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

المصدر: الميادين نت

أليف صباغ

أليف صباغ

محلل سياسي مختصّ بالشأن الإسرائيلي

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ماذا يخفي التطبيع الرسمي من مشاريع؟ 

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

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

لماذا إخراج السري إلى العلن؟

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

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

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

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

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

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

IRGC RELEASES ALLEGED PHOTO OF AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT IN SNIPER’S SIGHTS, IRAN SAYS PRESENCE OF MILITANTS IN KARABAKH UNACCEPTABLE

South Front

IRGC Releases Alleged Photo of Azerbaijani President In Sniper's Sights, Iran Says Presence Of Militants In Karabakh Unacceptable

In a reminder that Iran opposes any further Azerbaijani ambitions in Nagorno-Karabakh and beyond, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) released an interesting photograph.

It shows Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in the sights of an Iranian sniper, while he was visiting the Khodaafarin bridge at the Karabakh-Iran border.

Earlier, on November 16th, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that no changes have occurred in Iran’s northwestern borderlines.

This happened in reference to the peace deal between Azerbaijan and Armenia after several weeks of conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region near the Iranian borders.

Stating that no change has occurred at the borderlines, he stressed that Iran will never accept anything other than what has been announced by the two sides.

Khatibzadeh added that the corridor that has become controversial these days is simply a transit route, the case of which is closely monitored by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

He further said that Iran welcomes any peaceful settlement of the case as it did over the past three decades.

He reiterated that no change has occurred at the Iranian borders and will never occur in the future.

According to Iranian Foreign Ministry knowledge, the Syrian militants must have already left the region, the spokesman said that a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia will benefit the entire region.

The spokesman, however, said Iran will not tolerate presence of any foreign elements in the region.

About killing of Iranian border guards in northwest of the country, Khatibzadeh said Iran’s response to such measures is strong.

A senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says there is no place for Syrian militants close to Iran’s northern borders.

“There is no place for Wahhabi and Takfiri terrorists among people of Azerbaijan who are known for their love for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s progeny, and track records of such groups are very bleak,” Ali Akbar Velayati said in an address to a webinar held to discuss Ayatollah Khamenei’s views on the Karabakh region. “The people of Azerbaijan are capable of liberating their land and the presence of Wahhabi terrorists in north of Iran’s borders [with Azerbaijan] will be fruitless.”

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Erdogan and Trump’s Militiamen attack Syrian Towns in Raqqa Province

October 25, 2020 Arabi Souri

US Kurdish SDF YPG PKK and Turkish FSA NATO Guns

Anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood terrorists loyal to the Turkish madman Erdogan and Kurdish separatist militiamen of the SDF carried coordinated attacks against the Syrian locals in the northern and eastern countryside of Raqqa province, north of Syria.

Both NATO-affiliated militias operate in regions they took control over with the help of US and Turkish armies after flag-exchange ceremonial stunts with ISIS terrorists. The only fights took place there were against the locals while the Pentagon media was hyping Kurdish separatists non-existing fights against ISIS, the offshoot of Al Qaeda, another NATO-US affiliate.

Turkish forces and their anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood terrorist affiliates shelled with artillery the towns of Khalidiya and Hoshan in the Ain Issa region, in the furthest northern Raqqa countryside bordering NATO member state Turkey.

The Turkish forces and their affiliated terrorists used its artillery and missiles in its indiscriminate shelling of the houses and farmlands of the locals in the above-mentioned two towns causing severe material damages in a number of properties, this is a continuation of the bombing of the Ain Issa region on the 16th of this month which resulted in killing a child and causing material damage.

Erdogan, the Neo-Ottoman sultan wannabe, wants to Israelize most of the northern parts of Syria which are rich in oil, water, wheat, and cotton farms, in part to have more land control and in another part to deprive Syria of its main food and energy sources. Erdogan wants to replace the people of these regions with members of the Muslim Brotherhood groups and their families he’s displacing from other areas in northeast Syria.

The current leader of Al Qaeda Ayman Zawahri is also a member of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology, an ideology created by the Brits over a century ago along with Wahhabism in Arabia and Zionism in Europe to manipulate crowds through their religions by misquoting and misinterpreting the divine teachings in the holy books.

Separatist Kurdish SDF Militia work for the USA

At the same time, Kurdish separatist militiamen of the SDF raided a number of villages in the eastern countryside of Raqqa, it kidnapped a large number of civilians and took them to its quarters in Gestapo-style raids.

Among the kidnapped were around 50 young men who were taken to special concentration camps for brainwashing and training to fight their own countrymen in the Syrian Arab Army and the Syrian police.

Earlier on Tuesday, last week, the Kurdish SDF separatists raided the city of Tabqa and the towns of Sakkir in Raqqa eastern countryside, and the town of Baghuz in Deir Ezzor eastern countryside. The Kurdish separatists imposed a full siege over the raided towns and carried out door to door raids.

This comes as attacks by unknown armed men against the Kurdish SDF separatists have been escalating especially after the Kurdish militia assassinated prominent elders of the local tribes in the region with the help and under the protection of Trump forces operating illegally in Syria.

Syria News Briefs: SDF Child Soldiers, Landmines, and Economy

https://www.syrianews.cc/syria-news-briefs/embed/#?secret=MQdn0d2j30

Erdogan Forces Loot Power Transformers in Towns they Infest

https://www.syrianews.cc/erdogan-forces-loot-power-transformers-in-towns-they-infest/embed/#?secret=u4rhZJq3Pf

Trump Forces to Relocate ISIS Terrorists Out of Northeast Syria

https://www.syrianews.cc/trump-forces-relocate-isis-syria/embed/#?secret=CMaJvGoPBn

Of Flags and of Idiots: Why be a Willful Dupe?

https://www.syrianews.cc/flags-idiots-willful-dupe/embed/#?secret=GnOFnVb497

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The 2020 Election: Nothing Will Change

By Robert Fantina

Global Research, October 25, 2020

With the first of three scheduled presidential debates (aka brawl) between President Donald Trump and his opponent, former vice-president Joe Biden, now history, the pundits will fall all over themselves to determine what it all means. Who won? Did either candidate deliver a fatal blow to the election chances of the other? Did Biden disprove the Trump-encouraged rumors about his senility? Did Trump manage to sway any undecided voters?

We will not dwell here on the fact that many other, highly-qualified candidates are running for president (this writer, a U.S. citizen who moved to Canada fifteen years ago, will vote for Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation for president).

No, with all the discussion about Trump and Biden, it is beneficial, this writer thinks, to consider what continues to happen in the world, that has lost the attention of the press, and therefore, the public. We will present a short, albeit incomplete, list.

Internationally:

  • Millions of people in Yemen, many of them children, risk starvation due to the U.S.-supported Saudi Arabian assault on that nation.
  • Palestinians still live under the harshest and most brutal conditions in the world, all financed and supported by the United States.
  • The U.S. war against the people of Afghanistan continues in it’s nineteenth year. A large segment of the Afghan population now has never known anything but war.
  • The people of Iran continue to struggle in many ways – economically and medically – against U.S. sanctions, imposed when the U.S., against the wishes of the other participants of the agreement and most of the world community, violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
  • The people of Venezuela struggle against sanctions, also imposed by the United States, because they had the temerity to re-elect a president displeasing to the U.S. Trump and his cohorts say that Nicholas Maduro is not the legitimate president, forgetting or ignoring the fact that Trump himself did not win the majority vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. His odious opponent in that election, Hillary Clinton, did.
  • Migrant children continue to be caged at theS. – Mexico border.
  • The U.S. continues to maintain the most cordial relations with some of the world’s major violators of human rights, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. This should not be surprising, since the U.S. itself made the list of ’10 Global Hotspots for Major Human Rights Violations in 2017’, and things have only worsened since then.
  • As India heads towards genocide in Kashmir, the U.S. government, not wanting to annoy the Indian government, ignores it, as it ignores the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians.

Domestically Trump vs Biden: Lose/Lose for Palestine

It is, perhaps, whimsical for this writer to hope that the public will concern itself with these issues, and ponder carefully the upcoming election. Yes, another Supreme Court appointment by Trump could turn back the U.S. clock to a time of very limited consumer protections, a further reduction of environmental regulations, and greater racial inequality (even worse than it is today), and a host of other hard-won victories. Black lives will not matter; international law will continue to be held in contempt (although that is business-as-usual for the U.S.), and U.S. warmongering and war-making will continue, with all the destruction and slaughter of innocent men, women and children that that always brings.

There are some people who believe a Biden presidency will usher in change. Has hell frozen over? He has a long record in government of ‘business as usual’, so looking for change from him and the Democratic Party is an exercise in futility.

Others praise Trump as an effective leader, one who has done much to help the people of the nation.  This narrative deserves a prominent place with ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Jack and the Bean Stalk’ and other fairy tales. It, like them, has no basis in reality and is simply a figment of the collective right-wing imagination.

The United States, from its earliest years, has a been a force for violence, destruction and death on the global stage. As its wealth and power have increased, so have its violent tendencies. It overthrows foreign governments, invades sovereign nations, issues crippling sanctions against governments and individuals that displease it, and threaten its allies if they don’t follow along.

The 2020 election will change none of this.

It is said that a sign of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Unless and until the public stops looking to the Democratic and Republican Parties for solutions to problems, leadership in troubled times and assistance in creating and maintaining a peaceful world, no election will alter the tragic and violent trajectory of the United States. The longer that recognition is delayed, the more people will suffer, in the U.S. and around the globe.

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Featured image is from InfoWarsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Robert Fantina, Global Research, 2020

فرنسا وسلفيّوها.. هل بدأت الحرب؟

باريس – نضال حمادة

لم يمض عشرة أيام على خطاب الرئيس الفرنسي الذي شنّ فيه حملة غير مسبوقة على ما أسماه الإسلام السياسي الانعزالي (انظر مقالة البناء يوم 6 الشهر الحالي بعنوان: ماكرون يحارب الإسلام انتخابياً) حتى وقع ما حذّر ما منه وكنا نخشاه، وحصلت جريمة ذبح أستاذ الجغرافيا والتاريخ في مدرسة في إحدى ضواحي باريس على يد مهاجر شيشاني بسبب اتهام بعض أهالي الطلاب للمعلم بالإساءة للنبي محمد عبر تخصيص حصة حول الرسوم الكاريكاتوريّة التي نشرتها صحيفة شارلي أبدو قبل أعوام.

هذه الجريمة البشعة والتي لا يمكن سوى إدانتها وشجبها، لم تأت من فراغ ولم تحصل صدفة أو لأن هناك أشخاصاً أو شخصاً قرّر ارتكابها، كما أنها ليست حالة منفردة ونخشى أنها لن تكون الأخيرة في مسلسل الصدام الذي بدأ بين فرنسا وسلفيّيها الذين طالما احتضنتهم وربّتهم وسهّلت لهم كل سبل القوة طمعاً بالأموال القطرية والسعودية التي لا تتوقف عن إمداد هؤلاء السلفيين تحت أعين الأجهزة الفرنسية ومعرفة الساسة في فرنسا، فضلاً عن سعي فرنسا للعب دور سياسي وعسكري في العالم العربي عبر استخدام مجاميعها من السلفيين في ليبيا ومن ثم على نطاق أوسع في سورية.

الآن وبعد حصول هذه الجريمة التي نكرّر إدانتنا لها، وبدلاً من أن تعمل الحكومة الفرنسية والرئيس الفرنسي على إعادة النظر في الحملة التي بدأها ماكرون على الإسلام كدين وعلى مسلمي فرنسا بحجج واهية محملاً إياهم مسؤولية وجود مجموعات سلفية في أوساطهم متناسياً أن هؤلاء السلفيين كانوا الجهة المدللة للحكومات الفرنسية المتعاقبة منذ عهد شيراك حتى اليوم. هذه الحكومة وهذا الرئيس صعّدوا من هجومهم على الإسلام وعقد الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون اجتماعاً شبه عسكري وامني طارئ يوم أول أمس الأحد حضره كل من وزير الداخلية ووزير الدفاع والخارجية والتربية وقائد أركان الجيش ومدعي عام الجمهورية الخاص بقضايا الإرهاب نتج عنه قرار من الرئيس بتسريع الإجراءات والقرارات التي اتخذها قبل عشرة أيام؛ وهي في خلاصتها تضع الإسلام كدين في خانة التجريم والمسلمين كبشر في خانة الاتهام المستمر ووضعهم تحت نظام حالة طوارئ، في مسعى انتخابي واضح وفرت له جريمة الجمعة الماضية أسباب الاستغلال الرخيص والخطر.

أخشى ما أخشاه أن تكون جريمة الجمعة الماضية ليست سوى بداية الصدام بين متطرفي الحكم في فرنسا ومتطرفين سلفيين طالما عملوا سوياً وكانوا حلفاء في سورية وليبيا، والآن انقلبوا على علاقتهم القديمة لأسباب انتخابية وأمنية وسياسية سوف نشرحها في مقالات مقبلة..

History: The Zionist Origins of Saudi Arabia and Its Royals

Part I

By Rez Karim

Global Research, September 22, 2020

Recognizing the contentious nature of the subject, this two-part article relies only on official treatises, pacts and primary sourced evidence to compile a historically accurate account of the founding of Saudi Arabia and Al Saud family becoming ‘Royals’.

Growing up Muslim in a Muslim majority country, I spent most Friday afternoons at a mosque, attending the Jummah prayer. First part of a Jummah prayer calls for the Imam to perform a Khutbah – a weekly sermon of sorts. It was in one of those Khutbahs that I, as a very young boy, learnt about the plight of the Palestinians for the first time.

Indeed, it’s a common practice among Imams around the world to bring up the Palestinian issue at mosques, especially during Friday sermons, and pray for the Palestinian people. In those prayers and discussions, Israel’s name comes up inevitably. In fact, Israel’s oppression of Palestinians bears no ambiguity in Islamic thoughts. And condemnation of Israel, therefore, comes naturally to Muslims around the world.

However, what escapes awareness in almost all Muslims is the connection between Israel and Saudi Arabia. While zealously castigating Israel for its atrocities, Muslims often revere Saudi Arabia as the custodians of Islam’s holiest sites; completely ignoring the Kingdom’s role in founding the Zionist state in the first place.

Notwithstanding the existence of a deep-seated bias against Israel among Muslims, it’s important to recognize that the lack of criticism for Saudi Kingdom, alongside Israel, doesn’t come from bias. Indeed, this absence finds its roots not in bias, but in a complete lack of knowledge. Knowledge among current generation of Muslims, as well as among the world population, about how Saudi Arabia and its founding king, Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud, played a critical role in establishing the Zionist state of Israel.

Suffice it to say, this ignorance about one of the most critical periods in world history seems anything but normal. Amazingly, the world, especially the Muslim world, had been kept in darkness about this momentous chapter in Middle East history. Propaganda and omissions run rampant within the historical accounts of this period. Official Saudi sources like House of Saud website, for example, avoids any mention of British involvement in founding the KSA. Although this omission seems predictable to many, it’s worth noting that even mainstream media outlets like the BBC, and prominent historians such as Professor Eugene Rogan etc., routinely portray Ibn Saud as having acted independently during WWI, and not as an instrument for the British Empire.

Therefore, recognizing the contentious nature of the issue – and to avoid becoming yet another ‘perspective’ on the subject – this article relies only on primary sourced evidence and the following four official treatises and declarations to compile a historically accurate account of the events:

  1. The McMahon-Hussain Correspondence
  2. The Treaty of Darin
  3. The Sykes-Picot Agreement
  4. The Balfour Declaration

1. The McMahon-Hussain Correspondence

To properly understand the events that led to the creation of both Israel and Saudi Arabia, we must travel back to the early 1900s’ Middle East. At the outbreak of WWI in the region, Sir Henry McMahon, then British High Commissioner in Egypt, offered Hussain bin Ali, Sharif of Hijaz (or ruler of the Hijaz – the western Arabian region in which Mecca and Medina lie), an independent Arab state if he would help the British fight against the Ottoman Empire. Hussein’s interest in throwing off his Turkish overlords converged with Britain’s war aim of defeating the Ottomans. McMahon made this offer via a series of letters exchanged between him and Sharif Hussain, collectively known as the McMahon-Hussain Correspondence. On his 14 July 1915 letter to McMahon, Hussain stated, among other things, the following as one of his propositions:Palestine: Britain Should Apologise for the Balfour Declaration, Not ‘Celebrate’ It

“Firstly.- England will acknowledge the independence of the Arab countries, bounded on the north by Mersina and Adana up to the 37th degree of latitude, on which degree fall Birijik, Urfa, Mardin, Midiat, Jezirat (Ibn ‘Umar), Amadia, up to the border of Persia; on the east by the borders of Persia up to the Gulf of Basra; on the south by the Indian Ocean, with the exception of the position of Aden to remain as it is; on the west by the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea up to Mersina. England to approve the proclamation of an Arab Khalifate of Islam.”

In response, McMahon wrote on 24 October 1915:

“I regret that you should have received from my last letter the impression that I regarded the question of the limits and boundaries with coldness and hesitation; such was not the case, but it appeared to me that the time had not yet come when that question could be discussed in a conclusive manner.

“I have realized, however, from your last letter that you regard this question as one of vital and urgent importance. I have, therefore, lost no time in informing the Government of Great Britain of the contents of your letter, and it is with great pleasure that I communicate to you on their behalf the following statement, which I am confident you will receive with satisfaction:-

“The two districts of Mersina and Alexandretta and portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo cannot be said to be purely Arab, and should be excluded from the limits demanded.

“With the above modification, and without prejudice of our existing treaties with Arab chiefs, we accept those limits.”

Interestingly, throughout history, there has been much disagreement as to whether this promise included Palestine. However, as we can see above, the area promised to the Arabs in McMahon’s letter excluded only the territory to the west of a line from Damascus north to Aleppo. Palestine, far to the south, was, by implication, included. Nevertheless, the British subsequently denied that they included Palestine in the promise and refused to publish the correspondence until 1939.

At the time however, Sharif Hussain believed this official promise from the British Government. He went on to make the most significant contribution to the Ottoman Empire’s defeat. He switched allegiances and led the so-called ‘Arab Revolt’ in June of 1916, which removed the Turkish presence from Arabia.

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire by the British in WWI left three distinct authorities in the Arabian peninsula. Sharif of Hijaz Hussain bin Ali of Mecca (in the west); Ibn Rashid of Ha’il (in the north); and Emir Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud of Najd and his religiously fanatical followers, the Wahhabis (in the east).

2. The Treaty of Darin

On 26 December 1915, Sir Percy Cox, on behalf of the British Government, signed the Treaty of Darin with Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud. Also known as the Darn Pact, the treaty made the lands of the House of Saud a British protectorate. The British aim of the treaty was to guarantee the sovereignty of Kuwait, Qatar and the Trucial States (later UAE). Abdul-Aziz vowed not to attack these British protectorates. He also pledged to enter WWI in the Middle East against the Ottoman Empire as an ally of Britain.

Britain’s signing of Darin Pact in December went against their promises of mutual protection made to Sharif Hussain in October; because Britain’s treaty with Ibn Saud does not oblige him to not attack the Hijaz.

The treaty also saw Abdel Aziz receiving £5000 per month ‘tribute’ from the British Government. After World War I, he received further support from the British. Support included substantially more monetary rewards and a glut of surplus munitions.

3. The Sykes-Picot Agreement 

On May 19, 1916, representatives of Great Britain and France secretly reached an accord, known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The accord aimed at dividing most of Arab lands under the Ottoman rule between the British and the French at the end of WWI. In its designated sphere, it was agreed, each country shall be allowed to establish such direct or indirect administration or control as they desire and as they may think fit.

Two diplomats, a Briton and a Frenchman, divided the map of one of the most volatile regions in the world into states that cut through ethnic and religious communities. The secret agreement largely neglected to allow for the future growth of Arab nationalism; which at that same moment the British government was using to their advantage against the Turks.

A century on, the Middle East continues to bear the consequences of the treaty. Many Arabs across the region continue to blame the subsequent violence in the Middle East, from the occupation of Palestine to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), on the Sykes-Picot treaty.

Indeed, Britain’s signing of this treaty went directly against what it promised to the Sharif of Hijaz in October of previous year. As we will see in Part II of this article, Britain’s betrayal of their promises of an independent Arab state eventually led them to unleash their attack dog, Ibn Saud, on Sharif Hussain and topple him. This allowed the British to effectuate the Sykes-Picot accord, and subsequently establish the Zionist state of Israel.

Read Part II

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Author Rez Karim is an Electrical Engineer and Chief Editor at VitalColumns.com.

Featured image is from the authorThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Rez Karim, Global Research, 2020

How Xinjiang “interferes” with the EU-China deal

How Xinjiang “interferes” with the EU-China deal

September 15, 2020

By Pepe Escobar with permission from the author and first posted at Asia Times

A Beijing-Brussels-Berlin special: that was quite the video-summit.

From Beijing, we had President Xi Jinping. From Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel. And from Brussels, President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. The Chinese billed it as the first summit “of its kind in history”.

It was actually the second high-level meeting of the Chinese and European leadership in two months. And it took place only a few days after a high-level tour by Foreign Minister Wang Yi encompassing France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway, and the visit by the powerful “Yoda” of the State Council, Yang Jiechi, to Spain and Greece.

The Holy Grail at the end of all these meetings – face-to-face and virtual – is the China-EU investment treaty. Germany currently heads the EU presidency for six months. Berlin wanted the treaty to be signed at a summit in Leipzig this month uniting the EU-27 and Beijing. But Covid-19 had other plans.

So the summit was metastasized into this mini videoconference. The treaty is still supposed to be signed before the end of 2020.

Adding an intriguing note, the mini-summit also happened one day before Premier Li Keqiang attended a Special Virtual Dialogue with Business Leaders, promoted by the World Economic Forum (WEF). It’s unclear whether Li will discuss the intricacies of the Great Reset with Klaus Schwab – not to mention whether China subscribes to it.

We are “still committed”

The mini EU-China video summit was quite remarkable for its very discreet spin. The UE, officially, now considers China as both an essential partner and a “strategic rival”. Brussels is adamant on its will to “cooperate” while defending is notorious human rights “values”.

As for the investment treaty, the business Holy Grail which has been under negotiation for seven years now, Ursula von der Leyen said “there’s still much to be done”.

What the EU essentially wants is equal treatment for their companies in China, similar to how Chinese companies are treated inside the EU. Diplomats confirmed the key areas are telecoms, the automobile market – which should be totally open – and the end of unfair competition by Chinese steel.

Last week, the head of Siemens, Joe Kaeser, threw an extra spanner in the works, telling Die Zeit that “we categorically condemn every form of oppression, forced labor and threat to human rights”, referring to Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

That caused quite a stir. At least 10% of Siemens business is generated in China, where the company is present since 1872 and employs over 35,000 people. Siemens was forced to publicly state that it is “still committed” to China.

China has been Germany’s top trade partner since 2017 – ahead of France and the US. So it’s no wonder alarm bells started to ring, on and off. It was in January last year that the BDI – the Federation of German Industries – first defined China as a “systemic competitor”, and not only as a “partner”. The concern was centered on market “distortions” and the barriers against German competition inside China.

The mini video-summit took place as the trade war unleashed by Washington against Beijing has reached Cold War 2.0 proportions. EU diplomats, uncomfortably, and off the record, admit that the Europeans are caught in the middle and the only possible strategy is to try to advance their economic interests while insisting on the same panacea of human rights.

Thus the official EU demand this Monday – unreported in Chinese media: allow us to send “independent observers” to Xinjiang.

Those Uighur jihadis

So we’re back, inevitably, to the hyper-incandescent issue of Xinjiang “concentration camps”.

The Atlanticist establishment has unleashed a ferocious, no holds barred campaign to shape the narrative that Beijing is conducting no less than cultural genocide in Xinjiang.

Apart from United States government rhetoric, the campaign is mostly conducted by “influencer” US thinks tanks such as this one, which issue reports that turn viral on Western corporate media.

One of these reports quotes “numerous firsthand accounts from Uighurs” who are defined as “employed” to perform forced labor. As a result, the global supply chain, according to the report, is “likely tainted with forced labor”.

The operative word is “likely”. As in Russia is “likely” interfering in US elections and “likely” poisoning opponents of the Kremlin. There’s no way to verify the accuracy of the sources quoted in these reports – which happen to be conveniently financed by “multiple donors interested in commerce in Asia.” Who are these donors? What is their agenda? Who will profit from the kind of “commerce in Asia” they are pushing?

On a personal level, Xinjiang was at the top of my travel priorities this year – then laid to rest by Covid-19 – because I want to check by myself all aspects of what’s really goin’ on in China’s Far West.

As it stands, US copycat “influencers” in the EU are having free reign to impose the narrative about Uighur forced labor, stressing that the clothes Europeans are wearing “could” – and the operative word is “could” – be made by forced laborers.

Don’t expect the Atlanticist network to even bother to offer context in terms of China fighting terrorism in Xinjiang.

In the old al-Qaeda days, I visited and interviewed Uighur jihadis locked up in a sprawling prison set up by the mujahideen under commander Masoud in the Panjshir valley. They had all been indoctrinated by imams preaching in Saudi-financed madrassas across Xinjiang.

More recently, Uighur Salafi-jihadis have been very active in Syria: at least 5,000, according to the Syrian embassy in Beijing.

Beijing knows exactly what would happen if they return to Xinjiang, as much as Moscow knows what would happen if Chechen jihadis return to the Caucasus.

So it’s no wonder that China has to act. That includes closing madrassas, detaining imams and arresting – and “re-“educating” – possible jihadis and their families.

Forget about the West offering context about the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), which declared an Islamic Emirate, ISIS/Daesh-style, in November 2019 in Idlib, northwest Syria. TIP was founded in Xinjiang 12 years ago and has been very active in Syria since 2011 – exactly the same year when they claimed to be responsible for a terror operation in Kashgar which killed 23 people.

It’s beyond pathetic that the West killed and displaced Muslim multitudes – directly and indirectly – with the “war on terror” just to become oh so worried with the plight of the Uighurs.

It’s more enlightening to remember history. As in the autumn of 821, when princess Taihe, sister of a Tang dynasty emperor, rode in a Bactrian camel, her female attendants following her in treasured Ferghana horses, all the way from the imperial palace in Chang’an to the land of the Uighurs.

Princess Taihe had been chosen as a living tribute – and was on her way to wed the Uighur kaghan to cement their peoples’ friendship. She came from the east, but her dress and ornaments were from the west, from the Central Asian steppes and deserts where she would live her new life.

And by the way, the Uighurs and the Tang dynasty were allies.

U.S. exploited 9/11 attacks to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan: Iraqi expert

By Saeed Kh. Mavedat

September 10, 2020 – 17:54

TEHRAN – The U.S. plans to invade Iraq and Afghanistan gained stream immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks on civilian and military targets in the United States. An Iraqi expert tells the Tehran Times that the Americans “exploited” the attacks to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan.

The attacks, carried out by al-Qaeda, killed almost 3,000 American and foreign citizens and sent shock waves across the world. In the wake of the attacks, the U.S. administration sought to pave the way for a military response to al-Qaeda and those allegedly supporting it.

Addressing the American people on the same day at 9 pm, then-President George W. Bush said, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”

Only a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed a special law allowing President Bush to punish the people who had aided or abetted the 9/11 attackers. The law, which was passed on September 18, 2001, stipulates “that  the  President  is  authorized  to  use  all necessary  and  appropriate  force  against  those  nations,  organizations,  or  persons  he  determines  planned,  authorized,  committed, or  aided  the  terrorist  attacks  that  occurred  on  September  11,  2001, or  harbored  such  organizations  or  persons,  in  order  to  prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

A few weeks later, the U.S. led a coalition to overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and two years later, the U.S. invaded Iraq under the pretext of countering terrorism.

Nearly two decades after the 9 /11 attacks, the U.S. is still bogged down in “endless wars” in the region, which yielded no results in terms of combating terrorism, according to Reza Alghurabi, an Iraqi expert who closely monitors the situation in Iraq and Iran.

In order to assess one of the U.S. post-9/11 wars in the region, the Tehran Times interviewed Alghurabi. He weighed in on the situation in Iraq in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of the country. He also touched on the U.S.-Iran relations in Iraq since 2003.
The following is the full text of the interview:

Q: In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the issue of “counterterrorism” became prominent in U.S. foreign policy and eventually, it became one of the reasons for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you think the United States really wanted to fight terrorism in Iraq? And if so, how successful was it? How do you assess the U.S. presence in Iraq in terms of the fight against terrorism since 2003?

A: In addition to leading to the emergence of the U.S. counterterrorism agenda and the introduction of new concepts in the field of terrorism and international law, the 9/11 attacks led to one of the largest U.S. military campaigns and military interventions in recent decades in the ever sensitive region of West Asia.
Regardless of any assessment of the truth of 9/11, Washington’s subsequent exploitation of it shows that the Americans behaved in a completely political and abusive manner that led to the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.

It was clear at the time that the terrorists were mostly Saudi nationals, and that if the United States was to be honest in its counterterrorism plan, it would have had to deal with the source of religious extremism in the region, which is the Saudi regime and some other countries whose religious muftis kept playing role in the death of thousands of people and the spread of extremism and violence by issuing hundreds of fatwas [religious decrees] and sending financial aid through charities after the occupation of Iraq.

Despite spending billions of dollars on the counterterrorism project since 2001, Washington has failed to fight terrorism, and the growing spread of extremism, violence, and terrorism in recent years in areas where the Americans themselves have been present was not only a sign of Washington’s failure to fight terrorism, but it also raised serious doubts about its direct role in the spread of terrorism and violence.

Iraq is clearly still grappling with terrorism 17 years after [the American occupation], and from 2003 to 2011, when U.S. troops were officially present in Iraq, violence was widespread in the country and the United States failed to contain it.

Q: How many human rights violations did the United States commit in the years following the occupation of Iraq? In terms of human rights violations, can Abu Ghraib prison be compared to Guantanamo?

A: While the U.S. was present in Iraq as an occupying force, numerous reports were published by Western and American think tanks on individual and organized ill-treatment of prisoners. Some of the initial information was released by U.S. troops themselves. Various forms of torture of prisoners, such as waterboarding in the United States itself, sparked controversy in the U.S. Congress.

U.S. human rights abuses were not limited to detainees. There were also numerous reports of civilians being harassed during house searches or checkpoints and street raids by soldiers and mercenaries of private security companies such as Blackwater. In this respect, there was no difference between Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Perhaps Abu Ghraib can be considered a worse case than Guantanamo because in this prison even young Iraqi girls were sexually tortured by the American military.

Q: How do you assess Iran-U.S. relations in Iraq after 2003? It is said that Iran had reached understandings with the United States during the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, but why did the United States turn these understandings into hostility and include Iran in the “axis of evil”?

A: Iran-U.S. relations have always been tense for the last four decades. After 9/11, the Americans took a more hostile stance against the Iranians. The use of the term “axis of evil” in reference to Iran by George W. Bush in 2002 indicated the adoption of an escalatory strategy against Iran. With the occupation of Iraq by the U.S., this country became the scene of confrontation between Tehran and Washington. Iran was concerned and dissatisfied with the full U.S. military presence in Iraq and the repeated threats by White House officials about the need for regime change in Iran. The Americans in Iraq were also reluctant to vacate the battlefield for Tehran. Therefore, Iraq has since become the scene of confrontation between the two axes.

The U.S. is a longtime enemy of Iran and the prospect of its troops being deployed along Iran’s borders as well as [U.S.] provocative actions were a source of potential and tense hostility that threatened any possible understanding.

RELATED NEWS

Diplomacy is reciprocal

July 25, 2020

Diplomacy is reciprocal

Chris Faure for the Saker Blog

The US suddenly ordered China to end operations from its embassy in Houston, Texas (remember when they did the same to Russia). However, diplomacy is reciprocal and the Chinese so far refrained from a further provocative reaction. They are implementing a fair tit for tat measure, closing the US Consulate in Chengdu, keeping options open for further retaliation. They could have fanned the flames and closed the US Consulate in Hong Kong, or even a bigger one in Beijing, but kept to a fair reciprocal closure – so far.

More about the Consulate spat https://www.moonofalabama.org/

China responded to Mr Pompeo’s highly advertised ‘very important’ speech this week in short, not giving Pompeo that attention that he so craves. The Chinese stance is that Mike Pompeo maliciously attacked the Communist Party of China (CPC) and China’s socialist system, and he made remarks that ignored the facts, were full of ideological bias and turned black into white, which showed his Cold War mentality. From the Chinese Foreign Ministry: “Some US politicians have deliberately stirred up ideological disputes, talked about changing China, denied China-US relations, and provoked China’s relationships with other countries. Their purpose is to suppress China’s development and divert the public’s attention from their own country. These tricks cannot fool the Americans and international community.”

The US have stopped all basic diplomatic standards in a grab for their self-delusional rules-based international order. Just recently, Pompeo announced that they will not respect or accept any of the agreements in the South China Sea. He must be thinking that all of the ASEAN countries like him enough to drop their raft of regional negotiated agreements.

Despite Chinese accusations that the US opens their diplomatic pouches, which is in flagrant violation of all Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular relations, the most important is the following which shows that China is still keeping to fair diplomatic and pragmatic standard:

“It must be emphasized that China has no intentions to change the US in terms of its social system, and the US cannot change China either.”

https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/2511_665403/t1800221.shtml

Having followed the Russian reactions on these types of actions by the US toward Russia, we have become accustomed to the frustratingly pragmatic and clinically diplomatic methods of dealing with western bullying. The Chinese are different and they enthusiastically take part in the war of words that is reaching cold war status if one adds in the trade war announced by Mr Trump +- two years ago and which he thought would be ‘easy to win’. What we see now as reaction to the US provocation to China in the US social sphere, many ordinary Americans are deeply into the ‘crush China’ rhetoric which attempts to blame China for all of the US ills.

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/202007241079970310-us-heading-towards-quagmire-in-the-south-china-sea-by-inciting-tensions-with-beijing-activist-warns/

While it remains unclear if this can be written off completely to electioneering and election rhetoric, what does clarify is that the harm done is not easily fixed, no matter the reason. It is however quite breathtaking how far Pompeo will push this, hoping for retaliation which he can then use to prove himself and the current US administration right. It is beyond a level of comprehension that Pompeo and Co could really think that they will make war against China.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202007/24/WS5f1a5b8da31083481725be24.html

In this time of ‘rhetorical cold war of words’, Godfree Roberts who regularly writes on China for the Unz Review started a new weekly newsletter, Here Comes China, Skulduggery, Good News, Offbeat Opinions, chock-a-block full of what is happening in China.

Godfree has offered the first four newsletters free to Saker readers. From economics, to space, to China-Iran Trade and Military Partnership, to the cleanup and recovering of the Yangtze river, a Hong Kong section, the media war on Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and an in-depth look at Human rights in China, this newsletter stands unique in its scope and its presentation of Western opinions and Eastern opinions.

Godfree’s new book on China is just about ready for release. The book is called:

Why China leads the world: Democracy at the bottom, Data in the middle, Talent at the top.
A preview: https://www.herecomeschina.com/why-china-leads-the-world-the-book/

I also want to draw the readers’ attention to a two part essay written on Mao, Mao Reconsidered, and published in greanvillepost.com. Part 1Part 2

China Sitrep – 5 selected topics from the Here Comes China newsletter:

Trump Empowers CIA to Launch Cyberattacks

The secret authorization, known as a presidential finding, gives the spy agency more freedom in both the kinds of operations it conducts and who it targets–including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, which are mentioned directly in the document. The finding allows the CIA to more easily authorize its own covert cyber operations, rather than requiring the agency to get approval from the White House. The “very aggressive” finding “gave the agency very specific authorities to really take the fight offensively to a handful of adversarial countries,” said a former U.S. government official. The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted a series of covert cyber operations against Iran and other targets since winning a secret victory in 2018 when President Trump signed what amounts to a sweeping authorization for such activities. [MORE]

Belt and Road Finds New Life in Pakistan

China and Pakistan have signed deals for two hydro-power generation projects costing $3.9 billion in the disputed Kashmir region, and another to revamp the South Asian nation’s colonial-era railways for $7.2 billion — the most expensive Chinese project yet in Pakistan. The Chinese financing has helped rid Pakistan of an electricity deficit that left exporters unable to meet orders and major cities without electricity for much of the day. [MORE]

T.P. Wilkinson: The Yemen

The West encourages dissolution of state entities that could engage in normal relations with China or any other potential competitors. The Yemen is one of those long-term victims of British imperialism. When Britain nominally withdrew from Egypt, Nasser promoted his new government’s participation in his movement for Arab unity, opposed by British clients in Riyadh (the Saud family’s Wahhabi gangsters). The Saud family would like to have annexed the Yemen but could not without war against Egypt-against which the tiny mob had no chance. So David Stirling led a counter-insurgency funded by the British and Saudis to drive Egypt out of the Yemen and leave the country as a quasi-protectorate of Britain/US. Attempts to change that have been fought for decades but until a decade ago the client regime was well protected. Clearly chaos is profitable for the empire which between Somalia and Yemen prevent any stability in opposition to its interests. Not only do Somalia and Yemen lie close to the Suez route they also form part of the ancient East African trading basin that links Asia with Africa. As part of the overall strategy of Denial, this policy is aided by the designs of the mob in Riyad which lacks the population to occupy territories it would like to annex.

Xinjiang

This section from Here Comes China is an in-depth analysis. I suggest you read it in the newsletter itself. Main points:

Islam is neither the Uyghurs’ native religion nor their only one but, in its Wahhabi form, has caused problems around the world, for which we can thank to two fervent Christians, Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski,[2] who considered a united Eurasia, “The only possible challenge to American hegemony.” In 1979, months before the Soviet entry into Afghanistan, Brzezinski drafted and Carter signed a top-secret Presidential Order authorizing the CIA to train fundamentalist Muslims to wage Jihad against the Soviet Communist infidels and all unbelievers of conservative Sunni Islam and the Mujahideen terror war against Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan became the largest covert action in CIA history.[2] Brzezinski’s ‘Arc of Crisis’ strategy inflamed Muslims in Central Asia to destabilize the USSR during its economic crisis and, when Le Nouvel Observateur later asked if he had any regrets, Brzezinski snapped, “What is most important to the history of the world? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe?”

Twenty years later, in 1999, the CIA’s Islam strategist, Graham E. Fuller, announced, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Russians. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.”[3]

Today, NED money supports the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) which calls China’s Xinjiang Province ‘East Turkistan’ and China’s administration of Xinjiang as ‘Chinese occupation of East Turkistan,’ runs articles like, “Op-ed: A Profile of Rebiya Kadeer, Fearless Uyghur Independence Activist,” and admits that Kadeer seeks Uyghur independence from China.

Faced with an armed insurrection, most states impose martial law or a state of emergency, as Britain did in Malaya from 1945 to 1957 and the US did with the Patriot Act, but China decided–despite popular outrage–to write off its losses and play the long game and founded The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO),[1] a political, economic, and security alliance, with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, who stopped funneling money and providing corridors for Uyghur terrorists to move into and out of China. The SCO has since expanded to include India and Pakistan and Iran has begun the accession process, making it world’s largest security pact in both area and population and the only one whose membership includes four nuclear powers.

Forming the SCO was easier than assuaging public outrage. An unheard-of lawsuit by victims’ relatives accused the government of reverse discrimination so they stepped up security and published their objectives:

  1. restore law and order
  2. prevent terrorists from inflicting more violence
  3. use ‘high-intensity regulation’
  4. contain the spread of terrorism beyond Xinjiang
  5. purge extremists and separatists from society.

Neighborhood community centres–labelled ‘concentration camps’ in the western press–educate rural Uyghurs about the perils of religious extremism and train them for urban jobs.
In 2013 President Xi toured Eurasia and proposed the Belt and Road Initiative for three billion people, designed to create the biggest market in the world with unparalleled development potential, and built a gas pipeline to China from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan which, like China’s other western pipelines, power lines, and rail and road networks, runs through the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Beijing then moved jobs to Xinjiang and opened vocational schools to train rural youth in literacy and job skills and swore to protect its neighbors from terrorism in exchange for their pledge to reciprocate. To create jobs in the province Xi directed investment from forty-five of China’s top companies and eighty Fortune 500 manufacturers to Urumqi. Corporate investment increased from $10 billion in 2015 to $15 billion in 2017 and infrastructure investments of $70 billion in both 2017 and 2018 lifted the annual goods shipments past 100 million tons with a goal of hourly departures to fifteen European capitals. Half a million Uyghurs have relocated from remote villages to cities and, as a result, 600,000 Uighurs were lifted out of poverty in 2016, 312,000 in 2017 and 400,000 in 2018. The last poor Uyghurs will join the cash economy in mid-2020.

The PBOC, China’s central bank, is partnering with ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing to test the use of its sovereign digital currency, AKA Central Bank Digital Currency, CBDC. The regulator is working with Didi to apply digital currency electronic payment (DCEP) to the ride-hailing app, which currently serves a total of over 550 million users and is often described as China’s Uber. According to Didi, “the government seeks to support the development of the real economy sectors with innovative financial services.” Didi has more than 30 million daily ride-sharing orders and its bike-sharing daily orders reached 10 million. Meituan and Bilibilibili are also cooperating with banks in the digital yuan project. Meituan’s service platform has over 240 million consumers and five million local merchants, and Bilibilibili is China’s largest video-sharing website.

Sign up for your free one month sub to Godfree’s very extensive newsletter here. At the Saker blog, only a fraction of all the material can be covered.

UN Agencies Warn of More Food Shortages in Yemen

UN Agencies Warn of More Food Shortages in Yemen

By Staff, Agencies

Food shortages will rise sharply in parts of war-torn Yemen in the next six months mainly because of the overall economic decline and the coronavirus pandemic that has ripped through the Arab world’s poorest country, United Nations agencies warned.

A report by the World Food Program [WFP], the UN Children’s Fund and the Food and Agriculture Organization said the number of people facing high levels of acute food insecurity is expected to increase from two million to 3.2 million in the country’s south.

Yemen has been the site of the largest food crisis in the world since the beginning of the Saudi war against the country in 2015.

Coronavirus restrictions, economic shocks, conflict, reduced remittances, desert locusts, floods and significant underfunding of this year’s aid response have compounded an already dire hunger situation after five years of war.

Famine, nevertheless, has never been officially declared in Yemen.

“Yemen is facing a crisis on multiple fronts,” said Laurent Bukera, the WFP director for Yemen. “We must act now.”

Yemen’s conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and created the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with more than three million people internally displaced and two-thirds of the population reliant on food assistance for survival.

“Yemen is again on the brink of a major food security crisis,” said Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.

Some 24 million Yemeni people – 80 percent of the country’s population – require some form of assistance or protection, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

And 75 percent of UN programs for the country, covering essentially every sector, from food to healthcare and nutrition, have already shut their doors or reduced operations.

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Towards a “New Cold War” in the Middle East: Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf and the Battle for Oil and Gas

By Germán Gorraiz López

Global Research, July 21, 2020

The foundations of the great Near East were established in the Pact of Quincey (1945) following the doctrine of the Franco-British Sykes-Picot agreements of 1916 that favored the regional division of power in areas of influence and sustained on the tripod US-Egypt- Saudi Arabia. This doctrine consisted in the endemic survival in Egypt of pro-western autocratic military governments, which ensured the survival of the State of Israel (1948) and provided the US Navy with privileged access to the Suez Canal, a crucial shortcut for access direct to the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Afghanistan, remaining as a firm bastion of US geopolitical interests in the area, especially after the fall of the Shah of Persia in 1980.

The other pillar of the agreement consisted of the privileged access of the United States to Saudi Arabian oil in exchange for preserving its autocratic regime and favoring the spread of Wahhabism (doctrine founded by Mohamed Abdel Wahab in the mid-eighteenth century with the aim of becoming a vision attractive to Islam and exportable to the rest of the Arab countries), with which the Saudi theocracy became a regional power that provided the US with the key to energy dominance while serving as a retaining wall for socialist and pan-Arab currents. Finally, after the Six Day War (1967), the geostrategic puzzle of the Middle East and the Near East was completed with the establishment of autocratic and pro-Western regimes in the countries surrounding Israel (Libya, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran), leaving the Palestinians confined in the ghettos of the West Bank and Gaza.

Iraq and the Biden Plan

The Biden-Gelb Plan, approved by the US Senate in 2007 and rejected by Condolezza Rice, Secretary of State with George W. Bush, provided for the establishment in Iraq of a federal system in order to prevent the collapse in the country after the withdrawal of US troops and proposed separating Iraq into Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni entities, under a federal government in Baghdad charged with the care of the borders and the administration of oil revenues.

Thus, we will attend the appearance of Free Kurdistan presided over by Masoud Barzani with capital in Kirkust and that would include annexed areas taking advantage of the power vacuum left by the Iraqi Army such as Sinkar or Rabia in the province of Ninive, Kirkuk and Diyala as well as all the cities of Syrian Kurdish ethnicity (except Hasaka and Qamishli) occupied by the Kurdish insurgency of the BDP.

The new Kurdistan will have the blessings of the United States and will have financial autonomy by owning 20% of the farms of all Iraqi crude oil with the “sine qua non condition” to supply Turkey, Israel and Eastern Europe with Kurdish oil through the Kirkust pipeline that empties into the Turkish port of Ceyhan. On the other hand, the Sunistan with capital in Mosul and that would cover the Sunni cities of Ramadi, Falluja, Mosul, Tal Afar and Baquba (Sunni triangle), with strong connections with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and that would later lead to a radical pan-Islamist movement that it will use the oil weapon to strangle the western economies in the horizon of the next five-year period.

Finally, as the third leg of the tripod, we would have Iraqi Chi with capital in Baghdad that will counterbalance Saudi Wahhabism and that will gravitate in the orbit of influence of Iran, which will make Iran a great regional power in clear conflict with Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Iran, guardian of the Gulf and energy power

Iran acquired a regional power dimension thanks to the erratic policy of the United States in Iraq, (fruit of the political administration myopia obsessed with the Axis of Evil) by eliminating its ideological rivals, the Sunni Taliban radicals and Saddam Hussein with the subsequent power vacuum in the area. He also proposed a global negotiation with the contact group to deal with all the aspects that have confronted Western countries for thirty years, both the suffocating embargo that has plagued the Islamic Republic and the Iranian assets blocked in the United States, the role Iran regional cooperation and security cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan.The Middle East: A Review of Geopolitical Structures, Vectors of Power Dynamic

President Mahmoud Ajmadinejad stretched the rope to the limit in the security that the United States would not attack and would limit any individual action by Israel (a discarded project of bombarding the Natanz plant with commercial jets), as a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz through which it passes A third of the world’s energy traffic could exacerbate the global economic recession and profoundly weaken the entire international political system. Thus, in an interview with Brzezinski conducted by Gerald Posner in The Daily Beast (September 18, 2009), he stated that “an American-Iranian collision would have disastrous effects for the United States and China, while Russia would emerge as the great winner, as the foreseeable closure of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf where oil transportation destined for Northeast Asia (China, Japan and South Korea), Europe and the United States passes, would raise the price of black gold to stratospheric levels and would have severe repercussions on the economy global, becoming the totally crude EU dependent on Russia.

According to experts, Iran would possess the world’s third largest proven reserves of oil and gas, but it would not have enough technology to extract the gas from the deepest fields and would require an urgent multimillion-dollar investment to avoid irreversible deterioration of its facilities, which in practice it translates into a huge pie for Russian, Chinese and Western multinationals and an increase in the supply of Iranian crude oil to 1.5 million barrels / day within a year, with the consequent drop in prices. of the Brent and Texas reference crudes.

Furthermore, the revitalization of the 2010 energy cooperation agreement between Iraq, Iran and Syria for the construction of the South Pars-Homms gas pipeline that would connect the Persian Gulf with the Mediterranean Sea would relativize the strategic importance of the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline Project (TAP) , (a substitute for the failed Nabucco gas pipeline designed by the US to transport Azerbaijani gas to Europe through Turkey), as well as the relevant role of the United Arab Emirates as suppliers of crude oil to the West, which would explain the eagerness of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for torpedoing him.

America’s “Project of the New Middle East”

Ralph Peters Map: The Project for the New Middle East. Used for teaching purposes at the military academies. (“Unofficial”)  

Are Iraq and Iran the bait for the US to involve Russia and China in a new war?

Former President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski in a speech to the Iranian-American National Council (NIAC) stated that “I believe that the US has the right to decide its own national security policy and not follow like a stupid mule what the Israelis do. ” In addition, Brzezinski, would be faced with the neocon republican and Jewish lobbies of the USA and with his habitual biting he would have discredited the geostrategic myopia of both pressure groups when affirming that “they are so obsessed with Israel, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Iran that they have lost from the global picture: the true power in the world is Russia and China, the only countries with a true capacity to resist the United States and England and on which they would have to focus their attention ”.

We would thus be at a crucial moment to define the mediate future of the Middle East and Middle East (PROME East), since after the arrival of Donald Trump from the White House the pressure of the pro-Israeli lobby of the USA (AIPAC) would be increasing to proceed the destabilization of Iran by expeditious methods, a moment that will be used by the United States, Great Britain and Israel to proceed to redesign the cartography of the unrelated puzzle formed by these countries and thus achieve strategically advantageous borders for Israel, following the plan orchestrated 60 years ago. jointly by the governments of Great Britain, the United States and Israel and which would have the backing of the main western allies. Thus, after the approval by the Congress and the US Senate of a declaration prepared by the Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and the Democrat Robert Menéndez, who clearly states that “if Israel is forced to defend itself and take action (against Iran), the US will be at your side to support it militarily and diplomatically”, with the Trump Administration we will assist the increase in pressure from the pro-Israeli lobby of the USA (AIPAC) to proceed with the destabilization of Iran by expeditious methods.

In a first phase of said plan, the US Senate unanimously renewed the Sanctions Against Iran Act (ISA) until 2026 and after the launch of a new ballistic missile by Iran, Trump expanded the sanctions against several Iranian companies related to ballistic missiles without violating the Nuclear Agreement signed between the G + 5 and Iran in 2015, known as the Comprehensive Joint Action Plan (JCPOA) and which would only be fireworks to distract attention from the Machiavellian Plan outlined by the Anglo-Jewish Alliance in 1960 that would include the Balkanization of Iran and whose turning point would be the recent assassination of the charismatic General Qasem Soleimani.

This war could lead to a new local episode that would be involve a return to a “recurrent endemism” of the US-Russia Cold War involving both superpowers having as necessary collaborations the major regional powers namely Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

This Cold War scenario would cover the geographic space that extends from the Mediterranean arc (Libya, Syria and Lebanon) to Yemen and Somalia and having Iraq as its epicenter (recalling the Vietnam War with Lindon B. Johnson (1963-1.969).

Thus, Syria, Iraq and Iran would be the bait to attract both Russia and China and after triggering a concatenation of local conflicts (Syria, Iraq and Lebanon), this potentially could evolve towards a major regional conflict that could mark the future of the area in the coming years.

*

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Featured image is from Silent Crow NewsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Germán Gorraiz López, Global Research, 2020

Paying it forward – Erdogan style

Paying it forward – Erdogan style

July 20, 2020

by Ghassan and Intibah Kadi for the Saker Blog

With all eyes globally poised at COVID-19 and the impending economic meltdown, Black-Lives-Matter activism, and the protests in the USA and some Western countries, little attention is given to the rise of a potentially more formidable religious fundamentalism base for ISIS-style and orientation than ISIS itself; and indications are pointing to this happening right now, in today’s Turkey.

Al-Qaeda and ISIS are/were rogue organizations with relatively little resources, little prowess, and no international standing to offer them a safe haven under which to hide and protect themselves from the wrath of the world, so to speak.

But this was not the case for the Saudis over the last few decades. Saudi Arabia is an internationally recognized political entity, a member of the United Nations, a G-20 member with enormous wealth and a commodity that the world needs; oil. Saudi Arabia used its dollar power to spread the fundamentalist Wahhabi version of Islam based on the interpretations and teachings of Ibn Taymiyyah.

The Saudis spent billions of dollars, tens and even perhaps hundreds of billions building religious schools and mosques throughout the entire globe. They sponsored, fostered and abetted preachers, including highly controversial violent radical preachers in order to promote their version of Islam. They financed and equipped most fundamentalist terror groups, all the way initially from the Afghani Mujahideen, the Somali Al-Shabab, to the Nigerian Boku Haram; just to name a few. Their program commenced in the late 1960’s, during the reign of Saudi King Faisal who initially wanted to eradicate the growing doctrine of Marxism in the Muslim World.

And when the Saudis believed they had it made, when they felt the road was paved and all obstacles removed, they launched the multi-billion dollar attack on Syria.

By then, fundamentalist Sunni Muslim youth across the globe were banking on Saudi leadership and had put all of their faith and hope in them to lead the Muslim World towards a new era in which Wahhabi Islam was expected to make a series of gains on the global arena; with a covert intention to gain world control.

As the Saudis were beginning to fail in fulfilling their promise, ISIS made its mark in the minds of Muslim youth when world media aired videos of ISIS tanks in the streets and main squares of Mosul; Iraq’s second largest city. Just before and after the fall of Mosul, the advance of ISIS looked unstoppable; reminiscent of the bygone days of Muslim conquest and glory, as perceived by many sympathetic Muslim youth.

It was not a surprise therefore, that when ISIS leader/Caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi called for a Jihad in 2013, he not only rounded up the fundamentalist Sunni sector already radicalized, but he also managed to charm other previously moderate Sunnis who were amazed at his achievements.

It must be remembered here that in as far as Muslim religious battles and conquests are concerned, perhaps the last such great conquest of them all in the Western hemisphere, was the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. But this conquest of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II was the result of a huge effort, strategic planning, determination, patience, perseverance and the ability to employ the best in the world in terms of weapon development and specifically cannon manufacturing.

With the Saudi failure in Syria and its utter inability to score any victory in Yemen against all odds that favoured its highly privileged position, Saudi Arabia began to lose its stature as the leading nation of Muslim fundamentalism.

Enter Erdogan.

As I have written many times before, Erdogan is a combination of a religious fundamentalist zealot and a Turkish nationalist. He also has his own egocentric agendas, aspiring to be a mega Muslim leader and an empire builder.

In his quest for leadership, he has taken the role of an opportunist, a blackmailer and a scavenger, among other things.

As an opportunist, he rode on the anti-Syria bandwagon and walked the Qatari-Saudi talk. They flooded him with money and promises. He opened his borders with Syria to the terrorists they funded.

Later on, he used the Syrian refugees in Turkey to blackmail the EU with, opening the floodgate of refugees at will and demanding financial bribes, mainly from Germany, to close the gates after receiving his ransom price, courtesy of the lack of wisdom and short-sightedness of Angela Merkel.

As a scavenger, he is capitalizing on what the Saudis have invested in, to his own benefit.

Erdogan promised his supporters back in 2011 to pray in the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus after defeating Syrian President Assad, but he failed. He promised Turkish people to have ‘zero problems’ internally and externally. He failed. He expected to force Russia into accepting his terms prior to the 15th of March 2020 meeting, and he also failed. He was hoping to score a swift victory in Libya, and he is clearly failing.

What he fails to recognize is that he already is biting off more than he can chew, yet he is preparing to bunker down in Azerbajian.

The man is desperate for a win. There is no better score he can mark on the board than the equivalent of Sultan Mehmet II’s conquest of Constantinople; albeit take two.

The big difference here is that prior to the fall of Constantinople, it was the capital of the Byzantine Empire and its fall was the result of a military defeat at the hands of the Ottomans. Oddly enough however, the Erdogan propaganda machine is portraying the change of status of Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque as a great achievement. His supporters are chanting slogans claiming that turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque is tantamount to a conquest that was predicted in the Hadith.

Something must be amiss here. It is either that those supporters do not know that Constantinople/Istanbul had already been under Muslim/Turkish rule for more than five centuries, it is either that they don’t understand what conquest means, or that they are simply trying to festoon Erdogan with someone else’s achievements.

The real reason is more sinister. Erdogan has not been able to score any decisive military victory in all of his gambles, hence he decided to capitalize on the work of his ancestors. Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II took Constantinople after a long journey of strategic planning, but Erdogan thinks he can exhume the remains of vestiges of bygone glory and cloak himself with remnants of slogans of historic milestones and call them his own, thereby reclaiming an icon already under his control, and then audaciously call himself an all-time victor. Instead of having to go to battle to prove his worth, he chose the convenience of the stroke of a pen, and voila, he transformed himself to an instant great Muslim Fatih/conqueror. This is historic plagiarism at its worst.

In essence, in claiming such a great victory over Hagia Sophia, Erdogan has ‘photoshopped’ a triumph based on a fabricated virtual reality that is aimed to win him more support from the fundamentalist Sunni Muslim street; one that is least driven by rationality.

In all of this, Erdogan has not only benefited from the ground work of the Wahhabi Saudis he is fundamentally opposed to as being a Muslim Brotherhood man, but with his understanding of how to manipulate the vulnerable minds of Muslim youth, all the monies the Saudis have spent have inadvertently turned into a pay-it-forward scheme that he hopes will elevate him to the top of the Muslim World hierarchy.

Thus far, manipulating those vulnerable minds both domestically and within the broader Muslim World has been the only area in which Erdogan has been successful.

That said, the difference in international clout between Al-Qaeda/ISIS and the Erdogan leadership is much larger than that of such organizations and the untouchable Saudi Arabia. Turkey is not only a state, a member of the UN, a member of the G-20, but it is also a NATO member with a huge army.

But unlike the Saudis who do not have any history of strategic planning, technological prowess and entrepreneurial achievements other than paying foreigners to build them palaces, Turkey can play a more pernicious role, after all, it is a nation that has had a long history of empire building; and if and when Turkey decides to rise in a fundamentalist way, the world must take notice.

Under the protection of the above, and knowing that the West will not deal with any part of Turkey like it did with Tora Bora, Erdogan feels at liberty to incrementally convert the public school system into a fundamentalist one, but according to an Erdogan propaganda video, with its Arabic captions designed to recruit support from the Arab Sunni world, he indicates he is building the army of the future for the ‘Ummah’ by radicalizing the youth via the re-vamped schools. The Youtube has been removed, but here’s a screenshot of it.

In an article published nearly two years ago in the NYT, Erdogan’s plan of changing over the education system into a religious one is well presented. Public schools are systemically replaced by the religious Imam Hatip schools, of which Erdogan himself is a graduate. Whilst those schools teach regular subjects, around 50% of which are religious, and a student must pass those subjects before he/she can graduate. With this approach in fact, Erdogan could be leading Turkey into not only becoming a theological state, but also a nation that does not have enough technocrats and STEM graduates at a time when he is trying to build an empire and an advanced army. What is also of note is that affluent secular Turkish parents will send their children to private, non-religious schools, and the new generation of doctors, engineers and teachers will be mainly comprised of them.

In a propaganda video, a noisy and loud Erdogan supporter makes a statement saying that whoever stood up for the victory of Hagia Sophia will do the same for the mosques of Jerusalem, Cordoba (in Spain), Yemen, Mecca and Medina.

The main danger of Erdogan, globally speaking, is that he understands both of the fundamentalist Muslim as well as the liberal Western minds, but the West does not have this full understanding; no doubt to its own peril. Until he is either stopped, or falls on his own sword, he will continue to see the world as open slather for his fundamentalist and expansive adventures, because his mind is set in stone in the age of conquests and religious glory.

Links: Erdogan’s Plan to Raise a ‘Pious Generation’ Divides Parents in Turkey

WEDDING MASSACRE IN YEMEN: 25 KILLED IN SAUDI-COALITION AIRSTRIKES ON AL-JAWF (VIDEO)

Source

More than 25 people were killed and many others were injured on July 15 when Saudi-led coalition warplanes targeted a wedding in the northern Yemeni province of al-Jawf.

The wedding, attended only by women and children, was held in the house of Mabkout Marzouq Merhi in the area of al-Masa’fah.

“Ma’rib Hospital has received more than 16 shredded bodies of women and children and a number of wounded, who were victims of the al-Masa’fah crime , while al-Hazm Hospital has received 8 bodies of martyrs and a number of wounded,” a source familiar with the situation told the al-Masirah TV.

The death toll will likely rise in the upcoming few hours as Yemeni sources are reporting that many of the wounded are in a critical condition.

A spokesman of the Houthi-affiliated Salvation Government in Sanaa, Deif Allah al-Shami, called the coalition airstrikes a “full-fledged war crime,” vowing to response.

“The crimes of aggression will not go unnoticed and the response will be painful,” al-Shami said.

The Saudi-led coalition has not commented on the matter, so far. The airstrikes may have been meant as a response to a recent missile and drone attack by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, which took place three days ago.

Al-Masa’fah wedding massacre is not an isolated incident. Earlier this week, a series of Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on the northwestern Yemeni province of Hajjah claimed the lives of nine women and children.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Millions of Yemeni Children Could Starve Without Urgent Aid

Source

By Staff, Agencies

Millions of Yemeni Children Could Starve Without Urgent Aid

Millions of children in Yemen could be pushed towards starvation by the end of the year as the humanitarian crisis is compounded by a lack of funding as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, UNICEF said on Friday.

A report by the United Nations children’s agency indicated that the number of malnourished children under the age of five in the war-torn country could rise by 20% — to 2.4 million — unless the international community makes up for a massive shortfall in aid.

“If we do not receive urgent funding, children will be pushed to the brink of starvation and many will die,” said UNICEF Yemen representative Sara Beysolow Nyanti. “We cannot overstate the scale of this emergency.”

Yemen has been ravaged by a Saudi, US-led war for over five years. During this period, tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence.

The UN said that it is unable to keep an inflow of aid as the crisis shows no sign of ending. UNICEF needs nearly $461 million for its humanitarian response, along with $53 million for an effective COVID-19 response. Only 39% and 10% of these, respectively, have been funded.

Yemen’s healthcare system was already on the brink of collapse as it dealt with diseases like cholera, malaria and dengue, but the pandemic has just brought it dangerously close to shutting down. The country has reported over 1,000 infections but experts say that many go unreported because of lacking medical infrastructure.

The UN children’s agency also warned that nearly 7.8 million children were not in school, which puts them at a higher risk of exploitation through child labor and early marriage.

“UNICEF has previously said, and again repeats, that Yemen is the worst place in the world to be a child and it is not getting any better, “Nyanti said.

أرض المقدَّسات

«الأيقونة الفلسطينية» (2010)، لوحة للفنان الفلسطيني نبيل عنّاني، أكريليك على كتّان، 75،5×112 سنتم

الأخيار

فلسطين زياد منى الجمعة 15 أيار2020

في ذكرى النكبة واغتصاب الحركة الصهيونية وحلفائها من الغرب الاستعماري ـــــ وبمشاركة عرب «سايكس بيكو» وأعرابها ـــــ أرض فلسطين، نود الحديث عن مكانتها في التاريخ العربي والإسلامي، عبر استعراض مختلف المقامات المقدّسة فيها، كما ترد في مختلف المصادر. وقد استعنّا في عملنا هذا بمراجعَ عديدة، منها مؤلّف «فضائل القدس» لأستاذ التاريخ والفكر الإسلامي في «جامعة سميث كولدج» الأميركية سليمان علي مراد، الصادر عام 2019 عن مؤسسة الدراسات الفلسطينية في بيروت والمكتبة الخالدية في القدس المحتلّة، إضافة إلى مؤلّف الطبيب الفلسطيني توفيق كنعان mohammedan saints and sanctuaries in palestine, 1927 / «الأولياء والمقامات الإسلامية في فلسطين» الصادر في القدس ـــــ فلسطين عام 1927، وكذلك المؤلّف الحديث ‹bones of contention: Andrew Petersen, muslim shrines in palestine / «رفات الخصومة: المقامات الإسلامية في فلسطين» الصادر عام 2018. وهدفنا هو إثبات المكانة العليا التي حظيت بها فلسطين في الفكر والعقل العربي والإسلامي عبر العصور، في الوقت الذي تحاول فيه مشيخات الخليج، والوهابيون، تشويه ذلك التاريخ ومسح أي مكانة لفلسطين في الوعي التاريخي العربي والإسلامي. وهذا أيضاً لفضح اللاهثين وراء تكريمات الغرب وجوائزهم الصدئة، والذين ينفون أي علاقة للإسلام والمسلمين، ليس بالحرم القدسي فحسب، بل بمكّة المكرمة أيضاً.

عندما نتحدث عن المقامات الإسلامية في فلسطين، ليس المقصود فقط مواقع معروفة مثل مدافن الأنبياء أو «الأولياء» بمعنى الأفراد الصالحين، بل أيضاً كلّ مكان من مزار وقبر وشجرة وجنينة وجَنْبَة وكهف ونبع وصخرة وحجر وتحويطة، لهم علاقة بموضوع المقال، سواء كانوا مقدّسين أم مرتبطين بخرافات وأوهام. لكن ليست المقامات جميعها تحظى بالمكانة العليا، حيث نرى أن قلّة منها تحظى بمكانة قدسية لدى البداة، لكن ليس لدى أهل البلدات أو القرى القريبة منها. وثمة مقامات تحظى بمكانة عليا في خارج فلسطين، كما سنرى لاحقاً.

أينما نظرت في فلسطين تجد أمكنة مقدسة: في القرى وفي الحقول وفي البراري، في الجبال وفي الوديان. وفي معظم الأحيان يعثر المرء على جامع قريب من المقام، حيث يتوافد المؤمنون إليه للتعبّد لله. فعلى سبيل المثال، نجد في قرية عورتا 14 مقاماً، 11 منها تقع في داخل القرية وثلاثة في خارجها، وهذا يتكرّر في قرى وبلدات أخرى مثل عناتا والعيسوية وقولونيا وغيرها. يلاحظ المرء أنّ المقامات عادة ما بُنيت في أعالي الجبال، كي ترى من على بعد، مثل النبي صموئيل والشيخ القطرواني والشيخ أحمد الكركي الطيار في قرية القسطل، وأبو هريرة في وادي الشريعة، والعُزير في عورتا والشيخ العُمَري في بيت عنان، حيث يمكن من هناك رؤية كل من يافا واللد والرملة وسهولها، وكذلك البحر الأبيض المتوسط، والمصعد في جبل الزيتون والشيخ جراح بالقرب من مدينة القدس، ومقام الخضر في نابلس مكتوب داخله: «عُمِّر هذا المسيجد أيام السلطان الملك سيف الدين قلاون الصالح عزَّه الله ووالده السلطان الصالح علا الدين عز نصره».

أي إنه تمّ اختيار أمكنة المقامات قرب القرى، ولا يعني ذلك إطلاقاً أنّ التل أو الهضبة أو الجبل مقدّس. أما إذا وقعت في أراضي منخفضة، مثل عند تقاطع وديان أو ينابيع أو جداول، فيتم إقامتها في أمكنة يراها الناظر من مسافات بعيدة، بما يؤكد وظيفتها الاجتماعية أيضاً، إما لاستراحة المسافر أو لتناول الطعام، وتُعرف باسم «المضافة»، وهكذا. فعلى سبيل المثال، نجد في مقام أريحا حسن الراعي، بالقرب من النبي موسى، النقش الآتي: «أنشأ هذه القبة المباركة علي حسن الراعي قدس سره صاحب الخير محمد باشا حين أتى من استقبال حجاج المسلمين فشرع في البناء فلم يلقَ ماءً فبعلو همته حفظه الله تعالى نقل الماء على البلد من قرية أريحا وحصل الثواب سنة 1 ربيع عشر وماية وألف». كما يلحظ المرء أنّ قبور الرجال الصالحين تقع في أغلب الأحيان وسط المدن أو البلدات، مثل مقامات الطور (6) وأريحا (6)، ومنها «النبي موسى» وشعفاط (4) وصور باهر (4) وعناتا (7).

أينما نظرت في فلسطين تجد أمكنة مقدسة: في القرى وفي الحقول وفي البراري في الجبال وفي الوديان


وثمة مقامات قرب مواقع أثرية، مثل القطرواني بالقرب من كنيسة على تخوم قرية بير زيت، وذو الكفل بالقرب من خربة الكفيرة ومقام عبد العزيز الواقع بين قريتي القسطل وبيت سوريك، إلى جانب نبع عتيق وفق علماء الآثار، وقبر ستنا الشامية بالقرب من نبع عتيق، وفق المصدر نفسه. هنا وجب لفت الانتباه إلى أن الأشجار القائمة إلى جانب المقامات ليست مقدسة بحد ذاتها، وإنما تنال مكانتها من المقام. ويلاحظ أنّ فائدة بعضها غذائي مثل أشجار التين والصبر والرمان والجميز والدوالي والخروب وغيرها.

كذلك، يعثر المرء على مقامات عبارة عن حجارة مرتبة على شكل دوائر تسمّى الحويطية ومفردها الحويطة (انظر التعبير الشعبي: حوطك بالله)، ومنها حويطية الشيخة امبركة في قلنديا والشيخ فرج في بين حنينا. ومن الجدير بالذكر هنا، وجود حويطية مسيحية مشابهة، ومنها على سبيل الذكر المرتبط بالنبي الخضر (st. george) بالقرب من بيت جالا. وثمة حويطية أخرى هي النبي دانيال تقع وسط كرم بين قريتي الخضر وأرطاس.

ويعثر المرء أيضاً على ينابيع تحظى بمكانة عليا لدى السكان، ومنها عين الشريف وعين إم دراج في سلوان، وعين الحمّام في القدس وعين النوباني في نابلس وعين الجوز في رام الله وعين أرطاس في القرية بالاسم وعين عونا (st. mary) في بيت جالا وعين الحجر في دير الغسَّانة، وحمام الدرادجة في نابلس ومرتبط ذكره بالنبي الخضر، وحمام ستي مريم مرتبط بالسيدة مريم العذراء، وحمام الشفا، وبير أيوب المرتبطين بالنبي أيوب، وبير سنجيل المرتبط بالنبي يوسف، وعين كارم المرتبط بالسيدة العذراء، وهكذا. إضافة إلى ما سبق، ثمة أشجار مرتبطة باسم نبي أو رجل صالح، منها زيتونة النبي في حرم الشريف ونخلة مار سابا وشجرة زيتون في الجثمانية وشجرة زيتون في بيت ساحور. ومن الجدير بالذكر وجود مقامات حظيت بدعم سلاطين مختلفين، ولكن نكتفي بما سبق ذكره ونوجّه نظرنا نحو مقامات إسلامية أخرى، ومنها الصوفية والبهائية والشيعية والدرزية.

أشار الجغرافي العربي الدمشقي (1256 ـــــ 1327) إلى «مشهد النصر» أعلى جبل حطين، حيث بني في عهد الناصر صلاح الدين قبة تسمى قبة النصر، لتخليد انتصاره على الفرنجة في معركة حطين. وثمة شهادة من حجاج مسيحيين على وجود ذلك النصب، الذي بقي قائماً حتى القرن التاسع عشر. أما المقامات التي حظيت برعاية سلطانية الظاهر بيبرس، فهي النبي موسى في غور الأردن، ومقام أبي هريرة في يبنة، وحرم سيدنا علي في أرسوف، حيث صلى الظاهر بيبرس في المكان، ونذر أن يرعاه في حال انتصاره على الفرنج. أما الزوايا الصوفية، والتي تسمى أيضاً رباط وخَنَقَة، فثمة العديد منها، علماً بأنّ فلسطين كانت مقر ما لا يقل عن 11 طريقة، منها القادرية (محمد أبو العون ـــــ ثمة مسجد باسمه في مدينة الرملة ويضم رفاته ورفات زوجه)، والتي جلبها شهاب الدين أحمد المعروف أيضاً باسم ابن أرسلان، والرفاعية والدسوقية والأحمدية والشاذلية واليونسية والمولوية وغيرها. وثمّة أيضاً مقام دير الشيخ في وادي النسور جنوب غربي مدينة القدس، الذي يحوي رفات السطان بدر، وكذلك مقام اليشرطية في عكا، ومقام الصحابي أبي عبيدة في عمواس حيث توفي أيام الطاعون الذي انتشر في البلاد حينئذ.

أما المقامات الشيعية، فمنها المشهد الذي أقيم في عسقلان لوضع رأس الحسين بن علي رضي الله عنهما، والذي استشهد في كربلاء في العاشر من تشرين الأول / أكتوبر عام 680، لكنّه أرسل إلى دمشق حيث حفظ في الجامع الأموي بالقرب من رفات النبي يحيى أو يوحنا المعمدان. وثمة مقام النبي يوشع الواقع في شمال فلسطين بالقرب من الحدود اللبنانية.

أما المقامات الدرزية، فمنها مقام النبي شعيب الواقع قرب حطين. وثمة رواية بأنّ صلاح الدين الأيوبي أمر الشيخ عماد الدين، أحد أبناء الحكام الفاطميين، برعاية المقام الذي زاره العديد من المؤرّخين والحجّاج والجغرافيين العرب وغير العرب. وثمة مقامان بهائيان رئيسيان في فلسطين، هما قبر بهاء الله في عكا وقبور عائلته، وقبر الباب علي محمد الشيرازي. وثمة مقامات أخرى قام العدو الصهيوني بتدميرها، في عام 1948، وما بعد ذلك، ومنها مقام النبي الكفل، ومقام النبي بولس وغيرهما.

نكتفي بهذا القدر، علماً بأن المراجع تحوي عشرات المواقع الأخرى، وحتى صوراً لها ومخططاتها. ما يهمنا ختاماً، توضيح أنّ فلسطين، أرض المقدّسات، حظِيت بمكانة خاصة لدى العرب والمسلمين شرقاً وغرباً وشمالاً وجنوباً، نجد عرضاً مفصّلاً لها في مؤلّف «فضائل القدس» الآنف الذكر، وليس بإمكان أيٍّ كان أن يجرّدها من موقعها التاريخي، الضاربة جذوره في عمق تاريخنا.

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مقالات متعلقة

ماذا بعد الانهزام السعوديّ؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

الدور السياسي السعودي في محنة تاريخية للمرة الاولى منذ تأسيس المملكة بتعاون بين البريطانيين المستعمرين لجزيرة العرب وبين الحركة الوهابية وآل سعود في مطلع الحرب العالمية الأولى.

ما يؤكد عمق هذه المحنة وثباتها، تقارير عرضتها ثلاث مؤسسات أممية غربية هي الأعلى مكانة في العالم، جزمت فيها ان السعودية فقدت مكانتها الاقتصادية وهوت الى درجات الدول العادية.

كما جزمت أن خسائرها جراء انخفاض انتاج النفط وتداعيات جائحة كورونا قد تزيد عن خمسين في المئة.

المؤسسة الأولى هي صندوق النقد الدولي الذي اكد في تقريره الأخير ان الاقتصاد السعودي يذهب للمرة الاولى في تاريخ بلاده نحو خسائر بنيوية ويجد نفسه مضطراً للتقشف والدين.

بدورها مؤسسة ماكينزي العالمية جزمت في تقريرها بتراجع سعودي اقتصادي عميق يؤدي الى عدم استقرارها.

اما مؤسسة «موديز» لتقييم اقتصادات الدول فأسقطت الاقتصاد السعودي من درجة «أ» امتياز الى «أ» ناقص للمرة الأولى منذ ستينيات القرن الماضي.

بذلك يجمع خبراء الاقتصاد ان خسائر الاقتصاد السعودي قد تتعدّى الخمسين في المئة من موازنتها الحالية، هذا إذا حافظت العائدات الناتجة من مواسم الحج والعمرة والسياحة الدينية على مستواها الذي كان ينتج نمو 25 في المئة من الموازنة السعودية.

بدورها وزارة المال السعودية في تقريرها الأخير الذي تلاه وزيرها الجدعان دعا السعوديين الى التقشف وقرارات مؤلمة تتحضر الدولة لإطلاقها. معتبراً انها مرحلة ضرورية للتعامل مع جائحة كورونا وانهيار أسعار النفط من 66 دولاراً للبرميل الواحد الى 26 حالياً، مع توقع المزيد من الانخفاض، كاشفاً ان الدولة مضطرة الى الإنفاق بسياسات تقوم على تلبية الأكثر أهمية وإلغاء كل ما يؤثر على الاستقرار.

لذلك فإن العالم بدأ منذ الآن بالتعامل مع «سعودية جديدة» اعترف وزير ماليتها انهم ذاهبون لتغطية إنفاق الدولة بنظام دين قد يزيد عن 60 مليار دولار سنوياً مع سحب قسم من الاحتياطات المالية السعودية الموجودة في الخزائن الأميركية وبعض مصارف اوروبا.

لا بدّ هنا من الاشارة الى ان الاقتصاد السعودي الناتج من النفط والعائدات الدينية، ووجود الحرمين الشريفين في مكة والمدينة المنورة، منحا الدولة السعودية دوراً سياسياً عالمياً نذر نفسه لخدمة الاهداف الاميركية في العالمين العربي والاسلامي وبعض انحاء افريقيا ومؤتمرات العشرين وسياسات الامم المتحدة والمنظمات الإقليمية والدولية.

ما هي النتائج المتوقعة على دور آل سعود؟

لجهة الداخل فجزء منه يتعلق بأجنحة الأمراء السعوديين أنفسهم المعتادين على نيل حصص من الإنتاج النفطي ينالون عائداتها، وهؤلاء عشرات آلاف الأمراء من اكثر الفئات إنفاقاً في العالم على اليخوت والقصور وأندية كرة القدم الأجنبية والميسر العالمية والمكرمات والوجاهات.

هؤلاء يبدّدون حسب المعلومات الدولية نحو 15 في المئة من الموازنة من دون احتساب ما تتقاضاه عائلة الملك وولي العهد من موازنة تعتبر الأعراف انها ملك صرف لهم يأخذون منها من دون اي سؤال ومحاسبة ويستطيعون توزيع اي مبلغ منها على اي سياسيين من دول اخرى بومضة عين فقط.

اما الإنفاق على الداخل السعودي فيلبي قسماً من المؤسسات التشغيلية العامة ورواتب موظفين معظمهم لا يعمل والمكرمات لزعماء القبائل والرأي العام والرشى وتغطية نفقات جيش كبير غير فاعل وحرس وطني متخصص بالقمع الداخلي واجهزة مخابرات ونفقات تسليح وصيانة ومدربين أجانب ومرتزقة من دول آسيوية وعربية وتوزيع اموال على الإعلام الداخلي والعربي والعالمي.

هذا جزء داخلي من انفاقات آل سعود، اما القسم الخارجي فخطير جداً لأنه ينفق اموال السعودية على هدي الاجتياح الجيوبوليتيكي الاميركي للعالم، فتحضر السعودية كأمين خزنة يوزع المال حسب اوامر البيت الابيض واجهزته العميقة، لشراء حكومات الدول الاسلامية والافريقية خصوصاً مع ارضاء الدول الغربية بشراء سلع وسلاح لا تحتاجها السعودية كثيراً وبأسعار مرتفعة عن أثمانها الحقيقية. بالإضافة الى تمويل الإعلام العالمي لهدفين: تأييد السياسات الاميركية والنفطية على الأداء الهمجي لآل سعود في الاغتيالات الداخلية والخارجية.

يكفي أن هذا الاعلام المرتشي يتجاهل ان حقوق الانسان غائبة بشكل كامل عن دولة سعودية تصرّ على التموضع في القرون الوسطى. فلا نقابات فيها ولا جمعيات ومنظمات والاحزاب مجهولة في هذا الجزء من العالم، ووسائل الإعلام فيها المكتوبة والمسموعة والتلفزيونية لا تعرض إلا لما تصفه بانجازات آل سعود في بلادها والخارج!

هناك جانب أخطر يتعلق بتمويل الحروب السعودية على اليمن وتمويل منظمات الإرهاب استناداً الى اعترافات رئيس وزراء قطر السابق حمد بن جاسم الذي أقرّ أن الأميركيين كلفوا قطر والسعودية بتمويل منظمات سورية وعراقية، مضيفاً بأنه لم يكن يعرف أنها إرهابية على علاقة بالقاعدة!

هاتان الدولتان تواصلان حتى الآن توفير دعم كبير للإرهاب في ليبيا والسودان والجزائر مع الاستمرار بدعم داعش وحواملها في بلاد الشام والعراق.

للمزيد من الإضاءة فإن تمويل حربها على اليمن سواء بالمباشر على قواتها وجيش رجلها الرئيس المخلوع منصور هادي والمشاركات المصرية والسودانية والأميركية والبريطانية منذ خمس سنوات متواصلة، هذا الدور استنزف موازنة آل سعود ولم ينجحوا بتثبيت نفوذهم اليمني بل خسروه، مع اندلاع صراع عسكري بينهم وبين حلفائهم الإماراتيين على النفوذ في جنوبي اليمن.

هذا الوضع ذاهب الى تفجير كبير نتيجة للانخفاض الهائل بمعدل أكثر من 50 في المئة من موازنة السعودية مع عجزها عن اقتطاع أي قسم من احتياطاتها المالية الخارجية بسبب الرفض الاميركي والغربي المتراجع بدوره.

لذلك فإن الداخل السعودي لن يبقى مستقراً على مستوى العلاقة بين أمراء آل سعود أنفسهم وعلاقتهم بسكان دولتهم الذين نم يرضخوا لتقشف لم يعتادوا عليه.

كما أن هذا الخفض ينسحب على تراجع الدور السعودي في زعامة الخليج والى حدود الانقطاع مع دول عربية اعتادت على مساعداتها كمصر والأردن ولبنان والسودان، الى جانب تضعضع ادوارها في دول الاسلام الآسيوي والأفريقي. الأمر الذي يقلص الى حدود كبيرة دورها التاريخي الواسع.

فهل نحن عشية تحوّل السعودية دولة خليجية متواضعة؟

انها كذلك لفقدانها الجزء الأهم من أدوات تأثيرها، لكن هناك مَن يعتقد ان مملكة آل سعود لن تبقى حتى دولة متواضعة لأن الصراعات بين أجنحة الأمراء فيها خطيرة جداً، هذا بالإضافة الى ان حرمان سكان المملكة من الرعاية والخدمات يعمم الفقر ويؤدي الى انتفاضات واعدة.

هناك نقطة إضافية وهي ان الاسباب التي كانت تجعل الغرب الأميركي والأوروبي يوفر غطاء سياسياً كاملاً لحماية المملكة، لم يعد الآن مضطراً لتأمينها بسبب غياب المؤتمر المالي.

هذا يبرهن أن مستقبل السعودية كدولة كبيرة انتهى الى غير رجعة، ومسألة محافظتها على كيانها السياسي مرهونة بمدى الاندماج في سبيل بناء تحالف إسلامي يصبح جزءاً من القرن الحالي.

فيديوات متعلقة

طلقة في الوجدان العربي… على شاشة العار

سعيد محمد 

الأربعاء 29 نيسان 2020

لم يستثمر آل سعود كلّ تلك المليارات في تأسيس المنابر الصحافيّة والإعلاميّة عبثاً. كانت تلك توجيهات المستشارين الأميركيين منذ البداية. والمهمّة: توظيف الأجهزة الأكثر تأثيراً في وعي الجمهور العربي لتعميق سرديّة التلفيق الملكيّ، والترويج لمعانٍ ثقافيّة تؤسّس لمناخات تخدم الأجندة الأميركيّة: الاستهلاكية، والتسخيف، وتبرير القتل، والطائفيّة، واليوم: التطبيع (العلني). «أم هارون» وأعمال دراميّة أخرى، هي مجرد قطب في نسيج عريض متشابك من إنتاج ماكينة هيمنة السلالة السعوديّة، يتولّى تنفيذه مثقفون عضويّون موالون للطبقة الحاكمة، وبورجوازيون (أو طامحون للبرجزة). قصّة اليهوديّة العراقيّة ـــ المنحولة كويتياً ـــ رصاصة أخرى تستهدف رؤوسنا يطلقها هؤلاء على الهواء مباشرة.

رغم التغييرات التكنولوجية الكبرى التي أعادت صوغ علاقة جمهور المتلقّين بالشاشات، فإنّ التلفزيون بقي الساحة الأكثر تأثيراً والأوسع انتشاراً. وبقبوله تعديلات بنيويّة على صيغ التلّقي ــ من دون مضمونها بالطبع ــ بداية عبر الكيبل، وحالياً عبر البث الرقمي، نجح في الاستمرار سيّداً أكبر للفنون جميعاً وملعباً للطبقات الحاكمة في حربها الدائمة لسلب وعي المحكومين وتأبيد هيمنتها عليهم، دائماً في موازاة مؤسسات المجتمع المدني الأخرى (وفق المفهوم الغرامشي: أي الدين الرسمي والمدارس والجامعات والصحافة وصناعة الثقافة).
هذا التلفزيون، أصبح منذ الحرب العالميّة الثانية، أداةً شديدة الخطورة في التنشئة الأيديولوجية، ومصدراً أساساً للمعلومات بالنسبة إلى قطاعات عريضة من البروليتاريا ــ بمعناها المعاصر ــ وعنصراً فاعلاً في توجيه الديناميات الاجتماعية ودفعها في اتّجاهات دون أخرى. نجح البريطانيون والأميركيون أكثر من غيرهم في توظيفه جزءاً لا يتجزّأ من عدّة البروباغاندا بمستوياتها: تلك المُوجّهة للاستهلاك المحليّ، كما المخصّصة لاستهلاك رعايا الإمبراطورية عبر العالم.

علاء اللقطة ـ فلسطين
السلالة السعودية ـــ المعتادة بحكم التركيب القبلي الوهابيّ على السيطرة عبر مزيج من العنف الدموي وخزعبلات الدين، وبوصفها مشروع صهيون إسلامي في قلب المنطقة سبق مشروع صهيون اليهوديّ ذاته ــ تلقّت مبكراً توجيهات المستشارين الأميركيين (مهماتهم مجتمعة أقرب إلى وظيفة المندوب السامي للإمبراطوريّة البريطانيّة المتقاعدة) بشأن ضرورة توجيه استثمار معتبر لبناء ترسانة إعلاميّة أضخم بكثير من حاجة المملكة نفسها وتقاليدها وتشريعاتها: بداية لمواجهة المدّ العروبيّ الناصري الذي اجتاح المنطقة بإذاعاته ومجلاته ومنتجاته الثقافيّة، ولاحقاً في تنفيذ الأجندات الأميركيّة في «تعهير» الثورة الفلسطينية، ثم إسقاط العراق، ومعادة إيران، ومحاولة كسر سوريا.
هكذا بعد إطلاق جريدة «الشرق الأوسط» من لندن في 1978 كأوّل صحيفة فوق ـــ وطنيّة موجهة إلى العالم العربي ناطقة باسم السلالة السعوديّة، رغم غياب شبه كليّ للكوادر الوطنيّة عنها إلى وقت قريب، كانت السلالة سبّاقة إلى غزو ساحة التلفزيون الفضائي العابر للوطنيّات عبر مؤسّسة تلفزيون «الشرق الأوسط»، التي انطلقت من العاصمة البريطانيّة في بداية التسعينيات كأول وأهم شبكة تلفزيون في العالم العربي الذي اكتفى لغاية ربع قرن مضى بالعيش في ظلّ تلفزيوناته الحكوميّة السقيمة.
أنفقت السلالة مليارات على هذه المشاريع وأخرى لاحقة، واستقطبت من أجلها وجوهاً من أقطار عربيّة عدة، لكنّ خطّها التحريري النهائي بقي دائماً سعودياً محضاً. عملت على الترويج للأهداف الثقافيّة المتأمركة في المنطقة: نشر الثقافة الأميركيّة الاستهلاكيّة، وتسويق التردّي الأخلاقي والتهتك الثقافي، وتبرير القتل الأميركي في العراق وليبيا وسوريا واليمن، ونشر الطائفيّة المقيتة، واليوم توسيع بيكار التطبيع (العلني) مع الكيان الإسرائيلي عبر مسلسل «أم هارون».
ونقول التطبيع العلني، لأن صيغة التحالف الموضوعي والتاريخي بين إسرائيل والسلالات الحاكمة في الخليج ـــ على رأسها آل سعود بالذات ـــ مسألة سبقت حتى الإعلان الرسمي عن قيام الدولة العبرية. وهي تحت الرعاية الأميركية المباشرة تعمّقت وأخذت أشكالاً كثيرة سياسياً وعسكريّاً واستخباراتيّاً واقتصاديّاً ورياضيّاً وبروتوكولياً. لكن المرحلة الحاليّة من الغروب العربي ـــ بعدما أُسقطت مصر في غيبوبة كامب ديفيد، ودمّر العراق، وقسّمت ليبيا، وأضعفت سوريا ـــ صارت تحتمل الانتقال إلى لعبة أكثر وضوحاً: التطبيع العلني. وتلك اليوم حاجة ماسة للإسرائيلي كما هي للسعودي. للإسرائيلي كنوع من عبور للسياج واحتلال عقل شعوب المنطقة من دون المغامرة باحتلالات عسكريّة صارت مستحيلة استراتيجياً ولوجستياً على نحو يهّدئ من روع سايكولوجيا الفناء الإسرائيلي المحتّم في المحيط المعادي ولو لبعض الوقت. وهي تجربة كانت قد اختُبرت بنجاح من خلال الجبهة السوريّة عبر التشبيك مع الإسلاميين و(العرب الجدد) معاً. أما سعودياً، فهي ضرورة للبقاء، بعدما تسرّب عن الأميركيين عدة تصوّرات عن بدائل محتملة من نموذج آل سعود المئوي الذي بلي أو كاد في أجواء ما بعد الحداثة السياسية، في الوقت الذي تراجعت فيه مكانة مملكتهم لناحية إنتاج النفط، وتعدد فضائح إدارتهم المخجلة للدولة، وصراع الكراسي الدموي داخل السلالة، كما فشلهم الذريع في تحقيق انتصارات صريحة في سوريا، ولاحقاً في اليمن رغم جهود واستثمارات أسطورية عبر سنوات طوال.
لا يمكن مطلقاً تفكيك رموز موجة مسلسلات التطبيع التي أطلقتها مؤسسة تلفزيون «الشرق الأوسط» توازياً مع رمضان هذا العام من دون الانطلاق من تحديد صريح لهذا السياق، وبوصفها مجرّد طلقة أخرى في جعبة السلالة توجهها على الهواء مباشرة نحو رؤوسنا. وبما أن الأمر كذلك الآن بعد هذه المقدّمة الطويلة، فإنّه يمكن الشروع في عبور نقدي لتلك المسلسلات على مستويات أربعة.
على مستوى النص (أو الخطاب)، فإنّه يمكن الحديث عن محاولة هزيلة فنياً لفرض الوجود الإسرائيلي على المتلقين من خلال قصّة «أم هارون» المسروقة من التاريخ العراقي الحديث. إذ اقتُطعت من سياقها الجغرافي وأعيد بناؤها كويتياً. فالقصّة ذاتها شديدة الهامشية، وتعتمد خدعة بناء العمل الدرامي التقليدية البالية حول شخصيّة امرأة عظيمة تواجه ظروفاً مجتمعيّة قاسية وتسمو فوقها. وقد سمعت انتقادات شديدة لطريقة تصوير العمل، وعجزه عن تقديم المرحلة التي يدّعيها، ناهيك بالحوارات المفتعلة والدعائيّة. لكن الرسالة مع ذلك واضحة: اليهود تاريخيّاً من أهل المنطقة ــ الخليج والعالم العربي ــ والذي حصل باسم فلسطين كان مجرد تحويلة سير مكلفة لمسار التاريخ حان وقت الانتهاء منها، مع ترداد ببغائي لمصطلحات تتعلق بإسرائيل واليهود والأصوات والتقاليد العبريّة كي تبدأ الأذن العربيّة بالاعتياد في لاوعيها على أجواء الزمن القادم. وفي المسلسل الهزيل الآخر «مخرج 7»، حيث لا يمكن الهرب للسرديّات التاريخيّة، هناك اعتماد على شعبويات مسطّحة من الأفكار التي تبثّها الجيوش الإلكترونية السعوديّة على تويتر (يمتلكون منه حصّة وازنة). شعبويات تخدم غاية تطبيع المصطلحات والتقاليد والأصوات والموسيقات العبريّة في الأذن العربيّة، مع تشويه صورة الفلسطيني برسمه كمخلوق درجة ثانية مقارنة بالندّ الإسرائيليّ، مستسلم وضعيف ومعتمد على التسوّل للعيش، والآخرين لتحرير بلاده.
على مستوى ثانٍ، فإنّ ماكينة آل سعود في تلفزيون «الشرق الأوسط» تدرك تماماً أنها برسائلها التي ضمّنتها صيغة الخطاب التطبيعي، لن تقع على أسماع كتلة مصمتة متجانسة من الجمهور العربي. فهناك من دون شك الجمهور المحلي الخليجي القطيع ــ مع استثناءات نادرة بالطبع لكن بارزة ــ الذي يستهلك منتجات آل سعود الأيديولوجيّة من دون تفكير. وهذا الجمهور سيبتلع السمّ المدسوس إليه مع أطباق طقوسه الرمضانيّة بلا تساؤلات، لا سيّما جمهور المسلسلات الدراميّة الأهم من النساء المغيّبات في أكثرهن عن أيّ وعي طبقي أو سياسي أو حتى جندري. في المقابل، هناك الجمهور الذي سيقرأ الخطاب في إطار موقفه المعادي لإسرائيل، وسيكثر الصراخ غضباً من خيانة السلالات للقضيّة القوميّة – الدينيّة – الوطنيّة (كما شئت) من دون القدرة على فعل شيء تقريباً. لكنّه مع ذلك سيكون بدوره قد تلقى نوعاً من تدريب صوتيّ خفيّ على الثقافة العبرية قد لا يتوفر له من خلال وسائل إعلامه المحلية. وهو بالمجمل جمهور لا قيمة له في ميزان تلفزيون «الشرق الأوسط». لكنّ الجمهور الأساسي المستهدف من هذه الموجة هو تلك الكتلة الهائلة الهلاميّة الأفكار التي لا هي منخرطة ـــ بمصالحها الطبقيّة المباشرة ـــ بأنظمة السلالات، ولا هي تمتلك ـــ بعد عقود الإفساد والتجهيل والتسطيح المنظّم ــــ أيّ مناعة ثقافيّة أو وعي نقدي للتعامل مع أعمال تكوين أيديولوجي ملغّمة بالرموز الشديدة الخبث كالتي تحملها أمّ هارون. تتضمن هذه الكتلة فئتين أساسيتين: فئة الشباب صغار السنّ ممن ولدوا خلال ربع القرن الماضي وفقدوا أي ذكريات مباشرة عن فلسطين أو نضالات الفلسطينيين، وفئة البرجوازيّة العربيّة (ومتأمّلي البرجزة من أطراف البروليتاريا) الذين لا يمانعون الانتقال إلى أيّ مربّع سياسي ما دام ذلك خدمة لمصالحهم الطبقيّة. الرهان السعودي – الإسرائيلي اليوم هو على كسب هؤلاء إلى ضفتهم، وتبدو أدوات الدراما استثماراً زهيداً لتأسيس وعي مزيّف في أذهانهم تجاه قبول الإسرائيلي وإلغاء الفلسطيني. وعي يتم البناء عليه تراكماً كميّاً بالأدوات الأخرى (أدوات التواصل الاجتماعي، ونتفليكس، وبرامج الـ NGOs وغيرها) إلى أن يتحقق التراكم النوعيّ المنشود.
المستوى الثالث مرتبطٌ بالاقتصاد السياسي لعمليّة إنتاج الأعمال الدرامية وطبيعة الأشخاص المنخرطين فيها. وهنا ينبغي قراءة «أم هارون» وغيرها من التطبيعيين في إطار احتكار السلالات الكليّ ــ آل سعود أساساً وبصفتهم الشخصيّة لا الرسميّة ــ لمنظومة الإنتاج التلفزيونيّ العربي من المحيط إلى الخليج. وتلك ميزة استراتيجيّة تسمح لهم بالانفراد في نحت العقول على ما يوافق متطلبات المرحلة مع غياب شبه كليّ لأيّ سرديّات بديلة. وليست الدراما السوريّة وحدها قادرة على مواجهة هذا الطوق المحكم، لا سيّما أنها غير قادرة مالياً على منافسة الجيوب العميقة لحراس النفط. وهي تبقى في النهاية نتاج برجوازيّة عربيّة أخرى، زبائنها الأهم تلفزيونات آل سعود والخليج ذاتها، بما يفرضه ذلك من ظلال رماديّة شديدة على المحتوى المقدَّم. ولا بدّ هنا من التطرّق إلى طواقم إنتاج مثل هذه الأعمال التي تضم خليطاً واسعاً من التقنيين والموجهين والممثلين ـــ منتجو ثقافة وفق المفهوم الغرامشيّ ـــ الذين بحكم انتماءاتهم الطبقيّة (برجوازيّة أو متبرجزة) يندفعون للمشاركة بكثافة في مثل هذه الأعمال من دون تردّد، سواء عن تبنٍّ لا واعٍ لسرديات السلالات الحاكمة أو اعتصام واعٍ بباب الرزق المفتوح في مقابل الوعد بالفقر على الضفّة الأخرى، أو مزيج تلفيقي منهما.

دراما تصوّر الفلسطيني كمستسلم وضعيف يعتمد على التسوّل للعيش وعلى الآخرين لتحرير بلاده


أما على المستوى الرّابع أي المعاني والإشارات الثقافيّة الرئيسة التي يمكن عبورها من قراءة «أم هارون» وبقيّة التطبيعيين، فمن المؤكّد أن المعركة تتّخذ بشكل متزايد حدوداً أوضح بين الضفتين على نحو لم يعد يسمح بكثير من الرماديّة في المواقف. لن يُقدم حكماء آل سعود على التصريح بالانتقال إلى مستوى التطبيع العلني المتدرّج لولا إحساسهم الأكيد بوجود عميق لروح المقاومة في قلوب كثيرين في المشرق العربي ينبغي استئصالها سعياً لتطبيع دافئ بدلاً من التجربة المصريّة الشديدة البرودة رغم كل شيء. الأمر الثاني حقيقة أن الجماهير العربيّة عبر العالم مكشوفة تماماً أمام صناعة إعلاميّة منسقة غربيّة ــ سلاليّة لا قبل لهم بها، ولا عندها الأدوات النقديّة للتعامل مع ما يُفرض عليها من تغذية إجباريّة، فيما تفتقر البروليتاريا العربيّة وأعداء الهيمنة في المنطقة إلى أدوات إعلام فاعل، أو حتى فهم معمّق للمكوّن الثقافي للحرب الموجهة ضدّهم أو مدى خطورته.
في هذه الأجواء القاتمة، لا يتبقى أمام الأفراد سوى خوض معاركهم الشخصيّة ضد الطلقات الغادرة ــ «أم هارون» وكل «أم هارون» ــ أوّلها إثارة ضجيج شديد حيثما تسنّى ضد المؤسسات والأعمال والأشخاص المنخرطين في هذا الجهد الحربيّ المنظّم على جبهة الثقافة السلاليّة ـــ العبرانيّة، مع تنظيم أوسع أنشطة المقاطعة لهم جميعاً، وتشجيع المحيط المباشر على الالتحاق بها. وثانيها أن نتثقّف بكثافة ونتحاور لبناء أدواتنا النقديّة الذاتية التي تسمح لنا بأخذ المسافات المناسبة من الوجبات المسمومة المفروضة علينا. بغير ذلك، فسيغرقنا الطوفان الصهيونيّ الآتي (متأسلماً كان، أو متهوداً لا فرق).

Leading Saudi Activist Dies in Detention: Amnesty International

Leading Saudi Activist Dies in Detention: Amnesty International

By Staff, Agencies

A leading activist serving an 11-year prison sentence has died in detention in Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International said, highlighting the kingdom’s human rights record.

Abdullah al-Hamid, 69, died after a stroke in his prison cell earlier this month, according to multiple rights groups, including Amnesty International.

“Dr. Hamid was a fearless champion for human rights in Saudi Arabia,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East research director at Amnesty.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends, who for the past eight years had been deprived of his presence as a result of the state’s inhumane repression.”

“He, and all other prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, should never have been in jail in the first place,” Maalouf added.

Hamid was a founding member of the rights group the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association [ACPRA] and was sentenced to prison in March 2013, the rights groups said.

He faced multiple charges, including “breaking allegiance” to the Saudi ruler, “inciting disorder” and seeking to disrupt state security, Amnesty explained.

Other ACPRA members have also been imprisoned in the past, including another co-founder, Mohammad al-Qahtani, who was jailed for 10 years in 2013, Amnesty said.

Saudi Arabia has long faced international criticism over its human rights record. That criticism has grown since Mohammed bin Salman was named crown prince and heir to the Saudi throne in June 2017.

The murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 and the increased repression of dissidents have overshadowed so-called efforts by the prince to modernize the economy and society.

As Saudi Forces Flee Northern Yemen, Evidence of an Unholy Alliance with Al-Qaeda is Left Behind

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

The journey from Sana’a to the far northeastern stretches of al-Jawf through the Empty Quarter is an arduous affair. A veritable no man’s land, the region has long-enjoyed the dubious distinction of hosting strongholds of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a group that evolved and blossomed under the sponsorship of nearby Saudi Arabia. The journey crisscrosses what seems like endless valleys of identical dunes with little more than the blazing sun to provide a semblance of direction.

In perfect weather under the flecks of golden sunshine that mingled with the few clouds in the early morning sky, we set off northeast from the capital Sana’a, passing through the Nihm district, the gateway to al-Jawf. After crossing the Fardhah Nihm checkpoint, dozens of burned-out armored vehicles of American and Canadian origin could be seen on both sides of the road.

Life is gradually returning to the area’s villages and shops and restaurants have opened their doors again.

In January 2020, Yemen’s Houthi-allied army, supported by local tribes, launched a retaliatory military operation to recapture Nihm from Saudi Coalition forces. Nihm lies east of Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a, one of the most strategically important battlefields in Yemen. Two thousand Saudi fighters, including members of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other armed groups under the patronage of the Saudi Monarchy, met their end or were captured in the operation. By March, the Yemeni army had successfully subdued Nihm and advanced all the way to al-Jawf and Marib. Now, for the first time in nearly 55 years, al-Jawf and most of Marib Province is under Yemeni control following decades of de facto rule by Riyadh through its various Yemeni proxies.

In their haste to escape the coming onslaught, Saudi forces left behind a slew of both medium and heavy weapons as well as the ammunition required to make them come to life. Whole stores of weapons, unexploded ordnance, and mines were abandoned, often amidst the tattered flags of Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda and in huge tunnels reminiscent of those left behind in the wake of the wars in Syria and Iraq. It wasn’t just weapons that were left behind, the scent of corpses still lingers in the region’s reefs, valleys and rugged mountains.

The residents of Nihm’s sleepy desert towns are beginning to return to their villages. A wary feeling of safety and relative stability accompanies the slow trickle of life as it returns, interrupted by everpresent reminders that the war is far from over, reminders that come in the form of the wild dogs feeding on abandoned corpses, Saudi warplanes that make the occasional visit, and most acutely, a significant number of unexploded ordnances, the remnants of cluster bombs and other munitions still embedded in the ground. Those, according to Adel, a grocery store owner in the roadside village of Khalgah in Nihm, pose the most immediate danger.

Yemen Jawf

Nihm, like most cities in Yemen, has been hit by a barrage of indiscriminate airstrikes, over 250,000 since 2015 when the war began. According to the Yemeni Army, 70 percent of those airstrikes have hit civilian targets. Thousands of tons of weapons, most often supplied by the United States, have been dropped on hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, farms, factories, bridges, and power and water treatment plants and have left unexploded ordnances scattered across densely populated areas.

A kidnapping in al-Hazm

After a six-hour drive beneath the watchful eye of the Coalition warplanes that seemed to be constantly buzzing overhead, we were met with horrific scenes in al-Hazm. A simple desert city notorious for its connections to Al-Qaeda, al-Hazm is one of the largest cities in al-Jawf and was home to some of the fiercest fighting in the battle to route Coalition ground fighters. The effects of airstrikes in the city appeared everywhere; digging into the asphalt roads, destroying homes, schools and government complexes. Smoke was still lingering from an airstrike that hit less than a kilometer away from us as we arrived.

It was in al-Hazm that a broken-hearted mother told us of how she allowed herself a renewed sense of hope that the defeat of the Coalition would lead to information about her loved ones. “Two years have passed since they kidnapped my daughter,” she told MintPress, a black niqab covering her face and tears flowing as she recounted one of the worst crimes carried out by the Saudi coalition in al-Jawf. In a case that managed to gain local notoriety for its sheer brutality, her daughter, Samirah Hezam Maharesh, a mother of three young girls, was kidnapped from her home in al-Hazam on July 5, 2018, by armed militants loyal to Saudi Arabia.

Yemen al-Qaeda Jawf

First, Samirah was taken to a secret prison in the provincial capital and then transferred to another prison. Her whereabouts are still unknown and the only tidbits of hope come from unconfirmed local news stories and occasional rumors.

The kidnapping of Samirah crossed a red line in Yemen’s conservative society, which is heavily steeped in tribal tradition, and sparked dozens of demonstrations throughout the country’s northern provinces. In addition to other atrocities carried out by AQAP, the kidnapping ultimately helped push local residents to risk it all and join the resistance led by the Houthis against the Saudi Coalition and its militant allies.

Residents told us that Samirah was just one of the hundreds of Yemenis who were snatched from their homes or cars at checkpoints in al-Jawf and Marib. During their reign in al-Jawf, Saudi-backed militants, including al-Qaeda, committed horrendous abuses against those it saw as an obstacle to their occupation.

An unholy union

Since 2015, when Saudi Arabia announced from Washington D.C. that it had launched a military campaign against the poorest country in the Middle East, it has been an open secret that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had formed an unholy union with al-Qaeda’s branch in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, known colloquially as AQAP, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

In al-Jawf, the relationship between Saudi Arabia and AQAP was well underway by 2016 when the Kingdom launched a military campaign to take the province. Saudi and AQAP forces fought side by side, sharing the same weapons, trenches, operations command centers, resting places, and extremist ideals. The only thing they didn’t share was a desire to destroy the United States, a trait exclusive to al-Qaeda according to documents left behind by fallen fighters and the confessions of Saudi soldiers captured in the battle for al-Jawf.

Saudi Arabia ISIS in Yemen

AQAP has hobbled by in Yemen for years, feeding off the relentless cycle of poverty and hunger and only occasionally emerging from the shadows to claim credit for an attack or seek new recruits. It was not until 2015 when the group began to receive support from Saudi Arabia that it become brazen enough to emerge from its hiding places into the streets of al-Jawf’s towns. Generous Saudi backing meant that AQAP could boost recruitment, build new training camps and promote the organization’s ideology, an offshoot of the official Saudi state religion of Wahhabism. By early 2020, AQAP had a sizable real estate portfolio in al-Jawf and Marib and ran most of the provinces’ large businesses. Sprawling villages in al-Jawf, the second largest governorate in Yemen, turned into strongholds of the organization after residents were forced to flee to other areas. AQAP turned some of the abandoned homes into factories used to manufacture explosive belts, IEDs and car bombs. Others were used to  stock weapons, train fighters and prepare for their “global Jihad.”

The secret prison’s of Khazaf and al-Marwan

Finally, we reached two of al-Qaeda’s main strongholds in the far northeastern Khab and al-Shaf districts, near the edge of the expansive Rub’ al Khali Desert (the Empty Quarter). The villages of Khazaf and al-Marwan are little more than dried up oases scattered in the remote desert like the remains of some ancient colony. It was here that humble houses made from dried mud bricks were turned into factories, secret prisons, and centers for the dissemination of extremist Wahhabi propaganda.

Villagers here described bottle dungeons dug into the dirt floors of local houses. Accessible only via small overhead hatches, they were used by militants to keep prisoners, including captured female slaves, as well as dead bodies. Deep below two houses, we were shown complex tunnels systems ostensibly used to hold and torture prisoners. The stench of human death lingered in the dark tunnels mingling with the smell of dust and concrete. The tunnels were also used as corridors to move weapons and supplies from house to house undetected.

Inside one home that turned it into a makeshift AQAP prison, we saw four three-square-meter windowless cells with heavy steel doors. As we made our way from cell to cell, I was struck by the sight of a pile of woman’s clothing, a prayer outfit, and a baby’s diapers, all piled into a morbid testament of the crimes committed here. I also found a note, a scrap of paper with the following scribbled onto it: ” I am Um Assamah, Why did you imprison me and my three daughters?” Samira is rumored to have been held in these same cells.

Residents who participated in the fight against the Saudi-backed militants told us that the place was a women’s prison that “from outside it looked like simple houses but when we entered, we found cells, tunnels, and implements of torture,” a 60-year-old man with a white beard recounted, barely holding back his tears and gripping the rifle slung over his shoulder. In Yemen, a woman’s incarceration is considered a great disgrace.

Other homes in Khazaf were used to make booby traps and explosives. In a small meeting room adorned with AQAP flags, 12 bags of high-explosive TNT lay piled against a wall. A hundred meters away, another home was turned into a makeshift workshop to produce vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. In the yard, a 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser lay abandoned, laden with a barrel of TNT in its last stages of preparation. The truck was most likely intended to be used against large gatherings according to local resistance fighters.

An attempt to coverup war crimes

There is little doubt that untold war crimes occurred in the forgotten desert villages and in a brazen effort to conceal their involvement, Saudi warplanes hit them hard last week. Khazaf and al-Marwan were pounded by barrages of Coalition airstrikes, it appears, however, that their hail mary may have come too late. Video filmed by local fighters and shared MintPress as well as with Houthi media document many of the crimes that took place as well as the forces behind them.

Local fighters told us that they weren’t even aware of the existence of some of the bunkers, laboratories and tunnels until after they were exposed beneath the rubble of the Saudi airstrikes which targeted specific homes.

Now, in a last-ditch effort to revive what’s left of their AQAP allies in al-Jawf, Saudi Arabia has renewed its battlefield campaign in the province of al-Bayda after over a year of relative quiet there. Al-Bayda lies close to Marib, where some of the most extremist militants allied with the Coalition reside. Backed by Saudi warplanes, AQAP carried out two operations in Nate’a and Qaniyah on Wednesday, lasting over 10 hours according to the Yemeni army.

“ISIS Has Nothing Over Saudi Arabia”: Kingdom Reaches 800 Beheadings Under Salman

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden

by Tyler Durden

Thu, 04/23/2020 – 22:45

Another grim milestone was reached this week, but not on the COVID-19 front. Human rights monitors have recorded that Saudi Arabia has carried out its 800th execution since King Salman bin Abdulaziz (and by extension MbS) began his rule five years ago — most being in the form of the kingdom’s ‘favored’ beheadings.

The British nonprofit Reprieve said the kingdom’s rate of execution in Saudi Arabia has doubled since 2015 when King Salman took over following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah. Of course, as Salman’s health was reportedly increasingly fragile from the start of his rule, it’s widely believed crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has remained the true power and day-to-day decision maker.

King Salman attending a 2016 ‘sword dance’ ceremony, via Saudi Gazette.

MbS was widely hailed as a ‘reformer’ – among other things promising to greatly reduce the number of annual executions, which include the ghastly methods of beheading and crucifixion. But this is nowhere near the reality.

So much for empty talk of ‘reform’, ‘modernization’ and ‘progress’ – as Middle East Eye reports of Reprieve’s findings:

By comparison, Saudi authorities executed 423 people between 2009 and 2014.

Currently, there are at least 13 juvenile defendants on death row – including Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher – who are “at imminent risk of execution”, Reprieve and the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights said.

Saudi Arabia executed six young men last year who were children at the time of their alleged offences, in a mass execution of 37 people. 

Riyadh’s concerns no doubt now lie far elsewhere regarding the prior MbS rhetoric of reform, given the kingdom is now scrambling to bring oil prices back up after the historic global price crash this week. 

Reform vs. Reality — public beheadings as a form of political suppression: 

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Apparently ‘Chop Chop Square’ was busy as usual even amid the more pressing crisis of the accelerating oil glut. As of only last week, Amnesty International recorded 789 executions under the king, which only days later grew to 800.

As one Newsweek headline years ago aptly observed“when it comes to beheadings, ISIS has nothing over Saudi Arabia.”

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