الردّ الإيرانيّ آتٍ فلينتظروا

ناصر قنديل

في مطلع العام 2015 قام رئيس حكومة كيان الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو بعملية استهداف نوعية في جنوب سورية سقط بنتيجتها الشهيد جهاد عماد مغنية وعدد من كوادر وضباط المقاومة والحرس الثوري الإيراني، وكان رهان نتنياهو أن اللحظة حرجة ولن تسمح للمقاومة وإيران بالردّ، فالعلاقة الإيرانية الأميركية تحت ضغط حساسيات التفاوض حول الملف النووي الذي يقترب من بلوغ نقطة التفاهم، وبالتالي فإن إيران ستمتنع عن الردّ وتمنع المقاومة من القيام به، ولذلك فالتوقيت مناسب للعملية التي تريد تغيير قواعد الاشتباك وتقول إن جيش الاحتلال لن يسمح بنشوء وضع على حدود الجولان المحتل في جنوب سورية تشبه معادلة جنوب لبنان، في تحد مباشر لما قاله يومها الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، عن التزام المقاومة الردّ على كل استهداف لها في سورية.

قلنا يومها إن ردّ المقاومة آتٍ، وإن حسابات نتنياهو خائبة، وإن المفاوضات وحساباتها ستلزم الأميركي بمراعاة حساسياتها، وبالتالي الضغط على قيادة الكيان لعدم تفجير الموقف، بينما ستكون إيران والمقاومة معنيتين بتثبيت قواعد الاشتباك، وخلال أيام قليلة كان الردّ في مزارع شبعا بعملية نوعية اضطر نتنياهو بعدها للإعلان عن العضّ على الجرح منعاً لتصعيد الموقف بعدما وصلته رسالة علنية من الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما مضمونها، الضربة الموجعة لكنها لا تستحق إشعال حرب.

اليوم يقع نتنياهو بالفخ ذاته فيعتقد أن اللحظة مؤاتية لتوجيه ضربة موجعة أو ضربات موجعة لإيران، التي يظنّها مربوطة الأيدي، تجنباً لفتح الطريق لتصعيد يعقد مهمة الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب جو بايدن الذي تتوقع منه العودة الى التفاهم النووي، وكما كتبنا في أكثر من مقال، تلك هي مشكلة العمليات التكتيكية تفادياً للوقوع في حرب التي يراهن بعض الأميركيين والإسرائيليين على ملء المرحلة الفاصلة عن نهاية ولاية الرئيس دونالد ترامب بها، فتلك العمليات بين خيارين، خيار أن تكون تحت سقف مضمون لعدم استدراج الرد، وهي في هذه الحالة غير موجعة ولا تغيّر معادلات، وبين السعي لعمليات توجع وتغير معادلات وفي هذه الحالة لا ضمان بعدم الردّ، وقد يكون الردّ أشد إيلاماً، ويفرض معادلة الحيرة التي كان يريد نتنياهو إيقاع إيران فيها، وبالتأكيد بات ممكناً بعد توصيف القيادات الإيرانية السياسية والعسكرية لعملية اغتيال العالم النووي الإيراني محسن فخري زادة، وإعلان الالتزام بالرد، والرد المؤلم، أن نقول إن الرد آت لا محالة وقريباً، وإن كيان الاحتلال بعد تقارير نيويورك تايمز وتصريحات المسؤولين الإيرانيين باتهام كيان الاحتلال بالعملية، يجب ان يكون على موعد مع تلقي الرد المقبل، وهو لا يعلم أي الردّين سيكون أولاً، ففي رقبته دين للمقاومة يتمثل بحقها بالردّ على عملية استهداف أدت لسقوط شهيد قرب دمشق، كما لا يعلم الجبهة التي سيكون الردّ عليها.

المأزق الذي سيحكم المرحلة المتبقية من ولاية ترامب، سترسم معالمه عمليّة الرد، وسيكون على ثلاثي ترامب ونتنياهو وحلفائهم في الخليج ان يتخذوا القرار عندها بالعض على الجرح، لأن الضربة موجعة، لكنها لا تستحق حرباً، أو أن يذهبوا للحرب ويتحمّلوا التبعات.

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Prominent Iranian physicist assassinated near Tehran

Friday, 27 November 2020 2:08 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 27 November 2020 9:10 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A file photo of martyred Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

Prominent Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in a terrorist attack near the capital Tehran.

The Fars news agency reported that he had been targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

The attack targeted the vehicle carrying Fakhrizadeh — who headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), the agency said.

The Defense Ministry’s media office said Fakhrizadeh “was severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security team and terrorists, and was transferred to hospital,” where he succumbed to his injuries.

Fars said 3-4 people were killed in the shooting, all of whom were said to be terrorists.

Photos and footage shared online of the attack showed bullet holes on the windshield of Fakhrizadeh’s car and a pool of blood on the road.

The photo shows a car that was targeted in a deadly shooting attack by terrorists in Absard city, near the Iranian capital of Tehran, November 27, 2020. (By Fars news agency)

‘Serious indications of Israeli role’

In a statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif roundly condemned the terror attack, saying there were “serious indications” of the Israeli regime’s role in the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, a professor of physics at Imam Hussein University of Tehran.

“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” he said in a tweet.

The top Iranian diplomat called on the international community, especially the European Union, to “end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.”

‘Harsh revenge awaits criminals’

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri blamed the “savage” attack on “terrorists tied to global arrogance and the evil Zionist regime.”

The assassination, he said, did deal a blow to Iran’s defense industry, but the enemies should know that “the path opened by the likes of Martyr Fakhrizadeh will never end.”

The photo shows the site of a terror attack, which targeted an Iranian scientist, in Absard city, north of the Iranian capital, Tehran, November 27, 2020. (By Fars news agency)

Baqeri said “harsh revenge” awaits the terror groups as well as all those who had a hand in the terror attack.

The commander assured the Iranian nation that the perpetrators of the terror attack will be pursued and brought to justice.

In a similar message, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Hossein Salami vowed a “harsh revenge and punishment” for those behind the act of terror.

The assassination of the Iranian scientist “was planned and run by the fake, terrorist and infanticide Zionist regime,” the chief IRGC commander added.

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi also said in a statement that an operation had been launched to identify the terrorist elements complicit in the “brutal crime,” pledging that the Islamic Republic will avenge the martyr’s blood.

In turn, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, also reacted to Fakhrizadeh’s martyrdom in a tweet, vowing a crushing response to the perpetrator.

“We will come down hard on those who killed Martry Mohsen Fakhrizadeh like thunder and make them regret their deed,” he said.

“In the final days of their allied gambler’s political life, the Zionists are after intensifying pressure on Iran in order to trigger an all-out war,” said Dehqan in a reference to outgoing US President Donald Trump’s final days in office.

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned multiple times in a presentation in 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program.

Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and threatened, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands by a screen with a purported image of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during a news conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

The Tel Aviv regime has made several attempts over the past years to throw a wrench in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear work.

The regime has been behind the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It has also conduced cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.

‘The crime won’t block Iran path to scientific progress’

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi said the “big crime” was carried out by “traitorous elements linked to foreigners and international Zionism with the sinister goal of hindering the country’s scientific progress.”

Raeisi further praised the scientist’s role in speeding up Iran’s advancements in various scientific fields, including the nuclear industry, saying Fakhrizadeh’s martyrdom will not block the country’s path forward.

He called on the country’s security and intelligence institutions in addition to relevant judicial bodies to do their utmost to arrest and serve justice to the criminals and mercenaries involved in the crime as soon as possible.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

ثلاثيّ «صفقة القرن» يقرع طبول الحرب… فما الممكن؟ وما المتوقع؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

رغم المكابرة يبدو أنّ دونالد ترامب سيجد نفسه ملزماً في 20 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2021 بالخروج من البيت الأبيض بعد أن خذلته صناديق الاقتراع. وبذلك يكون ظنّه قد خاب وخسر التجديد، أما الخيبة الأكبر والشعور بالخسارة الأعظم فقد كان من نصيب الضلعين الآخرين معه في مثلث «صفقة القرن» أيّ نتنياهو ومحمد بن سلمان اللذين عملا معه في تلك الجريمة التي بات واضحاّ أنّ أهدافها تتعدّى تثبيت «إسرائيل» بشكل نهائيّ على كامل أرض فلسطين التاريخيّة مع بعض جزر تعطى للفلسطينيّين ظرفيّاً لتذويبها لاحقاً بالكيان العنصري اليهودي، تتعدّى ذلك الى تهويد المنطقة بكاملها وإخراج كلّ من يرفض الاستسلام لـ «إسرائيل» منها، وما القرار الذي اتخذته الإمارات العربية بعد استسلامها لـ «إسرائيل» في إطار ما سُمّي «تطبيع» وفتح أبوابها لليهود من دون تأشيرة دخول، مترافقاً مع منع دخول مواطني 13 دولة عربية وإسلامية إليها إلا أول الغيث وصورة نموذجيّة لما سيكون عليه وجه المنطقة إذا نجح الثالوث غير المقدّس في فرض «صفقة القرن» نموذج يقول فيه الصهاينة وعملاؤهم «لا يدخل علينا شريف يرفض الاستسلام لإسرائيل».

بيد أنّ خسارة ترامب جعلت الثالوث يقلق على «صفقة القرن» هذه، قلق يفاقمه الظنّ بأنّ جو بايدن سيراجع معظم سياسات ترامب في المنطقة ويصحّح ما أفسده، وفي طليعة ذلك الملف النووي الإيراني، ما سيُعقد من أوضاع ضلعَي الصفقة ويثير خشيتهما من المستقبل. لذلك وكما يبدو اتجهت أفكار المثلث الشيطانيّة الى إنتاج واقع في المنطقة ينشر ظلاله على جو بايدن الرئيس الجديد ويلقي بثقله عليه ويمنعه من نقض ما حبكه ترامب، ولأجل ذلك يخطط الثالوث لحرب على إيران بخاصة وعلى محور المقاومة عامة تكون على وجه من اثنين أولهما أن تهاجم أميركا المنشآت النووية الإيرانية بشكل تدميري وتردّ إيران عليها وتندلع الحرب، والثاني أن تبدأ بهجوم «إسرائيلي» على إيران فتستدرج رداً من المقاومة على «إسرائيل» فتتدخل أميركا لحمايتها وفي الحالين سيرسم مشهد ميداني يصبح الحديث معه عن مفاوضات حول إحياء التوقيع الأميركي على الاتفاق النووي الإيراني مع الدول 5+1 حديث من غير مضمون ولا فائدة فيفرض ترامب بذلك قراره على بايدن بعد أن يكون قد خرج من البيت الأبيض.

إنه التخطيط للعمل العسكري ضدّ محور المقاومة إذن، تخطيط وإعداد نفذ في سياقه حتى الآن أكثر من عمل وأتمّ أكثر من سلوك بدءاً بإعادة الانتشار الأميركي في أفغانستان والعراق (حول إيران) مروراً بتحرك بعض قطع الأسطول البحري الأميركي في الخليج وإبعادها عن متناول الصواريخ الإيرانية، ثم نشر طائرات B-52 القاذفات الاستراتيجية الأميركية في قواعد جوية في الشرق الأوسط، وما أعقبها من اجتماع ثلاثي في «نيوم» السعودية بمشاركة بومبيو ونتنياهو ومحمد بن سلمان، وصولاً الى التعميم العسكري «الإسرائيلي» الصادر عن وزير حرب العدو والموجّه الى جيشه يأمره فيه بالاستعداد لمواجهة ظرف تقوم فيه أميركا بقصف إيران قريباً.

إنّ تحليلاً لكلّ ما تقدّم من معطيات يحمل المقدّر العسكري والاستراتيجي الى وضع احتمال شنّ حرب من قبل المثلث العدواني ذاك كأمر لا بدّ من وضعه في الحساب، ولكن لا يمكن اعتباره الاحتمال الممكن الوحيد لأكثر من اعتبار. ويجب الوقوف على الوجه الآخر من الصورة ربطاً بقدرات الطرف الذي سيُعتدى عليه وعلى إمكاناته وعلى اتقاء الضربة وإفشالها أولاً وعلى قدرته على الردّ وقلب مسار الأحداث عكس رغبات المعتدين.

وفي هذا السياق نتوقف عند مواقف وأحداث لا يمكن تجاوزها في معرض تقدير الموقف هذا، أوّلها كلام السيد علي الخامنئي منذ أيام لجهة قوله بأنّ إيران «جرّبت المفاوضات من أجل رفع العقوبات ووقف التدابير الكيديّة، لكنها لم تحصل على نتيجة وبات عليها ان تجرّب غيرها»، وأضاف «رغم أنّ الحلّ الآخر سيكون مؤلماً في البدء إلا أنه سيأتي بنتائج سعيدة»، كلام ترافق مع القصف اليمنيّ لمحطات «أرامكو» لتوزيع المحروقات قرب جدة، وهو قصف له دلالات استراتيجيّة وسياسية وعسكرية كبرى في مكانه وزمانه غداة الاجتماع الثلاثيّ التحضيريّ للحرب وعلى بعد بضع عشرات الكيلومترات من جدة، ثم إعادة الانتشار التركيّ وتنظيم مسرح العمليات في الشمال والشمال الغربي السوري حول إدلب، بما قد يُنبئ بقرب عمل عسكري قريب في المنطقة، وأخيراً ما يتمّ تسريبه من رفع درجة جهوزيّة المقاومة في لبنان وبكلّ أسلحتها استعداداً لأيّ طارئ ومن أيّ نوع.

على ضوء ما تقدّم نقول انّ مثلث العدوان قد يذهب الى الحرب، لكن محور المقاومة ليس في الوضع الذي يخشى من هذه الحرب، صحيح أنه لا يسعى إليها لكنه لا يخشاها، لا يخشاها بذاتها كما لا يخشى تداعياتها، فإذا تسبّبت الحرب بإقفال باب التفاوض ومنعت العودة إلى إحياء التوقيع الأميركي على الملف النووي الإيراني، فلن تكون المسألة بالنسبة لإيران نهاية الكون، وإذا تسبّبت الحرب بتدمير منشآت إيرانية فإنها ستؤدي حتماً الى تدمير الكثير في «إسرائيل» والسعودية وستؤدي حتماً الى إفساد فرحة «إسرائيل» مما تحقق حتى الآن من «صفقة القرن» وعمليات التطبيع.

نعم الحرب ستكون مؤلمة، كما يشير السيد الخامنئي، أو كما يوحي كلامه ضمناً وستكون طويلة أيضاً، لكن نتائجها ستكون سعيدة وستغيّر الكثير مما نخشاه ويقلقنا في المنطقة.

نقول بهذا من دون أن نتصوّر لحظة انّ «إسرائيل» لا تدرك كلّ ذلك، أو أنّ الدولة العميقة في أميركا لا تحيط به علماً، فإذا كانت رعونة المثلث العدواني قد تدفعه الى الحرب فإنّ مصالح الكيان الصهيوني والدولة الأميركية ستضغط لمنعها، والسؤال لمن ستكون الغلبة للمتهوّر أم للمتوازن؟

احتمال تقدّم المتهوّر في تهوّره لا يمكن نفيه رغم نسبته الضئيلة التي لا تتعدّى الـ 15%، أما احتمال تقدّم المتوازن فهي الأرجح، وهنا قد يتقدّم التصرف العسكري المحدود المتمثل ببنك أهداف أمنية أو عسكرية يستهدفها ترامب قبل رحيله بعد أن يكون قد قبض الثمن الباهظ مقابلها من السعودية، وهنا سيكون بنك الأهداف عبارة عن قيادات هامة تستهدف بالاغتيال على غرار عملية اغتيال الشهيد قاسم سليماني، كما تشمل مراكز عسكرية عملانية لفصائل المقاومة والحشد الشعبي في العراق وسورية، عمليات تتناغم وتنفذ بالموازاة مع ما يجري الآن من إحياء وتنشيط لخلايا داعش في موجة إرهاب جديدة تضرب العراق وسورية برعاية أميركية…

*أستاذ جامعي – باحث استراتيجي.

لقاء نتنياهو وابن سلمان.. لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟

المصدر: الميادين نت

أليف صباغ

أليف صباغ

محلل سياسي مختصّ بالشأن الإسرائيلي

مشاريع “السلام” الاقتصادية لا يمكن أن تخرج إلى حيّز التنفيذ من دون علاقات رسمية بين السعودية و”إسرائيل”، حتى لو طبَّعت الأخيرة مع السودان والإمارات والبحرين.

لقاء نتنياهو وابن سلمان.. لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟
لقاء نتنياهو وابن سلمان.. لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟

انشغل العالم مؤخراً باللقاء “السري” بين رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلية بنيامين نتنياهو وولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان في مدينة “نيوم” السعودية، بمشاركة رئيس “الموساد” الإسرائيلي يوسي كوهين، وبرعاية وزير الخارجية الأميركي مارك بومبيو.

 قبل انتهاء اللقاء، كان أحد المقربين من نتنياهو قد سرَّب خبراً عنه، يقول فيه إنّ “سيّده” يقوم في هذا الوقت “بصنع السلام”، ما أثار حماس وسائل الإعلام لمعرفة سبب إلغاء نتنياهو اجتماعاً كان مقرراً في ساعات المساء. 

في الليلة ذاتها، وقبل إغلاق الصّحف اليومية، سُرّب الخبر أيضاً، وبشكل أوضح بكثير، إلى وسائل إعلام أميركية وإسرائيلية سمحت لها الرقابة بنشره، ويفترض أنه سري للغاية! يقول الخبر إنَّ الطّرفين بحثا مواضيع مهمّة، ولكنّهما لم يتوصّلا إلى اتفاق جوهري.

فجأة، أنكر وزير الخارجية السعودي مشاركة نتنياهو في الاجتماع، ولكنَّ مسؤولين كباراً في المملكة أكَّدوا لوسائل الإعلام الأميركية والإسرائيلية، موقع “واي نت” وصحيفة “هآرتس” و”إسرائيل اليوم”، المقربة جداً إلى نتنياهو، مشاركة نتنياهو في الاجتماع. ليس ذلك جديداً، فالعشق بين الإنكار والاعتراف هو قصة يعيشها الطرفان زمناً طويلاً تعدى مائة عام من الزمن، وانتقل من الأجداد إلى الأبناء، وابتُلي به الأحفاد أيضاً.

هنا، يُسأل السؤال: ما المواضيع التي تهم الطرفين، الإسرائيلي والسعودي، في هذه الأيام، وخصوصاً أن إدارة ترامب الجمهورية تقضي أسابيعها الأخيرة، لتأتي بدلاً منها إدارة جديدة برئاسة جو بايدن الديموقراطي؟ هل ترعى الإدارة الجديدة هذا العشق، كما رعته الإدارة المنتهية ولايتها وأرادت تحويله إلى زواج رسمي أم أنها ستبقيه عشقاً يحلم به الطرفان ويختلفان على المهر المقدم والمؤخر؟

لا يختلف مراقبان على أن المواضيع التي ناقشها الطرفان أو التي تهمهما كالتالي:

أولاً، يتفق الطرفان على موقفهما المعادي لإيران، الصامدة في وجه الإمبريالية الأميركية وطموحات الغطرسة الإسرائيلية في منطقة الشرق الأوسط، وعلى ضرورة قيام إدارة ترامب بعملية عسكرية ضدها أو إبقائها تحت العقوبات الاقتصادية المشددة حتى تخضع من دون قيد أو شرط.

لا شكّ في أنّ هذا الموضوع مرتبط بالموقف من سوريا التي تقاوم الإرهاب، ومن حزب الله الذي تتعاظم قوته في وجه “إسرائيل”. وعليه، يتفقان أيضاً على أن ما يخيفهما أو يقلقهما هو أن الإدارة الجديدة قد تنتهج نهجاً آخر لا يحقّق لهما رغبتهما في المواجهة العسكرية مع إيران. من هنا، يتفقان على ضرورة إشهار هذا التحالف غير الرسمي، في رسالة إلى الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة، خشية أن تعود إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، من دون الأخذ بعين الاعتبار رغبة السعودية و”إسرائيل”.

ثانياً، يتفق الطرفان أيضاً، وفق ما جاء في وسائل الإعلام التي اعتمدت على مصادر إسرائيلية وسعودية كبرى، على أن هذه العلاقة ستشهد تطبيعاً في المستقبل، ولكنّ السعودية تشترطه بشروطها، في حين تريده “إسرائيل” مجانياً. تشترط السعودية أن يكون التطبيع بعد الاتفاق الإسرائيلي مع الفلسطينيين وفق المبادرة السعودية منذ العام 2002، وهو ما صرّح به علناً وزير الخارجية السعودي، فيصل بن فرحان، قبل حصول اللقاء أيضاً. هذا هو شرط الملك سلمان بن عبد العزيز، تقول المصادر، على الأقل لحفظ ماء الوجه، لكن من يضمن استمرار هذا الشرط في حال توفي الملك سلمان وورثه ابنه محمد المتحمس للتحالف مع “إسرائيل”؟ 

ثالثاً، إن الشرط الثاني للسعودية، والذي تحدَّث عنه ابن سلمان في اللقاء المذكور، هو السماح لها بأن تقيم جمعيات في القدس الشرقية وأن تموّلها، لصد التغلغل التركي في القدس كذلك في الحرم القدسي بشكل خاص. كما طلب ابن سلمان من نتنياهو بأن يسمح بإدخال ممثلين عن السعودية في دائرة الأوقاف الإسلامية في القدس، لتحجيم دور الجهات الأخرى، من مثل الأردن وتركيا. 

تفيد مصادر سعوديّة مطّلعة أيضاً بأنّ ابن سلمان يخشى عقوبات أميركية ضده شخصياً في ظل إدارة بايدن. وعليه، فهو يرى في “إسرائيل” حليفاً قادراً على مساعدته لتخفيف اليد الأميركية عنه. من هنا، لا يريد أن يتنازل عن كلّ أوراقه مسبقاً، فقد حصل أأن تنازل لترامب عما يقارب نصف ترليون دولار، ولم يحصل على ما يريد لغاية الآن. 

في المقابل، ووفقاً للتقديرات الإسرائيلية، فإنَّ السعودية هي “مركز المحور العربي لمناهضة إيران”، فهل تتنازل “إسرائيل” عن هذا الدور بسهولة؟ وهل هي مستعدة لأن تدفع الثمن للسعودية بالعملة الفلسطينية؟ سؤال يبقى على الطاولة، وينبئ بلقاءات مستقبلية إضافية، وربما تعقيدات أيضاً. 

رابعاً: ماذا عن اليمن والضغوط الأميركية المتوقعة على السعودية لوقف الحرب الوحشية عليها، والتي لم تحقق أي إنجاز للسعودية، وكانت نتائجها كارثية لغاية الآن على الشعب اليمني وأطفاله وبنيته التحتية، وعلى الاقتصاد السعودي أيضاً؟ وهل تقدم “إسرائيل” أي مساعدة إضافية في ملف اليمن في ظلّ إدارة بايدن؟ ألم يتعلَّم السعوديون وغيرهم أنّ “إسرائيل” لا ترى فيهم إلا سوقاً لبضاعتها وأداة لتنفيذ مخططاتها الاستراتيجية، وإن قدمت لهم سلاحاً على شكل قواعد مضادة للصواريخ أو خبراء أو طيارين، فذلك لمصالح مادية، ولتوريط العرب بمجازر ضد بعضهم البعض، وهو ما يفيد “إسرائيل” ويزيد من نفوذها في الشرق الأوسط على المدى القريب والبعيد.

ماذا يخفي التطبيع الرسمي من مشاريع؟ 

من يراجع تاريخ ما نشر عن المشاريع الاستراتيجية للحركة الصهيونية، المتمثلة بـ”إسرائيل”، في الشرق الأوسط، يدرك أنَّ تلك المشاريع لن تخرج إلى حيز التنفيذ إلا بعد إقامة علاقات سياسية بين “إسرائيل” وبلدان الخليج العربية، أهمّها مشاريع مد أنابيب النفط والغاز من الخليج المنتِج إلى أوروبا عبر الأراضي السعودية، ومنها إلى الشواطئ والموانئ الإسرائيلية، إضافةً إلى سكة حديد تشقّ دول الخليج والأردن والعراق، وشوارع وطرقات سريعة مخطّطة وجاهزة للتنفيذ تربط بين هذه الدول والبحر المتوسط عبر “إسرائيل”، ومشاريع أمنية كبرى تحول البحر الأحمر إلى محور أمني للتعاون السعودي الإسرائيلي بالأساس ضد إيران وتركيا وغيرهما. 

كل هذه المشاريع لا يمكن أن تخرج إلى حيّز التنفيذ من دون علاقات رسمية بين السعودية و”إسرائيل”، حتى لو طبَّعت الأخيرة مع السودان والإمارات والبحرين. تبقى السعودية هي “المحور الأساس”، كما يراها الإسرائيليون.

لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟

انتقد بيني غانتس، رئيس الحكومة البديل، نتنياهو، لتسريب هذه اللقاءات السرية إلى العلن، معتبراً ذلك إهمالاً للمسؤولية وإضراراً بمصلحة “إسرائيل”. وأضاف: “لقد قمت بنشاطات سرية كثيرة في حياتي، ومنها ما كان بتوجيه من نتنياهو، ولكنني لم أصرح عنها”، متهماً نتنياهو بتفضيل المصلحة الشخصية على مصلحة “إسرائيل”. 

أما نتنياهو، فإضافة إلى المكسب الشخصي من تسريب هذه اللقاءات، فهو ليس أول رئيس حكومة يسرب لقاءات سرية مع زعماء عرب، فقد اعتادت الصحافة الإسرائيلية أن تنشر عن لقاءات سرية بموافقة الرقابة العسكرية، وغالباً ما يكون ذلك “نقلاً عن وسائل إعلام أجنبية”، والهدف منه يكون دقّ أكبر ما يمكن من أسافين الشكّ والريبة بين الزعماء العرب، ونزع ثقة المواطن العربي بقيادات نظامه، فيضعف النظام والزعامات المتعاونة، وتصبح أكثر عرضة للابتزاز.

وحين ينزع المواطن العربي ثقته بزعامته، ويرى أنها تتعاون مع العدو، فهل سيحارب عدوه من أجل نظام خائن لشعبه؟ وهل سيمتنع رجل الأعمال عن التعاون مع “إسرائيل”، وهو يعلم أنَّ نظامه رئيسه أو ملكه أو أميره غارق في علاقاته معها؟ إنَّ الهدف الأساس من الإعلان عن هذه اللقاءات هو كيّ العصب الوطني أو ما يُسمى “كيّ الوعي” لدى جماهير الشعب، ليسهل عليها ابتلاع التطبيع والخيانة.

هذا اللقاء الأخير ليس الأخير في مسلسل العشق الممنوع بين الحركة الصهيونية والحركة الوهابية، المتمثلة بمملكة آل سعود، فقد سبق ذلك لقاءات علنية وأخرى سرية في “إسرائيل” والسعودية وأوروبا وأميركا، ورسائل غرام منها ما بقي في السر ومنها ما خرج إلى العلن، ومبادرات استرضاء منسقة مسبقاً برعاية بريطانية أو أميركية منذ مائة سنة تقريباً وحتى اليوم. ولم تكن مبادرة الأمير فهد في العام 1981 إلا واحدة منها، مروراً بمبادرة الملك عبد الله في العام 2002 وحتى اتفاقيات إبراهام بين “إسرائيل” والبحرين والإمارات التي أجريت بمباركة سعودية. 

كلّ هذا المبادرات تأتي ضمن علاقات تاريخية تهدف إلى استرضاء “إسرائيل”، لتضمن الأخيرة في المقابل هيمنها على الشرق الأوسط، إلا أنها لم ترضَ ولن ترضى حتى يصبح الجميع عبيداً مستسلمين لها، كما هي عقيدتها التلمودية.

أما نتيجة هذا كله، فهو ليس إلا مزيداً من الضغط العربي على الفلسطينيين للتنازل عن حقوقهم. ورغم كل التنازلات التي قدَّمها الفلسطينيون على مدى عقود، وغداة كل مبادرة سعودية، فإنَّ ذلك لم يحفّز “إسرائيل” المتغطرسة إلا على طلب المزيد من التنازلات والمزيد من الهيمنة، فهل يفهم العرب عامة، والفلسطينيون خاصة، أن سياسة الاسترضاء، استرضاء المتغطرس، هي التي أوصلتهم إلى هذا الحضيض، وأن نهج المقاومة هو وحده الذي أجبر “إسرائيل” على التراجع في محطات مختلفة من هذا الصراع؟

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

By Ali Abadi, Al-Ahed News

Why are we witnessing the intensification of normalization efforts between Arab regimes and the Zionist entity following the US presidential elections? What options does Donald Trump have during the remainder of his time in office?

Prior to the US elections, it was clear that the goal of the normalization agreements was to boost Trump’s reelection campaign. But the extension of the normalization current beyond the election that Trump lost has other potential objectives:

–    Attracting additional support for Trump in his battle to cling to power by sharpening the capabilities of the Zionist constituencies to support his electoral appeals that don’t have a great chance of success. But Trump has not given up yet in his efforts to reverse the results.

–    Sending important signals to those concerned at home and abroad that Trump still has vigor, as he plans to complete the goals he set and stay on the political scene. If he were to lose the presidency now, he may return in 2024, as those close to him have hinted. In the meantime, he seeks to gain support from the Jewish and Christian Zionist circles as a “man of word and action” in supporting “Israel” absolutely and without hesitation.

With Trump preoccupied with the battle to cling to power at home, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is abroad – touring as “Israel’s” minister of foreign affairs accompanied by Arab ministers to sign more normalization agreements. He is legalizing “Israeli” settlements and the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights and declaring a move to criminalize the campaign of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). 

It’s worth noting that months before the US elections, Pompeo reportedly had his sights set on the 2024 presidential race. As such, Pompeo, who identifies with Trump’s approach and acts as his obedient supporter, plans to be the natural heir to the Trumpian current in the event that its leader is absent due natural causes like death or unnatural causes such as imprisonment due to his legal issues. 

He is also preparing the groundwork for the birth of an “Israeli”-Arab alliance (Saudi, Bahraini, and Emirati) standing in the face of the Islamic Republic of Iran and adding further complications to any possible return of the Biden administration to the nuclear deal.

Saudi and “Israeli” officials are now speaking in one voice about a “no return” to the nuclear agreement, as they set the conditions and limits that they feel the next American administration should abide by. This is also a reflection of widespread concerns over the failure of Trump’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran. 

This was the background for news reports about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meeting “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saudi territory – a get-together arranged by Pompeo.

The choice for war is in the balance

All of the above are possibilities. But does that give way to expectations for a military adventure against Iran, for example, during the transitional period before Joe Biden takes office on January 20?

No sane person can absolutely deny such a possibility. In this context, news about the US strategic B-52 bomber’s flight to the region, the possibility of supplying US bombs that penetrate fortifications to the Zionist entity, the dismissal of US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the withdrawal of US units from Iraq and Afghanistan trickled in. 

The last move may be aimed at withdrawing targets near Iran in the event Washington takes military action against Tehran. However, attacking Iran militarily is not an American desire as much as it is an “Israeli” and Saudi one. The Pentagon has previously opposed military action against Iran, at a time when the US military has not recovered from its wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

This view does not appear to have changed, and US military commanders are unlikely to agree to put the military during the transition period on the course of a new war in the Middle East for personal or populist purposes. 

There are other considerations too. The costs of the war and its consequences are difficult to determine. Trump also knows that the mood of the American public can’t bear sacrifices abroad, financially or on a humanitarian level.

What about other possibilities?

Based on Trump’s behavior over the past four years, it appears the US president prefers to score goals and make quick deals. He is not inclined to get involved in prolonged duels. As such, it’s possible to predict that Trump will resort to localized strikes in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen (there is talk about the possibility of placing Ansarullah on the list of terrorist organizations) or cover a possible “Israeli” strike in Lebanon under one pretext or another. 

He could also resort to assassinating figures affiliated with the axis of resistance, and this possibility is more likely, especially in Iraq and Syria. Trump revealed in recent months that he thought about assassinating the Syrian president, and there are also American threats directed at leaders of the resistance factions in Iraq.

In conclusion, any aggressive military action against Iran appears to be a rooted “Israeli” option that Netanyahu tried to market to the Americans since the Obama era but failed. He is trying to strike Iran via the Americans, but Washington has other calculations and options. 

The Saudis have also urged successive US administrations to strike Iran, according to what appeared in WikiLeaks documents quoting the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The window of opportunity for major military action before Trump’s departure appears narrow. He may consider the rapid operations approach followed by similar actions against Iran’s allies to deal a moral blow to Tehran, cut back its regional leadership role, and besiege its growing influence in the power equation with the Zionist entity that is challenging the US hegemony over the region.

However, we should add that the axis of resistance has its own plans for the confrontation. It withstood the maximum pressure and is able to turn any adventure into an opportunity, relying on its vigilance and accumulated capabilities.

Biden and the Middle East: Misplaced optimism

Khalil al-Anani

25 November 2020

The Arab region in general will not rank high on the list of foreign priorities for the incoming US president

US president-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on 19 November (AFP)

There has been a state of optimism in the Arab world since the announcement of Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s win in the US presidential election.

Even if the optimism is justified, especially in light of the disasters and political tragedies that the Arab region has witnessed and lived through over the past four years under President Donald Trump, this optimism is somewhat exaggerated. Some believe that the region under Biden will witness radical changes, breaking with Trump’s negative legacy – but I don’t think that will happen.

We need to dismantle the various issues that Biden is expected to engage with over the next four years in order to understand whether the situation will remain as it is, or undergo radical change. 

During the Biden era, the Arab region in general is not expected to rank high on the list of US foreign priorities. There are many reasons for this, including Biden’s vision, which does not stray far from the view of former US President Barack Obama on global issues and international conflicts, with Asia and the Pacific given priority over all other matters. 

The US relationship with China is an important file for any US administration, whether Republican or Democratic. As the rise of China represents an economic and security threat to the US, the Obama administration moved its foreign-policy compass towards China and the Pacific region. For Biden, China will continue to represent a top priority. 

The issue has become even more urgent in the wake of Trump’s more hostile policies towards China over the past four years. Observers will be watching as to whether Biden can put an end to what the average US citizen sees as Chinese encroachment and hegemony in global markets, at US expense. Some saw Trump’s China policies as a historic victory, due to the imposition of tariffs on US imports from China. 

The importance of accountability for China might be one of the few issues that has consensus among Americans of all orientations, but there are differences in how the issue is approached and handled. While Republicans, especially under Trump, use the confrontational method through the well-known strategy of “maximum pressure”, the Democrats prefer dialogue and cooperation with Beijing.

Iran, Israel and Arab authoritarians

In the Arab region, the three issues expected to dominate Biden’s agenda are the US relationships with Iran, Israel and the authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

We may witness an important shift in US policy towards Iran, especially on the nuclear file and Trump-era sanctions, which resulted in unprecedented levels of pressure on Tehran since the unilateral US withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018.

It is expected that Biden will bring the US back to the nuclear deal, but with new conditions – unless the Trump administration, in alliance with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, launches military strikes, as Trump has reportedly contemplated.

Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem in 2010 (Reuters)
Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem in 2010 (Reuters)

As for the US-Israel relationship, and in particular the issue of a two-state solution and normalisation with Arab countries, we can expect the status quo to continue. Despite Biden’s embrace of the two-state solution and rejection of Israeli attempts to impose a fait accompli on Palestinians, Biden is not expected to prevent Israel from annexing parts of the occupied West Bank.

US pressure on more Arab countries to normalise with Israel, as Trump pushed with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, may diminish. But this does not mean the Biden administration would impede any such normalisation. On the contrary, Biden welcomed the Gulf normalisation deals with Israel.

The issue of Israel’s security and qualitative superiority is a subject of agreement among Republicans and Democrats alike; none can imagine this changing under the Biden administration.

Condemnation without action

As for the US relationship with Arab authoritarian regimes, particularly with respect to support for human rights and democracy, while Biden may not support human rights violations – especially in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – he is not expected to exert great pressure on these countries if the violations continue.

A Biden administration, for example, would not likely cut off military aid to Egypt, or halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia or the UAE as an objection to the Yemen war or their miserable record on issues of democracy and human rights – despite Biden’s pledge to the contrary during his election campaign. 

Statements and condemnations may be issued from time to time, but it is unlikely that they will translate into real policies and actions. While Biden will not consider someone like Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi his “favourite dictator”, as Trump did, he will not likely sever the relationship or punish Sisi seriously for his flagrant violations of human rights in Egypt.

Perhaps optimists in the Arab world should be wary of getting too hopeful about the incoming Biden administration and the potential for regional change. If it is true that the number of bad guys around the world will decrease due to Trump’s departure from power, this does not necessarily mean that the good guys will make a comeback with Biden coming to power.

Khalil al-AnaniKhalil al-Anani is a Senior Fellow at the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies in Washington DC. He is also an associate professor of political science at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. You can follow him on Twitter: @Khalilalanani.

Biden will not end the ‘deal of the century’ – Palestinian leaders are acting in haste

Joseph Massad

24 November 2020 

The goal of the US ‘peace process’ has long been – and will continue to be under Biden – the obliteration of Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonisation

People denounce the ‘deal of the century’ in the occupied West Bank on 28 February 2020 (AFP)

Since the election of Joe Biden as the next US president, reports of the death of the “deal of the century” have been greatly exaggerated. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has felt a sense of relief that its love affair with Israel and Israel’s allies could finally resume. 

The PA had cut off official security coordination with Israel in May, and cooled relations with Bahrain and the UAE after they opened diplomatic relations with Israel this summer. The PA used the pretext that President Donald Trump’s “deal” was detrimental to Palestinian interests.  

In the wake of Biden’s election, the PA declared the deal and annexation plans to be “no longer on the table”. It officially resumed security coordination with Israel, citing assurances from Israel that it would comply with prior agreements it had signed with the PA.

This came just days after Israel opened bidding on the construction of a new Jewish colonial settlement intended to cut off occupied East Jerusalem from the West Bank. The PA has also restored its ambassadors to Bahrain and the UAE. 

Palestinian prisoners

These PA moves seek to appeal to Biden, who is expected to be more sympathetic to their cause than Trump. And so, instead of announcing that the PA was looking forward to being welcomed back into the US capital, the adamantly anti-Palestinian New York Times, the US “newspaper of record”, announced that “in a bold move to refurbish their sullied image in Washington, the Palestinians are laying the groundwork for an overhaul to one of their most cherished but controversial practices, officials say: compensating those who serve time in Israeli prisons, including for violent attacks.” 

Israel has been demanding for decades that the PA not support the families of Palestinians killed by Israel, let alone the families of Palestinian prisoners of war. The US Congress “repeatedly passed legislation to reduce aid to the Palestinians by the amount of those payments”, which were also cited by Trump when he cut funding to the PA in 2018.

Biden will be little different from Trump who, in fact, was little different from Obama or previous presidents

The New York Times added that “Palestinian officials eager to make a fresh start … are heeding the advice of sympathetic Democrats who have repeatedly warned that without an end to the payments, it would be impossible for the new administration to do any heavy lifting on their behalf”. 

This is an important example of how Biden will be little different from Trump who, in fact, was little different from Obama or previous presidents. Biden has vowed not to move the US embassy back to Tel Aviv, nor to rescind US recognition of Israel’s illegal annexation of that city. Perhaps the only difference is that Biden may restore aid to the PA, while curtailing support to families of Palestinian prisoners – details of which are “being hammered out in Ramallah”, according to the Times.  

Security coordination

But as the “deal of the century” is predicated on the premise that the US and Palestinians must give Israel everything it wants, it remains unclear why the PA thinks the deal is no longer on the table. After all, the PA has acted in accordance with that very premise by resuming security coordination with Israel, returning its ambassadors to the Gulf states, and negotiating cuts to support for prisoners’ families – all without getting anything in return. 

The issue of financial support to Palestinian prisoners’ families is, in fact, a central feature of how the US “peace process” has always been premised on coercing Palestinians and other Arabs to join the US in legitimising Israeli colonial conquests and delegitimising any resistance to them. 

An Israeli border guard fires tear gas towards Palestinians in Bethlehem in 2017 (AFP)
An Israeli border guard fires tear gas towards Palestinians in Bethlehem in 2017 (AFP)

Since the 1993 Oslo I Accord, the PA has committed to stamping out all Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonisation of Palestinian lands, collaborating with Israel either by informing on or handing over resistors to Israeli security forces, or by having its own security agencies imprison or kill them. Why, then, Israel and the US complain, would the PA support their families?

This is to be contrasted with the fact that Israel and the US have always rewarded Israeli Jews who massacre Palestinians. A minuscule number of Israeli soldiers who kill Palestinians have ever been prosecuted, and even fewer found guilty, as has been documented by Israeli human rights groups and others. 

Israeli impunity

Last year, an Israeli soldier who fatally shot an unarmed 14-year-old Palestinian boy was sentenced to a month in military prison. The boy’s father told the New York Times: “This is unjust.” He said he feared that the soldier’s sentence would “encourage his colleagues to kill in cold blood”. 

Also last year, the Israeli army exonerated its soldiers in the killing of a Palestinian double-amputee protesting at the Gaza fence who was shot in the chest. The army said it could not ascertain that its soldiers were the ones who killed him. Another Israeli border police officer who killed yet another Palestinian teenager in 2014 was sentenced two years ago to nine months in prison, having been praised by the judge as “excellent” and “conscientious”. Biden victory means the end of an era for Netanyahu

Read More »

As for the Israeli military medic who shot dead an already injured Palestinian lying on the ground in 2016, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, a year of probation and a demotion. His sentence was later decreased to 14 months, of which he served only nine before being released. 

These are neither aberrant nor new examples; they harken back to the establishment of Israel. Late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who expelled the Palestinian population of the city of Lydda in 1948 and devised the “break-their-bones” policy against Palestinians during the First Intifada, is celebrated in Israel and the US as a “hero” for peace. He never went to jail for his crimes.  

Nor did former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who, dressed in drag, headed a commando unit that assassinated several Palestinian leaders in their homes in Beirut in 1973. He, like Rabin, is hailed as a hero. 

In October 1956, the Israeli army committed a horrific massacre against its own Israeli-Palestinian citizens in the village of Kafr Qasim, when its soldiers shot dead 49 men, women and children coming home from their fields after a day of work, and injured dozens more.  

Despite an initial government cover-up, a trial took place and prison sentences were handed down in October 1958 to eight officers ranging from eight to 17 years. Appeals were filed, and all the sentences were reduced with all the convicted killers released by 1960, having spent their sentence in a sanatorium in Jerusalem, and not in a prison cell.

Officer Gabriel Dahan, convicted of killing 43 Palestinians, was appointed as officer responsible for Arab affairs in the city of Ramle in September 1960. The brigadier most responsible for giving the orders for the massacre, Yshishkar Shadmi, had a separate trial, and was found guilty of a “technical error” and fined one cent. 

Better deal next time?

What Biden and his friends are demanding of the PA today is precisely what Israel and Trump also demanded: namely, that it consider Israeli conquest, colonisation and occupation of Palestinian land – including the killing of Palestinians who resist (or do not resist) Israel – as heroic acts.

Since the PA did right by Israel and the US when it agreed in Oslo to quash any resistance to these Israeli heroic acts, it must continue to do so by not supporting the families of Palestinian prisoners or martyrs. 

It has always been the same deal, which is what Trump tried valiantly to impress upon the world

The goal of the PA, as envisaged by the Oslo Accords, is not only to obliterate any remaining resistance to Israel, but also to quash the Palestinian people’s will to resist their insidious coloniser once and for all. That was the essence of the US “peace process” in the 1970s and 1980s, of the Oslo deal, of former US President Bill Clinton’s Camp David offer in 2000, and of Trump’s “deal of the century“.  

It has always been the same deal, which is what Trump tried valiantly to impress upon the world. The much-awaited Biden, however, will be sure to indulge the PA. He will pretend, alongside the PA, that Palestinians will get a new and better deal next time.

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

Joseph Massad is Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of many books and academic and journalistic articles. His books include Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan, Desiring Arabs, The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians, and most recently Islam in Liberalism. His books and articles have been translated to a dozen languages.

MBS said he would be killed by his ‘own people’ if Riyadh normalised ties with Israel: Report

Billionaire Haim Saban claims crown prince made remarks after UAE and Bahrain’s deals with Israel, Haaretz reports

Mohammed bin Salman is the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia
US President Donald Trump has suggested Saudi Arabia may recognise Israel (AFP/File photo)

By MEE staff
Published date: 23 October 2020

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban he would fear for his life if he struck a normalisation deal with Israel, Haaretz reported.

The Saudi crown prince, also known by his initials MBS, said following in the steps of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain would get him “killed by Iran, by Qatar and my own people”, Saban said.

The entertainment mogul made the claim at a pro-Biden online campaign event on Wednesday entitled “Israel’s Security and Prosperity in a Biden White House”, hosted by Florida for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Haaretz reported.

The UAE and Bahrain, which closely coordinate their foreign policies with Saudi Arabia, normalised relations with Israel in August, cementing the move with a signing ceremony at the White House last month.

Saban, a billionaire who founded the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, was one of the few Democrats present when the agreements, dubbed the Abraham Accords, were signed on 15 September.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia to also agree to closer ties with Israel in the coming months.Arab populations continue to oppose normalisation with Israel, survey shows

Read More »

His comments came shortly after Sudan became the third Arab country in recent months to normalise ties with Israel.

Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud said the kingdom would not recognise Israel until there was a return to Israel-Palestine negotiations.

Saban, a longtime donor to the Democratic party, also used his platform at Wednesday’s online event to praise presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden’s “47 years of commitment” to Israel.

“All Jews in America that care about the US-Israel alliance know they can sleep peacefully under a Biden presidency,” he said.

The normalisation deals have largely been met positively among both Democrats and Republicans.

The billionaire also claimed that President Donald Trump played a minor role in securing the Abraham Accords, while most of the credit should go to his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

“All of the credit should be going to Jared Kushner and [his aide] Avi Berkowitz, who worked really hard on it,” said Saban.

Trump has highlighted the Arab normalisation deals with Israel as major achievements as he seeks another term in 3 November elections, with his evangelical Christian base widely supportive of Israel.

Still, the normalisation deals have outraged Palestinians, who have called them “a stab in the back”, pointing out that they reward Israel and allow it to continue its illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as its siege of Gaza.

recent survey found that, despite the moves by the UAE and Bahrain, a majority of Arab populations continue to strongly oppose normalisation with Israel.

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

China Newsbrief and Sitrep

November 25, 2020

Source

China Newsbrief and Sitrep

By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

This is why we study China.

There is no point in believing we can make sense of China by a skin-deep knowledge of present-day China. We will be little the wiser. Chinese civilization is over 4,000 years old: as a political entity it is over 2,000 years old, the longest continuously existing polity in the world. Chinese history and culture is fundamentally different from that of the West: it always has been and always will be. So best to dispense with our Western-tinted spectacles and open our minds to arguably the world’s most successful civilization. China has been the most advanced country not just once but at least four times; and we are on the verge of this becoming five. A country, a culture, and a people with the most extraordinary history that is fast becoming the magnet of the future.    (This was the keynote address to the Buzz Expo China Summit.)


A small diplomatic snub

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State and fourth in line for the presidency, requested a meeting with his opposite number in China’s six-man cabinet but, China delivered a gentle snub by sending Yang Jiechi, a member of the 35-member State Council.


Debt Forgiveness

Of course the West would want China to forgive debts and thus enhance the value of Western revenue streams. This is another aspect of the war. Just as trillions of dollars of cash injected into the banking cartel at the start of the crisis constitute a prophylactic against the damage of this closure policy, it also defends the asset values from destruction while allowing Western banks to buy up assets from the failed business sector and freeze out China, from cash flows of any kind. The extension of the crisis to the West’s debt peons means that those who participate locally in the West’s protection racket can be asked to freeze China out on the international lending stage. The nature of the Western “loansharking” business remains obscured. China should wait until the West cancels all its fraudulent debt instruments before even discussing its own loan book.


Scholarship for Sale?

Five of Washington’s most prominent think tanks have been producing policy papers urging closer U.S. ties with Taiwan — a territory locked in an uncertain legal status that threatens to be a flashpoint between Beijing and Washington. These seemingly impartial research institutions are pushing for expanded arms sales and trade agreements with Taiwan without widely disclosing their high-level funding from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taiwan’s equivalent to an embassy. The five think tanks — the Brookings Institution, the Center for American Progress*, the Center for a New American Security, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Hudson Institute — all disclose their funding from TECRO but bury it deep on their websites or annual reports. [I am shocked, shocked! to find partisan scholarship traded on the open market]

None of their researchers disclose the potential conflict of interest between Taiwanese funding and advocating for more security guarantees for and trade with Taiwan. “Taiwan is an interesting case because we know Taiwan gives a good amount of money to think tanks, and we know they have a good amount of influence around town,” said Ben Freeman, director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy. “For most people in this town, Taiwan doesn’t have the scarlet letter that funding from Saudi Arabia or China would, but it begs the question, why not just disclose at the front of a report, ‘We get funding from this government,’” said Freeman, who authored “Foreign Funding of Think Tanks in America,” a recent report. “I don’t see the reasons you’d just keep this under wraps.” And yet, while urging greater U.S. economic and security commitments to Taipei, Washington’s most influential think tanks do just that.

What Taiwan’s money buys: When Ryan Hass of the Brookings Institution wrote for the Taipei Times in December about the importance of bipartisan support in both Taiwan and the U.S., it appeared to be an impartial op-ed. Nowhere in the article was the Taiwan government’s funding for Brookings and its scholars disclosed. One would have to go to Brookings’s 2019 annual report to see that TECRO provides between $250,000 and $499,999 to the think tank. In February, Hass, again writing for the Taipei Times, urged policymakers in Washington and Taipei to counter potential economic risks to Taiwan in a U.S.-China technology competition by “pursu[ing] a U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement that includes chapters covering trade in goods and services, as well as e-commerce, investment rules, and possibly other areas.”  The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to the Clinton and Obama administrations, collected between $50,000 and $99,999 from TECRO in 2019. That information was only disclosed in an “annual honor roll recognizing supporters who make gifts of $5,000 or more.”It was not disclosed when CAP senior fellow Trevor Sutton published a March column in Washington Monthly, in which he posited that strengthening U.S.-Taiwan relations would assist in “defeating” the “narrative” by “illiberal movements” to portray “democratic governance” as “messy, corrupt, and ineffective.” Nor was TECRO’s funding disclosed when CAP senior fellow Michael H. Fuchs published a September 2019 report on “How to Support Democracy and Human Rights in Asia,” and offered direct recommendations about what U.S. policymakers should do to “robustly support Taiwan.” [MORE]

Footnote: Taiwan is a breakaway Chinese province, one of hundreds led astray by warlords over the centuries. Like most US protectorates, it is a stagnant, corrupt backwater whose educated elite are leaving in droves for careers in China proper.


Those Chinese Scientists Arrested by the US?

Michael Lauer, deputy director of the NIH, confessed that 93% of the 189 researchers surveyed by the NIH had undisclosed scientific research funding from China, but only 4% of them have intellectual property issues, and another 9% had hidden the establishment of companies abroad. Under the pressure of the investigation, 54 scholars were expelled or offered to resign because they did not fully disclose their cooperation with China. The vast majority of them were ethnically Chinese scholars. Some scholars have also been prosecuted and sentenced. There were no cases of theft of significant intellectual property.

This means that the researchers under investigation did not, as previously claimed by the FBI, systematically transfer intellectual property rights to China or other countries. Rao Yi, a professor at Peking University, pointed out that even among the 4% of the respondents involved with IP rights issues, it could be their personal issues, and it does not mean that China’s initial establishment of the talent plans was for stealing US intellectual property rights. Rao Yi’s letter to NIH head Francis Collins August 2018:  “Your August 20th statement is shocking because it is the first time when any government official has issued a statement restricting scientific collaborations in peacetime. If there are competitions, the Olympic Games have shown us how to compete.”  [MORE]


Who Knew?

Trump’s Chip Ban Gives Huawei and South Korea an Enormous Incentive to Strike a Grand Bargain “Chip fabricators will remove American equipment from production lines in order to maintain market share in China.”  A US ban on foreign companies’ sales of chips to Huawei Technologies if American equipment or software is involved will undermine America’s already-weakened position in the global semiconductor equipment market, industry sources say. Chip fabricators will remove American equipment from production lines in order to maintain market share in China, the world’s largest purchaser of semiconductors.  [MORE]

Huawei surpassed Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone maker in April, a feat that was considered impossible with America’s ban in effect. Huawei now holds a 19% market share ahead of Samsung’s 17%.

Huawei’s new 54,000 sq.ft flagship store in Shanghai has more than 200 customer care consultants that can provide support in 10 languages. At the same time, it also has 19 reception counters and 12 after-sales service area.

Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment announced that the first China-made 28nm immersion type lithography machine will be delivered in 2021-2022. Although it still has a big gap with the Dutch 7nm chip preparation process, it also marks a leap forward in China-made lithography, which is gradually reducing the gap with ASML. The Chinese market accounts for one-third of global semiconductor sales, and there is an urgent need for semiconductor import substitution.[MORE]

Yangtze Memory Technologies has unveiled its latest 3D NAND memory chip with cutting-edge 128-layer technology. The Wuhan-based company, whose work was not interrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak, said its new chip, the X2-6070, has passed sample verification with several partners, and could start mass production by end of this year or in the first half of 2021. The rollout makes it China’s first NAND chip using 128-layer technology, where the number of layers determines the density of data storage. The new chips will come in two specifications, one featuring 1.33 terabytes of storage and the other 512 gigabytes, according to a company announcement dated on Sunday. Yangtze Memory hopes the 1.33 TB product will initially be used in high-capacity USB drives, flash memory cards and solid-state hard drives, and eventually be expanded into enterprise-level servers and data centers


The Ruling in the Meng Case

On 28 January 2019, formal charges were laid by the U.S. Department of Justice, accusing Meng’s employer, Huawei, of misrepresentations about its corporate organization which had enabled it to circumvent laws that imposed economic sanctions on Iran. Huawei was also charged with stealing technology and trade secrets from T-Mobile USA. Meng, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, was charged with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Huawei pled not guilty to the charges of violating the Iran sanction provisions in a New York court and not guilty to the stealing charges in a Seattle court. After a number of preliminary legal skirmishes, the extradition hearings against Meng began in 2020. Associate Justice Holmes issued her ruling on 27 May, 2020. Law takes its time.

Meng had told HSBC officials who met with her in the back of a Hong Kong restaurant in 2013 that, despite the allegations in a newspaper article, Huawei had not made improper use of a closely associated firm, named Skycom Tech, to supply U.S. materiel to Iran. The reason she had made this statement to HSBC, it was alleged, was that Huawei used HSBC as a banker when transacting business. If Huawei, as alleged, was implicated in violations of the Iran sanction laws, HSBC might well be held to be complicit in such crimes. The U.S. alleged that Meng’s representations to HSBC constituted fraud under its law.

Meng Wanzhou argued that, for a case of fraud to be made out, in both the U.S. and Canada, it was necessary for the prosecution to prove that the fraud materially contributed to a tangible loss. This could not be made out here. For Meng’s deception of HSBC to cause it a tangible loss in the U.S., it was necessary for U.S. prosecutors to invoke the impact of another law, the Iranian sanction law. Without it there would not be any harm and, therefore, no fraud in the U.S. As Canada did not have any such sanction provisions in place, Meng’s deception would not have led to any tangible loss in Canada and there would have been no fraud committed in Canada. This argument that the basic requirement for extradition–mirroring laws–had not been met, was rejected by Associate Chief Justice Holmes.

She deployed standard legal reasoning that is, she looked for previous holdings and used the imprecisions she found in them and in the wording of the legislation she was interpreting. Holmes found that previous decisions had held that, in order to determine whether the conduct in the applicant jurisdiction created an offence, it was necessary to assess the essential nature of that conduct. That meant evaluating the foreign conduct in its context, in its legal environment. Meng argued that looking at the legal environment required taking a foreign law, one distinct from the laws being compared, into account, something which should not be done under the Extradition Law.

The presiding judge responded that only some aspects of the legal environment, constituted by that other law, had to be taken into account, not all of it. It was her job to say which aspects could be so used. Holmes admitted that she was going out on a limb because the distinction between looking at some aspects of a foreign law and taking the actual law into consideration is fraught, both as a matter of logic and of established law. She wrote that “the issue is at what level of abstraction… the essence … of the conduct is to be described… there is little authority or precisely what may be included in ‘imported legal environment’.”

Undeterred by the lack of any known criteria (remember the Rule of Law!), she used what she likely calls her common sense and what Meng’s supporters probably think was her unconscious bias. Associate Justice Holmes decided that, in this case, it was appropriate, when looking for the essential nature of the foreign conduct, to look at the effects of that U.S. law, the Iran sanction law. As its effects made Meng’s deceiving conduct fraudulent in the U.S., and as deception is the core of fraud in Canada, the essential/contextualized nature of Meng’s conduct satisfied the essence of fraud as defined under Canada’s Criminal Code. Lawyers call this sort of finessing good lawyering; in the wider community it is seen as legal chicanery. Holmes ruled that Canada was free to extradite Meng. [MORE]

Canada’s government has the authority to halt the extradition of a Huawei executive and should do so as part of efforts to secure the release of two Canadian citizens detained in China, a former Supreme Court Justice has said. Former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour told Radio Canada on Tuesday that it was “high time for the [justice] minister to exercise his authority, his responsibility under the law and put an end to this process. From the beginning it was not in Canada’s interest to go ahead with this extradition request from the United States,” added Arbour, also a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She added Meng is accused by Washington of violating “unilateral American sanctions against Iran” that Ottawa has never applied. [MORE]

Harry Glasbeek comments: Everyone on earth knew why US charged Huawei and its CFO: to obtain bargaining chips in its fight with China: to persuade Americans that the government was right to deny them access to cheaper goods and a better 5G system and to make China more pliable when the US demanded better trade terms and more protection for its intellectual property. There was no attempt to hide any of this. Did the Canadian government understand this? Of course. Did it feel it had to allow the U.S. to use Canada’s supposedly neutral legal machinery to further its political project? Of course. Could the Canadian government have said “no” and simply turned a blind eye when Wanzhou Meng landed in Vancouver? Of course. Was Associate Justice Holmes, at the very least, in a position to guess all of this? Of course.

More on the Meng Case – Jeff J Brown did a fascinating expose which he recently published at Covert Action Magazine and gave us permission to post here.

Exclusive: Huawei Sting Operation Exposed

What makes Meng’s story so volatile, is that, due to her being arrested/kidnapped in Canada, her case is now a ménage-à-trois, with Ottawa being the submissive, as it has been caught in the middle. While claiming that they are only “respecting its extradition treaties,” Canada and the U.S. indicate they must defer to their “independent judiciaries” and honor the “rule of law.” Upon close examination, however, this case demonstrates gross hypocrisy, if not many inconsistencies and fault lines. At least U.S. President Trump admitted publicly what routinely goes on behind closed doors. On December 11, 2018, just days after Meng’s apprehension, Trump said he would be happy to use her as a bargaining chip to win a better trade deal with China.


Finally, a Note to China from Michael Hudson

This is from January 2020 and I’m sure it was presented to Mr.Hudson’s students.  De-dollarization is the alternative to privatization and financialization.

“The United States is not telling China or Russia or third world countries or Europe how to get rich in the way that it did, by protective tariffs, by creating its own money and by making other countries dependent on it. The United States does not want you to be independent and self-reliant. The United States wants China to let itself become dependent on U.S. finance in order to invest in its own industry. It wants Chinese corporations to borrow from the United States, and to sell its stocks to US investors just like Khodorkovsky in Russia was trying to sell Yukos oil to Standard Oil, and essentially turn Russia’s oil reserves to U.S. investors.”


This represents but a fraction of what is included in the Here Comes China newsletter.  If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here

بايدن يغازل طهران عبر الكاظمي وقاءاني في بغداد: لا نعدك بشيء

محمد صادق الحسيني

قالت مصادر وثيقة الصلة بمطبخ صناعة القرار الإيراني بأنّ رئيس الوزراء العراقي مصطفى الكاظمي تلقى رسالة خاصة من فريق بايدن يطلب منه نقلها الى أصدقائه في طهران، أن يتحمّلوا قليلاً ما سمّوه بالنفق الترامبي ويصبروا على استفزازاته الى حين استقرار الإدارة الجديدة والتي سيكون لها شأن آخر يختلف عن ترامب تجاه طهران…!

وقد قام الكاظمي بإرسال موفد عنه الى طهران لإبلاغ الإيرانيين هذه الرسالة الإيجابية من فريق بايدن، والتي تمّ تلقيها بكلّ مسؤولية واقتدار من دون أن يعدوا الأميركيين بأيّ شيء عدا عدم الانجرار الى ما قد يُقدم عليه ترامب من ارتكابات تصعيدية او استفزازية…!

في هذه الأثناء كان قائد لواء القدس في الحرس الثوري الإيراني اللواء اسماعيل قاءاني العائد لتوّه من زيارة رسمية مهمة لسورية التقى خلالها الرئيس بشار الأسد تمّت خلالها مناقشة كلّ القضايا الإقليمية والدولية لا سيما تنسيق المواقف تجاه تطوّرات المرحلة الانتقاليّة بين فريقي ترامب وبايدن، كان يحضر لزيارة بغداد في إطار زيارة رسمية من رئيس الوزراء العراقي مصطفى الكاظمي…

وبالفعل فقد قام قاءاني بزيارة بغداد الأربعاء الماضي والتقى المسؤول العراقي الأول وعدداً من الفصائل وقادة الأحزاب العراقيين، تحت «ظلال رسالة فريق بايدن»، لكن برنامج الزيارة كان معداً سلفاً لأمرين: العلاقات الثنائية والانتخابات العراقية البرلمانية المبكرة وكيفية مساهمة طهران في إنجاحها وتخفيف حدة التوتر بين الفصائل العراقية المناهضة للاحتلال الأميركي والكاظمي الذي يراهن كثيراً على توازن صداقاته مع كلّ من واشنطن وطهران…!

قاءاني كان واضحاً جداً مع الكاظمي بأنّ طهران لا تريد إلا الخير والاستقرار والاستقلال الناجز للعراق بناء على رؤية عراقية مستقلة، كما أنها لا تريد مطلقاً التدخل في الشأن العراقي الداخلي وكيفية إدارة كلّ الملفات المتعلقة بهذا الخصوص من انتخابات او أجندات تتعلق بمستقبل ونوع نظام الحكم العراقي، ومنها قضية الانتخابات التي هي شأن عراقي داخلي محض…

وفي ما يخصّ سؤال الكاظمي إنْ كان الموفد الإيراني يحمل رداً عليه قال قاءاني: لسنا مهتمّين بغير استقرار المنطقة، ولا نعدك بأيّ شيء آخر…!

متابعون وخبراء مطلعون على أجواء وفضاءات المنطقة وإقليم غرب آسيا يؤكدون في هذه الاثناء بأنّ أطراف حلف المقاومة في كلّ من طهران ودمشق وبغداد وبيروت متفقة على ضروة تهدئة المواقف العامة وتمرير ما اتفق على تسميته بـ «النفق الترامبي» الذي يبحث عن بقية ماء وجه لمن خسر كلّ معاركه الخارجية والداخلية وآخرها الانتخابات الرئاسية (أيّ دونالد ترامب)، وانتظار استقرار الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة، وحينها سيكون لكلّ حادث حديث..!

في هذه الأثناء نفت المصادر الآنفة الذكر أنّ يكون قاءاني قد زار بيروت، كما نفت أنه كان في سورية أثناء القصف الاسرائيلي لبعض مواقع الجيش العربي السوري الأسبوع الماضي، والذي ادّعت تل أبيب كذباً بأنها استهدفت مواقع لقوة القدس، ذلك انّ زيارة قاءاني كانت قبل ذلك بأيام ولم يتخللها أيّ تحرّك عسكري من جانب العدو الصهيوني، تماماً كما انّ العدوان الذي تلى تلك الزيارة لم يستهدف أيّ موقع استشاري للحرس الثوري الإيراني على الإطلاق.

بانتظار تحوّلات كبرى تزيد من خسارة الأميركي وهزائمه المتكرّرة والجسيمة في المنطقة مع استقرار إدارة بايدن في البيت الأبيض، وهي الإدارة التي ستأتي ضعيفة ومنعدمة الرؤية الواضحة تجاه محور المقاومة، ستقوم عملياً محلّ مقام إدارة منهكة ممزقة متقطعة الأوصال خائرة القوى تخرج بخفي حنين من كلّ معاركها الخارجية والداخلية كما أشرنا آنفاً.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

لبنان في لقاء بومبيو وبن سلمان ونتنياهو

ناصر قنديل

مع تكرار نبأ وصول رئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو يرافقه رئيس الموساد يوسي كوهين إلى مدينة نيوم الساحلية في السعودية التي تشكل عاصمة وليد العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان للانضمام الى اجتماع وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو وبن سلمان، من أكثر من وسيلة إعلام في كيان الاحتلال، بدأتها صحيفة يديعوت أحرونوت وتلتها إذاعة الجيش في الكيان ثم الإذاعة الرسمية وتوّج بخبر في وكالة رويترز، ورغم صدور النفي السعودي للنبأ، يمكن اعتبار الاجتماع أول أمس مؤكداً، خصوصاً إذا أخذنا بالاعتبار أن الثلاثة، أي فريق الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب ونتنياهو وبن سلمان يشكلون ثلاثياً تجمعه المصيبة والتحديات والمصير، في ضوء ما نجم عن الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، حيث سيخسر بن سلمان ونتنياهو بمثل ما سيخسر ترامب وفريقه، عند التسليم بفوز جو بايدن بالرئاسة وتقدّمه نحو البيت الأبيض، ليس لأن بايدن يمثل مشروعاً مختلفاً عن ترامب في منطلقات العداء لإيران وقوى المقاومة وروسيا والصين، ولا لأنه يحمل تأييداً أقل ليكان الاحتلال وأنظمة الخليج، بل لأن بايدن يمثل القناعة الأميركية بفشل الرهان الذي خاضه الثلاثي ترامب ونتنياهو وبن سلمان بإسقاط التفاهم النووي مع إيران، وبالتوازي سلوك طريق التصعيد مع روسيا والصين، والاعتقاد بأن بمستطاع العقوبات القصوى التي هددت في طريقها أوروبا، يمكن أن تنتج مناخاً تفاوضياً أفضل لحساب أميركا واستطراداً تتمكن من تحسين وضعية السعودية والكيان، وهذا يعني ان انتقال السلطة الى بايدن سيعني العودة للسياسات التي انتهت اليها إدارة أوباما في نهاية اختباراتها لسياسة التصعيد والعقوبات والتلويح بالحرب ونتائج الحرب المحورية في المنطقة التي مثلتها الحرب على سورية.

بسلوك بايدن أعلى درجات الحرص لمنع التداعيات السلبية على كيان الاحتلال والسعودية مع بدء تطبيق سياسات المواءمة مع تراجع الامكانات وفقدان الفرصة لكسر إيران وتطويق روسيا والصين، رغم التمسك بمنطلقات العداء ذاتها، وما تتضمّنه من عودة لمفهوم الانخراط بتفاهمات الواقعية السياسية والانسحاب العسكري، لن يكون ممكناً الحؤول دون تعرّض الكيان والسعودية لهزات كبرى، فالالتزام الدفاعي الأميركي بالسعودية وكيان الاحتلال لن يتبدل، لكن جعل السعودية وكيان الاحتلال موجهاً للسياسة الأميركية، خصوصاً في ما يخصّ التفاهم النووي مع إيران، لن يكون ممكناً، كما لم يكن ممكناً مع الرئيس باراك أوباما، الذي قال يومها عن الاتفاق النووي إنه سيئ والأسوأ، لكنه تحدّى المعارضين في الرياض وتل أبيب بتقديم بديل واقعي، طالما أن الترجمة تقول بأن العقوبات لن تغير موقف إيران، مهما اشتدت، ولن تسقط نظامها، وستخلق تحديات أكثر خطورة في الملف النووي، وطالما أن الحرب لن تتمكن من محو المقدرات النووية الإيرانية من الضربة الأولى، ولن تتمكن من تدمير قدرة إيران على رد يهدّد المنشآت الحيوية لكيان الاحتلال وحكومات الخليج والوجود الأميركي الواقع في مرمى الصواريخ الإيرانيّة، ولذلك كان رهان أوباما ومعه بايدن، استبدال العقوبات على إيران، بتحقيق إجماع دولي جديد يحيط بالتزاماتها النووية، ويضمن إدماجها بحجم ما تمثل من قوة في معادلات جديدة في المنطقة، مع الإدراك المسبق باتساع نفوذها، وتراجع فرص جعل الثنائي السعودي الإسرائيلي صاحب اليد العليا في المنطقة، في ظل ثنائي إيراني تركي يتقدم، مع تفاوت واختلاف سقوف أطراف هذا الثنائي.

الواضح من موافقة السلطة الفلسطينية على العودة للتفاهمات مع كيان الاحتلال أن ولي العهد السعودي يبذل مالاً ونفوذاً ومعه نتنياهو وبومبيو لتوسيع قاعدة الحماية، وتعزيز القدرة، لكن العجز عن تقديم أي مكسب سياسي للسلطة الفلسطينية مع تمسك بايدن بحماية منجزات كيان الاحتلال في ظل إدارة ترامب، سيعني عجز هذه السلطة عن تقديم خدمات تذكر لإضعاف قوى المقاومة في بيئة سياسية وشعبية معاكسة، الا اذا تحوّلت الى ما يشبه جيش العميل انطوان لحد في جنوب لبنان قبيل تحرير الجنوب عام 2000، وبدء تصدع الهياكل الأمنية للسلطة وتمرد شرائح واسعة في فتح يصير هو الأقرب، لذلك يصير التفكير بساحة تكامل للثلاثي محكوماً بالنظر نحو لبنان، حيث الأميركي يضع لبنان في أولويات حركته كما تقول التصريحات والعقوبات ومفاوضات ترسيم الحدود، وحيث كيان الاحتلال يعيش مأزقه الوجودي والأمني الأهم مع قدرات المقاومة وتهديدها، وحيث ابن سلمان يملك الرصيد الأبرز للسعودية في المنطقة، من قدرة تأثير وضغوط على شرائح سياسية متعددة.

اجتمعوا ام لم يجتمعوا، فلبنان مساحة اهتمام ثلاثي تحت الضوء، والحكومة اللبنانية معلّقة على حبال الانتظار.

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Mayor Rudy Giuliani: The Michigan attorney general doesn’t care if Democrats steal an election

China’s Reaction to a US Unannounced visit to Taiwan – PressTV Interview

By Peter Koenig

Global Research, November 24, 2020

Background

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China has reacted strongly to a senior US official’s unannounced visit to Taiwan, warning that it will take legitimate and necessary action according to circumstances.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman reiterated Beijing’s firm opposition to any official ties between Taiwan and the US. The reaction came after the media cited sources, including a Taiwanese official, as saying that US Navy’s Rear-Admiral Michael Studeman was on a trip to the self-ruled island. He’s the director of an agency which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command. The administration of US President Donald Trump has recently ramped up support for Taiwan, including with the approval of new arms sales and high-level visits. Beijing has long warned against such moves. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and maintains its sovereignty over the region under the One-China policy.

Interview of Peter Koenig with Press TV

***

PK

China has of course every right to protest against any visit and any US intervention in Taiwan, be it weapons sales, or provoking conflict over Taiwan self-declared “sovereignty” which it clearly has not, as it is but a breakaway part of Mainland China.

By and large this looks to me like one of Trump’s last Lame Duck movements to do whatever he can to ruin relations between the US and China.

In reality, it will have no impact of significance.
In fact, China’s approach to Taiwan over the past 70 years, has been one of non-aggression. With various attempts of rapprochement – which most of the times were actually disrupted by US interference – as Taiwan is used by the US, not because Washington has an interest in Taiwan’s “democracy’ – not at all – but Taiwan is a tool for Washington to seek destabilizing China – not dissimilar to what is going on in Hong Kong, or Xinjiang, the Uyghur Autonomous Region, or Tibet.

But China’s objectives are long-term and with patience – and not with force.

Just look at China’s recently signed Trade Agreement with 14 countries – the so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. This agreement alone is the largest in significance and volume of its kind ever signed in recent history. It covers countries with some 2.2. billion people and controlling about one third of world GDP.

And the US is not part of it.
Worse, the US-dollar is not even a trading currency.
This must upset the US particularly – especially since the 2-year trade war Trump was waging against China resulted in absolutely zilch – nothing – for the US. To the contrary, it pushed China towards more independence and away from the US.

The same applied to Chinese partners, happy to have honest trading partners, not of the western, especially the Washington-type, that dish out sanctions when they please and when they don’t like sovereign countries’ behavior.

So – no worries for China, but geopolitically, of course, they must react to such acts against international rules of diplomacy.

——
PressTV:
What will change under President Biden?

PK

Most likely nothing. To the contrary, Biden’s likely Secretary of Defense, Michèle Flournoy, played an important behind the scene role in the Obama Administration. She has not changed the aggressive position of Obama’s “pivot to Asia” which essentially consisted in surrounding China with weapons systems and in particular stationing about 60% of the US navy fleet in the South China Sea.

Though at this point, it looks like China is but the target of an off-scale aggression by President Trump, in reality, China is part of a long-term policy of the US, not only to contain China, but to dominate China.

As we see, though, to no avail.

Interestingly, China does not respond with counter-aggression, instead she moves steadily forward with new creations, towards an objective that does not seek domination, but a multi-polar, multi-connected world, via, for example, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – not the type of globalization that especially the Biden camp – along with the corporatocracy behind the World Economic Forum (WEF) is seeking.

The US empire is on the decline and China, of course, is aware of it. Washington may be lashing around in its deteriorating times, to create as much damage as possible and to bring down as many nations as they can. Case in point is the constant aggression, sanctions and punishment against Iran and Venezuela – but here too, these two countries are moving gradually away from the west and into the peaceful orbit of China – pursuing after all a shared bright future for mankind.


Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.
Peter is also 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.

بين إرسال “قاذفة” وإعلان سحب القوات.. ما هي رسائل إدارة ترامب للمنطقة؟

الساعدي: واشنطن لن تستطيع التغطية على رد إيران على أي عمل عسكري أميركي ضدها

المصدر: الميادين نت

22 تشرين ثاني

الخبير في الشؤون السياسية والعسكرية أمير الساعدي، يقول للميادين إن “ترامب لا يمكن أن يتجاوز الكونغرس لاتخاذ أي قرار بالحرب”، ورئيس تحرير جريدة “رأي اليوم” عبد الباري عطوان، يشير إلى أن “ترامب يريد عرقلة عودة بايدن إلى الاتفاق النووي”.

تستمر إدارة الرئيس الأميركي الحالي دونالد ترامب حتى في آخر أيامها في بعث الرسائل المتناقضة، وفيما أعلنت عن قرار خفض عديد قواتها في المنطقة، ترسل قاذفاتها الاستراتيجية.

وانطلق طاقم العمل الجوي لطائرة (B-52H) “ستراتوفورتريس” في 21 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر، من قاعدة جوية في ولاية نورث داكوتا، إلى الشرق الأوسط.

ووصفت القيادة المركزية للجيش الأميركي في بيان اليوم السبت، مهمة الطائرة بـ “الطويلة”، مشيرةً إلى أن هدفها “ردع العدوان وطمأنة شركاء وحلفاء الولايات المتحدة”. 

كما أوضحت القيادة المركزية أن “الولايات المتحدة لا تسعى لإحداث أي صراع، لكنها لا تزال ملتزمة بالاستجابة لأي طارئ حول العالم”، مشددةً على “التزامها بالحفاظ على حرية الملاحة والتبادل التجاري في جميع أنحاء المنطقة وحمايتها”.

وحيال قرارات الإدارة الأميركية الأخيرة، قال الخبير في الشؤون السياسية والعسكرية أمير الساعدي، للميادين إن “إرسال (بي 52) إلى المنطقة استعراض من إدارة ترامب الذي يحاول إذكاء قاعدة الجمهوريين في الداخل”. 

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Pompeo to Meet Taliban Negotiators in Qatar

Pompeo to Meet Taliban Negotiators in Qatar

By Staff, Agencies

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will Saturday meet negotiators from the Taliban and Afghan government amid signs of progress in their talks as the United States speeds up its withdrawal.

The State Department said late Friday that Pompeo will meet separately with the Afghan government and Taliban negotiation teams in the Gulf state of Qatar.

Pompeo will also see Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and the foreign minister on his stop in the capital Doha, the Taliban’s base for diplomacy, the State Department said on its public schedule.

The outgoing top US diplomat is on a seven-nation tour of Europe and the Middle East as President Donald Trump shores up late-term priorities.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon said it would soon pull some 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan, speeding up the timeline established in a February agreement between Washington and the Taliban that envisions a full US withdrawal in mid-2021.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to end “forever wars,” including in Afghanistan, America’s longest-ever conflict that began with an invasion to dislodge the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

US President-elect Joe Biden, in a rare point of agreement, also advocates winding down the Afghanistan war although analysts believe he will not be as wedded to a quick timetable.

The Taliban for the first time are speaking to Afghanistan’s government.

The talks started September 12 in Doha but almost immediately faltered over disagreements about the agenda, the basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations.

Several sources told AFP on Friday that the two sides appear to have resolved some of the issues, however.

Among the sticking points so far, the Taliban and the Afghan government have struggled to agree on common language on two main issues.

The Taliban are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, but government negotiators say this could be used to discriminate against Hazaras, who are predominantly Shiite, and other minorities.

Another contentious topic is how the US-Taliban deal will shape a future Afghan peace deal and how it will be referred to.

The Doha peace talks opened after the Taliban and Washington signed a deal in February, with the US agreeing to withdraw all foreign forces in exchange for security guarantees and a Taliban promise to start talks.

Despite the talks, violence has surged across Afghanistan, with the Taliban stepping up daily attacks against Afghan security forces.

Trump’s plan to slash troops by January 15 – less than a week before his successor Joe Biden is to be sworn in to office – has been criticized by Kabul residents who fear it will embolden the Taliban to unleash a new wave of fighting.

Afghan civilians have long borne the brunt of the bloodshed.

Officials in Kabul also worry it will harden the Taliban position at the negotiating table, where the future of hard-won gains including women’s rights are on the line.

The World is on the Brink Yet Again

Source

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It’s all so sensational, I am sure there is no journalists or playwright who can begin to express how messed up the world is today. In America, a president acts like a petulant adolescent. In Europe, a league of nations cannot cope with anything, at least not effectively. Even a global pandemic has not been able to galvanize humanity onto a single course of action. Instead of rallying behind scientists and doctors, people now question everything. The situation is dire. And worse still, it is obscured slightly by the still churning wheels of former progress. Momentum is all that is holding the world together.

Everywhere, trust in leaders and in government is at an all-time low. Not even our most revered institutions are credible anymore, at least not for a huge swath of society. The people are caught in a nightmarish reality where Trump seems ready to snatch democracy into a dark age. Half the world is eager to take a new vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and to end the costly lockdowns, and the other half seems ready to refuse the same remedy, for fear some billionaire has put a control chip inside the vaccine. Yes, millions and millions of people believe a global pandemic is fake. They believe that somehow every doctor and scientist in the world has been bribed to blame COVID for each death.

I was on Twitter yesterday commenting on a crazy tweet by a well-known architect in the UK when I finally realized how close we are to the rim of confrontation. From Athens to Venice, the fire starters of anarchy are pouring gas on civil unrest against prudent mask wearing and lockdowns. Many on Twitter and across social media have been tweeting and sharing their brains out telling their world how lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are going to kill us all! How wearing masks will end us all! And that COVID-19 is actually not all that bad after all! Yes, educated people are taking their valuable time to go nuts disseminating dangerous information, as if they are the saviors or humankind!

To gasp how monumentally dangerous this is, just multiply one provocative post by tens and hundreds of millions on social media and off. Magnify their flawed science, ideas, fears, and personal agendas by a few million even, and the future of humanity clings by threads to civilization. We are about to see a total meltdown, I fear. A meltdown where two sides of an argument crush all those caught in the middle. The “knowing” are about to mow down anyone standing in between, in the chasm created by COVID, bad leadership, and economic cataclysm.

Then there’s the “news” that Vladimir Putin in preparation for World War III. The Russian president’s announcement of the completion of an H-Bomb proof command center has the alt-media going nutso speculating on when, where, and how President Putin will run the fireworks while the rest of the world glows nuclear blue. But wait, wouldn’t we all be disappointed if Vladimir Putin did not prepare? Given the circumstances today, the former KGB Colonel would be stupid not to plan for a pretty obvious contingency. Or am I wrong? Let’s see how this might pan out.

In scenario number one, Donald Trump trips totally out and seizes power through the support of his backers and the U.S. military. A civil war ensues, where this soulless adolescent declares war on his own people. The west descends into anarchy as the American glue that held the whole mess together, melts down into something Medieval. Trump finally snatches a dictatorship from a republic, and then the bullets and rockets start to fly. Bye, bye civilized world. Or, something like that.

Another scenario, the more likely one, evolves once Joe Biden is inaugurated as president. The man owned lock, stock, and barrel by the military-industrial complex does a Ukraine redux and continues the work of the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations, changing every regime that stands in the way of total world domination by America and her cousins in London. Russia is pushed to the brink, and so are all the nations outside the NATO beehive. With no alternative in sight, and with all the cards on the table finally, Russia and China have to draw that line in the sand. And trust me, Joe Biden and his string-pullers won’t back down. The liberal order has their own command bunkers, and they are crazy enough to believe mutually assured destruction (MAD) is a good thing for them.

This is the place where people like Bill Gates will be able to put their plans in place. When the population has thinned down to a few hundred thousand, that’s when your chip goes into your veins. I know some of you get it. Joe Biden the warmonger, is almost as dangerous as Donald Trump.

In the midst of all the bad news, in between the bad wishes for Russia and Putin to fail, somewhere beyond Americans feating a Chinese invasion, and overshadowing fears southern rednecks will start a new civil war in America for Trump, Russia’s president is beseeching Washington to renew an old agreement. Putin’s representatives have now invited Washington to seriously consider the arms control initiative put forward by Russian President Putin on October 26. But don’t hold your breath, Washington is boiling over.

As for positive news, a new type of cotton face mask releases reactive oxygen species (ROS) that kill viruses and bacteria. Scientists have developed a special type of cotton face mask that kills up to 99.9999% of bacteria and viruses within 60 minutes of daylight exposure. Unfortunately, Half of Facebook’s 1 billion users will gleefully search Google for yet another reason facemasks and lockdowns will kill us all. So now you must surely get it. It’s you versus your alter ego-self with the other opinion. Someday, probably sooner than later, the two sides of this trying human experiment are going to go to war. And we’ve fought hundreds of deadly wars over much less furious opinions and ideas.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

How Joe Biden Plans to Make The American Empire Great Again

Joe Biden Foreign Policy Feature photo

By Dan Cohen

Source

Throughout his campaign, Joe Biden railed against Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy, claiming it weakened the United States and left the world in disarray.

He pledged to reverse this decline and recover the damage Trump did to America’s reputation. While Donald Trump called to make America Great Again, Biden seeks to Make the American Empire Great Again.

Among the president-elect’s pledges is to end the so-called forever wars – the decades-long imperial projects in Afghanistan and Iraq that began under the Bush administration.

Yet Biden – a fervent supporter of those wars – will task ending them to the most neoconservative elements of the Democratic party and ideologues of permanent war.

Michele Flournoy and Tony Blinken sit atop Biden’s thousands-strong foreign policy brain trust and have played central roles in every U.S. war going back to the Clinton administration.

In the Trump era, they’ve cashed in, founding Westexec Advisors – a corporate consulting firm that has become home for Obama administration officials awaiting a return to government.

Flournoy is Biden’s leading pick for secretary of defense and Blinken is expected to be national security advisor.

Biden’s foxes guard the henhouse

Since the 1990s, Flournoy and Blinken have steadily risen through the ranks of the military-industrial complex, shuffling back and forth between the Pentagon and hawkish think-tanks funded by the U.S. government, weapons companies, and oil giants.

Under Bill Clinton, Flournoy was the principal author of the 1996 Quadrinellial Defense Review, the document that outlined the U.S. military’s doctrine of permanent war – what it called “full spectrum dominance.”

Flournoy called for “unilateral use of military power” to ensure “uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.”

As Bush administration officials lied to the world about Saddam Hussein’s supposed WMD’s, Flournoy remarked that “In some cases, preemptive strikes against an adversary’s [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities may be the best or only option we have to avert a catastrophic attack against the United States.”

Tony Blinken was a top advisor to then-Senate foreign relations committee chair Joe Biden, who played a key role in shoring up support among the Democrat-controlled Senate for Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

As Iraq was plunged into chaos and bloodshed, Flournoy was among the authors of a paper titled “Progressive Internationalism” that called for a “smarter and better” style of permanent war. The paper chastised the anti-war left and stated that  “Democrats will maintain the world’s most capable and technologically advanced military, and we will not flinch from using it to defend our interests anywhere in the world.”

With Bush winning a second term, Flournoy advocated for more troop deployments from the sidelines.

In 2005, Flournoy signed onto a letter from the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century, asking Congress to “increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps (by) at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years.”

In 2007, she leveraged her Pentagon experience and contacts to found what would become one of the premier Washington think tanks advocating endless war across the globe: the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

CNAS is funded by the U.S. government, arms manufacturers, oil giants, Silicon Valley tech giants, billionaire-funded foundations, and big banks.

Flournoy joined the Obama administration and was appointed as under secretary of defense for policy, the position considered the “brains” of the Pentagon.

She was keenly aware that the public was wary of more quagmires. In the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, she crafted a new concept of warfare that would expand the permanent war state while giving the appearance of a drawdown.

Flournoy wrote that “unmanned systems hold great promise” – a reference to the CIA’s drone assassination program.

This was the Obama-era military doctrine of hybrid war. It called for the U.S. to be able to simultaneously wage war on numerous fronts through secret warfare, clandestine weapons transfers to proxies, drone strikes, and cyber-attacks – all buttressed with propaganda campaigns targeting the American public through the internet and corporate news media.

Architects of America’s Hybrid wars

Flournoy continued to champion the endless wars that began in the Bush-era and was a key architect of Obama’s disastrous troop surge in Afghanistan. As U.S. soldiers returned in body bags and insurgent attacks and suicide bombings increased some 65% from 2009 and 2010, she deceived the Senate Armed Services Committee, claiming that the U.S. was beginning to turn the tide against the Taliban.

Even with her lie that the U.S. and Afghan government were starting to beat the Taliban back, Flournoy assured the senate that the U.S. would have to remain in Afghanistan long into the future.

Ten years later – as the Afghan death toll passed 150,000 – Flournoy continued to argue against a U.S. withdrawal.

That’s the person Joe Biden has tasked with ending the forever war in Afghanistan. But in Biden’s own words, he’ll “bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan” implying some number of American troops will remain, and the forever war will be just that. Michele Flournoy explained that even if a political settlement were reached, the U.S. would maintain a presence.

In 2011, the Obama-era doctrine of smart and sophisticated warfare was unveiled in the NATO regime-change war on Libya.

Moammar Gaddafi – the former adversary who sought warm relations with the U.S. and had given up his nuclear weapons program  – was deposed and sodomized with a bayonet.

Flournoy, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and corporate media were in lockstep as they waged an extensive propaganda campaign to deceive the U.S. public that Gadaffi’s soldiers were on a Viagra-fueled rape and murder spree that demanded a U.S. intervention.

All of this was based on a report from Al Jazeera – the media outlet owned by the Qatari monarchy that was arming extremist militias to overthrow the government.

Yet an investigation by the United Nations called the rape claims “hysteria.” Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found no credible evidence of even a single rape.

Even after Libya was descended into strife and the deception of Gadaffi’s forces committing rape was debunked, Michele Flournoy stood by her support for the war.

Tony Blinken, then Obama’s deputy national security advisor, also pushed for regime change in Libya. He became Obama’s point man on Syria, pushed to arm the so-called “moderate rebels” that fought alongside al-Qaeda and ISIS, and designed the red line strategy to trigger a full-on U.S. intervention. Syria, he told the public, wasn’t anything like the other wars the U.S. had waging for more than a decade.

Despite Blinken’s promises that it would be a short affair, the war on Syria is now in its ninth year. An estimated half a million people have been killed as a result and the country is facing famine,

Largely thanks to the policy of using “wheat to apply pressure” – a recommendation of Flournoy and Blinken’s CNAS think tank.

When the Trump administration launched airstrikes on Syria based on mere accusations of a chemical attack, Tony Blinken praised the bombing, claiming Assad had used the weapon of mass destruction sarin. Yet there was no evidence for this claim, something even then-secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted.

While jihadist mercenaries armed with U..S-supplied weapons took over large swaths of Syria, Tony Blinken played a central role in a coup d’etat in Ukraine that saw a pro-Russia government overthrown in a U.S.-orchestrated color revolution with neo-fascist elements agitating on the ground.

At the time, he was ambivalent about sending lethal weapons to Ukraine, instead opting for economic pressure.

Since then, fascist militias have been incorporated into Ukraine’s armed forces. And Tony Blinken urged Trump to send them deadly weapons – something Obama had declined to do.

Trump obliged.

The Third Offset

While the U.S. fuelled wars in Syria and Ukraine, the Pentagon announced a major shift called the Third Offset strategy – a reference to the cold war era strategies the U.S. used to maintain its military supremacy over the Soviet Union.

The Third Offset strategy shifted the focus from counterinsurgency and the war on terror to great power competition against China and Russia, seeking to ensure that the U.S. could win a war against China in Asia. It called for a technological revolution in warfighting capabilities, development of futuristic and autonomous weapons, swarms of undersea and airborne drones, hypersonic weapons, cyber warfare, machine-enhanced soldiers, and artificial intelligence making unimaginably complex battlefield decisions at speeds incomprehensible to the human mind. All of this would be predicated on the Pentagon deepening its relationship with Silicon Valley giants that it birthed decades before: Google and Facebook.

The author of the Third Offset, former undersecretary of defense Robert Work, is a partner of Flournoy and Blinken’s at WestExec Advisors. And Flournoy has been a leading proponent of this dangerous new escalation.

In June, Flournoy published a lengthy commentary laying out her strategy called “Sharpening the U.S. Military’s Edge: Critical Steps for the Next Administration”.

She warned that the United States is losing its military technological advantage and reversing that must be the Pentagon’s priority. Without it, Flournoy warned that the U.S. might not be able to defeat China in Asia.

While Flournoy has called for ramping up U.S. military presence and exercises with allied forces in the region, she went so far as to call for the U.S. to increase its destructive capabilities so much that it could launch a blitzkrieg style-attack that would wipe out the entire Chinese navy and all civilian merchant ships in the South China Sea. Not only a blatant war crime but a direct attack on a nuclear power that would spell the third world war.

At the same time, Biden has announced he’ll take an even more aggressive and confrontational stance against Russia, a position Flournoy shares.

As for ending the forever wars, Tony Blinken says not so fast.

The end of forever wars?

So Biden will end the forever wars, but not really end them. Secret wars that the public doesn’t even know the U.S. is involved in – those are here to stay.

In fact, leaving teams of special forces in place throughout the Middle East is part and parcel of the Pentagon’s shift away from counterinsurgency and towards great power competition.

The 2018 National Defense Strategy explains that “Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities” and the U.S. will “consolidate gains in Iraq and Afghanistan while moving to a more resource-sustainable approach.”

As for the catastrophic war on Yemen, Biden has said he’ll end U.S. support, but in 2019, Michele Flournoy argued against ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Biden pledged he will rejoin the Iran deal as a starting point for new negotiations. However, Trump’s withdrawal from the deal discredited the Iranian reformists who seek engagement with the west and empowered the principlists who see the JCPOA as a deal with the devil.

In Latin America, Biden will revive the so-called anti-corruption campaigns that were used as a cover to oust the popular social democrat Brazilian president Lula da Silva.

His Venezuela policy will be almost identical to Trump’s – sanctions and regime change.

In Central America, Biden has proposed a 4 billion dollar package to support corrupt right-wing governments and neoliberal privatization projects that create even more destabilization and send vulnerable masses fleeing north to the United States.

Behind their rhetoric, Biden, Flournoy, and Blinken will seek nothing less than global supremacy, escalating a new and even more dangerous arms race that risks the destruction of humanity. That’s what Joe Biden calls “decency” and “normalcy.”

Is Trump’s Afghan Drawdown Driven By Principles Or Machiavellian Motives?

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Trump’s decision to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4500 to 2500 raised questions about whether he’s simply fulfilling a campaign promise out of principle or whether he’s hedging his bets in a Machiavellian way by preemptively attempting to obstruct Biden’s possible foreign policy in the event that his opponent successfully seizes power after the disputed presidential election.

Americans are divided along partisan lines over whether Trump is a man of his word or just a sore loser after he decided to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4500 to 2500. His supporters recall how he previously campaigned on doing just that with the ultimate goal of completely withdrawing the American military presence from Afghanistan while his opponents believe that he’s preemptively attempting to obstruct Biden’s possible foreign policy in the event that the Democrat candidate successfully seizes power after the disputed presidential election. The reality is probably somewhere in between. The President is moving forward with his original plans out of confidence that he’ll be certified the winner but also understands very well that this move would make Biden’s plans much more difficult to implement in that region in the worst-case scenario that he replaces him.

Although Trump is criticized even among some of his supporters for controversially bombing Syria in 2017 and assassinating Major General Soleimani at the start of this year, he nevertheless holds the distinction of being the first president in nearly four decades not to embroil America in a new war. To the contrary, despite his heavy-handed “America First” policy of so-called “surgical strikes”, “maximum pressure”, and other coercive measures against his country’s adversaries, Trump has remained committed to ending the US’ “endless wars” across the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in Afghanistan, which is the longest war in American history. So serious is Trump about executing on this ambitious vision that he even approved talks between his administration and the Taliban, the latter of which is still officially designated as a terrorist group and thus contradicts his 2016 campaign pledge to show zero tolerance towards what he calls “radical Islamic terrorists”.

For Trump, pragmatism is more important than politics, which is something that his base in general sincerely appreciates about him in contrast to his predecessors. Unlike what his opponents claim, however, he’s not just recklessly withdrawing from a war-torn region without any backup plan in mind, but actually envisions American engagement with that landlocked country and the Central Asian region beyond to be more economically driven in the future as elaborated upon by Pompeo in February. The author analyzed this new vision at the time in a piece about how “The US’ Central Asian Strategy Isn’t Sinister, But That Doesn’t Mean It’ll Succeed”. The gist is that the US might expand upon Pakistan’s recent infrastructural gains under CPEC to use the “global pivot state” as a platform for pioneering a trans-Afghan trade corridor to Central Asia. This would be a more peaceful way for the US to compete with Russia, China, and Turkey in that strategic region.

Biden, however, has signaled that he might appoint neoliberal war hawk Michele Flournoy as his Secretary of Defense if he “wins” the election. She’s been previously criticized by many as a warmonger who risks returning the US back to its destabilizing strategy of “endless wars” and “humanitarian interventions”, which would be the exact opposite of how it’s conducted its foreign policy over the past four years under Trump. Democrats are already decrying his Afghan drawdown as dangerous so it’s likely that they intended to at the very least retain the previous troop numbers there for a bit longer than he did, or possibly even expand them under a milder variation of the Obama-era “surge”. It doesn’t seem like there’s much appetite even among those ideologues for doubling down on the war in any traditional sense, especially since the geostrategic situation there has tremendously changed since the Obama era, but their plans would still be less peaceful than Trump’s.

Since it’s still uncertain whether or not the incumbent will remain in office next year, it makes sense that he’d also try to obstruct his potential successor’s policies, not just out of petty spite, but also in order to ensure his own legacy. By reducing the US military presence in Afghanistan by almost half of its current number (which is already much less than what he inherited), Trump would make it more difficult for Biden’s team to sabotage the sensitive peace process that he oversaw across the past four years. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t still ruin everything in the event that they seize power, but just that they’d have to try harder and their subversive efforts would be much more noticeable. It’s therefore with these points in mind that the author concludes that Trump made his Afghan drawdown decision for both principled and Machiavellian reasons.

Israel’s Power Is Unlimited

Source

PHILIP GIRALDI • NOVEMBER 17, 2020 

Philip Giraldi - Wikipedia
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director
of the Council for the National Interest,
a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation
(Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks
a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy
in the Middle East. Website i
https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, 
address is P.O. Box 2157,
Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is 
inform@cnionline.org.
← Neocons Poised to Join Ne

Democrats and Republicans bow to force majeure

Even though there was virtually no debate on foreign policy during the recent presidential campaign, there has been considerable discussion of what President Joe Biden’s national security team might look like. The general consensus is that the top levels of the government will be largely drawn from officials who previously served in the Obama administration and who are likely to be hawkish.

There has also been, inevitably, some discussion of how the new administration, if it is confirmed, will deal with Israel and the Middle East in general.

Israelis would have preferred a victory by Donald Trump as they clearly understand that he was and still is willing to defer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on nearly all issues. Indeed, that process is ongoing even though Trump might only have about nine more weeks remaining in office. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly preparing to sanction several international human rights organizations as anti-Semitic due to the fact that they criticize Israel’s brutality on the West Bank and its illegal settlement policies. The White House is also prepared to free convicted but paroled Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from travel restrictions so he can move to Israel, where he is regarded as a hero. Pollard was the most damaging spy in U.S. history and any mitigation of his sentence has been opposed by both the Pentagon, where he worked, and also by the intelligence community.

Finally, it is widely believed that before the end of the year Trump will declare that the United States accepts the legitimacy of Israeli intentions to declare annexation of nearly all the Palestinian West Bank. The White House will actually encourage such an initiative reportedly “to sow hostility between Israel and the Biden administration.” One should note that none of the pro-Israeli measures that are likely to come out of the White House enhance U.S. security in any way and they also do nothing particularly to benefit Trump’s campaign to be re-elected through legal challenges.

If Biden does succeed in becoming president, the special place that Israel occupies in the centers of American power are unlikely to be disturbed, which is why Netanyahu was quick off the mark in congratulating the possible new chief executive. Biden has proudly declared himself to be a “Zionist” and his running mate Kamala Harris has been a featured speaker at the annual gatherings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington. Both are strongly supportive of the “special relationship” with the Israel and will make no effort to compromise America’s apparent commitment to protect and nourish the Jewish state.

Though Israel is central to how the United States conducts its foreign policy, the country was invisible in the debates and other discussions that took place among candidates during the recent campaign. American voters were therefore given the choice of one government that panders to Israel at the expense of U.S. security or another party that does exactly the same thing. To be sure, Biden did state that he would work to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) relating to Iran’s nuclear program, which was canceled by Trump. But he also indicated that it would require some amendment, meaning that the Iranians would have to include their missile program in the monitoring while also abandoning their alleged propensity to “interfere” in the Middle East region. The Iranian government has already indicated that additional conditions are unacceptable, so the deal is dead in the water. Israel has also privately and publicly objected to any new arrangement and has already declared that it would “save the option” of working through the Republican Senate to thwart any attempts by the Biden Administration to change things.

That Israel would blatantly and openly interfere in the deliberations of Congress raises some serious questions which the mainstream media predictably is not addressing. Jewish power in America is for real and it is something that some Jews are not shy about discussing among themselves. Jewish power is unique in terms of how it functions. If you’re an American (or British) politician, you very quickly are made to appreciate that Israel owns you and nearly all of your colleagues. Indeed, the process begins in the U.S. even before your election when the little man from AIPAC shows up with the check list that he wants you to sign off on. If you behave per instructions your career path will be smooth, and you will benefit from your understanding that everything happening inn Washington that is remotely connected to the interests of the state of Israel is to be determined by the Jewish state alone, not by the U.S. Congress or White House.

And, here is the tricky part, even while you are energetically kowtowing to Netanyahu, you must strenuously deny that there is Jewish power at work if anyone ever asks you about it. You behave in that fashion because you know that your pleasant life will be destroyed, painfully, if you fail to deny the existence of an Israel Lobby or the Jewish power that supports it.

It is a bold assertion, but there is plenty of evidence to support how that power is exerted and what the consequences are. Senators William Fulbright and Chuck Percy and Congressmen Paul Findlay, Pete McCloskey and Cynthia McKinney have all experienced the wrath of the Lobby and voted out of office. Currently Reverend Raphael Warnock, who is running against Georgia Loeffler for a senate seat in Georgia demonstrates exactly how candidates are convinced to stand on their heads by the Israel Lobby. Warnock was a strong supporter of Palestinian rights and a critic of Israeli brutality. He said as recently as 2018 that the Israelis were shooting civilians and condemned the military occupation and settlement construction on the Palestinian West Bank, which he compared to apartheid South Africa. Now that he is running for the Senate, he is saying that he is opposed to the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement due to what he calls the movement’s “anti-Semitic overtones.” He also supports continued military assistance for Israel and believes that Iran is in pursuit of a nuclear weapon, both of which are critical issues being promoted by the Zionist lobby.

There is some pushback in Washington to Israeli dominance, but not much. Recent senior Pentagon appointee Colonel Douglas Macgregor famously has pointed out that many American politicians get “very, very rich” through their support of Israel even though it means the United States being dragged into new wars. Just how Israel gains control of the U.S. political process is illustrated by the devastating insider tale of how the Obama Administration’s feeble attempts to do the right thing in the Middle East were derailed by American Jews in Congress, the media, party donors and from inside the White House itself. The story is of particularly interest as the Biden Administration will no doubt suffer the same fate if it seeks to reject or challenge Israel’s ability to manipulate and virtually control key aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

The account of Barack Obama’s struggle with Israel and the Israeli Lobby comes from a recently published memoir written by a former foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes. It is entitled The World As It Is, and it is extremely candid about how Jewish power was able to limit the foreign policy options of a popular sitting president. Rhodes recounts, for example, how Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel once nicknamed him “Hamas” after he dared to speak up for Palestinian human rights, angrily shouting at him “Hamas over here is going to make it impossible for my kid to have his fucking bar mitzvah in Israel.”

Rhodes cites numerous instances where Obama was forced to back down when confronted by Israel and its supporters in the U.S. as well as within the Democratic Party. On several occasions, Netanyahu lecture the U.S. president as if he were an errant schoolboy. And Obama just had to take it. Rhodes sums up the situation as follows: “In Washington, where support for Israel is an imperative for members of Congress, there was a natural deference to the views of the Israeli government on issues related to Iran, and Netanyahu was unfailingly confrontational, casting himself as an Israeli Churchill…. AIPAC and other organizations exist to make sure that the views of the Israeli government are effectively disseminated and opposing views discredited in Washington, and this dynamic was a permanent part of the landscape of the Obama presidency.”

And, returning to the persistent denial of Jewish power even existing when it is running full speed and relentlessly, Rhodes notes the essential dishonesty of the Israel Lobby as it operates in Washington: “Even to acknowledge the fact that AIPAC was spending tens of millions to defeat the Iran deal [JCPOA] was anti-Semitic. To observe that the same people who supported the war in Iraq also opposed the Iran deal was similarly off limits. It was an offensive way for people to avoid accountability for their own positions.”

Many Americans long to live in a country that is at peace with the world and respectful of the sovereignty of foreign nations. Alas, as long as Israeli interests driven by overwhelming Jewish power in the United States continue to corrupt our institutions that just will not be possible. It is time for all Americans, including Jews, to accept that Israel is a foreign country that must make its own decisions and thereby suffer the consequences. The United States does not exist to bail Israel out or to provide cover for its bad behavior. The so-called “special relationship” must end and the U.S. must deal with the Israelis as they would with any other country based on America’s own self-interests. Those interests definitely do not include funding the Israeli war machine, assassinating foreign leaders, or attacking a non-threatening Iran while continuing an illegal occupation of Syria.

Ayman Al Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s Chief, and Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood Colleague Died

  ARABI SOURI

Ayman Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden of Al Qaeda

Ayman Al Zawahiri is dead; Al Zawahiri was leading Al Qaeda after Obama said he killed Osama, he was one of the world’s main terrorists, and a colleague of NATO’s second top leader the Turkish madman Erdogan in the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood radical organization.

The news of the death of the chief of the Saudi-CIA created and funded terrorist organization is yet to be confirmed by the terrorists themselves, it was reported by the Pakistani news outlet ‘Arab News‘ and conveyed by the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news.

Al Zawahiri, most likely and if confirmed, would have died of natural causes, especially that Trump said he killed the Pentagon’s Baghdadi and the killing of Al Zawahiri by a military stunt operation wouldn’t add much in the US elections where voters are more concerned about Trump’s virus than some foreign achievements. Furthermore, the regime of Donald Trump and the Taliban, Zawahiri’s allies, are on good terms, just like in the old days of Reagan and the ‘Mujahideen’.

Two of the presumed successors of Zawahiri were killed earlier, one of them Abu Muhsin Masri, aka Abdul Hadi Mustapha, was eliminated by the Afghani security forces last month. The other presumed successor to Al Zawahiri was someone by the name of Abdul Raouf, there’s not much reliable information on the method or date he was killed by or where or when.

We are not sure how much the Turkish madman Erdogan would be touched by the killing of his long time colleague Al Zawahiri in the radical Muslim Brotherhood organization, Erdogan is known for liquidating and jailing his closest friends and colleagues, especially those who helped him throughout his controversial career, therefore, the chances of Erdogan grieving or celebrating the death of Al Zawahiri would be 50/50, Al Zawahiri might have been Erdogan’s supporter in commanding terrorists worldwide, or he might have been Erdogan’s competitor in that regard.

Al Qaeda operations have been much lessened due to the extensive rebranding campaigns of its affiliates and offshoots after its name was over-consumed by NATO and especially by the Pentagon to justify their illegal interventions and their war on Islam worldwide.https://www.syrianews.cc/the-pentagon-threatening-to-revive-isis/embed/#?secret=wssjhnNJ2I

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