Israel Reportedly Points Finger at Iran After Cargo Ship Explosion in Gulf of Oman

Ship fire Gulf of Oman
A video grab shows a fire and smoke billowing from a ship in the Gulf of Oman (photo by Gulf Today).

Source

15:03 GMT 27.02.2021

An explosion that ripped through an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday could be the work of Iran, The Times of Israel reports, citing unnamed Israeli officials as saying.  

Unsourced reports from the Israeli media outlets Haaretz and Channel 13 claimed that Iran knew that the vessel was owned by an Israeli businessman – who himself rejected the speculation pertaining to the Islamic Republic.

A separate unsourced report by Israel’s Channel 12 asserted that the explosion was caused by a missile fired by an Iranian warship.

This was echoed by the maritime risk-management firm Dryad Global, which tweeted on Friday that the blast could possibly stem from “asymmetric activity by Iranian military”. Tehran has not commented on the matter yet.

The company identified the ship as the MV Helios Ray, claiming that the blast took place as the vessel with 28 crew members on board was about 44 nautical miles (50 miles) from Oman’s capital Muscat.

No one was reportedly hurt in the blast, which ostensibly caused several holes in the port and starboard sides of the ship, owned by Israeli businessman Abraham Ungar, founder of Ray Shipping Ltd.

The maritime risk intelligence company Ambrey Intelligence posted a raft of photos on its Twitter page, thought to show damage to the Helios Ray as a result of the explosion. The authenticity of the images has yet to be confirmed.

The Israeli media reports come as the satellite-tracking data from the website MarineTraffic.com showed that the explosion-hit cargo ship arrived at a Dubai port earlier on Saturday.

This was preceded by Ungar being quoted by the Ynet news outlet as claiming that the explosion was most likely caused by “missiles or a mine placed on the bow”.

“Israeli authorities will investigate this together with me. I don’t think this deliberately targeted an Israeli-owned ship. That has not happened to me before”, the businessman added.

He reportedly went even further by asserting that the blast could be “part of the game between Iran and the US, that’s why they are hitting Western ships”.

The claims come after the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said, without providing further details, that a ship was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman at 20:40 GMT on Thursday. The UKMTO added that “investigations are ongoing” and that the “vessel and crew are safe”.

Iran-US Tensions

The developments come amid increasing tensions between Tehran and the US, Israel’s ally, which escalated on 25 February, when two F-15 jets launched seven missiles in Syrian territory, following an order from US President Joe Biden.

The attack destroyed nine facilities and partially damaged two facilities, making them unsuitable for use. The facilities were used, according to Washington, by Shia militia group Kata’ib Hezbollah and other formations that are believed to be behind attacks against American military assets in Iraq.

Iran denounced the US airstrikes as “aggression” and a “violation of international law”, insisting that the US presence in Syria is illegal. The attack was also condemned by Syrian authorities as a “cowardly aggression” that will “lead to consequences that will escalate the situation in the region”.

President Biden, for his part, said that Thursday’s US airstrikes are a message to Iran: “You can’t act with impunity. Be careful”.

US-Iranian tensions have been in place since then-President Donald Trump announced Washington’s unilateral exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, and the reinstatement of strict economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Exactly a year later, Tehran announced that it had started scaling down some of its JCPOA obligations, including those related to uranium enrichment.

As far as Israel and Iran are concerned, relations between the two sides remain frozen, with Tehran denying the Jewish state’s right to exist and frequently pledging to destroy it.

Over the last few years, Israel has reportedly carried out a number of airstrikes on Syria, which Tel Aviv says are aimed at countering the alleged Iranian military presence in the Arab Republic. Damascus condemns such attacks as violations of Syria’s national sovereignty, while Tehran insists that there are only Iranian military advisers in the country to help the government fight terrorists.


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Biden’s Journey: Change Is Imperceptible

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

Philip Giraldi

February 25, 2021

Biden has been a major disappointment for those who hoped that he’d change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts.

The new White House Team has been in place for more than a month and it is perhaps time to consider where it is going with America’s fractured foreign policy. To be sure, when a new administration brings in a bunch of “old hands” who made their bones by attacking Syria and Libya while also assassinating American citizens by drone one might hope that those mistakes might have served as valuable “lessons learned.” Or maybe not, since no one in the Democratic Party ever mentions the Libya fiasco and President Joe Biden has already made it clear that Syria will continue to be targeted with sanctions as well as with American soldiers based on its soil. And no one will be leaving Afghanistan any time soon. The Biden team will only let up when Afghanistan is “secure” and there is regime change in Damascus.

A big part of the problem is that the personnel moves mean that the poison from the Barack Obama years has now been reintroduced into the tottering edifice that Donald Trump left behind. Obama’s United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice once made the case for attacking the Libyans by explaining how Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi provided his soldiers with Viagra so they could more readily engage in mass rapes of presumably innocent civilians. Unfortunately, Sue is back with the new administration as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council where she will no doubt again wreak havoc in her own inimitable fashion. She is joined at the top level of the administration by Tony Blinken as Secretary of State, Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, Samantha Power as head of USAID and retired General Lloyd J. Austin as Secretary of Defense. All of the appointees are regarded as “hawks” and have personal history working with Biden when he was in Congress and as Vice President, while most of them also served in the Obama administration.

Be that as it may, Joe Biden and whoever is pulling his strings have assembled a group of establishment warmongers and aspirant social justice engineers that is second to none. Those who expected something different than the usual Democratic Party template have definitely been disappointed. Hostility towards China continues with warships being sent to the South China Sea and the president is seeking to create a new Trans-Atlantic alliance directed against both Beijing and Moscow. The Europeans are reportedly not enthusiastic about remaining under Washington’s thumb and would like some breathing room.

In a phone conversation where it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall, Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States would no longer ignore his bad behavior. The official White House account of the call included the following pithy summary: “President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. He also raised other matters of concern, including the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 United States election, and the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny.”

And to be sure, there have already been a number of issues that Biden might have dealt with by executive order, like lifting the illegal and unjustified blockade of Cuba, that could have inspired some hope that the new administration would not be just another bit of old wine in new bottles. Alas, that has not taken place but for a series of moves to unleash another wave of illegal immigration and to “protect LGBTQ rights globally.” Biden has also retained a heavy military presence in Washington itself, possibly as part of a Constitution-wrecking plan to tackle what he is referring to as “domestic terrorism.” The domestic terrorists being targeted appear to largely consist of people who are white working and middle class and voted for Trump.

In some ways, foreign policy might have been the easiest fix if the new administration were really seeking to correct the misadventures of the past twenty years. Quite the contrary, Biden and his associates have actually reversed the sensible and long overdue policies initiated by Donald Trump to reduce troop strength in Germany and bring the soldiers home from Syria and Afghanistan. Biden has already committed to an indefinite stay in Afghanistan, America’s longest “lost” war, and has covertly sent more soldiers into Syria as well as Iraq.

As regards Latin America, the U.S. clearly is prepared to double down on regime change in Venezuela, continuing its Quixotic support of Juan Guaido as president. Meanwhile, the new Secretary of State Tony Blinken has clearly indicated that there will be no end to deference to Israeli interests in the Middle East. Under questioning by Congress, he has insisted that Israel will be “consulted” on U.S. policy to include arms sales in the region, which has been interpreted to mean that Jerusalem will have a veto, and has confirmed that his view on Iran is identical to that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both are apparently promoting the view that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to construct a weapon within a few weeks, though they have not addressed other technical aspects of what would actually be required to build one. Netanyahu has been making the claim about the Iranian threat since the 1980s and now it is also an element of U.S. policy.

Biden and Blinken have also moved forward slowly on a campaign commitment to attempt renegotiation of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran that President Trump withdrew from in 2017. As a condition to re-start discussions, the Iranian leadership has demanded a return to the status quo ante, meaning that the punitive sanctions initiated by Trump would have to be canceled and Iran would in return cease all enrichment activities. Biden and Blinken, which admittedly sounds a bit like a vaudeville comedy duo, have reportedly agreed to withdraw the Trump sanctions but have also suggested that Iran will have to make other concessions, to include ending its ballistic missile development program and ceasing its “meddling” in the Middle East. Iran will refuse to agree to that, which means that the bid to renegotiate could turn out to be nothing more than a bit of theater involving multilateral “discussions” hosted by the European Union and the pointless hostility between Washington and Tehran will continue.

And speaking again of Israel, there have been concerns expressed by the usual suspects because Biden had not called telephoned Netanyahu immediately after the inauguration. It may be true that the president was sending a somewhat less than subtle message signaling that he was in charge, but the call has now taken place and everything is hunky-dory. As a separate issue, the Jewish state has, of course, the world’s only secret nuclear arsenal, estimated to consist of at least 200 bombs, and it also has several systems available to deliver them on target. For no reasons that make any sense, the United States since the time of President Richard Nixon has never publicly confirmed the existence of the weapons, preferring to maintain “nuclear ambiguity” that allows Israel to have the weapons without any demands for inspections or constraints on their use. The most recent four presidents have, in fact, signed secret agreements with Israel not to expose the nuclear arsenal. Biden has apparently not done so yet, but appeals by international figures, including most recently South African Desmond Tutu, had produced some expectations that the new administration might break with precedent.

Giving aid to Israel is, in fact, illegal due to the Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which bans U.S. economic and military assistance to nuclear proliferators and countries that seek to acquire nuclear weapons. But Biden has already indicated that he would not under any circumstances cut aid to Israel, so the matter would appear to be closed. In any event the Symington Amendment includes an exemption clause that would allow the funding to continue as long as the president certifies to Congress that continued aid to the proliferator would be a vital U.S. interest. Given Israel’s power in both Congress and the White House it is not imaginable that its aid would be affected no matter what Netanyahu and his band of criminals choose to do.

So, it would seem that Biden is unprepared to either pressure or pursue any distancing from Israel and its policies, not a good sign for those of us who have encouraged some disengagement from the Middle East quagmire. And one final issue where some of us have hoped to see some movement from Biden has also been a disappointment. That is Julian Assange, who is fighting against efforts to have him extradited from England to face trial and imprisonment in the U.S. under the Espionage Act. Many observers believe that Assange is a legitimate journalist who is being set up for a show trial with only one possible outcome. The entire process is to a large extent being driven by a desire for revenge coming largely from the Democratic Party since Assange was responsible for publishing the Hillary Clinton emails as well as other party documents. Biden has already indicated that the process of extraditing Assange will continue.

So, Biden has been a major disappointment for those who expected that he might change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts while also having the good sense and courage to make relations with countries like Iran and Israel responsive to actual U.S. interests. Finally, it would be a good sign if Assange were to be released from the threat of trial and prison, if only to recognize that free speech and a free press benefit everyone, but that is perhaps a bridge too far as the United States moves inexorably towards a totalitarian state intolerant of dissent.

America’s Middle East Policy Is Outdated and Dangerous سياسة أميركا في الشرق الأوسط خطيرة وعفا عليها الزمن

**Please scroll down for the Arabic Version first published in Al-Mayadeen **

A New Approach to the Gulf States Needs a Better Foundation

U.S. aircraft at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 2016

By Chris Murphy

February 19, 2021

In his 1980 State of the Union address, which came in the wake of the oil shocks of 1973 and 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter described in grave terms the risks of losing access to Middle Eastern oil. “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America,” he said. “Such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” That pledge became known as the Carter Doctrine, and it has remained a defining feature of U.S. Middle East policy ever since.

At the time of Carter’s pronouncement, the United States relied heavily on oil imports to power its economy, and 29 percent of that oil came from the Persian Gulf. Even two decades later, little had changed: in 2001, the United States still imported 29 percent of its oil from the Gulf. But it’s not 1980 or 2001 anymore. Today, the United States produces as much oil as it gets from abroad, and only 13 percent comes from Gulf countries. The United States now imports more oil from Mexico than it does from Saudi Arabia.

Yet even as the driving rationale for the so-called Carter Doctrine has become obsolete, it continues to shape the United States’ approach to the Gulf—emblematic of a broader failure of U.S. policy to catch up with the broader changes to U.S. interests in the region since the 1980s. President Joe Biden should acknowledge new realities and reset the United States’ relationships in the Gulf in a way that promotes American values, keeps Washington out of unnecessary foreign entanglements, and prioritizes regional peace and stability.

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There are myriad reasons for strong relations between the United States and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The decisions by Bahrain and the UAE to establish formal ties to Israel are a clear sign of the positive influence these countries can exert. Kuwait and Oman play powerful roles in mediating regional conflicts. The United States’ counterterrorism partnerships with GCC countries, while frequently flawed, are still crucial, as these governments often have information on extremist networks that U.S. intelligence cannot glean on its own. And the United States is broadening its people-to-people ties with the region: today, tens of thousands of students from the Gulf study at U.S. colleges and universities. Accordingly, the United States must make clear to Gulf allies that its goal is not to pull away from the region but instead to create a more substantive and stable link between the United States and the GCC.

But it is past time to admit that there is a central design flaw in the United States’ current approach to the Gulf: the top two GCC priorities for the relationship—sustaining U.S. military assistance to fight regional proxy wars and maintaining U.S. silence on domestic political repression—will, in the long run, destroy the GCC countries themselves. The United States’ objective must be to replace this broken foundation with a new system that supports a peaceful Gulf replete with stable, diversified national economies and responsive governments—the kind of future that leaders such as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman staunchly claim the Gulf is seeking. A U.S.-Gulf relationship built on economic, diplomatic, and governance ties, rather than just brute security partnerships, will accrue to the benefit of both U.S. and Middle Eastern interests.

AVOIDING PROXY WARS

The first step is for the United States to disengage from the GCC’s proxy wars with Iran. The Iranian government is a U.S. adversary, but the festering series of hot and cold conflicts in the region—in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen—has simply served to strengthen Iran’s influence and create cataclysmic levels of human suffering. A pullback from U.S. intervention in places such as Syria and Yemen will, no doubt, cause immediate consternation in the Gulf. By now, however, the enormous costs of the false belief that the United States can indirectly steer the outcomes in Syria and Yemen are crystal clear. In both theaters, the United States’ tepid, halfway military involvement was never substantial enough to tip the balance and has served instead to extend the conflicts. Washington suffers from a hubristic confidence in its ability to accomplish political goals through military interventions. Instead, the most significant effect of recent U.S. Middle East adventurism has been to fuel perpetual wars that embolden extremist groups and allow anti-American sentiment to grow.

It is past time to admit that there is a central design flaw in the United States’ current approach to the Gulf.

Although the United States should retain its security partnerships with Gulf nations, the U.S. footprint should be smaller. Before the Gulf War, the United States was able to protect its interests in the region without massive military bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia and without billions in annual arms sales to these same nations. The foreign policy community in Washington acts as if this massive military presence is now mandatory to protect U.S. interests, even though it wasn’t prior to the creation of the post-9/11 security state. U.S. bases are costly, drawing focus away from increasingly important theaters such as Africa and Asia; they create pressure on the United States to ignore serious human rights abuses lest criticism puts the troop presence at risk; and they stand out as military targets and propaganda fodder for Iran, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State (or ISIS). As U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin undertakes a global review of the United States’ military posture, the Biden administration should seriously consider reducing its military basing in the region. Reconsidering the costs and benefits of basing the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain would be a good start, as the United States’ massive footprint is becoming more trouble than it is worth.

Finally, although the United States should continue to sell military equipment to its partners, Washington should ensure that it is selling truly defensive arms. Today, too many American weapons are used irresponsibly and in violation of international law. Others, such as the recently announced Reaper drone sale to the UAE, fuel a regional arms race that runs counter to U.S. security interests. As it pulls back on systems with more offensive capabilities, however, the United States should still be willing to provide more advanced defensive weapons, such as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile technology, that fit the Gulf’s real security threats.

If Washington does these things, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will inevitably complain that the United States is abandoning them and empowering Iran. The Biden administration’s task will be to convince them that there is an alternative to a never-ending military contest with Tehran. A regional security dialogue that includes all parties can replace the arms race and proxy wars. This may sound like a utopian fantasy, but it is far from it. The green shoots of this dialogue have been showing for years, and able U.S. leadership, applying both vinegar and honey, can begin to create a structure for détente. And although the United States should not give the Emiratis or Saudis veto power over a bilateral nuclear agreement with Iran, a regional dialogue would tie the Gulf countries closer to the United States on Iran policy and likely give the GCC greater input on any future agreement Washington makes.

TESTING DE-ESCALATION

The Biden administration is best positioned to test the region’s readiness for this kind of de-escalation in Yemen. The pieces that have been missing—meaningful pressure and a credible interlocutor—are now moving into position as the Biden administration ends U.S. support for offensive operations and appoints a new special envoy to support the UN peace process. The United States is the only nation that can move the ball forward. If Washington can find a path toward peace in Yemen, where an inclusive post-Hadi Yemeni government coexists with Houthi leaders as the country rebuilds with international aid, it could be proof of concept for a broader dialogue.

De-escalation should be wildly appealing to the United States’ Gulf partners. Declining oil revenues mean these nations will soon need to make hard choices between investing in economic reforms and fighting wars in foreign countries. Given these persistent conflicts and the state control of local economies, attracting meaningful foreign investment to the region is largely a fantasy. For the United States, another benefit to decreased tensions between the Gulf and Iran is fewer incentives for Gulf interests to spread Wahhabi Islam throughout the Muslim world. This ultraconservative and intolerant brand of Islam often forms the building blocks of extremist ideology, and the Gulf-Iran feud fuels its export (alongside its revolutionary Shiite counterpart).

Biden has a chance to reset Washington’s partnerships with Gulf nations.

The United States must also drive a harder bargain with the Gulf states on questions of human rights. In the wake of Donald Trump’s attacks on American democracy, it will be even more important for Biden to match his talk of the rule of law and civil rights with actions at home and abroad. The United States has difficult work ahead to rebuild its global brand, but ending Washington’s hear-no-evil, see-no-evil approach in the Gulf will help.

Still, the U.S. conversation with the Gulf on human rights should be realistic. These countries will not become modern democracies overnight. If the Gulf really wants to attract international investment, however, it must address ongoing brutal crackdowns on political dissent and the lack of the rule of law. Serious outside private investment is unlikely as long as these nations torture political prisoners, maintain a draconian “guardian system” that restricts women’s ability to travel, and constantly harass dissidents abroad. Frankly, Gulf leaders should see expanding political rights as an existential issue. The United States must help these regimes understand that their long-standing social bargain of “no taxation, but no representation either” cannot last. As population growth outstrips oil revenues, royal families will soon no longer be able to afford that payoff. Once subsidies atrophy but repression remains, a disastrous storm of unrest will brew. Luckily, there are models of limited reform in the Gulf that can help the laggards inch along. Kuwaitis, for instance, elect a parliament that maintains some independence from the crown. Although this is far from modern participatory democracy, it provides some guideposts to which more repressive regimes can look.

NO COLD WAR REDUX

In pursuing this new course, some sky-will-fall adherents to the status quo will argue that if the Biden administration drives too hard a bargain, Gulf leaders will turn away from the United States and toward China or Russia. This argument is a red herring, one that plays on a misunderstanding of both the irreplaceability of military alignment with the United States and the willingness of China and Russia to get their hands dirty in Middle Eastern politics. This isn’t the Cold War: Russia has little to offer in the region, and as global oil usage continues to fall, Moscow will inevitably compete with Gulf countries for buyers. Although China will continue to look for economic opportunities in the region, it will be unwilling to play a real security role anytime in the near future. The Chinese navy isn’t going to come to the aid of a Gulf country under attack. If the Bahrainis, Emiratis, or Saudis threaten to turn to other powers, Washington can afford to call their bluff.

As a general matter, U.S. foreign policy has become dangerously anachronistic, an instrument tuned to play a song that the orchestra no longer performs. But U.S. policy is, perhaps, most inconsonant in the Gulf, where the United States’ interests have changed but its policy has not. Biden has a chance to reset Washington’s partnerships with Gulf nations. It will be difficult, painful, and arouse loud protest. But the resulting order will be mutually beneficial, advancing U.S. interests while moving Gulf states closer to the future they claim to aspire to. As they say, the most worthwhile endeavors are never easy.

سياسة أميركا في الشرق الأوسط خطيرة وعفا عليها الزمن

الميادين نت

*ترجمة: ميساء شديد

طائرة أميركيّة في قاعدة العديد الجويّة في قطر - أبريل 2016 (رويترز)

كريس مورفي – “فورين أفيرز” 19 شباط 22:39

السيناتور الأميركي كريس مورفي، يشدد في مقال له في مجلة “فورين أفيرز“، على أنّه لدى الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن “فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج”.

السيناتور الأميركي كريس مورفي يؤكد في مقال له في مجلة “فورين أفيرز“، أنّ السياسة الخارجيّة للولايات المتحدة “عفا الزمن عنها”، مبرزاً أنّ “السياسة الأميركيّة غير متسقة في الخليج، ولدى بايدن فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج”. فيما يلي نص المقال: 

في خطاب حالة الاتحاد الذي ألقاه في أعقاب أزمتي النفط عامي 1973 و1979، وصف الرئيس الأميركي جيمي كارتر بعبارات خطيرة مخاطر فقدان الوصول إلى نفط الشرق الأوسط. وقال إن “أيّ محاولة من قبل أيّ قوّة خارجيّة للسيطرة على منطقة الخليج، ستعتبر اعتداء على المصالح الحيويّة للولايات المتحدة الأميركيّة.. وسيتمّ صدّ مثل هذا الهجوم بأيّ وسيلة ضروريّة بما في ذلك القوّة العسكريّة”. أصبح هذا التعهد معروفاً باسم “مبدأ كارتر” وظلّ سمة مميّزة لسياسة الولايات المتحدة في الشرق الأوسط منذ ذلك الحين.

حين أدلى كارتر بهذا التصريح كانت الولايات المتحدة تعتمد بشكل كبير على واردات النفط لتزويد اقتصادها بالطاقة وكان 29% من هذا النفط يأتي من الخليج. حتى بعد عقدين من الزمن لم يتغيّر شيء يذكر: في عام 2001، كانت الولايات المتحدة لا تزال تستورد 29% من نفطها من الخليج. لكننا لم نعد في عام 1980 أو 2001 بعد الآن. واليوم تنتج الولايات المتحدة نفس القدر من النفط الذي تحصل عليه من الخارج وتستورد 13% فقط من دول الخليج. تستورد الولايات المتحدة الآن نفطاً من المكسيك أكثر مما تستورده من السعوديّة.

ومع ذلك بالرغم من أن الأساس المنطقي لما يسمى عقيدة كارتر قد عفا عليه الزمن، إلا أنه يستمر في تشكيل نهج الولايات المتحدة تجاه الخليج – وهو رمز لفشل أوسع لسياسة الولايات المتحدة المتمثلة بتغييرات أوسع للمصالح الأميركيّة في المنطقة منذ الثمانينيات. يجب على الرئيس جو بايدن الاعتراف بالوقائع الجديدة وإعادة ضبط علاقات الولايات المتحدة في الخليج بطريقة تعزز القيم الأميركيّة وتبقي واشنطن بعيدة عن التشابكات الخارجيّة غير الضروريّة وتعطي الأولويّة للسلام والاستقرار الإقليميين.

هناك عدد لا يحصى من الأسباب لإقامة علاقات قويّة بين الولايات المتحدة ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي – البحرين والكويت وعمان وقطر والسعودية والإمارات. إن قرارات البحرين والإمارات لإقامة علاقات رسميّة مع “إسرائيل” هي علامة واضحة على التأثير الإيجابي الذي يمكن أن تمارسه هذه الدول. تلعب الكويت وعمان أدواراً قويّة في التوسط في النزاعات الإقليميّة. إن شراكات الولايات المتحدة في مكافحة الإرهاب مع دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بالرغم من كونها معيبة في كثير من الأحيان، لا تزال مهمة حيث تمتلك هذه الحكومات غالباً معلومات عن الشبكات المتطرفة التي لا تستطيع الاستخبارات الأميركيّة جمعها بمفردها.

وتقوم الولايات المتحدة بتوسيع علاقاتها الشعبيّة مع المنطقة: اليوم هناك عشرات الآلاف من الطلاب من الخليج يدرسون في الكليات والجامعات الأميركيّة. وبناءً على ذلك يجب على الولايات المتحدة أن توضح لحلفائها الخليجيين أن هدفها ليس الانسحاب من المنطقة، ولكن بدلاً من ذلك إنشاء رابط أكثر موضوعية واستقراراً بين الولايات المتحدة ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي.

لكن حان الوقت للاعتراف بوجود خلل مركزي في نهج الولايات المتحدة الحالي تجاه الخليج: أهم أولويتين لمجلس التعاون الخليجي في العلاقة – الحفاظ على المساعدة العسكرية الأميركية لخوض حروب إقليمية بالوكالة والحفاظ على الصمت الأميركي تجاه السياسات الداخلية لدوله. القمع – سيدمر على المدى الطويل دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي نفسها. ويجب أن يكون هدف الولايات المتحدة هو استبدال هذا الأساس المكسور بنظام جديد يدعم خليجاً مسالماً مليئاً باقتصاديات وطنيّة مستقرة ومتنوعة وحكومات متجاوبة – مستقبل من النوع الذي يدعي قادة مثل ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان بقوّة أن منطقة الخليج تسعى إليه. إن علاقة بين الولايات المتحدة والخليج مبنية على العلاقات الاقتصاديّة والدبلوماسيّة والحوكمة بدلاً من مجرد شراكات أمنيّة وحشيّة سوف تعود بالفائدة على مصالح الولايات المتحدة والشرق الأوسط.

تجنب حروب الوكالة

الخطوة الأولى هي أن تنفصل الولايات المتحدة عن حروب دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي بالوكالة مع إيران. الحكومة الإيرانيّة هي خصم للولايات المتحدة لكن سلسلة الصراعات الساخنة والباردة في المنطقة – في العراق ولبنان وسوريا واليمن – عملت ببساطة على تعزيز نفوذ إيران وخلق مستويات كارثية من المعاناة الإنسانية. لا شك أن الانسحاب من التدخل الأميركي في أماكن مثل سوريا واليمن سيسبب ذعراً فورياً في الخليج. ومع ذلك  فإن التكاليف الهائلة للاعتقاد الخاطئ بأن الولايات المتحدة يمكنها توجيه النتائج بشكل غير مباشر في سوريا واليمن باتت واضحة تماماً.

في كلا المسرحين لم يكن التدخل العسكري الفاتر للولايات المتحدة جوهريّاً بما يكفي لقلب التوازن وخدم بدلاً من ذلك إطالة أمد النزاعات. تعاني واشنطن من ثقة متغطرسة في قدرتها على تحقيق أهداف سياسيّة من خلال التدخلات العسكريّة. بدلاً من ذلك كان التأثير الأكثر أهمية للمغامرات الأميركيّة الأخيرة في الشرق الأوسط هو تأجيج الحروب الدائمة التي تشجع الجماعات المتطرفة وتسمح للمشاعر المعادية لأميركا بالنمو.

على الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة يجب أن تحتفظ بشراكاتها الأمنية مع دول الخليج إلا أن البصمة الأميركيّة يجب أن تكون أصغر. قبل حرب الخليج كانت الولايات المتحدة قادرة على حماية مصالحها في المنطقة من دون قواعد عسكريّة ضخمة في البحرين والكويت وقطر والسعودية ومن دون مليارات من مبيعات الأسلحة السنويّة للدول نفسها.

يتصرّف مجتمع السياسة الخارجيّة في واشنطن كما لو أن هذا الوجود العسكري الضخم أصبح الآن إلزامياً لحماية المصالح الأميركيّة، على الرغم من أنه لم يكن كذلك قبل إنشاء الدولة الأمنية بعد 11 سبتمبر. القواعد الأميركيّة مكلفة ما يجعل التركيز بعيداً عن المسارح ذات الأهمية المتزايدة مثل أفريقيا وآسيا؛ إنهم يمارسون الضغط على الولايات المتحدة لتجاهل الانتهاكات الجسيمة لحقوق الإنسان خشية أن تعرض هذه الانتقادات وجود القوات الأميركية للخطر؛ وهي تبرز كأهداف عسكريّة ومادة دعاية لإيران والقاعدة وداعش.

بينما يجري وزير الدفاع الأميركي لويد أوستن مراجعة عالميّة للوضع العسكري للولايات المتحدة يجب على إدارة بايدن التفكير بجديّة في تقليص قواعدها العسكريّة في المنطقة. إن إعادة النظر في تكاليف وفوائد تأسيس الأسطول الخامس في البحرين ستكون بداية جيدة حيث أصبح الدور الهائل للولايات المتحدة مقلقاً بالرغم من أن الأمر لا يستحق.

أخيرًا على الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة يجب أن تستمر في بيع المعدات العسكريّة لشركائها، يجب على واشنطن التأكد من أنها تبيع أسلحة دفاعيّة حقيقيّة. اليوم يتمّ استخدام الكثير من الأسلحة الأميركيّة بشكل غير مسؤول وفي انتهاك للقانون الدولي. البعض الآخر مثل بيع طائرات “ريبر” بدون طيار التي تمّ الإعلان عنها مؤخراً للإمارات، يُغذي سباق تسلح إقليمياً يتعارض مع المصالح الأمنيّة الأميركية. مع تراجعها عن أنظمة ذات قدرات هجوميّة أكثر يجب أن تظل الولايات المتحدة على استعداد لتقديم أسلحة دفاعية أكثر تقدمًا مثل تكنولوجيا الصواريخ الدفاعية الطرفية عالية الارتفاع (ثاد) التي تناسب التهديدات الأمنيّة الحقيقيّة في الخليج.

إذا فعلت واشنطن هذه الامور فستشتكي السعودية والإمارات لا محالة من أن الولايات المتحدة تتخلى عنهما وتمكنان إيران. تتمثل مهمة إدارة بايدن في إقناعهما بوجود بديل للمنافسة العسكريّة التي لا تنتهي مع طهران. يمكن لحوار أمنيّ إقليميّ يشمل جميع الأطراف أن يحلّ محل سباق التسلح والحروب بالوكالة. قد يبدو هذا وكأنه محض خيال لكنه بعيد كل البعد عن ذلك.

كانت البراعم الخضراء لهذا الحوار تظهر منذ سنوات ويمكن للقيادة الأميركيّة أن تبدأ في إنشاء هيكل للانفراج. وعلى الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة لا ينبغي أن تمنح الإماراتيين أو السعوديين حق النقض (الفيتو) على اتفاقية نوويّة ثنائيّة مع إيران، فإن الحوار الإقليمي من شأنه أن يربط دول الخليج بشكل أقرب إلى الولايات المتحدة بشأن السياسة الإيرانيّة ومن المرجح أن يعطي مجلس التعاون الخليجي مساهمة أكبر في أيّ اتفاق مستقبلي.

اختبار خفض التصعيد

إن إدارة بايدن في وضع أفضل لاختبار استعداد المنطقة لهذا النوع من التهدئة في اليمن. القطع المفقودة من ضغوط ذات مغزى ومحاور موثوق به تتحرك الآن إلى موقعها مع إنهاء إدارة بايدن دعم الولايات المتحدة للعمليّات الهجوميّة وتعيين مبعوث خاص جديد لدعم عملية السلام التابعة للأمم المتحدة. الولايات المتحدة هي الدولة الوحيدة التي يمكنها تحريك الكرة إلى الأمام. إذا تمكنت واشنطن من إيجاد طريق نحو السلام في اليمن حيث تتعايش حكومة يمنيّة شاملة مع قادة الحوثيين وتعيد البلاد بناءها بمساعدة دولية فإن ذلك سيكون على مفهوم حوار أوسع.

يجب أن يكون وقف التصعيد جذاباً بشدة لشركاء الولايات المتحدة في الخليج. انخفاض عائدات النفط يعني أن هذه الدول ستحتاج قريباً إلى اتخاذ خيارات صعبة بين الاستثمار في الإصلاحات الاقتصاديّة وخوض الحروب في البلدان الأجنبيّة. بالنظر إلى هذه الصراعات المستمرة وسيطرة الدولة على الاقتصادات المحليّة فإن جذب الاستثمار الأجنبي الهادف إلى المنطقة هو إلى حد كبير أمر خيالي.

بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة هناك فائدة أخرى لتقليل التوترات بين الخليج وإيران تتمثل في حوافز أقلّ للمصالح الخليجيّة لنشر الإسلام الوهابي في جميع أنحاء العالم الإسلامي. غالباً ما تشكل هذه العلامة التجاريّة المتشددة وغير المتسامحة للإسلام اللبنات الأساسيّة للإيديولوجيا المتطرفة، ويُغذي الخلاف الخليجي الإيراني تصديرها (إلى جانب نظيرتها الشيعية الثوريّة).

يجب على الولايات المتحدة أيضاً أن تقود صفقة أكثر صعوبة مع دول الخليج بشأن قضايا حقوق الإنسان. في أعقاب هجمات دونالد ترامب على الديمقراطيّة الأميركيّة سيكون من الأهم بالنسبة لبايدن أن يطابق حديثه عن سيادة القانون والحقوق المدنيّة بأفعال في الداخل والخارج. أمام الولايات المتحدة عمل صعب لإعادة بناء دورها العالمي لكن إنهاء نهج واشنطن الذي لا يسمع ولا يرى الشر في الخليج من شأنه أن يساعد.  

ومع ذلك يجب أن تكون محادثة الولايات المتحدة مع دول الخليج حول حقوق الإنسان واقعيّة. لن تصبح هذه البلدان ديمقراطيات حديثة بين عشية وضحاها. ومع ذلك إذا كانت دول الخليج تريد حقاً جذب الاستثمار الدولي فعليها أن تتصدى للحملات القمعيّة الوحشيّة المستمرة ضد المعارضة السياسيّة وغياب سيادة القانون.

الاستثمار الخاص الخارجي الجاد غير محتمل طالما أن هذه الدول تعذب السجناء السياسيين وتحافظ على “نظام وصيّ” صارم يحد من قدرة المرأة على السفر ويضايق المعارضين في الخارج باستمرار. بصراحة يجب على قادة الخليج أن ينظروا إلى توسيع الحقوق السياسيّة على أنها قضيّة وجوديّة. يجب على الولايات المتحدة أن تساعد هذه الأنظمة على فهم أن الصفقة الاجتماعيّة القائمة منذ فترة طويلة المتمثلة في “غياب الضرائب والتمثيل السياسي” لا يمكن أن تستمر.

نظراً لأن النمو السكاني يفوق عائدات النفط فلن تتمكن العائلات المالكة قريباً من تحمّل هذا المردود. بمجرد ضمور الإعانات واستمرار القمع ستندلع عاصفة من الاضطرابات الكارثية. لحسن الحظ هناك نماذج للإصلاح المحدود في الخليج يمكن أن تساعد المتقاعسين في التقدم. ينتخب الكويتيون على سبيل المثال برلماناً يحافظ على بعض الاستقلالية عن العرش. على الرغم من أن هذا بعيد كل البعد عن الديمقراطيّة التشاركيّة الحديثة إلا أنه يقدم بعض النقاط الإرشاديّة التي يمكن أن تنظر إليها الأنظمة القمعيّة.

لا داعي للحرب الباردة

في متابعة هذا المسار الجديد سوف يجادل بعض أتباع الوضع الراهن بأنه إذا دفعت إدارة بايدن عن صفقة صعبة للغاية فسوف يبتعد قادة الخليج عن الولايات المتحدة ويذهبون أكثر باتجاه الصين أو روسيا. هذه الحجة مضللة وهي حجة تلعب على سوء فهم كل من عدم إمكانية الاستغناء عن الاصطفاف العسكري مع الولايات المتحدة واستعداد الصين وروسيا لتسخير أيديهما في سياسات الشرق الأوسط.

هذه ليست الحرب الباردة: ليس لدى روسيا الكثير لتقدمه في المنطقة ومع استمرار انخفاض استخدام النفط العالمي ستتنافس موسكو حتماً مع دول الخليج على المشترين. على الرغم من أن الصين ستواصل البحث عن فرص اقتصاديّة في المنطقة إلا أنها لن تكون راغبة في لعب دور أمني حقيقي في أي وقت في المستقبل القريب. البحريّة الصينيّة لن تقدم المساعدة لدولة خليجيّة تتعرض للهجوم. إذا هدد البحرينيون أو الإماراتيون أو السعوديون بالتحوّل إلى قوى أخرى، يمكن لواشنطن ألا تنطلي عليها خدعهم.

بشكل عام عفا الزمن عن السياسة الخارجيّة للولايات المتحدة بشكل خطير وهي أداة تمّ ضبطها لعزف أغنيّة لم تعد الأوركسترا تؤديها. لكن ربما تكون السياسة الأميركيّة غير متسقة في الخليج، حيث تغيّرت مصالح الولايات المتحدة ولكن سياستها لم تتغير. لدى بايدن فرصة لإعادة ضبط شراكات واشنطن مع دول الخليج. سيكون الأمر صعباً ومؤلماً ويثير احتجاجاً شديداً. لكن النظام الناتج سيكون مفيداً للطرفين حيث سيعزز المصالح الأميركيّة بينما يقرب دول الخليج من المستقبل التي تزعم أنها تطمح إليه. كما يقولون فإن أكثر المساعي الجديرة بالاهتمام ليست سهلة أبداً.

*ترجمة: ميساء شديد

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي الصحيفة حصراً

FM Sergey Lavrov gave an extensive interview to the RBK Media Holding – Communication between Brussels and Moscow has completely fallen apart

Source

FM Sergey Lavrov gave an extensive interview to the RBK Media Holding – Communication between Brussels and Moscow has completely fallen apart

February 20, 2021

A good sub-title for this interview could be “Lavrov Unplugged”.

A quote from the transcript (which incidentally was available faster than any other transcript from the The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation ):

“… when it became clear that Russia did not want to live in the house of “a self-appointed boss,” all these complications began to emerge.

….

All this started when this signal was not perceived (to be more precise, Russia was seen again as a “hoodlum” in the world arena and they were again going to teach it “good manners”). In any event, the West began its ideological preparations, for its current actions, at that time.”

Video in Russian without subtitles or English voiceover as yet.

Question: There is a feeling that the West is very annoyed by the appearance of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. At first, they were very aggressive and wouldn’t let it go. When I talked with Minister of Trade and Industry Dmitry Manturov, he called it “the vaccine war.” Now the opinion has changed. Is this about the quality of the vaccine or is politics involved in this?

Sergey Lavrov: I think it is possible to use the logic of the Russian proverb that can be translated into English as “love it so but mother says no.” Western experts know that the Sputnik V vaccine is definitely one of the best, if not the very best. Otherwise, there would not be such a stream of requests for it, which is growing geometrically.

On the other hand, they realise that the spread of Sputnik V and other Russian vaccines that will soon enter the international market, will enhance our authority and status in the world. They do not want this to happen. But they have come to realise that their first response was simply outrageous in the context of the facts and medical science. When President Vladimir Putin announced the development of the vaccine in August 2020, the offensive was completely undiplomatic. Their response just betrayed their irritation, you are perfectly right.

And now many countries (the Czech Republic and others) are saying they can’t wait for the certification of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency. In Hungary, they believe they are ready to start vaccination and supplies are now underway. The number of requests from Europe is steadily on the rise. Just the other day, Prince Albert II of Monaco sent a request for the vaccine for the entire population of his principality.

After independent agencies published their scientific evaluations, the West had to admit that the vaccine was good. Yet, attempts to discredit it continue.

Just yesterday I read a somewhat ambiguous statement by President of France Emmanuel Macron. He put us and the Chinese into the category of those who are trying to gain advantages in the world arena at the expense of their medical achievements. The day before yesterday, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen spoke with an emphatically negative connotation about the supplies of the Russian vaccines to foreign countries.

We must follow the correct position of principle, first voiced by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, notably, that we were the first to develop the vaccine, and we will continue to increase its production. This is not easy, we do not have enough capacities, and this is why we are negotiating with India, South Korea and other countries. At the same time, he said we are open to the broadest possible cooperation.

There is one more important point. When this issue was discussed at the UN the other day, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the countries that have this vaccine or have the money to buy it, not to forget about the poor. In the meantime, attempts are being made to accuse us of trying to gain geopolitical favour by supplying it abroad. This is an obvious discrepancy. It is clear that the West is poorly prepared for this discussion.

Question: So, it’s about the same as when President Putin said at the Davos Forum that the world cannot continue creating an economy that will only benefit the “golden billion,” and we are actually accused of supplying the vaccine for the benefit of the “golden billion.” Still, are they talking about the vaccine like this just because it was made in Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t see any other reason, because no one even tried to conduct a medical or a scientific test. They just said right away that it was impossible just because it’s impossible, meaning that “no one can do this that quickly.” It was only in October 2020, when the West said they would be able to report on their achievements. President Putin announced in August that the Russian-made vaccine was ready for rollout.

Unfortunately, I often see that the response to everything we do, say or offer is, at best, questioned right off the bat. Usually, they say that “the Russians are playing their geopolitical games again.”

Question: EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, who was here recently and met with you, said that Russia is distancing itself from the West. At the same time, Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said we are open to cooperation with Europe. You said we are ready to break up, but we are not breaking off our relations. What really stands in the way of normal relations between the EU and Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: A biased attitude, by and large. I worked with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, a good colleague of mine, when he was Spanish Foreign Minister. Now many, in an attempt to give a controversial dimension to the High Representative’s visit to Russia, forget how it all began. In May 2019, Mr Borrell said: “Our old enemy, Russia, says again ‘here I am,’ and it is again a threat.” We then asked his protocol service to confirm what he said. We were told that it was a figure of speech and that he was misunderstood. However, this attitude shows.

We are seen as a stranger. In my interview with Vladimir Solovyov, replying to his question as to whether we are ready to break off with the EU, I gave an affirmative answer because there are no relations to talk about. As former US President Barack Obama once said (although he said it about the Russian economy), relations have been “torn to shreds.”

Indeed, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement [between the EU and Russia] entered into force in 1997. It contained a number of declarative goals for moving towards common economic, humanitarian and cultural spaces. For many years, we used a mechanism of summits, which were held every six months in Russia and in the EU alternately. In fact, our entire Government held annual meetings with the European Commission to discuss the participants’ responsibilities in the context of over 20 sector-specific dialogues. We were building four common spaces and roadmaps for each of them. These were 100 percent substantive and specific projects. It was all destroyed, just like the Partnership and Cooperation Council, within which the Russian Foreign Minister and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy reviewed the entire range of relations. This disappeared long before the Ukraine crisis.

Many in our country are just waiting for a chance to pounce on the Russian Government’s foreign policy. We are being asked how we can say that we are ready to break off with the EU when it is our largest trade and economic partner. If we take the EU as a collective partner, it is our largest partner in terms of gross trade. For example, in 2013 (before the Ukraine events) Russia became a WTO member. From that moment, our trade relations were built on the principles advocated by that organisation rather than the EU’s principles. As a single trade bloc, the EU also participated in the WTO. We traded with member countries based on WTO guidelines. If you think the EU is a valuable trade and economic partner, here are some statistics for you: in 2013, the United States was the EU’s biggest trading partner with about $480 billion, followed by China with $428 billion and Russia with $417 billion. That is, these numbers are of the same order of magnitude. Where do we stand now? In 2019, EU’s trade with the United States stood at $750 billion, with China $650 billion, and with Russia at about $280 billion. In 2020, it was $218 billion, if counting with Great Britain, and $191 billion without it.

The reason? It’s the sanctions imposed by our “valued” and largest economic partner for reasons that have never relied on any facts whatsoever. At least, no facts have ever been presented to us. We understand Crimea. We understand Donbass as well. It’s just that the EU admitted its inability, or perhaps, unwillingness, to prevent the anti-constitutional coup with an open Russophobic slant and chose to turn things upside down. Brussels shifted the blame to us and imposed sanctions on Russia rather than the putschists, who, by and large, spat on the guarantees of the European Union, which signed the corresponding agreements, totally ignoring, as I said, the fact that the actions of the government, which they supported, were openly and violently anti-Russian.

Question: Without the events in Ukraine, would our relations with the West have sunk to where they are now?

Sergey Lavrov: It is difficult for me to talk about this. After all, later there were other events linked with the accusations of “the poisoning in Salisbury.” No facts were presented. We were not allowed to meet with our citizens. No evidence was offered. Everything was similar to what is happening now with the alleged poisoning of Alexey Navalny.

Question: It seems the West is looking for a pretext to spoil our relations.

Sergey Lavrov: They are looking but there are many pretexts: it’s always possible to use something as an excuse to put the relationship on the required track. But it’s not that they want to spoil relations. I don’t think this is their main goal. They want to bolster their self-esteem. Now they are starting to act like the US, revealing the mentality of an exclusive group of states. I quoted German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. When asked why they continue discussing sanctions against Russia and what goals they had achieved by imposing sanctions, he replied that he didn’t believe sanctions should be used for any purpose. What matters is that they don’t leave any action by the Russian Federation unpunished.

The concealment of facts that could somehow confirm accusations against us started long before the crisis in Ukraine. We can recall 2007 – the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in the hospital. There was a coroner’s inquest. Later this trial was declared “public.” In George Orwell’s logic, in Britain this means a “secret trial” during which no inquisitorial procedures of the secret services may be presented. You know, these are system-wide problems.

I listed what we used to have in our relations with the European Union. Nothing is left now, not even sporadic contacts on some international issues. As regards the Iran nuclear programme, we are taking part in the work of the collective group of countries, which are trying to somehow put this programme back on track. This is not part of our relations with the EU proper. In the Middle East, we have a Quartet of mediators consisting of Russia, the US, the EU and the UN. In other words, this is multilateral cooperation rather than our relations with just the EU.

With regard to who is taking steps to prevent our relations from further decline, at least a little, we were thinking about that when Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was getting ready to visit Moscow. He suggested cooperating in healthcare and vaccines. We have already discussed this here. As a Brussels institution, the EU will hardly be allowed to contact Russian agencies or companies independently regarding the vaccines. We would sooner cooperate directly with the producers of AstraZeneca, as this is already taking place.

On the eve of Mr Borrell’s visit, we invited his experts to make a joint statement on the Middle East by the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Our positions are nearly identical on the matter and we thought it would be appropriate to urge the Quartet to resume its activities and call for direct Palestinian-Israeli talks, respect for the relevant UN resolutions, and so on.

We gave them a page and a half text that was easy to approve after the first reading. Several days prior to his arrival, we were told that “it did not work out.” I will reveal a secret because this is a blatant example. I asked Mr Borrell at the negotiating table: “What about this statement? Why didn’t it work out?” He started turning his head all around. It was clear from his reaction, and he confirmed this later, that nobody had even told him about it. These are the people that deal with what some of our liberals call “relations with the EU.”

Question: Concluding this theme, I’d like to say that as a man born in the USSR, I understand that during the Soviet-Western confrontation we had different ideologies, economies and so on. Later, I thought that everything was the same on both sides. They were for democracy and we were for democracy; they had a market economy and we had a market economy. So what are the differences? Why do we fail to find a common language to this day? I thought we found it in the 1990s? Why did we find it then?

Sergey Lavrov: We found it at that time because nobody in the Russian Federation disputed the answer to the question of who was ruling the show. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has talked about this many times. We decided that was it – the end of history. Francis Fukuyama announced that from now on liberal thought would rule the world. Now there are attempts to push this liberal thought to the fore again in a bid to gain international influence. But when it became clear that Russia did not want to live in the house of “a self-appointed boss,” all these complications began to emerge.

Initially, having become President, Vladimir Putin and his team tried to convey this message through diplomatic signals that educated and smart people would be bound to understand. But nobody listened. Then the explanations had to be made politely but openly in the Munich speech. All this started when this signal was not perceived (to be more precise, Russia was seen again as a “hoodlum” in the world arena and they were again going to teach it “good manners”). In any event, the West began its ideological preparations, for its current actions, at that time.

Question: Regarding the sanctions. Bloomberg posted a news item today that new sanctions against Russia are planned concerning the Nord Stream 2, however, they are not going to be tough but rather “soft.” On the other hand, they report that the Americans want to thwart the Nord Stream project but without irritating Germany. Where are we in this situation?

Sergey Lavrov: We are a country that completely complies with the contractual obligations undertaken by our companies that are part of the project, along with the EU companies that joined it. The current situation is largely due to a decision taken by what we call the European Union, a decision that proves beyond doubt what sort of alliance it is. A few years ago, when the Poles, and others sharing their attitude, attempted to impede the Nord Stream project, the Legal Service of the European Commission was asked for legal advice, official opinion. The service presented a document which stated in no uncertain terms that the investment project had been launched long before amendments were made to the EU’s gas directive, the Third Energy Package. That’s it. Period. This issue should be closed for any person who has respect for the law. But no, the European Commission took this opinion and launched its own quasi-legal procedure which resulted in the conclusion that the project had indeed been launched much earlier, yet it fell under this third energy package and the gas directive. That’s what kind of a partner we have in this “relationship.”

This is about how we can “pounce” on them and express readiness to break relations with them when they are our main economic partner – that’s what kind of a partner they are. Meanwhile, now Germany alone is fighting for the project.

And in fact, Joe Biden’s administration will not cancel anything which was done by Donald Trump except for leaving the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Democrats are returning there now.

The NATO defence ministers meeting has just ended. But there was no let-up in US demands to pay 2 percent of a country’s GDP for defence needs, i.e. for purchasing US weaponry. There was no backing off the demands on Europe regarding Nord Stream 2 – to stop participating in some matters that undermine European security. They see it better from across the ocean, right? This is about who is the boss. Europe also wants to run the house but it was taken down a peg. The situation around Nord Stream 2 is straightforward.

For now they are saying publicly that bargaining is underway and possible agreements between Washington and Berlin are being discussed, including that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline may be allowed to be completed and even start operating. However, if at the same time gas transiting via Ukraine is going to be falling, then Nord Stream 2 must be shut off. I cannot decide for Germany, however, it is obvious to me that this proposal is humiliating. As Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his meeting with parliamentary party leaders, this is yet further evidence that they want Russia to pay for their Ukraine geopolitical venture.

Question: Do we have to pay for this geopolitical project?  Why do they think we have to pay for it?

Sergey Lavrov: Because they don’t feel like lashing out on it. They need the Ukrainian regime for the sole purpose of constantly irritating Russia and finding new reasons to support their Russophobic policy. They want to weaken anything around us – Belarus, Central Asia, and now also the South Caucasus, as they got nervous after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s successful mediation mission between Armenia and Azerbaijan: why was this done without them? They are now trying to infiltrate this region and step up their activities there. All of that has nothing to do with the Cold War-era ideology of a showdown between the two systems you talked about a few minutes ago. It has to do with the fact that our Western partners are unwilling, unprepared and unable to speak on an equal footing, whether with Russia, China, or whoever. They need to create a system where they will be the boss regardless. This is why they are taking an increasing dislike to the United Nations since they cannot have total control of it.

Question: Do you see the EU as a monolith, or as something more loose, with certain processes unfolding inside and some countries, no matter what, starting to talk about their willingness to be friends with Russia? In the case of the sanctions, the key figures behind them are, strange as it may seem, the Baltic States, which do not play a prominent role in the EU but, for some reason, everyone is listening to them.

Sergy Lavrov: It sounds inappropriate to refer to the EU as a monolith a mere couple of months after Brexit. This “monolith” is not the same as before. If you mean a monolith in a figurative sense, my answer is no. Quite a few countries are maintaining relations with Russia. The visit of Josep Borrell was the first trip by an EU official of this level to Russia in three years. In the same three years, about two dozen ministers from European Union member countries have visited Russia. We are having a great dialogue, without wasting too much time on confrontation and moralising. Indeed, all of them do have their assignments – a couple of sheets of paper from which they read a script approved by the “party committee” in Brussels.

Question: Do you mean they bring a notebook with instructions with them?

Sergey Lavrov: Certainly. They do not dare to veer off course. This, for example, goes for Alexey Navalny, or the Skripals as in the previous case, or human rights. Now scientist Yury Dmitriyev from Karelia is in the spotlight. They flatly refuse to accept evidence of his involvement in crimes, like pedophilia. They read from their notebook and I would adduce my arguments to the contrary and describe our vision of this or that situation and wonder why we cannot obtain evidence on the Navalny case or the Skripal case. In response they simply read again from their notebook. Apart from this discipline induced by the bloc member states’ solidarity, we discuss things normally. Yes, the EU sets the terms on which [its member countries] participate in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), while we are trading with these countries in the WTO on the terms that were agreed on for Russia to join this organisation. But the EU has nothing to do with this cooperation in trade and investment activity, except for its attempts to restrict trade and economic ties with the sanctions.

You mentioned the Baltic States. Indeed, they run the show in this respect to a great extent. I have talked to your colleagues about this on more than one occasion. When in 2004 there were hectic activities to drag them into the EU, Russia and Brussels maintained a very frank dialogue. The President of the European Commission at the time was Romano Prodi. In 2005, the objective was set to move to visa-free travel.

Question: Nobody has any memories of this today.

Sergey Lavrov: We remember this when we reply to those who ask how we dare say that we are ready to break relations with the EU. You mentioned the Baltic States. We had long been negotiating an updated version of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Russia and the EU, which the EU terminated in 2014. It was expected to go a bit beyond the boundaries of the WTO rules and allow us to negotiate additional trade preferences. At one time there was an objective to establish a free trade zone, but this has long since fallen into oblivion. However, there were plans to update the agreement in order to liberalise trade even more, in addition to the WTO rules. In 2014, they ceased to exist – another example of breaking down our relations.

A visa-free travel agreement was also finalised back in 2013. We had met all of the EU requirements: we agreed that only people with biometric passports would be eligible for visa-free travel and that those who violated EU entry rules or any other EU rules while in an EU country during a visa-free period would be subject to readmission. We signed the relevant agreement. Everything they asked for, and that suited us, was done. Later, when it was time to sign the agreement and then ratify it, the EU said: “Let’s wait.” It did not take us long to learn why they had said this, all the more so as they did not try to conceal their motives. This Brussels team decided that it was politically incorrect to approve a visa-free travel agreement with Russia prior to offering it to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

Question: In other words, Russia was made dependent on other countries?

Sergey Lavrov: It sure was, at the Baltic States’ initiative. This is also important for understanding the nature of our relations. This is an attitude from people who decided that they were European, which is not at all the case. Russia sees Europe in all its diversity. If the “party committee” in Brussels does not like it, we cannot force them to.

Question: Europe stretches at least to the Urals.

Sergey Lavrov: Correct. In 2009, when Jose Manuel Barroso was President of the European Commission, we held a Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk. Our European colleagues arrived later in the day. We went out for a walk along the embankment. We were showing them around the city and Mr Barroso said: “It’s amazing. It took us 13 hours to get here from Brussels, and it’s still Europe.” This is the key message behind the slogan “Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”

Question: I’m going to ask you about one other country, Belarus. There will be a presidential summit on February 22. President Lukashenko will come to Russia. Recently, Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei gave an interview to the RBC media holding and mentioned Belarus’ multi-directional foreign policy. Do you think we have managed to work well with Minsk on integration? What should we expect from these talks?

Sergey Lavrov: The term “multi-directional” should not be used as a profanity. Most normal states want it. Russia, too, has used a multi-directional approach as the basis of its foreign policy since 2002. In our understanding, a multi-directional approach is possible only if based of equality, respect and a balance of interests, as well as mutual benefit. This is the only way it can work.

First, they threaten us with sanctions, and then the same people are saying that we “had it coming” and impose unilateral restrictions on us, and then say that we are “bad” because “we are looking to the East.” Everything has been turned upside down.

Russia is a Eurasian country. We have close contacts with Europe, which have been cultivated for centuries, before anyone even thought of a European Union, and the Europeans fought and competed against each other. By the way, we often helped them achieve peace and fair outcomes in wars.

Question: We even saved the monarchies?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, and they are aware of it. The republic in the United States, too, to a certain extent.

However, our European neighbours have severed almost all of our ties and left only sporadic contacts on international crises that are of interest to the EU in order to keep a profile on the international arena. In many ways, the EU is driven by a desire to be seen as an important operator in Syrian and other matters. If we are not welcome here, we will simply continue to work with our other neighbours who are not prone to whims like that.

Objectively, our trade with the EU is almost half of what it was in 2013. Our trade with China has doubled over the same period.

Question: Back to Minsk. What can we expect from talks between President Putin and President Lukashenko on February 22?

Sergey Lavrov: There are some who want to interpret Minsk’s words about the multi-directional nature of its foreign policy as proof of its “unreliability” as a partner and ally. I do not think so.

In the Council of Europe, of which Belarus is not a member yet, we advocate the CoE establishing relations with Minsk. We supported the accession of Minsk to a number of Council of Europe conventions. We have always been in favour of Belarus enjoying normal relations with its western neighbours. I’m not sure what the CoE will do next. Russophobia has swept over most of the EU countries, and the most “violent” ones are in charge of the agenda.

I read the remarks by President Lukashenko (not all his interviews, but they were cited) to the effect that he sees no obstacles to deepening integration. Progress will depend on how President Vladimir Putin and President Lukashenko agree on things.

There are two more days to go before the talks. I don’t think we should be speculating on the outcome of the summit. We will know everything soon.

Question: Recently, US President Joseph Biden said the United States will no longer be “rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions” (ostensibly, Donald Trump did this). How can we build our relations now? Are there subjects we can discuss with Washington? Are they ready to talk with us?

Sergey Lavrov: These comments on who is rolling over or will be rolling over in the face of someone’s actions illustrate a very deep split in US society. It reached a level of personal enmity that is aggressive and contrary to American political culture. The politicians did not particularly mince their words during previous presidential campaigns or prior to elections to Congress, but I don’t remember anything comparable to what is being said now.

Our liberal media promote a tough pro-Western line. In looking for objects of criticism in Russia, they are infringing on the threshold of decency and getting personal. They are very crude, and behave not like journalists but like inveterate propagandists, accusing others of propaganda.

The fact that the New Start Treaty was extended in time is a very positive step. This shouldn’t be overrated, but it shouldn’t be underrated, either. In his election speeches Joseph Biden mentioned his willingness to extend it, but these were election speeches after all. His promise could be interpreted differently later, but he extended this important document for five years without any conditions, like we suggested. If this had not happened, there would not have been a single instrument of international law, not only in Russian-US relations but in the entire range of multilateral ties, that contained any restrictions in the sphere of disarmament, arms control and nuclear weapons non-proliferation.

It is very important that just a few days prior to February 5, 2021, the date the treaty was extended for five years, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and US President Joseph Biden reaffirmed their intention to promote talks on strategic stability in these new conditions, in their first telephone conversation after the US presidential election. The situation has changed substantially since 2010: We and the Americans have acquired new weapons some of which are covered by the treaty. We announced this last year. We said that they must be taken into account. Some other weapons are not covered by the treaty – they are basically very different because of their physical characteristics.

Question: Are you talking about hypersonic weapons?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, the United States also has such weapons. Hypersonic weapons are partly covered by the New START Treaty, if these are ballistic missiles.

The New START Treaty already covers some weapons systems, so we now have to include these weapons systems in the Treaty for the next five years and see how all this will be verified. But it does not cover some weapons.

The United States has developed a new system called the Prompt Global Strike (PGS). By the way, this system implies a non-nuclear strike. We have suggested negotiating all issues without exception that have an impact on strategic stability and the legitimate interests of the contracting parties.

Question: Did they agree to this? Are they ready?

Sergey Lavrov: In October 2020, we submitted draft joint understandings to the Trump administration. This rough outline shows how we can sit down and start negotiating the agenda. We have received no reply from them. Instead of addressing this matter, Marshall Billingslea, the Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, mostly made vocal statements that the United States was all for it but that the Russians did not want to do this.

When I spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, I reminded him that Russia had submitted its proposals to the Trump administration, which dealt with this matter and many other issues, including cybersecurity and concerns over interference in each other’s domestic affairs. We would like to get back to them, and to hear the Biden administration’s opinions in this regard. We realise that they now need some time to settle down in the White House and the Department of State. I hope that this will not take too long.

There are still some questions on disarmament, for example, the lineup of participants in the disarmament process. The US position on China, approved by Donald Trump, remains unchanged; the same concerns a number of other matters.

Regarding multilateral talks, first of all, this should not annul Russian-US agreements because we have several times more nuclear weapons than other nuclear countries. Second, if we make this a multilateral process, then all prospective participants, primarily the five nuclear powers, should reach a voluntary agreement. We will never try to persuade China. We respect the position of Beijing, which either wants to catch up with us or proposes that we first reduce our arsenals to China’s levels and then start on the talks. All circumstances considered, if this is a multilateral process, then we will get nowhere without the United Kingdom and France. The Trump administration insisted that China should take part and at the same time said about its allies that they were the good guys, literally. This sounds funny. Apart from the complicated and lengthy disarmament process, we do not have so many promising spheres where we can cooperate constructively.

Question: Does this mean that their vision of the issue is entirely different or that they are reluctant to negotiate?

Sergey Lavrov: They think that they are the boss, and this mentality is still here and it determines the perception of their enemies. So far, they have not designated China as an enemy, but they have called us an enemy a couple of times. Democrats have an additional motivation for expanding this policy. Their position is that, supposedly unlike with Donald Trump, they will be “no Russian tail wagging the dog.”

Question: Don’t you think that Democrats have come to power with the intention of taking revenge against Russia, and that they will implement Donald Trump’s anti-Russia plans that he failed to accomplish in four years.

Sergey Lavrov: They made such statements during the election campaign. Joe Biden and his supporters said openly that the Trump administration had gone soft, that it was constantly making advances and working for the Russian intelligence. Donald Trump said that he was conducting the toughest policy with regard to Russia. He said that he liked Vladimir Putin, but he introduced more sanctions than all of his predecessors taken together.

We are also witnessing a cowboy-style showdown there. But this is normal for US politics, especially today. Disagreements between liberals who considered liberalism an irreversible trend have become aggravated to the greatest possible extent. Donald Trump, who did not like liberal principles and approaches, suddenly took over. He tried to think more about the basic interests of the American founders, the people who moved there (and it has always been a nation of immigrants), and who accepted its laws. So, the big question is whether people should remain loyal to the country that has accepted them, or do they want to erode its principles?

Question: Should they try to fit in?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, and they want to be the boss. Everything boils down to this once again.

Question: Karabakh, the subject of that. Fortunately, the war is over and a peace agreement has been inked. We covered extensively the role Russia and Azerbaijan played. I have a question to do with Turkey. I was in Azerbaijan during the war and heard many people say that the Azerbaijanis are supportive of the Great Turan idea (a state that covered the territory from Turkey to Central Asia). Is Moscow concerned by Turkey becoming a stronger state?

Sergey Lavrov: This opinion is entertained by a portion of the society. I’m not going to give a percentage of how many people support this idea. I’m not sure many of those who informed you about this really know what “Great Turan” is all about.

The relations between Turkic-speaking peoples have become an integral part of cooperation between Turkey and the corresponding countries, including Azerbaijan and a number of Central Asian states.

There is the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States, in which we participate as observers. A number of our republics are interested in contacts with it and are promoting their specific projects.

There is TURKSOY  ̵  the International Organisation of Turkic Culture. There’s also the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries. All of them have been functioning for a long time now. They draft their own plans and hold functions. Their cooperation is mainly based on cultural, linguistic and educational traditions.

Speaking about the Great Turan as a supranational entity in a historical sense, I don’t think that this is what Turkey is after. I don’t see how former Soviet and now independent countries can be supportive of this idea in any form. On the contrary, their foreign policies and practices focus on strengthening their national states.

Turkey has its interests which include its fellow tribesmen who speak the same language. We also want the Russian World to communicate. We have created an extensive network of organisations of our compatriots living abroad; we are opening Russian World centres at universities in different countries with purely linguistic, educational and scientific goals.

The Centre for the Russian Language and Culture created by the Russkiy Mir Foundation was recently closed in Krakow. This is an obvious step for Poland, as well as for the Baltic States, which are fighting everything that is Russian. Ukraine followed in their footsteps and shut down several media outlets and imposed a language ban. We are well aware of all this. We will keep raising this matter at the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the corresponding UN agencies. One cannot pretend that this comes with the “growth” and the “coming of age” of the Ukrainian nation, which, as they say, is an “ill-fated” one. The Ukrainians claim that they are the descendants of Alexander the Great. In that case, they should be responsible for the orders they introduce. The EU, and Germany and France as the Normandy format participants, avoid performing their duties when it comes to “educating” Ukraine in terms of making it comply with the Minsk agreements, and this has become a chronic behaviour pattern which does not reflect well on Germany or France.

Question: It was announced that Ukraine was recognised an unfriendly state. How will this affect relations between us?

Sergey Lavrov: This is just a descriptive attribute. What’s friendly about it? Russian schools are being closed, customers and shop assistants are not allowed to speak their native language, and the Nazis are burning Russian flags.

Question: This is reminiscent of the Baltic States 20 to 30 years ago.

Sergey Lavrov: Back when the Baltic States were about to be admitted to the EU, we asked the Brussels bureaucrats, the Eurogrands, whether they were sure they were doing the right thing. The problems that are at odds with the membership criteria persist, including non-observance of the rights of the Russian-speaking minorities in Latvia and Estonia. We were told that the Baltic States are phobic of Russia (war, the so-called occupation, etc.), the EU will bring it into its fold, it will calm down and ethnic minorities will be happy and contented. Things turned out the other way round. The Russians were not granted any rights, and statelessness is still there.

Question: Let’s go back to Turkey: Ankara’s stronger position, its active role in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, President Erdogan’s visit to Northern Cyprus (which a Turkish leader has not done for quite a while). What does Moscow think about it?

Sergey Lavrov: As far as Turkey and Northern Cyprus are concerned, we see it as Ankara’s relations with its “fellow countrymen.” I have not heard about Turkey refusing to honour the UN obligations accepted by the conflicting parties. These obligations include seeking a mutually acceptable solution and creating a bicommunal bizonal federation. There is a discussion of whether the federation will be strong or weak. But there is no disagreement about the fact that it must be one state. Although not so very long ago, it was the common opinion that the entire project would fail and they would have to create two states. We understand that Ankara is interested in Cypriot Turks living in equality and their rights being observed. We support the idea that the same motives with which Turkey explains its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, including with respect to hydrocarbons, should determine its dialogue with Greece and Turkey.

On February 17, 2021, I spoke with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias who told me that on January 25, 2021, he had had a probing conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. They did not iron out all issues. But it is good news that a dialogue was established. They agreed to continue it. On February 18, 2021, I spoke with Mevlut Cavusoglu. We continued sharing opinions following the telephone conversations between President Putin and President Erdogan on Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh and our bilateral relations. New power units of a nuclear power station are under construction; the TurkStream project is ongoing. There is much common ground between our countries when it comes to energy.

In October 2019, the first Russia-Africa Summit in history was held in Sochi. A record number of heads of state and heads of government attended. In the course of the preparations for the summit, we reviewed the development of our relations with African countries and the current state of affairs, including from the perspective of expanding our presence on the continent which political scientists consider to be the most promising in the long term. We reviewed other countries’ presence in Africa. Since 2002, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from 12 to 42. Turkey’s trade with the region is estimated at around 20 billion dollars a year and Russia’s trade is around 15 billion dollars. This is to say that Turkey has an eye for potential.

Question: Perhaps Turkey is disappointed with the EU because nobody accepted it?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe it could partially be the case. In its contacts with the EU, Ankara continues to insist that the EU promised it accession. Turkey is spreading its wings and gaining weight despite the existing economic problems at home. Turkey mainly goes on by accumulating its national debt but this model is widely common around the world.

Question: 2020 is the year of the pandemic. During such times, countries should join forces and help each other. Do you think that this was the case? Or did the world fail to put aside disagreements and rally together even when it came to the COVID-19 infection?

Sergey Lavrov: Now this conversation is back to square one. There are no ideologies anymore. But this ideology-based, politicised perception of the Russian vaccine was not a very good signal. The Sputnik V vaccine was announced in August 2020, many months after the G20 summit (March 2020) where Vladimir Putin strongly advocated cooperation in vaccine production. Even then, we were ready to create joint scientific teams. But Western countries and their companies, unwilling to help competitors, did not respond to that proposal. So much for unification in this purely medical field.

There is also the humanitarian sphere. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made calls during the pandemic to suspend all unilateral sanctions in fields directly affecting food, the supply of medicine and medical equipment, in order to alleviate the suffering of the population in countries that were under unilateral sanctions (regardless of their reasons). There was no reaction from the initiators of those sanctions (primarily the US and the EU). Also, there was no response to President Vladimir Putin’s proposal, at the G20 summit, to create ‘green corridors’ for the period of the pandemic, to move goods under the most relaxed rules – without tax, duties, tariffs, delays, or special customs inspections.

We are all in the same boat, and it’s not so big. Some forecasts say this situation will continue for a long time, and the coronavirus will be a seasonal infection, and it is not at all the same as the flu or other diseases, so we will have to use precautions permanently, use PPE. This realisation should somehow prod countries to more open cooperation, especially those that up until recently had some doubts.

True, there have been some good shifts. One of them is the United States’ return to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Some hotheads in Washington believe that, now that they have returned, they will make others do their bidding. There are fewer than 50 Chinese people in the WHO Secretariat, 25 Russians, over 200 Americans, and more than 2,000 NATO representatives. The past US administration said China was manipulating the WHO. That is not true. Otherwise, we are admitting the complete helplessness of 2,000 NATO members who should be the majority in the WHO Secretariat.

Nevertheless, there are some positive results though. This problem has been recently considered at the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. It is important now to focus on equitable collaboration within the WHO. Besides the attempts at carrying out “soft coups” and establishing their own rules in the organisation, hardly based on consensus, an idea has been suggested to move the main decision-making on global health policies outside the universal organisation. We have been pointing out this tendency for some time now – the one to replace international law with a rules-based world order. As it turns out in reality, those rules boil down to working out all decisions in a circle of those who agree with you rather than in a group with universal representation where you have to argue your case and search for balances and compromises. And then you just present the decision as ‘the ultimate truth’ and demand that everyone respect it.

This underlies the Franco-German initiative for a new multilateralism and some limited partnerships in the West. For example, Paris has launched an International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. Under this non-universal, non-UN partnership, the EU creates the so-called ‘horizontal’ regime of sanctions to be imposed on anyone that France-initiated partnership points at. A similar sanctions regime is being created for cybersecurity. Instead of any open-ended discussion, the French are promoting some partnership to defend freedom in cyberspace. This is another example of rules on which ‘order’ will be based.

There are attempts to start similar groups outside the WHO. But people’s health is not a field where one can play geopolitics. Unless there is a conspiracy behind this to reduce the population of the Earth. Many are now starting to develop such theories and concepts.

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

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

What a return to the Iran nuclear deal means

Dr. Wafiq Ibrahim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are reasons to prevent this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ماذا تعني العودة إلى الاتفاق النوويّ الإيرانيّ

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د. وفيق إبراهيم

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The US is Duplicitous over Jerusalem, but the PA Stays Silent

February 18, 2021

The city of Jerusalem. (Photo: Ekaterina Vysotina, via Pixabay)

By Ramona Wadi

The Biden administration is adopting a confusing position regarding Jerusalem, signaling a possible effort to square the circle of taking the US back to the fold of international consensus on Palestine and Israel, while maintaining the gifts which former US President Donald Trump handed on a plate to Israel. As usual, Washington is being duplicitous. Also as normal, the PA is staying silent.

In a recent briefing by the US State Department, spokesman Ned Price seemed to contradict the diplomatic position taken by the US under Trump, declaring the issue of Jerusalem to be “a final status issue which will need to be resolved by the parties in the context of direct negotiations.” Such a statement puts the US in line with two-state politics and international consensus.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated clearly that he recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a Trump-era move that ushered in the probability of further annexation. Even more telling was Blinken’s dithering when asked whether the US would support a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. Playing upon the fact that diplomatic negotiations are stalled, Blinken answered, “What we have to see is for the parties to get together directly and negotiate these so-called final status issues.”

If President Joe Biden is determined to pursue two-state diplomacy within the framework of Trump’s legacy, Palestinians are in for a worse time than they were under his predecessor.

The “deal of the century” was explicit in its determination to strip Palestinians of their political rights. A mix of two-state politics and the deal of the century constitutes a double effort to ensure that the Palestinians are the losers, which will be exacerbated with the Palestinian Authority’s brand of acquiescent politics.

In the absence of a clear policy on Palestine, the PA has given too much importance to Biden’s overtures so far. Restoring relations with the PA is, of course, a necessity, but Mahmoud Abbas has still not spoken about US-Palestinian diplomacy, while Biden has not yet formulated a policy and is still hovering between Trump’s actions and pursuing the two-state paradigm.

So far, the US has stated that it will not move the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv, thus clearly endorsing Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital. The PA has preferred not to mull over this significant strategy.

The restoration of relations and the promise of humanitarian aid have instilled a resolve in Abbas to resort to the usual time-waster of an international peace conference, in which participants will overlook the fact that the US can’t possibly adhere to the two-state paradigm without recognizing that occupied East Jerusalem should serve as the capital of the Palestinian state.

Abbas and the international community are still clinging to the obsolete two-state hypothesis, while the US will abide by international consensus as long as it does not have to completely renege on what Trump achieved. When Trump declared Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, Abbas called for protests.

What will he do if Biden does not explicitly endorse East Jerusalem as the capital of a State of Palestine? Will Abbas call out the US for its duplicity, or will he continue to stay silent as long as the PA can once again lay claim to a minor presence in the circle of America’s diplomatic relations?

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.

 Palestine news

USA Sitrep – President’s Day in a Divided Nation

USA Sitrep – President’s Day in a Divided Nation

February 15, 2021

by John Lockwood for the Saker Blog

February 15th is Presidents’ Day.

America has two Presidents on this day, besides Washington and Lincoln.
One half of the country believes Trump rightfully won.

Yet the events of Jan. 6th still hang like a cloud over Washington.
Critics fault his claims of a stolen election for provoking the protests.

But what if the Democrats really did steal the election? Wouldn’t the fault be theirs?
And how can we know whether they really stole it?
Claims of “Massive fraud” on one side vs. “No sign of fraud” on the other — who is right?

One thing is crystal clear:
Unconstitutional, illegal changes to voting laws generated millions of irregular ballots — a hundred times greater than the margin between the candidates, in some swing states. If the balloting is illegal, there is no way the count can be correct.

An unconstitutional vote can only produce an unconstitutional result. Everything that followed — the certification of the popular vote, the electoral college vote, and the inauguration — none of these steps had any legal foundation.
Bad data makes bad decisions. Since Nov. 3, our machinery of government has been spinning off course on erroneous, unlawful inputs.

The only solution in such cases is to correct the error.
Until runoff elections are held in conformity with the law, we will still have two Presidents.
Only one of them can be the rightful one.

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

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

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

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Hassan Hardan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

تشكيل الحكومة…بين الفيتو الأميركي والعقد المحلية

حسن حردان

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

فيديوات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on January 9, 2021, three days after the Capitol riots.


Date: 15 February 2021

Author: lecridespeuples

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on January 9, 2021, three days after the Capitol riots.

Source: https://video.moqawama.org/details.php?cid=1&linkid=2186

Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

[…] My first comment (concerns the Capitol Hill riot), because it would be unwise to ignore an event of such magnitude, namely the major incident that occurred in recent days in the United States, in Washington. Trump called for a protest in Washington, interrupting his New Year’s Holiday to come to Washington and call for a (big) protest, addressing protesters behind a bulletproof glass the same day, and urging them to march on the Congress, and on the Representatives and Senators assembled nearby to (officially) establish the result of the presidential elections.

Image result for trump capitol speech

Then, during the meeting of Representatives and Senators, the two Houses of Representatives and Senators, the demonstrators invaded the Congress building (the Capitol), in a scene [of a coup or “color revolution”] that the United States have the habit of fomenting in other countries of the world to bring down regimes. But now Trump has implemented it in his own country! This is the very thing they have perpetrated in many countries of the world, and which they have been trying to do for a year and a half in Lebanon! Either way, the protesters walked towards the building, passed through the security gates, and entered (the Capitol). There were a number of deaths, dozens of injured, dozens of arrests, bloody clashes… The Representatives and Senators fled, ending their meeting, hiding (where they could)… Then various measures were taken, and clamors (of condemnation) arose from all sides.

Image result for capitol assault

Of course, this is a very important and very dangerous event, which cannot be minimized or considered minor, despite the efforts of some. And its consequences are also (major and) dangerous. In Lebanon and in the Arab world, the darlings (vassals) of the United States have endeavored to downplay the significance of this event, to belittle and underestimate it. But (to know its real scope), it suffices to ask the inhabitants of Mecca, who are the most aware of what is happening at home (Arabic proverb inviting to question those first concerned). Let’s rely on what the people of the United States have said, what Biden said, what his vice-president (Harris) said, what top Democratic Party officials said, within the Republican Party, etc. How did all these people describe this event? What has been the reaction within the Trump administration itself, the resignations etc.? If it were only a minor and marginal incident, under control, it would not have had all of these consequences, which still continue, and can lead to impeachment proceedings against Trump by Congress.

Image result for us capitol jamiroquai

It was not the (intended) topic of my speech, but since this event has occurred, I will say two words about it.

First, this is obviously a (major) event that we must ponder and analyze carefully, and from which we should draw lessons. This event reveals to us the reality of the current (domestic) situation in the United States, and reveals the true face of this (so-called) democracy and its (vain) pretenses. But among the things to stress in this event is that the people of the United States themselves have tasted first-hand the consequences of Trump’s policies, and his willingness to kill even Americans –who he was already killing during the past year during demonstrations [against police brutality and institutional racism]– to stay in power. We have long warned of the dangers of the policies of this assassin, and what Americans and the world have seen is only a small glimpse of what Trump perpetrated over four years in many countries around the world, such as Yemen, Iraq, Syria, the siege imposed on Iran, Venezuela, etc., and his support for Zionist crimes against the Palestinian people. The whole world has remained silent, as have many Americans, in the face of its atrocious crimes against other peoples, in particular its manifest, official and scandalous crime against the two Commanders (who defeated ISIS), Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al- Muhandis. And today, Trump’s criminal truth has been revealed to the eyes of his own people. Trump exemplifies the American political and military arrogance which has long imposed its hegemony on peoples, monopolized their choices and chained their sovereignty.

What has happened in recent days is an example of the sterile and catastrophic nature of this (bogus) American democracy which has no real guarantees, and allows individuals like Trump to come to power. How could an election allow the rise to power of a figure so puffed up with arrogance, so criminal, so mad and so stupid, to rule not only the United States, but the whole world, holding the future of humanity in his hands?! (This experience at least) revealed the true face of this American (pseudo-)democracy that they wanted to impose on the world. And with his allies and accomplices in the Middle East, Trump exemplifies power-hungry tyrants, (ready for anything to cling to power), even at the cost of the blood of their own people. Of course, we must also mention Pompeo, who always urged us to preserve the popular vote, while he and his President did everything possible to impose themselves and alter the outcome of the elections, by force and threats. He was talking to us about the respect due to protesters, and we saw the (unarmed protesters) killed and wounded in the heart of Washington.

I will conclude on this point with two words.

(First, I want to say) that God the Most High and the Exalted has protected the peoples of the world and the whole Earth during these four years (of Trump’s presidency), and we must all pray to Him, invoke Him and intercede with Him so that He continues to preserve us during the days that remain before January 20, because the nuclear codes are still in the hands of this mad, stupid, racist and arrogant character that is Trump, a real tyrant who when he gets angry, he no longer knows what he is doing. May God continue to preserve the world for the few days remaining until January 20.

See Nasrallah: Trump heads for Armageddon

And my last point is this: when I saw Trump’s recorded speech yesterday (it was not broadcast live), and in which he condemned the protesters, those who had engaged in violence, vowing to abide by the law and calling everyone to respect the law, he reminded me of this Quranic verse which says: “They are like Satan when he lures someone to disbelieve. Then after they have done so, he will say ˹on Judgment Day˺, ‘I have absolutely nothing to do with you. I truly fear Allah—the Lord of all worlds.’ ” (Quran, 59, 16).

Up to 4.55 minutes, excerpts from Trump’s speech before the assault on Capitol Hill. From 5.10 minutes, Trump’s repudiation the next day.

It was Trump who organized this demonstration, he is the one who incited them to march on Congress, it is he who sent them there, and when they took the Capitol, he disassociated himself from them, saying he had nothing to do with any of this and was abiding by the law. This is the real face of Trump, the way he behaves with those who support him, let alone his allies.

See Free Speech or incitement to violence? Norman Finkelstein on Trump’s speech before the Capitol Riots

In conclusion, this is a major event, and the developments underway in the United States are very important and will have consequences domestically but also on the whole world. We must follow all of this closely. […]

***

Khamenei: the post-American era has begun

Speech by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Sayed Ali Khamenei, February 7, 2021, commemorating the Iranian Air Force’s allegiance to Imam Khomeini.

Source: https://english.khamenei.ir/news/8337/Iran-s-condition-for-returning-to-JCPOA-commitments-Removing

Imam Khamenei invited those who have unrealistic estimations of US power and that of some other countries to look at recent events in the US. He explained, “The scandalous events that have taken place in the US recently are not minor events, and they should not be considered to be the mere downfall of an incompetent President. Rather, they are a manifestation of the decline of the US reputation, power and social system.”

Referring to statements made by some eminent political personalities in the US, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said, “They themselves state that the social system of the US has deteriorated from within, and some have even spoken of a post-US era.”

His Eminence added, “If something similar to what occurred in the US had occurred in any other part of the world – particularly in countries with which the US is at odds – they would not have stopped covering it in their news, but the mass media empire is in their control. So they try to show that the conflict has finished, but it is far from over.”

The Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces stated that the reason why some regimes that are dependent on the US – in particular, the Zionist regime – are distressed and stunned and the reason for their recent ranting and raving is their fear and anxiety about the reality of the US decline in international and domestic areas.

Stating that one of the ways for increasing a country’s power is to strengthen the Armed Forces in proportion with regional and international events, Imam Khamenei praised recent military maneuvers and said, “Carrying out such great, impressive maneuvers, despite the existence of sanctions, gives us confidence that national security has been ensured by the children of the country who are in the Armed Forces. This is truly a source of pride.”

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Iraqi ISIS Suicide Terrorist Kills 20 of His Friends by Mistake

 ARABI SOURI 

Iraqi ISIS terrorist blows up his car in his friends

An Iraqi ISIS terrorist blew up his vehicle in his friends in Saladin province killing 20 of them and himself by mistake.

The US-sponsored ISIS terrorist was planning to blow up the booby-trapped car in an Iraqi Federal Police checkpoint in the Jallam district south of Samarra.

Samarra Police Operation Commander said in a statement that 21 of the ISIS terrorists were killed by a booby-trapped car driven by one of them when the latter wanted to farewell his friends and honked the car forgetting the honk button is the detonator of the vehicle.

The Iraqi government has been under pressure from the Iraqi population and the Iraqi MPs to implement the Iraqi Parliament decision to expel US troops from the country which was taken after Donald Trump killed Iranian top general Qasem Soleimani in a long-planned drone and ground attack near Baghdad Airport and the top commander of the Iraqi PMU Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the main force in fighting and defeating ISIS early January last year causing an uproar across the region.

Iraqis, in particular, felt embarrassed having their guest killed in their country and also because of their beloved al-Muhandis by the force that claimed it was protecting them from ISIS and turned out it was protecting ISIS from the Iraqis.

After the repeated calls by the Iraqi government to the US officials to withdraw their troops from Iraq, ISIS operations unsurprisingly increased and became more bold and deadly across Iraq and in Syria as well. Observers are commenting that it looks like ISIS does not want the US troops to leave Iraq and Syria!

Despite their efforts and their ability to eliminate a number of ISIS terrorists in Iraq including leading commanders of the terrorist organization, and also disrupt their operations, the Iraqi security and army are surprised by the sudden increase in the abilities of the terrorist group that was declared defeated just before Donald Trump killed the commanders who defeated it last year.

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Zionists’ Efforts to Coopt the BLM Movement: Can Racists Be Anti-Racist?

February 14, 2021

Palestinian artists painting George Floyed on the walls on UNRWA office, in Gaza. (Photo: via UNRWA Website)

By Benay Blend

On February 6, 2021, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza announced that she was pulling out of a World Values Network online gala with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a prominent American Zionist.

“They approached me about having a conversation about the importance of solidarity between black communities and Jewish communities,” she explained, then thanked Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour for amplifying the larger picture.

According to journalist Michael Brown, Garza has a history of denouncing other public figures who joined propaganda trips to Israel. Boteach’s gala, Brown continued, appears just as egregious, for it “follow[s] Boteach’s years of backing the racist Donald Trump, thereby making a mockery of the efforts promoted by Black leaders and the wider Black community to advance racial justice and decolonization.”

Placed within a larger context, Boteach’s move comes at a time when Zionists are increasingly fearful of the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions Movement (BDS)’s success. Coupled with the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to investigate Israel for War Crimes, any support for Palestinian rights will undoubtedly come under attack.

There is a long history of Pan-African support for Palestine which has resulted in Zionists denouncing that alignment. In a lecture series “Palestine and Us: Black and Palestinian Solidarity,” Ahmad Abuznaid traced the history of Black support for Palestine as well as the fall-out from it. Referring to Malcolm X’s Zionist Logic (1964), Abuznaid explained that this statement drew from Malcolm X’s shift from Black Nationalist to a more Pan-Africanist position, particularly after he saw connections between Pan-Arabists, represented by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Pan-Africanists that he was beginning to support.

After the 1967 war, Black Radicals began to move away from seeing Zionism as a liberation movement to viewing it as a colonialist venture, much like the colonialism that was oppressing Africans around the world. Following in this direction, Ethel Minor, a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), wrote a piece in their newsletter entitled “Third World Round-up: The Palestine Problem: Test Your Knowledge,” leading to a split between those, like Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) who would continue to support Palestine on principle, and others who feared that without taking a more “balanced position,” one that included mention of the Holocaust, there would be loss of funding.

Indeed, as Ture made clear“immediately after the statement, phone calls rang in and the checks stopped coming.” Today, organizations, politicians and others who depend on funding are leery of taking a principled stance on Palestine, because, much like what happened with SNCC, Zionist supporters will use whatever means necessary to launch a targeted smear campaign of anyone who is critical of the Israeli state.

For example, in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement’s 2014 platform that denounced the US government’s military aid to Israel, there were claims of “one-sided” and “unfair” from pro-Israel commentators who rejected the coalition’s critique. Several years before B’tselem’s quite similar statement, which was either ignored completely or applauded for its courage, BLM charged the following:

“The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people. Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people.”

The BLM platform also drew ire for its support of BDS. Fear of its success continues to motivate Zionists into the present time. In a piece for Haaretz, Rabbi Dan Dorsch of Atlanta declared that the mainstream Jewish community, and also Palestinian Government officials, have rejected BDS.

He continued that connecting the Black struggle in American to that of Palestinians is “unquestionably shortsighted and will only undermine the credibility of the movement and the important cause of civil rights in America”.

Like several years before, when pro-Israel donors withdrew their funds from SNCC, Rabbi Dorsch was warning that the pattern would continue as long as BLM lent its support to Palestine. Returning to the question of whether Zionists can be anti-racist, the short answer is an emphatic “no.” Quoting a message from Jewish Voice for Peace: “If you oppose racism, you should oppose Zionism too.”

As BDS successes grow and the ICC moves closer to investigate Israel for war crimes, pro-Israel groups will increasingly try to sever anti-racist movements in the US from their ties to Palestinians. Nevertheless, given several factors—the historic connections between Palestine and anti-colonial movements around the world, coupled with the waning acceptance of Progressive Except Palestine–Israel will not succeed.

For example, in a recent article Ramzy Baroud noted that

“Israeli efforts at co-opting Africa countries received a major setback on Saturday, February, 6 when the African Union issued a strong statement of solidarity with Palestine, condemning Israel’s illegal settlement activities and the US’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.”

In return, Palestinians have supported movements against injustice around the globe. Documenting a new round of Palestinian uprisings within the Zionist entity, Gaza-based journalist Wafaa Al-Udaini chose to use a photo from another protest against the Israeli regime.

Dating back a year to the shooting of Iyad al-Halak, an unarmed autistic Palestinian man, Palestinians in the picture also hold signs calling attention to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis the previous week, an extralegal murder that they link with al-Halak.

While Palestinians understand the connections between their struggles and anti-colonial movements in other countries, many liberals in the U.S. do not. Nevertheless, as Marc Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick outline in their new book, Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics, the days are over when so-called progressive public figures can join the anti-racist struggle at home while accepting gifts from Zionist organizations who fully support the Israeli apartheid state.

As Sarah Doyel notes in her review of Hill and Plitnick’s book, the authors observe that

“Democrats will take to the global stage to champion victims of other humanitarian crises, but Palestinians in Gaza living in what is commonly described as ‘the world’s largest open-air prison’ somehow merit little succor in the liberal worldview.”

Their work, Doyel concludes, is “a crucial and ultimately hopeful tool that better equips progressives to combat injustices within their own political circles.” Combined with the work of members of anti-colonial coalitions, some of whom convinced Alicia Garza to withdraw from Shmuley’s gala, perhaps anti-Zionists in the future will be strong enough to resist what will surely be increasing attacks on their political alignment with Palestinians.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Problems of the new US foreign policy (4) إشكاليات السياسة الخارجية الأميركية الجديدة (4)

 Researcher and political economist and 
former Secretary General of the
 Arab National Congress

 Ziad Hafez

Part four : Some files in the Arab world

We will enter here to some of the intertwined files related to the Arab world though each separate file has its own reasons. But the intertwining of history and geography makes it difficult to approach the files independently of one another. The new administration, like all previous administrations, looks at the various arenas from a geostrategic perspective and not as separate files, although in some cases it is necessary to divide the matter because of the difficulties facing US politics.

The files of Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Lebanon are what concern us in the first degree because they are the arenas of the ongoing struggle in the region. The question we are asking is what can the United States do? In this context, it must be recalled that the line of the American role is a regressive line. After the failure of direct military engagement in the region through the faltering American project in Iraq and the emergence of the Baker-Hamilton Committee, which imposed a reconsideration of the way in dealing with the countries of the region, the Barack Obama era had launched the theory of smart force or proxy war. The exploitation of the Arab peoples’ resentment against their rulers was through the so-called Arab Spring. The bet was that changing the regimes in the countries loyal to the United States and enabling moderate Islamic groups from Turkey to Morocco to establish a solid base for an American century in the Arab world. But the stubbornness in dealing with Syria, contributed to the stumbling of the project in Egypt, led to the global war, still going against Syria. However, the steadfastness of the Syrian Arab Army and the people gathered around its leadership thwarted the American project in Syria.

The Trump era was an extension of Obama’s policy, with his repeated calls for the withdrawal of American forces, which the deep state had opposed. The statements of the former US envoy in charge of the Syrian file, James Jeffrey, acknowledge that US President Donald Trump was defrauded to thwart the attempts to withdraw American forces from eastern and northeastern Syria. Today, Jeffrey, in an article in « Foreign Affairs », calls on President Biden to continue the policy of sanctions and starvation against Syria and to make Syria a swamp to drain Russia, as happened in Afghanistan in the eighties of the past century. The goal was and remains to overthrow the regime and topple President Assad. So the law of Caesar, to strangle Syria economically and prevent the re-reconstruction. But all of this did not lead to the desired results . So what next?  If the direct engagement has failed to achieve its goals despite the occupation of Iraq and the overthrow of the regime, and if the United States global war on Syria failed  by proxy, what remained in the American arsenal ? More of force, or review of that policy?  The steadfastness of the Syrian people, gathered around their leadership and army, was not taken into consideration. 
In our estimation, we do not believe that the new administration will be able to frustrate the will of the people to withstand and reject the military dictates. The day will also come for the conviction of the various ruling elites in the Arab world that what the US administration wants or does has no value. What is important is what Arab societies do, and the focus is on what they want without concern for the opinion of others.

Biden backs down in front of Syria as Obama?

The tendency of the nominated officials to put more pressure on Syria through supporting the fanatic armed groups, and the “SDF” is not new and the balance of power in the field negates the effectiveness of that policy. Moreover the severe internal division, the United States cannot justify direct involvement as compensation for the failure of the proxy war.

In this context, we refer to an interview conducted by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken with Michael Morrell, former Director-General of the Central (CIA) on the program “Intelligence Matters” (Intelligence Matters) broadcast by the American “CBSB” station (which confirms the organic relationship between intelligence and corporate media!. This interview, conducted in late 2020, reflect the biblical role of the United States in preserving the empire and manifested destiny that confirms its exceptionalism. In that interview, he said that there is a need not to directly implicate US forces in what he called “permanent wars,” but this does not prevent “limited operations” carried out by the Special Forces to support local agents in their implementation of the required agendas. Here, the “SDF” will receive military support from the United States. What supports Blinken’s position is the statement of Trey McGurk, who succeeded James Jeffrey. Terry McGurk resigned in 2019 from his duties in following up the Syrian file, when Trump expressed his desire to withdraw the American forces from Syria. McGurk wants more American military presence in Syria. In recent weeks, we have witnessed the return of ISIS cells in the Badia, the attempts to sabotage reconciliation in southern Syria, and the provocative operations of the “SDF” forces in the northeast of Syria. All of this happened after the presidential elections and before Biden assumed the reins of power, but these measures have the approval of Secretary of State Blinken and are indicative of their continuation. On the other hand, and in the context of trying to polish the image of the United States, there is talk in the American corridors about the possibility of an implicit understanding for Russia to hand over the Syrian file to ensure the security of the Zionist entity. If the Russian initiative succeeds in securing the entity’s security, that means not supporting the strategy and objectives of the Axis of Resistance, then this is a gain for the United States and the entity. And if those efforts falter, then for every incident there is a talk and the implicit understanding is disavowed. In our opinion, all these attempts only indicate the inability of the United States to initiate and change its backward trend in the region. There is no evidence that Russia will accept the “mission,” nor is there any indication that the Syrian state will respond to this initiative. The question becomes of able to bear more attrition? The American bet is that the endurance of the Syrian state is limited, and thus it will resort to making “concessions” to stop the economic and social deterioration, and these “concessions” will bring about the “desired change” by the Americans and Zionists. On the other hand, however, the new administration cannot change the balance of power on the ground if the Syrian state proceeds to complete the restoration of the occupied territories in the north and east. Syria has allies who were and still committed to defending Syria defend Syria .

There are those who believe that any settlement with Iran will inevitably lead to “breakthroughs” in the Syrian file, without specifying what the breakthroughs are. They may think that it is due to some amendments to the constitution and the change in the top of the pyramid, but all of this are just wishes that are not based on material facts. Syria is not an instrument of the Islamic Republic, but an ally of it, and it has its own independent decision. Syria, which rejected the dictates of Colin Powell at the height of the American arrogance in the occupation of Iraq, will not bow to America, which hit the weakness and is on the threshold of decline because of the division of internal and because of the lack of ability to Expansion and impose its hegemony .

Do you return Rumsfeld’s theory ?

The Syrian, Libyan, Yemeni and Iraqi tension was the work of the Obama administration, in which Biden was a key partner. Does the latter pursue a different policy? Evidence to date indicates that Donald Rumsfeld’s theory is what controls the minds of the American elites, including the new administration: If force fails to achieve the goals, the solution is more power. During their tenure in the Obama administration, the nominated officials in the new administration had criticised Barack Obama for not using more force. The named officials are Zionists and thus their priority is the entity. The new president declared his Zionism, even though he was not a Jew, but a Catholic.

However, the balance of power on the ground neutralised all the means used to achieve the goals of the American administration. So what is “more power”? Despite declaring its commitment to the Zionist entity, the administration is not able to impose on the US Congress new war options in Syria in favour of the entity because the general mood in the turbulent atmosphere at home does not allow foreign adventures without guaranteed results, especially since Syria is no longer alone, but rather is part of a strong axis. The experience of 2013 indicates that at that time the balance of power was not in USA favour in launching a direct aggression against Syria, so was the Russian mediation and the solution to dismantling the chemical system. Today, the balance of power is more favourable to Syria than it was in 2013, so what remains for the United States is either to retreat or reduce the ceiling of the confrontation and be content with linking a conflict. What concerns the Syrian state is the exit of the American forces from the east of the Euphrates, and this is possible because the number is small and the logistical support for them is difficult, especially if they are completely removed from Iraq.

Regarding Iraq, we must not forget that Biden, since the presidency of Bush Jr., has been considering the division of Iraq. Here, too, the balance of power governs the administration’s policies, as the capabilities have become limited. The Iraqi political forces supporting the American presence could no longer call for that after the assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, along with Qassem Soleimani. The bombings in central Baghdad on the first day of Biden’s mandate will not lead to the maintenance of the US forces under the pretext of the return of ISIS, which the United States claimed that it “defeated”! In fact, the opposite may happen. Understanding with the Iraqi government may contribute to facilitating the easy exit of US forces from Iraq, because the alternative to that is to repeat the scene of the forces leaving Vietnam.

Theater ready to stop war Yemen

With regard to Yemen, the theatre is set in the US Congress to stop the war and give the UN a role after instructing Saudi to stop the aggression. It has become clear that the Biden administration will cancel the designation imposed by the Trump in its last days. However, there are forces within the ruling coalition in the United States that will seek to maintain tension in Yemen. The American armament company Raytheon supplies weapons to the Saudis and the Gulf states. New Defence Minister Lloyd Austin is a member of the company’s board of directors. It is not clear who can decide the US position, and what we want to point out is the contradiction of interests within the coalition of forces supporting Biden, as we explained in the first part of this series.

As for the relationship with Saudi Arabia, the mood in the new administration is, until now, negative towards the crown prince and the style of government. The repeated statements of the new US president about the need to hold officials in Saudi Arabia accountable for the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi are evidence of this. It is an indication of the nature of the expected relations between the new administration and the leadership in Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, the administration will stick to the “Abrahamic agreements” and may develop them after “changes” are implemented in Saudi Arabia. But the crown prince is not as weak as some imagine and that the administration’s options are limited here as well. But in any case, the relationship between the two capitals will not be a quiet relationship, at least in the first phase of Biden.

Most of the foreign policy team are Zionists

Regarding the Palestinian file, the president-elect declared his commitment to the two-state solution, but he did not disclose what was the fate of the settlements in Palestine or the fate of the capital. He will adhere to the decision to move the embassy (not forgetting that the decision was taken by the Congress in Clinton State) and will return to communication with the P-authority and facilitate financial transfers of the authority. On the other hand, the new administration’s commitment to the security of the entity is one of the constants of the ruling elites in America, but this commitment will not be dragged into adhering to Netanyahu, who we believe is on the way out of the political stage. All these measures are of a formal nature, because the new administration cannot provide anything radical, given that pressure is mounting within the Democratic Party to recognise the rights of the Palestinian people. But we must not forget that most of the foreign policy team of the new administration are Zionists, who will not allow any substantive “concession” towards the Palestinians. There is no justification for betting on new positions in the administration to give some impetus to the negotiation policy that has proven fruitless.

As for Libya, the disaster that struck it was the work of the Obama administration, especially Hillary Clinton. The administration’s new foreign affairs officials were in the Obama administration and were still defending their policies at the time. It is not clear what the administration can offer, as there is no statement or writing for any of them about the complex Libyan file internationally and regionally. But we must point out that the delegate named to represent the United States in the United Nations and the Security Council, Linda Tomas Greenfield, is a long-standing diplomat of African descent. She was removed from the State Department in Trump’s state.  Prior to that, she held several positions in Africa such as Nigeria and Liberia. She stated some time ago, according to “Sputnik”, that all parties to the conflict, locally and internationally, should reduce the ceilings of demands and work to find a solution. It is not clear if this statement was a personal opinion or a reflection of a change in the US administration.

What role does Robert Malley have?

The last file is the Lebanese file. Until the preparation of this approach, no official in the new administration issued any position regarding Lebanon. Thus, what can be presented is based on Jeffrey Feltman’s statement more than a year ago before the Congressional Foreign Relations Committee. The new administration could adopt the approach of Feltman, who knows Lebanon well. We also have to take into account that the United States looks at the Lebanese file from the standpoint of the security of the Zionist entity and from the angle of interconnections with the various files in the region. The conclusion of Jeffrey Feltman’s approach is that pushing Lebanon over the abyss will not result in a positive outcome for the interests of the United States and the Zionist entity. Consequently, the pressures exerted on Lebanon must be reconsidered and accommodation as was the case in the Obama era with the resistance, as there is no allied regional power that can disarm the resistance in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1702. Linking the dispute may raise the veto on the participation of the party in one form or another in the government. It could also contribute to supporting the French initiative to financially rearrange the internal situation. But there is no sign that the new administration officials share that view.

On the other hand, there is a proliferation of talk in the American corridors about the major role of Robert Malle in approaching the Iranian, Palestinian and Lebanese file. Robert Malle is very close to Anthony Blinken. If it is proven that the talk in the  corridors is serious, then this means that diplomacy will play a major role in approaching the hot files in the region, which may be reflected in a solution, albeit limited, towards the Lebanese scene, especially since the tools of the United States have proven their disastrous failure repeatedly, and that there is no point in escalating the situation that may topple what remains. From the influence of the American role.

However, during the first 100 days of Biden’s term, the true directions of the new administration will be clearly seen. We believe it will not be too far from the approach we presented above.

These are some of the expectations in the hot files awaiting the administration, and we do not expect any change from the previous policies, whether only in style or tone. It is incapable of change and unable to continue. This is its dilemma, and the world’s countries are not responsible for solving the American impasse. The shifts in the field will produce the facts that will govern American policy, which one day becomes useless. It has no ability to wage new wars, even if its desire to do so is certain, and it has no ability to make concessions to reach settlements. The break-up of the American empire may coincide with the dissolution of the republic. At best, what the new administration will do is connect a conflict without solutions and without wars. At worst, it is a question of its existence as a superpower. The only danger lies in the continuation of the state of denial and consequently the committing of follies that accelerate their demise and the consequent loss of life.

Previous Parts

(4) إشكاليات السياسة الخارجية الأميركية الجديدة

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باحث وكاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

زياد حافظ

الجزء الرابع: بعض الملفات في الوطن العربي

ندخل هنا إلى بعض الملفّات المتعلّقة بالوطن العربي والمتشابكة وإنْ كان لكلّ ملفّ على حدة حيثياته الخاصة. لكن التشابك الناتج عن التاريخ والجغرافيا يجعل من الصعب مقاربة الملفّات بشكل مستقلّ عن بعضها البعض. والإدارة الجديدة كسائر الإدارات السابقة تنظر إلى مختلف الساحات من منظور جيواستراتيجي وليس كملفّات مستقلّة عن بعضها وإنْ اقتضى الأمر في بعض الحالات تجزئة الموضوع بسبب الصعوبات التي تواجهها السياسة الأميركية.

ملفات فلسطين وسورية والعراق واليمن وليبيا ولبنان هي ما تعنينا في الدرجة الأولى لأنها ساحات الصراع القائم في المنطقة. السؤال الذي نطرحه هو ماذا تستطيع ان تفعل الولايات المتحدة؟ في هذا السياق لا بدّ من التذكير بأنّ الخط البياني للدور الأميركي هو خط تراجعي. فبعد فشل الانخراط المباشر العسكري في المنطقة عبر تعثّر المشروع الأميركي في العراق وبروز لجنة بيكر هاملتون التي فرضت إعادة النظر في الطريقة في التعامل مع دول الإقليم، كانت حقبة باراك أوباما قد أطلقت نظرية القوّة الذكية أو الحرب بالوكالة. فكان استغلال نقمة الشعوب العربية على حكّامها عبر ما سُمّي بالربيع العربي. الرهان كان أنّ تغيير الطقم الحاكم في الدول الموالية للولايات المتحدة وتمكين مجموعات إسلامية معتدلة متواصلة من تركيا إلى المغرب لتثبيت قاعدة متينة لقرن أميركي في الوطن العربي. لكن الاستعصاء كان في التعامل مع سورية ساهم في تعثر المشروع في مصر فكانت الحرب الكونية التي قادتها الولايات المتحدة على سورية وما زالت حتى الساعة. لكن صمود الجيش العربي السوري والشعب الملتفّ حول قيادته أفشل المشروع الأميركي في سورية.

حقبة ترامب كانت امتداداً لسياسة أوباما مع مطالبته المتكرّرة بسحب القوّات الأميركية التي عارضته الدولة العميقة. تصريحات المبعوث الأميركي السابق المولج بالملف السوري جيمس جيفري تقر بأنه تمّ التحايل على الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب لإفشال محاولات سحب القوّات الأميركية من شرق وشمال شرق سورية. واليوم يدعو جيفري في مقال له في مجلّة «فورين أفيرز» الرئيس بايدن إلى الاستمرار بسياسة العقوبات والتجويع ضدّ سورية وجعل سورية مستنقعاً لاستنزاف روسيا كما حصل في أفغانستان في الثمانينيات من القرن الماضي. فالهدف كان وما زال قلب النظام والإطاحة بالرئيس الأسد. أضف إلى ذلك فإنّ قانون قيصر الذي تمّ بموافقة الحزبين الديمقراطي والجمهوري هدفه خنق سورية اقتصادياً ومنع إعادة إعمارها وذلك لتعزيز النقمة الداخلية وفرص انتفاضة على نظام الحكم. لكن كلّ ذلك لم يؤدّ إلى النتائج المرجوة. فماذا بعد؟ فإذا كان الانخراط المباشر قد فشل في تحقيق أهدافه رغم احتلال العراق وقلب النظام وإذا فشلت الحرب الكونية على سورية بالوكالة عن الولايات المتحدة فماذا بقي في الترسانة الأميركية؟ المزيد من القوة والضغط أم مراجعة لتلك السياسة؟ فصمود الشعب السوري الملتفّ حول قيادته وجيشه لم يكن في الحسبان وأفشل كلّ المحاولات. وفي تقديرينا لا نعتقد أنّ الإدارة الجديدة تستطيع أن تحبط من عزيمة الشعب في الصمود ورفض الإملاءات العسكرية. كما سيأتي يوم تترسّخ القناعة عند مختلف النخب الحاكمة في الوطن العربي أنّ ما تريده الإدارة الأميركية أو تقوم به لا يعنيها ولا قيمة لها. المهمّ هو ما تقوم به المجتمعات العربية والتركيز هو على ما تريده دون الاكتراث إلى رأي الآخرين.

بايدن يتراجع أمام سورية كما أوباما؟

آراء المسؤولين المسمّين لتولي السياسة الخارجية توحي أنّ الميل سيكون إلى المزيد من الضغوط على سورية والدفع نحو التقسيم. ذلك سيكون عبر دعم المجموعات المسلّحة وإنْ كانت من جماعات التعصّب والغلوّ والتوحّش يضاف إليهم مجموعة «قسد». لكن موازين القوّة في الميدان تنفي فعالية تلك السياسة. وليس بمقدور الولايات المتحدة في ظلّ الانقسام الحادّ الداخلي إمكانية تبرير تورّط مباشر تعويضاً عن فشل الحرب بالوكالة. ونشير في هذا السياق إلى مقابلة أجراها وزير الخارجية أنطوني بلينكن مع مايكل موريل المدير العام السابق بالوكالة لوكالة الاستخبارات المركزية (سي أي آي) على برنامج «قضايا استخبارية» (انتليجنس ماترز) الذي تبثّه محطة «سي، بي، أس» الأميركية (ما يؤكّد العلاقة العضوية بين الاستخبارات والإعلام الشركاتي!). جاء في هذه المقابلة التي أجريت في أواخر 2020 والتي لم تخلُ من العبارات التي تؤكّد النظرة التوراتية لدور الولايات المتحدة في الحفاظ على الإمبراطورية لأنّ ذلك قدرها المتجلّي الذي يؤكّد استثنائيتها. وفي تلك المقابلة قال إنّ هناك ضرورة لعدم توريط مباشر للقوات الأميركية في ما سمّاه بـ «الحروب الدائمة» ولكن هذا لا يمنع من «عمليات محدودة» تقوم بها القوّات الخاصة لدعم عملاء محلّيين في تنفيذهم للأجندات المطلوبة. هنا تحضر «قسد» التي ستتلقّى دعماً عسكرياً من الولايات المتحدة. وما يدعم موقف بلينكن تصريح المسؤول الجديد القديم عن الملفّ السوري تري مكغورك الذي خلف جيمس جيفري. فتري مكغورك كان قد استقال سنة 2019 من مهامه في متابعة الملف السوري عندما عبّر ترامب عن رغبته بسحب القوّات الأميركية من سورية. ومكغورك يريد المزيد من التواجد العسكري الأميركي في سورية. وشاهدنا في الأسابيع الماضية عودة خلايا داعش في البادية ومحاولات تخريب المصالحة في جنوب سورية والعمليات الاستفزازية لقوّات «قسد» في الشمال الشرقي لسورية. كلّ ذلك حصل بعد الانتخابات الرئاسية وقبل تسلم بايدن مقاليد السلطة، غير أنّ هذه الإجراءات تحظى بموافقة وزير الخارجية بلينكن وتدلّ على استمرارها.

من جهة أخرى، وفي سياق محاولة تلميع صورة الولايات المتحدة هناك حديث في الأروقة الأميركية عن إمكانية تفاهم ضمني لتسليم روسيا الملف السوري لضمان أمن الكيان الصهيوني. فإذا نجحت المبادة الروسية في تأمين أمن الكيان، يعني عدم دعم استراتيجية وأهداف محور المقاومة، فهذا مكسب للولايات المتحدة والكيان. وإذا تعثرت تلك الجهود فلكلّ حادث حديث ويتمّ التنصّل من التفاهم الضمني. في رأينا، كلّ هذه المحاولات لا تدلّ إلاّ على عجز الولايات المتحدة في المبادرة وتغيير المنحى التراجعي لها في المنطقة. وليس هناك من دليل أنّ روسيا ستقبل بـ «المهمة» كما ليس هناك من مؤشر أنّ الدولة السورية ستتجاوب مع تلك المبادرة. المسألة تصبح من يستطيع أن يتحمّل أكثر الاستنزاف؟ الرهان الأميركي هو أنّ قدرة التحمّل للدولة السورية محدودة وبالتالي ستلجأ إلى تقديم «تنازلات» لإيقاف التدهور الاقتصادي والاجتماعي وهذه «التنازلات» ستأتي بـ «التغيير المنشود» أميركياً وصهيونياً. ولكن في المقابل لا تستطيع الإدارة الجديدة تغيير موازين القوّة على الأرض إذا ما أقدَمت الدولة السورية على استكمال استعادة الأراضي المحتلة في الشمال والشرق. فلسورية حلفاء كانوا وما زالوا ملتزمين في الدفاع عن سورية.

وهناك من يعتقد أنّ أيّ تسوية مع الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران ستؤدّي حتماً على «انفراجات» في الملّف السوري دون تحديد ما هي الانفراجات. ربما يعتقدون أنها تعود إلى بعض التعديلات في الدستور والتغيير في رأس الهرم، ولكن كلّ ذلك مجرّد تمنّيات لا تستند إلى وقائع مادية يمكّنها من تحقيقها. فسورية ليست أداة للجمهورية الإسلامية بل حليفة لها ولها قرارها المستقلّ. وسورية التي رفضت إملاءات كولين باول في ذروة الغطرسة الأميركية في احتلال العراق لن ترضخ لأميركا التي أصابها الوهن وهي على عتبة الأفول فالانهيار بسبب الانقسام الداخلي وبسبب عدم قدرتها على التوسّع وفرض هيمنتها.

هل تعود نظرية رامسفيلد؟

التوتّر السوري والليبي واليمني والعراقي من صنع إدارة أوباما الذي كان بايدن شريكاً أساسياً فيها. فهل ينتهج الأخير سياسة مغايرة؟ الدلائل حتى الساعة تفيد أنّ نظرية دونالد رامسفيلد هي التي تتحكّم في عقل النخب الأميركية بما فيها الإدارة الجديدة: إذا فشلت القوّة في تحقيق الأهداف فالحلّ هو المزيد من القوّة. المسؤولون المسمّون في الإدارة الجديدة كانوا قد وجّهوا خلال عملهم في إدارة أوباما انتقاداتهم لباراك أوباما لعدم استعمال المزيد من القوّة. والمسؤولون المسمّون هم من الصهاينة وبالتالي أولويتهم الكيان. والرئيس الجديد أعلن عن صهيونيته وإن لم يكن يهودياً بل هو كاثوليكيّ.

لكن موازين القوّة على الأرض حيّدت كافة الوسائل المستعملة لتحقيق أهداف الإدارة الأميركية. فما هو «المزيد من القوّة»؟ ليس بمقدور الإدارة رغم إعلان التزامها بالكيان الصهيوني أن تفرض على الكونغرس الأميركي خيارات حرب جديدة في سورية لصالح الكيان لأنّ المزاج العام في الأجواء المضطربة في الداخل الأميركي لا يسمح لمغامرات خارجية غير مضمونة النتائج خاصة أنّ سورية لم تعد بمفردها بل هي جزء من محور قوي يستطيع إيقاع الخسائر الفادحة بالمصالح الأميركية والصهيونية في المنطقة. كما أنّ تحالفات سورية الدولية تمكنها من تحييد العمل الانفرادي الذي قد تقدم عليه الولايات المتحدة. فتجربة 2013 تشير إلى أنّ آنذاك لم تكن موازين القوّة لصالح الولايات المتحدة في شنّ عدوان مباشر على سورية فكانت الوساطة الروسية وحلّ تفكيك المنظومة الكيمياوية. اليوم، موازين القوّة أكثر ميلاً لصالح سورية مما كانت عليها سنة 2013 فما يبقى للولايات المتحدة إما التراجع وإما تخفيض سقف المواجهة والاكتفاء بربط نزاع. ما يهمّ الدولة السورية هو خروج القوّات الأميركية من شرق الفرات وهذا ممكن لأنّ العدد قليل واللوجستية الداعمة لها صعبة خاصة إذا ما تمّ إخراجها كلّياً من العراق.

في ما يتعلّق بالعراق، لا يجب أن ننسى أنّ بايدن منذ ولاية بوش الابن ينظّر لتقسيم العراق. هنا أيضاً موازين القوّة تحكم سياسات الإدارة حيث أصبحت الإمكانيات محدودة. والقوى السياسية العراقية المؤيّدة للوجود الأميركي لم يعد باستطاعتها الدعوة إلى ذلك بعد اغتيال أبي مهدي المهندس ومعه قاسم سليماني. والتفجيرات في وسط بغداد في أوّل يوم من ولاية بايدن لن يؤدّي إلى إبقاء القوّات الأميركية بحجة عودة داعش التي ادّعت الولايات المتحدة أنها «هزمتها»! بل العكس قد يحصل. فالتفاهم مع الحكومة العراقية قد يساهم في تسهيل الخروج الميسّر للقوات الأميركية من العراق لأنّ البديل عن ذلك هو تكرار مشهد خروج القوّات من فيتنام. ستحافظ الإدارة الأميركية على علاقات وثيقة مع إقليم كردستان غير أنّ كلّ ذلك لن يمنع تكريس الانكفاء من العراق وسورية. لكن هذا لا يعني أنّ الساحة العراقية ستنعم بالهدوء بل العكس كما تبيّن من الانفجارات الأخيرة. المسألة ستكون في ضبط الإيقاع بين التوتر والتفاوض والكرة في ملعب القيادات العراقية.

المسرح مهيّأ لوقف حرب اليمن

في ما يتعلّق باليمن فالمسرح مهيّأ في الكونغرس الأميركي لإيقاف الحرب وإعطاء الدور للأمم المتحدة بعد الإيعاز لبلاد الحرمين بوقف العدوان. وبات واضحاً أنّ إدارة بايدن ستنظر في موضوع تصنيف الحوثيين كمجموعة إرهابية وإلغاء التصنيف الذي فرضته إدارة ترامب في أيامها الأخيرة. لكن هناك قوى داخل التحالف الحاكم في الولايات المتحدة ستسعى للحفاظ على التوتر في اليمن. شركة التسليح الأميركية رايثيون تورّد أسلحة لبلاد الحرمين ودول الخليج ووزير الدفاع الجديد لويد اوستن عضو مجلس إدارة الشركة. ليس من الواضح من يستطيع حسم الموقف الأميركي، وما نريد أنّ نشير إليه هو تناقض المصالح داخل تحالف القوى الداعمة لبايدن كما أوضحناه في الجزء الأول من هذه السلسلة.

أما العلاقة مع بلاد الحرمين فالمزاج السائد في الإدارة الجديدة سلبي حتى الساعة تجاه ولي العهد وأسلوب الحكم. التصريحات المتكرّرة للرئيس الأميركي الجديد حول ضرورة مساءلة المسؤولين في بلاد الحرمين حول اغتيال جمال الخاشقجي دليل على ذلك. انها مؤشر عن طبيعة العلاقات المرتقبة بين الإدارة الجديدة وقيادة بلاد الحرمين. في المقابل ستتمسّك الإدارة بـ «الاتفاقات الابراهيمية» وربما قد تطوّرها بعد إنجاز «تغييرات» في حكومة بلاد الحرمين. لكن ولي العهد ليس بالضعف الذي يتصوّره البعض وأنّ خيارات الإدارة الأميركية محدودة هنا أيضاً. لكن في مطلق الأحوال، لن تكون العلاقة بين العاصمتين علاقة هادئة على الأقلّ في المرحلة الأولى من ولاية بايدن.

معظم فريق السياسة الخارجية من الصهاينة

بالنسبة للملف الفلسطيني أعلن الرئيس المنتخب التزامه بحلّ الدولتين لكنه لم يفصح عما هو مصير المستعمرات في فلسطين ولا مصير العاصمة. سيتمسّك بقرار نقل السفارة (لا ننسى أنّ القرار اتخذ من قبل الكونغرس في ولاية كلينتون) وسيعود التواصل مع السلطة وتسهيل الحوالات المالية للسلطة. في المقابل التزام الإدارة الجديدة بأمن الكيان من ثوابت النخب الحاكمة في أميركا ولكن لن ينجر هذا الالتزام إلى التمسّك بنتنياهو الذي نعتقد أنه على طريق الخروج من المسرح السياسي. فكلّ هذه الإجراءات طابعها شكلي لأنه لا تستطيع الإدارة الجديدة تقديم أيّ شيء جذري علماً أنّ الضغوط تتصاعد داخل الحزب الديمقراطي للإقرار بحقوق الشعب الفلسطيني. لكن لا يجب أن ننسى أنّ معظم فريق السياسة الخارجية للإدارة الجديدة من الصهاينة الذين لن يسمحوا بأيّ «تنازل» جوهري تجاه الفلسطينيين. فليس هناك ما يبرّر المراهنة على مواقف جديدة في الإدارة ليعطي دفعاً ما لسياسة المفاوضات التي أثبتت عقمها.

بالنسبة لليبيا فإنّ الكارثة التي حلّت بها من صنع إدارة أوباما وخاصة من صنع هيلاري كلنتون. المسؤولون الجدد في الإدارة للشؤون الخارجية كانوا في إدارة أوباما وما زالوا يدافعون عن سياساتهم آنذاك. ليس من الواضح ما يمكن أن تقدم عليه الإدارة فليس أيّ تصريح أو كتابة لأيّ منهم حول الملف الليبي المعقد دولياً وعربياً وإقليمياً. لكن لا بدّ لنا من الإشارة إلى أنّ المندوبة المسمّاة لتمثيل الولايات المتحدة في الأمم المتحدة ومجلس الأمن ليندا تواماس غرينفيلد ديبلوماسية عريقة منحدرة من أصول أفريقية. وكانت قد أقصيت من وزارة الخارجية في ولاية ترامب. قبل ذلك شغلت مناصب عدة في أفريقيا كنيجيريا وليبيريا. صرّحت منذ فترة وفقاً لموقع «سبوتنيك» أنّ على كافة الأطراف المتنازعة محلّياً ودولياً تخفيض سقوف المطالب والعمل على إيجاد حلّ. ليس من الواضح إذا ما كان ذلك التصريح رأياً شخصياً أم انعكاساً لتغيير ما في الإدارة الأميركية.

أيّ دور لروبرت مالي؟

الملف الأخير هو الملف اللبناني. حتى إعداد هذه المقاربة لم يصدر أيّ موقف عن أيّ مسؤول في الإدارة الجديدة حول لبنان. وبالتالي ما يمكن عرضه مبني على مواقف سابقة للإدارة الديمقراطية وإفادة جيفري فيلتمان منذ أكثر من عام أمام لجنة العلاقات الخارجية في الكونغرس. ويمكن أن تتبنّى الإدارة الجديدة مقاربة فيلتمان الذي يعرف لبنان جيّداً. كما علينا الأخذ بعين الاعتبار أنّ الولايات المتحدة تنظر إلى الملف اللبناني من زاوية أمن الكيان ومن زاوية الترابط بالملفات المتعدّدة في الإقليم. خلاصة مقاربة جيفري فيلتمان هي أنّ دفع لبنان إلى الهاوية لن يأتي بمردود إيجابي لمصالح الولايات المتحدة والكيان الصهيوني. وبالتالي يجب إعادة النظر في الضغوط التي تمارس على لبنان والتساكن كما كان في عهد أوباما مع المقاومة حيث لا توجد أيّ قوّة إقليمية حليفة تستطيع نزع سلاح المقاومة وفقاً لقرار مجلس الأمن 1702. التساكن قد يرفع الفيتو على مشاركة الحزب بشكل أو بآخر في الحكومة. كما يمكن أن يساهم في دعم المبادرة الفرنسية لإعادة ترتيب الوضع الداخلي من الناحية المالية. لكن ليس هناك من أيّ دلائل أنّ المسؤولين الجدد في الإدارة يشاطرون ذلك الرأي.

من جهة أخرى تكاثر الكلام في الأروقة الأميركية عن دور كبير لروبرت مالي في مقاربة الملف الإيراني والفلسطيني واللبناني. وروبرت مالي مقرّب جدّاً من انطوني بلينكن. إذا ثبت أنّ الكلام الجاري في الأروقة جدّي فهذا يعني أنّ الدبلوماسية ستلعب دوراً كبيراً في مقاربة الملفات الساخنة في المنطقة قد تنعكس بحلحلة ولو محدودة تجاه المشهد اللبناني خاصة أنّ أدوات الولايات المتحدة أثبتت فشلها الذريع تكراراً، وأن لا جدوى من تصعيد الموقف الذي قد يطيح بما تبقّى من نفوذ للدور الأميركي.

على كلّ حال، خلال المئة اليوم الأولى من ولاية بايدن سيتبّن بشكل أوضح التوجهات الحقيقية للإدارة الجديدة. ونعتقد أنها لن تكون بعيدة عن المقاربة التي عرضناها أعلاه.

هذه بعض التوقّعات في الملفات الساخنة التي تنتظر الإدارة والتي لا نتوقع أيّ تعديل عن السياسات السابقة سواء فقط في الأسلوب واللهجة. فهي غير قادرة على التغيير وغير قادرة على الاستمرار. هذا هو مأزقها وليس مسؤولة دول العالم حلّ المأزق الأميركي. التحوّلات في الميدان ستفرز الوقائع التي ستحكم السياسة الأميركية التي تصبح يوماً بعض يوم غير ذي جدوى. فلا قدرة لها على شنّ حروب جديدة وإنْ كانت رغبتها في ذلك مؤكّدة ولا قدرة لها على تقديم تنازلات لعقد تسويات. فانفراط الإمبراطورية الأميركية قد تتلازم مع انحلال الجمهورية. في أحسن الأحوال ما ستقوم به الإدارة الجديدة هو ربط نزاع دون حلول ودون حروب. في أسوأ الأحوال بالنسبة لها مسألة وجودها ككيان لدولة عظمى. الخطورة تكمن فقط في استمرار حالة الإنكار وارتكاب بالتالي حماقات تسرّع في زوالها وما سيرافق ذلك من خسائر في الأرواح.

Previous Parts

Ibn Khaldoun and The American Empire ابن خلدون والإمبراطوريّة الأميركيّة

By Nasser Kandil

       There has been no agreement between European and Arab social scientists about the precise  roots of the historic scholar Ibn Khaldun’s political sociology theories in in his examination of phenomena associated with the rise, disintegration, and  demise of states. Any reader of Ibn Khaldun’s texts in the current American epoch will believe that this great scholar had written his work to explain what is going on in America today, with his phenomena having a degree of congruence approaching prophesy.

       With the departure of the ex-President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden in the White House, world and regional attention has been focused on new American policies. Part of the discussion about the Trump phenomenon will remain in the background of the American scene, along the political competition which will dominate the future mid-term elections two years from now, and the Presidential election in four years, both preceded by the outcome of Trump’s impeachment trial before the Senate.

        The cardinal long-range question is whether what America is witnessing is a political crisis, or a structural crisis, or is it more the beginning of the demise of the empire? The beginning of the end of the American Empire era in response might be seen by many as an exaggeration and a prevalence of wishful thinking over reality. However, a systematic examination impervious to political cacophony will reveal a reality more profound than political discourse, economic outlook, durability of institutions, concept of deep state, and foreign policy headlines, despite their great importance. An examination from the perspectives civilization, culture, and society is even more important today than an examination from political, economic and military perspectives.

       Ibn Khaldun draws the course for the rise of states, and not any state, but rather of empires.  He points to the presence of a zealotry which becomes the foundation for the establishment of a state, and the success of such zealotry in possessing the might to hold power. He maintains that it is followed by legitimizing dominance through a project of statehood and nationhood, which succeeds in convincing the people and enfolding them, and provides them with opportunities for agriculture, production, trade, cultural, educational, and artistic activity.  It instills in them a belief and hope in the value of such effort and its role in the development of civil and political peacefulness based on stable legal standards. In turn, such ascent establishes the ground for expansion through raids and the accumulation of sources of power and stature, which results in  a spread in means of comfort and an increase in demand for them, new economic endeavor, and new consumption. He posits that it continues until it reaches the stage when further expansion becomes impossible, and such lack of possibility coincides with an imbalance in the standards for ascent and descent in the social ladder, when excessive luxury juxtaposes harsh poverty, and standards to energize economic activity become absent. As a consequence, hope dies, stature declines with the insurgence in foreign dominions, exaggerated spending on armies emerges and depletes resources, disease and epidemics spread and become widespread, the economy freezes and shrinks, and zealotry becomes divided unto itself.  The people who had accepted its project of nationhood and statehood becomes dissatisfied, merchants and industrialists no longer find the security necessary to continue their activity, and the decline of the empire begins.

       A review of the course of the decline of the Soviet Union will reveal many intersections with the course outlined by Ibn Khaldun, in that the Communist Party and its Russian branch constituted the zealotry nucleus, while a reading of the American course will reveal even more intersections with Ibn Khaldun’s outline. In the United States, the European Whites who founded the country constitute this nucleus of zealotry, and the revolt against the results of the 2020 Presidential elections and accompanying sharp vertical national divide with tens of millions on either side, signals only the tip of the iceberg of historic exhaustion and the beginning of decline.  The zealots are no longer satisfied with the grounds they had laid for their project of state and nation, and want a more exclusive hold on power and resources, while the rest of the American population comprised of non-whites are no longer accepting of a second-class citizenship.

       All indicators suggest that in the last two decades all US wars failed as defense spending increased, protection for the poor decreased, poverty doubled, and the gap between rich and poor widened. The scale for socio-economic mobility became unbalanced, the 2008 banking and real estate crisis emerged, along with the phenomena of extreme richness versus wide sector of poverty, leading to widespread talk about despair and the plummeting of standards.  Procurement of weapons by individuals and groups became more rampant, while the political discourse reached moral rock bottom, and the White zealotry fractured into a majority represented by racists calling for exclusivity, and a minority holding on to the project of country and nation backed by the rest of the non-White population.

       A point of note is that Ibn Khaldun believes that pandemics are a sign of the decline of the state, “ the empire”, because it is the result of opulence and irresponsible behavior towards natural resources. In the scholar’s words:” A pandemic is mostly from air pollution due to over-building and associated decay and putrefied dampness…When purification is strong, illness befalls the lungs, which is what plagues and its associated illnesses specific to the lung are, with the reason for such excessive rot and putrefied dampness and abundant over-development being the decline of the state.”

       Ihsan Abdel Kuddus’ novel  ”I Will Not Live In My Father’s Robe”  summarizes the perspectives of the White Majority and Non-White Minorities across the United Sates. The White Fathers invested in civil decades to build an economy, the basis for labor of which were the non-Whites, who in turn found a great accomplishment in the semi-justice meted by the  White Fathers in comparison to bloodthirsty racism.  The sons of the White fathers feel constricted by the robe of the civilized decades with the dwindling in resources and regression in development. More importantly they became apprehensive about demography and the fear of the slip of their control over the state because of legislature they had forged for the country’s  administrations, and now talk about the country as theirs in which they host others.  This has coincided with a feeling of constriction by the father’s robe among the sons of non-Whites who no longer are accepting of the gap between the civilized culture and racism, translated into an existential apprehensiveness with the rise in calls for ethnic cleansing and militant extremism, along with the widening in differential in securing a living and procuring means of comfort.

       The United States, balanced in the number between Whites and Non-Whites, will become an arena of bloody confrontation, and will not be assuaged by Biden’s incantations. States with a majority of one of the two groups will organize according to the desires of the ethnic majority, the hold of the central authority will diminish, and independence projects in some States will be witnessed, while the empire reels for the duration of the pandemic

ابن خلدون والإمبراطوريّة الأميركيّة

ناصر قنديل

تباينت آراء علماء الاجتماع الأوروبيّين والعرب في تحديد جذور النظريّات التي صاغها العلامة التاريخي ابن خلدون حول علم الاجتماع السياسيّ، في تعامله مع ظواهر نهوض الدول وتفككها وأفولها، لكن قراءة نصوص ابن خلدون في الزمن الأميركي الحالي سيجعل القارئ يعتقد أنه كتب نصوصه لتفسير ما يجري اليوم في أميركا، حيث العقل نسبة التطابق في رسم الظواهر التي يشير اليها ابن خلدون عن حدود، ليبدو بعضها أقرب للنبوءة.

مع المشاهد التي طواها يوم أمس، لرحيل الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب، ودخول الرئيس الحالي جو بايدن الى البيت الأبيض، ينصبّ الاهتمام في المنطقة والعالم حول السياسات الأميركية الجديدة، وقدر من النقاش حول ظاهرة ترامب التي ستبقى حاضرة في خلفيّة المشهد الأميركي، والتنافس السياسي الذي سيحكم اللعبة الأميركية في استحقاقات انتخابية مقبلة، من الانتخابات النصفيّة للكونغرس بعد عامين، والانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة بعد أربع سنوات، وقبلهما مصير الملاحقة القضائية التي سيشهدها مجلس الشيوخ بحق ترامب.

السؤال الجوهريّ الأبعد مدى، هل ما تشهده أميركا هو أزمة سياسية، أم أزمة بنيوية، أم أكثر بداية أفول الإمبراطورية، والجواب بالاعتقاد ببدء نهاية العهد الإمبراطوري الأميركي قد يبدو مبالغة بنظر الكثيرين، ويبدو تغليباً للرغبات على الوقائع، لكن التدقيق المنهجي البعيد عن ضجيج السياسة سيفتح العين على حقيقة أعمق من الخطاب السياسي، والرؤية الاقتصادية، ومتانة المؤسسات، ومفهوم الدولة العميقة، وعناوين السياسة الخارجية، وكلها أمور غاية في الأهمية، لكن ما يفوقها أهمية اليوم في مقاربة ما يجري في أميركا، حضاري وثقافي واجتماعي قبل أن يكون سياسياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً.

يرسم ابن خلدون مساراً لنهوض الدول، والأصح هو الإمبراطوريات وليس كل الدول، بوجود عصبية تشكل أساس مشروع الدولة، ونجاح العصبية بامتلاك القوة اللازمة للإمساك بالسلطة، ثم قوننة سيطرتها بمشروع دولة وأمة، ينجح بإقناع من يسمّيهم بشعب الدولة والأمة بالانضواء في هذا المشروع، وتوفير فرص المتاجرة والمصانعة والمزارعة، والنشاط الثقافي والتعليمي الفني، وبث الأمل بجدوى النشاط ودوره في توفير التقدم في السلم الاجتماعي والسياسي وفقاً لمعايير مستقرة، قانونية، ويؤسس هذا النهوض الأرضيّة للتوسّع عبر الغزوات، وزيادة مصادر الثروة والمهابة، فتنتشر وسائل الرفاه ويزداد الطلب عليها فتنشأ أنشطة اقتصادية جديدة، واستهلاك جديد، حتى بلوغ مرحلة تجتمع فيها حالة العجز عن المزيد من التوسّع مع اختلال استقرار قواعد الصعود والهبوط في السلم الاجتماعي، وانتشار الترف المبالغ فيه مقابل ظهور الفقر الشديد، من دون معايير تتصل بالنشاط الاقتصادي، فيموت الأمل، وتتراجع المهابة مع تمرّد الأمصار، اي مناطق السيطرة في الخارج، وتظهر المبالغة في الإنفاق على الجيوش وتستنزف الموارد، وينتشر الوباء ويتفشى، فيتجمّد الاقتصاد ويضمُر، وتنقسم العصبيّة على نفسها، ولا يعود الشعب الذي قبل مشروعها لبناء دولة وأمة راضياً، ولا يجد التجار والصناعيون الأمن لمواصلة نشاطهم، وتكون بداية أفول الإمبراطورية.

مَن يقرأ مسار انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي سيجد الكثير من التقاطعات مع السياق الذي رسمه ابن خلدون، حيث الحزب الشيوعيّ وفرعه الروسي هو نواة العصبية، ومَن يقرأ المسار الأميركي اليوم سيجد تقاطعات أكثر، حيث نواة العصبية هي الجماعة الأوروبيّة البيضاء التي أسست الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، والإشارة التي مثلها العصيان على نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية مسقوفاً بانقسام عمودي حادّ بين عشرات الملايين المصطفين على طرفي الصراع، ليس إلا رأس جبل الجليد لبلوغ هذا المشروع الإمبراطوري مرحلة الاستنفاد التاريخي وبدء الأفول. فالعصبية لم تعد راضية بقواعد هي وضعتها لمشروعها للدولة والأمة، وتريد الانفراد أكثر بالسلطة والموارد، والشعب الذي يشكله في الحالة الأميركية غير أصحاب البشرة البيضاء، لم يعد راضياً بمواطنة الدرجة الثانية، وكل شيء في أميركا يقول إنه خلال عقدين فشلت كل حروب اميركا، وتزايد إنفاقها العسكري، وتراجعت الحماية الاجتماعية للطبقات الفقيرة التي توسعت وتضاعفت، واختلّ نظام الصعود والهبوط بين طبقات المجتمع، فخرجت من أزمات 2008 المصرفية والعقارية، ظواهر فاحشة الثراء وشرائح واسعة من الفقراء، وصار الحديث عن فقد الأمل شائعاً وعن سقوط المعايير، وانتشر التسلح، وهبط مستوى الخطاب السياسي الى أدنى مستوياته أخلاقياً، وانقسمت العصبية البيضاء بين أغلبية يمثلها عنصريون هم دعاة التفرّد، وأقلية تتمسك بمشروع الدولة والأمة، تقف وراءها فئات الشعب والأمة من غير البيض.

بالمناسبة يعتقد ابن خلدون أن الوباء هو من علامات سقوط الدولة، “الإمبراطورية”، لأنه من ثمار الترف والتصرّف غير المسؤول تجاه الثروات الطبيعية، ويقول العلامة “وقوع الوباء سببه في الغالب فساد الهواء بكثرة العمران لكثرة ما يخالطه من العفن والرطوبات الفاسدة… فإن كان الفساد قوياً وقع المرض في الرئة، وهذه هي الطواعين وأمراضها مخصوصة بالرئة… وسبب كثرة العفن والرطوبات الفاسدة في هذا كله، كثرة العمران ووفوره آخر الدولة”.

في رواية الكاتب احسان عبد القدوس «لن أعيش في جلباب أبي»، اختصار لمعادلة نظرة الأغلبية البيضاء والأقليات من غير البيض، على مساحة الولايات الأميركية، حيث الآباء من البيض استثمروا على العهود المدنية لبناء اقتصاد قاعدته العاملة من غير البيض، ووجد غير البيض من الآباء في شبه عدالة إنجازاً كبيراً بالقياس للعنصرية الدموية المفرطة، أما الأبناء من الغالبية البيضاء ضاق عليهم ثوب العهود المدنيّة مع ضيق الموارد وتراجع النهوض، والأهم الشعور بالقلق الديمغرافي وخطورة انزلاق السيطرة على الدولة من بين أيديهم بسبب تشريعاتهم هم لإدارتها، ويتحدثون عن هذه الدولة بصفتها دولتهم ويستضيفون فيها آخرين، بينما ضاق ثوب الآباء بين أبناء غير أصحاب البشرة البيضاء وما عادوا يقبلون بالفجوة بين المدنيّة والعنصريّة، وترجمتها بقلق وجودي مع تصاعد دعوات تطهير عرقي وتطرف ميليشيوي، وتراجع الفورة واتساع التفاوت في الوصول لوسائل الرفاهية، وقبلها ضمانات العيش.

الولايات الأميركية المتوازنة عددياً بين مكوناتها من البيض وغير البيض ستكون مسرحاً لمواجهات دمويّة لن تنفع معها تعويذات بايدن، والولايات التي تسودها أغلبية من أحد الطرفين ستنظم أمورها على هوى الأغلبية العرقية، وستضعف قبضة السلطة المركزية، وستشهد مشاريع استقلال لبعض الولايات، والى أن ينتهي عهد الوباء ستترنّح الإمبراطورية.

Biden: Surrounding Contradictions and Ineffectiveness بايدن المحاط بالتناقضات لن «يشيل الزير من البير»

By Nasser Kandil

Many questions are raised about what the new US President Joe Biden’s ascent to the Presidency will bring in the shadow of the dark page represented by ex-President Trump’s time in office. Many rush to envision a rosy period represented by Biden due to the large thorns left behind by Trump, although the real picture is different. Biden’s rule as “Walking between the dots,” and “Ma bisheel al zeer min al beer” as a popular Arabic saying goes implying ineffectiveness, are invitations to lower expectations. The options awaiting Biden are complex and difficult, and the contradictions which surround the pressing dossiers he will be presented with will guarantee the every supposedly possible option to undertake will create a crisis of equal peril in parallel to the one he will resolve. This suggests that the utmost that Biden will be capable of is crisis management to keep big explosions at bay, while lacking the ability to achieve major breakthroughs.

The position the US finds itself in is similar to that the Occupation is in, namely both the inability to wage war and to forge settlements, for structural reasons in both situations. The Israeli Occupation, whose leaders and generals have gotten to the point of acknowledging the inability to wage war, appears unfit for something else.  When the Occupation emerged victorious from its wars, it fell under the illusion that making settlements was superfluous, and drew illusory high ceilings for settlements, which made them impossible. When the Occupation failed to realize its goals in the wars it waged or was defeated in, it considered any realistic settlement as a confirmation of its resounding defeat and its dissolution as an entity based on power. The powerful “Israel” does not make settlements because it feels no need for them, but rather feels the desire to impose on its opponents conditions of surrender. “Israel” the weak, weakens first in the view of its extremists, which then robs any ruling politician of the needed delegation to enter into the realm of settlements, and to the same extent robs that politician of the ability to wage more wars.

In the American case, Biden faces challenges of the caliber of reaching understandings with Moscow and Peking on the basis of partnership and not merely the diffusion of conflict. Based on the opinions of all the experts, an entrance into such assumed partnership constitutes an American acknowledgment of loss in stature which Biden knows he has to avoid for the duration of  his internal war with the Extreme Right which has become more powerful, and the title for  dangerous domestic polarization, and which asks for proof of hanging on to American distinctiveness and excellence. In parallel, what Biden needs in the Middle East is to appear as a defender of “Israel” and able to decrease tensions, when pursuing either course will cause damage to the other. He has to prove the efficacy of the Nuclear Agreement with Iran in comparison to Trump’s policies, without allowing Iran appearing to benefit. He also has to reunify his allies, starting with Europe, Turkey, Egypt, and the Gulf, which raises the question about what he will do with the Muslim Brotherhood and with Libya. If he gives precedence to the alliance with Egypt, France, and the Gulf over the alliance with Turkey, how will he prevent losing Turkey and the risk of her positioning more clearly with the Iranian-Russian alliance? In consequence, conceding a Russian Iranian Turkish cooperation ending in a compete American defeat in Syria and Iraq?

What will Biden do in the domestic arena, and could he take steps to decrease the level of anger and anxiety among the Black, Latino, and Muslim Minorities without increasing the level of anger among the White racist and organized extremists? Would he succeed in containing the Extreme Right through cooperation with the Republicans without making concessions at the expense of economic and social programs which impinge on the rich in favor of the poor and weak, whose proportion has much more than doubled with COVID? And could fracturing in the ranks of Democrats be avoided with concessions to Republicans?

The first matter which has to addressed by Biden is foreign, namely the consideration of how to deal with the Nuclear Agreement, which will be under domestic scrutiny, and the scrutiny of all of Washington’s allies and opponents and their evaluation – a dossier in which Biden has  little room for maneuver.  Any discussion of requests related to Iran’s missile program and regional crises, and even calls about a basis for return to the Nuclear Agreement or calls for going back on nuclear escalation steps Iran had undertaken are outside of Iranian consideration.

Biden faces two difficult choices. Lifting sanctions imposed on Iran since 2017, a clear  Iranian condition for mutual return to the same Nuclear Agreement without negotiations, will result in increased domestic polarization and a widening of the gap with opponents, and an  escalating Israeli and Gulf climate. Keeping sanctions under the slogan of anticipated negotiations which will not materialize, at the risk of transforming his Administration into another Trump Administration, which will close Peking and Moscow doors, and result in the staggering and fall of the Nuclear Agreement, and in an escalation in regional tensions.

بايدن المحاط بالتناقضات لن «يشيل الزير من البير»

ناصر قنديل

أسئلة كثيرة تحيط بما سيحمله تولي الرئيس الأميركي الجديد جو بايدن لمقاليد الرئاسة، في ظل الصفحة السوداء التي مثلها حكم الرئيس المنتهية ولايته دونالد ترامب، ويتسرّع الكثيرون في رؤية مرحلة وردية يمثلها بايدن بسبب حجم الأشواك التي تركها ترامب، لكن الصورة ليست كذلك. فحكم بايدن سيمرّ بين النقاط كما يُقال، ولن يكون بايدن قادراً أن «يشيل الزير من البير» كما يقول المثل الشائع، في توصيف الدعوة لتخفيض سقف التوقعات، فالخيارات التي تنتظر بايدن صعبة ومعقدة، والتناقضات التي ستحيط بالملفات الملحّة المطروحة أمامه تتكفّل بجعل كل من الخيارات الافتراضيّة سبباً لأزمات لا تقلّ خطورة عن التي سيعالجها، ويمكن القول بحساب هذه الفرضيات أن أقصى ما يستطيعه بايدن هو إدارة الأزمات بما يستبعد فرص الانفجارات الكبرى، لكن دون القدرة على صناعة الانفراجات.

وضع أميركا اليوم يشبه في الاستعصاء الذي يقع فيه وضع كيان الاحتلال بالعجز عن خوض الحروب والعجز عن صناعة التسويات، ولأسباب بنيوية في الوضعين. فكما أن كيان الاحتلال الذي بلغ باعتراف أركانه وقادته مرحلة العجز عن خوض الحروب يبدو غير صالح لغير ذلك، فهو عندما خرج منتصراً في حروبه توهّم أنه يُغنى عن صناعة التسويات ورسم لها سقوفاً وهميّة عالية، ما جعلها مستحيلة، وعندما هزم في حروبه أو فشل في تحقيق أهدافها، بات يعتبر كل تسوية واقعية تكريساً لهزيمة متمادية ستتكفل بانحلاله ككيان قائم على القوة، بحيث إن «اسرائيل» القوية لا تصنع التسوية لأنها لا تشعر بالحاجة إليها بل الرغبة بفرض شروط الاستسلام على خصومها، و»إسرائيل» الضعيفة تضعف أولاً أمام المتطرفين فيها، فيفقد أي سياسي حاكم التفويض اللازم للخوض في غمار التسويات، بمثل ما يفقد القدرة اللازمة على خوض المزيد من الحروب.

في الحالة الأميركيّة أمام بادين تحدّيات من عيار الوصول لتفاهم مع موسكو وبكين على قواعد شراكة لا مجرد ربط نزاع، ووفقاً لكل الخبراء يشكل الانخراط الأميركي في هذه الشراكة المفترضة تسليماً بتراجع المكانة الأميركية يعرف بايدن أن عليه تجنبه طالما أن معركته الداخلية مع اليمين المتطرّف الذي زاد قوة، وصار عنواناً لانقسام أهليّ خطير، تتم تحت عنوان إثبات التمسك بالتميّز الأميركي والتفوق الأميركي. وبالتوازي ما يحتاجه الرئيس الأميركي في الشرق الأوسط الجمع بين الظهور كمدافع عن «إسرائيل»، وقادر على تخفيض التوتر؛ والسير بواحد من الاتجاهين يصيب الآخر بالضرر، وعليه أن يثبت أهليّة التفاهم النووي مع إيران بالمقارنة مع سياسات ترامب، من دون أن يسمح بظهور إيران مستفيدة، وكذلك عليه أن يُعيد توحيد صفوف حلفائه، بدءاً من أوروبا وتركيا ومصر والخليج، فماذا يفعل بالإخوان المسلمين؟ وماذا يفعل بليبيا؟ وإذا قرر تغليب التحالف مع مصر وفرنسا والخليج على تركيا كيف يستطيع منع خسارتها وتموضعها بصورة أوضح ضمن الحلف الروسي الإيراني؟ وبالتالي التسليم بتعاون روسي إيراني تركي ينتهي بخسارة أميركية كاملة في سورية والعراق؟

ماذا سيفعل بايدن في الشق الداخلي، وهل يمكن السير بخطوات تخفض منسوب الغضب والقلق عند الأقليات السمراء واللاتينيّة والمسلمة من دون رفع منسوب غضب القوة البيضاء العنصرية المتطرفة والمنظمة، وهل يمكن احتواء الشارع المتطرّف من خلال التعاون مع الحزب الجمهوري من دون تقديم تنازلات على حساب البرنامج الاقتصادي الاجتماعي الذي يفرض المزيد من الأعباء على الطبقات الغنية لصالح المزيد من الضمانات للفقراء والضعفاء، الذي ارتفعت نسبتهم بأضعاف مع نتائج وباء كورونا؟ وهل يمكن تفادي تصدعات في صفوف الديمقراطيين مع كل تنازلات يتمّ تقديمها للجمهوريين؟

الاستحقاق الأول الذي ينتظر بايدن سيكون خارجياً، البتّ بكيفية التعامل مع الملف النووي الإيراني، وسينظر كل الداخل الأميركي لكيفية تعامله مع هذا الملف، كما سيقيم كل من حلفاء واشنطن وخصومها هذا التعامل ويبني عليه تقييماته، وفي هذا الملف حدود ضيقة للمناورة، فإيران ليست بوارد أي بحث بطلبات تتصل بملفها الصاروخي وأزمات المنطقة، ولا حتى بقواعد العودة للتفاهم النووي ودعوتها للتراجع عن خطواتها النووية التصعيدية، وأمام بايدن خياران صعبان، العودة عن العقوبات التي فرضت على إيران منذ 2017 كشرط إيراني واضح عنوانه عودة عملية متبادلة الى قواعد الاتفاق نفسه من دون تفاوض. وفي هذه الحالة سيجد بايدن نفسه أمام تصاعد الانقسام الداخلي واتساع الفجوة مع الخصوم، كما سيجد مناخاً «إسرائيلياً وخليجياً تصعيدياً، أو خيار المضي بالعقوبات تحت شعار انتظار التفاوض المفترض الذي لن يتمّ. وفي هذه الحالة سيفتتح ولايته بالتحول الى ترامب آخر، فتنغلق الأبواب أمامه في بكين وموسكو ويترنح الاتفاق النوويّ نحو السقوط، ويرتفع منسوب التصعيد في المنطقة.

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IRANIAN ROCKETS BECOME EVEN MORE POWERFUL AS ISRAEL LACKS OPTIONS TO CONTAIN TEHRAN INFLUENCE

South Front

Despite Israel’s best efforts, Iran’s influence and presence in the Middle East, and in Syria specifically is spreading.

One could blame that on the Biden administration’s halt in the “maximum pressure” campaign, but that influence was increasing even when Donald Trump sat in the White House.

Currently, Iran is furthering its interests and there is little to truly deter it.

On February 1st, Iran carried out its first successful missile launch since Joe Biden became president.

The missile is the Zuljanah, Iran’s newest domestic built satellite-carrying rocket. It is hailed as Tehran’s “most powerful rocket engine” and it can either carry a 220-kilogram satellite, or up to 10 smaller ones.

The Trump Administration, and also Israel have repeatedly accused Iran of using such tests as a way to develop capability for ballistic missiles with a nuclear warhead.

On the very same day, Iran also notified the US that it couldn’t simply rejoin the Nuclear Deal, that the sanctions had to go.

Currently, the Biden Administration appears to be considering its actions, and is not undertaking any further movements to antagonize Tehran.

This stillness is something Israel is discontent with, as it provides Iran and its proxies to operate rather freely.

Tel Aviv is likely feeling a sense of urgency, as even Hezbollah launched an anti-aircraft missile at its drone. That is a rare occurrence.

The Iron Dome was also recently updated and tested out against advanced drones and smaller missiles. That is something both Iran and its proxies are quite adequate at employing.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) arrested a shepherd who cross from Syria into soil occupied by Israel and was apprehended. Threats are all around, and the paranoia is growing.

The concern and need to dig in and protect its own is also apparent in the Juniper Falcon exercise that began on February 4th. It is a join cooperation between the IDF and US European Command.

The drill focuses on improving cooperation, and improving the joint ability to defend from external threats.

Defending both the Israeli and US interests in the Middle East from external threat may become reality sooner, rather than later.

One of the battlegrounds where the US-Israeli bloc feels itself threatened is Syria. On February 4th, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) announced that it had secured the Homs-Deir Ezzor highway. The next operation may take place in the Hama-Aleppo-Raqqa triangle.

The SAA, together with Russian aerial support, and likely some Iranian assistance are making progress.

When ISIS activity goes down, as a result of these operations, Israel will potentially need to be more careful in its raids and activities, because its adversaries may have their hands mostly untied.

Any neutral observer would easily notice that, currently, Iran and the Damascus government are achieving success in their endeavors. And that happens in spite of the actions of ISIS, Israel, Turkey and the US.

The Headless Chicken and the Bear

THE SAKER • FEBRUARY 9, 2021 

Introducing the headless chicken

The EU has a major problem: it is run by a comprador class which is entirely dependent on the United States. Okay, that by itself is not the problem I am referring to. The problem I am referring to is one we could call the problem of the decapitated chicken: a decapitated chicken can run without a head, but it sure does not know where it is running or why. This happens to all comprador classes when their beloved masters suddenly vanish. This is exactly what happened to the European ruling classes when Trump came to the White House: they “lost their head” and they began running all over the place, obviously achieving nothing. Now that the Neocons gave Trump the boot, the EU rulers are desperate to show the new US leaders that they only hated Trump, not the US, and what better way to show your complete submission than by barking at the Asiatic Mordor of the East known as “Russia”?

This latest PSYOP was apparently organized in the US last fall, while Trump was still in power, at least nominally. This makes sense, just like the huge “Patriot Act” was carefully prepared months, if not years before 9/11 happened. This time around, some US intelligence agency (probably the CIA) then passed the baby to the German BND which was supposed to act as an intermediary to give the US “plausible deniability”. The big problem is that the Germans apparently screwed things up, and the plan was a flop: the latest sacral victim failed to die (again!). As for Putin, he used his executive power to allow Navalnyi (who was on parole) to immediately fly to Germany for treatment as soon as the Russian medics stabilized him. From there on, everything went south and Navalnyi’s curators scrambled to save whatever could be saved.

They produced a movie about Putin’s palace in Crimea, only to have Russian reporters film the location and prove that this movie was a total fake. Then they sent Navalnyi back to Russia figuring that if the Russian authorities arrested him huge protests would follow or, alternatively, if the Russians did nothing, Navalnyi would be able to create chaos during an important election year in Russia. This resulted in another flop, not only were the crowds in Russia small, their behavior was deeply offensive and even frightening to most Russians who have seen enough Maidans and color revolutions to know how this stuff ends. As for Navalnyi, he was arrested immediately upon landing, and his parole was revoked.

Of course, all this was reported very differently in what I call Zone A, but while this made it possible for the authors of this PSYOP to conceal the magnitude of their failure, in the rest of the world and, especially, in Russia, it was pretty clear that this ridiculous buffoonery had failed. That outcome presented the EU headless chicken with a major problem: on one hand, we protest about “Putin murdering his own people with combat gasses” while on the other we are about to complete North Stream 2 (NS2), which we need to remain competitive; if we continue, we will lose NS2 and we will alienate Russia even further, but if we stop acting like an idiot on suicide watch, our overseas masters will make us pay. EU leaders obviously failed agree on a plan so, just like a headless chicken, they ran in all directions at the same time: they publicly protested, but also sent as top official, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell, to try to appease the Russians. Borrell actually did a decent job trying to placate the Russians, but this time something went very wrong. Not only was Foreign Minister Lavrov very blunt in his public comments, the Russians also expelled 3 EU diplomats for participating in the demonstrations even while Borrell and Lavrov were talking. This is when the proverbial bovine excreta hit the fan, at least in EU whose “watchdog media” (here I use the term “watchdog” as meaning “immediately barking at anybody daring to stray from the official propaganda line”) went crazy and accused Borrell of caving in to the Russians. Some even demanded Borrell’s resignation. As for Borrell himself, he did what all western officials do after a visit to Moscow: he changed his tune as soon as he came back home. Finally, Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, added that “The task [of Borrell] was to carry out a public flogging, which, I think, they planned very carefully, it was a cascade of topics: talks about rallies, talks about journalists, and making [Alexey] Navalny the main theme of the discussion”. According to Zakharova, this plan failed because Russia insisted on discussing the “real issues“.

Interestingly, the Russians did not expel any US diplomats (at least not yet) in spite of the fact that these officials all agreed that the origin of the PSYOP was from overseas and in spite of the quasi-certainty that US officials must have been present, at least in the Moscow and Saint Petersburg protests. To its credit, the US embassy in Moscow did recommend to all US citizens that they stay away from illegal demonstrations. This is an ongoing crisis and by the time this analysis is posted, things might have changed dramatically. My purpose today is not to look at the US or the EU, but at what I believe is a major shift in Russian policy.

At this point, we should not see the expulsions of the 3 EU diplomats as anything more than just a “shot across the bow”, a way to indicate that the winds have changed. But these expulsions are not big enough to qualify as a real, painful, retaliation. Why?

Because the real slap in the collective face of the EU was the press conference of Lavrov and Borrell in which Lavrov was truly uniquely direct and candid. For example, Lavrov bluntly said ” We are proceeding from the assumption that the EU is not a reliable partner, at least at the current stage. I hope that in future strategic attention will be given to the EU’s fundamental interest in its closest neighbours and that the talks we have held today will promote movement to a more constructive trajectory. We are ready for this“.

Translated from diplospeak into plain English, this means 1) we are fed up with you and 2) we don’t need you.

This blunt statement is what triggered all the subsequent hysterics in Brussels about Borrell being ill treated by the Russians and Borrell’s subsequent declaration that “Russia does not want a constructive dialog” and that the EU must now decide if it still wants to get closer to Russia or if it wants to distance itself from a country slipping into authoritarianism.

In western parlance the degree of “democratism” or “authoritarianism” is solely defined by the willingness of a country to be a satrapy of the Empire. Under this definition, all sovereign countries are “dictatorships” and all AngloZionist satrapies are paragons of democracy.

Has the Russian bear had enough?

Just two weeks ago I wrote that With “Biden” in the White House, the Kremlin Now Needs to Change Gear and I believe that this is exactly what we are seeing today. Here is my evidence:

  • The tone of the Russian has changed and is much more direct and blunt
  • The fact that the three EU diplomats were expelled while Borrell was in Moscow was a very deliberate slap in the EU’s collective face
  • The tone of the Russian media has also changed, journalists and experts are all expressing their utter disgust with the EU and are calling for less words and more actions
  • The NS2 lobby in Russia (who advocated a policy of total non-confrontation at least until NS2 was completed) is rather absent from the public discourse. This might mean that this lobby has thrown in the towel or, alternatively, that the block I call “Eurasian sovereignists” does not consider NS2 as vital for Russia (they are correct, by the way) and that putting the squeeze on the EU is much more important (again, I agree with them here too).
  • The EU’s other anti-Russian vendetta, I am referring to the recent attempt at overthrowing Lukashenko, has also failed. However, this PSYOP was so rude and crude, and the EU acted with such arrogance that it really gave Russia no other option than to take action, not only by flying Tu-160s along the Belarussian border or by selling S-400s, but also by using highly symbolic diplomatic countermeasures.
  • The Russian Aerospace Forces (2 Su-24M, 2 Su-27s and 2 Su-30SM) have conducted mock missile strikes against USN ships as soon as they entered the southern waters of the Black Sea. Note: the same day Chinese aircraft conducted a mock attack on a US carrier in the Pacific.
  • Russia has now deployed both the Bal and even the formidable Bastion coastal missile defense systems. This, combined with the formidable capabilities of the Southern Military District and the Black Sea Fleet which turns the entire Black Sea into a shooting range and any hostile ship into an easy target for the Russians. Clearly, the Russians are fed up with the arrogance of the USN.
  • Defense Minister Shoigu has just announced a major increase in the production of high-precision and hypersonic weapons.

These are just a few examples of a much longer list of changes which are taking place before our eyes.

So far, the EU did not get the message at all. At least officially. But witnessing the infighting taking place not only over Borrell’s trip, but also about what to do about vaccines (The Lancet has just posted a major article entitled “Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine candidate appears safe and effective” which basically said that all the western nonsense about Sputnik-V being BOTH 1) unsafe AND 2) ineffective were lies) I can clearly see that the EU rulers are seriously worried. Right now it sure looks like the EU is losing the “COVID propaganda war” and that all these russophobic states (except the hardcore nutcases of 3B+PU) will have to now ask Russia for her vaccines. So far the only official EU reaction was to expel 3 Russian diplomats and somewhat protest. But these are clearly the opening shots of a much longer confrontation between Russia and the EU.

The crucial factor to consider here is this: while the aggregate power of the US+NATO+EU+5EYES is bigger than Russia’s, the mental paralysis of the EU leaders makes the EU alone already much weaker than Russia. Of course, since Biden’s administration is a who’s who of the most hysterical russophobes imaginable, chances are that the US will interfere and attempt to back the anti-Russian factions in the EU. Considering the tone used by Russian officials over the latest USN provocations in the Black Sea and the Sea of Japan, I don’t doubt the Kremlin’s determination to act both in words and with actions.

And then there are the subtle threats which the general public is rarely exposed to. The latest example is a highly specialized article entitled “Rationale for the combat use of aviation to disrupt an integrated massive air strike during a multi-domain operation of the enemy” which explains how Russia could disrupt and defeat a NATO attack. I won’t go into all the (very interesting) details here, but I will just say that the authors declare that Russia can go from a policy of deterrence by nuclear forces to a policy of (conventional) deterrence by having the means to “inflict comprehensive defeat (upon NATO countries) using all types of weapons within the deterrence of inflicting an unacceptable complex defeat on it with all types of weapons within the framework of preventive actions under the conditions of the danger of local war threatening the Russian Federation“. In truth, this is not the only Russian specialized article discussing the future of warfare, and what makes this one truly unique is that RT, of all places, decided to post an article about it entitled “Russian Air Force experts publish plan to neutralize NATO forces in all-out war with bombing strikes“. This really looks like the Kremlin wanted to make absolutely sure that western politicians (as opposed to western military analysts who read that stuff on a daily basis anyway) would think long and hard about what US military plans for NATO really would mean for the EU.

Then there is the outcome of the Polish military command staff exercise Winter-20 which resulted in, I kid you not, Russia completely defeating the Polish military in 5 days only! (For details, see herehere or here). Again, there is nothing really new here, the US and/or NATO have conducted plenty of exercises which had the “Russian hordes” defeating the “forces of democracy and progress”. And, again, the real difference was in the Russian coverage of this news: for the first time the Russians openly made fun of NATO and of the (always paranoid and insanely russophobic) Poles. In truth, the Russians always knew that the Polish military is as good on pompous ceremonies and parades as it is inept on the battlefield, but that kind of open contempt is something new, at least from the state supported media.

So far, the EU clearly is not coming to terms with this new reality. The latest (breathtakingly stupid) EU plan to try to scare “Putin” (here “Putin” is the collective Kremlin boogeyman, not necessarily VVP): Svetlana Tikhanovskaia has appealed to the wife of Navalnyi, Iulia, to become the “she president of Russia”. Yes, seriously. Iulia Navalnaia as President of Russia!

As for Navalnyi’s supporters in the EU, they have decided to create a Russian government in exile. Again, this is not a joke. By the way, the “Minister of Foreign Affairs” of this “Russian Government in Exile”, Leonid Volkov, initially declared that the illegal riots should be halted, only to be told otherwise by his handlers. He immediately made a required 180 and declared that protests will resume. This is how Maria Zakharova bluntly, and very officially, reacted on Facebook to his “change of mind”: (minimally fixed machine translation)

NATO doubles down

On February 4, 2021, Volkov declared that the protests in Russia were canceled and will resume in the spring and summer. “We will not hold a rally next weekend…The wave of protest must end at a high point. Because if we continue to decline, it will be terribly demotivating and frustrating for everyone… We will prepare well and hold something big both in the spring and in the summer. We will never give up our demands.” Then, on February 9, 2021, Volkov changed his mind and announced that the campaign will continue in February. “We’ll make it much trickier” he added. What happened between February 4 and 9 and forced the “opposition” to radically change tactics? Everything is quite simple – on February 8, 2021, an online meeting with Volkov and Ashurkov took place at the Permanent Mission of Poland to the EU in Brussels, in which EU countries, the United States, and Britain took part. And in fact-this was a meeting of the NATO countries. The NATO members instructed the “opposition”, and in fact their agents of influence, how to continue “more cunning” to conduct subversive work. Too much money and resources have already been invested by the West in this story to wait until spring. They clearly understand: in the spring, the information campaign pumped up by Westerners will be blown away. They can no longer juggle the topic of “chemical weapons” without presenting the facts – they are pinned to the wall. So they double down.

As for Navalnyi and his supporters, Zakarova was even more direct, saying “stop calling them opposition, they are NATO agents!”.

As I have explained many times, western politicians double down not when they feel strong, they double down when they feel weak and when they place their hopes in the willingness of the other side not to seriously further escalate.

And, just to make sure that the Empire can win the battle for the “hearts and minds” of the Russian people, the Brits are now counting (again) on Pussy Riot to release a song in support of protests. Again, while this does sound like a joke, it is not.

Now comes the best part: there are a lot of signs that the EU will, again under the pious pretext of “solidarity” follow the 3B+PU politicians and, if not recognize such a government in exile, at least treat its members as real officials. That is also supposed to also terrify the Kremlin, I guess. But if that is the best the EU can come up with, VVP and the people of Russia, can sleep in peace.

So where do we go from here?

Making predictions is a tricky thing when dealing with both 1) countries with limited agency/sovereignty and 2) countries led by incompetent/delusional politicians. The many theories of deterrence out there all assume what is called a “rational actor” and a truly sovereign state. What is certain is that the Empire and its EU protectorates will only increase what I call “petty harassment measures” to try to offend and humiliate Russia (stuff like this crap). In response to such “ankle biting” Russia will do two things: drop any pretense of diplomacy and denounce these “ankle bites” for what they are (provocations) and further turn to Zone B (aka “reliable partners”) for partnerships. Russia will also bluntly spell out to the Europeans the risks they are taking with their ill-conceived sabre rattling along the Russian border. Sadly, this probably means that, just as the Chinese Navy recently, the Russian Aerospace Forces and Navies will have order to engage any aircraft or vessel threatening Russia (so far these are only rumors, but they are persistent and seem to have strong backing in the Duma). This is a very dangerous development as western politicians, being primarily ideological (and, therefore, delusional) creatures will always prefer to play a game of (headless) chicken hoping that the other guy will back down. The fact that the “other guy” (both Russian and Chinese) in the past did, indeed, back down and show restraint only further encourages western politicians to double down forever no matter what. For these reasons I would call the probability of an actual military clash between US/NATO and/or Russia/China as “likely in 2021”. As for the future of NS2, I always assumed that EU politicians can count their Euros and realize that the EU needs that project way more than Russia. Frankly, I am not so sure now: counting on the mental abilities of a headless chicken is probably not a good idea! Neither is counting on the courage of the type of politicians whom Boris Johnson once called “supine invertebrate protoplasmic jellies“.

It appears that Russia and the EU are on a direct collision course. Frankly, I welcome it, in spite of the obvious dangers. Why? Because nothing except a real confrontation can bring EU politicians down to the real world back from the La-La land they currently live in. The Russian bear needs to smack down the headless chicken. Hard.

SAA Kills and Injures 16 Turkestan Islamist Party Terrorists North of Hama

ARABI SOURI 

Turkestan Islamist Party terrorist group - Syria - الحزب الاسلامي التركستاني

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) killed and injured 16 terrorists of the Turkestan Islamist Party in the northwestern countryside of Hama, central Syria.

The army units spotted a group of anti-Islamic Turkestan Islamist Party terrorists in the Al-Ghab Valley heading to their makeshift posts to attack Syrian Army posts in the area and targeted them with a guided-missile.

Local sources confirmed the killing of 7 terrorists at least and the injury of 9 others at the time of writing this report.

Turkish Madman Erdogan imported tens of thousands of radical terrorists from regions where his Muslim Brotherhood global radicalization groups operate, mainly in Central Asian countries all the way to the Chinese Xingyang Province of Muslim majority. The Turkestan Islamist Party is one of the backbones of these terrorist groups the Turkish pariah Erdogan uses in his regional influence spreading which spans from west China to Germany and from the Caucasus to north and western African countries.

The Syrian Arab Army and the Russian Aerospace Forces have increased their levels of readiness recently and resumed targeting the posts of terrorist groups sponsored by Turkey and the USA in Idlib and Hama provinces especially after the latest deadly attacks by ISIS and its affiliates against buses in the region. In the past week, the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out successful strikes against command centers, tunnels, and weapons depots in northern Idlib countryside, while the SAA targeted terrorist gatherings in the southern countryside of the province.

Terrorist groups designated as such by the United Nations Security Council are not included in the Moscow, Astana, and Sochi ceasefire agreements in which the Turkish regime of Erdogan is a signatory and he has not only failed to meet his commitments as per these agreements for the past 2 years, he has instead beefed up the terrorist groups operating under his command in northern Syria regions and sent thousands of Turkish army soldiers to serve as human shields between his terrorists and the Syrian Army units on Syrian territories.

Worth noting that Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s secretary of state delisted the Turkistan Islamist Party from the US list of terrorist groups last November 2020, despite the UNSC maintaining them as one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations with terrorist activities in a number of countries.

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Related News

On the rockets that deprive Israeli leaders of sleep: Friedman’s letter to his “dear” Biden عن الصواريخ التي تَحرِم قادة إسرائيل من النوم: رسالة فريدمان إلى «عزيزه» بايدن

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

On the rockets that deprive Israeli leaders of sleep: Friedman’s letter to his “dear” Biden

Image result for وليد شرارة

ِAl-Akhbar

Walid Sharara

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The message from the American journalist, the Zionist ideologues, Thomas Friedman, deserves to be read closely.

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“Dear Joe, it is no longer a matter of Iranian nuclear”

It is not similar to his articles and books, which are fraught with missionary ideology, which is associated with his personal convictions, which have been lied to by subsequent developments as a whole. He probably wishes to forget his untold narratives of “happy globalisation” and the positive and benefits it will bring to the peoples of all the world, which he has compiled in two books: “Lexus and the Olive Tree”, and “The World Is Flat”. This time, in a remarkable article entitled, “Dear Joe, it is no longer a matter of Iranian nuclear”, he does not speak of his whim. Friedman wanted to address the president-elect, an ardent supporter with close and historical ties to the Democratic Party, on behalf of Israel and its support system in the United States, not just the lobby, commissioned or without them. The article – The message is very clear and candid, reinforcing the conviction that the essence of the strategic battle between the U.S.-Israeli alliance and its allies in the region, and between the axis of resistance, and at the heart of it Iran, is the development of its specific missile capabilities and its allies’ help to do the same. Of course, the attempt to prevent Iran from developing scientifically and technologically, particularly in the nuclear field, and as a result of its independent political choices, is among the central objectives of the hostile alliance, as confirmed by the targeting of its scientists and nuclear facilities, but not the first target on its agenda. Precision missiles, or the “game-changer” as used in dozens of Israeli, U.S. and Western reports, are the number one priority on this scale, and are likely to remain so after Biden enters the White House.

If an Arab writer or expert dares to say that Iran’s missile program deprives Israeli military experts of sleep, it will be judged by the “armies of experts and analysts” Arab “realists” as a “media mouthpiece” of resistance. But they will not dare to treat their friend, and in an earlier era, their reference, Thomas Friedman, in the way he writes that “what some Israeli military experts will admit to you is that Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon is not what keeps them awake all night, because they don’t think Tehran will use it, because that would be suicide, and Iran’s religious leaders are not suicide bombers. What worries them is Iran’s new weapons, the precision missiles it used against Saudi Arabia, which continue to try to export them to its proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, posing a deadly threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and U.S. forces in the region.”

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The Zionist-American theorist does not hesitate to describe the Abqaiq attack, which targeted Saudi oil industries with precision guided missiles and Drones, as he claims, which he accuses Iran of direct responsibility for, of “Pearl Harbor Middle East”, and believes that this region has been reconstituted by Iranian missiles and U.S., Israeli and Gulf responses to it. He concludes that the new U.S. president will face enormous pressure not to return to the nuclear deal as originally drafted, to include the missile program in negotiations with Iran, and to use the “power paper” represented by the harsh sanctions imposed on it to bind it by making concessions about it.

The missile program was not put under the microscope at the time of the signing of the nuclear agreement.


Perhaps it should be remembered that Iran’s missile program was not put under the microscope at the time of the signing of the nuclear deal with Iran.

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To appreciate the position that the Obama administration used when it agreed to the original version of this agreement, it was assumed that Iran was suffering because of what looked like the international embargo that was being imposed around it at the time, that it was draining in Syria and Iraq, and that these conditions provided an opportunity to come to terms with it, and that it is not at its peak. However, the major changes that took place in the Syrian arena after the Russian intervention in September 2015, three months after the signing of the agreement, and the subsequent transfer of qualitative military and missile capabilities to Syria, and the Israeli and American attention to the accelerated development of the missile program in Iran, may be one of the most prominent factors explaining the slow lifting of sanctions stipulated in the agreement, and preventing western companies and institutions from opening up to this country and investing in it, because of warnings and pressure from the United States and sometimes public.

Image result for signing of the nuclear deal with Iran

It was these military, technological and field variables that led Donald Trump and his team to withdraw from the agreement and adopt “extreme pressures” against Tehran, without succeeding in halting the quantitative and qualitative growth of its missile arsenal and its allies. How will Biden and his administration deal with the “stubborn” and different realities that prevailed at the time of the signing of the nuclear deal? What is certain is that Israel’s balanced supporters in this team and beyond and in the various institutions of the U.S. state, i.e. the supporting system, will also stay up all night if they have to, to get the president-elect to be tough on Iran’s missile program, whose continued growth leads to a gradual shift in the balance of power to the detriment of Israel and U.S. hegemony in our region.

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عن الصواريخ التي تَحرِم قادة إسرائيل من النوم: رسالة فريدمان إلى «عزيزه» بايدن

Image result for وليد شرارة

الأخبار 

وليد شرارة 

الأربعاء 2 كانون الأول 2020

Image result for Thomas Friedman and joe biden

الرسالة التي وَجّهها الصحافي الأميركي، الصهيوني العقائدي، توماس فريدمان، تستحقّ القراءة بتمعّن. هي لا تشبه مقالاته وكتبه المشحونة بأيديولوجيا تبشيرية، تشي بقناعاته الشخصية، التي كَذّبتها التطوّرات اللاحقة بمجملها. وغالب الظن أنه يتمنّى أن تُنسى سرديّاته المغفلة عن «العولمة السعيدة» وما ستحمله من إيجابيات وفوائد لشعوب العالم قاطبة، والتي جمعها في كتابين: «سيارة ليكسوس وشجرة الزيتون»، و«العالم مسطّح». هذه المرّة، وفي مقال بعنوان لافت، «عزيزي جو، لم يعد الأمر يتعلّق بالنووي الإيراني»، هو لا ينطق عن هواه. أراد فريدمان أن يخاطب الرئيس المنتخَب، وهو من مؤيّديه المتحمّسين ولديه علاقات وثيقة وتاريخية بالحزب الديمقراطي، نيابةً عن إسرائيل والمنظومة الداعمة لها في الولايات المتحدة، وليس مجرّد اللوبي، بتكليف منهما أو من دونه. المقال – الرسالة شديد الوضوح والصراحة، ويعزّز القناعة بأن جوهر المعركة الاستراتيجية الدائرة بين التحالف الأميركي – الإسرائيلي وأذنابه في المنطقة، وبين محور المقاومة، وفي القلب منه إيران، هو تطوير الأخيرة لقدراتها الصاروخية النوعية ومساعدتها حلفاءَها على القيام بالأمر عينه. بطبيعة الحال، فإن محاولة منع إيران من التطوّر علمياً وتكنولوجياً، خاصة في الميدان النووي، ونتيجة لخياراتها السياسية الاستقلالية، هي بين الأهداف المركزية للتحالف المعادي، وهو ما يؤكده استهداف علمائها ومنشآتها النووية، لكنه ليس الهدف الأول المدرَج على جدول أعماله. الصواريخ الدقيقة، أو «العامل المُغيِّر لقواعد اللعبة» حسب التعبير المستخدَم في عشرات التقارير الإسرائيلية والأميركية والغربية، هي الأولوية الأولى على هذا الجدول، ومن المرجّح أن تبقى كذلك بعد دخول بايدن إلى البيت الأبيض.

لو تَجرّأ كاتب أو خبير عربي على القول إن البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني يَحرم الخبراء العسكريين الإسرائيليين من النوم، لانهال عليه التقريظ والتسخيف من قِبَل «جيوش الخبراء والمحلّلين» العرب «الواقعيين»، باعتباره «بوقاً إعلامياً» للممانعة. لكنّ هؤلاء لن يتجرّأوا على معاملة صديقهم، وفي حقبة سابقة مرجعهم، توماس فريدمان، بالطريقة إيّاها عندما يكتب أن «ما سيعترف به أمامكم بعض الخبراء العسكريين الإسرائيليين هو أن امتلاك إيران لسلاح نووي ليس ما يُبقيهم مستيقظين طيلة الليل، لأنهم لا يعتقدون أن طهران ستستخدمه، لأن ذلك سيكون انتحاراً، والزعماء الدينيون في إيران ليسوا انتحاريين. ما يُقلقهم هو أسلحة إيران الجديدة المفضّلة، أي الصواريخ الدقيقة التي استخدمتها ضدّ السعودية، والتي تواصل محاولة تصديرها إلى وكلائها في لبنان واليمن وسوريا والعراق، ما يشكّل تهديداً قاتلاً لإسرائيل والسعودية والإمارات والقوات الأميركية في المنطقة».

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لا يَتردّد المنظّر الصهيوني – الأميركي في وصف هجوم أبقيق، الذي استهدف صناعات النفط السعودية بصواريخ مُوجّهة دقيقة ومسيّرات، وفقاً لزعمه، والذي يتّهم إيران بالمسؤولية المباشرة عنه، بـ«بيرل هاربر الشرق الأوسط»، ويرى أن هذه المنطقة أعيد تشكيلها من خلال الصواريخ الإيرانية والردود الأميركية والإسرائيلية والخليجية عليها. هو يَخلُص إلى أن الرئيس الأميركي الجديد سيواجه ضغوطاً هائلة لعدم العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي بصيغته الأصلية، ولإدراج البرنامج الصاروخي في المفاوضات مع إيران، وتوظيف «ورقة القوة» التي تُمثّلها العقوبات القاسية المفروضة عليها لإلزامها بتقديم تنازلات حوله.

البرنامج الصاروخي لم يكن قد وُضع تحت المجهر إبّان فترة التوقيع على الاتفاق النووي


ربّما ينبغي التذكير بأن البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني لم يكن قد وُضع تحت المجهر في الفترة التي تمّ التوقيع خلالها على الاتفاق النووي مع إيران.

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تقدير الموقف الذي استندت إليه إدارة باراك أوباما عندما وافقت على الصيغة الأصلية لهذا الاتفاق، كان يَفترض أن إيران تعاني بسبب ما يشبه الحصار الدولي المضروب حولها آنذاك، وأنها تُستنزف في سوريا والعراق، وأن هذه الظروف تُوفّر فرصة سانحة للتفاهم معها، وهي ليست في أوج قوتها. غير أن المتغيّرات الكبرى التي شهدتها الساحة السورية بعد التدخل الروسي في أيلول/ سبتمبر 2015، أي 3 أشهر بعد توقيع الاتفاق، وما تلاها من عملية نقل لقدرات عسكرية وصاروخية نوعية إلى سوريا، والالتفات الإسرائيلي والأميركي إلى تسارع تطوير البرنامج الصاروخي في إيران، قد تكون من أبرز العوامل التي تُفسّر تباطؤ رفع العقوبات التي نصّ عليها الاتفاق، والحؤول دون قيام شركات ومؤسسات غربية وغير غربية بالانفتاح على هذا البلد والاستثمار فيه، بسبب تحذيرات وضغوط أميركية مبطّنة وأحياناً علنية.

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هذه المتغيّرات العسكرية والتكنولوجية والميدانية هي التي حدت بدونالد ترامب وفريقه إلى الانسحاب من الاتفاق واعتماد «الضغوط القصوى» ضدّ طهران، من دون النجاح في وقف النموّ الكمّي والنوعي للترسانة الصاروخية لديها ولدى حلفائها. كيف سيتعامل بايدن وإدارته مع الوقائع «العنيدة» والمغايرة لتلك التي سادت في فترة توقيع الاتفاق النووي؟ المؤكد هو أن أنصار إسرائيل الوازنين في هذا الفريق وخارجه وفي مختلف مؤسسات الدولة الأميركية، أي المنظومة الداعمة لها، سيبقون بدورهم مستيقظين طيلة الليل إن اضطرّوا لذلك، لحمل الرئيس المنتخَب على التشدّد حيال برنامج إيران الصاروخي، الذي يفضي نموّه المستمرّ إلى تحوّل تدريجي في موازين القوى لغير مصلحة إسرائيل والهيمنة الأميركية في منطقتنا.

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The 1776 Commission Repor

31 January 2021)

by Lawrence Davidson

About me
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

Part I—National Ideals

One of Donald Trump’s efforts to restructure, or maybe de-structure, the U.S. was the establishment of a 1776 Commission. Its job was to recast American history in an extravagantly patriotic fashion so as to assert U.S. exceptionalism. There is a Platonic correlate to this: the ideal is more real than the actual. Thus, ideals laid down in the nation’s founding documents are presented as more real, more instructive, than actual policies of U.S. national and state governments, and the behavior of their citizens.

The actual Donald Trump, of course, does not care about history, of which he knows little. Maybe that is why he did not bother to put any professional historians of U.S. history on the commission. But as president, he knew who his allies were, and if they wanted to prioritize myth and canonize ideals, it was all right with him. And so the major premise of the 1776 Report is that the United States was founded upon, and remains an expression of, “universal and eternal principles.” For instance, the Declaration of Independence’s assertion “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” would be one such.

As far as the report’s authors are concerned, these basic yet universal “founding principles” of the nation should be front and center in the teaching of national history. The authors are angered by the fact that, in their eyes, this is not being done. Quite the opposite. They believe that what is being taught are the shortfalls from such eternal ideals. How is that a problem? Well, to dwell on the actual, inequitable and often unjust national behavior of Americans is to undermine the unity of the nation and bring low its image. And, for the 1776 Report authors, that is not what education is all about.

Part II—Education

The authors of the 1776 Report believe that “the primary duties of schools are twofold: 1. teach students “practical wisdom.” That is, teach “the basic skills needed to function in society, such as reading, writing, and mathematics.” In other words, education should prepare the student for the job market. This has actually been a recognized goal of schooling since children ceased following in the careers of their parents and home-learned skills consequently no longer sufficed.

Then there is the other “essential” goal of schools: 2. the passing on of “transcendent knowledge.” This too is a
long-recognized goal which, the report says, was endorsed by the founding fathers of the nation. “Educators must convey a sense of enlightened patriotism that equips each generation with a knowledge of America’s founding principles, a deep reverence for their liberties, and a profound love of their country.” Put the two educational goals together and you get the transmission of “transcendent knowledge and practical wisdom that had been passed down for generations and which aimed to develop the character and intellect of the student.”

For the authors, all of this sums to nothing less than “teaching the truth about America.” To be clear, the authors of the report do not want us to so much ignore “the faults of our past” as to “stand up to the petty tyrants in every sphere who demand that we speak only of America’s sins while denying her greatness.” It should be noted that the authors do not address the problem that for those born and bred in poverty, say either in Harlem or Appalachia, the nation’s greatness might not be so real.

Part III—Universal and Eternal Tenets?

The report’s repeated use of the words “universal and eternal,” along with “transcendent,” in describing the founding documents of the United States, transforms those documents into sacred texts existing beyond critique. To use such “eternal” references as teaching points—as necessary attributes of what is really “true” about the United States—is to trade history for a semi-religious faith. Granted, this sort of substitution is not original to American conservatives. However, in this case, one gets a strong impression upon reading the 1776 Report that the hidden message is the cultural and religious superiority of a white Christian version of America.

You don’t have to be a professional historian to recognize that there is no perfection in human history, America’s or anybody else’s. There are no eternal and universal tenets, either, when seen in the light of actual historical events. For example, the alleged “eternal and universal” rights to “liberty and happiness” had not been recognized, at least not formally, in thousands of years of human history prior to 1776, and even then, in the emerging United States, they proved immediately unachievable.

As the report concedes, the “eternal” principle cited above from the Declaration of Independence had to be set aside in 1776 just to keep the thirteen confederated American states together. That was done specifically in reference to slavery. The founding fathers were able to find the necessary escape clause in another, more pragmatic, but still semi-sacred principle that the government should be based on the consent of the governed. It turned out that a lot of the (white) governed favored slavery.

It is in this way that the 1776 Report gets off on an illogical and ahistorical foot. Its authors confuse “transcendent” things wished for with things as they have historically been and continue to be. They can do this because, in the end, they believe in the following Platonic-like maxim: “We must first avoid an all-too-common mistake. It is wrong to think of history by itself as the standard for judgment. The standard is set by focusing on unchanging principles that transcend history.”

Part IV—Progressive Enemies

Who actually believes that we should make judgments on the basis of actual history while ignoring the “the unchanging principles” that supposedly “transcend history”? It turns to be the same “petty tyrants” who “speak only of America’s sins while denying her greatness.” Specifically, the 1776 Report points to “progressive reformers” who are also mixed together with “activists of identity politics.” But aren’t these the folks who demand change so that the United States might more closely conform to its ideals? Not according to those who say history is not a good standard for judgment.

For the report’s authors the progressive reformers’ approach is just a hunt for someone to blame for social ills. And the hunt divides Americans into “oppressed and oppressor groups.” As an aside, one might point out that long-term injustice resulting from institutionalized social ills inevitably does the same thing. The report claims that the real aim of the progressives is to make the original oppressed into new oppressors, and the former oppressors into new oppressed. While one can imagine such a flip taking place against the backdrop of revolutionary upheaval, to assign such a reversal to “progressive reformers,” most of whom seek not revolution but rather policy reforms, is gross exaggeration.

If the report’s authors are afraid of reform, what do they have to offer in its place? As best I can make out, they want us all to be patient and nice to each other because the “American people have ever pursued freedom and justice, though not perfectly.” If we really have faith in the nation’s “eternal and universal” ideals, things should work out in the end. What if this seems to take forever? Well, it might be that the imperfection has no real cure and so it must be accepted and lived with lest attempts at reform lead to the destruction of society—echos of Edmund Burke.

Part V—Other Problems

There are other problems with the report. Here are just some of them:

—The report tells us that for a republic to endure, the people must “share a commonality in manners, customs, language and dedication to the common good.” But, of course, the United States has never been such a place. It has always been a land of immigrants with a constant underpinning of many manners, customs and languages. As for the common good, there has never been any agreement on that. While the report claims that “the Constitution has proven sturdy against narrow interest groups,” this is simply inaccurate. The nation’s governing practices rest on a longstanding, if often corrupt, foundation of interest group politics.

— The report’s authors make the common historical mistake of pointing fingers at the British crown, that is, King George III, for the “tyranny” to which the colonies were allegedly subjected. But in 1776, for all practical purposes, the king did not make policy for the British Empire. Parliament did that. The founding fathers decided it would be too awkward to blame a representative body, somewhat similar to the one they were going to create, of the crime of “tyranny.” So they blamed the monarch.

—Then there is the ahistorical assertion that “the world is still and always will be divided into nations.” Gee whizz! What about all those multicultural empires both of the past and present? What of the constant fluctuation of boundaries? Look at all the peoples once encapsulated within the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, or more recently the Soviet Union and China.

—Finally, there is the problematic statement, “the right to keep and bear arms is required by the natural and fundamental right to life.” Well, perhaps, if we were all living in a Hobbesian jungle. This, along with praise for the anti-abortion cause, certainly confirms where on the political spectrum the authors of the 1776 Report are coming from.

Part VI—Conclusion

There has been much criticism of the 1776 Commission and its conclusions. Newly elected President Joe Biden did away with the commission on his first day in office and removed its report from government websites. His spokesperson observed that it “erased” America’s history of racial injustice. Well, perhaps it hadn’t erase it, but it certainly equivocated about it.

It should be noted that some of this criticism was nearly as naive as the report’s conclusions. For instance, David Blight, a Civil War historian from Yale, said that the report was “an insult to the whole enterprise of education” which “is supposed to help young people to learn to think critically.” Perhaps that is Professor Blight’s educational purpose, and all the more power to him. However, both historically and contemporaneously, the “enterprise of education” has never given more than lip-service to such a goal. Maybe this is because independent and critically thinking kids scare their parents.

Finally, as an indicator of the nation’s deep divide, both supporters and opponents of the report accused the other of coming from “ideologically driven positions” and aiming at producing “political propaganda.” Such mutual recriminations are by now part and parcel of a larger social civil war.

US House: Trump Singularly Responsible for Capitol Assault, Should Be Convicted

US House: Trump Singularly Responsible for Capitol Assault, Should Be Convicted

By Staff, Agencies

The House of Representatives impeachment managers have filed a lengthy pretrial brief, saying former President Donald Trump was “singularly responsible” for the assault on the Capitol last month and that he should be convicted.

The House impeached the ex-president over his role in the invasion on January 6 that left five people dead, including a member of law enforcement.

Trump was blamed for inciting an insurrection when the lawmakers were busy certifying the victory of Joe Biden in the November 3 election.

The House introduced an article of impeachment to the Senate late last month.

In an 80-page brief filed on Tuesday, the impeachment managers – nine House Democrats led by Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin –  outlined the arguments they planned to make when the Senate trial opens next week, arguing that Trump should be barred from holding public office.

“President Trump incited a violent mob to attack the United States Capitol during the Joint Session, thus impeding Congress’s confirmation of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. as the winner of the presidential election,” the House brief reads.

“The framers of the Constitution feared a president who would corrupt his office by sparing ‘no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected,’” wrote the nine House Democrats, quoting directly from the 1787 debate in Philadelphia.

“If provoking an insurrectionary riot against a joint session of Congress after losing an election is not an impeachable offense, it is hard to imagine what would be.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s legal team responded to the charges against him, arguing that the Senate “lacks jurisdiction” to try a former president.

“The Senate of the United States lacks jurisdiction over the 45th president because he holds no public office from which he can be removed, rendering the article of impeachment moot and a non-justiciable question,” the lawyers, Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Schoen, wrote in their 14-page response.

The lawyers also asserted that Trump believed he “won it by a landslide,” and, thus, was within his First Amendment rights to “express his belief that the election results were suspect.”

Trump had told his supporters, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” His lawyers, however, said such remarks were not meant as a call to violent action, but were “about the need to fight for election security in general.”

Trump’s assertions about the election results could not be disproved, the lawyers added, because there was “insufficient evidence.”

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