، وممانعتها إضفاء الشرعية الفلسطينية عليها، سيدفعان واشنطن إلى إطاحة القيادة الحالية التي يرى أنها لا تزال «تتمسّك بنفس الشكاوى القديمة، التي لا أعتقد أنها ذات صلة».

على خطّ مواز، لا تزال واشنطن، ومعها تل أبيب، ترفض توفير مظلّة، ولو شكلية، للإمارات والبحرين، في خياراتهما التطبيعية؛ إذ شدّد فريدمان على أن تأجيل تنفيذ مخطّط الضم ما هو إلا «تعليق مؤقت»، لافتاً إلى أن الإدارة الأميركية الحالية أول إدارة تعترف بشرعية الاستيطان، وتنشر «خطّة سلام» تستبعد إخلاء المستوطنين من منازلهم في جميع أنحاء الضفة، التي سبق أن أشار في الماضي إلى أنها «جزء من إسرائيل».

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