A Severe Blow to the CIA: Iraqi Security Captures 25 ISIS Terrorists

OCTOBER 1, 2021

 ARABI SOURI

Iraqi National Security Service forces arrest ISIS terrorists

In a severe blow to the destabilizing and terrorism sponsored by the CIA and its affiliates, the Iraqi security forces captured 25 terrorists all from the US-sponsored ISIS terrorist organization in several provinces.

Iraqi National Security Service forces managed to arrest 25 terrorists in a security operation that lasted several days in the so-called states of Nineveh, Dajleh (Tigris), Jazira, and Salah al-Din of ISIS. The terrorist organization calls itself (Islamist State in Iraq and Sham – Levant), and calls the sectors in which it operates as states following the lead of the ‘state of Israel’.

The Iraqi official media reporting the news said that the detainees confessed to being members of the terrorist organization and that they have committed a number of crimes against the civilians and Iraqi forces, adding that ‘all the terrorists were referred to the competent legal authorities to take fair measures against them.’


As the US and Turkey are recycling their terrorists from Iraq and Syria to other new fronts like the newly opened in Afghanistan, the Iraqi security in coordination with the Iraqi PMU have intensified their counter-terrorism operations. A joint force of the Popular Mobilization Units and the Iraqi security forces carried out a pre-emptive security operation to pursue the remnants of the ISIS organization on the island of Salah al-Din, where several dens and tunnels that were used by the organization’s members to hide and move on the island were destroyed.

This comes three days after a security operation carried out by the Iraqi PMU in coordination with the Iraqi National Security Service forces led to the eliminating of two ISIS terrorists in the Tarmiyah town in the Salah al-Din governorate north of the capital Baghdad, one of the eliminated ISIS terrorists was a suicide bomber.

It’s no secret anymore that the USA created these terrorist groups starting with the ‘Mujahideen’ in Afghanistan from who Al Qaeda emerged in the 80s of last century and it created the ISIS terrorist group where it trained them in special camps in Jordan and Turkey, and smuggled them into Syria and Iraq loaded with state of the art weapons, satellite communication devices, hundreds of machine-gun mounted brand new 4 x 4 Toyota pickup trucks, and provided them with top intelligence information to effect regime change in Syria and to return to Iraq after the withdrawal of the US troops from it.

Former US Secretary of State, the dinosaur politician traveling in his private jet preaching about the dangers of climate change John Kerry put it during a meeting with the so-called Syrian opposition leaders this way: ‘We saw ISIS growing, we saw them heading to Damascus, we thought Assad will be pressured to give (us) concessions, and instead, he (Assad) brought Russia in and now it’s a different situation.

We saw ISIS growing and threatening Assad, he called in Russia and it’s a different situation now.’ ~John Kerry, he’s not in prison!

Now you know why Trump killed Iranian Revered General Qassim Soleimani and Deputy Commander of the Iraqi PMU Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis?

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عالم متحوّل… «إسرائيل» مجرد حاجز طيار وكيانات البترودولار ستختفي قريباً

 محمد صادق الحسيني

الخبر الآن هو سحب واشنطن لبطاريات پاتريوت من السعودية على رغم تزايد هجومات أنصار الله عليها.

‏ وأنّ الأميركيين يغادرون المنطقة نهائياً وإن بالتدريج على رغم خطورة التحولات.

ويقولون للعرب كما لليهود:

‏دبّروا حالكم بأنفسكم وكل واحد يقلع شوكه بأظافره…

البداية من أفغانستان والأمر سارٍ على سائر البلدان، وكذلك لبنان.

‏هذا هو لسان حال الدوائر الأميركية لمن يقرأ جيداً، الموازين في الميدان والتقارير في الكواليس.

والتي تقول :لن يطول الزمان الذي ستصبح فيه حتى القاعدة الأميركية المتقدمة المقامة على اليابسة الفلسطينية والتي اسمها «إسرائيل»، إلا وتكون على جدول الإغلاق مثلها مثل مئات القواعد الأميركية المنتشرة في العالم، وذلك في إطار تطبيق برنامج أو خطة أميركا أولاً..!

‏الكيان إلى زوال إذن ولو بعد لأي.

 وإمارات النفط والغاز والبنزين تختفي قريباً من خريطة الوطن العربي، بخاصة بعد تقرير اقتصادي للأمم المتحدة يتوقع إفلاسها في عام 2024.

وما سيسرع في ذلك انتهاء وظيفتها الكيانية التي استحدثت من أجلها.

باختصار مكثف: أميركا إذن تقرر تغيير عقيدتها العسكرية للمرة الأولى منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية. وتأخذ قرارها النهائي بسحب عديدها وعتادها من مراكز الانتشار العالمي لإعادة الحياة إلى دورة الاقتصاد الأميركي الداخلية الكاسدة.

والصين في المقابل تتقدّم بخطى حثيثة بناء على رؤية استراتيجية ثاقبة لوصل شرق الصين بشرق المتوسط بطريق سريع يمرّ عبر أفغانستان وإيران من دون وجود عسكري غربي.

في هذه الأثناء نشرت وكالة «أسوشيتد برس»: صوراً فضائية قبل أيام تظهر سحب واشنطن منظومات «باتريوت» من السعودية على رغم تواصل الهجمات من اليمن كما أشرنا.

من جهة أخرى فقد علم من مصادر أوروبية استخبارية رفيعة، بأن واشنطن أبلغت الدوحة قبل أيام عبر وزير خارجيتها بلينكن، بأنّ ملف أفغانستان سيتمّ نقله بالكامل إلى ألمانيا، وأنّ دور الدوحة سيتحول إلى دور لوجيستي محض.

واشنطن هذه كانت قد أبلغت تل أبيب عبر وزير خارجيتها بينيت وغيره بأنها لم تعد مهتمة في أي خطط قد تفكر بها تل أبيب ضد طهران أو سورية أو حتى لبنان، فهي لديها ما يكفيها من مشاكل داخلية ودولية، وتتجه بقوة نحو مضيق «مالاقا» وبحر الصين.

إن أسباب ما ذكر أعلاه يمكن وضعه في تقدير الموقف الذي يستنتجه كل من يطالع بدقة التقارير التي يتم تداولها في الكواليس والأروقة الخلفية على المستوى الدولي والتي تؤكد ما يلي:

1 ـ كان قرار القوى الخفية، التي قررت أن ترشح ترامب إلى الرئاسه يتلخص في استخدامه لإنهاء الوجود العسكري الأميركي في أفغانستان و»الشرق الأوسط» أولاً ومن مناطق أخرى في العالم لاحقاً بعد هزيمتها في كل الحروب التي شنتها منذ ما بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية.

2 ـ فشل ترامب في ذلك بسبب ضغوط مجموعات الضغط اليهوديه في أميركا، ومنعه من ذلك بحجة الخوف على أمن «اسرائيل».

3 ـ لكنه بقي مصراً على تنفيذ الانسحابات وهو يسألهم عما تريده «إسرائيل» لضمان أمنها ؟ فجاء الجواب: تطبيع مع الدول العربية/ اعتراف أميركا بيهودية الدولة/ نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس/ الاعتراف بضم الجولان.

4 ـ تمّ ذلك ولكن القوى الخفية لم تتراجع عن قرار تصفية الوجود العسكري الأميركي تدريجياً في «الشرق الأوسط»/ غرب آسيا.

من هنا جاء تنفيذ قرار الانسحاب من أفغانستان على يد بايدن، الذي وصل إلى الحكم بموافقة نفس القوى الخفية التي جاءت بترامب.

5 ـ لا تراجع عن هذا القرار لأسباب استراتيجية تتعلق بالأمن القومي الأميركي على صعيد الصراع الدولي بين القوى العظمى.

6 ـ إذ إنّ الصراع لم يعد يقتصر على النواحي العسكرية وإنما اتخذ شكلاً اقتصادياً أكثر أهمية من الفترات السابقة.

فالصراع أصلاً اقتصادياً ينتج منه الصراع السياسي الذي يتحول، عند استحالة حسمه سياسياً إلى صراع عسكري…

هذا ما عرفه الجنرال الألماني كارل فون كلاوسيڤيتس بالقول «إنّ الحرب هي استمرار للسياسة بأدوات أخرى».

7 ـ إذن الصراع الاقتصادي الدائر بين روسيا والصين هو صراع وجودي بالنسبة لواشنطن. إذ لا يمكن لأميركا منافسة الصين اقتصادياً، على الصعيد الدولي بسبب شحّ الأموال الأميركية (النقدية) وتوفرها مع الذهب لدى الصين وروسيا والجزائر وإيران.

أي أن القوة العسكرية الأميركية لم تعد قادرة على تأمين المصالح الأميركيه من دون استثمارات أميركية ضخمة، كتلك التي قامت بها واشنطن بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، أي خطة مارشال لإعادة إعمار أوروبا، والتي أدّت إلى استحواذ رأس المال الأميركي على ما يقارب 40 في المئة من الاقتصاد الأوروبي. وهذا هو سر سيطرة واشنطن على قرار أوروبا/ بواجهة حلف شمال الأطلسي.

8 ـ إذن لا بدّ لأميركا من إعادة بناء البنى التحتية الأميركية، بما في ذلك البنى التحتية العلمية والتكنولوجية، حتى تتمكن من الصمود، إلى حد ما، أمام التحدي الروسي الصيني الذي بات يفوقها بمراتب، والذي ستنضمّ إليه الهند، مضطرةً، في القريب من السنوات. وهذا يتطلب تقليص الوجود العسكري الأميركي في العالم.

 إنّ مجموع هذه التحولات الكبرى هي من سيسرّع في ضمور دور الحاجز الإسرائيلي الطيار، المقام على أرض فلسطين أولاً ومن ثم زواله في أقرب الآجال.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

لعنة فلسطين تصيب حركة الإخوان والدائرين في فلكها بالمنطقة


الجمعة 10 أيلول 2021


الجمعة 10 أيلول 2021


خسارة مدوّية لـ«العدالة والتنمية» المغربي و«لعنة فلسطين» أصابت العثماني

لعنة فلسطين تصيب العثماني ونتيجة طبيعية لمن يتخلى

علّق رئيس حركة “مجتمع السلم” في الجزائر، عبد الرزاق مقري، أمس، على نتائج الانتخابات التشريعيات المغربية والتي تذيّل فيها حزب “العدالة والتنمية” الترتيب، بالقول إنّ “لعنة فلسطين أصابة العثماني وحزبه”.

وجاء في منشور لرئيس حركة مجتمع السلم عبر حسابه على “فيسبوك” أنّ “لعنة فلسطين تصيب سعد الدين العثماني والعدالة والتنمية في المغرب عبرة لمن يريد أن يعتبر”.

كما اعتبر مقري أنّ “الخسارة بالتزوير الانتخابي أفضل من الخسارة المهينة في حضن الفساد والعمالة”، قائلاً  إنهم “يحاربون الإسلاميين من أجل مبادئهم، فإن دجنوهم وتركوا مبادئهم، ينهونهم بشكل أو بآخر”.

فيما دعا عبد الإله بنكيران، الأمين العام السابق لحزب “العدالة والتنمية” المغربي (قائد الائتلاف الحكومي المنتهية ولايته)، أمس، إلى استقالة أمينه العام الحالي سعد الدين العثماني، إثر “هزيمة مؤلمة” للحزب في انتخابات برلمانية أُجريت أول أمس.

وللمرة الأولى في تاريخ المملكة، ترأس “العدالة والتنمية” (مرجعية إسلامية) الحكومة منذ 2011، إثر فوزه في انتخابات ذلك العام، وما تلتها في 2016.

لكن بعد فرز 96 في المئة من أصوات انتخابات الأربعاء، حلّ الحزب في المرتبة الثامنة بحصوله على 12 مقعداً فقط (من أصل 395)، مقارنة بـ125 حصدها في انتخابات 2016  بحيث خسر 113 مقعداً.

وبلغت نسبة المشاركة في انتخابات برلمانية وبلدية متزامنة، أول أمس، 50.18 في المئة، وفق وزارة الداخلية.


الهزيمة الثقيلة لـ”العدالة والتنمية” في المغرب.. وقفات ورسائل


الجمعة 10 أيلول 2021

المصدر: الميادين نت

شرحبيل الغريب

يغادر حزب العدالة والتنمية الحُكم مجلَّلاً بعار التطبيع مع “إسرائيل”، بعد أن قدَّم فقهَ المصالح على فقه المبادئ.

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سجَّلت نتائج الانتخابات البرلمانية المغربية سقوطاً مدوّياً، وهزيمة سياسية مؤلمة لحزب العدالة والتنمية المغربي، وأظهرت احتفاظه بــ (12) مقعداً فقط من أصل (125) مقعداً فاز فيها في آخر انتخابات جرت عام 2016. في المقابل، اكتسح حزب التجمع الوطني للأحرار، محقّقاً (97) مقعداً، يليه حزب الأصالة والمعاصرة في المرتبة الثانية، وحصل على (82) مقعداً، تلاهما حزب الاستقلال في المرتبة الثالثة، حاصداً (78) مقعداً. 

لم يتوقَّع أحد أن تكون الهزيمة وَفْقَ هذه الصورة، وخصوصاً أن كلَّ التوقعات كانت تشير إلى أن العدالة والتنمية سيتراجع إلى حدّ ما، وقد لا يتمكّن من الاستمرار في تشكيل الحكومة. لكن، مع هذه النتائج، بات حزب العدالة والتنمية خارج المشهد السياسي في المغرب، بعد سنوات طويلة من سيطرته على البرلمان والحكومة، حتى إن أمينه العام لم يتمكّن من الاحتفاظ بمقعده البرلماني على الأقل. 

علينا أن نتوقَّف أمام المشهد المغربي وقراءته بعمق أكثر، وتفسير النتائج التي أفرزتها الانتخابات المغربية، والعوامل التي أوصلت العدالة والتنمية إلى هذه الانتكاسة. ووفق إجماع كثيرين، فإن السبب الحقيقي في هذه النتائج لم يكن وليدّ اللحظة، بل جاء نتيجة صيغة تراكمية، بدءاً بالتقصير في ملفات داخلية ذات أهمية للمواطن المغربي، تتعلّق بالصحة والتعليم والاقتصاد، وانتهاءً بالقشّة التي قصمت ظَهر البعير، أي “خطيئة التطبيع”، والتي رعاها حزب العدالة والتنمية، أو بشكل أدق جريمة التطبيع التي ورَّطَ فيها الدولةَ العميقة في المغرب، ومباركة سعد الدين العثماني للتطبيع، ورضوخه لتوجيهات الملك المغربي محمد السادس بشأن توقيع الاتفاقية المشؤومة.

شكَّلت هذه الخطوة السياسية (أي توقيع اتفاقية التطبيع) الضربة الموجعة للعدالة والتنمية المغربي، بعد أن اتَّضحت حالة التناقض الكبيرة بين تصريحات قادته والمواقف العملية، والتي أظهرت أزمة هوية حقيقية داخل الحزب الذي ارتضى لنفسه أن يكون أداة في يد الملك، ورفع شعار التطبيع من أجل فلسطين، حتى أصبح، في نظر المغاربة، حزب “عرّاب التطبيع” الذي تنازل عن قيم قاعدته الشعبية ومكانة فلسطين في قلوب المغاربة، فاستوجب العقاب من النواة الصلبة للحزب أولاً، ثم كان خيار المغاربة خيارَ التصويت العقابي، وصولاً إلى الخسارة الفادحة.

شهد حزب العدالة والتنمية المغربي مؤخَّراً هزّات داخلية كبيرة، دفعته إلى إطلاق حوار من أجل إيجاد إجابات بشأن القرارات الأخيرة التي اتُّخِذت. وزاد توقيع رئيس الحكومة المغربية والأمين العام للحزب، سعد الدين العثماني، على اتفاق تطبيع العلاقات مع “إسرائيل”، في حدّتها على الصعيد الداخلي.

ثمة وقفات ودلالات كثيرة تُسجَّل أمام مشهد نتائج الانتخابات البرلمانية المغربية المتوقَّعة. ولا شكّ في أن الهزيمة الثقيلة، والتي لحقت بحزب العدالة والتنمية المغربي، هي انعكاس طبيعي للأسباب والدوافع الداخلية والخارجية الكثيرة. فمثل هذه الواقعة يستوجب الدراسة الواعية والمراجَعة لما بات يُعرَف بالثنائيات المتناقضة.

الأسباب كثيرة وراء انتكاسة العدالة والتنمية. وانطلاقاً من العوامل والدوافع، يسجِّل المشهد علامات كثيرة، أبرزها اتخاذ المواطن المغربي سلوكَ التصويت العقابي لأداء الحكومة على مدى عشر سنوات، وحالة الانتقادات الكبيرة للأداء الاقتصادي الحكومي داخل المغرب، واتخاذ منطلقات وقرارات أحادية داخل الحكومة لا تتَّسق مع التوجهات الأساسية للحزب، الذي يحظى بشعبية على أساسها، كالموافقة على تشريع القنّب الهندي للأغراض الطبية والصناعية، والذي ترتّبت عليه أزمة داخل الحزب، أدّت إلى استقالة رئيس الوزراء المغربي السابق عبد الإله بن كيران، وتجميد عضويته في الحزب. 

يُضاف إلى ذلك أن التعديلات التي جرت مؤخَّراً على قانون الانتخابات لم تكن في مصلحة الحزب، وكذلك الرضا بسياسة الاستعمال من جانب الديوان الملكي، والرضا بسياسة التماهي بديلاً عن سياسة المبادئ والثوابت، وانتهاج سياسة التبرير للقرارات المتخَذة، وغياب الخطط والبرامج، وتقديم سياسة الاستحواذ بديلاً عن سياسة الشراكة والمشاركة مع الأطراف الأخرى. والأسباب كثيرة لا مجال لحصرها. فكل ذلك جعل المشهد الداخلي للحزب، والمشهد الشعبي المغربي، يشكّلان صورة نمطية تعكس حالة عدم رضا، ووجود توجّهات جديدة في المشهد المغربي.

وجود أي حزب سياسي داخل السلطة أصبح اليوم مرتبطاً بثلاث قضايا أساسية، أُوْلاها المحافظة على المبادئ والثوابت، ثم القدرة على الاستجابة للمطالب الاجتماعية والاقتصادية، ثم الاقتناع الشعبي بشرعية الإنجاز من عدمها. وقتها، تحسم صناديق الاقتراع إلى أي جهة ستذهب الأصوات.

غرَّرت الإدارة الأميركية السابقة، بزعامة دونالد ترامب، بحزب العدالة الحاكم في المغرب، بشأن الاعتراف بالسيادة على الصحراء المغربية، وبعض من الامتيازات، في مقابل رشوة التطبيع. والحقيقة اليوم أن ما قبل نتائج الانتخابات البرلمانية المغربية ليس كما بعدها، فلقد سقط ترامب، وسقط العدالة والتنمية، وبقيت الصحراء الغربية منطقة متنازَعاً عليها.

يغادر حزب العدالة والتنمية الحُكم مجلَّلاً بعار التطبيع مع “إسرائيل”، بعد أن قدَّم فقهَ المصالح على فقه المبادئ. وهذه هي الحقيقة الواضحة والأبرز في المشهد المغربي، على الرغم من التفاصيل الأخرى التي يجب أن يقرّ بها كل أعضاء الحزب المغربي، بعيداً عن نظرية المؤامرة، والتي يحاول البعض استحضارها لتبرير الفشل، فالسُّنن لا تحابي ولا تجامل من ارتضى أن يتنازل عن قدسية القضية الفلسطينية من أجل وعود أميركية قطعها ترامب آنذاك، كما لا يمكن تبرير جريمة كجريمة التطبيع، تحت أيّ ظرف وزمان.

سقط اليوم حزب العدالة في الانتخابات البرلمانية بعد سقوطه في وَحْل التطبيع. فهذه الخسارة حتمية لكل مَن تسوّل له نفسه أن يبيع القضية الفلسطينية، أو أن يبيع أمانة الشعوب التي ائتُمِنَ عليها، ويطبّع مع “إسرائيل”. فالشعوب لا تنسى ولا تغفر لأي قوة سياسية، مهما كان لونها، أن تبيع فلسطين ومبادئ أمتها وشعوبها. فثبات العمل يكون في القيم والمبادئ والمنطلقات، حتى تبلغ الأهداف. 

يتوجب على حزب العدالة والتنمية المغربي الاعتراف بالهزيمة، واستخلاص العِبَر من النتائج، وإعادة قراءة المشهد بطريقة مغايرة. فهذه النتيجة تضع حزب العدالة والتنمية أمام مفترق طرق حقيقي: إمّا الاندثار، وإمّا الإقرار بالأخطاء السابقة، بهدف تصويب المسار، سواء على الصعيد الداخلي، أو حتى الخارجي، تجاه القضايا الثابتة. فتجربة المغرب تقول، بوضوح، إن الشعوب العربية حيّة، ولديها انتماء كبير إلى قضيتها الكبرى فلسطين، وإنها تحاسب مَن تسوّل له نفسه المَسّ بها. ففلسطين الرافعة الخافضة، ومن يلعب بالثوابت فهو المتغيّر، لا محالة.

أمّا تداعيات المشهد الجديد في المغرب، وصعود التجمع الوطني للأحرار، أو، كما يقال، الحزب الأكثر قرباً إلى ملك المغرب، بالإضافة إلى الأحزاب الأخرى التي حصدت مقاعد، كحزب الاستقلال، فستُعيد تشكيل المشهد على وجه مُغاير لما كانت عليه السنوات العشر الماضية داخلياً. ولا يجب المبالغة كثيراً أمام تحديات داخلية يعيشها المغرب بفعل أزمات اقتصادية وأزمة “كورونا” وغيرها. أمّا السياسة الخارجية للمغرب فستبقى في يد الملك، ولن تتغير كثيراً تجاه القضايا الجوهرية في المنطقة، ولاسيما تجاه قضية التطبيع مع “إسرائيل”، أو التراجع عنها، أو حتى تجاه القضية الفلسطينية بصورة أساسية. 

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العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي… بلا شروط

 ناصر قنديل

  رغم الكلام الفارغ الصادر عن المسؤولين الأميركيين، تحت عنوان أنّ واشنطن لن تواصل التفاوض حول الملف النووي الإيراني إلى ما لا نهاية، وعن خيار التخلي عن الاتفاق النووي، أو عن وجود بدائل للعودة إلى الاتفاق، يعرف كل مسؤول في واشنطن وتل أبيب والرياض وباريس ولندن وبرلين أن ليس في جعبتهم شيء غير العودة إلى الاتفاق، وأنّ كلّ الطلبات الإضافية كأثمان للعودة، سواء في الملفات الإقليمية أو ملف الصواريخ أو إبقاء بعض العقوبات، سيعني عدم العودة، كما يعرفون أنه عندما تقول إيران إنها لن تواصل التفاوض إلى ما لا نهاية وإن لديها بدائل للاتفاق، فيجب أن يأخذوا كلامها على محمل الجد، ذلك أن الزمن يفعل لصالح إيران، وفقاً لما يقوله الأميركيون والإسرائيليون وما قاله بالأمس مدير عام الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية، عن أنّ إيران تستثمر الوقت لمراكمة المزيد من اليورانيوم المخصّب بنسب عالية يجعلها أقرب لما يسمّونه بالحظة النووية الحرجة، وهي لحظة امتلاك ما يكفي لإنتاج قنبلة نووية.

بالتوازي لا يملك الأميركيون والأوروبيون سوى إغواء رفع العقوبات لتحفيز إيران لقبول العودة، والالتزام بموجباتها المنصوص عليها في الاتفاق، خصوصاً أن إيران التزمت منفردة لسنتين بالاتفاق في ظل الانسحاب الأميركي بلا سبب أو مبرّر كما يقول جميع الشركاء الآخرين بمن فيهم الأوروبيون ووكالة الطاقة الذرية والأمم المتحدة عدا عن الصين وروسيا، والعودة عن العقوبات اليوم هي إعلان العودة إلى الاتفاق من الجانب الأميركي لامتلاك مشروعية مطالبة إيران بالعودة المماثلة، ووفقاً لما يقوله الأميركيون و»الإسرائيليون» أيضاً فإنّ رفع العقوبات عن إيران لم يعد يملك ذات السحر الذي كان يملكه قبل ست سنوات يوم توقيع الاتفاق في مثل هذه الأيام، حيث كانت العقوبات صادرة عن الأمم المتحدة، وهذا قد سقط إلى غير رجعة، وفتح أمام إيران الطريق لحلول اقتصادية ومالية عديدة، لم تنجح العقوبات الأميركية بتعطيلها، فالمتاجرة بين إيران وروسيا والصين وتركيا وباكستان واليابان وكوريا الجنوبية والعراق  وسواها من الدول، بقيت تجد بدائل لها تتفادى العقوبات الأميركية، فيما نجحت إيران بتطوير صناعات نفطية أضعفت حاجتها لتصدير النفط الخام، كما نجحت بتطوير اقتصادها لتفادي حجم الاقتصاد الاستهلاكي والريعي لحساب الإنتاج.

عندما تقول واشنطن إنها تستعجل العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي تسهيلاً للتفرغ لمواجهة الصين، فهل تنتظر من الصين أن تقف مكتوفة الأيدي، وهي تعلم وتقول إنها تعلم، أن الاتفاق الاستراتيجي الاقتصادي بين الصين وإيران أفقد العقوبات الأميركية فعاليتها، وأسقط قيمة العودة للاتفاق النووي بالنسبة لإيران، وجعل عائداته مجرد مكاسب إضافية لا يجوز إضاعتها، لكنها لا تستحق القتال من أجلها، فيما تعرف واشنطن أن الضفة الدولية الموازية للاهتمام الأميركي بالمواجهة التي تمثلها موسكو باتت شريكاً استراتيجياً لطهران في العديد من السياسات الإقليمية، التي تجعل الحفاظ على إيران قوية موضع اهتمام صيني- روسي، لا يمكن للأميركي تبديله لا بالإغراءات ولا بالتهديدات لكل من الصين وروسيا.

الكلام الأميركي عن بدائل يعني شيئاً واحداً هو العودة إلى خطة الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب التي صعد الرئيس جو بايدن على قاعدة القول بأنها خطأ جسيم، وأنه في ظلها طوّرت إيران نظام الصواريخ وطوّرت قوى المقاومة مزيداً من الحضور، وتمّ اختصار المسافة عن اللحظة النووية الحرجة من سنة إلى بضعة أسابيع كما قال كل من وزير الخارجية الأميركية أنتوني بلينكن ومستشار الأمن القومي الأميركي جايك سوليفان والمبعوث الأميركي الخاص روبرت مالي مراراً، أما الرهان على الخيار العسكري، فهل من عاقل يتخيّل أنّ أحداً يأخذه على محمل الجد في ضوء المشهد الأفغاني، والتلويح بالاعتماد على ضربات «إسرائيلية» يبدو مجرد مزحة سمجة في ضوء الكلام «الإسرائيلي» والمؤيد أميركياً بأن إيران وقوى المقاومة في وضع تفوّق استراتيجي، وفائض قوة يتيح تحويل أي تحرش «إسرائيلي» جدي إلى مبرر لمواجهة شاملة لن تكون نهايتها في صالح «إسرائيل».

مرة أخرى كما كانت الحال عليه قبل ست سنوات، لا بديل للاتفاق مع إيران إلا الاتفاق مع إيران، ومضمون الاتفاق عودة غير مشروطة عن العقوبات، على قاعدة الالتزام المتبادل بالاتفاق الأصلي من دون الرهان على متغيرات وتحوّلات، هي في غير صالح الثنائي الأميركي «الإسرائيلي».

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The Taliban, 9/11, the Empire, MAGA eastern wet pampers

September 09, 2021

The Taliban, 9/11, the Empire, MAGA eastern wet pampers

by Andrei for the Saker Blog

Most of you must have heard it: the Taliban will organize a major celebration on September 11th to mark the liberation of Afghanistan from the US occupation and the creation of the new Afghan government.  The Russians and the Chinese have been invited.  As are the Pakistanis.  Not sure about Iran (do you know?)?

The Afghan government could be called a “GITMO government” since 5 members are former GITMO hostages and one, the head of security/intel, is still on the FBI most wanted list.

Needless to say, the Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11.  As for Bin-Laden and al-Qaeda they were somewhat involved, but only as “patsies”.

But the US government declared that the Taliban guilty and invaded Afghanistan.

Twenty years later, the Taliban are in total control and the US has probably executed one of the dumbest, worst and generally immoral military operation in history.  And 20 years later, the US was totally defeated.  Not by Russia.  Not by China.  Not by Iran.  Not even by Venezuela.  By the Afghans, after 20 years of warfare and trillions spent.

I have to agree with a Russian analyst who recently declared that “no, this is not even a “regular/normal” imperial collapse, this is the worst and most shameful imperial collapse in history”.

I fully concur.

As for what the Taliban will do this Saturday, it can’t even be called “spitting in Uncle Shmuel’s face”.  It’s even more than that.  Maybe we could speak of “urinating into Uncle Shmuel’s face” or some other even ruder metaphor showing both the total and utter contempt in which the Taliban hold not only the USA but the entire AngloZionist Empire AND somehow express the magnitude of the humiliation inflicted upon the USA.

I lack the words to come up with a suitable metaphor.

Can somebody come up with something sufficiently powerful?

Also, and especially for the MAGA folks out there:

CNN has reported that the entire “Ukie plan” to kidnap Russian PMCs was organized by the CIA and botched by the Ukies.  The harcore Ukronazis are now accusing CNN of either being “duped by the FSB” or even for being used by Putin personally.  Or both.

Anyway, what this goes to prove that Trump approved a clear terrorist attack against Russia.  Either that, or he did not even know about it, which might be worse…

And you guys are seriously discussing his possible comeback?!?!

Get real!

I saw an interesting poll somewhere (sorry, don’t remember where exactly) which shows that 49% of US Americans feel safer than on 9/11 20 years ago and 41% feel less safe.

And that is the real outcome of this monumentally evil and stupid Neocon plan.

After 20 years of warfare, pompous self-aggrandizement, many thousands dead and maimed and trillions spent.

Nothing will ever wash off this shame from the awareness of folks in Zone B and even many in Zone A.

Finally, today the Ukronazis shelled the Donbass again, with howitzers and mortars.  They were aiming at a water pumping station, miss and wounded/killed a couple.  Either way, this is a warcrime.  The Russians have declared that they have the designation of the unit which fired and the name of the commander who gave the order.

Which is all very predictable, since 1) US officials just visited the Ukraine 2) the CNN story is a HUGE scandal in the Ukie Rada and 3) Zelenskii is desperate to show that he might still be useful to the USA.

As for the Poles, they are fearing Russian invasion, so they put bared wire (I kid you not!) along their eastern border.  Which remind me of a Russian joke: a man walks down the street minding his own business, when he sees a woman on a balcony screaming “help! he wants to rape me! help!!!” from the top of her lungs.  The man looks up and says, “ma’am, calm down, I have no interest in you whatsoever and you are on the balcony while I am in the street” to which the woman replies, “yeah, maybe, but I can come down!“.

The Russian military is engaged in some large and serious, not fake, military maneuvers: 200’000 soldiers in both Russia and Belarus.  Hence all the wet pampers in eastern Europe (especially in Poland – the “hyena of Europe” always was a cowardly animal).

The Poles have even predicted the date of the Russian invasion: tomorrow (not a joke)

I have terrible news for Poland, the Baltic statelets and the Ukraine: nobody in Russia has any need for you, or your land.  Nobody.  Oh, and, for your information: “defenses” like walls, barbed-wires or even trenches cannot stop a modern military, such crap would not even slow the Russians down.

Summary: both Biden and Zelenskii might get impeached or otherwise removed.  That’s won’t solve anything for the US or the Ukraine, but sheer magnitude of their incompetence and stupidity makes such an outcome quite possible.

Not even in my most wildest and craziest dreams could I ever have imagined such a quick and total collapse of the Empire and of the USA.  I have to pinch myself several times a day, each time I get the news 🙂

Cheers

Will the US Leave Iraq and Syria?

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Steven Sahiounie

After the chaotic exit from Afghanistan, many experts predict the withdrawal of US troops will next be from Iraq and Syria.

US President Joe Biden has said the US is no longer in the nation-building business abroad.  George W. Bush sold the US Congress and the UK on forcing democracy down the throat of the Iraqi people, who had no experience with democracy.  After years of bloodshed, and millions of Iraqi lives lost, democracy was never established, at least not a democracy any American would recognize.

Instead of establishing a secular form of government, the US insisted on forming a sectarian government in Baghdad, were religious differences keep the Parliament in constant turmoil and divisions. Imagine the US Congress had to elect a certain number of seats for Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims.  Leaders elected not on their ability to lead, but on which place they worship at.

The US made one previous exit from Iraq, but was called back to help in the fight to defeat ISIS, which was declared achieved by Donald Trump.  But, the US troops remained.  The Iraqi Parliament declared that the US troops must leave, but the US government has refused to comply with the request of a government they created.

When the US attacked Iraq, the infrastructure was destroyed Hospitals, schools, electricity and water systems that had functioned under the dictator Saddam Hussein were destroyed, and never fully rebuilt.  The US spent billions on the war in Iraq, but did not spend that money on rebuilding or restoring social order.  Some people made a huge amount of money off the Iraq war, but the people did not benefit from the influx of cash.

Monday morning quarterback Senator Mitt Romney said the mission in Afghanistan is not over, as there is still Al Qaeda present.  He failed to explain the Al Qaeda presence in Idlib, Syria which is under US protection, and international aid agencies such as the UN keep the terrorists, their families and the three million people they hold hostage well fed and cared for. Why would the US government declare Al Qaeda an enemy in Afghanistan, and tolerate their occupation in Idlib with repeated UN resolutions?

The UN states member states must fight Al Qaeda wherever they are. When the US supports Al Qaeda in Idlib, it presents a serious double standard.

The US invaded Syria illegally, under the guise of fighting ISIS.  Trump declared the mission accomplished and ordered a withdrawal.  The military and war-hawks of the US Congress persuaded him to leave a few hundred troops in north east Syria to steal the oil from the largest oil field in Syria, thus preventing the Syrian people from having electricity. Currently, many areas have no electricity, and most areas have about four hours of electricity per day, due to the lack of oil for power generators.

The Kurdish separatists who aligned with the US in the fight against ISIS have ethnically cleansed the north east of Syria, causing Arabs and Christians to be homeless and displaced.  When the US troops leave, the Syrian government will resume medical facilities, schools and civil institutions there.  The oil will be used to provide electricity on the national grid. The homeless and displaced can finally return to homes and farms.

“Yankee Go Home” is a sentiment felt from Damascus to Baghdad. Syria is the only secular form of government in the Middle East, and has been a model for religious freedom and tolerance The US supported terrorists following Radical Islam tried to bring down the government in ‘regime change’ under Obama, but Trump cut off in 2017 the US funding for the CIA program which trained, weaponized, and paid the fighters to rape, kill and maim across Syria.

It took 20 years for the US to withdraw from Afghanistan.  Syria has been suffering from fragmentation caused by the US invasion since 2015, and Iraq’s Parliament has requested the US withdrawal in 2020. Biden has said his policy is to bring troops home from never ending wars abroad.  It is time for the US troops in Iraq and Syria to start packing, and go home in peace.

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist

Kabul Is Not Saigon : Afghanistan: Drug Trade and Belt and Road

AUGUST 31, 2021

By Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

All flags are on half-mast in the US of A. The cause are the 13 American soldiers killed in this huge suicide bombing outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, on Thursday, 26 August.

As it stands, at least 150 people – Afghans, including at least 30 Taliban – plus 13 American military – were killed and at least 1,300 injured, according to the Afghan Health Ministry.

The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the bombing via Amaq Media, the official Islamic State (ISIS) news agency. The perpetrators, the message says, were members of the ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K.

As reported by RT, US military leaders knew “hours in advance” that a “mass casualty event” was planned at Kabul airport. However, accounts from the troops in harm’s way suggest that nothing was done to protect them or the airport. See this https://www.rt.com/usa/533462-pentagon-knew-kabul-suicide-bombing/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Email .

Rt further reports, “The bombing provoked the US into launching two drone strikes, one targeting an alleged “planner” and “facilitator” with the group responsible, and another supposedly wiping out “multiple” would-be suicide bombers but reportedly annihilating a family and children alongside them.

Why was nothing done to prevent this bloody, atrocious attack? – In fact, the Pentagon announced just yesterday that another massive attack was likely, meaning they have information that another mass-killing may take place?

In the meantime, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that the last three US military transport planes have departed the Hamid Karzai Airport just ahead of the August 31, 2021, deadline, officially ending the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“The war is over. America’s last troops have just left Kabul airport,” RT’s Murad Gazdiev tweeted from Kabul, adding that the war lasted “19 years, 10 months and 25 days.

What he didn’t say is that the monetary cost of the war was at least 3 trillion dollars, that about 241,000 people have been killed in the Afghanistan and Pakistan war zone since 2001. More than 71,000 of those killed have been civilians. These figures include (through April 2021) 2,448 American service members; 3,846 U.S. contractors, and some 66,000 Afghan national military and police. See this https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/human/civilians/afghan .
—-
Twenty years of war – and only ten days to defeat the US military.

Really? – Is this really the end of the US involvement in Afghanistan? Too many strange events and occurrences are pointing in a different direction.

Let’s have a closer look. The Islamic State – ISIS claims responsibility. As we know by now and since quite a while, ISIS is a creation of the CIA. The sophistication of the attack, the Pentagon non-interference, despite their prior knowledge, might, just might – indicate that this attack may have been a well-coordinated “false flag”?

Who benefits? Cui Bono?

On August 19, 2021, the Washington Post, referring to President Trump’s Peace Agreement with Taliban in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020, reports – “As President Donald Trump’s administration signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February 2020, he optimistically proclaimed that “we think we’ll be successful in the end.” His secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, asserted that the administration was “seizing the best opportunity for peace in a generation.”


“Eighteen months later, President Joe Biden is pointing to the agreement signed in Doha, Qatar, as he tries to deflect blame for the Taliban overrunning Afghanistan in a blitz. He says it bound him to withdraw U.S. troops, setting the stage for the chaos engulfing the country.”

“But Biden can go only so far in claiming the agreement boxed him in. It had an escape clause: The U.S. could have withdrawn from the accord if Afghan peace talks failed. They did, but Biden chose to stay in it, although he delayed the complete pullout from May to September.”
See full story: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/was-biden-handcuffed-by-trumps-taliban-deal-in-doha/2021/08/19/a7ee1a50-00a2-11ec-87e0-7e07bd9ce270_story.html

So, again who benefits from such an atrociously deadly attack, like the one of 26 August at Kabul Airport?

President Biden, though unjustified, can and does blame President Trump for the chaos he left behind by negotiating this “irresponsible” Peace Deal. Why “irresponsible”?  Wasn’t it time after 20 years without apparent “success” – whatever that means, or may have meant at some point in time – to end this senseless bloodshed and destruction of a sovereign Afghan society – let alone the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, most of them civilians?

It seems that Mr. Trump may have done the right thing. Peace over war should always win, on the ground as well as in the minds of people, and foremost of politicians. However, there are several reasons, why Peace is not welcome. And chaos and destruction and death as demonstrated by the 26 August suicide attack, and who knows, maybe more to follow, might justify sending back US troops?

There are several other irons in the fire about which hardly anybody talks and the bought anti-Trump and pro-Biden mainstream media are silent.

The Heroin Trade

There is a multi-multi-billion, perhaps up to a trillion-dollar heroin trade at stake, for the US and for the US and European pharma-industry – the huge and deadly opioid-market.

As reported by Michel Chossudovsky on 21 August 2021, One of the key strategic objectives of the 2001 war on Afghanistan was to restore the opium trade following the Taliban government’s successful 2000-2001 drug eradication program which led to a 94% collapse in opium production. This program was supported by the United Nations. (For details, see below)
In the course of the last 19 years following the US-NATO October 2001 invasion, there has been a surge in Afghan opium production. In turn the number of heroin addicts in the US has increased dramatically. Is there a relationship?

There were 189,000 heroin users in the US in 2001, before the US-NATO invasion of Afghanistan.

By 2016 that number went up to 4,500,000 (2.5 million heroin addicts and 2 million casual users).

In 2020, at the height of the covid crisis, deaths from opioids and drug addiction increased threefold.
It’s Big Money for Big Pharma.”
See the full report https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-spoils-of-war-afghanistan-s-multibillion-dollar-heroin-trade/91

The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative

Both, China and Russia have already indicated that they would help the new Taliban regime to gain stability – and to develop towards a newly independent, sovereign state. Afghanistan’s border with China, only about 70 km wide, but it forms a crucial connection to China’s western most Province, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It is a vital pivot for China’s Belt and Road, or “One Belt One Road” – OBOR – also called the New Silk Road.

While transit routes already go through Pakistan to the Indian Ocean, an OBOR rail and road transit through Afghanistan would connect China directly with Iran, facilitating among other trade, hydrocarbon transport from Iran to China. OBOR would also be an effective development instrument for war destroyed Afghanistan – a reconstruction and economic development scheme for Afghanistan could bring Afghanistan back to a respected nation state – even through the Taliban.

Furthermore, Afghanistan might be prepared for becoming an active member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), one of the world’s most significant political, economic and strategic defense organization. In addition to China and Russia and the Central Asian former Soviet Republics, India and Pakistan are already full members, while Iran, Malaysia and Mongolia are, so far, in observer and associate status.

SCO covers almost half of the world population and controls some 30% of the world’s GDP. Afghanistan would be in a solid and guiding association as an SCO member. Afghanistan’s socioeconomic development and improvement of war-damaged people’s standard of living, could benefit enormously.

Washington however dislikes OBOR with a passion. They see it as Chinese expansionism and competition. It is actually neither. China has in her thousands of years of history never had expansionist trends, or ambitions, and always respected other countries’ sovereignty. OBOR, an ingenious idea of President Xi Jinping, is patterned according to the ancient Silk Road, a trading route of 2100 years ago connecting Asia with Europe and the Middle East.

OBOR is an instrument to help develop and connect the world, while respecting each nation state’s independence and sovereignty.
——

The hugely profitable Heroin Trade and the further development of China’s OBOR – and particularly bringing Afghanistan under the wings of the east through association with the SCO – would spoil America’s multi-multibillion heroin trade, as well as another Middle East country would orient itself to the east – and away from the fangs of the ever weakening and crumbling Anglo-US empire.

Hence, commanding US-created ISIS to sow chaos and death in Afghanistan, blaming the Taliban, might be a good reason for Biden to bring back US troops – to fight a new kind war – fighting for the continuing highly profitable heroin trade and, simultaneously, fighting against OBOR. On top of it all, it would suit the Biden’s and his globalist agenda’s image – and standing in a totally misinformed world.


Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is also a a non-resident Sr. Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

This is what a dying empire looks like

August 30, 2021

This is what a dying empire looks like

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

These past weeks in Afghanistan have been what some would call a shit storm, in lack of better words. What is unfolding in front of our eyes is truly both a tragedy of great proportions and a spectacle of some sort I guess. After 20 years of occupation, Washington and its obedient dogs are not just retreating, they are fleeing in panic from Afghanistan. The US backed regime, just like all such puppet regimes, was fragile, corrupt and had no popular support whatsoever. This is why it collapsed after a few weeks since the start of the Taliban offensive. It was a collapse that shocked not just the Western imperialists and their propaganda tools, but even the Taliban themselves were surprised. The NATO trained and supplied Afghan Army either fled the battlefield or surrendered, often without even offering any kind of resistance.

To some of us observers, this didn’t come as a surprise at all. Those of us who have been following the war in Afghanistan for the past 2 decades are well aware of the problems that the so called Afghan armed forces have had. Rampant corruption, criminal incompetence, and drug abuse have plagued this army for as long as it has existed in its current form. It is a well-known fact that a large percentage of the Afghan armed forces were drug abusers, often getting high on heroin or opium while on duty. Furthermore, the corruption from top to bottom was unprecedented. Many police chiefs were outright rapists and pedophiles who would kidnap children to rape and kill, instead of fighting crime, and the level of turncoats who would sell arms and supplies to the Taliban was so high that most Afghan bases stood without any kind of heavy equipment or even fuel when faced against the Taliban onslaught. If you don’t believe me, then check this video: 

To say the least, morale among these soldiers and officers was at rock bottom. And why would this be a surprise? All the good fighting men had joined the Taliban or been killed in the past years. The only people left were drug abusers and opportunists. I quote a former US soldier in Afghanistan:

“By and large the Afghan National Army is recruited from the dregs of society. The good soldiers went off and joined the Taliban.

I don’t mean that lightly. I have fought the Taliban and trained and been on joint operations with ANA. The Taliban are tough, brave, well-disciplined soldiers, and frankly, I respect them. If I had been born in Afghanistan rather than America and raised with Afghan morals I likely would have joined their ranks.”

Billions of dollars were poured in by the occupying NATO powers, to prop up warlords and criminals across Afghanistan, not to create a stable society, but to buy their temporary silence and loyalty, and this is the result after twenty years. The Taliban just had to wait patiently for the occupiers to one day leave, and they even warned the NATO regimes of this inevitable reality when they said many years ago: “You have the watches, but we have the time”. Alas, the arrogant and self-worshipping West, drunk with their own imaginations of superiority based on the number of cool US warships and awesome Navy Seal gear, could not, and still cannot understand why they lost in Afghanistan.

The sheer arrogance and incompetence of those in charge over at Washington is astonishing to watch. US intelligence had at first calculated that the Kabul regime would survive months or even years, this was later revised into 30-90 days and finally, it fell in less than two weeks after the Taliban began attacking provincial capitals across the country. Kabul itself fell in less than a day! Washington’s “guy” in Kabul fled the country, reportedly taking with him millions or billions of dollars in cash to the UAE while the Taliban waltzed into the presidential palace- the same palace where Ashraf Ghani had held a speech only 48 hours earlier, vowing to “resists and push back the Taliban onslaught”.

Which takes us to the reality of today. Over the past two weeks, NATO countries and their friends have been evacuating their troops, citizens, and Afghan collaborationists in a chaotic and shameful manner reminiscent of the fall of Saigon in 1975. This is while White House fool Joe Biden and his clown Secretary of State Anthony Blinken claimed that this wouldn’t be another “Saigon moment”. Tragic scenes have since played out at Kabul airport, where people have been flocking in hopes of catching a plane to flee the country. Men who have been holding onto the side or landing gears of planes, only to fall off mid sky after take-off, stampedes and people throwing their babies off fences to US soldiers standing guard on the other side. Thousands, if not tens of thousands have been left behind as NATO forces have prioritized the evacuations of their dogs, cats, and beer kegs.

One can only help but wonder how such “sophisticated” countries with the best military forces in the galaxy can be so pathetically disorganized in their evacuations, especially since they knew they were leaving several months ago. As if the Afghan people’s misery wasn’t enough, Daesh has entered the scene now as well, and allegedly conducted a heinous terrorist attack outside the airport, killing well over 200 people in the mayhem, including 13 US soldiers. The scenes from Kabul airport on that day were the pinnacle of the misery and death that the Western imperialists have brought upon the Afghans. I say this because it is the US that has brought Daesh into Afghanistan and I believe there are several suspicious things to mention with regards to the terrorist attack of last week.

Firstly, why is it that every time that the US is withdrawing or looking to leave a conflict zone, a Daesh terrorist attack suddenly occurs against its forces. The same happened in Syria 2019, when a Daesh terrorist blew himself up in the town of Manbij, killing US troops, just as former president Donald Trump had announced his intention to withdraw US troops out of Syria. Why is Daesh, a supposed “enemy” of the US, trying its hardest to make the US continue its occupation of these countries?

Secondly, isn’t it interesting that both British and French intelligence allegedly had knowledge about an imminent terrorist attack, several hours before it took place and didn’t do anything to stop it? Isn’t it also interesting that the US who hasn’t conducted a single strike on Daesh in Afghanistan by the way, suddenly knew exactly who was behind the bombings and “took them out” with pinpoint accuracy only a day after the bombings? And thirdly, isn’t it also interesting how the Pentagon refused to even release the names and identities of the supposed “planner and facilitator” that were killed, with spokesman John Kirby holding a mock press conference and refusing to answer any question whatsoever from the multiple journalists in place?

Well, I won’t go into further speculation but I find this terrorist attack to have been plotted in one way or another by Washington itself, in order to save face in some way. Perhaps they hoped that the focus won’t be on the evacuation disaster but rather on the “strength” they showed in “confronting terrorism” even now when they are leaving.

Elsewhere, the US seems to be plotting for another civil war in Afghanistan as former Vice president Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the famous Mujahid during the Soviet-Afghan War are amassing forces in the still unconquered Panjshir province, to the east of Kabul. It is worrying that they are seemingly stupid enough, to think they actually stand a chance against the Taliban and are both pleading and hoping for Western support. Apparently, they didn’t learn a damn thing from Ashraf Ghani’s mistakes, or any other puppet that put their faith in the West’s “benevolence”. But no matter what Washington is plotting, they cannot escape the fact that this defeat has been humiliating for them and more humiliation is to come. Their days in Iraq and Syria are also numbered. The scenes at Kabul airport won’t just disappear so lightly as they tell the tale of a failure and a disaster that will have consequences for many years to come.

General Allen of the US occupation forces in Afghanistan once declared, drunk by his own arrogance, in the belief that they had succeeded in Afghanistan that “This is victory, this is what winning looks like”. I would like to revise that phrase into – this is what a dying empire looks like.

Analysis of Euro-Paralysis: Uncle Sam’s Last Afghan Stand

 August 30, 2021

By Mohammad Al-Jaber

The United States dragged Europe into the Graveyard of Empires and used it as a shield in the face of its own burial.

Europe, under the guise of providing the conditions for ‘long-term’ security and stability in Afghanistan, entered the country, and the rest is history. Havoc, destruction, death, and misery infested the Southern Asian country, placing it among the world’s poorest.

A New Age Crusade

Following the September 11 attacks, the United States developed an interest in “combatting terrorism,” prompting the country known for “exporting democracy” to the rest of the world to launch what was called the “War on Terror”—an international military campaign whose goal was to eradicate terrorism abroad,

not for the safety of the populace, but rather for that of US soil.

The US, a NATO ally and core member state, did what any benevolent ally would do and dragged NATO into a multi-generational war in Afghanistan—the organization’s first commitment outside European territories.

The whole debacle started a week after 9/11, when President George W. Bush signed a resolution authorizing the use of force against those behind the attacks, followed by an October 7 announcement that the US and the UK started launching airstrikes in Afghanistan against Al-Qaeda and Taliban sites when demands for the extradition of Osama bin Laden went unanswered.

After the US ‘retaliation’ act, the Taliban announced they are ready for “Jihad”; alas, it was a short-lived dream.

The “Jihad” lasted barely over two months, as the group was defeated and its rule in the country was declared over after heavy air bombardment from the US and UK, with ground support from its allies, which included the Northern Alliance and other anti-Taliban militias and groups.

Now, the US did not get the man they came after; bin Laden fled the country. However, they did accomplish what they are always after—influence and power. Afghanistan became ruled by the US-backed Hamid Karzai, whom the western power saw as best-fitting to rebuild the war-torn country.

So, the United States had everything laid out the way it wanted it to be:

  • The European hand was forced into Afghanistan
  • The burden was basically split in half with Europe reaping fewer benefits
  • The US was in control of a geopolitically significant country
  • The US intimidating its regional foes, namely Russia, China, and Iran

A Mandated European Venture

Now back to Europe; how and why did the old continent join the war in Afghanistan?

In 2001, the UNSC-mandated International Security Assistance Force, which had the mission of re-instating a central authority in the country that was ruled by militias and the Taliban at the time, in addition to working on enhancing the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces, was deployed in Afghanistan. 

The mission was not led by a certain country, as its leadership was rotational between its nations—the most prominent of which were the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, and France.

On August 11, 2003, NATO assumed the ISAF’s leadership. The mission’s goals were still the same; however, when seeing the current state of Afghanistan, it’s safe to say the mission failed miserably.

The ISAF’s European nations accounted for more than half the soldiers in Afghanistan. The countries that had little to nothing to do with the conflict led the invasion of a country that never did any harm to them; the US convinced them to partake in the conflict by raising national security concerns. If anything, failure in Afghanistan would have had way more political and financial repercussions for Europe than the United States, for refugees and terrorists could reach Europe a lot easier than they could North America.

Europe: The United States’ Hadrian’s Wall

Europe has been the main bearer of consequences whenever there had been a US-related flop anywhere in the Eastern hemisphere. Take the Syrian refugee crisis, for example. A US-sparked war on a Middle Eastern country resulted in hundreds of thousands of refugees flocking toward Europe. And, of course, extremists were among those who got into the continent, leading to an increase in terror attacks and national security threats.

This, alongside many other crises, is a fine testament to the US strategy that uses Europe as a shield. In the ongoing crisis and anticipation of the incoming influx of Afghan refugees, Greece took to reinforcing the European borders by building a wall. What this means is that the Syrian scenario will be replayed, as hundreds of dead children will wash up on shore in a failed attempt to flee their country.

The Europeans had little to say regarding invading Afghanistan, for the continent’s nations lacked coordination and had many domestic political issues. Had they been united in the European Union, Europe would have been able to properly alter the coalition and advocate for a much better international approach to the situation in Afghanistan—that would’ve been the best-case scenario for Europe. Obviously, on the ground, it was completely different.

Even the majority of Europeans disagree with using military force to defend a NATO ally from a hypothetical attack by Russia, according to a Pew Research Center report

All that Europe gained from Afghanistan was more refugees, more dead soldiers, and wasted taxpayer money. Altogether, Europe lost nearly a thousand soldiers, gained hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers, and spent tens of billions of dollars. The UK and Germany, the second-largest troop-contributors, spent an estimated $30 billion and $19 billion respectively, over the course of the two-decade-long war—a portion of what Europe in its entirety paid to keep the war’s flame ablaze.

At the peak of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2011, the year the US had finally achieved its dream of killing bin Laden, there were 90,000 US troops in the country and 41,300 troops from NATO and its allies. The US and its allies did not equally bear the responsibility, for, as we must not forget, this wasn’t a European issue per se. It only became one after the US forced its hand to invade Afghanistan, yet Europe was bearing nearly half the burden.

The situation was incredibly frustrating for Europe, it was stuck in a self (mostly US)-made pit. The choice was between pulling out from Afghanistan and putting the US-European relations at risk, as well as its security and economy following the influx of Afghan refugees from Afghanistan to Europe, (which was not an option altogether), or staying in Afghanistan and putting up with the financial losses and human casualties.

How Europe was the Stalin to the Munich Agreement

To add insult to injury, the United States decided to withdraw from Afghanistan in February of 2020. This was the then-President Donald Trump signed the 2020 Doha Agreement to “end the war in Afghanistan” without consulting European allies—it came as a shock to them. Europeans objected to the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in such a short period of time but to no avail; there was no reversing the decision.

Furthermore, when the Biden Administration took the decision to completely withdraw from Afghanistan ahead of the agreed-upon date—which had been previously postponed from May 1st as set by the Trump administration—his decision received criticism from all US allies. NATO officials, from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, slammed Biden over this decision that was taken without any consultation.

Leaders all across Europe were in disbelief following the decision, even those who long-supported Biden saw it as a mistake and a miscalculation. There wasn’t any direct criticism, for it is known that would harm diplomatic relations; instead, leaders voiced their criticism behind the scenes. However, the storm is yet to come, as no NATO summits have taken place following the failure, which will most definitely redefine the future of US-EU relations.

How will European leaders react to this whole ordeal? Will they be silent in the face of the US abuse? There could be a change in the way Europe manages its external affairs, moving away from the United States and aiming for autonomy; but nothing is certain. One thing that is though, is the fact that even the Israelis do not trust the Americans due to their abandonment of Afghanistan and their allies there, meaning the US is prone to abandoning Europe and other allies in such ‘dire’ circumstances, rendering it unreliable. After all, the US got its troops out of Kabul right around its fall while leaving Europe and the rest of its allies stuck in the mud.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, went as far as calling for an independent army for the European Union in light of the growing panic amongst the Europeans out of fear of not being able to complete their evacuations before the United States does.

Even prior to this whole fiasco, Europe was considering forming an autonomous army. In 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron had warned that Europeans could not be protected without a “true, European army,” (before declaring that NATO was experiencing “brain death“) – an idea backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the person who could be Germany’s next Chancellor, Armin Laschet. The idea of a European army did not seem too appealing for the UK, for it could be something that equates to NATO. Instead, they prefer a joint force to defend Europe in a case relying on the US was out of the window.

During the Trump administration, the rift between the US and Europe was at its vastest since the establishment of diplomatic ties and alliances between the two powers, but it seems that the Biden administration will be the straw that broke the camel’s back in the US-EU relations.

Afghanistan reminds us why it’s called the Graveyard of Empires, as the future of diplomacy between the two behemoths could crumble over its invasion.

The Two-faced Nature of Our Communities

August 26, 2021  

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.

Posted by Lawrence Davidson 

Part I—What Motivates True Believers?

One of the alleged big mysteries of our day is why so many folks—and not just those in the United States—readily believe in demonstrable falsehoods. No reasoning creature ought to believe in the nonsense put out by QAnon, or for that matter, by someone as transparently psychopathic as Donald Trump—but many, numbering in the millions, really do. Why?

Here are some of the explanations offered by those supposedly in the know:

Stupidity and Laziness: The traditional narrative says that the cause is stupidity combined with laziness. As one researcher describes it, “if you believe false things, then you must be stupid. It must be because you haven’t really made an effort to actually figure out what is going on.” This is a superficial assessment. Most people indeed are not critical thinkers who consciously seek to “actually figure out what is going on” in an independent fashion. Essentially, they do not possess enough free will to do so. On the social level, they figure things out according to cultural, community, or group dictates. This is not “stupid” of them, nor is it a function of laziness. It stems from being born and raised as part of a society. And, some societies, particularly smaller ones, families, villages, tribes, and can exert considerable social pressure.

“Motivated reasoning” aka confirmation bias: This argument drops the “stupid” appellation and doesn’t speak to the particular history or situation of the true believers, but rather tells us that there is a natural “tendency to find arguments in favor of conclusions we want to believe to be stronger than arguments for conclusions we do not want to believe.” And indeed, there is plenty of evidence for this. It is why con artists make a good living. They rob us by telling us, convincingly, what we want to hear. Too many politicians are con artists who have figured out what their constituencies want to hear and feed it back to them without much regard for objective truth. Some of them, such as Donald Trump and his minions, do this in a way that breeds anger and even hatred for the unbelievers.

The Functional Evolution theory: There is a recent study out that adds a third line of explanation. It concentrates on falsehood as a vehicle for (1) establishing and maintaining group solidarity and (2) getting the upper hand in any struggle by destroying the reputation of the adversary. In this way, blatant lying and total suspension of reasoned thought become “functional.” Here are the study’s points:

By telling lies you “are in a better situation to mobilize and coordinate the attention of your own group.” For instance, the authors of this study assert that one of the ways fanatics signal group membership and loyalty is by believing
blatantly false notions. “The basic logic at work here is that anyone can believe the truth, but only loyal members of the group can believe something that is blatantly false.” This might seem a bit of a stretch, but the authors believe this tactic is used both by groups like QAnon and some successful religious movements.

Of course, it will not do to just believe crazy things about your group. You have to come to believe your adversary is evil. You must swallow the kind of beliefs—they are remarkably similar in every case—that have led to ethnic massacres and horrific episodes like the holocausts in Germany, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda.

Here the authors make a distinction between two types of belief: (a) “beliefs that we have as representations of reality,” that is, those that reflect the truth so we can successfully “navigate the world;” and (b) beliefs that allow us to rally the necessary emotions to fight an alleged enemy till they are essentially destroyed. These latter beliefs do not have to be tied to “representations of reality.” In fact, it is better if they do not: better if the Japanese become just “Japs,” the Germans, “Huns,” the Vietnamese, “gooks,” the Jews, “kykes,” the Arabs and Palestinians, “anti-Semites.”

In other words, there might be “functional reasons for spreading falsehoods”—lying as a selected evolutionary trait. The propensity for both self-deception and the false characterization of others can serve the end of your group’s survival.

Part II—The Social Power of Our Local Groups

A problem with the above explanations is they only address the consciousness of cult members or “true believers.” That is, they address the imbecility of someone running around the nation’s capital in a hat with buffalo horns claiming “QAnon sent me.” Such a person may well believe his group’s nonsense for the sake of signaling membership and loyalty. But such hypotheses, regardless of any vague evolutionary impulse, can’t explain why a broader out-group population, numbering in the millions, goes along with the falsehoods of Donald Trump and other con artist authoritarians—and have done so throughout history. Nor can we simply dismiss this vulnerability of millions with notions of stupidity and laziness.

Here are some additional considerations that may help fill in the gaps of our understanding:

—The social/geographical context can encourage a form of tribalism. Most of us are strongly shaped by our locality. This is the case despite world-ranging journalism and international travel. Most of us are, in fact, locally regimented to fit into the mindset of our families, our neighborhoods, our places of work, our schools, our religious centers, our class-based networks, and so forth. These are the environments in which we learn the power of group culture. And most of us learn to do what our group does, think what our community thinks.

—The United States (just like many other countries) are a collection of smaller regions cobbled together over the history of the nation. Regional differences which are set as insular subcultures can prevail despite shifting population trends. Thus, Republican cultism finds its warmest reception in those parts of the country where a stagnant form of traditional white culture prevails. The affected population may be relatively isolated and rural. It has inherited a frontier outlook of radical individualism. For such folks, the government is anathema on principle and is usually seen as the real source of false information. Communities unlike theirs, usually urban and allegedly associated with “liberals,” are also seen as threats to their local values.

On the other hand, one can find the Republican cultist mindset in the boardrooms of power where government is seen as a tool to shape society to one’s class benefit. Donald Trump himself is of this sub-culture.

—Collective thinking is what holds certain communities together, and if a strong and charismatic (secular or religious) leader comes along and shapes a message to echo aspects of a local social outlook (for instance gun “rights,” anti-abortion sentiments, racist or gender bias, etc.) while disparaging other orientations seen by the group as threateningly alien, he or she can win the support of whole regions.

Part III—Breaking Free

It is community and group pressures that can set up millions to accept lies. Such pressure essentially binds the individual’s will to what may be a suborned collective. When this happens, reasoned discussion with the believer will be of no avail. The only thing that might break the bind is a catastrophe that undermines the collective message. And even then, breaking loose can be traumatic.

A good example of this—how scary it can be to break free of the power of one’s local environment even in dire circumstances—was given in a 31 July 2021 report in the Kansas City Star.  According to Dr. Priscilla Frase, “a hospitalist and chief medical information officer” for Ozarks Healthcare, “People come in to get vaccinated who have tried to sort of disguise their appearance and even went so far as to say, ‘Please, please, please don’t let anybody know that I got this vaccine. I don’t want my friends to know but I don’t want to get COVID.’. . . But they’re very concerned about how the people that they love, within their family and within their friendship circles and work circles are going to react if they found out they got the vaccine.”

Part IV—Conclusion

One might say that those who believe in crazy ideas and claims are but a tiny minority. That only oddballs fall for improbable claims. However, this is historically inaccurate. A significant portion of the world’s population has always believed in the fantastical and improbable. Today’s examples of such beliefs range from faith in astrology, to the belief in aliens roaming our cities, to the existence of a real Sherlock Holmes. And, of course, most of the claims of religion, established or otherwise, are of a fantastic, untestable nature. Then there is the embarrassing case of Senator Susan Collins of Maine who, caught in the January 6 mass assault on the Capitol, said that her first thought was that the Iranians were attacking.

These random examples suggest that most folks do fine when all that is called for is getting through their usual daily routine. However, put anything new and unexpected in front of them and many become vulnerable to rumor mongering, propaganda, and the claims of con artists and charlatans.  

Today’s style of mass media (where every group with a grievance and access to the airways can create their own propaganda machine) combined with the present open-ended use of the First Amendment (free speech) makes this vulnerability worse. Keep in mind that free speech does not equate with truth and can be abused in the form of libel, inciting to riot—as occurred in Washington on January 6—or forms of propaganda that periodically turn democratic societies into barbaric dictatorships. 

Humans are social animals. Most of us are adrift apart from our various communities. It is a mixed blessing, for while group membership can make us feel secure and wanted, it can also lead us astray into racism, misogyny, and all manner of religious bias. The stagnant form of traditional white culture in the United States has edged closer to such a degenerated state of mind due to the pressures exerted upon it by several radical rightwing groups and the mendacious scheming of Donald Trump. So, if you are white, if you are American, and particularly if you live in one of those “red states”—or for that matter, if you are tied into any group with a hard-and-fast bias, regardless of color—beware of the two-faced nature of community.

IRG’s Top Commander: Producers of Biological Weapons Can’t Be Trusted with Vaccines

 August 24, 2021

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander (IRGC) Major-General Hossein Salami
Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander (IRGC) Major-General Hossein Salami

The chief commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps [IRG], Major General Hossein Salami, confirmed that the country is doing its best to contain the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

He further stated that Iran will only import vaccine from reliable countries, not those countries that are known producers of biological weapons.

Salami made the remarks at a provincial meeting on the situation of the coronavirus pandemic in Iran, which was held on Monday in the central province of Isfahan.

“Under conditions caused by this disease, there were many people who wanted us to extend our hands toward enemies. However, we have no trust in them and we cannot trust our society’s health to those enemies, who have made production of biological weapons part and parcel of their strategy to confront their enemies,” the IRG’s chief commander said.

The top commander noted that Iran has taken steps to import coronavirus vaccine from reliable countries while, at the same time, doing its best to produce domestic vaccines.

Noting that paralyzing the Iranian nation is the enemies’ biggest with, Salami added, “Even under conditions caused by the coronavirus, we must continue to boost the society’s health status by relying on the principles of dignity, independence and trust.”

He emphasized that Iran is different from all other countries, because it is grappling with the deadly disease while being also under cruel international sanctions.

In parallel, the IRG chief stressed that the country cannot use its money even to pay for medicine and meet its vital needs due to the sanctions.

“In addition to coronavirus [pandemic], we are also faced with international sanctions as well as enemies’ media and psychological operations. Such conditions do not exist at the same time at any point in the world,” the IRG chief commander noted.

The sanctions were imposed by the administration of former US President Donald Trump under a “maximum pressure” campaign and have been maintained by the current administration of Joe Biden, which has refused to soften the bans to ease pandemic-related hardship on Iranians.

Source: Mehr News Agency

Islamophobic or Blindly Malicious? US Seizes Quranic Tiles from Iran for Virginia Mosque

August 10, 2021

Islamophobic or Blindly Malicious? US Seizes Quranic Tiles from Iran for Virginia Mosque

By Staff, Agencies

Among the weirdest news a person might hear is that an enemy combats a religion’s culture and civilization.

It is either an aspect of Islamophobia, which is highly unlikely, or a blind maliciousness that the US custom authorities confiscated a set of Iranian tiles to be used in construction of a new mosque in Virginia, demanding they “must be shipped backed to Iran or destroyed.”

The tiles, which are adorned with Quranic verses, were shipped in June from the Iranian city of Qom, to be used in construction of the Manassas Mosque in northern Virginia.

However, they were confiscated at Dulles International Airport after they were deemed to violate sanctions on Iran, the mosque’s imam Abolfazl Nahidian said on Tuesday.

The tiles were a gift and he paid no money for them, but custom authorities at the airport blocked him from claiming them citing the sanctions, he told a news conference at the mosque.

A letter from Customs and Border Protection informed the mosque that the tiles must be either shipped back to Iran or destroyed, the Associated Press cited him as saying.

Destroying the tiles, which are adorned with Quranic verses, “is the same as destroying verses of the Quran, or the whole Quran itself”, Nahidian said.

The mosque is now asking the Biden administration to release the custom-made tiles.

Nahidian said he has received other tile shipments throughout the years without incident, including one shipment that arrived eight months ago. He has led the mosque for nearly three decades.

The Biden administration is locked in a standoff over the US return to a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, showing an aversion to remove the most draconian sanctions which its predecessor imposed on the Islamic Republic.

Biden has admitted that Washington was wrong to abandon the nuclear agreement, but he is showing an urge to retain some aspects of the sanctions as leverage to pressure Iran.

Food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are purportedly exempt from the sanctions that Washington imposed on Tehran after former president Donald Trump walked away from the international deal over Iran’s nuclear program.

But the US measures targeting everything from oil sales to shipping and financial activities have deterred any dealing with Iranians – including humanitarian activities.

التوقيت: المسار الإبراهيمي

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مفكرة عربية

أغسطس 9 2021

المصدر: الميادين نت

بثينة شعبان

مراجعة متأنية لتاريخنا العربي، وخاصة لتاريخ الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي، تُري أن العدو أحكم استخدام التوقيت بينما لم يحسن العرب ذلك.

لا شك أن الوقت هو هبة الله للإنسان، لأنّ الإنسان في النهاية هو بضعة أيام على هذه الأرض، ولكن إتقان التوقيت هو الذي يجعل هذا الوجود مفيداً أو متميزاً أو مثمراً.

بما أننا لا نستطيع أن نغير شيئاً في الأحداث التي مضت، يتوجب علينا الاستفادة منها لقراءة ما يحاك لنا اليوم

وقد عبّرت الأمثلة التي تطرحها شعوب مختلفة عن أهمية التوقيت؛ فالمثل الإنكليزي يقول “التوقيت هو الجوهر”، والمثل الأميركي يقول “التوقيت هو كل شيء”. وقد لاحظتُ من خلال متابعتي لأمور شتّى أن الإنسان يمكن أن يخسر رهانات هامة في الحياة نتيجة عدم اهتمامه بالتوقيت رغم توفر كافة المؤهلات والشروط التي تمكّنه من كسب الرهان فقط لو أحسن التوقيت.  

ولاحظتُ حيوية ومصيرية التوقيت وخصوصاً في الإعلام والسياسة؛ فحين تتناقل وكالات الأنباء خبراً تعتبره الخبر الأول؛ حينذاك يمكن لك أن تدلي بدلوك وأن تجد آذاناً صاغية لأنها متعطشة لسماع أي شيء يتعلق بهذا الخبر، ولكن إذا انتظرت لليوم الثاني لن تجد من يستقبل خبرك حتى وإن كان أكثر مصداقية وقيمة من كل ما قيل في اليوم الأول. وهذا ذاته ينطبق على السياسة والأعمال أيضاً.

إن مراجعة متأنية لتاريخنا العربي، وخاصة لتاريخ الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي، تُري أن العدو أحكم استخدام التوقيت بينما لم يحسن العرب ذلك، لأنهم لم يعملوا من منطلقات استراتيجية واضحة وكانوا في غالب الأحيان يعالجون ظواهر الأحداث بدلاً من مسبباتها الحقيقية.

وبما أننا لا نستطيع أن نغير شيئاً في الأحداث التي مضت، يتوجب علينا على الأقل الاستفادة منها لقراءة ما يحاك لنا اليوم قراءة معمقة وواعية، لكي نتعامل معها في الوقت المناسب وقبل فوات الأوان.

لقد صدّر الغرب لنا ومنذ القرن التاسع عشر مصطلح “ميثاق إبراهيم” الذي يجمع بين المؤمنين قبل أن يتحول في القرن العشرين إلى حقل دراسات مستقلة للديانات الإبراهيمية، وطبعاً المقصود فيها اليهودية والمسيحية والإسلام وقبل أن تصدر تفرعاته عن مؤسسات أهلية ثقافية وسياحية في الغرب تتحدث عن الأخوة الابراهيمية العابرة للديانات والشعوب والبلدان، إلى أن انطلقت في العام 2004 رسمياً في جامعة هارفارد “مبادرة مسار الحج الابراهيمي” بدعم من مشروع التفاوض الدولي في كلية الحقوق في جامعة هارفارد وبمشاركة عالمية لباحثين ورجال دين وأعمال وخبراء في السياحة البيئية وآخرين.

وهدف المبادرة هو افتتاح مسار سيراً على الأقدام يسلك مواقع ثقافية ودينية وسياحية يتتبع خطى النبي إبراهيم عليه السلام منذ أكثر من أربعة آلاف عام، ويبدأ المسار من مدينة أور العراقية مروراً بإيران وسوريا وصولاً إلى مدينة الخليل الفلسطينية حيث يعتقد أن قبر النبي إبراهيم الخليل هناك.

وبدأت منظمات أميركية أهلية وغربية تدعو إلى إحياء هذا المسار ثقافياً وسياحياً وروحياً وتتحدث عن فوائده الاقتصادية بينما ركز القادة الأميركان على استغلاله لأهداف أخرى؛ إذ حين أشرف الرئيس جيمي كارتر على اتفاق كامب ديفيد بين مصر والكيان الصهيوني قال في كلمته “دعونا نترك الحرب جانباً، دعونا الآن نكافئ كلّ أبناء إبراهيم المتعطشين إلى اتفاق سلام شامل في الشرق الأوسط، دعونا الآن نستمتع بتجربة أن نكون آدميين بالكامل وجيراناً بالكامل وحتى أخوة وأخوات”.

وفي عام 1993 حين أشرف الرئيس بيل كلينتون على توقيع اتفاق أوسلو بين إسحق رابين وياسر عرفات قال: “إن أبناء إبراهيم؛ أي نسل إسحق وإسماعيل، انخرطوا معاً في رحلة جريئة، واليوم مع بعضنا بكل قلوبنا وأرواحنا نقدّم لهم السلام”.

وفي عام 1994 وخلال اتفاقية وادي عربة التطبيعية بين الأردن والكيان الصهيوني قال الملك حسين: “سوف نتذكر هذا اليوم طيلة حياتنا لأجل أجيال المستقبل من الأردنيين والإسرائيليين والعرب والفلسطينيين، كل أبناء إبراهيم”.

وفي إطار توظيف الابراهيمية سياسياً برز في الغرب مصطلح “الدبلوماسية الروحية” وتم تعريفه بأنه مسار من مسارات التفاوض تستهدف حل النزاع أو منع حدوثه من أجل بناء سلام ديني عالمي عبر تقارب الديانات الإبراهيمية أو الدين العالمي الواحد.

وفي هذا الإطار ذاته أتت زيارة قداسة بابا الفاتيكان لمدينة أور الأثرية وللمرجعية الشيعية في النجف السيد السيستاني كي يتم إدخال المرجعية الشيعية في هذا المسار بعد أن طبّعت دول عربية أخرى مع الكيان الصهيوني. ولكن اللافت في تلك الزيارة أن قداسة البابا قد اصطحب معه عشر بعثات أثرية للتنقيب عن الآثار في مدينة أور العراقية؛ فما هي علاقة الآثار بهذا المسار؟

تقول الدكتورة هبة جمال الدين مدرس العلوم السياسية في القاهرة، إن الهدف النهائي لهذا المسار هو الكشف عن آثار تُثبت أن الشعوب الأصلية لهذه المنطقة ليسوا العرب بل اليهود الذين تم تهجيرهم من البلدان العربية، والمطالبة بتعويضات لهم ومحو الثقافة العربية وتأسيس اتحاد الأرض الإبراهيمية المشتركة مع رموز دينية جديدة وثقافة جديدة باشروا بالتأسيس لها من خلال تسجيل “المحكي” أو “الحكي”؛ أي توثيق تاريخ جديد من أفواه من يختارون ليحلّ مكان التاريخ الموجود والمعتمد في المنطقة، وقد كتبت الدكتورة هبة جمال الدين كتاباً عن “المسار الإبراهيمي الملغوم” فنّدت فيه الأهداف السياسية البعيدة لهذا المشروع ألا وهي إزالة الحدود وإزالة الانتماء للدول كما نعرفها اليوم، وتقويم المواطنين كمواطنين ينتمون فقط للديانة الإبراهيمية والتي دون شك سيكون الغرب والكيان الصهيوني هما المشرفان على وضع أسس هويتها والانتماء لها.

وقد تبنى الرئيس الأميركي ترامب هذه التسمية في الوثائق الأميركية، ولكن ومنذ فترة أصدر الرئيس بايدن أمراً بشطب مصطلح الإبراهيمية من الوثائق واستبداله بـ “التطبيع “؛ إذ نتذكر أن الاتفاقات الأخيرة التي عقدت بين الإمارات العربية المتحدة والبحرين من جهة وبين “إسرائيل” من جهة ثانية تمت تسميتها بـ”اتفاقات أبراهام”، والسبب أن الرئيس بايدن أمر بحذف هذا المصطلح لأن هوية المشروع بدأت تتكشف للباحثين والمناهضين له فخاف عليه أن يتم إجهاضه واعتبر أن الوقت لم ينضج بعد للإفصاح عن هذا المشروع الخطير والترويج له.

ويأتي هذا المشروع نتيجة فشل الكيان بالتطبيع مع الشعب العربي في مختلف أقطاره رغم أنه وقّع اتفاقيات مع حكومات متعاقبة في دول عربية مختلفة إلا أن هذه الاتفاقيات لم تحظ بتأييد الشعب ولم تترجم على أرض الواقع ولذلك فإن المسار الإبراهيمي يهدف إلى التطبيع الشعبي مستخدمين غطاء دينياً وسياحياً وإنسانياً للحديث عن المحبة والأخوة في الوقت الذي يتم الإبقاء على احتلال الأرض وقتل أهلها الأصليين ونهب الثروات وابتلاع الحقوق.

إن المطلوب اليوم من المرجعيات البحثية والدينية والسياسية في وطننا العربي هو مقارعة هذا التيار بالفكر والحجة والمنطق والحقوق وعدم إغفاله أو السكوت عنه، والتوقيت هو البارحة واليوم وغداً. وألا يُسمح لمثل هذه الأفكار والرؤى أن تصبح جزءاً من المناهج التعليمية حيث تعمل منظمات مختلفة لدسّ هذه المفاهيم في مناهج عربية، وأن يتمّ تفنيد خطورة الاسم والمسمى والأهداف الملغومة المبطنة لمشروع يستهدف عروبتنا ووجودنا وحقوقنا في حضارتنا وتاريخنا وأرضنا ومستقبل أجيالنا.

Abortion and the Culture War

About me

August 8, 2021 

An Analysis by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Competing Rights

For those American readers not old enough to remember a time before the nationwide legalization of abortion through the court case known as Roe v. Wade (1973), let me remind you of some of the attributes of that era. The prevailing law made it very difficult to get an abortion in the United States, but not impossible. The real question was how much danger a pregnant woman was willing to face in the illegal “back alley” operations that were available. You see, as with most things illegal, a “black market” existed which would not only eliminate the unborn fetus, but often kill the distraught mother as well. If you were well off and determined, you could go abroad and have the operation performed with relative safety—often making the whole issue one of class privilege. Behind the scenes, one found two dramas played out: (a) the frantic, sometimes near-suicidal despair of the pregnant woman, often only a teenager, and (b) the sanctimonious prattle of those anti-abortionists —mostly men—who said they represented the will of an imagined deity.

Having said this, I do not want the reader to believe that there is no moral question when it comes to abortion. From an evolutionary standpoint, the fetus is a potential human being upon conception and may well have a “moral right” to that life trajectory. Yet that right exists within a broader context which requires that it should be balanced against a woman’s “moral right” to control her own body and the child’s “moral right” not to be born into an environment where he or she is basically unwanted. If we were to deal with this issue logically, the real answer to the dilemma of competing rights is surely free and universally available contraception—along with sensible sex education.

Part II—Anti-Abortion and Gun Mania—An Eerie Connection

There is yet another relevant fact to consider. Remember that the whole anti-abortion movement assumes that human life is uniquely valuable. However, our societies often do not act as if human life is something special—morally or otherwise. Take a look at the essay I wrote in June 2019 entitled “The Alleged Preciousness of Human Life.” I think it lays this failing out clearly and convincingly. Here in the United States, this fact is most obviously brought home by the society’s glorification of guns and the resultant deadly mayhem.

Actually, there is an eerie connection between the abortion issue and gun mania. It runs, of course, through the Republican Party. At the end of July 2021, “228 Republican members of Congress told the Supreme Court that it should overturn Roe v. Wade and release the court’s ‘vise grip on abortion politics.’” These are the same politicians who have sworn loyalty to the official Republican party platform that states “We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right . . . secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense.” In other words, the Republicans who demand that the courts subscribe to their view of the “right to life” of unborn children are the same ones who insist that each citizen has a right to possess society’s chief instrument of death. In this effort they invoke, once again, the approval of that imagined deity. They also misinterpret the Second Amendment, and play fast and loose with such words as “natural” and “inalienable.” Well, as it is often said of American politics, hypocrisy is the name of the game.

Part III—Culture War

Both abortion “rights” and gun “rights” are parts of a continuing American culture war—which also includes other hot topics such as real equality for Blacks, Native Americans, women in general, homosexuals, and transgender people, as well as other questions such as multiculturalism.

None of these issues existed as publicly divisive ones before the 1960s. Before that time, the misleading though strongly promoted image of American society was white, male, heterosexual, and benevolent. For those old enough to recognize it, the benign version of this model was given in a classic TV show called The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which aired from 1952 to 1966. The resulting false picture of the near-perfect American family dwelling in a community where there were no serious social problems became so iconic that, subsequently, many Americans came to idealize the 1950s. One strongly suspects that the anti-abortion and pro-gun lobbies still do.

The Ozzie and Harriet model had broken down by the second half of the 1960s. What shattered the iconic image were (a) the demand for equal rights, both in social and political terms, for, initially, the country’s Black minority and female majority—that is, the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement and (b) opposition to the Vietnam War, which shredded any claims of “God-given” moral exceptionalism for the nation.

The “excrement hit the fan” the moment these campaigns for equal rights and peace began to gain political backing. People knew this was happening because new laws came into existence: anti-discrimination laws and others like the “war-powers act” which sought to limit presidential power to wage undeclared war. These were seen as progressive moves attuned to a different, if yet unfulfilled, humane canon of American ideals.

From that general moment until today, the progressive equality camp has been engaged in a culture war—really a struggle for political power—with the camp that favors the traditional white-male-heterosexual-anti-abortionist setup.

Part IV—Fascist Potential

For the past five years Donald Trump has been the leader of the latter camp, and this alignment helped him win the presidency in 2016. During this time Trump has been accused of racism, misogyny and sexual harassment, being a deadbeat, tax evasion, nepotism, blackmail, compulsive lying, encouraging police violence, subversion and insurrection, and being an advocate for the destruction of the world’s climate, among other things. If even half of these allegations are true, it means that the white-male-heterosexual-anti-abortionist crowd is quite willing to have a criminal personality with fascist leanings as their leader.

One way to interpret this is that, for this camp, democracy is not an important issue. It was democracy that led to the progressive change they hate and fear, and democracy that seems unable to reverse this course as quick as they would like. If voter rolls expand and gerrymandering is corrected, their influence will shrink. Under these circumstances this side in the culture war is willing to throw democracy out in favor of an authoritarian government run by thugs. We already see intimations of this in Arizona, Florida, and Texas, to say nothing at the U.S. capital on January 6, 2021.

One might ask, can the sane citizens of the U.S. take hope in Trump’s defeat in 2020? The answer is, perhaps not. If Donald Trump keeled over from a fatal coronary tomorrow, we would still be in trouble as a nation. One indicator of this, relevant to the abortion question, is that, in his brief stay in the White House, he was able to appoint to the Supreme Court three reactionary judges—making the balance 6 to 3 in favor of decisions turning the clock back to a pre-progressive time. The constitutional argument these six judges will most likely use toward this end is “states rights”—turning important social decisions over to state legislatures even if these bodies are filled with anti-democratic, conspiracy-theorist, paranoid, irrational politicians.

Part V—Democratic Party Weakness

This brings us full circle back to Roe v. Wade. “At issue before the court is a Mississippi law that bars most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy [Roe v. Wade set the cut off at 24 weeks when most experts believe fetus viability occurs.] There is no exception for rape or incest. The court will render its decision by next June, in the lead up to the mid-term elections.” Upholding the Mississippi law would invalidate Roe v. Wade and the legal status of nationwide abortion.

If legal precedent was a factor in this contest, there would be no doubt that Roe v. Wade would be upheld. For over forty years both lower court and past Supreme Court decisions have upheld the present law affirming the “woman’s right to choose an abortion before viability.” But, because the Trump administration managed to shift the balance of power on the high court, most observers now expect that Roe v. Wade will fall. Like wolves circling a wounded prey, various states with Republican legislatures have “introduced more than 500 restrictions on abortion over the past four months, a huge increase from previous years.”

In the meantime, the Democratic administration of Joe Biden has not spoken out strongly about the possible demise of Roe v. Wade. In fact, President Biden, who is Catholic and perhaps fears increased criticism by the Catholic Church, has refused to use the word “abortion” in public. His administration has also chosen not to challenge other conservative icons, such as the issue of gun control (or lack thereof). Put it all together and one suspects that President Joe Biden is a man bypassed by time. He is a politician of an age when bipartisan cooperation, and thus meaningful compromise, was possible. Yet this ended with the Obama presidency (2009-2017), when the Republican leadership, which is still in place, systematically attempted to defeat or stall everything President Obama attempted to accomplish. Biden was a witness to all of this in his role as vice president, but he seems to have learned nothing from that experience.

Part VI—Conclusion

So here is the situation: (1) An ex-president with a sociopathic personality leads a Republican minority of mostly white, heterosexual, male conspiracy theorists who have also taken up the cause of outlawing most abortions and, given half the chance, are perfectly willing to selectively overthrow the U.S. Constitution; (2) the defense of the realm is in the hands of Democratic Party leaders who, for the most part, have misjudged the current situation and rely on traditional bipartisanship—to wit: they are trying to compromise with those who do not respect the present democratic system; (3) as a consequence, leaders like Joe Biden have probably lost that part of the nation’s progressive achievements encoded in Roe v. Wade, and perhaps a lot more; (4) finally, in 2022 there will be mid-term elections for the Congress—to reelect the Republicans as they now exist is to put into power the bigoted, the prevaricators, and often the deranged.

It is anyone’s guess if, devoid of able and forceful Democratic leadership clearly articulating what is at stake, enough voting American citizens will understand the risk or have the motivation to stop a reactionary takeover.

How to Undermine a Diplomatic Triumph

About me

26 July 2021

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—The Backstory

The true status of current negotiations to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran is unknown to the American public—most of whom are tragically indifferent to the outcome. This is so even though the successful negotiation of this deal with Iran back in 2015 represents one of the greatest triumphs of diplomacy in the last hundred years. What we do know is this triumph was followed by tragedy—a premeditated tragedy—the sort of tragedy only fools can produce. But very few Americans care. That is the way it is with foreign policy. On the one hand, you can start wars to great public acclaim, and on the other, you can destroy hard-won diplomatic achievements almost without public notice. 

At the end of President Obama’s term of office (January 2017) the JCPOA was complete and in force. In exchange for a lifting of “nuclear-related sanctions,” Iran undertook not to pursue research that might allow her to develop nuclear weapons. Up until May of 2018 “Iran’s compliance has been repeatedly verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which oversees the most intrusive inspections regime ever negotiated.” It was in May of 2018 that Donald Trump, perhaps the most despicable human being to hold the presidency since Andrew Jackson, withdrew from the JCPOA, apparently for two reasons: (1) was the treaty was completed by Obama and Trump wanted to destroy the achievements of his non-white predecessor, and (2) Trump thought he could bully the Iranians into a “better deal.” It is important to note that the other signatories to the treaty did not initially follow Trump’s lead. “The leaders of France, the United Kingdom, and Germany issued a joint statement on behalf of their countries that reemphasized their support for the deal and its importance to the nonproliferation regime.” The United Nations expressed “deep concern” over Trump’s decision and released a statement in support of the JCPOA. Russia’s Foreign Ministry also reiterated its support for the JCPOA, and further stated that “U.S. actions compromise international trust in the IAEA.”

How did the Iranians react to Trump’s withdrawal from the treaty and reimposition of harsh sanctions? At first, Tehran suggested that if the other signatories to the agreement would remain loyal to their obligations, Iran too would keep to the treaty. Unfortunately, most of the European nations involved would soon succumb to U.S. economic pressure and cease to hold to their obligations. Nonetheless, it was not until a year following Trump’s irresponsible act that Iran announced that “The Islamic Republic of Iran in reaction to the exit of America from the nuclear deal and the bad promises of European countries in carrying out their obligations will restart a part of the nuclear activities which were stopped under the framework of the nuclear deal.” Even while the Iranian government took this position, it insisted that if at any time the United States returned to the treaty and removed all nuclear-related sanctions, Iran too would return to its obligations. Tehran even suggested a process whereby the U.S. and Iran would take simultaneous steps to that end. 

Everyone but Trump devotees, Israel and its supporters, and those Iranian exiles who would like to see the return of the country’s monarchy recognized that the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA had been a mistake. Accordingly, in the campaign run-up to the 2020 presidential election in the U.S., the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, promised that upon election he would rejoin the treaty if Iran returned to compliance as well. 

Biden did win, but he has not yet fulfilled his promise. Instead, he entered an extended period of negotiations that is still ongoing. At first it was said that these were about “who goes first” when it comes to returning to requirements of the treaty. Was Iran to give up the small steps in nuclear enrichment since the Trump withdrawal, or was the U.S. going to go first in removing the draconian sanctions placed on Iran by the Trump administration? It was Iran who realized the childish nature of this question and offered a simultaneous return to the compliance mentioned above. While the Biden administration rejected this offer, it has been reported that now both sides are working toward “simultaneous, sequential steps” back to requirements of the treaty. 


Part II—Misleading the American Public


In the meantime, the Biden administration has been releasing misinformation to the public. For instance, Biden has insisted that sanctions relief depends on Iran “returning to compliance.” But, of course, for anyone familiar with the relevant events, it was Washington that broke the treaty and needed to return to compliance. Any subsequent Iranian actions following Trump’s folly were, and still are, perfectly legal under the terms of the JCPOA. Joe Biden can continue to justify draconian economic sanctions in this way—sanctions that are ruining the lives of millions—only because he is addressing an ignorant American audience. 

When Iran failed to be bullied, Biden’s diplomats adopted a “shift the blame” tactic. In May 2021, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “Iran, I think, knows what it needs to do to come back into compliance on the nuclear side, and what we haven’t yet seen is whether Iran is ready and willing to make a decision to do what it has to do. That’s the test and we don’t yet have an answer.” Translation: the American people should know that we, the Biden administration, are trying, but those Iranians seem to be too thick-headed to do what is necessary. So if the whole thing fails, it is their fault and not ours. 

Blinken went on, “If both sides can return to the original deal, then we can use that as a foundation both to look at how to make the deal itself potentially longer and stronger—and also [to] engage on these other issues, whether it’s Iran’s support for terrorism [or] its destabilizing support for different proxies throughout the Middle East.”

That scenario will not encourage the Iranians. They have repeatedly stated that the JCPOA, and the present negotiations, are about two things: sanctions and the scope of nuclear development. It is not about Iranian foreign policy, which has been so blandly assumed to be “terrorism” by both Trump and Biden. If Mr. Blinken keeps tagging on these extras, we will still be running in circles come Christmas.   

What is the diplomatic aim of the Biden administration? Is it to pursue the Democrats’ traditional, and bankrupt, aim of sounding as tough on foreign policy as the Republicans? That irrelevant goal (remember most Americans don’t care about foreign policy) would not be surprising coming from a professional Democratic politician of Joe Biden’s generation. However, after all the work that has gone into the JCPOA and all the suffering endured by the Iranian population due to brutal U.S. sanctions, such a petty motive reflects the mentality of a street gang competing with rivals, rather than the peaceful ends of an alleged civilized society. 

With statements like this, Secretary of State Blinken transforms himself into someone we might mistake for a

Fox News TV anchor. It would seem that many who pride themselves on eschewing Fox’s lies are ready to swallow whole Mr. Blinken’s bunk. 

Part III—An Israeli Connection?

We know that ex-Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and ex-President Trump were in agreement on Iran policy. In this regard, all the yelling and screaming about Iran’s nuclear program carried on by both men hid their real goal. Particularly for Netanyahu, the hyperbole was aimed at creating a “credible reason” to force regime change in Iran, even if it meant a U.S. invasion. Essentially, the model here was Iraq. Netanyahu was ready to pursue this end till the last dying American soldier. Obviously, the JCPOA was a major obstacle in that path. So was Barack Obama, who thought he was helping Israel and the world in general by negotiating the treaty. 

Now Netanyahu and Trump are gone from office. However, why should we believe that the new Israeli government has changed the ultimate goal? And why should we believe that Joe Biden—who is, as he never fails to remind us, an “ironclad” Zionist—will really follow in Obama’s footsteps?

In June, Israel sent some of its highest-ranking leaders to see Biden. These included Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Both meetings were basically about Iran. “Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch,” Biden told Rivlin. This was billed as a “stark warning” to Iran—a country which has, for religious as well as other reasons, disavowed the desire for such a weapon. How many Americans know this? Does President Biden know this?

Many scholars and other experts in Middle East policy believe that “Mr. Biden’s calculations are rooted in a different era of American-Israeli relations—when Israel’s security concerns commanded far more attention than Palestinian grievances.” This is true. But there is a more personal connection. Biden personally identifies with Israel like no other U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson. He collects yarmulkes and is reported to have knelt down in an impromptu “show of respect” after learning that Rivka Ravitz, President Rivlin’s Orthodox chief of staff, was the mother of 12 children. The Israeli Orthodox Jews often have such large families out of fear of a “demographic holocaust”—that is, the consequences of the Palestinians’ much higher birth rate than that of most Israeli Jews. Finally, Biden has completely accepted the highly debatable notion that world Jewry, many of whom are not Zionists, cannot be safe apart from the existence of Israel. 

Those same experts also believe that, when it comes to Israel, President Biden’s approach has much to do with domestic politics. Thus, getting back to the JCPOA is less important than catering to the desires of the Israel Lobby. This only makes sense for a politician born and bred to the power of that lobby.

Part IV—Conclusion


The U.S. and Israeli leaders are suffering from a group-think environment and tunnel vision, all shaped in good part by political pressure generated by dominant special interests.  At least in this instance, one cannot say the same for the Iranians who, though led by a rigid religious elite, broke through their tunnel vision and joined the JCPOA treaty. The present stalemate is the work of American ideologues tied hand and foot to a major U.S. lobby. 

Outside the tunnel one can see the obvious answer to the present stalemate. Having been polite and empathetic toward Rivlin and Gantz, Joe Biden should ask over to the Oval Office an outsider, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. At the end of June Guterres said, “I appeal to the United States to lift or waive its sanctions outlined in the plan.” He also appealed to Iran to return to full implementation of the deal. Right from the beginning of Biden’s election, the Iranians have been willing to follow Guterres’s lead. It is Biden who has temporized while being encouraged by his confidants from Jerusalem. 

‘Israeli’ Occupation of Syrian Golan Heights Illegitimate, Invalid – UN

July 23, 2021

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By Staff, Agencies

The United Nations emphasized Syria’s sovereignty over the ‘Israeli’-occupied Golan Heights, stressing that annexation measures imposed by the Tel Aviv regime in the territory are invalid and illegitimate.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia [ESCWA] made the announcement in a periodic report distributed in Beirut, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported on Thursday.

“The compliance with the international law and the absence of impunity are two prerequisites for achieving peace and justice for all the peoples of the region,” the UN body added.

In 1967, the Zionist occupation waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, during which it occupied a large swathe of Golan and annexed it four years later, a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1973, another war broke out and a year later, a UN-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which Tel Aviv and Damascus agreed to separate their troops and create a buffer zone in the Heights.

The Zionist entity has over the past decades built dozens of settlements in the Golan Heights in defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction activities.

Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

The United Nations has time and again emphasized Syria’s sovereignty over the territory.

In March 2019, former American president Donald Trump controversially signed a decree recognizing ‘Israeli’ “sovereignty” over the Golan Heights during a meeting with then Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.

The ESCWA report, which covers the period from April 2020 to March 2021, further stressed that it is impossible to achieve sustainable development in the occupied Palestinian territories in light of the continuing ‘Israeli’ occupation and the policies and practices pursued by the entity.

The UN commission also emphasized the necessity of halting such Zionist measures that hinder efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide additional humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

The report also stressed that the measures and policies adopted by the Zionist regime in Arab territories, occupied since 1967, including the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip and settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, are all in sheer violation of international law.

Elsewhere in the report, ESCWA said that last year was one of the worst years in the Palestinian economy since 2002, as it shrank by 11.5 percent.

The UN commission prepares a report for the UN chief every year on the economic and social repercussions of the ‘Israeli’ occupation on the conditions of the Palestinians in the occupied territories and also the conditions of the Syrians in the Golan Heights.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE: When crown princes fall out

Andreas Krieg

6 July 2021 

Dr. Andreas Krieg is an assistant professor at the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London and a strategic risk consultant working for governmental and commercial clients in the Middle East. He recently published a book called ‘Socio-political order and security in the Arab World’.

The growing divergence of interests between the two neighbours has created serious cracks in the thin veneer of their once-hailed ‘strategic entente’

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah in 2018 (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)

They were the Gulf power couple of the Trump era: the two crown princes and de facto rulers of the UAE and Saudi Arabia shook up the region, imposing their will on their neighbours.

Ever since Abu Dhabi strongman Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) took Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) under his wing in 2015, the latter did not seem bothered at being framed as the former’s protege. The notion in Riyadh was that Abu Dhabi’s model of authoritarian liberalisation could be one to emulate, bringing the kingdom from the Middle Ages into the 21st century. 

As MBS now sits more firmly in the driver’s seat in Riyadh, the honeymoon period between the crown princes is certainly over

But over the past two years, it has dawned on MBS’s inner circle that the assumed ally next door was not interested in creating win-win situations for both states. Rather, the UAE’s assertive zero-sum mentality – emboldened by former US President Donald Trump’s laissez-faire Middle East policy – often came at the expense of Saudi interests.

The rise of the UAE as arguably the most powerful Arab state over the past decade has only been possible because Abu Dhabi ruthlessly pursues its own interests, with little regard for Riyadh’s reputational struggle in Washington, security concerns in Yemen, urgent need for economic diversification and existential dependence on stable oil prices. 

Since 2019, the growing divergence of interests between the two neighbours has created serious cracks in the thin veneer of their once-hailed “strategic entente”. The relationship between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi in recent years has been underwritten by ideological synergies over the UAE’s grand strategic counterrevolutionary narratives, including securitising political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood and civil society more widely.

While these synergies remain, the other factor that has traditionally sustained this bilateral relationship – the personal ties between MBZ and MBS – has suffered, as the leader-to-leader relationship has noticeably cooled since the election of US President Joe Biden

Buying political credit

While the two leaders previously cemented their “bromance” with joint hunting trips, official state visits and phone calls, according to press releases, MBS and MBZ have spoken only once since the Trump era came to an end. It became clear that under Biden, Washington would withdraw its carte blanche for Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to do as they pleased in the region. Both needed to buy credit with the new administration and the Democrats in Washington.

Instead of featuring as the bullies in the region, both MBS and MBZ needed to reframe their image as more constructive players, eager to support the Biden administration’s soft-handed regional policy of leading from behind.  

When Trump got elected in 2016, MBZ personally visited the Trump team in New York, lobbying for his protege MBS as the next king. Four years later, with a Democrat elected president, the UAE is noticeably trying to create distance between itself and the Saudi leadership. Any affiliation with MBS is seen as potentially tainting Emirati efforts to turn the country’s image around.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with MBS at the 2019 G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with MBS at the 2019 G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)

Under pressure for its joint ventures with Moscow in Libya, its mercenary adventures in Yemen, and its rise as a force multiplier for China’s global information power, Abu Dhabi has demonstrated that its zero-sum mentality means it is willing to throw a “strategic ally” under the bus. 

The war in Yemen, which the UAE helped to frame as “Saudi-led”, was the first arena in which the Saudi leadership learned that Emirati policy was ruthless when it came to preserving the UAE’s interests, even at the expense of Saudi Arabia.

Some in MBS’s circles have, according to sources close to the palace, raised concerns that MBZ might have pushed Saudi Arabia into risky adventures in order to create a shield behind which the UAE could consolidate its gains in Yemen’s south.

While Saudi Arabia had to bear the operational and reputational burdens of the costly war against the Houthis, Abu Dhabi secured its foothold along Yemen’s strategically important coastline via its surrogate, the Southern Transitional Council.  

Left out in the cold

The UAE’s comet-like rise amid the regional power vacuum left by a disengaging US created the illusion in Abu Dhabi that, as the new middle power in the Gulf, it would not need to yield to anyone. The ongoing standoff between the UAE and Saudi Arabia within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows that Abu Dhabi is confident to stand its ground.

The UAE will not compromise on national interests, even if it comes to the detriment of Saudi Arabia, as with Abu Dhabi’s blatant ignoring of OPEC output quotas.

On the issue of the Qatar blockade, where MBZ led and MBS willingly followed, the UAE showed very little willingness to compromise. Although the reputational and political costs of the ongoing blockade continued to rise for both – especially in Washington – Abu Dhabi was willing to sustain it in the interests of its counterrevolutionary crusade.The Saudi-Emirati axis: United against Gulf unity

In the end, Saudi Arabia broke ranks and let pragmatism prevail. Ending the blockade was a first sign of Saudi leadership in the Gulf under MBS, which Riyadh viewed as a win-win opportunity for the blockading quartet and for Qatar. Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, was deeply concerned about the pace and depth of normalisation, which not only pressured the Emiratis to fall in line, but allowed MBS to reap the positive messages.

This was just the beginning. Left out in the cold time and again by its neighbour, Saudi Arabia has since embarked on its own more assertive strategy for diversification. The kingdom’s new economic policies, aiming to attract investments from multinationals based in the UAE, directly target the success story of Dubai, which has been in economic limbo since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The unhealthy nature of this competition means that it becomes ever-more difficult to create win-win situations. And as MBS now sits more firmly in the driver’s seat in Riyadh, the honeymoon period between the crown princes is certainly over.

As the gloves come off, MBS is eager to show that Abu Dhabi has been punching above its weight, and that there are limits to smart power in compensating for lack of size. Nonetheless, their relations remain underwritten by ideological synergies over fears of political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood and civil society. It remains to be seen whether this is enough to prevent another Gulf crisis.

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

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

How will US disengagement shape the Middle East? “ميدل إيست آي”: “محور المقاومة” هو المؤهل لملء الفراغ بعد الانسحاب الأميركي

Iranians destroy a US flag during a demonstration in Tehran in January 2020 (AFP)

24 June 2021 10:54 UTC

Marco Carnelos

So far, the entity best positioned to fill the power vacuum is the ‘axis of resistance’ led by Iran

The Middle East has always proudly claimed its own culture and, above all, a certain resistance to so-called western modernity. But over the past two decades, reading its tea leaves has become increasingly difficult.

The past two decades have been cataclysmic, and those to come could be even more worrisome. A power vacuum is looming, especially amid multiple signals of a US political and military disengagement from the region. With the notable exception of Israel, it is not certain that Washington’s other local partners will be able to adjust to the new strategic environment.

In the summer of 2000, the Clinton administration believed for a moment that the circle of the historical Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be squared – only to discover, just months later, that this was not on the cards.

The so-called US-led peace process has become essentially an international PR strategy for managing the conflict

At the time, the Americans and Israelis concluded that, no matter how effective their marketing strategies, a bantustan could not be sold to the Palestinians as the state they had claimed and sought for decades to fulfil their unquestionable right to self-determination. Since then, the so-called US-led peace process has become essentially an international PR strategy for managing the conflict. It has given breath and time to a creeping Israeli annexation of the sliver of historical Palestine not yet under Israel’s control.

The Trump administration – more honestly, or less hypocritically, if you prefer – tried to solve the issue by siding openly with Israel, aiming to impose a “bantustan solution” under a different name: the Abraham Accords. To succeed, the formula required the formal adhesion of certain Arab countries, primarily Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Yet, while some Arab states quickly established diplomatic relations with Israel, the absence of Riyadh has left an aura of uncertainty around the ambitious project.

Turmoil in Israel-Palestine

The latest conflict in the streets of Jerusalem, inside Palestinian communities of Israel, and in the Gaza Strip, has likely buried the viability of such a “solution”. Most certainly, it has shown that the Palestinian question is still alive and kicking.

Israel is now in the paradoxical situation of being the strongest regional military and technological power, while facing a highly polarised political framework and a somewhat crumbling internal front. In order to finally remove former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power, Israeli politicians cobbled together the most heterogeneous coalition in the country’s history. The most extremist prime minister ever, Naftali Bennett, had to rely on the support an Arab party with Islamist roots in order to narrowly win power.

Palestinians protest in the occupied West Bank village of Salem on 15 May 2021 (AFP)
Palestinians protest in the occupied West Bank village of Salem on 15 May 2021 (AFP)

Meanwhile, Palestinians are mired between an increasingly ineffective official leadership in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority, and an increasingly popular but “terrorist”-designated leadership in Gaza, Hamas.

After 9/11, the main western political driver for the region changed. The US-led “war on terrorism” aimed to impose, once and for all, a Pax Americana in the region, focusing on Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen.

Two decades later, this strategy is crumbling. The US is withdrawing from Afghanistan without accomplishing anything significant, and after spending trillions in Iraq, the US has been asked by Baghdad’s parliament to leave. A tiny enclave in eastern Syria remains under US control, but all the “useful” parts of the country are again under the control of President Bashar al-Assad.

Spreading anxiety

US disengagement from the region, whether real or perceived, is spreading anxiety, with the sense of an incoming power vacuum that needs to be filled. So far, the only entity sufficiently organised and determined to do so appears to be the “axis of resistance”: Iran and its regional allies, including Syria, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthis and Shia militias in Iraq.

Since its 1979 revolution, Iran has been the main opponent of western modernity and, particularly, a Pax Americana in the region. Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and regional activities have been a constant source of concern for Washington and its regional allies, both Arab and Israeli.

A temporary and partial truce, the 2015 nuclear deal, was quickly removed from the strategic equation in 2018. A heavy sanctions campaign, the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy, did not achieve its claimed objectives: Iran has changed neither its regime nor its behaviour.America Last: Coming to terms with the new world order

As another US administration now attempts to rejoin the nuclear deal, hoping to improve some of its clauses, Iran – with the recent election of Ebrahim Raisi as the country’s next president – is firmly under the control of conservatives, while also seeking a deal with the US and regional rivals. While Major-General Qassem Soleimani might have been eliminated, his regional master plan was not.

There are also other spoilers keen to take their slice of the cake. Turkey seems to be rediscovering its Ottoman past, and combined with its links to the Muslim Brotherhood, it is still viewed as an existential threat to many Arab ruling families.

Russia’s policy has been smarter and more effective, relying on diplomacy reinforced by military power – contrary to Washington’s approach, which used diplomacy only to justify the use of military force. Moscow has held its ground in Syria, obtained important leverage in Libya, and maintained good relations with all regional actors. Two decades ago, Russia was barely relevant in the area; now it is a player. It holds poor cards, but can use them far more effectively than others.

China, as usual, is approaching the region pragmatically, not ideologically. It aspires to leverage the power vacuum to smoothly build up the southern leg of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, aiming to create the world’s biggest economic and trading bloc outside of US political and financial control.

Looming pressures

On a regional scale, the so-called Arab Spring, an overdue and legitimate rallying cry by ordinary people exhausted by a systemic lack of governance, basic services and political rights, turned quickly into an Islamic awakening. It fuelled bloody civil wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen, while achieving only a single, partially accomplished political transition in Tunisia. The rest was an autocratic counter-spring, resembling the concert of powers mustered at the Congress of Vienna after the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.

The Middle East during the past two decades of American unilateralism has been a mess. Could it be even worse without it?

While the US seems engaged in naively challenging both China and Russia, Europe, as usual, is torn by the dilemma over how to position itself. The Middle East may descend further into chaos, with Covid-19, migration and environmental pressures presenting just a few of the challenges that lie ahead.

One self-proclaimed enabler of the vaguely defined “rules-based world order”, the G7, has again failed to display the necessary leadership, which requires not only power, but also intellectual honesty and self-criticism. Its latest communique outlines no inspirational vision for the Middle East, failing to address the bombs that have already exploded (in Israel-Palestine) or the ones still ticking (the forthcoming collapse of Lebanon).

The Middle East during the past two decades of American unilateralism has been a mess. Could it be even worse without it? That’s doubtful, but it would be best to fasten your seatbelts anyway.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.Marco CarnelosMarco Carnelos is a former Italian diplomat. He has been assigned to Somalia, Australia and the United Nations. He has served in the foreign policy staff of three Italian prime ministers between 1995 and 2011. More recently he has been Middle East Peace Process Coordinator Special Envoy for Syria for the Italian government and, until November 2017, ambassador of Italy to Iraq.

“ميدل إيست آي”: “محور المقاومة” هو المؤهل لملء الفراغ بعد الانسحاب الأميركي

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القوات الامريكية تنسحب من افغانستان بحلول سبتمبر المقبل

الكاتب: ماركو كارنيلوس

المصدر: ميدل إيست آي


كتب الدبلوماسي الإيطالي السابق ماركو كارنيلوس مقالة في موقع “ميدل إيست آي” البريطانيا قال فيها إن الشرق الأوسط كان دوماً يدعي بفخر أنه يمتلك ثقافته الخاصة، وقبل كل شيء، أنه لديه مقاومة ما لما يسمّى بالحداثة الغربية. لكن العقدين الماضيين، كانا كارثيين، ويمكن للعقدين المقبلين أن يكونوا أكثر إثارة للقلق. 

وأوضح الكاتب سبب ذلك بأنه يلوح في الأفق فراغ في السلطة، خاصة وسط إشارات متعددة لفك الولايات المتحدة الأميركية ارتباطها السياسي والعسكري بالمنطقة. فباستثناء “إسرائيل”، ليس من المؤكد أن شركاء واشنطن المحليين الآخرين سيكونون قادرين على التكيّف مع البيئة الاستراتيجية الجديدة.

في صيف عام 2000، اعتقدت إدارة الرئيس الأميركي بيل كلينتون للحظة أنه يمكن تربيع دائرة الصراع الإسرائيلي الفلسطيني التاريخي، كي تكتشف، بعد أشهر فقط، أن هذا لم يكن مطروحاً على الورق. فقد خلص الأميركيون والإسرائيليون أنذاك إلى أنه، بغض النظر عن مدى فعالية استراتيجياتهم التسويقية، لا يمكن بيع “البانتوستان” للفلسطينيين كدولة طالبوا بها وسعى لعقود من الزمان لتحقيق حقهم غير المشكوك فيه في تقرير المصير. منذ ذلك الحين، أصبحت عملية السلام المزعومة، بقيادة الولايات المتحدة، استراتيجية علاقات عامة دولية لإدارة الصراع. لقد منحت هذه العملية نفساً ووقتاً لقيام “إسرائيل” بضم زاحف لبقية فلسطين التاريخية التي لم تخضع بعد لسيطرة الاحتلال الإسرائيلي.

وأضاف كارنيلوس: حاولت إدارة الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب – بصراحة أكثر، أو أقل نفاقاً – حل المشكلة بالانحياز صراحة إلى “إسرائيل”، بهدف فرض “حل البانتوستان” تحت اسم مختلف: اتفاقات أبراهام. ولتحقيق النجاح، تطلبت الصيغة الانضمام الرسمي لبعض الدول العربية، وفي مقدمتها السعودية والإمارات العربية المتحدة. ومع ذلك، في حين أن بعض الدول العربية أقامت بسرعة علاقات دبلوماسية مع “إسرائيل”، فإن غياب الرياض ترك هالة من عدم اليقين حول المشروع الطموح.

هبة القدس

وأشار الكاتب إلى أن الصراع الأخير في شوارع القدس، وداخل التجمعات السكانية الفلسطينية في الكيان الإسرائيلي، ومع قطاع غزة، قد يكون قد دفن جدوى مثل هذا “الحل”. لكنه بالطبع، أظهر أن القضية الفلسطينية لا تزال حية وتنطلق. فـ”إسرائيل” اليوم في وضع متناقض لكونها أقوى قوة عسكرية وتكنولوجية إقليمية، لكنها تواجه إطاراً سياسياً شديد الاستقطاب وجبهة داخلية متداعية إلى حد ما. فمن أجل الإطاحة برئيس الوزراء السابق بنيامين نتنياهو أخيراً، قام السياسيون الإسرائيليون بتجميع أكثر تحالف غير متجانس في تاريخ الكيان. كان على رئيس الوزراء الأكثر تطرفاً، نفتالي بينيت، الاعتماد على دعم حزب فلسطيني ذي جذور إسلامية من أجل الفوز بالسلطة بفارق ضئيل.

واعتبر الدبلوماسي الإيطالي أنه في المقابل، فإن الفلسطينيين غارقون بين قيادة رسمية غير فعالة في رام الله، هي السلطة الفلسطينية، وقيادة شعبية ولكنها مصنفة “إرهابية” في غزة، هي حركة حماس. وقال إنه بعد 11 أيلول / سبتمبر 2001، تغير المحرك السياسي الغربي الرئيسي للمنطقة، إذ هدفت “الحرب على الإرهاب” بقيادة الولايات المتحدة إلى فرض “السلام الطويل المدى” الأميركي في المنطقة لمرة واحدة وأخيرة، مع التركيز على لبنان وسوريا والعراق وإيران واليمن.

لكن بعد عقدين من الزمن، هذه الاستراتيجية تنهار. إذ تنسحب الولايات المتحدة من أفغانستان من دون تحقيق أي شيء مهم، وبعد إنفاق تريليونات الدولارات في العراق، طلب البرلمان العراقي من الولايات المتحدة المغادرة. لا يزال جيب صغير في شرق سوريا تحت سيطرة الولايات المتحدة، لكن جميع الأجزاء “المفيدة” من البلاد أصبحت مرة أخرى تحت سيطرة الرئيس بشار الأسد.

ورأى الكاتب “أن فك ارتباط الولايات المتحدة بالمنطقة، سواء كان حقيقياً أو متصوراً، ينشر القلق، مع إحساس بفراغ القوة الذي سيأتي والذي يجب ملؤه. حتى الآن، يبدو أن الكيان الوحيد المنظم والمصمم على القيام بذلك هو “محور المقاومة”: إيران وحلفاؤها الإقليميون، بما في ذلك سوريا وحزب الله اللبناني والحوثيين والميليشيات الشيعية في العراق”.

منذ ثورة 1979، كانت إيران الخصم الرئيسي للحداثة الغربية، وعلى وجه الخصوص الهيمنة الأميركية في المنطقة. لطالما كانت طموحات طهران النووية وأنشطتها الإقليمية مصدر قلق دائم لواشنطن وحلفائها الإقليميين، العرب والإسرائيليين.

وقد تم إلغاء الهدنة المؤقتة والجزئية، الاتفاق النووي لعام 2015، بسرعة من المعادلة الاستراتيجية في عام 2018. ولم تحقق حملة العقوبات الأميركية الشديدة، استراتيجية “الضغط الأقصى” لإدارة ترامب، أهدافها المعلنة حيث أن إيران لم تغيّر لا نظامها ولا سلوكها.

وقال الكاتب إنه بينما تحاول إدارة أميركية أخرى الآن الانضمام إلى الاتفاق النووي، على أمل تحسين بعض بنوده، فإن إيران – مع انتخاب إبراهيم رئيسي كرئيس مقبل للبلاد – تخضع بشدة لسيطرة المحافظين، بينما تسعى في الوقت نفسه إلى إبرام اتفاق مع المنافسين الأميركيين والإقليميين. وفي حين أن اللواء قاسم سليماني قد اغتيل، إلا أن خطته الرئيسية الإقليمية لم تتم الإطاحة بها.

وقال الكاتب إن تركيا تعيد اكتشاف ماضيها العثماني، وإلى جانب صلاتها بجماعة الإخوان المسلمين، لا يزال يُنظر إليها على أنها تهديد وجودي للعديد من العائلات العربية الحاكمة.

وأضاف: كانت سياسة روسيا أكثر ذكاءً وفاعلية، حيث اعتمدت على الدبلوماسية التي تعززها القوة العسكرية، على عكس نهج واشنطن، الذي استخدم الدبلوماسية فقط لتبرير استخدام القوة العسكرية. احتفظت موسكو بموقفها في سوريا، وحصلت على نفوذ مهم في ليبيا، وحافظت على علاقات جيدة مع جميع الأطراف الإقليميين. فقبل عقدين من الزمن، كانت روسيا بالكاد ذات صلة بالمنطقة. الآن هي لاعب، تحمل بطاقات رديئة، ولكن يمكنها استخدامها بشكل أكثر فاعلية من غيرها.

أما الصين، فهي كالعادة تقترب من المنطقة بطريقة براغماتية وليس أيديولوجية. وتطمح للاستفادة من فراغ السلطة لبناء بسلاسة الجزء الجنوبي من “مبادرة الحزام والطريق” الطموحة، والتي تهدف إلى إنشاء أكبر كتلة اقتصادية وتجارية في العالم خارج السيطرة السياسية والمالية الأميركية.

ضغوط تلوح في الأفق

وقال الكاتب: بينما يبدو أن الولايات المتحدة منخرطة في تحدي كل من الصين وروسيا بسذاجة، فإن أوروبا، كعادتها، ممزقة بسبب معضلة كيفية التمركز. قد ينزلق الشرق الأوسط إلى مزيد من الفوضى، حيث يمثل فيروس كورونا والضغوط البيئية والهجرة عدداً قليلاً من التحديات التي تنتظر الأوروبيين.

وأضاف: لقد أخفقت مجموعة الدول السبع، التي نصبت نفسها بنفسها في تمكين “النظام العالمي القائم على القواعد” المحددة بشكل غامض، في إظهار القيادة اللازمة، والتي لا تتطلب القوة فحسب، بل تتطلب كذلك الصدق الفكري والنقد الذاتي. لا يحدد بيانها الأخير أي رؤية ملهمة للشرق الأوسط، وقد فشلت في معالجة القنابل التي انفجرت بالفعل (بين “إسرائيل” وفلسطين) أو التي قد تنفجر (الانهيار الوشيك للبنان).

وختم بالقول: كان الشرق الأوسط خلال العقدين الماضيين من هيمنة الأحادية الأميركية في حالة من الفوضى. فهل يمكن أن يكون أسوأ من دونها؟ هذا مشكوك فيه، ولكن سيكون من الأفضل ربط أحزمة الأمان على أي حال.

*ماركو كارنيلوس دبلوماسي إيطالي سابق. تم تكليفه بالعمل في الصومال وأستراليا والأمم المتحدة. وقد عمل في فريق السياسة الخارجية لثلاثة رؤساء وزراء إيطاليين بين عامي 1995 و2011. وشغل أخيراً منصب مبعوث الحكومة الإيطالية الخاص لعملية السلام في الشرق الأوسط إلى سوريا، وحتى تشرين الثاني / نوفمبر 2017، سفيراً لإيطاليا في العراق.

نقله إلى العربية بتصرف: هيثم مزاحم

The Geneva Summit: Nothingburger or Watershed?

THE SAKER • JUNE 17, 2021 

The long awaited summit between Presidents Putin and Biden has finally taken place, but was it a success? Will it change anything? The answer to this question very much depends on one’s expectations. Let’s take a closer look beginning with the context.

Context of the summit

Just about the only thing which both US and Russian observers agree on is that the state of the Russian-US relations is about as bad as can be (in my personal opinion, it is even much worse than during the Cuban Missile Crisis or any other time in the Cold War). As I have mentioned many times, I believe that the AngloZionist Empire and Russia have been at war at least since 2013. Remember Obama with his “Russian economy in “in tatters”? That was the outcome Obama promised the people of the USA (Quick factcheck: the company Deloitte recently polled the CEOs of major Russian corporations and only 4% of them felt “pessimistic” about their financial perspectives as “negative”, 40% replied “same as before” and 56% replied “optimistic”). Of course, this was was not a conventional war, it was about 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic. This, however, does not change the fact that this war was an existential war for both sides, one in which only one side could prevail while the other would, if not quite disappear, then at least totally lose its superpower status. This is a civilizational war, which pitted western and Russian civilizational (cultural, social and even religious) models against each other roughly along the following lines:

The US/Anglo-Zionist worldview: we are the “city upon a hill”, the beacon of light and hope for mankind. Our “manifest destiny” is to “expand the area of freedom” worldwide. We have the best armed forces in history, the strongest economy, the best everything. We are the “leaders of the free world” whose “responsibility” is to lead the world. This is not imperialism, this is the “duty” and “responsibility” placed upon us by history. Our values are universal values and must be universally accepted by all. Those refusing to join our model are authoritarian “rogue states”. Russia must accept that because she lost the Cold War and that western values have prevailed. Those who refuse to accept this are “revanchists” who want to overturn the outcome of the Cold War and rebuild the Soviet Union. The US had to expand NATO to the East to protect Europe from “Russian aggression”. Now “America” is back and, with our allies and friends, we will create a “rules based” international order which we will benevolently enforce to the immense gratitude of all of mankind.

Russian worldview:

Russia rejects any form of imperialism, for herself and for others. Russia wants a multilateral world order, based on international law and the full sovereignty of nations. Each nation should have the right to pursue its own cultural, economic, spiritual and civilizational model without being threatened, sanctioned, bombed, subverted or invaded. Russia rejects the so-called “western values” (turbocapitalism, imperialism, wokeness, multiculturalism, militant atheism, critical race theory, gender fluidity, etc.). The US is welcome to fly homo-flags on its embassies, but it has no business telling others how to live. In fact, the US has to accept two closely related realities: first, the US does not have the means to impose its ideology on the rest of the planet and, second, the rest of the planet sees the total hypocrisy of a country claiming to stand for values which itself gets to violate as much as it wants. Any comparisons are immediately dismissed with the words “but this is completely different!!!”.

Again, Russia agrees that the US is welcome to live in a post-truth, post-reality, delusion if it wants, but she also believes, and says so, that the West has no right to try to impose its pretend-values on others, especially when it constantly violates them all when convenient.

The core issue

The core belief underlying these very different worldview is extremely simple: the US sees itself as exceptional and, therefore, endowed with special rights and sees Russia as a much inferior interlocutor which needs to accept the US hegemony upon the world. In sharp contrast, Russia denies the USA any special status and demands that the US leaders accept Russia as an equal interlocutor before any meaningful dialog or cooperation could even be discussed.

I think that it would be fair to say that roughly between 2013 and 2020 both countries exerted immense efforts in a kind of a massive arms wrestling match to show that it, and not the other guy, would prevail.

For a very short while, Trump tried to get some kind of dialog going, but he was quickly and completely neutered by the Neocons and the messianic imperialists in his own camp (I think of Pompeo for example) and his efforts, however sincere, yielded absolutely nothing: Trump was not able to put an end to the war started by Obama.

Then came Biden and, at first, things looked hopeless. Seeing the massive failure of the first US-China meeting in Alaska, one could have been excused to expect a similar, or even worse, outcome from any meetings between Biden and Putin. Many (on both sides) believed that such a meeting was pointless at best since the US had painted itself into a zero-sum corner in which anything short of an exchange of insults would be seen by the US media (and the public opinion it shapes) as a “defeat”, “surrender” and possibly even “treason” by Biden. That is definitely the message conveyed by much of the US media, including Fox.

 


I want to express my total disgust with US Republicans who, for four years, were literally hounded by the US media for Trump’s alleged “caving in” to Putin or even for being a “Manchurian candidate” put in power by “Putin”. Now the Republicans are using the exact same language accusing Biden of “weakness” and for “caving in” to Putin. Truly, the Dems and the GOP are like Coke and Pepsi: different labels, same product. Worse, both the Dems and the GOP place their petty interests above the well-being of the United States and its people. I consider both parties traitors to the US and its people.


What actually happened

In spite of all the nay-sayers (on both sides!), Putin and Biden did meet. True, the meeting did not yield any spectacular results, but it would be wrong to conclude that nothing of importance happened.

First, the tone of the Biden administration towards Russia and Putin did change, remarkably so, especially after Biden’s infamous “uhu, he is a killer”. Some sanctions were lifted, the US basically gave up on trying to prevent North Stream 2 (NS2) from being completed, and a number of small steps were achieved, including:

  • An agreement to discuss cybersecurity on an expert level (something the Russians had been demanding for years, but which the USA rejected out of hand).
  • joint declaration strategic stability (more about that below)
  • An agreement to discuss outstanding issues on an expert level
  • A return of both US and Russian ambassadors to their former positions
  • A discussion on a possible prisoner swap
  • A discussion on possible future arms control agreements

Also of interest are the points which were mentioned in passing, mostly by the US side, but which were clearly not focused on. These include:

  • The Ukraine and Belarus
  • Human Rights (aka “Navalyi” & Co.)
  • Russian alleged interference in western elections
  • Russian alleged covert operations against the US
  • The alleged Russian threat to the EU or in the Arctic
  • Russian ties to China and Iran

That is the official picture. But let’s be a little more wise about this: the US and Russian delegations (about 400 people each) included some very high ranking officials, including the Russian Chief of General Staff. Neither side would have bothered with such a massive undertaking only for the purpose of exchanging threats, ultimatums or insults. And such summits are never organized unless the parties have at least a reasonable prospect of some kind of understanding (this is why the return of the ambassadors was announced before the summit!).

So what really happened here?

To answer that question, we first need to look at what did not happen.

First, it is quite clear that the language/tone of the Biden administration has dramatically changed. This was immediately noticed by the (mentally infantile) US media which attacked Biden in his press conference for not putting enough pressure on Putin. Oh sure, Biden did pay lip service to the usual russophobic nonsense the US media seems to be forever stuck on, but it is quite clear what the US legacy ziomedia did not get what it wanted: they wanted Biden to “unite the West behind the USA” and then “tell” Putin to “behave” and admit something – anything – about the Russian “wrongdoings”. Putin gave them absolutely and exactly nothing. If anything, we could say that he held up a mirror to Uncle Shmuel and that Uncle Shmuel had nothing to say to that.

Second, and for the first time in a very long while, the US did not engage in any threats or ultimatums. If anything, it was quite amazing to see Biden getting angry at an imbecile journo from CNN (I think) who asked Biden why he expected Putin to “change his behavior” when the latter admitted no wrongs. Later Biden apologized, but he was clearly frustrated with the level of imbecility of the US press media.

 


The US media truly showed its true face during both press conferences. With Putin, they asked stupid, leading questions, based on their own delusional assumptions, and Putin easily swatted down these questions by pointing out at undeniable and well-known facts. The Biden press conference was, as usual, completely sanitized with a prepared list of reporters and questions, and with no Russian journalists allowed (pluralism, free media or free speech anybody?!). The infantilized US public did not think much about this, but in the rest of the world – in Zone B if you wish – people immediately noticed the startling difference between the two leaders and between the two press conferences. It will be awfully hard for the US to speak of “freedom of speech” when its President cannot be trusted to talk to his counterpart alone (Bliken never left his side, just like Dick Cheney did for Bush Jr. or Don Regan did for Reagan in his latter years) and cannot take unscripted questions from the (supposedly) “free” media. The US media clearly wanted Biden to go to Geneva, and tell Putin “now you submit or else…” and only the completely ignorant and infantilized US public could actually take that nonsense seriously. When that did not happen, they turned on Biden and accused him of weakness for “making no threats”!


Third, and crucially, by NOT discussing silly issues but by focusing on the real, important, topics underlying the US-Russian relations, Biden de-facto admitted two things:

  1. The US policy towards Russia since 2013 has failed and
  2. Russia is an equal partner to the USA who cannot be bullied, threatened or attacked

So much for “talking to the Russians from a position of force” which ALL the western leaders mantrically promised us. In sharp contrast, the Kremlin did not have to make any threats: the recent military exercises, which truly freaked out NATO and the EU, made any posturing by Russia quite unnecessary.

I am not so naive as to believe that any of this is set in stone.

First, we know that US politicians typically meet with their Russian counterparts and say “A” only to later come back home, cave in to the war lobby, and then declare “non-A”. Trump did that, as did Kerry and many others. US diplomats are mostly ignorant political appointees and/or warmongering Neocons who simply are not intellectually equipped to deal with their Russian counterparts (James Baker was probably the last truly sophisticated US Secretary of State). Second, we all understand that Biden is really “Biden” (the man himself is just a front, real decisions are taken by the collective “Biden”), which means that while he and even Bliken can agree on something, but that by no means implies that they will stand by what they agreed on. Finally, is is objectively really hard to undo that which was done: eight years of self-defeating delusions about itself and the rest of the world have done immense damage to the United States and it would take something pretty close to a miracle to now reverse a course which at least two US administrations have so foolishly insisted on pursuing.

Yet, what Biden did and said was quite clearly very deliberate and prepared. This is not the case of a senile President losing his focus and just spewing (defeatist) nonsense. Therefore, we must conclude that there are also those in the current US (real) power configuration who decided that Biden must follow a new, different, course or, at the very least, change rhetoric. I don’t know who/what this segment of the US power configuration is, but I submit that something has happened which forced at least a part of the US ruling class to decide that Obama’s war on Russia had failed and that a different approach was needed. At least that is the optimistic view.

The pessimistic view would suggest that, just like a boxer who has thrown so many punches that he now needs to catch his breath, the leaders of the Empire just needed a short time break, to “catch their breath”, before resuming the endless cycle of petty attacks, threats and accusations against Russia.

Time will show which group is right. My money is on the pessimists (as usual).

What we can say now is this: the period 2013-2021 saw a huge decline in US power abroad and the explosion of an equally huge internal political and social crises which are still catastrophically hurting the United States (Obama and Trump were truly the weakest and worst Presidents in US history). In sharp contrast, the same 2013-2021 years saw a huge rise in Russian military, political, economic and social power. Denying this reality forever is simply not an option for the USA (even if the US media never reports about this). It appears that the Biden Administration decided to keep up the same infantile language as its predecessors for internal consumption, but decided that a change of attitude on the international front was urgently needed, if only in order to avoid taking on both Russia and China (and, possibly, Iran) at the same time. History also shows that even just talking to Russia from a presumed “position of strength” was useless at best and suicidal at worst. The history of western imperialism in China offers a more ambiguous image, but the current revival of Chinese power under Xi also suggests that the Chinese won’t cave in to their former colonial masters.

What about China?

If China was mentioned at all, it is not official. The Kremlin had already indicated in numerous statements that trying to turn China and Russia against each other was not a realistic option, so on the Russian side there were no expectations of anything changing on that issue. Besides, while China has a lot to offer Russia, the USA has literally absolutely nothing Russia would want or need. The same goes for Iran, albeit at a lesser degree. There are those in the US ruling class who believe that China is a much more dangerous enemy for the AngloZionist Empire than Russia and it is possible that these are the interests which pushed Biden into a more realistic stance. The truth is that anybody who knows anything about the Sino-Russian relationship (which the Chinese now officially call the “strategic comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era”) understands that these two countries vitally need each other. Did the US diplomats really hope that they could sway Russia to the US side? Probably not. So, at most, what they needed was a short time break or, at least, some kind of temporary stabilization of the “Russian front”.

What about the Europeans?

The Europeans are stuck in some kind of political no man’s land: some want a confrontation at all cost (3B+PU), especially since the EU stopped funding them, while others are clearly fed-up (Germany, France, Italy, etc.) with the current situation. They all realize that something has just changed, but they appear unsure as to what, why and how. And how shall the EU now treat Biden? First, while hating Trump was seen as “politically correct” by the EU ruling classes, hating Biden is quite unthinkable. Second, while Biden did “consult” with the G7 and NATO, these “consultations” yielded no meaningful result. Unlike the summit with Putin, these “preparatory summits” were just nice PR, a feel-good, “rah-rah, we are all united” kind of symbolic event. Think of it as an imperial king visiting his colonies: fun but not very important. But meeting the leader of a “gas station masquerading as a country” required the presence of 400 or so top US officials and months of preparations. Finally, the fact that “Biden” had to yield to Germany on NS2 shows that the grip of Uncle Shmuel on Germany is weakening, “another writing on the wall” which “Biden” apparently read.

So who won?

At this point I don’t think that we can say that anybody won. In fact, the existential war opposing the AngloZionist Empire to Russia is not over. At most, this will be a temporary ceasefire allowing Uncle Shmuel to catch his breath. But I think that we can also fairly conclude that Obama’s war on Russia has failed and that the Biden Administration is more in touch with reality than Obama ever was. How long this new realism will last is anybody’s guess. I don’t think we should put much stock in the idea that now a new era of peace or collaboration has begun. But maybe, just maybe, the USA will stop playing what I call a “game of nuclear chicken” with a superpower which is at least a full decade ahead in military (and civilian!) nuclear technology and delivery vehicles and a superpower which is now working as a binomial with another nuclear superpower, China.

Conclusion: the US-Russian Joint Statement on Strategic Stability

This is the full text of the US-Russian Joint Statement on Strategic Stability I mentioned above: (emphasis added)

We, President of the United States of America Joseph R. Biden and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, note the United States and Russia have demonstrated that, even in periods of tension, they are able to make progress on our shared goals of ensuring predictability in the strategic sphere, reducing the risk of armed conflicts and the threat of nuclear war. The recent extension of the New START Treaty exemplifies our commitment to nuclear arms control. Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. Consistent with these goals, the United States and Russia will embark together on an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust. Through this Dialogue, we seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.

The language here is very important: it is the repudiation of a major US delusion which began with Ronald Regan’s “Star Wars” and which was shared by each following President: the notion that the US can win a nuclear war against Russia by technologically or economically defeating Russia. The website “Defense One” (which is hardly a “Russian disinformation outlet”) had this to say about this decades long illusion:

Biden can correct the mistakes of the past. The future of missile defense will be thoroughly studied as part of a broader nuclear posture/deterrence review that will be started in the few weeks. Mindful that less expensive offensive weapons can always be developed to overwhelm, sabotage, or destroy any conceivable defensive system, his administration can return to diplomacy, seek verifiable mutual reductions, prevent the development of new threats, and address rising concerns such as the weaponization of space and cyber threats. That would allow the transfer of funds from the weapons that don’t work to programs that will rebuild and add to America’s security.

If this is really what is happening (and we need to wait before coming to any hasty conclusions!) then this is good news. Good news for Russia which has nothing to gain from any “reloaded Cold War” with the West, good news for the Europeans which need to recover at least a modicum of agency, good news for the USA, which is bled dry and is quickly becoming a underdeveloped third world country, and good news for the entire planet which would be devastated by any nuclear war between any combination of superpowers. If this is really what happened.

For the time being, the “crazies in the basement” are still every bit as crazy as before (see here and here for a few good examples). So are the woke-freaks (see here and here). So is the homo-lobby (see here and here). They all hate Russia and Putin with a passion, and they ain’t going away anytime soon. Besides, it is not like “Biden” will do anything other than give them all a standing ovation, full support and millions of dollars to their cause: these “minorities” (more accurately: this coalition of minorities) are the ideological foundation for Biden’s entire presidency, they brought him to power and he cannot renounce them.

How long brainwashed doubleplusgoodthinking sheep will continue to “take a knee” against “systemic racism” is anybody’s guess, however.

On the external front, the US cannot give up its messianic ideology and claims of exceptionalism. This would be truly unthinkable for the vast majority of US Americans. This does not change the fact that, as I have written many times, the AngloZionist Empire and the current US political system are neither sustainable, nor reformable. Besides, empires are almost impossible to reform. That is why they usually end up collapsing. And when they do, they often try to lash out at those they blame for their own failures. This is exactly what has been going on since 2013 and this will not and, in fact, cannot change until the final – and inevitable – collapse.

There will be no friendship or even partnership between the USA and Russia for as long as the USA will continue to serve as the latest host for the parasitic AngloZionist Empire. Аs the spokesman for Putin, Peskov, just declared “So far, there are no reasons to exclude the United States from the list of unfriendly countries“.

Finally, did Putin “win”?

I would answer both yes and no. Yes, he did win in the sense that his strategy of dealing with an Empire on the warpath against Russia has been proven extremely effective. All the nay-sayers (liberal or neo-Marxists) have been accusing Putin of caving in to pretty much everything everywhere, yet it is the USA which had to eat crow, drop all its preconditions and ask for a summit. None of the many propaganda attacks against Russia (MH17, Skipal, chem weapons, Belarus, the Karabakh war, Navalnyi, doping, sports and flags, the seizure of Russian diplomatic offices, the kidnapping of Russian citizens, economic and political sanctions, threats, sabre-rattling at the borders, etc. etc. etc.) have worked or even yielded any meaningful results. In that sense, yes, Putin did win. But that existential war is not over, not for the US, not for Russia and neither it is over for China, Iran and any other country wanting true sovereignty.

In that sense, what happened in Geneva is not the beginning of the end (primarily because that beginning of the end has already long taken place, even if it was never reported in Zone A), but it is definitely a chance to change some dynamics on the international scene. The infinite arrogance of the likes of Trump and Pompeo has been replaced by a much more cautious and realistic approach, at least in superpower relations. But Putin/Russia will only have truly won once the US accepts the reality that the Empire is dead and that the USA, like all ex-empires, must now become a “normal” country (like all former empires had to). Sounds easy, but this is almost infinitely hard when imperialism is what you were born, raised, educated and conditioned to live with and when you sincerely believe that your brand of imperialism is somehow benevolent, even altruistic. Russia/Putin will only have truly won once the last empire in history finally gives way to a civilized international world order. Until then, the struggle of Russia – and all the other members of the resistance against the Empire – will continue.

Biden Admin Complicit in Trump’s Crimes against Humanity – Araqchi

14/06/2021

Biden Admin Complicit in Trump’s Crimes against Humanity - Araqchi

By Staff, Agencies

The US administration of Joe Biden has partaken in ex-president Donald Trump’s crimes against humanity for 144 days, the Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said, criticizing Biden’s administration for continuing Trump’s policies.

“The US has for the past 3 years targeted every single Iranian living anywhere with its brutal & unlawful sanctions”, Araqchi made the remarks in his Twitter account, in reference to the Americans’ moves against the Iranian nation following the unilateral withdrawal of former US administration from Iran’s nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

“The current US admin has partaken in these crimes against humanity for 144 days”, the top Iranian negotiator also said, criticizing Joe Biden’s administration for continuing Trump’s policies.

“Iranians should not have spent a single day under sanctions”, he also stressed.

Since April, representatives from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries have been holding talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and bringing the US back to compliance with the accord.

The US, under Trump, unilaterally left the JCPOA in 2018 and returned the sanctions that had been lifted against Tehran as part of the agreement.

Biden said Washington is willing to return to the pact if Tehran first suspends its countermeasures taken in response to the US violations and reimposition of sanctions.

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