Ukraine Has Five Months to Impress US Before Being Pressured into Peace Talks

May 19, 2023

By Staff, Agencies

US media is reporting that Ukraine has five months to show demonstrable and significant gains or Western allies fear financial and military support from the US may wane and pressure will mount on the country to enter into peace negotiations.

US media reported on the matter, citing several senior European officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The United States is entering an election cycle and it is important, one European official says, that the American public can be sold on the idea that the more than $113 billion in taxpayer aid given to Ukraine has been effective and “to prove that all of those aid packages have been successful in terms of Ukrainian advances.”

US officials contend that the current $48 billion package which was authorized last year, is enough to sustain Ukraine for roughly five more months, but European allies are concerned future aid packages from the US will come close to matching that level.

Nevertheless, earlier this month Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said his country needed more Western weapons before he could order the start of Ukraine’s much-hyped counter-offensive. He visited four NATO nations this week, Italy, Germany, France, and the UK, securing billions in more aid, but European support is still a fraction of what the US has been providing.

The US government has also hit its self-imposed debt ceiling, which has led to a debate on domestic spending. Some social programs may be cut in the negotiations, which would make selling aid packages to the American taxpayer even more difficult if Ukraine cannot be presented as a winning bet.

US President Joe Biden has, publicly at least, remained steadfast in his support for Ukraine. Before heading to the G7 Summit on Wednesday, a White House official said that “President Biden has been very clear about supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

However, Biden’s likely opponent in 2024, former President Donald Trump, said last week he didn’t think of the war “in terms of winning and losing,” and is instead focused on “getting it settled so we stop killing all these people.” He also would not commit to sending more aid packages and promised to end the war “in 24 hours.”

And there have been hints from other Republicans that support for Ukraine is not unlimited. While House Speaker Kevin McCarthy [R-CA] said he will “continue to support” aid to Ukraine, he also said previously that it won’t come in the form of a “blank check.”

Support among the American public for Ukraine has also been slipping. Polls have shown support as low as 48% in January and while other polls have had that number over 50% in more recent months, it is still far from last summer when 73% of Americans supported military aid to Ukraine.

Without significant gains by the Ukrainian armed forces, it is unlikely that trend will reverse itself.

“If we get to September and Ukraine has not made significant gains, then the international pressure on [the West] to bring them to negotiations will be enormous,” one official said.

Both the UN General Assembly and G20 summit take place in September. Both events would represent an opportunity to get both sides to the negotiating table.

Several countries have offered to act as mediators, including China, Brazil and Turkey, but Zelensky has rejected mediation since the beginning of the conflict when Ukraine pulled out of negotiations mediated by Turkey. On Saturday, he rejected another offer from Pope Francis for mediation.

But much of Ukraine’s sustained capabilities depend on Western support, and another European official said they “can’t keep the same level of assistance forever,” though he felt another year or two may be possible.

America gives Ukraine 5 months before cutting support, disrupting its access to the F-16, and strikes targeting the Crimean railways
379 _ A radioactive cloud from the detonation of depleted uranium missile stores in Ukraine and the completion of control over Bakhmut


MARCH 2ND, 2023



Rarely does the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations make an official remark expressing happiness over any U.N. proceeding concerning the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Indeed, the Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour is “very happy that there was a very strong united message from the Security Council against the illegal, unilateral measure” undertaken by the Israeli government.

The ‘measure’ is a specific reference to a decision, on February 12, by the far-right government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to construct 10,000 new housing units in nine illegal Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Expectedly, Netanyahu was angered by the supposedly ‘very strong united message’ emanating from an institution that is hardly known for its meaningful action regarding international conflicts, especially in the Palestinian-Israeli case.

Mansour’s happiness may be justified from some people’s perspective, especially as we seldom witness a strongly worded position by the U.N. Security Council that is both critical of Israel and wholly embraced by the United States. The latter has used the veto power 53 times since 1972 – per U.N. count – to block UNSC draft resolutions that are critical of Israel.

However, on examination of the context of the latest U.N. statement on Israel and Palestine, there is little reason for Mansour’s excitement. The U.N. statement in question is just that: a statement, with no tangible value and no legal repercussions.

This statement could have been meaningful if the language had remained unchanged from its original draft. Not a draft of the statement itself, but of a binding U.N. resolution that was introduced on February 15 by the U.A.E. Ambassador.

Reuters revealed that the draft resolution would have demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” That resolution – and its strong language – was scrapped under pressure from the U.S. and was replaced by a mere statement that “reiterates” the Security Council’s position that “continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines.”

The statement also expressed “deep concern”, actually, “dismay” with Israel’s February 12 announcement.

Netanyanu’s angry response was mostly intended for public consumption in Israel, and to keep his far-right government allies in check; after all, the conversion of the resolution into a statement, and the watering down of the language were all carried out following a prior agreement among the U.S., Israel and the P.A. In fact, the Aqaba conference held on February 26 is a confirmation that that agreement has indeed taken place. Therefore, the statement should not have come as a surprise to the Israeli prime minister.

Moreover, U.S. media spoke openly about a deal, which was mediated by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The reason behind the deal, initially, was to avert a “potential crisis”, which would have resulted from the US vetoing the resolution. According to the Associated Press, such a veto “would have angered Palestinian supporters at a time that the US and its Western allies are trying to gain international support against Russia.”

But there is another reason behind Washington’s sense of urgency. In December 2016, then U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, refrained from vetoing a similar UNSC resolution that strongly condemned Israel’s illegal settlement activities. This occurred less than a month before the end of Barack Obama’s second term in the White House. For Palestinians, the resolution was too little, too late. For Israel, it was an unforgivable betrayal. To appease Tel Aviv, the Trump Administration gave the U.N. post to Nikki Haley, one of the most ardent supporters of Israel.

Though another US veto would have raised a few eyebrows, it would have presented a major opportunity for the strong pro-Palestine camp at the U.N. to challenge U.S. hegemony over the matter of the Israeli occupation of Palestine; it would have also deferred the issue to the U.N. General Assembly and other U.N.-related organizations.

Even more interesting, according to the Blinken-mediated agreement – reported by AP, Reuters, Axios and others – Palestinians and Israelis would have to refrain from unilateral actions. Israel would freeze all settlement activities until August, and Palestinians would not “pursue action against Israel at the U.N. and other international bodies such as the World Court, the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Council.” This was the gist of the agreement at the U.S.-sponsored Aqaba meeting as well.

While Palestinians are likely to abide by this understanding – since they continue to seek U.S. financial handouts and political validation – Israel will most likely refuse; in fact, practically, they already have.

Though the agreement had reportedly stipulated that Israel would not stage major attacks on Palestinian cities, only two days later, on February 22, Israel raided the West Bank city of Nablus. It killed 11 Palestinians and wounded 102 others, including two elderly men and a child.

A settlement freeze is almost impossible. Netanyahu’s extremist government is mostly unified by their common understanding that settlements must be kept in constant expansion. Any change to this understanding would certainly mean a collapse of one of Israel’s most stable governments in years.

Therefore, why, then, is Mansour “very happy”?

The answer stems from the fact that the P.A.’s credibility among Palestinians is at an all-time low. Mistrust, if not outright disdain, of Mahmoud Abbas and his Authority, is one of the main reasons behind the brewing armed rebellion against the Israeli occupation. Decades of promises that justice will eventually arrive through U.S.-mediated talks have culminated in nothing, thus Palestinians are developing their own alternative resistance strategies.

The UN statement was marketed by P.A.-controlled media in Palestine as a victory for Palestinian diplomacy. Thus, Mansour’s happiness. But this euphoria was short-lived.

The Israeli massacre in Nablus left no doubt that Netanyahu will not even respect a promise he made to his own benefactors in Washington. This takes us back to square one: where Israel refuses to respect international law, the U.S. refuses to allow the international community to hold Israel accountable, and where the P.A. claims another false victory in its supposed quest for the liberation of Palestine.

Practically, this means that Palestinians are left with no other option but to carry on with their resistance, indifferent – and justifiably so – to the U.N. and its ‘watered-down’ statements.

Fatah: US blackmailed countries at the UN to vote against Palestine

31 Dec 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

The member of the Fatah Central Committee says that the UN resolution to refer “Israel” to the criminal court is highly important.

Ahmed Halas, member of Fatah Central Committee in an interview on Al-Mayadeen.

Member of the Fatah Central Committee, Ahmed Halas, said in an interview with Al-Mayadeen on Saturday that, “the decision of the United Nations General Assembly to refer ‘Israel’ to criminal prosecution is of great importance.”

Halas emphasized that “the Palestinian position is the only thing capable of putting an end to the Israeli aggression,” stressing that “the international community is a catalyst.”

The official added that the “American role in the United Nations is more hostile than the Israeli position towards the Palestinian cause.”

He also pointed out that the “United States exerted pressure and blackmail against many countries to prevent them from voting in favor of the resolution.”

“The time has come to stop talking about Palestinian national unity,” and “we must move to practical steps, away from who will achieve more gains, and the signed unity agreements carry the same content,” Halas added.

Earlier today, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution requesting an opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal implications of “Israel’s” illegal occupation of Palestine and its “practices and settlement activities affecting the rights of the Palestinian people,” despite the occupation’s strained efforts to incite and lure several countries in order to prevent the ICJ’s advisory opinion.

Last week, the resolution, titled “Israeli practices and settlement activities affecting the rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories,” was approved by the UN General Assembly Fourth Committee with 98 votes in favor, 17 votes against, and 52 abstentions.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), situated in The Hague and commonly known as the World Court, is the highest UN court dealing with international issues. Its decisions are binding, but the ICJ has no authority to enforce them.

The resolution was passed by the General Assembly by a vote of 87 to 26 with 53 abstentions. Russia and China voted in favor of the resolution.

Unsurprisingly, “Israel”, the United States, and 24 of their allies voted against the resolution, most notably the United Kingdom and Germany, while France was one of the 53 nations that abstained.

It is worth noting that the UN General Assembly asked the ICJ to give an advisory opinion on the “legal consequences of Israeli occupation, settlement, and annexation – including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character, and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

Read more: 

The Nakba Day Triumph: How the UN Is Correcting a Historical Wrong

December 14, 2022

Gaza’s Great March of Return. (Photo: Abdullah Aljamal, Palestine Chronicle)

The next Nakba Day will be officially commemorated by the United Nations General Assembly on May 15, 2023. The decision by the world’s largest democratic institution is significant, if not a game changer.

For nearly 75 years, the Palestinian Nakba, the ‘Catastrophe’ wrought by the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist militias in 1947-48, has served as the epicenter of the Palestinian tragedy as well as the collective Palestinian struggle for freedom.

Three decades ago, namely after the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian leadership in 1993, the Nakba practically ceased to exist as a relevant political variable. Palestinians were urged to move past that date, and to invest their energies and political capital in an alternative and more ‘practical’ goal, a return to the 1967 borders.

In June 1967, Israel occupied the rest of historic Palestine – East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza – igniting yet another wave of ethnic cleansing.

Based on these two dates, Western cheerleaders of Oslo divided Palestinians into two camps: the ‘extremists’ who insisted on the centrality of the 1948 Nakba, and the ‘moderates’ who agreed to shift the center of gravity of Palestinian history and politics to 1967.

Such historical revisionism impacted every aspect of the Palestinian struggle: it splintered Palestinians ideologically and politically; relegated the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, which is enshrined in UN Resolution 194; spared Israel the legal and moral accountability of its violent establishment on the ruins of Palestine, and more.

Leading Palestinian Nakba historian, Salman Abu Sitta, explained in an interview a few years ago the difference between the so-called pragmatic politics of Oslo and the collective struggle of Palestinians as the difference between ‘aims’ and ‘rights’. Palestinians “don’t have ‘aims’ … (but) rights,” he said. “… These rights are inalienable, they represent the bottom red line beyond which no concession is possible. Because doing so will destroy their life.”

Indeed, shifting the historical centrality of the narrative away from the Nakba was equivalent to the very destruction of the lives of Palestinian refugees as it has been tragically apparent in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria in recent years.

While politicians from all relevant sides continued to bemoan the ‘stagnant’ or even ‘dead’ peace process – often blaming one another for that supposed calamity – a different kind of conflict was taking place. On the one hand, ordinary Palestinians along with their historians and intellectuals fought to reassert the importance of the Nakba, while Israelis continued to almost completely ignore the earth-shattering event, as if it is of no consequence to the equally tragic present.

Gaza’s ‘Great March of Return‘ (2018-2019) was possibly the most significant collective and sustainable Palestinian action that attempted to reorient the new generation around the starting date of the Palestinian tragedy.

Over 300 people, mostly from third or fourth post-Nakba generations, were killed by Israeli snipers at the Gaza fence for demanding their Right of Return. The bloody events of those years were enough to tell us that Palestinians have not forgotten the roots of their struggle, as it also illustrated Israel’s fear of Palestinian memory.

The work of Rosemary Sayigh on the exclusion of the Nakba from the trauma genre, and also that of Samah Sabawi, demonstrate, not only the complexity of the Nakba’s impact on the Palestinian collective awareness, but also the ongoing denial – if not erasure – of the Nakba from academic and historical discourses.

“The most significant traumatic event in Palestinian history is absent from the ‘trauma genre’,” Sabawi wrote in the recently-published volume, Our Vision for Liberation.

Sayigh argued that “the loss of recognition of (the Palestinian refugees’) rights to people- and state- hood created by the Nakba has led to an exceptional vulnerability to violence,” with Syria being the latest example.

Israel was always aware of this. When Israeli leaders agreed to the Oslo political paradigm, they understood that removing the Nakba from the political discourse of the Palestinian leadership constituted a major victory for the Israeli narrative.

Thanks to ordinary Palestinians, those who have held on to the keys and deeds to their original homes and land in historic Palestine, history is finally being rewritten, back to its original and accurate form.

By passing Resolution A/77/L.24, which declared May 15, 2023, as ‘Nakba Day’, the UNGA has corrected a historical wrong.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, rightly understood the UN’s decision as a major step towards the delegitimization of Israel as a military occupier of Palestine. “Try to imagine the international community commemorating your country’s Independence Day by calling it a disaster. What a disgrace,” he said.

Absent from Erdan’s remarks and other responses by the Israeli officials is the mere hint of political or even moral accountability for the ethnic cleansing of over 530 Palestinian towns and villages, and the expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians, whose descendants are now numbered in millions of refugees.

Not only did Israel invest decades in canceling and erasing the Nakba, it also criminalized it by passing what is now known as the Nakba Law of 2011.

But the more Israel engages in this form of historical negationism, the harder Palestinians fight to reclaim their historical rights.

May 15, 2023, UN Nakba Day represents the triumph of the Palestinian narrative over that of Israeli negationists. This means that the blood spilled during Gaza’s March of Return was not in vain, as the Nakba and the Right of Return are now back at the center of the Palestinian story.

UNGA votes in favor of commemorating Palestinian Nakba day

December 2, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The initiative comes at the request of Egypt, Jordan, Senegal, Tunisia, Yemen, and Palestine despite opposition from the US, the UK, and of course, the Nakba perpetrator, “Israel”.

UN approves pro-Palestinian resolution to mark Nakba day

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution for the commemoration of the Nakba, or the “day of catastrophe” that marks the day Palestinians were expelled from their homeland in 1948 following the Israeli regime’s claim to “existence”.

The voting turnout showed 90 were in favor and 30 were opposed, whereas 47 abstained.

The initiative came at the request of Egypt, Jordan, Senegal, Tunisia, Yemen, and Palestine despite opposition from the US, the UK, and of course the Nakba perpetrator, “Israel”.

Among the countries that opposed the resolution were Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and the Netherlands.

As per the resolution, the UN calls for a “commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Nakba, including by organizing a high-level event at the General Assembly Hall” in May 2023. 

The resolution also urges the “dissemination of relevant archives and testimonies.”

See this: Palestine.. 74 years after the Nakba

In a similar context, the UN General Assembly adopted yesterday a pro-Syrian resolution regarding Syria’s Golan Heights, which “Israel” has been occupying for more than half a century now.

The resolution demanded the withdrawal of “Israel” from the area.

92 states voted in favor of the resolution, whereas 8 voted against and 65 abstained.

The resolution called on “Israel” to abide by the resolution and withdraw from the Golan Heights to the line of June 4, 1967. It also declared that “Israel” has failed to comply with Security Council Resolution 497 of 1981, which demands the occupation to annul its decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration in the occupied area.

It is worth noting that UNSC Resolution no. 497, adopted unanimously on December 17, 1981, declares that the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights is “null and void and without international legal effect.”

Read more: Netanyahu, far-right Religious Zionism party sign first coalition deal

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New Era of “Israel’s” War Crimes Accountability

November 29, 2022 

Source: Al Mayadeen English

By Ruqiya Anwar 

Notably, ongoing violence and crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including limited access to health care, education, and livelihood activities, affect socioeconomic conditions.

Notably, ongoing violence and crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including limited access to health care, education, and livelihood activities, affect socioeconomic conditions. Plans to change the demographic mix, character, and status of the holy city of Jerusalem “were also mentioned. The resolution queries the court on how these Israeli policies and activities” impact the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal ramifications that arise for all states and the United Nations from this position. The Palestinian UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, recommended mobilizing “all elements of the international law-based order, including international justice”.

Significantly, the first report to the General Assembly from the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including “East Jerusalem and Israel”, was published earlier. It affirms that there are compelling reasons to believe that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is now illegal under international law due to its permanence and the Israeli Government’s de facto annexation policies. Furthermore, the Commission has concluded that “Israel’s” continued use of force to occupy Palestinian territory creates international obligations and keeps “Israel” responsible for past atrocities on Palestinian civil and political rights.

The ICJ addresses international conflicts between nations or offers legal advice on problems that the UN Security Council or General Assembly refers to it. An ICJ legal opinion typically takes at least a year to obtain. “Israel’s” separation wall and settlements in the occupied West Bank were found illegal by the International Court of Justice in a 2004 legal ruling. Israelis fear that the ICJ would support the Palestinian position that the occupation equates to annexation, which would undermine efforts by governments, businesses, and civil society organizations to boycott, divest and sanction “Israel”. To prevent the Palestinians from enacting the resolution, the Israeli Government has recently begun an all-out offensive.

In this scenario, International support for the special committee’s mandate is required to spread the message that the Israeli occupation is the root cause of all Middle Eastern problems and to inspire global action to end the suffering. It should call attention to the violent eviction and transfer of Palestinian families, the trespassing and intimidation of Palestinians by Israeli settlers, and the efforts to hasten al-Quds’s Judaization at the expense of the city’s Christian and Muslim Palestinian inhabitants.

The Israeli Government’s policies have severely and in many ways affected many facets of Palestinian life, including women’s access to clean, inexpensive water, negatively influencing the whole Palestinian agriculture industry. Moreover, the erosion of economic, social, and cultural rights causes a great deal of “silent harm” and psychological distress, some of which may not be immediately obvious. Nevertheless, the effects of these incapacitating processes, both now and in the future, are devastating.

Furthermore, “Israel” cannot continue to promote its narrative that it has done nothing wrong while also pursuing annexationist policies and denying the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination; it is now abundantly evident. Essentially, international law stands on the side of the Palestinians, and all they needed was the ultimate political environment for the world to applaud such a courageous act.

The situation on the ground has gotten worse in the occupied territories. Palestinian human rights have consistently been violated by “Israel”, which has continued its policy of repression. Human rights organizations worldwide agree that the ongoing Israeli occupation has established apartheid-like conditions.

The Palestinian diplomats’ ultimate goal was for the United Nations Security Council to vote to recognize Palestine as a full member state without any veto interference from the United States. Recognizing Palestine as a full UN member state, even while it is occupied, would signify that the international community is committed to the two-state solution.

Additionally, the rules of conduct for nations under temporary occupation are specified in international humanitarian law. However, because this is a 55-year-old occupation, it is not a temporary one. Therefore, the highest court in the world must rule that it is an occupation that leads to illegal annexation — a decision that will have global ramifications. In demanding such a legal requirement, the Palestinians astounded the Israelis and their allies.

Most importantly, the repeated statements before the United Nations have not stopped severe breaches of Palestinian rights. While nations continue to express outrage and resolutions are passed, nothing appears to change. No amount of occupation by the occupying power of Palestinian territory will ever lead to peace.

The Palestinian people’s intrinsic rights, such as the right to self-determination and the right of return, have been violated blatantly by “Israel” in violation of its commitments under international law. Bringing an end to this miserable situation was the international community’s responsibility. Although the international community has repeatedly stated that Palestinians have a right to freedom, security, and prosperity, Israel has persisted in denying it.

This appears unlikely given the inherent bias towards Israel and vested interests of the international community, the United States and Europe, in particular. Until there is a fundamental shift in the balance of power, the status quo of a constant conflict punctuated by periodic escalation and carnage will stay, as there is no indication that international political will is present or will emerge.

Now, the UN has adopted a Palestinian resolution calling for the ICJ to weigh in on “Israel’s” protracted occupation quickly. Nevertheless, there is hope because the UN has called “International Justice” for a legal advisory opinion on the nature of the Israeli occupation. But will the UN follow through and actually hold “Israel” accountable? 


Fourth Committee Hears Support for Referring Question of Palestine to International Court of Justice for Advisory Opinion | UN Press

Report-COI-OPT-14Sept2022-EN.pdf (

OHCHR | The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

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UN Votes to Take “Israeli” Occupation of Palestine to Hague Int’l Court

November 12, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The United Nations General Assembly voted 98-17 to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the illegality of the “Israeli” entity’s occupation of Palestinian territories on the grounds that it can be considered de facto annexation.

This resolution specifically asked the ICJ for an opinion on the status of al-Quds [Jerusalem]. The city is one of the most volatile and contentious points of discord between “Israelis” and Palestinians.

The “Israeli” entity, the United States, Canada and Australia were among those who opposed the ICJ referral when the UNGA Fourth Committee held its preliminary vote on Friday in New York.

The issue now moves to the UNGA plenum for final approval.

“There is no authority that can declare that the Jewish nation is an occupier in its homeland,” the “Israeli” entity’s ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan tweeted defiantly after the vote.

Erdan wrote that he had warned the UN nations that an appeal to the ICJ at The Hague was the “last nail in the burial coffin” of “Israeli”-Palestinian reconciliation. “Unilateral measures” such as an ICJ appeal “will be met with unilateral measures.”

At issue is the question of whether after 56 years, the “Israeli” entity’s hold on territories it captured from Jordan Egypt and Syria in the defensive 1967 Six-Day War, can be considered tantamount to de facto annexation and thus illegal under international law.

The international community does not recognize “Israeli” “sovereignty” in al-Quds [Jerusalem] and only the US accepts the entity’s annexation of the Golan.

The “Israeli” entity withdrew from Gaza, but the international community still holds that its under “Israeli” occupation due to the “Israeli” Occupation Forces’ [IOF’s] control of much of its borders.

An ICJ opinion on the matter is non-binding, but it would help codify into international law the Palestinian insistence that all that pre-1967 territory, should be within the final boundaries of its future state.

At Friday’s meeting, the US and the “Israeli” entity charged that the resolution was an attempt to bypass a negotiated resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians and as such ran counter to past UN resolutions including at the Security Council which called for such talks.

“The Palestinian’s have rejected every single peace initiative, and now they embroil an external body with the excuse that the conflict has not been resolved but the only reason why it has not been resolved is because of their rejectionism,” Erdan said. “They claim that they are ready to negotiate, but what they fail to mention is that they are only ready to do so if they are guaranteed 100 percent of their demands before they even sit down at the negotiating table,” Erdan explained.

“Exploiting a UN organ by enlisting the UN’s politicized anti-‘Israel’ majority for the purpose of forcing your demands instead of negotiating, is clearly a unilateral step,” he added.

The United States Representative Andrew Weinstein said that the “failure” in such resolutions “to acknowledge the shared history of the Haram al-Sharif [Temple Mount], a site sacred to both Jews and Muslims, is perhaps the clearest demonstration that they are intended only to denigrate ‘Israel’, not to help achieve peace.”

After the vote, the Palestinian Authority Ambassador Riyad Mansour thanked all the nations that endorsed and supported the resolutions.

“Nothing justifies standing with ‘Israeli’ annexation and occupation,” Mansour said, noting that these actions went against the UN Charter.

“This occupation needs to end,” Mansour said.

The request for an ICJ advisory opinion, submitted for the first time this year, was tacked onto a pre-existing annual resolution called “‘Israeli’ practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people.”

The text of the resolution was read out by Namibia and Cuba.

A number of nations objected to the inclusion of the ICJ resolution in an already existing text rather than as a stand-alone item, noting that the matter had been pushed through quickly with little time for review.

The resolution asks the ICJ to advise on “the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violations by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”

This includes, the resolution stated, “measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

In addition, the resolution asked the ICJ to explain how Israel’s policies and practices “affect the legal status of the occupation” and what are the “legal consequences that arise for all states the UN from this status.”

Among the nations that opposed the text were Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Liberia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, and Palau.

Many European countries abstained including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Ukraine, Ireland and Poland were among those countries that supported the ICJ referral.

This is the second such ICJ referral. In 2004 the ICJ issued an advisory opinion against the “Israeli” entity’s security barrier, explaining that its construction in east al-Quds [Jerusalem] and the West Bank was illegal.

Arab Summit launched; Palestine a central cause

November 1, 2022

The 31st Arab Summit opens with Tunisian President Kais Saied who hoped that the summit in Algeria would find solutions and bridge rifts.

Arab ministers and delegates in Algeria

Arab League summit kicked off on Tuesday in Algeria, with the participation of 16 Arab presidents, including the leaders of Tunisia, Qatar, Sudan, and Egypt.

The summit opened with Tunisian President Kais Saied who hoped that the summit in Algeria would find solutions and bridge rifts.

Saied affirmed that Algeria exerted strained efforts to maintain unity among Arabs.

He further stressed that the right of Palestine must be reiterated in all conferences and meetings to make sure it is never absent.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Saied noted that President Tebboune’s efforts were crowned with bringing the Palestinians together and achieving national reconciliation.

Tebboune: We will demand the UNGA to recognize Palestine as an independent state

During his speech at the 31st regular session of the Arab League’s Council at the summit level, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune shared Saied’s stance on Palestine, stressing, “Our central and core cause is Palestinian, which is subject to elimination attempts through the Israeli occupation’s practices.”

“We will demand the General Assembly of the United Nations to recognize Palestine as an independent state,” he added.

Historically, Algeria has entertained good diplomatic with Palestine and is one of the Arab countries to reject the normalization of ties with “Israel”.

The Algerian President also stressed that the crises in Libya, Syria, and Yemen require a solution and demand prioritizing national reconciliation to reach peaceful and consensual solutions over anything else.

Tebboune urged the formation of a committee to support the Palestinian cause, emphasizing that “Palestine must be granted full membership at the United Nations.”

Furthermore, he stated that the roots of crises in Libya, Syria, and Yemen need to be addressed.

Tebboune concluded by expressing hope that practical solutions and necessary decisions will be the outcomes of the summit.

Aboul Gheit: Several Arab countries living in dire security conditions

The Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the Arab countries “are in urgent need of dealing with the ongoing crises.”

During his speech at the 31st Arab Summit on Tuesday, Aboul Gheit pointed out that “several Arab countries are living in dire security situations, such as terrorism, militias, armed groups, and parties that foment sedition and meddle in the Arab countries’ affairs.”

He pointed out that “the world stands still and does not advocate the two-state solution,” claiming that “the Arabs insist on the establishment of the Palestinian state based on the 1967 border.”

“We call on all the countries in the world to join my peaceful goals for the sake of the inclusion of Palestine and obtaining full membership at the United Nations,” Aboul Gheit said.

The Secretary-General added, “We want this summit to be a true summit of unity and restoration of the Arab willpower.”

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Sitrep UNGA: Russia suspended from 47 member Human Rights Council in Geneva

April 07, 2022

The US-proposed resolution received 93 votes, with 24 countries opposed and 58 abstaining.

The only other country ever to be expelled from the UN Human Rights Council was Libya, in 2011, as NATO bombed the North African country to help militants overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RT, Moscow, March 18, 2022

March 19, 2022

Question: The sanctions that are currently imposed on Russia are of course unprecedented. And they are really negatively affecting the lives of ordinary Russians, even though Washington is saying that it’s not targeting Russians. What can you say about what the goals of these sanctions are and who the target really is?

Sergey Lavrov:

 I believe the goal of the sanctions is much more strategic than just Ukraine. I think what we witness in Ukraine is the quintessence of the western course, strategic course to marginalise Russia, to contain Russia, to stop Russia’s development and to reduce Russia to a zero role in world politics and world economy, world trade, world sports, art, science, education

And we observe unprecedented steps our Western colleagues are taking. One of the underlying trends is the United States’ desire – which has been much more manifested by the Biden administration – to come back to a unipolar world. And, if you wish, they are trying to take the melting pot concept from the United States soil and make a melting pot from the entire world, and they would be the smelters. The European Union already, I think 99 percent, stopped trying to be independent. President Macron, of course, keeps repeating that strategic autonomy for the European Union is his goal and he would be fighting for it, but my guess is that he would not succeed. Germany is already absolutely ready to obey instructions from the United State. The situation with North Stream 2 clearly indicated what exact place in world politics Germany occupies now, when the Americans in fact have “persuaded” the Germans and others that they, the Americans, know much better what Europe needs for its energy security than Europeans themselves. And there are many examples like this. So the sanctions drive is going to continue, they are threatening the fifth wave, maybe there would be another wave, but we’re used to it. I will recall that, long before the Ukrainian crisis erupted because of the illegal anti-constitutional coup d’etat, the sanctions were already imposed on us. It was, you know, when the Jackson–Vanik amendment was repealed, the Magnitsky Act was immediately introduced and the sanctions, in one way or another, stayed. And then there was a series of sanctions, as you mentioned, to punish us, basically, for supporting the legitimate cause of Russians in Ukraine, Russians in Crimea, you know this story, I wouldn’t rehearse the events and the sequence of events.

The latest sanctions wave was really unprecedented and, as President Putin recalled, we are now champions in the number of sanctions introduced against the Russian Federation – more than 5,000 individual acts, almost twice as many as was introduced against Iran and North Korea. But sanctions, or all of this, made us stronger. After the sanctions were announced in 2014, when the West could not accept the free vote of Crimeans to rejoin the Russian Federation, when the West basically supported the illegitimate and unconstitutional coup d’etat. You know what was very interesting to me when I talked about those events to my Western colleagues? They very often use the tactic of cutting off an unwanted historical period. The situation in Ukraine they start discussing only with what they call annexation of Crimea. If you remind them that it all started with the European Union being unable to insist on the implementation of the deal, which they guaranteed, by the opposition, and then the opposition just threw away the deal signed and guaranteed by the European Union, and then the leaders of the opposition and of the so-called Maidan, the radicals, like Dmitry Yarosh were saying “We stand for a Ukraine without Russkis and katsaps” (which means Muscovites), and he publicly stated that if the Russians – well, he said the Russians in Crimea would never think Ukrainian, would never speak Ukrainian, would never glorify the heroes, meaning Bandera and Shukhevich and other collaborators of Hitler – and that’s why Russians must be swiped out of Crimea. Actually, this was said a couple of weeks before the Crimeans eventually decided to go to referendum. And these words were accompanied by deeds. They sent armed groups to take control of the Crimean parliament, and that’s how it all started. Not to mention the initiative – immediately, on the first day of this coup d’etat, the putschists introduced an initiative to do away with the status of the Russian language in Ukraine, which was in the Ukrainian Constitution. So all these instincts were immediately translated into very Russophobic policies.

The idea that Russians should get out of Ukraine is still very much on the minds of politicians in this country. Oleg Tyagnibok, the leader of the ultra-radical party, Svoboda (“Freedom”), has repeatedly said that “we must have de-Russification”, as he calls it. And de-Russification means that ethnic Russians must not have their own language, history and identity in Ukraine and so many similar things. But what is more important for us to understand in the current state of play are these statements by Zelensky himself. So I said that the ultra-radicals called for Russians to be wiped out of Crimea, and President Zelensky, in September last year, said, if you believe you’re a Russian, if you believe you want to be a Russian and if you want to be friendly with Russia, go to Russia. He said this just a few months ago.

So, coming back to sanctions: sanctions we will survive. The measures which the president and the government are developing, elaborating, are being announced. This is only the beginning of our economy getting adjusted to the new situation. After 2014, as I started to say, we did gain experience to rely upon ourselves. And the biggest lesson from this particular historical period is, unlike what we saw after 2014, that now, 

… if there was any illusion that we can one day rely on our Western partners, this illusion is no longer there.

We will have to rely only on ourselves and on our allies who would stay with us. This is the main conclusion for Russia in the context of geopolitics.

Question: I think it’s safe to say that Russian culture specifically has become accustomed to being part of, you might say, a global village of countries that share deep economic ties and enjoy travelling between each other. How do you think these sanctions are going to influence the everyday life of Russians in the long term in relation to that?

Sergey Lavrov: Well, as I said, the assessment of what is going on, in my view, clearly indicates that what America wants is a unipolar world, which would be not like a global village, which would be like an American village and maybe American saloon where who is strongest is calling the shots. And they said they are succeeding to mobilize behind themselves and, on the basis of their own interests, the entire Western world, which is indicative of how independent NATO members and European Union members are and which is indicative of what place the European Union, as I said, would have in the future configuration of the world situation and the world system.

There are players who would never accept the global village under the American sheriff …


China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico – I am sure these countries do not want to be just in the position where Uncle Sam orders them something and they say “Yes, sir.” And of course, Russia is not in the category of countries who would be ready to do so. Actually, when people say – when the Americans and Western Europeans and others say that Russia was defeated in the General Assembly because the vast majority of countries voted against the Russian action in Ukraine, it’s misleading because, if you take the population represented by the countries who were not voting against Russia, and especially if you take the number of countries who introduce sanctions against Russia, a majority of those who voted against us did so under huge pressure, under blackmail, including – I know this for sure – including threats to individual delegates regarding their assets in the United States, bank accounts, children studying in universities and so on and so forth. It’s absolutely unprecedented blackmail and pressure without any scruples. So a majority of those countries who voted with the West, they did not and they would not introduce sanctions against Russia. They believe that it’s, you know, not a very big price to pay for their own practical cooperation with Russia, just to vote on something which is needed for the West for entirely propagandistic purposes. So we will be, as always, open to cooperation with anyone who is ready to do so on the equal basis, on the basis of mutual respect and searching for balance of interests, and the countries to the east of Russia are much more disposed to act on this basis, and we will certainly reciprocate for the benefit of both us and our partners. We are not closing the door on the West. They are doing so. But when they come back to their senses and when this door is reopened, we will be looking at proposed projects of cooperation with a very important thing in mind to which I alluded to already – that we will be going into cooperation with them knowing very well that we cannot be sure that they are reliable and that they are credible as long-term partners.

Question: Well, I’d like to take the discussion now to a sort of different topic: these US-sponsored biolabs in Ukraine. I mean, for years already, Russia has been trying to bring the world’s attention to them. And the latest piece of evidence connected to them the Russian military just put forward not too long ago, with documents signed by US officials in connection to them. Why do you think is the world not paying so much attention to these biolabs? And will Washington and its allies be held accountable for what they’re doing there?

Sergey Lavrov: Actually, it’s interesting that the special military operation launched by the president of the Russian Federation helped discover many things which are very important for understanding what is going on. Recently, the military of Russia, together with Donetsk and Lugansk forces, discovered documents of the Ukrainian general staff indicating clearly that they were preparing a massive attack against the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. So the operation, which was launched by Russia, in fact, preempted this threat and did not allow them to implement what they wanted to do, and they wanted to do exactly what they failed to do implementing the Minsk agreements. They were trying to use what they called Plan B and to take these territories by force with bloodshed on an unbelievable scale, in addition to what they have been doing to civilians for the last eight years.

But another set of documents which was discovered – as you said, documents related to military biological activity of the United States in Ukraine – documents with signatures of Ukrainian officials, US military. 

Those laboratories have been created by the United States all over the world. More than 300 laboratories in various countries, many of them on the perimeter of the Russian Federation – in the former Soviet republics, including Ukraine. Ukraine is probably the biggest project for the Pentagon, who is running this show.

The special Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the Pentagon is in charge of this biological activity, and they are developing very dangerous pathogens, including plague, brucellosis, anthrax and many others, which are really very dangerous. And we know that they were experimenting on potential infections, which could be related to the ethnic groups living in the east of Ukraine and in neighboring regions of Russia.

We have been raising this issue in international organizations for a while, I would say almost more than 20 years. In 2001, we suggested that the countries participating in the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons should develop a verification mechanism which would be transparent, which would be understood by everybody and applied to everybody because the convention itself provides for consultations if any participating state has some suspicions or some information which the state would like to clarify. And if these consultations indicate that there is a good reason for some kind of investigation, then an investigation is supposed to be launched. But there is no mechanism to investigate, and there is no mechanism which would require each and every country, in response to an address, to provide information and to guarantee transparency of its biological activity anywhere, be it on your own territory or abroad.

By the way, 

… the Americans some years ago decided that it is too dangerous to do these things on their own soil. So they moved all these threatening and dangerous activities to other countries,

and more and more they concentrate their research and experiments around the borders of the Russian Federation and China. So we will be insisting on this issue to be picked up by the Biological Weapons Convention, but also by the Security Council, because it’s a clear threat to international peace and security. We will be again emphasising the importance of negotiating a legally binding protocol to the Convention on Biological Weapons, which would require obligatory transparency measures by any participating state. The Americans, I have no slightest doubt, would be against it, but this position of theirs is not defendable. I am convinced that more and more countries understand how dangerous these plans are, and we will continue to fight them.

Question: What can you say on the topic of Washington’s role in all of this? President Zelensky called for weapons to come to his country from the West. He’s talked about a demand for establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and this is something that Joe Biden just recently again said is not going to happen because that would lead, no doubt, to outright war between Russia and NATO and the United States. Why do you think is Ukraine so desperately trying to make some sort of scenario like that happen?

Sergey Lavrov: Whatever you think of some of Joe Biden’s statements, he is a very experienced politician and he understands that it is absolutely inadmissible to establish something like a no-fly zone, to provide planes to Ukraine and to do other things which will bring the risk of direct confrontation between NATO and Russia just, you know, immediately. But Zelensky also understands that there are much less responsible politicians in the United States who are being agitated by the Ukrainian lobby and just driven by Russophobic feelings, and many of them are in Congress. They adopt every now and then resolutions condemning Russia, threatening Russia. I believe Zelensky is counting on them pushing the president in the direction of a more confrontational approach.

We clearly said that any cargo moving into Ukrainian territory which we would believe is carrying weapons would be fair game. This is clear because we are implementing the operation the goal of which is to remove any threat to the Russian Federation coming from Ukrainian soil. This was part of our proposal in December last year when we suggested that we negotiate with NATO security guarantees – the way which would be codifying the old agreement reached at the highest level that no one, no country should increase its security at the expense of the security of others. So they know what it is all about.

They also speak about missile defense. Kiev authorities think of asking NATO members who possess Soviet air defense systems to share this with them.

I would like to remind the countries who might be playing with this idea that 

the Soviet and Russian-made systems of missile defense or of any other purpose are there on the basis of intergovernmental agreements and contracts, which includes an end user certificate. The end user certificate does not allow them to send these weapons to any third country without our consent. This is a legal obligation.

I understand that legality and legal obligations is not something which our Western colleagues respect these days. They’ve already thrown away the presumption of innocence, private property being sacred and many other “pillars” on which the “liberal values” have been resting for so many centuries and decades.

But this is a serious matter, and I can assure you that we would not allow these risks to be materialised. The purpose of our operation is to protect civilians, who have been bombed and shelled and murdered for eight years, and to demilitarise Ukraine so that it does not pose a serious threat to the Russian territory, and to find security guarantees, which would be based on this equal, indivisible security principle for Ukraine, for Russia, for all European countries. We have been proposing this for many years. Denazification is an absolute must. And that includes not only canceling laws encouraging Nazist ideology and practices, but it also includes withdrawing any legislation which discriminates the Russian language and other national minority languages and, in general, national minority rights in Ukraine which have been hugely discriminated and offended.

Question: Well, we’ve talked a lot about the kinetic war, but I wanted to ask another question about the information war actually. A few days ago, the White House had a briefing with several popular TikTokers in the United States, and they were basically briefed on a new anti-Russian narrative that Washington wants to put forward. What do you think about such sort of underhanded propaganda technique when it’s usually Russia that they’re accusing of misinformation and underhanded tactics?

Sergay Lavrov: Well, we are a very, very small player in the international information war. It’s the information… World information is dominated by media belonging to the Americans, the Brits, and also the Germans, the French and others. It’s another matter, what the quality of those information outlets is. If you take CNN, they prefer to avoid analytical materials and they more and more concentrate on some reports which would be made of slogans “Russia is an aggressor,” “Russia is murdering civilians,” “Russia is abusing sports” and so on and so forth.

When they concentrate on TikTok and other resources like this and other platforms and when they target kids because TikTok is about young boys and girls, I believe this is an attempt to brainwash them for the rest of their lives. And this is indecent and not fair.

If you want information and competition, if you want competition among media outlets, then there at must be some rules.

I would remind you and your viewers that in 1990, when the Soviet Union was living under this “new thinking” concept and the human values, common values for humankind, the Western colleagues in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe were pushing very actively, and finding support on the Soviet side, a series of documents of the OSCE on freedom of speech and on access to information. Such documents were endorsed by consensus in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. These days, when your channel and Sputnik many years ago were banned from attending, for example, press conferences and briefings in Élysée in Paris, and when we were drawing the attention of the French colleagues that this was against the commitment in the OSCE, they were saying, “No, no, no, no, no. Access to information is applicable only to mass media and RT and Sputnik are not mass media, they are propaganda tools.”

Another example of abusing the commitments and obligations – when a couple of years ago in London there was a conference on freedom of media in the modern world, no Russian media were invited.

So we know the manners and the tricks which are being used by the Western countries to manipulate media. We understood long ago that there was no such thing as an independent Western media. If you take the United States, only Fox News is trying to present some alternative points of view. But when you watch other channels and when you read social networks and internet platforms, when the acting president was blocked, as you know, and this censorship continues in a very big way and the substitution of notions. Whenever something is happening by the way of mass protest, mass demonstrations, which they don’t like, they immediately call it domestic terrorism. So it’s a war, and it’s a war which involves the methods of information terrorism. There is no doubt about this.

A very interesting example was yesterday, when the Bild newspaper in Germany published a piece saying that myself on the evening of March 16 left Moscow by plane to go to China, but in the area of Novosibirsk, the plane turned back because either Putin told me to come back or the Chinese said, “We don’t want to talk to you.” It was published by, yes, a tabloid, but with millions of copies. And it’s a shame that we have these habits being introduced into the information world by our “friends.

It is not by incident that President Putin said about the existence of the Empire of Lies.

Question: Well, just one more question for you, Mr. Lavrov. Of course, this conflict in Ukraine is not going to go on forever. When it does come to an end, what do you foresee as the main challenges in future Russia–Ukraine relations?

Sergay Lavrov: Well, we never had any issues with the Ukrainian people. I have many Ukrainian friends, the two peoples are very close culturally. Practically all of them speak, and those who don’t, they understand the Russian language. Culture, common history, way of life, attitude to life, traditions of families and communities. So I hope that when this anomaly is over, this will gradually come back. It will have to be gradual.

It cannot come back fast because the efforts of our Western colleagues to make Ukraine a Russophobic and anti-Russian instrument – anti-Russia, as President Putin called it – they started long ago, and they are already rather deeply rooted in Ukrainian mentality, especially the young generation which was born after the demise of the Soviet Union. They have been indoctrinated in a very, very heavy way.

The efforts were taken systemically to train military officers on the basis of radical Bandera and Shukhevich-style methodology. The purpose being – to make sure that they would not become friendly to Russia again and that they would build their nationalism, nationalistic feelings as the means to strengthen the statehood of their country.

The purpose was always to make sure that Russia does not have Ukraine as a friend. It’s like Zbigniew Brzezinski in the late 1990s said, “Russia with Ukraine, a friendly Ukraine next to it, is a superpower. Russia with Ukraine which is not friendly to Russia, is just a regional player.” This concept is very deeply rooted in the minds of American policymakers, and it will take time to get rid of these negative legacies.

Even now, when the armed forces of Ukraine are fighting, trying to procrastinate the crisis. The leaders of Ukraine with the help of American and other Western advisors have reformed the army in the way which puts these radicals, Bandera-like trained officers, to lead all more or less meaningful units in the Ukrainian army. And these people radicalise and terrorise others, especially those who don’t believe that this should be the fate of their country.

Their actions in Mariupol is an example of that. The refugees coming from Mariupol to Russia in dozens of thousands tell such stories. It’s really threatening how this kind of people command armed men and women.

But I am sure, at the end of the day, the historic closeness of two fraternal nations will certainly prevail.

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هل تنزلق قمة النات إلى مواجهة روسيا عسكريّاً ومباشرة؟

الجمعة 18 آذار 2022

 العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط _

حرصت روسيا في عمليتها العسكرية الخاصة التي أطلقتها في أوكرانيا بهدف الدفاع عن الأمن القومي الروسي وأمن الأشخاص الروس في إقليم الدونباس غربي الحدود مع أوكرانيا، على إظهار تحركها منجزاً في إطار أحكام القانون الدولي العام، حيث إنها لم تبدأ عمليتها إلا بعد أن اعترفت باستقلال الجمهوريتين المنفصلتين عن أوكرانيا ثم توقيع معاهدة تعاون ودفاع مشترك معهما ثم قيام الجمهوريتين بطلب تقديم الدعم العسكري للدفاع عنهما. ثم انها ودعماً لحقها في تنفيذ العملية أظهرت الكثير من الوثائق والحجج التي تثبت أنّ أوكرانيا كانت تعدّ لعدوان على روسيا بأسلحة تقليدية وغير تقليدية، وبالتالي فإنّ العملية برمتها يمكن تصنيفها تحت عنوان «الحرب الاستباقية»، وانها عمل من أعمال الدفاع المشروع عن النفس ضدّ خطر تخطى الاحتمال ووصل الى درجة التحقق الفعلي.

وفي هذا التحليل تقدّم روسيا عمليتها او تبرّر أعمالها العسكرية بأمرين الأول استجابة قانونية لطلب دولة حليف متعاقد منعها عسكرياً والثاني دفاع مشروع عن النفس ضدّ خطر تأكد قرب وقوعه، وبالتالي تسقط روسيا من التداول فرضية العدوان التي تتمسك بها مجموعة الغرب الأطلسي وتؤمّن لنفسها الغطاء القانوني الذي يوفره لها التفسير المتقدّم لأحكام القانون الدولي العام وبشكل أدقّ لأحكام الحقّ بالدفاع المشروع عن النفس وإغاثة الحليف المهدّد المعتدى عليه العاجز عن دفع العدوان عنه، ولا تكترث لقرار الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة الذي يرى غير ذلك وبأكثرية ١٤١ صوتاً، بل تقدّم تفسيراً جديداً لمدى حقّ الدفاع عن النفس تفسيراً سيكون محلّ نقاش من قبل خبراء القانون.

 واستنادا لما تقدّم خططت روسيا لعمليتها العسكرية الخاصة وحدّدت أهدافها بأنها دفاعية محضة وانها لا ترمي فيها لاحتلال او اقتطاع أرض بل ترمي الى منع أوكرانيا من تشكيل تهديد جدي مستقبلي للأمن القومي الروسي ولأمن السكان من أصل روسي في الدونباس، أمن يتحقق بشكل عملي وميداني وواقعي لا يكتفي بالمعاهدات والالتزامات القانونية بل يتخطاها الى الحالة والسلوك العملي والسبب في ذلك عائد الى انّ أوكرانيا التي كانت قد التزمت في اتفاقيتي مينسك ١ و٢ بما يؤمّن طلبات روسيا حول الأمن نكثت بالتعهّدات تلك واندفعت في تقديم نفسها مسرحاً لأميركا وللحلف الأطلسي يقيم فيها المختبرات البيولوجية ويتحضر للعبث بالأمن القومي الروسي، ورأت انّ هذه الأهداف لا تتحقق بشكل أساسي إلا بإعلان حياد أوكرانيا ونزع سلاحها وتأكيد استقلال جمهوريتي الدونباس فضلاً عن الاعتراف بنهائية عودة شبه جزيرة القرم الى الدولة الأم روسيا كما سبق وأعلن في العام ٢٠١٤.

بيد انّ اميركا التي امتهنت الاستخفاف بالقانون الدولي العام ومارست الحروب العدوانية ضدّ الشعوب بذرائع مختلفة منها بدعة حقّ التدخل الإنساني المتقدّم على السيادة الوطنية، او إنقاذ العالم من خطر سلاح الدمار الشامل إلخ… وكلها بدع وذرائع تثبت كذبها والخطأ في إطلاقها، انّ أميركا هذه أنكرت على روسيا حقها بالدفاع المشروع عن النفس واعتبرت فعلها عدواناً وأعلنت عليها الحرب الشاملة ووصل الأمر بها الى الحدّ الذي اطلق فيه الرئيس الأميركي بايدن على الرئيس الروسي بوتين صفة «مجرم حرب» وتوعّده بأنه سيدمّر الاقتصاد الروسي ويعزل روسيا عن كامل العالم.

وفي المقابل كان الردّ الروسي وعلى لسان بوتين نفسه مؤكداً الحقّ الروسي بالدفاع المشروع عن النفس ومظهراً إصراره على المضيّ في العملية العسكرية التي أطلقها حتى تحقيق أهدافها المحددة والمعلنة وموجها بشكل صريح او ضمني رسائل واضحة لكلّ معني بالأمر بانّ روسيا لن توقف عمليتها قبل تحقيق أهدافها، وانّ هذه الأهداف يمكن ان تتحقق بالتفاوض إذا استخلصت حكومة كييف العبر من مجريات العملية حتى الآن وانّ تقديم الدعم العسكري لكييف لن يمكنها من الصمود أمام الآلة العسكرية الروسية الماضية قدماً في أعمالها العسكرية حتى النهاية. وأخيراً انّ من حقّ روسيا ان تتصرف وفقاً لمصالحها الدفاعية مع مقدّمي تلك المساعدات وقوافل الإمداد التي تحملها، والمتطوّعين الذين يجندهم الغرب من المرتزقة للقتال في أوكرانيا وبالتالي بات الصراع في أوكرانيا محكوماً باستراتيجيتين:

ـ أولى روسية وتتمثل بالضغط العسكري للوصول الى التفاوض، دون التوسع باحتلال الأرض والاكتفاء بتدمير القدرات العسكرية لحكومة كييف بما يدخلها في الانهيار الميداني ويحملها على الدخول في تفاوض جدي والاستجابة لطلبات روسيا ذات الطبيعة الدفاعية عسكرياً واستراتيجياً وسياسياً، وبما يحول دون تحوّل أوكرانيا مستقبلاً الى منصة تهديد للأمن القومي الروسي.

ـ الثانية أميركية غربية أطلسية وترمي الي إطالة أمد الصراع وجرّ روسيا الى حرب استنزاف لسنوات طويلة لإنهاكها واستنزاف قدراتها وإشغالها عن علاقتها الدولية والمشاركة في حلّ الازمات والمسائل الدولية ومنعها من التكامل الاستراتيجي مع الصين وإيران في إطار المجموعة الاستراتيجية العاملة لمنع أميركا من التسيّد على العالم في ظلّ نظامي دولي أحادي القطبية.

هما استراتيجيتان إذن تحكمان المواجهة في أوكرانيا التي باتت مسرحاً لصراع دولي ينظر إليه من الوجهة الروسية بأنه صراع وجودي ترى انّ الهزيمة فيه تعني نهايتها كدولة بصيغتها القائمة، لأن الهجوم الغربي سيتمدّد ليصل الى تفكيك روسيا ذاتها وشطبها كدولة اتحادية ذات موقع متقدّم في النظام الدولي، وترى فيه أميركا جسراً تعبر عليه ليخرجها من دائرة هزائمها ويمكنها من استعادة القبض على قرار العالم ومتابعة إحكام السيطرة على أوروبا وعلى مصادر الطاقة لتتفرّغ بعد ذلك لمواجهة الصين لاحتوائها.

اما في الميدان، فإنّ روسيا تسعى الآن لممارسة الضغط العسكري بأقصى ما يمكن، مع الاستعداد لتوسيع الاشتباك إذا اقتضى الأمر وزجّ قدرات جديدة ولا تبعد من حساباتها إمكانية الاشتباك مع الناتو إذا وصلت الى وضع لا يكون فيه مفرّ من هذا الاشتباك. أما أميركا فإنها خططت في الأصل لحرب بالوكالة تستعمل فيها كلّ ما هو بمتناول يدها شاملاً الإعلام والسياسة والاقتصاد والفن والرياضة إلخ… من دون ان تقحم قواتها العسكرية أولاً ودون استبعاد اللجوء اليها عند الاضطرار، مع التركيز على مسألتين الأولى منع كييف من الاستسلام والتوجه الى مفاوضات لتوقع فيها اتفاق إذعان مع روسيا، والثاني منع التراخي الأوروبي في مواجهة روسيا مهما كانت الظروف، وهنا يُطرح السؤال عن احتمالات المستقبل وعن نهاية الحرب، حيث يمكن تصوّر حصول واحد من ثلاثة احتمالات:

الأول: تمكن روسيا من تصعيد ضغوطها العسكرية في الميدان وإطلاق مفاوضات جادة مع أوكرانيا تفضي الى التسليم بالمصالح الروسية وتحقق أهداف العملية العسكرية بشكل مؤكد، وهو احتمال لا يبدو قريباً في الظرف الراهن انما ستستمر روسيا بالسعي وفقاً له.

الثاني: خشية روسيا من الثمن الباهظ في حال الانزلاق الى حرب استنزاف وفقاً للخطة الأميركية ما يحملها على التراجع التكتي عسكرياً والتوقف عن محاصرة المدن الكبرى مع الاحتفاظ بكامل السيطرة على كامل الدونباس وفرض الحصار البحري على أوكرانيا الى ان تتهيأ فرص الاتفاق على حلّ وسط يلبّي الأهداف الروسية الأساسية.

الثالث: تغيّر في استراتيجية روسيا او الناتو ما يؤدّي الى توسيع ميدان الحرب خارج حدود أوكرانيا وسقوط فرضيتي حرب الاستنزاف والحرب البديلة او الحرب بالوكالة. وهنا سيكون العالم كلّ العالم على اعتاب مرحلة صراع عالمي غير مسبوق ولم تعرفه حتى الحربين الأولى والثانية، وان انعقاد قمة الناتو في الأسبوع المقبل وبحضور بايدن شخصياً يؤشر الى أمر لا يمكن إهمال خطورته وهو الاحتمال الذي يبقى الأبعد تحققاً الآن.

أما فرضيات الدخول في حرب استنزاف كما تشتهي اميركا، او تراجع روسيا دون تحقيق أهدافها، فإننا نرى انهما فرضيتان لا يُعتدّ بهما الآن، لأنّ في ذلك انتحاراً روسياً من المستحيل ان تقدم روسيا عليه خاصة أنها تملك من القدرات والطاقات التي تمكنها من العمل في أيّ من الخيارات الثلاثة أعلاه وكلها تحقق لها مصالحها وإنْ تفاوتت سقوفها وحجم التضحيات والأثمان فيها.

*أستاذ جامعيّ ـ باحث استراتيجيّ

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‘Hypocrisy Does Not Begin to Describe It’: Baroud on the Ukraine Crisis and the Changing Global Order (VIDEO)

March 17, 2022

Watch Ramzy Baroud’s full interview with Mark Seddon below. (Photo: PDD, Supplied)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

In a wide-ranging interview with Palestine Deep Dive (PDD), Mark Seddon discusses with distinguished Palestinian journalist and author, Dr. Ramzy Baroud, the unfolding crisis in Ukraine through the eyes of the Palestinian people.

While examining what seems to be emerging on the global geopolitical stage, Baroud also highlighted the hypocrisy of the international community, as well as the mainstream media in their response to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine in comparison to their response, or lack of it, to Israel’s ongoing 74-year occupation of Palestine.

“People have the right to defend themselves against military occupation, period. Under any circumstance, regardless of the geopolitical nature of that conflict, and regardless of who’s involved in that conflict,” Baroud said. 

“We are still buried in this massive dichotomy in which we Palestinians can’t even protest without being accused of being anti-Israel or anti-America or anti this or that, compared to what is happening in the Ukraine within the matter of hours. In fact, even before the invasion took place. When the Russian forces were amassing at the Russia-Ukraine border, the condemnations were coming from all over Europe, all over North America. Of course, we have to face the reality that the international community does not have fair and just standards in its view of international conflicts.”

Commenting on the United Nations General Assembly vote, which saw 35 member states, including South Africa, India and China, abstaining from condemning Russia’s actions, Baroud said:

“I think geopolitics has a lot to do with it. (…) To give you an example, I was in Africa quite recently, and I visited several countries and became somewhat familiar with the political tussle that is happening in Africa itself.(…) African countries are very, very wary of the nature of the fight that is underway in Africa. South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, and other countries do not want to see this happening. They want a more balanced bipolar world.”

When asked about the possibility of a new Cold War situation in Europe, with a revival of the Non-Aligned Movement, Baroud said:

“I think it’s very possible. Of course, we understand that there are so many moving pieces here, but if indeed, even if a stalemate is achieved, in other words, if NATO does not get its way in Ukraine and in Eastern Europe, and some kind of a compromise is made, will definitely embolden other countries to start negotiating (for themselves) a new political contract.”

Regarding the double standards currently displayed by Western politicians and media, Baroud said: 

“I think we need to revisit the term double standards or hypocrisy. It just does not even begin to tell half of the story regarding what’s happening in Palestine. What the West, what the Americans are condemning right now regarding Russia’s military action is exactly what Israel has been doing as a matter of course, in Palestine every single day. What’s happening in Yemen. These millions of poor people are starving, fighting cholera, fighting bombs falling on top of them.”

Baroud went on criticizing social media censorship of pro-Palestinian content, and describing the double-standards by international institutions, such as the International Criminal Court, FIFA or the International Olympic Committee. 

In highlighting the inherent racism in Western media coverage on Ukraine, Baroud said: 

“That’s really the mindset of the racist. I know that this is a term that people are very careful using, but if this is not outright racism, I don’t know what is. The thing about a racist mentality is that you never see your own fault, and you always project that on someone else.”

(The Palestine Chronicle, PDD)

How the Ukraine crisis impacts middle east politics

4 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Robert Inlakesh 

The Ukraine crisis complicated the situation in the middle east [West Asia] for many parties allied with the US, as “Israel” and the UAE find it more difficult to balance their relations between their Patreon and Russia.

The problem for “Israel” is, that if they pick a fight with Russia at any point, this could be extremely detrimental to them

The ongoing war in Ukraine, which is being framed as a marker for the beginning of the ‘New Cold War’ between East and West, is already taking its toll on Middle East politics and for the likes of “Israel” and the United Arab Emirates, this spells potential disaster.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine on February 24, when Russian forces officially announced their ‘special military operation in the Donbas’, Middle East powers have all had their relationships put to the test. “Israel” is perhaps the most reported on, as it is directly part of the Western camp, and its hesitancy to aggravate Russia has been telling, but beyond this, there has also been a big question mark around which side the Arab regimes will take too.

In the case of “Israel”, after releasing careful statements during the early days of the war, about Ukraine’s sovereignty and pledging to support its people, without mentioning Moscow at all, they then went a step further in the recent United Nations General Assembly vote, condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Currently, Tel Aviv maintains a close relationship with both Moscow and Washington, but it has made it clear at this point that when push comes to shove it is the United States’ interests they will defend over the interests of Russia.

So far this has not meant a fully-fledged feud between the two sides, but for sure the Israeli arming of the Ukrainians and their backing of NATO’s argument has not aided relations. It is likely Moscow is still trying to use the Israelis as a go-between for diplomatic efforts, but the problem for “Israel” is, that if they pick a fight with Russia at any point, this could be extremely detrimental to them. A hostile Russia, combined with a hostile Iran, both in Syria, could mean major trouble.

For the United Arab Emirates, which aspires to become a regional powerhouse and attempts to balance its relationship with pretty much every key international player, it has too, run into a major problem. Its relationship with Washington, although tight, is now being put to the test and the fact that it abstained at the UNGA vote is a message that Abu Dhabi seeks a clear middle-ground position between the US and Russia. But just as its normalization deal with the Israeli regime has now put it in the middle of a tug-of-war between Tel Aviv and Tehran, the Ukraine crisis has placed it in a similar position between Washington and Moscow. The UAE wants it all, US weapons, but a close relationship with China and Russia, Israeli economic cooperation but also trade with Iran. This could spell disaster if it decides to cross the line, of one of the many sides, at any point.

Saudi Arabia is a key US ally, the current crisis – due to US sanctions on Russia – has sent the prices of oil to a high not witnessed since 2012. Riyadh has been expected, as has the UAE, to pump more crude oil in order to lower the oil prices and balance the market, but so far that has not happened. Instead, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman is allegedly demanding the US Biden administration recognise him as the de-facto ruler of the Saudi regime and offer more direct support for Riyadh’s devastating war on Yemen, according to Reuters reports.

Although the US and its British allies in London have been directly supporting the Saudis offensive war in Yemen, Riyadh evidently does not like Joe Biden’s public appearance as being an anti-Saudi president. The KSA voted against Russia in the General Assembly, the US also launched airstrikes on Yemen when Russian forces began their offensive in Ukraine, but now seems to be the moment of truth when it comes to US politics. We will now see just how convincing Washington’s statesmen are, although many people are asking why this issue wasn’t resolved before as the US had been warning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine for weeks.

The issue of US relations with the Gulf countries is really key here, as from the get-go the United States has been attempting to bring them on the side, specifically Qatar. The US clearly needs an alternative supply source for oil and gas to Europe, if it is going to maintain its crushing sanctions on Moscow. But the problem still remains, an issue that Doha has itself pointed out, there is no one nation that can be the alternative here. 

Then we have Iran and the ongoing talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), or the nuclear deal, which seems to have been moved in a more positive direction. The United States has significantly changed its tone from that of last year, it’s purged many of the more hawkishly anti-Iran voices from its negotiating team and the Ukraine crisis may prove to push the US into an agreement on this front.

The difference between President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump, is that they represent two different camps in the United States; Biden, the liberal imperialists, and Trump, the neoconservatives. The neoconservatives seem to be hawkishly focused on attacking China and Iran, whilst caring less about Russia and their focus on NATO is also not as intense as the liberal imperialists. Whereas the liberal imperialist camp are much more inclined towards strengthening their ties with the EU and NATO, making Russia a real target, whilst their line on China and Iran is still hawkish, they approach these issues differently.

We are now seeing the liberal imperialist agenda in full swing. If the Biden administration wants to relieve some of the burden he has placed on the shoulders of his European allies, reviving the JCPOA may serve as a good gesture towards them. The European powers want to do business with Iran, but under the Trump administration, none of them dared to step out of line on this front. The potential Iran nuclear deal revival would be a good thing for both the Europeans and the Iranians. 

All the points mentioned above barely scratch the surface of the entire picture; not going into the testing of Algeria’s and Turkey’s relationships with Russia, both of which are being heavily tested over both nations being presented with the possibility to provide part of the answer to the severing of oil and gas supplies from Russia to Europe. Yet, one thing is clear from what has been noted above, the absolute mess that the two camps – one aligned with the Democrats and the other the Republicans – have caused on the world stage. This is a real test of Washington’s diplomatic and strategic talent, one which it seems to be failing at so far.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Iran Opposes War in Ukraine: Ready to Assist with Relief Efforts

March 3, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian renewed on Wednesday the call for a political settlement of the conflict pitting Russia against Ukraine, saying Tehran is ready to cooperate with the International Red Cross in providing humanitarian assistance.

In a phone call on Wednesday, Amir Abdollahian and President of the International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC] Peter Maurer discussed aid delivery in border areas of Ukraine and the humanitarian situation in Yemen and Afghanistan as well as ways to boost bilateral relations.

The Iranian foreign minister stressed the importance of resolving the Ukraine crisis politically and said, “War is not a solution.”

Right after the conflict broke out, Iran began making efforts to support its citizens in Ukraine and set up a special committee in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to improve the humanitarian situation, he said.

The top Iranian diplomat called for strengthening cooperation between the ICRC and the Iranian Red Crescent Society [IRCS] in this regard.

Maurer, for his part, briefed the Iranian foreign minister on his talks with the Russian and Ukrainian officials about the dispatch of humanitarian aid, the exchange of dead soldiers and the provision of access to prisoners of war.

The ICRC president said Ukraine is grappling with a tough and critical situation.

Amir Abdollahian and Maurer agreed that medical and relief teams of the IRCS and the ICRC would be deployed in border areas to help the displaced.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi explained why Tehran abstained from voting on an anti-Russian UN General Assembly resolution.

“We believe that the current text of the resolution before the General Assembly lacks impartiality and realistic mechanisms for resolving the crisis through peaceful means. Furthermore, not all member states of the United Nations were given the opportunity to engage in negotiations on the text of the resolution,” Takht Ravanchi said on Wednesday.

Takht Ravanchi said Iran is pursuing the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine with grave concern and reiterated Tehran’s principled stance on the need for a peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law and for all parties to fully respect the well-established provisions of the UN Charter and international humanitarian law.

“We emphasize that sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states must be fully respected and safety and security of all civilians must be guaranteed,” the Iranian diplomat said.

He stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of such crises in order to find long-term and sustainable solutions to them, saying, “We note that the current complexities in the fragile region of Eastern Europe have been exacerbated by the provocative actions and decisions of the US and NATO. The security concerns of Russia must be respected.”

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The Gulf states and Ukraine: Why are Washington’s Arab allies tilting in different directions?

The divergence in views may indicate geopolitical shifts in the Persian Gulf, but may equally be tactics employed to gain leverage with Washington

March 02 2022

By Abdel Bari Atwan

Israel may have made up its mind to back the US side in Ukraine’s raging crisis, but Tel Aviv’s covert and overt Arab allies in the Persian Gulf remain uncomfortably divided over the issue.

While some have voiced support for Moscow’s position and others have denounced Russia’s military invasion of eastern Ukraine, the ‘Arab majority’ has remained neutral, issuing non-committal statements about dialogue, political solutions, and respect for the principles of international law.

Four specific stances taken by Arab and Gulf states are worth analyzing in order to understand the shifts taking place in West Asia right now:

First is the unusual pro-Russian posture struck by Saudi Arabia in the statement issued after a telephone conversation between French President Emmanuel Macron and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS). The statement spelled out the kingdom’s continued commitment to the ‘OPEC+’ agreement on oil production levels it brokered with Russia. This was an implicit thumbs-down to US pressure on Riyadh to increase production and drive down prices, which would ease strains on western economies.

Second is Qatar’s oblique official support for the US side and condemnation of Russia, reflected in Foreign Minister Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani’s declaration that his country stands by “Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.” That means opposing Russia’s recognition of the breakaway eastern Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and its military intervention in their support.

Third is the abstention of the UAE, currently a rotating member of the UN Security Council, in its vote on a US-authored draft resolution condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in the strongest terms and demanding the immediate withdrawal of its forces.

Fourth is the utter impartiality of the Arab League. The statement issued after its emergency meeting of permanent representatives – called for by Egypt and chaired by Kuwait – avoided condemning or endorsing the Russian move, and sufficed with flowery language about the need to respect the UN Charter and international law and support efforts to resolve the crisis peacefully.

A US-Gulf leverage game

All Gulf oil and gas producers have an obvious interest in maintaining the sky-high world energy prices that are being driven even higher by the crisis.

But Saudi Arabia’s affirmation of its commitment to the production deal it reached with Russia goes beyond this. It is sure to cause a bust-up with the US administration and President Joe Biden, who incidentally, has refused to meet with MbS since his inauguration.

Biden himself called King Salman to urge a hike in Saudi output to flood the market and bring down prices, in order to support the US and European economies and make up for any reduction in Russian oil supplies during the Ukraine crisis.

This clear challenge to Saudi Arabia’s historical strategic protector and ally can be seen as a warning to the White House: Riyadh may flip over to the Russian side if Biden continues to ignore, not recognize, and refuse to speak with the kingdom’s de facto ruler Muhammad bin Salman. Biden has insisted on dealing only with King Salman, a rule broken at least twice by Macron.

The Ukraine crisis, which could develop into a third world war, is being treated as an ‘if you’re not with us you’re against us’ issue. The US administration is unlikely to tolerate any even-handedness or neutrality on the part of its Gulf allies, especially Saudi Arabia, which has yet to officially comment on the war.

The question being asked in Gulf political corridors is whether MbS can withstand Washington’s wrath at his surprise entente with Russia, and what the consequences might be.

The same question can be addressed to Qatar and its ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. He firmly took the US side in his foreign minister’s veiled condemnation of the invasion. This will not endear him to his Russian partners in the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), which held a summit-level meeting in Doha last week that President Vladimir Putin did not attend.

Qatar’s volte-face began when Biden invited Sheikh Tamim to Washington on 31 January and the latter agreed to use Qatari gas to help make up for any shortfall in Russian gas supplies to Europe due to the Ukraine crisis. He is the only Gulf leader to have met with Biden in the White House, where he was elevated to the status of ‘major non-NATO ally.’

This designation bumped Qatar above the Saudis and Emiratis, who have typically been more strategically aligned with the US government. Observers understood the tactical move to be about securing Qatari gas in case events in Ukraine turned sour.

The UAE’s neutral position on Ukraine comes amidst its own fresh challenges with Washington.

Once the US’s most valued Gulf ally, in December the Emiratis suspended a multi-billion dollar acquisition of US F-35 fighter jets, and in February announced that it would purchase a dozen Chinese L-15 training and light combat aircraft, with an option to buy 36 more.

The UAE’s neutrality on Ukraine is likely to stem from the country’s recent moves to swap out its muscular foreign policy – that saw disasters in Syria and Yemen – with the soft-power variety, which leads with trade and diplomacy, and is more independent of Washington.

Unprecedented recent visits by top Emirati officials to meet counterparts in Turkey, Iran and Syria attest to this new direction, as the UAE seeks out new partnerships to balance its rivalries with Gulf neighbors Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Abu Dhabi’s abstention on the Ukraine vote at the UN just adds fuel to Washington’s existing dissatisfaction.

Neutrality may win the day

This clear divergence between Gulf states over Ukraine has been reflected in their media’s coverage of the crisis.

Viewers have detected a tilt to the Russian viewpoint by Saudi Arabia’s flagship al-Arabiya channel. Qatar’s Al Jazeera channel has reflected the US/European view, despite attempts to give its rolling coverage the appearance of professional impartiality. For its part, Abu Dhabi-owned Sky News Arabia stood somewhere in between.

It is unclear whether the UAE’s abstention in the Security Council vote on Ukraine was cleared beforehand with the US administration. If not, it will cause trouble in Abu Dhabi’s relationship with Washington and incur US wrath in some form or other. And there may not be enough time to repair any damage.

The Arabs have no stake in this war. Neutrality, for those who can find a way of opting for it, is the wisest position to take. The African proverb “when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers” applies here, specifically to the Gulf states.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Russian MFA: Vassily Nebenzia’s explanation of vote

February 28, 2022

Slowly the ability of the Russians to get information out to the world, while their internet infrastructure is still being heavily DDoS’ed, is improving.

 Russia’s Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia’s explanation of vote ( following UNSC vote on a draft resolution calling an emergency special session of the General Assembly:

 Russia voted against the proposed draft resolution, because its authors offer to concede that Security Council is not able to uphold its main responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. The draft has no slightest hint of an attempt to find a constructive solution within the Council. Two days ago, we vetoed another draft resolution for the same reason – it was lopsided and misbalanced. This time we saw no new initiatives either.

 The United Nations and the Security Council were created in a post-war period so that to avoid scourge of a new war. To achieve this, the world’s powers consented to make agreements, ideally – find consensus, but in any case – never attempt imposing their decisions upon each other or try to ignore the interests of any of P5 members. That is why the Security Council envisages a right for permanent member states to veto its decisions. This is not a privilege, but a tool for ensuring the balance of interests, which the world needs so badly, and ensuring global stability through this balance. An attempt to disregard the position of Russia and ignore it contradicts the very basics of the UN Charter. What we need is not push forward such schemes, but try and find points of contact, no matter how hard our Western partners try to evade this, for example when ignoring our legitimate concerns with regard to NATO’s policy and actions of Western states who undermined basic OSCE principles about the indivisibility of security.

Now we need to focus on correcting the situation that led to this crisis that we are living through. It did not start when Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine. It started much earlier, when you spent 8 years pretending to not notice crimes of Ukrainian nationalists in Donbass. And again, today you found no words of sympathy for the people of Donbass.

 It is the houses in Donbass that were destroyed by nationalists and Ukraine’s armed forces that Western media most often brazenly present as consequences of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

At this meeting, we again hear lies and fakes about indiscriminate bombardments of Ukrainian cities, hospitals, and schools.

Russian military pose no threat to Ukraine’s peaceful citizens, they do not fire at peaceful facilities. What does pose a threat is Ukrainian nationalists who in fact hold the people of Ukraine as hostages, using them as a human shield. There is numerous evidence, disseminated by ordinary Ukrainians, proving that nationalists, despite people’s protests, deploy heavy equipment and multiple rocket launchers in residential quarters. This is a blatant violation of the international humanitarian law that must be duly condemned. Basically it is the same tactics as that of ISIL terrorists. All responsibility for possible consequences rests with the Maidan regime.

Another thing that threatens the people of Ukraine is uncontrolled distribution of weapons by radicals and the authorities to all those who are ready to have them, including criminals that have been released from prisons. Those guns already shoot in the hands of burglars and plunderers.

Numerous proofs of that can be easily found on social media. Those are posted by the dwellers of Kiev and other cities. This demonstrates the irresponsible approach of the Ukrainian authorities to its citizens.

Today we witness an information war on Russia in social media. Since there are no proofs that Russian military destroy civilian infrastructure, Ukrainian strikes and occasional hits are presented as such, as well as photo and video footage from Donbass that again depict crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists. Besides, in social media one can easily find tutorials that teach how to shoot fakes that should defile our special operation. All in all, there are 1.2 million such fakes in Ukrainian social media.

US Sanctions Are Crime against Humanity, Affect Most Vulnerable People – Iran Envoy

February 15, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s envoy to the United Nations Zahra Ershadi denounced as “crime against humanity” the imposition of sanctions against the nation, saying such unilateral restrictive measures have put the lives of vulnerable people at risk by hampering their access to medicine.

Ershadi, deputy permanent representative of Iran to the world body, made the remarks at the UN Commission for Social Development.

She complained that illegal sanctions have made it very difficult for vulnerable groups in countries such as Iran to access basic medical items and thus put their lives at stake.

The Iranian envoy further noted that the import of medicines as well as medical equipment and hygiene products have been severely hindered by restrictions on foreign exchange resources.

The illegal measures have a direct negative impact on the lives of the most vulnerable Iranian citizens, including women, children, and patients, she said, adding that many children have died as a result of such inhumane bans.

“As our president stated in his address to the UNGA session, unilateral sanctions against the Iranian people, particularly sanctions on medicine and humanitarian items, are criminal acts on par with crimes committed against humanity. Those who sanction countries should not go unpunished for such heinous crimes,” Ershadi asserted.

“As the representative of a country whose people are subjected to the most brutal form of economic terrorism and illegitimate unilateral coercive measures by the United States, I call for the complete and immediate lifting of all unilateral coercive measures including sanctions in order to ensure the full achievement of economic and social development and enable the targeted countries to repair their economies while guaranteeing the well-being of their people in the aftermath of the pandemic.”

She further noted that despite the sanctions, the Iranian government has managed to provide poor and vulnerable people with special financial packages and social and economic rehabilitation programs, in addition to devising economic support measures, especially for small businesses.

The government, she said, has also prepared medical treatment programs for about 4 million legal and illegal Afghan refugees.

Back in May 2018, the US began to unilaterally impose sanctions against Iran after the former left the Iran agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

The US, under former president Donald Trump, launched what it called a maximum pressure campaign against Iran at the time, targeting the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” sanctions.

Although Trump failed to reach its professed goals with his maximum pressure campaign, the bans have badly hurt the Iranian population.

The sanctions, preserved under the Joe Biden administration, have restricted the financial channels necessary to pay for basic goods and medicine, undermining supply chains by limiting the number of suppliers willing to facilitate sales of humanitarian goods to the country.

Iran has repeatedly denounced the sanctions as an act of “economic war”, “economic terrorism”, and “medical terrorism.”

UN Adopts Resolution Affirming Syrians, Palestinians’ Sovereignty in Occupied Territories

UN Adopts Resolution Affirming Syrians, Palestinians’ Sovereignty in Occupied Territories

By Staff, Agencies

The United Nations [UN] General Assembly adopted on Thursday a resolution that affirms permanent sovereignty of Syrians in the ‘Israeli’-occupied Syrian Golan and of Palestinians in the ‘Israeli’-occupied Palestinian territories over their natural resources.

A resolution entitled “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including occupied al-Quds, and the Syrians in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources,” was adopted as per a recommendation of the second economic and financial committee with a majority of 153 votes and an opposition of the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity with five other states, while 16 states have abstained.

The General Assembly stressed in its resolution the inalienable rights of Syrians in the occupied Syrian Golan and the Palestinians in their natural resources including land, water and energy resources.

The Assembly further demanded that the Zionist regime stop exploiting the natural resources in the occupied Syrian Golan and the occupied Palestinian territories, including al-Quds, and stop sabotaging them, or exposing them to danger.

A New Wall For A New Cold War?


12 OCTOBER 2020

A New Wall For A New Cold War?

The head of the prestigious Munich Security Conference warned late last month against efforts to “build a new ‘wall’ between Russia and the West” in light of the Navalny incident and the many other disagreements between both sides, and while it’s unrealistic to expect another Berlin Wall-like physical division of Europe, there’s no denying that their different governing models have created a sharp split across the continent.

Welcome To The New Cold War

Last month will probably go down in history as the moment when the New Cold War became impossible to deny. The US has been attempting to rekindle its fading unipolarity since the onset of its coordinated Hybrid War “containment” campaigns against Russia and China in 2014, which only intensified in the aftermath of Trump’s election. The leaders of all three countries addressed the UN General Assembly (UNGA) by video in a series of speeches that laid bare these two sides’ contradictory assessments of contemporary global affairs and related visions of the future. Their keynote speeches were preceded by UN Secretary General Guterres warning the world that “We must do everything to avoid a New Cold War.” Trump obviously didn’t listen to him, which is why the head of the prestigious Munich Security Conference (MSC) followed up that global representative’s warning with his own at the end of that historic week cautioning that “It will result in nothing if we now try to build a new ‘wall’ between Russia and the West because of Navalny and other sad and terrible events.” It’s his dramatic words that form the basis of the present article.

The US’ Hybrid War On Russia

There are many angles through which the ongoing global competition can be analyzed, but the prospect of a new wall of some sort or another accompanying the New Cold War in Europe is among the most intriguing. The MSC head presumably isn’t implying the creation of a 21st-century Berlin Wall, but seems to be speaking more generally about his fear that the growing divisions between Russia and the West will soon become irreversible and potentially even formalized as the new status quo. The author wrote last month that “The US’ Hybrid War On Russian Energy Targets Germany, Belarus, And Bulgaria”, pointing out how even the partial success of this latest “containment” campaign will greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked “decoupling” between Russia and the West. That would in turn help secure American grand strategic interests in the continent. This “decoupling” would reverse the progress that was made in bilateral relations since the end of the Old Cold War up until the Ukrainian Crisis. Taken to its maximum extent, the spiritual return of the Berlin Wall seems almost inevitable at this point.

Governing Differences

It’s true that the border between the NATO countries and Russia’s CSTO (which importantly includes Hybrid War-targeted Belarus) represents the modern-day military equivalent of the “Iron Curtain”, but the situation isn’t as simple as that. While military divisions remain (albeit pushed much further eastward over the past three decades), ideological and economic ones are less apparent. Russia no long ascribes to communism but follows its own national variant of democracy within a mostly capitalist system, thus reducing the structural differences between itself and its Western counterparts. Unaware observers might wonder why there’s even a New Cold War to begin with when considering how much both sides have in common with one another, but that overlooks their contradictory worldviews which lie at the heart of their mutual suspicions. Russia strongly believes in safeguarding its geopolitical and domestic socio-political sovereignty so it accordingly follows a more conservative path whereas Western countries mostly submit to the US’ authority and generally regard their liberal position on many social issues as universalist.

The End Of The “Great Convergence”

The reason why the thaw in Russian-Western relations failed to achieve the “Great Convergence” that Gorbachev originally hoped for was because the US wanted to impose its will onto Russia by treating it as just another vassal state that would be forced to follow its lead abroad and accept extreme liberal social mandates at home instead of respecting it as an equal partner. Nevertheless, this policy was actually surprisingly successful all throughout the 1990s under Yeltsin, but its fatal flaw was that it went much too far too quickly by attempting to dissolve the Russian Federation through American support for Chechen separatist-terrorist groups. That inadvertently provoked a very patriotic reaction from the responsible members of Russia’s military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) who worked together to ensure their motherland’s survival in the face of this existential crisis. The end result was that Putin succeeded Yeltsin and subsequently set about to systematically save Russia. This took the form of stabilizing the security situation at home in parallel with reasserting Russia on the world stage.

The “Russian Model”

Putin, though, was always a liberal in the traditional (not post-modern) sense. He never lost his appreciation for Western civilization and sincerely wanted to complete Gorbachev’s hoped-for “Great Convergence”, though only on equal terms and not as a US vassal. Regrettably, the Russian leader’s many olive branches were slapped away by an angry America which feared the influence that a powerful “moderately liberal” state could have on its hyper-liberal subjects. All of Putin’s efforts to take the “Great Convergence” to its next logical step of a “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” failed for this reason, after which an intense information warfare campaign was waged to portray Russia was a “radical right-wing state” even though it was never anything of the sort. This modus operandi was intended to prevent Europe’s indoctrinated masses from ever countenancing whether a “moderate” alternative exists whereby they’d preserve their domestic and international sovereignty despite remaining committed to traditional liberal values, just like the “Russian model” that Putin pioneered. Understandably, this would pose a serious threat to American strategic interests, hence the campaign against it.

The Rise Of America’s Russian Rival

As time went on, the “Russian model” was partially replicated in some of the countries of Central Europe such as Poland and even within the US itself through Trump’s election, though this wasn’t due to any so-called “Russian meddling” but was a natural result of the ideological interplay between radical and “moderate” liberals. It just so happened that Russia was the first country to implement this model not because of anything uniquely “Russian” within its society, but simply as the most pragmatic survival plan considering the extremely difficult circumstances of the 1990s and attendant limits on the country’s strategic maneuverability during that time. It was considered by the patriotic members of Russia’s “deep state” to be much too risky to reverse the direction of post-Soviet reforms, hence why the decision seems to have been made to continue with them, though doing all in the country’s power to regain control over these processes from Russia’s Western overlords in order to protect national geopolitical and domestic socio-political interests. This struggle led to Russia becoming an alternative pole of influence (in the governance sense) within the “Greater West”, rivaling the US.

Hillary & Trump: Same Anti-Russian Strategy, Different Infowar Tactics

With this insight in mind, the New Cold War was inevitable in hindsight. Had Hillary been elected, then the infowar narrative would have focused more on Russia’s different “values”, seeking to present its target as a “threat to the (hyper-liberal) Western way of life”. Since Trump’s America interestingly enough shares many of the same values as contemporary Russia does, however, the focus is on geopolitical differences instead. From the prism of International Relations theory, Hillary’s angle of attack against Russia would have been more liberal whereas Trump’s is more realist. Either way, both American leaders (theoretical in the first sense and actual in the second) have every reason to fear Russia since it challenges the US’ unipolar dominance in Europe. Hillary would have wanted to portray Russia as being outside of the “Western family of nations”, though Trump can’t convincingly do that given his much more high-profile provocations against obviously non-Western China, hence why he’s basically competing with Russia for leadership of the “moderate” liberal model of Western civilization, ergo accepting their structural similarities but instead over-hyping their geopolitical differences.

Post-Soviet Russia’s Irreversible Impact On Western Civilization

Taking all of the aforementioned into account, it’s understandable why the US wants to build a “new wall” in Europe by “decoupling” its NATO-captive subjects from Russia through a series of Hybrid Wars, though the genie is out of the bottle since some Central European countries like Poland the even the US itself under Trump already implement elements of the “Russian model”. This means that while the physical separation of Russia and Europe along military, geopolitical, and soon perhaps even economic-energy lines is practically a fait accompli at this point, the ideological-structural influence emanating from Moscow is impossible to “contain”. No “wall” will reverse the impact that the “Russian model” has had on the course of Western civilization, though it should be remembered that the aforesaid model wasn’t part of some “cunning 5D chess plan” but an impromptu survival tactic that was triggered in response to American unipolar-universalist soft power aggression on post-Soviet Russia. It’s not distinctly “Russian”, which is why the hyper-liberal Western elite fear it so much since they know very well that it could take root in their countries too, just like in Poland and the US.

Concluding Thoughts

The typical Western mind is conditioned to think in terms of models, especially historical ones, which is why they imagine that the New Cold War will closely resemble the Old Cold War simply because of the effect that neuro-linguistic programming has on their thought process. This explains why the MSC head warned against the creation of a “new wall” between Russia and the West even though no such scenario is realistic. No physical barrier like the Berlin Wall will ever be erected again, and even though the geopolitical, military, and perhaps even soon economic-energy fault lines between them might become formalized through the impending success of the US’ “decoupling” strategy, this will not address the root cause of the New Cold War which lies with Russia’s “moderately liberal” model of state sovereignty in contrast to the US’ (former?) hyper-liberal universalist one of state vasselhood. It’s this difference that’s primarily responsible for every other dimension of their competition since it placed Russia on the trajectory of supporting a Multipolar World Order instead of the US’ hoped-for Unipolar World Order.By Andrew KorybkoAmerican political analyst

Are You Feeling Safer? ‘War of the Worlds’ Pits U.S. and Israel Against Everyone Else

By Philip Giraldi


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The media being focused on an upcoming election, coronavirus, fires on the West Coast and burgeoning BLM and Antifa unrest, it is perhaps no surprise that some stories are not exactly making it through to the evening news. Last week an important vote in the United Nations General Assembly went heavily against the United States. It was regarding a non-binding resolution that sought to suspend all economic sanctions worldwide while the coronavirus cases continue to increase. It called for “intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic and its consequences.” It was a humanitarian gesture to help overwhelmed governments and health care systems cope with the pandemic by having a free hand to import food and medicines.

The final tally was 169 to 2, with only Israel and the United States voting against. Both governments apparently viewed the U.N. resolution as problematical because they fully support the unilateral economic warfare that they have been waging to bring about regime change in countries like Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Sanctions imposed on those countries are designed to punish the people more than the governments in the expectation that there will be an uprising to bring about regime change. This, of course, has never actually happened as a consequence of sanctions and all that is really delivered is suffering. When they cast their ballots, some delegates at the U.N. might even have been recalling former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s claim that the death of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. imposed sanctions had been “worth it.”

Clearly, a huge majority of the world’s governments, to include the closest U.S. allies, no longer buy the American big lie when it claims to be the leader of the free world, a promoter of liberal democracy and a force for good.  The vote prompted one observer, John Whitbeck, a former international lawyer based in Paris, to comment how “On almost every significant issue facing mankind and the planet, it is Israel and the United States against mankind and the planet.”

The United Nations was not the only venue where the U.S. was able to demonstrate what kind of nation it has become. Estimates of how many civilians have been killed directly or indirectly as a consequence of the so-called Global War on Terror initiated by George W. Bush are in the millions, with roughly 4 million being frequently cited. Nearly all of the dead have been Muslims. Now there is a new estimate of the number of civilians that have fled their homes as a result of the worldwide conflict initiated by Washington and its dwindling number of allies since 2001. The estimate comes from Brown University’s “Costs of War Project,” which has issued a report Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States Post-9/11 Wars that seeks to quantify those who have “fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the U.S. military has launched or participated in since 2001.”

The project tracks the number of refugees, asylum seekers applying for refugee status, and internally displaced people or persons (IDPs) in the countries that America and its allies have most targeted since 9/11: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria. All are predominantly Muslim countries with the sole exception of the Philippines, which has a large Muslim minority.

The estimate suggests that between 37 and 59 million civilians have become displaced, with an extremely sharp increase occurring in the past year when the total was calculated to be 21 million. The largest number of those displaced were from Iraq, where fighting against Islamic State has been intermittent, estimated at 9.2 million. Syria, which has seen fighting between the government and various foreign supported insurgencies, had the second-highest number of displacements at 7.1 million. Afghanistan, which has seen a resurgent Taliban, was third having an estimated 5.3 million people displaced.

The authors of the report observe that even the lower figure of 37 million is “almost as large as the population of Canada” and “more than those displaced by any other war or disaster since at least the start of the 20th century with the sole exception of World War II.” And it is also important to note what is not included in the study. The report has excluded sub-Saharan Africa as well as several Arab nations generally considered to be U.S. allies. These constitute “the millions more who have been displaced by other post-9/11 conflicts where U.S. forces have been involved in ‘counterterror’ activities in more limited yet significant ways, including in: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.”

Yemen should be added to that list given U.S. military materiel assistance that has enabled the Saudi Arabian bombing attacks on that country, also producing a wave of refugees. There are also reports that the White House is becoming concerned over the situation in Yemen as pressure is growing to initiate an international investigation of the Saudi war crimes in that civilian infrastructure targets to include hospitals and schools are being deliberately targeted.

And even the United States Congress has begun to notice that something bad is taking place as there is growing concern that both the Saudi and U.S. governments might be charged with war crimes over the civilian deaths. Reports are now suggesting that as early as 2016, when Barack Obama was still president, the State Department’s legal office concluded that “top American officials could be charged with war crimes for approving bomb sales to the Saudis and their partners” that have killed more than 125,000 including at least 13,400 targeted civilians.

That conclusion preceded the steps undertaken by the Donald Trump White House to make arms sales to the Saudis and their allies in the United Arab Emirates central to his foreign policy, a program that has become an integral part of the promotion of the “Deal of the Century” Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Given that, current senior State Department officials have repressed the assessment made in 2016 and have also “gone to great lengths” to conceal the legal office finding. A State Department inspector general investigation earlier this year considered the Department’s failure to address the legal risks of selling offensive weapons to the Saudis, but the details were hidden by placing them in a classified part of the public report released in August, heavily redacted so that even Congressmen with high level access could not see them.

Democrats in Congress, which had previously blocked some arms sales in the conflict, are looking into the Saudi connection because it can do damage to Trump, but it would be far better if they were to look at what the United States and Israel have been up to more generally speaking. The U.S. benefits from the fact that even though international judges and tribunals are increasingly embracing the concept of holding Americans accountable for war crimes since the start of the GWOT, U.S. refusal to cooperate has been daunting. Last March, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague authorized its chief prosecutor to open an investigation into U.S. crimes in Afghanistan the White House reacted by imposing sanctions on the chief prosecutor and his staff lawyer. And Washington has also warned that any tribunal going after Israel will face the wrath of the United States.

Nevertheless, when you are on the losing side on a vote in a respected international body by 169 to 2 someone in Washington should at least be smart enough to discern that something is very, very wrong. But I wouldn’t count on anyone named Trump or Biden to work that out.

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