Sayyed Nasrallah’s Warning Fulfilled: US Has Abandoned Kurds in Syria

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Warning Fulfilled: US Has Abandoned Kurds in Syria

By Staff

Beirut – Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah once warned the Kurds in Syria that their so-called American allies will abandon them, once they are done using them as tools in their regional conflicts.

During his speech on the commemoration of Hezbollah Martyr Leaders on the 16th of February 2018, Sayyed Nasrallah advised the Kurds in Syria to learn from past experiences – that the Americans are using them as tools in their conflict and battle, and will eventually abandon them.

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This warning that Sayyed Nasrallah made, was fulfilled in the recent days as US President Donald Trump decided to pull back US troops from northern Syria.

Syria’s Kurds accused the US of turning its back on allies.

Trump defended his decision, acknowledging in tweets that “the Kurds fought with us” but adding that they “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he wrote.


Bolton Gone: Improved Peace Prospects?

Image result for Bolton Gone: Improved Peace Prospects?

September 13, 2019
The departure of John Bolton as US National Security Adviser is a good step towards decreasing international tensions by the Trump administration. But a lot more is needed from President Donald Trump to indicate a serious pivot to normalizing relations with Russia, Iran and others.

When Trump gave Bolton his marching orders earlier this week, the president said he “strongly disagreed” with his erstwhile security adviser over a range of foreign policy issues. Trump had also expressed frustration with Bolton’s incorrigible militarist tendencies.

There is no doubt Bolton was an odious figure in the White House cabinet. One of our SCF authors, Martin Sieff, wrote this excoriating commentary on Bolton’s nefarious record of warmongering dating as far back as the launching of US wars in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, when the mustachioed maverick served then as a chief neocon ideologue in the GW Bush administration.

One wonders why Trump brought such a war hawk into his administration when he appointed Bolton as NSA in April 2018. Perhaps, as another of our writers, Robert Bridge, surmised in a separate commentary this week, Trump was using hardliner Bolton as a foil to deflect opponents from within the Washington establishment who have been trying to undermine the president as “soft on foreign enemies”. A ruse by Trump of keeping “your enemies close”, it is averred.

Bolton certainly did his best to hamper Trump’s seeming attempts at scaling back US foreign military interventions. He opposed the plan to withdraw American troops from Syria. The reckless Bolton also wound up a policy of aggression and regime change against Venezuela, which Trump has latterly seemed to grow wary of as a futile debacle.

In regard to Russia, Bolton carried heaps of Cold War baggage which made Trump’s declared intentions of normalizing relations with Moscow more difficult.

The shameless warmonger Bolton openly advocated for regime change in Iran, which seemed to contradict Trump’s oft-stated position of not seeking regime change in Tehran, despite the president’s own animosity towards Iran.

The former NSA also opposed any attempt by Trump to engage in detente with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Reportedly, it was Bolton who derailed the incipient efforts at opening up dialogue with Pyongyang.

It is also thought that Bolton used his influence to impede Trump’s recent bid to host Taliban leaders at Camp David earlier this month which was aimed at trust-building for a proposed peace deal to withdraw US troops from that country after nearly 18 years of disastrous war.

That said, however, President Trump has not shown himself to be exactly a dovish figure. He has overseen countless sanctions being imposed on Russia, the abandoning of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, and ongoing military support for the anti-Russia regime in Kiev.

Too, it was Trump who ordered the US collapse of the 2015 international nuclear accord with Iran in May 2018 and the re-imposition of harsh sanctions on Tehran. So, it would be misplaced to paint Bolton as the sole malign actor in the White House. Trump is personally responsible for aggravating tensions with Iran, as well as with Russia, Venezuela and others.

Nevertheless, it is to be welcomed that an inveterate war hawk like Bolton no longer has the president’s ear. Perhaps Trump can be freer to act on his instincts as a pragmatic deal-maker. One thing that the president deserves credit for is his unconventional style of engaging with nations and leaders who are designated as foes of America.

Russia this week gave a reserved response to the sacking of Bolton. The Kremlin said it would make assessments of a positive change in US policy based on actions, not mere announcements, such as the firing of Bolton. Time will tell.

It seems significant that immediately after Bolton was relieved of his post, Trump hinted to reporters that he was considering lifting sanctions off Iran if such a move persuaded Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to hold a face-to-face meeting with Trump at the United Nations general assembly in New York later this month.

Iran has repeatedly stated categorically that there will be no talks with Trump unless his administration revokes sanctions and returns to abiding by the nuclear accord. If there is a serious pivot to normal diplomacy by the White House, then what Trump does about sanctions on Iran will be a litmus test.

The same can be said about US sanctions on Russia. If Trump is earnest about a genuine reset in bilateral relations, then he must get rid of the raft of sanctions that Washington has piled on Moscow since the 2014 Ukraine crisis amid the many spurious allegations leveled against Russia.

Bolton banished is but a small step towards a more diplomatically engaged US administration. But it would be unwise to expect the departure of this one figure as being a portent for progress and a more peaceful policy emerging in Washington.

The Washington establishment, the deep state and the bipartisan War Party, with its entrenched Cold War ideology, seems to have an endemic sway over policy which may thwart Trump’s efforts to direct a less belligerent US.

To illustrate the twisted nature of the US establishment, one only had to read the way sections of the American corporate-controlled media lamented the departure of Bolton. The New York Times, which is a dutiful conduit for deep state intelligence and the foreign policy establishment, actually bemoaned the ouster of Bolton, calling him a “voice of restraint”.

The NY Times commented, with approval, on how Bolton “objected to attempts to pursue diplomatic avenues with players considered American enemies. And he angered Trump with a last-minute battle against a peace agreement with the Taliban… whether it was inviting the Taliban to Camp David or cooperating with Russia, he [Bolton] was the national security adviser who said no.”

In another piece this week, the NY Times commented, again approvingly of Bolton: “Mr Bolton strongly opposed detente with Iran, and his unceremonious ouster has reignited concerns among some Republicans [and Democrats] in Congress about the White House’s declining projection of American military power around the world.”

Can you believe it? The so-called US “newspaper of record” is somehow valorizing an out-and-out warmonger in the form of Bolton, and appears to be advocating “projection of American military power around the world”. The latter phrase being but an Orwellian euphemism for imperialism and war.

The sobering conclusion is that Bolton’s departure hardly heralds a new beginning of diplomacy and engagement by Trump, if we assume to give this president the benefit of doubt for good intentions. Bolton may be gone, but there are formidable political forces in the US establishment which will work to ensure Trump’s room for maneuver remains heavily compressed. The Cold War ideology is so ingrained in Washington, it is much bigger than just one man, whether that is the vile personage of Bolton or the more flexible Trump.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

Explaining Russia’s Position on Idlib

June 04, 2019

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

Explaining Russia’s Position on Idlib

Over the past five years my work in the information space has been consciously aimed at explaining why the Russian military does and doesn’t do certain things, whether it be in relation to Ukraine, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela, etc, and why demanding that Putin bombs everything in sight is exactly what the CIA wants so-called “pro-Russians” to say. Yet I haven’t exhausted (maybe I never will exhaust it?) this topic because it is so vast and, ultimately, complex. And it is because of this seemingly insurmountable complexity that questions like “Why doesn’t Russia liberate all of Ukraine”“Why doesn’t Russia save Donetsk and Lugansk in the same way it saved Crimea?”“Why doesn’t Russia boot America out of Syria?”, etc are asked on social media.

But one statement that I haven’t really addressed (until now) is “Why doesn’t Russia liberate all of Idlib in one fell swoop?”. Many “geniuses” like to say that Putin is in bed with the “Ottoman butcher” Erdogan and has thus “betrayed Syria”, similar to how shaking hands with Netanyahu means that Putin is a Zionist and has “betrayed Syria”, or even that a visit of the Saudi King to Moscow means that Putin has the blood of Yemen on his hands.

So, those “pro-Russian” readers who fear that they may be one step ahead of the Kremlin and can see an iceberg on the horizon needn’t worry – another Putin-esque zugswang is in progress!

When Russia sent its aviation to Hmeymim airbase in Syria in 2015 the primary mission was simple: remove Turkey – the main belligerent – from the game. Ankara benefited from ISIS’ theft of Syrian oil and controlled many jihadist groups on the ground (Ahrar al-Sham being the main one). Then in November 2015 the CIA (via the PM at the time Ahmet Davutoğlu) decided to float a test balloon and see how Russia would react to a carefully designed scenario. A Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian Su-24. It didn’t matter if the Turkish jet was in Syrian airspace or not, as Moscow knew exactly what had happened, and all the other players knew that Moscow knew. The actual murder of one of the ejecting Russian pilots was carried out by a proxy (a Grey Wolf), and not by a Turkish soldier. But in any case, this test miserably failed, because Russia did not react in a way that would contravene international law (the immediate response happened hours after the shootdown – Russian “advisors” and Syrian troops went to Latakia with MLRS and wiped out the “terrorists who were responsible”, who just happened to be Turkmen). Since military operations generally take place within the framework of economic conflicts (securing assets), the manner in which Russia responded to Turkey in the format état-à-état was the equivalent of what the lunatic Zhirinovsky suggested to do, just without the war crimes.

The sanctions on Turkey (aimed at the CIA-Gulen bloc in reality) negated what Ankara was gaining from stealing Syrian oil, and so the Syrian theater became a zero-sum game for Erdogan. In May 2016 Davutoğlu was removed from the picture. Erdogan was forced to take part in the Astana Agreement and start the process of throwing his proxies in Syria under the bus (or onto green buses!) within the framework of what was given the reputation-saving name of “de-escalation zones”.

This was Moscow’s way of countering the game orchestrated by John Kerry, where a pocket in Eastern Syria would magically open (ISIS would go on an offensive) at a time when al-Nusra was on the ropes in Western Syria. This tactic hoped to tire out the Syrian Army and Russian “advisors” and maximise their casualties. Whilst never admitted in public by Moscow (naturally), “de-escalation zones” actually meant “we will liberate Aleppo and thus recapture all of the ‘useful’ (where most people live, in the West) part of Syria, after which the pace of the theater will have been slowed down enough to start work on eliminating the other players”.

After Aleppo was liberated (the Turkish-controlled groups magically withdrew), Russia continued, via the “de-escalation zones”, to whittle down the large list of terrorist groups into two categories: terrorists no longer supported by Turkey (loyal to al-Nusra leader Jolani) and tame terrorists still supported by Turkey. The former category would be shipped to Idlib via green buses, and the latter category would be used to keep the trecherous Kurds and the CIA-Mossad “Rojava” plan at bay.

In parallel to this, the Astana group managed to smash the Gulf bloc into fragments, liquidating their pet terrorist proxies in Syria and forcing them one by one to normalise relations with Assad, since the dollar is becoming a suitcase without a handle.

The question of the S-400 is more complex and isn’t just about defending Turkish skies. It symbolises more a commitment to play by the rules of the newly emerging world order (based on self-defence and international law) and to no longer indulge in the casino known as “Responsibility to Protect” (or in simpler terms – multipolarity vs unipolarity). Similarly, Turkish Stream is another example of Moscow thrusting a lance through the rotting corpse of NATO. In general, Turkey is geographically positioned almost in the center of the battle of superpowers. For Ankara, bearing in mind that the US tried to stage a coup there in 2016 and had a hand in the assasination of Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, it is more profitable to look East than it is to look West, and this was why Turkey wasn’t in a hurry to join the EU, since it saw the geopolitical storm brewing on the horizon and wasn’t prepared to kiss the ass of the IMF anymore.

So, returning back to the Syrian timeline, whilst al-Nusra was being herded into Idlib, and since Trump cut aid to US-backed terrorists, Turkey was able to monopolise the “Free Syrian Army” aesthetics (abandoned by the US) and occupy areas of Northern Syria whilst making it look like they are “Syrian rebels” and not Turkish proxies, all for the purpose of preventing the Kurds from travelling any more Westward than they already have. And here is where the array of interests becomes interesting:

  • Russia and Iran have basic diplomatic relations with the YPG/SDF (they are Syrian citizens after all) and want them to abandon the US/Tel Aviv/Riyadh;
  • The Syrian State wants the YPG/SDF to return to the bosom of the state and hand over the territories they occupy back to the Syrian Army;
  • Turkey wants the YPG/SDF removed from the picture/disbanded entirely, but has developed ties with Russia and Iran;
  • The YPG/SDF will not negotiate with Turkey unless it can hide behind America’s skirt;
  • Formally, Syria views Turkey as an aggressor, although behind the curtain Damascus has a pragmatic consensus with Moscow, which gave Turkey the green light to enter Syria in order to quell Rojava, and which is trying to stabilise the region and include all regional players in the Eurasian bloc;

Yes, it’s complicated. But here is a simple fact that helps the layperson to understand the situation: America has nuclear weapons. This is why Russia cannot stop the US from occupying Northeast Syria (which was plan B, plan A being a replica of Gaddafi’s removal, which failed after Russia cemented the Minsk Agreements in Ukraine). It can squash its proxies that are West of the Euphrates, yes, but it cannot touch US (non-proxy) assets, in the same way that Washington cannot touch Russian (non-proxy) assets. Or rather – they can directly touch each other’s assets, but any “victory” will be completely pyrrhic. From Russia’s perspective, the aim is to make friends with everyone, since the fewer enemies one has, the better.

While the core of the Turkish proxies is busy caging in (so-called “outposts”) al-Nusra militants in Idlib governorate, repelling the Kurds, and occasionally killing US soldiers, a kind of negotiation game between Turkey and Russia is ongoing:

  • Turkey needs a terroristified Idlib as leverage against all players but is happy to hand the governorate over to Assad piece by piece in exchange for pieces of the S-400/Turk Stream/general Eurasian bloc project;
  • Russia occasionally bombs Idlib in order to exercise its superior leverage over Turkey (the media presents this as “there were talks, but Russia continues to bomb Idlib”), the interim “ceasefire deals” are simply checkpoints in these grand negotiations;
  • Turkey turns a blind eye to al-Nusra’s oil operations (which feed their occupation of the governorate);
  • As an act of “hybrid war”, Russia and friends assist in the process of assassinating the commanders of al-Nusra in Idlib, since the less leverage Turkey has, the quicker the Idlib circus can end;
  • The West broadcasts propaganda about hospitals being bombed simply to cover up the fact that they have been arming and funding Al Qaeda for decades.

The “x-factor” in this conundrum is Trump’s “pull-out”. If US troops pull out of Northeast Syria completely, it would be in Russia’s interests if Turkey filled the void and proverbially herded the Kurds back towards Assad. For America, the sooner this war ends the quicker US troops can return home, but Trump won’t exit without getting something in return. However, there is a big problem – Zionism. Tel Aviv tries to keep America in Syria. Netanyahu didn’t spend all that time begging Uncle Sam to invade Iraq just for him to leave when the going got tough. Moreover, Iraq is already falling into the hands of Iran, and sooner or later the S-400 will be sat in Mesopotamia. Not to mention the fact that Russia is entrenching itself in Lebanon. Did I mention that Trump’s (purposeful?) decisions (and failed “deals of the century”) are strengthening the Palestinian resistance (example)? So what in all honesty does Israel hope to do?

Well, since everything that happened in the Middle East since 2001 (and arguably even earlier) is mainly in Israel’s interests, especially the Syrian war, it’s not a surprise that 8 years of full-scale local proxy warfare has reduced to… Israel taking aerial pot shots at a limited slice of Syrian territory. I have already explained why Russia doesn’t react to these airstrikes in the way that social media guerrillas would like, and all that has happened since is Netanyahu’s election victory. I would only add that bombing Syria became even riskier for Tel Aviv, since the SAA air defence units gain more experience with each new raid. Moscow managed to make a nice gesture to Israel, recovering from Syria the remains of an Israeli soldier missing since the 1982 war in Lebanon, but it wasn’t done for the purpose of stopping the airstrikes. It was simply a typical Russian diplomatic move based on the concept of “violence doesn’t beget violence”. Deflecting Israel’s airstrikes is the job of the Syrian air defences. The Israeli media presents this as “Russia has friendly relations with Israel and knows that Jerusalem considers Iran its leading existential threat, so does not block Israeli strikes at Iranian targets and those of its proxies, but on one condition: Stay out of Russia’s way and give ample warning so there won’t be a repeat of incidents like the one in which Syria shot down a Russian spy plane, possibly because of confusing signals by Israel”. However, in reality Russia wants Syria to become an independent adult, capable of defending itself without requiring Russia’s help, and it is only in this way that Syria will be able to successfully integrate itself into the Eurasian bloc. Of course, logically speaking, if Israel just left Syria alone and minded its own business, then Iranian forces wouldn’t even be in Syria. But I think that most know by now that Israel wanted (and maybe still wants) to carve Syria into 3 pieces along sectarian lines.

Another layer of the Israel problem is the fact that America is standing behind it (and thus the diplomatic support of many banana republics) and an illegal nuclear program, so it’s leverage when compared to Syria’s is superior, hence why the airstrikes happen in the first place. The incident with the downing of the Russian surveillance plane didn’t really change much, because Moscow knows that apartheid Israel is the main troublemaker in the Middle East (and even more so in Ukraine – those who truly understand Ukrainian history will understand why I say this), and the Syrian war coming to an end (whilst strengthening Israel’s neighbours in parallel) is in itself a blow to Tel Aviv.

What is very common to see now is countries seemingly sat on two chairs – the West and Eurasia. For example: Serbia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia show signs of looking both West and East. What is going on in reality is many tugs of war between superpowers, and the stronger Russia’s military and China’s economy become, the more it tips the scales in their favour, and the more “multipolar” the world becomes. It’s not that the US’ influence in a “converted” country disappears (the creation of NGOs is not illegal, and liberalism as an ideology cannot be physically destroyed), but more that the influence becomes less as the country adjusts to the new global economic reality. Although if Trump is indeed playing 4D chess with the “deep state” and is deliberately de-globalising the planet, then this shrinking of influence may be more fluid and less volatile than it seems.

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In summary: Turkey – the driving force behind the Anglo-Israeli proxies in Syria – was forced to abandon its plans in Syria after NATO’s Su-24 shootdown gambit failed; Ankara and Moscow now mutually exchange a piece of Idlib for a piece of S-400; the Syrian war is now at the “exit negotiations” stage, but Israel doesn’t want to be left alone with a stronger Syrian Army, Hezbollah, and Palestinian resistance at its border; Russia isn’t in a hurry to liberate Idlib, since an alternative plan is to let the jihadists kill each other like spiders in a jar, thus the lives of SAA soldiers are not put in danger unnecessarily.

PS I am well aware that Turkey creates local councilsmilitary adminstrations, and civilian infrastructure in North Syria, and I am not an advocate of such behavior but I don’t pretend to be more qualified than the Kremlin when it comes to solving such problems. I doubt that the Kurds would have behaved any different had they succeeded to create “rojava” in the summer of 2016. As for America, just look at what it has done to Raqqa and Mosul. Out of these options, I would prefer a temporary Turkish occupation, knowing that in the near future the situation would improve.

Syrian War Report – May 8, 2019: Syrian Army Liberates Another Town In Northwestern Hama

South Front

By May 8, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies had repelled a series of counter-attacks by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham-led forces keeping control of all the positions captured in northwestern Hama. Especially intense clashes took place near Tell Ottman where, according to pro-government sources, the SAA eliminated at least 5 militants.

Despite this, the SAA has not been able to develop on its success and push further into the militant-held area. An initial attempt to advance in the direction of Kafr Nabuda was repelled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its radical counterparts.

In the morning of May 8, the SAA advanced on Kafr Nabuda and entered the village. Clashes are ongoing.

The Damascus government employed only a limited force in this area. This means that the SAA is likely focussing on limited operations to neutralize the militant threat in particular parts of the de-militarized zone rather than undertaking a major advance on Idlib.

If the SAA adopts this kind of strategy, it will likely attempt to pull apart the militants’ strike force in Hama and Idlib through a series of tactical advances and to make gains in areas where their defense is weakened.

Meanwhile in northeastern Syria, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have continued their steady operations against existing ISIS cells on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. The SDF is also working to strengthen its positions on the contact line with the government-controlled area. After the collapse of Trump’s determination to withdraw US forces from the country, the US-backed group once again believes in its ability to establish a pseudo-state under Washington’s protection in this part of Syria.

US-Iranian tensions are growing amid speculations by mainstream media outlets that Iran is preparing to strike US troops deployed in the Middle East. Security Adviser John Bolton also announced that the US is deploying a carrier strike group and a strategic bomber task force to “deter” Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced this behavior saying that “If US and clients don’t feel safe, it’s because they’re despised by the people of the region” and “blaming Iran” will not help with this.

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Hard Truths in Syria الحقائق الصعبة في سوريا


America Can’t Do More With Less, and It Shouldn’t Try

الميادين نت

 18 نيسان 19:03

يجب على واشنطن قبول بعض الحقائق الصعبة في سوريا، أولها أن الأسد باق ولن يذهب إلى أي مكان ولا توجد فرصة لإسقاطه من قبل الولايات المتحدة أو أي شخص آخر. خلاصة ما توصّل إليه بريت ماكغورك المبعوث الاميركي السابق للتحالف الدولي ضد داعش، ونشر في “فورين أفريرز”. في المقال يشير ماكغورك إلى أنه لم يعد على واشنطن أن تستنزف مصداقيتها وهيبتها من خلال الإصرار على وجوب رحيل الأسد. ويقول إنه على الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة يمكن أن تستمر في الضغط على دمشق بالعقوبات إلا أن الألم الاقتصادي الذي يمكن أن تسببه باهت مقارنة بما عانى منه النظام بالفعل.

الحقائق الصعبة في سوريا

الحقائق الصعبة في سوريا

تحت عنوان “الحقائق الصعبة في سوريا” كتب بريت ماكغورك المبعوث الأميركي السابق للتحالف الدولي ضد داعش مقالاً يفنّد فيه خيارات واشنطن المتاحة في سوريا وتلك التي لم يعد بمقدروها اللجوء إليها.

خلاصة ما توصّل إليه أنه ليس بوسع أميركا أن تفعل الكثير بالقليل الذي تملكه، ويجب ألا تحاول فعل شيء بحيث يتعين على صانعي السياسة في الولايات المتحدة القبول بأن نفوذ الولايات المتحدة في سوريا أشرف على الزوال، وبالتالي عليهم أن يعيدوا النظر في أهدافهم وفقاً لذلك.

أفضل طريقة لإنقاذ الموقف بحسب ماكغورك هي أن يعيد القادة الأميركيون تنظيم أهدافهم وطرقهم ووسائلهم مع التركيز على ما يهم واشنطن حقاً وهو منع سوريا من أن تصبح نقطة انطلاق لشن هجمات ضد الولايات المتحدة أو حلفائها. هذا هدف مهم وقابل للتحقيق أما العقبة الرئيسية أمام تحقيقه فهي الإنكار.

في ما يلي ترجمة لأبرز ما جاء في المقال:

كان الوجود العسكري الأميركي هاماً لإدارة واشنطن علاقاتها مع الدول العربية، لكن شبح قوى ثلاث امبراياليات سابقة (إيران وروسيا وتركيا) تحدد مصير سوريا، ولّد ردة فعل عربية غير مفاجئة من مصر والأردن والسعودية والإمارات العربية المتحدة، خصوصاً مع سيطرة الإسلاميين على المعارضة السورية وتحويلها إلى وكيل تركي حيث بدأت هذه الدول جهودها لإعادة دمشق إلى الحظيرة العربية.

الولايات المتحدة عارضت اندفاعة حلفائها العرب لتطبيع العلاقات مع دمشق معتبرة أن من شأن ذلك تخفيف الضغط على الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد للمشاركة في عملية جنيف.

مع وجود القوات الأميركية على الأرض في سوريا وقيادتها العملية الناجحة ضد داعش، كان يمكن للدبلوماسيين الحديث مع شركائهم العرب بشيء من السلطة لكبح اندفاعتهم نحو الأسد.

فالحضور الأميركي كان بمثابة الضمانة في وجه التوسعين الإيراني والتركي اللذين تخشيانهما الدول العربية. لكن قرار ترامب بالانسحاب من سوريا قلب الوضع.

سيكون على الولايات المتحدة الآن أن تكافح لإقناع حلفائها العرب بأنها ملتزمة بدورها كلاعب في سوريا. وبما أن إيران وتركيا تتقدمان في تنفيذ أجندتهما في سوريا، والمختلفة بشكل كبير عن أجندة الدول العربية، سيكون من الصعب على الدبلوماسيين الأميركيين الطلب من شركائهم العرب عدم متابعة مصالحهم الخاصة وفق ما يرونه مناسباً بما في ذلك العمل مع النظام السوري.

لذلك لم يكن من المفاجئ أن تعيد الإمارات فتح سفارتها في دمشق في أعقاب قرار ترامب بالانسحاب، في خطوة تليها خطوات مماثلة من دول عربية أخرى.

الحقائق الصعبة

الحقيقة الأولى أن الوجود الأميركي مكّن الولايات المتحدة من الوقوف نداً ضد روسيا واحتواء إيران ولجم تركيا وأبقى على الدول العربية إلى جانبها. الأهم أنه منع ظهور داعش من جديد.

التعليمات التي أعطاها ترامب للانسحاب الكامل من سوريا سحب كل هذه المزايا. تعديله القرار بالإبقاء على 200 جندي في شمال شرق سوريا و200 آخرين في التنف على أمل أن تسد قوات التحالف الأخرى النقص، جعل الأمور أكثر سوءاً.

خطة ترامب الجديدة لم توقف أمر الانسحاب وستبدأ الولايات المتحدة في الأشهر المقبلة بتقليص عدد جنودها، من دون معرفة ما إذا كانت ستقوم بإبدالهم بآخرين، ما سيجعل التخطيط صعباً ويزيد من الخطر الذي يتهدد القوات الباقية.

أما دول التحالف الأخرى فمن المستبعد أن تنشر العدد الكافي. ولجعل الأمور أكثر سوءاً فإن المهمة الموكلة إلى الجنود الـ200 الذين ستبقيهم واشنطن ليست فقط هزيمة داعش بل أيضاً الحفاظ على منطقة آمنة عند الحدود التركية وحماية المنطقة الآمنة الأميركية من أي تسلل إيراني أو روسي أو سوري. هذا أكثر مما يمكن لمئتي جندي القيام به حتى إنه كان سيكون صعباً بالنسبة للألفي جندي الذين كانوا موجودين.

الولايات المتحدة ستفشل في حال واصلت السعي لتحقيق أهداف كبرى في سوريا. أفضل شيء يمكن أن يفعله ترامب هو التراجع عن قرار الانسحاب. لكن إذا لم يفعل ذلك لا يمكن لواشنطن التظاهر بأن تركها عدداً قليلاً من القوات في سوريا يجنبها الحاجة لإعادة التفكير في استراتيجيتها. يجب على واشنطن قبول بعض الحقائق الصعبة. الأولى هو أن الأسد باق ولن يذهب الى أي مكان ولا توجد فرصة لإسقاطه من قبل الولايات المتحدة أو أي شخص آخر. لا تحتاج واشنطن إلى قبول حكم الأسد أو الانخراط في نظامه لكن لم يعد عليها أن تستنزف مصداقيتها وهيبتها من خلال الإصرار على وجوب رحيله. وعلى الرغم من أن الولايات المتحدة يمكن أن تستمر في الضغط على دمشق بالعقوبات إلا أن الألم الاقتصادي الذي يمكن أن تسببه باهت مقارنة بما عانى منه النظام بالفعل.

الحقيقة الثانية

ستعيد الدول العربية علاقاتها مع دمشق ومقاومة واشنطن لهذا الاتجاه لن تؤدي إلا إلى إحباط الدول العربية وتشجيعها على ممارسة دبلوماسيتها من خلف ظهر واشنطن. قد يكون النهج الأفضل هو أن تعمل الولايات المتحدة مع شركائها العرب لصياغة أجندة واقعية للتعامل مع دمشق – على سبيل المثال من خلال تشجيع الدول العربية على تكييف علاقاتها المتجددة مع سوريا من خلال تدابير بناء الثقة مع نظام الأسد مثل العفو العام عن الهاربين من الخدمة العسكرية والذين انضموا الى جماعات المعارضة ويريدون الآن العودة إلى الأراضي التي يسيطر عليها النظام. إن الانفتاح العربي المشروط المحدود على دمشق قد يبدأ في إضعاف احتكار إيران وروسيا للنفوذ في سوريا.

تركيا حليف غير شريك

على الولايات المتحدة أن تقبل أن تركيا ليست شريكاً فاعلاً وإن كانت حليفا في الناتو. صحيح أن الدبلوماسيين الأميركيين لا يزالون يأملون بتحويل انجراف أانقرة نحو السلطوية والسياسة الخارجية التي تتعارض مع المصالح الأميركية لكنهم لن ينجحوا في ذلك. لطالما كانت تركيا حليفاً إشكالياً على مدى العقد الماضي، أي قبل أي خلاف في سوريا، من خلال مساعدة إيران على تفادي العقوبات الأميركية والإبقاء على رهائن أميركيين، واستخدام موضوع المهاجرين لابتزاز أوروبا. على واشنطن أن توضح لأنقرة أن أي اعتداء على قوات سوريا الديمقراطية حتى بعد الانسحاب الأميركي سيكون له عواقب خطيرة على العلاقات بين البلدين.

الحقيقة الأخيرة

الحقيقة الأخيرة هي اعتراف الولايات المتحدة بأن روسيا هي الوسيط الأقوى في سوريا. فالولايات المتحدة ليست لديها علاقات مع دمشق أو طهران لذلك عليها العمل مع موسكو لتحقيق أي شيء. لدى روسيا والولايات المتحدة بعض المصالح المشتركة في سوريا فكلتاهما تريد حفاظ الدولة على سلامة أراضيها وحرمان داعش والقاعدة من أي ملاذ آمن ولكل منهما علاقات وثيقة مع إسرائيل. لا يمكن حل الأزمة السورية من دون التواصل المباشر بين موسكو وواشنطن ويجب على الولايات المتحدة عزل المشكلة السورية عن جوانب أخرى من علاقتها المضطربة والعدائية مع روسيا.

أمام هذه الحقائق الصعبة على واشنطن اليوم التركيز على هدفين: حرمان إيران من أي وجود عسكري من شأنه تهديد اسرائيل ومنع عودة ظهور داعش.

لكن ما طرحه كل من جون بولتون ومايك بومبيو في سبيل ذلك ليست أهدافاً واقعية. ما يجب على الولايات المتحدة القيام به هو تقديم الدعم الدبلوماسي لإسرائيل لمنع إيران من القدرة على استخدام سوريا كقاعدة انطلاق لشن ضربات صاروخية ضدها، وهو هدف تتشاركه مع روسيا الحريصة على الحفاظ على علاقات جيدة مع الحكومة الإسرائيلية وتريد منع سوريا من أن تصبح ساحة معركة بين إسرائيل وإيران.

وبالتالي يمكن أن يكون هدف إحباط التمركز العسكري الإيراني في سوريا بمثابة أساس للدبلوماسية الثلاثية بين إسرائيل وروسيا والولايات المتحدة.

The American impasse is in Iraq not in Syria المأزق الأميركي في العراق وليس في سورية

The American impasse is in Iraq not in Syria

أبريل 9, 2019

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Many American reports including the speech that took place during the electoral campaign of the President Donald Trump reveal that ISIS was born to justify the American return to Iraq in addition to many other goals, and that the management of  the war on ISIS depended on the remaining of the Americans in Iraq for a long time. The few years of ISIS’s age compared with what was predicted by the former US President Barack Obama say that the alert of the resistance forces in Iraq and Iran especially the General Qassim Soleimani refused the American way of getting rid of ISIS which depended on restricting the battle with the Iraqi army and refusing any role of the Popular Crowd on  one hand and on the other hand, it depended on opening corridors  for the withdrawal of ISIS and refusing any tight besiege on it, under the pretext of facilitating the winning in the battles, but the fact was  to prevent ending these battles. The battle of Mosul was a witness of the size of the pressures to exclude the Popular Crowd from the battle of Tal Afar where America and Turkey converged on raising the red card. Iraq refused to obey and the Popular Crowd continued its challenge and closed the corridors in front of ISIS. Therefore, the American plan to prolong the war and the transition from one region to another has failed and the bet on keeping the Syrian army away from the Iraqi borders which become under the control of the Popular Crowd has failed too.

The complete American failure in Syria and in order to avoid the collision with the Syrian army and its allies when the battle of Idlib will finish, the Americans started talking about the withdrawal and its deadline, but they discovered what is more dangerous than the collapse of the front of the Arab, Israeli, Turkish, and Kurdish allies and the rashness of its parties between Moscow and Syria in order to get a bill of insurance. The linkage between the withdrawal and the end of the battle with ISIS paved the way for the battle of getting them out of Iraq as long as the battle is over or about to end. America was thinking that the difference of its legitimate presence covered by the Iraqi government from its non-legitimate presence according the Syrian government is enough to make a difference. The reports of the strategic studies centers in Washington agree that the American concern from the future of the presence in Iraq is the cause of stopping the withdrawal from Syria despite its awareness that the moment of the withdrawal from Syria is not so far and it is not selective or under control.

The campaigns of getting the Americans out of Iraq will not stop; the Popular Crowd raised the slogan to the parliament, and the Prime Minister left the matter to the parliament; the President of the Republic announced that he would not accept the remaining of US bases in Iraq. The US President showed his intentions to create a role for the presence in Iraq entitled observing Iran. In best cases, the Iraqis do not want to be a title used by the Americans in the confrontation with Iran, including the opponents of Iran from the Iraqis. The campaign of ousting the occupation troops embarrasses many people from being neutral and accuses them in their patriotism; it attracts the Iraqi street and reunites its sects.

The American presence in Syria became a secondary issue comparing with the American presence in Iraq, knowing that there is a US talk about the withdrawal from Afghanistan which is approved by the government, therefore, the resistance may resort to force if Washington insists on its staying. The balances of forces show that Washington does not bear the return to face the bleeding of its forces against the resistance which possesses the capacities now. Many Iraqi leaders say that this year will be the last year for the American presence in Iraq.

The strategic dynamic range of the resistance, its countries, and its forces are on a date at the end of this year with a true linkage of the capacities of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. So, Israel has to think very well.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

المأزق الأميركي في العراق وليس في سورية

مارس 8, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– تكشف الكثير من التقارير الأميركية بما فيها الكلام الذي قيل أثناء حملة الرئيس دونالد ترامب الانتخابية، أن اختراع داعش كان بهدف تبرير العودة الأميركية إلى العراق، إضافة لأهداف أخرى عديدة أيضاً، وأن إدارة الحرب على داعش كانت تتم بطريقة تراعي التمهيد لبقاء الأميركيين في العراق إلى أمد طويل. وتقول وقائع السنوات القليلة من عمر داعش قياساً بما بشر به الرئيس الأميركي السابق باراك اوباما، أن تنبّه قوى المقاومة في العراق ومعها إيران، وخصوصاً الجنرال قاسم سليماني، وقفا وراء رفض المنهجية الأميركية للحرب على داعش التي كانت تقوم أولاً على حصر المعركة بالجيش العراقي ورفض أي دور للحشد الشعبي، وتالياً بفتح ممرات انسحاب لداعش ورفض أي حصار محكم على مجموعاتها، بداعي تسهيل الفوز بالمعارك، ولكن بهدف عدم بلوغ نهاية لهذه المعارك. وكانت معركة الموصل شاهداً على حجم الضغوط لاستبعاد الحشد الشعبي من معركة تلعفر، حيث تلاقى الاميركي والتركي على رفع البطاقة الحمراء، ورفض العراق الانصياع ومضى الحشد الشعبي بالتحدي وأغلق طرق الانسحاب أمام داعش، وفشلت الخطة الأميركية بإطالة أمد الحرب والانتقال بها من منطقة إلى منطقة، كما فشل الرهان على إبقاء الجيش السوري بعيداً عن الحدود مع العراق التي باتت تحت سيطرة الحشد الشعبي.

– مع الفشل الأميركي الكامل في سورية وسعياً لتفادي لحظة تصادم قادمة مع الجيش السوري وحلفائه عندما تنتهي معارك إدلب، بدأ الأميركيون يتحدثون عن الانسحاب ومهل الانسحاب والتدرج وعدم التدرج في الانسحاب، لكنهم اكتشفوا ما هو أخطر من انهيار جبهة حلفائهم العربية والإسرائيلية والتركية والكردية وتسابق أطرافها للبحث بين موسكو ودمشق عن بوليصة تأمين. فقد فتح الربط بين الانسحاب ونهاية المعركة مع داعش الباب واسعاً للبدء بمعركة إخراجهم من العراق طالما أن المعركة انتهت أو توشك، بينما كان الظن الأميركي أن الفارق بغطائهم الشرعي من الحكومة العراقية عن وجودهم غير الشرعي بنظر الحكومة السورية سيكون كافياً لإحداث الفارق بين الحالتين العراقية والسورية، وتجمع التقارير التي تصدرها مراكز الدراسات الاستراتيجية في واشنطن أن القلق الأميركي من مستقبل الوجود في العراق هو وراء قرار تجميد الانسحاب من سورية وجدولته، رغم إدراكهم أن لحظة الانسحاب من سورية ليست بعيدة، وليست انتقائية، وليست تحت السيطرة.

– انطلقت حملة إحراج الأميركيين من العراق ولم ولن تتوقف، فقوى الحشد الشعبي تحمل الراية وتنتقل بها إلى مجلس النواب، والأغلبية ماضية بهذا التوجه، ورئيس الحكومة ترك الأمر لما يقرّره المجلس النيابي، ورئيس الجمهورية يعلن أن لا أحد سيقبل ببقاء قواعد أميركية في العراق. وجاء كلام الرئيس الأميركي عن نيات ابتكار دور للوجود في العراق اسمه مراقبة إيران، ليمنح حملة الدعوة لإخراج الأميركيين من العراق زخماً إضافياً، فالعراقيون لا يرغبون بأحسن الأحوال أن يكونوا عنواناً يستخدمه الأميركيون في المواجهة مع إيران، بمن في ذلك خصوم إيران من العراقيين، وحملة إخراج قوات الاحتلال تُحرج الكثيرين من الوقوف على الحياد وتطعن في وطنيتهم، وتستقطب الشارع العراقي وتعيد توحيد طوائفه.

– يتحوّل التمركز الأميركي في سورية إلى قضية ثانوية بالقياس لقضية التمركز الأميركي في العراق، ويكسب دعاة إخراج الأميركيين سبباً إضافياً مع الحديث الأميركي عن الانسحاب من أفغانستان التي يحظون بموافقة حكومتها، لأنهم يخشون أن يتعرّضوا للأذى هناك، ما يجعل التلويح بمقاومة هذا الوجود بالقوة إذا أصرت واشنطن على البقاء عنوة، وتقول موازين القوى إن واشنطن لا تتحمل العودة لمواجهة النزيف بين قواتها بوجه مقاومة تملك من المقدرات هذه المرة ما لم يكن متاحاً للمقاومة التي عرفها الأميركيون قبل سنوات، ويتحدث الكثير من قادة العراق عن أن العام الحالي هو آخر سنة للبقاء الأميركي في العراق.

– المدى الحيوي الاستراتيجي لمحور المقاومة ودوله وقواه على موعد نهاية هذا العام مع ربط حقيقي لمقدرات إيران بالعراق بسورية ولبنان، وعلى «إسرائيل» أن تعيد حساباتها كثيراً ولعلها تفعل ذلك.

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Finian Cunningham: “Kurds in Fateful Triangle as US Moves to Redeploy IS Terror Groups”

Written by Finian Cunningham; Originally appeared on

Kurdish fighters have been used by the US to ostensibly defeat the remaining Islamic State holdouts in eastern Syria. But what is emerging is not a final defeat of the terrorists, more a redeployment to further destabilize the Arab country.

Potentially, the Kurds could wind up not with the regional autonomy they desire, but as part of a rebranded American dirty war army whose ranks include the very terrorist the Kurdish militias have been successfully battling against.

Finian Cunningham: "Kurds in Fateful Triangle as US Moves to Redeploy IS Terror Groups"

President Donald Trump has been lately crowing about how US-backed Kurdish forces have wiped out the IS self-proclaimed caliphate around Baghouz in eastern Syria. “They’re losers… they’re gone tonight,” he boasted about supposedly vanquishing the jihadists.

However, things are not that clear-cut. Syria’s envoy to the United Nations Bashar al Jaafari dismissed Trump’s victory celebrations as a “bluff”. He said that IS was not defeated in areas under US control, but rather were being shunted off to various camps for retraining.

There are credible reports that thousands of jihadists who surrendered or were captured in the fighting around Baghouz have since been relocated by US forces to its military base at al Tanf near the border with Iraq and Jordan, as well as to nearby refugee camps such as Rukban, where some 40,000 detainees are held. Suspiciously, the Americans are refusing international access to these camps, even for UN humanitarian relief agencies. As Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out recently, the detention centers are being used by the Americans as a pretext for illegally occupying Syrian territory.

We can also add the purpose of clandestine military recruitment for US proxies.

Despite Trump’s announcement four months ago that US military was pulling out of Syria, there seems no sign that his plan is being implemented. That’s why Moscow reacted angrily to Washington’s demand for Russian troops to leave Venezuela. The Kremlin responded testily that the US should first deliver on its promise to withdraw from Syria, where its forces are illegally present unlike Russian personnel in Venezuela under bilateral agreement.

In Syria’s supposedly post-war scenario what seems to be happening is the US seeking to find a way to reconfigure its destabilizing intervention in the Arab country. The past eight years of US-sponsored covert war has failed in its objective for regime change against President Bashar al Assad, who is allied with Russia and Iran. What the US is aiming to do now is keep military footprints in the country, effectively annexing swathes of territory, especially in the oil and gas-rich eastern region around the Euphrates River.

That accounts for why supposedly defeated enemy terrorists are being retrained by US special forces at al Tanf. They are reportedly being tasked with capturing the oil and gas fields in Deir ez-Zor province as well as production infrastructure in Homs province.

This puts the Kurdish forces in an invidious position. There is little doubting the courage and fighting ability of the Kurdish men and women who make up the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its spearhead YPG militias. The Kurds have managed to liberate up to 30 per cent of Syria’s territory in the northeast and east from the IS jihadists. They have dealt a decisive blow to the residual caliphate at Baghouz. American air power augmented the Kurds in their offensive.

But what the US is maneuvering to do is to combine the defeated jihadists with the Kurds in order to push its agenda for breaking up Syria and controlling its eastern mineral-rich resources.

The Special Monitoring Mission to Syria reports that IS militants captured by the SDF are being redeployed by the Americans for seizing oil and gas production facilities.

Still another crucial objective for Washington is to control the Deir ez-Zor east-west corridor from Iraq to Damascus so as to contain Iranian presence in Syria.

This is the context for Trump’s brazen declaration recognizing Israel’s annexation of Syria’s southern Golan Heights. Washington’s game plan is to keep Syria destabilized and fragmented, partly to appease Israel and partly for the US’s own imperial designs for dominance in the region.

In this insidious US maneuvering, the Kurds face a potentially treacherous situation. They have been well armed and supported by Washington, but are finding they are being used like a disposable asset. The Kurds may have calculated that accepting Washington’s patronage in recent years was a way to earn political capital for building a future separate independent Kurdish state. What seems to be emerging, however, is that the Americans only intend to exploit the Kurds as a fighting force to do its dirty work of breaking up Syria – in the same way that the Americans have covertly used jihadist terror groups in other parts of Syria.

The Kurds have been very effective in routing IS in the latter’s remaining strongholds in eastern Syria. But the result is the Kurds are being used as a recruitment agency for the Americans to redeploy the “defeated” terrorists in its ongoing covert war against the Syrian state.

There are signs, though, that the Kurds are well aware of the treacherous danger in dealing with Washington. When Trump made is troop withdrawal announcement, there were palpable concerns among the Kurds about being betrayed to the mercy of Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to send his military forces into Syria to crush the SDF and YPG militia whom Ankara views as “terrorist” affiliates of its own separatist Kurdish movement, the PKK.

It’s not clear if the US will implement a withdrawal of its estimated 2,000 troops in Syria. There are indications it won’t happen, despite Trump’s claims. Nevertheless, the surprise announcement was enough to undermine Kurdish confidence its patron. With the result that Kurdish leaders have begun reaching out to the Assad government in Damascus in the hope of dialogue producing a future federal arrangement.

The Kurds have reportedly requested Russia to mediate with the Syrian government.

Kurdish forces have not heretofore been at war with the Syrian Arab Army. They share the same common enemy of IS and assorted jihadist terror groups.

In the past, President Assad has rebuffed Kurdish aspirations for regional autonomy. But apparently, Damascus has shifted to be more open on forming a new federal constitution for Syria in which the Kurds would gain important regional independence – in a way analogous to the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq.

In this fateful political triangle that the Syrian Kurds find themselves, they would be advised to throw their lot in with the Damascus government. If a mutual pact could be established that would bring the two major chunks of Syria’s territory back into territorial integrity.

If, on other hand, the Kurds accede to Washington’s nefarious agenda, they run the risk of losing independence and being eviscerated from exploitation in endless dirty-war machinations by the Americans. An ominous sign is that after bravely fighting to rout IS, the Kurdish militia are being set up to form a devil’s bargain with the same terrorists – to satisfy Washington’s geopolitical interests.

The Kurds would do well to remember a cynical maxim in Washington, whereby the US “does not have allies, only interests”.

الأميركيون يناورون بفلول داعش والعراق منصة متجدّدة

مارس 28, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

لا يزال الأميركيون غير قادرين على تجرّع كأس الهزيمة المرة بسهولة، ويسعون بجهد بالغ للإيحاء بأنهم لم ينكسروا بعد رغم تصدّع استراتيجياتهم الواحدة بعد الأخرى..!

وفي هذا السياق فقد قامت قبل عدة أشهر غرفة عمليات التنف الأميركية بإصدار نداء لعناصر التنظيمات المسلحة، بمختلف تسمياتها، في منطقة التنف مطالبة إياها بالالتحاق بوحدات التشكيلات الكردية، التي يسمّيها الأميركيون ووسائل الإعلام العميله بقوات قسد، وذلك تحت عنوان مقاتلة داعش في شرق الفرات، كما ادّعى البيان الأميركي آنذاك…!

وعلى الرغم من الحملة الإعلامية الواسعة، التي أطلقتها آلة الإعلام الأميركية والإعلام العميل التابع لها، حول ما قيل إنه هجوم بدأته قوات «قسد» على جيوب داعش شرق الفرات وما أشيع حول عمليات إسناد جوي أميركي وغربي لها، فإنّ ما حصل لم يعدُ كونه عملية هوليودية أميركية هدفت إلى ما يلي:

1 ـ تنفيذ أكبر عدد ممكن من الغارات الجوية في أرياف دير الزّور والبوكمال الشرقية بهدف تدمير ما تبقى من البنى التحتية السورية المدنية في تلك المناطق.

2 ـ إخلاء مسلحي داعش من شرق الفرات، سواء بواسطة المروحيات العسكرية الأميركية، التي نفذت مئات عمليات الإخلاء الجوي لهؤلاء العناصر خلال الأشهر الثمانية الماضية، أو عبر فتح ممرات آمنة لهم والسماح لهم بالانتقال من شريط الباغوز/ هجين الى القواعد الأميركية في منطقة الشدادي والرميلان، في محافظة الحسكة، وتجميعهم في معسكرات يخضعون فيها لبرامج إعادة تدريب وتسليح، تمهيداً لإعادة انتشارهم في مواقع جديدة، سواء في سورية أو العراق.

3 ـ كما هدفت تمثيلية هوليوود، التي نفذتها القيادة المركزية الأميركية في الدوحة CENTCOM، إلى كسب المزيد من الوقت، لتنظيم عمليات إعادة انتشار القوات الأميركية الواسعة النطاق، في كلّ من سورية والعراق والأردن وفلسطين المحتلة.

وقد قامت هذه القيادة وفِي هذا الإطار بما يلي:

أ ـ تقليص عديد قواة قواعدها ونقاط ارتكازها العسكرية شرق الفرات السوري، ضمن خطة تكتيكية لتنفيذ عملية إعادة الانتشار المُشار إليها أعلاه.

ب ـ تعزيز تواجد قواتها في كافة قواعدها في العراق، تحت حجة استقدام قوات أميركية لـ «حماية» القوات المنسحبة من سورية. وهو أمر لا يثير الكثير من الريبة، بل الكثير من الضحك لأنّ المراقبين لما يجري ليسوا بالمغفلين، كي يصدّقوا أنّ حماية انسحاب كتيبة عسكرية، من أيّ مكان في العالم، يحتاج إلى فرقة كاملة 15 ألف جندي لتأمينه…!

ونحن نتحدث هنا عن قوات أميركية محمولة جواً تابعة للفرقة 82 والفرقة 101 الأميركيتين، والتي تمّ نشرها في قاعدة كركوك وعين الأسد الجويتين وفي قاعدة الرمادي وقاعدة التنف الأميركية الشهيرة.

ج ـ وإذا ما نظر المراقب الى مواقع هذه القواعد الأميركية، في سورية والعراق، فلن يكون من العسير عليه اكتشاف الهدف من تواجدها، ألا وهو السيطرة على محاور الطرق الدولية، التي تربط بغداد بكلّ من طهران ودمشق وعمّان، وذلك بهدف قطع التواصل الجغرافي البرّي بين هذه العواصم عند الضرورة. الأمر الذي قد يحصل بصورة مباشرة، عبر تحرّك وحدات قتالية أميركية للسيطرة على قواطع بعينها من هذه المحاور، او من خلال تحريك عصابات فلول داعش وغيرها من العصابات المسلحة، التي تقوم القيادة المركزية الأميركية، عبر غرف عملياتها الميدانية في عين الأسد والتنف، بإعادة نشرها في غرب الأنبار باتجاه الرطبة جنوباً والنخيب ووادي القذف شرقاً هذا المحور يهدّد النجف وكربلاء بشكل مباشر .

د ـ ولا يخفى على أحد أنّ كلّ هذه الإجراءات جميعها تهدف الى التأثير على قدرات حلف المقاومة من جهة وتنفيذ عملية مشاغلة، أو حرب استنزاف طويلة الأمد، لقواته سواء في سورية أو العراق. أيّ أنّ هذا التكتيك هو نفسه الذي اتبعه البنتاغون في فيتنام، إبان الحرب الأميركية عليها في ستينات القرن الماضي، إذ عمدت الى فتنمة الحرب لتخفيف الضغط العسكري، من قبل ثوار الفيتكونغ الفيتناميين، على قواتها العسكرية في فيتنام الجنوبية.

وكما كان الفشل والهزيمة الساحقة هو مصير القوة العسكرية الأميركية في فيتنام آنذاك فإنّ مصير قواتها وقواعدها في الدول العربية لن يختلف كثيراً عن مصيرها في فيتنام، حيث سيأتي اليوم الذي سيفرّون فيه من بلداننا ومعهم مستوطنو القاعدة العسكرية الأميركية في فلسطين المحتلة والمسماة إسرائيل ، وذلك عندما تحين الساعة الصفر لتنفيذ المرحلة الأخيرة من الهجوم الاستراتيجي الذي تنفذه قوات حلف المقاومة على مراحل والذي لن يتوقف الا بدخول القدس وتحريرها تحريراً تاماً من الاحتلال ومستوطنيه. وما قيام نتن ياهو بقطع زيارته لواشنطن والعودة مسرعاً الى فلسطين المحتلة وطلبه المستعجل من القيادة المصرية للتوسط سريعاً مع فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية في قطاع غزة لوقف إطلاق النار، الا دليل قاطع على عجز رئيس العصابة هذا وجيشه عن مواجهة أيّ هجوم محتمل لقوات حلف المقاومة في المستقبل…!

4 ـ أما الهدف الآخر من التمثيلية الأميركيه شرق الفرات، والتي قلنا إنها هدفت لكسب الوقت لتنفيذ عمليات إعادة انتشار، سواء على الصعيد التكتيكي، كما أوضحنا أعلاه، او على الصعيد الاستراتيجي كما سنوضح الآن.

إذ قامت القيادة المركزية الأميركية في الدوحة CENTCOM، قبل عدة أسابيع، بنشر المنظومة الصاروخيه المضادة للصواريخ، المسماة ثاد THAAD، في قواعد جيش الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي» في جنوب ووسط فلسطين المحتلة. وهو الإجراء الذي لا يمكن اعتباره موجهاً ضدّ إيران فحسب، وإنما ضدّ روسيا وبشكل مباشر ومكمّل لمثيلات هذا النظام الذي نشرته الولايات المتحده في كلّ من رومانيا وبلغاريا قبل حوالي عام.

5 ـ كما انّ القيادة العسكرية الأميركية، ومن خلال تعزيز قواعدها في العراق، خاصة قاعدة عين الأسد، تدرس حالياً إمكانية نقل عدد من قاذفات القنابل الاستراتيجية الأميركية، من طراز /ب 52/ المنتشرة في بريطانيا، الى قاعدة عين الأسد العراقية، كي تكون هذه القاذفات مكملاً للأسطول الجوي الاستراتيجي الأميركي الموجود في قاعدة جزيرة دييغو غارسيا Diego Garcia الأميركية، الواقعة جنوب الهند في المحيط الهندي، وذلك في مواجهة كلا من الصين وروسيا على المدى الاستراتيجي، وهذا بالضبط هو جوهر كلام الرئيس الأميركي حول تركيز قواته في العراق من أجل «مراقبة إيران» وتنفيذ عمليات عسكرية في سوريّة عند الضرورة. أيّ انه يسعى الى تعزيز قواته، من أجل تقطيع أوصال حلف المقاومة، تمهيداً للتفرّد بكلّ ساحة من ساحاته على حدة، وصولاً الى ضرب إيران وإنهاء نظام الجمهورية الإسلامية في هذا البلد. الأمر الذي سيؤدّي، إذا ما تمّ ذلك حسب الخطط الأميركية لا سمح الله، الى انقلاب في ميزان القوى الاستراتيجي، وذلك من خلال وصول القوات الأميركية الى الحدود الجنوبية لروسيا واقترابها من غرب الصين، بكلّ ما يعنيه ذلك من تهديد استراتيجي لهذين البلدين الصديقين للدول المعادية لسيطرة القطب الأميركي الواحد على مقدرات شعوب العالم.

6 ـ بناء على ما تقدم، وبالنظر الى استمرار المحاولات الأميركية الرامية الى سلخ العراق كلياً عن محور المقاومة، تلك المحاولات التي كان آخرها القمة الثلاثية في القاهرة، والتي تمّت بطلب أميركي مباشر، لكلّ من الأردن ومصر، بإقناع رئيس الوزراء العراقي بالانتقال الى المحور السعودي مقابل تكفل السعودية بتكاليف إعادة إعمار العراق وتعويض كلا من مصر والسعودية والأردن عن مشاريع إعادة الإعمار في سورية بمثيلاتها في العراق.

لذا فإنّ أولى الأولويات، في مواجهة هذه المخططات الأميركية في المنطقة، كما يرى المتابعون من أهل الشأن تتمثل في ما يلي:

ـ العمل بكلّ الوسائل على منع الحكومة العراقية من الانزلاق للانخراط في هذا المخطط الأميركي التدميري.

ـ مواجهة التحرك الاستخباراتي السعودي الأردني مع رؤساء العشائر في غرب وجنوب غرب الأنبار.

ـ الحذر الشديد من التواصل القائم بين تيار عراقي معلوم الحال والسلطات الأردنية…!

ويمكرون ويمكر الله والله خير الماكرين.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…


South Front

On March 23, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) released a statement stressing that ISIS had been fully defeated in Syria, including the area of the Euphrates Valley. The SDF operation against ISIS in the Euphrates Valley lasted for over six months. In the course of the battle, thousands of ISIS fighters were killed or surrendered to US-backed forces.

At the same time, according to the SDF, about 11,000 of its members had been killed since the start of its campaign against ISIS a few years ago. The SDF said that during the same period it captured 52,000km2 and rescued nearly “5,000,000 people”.

Additionally, the US-backed group once again demanded the Damascus government to recognize its authority over the captured part of northeastern Syria. This signals that the SDF-Damascus negotiations have not led to notable progress so far.

On March 22, the US declared a full victory over ISIS. White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders told reporters that acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan briefed President Donald Trump and told him that ISIS no longer holds any territory in Syria.

At a conservative estimate, this was the 15th time when the US declared victory over ISIS since December 2018. However, it seems this is not the end. A day later, on March 23, Joseph Votel Commander of U.S. Central Command, recalled the ISIS defeat in a separate statement.

“While our collective efforts liberated more than seven million civilians from Daesh’s brutality, we recognize the fight is not over.  We remain committed to continuing our efforts to pursue and destroy remnants of Daesh, which are attempting to live on as an insurgency.  We will continue our collective fight to bring about the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Votel said.

In other words, the US military will continue to keep troops in Syria pretending that they are needed there to combat the terrorism.

Since the first announcement on December 19, the US troops withdrawal decision has already faced 7 transformation in meaning, timeline and scale. According to experts, the main issue faced by the US is the need to compose public statements and real actions, which often contradict each others.

On the other hand, it may be a kind of sophisticated disinformation campaign against US competitors, to confuse them in a sort of psy-operation. After all, the enemy can’t know what the US is doing, when it doesn’t know what it is doing itself.

At the same time, the Israeli military and security forces have started preparing for a possible unrest in the occupied Golan Heights if Washington moves forward with its idea to recognize Israeli sovereignty over them. “We are preparing for the possibility of tension in the northern Golan Heights,” the Israeli military said in a statement on March 23, without providing any additional details. Israel’s Channel 13 news said that snipers have been deployed in the region and riot control measures, such as tear gas and rubber bullets, have been supplied to forces stationed in the area.

Several U.S. Senators, led by Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, are already working to pass a new bill in the Senate and the House to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The bill would also promote the U.S. conducting “joint projects” with Israel in the Golan Heights, including “industrial research and development.”

This bill if it’s accepted will likely lead to the growth of tensions between Israel and other regional states. So, Tel Aviv is preparing for a new round of escalation in the region.

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Trump declares “victory” over ISIS but Washington’s foul plans in Syria are far from over

South Front

March 07, 2019

Trump declares “victory” over ISIS but Washington’s foul plans in Syria are far from over

by Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

At the eve of the 8 year anniversary of the Syrian war, the battle for one of the last ISIS strongholds in Syria is still raging. The so called “caliphate” is on its last knees as US president Trump declares that “100 percent of ISIS ‘caliphate’ has been taken back.

Trump was of course only referring to the US coalitions “efforts” and didn’t even bother to mention that it is Syria and her allies that have done most of the heavy lifting. Nevertheless, he was right about ISIS losing all of the territories they occupied in Syria, but what happens now?

The US has for long declared that their presence (occupation) in Syria is mainly to fight ISIS, while sometimes also claiming to “prevent Iran from entrenching itself” in Syria. Of course any serious observer who has the slightest interest in Middle Eastern politics understands that this is a lie.

The US’ top priority has been from the beginning to save its masters in Israel from their day of reckoning. In the long run this objective is and has always been linked to the much greater plan of destroying the Islamic Republic, the only true threat to Israel’s continued existence. For years Washington has deceived and fooled a vast majority of the world’s population and “analysts” into believing that its presence in Syria is tied to “fighting ISIS”, while hiding their intentions to overthrow the Syrian government and destroying the Resistance Axis. Now, Washington’s true objective will resurface for everyone to see.

This goal has not been linked to a specific US administration but has been a very longstanding policy for decades no matter who’s the president.

Despite Trump’s bogus declaration back in December that the US is pulling out of Syria, Washington recently backtracked and declared it won’t fully withdraw its troops from Syria but will leave “400 peacekeeping forces”, making these soldiers an official occupation force as the last ISIS stronghold is about to be destroyed. This new situation leaves the US and European allies without any cloak of legality since the pretext of “counterterrorism” is no longer plausible.

But this should not come as a surprise to anyone. Only a fool would believe that the US has spent so much time and money on training and arming Kurdish militias to grab as much land as possible east of the Euphrates, just to let the Syrian government take all the land back in a deal with the Kurdish militias.

The continued US occupation makes any kind of reconciliation between the Kurdish militias and Damascus impossible. Now that the ISIS terrorists are gone, the future of the Kurdish militias remain very much at the hands of Washington. Where will they be used next?

Turkey has for long threatened to invade north eastern Syria as Turkish president Erdogan vowed to create a “safe zone” along the Syrian-Turkish border after a phone call between him and Trump. At the same time Trump has threatened Turkey to refrain from attacking its Kurdish proxies in that region. This contradictory situation became even messier when Moscow declared that it will not accept such a “safe zone” without Damascus approval, a highly unlikely outcome as relations between Damascus and Ankara remain very hostile.

To the northwest, jihadist group Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham has outmanoeuvred and taken over most of the other “rebel groups’” positions and now remains the sole powerhouse in the Idlib province. Turkey’s inability or rather lack of interest to remove these terrorists has opened up the possibility for a new Syrian Army offensive on the region. If history is to repeat itself, we should expect Washington to threaten Damascus to refrain from launching this offensive.

Meanwhile, voices are being raised in neighbouring Iraq, demanding US forces stationed near the Syrian border to leave the country. Despite the unlikelihood of US troops withdrawing from Iraq, such a scenario would give Washington even more incentive to hold on to its foothold in Syria.

Washington has recently showed a great obsession with Iran and will do its utmost to destroy the Iranian-Syrian alliance and to isolate Iran, making the Islamic Republic an easy target for Washington’s next planned “humanitarian intervention”. This is manifested through Washington’s strategic occupation of eastern Syria and the Al-Tanf region, located right next to the Iraqi border and close to the Golan Heights. This was further proven after President Assad’s surprise visit to Iran where Iranian officials revealed that Washington had offered Assad to back his presidency in exchange for him breaking ties with Tehran.

Terrorist forces in Syria may be on the verge of defeat, but their sponsors in Washington remain as dangerous as ever. The last chapter of the Syrian war is yet to be written.

From Lebanon to Iraq: US-Iran escalation shows no sign of abating

Lina Khatib is the Head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House.
Both the United States and Iran are sending messages of no compromise to one another
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei greets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) in Tehran on 25 February during a rare visit (AFP)

On Monday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Tehran, only his third trip abroad since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, following trips to Russia in 2015 and 2017.

Assad’s Tehran visit is largely symbolic, marking the declared “victory” of his forces with the support of Iran, but it can also be read as part of an escalating American-Iranian showdown that is playing out in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Iran’s narrative

The visit came shortly after US President Donald Trump declared victory against the Islamic State group (IS). Trump boasted on Twitter that: “We have defeated ISIS”, with the “we” referring to the US-led international anti-ISIS coalition.

Of course, Iran is not part of that coalition, but it has been justifying its own military intervention in Syria as being about countering what it calls “takfiri jihadis”, of which IS is a component. Trump’s statement- indirectly – completely dismisses this Iranian narrative.

Iran is widely viewed in the West as a destabilising force in Syria, even by countries that remain committed to the nuclear deal with Tehran, which the United States withdrew from last year.

Iran – like Russia – firmly believes that IS and other “takfiri” groups are part of an American plot to destabilise the Middle East

Iran-backed militias, led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah, have been fighting alongside the Syrian Arab army since at least 2012.

Iran’s support has enabled Assad to survive the conflict, although whether Iran would have managed to achieve this outcome without Russia’s own intervention remains questionable.

Iran – like Russia – firmly believes that IS and other “takfiri” groups are part of an American plot to destabilise the Middle East. Both Russia and Iran say they are intervening to stand up to American meddling and to stabilise the region.

American plots

During Assad’s visit, Ayatollah Khamenei praised what he referred to as Syria’s “victory”, presenting it as another example of Iran’s victory – not against IS, but against American “plots” in the Middle East, according to Khamenei. The choice of the word “victory” is a direct response to Trump’s “victory” statement about IS.

US soldiers in Syrian city of Manbij in March 2018(AFP)
While the US is withdrawing its forces from Syria, many are due to be redeployed to the Iraq-Syria border (AFP)

The tension between Iran and the US is not rising in the Syrian context alone. In Iraq, Iran-backed militias from the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) have recently started questioning the continued presence of American troops there now that the Iraqi government has also declared military victory against IS.

Qais al-Khazali, a prominent PMU militia leader and politician, said in an interview with Reuters that he sees no reason for US troops to remain in Iraq.

The tension between Iran and US is not rising in the Syrian context alone. In Iraq, Iran-backed militias have recently started questioning the US presence in the country

PMU fighters have been deploying in larger numbers to the Iraqi-Syrian border, saying they need to be there to support the Iraqi Army in securing the border and preventing an IS resurgence.

Although President Trump announced that the United States is to withdraw all but 400 American troops from Syria, the troops that are leaving Syria are mainly going to be re-deployed in the Ayn al-Assad military base in Iraq near the Syrian border.

Keeping some troops in north-eastern Syria and augmenting the numbers present in Iraq is a way for the United States not just to continue the battle against IS insurgents but also to “watch Iran” from Iraq, as Trump declared in late January.

This was not lost on Khamenei, who declared during Assad’s visit that the US plan to be actively present on the Syria-Iraq border “must be decisively rejected and resisted”.

The escalation in Lebanon

The escalation in US-Iranian tensions also extends to Lebanon. Coinciding with Assad’s Tehran visit, the UK announced on Monday that it was designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. Previously, the UK had made a distinction between the military and political wings of Hezbollah.

The UK is now following in US footsteps on the status of Hezbollah. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that: “We are no longer able to distinguish between the already banned military wing and the political party”, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added that the UK government’s action is a signal that Hezbollah’s “destabilising activities” in the Middle East “are totally unacceptable and detrimental to the UK’s national security”.

Hezbollah: The real winner of the Syrian war?

Read More »

The UK designation comes four months after the US announced it was imposing further sanctions targeting “foreign persons and government agencies that knowingly assist or support Hezbollah and Hezbollah-affiliated networks”, in the words of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Trump emphasised that the Hezbollah sanctions are part of the larger plan to increase pressure on Iran.

Another major event coinciding with Assad’s trip and the UK’s designation of Hezbollah is the surprise resignation of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Many have linked the timing of his resignation to Assad’s visit to Tehran, which Zarif did not take part in, while noting the prominence of the leader of al-Quds Force and the architect of Iran’s interventions in Syria and Iraq, General Qassem Soleimani, in Assad’s meetings in Tehran.

Soleimani’s rising public profile is an indicator that Iran’s response to pressure by the United States and its allies is going to be in the direction of taking a harder line rather than engaging in international diplomacy regarding its foreign policy and interventions in other countries in the Middle East.

With both the United States and Iran standing firm in sending messages of no compromise to one another, it is likely that the nuclear deal will all but unravel further down the line and that prospects of engaging Iran in diplomatic talks on Syria or other Middle Eastern files are going to be dim.

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

“Hero of the Arab world” الأسد بطل العالم العربي

فبراير 26, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– الزيارة التي بدأها الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد إلى طهران واللقاء الذي جمعه بالإمام علي الخامنئي، بعيدة كلياً عن الإطار البروتوكولي والتشاور الروتيني، وهما معياران قد تخطّتهما العلاقة السورية الإيرانية بطبيعة القواعد التي أرستها خلال السنوات الماضية، حيث لا ضرورة لمثل هذه الزيارة إلا لبلورة قرارات مفصلية، فالتشاور لا ينقطع على مدار الساعة دون إعلام وإعلان، وحاضر بالزيارات المتبادلة لكبار المسؤولين التي لا تنقطع بصورة أسبوعية تقريباً، ما يعني أنّ التوازنات والمعادلات المحيطة بالمنطقة، خصوصاً بما تشهده سورية وصلت لمرحلة مفصلية تستدعي قرارات على مستوى يستدعي لقاء قمّة يجمع الإمام علي الخامنئي بالرئيس بشار الأسد.

– تتجمّع عناصر مشهد استراتيجي بعناوين متعدّدة تستدعي رؤيتها من منظار القيادتين الإيرانية والسورية في لحظة نضوج الانتقال من مرحلة في التعاطي مع مفردات الحرب في سورية إلى مرحلة أخرى. فاللقاء يأتي عشية قرارات تتصل بالمفاوضات الإيرانية الأوروبية التي يبدو أنها لم تحقق لإيران ما تنتظره على مستوى يكفل بقاءها في التزامها بالتفاهم النووي، وما قد يرتّبه ذلك من تصعيد كبير تشهده المنطقة بإعلان إيراني قد يصل حدّ الخروج من التفاهم والعودة إلى التخصيب المرتفع لليورانيوم، وربما تكون استقالة وزير الخارجية الإيرانية محمد جواد ظريف هي أولى مفردات هذا التصعيد، كما أنّ الزيارة تأتي بعد استنفاد المهل الممنوحة للرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان لحسم وضع إدلب وتفادي الحسم العسكري، والحاجة لقرارات بحجم إطلاق الإشارة للبدء بالعملية العسكرية المؤجّلة في إدلب، وتتزامن الزيارة مع المراوغة الأميركية بصدد قرار الانسحاب من سورية ومحاولة جعل شرق سورية ساحة للتلاعب بمفردات تتصل جوهرياً بوحدة وسيادة سورية كملف الجماعات الكردية والوجود الأميركي في التنف، ومصير وحدات داعش التي يُديرها الأميركي ويدير حرب الجماعات الكردية عليها في آن واحد، كما أن الزيارة تستبق زيارة رئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو إلى موسكو، طلباً للمزيد من هوامش الحركة العسكرية العدوانية ضدّ سورية وقوى المقاومة وإيران، ما يستدعي رسالة سورية إيرانيّة قوية توضع على طاولة الرئيس الروسي يستقوي بها في مفاوضاته مع نتنياهو، مضمونها أنّ على «إسرائيل» أن تتحمّل نتائج اللعب بالنار إذا واصلت غاراتها على سورية، وأن قرار الردّ السوري الإيراني متخذ، وتحدّيه سيشعل المنطقة.

– لم يخاطب الإمام الخامنئي الرئيس الأسد بوصفه كبطل للعالم العربي ليكرّمه فقط، وهو بالفعل قائد بطل يستحقّ التكريم، بل الكلام أيضاً رسالة سياسية، مضمونها أن زمن المواجهات في ذروته، وأن قادة محور المقاومة أبطال هذه المواجهات، ولو كانت المرحلة للعمل السياسي لكان تكريم الإمام الخامنئي للرئيس الأسد قد ركّز على حكمته وانفتاحه وإيمانه بلغة الحوار. وهذه صفات أظهرت الحرب كم يتمتع بها الرئيس الأسد بمقدار ما يتمتع بالشجاعة والبطولة اللتين أختار الإمام الخامنئي تظهيرهما في مخاطبة الرئيس الأسد أمام الإعلام.

– المنطقة تدخل مرحلة جديدة، لا يمكن قراءة التصعيد البريطاني بوجه حزب الله، رغم كونه مجرد رسالة إعلامية، إلا كإعلان عن طبيعة التجاذب الحاد الجاري عشية تحوّلات كبرى، حيث تقع أوروبا بين رغبتها بالتمايز عن السياسات الأميركية والعجز عن ممارسة سياسة مستقلة، وحيث تركيا تلعب على الربع الأخير من الساعة كما فعلت عشية معارك حلب، وحيث «إسرائيل» تراهن على حافة الهاوية بعدما فقدت قدرة الردع.

– سيقرأ الجميع، خصوصاً الأميركي والإسرائيلي معنى أن يكون الجنرال قاسم سليماني الشريك الثالث للإمام الخامنئي وبطل العالم العربي الرئيس بشار الأسد.

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القرار الأميركي ببقاء 200 جندي… لماذا؟

القرار الأميركي ببقاء 200 جندي… لماذا؟

فبراير 23, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– خلال سنة لم يعّد الأميركيون يتحدثون عن دور لقواتهم في سورية، ولم يعُد يسمع لهم حديث عن شروط وتهديدات وخطوط حمراء، ونجح الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب بالتهرب من المحاسبة عن الفشل في رسم خطوط حمراء ادعى أن سلفه باراك أوباما كان عاجزاً عن فرضها، وبالتغطية على متابعته التلاعب بقضية وجود داعش التي كشف أن الرئيس أوباما هو مَن فبركها مع وزيرة خارجيته هيلاري كلينتون. وصارت القضية الموضوعة في التداول هي قرار ترامب بالانسحاب من سورية، وصار السؤال، هل ينسحب أم لا ينسحب؟ ومتى ينسحب؟ وماذا سيحدث بعد أن ينسحب؟

– يعرف صناع القرار الأميركي أن السذج وحدهم يفسرون قرار الانسحاب بالبروباغندا أو بالارتجال، وهو يأتي منسجماً مع مناخ تراجع عام في القدرة الأميركية على رسم السياسة في آسيا، ونيات بتخفيف الحضور العسكري والتورّط في المواجهات على مساحة ساحات الحرب، من سورية إلى أفغانستان واليمن، ويعرفون أن قرار الانسحاب من سورية كما الانسحاب من أفغانستان كما وقف الحرب في اليمن، رسمت كمسارات يجب توظيف تطبيقها بما يتيح إرباك الساحات والخصوم، واستدراج التفاوض.

– يهتم الأميركيون بإثبات أن انسحابهم سيسبّب إرباكاً وفوضى، وأن لا بديل متفق عليه يخلفهم، وأن تنسيق الانسحاب بات ضرورة يطلبها الجميع منهم، ليفاوضوا على ثمن التنسيق، طالما أنهم فشلوا في استدراج التفاوض على ثمن الانسحاب، بعدما حددوا السعر بمقايضته بالانسحاب الإيراني. والأميركي عموماً كتاجر والرئيس الأميركي خصوصاً كتاجر، جاهزان للبيع والشراء، لكنهما يكتشفان أنهما جاهزان للبيع لكن ليس هناك مَن يشتري. فبعد الإعلان عن انسحاب سريع لم تأت دعوات التأجيل إلا من «إسرائيل» وداعميها في الكونغرس، لكن من يريدهم الأميركي للتفاوض رحبوا بالقرار وشككوا في صدقيته، وهذا ما قاله الروس والإيرانيون والسوريون، بينما تسابقت القيادات التركية والكردية على البحث عن صيغ ما بعد الانسحاب ودورها فيها، وليس هذا ما يهم الأميركي، بل استعداد روسيا وإيران وسورية للتفاوض، ولما لم يصل إليه الصدى بوجود أي استعداد، تحدث عن بقاء مئتي جندي أملاً بأن يسمع هذا الصدى.

– الأميركي جاهز ليقبض ثمن التنسيق في غير سورية، هذه المرّة وهو يتحدث عن أفغانستان ويضع ورقة البقاء المؤقت والجزئي على الطاولة، لكنه لا يسمع الصدى. وهو يدرك أن ما لم تنجح بفعله وحدات بالآلاف لن تنجح فيه بالتأكيد وحدة رمزية من المئات، بل ستكون كلفتها البحث سياسياً عن حماية عليه أن يسدد ثمنها لمن يملكون القدرة على تهديد أمنها، كما كان الحال في العراق، وكما سيعود، ولذلك سيبقى الأميركي يحدّث نفسه، فيقول مرة إنه منسحب كلياً وفوراً، ولا يسمع صدى، ممن ينتظر سماعهم، فيقول إنه غير مستعجل، فلا يسمع الصدى، فيقول إنه لن ينسحب لأن الحرب مع داعش لم تنته، فلا يسمع الصدى، فيغيّر ويقول إن الحرب انتهت فلا يسمع، فيقول إنه سينسحب بالتدريج فلا يسمع، فيقول إنه يطلق اليد التركية فلا يسمع، فيقول إنه يهدّد الأكراد إذا تعاونوا مع الدولة السورية فلا يسمع شيئاً، وها هو اليوم يقول إنه سيبقي مئتي جندي ويحتفظ بوجود عسكري في التنف كي يسمع.. ولن يسمع.

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South Front

On February 13, the Syrian Air Force conducted a series of airstrikes on ISIS hideouts in the area of Kiribat al-Hosn in the Damascus desert. The airstrikes reportedly came in response to a recent increase in the activity of ISIS cells in this area.

The Damascus desert as well as the desert areas near the US-occupied al-Tanf zone are still a safe haven for a few hundred ISIS-linked militants. Just last week, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) eliminated a group of 6 ISIS members involved in a reconnaissance operation near the administrative border of al-Suwayda province.

The situation in the desert area may deteriorate even further if the SAA and its allies do not employ the measures needed to neutralize this threat.

Meanwhile, reports appeared that the SAA has sent reinforcements to southern Syria. The reason for the deployment givem by some pro-government outlets is the reinforcement of SAA positions near the Golan Heights, where Israeli strikes recently took place. However, the very same forces can be used to secure the countryside of al-Suwayda in the event of the growing ISIS threat from the desert.

In the Idlib de-escalation zone, the SAA conducted one of the most intense shellings of militant positions since the start of the year. According to pro-opposition sources, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies came under fire in al-Lataminah, Lahaya, Maarkaba, al-Buwaydah, Qalaat al-Madiq, al-Hwaiz, al-Twinah and al-Hurriyah in northern Hama as well as Sukayk, Khan Shaykhun and al-Tamanah in southern Idlib.

The Syrian state media said that the strikes were a response to violations of the ceasefire regime by militant groups. In turn, militants accused the Assad government of violating the de-escalation deal.

It should be noted that Russia has recently toughened its attitude towards the de-escalation zone issue. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov officially stated that that the Idlib agreement is only a temporary measure and “no agreement suggests the endless preservation of this terrorist nest in Syrian territory”.

The US-led coalition is working to establish a permanent military base in southwestern Iraq, near the country’s border with both Syria and Jordan, the Iraqi al-Maalomah news outlet reported on February 13 citing a source in the province of al-Anbar. This would not be the first attempt of the US military to fortify its presence in this part of the country. In November 2018, a commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units revealed that the coalition had tried to occupy the H3 airbase, known as Abu Rida al-Baldaui, in western al-Anbar.

These actions are a part of the wider effort to establish an infrastructure allowing the US military to control key highways linking Syria and Iraq. On February 3, US President Donald Trump openly declared that despite the Syria withdrawal, US forces will remain in Iraq in order to watch Iran.

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