What to Expect at the Arab League Summit in Algiers

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°  

Amin Qammouria

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

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

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

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

Diplomacy or distraction?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy and food security

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

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

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

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

Algeria calls for Syria’s return

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israel’s presence at Algeria’s border

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unwavering Palestinian solidarity

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

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

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

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

The limits of Algerian diplomacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

أنقرة تُغضب جماعاتها: خطوة أولى نحو دمشق

السبت 13 آب 2022

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

 علاء حلبي 

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


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

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


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

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Supporters of armed groups attack Turkish checkpoints in Idlib, Aleppo

12 Aug, 2021

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Following Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s proposal to reconcile between the Syrian government and the opposition factions, supporters of armed groups staged massive protests in the countryside of Idlib and Aleppo.

Thousands of supporters of armed groups took to the streets on Friday to protest against Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu for proposing reconciliation between the Syrian government and the opposition factions.

Turkey’s top diplomat revealed on Thursday that he had a brief meeting with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in October in Belgrade and that communication between the two countries intelligence agencies had resumed.

Cavusoglu added, “We have to somehow get the opposition and the regime to reconcile in Syria. Otherwise, there will be no lasting peace, we always say this.”

Cavusoglu also stated that there must be strong administration in Syria to prevent any division of the country, adding that “the will that can dominate every corner of its lands can only be achieved through unity and solidarity.”

Supporters of the so-called Turkish-backed National Army took to the streets in major northern cities including Azaz, Al-Bab and Afrin to protest Cavusoglu’s comments.

Some protesters burned a Turkish flag, while others removed Turkish flags displayed throughout major northern cities.

Meanwhile, armed groups summoned supporters to protest in major northern cities, which are under the control of Turkish forces, under the slogan: “No reconciliation”.

Activists confirmed that dozens of demonstrations took place in several areas of Idlib and Aleppo’s countryside, emphasizing their rejection of Cavusoglu’s proposal, which contradicts the Tukey’s claims that the Syrian state is obstructing the country’s political process. 

These protests demonstrate that armed groups are the impediment to any political process that leads to stability in the country and a resolution to the 11-year-long crisis.

الشهيد قاسم سليماني: سورية لن تنساك

 د. فيصل المقداد*

الثلاثاء 3 يناير 2022

منذ انتصار الثورة الإسلامية في إيران بقيادة الإمام المرحوم روح الله الخميني، أدركت سورية بقيادة القائد الخالد حافظ الأسد أنّ القضية العربية، بصفتها قضية تحرّر من الاستعمار والإمبريالية ومواجهة مع العدوان والصهيونية، تكسب صديقاً كبيراً وحليفاً ثابتاً، ونشأت على أساس هذا الإدراك والوعي التاريخيّين صداقة عميقة بين الجمهورية العربية السورية والجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران، وعلى مدى سنوات ظلت هذه الصداقة تنمو وتتعمّق وتتجذر، وقد عرف مع ظهور المقاومة في لبنان وفلسطين وصعود قوّتها بدعم من سورية وإيران، الترجمة الحقيقية لمفهوم البلدين لأولوية الصراع مع كيان الإحتلال الجاثم على أرض فلسطين والذي يحتلّ الجولان السوري الحبيب وأراض لبنانية غالية، وجاء إنجاز تحرير جنوب لبنان عام 2000 ومن بعده تحرير غزة عام 2005 كثمرة لنضالات هاتين المقاومتين الباسلتين في لبنان وفلسطين، تأكيداً لقيمة الصداقة بين سورية وإيران ودورها في إعادة الاعتبار للقضية المركزية للعرب، قضية فلسطين، وللصراع مع كيان الاحتلال كعنوان لمفهوم الأمن القومي لدول وشعوب المنطقة، وللمقاومة كنهج لتحرير الأرض وحماية الكرامة الإنسانية…

وقد نمت هذه العلاقة وترسخت كواحدة من ركائز صناعة الاستقرار في المنطقة برعاية واهتمام مباشرين من الإمام علي الخامنئي والرئيس بشار الأسد، بصفتها نواة نظام إقليمي ضامن للاستقرار في مواجهة عهد الحروب الأميركية التي هدفت لتعميم الفوضى ونشر الإرهاب وإطاحة الاستقرار منذ مطلع القرن الواحد والعشرين.

جاء استهداف سورية بالحرب الكونية التي رعتها وقادتها واشنطن، وشاركت فيها حكومات وجيوش وأجهزة استخبارات ومؤسسات إعلامية عملاقة، ورصدت لها مقدرات مالية هائلة، والهدف واضح وهو إسقاط كلّ المعاني والأبعاد التي ترمز اليها سورية الواحدة والسيدة والمستقرة والقوية والمزدهرة، وقد أدركت القيادة الإيرانية وعلى رأسها الإمام الخامنئي هذه الحقيقة مبكراً، ووقفت بكلّ ثبات ووضوح وحزم الى جانب سورية وشعبها وجيشها وقائدها، وعلى مدى سنوات الحرب الظالمة على سورية وجد السوريون في إيران خير نصير، لم يبخل بالدم لمواجهة العدو الواحد الذي مثله ثنائي الاحتلال والإرهاب، خصوصاً بعدما انكشف عمق التحالف بين هذين العدوين، وعندما شهد العقد الأخير نهوضاً لشعوب المنطقة وحركات المقاومة فيها لمواجهة هذا العدوان الثنائي مدعوماً من كلّ قوى الشر في العالم، كانت سورية في طليعة صناع النصر على الإرهاب والاحتلال، وكانت العلاقة الإيرانية السورية ركيزة أساسية لهذه المواجهة ولصناعة الانتصار، وسيكتب التاريخ ملاحم البطولة التي سطرها السوريون ومعهم أخوة في الدم من شرفاء العالم وأحراره، وفي طليعتهم الحليفان الإيراني والروسي وقوى المقاومة.

عندما يكتب التاريخ هذه الملحمة الأسطورية للنصر على الإرهاب سيظهر إسم الشهيد القائد قاسم سليماني بأحرف من نور، وقد كان أحد أبرز القادة في هذه الحرب، ووقفوا على خطوط النار فيها، وتركوا بصمات واضحة في صفحاتها، ولن ينسى السوريون عندما يكتبون تاريخ معارك حلب ودير الزور وسواهما أن يتذكروا شراكة الدم مع هذا القائد وتضحياته.

عندما قرّرت قوات الاحتلال الأميركي اغتيال القائد سليماني، كانت تقدّم شهادتها بحجم الغيظ والإرباك الذي تسبّب به بوجوده ودوره لمخططات التقسيم والفوضى وتعميم الإرهاب التي رعتها وعملت على نشرها، وعندما ارتقى سليماني شهيداً شعر السوريون كما كلّ المقاومين والشرفاء والأحرار أنهم خسروا أحد رجالات الحرب على الإرهاب.

ستبقى الصداقة الإيرانية السورية ترسم خارطة طريق الحرية والتحرر والمقاومة والاستقرار والازدهار والاستقلال لشعوبنا، وسيبقى قاسم سليماني أحد رموز هذه الأخوة، وسيذكره السوريون كلما تذكروا شهداءهم وذكروا بطولاتهم.

ـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ

*وزير خارجية الجمهورية العربية السورية

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What Business Does America Have on Syrian Lands!

Oct 18, 2021

What Business Does America Have on Syrian Lands!

By Mohammad Sleem

Beirut – As the Syrian crisis reached the end of a devastating war, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad called for the withdrawal of US and Turkish troops from Syria in a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York lately, asking what the American troops have to do on the Syrian territories.

Mekdad stated that Syria will reassert the government’s control over the entirety of the country again, insisting that “This is a non-negotiable national and constitutional right”.

Moreover, the Syrian foreign minister stressed that foreign presence on Syrian soil without Syria’s approval is both illegitimate and a violation of international law and the UN Charter.

So how is the American presence shaped and formed in Syria in all?

The deployment of American troops and its international allied forces has focused in recent months on the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border triangle at the Tanf border crossing near the deployment of the Syrian Army and its allied forces. The Tanf border crossing is of great importance to all local, regional and international parties involved in the Syrian conflict, in addition to Albukamal in Deir ez-Zor province.

Rmelan Airport:

It is one of the most important locations for US forces. The Ramlan base area has oil wells under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF]. The base has been constructed by the US in November 2016 after measures to build new facilities and to expand runways. It was originally an airstrip for agricultural pesticide spraying aircraft and helicopters.

The airport, known as Abu Hajar Airport, is located southeast of the town of Rmelan, northeast of Qamishli city in al-Hasaka governorate, close to the Syrian-Turkish-Iraqi border triangle, an area known for its heavy oil production and subject to the People’s Defense Units [YPG]’s self-administration system. The airport is the first established US military presence since the beginning of the war on Syria.

 

Ayn al-Arab Base:

This base is located south of the city of Ayn al-Arab [Kobane] near the village of Kharab Ashiq, about 33 kilometers south of the Turkish border. It is the largest of US base and it provides support to the international coalition forces and its allies. Western newspapers published information from the analysis of satellite images showing housing units for hundreds of soldiers and a fleet of vehicles of different types as well as facilities for military transport aircraft and the defense of al-Qaeda, such as control towers.

Al-Mabrouka Base:

It is a small camp in the village of Al-Mabrouka, where small-scale US forces are located west of Qamishli city in al-Hasaka governorate within the control of the YPG.

 

Rubaria Airport:

Located near the northeastern city of al-Hasakah, near the border with both Iraq and Turkey, the airport was originally a small airstrip for small agricultural aircrafts before the US turned it into a helicopter runway under the supervision of its troops to provide logistics to Kurdish forces and support other international coalition forces fighting the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”].

 

Tell Beydar:

The base is located 30 kilometers northwest of al-Hasaka and is close to the Turkish border. It includes helicopter airstrips and a training camp for non-combat forces such as police, civil defense and others to meet the needs of Kurdish forces in managing the areas they control.

 

White Hill [Tell Abyad]:

A large number of US soldiers are deployed at the base. Some reports indicate more than 200 troops are deployed in the city, and the US flag is raised on some government buildings in the city center.

US forces are present alongside forces from the international coalition and armed opposition states at the Syrian al-Tanf base on the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border triangle. The US requires the establishment of a “no-clash” zone under which no coalition forces of the government allow them to approach or enter.

Furthermore, US forces are also present in several camps in Raqqa province to support the SDF’s operations, which have been fighting to retake Raqqa from Daesh. US forces use artillery of various kinds like rocket launchers and other heavy combat equipment, in addition to various types of intelligence and armored vehicles to conduct joint patrols with the SDF.

US forces are also deployed as training advisers in at least three training camps in al-Hasaka governorate to train Kurdish fighters as well as near the city of Manbij, north of Aleppo, which has been controlled by the SDF since August 2016.

Based on the aforementioned, it’s crystal clear that the US does not have any business in Syria except what it has been doing for decades: draining Syria’s natural resources! Wherever natural resources and oil exist, American troops arrive in a jiffy and settle down.

Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad: ‘Change’ in International Attitude Towards Syria

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

https://media.thecradle.co/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/01213020/FADt0VQWQAAsWEX.jpg

Esteban CarrilloForeign and Expatriates Minister Faysal Mikdad confirmed a ‘change’ in the international political environment towards Syria in comments to Syrian media on 30 September.

Mikdad’s comments come amidst an opening of reconciliation between West, Gulf states and Syria

In comments to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), Mikdad said that “the change has reflected the achievements of the Syrian Arab Army, in cooperation with allies and friends, on the ground in the war against terrorism.”

On 20 September, Mikdad led a Syrian delegation to a UN meeting in New York, where he also met with Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Felix Plasencia Gonzalez, on strengthening bilateral ties between Syria and Venezuela.

Regarding the General Assembly meetings, Mikdad said that while some countries, referring to the United States, continue to practice ‘economic terrorism,’ there was nonetheless a clear ‘retreat’ of the ‘hostile stance’ on Syria.

The Foreign Minister, appointed by Bashar al-Assad in November 2020, added that while Syria welcomes the “openness to the return of normal relations” with the UN and Western nations, he made clear that Syria “will not submit to pressures nor accept any political conditions.”

He also expressed optimism and the prospect of improved relations and cooperation with Syria and its Arab neighbors, following talks held between Syria and Egypt at the New York General Assembly.

In recent years, a number of Arab states, many of whom stood against Syria during the US and Gulf backed war, have sought rapproachment with Damascus.

With the UAE currently leading reconciliation efforts between Gulf Arab states and their allies, even Saudi Arabia reopened secret lines of communication between itself and Damascus, hoping to rectify ties.

Meanwhile, a number of developments between Jordan and Syria have advanced the increased diplomacy and economic cooperation between the two.

Jordan announced on 27 September that the Jaber–Nassib border crossing between itself and Syria will be reopened two days from the date for both freight and travelers.

On 29 September, this main border crossing was opened as planned, and direct flights to Damascus resumed.

Lebanon’s General Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim told The Cradle last week that he ‘totally’ is in favor of ‘open borders with Syria.

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Syria neither Fears ‘Israel’ nor Those behind It – FM Mikdad

September 28, 2021

Syria neither Fears ‘Israel’ nor Those behind It - FM Mikdad
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad


By Staff, Agencies

Welcoming any move to foster closer relations between Iran and Arab countries, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad reiterated that Damascus is neither afraid of the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime nor its backers.

In an interview with Beirut-based al-Mayadeen TV on Sunday, Mikdad said his government supports efforts aimed at integration between the regional countries.

He said the Islamic Republic of Iran has always supported the Arabs and sided with the people of Syria and Palestine, welcoming any move toward rapprochement between Tehran and the Arab world.

“We must respond well to the good behavior of the Iranian side,” Mikdad said.

He also said the government in Damascus is “not afraid of ‘Israel’ or its sponsors”, as he reaffirmed support for Lebanon which has seen Syria serve as a conduit for shipments of Iranian fuel to the crisis-stricken neighboring country.

Earlier this week, the second Lebanon-bound shipment of Iranian fuel arrived in Syria’s northwestern port city of Baniyas under an initiative by the Hezbollah resistance movement to ease the Arab country’s crippling energy crisis.

The fuel is being imported to sanctions-battered Lebanon via Syria in an effort to avoid entangling Lebanon in the US sanctions on Iran.

The humanitarian move by Iran has ruffled feathers in Tel Aviv. Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah last month dared the Zionist regime to stop the shipment.

“The vessel, from the moment it sails until it enters [Mediterranean] waters, will be considered Lebanese territory,” he said during a televised speech last month. “To the Americans and ‘Israelis’, I say: It is a Lebanese territory.”

Mikdad, echoing Sayyed Nasrallah’s words, said Syria is not afraid of the ‘Israeli’ regime and its attempts to prevent the Iranian fuel from reaching Lebanon.

He also lashed out at the Western countries for their “double standards” toward the government and the people of Syria.

“Syria does not trust the intentions of Western countries,” Mikdad asserted. “These countries created terrorism in Syria and financed it and they continue to send terrorists and assassins to Syria.”

The Syrian foreign minister also denounced the unilateral US approach, stressing that Washington has suffered on the account of its distance from international organizations.

“Syria is rich in natural resources, but the US and European sanctions have caused problems to the country’s economy,” he said, lambasting the sanctions regime against Syria.

He also called for annulling the Caesar Act, which blocks foreign investments in Syria’s reconstruction efforts, calling it a “crime against humanity” by the US government.

He said the law is “not in the interest of the people of Syria but in the interest of ‘Israel’.”

The top Syrian diplomat further called for the “dignified withdrawal” of US forces from the region, “not like Afghanistan.”

President Assad Holds a Lengthy Summit with President Putin in Moscow

 ARABI SOURI 

Syrian President Bashar Assad meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow

Syrian President Bashar Assad held a lengthy summit with the Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday, Monday, in Moscow, the summit lasted 90 minutes and the presidents were later joined by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Faysal Mekdad and the Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu for an additional 45 minutes.

The visit was unannounced earlier due to security reasons, though it was planned for, President Bashar Assad is accompanied by a large delegate of Syrian officials.

President Bashar Assad meets President Vladimir Putin in Moscow

At the reception, President Bashar Assad highlighted the joint cooperation between the Syrian and Russian states, peoples, and armed forces, in combating terrorism in Syria which also saves many innocent citizens around the world because ‘terrorism knows no political borders and does not stop at political borders,’ President Assad thanked Russia for its support and highlighted the negative work of countries that impose inhuman, immoral, and illegal siege against the Syrian people.

President Putin congratulated President Assad on the ‘well-deserved excellent results in the presidential elections,’ President Putin told President Assad that the Syrian people have high hopes in him, they ‘associate his name with restoring normal life in Syria,’ for the efforts President Assad is exerting in this regard.

‘We have delivered a blow to the terrorists and now the Syrian state controls more than 90% of the Syrian territories,’ President Putin added, he also highlighted the illegal presence of foreign forces in Syria who are uninvited and contradict the international law, hinting at both the US and Turkish forces without naming them.

The following is the video released by the Syrian Presidency with the full transcript in English:

The video is also on BitChute and YouTube.

The video transcript:

Thank you, Mr. President. I am glad that we meet today in Moscow. The joint anti-terrorist operation has been going on for nearly 6 years, during which the Syrian and Russian armies achieved great achievements, not only by liberating lands or by returning refugees to their villages and cities, but also by protecting many innocent citizens in this world because terrorism knows no political borders and does not stop at political borders.

Of course, in addition to the important results in the liberation of lands and the retreat of terrorists was the launch of the political process, whether in Sochi, Astana, or recently in Geneva. This process has been going on for about two years now, but as you know there are obstacles because there are countries that support terrorists and have no interest in continuing this process in the direction that achieves stability in Syria.

Some countries have imposed a siege on the Syrian people, which we describe as inhuman, immoral and illegal, nevertheless, we are determined in Syria, as a government, and as state institutions, to go in parallel in the process of liberating the territories and in the process of political dialogue.

Today’s visit is an important opportunity to discuss these two points in addition to the bilateral relations that a team of specialists in the two governments will follow up in parallel with our meeting.

I want to take advantage of this meeting in order to thank the Russian state and the Russian people for the humanitarian aid provided to the Syrian people, whether with regard to the Corona pandemic recently or with regard to securing all the basic necessities that the Syrian citizen requires in his daily life.

I would like to thank you and the Russian political establishment, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the efforts they made in international forums to defend international law, which at the outset states the sovereignty of states and the right of peoples to determine their future and destiny which managed effectively and strongly to prevent the exploitation of the process of combating terrorism in the world for political goals that serve the agendas of some countries.

Once again, thank you, Mr. President.

Honorable President, I am pleased to welcome you again to Moscow,

First, I would like to congratulate you on your birthday, and I also congratulate you personally on your well-deserved victory with an excellent result in the presidential elections, these results prove that people trust you, despite the difficulties and complications that Syria has gone through in the previous period, people associate your name with restoring normal life to Syria, which you are working hard to achieve including arranging the course of dialogue between you and your political opponents, and we hope that this process will continue.

Achieving this kind of synergy between all Syrian political forces will enable us to move forward in order to achieve a better future for the Syrians, many steps have been taken to achieve this, and thanks to our joint efforts, the largest part of the Syrian territory has been liberated despite all the difficulties and tragedies, and thanks to these efforts, the Syrian government today controls more than 90% of the territory.

The problem was the presence of some foreign armed forces on Syrian territory, in contradiction to all international references, and without permission from the Syrian government, which of course contradicts all international laws.

This gives you the possibility to make the maximum possible efforts to unite all the forces of the country to control the entire Syrian territory, as well as the possibility to reconstruct Syria as much as you can, in the absence of any armed forces in the Syrian territory.

But at the same time, unfortunately, we are still witnessing some actions by terrorists who not only control some lands, but also spread terror among the people.

The liberated areas are also witnessing the return of refugees, and I visited Syria with your kind invitation and witnessed with my own eyes how people return to their homes and rebuild their homes and work actively and energetically to return to normal life.

Our joint efforts are not limited to humanitarian assistance only, but also contribute to the development of economic and trade relations. During the past year, the volume of trade exchange increased by three and a half times.

At the same time, we are working together to get rid of the basic problem facing humanity, and I mean combating the Corona pandemic, we witnessed the supply of the first shipments of the Sputnik (7) and Sputnik Lite vaccines to Syria, we hope that, with our joint efforts, we will succeed in helping the Syrian people get back on their feet in the face of all these problems, including the reconstruction of the Syrian economy, social life and the health field.

Once again, I am pleased to welcome you, Mr. President. Welcome.

End of the transcript.

Russia Affirms its Support to Syria Economically, Politically, and Militarily

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China’s Foreign Minister Meets President Assad and Syrian Officials, Signs Economic Agreement

 MIRI WOOD 

President Bashar Assad receives China Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Damascus

President Bashar al Assad welcomed China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi and his delegation, to Damascus on Saturday, 17 July. They discussed the “historic and distinguished relations binding the two friendly countries,” a relationship that dates back more than two thousand years.

Minister Wang brought felicitations from China’s President Xi Jinping on Dr. Assad winning re-election, “noting that the success of this entitlement indicates the people’s victory and their firm determination to resist all challenges and domination attempts.

President Assad thanked China for its ongoing support for the Levantine republic’s territorial integrity, support for Syria’s sovereignty in international forums, and for her support “to the Syrian people in various fields” (e.g., in 2018, the People’s Republic of China generously sent a 118 container cargo of transformers, cable, and other essentials to help the Syrian Arab Republic rebuild its electrical grid destroyed by NATO-supported terrorists; in 2019, the People’s Republic sent one-hundred public buses to enhance the transportation sector).

China Grants Syria Electrical Transformers
Gifts of transformers and buses from the People’s Republic of China, to the Syrian Arab Republic.

Syria and China discussed entering a new stage in bilateral relations, to open “wider horizons…to serve the interests of the two countries and peoples.”

President al Assad noted China’s “strong presence and its ethical policies which serve most countries around the world.” Minister Wang stated that China will continue to “support the Syrian people in the war against terrorism,” and in condemnation of the illicit sanctions imposed on the Syrian people and their inherent right to self-determination (which — of course — includes their right to elect the president of their choosing, despite NATO countries demanding the right to dictate their leader).

Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China
Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China.

As expected, the two friendly nations discussed Syria’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, sometimes referred to as The New Silk Road. The Belt and Road is the rebirth of the Ancient Silk Road, a 4,000 mile/6437 kilometer route of economic trade and cultural development ‘built’ around 139 BCE. The route lasted throughout the late 1300s, and also inspired Ibn al Nadim’s 10th century The Thousand Stories. Compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age, this work of literary art was a collection of stories and folk tales spanning the Asian continent during the period of great creativity and trade along the path of development.

The Ancient Silk Road spanned the Asian continent, with China and Syria playing key roles in economic trade and cultural development.

That sound of werewolves howling and hyenas barking is actually coming from frustrated NATO imperialists and their peons at keyboards, enraged over the meeting; we can expect the shrieks to become increasingly loud.

Minister Wang stated that China opposes “any attempt to seek regime change in Syria,” and that “blatant foreign interventions in Syria have failed in the past, and will not succeed in the future.”

President Assad stated that “Syria unconditionally supports China on Taiwan, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong issues.”

The visiting Chinese Minister Mr. Yi held another meeting with his Syrian counterpart Mr. Faisal Mekdad after which the ministers attended the signing of an agreement of economic and technical cooperation between Syria and China, a step toward practical work that will see China entering the Levant, properly after it entered through some investment in Israel, and Syria entering the route of the Belt and Road initiative.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds takls in Damascus and signs economic agreement
Syria and China ink economic and technical agreement in Damascus

China, which vetoed a number of draft resolutions presented by NATO member states against Syria at the United Nations Security Council in a non-precedented diplomatic move in using its veto power for non-Chinese national security resolutions, and in which it was not required when the Russian veto was already there, is now challenging the US-led strangling blockade and sanctions against the Syrian people.

— Miri Wood and Arabi Souri

Postscript: Ibn al Nadim’s The Thousand Nights was the basis for the fairy tale of Aladdin, or the Wonderful Lamp (set in China), and Prussian Christian Maximilian Habicht and Tunisian Mordechai ibn al Najjar co-authorship of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, via Antun Yosuf Hanna Diyab, a Syrian writer, cloth merchant, and famous storyteller, living in Paris in the 1600’s.

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‘Syria and the League of Nations’: Dr. Jaafari’s Latest Book Celebrated

MIRI WOOD 

Syria and the League of Nations - Minister Bashar Jaafari latest Book Celebrated

The publication of “Syria and the League of Nations” by Dr. Bashar al Jaafari, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, was celebrated at a packed house ceremony in the Al Assad National Library, on 12 July. The Damascene auditorium was filled with Syrian ministers, including Minister of Culture, Dr. Lubana Mushawah, members of the diplomatic corps, journalists, intellectuals, and people interested in their country’s significant history.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Faisal al Mekdad introduced the book at the beginning of the ceremony describing the importance of visiting the era the book covers to understand the events that took place and anticipate the future.

Syria and the League of Nations - Minister Bashar Jaafari latest Book Celebrated

“The book deals with an important and sensitive stage in the history of Syria, especially the role of the League of Nations during the First World War and the reasons that led to its collapse, indicating the importance of reading and studying it carefully to understand what happened and anticipate what could happen.”

Dr. Faisal al Mekdad

Dr. Al Mekdad added: “The sons of our heroes, those who sacrificed and stout for the independence of Syria between the two world wars are the ones who made heroics and achievements in Syria during ten years of the fierce terrorist war on our homeland.”

Dr. Bashar Jaafari spoke to the enrapt audience of key aspects of his historical book, noting that Syria and the League of Nations is an “in-depth microscopic” “approach to the truth of historical events” to provide “accurate answers on Syria’s long history, and how its past relationship to the League of Nations is linked to the past ten years of a terrorist war against the SAR, which include “a series of conspiratorial conferences, treaties, and agreements against it.”

Syria and the League of Nations - Minister Bashar Jaafari latest Book Celebrated

Speaking with reporters, Dr. Jaafari stressed this is an essential time to grasp “a new reading of an important history in the lives of Syrians” in the beginning of the twentieth century, and of the repercussions leading to the current status; historical reality must be properly studied the fundamental key to Syria’s political future.

Syria’s decade of “fire and terrorism is related to the previous period, because the colonial component that produced the League of Nations is the same that produced the United Nations.”

Dr. Jaafari autographs Syria and the League of Nations
Syria and the League of Nations - Minister Bashar Jaafari latest Book Celebrated
Syria and the League of Nations - Minister Bashar Jaafari latest Book Celebrated

Volume One of “Syria and the League of Nations” by Dr. Bashar al Jaafari is available through Bustan Hisham Publishing House — except where prohibited by NATO countries’ colonialist, illicit sanctions.

— Miri Wood

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Syrian FM Dr Faisal Mikdad: western hypocrisy on humanitarian assistance

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