Foreign backed terrorism in Iran: Part two – US/Israeli backed insurgency and separatism in western Iran

April 18, 2019

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

Foreign backed terrorism in Iran: Part two – US/Israeli backed insurgency and separatism in western Iran

In the previous article, we examined the prevalence of US/Israeli backed terrorism in eastern Iran where Baluchi Salafists have received arms and funding from the CIA and Mossad. In this second part of the article series we will examine the US/Israeli support for terrorists and separatists in western Iran among the Kurdish ethnic group.

The Kurdish situation in western Iran

The Kurdish question in Iran is a long running one that stretches back to the WWII era. While Kurdish revolts occurred already during the 1920s these were not motivated out of nationalist sentiment but rather out of tribal opposition to the monarchy’s attempts to centralize the state of Iran. The Qajar dynasty and later the Pahlavi dynasty attempted to consolidate power around Tehran in a time when the Iranian nation was fragmented into areas of tribal and ethnic influence. Simko Shikak was one of the powerful Kurdish chieftains that with Ottoman backing led the first revolt in 1918, against the Qajar dynasty, as the Ottoman’s were fierce rivals of the severely weakened Iranian state, attempted to gain influence over western Iran. Another reason for the Ottoman involvement was motivated by the slaughter of the large Iranian Armenian population in the West Azerbaijan province of Iran. But it was not only the Ottomans that backed these separatist tribal ambitions as Tehran repeatedly called out British influence and support for the tribal rebellions. The British role was mainly motivated by their desire to remove the Qajar dynasty from power and install a new Shah that they could more easily control, thus also triumphing over the Russian Empire in the struggle for influence over Iran.

British intervention in Persia was at its height during the coup d’etat of 1921. Although the coup itself was executed by Persians, it received vital assistance from, and was probably actually initiated by, certain British military officers and officials in Iran, most importantly Major-General Sir Edmund Ironside, Commander of Norperforce, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Smyth, who was unofficially and “almost secretly” attached to the Cossacks at Qazvin, and Walter A Smart, the Oriental Secretary.

After the coup, Reza Shah Pahlavi, the new Shah of Iran ultimately crushed the Kurdish tribal rebellion and the subsequent ones imitated during 1929 and 1941. It wasn’t until 1946 when the real danger of separatism became prevalent in Iran with the Iranian crisis of 1946 and the aftermath of the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran during WWII. One of the first crises of the Cold War was initiated in 1946 when Stalin refused to relinquish occupied Iranian territory as the Soviets felt that the successor to Reza Shah Pahlavi, his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a staunch anti-communist was a danger to Soviet interests, especially with regards to the Truman doctrine. By mid-December 1945, with the use of troops and secret police, they had set up two pro-Soviet “People’s Democratic Republics” in northwestern Iran, the Azerbaijan People’s Republic headed by Sayyid Jafar Pishevari and the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad under Pesheva Qazi Muhammad and Mustafa Barzani, father to current US puppet Mahmoud Barzani who was the previous president of the autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq before last year’s scandalous attempt at independence for the KRG (Kurdish regional government). Though Mustafa Barzani fled Iran and went back to Iraq, so called Marxist oriented parties such as Komala and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDP-I) continued their hostilities not just with the Pahlavi regime but also later on with Islamic Republic after 1979, although these parties moved on from advocating separatism to specific demands and requests. This is due to the relatively low interest in separatism among the Kurdish public in Iran, mainly because of the close cultural, linguistic and historical relations that the Kurdish people and the rest of the Iranian society share.

Kurdish Insurrection after the Islamic Revolution and Israeli activities in western Iran

Since 2004, an armed conflict has been ongoing in the western provinces of Iran between the Iranian government forces and the so called “Party for a free life in Kurdistan” (PJAK). The group is said to be a branch of the PKK terrorist group in Turkey. The group settled in the area controlled by the PKK on the slopes of Mount Qandil, less than 16 kilometres from the Iranian border. Once established at Qandil and operating under the PKK’s security umbrella, the group began conducting sporadic attacks on Iranian border guards and security forces until a ceasefire commenced in 2011.

With the outbreak of the Syrian and Iraqi wars against terrorism, and with Iran focusing heavily on supporting the Syrian and Iraqi governments, the conflict resurged and intensified in 2016, this time with several other Kurdish militant groups also joining in, as US and Israeli support for Kurdish groups across the Middle East escalated. In an obvious show of solidarity with the Zionist state’s growing worries about the JCPOA (Iran Nuclear Deal), the KDP-I stated that it was returning to militancy after two decades of cessation of hostilities: “Since Iran has signed the atomic [nuclear deal] agreement, Iran thinks whatever they do, the outside world does not care. That is why we were forced to choose this approach,” Hassan Sharafi, the deputy leader of the PDKI said. Conveniently for the Zionist state and Washington, PJAK and leftist group Komalah immediately expressed their support for renewed hostilities and began attacking Iranian security forces respectively in the midst of Iran’s struggle against Takfiri terrorists across the region.

The Zionist state has for long had close relations to Kurdish groups across the Middle East as part of their “Alliance of the periphery” doctrine which calls for Israel to develop close strategic alliances with non-Arab Muslim states in the Middle East to counteract the united opposition of Arab states. After the fall of the Iranian monarchy and with Turkey’s recent Islamic resurgence, the strategy is mainly applied towards the Kurdish people, with Israeli government officials providing extensive support to Kurdish political parties and their aspirations for greater self-government and even independence. The government of Iraqi Kurdistan has maintained open ties with Israel and is an influential lobby for the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between Israel and Iraq. Israel remains today the closest regional ally of the YPG forces in Syria as well as the KRG in Iraq.

Documents leaked in 2010 by Wikileaks prove that Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan wanted to use Kurds and ethnic minorities to topple the Iranian government. The Israeli spy service wanted to have a weak divided Iran, like in Iraq where the Kurds have their own government, the spy chief told an U.S. official. According to a memo from August 2007, Dagan described to Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns the five pillars of Israel’s Iran policy, among them the desire to spark a revolution. The memo noted, ‘instability in Iran is driven by inflation and tension among ethnic minorities. This, Dagan said, “presents unique opportunities, and Israelis and Americans might see a change in Iran in their lifetimes.”

Dagan noted that Iran could end up like Iraq. “As for Iraq, it may end up a weak, federal state comprised of three cantons or entities, one each belonging to the Kurds, Sunnis and Shias.” He added that Iran’s minorities are “raising their heads, and are tempted to resort to violence.”

“It’s Realpolitik. By aligning with the Kurds Israel gains eyes and ears in Iran,” observed a former Israeli intelligence officer. Interestingly, PJAK themselves claim they receive no support from Washington or Tel Aviv. In an interview with Slate magazine in June 2006, PJAK spokesman Ihsan Warya stated that he “nevertheless points out that PJAK really does wish it were an agent of the United States, and that [PJAK is] disappointed that Washington hasn’t made contact.” The Slate article continues stating that the PJAK wishes to be supported by and work with the United States in overthrowing the government of Iran in a similar way to the US eventually cooperated with Kurdish organisations in Iraq in overthrowing the government of Iraq. Surely by now it is no secret that Kurdish chieftains and officials love to be the staunch vassals of Washington and Tel Aviv.

The KRG has even been so generous to offer its territory as a base for Mossad terrorists to launch operations inside Iran. According to several sources, the Mossad operates in the KRG to launch covert operations inside Iran and acquire intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program. “Israeli drones are said to be operating against Iran from bases inside the KRG,” wrote Patrick Seale, a British expert on the Middle East.

The London-based Sunday Times reported that, according to “Western intelligence sources,” during early 2012 Israeli commandos and special forces members carried out missions in Iran that were launched from the KRG. The Zionist terrorists, dressed in Iranian military uniforms, entered Iran in modified Black Hawk helicopters and travelled to Parchin, the site of an Iranian military complex just 30 kilometres southeast of Tehran, and Fordow, an Iranian military base with an underground uranium enrichment facility. The report claims that these forces utilized advanced technology to monitor radioactivity levels and record explosive tests carried out at the military facilities. Whether this report is true or part of a psychological war, I guess we’ll never know.

In addition to all of this, Arab separatism is on the rise in the western Khuzestan province where a large Arab minority reside. The 2018 Ahvaz Military Parade terrorist attack where 29 people were killed was evidence of a recent surge in Arab separatist activities. The Islamic Republic suspects that both Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states offer political and financial support to Arab separatist groups and personalities operating in the West, who in turn funnel the cash to militant networks inside Iran. Suspicions that regional rivals had a hand in the terror attack was intensified by pathetic comments made by Abdul Khaliq Abdullah, a former advisor to the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, that the Ahvaz attack did not constitute an act of terrorism since it was aimed at a military target. The significance of this inflammatory remark lies in Saudi Crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s statement that Saudi Arabia would take the battle “inside” Iran. Since the Saudi monarchy themselves are Zionist agents, we should again look for Washington and Tel Aviv’s hand in this latest campaign targeting yet another minority group in Iran.

The Islamic Republic is under attack from all sides with Washington and Tel Aviv specifically targeting ethnic minorities living in the border areas in the eastern and western regions of Iran. As Washington and Tel Aviv have admitted in the past, a full scale invasion of Iran is highly unlikely due to the size of the country and the large popular support the Islamic Republic enjoys, instead the Zionist Empire has deemed insurgency and fomenting a civil war to be the best way to weaken their adversaries, just like they did in Syria and Iraq. I expect these campaigns to escalate as the Islamic Republic gains more influence across the region and the Zionist Empire growing more and more frustrated each day.

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الثورة الإسلامية في إيران بعيون فلسطينية استراتيجية

فبراير 4, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

أربعون ربيعاً ولا تزال الثورة حية في صدور أهلها كما في محيطها الخارجي وكأنها ولدت بالأمس او اليوم، وممتدة في تأثيراتها وتداعياتها الزلزالية من أعماق أوراسيا حتى سواحل المتوسط وكلّ المياه الساخنة من هرمز الى باب المندب…!

فعلى الرغم من مرور أربعين عاماً على انتصار الثورة الاسلامية في إيران إلا انّ تداعياتها وتأثيراتها العميقة، في موازين القوى الاستراتيجية في العالم أجمع وليس في غرب آسيا وحدها، لا زالت متواصلة، بديناميكية عالية الوتيرة حاملة وسائل تجددها الذاتي بداخلها، الامر الذي يؤكد ان لا خوف لا على الثورة ولا على أهدافها، التي تمثلت منذ اللحظة الاولى بالاضافة الى إطاحة الاستبداد الداخلي في مقاومة الهيمنة الاستعمارية الأميركية على مقدرات الشعوب في العالم وتحقيق الحرية والسيادة والاستقلال الوطني الكامل لكافة شعوب الارض.

ومن الجدير بالذكر، في هذا السياق، انّ الثورة الاسلامية في إيران قد جاءت كحلقة من حلقات الصراع الدولي، بين القوى الاستعمارية وقوى التحرّر الوطني، سواء في ما يسمّى بالشرق الأوسط أو في غيرة من بقاع الأرض. وقد جاء انتصار هذه الثورة بعيد ضربة كبرى تلقتها حركة التحرّر الوطني العربية، تلك الضربة التي تمثلت في زيارة السادات الخيانية للقدس المحتلة سنة 1977، ثم توقيعه اتفاقية الخيانة في كامب ديفيد بتاريخ 17/9/1978.

حيث إنّ هذه الاتفاقية التي احدثت زلزالاً استراتيجياً، سياسياً وعسكرياً، في المنطقة والعالم، وذلك من خلال خروج مصر من مشهد المواجهة العسكرية العربية مع العدو الصهيوني، وبالتالي مع الولايات المتحدة، التي كانت تستميت في محاولاتها لاستعادة بعض الهيبة السياسية والعسكرية، التي فقدتها بعد هزيمتها المدوية في حرب فيتنام عام 1975.

فخروج مصر من المواجهة ادى الى خلل استراتيجي، في موازين القوى الشرق أوسطية ، كان لا بد من اصلاحه وبأقصى سرعة، لإعادة التوازن الاستراتيجي، بمعناه الشامل وليس من خلال مقارنة حسابية لأعداد الدبابات والطائرات، الى مسرح المواجهة، وذلك حفاظاً على ما تبقى من القوى المنخرطة في قتال العدو الصهيوني الإمبريالي، مثل سورية والثورة الفلسطينية وحلفائها اللبنانيين.

ولَم تتأخر القوى الثورية المعادية للإمبريالية في الردّ، على الخلل الذي أحدثته سياسات الخيانة الساداتية، حيث شرع الشعب الإيراني العظيم بوضع برنامجه الثوري الإسلامي قيد التنفيذ الفعلي، الأمر الذي أدى الى حصول زلزال طهران في بداية عام 1979 والذي ادى الى اقتلاع عرش شاه إيران، العميل للولايات المتحدة و إسرائيل والذي كان يمارس ليس فقط دور شرطي هذه القوى الاستعمارية في المنطقة وقمع الشعوب العربية، بل إنه كان قد حوَّل إيران قاعدة تجسس ضخمة ضد الاتحاد السوفياتي، صديق حركات التحرر العربية والعالمية. ذلك الزلزال الذي أفضى الى انتصار الثورة الاسلامية وعودة قائدها العظيم، سماحة آية الله العظمى الخميني، من منفاه في باريس الى طهران بتاريخ 11/2/1979.

وها هو الرئيس الاميركي الحالي، دونالد ترامب، يحاول اعادة عجلة التاريخ الى الوراء، من خلال تصريحاته لبرنامج واجِهة الأُمة التلفزيوني الاميركي Face the Nation الذي تمّ بثه أمس، والذي أكد فيه ترامب على ضرورة بقاء القوات الاميركية في العراق بهدف مراقبة إيران…!

حيث كان يشير الى الوجود الأميركي في قاعدتي عين الأسد واربيل العراقيتين. مما يعني ان الولايات المتحدة لا زالت تنفذ السياسات العدوانية السابقة نفسها والتي كانت تتبعها إبان الحكم الشاهنشاهي في إيران.

وقد شكل هذا الانتصار في إيران ضربة استراتيجية كبرى للمشاريع الاستعمارية في المنطقة، وفِي مقدمتها المشروع الاستيطاني الصهيوني في فلسطين المحتلة، حيث كانت دولة الاحتلال الإسرائيلي حليفاً استراتيجياً لصيقا لنظام شاه إيران، لكن الثورة الاسلامية اغلقت السفارة الصهيونية في طهران وحوّلتها سفارة لدولة فلسطين.

وهذا ما أكده الزعيم الفلسطيني، ياسر عرفات أبو عمار في أول لقاء له مع قائد الثورة الاسلامية في طهران يوم 17/2/1979، عندما قال: إن جبهة المقاومة أصبحت تمتد من صور الى خراسان… فماذا يعني هذا الكلام من ناحية المفاعيل الاستراتيجية؟ على صعيد موازين القوى في ميادين المواجهة.

أولاً: إن سقوط نظام شاه إيران قد خلق أفقاً استراتيجياً واسعاً للقوى المعادية للامبريالية في المنطقة العربية بشكل عام، ورغم اضطراب العلاقة بين دول وتنظيمات وأحزاب وفصائل تلك القوى آنذاك، كما يتضح من طبيعة التوتر الذي كان يسود العلاقة بين منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية وسورية مثلاً…!

وعلى الرغم من التناقضات الداخلية، بين أطراف حلف المقاومة آنذاك، إلا ان الدور الإيراني حافظ على حيويته وديناميكيته، من خلال تقوية علاقات الجمهورية الاسلامية الإيرانية مع كافة أطراف قوى الثورة والمقاومة اللبنانية والفلسطينية في لبنان، إضافة الى بدء علاقة تحالف إيرانية سورية متينة شملت مختلف مجالات التعاون. الأمر الذي شكل ارضية صلبة لتشكيل محور مقاومة متجانس ومتناغم.

ثانياً: كما ان انتصار الثورة الاسلامية في إيران قد أوجد، ومن الناحية الموضوعية المجردة والبعيدة عن العواطف والمواقف الشخصية، وبالنظر الى العقيدة الجهادية الثابتة التي اعتمدتها الجمهورية الاسلامية في إيران، قد خلق ليس فقط عمقاً استراتيجياً لقوى المقاومة الفلسطينية واللبنانية، وانما خلق قاعدة استراتيجية ثابتة وقوية ومبادرة وقادرة يمكن الاعتماد على دعمها لتامين الاستمرارية في المقاومة وتطوير عملها التحرري.

وهو الأمر الذي شهد على صحته التصاعد المستمر في إنجازات المقاومة، خاصة المقاومة الاسلامية في لبنان والمقاومة الفلسطينية في فلسطين المحتلة. هذا التصاعد الذي عبر عن نفسه بجلاء من خلال الانتصار الأسطوري الذي تحقق في لبنان، ضد الجيش الإسرائيلي، وذلك خلال الحرب التي شنها على لبنان عام 2006. وكذلك الامر عندما عجز الجيش الإسرائيلي من ضرب المقاومة الفلسطينية في غزة، عبر أربعة حروب شنت على قطاع غزة والذي كان آخرها عدوان شهر 11/2018 الذي انتهى بهزيمة مدوية للجيش الإسرائيلي…!

هذا الجيش الذي خبر مفاعيل المساعدات العسكرية، المباشرة وغير المباشرة المقدمة للمقاومة الفلسطينية من إيران، سواء عبر استخدام صواريخ الكورنيت المضادة للدروع أو باستخدام الصواريخ الدقيقة في قصف عسقلان وإصابة أهداف فيها بدقة متناهية.

ثالثاً: بناء وتطوير قاعدة علمية تكنولوجية صناعية عملاقة في إيران، وذلك من خلال تطوير القدرات الذاتية للشعب الإيراني وإطلاق العنان لإبداعه، عبر تنمية ورعاية الطاقات العلمية الإيرانية، وتعميق العلم والمعرفة في وجدان الشعب الإيراني، المحب للقراءة والمعرفة والعلم تاريخياً. وهو الأمر الذي تؤكده حقيقة ان مجموع ما ينشر في إيران من صحف محلية يومية قد وصل الى الف ومئة صحيفة يومية وأسبوعية وفصلية، الى جانب ثلاثة وسبعين ألف كتاب جديد تمّ نشرها سنة 2018 السعودية نشرت 2800 كتاب فقط ، وافتتاح أكبر حديقة للكتب في العالم، في شهر تموز 2017، بمساحة اجمالية تبلغ مئة وعشرة آلاف متر مربع، وهي بذلك تكون اكبر من مكتبة بارنز ونوبل في نيويورك.

رابعاً: وفِي إطار تطوير القاعدة العلمية في إيران فقد نجحت قيادة الجمهورية الاسلامية في إيران في تحويل البلاد مركزاً هاماً للعلم والمعرفة. اذ بلغ عدد الطلاب المسجلين في الجامعات الإيرانية خمسة ملايين ونصف المليون طالب سنة 2017، بالاضافة الى خمسين ألفاً آخرين يتلقون علومهم في الجامعات الاوروبية، واثني عشر ألفاً الى جانبهم في الجامعات الأميركية.

علماً أن عدد الطلاب في الجامعات الإيرانية قبل انتصار الثورة الاسلامية لم يتجاوز المئة الف طالب. وهو الأمر الذي جعل إيران قادرة على تأهيل الكوادر والطاقات العلمية المحلية الضرورية لتسيير وتطوير قاعدتها الصناعية الضرورية وتأمين النهضة المستدامة للاقتصاد الإيراني المقاوم. وما الدليل على ذلك الا تسجيل ستة وثلاثين ألف براءة اختراع جديد، لطاقات إيرانية شابة، خلال عام 2017 فقط، ما يجعل الجمهورية الاسلامية من الدول العشر الأولى في الاختراعات العلمية المختلفة.

سادساً: اذن فحملات العداء المتواصلة، والعقوبات المختلفة، ضد الجمهورية الاسلامية في إيران، من قبل القوى الاستعمارية والصهيونية، وعلى رأسهما الولايات المتحدة ودولة كيان الاحتلال الصهيوني، ليست مرتبطة لا بالأسلحة النووية المزعومة ولا ببرنامج الصواريخ الحربية الإيرانية أي ما تُسمى الصواريخ البالستية وهي بالمناسبة تسمية خاطئة، حيث إن كلمة بالستي، أو – Ballestic بالإنجليزية – هي كلمة يونانية الأصل وتعني: علم دراسة حركة او حركيات المقذوفات – وانما باتساع العلم والمعرفة لدى الشعب الإيراني، المقترنة بإرادة سياسية حديدية وقرار واضح وصريح، من قبل قيادة الثورة الاسلامية وقائدها، والذي ينصّ على ضرورة تطوير البلاد وتحصينها ورفع مكانتها بين الدول، عبر الاعتماد على الذات والإمكانيات المحلية والاقتصاد المقاوم غير الخاضع لقوى الهيمنة والاستعمار.

وهذا يعني بالطبع: العمل على إنجاز الاستقلال الوطني الكامل والانفكاك من نير التبعية للقوى الاستعمارية الأجنبية، وبالتالي وضع حد لنهب خيرات البلاد البترولية والمعدنية خامات معدنية ، من قبل شركات الدول الاستعمارية.

وبما أن المواجهة الشاملة، بين الولايات المتحدة والجمهورية الاسلامية، لا تقتصر على الميدان العسكري فقط، فقد اقامت الجمهورية الاسلامية الإيرانية منطقة منع دخول اقتصادي، او Anti Access، في وجه الدول الاستعمارية، مانعة إياها من مواصلة نهب خيرات الشعب الإيراني كما كان عليه الحال في عهد نظام شاه إيران السابق.

من هنا فإن القراءة الدقيقة، للأهداف الاميركية تجاه الجمهورية الاسلامية في إيران، لا تدع مجالاً للشك بان إسقاط النظام الإيراني بحد ذاته ليس هو الهدف الأميركي. بل ان الهدف يتمثل في إعادة التبعية حتى لو بقي من يحكم البلاد مرتدياً الجلباب والعمة. ولنا في الدول المجاورة لإيران والتابعة للولايات المتحدة اوضح مثال على ذلك.

سابعاً: وعلى الرغم من النجاحات الكبرى التي حققتها الثورة الاسلامية في إيران، وعلى مختلف الصعد، فان الاخطار المحدقة بهذه التجربة الناجحة لا زالت كبيرة جداً وتستدعي اتباع سياسة خارجية غاية في الحزم الى جانب سياسة داخلية ديناميكية تكون بوصلتها تعزيز كرامة المواطن الإيراني، من خلال تأمين احتياجاته اليومية ورفع قدرته على مواجهة متطلبات الحياة، المتزايدة الصعوبة بسبب مواصلة اجراءات الحصار الاميركي الخانق.

بمعنى ان العمل على قطع الطريق الداخلي على العدو الخارجي يجب ان تكون له الأولوية المطلقة وذلك لتعزيز القدرة على المواجهة وتأمين فرص النجاح والتطور للجمهورية الإسلامية وشعبها المقتدر. وهو الامر الذي لا يساورنا اي شك في انه سيتحقق قطعاً بفضل صمود شعبه العزيز وحكمة قيادته العالية الحنكة.

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله.

The U.S. Has Always Backed Dictators. Trump’s Support for MBS is no Different

In his steadfast support for MBS, Trump is following a long tradition of US support for Arab autocrats, which in turn is used as the reason for violent terrorist organisations to target the US

By Madawi Al-Rasheed

December 14, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –   Last week, US President Donald Trump announced that the close US-Saudi partnership will continue, even after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and a CIA report that pointed the finger at Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) as the one who ordered the killing.

A longstanding US tradition

The president’s statement cited a combination of geostrategic and economic reasons to justify continuing his close alliance with a regime that had practised utter brutality at home and abroad. Trump highlighted the lucrative financial dividends of this partnership to the US economy, based on MBS’s promise of $450bn investment, including $100bn-plus of arms purchases.

The president also asserted that Saudi Arabia was central to containing Iran’s expansion in the Middle East and achieving peace with Israel.

Despite its shockingly frank nature, the president’s statement does not represent a major departure from previous US foreign policy but rather maintains a longstanding principle of supporting Arab dictators for specific strategic and economic reasons. What is different from previous US presidents is Trump’s uncomfortably explicit calculus.

No previous US president has flagged hard cash as the rationale for maintaining close ties with and even support for the Saudi leadership.

But rhetoric aside, Trump is remaining faithful to a longstanding tradition of US foreign policy that privileges economic and strategic interests over moral and ethical issues, sometimes referred to as realpolitik.

In the past, the US has occasionally expressed concern over severe human rights violations by their proteges but few would seriously expect President Trump to be troubled by the crimes of the Saudi regime.

Even if he admits that no one should condone such a murder, he was apparently comfortable endorsing the far-from-credible Saudi explanation for what happened at the consulate. He even provided a possible exit strategy for the Saudis when he said that the murder could be the work of“rogue killers”, thus providing a potential out for MBS, the de facto head of state and the security apparatus in Saudi Arabia.

Empowering dictators

Trump’s latest statement, that business as usual with Saudi Arabia is to be maintained, even if MBS “may or may not” have ordered the murder of Khashoggi, is certainly shocking for some American audiences. But for Arabs in general and Saudis in particular, the statement was expected, to say the least.

It confirmed their strong belief that the US prefers to work with autocrats than encourage them to democratise or at least restrain themselves from suffocating their people with draconian measures ranging from detention to murder.

US support for Arab dictators has been asserted as the casus belli by the most violent terrorist organisations to target the US. Osama bin Laden’s justification for hitting the “far enemy”, namely the US that supports the Saudi regime only echoed previous slogans of Arab nationalists, socialists and pro-democracy forces that blamed the US for the excesses of their regimes.

In their logic, US support empowers dictators not only through the transfer of the technology of death, surveillance and torture, but also morally and globally.

Even Trump himself admitted that without US support, the Saudi regime will collapse in two weeks. Former US intelligence officer Bruce Riedel confirmed that without US and UK support, the Saudis will not be able to continue the war in Yemen.

The likes of Bin Laden strongly believed this narrative long before it was uttered by the US president. Consequently, his network diverted its struggle against the near enemy to the far one and precipitated a global terrorist crisis that keeps resurfacing under different names. The Islamic State group (IS) was the most recent incarnation of this phenomenon but may not be the last.

Many Americans understandably feel uncomfortable with the president’s blunt words as they cling to a myth that American foreign policy should reflect American values, especially when a high-profile murder by a close partner is concerned.

However, like so-called ‘American exceptionalism’, American values, in the form of respect of civil, political and human rights, have not been an obvious principle guiding American foreign policy in the Arab world.

Also, such values are being eroded and undermined in the US itself under the ultra-nationalist and populist rhetoric of the current president.

The wrath of the people

Previous US presidents may not have liked Arab dictators but nonetheless lent them support, often in the form of military sales and assistance. The list is long.

Many Arab autocrats had the full support of previous American administrations despite the fact that domestically they violated their own peoples’ rights, including Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Zine Abedine Ben Ali of Tunisia, King Hamad bin Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, and at one moment Muammar Qaddafi of Libya came close to being an ally just before he faced an uprising in 2011

Until his fall in 1979, the US granted the Shah of Iran its ultimate support by making him the “policeman of the Gulf” to ward off and contain the spread of communism and nationalism at the time. His dramatic fall at the hands of his own people was shocking for both the US and its Western allies.

The message to the US at the time could not have been clearer: no amount of US support can protect a dictator from the wrath of his own people when the right moment comes. In fact, the US could not even protect its own Tehran Embassy where over 50 diplomats were held hostage for 444 days, an incident that four decades later still shapes and haunts US thinking about Iran.

Yet unconditional US support had always been the privilege of Saudi monarchs. The love affair with Saudi kings is based on expediency and interest rather than passionate conviction. US support was neither shaken nor reconsidered, at least in public, even after 15 Saudi hijackers attacked the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11

The US administration at the time meandered and left it to the US media and civil society to pressure the Saudi regime to change its policy of spreading lethal religious interpretations that had inspired a whole generation of Muslims across the globe and justified terrorism.

It is a cruel irony for the victims of this attack that Trump now considers the Saudi regime an indispensable partner against terrorism.

The face of Saudi Arabia

Even if Americans are not entirely comfortable with their government’s foreign policy of complete neglect for human rights and even direct support for MBS, despite his latest murderous adventure abroad, this is as nothing compared with Saudis living under the reality of one-man rule.

As MBS became the sole face of Saudi Arabia, in control of economic, military, security and social dimensions of government, he has exhibited complete disrespect for the basic semblance of tolerance towards critics, dissidents and activists.

Saudi Arabia has hardly been a safe haven for dissent but the magnitude of MBS’s ambition to reach the top of the royal hierarchy has turned Saudi Arabia into a murderous nightmare for anyone associated with dissent.

Under his orders, potential rival princes were detained, and a nascent feminist movement was stifled and its remaining advocates imprisoned and tortured according to a recent Amnesty report. Intellectuals and religious clerics were also imprisoned.

Prisoners of Conscie@m3takl_en

SEVERE TORTURE in the prison has caused lately the death of:
Shiekh Suleiman al-Dweesh
Journalist Turki al-Jasser
We warn of a possible deterioration and a possible death of one of the female activists who were tortured and sexually harassed !

97 people are talking about this
Vague charges such as communicating with foreign agents, treason, and undermining the image of the state are mentioned as justification for detention. These charges are more reminiscent of Stalin’s terror than a benevolent monarchy that Saudi propaganda would have us believe it is.

Almost all detained Saudi intellectuals are charged with treason and of being agents of foreign governments. From Salman al-Odah to economist Essam al-Zamil and feminist Lujain al-Huthloul, the word treason looms large and may lead to the death penalty. In fact, the Saudi public prosecutor called for such punishment to be inflicted on those detainees. The infamous office of the public prosecutor is also in charge of the investigation of Khashoggi’s murder.

Seeds of terror

Being “an enemy of the state” – to use Trump’s reiteration of what Saudi officials had told him about Khashoggi – is now a common crime investigated by appointed judges who enjoy no independence whatsoever. Trump seems comfortable with such a statement. Perhaps “enemy of the state” reflects or mirrors his own thinking about anybody who criticises a president, a king or a crown prince.

Saudis know very well that US support for MBS will not waiver as they are fed on propaganda that money buys everything – from mighty fighter jets used against their poorest Yemeni neighbours, to the US president’s silence over one of the most horrific crimes committed against a journalist.

Trump will cling to MBS even if the latter becomes more burdensome. If there is a chance for so-called “American values” to become relevant to foreign policy, it is the US Congress that will have to push for a reconsideration of the age-old US support for dictators. This should spring not out of concern for the safety and security of the Saudi people, but for their own American national security.

Congress must know that under the dark and repressive cloak of MBS, the flamboyant and illusory economic plans, and the veneer of social liberalisation, the seeds of terror are sown. In the past this terror has spilled over and reached the US itself. For the present, there is little to assure the American public that it won’t happen again.

– Professor Madawi al-Rasheed is a visiting professor at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics. She has written extensively about the Arabian Peninsula, Arab migration, globalisation, religious transnationalism and gender. On Twitter: @MadawiDr

This article was originally published by Middle East Eye” 

Trump using Iranophobia to sell American munitions to Arab states: Nasrallah

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, addresses his supporters via a televised speech broadcast from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on October 12, 2018.

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, addresses his supporters via a televised speech broadcast from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on October 12, 2018.

Press TV

Fri Oct 12, 2018 04:18PM

The secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement says US President Donald Trump knows no limits in his efforts to blackmail Arab states of the Middle East region through the Iranophobic language.

Addressing his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Friday evening, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Trump’s latest remarks that Iran planned to take control of the Middle East in just “12 minutes” were meant to lure regional rulers into paying him exorbitant sums of money in return for preserving their regimes.

“As (the late founder of Iran’s Islamic Revolution) Imam Khomeini said the US government is an administration of thieves. It is a regime of theft. Former US presidents were also thieves but did not perpetrate their misdeeds blatantly. The incumbent one, however, robs Arab leaders and humiliates them at the same time,” Nasrallah pointed out.

“Trump shows no respect for ethics, human rights and justice in his remarks. We are witness to a US regime, which does not shy away from using the language of contempt and humiliating anyone, albeit it might be their friend and ally,” he said.

The Hezbollah chief further noted that Trump views the Islamic Republic of Iran as a great and strong establishment, while considers all Arab states buying billions of dollars worth of weapons from him as fairly feeble that cannot last on their legs for more than 12 minutes without his support.

“Trump is making use of the anti-Iran rhetoric in a bid to sell billions of dollars worth of American munitions and military hardware to Arab rulers,” he said.

Nasrallah then advised Arab leaders to reconsider their reliance on American statesmen, saying, “The United States is the same country, which denied the deposed Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a visa for cancer treatment. This came despite the fact that he used to be a long-time US ally in the region.”

“Arab leaders would better allocate the billions of dollars that they are paying Trump to solving their own nations’ problems,” the Hezbollah secretary general commented.

He also scoffed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allegations about Hezbollah’s secret weapons sites, stressing that his movement’s policy is to maintain vigilance and not to respond to such trumped-up charges.

“Denial of Israeli allegations would be a free favor to the Tel Aviv regime,” Nasrallah said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Hezbollah chief stated that he has on occasions demanded the quick formation of a new unity government in Lebanon.

“I assure you all that neither Iran nor Syria does interfere in the formation of the future Lebanese government,” Nasrallah concluded.

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