Showing posts with label U.S. Foreign Policy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label U.S. Foreign Policy. Show all posts

Friday, February 09, 2024

Media review: How to End America’s Hypocrisy on Gaza

    Friday, February 09, 2024   No comments

Sarah Yager, director of Human Rights Watch in Washington, described the US handling of the Israeli war on Gaza as “hypocrisy,” and the Biden administration must evaluate Israel’s behavior and hold it accountable for that.

Yager commented in an article published by Foreign Affairsmagazine that the staggering numbers of Palestinian casualties and injuries as a result of the war launched by Israel on Gaza in response to the attack by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on October 7 is impossible to consider without considering whether Israel has violated the law. International humanitarian aid during its war.

She added that a large amount of available information indicates that Israel did in fact do this, as human rights organizations and the media published reports of illegal collective punishment of the Palestinian population, the use of starvation as a weapon of war, air and artillery strikes, and the demolition of buildings that had no targets. A clear military operation, but it resulted in heavy civilian casualties and the destruction of property.

She pointed out that there was enough smoke to suspect a fire, which put American officials in a dilemma, because American law obliges the State Department to ensure that American security aid does not go to security forces that constantly commit gross human rights violations.

 Current US policy also requires the department to evaluate whether recipients of US military assistance are “more likely” to use US weapons to violate international law, and prohibit transfers to any country that meets these criteria.

 Yager questioned whether the State Department had conducted these assessments yet, despite the fact that its Secretary, Tony Blinken, and Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, repeated on more than one occasion the phrase that the number of civilian casualties was “very high.”

 However, despite President Joe Biden's offhanded warning last December about the risk to Israel's reputation by carrying out "indiscriminate bombing," US officials have avoided clearly stating that any specific Israeli actions in Gaza are unacceptable, taking Administration spokesmen walk back Biden's comment.

 The director of Human Rights Watch referred to the direct questions directed to White House spokesmen regarding Israel's behavior in Gaza and their twisted responses on more than one occasion.

 She commented that these official statements and many others were noticeably absent of any positive declaration that Israel is in fact adhering to international law.

 She said if American officials believed that Israel was doing this - or at least taking all possible measures to avoid harming civilians under difficult circumstances - they would say so with passion, but they did not do so even though the Biden administration was not shy about criticizing the behavior of the warring parties in Other conflicts.

 The reason is that drawing more attention to what is happening in Gaza could almost certainly force a policy change that Biden does not want to make, could confront his administration with a series of difficult choices that it would rather avoid, and could also further complicate the already complex dynamics of the US-Israel relationship. And it may create political weakness for Biden in the election year.

 She added that as long as the administration avoids the reality of Israeli violations in Gaza and selectively applies the rules for military assistance, the moral authority claimed by the United States will diminish more and more, and the Biden administration’s apparent unwillingness to apply the legal aspect to the available information will be exacerbated by its clear failure to adhere to policies that She put it herself as an expression of Biden's supposed commitment to human rights.

 Yager believes that the worst consequence of the administration's refusal to comply with the letter and spirit of American law is that Washington may make it possible for massive and perhaps criminal loss of civilian lives in Gaza.

 

She added that there is another victim of this approach, which is the credibility of the United States, which has been damaged by what can be considered at best inconsistency and at worst hypocrisy.

 

For example, in 2016, President Barack Obama condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s deprivation of food and water to civilians in Aleppo. It can be said that Israel did the same thing with the civilian population in Gaza for more than 3 months without facing any criticism for this method from the Biden administration. Biden Netanyahu called for opening a corridor to Gaza to deliver more aid, but he did not directly criticize the blockade.

 

She added that to begin to rein in Israel and stop the bleeding of American credibility, the Biden administration needs to assign its lawyers to evaluate all available information - confidential and non-confidential - regarding the Israeli military campaign in Gaza and determine the time and place of Israeli forces violating the laws of war, and the results should be published and evidence submitted to Congress.

 

She concluded that the political costs resulting from looking directly at the evidence and correcting the course of American policy as necessary will not be comfortable for the president and lawmakers during the election campaign.

 

But these costs are less than the cost of US authorities acting as if the extreme suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza does not deserve the same scrutiny as the suffering of civilians in other conflicts, a position that gives an argument to those who claim that when it comes to applying basic American principles and protecting inherent human rights, Washington applies A clearly hypocritical double standard.

 

 

 

Saturday, December 09, 2023

International condemnation of the American “veto”... “History will not forget Washington’s actions”... Israel conducting mass-arrests of "military-aged" Gazan Men

    Saturday, December 09, 2023   No comments

Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council, Dmitry Polyansky, announced that the United States, by using its veto power against the draft resolution presented by the Arab group in the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, “sentenced the death penalty to thousands of civilians.”

Polyansky said during a voting session in the UN Security Council: “It will not be an exaggeration if we say that today is one of the darkest days in the history of the Middle East, as our colleagues in the United States have sentenced to death before our eyes thousands, if not tens of thousands, of civilians, including women and children. "By obstructing the call for a ceasefire."

Polyansky stressed that history will not forget Washington's actions in this regard.


The Russian deputy delegate continued, saying, "You can say as many empty words as you want about democracy, human rights, women, peace, security, and some rules, but we have seen their true price now, when two members of the Security Council chose to remain complicit in this genocide committed by Israel."

For his part, China's permanent representative to the UN Security Council, Zhang Jun, strongly supported the Arab draft resolution as a means to save lives, and criticized the United States for using the veto, saying that expressing grief for civilians and using the veto to continue the fighting is "the utmost hypocrisy."


John pointed out that "the ceasefire helps to achieve a two-state solution to establish lasting peace in the Middle East," pointing out that "the continuation of the war would increase the collapse of security in the region, and the Security Council must assume its responsibilities without delay."


He also called on "Israel" to stop the policy of collective punishment that it is committing against the residents of the Gaza Strip. He also described what is happening as a "humanitarian catastrophe," stressing that "any slowdown means more bloodshed."


For his part, Colombian President, Gustavo Petro, stressed that the “veto” in the United Nations cannot be used to allow massacres, noting that in order for “democracy and peace to shine on the American continent, America cannot allow genocide anywhere in the world.”


In turn, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian confirmed that as long as Washington supports the crimes of the occupation and the continuation of the war, the scope of the war will not be limited to the current situation only, but will expand, pointing to the possibility of an “uncontrollable” explosion in the situation in the region.


In a phone call with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, the Iranian minister appreciated the latter’s activation of Article 99 of the United Nations Charter regarding developments in Palestine and the genocide in Gaza, describing it as a “courageous act.”


This comes after the UN Security Council failed to adopt a draft resolution submitted by the Arab group to the UN Security Council with a record sponsorship of 100 countries, calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, despite receiving 13 votes, after the United States used its veto power. Veto to block the draft resolution.


The draft resolution calls for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip for humanitarian reasons. It also stresses the need for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners, ensuring the arrival of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, and the entry of aid in sufficient quantities into the besieged Strip and from all crossings.

It is noteworthy that Britain abstained from voting, while the French representative, François de Rivière, regretted not adopting the resolution and wished it had included a condemnation of “Hamas.”


Israeli leaders thanked the United States for the veto, and attacked the UN General Secretary, once again invoking anti-semitism.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said that the decision of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to push for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza is anti-Semitism.

Lapid said anti-Semitism was the only “logical explanation” for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ decision to push for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

“Just when Israel was defending itself after our children were killed by brutal terrorists and our people were taken hostage, the UN Security Council suddenly decided to activate Article 99 to help Hamas,” Lapid wrote in a series of social media posts on Saturday.

“How do we know it is anti-Semitic?” he added. Because there is no other logical explanation.”

Lapid cited a number of other bloody conflicts, including in Sudan and Syria, in which neither Guterres nor any of his predecessors used Article 99 power to force debate in the Security Council.

Guterres used Article 99 of the UN Charter, which has not been used for decades, to force the UN Security Council to discuss a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

The United States used its veto power yesterday, Friday, against the draft resolution submitted by the UAE for a ceasefire in Gaza.


Meanwhile, a UN source confirmed to Sputnik that a delegation from the UN Security Council intends to visit the Rafah crossing on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip next Monday.


The source added that the delegation heading to the crossing will include the Russian permanent representative to the Security Council, Vasily Nebenzia.


In a related context, the American website “Axios”, citing an Israeli official, said that the United States is not “pressing the brakes” or giving “Israel” a specific deadline to stop the military operation in Gaza, but it points to the fact that time is running out.


The Israeli official said that the United States would be satisfied if Israel finished the high-intensity phase of the operation by the end of December, while Israel aims for the end of January.


“The message from the United States is that they want us to finish faster, with fewer civilian casualties and more humanitarian aid to Gaza,” the official explained, adding: “We want the same thing, but there is another player here and that is the enemy who does not agree.”


He continued by saying, "The United States understands this. We are working together. We need them and they need us."

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Former US official: Killing 4,000 Palestinian children is “not enough”

    Wednesday, November 22, 2023   No comments
To understand why US foreign policy in the Middle East was a complete failure, listen to this former US official, talk to a NYC food cart operator and tell him how he really feels about Muhammad, Quran, Muslims, Egypt, and the war in Gaza.

Stuart Seldowitz, a former US State Department official under President Barack Obama, said that the killing of 4,000 Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip is “not enough,” in a scene that sparked great criticism and reactions.

Seldowitz served as the acting director for the National Security Council South Asia Directorate under the Obama administration. He also worked as a senior political officer in the State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.

Seldowitz appeared in a video clip circulating on social media platforms, harassing a young Egyptian man who works as a street food vendor in New York by calling him a "terrorist."

The young man documented, via a video clip, that this former official came to him several times and provoked him in many ways. Among them was his inappropriate talk about Islam, and he also threatened to deport him from America.


The United States provides unlimited support to Israel during its war on the Gaza Strip, which has been ongoing for more than 6 weeks and has left, to date, more than 14,000 martyrs, including about 5,800 children, in addition to tens of thousands injured and displaced due to the violent Israeli bombing.

Some excerpts:

Scenes posted on the “X” platform show the street vendor repeatedly explaining to Seldowitz that he is currently working, asking him to stay away from him. However, the latter refused and insulted him, calling him ignorant because he did not master English.


Seldowitz, after continuing to harass the street vendor, accusing him of supporting the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and "terrorism," told him, "Do you know? If we kill 4,000 Palestinian children. That's not enough, it's not enough."

In other scenes, Seldowitz also appears harassing the seller by uttering provocative and insulting words toward the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, and the Holy Quran.

"What do you speak? You speak Arabic, the language of the Quran, the holy Quran that some people use as a toilet. What do you think of that, people who used the Quran as a toilet? Does it bother you?" Seldowitz asks mockingly.

"That’s why you're selling food in a food cart, because you’re ignorant. But you should learn English. It’ll help you when they deport you back to Egypt and then the Mukhabarat wants to interview you.”

In another video, he harasses the same vendor but is interrupted by a bystander who tells him to leave, saying "It's not right; you are harassing."

 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

U.S. soccer scrubs the word for "God" from Iran flag

    Sunday, November 27, 2022   No comments

In a move that is interpreted to mean that the US has a problem with the Islamic governing system more than with just the leaders of Iran, US soccer officials removed the word "God" from the Iranian flag ahead of FIFA's US-Iran match on Tuesday.

The action was reported by Politico, quoted below:


The U.S. soccer federation briefly displayed Iran’s national flag on social media without the emblem of the Islamic Republic, saying the move supports protesters in Iran ahead of the two nations’ World Cup match Tuesday.

Iran’s government reacted by accusing America of removing the name of God from their national flag.

The decision by the U.S. Soccer Federation adds yet-another political firestorm to the Middle East’s first World Cup, one which organizers had hoped would be spared of off-the-field controversies.

It also comes as the U.S. faces Iran in a decisive World Cup match, which was already freighted by the decades of enmity between the two countries and the nationwide protests now challenging Tehran’s theocratic government.

The U.S. Soccer Federation said in a statement Sunday morning that it decided to forego the official flag on social media accounts to show “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights.”


The Twitter account of the U.S. men’s team displayed a banner with the squad’s matches in the group stage, with the Iranian flag only bearing its green, white and red colors. The same could be seen in a post on its Facebook and Instagram accounts laying out the point totals so far in its group.


Friday, November 04, 2022

Biden: "We Will Free Iran"; Raisi: "Mr. President! Iran was liberated 43 years ago, and it’s determined to never become a milk cow."

    Friday, November 04, 2022   No comments

On Thursday, US President Joe Biden vowed to "liberate" Iran.

On Friday, a White House spokesman flet the need to clarify: President Joe Biden was expressing his solidarity with protesters in Iran by telling a crowd of his supporters, "We will liberate Iran."

White House national security spokesman John Kirby made the remarks to reporters a day after Biden made his comment at a rally in California.

On Friday, too, Iran's president said that the country had been freed by the 1979 Islamic revolution in response to a vow by US president Joe Biden to "free Iran". Ebrahim Raisi said: “Maybe he said this because of a lack of concentration...He said we aim to liberate Iran," 

“Mr. President! Iran was liberated 43 years ago, and it’s determined not to become your captive again. We will never become a milk cow.”


   


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

German Foreign Minister calls for economic system independent of US: Maas wants EU own SWIFT system

    Wednesday, August 22, 2018   No comments
...

It is also important to correct fake news because it can quickly result in the wrong policies. As Europeans, we have made it clear to the Americans that we consider the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran to be a mistake. Meanwhile, the first US sanctions have come back into force.

In this situation, it is of strategic importance that we make it clear to Washington that we want to work together. But also: That we will not allow you to go over our heads, and at our expense. That is why it was right to protect European companies legally from sanctions. It is therefore essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels independent of the US, a European monetary fund and an independent SWIFT [payments] system. The devil is in thousands of details. But every day that the Iran agreement lasts, is better than the potentially explosive crisis that threatens the Middle East otherwise.



A balanced partnership also means that, as Europeans, we bring more weight to bear when the US withdraws. We are concerned about Washington’s withdrawal of affection, in financial and other terms, from the UN — and not only because we will soon be on the Security Council. Of course we can’ t fill all the gaps. But together with others, we can cushion the most damaging consequences of the thinking that says success is measured in dollars saved. That is why we have increased funding for relief organizations working with Palestinian refugees and sought support from Arab states.

We are striving for a multilateral alliance, a network of partners who, like us, are committed to sticking to the rules and to fair competition. I have made my first appointments with Japan, Canada and South Korea; more are to follow. This alliance is not a rigid, exclusive club for those with good intentions. What I have in mind is an association of states convinced of the benefits of multilateralism, who believe in international cooperation and the rule of the law. It is not directed against anyone, but sees itself as an alliance that supports and enhances a global, multilateral order. The door is wide open — above all to the US. The aim is to tackle the problems that none of us can tackle on our own, together — from climate change to fair trade.

I have no illusions that such an alliance can solve all the world’s problems. But it is not enough just to complain about the destruction of the multilateral order. We have to fight for it, especially because of the current trans-Atlantic situation.

Friday, August 11, 2017

what will China do if the U.S. or North Korea launch first strike?

    Friday, August 11, 2017   No comments
ISR comment: While the U.S. and North Korea increased their threats to one another, China moved to make its position clear. Although the views of this news outlet are not direct official government declarations, reports nonetheless represent China's inclination made public before issuing policy statements. The Global Times outlined China's position as follows:
 
Beijing is not able to persuade Washington or Pyongyang to back down at this time. It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand that when their actions jeopardize China's interests, China will respond with a firm hand.

China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral. If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

U.S. to handover Tanf base to Russia, attempt to collect weapons it gave Syrian rebels, many are surrendering to Syrian armed forces

    Wednesday, August 02, 2017   No comments
On the same day Trump signed Russia sanctions bill, it was reported that U.S. and Russian negotiators were working on a plan that would lead to US withdrawing American forces from al-Tanf and handing over its control to Russia. 


According to some reports, the talks took place in Jordan over many weeks and when the news of the meeting reached the Syrian rebels affiliated with the U.S., several groups that are affiliated with the Free Army Syrian Army (FSA) and trained by U.S. defected.

Al-Thawra members decided to leave al-Tanf after they were informed of the US-Russia possible agreement and the Syrian army's massive operations to free the Northern parts of Sweida province, a number of them have surrendered to the Syrian troops.

Sources affiliated with opposition groups disclosed on Wednesday that another group backed by the US army surrendered to the Syrian Army troops in al-Tanf region in Southern Homs. The group of al-Thowrah brigade has fled its positions in al-Tanf region and surrendered to the Syrian Army troops with their arms and military equipment. A Syrian army commander said that several groups of Jeish Maqawir al-Thowrah have handed over their weapons and military hardware to the army men after they surrendered. This trend, apparently, prompted the U.S. to start a process of taking back the weapons it gave the rebels.

One of the commanders of Jaysh Maqawir al-Thowrah in Syria's Badiyeh (desert) with the nom de guerre Haws al-Forati along with 30 of his forces fled the militant-held regions. The fleeing militants took a number of weapons, vehicles and munitions with them while fleeing.

U.S. military and CIA agents have trained Syrian rebels and equipped them with weapons and communication devices over the past six years. Most recently, it established a base on the Jordanian-Syrian-Iraqi border with the aim of connecting much of southern Syria to the Kurdish-held northern region. That plan fell apart after the Syrian troops and their allies cut them off during the last eight months and essentially restricted them to desert (seem attached map).

 









  
   

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

US Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk links Ankara to terror groups in Syria, Turkey angrily denies it

    Tuesday, August 01, 2017   No comments
Brett McGurk claimed the city of Idlib had turned into a "safe zone for al-Qaeda terrorists on the Turkish border".

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Monday criticized statements by the U.S. anti-Daesh coalition envoy that linked Turkey to terror groups operating in northwestern Syria.

Speaking Friday at a panel on U.S. President Donald Trump's fight against terrorism at the Middle East Institute in Washington, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh Brett McGurk claimed the city of Idlib had turned into a "safe zone for al-Qaeda terrorists on the Turkish border".

Kalin took exception to those remarks. "The terroristic structure in Idlib cannot be associated with Turkey," he said, speaking to Turkey’s TV Net. "Why? Because we do not control Idlib. There are Americans there, YPG there, [around Idlib]. There are Russians and regime forces," said Kalin... source

Monday, July 31, 2017

Hezbollah takes journalists in Lebanon on a tour to prove Trump wrong

    Monday, July 31, 2017   No comments
...
On Saturday, Hezbollah took a party of journalists on a tour that helped explain, trumpeting the results of the militia’s recent fight against Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate in barren mountains near the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal.

The arduous trek into the rocky terrain underscored the sway the Iran-backed Hezbollah exerts in Lebanon, where it remains the most effective and best-armed military force and retains the ability to strike at will almost anywhere in the country.

It also illuminated the complexity of the political and military landscape in Lebanon — a U.S. ally, whose government includes Hezbollah, which is in turn branded a terrorist organization by Washington. Whether the Trump administration can navigate the pitfalls of this complexity may determine if this tiny, relatively calm country can continue to escape the turmoil raging elsewhere in the Middle East.

Trump’s comment was made alongside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who was on a visit to the United States to seek U.S. support. “Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah,” Trump said, without apparently realizing that Hariri struck an alliance with Hezbollah late last year to secure his appointment as prime minister.

The comment coincided with the conclusion of a two-week offensive by Hezbollah in the Arsal area that drove out scores of al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters belonging to the group known as Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as well as several hundred former Free Syrian Army rebels — whose allies until recently had received support from the United States.

Hezbollah officials said they took journalists on the tour to demonstrate that Hezbollah, not the United States, is the one doing most of the fighting against terrorism.

“The current American president is ignorant of the region,” said Hezbollah spokesman Mohammed Afif, speaking to reporters in a cave until recently occupied by Nusra. “We are the force that fights terrorism while the United States continues to support terrorism in many forms.”

Guided by a vanguard of Hezbollah officials in black-windowed armored vehicles, a convoy comprising over 40 journalists’ four-wheel-drive vehicles set out Saturday from the nearby Bekaa Valley and trundled slowly up a rocky mountain into the area where the battles took place... source
  

*****

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Facts and Biases: "Mass shootings are terrorism when perpetrated by Muslims"

    Sunday, June 18, 2017   No comments
...
Legally and morally, we see intent as the best way to distinguish terrorism from mass murder. Federal law defines terrorism as certain violent acts “that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government.”

But because Hodgkinson is dead and did not declare an aim to dethrone the House majority to which his victims belong, we can only speculate about his motives. Like so many other killers in recent years, it’s impossible to know what his specific goals were, because he didn’t tell anyone. We know that these people intended to commit murder, but not why. And if we assume we know — as in the case of Syed Rizwan Farook in San Bernadino or Jared Lee Loughner in Tucson — it’s probably because of our preexisting stereotypes or our partisanship. Mass killings look the most like terrorism when their perpetrators seem the most alien from the Judeo-Christian, white majority. That’s no way to judge a crime. We need a new way to classify these attacks.
...
This discrepancy poses two dangers. First, the assumption that mass shootings are terrorism when perpetrated by Muslims but not by others may lead law enforcement and the public to overlook threats posed by non-Muslims. For instance, civil rights lawyer and former FBI agent Mike German, who infiltrated white supremacist groups, has argued that the domestic threat posed by right-wing extremist groups is as great as, if not greater than, that posed by Arab or Muslim terrorists, and yet has been largely ignored by the FBI. A report by the Government Accountability Office tallied 106 killings perpetrated by right-wing extremists in the United States from Sept. 12, 2001, to the end of 2016, more or less equal to the 119 by Muslim extremists in that time. While the exact number in each category may change slightly depending on how we classify individual attacks, the point is that there’s close to parity in the danger posed by each group.

Second, it’s possible that law enforcement and other decision-makers will acknowledge and respond to this singular focus on Muslims by overcompensating in the opposite manner so as to appear nondiscriminatory. The Fort Hood shooter, for example, had repeatedly drawn complaints from fellow soldiers for appearing to justify terrorist attacks against Americans in the Middle East. The FBI was even aware that Hasan had been in email contact with al-Qaeda provocateur Anwar al-Awlaki. It is one thing to avoid racial or religious stereotyping but another to ignore red flags for fear of being perceived as bigoted, as appears to be the case with Hasan. Yet this tension is inherent in stereotype-based law enforcement.

One first step toward resolving the question of “what is terrorism?” — at least in the colloquial sense — is to stop focusing so much on the perpetrator’s perceived intent and to look more at the effects of the violent act. Today, attackers such as Hodgkinson, Hasan, Rizwan, Malik, Loughner and Roof have one thing clearly in common: Even if it’s not clear why, they want to kill as many people as possible. That should be enough to call them all terrorists.

source
James T. Hodgkinson, the man who shot five people at a Republican baseball practice Wednesday, including a member of Congress, harbored ill will toward President Trump and the GOP. So was Hodgkinson a terrorist?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trump’s Sword Dance Sets Off the War of the Wahhabis

    Thursday, June 15, 2017   No comments
Screenshot of a comment in a related story on DW.
by  Pepe Escobar

US President Donald Trump could not possibly have predicted the game-changing after-effects of his triumphal sword dance in Riyadh.

Or could he?

The fact is the House of Saud went amok, in a flash, going after Qatar and bombing from the inside that glorious Arab NATO project – call it NATOGCC — sworn with pomp over a glowing orb.


An excited Trump tweeted three times his approval for Riyadh going after Doha.


  
       Trump and NATOGCC had equaled Daesh and Iran as “terrorists”. The House of Saud went one up — and denounced Qatar for top terror financing, which equals Don Corleone hurling Mafioso accusations against Tony Soprano.
But then, in an unexpected plot twist, Daesh, handily, graphically, underlined the cosmic stupidity of the whole charade – staging, or at least claiming to stage a terror attack against the Parliament and the Imam Khomeini shrine in Tehran.

The current Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, now “guilty” for not blaming Iran as the root of all evils in the Arab peninsula, might even be following the steps of his own father, Hamad, who invented modern Qatar and deposed himself – under Saudi pressure – in favor of his son in 2013.

We can’t forget that Bandar bin Sultan, a.k.a. Bandar Bush, notorious former top assembler/weaponizer of jihadis, and frustrated “liberator of Syria”, had famously described Qatar in the past as “300 people and a TV station”.

So what is really going on in this noxious petrodollar swamp?

The Israel-UAE connection

Let’s cut to the chase and establish that this nasty inter-GCC cannibalization has nothing to do with the Global War on Terror (GWOT).

Among massive disinformation crossfire, a trail of evidence points to a concerted strategy elaborated by the Israeli lobby (via the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, founded, among others, by nefarious casino schemer Sheldon Adelson, and very close to Bibi Netanyahu); US neocon/Ziocon/neoliberalcon elements; and the UAE ambassador in Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba.

Leaked emails have shown how Otaiba – widely idolized in the Beltway because of his “largesse” – and the neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies have discussed means of teaching Qatar a lesson for its support of Hamas, and overall non-confrontational policies towards Iran. Otaiba also happens to be close to Jared Kushner – which would explain Trump’s reaction to the anti-Qatar blitzkrieg.

Unlike Qatar, the House of Saud and the UAE are one step away from establishing diplomatic relations with Israel – the sine qua non condition imposed by Washington to insert Israel in an anti-Iran Arab NATO guided by Riyadh.

A previous row in 2014 offers additional background. Regional intel operatives confirm at the time there were military Emirati maneuvers not far from the Qatari border; London and Paris, for instance, knew all about it.

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (Source: islamhere.org)

But the head of the House of Saud in charge at the time was the late King Abdullah, who was in fact an appeaser. The Head-Chopper-in-Chief now is Warrior Prince Mohamed bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS, an arrogant twat who’s already, miserably, losing a war on Yemen — conducted with billions of dollars in US and UK weapons — that has provoked a horrific humanitarian crisis in the poorest nation in the region. It is MBS who ordered the Saudi demonization of Qatar.

Let me out of the terror train

The “terra terra terra” shorthand, for the House of Saud, applies mostly to the accusation of Qatar supporting Shi’ite protest movements in eastern Saudi Arabia. That’s ridiculous; Doha is not involved.

And then there’s the accusation of Qatar supporting Islamists. That’s exactly what powerful Saudi donors – many linked to the monarchy – do.

Doha does support, big time, the Muslim Brotherhood – which has not much to do with al-Qaeda and/or Daesh, and is hated with a vengeance by Riyadh and its puppet al-Sisi in Cairo, who survives on Saudi handouts. What powerful Qatari donors did (up to $3 billion) was support al-Qaeda in Syria, a.k.a. Jabhat al-Nusra, which vast US neocon/neoliberalcon sectors brand as “moderate rebels”.

The Saudis, meanwhile, supported their own jihadis in Syria – and elsewhere. WikiLeaks has unequivocally proved how “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”.

Apart from complex tribal rivalry issues, the key religious factor is that Qatar – unlike Saudi Arabia – is tolerant towards non-Salafis, or “revolutionary” Salafis like the Muslim Brotherhood, and does not try to globally export its version of Wahhabism. For all practical purposes, hardcore Saudi imams consider Qataris heretics. As if they’re almost as bad as “apostate” Shi’ites.

The schism has translated, in practice, into a proxy war in Libya for example. Doha supports Islamic militias in Misrata as well as those faithful to the “Mufti of Qatar” Sadiq al-Ghariani. The Emirates and Egypt support Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the chief of the self-styled Libya National Army (LNA).

It’s a gas, gas, gas
 

  
Saudi intel disinformation agents are spreading that

    “Turkey and Qatar are the last two states run by the Muslim Brotherhood. Most probably Qatar will experience a change of regime and exit being the bankroller on behalf of Britain to support all kind of chaos in the region, and that include playing from behind the scenes with Teheran.”

Utter diversionist nonsense. The plain fact is the House of Saud is absolutely desperate. Oil price remains low, around $50 a barrel. The monster Saudi IPO on Aramco is only 12 months away. The House of Saud needs to move the markets towards a higher oil price by any means necessary – ultimatums and threats of war included.

A non-ideological US intel source goes further, stressing how

    “Turkey, Iran and Russia are moving closer together. The question remains who will control the Gulf States and the oil price — which was being manipulated so far to destroy Russia. The deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia is really just a minor improvement.”

So no wonder obfuscation remains the norm – with narratives taking attention away from the House of Saud and placing it on Iran, and now also Qatar.

And then there’s the key Pipelineistan angle, mixed with how Qatar as a natural gas powerhouse is immensely annoying OPEC producers Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Qatar is the largest global exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). That’s what has allowed it to shape a foreign policy completely independent from the House of Saud. Add to it that Qatar’s fabulous gas wealth yields from the massive offshore North Field, shared with Iran (who controls what it calls South Pars).

There’s been speculation, obviously unconfirmed by Tehran and Doha, that Iran and Qatar may have reached an agreement on sharing the rights for a gas pipeline from North Dome/South Pars to the eastern Mediterranean in Syria, as long as Doha stops supporting al-Nusra.

Were that to happen, it would signal the spectacular closure of one of the key motives for the Syrian tragedy. The Obama administration had fully approved a Qatar to Turkey – via Saudi Arabia and Syria – gas pipeline as a means of trying to undermine Gazprom. It took a lot of dead bodies and horrific destruction for Doha to realize Moscow would never allow it.

Thus Qatar’s strategic pivot towards Russia – materialized, for instance, via Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund investing $2.7 billion in Rosneft. This may be spelling out, in the medium term, a Qatar way more amenable to the Russia-Iran-Syria connection. Considering that Qatar hosts CENTCOM and is home to Al-‘Udayd, the largest US military base in the Middle East, that certainly does not go down very well at the Pentagon.

As far as the US game is concerned, it’s terminally naïve to believe Washington would not have provided a green light to its Saudi satrap to go after Doha.

Add to it Qatar opening the first yuan clearing center in the Middle East; that’s something that did not go down well with financial Masters of the Universe. In parallel, the much-lauded Trump $100 billion weapons deal announced in Riyadh may have been devised in exchange for the House of Saud delaying as long as possible Chinese oil payments in yuan that would bypass the petrodollar.

To weave conspiracy theories is an idle undertaking. “T.Rex” Tillerson, from his ExxonMobil days, knows the Qatari leadership quite well. And so does “Mad Dog” Mattis, former head of CENTCOM. Watch them; how they act in the follow-up will unveil at least some layers of the current shadow play – and whether the whole charade packs way more punch than mere House of Saud desperation.

 

______________________

Copyright © All rights reserved. Pepe Escobar, 2017. Originally published on Sputnik.

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