Resistance report: New offensive looms as the Syrian Army prepares for a new confrontation in Idlib

March 15, 2019

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

Resistance report: New offensive looms as the Syrian Army prepares for a new confrontation in Idlib

It’s that time again. Jihadist forces have pushed Damascus’ and Moscow’s patience for too long. These constant provocations have gone too far and it’s time to punish them for their insolence. Damascus and Moscow are gearing up to deal with those damned terrorists again as the Russian Air Force has been flying sorties over the Idlib province, with Ankara’s approval. The Syrian Army’s Russian trained 5th corps, the 4th armoured division and the legendary Tiger Forces have all amassed near the Idlib-Hama border this past week. Something is definitely brewing up.

The so called Demilitarized zone has failed as the terrorist forces of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) have taken over all the positions from the other “rebel groups”. As observers may already know, HTS is not included in any reconciliation or ceasefire deal as they are considered to be terrorists by both Moscow and Ankara. Now it remains to see how Washington, the main benefactor of these terrorists, will react. So far they have remained surprisingly quiet over these recent movements by Damascus and Moscow, but I am willing to bet that they will do their utmost to stop this planned offensive.

It is of absolute importance that this offensive commences this time and that nothing stops the Syrian Army and their allies, not even Washington’s threats. The Resistance Axis must show no fear in face of Washington’s threats. For how long will Moscow remain patient over the constant threat to the Hmaimeem airport? For how long will these terrorists be allowed to terrorize the Idlib province and its population?

It should be noted that this offensive will probably only be limited to the demilitarized zone where the goal will be to clear the area of HTS terrorists. It will be far from a decisive battle that destroys HTS, but it is an important step. The threat to northern Hama and Latakia must be diminished. The offensive will likely also target the crucial town of Jisr Al-Shughour where the Syrian Army in the spring of 2015 bravely fought and held out for over 60 days in the towns hospital before the few survivors managed to evacuate back to Syrian Army lines.

The tragedy at Jisr Al-Shughour’s National Hospital will surely not have been forgotten by the SAA. Ankara would do well to realize that if it wants to save the Idlib deal it must accept that HTS must be dealt with, otherwise this deal is a failure and Syria and her allies should explore the option of widening the offensive to cover all of West Aleppo and southern Idlib.

These next few weeks will tell us more on how this situation will develop.

May God be with the heroic Syrian Army.


Assad’s Tehran Visit Signals Iran’s Victory in Syria

March 9, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – For the first tiirme since war broke out in Syria in 2011, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has travelled to Iran to meet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

President Assad had only travelled outside of Syria on two other occasions during the war – both times to Russia.

The significance of the trip cannot be understated – it was a message sent to those who orchestrated the proxy war against Syria that Damascus has prevailed and instead of driving a wedge between it and its allies in Moscow and Tehran – it has only drawn these regional powers closer together.

The symbol of solidarity between Syria and Iran comes at a time when Washington finds itself vacillating between a full withdrawal from Syria, a redeployment to Iraq, or an attempt to drag out the conclusion of the Syrian conflict for as long as possible by keeping US forces there indefinitely.

The Washington Post in its article, “Syria’s Assad visits Iran in rare trip abroad,” would admit:

U.S. officials said Trump’s decision authorizing a small number of U.S. troops to stay is a key step in creating a larger multinational observer force that would monitor a so-called safe zone along Syria’s border with Turkey. The buffer zone is meant to prevent clashes between Turkey and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. It is also aimed at preventing Assad’s forces and Iran-backed fighters from seizing more territory.

The US will also seek to preserve militants – many of which are openly aligned with designated terrorist organizations – still occupying the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib.

While the US has certainly failed in its goal of regime change in Syria and even as it appears weak and confused regarding its policy in Syria and the Middle East in general – its potential to prolong the Syrian conflict and leave the nation more or less permanently divided persists.

Iran is in Syria for Good 

President Assad’s visit to Iran was not only a symbolic gesture of gratitude for Iran’s role in helping Syria prevail over US aggression – it is also a clear sign that Iranian influence has only grown in Syria. Iranian-backed militias have spread across both Syria and Iraq to confront US and Persian Gulf-backed terrorists including various factions of Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) itself.

Washington’s gamble banked on what it had hoped would be a relatively quick regime change operation following along the same lines as the US-backed proxy war in Libya. The Syrian government was meant to fold quickly – the US appears not to have anticipated its resilience nor the eventual Russian military intervention in 2015. Washington may also not have anticipated the scale and efficacy of the commitment made by Tehran.

Instead of liquidating one of Iran’s allies thus further isolating Tehran ahead of US-backed regime change efforts aimed directly at Iran – the terrorist proxies the US and its regional partners sponsored in Syria served as impetus for Tehran to broaden and deepen the presence of its forces – including militias sponsored by Iran – across the region, and specifically in Syria and Iraq.

US policy papers predating the 2011 proxy war against Syria – including the RAND Corporation’s 2009 publication titled, “Dangerous But Not Omnipotent : Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East,” noted that much of Iran’s domestic and regional policies revolved around self-defense.

The RAND paper itself would note:

Iran’s strategy is largely defensive, but with some offensive elements. Iran’s strategy of protecting the regime against internal threats, deterring aggression, safeguarding the homeland if aggression occurs, and extending influence is in large part a defensive one that also serves some aggressive tendencies when coupled with expressions of Iranian regional aspirations. It is in part a response to U.S. policy pronouncements and posture in the region, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Iranian leadership takes very seriously the threat of invasion given the open discussion in the United States of regime change, speeches defining Iran as part of the “axis of evil,” and efforts by U.S. forces to secure base access in states surrounding Iran.

RAND also noted Iran’s preference for asymmetrical warfare over conventional military forces and the use of resistance militias across the region. The report would note:

Some of Iran’s asymmetric capabilities are threatening. Because of its inferior conventional military forces, Iran’s defense doctrine, particularly its ability to deter aggressors, relies heavily on asymmetric warfare. Iranian strategists favor guerilla efforts that offer superior mobility, fighting morale, and popular support (e.g., the Hezbollah model in Lebanon) to counter a technologically superior conventional power— namely, the United States.

These militias would end up playing a significant role in neutralizing both asymmetrical forces sponsored by the US and its regional partners, as well as conventional military forces deployed by the US and Europe in both Syria and Iraq. It is clear that US policymakers were aware of Iran’s capabilities – and either ignored them or believed their own plans had sufficiently accounted for them.

Iran’s significant and long-term investments in sponsoring resistance forces including Hezbollah and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) across the Middle East coupled with Russia’s significant conventional military capabilities left little chance for success for US-sponsored militants – with Russia’s role in Syria preventing a more muscular conventional military response from the US when its proxy forces began to crumble.

The US and its regional partners – particularly Israel – have expressed a determination to dislodge the growing Iranian presence their own proxy war on Syria necessitated. However, despite repeated Israeli airstrikes on Syrian territory – it is clear that such airstrikes alone will accomplish very little and in the long-term even signals weakness that will only further rally Iran’s allies, justify their continued expansion across the region, and further broaden and deepen their positions well beyond Iran’s own borders – making a US-led regime change war against Iran itself a more remote possibility than ever.
America’s Flagging Unipolar Order 

The US faces an ignominious retreat from the Middle East – as well as from other areas around the globe. Its refusal to shift from its 20th century unipolar hegemonic ambitions to a constructive 21st century multipolar player may be closing permanently windows of opportunity that will cost it significantly as others displace its influence and reach in regions like the Middle East.

Russia and Iran are clearly benefactors of Washington’s stubbornness. But as Russia and Iran have both repeatedly expressed a desire for more constructive relations with the United States – perhaps policymakers in Washington believe they can risk pursuing destructive hegemonic ambitions to carve out or coerce from the region the best position possible in the Middle East before coming to the table to negotiate.

More likely though – the world is witnessing a 21st century rendition of the British Empire’s withdrawal from around the globe, stubbornly being thrown out of one corner of its realm after the other until relegated as Washington’s subordinate. For Washington, there is no other Western power for it to hand the torch of Western imperialism over to. Once it is evicted from around the globe, it will struggle to find a relevant or more constructive role to play in these regions ever again.

By virtue of Washington’s shortsightedness and its inability to adapt to the world as it really is versus how Washington desires it to be – Washington has proven itself unfit to lead the “international order” it presumes dominion over.

In a global order predicated on “might makes right,” Washington is now faced with the reality of no longer being mightiest, and thus no longer “right.”

Iran’s patient and measured resistance has proven capable of challenging and rolling back American hegemony in the Middle East and serving the ultimate goal of Tehran’s asymmetrical strategy – the defense of Iran itself.

While the prospect of US war with Iran can never be fully ruled out, it is a possibility that appears to be fading into the distance as US power wanes regionally and globally. But a flagging empire is a desperate empire. While the days of US regime change wars burning a path of destruction across the Middle East appear to be over, continued patience and persistence must be maintained by Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies to ensure the victories they are celebrating today endure and are expanded upon well into the future.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Trump declares “victory” over ISIS but Washington’s foul plans in Syria are far from over

South Front

March 07, 2019

Trump declares “victory” over ISIS but Washington’s foul plans in Syria are far from over

by Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

At the eve of the 8 year anniversary of the Syrian war, the battle for one of the last ISIS strongholds in Syria is still raging. The so called “caliphate” is on its last knees as US president Trump declares that “100 percent of ISIS ‘caliphate’ has been taken back.

Trump was of course only referring to the US coalitions “efforts” and didn’t even bother to mention that it is Syria and her allies that have done most of the heavy lifting. Nevertheless, he was right about ISIS losing all of the territories they occupied in Syria, but what happens now?

The US has for long declared that their presence (occupation) in Syria is mainly to fight ISIS, while sometimes also claiming to “prevent Iran from entrenching itself” in Syria. Of course any serious observer who has the slightest interest in Middle Eastern politics understands that this is a lie.

The US’ top priority has been from the beginning to save its masters in Israel from their day of reckoning. In the long run this objective is and has always been linked to the much greater plan of destroying the Islamic Republic, the only true threat to Israel’s continued existence. For years Washington has deceived and fooled a vast majority of the world’s population and “analysts” into believing that its presence in Syria is tied to “fighting ISIS”, while hiding their intentions to overthrow the Syrian government and destroying the Resistance Axis. Now, Washington’s true objective will resurface for everyone to see.

This goal has not been linked to a specific US administration but has been a very longstanding policy for decades no matter who’s the president.

Despite Trump’s bogus declaration back in December that the US is pulling out of Syria, Washington recently backtracked and declared it won’t fully withdraw its troops from Syria but will leave “400 peacekeeping forces”, making these soldiers an official occupation force as the last ISIS stronghold is about to be destroyed. This new situation leaves the US and European allies without any cloak of legality since the pretext of “counterterrorism” is no longer plausible.

But this should not come as a surprise to anyone. Only a fool would believe that the US has spent so much time and money on training and arming Kurdish militias to grab as much land as possible east of the Euphrates, just to let the Syrian government take all the land back in a deal with the Kurdish militias.

The continued US occupation makes any kind of reconciliation between the Kurdish militias and Damascus impossible. Now that the ISIS terrorists are gone, the future of the Kurdish militias remain very much at the hands of Washington. Where will they be used next?

Turkey has for long threatened to invade north eastern Syria as Turkish president Erdogan vowed to create a “safe zone” along the Syrian-Turkish border after a phone call between him and Trump. At the same time Trump has threatened Turkey to refrain from attacking its Kurdish proxies in that region. This contradictory situation became even messier when Moscow declared that it will not accept such a “safe zone” without Damascus approval, a highly unlikely outcome as relations between Damascus and Ankara remain very hostile.

To the northwest, jihadist group Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham has outmanoeuvred and taken over most of the other “rebel groups’” positions and now remains the sole powerhouse in the Idlib province. Turkey’s inability or rather lack of interest to remove these terrorists has opened up the possibility for a new Syrian Army offensive on the region. If history is to repeat itself, we should expect Washington to threaten Damascus to refrain from launching this offensive.

Meanwhile, voices are being raised in neighbouring Iraq, demanding US forces stationed near the Syrian border to leave the country. Despite the unlikelihood of US troops withdrawing from Iraq, such a scenario would give Washington even more incentive to hold on to its foothold in Syria.

Washington has recently showed a great obsession with Iran and will do its utmost to destroy the Iranian-Syrian alliance and to isolate Iran, making the Islamic Republic an easy target for Washington’s next planned “humanitarian intervention”. This is manifested through Washington’s strategic occupation of eastern Syria and the Al-Tanf region, located right next to the Iraqi border and close to the Golan Heights. This was further proven after President Assad’s surprise visit to Iran where Iranian officials revealed that Washington had offered Assad to back his presidency in exchange for him breaking ties with Tehran.

Terrorist forces in Syria may be on the verge of defeat, but their sponsors in Washington remain as dangerous as ever. The last chapter of the Syrian war is yet to be written.


South Front

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leader Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani received a shell fragment wound to the head in an explosion in Idlib city on February 18 and was evacuated to a hospital in Antakya in the Turkish province of Hatay, Russian state media reported on February 19 citing a Turkish medical source. According to the report, the terrorist group’s leader is in a coma.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) has not commented on these claims so far. The terrorist organization is currently the most influential “opposition group” within the Idlib de-escalation zone. It controls about 80% of the area despite the fact that it’s formally excluded from the ceasefire regime.

If Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani is in fact severely injured, this may open an opportunity for Turkish proxies to reclaim at least a part of the area in the Idlib de-escalation zone from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Then, they would be able to continue pretending that there are still some moderate rebels in the area. This is in the interests of Ankara. Some experts already speculated that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization may have staged this incident in an attempt to bring the situation in Idlib under its control.

In the countryside of Damacsus, pro-government forces seized a large number of weapons and ammunition, including hundreds of Grad rockets and a large number of US made anti-tank missiles and Israeli 128 mm rockets, in the framework of the ongoing security operation in the area.

On February 19, Israel’s Image Sat International company released a fresh satellite image showing positions of the Syrian military’s S-300 system in the area of Masyaf. According to the provided image and the company’s assessment, three of four S-300 launchers are “probably” operational.

Previous satellite images of Masyaf were released by the same company on February 5. This was the first image showing S-300 launchers in an upright position. Therefore, it was suggested that the Russia-supplied system was becoming operational.

While the ISIS-held pocket in the Euphrates Valley is still not fully eliminated, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have already started preparations for a new round of Syria standoff. Recently, the group released a new statement in which it:

  • claimed that it will work to eliminate existing ISIS cells;
  • described Turkey as an occupier, but declared readiness to resolve the issues with Ankara via negotiations;
  • said that it’s ready for the establishment of a safe area in northeastern Syria under “international supervision”;
  • said that it’s ready for negotiations with Damascus, but that the Syrian government should take into account the SDF’s specificity and recognize the “self-declared and effective autonomy in the northeast”;
  • and in which it vowed to recapture Afrin.

The content and working of the statement shows that the SDF is no longer expecting a rapid and inevitable US forces withdrawal from the war-torn country. So, it has once again hardened its stance towards other key players and started speaking in the language of ultimatums.

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«النصرة» تبحث عن جلد جديد: ثوب «الإخوان» في الخدمة

صهيب عنجريني
الأربعاء 20 شباط 2019

«النصرة» تبحث عن جلد جديد: ثوب «الإخوان» في الخدمة

تشهد إدلب جهوداً حثيثة لتطعيم «منهجية النصرة» بسلوكيات «سياسية» (أ ف ب )

بدّلت «جبهة النصرة» جلدها مرات عديدة على امتداد السنوات السابقة، من دون أن يغيّر ذلك شيئاً في جوهرها المتطرف. اليوم، تتسارع جهود أبو محمد الجولاني لإعادة تصدير جماعته في صورة جديدة، تطمح إلى التشبّهبـ«جماعة الإخوان المسلمين». وإذا ما رأت خطط الجولاني النور، فإنها لن تعدو كونها «تكتيكات ضرورية» وفق ما يروج في الكواليس، مع التشدّد في التزام «الجهاد» استراتيجية ثابتة.

لا تجد «هيئة تحرير الشام/ النصرة» حرجاً في تغيير أزيائها. كلّما دعت الحاجة إلى ذلك، أثبت زعيم الجماعة المتطرفة، أبو محمد الجولاني، استعداده لتعديل التكتيكات و«المنهجيات»، وقدرته على ضبط التناقضات داخل جماعته. ولا يعدم الجولاني الوسائل والأدوات الناجعة، وخاصة حين تمنحه تعقيدات المشهد السوري «كتفاً إقليمياً» يتّكئ عليه، وهو أمرٌ لم تُحرم «النصرة» منه، باستثناء فترات مؤقتة، كانت أشدّها وطأة فترة الانكماش القطري في مستهلّ الأزمة الخليجية الأخيرة.

البراغماتية في نظر الجولاني حصان تمكن الاستعانة به دائماً، و«فقه الضرورة» جاهزٌ لتقديم «المسوّغات الشرعية». بالاستفادة مما تقدم، لا يزال مشروع «النصرة» مستمرّاً في تسجيل «النقاط»، والقفز درجات إلى أعلى السلم، في خضمّ المشاريع «الجهادية» التي انخرطت منذ مطلع العام الحالي في سباق جديد على رسم مشهدية إدلب (راجع «الأخبار»، 1 شباط). وتحظى «النصرة» بمكانة «فريدة» وسط الصراع المذكور، بوصفها قاسماً مشتركاً بين مشاريع متناقضة، تتباين رؤاها في النظر إلى الدور الوظيفي الذي يمكن للجماعة لعبه، وتتوافق على أهميتها في المعادلة.

دعم «التمكين» المستتر

توحي المعطيات المتتالية بأن السباق راهناً قد حُسم لمصلحة المشروع القطري، الذي يلحظ أهمية دعم الجولاني ومدّ يد العون لجماعته على طريق تحقيق «التمكين». وباشرت الأدوات الإدارية للجولاني نشاطاً مكثّفاً في سباق مع الوقت، لرسم ملامح «التمكين» المنشود، في صورة تتوخّى تورية «الراية السوداء» خلف ستار «مدني»، من دون أن يعني ذلك التخلّي عن «تحكيم الشريعة» بوصفه جوهر المشروع. وسمح تعزيز القبضة العسكرية لـ«تحرير الشام» بتكريس هيمنة «إدارية» لـ«حكومة الإنقاذ» على كثير من تفاصيل الحياة اليومية في إدلب، وبشكل خاص قطاعات التعليم والاقتصاد والطاقة.

>يبدو أن «تحرير الشام» بدأت تسعى إلى «بلوغ التمكين بالموعظة الحسنة»

اللافت أن هيمنة «الإنقاذ» على قطاع التعليم ركّزت تحديداً على التعليم الجامعي الخاص، فيما تركت مهمة تعليم الأطفال لـ«المكاتب الدعوية» في الدرجة الأولى. وتطالب «الإنقاذ» الجامعات والمعاهد الراغبة في مواصلة عملها بتسديد مبالغ باهظة مقابل منحها «التراخيص» اللازمة. وبالتوازي، كثّفت «سلسلة المكاتب الدعوية» في الشهرين الأخيرين «نشاطاتها التعليمية»، فافتتحت عشرات المراكز والمكاتب و«حلقات العلم» الجديدة المخصّصة للأطفال واليافعين، إضافة إلى توسيع عدد «المدارس القرآنية» التابعة لـ«دار الوحي الشريف». ودشّنت «سلسلة المكاتب الدعوية في بلاد الشام» حملة توزيع مجاني لمعونات غذائية، وسلع استهلاكية، علاوة على توزيع معونات مالية في بعض القرى والبلدات.

«الجهاد» استراتيجية ثابتة

>رغم حرص «تحرير الشام» على إظهار بعض التفاصيل التي توحي باستعدادها لالتزام الاتفاقات الخاصة بإدلب («سوتشي» على وجه الخصوص)، إلا أنها تعمل على أرض الواقع بطريقة مغايرة. وراجت أخيراً صور لوحات إعلانية عملاقة في بعض الطرق والأوتوسترادات، وقد أزيلت عنها العبارات الداعية إلى «الجهاد»، وطُليت باللون الأبيض محلّ الأسود. في المقابل، وجّهت «وزارة الأوقاف» في «حكومة الإنقاذ» رسالة إلى أئمة وخطباء المساجد، تنصّ على وجوب التزام «بث روح الجهاد في الأمة، وتحريض المسلمين على البذل والعطاء في سبيل الله… والدعوة لتحكيم الشريعة والاعتصام ورصّ الصفوف». كذلك، كثّف «المكتب الشرعي» التابع لـ«الجناح العسكري» في «تحرير الشام» أعماله «الدعوية»، وضمّ في الأسابيع الأخيرة عشرات «الدعاة» إلى كوادر «فريق العمل الدعوي/ الفاتحون»، فيما بوشرت حملة أعمال موسّعة لحفر وتجهيز سلاسل خنادق جديدة في كثير من مناطق سيطرة «تحرير الشام»، التي يُراد لها أن «تستلهم تجربة غزة»، وفقاً لما يتم تداوله في الكواليس.

“قرى «جهادية» نموذجية!

تعوّل «تحرير الشام» على نجاح مشروع «القرى النموذجية»، الذي باشرت تنفيذه قبل فترة «الإدارةُ العامة للخدمات الإنسانية»، بتمويل قطري معلن. ويتوخّى المشروع كسب «الحواضن الشعبية»، وجمع مئات العائلات في تجمعات سكنية تُدار بـ«أحكام الشريعة»، من دون الحاجة إلى «تحكيم السيف». وأُنجز بناء أولى القرى في منطقة سرجيلّا في جبل الزاوية، وتضمّ 500 شقة سكنية، فيما يستمر العمل على تشييد تجمعات مماثلة، وعلى تحسين ظروف تجمعات أخرى (موجودة سابقة) وإعادة تأهيل بناها التحتية.

واعتُمدت «منهجية» أولية لإدارة «القرى النموذجية» وفق «الشريعة الإسلامية»، وقد بوشر تنفيذها أخيراً على سبيل التجربة، استعداداً لتحويلها إلى آلية شاملة تُطبّق في كل التجمعات المماثلة. وعمّمت «إدارة القرية» التعليمات على السكان وأصحاب المحال، وعلى رأسها «إلزامية التعليم الشرعي» وإلحاق الأطفال ببرنامج «صلاتي حياتي»، والتزام أصحاب المحال بعدم بيع التبغ، وبإغلاق محالّهم في مواقيت الصلوات الخمس. ويتوخّى «المشروع» التحول إلى «نموذج ناجح للتنمية الجهادية، وتكريس العمل على أساس خدمي دعوي». ويضع على رأس أهدافه «تعزيز البيئة الحاضنة للجهاد، وامتلاك قلوب الناس، وإشراك الأهالي في تبني المشروع، والقضاء على المعاصي، وإنشاء جيل مسلم يحارب الروس والمجوس ومرتزقة النظام من خلال الدعاة العاملين في المشروع».


نحو «الأخونة»؟

لم يأتِ صبّ الاهتمام على «التمكين» من فراغ؛ إذ تعدّه بعض «الاجتهادات الشرعية» شرطاً أساسياً من شروط «حكم الشريعة» و«إقامة الحدود». وترى تلك «الاجتهادات» أنه إذا «كان في إقامة الحدود فساد يربو على مصلحة إقامتها لم تُقم»، وأن «تطبيق الحدود في حال انعدام السلطان أو ضعفه هو فرض كفاية». ويبدو أن «تحرير الشام» في مرحلتها الراهنة باتت تسعى إلى «بلوغ التمكين بالموعظة الحسنة»، على ما تلاحظه مصادر «جهادية» مواكبة للمشهد في إدلب. وتشير معلومات «الأخبار» إلى أن كواليس إدلب تشهد في الفترة الراهنة جهوداً حثيثة لتطعيم «منهجية النصرة» بسلوكيات «سياسية» تستلهم تجارب «جماعة الإخوان».

وربّما تقدم هذه التفاصيل تبريراً مفهوماً لإبعاد أبو اليقظان المصري عن الواجهة «الشرعية». وكان المصري «شرعياً في الجناح العسكري لهيئة تحرير الشام»، قبل أن يستقيل في مطلع الشهر الحالي، عقب خلاف بينه وبين «قيادة الهيئة»، التي وجّهت له إنذاراً لأنه «يخالف أوامر الجماعة ولا يلتزم بالضوابط الإعلامية التي تقدّرها». وعُرف المصري بوضوحه في التعبير عن روح «المشروع الجهادي» المتطرف، خلافاً لتيارات أخرى داخل «الهيئة» لا تجد مانعاً في المواربة إذا ما «دعت الضرورة».
ولا تمثّل هذه التغييرات سابقة في سجل «جبهة النصرة»، بل هي في الواقع تأتي إحياءً لمرحلة مماثلة عرفتها «النصرة» عقب سيطرتها مع «جيش الفتح» على كامل محافظة إدلب، وفي خضم النقاشات التي كانت مستعرة وقتذاك حول «فك الارتباط» بتنظيم «القاعدة». وراجت في تلك الفترة أحاديث عن ضرورة «تشكيل جسم سياسي لجيش الفتح» يستلهم تجربة «حركة طالبان»، الأمر الذي أعيد إلى التداول أخيراً مع تغيير المسميات (إذ لم يعد لتحالف «جيش الفتح» وجود). وكانت «الأخبار» قد تناولت المشروع الجاري إحياؤه إبّان طرحه أول مرة قبل أربعة أعوام (راجع «الأخبار» 25 أيار 2015).

«الهيئة» و«الحرّاس»: احتواء مؤقت

“>رغم الاستنفار الذي أحدثته «هبّة» تنظيم «حراس الدين» قبل أسبوعين، بطريقة توحي بأن ساعة الانفجار بينه وبين «تحرير الشام» قد دنت، إلا أن المعطيات اليوم تعكس التزام الطرفين تهدئة إعلامية لافتة. وكما كان «حراس الدين» صاحب المبادرة في التصعيد، عاد ليصبح سبّاقاً إلى إرسال إشارات التهدئة و«حسن النوايا». واعتذر التنظيم المتطرف، في بيان، عن قتل مجموعة تابعة له قائداً تابعاً لـ«الهيئة»، هو عادل حوير (أبو إبراهيم)، قبل أن يعلن الطرفان توقيع اتفاق تهدئة في العاشر من الشهر الجاري. وتؤكد مصادر «جهادية» لـ«الأخبار» أن «الهيئة كانت حريصة على التهدئة» هذه المرة، ويُرجّح أن السبب في ذلك رغبتها في عدم التشويش على مشروعها «السياسي» في المرحلة الراهنة. وعُرف عن «النصرة» حرصها على خوض معاركها الكبرى ضد المجموعات الأخرى في مواقيت تختارها بما يتناسب مع أولوياتها، وعدم الانجرار إليها إذا لم تكن مستعدة على مختلف الصعد.


Israel becomes adjusted to the American withdrawal “but in case Al-Assad does not emerge victorious «إسرائيل» لاحتواء الانسحاب الأميركي: «المهمّ ألا يخرج الأسد بشارة النصر»

Israel becomes adjusted to the American withdrawal “but in case Al-Assad does not emerge victorious

فبراير 15, 2019

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Dozens of reports and studies issued in Washington and Tel Aviv meet on one result regarding the decision of the American withdrawal; the Syrian President is close to his victory and the reaping of the fruits of his steadfastness. While Israel lives its worst situations since its birth as an entity seventy years ago. Veteran Middle East correspondent Elijah Magnier in Moon of Alabama site the most expanding site summarized the forthcoming scene by saying that “the United States is leaving, and the Arab Gulf states are coming back to Damascus to balance against Turkey. The Kurds will stay with Syria, and Idlib will be liberated”. He concluded “Syria has advanced precise missiles that can hit any building in Israel. Assad also has an air defense system he would have never dreamt of before 2011 thanks to Israel’s continuous violation of its airspace and its defiance of Russian authority. Hezbollah has constructed bases for its long and medium range precise missiles in the mountains, and has created a bond with Syria that it could never have established if not for the war. Iran has established a strategic brotherhood with Syria thanks to its role in defeating the regime change plan and an exceptional bond between Syria and Iraq has been built”. He concluded “The anti-Israel axis has never been stronger than it is today. That is the result of 2011-2018 war imposed on Syria.”

The Economist and the American Interest magazines met on reading the results of the American withdrawal. The US journalist Leon Hadar started his article published in the “National Interest magazine” saying “It is possible to understand the almost hysterical reactions among members of the Israeli political establishment and its media outlets to President Donald Trump’s decision to evacuate 2,000 American soldiers from Syria. Israel would now be left alone without American protection. The Economist magazine said that it did not take long for America’s decision to withdraw from Syria to be felt across the Middle East. The Syrian regime, along with its Russian and Iranian allies, rejoiced. Arab states hurried to make up with Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad. The Arab League will soon debate his return to the fold. America’s Kurdish allies, crying betrayal, urged him to help fend off a looming Turkish invasion. Israel scrambled to contain the damage.”

How did Israel react to contain the damage is the fundamental question. The answer is through the dual round of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US National Security Advisor John Bolton to the region countries. This dual movement has one title “It is important that Al-Assad does not emerge victorious and Israel defeated”. Therefore, the race towards Damascus among the Arabs, Kurds, and Turkey should not continue. It is required to coordinate the withdrawal in a way that ensures the smoothness of the successive steps to maintain a kind of Turkish-Kurdish-Arab integration that ensures that Syria will not emerge victorious, thus it averts Israel the bitter defeat.

Pompeo and Bolton suggested that “the Arabs should not return Syria immediately to the Arab League, but to set conditions, that the return must seem as Syria’s compliance to Arab conditions”. The quick surprising response was from Egypt which hosted the Head of the National Security in Syria the Major General Ali Al Mamlouk few days ago. The speech of the Egyptian Foreign Minister about conditions that must be met by Syria for the acceleration of the course of the political solution is practically a meaningless invitation, because the future of the political process on the parallel axis is governed by Turkey, therefore Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s feeling of danger of Turkey’s uniqueness in Syria must encourage them to open up to Syria. The only result is to raise doubts about the usefulness to respond to the efforts of openness. The public opinion in Syria refuses every return to the Arab League which was a partner in the conspiracy against Syria. It doubts the usefulness of tolerance and not setting conditions for the return as public apology and the compensation of the devastation resulted from the Arab position against Syria.

On the other hand, the Kurds have to stop giving offers to the Syrian government to avoid a Turkish military action that Washington ensures that it does not happen. While the Turks must stop attacking the areas under the Kurdish control in exchange for Washington’s ensuring of their managing the Syrian opposition issue in Geneva path and supporting the groups affiliated to Turkey in Idlib. Bolton succeeded with the Kurdish leaderships, but he lost in Turkey, since Turkey has ensured the issue of the opposition from Moscow. Its groups in Idlib are falling in the face of Al Nusra front; therefore the only compensation is a role on the border areas at the expense of the armed Kurdish groups. Bolton lost because he is dealing with a country in the NATO and it cares of it interests, while Pompeo succeeded because he deals with governments that do not dare to put their interests above the US and the Israeli interests.

Certainly, the outcome will not be as the Israeli’s wish. The Arab rulers may lose the opportunity to return to Syria through their League except under Syria’s conditions. The Syrian army will enter Idlib and the Eastern of the Euphrates, while the Arab rulers at the Arab League will cry the loss of their role as their ancestors cried the loss of the rule of Andalusia, they are crying as the children for their role which they do not defend it as men.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

«إسرائيل» لاحتواء الانسحاب الأميركي: «المهمّ ألا يخرج الأسد بشارة النصر»

يناير 9, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– المهمة التي جاء بها وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو إلى المنطقة واضحة كما نظيرتها زيارة شريكه مستشار الأمن القومي جون بولتون، فقد خلف قرار الانسحاب من سورية زلزالاً في المنطقة عنوانه الهرولة إلى دمشق، وحفلت الصحف والمواقع الأميركية بالتحليلات التي تقول إن صورة الرئيس السوري يرفع شارة النصر باتت قريبة وإن الخطير هو أن حلفاء واشنطن الذين قاتلوه سيعودون إليه تائبين بمسكون بيده وهو يعلن النصر على حرب هم من خاضها ضدّه ومن موّلها، وأن «إسرائيل» حليفة كل هؤلاء لا مكان لها في دمشق رغم العروض الكثيرة، وأن كل ما حولها سيكون قاتماً، وخياراتها محدودة، وهي عاجزة عن الحرب ومرفوضة في السلم، وها هي تنتظر الساعة التي ستبقى فيها وحيدة ومحاصرة، فكانت الجولة المزدوجة محاولة لتغيير الصورة، لكن دون أن يحمل الموفدان بأيديهم ما يغيّر الصورة، فقط حملوا وعوداً هي بمثابة شيكات موعودة بالصرف، تحت شعار ثقوا بأن أميركا لن تترككم، وهي لم تنهزم.

– فشل بولتون على الجبهة التركية الكردية، كان واضحاً لأن الأكراد والأتراك لا يتعاملون بالشيكات، ولا يتاجرون إلا بالمال النقدي، ولذلك سأل الأكراد بولتون من سيضمن بغيابكم عدم مهاجمتنا من الأتراك، فما كان عنده من جواب سوى الدعوة لانتظار لقائه مع الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان، وعندما سأله الأتراك من سيضمن عدم قيام الأكراد بتأمين بنية تحتية لمن يستهدف الأمن التركي قال لهم إن عليهم أن ينتظروا لقاءه بالرئيس التركي، فطار اللقاء وعاد بولتون ومعه شيكاته التي لم يقبضها منه أحد.

– في القاهرة وجد بومبيو فرصة توزيع شيكاته، فقال إن حكومته لن تسمح لإيران بالبقاء في سورية، ولم يسأله أحد كيف تفعلون ذلك بعد انسحابكم وقد فشلتم فيه قبل الانسحاب، وكان أول شيك بدون رصيد، وتابع أن حكومته ستمنع حزب الله من الاحتفاظ بترسانة صاروخية تهدد «إسرائيل»، ولم يسأله الحاضرون كيف سيحقق ذلك، وقد فشل بتحقيقه وهو يملك قوة في المنطقة وسيفعله بعد سحبها، وكان شك ثانٍ بدون رصيد. واضاف أن حكومته ستضمن تفوق «إسرائيل» عسكرياً، ولم يقل كيف وقد وضعت واشنطن بتصرف «إسرائيل» آخر جديد ترسانتها العسكرية وفشلت «إسرائيل» في اختبارات القوة مع لبنان وسورية وغزة، وكان شك ثالث بدون رصيد. وتابع بومبيو أن حكومته لن تسمح لإيران أن تستمر في التمدّد بنفوذها في المنطقة، وهم يرون تسوية اليمن تتقدم ويثبت فيها من قالوا عنهم مصدر النفوذ الإيراني كشركاء في مستقبل اليمن، شك رابع بدون رصيد. وتابع بومبيو توزيع شيكاته، والسامعون يعلمون أنها دون رصيد، ويعلمون أنهم سيسدونها من حساباتهم لاحقاً، لأن الرصيد الوحيد الذي تدفع منه واشنطن هو رصيد جماعاتها العرب.

– يرحل بومبيو وقد حقق نجاحاً وحيداً هو إحراج مصر بموقف سلبي من سورية وهي لم تكد ترمّم ما تسبّب به ارتضاؤها السير وفق الروزنامة الأميركية، وهو لم يمنح مصر لا شراكة في الحلّ في اليمن ولا دوراً في التسوية السورية وقد فوّض الدور لتركيا، التي تصفها مصر بالخطر الأول على الأمن القومي العربي.


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Vershinin: De-Escalation Zone in Idleb Temporary Measure, Terrorism Must be Eradicated


Friday, 08 February 2019

Vershinin: De-Escalation Zone in Idleb Temporary Measure, Terrorism Must be Eradicated

MOSCOW- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin renewed the need to fully eradicate terrorism and not to allow terrorists hotbeds to remain on Syrian territory.

“De-escalation zone in Idleb is the last remaining de-escalation zone out of four ones established in 2017. And since the very beginning we have mentioned in all our agreements on de-escalation zones the main point,(de-escalation zones)are a temporary measure,”Novosti quoted Vershinin as saying on Friday, according to SANA.

” We consider it(Idleb)as an integral part of the Syrian State and Syrian territory, and this means that we cannot leave unaddressed any ‘hotbeds’ of terrorism on the Syrian territory,” the Russian official said.

Verchinin, recalling the Russian president’s words, stated that sooner or later terrorism should be eradicated, saying that if a military operation does take place in Idleb, it will be “carried out in the most effective manner,”

On the repeated Israeli attacks on Syria, Verchinin said that such arbitrary attacks on sovereign Syrian territories “must stop”, adding that “any such attacks will destabilize the situation,”

The Russian diplomat said that a new round of Astana talks on the crisis in Syria under the auspices of the Guarantor States (Russia, Iran and Turkey) is scheduled to be held  in the Kazakh capital next  March.” A high-level meeting in Astana to be held within about a month and a half to implement the agreements and decisions to be adopted in Sochi.”

The Russian diplomat stressed that the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and the situation in Idleb are among the most important topics to be on the table of Sochi.

Moscow had earlier announced that the summit of the guarantors of the Astana process on Syria would be held in the Russian city of Sochi on February 14.

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