The Myth of Peace in the Middle East: Deconstructing the Naturalization Narrative

April 16, 2021Articles,

American-Israeli delegation visit to Morocco in December 2020. (Photo: US Embassy Jerusalem, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Mohamed El Metmari

This critical essay deconstructs the political narrative surrounding the naturalization agreements that have occurred between some Arab countries and Israel formally known as the Abrahamic Accords or Jared Kushner’s plan for peace in the Middle East. It offers unique perspectives and analysis of these accords and their true geopolitical intentions. Primarily, it argues how the peace promised by these newly established ties remains just a myth as it explores the true objectives behind them. Interestingly enough, it also highlights the true goals behind the U.S’ mediations in these Accords.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one of the hottest yet unresolved political issues of today. Whereas this conflict is not heading towards any resolutions soon, the recent naturalization agreements that have occurred between some Arab regimes and the apartheid state of Israel may mark a future shift in Middle East’s political scene.

Earlier to these agreements, boycotting Israel was these Arab nations’ approach to show support for Palestinians and their claims. Before 2020, only two bordering countries have had diplomatic ties with Israel; that is, Egypt and Jordan. This number has risen to six as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have set full diplomatic and economic relations with Israel as part of Jared Kushner’s plan for peace in the Middle East known formally as the Abrahamic Accords.

Celebrating the first occurrence of the Abrahamic Accords, Trump hosted a signing ceremony in the White House and had the following rash statement to announce: “We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.” By this politically immature statement, Trump seemed as if he had finally found a solution to the conflict in the region.

As for peace in the region is concerned, Jared Kushner’s peace plans do not make any sense. Apart from Sudan, none of the countries involved with these accords are in conflict with Israel. On the opposite, Morocco and so the Gulf States have retained very healthy diplomatic relations with Israel, even if they were undeclared publicly. For instance, Morocco has had a fair share of intelligence-sharing with Israel since the mid-sixties. On top of that, the two countries had liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat from Sept. 1, 1994, to Oct. 23, 2000. Not to mention Morocco’s contribution in populating Israel by handing over its Jewish population to the newly established Jewish state during the reign of the Moroccan king Hassan II.

Granted, Israel supports the totalitarian regimes of the region mainly because these totalitarianisms do not demand accountability for its human rights and international law violations. Hence, most Arab dictatorships have been dealing with Israel on political and security levels; especially after the outbreak of the Arab spring where these regimes had to obtain the latest spying and security tech to topple every dissident in their population who desires regime change. Whereas the case of the Washington Post’s correspondent Jamal Khashoggi remains the most covered case, Amnesty International has reported that Moroccan journalist Omar Radi’s phone has also been infected with the Israeli Pegasus spyware.

The Myth of Peace: Deception, Expansion and Dispossession.

Each time an Arab country initiates full diplomatic relations with Israel, its local propaganda machine makes it look as a major historical event that has occurred in the country. Some media outlets have gone far with this. For example, they take the religious tolerance preached in the Muslim faith as a pretext for setting these normalization agreements with this ‘Jewish’ nation. Other media platforms, however, have beautified the image of Israel’s apartheid regime via elaborate historical descriptions of Jewish culture and heritage. This is not wrong at all, but what is wrong is to evoke this history only at this particular event ignoring Israel’s present violations of International Law and Human rights and most of all occupation of Palestinian lands. This is why it is easy to deconstruct the naturalization narrative and prove that it is just a myth.

First of all, the context of these agreements was preceded and controlled by the 2020 US elections. Trump’s administration had tried to convince the American public that it will be the first administration that ends the conflict in the Middle East and thus planning on gaining a potential leverage in the election race. But despite the occurrence of the Abrahamic Accords last year and even Trump’s administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017, it still was not enough to win Trump the approval of the devastated American public. This is mainly because Americans wanted Trump out of the White House at any cost; even if it meant choosing the lesser evil of the two candidates in the elections.

Meanwhile, these events come as a perfect opportunity to boost the reputation of the Likud party and more specifically the reputation of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose image has been stained by his corruption and monopoly of the Israeli political scene. Unlike Trump, the chances of him getting replaced in the upcoming Israeli elections are relatively low because of his firm grip on power and the lack of his equal in the Israeli political arena. Furthermore, with the massive press coverage that comes with such events, Netanyahu, similarly to Trump, wanted the spotlights on him to distract the public from his administration’s terrible handling of Covid-19 and thus gaining significant leverage in the elections.

Second, the biggest gain for Israel from these new ties with the Arab States and Morocco is that it reinforces its political influence in the Middle East. Not only this, but unlocking Israel’s geo-political isolation in the region as well. And since this newly granted influence to Israel is an approved one, it gives it freedom to expand and occupy more without any opposition. Of course, if Israel is gaining a legitimate influence in the region, this means that Palestine’s position will exacerbate. And thus the Palestinian cause will no longer have the leverage it has on the Middle Eastern political scene.

Furthermore, Israel’s decision to create ties with the Gulf countries in specific is not arbitrary. This move was motivated by economic reasons. As it is known, the Khaleeji people are the biggest consumers in the region. Hence the khaleeji market becomes a perfect destination for Israeli goods. Israeli products, foods in specific, can even replace other products coming from other countries because of the close distance and the low shipping costs. Additionally, Sudan may not offer much as markets are concerned, but it is definitely a great source of agricultural imports for Israel. Being the mediator between Israel and its “new” allies, the US benefits from these agreements as well since it is Israel’s biggest ally. After all, any ongoing political conflict between Israel and any of the Middle Eastern countries is primarily endangering US’ political and economic interests in the region. In other words, the mediation of the US in these so-called Peace agreements is not out of a sort of altruism because the US is only after its share of the pie.

Third, to say that these newly established ties will bring “peace” to the region is ludicrous and rash but not totally wrong. But for whom this peace is served; for Palestine, for the Arab States, or for Israel? To give a rather simple and short answer, it is apt to say it remains just a myth for the Palestinians in specific, but it means more security and power for the Israeli side in particular. To put it differently, with Israel having full diplomatic ties with these Arab countries and Morocco, it becomes easy for it to carry its annexation plans and dispossession of Palestinian lands without being held accountable. And the Palestinians are likely to be displaced gradually and implicitly to one of these countries. Apparently, Morocco and the rich Gulf states are the biggest fish that Israel could ever come to terms with. Since they provide financial comfort and political stability, some Palestinians may choose these destinations over their currently Israeli-occupied and war-inflected homes.

However, it is worth mentioning that the Emiratis as well as the Saudis despise the Palestinians. Hence, the Palestinians will never accept the reality of being displaced to one of these two countries. Meanwhile, this does not apply to either Kuwait or Oman in which do not have a strong political influence in the region. Apart from Morocco, they maybe the desired destination Israel is looking for to displace the Palestinians to after annexing their lands. Whether the two countries agree to normalize relations with Israel in the future or not, it does not really matter as long they are subservient to UAE and Saudi Arabia. Apparently, the Palestinians are likely to resist as they usually do.

Concurrently, Israel is likely to pressure them to accept this bitter reality as it has been doing for the last decades. Hence, Israel will possibly seek not only to increase its siege and pressure on the borders and checkpoints, but it may also instigate a war with Hamas as a pretext for a military escalation. Hamas, on the other hand, will be, as always, scapegoated for the whole thing especially that it is classified as a terrorist organization. Therefore, the peace that Israel is seeking is a peace with the Palestinians out of Palestine.

However, Israel is not the only benefactor from these agreements. Clearly, the Gulf States have paid for US military protection by signing these accords. But UAE in specific have had further arms deals and gained even more political protection against the Iranian influence in the Arab peninsula. Nonetheless, when a country signs a peace deal, it does not instantly demand acquirement of advanced F-35 stealth Jet, which is what this Gulf State did, because the two are paradoxical. Therefore, in opposition to the classic definitions of peace treaties, the brokered peace from these agreements is a purchased one like many peace agreements that have been signed before it in the region. After all, Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel so it is de-listed from the state-sponsors of terror, the Gulf States signed them as a payment for US military protection and Morocco got support for its sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Therefore, as all the purchased peace agreements the Middle East has witnessed over modern history- whether it is peace for land, peace in exchange of monopoly or what have you- this one is also doomed to be broken by conflict since it is not based on a balanced compromise where two equal parties meet in the middle. Rather, it is a political move towards accumulation of power where the main side of this conflict, meaning the Palestinians, is not even included in these agreements.

The US, Morocco, and Israel: A Geopolitical Chess Game over Africa

The fact that Israel has pursued diplomatic relations with Morocco- a country so far away from the Middle East’s political discourse- is by no means for peace as it is claimed by any of the Accords’ orchestrators. The moment it was announced that Morocco was to resume relations with Israel, Moroccan propaganda machines overshadowed the controversies that come with this event by preaching to the public about the Moroccan Jewish heritage and the coexistence of the Abrahamic religions in this homogeneous sphere. This normalization was depicted as a win-win situation for Morocco especially that Trump has rewarded Morocco’s approval of its resumption of relations with the apartheid regime by signing a presidential proclamation that recognizes Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The celebrations following this recognition covered up totally for the naturalization. This proclamation has even become an independent narrative of its own. The official discourse in Moroccan media has asserted that this recognition is the fruit of long-lasting diplomatic ties between Morocco and the US and not as a part of the Abrahamic Accords. Moreover, many factors influence politics, but altruism is not one of them. Taking the fact that Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the US in 1777, and the two countries long diplomatic relations, it stands as a surprise that it took so much time for the US to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara or at least support its claim diplomatically.

Meanwhile, political terminology is important here because Moroccan media had it intentionally mixed up to alleviate the Moroccan public’s rage. Trump’s presidential proclamation does not recognize the Western Sahara region as a Moroccan entity as they have claimed, but it only recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over it. These are two different things, because Morocco has already been practicing sovereignty over the region although with some difficulties mainly caused by intense altercations with the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. The only thing that Morocco has needed is legitimacy and this proclamation happens to be it. Obviously, this is a simple treat from the US for Morocco’s acceptance of the resumption of relations with Israel.

Nevertheless, the majority of the Moroccan public welcomed Trump’s move, but they abhorred Morocco’s establishment of ties with Israel. Nasser Bourita, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, has refused to call this an act of “naturalization” of relations. For him, normalization is a Middle Eastern term that does not apply to Morocco which is not a neighboring country to Israel. Indeed, Morocco’s North African location and its large indigenous Amazigh population make it hard to proclaim the country as purely Arab.

Bourita has preferred using the term “resumption” of relations instead. As mentioned earlier, Morocco and Israel had Liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat before Morocco had to close their office in response to Israeli repression of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000. Not to mention, there is a number of almost 800.000 Jews of Moroccan decent living in Israel right now.

Obviously, Israel remains the biggest benefactor from these naturalization agreements. However, the US did not take part in them without purpose. The existence of Israel in the Middle East protects American interests in the region. That is why Zionist lobbies in the US always do their best to empower this regime. And this is what AIPAC is doing and what Christians United for Israel and other Zionist lobbies are doing. As a result, this support for the apartheid regime enables the US to retain its firm grip on Middle East’s political and economic affairs. These are all facts now. But the case of Morocco is still a uniquely dubious one. Pressing Morocco – a country so far away from The Middle East’s frenzy and even terminology to sign these deals seems confusing to say the least; especially that Morocco is not a rich country like the Gulf States.

However, ever since Morocco’s rejoining the African Union in 2017, many countries and the US particularly have started to look for ways to intensify their relations with this African country more than before. To illustrate, Morocco’s main weapon supplies come from the US. Granted, the influence of the US embassy in Rabat has surpassed diplomatic lines to influencing Moroccan cultural context and even influencing Moroccan academia via its grants and many programs and English learning courses. This soft pressure changes the structure of Moroccan society with time. As of now, although French is the official second language in Morocco, the majority of Moroccan youth, many of whom have benefited from US grants and programs, speak English. This is not bad at all, but again, politics is the game of interests and not altruisms. Implemented in these courses and grants are soft ideologies that create sympathy and acceptance of US values and democracy in the Moroccan community. In the long run, acceptance of the US image rises even if its intentions in the region are not necessarily benevolent.

To connect this to the question at hand, Morocco remains the US’ key holder to the African Union and African countries. This strategic move to invest in Morocco politically and economically and then support its sovereignty over its full territorial land comes as the price for infiltrating a fertile network of rising African economies. Hence, these countries become perfect investment destinations for the US. And although China is the biggest player in Africa as economy is involved, not counting the previous colonial powers of Africa, the US is doing the best it can to take this role in the near future. After its degrading failure to do so under pretexts of humanitarian aid and war on terror, the UShas finally chosen this diplomatic direction to overtake Russian and Chinese influences in Africa. It is hence a perfectly played chess game over geopolitical expansion and power. Peace and human rights preached in these agreements however, are turned into industries that are used to further their dominance and hegemony.

Additionally, what makes Morocco exceptional is its officials’ diplomatic maturity and its political stability in comparison to the Middle East and other African countries. Also, Morocco’s ability to repay its debts boosts foreign investors’ confidence to embark on the Moroccan market. Not to mention, Morocco itself needs this kind of political and economic partnership and support as it seeks to take the lead as an African power. However, this pursuit remains far-fetched without having full sovereignty over its lands or without having strong allies.

Meanwhile, Moroccan King Mohamed VI has confirmed that Morocco’s position on Palestine remains unchanged. He has also affirmed that he places his country’s territorial issue and the Palestinian cause at the same level, and that the kingdom will use its new position to push for a conflict resolution in the region. Thus, Morocco is playing it as safe as it could as it is placing itself neither with the current, nor against it.

All in all, Morocco and the Arab regimes’ decision to normalize relations with Israel is not promising of any lasting peace between Palestine and Israel simply because Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories will gain significant legitimacy from the establishment of these diplomatic ties. Especially that these Arab States are not democratic themselves so they can account it for its infringement of international law and human rights. Granted, since the Palestinian question, the right of self-determination and the right of return are not included in the official discourse of these peace agreements, a resolution for the Palestinian- Israeli conflict remains just a myth that appears to be tangible with propaganda and exclusionary media narratives.

– Mohamed El Metmari is an independent writer and researcher affiliated with the faculty of Letters and Humanities of Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Martil, Morocco. He is an Open Hands Initiative’s Conflict Resolution alumnus. Currently, he is conducting a Master’s thesis centered on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. His articles have appeared on Aljazeera Arabic, SasaPost, and Countercurrents. He contributed this essay to The Palestine Chronicle.

The dark motives behind Saudi Arabia’s push for Gulf unity

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

David Hearst

6 January 2021 17:22 UTC 

Mohammed bin Salman could use the detente with Qatar to achieve two objectives: to announce his own recognition of Israel, and to persuade his father to abdicate the throne

It took Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman three years and six months to come to the same conclusion that some of us reached days into the blockade of Qatar: that it was doomed to failure.

The project to silence the voice of an independent neighbour was doomed the moment that then-US defence secretary James Mattis and then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson, a former oilman with extensive links to Qatar, learned of plans to invade the peninsula and stopped them.

As the weeks passed, Qatar’s hand was only strengthened. Turkish troops arrived in Doha to form a physical buffer. Iran gave Qatar the use of its airspace. The blockade could never work with an air bridge established around Saudi Arabia.

If anything, this unpleasant shock has strengthened Qatar. The same goes for Turkish and Iranian foreign policy

It took only months for Qatar to assemble a major lobbying operation in Washington, undoing or rolling back the influence of the principal lobbyist for the Saudis, the Emirati ambassador Youssef al-Otaiba, and establishing solid support of its own. US President Donald Trump did not even acknowledge that Qatar hosted the Pentagon’s most important airbase in the region, Al Udeid, when he tweeted his approval of the blockade in 2017. 

In the end, the Saudi prince overestimated Trump’s influence and underestimated the residual power of the US military. Both Tillerson and Mattis are long gone, but the pressure to reverse this mad act of recklessness never receded; it only grew with time.

With the imminent arrival of a hostile US president in Joe Biden, bin Salman sensed the time had come to put an end to his folly. Today, none of the 13 demands originally placed on Qatar by the blockading states have been met. Neither its hosting of members of the Muslim Brotherhood nor its foreign policy have changed. Al Jazeera has not been closed down. Qatar’s alliance with Iran and Turkey has, if anything, strengthened.

Domestically, Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is held in higher esteem for his defence of the state than he was before, as Qatari nationalism has mounted. Qatar is more self-sufficient and confident than it was before the blockade. 

‘Qatar has won’

If anything, this unpleasant shock has strengthened Qatar. The same goes for Turkish and Iranian foreign policy.

“You could say Qatar has won,” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor of politics in Dubai who was one of the foremost defenders of the blockade three years ago, told the Financial Times. “The cost of fighting was too high – there is a realisation now that this is the black sheep of the family and we just have to put up with it. These have been the worst three-and-a-half years in the history of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council].”This GCC show of unity can’t hide its weakness

But these conclusions are, for the moment, bin Salman’s alone. It is interesting to note who was absent from the display of brotherly love at the GCC summit on Tuesday. The no-show by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed came alongside the absence of Bahrain’s King Hamad and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Bahrain is in the midst of an increasingly bitter border dispute with Qatar, and Egypt remains sceptical about the whole enterprise. Mada Masr quoted Egyptian government sources as saying that Cairo does not see a sufficiently strong foundation to open a new page in relations with Doha. Qatar, they claimed, was still mounting a “methodological campaign aimed at the Egyptian regime”. 

The sources noted that none of the basic demands made of Qatar – closing down Al Jazeera, shuttering a Turkish military base, severing ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and reducing ties with Iran – had been met. It is too early to say whether this signals a fracturing of the counter-revolutionary forces that have held together since they paid for and installed Sisi as president of Egypt after a military coup in 2013.

Tensions over Yemen and Israel

Certainly, there are grounds for a bust-up between mentor bin Zayed and his protege, bin Salman. One is Yemen: who is really in charge of the Saudi-led intervention that bin Salman launched in March 2015 – the Saudis or the Emiratis? Militias funded by and loyal to the UAE have taken control of the south, leaving the Saudis with an unresolved war with the Houthis in the north.

A second source of tension is Israel. In spearheading normalisation with Israel, the Emiratis clearly pitched themselves as Tel Aviv’s principal Gulf partner. Otaiba’s boast that the UAE and Israel had the two most capable military forces in the region raised eyebrows in Riyadh and Cairo. 

The Israeli prime minster and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain participate in a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords in Washington on 15 September (AFP)
The Israeli prime minster and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain participate in a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords in Washington on 15 September 2020 (AFP)

Writing the first-ever op-ed by a Gulf diplomat for an Israeli newspaper, Otaiba boasted before normalisation took place last year: “With the region’s two most capable militaries, common concerns about terrorism and aggression, and a deep and long relationship with the United States, the UAE and Israel could form closer and more effective security cooperation. As the two most advanced and diversified economies in the region, expanded business and financial ties could accelerate growth and stability across the Middle East.”

The Emirati claim to be the principal partner of Israel could cause problems for the future king of Saudi Arabia. Another notable absentee from the GCC summit was the country’s current king, Salman.

Kingdom split

Al Jazeera’s coverage of the tumultuous events shaking the Arab world has waxed and waned. Even before the blockade, it did not, for instance, devote the same attention to the murderous bombardment of Yemen by Saudi warplanes as it did to the Egyptian revolution in 2011. 

While producers and reporters are freer to report than most of their contemporaries in the Saudi-, Emirati- and Egyptian-controlled media, the state of Qatar still has its hands on volume control. There are many examples, including the decision to downplay coverage of the trial of Loujain al-Hathloul, the prominent Saudi activist recently sentenced to five years and eight months in prison.

To deliver Saudi Arabia into the hands of Israel would represent a real prize to the alliance being built over and around the heads of Palestinians

Bin Salman could use this detente with Qatar to achieve two objectives: to announce his own recognition of Israel, and to persuade his father to abdicate and pass the crown to him.

There is no doubt that bin Salman thinks it is time to do both. From the very start of his campaign to become king, establishing close clandestine relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been key to bin Salman’s relationship with US presidential adviser Jared Kushner and his father-in-law, Trump. 

The kingdom is split from top to bottom on the issue of normalisation with Israel. Foreign-policy heavyweights in the family still publicly voice opposition, notably the former Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal. The king himself, to whom Prince Turki remains close, is also opposed, and the issue will have a strong impact on the Saudi people.

Future turmoil

One first step towards resolving this is to neutralise or turn down the volume of the Arab media that could run against bin Salman. This mainly comes from Qatar, which might explain why Kushner himself was present at the GCC summit.

For all the pain involved, the prize is great – and Biden, a committed Zionist, would welcome it. To deliver Saudi Arabia into the hands of Israel would represent a real prize to the alliance being built over and around the heads of Palestinians. Saudi Arabia remains, by dint of its size and wealth, a “real” Arab nation.

While the resolution of the crisis with Qatar is to be welcomed, the motives for doing so could lead to yet more turmoil in Arab world.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

This GCC show of unity can’t hide its weakness

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

A Pardoning Time of Year

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Will the president do the right thing?
Julian Assange Pardon 89b36

The resistance to the apparent election of Joe Biden as President of the United States is continuing to play out. Current President Donald Trump is continuing to fight against the presumed results of the November national election with his final card appearing to be a vote in Congress when it reconvenes on January 6th to throw out the results due to fraud in certain key states. Many have noted how the registration and electoral processes in the United States, varying as they do from state to state, were and are vulnerable to fraud. That, plus some eyewitness testimony and technical analysis, suggests that possibly systematic fraud did take place but it is far from clear whether it was decisive. This is particularly true of the vote by mail option, which was promoted by leading Democrats and which empowered literally millions of new voters with only limited attempts made to validate whether citizens or even real people were voting.

Vote by mail is now one of several options that are appearing to be weaponized by the cash-rich Democrats in the state of Georgia, where two Senate races will be up for grabs in runoff elections on January 5th. If the Democrats obtain both, they will control the Senate through the Vice President’s role in presiding over the upper chamber where she has the tie breaking vote. That will mean that we the voters can expect some dramatic changes as the Democrats respond to their various constituencies with their well enunciated grievances.

In what may be its last weeks in office, the Trump Administration is also exploiting its executive power to pardon to reverse perceived injustices and to protect remaining allies, to include some family members. Trump is already on track to pardon more individuals than any preceding president with 90 pardons issued as of Christmas Eve and many more expected. One of his initial pardons was a notable example of a miscarriage of justice in the case of presidential national security advisor designate Michael Flynn, who was wrongly accused of collaborating with Russia. If anything, he was actually cooperating with a request that came from Israel, which Congress and the media apparently do not regard as wrongdoing.

Trump’s pardon of his daughter Ivanka’s father-in-law Charles Kushner is particularly controversial, as Kushner was a multimillionaire real estate developer and a leading Democratic Party donor when he was convicted in 2005 to two years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to 18 counts, which included both tax evasion and making illegal campaign contributions. The tale of Charles Kushner is particularly unsavory because he reportedly sought revenge after he learned that his brother-in-law and former business partner was aiding federal authorities. Charles hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law in a New Jersey motel room, making a recording of the encounter using a hidden camera that he then showed to his brother-in-law’s wife, who was, of course, Kushner’s own sister.

Kushner’s prosecution was directed by then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who afterwards became a prominent Trump supporter and head of his transition team before being fired in 2016, apparently per orders originating with Jared Kushner. In a 2019 interview Christie explained “Mr. Kushner pled guilty. He admitted the crimes. And so what am I supposed to do as a prosecutor? I mean, if a guy hires a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, and videotapes it, and then sends the videotape to his sister to attempt to intimidate her from testifying before a grand jury, do I really need any more justification than that? I mean, it’s one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted. And I was U.S. attorney in New Jersey, so we had some loathsome and disgusting crime going on there.”

Charles Kushner is also a close friend and supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which might also be relevant to his pardon and I will leave any assessment of the ethics of the Kushner clan up to the reader. Nevertheless, the consequence of Jared’s ability to influence the president could be politically damaging as he reportedly has been responsible for many of the pardons that have already taken place and is now the conduit for new petitioners.

Another highly criticized Trump pardon has involved the four Blackwater mercenaries who massacred 19 Iraqis including 2 children firing from a helicopter into a crowded Nisour Square Baghdad in 2007. The president is reportedly very friendly with Blackwater founder and former president Erik Prince, whose sister Betsy DeVos is Education Secretary and also close to the president. But in any event Trump’s pardon record is different only in terms of magnitude from those of some of his predecessors as there have been some highly questionable pardons in the past, to include Marc Rich under Bill Clinton and Elliot Abrams under George W. Bush.

There remains a long list of possible candidates for Trump to sign off on, to include a possible self-pardon, and more pardons for family members Ivanka, Jared and two of his sons as well as his lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Other current and impending pardon recipients have been individuals who were involved in the Trump campaigns, to include Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. Pardons are a particularly attractive pre-emptive option currently as a number of leading Democrats have been calling for “truth commissions” and other forms of punishment of Trump supporters and officials.

The process of issuing presidential pardons will undoubtedly continue up until Inauguration Day on January 20th, but sources are uncertain whether Trump will be courageous enough to pardon the two individuals whose freedom would most definitely be sending a powerful message for integrity in government. They are Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Both men’s names have been coming up frequently in the alternative media, together with the development of active lobbying groups that are seeking their freedom.

Assange, a journalist and founder of WikiLeaks, is currently languishing in a British prison, where he has been for twenty-one months, awaiting a decision on whether he will be extradited to the United States or not which will reportedly be decided on January 4th. The Department of Justice has claimed that he violated the Espionage Act of 1917 by receiving classified information from Chelsea Manning. Reportedly, Assange’s mental and physical health have deteriorated sharply as he is being held in solitary confinement with only short periods of exercise and without access to reading or writing material to occupy his time. The British judge appears to be completely unsympathetic to Assange and it is generally believed that she will order his extradition if he does not fortuitously die in prison before that could take place.

Snowden, meanwhile, is living in Russia and has been granted citizenship, a country to which he fled by way of Hong Kong in 2013, after revealing to journalists details of a vast and illegal surveillance program run by the National Security Agency (NSA) against American citizens, something he discovered while he was employed as a NSA contractor. He had attempted to raise his concerns with supervisors but was rebuffed and he eventually became a self-declared whistleblower and fled the country. He has repeatedly offered to return to the United States to face trial, but has also insisted that a fair hearing would be impossible under the current circumstances.

It should be observed that Snowden is absolutely correct to assume that he would be convicted both on grounds of espionage and of compromise of classified information. The federal court in Alexandria, where national security cases are usually tried, always finds for the government even if evidence is questionable or even non-existent. A recent conviction involved ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who was sent to prison for 42 months even though it could not be demonstrated that he had actually done anything. The court concluded that “it had to be him.”

To be sure, revealing classified information is a serious matter, even though many former government employees would agree that much material that is classified does not actually damage national security if it is revealed. Frequently, classification is used to keep the government from being embarrassed or to shut down any revelation that it has acted illegally. Both Assange and Snowden would argue that they had acted appropriately in revealing war crimes, illegal acts and even violations of the Constitution as consequences of the so-called “global war on terror.” Assange, who regards himself as a journalist, published details of the Blackwater massacre of civilians committed by the crew of a helicopter gunship in Iraq and also was involved in the exposure of the Hillary Clinton emails. Snowden, as noted above, claims to be a whistle-blower and has sought protection under relevant laws in the United States, so far to no avail.

The illegal and otherwise unconscionable acts by various elements in the U.S. government that were exposed by Assange and Snowden include war crimes, so they are not trivial. Trump, having already done a “favor” to Blackwater, might be disinclined to pardon someone who exposed its mercenaries’ crimes. But there is nevertheless, as is often the case, an interesting aspect to the story that is worth paying attention to. Trump, as is widely conceded even by some Democrats, was targeted by the Deep State even before he was nominated, an effort to destroy his presidency that persisted for years through the completely contrived mechanism of Russiagate. Given that, it would behoove Trump to strike back in his waning days in office. Both Assange and Snowden exposed illegal activities and cover-ups by the Deep State, almost certainly to include the active participation of some of the very people who have sought to bring the president down. And they both may have more to say. If Donald Trump seriously seeks to strike a blow against his enemies, it would be both fitting and just to pardon both men on that basis alone. Let us hope that President Trump has both the wisdom and fortitude to take that step in his last days in office.

Trump’s final month in office could be his most dangerous one – update

Update: Washington has sent Nuclear Submarines to the Persian Gulf, in a move to “deter” Iran. This combined with Mike Pompeo laying the blame on “Iranian-backes forces” for the alleged “attacks” on the US embassy in Baghdad, leaves us in a very dangerous situation.

Trump’s final month in office could be his most dangerous one – update

December 22, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

Only one month remains of Donald Trump’s presidency. It seems inevitable that the Biden administration will take over the White House come January 20th. While the Trump administration has been very aggressive against the Islamic Republic during the past four years, it has nonetheless refrained from starting a full-fledged war. This could all change as he is about to leave office.

A few days after the election in November, reports emerged that Trump had “asked his advisers last week about the options he could have to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.”

However, “a range of senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike,” The New York Times reported. According to the report, Vice president Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others reportedly told the outgoing president that such action could spiral out of control.

Despite the NYT being notorious liars, I could imagine this report being true. I’ve for long maintained that Trump is an imbecile surrounded by war hawks and Zionist extremists. Nonetheless, those extremists and hawks still understand the consequences of a direct attack on Iran. Trump on the other hand does not. Zionist chieftain Benjamin Netanyahu knows that Trump is an imbecile and has done his utmost to take advantage of it. Netanyahu has for long dreamed of a US-Iranian war as it would do a lot of harm to his main enemy Iran, while it would cost Israel nothing when US soldiers are the ones being sacrificed to save the supremacist Zionist regime. Knowing that Joe Biden would be far more reserved in his approach towards Iran compared to the belligerent “maximum pressure” policy of the Trump regime, it is no coincidence that Netanyahu chose to assassinate Iranian scientist Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh only weeks after the US election.

Much like when Iran responded to Martyr Soleimani’s murder, Netanyahu and the Zionists had hoped that Iran would somehow retaliate again and enter the Zionist trap- to drag Iran into a war.

During these past four years, Trump has offered Israel a lot of “gifts” to prove his loyalty to the Empire. It is no coincidence that his administration has been very generous to Netanyahu and his friends since Trump has chosen to surround himself with the most extreme Zionists around, including his son in-law Jared Kushner. The relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the recognition of the occupied Golan Heights as “Israeli territory”, and the recent “peace deals” between certain Arab states and Israel have all been very important moves for the Empire. Being wary that Trump, in his last month in charge could offer Israel a final gift in the form of an attack on Iran, Tehran has been preparing itself for any possible scenario.

Any attack by the US on Iranian soil will lead to war. That war will quickly become a regional war unless they expect Hezbollah, Hashd Al-Shaabi, the Houthis and many more to just sit idly by while the leader of their alliance is being attacked. Despite the risk of starting a regional war, Trump could make such a move in order for Biden to “inherit” the war, thus giving Israel the ultimate gift.

These are just speculations of course, but the sudden “attacks” on the US embassy in Baghdad, General Frank McKenzie, saying that the US is “ready to respond” if Iran attacks it on the first anniversary of the assassination of the Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, and Mike Pompeo’s increasing obsession with Iran, are all causes for concern.

Trump’s policy of absolute subservience to Israel has only made Zionist hawks like Netanyahu much bolder and more audacious. It will also leave its mark for years after his exit from the White House as Bibi will now demand the same level of subservience from the Biden administration. Netanyahu has taken upon himself to show the former Vice President who is calling the shots, before Biden has even had the chance to take office.

In an obvious message to Biden, Netanyahu told him that “There can be no going back to the previous nuclear agreement. We must stick to an uncompromising policy of ensuring that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons.”

The fact that Biden has remained rather coy about how he intends to “return the US to the JCPOA”, makes me believe that he has readily agreed to continue the policy of the Trump administration in one way or another.

“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal’s provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” he wrote in an article for the CNN website.

“Strengthening” the deal’s provisions and “addressing other issues of concern” sounds a lot like someone who is hoping to alter the deal in some form. This was something that Trump also hoped to achieve with his “maximum pressure” campaign. It is no coincidence that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas all of a sudden is calling for a “nuclear deal plus” either. They all want to include Iran’s missile program into the deal because it has started to become a concern for the Zionist Empire and its vassals. So you can see that going back to the original JCPOA seems impossible at this point.

There is also the matter of how the JCPOA is viewed in Iran these days. Many Iranians had huge hopes for the JCPOA. They were hoping to finally be able to enjoy the benefits of an economic recovery after decades of sanctions and blacklisting. Most of them now consider the JCPOA to be evidence of the failure of diplomacy with the US. To them, despite long negotiations and concessions, Iran is still suffering from sanctions and is in no better position economically than it was before the JCPOA. This is why the Iranian “conservative bloc” emerged victorious in the parliamentary elections earlier this year, and it is also why I believe they’ll win the presidency next year.

With the “conservatives” in power, Iran will not so easily want to return to the stipulations of the JCPOA either. Last year Iran began scaling down on its commitment to the JCPOA agreements, in response to Washington’s withdrawal and Europe’s inability to stand up to the US. Iran has since lost billions of dollars worth of trade revenue due to the sanctions that Washington reimposed- why would Iran want to just return to the JCPOA without compensation for the damage done to its economy?

The Islamic Republic will be facing the 8th President since its birth when Biden assumes power. Nobody is expecting Biden to change anything in US policies towards Iran and the rest of the world for that matter. Trump is really hated in Iran, to the point where he is regarded as a terrorist. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani recently said: “We are by no means excited about [Joe] Biden coming to power, but we are happy with Trump leaving as a terrorist and a person who even blocked Iran’s access to [COVID-19] vaccines; we are happy because he failed to adhere to basic moral and human principles,”

Personally, I understand the hatred towards Trump, it is easy to dislike such an imbecile who has no self-control. But in anger, it is also easy to lose sight of the bigger picture; Trump was in many ways a preferable enemy. Assad said it several times too, noting how the imbecile openly bragged about stealing Syrian oil. Trump was a clumsy and irrational enemy, the Europeans and many liberals realized this too, hence the great animosity towards him and his rule. His maximum pressure policy has left Washington rather desperate and pathetic, whereas his predecessor managed to portray Washington as a serious negotiator when the JCPOA was first announced.

Unfortunately, there’s also the other side to his irrationality. Trump’s irrational behaviour after what he perceives to be electoral fraud, could cost many people their lives if and when he decides to give his friend Bibi Netanyahu his final gift.

Everybody in the region will be holding their breath until Trump leaves office as this final month could end up being disastrous for the Middle East. Whatever he decides to do, the Islamic Republic and its allies must remain ready for all-out war.

Persian Gulf in the US and Israel’s Sights

By Viktor Mikhin
Source: New Eastern Outlook

SLM

After more than three years of diplomatic tensions and a hostile media campaign against each other, it seems that Saudi Arabia and Qatar finally decided to settle their relations. Political scientists and experts around the world are now wondering what finally motivated the two rivals to put their differences behind them and start a policy of rapprochement.

In this regard, it should be noted that in June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates — commonly known as the “Arab Quartet” — severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a complete blockade on the tiny emirate of the Persian Gulf. These countries, led by Riyadh, closed their airspace, land and sea routes to Qatari planes, cars and ships, prompting Doha to use Iranian airspace. Kuwait, a country stuck in the middle of a dispute between its neighbors, tried diligently to reconcile the opposing sides, and even the “great peacemaker of the Persian Gulf” — now deceased Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah — entered the case, but to no avail.

In the end, however, Kuwaiti mediation efforts seem to have brought fruit. Kuwaiti Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al Sabah spoke on Kuwaiti State Television to read a statement about the split between Qatar and the Arab Quartet:  “Recently, fruitful discussions took place. All parties expressed their interest in unity and stability in the Persian Gulf and Arab countries, as well as in reaching a final agreement that will ensure lasting solidarity”.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia welcomed Kuwait’s efforts, while Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE, which boycotted the emirate along with the Saudis, remain silent. Some news reports suggest that Riyadh has broken off the ranks of these allies to normalize relations with Qatar under US pressure. Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE are not members of the normalization agreement that the Saudis intend to sign with Qatar. Some Arab media reported that normalization would begin with a bilateral agreement between Riyadh and Doha, followed by Manama and Cairo. The UAE’s stance is still unclear, even if they tend to be reluctant to pursue this issue in the waterway of Saudi Arabia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani expressed the Qatari optimism regarding the solution of the Persian Gulf crisis, adding that the Emirate has a strong positive attitude towards any initiative that brings peace to the region.  Moreover, Saudi Arabia also expressed optimism that the three-year crisis would soon be resolved. Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said at a conference of the International Institute for Security Studies in Manama, Bahrain, that “significant progress” has been made in resolving the crisis that began in 2017.

Although the details of the deal between Qatar and Saudi Arabia have not yet been made public, political analysts and experts in the region have rightly placed the event in the broader context of “boiling tensions” between Iran, on the one hand, and the United States and Israel, on the other. It should be recognized that the current US president Donald Trump is still defending his advantages to the very last, resorting to all visible and invisible methods. Initially, a plan to launch a military strike on the alleged nuclear facilities of Iran was revealed. In this connection, there was even a secret meeting in the White House, where Trump asked his military and advisers about such a possibility. However, the military, accustomed to a quiet and peaceful life, with the situation with Iran, which has modern air defense equipment and missiles, which can easily cover all US bases in the region with a barrage of fire, has somewhat cooled the fervor of the belligerent president. But, nevertheless, the American President’s advisors, among which is the senior advisor of the White House Hasid Jared Kushner, Trump’s favorite brother-in-law, constantly keep buzzing in the President’s ears about the impending threat to America from “bearded Iranian ayatollahs”.

Finally, a solution was reached – Jared Kushner and his team rushed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar to negotiate in a region bubbling with tension and hatred towards Israel and the United States after the despicable assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who had recently worked on the COVID-19 issue.   The delegation included Ambassadors for the Middle East Avi Berkowitz, Brian Hook and Adam Boler, Executive Director of the American International Development Finance Corporation.  Incidentally, the senior advisor and his team have recently been actively involved in negotiations to normalize relations between Israel and Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan. Officials said in public speeches that they would like to promote and sign more such agreements before President Donald Trump transfers power to President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.

American officials believe, and the US media sometimes write, that Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the deal with Israel will encourage other Arab countries to follow their example. But the Saudis don’t seem to have reached such a milestone deal, and officials in recent weeks have focused on other countries concerned about Iran’s regional influence as a unifying factor.

Kushner’s trip took place shortly after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by unknown attackers, whose hand was allegedly pointed by the Israeli Mossad and the American CIA. In fact, a few days before the murder, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Saudi Arabia and met with Mohammed bin Salman, joined by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Given that Joe Biden has repeatedly announced his intention to join an international nuclear pact with Iran, Mohammed bin Salman and Benjamin Netanyahu fear that the future White House master will pursue a policy toward Iran similar to that adopted during Barack Obama’s presidency, which has sharpened Washington’s ties with its traditional regional allies and, in particular, with Israel.

Therefore, there is no doubt that the deal between Qatar and Saudi Arabia will be directed against Iran, although it is not yet clear how it will affect the Iranian-Qatari relationships. Both parties to the deal — Qatar and Saudi Arabia — have not yet gone into detail and, for example, the Qatar embassy in Tehran has refused to comment on any details of the agreement. Yet this deal may not be sufficient to safeguard Qatar’s national interests, especially if it pushes the emirate away from Iran, which has opened its airspace and sea routes to Doha over the past three years. This new arrangement between Riyadh and Doha is obviously of direct relevance to the US, but it is most likely related to Iran, because the situation in the region has not only not changed as a result of thoughtless policies of Washington, but has further strained the situation.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are still in a state of competition in many countries, such as Libya and Syria. When Qatar was under blockade, it sought support from other countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, and therefore, if the Qataris damaged their previous relations by getting closer to the Saudis, there would be very high risks for Doha, the Tehran Times stressed. The newspaper also noted that the establishment of relations between Doha and Riyadh can never be in Qatar’s favor, as Saudi Arabia still does not recognize the role of Doha in regional issues and both countries are fiercely competing in Egypt.

Iran welcomed Kuwait’s mediation efforts to end the three-year crisis between Qatar and the Arab Quartet. But Tehran seems to be closely monitoring the situation in the region in light of US and Israeli efforts to increase pressure on the Islamic Republic.  Iran seeks to strengthen ties with Qatar and other Arab states in the region, but it also seeks to make it clear to those states that it does not accept any restructuring aimed at harming its interests.  “We welcome understandings in the Persian Gulf announced by Kuwait. Iran’s longstanding policy is diplomacy, good neighborly relations & regional dialogue. We hope reconciliation contributes to stability and political & economic development for all peoples of our region,” Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted a few hours after Kuwait issued a statement saying that ”fruitful negotiations“ had been held between all parties to the conflict.

Undoubtedly, the situation in the Persian Gulf is far from any settlement. And even if Riyadh’s Doha settles its difficult relations, the most important question remains — the relations of the United States and Israel with Iran and their futile efforts to change the state system in this Islamic Republic.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Israel and Morocco to normalise ties as US recognises Rabat’s claim to Western Sahara

North African kingdom the fourth Arab state to build full diplomatic relations with Israel in four months

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI (AFP)

By Oscar RickettDaniel Hilton

Published date: 10 December 2020 16:22 UTC

Israel and Morocco will normalise ties and the United States is to recognise Western Sahara as part of the North African kingdom, US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday.

Morocco becomes the fourth Arab country to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel in four months, following the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.

“Today, I signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara. Morocco’s serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal is the ONLY basis for a just and lasting solution for enduring peace and prosperity!” Trump tweeted.

In a separate tweet, the president then added: “Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the deal as “another great light of peace”.

The Polisario Front, an independence movement from Western Sahara, a disputed desert territory, said it “regrets highly” Trump’s decision but will continue its struggle.

Morocco’s Royal Court said King Mohammed VI had called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and reiterated his commitment to the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Previous relations

Though Israel and Morocco have not had full diplomatic ties since the former’s founding in 1948, they have nonetheless shared relations and intelligence.

Morocco and Israel began low-level ties in 1993 after the latter reached a peace agreement with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation as part of the Oslo Accords. But Rabat suspended relations with Israel after the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Intifada in 2000.

Morocco described Thursday’s announcement as the “resumption” of diplomatic relations with Israel.The open secret of Israeli-Moroccan business is growing

Read More »

Around half a million Moroccan Jews live in Israel, and Israelis are known to occasionally visit the kingdom, and Netanyahu said he expects direct flights to begin soon.

In recent years, King Mohammed VI has encouraged the restoration and preservation of his country’s Jewish heritage, which Moroccan Jewish Israelis have participated in.

Moroccan activists have highlighted frequent steps towards the normalisation of relations with Israel, which the government has denied or remained silent about.

In February, Israeli media reported that Netanyahu had lobbied the United States to recognise Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara in exchange for Rabat taking steps to normalise ties with Israel. 

A few months later, Amnesty International revealed that Israeli spyware was used to target Moroccan activists. 

Territorial claims

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, confirmed that recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara is linked to kingdom’s normalisation with Israel.

“It also could possibly break the logjam to help advance the issues in the Western Sahara where we want the Polisario people to have a better opportunity to live a better life,” Kushner told reporters on Thursday.

“The president felt like this conflict was holding them back as opposed to bring it forward. This recognition will strengthen America’s relationship with Morocco.”

Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, was claimed by Morocco in 1957 and is believed to have significant offshore oil reserves and mineral resources. Western Sahara: A decades-long sovereignty battle for ‘Africa’s last colony’

Read More »

Its indigenous population has fiercely rejected Moroccan control, however, and between 1975 and 1991 the Polisario Front fought an insurgency against Rabat’s presence.

Polisario estimates the indigenous population of Western Sahara to be between 350,000 and 500,000 and has long called for their right to a referendum on independence, something that has also been promised by UN resolutions. 

Polisario has repeatedly accused Morocco of exploiting the region’s natural resources while half of its population await a referendum in camps and in exile. 

Last month, Moroccan forces and Polisario fighters clashed over a protest blocking a highway into Mauritania, with the Sahrawi movement declaring the 1991 ceasefire over.

Morocco’s Royal Court said the US will open a consulate in the Western Sahara. Last month, Bahrain, which normalised ties with Israel in September, also said it was opening a consulate in the territory.

Trump’s announcement was denounced by Sahrawis.

“The Polisario and Sahrawi government condemn in the strongest terms the fact that outgoing American President Donald Trump attributes to Morocco something which does not belong” to the country, said the Sahrawi information ministry in a statement to AFP.

Ahmed Ettanji, a journalist and activist in Western Sahara’s Laayoune, told Middle East Eye that the move was a blatant tit-for-tat strategy. 

“It’s like an exchange: supporting the so-called Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in exchange for political recognition of Israel,” Ettanji said.  

‘We were shocked when we saw Trump’s tweet. At the same time, it’s not something new. As a Sahrawi, I’ve seen the US back Morocco for many decades’

– Ahmed Ettanji, Sahrawi journalist and activist

“We were shocked when we saw Trump’s tweet. At the same time, it’s not something new. As a Sahrawi, I’ve seen the US back Morocco for many decades. But there is some hope that the next administration will be different.”

Sahrawi activist Mohamed Elbaikam said the announcement had been anticipated.

“We believe that this position is an attempt to bypass international law and all its principles,” he told MEE.

“We believe that the next US administration led by [Joe] Biden will correct the American position, just as the American people will not accept it.”

Mahmoud Lemaadel, a Sahrawi citizen journalist, told MEE Trump’s announcement was like “the blind leading the blind”.

US Congresswoman Betty McCollum, an outspoken advocate for Palestinian human rights, also denounced Trump’s move to recognise Morocco’s claim over Western Sahara.

“I condemn Trump’s unilateral recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara in exchange for Morocco’s diplomatic recognition of Israel,” McCollum wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “The Sahrawi people have an internationally recognized right to self-determination that must be respected.”

Jim Inhofe, a senior Republican Senator who supports the people of Western Sahara’s push for self-determination, accused Trump of “trading the rights of a voiceless people” to secure the Morocco-Israel deal.

“Today’s White House announcement alleging Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara is shocking and deeply disappointing. I am saddened that the rights of the Western Saharan people have been traded away,” Inhofe said in a statement.

War on Want, an anti-poverty charity based in London, warned that the move was “not about peacebuilding”. 

“It’s a cynical attempt to rally repressive regimes around some of their most egregious policies: military occupation and human rights abuse,” Ryvka Barnard, the group’s senior campaigner, said in a statement on Thursday. 

“President Trump calls this announcement a ‘breakthrough’, but it comes on the back of the recent Moroccan breach of a decades-old ceasefire in occupied Western Sahara, as well as Israel’s ongoing expansion of illegal settlements, destruction of Palestinian homes and structures, and lethal violence against Palestinian civilians, including children,” Barnard said. 

“This move smacks of the colonial mindset that carved up the world at the expense of its inhabitants & seeks to normalise injustice.”

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Trump’s Middle East triumphs will soon turn to disaster

David Hearst

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

Trump’s Middle East triumphs will soon turn to disaster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The grand deception

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wicked witch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changing the map 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Going for broke

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

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

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

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

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

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

An important lesson

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

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

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

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

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

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

The lesson for Palestine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recognising Israel does not work. Nor does talking. 

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

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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Two Misfortunes Dissolve the Saudi Crown Prince within a Week

Two Misfortunes Dissolve the Saudi Crown Prince within a Week

By AlKhaleej Today

According to a high-level source to “Saudi WikiLeaks,” the recommendation of the European Parliament to reduce the level of representation at the G20 summit to be hosted by Riyadh, via video link on November 21-22, “was a strong shock to the Crown Prince.”

The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that bin Salman had “gone crazy” and proceeded to smash the contents of his office and shout at his aides.

The source stated that the Crown Prince made several contacts that evening with European personalities. To know the merits of the parliamentary decision, however, these personalities “did not give anything to the prince, who aspires to present his achievements at the next summit.”

The European Parliament called for a reduction in the level of representation at the G20 summit to be hosted by Riyadh, via video link on November 21-22. Because of human rights violations inside and outside the Kingdom.

Parliament issued its statement last Thursday with this recommendation to the European Union and its member states, and said that its goal is to avoid legitimizing impunity for human rights violations and illegal and arbitrary detentions in Saudi Arabia.

Parliament called in a letter to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to place human rights at the center of all discussions of the G20.

The message urged that the summit event be used to demand the release of all prisoners of conscience and women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, and for real accountability for those involved in the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The other disaster, revealed by the “Tactical Report” website, concerned with intelligence affairs, after US President Donald Trump was infected with the Corona virus.

Reports from Riyadh quoted the Saudi crown prince as saying: The kingdom should be prepared for changes in Saudi-American relations if Democratic candidate “Joe Biden” wins over President Trump in the upcoming US presidential elections in November.

Bin Salman added: The election of Biden will turn the situation upside down in the United States, and will force the Kingdom to take new matters into consideration.

He revealed that these concerns increased regarding the results of the US elections after the announcement of President Trump’s infection with the Corona virus. In addition, there are many reports from the Saudi embassy in Washington indicating that Biden’s chances of winning are increasing.

The crown prince recently contacted a number of President Trump’s close aides, particularly his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

“Kushner” assured the Saudi crown prince that the poll results are not confirmed and that the percentage of voters who support “Trump” will increase during the remaining four weeks before the elections. However, Kushner’s assurances did not convince Bin Salman.

Anticipating any “surprises”, bin Salman asked the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Princess Rima Bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, to obtain details from within the Democratic Party regarding the current course of the situation.

Princess Reema was also tasked with inquiring about the opinions of senior Democratic officials about the future of Saudi-American relations in the event Biden becomes president.

The Saudi crown prince was also very concerned about Biden’s recent statements, which pledged to reassess US relations with Saudi Arabia if elected.

Until the past two weeks, bin Salman showed little interest in Biden’s statements, as he relied on President Trump’s confidence and on reports from Washington that claimed that Biden had no chances of winning.

However, recent events in the United States, including Trump’s admission to a military hospital, have changed the views of the Saudi crown prince in this regard.

And the famous American journalist Bob Woodward revealed in his latest book entitled “Anger” that Trump boasted that he had succeeded in “rescuing” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on October 2, 2018, inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul.

The excerpts of the book revealed that Trump boasted, in one of their recorded interviews, that he had succeeded in “saving” bin Salman, whom Congress held responsible for the assassination of Khashoggi.

In his new book, “Anger,” which the Business Insider news site published excerpts from, Woodward recounts how Trump told him in an interview he had on January 22 that “I saved him,” in response to a question about bin Salman’s relationship with the murder.

According to the journalist, Trump made clear in the recorded interview that he had prevented Congress from pursuing bin Salman. Trump said, according to these excerpts: “I succeeded in getting Congress to leave it alone. I succeeded in stopping them.”

Further Betrayal of Palestinians

By The Muslim News

Global Research, October 07, 2020

The Muslim News 25 September 2020

The old idiom says, “possession is nine-tenths of the law”, but in the case of the dispossessed Palestinians, occupation represents one hundred per cent of the law after their land was usurped due to Israel’s creation some 82 years ago. Other Arab territories have been annexed in a succession of wars that followed too.

Justice is further away than ever with the UAE and Bahrain formally becoming the latest Arab countries to sell out their Palestinian brethren by normalising relations with Israel, despite Israel’s continued illegal military occupation of Palestinian land and the expansions of illegal settlements and destruction of Palestinian homes.

Both Arab dictators proceeded to formally sign agreements to normalise relations with Israel at a ceremony hosted by President, Donald Trump, the most pro-Israel US leader since Harry Truman who presided over the recognition of Israel in 1948.

Trump has torn up so many international conventions and norms by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, despite its special status, as well as handing over Syria’s Golan Heights that have been illegally occupied by Israel for over half a century.

Trump’s “No-Peace/Peace Plan” for Palestine. Netanyahu/Gantz Invited to White House to Discuss “Deal of the Century”

The move by the UAE and Bahrain to the Israeli camp is also a shift to realign the Middle East against Iran, described by Benjamin Netanyahu as Tel Aviv’s biggest enemy. Tehran was one of just a few countries to publicly condemn the normalisation of relations, describing it as “shameful” and a “humiliating act.”

Trump has tried to turn the rest of the world against Iran by trying to destroy the landmark nuclear deal by unilaterally withdrawing. According to Middle East Eye Editor, David Hearst, the new alliance in the Middle East could also be targeted against Turkey’s influence in the region.

The deal was brokered by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner and former British PM, Tony Blair, who called the deal “a massive and welcome opportunity to recast the politics of the region.”

The former envoy to the Middle East Quartet has spent much of his forced retirement time trying to encourage Arab countries to build cooperation with Israel based on a “shared outlook.”

He is credited with turning the accepted formula of “peace with the Palestinians before normalisation” on its head by effectively relegating their legitimate aspirations for a viable state to the back of the queue.

Perplexingly, apart from dangling the prospects of more US military sales, the UAE is reported to have received a pledge from Netanyahu that Israel will temporarily suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, not to carry out the usurpation of territories already illegally seized for decades.

The new alliances are a further trampling of Palestinian rights by Israel’s incessant illicit encroachments. The theft of their land is a legacy of British colonialism and placing a special responsibility on the UK to put right before might.

The latest Arab alliance, which some suspect comes ahead of Saudi Arabia following suit, is a sad day, not just a more betrayal and as such sets a precedent that there is little sense of justice left in the world.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.The original source of this article is The Muslim NewsCopyright © The Muslim NewsThe Muslim News, 2020

The House of Saud Struggles to Normalize Ties with “Israel” As It Sinks in the Yemeni Swamp

The House of Saud Struggles to Normalize Ties with “Israel” As It Sinks in the Yemeni Swamp

By Staff

The father and son relationship between Saudi King Salman and his son the Crown Prince – Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] – is at crossroads regarding the methods in which normalization with the apartheid “Israeli” entity would occur; though the sand kingdom is over its head regarding the consequences of the brutal war it waged on Yemen.

MBS is interested in a normalization with the entity, while King Salman likes the so-called “Arab Peace Initiative”, but the war in Yemen and threats to the Crown Prince at home are keeping them busy.

In a rare speech this week, Salman said Saudi Arabia still adheres to the so-called “Arab Peace Initiative”, which conditions normalization on an “Israeli” withdrawal to the 1967 lines and the establishment of a Palestinian state. But MBS wants to speed up normalization as part of his strategic and, above all, economic vision.

In his speech, King Salman focused on regional affairs: Iran and the “Israeli”-Palestinian so-called “peace” process – though he never mentioned the “Israeli’ entity’s normalization with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Was he trying to prove that he’s still in control of his kingdom and that he still sets foreign policy? Is this an intergenerational dispute, pitting the son’s project against the father’s traditional attitudes?

Saudi Arabia’s decision-making processes are enigmatic, as are relationships among members of the royal family and the kingdom’s domestic and foreign-policy considerations.

Yet, Saudi-“Israeli” normalization – which Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser announced will be happening very soon – seemed to be delayed.

Moreover, it’s not clear whether the delay is a matter of principle – that is, until a Palestinian state arises, or at least until “Israeli”-Palestinian negotiations resume – as King Salman said, or only a temporary one, until MBS manages to persuade him.

The difference in the two royals’ positions also raises another question. Saudi Arabia has provided an umbrella for the latest “peace” deals. Not only did it not condemn them, it praised the UAE and Bahrain for taking this step, which was coordinated with MBS, and opened its airspace to flights to and from the “Israeli” entity.

Not to mention, the public opinion in Saudi Arabia for a historic turnabout in the sand kingdom’s relationship with the “Israeli” entity is being paved.

Though, one issue stays unresolved.

It’s clear that Riyadh need to make peace with Washington, either before or as part of a deal with the “Israeli” entity. The main dispute between them is the war in Yemen, which began after King Salman was crowned in 2015.

In this war, the Saudi and UAE armies have treated Yemen’s civilian population brutally and used American weapons to do so. More than 125,000 people have been martyred, including 14,000 who were killed in deliberate attacks on civilian targets.

Hence, the Saudis’ aggression on Yemen has reappeared on the Washington agenda due to a partially classified report on US involvement in the conflict written by the State Department’s inspector general. The document’s unclassified sections, which were reported in the American media, reveal the magnitude of war crimes by Saudi and Emirati forces and their mercenaries, to the point that the US faces a risk of prosecution at the International Criminal Court.

Oona Hathaway, a former Department of Defense lawyer and now a Yale professor, told The New York Times: “If I were in the State Department, I would be freaking out about my potential for liability. I think anyone who’s involved in this program should get themselves a lawyer.”

Public and international pressure led Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, to freeze an arms deal with Riyadh in 2016 as a way of pressuring the Saudis to change their tactics in Yemen. One year later, Trump reversed that decision and opened the floodgates of US arms sales to the Saudis.

To Trump, Saudi Arabia, he said, has “nothing but cash,” which it uses to buy American services, protection and other goods. Regarding the slaughter of civilians in Yemen, he said the Saudis “don’t know how to use” American weapons.

Congress didn’t believe Trump’s explanations, and in April 2019, it passed a bipartisan resolution calling for an end to US military involvement in Yemen. Trump vetoed the resolution and circumvented the ban on arms sales to Riyadh by declaring a state of emergency over Iran, which allowed him to continue complying with Saudi requests.

The US government did budget $750 million to train Saudi soldiers and pilots on fighting in populated areas, with the goal of reducing harm to civilians. It also gave the Saudis a list of 33,000 targets they shouldn’t strike. But the Saudis don’t seem to have been overly impressed, and violations continue to this day.

Unlike Saudi Arabia, the UAE understood the dangers of its involvement in the war in Yemen and withdrew its forces, overcoming the ban on selling it F-35 fighter jets and other arms. It then overcame the “Israeli” obstacle by signing this month’s so-called “peace” deal.

MBS, who started the war in Yemen along with his father, is still wallowing in the Yemeni swamp that has complicated his relationship with the US. And that’s on top of his resounding failures in managing the Kingdom’s foreign policy, like forcing then-Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign, imposing a blockade on Qatar, waging an unsuccessful oil war with Russia that sent prices plummeting and abandoning the Palestinian issue.

Domestic issues haven’t gone that well for MBS either. His Vision 2030 is stumbling. The Kingdom’s treasury has had problems funding megalomaniac projects like his city of the future, which is supposed to involve three countries (Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan), diversify Saudi Arabia’s sources of income and reduce its dependence on oil. So far, it remains on paper.

He did boast an impressive achievement in the war on corruption when he detained dozens of billionaires at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and shook them down, but this was more about squeezing his political rivals’ windpipes than fighting corruption.

Accordingly, MBS can only envy his friend, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed [MBZ], the UAE’s de facto ruler who extricated his country from the war in Yemen and became Washington’s darling – not only because he normalized ties with the “Israeli” entity. And above all, he isn’t surrounded by hostile relatives.

So the question arises: Did all this happen in defiance of Salman’s wishes?

MBS who according to US intelligence didn’t hesitate to put his own mother under house arrest and keep her away from his father for fear she would work against him – may also prove to be someone who doesn’t see obeying his parents as a cardinal virtue. King Salman may be able to give speeches in support of the Palestinians, but his son, as defense minister, has the power to stage a coup against his father if he thinks this will serve him or his agenda, which might yet include normalizing ties with “Israeli” entity.

Israel And The Emirates Sign The “Abraham Accords”

Written by Thierry MEYSSAN on 25/09/2020

The situation in the Middle East has been blocked since the Oslo Accords signed by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in 1993. They were supplemented by the Jericho-Gaza Agreement, which recognizes certain prerogatives of the Palestinian Authority, and the Wadi Araba Agreements, which concluded peace between Israel and Jordan.

At the time, the Israeli government intended to separate definitively from the Palestinians. It was ready to do so by creating a Palestinian pseudo-state, devoid of several attributes of sovereignty, including an independent army and finances. Labour’s Yitzhak Rabin had previously experimented with Bantustans in South Africa, where Israel was advising the apartheid regime. Another experiment took place in Guatemala with a Mayan tribe under General Efraín Ríos Montt.

Yasser Arafat accepted the Oslo Accords to derail the process of the Madrid Conference (1991). Presidents George W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev had tried to impose peace on Israel by removing Arafat from the international scene with the support of Arab leaders.

Despite all this, many commentators believed that the Oslo Accords could bring peace.

In any case, 27 years later, nothing positive has limited the suffering of the Palestinian people, but the state of Israel has been gradually transformed from within. Today this country is divided into two antagonistic camps, as evidenced by its government, the only one in the world to have two Prime Ministers at the same time. On the one hand the partisans of British colonialism behind the first Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanhyahu, on the other hand the partisans of a normalization of the country and its relations with its neighbors, behind the second Prime Minister, Benny Gantz. This two-headed system reflects the incompatibility of these two projects. Each camp paralyzes its rival. Only time will come to end the colonial project of conquering Greater Israel from the banks of the Nile to those of the Euphrates, the comet tail of an outdated era.

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has implemented the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy aimed at adapting the US army to the needs of a new form of capitalism based no longer on the production of goods and services, but on financial engineering. To do this, they began an “endless war” of destruction of state structures throughout the “broader Middle East” without taking into account their friends and enemies. In two decades, the region became cursed for its inhabitants. Afghanistan, then Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen are the theater of wars presented as lasting a few weeks, but which last indefinitely, without perspective.

When Donald Trump was elected president, he promised to put an end to the “endless wars” and to bring US soldiers home. In this spirit, he gave carte blanche to his special adviser and nevertheless son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The fact that President Trump is supported in his country by Zionist Christians and that Jared Kushner is an Orthodox Jew has led many commentators to portray them as friends of Israel. If they do indeed have an electoral interest in letting this be believed, it is not at all their approach to the Middle East. They intend to defend the interests of the American people, and not those of the Israelis, by substituting trade relations for war on the model of President Andrew Jackson (1829-37). Jackson managed to prevent the disappearance of the Indians he had fought as a general, although only the Cherokees signed the agreement he proposed. Today they have become the largest Native American tribe, despite the infamous episode of the “Trail of Tears”.

For three years, Jared Kushner travelled through the region. He was able to see for himself how much fear and hatred had developed there. For 75 years, Israel has persisted in violating all UN resolutions that concern it and continues its slow and inexorable nibbling of Arab territory. The negotiator reached only one conclusion: International Law is powerless because almost no one – with the notable exception of Bush Sr. and Gorbachev – has wanted to really apply it since the partition plan for Palestine in 1947. Because of the inaction of the international community, its application if it were to happen today would add injustice to injustice.

Kushner worked on many hypotheses, including the unification of the Palestinian people around Jordan and the linking of Gaza to Egypt. In June 2019, he presented proposals for the economic development of the Palestinian territories at a conference in Bahrain (the “deal of the century”). Rather than negotiating anything, the idea was to quantify what everyone would gain from peace. In the end, he managed, on September 13, 2020, to get a secret agreement signed in Washington between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The agreement was formalized two days later, on September 15, in a watered-down version.”

Press in the Emirates
The press in the Emirates does not have the same version of the events as that of Israel. None of them has an interest in expressing itself frankly.

As always, the most important thing is the secret part: Israel was forced to renounce in writing its plans for annexation (including the territories allegedly “offered” by Donald Trump in the “deal of the century” project) and to let Dubai Ports World (known as “DP World”) take over the port of Haifa, from which the Chinese have just been ejected.

This agreement is in line with the ideas of the second Israeli Prime Minister Benny Gantz, but represents a disaster for the camp of the first Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Not having read the secret part of the agreements myself, I do not know if it clearly indicates the renunciation of annexing the Syrian Golan Heights, occupied since 1967, and the Lebanese Shebaa Farms, occupied since 1982. Similarly, I do not know whether compensation is provided for the port of Beirut, since it is clear that its eventual reconstruction would be detrimental both to Israel and to the Emirates’ investments in Haifa. However, the Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, has already publicly evoked a real estate construction project instead of the port of Beirut.

In order to make this treaty acceptable to all parties, it has been named “Abraham Accords”, after the common father of Judaism and Islam. The paternity was attributed, to the great joy of Benny Gantz, to the “outstretched hand” (sic) of Benjamin Netanyahu, his toughest opponent. Finally, Bahrain was associated with it.

This last point aims to mount the new regional role that Washington has granted to the Emirates in replacement of Saudi Arabia. As we announced, it is now Abu Dhabi and no longer Riyadh that represents US interests in the Arab world Other Arab states are invited to follow Bahrain’s example.

The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, has not had harsh words against the Emirati “betrayal”. He was taken up both by those who remain hostile to peace (the Iranian ayatollahs) and by those who remain committed to the Oslo Accords and the two-state solution. Indeed, by formalizing diplomatic relations between Israel and the new Arab leader, the Emirates, the Abraham Accords turn the page on the Oslo Accords. The palm of hypocrisy goes to the European Union, which persists in defending international law in theory and violating it in practice.

If President Trump is re-elected and Jared Kushner continues his work, the Israeli-Emirati agreements will be remembered as the moment when Israelis and Arabs regained the right to speak to each other, just as the overthrow of the Berlin Wall marked the moment when East Germans regained the right to speak to their relatives in the West. On the contrary, if Joe Biden is elected, Israel’s nibbling of Arab territories and the “endless war” will resume throughout the region.

Relations between Israel and the Emirates had long since stabilized without a peace treaty since there was never a declared war between them. The Emirates have been secretly buying arms from the Jewish state for the past decade. Over time this trade has increased, especially in terms of telephone interceptions and internet surveillance. In addition, an Israeli embassy was already operating under cover of an intelligence agency.

In addition, an Israeli embassy was already operating under cover of a delegation to an obscure UN body in the Emirates. However, the “Abraham Accords” challenge the dominant Arab-Israeli discourse and shake up internal relations in the entire region.

Source: Voltaire Network

Road to Saudi Ties with ‘Israel’ Being Paved, Cautiously

Road to Saudi Ties with ‘Israel’ Being Paved, Cautiously

By Staff, AP

Although Saudi Arabia has made its official position on the region’s longest-running conflict clear, claiming that full ties between the kingdom and the Zionist entity can only happen when ‘peace’ is reached with the Palestinians, state-backed Saudi media and clerics are signaling change is already underway with ‘Israel.’

It is a matter that can only happen under the directives of the country’s heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS].

“It’s no secret there’s a generational conflict,” said New York-based Rabbi Marc Schneier, who serves as an advisor to Bahrain’s king and has held talks in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to promote stronger ties with the ‘Israeli’ entity.

Gulf capitals have been increasingly looking to the Palestine-occupier entity as an ally to defend against common rival Iran amid quiet concerns about the direction of US foreign policy and the uncertainty around the upcoming presidential election. But it’s not only countering Iran that’s brought ‘Israel’ and Arab states closer in recent years.

The rabbi said the former Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Khalid bin Salman, told him that the top priority of his brother, MBS, is reforming the Saudi economy.

“He said these exact words: ‘We will not be able to succeed without ‘Israel’.’ So for the Saudis, it’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a question of ‘when.’ And there’s no doubt that they will establish relations with ‘Israel’,” Schneier said.

Prominent Saudi royal, Prince Turki al-Faisal, insisted that “any talk of a rift between the king and the crown prince is mere speculation.”

“We’ve seen none of that,” said the prince, who served for years as head of intelligence and briefly as ambassador to the US.

In a phone call with US President Donald Trump on September 6, King Salman repeated his commitment to the Arab ‘Peace’ Initiative, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The initiative offers ‘Israel’ normal ties with Arab states in return for Palestinian statehood on territory the Zionist entity occupied in 1967 — a deal that starkly contradicts the Trump administration’s Middle East so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.

When the White House announced last month the United Arab Emirates and ‘Israel’ agreed to establish full diplomatic ties — a move matched by Bahrain weeks later — Saudi Arabia refrained from criticizing the deal or hosting summits condemning the decision, despite Palestinian requests to do so.

It also approved the use of Saudi airspace for ‘Israeli’ flights to the UAE, a decision announced the day after Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, met with Prince Mohammed in Riyadh. Kushner has been pushing Arab states to normalize ties with the Zionist entity.

Prince Turki said Arab states should demand a high price for normalizing ties with ‘Israel.’ He said ‘Israel’ remains “the stumbling block in all of these efforts.”

Relatively, Raghida Dergham, a longtime Arab columnist and co-chair with Prince Turki of the Beirut Institute Summit in Abu Dhabi, said younger generations in the Middle East want normality rather than a confiscation of ambitions and dreams.

“They want solutions not a perpetuation of rejection,” said Dergham, whose Beirut Institute e-policy circles have tackled questions about the future of the region and its youth.

When the UAE-‘Israel’ deal was announced in August, the top trending hashtag on Twitter in Saudi Arabia was against normalization with ‘Israel.’ Still, public criticism in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain has largely been muted, in part because these governments suppress free speech.

“It is very hard to get accurate data, even when polling people,” said Yasmine Farouk, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Farouk said public opinion on ‘Israel’ in Saudi Arabia is diverse and complex, with opinions varying among different age groups and among liberals and conservatives. She said there is an effort to prepare the Saudi public for change and to shape public debate around ‘Israel.’

As Saudi Arabia prepares to mark its 90th National Day on Wednesday, clerics across the country were directed to deliver sermons about the importance of obeying the ruler to preserve unity and peace.

Earlier this month, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, delivered another state-backed sermon on the importance of dialogue in international relations and kindness to non-Muslims, specifically mentioning Jews.

He concluded by saying the Palestinian cause must not be forgotten, but his words caused a stir on social media, with many seeing the remarks as further evidence of the groundwork being laid for Saudi-‘Israeli’ ties.

The English-language Saudi daily, Arab News, which has been featuring op-eds by rabbis, changed its social media banner on Twitter this past Friday to say “Shana Tova,” the Jewish New Year greeting.

نحن في ذروة الاشتباك‎ ‎والحرب سجال‎ ‎انتظروا بشائر الفتح…!‏

محمد صادق الحسيني

رغم كلّ الاساطيل المرافقة العسكرية منها وغير العسكرية…

إياكم والانبهار بـ “أنوارها” العلنية والخفية…

لم يأت ماكرون إلى لبنان والعراق إلا بعد انكسار سيده اليانكي الأميركي الذي أوكله مداراة الإقليم الى حين ترتيب بيته المتصدّع…

نعم لالتقاط لعبة الوكيل وتدوير الزوايا معه…

ولكن حذار الاعتقاد باختلاف الوكيل عن الأصيل في الاستراتيجيا، نعم في التكتيك لغاية في نفس يعقوب…

ونحن سادة الحرب كما سادة استراحة المحارب…

وأما هيل وشينكر فإنهما في أشدّ حالات ضعفهما مع سيدهم في البيت الأبيض ولن ينفعهما مع كوشنر النزال خلف خطوط التاريخ والجغرافيا…

فما محفل أبو ظبي إلا قنابل دخانية لحرف الأنظار عن عجزهم الاستراتيجي…

نحن في شدة وضيق مادي ومعيشي نعم…

نحن في شِعب أبي طالب، نعم…

لكننا واثقون من النصر، بل على يقين منه…

لقد خسر الأميركي كل معاركه الميدانية معنا…

وما تراءى لخدمه من مشاريع امبراطورية، تبخرت على بوابات الشام وأسوار بغداد وفي تخوم صنعاء…

ولما انتقلنا من الدفاع إلى الهجوم… وصارت قاعدته الأهمّ المزروعة فوق فلسطين محاطة من كلّ الجهات بصواريخنا الدقيقة وأسلحة المفاجآت… لجأوا الى أخسّ وأنذل الأساليب:

محاولة تجويعنا وحبسنا في شِعب أبي طالب…

بالمباشر ودون لفّ او دوران نقول لجمهورنا:

إيران الإسلام بقيادة إمام المقاومة قرارها واضح وضوح الشمس ولا رجعة عنه:

لن نعطيكم ورقة التفاوض أو الحوار حول ثوابتنا، من مزار شريف إلى ما بعد مكة، ومن هرمز إلى ما بعد باب المندب،

ومن البصرة الى ما بعد بنت جبيل، مهما طال الحصار علينا او اشتدّت أيام المعارك بين الحروب…

وسنقاوم بكلّ ما أوتينا من قوة حتى نستغني عن دولاركم… وسندعم ونساند فلسطين ولبنان وسورية والعراق واليمن بكلّ أشكال الدعم، بالغذاء والدواء والمشتقات النفطية والسلاح وبالعملات المحلية اوالمجان…

ولأنّ سامريّكم العجل الذهبي عاجز عن الحرب ومنهار من الداخل… وقاعدته المتقدمة المزروعة على أرض فلسطين في شلل تامّ… فإنّ معادلة لا حر ب ولا مفاوضات ستظلّ قائمة الى حين إعادة تشكيل الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة في الشهرين الأوّلين من السنة الجديدة أياً تكن سياقات سقوط أو صعود رموزها…

ونعد جمهورنا من أمة أشرف الناس، بأنّ عدونا وعدوكم سيكون في حينها كحدّ أقصى بات منهكاً وقاب قوسين أو أدنى من الانسحاب من النزال على امتداد وطننا العربي الكبير من غرب آسيا الى شمال أفريقيا…

وقتها نحن من سيكتب جدول انسحاباته من المنطقة شبراً شبراً… ويومها سيفرح المؤمنون بنصر الله وبعودة عصر بدر وخيبر ويكون لنا الفتح المبين. هذا وعد إلهي، وهذا هو فعل السنن الكونية.

انها معركة عضّ الأصابع في الربع ساعة الأخيرة..

سلاحنا الأمضى فيها الصبر ثم الصبر ثم الصبر، الصبر دين وليس تكتيكاً، الصبر سيفتت الصخر ويهزم رعاة البقر.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

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Haaretz: Opening Saudi Skies to “Israel” to Pave MBS’ Way back to Washington

Haaretz: Opening Saudi Skies to “Israel” to Pave MBS’ Way back to Washington 

By Staff

The day after the “Israeli” delegation concluded its official visit to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia announced its skies would be open to any “country’s” plane flying to or from the UAE. 

According to “Israeli” Haaretz daily, the name “Israel” may not have been mentioned explicitly, but there was no need for it. 

“Saudi Arabia is still cautious and the price for official normalization with “Israel” will depend on the strategic payment it receives from Washington,” Zvi Bar’el wrote.

He further highlighted that discussions on the matter are being conducted at an intensive pace between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his friend Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s special adviser, who is striving to close the normalization before the US presidential election in November. 

“Time is pressing and Trump is hoping to present another impressive diplomatic achievement that he can brandish during his election campaign, after most of his diplomatic initiatives, including his so-called “deal of the century,” fell apart – in the best case becoming a joke and in most cases causing deep anxiety,” the analyst highlighted. 

He went on to explain, “Since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi two years ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed has become persona non grata among the American public and Congress.  During this period he has not visited Washington and his interests have been looked after by his brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman, who was the Saudi ambassador to Washington until 2019, and after that was appointed deputy defense minister. The investigations against MBS concerning Khashoggi’s murder are still underway, and in addition the Congress has imposed a ban on arms sales to the kingdom – a decision that was circumvented by Trump.”

“MBS very much needs a change that will give him back his previous status, after his friend, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the Emirates, began to overshadow him as a leader who shapes the new Middle East policy, and as the Arab figure closest to Trump,” Haaretz stated.

It also mentioned that “Peace with ‘Israel’ could be a game changer for Saudi Arabia vis-a-vis Washington, but compared to the Emirates, the kingdom’s situation is more complicated.”

Intensified American Diplomatic Activities in the Middle-East

Intensified American Diplomatic Activities in the Middle-East

September 01, 2020

By Zamir Ahmed Awan for the Saker Blog

The U.S. has intensified its diplomatic activities in the Middle-East. After the Secretary of State Pompeo’s tour to six nations in the Middle-East, the Power-Pillar in White House, Jared Kushner, who is Senior advisor and son-in-law of President Donal Trump, along with Senior officials, is on his Middle-East trip currently.

The enhanced focus of the U.S. diplomatic and political engagement in the Middle-east has several objectives as:

On the surface, all efforts are for Israel, as the US is the only supporter of Israel blindly. The U.S. has been exercising its veto powers for Israel on several occasions and extends extraordinary political and diplomatic support, matched with non. It should be understood that, among the three prominent divine religions, Judaism is the oldest one, Christianity is the most populous in the Western World. However, Islam is the third one in its series and the last one of divine religion. A majority of Muslims inhabit the Middle East. The creation of a Jewish state in the heart of the Muslim World was not logical in the first step. The Jewish population in Palestine was only 11 % at the time of planning for the creation of Isreal. Later on, Jewish were shifted to Palestine from various parts of the World; and mostly, the wealthy Jews were motivated and encouraged to purchase land and property from the Arabs.

The Zionist struggle of the late 19th century had led by 1917 to the Balfour Declaration, by which Britain assured an ultimate separate state only for Jews in Palestine. When that former Ottoman province became a British mandate under the League of Nations in 1922, it contained about 700,000 people, of whom only 58,000 were Jews, approximately 11 % only.

Bulk relocation happened during the period of 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. The well-off Jews were buying the property in Palestine. If some patriotic Arabs refuse to sell their property, they face severe consequences like murder, injuries, detention, arrest, hostage, or expelled to exile. The Zionist militias of the Haganah and Irgun killed 5,032 Arabs and wounded 14,760, consequential in over ten percent of the adult male Palestinian Arab population killed, wounded, imprisoned, or exiled. At the end of World War II, the Jewish community in Palestine had increased to 33% of the total population.

The U.N. General assembly, backed by the U.S. and U.K., approved the creation of the state of Israel only limited to 5,500 Square Kilometers in 1947. But The Jews militant grabbed more land from local Arabs in 1948. It created an adversary between Arabs and Israelis. It led to an Arab-Israel War in 1967, and Israel seized even more land from Arabs.

The core reason for unrest in the Middle-East is the irrational creation of the state of Israel. The illogical creation of a Jewish state in the heart of the Muslim World was the root cause of all problems. There are an estimated 8 million Jews all over the World, and out of which 6 million settled in the state of Israel, mostly migrated from Eastern Europe, Africa, Russia, and also from other parts of the World. The settlers were aliens, and not the son of the soil and not the local indigenous people, and furthermore, the expansionist approach of the State of Israel has been pushing Arabs out of their homeland. Millions of Palestinians have lost their home.

The World has a moral stance on the state of Israel that it should be limited to original approved state with an area of 5,500 Square Kilometers, and return the all illegal occupied Arab Land occupied in 1948 and 1967. Furthermore, the State of Israel promises and ensure that it will not hold any Arab land in the future. This principle-stance is in line with the UN Charter, OIC, and Arab-League decision. Most of the nations, including Russia and China, share similar views. But it is only the U.S. who support all irrational acts of Israel blindly. The Secretary of state will lobby for Israel during this trip and may gain more recognition from the Arab World.

Egypt was kicked out from the Arab league in 1979, as displeasure on its recognition of the State of Israel. It is worth citing that six nations founded the Arab League: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria in 1945 in Cairo, the Capital of Egypt. Later on, the other Arab countries kept on joining the Arab League, and currently, there are 22 members of the Arab League. The prime objective of the Creation of the Arab League was to promote the Palestinian Arab cause. The Arab League opposed the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947 and implementing a boycott of Jewish State. Especially imposed an oil embargo, which lasted until the Khartoum Resolution in September 1967. The Arab League, in 2002, endorsed a Saudi Arabian Arab Peace Initiative, which called for a full withdrawal by Israel “to the 1967 borders” in return for fully normalized relations.

Egypt signed the Peace Treaty with the State of Israel in 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords. The treaty was received with vast controversy across the Arab World, where it was condemned and considered a stab in the back. The sense of outrage was principally strong amongst Palestinians. However, as a result of the treaty, Egypt was expelled out from its own created Arab League in 1979–1989. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad disconnected all relations with Egypt after the signing of the peace deal, and diplomatic relations were not restored until 2005, under the rule of Bashar al-Assad.

Jordan also recognized the State of Israel in 1984, which was also not welcomed by the Arab World, mainly the Palestinian.

Keeping solidarity with the Arab World, the 57-members OIC (The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), the second-largest organization after the United Nations, spread over four continents, takes a strong stance on Israel and demands the return of Arab Lands which Israel occupied in the 1967 war.

Israel has not been welcomed by the international community, even, in E.U., Russia, and China, in addition to the Arab & Muslim World. However, it enjoys extraordinary support from the U.S. and favors from its creator UK.

UAE (United Arab Emirates) becoming the third Arab state, besides Egypt and Jordan, to fully recognize Israel, after signing a peace deal on August 13, 2020. The U.S. mediated the peace agreement. However, the unofficial interaction began as early as 2010, and cooperation was based on their joint opposition to Iran’s nuclear program and regional influence. Israel opened an official diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi in 2015, under cover of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

UAE’s decision has shocked the Muslim World, and there was a reaction. The most severe reaction came from Turkey, who is thinking to cut its diplomatic ties with the UAE. Iran is the most affected country, as rival Israel may sit next door in UAE. The growing defense cooperation between Israel and UAE is an alarming and significant threat to Iran. UAE and Israel were not at good terms with Iran historically.

Some of the other Arab countries also shown displeasures. In fact, the Arab World might lose unity and may divide pro and anti-this decisions. It may weaken the unity of the Arab World further. This agreement will have a far-reaching impact, and over time, the outcomes will be visible.

Secondly, the U.S. has lodged a media war against Russia and China. Their controlled media is building a narrative against Russia and China and projecting Russia and China as a severe threat. The Secretary of State also tried to convince the Arab World against Russia and China, building alliances in case of any confrontation in the region. The U.S. is in the habit of forming partnerships and alliances against their adversaries, and in the past, their such approach was successful. Secretary of State also traveled to four countries in Europe to convince them to join the U.S. against Russia and China but failed, and Europe seems more divided on the U.S. stance on Russia and China. It is believed that The U.S. efforts may also divide the Arab-Word into groups pro-America and Anti-America. This may create a space for Russia and China to lead the Anti-American block in the Arab World as well as in Europe.

The third objective is a part of the election campaign for the presidential election. President Trump has determined to re-elect again and can go to any extent. One can expect any abnormal decision from him to win the election. He wanted to prove that his foreign policy is in the best interest of American people “America First.” He is also using anti-Russia and Anti-China card to gain sympathy from the American voters.

Most of the Arab World, especially the oil-rich Gulf countries, is ruled by Kings and dictators, who depend on U.S. support to sustain their rule. But anti-American sentiments are growing immensely. As a matter of fact, the U.S. has widened its objectives in such tours, which makes it more difficult to achieve any significant results. Secretary of State trip failed to convince any other Arab country to recognize Israel. Contrary, the adversary has been enhanced. Either he was unable to persuade the State of Israel to suspend its expansion plans. In contrast, Prime Minister Netanyahu categorically announced that the expansion plans are postponed or delayed only but not canceled or dropped out. He was also not able to convince most of the Arab countries to be part of the Anti-China-Russia alliance. Neither any direct impact on the Presidential Elections to be held in November later this year. His tour was counterproductive. Jared Kushner’s mission may also meet the same fate and no net gain at all.


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Hoping to Seize on UAE-Israel Deal, Pompeo and Kushner Head East in Search of New Allies for Israel

By Raul Diego

Source

Pompeo Kushner Israel

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump adviser Jared Kushner are hitting the road in an attempt to strong-arm more Arab states into normalizing relations with Israel, turning their backs on Palestine and isolating Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and unelected advisor to President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, are embarking on a tour of the Middle East beginning with a stop in Israel to discuss “regional security issues related to Iran’s malicious influence” with Prime Minister Netanyahu, followed by visits to Sudan, Bahrain and now official U.S. partner, the United Arab Emirates.

Spun as an effort to speed up a U.S.-brokered “normalization” between Arab countries and Israel, the trip comes just four days after the White House sent the Secretary of State to the U.N. Security Council with the message that all UN sanctions against Iran were to be restored; invoking a clause in the Iran nuclear deal “that allows participants to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran.”

Critics of the move have deemed it illegal, not only because the Trump administration itself withdrew from the deal it is now attempting to enforce, but also because the UN Security Council had previously voted to allow the arms embargo to expire in the fall.

As Pompeo and company land in Jerusalem, tensions are high in the region. Sudan, one of the countries on the itinerary, is in political disarray nearly two years after the ouster of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in 2018. In July, Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, replaced seven senior cabinet officials, including the ministers of finance, foreign, energy, and health. Five days ago, he sacked his official spokesperson for disclosing ongoing talks with Israel during a press conference in which spokesman Haider Badawi said he was “looking forward to concluding a peace agreement” with the apartheid state.

The Sudanese government immediately disavowed Badawi’s comments, asserting that “no one tasked [the spokesman] with making statements on this matter.” Meanwhile, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen has reportedly confirmed talks with Sudan, adding that “Israel hopes to reach a peace agreement that includes the return of Sudanese refugees to their country,” according to the Al-Ittihad newspaper. Israeli officials have also claimed that Netanyahu himself met with the head of Sudan’s transitional government in Uganda last February for a top-secret meeting to discuss normalizing relations.

The long-time ally

Bahrain, a long-time Atlanticist client state, is also on Pompeo’s diplomatic schedule. The tiny Gulf state of fewer than two million people has played host to the U.S. Navy since 1947 and was the headquarters for the British protectorate of the lower Persian Gulf after World War II. The crown prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa descends from a long line of Al-Khalifas to rule the nation under Britain’s neo-colonial eye and, later, as a sovereign country since 1971. Considered a “strong security partner” by the U.S. and host of the only operating American naval base in the region with 7,800 U.S. troops, the Trump administration recently lifted arms sales restrictions imposed by Obama. Another member of the Al-Kahlifa clan, Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Al-Khalifa, sat down for an interview with The Times of Israel last summer in which he said he “hoped to visit Israel, when it’s all open, peaceful,” signaling Bahrain’s openness to facilitate normalization between Israel and Arab states.

report updated in June by the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CSR) titled “Bahrain: Unrest, Security, and U.S. Policy,” outlined the country’s human rights record and history of political repression, which should nevertheless be overlooked because the country “has long presented a policy dilemma for the United States because Bahrain is a longtime ally that is pivotal to maintaining Persian Gulf security.”

An easy dilemma

The policy dilemma is limited to whether or not Bahrain, Sudan or any other oil-rich countries wish to abide by Atlanticist dictates for their particular region, which has now shifted to a policy of exclusion of the Palestinian people living under the apartheid regime in Israel and an intensification of the campaign of isolation against Iran.

This is being called normalization and some, like Sudan’s former government spokesman, see nothing wrong with it. In what may be the most disingenuous statement ever made, Haider Badawi told Sky News Arabia that Sudan “shall be able to build an exemplary peace deal to all our neighboring countries in the region, so that they are able to follow our footsteps and do the same with Israel. I would like to note here that even Palestinians have had a long history of diplomatic ties with Israel. So, why should it be right for them and considered wrong for us.”

Pompeo will finalize his trip in the UAE, where he will meet with Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to discuss the deal signed with Israel a few weeks ago. Jared Kushner’s itinerary, however, has not been made public. He will be accompanied on an ostensibly separate excursion by National Security adviser, Robert O’Brien and special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook in what is only being described as “talks with leaders in the region to encourage more Arab countries to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and move forward with full normalization of relations with Israel.”

نتن ياهو يتجرّع السمّ وابن سلمان خائف يترقب…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

ومكر أولئك يبور…!

تماماً، كما سبق وأفادت المصادر العسكرية الأوروبية يوم 26/8/2020، حول مسرحية نتن ياهو، التي نفذها هو وجيشه في شمال فلسطين المحتلة، وأسمتها مصادره العسكرية، منذ فجر أمس الأول، بالعملية التكتيكية التي نفذها الجيش في جنوب لبنان، فإنه وحسب ما نشره موقع ديبكا الاستخباري الإسرائيلي أمس، نقول بأنه وطبقاً كما أشارت تقديراتنا السابقة، فإنّ مسرحية نتن ياهو تلك التي فشلت في الميدان، لأسباب عديدة لا مجال للاستفاضة في شرحها في هذا المقام، فقد فشلت على صعيد الميدان السياسي والدبيلوماسي أيضاً، وذلك للأسباب التالية:

فشل السفير الإسرائيلي في الأمم المتحدة، جلعاد إردان، في إقناع أيّ من الدول الأعضاء في مجلس الأمن الدولي، بطلب تغيير مهمات قوات اليونيفيل في لبنان، وذلك عبر الرسالة التي أرسلها يوم أمس الاول 26/8/2020، لمندوبي الدول الأعضاء في المجلس.

كذلك تتابعت محطات الفشل، في ما يدّعيه نتن ياهو من نجاحات، على صعيد التطبيع مع بعض الأنظمة العربية العميلة للاستعمار.

فها هو السودان يبلغ وزير الخارجية الأميركي، يوم أمس الاول، بأن ليس بإمكانه حضور «الزفة الانتخابية»، التي يحضّر لعقدها في القاهرة قريباً كلاً من بومبيو وعراب صفقة القرن، جاريد كوشنر، لصالح الحملة الانتخابية للرئيس الأميركي ترامب.

وها هو حصان طروادة الإسرائيلي، محمد بن سلمان، يلغي لقاءً كان يفترض أن يُعقد بينه وبين نتن ياهو، يوم 31/8/2020، في واشنطن وذلك خوفاً من حدوث انقلاب عليه في السعودية، من قبل منافسين له في العائلة المالكة، وكذلك بسبب الرفض الشعبي الواسع، في السعودية نفسها لكل سياسة التطبيع مع العدو الصهيوني. خاصة أنّ الرأي العام السعودي، او المواطنين السعوديين بالأحرى، قد دعموا مقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني بسخاءٍ دائماً. وقد كانت «اللجان الشعبية لمساعدة مجاهدي الشعب الفلسطيني»، التي تأسست عقب احتلال بقية أراضي فلسطين خلال حرب 1967، وترأسها (آنذاك) الأمير سلمان بن عبد العزيز وهو ملك السعودية الحالي، وحتى وقت قريب.

وهذا يعني انّ محمد بن سلمان، ورغم كلّ جموحه لتلبية كافة طلبات نتن ياهو الهادفة لتدمير القضية الفلسطينية وتدمير السعودية أيضاً وبمطالبتها بتعويضات هي عبارة عما يسمّيها «خسائر اليهود» في الجزيرة العربية، منذ ظهور الإسلام وحتى يومنا هذا، نقول إنه وبالرغم من استعداده لذلك إلا انّ الرفض الشعبي القوي لذلك قد لجمه ومنعه من الذهاب الى واشنطن لتسليم مفاتيح الكعبة المشرّفة لنتن ياهو.

ولكن مسلسل الفشل الذي تسجله سياسات نتن ياهو التضليلية وأكاذيبه المتواصله لا تقف عند حدّ الفشل المدوي في السياسة الخارجية رغم ادّعائه عكس ذلك، وإنما يمتدّ هذا الفشل الى سياساته الداخلية، التي جعلت دولة الاحتلال من أقلّ دول «الشرق الأوسط» استقراراً وضعفاً، رغم ما تمتلكه من آلة حربيةٍ أميركيةٍ غايةً في التطور والفتك.

ولكنها، رغم تطوّرها الكبير في هذا المجال، فإنها لا تستطيع تغيير قواعد الاشتباك، التي فرضتها المقاومة اللبنانية على الجبهة الشمالية والمقاومة الفلسطينية على الجبهة الجنوبية. وها هو الجيش الإسرائيلي لا يزال واقفاً على «رجل ونصف» منذ ان أعلن الأمين العام لحزب الله قرار الحزب بالردّ على اغتيال الطائرات الحربية الاسرائيلية أحد ضباطه في محيط مطار دمشق الدولي.

كما انّ أحد أهمّ الأدلة، على هذا الفشل المدوّي المتعلق بوضع جيشه وجبهته الداخلية، قد ظهر خلال المسرحية التي فشل في تنفيذها مساء أول امس 25/8/2020، وذلك عندما أظهرت كاميرات المراسلين العسكريين الاسرائيليين وغيرهم من الصحافيين الذين كانوا يغطون تلك الأحداث على طول الجبهة، أظهرت كاميراتهم خلوّ مواقع جيش الاحتلال من الجنود والآليات وتموضعهم في خط دفاع يقع على بعد ٦ – ٨ كيلومترات عن الحدود، خوفاً من استهدافهم من قبل قوات المقاومة في لبنان.

أما الفشل المضاف، الى فشل الانكفاء عن الخطوط الأمامية والاختباء في خط دفاع خلفي، فقد تمثل في قيام الجيش الاسرائيلي، وبموافقة نتن ياهو نفسه، بارتكاب جريمة قصف الأراضي اللبنانية بقذائف الفوسفور الأبيض الخارقة، والمحرّمة دولياً، حيث حاول (الجيش الاسرائيلي) يائساً الإيحاء بأنه قادر على الردّ العسكري. ولكنه فشل أيضاً في إقناع حتى المراسلين العسكريين الاسرائيليين بذلك، خاصة أنهم يعلمون تماماً انّ قذائف الفوسفور الأبيض قد أطلقت من مرابض المدفعية الاسرائيلية، المنتشرة على عمق ١٥ – ٢٠ كيلومتر عن خط الجبهة. وهو الأمر الذي أكد فقدان جيش نتنياهو لزمام المبادرة وتحكم المقاومة اللبنانية به تماماً من الآن وحتى حلول ساعة تحرير القدس.

أما قمة القمم، في سلسلة الفشل التي تلاحق نتن ياهو، فسنعيشها إبتداء من بدايات شهر تشرين الأول المقبل، حيث ستنطلق موجة مدمّرة جديدة من انتشار فيروس كورونا في دولة نتن ياهو، مضافاً اليها انتشار نوع جديد من الوباء الفايروسي، الأشدّ فتكاً من فيروس كورونا، ألا وهو فايروس: آر/ إِس/ ڤي. .

وهو نوع من الفيروسات التي تصيب الأطفال الحديثي الولادة والأطفال من مختلف سنوات العمر، بالإضافة الى الشباب وكبار السن والطاعنين في السن، نساءً ورجالاً.

وبالنظر الى الفشل الذريع، الذي حصده نتن ياهو والموساد الاسرائيلي، المكلف بكلّ ما يتعلق بالوباء بما في ذلك المشتريات الطبية، في مواجهة وباء كورونا طوال الفترة الماضية وتصاعد انتشار هذا الفيروس بين الاسرائيليين، وبالنظر الى الفوضى الشاملة، التي تعمّ الجهاز الصحي الاسرائيلي، والنقص الشديد في المستلزمات الصحية والطبية، بما في ذلك الأجهزة الطبية الضرورية، فإنّ الخبراء والمحللين الاسرائيليين يتوقعون انفجار موجة عملاقة، من الإصابات بكورونا والفيروس الجديد . والتي ستكون أقرب الى موجة التسونامي التي لن تبقي ولن تذر.

وهو ما يدفع سكان فلسطين المحتلة، من اليهود وخاصة اولئك الذين يواصلون التظاهر ليلياً أمام مقر إقامة نتن ياهو في حي الطالبية الفلسطيني بالقدس المحتلة، الى طرح السؤال الجدي والمنطقي:

ما الفائدة من مسرحيات نتن ياهو التي تتغنى بالتطبيع مع ابن زايد وغيره اذا كانت حياتنا هنا في خطر!؟

وهل يمكن لإبن زايد ان ينقذنا من الأوبئة القاتلة، في ظلّ عدم وجود خطط او بروتوكولات علاج حكومية!؟

علماً انّ طلائع أولئك المطالبين برحيل نتن ياهو والكثيرين منهم هم جنرالات وضباط سابقين في الجيش والأجهزة الأمنية في «إسرائيل» وكذلك من المثقفين والنخب المجتمعية، التي تخشى على «إسرائيل» من نتائج سياسات نتن ياهو الكارثية على وجود دولتهم.

انّ قمة الفشل، المُشار إليه آنفاً، هي بالذات التي يسقط عنها نتن ياهو، ليستقرّ في السجن لقضاء بقية سنين عمره داخله، وذلك بعد إدانته بتهم الفساد وتلقي الرشاوي، التي يواجهه بها القضاء الاسرائيلي وسيقدّم للمحاكمة، استناداً الى التهم الموجهة اليه، من النائب العام الاسرائيلي بهذا الصدد كما تؤكد مصادر معتبرة في فلسطين المحتلة.

وبذلك يكون بومبيو وكوشنر قد فشلا سوياً في انتشال نتنياهو من قاع مستنقع الفشل الذي يتخبّط فيه منذ مدة، وما ان تنتهي حاجتهم الانتخابية له بعد نوفمبر/ تشرين الثاني المقبل حتى يتركونه يهلك في آخر كؤوس السمّ التي تنتظره، وذلك على خطى سلفه أولمرت، وبذلك يكون الكيان قد شارف على فقدان آخر «ملوكه» ليبدأ في تعداد ساعات تفكيك آخر معسكرات الأميركان في درة بلاد الشام أيّ فلسطين الحرة والمستقلة…!

سنة الله في الذين خلوا من قبل ولن تجد لسنة الله تبديلا.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

رفض إسرائيلي بيع “حتى برغي واحد” من “أف 35” لدول الشرق الأوسط

تل أبيب ترفض بيع حتى برغي من طائرات

الكاتب: الميادين نت

المصدر: وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية

اليوم 09:07

وفد إسرائيلي وأميركي بمشاركة صهر ترامب يتوجه إلى أبو ظبي الاثنين المقبل لتعزيز السلام، وتل أبيب ترفض بيع حتى برغي من طائرات “أف 35” لأي دولة.

نقل موقع “تايمز أوف إسرائيل”، عن وزير  شؤون المستوطنات تساحي هانغبي، من حزب “الليكود”، أمس الثلاثاء، قوله إن “إسرائيل” تعارض بيع “برغي واحد” من طائرة F-35  إلى أي دولة في الشرق الأوسط، بما في ذلك الإمارات العربية المتحدة، وسط خطط واضحة للولايات المتحدة لبيع الطائرة لأبو ظبي.

وقال هانغبي، “إننا نعارض حتى بيع برغي واحد من طائرات الشبح المقاتلة إلى أي بلد في الشرق الأوسط، سواء كان لدينا سلام معها أم لا. هذا هو موقفنا، وقد تم عرضه في الماضي وتوضيحه في الأسابيع الأخيرة”.

وأردف، إن “الأميركيين غير ملزمين بقبول موقفنا. لم يقبلوا به عندما قرروا بيع المقاتلات الشبح للأتراك، الذي لا يُعتبرون دولة معادية، ولكننا ندرك أنه قد يكون لدينا نوع من الصراع معهم”.

من جهته، نقل موقع “i24NEWS” الإسرائيلي عن مكتب رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو إعلانه أنّ وفداً إسرائيلياً سيزور أبو ظبي الأسبوع المقبل لدفع التطبيع، موعزاً إلى رئيس هيئة الأمن القومي مائير بن شبات بترؤس البعثة الإسرائيلية برفقة بعثة أميركية تضم  صهر الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب وكبير مستشاريه جاريد كوشنير ومستشارين أميركيين.

وأعرب نتنياهو، مساء أمس الثلاثاء، عن أمله بأن “مواطنين إسرائيليين سيستطيعون زيارة الإمارات العربية المتحدة قريباً”، معلناً عن مغادرة بعثة إسرائيلية رسمية أولى إلى الإمارات الاثنين المقبل “للعمل على دفع السلام”. 

وعن تطورات الاتفاق الإماراتي الإسرائيلي، غرد مستشار رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي السابِق أرييل شارون عبر “تويتر”، قائلاً “إنها المرة الأولى التي تمر فيها طائرة إسرائيلية فوق الأجواء السعودية في رحلة مباشرة من “إسرائيل” إلى الإمارات”. 

وبناءً على اتفاق التطبيع، أعلنت “إسرائيل” والإمارات نيتهما تكثيف التبادل التجاري وبيع النفط الإماراتي لهذه الأخيرة.

وتأتي هذه الأنباء متزامنة مع ما أفادته وكالة الأنباء الإماراتية الرسمية “وام” أن الشيخ محمد بن زايد آل نهيان ولي عهد أبو ظبي تلقى، أمس الثلاثاء، اتصالاً هاتفياً من وزير الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو، “جرى خلاله بحث العلاقات الاستراتيجية بين الإمارات والولايات المتحدة وسبل دعمها وتطويرها”.

كما ناقش الجانبان معاهدة السلام بين دولة الإمارات و”إسرائيل” وآفاق تعزيزها بما يخدم أسس السلام والاستقرار في المنطقة”، وفق ما أفادت به وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية.

ويجري وزير الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو جولة في الشرق الأوسط تستمر 5 أيام، يثير خلالها مسألة تطبيع العلاقات بين الدول العربية و”إسرائيل”، ومسائل أخرى منها العلاقات مع إيران وطائرات إف-35 الحربية التي تسعى الإمارات للحصول عليها.

وذكرت صحيفة “إسرائيل هيوم” أمس أن مسؤول في الإمارات رفيع المستوى كشف أن بومبيو يخطط لدفع مؤتمر سلام إقليمي خلال الأسابيع المقبلة.

Saudi Welcomes Abu Dhabi’s Betrayal: When Is Riyadh’s Turn? ترحيب سعودي بخيانة أبو ظبي: متى يحين دور الرياض؟

Saudi Welcomes Abu Dhabi’s Betrayal: When Is Riyadh’s Turn?

By Al-Akhbar NewspaperTranslated by Staff

There is no need for much effort to deduce the Saudi position regarding the move of its Emirati ally to publicize its relations with ‘Israel’. What the officials do not say publicly is proclaimed by the court media and writers in day and night, to the extent that some of them refused to grant the Palestinians “generosity” without return. Instead, the recompense was “blackmailing” practiced – for 70 years – in the Gulf “in the name of the sanctity of the cause”, according to articles of semi-unified narratives. It is clear now that the temporary royal silence and Riyadh’s reluctance to welcome – unlike Manama and Muscat – is the result of the kingdom not being ready to announce a full normalization with ‘Israel’. Therefore, it is hiding behind its allies [now the Emirates and then Bahrain and later Oman], waiting for a “suitable” day in which its crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, can proceed with the alliance, to consolidate the covenant of his ancestors and their promise.

The way the UAE has created “will form an Arab trend that exceeds all the failed obstacles that prevailed for seventy years.” This will undoubtedly contribute to strengthening the Saudi-‘Israeli’ rapprochement. This is a trend that was reinforced in recent years, under the alliance of the “two Mohammads” [Bin Zayed and Bin Salman]. The two pillars of common hostility toward Iran and the attempts to attract foreign investment to finance the economic transformation plan, Bin Salman’s “2030 Vision”, will unequivocally push the kingdom into an apparent rapprochement with ‘Israel’. Founding the $500 billion-city, “NEOM” – the backbone of this faltering “vision” – requires “peace and coordination with ‘Israel’, especially if the city will have the opportunity to become a tourist attraction,” according to researcher Mohammad Yaghi at the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

The intersections are many, as well as the “interests” that unite the undeclared alliance, in addition to the American pressure that is evident through the Gulf-‘Israeli’ “reconciliation” mediator, Jared Kushner, to compel the kingdom to publicize its “inevitable” relations with ‘Israel’. Kushner said a few days ago “the course of a warship cannot be changed overnight.” He reminded Riyadh yesterday that the normalization of its relations with Tel Aviv would be in the interest of the kingdom’s economy and defense. It would also contribute to limiting Iran’s power in the region. As for ‘Israel’, the “peace agreement” between it and the Emirates represents “the most important cornerstone on the road to achieving the central goal of normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia,” the expression belongs to an ‘Israeli’ political official who spoke to Yedioth Ahronoth.

In exchange for Riyadh’s official silence and Washington’s public calls, the Saudi media adhered, as usual, to a unified narrative based on marketing the idea that the kingdom views the normalization of relations between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv as a sovereign Emirati affair, which would “yield good results for the Palestinian cause,” by “suspending the annexation process indefinitely,” despite all that has been said and spoken by ‘Israelis’ about baseless propaganda that the UAE marketed to justify its move. According to what has been written, the declaration “does not involve any interference in the Palestinian affair. It rather sets red lines for any policy that ‘Israel’ might pursue, which involves oppressing the rights of the Palestinian people, excluding the phantom of annexing the Palestinian lands, and the consolidating the two-state solution.”

The justification of the Emirati moves in terms of “realism” as “constituting an important breakthrough in the peace process … after it suffered from a long stalemate without any progress or success”, had a significant share. In addition to that, the call to “overcome the deadly division based on returning to calling for the Arab Peace Initiative as a basis for negotiation”.

Riyadh considers, through its media, that “the policy of estrangement and boycott has not achieved neither the interest of the Palestinians nor the Arabs.” Abu Dhabi chose “another communication and recognition-based approach to address the outstanding problems in a different climate,” because “the just Palestinian cause has remained for more than seventy years without a political solution that satisfies the Palestinians who were insisting on big things, betting on the power of righteousness and forgetting the right to power.” They depend entirely on “aid from the Arab countries, especially the rich Arab Gulf states, for their livelihoods, lives, jobs, authority, embassies, and all their life details.” They speak of “unprecedented emotional and ideological blackmail because of the Palestine issue,” although they are “like all the causes of liberation that the occupied peoples suffered to obtain their liberation from the colonialists, the Palestinians are not better than the Vietnamese, the Algerians, or the rest of nations.” They received peerless indulgence … while all historical documents confirm that they were the ones who sold their lands, not alone, but in villages and sub-districts until they were transformed into Jewish settlements.” Therefore, “there is no real solution of the Palestinian issue except for Palestinians to accept their situation and build a new identity of their own choice… and assuming responsibility is the right way.”

The normalization of relations between the UAE and ‘Israel’ will encourage all the other Gulf states to follow their counterparts and reveal their secret ties with ‘Israel’ not to let Abu Dhabi enjoying alone the combination of its capital and advanced ‘Israeli’ technology in all fields, to become, along with Tel Aviv, the most powerful and wealthy in the Middle East. This is according to Thomas Friedman in “The New York Times”, who in his article talks about another, a stronger and more psychological message addressed to Iran and its proxies, that “there are now two alliances in the region; The first is a UAE-led alliance of those who want the future to bury the past, and the second is an Iran-led alliance of those who wish that the past buries the future.”

ترحيب سعودي بخيانة أبو ظبي: متى يحين دور الرياض؟

الجزيرة العربية 

الحدث الأخبار الثلاثاء 18 آب 2020

ترحيب سعودي بخيانة أبو ظبي: متى يحين دور الرياض؟
ستسهم الخطوة الإماراتية في تعزيز التقارب السعودي – الإسرائيلي (أ ف ب )

لا تزال الرياض تبدي حذراً شديداً إزاء الترحيب العلني بإتمام الاتفاق الإماراتي – الإسرائيلي. حذرٌ، وإن كان لا ينسحب على ما يُنشر في الإعلام (وكلّه رسميّ)، يمكن ردّه إلى حسابات كثيرة لا تزال تتخطّى في أهميتها الراهنة رغبة المملكة في البوحليس ثمّة حاجة إلى كثيرِ جهدٍ لاستنباط موقف السعودية إزاء خطوة حليفتها الإماراتية إشهار علاقاتها مع إسرائيل. فما لا يقوله الرسميّون في العلن، يجاهر به إعلام البلاط وكتّابه صبحَ مساء، إلى درجةٍ أنّ منهم مَن أبى إلّا أن يمنِّن الفلسطينيين بـ»كرمٍ» مِن دون مقابل، بل إنّ المقابل كان «ابتزازاً» مورس ـــــ على مدى 70 عاماً ــــــ في حقّ دول الخليج «باسم قدسيّة القضيّة»، وفق ما تقرأه مقالات بسرديّات شبه موحّدة. لم يعد خافياً أنّ الصمت الملكي الموقّت وإحجام الرياض عن الترحيب ـــــ بخلاف المنامة ومسقط ـــــ مردّهما إلى عدم جاهزية المملكة بعد، للإعلان عن تطبيع كامل للعلاقات مع إسرائيل. لذا، فهيَ تتلطّى خلف حليفاتها (الآن الإمارات ومِن بعدها البحرين ولاحقاً عُمان)، في انتظار يومٍ «مناسب» يمكن فيه وليّ عهدها، محمد بن سلمان، أن يمضي في التحالف، ليرسِّخ عهد أجداده ووعدهم.

الطريق الذي شقّته الإمارات «سيشكّل تياراً عربياً يتجاوز كل الإعاقات الفاشلة التي سادت لسبعين عاماً»، وسيسهم، بلا شكّ، في تعزيز التقارب السعودي ــــــ الإسرائيلي. وذلك اتجّاهٌ تعزّز بالفعل في السنوات الأخيرة، في ظلّ تحالف «المحمّدَين» (ابن زايد وابن سلمان). ركيزتا العداء المشترك تجاه إيران، ومحاولات جذب استثمارات أجنبية لتمويل خطة التحوّل الاقتصادي، «رؤية 2030»، الخاصة بابن سلمان، ستدفعان ـــــ بلا لبس ـــــ المملكة إلى تقارب علنيّ مع إسرائيل. فإنشاء مدينة الـ500 مليار دولار، «نيوم» ـــــ العمود الفقري لهذه «الرؤية» المتعثّرة ـــــ يتطلّب «سلاماً وتنسيقاً مع إسرائيل، خصوصاً إذا كانت المدينة ستُتاح لها فرصة أن تصبح منطقة جذب سياحي»، وفق الباحث في مؤسّسة «كونراد أديناور» الألمانيّة، محمد ياغي.

التقاطعات كثيرة، وكذا «المصالح» التي تجمع الحلف غير المُعلن، مضافاً إليها ضغوط أميركيّة تتبدّى عبر وكيل «المصالحة» الخليجية ــــــ الإسرائيلية، جاريد كوشنر، لحمل المملكة على إشهار علاقاتها «الحتميّة» بإسرائيل. ورغم أنّه «لا يمكن تغيير مسار سفينة حربيّة بين عشيّة وضحاها»، على حدّ تعبير كوشنر قبل أيام، فهو عاد وذكّر الرياض، يوم أمس، بأنّ مِن شأن تطبيع علاقاتها مع تل أبيب أن يصبّ في مصلحة اقتصاد ودفاع المملكة، إلى جانب أنه سيسهم في الحدّ من قوّة إيران في المنطقة. بالنسبة إلى إسرائيل، يمثّل «اتفاق السلام» بينها وبين الإمارات «الحجر الأساس الأهمّ في الطريق إلى تحقيق الهدف المركزيّ المتمثّل في تطبيع العلاقات مع السعودية»، والتعبير لمسؤول سياسي إسرائيلي تحدّث إلى «يديعوت أحرونوت».

في مقابل صمت الرياض الرسمي ودعوات واشنطن العلنيّة، التزم الإعلام السعودي، على جري عادته، سرديّة موحّدة، تقوم على تسويق فكرةٍ مفادها أنّ المملكة تنظر إلى تطبيع العلاقات بين أبو ظبي وتل أبيب باعتباره شأناً سيادياً إماراتياً، من شأنه أن «يسفر عن نتائج جيدة بالنسبة إلى القضية الفلسطينية»، عبر «تعليق عمليّة الضمّ إلى أجل غير مسمّى»، رغم كلّ ما حُكي ويحكى إسرائيلياً عن دعاية لا أساس لها سوّقتها الإمارات لتبرير خطوتها. بحسب ما كُتب، فإنّ الإعلان «لا ينطوي على أيّ تدخّل في الشأن الفلسطيني، بل (هو) حدّد خطوطاً حمراً لأي سياسة قد تنتهجها إسرائيل تنطوي على هضم حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني، وأبعد شبح ضم الأراضي الفلسطينية، وعزّز الحلّ عبر الدولتين».

ذكّر كوشنر الرياض بأنّ مِن شأن تطبيع علاقاتها مع تل أبيب أن يصبّ في مصلحة اقتصادها


تبرير الخطوة الإماراتية من باب «الواقعية» بوصفها «تشكل اختراقاً مهمّاً في عملية السلام… بعدما عانت من جمودٍ طويلٍ من دون أي تقدمٍ أو نجاحٍ»، كان له حصة وازنة، فضلاً عن الدعوة إلى «تجاوز الانقسام القاتل على قاعدة العودة إلى المطالبة بمبادرة السلام العربية كأساس للتفاوض». تعتبر الرياض، عبر إعلامها، أنّ «سياسة القطيعة والمقاطعة لم تحقّق لا مصلحة الفلسطينيين ولا مصلحة العرب»؛ من هنا، اختارت أبو ظبي «مقاربة أخرى تقوم على الاتصال والاعتراف لطرح المشكلات العالقة في مناخ مختلف»، ذلك أنّ «القضية الفلسطينية العادلة ظلّت لأكثر من سبعين عاماً من دون حلٍّ سياسي مُرضٍ للفلسطينيين الذين كانوا يصرّون على أشياء كبيرة، ويراهنون على قوة الحق ويتناسون حق القوة»، ويعتمدون «بالكامل على المساعدات من الدول العربية، وبخاصة دول الخليج العربي الغنية، في معاشهم وحياتهم ووظائفهم وسلطتهم وسفاراتهم، وفي كل تفاصيل حياتهم». إلى جانب كلّ ذلك، يتحدّث هؤلاء عن «ابتزاز عاطفي وأيدلوجي غير مسبوق (مورس) بسبب قضية فلسطين»، رغم أنّها «مثل كل قضايا التحرير التي كابدت الشعوب المحتلة لنيل تحررها من المستعمر، فلا الفلسطينيون أفضل من الفيتناميين ولا الجزائريين ولا بقية الأمم، ومع ذلك حظوا بدلال منقطع النظير… بينما كل الوثائق التاريخية تؤكّد أنهم هم من باعوا أراضيهم ليس بالمفرد بل بالقرى والنواحي حتى تحوّلت لمستوطنات يهودية». لذا، فـ»لا حلّ حقيقياً للقضية الفلسطينية إلا بمصارحة الفلسطينيين لأنفسهم وبناء هوية جديدة تقوم على أكتافهم لا أكتاف غيرهم… وتحمّل المسؤولية هي الطريق الصحيح».
سيشجّع تطبيع العلاقات بين الإمارات وإسرائيل دول الخليج الأخرى جميعها على أن تحذو حذو نظيرتها، وتخرج بعلاقاتها السريّة مع إسرائيل إلى العلن، حتى لا تُترك أبو ظبي وحدها تتمتّع بالجمع بين رأسمالها والتكنولوجيا الإسرائيلية المتطوّرة في كلّ المجالات، وتصبح هي وتل أبيب الأكثر قوّة وثروة في الشرق الأوسط، بحسب توماس فريدمان في «نيويورك تايمز» الذي يتحدّث في مقالته عن رسالة أخرى أقوى وذات بعد نفسي، موجّهة إلى إيران ووكلائها، مفادها أن «هناك الآن تحالفين في المنطقة؛ الأول هو تحالف الراغبين في أن يدفن المستقبل الماضي بقيادة الإمارات، والثاني هو تحالف من يريدون للماضي أن يدفن المستقبل بقيادة إيران».

Normalisation with Israel: Where do Middle Eastern countries stand?

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Since the UAE-Israel deal was announced last week, states in the region have felt pressured to declare their stance on establishing diplomatic ties with Israel

An Algerian demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag during a protest against the 2014 Israeli military offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip and in solidarity with Palestinians, on 25 July 2014 in the capital Algiers (AFP)

By MEE staff

Published date: 19 August 2020

Since the UAE and Israel announced last week that they had reached a deal officially establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, the reaction in the Middle East has been split.

Some Arab countries have expressed support for the UAE-Israel agreement publicly, with BahrainOman and Egypt among the first countries in the world to welcome the deal without reservations.

Bahrain and Oman are expected by Israel to follow in the Emirati footsteps – whereas Egypt has had full diplomatic relations with Israel since 1980.

Others have meanwhile either refrained from commenting or denounced the deal as a normalisation of ties with Israel at the expense of the Palestinian cause, essentially giving Israel a green light to pursue its occupation policies. 

Beyond bilateral ties between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, the question has now been raised regarding which countries – if any – might follow suit.

The administration of US President Donald Trump, which brokered the deal, has hinted that other Arab states might do so.

But in a region where most countries have abstained for decades from having overt relations with Israel, and where civil society is widely perceived as being opposed to normalisation – where do some states stand? 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan cautiously welcomed normalisation on Wednesday, saying the deal – which “suspended” Israeli annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank – “could be viewed as positive.”

“We are committed to the Arab Peace Plan and that is the best way forward to a settlement of the conflict and to normalisation with Israel with all states,” the Saudi foreign minister told reporters in Berlin. “That said, any efforts that could promote peace in the region and that result in holding back the threat of annexation could be viewed as positive.”

The Arab Peace Initiative – sponsored by Saudi Arabia in 2002 – promises Israel full ties with Arab states if a peace settlement is reached with the Palestinians.

Saudi state media has so far published views in favour of the UAE decision, which likely points to Riyadh’s own tolerance to such opinions. The daily Okaz newspaper, for example, published a column that hailed the normalisation deal as reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin wall. 

While Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is largely viewed as favourable to normalisation, his father, King Salman, has so far maintained a more moderate view nominally more supportive of Palestinian statehood.

Trump said on Wednesday that he expected Saudi Arabia to join the UAE-Israel deal.

“I do,” Trump replied when asked at a White House news conference if he expected the kingdom Arabia to join the deal.

The US president called the UAE-Israel accord a good deal and said that “countries that you wouldn’t even believe want to come into that deal.” 

He did not name any other countries besides Saudi Arabia.

Sudan

The Sudanese government on Wednesday sacked a foreign ministry spokesman, following his praise of the UAE-Israel deal. 

Spokesman Haydar Sadig made comments to regional media and confirmed them to news agencies on Tuesday, calling the deal “a brave and bold step” and noting that Khartoum and Tel Aviv already have secret diplomatic contacts.

The foreign ministry said it was “astonished” by Sadig’s comments, and stressed that the government had not discussed the possibility of diplomatic relations.

Israel’s intelligence chief Yossi Cohen, however, contradicted the Sudanese statements later on Wednesday, saying his government is in contact with Sudan and that normalisation is “part of the agenda” of their diplomatic relations. 

Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s ruling council, and reportedly discussed normalisation. 

The meeting at the time was viewed by Sudanese analysts as an attempt by Khartoum to get into Washington’s good graces and obtain the lifting of crippling US sanctions. 

Oman

Oman’s foreign minister, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, spoke with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi on Monday, days after the United Arab Emirates announced plans to normalise ties with Israel. 

The two officially reportedly spoke about the “need to strengthen relations” and “agreed to maintain direct and continual contact” and “continue the important dialogue between the two countries to advance the process of normalisation” in the region, a statement read.

However, bin Abdullah was replaced on Wednesday after 23 years as foreign minister – leading to some speculation. However, analysts have stopped short of saying the move was caused by the call with Ashkenazi, particularly given the fact that bin Abdullah had already publicly called for normalisation in the past.

Lebanon

Lebanese President Michel Aoun initially commented on the deal by saying that “the UAE is a sovereign state” and that he did not rule out future peace with Israel once the roots of the conflict between Beirut and Tel Aviv are settled. 

In other statements, however, he said that he “did not call for peace with Israel” because of the continued Israeli occupation of Lebanese lands, as well as the unresolved issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. 

Lebanon and Israel effectively consider one another enemy states, particularly due to Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon for 18 years, and the Israeli war with the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in 2006.

Should the country’s leadership feel tempted to contemplate normalisation with Israel, they would, however, have to contend with further anger from an already incensed Lebanese public in the wake of a stark economic crisis compounded by the devastation wrought earlier this month by a double explosion in Beirut.

Kuwait

While Kuwait has not made an official statement about the deal, an unnamed official told local newspaper al-Qabas  that his country’s long-standing stance against normalisation remains unchanged.

“Our stance on Israel has not changed following the UAE normalisation agreement, and we will be the last to normalise relations,” the senior official was quoted as saying.

In response to the statements, Jared Kushner, senior advisor to the US president, criticised Kuwait’s stance as “not very constructive” and “a very radical view of the conflict in favour of the Palestinians”.

In the absence of an official statement, Kuwaiti non-governmental organisations and MPs have rejected normalisation. More than 30 NGOs described the agreement as “a dagger stuck in the Palestinian cause and in the back of Arab society”.

Algeria

While the Algerian government has not yet issued an official statement, several political parties and civil society organisations have condemned the agreement.

The conservative Freedom and Justice Party dismissed the deal as a “betrayal” and a “crime” against the Palestinian cause.

Similarly, the National Liberation Front described it as “treason” and “a stab in the back” of Palestinians.

Algerians are widely viewed as some of the most staunch supporters of the Palestinian cause in the region.

Morocco

Morocco has yet to officially comment on the deal, but Rabat is one of many governments in the region known to have not-so-secret dealings with Israel.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International revealed that Israeli spyware was used to target Moroccan activists. Meanwhile, Israeli media reported in February that Netanyahu had lobbied the United States to recognise Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region in exchange for Rabat taking steps to normalise ties with Israel.

Meanwhile, Moroccan writers and scholars nominated for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award – scheduled to be held in the UAE early next year – have announced their withdrawal in protest against the normalisation agreement.

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