Thursday, June 22, 2017

نيويورك تايمز: هجوم مضلل على الجزيرة.. من يريد إسكات الحقيقة؟

الحصاد - جريمة الاختراق.. دول الحصار وراء القرصنة

Israeli minister calls for full Saudi ties and official Riyadh visit

Intelligence minister Yisrael Katz has also invited King Salman to send the new Crown Prince to Israel in order to establish mutual ties


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Senior Israeli ministers have called on Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.
Speaking at the Herzliya conference on Thursday, Israel’s intelligence and transportation minister Yisrael Katz asked King Salman to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to Riyadh and to send newly appointed crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to Tel Aviv in return.
"I call upon Salman, the King of Saudi, to invite the prime minister of Israel Netanyahu to visit Saudi Arabia," Katz said, at the annual gathering of Israeli political leaders and strategists.
"We saw what a wonderful host you can be ... when President Trump was there. You can also send your heir, the new one, Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He's a dynamic person. He is an initiator. And he wants to break through.
"Exactly this way ... they know who Iran is. They know we have to create an access vis-a-vis Iran. You can send him for a meeting in Israel and I promise you, he's going to be a very welcome guest."
Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's defence minister, also called for "full diplomatic and economic relations" at the conference.
A peace deal must be reached with "moderate Arab Sunni countries" before a peace agreement could be made with the Palestinians, added Lieberman.
He said: "The only light at the end of the tunnel is a complete regional agreement," the hard-right defense minister added. "Full diplomatic and economic relations. Not under the table, but on the table.”
"I saw research on what the result of a regional agreement and full economic relations would mean between Israel, the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia. This would mean an additional revenue of $45bn for Israel. That's the potential. We have to clearly say what our priorities are."
Prince Salman's appointment as crown prince and heir to the Saudi throne has brought renewed hope of a rapprochement between the two countries, according to communications minister Ayoub Kara.
“Salman’s appointment means more economic cooperation in the Middle East, and not just regarding oil,” Kara said in a statement. “The strengthening of relations with the Trump administration is the beginning of a new and optimistic time between Saudi Arabia and regional states, including Israel and the Jewish people.”
Saudi Arabia has refused to recognise Israel since its inception in 1948 and has supported Palestintian rights to sovereignty over territory occupied by Israel since 1967. However the Gulf Kingdom did not participate in any of the Arab-Israeli Wars.
Both countries see Iran as a strategic threat and are close allies of the United States, while recent years have seen growing ties between the bastion of Sunni Islam and the self-proclaimed "Jewish state".
Israel has also been supportive of a blockade of Qatar led by Saudi Arabia. Tel Aviv has repeatedly called on Qatar not to give asylum to key Palestintian figures, including Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and Azmi Bishara.
During a tour of the Middle East last month, US President Donald Trump flew directly from Saudi Arabia to Israel in a flight dubbed a “historic moment” in relations between the two countries by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Talks aimed at establishing economic ties between the countries began last week, according to The Times. Arab and American sources said the links would start small and allow Israeli businesses to operate in the Gulf, and possibily allow El Al, the national airline to fly over Saudi airspace.

"بن سلمان التقى مسؤولين إسرائيليين واختياره يشكل أملا لهم"

عرب 48

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"بن سلمان التقى مسؤولين إسرائيليين واختياره يشكل أملا لهم"
احتفت الصحافة الإسرائيليّة الصادرة اليوم الخميس باختيار محمّد بن سلمان وليًا للعهد في السّعوديّة وخصّصت له موادّ تحليليّة ومقالات ولقاءات مع أكاديميين إسرائيليين مختصّين بالشأن السعوديّ.
وكان لافتًا ما ذكرته صحيفة 'يديعوت أحرونوت'، نقلًا عن مصادر استخباراتيّة، أن لقاءات جرت بين بن سلمان ومسؤولين إسرائيليين، أطلقوا عليه الرمز السريّ 'الولد'، دون تحديد عدد أو مكان هذه اللقاءات، في حين ذكرت صحيفة 'هآرتس'، في موقعها الإلكتروني، أمس الأربعاء، أن لقاءات سعوديّة إسرائيليّة دوريّة عقدت خلال العامين الماضيين في مدينة إيلات المطلة على البحر الأحمر والتي تفصل مدينة العقبة الأردنيّة بينها وبين تبوك السعوديّة.
وأكملت 'يديعوت أحرونوت' تحت عنوان 'لعبة العروش' أن تعيين بن سلمان يحمل أخبارًا سارّة لإسرائيل، لأن 'الوريث، على ما يبدو، سيحتاج مساعدةً وتعاونًا سريّين، في مجالي مكافحة الإرهاب ومجابهة إيران، والملك الفعليّ (بن سلمان) بحاجة لمعلومات استخباراتيّة، وإسرائيل تستطيع إفادته' وأوضحت أن لإسرائيل والسعوديّة 'أعداءً مشتركين، أصدقاءً مشتركين ومصالحَ مشتركة'.
لكن كاتبة المادّة الصحافيّة، سمدار بيري، حذّرت من أن بن سلمان لن يسرع في تجسيد التعاون المحتمل مع إسرائيل، لأنه سيسعى إلى إبقاء ذلك سريًا، وهو أمر أشارت إليه، كذلك، صحيفة 'يسرائيل هيوم'، المقرّبة من رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيليّة، بنيامين نتنياهو، التي كتبت أن 'بن سلمان لن يسرع للاعتراف بإسرائيل، لكن اختيار شخص شاب، متسرّع أحيانًا ويفتقد للخبرة، وغير متقوقع، منفتح أكثر (من أسلافه) على الصحافة الغربيّة ومطلّع أكثر على الحاجة لتحقيق تعاون إستراتيجي وإقليمي من أجل الحفاظ على الأمن القومي، محاربة الإرهاب والوقاية من التهديد الإيراني، يزرع أملًا لعمق إضافي في العلاقات بين إسرائيل والسعوديّة' في إشارة إلى أن هنالك علاقاتٍ قائمةً فعلا بين البلدين.
في موازاة ذلك، نقلت صحيفة 'ذا جيروزاليم بوست'، اليوم الخميس، عن المختص بالشأن السعودي في جامعة 'بار إيلان'، يوشع تايتلباوم، أن بن سلمان هو 'مهندس عددٍ من الخطوات التي تجعل السعوديّة وإسرائيل عند تفكيرٍ واحد' وأضاف أنه يقصد 'الجبهة المشتركة لكبح التأثير الإيراني في لبنان والعراق واليمن' وحول عمليّات 'عاصفة الحزم' في اليمن، أوضح تايتلباوم أن 'إسرائيل تدعم بشكل كبير العلميات السعوديّة في اليمن، لأن إسرائيل لا يمكنها تحمّل وجود قوات موالية لإيران في مضيق باب المندب، الذي يشكّل نهاية مسار السفن الإسرائيليّة المنطلقة من خليج إيلات، وهو أمر تتفقّ عليه إسرائيل والسعوديّة بشكل كبير' على حدّ وصف الكاتب.
ولفت الكاتب إلى أنه لا داعي للتوقع أن بن سلمان سيختلف عن نهج أبيه في الذي أكمل تعاونًا 'محدودًا وسريًا' مع إسرائيل.
أمّا حول عملية اختيار بن سلمان نفسه، فقد ذكرت 'يديعوت أحرونوت' أن الأسرة المالكة السعوديّة وضعت بن سلمان، فجر الثلاثاء-الأربعاء، صراحةً، أمام خيارين: 'إمّا أن يقبل بترك منصبه بصمت مع مكافأة ضخمة بمليارات الدولارات، وإمّا أن يختفي بظروف غامضة'، وفقًا للصحيفة.
وأوضحت أن بن سلمان لن يواجه فترة حكم هيّنة، إذ إن أمامه العديد من التحديّات، مثل 'النضال الإقليمي أمام إيران'، بتعبير الصحيفة، والحرب ضد الحوثيين في اليمن، الذي ذكرت الصحيفة أنها لم تتكلل بالنجاح حتى الآن، الحصار على قطر، التنافس مع تركيا، ومسار التحديث التي تسير فيه السعوديّة والتعامل مع أسعار النفط المنهارة.

Emad Hajjaj's Cartoon

نسف المنارة الحدباء

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The rise of Mohammed bin Salman: Alarm bells should be ringing

The aggressive move elevating Mohammed bin Salman as the next in line to the Saudi throne should send warning signs to Washington and London over a prince who wages wars on a whim 

Jamal Elshayyal
Jamal Elshayyal's picture
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Several months ago, I attended a gathering of influential figures being hosted by a senior personality in the intelligence community of one of the Gulf countries. It was past midnight, and the discussion had gone on for some time, the topic being the political developments in the region, specifically unfolding events in Saudi Arabia.
MBS’s obsession with becoming king, coupled with the UAE’s relentless interference in the internal politics of other countries, could very well throw the Gulf into turmoil
There were stories coming from Riyadh about a shift in fault lines, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef’s wings were being clipped and his powers reduced, while his deputy Mohammed bin Salman was becoming more and more influential by the day.
Meanwhile, the kingdom’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, had been in Washington for over two weeks without making any public appearances, and no one knew for certain what exactly it was he was doing there.
Among those present was the former prime minister of a non-Arab country. Our host asked him his views about the rumblings coming out of Riyadh, and what he thought al-Jubeir was doing in the US.
The former statesman’s answer had many in the room shocked, even doubtful.
But so far everything he said has turned out to be true.

A former PM's predictions

He spoke of a young prince hell-bent on becoming king, and outlined some of the conditions that would make the plot succeed. A scheme that was hatched by the rulers of the United Arab Emirates who were desperate to regain their foothold in the Saudi Royal Court after they had so swiftly lost it following the death of King Abdullah in 2014.
'This guy is willing to betray his own father for the crown,' responded the former prime minister
A key element to the plot was gaining the blessings of US intelligence and security institutions, but to do that, the Emiratis and their ambitious young ally would have to convince the Americans to ditch Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a man nicknamed as “Washington’s favourite Saudi”.
For the Americans to abandon Mohammed bin Nayef and choose this young prince, he has to offer them something no one has managed or even dared to offer before,” said the former prime minister.
Then-Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef with then-deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during the opening session of the kingdom's Shura Council in December 2016 (AFP/Saudi Royal Palace)
Not being the cryptic type, he then proceeded to spell it out: “He has to recognise Israel. If he does that then the Americans will support him, they’ll even crown him themselves."
“There’s no way he’d be willing to do that, plus Saudi society wouldn’t accept it, they’d view it as betrayal,” I said.
“This guy is willing to betray his own father for the crown,” responded the former prime minister. 

The Qatari connection

Fast-forward to today and you now have reports of economic ties between Riyadh and Tel Aviv and tweets by senior Israeli officials praising their Arab friends are being posted almost on a daily basis. 
Meanwhile, Saudi and the UAE, who have been blockading Qatar for more than two weeks now, have attempted to justify their siege by accusing Doha of supporting Palestinian resistance group Hamas.
Exiled chief of Hamas' political bureau, Khaled Meshaal (R), walks with Hamas deputy leader Musa Abu Marzuk (C) ahead of their conference in Doha in May 2017 (AFP)
More significantly though was the news that broke early on Wednesday morning – a royal decree, relieving Mohammed bin Nayef of his duties as crown prince, and naming the ambitious young prince, Mohammed bin Salman – or MBS as he’s fast becoming known – as heir to the Saudi throne.
Last week, I wrote an article explaining that a large part of the GCC crisis is to do with the struggle for the Saudi throne. My assessment and the predictions made by the former prime minister at that gathering late last year appear to be accurate.
More importantly, they should be cause for alarm because it seems that MBS’s obsession with becoming king, coupled with the UAE’s relentless interference in the internal politics of other countries, could very well throw the Gulf into turmoil.

Ring the alarm bells

Political change in Saudi Arabia has always been gradual. It's one of the reasons why the kingdom has remained stable and, in turn, a source of steadiness in the region.
This aggressive push to force change could very well upset the balance of power in the kingdom, which is why alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear in Washington and London.
MBS has already demonstrated his erratic nature through his ill-conceived war in Yemen, which has killed thousands of people, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars the conflict has cost the Saudi economy.
Yemeni students look out of a classroom in Saada, damaged in the country's ongoing conflict between the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting Houthis (AFP)
The sheikhs of Abu Dhabi and Dubai have also made it clear that they value their own personal interests above freedom, peace and stability in the Middle East. From the coup in Egypt to the ongoing civil war in Libya, Emirati foreign policy has done little more than sow discord and conflict in the region; and if it continues to go unchecked, the consequences could be a great deal worse.
MBS is now next in line to the throne. The US and Britain, Saudi’s closest allies, would do well to try and curb the prince’s enthusiasm before he becomes king, otherwise they could be faced with a monarch who wages war on a whim and understands little in the way of international diplomacy.
The question is, will there be enough time to reason with MBS and rescue the Gulf region from potential chaos? Or will we be hearing news of “the sudden passing” of King Salman in the coming weeks?
Jamal Elshayyal is an international award-winning senior correspondent for Al Jazeera English. He joined the channel in 2006 as part of its launch team and served as its first Middle East editor. He covered the 2011 uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen. He has interviewed several world leaders and has extensive access to major power players in the GCC and the MENA region. 
- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/something-rotten-state-saudi-1943008007#sthash.MKBqQFZT.dpuf

Four ways Mohammed bin Salman's rise will change Saudi Arabia

The annointed one is not a firefighter, nor a statesman. He will rule by iron fist, run erratic economic policies and likely light more fires in the region 

Madawi Al-Rasheed
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As expected, on Wednesday, King Salman finally promoted his young son Mohammed to crown prince after sacking Mohammed bin Nayef who, according to official sources, asked to be relieved of his duties as crown prince because of “private issues”.
The king has also amended sections of the 1990 Basic Law of Government to move to vertical royal succession from father to son for the office of king, thus ending the horizontal succession from brother to brother that had been put in place by the founder of the kingdom, King Abdulaziz ibn Saud, in 1933.  
Mohammed bin Salman thinks that money solves problems but this has not enabled him to claim victories in the many wars that he has started
So far, it is unclear why the king has not appointed a deputy crown prince as is customary in these circumstances.
Furthermore, the central question - whether the king will abdicate soon and allow his son to become king in his lifetime - remains unanswered. Historically, no Saudi king has abdicated according to his own will. King Saud was deposed in 1964 under palace siege, followed by safe voyage to Greece.
Without further ado, 31 out of 34 royal members of the Committee of Allegiance, a royal consortium established as a consultation forum, are reported to have "voted" Mohammed bin Salman into his new role.
Saudi News Agency immediately released a video showing young Mohammed thanking his cousin bin Nayef for a smooth departure without a fuss and endeared him with an aborted attempt to kiss his feet in gratitude.
The king also appointed Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, the deposed crown prince's nephew and grandson of deceased Prince Nayef, who had been minister of interior until his death (1975-2012), as the new minister of interior, thus perpetuating Nayef's old fiefdom over the most important ministry for domestic security. 

Fun and neoliberalism

The new appointment means a lot of things for the future of the kingdom - and all point to uncertainty brought about by the erratic Mohammed.
First, rule by a continuous iron fist at home will be entrenched. Mohammed bin Salman will silence any dissident voices while allowing limited personal freedoms organised by his new entertainment commission in charge of keeping Saudis moderately entertained.
It is common for dictators to allow their marginalised subjects certain forms of controlled fun, lest they implode from within
It is common for dictators to allow their marginalised subjects certain forms of controlled fun, lest they implode from within. Women will also be symbols of a new Saudi consumer modernity and soon may be allowed to drive cars. In the future, Saudis will enjoy themselves up to a certain level without harassment by the religious police.
Mohammed bin Salman will continue to ignore a redundant, marginalised and discredited Wahhabi religious establishment. But with the dispersal of Saudis who had joined the Islamic State (IS) caliphate, and the possible return of those from Syria, he may expect a bumpy ride in the top seat.
When al-Qaeda was dispersed from Afghanistan after 2001, many Saudis who had joined its ranks returned and caused the worst terrorism crisis the country has seen. IS already claimed several attacks in Saudi Arabia since 2015, but its sectarian outlook may prove to be useful for Mohammed bin Salman’s current crisis with Iran.
Second, erratic economic policies that may not deliver the desired neoliberal economy - including weaning Saudi Arabia away from oil by 2020, shrinking the welfare state, privatisation and, most importantly, floating 5 percent of the Saudi oil company Aramco in international markets by September 2017 - will continue.
So one day, Mohammed bin Salman might announce that Saudis must tighten their belts, but another day he could reward them for their acquiescence by unfreezing public sector salaries and giving them extra holidays. A successful neoliberal paradise with less working days and low productivity may require miraculous intervention.

Losing the regional struggle

Third, Mohammed bin Salman will struggle to become a serious regional power on par with Turkey, Iran, and Israel, all of which currently flex their muscles in a bid to emerge as the dominant force dictating the outcomes of several conflicts in the Arab world. He has already alienated Turkey and Iran - the former sided with Qatar in the latest crisis. He also promised to bring the war deep inside Iran, a statement that ultimately amounts to a declaration of war.
He and IS share the same sectarian outlook and may well cooperate, especially after IS runs out of targets in Syria and Iraq
Mohammed bin Salman does not seem to know the implications of his flamboyant statements. But he and IS share the same sectarian outlook and may well cooperate, especially after IS runs out of targets in Syria and Iraq. IS may be instructed to move its terrorism campaign to Iran after its defeat in Mosul and Raqqa.
He may have scored success with Israel, now dubbed jokingly as the newest Sunni state, in his bid to form a pan-Islamic alliance against both Iran and Qatar. He will continue to clandestinely cooperate with Israel in security and economic matters, but we shouldn't expect an Israeli flag to be raised in Riyadh soon. This will take some preparation and coordination and the stakes in such a controversial move are high.

Trump-MBS symbiosis 

Fourth, Mohammed bin Salman will continue courting US President Donald Trump, exchanging weapon contracts and investment promises for continuous support - at least in public. Like Mohammed bin Salman, Trump is also unpredictable and the two men may fall out over minor differences. However, they will keep the facade of agreement until they achieve their objectives both at home and abroad.
The new crown prince does not seem to have time for Europe at the moment. He will continue to see it as a holiday destination for his newly purchased yacht and as a source of more weapons that he cannot get elsewhere. This will mean that European arms manufacturers and governments in Britain and France will compete for the attention of the young prince.
Trump meets with then-Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington in March 2017 (Reuters)
Both countries may have lost their favourite Saudi candidate, Mohammed bin Nayef, who had succeeded in establishing a good rapport with Western intelligence services as he was seen as crucial in the fight against terrorism. British Prime Minister Theresa May will need the new crown prince for economic reasons as Britain risks shrinking both economically and politically after Brexit.
At the moment, Salman’s kingdom seems to take shape amid real challenges both domestically and regionally. The new appointment may not be challenged by other princes or by groups inside the country but the future looks troubled. 
Mohammed bin Salman is not a capable fire fighter or a tactical statesman. He thinks only money solves problems but this has not enabled him to claim victories in the many wars and conflicts that he started. He is more likely to light further regional fires than extinguish existing ones.  
Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed is a visiting professor at the Middle East Centre at LSE. She has written extensively about the Arabian Peninsula, Arab migration, globalisation, religious transnationalism and gender. On Twitter: @MadawiDr
- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/salman-s-kingdom-royal-reshuffle-brings-young-mohammed-so-close-throne-1057438643#sthash.6u52egwZ.dpuf

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's prince of chaos

When King Salman and his son Mohammed came to power, there was hope of sorely needed leadership in the region. Instead, they may have fragmented it beyond repair

THE UGLY ARAB!


A GREAT ANALYSIS AND A MUST READ!

By David Hearst

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The final act of the palace coup I have been writing about since King Salman took over has just been completed. Everyone was waiting for a coup against Qatar. In fact, the coup was within the kingdom itself.
It took place in the middle of the night after fajr, the Muslim prayer that heralds the dawn of a new day, and millions of Saudis woke to a new reality - a 31-year-old prince is going to be the next king.
If the sheikh of your tribe goes one way, there is little you can do but follow. Acquiescence should not be confused for consensus
The departure of his father, King Salman - whose speech carried on live television during Trump's visit to Riyadh was incomprehensible to many who heard him in Arabic - is now a formality. Bin Salman is now king in all but name.
Step by step, the last obstacle to bin Salman's vertiginous rise to power, his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, has been stripped of his power. There was little he could do to stop it, but he fought all the way.
First, his royal court went, then a national security council was created over his head. Then his ministry was stripped of its prosecutorial role. Then the operation to isolate Qatar, one of his closest allies, was launched. 
This is a tribal system. So if the sheikh of your tribe goes one way, there is little you can do but follow. Acquiescence should not be confused for consensus. It was foreseen, but make no mistake: this is the biggest shock to the Saudi royal household since King Saud was forced to abdicate by Prince Faisal in 1964.

What does it mean?

All the levers of power are now in the hands of a young, inexperienced and risk-taking man, who in his short time in power as defence minister has established a reputation for recklessness.
He launched an air campaign against the Houthis in Yemen and then disappeared on holiday to the Maldives. It took days before the US defence secretary could reach him. Ten thousand deaths later, the Houthis are still firmly in the capital Sanaa, the liberated south has split from Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi's control, and cholera has broken out.
Each file bin Salman has picked up has found its way into the office shredder.
He first introduced austerity by rolling out deep pay cuts to government employees, warning the country would be bankrupt in five years. Then he reversed the cuts, claiming financial stability had been created. Then he committed himself to up to $500bn of military purchases from America.
Now all Saudis, in the austerity-driven kingdom, will get an extra week Eid holiday, a total of around two weeks.
The fine detail of any of his impulsive decisions, like how any of them will actually be achieved, is missing. The plan to sell up to five percent of the state oil company Aramco on the New York and London stock exchanges has already produced warnings about the legal risks of a New York listing, from the families of the victims of the 11 September attacks or class action litigation on requirements to declare state reserves. There is opposition too in London.
Its the same story in Syria. Let's not forget who provided militant groups in Syria with some of their most violent men. It was under Prince Bandar bin Sultan's tenure, as secretary of national security, that 1,239 inmates on death row - including rapists and murderers - were released on condition that they go to "jihad in Syria". This is stated in black and white in a memo dated 17 April 2012
Under bin Salman, the kingdom has gone from micromanaging the Syria opposition (to the extent of telling the head of the negotiating committee in Geneva exactly when the delegation should leave for the airport to ensure the breakdown of talks) to losing interest in the rebels altogether. As a Saudi ally, you can be hung out to dry at any time. 
Be it in Yemen, Syria or Qatar, the crown prince has already earned another title: the prince of chaos.

Bin Salman's mentor

He has, however, followed instructions. As Middle East Eye reported at the time, the young prince's mentor, Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, gave him two words of advice to speed him on his way to the throne.
The first was to open a channel of communication with Israel. This he has now done, and under his command, the kingdom is closer than it has ever been to starting trade links with Tel Aviv. Both the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, are reading from the same script on attempting to blacklist Hamas.
The second instruction was to diminish the power of the religious authorities in the kingdom.
Although bin Salman has reduced the influence of the religious establishment on the daily life of the Saudis, he is using it to bolster his authority. A series of tweets by the Ulama, the Saudi Committee of Senior Scholars, demonstrates how religion has been pressed into the service of politics.
This is what this body of scholars said about the Muslim Brotherhood: 
"The Brotherhood are not among those who are on the right path. Al-Luhaidan, may Allah protect him"
"The Brotherhood (members) are partisans who just want to seize power; they do not care about calling for correcting the faith. Al-Fawzan, may Allah protect him"
More important is this tweet:
"There is nothing in the Book and the Sunnah that permits the multitude of (political) parties and groups. To the contrary, they both censure such a thing."
The message from this is brutally clear. Political parties are not allowed. We are not giving you democracy, but theocracy and autocracy.
Even the timing of the last act of this palace coup is significant. Prince bin Salman will receive allegiance from his family and the public in Mecca on the 27th night of Ramadan, Laylat al-Qadr, the night of power when prayers are magnified in importance a thousand times. This is the most important night in the Islamic calendar.
This is not a king in waiting who intends to neutralise the role of religion in the affairs of state. He is using it to establish his own autocratic rule.

Yemen next 

This is the Trump effect in action. Bin Salman's ambitions to seize the Saudi throne and Bin Zayed's plans to impose dictatorship on the entire Gulf world predated the arrival of the most dangerous president in modern US history. But Trump's visit to Riyadh fired the starting pistol.
Within days, the tanks of the bin Salman-bin Zayed axis started rolling, first against Qatar and then against bin Nayef.
Bin Salman told Tahnoon bin Zayed that, once he becomes the crown prince, he will ditch Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and replace him with Khaled Bahah, who is close to the Emiratis
Yemen is their next target. As we have reported, there has been a major fallout between the Yemeni president in exile, Hadi, who is in Riyadh, and local forces in Aden controlled by the Emiratis. The two major partners in the campaign against the Houthis are backing sides that are at war with each other in southern Yemen.
This, I understand, will shortly be resolved. Bin Salman has met Tahnoon bin Zayed, the brother of Mohammed bin Zayed and also his security chief, to tell him to calm the situation down in south Yemen.
Bin Salman told Tahnoon that once he becomes the crown prince, he will ditch Hadi and replace him with Khaled Bahah, who is close to the Emiratis.
Bahah has visited Riyadh recently to reconnect with the new Saudi administration. A full-scale offensive against Islah, the Muslim Brotherhood-related faction in Yemen, will then proceed. 
This then is the new dawn that awaits not just the Saudis, but millions in the region. If these plans go ahead, it will subject the region to decades more of turmoil, civil war, proxy conflict and bloodshed.

Thick as thieves?

However, thieves have a habit of falling out with each other. Bin Zayed, the architect of this campaign against political Islam and all forces promoting democracy in the region, has suited bin Salman's purpose until now. He has put him in pole position to become king. 
Once, however, bin Salman has come to power, it may no longer suit the young king to be advised by the crown prince of a much smaller state. Their interests may easily diverge. We have seen this already in Egypt, where the Saudis installed a military dictator, only to find their placemen did not back them in their campaign against Iran.
The second factor is that the bin Salman-bin Nayef axis will inadvertently forge new alliances to counter their dominance. The closure of Saudi borders with Qatar has already accelerated the arrival of Turkish troops in Doha. It may also force Turkey, Kuwait and Oman to reconcile with Iran. Divisions created by the Syrian war between Hezbollah and Hamas may also be quickly healed.
When father and son came to power after the death of King Abdullah, there was a hope that they could unite Sunnis and provide leadership when it was sorely needed. Instead, they may have fragmented and polarised it beyond repair. 
David Hearst is editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He was chief foreign leader writer of The Guardian, former Associate Foreign Editor, European Editor, Moscow Bureau Chief, European Correspondent, and Ireland Correspondent. He joined The Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

الحصاد - المدنيون يدفعون ثمن حرب دمرت اليمن


FUCKED UP ARABS!

"هآرتس": التغييرات في السعودية بشرى سارة لإسرائيل

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اعتبر محلل الشؤون العسكرية في صحيفة "هآرتس" الإسرائيلية، عاموس هرئيل، ظهر اليوم الأربعاء، أن التغييرات في السعودية وتعيين محمد بن سلمان ولياً للعهد، "بشرى سارة لإسرائيل"، لافتًا إلى أن هذه الخطوة كانت متوقعة ومسألة وقت فقط لا غير. 

وقال هرئيل إن بن سلمان، الذي سماه في مقاله "الولد"، الذي سيحتفل في أغسطس/آب بعيد ميلاده الـ32، يقوم فعلًا بدور قيادي في السعودية، وهو صاحب الأمر فيها في كل ما يتعلق بوزارة الخارجية، وأن التقديرات تشير إلى أن الملك سلمان "المريض أصلًا سيتنازل عن العرش قريبًا ويسلمه لولده". 



وأضاف هرئيل أنه "على مر العامين ونصف الماضيين، ومنذ تتويج الملك سلمان، تم تدريب وإعداد الأمير محمد بن سلمان لمهام سياسية بانتظار خلافة المنصب الأكبر، كما تم توكيله بمهام أخرى للمبادرة والتخطيط (دون نجاح خاص) في حرب اليمن من خلال توليه وزارة الدفاع".

وبحسب هرئيل فإنه إذا كان محمد بن نايف هو من تولى، خلال العامين الماضيين، مسؤولية العلاقات مع الإدارة الأميركية ووكالة المخابرات المركزية، فقد تم دفعه جانبًا خلال وقت قصير، إذ أدركت الإدارة الأميركية من هو بالضبط الشخص القوي في المملكة. وتحول محمد بن سلمان إلى الرجل المسؤول عن العلاقات ليست فقط مع الولايات المتحدة؛ وإنما أيضًا مع بوتين وروسيا، حيث التقى ببوتين عدة مرات لتنسيق السياسات والمواقف تجاه الملف السوري وإيران.

ويصل هرئيل إلى القول إن "محمد بن سلمان شكّل بمثابة بشرى سارة، حتى الآن، لكل من إسرائيل والولايات المتحدة بفعل مواقفه القاطعة ضد إيران، وهو ما يجعله شريكًا استراتيجيًّا مهمًّا، وليس فقط في الحرب ضد إيران؛ بل إنه يتفق كليًّا مع الولايات المتحدة بالحاجة لوقف التأثير والنفوذ الروسيين في المنطقة، وعلى ضرورة إسقاط نظام الأسد، والعمل بحزم ضد داعش ومنظمات راديكالية أخرى، من الإخوان المسلمين وحتى حزب الله".


عرب جرب

Yemen war architect set to be next Saudi king in huge Riyadh royal shake-up

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

الاتجاه المعاكس- لماذا تخلت مصر السيسي عن تيران وصنافير؟

حكام إيران يقلّدون عنجهية صدّام حسين

جلبير الأشقر


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إن أكبر الأخطاء التي يستطيع قائدٌ أن يرتكبها وهو يترقّب مواجهة عسكرية محتملة هو المبالغة في تقدير قوته والاستخفاف بقوة من يقف في وجهه. ولا شكّ في أن صدّام حسين هو النموذج الأعلى من سوء التقدير والقيادة في تاريخنا العربي المعاصر. فقد برهن على رعونة قلّ مثيلها في إساءته تقدير موازين القوى بشكل مذهل وفي مناسبتين متتاليتين.
الأولى هي عندما شنّ المستبدّ العراقي عدوانه على إيران في أيلول/سبتمبر 1980 ظنّاً منه أنه سوف يستطيع أن يضع يده بصورة ثابتة على تلك المنطقة النفطية التي كانت تسمّى عربستان حتى عام 1925، وهي السنة التي بدّل فيها اسمها رضا بهلوي إلى خوزستان. اعتقد صدّام حسين أن الفوضى التي كانت لا تزال تعمّ إيران إثر ثورتها على الشاه محمد رضا بهلوي وكذلك القطيعة بين الحكم الإيراني الجديد والولايات المتحدة، مصدر السلاح الإيراني الأساسي، سوف تتيحان له التفوّق بسهولة. ولم يخطر في باله أن عدوانه سوف يقدّم للحكم الإيراني الجديد فرصة ذهبية كي يرسي سلطته سواءً أكان الأمر طوعاً أم قسراً، وأن واشنطن سوف تستغلّ الصراع كي تطيل أمده بمدّ العون إلى العراق تارة وإلى إيران تارة أخرى بحيث يُدمِّر كلٌ من البلدين الآخر بما يلائم مصالح الولايات المتحدة وحليفتها الصهيونية.
والمناسبة الثانية والأخطر هي بالطبع عندما وقع صدّام حسين في فخّ احتلال الكويت في آب/أغسطس 1990، بعد المناسبة الأولى بعشر سنوات، ولم يسحب قواته من الإمارة بالرغم من الحشود الأمريكية الهائلة التي تراكمت على تخوم بلاده. فكانت النتيجة أنه منح واشنطن فرصة لاستكمالها تدمير العراق ونشر قواتها في منطقة الخليج على نطاق غير مسبوق تاريخياً.
وفي الحالة الأولى كما في الثانية عبّر صدّام حسين عن عنجهية مدهشة، مشيداً ببطولته وزاعماً قدرته على «دحر أي عدوان» وهو يتعامى عن ميزان القوى الحقيقي. فخاض في مقامرة طائشة في وجه إيران، وهي بلاد أكبر من العراق بكثير من حيث عدد السكان والمساحة، وخاض في مغامرة حمقاء في وجه قوات مسلحة أمريكية متفوّقة على القوات العراقية تفوّق العملاق على القزم.
وها أن الكبرياء تصل لدى حكام إيران وقادة حرسها الثوري إلى مستوىً لا يقلّ رعونة عن مستواها لدى عدوّهم اللدود الراحل. فقد أطلقوا يوم الإثنين الماضي على دير الزور في سوريا ستة صواريخ من نوع يصل مداه إلى سبعمئة كيلومتراً. وكان بوسعهم أن يكتفوا بتقديم ما فعلوا على أنه ردّ على العمليتين اللتين نفّذهما تنظيم داعش في طهران مؤخراً، بطريقة باتت معهودة وكأنها عرفٌ دولي تردّ بموجبها كل دولة تتعرّض لعملية داعشية على أرضها بقصف لمناطق تواجد تنظيم داعش في العراق وسوريا. إلّا أن الغرور وصل بقادة الحرس الثوري الإيراني إلى حدّ بالغ الارتفاع، مما جعلهم يسرحون ويمرحون في سوريا والعراق غير مبالين لظهورهم بمظهر المحتلّين، بل متعمّدين تأكيد هيمنتهم الإمبراطورية على نظامي البلدين وكأنها أبدية ومتعمّدين استفزاز مشاعر أخصامهم فيهما وفي جوارهما.
وقد ساق الغرور حكّام إيران وقادة حرسها الثوري إلى تقديم إطلاقهم للصواريخ الستة على أنه «رسالة موجّهة بصورة خاصة إلى السعوديين والأمريكيين»، على حدّ قول لواء الحرس الثوري رمضان شريف، بما أثنى عليه النائب في البرلمان الإيراني جواد كريمي قدّوسي مؤكداً على أن الصواريخ «رسالة إلى مؤيدي الإرهابيين في المنطقة المتمثلين بالنظام السعودي والأمريكان قبل أن يكون رسالة إلى الإرهابيين»، وكان كلاهما يتحدّث على شاشة التلفزيون الإيراني. لا بل زايد عليهما القائد السابق للحرس الثوري، اللواء محسن رضائي، مبشّراً بأن «الصفعة الأكبر قادمة».
والعنجهية الرعناء تتجلّى لمّا ندرك أن القوات الأمريكية المنتشرة في المنطقة تفوق قوّتها الضاربة ليس القوة الضاربة الإيرانية وحسب، بل تلك القوة والقوة الضاربة الروسية المنتشرة في سوريا مجتمعتين. وإزاء إدارة أمريكية جديدة في واشنطن تتميّز بالعداء الشديد لطهران، تحرّضها عليها الدولة الصهيونية، إدارة جديدة سبق أن حذّرت إيران من إلقاء الصواريخ التسيارية مثلما حذّرت كوريا الشمالية، يبدو أن حكّام إيران وقادة حرسها الثوري مصرّون على إعطاء تلك الإدارة ذريعة لتصعيدها الضغط على دولتهم، بل لتسديدها ضربة عسكرية إليها قد تكون كاسحة مثلما كانت الضربة التي تلقّاها عراق صدّام حسين في سنة 1991.
٭ كاتب وأكاديمي من لبنان

US State Department 'mystified' by Gulf states on Qatar

Contradicting Trump's accusations against Doha, US State Department demanded answers from states imposing 'embargo' on Qatar

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The US State Department said on Tuesday it was "mystified" that Gulf Arab states had not released to the public or to Qatar details of the grievances that prompted their economic and political boycott of the country.
The statement seemed to contradict repeated comments by President Donald Trump who has accused Doha of funding terrorism, taking responsibility for the sanctions imposed on Qatar by its neighbours.
In Washington's strongest language yet on the Gulf dispute, the State Department said the more time goes by, "the more doubt is raised about the actions taken by Saudi Arabia and the UAE".
The United Arab Emirates, which along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain imposed the measures to isolate Qatar, said this week the sanctions could last for years unless Doha accepted demands that the Arab powers plan to reveal in coming days.
"At this point, we are left with one simple question: Were the actions really about their concerns regarding Qatar's alleged support for terrorism or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC countries," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, referring to the five-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.
Nauert added that Washington is puzzled that Gulf states have not released their demands or details about their claims against Qatar more than two weeks after the "embargo" started.
The State Department also called on all parties to de-escalate tensions and focus on combating terrorism.
However, Trump had voiced full support for Saudi Arabia in the actions it led against Qatar over the past weeks.
"We had a decision to make, do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard but necessary action," Trump said on 9 June. "We have to stop the funding of terrorism. I decided ... the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding."
The US president has also accused Qatar of historically funding terrorism "at a very high level".
Qatar has denied accusations by that it backs terrorism, foments regional instability or has cosied up to Iran.
The crisis started after Qatar’s official news agency was hacked, publishing fake comments attributed to the country’s emir critical of Gulf neighbours and Trump.
Qatar's attorney general said on Tuesday his country has evidence that the hacking of Qatar's state news agency was linked to countries that have severed ties with Doha.

"Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack," the Qatari Attorney General Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri told reporters in Doha. He did not name the countries.