هزيمة نتنياهو في الانتخابات مرجّحة إذا صوّت الناخبون العرب والروس ضدّه؟

سبتمبر 16, 2019

د. عصام نعمان

حكمان ينتظرهما بنيامين نتنياهو: حكم الرأي العام في الانتخابات المقرّرة في 17/9/2019، وحكم القضاء في قضايا اتهامه وزوجته بالرشوة والإحتيال وخيانة الامانة. أيٌّ من هذين الحكمين كفيل بالقضاء عليه سياسياً. لذا يسعى بلا كلل لتفادي حكم الرأي العام بحجب الثقة عن حزبه وحلفائه في الانتخابات لأنّ بقاءه في رئاسة الحكومة يساعده على تفادي حكم قضائي بإيداعه السجن.

استماتته للبقاء على قيد الحياة سياسياً قادته إلى القيام بعدّة أعمال وأنشطة كان أبرزها مقابلة الرئيس الروسي في منتجع سوتشي على البحر الأسود بعدما انتظره ثلاث ساعات في غرفة جانبيه ! بوتين لم يتردّد في تفسير سبب مسارعة نتنياهو الى مقابلته قبل أربعة أيام من موعد الانتخابات بقوله إن لا أقلّ من 1,5 مليون شخص يتحدّرون من الاتحاد السوفياتي السابق يعيشون وينتخبون في «إسرائيلـ«.

نتنياهو طامع بنيل حصة وافرة من أصوات الناخبين الروس. هل بإمكان بوتين حملهم على التصويت له ولحلفائه؟ وإذا كان في وسعه ذلك، ما الثمن الذي سيقدّمه له نتنياهو في المقابل؟

الحقيقة أنّ ثمة خصماً قوياً ينافس نتنياهو على أصوات هؤلاء وعلى أصوات سواهم. إنه زعيم حزب «إسرائيل بيتنا» أفيغدور ليبرمان الذي يتحدّر هو الآخر من جمهورية مولدوفا التي كانت أيضاً ضمن الاتحاد السوفياتي. ليبرمان كان المسؤول الرئيس عن تفشيل جهود نتنياهو لبناء ائتلاف حكومي بعد الانتخابات الأخيرة، وهو يسعى الآن الى تحقيق الغاية نفسها بالتركيز على الناخبين الروس الإسرائيليين الذين يتعاطف معظمهم مع دعوة ليبرمان الى إلغاء امتيازاتٍ يحظى بها الحريديم اليهود المتشدّدون حلفاء نتنياهو أبرزها إعفاؤهم من الخدمة العسكرية الإلزامية المفروضة على سائر مستوطني الكيان الصهيوني.

لم يتضح بعد المقابل الذي تقاضاه بوتين لقاء استقباله رئيس حكومةٍ قد لا يفوز في الانتخابات بعد أيام معدودة. بعض المراقبين يرجّح أن يكون المقابل وعداً من نتنياهو بألا يضرب جيشه ما يعتبره قواعد لإيران في سورية موجودة على مقربة من قاعدة بحرية لروسيا في طرطوس وأخرى جوية في مطار حميميم بالقرب من اللاذقية. الدليل؟ تصريح نتنياهو بعد المقابلة بأنّ الاتصالات مع بوتين «سمحت بتفادي حصول ايّ احتكاك او تصادم بين عسكريينا».

غير انّ ثمة فئة أخرى من الناخبين تُقلق نتنياهو أكثر من موقف الناخبين الروس. إنها أكثرية الناخبين العرب الذين تمكّن زعماؤهم، بعد اختلافات وتجاذبات شتى، من توحيد أحزابهم في قائمة مشتركة. مؤسّسات استطلاع ومراقبون متعدّدون يقدّرون أنه إذا وصلت نسبة تصويت الناخبين العرب الى 65 في المئة فإنّ تحالف أحزاب اليمين والحريديم الذي يؤيد نتنياهو سيصاب بهزيمة تحول دون احتفاظه برئاسة الحكومة.

نتنياهو حاول ترهيب الناخبين العرب بحمل الحكومة على إقرار مشروع قانون يقضي بنصب كاميرات مراقبة في مراكز الاقتراع خلال الانتخابات. غير انّ معارضة أكثرية الأحزاب الأخرى، وفي مقدّمهم كتلة النواب العرب، أسقطت المشروع في الكنيست.

نتنياهو أدرك حراجة وضعه الانتخابي فاحتاط لردود الفعل السلبية المتوقعة من خصومه الكثر بتنظيم حملة علاقات عامة حملته الى أوكرانيا لمقابلة رئيسها الجديد، وإلى بريطانيا لمقابلة رئيس حكومتها الجديد أيضاً. كلّ ذلك للتأثير في الرأي العام الإسرائيلي وإقناعه بأنه رجل دولة على مستوى عالمي ما يؤدي الى توطيد مكانة «إسرائيلـ« وأمنها.

لم يكتفِ نتنياهو بجولاته الخارجية بل شفع ذلك بإطلاق تصريحات من شأنها التأثير في إدارة ترامب من جهة واجتذاب المتطرفين، وما أكثرهم بين الإسرائيليين، من جهة أخرى. فما ان شعر بأنّ ترامب بدأ يتجاوب مع الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون في سعيه الى جمعه مع الرئيس الإيراني الشيخ حسن روحاني حتى قام بعقد مؤتمر صحافي أعلن فيه انّ «إسرائيلـ« عثرت على منشآت إضافية جرى استخدمها في المشروع النووي الإيراني، داعياً المجتمع الدولي إلى الانضمام الى الولايات المتحدة و«إسرائيلـ« في مواجهة إيران.

المفارقة انه بعد ساعات معدودات من تصريح نتنياهو قام ترامب بالإعلان عن استعداده للإجتماع الى روحاني، بل هو ذهب الى أبعد من ذلك بإعلانه إقالة مستشاره للأمن القومي جون بولتون، العنصر الأكثر صقرية في دعم «إسرائيلـ« ومعاداة إيران!

إلى ذلك، قام نتنياهو بعقد مؤتمر صحافي خاص في تل أبيب تعهّد فيه بفرض السيادة الإسرائيلية على منطقة غور الأردن وشمال البحر الميت في حال إعادة انتخابه رئيساً للحكومة.

تعهّدُ نتنياهو هذا أثار ردود فعل متباينة في الحلبة السياسية الإسرائيلية. ففي حين رحّب به مجلس المستوطنات في الضفة الغربية معتبراً خطوته مهمة للغاية، قالت أحزاب المعارضة بقيادة تحالف «أزرق أبيض» إنها ترفض ان يكون غور الأردن جزءاً من دعاية نتنياهو الانتخابية. اما تحالف «المعسكر الديمقراطي» فأكد انّ أيّ عملية أحادية الجانب من شأنها تهديد أمن «إسرائيلـ« ومنع استئناف المفاوضات، وانه من المستغرَب انّ المشتبه فيه بالرشوة والاحتيال وخيانة الأمانة تذكّر خطوة دراماتيكية كهذه قبل أقل من أسبوع من الانتخابات! المحلل السياسي بن كسبيت قال في صحيفة «معاريف» 2019/9/11 اليمينية انّ تعهّد نتنياهو مناورة رخيصة لأنه كان قادراً على ضمّ غور الأردن لكنه اكتفى بإعلانٍ غير مهمّ.

إلى أين من هنا؟

لا مغالاة في القول إنّ مصير نتنياهو السياسي بات رهن وجهة تصويت الناخبين المتحدّرين من أصل روسي كما الناخبين العرب، لا سيما حجم النسبة المئوية لتصويت هؤلاء. صحيح انّ النواب العرب يميلون تقليدياً الى عدم المشاركة في أية حكومة إسرائيلية سواء يمينية او يسارية، لكن دورهم شديد الأهمية لكونهم قادرين على الإسهام في عدم تمكين أيٍّ من التكتلات البرلمانية من تكوين أكثرية في الكنيست تمكّنها من تأليف الحكومة المقبلة.

هل يفعلها الناخبون العرب في 17 ايلول/ سبتمبر؟

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The Saker interviews Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi

August 21, 2019

[this interview was made for the Unz Review]

The Saker interviews Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi

Introduction: 

First, several friends recently suggested that that I should interview Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi; then I read this most interesting text on Moon of Alabama and I decided to ask Professor Marandi to share his views of the current situation in Iran, the Persian Gulf the rest of the Middle-East who very kindly agreed to reply to my question in spite of his most hectic and busy schedule. I am most grateful to Prof. Marandi for his time and replies. Crucially, Prof. Marandi debunks the silly notion that Russia and Israel are allies or working together. He also debunks that other canard about Russia and Iran having some major differences over Syria.

Prof. Marandi, who is currently in Iran, is superbly connected and informed, and I hope that with this interview some of the more outlandish rumors which were recently circulated will finally be seen for what they are: utter, total, nonsense. Enjoy the interview!

The Saker

——-

The Saker: It is often said that there is an “axis of resistance” which comprises Syrian, Hezbollah, Iran, Russia and China. Sometimes, Venezuela, Cuba or the DPRK are added to this list. Do you believe that there is such an “axis of resistance” and, if yes, how would you characterize the nature of this informal alliance? Do you think that this informal alliance can ever grow into a formal political or military alliance or a collective security treaty?

Professor Marandi: I definitely believe there is an Axis of Resistance that currently includes Iran, Syria, Iraq, Gaza Lebanon, parts of Afghanistan, and Yemen. I do not think that we can include the DPRK in any way or form. I believe that Russia could be considered to a certain degree as aligned or affiliated to this resistance, but that this is not something many would feel the need to acknowledge. At certain levels, there is a lot of overlap between Russian and Chinese policy and the policies of the countries and movements in this region that are affiliated to this Axis of Resistance. The same is true with countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba, which I do not consider to be similar to North Korea at all. Just as almost everywhere else, American policy in the Korean Peninsula is ugly, hegemonic and malevolence, but the nature of the DPRK government is fundamentally different from that of Venezuela or Cuba, whether the Americans or Europeans like to acknowledge that or not. Others can interpret the Axis of Resistance to include or exclude certain countries, but it is pretty clear that Iran and Russia have similar policy objectives when it comes to certain key issues. Nevertheless, Russia has a close relationship with the Israeli regime whereas Iran considers it to be an apartheid state, almost identical to that of apartheid South Africa. Or for example the Syrian government position regarding Israel is different from that of Iran’s. The official Syrian position is that the West Bank and Gaza Strip must be returned to the Palestinians, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, and that the occupied Golan Heights have to be handed back to the Syrian people, which are legitimate demands. But the Iranian position is different, Iran firmly believes that Israel is a colonial and apartheid regime and that it is morally unacceptable for it to exist in its present form. Therefore, at least officially, there are substantial differences. So people can interpret the Axis of Resistance in different ways.

It is important to keep in mind that despite Syria, Iran, Turkey and Qatar are also moving closer together partially thanks to US, Saudi, and UAE hostility towards the Muslim Brotherhood. What is important is that there is a growing consensus about key issues in this region and what the major problems are, and I think that as time goes on this loose alliance of countries and movements is growing more influential and more powerful. I cannot say whether there will be a formal or open collective security treaty or military alliance created by any of these countries in the near or foreseeable future and I do not see such a necessity. However, I think this convergence of ideas is very important and I think that the formal and informal links that exist between these countries is in many ways more important and more significant than formal political or military alliances or security treaties.

The Saker: In recent months a number of observers have stated that Russia and Israel are working hand in hand and some have gone as far as to say that Putin is basically a pawn of Netanyahu and that Russia is loyal to Israel and Zionists interests. Do you agree with this point of view? How do Iranian officials view the Russian contacts with the Israelis, does that worry them or do they believe that these contacts can be beneficial for the future of the region?

Professor Marandi: That is nonsense. The US and Israeli regimes are culturally and ideologically bound to one another, whereas the Americans have a deep antipathy towards Russia. That is why the Russians have a very different position on Syria than do the Americans and Israelis.

The Israelis alongside the US, the EU, the Saudis, and some of Syria’s neighboring countries, supported ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other extremist entities and attempted to tear Syria apart.

As explained earlier, the Russian view of Israel is different from Iran. There are many Russian Jewish immigrants in Israel and they constitute a large segment of the colonists in Palestine and they are largely utilized for the further subjugation of the Palestinian people and ethnic cleansing. Generally speaking, Russian interests are in sharp conflict with those of the United States, Israel’s strongest ally. In addition, Russia’s close relationship with Syria dates back to the cold war and the relentless US pressure on China and Russia has also acted as a strong catalyst to quicken their convergence with one another as well as with Iran on key issues. The Chinese and Russians know quite well that the United States, the Europeans, and regional countries have extensively used extremists in Syria to undermine the state and that those forces could later be used to undermine security in Central Asia, Russia, and China. A large number of Russian, Chinese, and Central Asians have been trained to fight in Syria, and this is a major threat to their collective security. The United States could use these and other extremists in an attempt to impede the potential success of the Belt and Road Initiative or other plans for Asian integration. Thus, there is a sharp and growing conflict between the Russians and the Americans.

The Israeli regime constantly tells the Russians and the Chinese that they are the gateway to Washington and that if they maintain strong ties with Israel, the Israelis can help them solve their problems with the United States. I do not think there is much truth to that, because this growing conflict is about the fate of US global dominance and there is nothing the Israelis can do to change that. Nevertheless, this has been used as an incentive for the Russians and the Chinese to maintain better relations with the Israeli regime.

In any case, Russia does not have to maintain identical views with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Iraq, or Yemen. Differences exist, but strong relationships exist nevertheless. All of these countries recognize that if the Americans are able to undermine any of them, whether it is Syria, Iran, Russia, or China, then that would only encourage the United States to be more aggressive towards the remaining countries that impede US foreign policy objectives or exist as potential rivals whether regionally or globally. So even though their political structures are different, even though their foreign policies are different, the similarities that exist are quite striking as well as the common threats. Again, to a large degree this coalition is a result of US and Western foreign policy, which has strong undercurrents of Eurocentricism, tribalism, and racism.

Not only has this pressure brought these countries and movements closer to one another, but it has also created a deeper understanding among them. The Russians understand Iran better today than they did 5 years ago, partially as a result of their cooperation in Syria. This greater understanding enhances the relationship, and helps to dispel many of the misunderstandings or myths that may exist about one another due to Eurocentric narratives and orientalism.

Hence, Iran is not concerned about Russian-Israeli relation. Obviously, in an ideal world Iran would like Russia to break relations with the Israeli regime for its apartheid nature. But reality is reality, and Iranian relations with Russia are very good and at times I am sure the Iranians send certain warnings to the Israelis through the Russians.

The Saker: How is Russia viewed in Iran? Are most Iranian still suspicious of Russia or do they believe that they have a viable and honest partner in Russia? What are the main reservations/concerns of patriotic Iranians when they think of Russia?

Professor Marandi: Historically, the Iranians have had serious problems with the Russians. The Russians and the Soviet Union interfered extensively in Iranian internal affairs and they undermined Iran’s sovereignty. But ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union the image of Russia has changed. Especially since Russia began fighting alongside Iran in Syria in 2015, Russia’s image has improved significantly. When we look at polls, Russia’s image is pretty good compared to Western countries.

Western governments own or fund dozens of Persian language media outlets These outlets, such as VOA and BBC Persian among others, are constantly spouting anti-Russian propaganda. Obviously they have an impact and that couples with historical Iranian concerns about Russia, but despite all that, the Russian image is relatively favorable and that says a lot.

The Saker: How about Turkey? Iran and Turkey have had a complex relationship in the past, yet in the case of the AngloZionist war against Syria, the two states have worked together (and with Russia) – does that mean that Turkey is seen as a viable and honest partner in Iran?

Professor Marandi: Iran’s relationship with the Turkish government is complicated, especially, because of the constant policy changes that have occurred IN TURKEY over the past few years. This has made the government seem unreliable in the eyes of many. Having said that, Turkey is very different from Wahhabi influenced regimes in the Arabian Peninsula. Turkish Islamic tradition has striking similarities with Iran’s Islamic culture and because of its strong Sufi tradition, Turkey is much closer to Iran than it is to, for example,Wahhabi Saudi Arabia.

The global Wahhabi menace has grown as a result of Saudi financial support, as well as the support of other countries in the Persian Gulf region. Turkish society has been more resistant, although ever since the military conflict in Syria and due to extensive funding from the Persian Gulf, there has been growing concern about growing sectarianism in Turkey, not unlike what happened in Pakistan in the 1980s.

Ironically, before the conflict in Syria President Erdogan had a closer personal relationship with President Assad than did the Iranians. They and their families would spend vacations together.

In any case, Turkey has a very strong economic, political, and cultural relationship with Iran, and some of the rising anti-Shia and takfiri sentiments that have been on the rise in Turkey were stunted by the Saudi and Emirati support for the attempted coup in Turkey. Subsequently, their open antagonism towards the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar, their support for the coup in Egypt, their policies in Sudan and Libya, and of course the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, have all had a beneficial impact on Iranian-Turkish relations. As a result, Turkey has grown much more distant from Iran’s regional antagonists, while Turkish support for the Palestinian cause is another element that brings Iran and Turkey closer together. American support for PKK terrorists in Syria has also angered the Turks adding push to Turkish-Iranian convergence. Even Turkish policy towards Syria is evolving, although it is impossible for the government to make a radical change, because of years of attempts at regime change.

The Saker: Next, turning to Iraq, how would you characterize the “balance of influence” of Iran and the USA in Iraq? Should we view the Iraqi government as allied to Iran, allied to the USA or independent? If the Empire attacks Iran, what will happen in Iraq?

Professor Marandi: The relationship between Iraq and Iran is significantly more important than the relationship between Iraq and the United States. Iran and Iraq are allies, but this alliance does not contradict the notion of Iraqi independence. Iraq’s regional policy is not identical to Iran’s. But the two countries have very similar interests, a very close relationship, many Iraqi leaders have spent years in Iran, and the bulk of the Iraqi population lives close to the shared border of over 1,200 km between the two countries. So trade, pilgrimage, and tourism are key to both countries. The religious similarities and the holy sites that exist in Iran and Iraq are a huge incentive for interaction between the two countries. There are many Iraqi students studying in Iran and many Iranian’s working in Iraq. The fact that Iranians made many sacrifices when fighting ISIS in Iraq and many Iraqis were martyred in the war against ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria is a strong indication of where things stand despite US pressure.

The Arba’een pilgrimage that takes place every year where millions of Iranians and Iraqis make the walk towards Karbala, side by side, with tens of thousands of Iraqi and Iranian volunteers helping pilgrims along the way is, I think, a further sign of the close relationship.

While the U.S presence in Iraq continues to be hegemonic, Iran has not sought to prevent Iraq from having normal relationships with other countries. However, the U.S continues to seek control over Iraq through the world’s largest embassy, its military presence, and its influence over the bureaucracy. The United States continues to have much say over how the country’s oil wealth is spent.

Still, despite the US colonial behavior, its continued theft of Iraqi oil wealth, and its thuggish behavior, the Iraqis have been able to assert a great deal of independence. In the long run, this continued US behavior is only going to create further resentment among Iraqis. The empire rarely takes these realities into account, they seek to accumulate influence and wealth through brute force, but in the long term it creates deep-rooted anger and hostility which, at some point, will create great problems for the empire, especially as this anger and unrest is growing across the region, if not across the globe.

It is highly unlikely that the regime in Washington will attack Iran, if it does it will bring about a regional war, which will drive the United States out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Syria. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates would, swiftly collapse and the price of oil and natural gas would go through the roof, leading to a global economic meltdown even as millions of people will be streaming towards Europe.

The Saker: It is often said that Russia and Iran have fundamentally different goals in Syria and that the two countries regularly have tensions flaring up between them because of these disagreements. Is that true?In your opinion, how are Russian and Iranian goals in Syria different?

Professor Marandi: The news that we sometimes hear about serious tensions existing between the Iranians and the Russians in Syria is often nonsense. There are clear reasons for people to exaggerate small incidents or to fabricate them altogether, but the relationship is quite good. Iran does not intend to have any military bases in Syria, whereas the Russians do feel the need to preserve their military presence in Syria through long-term agreements.

But ultimately, Iran would like to help enable Syria to acquire the military capability to retake the occupied Golan Heights. Iran does not intend to initiate any conflict with the Israeli regime inside Palestine. That is not an objective in Lebanon and that is not an objective in Syria. As in Lebanon, where the Iranians supported Hezbollah to restore the country’s sovereignty and to drive out the Israeli aggressors and occupiers, the Iranians have the same agenda in Syria. They want to support the Syrians so that they will be able to restore full sovereignty. I don’t believe the Golan Heights is a priority for the Russians.

The Saker: For a while, Iran let the Russian Aerospace Forces use an Iranian military airfield, then when this became public knowledge, the Russians were asked to leave. I have heard rumors that while the IRGC was in favor of allowing Russian Aerospace Forces to use an Iranian military airfield, the regular armed forces were opposed to this. Is it true that there are such differences between the IRGC and the regular armed forces and do you think that Iran will ever allow the Russian military to have a permanent presence in Iran?

Professor Marandi: That is a myth. The Russians were not asked to leave. There were no differences between the IRGC and any other part of the armed forces. This was a decision made by the Supreme National Security Council and the President and all the major commanders in the military were involved in this decision. Actually, the airbase does not belong to the guards it belongs to the air force and a part of the base was used for Russian strategic bombers that were flying to Syria to bomb the extremists. This cooperation ended when the Russians were able to station adequate numbers of aircraft in Syria, because the flights over Iran were long and expensive, whereas the air campaign launched from bases inside Syria was much less expensive and much more effective. Iran was very open about its relationship with the Russians, and openly permitted the Russians to fire missiles over Iranian airspace. There were those who were opposed to the Russian presence in the Iranian airbase. A small segment of Iranian society that is pro-Western and pro-American complained about it in their media outlets, but they had absolutely no impact on the decision-making process. According to polls, an overwhelming majority of Iranians supported Iran’s activities in Syria, and the Supreme National Security Council was under no pressure to its decision. However, Iran does not plan to allow any country to have permanent bases in the country and that is in accordance with the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The revolution in Iran was about independence, dignity, sovereignty and indigenous values, and the removal of American hegemony over Iran was very much a part of that. The Iranians will not give any basis to foreign powers in future, and neither the Russians nor the Chinese have ever made such requests. There are absolutely no differences regarding Iran’s regional policies between the IRGC and the rest of the military, both were a part of the decision-making process when the Russians were allowed to fire missiles over Iranian territory and both were part of the process in allowing Russian aircraft to use Iranian airspace. The Russian bombers were providing air support for Iranian troops and Iranian affiliated troops on the ground.

The Saker: Both Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah have made repeated statements that the days of the racist ZioApartheid regime in occupied are numbered. Do you agree with their point of view and, if yes, how do you see such a regime change actually happening? Which of the One State solution or a Two State solution do you believe to be more realistic?

Professor Marandi:  I do not believe the two-state solution is possible because the Israeli regime has colonized too much of the West Bank. Actually, through acts of selfishness and petty short-term gain, the regime has damaged itself enormously. As a result of the colonization of the West Bank, even the European elites and diplomats who would privately admit that the Israeli regime pursues apartheid policies and who would always speak of hope for a two-state solution, admit that the two state solution is dead. All Palestinians are treated as sub humans, whether they reside in the West Bank or not. They are a subjugated nation, whether they are Israeli citizens or not. However, there is no longer any hope that those who live in the occupied West Bank will gain freedom, even though we predicted the Israelis would never voluntarily relinquish the West bank. This is the most important challenge that the regime faces in the future. By colonizing the West Bank and despite official western media and government narratives, it is increasingly seen by the international community as the apartheid regime that it is. It is delegitimizing itself in the eyes of larger numbers of people.

In addition to that, it can no longer behave with impunity. The 2006 war in Lebanon where the Israeli armed forces were defeated by Hizbullah was a turning point. Before then, the Israelis had created an image that they were invincible. But now even in Gaza, they are unable to carry out their objectives when they periodically attack the territory and its civilians. The Israelis are now more easily contained especially since the Syrian government has been able to restore order and expel ISIS and al-Qaeda from areas neighboring Israeli forces on the occupied Golan Heights, despite the Israelis supporting the extremists. The Israelis have been contained regionally, at home they are increasingly seen as an apartheid regime. Its regional allies are also on the decline and regionally. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the only countries that can be considered as effective allies and they are facing a potential terminal decline. Therefore, regionally the regime is becoming more isolated. I do not believe that under such circumstances, the Israeli regime can last for very long. Just as the apartheid regime in South Africa collapsed under the burden of its own immoral existence, the Israeli regime will not last. There will be no two-state solution, the only realistic and moral solution is for Palestine to be united and for the indigenous population to have its rights restored, whether they are Palestinians, Jews or Christians or anyone else who is indigenous to the land.

The Saker: Iran is an Islamic Republic. It is also a majority Shia country. Some observers accuse Iran of wanting to export its political model to other countries. What do you make of that accusation? Do Iranian Islamic scholars believe that the Iranian Islamic Republic model can be exported to other countries, including Sunni countries?

Professor Marandi: 9-I do not think that there is any validity to that accusation. Iran has a very excellent relationship with Iraq, but it has not imposed its model on the country. In fact, Iran helped create the current constitution of that country. The same is true for Lebanon and Yemen. Iran is constantly accused by its antagonists, but in the most inconsistent ways. Elsewhere they claim that Iran is afraid of their model being exported because they are fearful of rivals. Iran has always been attacked from all sides often using self-contradictory arguments. On the one hand, the so-called regime is allegedly immensely unpopular, it is corrupt, it is falling apart, and it is incapable of proper governance. Yet on the other hand, Iran is a growing threat to the region and even the world. This is paradoxical, how can Iran be incompetent and collapsing on the one hand, yet a growing threat to the whole world on the other hand? This simply does not make sense. Nevertheless, I have seen no evidence that Iran has tried to impose its model on other countries or on movements that are close to it. If it was not for Iran’s support, ISIS and al-Qaeda would have overthrown Syria with its secular government and secular constitution. Iranians firmly believed that the terrorist forces supported by Western intelligence services as well as regional regimes were the worst case scenario for the Syrian people. Did they impose their model?

The Saker: thank you for all your answers!

In Case you missed it

No, Assad Didn’t “Win” The War, He Was Compelled By Putin To “Compromise”  By ANDREW KORYBKO

Don’t miss the comments

NO MR.ANDREW KORYBKO

YOUR ARTICLE IS MISLEADING. ASSAD WAS THE COUNTRY’S DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED AND LEGITIMATE LEADER IN MARCH 2011, TILL THIS VERY MOMENT.

YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT PUTIN INTERFERED IN 2015, 3 THE SO-CALLED SYRIAN “SPRING”. HE WAS THE TARGET, NOT THE REGIME. IF YOU DON’T KNOW, YOU NEED A DOCTOR

LOOK AT SYRIAN REFUGES IN LEBANON MARCHING THO ELECT ASSAD IN 2014 AT THE SYRIAN EMBASSY.

https://postmediacanadadotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/lebanon-syria-conflict-vote-refugee1.jpg?quality=60&strip=all

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Russian Media’s Under-Discussed Zionization

By Agha Hussain
Source

Is an Israel-centric, Zionist-manufactured propaganda thrust taking place in Russia’s media right now? Would this make sense given the state of Russia’s foreign policy and foreign relations? Are certain propaganda themes with their roots in partisan Zionist politics and a well-documented record of being carried by pro-Israel lobbyists in foreign states being followed by Russian media right now?

A look at recent reporting by premier Russian media, combined with historical context about these themes and how they are tailored to match Israel’s strategic and soft-power objectives reveals realities that may surprise Russian media’s burgeoning community of alternate media admirers.

Russian foreign policy toward Israel and the Middle East: does Zionist propaganda in Russian media fit in?

Given the deep strategic alliance Russia has maintained with Israel both pre and post its September 2015 Syrian intervention, the possibility of a largely Israel-centric propaganda thrust in Russian media is real. As outlined and documented in detail by the author in this 1 January 2019 article, Russia’s ties with Israel involve striving to prop up an unrelentingly aggressive Israel against what are commonly assumed to be Russia’s closest allies such as Iran and Syria. Taking real steps to contain Israel’s rivals (mainly Iran) while doing nothing regarding Israeli aggression, Russia’s pro-Israel bias has become impossible to ignore.

Promoting hatred of Muslims on behalf of Israel: historical context and Russian media’s current conduct

A detailed report on the Council of National Interest (CNI) website’s staffhighlights prominent voices in the Western Islamophobia industry operating as part of a network of pro-Israel interests. CNI, whose Executive Director Philip Giraldi is a prolific writer on the working of the Israel Lobby within the US, pulls no punches in outlining how common themes of modern day Islamophobia (that Muslims are engaged in a secret Islamization of the West and that Israel is victim to radical Muslims and so on) find their origins in individuals who made it big thanks to the Israel Lobby. Names such as Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Frank Gaffney and Rachel Abrams in the Islamophobia industry had more to do with promoting Israel’s supposed utility in ‘containing radical Muslims’ than they did in identifying a ‘Muslim threat’ to the West. They received ample reward from Israel and its lobbyists for their activities.

Decades ago, Norman Podhoretz, editor of the Commentary magazine from the 1960s to 1995 declared that ‘Islamofascism’ posed a deadly risk to the world and required a harsh response from the West. One of the earliest intellectual shapers of the band of Likudnik pro-Israel warhawks that came to dominate policy positions under Reagan and Bush Junior, Podhoretz’s career and work were dedicated to pushing for US militarism that achieved nothing for the US and everything for the Israelis. The fearmongering about a ‘Muslim threat’ was part and parcel of that objective.

Similar trends in the reporting style on Muslim-related events to those in the early 2000s Islamophobia surge can also be spotted in Sputnik and RT’s recent reporting. It is important to keep in mind that RT also shares a chief editor with Sputnik.

A notable theme in the Islamophobia industry was the portrayal of ‘Muslims’ as more or less a large homogenous group with a certain consistent, hostile stance toward the West. Given that it is ludicrous to suggest that ‘Muslims’ are anything remotely resembling a singular, coherent socio-political entity spanning all Muslim-majority states, the objective behind this crass generalization was fairly obvious: consider one Muslim state’s alleged crimes as those of all Muslims. Considering the speed with which the neoconservatives progressed from Iraq war hysteria to anti-Syria and anti-Iran hysteria, the benefit of this generalization paradigm to them and thus Israel’s geopolitics was obvious.

‘Illegal Muslim Migrant Jailed for BRUTALLY murdering His Christianised Wife’ went the title of a 6 April news report by Sputnik. The pointing out of the illegal immigrant status of the killer is relevant, since migrant crimes is a legitimate issue for discussion with socio-economic ramifications. However, the specific pointing out of the Muslim identity betrayed an ulterior motive similar to that behind the framing of the large ‘Muslim’ bogeyman by Zionists in the early 2000s Islamophobia surge discussed above.

Rather than use terminology which specified the source of the migrant crisis (NATO destroying Libya) and nudge the reader toward tracing Western aggression against Libya to its real roots, the usage of the ‘Muslim tag’ instead sought to give credence to the same fraudulent ‘Muslims attacking the West’ narrative spun by Israel Lobby-backed anti-Muslim activists and agitators.

Mentioning the ‘Christianization’ of the killer’s wife also clearly sought to play into the ‘Muslim vs Christian’ theme. The significance of this must not be missed, since portraying Muslims and Christians as each other’s enemies despite obvious religious commonalities (such as reverence of Jesus and Mary) has been a huge part of Zionist psychological warfare and propaganda. The ‘Judeo Christian values’ canard is used by the Zionists to this purpose to assure Christians in the West that it is their ally, not ‘the Muslims’. It also ties into the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ framework pioneered by pro-Israel partisan and Jewish Zionist scholar Bernard Lewis and incorporated fully into the early 2000s Islamophobia campaign.

Also aiming for this effect, clearly, was Sputnik’s 5 April report on a Russian family fleeing Sweden and seeking asylum in Poland due to Swedish authorities taking custody of their daughters. Emphasizing in the title that the family receiving custody of the children was Muslim and Lebanese, the report mentioned that the Russian father had no full employment and thus Swedish social services took his children to the Muslim family several hundreds of kilometres away.

It mentioned the Muslim foster father ‘admitting’ that social services paid for his trip to Poland to appear in the court which eventually granted the Russian family asylum, likely a subtle jab considering the ‘welfare leech’ narrative weaponized against Muslims since the migrant crisis took off. Despite mentioning the Russian father’s inadequate employment status at the start, Sputnik concluded the report by stating that the social services had ‘no specific reason’ for taking his daughters and did not speculate as to his own likely reliance on Swedish welfare for subsistence.

Postings on Jewish ‘victimhood’ related to Israel and Zionism have also begun to surface more gradually in Russian media.

Propagating ‘Jewish victimhood’ to whitewash Israel’s supremacist nature and forced Judaization of Occupied Palestine

A 28 April report by Sputnik following a synagogue shooting in the US described the backstory of a family of a survivor as having ‘fled rockets from Gaza’Another report on 29 April described rising migration from Germany to Israel by Jews due to ‘rising anti-Semitism’. It quoted one Jew as saying she is afraid of ‘Muslim anti-Semitism’ in particular. It also described the harassment of a Jewish girl in Germany embarking upon the Israeli government-sponsored migration to Israel for ‘wearing a T-shirt with the words Israel Defense Forces (IDF)’.

The pointing out of a girl being harassed for idolizing the IDF, which oversees war crimes against Palestinians and enforces Israel’s apartheid, sets in the victim’s seat in this context the Israeli military and Jews. Similarly, the report chooses to ignore that Israel’s subsidization of the migration of anyone in the world belonging to the ‘Jewish race’ (as Israeli authorities verify) to Occupied Palestine is part and parcel of its racial exclusivist policies. The Israeli preference to Jews over non-Jews in terms of property rights, state-provided housing and degree of voting rights as well as the racial colonies (i.e ‘Jewish settlements’) programme across Occupied Palestine was, quite obviously, not explored.

In addition, the report also cited the German right-wing Alternate for Germany (AfD) party as a cause for worry for Jews, leaving out the fact AfD focused on anti-Muslim rhetoric and supported German state attempts to curb ‘anti-Semitism’. Incredulously, Sputnik also declined to mention that the AfD, in fact, adores Israel.

Raising the spectre of ‘rising anti-Semitism’ is part and parcel of Russian media’s pro-Zionist drive. Nothing else but a heavy pro-Zionist tilt would explain media outlets that have occupied the limelight for their ‘alternate media’ status giving momentum to such a heavily fraudulent, Orwellian and mainstream media narrative as the ‘rising anti-Semitism’ canard.

Talk of ‘rising anti-Semitism’ has a long history of being exaggerated to suit ongoing Israeli political agendas such as pushing legislation in the West to criminalize public criticism of it. Countries such as France have already declared anti-Zionism to be anti-Semitism while the US has even appointed a ‘Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism’ at the State Department to counter ‘anti-Semitism’ worldwide.

Zionists in high places in Russian media

The Islamophobia industry in the US as described above took off in the early 2000s as part of a highly coordinated campaign. It coincided with dominant parts of the George W Bush government becoming occupied by the clique Podhoretz and his kind helped form (the neoconservatives).

With the US being railroaded into wars in the Middle East to benefit Israel, the Islamophobia surge fit in perfectly into the broader geopolitical context. Considering Israel’s well-fleshed out objectives in the region the neoconservatives strove toward stay unchanged despite significant setbacks in recent wars and conflicts, and considering the increased reliance of Israel on the Russians to ‘contain’ Iran, the foundations exist for similar media operations to the early 2000s Israel Lobby-led promotion of Islamophobia.

Is Zionist manoeuvring taking place in Russian media right now thus explaining it following traditional Israeli propaganda themes such as ‘evil Muslims’ and ‘Jewish victimhood’?

RT’s Middle East Bureau Chief since 2005 has been the Jewish and Zionist Paula Slier, tasked with covering Libya, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Afghanistan events. Working as a foreign correspondent, anchor and news editor, her profile page on RT states she has been ‘twice been recognized by Russian President Vladimir Putin for her “colossal input into the development of Russian journalism”’.

According to this post by the Jerusalem Post from 2006, Slier was ‘discriminated against’ by the South African Broadcasting Corporation on account of being a Jew and blacklisted in 2004 from being used by the SABC to report on Middle East conflicts. Slier at that time was working as an Israel-based freelancer as well as reporting live from live conflict zones for Russia Today (RT’s old name). As narrated by the Jerusalem Post, she decried the decision by the state-run SABC’s news head to blacklist her on account of ‘assuming’ she was a Zionist simply for being Jewish and deciding she was not an impartial reporter for the SABC, a traditional sympathizer with the Palestinian cause, to use to cover her region of focus.

Articles by Slier such as a fairly recent one from March this year titled ‘Is BDS a real concern for Israel?’ affirm her apologism for Israeli apartheid and belief that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, a popular grassroots activist-led international campaign to boycott Israel owing to its occupation of Palestinian territory, human rights violations and apartheid, ought to be combated since it rallies ‘attempts to de-legitimize Israel’. How a state built after a comprehensive, armed ethnic cleansing campaign of the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine and which has carried out several territorial annexations throughout its history is ‘legitimate’ is not a question one may expect Zionists, whether ‘right-wing’ or ‘left-wing’ ones (tags Slier enjoys using) to ask themselves.

Slier still works out of Tel Aviv, Israel, at RT’s Middle East Bureau’s office building.Slier is also the CEO of Newshound Media, which according to a 15 March post to its Facebook page ‘arranged for’ Israeli Education Minister and Security Cabinet member Naftali Bennet to appear on RT and talk about ongoing hostilities with the Palestinians. This signifies Slier’s own personal connections to the Israeli state and, coupled with her Zionist disposition,  makes her an odd choice to be RT’s main official in the Middle East unless one takes note of Russia’s preference for Israel over the anti-Zionist coalition led by Iran and involving Syria and Hezbollah.

The fact that Russia has long provided a platform for voices which have been strongly critical of Israel and Zionism adds a particularly deceptive angle to the overall tilt of its media. If anything, the recent incorporation of key facets of Zionist propaganda into Russian media reporting hint that not only is Russia extremely close to Israel, but also that ties are intimate enough for Israel to begin to recreate with Russian media what it pulled off spectacularly well in Western media following 9/11.

What Other “Good Services And Mediation” Will Russia Provide To “Israel” & Syria?

By Andrew Korybko
Source

Russia Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova promised that her country “will continue to provide the appropriate good services and mediation in future” between “Israel” and Syria after brokering a deal for the former to release two Syrian inmates in exchange for the remains of “IDF” soldiers that Russian forces dug up in the Arab Republic and which were transferred by none other than President Putin himself to Netanyahu as part of an ultimately successful tactic last month to help the Prime Minister win re-election.

The Public Promise

Russia proverbially let the cat out of the bag this week after Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova promised that her country “will continue to provide the appropriate good services and mediation in future” between long-running enemies “Israel” and Syria. Her acknowledgement of Russia’s pivotal behind-the-scenes diplomatic role in the region comes after it brokered a deal for “Israel” to release two Syrian inmates in exchange for the remains of “IDF” soldiers that Russian forces dug up in the Arab Republic and which were transferred by none other than President Putin himself to Netanyahu as part of an ultimately successful tactic last month to help the Prime Minister win re-election. There’s no doubt that “Putinyahu’s Rusrael” is one of the most powerful players in contemporary Mideast geopolitics, but this “special relationship” is now taking on a qualitatively new significance after Mrs. Zakharova’s public promise.

“Political Incorrectness”

“Israel” and Syria are decades-long enemies and the Arab Republic’s own constitution even proclaims that the state is at “the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth”, which is why it was politically provocative for the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman to say what she did because it proves that her country is providing “good services and mediation” between Damascus and the Zionist entity in spite of the Syrian state’s constitutional mission to fervently confront the occupiers of Palestine. That’s not to say that indirect interactions between the two through Russia aren’t pragmatic and don’t serve any mutually beneficial purpose, but just to point out that this is nevertheless very controversial and that Damascus would have probably preferred for Moscow to have not publicized its activities like it so proudly did the other day.

A “Plausibly Deniable” Punishment?

Given the currently tense state of Russian-Syrian relations nowadays after Russia’s refusal to help its “ally” survive the ongoing fuel crisis, the distinct possibility that it’s setting a strategic trap for it through the Tartus port deal, and President Putin and his Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev both putting words in Syria’s mouth two weeks ago about Idlib and “Israel”, it can’t be ruled out that Mrs. Zakharova’s remark was intended to be a “plausibly deniable” punishment for Syria after Damascus failed to “compromise” with Moscow on the Russian-written “draft constitution” and the issue of initiating the dignified but “phased withdrawal” of Iranian forces from the country. After all, there’s nothing more embarrassing for Syria than Russia bragging to the world that it’s mediating between it and “Israel” and then describing these efforts as “good services” because it makes one wonder what other possible deals Moscow is attempting to broker between the two other than the prisoners-for-corpses one that was recently clinched.

Towards The “Deal Of The Century”

Realistically speaking, there’s a credible chance that it might have to do with Iran’s military presence in the country, specifically in the southwest near the occupied Golan Heights. There’s been a conspicuous halt in “Israeli” bombings these past few months that certainly has nothing to do with the S-300 “status symbols”. Rather, it’s much more likely that this is caused by Syria refusing to allow Iran to violate the buffer zone that Russia carved out 140 kilometers beyond the occupied region at “Israel’s” behest, which is a de-facto step towards tacitly recognizing its territory as “Israeli” per what might be one of the secret provisions of Trump’s forthcoming “Deal of the Century” that Russia might have promised to fulfill as a prerequisite for negotiating a so-called “New Detente” with its Great Power rival. Recognizing this very realistic possibility doesn’t mean that Russia will succeed in its pursuit, but just that this is likely what Mrs. Zakharova meant when she promised that her country “will continue to provide the appropriate good services and mediation in future” between “Israel” and Syria.

التدخل الروسيّ للإفراج عن أسرى سوريين

أبريل 30, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– لسنا بصدد النقاش حول حدود القدرة التفاوضية الروسية مع كيان الاحتلال في الضغط للإفراج عن أسرى سوريّين وفلسطينيين، طالما قاموا بتسليم بقايا جندي السلطان يعقوب. فقد قلنا ما يجب قوله في العملية في حينها، وما نحن بصدده هو مناقشة العلاقات الروسية السورية التي وجد البعض في عملية تسليم بقايا جندي السلطان يعقوب فرصة للانقضاض عليها ونعيها، وتوزيع مواعظ النصح حول عقم الرهان على صواب هذه العلاقة، وصولاً للقول إن روسيا تبيع حلفاءها من العرب كرمى لعيون نتنياهو، وأنها خاضعة للوبيات الصهيونية ولا تستطيع رد طلباتها.

– الأكيد أن موسكو التقطت ردود الأفعال التي أعقبت العملية، خصوصاً الموقف الرسمي للدولة السورية الذي قام بمراعاة العلاقة بروسيا، لكنه عبر عن امتعاضه بالإعلان عن عدم وجود أي علاقة له بها أو معرفة بحدوثها قبل تاريخ تنفيذها، كما وصلت إلى موسكو تعبيرات العتب والغضب في الشارع السوري وفي بيئة المقاومة. وهنا يصير السؤال له قيمة عن كيفية التصرف الروسي وفقاً لسلم الأولويات الذي يرسم سياسات موسكو في المنطقة.

– الخطوة الأولى كانت الإعلان القاسي الذي صدر عن موسكو للرد على الإدعاءات الإسرائيلية حول عملية تسليم وشيكة لبقايا العميل الإسرائيلي إيلي كوهين، وتعمّد أن يأتي الرد على لسان وزير الخارجية الروسية سيرغي لافروف، والخطوة الثانية جاءت بإعلان المبعوث الروسي الخاص حول الأزمة السورية ألكسندر لافرنتيف أن روسيا طلبت قيام إسرائيل بالإفراج عن عدد من الأسرى السوريين والفلسطينيين تعبيراً عن الامتنان لقيام روسيا بتسليمها بقايا جندي السلطان يعقوب، وتنفيذاً لطلب الرئيس الروسي.

– قيام كيان الاحتلال بالإفراج عن أسيرين سوريّ وفلسطينيّ من سجونه، لا يعادل بالتأكيد ما كان ممكناً تحصيله لو أدارت موسكو مفاوضات تبادل حول بقايا جندي السلطان يعقوب، لكنها رسالة روسية ذات مغزى تقول إن روسيا تعتذر عن التسرّع وترغب بطي الصفحة بما يضمن سلامة وصحة التحالف الذي يجمعها بسورية وقوى المقاومة. وهذا هو موضوعنا، لأن جوهر ما قاله المتربّصون بهذه العلاقة، هو أن روسيا تعمّدت تنفيذ العملية بالطريقة التي تمّت لأنها تريد أن تقول للعالم وللرأي العام في روسيا، ولـ«إسرائيل»، ولنا، أن روسيا لا تقيم حساباً لمن يسمّيهم الآخرون بحلفاء موسكو في المنطقة عندما يتعلق الأمر باسترضاء «إسرائيل»، وها هي موسكو تقول إنه يعنيها كثيراً ألا يترتب على العملية وما رافقها من نقص أو ضعف، أي تأثير سلبي على نظرة حلفائها وجمهور الحلفاء وبيئتهم الشعبية، وإنها لأجل ذلك مستعدة للقيام بخطوات ترميمية لا تشبه الأصل، لكنها توصل رسالة التمسك وتحدد مكان الأولوية.

– ما جرى يشبه ما كان قد تمّ في منتصف العام 2016 عندما اعتذرت تركيا عن إسقاط الطائرة الروسية ورعت موسكو إطلاق مسار أستانة، واتفاق الهدنة في حلب، وقامت الجماعات المسلحة باستغلال الهدنة لبناء قدراتها والاستعداد للمواجهة، وشعرت سورية وقوى المقاومة بأن السعي الروسي لاكتساب تركيا بات مكلفاً وأن سورية وقوى المقاومة يلحق بهما الأذى من هذه السياسة الروسية، وخرجت حينها الأصوات ذاتها تتحدّث عن روسيا التي باعت حلفاءها لتركيا لأن أولوية روسيا هي تركيا وقد استعملت حلفاءها لتصل للمبتغى وها هي تتركهم، في لغة تشبه ما سمعناه قبل اسابيع قليلة عن الاهتمام الروسي بـ»إسرائيل» واستعمال سورية وقوى المقاومة معبراً نحو هذا الهدف. ويومها مرت شهور قاسية انتهت بتحرير حلب بشراكة روسية ظاهرة، وجهت درساً قاسياً وهزيمة شنعاء لتركيا، مؤكدة مرة جديدة قواعد الأولويات الروسية.

– ستبقى التباينات تطلّ برأسها بين حين وآخر بين سورية وقوى المقاومة من جهة وروسيا من جهة أخرى، وسيبقى المتربّصون من أعداء وأعدقاء، يطلون برؤوسهم مع كل محطة تباين، لكن ستبقى العلاقة الروسية بسورية وقوى المقاومة تثبت أنها الأساس في رسم الأولويات الروسية في المنطقة.

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No, Assad Didn’t “Win” The War, He Was Compelled By Putin To “Compromise”

By Andrew Korybko
Source

It’s misleading to assert that Assad “won” the war even though he still remains in office as the country’s democratically elected and legitimate leader since Putin compelled him to “compromise” on several important issues after the Liberation of Aleppo and accept a political reality completely at odds with what one would otherwise expect from a “victor”.

The Superficial “Victory”

One of the most fashionable things to say in Alt-Media is that Assad “won” the war just because he still remains in office as the Arab Republic’s democratically elected and legitimate leader, which is in and of itself a major accomplishment when considering that dozens of countries were conspiring for years to violently overthrow him through the Hybrid War of Terror on Syria but deliberately downplays the contemporary political reality that’s completely at odds with what one would otherwise expect from a “victor”. Putin compelled Assad to “compromise” on several important issues after the Liberation of Aleppo in exchange for remaining in office, which would have been much more difficult for the Syrian leader to do had his main foreign foes not cut deals with Russia to have this happen, though of course in exchange for something that suits their interests at the Mideast country’s partial expense. For better or for worse, and whether out of “pragmatic necessity” or “needless concessions”, this is the current situation as it objective exists in Syria today.

Everything Changed After Aleppo

The Liberation of Aleppo was a monumental moment in the country’s conflict that was largely made possible through the game-changing support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, freeing what had been Syria’s most populous city up until the start of the war and symbolically returning one of the cradles of the so-called “revolution” to government control. It was after this milestone that the world expected the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah allies to sweep through the rest of the country and put a swift end to the war, though that wasn’t what happened at all. In fact, almost immediately after the Liberation of Aleppo, Russia convened the first-ever round of the Astana peace talks together with Turkey and Iran and sought to freeze the battle lines, even presenting a so-called “draft constitution” that it wrote for Syria in order to facilitate peace talks instead of continuing the conflict. As proof of its intent to end the war right then and there, Russia implemented so-called “de-escalation zones” across the country that put an end to most hostilities.

“Balancing” And Bartering In The Syrian Bazaar

All of this was surprising for the Syrian leadership, which believed (whether naively or not) that Russia would broaden its original anti-terrorist mandate in order to help it liberate the rest of the country from other armed “opposition” forces that Moscow didn’t officially recognize as terrorists, but there’s no doubt now that Damascus couldn’t have been more wrong. Far from helping Assad regain control over the rest of the country after Aleppo, Putin put a quick end to the kinetic phase of the conflict by brokering a variety of deals with all regional powers as part of Russia’s 21st-century grand strategy to become the supreme “balancing” force in Afro-Eurasia and especially the tri-continental pivot space of the Mideast. The details of what was agreed upon behind the scenes could only have been speculated at that time, but are obvious in hindsight given all that’s happened in the country over nearly the past two and a half years since Aleppo was freed. There’s no question that Assad was compelled to “compromise”, whether willingly or against his will, with the following actors as will now be explained.

“Putinyahu’s Rusrael”

The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged in September 2018 after the spy plane tragedy that it allowed “Israel” to bomb Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria over 200 times in the preceding 18 months alone, with the attacks still continuing to this day and as recently as just last week. Putin also announced the creation of a so-called “working party” with “Israel” to seek the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria after his second-most recent meeting with Netanyahu, with the Russian Ambassador to the UN even telling Saudi media the other week that even Iran “should leave when Syria is stabilized”. Relatedly, Russia also carved out a 140-kilometer anti-Iranian buffer zone beyond the occupied Golan Heights at Tel Aviv’s behest last summer and Putin just helped Netanyahu win reelection through the last-minute photo-op of returning 20 “IDF” remains a few days before the vote. Since then, rumors have been swirling that Russia also recently delivered notorious Mossad spy Eli Cohen’s remains too. Altogether, it’s now impossible for anyone to credibly deny the existence of “Putinyahu’s Rusrael“.

America & The Kurds

US-backed Kurdish-led forces currently occupy the northeastern agriculturally and energy-rich one-third of Syria beyond the Euphrates and there are no indications that they’re going to surrender their self-professed autonomy to the centralized Syrian state anytime soon, not least because of the continued presence of US troops there in spite of Trump’s promised “withdrawal”. The American forces act as a “tripwire” preventing the SAA from crossing the river and reasserting its sovereignty over this strategic space, and the Disaster at Deir ez-Zor in February of last year proved that the US will use overwhelming force to crush any hostile elements that dare to cross the so-called “deconfliction line” that it agreed to create with Russia. Contrary to what’s regularly implied by Alt-Media, Russia has absolutely no political will to militarily confront the US and risk World War III, hence why it agreed to this informal “partition” of Syria in the first place that it hopes to codify into law through the “draft constitution” that it wrote for its “ally”. Therefore, Russia’s deal-making ensured that Syria lost not only the Golan, but probably also the Northeast as well.

Turkey’s “Sphere Of Influence”

That’s not all that Damascus lost as a result of the “balancing” that Russia has done in Syria since the start of its anti-terrorist intervention there because it seems increasingly impossible that it’ll reclaim control over Idlib and the other Turkish-occupied areas of the country too. To be clear, it would probably be just as impossible for the SAA to do so had Russia not intervened in the first place, but the fact remains that Turkey’s conventional operations there and ongoing presence in several borderland regions were tacitly approved by Russia, not out of some “devious plot” to slice up Syria but — just like with the American case — because it lacked the political will to enter into World War III-style brinkmanship with a NATO country and thought it much more pragmatic to strike a series of unofficial deals instead. Russia understands Turkey’s national security interests in countering Kurdish militants and securing its own “Israeli”-like buffer zone in Syria, hence why it’s helped expand its “sphere of influence” and actually formalize part of it through the “de-escalation zones”.

“Rebels” & “Decentralization”

Damascus was already experimenting with amnesty programs prior to the Russian intervention but these picked up pace after Moscow’s anti-terrorist campaign began, with Syria’s top military partner offering all armed groups in the country the possibility of being recognized as “rebels” who could theoretically participate in the fledgling peace process so long as they disowned internationally recognized terrorist groups like Daesh, with many of them did. This led to several of the most notorious non-“terrorist” groups being invited to the Astana peace process, which eventually led to the decision to create a so-called “constitutional committee” of 150 total members, with only 1/3 (50) of them being from the government while the remaining 2/3 (50 & 50) will be from the “opposition” and “civil society”. Damascus is therefore being treated far from the diplomatic “victor” and is actually equal to the civil society forces that didn’t even fight in the war at all. The end result, as Russia envisages it, is the approval of most of the clauses in its “draft constitution”, specifically “decentralization” in order to legitimize the “spheres of influence” that it’s brokered for others in Syria.

“With Friends Like These…”

The aforementioned deal-making details are entirely factual but extremely unpopular to talk about in Alt-Media, especially among the most zealous “wishful thinking” “Putinists” who remain bizarrely convinced that this is all part of some “5D chess” “master plan” that will ultimately see the Russian leader unleash a hail of fire and brimstone on all of Syria’s enemies as he “gloriously” liberates the country and deals a “deathblow” to the “New World Order”. Many of these voices seriously think that they’re “helping” Syria by “covering” for the deals that Putin brokered with the exact same “New World Order” that he’s supposed to be “fighting”, but they’re actually the worst sort of “friends” that Damascus could ever ask for because they’ve prevented the world from seeing the objective reality of the country’s current political situation. While there are undoubtedly those who will argue that Russia is the “friend” that Syria should be most worried about, Damascus has yet to criticize Moscow for “overstepping”, suggesting that Assad (begrudgingly?) agrees with what Putin is doing as the “most pragmatic solution” possible.

Concluding Thoughts

Bearing in mind what was revealed and reviewed in this analysis, it’s inaccurate for anyone to assert that Assad “won” the war because, apart from remaining in office as his people’s democratically elected and legitimate leader (which is a remarkable feat in and of itself), he was actually compelled by Putin to “compromise” on many fronts and with each of his country’s sworn enemies. Russia’s “balancing” role provides Syria the “diplomatic distance” to claim “plausible deniability” and maintain a degree of “strategic ambiguity” that its media surrogates spin according to the situation to suggest whether it truly supports what its “ally” is supposedly doing on its “behalf” or not depending on whichever narrative is thought to be most beneficial for it at any given time. That said, this is probably due more to “pragmatic necessity” on Syria’s part because it’s technically powerless to oppose Russia even if it think that its “ally” is brokering “needless concessions” at its expense in order to bolster its own regional diplomatic standing, which reinforces the argument that Assad definitely didn’t “win” the war like his Alt-Media “friends” swear he did.

“Putinyahu’s Rusrael”

By Andrew Korbko
Source

Comment:  Another Illusion Smashed?

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President Putin and “Israeli” Prime Minister Netanyahu are brothers-in-arms after the former helped the latter win his historic reelection with a last-minute photo-op stunt that ultimately proved pivotal to his victory, and with Russia and “Israel” now proceeding along the path of “two states, one nation” after their close and comprehensive cooperation with one another since the onset of Moscow’s 2015 anti-terrorist intervention in Syria, the era of “Putinyahu’s Rusrael” has finally arrived.

A New Era For The “New Mideast”

Netanyahu’s historic reelection to a fifth term in office will make him “Israel’s” long-serving Prime Minister since its “founder” Ben-Gurion, and it wouldn’t have been possible for him to pull off such a victory in the neck-and-neck race without the pivotal last-minute assistance that President Putin provided through the photo-op stunt of returning 20 “IDF” remains that the Russian military dug up in Syria specifically at Tel Aviv’s request. The Russian and “Israeli” leaders are now brothers-in-arms at precisely the moment when their two governments are proceeding along the path of “two states, one nation” as a result of their close and comprehensive cooperation with one another since the onset of Moscow’s 2015 anti-terrorist intervention in Syria, thereby making 2019 the year in which the era of “Putinyahu’s Rusrael” has finally arrived as a force to be reckoned with on the world scene.

From “Balancing” To Allying

Most of the Alt-Media Community is likely in a state of cognitive dissonance at the moment after practically everything that their “trusted outlets” indoctrinated them for years to believe has been proven to be false, especially the “wishful thinking” narrative that President Putin has supposedly turned Russia into an “anti-Zionist crusader state allied with the Resistance”. Nothing could be further from the truth as the Russian leader is totally disinterested in taking sides on any dispute that isn’t of immediate relevance to his nation’s security and has therefore positioned his country to play the part of the Eastern Hemisphere’s supreme “balancing” force instead. In the case of Russian-“Israeli” relations, however, he’s moved beyond simply “balancing” and towards the extreme of outright allying as part of his risky gamble to “seize the moment” and attempt to replace America’s historic patronage over the self-professed “Jewish State”.

Right Under Everyone’s Nose

I’ve been extensively documenting the creation of “Putinyahu’s Rusrael” and strongly recommend that readers who aren’t already familiar with my work kindly review the following analyses in order to be brought up to speed and understand the strategic context in which this game-changing development is taking place:

* “Russia’s Grand Strategy In Afro-Eurasia (And What Could Go Wrong)

* “President Putin On Israel: Quotes From The Kremlin Website

* “It’s Official, ‘Israel’ Is Now A Joint Russian-American Protectorate

* “Alt-Media Silent As ‘Israel’ Admits To 200+ Strikes In Syria

* “Here’s How The Latakia Tragedy – Nay, Conspiracy! – Might Have Played Out

* “Russia’s Reshaping Syria’s ‘Deep State’ In Its Own Image

* “Russia’s Non-Denial About Brokering Iran’s Withdrawal From Syria Is A Big Deal

* “I’m A Pro-Putin Anti-‘Putinist’ And It’s About Time That Alt-Media Acknowledges That We Exist

* “So What If Trump ‘Recognizes’ ‘Israel’s’ Annexation Of The Golan?

* “It’s Time To Talk About The S-300s, ‘Status Symbols’, And The ‘Savior Complex’

* “Mideast Activists Need To Stop Their Double Standards Towards Russia!

Undeniable Facts

Long story short, the indisputable facts are that President Putin has met with Netanyahu more times over the past four years (13) than with any other leader, thus forming a deep personal bond with him that’s since become fraternal and could explain why he had Russia do so many favors for “Israel” over the past couple of years. As acknowledged by Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov in September following the midair accident that President Putin famously chalked up to a so-called “chain of tragic circumstances“, these favors included ‘passively facilitating’ over 200 of “Israel’s” anti-Iranian and anti-Hezbollah strikes in Syria over the preceding 18 months alone, carving out a 140-kilometer anti-Iranian buffer zone from the occupied Golan Heights (where President Putin reportedly vacationed with his family in the 1990s), “preserving Jewish sacred places and graves in the city of Aleppo”, and risking the lives of Russian servicemen by having them dig up “IDF” remains in the middle of an SAA-ISIS firefight.

Furthermore, President Putin refused to blame “Israel” for last September’s incident, and not once did he order his military to suspend the so-called “deconfliction mechanism” that he agreed to create with Netanyahu three years prior just before the commencement of the anti-terrorist intervention. Russia’s highly-publicized dispatch of S-300s to Syria was nothing more than smoke and mirrors because the SAA still doesn’t have full and independent operational control of these systems, thus strategically neutralizing them and ensuring that they don’t pose a threat to “Israel” whenever the self-professed “Jewish State” coordinates with Moscow to bomb suspected Iranian and Hezbollah positions in the Arab Republic. Speaking of which, President Putin confirmed after his February meeting with Netanyahu that Russia and “Israel” are forming a so-called “working party” to accelerate the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, implying that Iran’s will also have to leave too. And finally, last week’s “corpse diplomacy” was an unprecedented sign of solidarity between Russia to “Israel”.

The Yinon-Putin Plan

All of this begs the obvious question of what President Putin expects to receive in return for his unshakeable loyalty to Netanyahu, but the answer certainly isn’t what the misguided Alt-Media masses were brainwashed into believing. The Russian leader isn’t playing the much-mocked game of “5D chess” and “just waiting to backstab Bibi” at the “perfect moment”, but is hoping that “Israel” will allow his country to play an important role in what he has evidently concluded is the “inevitable” partial success of the Yinon Plan. In exchange for “passively facilitating” “Israel’s” plans in Syria (though importantly after having stopped their full success through the 2015 anti-terrorist intervention there), Russia expects to receive generous “Israeli” foreign direct investment once Tel Aviv formally joins the Eurasian Union that Moscow also amazingly convinced its sworn Iranian enemy to become a member of as well.

Should Russia succeed in getting Syria to agree to the “draft constitution” that Moscow wrote for it and Damascus ends up surrendering its legal claim to the Golan Heights like the document strongly implies (and by innuendo “recognizing” “Israel”), then Moscow could “legally” connect the country’s gas supplies under its control to Tel Aviv’s Eastern Mediterranean Gas Pipeline and therefore “co-opt” this megaproject that could otherwise compete with its energy exports to Europe. In addition, Russia and “Israel” could jointly use their influence over the region’s Kurds to more confidently assert themselves by proxy in the Mideast’s central pivot space in accordance with the Yinon Plan’s pertinent precepts for managing this strategically positioned transnational demographic. Given the game-changing geostrategic impact that the Russian-“Israeli” alliance is poised to have in the region, it’s therefore more accurate to describe the Yinon Plan as the Yinon-Putin Plan instead.

Russia: Rhetoric vs. Reality

The reality that was just described is at total odds with the rhetoric coming out of Russia, but that’s all by design because Moscow oftentimes says what the global public wants to hear but ends up doing whatever is best for its own interests irrespective of whether the international audience approves of it or not. For example, Russia used to occasionally condemn “Israel’s” anti-Iranian and anti-Hezbollah strikes in Syria despite it now being acknowledged by its own admission last September that it was coordinating them with Tel Aviv this entire time through the so-called “deconfliction mechanism”. Ditto Russia’s reaction to Trump’s “recognition” of “Israel’s” annexation of the Golan Heights, which was actually facilitated by the anti-Iranian buffer zone that Moscow carved out last summer after pushing the self-professed “Jewish State’s” enemies 140 kilometers away from the occupied region at Tel Aviv’s behest.

The established pattern is that Russia rhetorically says whatever is in line with international law in order to increase its appeal among the region’s majority-Arab population but always ends up accepting “Israel’s” unilateral actions out of pragmatic “realpolitik” considerations and a lack of political will to impose unacceptable costs on Tel Aviv to change its behavior. This modus operandi strongly suggests that Russia might actually not be as opposed to Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century” as it officially claims to be, especially when considering that Netanyahu is speculated to have informally functioned as a mediator between the American and Russian leaders. As such, it’s possible that Russia might even secretly encourage the “Deal of the Century” if it believes that it’s “inevitable” and not “incompatible” with the Yinon-Putin Plan, especially if it has “Israel’s” “trusted reassurances” of this.

Concluding Thoughts

As incredible as it might have initially sounded to readers who have been brainwashed for years by their Alt-Media mental overlords into believing that President Putin is an “anti-Zionist crusader”, the argument has strongly been put forth in this analysis that he’s actually the opposite of what many people thought he was. Far from being “anti-Israeli”, the Russian leader is probably one of the most pro-“Israeli” people on this planet after committing his country to ensuring the self-professed “Jewish State’s” security in the face of Iran and its ally Hezbollah’s threats to destroy it. His brotherly ties with Netanyahu have led to similarly fraternal relations developing between Russia and “Israel” as they proceed along the path of “two states, one nation” and gradually merge into a single strategic force, ergo the era of “Putinyahu’s Rusrael” that’s impossible at this point for anyone to credibly deny.

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