TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: U.S. PATRIOT MISSILES LEAVE SAUDI ARABIA FOR SYRIA?

South Front

The United States has deployed a Patriot defense battery to Syria’s northeast, at least according to the fairy tales told by Kurdish media. This deployment reportedly took place on February 24th in an entirely different reality, since the reports claiming so are entirely fake. Several Kurdish and opposition outlets claimed that the deployment of Patriot batteries is taking place in Alomar and Al-Shaddadi. There could even be more batteries. Reports also claim that the US is improving its capabilities in al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor as well.

The claims of Patriot batteries in northeastern Syria are currently merely fake news, as any review of the photographs, even to casual observers on Twitter, reveals that they show an entirely different location. What is fact is that Washington is truly attempting to increase its presence and capability in Syria.

In another and more realistic report from state outlet SANA, the US sent “shoulder-launched missiles” to northeastern Syria. Two American military helicopters allegedly landed in al-Shaddadi and unloaded artillery shells and shoulder-launched missiles. Prior to this, the coalition built a new airstrip in the al-Omar oil fields in southeastern Deir Ezzor. And the base in al-Hasakah is really being built. These developments, however, aren’t as major as reports make them out to be.

Saudi Arabia, a staunch US ally, one which Washington has vowed to defend and assist, is losing two of its Patriot defense batteries.

The two units in Saudi Arabia were helping to protect the Kingdom’s oil fields, but will likely be replaced by Saudi Patriot batteries. Their effectiveness – or lack thereof – was proven back in 2019, when they failed to protect Aramco’s facilities. As such, even if they were to be relocated in Syria, their usefulness remains in doubt.

Still, the Kurds as US allies are hopeful that the patriot battery remains mighty and capable of protecting its positions as they are likely hoping that it would help protect them against the Turkish Armed Forces.

Washington, though, is focused on Iran, which, especially so far in 2021, it has largely failed to contain. Iran continues expanding its influence in key areas such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In Syria, after being subject to ISIS attacks, Tehran’s forces are building new positions in the southern Homs countryside to protect phosphate mines in the region from the ISIS cells responsible.

Empty claims may go around the world quickly, their effectiveness, however, is dubious at this point. The United States is attempting to increase its presence and capabilities in Syria, but so far it appears to be too little too late. Iran’s presence in Syria and influence in the entire region continue to grow despite containment efforts by Washington and its allies.

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The strategic importance of Ma’rib: Saudi-backed Hadi’s ‘last stronghold’

Middle East Observer

The strategic importance of Ma’rib: Saudi-backed Hadi’s ‘last stronghold’

February 25, 2021

Description:

TV report on the strategic importance of Ma’rib province for the fate of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, particularly following reports that Sana’a-led forces were on the verge of taking control over the entire Ma’rib governate.

Source: Al Maydeen TV

Date: Feb 20, 2021

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here )

Transcript:

Television presenter:

Welcome. The Yemeni army and armed forces are advancing in Ma’rib. We are witnessing a decisive battle because we are talking about the last northern city in Yemen that remains under the control of the government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Establishing control over this city would deal a heavy blow to this government and would be a major advantage to the (Sana’a-led) armed forces and the tribes of Ma’rib. So why Ma’rib?

The strategic, oil-rich governorate of Ma’rib lies to the east of the capital, Sana’a, about 120 km away from it. Al-Mayadeen sources confirm that Sana’a-led forces have taken control of Tala’at al-Hamra and surrounding sites in the Sarwah district, west of the (Ma’rib) governorate. This is taking place after a series of concentrated military operations on multiple fronts over the past year. (Following these operations, Sana’a-led forces) have gained control over multiple regions in Ma’rib, including Mahliya and Rahba in the south, Serwah about 30 km west of Ma’rib, and have seized control over the Coufal camp (i.e. the largest Hadi government military camp). In the meantime, hit-and-run raids continue in the north and northeastern districts of Ma’rib, such as Raghwan, Hailan, Al-Kassara, Jabal Murad, and others.

For the forces of Sana’a, gaining control over Ma’rib represents the fall of the last stronghold of the Hadi administration, and a further step towards controlling northern Yemen as a whole. It also provides an open road to the southern governorates such as Shabwa and Hadramout, leading to “the liberation of every inch of Yemen”, as a military commander in Ansarullah says.

According to the Carnegie Middle East Center, for the Hadi administration, Ma’rib is the last resort in the north for its political team, especially for the Islah party. AFP says the city was seen as a Saudi protectorate in which Riyadh invested heavily. Perhaps this is what explains the information gained by Al Mayadeen sources indicating that Hadi’s forces and the Saudi coalition are trying to use refugee camps in Ma’rib as human shields to prevent the (Sana’a-led) army and (popular) forces from advancing.

——

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Battle for Marib: Yemeni Army Close to Retaking City from Saudi-led Forces

Battle for Marib: Yemeni Army Close to Retaking City from Saudi-led Forces

By Staff, Agencies

Victory appears to be on the horizon in the heated battle for Yemen’s strategic central province of Marib as army troops, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have reportedly taken control of most areas there and dislodged Saudi-led coalition forces and Riyadh-backed militants from those regions.

A Yemeni military source told the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency that Yemeni soldiers and their allies had encircled Marib city, following weeks of fierce clashes with Saudi-led coalition forces and their mercenaries.

The source added that Yemeni forces had cut off the main supply route into the eastern flank of Marib, which leads to the Arab country’s largest province of Hadhramaut.

“After gaining complete control over all the heights overlooking the city of Marib from all directions, mopping up operations to clear the last remaining pockets of al-Qaeda elements and mercenaries of the aggressors [Saudi-led coalition] are only a matter of time,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the governor of Yemen’s southern province of Aden has warned that the al-Qaeda-affiliated Salafist Islah Party is transferring Takfiri militants from southern areas to Marib to join the ranks of Saudi-led coalition forces and Hadi loyalists in battles against Yemeni soldiers and their allies.

“The Islah Party, which is on the verge of collapse in Marib, is brining Takfiri militants from several regions, mostly from southern provinces under the occupation of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates [UAE], into Marib,” Tariq Salem told Yemen’s official Saba news agency.

He stressed the need to confront the deployment of such terrorists, who are seeking to carry out target killings and criminal schemes in Marib in the face of the anticipated triumph of Yemeni armed forces and their allies.

“What people in the southern [Yemeni] provinces are enduring is the result of continued [Saudi-UAE] occupation and the influx of Takfiri militants. It is highly worth taking into consideration that no Yemeni citizen, either in Marib or elsewhere in the country, must subject their families, their properties as well as public interests to danger,” Salem pointed out.

Separately, an unnamed source in Yemen’s Liaison and Coordination Officers Operations Room said that during the past 24 hours, forces of the Saudi-led military coalition and their mercenaries have breached 148 times an agreement reached between the warring sides during a round of UN-sponsored peace negotiations in Sweden in December 2018.

The source at the monitor added that the violations in the western coastal province of Hudaydah included formation of fortification lines near 50th Street, al-Jabaliya and al-Mandhar neighborhoods, a dozen reconnaissance flights over Hays, al-Durayhimi and al-Tuhayat districts, 35 counts of artillery and mortar shelling, as well as 95 shooting incidents in various regions.

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What a return to the Iran nuclear deal means ماذا تعني العودة إلى الاتفاق النوويّ الإيرانيّ

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

What a return to the Iran nuclear deal means

Dr. Wafiq Ibrahim

The conditions for returning to the nuclear agreement are increasing, and with it the possibility of building a real world peace between the most powerful countries in the world increases.

The reason for this optimism is that four members of the agreement — France, Britain, Germany and the United States — will meet at night for the first time since the Americans withdrew from the agreement in 2016.

Since Russia is also committed to its membership and Iran, there is a high probability that the nuclear agreement will be reintroduced as stipulated in its basic terms in 2015.

The conditions for return do not seem to be difficult despite Saudi-Israeli attempts to block it and pressure the United States not to return. This is because these two countries are determined to continue to regard Iran as an enemy of the Western public order and its alliances in the Middle East.

Former U.S. President Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2016, claiming Iran had violated it. But the rest of the member states and the International Energy Organization did not agree with his claims, which led to the disruption of the work in the last four years in a row and turned into a U.S.-Iran conflict in which Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE entered alongside the Americans, but France, Britain and Germany continued to demand Iran to remain a member of the agreement alongside Russia, which since the beginning of the dispute has declared strong support for Iran.

It is therefore a political struggle that takes the form of technical disagreements. As for the reasons, it is Iran’s success in building deep alliances, starting with Afghanistan with its main forces, and ending with deep political influence in Pakistan. Iran has also managed to penetrate Into India, where it succeeded in building deep relations with its Shiites and in Yemen, where it forged one of the most important relations with the Houthis, who form its main force and defeated with them Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the British and the Americans in battles that continue.

Iran also supported Iraq and allowed it to defeat the Americans, their allies, and ISIS. As for Syria, it is a great story in which Iran supported preventing the overthrow of the Syrian state and its expansion into three quarters of its country. As for Lebanon, Iran was able to support Hezbollah in such a way that it became the main force in a major axis standing in the face of “Israel” and its slaves in the region.

These achievements are the root cause of The U.S. Western Saudi-Israeli hostility to Iran, and it is the reason for the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Can Iran bow to renegotiating its alliances extending from Afghanistan to Lebanon?

There are reasons to prevent this.

Firstly, the West knows that Iran’s alliances have become armed forces within their own countries and it is not easy to confront them, and it has become almost impossible to attack them by “Israel” or any Arab forces. As for the negotiations over its status, this is a hopeless act, because it is close to catching their countries.

Therefore, the only thing left for the Americans and their alliances is to search for new means of rolling into politics, meaning that the Americans accept political settlements between the forces allied with Iran and the forces affiliated with the Americans, but not within the framework of imposed truces, but rather agreements that lead to the conduct and regularity of public business in the country.

Will a return to the nuclear agreement lead to regular internal actions in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon?

It seems that things are going to this direction because there is no alternative, especially since the two parties to the conflict are never thinking of leaving the areas they are sponsoring in Iraq and Syria due to their national and regional importance.

It turns out, then, that the nuclear agreement is an internal agreement that grasps many internal regions of countries in the Middle East, and this makes it very important and confiscates the external powers of these countries, i.e. it can use the entity that controls it in the Middle East conflicts, which is also an international one that serves the interest of recommending another team in the conflicts of the countries to control the most important oil and gas region in the world.

It is clear that the nuclear agreement is an internal agreement that holds a lot of the internal areas of the countries in the Middle East and this makes it very important and confiscates the external powers of these countries, i.e. it can use the entity that controls it in the Middle East conflicts, which is also an international one that serves the interest of recommending another team in the conflicts of the countries to control the most important oil and gas region in the world.

Will the European-American meetings succeed in preparing for a return to the nuclear agreement as a mechanism for turning Middle Eastern conflicts into draft agreements and freezing their flames?

There is a vague point in this agreement and you go on to wonder if Russia actually accepts to work on an international agreement that excludes China from what is the actual instrument of conflict with the U.S. side?

There is an ambiguous point in this agreement and it raises the question whether Russia actually accepts working on an international agreement that excludes China from it, whereas China is the actual tool for the conflict with the American side?

This is a difficult point for which the Russians may find a solution, namely, limiting the nuclear deal to the Iranian nuclear issue exclusively, provided that the bulk of international relations remain free, and this would re-weave the Sino-Russian-Iranian relations that they believe can catch up with the American giant and possibly overtake it after awhile.

Therefore, the world is in the atmosphere of the Iranian nuclear agreement and is awaiting its results on which it will build its next movement.

If the U.S. movement wants to attract Iran from the Sino-Russian axis, then the Russian role has taken upon itself to freeze the Iranian role at the steps of the nuclear agreement, providing that it paves the way for a Sino-Iranian-Russian movement that will not delay the completion of building a system of alliances that may include more countries than the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia believe. This means that the nuclear deal will not reduce international conflicts and may establish deeper and more violent international conflicts.

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ماذا تعني العودة إلى الاتفاق النوويّ الإيرانيّ

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-450-780x470.png

د. وفيق إبراهيم

ظروف العودة الى الاتفاق النوويّ تزداد ويرتفع معها احتمال بناء سلام عالميّ فعلي بين الدول الأقوى في العالم.

أسباب ارتفاع هذا التفاؤل هو انعقاد لقاء ليليّ بين أربعة من أعضاء الاتفاق هم فرنسا وبريطانيا والمانيا والولايات المتحدة للمرة الأولى منذ انسحاب الأميركيين من الاتفاق في 2016.

وبما ان روسيا متمسكة بعضويتها وإيران ايضاً فهذا يعني وجود احتمال كبير لإعادة العمل بالاتفاق النووي وفق ما نصت عليه شروطه الأساسية في 2015.

يبدو أن ظروف العودة ليست صعبة على الرغم من المحاولات السعودية الإسرائيلية لعرقلتها والضغط على الولايات المتحدة لعدم العودة. وهذا سببه إصرار هذين البلدين على الاستمرار في اعتبار إيران عدواً للنظام الغربي العام وتحالفاته في الشرق الاوسط.

وكان الرئيس الأميركي السابق ترامب انسحب من الاتفاق النووي في 2016 بزعم أن إيران خرقته. لكن بقية الدول الأعضاء ومنظمة الطاقة الدولية لم توافق على ادعاءاته، ما أدى الى تعطيل العمل به في السنوات الاربع الأخيرة على التوالي وتحوّل الأمر نزاعاً أميركياً – إيرانياً دخلت فيه «إسرائيل» والسعودية والإمارات الى جانب الأميركيين لكن فرنسا وبريطانيا والمانيا ظلت تطالب إيران بالبقاء في عضوية الاتفاق الى جانب روسيا التي أعلنت منذ انطلاق الخلاف تأييدها القوي الى جانب إيران.

هو إذاً صراع سياسيّ يرتدي شكل خلافات تقنية، أما الأسباب فهي نجاح إيران في بناء تحالفات عميقة بدءاً مع أفغانستان مع قواها الرئيسيّة وصولاً الى نفوذ سياسي عميق في باكستان. كما أن إيران تمكنت من التوغّل في الهند، حيث نجحت في بناء علاقات عميقة مع شيعتها ولم توفر اليمن، حيث نسجت واحدة من اهم العلاقات مع الحوثيين الذين يشكلون قوتها الأساسية وهزمت بالاشتراك معهم السعودية والامارات والبريطانيين والأميركيين في معارك لا تزال متواصلة.

كذلك فإن إيران دعمت العراق وأتاحت له فرصة الانتصار على الأميركيين وحلفائهم وداعش. أما سورية فهي حكاية كبرى دعمت فيها إيران منع إسقاط الدولة السورية وساندت تمددها الى ثلاثة أرباع بلادها. أما لبنان فتمكنت إيران من إسناد حزب الله بشكل أصبح فيه القوة الأساسية في محور كبير يقف في وجه «اسرائيل» وزبانيتها في المنطقة.

هذه الإنجازات هي السبب الأساسي للعداء الأميركي الغربي السعودي الإسرائيلي لإيران، وهي سبب الانسحاب الأميركي من الاتفاق النووي.

فهل يمكن لإيران الرضوخ لإعادة التفاوض على نقاط تحالفاتها الممتدة من افغانستان الى لبنان؟ هناك معطيات تحول دون هذا الأمر.

اولاً الغرب يعرف ان تحالفات إيران أصبحت قوى وازنة مسلحة داخل بلدانها وليس سهلاً التصدي لها، كما أنه أصبح شبه مستحيل مهاجمتها من طريق «إسرائيل» او اي قوى عربية. اما لجهة المفاوضات حول وضعها فهذا عمل ميؤوس منه لأنها تقترب من الإمساك بدولها.

لذلك لا يتبقى أمام الأميركيين وتحالفاتهم إلا البحث عن وسائل جديدة «كامنة» تتدحرج نحو السياسة، أي أن يقبل الأميركيون بتسويات سياسية بين القوى المتحالفة مع إيران والقوى المحسوبة على الأميركيين انما ليس في إطار هدنات مفروضات بل اتفاقات تؤدي الى تسيير الأعمال العامة في البلاد وانتظامها.

فهل تؤدي العودة الى الاتفاق النووي الى انتظام الاعمال الداخلية في افغانستان واليمن والعراق وسورية ولبنان؟

يبدو ان الأمور ذاهبة الى هذا المنحى لانتفاء البديل خصوصاً أن طرفي الصراع لا يفكران أبداً بترك المناطق التي يرعونها في العراق وسورية وذلك لأهميتها الوطنية والإقليمية.

يتبين اذاً ان الاتفاق النووي هو اتفاق داخلي يمسك بالكثير من المناطق الداخلية للدول في الشرق الأوسط وهذا يجعله هاماً جداً ويصادر القوى الخارجية لهذه الدول أي يصبح بإمكانه استعمال الجهة التي يسيطر عليها في الصراعات الشرق اوسطية وهي ايضاً دولية تصبّ في مصلحة تزكية فريق آخر في صراعات الدول للسيطرة على أهم منطقة نفط وغاز في العالم.

فهل تنجح اللقاءات الأوروبية – الأميركية في التمهيد للعودة الى الاتفاق النووي كآلية تحول الصراعات الشرق أوسطية الى مشاريع اتفاقات وتجمّد لهيبها؟

هناك نقطة غامضة في هذا الاتفاق وتذهب الى التساؤل اذا كانت روسيا تقبل فعلاً العمل في اتفاق دولي يُقصي الصين عنه بما هي الأداة الفعلية للصراع مع الطرف الأميركي؟

هذه نقطة صعبة قد يجد الروس لها حلاً وهي اقتصار الاتفاق النووي على الموضوع النووي الإيراني حصراً على أن يبقى القسم الأكبر من العلاقات الدولية حراً وهذا من شأنه إعادة نسج علاقات صينية روسية إيرانية ترى أن بإمكانها اللحاق بالعملاق الأميركي وربما تجاوزه بعد مدة من الزمن.

العالم اذاً في أجواء الاتفاق الإيراني النووي يترقب نتائجه التي يبني عليها حركته المقبلة.

فإذا كانت الحركة الأميركية تريد جذب إيران من المحور الصيني الروسي، فإن الدور الروسي أخذ على عاتقه تجميد الدور الإيراني عند مندرجات الاتفاق النووي على أن يفسح المجال لحركة صينية – إيرانية روسية لن تتأخر في استكمال بناء منظومة تحالفات قد تشمل من الدول أكثر مما تعتقد الولايات المتحدة و»إسرائيل» والسعودية. بما يعني ان الاتفاق النووي لن يختزل الصراعات الدولية وقد يؤسس لصراعات دولية أكثر عمقاً وأشد عنفاً.

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The start of the return to nuclear deal train انطلاق قطار العودة للاتفاق النوويّ

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

The start of the return to nuclear deal train

Nasser Kandil

– The speed with which the administration of US President Joe Biden deals with the Iranian nuclear file does not apply to what is being fancied and promoted by those who linked their fate in the region with the illusion of American supremacy and Iran’s weakness, who said that months will pass before Washington considers the Iranian nuclear file, within a week of Biden’s inauguration, he appointing Robert Maley, known for his positions calling for returning to the agreement without delay, as special envoy on Iran, for returning to the agreement without delay and discussing issues of disagreement under the umbrella of the agreement, to the point of the choice that the President adheres to.

– A month before Biden entered the White House, two files were moving in parallel, the file of the restoration of US-European relations being the entrance to the understanding on the road-map to return to the nuclear understanding with Iran, which was translated by a meeting, the first of its kind in five years, that includes the US Secretary of State and foreign ministers. France, Germany and Britain, during which Washington announced its readiness to attend a meeting within the framework of the 5 + 1 formula, with the presence and participation of Iran. US President Joe Biden expressed to the Munich Security Conference his readiness to engage in a formula that would open the way for a return to the nuclear agreement with Iran, with reference to the files of the dispute with Iran, and the intention to solve it by negotiating and annexing it to the agreement, which of course is rejected by Iran. In parallel, the second file, which is the U.S. pressure on Saudi Arabia from the gate of stopping arms deals under the slogan of stopping the war on Yemen, and declassifying Ansar Allah from the lists of terrorism, to release the investigations related to the killing of journalist Jamal Al-Khashoggi and the role revealed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

– Washington began the preparations for the return to the agreement, with President Biden’s contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and putting him in the form of the American decision, as reported by Reuters, and Washington took decisions in the size of legitimising the return to the agreement and withdrawing the US legal cover for any sanctions that were imposed on the third parties after the American withdrawal from the agreement in the era of former President Donald Trump, by withdrawing the request submitted by the Trump administration to the UN Security Council to re-impose the UN sanctions on Iran that were lifted in accordance with the UN resolution that approved the agreement, and the withdrawal book that recognises the illegality of the previous US request, and in parallel it cancelled Washington restrictions that the Trump administration had imposed on Iranian diplomats in New York.

– Iran welcomed Washington’s steps, but it was not satisfied that it did not solve the issue of sanctions, which depends on Iran’s retreat from the measures it has taken to reduce its obligations stipulated in the agreement, and the most important measures that it will take within days unless Washington offers convincing measures for Iran to back down from the sanctions. In the days leading up to February 23, there are signs that Tehran is asking Europe to take steps that translate its commitment to the Iran agreement, and Washington’s withdrawal of an earlier request to return to UN sanctions on Iran and prove the illegality of the request, putting at the forefront the hypothesis that Europe will activate a mechanism Financial trading with Iran called  Anstex, which Europe was unable to operate in the time of the Trump administration and can now be activated and proven to be useful, with billions of dollars belonging to Iran held in European banks, and Iranian deals with European companies frozen pending payment mechanism.

– President Biden has repeated more than once the phrase, that America has returned, boasting that this is an expression of America’s diplomatic strength, meaning that America has returned to its glory days and its ability to determine the paths of the world, and which is being said that America has only returned to the nuclear agreement, and that the way back is not according to the whims and desires of its president, who discovers every day the limitations of his options and the difficulty of acting as dictated by the balance of power that is no longer in favour of his country in the world, in parallel with preserving face, claiming supremacy, the ability to draw paths, and demonstrating retreat in the form of dictation. Time has changed, the equations have changed, the options are limited, and the state of denial will not help, and swallowing the bitter cup one time, is less bitter.

انطلاق قطار العودة للاتفاق النوويّ

ناصر قنديل

لا تنطبق السرعة التي تتعامل من خلالها إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن مع الملف النووي الإيراني مع ما يتوهّمه ويروّج له الذين ربطوا مصيرهم في المنطقة بوهم التفوّق الأميركي وضعف إيران، والذين قالوا إن شهوراً ستمرّ قبل أن تنظر واشنطن في الملف النووي الإيراني، فبدأ تعيين روبرت مالي مبعوثاً خاصاً حول إيران، خلال أسبوع من تسلّم الرئيس بايدن، وأشارت شخصية هذا المبعوث المعروفة بمواقفها الداعية للعودة إلى الاتفاق من دون إبطاء ومناقشة قضايا الخلاف تحت مظلة الاتفاق، إلى وجهة الخيار الذي يلتزمه الرئيس الأميركي.

قبل أن ينقضي شهر على دخول بايدن الى البيت الأبيض، كان ملفان يتحرّكان بالتوازي، ملف ترميم العلاقات الأميركية الأوروبية من مدخل التفاهم حول خريطة طريق العودة الى التفاهم النووي مع إيران، الذي ترجمه اجتماع هو الأول من نوعه منذ خمس سنوات يضمّ وزير خارجية أميركا ووزراء خارجية فرنسا وألمانيا وبريطانيا، أعلنت خلاله واشنطن استعدادها لحضور اجتماع ضمن إطار صيغة الـ 5+1، بحضور ومشاركة إيران، وتوجه موقف الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن أمام مؤتمر ميونيخ للأمن بالاستعداد للانخراط في صيغة تفتح الطريق للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، تحت سقف دائم للإشارة لملفات الخلاف مع إيران، ونيّة حلها بالتفاوض وضمها للاتفاق، وهو طبعاً ما ترفضه إيران. وبالتوازي كان يتحرك الملف الثاني وهو الضغط الأميركي على السعودية من بوابة وقف صفقات السلاح تحت شعار وقف الحرب على اليمن، وإلغاء تصنيف أنصار الله عن لوائح الإرهاب، وصولاً للإفراج عن التحقيقات الخاصة بقتل الصحافي جمال الخاشقجي وما تكشفه من دور لولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان.

بدأت واشنطن إجراءات التمهيد للعودة إلى الاتفاق، باتصال أجراه الرئيس بايدن برئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو ووضعه في صورة القرار الأميركي كما أوردت وكالة رويتر، واتخذت واشنطن قرارات بحجم شرعنة العودة للاتفاق وسحب الغطاء الشرعي أميركياً عن أية عقوبات نجمت على الأطراف الثالثين بعد الانسحاب الأميركي من الاتفاق في عهد الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب، وذلك من خلال سحب الطلب الذي قدّمته إدارة ترامب إلى مجلس الأمن الدولي لإعادة فرض العقوبات الأمميّة على إيران التي رفعت بموجب القرار الأمميّ الذي صادق على الاتفاق، وما في كتاب السحب من اعتراف بعدم شرعية الطلب الأميركي السابق، وبالتوازي ألغت واشنطن تقييدات كانت إدارة ترامب قد فرضتها على الدبلوماسيين الإيرانيين في نيويورك.

إيران رحبت بخطوات واشنطن، لكنها لم تكتف بها باعتبارها لا تحل قضية العقوبات التي يتوقف على رفعها تراجع إيران عن الإجراءات التي اتخذتها بتخفيض التزاماتها التي نص عليها الاتفاق، والأهم الإجراءات التي ستتخذها خلال أيام ما لم تُقدم واشنطن على إجراءات مقنعة لإيران بالتراجع عن العقوبات. وفي الأيام الفاصلة عن موعد 23 شباط ستشهد خطوات، برزت مؤشرات على وجهتها بمطالبة طهران لأوروبا باتخاذ خطوات تترجم التزامها بالاتفاق مع إيران، وبسحب واشنطن لطلب سابق بالعودة للعقوبات الأممية على إيران وإثبات عدم شرعية الطلب، ما يضع في الواجهة فرضية إقدام أوروبا على تفعيل آلية المتاجرة المالية مع إيران المسمّاة أنستكس، والتي عجزت أوروبا عن العمل بها في زمن إدارة ترامب وبات بإمكانها تفعيلها وإثبات جدواها، مع مليارات الدولارات العائدة لإيران والمحجوزة في المصارف الأوروبية، والصفقات الإيرانية مع شركات أوروبية والمجمّدة بانتظار آلية التسديد.

كرر الرئيس بايدن في أكثر من مرة عبارة، إن أميركا عادت، متباهياً بأن ذلك تعبير عن القوة الدبلوماسيّة لأميركا، قاصداً أن أميركا عادت الى أيام عزها وقدرتها على تقرير مسارات العالم، والذي يجري يقول إن أميركا عادت فقط إلى الاتفاق النووي، وإن طريق العودة ليس على هواها ومقاس رئيسها، الذي يكتشف كل يوم محدودية خياراته وصعوبة التصرّف بما تمليه موازين القوة التي لم تعد لصالح دولته في العالم، بالتوازي مع حفظ ماء الوجه وادعاء التفوق والقدرة على رسم المسارات، وتظهير التراجع بصورة الإملاء من فوق. فالزمن تغير والمعادلات تغيّرت، والخيارات محدودة، وحال الإنكار لن تنفع، فتجرّع الكأس المرة دفعة واحدة أقل مرارة.

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Biden Seeks to Sideline Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Biden Seeks to Sideline Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner- The Guardian

The Biden administration has said it expects Saudi Arabia to “change its approach” to the US and signaled that it wants to minimize any direct contact between the president and the country’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The stance marks an abrupt change compared with the Trump administration, which showered the young heir with attention and praise. It comes as intelligence officials are preparing to release – possibly as early as next week – a declassified report to Congress that will describe its assessment of the crown prince’s alleged culpability in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the US-based Washington Post journalist who was killed by Saudi officials in 2018.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, this week said Joe Biden intended to “recalibrate” the US relationship with Saudi Arabia, and considered King Salman – not Prince Mohammed – to be his counterpart. While the designation might technically be true, the 35-year-old prince is widely seen as running Saudi Arabia and has direct relations with other foreign leaders.

In Washington, the question now is whether the latest remark merely represented a symbolic snub, or whether it was more significant, and suggested the US was trying to exert pressure on the king to change the line of succession and demote Prince Mohammed.

In response to a question about whether the administration was seeking to press for such a change, a state department spokesperson said Saudi Arabia was a key partner on “many priorities” but that the partnership needed to “reflect and be respectful of the values and interests the US brings to that partnership”.

“The American people expect that US policy towards its strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia prioritizes the rule of law and respect for human rights. Accordingly, the United States will cooperate with Saudi Arabia where our priorities align and will not shy away from defending US interests and values where they do not,” the spokesperson said.

The person added: “President Biden has also said he would want to hear how Saudi Arabia intends to change its approach to work with the new US administration, and we look forward to those discussions to shape the future of our relationship.”

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said Biden was sending a clear message to the Saudi royal family that as long as “MBS” – as the crown prince is known – was in the line of succession, Saudi Arabia would be treated “as a pariah”.

“I don’t know what the administration is thinking but the best outcome would be [for Saudi Arabia] to remove him. He can retire to his chateaeu in France,” Riedel said.

Other analysts said it was more likely the administration was seeking to demote and de-emphasize the relationship, even as it has made clear that it has a partnership with the kingdom. Biden used his first foreign policy speech to announce that the US would end support of the Saudi-led offensive campaign in Yemen, and was ending sales of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in the conflict. At the same time, the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has said it “remains committed to bolstering Saudi Arabia’s defenses”.

Michele Dunne, the director of the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East program, said it appeared that the Biden administration was seeking to send several signals at the same time: that it wants to end US complicity in the Yemen war; wants to pursue an agreement with Iran; and believes there is a legitimate need for Saudi to defend its borders.

“There may also be a new signal now that the new administration is not invested in MBS. Whether that means they are hoping to use US influence to suggest a change in succession, I don’t know. They may be seeking to distance themselves a bit,” Dunne said.

She added that the Biden administration’s concerns probably went far beyond the US intelligence assessment that Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered Khashoggi’s murder.

“The whole world has a problem on its hands when it comes to MBS ascending to the throne because we have all seen how reckless and brutal he is,” Dunne said.

Biden’s approach appears to be roiling Prince Mohammed’s inner circle.

In a comment to Politico, the Saudi businessman Ali Shihabi, who is close to the royal family, pointed out that King Salman was “functioning but very old”.

“He’s very much chairman of the board. He’s not involved in day-to-day issues. Eventually, they’re going to want to be talking directly to MBS,” he said.

Seth Binder, who works in advocacy at Pomed (Project on Middle East Democracy) said he did not believe Prince Mohammed was being particularly singled out by Biden, who had so far decided not to contact many of the region’s leaders. Biden spoke to “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

“Ultimately the distinction they are trying to make is that MBS is one individual and not the whole country, which is contrary to the image MBS himself tries to portray. The idea that [Prince Mohammed] is a reformer who is bringing Saudi Arabia into a new age, it just isn’t true,” Binder said. “While the US might work with autocratic countries, it needs to distinguish between the rulers and the country itself. So its engagement with Saudi Arabia going forward should continue to do this.”

The formation of a government… Between the U.S. veto and the domestic complications تشكيل الحكومة…بين الفيتو الأميركي والعقد المحلية

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

The formation of a government… Between the U.S. veto and the domestic complications

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Hassan Hardan

The correct description of the continuing crisis of the formation of the Lebanese government is that we are still in the process of cutting time, waiting to overcome two fundamental obstacles, external and internal:

First, the foreign obstacle comes first, and is embodied in the U.S. veto, which was put by Washington in the era of former President Donald Trump, after pushing the consensus government headed by President Hariri to resign following the outbreak of protests Of October 17, 2019, and this U.S. veto, requires the lifting of the financial blockade imposed by Washington on Lebanon, by forming a government of independent specialists, a recipe aimed at excluding Hezbollah and its allies , and bringing in ministers who are American, ready to implement U.S. conditions and dictates, to borrow from the International Monetary Fund, or to agree on the sea and land borders between Lebanon and occupied Palestine in order to achieve Zionist ambitions. What made the U.S. veto become an obstacle to the formation of the government is the March 14 group’s acquiescence to U.S. requests and its work with the NGOs groups to try to impose a fait accompli government that meets U.S. conditions.

In this context, it is possible to put what President Saad Hariri said yesterday about his call for a government that satisfies some Arab countries and the West … that is, he calls for a government formation that takes into account the requests of Washington and Riyadh in the first place, which makes it impossible to achieve this in light of the local balance of power that prevented success The American coup plan …

If the new U.S. administration under President Joe Biden is convinced of the futility of this policy, that it has not achieved its desired goals, and that its continuation has become futile… Then it can only be said that the external obstacle has eased … and Paris shall activate its initiative with some modifications.

Secondly, the internal obstacle, which comes in second place, and it practically has two dimensions: the first, linked to the external obstacle, i.e. the U.S. veto, it disappears once the aforementioned veto on the participation of Hezbollah and its allies in the government.

The second dimension is local, and is related to the conflict between the Lebanese parties, over representation ratios and the distribution of portfolios, especially the sovereign and the service ones.

This knot was usually overcome through rounding the corners to satisfy all parties, that would end with the birth of the government.

What is happening today is that we are still in a phase of ambiguity regarding whether the Biden administration decided to lift the US veto or not, and that is why we are witnessing the continuation of the local knot.

From here, the practical transition to find solutions to the local knot awaits the overcoming of the American knot .. In the meantime, political conflict and accusations about who bears responsibility for obstructing forming the government will remain the master of the situation ..

However, the responsibility here lies primarily with the president in charge of implementing the Constitution and respecting the sizes of the parliamentary blocs. Because the formation of governments, after the Taif Agreement, was closely linked to the agreement between the President of the Republic and the President-designate on the proposed government formation on the one hand, and respect for for the real representation of the parliamentary blocs on the other.

Therefore, it can be said that President Hariri’s insistence on forming an independent government that satisfies the outside falls within one of two possibilities:

The first possibility is the continued US-Saudi pressure to try to exploit the aggravating economic and social suffering resulting from tightening the imposed blockade and linking the provision of any foreign aid to the formation of a government that responds to American conditions.

The second possibility, Prime Minister Hariri perceived a sign of a change in the American position, and thus his endeavor at the last minute to try to improve his conditions by forming a government in which he obtains a balanced share that exceeds the size of his representative representation, because this government will have financial support from abroad, which will achieve a breakthrough that alleviates the severity of the worsening crisis. On the one hand, it will supervise the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections on the other hand …

تشكيل الحكومة…بين الفيتو الأميركي والعقد المحلية

حسن حردان

التوصيف الصحيح لاستمرار أزمة تشكيل الحكومة اللبنانية، هو أننا لا نزال في مرحلة تقطيع الوقت بانتظار تذليل عقبتين أساسيتين، خارجية، وداخلية:

أولاً، العقبة الخارجية، تأتي في المرتبة الأولى، وتتجسّد بالفيتو الأميركي، الذي وضعته واشنطن في مرحلة حكم الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب، على اثر دفع حكومة التوافق برئاسة الرئيس الحريري إلى الاستقالة عقب اندلاع احتجاجات 17 تشرين الأوّل عام 2019، وهذا الفيتو الأميركي، يشترط رفع الحصار المالي الذي فرضته واشنطن على لبنان، بتشكيل حكومة اختصاصيين مستقلين، وهي وصفة هدفت إلى إقصاء حزب الله وحلفائه عن السلطة التنفيذية، والإتيان بوزراء هواهم أميركي، ومستعدين لتنفيذ الشروط والإملاءات الأميركية، انْ لناحية الاقتراض من صندوق النقد الدولي، أو لناحية الاتفاق على تحديد الحدود البحرية والبرية بين لبنان وفلسطين المحتلة بما يحقق الأطماع الصهيونية.. وما جعل الفيتو الأميركي يتحوّل إلى عقبة أمام تشكيل الحكومة، هو رضوخ فريق 14 آذار للطلبات الأميركية وعمله مع مجموعات الأنجيؤز على محاولة فرض حكومة أمر واقع تلبّي الشروط الأميركية.. وفي هذا السياق يمكن وضع ما قاله بالأمس الرئيس سعد الحريري حول دعوته لحكومة ترضي بعض الدول العربية، والغرب… أيّ أنه يدعو الى تشكيلة حكومية تأخذ بالاعتبار طلبات واشنطن والرياض بالدرجة الأولى، ما يجعل من المستحيل تحقيق ذلك في ظلّ موازين القوى المحلية التي حالت دون نجاح خطة الانقلاب الأميركية…

إذا اقتنعت الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة برئاسة الرئيس جو بايدن بعقم هذه السياسة، وأنها لم تؤدّ إلى تحقيق الأهداف المرجوة منها، وان استمرارها أصبح غير مجدي… عندها يمكن فقط القول إنّ العقبة الخارجية قد ذلّلت من أمام تشكيل الحكومة بشروط لبنانية داخلية.. وسنجد باريس نشطت على خط تفعيل مبادرتها مع بعض التعديلات.

ثانياً، العقبة الداخلية، التي تأتي في المرتبة الثانية، وهي عملياً لها بعدان: بعد أول، مرتبط بالعقبة الخارجية، ايّ الفيتو الأميركي، تزول بمجرد رفع الفيتو المذكور على مشاركة حزب الله وحلفائه في السلطة التنفيذية..

وبعد ثاني، محلي، وله علاقة بالتجاذب بين الأطراف اللبنانية، حول نسب التمثيل وتوزيع الحقائب وخصوصاً السيادية والخدماتية منها..

هذه العقدة عادة ما كان يجري تذليلها من خلال عملية تدوير للزوايا ترضي جميع الأطراف، وتنتهي بإعلان الاتفاق وولادة الحكومة..

ما يحصل اليوم هو أننا لا زلنا في مرحلة عدم الوضوح لناحية ما إذا كانت إدارة بايدن قرّرت رفع الفيتو الأميركي أما لا، ولهذا نشهد استمرار العقدة المحلية.

من هنا فإنّ الانتقال العملي لإيجاد الحلول للعقدة المحلية، ينتظر تذليل العقدة الأميركية.. وفي هذه الاثناء فإنّ التجاذب السياسي وتقاذف الاتهامات حول من يتحمّل مسؤولية إعاقة الاتفاق على تأليف الحكومة سيبقى سيد الموقف… على أنّ المسؤولية هنا تقع بالدرجة الأولى على الرئيس المكلف المعني الأول بتطبيق الدستور واحترام أحجام الكتل النيابية.. لأنّ تشكيل الحكومات، بعد اتفاق الطائف، ارتبط ارتباطاً وثيقاً بالاتفاق بين رئيس الجمهورية والرئيس المكلف على التشكيلة الحكومية المقترحة من جهة، واحترام التمثيل الحقيقي للكتل النيابية من جهة أخرى..

لذلك يمكن القول، انّ إصرار الرئيس الحريري على تشكيل حكومة مستقلين ترضي الخارج، يندرج في إطار واحد من احتمالين:

الاحتمال الأول، استمرار الضغط الأميركي السعودي لمحاولة استغلال المعاناة الاقتصادية والاجتماعية المتفاقمة، والناتجة عن تشديد الحصار المفروض، وربط تقديم ايّ مساعدات خارجية، بتأليف حكومة تستجيب للشروط الأميركية..

الاحتمال الثاني، تلمّس الرئيس الحريري، إشارة بتبدّل الموقف الأميركي، وبالتالي سعيه في اللحظة الأخيرة إلى محاولة تحسين شروطه بتشكيل حكومة يحصل فيها على حصة وازنة تفوق حجم تمثيله النيابي، لكون هذه الحكومة ستحظى بدعم مالي من الخارج، ما يحقق انفراجاً يخفف من حدة الأزمة المتفاقمة من ناحية، وستتولى الإشراف على الانتخابات النيابية والرئاسية المقبلة من ناحية ثانية…

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The Wrath Of The Houthis

South Front

You can read this article in German. LINK

The sick man of Arabian Peninsula, the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, continues to suffer from its shortfall policies and the lack of any significant support from its Israeli and US friends in the war in Yemen.

On February 11, the Houthis announced that they had launched a ballistic missile at King Khalid Air Base in the southern part of the Kingdom. Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari said that the ballistic missile landed inside the air base, which is located near the city of Khamis Mushait in southern ‘Asir. According to the spokesman of the Houthi-led forces, they employed a “new ballistic missile,” which was not deployed before.

The strike was described as a retaliatory move to the aggression and siege imposed on Yemen.

From its side, the Saudi-led coalition claimed that its air-defense forces had intercepted the Houthis’ ballistic missile. According to the coalition, the Houthis launched the ballistic missile from the northern Yemeni province of Saada to target “civilians and civilian objects” in Khamis Mushait.

A day earlier, the Houthis launched four suicide drones at Abha International Airport in ‘Asir. The coalition air-defense forces intercepted two of them, while two others hit the airport.

The Houthis said that they used two Samad-3 and two Qasef-2K suicide drones, which were aimed at ‘military aircraft’ deployed at the airport. In own turn, the Saudi-led coalition called this attack an act of terror and said that a civilian airliner was damaged.

Saudi media accounts shared photos showing a damaged Airbus A320-214 plane of Flyadeal, a local Saudi carrier, at Abha International Airport after the attack.

The ongoing exchange of strikes between the Kingdom and the Houthis, Saudi sources prefer to ignore the fact of daily air strikes on civilian targets in Yemen, highlight the lack of any progress in peace talks to settle the conflict. Furthermore, with every month, the chances of Saudi Arabia to take an upper hand in the conflict decrease as its proxies lose more and more ground on the ground.

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Tim Anderson: US and Israeli involvement in the war on Yemen

How Saudi Arabia Gets Away with Murder

How Saudi Arabia Gets Away with Murder

By Steven Cook – Foreign Policy

On Wednesday, the Saudis opened their annual confab in Riyadh, officially called the Future Investment Initiative but widely referred to as “Davos in the Desert.” That nickname had always annoyed the people who run the World Economic Forum and its signature event in Davos, Switzerland, because they—like most of the rest of the world that is concerned about protecting their brand—haven’t wanted much to do with Saudi Arabia and its crown prince in recent years.

That trend may be coming to an end, however. Increasingly, things are back to business as usual in Riyadh. A veritable A-list of Wall Street and private equity titans flew in for the event this week. Gone are the days when the leaders of the financial services industry stayed away, fearing the reputational costs of becoming associated with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. The remains of the journalist and onetime courtier to Saudi power centers have yet to be found. But investors have now decided there are deals to be done.

They are making a bet that the stated commitment by human rights organizations, journalists, and a relatively bipartisan group of US lawmakers to hold Saudi Arabia accountable doesn’t amount to much—and they may be right.

There is a general expectation in Washington that the Saudis are going to have a rough time with the new Biden administration. During the presidential campaign, Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris vowed that they would “reassess our [America’s] relationship with the kingdom, end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and make sure America does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil.” After being sworn in as president earlier this month, Biden made good on that promise when he froze—at least temporarily—arms sales to Saudi Arabia that his predecessor approved.

Saudi Arabia is a problematic ally. In the last five years, its crown prince launched a futile military campaign in Yemen that has killed and injured tens of thousands of people, oversaw the hit team that dismembered Khashoggi, presided over the arrests and abuse of reformers, and led an international embargo of Qatar [which is also a not a model ally, but it is a critical security partner for the United States]. There are also lingering questions about Saudi Arabia and the role of its citizens in the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001. As much as the Saudis want Americans to forget, there were 15 young Saudi men on those planes, not Qataris.

It is true that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has overseen important social changes in Saudi Arabia that have improved the lives of his citizens, but that does not diminish the entirely reasonable desire to hold the Saudis accountable for his many transgressions. Doing so may be harder than it seems, however.

There was never a chance that the global business community was going to write off Saudi Arabia. Sure, CEOs stayed away for a while, but even at the height of the outrage over Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder, Saudi Arabia remained a place where people believed they could make money. And since that is the sine qua non of financiers, consultants, and oil companies—and firms that provide all kinds of services—Mohammed bin Salman was forced to spend some time in the penalty box, but he was never made the international pariah some hoped he would become. Yes, the Saudis have a range of economic problems, the wisdom of vanity projects like the would-be high-tech city of Neom escape most people who look at them, and Riyadh’s efforts to restructure its labor market and establish the institutions of a market economy are enormous and difficult tasks—but the Saudis still have the biggest economy in the Middle East, which makes it an attractive partner to those who showed up in Riyadh for the Future Investment Initiative.

There is an argument to be made that just because business leaders want to consort with the Saudis that does not mean that the US government is obligated to do the same. That’s true enough—but that’s not to say Washington is simply free to do whatever it likes. It faces the constraints of geopolitics. At the same time that leaders of industry were rubbing shoulders in Riyadh, the US military was beefing up its presence in Saudi Arabia just in case there is conflict with Iran. US military planners see Saudi Arabia as an important partner in Iran policy. That includes the potential Iran policies under consideration by the Biden administration, whether they involve rejoining the 2015 nuclear agreement or negotiating a new deal. To make either work, the administration is going to need Riyadh to support the deal, which means that American negotiators are going to have to be sensitive to Saudi concerns.

Related to Iran and the geopolitics of the region is the war in Yemen. The Saudi assault on its neighbor to the south, which began in 2015, accomplished everything the intervention was supposed to prevent. As a result of Riyadh’s poorly thought-out and poorly executed military operations, the Iranians now actually do have a relationship with Ansarullah, and Saudi Arabia is less secure. The war is unwinnable, and the Saudis need to get out. What remains to be seen is whether they can do so without US help. The Saudis would no doubt like that help in the form of enhanced border security, including weapons systems.

This is going to be a tough decision for the administration given the strong strain of animus toward the Saudis in Washington and the Biden-Harris team’s own stated policy to “reassess” America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. One argument they might respond with is: Screw them. Let them figure out how to get out of their own quagmire. That is understandable, but it’s not wise. It is in America’s interest both for the Saudis to get out of Yemen and for them to maintain good ties with Washington. Like it or not, Saudi Arabia is Washington’s primary interlocutor in the region, and an American deal with Iran is going to have to run at least partway through Yemen.

But should the United States cut the Saudis off from what they seem to love most about America—its fancy weapons systems? This is no longer in the realm of theoretical. The Biden administration’s ongoing review of Saudi Arabia will assess how it uses American weapons, specifically how many civilians it has killed and maimed in the process. Given the damage inflicted by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, such a reckoning is appropriate. But even if it allows Americans to take further steps to end their complicity in Saudi Arabia’s Yemen debacle, one should also acknowledge that it will not end that war.

Lost in all the discussions about “accountability” is the problem of defining what it would actually look like. Do Saudi Arabia’s critics want to see the crown prince replaced or in the dock? The United States is not going to determine Saudi Arabia’s leader. Even if the US intelligence community releases what it knows about the murder of Khashoggi—as the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, has demanded, and as the new director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, committed she would do in her written response to questions from senators during her confirmation hearings—Mohammed bin Salman will be the crown prince the next day and the day after that and the day after that, and so on. No doubt it would cause an international uproar, forcing those currently attending Davos in the Desert to stay away for a few years or maybe more. But they will find their way back to Saudi Arabia so long as they calculate that doing so is still good for business.

Also missing in the chatter about accountability are the potential consequences of imposing it. This isn’t to dismiss the idea of calling out the Saudis and refusing to sell them weapons out of hand but rather a plea to weigh the costs and benefits of such an approach. The Saudis may prove unwilling to work with the United States on a new nuclear deal with Iran or even try to undermine an agreement. Riyadh may feel encouraged to drift toward Washington’s competitors. Folks in Washington might dismiss that as idle threats, but the Chinese have a lot to offer, and the Russians are particularly good at taking advantage of stress between the United States and its traditional partners in the region. At the very least, tighter ties between the Saudis, Chinese, and Russians can make things harder for the United States, especially since great-power competition is now alleged to be the framework for American foreign policy.

Then again, US policymakers may not care about the downside risks of holding the Saudis accountable. Energy resources from the Persian Gulf are still important to the United States, but not like they once were, diminishing the urgency long attached to the Middle East and importance of close ties with countries like Saudi Arabia. The stakes may no longer be so high, giving the Biden team more room to maneuver. It just seems that up until now few inside the Beltway have worked through what accountability means in a rigorous way. That is unfortunate, because foreign policy by exhortation is likely to fail.

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Do You Read What They Write? Unstated Policies of Trump in Syria هل تقرأون ما يكتبون؟

ARABI SOURI 

James Jeffrey US - Trump policy against Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Russia

One of the facts that James Jeffrey, former envoy of Trump to Syria, reveals in his recent article is: “Turkey, the (Kurdish) SDF, and the armed terrorist opposition groups have worked hand in hand with the United States and Israel in Syria.”

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Bouthaina ShaabanPresident Assad Media Advisor and Arab thinker,she published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

After leaving his position as the US envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey showered us with interviews, statements, and articles, the most important of which was perhaps the article he published in Foreign Affairs on January 15th, 2021, with the title: “Biden Doesn’t Need a New Middle East Policy: The Trump Administration Got the Region Right.”

There is no doubt that this title is an important indication for readers of the direction of James Jeffrey’s discussion and views in the (Arab World) region and the humanitarian catastrophes that befell it as a result of his government’s criminal policies of terrorism, siege, and sanctions.

What is striking in the article are two things: the misleading language, which needs translation, even in the English language, in order to reach the true intended meaning, which the words try to obscure, and the outdated content that was spelled out by events and revealed its falsehood.

Jeffrey says: ‘The goal of the United States’ policy in the Trump administration was to contain Iran and Russia, get rid of the small wars in Iraq and Syria, and hand over the task to our partners in the two countries, but some of his advisers wanted the United States to remain engaged in Syria and Iraq to contain Iran.’

Jeffrey also affirms: “Trump supported Israel and Turkey in Syria and that he would rely primarily on the Gulf states, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel to stand up to Tehran,” and admits that “Trump’s main goal in Syria was to fight the Syrian state and not fight ISIS and in order to achieve these goals the Trump administration ignored the actions of important partners inside their countries, including Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, despite the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Trump administration’s public support for Israel was also a real change in US policy regarding the Golan, Jerusalem, and Western Sahara in order to ripen and bring out the Abraham Accords which are important to Israel.”

Jeffrey says: “Trump’s primary goal in containing Iran is to limit its presence in the region because Trump saw Iran as a regional threat to Israel and considered all other files, including the nuclear file, less important than this Iranian expansion in the region that threatens Israel. Regarding Syria, Trump’s policy has depended on two factors: the attempt to get rid of Assad through armed opposition and terrorism, destroy the infrastructure, impose sieges and sanctions to stifle the economy; and the second factor is reaching a political settlement through the United Nations and this depends on removing Iran from the Syrian and Iraqi equation.

Of course, he describes the plunder of Syrian oil, wheat, and resources: “The Trump administration deprived the Syrian government and its supporters of these resources (to incite the population against their government),” while the Trump administration committed a described criminal theft of the resources of the Syrian people that is no different from its destruction of the country’s resources and capabilities.

But one of the facts that Jeffrey reveals in this article is: “Turkey, the (Kurdish) SDF, and the armed terrorist opposition groups have worked hand in hand with the United States and Israel in Syria.” In other words, the Turkish Kurdish rivalries they claim in northeastern Syria are rivalries over what they plunder, and not on the method and goal of their disgraceful actions. He also reveals that the Israeli attacks on Syria received aid from American intelligence sources and that everything that affects the Syrian people in terms of aggression, murder, and terrorism The impoverishment and theft of resources and the deprivation of fuel, food, and medicine was coordinated between the Trump administration, Israel, Turkey and those who call themselves opposition inside or outside the country, whether armed or unarmed.

In other words, the goal of all that the enemies did was to undermine the Syrian state, weaken it and confiscate its independent decision, and that this war of attrition would continue because it was the only one that was effective against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and that the killing of Qassem Soleimani in Iraq was retaliation against the Iraqi forces that support Tehran and stand hostile to the United States.

What the reader concludes from the outcome of James Jeffrey’s writing and statements is the same that was published by the Israeli National Security Research Center two years ago, which is that the war on Syria has produced a resistance axis from Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Hezb Allah and that the first priority must be focused on striking and dismantling this axis, which is considered an existential threat to “Israel” in the first degree. With a careful look at all the above, it is not difficult to question those who are directing hostility to Iran in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and about the goals that they hope to achieve. It is clear that these are goals in the interest of who targets all of us in this region.

It is not difficult to re-read calls under ethnic or racial banners, as the only name Jeffrey gives to these, including the armed opposition and affiliated with Turkey or the Gulf, calls them: “our partners in the region” who complete the role we play there.

For a long time, I have been calling for us to read what they write and to fight back their ideas and plans wherever possible, but unfortunately, we overlook what they reveal and find ourselves in the midst of facing their plans and do not tire of saying that we were surprised or taken by surprise, while if we were following what they write and what they publish we would be able to extrapolate part of the events that were orchestrated for us, and perhaps we would have taken some measures that mitigate the effects of their crimes against us.

Even though people were stunned by the events of what they called the “Arab Spring” from Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, and Syria, I wrote more than once that the research they conducted on the region in 1997 concluded with a very important paper entitled: “Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” It describes in detail the tools and mechanisms that were adopted in the events of the Arab Spring and in all Arab countries, but we may not have read, and if we read, we did not take protective steps against the plans they draw and the mechanisms they define to achieve their goals in the region.

It is true that Western media is subject to major companies owned by the Zionists, but in the era of metaphorical media and social media, there are capabilities available to make our voice heard, to put our point of view, to deny their gossip, and impose our vision.

What is important in this regard is monitoring the inside, not just the outside, because their plans and scenarios depend on their agents and their tools within countries and not only on the few thousand soldiers they send here and there.

In this regard, it is necessary to be firm in dealing with proposals that are in the interest of the enemies and not to tolerate doubts about friends and allies because the front is one and the battle is one. It is clear from all the statements made by James Jeffrey, Rayburn, and all those to whom the files of this region were assigned, that their planning and thinking includes all our allies, and they have no difference between those who resist them in Baghdad, Tehran, Damascus or Beirut, they ignore all the minor issues in order to undermine this solidarity and alliance, which they see as a major threat to their interests in the region, especially to the usurping entity (Isreal) that belongs to them.

And before Trump’s departure, he placed Israel as a member of the joint forces responsible for the Middle East region, and this predicts stronger future alliances between it and Turkey and the (Kurdish) SDF in Syria, and between all the forces opposing the axis of resistance in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

What we have read and interpreted reveals a sample only for what they are doing that the targeting of national figures and resistance paths by some groupings is not spontaneous or arbitrary, but is part of a plan to serve the enemies and harm our countries, our friends and our allies.

Today the battle is no longer only on the borders but has become inside our country, in every institution and specialization, and in every aspect of thought, action, and evaluation, and throughout history, enemies of the interior, traitors, and insurgents have been more dangerous to national issues and goals than the enemies of the outside.

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هل تقرأون ما يكتبون؟

بثينة شعبان

بثينة شعبان 

إحدى الحقائق التي يكشف عنها جيمس جيفري في مقاله الأخير هي: “أن تركيا وقسد والمعارضات الإرهابية المسلحة عملوا يداً بيد مع الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل في سوريا”.

بعد مغادرته منصبه كمبعوث أميركي إلى سوريا أتحفنا جيمس جيفري بمقابلات وتصريحات ومقالات كان أهمها ربما المقال الذي نشره في مجلة “الشؤون الخارجية” (فورين أفيرز) بتاريخ 15 كانون الثاني/يناير9 2021 وبعنوان: “لا يحتاج بايدن إلى سياسة شرق أوسطية: إدارة ترامب وضعت المنطقة على السكة”.

ولا شك أن هذا العنوان مؤشر هام للقراء عن توجهات نقاش جيمس جيفري وآرائه في المنطقة، وما حلّ بها من كوارث إنسانية بسبب سياسات حكومته الإجرامية من الإرهاب والحصار والعقوبات.

واللافت في المقال أمران: اللغة المضلّلة والتي تحتاج إلى ترجمة، حتى باللغة الإنكليزية، لتصل إلى المعنى الحقيقي المقصود والذي تحاول الألفاظ التعمية عليه، والمضمون الذي تجاوزه الزمن والذي لفظته الأحداث وكشفت زيفه.

يقول جيفري: “إن هدف سياسة الولايات المتحدة في إدارة ترامب كان احتواء إيران وروسيا والتخّلص من الحروب الصغيرة في العراق وسوريا وتسليم المهمة لعملائنا في البلدين، ولكن بعض مستشاريه رغبوا أن تبقى الولايات المتحدة منخرطة في سوريا والعراق لاحتواء إيران”.

كما يؤكد جيفري: “أن ترامب دعم إسرائيل وتركيا في سوريا وأن اعتماده الأساسي كان على دول الخليج والأردن والعراق وإسرائيل للوقوف في وجه طهران”، ويعترف بأن “هدف ترامب الأساسي في سوريا كان محاربة الدولة السورية وليس محاربة داعش، ومن أجل إحراز هذه الأهداف فقد تجاهلت إدارة ترامب تصرفات الشركاء المهمين داخل بلادهم، بمن فيهم مصر وتركيا والسعودية رغم مقتل الصحفي جمال خاشقجي. كما كان الدعم العلني لإدارة ترامب لإسرائيل تغييراً حقيقياً في سياسة الولايات المتحدة بالنسبة للجولان والقدس والصحراء الغربية من أجل إنضاج وإخراج اتفاقات إبراهيم المهمة لإسرائيل”.

يقول جيفري: “إن هدف ترامب الأساسي من احتواء إيران هو الحدّ من وجودها في المنطقة لأن ترامب رأى إيران كخطر إقليمي على إسرائيل واعتبر كلّ الملفات الأخرى بما فيها الملف النووي أقلّ أهمية من هذا التمدّد الإيراني في المنطقة المهدّد لإسرائيل. أما بالنسبة لسوريا فقد اعتمدت سياسة ترامب على عاملين: محاولة التخلص من الأسد بواسطة المعارضة المسلحة والإرهاب وتدمير البنى التحتية وفرض الحصار والعقوبات لخنق الاقتصاد، والعامل الثاني التوصل إلى تسوية سياسية من خلال الأمم المتحدة وهذا يعتمد على إخراج إيران من المعادلة السورية والعراقية”.

وطبعاً يصف نهب النفط والقمح والموارد السورية: “بأن إدارة ترامب حرمت الحكومة السورية ومؤيديها من هذه الموارد (لتأليب السكان ضدّ حكومتهم)”، بينما ارتكبت إدارة ترامب سرقة إجرامية موصوفة لموارد الشعب السوري لا تختلف أبداً عن تدميرها لموارد البلاد ومقدراتها.

ولكنّ إحدى الحقائق التي يكشف عنها جيفري في هذا المقال هي: “أن تركيا وقسد والمعارضات الإرهابية المسلحة عملوا يداً بيد مع الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل في سوريا”؛ أي أن ما يدّعونه من خصومات كردية تركية في شمال شرق سوريا هي خصومات على ما ينهبون، وليس على طريقة وهدف أعمالهم المشينة، كما يكشف أيضاً أن الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية على سوريا تلقت العون من مصادر الاستخبارات الأميركية، وأن كل ما ينال الشعب السوري من عدوان وقتل وإرهاب وإفقار وسرقة موارد وحرمان من الوقود والغذاء والدواء كان منسّقاً بين إدارة ترامب وإسرائيل وتركيا ومن يسمون أنفسهم معارضات داخل أو خارج البلد مسلحة كانت أو غير مسلحة.

أي أن الهدف من كل ما قام به الأعداء هو النيل من الدولة السورية وإضعافها ومصادرة قرارها المستقل، وأن حرب الاستنزاف هذه ستستمر لأنها الوحيدة التي كانت ناجعة ضد السوفييت في أفغانستان، وأن قتل قاسم سليماني في العراق كان انتقاماً من القوى العراقية التي تؤيد طهران وتقف موقف العداء من الولايات المتحدة.

ما يستنتجه القارئ من حصيلة كتابة وتصريحات جيمس جيفري هو ذاته الذي نشره مركز أبحاث الأمن القومي الإسرائيلي منذ سنتين وهو أن الحرب على سوريا قد أنتجت محوراً مقاوماً من إيران والعراق وسوريا وحزب الله، وأن الأولوية الأولى يجب أن تنصّب على ضرب وتفكيك هذا المحور الذي يعتبر تهديداً وجودياً لـ “إسرائيل” في الدرجة الأولى. وفي نظرة متأنية لكلّ ما تقدّم ليس من الصعب أن نتساءل عن الذين يناصبون العداء لإيران في العراق وسوريا ولبنان وعن أهدافهم التي يرجون تحقيقها؛ إذ من الواضح أنها أهداف تصبّ في مصلحة من يستهدفنا جميعاً في هذه المنطقة.

وليس من الصعب أن نعيد قراءة مطالبات تحت عناوين إثنية أو عرقية، إذ أن الاسم الوحيد الذي يطلقه جيفري على هؤلاء بمن فيهم المعارضات المسلحة والتابعة لتركيا أو الخليج يسميهم: “عملاءنا في المنطقة” والذين يكملون الدور الذي نقوم به هناك. 

منذ زمن وأنا أدعو أن نقرأ ما يكتبون وأن نقارع أفكارهم وخططهم حيثما أمكن ذلك، ولكن وللأسف فإننا نغفل ما يكشفون عن أنفسهم ونجد أنفسنا في خضمّ مواجهة مخططاتهم ولا نتعب من أن نقول إننا فوجئنا أو أُخذنا على حين غرّة، بينما لو كنا نتابع ما يكتبون وما ينشرون لتمكنّا من استقراء جزءٍ من الأحداث التي تمّ تدبيرها لنا، ولاتّخذنا ربما بعض الإجراءات التي تخفف من آثار جرائمهم المرتبكة بحقنا.

فمع أن الناس بُهتت بأحداث ما أسموه بـ “الربيع العربي” من تونس إلى مصر وليبيا وسوريا، فقد كتبتُ أكثر من مرة أن الأبحاث التي أجروها عن المنطقة في العام 1997 والتي خلصت إلى ورقة هامة جداً بعنوان: “الاختراق النظيف؛ الاستراتيجية الجديدة للسيطرة على المكان” تصف بالتفصيل الأدوات والآليات التي تمّ اعتمادها في أحداث الربيع العربي وفي كافة الدول العربية، ولكننا ربما لم نقرأ، وإذا قرأنا لم نتخذ الخطوات الواقية من المخططات التي يرسمونها والآليات التي يحددونها لإنجاز أهدافهم في المنطقة.

صحيح أن الإعلام الغربي خاضع لشركات كبرى يملكها الصهاينة ولكن وفي عصر الإعلام المجازي ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي هناك إمكانات متاحة لإسماع صوتنا ولوضع وجهة نظرنا ولتكذيب أقاويلهم وفرض رؤيتنا نحن.

والمهم في هذا الصدد هو رصد الداخل وليس رصد الخارج فقط، لأن خططهم وسيناريواتهم تعتمد على عملائهم وأدواتهم داخل البلدان وليس فقط على بضعة آلاف من الجنود يرسلونها هنا وهناك.

وفي هذا الصدد لابدّ من الحزم في التعامل مع الطروحات التي تصبّ في مصلحة الأعداء وعدم التسامح بالتشكيك بالأصدقاء والحلفاء أو تناولهم لأن الجبهة واحدة والمعركة واحدة، ومن الواضح من كلّ ما أدلى به جيمس جيفري ورايبورن وكل الذين تُوكل إليهم ملفات هذه المنطقة، أن تخطيطهم وتفكيرهم يشمل كل الحلفاء، لا فرق لديهم بين من يقاومهم في بغداد أو طهران أو دمشق أو بيروت، وهم يتجاهلون كل المسائل الصغرى في سبيل النيل من هذا التعاضد والتحالف الذي يرون فيه خطراً كبيراً على مصالحهم في المنطقة وخاصة على الكيان الغاصب التابع لهم.

وقبل مغادرة ترامب وضع “إسرائيل” عضواً في القوات المشتركة المسؤولة عن منطقة الشرق الأوسط، وهذا ينبئ بتحالفات مستقبلية أقوى بينها وبين تركيا وقسد في سوريا، وبين كل القوى المناهضة لمحور المقاومة في إيران والعراق وسوريا ولبنان.

يكشف ما قرأناه وفنّدناه كنموذج فقط عمّا يقومون به أن التصويب داخل بلداننا على شخصيات وطنية وعلى مسارات مقاومة من قبل بعض التجمعات ليس عفوياً ولا اعتباطياً، ولكنه يندرج ضمن خطة خدمة الأعداء وإلحاق الأذى ببلداننا وأصدقائنا وحلفائنا.

لم تعد المعركة اليوم فقط على الحدود، بل أصبحت داخل بلدنا وفي كل مؤسسة واختصاص وفي كل مفصل من مفاصل الفكر والعمل والتقييم، وعبر التاريخ كان أعداء الداخل والخونة والمخترقون أشدّ خطورة على القضايا والأهداف الوطنية من أعداء الخارج. إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

How the FBI Created Domestic Terrorism: 80 Years of Psychological Warfare Revealed

Matthew Ehret

January 25, 2021

The “war on terror” is now expanding to target a broad spectrum of the American population who would be morally resistant to the sorts of anti-human policies demanded by Great Reset Technocrats, Matthew Ehret writes.

Since it has become increasingly evident that a vast extension of the Patriot Act will soon be unveiled that threatens to re-define “the war on terror” to include essentially anyone who disagrees with the governing neoliberal agenda, it is probably a good time to evaluate how and why terrorism – domestic or otherwise – has tended to arise over the past century.

If, in the course of conducting this evaluation, we find that terrorism is truly a “naturally occurring phenomenon”, then perhaps we might conclude alongside many eminent figures of the intelligence community and Big Tech, that new pre-emptive legislation targeting the rise of a new conservative-minded domestic terrorist movement is somehow necessary. Maybe the censoring of free speech, and the surveillance of millions of Americans by the Five Eyes is a necessary evil for the sake of the greater good.

However, if it is revealed that the thing we call “terrorism”, is something other than a naturally occurring, self-organized phenomenon, but rather something which only exists due to vast support from western political agencies, then a very different conclusion must be arrived at which may be disturbing for some.

But how to proceed?

Before it was revealed that ISIS was being supported by a network of Anglo-American intelligence agencies and their allies in a failed effort to overthrow Bashar al Assad, an exhaustive 2012 study was conducted by the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School. This study provides a convenient entry point to our inquiry.

In this course of its investigation, researchers at Fordham discovered that EVERY SINGLE ONE of the 138 terrorist incidents recorded in the USA between 2001-2012 involved FBI informants who played leading roles in planning out, supplying weapons, instructions and even recruiting Islamic terrorists to carry out terrorist acts on U.S. soil. Reporting on the Fordham study, The Nation reported on this scandal stating:

“Nearly every major post-9/11 terrorism-related prosecution has involved a sting operation, at the center of which is a government informant. In these cases, the informants—who work for money or are seeking leniency on criminal charges of their own—have crossed the line from merely observing potential criminal behavior to encouraging and assisting people to participate in plots that are largely scripted by the FBI itself. Under the FBI’s guiding hand, the informants provide the weapons, suggest the targets and even initiate the inflammatory political rhetoric that later elevates the charges to the level of terrorism.”

Of course, this trend preceded 9/11 itself as we see in the case of FBI informant Emad Salem (formerly associated with the Egyptian Military) who recorded hundreds of hours of conversation between himself and his FBI handlers which were reported publicly by the New York times on October 28, 1993. Why is this important? Because Emad Salem was the figure who rented the van, hotel rooms, provided bomb-making instruction, tested out explosives on behalf of Mohammed Salamah and 15 other terrorists who carried out the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing which injured 1000 and killed 6 people.

Even though several large-scale military war game scenarios were conducted between October 2000 and July 2001 featuring planes flying into both the World Trade Center buildings and Pentagon, the incoming Neocon administration were somehow caught with their pants down when the events of 9/11 finally took place (conveniently at a moment that NORAD had suffered a total breakdown of their continental warning and response systems). When all flights were grounded over the coming several days, Cheney and his PNAC cohorts ensured that the only flights permitted to leave the USA was crammed with high level Saudi royals- including the Bin Laden family.

Why was this done?

As the declassified 28 pages from the 9/11 Commission report went far to demonstrate, the Saudis- largely coordinated by Prince Bandar Bin Sultan (Saudi Ambassador to the USA from 1983-2005 and Bush family insider) had provided the foundation for a cover story that was carefully scripted to justify the 9/11 incident.

Whether the plot was hatched by CIA-Saudi sponsored terrorists as some assume, or whether it was a controlled demolition as hundreds of architects and engineers have testified to (or whether it was a combination of both stories), one thing is certain: The official narrative is a lie and no matter how you try to explain it, two airplanes cannot cause the collapse of three WTC buildings.

Another thing is certain: Biden was happy.

Not only did Joe Biden act as one of the most aggressive voices for the invasion of Iraq in the days following 9/11, but he even bragged publicly that John Ashcroft’s 2001 Patriot Act was modelled nearly verbatim on his own failed 1994 Omnibus domestic surveillance legislation drafted in response to the first 9/11 attack and 1994 Oklahoma City bombing.

Another important outcome of 9/11 involved the re-organization of the FBI with a focus on domestic terrorist surveillance, prevention, disruption and entrapment.

In 2001, MI5’s Chief came to the USA where then-FBI director Robert Mueller was assigned the task of carrying out this new remix of U.S. intelligence that involved re-activating many of the worst characteristics of the FBI’s earlier COINTEL PRO operations that were made public during the 1974 Church Committee hearings.

Christian Science Monitor report from May 19, 2004 cited the changes in the following terms:

“They have done a number of things to move them in the direction of an MI5,” says a person close to the changes. “They’ve created agents who are trained to have an intelligence function. They’re monitoring organizations within the U.S. that pose threats to national security … not with an eye toward prosecuting, but toward collecting and analyzing that information.”

An incredible report by investigative Journalist Edward Spannaus listed a short list of some of the most extreme cases of FBI entrapment between 2001-2013 in the USA:

“One of the most egregious of these cases is the so-called “Newburgh Four” in New York State, in which an informant in 2008-09 offered the defendants $250,000, as well as weapons, to carry out a terrorist plot. The New York University Center for Human Rights and Justice reviewed this case and two others, and concluded: “The government’s informants introduced and aggressively pushed ideas about violent jihad and, moreover, actually encouraged the defendants to believe it was their duty to take action against the United States.”

The Federal judge presiding over the Newburgh case, Colleen McMahon, declared that it was “beyond question that the government created the crime here,” and criticized the Bureau for sending informants “trolling among the citizens of a troubled community, offering very poor people money if they will play some role—any role—in criminal activity.”

In Portland, Ore., it was disclosed during the trial of the “Christmas Tree bomber” earlier this year, that the FBI had actually produced its own terrorist training video, which was shown to the defendant, depicting men with covered faces shooting guns and setting off bombs using a cell phone as a detonator. The FBI operative also traveled with the target to a remote location where they detonated an actual bomb concealed in a backpack as a trial run for the planned attack.

In Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2012, an FBI agent posing as an al-Qaeda operative supplied a target with fake explosives for a 1,000-pound bomb, which the FBI’s victim then attempted to detonate outside the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan.

In Irvine, Calif., in 2007, an FBI informant was so blatant in attempting to entrap members of the local Islamic Center into violent jihadi actions, that the mosque went to court and got a restraining order against the informant.

In Pittsburgh, Khalifa Ali al-Akili became so suspicious of two “jihadi” FBI informants who were trying to recruit him to buy a gun and to go to Pakistan for training, that he contacted both the London Guardian and the Washington-based National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, and told them that he feared the FBI was trying to entrap him. The National Coalition scheduled a press conference for March 16, 2012, at which al-Akili was to speak and identify the informants, but the day before the scheduled press conference, the FBI arrested al-Akili, charging him not with terrorism, but with illegal possession of a firearm.

The chief informant trying to entrap al-Akili turned out to be Shaden Hussain, a longtime FBI informant who had set up two earlier terrorism cases: the above-cited Newburgh, N.Y., case for which he was paid $100,000, and another in Albany, N.Y., for which his payments are not known.”

Not Only the USA

This post 9/11 practice was not isolated to the USA, as a Canadian appeals court overruled guilty sentences handed down to an idiotic couple who were caught by the RCMP before their July 2016 jihadi plot to bomb a public venue on Canada Day could occur. Why did the appeals judge overrule their sentence? Because it became clear that every single member of the operation which radicalized the young couple, trained them to make bombs and even scripted their attack were RCMP informants!

Earlier cases of controlled domestic terrorist movements in Canada saw CSIS (Canada’s Security and Intelligence Service) erase thousands of hours of wiretaps of Sikh terrorists that detonated bombs in 1984 which lead to 329 dead in the worst act of aviation terrorism until 9/11. Despite this destruction of evidence, CSIS was absolved of its sins in 2005 by the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC). It was also this same organization that was revealed to have co-founded the white supremacist Heritage Front in 1988, and continued to finance it with tax payer funds using CSIS agent Grant Bristol as the conduit and Heritage Front controller until at least 1994.

Anglo-Canadian intelligence controls of domestic terrorism actually go as far back as the bomb-loving Front de Liberation Quebec (FLQ) of the 1960s that set dozens of mailbox bombs across the province. Not only did the RCMP Security Services get caught red handed managing FLQ cells, spreading FLQ graffiti on buildings and even supplying explosives to the group itself, but the FLQ’s “intellectual leader” (Pierre Vallieres) was also the Editor-in-Chief of the very same magazine (Cite Libre) which was run for a decade by none other than Canada’s Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau!

When major press agencies blew the whistle on the federal intelligence agencies behind the FLQ which justified months of Martial Law in Quebec in 1970, Trudeau’s right hand man (and fellow Cite Libre writer) Michael Pitfield created a new organization called the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in 1983 as a branch of the Privy Council Office in order to continue psychological operations going under a new name.

If anyone wishes to look through the voluminous RCMP/CSIS files accumulated on Pierre Trudeau’s strange connections with the FLQ and broader Fabian Society networks during the Cold War, they would be out of luck as historians were informed in 2019 that the entire Trudeau record archive were secretly destroyed by CSIS in 1989 simply because they “weren’t interesting”.

It is important to keep in mind that the RCMP’s techniques were not specifically Canadian, but were innovated by the FBI’s Counter-intelligence Program (COINTEL PRO) which J. Edgar Hoover launched in 1956 in order to subvert “dangerous civil rights groups” then emerging under the leadership of Paul Robeson and Martin Luther King Jr. From the program’s inception until its nominal death in 1975, not only did the FBI infiltrate every anti-establishment grouping from the U.S. Communist Party (CPUSA), to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), NAACP to the Black nationalist movements throughout the 1960s, but ensured that its informants played leading roles in instilling internal conflict, radicalized groups towards violence and even set up leaders like Fred Hampton for assassination.

The strange case of Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers who enjoyed vast institutional support and protection after their time running domestic terrorism as leaders of the Weather Underground is something that should also be investigated. The fact that both domestic terrorists not only became affluent Soros-tied education reformers, and early sponsors of Barack Obama’s political career is more than just a tiny anomaly which can simply be dismissed. (1)

Where did Hoover’s FBI generate COINTEL PRO tactics?

To answer this question, we need to look further back to British Intelligence’s Camp X, established in December 1941 in Canada with the mandate to train American and Canadian spies under the control of spymaster William Stephenson (station chief for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in New York).

The motive for Camp X had two interconnected components:

1) Prepare the groundwork for a deeper integration of U.S.-British Intelligence in preparation for the purge of patriotic U.S. intelligence officers allied to FDR’s vision of the post-war age, and

2) Train U.S. spies in the art of “secret warfare” which included counterfeiting, psychological warfare, propaganda, counter insurgency, assassination, and infiltration of target groups.

The integration of “full spectrum” alternative warfare tactics such as MK Ultra (modelled and steered by Britain’s earlier Tavis stock clinic), media propaganda (see: Project Mockingbird) and cultural war (see: the rise of modern art and atonalism promoted by the Congress For Cultural Freedom) were but a few of the tactics that were integrated during this process, and which continue virulently to this day.

Under Stephenson’s direction and staffed with Canadian RCMP operatives, the first generation of OSS spymasters were trained; including leading figures of the FBI’s Division 5 who went onto reformulate their WWII Camp X training in the form of assassination operations such as Permindex (operated by Camp X’s Major General Louis Mortimer Bloomfield).

In Conclusion

While I could have said more about the origins of America’s Secret Police which arose under Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, or the earlier deployment of domestic terrorism by Freemasonic lodges affiliated with Albert Pike (founder of the Ku Klux Klan) in an effort to undo Lincoln’s vision for industrial restoration of the South, these stories will have to be left for another time.

For now, it is enough to state that the “war on terror” set into motion by the World Trade Center attacks of 1993 and 2001, is now expanding to target a broad spectrum of the American population who would be morally resistant to the sorts of anti-human policies demanded by Great Reset Technocrats. This dishonest effort must be exposed and rejected before those actual controllers of terrorism attain their objectives: The destruction of nation states, the imposition of a new ethical paradigm premised on depopulation and entropy.

GIDHR to Biden: Put an End to the War on Yemen

GIDHR to Biden: Put an End to the War on Yemen

By Staff, GIDHR.org

On the Global Day of Action for Yemen, the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights addressed US President Joe Biden urging him to put an end to the war on Yemen.

Dear President Joe Biden,

We, in the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights [GIDHR], are writing to you to offer our congratulations on your election.

We are, also, writing to bring to your attention the unprecedented crisis in Yemen due to the war launched by Saudi and Emirati led coalition.

Targeting civilians

The Saudi and Emirati led coalition directly target Yemeni residential neighborhoods, schools, markets, leaving civilian casualties, without being held responsible for their crimes. It is estimated that, until November 2020, more than 100,000 Yemenis [including thousands of children and women] were directly targeted and killed.

These attacks are blatant violations to the international law which guarantees protecting the lives of civilians and children during armed conflicts. They also amount to be described as war crimes, whose perpetrators and those who ordered the attacks should be prosecuted.

Imminent Catastrophe

The high levels of food insecurity and acute malnutrition which knock on the Yemenis’ doors are alarming, especially with the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. Many people lost their jobs what to lead to an increase in the population rate who lost the ability to secure their needs, and an increase in the rate of those who need humanitarian aid.

The designation of Houthis as a foreign terrorist organisation by the former US secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, raised the concerns of worsening the famine and the humanitarian conditions in the country.

In this context, Mark Lowcock, the director general of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, called for the decision to be reversed. He warned the UN that “the likely humanitarian impact of the US decision would be a large-scale famine on a scale that we have not seen for nearly 40 years.”

David Beasley, the UN food chief, described the situation as “literally a death sentence to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of innocent people, in Yemen”.

The systematic destruction of farms, fisheries, sewage, sanitation plants and much more had brought more suffering to the Yemeni people. UN reports estimate that two-thirds of Yemenis are already hungry and half of them do not know what their next meal is. Quarter the population suffer from malnutrition, ranging from moderate to severe, including more than two million children.

Blockade and siege

For nearly six years, Yemenis have been facing a blockade on all their ports, preventing humanitarian aid, food, medications, fuel, and any other goods from entering the country.

The blockade has been contributing to the humanitarian disaster which the Yemeni people are facing.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that 131,000 Yemenis have died from indirect causes such as lack of food, health services and infrastructure. All these causes are results of the Saudi and Emirati led war on Yemen, their direct targeting of civilians and the blockade they are enforcing, starving millions and killing tens thousands of Yemenis.

Recommendations:

We are aware of your statements to end US support for Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen. Hence, we urge you to:

  • End the US support of Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen as soon as possible.
  • Stop the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and United Arabic Emirates.
  • Pressure the international community and the coalition, especially Saudi Arabia and United Arabic Emirates, to end the blockade enforced on Yemeni ports.
  • Hold the perpetrators and the instigators of the war crimes committed against the Yemeni people accountable and refer them before fair trials.
  • Compensate the victims of this war.
  • Reconstruct Yemen.

Yours sincerely,

Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights [GIDHR]

ملامح السياسة الخارجيّة لإدارة بايدن

ناصر قنديل

إذا كان جو بايدن قد رفض الموافقة على حرب الخليج الأولى في زمن انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتيّ وذروة الشعور الأميركي بالقوة في عهد الرئيس جورج بوش الأب، ورفض الموافقة على حرب الخليج الثانية في ذروة الاندفاعة الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط مع حروب جورج بوش الإبن، بمثل ما عارض التدخل في ليبيا في ذروة المناخ الذي وضع التدخل في دائرة الدفاع عن حقوق الإنسان الذي أثاره الربيع العربي والتغطية التي وفرتها الجامعة العربية، فمن الطبيعي عدم توقع أن يتبنى بايدن لغة الحرب، في ظروف التراجع والضعف والانقسام والعزلة التي تحكم الحركة الأميركية، إلا بتوافر شروط مشابهة لحرب البلقان التي انتهت بزوال يوغوسلافيا الموحّدة عن الخريطة الأوروبية، والتي كانت الحرب الوحيدة التي أيّدها بايدن. وهذا الفارق بين بايدن وسواه لا يجوز أن تتم مقاربته من خلال اعتبار رؤساء الحرب أسوأ، ورؤساء المنهج الدبلوماسي أقل سوءاً، بل من خلال تفاوت المدارس الأميركية في مقاربة كيفية الفوز بمشروع الهيمنة، وهنا يستطيع بايدن الادعاء انه الأكثر من زملائه في الرئاسة، جمهوريين وديمقراطيين، خبرة في السياسة الخارجية وحدود القوة المنفردة في صناعتها، وفعالية الدبلوماسية في تحقيق الأفضل منها بأقل الخسائر والأكلاف، خصوصاً أن الفشل كان رفيقاً ملازماً لمنهج الحروب.

في ظل وضع داخلي شديد القسوة وتورط بأزمات دولية كبرى، تحتاج ادارة بايدن لترسيم أولويات السياسة الخارجية التي تتيح لها، منح الوضع الداخلي الاهتمام الرئيسي، والأولويات تقع ضمن ترسيخ المفهوم الذي يشكل أصل عقيدة بايدن في رسم السياسة الخارجية، ومضمونها أن السباق والتنافس والتحدّي، عناوين يمكن توفير فرص أفضل لخوضها من ضمن الانخراط في التفاهمات من توهّم خوضها عبر القطيعة والعدائية. وهذا مضمون وجوهر ما كتبه في مقالته التي نشرها في شهر آذار 2020 في مجلة الفورين أفيرز، وعنوان هذا المنهج الذي يتبنّاه بايدن هو اتهام دعاة التفرّد الأميركي بلغة القوة والعقوبات والعدائيّة، بجهل أهمية الدبلوماسية في تشكيل موازين القوى، ويسمّي انصار بايدن هذه العقيدة بإعادة الخصوم الى العلبة، اي علبة الاتفاقيات والتفاهمات، التي تعيد حشد الحلفاء في جبهة واحدة، خصوصاً ضمان وحدة الموقف الاميركي والأوروبي وتوفير فرص إحراج روسيا والصين لضمان إجماع دولي عبر الأمم المتحدة، والتحكم بمراقبة الخصوم وإرهاقهم بطلبات التقيد بالضوابط، وملاحقتهم في كل محاولة للخروج من العلبة. فالسباق والتنافس والتحدي، يتجسد سباق تسلح مع روسيا وتنافساً اقتصادياً مع الصين وتحدياً نووياً مع إيران. والحصيلة ان إيران اقرب لربح التحدي النووي إذا خرجت من العلبة وهي الاتفاق النووي. وروسيا أقرب لبلوغ تحديات عسكرية نوعية إذا خرجت من العلبة وهي اتفاقية ستارت، والصين أقرب لرسم سقوف تنافس قياسية اذا بقيت خارج العلبة وهي التطبيق الصارم لاتفاقية المناخ التي ترفع أكلاف الإنتاج وتقيد نسب النمو، وتفرض ضوابط على استهلاك الطاقة.

حدّد دانيال ر. ديبتريس الكاتب في “أولويات الدفاع” وكاتب العمود في “نيوزويك” 4 قضايا وصفها بأنها ذات أولوية في السياسة الخارجية الأميركية، ويجب على إدارة الرئيس جو بايدن إنجازها خلال 100 يوم الأولى من ولايته. وفصّل ديبتريس في مقال له في موقع «ناشونال إنترست» الأميركي في هذه القضايا قائلاً إنها تتضمن أولوية العودة لاتفاقية وقف سباق التسلح مع روسيا واتفاقية باريس للمناخ، والتهدئة مع إيران، والخروج من اليمن، وجدولة الانسحاب من افغانستان.

سيشكل ملف اليمن نقطة الانطلاق التي تمهد لرسم السياسة الأميركية في المنطقة، حيث بات محسوماً عزم بايدن على إلغاء تصنيف انصار الله على لائحة الإرهاب، رغم الاعتراض السعودي، وليس خافياً اللوم الأميركي على السعودية في استمرار الحرب في كل تصريحات فريق بايدن وفي طليعتهم وزير خارجيته طوني بلينكن ومستشاره للأمن القومي جايك سوليفان ومدير المخابرات وليم بيرينز، ودعوة السعودية للخروج العاجل من هذه الحرب، وبمثل ما سيشكل هذا التحرك الأميركي على جبهة اليمن رأس جسر لإعادة الثقة مع إيران، يمثل التمسك الذي يبديه بايدن وفريقه بموقع متميز للأكراد سبباً لتجاذب سيحكم المشهد الإقليمي في سورية والعراق ومع تركيا وإيران.

يخوض روبرت مالي المرشح الأبرز لتولي الملف الإيراني في فريق بايدن والصديق المقرب لتوني بلينكن في تفاصيل العودة للاتفاق النووي، مستعرضاً قضية مَن يعود أولاً، وقضية رفع العقوبات وطلب إيران للتعويضات، ووهم الحديث عن عزلة دولية تعيشها ايران، ليصل الى حتمية انطلاق ديناميكيّة دبلوماسية تنتهي بالعودة للاتفاق النووي والغاء العقوبات.

يعتقد بعض الخبراء الذين ينطلقون من عقيدة بايدن للانخراط الدبلوماسي بديلاً للتفرد والقوة والعقوبات، ان بايدن سيرسم ثوابت عامة لمقاربته لحل القضية الفلسطينية على قاعدة صيغة الدولتين من دون ان يتورط بمبادرات لإطلاق التفاوض، مكتفياً بتثبيت التحالف الاستراتيجي والدعم العسكري والمالي لـ”إسرائيل”، وتثبيت الانفتاح السياسي والمالي على السلطة الفلسطينية، بينما سيشكل السعي لتوسيع الدور المصريّ وإعادة إحياء الجامعة العربية بزعامة مصرية تستعيد سورية إليها، عنوان الرؤية الأميركية لخريطة المنطقة، لتشكل عامل توازن مع الدورين التركي والإيراني، والسعي لتخفيض منسوب التعاظم في محور المقاومة خصوصاً في سورية والعراق.

فيديوات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة

THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF MIDDLE EASTERN “DIPLOMACY”

South Front

26.01.2021 

In the Middle East, the proxy war between Israel and Iran is unfolding with full speed.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) targets various positions in Syria, allegedly damaging Iran’s interests. In return, Tehran’s allies and proxies target Israel’s allies throughout various positions in the Middle East.

On January 22nd, IDF warplanes struck targets in the vicinity of the city of Hama in central Syria. It was launched from Lebanese airspace, and at least seven missiles hit various targets.

Most of the missiles, however, were intercepted by Syrian defenses. Reportedly a civilian family was killed, as a project struck the heavily populated district of Kazo in Hama city.

It is unclear what specifically was targeted by the IDF, but it usually disregards reports of civilian casualties.

The missiles that were used in the attack turned out to be US-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), a type of smart bomb.

Following the strikes in Syria, five U.S. supply convoys were attacked in different parts of Iraq.

The first attack took place in the southern city of Nasiriyah, a third of the supplies was destroyed and a vehicle was damaged.

Two of the attacks happened in the central province of Babylon.

The remaining two attacks were carried out in al-Diwaniyah and near Abu Ghraib, west of the capital Baghdad.

There are reports of injuries, no deaths and some damage to equipment and supplies. Injuries were suffered by members of the US-led coalition in Iraq, and not just Iraqi contractors doing their job for a wage.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq – Ashab al-Kahf claimed responsibility for all five attacks and vowed to continue carrying them out.

Saudi Arabia, a behind-the-scenes ally of Israel, and a very open ally of the U.S. was also subject to an attack.

On January 23, Saudi defenses intercepted a missile or a drone attack over Riyadh. Social media users posted videos of what appeared to be an explosion in the air over the city.

The Houthis haven’t claimed responsibility of the attack, or commented on it. However, according to reports, Iran recently deployed advanced Shahed-136 suicide drones to the Ansar Allah movement in order to assist them in their fight against the Saudi-backed coalition.

On the previous day, Saudi Arabia reported that it had foiled an attempted attack by a booby-trapped boat, and another drone attack, but no evidence was provided apart from the claim.

The situation in the Middle East is in a sort of vicious cycle. Israel targets reported Iranian positions throughout Syria. Tehran then responds by targeting Israel’s allies through its proxies.

Neither of the sides directly targets each other, at least not yet. Tel Aviv has even vowed to carry out a strike on Iran’s nuclear program if the Biden Administration rejoins the Iran Nuclear Deal. In own turn, Iran seems to be rock-solid to retaliate.

Iran And Israel Are Gearing Up For A War

South Front

The Greater Middle East has been gearing up for a new war.

The Iranian parliament announced that it is preparing a draft resolution on a “defense and security treaty for the Axis of Resistance”. By signing the treaty with its allies, states and non-state actors alike, Iran will officially create its own NATO-styled military bloc in the face of the everyday growing chances of a direct military confrontation with the US-Israeli alliance.

The unofficial Axis of Resistance is, essentially, on its way to becoming a security-guaranteeing organization that will have a lot of success stories to claim.

In recent weeks, Iran’s allies and proxies have had significant success. A vivid example of this are Yemen’s Houthis. Additionally to advances on the ground, they vowed to develop, apparently with help from Iran, even more deterrence weapons to counter Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

They also pushed a base in Southern Yemen forcing the UAE forces to evacuate from it, as it said that the Saudi-UAE coalition cannot expect to stay safe as long as it is in Yemen. Such successes in the conditions of the strict naval, land and even air blockade stand a testament to the fact that some sort of higher-level organization is taking place behind the scenes.

Iran also improved its positions in Syria and Iraq, despite Israel and US attempts to stop its movements. Tehran expanded its intelligence capabilities near Jordan and Israel, while US supply convoys are being regularly blown up in Iraq.

On the wider, international front, there is hope for the Iran Nuclear Deal with Joe Biden in the White House. A full renewal is quite suspect, since Iran said that it was only possible after the lifting of every sanction, and it is still unclear if the new globalist rulership of the US is willing to go that far in attempting to de-escalate the situation.

Israel expects that it will not happen, as the IDF prepares to hold massive drills, simulating a multi-front war. Every branch of the military is planned to take part, and the forces will push both in the north and the south. The drill will simulate the “worst-case scenario” conflict.

The Israeli leadership does not hide that this is a message to Iran and its allies that an open war is not out of the question and Tel Aviv wishes to show its potential strength to deter any preemptive aggression.

Iran, however, is likely not discouraged, as the Trump Administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” apparently failed to achieve any of its strategic goals. During the past years Tehran’s position improved, and it is using the chance of re-inventing itself as an alternative center of power in the Middle East.

The core of the Axis of Resistance has been consolidated and gained new strength. The Iranian-led alliance, if it’s really created and successes in attracting at least a neutral stance towards it global players like China or Russia will likely shift the balance of power in the region, and potentially bring forth a cautious normalization of events. That remains to be seen in the future, as all sides also show their readiness for heavy hostilities.

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Pompeo’s Last Stand

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

Source

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
© Photo: REUTERS/POOL New

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.

General Soleimani’s legacy: Unifying the Arab resistance against imperialism and hegemony

By Amal Wahdan

January 13, 2021 – 12:51

Today, the masses of the resistance movements in the region are commemorating the first anniversary of the martyrdom of General Qassem Soleimani and his companion Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. 

General Soleimani played a major transnational role across borders and sectarian lines to unite the resistance movements in the region to enable them to confront the vicious plans of the USA, Zionist and Saudi regimes to divide and control the countries of the region.
We have to emphasize and remind the whole world of the nature of this cowardly act by the USA, the Zionist terrorist colonial regime, and the Saudi criminal state. 

The assassination in its nature is an intentional and deliberate crime, a violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is also a violation of the sovereignty of the state of Iraq, which is a member of the United Nations. The Iranian government has every right to take this matter to the ICC against the three countries who were involved in this crime and to the UN Security Council in addition to retaliation.  

Why did the USA assassinate General Soleimani? First of all, General Soleimani was a leader in the Revolutionary Guard, then the General Commander of its Al Quds Force, which by its name considered by the USA as a threat to the Zionist colonial regime in occupied Palestine, their military base in the area.

Second, for his extraordinary role in assisting the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, who was at war with the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon and was able to liberate the South in the May of 2000 with the great help of Iran and Soleimani. He continued to assist through the 2006 Israeli aggression against Lebanon until his assassination. Today, the Lebanese resistance movement has advanced its military and logistic capabilities by almost 100 times since 2000 and 2006.

The third is General Soleimani’s role in promoting the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip without any factional or sectarian discrimination. His strategy was to work with all Islamic and secular resistance organizations who share the ability and fit to fight a long term struggle against the Israeli occupation, “the absolute evil”, as described by him, until liberation and independence. It was General Soleimani who took the decision with Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to negotiate with President Bashar Al Assad to provide the Palestinian resistance with Cornet missiles and he took responsibility to deliver them to Gaza in 2005 which was the cornerstone in deterring military aggression. He transformed the Palestinian resistance to an advanced level.

Fourth, General Soleimani played a great military role in the joint operation room against FSA, ISIS, and Jabhat al-Nusra through the 10 years of the terrorist war against Syria. He fought hand in hand with the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah fighters, provided them with training, ammunition, and supplies.

Fifth, General Soleimani also played a great role in assisting the Iraqi resistance movement regardless of their religious or political backgrounds. He helped unite the different groups under one umbrella: the popular brigades (Hashd al-Shaabi). He provided them with training, ammunition, supplies, and logistics. He was a good companion with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy leader of Hashd al-Shaabi, and worked with him hand in hand in the different fronts in Iraq until they defeated ISIS.     

Sixth, General Soleimani also supported the Yemeni Army, popular committees, and Ansarullah in their fight against the Saudi, the U.S., and Zionist aggression of 2200 days in a row, which has left hundreds of thousands of casualties mainly among children, women, and the elderly.

General Soleimani’s legacy of uniting the resistance movements in the region from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and most importantly uniting the resistance forces in Gaza, the front line against the Zionist colonial apartheid regime. A deterrence power that forced the Zionist military and political apparatus from any aggression attempts or land incursions. 

The general was a man of ethics, principles, and passion; an exceptional military general with strategic thinking and diplomatic skills. He was assassinated while he was on a diplomatic mission. His assassination is a great loss for the axis of resistance and humanity but marks the defeat of the U.S. hegemony and aggression era.
 

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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.

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The Empire is losing the energy war

January 12, 2021

The Empire is losing the energy war

by The Ister for The Saker Blog

We can see the ongoing war against Russia’s energy industry as an act of revenge from the Empire – but a war which it is losing.

After Putin prevented the looting of the country’s energy reserves in the early 2000s, this economic war was launched, designed to cripple the nascent Russian Federation’s oil and gas industry and by extension the Russian economy as a whole.

This plan began with the planning of the Trans-Caspian, Nabucco, and Baku Tbisili Ceyhan (BTC) pipelines. The BTC pipeline was erected in 2005, pumping oil from Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea fields through Georgia to Turkey. Next, the planned Nabucco pipeline would have brought Azeri gas from the BTC to the Baumgarten gas hub in Austria, where it would circumvent Europe’s need for Russian energy. As a final blow by NATO, the Trans-Caspian pipeline was intended to cross the Caspian Sea, bringing Turkmen gas and oil to Azerbaijan and eventually to Europe through the BTC and Nabucco routes, isolating Russia.

The Russo-Georgian war can also be understood through this lens. Two days before the outbreak of the conflict, the BTC pipeline suffered from a mysterious explosion. Putin’s victory in the war and subsequent occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia held the Nabucco and Trans-Caspian projects at risk, as Western energy corporations would no longer invest in such an expensive undertaking only miles from a conflict zone. The plans were scuttled. Russia’s oil giant Gazprom now signs deals to purchase Turkmen gas directly in order to disincentivize Turkmenistan from taking part in such a future project.

And while we see the reintegration of Crimea as the return of historically Russian territory, it was also a major victory in the energy war. In the Crimean conflict, Putin’s nightmare was that the overthrow of Yanukovych would be followed by the eventually weakening or removal of Russian military positions on the energy-rich Black Sea. A strengthened position in Crimea was leveraged in the creation of the TurkStream pipeline, which then allowed Russia to bypass Ukraine by shipping gas under the Black Sea to Europe.

Russia’s standing in the pipeline battle has been further cemented by recent events regarding the NordStream 2 pipeline, which will bring Russian gas through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Naturally, America is not a fan of this project and has sought to delay the construction by any means possible.

But even Germany, no friend of Putin or Russia, has pushed ahead with the project. Gazprom will now complete the pipeline alongside partners from British, Dutch, Austrian, and German energy companies. And while America may disapprove from afar, all America exports is its fiat dollar which can offer no substitute for the Russian gas and oil required to power Germany’s industrial clusters.

In December of 2020, Gazprom resumed construction on the pipeline despite America’s protestations. In fact, the German-Prussian state of Mecklenburg Vorpommern has recently voted to create a sanction-proof legal structure that would preempt future attempts by America to interrupt the project.

What a turn of fate: to see America’s omnipotence fade as the Empire’s geopolitical meddling is simply circumvented by peaceful trade

So while Russia’s victory in the pipeline battle has been unequivocal, the war has been fought in other domains. For the last 6 years the Empire has won the pricing battle, with its two primary weapons being the oil of Saudi Arabia and the natural gas produced by the shale revolution.

The oil price battle began when John Kerry and the Saudi King met in September of 2014. An arrangement was worked out where the Saudis would suppress crude prices to weaken the Russian economy in exchange for America’s military support in overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. Because Saudi Arabia has the lowest extraction costs of any major producer (3$ per barrel as of 2020), it can profit at prices much lower than its higher-cost oil-producing opponents such as Russia, Iran, and Syria. Under this new arrangement, crude prices fell to new lows as ISIS was spawned in Eastern Syria, and the Free Syrian Army was given American heavy weapons.

The Russian economy shrank almost 40% over the next two years. By comparison, America’s “Great Recession” almost crushed the entire financial system after a mere 2.5% drawdown in GDP. Russia was able to withstand the enormous contraction because under Putin the country’s monetary policy is focused on maintaining net-zero debt: a far cry from the 1990s when Saudi price-suppression (intended to punish Russia for fighting Islamists in Chechnya) hammered down crude prices and resulted in the 1998 Russian financial crisis. Now that Russia operates without external debt, these price tactics are harmful to the populace but no longer imperil the functioning of the state.

While 2020 has seen a renewal of price suppression by the Saudis, the Kingdom’s long-term prospects are plummeting. Below Saudi Arabia sits the state of Yemen. As the high birth rate outstrips the supply of natural resources, Yemen produces an excess of poor and radicalized young men. In response to Saudi and American airstrikes, the Houthi movement has united Shia and Sunni Muslims in Yemen under a common banner against their northern neighbor. Now Yemeni rebels are targeting Saudi oil facilities with increasingly frequent drone strikes, one of which spiked oil prices by almost 20% in Sep 2019.

Another problem for Saudi Arabia is resource depletion. The Saudis are systematically lying about the amount of oil that’s remaining. Leaked communications showed the former VP of Aramco warning the US that their oil reserves could actually be 40% lower than claimed. Consensus used to be that the Ghawar field had 5 million barrels per day capacity. The IPO filing for Aramco revealed a maximum capacity of 3.8 million barrels per day: and that’s their biggest field, producing a third of the nation’s oil output.

If their oil reserves are fine, why has the Kingdom been panickedly talking about economic diversification for the past 5 years? Why did Aramco even have to IPO? America’s vassal state in the crude oil battle seems to be drying up.

Another weapon in the energy price war has been the shale gas revolution. New advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have allowed America to access previously hard to reach “tight” oil and gas reserves. As many small and mid-sized fracking operations rapidly set up shop in the mid 2010s this flooded the world with cheap natural gas and lowered Russia’s energy earnings. However, many of these firms were unprofitable and existed only due to the ultra-low interest rates available at the time, which enabled companies to operate at a loss for several years: meaning that the profitless shale revolution which hurt Russia was de facto financed by the Federal Reserve.

The fall of US shale seems to be on the horizon, as the industry showed signs of huge weakness in 2020. Oil and gas bankruptcies have quadrupled from 2019 to 2020, and production levels from America’s largest fields have dwindled. The Eagle Ford field is down 30% from 2019, Niobrara is down 35%, and Anadarko is down 40%! The best case for America is that these were voluntary production drawdowns due to cheap prices. The worst case is that these are symptoms of the end stage of depletion – the same fate befalling Saudi Arabia.

Even if the large American fields return to their previous production levels, this wave of bankruptcies will remove many small producers from the market who were essentially drilling at an operating loss for years.

There are other developments that suggest that the Empire is losing the energy war

1. Nikol Pashinian, who targeted Gazprom in Armenia with spurious lawsuits, has been given a black eye by Putin. By brokering the Armenian-Azeri peace deal the Russian military now permanently occupies the Caucasus. Anyone who seriously believes it is limited to 5 years should look to the “temporary peacekeeping operations” that have kept Russian troops stationed in the tiny nation of Transnistria for almost 3 decades. Russia’s position in the region – a crucial energy hub, is now stronger than at any other point since the Soviet Union.

2. In defiance of US sanctions, Iran has restarted its domestic shipbuilding industry by constructing new oil tankers with natively sourced parts. New Aframax size tankers have the capacity to hold 750,000 barrels of crude oil and will be used to surreptitiously deliver oil to Iran’s trading partners

3. Despite feeble efforts by Washington to install Juan Guaido in Venezuela – the only country with comparable energy reserves to Saudi Arabia, Maduro is still in power, and Russia and China are now collaborating to circumvent US sanctions. Throughout 2020, crude from Venezuela arrived at Chinese ports, having been snuck past American detection with the aid of Russian state oil company Rosneft, which made the oil appear as if its port of origin was Malaysia.

So what are the takeaways from these events?

First, we can see that Europe is waking up to the necessity of Russian energy. Despite all America’s bluster, it cannot provide a viable alternative even for the countries with which it aligns ideologically. Sure, there will be haphazard attempts like squirreling tight gas from cracks in the Mediterranean Sea, but those are at best partial solutions. Second, sanctions have backfired: the Russian economy is now fully resilient and profitable. There is no further way to wage economic warfare on a nation that has already been isolated from the global financial system. As far as oil trading is concerned, the willingness of America to impose restrictive sanctions has been matched by the creativity of those hoping to bypass them. Finally, the toughest period of the price war seems to be over and the pipeline battle has been won.

The Empire’s diminishing position in this conflict

Nikol Pashinian who targeted Gazprom is out – and Russia now occupies the Caucasus

Special Report: How China got shipments of Venezuelan oil despite U.S. sanctions | Reuters


The Ister is a researcher of financial markets and geopolitics. Author of The Ister: Escape America

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