Is the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) a ‘dead letter’?

Biden: Surrounding Contradictions and Ineffectiveness بايدن المحاط بالتناقضات لن «يشيل الزير من البير»

By Nasser Kandil

Many questions are raised about what the new US President Joe Biden’s ascent to the Presidency will bring in the shadow of the dark page represented by ex-President Trump’s time in office. Many rush to envision a rosy period represented by Biden due to the large thorns left behind by Trump, although the real picture is different. Biden’s rule as “Walking between the dots,” and “Ma bisheel al zeer min al beer” as a popular Arabic saying goes implying ineffectiveness, are invitations to lower expectations. The options awaiting Biden are complex and difficult, and the contradictions which surround the pressing dossiers he will be presented with will guarantee the every supposedly possible option to undertake will create a crisis of equal peril in parallel to the one he will resolve. This suggests that the utmost that Biden will be capable of is crisis management to keep big explosions at bay, while lacking the ability to achieve major breakthroughs.

The position the US finds itself in is similar to that the Occupation is in, namely both the inability to wage war and to forge settlements, for structural reasons in both situations. The Israeli Occupation, whose leaders and generals have gotten to the point of acknowledging the inability to wage war, appears unfit for something else.  When the Occupation emerged victorious from its wars, it fell under the illusion that making settlements was superfluous, and drew illusory high ceilings for settlements, which made them impossible. When the Occupation failed to realize its goals in the wars it waged or was defeated in, it considered any realistic settlement as a confirmation of its resounding defeat and its dissolution as an entity based on power. The powerful “Israel” does not make settlements because it feels no need for them, but rather feels the desire to impose on its opponents conditions of surrender. “Israel” the weak, weakens first in the view of its extremists, which then robs any ruling politician of the needed delegation to enter into the realm of settlements, and to the same extent robs that politician of the ability to wage more wars.

In the American case, Biden faces challenges of the caliber of reaching understandings with Moscow and Peking on the basis of partnership and not merely the diffusion of conflict. Based on the opinions of all the experts, an entrance into such assumed partnership constitutes an American acknowledgment of loss in stature which Biden knows he has to avoid for the duration of  his internal war with the Extreme Right which has become more powerful, and the title for  dangerous domestic polarization, and which asks for proof of hanging on to American distinctiveness and excellence. In parallel, what Biden needs in the Middle East is to appear as a defender of “Israel” and able to decrease tensions, when pursuing either course will cause damage to the other. He has to prove the efficacy of the Nuclear Agreement with Iran in comparison to Trump’s policies, without allowing Iran appearing to benefit. He also has to reunify his allies, starting with Europe, Turkey, Egypt, and the Gulf, which raises the question about what he will do with the Muslim Brotherhood and with Libya. If he gives precedence to the alliance with Egypt, France, and the Gulf over the alliance with Turkey, how will he prevent losing Turkey and the risk of her positioning more clearly with the Iranian-Russian alliance? In consequence, conceding a Russian Iranian Turkish cooperation ending in a compete American defeat in Syria and Iraq?

What will Biden do in the domestic arena, and could he take steps to decrease the level of anger and anxiety among the Black, Latino, and Muslim Minorities without increasing the level of anger among the White racist and organized extremists? Would he succeed in containing the Extreme Right through cooperation with the Republicans without making concessions at the expense of economic and social programs which impinge on the rich in favor of the poor and weak, whose proportion has much more than doubled with COVID? And could fracturing in the ranks of Democrats be avoided with concessions to Republicans?

The first matter which has to addressed by Biden is foreign, namely the consideration of how to deal with the Nuclear Agreement, which will be under domestic scrutiny, and the scrutiny of all of Washington’s allies and opponents and their evaluation – a dossier in which Biden has  little room for maneuver.  Any discussion of requests related to Iran’s missile program and regional crises, and even calls about a basis for return to the Nuclear Agreement or calls for going back on nuclear escalation steps Iran had undertaken are outside of Iranian consideration.

Biden faces two difficult choices. Lifting sanctions imposed on Iran since 2017, a clear  Iranian condition for mutual return to the same Nuclear Agreement without negotiations, will result in increased domestic polarization and a widening of the gap with opponents, and an  escalating Israeli and Gulf climate. Keeping sanctions under the slogan of anticipated negotiations which will not materialize, at the risk of transforming his Administration into another Trump Administration, which will close Peking and Moscow doors, and result in the staggering and fall of the Nuclear Agreement, and in an escalation in regional tensions.

بايدن المحاط بالتناقضات لن «يشيل الزير من البير»

ناصر قنديل

أسئلة كثيرة تحيط بما سيحمله تولي الرئيس الأميركي الجديد جو بايدن لمقاليد الرئاسة، في ظل الصفحة السوداء التي مثلها حكم الرئيس المنتهية ولايته دونالد ترامب، ويتسرّع الكثيرون في رؤية مرحلة وردية يمثلها بايدن بسبب حجم الأشواك التي تركها ترامب، لكن الصورة ليست كذلك. فحكم بايدن سيمرّ بين النقاط كما يُقال، ولن يكون بايدن قادراً أن «يشيل الزير من البير» كما يقول المثل الشائع، في توصيف الدعوة لتخفيض سقف التوقعات، فالخيارات التي تنتظر بايدن صعبة ومعقدة، والتناقضات التي ستحيط بالملفات الملحّة المطروحة أمامه تتكفّل بجعل كل من الخيارات الافتراضيّة سبباً لأزمات لا تقلّ خطورة عن التي سيعالجها، ويمكن القول بحساب هذه الفرضيات أن أقصى ما يستطيعه بايدن هو إدارة الأزمات بما يستبعد فرص الانفجارات الكبرى، لكن دون القدرة على صناعة الانفراجات.

وضع أميركا اليوم يشبه في الاستعصاء الذي يقع فيه وضع كيان الاحتلال بالعجز عن خوض الحروب والعجز عن صناعة التسويات، ولأسباب بنيوية في الوضعين. فكما أن كيان الاحتلال الذي بلغ باعتراف أركانه وقادته مرحلة العجز عن خوض الحروب يبدو غير صالح لغير ذلك، فهو عندما خرج منتصراً في حروبه توهّم أنه يُغنى عن صناعة التسويات ورسم لها سقوفاً وهميّة عالية، ما جعلها مستحيلة، وعندما هزم في حروبه أو فشل في تحقيق أهدافها، بات يعتبر كل تسوية واقعية تكريساً لهزيمة متمادية ستتكفل بانحلاله ككيان قائم على القوة، بحيث إن «اسرائيل» القوية لا تصنع التسوية لأنها لا تشعر بالحاجة إليها بل الرغبة بفرض شروط الاستسلام على خصومها، و»إسرائيل» الضعيفة تضعف أولاً أمام المتطرفين فيها، فيفقد أي سياسي حاكم التفويض اللازم للخوض في غمار التسويات، بمثل ما يفقد القدرة اللازمة على خوض المزيد من الحروب.

في الحالة الأميركيّة أمام بادين تحدّيات من عيار الوصول لتفاهم مع موسكو وبكين على قواعد شراكة لا مجرد ربط نزاع، ووفقاً لكل الخبراء يشكل الانخراط الأميركي في هذه الشراكة المفترضة تسليماً بتراجع المكانة الأميركية يعرف بايدن أن عليه تجنبه طالما أن معركته الداخلية مع اليمين المتطرّف الذي زاد قوة، وصار عنواناً لانقسام أهليّ خطير، تتم تحت عنوان إثبات التمسك بالتميّز الأميركي والتفوق الأميركي. وبالتوازي ما يحتاجه الرئيس الأميركي في الشرق الأوسط الجمع بين الظهور كمدافع عن «إسرائيل»، وقادر على تخفيض التوتر؛ والسير بواحد من الاتجاهين يصيب الآخر بالضرر، وعليه أن يثبت أهليّة التفاهم النووي مع إيران بالمقارنة مع سياسات ترامب، من دون أن يسمح بظهور إيران مستفيدة، وكذلك عليه أن يُعيد توحيد صفوف حلفائه، بدءاً من أوروبا وتركيا ومصر والخليج، فماذا يفعل بالإخوان المسلمين؟ وماذا يفعل بليبيا؟ وإذا قرر تغليب التحالف مع مصر وفرنسا والخليج على تركيا كيف يستطيع منع خسارتها وتموضعها بصورة أوضح ضمن الحلف الروسي الإيراني؟ وبالتالي التسليم بتعاون روسي إيراني تركي ينتهي بخسارة أميركية كاملة في سورية والعراق؟

ماذا سيفعل بايدن في الشق الداخلي، وهل يمكن السير بخطوات تخفض منسوب الغضب والقلق عند الأقليات السمراء واللاتينيّة والمسلمة من دون رفع منسوب غضب القوة البيضاء العنصرية المتطرفة والمنظمة، وهل يمكن احتواء الشارع المتطرّف من خلال التعاون مع الحزب الجمهوري من دون تقديم تنازلات على حساب البرنامج الاقتصادي الاجتماعي الذي يفرض المزيد من الأعباء على الطبقات الغنية لصالح المزيد من الضمانات للفقراء والضعفاء، الذي ارتفعت نسبتهم بأضعاف مع نتائج وباء كورونا؟ وهل يمكن تفادي تصدعات في صفوف الديمقراطيين مع كل تنازلات يتمّ تقديمها للجمهوريين؟

الاستحقاق الأول الذي ينتظر بايدن سيكون خارجياً، البتّ بكيفية التعامل مع الملف النووي الإيراني، وسينظر كل الداخل الأميركي لكيفية تعامله مع هذا الملف، كما سيقيم كل من حلفاء واشنطن وخصومها هذا التعامل ويبني عليه تقييماته، وفي هذا الملف حدود ضيقة للمناورة، فإيران ليست بوارد أي بحث بطلبات تتصل بملفها الصاروخي وأزمات المنطقة، ولا حتى بقواعد العودة للتفاهم النووي ودعوتها للتراجع عن خطواتها النووية التصعيدية، وأمام بايدن خياران صعبان، العودة عن العقوبات التي فرضت على إيران منذ 2017 كشرط إيراني واضح عنوانه عودة عملية متبادلة الى قواعد الاتفاق نفسه من دون تفاوض. وفي هذه الحالة سيجد بايدن نفسه أمام تصاعد الانقسام الداخلي واتساع الفجوة مع الخصوم، كما سيجد مناخاً «إسرائيلياً وخليجياً تصعيدياً، أو خيار المضي بالعقوبات تحت شعار انتظار التفاوض المفترض الذي لن يتمّ. وفي هذه الحالة سيفتتح ولايته بالتحول الى ترامب آخر، فتنغلق الأبواب أمامه في بكين وموسكو ويترنح الاتفاق النوويّ نحو السقوط، ويرتفع منسوب التصعيد في المنطقة.

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Iran: “ball is in US court” to return to nuclear deal

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Pompeo’s Last Stand

Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.


Philip Giraldi

January 21, 2021

The neocons and the media demand tough talk and even tougher action from their candidate and Pompeo is already running hard to oblige them.

Pompeo's Last Stand - TheAltWorld

It is finally over. Joe Biden has been inaugurated President of the United States while his predecessor Donald Trump has retired to Florida. Trump intends to remain the driving force in the Republican Party but there are many in the GOP who would like to see him gone completely and the national media is obliging by depriving him of a “voice,” cutting him off from his preferred social media. The Democratic Party’s top “megadonor” Israeli film producer Haim Saban goes one step farther, recommending that all the media stop reporting on Trump and his activities, thereby taking away his platform and making him disappear politically speaking.

Prior to the inauguration, which proceeded protected by an unprecedented display of military and police, there had been so much going on in and around Washington that other serious developments worldwide were not getting the attention that they merited. President Donald Trump was impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors” relating to his alleged encouragement of the January 6th rioting at the U.S. Capitol building, but to my mind the recent travels and meetings involving Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could turn out to be far more damaging to America’s long-term interests. One wonders why Pompeo was engaging in frenetic activity with the Administration that he represented being about to vanish in a few days, but the answer is perhaps obvious. Trump and Pompeo want to lay a foreign policy mine field for the Joe Biden White House, locking the new administration into policies that will prove difficult to untangle.

Pompeo has been most active in four areas: Iran, China, Cuba and Yemen. Iran, as has often been the case with the Trump Israeli-driven policy in the Middle East, has been the principal focus. The Trump Administration has consistently responded to Israeli and also Saudi perceptions of the threat from Iran to the entire region, even though those claims were generally based on self-interests and deliberately falsified intelligence. Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran signed in 2015 and has been waging incrementally expanded economic warfare against the Iranians for the past three years. It has collaborated with the Israelis on assassinations and air attacks on primarily civilian targets in Syria and Lebanon.

During Trump’s last two weeks in power there was much talk about the possibility of a U.S. attack on Iran. The Israeli military was on alert and there was a surge in attacks on Syria, frequently using Lebanese airspace. One incident in particular on January 6th used U.S. intelligence to enable multiple bombing attacks on targets inside Syria, killing 57. Pompeo reportedly dined publicly in a well-known Washington restaurant Café Milano on the day after the carnage to discuss the “success” with Israel’s head of Mossad Yossi Cohen.

The public meeting with Cohen was a sign from the Trump Administration that the U.S. supports Israel’s bombing campaign against claimed Iranian targets in Syria. If Biden wishes to change that, he will have to do so publicly, earning the ire of Israel’s friends in the Democratic Party and media. And more was to come. Last Tuesday, Pompeo gave a speech in which he accused al-Qaeda and the Iranian government of being “partners in terror” , constituting an “axis” of terrorism. He further claimed that al-Qaeda has a “new home base” and a “new operational headquarters” built for it in Tehran, an assertion that ran counter to the intelligence collected by U.S. counterterrorism officials, who said there was no evidence to support such a claim. In fact, the Intelligence Community has long asserted that al-Qaeda is fundamentally hostile to Shi’ite Iran and that the Iranians return the favor. In other words, Pompeo is either lying or making something up that will be an impediment if Biden tries to improve relations with Tehran. Pompeo also went so far as to declare that Iran is the “new Afghanistan” for al-Qaeda, which is meant to imply that Iran is now its home base and safe haven. There is also no evidence to support that claim.

The Trump Administration has also included Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, based on nothing whatsoever, apparently as something of a throw away item to shore up support from the rabid Cuban exile community in Florida. So too the decision to designate the Houthis of Yemen as terrorists to give a parting gift to the Saudis and the UAE. Yemen is suffering from famine and the terror designation will have a drastic impact on imports of food and medicine, condemning many Yemenis to death. Daniel Larison opines that the “Houthi designation is by far the worst thing that Pompeo has done as Secretary of State, because if it is not quickly reversed it will lead directly to the deaths of tens and possibly even hundreds of thousands of people. It takes severe cruelty to look at a war-torn, famine-stricken country that depends heavily on outside aid and imports and then choose to suffocate the survivors with additional economic warfare. That is what Pompeo has done, we shouldn’t forget that.”

And, incidentally, the United States gains absolutely nothing from killing thousands of people in Yemen, but that is not all. Pompeo has also opened the door to new problems with China. His easing of the longstanding restrictions on contacts between American diplomats and Taiwanese has been described by the State Department as a strong gesture of support for the democratic government and “ally” in Taipei. It overturns more than forty years of “strategic ambiguity” which has prevailed since Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing and recognized the communist People’s Republic of China as China’s only legitimate government, to include over Taiwan by implication. The so-called “One China” principle states that Taiwan and China are part of the same China with the U.S. recognizing, though not necessarily endorsing, that the PRC has a historic claim to sovereignty over Taiwan.

Apart from locking in policies that Biden will find hard to shift, Pompeo also has a secondary motive. It is widely believed that he would like to run for president in 2024. He will need the support of the Israelis and their powerful domestic lobby as well as the Cubans in Florida and it does not hurt to show him playing hardball in the Middle East and against an increasingly vilified China. The so-called neocons, who have again become influential in the Republican Party and the media, demand tough talk and even tougher action from their candidate and Pompeo is already running hard to oblige them.

US economic decline and global instability

US economic decline and global instability

January 19, 2021

by Phillyguy for The Saker Blog


The US emerged from WWII as the world’s preeminent economic and military power. Seven decades later, American power is in decline, a direct consequence of decades of neoliberal economic policies, spending large amounts of public money on the military and attainment of economic/military parity by Russia and China. These policies have eroded US economic strength and are undermining the role of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, key pillars of US global power. In this essay, we highlight how this situation evolved and its implications for US foreign policy and international relations.

Foundations of American Global Hegemony

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s leading military and economic power. This power was further solidified at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in 1944, which came to be known as the ‘Bretton Woods Agreement’. This agreement: 1) pegged the value of member country’s currencies to the US dollar, which was pegged to the price of gold, and 2) created the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, later known as the World Bank. The purported goals of the Bretton Woods system were to ‘stabilize currencies and promote international economic growth’. This conference also recognized the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. 12

International economic relations started to change in the mid-1970s as US corporate profits began to stagnate/decline, a direct consequence of spending lots of taxpayer money on wars in Korea and Vietnam and increased competition from rebuilt economies in Europe, primarily Germany (Marshall Plan) and Asia- Japan, South Korea (Korean and Vietnam wars) and more recently China. US policy makers responded to these economic challenges in several ways. 1) Recognizing that the government had insufficient gold reserves to cover all of the dollars in circulation, in 1971 President Richard Nixon was forced to suspend convertibility of the dollar into gold, effectively devaluing the US dollar and making it a fiat currency. 3 2) In the early 1980s, US policy makers began instituting neoliberal economic policies. Neoliberalism can be broadly defined as policies promoting free-market capitalism, deregulation, and a reduction in government spending and was widely promoted in the US by President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and in the UK by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1975-1990). 4 These policies included multiple tax cuts for the wealthy, financial deregulation, attacks on labor and poor, job outsourcing and spending $ trillions of taxpayer money on the military. 5 A short description of these policies and their impact on US society follows.

Tax Cuts

Beginning with the Reagan Administration, a number of tax cuts were enacted which reduced and/or eliminated top tax rates, corporate taxes and inheritance taxes (aka ‘death tax’; see Table 1). It should be noted that to market this legislation and ‘sell’ it to a generally uninformed American public, these bills frequently contain words or phrases in their titles which convey a positive and progressive message, such as ‘Economic Recovery’, ‘Tax Reform’, ‘Economic Growth and Tax Relief’, ‘Jobs and Growth’ and ‘Jobs Act’. After all, who is against ‘Economic Recovery’ and ‘Growth’ or a ‘Jobs Act’? However, to quote Phaedrus (Greek; circa 444 – 393 BC) ‘things are not always what they seem’. Each of these pieces of legislation was the result of massive lobbying campaigns by large financial interests- banks and corporations, with the goal of rolling back ‘New Deal’ tax and economic legislation enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the depths of the Great Depression (1933-1939) 67 and ‘open up’ the economy to unregulated and risky financial schemes, which under the right circumstances can yield substantial profits, but when things do not proceed as planned, can lead to large losses, as observed during the 2008 financial collapse. An analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) concluded that between 2001-2018, 65% of the benefit from these tax cuts went to the wealthiest (top 20%) households, while federal tax revenues declined $5.1 Trillion and federal deficits grew $5.9 Trillion. 8 As a result of the COVID19 pandemic, federal deficits are now hemorrhaging.

Attacks on Labor and Poor

In 1981, members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) went on strike. President Reagan declared the strike a threat to ‘national safety’ and ordered all workers back to work, under the Taft-Hartley Act (1947). Of the circa 13,000 striking air traffic controllers, only 1,300 returned to work; Reagan fired the remaining 11,345 air traffic controllers who were still out. 9 The decline in labor solidarity was readily apparent as there was little support for striking PATCO workers from other unions. As a result, this began a frontal assault on union workers and labor.

During the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton vowed to ‘end welfare as we have come to know it’ 10 and in 1996, signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, creating the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (aka TANF) program 11, which changed the financing and benefit structure of cash assistance to poor people, Predictably, these changes did not ‘end welfare’ but increased poverty. Not surprisingly, Conservatives in Congress want to use the TANF model to ‘reform’ other federal programs such as Medicaid.

Job Outsourcing

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), enacted Jan, 1994, created a ‘free trade’ agreement between Canada, Mexico, and US. While not fully appreciated at the time, this trade agreement would have a major impact on US industrial policy and jobs. NAFTA enabled large American corporations such as auto makers- Ford, General Motors, etc., to build manufacturing plants in Mexico taking advantage of lower wage rates and import the finished products back into the country duty free. The savings in labor costs is significant- the 2020 manufacturing wage in the US- $23/hr 12 vs $2.50/hr in Mexico 13 (90% lower) and not surprisingly, decreased labor costs boost corporate profits. On the negative side, NAFTA has: 1) led to the loss 4.5 million manufacturing jobs, with many of these displaced workers were forced to take lower paying jobs, 2) reduced growth in the export of manufactured products and services, 3) increased trade deficits with Canada and Mexico 14.

Job outsourcing has acquired the acronym ‘Globalization’ implying that it is a natural form of economic evolution, enabling large corporations to make their operations more cost-effective and efficient. Not surprisingly, the reality is somewhat different. Since passage of NAFTA, large corporations from the US and other countries have moved their manufacturing to Mexico, China, India, and other low-wage platforms to reduce labor costs, take advantage of lax environmental regulation and more favorable tax policies which increase corporate profits. It should be stressed that these polices have been voluntarily enacted by large financial interests in the US and other countries based on economic decisions and the relentless drive of capitalism to maximize corporate profits. During his 2016 ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign, presidential candidate Donald Trump repeatedly stated that China has ‘stolen’ American jobs and been involved in massive ‘theft’ of intellectual property 15 . Indeed, China has aggressively pursued economic development and has clearly taken advantage of technology transfer by multinational corporations 16. However, China is certainly not unique as these practices are frequently used by other developing countries. For example, during the Industrial Revolution (circa 1760-1840), the developing US manufacturing base relied largely on knowledge and technologies that had been developed in Europe, primarily the UK. No doubt, some of this technology was acquired by unscrupulous methods. Thus, while Trump was correct in pointing out that many American jobs had indeed moved to China, he has repeatedly failed to acknowledge that these jobs were deliberately moved by American corporations because it is more profitable. Trump’s allegations also beg the obvious question, if large US corporations and their functionaries in government were concerned about technology transfer to China, they should not have moved their production and associated ‘sensitive’ technology out of the US in the first place. Following his electoral victory in 2016, Trump attempted to force corporations to repatriate outsourced jobs. While some US-based firms left China, little of this production was moved back to the US; the vast majority were relocated to Vietnam, Thailand, India, Mexico and other low-wage platforms 17. A fundamental axiom of Capitalism is that business enterprises always seek the highest rate of return on their capital investments. Further, US CEO compensation is typically tied to stock price. Given this reality, large US corporations have curtailed domestic business spending (i.e., investing in new plants and equipment) and instead have allocated large amounts of money for stock buybacks. The reason for this behavior is clear- investments in new plants and equipment have payback periods ranging from years-decades, while spending money on share buybacks and stock futures results in near instantaneous increase of equity prices and higher financial compensation for corporate management. No one forced the CEOs of Apple, Nike, Levis, GM, etc. to move their RD/production facilities to China or other countries. Rather, this was done deliberately to maximize corporate profits. Unfortunately, the proverbial ‘chickens are coming home to roost’. The US is lagging behind China in 5G technology because corporate CEOs have been more interested in boosting stock price and their financial compensation, rather than investing in new plants and equipment to compete with China in this technology.

Financial Deregulation

The Glass-Steagall Act was part of the Banking Act of 1933, and established a barrier or ‘firewall’ between commercial banks, which accept deposits from working people and issue loans and investment banks that sell investment products, such as stocks and bonds. 7 Not surprisingly the financial industry lobbied heavily to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act; in 1999, this lobbying paid off as Bill Clinton enacted the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA; aka the Financial Services Modernization Act), which repealed the depression era Glass-Steagall Act thus loosening regulations on banking. Prior to leaving office, Clinton also signed The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA) into law, which exempted over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives from regulation.

A derivative is defined as a financial security whose value is based or ‘derived’ from an underlying asset- bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates, stocks and market indexes. 18 Not surprisingly, derivatives can potentially yield a large financial reward to savvy investors. On the down side, derivatives carry significant ‘market risk’ and lead to financial losses, which can rapidly accelerate during periods of collapsing equity prices. Warren Buffett has described the $ multi-quadrillion derivatives market as “financial weapons of mass destruction. 19 As Pepe Escobar has pointed out, ‘If Tehran were totally cornered by Washington, with no way out, the de facto nuclear option of shutting down the Strait of Hormuz would instantly cut off 25 percent of the global oil supply. Oil prices could rise to over $500 a barrel or more even $1000 a barrel. The 2.5 quadrillion of derivatives would start a chain reaction of destruction.’ 20

Financial deregulation enacted during the Clinton Administration (see Table 1) have been considered a major cause of the 2007-2008 GFC. 21 As pointed out by Pam Martins-

‘The Glass-Steagall Act had kept the U.S. financial system safe for 66 years. It took just nine years after its repeal by Clinton for Wall Street to enrich its own pockets to the tune of billions of dollars, blow up the U.S. economy, and then collect an astounding and secret $29 trillion in below-market-rate loans from the Federal Reserve to bail itself out.’ 22

Unfortunately, none of the structural economic problems giving rise to the 2008 crisis were resolved and as we are now seeing, have returned with a vengeance from the COVID19 pandemic. As a result, American Capitalism confronts the deepest crisis since the Great Depression, plagued by excess capacity and slack demand, high unemployment, with millions of families facing eviction from their homes, food insecurity, loss of medical insurance and financial ruin. Debt levels have exploded- projected US government debt for 2020- $3.1 Trillion (CBO estimate), while total debt levels are projected to reach $80 trillion, up from $71 trillion at the end of last year. 23 A further indication of the severe structural economic problems confronting American capitalism is that the financial industry has been unable to recover from the Global Financial crisis of 2008 and is still dependent on taxpayer support to function. Indeed, since April, the FED has pumped circa $ 7 Trillion of taxpayer-backed funds to Wall St for share buybacks and to purchase toxic corporate debt and mortgage-backed securities. 24 Without this support, many corporations and banks will collapse. 25

Enduring Economic Power

Despite continuing economic decline, the US still wields considerable global economic power, which stems from several factors.

1) Dollar- The US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, and as of 2019, comprises 60% of central bank foreign exchange reserves; circa 90% of forex trading involves the U.S. dollar. 2627 The dollar (i.e., ‘Petrodollar’) is used for purchase of crude oil. 28

2) FED– The US Federal Reserve System was set up following the 1910 secret meeting of executives from large banks- J.P. Morgan, Rockefeller, and Kuhn, Loeb & Co. for ten days on Jekyll Island, Georgia, which was followed by Congress passing the Federal Reserve Act (Dec, 1913), which established the Federal Reserve System as the central bank of the United States. The Chairman, currently Jerome Powell, and FED Governors are appointed by the US President. Thus, the ‘FED’ was set up by private bankers to support the interests of large banks and has effectively no public control over its actions. 29 Of the 12 Reserve banks in the Federal Reserve System, the New York FED (NY FED) wields the most power. 30 The NY FED directs monetary policy through open market operations, emergency lending facilities, quantitative easing, and foreign exchange transactions. It also stores gold on behalf of the U.S. and foreign governments, other nation’s central banks, and international organizations. FED policies, such as setting interest rates and money supply are closely followed by the European Central Bank (ECB), Bank of England, Bank of Japan (BOJ) and other central banks.

3) SWIFT– The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system is used to conduct financial transactions between 11,000 SWIFT member institutions and is the largest financial network in the world. 31 SWIFT is described as a ‘cooperative society’ under Belgian law, owned by its member financial institutions and headquartered in La Hulpe, Belgium. Due to its dominant global economic position, the US has been able to exert a strong influence on SWIFT policies, such as enforcing unilateral US economic sanctions (effectively a form of financial warfare) on the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea and other countries deemed an obstacle to US global hegemony. 32

WWII and subsequent events shaping US foreign policy

Nuclear Attacks on Japan

The twentieth century was marked by turbulence, economic depression, war and economic prosperity. Eclipsing all prior conflicts, WWII was the deadliest conflict in human history, resulting in circa 75 million fatalities, with approximately twice as many civilian vs military casualties. During the war, the Soviet Union, much of Europe and Japan experienced high casualties and physical destruction. At the end of the war, the US dropped ‘Little Boy’ an enriched uranium gun-type fission device on Hiroshima, Japan on Aug 6, 1945, followed 3 days later, with ‘Fat Man’, a plutonium implosion-type nuclear weapon dropped on Nagasaki, resulting in circa 250,000 casualties. 33

While much has been written about the decision by the US to attack Japan, when the outcome of the war was all but certain, several things stand out.

1) The Soviet Union suffered the most physical destruction and casualties in WWII, a minimum of 25 million. In comparison, the US experienced circa 400,000 casualties.

2) During the war, the Soviet Union was an ally of the US/allied forces. As the war began winding down, this relationship rapidly changed, as the ruling elite, led by President Harry Truman were positioning the US as the world’s leading military power and viewed the USSR as a threat to American global hegemony. Thus, by dropping atomic bombs on Japan, the US was: i) sending an unmistakable message to the global community of US military might, and ii) also sending a warning to Stalin and the Soviet Union to not interfere with US global policies.

3) As pointed out by Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Center for Research on Globalization, as early as 1945 “the Pentagon had envisaged blowing up the Soviet Union with a coordinated nuclear attack directed against major urban areas. The Pentagon estimated that a total of 204 atomic bombs would be required to Wipe the Soviet Union off the Map”. 34

Iron Curtain & Truman Doctrine

On March 5, 1946 former British PM Winston Churchill delivered a speech at Westminster College, Fulton, MO, dubbed the ‘Iron Curtain speech’, stating

‘From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an ‘iron curtain’ has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.’ 35 In his speech, Churchill stressed the need for the US and UK to work together, acting as ‘guardians of peace and stability’ against the menace of Soviet communism. As a representative of the [former] British Empire, Churchill was signaling that the UK would willingly serve as a junior partner to American imperialism.

In a speech to Congress March 12, 1947, President Harry Truman laid out the ‘Truman Doctrine’, whose primary goal was to ‘contain Soviet geopolitical expansion’ and more broadly, implied American support for other countries ‘threatened’ by Soviet communism. The Truman Doctrine became the bedrock of post-WWII US foreign policy and in 1949, led to establishment of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Truman’s speech is considered by many to be the start of the ‘Cold War’.

Demise of Soviet Union

Between 1988–1991 the Soviet Union experienced a process of internal disintegration which began with growing unrest in its various constituent republics are subsequent political and legislative conflicts between the republics and the central government. This is not surprising considering that the country was the largest country in the world, covering a vast land mass of 22,400,000 square km2 with a diverse population of circa 290 million consisting of 100 distinct nationalities. In addition, the USSR faced near continuous hostility from the US, UK and other imperialist powers since its very inception. The collapse of the Soviet Union and ‘end’ of the Cold War was interpreted by some in the US, notably Charles Krauthammer as the beginning of a US-directed ‘unipolar’ movement and a ‘new world order’ by President GW Bush. As is usually the case in global affairs, things did not go exactly as planned- the cold war never ‘ended’ and a ‘multipolar’ world emerged.

Project for the New American Century (PNAC)

The PNAC was founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan in the Spring of 1997 as ‘a non-profit, educational organization’ that had a neo-conservative philosophy with close ties to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and endorsed strong American global leadership. 36 The PNAC had a particular focus on Iraq, predating the Bush Presidency and in Jan, 1998, sent a letter to then President Bill Clinton stating:

‘We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding……We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S……That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power’. 37

In Sept 2000, ironically a year prior to 911, the PNAC would publish an influential policy document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” that would serve as a blueprint for US foreign policy in the 21st century. Summarized in its Statement of Principles:

‘As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world’s most preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?’

‘[What we require is] a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.’

‘Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership of the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of the past century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.” 38

The PNAC advocated: 1) increased ‘defense’ spending to ‘carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future’, 2) ‘strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values’, 3) ‘promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad’, and 4) ‘accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles’.

Many PNAC members would go on to hold high level positions in the GW Bush administration, including: Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, John Bolton, Dick Cheney (Vice President), Eliot Cohen, Paula Dobriansky, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Richard Perle, Peter Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Zoellick, William Schneider and James Woolsey. 39 Not surprisingly, these individuals would play a major role in shaping post-911 US foreign policy.

911 and Eruption of US Military Activity

On the morning of Tuesday, Sept 11, 2001 the US experienced the deadliest attack in its history. According to the ‘official’ narrative, nineteen people affiliated with al-Qaeda, a radical Islamic group, hijacked 4 jet aircraft- 2 from Boson, 1 from Newark and 1 from Washington Dulles. Two of these aircraft subsequently crashed into the World Trade Center (WTC) in NYC resulting in the collapse of building 1 (WTC1) and building 2 (WTC2), one hit the Pentagon and the fourth crashed into an empty field in Shanksville, PA. 40 Two decades later, there are still multiple outstanding questions about 911, including what did the intelligence community- FBI, CIA know about the hijackers prior to 911, why didn’t the Pentagon immediately scramble fighter jets to intercept the hijacked aircraft, and why did steel framed buildings that had been ostensibly engineered to survive an impact from an airplane, rapidly collapse? 41

As it turned out, 911 would be a ‘watershed’ event, showcased in President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address where he delivered his [in]famous ‘axis of evil’ speech, designating three countries- North Korea, Iran and Iraq- as rogue states that he claimed ‘harbored, financed and aided terrorists’. 42 Indeed, 911 would set the stage for US military engagements, currently stretching from the Levant, to Caspian Basin, Persian Gulf, South-Central Asia, China Sea, Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa, the Maghreb, to Eastern Europe and Russian border (Figure 1). 4344. These conflicts and conflict zones are summarized in Table 2.

Invasion of Afghanistan

The Pentagon has had a longstanding interest in Afghanistan, due to its strategic location in southern Asia- sharing borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan to the north, Iran to the west, and Pakistan to the south and east. During the Soviet–Afghan War (1979-1989), the Mujahideen, headed by Osama Bin Laden fought a nine-year guerrilla war against the Soviet Army and Afghanistan government, receiving material and financial support from the US, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other countries and has been described as a ‘Cold War-era proxy war’, pitting the US against the USSR. In October 2001, immediately following 911, the U.S. launched its invasion of Afghanistan, rapidly ‘defeating’ the Taliban, and soon thereafter, installing a new government headed by Hamid Karzai in Kabul, and declaring the country ‘liberated’. 45. It soon became obvious that this rapid ‘success’ would be short lived. Despite spending over $1 trillion of US taxpayer money and deploying more than 100K troops, the conflict in Afghanistan continues and is the longest war in US history. The Taliban currently control >50% of Afghan territory and Afghanistan has the dubious distinction of supplying >90% of the world’s heroin 46

War on Iraq

Following defeat of the Central Powers in WWI, the Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920) assembled diplomats from 32 countries, resulting in the creation of the League of Nations, denounced by Lenin as a “thieves’ kitchen” and the ‘awarding’ of German and Ottoman overseas possessions as “mandates,” primarily to Britain and France. 47 Well aware of Iraq’s large energy reserves and strategic importance, Winston Churchill managed to cobble together Basra, Bagdad and Mosul into the ‘state’ of Iraq, while at the same time, carve out the state of Kuwait, which has 499 km of Coastline on the Persian Gulf, compared with Iraq, which has 58 km. 4849 This was likely done to limit Iraqi coast line and access to the Gulf.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and 911 attacks provided the directors of US foreign policy considerable latitude to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy. As described above, the PNAC laid out their perspective in their 2000 policy manifesto ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses’. The Bush Administration was literally infiltrated with PNAC members, led by Vice President Dick Chaney and Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld who were well aware of Iraq’s large energy reserves and was ‘ripe’ for the picking. All that was missing was a ‘marketing’ strategy, using 911 as a rationale for initially invading Iraq and then attempting to widen US control of other countries in the Middle East, with the goal of governing the regions vast energy reserves and selling this to a skeptical American public. This was accomplished using corporate media and testimony by Colin Powell, a respected former four-star Army General and 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The stage would be set by a 2002 piece by Michael Gordon and Judith Miller in the paper of record (NYT), alleging that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was secretly building ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (WMD). 50 This piece would form the basis of Collin Powell’s Feb 5, 2003 Speech before the UN, setting up a casus belli (Latin, ‘occasion for war’) for the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. 51 As is now well known, the piece by Gordon and Miller was essentially fabricated as was much of Powell’s UN speech. 52 As preparations for Invading Iraq were being formulated, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others estimated the costs of the conflict to be below $100 billion and ‘reassuring’ nervous Americans that Iraq’s oil ‘would cover’ the cost of the war. 53 As is now readily apparent, the Iraq war which is still ongoing, has been a strategic disaster, resulting in thousands of American casualties, killing or displacing circa 25% of the Iraq population, led to the creation of ISIS and has cost US taxpayers circa $ 5 Trillion. The extent of this disaster was pointed out in vivid detail by Thomas Ricks, former US military reporter for the Washington Post, in his 2006 book- ‘Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005. As pointed out by General Wesley Clark in his 2007 interview with Amy Goodman, US plans to invade Iraq were formulated within days after 911. In addition, these plans also included strategies for ‘taking out’ six other countries in 5 years, including Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.” 43

Libya, Syria and Yemen

On Mar 19, 2011 a multi-state NATO-led coalition began a military intervention in Libya, to implement UNSC Resolution 1973, which ‘demanded’ an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians and imposed a no-fly zone and new sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and its supporters. This resolution would be used by US/NATO to overthrow the Libyan government and kill Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would later ‘joke’ about Qaddafi’s death, commenting ‘We came, we saw, he died’. 54 In a 2016 interview with the BBC, President Barack Obama stated- failing to prepare for the aftermath of the ousting of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi was the ‘worst mistake’ of his presidency’. 55 Gaddafi’s removal plunged the country into chaos and became an international arms bazaar for radical Islamic groups, as he predicted. 56 Since 2014, the country has fractured- split between forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), supported by Turkey and Qatar and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Benghazi-based Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and supported by Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia.

The US has been intent on ‘regime change’ in Syria since at least 2007. 43 Syria occupies a strategic position in Western Asia, sharing borders with Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan (see Figure 1). Direct US involvement in the war on Syria began in 2014, with the support of US vassals- Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel, with the goal of removing President Bashar al-Assad from power, a policy which remains in effect today. Due to the loyalty of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) along with support from Hezbollah, the Islamic Republic or Iran and Russian Air Force and advisors, Syrian forces have fortified control over much of the country and Bashar al-Assad remains in power.

Yemen occupies a strategic position on the Arabian Peninsula, abutting the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which connects the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Thus, the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait is considered a strategic ‘chokepoint’ that can be closed during a military crisis and thus, of interest to major global powers. 57 In 2015, the Houthi Ansarullah movement overthrew the Yemeni government, led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, forcing him to flee to neighboring KSA. In response, Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS), Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, formed a ‘coalition’ consisting of circa 10 countries, including Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)- the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, along with Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Morocco. While not directly involved in the Yemen conflict, the US, UK and other imperialist countries have provided the Saudi coalition with intelligence, logistical and material support. 58 As pointed out by HRW and others, the war on Yemen has been a humanitarian disaster, leading to massive cholera epidemics, poverty, starvation and physical destruction of the country’s infrastructure. 5759

2021 and Beyond

The US emerged from WWII as the world’s dominant economic and military power. This power has been facilitated by the dollar’s privileged status as the world’s reserve currency, giving Washington the ability to print money and effectively ‘weaponize’ the dollar. Since the mid-1970s, US global power has been systematically undermined from decades of neoliberal economic policies and costly wars. Since 2001, the US has been involved in conflicts in Afghanistan (longest war in US history), Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. These conflicts have been humanitarian disasters, resulting in the injury or death of thousands of American soldiers, while displacing/killing an estimated 37 million people in the affected countries. The ongoing refugee ‘crisis’ in Europe is a direct consequence of these wars, with millions of people escaping the chaos, violence and poverty that US/NATO wars have created. 60

The costs of these wars to American taxpayers have been staggering. In addition to spending circa $14 trillion on the Pentagon (2001-2020) 61, post-911 conflicts have cost taxpayers circa $6.4 trillion. 60 Despite expending astronomical amounts of financial and human capital on these wars, the American empire has been unable to extract significant imperial rent from these countries. Unfortunately, the Pentagon is incapable of extricating itself from these conflicts as doing so is an admission of failure and by extension military/geopolitical weakness. No amount of jingoistic and bellicose rhetoric from politicians in Washington or talking heads on corporate media changes this reality.

The Trump administration has accelerated US global isolation by exiting or contemplating leaving: Paris Climate Accord, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA; Iran Nuclear deal), Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Open Skies Treaty, UN Human Rights council, World Trade Organization (WTO) and several other agreements. 62 At the same time, China has been actively negotiating multiple trade agreements, including: $400 billion comprehensive energy and security agreement with Iran 63; Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with 15 Asian countries including Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia and is the largest trade deal in history 64; EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment 65. Significantly, the US is not a party to any of these agreements and trade will be conducted using regional currencies, excluding the dollar. Not surprisingly, these trade deals are exacerbating tensions between the US, China and other countries. 66 US economic decline has now progressed to the point where the very survival of the American Empire depends on continued money printing to prop up Wall St and large banks, subsidize the military and war. This was recently summarized by economist Richard Wolff- “The Federal Reserve is sustaining US capitalism — directly by loaning to corporations and indirectly by loaning to the federal government — to run a huge deficit, excess of trillion dollars… The federal government is not an intrusion; the federal government is the only thing that keeps private capitalism from a complete bust… And what do we know about this way that the Federal Reserve is keeping capitalism going? It’s funding the most extreme inequality in a century of American history.” 25

Thus, the US is stuck between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place’. The very functioning of the American state- keeping Wall St. and large banks solvent and funding the Pentagon and ongoing wars, requires continued public support- i.e., providing unlimited amounts of ultra-cheap money from the Treasury, as laid out in a recent presentation by FED chair Jerome Powell. 67 Indeed, anytime there is so much as a hint that interest rates are going up, equity markets fall. These policies have become so ingrained and accepted as the ‘normal’ functioning of the state, that they were not addressed by Donald Trump or Joe Biden, during the 2020 campaign. The problem is that this is further undermining the strength of the dollar and jeopardizing its role as the world’s reserve currency 68, readily seen from the rising price of gold, which increased 25% last year. History tells us that over the last 700 years, world reserve currencies maintain their position on average 100 years. 69 At this point, the dollar has been the reserve currency for 77 years. 70 As the global economic vise continues to tighten, American foreign policy is becoming increasingly reckless and bellicose, while debt levels continue rising, putting increasing downward pressure on the dollar. When the dollar crashes the American Empire will crash with it. The American ruling elite are courting a rendezvous with disaster.


1. Bretton Woods Agreement and System by James Chen Apr 30, 2020; Link:

2. Launch of the Bretton Woods System- The international currency system became operational in 1958 with the elimination of exchange controls for current-account transactions By Robert L. Hetzel Federal Reserve History; Link:

3. Nixon Ends Convertibility of US Dollars to Gold and Announces Wage/Price Controls- With inflation on the rise and a gold run looming, President Richard Nixon’s team enacted a plan that ended dollar convertibility to gold and implemented wage and price controls, which soon brought an end to the Bretton Woods System. By Sandra Kollen Ghizoni, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Aug 1971; Link:

4. The Politics of Privatization: How Neoliberalism Took Over US Politics By Brett Heinz; Sept 8, 2017; Link:

5. Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems- Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative? By George Monbiot Apr 15, 2016; Link:

6. New Deal by Editors Nov 27, 2019; Link:

7. Glass-Steagall Act by Editors Aug 21, 2018; Link:

8. Federal Tax Cuts in the Bush, Obama, and Trump Years Report July 11, 2018 Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy; Link:

9. Labor Day: Ronald Reagan and the PATCO Strike by David Macaray HuffPost Aug 20, 2017; Link:

10. How Bill Clinton’s Welfare Reform Changed America- Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign placed welfare reform at its center, claiming that his proposal would “end welfare as we have come to know it.” By Mary Pilon Aug 29, 2018; Link:

11. The Real Lessons from Bill Clinton’s Welfare Reform- The 1996 creation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program effectively killed cash assistance. Now, Republicans want to use it as a model for the rest of the social safety net. By Vann R. Newkirk II Feb 5, 2018; Link:

12. United States Average Hourly Wages in Manufacturing-1950-2020 Data; Link:

13. Mexico Nominal Hourly Wages in Manufacturing- 2007-2020 Data; Link:

14. NAFTA’s Legacy: Lost Jobs, Lower Wages, Increased Inequality; Link:

15. The White House is only telling you half of the sad story of what happened to American jobs by Linette Lopez Jul 25, 2017; Link:

16. China, Saudi Arabia and the US: Shake Up and Shake Down. By Prof. James Petras Global Research, Dec 04, 2017; Link:

17. Why bringing manufacturing jobs to the U.S. from China is “highly unlikely” by Victoria Craig Marketplace Morning Report Aug 27, 2020; Link:

18. Derivative By Jason Fernando Dec 5, 2020; Link:

19. What are the Main Risks Associated with Trading Derivatives? By J.B. Maverick Apr 3, 2020; Link:

20. War on Iran & Calling America’s Bluff by Pepe Escobar April 24, 2019; Link:

21. Bill Clinton – 25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis – TIME; Link:,28804,1877351_1877350_1877322,00.html

22. The Bizarre Action in U.S. Treasuries Is Linked to the U.S. National Debt and the Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: Aug 29, 2019; Link:

23. World economy engulfed by “debt tsunami” by Nick Beams Nov 20, 2020; Link:

24. The Fed Man Song (to the music of Beatles ‘The Taxman’) by Jack Rrasmus Nov 16, 2020; Link:

The Fed Man Song (to the music of Beatles ‘The Taxman’)

25. Capitalism is on life support by Richard Wolff Democracy at Work Jan 4, 2021; Link:

26. IMF Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER); Link:

27. Why the US Dollar Is the Global Currency By Kimberly Amadeo July 23, 2020; Link:

28. The Rise of the Petrodollar System: “Dollars for Oil” By Jerry Robins Thu, Feb 23, 2012; Link:

29. Federal Reserve Act; Link:

30. Federal Reserve Bank of New York By Investopedia Staff Dec 18, 2020; Link:

31. SWIFT; Link:

32. SWIFT and the Weaponization of the U.S. Dollar- The U.S. has used the system as a stick before. Continuing down this path could trigger de-dollarization and an ensuing currency crisis. Saturday, Oct 6, 2018; Link:

33. The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Link:

34. “Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”, 204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities, US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War II When America and the Soviet Union Were Allies. By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, Oct 27, 2018; Link:

35. The Sinews of Peace (‘Iron Curtain Speech’) Mar 5, 1946; Link:

36. Project for the New American Century Oct 16, 2019; Link:

37. 1998 PNAC Letter to President Clinton on Iraq Jan 26, 1998; Link:

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39. List of PNAC Members associated with the Administration of George W. Bush; Link:

40. The 9/11 Commission Report- Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States; Link:

41. Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth; Link:

42. President Bush cites ‘axis of evil,’ Jan. 29, 2002 By Andrew Glass Politico Jan 29, 2019; Link:

43. “We’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran.” Interview with General Wesley Clark Global Research, Feb 06, 2018; Link:

44. A Timeline of the U.S.-Led War on Terror- In the wake of the attacks of 9/11, President George W. Bush called for a global “War on Terror,” launching an ongoing effort to thwart terrorists before they act. By Editors May 5, 2020; Link:

45. A timeline of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan since 2001 AP July 6, 2016; Link:

46. Washington’s Twenty-First-Century Opium Wars: How a Pink Flower Defeated the World’s Sole Superpower- America’s Opium War in Afghanistan by Alfred McCoy Tom Dispatch Feb 21, 2016; Link:

47. The First World War – A Marxist Analysis of the Great Slaughter by Alan Woods June 2, 2019; Link:

48. Paris 1919: How the Peace Conference Shaped the Middle East; Link:

49. The Impact of Western Imperialism in Iraq, 1798-1963 By Geoff Simons Dec, 2002; Link:

50. Threats and Responses: The Iraqis; U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts By Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller NYT Sept. 8, 2002; Link:

51. Colin Powell Still Wants Answers- In 2003, he made the case for invading Iraq to halt its weapons programs. The analysts who provided the intelligence now say it was doubted inside the C.I.A. at the time. By Robert Draper NYT Jan. 11, 2021; Link:

52. Lie After Lie: What Colin Powell Knew About Iraq 15 Years Ago and What He Told the U.N.- The evidence is irrefutable: Powell consciously deceived the world in his 2003 presentation making the case for war with Saddam Hussein. By Jon Schwarz

Jon Schwarz The Intercept Feb 6, 2018; Link:

53. The cost of the Iraq war Mar 19, 2013; Link:

54. The Libya Gamble- A New Libya, with ‘Very Little Time Left’. The fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi seemed to vindicate Hillary Clinton. Then militias refused to disarm, neighbors fanned a civil war, and the Islamic State found refuge. By Scott Shane and Jo Becker NYT Feb. 27, 2016; Link:

55. President Obama: Libya aftermath ‘worst mistake’ of presidency BBC April 11, 2016; Link:

56. Coups and terror are the fruit of Nato’s war in Libya- The dire consequences of the west’s intervention are being felt today in Tripoli and across Africa, from Mali to Nigeria by Seumas Milne The Guardian May 22, 2014; Link:

57. Strategic Importance of the Indian Ocean, Yemen and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait by Phillyguy for The Saker Blog Aug 5, 2020; Link:

58. Ending the Yemen war is both a strategic and humanitarian imperative by John R. Allen and Bruce Riedel Brookings Monday, Nov 16, 2020;

59. U.S. War Crimes in Yemen: Stop Looking the Other Way- The State Department warned for years that the U.S. was complicit in war crimes in Yemen. No one put a stop to it. Foreign Policy in Focus by Andrea Prasow Sept 21, 2020; Link:

60. Costs of War Brown University; Link:

61. U.S. military spending from 2000 to 2019; Link:

62. Here are all the treaties and agreements Trump has abandoned By Zachary B. Wolf and JoElla Carman, CNN Fri, Feb 1, 2019; Link:

63. A China-Iran bilateral deal: Costs all around- Beijing sees an opportunity in Tehran’s international isolation – but may not realise the tangle it is entering. By Jeffrey Payne Sept 2, 2020; Link:

64. China signs huge Asia Pacific trade deal with 14 countries By Jill Disis and Laura He, CNN Business Tue Nov 17, 2020;

65. The Strategic Implications of the China-EU Investment Deal- The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment is a win for China, and a blow to transatlantic relations. By Theresa Fallon Jan 4, 2021; Link:

66. EU–US tensions mount after EU signs trade deal with China by Alex Lantier Jan 4, 2021; Link:

67. Fed chief pledges massive support for Wall Street will not cease by Nick Beams Jan 16, 2021; Link:

68. Is the US Dollar’s Role as the World’s Reserve Currency Under Threat? International Banker. Sept 30, 2020; Link:

69. 3 Major Signs That Precede the Fall of World Reserve Currencies- Economics by Graham Smith Oct 24, 2019; Link:

70. 75 Years ago the U.S. Dollar Became the World’s Currency. Will that last? By Greg Rosalsky Jul 30, 2019; Link:

Figure 1 and Tables 1, 2

Figure 1. Map of Western Asia and Middle East. Source:

Table 1. Major economic legislation since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

1981Economic Recovery Tax ActReagan
1986Tax Reform Act of 1986Reagan
2001Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA)GW Bush
2003Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (JGTRRA)GW Bush
2010Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation ActBush/Obama
2012American Taxpayer Relief ActBush/Obama
2017Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)Trump
1993North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)Clinton
1996Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA)Clinton
1999Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA; Financial Services Modernization Act)Clinton
2000Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA)Clinton

Table 2. US involvement in conflicts and conflict zones since 911.

AfghanistanGW Bush2001-present
IraqGW Bush2003-present
LibyaObama2011- present
Eastern Europe/Russian BorderClinton- Trump1997-Present
China Sea/Western PacificObama/Trump2011-present
Persian GulfBush/Obama/Trump2003-present

Iranian Nuclear Weapons. Is Israel Too Scared To Strike?

The key standoff in the Middle East, that between Israel and Iran, has been steadily ramping up.

Over the last two months Israel and its allies, primarily the US and Saudi Arabia, have done quite a bit to antagonize Iran and attempt and impair it from achieving its ambitions.

Iran’s response is coming, and the aim is an asymmetric counter attack that would heavily hamper Israel’s interests.

Tehran’s response will likely be two-pronged:

On the one hand through its proxies and allies – namely the Houthis in Yemen who are pushing back Saudi Arabia and inflicting heavy losses on it. Iran recently sent advanced suicide drones to Yemen, so Riyadh appears to be in for a surprise.

Separately, it’s operating through its allies in Iraq and Syria, as reports of US convoys suffering explosions are becoming a rather regular occurrence.

On the other, Iran’s nuclear program appears to be developing steadily, and the Wall Street Journal even stoke the oven by claiming that Tehran was nearing production of a “key material for nuclear warheads”.

There’s been no confirmation to that, but it also works to Iran’s benefit and will be used as a mechanism to check if Israel is willing to attack its nuclear program, once again, after allegedly killing Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Tehran is working to produce its enriched uranium, which it maintains is for peaceful purposes, and uses this as a lever to pressure the United States and force Israel’s hand. Most recently, Iran said that Washington’s return to the Nuclear Deal, as incoming President Joe Biden has signaled, was simply “extortion” if its not accompanied by a lifting of sanctions.

As such, Iran says that not only must Washington want to return, but it also needs to do something to make up for their past failures – namely, lift the sanctions the Trump Administration imposed.

Israel, feeling the urgency of its situation, warned that if the US were to return to the Nuclear Deal, it would feel forced and strike the facilities being used in Iran’s nuclear program, in order to hamper any progress, it may be having towards an alleged weapon. If this really happens, this will easily lead to a large-scale regional war.

Currently, Israel and the US have largely played their hands – attacks on various proxy positions, as well as various threats and military deployments.

For Iran, the field is wide open and its Tehran’s turn to make its move and it is likely to be an asymmetric action, not focused in a single point of tension, but rather on several.

Related News

Biden and the inevitable return to the nuclear understanding بايدن وحتميّة العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

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

بايدن وحتميّة العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

ناصر قنديل

تمتلئ الصحف العربية والأجنبية والقنوات المموّلة من دول الخليج بتحليلات وتقارير ومواقف لخبراء، تركز على تعقيدات تعترض طريق عودة إدارة الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب جو بايدن، تبني عليها الاستنتاج بأن بايدن سيجد طريقاً آخر غير العودة للاتفاق، وجوهر التعقيدات التي يجري استعراضها التي تتوزّع بين مستجدات الملف النووي نفسه، ما يستدعي بعد الخطوات التي اتخذتها إيران منذ الانسحاب الأميركي من التفاهم، ما هو أكثر من مجرد إعلان إيران عن العودة للالتزامات، وهو ما قاله مدير الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية، بالإضافة لاعتبار ملف الصواريخ الإيرانية البالستية والملفات الإقليمية الملتهبة في اليمن وسورية والعراق أسباباً إضافية لتعطيل فرص العودة للتفاهم.

معلوم أن إيران ترفض أي مراحل انتقالية، تتضمن تفاوضاً يسبق العودة للتفاهم، وتصرّ على اعتبار العودة الأميركية المطلوبة بلا شروط لتقابلها عودة للالتزامات من جانب إيران، وعندها ينعقد لقاء الخمسة زائداً واحداً، الذي تشارك فيه الأمم المتحدة والوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية، والاتحاد الأوروبي كشركاء مع الدول المعنية، وفي هذا الإطار الراعي للتفاهم يتم التداول بكل القضايا التقنية التي أراد مدير الوكالة مطالبة إيران بها عبر تصريحاته التي رفضتها إيران، أما في شأن الملفات الأخرى التي يتحدّث عنها الأوروبيون والأميركيون سواء ملف الصواريخ الإيرانية أو ملفات النزاع الإقليمية، فهي قضايا سبق وكانت مطروحة قبل التوقيع على الاتفاق النووي، وفي النهاية بقيت قضايا خلافية وتقرّر السير بالاتفاق رغم بقائها.

السؤال الذي يواجه بايدن، هو الذي واجهه مع الرئيس باراك أوباما عام 2015، أنه في ظل وجود قضايا عالقة مع إيران، ما هي الطريقة الفضلى للتعامل مع الملف النووي، مواصلة الرهان على العقوبات أم الذهاب للحرب أو الاحتكام لقواعد التفاهم، وكان قرار ثنائي أوباما بايدن يومها، الاحتكام للتفاهم، وهذا ما شرحه أوباما مراراً بقوله إنه يدرك أن الاتفاق سيئ، لكنه يدرك أن البديل الذي يمثله الرهان غير الموثوق على العقوبات، مخاطرة كبرى بإضاعة الفرصة، وصولاً لاكتشاف لحظة تمتلك فيها إيران قنبلة نووية، شارحاً كيف أن واشنطن كانت تكتشف مع كل توقف للتفاوض وعودة للعقوبات أنها عندما تعود للتفاوض أن الملف النووي زاد تعقيداً وقدرات إيران زادت نمواً، بينما الحرب مغامرة أشد خطورة، ولا تزال ردود أوباما على رئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو يومها، بنظر فريق بايدن صالحة اليوم، وفقاً لنتائج تجربة الرئيس دونالد ترامب.

يقول فريق بايدن إذا كانت الحرب خياراً، فلماذا لم يلجأ إليها ثنائي ترامب ونتنياهو، أما عن العقوبات فيستعرض فريق بايدن، حصيلة السنوات الأربع لمشروع ترامب نتنياهو، بالخروج من الاتفاق النووي والرهان على العقوبات، التي تسببت بالكثير من الخسائر لإيران، لكنها لم تخل بنظام الحكم ولا فرضت على القيادة الإيرانية التنازلات المطلوبة، وبالمقابل خسرت واشنطن وحلفاؤها الكثير في هذه السنوات، سواء في تطور مقدّرات إيران النووية وغير النووية، أو في تراجع وضع حلفائها وتقدم حلفاء إيران، ففي هذه السنوات تحققت الانتصارات الكبرى لسورية، وامتلك حزب الله الصواريخ الدقيقة، وتحوّل أنصار الله إلى قوة عظمى تمسك بأمن الخليج.

فريق بايدن يقول إن التفاهم الذي كان خياراً سيئاً في عام 2015، هو خيار أشد سوءاً في 2020، لكن الرهان على العقوبات كان مخاطرة كبرى عام 2015 وصار حماقة كبرى وانتحاراً في العام 2020، والحرب التي كانت خياراً على الطاولة عام 2015 لم تعد خيار مطروحاً للنقاش في 2020.

Biden and the inevitable return to the nuclear understanding

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Nasser Qandil

Arab and foreign newspapers and gulf-funded channels are full of analysis, reports and positions of experts, focusing on the complexities of the return of President-elect Joe Biden to JCPOA, They concluded that  Biden will find a way other than to returning to the agreement, And the essence of the complications being reviewed that are distributed among the developments of the nuclear file itself, which calls for, after the steps taken by Iran since the US withdrawal from the understanding, more than just Iran’s announcement of a return to commitments, the director of the IAEA said, in addition to considering the file Iranian ballistic missiles and the and the inflamed regional files in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq as additional reasons for disrupting the chances of a return to understanding.

It is known that Iran rejects any transition, including negotiations prior to the return of the understanding, and insists on considering the return of the U.S. unconditionally required to be met by a return to the commitments of Iran, and then the meeting of the P5+1, in which the UN and the IAEA participate, and the European Union as partners with the countries concerned, As for the other issues that the Europeans and the Americans are talking about, whether the Iranian missile file or the regional conflict files, they are issues that were previously discussed before the signing of the nuclear agreement, and in the end they remained contentious issues and it was decided to proceed with the agreement

The question Biden faces, is what he faced with President Barack Obama in 2015, that with the outstanding issues with Iran, what is the best way to deal with the nuclear file, continue to bet on sanctions or go to war or invoke the rules of understanding, and the decision of the Obama-Biden duo on that day, invoking understanding, and this is what Obama has repeatedly explained by saying that he realizes that the deal is bad, but he realizes that the alternative represented by the bet on the sanctions are a great risk of wasting opportunity, explaining how Washington was discovering with every pause for negotiations and a return to sanctions that when it returns to negotiations that the nuclear file has increased complexity and Iran’s capabilities have grown, while the war is a more dangerous adventure, and Obama’s responses to the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, in the eyes of the Biden team, are valid today, according to the results of President Donald Trump’s experience.

Biden’s team says if war is an option, why didn’t the Trump and Netanyahu duo resort to it, but as for the sanctions, Biden’s team,  the outcome of the four-year Trump-Netanyahu project, is reviewing the outcome of the nuclear deal and betting on sanctions, which caused a lot of losses to Iran, but did not disturb the regime or imposed on the Iranian leadership In these years, the major victories of Syria have been achieved, and Hezbollah has possessed precise missiles, and Ansar Allah has turned into a superpower that holds on to Gulf security.

Biden’s team says that understanding, which was a bad choice in 2015, is a worse option in 2020, but betting on sanctions was a major risk in 2015 and became a major folly and suicide in 2020, and the war on the table in 2015 is no longer an option for debate in 2020.

أي رؤية تطغى على طاقم بادين.. وكيف سيقارب المحطات المفصلية إقليمياً ودولياً؟


8 كانون الأول 23:45

مع تشكيل فريق الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب جو بايدن تنطلق التساؤلات حول السياسات.. فماذا في الأسماء وخلفياتها؟ وهل من المبالغة توقع أي تغيير تجاه قضايا المنطقة والعالم؟

بايدن يختار فريق إدارته في الأمن والدفاع والخارجية.. ماذا عن توجهاته السياسية؟ وما هي خياراته؟
بايدن يختار فريق إدارته في الأمن والدفاع والخارجية.. ماذا عن توجهاته السياسية؟ وما هي خياراته؟

قبيل حسم الكلية الانتخابية هوية الفائز رسمياً في الانتخابات الرئاسية، يمهد جو بايدن طريقه إلى البيت الأبيض.

اختار الرئيس المنتخب أعضاء فريق إدارته المقبل لحقائب الأمن والخارجية والدفاع، والأخيرة سيتولاها “لويد أوستن” كأول أميركي من أصل أفريقي.

تقرأ “بوليتيكو” في اختيار جنرال سابق “كسراً للحواجز” لكونه أول جنرال أميركي أفريقي قاد فرقة عسكرية قتالية وأشرف على مسرح عمليات كامل.

أما ليندا توماس غرينفيلد، مندوبة الولايات المتحدة الدائمة لدى الأمم المتحدة، يمكن استبيان نهجها من خلال تحيتها لجون كيري، على حسابها في تويتر بأن “هل أنت مستعد للعودة إلى العمل؟”.

جايك سوليفان مستشار الأمن القومي، انطلقت السهام ضده سريعاً، وتقول “فورين بوليسي” إنه أمضى سنوات في العمل على نهج أقل طموحاً للمصالح الأميركية في العالم، ويمكن أن “يخيب آمل التقدميين في البلاد”. أما أنتوني بلينكن، وزير الخارجية، تقول صحف أميركية إنه كان لاعباً ثابتاً على مدى 3 عقود في دوائر السياسة الخارجية للحزب الديمقراطي.

الكاتب السياسي الأميركي، ستيف غولدفيلد، قال إن “الفريق الذي اختاره جو بايدن لإدارته لعب دوراً محورياً في عهد أوباما”.

وقال غولدفيلد للميادين “أعتقد أن إدارة جو بايدن ستعود إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران”، مشدداً على أن “ترامب أضعف مؤسسة وزارة الخارجية الأميركية، وأعتقد أن بايدن سيقوم بإعادة بنائها”.

غولدفيلد أشار إلى أن “ترامب كان ينظر إلى أوروبا بطريقة ازدرائية، بينما بايدن سيعيد العلاقات إلى طبيعتها”، منوهاً إلى أنه “لا يتمتع أي رئيس أميركي بنوايا جيدة تجاه إيران”.

داخلياً، أولويات بايدن واضحة، ولا سيما مع ارتفاع معدلات الإصابة بكورونا، حيث على إدارة الرئيس المنتخب تبني سريعاً استراتيجية التعامل مع الفيروس وتبعاته الاقتصادية، إضافة إلى قضايا الصحة والعمل والتعليم والعنصرية.

لكن ما يصعب حسمه هو التغيير في السياسة الخارجية، وتحديداً في ملفات الشرق الأوسط، والعلاقات مع الصين وروسيا، بايدن تحدث دائماً عن استعادة المكانة الدولية لبلاده وإعادة الدفء إلى العلاقة مع الأوروبيين، وفي المقابل عن مواجهة روسيا والصين على نحو أكثر صلابة.

ثم القضية الفلسطينية، مع اقتناع بايدن بالأضرار الناتجة من سياسة ترامب بتجاهله الفلسطينيين في “عملية السلام” والتزامه بإعادة التواصل معهم مع مراعاة مصالح  الإسرائيليين وأمنهم.

كما يرجح أن تكون إيران على رأس الأولويات، وأبرز ملفات الشرق الأوسط أمام إدارة بايدن الذي تعهد إعادة بلاده إلى الاتفاق النووي، فما من إدارة أميركية في العقدين الأخيرين إلا ويمثل النووي الإيراني بحكم أمره الواقع ملفاً بارزاً في سياستها الخارجية بالنسبة لإدارة بايدن أصبح الأمر أكثر إلحاحاً.

ويعد الملف النووي الإيراني إحدى أهم المسائل الخارجية للسياسة الأميركية في ظل إدارة جديدة يقودها بايدن، وربما هي الأهم وبرغم أنه سيكون محكوماً بالتوازنات السياسية داخل الكونغرس، إلا أنه يؤيد العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي ولو بهدف التفاوض بعدها على مسائل أخرى.

في هذا الصدد، قال أستاذ علم الاجتماع والدراسات الدولية في جامعة ويسكونسن سيف دعنا، إن “هناك من يرى في سياسة بايدن أكثر خطورة على المنطقة بسبب التحالفات التي قد يعقدها”.

وأكد دعنا للميادين أن “بايدن سيصطدم بوقائع تتعلق بالشرعية على المستوى الداخلي الأميركي، ووقائع دولية وإقليمية مغايرة”، لافتاً إلى أن “الادارات الديمقراطية في أميركا هي التي بدأت باجراءات الحصار ضد الصين”.

دعنا لفت إلى أن “كل الدلائل تشير إلى تراجع الولايات المتحدة على المستوى الاقتصادي مقابل صعود الصين”، مشدداً على أن “بايدن سيصطدم بوقائع إقليمية جديدة ومن بينها مسألة الصواريخ البالستية التي قلبت الموازين”.

من الطبيعي أن يكون بايدن مؤيداً للاتفاق الخماسي مع إيران، وقد كان نائباً للرئيس السابق باراك أوباما حين توقيعه عام 2015، وصرح برغبته في العودة إليه قبيل الانتخابات الرئاسية.

ويبدو أن التطورات الأخيرة لم تغير هذه القناعة بعد انتخابه، هذا ما يمكن قراءته من كلام مستشاره للأمن القومي على الأقل، الذي قال لصحيفة “وول ستريت” إن العودة للاتفاق “ممكنة وقابلة للتحقيق”، مشيراً إلى أن “العودة ورفع العقوبات عن طهران سيرسخان الأساس لـمفاوضات لاحقة حول مسائل أوسع”.

تخالف هذا الطرح مجلة “ناشونال إنترست” الأميركية المحافظة القريبة من “الجمهوريين”، فتسوق لفكرة أن الوقت غير مناسب لتخلي بايدن عن سياسة الضغط الأقصى على إيران.

وتؤيدها في فكرة الاستمرار بممارسة الضغوط صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز” فتذهب إلى أنه بإمكان بايدن أخذ كامل وقته وألا تنجر إدارته إلى العودة للاتفاق النووي، معتبرة أن “الاستمرار في سياسة إدارة ترامب يمنح بايدن فرصة تحقيق إنجاز دبلوماسي دائم لا تلغيه إدارة مستقبلية على خلاف الإنجاز السابق لأوباما”.

فيديوات ذات صلة

Lebanon, Syria and the region after the return to nuclear understanding لبنان وسورية والمنطقة بعد العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

لبنان وسورية والمنطقة بعد العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

ناصر قنديل

بعد إعلان الرئيس الأميركيّ المنتخب جو بايدن عزمه العودة الى التفاهم النوويّ مع إيران، وبعد إعلان الرئيس دونالد ترامب قبوله تسليم الرئاسة بعد اجتماع المجمع الانتخابي ونطقه بفوز بايدن، وهو ما بات محسوماً، صار العالم والمنطقة في دائرة البحث عن التداعيات التي ستلي العودة الأميركية للتفاهم النووي، طالما تراجع بايدن عن شروط مسبقة تتصل بالتفاهم على ملفات خلافية أخرى رفضت إيران أي بحث فيها، وصار التطابق الأميركي الإيراني على معادلة، عودة غير مشروطة مقابل التزام إيراني بموجبات التفاهم، وبعدها يكون التفاوض من داخل أطر التفاهم نفسه.

لو لم يكن للتفاهم من تداعيات خطيرة على كل من كيان الاحتلال وحكام الخليج، لما كان هذا الاستنفار الذي جمعهم مع ترامب على قرار الانسحاب من التفاهم وتصعيد الضغوط على إيران، ومعلوم أن العودة للتفاهم ستعني حكماً رفع العديد من العقوبات الرئيسية التي تستهدف الاقتصاد والأموال الإيرانيّة، والقدرة الإيرانيّة على المتاجرة بنفطها وغازها وسائر مصادرها الاقتصاديّة، والمعلوم أيضاً أن إيران ستقوم بمد يد العون بصورة أقوى لقوى المقاومة في المنطقة كلما انفرجت اوضاعها المالية والاقتصادية. وهذا كان إحدى الذرائع التي أوردها ترامب للانسحاب من التفاهم.

الأسئلة تطال ملفات المنطقة الإقليمية، حيث يتمّ تداول تقارير وتحليلات تطمئن جماعات أميركا الى ان العودة للتفاهم لا تعني تغييراً في الاوضاع في لبنان وسورية وسائر ساحات الاشتباك الإقليميّة. وهنا يتم التداول بثقة بأن القوات الأميركية باقية في سورية، وأن مشروع بايدن لتقسيم العراق عائد الى الواجهة، وأن تقسيم سورية سيليه، وأن الضغط على حزب الله في لبنان سيتزايد لصالح تعويض “إسرائيل” خسائرها من العودة للتفاهم بمكاسب من رصيد مكانة حزب الله ومصادر قوته، وبالمثل تتحدّث التقارير ذاتها عن تعويض الخسارة الخليجيّة بعودة التفاهم بحل سياسي للأزمة اليمنية تكون يد السعودية والإمارات هي العليا.

التدقيق في هذه التقارير يكشف بسرعة سطحيتها او انتماءها الى مدرسة حرب نفسيّة هشّة تريد رفع معنويات جماعة أميركا في المنطقة، أو إصابة معنويات جمهور قوى المقاومة، فالتفاهم النووي لم يكن يوماً نووياً، بقدر ما كان محور ومركز ملفات التصادم في المنطقة، ولذلك عندما بلغت الإدارة الاميركية في عهد باراك اوباما وجو بايدن الى طريق مسدود في المواجهة في سورية، ذهبت الى توقيع التفاهم النووي. فالحرب ليست فصولاً منفصلة، بل هي جسد واحد، لأنه في نهاية المطاف كل ملف من ملفات المنطقة يوصل الأمور الى واحد من خيارين التسوية أو الحرب. ومَن يعود للتفاهم النووي وهو الحلقة الأصعب لأنه اختار التسوية بدلاً من أن يختار الحرب، فلن يفعل شيئاً آخر غير الذهاب للتسويات في سائر الملفات، مادام خيار الحرب مغلقاً، ولو كان متاحاً لما كانت العودة للتفاهم.

السعي الأميركي يبدأ مع العودة للتفاهم الى البحث عن مسارات مناسبة لملاقاة خيار العودة للتفاهم في ملفات النزاع. ففي العراق سيكون السؤال هل هناك من يحمي التقسيم الذي كانت فرصه الأفضل عندما أعلنت كردستان العراق انفصالها وتراجعت لأنها تبلغت قراراً أميركياً بعدم القدرة على الذهاب الى حرب، وهذا في عهد ترامب، فكيف في عهد بايدن، وفي سورية سيكون الأسهل الذهاب للوقوف وراء روسيا لترتيب توزيع الأوراق والأدوار مع الأكراد والأتراك تمهيداً للخروج من سورية، وفي لبنان سيكون سهلاً التموضع وراء فرنسا وتسهيل فوزها بفرصة إنجاح المبادرة التي قدمها الرئيس امانويل ماكرون، على قاعدة الانفتاح على حزب الله وتحييد الخلاف الأميركي معه عن إعادة تكوين السلطة عبر حكومة تتولى قيادة مرحلة إنقاذية بدعم مالي دولي. أما في اليمن فالكلام واضح عن سعي بايدن لوقف الحرب من موقع اعتبار العدوان السعودي جريمة يجب أن تتوقف.

التراجع في الملف الأصعب يعني التراجع في الأقل صعوبة، ومرحلة جديدة كلياً توشك أن تبدأ في المنطقة.


Lebanon, Syria and the region after the return to nuclear understanding

Nasser Qandil

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After President-elect Joe Biden announced his intention to return to nuclear understanding with Iran, and after President Donald Trump announced his acceptance of the presidency after the meeting of the electoral college and pronounced Biden’s victory, which is now resolved, the world and the region are in the search for the implications that will follow the U.S. return to nuclear understanding, as long as Biden retracts preconditions related to understanding on other controversial files that Iran has refused any discussion on, and the U.S.-Iran conformity on an equation, an unconditional return in exchange for an Iranian commitment under the understanding, and then from within the frameworks itself.

If the understanding did not have serious repercussions on both the entity of the occupation and the rulers of the Gulf, it would not be the alert that brought them together with Trump on the decision to withdraw from the understanding and escalate the pressure on Iran, and it is known that the return to the understanding will mean a provision to lift many of the major sanctions targeting the Iranian economy and funds, and the ability of Iran to trade its oil, gas and other economic sources, and it is also known that Iran will help the resistance forces in the region whenever their financial and economic situation is resolved. This was one of Trump’s pretexts for withdrawing from the understanding.

The questions are reaching the regional files, where reports and analysis are circulated to reassure American groups that a return to understanding does not mean a change in the situation in Lebanon, Syria and other regional arenas of engagement. And here is the trade with confidence that the U.S. forces remain in Syria, and that biden’s project to divide Iraq returns to the front, and that the division of Syria will follow him, and that the pressure on Hezbollah in Lebanon will increase in favor of compensating “Israel” its losses from returning to the understanding with gains from the balance of hezbollah’s status and sources of strength, and similar reports talk about compensating the Gulf loss by returning the understanding of a political solution to the Yemeni crisis is the hands of Saudi Arabia and theUae.

The nuclear understanding was not a nuclear day, as far as the center and center of the collision files in the region, so when the U.S. administration under Barack Obama and Joe Biden reached a dead end in the confrontation in Syria, it went to sign the nuclear understanding. War is not separate chapters, it is one body, because ultimately each of the region’s files brings things to one of two options of settlement or war. Those who return to the nuclear understanding, which is the most difficult link, have chosen to settle rather than choose war, will do nothing other than go to compromises in other files, as long as the option of war is closed, and if it were available, it would not be a return tounderstanding.

The U.S. quest begins with a return to understanding to find suitable paths to meet the option of returning to understanding in conflict files. In Iraq, the question will be whether there is anyone protecting the division, which was the best chance when Iraqi Kurdistan declared its secession and retreated because it was informed of a U.S. decision not to be able to go to war, and this is under Trump, how in the era of Biden, and in Syria it would be easier to go behind Russia to arrange the distribution of papers and roles With the Kurds and Turks preparing to get out of Syria, and in Lebanon it will be easy to position behind France and facilitate its victory by the chance to succeed the initiative presented by President Emmanuel Macron, on the basis of opening up to Hezbollah and neutralizing the U.S. dispute with him about re-establishing power through a government that leads a rescue phase with international financial support. In Yemen, there is a clear talk of Biden seeking to stop the war from the position of considering Saudi aggression as a crime that muststop.

The retreat in the harder file means retreating at the least difficult, and a whole new phase is about to begin in the region.

عن الصواريخ التي تَحرِم قادة إسرائيل من النوم: رسالة فريدمان إلى «عزيزه» بايدن

وليد شرارة

كتب وليد شرارة في عدد جريدة الأخبار ليوم الأربعاء 2 كانون الأول 2020 المقال الاتي:

عن الصواريخ التي تَحرِم قادة إسرائيل من النوم: رسالة فريدمان إلى «عزيزه» بايدن

الرسالة التي وَجّهها الصحافي الأميركي، الصهيوني العقائدي، توماس فريدمان، تستحقّ القراءة بتمعّن. هي لا تشبه مقالاته وكتبه المشحونة بأيديولوجيا تبشيرية، تشي بقناعاته الشخصية، التي كَذّبتها التطوّرات اللاحقة بمجملها. وغالب الظن أنه يتمنّى أن تُنسى سرديّاته المغفلة عن «العولمة السعيدة» وما ستحمله من إيجابيات وفوائد لشعوب العالم قاطبة، والتي جمعها في كتابين: «سيارة ليكسوس وشجرة الزيتون»، و«العالم مسطّح». هذه المرّة، وفي مقال بعنوان لافت، «عزيزي جو، لم يعد الأمر يتعلّق بالنووي الإيراني»، هو لا ينطق عن هواه. أراد فريدمان أن يخاطب الرئيس المنتخَب، وهو من مؤيّديه المتحمّسين ولديه علاقات وثيقة وتاريخية بالحزب الديمقراطي، نيابةً عن إسرائيل والمنظومة الداعمة لها في الولايات المتحدة، وليس مجرّد اللوبي، بتكليف منهما أو من دونه. المقال – الرسالة شديد الوضوح والصراحة، ويعزّز القناعة بأن جوهر المعركة الاستراتيجية الدائرة بين التحالف الأميركي – الإسرائيلي وأذنابه في المنطقة، وبين محور المقاومة، وفي القلب منه إيران، هو تطوير الأخيرة لقدراتها الصاروخية النوعية ومساعدتها حلفاءَها على القيام بالأمر عينه. بطبيعة الحال، فإن محاولة منع إيران من التطوّر علمياً وتكنولوجياً، خاصة في الميدان النووي، ونتيجة لخياراتها السياسية الاستقلالية، هي بين الأهداف المركزية للتحالف المعادي، وهو ما يؤكده استهداف علمائها ومنشآتها النووية، لكنه ليس الهدف الأول المدرَج على جدول أعماله. الصواريخ الدقيقة، أو «العامل المُغيِّر لقواعد اللعبة» حسب التعبير المستخدَم في عشرات التقارير الإسرائيلية والأميركية والغربية، هي الأولوية الأولى على هذا الجدول، ومن المرجّح أن تبقى كذلك بعد دخول بايدن إلى البيت الأبيض.

لو تَجرّأ كاتب أو خبير عربي على القول إن البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني يَحرم الخبراء العسكريين الإسرائيليين من النوم، لانهال عليه التقريظ والتسخيف من قِبَل «جيوش الخبراء والمحلّلين» العرب «الواقعيين»، باعتباره «بوقاً إعلامياً» للممانعة. لكنّ هؤلاء لن يتجرّأوا على معاملة صديقهم، وفي حقبة سابقة مرجعهم، توماس فريدمان، بالطريقة إيّاها عندما يكتب أن «ما سيعترف به أمامكم بعض الخبراء العسكريين الإسرائيليين هو أن امتلاك إيران لسلاح نووي ليس ما يُبقيهم مستيقظين طيلة الليل، لأنهم لا يعتقدون أن طهران ستستخدمه، لأن ذلك سيكون انتحاراً، والزعماء الدينيون في إيران ليسوا انتحاريين. ما يُقلقهم هو أسلحة إيران الجديدة المفضّلة، أي الصواريخ الدقيقة التي استخدمتها ضدّ السعودية، والتي تواصل محاولة تصديرها إلى وكلائها في لبنان واليمن وسوريا والعراق، ما يشكّل تهديداً قاتلاً لإسرائيل والسعودية والإمارات والقوات الأميركية في المنطقة». لا يَتردّد المنظّر الصهيوني – الأميركي في وصف هجوم أبقيق، الذي استهدف صناعات النفط السعودية بصواريخ مُوجّهة دقيقة ومسيّرات، وفقاً لزعمه، والذي يتّهم إيران بالمسؤولية المباشرة عنه، بـ«بيرل هاربر الشرق الأوسط»، ويرى أن هذه المنطقة أعيد تشكيلها من خلال الصواريخ الإيرانية والردود الأميركية والإسرائيلية والخليجية عليها. هو يَخلُص إلى أن الرئيس الأميركي الجديد سيواجه ضغوطاً هائلة لعدم العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي بصيغته الأصلية، ولإدراج البرنامج الصاروخي في المفاوضات مع إيران، وتوظيف «ورقة القوة» التي تُمثّلها العقوبات القاسية المفروضة عليها لإلزامها بتقديم تنازلات حوله.

ربّما ينبغي التذكير بأن البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني لم يكن قد وُضع تحت المجهر في الفترة التي تمّ التوقيع خلالها على الاتفاق النووي مع إيران. تقدير الموقف الذي استندت إليه إدارة باراك أوباما عندما وافقت على الصيغة الأصلية لهذا الاتفاق، كان يَفترض أن إيران تعاني بسبب ما يشبه الحصار الدولي المضروب حولها آنذاك، وأنها تُستنزف في سوريا والعراق، وأن هذه الظروف تُوفّر فرصة سانحة للتفاهم معها، وهي ليست في أوج قوتها. غير أن المتغيّرات الكبرى التي شهدتها الساحة السورية بعد التدخل الروسي في أيلول/ سبتمبر 2015، أي 3 أشهر بعد توقيع الاتفاق، وما تلاها من عملية نقل لقدرات عسكرية وصاروخية نوعية إلى سوريا، والالتفات الإسرائيلي والأميركي إلى تسارع تطوير البرنامج الصاروخي في إيران، قد تكون من أبرز العوامل التي تُفسّر تباطؤ رفع العقوبات التي نصّ عليها الاتفاق، والحؤول دون قيام شركات ومؤسسات غربية وغير غربية بالانفتاح على هذا البلد والاستثمار فيه، بسبب تحذيرات وضغوط أميركية مبطّنة وأحياناً علنية.

هذه المتغيّرات العسكرية والتكنولوجية والميدانية هي التي حدت بدونالد ترامب وفريقه إلى الانسحاب من الاتفاق واعتماد «الضغوط القصوى» ضدّ طهران، من دون النجاح في وقف النموّ الكمّي والنوعي للترسانة الصاروخية لديها ولدى حلفائها. كيف سيتعامل بايدن وإدارته مع الوقائع «العنيدة» والمغايرة لتلك التي سادت في فترة توقيع الاتفاق النووي؟ المؤكد هو أن أنصار إسرائيل الوازنين في هذا الفريق وخارجه وفي مختلف مؤسسات الدولة الأميركية، أي المنظومة الداعمة لها، سيبقون بدورهم مستيقظين طيلة الليل إن اضطرّوا لذلك، لحمل الرئيس المنتخَب على التشدّد حيال برنامج إيران الصاروخي، الذي يفضي نموّه المستمرّ إلى تحوّل تدريجي في موازين القوى لغير مصلحة إسرائيل والهيمنة الأميركية في منطقتنا.

فيديوات ذات صلة

Warnings of not responding to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhri محاذير عدم الرد على اغتيال محسن فخري زادة

BY Amro Allan

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Writer and political researcher

**Machine translation**

Warnings of not responding to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh

The conclusion that the murder of prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh is the first result of the Three-Way (Israeli) American-Saudi meeting in the Saudi city of Neom is a reasonable conclusion, especially in light of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s description of this crime as a triple (Israeli), American and Saudi plot.

After this crime it became easier to draw a picture of the plan of the Israeli occupation entity for the current period that separates us from the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. It seems that the Zionist entity, in cooperation with the Gulf governments in addition to the Cover of the American administration of Donald Trump, seems determined to direct several effective security strikes to the Islamic Republic and possibly to others in the axis of resistance also during this period. The Zionist enemy aspires to achieve several objectives from these strikes including: 

–      To deliver malicious tactical strikes that could have an effect on Iran’s missile program and civil nuclear program.

–      To complicate the tracks for a possible quick U.S. return to the Iran nuclear deal after Joe Biden’s administration takes office.

–      To undermine Iran’s prestige and to strike harsh moral blows to the Islamic Republic and to the axis of resistance in general, and in return to give a moral boost to the new Zionist entity allies from the Gulf countries.

–      To present tangible security achievements to the new normalization treaties between some of the Gulf countries and the Zionist entity, to be placed in the hands of the Joe Biden administration as a leverage against the axis of resistance in the event of new talks with the Islamic Republic on the Iran nuclear deal in the future. As CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh says “For Biden’s team, Netanyahu is likely a problem to be solved rather than an ally, and this killing suggests in that likely fractious relationship with the new US President that Israel can do useful and aggressive things for the White House. It does not hinder Biden being the good cop, when the bad cop has just shown it can kill one of Iran’s most precious human resources in the secure suburbs of Tehran.”

The last point on the above list is perhaps the most serious of the objectives of the assassination, which forces the Iranian leadership to respond in an appropriate and deterring manner. If the Islamic Republic of Iran shy away from responding to this crime that could send damaging signals that the Islamic Republic is ready to return to the nuclear agreement at all costs, and that the emerging alliance between the Zionist entity and The Gulf countries under Donald Trump is an active alliance on which the United States can rely, and that it can carry out tactical operations that disturb the balances between the axis of resistance and the Zionist-American camp, imposing new facts on which the United States can build on their regional policies.

We do not believe that these calculations are absent from the minds of the leaders of the axis of resistance, and this axis has operational capabilities and tactics on the ground enables it to carry out an equal and deterring response to the assassination of Fakhri Zadeh, in a way that prevents the modification of existing balances or may even improve them in the axis of resistance favor, and in a way that avoids being drawn into open war at the time imposed by the enemy.

محاذير عدم الرد على اغتيال محسن فخري زادة

عمرو علان

كاتب وباحث سياسي

 صحيفة رأي اليوم

يعد الاستنتاج القائل بأن جريمة اغتيال العالم الفيزيائي الإيراني البارز محسن فخري زادة هي أول نتائج الاجتماع الثلاثي (الإسرائيلي) الأمريكي السعودي في مدينة نيوم السعودية استنتاجاً معقولاً، سيما في ضوء وصف الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران هذه الجريمة بالمؤامرة الثلاثية (الإسرائيلية – الأمريكية – السعودية)، وبعد وقوع هذه الجريمة بات من الأسهل رسم تصور عن مخطط كيان الاحتلال الإسرائيلي للفترة الراهنة التي تفصلنا عن تنصيب الرئيس الأمريكي المنتخب جو بايدن، فيبدو أن الكيان الصهيوني، وبالتعاون مع حلفائه من المتصهينين من حكومات الخليج بالإضافة إلى غطاء أمريكي من إدارة دونالد ترامب، يبدو أنه عازم على توجيه عدة ضربات أمنية مؤثرة للجمهورية الإسلامية وربما إلى جهات أخرى في محور المقاومة أيضاً في هذه الفترة، ويطمح العدو الصهيوني إلى تحقيق عدة أهداف من هذه الضربات منها: 

–         توجيه ضربات تكتيكية مؤذية يكون لها أثار على البرنامجين الصاروخي والنووي الإيرانيين.

–         تعقيد المسارات أمام عودة أمريكية سريعة محتملة إلى الاتفاق النووي الإيراني بعد تسلم إدارة جو بايدن مقاليد الحكم.

–         المساس بالهيبة الإيرانية وتوجيه ضربات معنوية قاسية للجمهورية الإسلامية وإلى محور المقاومة عموماً، وفي المقابل إعطاء دفعة معنوية للحكومات المتصهينة في الخليج.

–         تقديم إنجازات أمنية وميدانية عملية لاتفاقات التطبيع الأخيرة بين الكيان الصهيوني والحكومات المتصهينة في الخليج، ليتم وضعها بين يدي إدارة جو بايدن كأوراق ضغط تُعدِّل في التوازنات ضد مصلحة محور المقاومة في حال دخول إدارة جو بايدن في محادثات جديدة مع الجمهورية الإسلامية حول الاتفاق النووي الإيراني مستقبلاً، وفي هذا الشأن كان نِك واليش محلل قناة (سي أن أن) الأمريكية للشؤون الأمنية قد قال أنه برغم العلاقة المرجح أن تكون مضطربة بين بنجامين نتنياهو والرئيس الأمريكي الجديد، يشير هذا الاغتيال إلى أن (إسرائيل) يمكنها القيام بخطوات عنيفة ومفيدة للبيت الأبيض، وهذه الخطوات لا تمنع بايدن من لعب دور الشرطي الرحيم في الوقت الذي يُظهِر فيه الشرطي العنيف قدرته على قتل أحد أهم القدرات البشرية الإيرانية في أحد ضواحي طهران الأكثر تأميناً.

وربما تعد هذه النقطة الأخيرة الأخطر من بين أهداف جريمة الاغتيال التي تفرض على القيادة الإيرانية الرد بطريقة مناسبة ورادعة، فعزوف الجمهورية الإسلامية عن الرد على هذه الجريمة يبعث بإشارات مضرة مفادها أن الجمهورية الإسلامية مستعدة للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي بأي ثمن، وأن الحلف الناشئ بين الكيان الصهيوني وبين المتصهينين العرب برعاية دونالد ترامب هو حلف فاعل يمكن للأمريكي الاعتماد عليه، وأنه يمكنه القيام بعمليات تكتيكية تخل بالتوازنات القائمة بين محور المقاومة وبين المعسكر الصهيوأمريكي، مما يفرض وقائع جديدة يمكن أن يبنى عليها في السياسة.

لا نعتقد أن هذه الحسابات غائبة عن ذهن قيادات محور المقاومة، ولدى هذا المحور من القدرات العملانية والتكتيكات الميدانية ما يمكّنه من القيام برد متكافئ ورادع على جريمة اغتيال فخري زادة، بشكل يمنع تعديل التوازنات القائمة أو ربما يحسّنها لصالحه، وبطريقة تتفادى الانجرار إلى حرب مفتوحة في التوقيت الذي يفرضُه عليه العدو.

**Machine translation**

Warnings of not responding to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh

The conclusion that the murder of prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh is the first result of the Three-Way (Israeli) American-Saudi meeting in the Saudi city of Neom is a reasonable conclusion, especially in light of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s description of this crime as a triple (Israeli), American and Saudi plot.

After this crime it became easier to draw a picture of the plan of the Israeli occupation entity for the current period that separates us from the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. It seems that the Zionist entity, in cooperation with the Gulf governments in addition to the Cover of the American administration of Donald Trump, seems determined to direct several effective security strikes to the Islamic Republic and possibly to others in the axis of resistance also during this period. The Zionist enemy aspires to achieve several objectives from these strikes including: 

–      To deliver malicious tactical strikes that could have an effect on Iran’s missile program and civil nuclear program.

–      To complicate the tracks for a possible quick U.S. return to the Iran nuclear deal after Joe Biden’s administration takes office.

–      To undermine Iran’s prestige and to strike harsh moral blows to the Islamic Republic and to the axis of resistance in general, and in return to give a moral boost to the new Zionist entity allies from the Gulf countries.

–      To present tangible security achievements to the new normalization treaties between some of the Gulf countries and the Zionist entity, to be placed in the hands of the Joe Biden administration as a leverage against the axis of resistance in the event of new talks with the Islamic Republic on the Iran nuclear deal in the future. As CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh says “For Biden’s team, Netanyahu is likely a problem to be solved rather than an ally, and this killing suggests in that likely fractious relationship with the new US President that Israel can do useful and aggressive things for the White House. It does not hinder Biden being the good cop, when the bad cop has just shown it can kill one of Iran’s most precious human resources in the secure suburbs of Tehran.”

The last point on the above list is perhaps the most serious of the objectives of the assassination, which forces the Iranian leadership to respond in an appropriate and deterring manner. If the Islamic Republic of Iran shy away from responding to this crime that could send damaging signals that the Islamic Republic is ready to return to the nuclear agreement at all costs, and that the emerging alliance between the Zionist entity and The Gulf countries under Donald Trump is an active alliance on which the United States can rely, and that it can carry out tactical operations that disturb the balances between the axis of resistance and the Zionist-American camp, imposing new facts on which the United States can build on their regional policies.

We do not believe that these calculations are absent from the minds of the leaders of the axis of resistance, and this axis has operational capabilities and tactics on the ground enables it to carry out an equal and deterring response to the assassination of Fakhri Zadeh, in a way that prevents the modification of existing balances or may even improve them in the axis of resistance favor, and in a way that avoids being drawn into open war at the time imposed by the enemy.

Amro Allan

Writer and political researcher

فيديوات مرتبطة

Trump is Speeding Up the Creation of an Anti-Iranian Power Bloc

By Vladimir Platov
Source: New Eastern Outlook

In preparation for Joe Biden administration’s possible arrival entering the White House, Donald Trump took additional steps to complete the creation of a regional power bloc with the leading role of Israel and Saudi Arabia under full US control to complicate Biden’s actions in building a new policy in the Middle East. Undoubtedly, the urgency was motivated by leaked information that Joe Biden and his advisers have allegedly already prepared a future nuclear deal with Iran and intend to revise Trump’s previously promoted solution to the Middle East crisis based mainly on Israel.

With these goals in mind, and also given Riyadh’s previous refusal to establish diplomatic relations with Israel on the instructions of Washington, the way the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain did, preparation was arranged to encourage  with these two Middle Eastern countries pivotal for the US in the region to converge under the auspices of the Trump administration. At the same time, Israel’s fears were actively used in possibly adjusting Joe Biden’s attitude towards the Jewish state’s stance regarding the Palestinian issue and the development of annexed Arab territories. The same goes for the concerns of several Saudi families, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about Biden’s toughening of repression due to the “Khashoggi case”, since the President-elect called Saudi Arabia during the election campaign “an outcast” and promised that he would obstruct the Kingdom’s military campaign in Yemen.

Under these conditions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by Yossi Cohen, current Director of Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel, made a secret visit to Saudi Arabia on November 22, where “under the supervision of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo” he met with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Netanyahu and Cohen flew to Saudi Arabia on businessman Ehud Angel’s private jet. The Israeli prime minister had previously used this jet for his secret visit to Oman to prepare the “Abraham Agreement”, which became the basis for the future of the Middle East according to Trump’s patterns, and a number of his other secret trips around the world.

Referring to this meeting, Mike Pompeo, without disclosing the details, indicated in his Twitter account that he had a “constructive” meeting with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The latter was heavily forced into negotiations with Netanyahu.

According to Kan, Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation, the talks focused on Iran and the new US administration, led by Joe Biden, but no significant agreements have allegedly been reached yet. The Israeli media outlets do not hide that the main reason for the meeting was the consolidation of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the current US administration against Joe Biden’s restoration of Iran’s nuclear deal. They further recognize that Netanyahu’s meeting with bin Salman “brought countries one step closer to establishing official diplomatic relations even before the end of Donald Trump’s term in office.”

The Guardian draws attention to the particular importance of the meeting, emphasizing that it is “an infrequent meeting at a high level between longtime opponents.”

By mutual agreement, the parties agreed not to make the visit public. They behaved cautiously in Riyadh, especially since the Crown Prince’s line regarding rapprochement with Israel does not entirely coincide with his father and family’s line. Earlier, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud warned that the kingdom is ready to establish Israel’s relations in full only after a Palestinian-Israeli peace treaty. Simultaneously, based on Crown Prince bin Salman’s decision to go to such a meeting with Israeli officials, a correction of Riyadh’s position began to be seen. If earlier Saudi Arabia and all Sunni states unambiguously held a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli position, now new conditions have been created to force Palestinians to agree to the peace process and negotiate with Israel. One definite confirmation of this concept can be, in particular, the recent return to their jobs of the ambassadors of Palestine who were recalled from the UAE and Bahrain after these countries established official relations with Israel.

There are no official statements from the Trump administration yet in avoiding a wave of protest for such actions preventing the White House’s future owner from pursuing an independent policy in the Middle East.

In this regard, it is clear that it is not yet in Riyadh’s interests to make its contacts with the Israelis public, unlike Benjamin Netanyahu. The latter needs bonuses on the internal platform. This meeting was leaked only in Israel, clearly showing Netanyahu’s supporter’s desire, due to recent intensified protests against the Israeli prime minister’s corruption policy, to “boast of his merits” hoping that the steps he has taken will bring the day closer when Tel -Aviv and Riyadh officially establish diplomatic relations. At the same time, the Israeli media are actively promoting the thesis that this secret visit only means the continuation of Israel’s policy of expanding the circle of participants in the Abraham Agreements, which is actively supported by Donald Trump. “This is not an action against Biden. It is about expanding the bloc of Israel-friendly countries in the Middle East. But the emerging pro-American bloc becomes anti-Iranian by definition. Of course, if Biden intends to change the course of the US in the region drastically, it will now be more difficult for him to do so,” said Zvi Magen, the former deputy head of Nativ.

On the night after the said meeting, several Iranian-backed Houthis missiles flew into Saudi Arabia from Yemen. Some social network sources note that the missile strike occurred 5 hours after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, which didn’t exclude negotiations that could have been held on Israel’s use of Saudi airspace for an airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities at Natanz and Khondab. A particular reason for such fears could be a message, which appeared in Israel Defense, that the United States Central Command (CENTCOM, its area of responsibility in the Middle East) announced transferring a squadron of F-16 fighters from Germany to the United Arab Emirates to contain aggression and ensure security and stability in CENTCOM’s area of responsibility.

Iranians: The people the West are allowed to assassinate

November 30, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri and crossposted with PressTV

(Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections.
He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV
and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a
daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported
from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and
lsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored
Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin
Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.)

The recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh – and the total silence regarding any sanctions on those who illegally played judge, jury, invader and executioner – reminds us how very unique Iranians are: Iranians are the people whom Westerners feel they are legitimately allowed to assassinate.

The citizens of which other country get so shamefully and shockingly assassinated by Westerners with such regularity in the 21st century?

We can’t compare the assassinations of Iranians with allegations (which did arise amid a once in a half-century Russophobia campaign in the West) that Russia poisoned a convicted double agent inside the United Kingdom. Not only did Western countries issue actual condemnations, unlike with the illegal murder of Fakhrizadeh, but they even expelled over 150 Russian diplomats.

The largest point to make clear is regarding why Iranians get this extraordinary (inhumane) treatment. It’s important for journalists to answer the short-term question of, “Why Fakhrizadeh?”, but we must also answer the long-term question of “Why Iran?”

The reality is that the average Westerners doesn’t even know how they got to this point. The Iranian hostage crisis was long ago, Israel is the belligerent one which keeps invading (and losing), the US is the belligerent one which keeps invading (and losing) – the refusal to allow Iran to defend itself is something which the average Westerner mostly doesn’t agree with and which they definitely cannot explain. That is to say: the reason is political – but Westerners are atrocious politicians, atrociously cynical about politics and atrociously misinformed about politics and socioeconomics due to their ever-more obvious censorship, propaganda and self-censorship.

There are several answers to “Why Iran?” Firstly, Iranians are an “expendable” people:

For a few centuries Westerners have regarded Iranians (as well as many others) as people who own things of value (natural resources), but who can produce nothing of value. Value is derived from supporting not just Westernism, but a Westernism which is totally unleavened – Westerners might say “contaminated” – with any non-Western ideas. Those who work for systems which do not conform to Western desires – no matter how great the democratic legitimacy of these systems -can be assassinated at will, in Western eyes. This is why the killing of a Qasem Soleimani or Fakhrizadeh does not merit consequences, unlike the assassination of a French general or a Japanese scientist.

Secondly, Iranians are a “ignorable” people:

Even though Iranians are so very expendable, they must also be ignored in the 21st century. The problem is: Iran keeps attracting well-wishers and like-minded people. Iran has allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon due to centuries-old cultural ties, but Iran also has allies in places like China and Venezuela precisely because Iran can talk about more than just religion.

Lastly, because Iranians refuse to be expendable and because they do things which are worthy of meritorious recognition, Iranians are thus an “assassinatable” people:

Iranians are assassinated because they show to the Muslim world and beyond that resistance to Western imperialism is not only possible, but that it produces far, far greater domestic success than continuing to ape Western nations.

Iran is not so special – they are merely the last one standing. Israel assassinated Egyptian and Iraqi nuclear scientists in the 1960s and 1970s, but these two countries either decided to collaborate with Israel or were too culturally divided to resist invasion by Israel’s ally and/or master. Iran is extraordinary in the 2020 context because they have rejected cooperation with Western imperialism, something which is always obscured by Western leftists and their fake-leftist media, and – history since 1917 proves – this means the West must assassinate you.

The West became a superpower by violence, not by merit, persuasion or mutually-beneficial cooperation, of course.

As long as Iran keeps earning meritorious recognition, assassinations (acts of war) will continue

This theory of Iran as the “assassinatable people” does not include the recent lie of Al-Qaeda’s #2 being assassinated in Tehran. This allegedly occurred in August but was not reported by The New York Times until just two weeks before the murder of Fakhrizadeh. Obviously, this was false propaganda designed to pave the way for the acceptance of brutally assassinating more Iranians, like Fakhrizadeh, in the minds of Westerners. It is guilt by association, no matter the historical record and the anti-terror fighting facts on the ground.

We must remember that so very much Western fake news is designed not to sway the world, nor logical people, but to plant false consciousness in their own citizens. Many Americans were shocked at the totalitarian brutality in the assassination of Soleimani – many Americans even publicly protested in Soleimani’s favor, something unthinkable in the 1980s or after 9/11. Considering how absurd it is – that Iran would peacefully host the #2 of the group which Soleimani and Iran fought for so very long (and The Times even admitted this contradiction in its (anonymous, as always) “scoop), the alleged death in Iran of that seemingly endless funeral procession of “Al-Qaeda #2s” should be disregarded. This is how 21st century Western propaganda works – it has no real political motivation/indoctrination, but only a motivation of furthering belligerent attitudes: it is designed to fuel panic and suspicion among Western citizens, which then grants their militaries approval for more war.

Israel is being blamed for the murder of Fakhrizadeh, but of course the US had to approve it. However, an Iranian reprisal against Israel or the US would definitely not trigger a large-scale war, for two obvious reasons: Iran does not want one, and because the West has absolutely zero chance of defeating Iran in a large-scale war. The proof of this truth is that Iran retaliated by firing on American forces occupying Iraqi soil after the murder of Soleimani, and there was no war with the US. The US simply lied about the damage, precisely because there is no way Western forces could hold a fraction of Iranian territory that they can in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What a major, immediate Iranian retaliation would achieve would only be to give fuel for decades of Western propaganda that Iran is a belligerent nation, even though Iran is clearly this exceptional victim of exceptional belligerence. But this false narrative is being domestically exposed in the West with each assassination.

The reality is that Fakhrizadeh’s death is something which must ultimately be bitterly swallowed by Iranians, because I doubt that Fakhrizadeh himself would want the country to go to war over his own assassination. Just as the “next man up” doctrine was successfully applied after Soleimani, so it will be applied for the martyr Fakhrizadeh, which is precisely why this physics teacher taught – for the good of the community, not the good of the individual. That’s a rather anti-Western notion, but a very successful one: Despite having just 80 million people Iran is regularly among the top 5 nations in the world in producing total STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) graduates, thanks to selfless humanists and patriots like Fakhrizadeh.

That staggering achievement of modestly-sized Iran will go totally unexplained in the West, of course, and such wilful ignorance can only but continue to neuter the West’s understanding of Iran. There is no invasion of Iran possible, and there is no stopping the nation’s nuclear energy project – there is only the West’s attempted implosion of Iran’s meritorious and successful culture, which would then result in the posting of US troops in Iran.

The assassination of Fakhrizadeh is designed to inflame tensions and entrap Iran into war – this plan will not work, yet again. It’s being said that the murder is a way by Israel to “salt the earth” and prevent a restoration of the JCPOA, but it’s clear the West views Iranians as exceptional from other humans on earth: Iranians should believe that people can be assassinated on their streets without a word of condemnation, but also that Europeans are on the cusp of doing fair business with Iranians in Iran?

Maybe Joe Biden will actually win the US election, and maybe he has also had a change of heart and truly does not want to support foreign interventions and invasions after so many decades of doing precisely that? But what’s known for certain is that many Westerners only want war, and not with just Iran.

Iran is actually just like Palestine – totally assassinatable by Israel and other Westerners. But while they can take Palestinians’ land they cannot take Iranian culture and intelligence – the teaching of physics, as well as anti-imperialist thought, continues in Iran.

العالم النوويّ الإيرانيّ…. والردّ؟

جريمة اغتيال

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

لا يحتاج الباحث لوقت أو جهد كبير للقول وهو متيقّن أنّ «إسرائيل» أقدمت على اغتيال العالم الفيزيائي النووي الشهيد محسن فخري زادة في داخل إيران، فـ «إسرائيل» في استراتيجيتها تعتمد قتل أعلام العدو في كلّ المجالات لتمنع عدوها من الاستفادة من طاقاتهم القيادية أو العلمية أو أيّ طاقات أخرى وفي أيّ مجال في سياق عملها باستراتيجية «حرمان العدو من مصادر القوة»، و«إسرائيل» تظهر وبشكل يومي انّ المشروع النووي الإيراني يقضّ مضاجعها، لأنها كما تروّج وتخشى من تطور هذا المشروع الى درجة الوصول الى تصنيع القنبلة النووية وعندها تسقط طمأنينة «إسرائيل» الى وضع التفوّق العسكري في المنطقة، التفوّق الذي يعطيها الاطمئنان الى استمرارية الوجود كما تزعم، ولأجل ذلك تقود «إسرائيل» الحرب الشعواء على هذا البرنامج وتحشد كلّ من تستطيع الوصول اليه ضده، ولأجل ذلك وقف نتنياهو قبل سنتين مهدّداً علانية إيران ومشيراً الى عالمها النووي زادة قائلاً «احفظوا هذا الاسم» في أوقح عملية تهديد تمارس على الهواء مباشرة.

فـ «إسرائيل» قتلت العالم زادة، هذه حقيقة واقعة، وفرضت السؤال على إيران والعالم أيّة تداعيات ستكون لهذه الجريمة وكيف ستردّ إيران، خاصة أنّ المنطقة والعالم يمرّان في مرحلة حساسة ودقيقة في ظلّ ما يمكن تسميته متغيرات انتقال السلطة في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وتحوّلات العلاقات بين «إسرائيل» وبعض الدول العربية في سياق ما يُسمّى «التطبيع» الذي انطلق قطاره بدفع أميركي ترامبي، فضلاً عن تعقيدات المشهد الميداني في أكثر من منطقة في الشرق الأوسط وجواره بدءاً من لبيبا الى اليمن وسورية والعراق الخ…

لكن قبل مناقشة ما تقدّم لا بدّ من الإشارة الى مسألة الاغتيال بذاتها والإجابة على سؤال حول نجاح المعتدي في تنفيذ جريمته ونقول لا شكّ في أنّ هذه الجريمة تشكل خرقاً أمنياً كبيراً استلزم قدرات استخباريّة واحترافاً عالي المستوى لا تملكه إلا الدول المحترفة لعمليات «إرهاب الدولة «، وان الفاعل اكتشف ثغرة ما في المنظومة الأمنيّة الداخليّة في إيران فاستغلها واستطاع ان ينفد منها ما مكنه من النجاح في تنفيذ خطته الاجرامية، وبالمناسبة نقول لا يوجد نظام أمني في العالم يمكن أن تصل درجة الإحكام فيه الى المستوى المطلق بنسبة 100%، فمهما جهد المسؤول وعمل للوصول الى الإحكام المطلق يبقى هناك شيء، صغيراً كان أو كبيراً، يمنعه من تحقيق النجاح المطلق في الإحكام. واليوم سيكون على إيران البحث في الثغرة أو الثغرات التي نفذ منها العدو لمعالجتها بالقدر الأعلى لمنع تكرار ما حصل.

ونعود إلى مسألة التداعيات والردّ على الجريمة، ونقول إنّ مَن أمر بعملية الاغتيال ونفذها أيّ «إسرائيل» وفريق ترامب طبعاً، أراد وضع إيران في وضع من اثنين فإما ان تتقبّل الضربة وتبتلعها منتظرة بايدن لتعالج معه الملف النووي ولا تردّ هنا حتى لا تتدحرج الأمور الى حرب شاملة تجبر أميركا على التدخل ويكون التدمير الواسع لإيران ولمحور المقاومة، أو أن تردّ إيران أولاً ويتبعها محور المقاومة ما يستدرج أميركا الى الردّ وخلط الأوراق وصياغة المسرح والمشهد الميدانيّ بشكل يقطع الطريق على بايدن ويمنعه من تنفيذ خطته في إعادة إحياء التوقيع الأميركي على الاتفاق النووي الإيراني مع ما يوجبه من رفع العقوبات على إيران. أيّ أنّ «إسرائيل» في خطتها تجد الربح في الوضعين؛ فهي رابحة إنْ لم يحصل الردّ لأنها تكون جنت مكسباً بلا مقابل وأفلتت من العقاب، أو تكون افشلت خطة بايدن قبل أن ينطلق في تنفيذها. فهل هذه هي الحقيقة الحصرية؟

لا نعتقد أنّ مصلحة إيران ومعها مَن تبقى من محور المقاومة وبكلّ مكوّناته، لا أعتقد انّ مصلحتهم ان يحبسوا أنفسهم أسرى الحرب الشاملة وإعادة التوقيع الأميركي على الاتفاق النووي، خاصة أنهم يعلمون أنّ العدو شرس ووقح وفاجر لا يتورّع عن استغلال أيّ جزئية وهن في مواقفهم اذ يفسّرها فوراً بأنها ضعف او تردّد وخوف فيقدم على التصعيد في العدوان، ثم من قال إن بايدن الآتي باسم الديمقراطيّين الى الحكم هو حمامة سلام ستتصرّف بعيداً عن إملاءات الدولة العميقة، ومن يضمن ان يحدث بايدن انقلاباً حقيقياً في السياسة الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط، وهل ننسى أنّ بايدن كان نائب الرئيس الديمقراطي أوباما الذي أشعل نار الحريق العربي المسمّى تزويراً بأنه «ربيع عربي»؟ أو انّ الديمقراطيين هم مَن دمّروا لبيبا ومنعوا إعادة تشكل دولتها حتى الآن، أو انّ بايدن هو صاحب مشروع التقسيم للسيطرة المباشرة على الجزء انْ لم تتمكن اميركا من السيطرة على الكلّ لأنّ المبدأ لديه «ان اميركا وحدها يجب ان تقود العالم؟».

يجب أن يتعامل محور المقاومة مع هذه الحقائق والوقائع وقد كان مهماً جداً وفي موقعه في الزمان والظروف كلام السيد على الخامنئي مرشد الثورة الإسلامية في إيران، عندما قال «جرّبنا مسار التفاوض لرفع العقوبات ولم نحصل على نتيجة ترضي، وعلينا أن نجرّب مساراً آخر»، وكان مهماً أيضاً قرار مجلس النواب الإيراني المتخذ بعد اغتيال الشهيد زادة، والذي أكد فيه على الحكومة وفي مهلة 3 أشهر السعي الى رفع العقوبات او التنصّل من التزاماتها في الاتفاق النووي بما في ذلك رفع مستوى التخصيب الى 20% ووقف التعاون مع وكالة الطاقة الذرية الدولية وعدم استقبال مفتشيها في طهران خاصة أنّ الجزء الأكبر من هؤلاء هم جواسيس لأميركا ويظنّ انهم أسهموا بطريقة أو بأخرى في عملية الإعداد لاغتيال الشهيد زادة.

على ضوء ذلك نقول إنّ الردّ على جريمة الاغتيال ينبغي أن يكون حتمياً من أجل منع إرساء «سياسة الإفلات من العقاب» ما سيشجّع «إسرائيل» على المضيّ قدماً في اعتماد الاغتيال وسيلة أساسية في الصراع، فالردّ يجب أن يكون حتمياً وموجعاً من أجل حماية مَن تبقى من علماء ومن أجل الانتقام والثأر لدم الشهيد. كما يجب أن يكون الردّ من أجل ترميم او معالجة الندوب التي أحدثها الاغتيال في صورة او هيبة الأمن الإيراني، ولذلك يجب أن يكون الردّ من طبيعة مركبة في بعض جزئياتها شيء من طبيعة الاغتيال ذاته لتفهم «إسرائيل» انّ في بنيتها الأمنية ثغرات أيضاً يمكن النفاد منها.

أما الحذر وإعداد الحسابات للحرب الشاملة فإننا نميل الى القول بانّ أحداً من معسكر أعداء إيران ومحور المقاومة جاهز للحرب الشاملة، وهم يهوّلون بها في إطار حرب نفسيّة، لكنهم لا يجرؤون عليها، لانّ أيّ حرب مقبلة ستكون خلافاً لسابقاتها، ستكون حرباً لا متماثلة ولا يقوى معسكر العدوان على مجاراة معسكر المقاومة بها، لذلك نظنّ بانه مهما بلغت قسوة الردّ على «إسرائيل» عقاباً لها على جريمتها فإنّ الأمور ستبقى تحت السيطرة ولن تنزلق الى حرب شاملة، لأنّ العدو يعرف انّ الحرب الشاملة ليست في مصلحته.

ونختم بالقول إنّ الردّ الحتمي الآتي ينبغي أن يكون من القوة والتأثير بحيث يعزز معادلة الردّ الاستراتيجي الفاعل الذي يحمي محور المقاومة وجوداً ودوراً ومصالح، ردّ يقوم على أركان ثلاثة: الركن الداخلي وفيه تحسين أداء المنظومة الأمنية الإيرانية وسدّ الثغرات فيها، وسياسي لوضع المجتمع الدولي أمام مسؤولياته حيال دولة مارقة تمارس «إرهاب الدولة»، وعسكري أمني تختار إيران زمانه ومكانه ليأتي موجعاً لـ «إسرائيل» يمنعها عن التكرار.

أستاذ جامعي – باحث استراتيجي.

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اغتيال «إسرائيل» للعلماء النوويّين الإيرانيّين ليس مفاجأة… فأين الحماية!

د. عدنان منصور

منذ أن بدأ البرنامج النووي الإيراني يتطوّر بسرعة مع إعادة انتخاب أحمدي نجاد لولاية ثانية عام 2010، وارتفاع عدد أجهزة الطرد المركزي الى آلاف عدة، بعد أن كان العدد يقتصر على أجهزة قليلة، وبعد أن امتلكت إيران المعرفة العلمية لدورة الوقود النووي بالكامل، رفعت نسبة تخصيب اليورانيوم في أجهزة الطرد المركزي من 3,5 بالمئة إلى 20 في المئة. هذه النسبة أثارت حفيظة واشنطن وتل أبيب والاتحاد الأوروبي، متهمين إيران بسعيها لامتلاك سلاح نووي.

أمام هذا الواقع، بات العلماء الإيرانيون العاملون في البرنامج النووي، هدفاً لعمليات اغتيالات واسعة النطاق، مدروسة ومركزة، قامت بها الأجهزة «الإسرائيلية»، بالتنسيق مع أجهزة مخابرات أجنبية وعملاء محليين، طالت المؤسسة الأمنية الإيرانية بالصميم، ووضعت على لائحة الاغتيالات، حياة عشرات العلماء الإيرانيين العاملين في البرنامج النووي الإيراني.

في 12 كانون الثاني 2010 اغتيل أستاذ الفيزياء النووية في جامعة طهران مسعود محمدي، بانفجار دراجة نارية مفخخة في شمال طهران، حيث وُضعت الدراجة بالقرب من سيارته، وتمّ تفجيرها عن بُعد أثناء وجود محمدي داخلها. ألقي القبض على الفاعل وهو ماجد جمالي فاشي، الذي اعترف بعد التحقيق معه بأنّ العملية تمّت بموجب أوامر صدرت من «الموساد» وتحت إشرافه، وبعد أن كانت «إسرائيل» تقوم بحملة شرسة لعرقلة برنامج إيران النووي، من خلال هجمات إلكترونية على منشأة نطنز وبو شهر وغيرها من المواقع النووية الإيرانية.

فاشي الذي اعترف بتلقيه مبلغاً كبيراً من المال لتنفيذ سلسلة عمليات هجومية، مستعيناً بعملاء الموساد في الداخل الإيراني، جرى تدريبه في أذربيجان، وتزويده بالتعليمات اللازمة حول عمليات الاستطلاع وكيفية تنفيذ عمليات الاغتيالات وهو على متن دراجة نارية.

كانت العمليات الإرهابية التي استهدفت علماء وشخصيات مرتبطة بالبرنامج النووي الإيراني، ترمي الى إحباط العلماء الإيرانيين، وزرع الخوف في نفوسهم، وحملهم على عدم الانخراط في البرنامج النووي الإيراني. أما ماجد جمالي فاشي فقد نفذ به حكم الإعدام في شهر آذار 2010.

تواصلت في ما بعد عمليات الاغتيال للعلماء الإيرانيين الذين عملوا لصالح مركز بحوث الفيرياء، حيث كان «الموساد» يريد الوصول الى المسؤول الأول في المركز، وهو العالم محسن فخري زاده الذي اغتيل أمس.

في20 تشرين الثاني 2010، وبينما كان العالمان النوويان فريدون عباسي دافاني ومجيد شهرياري يتوجهان الى عملهما، قام إرهابيون مقنّعون على دراجات نارية بالانطلاق بعمليتين منفصلتين نحو سيارة كلّ من العالمين، بإلصاق قنبلة في أسفل كلّ سيارة. أحسّ عباسي بخبطة سمعها في أسفل السيارة، فغادرها على الفور مع زوجته، وما هي إلا لحظات لتنفجر السيارة، ويُصاب عباسي وزوجته بجراح، أما مجيد شهرياري فقد لقي حتفه في الانفجار. فريدون عباسي أصبح في ما بعد نائباً لرئيس الجمهورية، ورئيساً لهيئة الطاقة الذرية، وأشرف على توسيع البرنامج النووي في إنتاج الوقود في المواقع الذرية الإيرانية.

في 23 تموز 2011، نفذ مسلحون يستقلون دراجة نارية، عملية اغتيال العالم النووي داريوش رضائي نجاد، بإطلاق خمس رصاصات عليه أمام منزله في طهران أصابت منه مقتلاً.

في 11 كانون الثاني 2012، ألصق عملاء قنبلة مغناطيسية في سيارة العالم النووي مصطفى أحمدي روشن، وفي 3 كانون الثاني 2015، أعلنت السلطات الإيرانية عن إحباطها لعملية اغتيال كانت تستهدف عالماً نووياً آخر.

آخر سلسلة عمليات الاغتيالات، جاءت أمس لتطال العالم محسن فخري زاده، وهو الذي كان هدف «إسرائيل» الأول منذ عشر سنوات. لكن السؤال الذي يُطرح: ما هي الإجراءات التي تتخذ في حماية علماء، هم النخبة في البرنامج النووي الإيراني؟! هؤلاء العلماء ليسوا كغيرهم من الأفراد، إذ يجب أن تتوفر الحماية الأمنية لهم على مدار الساعة. فحمايتهم هي حماية للأمن القومي الإيراني، ولا يمكن بأيّ حال من الأحوال تبرير ما حصل. فالعدو الإسرائيلي ومعه عملاؤه في الداخل والخارج يرصدون العلماء النوويين الإيرانيين للاقتصاص منهم في ايّ وقت، حيث يعرف المسؤولون الإيرانيون جيداً هذا الأمر. لكن المسؤولية في نهاية الأمر على مَن تقع؟! المسؤولية تقع على مَن يجب أن يوفر الحماية الكاملة لهم، من دون التفريط لحظة بحياتهم، وجعلهم هدفاً سهلاً للوصول إليهم وتصفيتهم.

مستقبل إيران ومنعتها وقوّتها وصمودها بعلمائها. لذلك على القيادة الأمنية الإيرانية ان تضع حداً لموجة الاغتيالات، واتخاذ الإجراءات الصارمة الكفيلة في الحفاظ على حياة أفراد هذه النخبة من العلماء، أسوة بما تفعله الدول التي تحمي سلامة علمائها وأدمغة نخبها.

هؤلاء العلماء هم أساس نهضة إيران وتطوّرها العلمي، والعسكري، والاقتصادي، والمعرفي، والتكنولوجي، لذلك لا يمكن التفريط بهم أو التهاون مع ما تقترفه دولة العدوان «الإسرائيلية»، مع عملائها في منظمة «مجاهدي خلق» الإرهابية ضدّ أمن إيران وعلمائها.

انّ اغتيال محسن زاده يزيد من حدة المواجهة مع «إسرائيل» وحلفائها، ويشرع الأبواب على رياح ساخنة يريدها العدو، عله يستدرج طهران الى مواقع خطرة تصبّ في صالحه.

صحيح أنّ الضربة مؤلمة لإيران وأمنها القومي، وللعلماء النوويين الإيرانيين، من تلامذة وزملاء الشهيد محسن زاده، إلا أنّ ذلك لن يحبط عزيمة إيران للاستمرار في رسالتها ونهجها وبرنامجها، بل سيدفعها لتكون أكثر عزماً وصلابة للتصدي للعدو والاقتصاص منه العدو في الوقت المناسب.

*وزير الخارجية الأسبق.

Assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist sparks a blame game in Tehran

Killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh prompts accusations of lax security and incompetence

Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (right) during a meeting with the Iranian supreme leader in Tehran (AFP)

By Rohollah Faghihi in Tehran

Published date: 28 November 2020 15:54 UTC

It was around 4:30pm in Tehran that reports emerged about the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top nuclear scientist, by an armed group suspected of links to Israel.

Fakhrizadeh, who wasn’t a publicly well-known figure, was a physics professor at University of Imam Hussein, the defence minister’s deputy and the head of the Research and Innovation Organisation for the ministry.

His death has been seen in some quarters as linked to the victory of Joe Biden in the US presidential elections. Biden has promised to return America to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which has alarmed Israel and pro-Israel politicians in the US.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former Iranian official told MEE: “It is obvious that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is striving to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand, he wants to create an excuse for a US-led attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, and on the other hand he wants to put an unremovable obstacle in the way of Iran-US de-escalation and Biden’s rejoining the [nuclear deal].

“The obstacle will be at least raising pressures on [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani’s administration by the emboldened hardliners and the establishment to decrease the level of cooperation with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and not to adopt a new posture towards the future administration of the US for detente.”

How was he assassinated?

According to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-affiliated Tasnim news agency, the attack occurred at 2:30pm, while Fakhrizadeh was in Aabsard county, close to Tehran. As his car was passing a pick-up truck, the truck exploded and a group of armed men opened fire on him, leading to his bodyguard being shot four times.

However, Fars, another IRGC-affiliated news agency, published a slightly different and likely more accurate account of the incident. At first, Fakhrizadeh’s car and two cars of his bodyguards were stopped as a group of men started constant shooting, and then a pick-up truck full of timber exploded in front of the car.

“After the explosion, the terrorists who had ambushed [them] began shooting at the car of the nuclear scientist from an unclear point,” reported Fars, adding that one of the bodyguards put his car in front of the gunmen to protect Fakhrizadeh, leading to his “martyrdom”.

Fakhrizadeh was soon taken to hospital, but his wounds proved fatal.

Iran’s state TV said that “based on unconfirmed reports,” one of the gunmen had been captured.

‘Remember that name’

According to General Amir Hatami, Iran’s defence minister, Fakhrizadeh was “in charge in the field of nuclear defence in the Ministry of Defence, and the issue of nuclear defence and his [ties] with nuclear scientists had made him famous as a [nuclear scientist]”.

He added that the use of “lasers in air defence or the detection of intruding aircraft by means other than radar” was also among his work. Fakhrizadeh, who was called “Mr Mohseni,” was also active in missile programmes too.

Hatami said a rapid Covid-19 test kit was produced under the supervision of Fakhrizadeh and claimed he was also successful in developing a coronavirus vaccine, which is in the first phase of human trials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a presentation about Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a presentation about Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (AFP)

While relatively little known within Iran, Fakhrizadeh had gained a reputation in foreign intelligence circles.

In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Iran has designed a nuclear payload on Shahab 3 missiles and was expanding its range for nuclear-capable missiles that could reach Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Moscow but were planning for a much further reach. He identified Fakhrizadeh as the head of the project and told his audience to “remember that name”.

In an interview with Kan TV in 2018, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert also warned that Fakhrizadeh would “have no immunity”.

Prior to this, in 2017, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya covered a summit of the exiled Mojehedin e-Khalq (MEK), a controversial opposition group once on the US terrorism list, at which the organisation claimed Fakhrizadeh was behind Iran’s project for producing a nuclear weapon.

Fereidoun Abbasi, an Iranian MP, said that Fakhrizadeh had survived a similar attack 12 years ago.

In recent years, five other top nuclear scientists have been assassinated in Iran. The latest assassination happened only a few days ahead of the anniversary of the killing of nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari in 2010.

Criticisms of Iran’s security apparatus reaches its peak

While many in Iran believe that Israel was behind the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, on social media many Iranians slammed the security apparatus for its failure to protect their country’s nuclear scientists.

Some complained that the intelligence forces were wasting their time arresting innocent journalists and researchers while the real spies are wandering freely in Tehran.

“I’m more angry with the security apparatus, which is arresting university professors, lawyers and journalists while the wolves are committing assassination in broad daylight,” wrote Sharare Dehshiri, an Iranian user, on Twitter.

Another user under the name of “elsolito” tweeted: “The intelligence organisations must answer to the public about what are they doing exactly? What happened to all your claims of having intelligence monitoring?

“When you are searching for spies among environment activists, journalists and protesters, the result is today’s catastrophe, when the country’s [top people] get assassinated in the heart of the country in the broad daylight.”

Meanwhile, retired General Hossein Alai, a reform-minded figure and former commander of  the IRGC Naval force, called for a reassessment of the performance of the security apparatus.

“We should [study] what weakness there is in the structure of Iran’s security apparatus, which despite the possibility of assassinating people like Fakhrizadeh and providing bodyguards for them, the Israeli operation still succeeds,” argued Alai.

He emphasised that “the assassination of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by Israel indicates that the Israeli spy and operational circle is still active in Iran”.

Simultaneously, Hesam Ashena, a senior adviser to Iran’s president and a former top intelligence official, called for an “Integrated Intelligence and Security Command” and “synergy of abilities instead of low-yield competitions [between intelligence agencies of Iran]”.

Hardliners point at President Rouhani

Iran’s hardliners have accused President Hassan Rouhani of complicity in Fakhrizadeh’s death after his administration allowed Yukiya Amano, a former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to meet the slain scientist.

Javad Karimi Ghoddousi, an Iranian MP, tweeted: “Mr Rouhani, during your presidency over the executive branch, and with the insistence of the enemy and the emphasis of you, Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh met with Amano.”

However, Raja News, close to hardliners, denied the allegation brought up by Karimi Ghoddousi. Hassan Shojaie, another MP, claimed that Fakhrizadeh was asked by “pro-western” officials in Iran to meet Amano but the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, did not allow it.

In a report published on the hardline Mashregh News site in 2014, the IAEA had urged Iran to provide them a meeting with Fakhrizadeh.

Impeding diplomacy

“The reason for assassinating Fakhrizadeh wasn’t to impede Iran’s war potential, it was to impede diplomacy,” tweeted Mark Fitzpatrick, a former senior US diplomat.

That seems to be working to some extent, as the hardliners have already raised pressure on the Iranian government. Hamid Rasai, a hardline activist and former MP, wrote that Rouhani’s administration was putting pressure on Iran’s state TV not to call Fakhrizadeh a nuclear scientist, as they see this assassination a “blow” to their “negotiation project” with US President-elect Joe Biden.

Moreover, Raja News argued that “it is not clear why the pro-West [administration of Rouhani] which is serving their last months, is still emphasising … the failed strategy of compromise”.

“What is clear is that the current strategy of the government has portrayed Iran as weak [in front of] enemies and have persuaded them to commit crimes against people of Iran.”

Iran is due to hold a presidential election next June. 

In the meantime, reformists and conservative newspapers have both called for retaliation.

Headlines used by Iran’s newspapers include: “Eye for an eye,” “If don’t hit them, we will get hit,” “Trap of tension,” and “The cowardly assassination of Fakhrizadeh”.

Prominent reformist and former political prisoner Mostafa Tajzade tweeted: “I unconditionally condemn the assassination of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Netanyahu is the first person accused in this crime and seemingly he has no goal other than lighting the fire of war and conflict and preserving the sanctions. Iran can and must expose and isolate the Israeli regime by mobilising global public opinion against state terrorism.”

What will Iran do?

In reaction to Fakhrizadeh’s assassination, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a statement calling for investigation of “this crime” and firm prosecution of “its perpetrators and its commanders”.

The statement contained no vow of revenge, however, suggesting “strategic patience” was still the plan.

Hossein Kanaani-Moghaddam, a former IRGC commander who headed Iran’s forces in Lebanon for period in the 1980s, told MEE: “Iran’s reaction to this act of terrorism will be shown based on prudence and in the right time and place.”

He added: “Iran will not be influenced and affected by Zionists and will not fall in the trap of Zionists who want Iran to do something that would create a war.

Kanaani-Moghaddam emphasised: “Iran will take revenge from those who ordered this assassination in intelligence organizations of Israel and US.”

Meanwhile, Fereidoun Majlesi, a former Iranian diplomat in the US before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, believes that Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump’s joint efforts to prevent a de-escalation between Tehran and the incoming Biden administration will continue.

“It is crystal clear that Israel was behind this assassination as they seek to provoke Iran to give them an excuse for military attack or a full-scale war before the end of Trump’s presidency,” added Majlesi.

However, it seems Iran will continue its “restraint” policy, as Ali Rabie, the spokesperson for Iranian government, has stated that Iran will avenge the assassination, but “not in the game field the [enemy] has designated”.

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ثلاثيّ «صفقة القرن» يقرع طبول الحرب… فما الممكن؟ وما المتوقع؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

رغم المكابرة يبدو أنّ دونالد ترامب سيجد نفسه ملزماً في 20 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2021 بالخروج من البيت الأبيض بعد أن خذلته صناديق الاقتراع. وبذلك يكون ظنّه قد خاب وخسر التجديد، أما الخيبة الأكبر والشعور بالخسارة الأعظم فقد كان من نصيب الضلعين الآخرين معه في مثلث «صفقة القرن» أيّ نتنياهو ومحمد بن سلمان اللذين عملا معه في تلك الجريمة التي بات واضحاّ أنّ أهدافها تتعدّى تثبيت «إسرائيل» بشكل نهائيّ على كامل أرض فلسطين التاريخيّة مع بعض جزر تعطى للفلسطينيّين ظرفيّاً لتذويبها لاحقاً بالكيان العنصري اليهودي، تتعدّى ذلك الى تهويد المنطقة بكاملها وإخراج كلّ من يرفض الاستسلام لـ «إسرائيل» منها، وما القرار الذي اتخذته الإمارات العربية بعد استسلامها لـ «إسرائيل» في إطار ما سُمّي «تطبيع» وفتح أبوابها لليهود من دون تأشيرة دخول، مترافقاً مع منع دخول مواطني 13 دولة عربية وإسلامية إليها إلا أول الغيث وصورة نموذجيّة لما سيكون عليه وجه المنطقة إذا نجح الثالوث غير المقدّس في فرض «صفقة القرن» نموذج يقول فيه الصهاينة وعملاؤهم «لا يدخل علينا شريف يرفض الاستسلام لإسرائيل».

بيد أنّ خسارة ترامب جعلت الثالوث يقلق على «صفقة القرن» هذه، قلق يفاقمه الظنّ بأنّ جو بايدن سيراجع معظم سياسات ترامب في المنطقة ويصحّح ما أفسده، وفي طليعة ذلك الملف النووي الإيراني، ما سيُعقد من أوضاع ضلعَي الصفقة ويثير خشيتهما من المستقبل. لذلك وكما يبدو اتجهت أفكار المثلث الشيطانيّة الى إنتاج واقع في المنطقة ينشر ظلاله على جو بايدن الرئيس الجديد ويلقي بثقله عليه ويمنعه من نقض ما حبكه ترامب، ولأجل ذلك يخطط الثالوث لحرب على إيران بخاصة وعلى محور المقاومة عامة تكون على وجه من اثنين أولهما أن تهاجم أميركا المنشآت النووية الإيرانية بشكل تدميري وتردّ إيران عليها وتندلع الحرب، والثاني أن تبدأ بهجوم «إسرائيلي» على إيران فتستدرج رداً من المقاومة على «إسرائيل» فتتدخل أميركا لحمايتها وفي الحالين سيرسم مشهد ميداني يصبح الحديث معه عن مفاوضات حول إحياء التوقيع الأميركي على الاتفاق النووي الإيراني مع الدول 5+1 حديث من غير مضمون ولا فائدة فيفرض ترامب بذلك قراره على بايدن بعد أن يكون قد خرج من البيت الأبيض.

إنه التخطيط للعمل العسكري ضدّ محور المقاومة إذن، تخطيط وإعداد نفذ في سياقه حتى الآن أكثر من عمل وأتمّ أكثر من سلوك بدءاً بإعادة الانتشار الأميركي في أفغانستان والعراق (حول إيران) مروراً بتحرك بعض قطع الأسطول البحري الأميركي في الخليج وإبعادها عن متناول الصواريخ الإيرانية، ثم نشر طائرات B-52 القاذفات الاستراتيجية الأميركية في قواعد جوية في الشرق الأوسط، وما أعقبها من اجتماع ثلاثي في «نيوم» السعودية بمشاركة بومبيو ونتنياهو ومحمد بن سلمان، وصولاً الى التعميم العسكري «الإسرائيلي» الصادر عن وزير حرب العدو والموجّه الى جيشه يأمره فيه بالاستعداد لمواجهة ظرف تقوم فيه أميركا بقصف إيران قريباً.

إنّ تحليلاً لكلّ ما تقدّم من معطيات يحمل المقدّر العسكري والاستراتيجي الى وضع احتمال شنّ حرب من قبل المثلث العدواني ذاك كأمر لا بدّ من وضعه في الحساب، ولكن لا يمكن اعتباره الاحتمال الممكن الوحيد لأكثر من اعتبار. ويجب الوقوف على الوجه الآخر من الصورة ربطاً بقدرات الطرف الذي سيُعتدى عليه وعلى إمكاناته وعلى اتقاء الضربة وإفشالها أولاً وعلى قدرته على الردّ وقلب مسار الأحداث عكس رغبات المعتدين.

وفي هذا السياق نتوقف عند مواقف وأحداث لا يمكن تجاوزها في معرض تقدير الموقف هذا، أوّلها كلام السيد علي الخامنئي منذ أيام لجهة قوله بأنّ إيران «جرّبت المفاوضات من أجل رفع العقوبات ووقف التدابير الكيديّة، لكنها لم تحصل على نتيجة وبات عليها ان تجرّب غيرها»، وأضاف «رغم أنّ الحلّ الآخر سيكون مؤلماً في البدء إلا أنه سيأتي بنتائج سعيدة»، كلام ترافق مع القصف اليمنيّ لمحطات «أرامكو» لتوزيع المحروقات قرب جدة، وهو قصف له دلالات استراتيجيّة وسياسية وعسكرية كبرى في مكانه وزمانه غداة الاجتماع الثلاثيّ التحضيريّ للحرب وعلى بعد بضع عشرات الكيلومترات من جدة، ثم إعادة الانتشار التركيّ وتنظيم مسرح العمليات في الشمال والشمال الغربي السوري حول إدلب، بما قد يُنبئ بقرب عمل عسكري قريب في المنطقة، وأخيراً ما يتمّ تسريبه من رفع درجة جهوزيّة المقاومة في لبنان وبكلّ أسلحتها استعداداً لأيّ طارئ ومن أيّ نوع.

على ضوء ما تقدّم نقول انّ مثلث العدوان قد يذهب الى الحرب، لكن محور المقاومة ليس في الوضع الذي يخشى من هذه الحرب، صحيح أنه لا يسعى إليها لكنه لا يخشاها، لا يخشاها بذاتها كما لا يخشى تداعياتها، فإذا تسبّبت الحرب بإقفال باب التفاوض ومنعت العودة إلى إحياء التوقيع الأميركي على الملف النووي الإيراني، فلن تكون المسألة بالنسبة لإيران نهاية الكون، وإذا تسبّبت الحرب بتدمير منشآت إيرانية فإنها ستؤدي حتماً الى تدمير الكثير في «إسرائيل» والسعودية وستؤدي حتماً الى إفساد فرحة «إسرائيل» مما تحقق حتى الآن من «صفقة القرن» وعمليات التطبيع.

نعم الحرب ستكون مؤلمة، كما يشير السيد الخامنئي، أو كما يوحي كلامه ضمناً وستكون طويلة أيضاً، لكن نتائجها ستكون سعيدة وستغيّر الكثير مما نخشاه ويقلقنا في المنطقة.

نقول بهذا من دون أن نتصوّر لحظة انّ «إسرائيل» لا تدرك كلّ ذلك، أو أنّ الدولة العميقة في أميركا لا تحيط به علماً، فإذا كانت رعونة المثلث العدواني قد تدفعه الى الحرب فإنّ مصالح الكيان الصهيوني والدولة الأميركية ستضغط لمنعها، والسؤال لمن ستكون الغلبة للمتهوّر أم للمتوازن؟

احتمال تقدّم المتهوّر في تهوّره لا يمكن نفيه رغم نسبته الضئيلة التي لا تتعدّى الـ 15%، أما احتمال تقدّم المتوازن فهي الأرجح، وهنا قد يتقدّم التصرف العسكري المحدود المتمثل ببنك أهداف أمنية أو عسكرية يستهدفها ترامب قبل رحيله بعد أن يكون قد قبض الثمن الباهظ مقابلها من السعودية، وهنا سيكون بنك الأهداف عبارة عن قيادات هامة تستهدف بالاغتيال على غرار عملية اغتيال الشهيد قاسم سليماني، كما تشمل مراكز عسكرية عملانية لفصائل المقاومة والحشد الشعبي في العراق وسورية، عمليات تتناغم وتنفذ بالموازاة مع ما يجري الآن من إحياء وتنشيط لخلايا داعش في موجة إرهاب جديدة تضرب العراق وسورية برعاية أميركية…

*أستاذ جامعي – باحث استراتيجي.

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.

Biden and the Middle East: Misplaced optimism

Khalil al-Anani

25 November 2020

The Arab region in general will not rank high on the list of foreign priorities for the incoming US president

US president-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on 19 November (AFP)

There has been a state of optimism in the Arab world since the announcement of Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s win in the US presidential election.

Even if the optimism is justified, especially in light of the disasters and political tragedies that the Arab region has witnessed and lived through over the past four years under President Donald Trump, this optimism is somewhat exaggerated. Some believe that the region under Biden will witness radical changes, breaking with Trump’s negative legacy – but I don’t think that will happen.

We need to dismantle the various issues that Biden is expected to engage with over the next four years in order to understand whether the situation will remain as it is, or undergo radical change. 

During the Biden era, the Arab region in general is not expected to rank high on the list of US foreign priorities. There are many reasons for this, including Biden’s vision, which does not stray far from the view of former US President Barack Obama on global issues and international conflicts, with Asia and the Pacific given priority over all other matters. 

The US relationship with China is an important file for any US administration, whether Republican or Democratic. As the rise of China represents an economic and security threat to the US, the Obama administration moved its foreign-policy compass towards China and the Pacific region. For Biden, China will continue to represent a top priority. 

The issue has become even more urgent in the wake of Trump’s more hostile policies towards China over the past four years. Observers will be watching as to whether Biden can put an end to what the average US citizen sees as Chinese encroachment and hegemony in global markets, at US expense. Some saw Trump’s China policies as a historic victory, due to the imposition of tariffs on US imports from China. 

The importance of accountability for China might be one of the few issues that has consensus among Americans of all orientations, but there are differences in how the issue is approached and handled. While Republicans, especially under Trump, use the confrontational method through the well-known strategy of “maximum pressure”, the Democrats prefer dialogue and cooperation with Beijing.

Iran, Israel and Arab authoritarians

In the Arab region, the three issues expected to dominate Biden’s agenda are the US relationships with Iran, Israel and the authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

We may witness an important shift in US policy towards Iran, especially on the nuclear file and Trump-era sanctions, which resulted in unprecedented levels of pressure on Tehran since the unilateral US withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018.

It is expected that Biden will bring the US back to the nuclear deal, but with new conditions – unless the Trump administration, in alliance with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, launches military strikes, as Trump has reportedly contemplated.

Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem in 2010 (Reuters)
Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem in 2010 (Reuters)

As for the US-Israel relationship, and in particular the issue of a two-state solution and normalisation with Arab countries, we can expect the status quo to continue. Despite Biden’s embrace of the two-state solution and rejection of Israeli attempts to impose a fait accompli on Palestinians, Biden is not expected to prevent Israel from annexing parts of the occupied West Bank.

US pressure on more Arab countries to normalise with Israel, as Trump pushed with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, may diminish. But this does not mean the Biden administration would impede any such normalisation. On the contrary, Biden welcomed the Gulf normalisation deals with Israel.

The issue of Israel’s security and qualitative superiority is a subject of agreement among Republicans and Democrats alike; none can imagine this changing under the Biden administration.

Condemnation without action

As for the US relationship with Arab authoritarian regimes, particularly with respect to support for human rights and democracy, while Biden may not support human rights violations – especially in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – he is not expected to exert great pressure on these countries if the violations continue.

A Biden administration, for example, would not likely cut off military aid to Egypt, or halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia or the UAE as an objection to the Yemen war or their miserable record on issues of democracy and human rights – despite Biden’s pledge to the contrary during his election campaign. 

Statements and condemnations may be issued from time to time, but it is unlikely that they will translate into real policies and actions. While Biden will not consider someone like Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi his “favourite dictator”, as Trump did, he will not likely sever the relationship or punish Sisi seriously for his flagrant violations of human rights in Egypt.

Perhaps optimists in the Arab world should be wary of getting too hopeful about the incoming Biden administration and the potential for regional change. If it is true that the number of bad guys around the world will decrease due to Trump’s departure from power, this does not necessarily mean that the good guys will make a comeback with Biden coming to power.

Khalil al-AnaniKhalil al-Anani is a Senior Fellow at the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies in Washington DC. He is also an associate professor of political science at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. You can follow him on Twitter: @Khalilalanani.

JCPOA-phobia! ‘Israelis’, Saudis ‘Express Views’ on US Return to Iran Nuclear Deal

JCPOA-phobia! ‘Israelis’, Saudis ‘Express Views’ on US Return to Iran Nuclear Deal

By Staff

In yet another futile joint attempt to hurdle the growing Iranian might in defense and science, ‘Israeli’ and Saudi efforts met once again, this time to fight the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

With rumors that the upcoming US administration of President-elect Joe Biden will rejoin the Iran nuclear deal that was signed in 2015 with the P5+1 world powers, Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that “There must be no return to the previous nuclear agreement.”

Claiming that there is a “military” aspect to Tehran’s nuclear energy program, Netanyahu added: “We must stick to an uncompromising policy to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.”

Hebrew media outlets, meanwhile, said Netanyahu’s remarks were clearly addressed at Biden, who has signaled to return to the nuclear accord.

Many inside the Zionist occupation entity believe Netanyahu’s policy of playing hardball against Iran is a tactic to deflect attention from his current political problems as he is facing probe over several corruption cases and frequent protests which have drawn people in tens of thousands taking to the streets to also denounce his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Nations Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said on Sunday that the incoming US administration is not “unexperienced enough” to return to the JCPOA

He then called for negotiations for a new deal with the Islamic Republic involving his country.

Al-Mouallimi dismissed the idea that the United States would re-enter the nuclear deal with Iran under Biden’s administration.

He said nobody would be “naive enough” to go back to a deal that has “proven its failure to the entire world.”

Speaking during an appearance on Fox News’ ‘America’s News HQ’, al-Mouallimi said he did not believe Biden’s administration would pivot from the Gulf states back to Iran and the nuclear deal.

“No, I think that the Iran nuclear deal has proven its failure to the entire world. And I don’t think that anybody is going to be naive enough to go back to the same deal,” he claimed.

“If there is a new deal in which Saudi Arabia is involved in the discussion and which covers the shortcomings of the previous deal … then we will be all for it.”

Relatively, Iran’s nuclear program has been subject to the most intensive inspections ever in the world, and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] has repeatedly verified the peaceful nature of the activities.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic has clearly distanced itself from pursuing non-conventional weapons, citing religious and humanitarian beliefs. According to a fatwa issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, acquisition of nuclear weapons is haram or forbidden in Islam.

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