The plot against Jordan’s King Abdullah

Jordan’s King Abdullah II is pictured in Amman on 11 April 2021 (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Palace/AFP)
David Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

David Hearst

14 April 2021 

Abdullah fell foul of the axis of Mohammed bin Salman and Benjamin Netanyahu after refusing to go along with the Trump plan to push West Bank Palestinians into Jordan

For once, just for once, US President Joe Biden got something right in the Middle East, and I say this conscious of his abysmal record in the region.

In accepting the intelligence he was passed by the Jordanians that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was up to his ears in a plot to destabilise the rule of King Abdullah, Biden brought the scheme to a premature halt. Biden did well to do so.

His statement that the US was behind Abdullah had immediate consequences for the other partner in this scheme, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel.

While bin Salman was starving Jordan of funds (according to former Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher, the Saudis have not provided any direct bilateral assistance since 2014), Netanyahu was starving the kingdom of water.

Without Washington’s overt support, King Abdullah would now be in serious trouble, the victim of a two-pronged offensive from Saudi Arabia and Israel

This is water that Israel siphons off the River Jordan. Under past agreements, Israel has supplied Jordan with water, and when Jordan asks for an additional amount, Israel normally agrees without delay. Not this year: Netanyahu refused, allegedly in retaliation for an incident in which his helicopter was refused Jordanian airspace. He quickly changed his mind after a call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to his counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi.

Had former US President Donald Trump still been in power, it is doubtful whether any of this would have happened.

Without Washington’s overt support, King Abdullah would now be in serious trouble: the victim of a two-pronged offensive from Saudi Arabia and Israel, his population seething with discontent, and his younger half-brother counting the days until he could take over.

The problem with Abdullah

But why were bin Salman and Netanyahu keen to put the skids under an ally like Abdullah?

Abdullah, a career soldier, is not exactly an opposition figure in the region. He of all people is not a Bashar al-Assad, Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

Abdullah was fully signed up to the counter-revolution against the Arab Spring. Jordan joined the Saudi-led anti-Islamic State coalition, deployed aircraft to target the Houthis in Yemen, and withdrew its ambassador from Iran after the Saudi embassy in Tehran and consul in Mashhad were sacked and Saudi Arabia consequently cut diplomatic relations.Jordan arrested senior suspect over contact with Saudi crown prince Read More »

He attended the informal summit on a yacht in the Red Sea, convened to organise the fight against the influence of Turkey and Iran in the Middle East. That was in late 2015.

In January 2016, Abdullah told US congressmen in a private briefing that Turkey was exporting terrorists to Syria, a statement he denied making afterwards. But the remarks were documented in a Jordanian foreign ministry readout passed to MEE.

Jordan’s special forces trained men that Libyan general Khalifa Haftar used in his failed attempt to take Tripoli. This was the pet project of the UAE.

Abdullah also agreed with the Saudis and Emiratis on a plan to replace Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with Mohammed Dahlan, the Emirati- and Israeli-preferred choice of successor.

Why then, should this stalwart of the cause now be considered by his Arab allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, an inconvenience that needs to be dealt with?

Insufficiently loyal

The answer partly lies in the psychology of bin Salman. It is not good enough to be partially signed up to his agenda. As far as he is concerned, you are either in or out. 

“But there is also a feeling [in Riyadh] that Jordan and others should be with us or against us. So we were not completely with them on Iran. We were not completely with them on Qatar. We were not completely with them on Syria. We did what we could and I don’t think we should have gone further, but to them, that was not enough.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Jordan's King Abdullah II to Riyadh on 8 March 2021 (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Jordan’s King Abdullah II to Riyadh on 8 March 2021 (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)

Abdullah’s equivocation certainly was not enough for the intended centrepiece of the new era, Saudi Arabia’s normalisation of relations with Israel.

Here, Jordan would have been directly involved and King Abdullah was having none of it. Had he gone along with the Trump plan, his kingdom – a careful balance between Jordanians and Palestinians – would have been in a state of insurrection.

In addition, Abdullah could not escape the fact that he was a Hashemite, whose legitimacy stems in part from Jordan’s role as custodian of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy sites in Jerusalem. This, too, was being threatened by the Al Sauds.

The importance of Aqaba

But the plan itself was regarded by both bin Salman and Netanyahu as too big to stop. I personalise this, because in both Saudi Arabia and Israel, there are experienced foreign policy and intelligence hands who appreciate how quickly this plan would have destabilised Jordan and Israel’s vulnerable eastern border.

The plan has been years in the preparation and the subject of clandestine meetings between the Saudi prince and the Israeli leader. At the centre of it lies Jordan’s sole access to the Red Sea, the strategic port of Aqaba.

The two cities of Aqaba and Ma’an were part of the kingdom of Hejaz from 1916 to 1925. In May 1925, Ibn Saud surrendered Aqaba and Ma’an and they became part of the British Emirate of Transjordan.

The price for turning on the tap of Saudi finance was too high for Abdullah to pay. It was total subservience to Riyadh

It would be another 40 years before the two independent countries would agree on a Jordan-Saudi border. Jordan got 19 kilometres of coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba and 6,000 square kilometres inland, while Saudi Arabia got 7,000 square kilometres of land.

For the new kid on the block, bin Salman, a prince who was always sensitive about his legitimacy, reclaiming Saudi influence over Aqaba in a big trade deal with Israel would be a big part of his claim to restoring Saudi dominance over its hinterland.

And the trade with Israel would be big. Bin Salman is spending $500bn constructing the city of Neom, which is eventually supposed to straddle Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Sitting at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, the Jordanian port would be firmly in Saudi sights.

This is where Bassem Awadallah, the former chief of Jordan’s royal court, comes in. Two years before he definitively broke with King Abdullah, and while he was still Jordan’s envoy to Riyadh, Awadallah negotiated the launch of something called the Saudi-Jordanian Coordination Council, a vehicle that Jordanian officials at the time said would “unblock billions of dollars” for the cash-starved Hashemite kingdom.

A giant Jordanian flag is raised during a celebration in the port of Aqaba in 2016 (AFP)
A giant Jordanian flag is raised during a celebration in the port of Aqaba in 2016 (AFP)

Awadallah promised that the council would invest billions of Saudi dollars in Jordan’s leading economic sectors, focusing on the Aqaba Special Economic Zone.

The money, of course, never materialised. Saudi support for the kingdom diminished to a trickle, and according to an informed source, Muasher, Saudi funds stopped almost completely after 2014.Jordan: Why King Abdullah’s troubles are not over Read More »

The price for turning on the tap of Saudi finance was too high for Abdullah to pay. It was total subservience to Riyadh. Under this plan, Jordan would have become a satellite of Riyadh, much as Bahrain has become.

Netanyahu had his own sub-agenda in the huge trade that would flow from Neom once Saudi Arabia had formally recognised Israel.

A confirmed enemy of the Oslo plan to set up a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, Netanyahu and the Israeli right have always eyed annexation of Area C and the Jordan Valley, which comprises 60 percent of the West Bank. Under this new Nakba, the Palestinians living there, denied Israeli citizenship, would be slowly forced to move to Jordan. This could only happen under a Saudi-oriented plan, in which Jordanian workers could travel freely and work in Saudi Arabia. As it is, remittances from the Jordanian workforce in Saudi Arabia are an economic lifeblood to the bankrupt kingdom. 

The money pouring into Jordan, accompanied by a  mobile workforce of Jordanians and  stateless Palestinians, would finally put to bed grandiose visions of a Palestinian state, and with it the two-state solution. On this, Netanyahu and bin Salman are as one: treat them as a mobile workforce, not citizens of a future state.

Hussein’s favoured son

That Prince Hamzah should be seen as the means by which Jordan is enlisted to this plan represents the final irony of this bizarre tale.

If the Hashemite blood runs deep in any veins, it is surely in his. He was King Hussein’s favoured son. In a letter sent to his brother Prince Hassan in 1999, King Hussein wrote: “Hamzeh, may God give him long life, has been envied since childhood because he was close to me, and because he wanted to know all matters large and small, and all details of the history of his family. He wanted to know about the struggle of his brothers and of his countrymen. I have been touched by his devotion to his country and by his integrity and magnanimity as he stayed beside me, not moving unless I forced him from time to time to carry out some duty on occasions that did not exceed the fingers on one hand.”

Abdullah broke the agreement he made with his father on his death bed when he replaced his half-brother with his son, Hussein, as crown prince in 2004.

The new foreign policy establishment in Washington should wean itself off the notion that US allies are its friends

But if Hashemite pride in and knowledge of Jordan’s history runs deep in Hamzah, he of all princes would have soon realised the cost to Jordan of accepting bin Salman’s billions and Netanyahu’s tacit encouragement, just as his father did.

Hamzah’s friends ardently dispute they are part of this plot and downplay connections with Awadallah. Hamzah only owns up to one thing: that he is immensely concerned at how low Jordan has fallen under years of misrule. In this, Hamzah is 100 percent right.

It is clear what has to happen now. King Abdullah should finally see that he must completely overhaul the Jordanian political system, by calling for free and fair elections and abiding by their result. Only that will unite the country around him.

This is what King Hussein did when he faced challenge and revolt by Jordanian tribes in the south of the kingdom; in 1989, Hussein overhauled the political system and held the freest elections in the history of the kingdom. 

The government that emerged from this process led the country safely out of one of the most difficult moments for Jordan: Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent Gulf War.

The real villains

Biden, meanwhile, should realise that letting bin Salman get away with the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has a cost. 

Bin Salman did not learn anything from the episode and carried on in exactly the same way, reckless and swift, against an Arab neighbour and ally, with potentially disastrous consequences.

The new foreign policy establishment in Washington should wean itself off the notion that US allies are its friends. It should learn once and for all that the active destabilisers of the Middle East are not the cartoon villains of Iran and Turkey. 

Rather, they are the closest US allies, where US forces and military technology are either based, or as in the case of Israel, inextricably intertwined: Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel.

Jordan, the classic buffer state, is a case in point.

How Saudi Arabia Gets Away with Murder

How Saudi Arabia Gets Away with Murder

By Steven Cook – Foreign Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bibi & Mossad Chief Fly to Saudi Arabia, Meet with MBS & Pompeo

Bibi & Mossad Chief Fly to Saudi Arabia, Meet with MBS & Pompeo

By Staff, “Israeli” Media

The “Israeli” entity’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mossad Cheif Yossi Cohen reportedly took a private flight Sunday to Saudi Arabia, where they met with Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman [MBS], according to “Israeli” sources.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also reportedly attended the meeting.

Netanyahu’s office had no immediate comment on the report.

According to the a flight tracker website, a Gulfstream IV jet, which Netanyahu used several times on flights to Moscow, took off from the entity’s Ben Gurion Airport yesterday [Sunday] and landed in NEOM megacity in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia.

The flight tracking data indicated that the plane took off from Tel Aviv at 5 p.m. local time on Sunday and took off back to the “Israeli” entity in roughly five hours.

At a press conference at the White House last August, US President Donald Trump said that he expects Saudi Arabia to join other Gulf states like the United Arab Emirates [UAE] in normalizing relations with the “Israeli” entity.

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».

من «كامب ديفيد» إلى «نيوم» مخطط إمبريالي صهيوني عسكري اقتصادي متكامل

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د. ميادة ابراهيم رزوق

ـ من اتفاقية كامب ديفيد إلى مشروع «نيوم» مخطط امبريالي صهيوني عسكري اقتصادي متكامل لشرق أوسط جديد وفق أجندة صهيوأميركية تشمل الكيان الصهيوني بدولته المزعومة (إسرائيل) كلاعب وجزء أساسي من المنطقة، وتكمن تفاصيل ذلك في كتاب «الشرق الأوسط الجديد» لوزير الخارجية الإسرائيلي شمعون بيريز الذي صدر عام 1993 ، وتضمّن رؤيته لمستقبل المنطقة بأحلام كبرى تربط بين (إسرائيل) وفلسطين والأردن ومصر والسعودية بمشروع سياسي اقتصادي يخلق سوقاً اقتصادية في المنطقة على غرار السوق الأوروبية المشتركة، وبتحالف عسكري موحد على غرار حلف الناتو، من خلال إنشاء شبكات كهربائية لا تعترف بالحدود، ومنطقة حرة بلا حدود بين السعودية ومصر و(إسرائيل) ليتوافق ويترجم ذلك وفي وقت لاحق بـ (رؤية2030 ) لولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان تحت اسم «نيوم» اختصار لجملة المستقبل الجديد، والذي يتضمّن إنشاء منطقة حرة تقع في قلب مربع يجمع السعودية ومصر والأردن وفلسطين المحتلة.

ـ بين هذا وذاك تتالت الأحداث على المنطقة ضمن إطار مشروع الشرق الأوسط الجديد الذي حلم به قادة ومنظري الكيان الصهيوني وأبرزهم شمعون بيريز، وبدأ ذلك بعد اتفاقية كامب ديفيد عام 1979 التي أخرجت مصر من معادلة الردع العربي، والجيش المصري من حرب المواجهة والوجود مع كيان العدو الصهيوني، إلى حرب الخليج الأولى بدعم أميركي وتمويل خليجي سعودي بشكل أساسي للرئيس الراحل صدام حسين لإنهاك وإضعاف قوى وجيوش وإمكانيات إيران والعراق، مروراً بحرب الخليج الثانية /غزو العراق للكويت/ التي كانت سبباً رئيسياً وبتخطيط مسبق لتواجد القواعد والقوات العسكرية الأميركية بشكل كبير في المنطقة، ثم اتفاقيات أوسلو (1و2) ووادي عربة التي كانت أكبر مؤامرة على قوى وفصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية، وليس انتهاء بالاحتلال الأميركي للعراق بحجج كاذبة واهية تحت عنوان امتلاك أسلحة الدمار الشامل، وتفاصيل أخرى لا مجال لذكرها في هذا المقال تمهيداً لسيناريو ما يسمّى (الربيع العربي) الذي بدأ من تونس أواخر عام 2010 متدحرجاً إلى عدد من الدول العربية، واصطدم بصخرة الصمود السوري وقوة التعاون والتشبيك والتكتيك لقوى محور المقاومة من إيران إلى العراق وسورية وحزب الله في لبنان مع الحليف الروسي والصديق الصيني، ففشل في تحقيق أهدافه في تقسيم وتجزئة المنطقة، وتطويق روسيا والصين وإيران للسيطرة على منابع وأنابيب النفط والغاز.

ـ ترافق ذلك مع الجزء الأساسي الذي سنركز عليه في هذا المقال لعلاقته المباشرة بـ مشروع نيوم، وهو «عاصفة الحزم» الحرب على اليمن التي بدأت عام 2015، وقامت بها قوى التحالف المدعومة من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والتي تضمّ إلى جانب السعودية ثماني دول أخرى هي الإمارات ومصر والأردن والسودان وموريتانيا والسنغال والكويت واليحرين، إلى توقيع مصر اتفاقاً عام 2016 بإعطاء النظام السعودي جزيرتين ضروريتين لربط مشروع نيوم بسيناء بانتقال جزيرتي تيران وصنافير إلى السيادة السعودية لتصبح الرياض جزءاً من اتفاقية «كامب ديفيد» بأثر رجعي، ثم إعلان ترامب لصفقة القرن والترويج لها عام 2017 لتصفية القضية الفلسطينية، وتنسيق جارد كوشنير صهر الرئيس دونالد ترامب ومستشار البيت الأبيض عام 2019 لورشة المنامة في البحرين الجانب الاقتصادي من صفقة القرن للتمويل أملاً بنجاح الصفقة، وصولاً لمشروع محمد بن سلمان المدينة الذكية «نيوم».

ـ تعتبر حرب الإبادة اليمنية أحد أهمّ تفاصيل مشروع «نيوم» للسيطرة على مضيق باب المندب والثروات النفطية اليمنية وخاصة في محافظتي مأرب والجوف، حيث يعتبر مضيق باب المندب ذا أهمية استراتيجية عسكرية أمنية اقتصادية كبيرة يربط بين البحر الأحمر والخليج العربي والمحيط الهندي، ويعمل كطريق ملاحة للسفن النفطية وغير النفطية التي تنتقل بين الشرق الأوسط وبلدان البحر المتوسط، وتأتي أهمية اليمن الاستراتيجية بالسيطرة على مضيق باب المندب بامتلاكها جزيرة بريم، ومرة أخرى مُنيت قوى التحالف في حرب اليمن التي تخوضها السعودية بشكل رئيسي بالوكالة عن الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والعدو الصهيوني بفشل تحقيق الأهداف وفق ما سبق، وتتالت انتصارات الجيش اليمني واللجان الشعبية وحركة أنصار الله رغم الصواريخ الباليستية والقنابل المحرمة دولياً ومعاناة المجاعة وانتشار الأوبئة في اليمن، وخلقت معادلات ردع جديدة من خلال استهداف بارجة حربية وناقلة نفط سعوديتين، وضرب منشأة «أرامكو» النفطية السعودية، وما تلاه من انهيار الإنتاج النفطي لأسابيع عدة، وأصبحت تطال صواريخ المقاومة في اليمن العمق السعودي بمطاراته ومنشآته النفطية، إضافة للتفوّق في الحرب البرية في استعادة وتحرير العديد من الأراضي اليمنية، وخاصة محافظة الجوف التي فيها أكبر الحقول والشركات النفطية، وذلك في ظلّ تصدّع قوى التحالف التي عانت من انسحابات متتالية من قطر إلى العدد الأكبر من الجنود السودانيين إلى غيرها من بقية الدول التي أصبحت مشاركتها رمزية.

ـ تستمرّ المعارك والعمليات العسكرية لتحرير محافظة مأرب معقل سلطة حزب التجمع اليمني للإصلاح (الإخوان المسلمين في اليمن) وهو المسيطر على المفاصل المهمة في ما تسمّى الحكومة الشرعية في اليمن، وأهمّ الحصون التي تتمسك بها قوات التحالف وبما تحتويه من مخزون نفط استراتيجي، وبتأييد الحاضنة الشعبية من مشايخ وقبائل مأرب التي ناشدت حكومة صنعاء لتخلصهم من سلطة الإخوان المسلمين.

ـ خلال الأيام او الأسابيع المقبلة وبتحرير مأرب، مع بدايات العجز الاقتصادي للنظام السعودي من انخفاض إيرادات النفط جراء حرب أسعار النفط إلى انعدام إيرادات الحج والعمرة من جراء جائحة كورونا، وتفشي الفيروس في السعودية داخل وخارج أفراد الأسرة الحاكمة مع ما تعانيه من أزمات داخلية أخرى، وبالتكامل مع إنجازات محور وحلف المقاومة على مستوى الإقليم ستتغيّر موازين القوى، لتكون سنة فارقة مهمة على صعيد التحوّلات الكبرى لصالح محور حلف المقاومة.

ـ وبالتالي فإنّ تفوّق قوى المقاومة على القوة الإسرائيلية الأميركية الإمبريالية وأدواتها التركية والرجعية العربية قد تكون مقدّمة لرؤية استراتيجية لمشروع تحدٍّ جديد لدول غرب آسيا في برنامج متكامل للتشبيك في الإقليم لإنشاء كتلة اقتصادية اجتماعية كبرى قادرة دولها على تحقيق التنمية الاقتصادية، وتأمين فرص العمل، والحماية الأمنية والرعاية الصحية والخدمية لشعوبها.

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