Douglas Macgregor – We are co Belligerents

January 28, 2023

أوروبا في مهبّ الرياح الأوكرانية وتململ فرنسي ألماني من التفرّد الأميركي

الإثنين 23 كانون الثاني 2023

محمد صادق الحسيني

بعد مرور نحو عام على اندلاع الحرب الأطلسية على روسيا، يمكننا القول بأنّ أوروبا سقطت بمثابة أول ضحايا هذه الحرب.

فأوروبا كما تظهر على المسرح الدولي اليوم لم تعُد أوروبا جاك شيراك (فضلاً عن غيرهارد شرودر) الذي ذهب يوماً الى روسيا واصطحبه بوتين آنذاك معه الى المركز الاستراتيجي للقيادة والسيطرة للرحلات الفضائية تيتوف، في رسالة يومها لواشنطن، بانّ روسيا يمكن أن تكون صديقة، بل وحتى مظلة نووية للدفاع عن القرار الأوروبي المستقلّ، وعضواً مستقبلياً في الاتحاد الأوروبي، كما صرّح بوتين نفسه يومها.

فأوروبا، ما بعد أوكرانيا لم تعُد أوروبا شيراك، ولا حتى ميركل، بل هي مجموعة تتخبّط، وتفتقر لاستراتيجية واضحة ناهيك عن رؤية مستقلة ومتوازنة في كلّ الملفات الحيوية العالمية.

وهي تخسر مع كلّ يوم يمرّ في الساحة الدولية من وزنها المعنوي الكثير، إضافة الى خسائرها المادية التي لا تعدّ ولا تحصى، من بينها فقط وعلى سبيل المثال لا الحصر عشرات الآلاف من الشركات الكبيرة والمتوسطة والصغيرة التي كانت تعمل في روسيا.

وعلى وقع هذا السقوط أمام العاصفة الأوكرانية اجتمع كلٌّ من المستشار الألماني والرئيس الفرنسي في الأليزيه في باريس، بمناسبة مرور ستين عاماً على توقيع اتفاقية الصداقة بين ألمانيا وفرنسا لإظهار تماسك قوتهما الأوروبية…

الاتفاق الذي نص يومها على إنهاء العداء المتوارث بين ألمانيا وفرنسا وبدء مرحلة بناء أوروبا الجديدة، وهو ما كان قد تعزز بالتجديد عليه بتاريخ ٢٢/١/٢٠١٩ بين الرئيس ماكرون والمستشارة ميركل، وصودق عليه من قبل برلماني البلدين آنذاك.
وقد علقت المستشارة ميركل يومها على ذلك التوقيع بالقول: «نريد إعطاء الوحده الأوروبية دفعاً جديداً .»
وقد سُمّي يومها باتفاق آخن نسبة الى المدينة الألمانية الواقعة على الحدود الهولندية التي وُقّع فيها.

بينما ركز الاجتماع الذي عقد يوم أول أمس، بين ماكرون وشولتس، على ضرورة تقوية أوروبا أيضاً:
«إنّ أوروبا ذات السياده القوية تؤمّن السلام والازدهار والحرية لسكان أوروبا» (هذا ما قالوه) .
ومن أجل أوروبا القوية غداً، يجب علينا اليوم أن نقوّي جيوشنا ونستثمر المزيد في صناعاتنا العسكرية.
اذ انّ هذا (تقوية الصناعة العسكرية والجيوش) يجعل أوروبا شريكاً أكثر (أقوى) للولايات المتحدة .»

لم يصدر هذا الكلام في بيان رسمي وإنما على شكل مقتطفات خصّ بها الرئيسان، صحيفة «فرانكفورتر الغماينه تسايتونغ» ونشرتها على موقعها الإلكتروني.

أوروبا هذه، الحالمة بالقوة، فقدت قبل أيام، حتى موقفها الوسيط مع دول صاعدة يفترض أنها ليست عدوة لها، لا بل قد تكون وسيلة لها لتقوية استقلالها بوجه واشنطن، لكنها سقطت مرة أخرى في الامتحان من خلال اتخاذها لمواقف متطرفة لا لزوم لها تجاه طهران كرمى عيون واشنطن، وثكنتها العسكرية المقامة على اليابسة الفلسطينية المسمّاة «إسرائيل».

فكان السقوط المدوّي بقرار البرلمان الأوروبي بتصنيف الحرس الثوري الإيراني منظمة ارهابية!

مصادر وثيقة الصلة بمطبخ صناعة القرار الأوروبي تؤكد، بأنّ القرار وانْ كان غير فعّال أصلاً ولن يلزم دول الاتحاد وهو لا يعدو عن كونه دعاية معادية لإيران، تماهياً مع سياسات واشنطن، المتعلقة بالحرب النفسية ضدّ طهران .

إلا أنه يشكل في الواقع، سقوطاً مدوياً للهيبة الأوروبية، والقوامة على قرارها المستقلّ في المعادلة الدولية، وهو ما تسعى إليه واشنطن بشدة، في كلّ الملفات المشتركة بين الطرفين، لا سيما بعد قرارها الأحمق في إعلان الحرب ضدّ روسيا.

بالفعل القرار البرلماني الأوروبي لا أفق له بالطبع على أرض الواقع… سوى كونه قرار ترضية للسيد الأميركي كما تؤكد المصادر المطلعة، مقابل امتناع الأوروبيين عن تزويد زيلينسكي بدبابات ليوبارد الألمانية ودبابات لوكلير الفرنسية …

ومن المعلوم انّ البرلمان الأوروبي في ستراسبورغ في الواقع ليس سوى واجهة فرنسية ألمانية، تعبّر عن رغبة مشتركة مكبوتة لدى باريس وبرلين، بأن تظهرا عالمياً بأنهما لاعبان مستقلان دولياً، وهي ما بدأت تترنح أمام الضربات الأميركية.

الخارجية الإيرانية في هذه الأثناء هدّدت بالانسحاب من معاهدة الحدّ من انتشار الأسلحة النووية إذا لم يصحّح الاتحاد الأوروبي موقفه.
فيما هدّد مجلس الشورى الإسلامي باستصدار قرار يعتبر الجيوش الأوروبية «منظمات إرهابية» ـ كما جاء على لسان رئيس مجلس الشورى الإسلامي، محمد باقر قاليباف.

والتصريحات الإيرانية هذه، حسب المصادر المطلعة، تصريحات فعّالة وقوية وواضحة جداً. فيما المصالح الأوروبية في منطقة غرب آسيا كبيرة ومتشعّبة ومن الصعب التضحية بها.

المصالح الاقتصادية وقبل كلّ شيء تمركز قوات مسلحة / وأفراد عسكريين / لكلّ الدول الأوروبية في الكثير من دول الإقليم، هذه القوات ستكون هدفاً لجميع الجهات الحليفة لإيران في المنطقة.

وهذا أمر لا تستطيع الدول الأوروبية تحمّله ولا مواجهته عسكرياً.

صحيح أنّ قرار ستراسبورغ، غير ملزم للدول الأعضاء البتة لكنه لو حصل فهو بمثابة إعلان حرب، سيطيح بما تبقى من مكانة وقوة أوروبا على يد الإيرانيين.

تقدير الموقف لدى المصادر يقول بأنّ دول الاتحاد لن تذهب الى تفعيل قرار برلمان ستراسبورغ، وإنها ستحاول التملص مما صدر في مقر البرلمان.
وهو البرلمان المعروف بأنه واقع تحت تأثير القوى الماسونيّة والصهيونية العالمية، لا سيما أنّ رئيسته المالطية متورّطة في فضائح قد تؤدّي الى محاكمتها وطردها من وظيفتها، ما قد يكون ساهم في اندفاعتها لصالح السيد الأميركي الصهيوني.

ختاماً يمكن القول بانّ أوروبا سقطت عملياً وأصبحت هشة كثيراً وأنها ستظلّ أسيرة تململ غير مجدٍ ما دامت عاجزة عن اتخاذ موقف مستقّل عن واشنطن، كما أنها ستتراجع أيضاً عن عنترياتها، تجاه إيران، ما يجعلها أشبه ما تكون بأعجاز نخل خاوية.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

Going, Going, Gone: Fiddling While the West Burns

January 19, 2023

Source

By Batiushka

So when is the Russian winter offensive going to begin? Some thought it would be in December, when the ground had frozen. Now we are nearing February.

However, just remember that the so-called Russian winter offensive was thought up by armchair generals. Of course, it may well exist as one of a number of scenarios among the Russian General Staff and may still happen and soon, but a winter offensive could also turn into a spring offensive, or even into a summer offensive. Planning needs to be flexible, given ever new ingredients in the mix. As long as the Kiev forces, unexpectedly, keep destroying themselves by throwing themselves into the artillery, missile and drone meat-grinder in the south-east of the Ukraine, between Soledar and Artemovsk, with minimal Russian losses, why hurry? There is no hurry. The only ones in a hurry are in the West. They need this conflict to finish and soon, because the West is on the verge of social, economic and political chaos.

Going, going, gone. In Moscow there are those who can fiddle while the West burns.

So a delay has occurred. Why take risks when Kiev wants to commit suicide? Just let them do it. Moreover, the latest events suggest more reasons for delay – internal splits.

First of all, on 17 January there was the resignation of Arestovich as advisor to the President’s Office, ostensibly because he told the truth, that the shattered apartment block in Dnipro was directly or indirectly destroyed by a badly-aimed Ukrainian missile (not for the first time…).

Then, the very next day, on 18 January, came the crash of the French Super Puma helicopter in Brovary (not Kiev). This killed several important figures, not least the Interior Minister and his deputy, as well as innocent children in a nursery school. A friend who lives nearby was able to provide me with facts and pictures soon later. Putting aside the suggestion that the Eurocopter was brought down by another misaimed Ukrainian missile, the crash seems to have occurred because the pilot was flying low in fog and hit a 14-storey apartment building. My friend says the skies above them are full of State helicopters every day, it is how the Zelensky regime travels. Too frightened to do it any other way. Sooner or later an accident was inevitable. Whatever the reason for the crash, it does mean that there are now convenient vacancies at the top. A power struggle is probably under way. And this is to be expected, because the Kiev forces have been chased out of the strategic town of Soledar, Artemovsk (Bakhmut) is about to fall and with it the rest of the Donbass. It is a rout because Ukrainian losses there are monumental, not to say suicidal.

As a result, the Kiev regime is pleading with certain countries in the West for more tanks. At best it may receive about 200 (in reality, probably fewer than 100) assorted obsolete tanks and armoured vehicles from various Western countries, and probably only in a few months’ time. Whereas it needs 2,000 tanks and armoured vehicles yesterday. But for the moment the divided West is reluctant to give the Ukraine anything, apart from sweet words. Promises, promises…they are so cheap, especially when you are so short of cash and you know the Russians will probably destroy most of your donated equipment before it even gets to the front. Moreover, all this comes against the background of a Ukrainian economy on short-term (no-one will give it anything long-term), monthly Western life support (otherwise no salaries or pensions can be paid). And this is from a West which is on the verge of social, economic and political chaos and against the background of a Ukrainian energy system which, for the moment, has been 50% destroyed and a military logistics system which has been severely disrupted, by Russian missiles.

Little wonder that the Kiev regime distrusts the West. The latter does not have bottomless pockets. Zelensky is probably coming to an end. He already got the cold shoulder in Washington before Christmas. Now he appears to be opposed by the Kiev Armed Forces commander, Zaluzhny, who seems to have had conversations with his US counterpart in Poland behind Zelensky’s back. Generally, speaking, military men hate wars; they are the work only of politicians. After all, politicians do not face the risk of freezing, getting maimed or dying in agony. Maybe we are coming to a reshuffle in Kiev. Whatever the American puppeteers order. But the problem here is do the American puppeteers know what they want to order? They seem to be divided among themselves.

While Washington and its NATO allies have no strategy to win the war in the Ukraine, let alone an exit strategy, the Russians do. In the four months since Russia ordered partial mobilisation, 300,000 additional reservists have joined their units in the east or along Ukraine’s northern border. Meanwhile in the south the Russian Black Sea Fleet patrols. So far Russian infantry have not really taken part in this war. So far most of the work has been done by local anti-Kiev Ukrainian (Donbass) freedom-fighters and the Wagner contract group. The stage is set for a ground war, either from the east, or from the north, or from the south, or maybe all together. Washington’s nightmare. For nobody in Washington, used to fighting ill-trained, suicidal fanatics armed only with kalashnikovs, ever foresaw this. 500,000 + armed Russians are waiting on the borders of Kiev-held territory to liberate their Ukrainian brothers and sisters from the US puppet regime in Kiev. And the only ill-trained, suicidal fanatics here are the Kiev forces.

Going, going, gone. In Moscow there are those who can fiddle while the West burns.

Let us not forget that the conflict in the Ukraine is about the struggle of the United States to maintain its dinosaur’s status as the world’s last superpower. More exactly, it is about America’s attempt to destroy China as a rival. For since China, allied with Russia, is unbeatable, China has to be attacked through Eurasian Russia. In this crazed neocon video-game fantasy, the USA has overlooked Western Europe. In one sense that is understandable, since its leaders are just a pack of mindless Pavlovian dogs, intent on copying their master in Washington – and a pile of dollars greatly helps their salivating capacity for imitation. However, the US mistake is as usual to look only at its puppets. This was the same mistake as in Baghdad and Kabul, or for that matter in Tehran and Saigon, not to mention in Manila and a host of capitals in Latin America. Appoint an English-speaking yes-man, give him a Swiss bank account full of dollars and a US passport, ensure he has control over the capital and its TV and radio station and then you will control the whole country. Only Hamid Karzai didn’t and you won’t either.

Western Europe, the EU and the UK, with a few other bits and pieces, is also inhabited by 500 million people (the other 50 odd million belong to the elite). Some, especially from the elites, live in the capitals. The vast majority do not live there and generally despise those who do live in the capitals. Ask a Frenchman what he thinks of ‘les sales parisiens’ (filthy Parisians), ask a Romanian what he thinks of the elite in Bucharest, a Pole what he thinks of those in Warsaw or an Englishman what he thinks of Londoners. If you don’t believe me, ask Macron in France. Alternatively, ask any Frenchman what he thinks of France’s real rulers – the grossly overpaid super-elite in Brussels. The English hated them so much, they had Brexit. A lot of Germans, who by a huge majority never wanted to give up the Deutschmark, got quite jealous of that, even though the incompetent and perfidious British elite totally mishandled the Brexit negotiation process.

If in Western Europe, the vast majority don’t like their leaders, they will eventually – even the passive British – get rid of them and they will appoint leaders whom Washington does not like, Le Pen, Farage etc. Remember Orban? He is already in power, as is Erdogan (though he is in Turkey). The Ukrainian conflict is already reshaping Europe’s totally outdated (1945) security architecture and forcing a reconfiguration. The realignment will not be in Washington’s favour. Demonstrations against NATO are already starting in various European countries. But what is more likely to topple the US puppet elite is strikes and protests. Europeans hate their elites. The spoilt elites may tell their peoples: ‘Let them eat cake’. But they have forgotten that what the people want is bread.

Once Western Europe, including even the UK, has gone, the end of the short unipolar era will be here. The domino effect, from Kiev to Dublin, is surely only a matter of time. Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989? Within twenty-five months the whole of the Soviet Eastern European Empire fell, one country after another, until in December 1991, the Soviet Union itself fell. Berlin to Vladivostok. Well, the time is now up for the American Empire in its turn. It will also fall, and for the same reasons. The SU (Soviet Union) went. So will its reverse, the US (United States). Red stars, white stars, they have both had their time. Keep your eyes on Western Europe.

Going, going, gone. In Moscow there are those who can fiddle while the West burns.

19 January 2023

US to allies: No more ‘free’ military support; terms, conditions apply

January 19, 2023 

Source: The National Interest

By Al Mayadeen English 

The National Interest report says that the war in Ukraine has turned the tables on the US foreign policy approach to its allies.

Illustration of a US tank emerging from behind the American flag (Rob Dobi)

Washington has a new message to its allies: Relying on American military leadership will have to come with terms and conditions, no more “free rides”, a report by The National Interest revealed on Thursday.

The media outlet said that the earlier discussions have addressed the “free riding” problem in general, especially when it comes to US foreign policy.

In short, free riding refers to American allies earning US military protection and privileges acquired through Washington’s global influence and hegemony, without providing anything – or barely anything –  in return.

US international allies, during the cold war era and what came after, were at the center of criticism by Washington for “relying on the United States to spend its national treasure in terms of higher military expenditures to provide them with global security,” the report continued.

“If anything, the message coming from Washington these days is that if the allies want to be able to continue to rely on U.S. military leadership, they are the ones who would have to accept the economic conditions set by the Americans,” the report said.

The conditions, according to the media outlet, are “ending their energy deals with Russia, sanctioning it, and joining the United States in a long and costly economic-technological war with the Chinese.”

US “subsidies” to its allies’ defense budgets have enabled them [allies] to spend less on their military industry and focus more of their revenue on their social and economic needs, “while fiscal tightening forces Americans to cut expenditures on education and health,” according to the news sites.

According to the report, this begs the question:

“Why should America continue bankrolling the defense budgets of countries like Japan, surplus economies whose companies compete with American businesses in the global arena?”

The dominating position of the US in the Middle East, which has been sustained through large military and financial expenses, allowed Washington’s allies that are dependent on foreign energy imports to have freedom of access to the energy resources in the Gulf region, the report noted.

In addition to all the abovementioned points, there is also the current world reality where the US is committed to deploying its nuclear arsenal to defend its NATO and Asian allies in the case that they [allies] come under threats from adversaries with nuclear arms.

“Hence, the Americans are supposedly ready to see New York and San Francisco being nuked in order to save Berlin and Tokyo from annihilation,” said the outlet.

Thus, pressing NATO states to raise their defense budgets and their military and economic contributions to the coalition has become a bipartisan ritual of sorts in Washington “until President Donald Trump’s behavior made it look faux pas,” the report said.

 Anti-globalization sentiments in the United States

Americans are expressing unwillingness to “continue supporting the liberal economic order while the allies were breaking free-trade principles,” the media outlet stated.

“But then that was the way the industrial miracles of Germany and Japan had happened, very much at the expense of American economic interests,” it continued.

The cost implications on the United States from the wars it fought in the “Greater Middle East” started to challenge the de facto rhetoric in Washington regarding the US role on the global stage.

According to the report, the US is “supposedly ready” to help out its allies who resort to it and protect their access to energy resources in the Gulf region, “while the allies pay very little in exchange, and even try to force the United States into costlier military interventions in the Middle East, as France did in the case of Libya.”

War in Ukraine; turning point

After the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and amid growing “Chinese threats to Taiwan,” the report said that – “according to the conventional wisdom” – US allies may have finally realized that “free riding” is not an option anymore when it comes to dealing with the United States.

“They need to start playing a more activist role in the protection of Western interests against the threat of powerful global disruptors” and now have to “contribute to the production of that international public good”.

Allies will have to step up their roles, “since alone the United States will not continue to provide it cost-free,” the report said.

‘American Hegemony Lite’

The media site pointed out Germany’s response to the Ukraine war and Japan’s reaction to growing tension with China as examples that allies are, indeed, making a shift in their role as US allies.

“These developments seemed to have changed the balance of power in Europe and Asia, where America can supposedly now count on its allies to play their roles as its deputies while the United States remains primus inter pares (first among equals), call it American Hegemony Lite,” the site said.

No more free pass for allies practicing protectionism

Toward the beginning of the Cold War, “liberalizing American trade policies while dealing with nations that practiced protectionism made some sense,” the report noted, arguing that some allied economies, such as Germany and Japan, were still in a state of recovery from the destructive outcomes of WWII, thus had to protect their local industries from outside competitors.

“But those who assumed that Trump’s economic nationalist policies would change under the more internationalist President Joe Biden are discovering now that that approach enjoys bipartisan support,” the report stressed.

The news site continued that the decision made by Biden not to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which would have required the US to cut tariffs on some Asian imports, and his administration insisting on providing subsidies to electric-vehicle despite outrage from European allies in particular, who accused the US of practicing unfair protection to US-made products, are signs that Washington has turned upside-down the Cold-War-era deal with the allies.

In its concluding statement, the report said that despite the conventional discussion that it is in the US interests to stop allies from establishing independent military powers, which could make the world a “more dangerous place,” the United States was one of the countries that launched a “series of wars in recent decades that have made the world more dangerous.”

“It was based on the expectations that the United States needed to win the geostrategic commitment of its allies through concessions in the geo-economic area,” the report said.

US allies developing nuclear programs could not have been a bad idea

“In retrospect, if Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Ukraine had nuclear weapons, the world would have probably been less dangerous today,” the news site claimed.

Zelensky has achieved unique results in the destruction of Ukraine

January 10, 2023

Source: https://t.me/c/1274044880/3362
Text: Alyona Zadorozhnaya
translation by A.

Source

By the end of 2022, Vladimir Zelensky has achieved unique and in many ways tragic results. He managed to reduce the population of Ukraine to the level of a century ago, put the country in bondage to the West and deprive fellow citizens of the elementary benefits of civilization. What other “successes” could be added to Zelensky’s track record?

In 2023, a catastrophic drop in the birth rate is expected in Ukraine. This was stated by the director of the  Ptukha Institute of Demography and Social Research, academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Ella Libanova. According to her, by 2030 the population will decrease to 35 million people, and the reduction process has been going on since 1994. At the same time, Libanova assures that 34-35 million people still live in Ukraine.

However, these figures are questionable. The number of refugees who arrived in Russia from the territory of Donbass and Ukraine has already exceeded five million people. In the summer, according to the UN, there were about 6.3 million Ukrainian citizens who left the country in all the European states. Experts are convinced that Libanova gives inflated figures – and already today there are significantly fewer people living in Ukraine than she claims..

“Even before the start of the SVO, it was difficult to understand how many people really live in Ukraine. Official figures were around 40 million people, while in reality there were approximately 33 million people, if not less,” economist Ivan Lizan told the newspaper VZGLYAD. “From 2016 to 2019, Ukrainians were leaders among those who obtained primary residence permits in Poland. Every year, up to 500 thousand people “flowed out” this way. Also, do not forget that a large number of their refugees have recently moved to Europe,” the expert emphasizes.

“Thus, there are at best 25-27 million people left in Ukraine, which is comparable to the population as of the 1920s of the last century. Mostly men remained in the country, because they were simply banned from traveling abroad,” the source notes.

“I am sure that these trends will continue in 2023. We will also observe internal migration. In those areas of the front where the situation is heating up, people will run away. As, for example, from the Kiev–controlled part of Donbass, local residents fled to Dnepropetrovsk,” the economist claims.

“A terrible situation is developing in the labor market. State employees mostly live on bare salaries. Teachers who are forced to move to other regions of Ukraine due to the proximity of hostilities have enough money only to pay for rented housing,” says Lizan.

“The most profitable job is to go to war. The APU pays 100 thousand hryvnias (189 thousand rubles or USD 2 700 /month) to those who participate in the battles, and 30 thousand hryvnias (57 thousand rubles or USD 817/month) to those who are not involved in active hostilities. Those who return home from the front begin to drink heavily and indulge in reckless spending. It gets to the point that they go into home appliance stores and, without looking at the price, ask to pack the most expensive TV,” the expert said.

“Some also actively supplement their income by looting. In Ukraine, there is a non–state post office, Nova Poshta, that has been integrated into the logistics system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Nowadays its trucks deliver ammunition, provisions, etc. to the front line, and from there they take out and sell all the loot. This was also the case during the so–called ATO,” the interlocutor stressed. “Life is not easy for the villagers either. Back in the spring, former collective farmers were paid shares in grain, not in money, although in previous years people themselves could make a choice,” said Lizan.

“At least eight million people left Ukraine in 2022. If the population of the lost territories  is taken into account, then no more than 18-20 million inhabitants remain in the country. And because of the tough restrictions on the departure of men, it is mostly women and children who leave the state,” adds human rights activist Larisa Shesler.

“Schools are closed in most cities, formally they work remotely. Settlements, even large ones, look like ghost towns. In Nikolaev, Odessa, Zaporozhye, less than half of the buildings’ apartments are occupied, mostly it is the old people or very poor people who have no money and no chance to settle in another country who stay there,” the interlocutor describes.

“And 2023 does not give hope for an improvement in the situation. The majority of the refugees in Europe understand that they will not be able to return to Ukraine. The birth rate is falling catastrophically, and next year will be even more difficult because of the accumulated effect,” the political scientist emphasizes.

“Of those who stayed, many lost their income. Western experts and the Ukrainian authorities estimate unemployment at 30% of the active population. But a couple of months ago, the governor of Nikolaev spoke about 80% of citizens who lost their jobs. And this is more like the truth,” the expert continues. “Those who have jobs also have a difficult time. The vast majority of the employed population receives about 14 thousand hryvnias, which is equivalent to 26 thousand rubles (~USD 381/month). However, the price of goods has risen by 40-80%, so people exist on the verge of survival,” Shesler emphasized.

Against the background of the population outflow and unemployment, the entire economy of Ukraine is suffering. Despite the colossal injections of money from the West, the factories are shutting down, mining is declining, and the harvest is falling. Political scientists predicted the transformation of Ukraine into a third world country back in August. Then it was noted that the state could lose its agricultural potential. And now the forecasts are being confirmed.

Even Ukrainian oligarchs, who [usually] only get richer in difficult times, are losing their fortunes today. Thus, the total wealth of the richest citizens of Ukraine has decreased by more than $ 20 billion compared to the beginning of February 2022, Ukrainian Forbes pointed out.

The government debt is also rising (it is more than $ 100 billion now). “There are simply no adequate estimates of the level of decline in the Ukrainian economy, there is only an assumed range of data. Before the autumn Russian strikes on the electric power industry, the Ukrainian authorities talked about a drop in GDP by 30-40%. The GDP figure for 2021 was 198 billion dollars,” economist Ivan Lizan told the newspaper VZGLYAD.

“When we began to launch large-scale strikes on the energy facilities in order to destroy the enemy’s logistical capabilities, the estimates were adjusted. Kiev then said that if the attacks continue, the GDP will sink by 50%. And the strikes continued,” the source adds. “But already in December, Prime Minister Shmygal said that although there is a drop in GDP, it fluctuates around 35%.

I would not believe this statement and I am of the opinion that GDP will sink by 50% by the end of the year. This is about $100 billion”,

– the expert argues. “Zelensky’s economic adviser Rostislav Shurma also said that in the fourth quarter the industrial production fell in the range of 50 to 90%, depending on the region. At the same time, there is a pattern according to which the territories located closer to the front line have sunk most seriously,” the economist continues.

“For Ukraine, the loss of half of its GDP is even more damaging than it was in 2014-2015. A country without a normal electric power industry cannot have a normal economy. Everything is somehow tied to electricity. For example, corn can be harvested from the fields before the frost and first snow. But then it needs to be dried, and without electricity it becomes almost impossible. Subsequently, the corn harvest fell by 30%, and in general, the yield decreased by 40%,” the expert explains.

“Accordingly, if it were not for the support of the West, Ukraine would have already begun to collapse. But NATO managed to keep it afloat. This is not about the development of the country, but about stabilization of its financial system – they give money so that there is enough for the war,” the interlocutor notes. “There is a separate story with borrowing – it happens [exclusively] inside the country, because no one needs [their] bonds on the foreign market. In fact, this year Ukraine has defaulted for the second time in the last eight years. And now foreign creditors are simply shying away from the Ukrainian debt,” the economist draws attention.

“The forecast of the drop in the Ukrainian GDP is getting worse every day. Over the past month, the critical situation in the electric power industry has led to a drop in production of up to 80% in many industries. Metallurgy has practically stopped, mining and processing enterprises have sharply reduced production,” clarifies Larisa Shesler.

“Now only small enterprises and shops which run on the generators can function in the country; the banking and municipal institutions operate in a limited mode. The situation is complicated by the fact that there are no solutions to the energy crisis yet,” the interlocutor notes.

“Previously, the decline in the annual GDP in November reached 40%. In December, the situation worsened. But no figures can reflect the reality of the rapid deindustrialization of Ukraine. Almost all large factories have been stopped, construction and mining have been stopped,” the expert lists.

“Now Ukraine is losing everything that has been created on its territory for decades. It’s scary to imagine how much it will cost to resuscitate power grids and thermal power plants. It is obvious that neither Europe nor the USA are going to keep Ukraine as an industrial country, even in the form of a supplier of metallurgical raw products or an exporter of electricity from nuclear power plants,” says Shesler.

“They want to convert Ukraine into a territory overrun by paramilitary groups fighting with Russia, and [having only] agricultural land for growing cheap sunflower”,

– she emphasizes. “This year, Ukraine has received large amounts of money in the form of loans and financial tranches, unprecedented previously. And absolutely no one expects a full refund of these payments. Thus, the state becomes completely economically dependent on the Western countries,” the political scientist notes.

Report: New US House Speaker Promises to Limit Ukraine Aid

January 9, 2023

By Staff, Agencies

The newly elected speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, reportedly won over the final votes required to secure the post by promising conservative House Republicans that he will help pass a bill to limit future financial and military aid to Ukraine, which is fighting a war against Russia.

McCarthy, a California Republican, made the Ukraine compromise to win over obstinate lawmakers who had opposed his election as speaker, Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper reported on Saturday.

McCarthy was elected the House on Saturday after Republicans won back control of the House in November’s midterm elections. 

It took five days and 15 rounds of voting for McCarthy to win the job, despite his party having a majority in the House.

Republican Representative Matt Gaetz led a group of about 20 representatives in opposing McCarthy’s election, at one point nominating former President Donald Trump for the job.

After McCarthy failed to win enough support from fellow Republicans in the first three rounds of voting on Tuesday, Gaetz said, “Today the House didn’t organize. Biggest loser: [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky. Biggest winner: US Taxpayers.”

Gaetz had opposed previous aid requests for Ukraine, including a $45-billion package approved last month, saying, “Hemorrhaging billions in taxpayer dollars for Ukraine while our country is in crisis is the definition of America last.”

The US Congress has allocated a whopping total of $100 billion in funding for Kiev since Russia began its military campaign in Ukraine in late February, according to the report.

American journalist and political commentator Don Debar has denounced the congressional approval of billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine, saying that the money is “stolen from the American people.” 

Since Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, the US has been flooding Ukraine with weapons and ammunition at a rate unprecedented since World War II.

Russia has repeatedly warned that supplying Kiev with more and more weapons will only exacerbate the conflict, which is now in its eleventh month.

Continuously flooding Ukraine with weapons “will only drag the conflict out and make it more painful for the Ukrainian side, but it will not change our goals and the end result,” the Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said last year.

Peskov insisted that the US was in reality engaged in the Ukraine conflict. “The US de facto has become deeply involved.”

McCarthy also reportedly agreed to congressional rule changes, limits on defense spending and the creation of a committee to investigate “weaponization” of the federal government.

On Saturday, Trump took credit of McCarthy’s win. “The Fake News Media was, believe it or not, very gracious in their reporting that I greatly helped Kevin McCarthy attain the position of Speaker of the House,” he wrote in a post on his Truth Social platform.

“Thank you, I did our Country a big favor!”

McCarthy praised Trump while speaking to reporters after he secured the gavel, saying, “I don’t think anybody should doubt his influence. He was with me from the beginning.”

Report: US Arms Sales to NATO Allies Almost Double in 2022

Dec 31, 2023 

By Staff, Agencies

The number and price of arms sales approved by Washington to its NATO allies almost doubled in 2022 as compared to 2021, a US magazine has reported.

The outlet noted that last year, the US government approved 14 possible major arms sales to its allies in the alliance, worth about $15.5 billion. In 2022, the figure soared to 24 potential major arms sales with price tag of around $28 billion, including $1.24 billion worth of arms sales to possible new NATO member Finland.

The magazine pointed out that the data indicates that the US remains “a major arms supplier for allies in Europe in the short term,” in the midst of European defense industries’ push to “meet wartime demands for conventional arms and ammunition.”

According to the media outlet, the increase took place as NATO members scrambled “to stock up on high-end weapons” amid the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine.

The outlet reported that although some of arms sales deals were negotiated years beforehand, the Russian special operation sent NATO’s European members scrambling to bump up their military spending, and to replenish vehicles, weapons, and ammunition delivered to the Ukrainian military.

Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have all ordered HIMARS Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems [MLRS], while the US State Department authorized earlier this month the sale of 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Poland, after Warsaw sent its Soviet-era T-72 and domestically-made PT-91 tanks to Kiev’s forces.

The report comes after President Joe Biden signed a new $1.7 trillion federal spending bill into law, a document that includes $858 billion in defense spending.

According to a statement released on the website of the US Senate Committee on Budget Appropriations, the so-called National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA] comprises “$44.9 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and our [America’s] NATO allies.” Since Russia launched its special operation in Ukraine on February 24, the US and its allies have supplied more than $40 billion worth of arms to Kiev. Moscow has repeatedly warned that providing Kiev with arms prolongs the Ukraine conflict.

The signing of the NDAA followed a separate US media outlet reporting about a surge in the share prices of the four largest US defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies, and Pratt & Whitney.

The outlet reported that Lockheed Martin “had booked more than $950 million worth of its own missile military orders from the Pentagon in part to refill stockpiles being used in Ukraine, while Raytheon Technologies was awarded with “more than $2 billion in contracts to deliver missile systems to expand or replenish weapons used to help Ukraine.”

The Most Important Question (Andrei Martyanov)

December 29, 2022

Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/ and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=60459185

Lavrov: US seeking to make conflict in Ukraine even more violent

December 27, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Russia’s foreign minister highlighted that Ukraine is fully aware of Russia’s demands and could simply meet them.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Source: AP.

The US and NATO are attempting to defeat Russia on the battlefield in order to destroy the country, Russia’s Foreign Minister said.

Sergei Lavrov made the remark late Monday, according to the ITAR-TASS news agency, adding that Ukraine is fully aware of Russia’s demands and could simply meet them to end the war.

“Our proposals for the demilitarization and denazification of the territories controlled by the [Kiev] regime, [and] the elimination of threats to Russia’s security emanating from there, including our new lands, are well-known to the enemy,” Lavrov said, adding, “The point is simple: Fulfill them for your own good. Otherwise, the issue will be decided by the Russian army.”

According to him, the main party that benefited from this conflict is the US, which has been seeking to make the most out of the war in Ukraine. 

“Washington has also been solving a key geopolitical goal of breaking the traditional bonds between Russia and Europe and making their European satellites even more dependent on them,” Lavrov emphasized, further adding that the US is currently planning orders for its defense sector for years to come.

“The Kiev regime is being pumped up with the latest weapons, receiving samples that have yet to enter into service with Western armies, seemingly in order to see how they will perform in combat,” he concluded.

Moscow said it started the war to protect the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Lugansk and Donetsk from Kiev’s persecution, as well as to “de-Nazify” its neighbor.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently warned in an article that Moscow would continue the war until Kiev’s “disgusting, almost fascist regime” was removed and the country was completely demilitarized.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that Moscow was open to talks and blamed the lack of talks on Kiev and its Western backers.

Lavrov likewise affirmed in his remarks that when it comes to how long the conflict would last, “the ball is in the regime’s court and Washington behind it.”

Read next: What’s in the 9th package of EU sanctions against Russia?

Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has stated that he is not optimistic about the possibility of “effective” peace talks between Ukraine and Russia in the near future. 

”I do believe that the military confrontation will go on,” said Guterres at the UN Headquarters in New York. Adding that they will have to wait for serious peace negotiations, Guterres said “We have no illusions that true peace negotiations will be possible in the immediate future.”

The UN, according to its SG, said that it is concentrating its efforts on Russian ammonia exports through a pipeline to a Black Sea port in Ukraine and accelerating exchanging prisoners of war. 

Turkish media outlet Anadolu Agency asked Guterres whether he would support an Erdogan-proposed trilateral mechanism between Ankara, Moscow, and Damascus in efforts to resolve the war. In response, Guterres said that the UN was not consulted and it is “premature” to make any comments on the proposal.

The UN’s main concern, for the time being, was Syria, particularly renewing its cross-border humanitarian aid mechanism. ”Now that we have made progress (on) indeed, and Turkey has played a positive role on that in increasing the cross-line support,” he said.

Read next: Lavrov anticipates demise of Western economic dominance

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Dr Michael Vlahos interviews Col. Douglas Macgregor (MUST SEE!)

December 13, 2022

Srebrenica in the Ukraine

December 2, 2022

Source

Stephen Karganovic

Even The New York Times was unable to spin the recent gruesome murder of Russian prisoners at the hands of Kiev Nazi regime forces.

Even The New York Times was unable to spin the recent gruesome murder of Russian prisoners at the hands of Kiev Nazi regime forces. Unconditional honesty, of course, is not reasonably to be expected from the Establishment’s “paper of record,” in this or any other comparably tricky situation. Not that, with the abundant video and other evidence saturating the internet, there is the slightest doubt that (1) a gruesome crime in violation of the laws and customs of war was committed against unarmed and hors de combat Russian prisoners, and (2) that the perpetrators were members of armed formations subordinate to the Kiev regime thus, according to standards promulgated by the Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague, making the regime itself complicit in the criminal conduct in violation of international law.

To diminish the obvious gravity of the crime The Times uses weasel words to refer to it, such as “suggest” and “appear,” even unashamedly claiming that the incontrovertible visual evidence may have resulted in some uncertainty and has “ignited a debate” of sorts. It carefully calibrates its slippery rhetoric to soften the moral impact of the disclosure because the editors know that the optics of what happened (never mind the morality, about which they do not care) are devastating to the reputation of the collective West’s Ukrainian proxies. In the end, however, the Times concedes that “the videos, whose credibility we have established, represent a rare opportunity to see some of the horrific situations of the war, but they do not show why Russian soldiers were killed.” As if identifying the reason for the murders would make any difference given the absence of doubt that unarmed men posing no danger to their captives were summarily executed on camera, in contravention of Geneva conventions.

To be sure, a coy admission is not the same as indignant and sincere condemnation, of which there was none anywhere in the West, nor is it the same as public resolve to bring perpetrators (and that means many more than just the direct executioners seen in the video) to justice as well as to sever the abundant support they have been receiving to enable them to implement the entire range of their criminal designs. The obvious parallel between the conduct of collective West’s criminal minions in the Ukraine and crimes imputed to the Serbs during the war in Bosnia has yet to be explicitly noticed and its manifest implications await to be drawn by the moral authorities of the self-proclaimed “international community.” That is because the condemnatory shrieks which are instantly heard at the slightest infraction of unlicensed actors are muted or entirely missing when outrages are committed by the collective West’s licensed criminal protégés.

At roughly the same time that Russian prisoners of war were being summarily murdered and citizens of Kherson who made the mistake of staying behind were publicly pilloried and tortured in the fiendish style that is the trademark of the Ukronazis, the shameless European parliament was adopting a sanctimonious resolution citing Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism.” The resolution’s gist is the demand for a special international court to be established to punish what it calls Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. But the list of virtue signalling demands goes considerably further than that and includes calling on EU member states to “close and ban Russian state-affiliated institutions, such as the Russian Centres for Science and Culture and Russian diaspora organisations and associations.”

Will the Russian Orthodox Church make the EU’s black list? It surely ought to, given the recently floated plan to ban Patriarch Kirill from European territory for his politically incorrect stance on the Special Military Operation.

Presumably, if this resolution is implemented the only “Russian” institutions allowed to remain open in the “open societies” of the West will be those run by bought and paid for “dissidents” well versed in the Russophobic script and eager to slavishly follow it.

As the Ukronazi regime in Ukraine commits more outrages which show unequivocally its genuine, subhuman nature, paradoxically its alliance with the moribund Western societies which sustain it appears increasingly natural and normal. The fact is that they are kindred spirits working on the realisation of practically identical overarching objectives. The neo-Nazi world contemplated by the Azov battalion is not substantially distinguishable from the WEF world which Klaus Schwab (incidentally, himself a descendant of a high level supporter of the Hitler regime) and his loathsome acolyte Harari (here) are assiduously plotting to impose.

It is important to bear in mind that these individuals, separated by ideological differences that are merely cosmetic, stand together unfailingly on all issues pertaining to the accomplishment of their common practical objectives. They have no remorse, empathy, or even a barely detectable trace of common humanity. They have shed completely and defiantly the moral heritage that used to define Europe and Western Civilisation. As well before the onset of the current moral collapse Dostoevsky accurately foresaw, cannibalism is now all that is left, or soon will be.

The murder in cold blood of Russian prisoners bespeaks of their and their Ukronazi underlings’ contempt for human life and dignity. Their parliament’s slimy resolution seeking to expel from their midst the only remaining culture, and spiritual heritage that shaped it, which still offers to the corpse the hope of resurrection bespeaks of their terminal self-destructiveness and obstinate apostasy.

What passes for Western civilisation today is in dire straits and if he were to speak on that subject now Gandhi would undoubtedly amend his prior assessment. He would say that it is not even a good idea any more.

It is useless to stigmatise and bewail the wickedness, rank hypocrisy and impotent malice of a waning world which no longer resembles a coherent civilisation. Just leave it be in its lostness and detach yourself from it.

Assad: Iran Effective Supporter, Hezbollah Strategic Ally of Syria

November 26, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The Islamic Republic of Iran is an effective supporter of Syria, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah is a strategic ally for Damascus, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in a meeting with Syrian reporters and researchers.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has effectively supported Syria and continues to support the country economically and militarily, Assad said when talking about allies of Syria.

He added that Syria has supported Hezbollah and will continue to support it as Hezbollah is the country’s strategic ally.

Additionally, the Syrian president expressed concern about the recent developments in Lebanon, saying that Lebanon is the main supporter of Syria, terming its stability as a crucial matter.

Assad also pointed to the resumption of relations with Turkey and the recent meeting held between the Syrian and Turkish officials, saying that Turkey has expressed its readiness to meet the demands of Damascus. Syria expects practical steps from Turkey.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Assad spoke about Syrian-US relations, noting that there is no contact with the Americans.

He also referred to the withdrawal of the US forces from Syria as the Syrian people’s main demand.

Meanwhile, the Syrian president said that Russia assisted his country very much but the situation is different after Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and the economic and military pressures imposed on it.

In response to a question about restoring relations with the Hamas movement, he said Hamas apologized publicly which can be considered as an implicit apology from all the people of Syria.

محاضر من «أستانا 18»: الحلّ السوري بعيد وتركيا لن تنسحب | تقاطع مصالح تركي ــ روسي ــ إيراني ضدّ «قسد»

الجمعة 25 تشرين الثاني 2022

موقفا الدولتين يبدوان اليوم أقلّ حدّة، وهو ما يمكن أن يُعزى إلى أسباب مختلفة خاصّة بكلّ من الدولتَين (ا ف ب)

حسين الأمين  

تُظهر المواقف الإيرانية والروسية من التهديد التركي المتجدّد بعملية عسكرية برّية في سوريا، نوعاً من الليونة التي يمكن تفسيرها بجملة ظروف مستجدّة، جعلت الأطراف الثلاثة الضامنة لـ«مسار أستانا» متقاطِعةً عند العداء للقوّات الكردية في الشمال السوري. ليونةٌ لم تكن إلى ما قبل أشهر حاضِرة كما اليوم، وفق ما تُظهره وثائق سرّية عائدة إلى الجولة ما قبل الأخيرة من اجتماعات «أستانا»، اطّلعت عليها «الأخبار»، يسجّل فيها الروس والإيرانيون حزماً حيال أيّ عملية تركية من النوع المذكور، لم تَعُد مستبعدة، في ظلّ شبه تقبّل موسكو وطهران للمحاججات التركية، ودخول الاتصالات مرحلة الحديث عن حدود التوغّل والأثمان السياسية المطلوبة لقاءه

تحت سطح الهدوء الذي عاشه الميدان السوري طوال الشهور السابقة، كانت تعتمل عوامل ضاغطة عديدة على أكثر من طرف فاعل في الملفّ، يبدو أن بعضها وصل اليوم إلى لحظة الانفجار. هذا ما ينطبق مثلاً على الهجمات الجوّية التي تنفّذها تركيا ضدّ «قوات سوريا الديمقراطية» في شمال سوريا تحت عنوان عملية «المخلب – السيف»، والتلويح باقتراب لحظة وقوع العملية البرّية، والتي سيسيطر خلالها الجيش التركي على مزيد من الأراضي السورية الحدودية. ولطالما كانت هذه الخطوة محطّ تداول طوال الفترة الماضية، خصوصاً في جولة محادثات أستانا التي عُقدت في حزيران الماضي، وتالِيَتها التي التأمت قبل يومَين على وقْع القصف التركي على مواقع «قسد»، على مسمع ومرأى من القوات الروسية والأميركية المنتشرة في المنطقة. وبينما لا تزال روسيا على موقفها المعلَن الرافض للتحرّك البرّي التركي ـــ مع بروز تبدّلات ملحوظة في الميدان لناحية السماح للطائرات التركية باختراق «المجال الجوّي الروسي» في سوريا ـــ تُبدي إيران هذه الأيام تفهّماً أكبر لهذا التحرّك.

في وثائق سرّية حصلت عليها «الأخبار»، تتكشّف المواقف غير المعلَنة وبعض خلفيّاتها، للدول الفاعلة في الملفّ السوري، وذلك على ألسنة مسؤولي هذا الملفّ في كلّ منها، في محادثات ثنائية خاصة، من أيّ عملية عسكرية تركية جديدة في سوريا. ففي حزيران الماضي، انعقدت في العاصمة الكازاخية نور سلطان الجولة الـ18 من «مسار أستانا» التفاوضي، عندما كان الميدان يعيش هدوءاً نسبياً، باستثناء بعض التوتّر بين تركيا والفصائل المسلّحة الموالية لها من جهة، و«قسد» من جهة أخرى، وفي وقت كانت فيه أنقرة تلوّح بنيّتها شنّ عملية عسكرية في ريف حلب الشمالي، وتحديداً على محور عين العرب – منبج – تل رفعت. ممثّل تركيا في «أستانا» حينها، ومسؤول الشؤون السورية في الخارجية التركية، سلجوق أونال، أشار إلى أن «بعض الدول تُعارض العملية، لكنّ هذه الدول في الوقت عينه تتفهّم المخاوف الأمنية لتركيا»، مُدافِعاً بأنه يتوجّب «على تركيا أن تقوم بهذه العملية بسبب مخاطر الإرهاب والانفصاليين، وهذا ما لا تحتمله». وانتقد أونال موقف موسكو، معتبراً أن «ما يقوله الروس بأن العملية ستزعزع استقرار سوريا غير صحيح، لأن لا استقرار أصلاً في سوريا، كما ليس هنالك من ستاتيكو حقيقي ستزعزعه هذه العملية. لا بل إن العملية ستمنع زعزعة الاستقرار بسبب الأجندة الإرهابية والانفصالية لـ»PKK» (حزب العمال الكردستاني)». واستعرض أونال، في حديث خاصّ مع دبلوماسيين، مسار الهجمات العسكرية التي نفّذتها تركيا سابقاً في سوريا، حيث إن «شركاءنا (روسيا وإيران) اعترضوا سابقاً على عملية نبع السلام، ثمّ ما لبثوا أن رفعوا العوائق من أمام تركيا»، في إشارة إلى قبولهم الوقائع التي فرضتْها تلك الهجمات. وافترض أن «الروس ربّما يَعتبرون أن طرد القوات الكردية (من المناطق الحدودية) سيدفعها باتجاه المناطق السورية الداخلية، وهذا قد يجدّد النزاع»، مبيّناً أنه «في هذه الحالة، هُم (الأكراد) سيهاجمون الجيش السوري وليس تركيا». وختم المسؤول التركي حديثه بالتأكيد أن «المسار السياسي بطيء (…) أستانا يبقى المسار الوحيد الذي لا يزال على قيد الحياة»، مشيراً إلى أنه «سبق أن أنشئت المجموعة المصغّرة حول سوريا وانتهت، وكذلك انتهى مسار جنيف».

يَظهر أن مصلحة الدول الثلاث الضامنة لـ«مسار أستانا» تلتقي عند العداء للقوات الكردية في الشمال السوري


وفي وثيقة أخرى، تحدّث سفير تركيا لدى روسيا، محمد سامسار، في اجتماع خاص داخل مكتبه عُقد في تموز الفائت، حول العملية العسكرية المرتقبة، قائلاً إنه «بالنسبة إلى تركيا، فإنه لا أطماع لديها في سوريا، وهدف أنقرة كان ولا يزال إبعاد المنظمات الإرهابية الكردية عن حدودها لمسافة 30 كم على الأقل، وهو الأمر الذي كان الأميركيون قد وافقوا عليه، وأيضاً الروس، الذين كانوا قد تعهّدوا بالمساعدة على تحقيقه منذ عام 2019، دون أن ينجحوا حتى الآن، ما دفع القيادة التركية أخيراً للإعلان عن عملية عسكرية قد تكون قريبة لتحقيق الهدف المذكور، بالرغم من معارضة موسكو وواشنطن، التي تقوم بحماية بعض الفصائل الإرهابية شرق الفرات». من جهة أخرى، استبعد سامسار «إمكانية التوصّل إلى حلول في المدى المنظور، خاصة في ظلّ توتر العلاقات بين موسكو من جهة، وواشنطن والغرب من جهة أخرى»، لافتاً إلى أن «الوضع السوري في غاية التعقيد، مع وجود دول كثيرة تتصارع على الأرض السورية لحفظ مصالحها المتعارضة في كثير من الأحيان»، مُهاجِماً «الدور الإيراني الطامح إلى بقاء طويل الأمد في سوريا، ومحاولة إحداث تغيير ديمغرافي في بعض المناطق السورية، ومنها دمشق العاصمة، وذلك خدمة لأهداف بعيدة المدى تؤذي الشعب السوري بلا شكّ، وتهدّد بشدّة وحدة البلاد واستقرارها على المدى البعيد».

بدوره، رأى المبعوث الروسي الخاص إلى سوريا، ألكسندر لافرنتييف، أنه «سيكون من الخطير إن أقامت تركيا منطقة عازلة، وهذه ستخلق تهديدات جديدة»، لافتاً إلى «(أننا) نصحنا العراقيين وجيران سوريا، أن يتواصلوا مع إيران والدول العربية لمطالبة تركيا بشكل جماعي بعدم تنفيذ عمليّتها». وأشار لافرنتييف إلى أن «تركيا دائماً تؤكّد أنها لا تريد تقسيم سوريا، وأنها مع المحافظة على وحدة وسيادة سوريا، لكنهم يضيفون أنهم سيتركون سوريا عندما تسمح لهم الظروف بذلك، وهذا لا يبدو لنا مشجّعاً. إذا دخلَت لن تنسحب»، مشدّداً على أنه «من الضروري أن نعمل معاً، وأن لا نترك ذلك يحدث (…) (تركيا تريد) احتلال أراضي سوريا، وتشكيل حكومة موالية لها». ولدى سؤاله عن الانتشار الميداني الروسي في سوريا، مع احتدام الحرب في أوكرانيا، أكد «(أننا) لن ننسحب من سوريا. أجرينا إعادة انتشار لقوّاتنا، بسبب بعض الصعوبات اللوجستية المتأتّية من تركيا». وختم حديثه بالقول إن «علينا أن نعيش مع نزاع طويل الأمد» في سوريا. من جهته، رأى مساعد وزير الخارجية الإيراني، علي أصغر حاجي، أن «كلّ ما يحدث متأثّر بالحرب الأوكرانية، التي تُضاعف من خطورة الحالة في الشرق الأوسط»، معتبراً أن «ما تقوم به روسيا في أوكرانيا، تحاول تركيا مقابلته في سوريا»، في إشارة إلى المخاوف الأمنية الروسية في أوكرانيا، والتي دفعتْ موسكو إلى تنفيذ عمليتها العسكرية هناك. وأضاف حاجي: «نقول لأصدقائنا الأتراك إن مخاوفكم الأمنية لا يمكن حلّها بالوسائل العسكرية، وإلّا لكانت حُلّت مُسبقاً. نقول لهم، ساعدوا الجيش السوري للانتشار على الحدود تطبيقاً للاتفاقيات بينكما». أما ممثّل الأمم المتحدة في محادثات أستانا، مدير مكتب المبعوث الدولي الخاص إلى سوريا غير بيدرسون، روبرت دان، فرأى أن «كلّ الأطراف حقّقت أكثر ما تستطيعه»، متابعاً أن «اليوم هنالك تركيا، ينبغي انتظار ردّة فعل الأطراف الباقين على عمليّتها العسكرية، وما سينشأ عنها».

وعلى رغم الحزم الذي تتّسم به المواقف الإيرانية والروسية حيال العملية العسكرية التركية في سوريا، وفق ما تُظهره الوثائق، إلّا أن هذه المواقف تبدو اليوم أقلّ حدّة، وهو ما يمكن أن يُعزى إلى أسباب مختلفة خاصّة بكلّ من الدولتَين. بالنسبة إلى روسيا، فإن التعاون الروسي – التركي بلغ أوْجه خلال الأشهر الأخيرة مع احتدام الحرب في أوكرانيا، في ظلّ موقف أنقرة الذي حافظ على حياده نوعاً ما. وإذ تُدرك روسيا أن تركيا اليوم هي أحد معابرها الأساسية إلى العالم في ظلّ الحصار الغربي المستمرّ على الأولى، فإن الدولتَين تُظهران تعاوناً واسعاً في منطقة القوقاز، أسفر حتى اليوم عن تجنُّب أزمات كبرى، وربّما معارك متجدّدة، وخصوصاً بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان. والأهمّ من كلّ ما سبق، سياقان مغايران للتعاون: الأوّل متعلّق باتفاقية تصدير الحبوب من الموانئ الأوكرانية عبر البحر الأسود إلى تركيا ثمّ البحر الأبيض المتوسط؛ والثاني متّصل بتصدير الغاز الروسي، حيث اتفق الرئيسان الروسي والتركي، الشهر الماضي، على البدء بإنشاء مركز لتوزيع الغاز الروسي من تركيا إلى دول جنوب وشرق أوروبا، عبر أنابيب ناقلة تمرّ من البحر الأسود وعبر الأراضي التركية. وانطلاقاً ممّا سبق، تبدو مفهومةً المرونة التي طرأت على موقف موسكو، والتي تُعزّزها أيضاً المُحاججة التركية بأن الظروف التي دفعت روسيا إلى تنفيذ عملية عسكرية في أوكرانيا، تنطبق إلى حدّ بعيد على تلك القائمة عند الحدود السورية – التركية، وبالتالي فإن ما شرّعته روسيا لنفسها، لا بدّ أن تشرّعه لشريكتها تركيا.
أمّا بالنسبة إلى إيران، التي تعاني اليوم اضطرابات داخلية، فهي تتّهم الأحزاب الكردية – الإيرانية المعارِضة المتمركزة في إقليم كردستان شمالي العراق، بالمسؤولية عن إرسال وتدريب وتجهيز مجموعات مسلّحة لتنفيذ أعمال «إرهابية» على أراضيها. وهي استجابت سريعاً لهذا التهديد باستهداف مواقع تلك الأحزاب، ملوّحةً أيضاً بإمكانية شنّ عملية عسكرية برّية لإبعادها عن الحدود. ومن هنا، يُحاجج «الديبلوماسيون الأتراك، أمام نظرائهم الإيرانيين، وكذلك أمام نظرائهم في دول المنطقة، بسياق تشكُّل الموقف الإيراني المستجدّ تجاه الأحزاب الكردية المسلّحة، ويقارنونه بالموقف التركي السابق والحالي، للقول إن عمليات بلادهم العسكرية السابقة والمرتقَبة في سوريا شرعيّة ومبرّرة، ولا يجب الاعتراض عليها، خصوصاً من قِبَل الإيرانيين»، بحسب ما تَكشفه مصادر ديبلوماسية إقليمية. وفي مقابل هذه المحاججة، يُبدي المسؤولون الإيرانيون تفهّماً للمخاوف الأمنية التركية، إلّا أنهم «يحثّون نظراءهم الأتراك على التعاون مع الحكومة السورية، لضمان انتشار الجيش السوري على الحدود بين البلدين، ومنْع وقوع عمليات أمنية أو عسكرية داخل الأراضي التركية، كما ذلك الذي تسعى إليه طهران مع بغداد»، والذي تجلّت أولى ثماره في إعلان الحكومة العراقية نشْر قوّاتها على الحدود بين إيران وإقليم كردستان.

هكذا، يَظهر أن مصلحة الدول الثلاث الضامنة لـ«مسار أستانا» تلتقي عند العداء للقوات الكردية في الشمال السوري. فهذه الأخيرة وضعت كامل بيضها في السلّة الأميركية، ما يزعج الروس إلى حدّ بعيد، واشتبكت مع تركيا التي تحافظ على موقفها العدائي منها، وفشلت في إنجاح أيّ محاولة حوارية مع دمشق، وذهبت إلى حدّ الاشتباك مع القوات السورية غير مرّة، كما تناقض بتحالفها الوثيق مع الأميركيين الموقف الإيراني المُساند لدمشق، فضلاً عن كوْن نظرائها في أربيل باتوا يشكّلون تهديداً متزايداً للأمن القومي الإيراني. لكن كلّ ما سبق لا يعني أن هذه الأطراف اتّفقت تماماً على السماح بتنفيذ عملية عسكرية تركية جديدة في سوريا، بل يبدو أن ما جرى حتى الآن هو إبداء تفهّم متزايد للمخاوف التركية، في وقت تتسارع فيه الاتصالات البينيّة لرسم حدود الطموح التركي، والتوافق على التفاصيل الميدانية والأثمان السياسية.

من ملف : روسيا – تركيا – إيران: تقاطع ضدّ «قسد»

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بعد الترسيم البحري… صخور “تدرّ دولارات” في لبنان

الاثنين 14 تشرين ثاني 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

عبدالله ذبيان 

رحلة “الميادين نت” للبحث عن صخور “الحمّر” في باطن الأرض اللبنانية متشعبة حيث استغرق البحث عنها ساعات طويلة…. لا ضير فالمطلوب هو “العثور على “كنزٍ دفين” في الصخور النفيسة، ما يشي بوجود بترول، كما يقول الباحثون والمتابعون.

ما قصة البترول المجّمد داخل الصخور في لبنان؟ (غرافيك اسماعيل آغا – حسين بلحص)

لبنان عائم على “بحرٍ” من الثروات.. منها الطبيعية والمائية والأثرية، وصولاً إلى الغازية فالبترولية، لكنه يعيش  وضعاً اقتصادياً صعباً، وفي منطقة مضطربة سياسياً وعسكرياً، والتهديدات الإسرائيلية قائمة على الدوام.

وعلى مدى عقود خلت، أغفلت الحكومات اللبنانية المتعاقبة- عن قصد أو غير قصد –  ملف الثروات، وقد يقول قائل إن هنالك أيادٍ خارجية كانت تدفع إلى ذلك!

  قوة لبنان…. أنقذت الغاز!

في أتون ما يحيق بلبنان من أزمات اقتصادية ومعيشية، كان لا بد من شقّ كوّة أمل…ولو بالقوة!

“أقول للبنانيين إننا أصبحنا أمام موضوع يجب أن يتحوّل إلى قضية لبنانية كبرى، وأمامنا ثروة هائلة تقدّر بمئات الملايين وهي ملك للشعب اللبناني”. 

الكلام  هذا كان للأمين العام لحزب الله السيّد حسن نصر الله، في 25 أيار/ مايو 2022.

 بعد ذلك كرّت السبحة:  المقاومة ترسل مسيّراتها الثلاث فوق حقل “كاريش”، الاحتلال يستنفر، شركات النفط العالمية تكبح جماح عملياتها، العواصم الكبرى التي تنوء تحت تأثير ما يجري في اوكرانيا على أسواق النفط تصوّب أنظارها نحو لبنان.

كوّة الأمل رغم الألم تتسع… بعد مفاوضات صعبة، والنتيجة المتوخاة تحققت: لبنان يفرض اتفاقاً على ترسيم الحدود البحرية لحفظ لبنان في ثروته الغازية في المتوسط.

رحلة بحث عن “الحمّر” الثمين 

من نافل القول، أن جوف الأراضي اللبنانية كما مياهه الإقليمية، يحوي ثروات نفطية وغازية لا يستهان بها، وقد أثبتت الدراسات الجيولوجية ذلك…. وسيكون لنا تقرير خاص حول هذه الثروات لاحقاً.

إنها صخور “الحمّر” الثمينة (butum) ، وهذا موضوع تقريرنا اليوم، فهو كنزٌ لبناني دفين يستحق منّا بذل الجهود وسبر أغواره و التقصي عن كنهه؟

الميادين نت في “جبل الظهر ” بحثاً عن منجم “الحمّر” الرئيسي

كان فريق الميادين نت قد أجرى استطلاعاً ميدانياً بحرياً منذ أشهر على مشارف حقول الغاز اللبنانية الفلسطينية في منطقة الناقورة المتاخمة لفلسطين المحتلة بالتعاون مع مدير النادي اللبناني للغوص يوسف الجندي.

واليوم، نخصصّ يوماً طويلاً في “رحلة البحث عن الحمّر الثمين”  الذي تضمّن جولة في منطقة وادي التيم -حاصبيا.

صخرة الحمّر (خاص الميادين نت)
الحمّر (خاص الميادين نت)

إلى “جبل الكنز” …  أزفت اللحظات المنتظرة!

طبيعة الأرض الصخرية البركانية السوداء تغطي الأرض، وهذا دليل واضح على ما تكتنزه من ثروات، رئيس بلدية حاصبيا لبيب الحمرا يواكب فريق الميادين نت مع سيارات الدفع الرباعي، الشغف والترّقب يسيطران لدى الدخول إلى سفح هذا الجبل ، هنا (كما يقال) يمكن أن نرى الصخور التي تدرّ دولارات، كما يصفها الأهالي!

المنجم الرئيسي الذي يضخ الأكسيجين لعشرات العمّال (تصوير غسان الحاج)

صخور مميزة، مغاور متعددة،  أشجار الزيتون معمّرة، النمل يستنبش تربة رمادية اللون، وعلى الجانبين ثمّة أطلال لأبنية قديمة كان لها دور على مدى عقود من تاريخ لبنان!

رئيس بلدية حاصبيا أمام آلة استخراج الحمّر: باطن الأرض غنيّ هنا (خاص)

    وأزفت اللحظة المنتظرة بعد بحث… العثور على “البئر” الرئيسي الأثري لمنجم “الحمّر”، كان “لحظة استكشاف مثيرة”! فمنذ عقدٍ من الزمن وعلى عمق 80 متراً كان يتدلى هذا السلّم الحديدي الطويل، وإلى جانبه ثمّة “مواسير” حديدية كانت تضخ الأكسجين إلى عددٍ كبير من المغاور والأنفاق في الجبل، بواسطة مضخة ضخمة تمكنّا من معاينتها وتصويرها.

    وأزفت اللحظة المنتظرة بعد بحث… العثور على “البئر” الرئيسي الأثري لمنجم “الحمّر”، كان “لحظة استكشاف مثيرة”! فمنذ عقدٍ من الزمن وعلى عمق 80 متراً كان يتدلى هذا السلّم الحديدي الطويل، وإلى جانبه ثمّة “مواسير” حديدية كانت تضخ الأكسجين إلى عددٍ كبير من المغاور والأنفاق في الجبل، بواسطة مضخة ضخمة تمكنّا من معاينتها وتصويرها.

    صور من أربعينات القرن الماضي للمكان الذي تفقده فريق الميادين نت

      “رئاسة الحمّر”: مزرعة أبقار!

      إلى جانب البئر والمضخة، هنالك  جدران لغرفٍ كانت تستخدم لاستراحة ومبيت عمال المناجم، عايّننا مبنى مكاتب إدارة استخراج وتصدير “الحمّر” في لبنان المبني من العقد الحجري الأثري، لكن المفاجاة تمثلّت في الوضع الراهن المزري لهذا المبنى الذي تحوّل إلى مزرعة للأبقار!!

      نعاين الجبل ومغاوره،  قبل أن نعلم أن هذه المنطقة تحوي إضافة إلى “الحمّر”، كميات كبيرة من الغاز بشهادة شركة نروجية كانت أجرت دراسة ميدانية مطلع السبعينات”.

      رئاسة صخور “الحمّر”في الشرق الأوسط (1933- 1956) تحوّلت إلى زريبة للحيوانات!  (خاص الميادين نت)

      المؤرخ سليقا: المناجم أقفلت “لغاية في نفس يعقوب”!

      الملفت هو استحواذ  باطن الأرض في منطقة حاصبيا (جنوب البلاد) على ثروة بترولية صخرية شكّلت إبّان فترة الانتداب الفرنسي”ثروة وطنية” ذاع صيتها في دول أوروبا …  إلى أن “أُقفلت مناجمها فجأة بين ليلة وضحاياها “لغاية في نفس يعقوب”! كما أكد المؤرخ اللبناني المخضرم بلدة الفرديس الشيخ غالب سليقا للميادين نت خلال زيارتنا له في منزله..

      المؤرخ سليقا: لا نعرف لماذا توقف الاستخراج على عمق 2000 متر؟

      مكتبة عامرة يحويها منزل المؤرخ العصامي سليقا وعائلته الرائدة ونجله الباحث المواكب د. رواد، الشيخ الذي طرق عتبات الثمانين ما انفك يبحث ويغبّ ويؤلف، ما يغني العلم والتاريخ ويصبح مرجعاً هاماً على مدى الأجيال.

      (صخور”تدّر دولارات” في لبنان (تصوير غسان الحاج / مونتاج محمد أشمر – عباس شري (صخور

      الحمّر= البترول المجمّد!

      يعرّف المؤرخ سليقا الحمّر بأنه “البترول المجمّد، وهو موجود في المنطقة الممتدة من حاصبيا إلى مشغرة إلى سحمر” (خريطة داخل الفيديو ) ،ويكشف أنه “في العام 1952 أتت “النقطة الرابعة” الأميركية وحفرت في سحمر لاستخراج البترول، لكن لا نعرف لماذا توقف هذا العمل على عمق 2000 متر  لا غير، ما يدّل على وجود هذه المادة في المنطقة” ، مشيراً إلى “أنهما مشتقان متلازمان، فالتوقف عن استكشاف النفط تبعه إيقاف استخراج الحمّر”.

      مدخل إحدى المغاور على بعد كيلومترات من البئر الرئيسي !

        ويشرح أن الحمّر يمسي كـ “الفيول أويل”، إذا ما وضع على حرارة عالية، وهذا ما يحتاجه لبنان اليوم للتخلّص من أزمة الكهرباء الخانقة،  ويطرح عدة أسئلة:  هل للاكتشافات البترولية في دول الخليج تأثير؟ هل جودتها أعلى؟ لماذا توقف استخراج الحمّر في تلك الفترة بالتحديد، تزامناً مع كل ذلك؟

        رئيس البلدية: المنطقة تحوي ثروة ضخمة

        وفي السياق،  يقول رئيس البلدية الذي كشف عن حالات متكررة لانبثاق للدخان المتصاعد من الجبل  إن “هذه المنطقة من أغنى المناطق بخيراتها المطمورة تحت الأرض، والتي كان الانتداب الفرنسي أول من بادر إلى استخراج الحمّر”، داعياً الدولة إلى الإسراع في إعادة تشغيل المناجم”.

        فريق “الميادين نت” مع رئيس البلدية والزميل حديفة في سفح جبل “الحمّر”

          وناشد المسؤولين “إيلاء مناجم “الحمّر” أي الأحجار النفطية في قاطع حاصبيا الاهتمام، لما تحويه من ثروة بترولية ضخمة تؤمن في حال العمل على إعادة استغلالها، دخلاً وفيراً لخزينة الدولة ويداً عاملة لأكثر من 1000 شخص”، لافتأ إلى أن الأطراف الغربية لبلدة حاصبيا هي موطن “الحمّر” الوحيد في لبنان.

          رئيس بلدية حاصبيا: الحمّر ثروة وطنية (تصوير: غسان الحاج / مونتاج محمد أشمر – عباس شري)

            كاميرا الميادين داخل مغارة: لا أكسجين!

            وخلال تنقلنا، في الجبل المذكور،  تمكنت عدسة الزميل الحاج من دخول مغارة أثرية على بعد كيلومترات على ضفاف نهر الحاصباني كانت تستخدم كأحدى الفوهات العديدة التي كان يستخدمها العمّال للخروج من الجبل والمناجم.

             من جهته، ذكر  محمد أبو دهن (85 عاماً)، وهو العامل الوحيد المتبقي على قيد الحياة والذي عمل لفترة  في مناجم الحمر للميادين نت أن استخراج الحمر كان انطلق بطرق بدائية من خلال استعمال المعول والرفش والأزميل والسلال وكانت الكمية المستخرجة قليلة.

            البئر يعود إلى منتصف القرن الماضي

              وأوضح أنه مع دخول إحدى الشركات الاجنبية تطوّرت أعمال التنقيب وزاد الانتاج بعدما بات يتم بمعدات متطورة.

              يذكر أن نسيب غبريل كان قد استحصل وخلال مناقصة أجريت العام 1933 على رخصة استثمار للحمّر لمدة 25 سنة وكان ينتج حوالى 2000 طن سنوياً عبر التعاقد مع شركات أجنبية.

              وذكر أن الحمّر يتواجد على شكل طبقاتٍ في باطن الأرض وبسماكة تتراوح بين متر ومترين ونصف، قائلاً إن “العمال كانوا يصلون إليه عبر خنادق و سراديب لا يتجاوز قطرها متر ونصف بعد ان يتم تأمين تهويتها بواسطة فتحات تربط بين الانفاق وسطح الأرض”.

              أدوات الحفر القديمة (خاص الميادين نت)

                الحمّر إلى تركيا وأوروبا 

                 المؤرخ سليقا أشار إلى ان النتائج المخبرية التي كانت تجريها الشركات المنقبة دلّت على أن الحمر الحاصباني يحتوي على 97 % من الحمّر الصافي وهي أعلى نسبة عالمية، وأن بقاياها  بعد معالجتها تتحول إلى أسمدة كيماوية.

                ولفت إلى أن كميات الحمّر المستخرجة كانت تنقل بواسطة شاحنات إلى مرفأ بيروت لتصدّر إلى العديد من الدول الأوروبية خاصة فرنسا وأيطاليا وهولندا، فضلاً عن تركيا.

                ويدخل الحمّر في العديد من الصناعات الثقيلة والخفيفة على حدّ سواء ومنها صناعة الدهانات والصباغ وطلاء البواخر، كما يدخل في صناعة الأدوية والمبيدات الحشرية الزراعية، ويستعمل أيضا كمادة عازلة.

                 وزير البيئة: نجمع معلومات موثقة حول مناجم الحمّر

                حوالى 800 عامل من كافة قرى المنطقة إضافة لعمال وخبراء أجانب أمضوا حوالى 40 عاماً في الحفر والتنقيب والنقل، والجدير ذكره، أن 4 عمال من أبناء بلدة حاصبيا كانوا لقوا حتفهم داخل احد المناجم العام 1954 بسبب انهيار أحدها على عمق حوالى 100 متر، ليتوقف بعدها استخراج الحمّر!

                من جولة وزير البيئة ناصر ياسين في منطقة وادي التيم

                  وكان لا بد من رصد موقف وزير البيئة في حكومة تصريف الأعمال اللبنانية ناصر ياسين الذي أجرى اتصالات مكثفة لجمع معلومات موثقة حول مناجم الحمّر مع كل الجهات الرسمية المعنية في حاصبيا للوقوف على كافة الحيثيات المتوفرة حول هذه المناجم.

                  وقال “عملت في اعقاب ذلك على تشكيل لجنة تضم اخصائيين وخبراء جيولوجيين وبيئيين وفنيين مهمتها إعداد تقرير ميداني علمي شامل ومفصل مبني على وقائع حسية ملموسة حول هذه المناجم والجهات التي اكتشفت الحمّر والشركات التي نفذّت أعمال الحفر والتنقيب والتشغيل والتصدير والبلدان التي استوردت”.

                  Resistance Is the Guarantee to Extraction, With or Without Netanyahu

                  November 16, 2022

                  Translated by Staff, Al-Akhbar Newspaper

                  The most pressing question after Benjamin Netanyahu forms his government, after he was assigned to do so yesterday, is about the fate of the maritime boundary delimitation agreement and the possibility of obstructing its implementation and preventing Lebanon from extracting its natural resources, after Netanyahu described the agreement, during the election campaign, as “a surrender to Hezbollah” and vowed to cancel it.

                  How could the agreement be cancelled legally? What are the factors that prevent such a decision? What are the expected consequences of such path?

                  First of all, the elections produced a balance of power in the Knesset in favor of Netanyahu, after his camp won 64 seats out of 120, which opens the way for him to form a right-wing government enjoying a parliamentary base. Thus, the scenarios that prevented the “Israeli” entity from the formation of a government in previous years and plunged it into the cycle of open elections are not expected to be repeated.

                  Legally speaking, the body that legislates any law is the same as the one that has the power to repeal it. Since the government has approved the agreement, it is the one who has the power to cancel it without the need for the approval of any other institution. However, the fact that the government has the authority does not mean that it has the courage, as there are several factors that prevent it from moving in this path.

                  In general, it can be estimated that what restrains the enemy from the option of canceling the agreement is what forced the political and security leaderships to agree to it, and even insist on it to the point of pushing the judicial and legal institutions to overcome the legal problems around it. The “Israeli” leadership, both political and military, did not hide that the factor that prompted the speeding up the agreement was avoiding the alternative of a war with Hezbollah. Thus, will Netanyahu take a step he knows in advance that will lead to a military confrontation that may develop into a major war with Hezbollah and possibly expand regionally? Bearing in mind the cost and feasibility, would he take such a step while facing escalating challenges in the West Bank and other priorities related to confronting the Iranian nuclear threat, as well as at the level of the unprecedented development of Iran’s military and missile capabilities?

                  Moreover, does it make sense for Netanyahu to initiate a flagrantly hostile unilateral move? It is true that the “Israeli” entity does not pay much attention to this factor, but when it assesses that it will face unprecedented responses on its “domestic” front, the position of “Israeli” public opinion will have a great impact and the leadership must justify these costs to it, because the government will face questions of the type: Would this war not have been avoided if the “Israeli” entity had known its outcome? Are the consequences worth these losses? What if the war leads to the halting of gas exports or the destruction of gas facilities, which will certainly happen if a military confrontation develops?

                  All these scenarios were present among the security authorities, which were keen to reach an agreement to avoid them, after they realized Hezbollah’s determination to go to the end even if it led to a war, due to the firm conviction of its leadership that the alternative to war, which is the continuation of the siege, would be more dangerous than war itself.

                  What restrains the enemy from the option of canceling the agreement is what prompted the political and security leaderships to insist on it.

                  It’s noteworthy to “Israel” that the Lebanese Resistance will face any aggression in light of an unprecedented popular support [the presence of opposition voices in the American orbit does not detract from this, and their position on such issues is not taken into account], because they will wage a war for Lebanon’s economic and financial future. This opposes the American plan that aims to portray the resistance as a burden on Lebanon, and not as a “Lebanon shield” in the face of “Israeli” ambitions.

                  Also, what contributes to making such a decision more problematic, for Netanyahu and his government, is that it contradicts the recommendations of the army and security services. Although the government can legally take an aggressive decision other than these recommendations, when the cost is too great and the feasibility is questionable, such a decision needs cover from the military for internal reasons. Usually, the positions of the security services, even if they differ, have a great influence in crystallizing the position of the “Israeli” public. So, what is the case when there is a consensus among them on the necessity of an agreement?

                  On the other hand, there is a “guarantee” of the US administration for the agreement. This certainly does not automatically mean a guarantee of its continuation, because the history of American guarantees is dishonorable. But the main factor behind this guarantee is also Washington’s fear of a war it does not want in the region.

                  Therefore, it is clear that all the factors that are presented as constraints on the “Israeli” government’s decision to cancel the agreement are based primarily on the position of the resistance, its seriousness and determination, and the intelligence and military authorities’ realization that the alternative to the agreement is war with Hezbollah. The same applies to the position of the US administration and its fear of the repercussions of the military confrontation on energy security in the eastern Mediterranean. As for the international situation represented by the escalating need for gas due to the Ukrainian crisis, it is sufficient to refer to the announcement of the “Israeli” Ministry of Energy on the sidelines of the climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, that “‘Israel’ will need three or four years to provide large quantities that exceed their domestic needs for export,” and that “there is no immediate ability to supply gas in the short term,” which means that the main motive for reaching an agreement was not the gas that the “Israeli” entity would provide to Europe as a substitute for Russia [noting that it is a very modest proportion relative to Europe’s needs].

                  Based on the aforementioned, the equation established by Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on October 29, 2022 – [No one will be able to extract oil and gas, and continue to extract oil and gas and sell oil and gas if Lebanon is prevented from extracting its oil and gas. This is the title of the next stage] – becomes the guarantor of Lebanon’s extraction and benefiting from its wealth. As for any other supposed effect, it would not have been achieved without the presence of the resistance factor and the fears of the repercussions of the choice the Resistance will pursue in response to any attempt to prevent Lebanon from extracting its natural resources.

                  Netanyahu’s return to power: Will it lead to war and a retreat from border demarcation?

                  The Divided States of America: Voter concerns will choose the US’ fate

                  6 Nov 2022

                  Source: Al Mayadeen English

                  By Rachel Hamdoun 

                  There’s more behind the scenes of what the US is dealing with and what newscasts show, as the social and structural issues challenging Americans today will alter the face of America tomorrow.

                  Inflation in the US hit a 40-year record high in June, reaching a whopping 8.6% and driving interest rates sky-high

                  Kanye West is the last thing that’s wrong with America right now. 

                  As the US juggles massive unemployment, poor infrastructure, oil and gas price increases, food shortages, a near-recession, and mass shootings, funding the war in Ukraine continues to be the top priority on the Biden administration agenda – but that is the least of the American people’s worries. 

                  With the midterm votes reaching the finish line on November 8’s Election Day, it will be decided whether the Republicans or the Democrats will have the upper hand in Congress and the Senate. It’s not just who the people want; it’s what they want and who answers them. 

                  Midterm elections are not presidential elections, as in they don’t decide which potential candidate will win the presidency, but instead, representatives of the House and Senators are elected, and they will, in turn, influence which candidate in 2024 takes office. The House of Representatives has the ability to make and pass laws and assess the current administration it is serving. The Senate’s duties include amending and approving laws, assessing presidential nominees, and conducting impeachments of presidents. 

                  2022 has been a rollercoaster for the US, between taming Kanye West and his rants, mass shootings becoming a daily staple of American life, Donald Trump’s FBI bust, and almost starting World War III with China. But as the US defines itself as a representative democracy, in the sense that the people elect who represents their wants and needs, it is the matters taking the country by storm that will eventually alter the direction of the 2024 presidential elections.  

                  Read more: Four critical Senate battlegrounds govern US midterms

                  Economy trumps the list

                  According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted between October 10 and 16, 2022, the leading concern on voters’ minds is the economy and its fate. 79% of the registered voters recorded the economic situation as their main worry, with 92% of voters who identified as Republican seeing it as a “hot topic”.

                  The Divided States of America: Voter concerns will choose the US' fate

                  Inflation in the US hit a 40-year record high in June, reaching a whopping 8.6% and driving interest rates sky-high. The Biden administration is struggling to hold on to the rope to safety as it continues to fail to hold on to its promises of reviving the economy and bringing the country back on its feet after the Covid pandemic – ever since he took office in 2020. 

                  A report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released in September exhibited the rise of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures the change in prices that consumers in a country pay by 8.2% since September of last year. These may all be numbers that may not seem marginal or significantly differential, but the more these percentages keep racking up, the more imminent is a recession and the fall of American global economic hegemony.

                  What’s even more “shocking” is the answer to the question as to where all this increase in money is going if policies keep adding on and no improvements are shown.

                  Priorities, priorities

                  US national outstanding debt has exceeded $31 trillion as of October. The US is grappling with a dangerous combination of inflation, high-interest rates, sky-high consumer prices, unstable social structure, climate crisis, and environmental racism, but budget priorities surely go to the military. 

                  In light of the war in Ukraine, more than $15 billion has gone to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces – not including payments made under sugar-coated nomenclatures, such as “security packages”. Republicans are becoming increasingly opposed to the excessive and incontrollable transfer of money and arms to fund Ukraine’s forces.

                  Funny enough, America doesn’t “run on Dunkin,” it runs on guns and claiming false democracy. 2022 repeated typical American history, witnessing a series of gun violence episodes from schools to grocery stores and parades.

                  Mass shootings are so “excessive” that they have become expected to be part of the daily news broadcast in the US, and in turn across the world. On May 14 of this year, ten were killed in a grocery store shooting in Buffalo, New York. Ten days later, on May 24, 19 children and two adults were murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. A week later in June, four were killed at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a month later on July fourth, seven people were shot and killed at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois. The Pew Research report showed 57% of voters were stressed because of gun violence, with 62% being Democrats. 

                  The matter boils down, however, to the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which stipulates the right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense, but with the abuse of that amendment as a shield, gun violence continues to go rampant across the nation, instilling fear into Americans and becoming a growing factor in fearful nationalism.

                  Read more: Fear from election violence in the US on the rise

                  ‘It’s complicated’

                  The Pew Research report demonstrated the top issues in the US as of current, but by party: Democrat-identifying voters showed concern in areas of education reform, gun control, climate change, healthcare, abortion, and systemic racism. On the other hand, Republican-voting counterparts were concerned about the economic crisis, crime, immigration, and foreign policies, which Biden expressed that Republicans have ‘no sense’ of, worried that if Republicans win in the midterm elections, total US military assistance for Ukraine may diminish after US House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s pledge that Ukraine will not receive a “blank check” for aid if the Republicans win the majority of seats in the lower house of Congress. 

                  Read next: More Republicans stand against continued support to Ukraine: WSJ poll

                  In regard to abortion, whether candidates advocate reinstating the Roe v Wade decision to allow abortion to be legal again or whether they are against it majorly sways the midterm results, and thus the 2024 presidential race, especially by voters who are women. The 50-year-old decision now bans abortions across the US with only a few states left allowing procedures to continue, such as New York, California, and Utah. 

                  Student debt also appeared on the polls for voter concerns, following Biden’s announcement in September of plans to cancel up to $20,000 in student loans and debts, which has students racing to fill out applications for the forms as unemployment rates rise and wages remain relatively insufficient to meet the cost of living in the US.

                  Biden’s popularity keeps sinking as the economy deteriorates even further, and the midterm elections serve as his last remaining lifeline – with not much hope in sight either. Americans remain in a complicated relationship, asking the government “what are we?” while the government scurries to meet the people’s demands, but effectivities remain in lingo.

                  Read next: Republicans expected to flood the House

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                  Algeria’s economy one of the fastest growing, in continuous recovery

                  Oct 282022

                  Source: Al Mayadeen English

                  By Ahmad Karakira 

                  Despite the repercussions of the difficult global crisis that are still looming over the global economy, Algeria was able to control economic indices over the past three years.

                  The IMF highlighted that Algeria’s GDP growth rate is the fastest in the Western Mediterranean region.

                  The World Bank, in early October, indicated that developing oil exporters, including Algeria, are expected to witness an economic growth of 4.1% this year and 2.7% in 2023.

                  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also forecasted that the growth rate of Algeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will score 4.7% at the end of 2022, one of the fastest-growing rates in the world.

                  Based on its forecasts for global economic growth rates, the IMF published last week an interactive map that divides growth rates into five descending categories, from fastest to slowest, in which Algiers was placed in the second category.

                  It topped the Maghreb region economies in terms of growth, compared to Morocco (0.8%), Tunisia (2.2%), Libya (-18.5%), and Mauritania (4%).

                  The IMF highlighted that Algeria’s GDP growth rate is also the fastest in the Western Mediterranean region, which includes Italy (3.2%), France (2.5%), and Spain (4.3%).

                  The United Nation’s financial agency had expected in its recent report that Algeria’s economy will be one of the fastest-growing Arab economies in 2022.

                  The IMF placed Algeria among the six Arab economies that will record the highest growth rates in the mentioned period, despite the effects of the global economic slowdown, in light of the continuing crisis of the war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic.

                  According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook, Algiers is set to achieve a growth rate of 4.7% by the end of the current year, ranking second in North Africa after Egypt (6.6%).

                  In an exclusive interview for Al Mayadeen English, Ezz El Din Dedan, an Algerian economics specialist, said that despite the repercussions of the difficult global crisis that are still hanging over the global economy, Algeria “was able to control economic indices over the past three years, despite the collapse of energy prices.”

                  Dedan pointed out that “with the recent recovery of oil and energy prices globally amid the war in Ukraine, there is a significant increase in Algeria’s foreign exchange earnings, and this is what gives the country a margin of greater financial movement in economic decision-making.”

                  Dedan added that the Algerian government presented figures on the high levels of foreign exchange available in Algeria with expectations of reaching 56 billion dollars by the end of 2022 and a trade surplus of about 18 billion dollars.

                  According to the economics specialist, “These figures have not been recorded in Algeria for almost 10 years, since the beginning of the oil price plunge in 2014.”

                  Historical rise in non-hydrocarbon exports

                  Despite depending on oil revenues from the hard currency by 98%, Dedan said, Algeria “has sought to diversify its economy through a set of measures that have been taken over the past years, yielding a historical rise in non-hydrocarbon exports, where Algeria was able to increase these exports from 4.7 billion dollars last year to 5 billion dollars until the end of last September.”

                  Algeria, a reliable energy supplier

                  In a related context, the Algerian state hydrocarbons firm, Sonatrach, expects the total level of gas and oil exports to reach 50 billion dollars by the end of this year.

                  Algerian Prime Minister Aimene Benabderrahmane pointed out that Sonatrach had put in place an “accelerated program” to bump up output.

                  Algiers has helped Europe diversify its energy supplies by pumping more gas to Italy, which, in July, signed a deal to import billions more cubic meters via an undersea pipeline from the North African coast.

                  The North African capital has seen a series of high-profile visitors in recent months seeking to boost energy exports, as Europe struggles to replace Russian supplies.

                  European Council President, Charles Michel, said in September during a visit to Algeria that the North African country is a “reliable energy supplier.”

                  In August, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed moves by Algiers to help “diversify” Europe’s gas supplies, and in July, Italy’s Eni, US major Occidental, France’s Total, and Sonatrach signed a $4 billion oil and gas production-sharing contract that Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said would provide Italy with “significant volumes of natural gas.”

                  In addition, Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab had indicated at an energy summit in Algiers that his country was examining the possibility of laying high-voltage cables under the Mediterranean to export electricity to Europe and that Algeria hopes to produce as much as 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035.

                  It is noteworthy that before the Ukraine war, Algeria provided the European Union with some 11% of its gas needs, against 47% provided by Russia.

                  First non-European country to introduce unemployment grant

                  Asked about whether Algeria’s current economic growth will help decrease the 15% unemployment rate in Algeria, economics specialist Ezz El Din Dedan clarified that “there are relative estimates regarding unemployment in Algeria. About 60% of the composition of the Algerian economy is based on Algerians that work in the black market.”

                  Dedan explained that the official figures do not represent the true proportion of the working class in Algeria as “most of the Algerian youth prefer not to declare their work, and the figures provided by the National Statistics Authority do not include young people who prefer to work in the black market.”

                  According to the Algerian specialist, “It is certain that unemployment rates in Algeria were not updated for two years, but there are some measures taken during the past months, such as the unemployment grant approved by the Algerian authorities,” highlighting that Algeria is the first African country to launch this grant of about $100 (£73) a month for unemployed youth, especially university students.

                  Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced in February that the government will introduce in March unemployment benefits for jobseekers aged between 19 and 40, noting that there are over 600,000 unemployed people in Algeria.

                  Tebboune said Algeria was the first non-European country to introduce such a benefit.

                  Read more: Sonatrach discovers 3 new oil, gas fields in Algeria

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                  Arab League Summit – Hopes and Aspirations

                  Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

                  Viktor Mikhin
                  The next summit of the League of Arab States (LAS), whose participation has been confirmed by the heads of state of numerous Arab countries, will be held in Algiers in early November. On the agenda, of course, are primarily issues related to the reconciliation of a number of Arab countries and their consolidation in the face of various external threats. However, the Arab media and even politicians are already saying that no breakthroughs can be expected from the summit, as the Arab League has lost its once-authoritative status in recent years.

                  Arab leaders have held two consecutive high-level meetings in 2019. In the spring, they met in Tunisia at the annual Arab Summit. In May, they met again in Mecca at the invitation of Riyadh for an extraordinary Arab summit. At issue was Saudi Arabia’s and other Persian Gulf Arab countries’ concern about Iran’s regional policies and opposition to Tehran’s plans to increase its activities in a number of countries in the Arab world. The 31st ordinary Arab summit is now scheduled to be held in Algiers on November 1, with a concluding session on November 2. The Algerian government wanted the summit to take place on the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1954 Algerian Revolution, which led to Algeria’s independence from France in July 1962.

                  Some fears are related to domestic political developments in Algeria, while others stem from Algeria’s relations with other Arab countries, which are not without nuances of disagreement over the choice of a common Arab and regional policy. This concerns the events in Libya, the position on the problems in North and East Africa, including the situation in Western Sahara, and the position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

                  Syria is another major stumbling block given Algeria’s determination to rejoin the Arab League system after being expelled from it in 2011. At the time, this was done under the far-fetched pretext of the alleged use of force by President Bashar al-Assad to quell discontent among some segments of the population. Afterward, incidentally, it was found that the Persian Gulf countries and the West, led by the United States, had a hand in stirring up passions there. Then the situation turned into an endless civil war in which foreign fighters actively participated on the side of the Syrian opposition, generously paid by the same Persian Gulf Arabs.

                  It is worth remembering that the world and Arab countries look distinctive today than they did in 2019 when the last Arab summit was held. The world has changed since then, and not only the Covid-19 pandemic, but also a host of other Arab, Middle Eastern, and international events have changed the overall context in which the Algiers Summit will take place. Three major international developments are expected to influence discussions at the Arab Summit.

                  The first, in chronological order, is the change of government in the United States. After four years of foreign policy by former US President Donald Trump, who tried to move away from old problems that had plagued previous administrations, current US President Joe Biden has returned to an interventionist US foreign policy based on forming new military alliances while strengthening existing ones, such as NATO. The second major event was the war in Ukraine, which was prepared and unleashed by the West under the leadership of the United States to bleed and damage Russia. The third is the growing US-China tension over Taiwan, also initiated by the United States. These three events have had and continue to have a direct impact on the Arab world, and they are clearly not favorable to the Arabs. This concerns both the issue of food security and the high energy prices affecting Arab states that are not oil producers, such as Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, Morocco, and some others.

                  From a regional perspective, there have also been fundamental changes in the Arab country’s relations with Israel, Turkey, and Iran, which will undoubtedly impact the work and conclusions of the Arab Summit. For example, building on Trump’s diplomacy, Israel signed the so-called “Abraham Accords” with four Arab countries in the second half of 2020. The previous Trump administration spoke of the Arab-Israeli normalization process as being deliberately separated from the Palestinian issue, to the detriment of the Palestinians and the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. While the Biden administration advocated for a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine from day one, it refrained from using its influence with the Israelis to resume peace talks with the Palestinians that ended in April 2014.

                  While Trump in May 2018 roughly withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a nuclear agreement between Iran and a group of 5+1 countries, and pursued a strategy of “maximum pressure” on Iran, the Biden administration has worked assiduously to join the JCPOA under a formula known as “control over control.” This means that the United States will join the agreement if Iran is the first to meet all of its obligations. But if the “control over control” formula is implemented, followed by the lifting of some sanctions, the Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, will be very concerned about what the Iranian government will spend the billions of dollars that will flow to Iran as a result of the resumption of oil sales. Will Tehran spend the money on developing the Iranian economy, or will it fund pro-Iranian regimes in the Arab world? If the latter, how will the US respond, and will Washington be able to side with the Saudis?

                  Turkey will also have to face a fierce controversy, as many Arabs see positive developments in Turkish-Arab relations despite the reassessment of Turkey’s strategy in the Middle East, Libya, or the Eastern Mediterranean. Ankara has now significantly tightened its policy in the Arab world, reminding left and right of its “right” as heir to the Ottoman Empire. This presupposes, Erdoğan says, Turkey’s leadership role in the created joint Arab Union. But here there will be clear opposition from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries, given Erdoğan’s recent flirtations with Iran, which is the main enemy of Persian Gulf Arabs.

                  The Algiers summit also comes after the end of the boycott of Qatar by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain and the resumption of diplomatic relations between these countries. One of the most positive results of this intra-Arab reconciliation was the official visits of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to Qatar and the official visit of the ruler of Qatar to Egypt last July. Clearly, this much-needed reconciliation will have a positive impact on the Arab Summit discussions and decisions, both politically and economically. At the same time, the Arabs are taking into account the huge gas reserves in Qatar and its ability to export gas to the Arab states.

                  In addition, special attention is being paid to the situation in Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Tunisia. The Arab world is interested in helping these countries manage them successfully. The financial issue will be one of the main topics of the summit, and here the Persian Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, are likely to have a weighty say. In any case, this summit will provide Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud with an excellent opportunity to strengthen and expand his authority in the Arab League and throughout the Arab world.

                  As for the situation in Libya, Arab leaders are expected to call on Libyan political factions to resolve the ongoing crisis in their country by holding free and fair elections. Experts warn that this must happen as soon as possible to prevent Libya from reverting to the violence that nearly tore the country apart three years ago.

                  The next summit of Arab states in Algiers should prove that the Arab world is united and seeks only Arab solutions to Arab problems. And this requires the unity of all countries in the region. Will the ambitious Arab leaders be able to speak with one voice, or will everyone pull the covers over themselves? — the upcoming Arab League summit will clearly show this.

                  The Ukrainians are in a lot of trouble (Douglas Macgregor)

                  October 21, 2022

                  «أوبك +» هل تقصم ظهر العلاقات الأميركية ـ السعودية

                  الثلاثاء 18 أكتوبر 2022 

                  بتول قصير

                  يبدو أنّ خيبات الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تتوالى. فقد أثار قرار الدول المصدرة للبترول “أوبك” والدول المنتجة للنفط المتحالفة معها “أوبك بلس” خفض إنتاج النفط بمقدار مليوني برميل يومياً، حالة من الهستيريا والغضب في واشنطن، لما له من تداعيات سلبية على الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها. فعلى خلفية القرار عبّر الرئيس جو بايدن أنه “أصيب بخيبة أمل” ووصف القرار بـ “قصير النظر”، واتهم دول المنظمة النفطية بالانحياز إلى روسيا.

                  شكل قرار خفض الإنتاج حالة إرباك بالنسبة لإدارة الرئيس بايدن، فالتوقيت الحرج لهذا القرار يأتي قبل شهر تقريباً من موعد إجراء انتخابات التجديد النصفي للكونغرس. وثمة خطر في أنّ هذا الخفض الذي سيدخل سريان المفعول في الأول من تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر من شأنه أن يتسبّب في ارتفاع أسعار البنزين والغاز، ما يعني انّ واشنطن أمام كارثة سياسية كاملة الأركان على إدارة الرئيس الديمقراطي بايدن، خاصة أنّ خصومه الجمهوريين سيستغلون الفرصة الثمينة هذه للإطاحة بمصداقيته أمام الناخبين الأميركيين خلال عملية الاقتراع، كإثبات على السياسة الفاشلة التي تمتع بها عهده.

                  وعلى خلفية هذا القرار تعالت الأصوات في الكونغرس الأميركي التي تدعو لإعادة النظر في العلاقة مع الرياض، وتأطير العلاقة مع الأخيرة التي اعتبرت الإدارة الأميركية خطوتها بأنها بمثابة انحياز للمملكة في صراعات دولية وأنه قرار بُني على دوافع سياسية ضدّ الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. واللافت انّ ارتفاع وتيرة التوتر بين البلدين ترافق مع طرح النائب الأميركي الديمقراطي توم مالينوفسكي مشروع قانون في مجلس النواب يطالب إدارة الرئيس بايدن بسحب أنظمة الدفاع ضدّ الصواريخ و3000 جندي، وهم قوام القوات الأميركية من السعودية والإمارات. وقال مالينوفسكي في بيان صادر عنه: “لقد حان الوقت لكي تستأنف الولايات المتحدة دورها كدولة عظمى في علاقتها بزبائنها في الخليج”.

                  وعليه فإنّ حفلة الجنون الأميركية عقب قرار “أوبك بلس”، يفسّرها انشغال واشنطن وحلفائها في السعي الدؤوب لضمان أمنهم الطاقي نظراً لأهمية مصادر الطاقة العالمية. خاصة بعد أزمة أوكرانيا وإغلاق روسيا لصنابير الطاقة والغاز عن أوروبا.

                  وكخطوات عاجلة أمر الرئيس الأميركي وزارة الطاقة بالإفراج عن 10 ملايين برميل من الاحتياطي البترولي الاستراتيجي الأميركي في الأسواق مع دخول خفض الإنتاج حيّز التنفيذ في الأول من تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر، والاستمرار في اللجوء إلى احتياطي البترول الاستراتيجي كلما اقتضت الحاجة. كما باشر بايدن بمشاورات مع الكونغرس للبحث في آليات إضافية لتقليص تحكم أوبك في أسعار الطاقة وتقليص اعتماد الولايات المتحدة على المصادر الأجنبية للوقود الأحفوري وتسريع ضخ الاستثمارات في الطاقة النظيفة.

                  من منظورٍ آخر، يبدو أنّ واشنطن تسبّبت بطريقة أو بأخرى بدفع “أوبك بلس” لخفض الإنتاج، عندما قرّرت مؤخراً رفع أسعار الفائدة والدولار، في وقت يستورد العالم النفط بالعملة الأميركية، ورفع قيمته يؤثر على الدول المستوردة للنفط، ما تسبّب بقلة الطلب عليه، ما أدّى لخلق فائض نفطي لدول “أوبك بلس”. واشنطن المذهولة من القرار حمّلت الرياض مسؤولية تداعياته، معتبرة أنّ دوافعه سياسية وانحياز لروسيا وسيشكل دعماً لها لا يُستهان به.

                  بدورها السعودية رفضت الاتهامات الأميركية التي لا تستند إلى الحقائق، وعلقت بأنّ القرار اتخذ بالإجماع من كافة دول المجموعة، وهو قرار اقتصادي بحت. وما زاد الطين بلة، أنّ قراراً مدعوماً من السعودية بأن تتوقف مجموعة “أوبك بلس” عن استخدام بيانات وكالة الطاقة الدولية، وهي الهيئة الغربية لمراقبة قطاع الطاقة، ما يعكس المخاوف من التأثير الأميركي على البيانات.

                  وأخيراً، يبدو انّ زيارة بايدن للسعودية في تموز/ يوليو لم تفعل شيئاً يُذكر لتغيير تصميم محمد بن سلمان على رسم سياسة خارجية مستقلة عن النفوذ الأميركي، خاصة أنّ الزيارة أغضبت ولي العهد، الذي كان منزعجاً من أنّ بايدن تحدث علناً عن تعليقاته الخاصة مع العائلة المالكة بشأن وفاة الصحافي جمال خاشقجي. وهذا لا يعني انّ البيت الأبيض سيتجه لاتخاذ قرارات عقابية واضحة تجاه الرياض، فهو وعلى الرغم من العلاقات بين كلّ من المملكة والولايات المتحدة شهدت مداً وجزراً على مدى عقود خلت وحتى الفترة الحالية، إلا انّ الدولتين تتمتعان بشراكة استراتيجية، مدعومة بمصالح مشتركة. فالبلدان يشتركان في رؤية متوافقة تجاه العديد من القضايا الدولية والإقليمية، من مسألة الملف النووي الإيراني، والتحالف الرباعي ضدّ اليمن، وغيرها من الملفات الإقليمية والدولية.

                  وعليه فإنّ ما يجمع واشنطن والرياض أكبر بكثير مما يمكن أن يزعزع علاقة البلدين الشاملة في كافة المستويات. بيد أنَّ هذه العلاقات تعرّضت وتتعرّض في أوقات كثيرة لمثل هذه الهزات، إلا أنَّه من المستبعد أن تذهب ردود الأفعال إلى مستويات بعيدة، خصوصاً أنّ قرار «أوبك بلس» لم يكن سعودياً بحتاً.

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