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Совету сотрудничества арабских государств Персидского залива (ССАГПЗ) и Ирану необходимо вести диалог на основе общих интересов, принципа добрососедства, невмешательства во внутренние дела и соблюдения суверенитета государств. Такое заявление на …
The Gulf Aluminium Council's Carbon Seminar takes place on the 18 & 19 October 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Muscat, Oman.The seminar will provide an excellent opportunity to share global knowledge from professionals and practical applications of the subject matter, among the GCC smelters. The participants will also have the opportunity to gain a broader perspective from this very informative seminar, which they can apply in their own work environment.For more information and to register for this event, please contact Adele Carollissen: [email protected] The event flyer can be downloaded below.
Global Crowdfunding Convention (GCC), now sponsored by ForbesBooks, is the premier destination for crowdfunding professionals, entrepreneurs, and industry experts to come together to learn about the power of crowdfunding in business growth.
Верить этим данным или нет – дело индивидуальное. Но когда люди искренне занимаются благотворительностью, то редко это афишируют. На то она и благотворительность… Напомним, что противостояние между буддистским большинством и мусульманским меньшинством обострилось с новой силой. На втором месте рейтинга — Индонезия, на … Читать далее →
French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar to be lifted. He made the comments following a meeting with the emir of Qatar, who is on his first foreign trip since the diplomatic crisis began in June. Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull reports from Paris. - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/
We knew it was coming. An Arab League showdown on Tuesday turned into a shouting match involving allies turned bitter enemies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates. Currently Qatar is being boycotted by four other Arab states and the once strong Gulf Cooperation Council alliance (GCC) is in shambles. Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi immediately raised the boycott in his opening remarks though the dispute was supposed to be carefully avoided and wasn't on the agenda. He called Qatar's gulf enemies, especially Saudi Arabia, “rabid dogs”. “Even the animals were not spared, you sent them out savagely,” Muraikhi said, referring to the fact that camels of Qatari farmers in Saudi Arabia were left to roam and die in the open desert along the border area between the two countries. The Emirati foreign minister countered, "Fifty-nine terrorists are residing and settled in Qatar or have ties to Qatar. A large number of them are named as terrorists by the Americans and another group are labelled terrorists by the European Union and a third group are labelled as terrorists by the United Nations. And yet another group are on the terror list of Arab countries." "No! When I speak you be quiet!" "No. When I speak you be quiet." Things got heated between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE at this week's Arab League meeting. pic.twitter.com/C4Lc8VwvdE — Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) September 13, 2017 And Egypt joined the anti-Qatar pile on when it's foreign minister asserted, "We all know Qatar’s historic support for terrorism and what has been provided for extremist factions, and money in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Egypt that have lead to the death of many of Egypt’s sons." Qatar has remained defiant throughout its unprecedented summer diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and other GCC states which have brought immense pressure to bear on the tiny gas and oil rich monarchy through a complete economic and diplomatic blockade imposed by its neighbors. On June 5 Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt cut ties with Qatar in a dramatic move that resulted in a nearly complete boycott of the small country which encompassed air, land, and sea. Even commercial airline flight paths were diverted mid-air at the time, causing multiple major regional carriers to cancel future flights to Doha's Hamad International Airport. Aggressive economic sanctions followed, including food blockages - most of which had previously been supplied by land via Saudi Arabia. While energy-rich Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world, its residents have faced a summer of empty supermarkets and long lines to get basic staples. Reports of extreme and creative ways Qataris have attempted to get around the blockade include an ongoing plan to fly thousands of dairy cows on Qatar Airways jets into the country. In late August Qatar even went so far as to announce the restoration of diplomatic relations with Iran in a counter-move that was arguably its greatest act of defiance yet. The constant refrain of Qatar's former GCC allies is that Qatar has grown too close to Iran while sponsoring and funding terrorism. For the Sunni gulf states "funding terrorism" is really an empty euphemism meaning links to Iran and minority Shia movements on the Arab side of the gulf. Ironically, there is ample evidence demonstrating that both sides of the current gulf schism have in truth funded terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, especially in Syria. For now the world can just sit back and watch as the dirty laundry is aired and the GCC implodes after years of nearly all the gulf monarchies funding jihadist movements in places like Syria, Iraq, and Libya - as well as a scorched earth bombing campaign against impoverished Yemen.
A special edition of NewsGrid, Al Jazeera's interactive newshour, marks 100 days since the beginning of the Gulf diplomatic crisis. It features in-depth reports on the state of Qatar's economy, the impact of the blockade on students and the media war being pushed by Arab Gulf news outlets. Plus analysis from guests in Doha, London, Washington, DC and an interview with Qatar’s ambassador to Russia. #AJNewsGrid - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/
Россия снова становится самой влиятельной силой на Ближнем Востоке
Authored by Alistair Crooke via ConsortiumNews.com, Is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu pushing the panic button over the collapse of the Saudi-Israeli jihadist proxies in Syria and now threatening to launch a major air war... A very senior Israeli intelligence delegation, a week ago, visited Washington. Then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke into President Putin’s summer holiday to meet him in Sochi, where, according to a senior Israeli government official (as cited in the Jerusalem Post), Netanyahu threatened to bomb the Presidential Palace in Damascus, and to disrupt and nullify the Astana cease-fire process, should Iran continue to “extend its reach in Syria.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015, in opposition to President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. (Screen shot from CNN broadcast) Russia’s Pravda wrote, “according to eyewitnesses of the open part of the talks, the Israeli prime minister was too emotional and at times even close to panic. He described a picture of the apocalypse to the Russian president that the world may see, if no efforts are taken to contain Iran, which, as Netanyahu believes, is determined to destroy Israel.” So, what is going on here? Whether or not Pravda’s quote is fully accurate (though the description was confirmed by senior Israeli commentators), what is absolutely clear (from Israeli sources) is that both in Washington and at Sochi, the Israeli officials were heard out, but got nothing. Israel stands alone. Indeed, it is reported that Netanyahu was seeking “guarantees” about the future Iranian role in Syria, rather than “asking for the moon” of an Iranian exit. But how could Washington or Moscow realistically give Israel such guarantees? Belatedly, Israel has understood that it backed the wrong side in Syria – and it has lost. It is not really in a position to demand anything. It will not get an American enforced buffer zone beyond the Golan armistice line, nor will the Iraqi-Syrian border be closed, or somehow “supervised” on Israel’s behalf. Of course, the Syrian aspect is important, but to focus only on that, would be to “miss the forest for the trees.” The 2006 war by Israel to destroy Hizbullah (egged on by the U.S., Saudi Arabia – and even a few Lebanese) was a failure. Symbolically, for the first time in the Middle East, a technologically sophisticated, and lavishly armed, Western nation-state simply failed. What made the failure all the more striking (and painful) was that a Western state was not just bested militarily, it had lost also the electronic and human intelligence war, too — both spheres in which the West thought their primacy unassailable. The Fallout from Failure Israel’s unexpected failure was deeply feared in the West, and in the Gulf too. A small, armed (revolutionary) movement had stood up to Israel – against overwhelming odds – and prevailed: it had stood its ground. This precedent was widely perceived to be a potential regional “game changer.” The feudal Gulf autocracies sensed in Hizbullah’s achievement the latent danger to their own rule from such armed resistance. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The reaction was immediate. Hizbullah was quarantined — as best the full sanctioning powers of America could manage. And the war in Syria started to be mooted as the “corrective strategy” to the 2006 failure (as early as 2007) — though it was only with the events following 2011 that the “corrective strategy” came to implemented, à outrance. Against Hizbullah, Israel had thrown its full military force (though Israelis always say, now, that they could have done more). And against Syria, the U.S., Europe, the Gulf States (and Israel in the background) have thrown the kitchen sink: jihadists, al-Qaeda, ISIS (yes), weapons, bribes, sanctions and the most overwhelming information war yet witnessed. Yet Syria – with indisputable help from its allies – seems about to prevail: it has stood its ground, against almost unbelievable odds. Just to be clear: if 2006 marked a key point of inflection, Syria’s “standing its ground” represents a historic turning of much greater magnitude. It should be understood that Saudi Arabia’s (and Britain’s and America’s) tool of fired-up, radical Sunnism has been routed. And with it, the Gulf States, but particularly Saudi Arabia are damaged. The latter has relied on the force of Wahabbism since the first foundation of the kingdom: but Wahabbism in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq has been roundly defeated and discredited (even for most Sunni Muslims). It may well be defeated in Yemen too. This defeat will change the face of Sunni Islam. Already, we see the Gulf Cooperation Council, which originally was founded in 1981 by six Gulf tribal leaders for the sole purpose of preserving their hereditary tribal rule in the Peninsula, now warring with each other, in what is likely to be a protracted and bitter internal fight. The “Arab system,” the prolongation of the old Ottoman structures by the complaisant post-World War I victors, Britain and France, seems to be out of its 2013 “remission” (bolstered by the coup in Egypt), and to have resumed its long-term decline. The Losing Side Netayahu’s “near panic” (if that is indeed what occurred) may well be a reflection of this seismic shift taking place in the region. Israel has long backed the losing side – and now finds itself “alone” and fearing for its near proxies (the Jordanians and the Kurds). The “new” corrective strategy from Tel Aviv, it appears, is to focus on winning Iraq away from Iran, and embedding it into the Israel-U.S.-Saudi alliance. President Donald Trump touches lighted globe with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman and Donald Trump at the opening of Saudi Arabia’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology on May 21, 2017. (Photo from Saudi TV) If so, Israel and Saudi Arabia are probably too late into the game, and are likely underestimating the visceral hatred engendered among so many Iraqis of all segments of society for the murderous actions of ISIS. Not many believe the improbable (Western) narrative that ISIS suddenly emerged armed, and fully financed, as a result of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s alleged “sectarianism”: No, as rule-of-thumb, behind each such well-breached movement – stands a state. Daniel Levy has written a compelling piece to argue that Israelis generally would not subscribe to what I have written above, but rather: “Netanyahu’s lengthy term in office, multiple electoral successes, and ability to hold together a governing coalition … [is based on] him having a message that resonates with a broader public. It is a sales pitch that Netanyahu … [has] ‘brought the state of Israel to the best situation in its history, a rising global force … the state of Israel is diplomatically flourishing.’ Netanyahu had beaten back what he had called the ‘fake-news claim’ that without a deal with the Palestinians ‘Israel will be isolated, weakened and abandoned’ facing a ‘diplomatic tsunami.’ “Difficult though it is for his political detractors to acknowledge, Netanyahu’s claim resonates with the public because it reflects something that is real, and that has shifted the center of gravity of Israeli politics further and further to the right. It is a claim that, if correct and replicable over time, will leave a legacy that lasts well beyond Netanyahu’s premiership and any indictment he might face. “Netanyahu’s assertion is that he is not merely buying time in Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians to improve the terms of an eventual and inevitable compromise. Netanyahu is laying claim to something different — the possibility of ultimate victory, the permanent and definitive defeat of the Palestinians, their national and collective goals. “In over a decade as prime minister, Netanyahu has consistently and unequivocally rejected any plans or practical steps that even begin to address Palestinian aspirations. Netanyahu is all about perpetuating and exacerbating the conflict, not about managing it, let alone resolving it…[The] message is clear: there will be no Palestinian state because the West Bank and East Jerusalem are simply Greater Israel.” No Palestinian State Levy continues: “The approach overturns assumptions that have guided peace efforts and American policy for over a quarter of a century: that Israel has no alternative to an eventual territorial withdrawal and acceptance of something sufficiently resembling an independent sovereign Palestinian state broadly along the 1967 lines. It challenges the presumption that the permanent denial of such an outcome is incompatible with how Israel and Israelis perceive themselves as being a democracy. Additionally, it challenges the peace-effort supposition that this denial would in any way be unacceptable to the key allies on which Israel depends… The Palestinian flag is waved as relief ships arrive in Gaza in August 2008. “In more traditional bastions of support for Israel, Netanyahu took a calculated gamble — would enough American Jewish support continue to stand with an increasingly illiberal and ethno-nationalist Israel, thereby facilitating the perpetuation of the lopsided U.S.-Israel relationship? Netanyahu bet yes, and he was right.” And here is another interesting point that Levy makes: “And then events took a further turn in Netanyahu’s favor with the rise to power in the United States and parts of Central Eastern Europe (and to enhanced prominence elsewhere in Europe and the West) of the very ethno-nationalist trend to which Netanyahu is so committed, working to replace liberal with illiberal democracy. One should not underestimate Israel and Netanyahu’s importance as an ideological and practical avant-garde for this trend.” Former U.S. Ambassador and respected political analyst Chas Freeman wrote recently very bluntly: “the central objective of U.S. policy in the Middle East has long been to achieve regional acceptance for the Jewish-settler state in Palestine.” Or, in other words, for Washington, its Middle East policy – and all its actions – have been determined by “to be, or not to be”: “To be” (that is) – with Israel, or not “to be” (with Israel). Israel’s Lost Ground The key point now is that the region has just made a seismic shift into the “not to be” camp. Is there much that America can do about that? Israel very much is alone with only a weakened Saudi Arabia at its side, and there are clear limits to what Saudi Arabia can do. Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. The U.S. calling on Arab states to engage more with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi seems somehow inadequate. Iran is not looking for war with Israel (as a number of Israeli analysts have acknowledged); but, too, the Syrian President has made clear that his government intends to recover “all Syria” – and all Syria includes the occupied Golan Heights. And this week, Hassan Nasrallah called on the Lebanese government “to devise a plan and take a sovereign decision to liberate the Shebaa Farms and the Kfarshouba Hills” from Israel. A number Israeli commentators already are saying that the “writing is on the wall” – and that it would be better for Israel to cede territory unilaterally, rather than risk the loss of hundreds of lives of Israeli servicemen in a futile attempt to retain it. That, though, seems hardly congruent with the Israeli Prime Minister’s “not an inch, will we yield” character and recent statements. Will ethno-nationalism provide Israel with a new support base? Well, firstly, I do not see Israel’s doctrine as “illiberal democracy,” but rather an apartheid system intended to subordinate Palestinian political rights. And as the political schism in the West widens, with one “wing” seeking to delegitimize the other by tarnishing them as racists, bigots and Nazis, it is clear that the real America First-ers will try, at any price, to distance themselves from the extremists. Daniel Levy points out that the Alt-Right leader, Richard Spencer, depicts his movement as White Zionism. Is this really likely to build support for Israel? How long before the “globalists” use precisely Netanyahu’s “illiberal democracy” meme to taunt the U.S. Right that this is precisely the kind of society for which they too aim: with Mexicans and black Americans treated like Palestinians? ‘Ethnic Nationalism’ The increasingly “not to be” constituency of the Middle East has a simpler word for Netanyahu’s “ethnic nationalism.” They call it simply Western colonialism. Round one of Chas Freeman’s making the Middle East “be with Israel” consisted of the shock-and-awe assault on Iraq. Iraq is now allied with Iran, and the Hashad militia (PMU) are becoming a widely mobilized fighting force. The second stage was 2006. Today, Hizbullah is a regional force, and not a just Lebanese one. Far-right militia members demonstrating outside Ukrainian parliament in Kiev. (Screen shot from RT video via YouTube video) The third strike was at Syria. Today, Syria is allied with Russia, Iran, Hizbullah and Iraq. What will comprise the next round in the “to be, or not to be” war? For all Netanyahu’s bluster about Israel standing stronger, and having beaten back “what he had called the ‘fake-news claim’ that without a deal with the Palestinians ‘Israel will be isolated, weakened and abandoned’ facing a ‘diplomatic tsunami,’” Netanyahu may have just discovered, in these last two weeks, that he confused facing down the weakened Palestinians with “victory” — only at the very moment of his apparent triumph, to find himself alone in a new, “New Middle East.” Perhaps Pravda was right, and Netanyahu did appear close to panic, during his hurriedly arranged, and urgently called, Sochi summit.
Qatar has remained defiant throughout its unprecedented summer diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states which have brought immense pressure to bear on the tiny gas and oil rich monarchy through a complete economic and diplomatic blockade imposed by its neighbors. However, on Thursday it unveiled a stunning geopolitical realignment when it announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Iran in a move that is arguably its greatest act of defiance yet. The Qatari foreign ministry announced early Thursday that "the state of Qatar expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields" and reportedly informed Iran by phone of plans to return the Qatari ambassador to Tehran for the first time since it broke relations in 2016. The move is significant because the chief accusation leveled against Qatar by its former GCC allies, especially Saudi Arabia, is of growing too close to Iran while sponsoring and funding terrorism. For the Sunni gulf states "funding terrorism" is more often a euphemism meaning links to Iran and Shia movements in the gulf. Ironically, there is ample evidence demonstrating that both sides of the current gulf schism have in truth funded terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, especially in Syria. But Qatar's announcement sends an audacious and daring message essentially signalling that the country remains unbowed by Saudi pressure, and that the severe economic sanctions designed to bring Qatar to its knees may result in a geopolitical backfiring and new regional order as Iran stands to benefit. Image source: Iran's Payvand News Service On June 5 Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt cut ties with Qatar in a dramatic move that resulted in a near total blockade of the small country which encompassed air, land, and sea. Even commercial airline flight paths were diverted mid-air at the time, causing multiple major regional carriers to cancel future flights to Doha's Hamad International Airport. Aggressive economic sanctions followed, including food blockages - most of which had previously been supplied by land via Saudi Arabia. While energy-rich Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world, its residents have faced a summer of empty supermarkets and long lines to get basic staples. Reports of extreme and creative ways Qataris have attempted to get around the blockade include an ongoing plan to fly thousands of dairy cows on Qatar Airways jets into the country. Qatari companies were expelled from Saudi Arabia, as well as individuals from diplomats (who were give 48 hours to leave) to farmers. While stock prices immediately slumped and imports plunged (by 37.9 percent in June compared with May), the government's making up the difference in rising costs through subsidies has made life bearable - and Qatar actually appears to be resilient and weathering the storm. The nation's oil and gas sector, which accounts for more than half of the country's GDP, is what is carrying the country through. Analysts have consistently characterized Qatar's oil and gas as vulnerable yet largely "unaffected" throughout the crisis - this partly because exports to Japan, China, India, and South Korea account for nearly three quarters of its total exports and have remained untouched by the boycott. The UAE, though firmly on the Saudi side of the spat, relies on sourcing 30% of its energy needs from Qatar to keep the lights on, and a major gas pipeline connecting the two countries has kept pumping all summer. Fresh financial data out today confirms that Qatar is set to at least in the near term persist through the crisis while avoiding collapse, with some sectors remaining surprisingly strong. No doubt its leaders are keenly aware of this and emboldened in their shots fired across the Saudi bow as they restore diplomatic relations with Iran. Qatar's former adversary across the Persian Gulf has throughout the summer shipped food supplies into the blockaded country, as well as allowed Qatari flights increased use of Iranian airspace in largely symbolic acts aimed at poking the Saudis. But it's Qatar's shared massive natural gas field with Iran - with the South Pars Field owned by Tehran and the North Field owned by Doha - that has been the biggest stabilizing lifeline of the crisis. Though Thursday's figures show that: Qatar is still far from restoring its imports to normal. Imports recovered by only 6.3 percent month-on-month to 6.24 billion riyals ($1.71 billion) in July; they were 35.0 percent below their level in July 2016. Much of the disruption appears to be to big-ticket items. Imports of aircraft parts were down 40.5 percent from a year ago at 292 million riyals in July. The diplomatic crisis has deprived Qatar Airways of two of its biggest markets, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. But as analysts have consistently predicted: Thursday's trade figures suggested the sanctions are not affecting Qatar's natural gas exports - July exports of petroleum gases and other gaseous hydrocarbons rose 7.8 percent from a year ago - and are no longer slowing other exports much. As a result, Qatar's trade surplus expanded 78.1 percent from a year earlier to 11.91 billion riyals in July, although it edged down 4.8 percent from the previous month. And though prices on basic staples continue to rise (for example food and drink prices rose 4.2 percent in July from June), even this may stabilize: Analysts think the sanctions damage should ease in coming months as new shipping routes develop. Qatar Navigation launched a direct Qatar-Turkey service this week after starting a container service to Kuwait last week; construction of a food processing and storage facility at Qatar's Hamad Port received $440 million of bank financing this week. The so-called "13 demands" presented by the quartet of Arab countries sanctioning Qatar on June 23 have unsurprisingly remained unfulfilled while today's announcement further signals Qatar's willingness to forge alternate permanent ties away from the GCC alliance which has defined much of short history as a young nation-state. The announced willingness to form fresh ties with Iran comes just days after Saudi Arabia began somewhat bizarrely and aggressively promoting an exiled Qatari royal family member and prominent businessman, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Ali Al-Thani, whose family was forced out in 1972. The Saudis would like nothing more than be in a position to hand pick their choice for the Qatari throne and reduce Qatar to a vassal state. From the Saudi and GCC perspective, the list of pre-conditions for lifting the embargo remain in effect, and include (according to India's English news site The Wire): Close down Al Jazeera television network and all its affiliates, plus other Qatar-funded news outlets Close a military base operated by Turkey Expel all citizens of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain currently in Qatar Hand over all individuals wanted by those four countries for terrorism Stop funding any extremist entities that are designated as terrorist groups by the US Provide detailed information about opposition figures Qatar has funded Shut down diplomatic posts in Iran Expel members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Conduct trade and commerce with Iran only in conformity with US sanctions And yet surprisingly it appears Qatar is increasingly in the geopolitical driver's seat, having called the bluff of the more powerful GCC states led by Saudi Arabia and backed by Saudi allies like the US and even Israel. For now it appears tiny Qatar is defying the odds, and its potential to successfully navigate the current economic and diplomatic full frontal assault has huge repercussions for the entire region. As accurately predicted by a comprehensive report by Middle East scholar Mouin Rabbani produced earlier this summer: The big winners so far are Iran, Syria, and their Lebanese ally Hizballah, who cannot but be delighted by the audible cracks in the alliance ranged against Damascus and Tehran and that may well spell the end of the GCC. Iran and Hizballah will additionally hope that Hamas has finally learned the lesson that no ally of the United States can be a true friend of the Palestinians. Turkey has also, yet again, demonstrated that in today’s Middle East it has a role to play in every crisis and that others ignore Ankara’s interests– whether in the Gulf, Syria, or Iraq–at their peril. On the flip side, there are growing noises within Riyadh and Abu Dhabi that the campaign should expand to include Turkey–which has recently been claiming that the UAE is implicated in the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan. Will we all look back on this moment when future historians trace the end of the GCC? Did the Saudis finally overreach in their anti-Iran fanaticism to become the authors of their own demise? The surprising emergent Iran-Qatar alliance is sure to at least be the start of a new regional order where the Saudis can no longer dictate terms no matter how many Western powers stand at their side.
Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation, In every nation there are power conglomerates that determine and influence the domestic and foreign policy choices their nations. In the United States, it is important to highlight the concept known as American exceptionalism that accompanies these power centers, often called the deep state. According to this principle, the United States alone has been chosen by God to lead mankind. After the World War II, a notion very similar to that of Nazi Aryan racial supremacy was born - that of the chosen people. In this case, however, the chosen people were Americans, who emerged victorious at the end of the Second World War II, ready to face the «existential danger» of the USSR, a society and culture that was different from that of the US. With such mental imprinting, the trend over the following decades was predictable. What followed was war after war, the capitalist economic system sustained by the US war machine widening its sphere all over the globe, reaching Southeast Asia, but then being forced back by the failure of the Vietnam War, signaling the first sign of the end of American omnipotence. As the Berlin Wall fell and eliminated the Soviet «threat», American expansion had almost reached its existential limit. What has been a constant element during all of these US presidencies, during various wars and economic growth thanks to a rising capitalism, has been the presence of the deep state, a set of neural centers that make up real US power. In order to understand the failure of the deep state to achieve its goals to exercise full-spectrum control over the globe, it is crucial to trace the connections between past and the present presidencies from the fall of the Berlin Wall. When thinking of the deep state, it is easy to identify the major players - the mainstream media, think-tanks, central and private banks, foreign-state lobbyists, politicians, intelligence agencies, large industrial groups, and the military-industrial complex (MIC). These are the inner circles that hold the true levers of power in the United States. Often, by analyzing past events over a long period of time, it becomes easier to identify motivations and goals behind specific actions, and the manner in which the various members of the deep state have often accompanied, influenced and sometimes sabotaged various administrations - such as is currently the case with the current Trump administration - for the sole purpose of advancing their economic interests. During the Clinton and Bush administrations, the deep state was able to maintain a united and compact front, counting on the economic and military power of what was still a rising global power. The mainstream media, the intelligence agencies, the military and the financial and political centers supported both presidents in their ambitious plans to expand American hegemony. From intervention in Yugoslavia to the bombing to Afghanistan through to the war in Iraq, the refrain has been conflict and devastation in exchange for financial impositions that were focused on maintaining the dollar as the reserve or exchange currency for such assets as oil. In Yugoslavia, the strategy also aimed at dismantling the last block linked to the former Soviet Union, the last act of the end of the Cold War. Even the control of opium trading routes from Afghanistan has been of great importance, becoming a key element in US expansion and control plans, other than maintaining a foothold in central Asia for further destabilization attempts. The war in Iraq, engineered by three fundamental elements of the deep state (false intelligence services, journalists with a specific agenda, and the military straining at the leash to bomb a hostile nation), has produced a number of consequences, primarily the disintegration of the country, leaving the door open to Iranian influence. Over the course of 15 years, Tehran's influence has grown to such an extent that it engages Iraq in a Shiite arch that starts from Iran, passes through Iraq, and ends in Syria, reaching the Mediterranean. In terms of the effect intended and the result actually obtained, the Iraq war may be considered the largest strategic failure of the US deep state since Vietnam. In addition to a loss of American influence with the petro-monarchies, Iraq has highlighted the American inability to conquer and hold a territory when the population is hostile. Facing local and Shiite militias, the United States paid a heavy human toll, shocking the American population during the ten-year war with planes returning home to deliver flag-draped coffins. This is not to mention the creation of the Afghan and Iraq wars of hundreds of billions of dollars of debt, all placed on the shoulders of the American taxpayer. In a sense, Obama owes much of his victory in 2008 to the financial crisis and the American defeat in Iraq. Even today, the debate about the role of the deep state in Obama's election is open. The most plausible explanation is based on Obama's telegenic appeal over Senator McCain, likely a decisive factor for Americans. As many Americans did not admit, Obama's election, after eight years of Bush, was a break with the past, a clear message to the elite, especially after Obama's victory over Clinton during the Democratic primaries. Obama's victory was immediately accompanied by a strategic recalculation by the deep state, which sensed the new opportunity linked to Obama's nature as well as ongoing changes. There were to be no more explicit wars of the type that involve tank divisions. After the disaster in Iraq, even the deep state understood how American military power was unable to prevail over a hostile local population. For this reason, the neoconservatives have been progressively displaced by the liberal, human-rights brigade. Their new approach has turned the Middle East upside down through the Arab Spring, creating a new balance in the region and causing the situation to degenerate in Egypt, destabilizing neighboring countries, ending up human-rights dystopias in places like Libya and Syria, both victims of direct or indirect military aggression on the grounds of protecting human rights. In this scenario, the most important components of the deep state are the media that, by disseminating false intelligence information through manipulation and disinformation for the purposes of justifying military aggression, conditions the populations of Europe and the US to attack sovereign countries like Libya. During the Obama administration, the deep state rarely faced a hostile presidency, demonstrated by the bank bailout during the 2008 crisis. A few months after the election, it became apparent how empty Obama’s election promises had been, representing the triumph of marketing over substance. By printing money at zero interest, Obama allowed the Fed to donate almost $800 billion to the banks, saving them from a collapse and postponing the consequences of the next financial crisis, which will likely be irreparable. Obama preferred to follow the dictates of the Fed, a key component of the deep state, instead of reforming the banking sector. The underlying mistakes of the last months of the Obama administration continue to affect Trump's new presidency. Obama's attempt to placate the deep state by arming terrorists in the Middle East, putting neo-Nazis in Ukraine, bombing Libya, and bailing out the banks has only increased the appetite of the deep state, which has progressed to more explicit demands like an attack on Iran and direct intervention in Syria. From this moment on, after having granted virtually all the wishes of the deep state, Obama pulled the handbrake and activated a couple of countermeasures to rebalance the legacy of his presidency. He opposed a direct intervention in Syria following the false-flag chemical attacks, signing and implementing the nuclear agreement with Iran and he restoring relations with Cuba. It was at this very moment that the deep state declared war on Obama, relying on the indispensable support of intelligence agencies, the mainstream media, and the most conservative wing of the American establishment. Attacks on Obama's presumed weaknesses as president, his inability to defend American interests, and his lack of courage characterized the last two years of his presidency. It was this perennial state of siege during Obama's presidency that created the conditions for Trump's electoral ascent. The deep state has for years insisted on the need for a strong and determined leader representative of the spirit of American exceptionalism. Initially, the deep state focused on Hillary Clinton, but Trump had the intuition to emphasize the military and industrial aspects of the country, appealing to the yearning of the population for a rebuilding of domestic industry, and opening new opportunities for the deep state. This served to drive a split within the intelligence agencies, the mainstream media, and a good deal of the domestic political class, leaving them in open warfare. Russia's affairs and Trump’s alleged connections to Putin are false news, created to sabotage Trump's presidency. In the 2016 Republican primaries, Americans voted for a leader who promised to improve their livelihoods by boosting the domestic economy and placing the interests of their country first. This promise almost immediately captured the working component of the population and large industrial conglomerates. Trump later gained the support of another fundamental component of the deep state, the military wing, thanks to the proclamation that the United States will be returned to the role they deserve in the world, salvaging the perverse idea of American exceptionalism. Trump's decision to embrace the MIC is particularly controversial and represents the beginning of a deep-state faction built upon Trump's presidency. The daily din surrounding his presidency, with constant attacks from the opposing faction of the deep state, became intense with fake news alleging Trump’s links with Russia. With the appointment of generals who subscribe to the idea of American exceptionalism, it can be debated whether Trump intentionally wanted to give a leadership role to his own generals or whether he had no choice, having to associate with some of these deep-state members in order to defend himself against the assaults of opposing deep-state factions. Recent Trump-related events are all based on these factors, namely a deep state driven by the neoliberal faction that has never stopped attacking Trump, and a neoconservative deep-state faction that has been tightening the noose around Trump. The immediate results have been a level of chaos that has been unprecedented in a US administration, with continuous appointments and layoffs, the latest one Steve Bannon, not to mention the impossibility of abolishing Obamacare with all the forces arrayed against Trump’s legislative agenda. Trump has progressively had to concede more power and authority to his generals, acceding to bombing Syria and passing sanctions that worsen relations between Moscow and Washington. A self-destructive spiral began with the granting of a primary role to those nominated to key positions. The final effect of this ongoing sabotage ever since the Obama presidency is a bankrupt US foreign policy and a continuing fratricidal struggle within the deep state. America’s European allies are in revolt over anti-Russia sanctions, which is their main source of energy. Countries like Russia, China and Iran are beginning to undergo an economic revolution as they progressively abandon the dollar; and as these countries take over a Middle East devastated by years of American wars, Moscow gains significant influence in the region. The crisis engulfing the Gulf Cooperation Council, increasingly beset with fickle fractures between Riyadh and Doha. One of the consequences of two decades of the US deep state’s brazen foreign policy has been the birth of a multipolar world order, with US superpower status being challenged by competing powers like China and Russia. Indeed, Washington’s historic allies in the Middle East, Israel and Saudi Arabia, have borne the consequences of the disastrous policies of the US, with Iran rising to be one of the power centers of the region destined to dominate the Middle East militarily and even economically. The incredible paradox of the failure of deep state is represented by the emergence of two alternative poles to the American one, increasingly allied with each other to counter the chaotic retreat of a unipolar world order. In this scenario, Washington and all its power centers are in an unprecedented situation, where their desire does not match their abilities. A sense of frustration is increasingly evident, from the incredible statements of many American political representatives on Russian influence in US elections, to the threats of aggression against North Korea, or the game of chicken with the nuclear powers of Russia and China. If the deep state continues to hamstring the presidency, and the military wing succeeds in pressuring Trump, there are likely to be a number of indirectly linked effects. There will be an exponential increase in synergies between nations not aligned with American interests. In economic terms, there are alternative systems to that centered on the dollar; in terms of energy, there are a host of new agreements with European, Turkish or Russian partners; and in political terms, there is a more or less explicit alliance between Russia and China, with a strong contribution from Iran, as will soon become more evident with Tehran's entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). By the end of the 1980s, the United States was the only world power destined for a future of unchallenged global hegemony. The deep state’s greed, as well as the utopian desire to control every decision in every corner of the world, has ended up consuming the ability of the US to influence events, serving only to draw Russia and China closer together with the shared interest of halting America’s heedless advance. It is thanks to the firmly ensconced American deep state that Moscow and Beijing are now coordinating together in order to put to an end the United States’ unipolar moment as soon as possible. It is not entirely wrong to say that the American unipolar moment is coming to an end, with the deep state’s attacks on the Trump presidency preventing any rapprochement with Moscow. The stronger the pressure of the deep state on the multipolar powers, the greater the speed with which the advance of the multipolar world will replace the unipolar one. Early effects will appear in the economic sphere, particularly in relation to movement towards de-dollarisation, which may mark the beginning of a long-awaited change.
A leaked United Nations report finds that Saudi Arabia has massacred thousands of children in Yemen since the start of its air campaign in the impoverished country and now the Saudis are using their vast wealth and influence to suppress the document's findings in order to stay off of a UN blacklist identifying nations which violate child rights. On Wednesday Foreign Policy published a bombshell report, based on its possession of a leaked 41-page draft UN document, which found Saudi Arabia and its partner coalition allies in Yemen (among them the United States) of being guilty of horrific war crimes, including the bombing of dozens of schools, hospitals, and civilian infrastructure. Foreign Policy reports: “The killing and maiming of children remained the most prevalent violation” of children’s rights in Yemen, according to the 41-page draft report obtained by Foreign Policy. The chief author of the confidential draft report, Virginia Gamba, the U.N. chief’s special representative for children abused in war time, informed top U.N. officials Monday, that she intends to recommend the Saudi-led coalition be added to a list a countries and entities that kill and maim children, according to a well-placed source. The UN report further identifies that air attacks "were the cause of over half of all child casualties, with at least 349 children killed and 333 children injured” during a designated time period recently studied. While it is unclear what specific window of time the UN assessed for these figures, the AP (also in possession of the leaked document) reports further of the secret U.N. findings that, "the U.N. verified a total of 1,953 youngsters killed and injured in Yemen in 2015 — a six-fold increase compared with 2014" - with the majority of these deaths being the result of Saudi and coalition air power. Also according to the AP: It said nearly three-quarters of attacks on schools and hospitals — 38 of 52 — were also carried out by the coalition. Saudi Arabian representative to the UN Human Rights Council Abdulaziz Alwasil with the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. UN Photo/Pierre Albouy. Source: UN Watch. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is reportedly bringing immense pressure to bear against the UN and the commission responsible for the report, with the United States also working behind the scenes to mitigate the public embarrassment and fallout that is sure to come should Saudi Arabia receive formal censure in the U.N.’s upcoming annual report of Children and Armed Conflict. As Foreign Policy describes: The current standoff has its roots in the 2001 adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1379, which mandated a senior U.N. official to produce a report each year documenting attacks against children in armed conflicts, including an annex that serves as a blacklist of governments, terrorists and armed groups that kill and maim kids. In recent years Saudi Arabia has managed to use the UN to protect and enhance its image when it comes to questions of human rights and reform. Absurdly, the autocratic country which has Wahhabi Islam for its official state religion is currently serving a 3-year term on the UN Human Rights Council. It is further provides massive funding for UN humanitarian aid programs. Last year Saudi Arabia was briefly added to the UN blacklist of state and non-state entities involved in the mass killing of children, but according to Foreign Policy: In response, Saudi Arabia threatened to stage a walk-out by Arab countries from the U.N. and slash hundreds of millions in aid to the international body’s anti-poverty programs unless the coalition was removed from a U.N. rogues list. Then U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reluctantly agreed to temporarily delist the coalition, citing concerns that the loss of Persian Gulf money could imperil the lives of millions of needy children from South Sudan to Yemen. But he insisted that the coalition would be put back on the list unless a joint U.N.-Saudi review of the coalition’s conduct demonstrated the allegations were unjustified or that attacks on children stopped. But the Saudis were never put back on the list, and the attacks never stopped. About 600 children were killed and 1,150 injured in Yemen between March 2016 and March 2017, according to UNICEF. Saudi Arabia and other oil rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have long managed to escape the scrutiny of media and international human rights bodies based on their deep pockets and security relationship with the West. Their collective oil, weapons, and infrastructure investment interdependency with Britain and the US have generally translated into Western governments, media, and human rights organizations towing the party line on the gulf sheikhdoms, content to (with a few sporadic exceptions) uncritically present them as some kind of “reform-minded” terror-fighting benevolent monarchies looking out for democratic interests and championing human rights. The US itself has been an integral part of the coalition (also including Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Sudan, and with the UK as a huge supplier of weapons) fighting Shia Houthi rebels, which overran the Yemen’s north in 2014. Saudi airstrikes on the impoverished country, which have killed many thousands of civilians and displaced tens of thousands, have involved the assistance of US intelligence and use of American military hardware. Cholera has recently made a comeback amidst the appalling war-time conditions, and civilian infrastructure such as hospitals have been bombed by the Saudis. The war in Yemen has been drastically under-reported in US media, which tends to focus almost exclusively on human rights in places like Russia or Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is consistently portrayed as little more than a homicidal maniac bent on massacring his own civilian population. Early in the war the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review produced a short study which attempted to explain, according to its title, Why almost no one’s covering the war in Yemen. Other analysts have since criticized the media and political establishment's tendency to exaggerate Iran’s presence in Yemen and further willingness to ignore or downplay the clear war crimes of US client regimes in the gulf: while Iran-aligned states and militias are framed as the region’s terrorizers, the Saudi-aligned coalition’s motives are constantly cast as praise-worthy and noble. Saudi Arabia and its backers fear what they perceive as growing Iranian influence in the region and seek to defend at all costs Yemeni forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Embattled President Hadi famously gave a September 2016 speech before the UN in which he vowed to “extract Yemen from the claws of Iran” – for which he’s received international support. While Saudi bombs rained down on Yemen’s civilian population, the “international community” accused Iran of hindering peace. But now the obvious and growing contradictions between what the UN claims to represent, and the human rights abuses of some of its most influential and wealthiest member states, is going increasingly public and impossible to deny. The UN now stands in violation of its own clear black and white resolutions on documenting human rights abuses as what appears to be its quid pro quo relationship with Saudi Arabia and the kingdom's Western backers continues to emerge through undeniable documentation.
A US F-18 fighter jet crash landed at Bahrain's international airport Saturday, causing the complete closure of the island's main commercial flight hub. Photos and brief video footage quickly posted online shows a badly damaged but intact jet with its tail on the ground and nose in the air in a gravel area located completely off the runway. According to a statement by Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban, the jet suffered engine trouble after taking off from the USS Nimitz in the Persian Gulf and attempted to make it to Sheikh Isa Air Base in Bahrain but instead had to attempt an emergency landing at the busy commercial airport. The pilot ejected as the jet skidded off the runway and escaped unharmed. US Navy Super Hornet at Bahrain International Airport. Image: Twitter Bahrain, which is connected by bridge to Saudi Arabia, is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and about 8,000 US military personnel which are mostly attached to the island nation's Naval Support Activity base, which monitors and supports all 20+ US and coalition naval vessels in the Persian Gulf. Britain is also currently constructing a major base on the island. The airport shut down for about 7 hours and Bahrain's Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications said that no one was injured in the crash. Bahrain and allies Kuwait and the UAE are geographically at the forefront of a pro-Sunni GCC arch (Gulf Cooperation Council) along the Persian Gulf, which seek to maintain a collective barrier against Iranian interests. US military presence in these countries is considered vital by the host nations in ensuring both defensive posture against Iran and stability against Shia opposition groups and popular movements at home. The Persian Gulf has been increasingly busy in terms of military and naval activity over the past years, with the potential for highly visible provocations between Western vessels and Iran on the rise. A 2016 incident in which an Iranian boat intercepted two US Navy patrol boats on their way to Bahrain resulted in the brief arrest and detention of ten US service members by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards. At the time US media presented the incident as an Iranian act of aggression, though a US Navy investigation later confirmed that the US boats were in Iranian territorial waters after having violated dozens of Navy protocols. A total of nine officer and enlisted personnel were later disciplined over the incident - with some officers being relieved of their command - which reportedly embarrassed the White House shortly before Obama's last State of the Union address.
Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation, As widely anticipated, tensions between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are slowly corroding the unity of Washington’s allies in the Middle East In a series of almost unprecedented events among Washington's regional allies, the crisis between Saudi Arabia and Qatar seems to worsen by the day. The long-awaited list of demands presented to Doha by Riyadh seem to be intentionally impractical, as if to oblige Qatar to plead guilty to the crimes alleged by the Saudi kingdom or face the consequences, still unknown. The surreal requests start with demands to close the international television network Al Jazeera, as well as halt the financing of the Muslim Brotherhood. At the heart of the issue remains the question of political and diplomatic relations with Iran, the bane of the Saudi royal family’s existence. The House of Thani that controls Qatar has until July 3 to accept all the demands presented. At the moment, Doha seems to be sending mixed messages, announcing that it wants to evaluate the Saudis’ proposals, but also letting it be known that most of the demands are «not reasonable». Another interesting tidbit concerns the removal of Muhammed bin Nayef by the Saudi king as his successor to the throne. Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the young 31-year-old nephew, replaces Muhammed bin Nayef, the former Crown Prince and major ally of the CIA and European and American governments. Mohammad bin Salman is currently the most controversial figure in the Middle East. Responsible for the devastating war in Yemen and the desperate financial state of Riyadh’s finances, he oscillates between his Vision 2030 and an anti-Iranian preoccupation that is likely to bring his kingdom to bankruptcy. In Yemen, he waged a military campaign costing in the tens of billions of dollars, only to lose against the poorest Arab country in the world. His irrational anti-Iranian stance has even led him to risk a conflict within the GCC (thanks to the precious lobbying role of the UAE ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba) over the excessive freedom of Doha's foreign policy. Initially, this disaster appeared to be limited only to the two Gulf nations, with Trump’s Twitter account signalling Washington’s immediate backing of Mohammad bin Salman’s crusade against Iran and Qatar. The severity of the situation was immediately perceived by Turkey. Ankara and Doha have always played a leading role in the Muslim Brotherhood, a religious group that Riyadh considers to be terrorist organization and a threat to their Salafi realm. Turkey reiterated its support for the House of Al Thani by deploying about 3,000 military personal to Doha in the country's new military base, at the same time dismissing as «useless and unresponsive» the Saudis’ requests to abandon the base and withdraw their troops. In a series of unprecedented moves, bin Salman mooted the possibility of supporting Kurdish troops in Iraq and Syria if Ankara should continue to support Doha. What once seemed to be an indissoluble union between Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia today presents far more than fracture and tension, all to the benefit of the likes of Iran and Russia fighting terrorism in Syria alongside the legitimate government in Damascus. It is a nightmare for those like the United States who hoped to continue to impose their will on the Middle East through the blind obedience of certain vassals like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. With each one battling the other, the US’s role becomes much more complicated to influence events. Tensions between Washington's allies are creating a situation of all against all, indeed a sense and feeling that is all too commonly reflected in Washington these days. After days of silence, the State Department and the Pentagon expressed their support for Qatar, contradicting the President’s indications that Qatar was a terrorist-financing state. Confusion and contradictions in the United States are increasingly having a destabilizing effect, showing a country without a strategic direction. The State Department has strongly criticized Saudi Arabia for its attitude towards Qatar over the last two weeks. This is by no means surprising, as the US Department of State is still infiltrated by former Obama administration loyalists, who themselves are heavily tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, as was the former nominee Hillary Clinton together with her trusted assistant Huma Abedin. The Pentagon, in this deep-state civil war, considers Qatar primarily from a tactical perspective: 90% of US aircraft directed against Syria take off from the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The sale of $12 billion worth of jets to Qatar is evidence that Qatar is one of the military-industrial complex’s best customers. The contradictory messages emanating from this US administration, unable to speak with one voice, continues to destabilize America’s closest allies in the region. Another move that has certainly not gone unnoticed concerns the deployment of several Israeli tactical and operational aircraft in Saudi Arabia. The process of rapprochement between these two nations continues unabated, creating even more distrust in the region. What now seems irreversible is the attitude of Doha’s authorities, who seem to have decided to use this opportunity to chart their own course independently of Riyadh. The Qatar Airways CEO, when interviewed by Al Jazeera, reiterated that, thanks to Iran, there is a chance for the operator to circumvent the skies illegally closed to it by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The CEO, when questioned on how he would proceed given the expected huge losses, stated that the company intends to broaden its horizons towards new routes so far unexplored. Saudi tactics are likely to create difficulties and problems for Qatar, even with support from Iran and other regional countries. For the moment, Doha’s ships carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) continue to operate freely. In a country that receives almost 90% of its revenue from the sale of LNG, blocking its ships would mean pushing Qatar into a corner, a state of affairs that would closer resemble conventional warfare. Bin Salman’s inexperience and bungling will end up creating problems with Egypt, which currently allows transit of Qatar’s LNG through the Suez Canal to reach the Mediterranean and deliver gas to European customers. A request from Riyadh to Cairo to block Qatari ships would hardly be accepted, creating further fractures and tensions among those participating in the blockade of Qatar. Perhaps Trump has only now realized how unhelpful these rifts are to his Arab NATO plan. If Turkey and Israel are on opposite sides, and Qatar and Saudi Arabia are on the verge of a war, it is unlikely that Washington could continue to try impose its strategic vision in all the Middle East in the intention of safeguarding its interests. In this chaotic mess for the US and it’s allies, as always, the axis of the Shiite resistance benefits the most, especially in Syria with the advancement of Assad's troops in the province of Deir ez-Zor, after almost five years of its absence there. Where Turkey, Iran and Russia have achieved ceasefire agreements, signed in Astana, the majority of remaining problems lie with the terrorist groups supported by Qatar and Turkey or Saudi Arabia. In addition to a series of skirmishes a few days ago, mistrust and the swapping of sides seem to be on the agenda, with Syria decreasingly under the control of terrorists and the prospect of the entire country being liberated coming into vision. Washington is once again getting itself into an almost unprecedented situation. Whether or not Trump has given his blessing to Saudi Arabia’s actions against Qatar, what matters are the consequences for the region. Iran seems to play more and more the role of a moderate force ready to engage in dialogue with all parties. The Saudi attitude is likely to disaffect two strategic partners, Turkey and Egypt, with the latter ready to abandon the Saudis if pushed too far. Turkey, after intense Russian diplomatic efforts, seems to be on the verge of abandoning its support for anti-Assad forces, but prudence dictates that it tarries awhile before proceeding with these changes. Erdogan has often played a double or triple game. Bin Salman’s strategy began with the Yemen war, continued with hostility against Qatar, and is now culminating with his appointment as Crown Prince. Trump seems to have climbed onto the chariot of losers, and now it is harder than ever to support a loose cannon like bin Salman who seems to show little hesitation in destroying his kingdom as well as undoing fundamental relations among Washington's allies. It is a struggle against time for the American deep state in fight against itself and spinning around in conflict. The risks of Bin Salman’s disruptive actions and Trump’s incompetence could have unimaginable consequences, as the possible collapse of the whole Anglo-American Middle East architecture constructed over a hundred years of wars and abuses.
Authored by Darius Shahtahmasebi via TheAntiMedia.org, Late last week, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that are involved in attempting to isolate Qatar sent the tiny Gulf nation a list of 13 demands. They are insisting that Qatar meet these demands within ten days or face unspecified further action. The list of demands includes Qatar shutting down Al-Jazeera and its affiliate stations; shutting down other news outlets that Qatar funds, including Middle East Eye; curbing diplomatic ties with Iran and expelling members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard; terminating the Turkish military presence in Qatar; consenting to monthly audits for the first year following acceptance of the demands, and aligning itself entirely with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially, and economically – to name but a few. The most ludicrous of the demands is that Qatar must end its interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Qatar does interfere in a number of countries, including Libya and Syria, but as the German Foreign Minister explained, this list of demands directly challenges Qatar’s sovereignty. Who is interfering with whose sovereignty, exactly? Unsurprisingly, Qatar has dismissed the list of demands as neither reasonable nor actionable. Surely, the Saudi-led anti-Qatar alliance is aware of this. It would be tantamount to asking Great Britain to shut down the BBC and expel American troops – it just wouldn’t happen. All of the world’s major newspapers are complicit in running state-sanctioned propaganda, and singling Al-Jazeera out is hardly fair or practical. In that context, Saudi Arabia and its friends have given Qatar a list of demands they cannot conceivably meet and imposed a ten-day deadline to concede or face unspecified further action. Qatar was essentially doomed from the start of this rift, and it’s only just beginning. As Newsweek lamented, “the demands are designed to be impossible to comply with.” The UAE has warned that Qatar is now facing indefinite isolation and that the economic and political sanctions are likely to become permanent. Taken together with the recent promotion of the Saudi King’s son, Mohammed bin Salman, now first in line to the throne, things are indeed heating up against Qatar. Prince Salman is widely regarded as one of the main proponents behind the Saudi-Qatar rift. The ultimate agenda of the Saudi-led alliance is to deter Qatar from continuing its relationship with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional arch rival. But even the Guardian notes that “cutting ties to Iran would prove incredibly difficult,” as Iran and Qatar share a massive offshore natural gas field that supplies Qatar with much of its wealth. In fact, Iran immediately came to Qatar’s aid and began supplying the country with food after the Saudi-led sanctions created a shortage within the country. Shaking off Iran and Turkey —the two countries that have stood by Qatar’s side during this feud — is almost unthinkable. Qatar would be left without a single ally on either side of the Middle East region. Qatar was initially among a handful of countries, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, that wanted to install a natural gas pipeline through Syria and into Europe. Instead, the Syrian government turned to Iran and Iraq to run a pipeline eastward and cut out the formerly mentioned countries completely. This is precisely why Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have been among some of the heaviest backers of the Syrian opposition fighters. This pipeline dispute pitted the Sunni Gulf States against the Shia-dominated bloc of Iran, Iraq, and Syria (Syria’s president is from a minority denomination of the Shia sect of Islam). Although Iran and Qatar shared this lucrative gas field, they were directly at odds in regard to how the field should have been utilized. Not long after Bashar al-Assad’s proposed deal with Iran and Iraq was announced, foreign fighters began to flood the country. Syria was demonized at the outset, even though then-Secretary of State John Kerry dined with Assad two years before the conflict erupted. It should be clear that Washington’s issues with Assad are not rooted in human rights concerns considering the dictator had been in power for 11 years and was notorious for human rights abuses in the period before the so-called revolution began. Though Qatar has been heavily involved in arming the Syrian opposition and calling for Assad’s departure (Assad being an integral Iranian ally), Qatar actually maintains an independent foreign policy agenda of its own. Over the past two years, Qatar has conducted over $86 billion worth of transactions in Chinese Yuan and has signed other agreements with China that encourage further economic cooperation. This is incredibly important because Qatar shares its major natural gas reserve with Iran, and Iran also conducts its oil-related business deals with China in Yuan. Shortly after the nuclear accord reached in 2015, the Islamic Republic sought to capitalize on these economic opportunities by ramping up production on their share of the Iran-Qatari gas reserve. In November 2016, Iran signed a deal with France’s Total, a multinational integrated oil and gas company, to develop this project. Iran is expected to surpass Qatar’s gas production by next year, and Qatar was left with little choice but to join the venture. It lifted a self-imposed ban on developing the gas field in April of this year. If Iran and Qatar continue down this path, the U.S.’ self-asserted hegemony over the world’s financial markets will directly come under attack, and rising economic and military powers like Russia and China will continue to reap the benefits. Remember that Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails confirmed that the U.S. and France were so concerned with attacking Muammar Gaddafi in Libya not out of humanitarian concern, but rather, out of fear of his plan to unite Africa under a single gold-backed currency that would be used to buy and sell oil on the global markets. Remember that in 2000, Saddam Hussein announced he would sell Iraqi oil in euros, and the Guardian reported in 2003 that Iraq had actually netted a handsome profit in doing so — at least until the U.S. invaded not long after and immediately switched the sale of oil back to U.S. dollars. Perhaps it sounds like a conspiracy theory (even with Clinton’s leaked emails as evidence), but it’s important to ask why Saudi Arabia is so concerned with Qatar, if not for economic reasons? Because of Qatar’s support for terrorism? Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails also revealed that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar financially sponsored ISIS – making such a rationale hypocritical beyond belief. Pot. Kettle. Black. The push to oust Assad in Syria has almost all but failed, and Qatar, learning from its mistakes, is not relying on Assad’s departure to maintain its vast supply of wealth (though it would probably still welcome such a move). As Counterpunch explains: “The failure of this insurgency, however, has spelled the death of this proposal, leaving Qatar bound to look East to Asia – already their biggest customers – for their LNG markets. But most of the existing Eastbound LNG pipeline infrastructure is controlled by Iran. For Qatar, then, cutting its Iran links would be cutting off its nose to spite its face. This is why the Saudis aim to demonstrate that the alternative is having their entire face cut off.” How far in Saudi Arabia’s face-cutting agenda against Qatar these Gulf State adversaries will go is unclear, but Qatar has already seen some heavy-handed treatment in the early stages of this conflict. Further complicating the issue is the fact that Qatar hosts the largest U.S. military base in the region, with 11,000 troops currently stationed there. Further, the U.S. just recently implemented a policy to target Iran for regime change. President Trump met with Saudi Arabia and the GCC nations earlier this year and sword-danced and sabre-rattled his way down a warpath with Iran. Trump’s military has been striking down Iranian drones and Iranian-backed troops in Syria, and the White House has just launched fresh accusations against the Syrian government regarding an attack that hasn’t even happened yet. Clearly, Qatar cannot meet Saudi Arabia’s demands, and Saudi Arabia must be completely aware of this. As we have seen in Yemen and Syria, Saudi Arabia almost always resorts to outright brutality in order to bully non-compliant states into submission. As we have also seen in America’s treatment of Iraq and Libya, countries that depart from the U.S. dollar are not met kindly by the American military, either. In this context, expect this rift to heat up on multiple fronts. We may very well be witnessing Qatar’s denigration into a Syrian or Yemeni-style battlefield in the months to come. Let’s hope this is not the case.
23 ноября 2013 года состоялся финальный раунд переговоров между странами «Шестерки» (США, Великобритания, Россия, Германия, Франция и Китай) и Исламской Республики Иран по проблеме ядерной программы. Первые два раунда переговоров прошли безрезультатно (в том числе из-за принципиальной позиции Франции), однако третья встреча стала без преувеличения исторической. Впервые после 34 лет взаимных обвинений и угроз, официальные лица США и Ирана нашли дипломатическое решение. Лидеры стран «Шестерки» и Ирана договорились «о мерах по существенному урезанию ядерной программы» до принятия окончательного соглашения. В частности, Тегеран обязался прекратить обогащение урана свыше 5%, приостановить производство плутония и центрифуг и допустить инспекторов МАГАТЭ на ядерные объекты. Сделка также предусматривает, что запасы иранского урана с 20-процентным обогащением должны быть уничтожены не позднее 6 месяцев со дня заключения соглашения. В свою очередь, США обязуются разморозить некоторые счета с иранским капиталом (речь идет, прежде всего, о размораживании иранских зарубежных активов на сумму 4,2 миллиарда долларов), и ослабить санкции, касающиеся поставок золота, нефтехимии и автомобилей. После окончания переговоров госсекретарь Керри сделал весьма символичное заявление, в котором подчеркнул важность достигнутых договоренностей. «Мы считаем, что именно санкции привели нас к этим переговорам и, точнее, к знаменательным переговорам, которые завершились соглашением. Я прошу не делать ошибки: не считайте, что это были санкции ради санкций. Целью санкций всегда были переговоры». Своим заявлением Керри подчеркнул тот факт, что США никогда всерьез не рассматривали военный сценарий решения иранского вопроса, но вынуждали Тегеран сесть за стол переговоров. Президент Барак Обама также заявил, что Иран полное право на развитие мирного атома. «В течение последующих шести месяцев мы будем работать над тем, чтобы заключить всеобъемлющее соглашение. Мы подходим к этим переговорам исходя из базового принципа: Иран, как всякая страна, должен иметь возможность доступа к мирной ядерной энергии. Мы воздержимся от наложения новых санкций, и мы позволим иранскому правительству доступ к средствам, которые им были недоступны из-за санкций»; — подчеркнул глава Белого Дома. В свою очередь, глава внешнеполитического ведомства Ирана Джавад Зариф отметил важность соглашения с лидерами «западного» мира, подчеркнув: «Ядерная энергия для нас — это возможность самим определять свою судьбу, а не позволять другим решать за нас». Лидеры стран «Шестерки» также прокомментировали достигнутые соглашения с Ираном, в частности британский министр иностранных дел Уильям Хейг заявил, что это «хорошая новость для всего мира». Таким образом, мировое сообщество в лице стран «Шестерки» добилось установления международного контроля над процессом обогащения урана и прекращения строительства реактора в Араке. Иран добился смягчения экономических санкций, получив «добро» на развитие мирного атома. «Дипломатия спасла США и Иран, стоявшие на пороге катастрофической войны. Это начало, а не конец процесса. США и Ирану следует активно добиваться долговременного соглашения, которое позволит нормально развивать мирные отношения двух стран»; — отметила председатель национального совета американских иранцев Трита Парси. Безусловно, достигнутое соглашение нанесло серьезный удар по ряду игроков в регионе. «Израиль не может присоединиться к мировому ликованию, основанному на обмане и самообмане. Это плохое соглашение, затрудняющее поиски приемлемого решения в будущем. Подобно провалившемуся соглашению с Северной Кореей, нынешние договоренности могут фактически приблизить Иран к обретению бомбы»; — говорится в заявлении министра разведки Ювала Стейница. В свою очередь, министр экономики Нафтали Беннет пояснил, что «Женевское соглашение» ни к чему Израиль не обязывает. Известный американский политолог и аналитик Крис Уолт так прокомментировал реакцию Израиля: «Сейчас любые заявления Израиля не имеют никого смысла. Решение приятно лидерами большой шестерки, против которых Тель-Авив никогда не пойдет». Действительно, все последние действия и старания Израиля не обвенчались успехом. Свою позицию по поддержке Израиля пересмотрела Франция, и даже долгие переговоры премьера Нетаньяху с российским президентом Путиным не смогли убедить Москву изменить свою позицию. Конечно, госсекретарь Джон Керри поспешил успокоить израильский истеблишмент, заявив, что соглашение с Ираном – ключ к безопасности и установлению мира в регионе: «Наша сегодняшняя договоренность — первый шаг к всеобъемлющему соглашению, которое поможет сделать мир безопаснее. Соглашению, которое поможет обезопасить друзей США в регионе. Израиль — наш друг и если бы соглашение не было достигнуто, то это могло бы иметь самые негативные последствия». Если Израиль опасается сближения США и Ирана по причине возможной окончательной смены геополитических приоритетов Вашингтона (в которых роль Израиля будет отведена на второй план), то другой союзник Белого Дома Саудовская Аравия панически опасается усиления Ирана не только в политическом, но и религиозном контексте. Для саудитов геополитическое лидерство Ирана означает смещение центра исламского мира из Эр-Рияда в Тегеран. В интерпретации суннитов шииты являются «опасными отступниками, которые отказались от «истинной религии» из-за ложных идолов и верований». После падения режима Саддама Хуссйена, влияние суннитов снизилось, в то время как шииты стали играть важную роль в общественной и политической жизни страны. Другими союзницами Тегерана являются алавитский режим в Сирии и движение Хезболлах в Ливане, которые воспринимаются Саудовской Аравией в качестве главной угрозы. Опасения Израиля и Саудовской Аравии настолько велики, что стороны пошли на сближения. «Два старых врага объединяются против Тегерана», с таким заголовком вышла статья в газете «Sunday Times». «Саудовцы в ярости и готовы предоставить Израилю всю необходимую помощь. Как представляется, за кулисами идет множество дискуссий между обеими странами, в том числе есть правдоподобные сценарии, предусматривающие определенного рода сотрудничество в области разведки и в оперативной сфере. Вместе с тем я не думаю, что сценарий военного удара по Ирану жизнеспособен. В настоящее время военных приготовлений нет. Просто идут переговоры между Советом сотрудничества арабских государств Персидского залива и Израилем о том, что делать с решениями и соглашениями группы «5+1»; — считает Теодор Карасик, эксперт военно-аналитического института Ближнего Востока и Персидского залива. Страсти вокруг сближения США и Ирана накаляются, геополитические изменения ожидаются не только в регионе, но и в системе международных отношений в целом. При этом, как бы не разворачивались события, Иран уже одержал дипломатическую и геополитическую победу над своими региональными конкурентами. Галстян Арег «time to analyze» — politics, society, and ideas (tta.am)