Further Betrayal of Palestinians

By The Muslim News

Global Research, October 07, 2020

The Muslim News 25 September 2020

The old idiom says, “possession is nine-tenths of the law”, but in the case of the dispossessed Palestinians, occupation represents one hundred per cent of the law after their land was usurped due to Israel’s creation some 82 years ago. Other Arab territories have been annexed in a succession of wars that followed too.

Justice is further away than ever with the UAE and Bahrain formally becoming the latest Arab countries to sell out their Palestinian brethren by normalising relations with Israel, despite Israel’s continued illegal military occupation of Palestinian land and the expansions of illegal settlements and destruction of Palestinian homes.

Both Arab dictators proceeded to formally sign agreements to normalise relations with Israel at a ceremony hosted by President, Donald Trump, the most pro-Israel US leader since Harry Truman who presided over the recognition of Israel in 1948.

Trump has torn up so many international conventions and norms by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, despite its special status, as well as handing over Syria’s Golan Heights that have been illegally occupied by Israel for over half a century.

Trump’s “No-Peace/Peace Plan” for Palestine. Netanyahu/Gantz Invited to White House to Discuss “Deal of the Century”

The move by the UAE and Bahrain to the Israeli camp is also a shift to realign the Middle East against Iran, described by Benjamin Netanyahu as Tel Aviv’s biggest enemy. Tehran was one of just a few countries to publicly condemn the normalisation of relations, describing it as “shameful” and a “humiliating act.”

Trump has tried to turn the rest of the world against Iran by trying to destroy the landmark nuclear deal by unilaterally withdrawing. According to Middle East Eye Editor, David Hearst, the new alliance in the Middle East could also be targeted against Turkey’s influence in the region.

The deal was brokered by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner and former British PM, Tony Blair, who called the deal “a massive and welcome opportunity to recast the politics of the region.”

The former envoy to the Middle East Quartet has spent much of his forced retirement time trying to encourage Arab countries to build cooperation with Israel based on a “shared outlook.”

He is credited with turning the accepted formula of “peace with the Palestinians before normalisation” on its head by effectively relegating their legitimate aspirations for a viable state to the back of the queue.

Perplexingly, apart from dangling the prospects of more US military sales, the UAE is reported to have received a pledge from Netanyahu that Israel will temporarily suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, not to carry out the usurpation of territories already illegally seized for decades.

The new alliances are a further trampling of Palestinian rights by Israel’s incessant illicit encroachments. The theft of their land is a legacy of British colonialism and placing a special responsibility on the UK to put right before might.

The latest Arab alliance, which some suspect comes ahead of Saudi Arabia following suit, is a sad day, not just a more betrayal and as such sets a precedent that there is little sense of justice left in the world.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.The original source of this article is The Muslim NewsCopyright © The Muslim NewsThe Muslim News, 2020

Russian options in the Karabakh conflict

Russian options in the Karabakh conflict

September 30, 2020

With the eyes of most people locked on the debate between Trump and Biden, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) has received relatively little attention in the West.  Yet, this is a potentially very dangerous situation.  Just think about this: the Armenians are accusing the Turks of shooting down an Armenian Su-25 over Armenia (not NK!).  If that is true, then some would say that this is huge news because this would mean that a NATO member state has committed an act of aggression against the member of the CSTO.

Does that mean that war between two biggest military alliances on the planet is inevitable?

Hardly.

In fact, it seems to me that neither the CSTO nor NATO have much enthusiasm for getting involved.

Let’s take a step back and mention a few basic things.

Check out the huge US Embassy compound in
Erevan and ask yourself:
what are all these guys doing all day long?

One would have imagined that Russia would immediately side with the Christian Armenia against the Muslim Azeris, but this time around there is some evidence that Russians have (finally!) learned some painful lessons from history, especially about Russia’s putatively “Orthodox” putative “brothers”.  The sad truth is that, not unlike Belarus under Lukashenko, Armenia has, since at least 2018 been following the same type of “multi-vector” political course as Belarus.  I would sum up this policy like this: “holding an anti-Russian political course while demanding the support of Russia”.  The Russians did not like this any more in Armenia than they did in Belarus.  But the big difference is this: while Russia cannot afford to “lose” Belarus, she has no real need of Armenia at all, especially an Armenia hostile to Russia.

That is not to say that Russian ought to back Azerbaijan.  Why?  Well, this has nothing to do with language or religion and everything to do with the fact that modern Azerbaijan is a political protégé of Erdogan’s Turkey, which is truly one of the most dangerous countries and political regimes out there, which Russia ought to deal with with the caution of a snake-handler dealing with a particularly nasty and unpredictable pit viper.  Yes, Russia has to engage with both Turkey and Azerbaijan, if only because these two are powerful countries (at least in a regional sense) and because they are almost always up to no good, especially Turkey.

Then there is the issue of the US role in all this.  We can be pretty sure that the US is talking to both sides telling them that as long as they maintain an anti-Russian course they will get the support of Uncle Shmuel.  There are two problems with this:

  • Both sides know that the US is talking to both sides
  • When push comes to shove, the support of the USA really matters very little

I would even argue that any major escalation of the conflict will prove to both parties that the US is long on promises and short on actually delivering on them.  In sharp contrast, Turkey does deliver.  Yes, recklessly and, yes, in violation of international law, but still – Turkey does deliver and they are not shy about confirming this.

Just like in the case of Belarus or the Ukraine, Russia could stop this conflict, especially if the Kremlin decides to use military force, but this would be terrible in political terms and I am confident that Russia will not intervene overtly.  For one thing, this war is a clear case of a zero-sum game in which a negotiated compromise is almost impossible to achieve.

Furthermore, both sides appear to be determined to flight this one to the end, so why should Russia intervene?

Seems to be that remaining a neutral intermediary is the best and only thing Russia ought to do for the time being.  Once the dust settles and once either side fully realizes that Uncle Shmuel is more about words than action, then maybe Russia can, once again, try to offer a regional solution, possibly involving Iran and excluding the USA for sure.  But that can only happen later.

Right now both sides have painted themselves into a corner and both sides seem to be equally committed to a total military victory.

Conclusion: in this conflict, Russia has no allies and no friends.   Right now the Azeris seem to be winning, but if Armenia engages its Iskander missiles or recognizes the independence of NK (both of which the Armenians are now threatening to do), this will get ugly and a Turkish intervention will become possible.  Let’s see how (and even if) the USA will do something to help Erevan.  If not, it will be interesting to see what will happen once the Armenians re-discover a well-known historical truth: Armenia cannot survive without Russia.  And even if the Armenians come to this conclusion, I still would recommend that Russia be very careful in placing her weight behind either side of the conflict (especially since the Azeris have international law on their side).

In other words, I recommend that Russia act only and exclusively in her own geostrategic interest and let the entire region discover how much help Uncle Shmuel can really deliver.  Specifically, I submit that it is in Russia’s national security interest to make sure that:

  1. Turkey remains as weak as possible for as long as possible
  2. The USA remains as weak as possible in the entire region

Right now the Pax Americana is as bad in the Caucasus as it is in the Middle-East.  This is good for Russia and she ought to do nothing which would help Uncle Shmuel.  Only once the US is out of the picture, including in Armenia, should Russia offer aid and support to a peace settlement between the two belligerents.

The Saker

Related

لبنان والمنطقة والعالم وفرضيّة الفراغ الرئاسيّ الأميركيّ!

ناصر قنديل

في ظل خطاب سياسي متشنّج طائفياً ومتموضع على خطوط التماس الإقليمية والدولية، يدخل لبنان مرحلة الانتظار من دون حكومة، وتبقى المبادرة الفرنسية على الطاولة محاولة البحث عن اوكسجين تدرك أن حجبه عنها كان من صمامات واشنطن، وأن إعادة ضخّه تتم من هناك، لأن نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين الذي تناغم مع العقوبات الأميركية ورمى المبادرة الفرنسية بحجر المداورة، لن يتراجع من دون إشارة أميركية معاكسة لا تبدو في الأفق، في ظل استقطاب أميركي أوروبي متصاعد حول الموقف من العقوبات الأممية على إيران، والتهديد الأميركي المعلن لكل من لا يلتزم بالعقوبات، بالتعرّض للعقوبات، مقابل قلق أوروبي عام وفرنسي خاص من تعميم الفوضى بغياب أرضية سياسية صلبة للتعامل مع تحديات المتوسط، في ظل لامبالاة أميركية بالمخاطر التي تهدّد مصالح أوروبا وأمنها، بنتيجة الفراغ الاستراتيجي، الناتج عن اللاحرب واللاسلم، ومواصلة التصعيد السياسي.

لا شيء يقول إن هناك آفاقاً قريبة لتغير الصورة، والكثير من المراقبين في المنطقة وأوروبا يدعون للتأقلم مع مواصلة الفراغ رغم مخاطره المتسارعة، لأن لا شيء سيتغيّر قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، ويتركز البحث في باريس وبيروت، وسواهما من العواصم على كيفية إدارة تخفض الخسائر في مرحلة الانتظار لشهرين على الأقل، حيث يتحدّث الكثيرون عن أرجحية تفاهم أميركي إيراني يوفر مناخاً جديداً في المنطقة، يشكل مظلة تسويات متعددة الاتجاهات، أهمها فرص انتعاش جديدة للمبادرة الفرنسيّة بنسخة متجدّدة، ويعتقد هؤلاء أنه مهما كانت نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، فإن الفائز أمامه خيار حتميّ هو الذهاب للتفاهم مع إيران، لأن التصعيد التفاوضيّ لا أفق أمامه في تغيير موقف إيران ولا إضعاف مصادر قوتها، ولأن التوظيف الانتخابيّ للخطاب التصعيدي سيكون قد انتهى، لكن هذا التحليل الافتراضي رغم سيطرته على التقديرات المتداولة لا يأخذ بالاعتبار عاملين كبيرين، يمثلهما مستجدان لم يحضرا إلى المشهد عبثاً، هما من جهة التطور النوعي في العلاقات الصينية الأميركية الذي بلغ وزير الخارجية الأميركية بوصفه بالتحول الاستراتيجي الخطير، ومن جهة مقابلة التطبيع الخليجي «الإسرائيلي» الذي وصفته كل مستويات القيادة في إيران، بالتحول الاستراتيجي الخطير.

بعض التحليلات الواردة من واشنطن، والمعزّزة بتقارير ومعلومات موثوقة تقول إن الاستحقاق الرئاسي الأميركي المقبل، لن يمر بيُسر وسلاسة، وإن الانقسام الاجتماعي والعرقي الذي يشق صفوف المجتمع الأميركي، يخيم بظلاله على الاستحقاق الرئاسي، المحاط بمزاج عنصري أبيض يقف خلف الرئيس دونالد ترامب، وبالمقابل فقدان الحزب الديمقراطي دعم الطبقة الوسطى البيضاء، وربما تحوّله إلى حزب للأميركيين السود، في ظل ميليشيات بيضاء مسلحة تهدّد بالحرب الأهلية وتمرّد ولايات في حال فشل ترامب، يقابلها تسلح ميليشيات من السود يدعمها الديمقراطيون تهدّد بالمثل في حال فوزه، وفي ظل بطالة تتحوّل الى جائحة تطال أربعين مليون أميركي يتحولون إلى وقود لهذه الميليشيات، وصعوبة إنجاز انتخابات مجمع عليها في ظل التعقيدات التي يفرضها وباء كورونا، بحيث يتوقع أن تفوق الطعون قدرة أي محاكم محلية وصولاً للمحكمة الدستورية العليا، التي تواجه تحديات نقص في قوامها ومحاولات من ترامب للسيطرة عليها، لكن مع فرضية تتقدم عنوانها الفراغ الرئاسي، أي أن تنتهي الانتخابات ويعلن كل فريق مرشحه فائزاً، ومرور موعد نهاية الولاية الأولى لترامب من دون أن تكون النتيجة الحاسمة القابلة لتحقيق الإجماع قد ظهرت، في ظل تمهيد إعلامي لاستدراج المؤسسة العسكرية إلى الساحة السياسية لملء الفراغ المفترض.

من وحي هذه المقدّمات هناك من يدعو للتأقلم مع هذا الفراغ المتوقع لفترة تتجاوز موعد الاستحقاق الرئاسي، ولعدم التيقن بأن الوضع الدولي لا يزال قادراً على تشكيل مظلة للحروب او لمنعها، وللتسويات أو إعاقتها، ومضمون الفرضية يستدعي عدم هدر الوقت بانتظار لا سقف له، سيتدهور وضع بلدان كثيرة خلاله نحو المزيد من الأزمات المالية والسياسية والأمنية، ولبنان في طليعتها.

Sayyed Nasrallah to Tackle Latest Developments on Tuesday Evening

Sayyed Nasrallah to Tackle Latest Developments on Tuesday Evening

By Staff

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will deliver a speech on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 20:30 Beirut time.

The speech will tackle latest developments in Lebanon and the region.

English coverage of Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech will be available at:

Al-Ahed website: www.english.alahednews.com.lb

Al-Ahed Twitter account: @Eng_AhedNews

Al-Ahed Telegram Channel: https://t.me/Eng_ahed

Yemeni Houthis Vow To Fight Israeli Plots As Netanyahu Signs Historic Deal With UAE, Bahrain

Yemeni Houthis Vow To Fight Israeli Plots As Netanyahu Signs Historic Deal  With UAE, Bahrain
Video

The Ansar Allah movement (also known as the Houthis) continues pounding Saudi Arabia with drones and missiles.

Late on September 17, the Yemeni Air Force loyal to the Houthi government struck Abha International Airport in the Saudi province of Asir with Samad 3 combat drones, which can be used as loitering munitions. The Houthis claimed that the strike hit a military section of the airport causing material damage and casualties among Saudi forces.

The military infrastructure in the Abha airport area and southern Saudi Arabia itself has regularly become a target of Houthi missile and drone strikes. Just during the past month, Abha International Airport was targeted by at least 4 drone and missile strikes. The Saudi capital of Riyadh and oil infrastructure in the central part of the Kingdom are also not out of danger. The Houthis demonstrated this several times during the past few years. The most recent strike on Riyadh took place just a few days ago.

The September 17 attack, together with regular strikes on other targets inside the Kingdom, showed that efforts of the Saudi Air Force to destroy missile stockpiles and launching sites in Yemen did not lead to any notable impact.

Saudi proxies fighting the Houthis on the ground are also in a state of retreat. During the past few days, they lost even more positions south of the Marib provincial capital retreating from Najd al-Majmaa, Habisah, Ajam al-Sud and al-Atf.

The Maas Camp west of Marib city still remains in the hands of Saudi-backed forces. However, this stronghold is the last obstacle for the advancing Houthi forces in this part of the province. If the defense of pro-Saudi forces continues to crumble, the Maas Camp will be fully isolated and captured.

In the southern part of Marib province, Houthis and their local allies captured the area of Rahum. Here, the mid-term target of the Houthi advance is the town of Hurayb, located on the administrative border between the provinces of Marib and Shabwah.

It is interesting to note that the Houthi leadership recently declared that it stands against the US-promoted normalization with Israel and reaffirmed its support to Palestine. Abdul-Malik al-Houthi even stated that actions of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain contribute to Israeli plots against Muslim countries. He claimed that Yemen has become the target of the Saudi-led intervention due to Yemen’s alleged resistance to the Israeli agenda in the region.

On September 15, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially signed historic peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in Washington. The development is a major foreign policy victory for the administration of US President Donald Trump and its Israeli allies. The event was attended by Trump himself who noted that the courage of the Israeli and Arab leaders enabled these countries “to take a major stride toward a future where people of all faiths live together in peace and prosperity.”

On the other hand, the US State Department has already declared that the UAE and Israel could forge an alliance against Iran. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, key US regional allies, will likely become a part of this effort. Therefore, the announced ‘peace and prosperity’ plan apparently includes a further strengthening of the pressure on Iran and even increases of chances of a potential military action against the republic.

The ongoing normalization campaign also triggered a new escalation in the Gaza Strip, including the exchange of strikes between Palestinian armed groups and Israel, as well as political instability in Bahrain. The population of Bahrain appears to be unhappy with the decision of the country’s leadership.

The modern Middle East could easily be compared with a powder keg that is ready to explode at any moment.

U.S. sanctions bring Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran together: Russian academic

September 18, 2020 – 23:18

By Mohammad Mazhari

TEHRAN – An associate professor in the Department of Comparative Politics at Russia’s RUDN University believes that the United States’ sanctions are one of the factors that bring Iran, Russia, and China together.

Russia, China, and Iran are expanding economic and political ties as a result of U.S. pressure policy, Vladimir Ivanov tells the Tehran Times.
“One of the forces that bring these countries together is U.S. sanctions pressure, which affects Iran, Russia, and China,” the Russian academic says.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: Some analysts and politicians argue that Russia, China, and Iran are forming an alliance against Washington’s bullying, sanctions pressure, and use of the dollar as a weapon. They cite the Iran-China-Russia joint naval exercise in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman in December 2019 as the signs of such an alliance. What is your comment?

A: Today, many experts see Russia, Iran, and China’s military exercises as a “Maritime security Belt” in the Northern Indian Ocean and the Arabian sea as the end of American hegemony in the Persian Gulf.
Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran have begun to outline a possible security system in the most important part of the world’s oceans. Contrary the U.S. is trying to promote a naval coalition’s idea to “protect” shipping in the region. So, Washington announced the formation of the International Maritime security coalition (IMSC) under its auspices.  Also, Washington began to realize that Tehran is not isolated and will not be left alone, that the Iranians have serious partners who are ready to support them in the region.
But will this initiative lead to the emergence of a military-political Alliance “Russia-Iran-China” is premature, but we record a noticeable change in the Middle East (West Asia) and Southeast Asia’s power balance.

Q: Economic and scientific ties between Iran and Russia are not commensurate to their political ties. This is despite the fact that the two countries are immediate neighbors with rather large populations and great untapped potential. What are the impediments?

A: Russia, China, and Iran are expanding economic and political ties. One of the forces that bring these countries together is U.S. sanctions pressure, which affects Iran, Russia, and China. These countries already do not use U.S. dollars in mutual trade, but their national currencies. And they create special mechanisms to circumvent U.S. sanctions. In addition, Iran is preparing new agreements on long-term cooperation with China and Russia. The Iran-Russia cooperation agreement expires in March, so the newly updated treaty is likely to develop a long-term comprehensive strategic agreement.
At the same time, Iran continues negotiations with China on a 25-year partnership, which many Iranian officials called a “turning point” in relations between Tehran and Beijing.

Q: What is your analysis of the course of action that the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has taken?  What steps are needed to make the EAEU effective like other economic blocs such as ASEAN?
The recent establishment of a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Indonesia is a decisive step towards creating a full-fledged trade zone with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Recently the volume of mutual trade between the EAEU and the ASEAN is not high enough. Integration associations need to expand trade, economic, and investment cooperation, including the development of the initiative of the large Eurasian economic partnership.

In October 2019, the agreement on trade and economic cooperation of the Eurasian Economic Union with China came into force. Although this agreement is “only” a framework agreement, it creates a platform where representatives of the EAEU member states and China can discuss existing barriers to mutual trade and ways to overcome them. The next step could be the creation of a free trade zone between the EAEU and China. But this is not a short-term prospect.

Q:  Is it technically and geographically possible that China also joins the club like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes countries from  Europe and Asia? 

A: In October 2019, the agreement on trade and economic cooperation of the Eurasian Economic Union with China came into force. Although this agreement is “only” a framework agreement, it creates a platform where representatives of the EAEU member states and China can discuss existing barriers to mutual trade and ways to overcome them. The next step could be the creation of a free trade zone between the EAEU and China. But this is not a short-term prospect.

Q: The U.S. intelligence agencies have claimed that Russia, China, and Iran are seeking to influence the result of the November elections in America. Please give your answer?

A: This is mostly a conspiracy theory that is popular in the U.S. But all these media and political commotions are supported only by public speculation about hacker attacks.

Q: Please give your view of the U.S. failure at the UN Security Council to extend an arms embargo against Iran.

A: Even though Washington has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, it still uses its mechanisms. However, at the UN, no one except the Dominican Republic supported the U.S.-proposed extension of the arms embargo against Iran. In any case, the whole issue of the Iranian arms embargo still looks rather symbolic. Tehran could already acquire some types of weapons — such as air defense systems.

RELATED NEWS

WHAT DOES FRANCE WANT FROM LEBANON AND HEZBOLLAH, AND WILL IT ACHIEVE ITS GOALS? 3/3

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

Written by Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

From Lebanon, French President Emmanuel Macron has transmitted messages in multiple directions. It is clear that America did not object to his attempt to intervene directly. Lebanon is a very complex country and that France does not have the necessary base to bring about the changes it desires. But France wants to regain a strong foothold in the Land of the Cedars, starting from the Port and ending with oil, gas, electricity and infrastructure agreements to build a robust popular base, if it succeeds in its endeavour.

However, there is another reason for the presence of France in the Middle East, from which it has been absent for a long time, and that is the Turkish presence that is building for itself fixed positions in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. After the Port blew up on the 4th of August, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay arrived in Lebanon at the head of a delegation that also included Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, expressing to President Michel Aoun “Turkey’s readiness to build the port and the adjacent buildings.” 

Turkey did not stop at this point, but announced its willingness to grant “Turkish citizenship to anyone who declares that they are Turkish or Turkmen and who wishes to become a citizen.” This has huge implications, because the presence of Turkish citizens in a nearby Middle Eastern country offers the leadership in Ankara an excuse to intervene directly to “protect its citizens” whenever it thinks fit. The Turkish expansion in Libya, Iraq, Cyprus and Syria clearly doesn’t stop President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who visited the Turkmen Lebanese community in the northern Lebanese town of Kawasha, Akkar, in 2020 – from putting his arms out towards Lebanon.

The foothold of Turkey appeared in North Lebanon through assistance provided by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) in the northern regions of Denniyeh, Tripoli and Akkar. Remarkable activity by Turkish associations has been recorded in other Lebanese locations, particularly in Ketermaya, Burj Al-Barajneh camp, Debbieh, and other Palestinian camps.

It has been the practice for the states behind the relief agencies and non-governmental agencies (NGO) to pave the way for building an incubator environment for those who fund these agencies. Lebanon has been open to foreign “interference” and, for decades, had embraced multiple foreign countries’ intervention in its domestic affairs, especially after the retreat of Syria (in 2005), which had had a major influential role in Lebanon. Following the harbour explosion this August 2020, several hundred NGOs officially registered to be able to receive the $290 million world donation to (apparently) distribute the moneys to the most damaged areas of Beirut.

Turkey has an interest in investing its companies in Lebanon to explore for gas and oil, and sees Lebanon as fertile ground with opportunities for establishing itself more robustly in the country. The existing and potential allies of Turkey in Lebanon are more than ready to adopt the Turkish line after the decline of Saudi Arabia’s influence in this country in particular and in the Middle East in general. Moreover, the decline of the popularity of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri who used to enjoy the support of the majority of the Sunni, and the sharp differences in the Lebanese Sunni arena that is divided into multiple sections under a multiplicity of leaders from different backgrounds is offering a perfect environment for Turkey. There are strong signs and visual indications that the former Minister of Justice Ashraf Rifi has switched loyalty…

The French President’s visit caused a storm in a teacup. The Lebanese political class are still strong notwithstanding the dismal failure to rebuild the country for many decades, and, when accused of corruption, they seek shelter behind their sects. However, a vacuum has been created between these politicians and the people, who have begun to slowly wake up slowly. What President Macron is proposing to do represents only temporary steps to compensate for the current US void. But France is far from succeeding to cover even a small part of the $81 billion deficit. All that President Macron was able to collect was an amount of less than $300 million dollars, insufficient to repair even part of what was destroyed by the Beirut Port explosion. Hence, if we include this financial shortfall and the US role after November 3d election, it is very unlikely that Paris will achieve its desired goals in Lebanon.

Proofread by:   Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

 

9/11 ended the American dream, says Lebanon’s Talal Atrissi

By Mohammad Mazhari

September 12, 2020 – 18:21

TEHRAN- Head of the Center for Political Studies at the University of Lebanon says the American dream promoted by its cinema has come to an end and “we are facing a country that hires soldiers to fight, occupy and kill.” 

 In an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times, Dr. Talal Atrissi says that the American dream has become an “ugly image” for the nations around the globe.
“There is no longer what we call the American dream,” adds Atrissi.
Following is the text of the interview: 

 Q: Who are the main beneficiaries of the September 11 attacks?

A: The September 11 attacks helped neoconservatives in the U.S. advance their project of changing the Middle East (West Asia) under the pretext of “war against terror.” 

After 9/11, Washington was involved in regional wars, and its policy turned into a direct military offensive policy.

 It occupied Afghanistan and then occupied Iraq, and demanded Syria close Palestinian organizations’ offices, and encouraged Israel to launch the 2006 war on Lebanon. 

So, after the September 11 attacks, American foreign policy turned into a direct occupation policy in order to implement the vision and project of the neoconservatives in the world.

Q: What are the repercussions of the wars that the U.S. launched against Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11?

A: The wars launched by the United States on Afghanistan and Iraq showed the fact that the United States has become a direct occupying power in the region.

 In Afghanistan, the U.S. becomes a neighbor to Iran and Russia, and other countries in Asia.

 In Iraq, it became close to Iran and Syria, with a large military force that could threaten the countries that disagreed with its policies or oppose American hegemony.

As a result, the United States faced violent resistance, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, as far as U.S. presidents from Obama to Trump have admitted that the country has paid thousands of billions of dollars and human losses due to these wars.

That is why Obama decided to withdraw from Iraq, and Trump came to say that he does not want to wage new wars in the region. As a result of these wars, the United States of America is declining and losing its influence in the region.

The resistance has become stronger and more experienced, and the idea of resistance has been welcomed and has spread, whether in Iraq, Lebanon, or even Afghanistan.

So, the occupation brought complete havoc for the United States besides failure for neoconservatives in their projects.

Q: Why have the Americans embraced negotiations with the Taliban, whom they called terrorist, after two decades of war?

A: The U.S. negotiations with the Taliban reveal that Washington does not make a deal according to principles, but rather uses slogans and then outweighs its interests.

 During the war against the Soviet army in Afghanistan, America and its media used to call the fighting groups, including the Taliban, “Mujahideen,” and not terrorists.

After the Soviet army left Afghanistan, and these groups started to fight the U.S., these groups were classified as “terrorists.”

So, the United States of America is negotiating today with the Taliban because it really failed in Afghanistan. This means the admission of failure in Afghanistan after paying huge losses. 

 For this reason, the U.S. wants to withdraw the largest number of its forces from there and negotiate with the Taliban about its participation in the government of Afghanistan.

But Al-Qaeda organization is originally an American-backed entity that was exploited in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, and when its date expired, Trump accuses Clinton and Obama of being involved in the manufacturing of al-Qaeda.

This is why all America’s claims about terrorism are uncovered and unacceptable, and it has become known that the United States allied with al-Qaeda in more than one place in West Asia. 

“All evidence indicates that Saudi authorities indirectly were involved in the 9/11 attacks.”

Q: What happened to the American dream after 9/11?

A: The American dream is over, and the United States no longer can present itself as a globally attractive destination.

After September 11, using force, oppression, occupation, torture, and prisoning of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan has become the United States’ predominant face.

The mutual accusations between the American presidents showed the true face of America. 

Even the American lifestyle is no longer the one that anyone in the world dreams of having, and therefore there is no longer what we call the American dream. 

The American dream was ruined, in a cracked structure, which was no longer coherent. The American dream created by cinema has ended, and we are facing a country that hires soldiers to fight, occupy, and kill, and does not respect human rights.

 From that time until now, we can say that the American dream has become an ugly image for the world’s nations.

Q: Why doesn’t the U.S. sue Saudi Arabia for the 9/11 attacks? 

A: The U.S. doesn’t want to sever its relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while it has become clear that most of those who carried out the September 11 attacks were Saudis.

 Although there were discussions and calls to cut ties with Saudi Arabia or impose sanctions on it, the matter met American silence because the relationship with Saudi Arabia is profitable for Washington.

The Saudi Kingdom is the largest buyer of weapons, and it is an ally of the United States in the face of Iran; and therefore, the United States is silent about such an operation and does not directly accuse the Saudis.

 All evidence indicates that Saudi authorities indirectly were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but the Trump administration tries not to ruin the ties.

 So, the issue of terrorism is an optional issue to Washington.  The U.S. president is who chooses when to fight terrorism or fight the countries accused of being behind terrorism. 

That’s why the United States of America was silent and did not talk about accusing Saudi Arabia directly, although some information indicates that some figures in the Saudi ruling family provided funding to the attackers. 

Q: What have been the consequences of 9/11 for U.S. internal security, especially when the freedoms were restricted under the pretext of fighting terrorism?

A: On the American domestic level, what happened was the U.S. policy reversed into a militant policy, a policy of suppressing freedoms and spying on citizens.

Suppressing freedoms under the pretext of fighting terrorism and concerns about individuals’ relations with terrorists has become a prevailing issue in the U.S. A big debate heated in the United States on the importance of freedoms, but the government continues to restrict citizens. The Americans lost a large part of their freedoms under the motto of “fighting terrorism.”

Q: How could the September 11 attacks spread Islamophobia in the West? 

A: Islamophobia is a complex topic that has historical roots and cultural reasons and causes related to terrorist operations. The American and Western media, in general, shed light on the September 11 attacks and emphasized that Muslims were the main actors who carried out this operation.

Of course, this approach contributed to creating an anti-Muslim atmosphere in the United States of America for a long time.

But at the same time, Islamophobia is also widely widespread in Europe, and this is partly because of terrorist operations that were carried out on European territories.

Still, Islamophobia has been misused inside the United States and Europe in the struggle between political forces and accusing Muslims of economic, social, and cultural problems.

In fact, some Muslims cannot integrate into Western culture. Thus they face the isolation process and tend to engage in terrorist groups.

In addition to that, Muslims in Europe, for example, live in the suburbs and lack adequate services, which encourages young generations to join extremist organizations.

The United States of America, because of its anti-Muslim policies, has created an atmosphere of extremism among some Muslims. That’s why it can be said that the September 11 attacks contributed to the spread of Islamophobia.

Moreover, the American media has a pivotal role in creating this Islamophobia wave by inciting Muslims and covering up the Saudi Kingdom’s crimes.

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The hypothetical compromise: The end of 10 years of war in West Asia

Source

September 5, 2020 – 23:12

On my way back from the south to Beirut two months ago, Elea crossroad in Saida was closed. As I took the long [S] turn to be able to reach Beirut road again, I came across the Lebanese Army.

I stopped the car next to one of the officers and asked him: “What is going on? They are not more than 20 young men and women! How could they? Why don’t you send them back home? The officer said: “It is better to let them steam off!” He added: “It is the Turkish intelligence! They are sending millions of American dollars to start eruption and chaos in Lebanon.”

The Lebanese Army confirmed the information a while after the incident. On the 4th of July, Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammad Fahmi announced that four citizens, including two Syrians, were arrested as they were trying to smuggle $4 million. He said that the money was meant to finance “violent street movements”.

He added that instructions were given via WhatsApp to promote violence against the government.

The Turkish role in the Arab countries has been escalating since the war on Syria in 2011. It is not a secret anymore that tens of thousands of terrorist fighters entered Syria through Turkey and were protected by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime. Unfortunately, the Arab region is not only facing a new Ottoman dream but also a new wave of colonialism led by the Americans and their puppets.  

In his speech on the 10th of Muharram, Ashura, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah several times repeated that Syria has won the war. Nasrallah’s description of Syria’s situation is shared with several observers, who perceive that Syria awaits the international political solution. Nonetheless, whether it is going to be a compromise, or it is going to coincide with Syrian political demands, we need to wait and see.

It is practical to understand the complications in West Asia. The region has been on a hot tin roof since the burst of the Arab eruptions in 2011.  The Americans titled the eruptions as “the Arab Spring” are now recognized as the “Arab Drought.” 

The area has been going through an endless chain of wars with terrorism and occupation forces, which exhausted it and awaiting compromises. Complicated and interrelated files, such as the war on Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, and Libya, need to be solved. However, there are two factors that delay the solution. The first is Turkey, which seems to have its own agenda. And the second is the so-called Deal of the Century. 

Today, the struggle has been fueled among the allies, who started the war on Libya, Syria, and Yemen. According to several resources, the powers that have led the wars are now accelerating the steps towards proper solutions. And each one of them is trying to save face and withdraw with minimum losses. 

Ten exhausting years have passed on West Asia (the Middle East). It witnessed the discovery of gas fields in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. Countries and their major companies are rushing to ensure shares in the new gas fields’ investments. Amongst them is Turkey, which is demanding a place in the eastern Mediterranean shores.

Accordingly, through the “Muslim Brotherhood” parties, Turkey has found a way to be part of the struggle in West Asia. It seems that Turkish President Erdogan is trying to undo the Ottoman’s defeat in the First World War. He is leading to constant wars against Arab countries. For most of the Arabs in the region, these wars are manipulating the Islamic world and leading to the destruction of their countries. It distorts the attention from the true enemy, which is “Israel,” and leads to the rise of Islamic “radicalism” and terrorism. 

Turkey has accelerated the struggle with Arab countries in Libya. Add to that, the current military exercises by Greece and Turkey over the rights of natural gas fields and the legal rights in the marine economic zones. The exercises have escalated EU awareness towards Turkish intentions. Subsequently, it led to further tension with the EU. 

The main force behind the current events in West Asia was the U.S. plan to create what they call” the New Middle East”. The plan was supposed to be applied by force in 2003, starting with the war on Iraq, but it failed. Combined regional forces resisted Iraq’s division, and the resistance was able to force the final withdrawal of the Americans in 2011. Ironically, in the same year, the Arab eruptions started in different Arab countries. 
Nonetheless, ten years of a brutal war on Syria revealed the following aims:

1-     The war mainly aimed to secure the safety of Israel. The Americans set in mind that controlling Syrian territories will eventually lead to controlling the flow of arms to Hezbollah.

2-     Controlling the gas and petrol pipes running through Syria to Turkey and Europe. By doing so, Iran, Russia, and eventually China fuel trade will be monitored and controlled.

3-     Changing the Arab regimes to pro-Turkish or Islamic Brotherhood’s governments and Saudi controlled ones to control the Arab decision in the Arab League and eventually dissolve it.

4-     Making way for the (Persian) Arab Gulf countries to sign peace treaties with Israel, this has already started with Abraham Accord.

5-     Giving Israel full control over gas and oil production and distribution through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

Not all of the goals set were achieved! The power of Turkey was controlled in Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, and Libya. Furthermore, Europe now considers Turkey as a greater danger to the peace and security of West Asia, Northern Africa, and Greece. In addition, Europe was flooded by waves of migrants that crossed to the continent through Turkey, whom it used as a pressure card to manipulate Europe for greater benefits.

This has provoked different European countries that saw their interests were threatened, not only by Turkey but also by the United States. The latter has taken the world into economic chaos after the election of Donald Trump, who canceled all trade agreements and the nuclear agreement with Iran. Trump prohibited European trade with Iran and China and issued sanctions that disabled Europe.

Therefore, Iran’s successive diplomatic and legal victories at the UN Security Council in August were the first step towards a solution and a serious step towards peace in the region. They represent the first political triumph of the axis of resistance. The sequence of events is directing now towards another series of steps that should be perceived soon.

Soon the Syrian forces and its allies are heading towards implementing the Astana Accord by force. As soon as the Syrian Army is in control of Jesser al-Shogor and the Zawiah Mountain again, it will take control of the Syrian territories from Latakia to the Syrian-Iraqi borders, east of the Euphrates included.

Once the Syrian accomplishment is reached in Jesser al- Shogor, the Americans are not only leaving Iraq but Syria as well. In addition, the Iranians are leading now negotiations with Western powers through the German mediator concerning the nuclear agreements. However, an informed person revealed that the talks are including terms to end the American presence in Syria. This means that all foreign forces, including Turkish ones, are leaving, through force or voluntarily.

However, the Turks are negotiating with the Russians the possibility of keeping a couple of cities, but the Syrians refused it.

After the big blast in Beirut’s harbor on the 4th of August, the Turkish foreign minister offered to rebuild the harbor when he visited Beirut. This must-have provoked the French again. Erdogan’s new attempts to be involved in Lebanese affairs has raised doubts over his intentions for the European Union [EU], especially France. Paris tries not to allow Turkey to approach Beirut’s harbor. This would leave Turkey as the biggest loser in the region again. 

The upheaval Turkey created with Greece is leading it again to a conflict with Europe. Although Germany is leading to serious negotiations with all sides of the dispute, it seems that there are not any foreseen solutions in the near future. Europeans now identify Erdogan as the supporter of radical militant groups fighting in different Arab countries. These actions are of great concern to Europe. Rumor has it; Turkey now needs to be controlled. Western powers are planning to divide it again into two states, Western Turkey and Islamic Turkey. Of course, that is left for time to tell.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer.

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West Asian states should unite against U.S.-Israel-Saudi-UAE axis: Turkish party leader

By Mohammad Mazhari

August 30, 2020 – 23:53

TEHRAN – Utku Reyhan, the secretary-general of the nationalist Patriotic Party in Turkey, is of the opinion that West Asian countries including Iran and Turkey can form an alliance to confront common threats posed by the U.S. and its allies in the region.

 “West Asian countries should come together against the USA-Israel-Saudi-UAE axis because we are facing common threats,” Reyhan tells the Tehran Times.

Turkey and some Arab states in the Persian Gulf region are caught in a diplomatic row over a range of issues including the recent move by the Emirates to normalize ties with Israel. 

On August 13, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, announced the UAE’s agreement to normalize relations with Israel which sparked anger among Islamic nations and some Muslim states like Iran and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he may sever ties with the UAE in opposition to its normalization agreement with Israel.

Reyhan also says it is a “necessity” that both Turkey and Egypt settle their disputes.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Do you believe that Iran, Turkey, and some progressive Arab countries can establish a regional alliance?

A: This alliance can be established and it has already been done. West Asian countries should come together against the axis of the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates because we are facing common threats.

Q: What is the attitude of Turkey about the presence of foreign powers in the region especially in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan? What do you think of the normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel?

A: The UAE has once again demonstrated its destructive role for our region by making an agreement with Israel. It’s not surprising, frankly. They even ally with the devil for their own benefit! Our goal is a West Asia free from all external forces and influences; A region dominated by peace and mutual respect, and a common effort to fight against terrorism. Turkey is slowly coming to this line, and that is why the U.S. is trying to undermine the Erdogan government. They tried to overthrow his government and kill him. That opened Erdogan’s eyes to see the facts more clearly. Now Turkey heads towards a more region-based policy. 

Q: President Erdogan announced on Friday that Turkey made its biggest-ever discovery of natural gas after completing new exploration work in the Black Sea. What will be the impact of the discovery on Turkey’s political and economic future? 

A: As you said the discovery has a historic importance for Turkey. Turkey’s gas find meets its need for natural gas for 7 years. This means about 70 billion dollars. But Turkey cannot solve its energy problems by the recent discovery and the country will continue to buy natural gas. However, with the discovery of new reserves in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, the need to buy natural gas from outside may decrease over time.
It does not mean that economy of Turkey will be heavily dependent on gas, like oil-dependent countries including Saudi Arabia. Turkish industry is multidimensional.

Q: Do you see any possibility to solve problems between Turkey and Egypt?

A: This is a necessity for both countries. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a speech he gave recently, stated that Turkey is ready to meet with all countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt is undoubtedly one of these countries. Turkey must attract Egypt which is now on the side of Greece and the United States. This can be done by putting aside old disputes.

Q: Given the Persian Gulf states’ attempts to confront Turkey in Libya, what is the stance of Ankara to the ceasefire in Libya? Do you expect a comprehensive solution in Libya?

A: Turkey is supporting the legitimate government in Libya. Libya and Turkey have a maritime boundary in the Mediterranean Sea. 
Moreover, there are serious historical and cultural ties between the two countries.
For these reasons Turkey attempts to reinforce its ties with Libya are understandable.
We are thinking differently from the Turkish government. Turkey should attract Egypt and Syria to its side in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey should not be left alone in the eastern Mediterranean front established by U.S., Israel, Cyprus, and Greece.

Ankara should follow a policy that includes strengthening ties with Russia. In Libya, a ceasefire is necessary only to the extent that it serves Libya’s political unity.

Q: Why does Turkey enter the regional conflicts especially in Libya while it had announced before that it would follow the policy of “zero problems with neighbors?”

A: I explained above. Turkey and Libya have a maritime boundary and are neighbors with deep-rooted ties. Instead of questioning Turkey, we should ask countries such as the U.S. and Israel which do not have a maritime border with Libya.

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The world is going to multipolarity, Russian analyst says

By M.A. Saki 

August 24, 2020 – 20:50

 TEHRAN – Leonid Savin, a Russian political analyst, is of the opinion that the world is moving in the direction of “multipolarity” as the world is fed up with unipolar moves by Washington.

“The world is going to multipolarity, and humanity is tired of Washington’s dominance and unipolar operations,” Savin tells the Tehran Times. 

Savin also says Moscow is looking to the East as Russians have bitter memories of the West.

“Russian decision-makers started looking to the East more and more. Because historically, we faced serious threats from the West.”

Following is the full text of the interview:
 
Q: Iran and Russia are set to renew their “20-year agreement”. What is the importance of this agreement in terms of bilateral, regional, and international cooperation? 
 
A: The actual agreement was signed on March 12, 2001. During the last 20 years, there were many changes from attacks in New York and the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan till colored revolutions, coups, with attempts in Russia and Iran. The world is going to multipolarity, and humanity is tired of Washington’s dominance and unipolar operations. Both Iran and Russia are targets of U.S. sanctions, soft and strategic ways to destabilize our countries. Now we see the necessity of more active cooperation in defense, security, trade, industry, etc. 
Defense and security are very important, and the purpose of Iran to conduct new drills in the Persian Gulf will be a good response to U.S. presence in the region with an impact on regional stability. But other types of bilateral ties also need to be promoted and developed. We are neighbor countries (the Caspian Sea only between us) and destined to be together in Eurasian affairs. From the global geopolitical point of view, Russia and Iran are important poles, and our perception of the world polity is similar in many aspects.

“Now we see the necessity of more active cooperation in defense, security, trade, industry, etc.” between Russia and Iran, says Leonid Savin. 

Q: Some analysts and politicians argue that Russia, China, and Iran are forming an alliance against Washington’s bullying, sanctions pressure, and use of the dollar as a weapon. They cite the Iran-China-Russia joint naval exercise in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman in December 2019 as the signs of such an alliance. What is your comment?

A: It is not alliance; because alliance usually means the duties and obligations of the members. There were no obligations, but mutual interests based on political realism. Actually, the alliance of mentioned countries (plus any) may affect much more on the fall of U.S. hegemony because it will more consolidate with certain roadmap and strategy, backed by our resources, manpower, and geographic positions. 
China has a specific outlook and prefers to run its own projects (organization of SCO even as Beijing’s idea to secure its borders and domestic issues like Uyghur and Tibet separatism), especially focused on communications (like BRI), not integration. Because of cheap labor forces in China, there is an economic opportunity to provide loans to other countries without political demands. Till now, this tool was very effective for Chinese foreign policy, but it cannot be useful all time and everywhere. 
Iran has a special agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union led by Russia. But historically, Iran was more interested in Africa, the Near East region, and Central Asia. So, it seems that the current turn of the three states is unique. But joint military exercises, including bilateral, are clear messages to the outsiders. I think that these tripartite efforts should be expanded and organized somewhere in the Caribbean, too, in partnership with our partners from Venezuela.

Q: What is your opinion of U.S. sanctions on Russia and even China? Can the U.S. undermine these two countries’ influence?

A: For the last six years after sanctions of the U.S. and its European satellites were imposed against Russia, there is no such negative impact on the Russian economy like architects of the sanctions predicted. The same for Iran and China. Western policymakers counted on our dependence on supplies, technologies, etc. But Russia implemented counter sanction to “beat the enemy by his own arms”.
We are succeeding in many spheres. Some production still not available here, but the government provided all the necessary needs to the people. And Russia secured our foreign policy for next year because we see the real face of Western diplomacy. 
Even pro-U.S. politicians and opinion-makers changed their minds. It is very important for the reorganizing of the political process and geopolitical priorities. Russian decision-makers started to look to the East more and more. Because historically, we faced serious threats from the West, the Napoleon invasion in 1812 and Hitler attack in 1941; these sanctions were just confirmation of the coward Western intentions.

“We need to note that advisers and persons responsible for the Middle East (West Asia) policy in the U.S. are linked with the Zionist pro-Israel lobby.”

Q: After failing to extend arms embargo, the U.S. is pushing to restore UN sanctions against Iran by invoking a snapback mechanism despite the fact that the U.S. quit the JCPOA in May 2018. Please give your comment.

A: Under the Trump administration, the White House and State Department will do everything to push on Iran. We need to note that advisers and persons responsible for the Middle East (West Asia) policy in the U.S. are linked with the Zionist pro-Israeli lobby. On the other hand, there should be no illusion about Democrats who are interested in controlling Iran through other ways. Also, the U.S. actively runs media propaganda and information operations against Iran. Tehran condemned for mostly all weird and chaotic things in the region from clashes in Syria and Iraq till blast in the port of Beirut and organization of narco-traffickers in Latin America. The last U.S. disinformation was that Iran proposed bounty for Taliban members to kill American troops before there were claims about Russia, but it was changed. Everything should be analyzed like multilayer but a united strategy of the U.S. against Iran.

Q: How do you assess European states’ position to U.S. sanctions against Iran? Why do they encourage Iran to fulfill its obligations in the nuclear deal while they cannot or are unwilling to resist the U.S. sanctions?

A: It is a pity that European countries still under the strong influence of Washington and afraid to act free and be independent. It is signing that the Euro Atlantic community is more powerful than continental Europe. Because two entities exist in one geographic and political space. Russia also suffers from irrational acts of some European politicians directed against the interests of European people. But if to consider the EU as a project of the U.S. and European Commission as anti-democratic government (members of the European Commission are not elected), there need to be real tectonic shifts in the European politics to get own sovereignty back. Any efforts from Russia and Iran for Europeans to be more Europeans and act in their own interests will be immediately labeled like the hostile interference into affairs. So, the issue is really tragic.

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السؤال المقلق: ردّ المقاومة سيكون متناسباً أو غير متناسب… وأين؟

د. عصام نعمان

المشهد الإقليمي بالغ التأزم بدلالة هذه المعطيات:

»إسرائيل» قصفت بصواريخها موقعاً عسكرياً قرب دمشق ذهب ضحيته شهيدٌ لحزب الله.

سبق لقائد المقاومة السيد حسن نصرالله أن أعلن قبل أشهر تصميم المقاومة على الردّ في حال خرقت «إسرائيل» قواعد الاشتباك وتسبّبت في استشهاد مجاهدين لحزب الله سواء في لبنان أو سورية أو أيّ مكان آخر.

نصرالله أكّد انّ الردّ «لن يكون بالضرورة في مزارع شبعا المحتلة إنما في لبنان».

تجدّد الجدل بعد العدوان الإسرائيلي الأخير حول عبارة «الردّ سيكون في لبنان». بعض الخبراء العسكريين قال إنه سيكون حصراً داخل الأراضي اللبنانية. بعضهم الآخر استبعد ذلك وشدّد على أنه سيكون من لبنان وفي أي مكان تحتله «إسرائيل» في لبنان او سورية او فلسطين.

أعقب العدوان تحرّش مقاتلات أميركية بطائرة ركاب مدنية إيرانية فوق منطقة التنف السورية المحتلة فاضطرت الى الهبوط سريعاً إلى مستوى أدنى ما ألحق أضراراً بدنية بركابها قبل هبوطها بأمان في مطار بيروت الدولي.

إيران استهجنت التحرّش العدواني الأميركي وتوعّدت بالرد في المكان والزمان المناسبين، كما صدر عن قيادة محور المقاومة تهديد بالردّ على أيّ اعتداء يستهدف أحد أطرافه.

توقعت القيادة السياسية والعسكرية الإسرائيلية وتحسّبت لردٍّ أكيد من حزب الله فنشرت قوات برية إضافية على طول الحدود مع لبنان، وأخلت دونما ضجة بعض المستوطنات الحدودية، وقلّصت المجال الجوي في شمال الكيان الى 6 كيلومترات بدعوى تسهيل كشف التهديدات المرتقبة ضدّها من لبنان.

رئيس الحكومة نتنياهو أمر وزراءه بعدم التعليق على مسألة العدوان وكيف يمكن أن يكون شكل الردّ من حزب الله وذلك منعاً لأي إحراج لأطراف الصراع!

الولايات المتحدة حركت حاملة طائراتها ايزنهاور مع 12 مدمّرة الى المياه اليونانية بدعوى إجراء تدريبات مع القوات الجوية اليونانية بعدما ألغت مناورة «النجم الساطع» المقرّرة مع البحرية المصرية. كما حركت حاملة الطائرات نيميتز الى شرق المتوسط، بحسب ما سرّبته «إسرائيل».

رئيس هيئة أركان الجيوش الأميركية الجنرال مارك ميلي سارع الى «إسرائيل» للاجتماع الى نتنياهو وقادته العسكريين في قاعدة نفاتيم الجوية لتدارس «خطر إيران والوضع المتأزم في الإقليم».

في ضوء هذا الوضع المتأزم ينهض سؤال متعدّد الأبعاد ومقلق لجميع أطراف الصراع في غرب آسيا: أين سيكون ردّ حزب الله؟ وهل سيكون ردّه متناسباً مع حجم الاعتداء الإسرائيلي الأخير قرب دمشق أم غير متناسب بالضرورة؟ وهل يمكن أن يعقب ردّ حزب الله ردٌّ إسرائيلي بدعم أميركي قد يتطوّر الى حرب واسعة؟ وفي حالةٍ كهذه، ماذا يمكن أن تكون التداعيات؟

الجواب عن هذا السؤال المتعدد الأبعاد ولّد بدوره اجتهادات وأسئلة متعددة من خبراء عسكريين ومراقبين عديدين متابعين.

في موضوع المكان المستهدف بالردّ رأى بعضُ الخبراء والمراقبين انه سيكون في منطقة الجليل المحتلة حيث لـ «إسرائيل» مستوطنات عدة وقواعد عسكرية ومرافق اقتصادية يسهل على المقاومة استهدافها من لبنان مع التحوّط لردة فعل العدو. البعض الآخر لم يستبعد أن يكون منطلق ردّ المقاومة من سورية حيث لحزب الله وجود وقدرات، وان يكون الموقع المستهدف في الجولان السوري المحتلّ حيث للعدو مستوطنات ومرافق مهمة أيضاً. ويتساءل هؤلاء: لماذا لا يكون ردّ المقاومة من سورية وفي سورية (المحتلة) ما دام العدو قد هاجم موقعاً في سورية يحتضن مجاهدين لحزب الله؟

في موضوع هل سيكون ردّ المقاومة متناسباً أو غير متناسب مع حجم الاعتداء الإسرائيلي الأخير قرب دمشق، انقسم الخبراء والمراقبون بين فريقٍ رجّح ان يكون الردّ متناسباً لحرص حزب الله على إلزام «إسرائيل» احترام قواعد الاشتباك، وفريق يدعو الى ان يكون غير متناسب، وحجته انه آن الأوان، إزاء تكرار الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية من جهة، وضرورة التحذير من مغبة التمادي في هذه السلوكية العدوانية من جهة أخرى، لتسديد ضربة غير متناسبة للعدو لحمله على الاتعاظ والانكفاء.

في موضوع هل يمكن أن يعقب ردّ حزب الله غير المتناسب على «إسرائيل» ردٌ من العدو مدعوم أميركياً قد يتطوّر الى حرب واسعة، يرجّح بعض الخبراء والمراقبين ان يبقى الردّ الإسرائيلي متناسباً وإن على قدْرٍ من الشدْة وذلك لانشغال «إسرائيل»، حكومةً وجمهوراً، بأزمات وتحدّيات كثيرة ليس أقلها استشراء جائحة كورونا، وازدياد إغلاق القطاعات الاقتصاديّة، وتزايد نسبة البطالة الى معدلات غير مسبوقة، واتساع رقعة التظاهرات ضد حكومة نتنياهو بسبب تفاقم الضائقة المعيشية. البعض الآخر لا يستبعد البتّة أن يتطور الردّ الإسرائيلي، عمداً او نتيجةً لتفاعلات غير منظورة، الى حرب واسعة يبتغيها كلٌ من نتنياهو وترامب بفعل الشبق المستبّد بهما للبقاء في السلطة، ولظنّهما أن حرباً واسعة ستؤدي في نهاية المطاف الى تدمير إيران، وبالتالي تغيير وجهة استطلاعات الرأي في أميركا المائلة حاليّاً لمصلحة جو بايدن، وتفادي إدانة نتنياهو بالرشوة وخيانة الأمانة في المحاكم الإسرائيلية.

هذا الفريق من الخبراء والمراقبين يلتقي مع فريق من أهل الرأي يعتقد أن ردّ المقاومة على العدو لا يجب أن يكون غير متناسب فحسب، بل يقتضي اغتنام الفرصة ايضاً اذا ما ركب العدو الصهيوأميركي رأسه ووسّع رقعة الحرب للردّ عليه بقسوة على مستوى الإقليم برمته وبجبهة موحّدة تضمّ جميع أطراف محور المقاومة وتستهدفه بحربٍ متعددة الجبهات والمواقع والأبعاد بغية إلحاق تدميرٍ كارثي بالكيان الصهيوني لا يقوى بعدها على النهوض.

هذا الخيار (أو وجهة النظر) يجد مسّوغاته الوازنة لدى الداعين اليه عند استشراف تداعيات الحرب الواسعة التي يمكن أن تقع. ذلك أنهم يعتقدون أن الدمار الذي سيلحق بـ «إسرائيل»، سكاناً وعمراناً وصناعةً ومرافقَ ومستوطنات ومواصلات وموانئ سيكون كارثياً وبحجمٍ يفوق بأضعاف ما سيلحق بلبنان وسورية وإيران وقطاع غزة والضفة الغربية من أضرار لدرجة قد يحمل قادة العدو على تفاديه بالإحجام عن اعتماد خيار توسيع رقعة الحرب.

متى تدقّ ساعة القرار؟ الكلّ في حال انتظار.

وزير سابق

هل تحقق أميركا أهدافها بـ «استراتيجية القوة الذكيّة الخفيّة»؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

كان السعي الأميركي ويكاد لا يزال مستميتاً من أجل السيطرة على العالم، ورغم كلّ الإخفاقات التي وقع فيها المشروع الأميركي العالمي القائم على فكرة الأحاديّة القطبيّة، فإنّ كثيراً من أرباب هذا المشروع لا يزالون مصرّين على المحاولة ويتصوّرون وجود فرص لإنقاذه، رغم أنّ أحداً من العقلاء لا يرى أنّ فرص نجاح الأحاديّة القطبيّة فيها شيء من العقلانية والموضوعية بل نكاد نرى إجماعاً بين الباحثين والاستراتيجيين العقلاء الموضوعيين، على القول بموت الأحادية وتشكل البيئة الدولية لنظام عالمي قيد التشكل حالياً قائم على تعددية المكونات والمجموعات الاستراتيجية، نظام لا ينفرد به أحد ولا يُقصى عنه إلا الضعفاء الخائرو القوى، ويكون للمكون فيه من الوزن والنفوذ مقدار ما يملك من قوة وقدرة ذاتية او تحالفية..

بيد أنّ أميركا التي خسرت منطقيّاً مشروعها الأحادي القطبية تصرّ على محاولة السيطرة وإسقاط الأعداء ومحاصرتهم، ويبدو لها الشرق الأوسط الميدان الرئيسي للعمل المجدي نظراً لخصائص هذا الميدان وجغرافيّته وثرواته، ومن أجل الإمساك الأحادي بالمنطقة عملت أميركا باستراتيجيات متتابعة مختلفة، كلما تعثرت في واحدة انتقلت إلى أخرى بدءاً من العام 1990 أيّ بعد تفكّك الاتحاد السوفياتيّ حيث سارعت إلى زجّ جيوشها وجيوش حلفائها في جبهات الشرق الأوسط عملاً بـ “استراتيجية القوة الصلبة” التي تعثرت في العام 2006، حيث عجزت في لبنان عن تحقيق أهداف “إسرائيل” وأميركا في الميدان عجزاً أجبر أميركا على التحوّل إلى “استراتيجية القوة الناعمة” التي سقطت هي الأخرى في العام 2009 في إيران بعد لبنان، فكان تحوّل أميركي إلى “استراتيجية القوة العمياء” والحروب البديلة التي تخوضها أميركا بتجميعات إرهابية شكلت واستجلبت وزجّت في الميدان تحت عناوين دينيّة تحاكي ما كان قاله رئيس “سي أي آي” (C.I.A.) السابق في محاضرته أمام معهد عسكري في أميركا في العام 2006 أيّ بعد هزيمة “إسرائيل” وأميركا في جنوب لبنان، حيث قال هذا المسؤول السابق “علينا ان نصنع لهم سلاماً يناسبنا فينقسمون حوله ويقتتلون حتى يتآكلوا ثم يستغيثوا بنا فنعود إليهم محتلين مجدّداً”.

وبمقتضى “استراتيجية القوة العمياء” هذه شنّت الحرب الكونية على سورية، لكن سورية صمدت في مواجهتها واستطاعت بعد ان كانت فقدت السيطرة على 80% من أرضها في العام 2015، استطاعت ان تستعيد السيطرة على أكثر من 80% من مساحتها ووجهت بذاك رسالة حاسمة وقاطعة لقوى العدوان وعلى رأسها أميركا بأنهم فشلوا وانّ استراتيجيتهم أخفقت كما فشلت سابقاتها الصلبة والناعمة، واصطفّت العمياء إلى جانب ما مضى.

وبدل أن تقرّ أميركا باستحالة مشروعها وتتحوّل عنه إلى نهج واقعي عادل تعترف فيه للآخرين بحقوقهم، أمعنت في النهج العدواني وابتدعت استراتيجية عدوان رابعة قد تكون الأكثر خبثاً وكيداً مما سبق، استراتيجية عبّر عنها أحد المنظرين الاستراتيجيين لديهم في محاضرة ألقاها في “إسرائيل” في 1/12/2018 أكد فيها أنّ المواجهة الجديدة ستكون مختلفة عما عداها ويجب أن تنجح هذه المرة في تحقيق المبتغى، فهذه المرة “ليس الهدف تحطيم المؤسسة العسكرية للعدو بل الهدف هو الإنهاك والتآكل البطيء لقوى العدو، ويكون ذلك بزعزعة الاستقرار في دولة الخصم وهو أمر ينفذه مواطنون من الدولة بوجه حكوماتهم، وحصار وتجويع يمارَس من الخارج حتى يثور الشعب بوجه الحكومة ويمارس ذلك بشكل متواصل وصولاً إلى إرغامه على المجيء راكعاً إلى طاولة التفاوض والخضوع لإرادتنا”.

هذه هي استراتيجية أميركا اليوم في المنطقة، الاستراتيجية التي تترجم في لبنان حصاراً ودفعاً إلى التآكل وعدم الاستقرار. وهذا ما يفسّر كلّ ما جرى من آذار 2019 حيث أطلق بومبيو خطة إسقاط لبنان من بيروت… انّ استراتيجية القوة الخفية الذكية التي تشنّ أميركا بمقتضاها الحرب على لبنان وتدّعي أنها حرب على حزب الله فقط، تترجم بالتلاعب بالنقد الوطني والحصار الاقتصادي والتهويل بالتجويع، وأخيراً بطرح “حياد لبنان” وما أنتجه الطرح من انقسام في لبنان ينذر بانفجار داخلي لم يعد أمره مستبعداً في ظلّ الاحتقان القائم بسبب طرح عقيم لا أرضية واقعية مطلقة لنجاحه، طرح علم صاحبه استحالة تطبيقه واستمرّ مُصراً عليه، وهنا الارتياب الشديد من الطرح وصاحبه، حيث يبدو أنّ المقصود هو التشرذم والانقسام وليس تنفيذ الطرح بذاته.

أما في سورية فإنّ “استراتيجية القوة الخفية الناعمة تترجم بالمقولة الأميركية “إطالة أمد الصراع” ومنع الحلّ السياسي ومنع الحسم العسكري ما يقود إلى الإنهاك والتأمّل وهذا ما تنفذه أميركا بيدها وعبر أدواتها تركيا والجماعات الإرهابية ويعطى الدور المتقدّم فيها لتركيا و”قسد” والآن تحرك جماعات المسلحين في الجنوب، طبعاً يُضاف إلى هذا ما جاء به “قانون قيصر” من حصار وخنق لسورية اقتصادياً ومالياً ورغبة في فرض عزلة دولية كامل عليها اقتصادياً.

ونصل إلى إيران، حيث تبدو تطبيقات “القوة الخفية الذكية” من طبيعة مختلفة قسوة وإيلاماً، فقد لجأت أميركا و”إسرائيل” إضافة إلى الحرب والإرهاب الاقتصادي ضدّ إيران، وبعد أن مارست عمليات الاغتيال الصريح المعلن عنها، لجأت إلى الحرب السيبيرانية وعمليات الخلايا الإرهابية لتنفيذ التخريب والإخلال بالأمن في الداخل الإيراني، وترجم هذا باغتيالات مسؤولين، وتفجيرات مراكز ذات صلة بالملف النووي الإيراني السلمي، وحرائق في مراكز اقتصادية استراتيجية واعتداءات على مراكز عسكرية، تطبيقاً لاستراتيجية “القوة الخفيّة الذكيّة” التي تسبّبت في إيران بخسائر بشرية ومادية أنتجت حذراً وفرضت تأهّباً لا بدّ منه.

وبهذا نقول وضوحاً إنّ المنطقة والعالم عامة ومحور المقاومة بشكل خاص دخلا في طور جديد من المواجهة مع أرباب المشروع الصهيو – أميركي، مواجهة تعتمد استراتيجية القوة الخفية الذكية المركبة من إخلال بالأمن، وحصار اقتصادي، وأعمال قتل وتخريب لا يُعلن عن الفاعل فيها (ولذلك هي قوة خفية) ويقوم بتنفيذها بشكل رئيسي مواطنون من الدولة المستهدفة، عملاء أو مغرّر بهم، وخلايا مسلحة خفية نائمة أو علنية رافضة للحكومة، وتدار بيد أميركية صهيونية تعلن عن نفسها حيناً وتبقى متخفية أكثر الأحيان.

بيد انّ الدفاع في مواجهة القوة الخفية الذكية المركبة ليس امراً سهلاً حيث لا بدّ ان يكون أيضاً دفاعاً مركباً فيه التدابير الداخلية لتحصين المناعة الداخلية منعاً للإنهاك المعنوي، وفيه اجتراح البدائل لتعطيل مفاعيل الحصار الاقتصادي، وفيه التدابير السياسية والأمنية للمحافظة على الاستقرار الداخلي ومنع زعزعته، وأخيراً وهذا الهامّ جداً فيه العمليات الانتقامية وردود الفعل المؤلمة ضدّ العدو عبر عمليات أمنية وهجومات سيبرانية وأعمال انتقامية تصيب بنيته، وهذا ما بدأت إيران بفعله ويقتضي تكثيف العمل على هذا المسار حتى يشعر العدو بالألم فيتوقف عن العدوان.

وعليه نرى انّ شروط نجاح أميركا في استراتيجية القوة الخفية الذكية المركبة هي أربعة…

ـ وجود مواطنين في الدولة يرتضون التحوّل إلى عملاء لها لزعزعة الاستقرار، وعجز الدولة عن احتوائهم ومنعهم من ارتكاب جرائهم، ثم عجز الدولة عن إيجاد البدائل الاقتصادية التي تمنع الجوع والانهيار، وأخيراً عجز الدولة عن القيام بالأعمال الدفاعية الانتقامية رداً على الحرب السيبيرانية والإرهابية التخريبية.

وفي تقييم أوّلي نجد انّ إيران بما لديها من قوة وإرادة وخبرة قادرة على المواجهة، وقادرة على إنزال الهزيمة بالعدو في استراتيجيته الرابعة هذه، أما سورية التي صمدت وانتصرت في مواجهة أعتى حرب كونية تستهدف دولة فإنها تملك القدرة والخبرة والثقة والإرادة على أفشال أميركا و”إسرائيل” في هذا النمط الجديد أيضاً، ويبقى لبنان الذي قد يشكل خاصرة الضعف في المشروع نظراً لاعتبارات ديمغرافية وسياسية وبنوية وطائفية، وهذا ما يستلزم الاستعداد والحذر، ورغم ثقتنا بقدرة المقاومة وحلفائها في السلطة وخارجها كما ومناعة بيئة المقاومة ثقتنا بقدرتهم على المواجهة حتى تحقيق فشل المشروع، إلا أننا نرى انه من الواجب التحذير من خطورة الموقف…

*أستاذ جامعي – خبير استراتيجي

في وجه الحرب الأمنيّة: الردّ هو الصمود…

د. عصام نعمان

ليس سراً ان الولايات المتحدة، بضغط من «إسرائيل»، تشنّ حرباً أمنية ضد الأعداء والخصوم على امتداد غرب آسيا، من شواطئ البحر الابيض المتوسط غرباً الى شواطئ بحر قزوين شرقاً. يُقصد بالحرب الأمنية مجموعة هجمات متكاملة قوامها عمليات استخبارية، وعقوبات اقتصادية، وصدامات أهلية، وصراعات مذهبية، وتفجيرات وحرائق تستهدف مرافق عامة حيوية وموجودات عالية القيمة والأهمية.

أشدّ هجمات الحرب الأمنية الأميركية قسوة تركّزت في إيران، تليها عدداً وأهمية تلك التي تستهدف لبنان بما هو منطلق لحزب الله. في إيران استهدفت الهجمات الاميركية مواقع لها صلة ببرنامجها النووي (موقع نطنز) وبالقوة البحرية (مرفأ بوشهر) وغيرها من المواقع والمرافق الحيوية. لوحظ في كل هذه الهجمات ان للسلاح السيبراني دوراً وازناً فيها.

إيران أعلنت عزمها على الردّ اذا ما ثبت لديها ان لأميركا و«إسرائيل» صلة بهذه الهجمات. خبير عسكري مقرّب من أحد أطراف محور المقاومة أكدّ أنّ إيران باشرت فعلاً الردّ على الهجمات الأميركية. ذكّر محاوريه بأنه سبق لـِ «إسرائيل» أن اتهمت إيران قبل أقلّ من شهر بأنها استعملت وسائل سيبرانية في هجومها على شبكات المياه في قلب الكيان.

ثانية الساحات استهدافاً من الولايات المتحدة هي لبنان. هنا الاستهداف يعتمد وسائل وتدابير اقتصادية، ويضاعف ضغوطه السياسية ويستغلّ بلا هوادة الصراعات السياسية والطائفية بين اللاعبين المحليين، كما المشاكل الاقتصادية والمالية التي تعانيها البلاد.

كثيرة هي التحديات التي تواجه اللبنانيين، مسؤولين ومواطنين. غير أنّ أشدّها ضراوة وخطراً ثلاثة: الانهيار الماليّ والاقتصاديّ، والحكم المزمع صدوره عن المحكمة الخاصة بلبنان في لاهاي في 7 آب/ أغسطس المقبل بحق المتهمين باغتيال رئيس الوزراء الراحل رفيق الحريري، وقرار مجلس الأمن الدولي المزمع صدوره أواخرَ الشهر المقبل بصدد تجديد مهمة قوات الأمم المتحدة «يونيفيل» (أو تعديلها) التي تقوم بمراقبة وقف إطلاق النار بين لبنان و«إسرائيل» وفقاً لأحكام القرار الأممي 1701.

حيال تحدي الانهيار المالي والاقتصادي، تباشر واشنطن ضغوطاً شديدة على طرفين محليين من جهة، ومن جهة أخرى على صندوق النقد الدولي لحمله على إحباط أمل الحكومة اللبنانية بالحصول منه على دعم مالي وازن. كما تضغط على الحكومة والقوى التي تساندها للتصرف بمعزل عن حزب الله الذي يشارك فيها بوزير للصحة العامة وآخر للصناعة، وتضغط على القوى السياسية، لا سيما المعارضة منها، للمطالبة بتحييد لبنان إزاء الصراعات الإقليمية والدولية وصولاً الى تجريد حزب الله، أي المقاومة، من السلاح أو إبعاده في الأقلّ عن ايّ صيغة حكومية حاضراً ومستقبلاً.

إذ تبدي قوى المعارضة السياسية وخصوم حزب الله تأييداً فاقعاً لشعار تحييد لبنان وتستظل البطريرك الماروني بشارة الراعي كرأس حربة في الضغط سياسياً وشعبياً لتحقيقه، يرفض الرئيسان ميشال عون وحسان دياب والقوى السياسية الداعمة لهما ولحزب الله المساس بسلاح المقاومة بما هو ضمانة لحماية لبنان من الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية المتواصلة. وعلى كلّ حال لا يشكّل تحييد لبنان تحدّياً راهناً طالما أنّ البطريرك الراعي قال أخيراً إنه لا يصحّ إلا بوجود دولة قوية وعادلة، وهو أمر غير متوافر حالياً.

الحكم المنتظر صدوره عن المحكمة الخاصة بلبنان في قضية اغتيال رفيق الحريري يبدو أكثر حساسية وخطورة لكونه سيُستخدم أداةً للتعبئة الطائفيّة، لا سيما في أوساط أهل السنّة والجماعة، سواء قضى بتجريم المتهمين او بتبرئتهم. وفي هذه الحالة فإنّ الهدف المرشح دائماً للتصويب عليه هو حزب الله الذي يأمل خصومه بإضعافه وحمل حلفائه تالياً على التخلي عنه وإبعاده عن الحكومة. المقول إنّ حزب الله لن يكترث لحكم المحكمة الخاصة أياً كان مضمونه، وإنّ حلفاءه لن يتخلوا عنه لأن لا مصلحة لهم في ذلك.

التحدي الناجم عن قرار مجلس الأمن المنتظر بشأن تجديد مهمة قوات «اليونيفيل» العاملة في جنوب لبنان لا يقلّ حساسية وخطورة عن التحديين سالفيْ الذكر. ذلك أن أميركا، بضغط متواصل من «إسرائيل»، تريد تعديل مضمون مهمة القوات الأممية لتتيح لها مراقبة ً أفعل لحزب الله وذلك بدخول منازل الأهلين من دون ان ترافقها وحدات من الجيش اللبناني، وبإقامة أبراج مراقبة وتجهيزها بوسائل سيبرانية لتمكينها من توسيع مراقبتها لتحركات أنصار حزب الله، كما بتوسيع نطاق مهمتها بحيث تشمل الحدود بين لبنان وسورية ايضاً.

لبنان، على ما يبدو، استحصل على ضمانات من روسيا والصين برفض محاولات أميركا تعديل مهمة «اليونيفيل» من جهة، ومن جهة أخرى لا يبدو حزب الله مكترثاً بكل محاولات أميركا على هذا الصعيد حتى لو أدى الأمر الى إنهاء مهمة «اليونيفيل» لكونها، اولاً وآخراً، مبرمجة لخدمة «إسرائيل».

اذ تشتدّ وطأة التحديات والأزمات والضغوط السياسية والاقتصادية والأمنية على خصوم الولايات المتحدة في غرب آسيا، لا سيما أطراف محور المقاومة، ينهض سؤال: ما العمل؟

يقول مسؤولون في دول محور المقاومة، كما خبراء مقرّبون منهم إنّ الولايات المتحدة لن تخفف البتة من وطأة حربها الأمنية على أطراف المحور المذكور قبل حلول موعد الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية في مطلع تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر المقبل. إنها مرحلة انتقالية حساسة لا تسمح للرئيس ترامب، المنشغل بطموح ملتهب لتجديد ولايته في ظروف داخلية غير مؤاتية له، بالإقدام على أيّ عمل غير مأمون العواقب لئلا ينعكس سلباً على وضعه الانتخابي. كما لا تسمح الظروف الدقيقة نفسها لأطراف محور المقاومة بالردّ على أميركا و«إسرائيل» بعمليات قاسية لئلا تؤدي تداعياتها الى خدمة كلٍّ من ترامب ونتنياهو المستميتين للبقاء في السلطة.

الصمود في المواقف، والصمود في أساليب الردّ بالمثل على الأعداء هو الجواب الأجدى والأفعل في المرحلة الانتقالية.

هل من خيار آخر…؟

*نائب ووزير سابق.

Iran-China pact turbocharges the New Silk Roads

Source

July 11, 2020

Iran-China pact turbocharges the New Silk Roads

China will invest $400 billion in Iran energy and infrastructure but nothing in strategic pact allows for a Chinese troop presence or island handover

By Pepe Escobar republished from Asia Times by permission of author

Two of the US’s top “strategic threats” are getting closer and closer within the scope of the New Silk Roads – the leading 21st century project of economic integration across Eurasia. The Deep State will not be amused.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi blasted as “lies” a series of rumors about the “transparent roadmap” inbuilt in the evolving Iran-China strategic partnership.

That was complemented by President Rouhani’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vezi, who said that “a destructive line of propaganda has been initiated and directed from outside Iran against the expansion of Iran’s relations with neighbors and especially (with) China and Russia.”

Vezi added, “this roadmap in which a path is defined for expansion of relations between governments and the private sectors is signed and will continue to be signed between many countries.”

To a great extent, both Mousavi and Vezi were referring to a sensationalist report which did not add anything that was not already known about the strategic partnership, but predictably dog-whistled a major red alert about the military alliance.

The Iran-China strategic partnership was officially established in 2016, when President Xi visited Tehran. These are the guidelines.

Two articles among the 20 listed in the agreement are particularly relevant.

Item 7 defines the scope of the partnership within the New Silk Roads vision of Eurasia integration: “The Iranian side welcomes ‘the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ initiative introduced by China. Relying on their respective strengths and advantages as well as the opportunities provided through the signing of documents such as the “MOU on Jointly Promoting the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ and ‘MOU on Reinforcement of Industrial and Mineral Capacities and Investment’, both sides shall expand cooperation and mutual investments in various areas including transportation, railway, ports, energy, industry, commerce and services.”

And item 10 praises Iran’s membership of the AIIB: “The Chinese side appreciates Iran’s participation as a ‘Founding Member’ of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. Both sides are willing to strengthen their cooperation in the relevant areas and join their efforts towards the progress and prosperity of Asia.”

So what’s the deal?

The core of the Iran-China strategic partnership – no secret whatsoever since at least last year – revolves around a $400 billion Chinese investment in Iran’s energy and infrastructure for the next 25 years. It’s all about securing a matter of supreme Chinese national interest: a steady supply of oil and gas, bypassing the dangerous bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca, secured with a median 18% discount, and paid in yuan or in a basket of currencies bypassing the US dollar.

Beijing will also invest roughly $228 billion in Iranian infrastructure – that’s where the AIIB comes in – over 25 years, but especially up to 2025. That ranges from building factories to badly needed energy industry renovation, all the way to the already in progress construction of the 900 km-long electric rail from Tehran to Mashhad.

Tehran, Qom and Isfahan will also be linked by high-speed rail – and there will be an extension to Tabriz, an important oil, gas and petrochemical node and the starting point of the Tabriz-Ankara gas pipeline.

All of the above makes total sense in New Silk Road terms, as Iran is a key Eurasian crossroads. High-speed rail traversing Iran will connect Urumqi in Xinjiang to Tehran, via four of the Central Asian “stans” (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) all the way to West Asia, across Iraq and Turkey, and further on to Europe: a techno revival of the Ancient Silk Roads, where the main language of trade between East and West across the heartland was Persian.

The terms of aerial and naval military cooperation between Iran and China and also Russia are still not finalized – as Iranian sources told me. And no one has had access to the details. What Mousavi said, in a tweet, was that “there is nothing [in the agreement] about delivering Iranian islands to China, nothing about the presence of military forces, and other falsehoods.”

The same applies to – totally unsubstantiated – speculation that the PLA would be granted bases in Iran and be allowed to station troops in Iranian territory.

Last Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed Iran and China had been negotiating “with confidence and conviction” and there was “nothing secret” about the agreement.

Iranian, Chinese and Russian negotiators will meet next month to discuss terms of the military cooperation among the top three nodes of Eurasia integration. Closer collaboration is scheduled to start by November.

Geopolitically and geoeconomically, the key take away is that the US relentless blockade of the Iranian economy, featuring hardcore weaponized sanctions, is impotent to do anything about the wide-ranging Iran-China deal. Here is a decent expose of some of the factors in play.

The Iran-China strategic partnership is yet another graphic demonstration of what could be deconstructed as the Chinese brand of exceptionalism: a collective mentality and enough organized planning capable of establishing a wide-ranging, win-win, economic, political and military partnership.

It’s quite instructive to place the whole process within the context of what State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed at a recent China-US Think Tanks meeting, attended, among others, by Henry Kissinger:

“One particular view has been floating around in recent years, alleging that the success of China’s path will be a blow and threat to the Western system and path. This claim is inconsistent with facts, and we do not agree with it. Aggression and expansion are never in the genes of the Chinese nation throughout its 5,000 years of history. China does not replicate any model of other countries, nor does it export its own to others. We never ask other countries to copy what we do. More than 2,500 years ago, our forefathers advocated that ‘All living things can grow in harmony without hurting one another, and different ways can run in parallel without interfering with one another’”.

U.S. has admitted military and political failures in Syria: Russian academic

Source

July 8, 2020 – 15:26

TEHRAN – An associate professor in the Department of Comparative Politics at RUDN University believes that the United States has admitted its military and political failure in Syria.“The United States recognizes its military and political failure in Syria,” Vladimir Ivanov tells the Tehran Times.Ivanov says Washington’s main goal of overthrowing the Assad government has not been realized. However, the scholar says, Russia, unlike many other foreign powers, “has managed to maintain good (or at least normal) relations with all participants in major regional conflicts.” Following is the text of the interview:

1.    Turkey accuses Russia of increasing its military intervention in Libya. This accusation was made while Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visited the Libyan capital, Tripoli. What is your comment? 

Recently, the Libyan national army has destroyed Turkish military equipment stationed at a strategically important airbase al-Vatiya. “The U.S. cannot influence the processes in a particular region of the world by military force,” Vladimir Ivanov says. 

The day before, it became known about Ankara’s intention to participate in the Libyan conflict openly. Turkey sides with the Government of National Accord and comes into conflict with France over Libya. 

Turkey is outraged by the attack on the al-Vatiya airbase in Libya, which the Ankara-backed Government of National Accord led by Faiz Saraj recaptured from the Libyan national army of Marshal Khalifa Haftar. 

Ankara tried to establish a military base located 140 kilometers south of Tripoli but deployed Turkish air defense systems (US-made Hawk anti-aircraft missile systems) were damaged in the air attack and couldn’t even protect themselves. 

Although Turkey has not yet openly accused any side of the air raid on al-Watiya, “transparent hints” are being made, that two “external” forces supporting the LNA are behind the strikes: Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, in Arab world several analysts describe the situation as “the UAE has taught a lesson to the Turks”. 

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was in Tripoli July 3 and 4, where he held talks with the military and political leadership of the Government of National Accord. Ankara is going to openly participate and intervene in the conflict in Libya after Faiz Sarraj concluded a defense agreement with the Turkish side. In accordance with the new Treaty, Turkey gets the right to place its military base on the territory of Libya.

2. What is your evaluation of the Astana peace process in regard to the Syria crisis? Was it successful cooperation between Russia, Turkey, and Iran?

For now, it’s obvious that Moscow’s actions in the region were more effective than those of its Western rivals, due to high-quality expert analysis and awareness of the real situation in the Middle East (West Asia). 

While the U.S. leadership often relied on biased assessments of pro-Western dissidents and political immigrants, the Kremlin always had the analytics of professional research scientists, and data from a broad intelligence network on the ground was inherited from the Soviet Union.

According to some experts, Russia (unlike many other foreign powers) has managed to maintain good (or at least normal) relations with all participants in major regional conflicts. Russia did not undertake numerous political and security commitments in the region and, unlike the United States, is not limited in flexibility by any rigid alliances. Thus,  Moscow is in a better position than Washington to serve as a mediator in negotiations between influential actors in the region.

3. How do you assess the presence of U.S. troops in Syria while Washington, besides some Arab capitals, blames Russia and Iran for supporting Assad’s government?

Having lost the confrontation in Syria, the U.S. intends to move to the second phase of aggression – to subversive work, including information. By entering the information war platform, the United States recognizes its military and political failure in Syria. The main goal of overthrowing B. Assad has not been achieved. The U.S. is announcing the deployment of psychological and subversive operations, which they are quite adept at. At the same time, American troops seizure Syrian oil fields. Another thing is that today the United States, as it seems, simply cannot influence the processes in a particular region of the world by military force. We can witness the acute desire of the U.S. government not even to change the regime in Damascus. The main aim for them now is to squeeze Russia out of its strategic position in Syria.

4. American sources claim Russia did pay extremists to attack U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. What is your analysis?

This “information” of American media is a typical fake and has already been officially denied by the American President. Russia has never cooperated with the Taliban and only those who either have a poor understanding of the situation in Afghanistan or deliberately distort the facts speak of any collusion between Moscow and the Taliban. The Afghan radical Taliban movement is conducting its own investigation based on media reports about alleged Russian collusion with the movement and calls these accusations baseless, invented by intelligence, and aimed at damaging the peace process in the country. Press Secretary of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov expressed regret that once the largest and respected world media promoted those fakes. The Russian Embassy in the United States demanded that the country’s authorities respond adequately to threats that come to diplomats because of news about Russia and Afghanistan. The white house, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence said that there is no confirmation of the reports at the moment and that D. Trump was not informed about them.

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