Saturday, 5 June 2021

Saudi Arabia and Yemeni Employment: More like A Slavery Regime

Saudi Arabia and Yemeni Employment: More like A Slavery Regime

Interviewed By Yehya Salahuddin

Sanaa – The Undersecretary of the Yemeni Ministry of Expatriates, Ali al-Maamari, reported on the suffering of Yemeni expatriates at land ports with Saudi Arabia, stressing that the Saudi authorities have been holding Yemeni travelers and departures under false pretexts for a long period of time with the intention of humiliation and insult.

Many of the expatriate travelers spend long days without being allowed to enter their country.

One of the most important arguments taken by the Saudi authorities is to prevent the exit of four-wheel drive vehicles under the pretext of using them on the battlefronts. Knowing that most of these vehicles are released under the Turbek system, which imposes guarantees that the vehicle will return to Saudi territory within a period of three months. However, the Saudi authorities violate the rights of the expatriate in defiance of his Yemeni nationality, which is incompatible with human rights. After a long period of suffering that sometimes extends to several months, they allow the passage of those vehicles, the majority of which carry children and women, to be regarded as “royal honors.”

Saudi Arabia and Yemeni Employment: More like A Slavery Regime
Undersecretary of the Yemeni Ministry of Expatriates, Ali al-Maamari

In an exclusive interview with “Al-Ahed News”, al-Maamari explained that the Saudi authorities have deprived the Yemeni expatriate from practicing his profession, suspended the renewal of licenses of more than 28 professions, and applied “Saudization” on jobs in 12 sectors, which means that only Saudis could work there. These sectors include: car and bicycle shops, ready-to-wear shops, home and office furniture shops, home appliances shops, electrical and electronic appliances, building materials and desserts.

Given that the vast majority of Yemeni workers in Saudi Arabia work in these sectors, all of these decisions targeted Yemeni workers directly and restricted the expatriates’ livelihood. Knowing that many Yemenis in Saudi Arabia own shops of all kinds, real estate and other properties that are officially registered in the name of the Saudi sponsor, and the right-holder expatriate is merely a worker for his sponsor. This tempts many Saudis to seize the property of expatriates and fabricate malicious charges to be deported and imprisoned without taking into account any humanitarian aspects.

On the sponsorship system imposed by the Saudi regime on expatriates, al-Maamari pointed out that the sponsorship system in Saudi Arabia is an ugly form of slavery, which contradicts the most basic human rights and human and legal norms. This system allows the sponsor to be responsible and in control of the movement of the expatriate or the migrant in general, and he can exercise all kinds of injustice and persecution against the expatriate. In case of any disagreement between the sponsor and the guarantor, the expatriate is maliciously reported and imprisoned or forcibly deported to his country after seizing all of his financial rights.

Regarding the possibility of the expatriate or the migrant, in general, to resort to the courts in Saudi Arabia, al-Maamari noted that the decisions and orders issued by the Saudi authorities in this field make any case submitted to the court, doomed to failure in advance. After all, the decisions of the Saudi authorities legitimize such violations when the migrant is under the mercy of the sponsor, and all his property and rights are subjected to the sponsor’s conscience.

Al-Maamari revealed in his interview with “Al-Ahed News” that the Saudi authorities impose arbitrary fees on expatriates with the intention of ending the future of Yemeni workers in Saudi Arabia. As the Saudi authorities issued a while ago, specifically in 2017, decisions included imposing new fees on expatriate workers, so that each worker must pay an amount of 1,200 SAR in one payment and the same for each accompanying member of his family. The amount is doubled in the following, third and fourth year, so that the amount to be handed over from each individual would be 4800 SAR per year.

Although expatriates pay for to illegal fees such as renewal of sponsorship, residence, and health insurance, they still don’t have access to health services in government hospitals. This increases the suffering of the expatriate and crushing him just because he is a Yemeni.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

The suggestion Turkey was smuggling weapons to Al-Qaeda in Syria shows why Russia’s desire to halt ‘aid’ was a good idea


June 4, 2021,

-by Eva K Bartlett

New allegations that aid trucks to Syria from Turkey carried weapons for terrorists have surfaced. But it’s unlikely to convince those in the West to change their tune that Russia was wrong to want border crossings closed. 

In July 2020, there were those who self-righteously railed at Russia for allegedly denying humanitarian aid to Syrians. They screamed that in calling for crossings to be closed, Russia was attempting to starve and choke civilians in need of assistance. 

The Russian mission to the UN, however, maintains that ample aid is delivered from within Syria, via various agencies, including the UN. It argues that delivering aid from outside of Syria is no longer necessary, since most of the country has returned to peace and security. I haven’t come across a Russian representative who has stated so, but wonder if another reason Russia wanted cross-border ‘aid’ from Turkey halted was because it knew weapons were being smuggled to terrorists in Syria? 

On May 30, Sedat Peker, a Turkish mobster and former ally to Turkish President Recep Erdogan, published a new video in a series he has been releasing on criminal activities among Erdogan’s inner circle. In this latest video, Peker spoke of the weapons and vehicles sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, and that the contractor behind these shipments was a company called SADAT, run by Erdogan’s former chief military advisor.

Turkish mobster Sedat Peker, former ally to President #Erdogan, revealed he shipped arms, military supplies, drones, vehicles to al-Nusra front in #Syria at the request of #Sadat, Turkish contractor run by Erdogan’s former chief military advisor Adnan Tanriverdi.— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) May 30, 2021

Our trucks went under the name of Sedat Peker Aid Convoy. We knew other trucks that went on my behalf carried weapons. This was organized by a team within SADAT. No registration, no paperwork applied to these shipments that crossed directly [to Syria],” said Peker.

The revelations should not come as a surprise. In January 2013, the late journalist Serena Shim, as I wrote, exposed how terrorists and arms were smuggled into Syria from Turkey, noting World Food Organization trucks were being used. In October 2014, Shim was killed in a car accident, shortly after telling Press TV she feared for her life and that Turkish intelligence had accused her of being a spy. Her family, and inquiring journalists, believed it was down to Turkish foul play, noting the official story of Shim’s death changing. The US government didn’t investigate the suspicious death of one of its citizens in Turkey. 

As Shim reported, if WFO trucks were at one point used to smuggle arms into Syria, can you blame Russia or Syria if they are indeed sceptical of supposed ‘aid’ entering from Turkey?

But whenever the issue of aid crossing into Syria is brought up at the UN Security Council, the narrative is usually to ‘blame Russia’. Hysterical headlines aside, is it really likely that Russia, with the world’s eyes on its every move, is actually trying to starve civilians in Syria? It is Russia, remember, that has demined vast areas of Syria formerly occupied by terrorist factions in order for local people to be able to return to their areas. It is also Russia that delivered aid to Raqqa, the city completely flattened by the US and allies in the pretext of fighting terrorism. 

Syria’s cross-border mechanism (CBM) began in 2014, when – due to the presence of terrorist groups – aid couldn’t be delivered from within the country. The Security Council established the CBM, with four crossings into Syria: two from Turkey, one from Iraq, the last from Jordan. In December 2019, all except the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey were closed down, with aid being coordinated via Damascus. 

But as Russian representatives at the UN pointed out in a statement in July 2020, by then the situation had changed, with most of Syria back under the control of the government. Sending aid to those who need it can be done from within the country. Western media suggested that Syria would use the closure of crossings to starve its civilians, but the reality is that Damascus has consistently cooperated in sending aid, while the US has in the past stymied aid delivery. 

Russia’s statement also noted, “The UN still has no presence in Idlib de-escalation zone which is controlled by international terrorists and fighters. It’s not a secret that the terrorist groups control certain areas of the de-escalation zone and use the UN humanitarian aid as a tool to exert pressure on [the] civil population and openly make profit from such deliveries.”

But amid a round of finger pointing, the West and allies continued to criticise Russia for wanting to end the CBM. In response, the Russian Federation’s representative to the UN Security Council wondered whether the UN’s OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) could go to Idlib to see if terrorists occupying that region were respecting the Declaration of Commitment some had signed regarding aid deliveries. 

This was a valid point, given that in areas previously occupied by terrorists, most civilians never saw the ample aid sent in by Syria and agencies. Terrorist groups controlled and hoarded the aid, from east Aleppo to Madaya to al-Waer, to eastern Ghouta. So it was by no means a stretch of the imagination to assume the same might play out in Idlib, particularly since the terrorists included factions from the aforementioned regions, who were bussed to Idlib as the cities and towns finally returned to peace. 

The Russian statement also addressed frenzied Western claims that the other closed crossings were the only means to send aid to civilians in the north-east of Syria. It read“In total, since the beginning of 2020 when ‘Al Yarubiyah’ was closed, more humanitarian aid has been delivered to the north-east of Syria than in previous years.” 

Still the narrative continued, though, and in March 2021, the dictator of Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, tweeted about “Putin starving Syria”, resurrecting the cries over the unnecessary, and closed, crossings. But his claim prompted an angry response from some.


So who is actually starving civilians in Syria? Aside from terrorists hoarding food and denying it to the local people, there are more significant reasons for their preventable suffering. And these are the West’s sanctions against them, particularly the June 2020 Caesar Act. 

Last year, James Jeffrey, the then US Special Representative for Syria Engagement, was quoted as saying the latest sanctions would contribute to the fall of the Syrian pound. What a wonderful way to “protect” Syrians. In US parlance, “protect” means “starve.”

As I walk around Damascus, I ask about the cost of food, and whether people can afford to feed their families. Most say their salaries aren’t sufficient: food prices have skyrocketed, salaries have not. Most describe adopting a more vegetarian diet – chicken and meats are too expensive to have more than once a month, or at all. 

Furthermore, there is the US occupation forces’ thieving or destroying of Syrian resources. On that, Dr. Bashar Ja’afari, in his former post as Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, in June 2020, said“When the United States daily steals 200,000 barrels of oil from the Syrian oil fields, 400,000 tons of cotton, 5,000,000 sheep and sets fire to thousands of hectares of wheat fields, and deliberately weakens the value of the Syrian pound, and when it imposes coercive economic measures aiming to choke the Syrian people and occupying parts of the Syrian lands, and when the US representative expresses her concern over the deteriorating situation of the Syrian citizen’s living conditions the logical question will be are not these acts the symptoms of political schizophrenia?”

But as usual the US and its allies blame Russia and Syria for the suffering in Syria, whitewashing their own very long litany of crimes there. 

Although the smuggling of weapons and terrorists via Turkey has been openly known for years, it’s rather amusing that it takes a petty mobster, and not Western media or leadership, to draw new attention to it. No, as terrorists use those weapons to fight the Syrian government (and rival terrorist factions, and civilians), the West is only concerned about blaming Russia and Syria. Ten years of lies and war against the people of Syria just aren’t enough for America and its allies.

Previous Articles:

Syrians filled the polling stations to defend their sovereignty and now fill the streets to celebrate the result

Today I saw Syrians dancing and celebrating life, and a return to peace – but, of course, the Western media won’t report that

Western nations want ‘democracy’ in Syria so badly they close embassies and prevent Syrians from voting in presidential elections

Douma: Three Years On, How independent media shot down the false “chemical attack” narrative.

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

American Journalist Killed in Turkey for Revealing the Truth Regarding ISIS-Daesh: No Investigation Two Years After Suspicious Death of American Journalist Serena Shim

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

How St. Petersburg is mapping the Eurasian Century

How St. Petersburg is mapping the Eurasian Century

June 04, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

It’s impossible to understand the finer points of what’s happening on the ground in Russia and across Eurasia, business-wise, without following the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

So let’s cut to the chase, and offer a few choice examples of what is discussed on top panels.

The Russian Far East – Here’s a discussion on the – largely successful – strategies boosting productive investment in industry and infrastructure across the Russian Far East. Manufacturing in Russia grew by 12.2% between 2015 and 2020; in the Far East it was almost double, 23.1%. And from 2018 to 2020, per capita investment in fixed capital was 40% higher than the national average. The next steps center on improving infrastructure; opening global markets to Russian companies; and most of all, finding the necessary funds (China? South Korea?) for advanced tech.

St. Isaac’s cathedral, St. Petersburg

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – As I’ve seen for myself in previous editions of the forum, there’s nothing remotely similar in the West in terms of seriously discussing an organization like the SCO – which has progressively evolved from its initial security focus towards a wide-ranging politico-economic role.

Russia presided the SCO in 2019-2020, when foreign policy got a fresh impetus and the socioeconomic consequences of Covid-19 were seriously addressed. Now the collective emphasis should be on how to turn these member nations – especially the Central Asian “stans” – more attractive for global investors. Panelists include former SCO secretary-general Rashid Alimov, and the current one, Vladimir Norov.

Eurasian partnership – This discussion involves what should be one of the key nodes of the Eurasian Century: the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC). An important historical precedent apply: the 8th-9th centuries Volga trade route that connected Western Europe to Persia – and could now be extended, in a variation of the Maritime Silk Road, all the way to ports in India. That raises a number of questions, ranging from the development of trade and technology to the harmonic implementation of digital platforms. Here one finds panelists from Russia, India, Iran, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

The Greater Eurasian partnership – Greater Eurasia is the overarching Russian concept applied to the consolidation of the Eurasian Century. This discussion is largely focused on Big Tech, including full digitalization, automated managing systems and Green growth. The question is how a radical tech transition could work for pan-Eurasia interests.

And that’s where the Russian-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) comes in: how the EAEU’s drive for a Greater Eurasian Partnership should work in practice. Panelists include the chairman of the board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Mikhail Myasnikovich, and a relic from the Yeltsin past: Anatoliy Chubais, who is now Putin’s special representative for “relations with international organizations to achieve sustainable development goals.”

Gotta ditch all those greenbacks

Arguably the most eye-catching panel on SPIEF was on the post-Covid-19 “new normal” (or abnormal), and how economics will be reshaped. An important sub-section is how Russia can possibly capitalize on it, in terms of productive growth. That was a unique opportunity to see IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, Russian Central Bank governor Elvira Nabiullina and Russian Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov debating on the same table.

It was Siluanov who in fact commanded all the SPIEF-related headlines when he announced that Russia will totally ditch the US dollar in the structure of the National Wealth Fund (NWF) – the de facto Russian sovereign wealth fund – as well as reduce the share of the British pound. The NWF will have more euros and yuan, more gold, and the yen’s share remains stable.

This ongoing de-dollarization process has been more than predictable. In May, for the first time, less than 50% of Russian exports were denominated in US dollars.

Siluanov explained that the sales of roughly $119 billion in liquid assets will go through the Russian Central Bank, and not through financial markets. In practice, that will be a simple technical transfer of euros to the NWF. The Central Bank after all has been steadily getting rid of the US dollars for years now.

Sooner or later, China will follow. In parallel, some nations across Eurasia, in an extremely discreet manner, are also bypassing what is de facto the currency of a debt-based economy – to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars, as Michael Hudson has been explaining in detail. Not to mention that transacting US dollars exposes whole nations to an extra-territorial, extortionary judicial machine.

On the all-important Chinese-Russian front, permeating all the discussions at SPIEF, is the fact that a pool of Chinese technical knowhow and Russian energy is more than able to solidify a massive pan-Eurasian market capable of dwarfing the West. History tells us that in 1400, India and China were responsible for half of the world’s GDP.

As the West wallows in a self-induced Build Back Better collapse, the Eurasian caravan seems unstoppable. But then, there are those pesky US sanctions.

The Valdai Discussion Club Session dug deeper into the hysteria: sanctions serving a political agenda are threatening vast swathes of the world economic and financial infrastructure. So we’re back once again to the inescapable syndrome of the weaponized US dollar – deployed against India buying Iranian oil and Russian military hardware, or against Chinese tech companies.

Panelists including Russian Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kolychev and the UN Special Rapporteur on the “Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights”, Alena Douhan, debated the inevitable new escalation of anti-Russian sanctions.

Another running theme underneath the SPIEF debates is that, whatever happens on the sanctions front, Russia already has an alternative to SWIFT, and so does China. Both systems are compatible with SWIFT in software, so other nations may also be able use it.

No less than 30% of SWIFT’s traffic involves Russia. If that “nuclear “option” would ever come to pass, nations trading with Russia would almost certainly ditch SWIFT. On top of it, Russia, China and Iran – the “threat” trio to the Hegemon – have currency swap agreements, bilaterally and with other nations.

SPIEF this year has taken place only a few days before the G7, NATO and US-EU summits – which will graphically highlight European geopolitical irrelevancy, reduced to the status of a platform for US power projection.

And taking place less than two weeks before the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva, SPIEF most of all performed a public service for those who care to notice, charting some of the most important practical contours of the Eurasian Century.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Israeli General: 11-Day Gaza War Just ‘First Stage’ of Wider Campaign

 Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Israeli soldiers work at an artillery unit as it fires near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, on the Israeli side May 17, 2021

Morgan Artyukhina
After the Second Intifada uprising and the 2006 election victory of Hamas in Gaza, Israel was forced to pull all its settlers out of the Gaza Strip, at which time it imposed a cordon sanitaire around the territory that has dramatically impacted access to basic necessities by its more than 2 million Palestinian inhabitants.

During an interview with Israel’s Channel 13 on Thursday, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Southern Command, said that the IDF limited its recent war in Gaza due to civilian pressure “on the home front,” but noted the military is “totally prepared” to continue if necessary.

“The operation ended, or at least its first stage did. The next stage will happen if we see that the security situation has changed,” Toledano said, according to the Times of Israel. That “first stage” involved roughly 1,500 airstrikes on targets in the Gaza Strip, which the IDF said targeted members of Hamas and the group’s facilities. The group’s militant wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, fired more than 4,300 rockets and mortars at Israel during the 11-day war.

While most of Hamas’ projectiles were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system, Gaza has few air defenses and the bombs fell on apartment buildings in the densely populated city, killing 254 people, 67 of whom were children and 80 of whom were militants, according to local health officials and Hamas. In Israel, 12 civilians, including two children, were killed by Hamas rockets.

Toledano said the IDF tried to “make the most” of the conflict while public opinion in Israel was on their side.

“We don’t have operations like this every week or every month because we understand the burden that this puts on civilians, especially on the home front. And therefore when we launched this operation, we had to make the most of it,” he said, adding that “these wars are complicated in terms of the rockets.”

“We are totally prepared to continue from the 11th day, with the 12th day, with the 13th day. It’s all contingent upon the security situation,” he continued. “If we succeeded with this first stage, that’s great. If we didn’t, we’ll have to continue.”

Israel’s previous major military operations in Gaza, in 2009 and 2014, each lasted several weeks and killed thousands of people, the vast majority of them Palestinians in Gaza, but also saw significantly increased numbers of Israeli civilians killed and injured as well.

In the aftermath of the May 20 ceasefire, both the IDF and Hamas have claimed victory. Hamas called the operation “Sword of Jerusalem” and said its intent was to halt the attacks by Israelis police against worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where several Palestinian families are at risk of being evicted after an Israeli court ruled in favor of Jewish settlers.

However, while the IDF claimed to have destroyed large numbers of stockpiled rockets and Hamas infrastructure and shot down some 90% of the rockets launched, the Times of Israel said after the conflict that the IDF’s “Operation Guardian of the Walls” had not been the resounding victory Jerusalem hoped for.

The wildcard now is the Wednesday formation of a government with New Right chief Naftali Bennett at the helm. While the right-wing figure recently referred to the bombardment of Gaza as part of Israel’s “just war against terrorism,” the kingmaker United Arab List, a small Palestinian party that helped the coalition to reach a majority in the Knesset, could be a moderating factor on some of Bennett’s more aggressive intentions.

A Palestinian party has never before been part of an Israeli government, and leader Mansour Abbas said on Wednesday that he only agreed to join the coalition after reaching “critical agreements on various issues that serve the interests of Arab society,” including education, welfare, employment, economic development, planning, construction, and crime and violence, according to Haaretz, as well as granting official status to Arab Bedouin settlements in the Negev Desert.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been head of the Israeli government for 12 years, warned right-wing members of the Knesset on Thursday to oppose what he characterized as a “dangerous left-wing government” coming into power, saying it was “selling” the Negev to the Bedouin.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Israel’s new government will deepen rifts, not heal them

Mansour Abbas (R) signs a coalition agreement with Yair Lapid (L) and Naftali Bennett in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, on 2 June 2021 (AFP/United Arab List)

Jonathan Cook

4 June 2021 10:03 UT

The symbolic moment of a Palestinian party sitting in government alongside settler leaders will turn sour all too soon

The photo was unprecedented. It showed Mansour Abbas, leader of an Islamist party for Palestinians in Israel, signing an agreement on Wednesday night to sit in a “government of change” alongside settler leader Naftali Bennett.

Caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will fervently try to find a way to break up the coalition in the next few days, before a parliamentary vote takes place. But if he fails, it will be the first time in the country’s 73-year history that a party led by a Palestinian citizen has joined – or been allowed to join – an Israeli government. 

There will be a reckoning for this moment, and Israel’s 1.8 million Palestinian citizens… will once again pay the heaviest price

Aside from the symbolism of the moment, there are no other grounds for celebration. In fact, the involvement of Abbas’s four-member United Arab List in shoring up a majority for a government led by Bennett and Yair Lapid is almost certain to lead to a further deterioration in majority-minority relations.

There will be a reckoning for this moment, and Israel’s 1.8 million Palestinian citizens, a fifth of the population, will once again pay the heaviest price.

The sole reason that this makeshift coalition exists – the only glue holding it together – is the hostility of the various parties towards Netanyahu. In most cases, that is not a hostility towards his political positions; simply towards him personally, and towards the corrupting stranglehold he has exerted on Israel’s political system for the past 12 years. 

The “change” referred to by this proposed government coalition begins and ends with the removal of Netanyahu.

Doubly offended

It barely needs stating again that Bennett, who will serve first as prime minister in rotation with Lapid, is even more right wing than Netanyahu. In fact, three of the new coalition’s main parties are at least, if not more, rabidly nationalistic than the Israel’s longtime leader. In any other circumstances, they would be enthusiastically heading into government with his Likud Party.

As Bennett and Mansour huddled inside a hotel near Tel Aviv to sign the coalition agreement as the clocked ticked down on Lapid’s mandate to form a government, far-right demonstrators noisily chanted outside that Bennett was joining a “government with terror supporters”.

Much of the ultra-nationalist right is so incensed by Bennett’s actions that he and other members of his Yamina party have been assigned a security detail for fear of an assassination attempt.

Bennett, set to serve first as prime minister, attends a special Knesset session on 2 June 2021 (AFP)
Bennett, set to serve first as prime minister, attends a special Knesset session on 2 June 2021 (AFP)

No one has forgotten that it was Bennett’s own settler camp that produced Yigal Amir, the man who in 1995 shot dead the then-prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, in a bid to foil the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians. Amir killed Rabin in large part because the latter was seen to have betrayed the Jewish people by allowing “Arabs” – Palestinian parties in parliament – to prop up his minority government from outside. They did so to pass legislation necessary to begin implementing the Oslo process.

The chain of events that followed the assassination are well-known. Israelis lurched further rightwards and elected Netanyahu. The Oslo track with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was derailed. A Palestinian intifada erupted. And – coming full circle – Netanyahu returned to power and is now Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.

Today’s potential Yigal Amirs are doubly offended by Bennett’s behaviour. They believe he has stabbed the right’s natural leader, Netanyahu, in the back, while at the same time allowing Abbas – seen by the right as Hamas’s man in the Knesset – to dictate policy to the Jewish owners of the land.

Digging in heels

It was notable that Bennett and Abbas were the last to sign the coalition agreement, after both made great play of digging in their heels at the final moment for more concessions. Each risks inflaming their own constituency by being seen to cooperate with the other. 

Commentators will try to spin this agreement between a settler leader and the head of an Islamic party as a potential moment of healing after last month’s unprecedented inter-communal fighting inside Israel.Israel’s incoming government is so unnatural only Netanyahu can keep it togetherRead More »

But such a reading is as misleading as the narrative of the recent “Jewish-Arab clashes”. In fact, protests by Palestinian youths against systematic discrimination escalated into confrontations only after Israeli police turned violent and let Jewish gangs take the law into their own hands. Just as the balance of power on the streets was weighted in favour of Jewish vigilantism, so the balance of forces in this new coalition will work solidly against Abbas.

When Bennett spoke publicly on Sunday, as the horse-trading began in earnest behind the scenes, he underscored his credentials as the former head of the Yesha Council of Jewish settlements. That will be the theme of this proposed “government of change”. 

Pact with the ‘devil’

During the coalition-building negotiations, the more moderate Labor and Meretz parties conceded time and again to the demands of the far-right and settler parties on ministerial positions and policy. That is because the moderates have nowhere else to go. 

They have built their whole electoral strategy on ousting Netanyahu at any cost, using the anti-Netanyahu street protests of the past two years as their rallying cry. They cannot afford to be seen as missing this opportunity.

By contrast, as the death threats highlight, Bennett has far more to lose. Some 60 percent of his party’s voters recently told pollsters they would not have backed him had they known he would join a coalition with Lapid. Equally at risk are Gideon Saar, whose New Hope party broke away from Likud to challenge Netanyahu, and Avigdor Lieberman, a settler politician whose right-wing base has found in him their local strongman.

The Achilles heel Netanyahu will keep prodding as viciously as he can is the fact that his rivals on the right have made a Faustian pact with the Arab ‘devil’

These three must now do everything in their power during the term of this new government – if it happens – to prove to their constituencies that they are not betraying the far-right’s favourite causes, from settlements to annexation. Baiting them from the sidelines at every turn will be Netanyahu, stirring up passions on the right – at least until he is forced to step down, either by his party or by a verdict against him in his current corruption trial

The Achilles heel Netanyahu will keep prodding as viciously as he can is the fact that his rivals on the right have made a Faustian pact with the Arab “devil”. Netanyahu has never been shy to incite against the Palestinian minority. To imagine he will restrain himself this time is fanciful. 

Bennett understands the danger, which is why he tried to legitimise his dealings with Abbas on Thursday by calling him “a brave leader”. But Bennett was also keen to emphasise that Abbas would not be involved in any security matters and that he was not interested in “nationalism” – in this case, indicating that Abbas will neither offer support to Palestinians under occupation nor seek to advance national rights for Palestinian citizens of the kind Israeli Jews enjoy. 

Early on Thursday, Netanyahu had decried the new coalition as “dangerous” and “left wing”. He will most likely be in the driving seat, even while in opposition. Far from healing the country, a “government of change” could rapidly provoke yet more street violence, especially if Netanyahu believes such a deterioration would weaken Bennett as prime minister.

Extracting benefits

Abbas, the United Arab List leader, reportedly held out until last before signing. His whole electoral strategy was built on a promise to end the permanent exclusion of Palestinian parties from Israel’s national politics. He will be keen to show how many benefits he can extract from his role inside government – even if most are privileges the Jewish majority have always enjoyed by right.

Abbas trumpeted that the agreement would “provide solutions for the burning issues in Arab society – planning, the housing crisis, and of course, fighting violence and organised crime”. He has reportedly secured some $16bn in extra budgets for development and infrastructure, and three of the many Bedouin villages the state has long refused to recognise will be given legal status.

Abbas, the United Arab List leader, is pictured in Jerusalem on 5 April 2021 (AFP)
Abbas, the United Arab List leader, is pictured in Jerusalem on 5 April 2021 (AFP)

Abbas is also pushing for the repeal of a 2017 law that makes tens of thousands of homes in Palestinian communities inside Israel vulnerable to demolition.

One of his fellow legislators, Walid Taha, observed of the United Arab List’s new role: “For decades, Arab Israelis [Palestinian citizens] have been without any influence. Now, everyone knows that we’re the deciding votes as far as politics goes.”

Abbas has every incentive to use such claims as a whip to beat his rivals in the Joint List, a coalition of several other Palestinian parties that are staying in opposition. He needs to emphasise his role in bringing about change to make them look weak and irrelevant.

Hostility and disdain

But despite the promises that lured Abbas into the new government, he will face a rough ride getting any of them translated into tangible changes on the ground.

Lapid will be busy as foreign minister, selling this as a new era in Israeli politics. Meanwhile, Benny Gantz, the current defence minister who just oversaw the destruction yet again of Gaza, will offer continuity.

Back home, the key internal ministries will be held by the far-right. Lieberman will control the purse strings through the finance ministry, directing funds to settlements before Palestinian communities inside Israel. Bennett’s partner, Ayelet Shaked, will be interior minister, meaning the settlements in the occupied West Bank will be treated as more integral to Israel than the communities of Palestinian citizens. And Saar will be justice minister, helping to drive the legal system even further to the right.Israel: Four reasons Benjamin Netanyahu’s era is not over yetRead More »

Faced with this bloc, all of them keen to be seen as upholding the values of the right, Abbas will struggle to make any progress. And that is without considering the situation he will find himself in if Bennett pushes for annexation of the West Bank, or authorises another police invasion of al-Aqsa, or oversees the expulsion of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, or launches a fresh attack on Gaza. 

Abbas put the coalition negotiations on pause during Israel’s assault on Gaza last month. He won’t be able to do the same from inside the government. He will be directly implicated. 

As a result, Palestinian citizens are likely to end up growing even more disillusioned with a political system that has always treated them with a mix of hostility and disdain. They will finally have representatives inside government, but will continue to be very much outside of it. The triggers for the protests that erupted among young Palestinians in Israel last month are not going away.  

The most likely scenario over the coming months is that Netanyahu and Bennett will engage in a furious competition for who deserves the title of champion of the right. Netanyahu will seek to break apart the coalition as quickly as possible by inciting against Abbas and the Palestinian minority, so he has another shot at power. In turn, Bennett will try to pressure Likud to abandon Netanyahu so that Bennett can collapse the “government of change” as quickly as possible and rejoin a large majority, far-right government with Likud. 

Rifts will not be healed; coexistence will not be revived. But the preeminence of the ultra-nationalist right – with or without Netanyahu – will be restored. 

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

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Sayyed Houthi: Yemen’s Ansarullah Will Be Part of Al-Quds Formula as Announced by Hezbollah Secretary General


Leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah Movement Sayyed Abdul-Malik Badreddin Al-Houthi stressed on Thursday that the Yemenis are part of Al-Quds formula as announced by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and will be present effectively in the battle against the Zionist enemy.

Sayyed Houthi indicated that Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance were not supported by any Arab or Muslim state, except Iran and Syria, highlighting the importance of the recent victory in Gaza.

The Yemeni leader noted that the pro-Israeli traitors accuse the resistance forces of being Iran’s proxy groups, adding that the takfiri war launched against them serves US and ‘Israel’.

Sayyed Houthi stressed that the peaceful solution in Yemen can be reached when the Saudi-led coalition halts its war and blockade on the Yemenis.

Meanwhile, Sayyed Houthi asserted that the US utilized September 11 attacks to intervene in the political, economic and cultural issues of the Islamic Umma, noting that US-Israeli activities are aimed at obliterating the Islamic identity of the region.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah consecrated, during his speech on the 21st anniversary of Resistance and Liberation Day, a new formula, “If Israel tampers with Al-Quds, it will face a regional war.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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المثلث السعودي- القطري- الإماراتي.. أين السيسي وإردوغان؟

حسني محلي


حسني محلي 

المصدر: الميادين نت

حديث عن تحرك قطري مدعوم من إردوغان لمنع أي تقارب عربي مع دمشق، على الأقل قبل الاتّفاق النووي الذي سيحقق لطهران مكاسب إضافيّة.

استغلَّت قطر العزلة الإماراتية عربياً، فسبقت إردوغان إلى المصالحة مع السيسي.

ستغلَّت قطر العزلة الإماراتية عربياً، فسبقت إردوغان إلى المصالحة مع السيسي

بعد سلسلة من التناقضات التي شهدتها علاقات قطر مع كلٍّ من السعودية والإمارات، بعد انقلاب عبد الفتاح السيسي على الإخوان المسلمين في مصر، وهو ما انعكس على علاقات هذه الدول وسياساتها في اليمن والمنطقة عموماً، عاد الغرام يطبع علاقات هذه الدول، من دون تحديد السبب والهدف!

وعلى الرّغم من المنافسة التقليدية المكشوفة بين الإمارات والسعودية وخلافاتهما في اليمن، عادت الأمور فجأة إلى وضعها شبه الطبيعي بين الرياض والدوحة، بعد قمة العلا في 5 كانون الثاني/نوفمبر الماضي، من دون أن يكون واضحاً لماذا لم تتشجّع أبو ظبي على هذا التطبيع، ورجّحت عليه بكل حماس العدو الأكبر “إسرائيل”. 

استغلَّت قطر العزلة الإماراتية عربياً، فسبقت رجب طيب إردوغان إلى المصالحة مع السيسي، ودخلت في حوارات مثيرة مع موسكو، انتهت بالاتفاق في الدوحة، في 11 آذار/مارس الماضي، على آلية جديدة تدعم مسار أستانا، ولكن من دون إيران. وقد أعلنت طهران بدورها تأييد هذه الآلية، مع تحفظها غير المعلن عن “غرام” موسكو مع كل من قطر وتركيا، على الرغم من استمرار دعمهما للمعارضة السورية، السياسية منها والمسلحة، بما في ذلك “النصرة” في إدلب.

موسكو التي عبّرت في اجتماع منتدى سان بطرسبورغ الاقتصادي الدولي (الأربعاء) عن تأييدها لتحركات قطر الإقليمية، يبدو أنّها تجاهلت تصريحات وزير الخارجية القطري محمد عبد الرحمن آل ثاني، الذي قال بعد زيارته الأخيرة إلى القاهرة ولقائه الرئيس السيسي إن “موقف بلاده في سوريا لم يتغير، وإنهم ما زالوا ضد الرئيس الأسد”، وهو ما سنراه أكثر وضوحاً في اجتماع وزراء خارجية الدول العربية، الذين سيجتمعون في الدوحة في 8 الشهر الجاري. وتهدف قطر من خلال هذا الاجتماع إلى عرقلة عودة سوريا إلى الجامعة العربية، مع استمرار الضغوط الروسية بخلاف هذا الاتجاه. 

يفسر ذلك التحرك القطري المفاجئ للمصالحة مع “عدو الأمس” القاهرة، بل أكثر من ذلك، إقناع الرئيس السيسي بالمصالحة مع الرئيس إردوغان، ليساهم ذلك في إنهاء الخلافات السعودية مع أنقرة، التي يعرف الجميع أنها لن تفكر في أي مصالحة مع الرئيس الأسد، وهو ما لا يخفيه الرئيس إردوغان أبداً. 

ويدفع ذلك بعض الأوساط إلى الحديث عن تحرك قطري مدعوم من الرئيس إردوغان، لمنع أي تقارب عربي (سعودي – مصري – إماراتي) مع دمشق، وعلى الأقل قبل الاتّفاق النووي الإيراني الذي سيحقق لطهران مكاسب إضافيّة، بعد ما تحقق لها من تفوق نفسي في انتصار المقاومة الفلسطينيّة في الحرب الأخيرة، فيما يسعى الرئيس السيسي لاستغلال الوضع الجديد في غزة لدعم مكانته الإقليمية والدّولية وترسيخها، وبضوء أخضر أميركيّ وأوروبيّ، من دون أن ننسى أن قطر وتركيا، ومعها السعودية، وباعتراف حمد بن جاسم، في تشرين الأول/أكتوبر 2017، كانت قد قادت الحرب على سوريا منذ بداياتها، كما تبنت السعودية والإمارات، ومعها باكستان، حركات الإسلام السياسي المسلّح، مثل “طالبان” و”القاعدة”، ومن قبلها تنظيمات المجاهدين الأفغان خلال الاحتلال السوفياتي للفترة الممتدة بين العامين 1979-1989.

ويذكر الجميع أيضاً الخلافات التي انفجرت بين قطر وتركيا وكلّ من السعودية والإمارات، اللتين دعمتا انقلاب السيسي في 3 تموز/يوليو 2013، فأعلنوا جميعاً الإخوان المسلمين تنظيماً إرهابياً. وقد لجأت قياداته لاحقاً إلى إسطنبول والدوحة.

كما لم يذكر أحد كيف استعدّت الدوحة لمرحلة ما بعد انقلاب السيسي، إذ تخلى الأمير الأب حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني فجأة (قبل انقلاب السيسي بأسبوع واحد فقط) عن منصبه لنجله الشاب تميم، الذي تبنى الإخوان المسلمين بشدة، واستنجد لاحقاً بالجيش التركي بعد تهديدات السعودية والإمارات له في حزيران/يونيو 2017، فأصبح لاعباً إقليمياً بفضل دعم إردوغان له.

وقد أدى دور الوساطة (!) بين طالبان وأميركا، والآن بين إردوغان وكل من السيسي والأمير محمد بن سلمان، العدوين المشتركين السابقين له ولحليفه إردوغان، وهو يقول إنه مستعد لمصالحة الجميع، باستثناء الأسد، علماً بأن إردوغان وآل ثاني كانا الأكثر تقرباً من الرئيس الأسد، وهما الآن الأكثر عداء له، من دون أن يكون واضحاً سبب استمرار موسكو، حليفة دمشق، بتعاونها معهما.

كما لا يدري أحد المبررات والأسباب التي تدفع إلى مصالحة دولتين مهمتين بكل المعايير والمقاييس، كمصر والسعودية، مع دولة بحجم قطر، التي لم تتهرب، بفضل أنقرة، من تحدي هاتين الدولتين، وإلى جانبهما الإمارات، التي تكتفي الآن بمراقبة تحركات قطر عن كثب، من دون اتخاذ أي موقف سلبي أو إيجابي حيالها، ورجّحت على ذلك الدخول على خط المواجهة بشكل غير مباشر، عبر دعم زعيم المافيا سادات باكار، الذي بدأ يكشف خفايا الدولة التركية وأسرارها في العديد من الأحداث الدموية داخلياً وخارجياً، ومنها عمليات الاغتيال الغامضة وتهريب المخدرات، وبالتالي تقديم الأسلحة والمعدات الحربية لجبهة “النصرة” والمجموعات الإرهابية في سوريا.

ويبقى السؤال أو التساؤل عن الدور الأميركي الحالي والمحتمل في مجمل هذه المعادلات، مع حقيقة تواجد القواعد الأميركية والأطلسية في جميع هذه الدول، الصديقة تارة، والعدوة تارة أخرى، مع استمرار حسابات واشنطن في سوريا والعراق، ومع التأكيد دائماً على ضمان أمن “إسرائيل” إلى الأبد، وهو ما لا تعترض عليه الدول “العدوة – الصديقة”، ويبدو أنها متفقة بشكل أو بآخر، ولكل حججها في ذلك حول قضية أساسية، وهي عدم السماح لإيران بترسيخ تواجدها في سوريا ولبنان واليمن، وبالطبع منطقة الخليج عموماً، وإلا فالقضية لا تحتاج إلى كل هذا المد والجزر في المواقف، بعد أن أثبتت السنوات العشر الماضية دورها ومسؤولياتها في أحداث المنطقة عموماً، وبشكل خاص في سوريا، التي تنتهي كل مشاكل المنطقة بحل أزمتها، ولكن بصفاء النيات. 

هذا الأمر لا يحتاج إلى أكثر من لقاء واحد، على أي مستوى كان، يتفق فيه الجميع على ضرورة العودة إلى ما قبل العام 2011، حتى من دون أي اعتذار من الشعب السوري، فقد دفع هذا الشعب الكثير إرضاء لغرائز ونزعات البعض من زعماء المنطقة، الذين ساهموا معاً في سيناريو ما يُسمى بـ”مشروع الشرق الأوسط الكبير”، ومن بعده “الربيع العربي الإمبريالي”، الذي قدم ما لا يخفى من خدمات تاريخيّة لـ”إسرائيل”، من دون أن يستخلص هؤلاء الزعماء أي درس من هزيمة “إسرائيل” هذه أمام المقاومة الفلسطينية ومن معها وخلفها من دول وشعوب التصدي والممانعة التي صمدت طيلة السنوات العشر الماضية ضد كل الأعداء.

ويبدو أنهم لم يستخلصوا العبر والدروس، فراحوا يتحايلون على أصحاب هذا الانتصار، وإلا كيف لنا أن نفسر التناقضات التي نعيشها الآن، بعد أن نسي هؤلاء الزعماء كل ما قالوه ضد بعضهم البعض، ولكل واحد منهم الكثير من الأسباب الشخصية والعامة ليكره الآخر أو الآخرين، وهو ما يفسر التحركات القطرية الأخيرة، والغريب فيها أنها حدثت برضا كل الأطراف الإقليمية المعادية والصديقة، بل أكثر من ذلك، برضا الأطراف الدولية، وهي أيضاً معادية وصديقة، وفي مقدمتها روسيا وفرنسا وبريطانيا وأميركا، التي تدير كل تحركاتها العسكرية في المنطقة عموماً من قاعدتي “العديد” و”السيليه” القريبتين من قناة الجزيرة التي “تتحدى الإمبريالية والصهيونية”!

وليس واضحاً كيف سيكون الرد الإيراني على كل هذه التحركات، التي إن لم تساهم في إنهاء الأزمة السورية فوراً، وبمصداقية تامة، فإنَّ المحافظين الذين يتوقَّع لهم الكثيرون انتصاراً كبيراً في الانتخابات القادمة، سيكون لهم موقف أكثر حزماً وحسماً إلى جانب الرئيس الأسد ومن معه في خندق المقاومة، وهو ما أثبتته طهران كنهج عقائديّ استراتيجيّ لن يتغيّر، ولكن قد يزداد عمقاً!

ويبقى السؤال الأهم في كل هذه المعادلات والسيناريوهات: هل سيطوي الرئيس السيسي صفحة الماضي مع “عدوه اللدود” الرئيس إردوغان؟ وكيف؟ وهل سيعملان في سوريا أو ضدها؟ ولمَ؟ وكيف سيكون ذلك؟ 

وتبقى المفاجأة الأكبر دائماً هي احتمالات المصالحة التركية مع “إسرائيل” بعد سقوط حكومة نتنياهو، الذي كان إردوغان يرى فيه عائقاً أمام محاولاته للمصالحة مع تل أبيب. وقد تبعث بدورها، بحكومتها الجديدة إذا نالت الثقة وعمَّرت طويلاً، إشارات إيجابية إلى أنقرة، ليساعدها ذلك في الخروج من عزلتها الإقليمية والدولية، ولو كان ذلك لمرحلة تكتيكية لا تتناقض مع أهداف “إسرائيل” ديناً وعقيدة واستراتيجية!

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