Showing posts with label Diplomacy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diplomacy. Show all posts

Monday, April 15, 2024

Israeli media: Israeli politicians should thank Jordan; Jordan summons Iran's ambassador to protest

    Monday, April 15, 2024   No comments

Some Israeli media outlets want Jordan to be thanked for standing with Israel during Iran's retaliatory strike for the attack on its diplomatic facilities in Syria. These recent developments are forcing many regional and global actors to make tough decisions and the effects of those decisions may not be felt or known immediately, testifying to the power of these events as transformative ones. 

"While Netanyahu shows nothing but ingratitude towards Biden, the Iranian attack produced the most significant show of support in the history of Israeli-U.S. relations. It also proves the importance of a regional alliance of moderates, including the Palestinians." said the daily Haaretz.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Iranian ambassador in Amman and asked his country to stop “questioning” Jordan’s positions on the Palestinian issue after the Kingdom announced the interception of “flying objects” during the Iranian attack on Israel.

Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi said, “Today (Sunday) the ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador and sent him a clear message that these insults to Jordan must stop, and this questioning of Jordan’s positions must stop.”

He added, "Unfortunately, there were offensive statements (against Jordan) by the Iranian media, including the Iranian official news agency."

Al-Safadi explained that "Iran's problem is with Israel and not with Jordan, and neither Iran nor anyone else can outbid what Jordan is doing, what it offers, and what it has provided historically for Palestine."

He stressed that "if this danger was coming from Israel, Jordan would take the same action it did, and this is a position we confirm clearly and frankly, and we will not allow anyone to endanger the security of Jordan and the Jordanians."

Jordan confirmed on Sunday that it had intercepted "flying objects" that violated its airspace on Saturday night, coinciding with the missile and drone attack launched by Iran on Israel.

Video clips showed the interception of objects in the Kingdom's airspace during the night, at a time when the remains of at least one missile fell in the Marj Al-Hamam area in the Jordanian capital. Users of social media platforms in the Kingdom also shared video clips showing the wreckage of another missile in the Al-Hasa area in the Tafila Governorate in the south of the Kingdom.

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday night, in the first attack launched by Iran directly from its territory on Israel, and not through groups loyal to it. It came in response to a missile attack that targeted the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus at the beginning of this April.

Related, French President Emmanuel Macron revealed on Monday that his country used its base in Jordan to intercept Iranian air targets during the attack on Israel, at the request of the Jordanian authorities.

The French President said, in a television interview, that his country's forces stationed in Jordan intercepted Iranian drones and missiles that were heading to Israeli sites, explaining that the French planes were launched from a French base that has been on Jordanian territory for years.

Yesterday, Sunday, the Jordanian government announced that it was “dealing with some flying objects” that entered the country’s airspace, in reference to the drones and missiles that Iran launched against “Israel.”

Israeli media described the Jordanian move as “historic cooperation,” adding that “for the first time, military cooperation between the two parties is taking place publicly.”

 The decision by the rulers of Jordan to be involved in this conflict may further increase division among Jordanians, many of whom either sympathize with Palestinians or are Palestinians themselves, as the kingdom is home to one of the largest displaced Palestinian communities in the world.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Iran retaliates: Israel's miscalculation allowed Iran to sideline US and attack Israel at the same time

    Saturday, April 13, 2024   No comments

It may take time before the world learns that Biden's angry 30-minute call with Israel's pm, Netanyahu, two weeks ago, was not really triggered by Israel armed forces killing aid workers, for Israel had already killed more than 250 aids workers in Gaza before this event, but it was about the attack on the Iranian diplomatic facility in Syria. The next few days and months will reveal how costly Israel’s miscalculation was and that would explain Biden's anger.

Biden's anger was not motivated by his respect for Iran's or Syria's sovereignty, of course. It is motivated by the fact that no other State, ever, had deliberately attacked diplomatic facilities even when two states were at war. This global consensus is enshrined in several treaties and protocols. So, for the State of Israel to be the first to attack a diplomatic facility, violating two sovereignties in one strike, other states were put in a very difficult position, and that opened a window for Iran to re-assert its sovereignty and claim self-defense, the same international principle that has been used by Israel to destroy Gaza and kill more than 41,000 of its people after Hamas launched its own attack on October 7, 2023.

So, on Saturday evening, Iran launched its expected attack on Israel, in response to the bombing of its consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus, in early April, by launching dozens of drones and missiles into Israel.

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said that the army and air force are prepared for the expected Iranian threats, he said.

He added that the army will try to prevent the Iranian drones from reaching Israel, and will deal with them as soon as they arrive, "but we warn that the defense will not be 100%."

ABC quoted a senior American official as saying that he believes Iran will launch between 400 and 500 drones and missiles at Israel.

CNN also reported that an Israeli military official reported that he expected Iran to launch additional waves of drones over time.

This American news network also said that President Joe Biden has now met with his national security team in the White House Situations Room.

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel will protect itself from any threat, and that it will do so calmly and with determination, he said.

Netanyahu added, "Israel is strong, its army is strong, its people are strong, and whoever harms us, we harm him," stressing that "Israel is prepared for any direct targeting from Iran."

He continued by saying, "Our defense systems are deployed, and we are prepared for any scenario, whether in defense or attack."

  

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

China condemns Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus: it is a grave violation of the UN Charter and international law

    Wednesday, April 03, 2024   No comments

"This is a grave violation of the UN Charter and international law and a breach of the sovereignty of both Syria and Iran. This attack is of an extremely vicious nature... 25 years ago, China's embassy in Yugoslavia was bombed by a US-led NATO airstrike... we feel the grief and pain of the Iranian government and people...

To allow impunity for such reckless acts would send a seriously wrong signal and would encourage even more risky acts... the red line of international law and the basic norms of international relations has been breached time and again, and the moral bottom line of human conscience has been crushed time and again."

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Has US threat to force Qatar to expel Hamas out of Doha collapsed the Ceasefire negotiations?

    Sunday, March 31, 2024   No comments

Although the US has warned the leaders of Qatar as early as October that they will need to reconsider the presence of the leaders of Hamas in Doha, the US wanted to use their presence there to strike deals that it wanted. However, with the negotiations for a ceasefire going nowhere, the US administrations wanted to leverage Qatar hosting of Hamas leaders to force them to accept a proposal the Biden administration formulated. 

CNN reported recently that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “delivered a stern message to Qatar earlier this month: Tell Hamas that they must deliver on a hostage and ceasefire deal that would halt the war in Gaza or risk getting kicked out of the Qatari capital of Doha.” That threat appears to have failed to achieve its goal and worse, it may have backfired.

First, Hamas leaders are now saying that there is no negotiation because their last counteroffer was not responded to by Israel in a way that will allow them to go on negotiating. Hamas and other Palestinian factions insist that there will be a deal only when a permanent ceasefire is approved and guaranteed by the mediators, when aid is delivered to all the people in Gaza, and when Israel forces leave Gaza, when people who lost their homes are sheltered. 

Second, Hamas and other Palestinian resistance leaders took the threat of being kicked out of Doha, the same way they way forced out Turkey, and offered a demonstration of what will happen if they are forced out of Doha: they will settle in Iran. Iran seems to be willing to not only host Hamas leaders, but to host them in a formal manner—something no other host nation has done for Hamas since their days in Syria pre-2012.

Just after the conclusion of the Persian new year celebrations, leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were received by the highest officials of the Iranian government, including a couple meetings with the supreme leader. The message is clear: you can kick us out of Qatar and when you do, we will find home in a country that recognizes us as official representatives of the Palestinian peoples. That means, if Israel or the US wants to negotiate with Hamas, they will have to find someone else other than Qatar or Egypt to mediate. China and Russia willingness to receive Hamas leaders as official representatives of the Palestinian people make Iran's move less problematic.

Based on events on the ground, Hamas leaders having to leave another country to find refuge in Iran will only make Arab countries, like Qatar and Jordan look week. The daily denotations that are growing by the day in Jordan are a good indication of this trend.


Pro-Palestinian protesters in Jordan, March 30, 2024.


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Another US government employeee resigning in protest of gaza War: "Why I’m resigning from the State Department"

    Wednesday, March 27, 2024   No comments

Another US government employeee resigning in protest of gaza War: "Why I’m resigning from the State Department", the State Department employee, Annelle Sheline, PhD,  wrote on CNN.


For the past year, I worked for the office devoted to promoting human rights in the Middle East. I believe strongly in the mission and in the important work of that office. However, as a representative of a government that is directly enabling what the International Court of Justice has said could plausibly be a genocide in Gaza, such work has become almost impossible. Unable to serve an administration that enables such atrocities, I have decided to resign from my position at the Department of State.

...

President Joe Biden himself indirectly admits that Israel is not protecting Palestinian civilians from harm. Under pressure from some congressional Democrats, the administration issued a new policy to ensure that foreign military transfers don’t violate relevant domestic and international laws.

...

She also invoked another employee of US government, Aaron Bushnell, US Navy Pilot, who committed the most extreme act of protest, setting oneself on fire.

I am haunted by the final social media post of Aaron Bushnell, the 25-year-old US Air Force serviceman who self-immolated in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington on February 25: “Many of us like to ask ourselves, ‘What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?’ The answer is, you’re doing it. Right now.”

I can no longer continue what I was doing. I hope that my resignation can contribute to the many efforts to push the administration to withdraw support for Israel’s war, for the sake of the 2 million Palestinians whose lives are at risk and for the sake of America’s moral standing in the world.

In October, another State Department official in the bureau that oversees arms transfers, Josh Paul, resigned this week in protest of the Biden administration’s decision to continue sending weapons and ammunition to Israel as it lays siege to Gaza in its war with Hamas.

Monday, March 25, 2024

With US refrained from using its veto this time, 14 UNSC members adopted a resolution calling for a cease fire in Gaza

    Monday, March 25, 2024   No comments

None of the UNSC P5 member States used their NO vote; that is all it took.


For the first time, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, more than 5 months after the Israeli war, as the United States - the main supporter of Tel Aviv - refrained from using its veto this time.

The resolution presented by non-permanent members of the Security Council calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, stressing the urgent need to increase aid and demanding the removal of all obstacles to its delivery.

Algeria's representative to the United Nations, Ammar Ben Jama, said that the adoption of the resolution is a message to the people of Gaza that the international community feels their pain and has not abandoned them.

He continued, saying, "We want Palestine to become a full and sovereign member of the United Nations."

The adoption of the resolution came after the Council failed to pass an amendment to the draft by adding the phrase “permanent ceasefire.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said a failure to implement the resolution would be “unforgivable.”

“The Security Council just approved a long-awaited resolution on Gaza, demanding an immediate ceasefire, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

This resolution must be implemented. Failure would be unforgivable,” Guterres wrote on X.

Last Friday, Russia and China used their veto power to drop a US draft resolution calling for a ceasefire “in the framework of a deal to release the hostages,” a formulation that the Arab countries, Moscow, and Beijing described as “politicized and ambiguous.

The United States has previously systematically opposed the term “ceasefire” in United Nations resolutions, and has obstructed 3 texts in this context, since the beginning of the war.



Thursday, March 14, 2024

Biden extends the state of emergency against Iran

    Thursday, March 14, 2024   No comments

US President Joe Biden ordered the extension of the “national emergency” related to Iran for another year, stressing the maintenance of comprehensive sanctions against Tehran to respond to the threat it poses to American national security.

Biden sent a message to Congress regarding the continuation of the law signed by the administration of former President Bill Clinton on March 15, 1995.

He said in his letter that “the actions and policies of the Iranian government continue to pose an unusual and exceptional threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

Biden stressed that “it is necessary to continue the (national emergency) declared in Executive Order No. (12957) with respect to Iran and to maintain comprehensive sanctions against Iran to respond to this threat.”

The “national emergency” was first declared by former President Bill Clinton in an executive order on March 15, 1995, based on “the extraordinary threats created by the actions and policies of the Iranian government against the national interests and U.S. foreign policy; Including missile development, support for terrorist groups, malign activities by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, regional destabilization, and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Russia reacts to US plans for building a port in Gaza: Dancing on bones, fake projects, and making fun of people

    Wednesday, March 13, 2024   No comments

On Wednesday, Russia described US plans to build a temporary seaport on the Gaza coast to provide humanitarian aid to the Strip as “dancing on the bones and fictitious projects that need peace first.”

Regarding the seriousness of the United States’ initiative to build a temporary port in a war zone, Russian FM spokesperson Maria Zakharova said during press briefing in Moscow, that this amounts to “dancing on the bones and mocking people.”

She added: "When civilians die there every day, we need to talk about their fates, not about some imaginary future projects that first and foremost need peace to implement."

She referred to the United States’ reluctance to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying: “When a country, and I am talking now about the United States, does not want to formulate a call for a ceasefire, how can we deal with initiatives to build civilian infrastructure where they do not want a ceasefire?” fire".

US President Joe Biden announced that he had instructed the army to establish a temporary port near the coast of Gaza, indicating that more humanitarian aid would enter Gaza by sea through the port without American soldiers setting foot on the territory of the Strip.

Saturday, March 09, 2024

Sensing US fractured foreign policy, China formulates its foreign policy with Taiwan and recognition of independent Palestine top priorities

    Saturday, March 09, 2024   No comments

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US foreign policy was built on a compelling narrative of human rights and democracy and on a powerful military. Because powerful militaries need justifying rhetoric, the US prioritized is human rights claims. The nexus between human rights norms and Western intervention has collapsed with the ongoing starvation of civilians in Gaza and the near total destruction of homes and infrastructure in the Strip. The difference of Western postures to the war and Ukraine and the War in Gaza made the disconnect even more obvious. China sees these developments as an opportunity to create a foreign policy that is more consistent and that benefit from the self-inflicted injuries of Western powers. The analysis of current events provides more background information.


In Beijing yesterday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a press conference on the sidelines of the “Meeting of the Second Session of the 14th National People’s Congress,” in which he discussed the “shape” that the foreign policy of the “People’s Republic of China” will take during the coming year. While the Chinese official repeated some of the well-known broad lines of his country’s foreign policy, it seemed remarkable that he escalated “in tone” with regard to some files, especially those related to “Taiwan independence” and American practices towards China. On the other hand, in response to a question about Chinese-Russian relations, Wang Yi stressed that Moscow and Beijing had made the choice to “preserve bilateral relations and develop them strategically, on the basis of the fundamental interests of the two peoples,” considering that the two countries had established a “new model” of relations between large countries. It is represented by a commitment to permanent good neighborliness and deepening comprehensive strategic cooperation on the basis of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of a third party,” which “is different from what existed during the Cold War.” Speaking about the latter, the Chinese official considered that “this war should not be repeated,” given that the people have now “rejected the idea of hegemony” and will not accept division. When asked about the Israeli crimes committed in the Gaza Strip, Yi stressed that the “inability” to stop “the humanitarian catastrophe resulting from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the twenty-first century, is tragic for humanity, and a disgrace to civilization,” noting that “what “There is no pretext or excuse that justifies the continuation of the conflict and the killing of civilians,” he said. Wang Yi also stressed that “it is not permissible to continue to ignore the long-term occupation of the Palestinian territories, and the aspirations of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state, as well as the continuation of the historical injustice that this people has suffered over the generations, without correcting it.” According to the Chinese official, “Getting out of the spiral of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict once and for all, removing the fertile ground for extremist ideas of all kinds, and truly achieving lasting peace in the Middle East is not possible except by restoring the Palestinian people’s rights,” and implementing the “two-state solution.” In a comprehensive manner. He also renewed the call for granting Palestine “full membership in the Security Council,” along with “holding a more effective and credible international peace conference,” to set a timetable for implementing the principle of the “two-state solution.” With regard to Taiwan, Beijing, through its Foreign Minister, reiterated Emphasizing that its “clear” policy is to continuously seek the peaceful reunification of the island, warning, in return, that “the red line is clear” on this issue as well, which is not to allow “the separation of Taiwan from the motherland.” Wang Yi added, addressing the authorities in Taiwan and their allies: “Whoever prepares (for Taiwan independence) from within the island of Taiwan will inevitably be held accountable by history. Whoever tolerates that independence and supports it on the international scene will be consumed by the fire he kindled, and will eat the bitter fruits he sowed.” Wang Yi also called on all Chinese people to “give priority to the supreme national interest” and oppose Taiwan independence “together.”


Prior to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statements, some Chinese media outlets, especially the state-owned Global Times newspaper, hinted that Prime Minister Li Qiang had escalated, in the annual “government work report” he submitted to the “Chinese People’s Congress,” regarding... Taiwan, as he did not mention the term “peaceful reunification,” stressing instead that China “will be resolute in pushing for the reunification of China.” While some Western observers said that this step was “deliberate” by Beijing, considering that it may be “an indication of a more assertive future stance towards Taiwan,” the deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University did not deny this, in an interview with the newspaper. The Chinese, the aforementioned point of view, considered that deleting the phrase “indicates that confronting secession attempts and containing Taiwan independence provocations will be a more urgent and practical task for the mainland in the coming years.”

Although the Chinese Foreign Minister stressed, once again, the necessity of not dragging Beijing and Washington into any kind of confrontation or conflict, in order to avoid “unpleasant consequences,” he quickly “escalated” his criticism of American practices, asking: “If The United States was saying one thing and doing another, so where is its credibility as a major country? If the United States feels tense and anxious just hearing the name (China), where is its self-confidence as a major country? (...)». He added that Washington faces problems “with itself, not with China,” considering that the American “addiction” to Beijing’s “suppression” will ultimately harm the United States itself. The Chinese minister’s criticism also extended to Europe, as he saw that the latter “classified China in three categories at the same time, that is, partner, competitor, and systemic adversary,” considering that such a classification is unrealistic and unenforceable.

Rim Hani


Wednesday, February 07, 2024

The midnight statement of the Saudi Foreign Ministry regarding normalization: What prompted it?

    Wednesday, February 07, 2024   No comments

The abstract of this developing story is this: The Saudi rulers are no longer benefiting from the diplomacy of ambiguity in relations to normalization with Israel. So they took a decisive step at the heels of the fifth visit by the US top diplomat to state in clear and unambiguous terms that Saudi Arabia will not take any steps towards normalization until concrete steps are taken to stop the war in Gaza and establish and recognize an independent Palestinian state over the 1967 borders. Some context, including reactions by media outlets and political entities will provide more clarity.  

“Negotiations aimed at normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel continue to advance.” A phrase that the United States and “Israel” have continued to promote continuously, in various forms, and at an intense pace, specifically after October 7, 2023. But what the Saudi statement stated regarding the relationship with “Israel” and the conditions set by Riyadh debunks the falsehood of the Israeli and American narrative in this context, and brings Riyadh into the equation of cards that pressure the occupation to force it to stop its aggression against Gaza. What are the implications of the statement?

The statement issued by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, today, Wednesday, which stressed the Saudi insistence on the necessity of establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with “East Jerusalem” as its capital, stopping the aggression against Gaza, and complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, as a condition for establishing diplomatic relations with the Israeli occupation, came. As a response to the American leaks, which claimed that Saudi Arabia was ready to accept a political commitment from “Israel” to establish a Palestinian state, in order to conclude a defense agreement with Washington, before the American presidential elections, and here the talk is about a “political commitment” and not practical steps.

In this context, the American newspaper "Washington Post" reported that the United States informed "Israel" that the Saudi normalization agreement should begin within the next two months.

According to the newspaper, this is partly because Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is demanding, as part of the normalization package, a treaty that provides NATO-like guarantees for Saudi security.

Given that it is an election year in the United States, according to the newspaper, such a deal would likely receive Senate approval by June, “and if it is later than that, it will be buried under campaign politics.”

However, all of these accounts contradict the official Saudi position, which was issued just one day after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.

The Saudi newspaper “Okaz” said that the Kingdom’s statement, including its clear positions regarding normalization with “Israel,” comes to “refute all the allegations made by Washington and Tel Aviv to serve their interests.”

According to the Saudi newspaper, the American-Israeli leaks, which attempt to mislead public opinion that the Kingdom is open to the idea of establishing a normal relationship with “Israel” in light of its continued aggression against the Gaza Strip, aim to influence the Saudi effort aimed at achieving an immediate ceasefire.

The newspaper added, "The Kingdom's statement blocked the way for any bidding regarding the Kingdom's firm and historical position towards the issue of Palestine and its permanent support for the rights of the Palestinian people, strengthening their steadfastness, and providing them with a decent life."

The Saudi position expressed in the Foreign Ministry’s statement regarding the necessity of resolving the Palestinian issue first and foremost and establishing their independent state is, according to the Saudi newspaper, “a historical position par excellence.”

Two weeks ago, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Rima bint Bandar Al Saud, confirmed that her country is unable to continue discussions regarding the normalization agreement with the Israeli occupation entity before the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Noting here that the idea of “normalization” is widely and popularly rejected in Saudi Arabia, as expressed in the latest opinion polls, which were conducted by the Washington Institute in December 2023.

The poll results show that (96%) agree with the proposal that “the Arab countries must immediately cut off all diplomatic, political, economic and any other contacts with Israel, in protest against its military action in Gaza.”

The results of the survey also showed that the popularity of the Hamas movement has increased significantly among Saudis, as there was a thirty-point shift in positive attitudes towards the movement, from only 10% in August 2023 to 40% in December 2023.

The opinion poll indicated that (91%) of Saudis agree with the statement that “despite the destruction and loss of life, this war in Gaza is a victory for the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.”

The first reaction to the Saudi Foreign Ministry's statement came in the Israeli newspaper "Jerusalem Post", where it considered that the United States had hoped that "Israel's" willingness to engage in a "peace" process towards a two-state solution would be sufficient to allow the issue to move forward, but, within hours Saudi Arabia made clear that this was not the case, issuing a sharp statement in the middle of the night.

The newspaper saw that Saudi Arabia linked the normalization process to the war on Gaza, and said that to achieve the normalization agreement, “the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip must stop and all Israeli occupation forces must withdraw from the Gaza Strip.”

The newspaper commented by saying, "Israel's willingness to make peace is not enough for the Saudis."

Commenting on the statement, Israeli commentators were quick to consider it “an expression of Saudi anger at the statements of US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who touched on the normalization talks that preceded the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation - October 7 during a press conference earlier this week, and pointed out that These discussions are continuing, and his country has received positive reactions from both parties (Saudi Arabia and Israel), within what he described as a separate track and not specifically related to trying to reach a truce in Gaza.

This comes after what Reuters reported on Friday that Saudi Arabia would be ready to accept a political commitment from Israel to establish a Palestinian state in order to conclude a defense agreement with Washington before the US presidential elections.

According to Reuters, in order to create room for maneuver in the talks on recognizing “Israel” and putting the American agreement back on track, Saudi officials told their American counterparts that Riyadh would not insist that “Israel” take concrete steps to create a Palestinian state, and that it would “accept, in lieu of This includes a political commitment to establishing a Palestinian state within the two-state solution policy.”

Also, one regional source told Reuters that Saudi officials secretly urged Washington to pressure Israel to end the Gaza war and commit to a “political horizon” for a Palestinian state, saying that Riyadh would then normalize relations and help finance the reconstruction of Gaza.

Earlier, the American newspaper "Washington Post" reported that the United States informed "Israel" that the Saudi normalization agreement should begin within the next two months.

According to the newspaper, this is partly because Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is demanding, as part of the normalization package, a treaty that provides NATO-like guarantees for Saudi security.

Given that it is an election year in the United States, according to the newspaper, such a deal would likely receive Senate approval by June, “and if it is delayed, it will be buried under campaign politics.”

Two days ago, Saudi Arabia resumed talks with the United States regarding establishing closer “defense relations” after stopping them following the events of October 7, 2023, according to what the American “Bloomberg” agency reported, citing sources.

Two weeks ago, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Rima bint Bandar Al Saud, confirmed that her country is unable to continue discussions regarding the normalization agreement with the Israeli occupation entity before the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

It is noteworthy that the administration of US President Joe Biden is pressuring Saudi Arabia to conclude a normalization deal. In return, the Saudi Crown Prince sets conditions for its completion, including “obtaining security guarantees from Washington and helping to develop a civilian nuclear program.”

Friday, February 02, 2024

A First: More than 800 Officials from ally nations across the Atlantic have united to publicly criticize their governments over the war on Gaza

    Friday, February 02, 2024   No comments

More than 800 officials in the US, the UK and the EU released a public letter of dissent against their governments’ support of Israel in its war in Gaza, The New York Times reported on Friday.

According to current and former officials spearheading or supporting the initiative, the letter marks the first time that officials from ally nations across the Atlantic have united to publicly criticize their governments over the war.

The officials argue that they are speaking up because they, as civil servants, consider that it is their duty to help improve policy and to work in their nations’ interests, and that they are speaking up because they believe their governments need to change direction on the war.

“Our governments’ current policies weaken their moral standing and undermine their ability to stand up for freedom, justice and human rights globally,” The New York Times quoted the letter as saying.

There is a “plausible risk” that their governments’ policies are contributing to “grave violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide,” it added.

According to the newspaper, the document protected the identities of signers as they fear reprisal, said one organizer, an official who has worked in the State Department for more than 20 years.

But about 800 current officials have given approval to the letter as it has quietly circulated among employees at the national level in multiple countries, the official was quoted as saying.

The effort reveals the extent to which pro-Israel policies among American, British and European leaders have stirred dissent among civil servants, including many who engage in foreign policies of their governments.

Noting that some 80 of the signers are from American agencies, with the biggest group being from the State Department, one organizer said the governing authority most represented among the signers is the collective EU institutions, followed by the Netherlands and the US.



Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Chinese President Xi Jinping officially received the credentials of the Taliban ambassador to Beijing

    Tuesday, January 30, 2024   No comments

The Afghan Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping officially received the credentials of the Taliban ambassador to Beijing. Mawlawi Assadullah, also known as Bilal Karimi, handed over his credentials along with ambassadors from 41 countries to President Xi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the ministry said in a statement.

President Xi is the first head of state to officially accredit a Taliban ambassador during a special ceremony, and last year, Taliban Prime Minister Hassan Akhund received the newly appointed Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan.

 

No country in the world has officially recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan yet, but ambassadors appointed by the Taliban are actively working in many Asian capitals.

Taliban Ambassador to Chaina, Bilal Karimi
 

The Taliban movement has been criticized by the international community due to the severe restrictions it imposes on women's rights.

 

A Brussels-based research center said on Tuesday that countries in the region need to deal with Afghanistan regarding security and economic issues and urged Western powers to support such efforts or at least refrain from obstructing them.

 

China has maintained good relations with the Taliban since its return to power in August 2021, and Beijing is considered one of Kabul's largest trading partners.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Iran Summons Russian Envoy Over Statement on Disputed Gulf Islands

    Sunday, December 24, 2023   No comments

Those familair with Iranian culture would say that Iran's leaders do not do "ta`aruf" when it comes to their sovereignty. That is, “no kidding allowed” on the matter. In a move similar to its reaction to China putting its name on an Arab-Chinese joint statement when the Chinese president visit the Gulf region, Iran foreign ministry summoned the Russian diplomat to protest a similar event that took place in Morocco earlier this month. 

Iran has summoned the Russian chargé d'affaires to Tehran in protest at a recent statement issued by Russia and several Arab countries on Iran’s three Persian Gulf islands of Abu Musa, the Greater Tunb, and the Lesser Tunb.

The Russian diplomat was summoned by the assistant to the Iranian Foreign Ministry's director general for the Persian Gulf affairs on Saturday.

The development came after the final statement of the 6th Arab-Russian Cooperation Forum, which was held in Morocco on December 20, reiterated the United Arab Emirates' baseless claims about the three Iranian islands.


Iran has summoned Russia's envoy to protest a recent statement by Moscow and Arab countries calling for talks over three islands controlled by Tehran but claimed by the United Arab Emirates.


The summoning of Moscow's charge d'affaires came days after Iran's key ally Russia signed a joint declaration with Arab countries which "supported peaceful solutions and initiatives" to resolve the dispute over the islands.

Iran's foreign ministry said on Saturday it summoned Moscow's charge d'affaires in Tehran, in the absence of its ambassador, to submit a "note of protest" on the contents of the joint statement.


"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers any claim from any side in this regard as rejected and unacceptable," Iran's foreign ministry said in a statement.


Iran's top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also called the islands "an integral part of Iran's territorial integrity" in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday.


"Tehran will not compromise with any side on the issue of respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty," he added.


Iran in July summoned the Russian ambassador to protest a similar joint statement signed by Moscow and Arab countries on the islands.


Located in the Gulf, the three strategic islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa are located near the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of world oil output passes.

  

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

By a margin of 80% (for) to 5% (against), the United Nations General Assembly adopts a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip

    Wednesday, December 13, 2023   No comments

The United Nations General Assembly adopted an immediate ceasefire resolution in the Gaza Strip, which has been subjected to Israeli aggression for more than 65 days.



The draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which was voted on in the Assembly, received 153 votes, while 10 countries opposed it, and 23 countries abstained from voting.

Following the vote, the Palestinian presidency welcomed the United Nations’ call for a ceasefire, urging the countries that voted in favor of the resolution to “compel the Israeli occupation to implement it.” The representative of occupied Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said that the UN resolution on Gaza is “historic.”

Mansour announced that the General Assembly would vote on the draft resolution that was dropped by the United States of America in the UN Security Council, last Friday.

In an interview with reporters in New York, Mansour indicated that countries that oppose the draft resolution are proposing amendments to it, including “condemning the Hamas movement and labeling it a terrorist,” stressing that “the Arab and Islamic group will reject these amendments together.”

The representative of the United States of America, which vetoed a UNSC resolution calling for an end to the violence last week, Linda Greenfield, indicated that the humanitarian situation in the Strip is “dire, as civilians need everything, and must be protected under international law.”

Greenfield expressed her country's readiness to "resume humanitarian truces," and issued a "promise" to "bring more aid into Gaza," welcoming the occupation's decision to "open the Kerem Shalom crossing," and noting that "Israel must avoid mass killing of civilians,"

But at the same time, Greenfield  affirmed “continuing American support for Israel’s security,” considering that “Hamas remaining a neighbor of Israel is unacceptable,” in a position consistent with the positions of the occupation in its war against the Gaza Strip.


Tuesday, December 12, 2023

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell: The destruction in Gaza is worse than what Germany witnessed during World War II

    Tuesday, December 12, 2023   No comments

Borrell: The situation is catastrophic and horrific, and the human suffering in the Strip constitutes an unprecedented challenge to the international community

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday described the situation in Gaza as “catastrophic and horrific,” with relatively “greater” destruction than what Germany witnessed during World War II.

After chairing a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, Borrell said that the Israeli army's response to the attacks launched by Hamas on October 7 led to an "incredible number of civilian casualties."

Borrell did not refer to the fact that Israel's war on Gaza has killed more children than any other conflict, with more than 70% of confirmed deaths being women and children.

Borrell also expressed the European Union's "concern" about the violence of extremist settlers in the West Bank, who are represented in the Israeli government by supremacists who suggested Israel drops a nuclear bomb on Gaza

Borrell also condemned the Israeli government's approval of the construction of 1,700 new housing units in Jerusalem, which Brussels considers a violation of international law.

Borrell said, “The destruction caused to buildings in Gaza...is somewhat greater than the destruction inflicted on German cities during World War II.”

He said that he presented to the foreign ministers of European Union countries a discussion paper to consider “imposing sanctions against extremist settlers in the West Bank” whose attacks against Palestinian residents have increased in intensity.

He indicated that he would soon turn the paper into an official proposal, based on an initiative taken by the United States, which announced last week that it would refuse to grant visas to extremist Israeli settlers.

But he acknowledged that there is no consensus yet on the issue among the governments of European Union countries.


Friday, December 08, 2023

The United States, alone, again, blocking a UNSC resolution backed by more than 100 countries calling for a stop to the War on Gaza

    Friday, December 08, 2023   No comments

Not a single country among the current members of the United Nations Security Council sided with the United States to vote against the resolution calling for the end of violence in Gaza on humanitarian grounds. 

The support for the resolution was unprecedented, with more than 100 countries out of 193 sponsoring the resolution.


The resolution was introduced when the UN Secretary General invoked the rarely used Chapter 99 of the UN Charter. Guterres invoked Article 99, which says the secretary-general may inform the council of matters he believes threaten international peace and security. Nonetheless, the US government vetoed the resolution. 

The UK, this time, too, found another reason to abstain from taking a stand. The UK government justified its abstention by the need to condemn Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack as an act of terrorism. During a similar UNSC vote that included language that condemned Hamas, the UK still refused to support the resolution. 

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Powerful countries who habitually abuse their power will always find excuses and justifications for the abuses.


The isolation of the United States in the world community is indicative of the loss of credibility, something that is very hard to recover from at a time when the US and its allies are struggling to find support to counter Russia and China.

Friday, November 10, 2023

US Diplomats warn Biden: We are losing support of Arabs for a generation

    Friday, November 10, 2023   No comments

In a sign that even if Israel were to win this battle in Gaza, the US will end up losing the war for minds and hearts in the world for generations to come. This possibility is now being expressed by US diplomats from around the world, especially the fragile Arab world.

The US embassy in Oman sent a diplomatic cable to the White House this week warning that President Joe Biden's unwavering support for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza “is losing us Arab publics for a generation.”


“We are losing badly on the messaging battlespace,” the cable drafted by the second-highest US official in Muscat reads, according to CNN. It adds that US support for Israel’s actions is seen “as material and moral culpability in what [Arabs] consider to be possible war crimes.”


The cable was sent to the White House’s National Security Council, the CIA, and the FBI.

Anger has been growing across the Arab world against the US for its role in arming, financing, and protecting Israel since the start of the war in Gaza last month. US embassies across the region have become targets for angry protesters, while US bases in Iraq and Syria have been bombed dozens of times over the past three weeks.


This week, US ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea was forced to cancel a scheduled visit to Dar al-Fatwa to meet with the Grand Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, due to widespread anger at her presence.

Similarly, US State Secretary Antony Blinken faced a cold welcome during his visit to multiple nations in West Asia earlier this month, as diplomats urged the senior US official on the need to stop the genocide unfolding in Gaza.


In Washington, the situation is reportedly just as critical, with State Department staffers harshly criticizing the White House's stance in a recent dissent memo.


[The gap between the US private and public messaging] contributes to regional public perceptions that the United States is a biased and dishonest actor, which at best does not advance, and at worst harms, US interests worldwide,” the memo, leaked to POLITICO, reads.

“We must publicly criticize Israel’s violations of international norms such as failure to limit offensive operations to legitimate military targets,” it adds. “When Israel supports settler violence and illegal land seizures or employs excessive use of force against Palestinians, we must communicate publicly that this goes against our American values so that Israel does not act with impunity.”


The internal strife comes as Biden faces a significant dip in popularity ahead of next year's elections, as recent opinion polls show he is trailing behind former president Donald Trump in five of the six most crucial battleground states.

Furthermore, tens of thousands of protesters have continuously taken to the streets of multiple cities in the US over the past month to demand that the president call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.



Friday, November 03, 2023

US administration, Blinken: "We need to do more to protect Palestinian civilians" | Angelina Jolie: “World leaders complicit in the crime of turning Gaza into a mass grave.”

    Friday, November 03, 2023   No comments

The US credibility is hemorrhaging at a rate so fast that if no dramatic action is taken immediately, it will not be able to recover in a generation of more.  For example, the fact that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has to take a second trip Israel in a matter of weeks, and also just weeks from a visit by Biden, speaks to rash decisions that must be now revised given the events on the ground. For Blinken to say now that the US needs “to do more to protect Palestinian civilians”, reflects total disconnect with reality. Because of Biden’s and Blinken’s unconditional support to Israel’s disproportionate, unhinged reaction to the Oct. 7 attacks, any measures the US could do now will be dwarfed by the numbers of the dead and injured among civilians, especially children in Gaza. 


If Blinken is “shocked” that “the brutality of Hamas’ attack ‘has receded so quickly in the memories of so many’”, and just needs to see the brutality of the response. Unless, of course, the lives of the Palestinians do not have the same values as the lives of the Israelis.

He does not have to see the images of dead Palestinian children is he does not want to. But he will be able to get the picture even by looking at the statements and reactions of Americans, especially influential Americans like artists or even ordinary persons. The recent statement by Angelina Jolie is a good example. She concluded that “World leaders [obviously that would include US leaders] are complicit in the crime of turning Gaza into a mass grave.”


American actress Angelina Jolie said on her official Instagram account, “This is the deliberate bombing of a besieged population who have nowhere to flee.”


She added in a post that she accompanied with a photo of the devastation caused by the Israeli raids on the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, “Gaza has been an open prison for nearly two decades, and is rapidly turning into a mass grave. 40% of the dead are innocent children, Entire families, got killed.

She continued, “As the world watches and with the active support of many governments, millions of Palestinian civilians - children, women and families - are being subjected to collective punishment and dehumanization, all while being deprived of food, medicine and humanitarian aid, which is contrary to international law. By rejecting the claim “By providing a humanitarian ceasefire and preventing the UN Security Council from imposing a ceasefire on both sides, world leaders are complicit in these crimes.”

The post achieved widespread interaction among the American star’s followers, exceeding 2 million likes, and a number of celebrities from the Arab world commented on Jolie’s message. Lebanese broadcaster Joelle Mardinian wrote, “Thank you for telling the truth about this massacre in Palestine.”

Jolie also published information about Jabalia refugee camp, the largest in the Gaza Strip out of eight camps, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Jolie, who holds the position of Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, explained, “After the 1948 war, a number of Palestinian refugees settled in the camp, after being displaced from villages in southern Palestine. The camp covers an area of 1.4 square kilometers, and 116,011 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA live in it.” .


Friday, October 20, 2023

State Department official resigns over Biden administration’s handling of Israel-Hamas conflict

    Friday, October 20, 2023   No comments

A State Department official in the bureau that oversees arms transfers resigned this week in protest of the Biden administration’s decision to continue sending weapons and ammunition to Israel as it lays siege to Gaza in its war with Hamas.

In his resignation letter, Josh Paul, who has been the director of congressional and public affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs for over 11 years, said the Biden administration’s “blind support for one side” was leading to policy decisions that were “shortsighted, destructive, unjust and contradictory to the very values we publicly espouse.”

“The response Israel is taking, and with it the American support both for that response and for the status quo of the occupation, will only lead to more and deeper suffering for both the Israeli and the Palestinian people,” he wrote, adding, “I fear we are repeating the same mistakes we have made these past decades, and I decline to be a part of it for longer.”

Josh Paul bio and credentials:

(Former) Director at U.S. Department of State

Previously - and for the last decade - Director of Congressional & Public Affairs, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State, with responsibility for shaping and implementing an holistic communications strategy in support of U.S. security assistance, arms transfers, and global defense partnerships. Previously - consultant for the US & UK governments in Iraq & Palestine on institutional development and security sector governance; Hill alum (Steve Israel, D-NY); stints in Army Staff (G8) & OSD Policy (ME).








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