• Israel seeks to rewrite the laws of war
    If the world accepts the way Israel now interprets the principle of proportionality, then genocide will become justified.

    Neve Gordon
    Palestinians look at the debris of tents following an Israeli military strike on the al-Mawasi camp for internally displaced people (IDP), near the city of Khan Yunis
    Palestinians survey the debris of tents following an Israeli bombardment of al-Mawasi camp that killed more than 90 people, in the Gaza Strip on July 13, 2024 [Bashar Taleb/AFP]
    Most people probably don’t know this, but Wikipedia has a page called “List of Israeli assassinations”. It begins in July 1956 and stretches over 68 years until today. The majority on the list are Palestinians; among them are famous Palestinian leaders including Ghassan Kanafani of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Fatah’s Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir – also known as Abu Jihad; Hamas’s Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Fathi Shaqaqi.

    When looking at the long list, it is impossible not to notice that the number of assassinations and assassination attempts Israel has carried out over the years has increased exponentially: from 14 in the 1970s to well over 150 in the first decade of the new millennium and 24 since January 2020.

    I was reminded of this list when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a news conference on July 13 to celebrate Israel’s attempt to kill Hamas’s military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza. Israeli fighter jets and drones had just hammered al-Mawasi camp, which now houses an estimated 80,000 displaced Palestinians living in densely populated tents.

    Within just a few minutes of the fusillade, the pilots had massacred at least 90 Palestinians, including scores of women and children, while injuring an additional 300 people. All of this occurred in an area Israel had previously designated a “safe zone”. As gruesome images of dead bodies charred and shredded to pieces filled social media, reports surfaced that Israel had used several United States-made guided half-tonne bombs.

    In his news conference at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Tel Aviv just a few hours after this bloodbath, Netanyahu admitted that he was “not absolutely certain” that Deif had been killed but maintained that “just the attempt to assassinate Hamas commanders delivers a message to the world, a message that Hamas’s days are numbered”.

    Yet even a quick perusal of the “List of Israeli assassinations” makes clear that Netanyahu was speaking with a forked tongue. He knows all too well that Israel’s assassination of Hamas’s political leaders Sheik Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi or military leaders Yahya Ayyash and Salah Shehade have done very little to weaken the movement and may well have increased its following.

    If anything, years and years of Israeli assassinations demonstrate that they are primarily used by Israeli leaders to pander to and rally their constituencies. Netanyahu’s recent news conference is no exception.

    But as macabre as the Wikipedia list is, the names on it only tell a partial story. That is because it fails to include the number of civilians killed during each and every successful and failed assassination attempt.

    For example, the July 13 strike was the eighth known attempt on Deif’s life, and it is difficult to calculate the total number of civilians Israel has killed in its scramble to assassinate him. The Wikipedia list fails to capture how the increase in assassinations has led to an exponential increase in civilian deaths.

    This becomes clear when we compare Israel’s current assassination policy with its policy during the second Palestinian Intifada. When Israel assassinated the head of Hamas’s Qassam Brigades, Salah Shehade, in 2002, 15 people were killed, including Shehade, his wife, 15-year-old daughter, and eight other children.

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    After the strike, there was a public uproar in Israel at the loss of civilian lives, with 27 Israeli pilots signing a letter refusing to fly assassination sorties over Gaza. Almost a decade later, an Israeli commission of inquiry found that due to an “intelligence gathering failure”, commanders had not known that there were civilians present in the adjacent buildings at the time, and had they known they would have called off the attack.

    The commission’s findings are in line with the laws of armed conflict, which allow, or at least tolerate, the killing of civilians not directly participating in hostilities so long as these killings are not “excessive” in relation to the “concrete and direct” military advantage that the belligerent expects to gain from the attack.

    This rule, known as the principle of proportionality, is designed to ensure that the ends of a military operation justify the means by weighing the anticipated military advantage against the expected civilian harm.

    Today, however, we are light years away from the commission’s conclusions both with respect to the repertoires of violence Israel has adopted and the legal justifications it now provides.

    First, Israel’s forms of war-making have changed dramatically since 2002. According to the Israeli organisation Breaking the Silence, which is made up of military veterans, two doctrines have guided the Israeli assaults on Gaza since 2008. The first is the “no casualties doctrine”, which stipulates that, for the sake of protecting Israeli soldiers, Palestinian civilians can be killed with impunity; the second doctrine recommends intentionally attacking civilian sites in order to deter Hamas.

    These doctrines have unsurprisingly led to mass-casualty attacks, which, according to the laws of armed conflict, constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. As a consequence, Israel’s military lawyers have had to modify the way they interpret the laws of armed conflict so that they align with the new warfare strategies.

    If two decades ago killing 14 civilians when assassinating a Hamas leader was considered disproportionate and thus a war crime by the Israeli commission of inquiry, in the first weeks after October 7, the military decided that for every junior Hamas operative, it was permissible to kill up to 15 or 20 civilians. If the target was a senior Hamas official, the military “authorised the killing of more than 100 civilians in the assassination of a single commander”.

    This might seem egregious, but an officer in the International Law Department of the Israeli army was very candid about such changes in a 2009 interview for the newspaper Haaretz: “Our goal of military is not to fetter the army, but to give it the tools to win in a lawful manner.”

    The former head of the department, Colonel Daniel Reisner, also publicly stated this strategy was pursued through “a revision of international law”.

    “If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it,” he said, “The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries.”

    In other words, the way we calculate proportionality is not determined by some a priori moral edict but rather the norms and customs created by militaries as they adopt new and most often more lethal forms of war-making.

    Again, Netanyahu knows this all too well. He has stated that he personally approved the al-Mawasi strike after receiving satisfactory information on the potential “collateral damage” and the type of ammunition to be used.

    What is clear is that as Israel decimates Gaza and kills tens of thousands of people, it is also attempting to recreate the norms of war-making and significantly transform interpretations of the laws of armed conflict.

    If Netanyahu and his government succeed in rendering Israel’s version of proportionality acceptable among other state actors, then the laws of armed conflict will end up justifying rather than preventing genocidal violence. Indeed, the very architecture of the entire international legal order is now in the balance.

    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


    Israel seeks to rewrite the laws of war
    https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2024/7/15/israel-seeks-to-rewrite-the-laws-of-war
    Israel seeks to rewrite the laws of war If the world accepts the way Israel now interprets the principle of proportionality, then genocide will become justified. Neve Gordon Palestinians look at the debris of tents following an Israeli military strike on the al-Mawasi camp for internally displaced people (IDP), near the city of Khan Yunis Palestinians survey the debris of tents following an Israeli bombardment of al-Mawasi camp that killed more than 90 people, in the Gaza Strip on July 13, 2024 [Bashar Taleb/AFP] Most people probably don’t know this, but Wikipedia has a page called “List of Israeli assassinations”. It begins in July 1956 and stretches over 68 years until today. The majority on the list are Palestinians; among them are famous Palestinian leaders including Ghassan Kanafani of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Fatah’s Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir – also known as Abu Jihad; Hamas’s Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Fathi Shaqaqi. When looking at the long list, it is impossible not to notice that the number of assassinations and assassination attempts Israel has carried out over the years has increased exponentially: from 14 in the 1970s to well over 150 in the first decade of the new millennium and 24 since January 2020. I was reminded of this list when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a news conference on July 13 to celebrate Israel’s attempt to kill Hamas’s military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza. Israeli fighter jets and drones had just hammered al-Mawasi camp, which now houses an estimated 80,000 displaced Palestinians living in densely populated tents. Within just a few minutes of the fusillade, the pilots had massacred at least 90 Palestinians, including scores of women and children, while injuring an additional 300 people. All of this occurred in an area Israel had previously designated a “safe zone”. As gruesome images of dead bodies charred and shredded to pieces filled social media, reports surfaced that Israel had used several United States-made guided half-tonne bombs. In his news conference at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Tel Aviv just a few hours after this bloodbath, Netanyahu admitted that he was “not absolutely certain” that Deif had been killed but maintained that “just the attempt to assassinate Hamas commanders delivers a message to the world, a message that Hamas’s days are numbered”. Yet even a quick perusal of the “List of Israeli assassinations” makes clear that Netanyahu was speaking with a forked tongue. He knows all too well that Israel’s assassination of Hamas’s political leaders Sheik Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi or military leaders Yahya Ayyash and Salah Shehade have done very little to weaken the movement and may well have increased its following. If anything, years and years of Israeli assassinations demonstrate that they are primarily used by Israeli leaders to pander to and rally their constituencies. Netanyahu’s recent news conference is no exception. But as macabre as the Wikipedia list is, the names on it only tell a partial story. That is because it fails to include the number of civilians killed during each and every successful and failed assassination attempt. For example, the July 13 strike was the eighth known attempt on Deif’s life, and it is difficult to calculate the total number of civilians Israel has killed in its scramble to assassinate him. The Wikipedia list fails to capture how the increase in assassinations has led to an exponential increase in civilian deaths. This becomes clear when we compare Israel’s current assassination policy with its policy during the second Palestinian Intifada. When Israel assassinated the head of Hamas’s Qassam Brigades, Salah Shehade, in 2002, 15 people were killed, including Shehade, his wife, 15-year-old daughter, and eight other children. Sign up for Al Jazeera Weekly Newsletter protected by reCAPTCHA After the strike, there was a public uproar in Israel at the loss of civilian lives, with 27 Israeli pilots signing a letter refusing to fly assassination sorties over Gaza. Almost a decade later, an Israeli commission of inquiry found that due to an “intelligence gathering failure”, commanders had not known that there were civilians present in the adjacent buildings at the time, and had they known they would have called off the attack. The commission’s findings are in line with the laws of armed conflict, which allow, or at least tolerate, the killing of civilians not directly participating in hostilities so long as these killings are not “excessive” in relation to the “concrete and direct” military advantage that the belligerent expects to gain from the attack. This rule, known as the principle of proportionality, is designed to ensure that the ends of a military operation justify the means by weighing the anticipated military advantage against the expected civilian harm. Today, however, we are light years away from the commission’s conclusions both with respect to the repertoires of violence Israel has adopted and the legal justifications it now provides. First, Israel’s forms of war-making have changed dramatically since 2002. According to the Israeli organisation Breaking the Silence, which is made up of military veterans, two doctrines have guided the Israeli assaults on Gaza since 2008. The first is the “no casualties doctrine”, which stipulates that, for the sake of protecting Israeli soldiers, Palestinian civilians can be killed with impunity; the second doctrine recommends intentionally attacking civilian sites in order to deter Hamas. These doctrines have unsurprisingly led to mass-casualty attacks, which, according to the laws of armed conflict, constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. As a consequence, Israel’s military lawyers have had to modify the way they interpret the laws of armed conflict so that they align with the new warfare strategies. If two decades ago killing 14 civilians when assassinating a Hamas leader was considered disproportionate and thus a war crime by the Israeli commission of inquiry, in the first weeks after October 7, the military decided that for every junior Hamas operative, it was permissible to kill up to 15 or 20 civilians. If the target was a senior Hamas official, the military “authorised the killing of more than 100 civilians in the assassination of a single commander”. This might seem egregious, but an officer in the International Law Department of the Israeli army was very candid about such changes in a 2009 interview for the newspaper Haaretz: “Our goal of military is not to fetter the army, but to give it the tools to win in a lawful manner.” The former head of the department, Colonel Daniel Reisner, also publicly stated this strategy was pursued through “a revision of international law”. “If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it,” he said, “The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries.” In other words, the way we calculate proportionality is not determined by some a priori moral edict but rather the norms and customs created by militaries as they adopt new and most often more lethal forms of war-making. Again, Netanyahu knows this all too well. He has stated that he personally approved the al-Mawasi strike after receiving satisfactory information on the potential “collateral damage” and the type of ammunition to be used. What is clear is that as Israel decimates Gaza and kills tens of thousands of people, it is also attempting to recreate the norms of war-making and significantly transform interpretations of the laws of armed conflict. If Netanyahu and his government succeed in rendering Israel’s version of proportionality acceptable among other state actors, then the laws of armed conflict will end up justifying rather than preventing genocidal violence. Indeed, the very architecture of the entire international legal order is now in the balance. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. Israel seeks to rewrite the laws of war https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2024/7/15/israel-seeks-to-rewrite-the-laws-of-war
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    Israel seeks to rewrite the laws of war
    If the world accepts the way Israel now interprets the principle of proportionality, genocide will become justified.
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  • 5 killed, hundreds injured in violent clashes between job quota protesters in Bangladesh
    Near-daily marches this month have demanded an end to a quota system that reserves more than half of civil service posts for specific groups, including children of heroes from the country’s 1971 liberation war against Pakistan. Critics say the scheme benefits children of pro-government groups that back Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, 76, who won her fourth consecutive election in January after a vote without genuine opposition

    At least five demonstrators were killed in Bangladesh on Tuesday during violent clashes between rival student groups over quotas for coveted government jobs, police said, a day after more than 400 others were injured.

    Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as university students battled with counter-protesters backing the ruling Awami League party, fighting with sticks and hurling rocks.

    The violence marks an escalation in efforts to hinder a determined weekslong campaign of sit-in protests and street marches that has ignored calls by Bangladesh’s prime minister and top court for students to return to class.

    Three people were killed in the port city of Chittagong.

    “All three had bullet injuries,” Chittagong Medical College Hospital director Mohammad Taslim Uddin told AFP.

    “Some 35 people were injured.”

    Rival student groups marched in several key locations around the capital Dhaka, some throwing bricks at each other, with traffic in the city of 20 million almost ground to a halt.

    CC Tv Video Link- https://rb.gy/e0zc9l

    #DozensWounded #trandinginfo #worldviral #worldtranding #StepDownHasina #WENEEDYOURHELP #Mbappe #AbhiandNiyu #SummerLeague #WritingLife #poohpavel
    5 killed, hundreds injured in violent clashes between job quota protesters in Bangladesh Near-daily marches this month have demanded an end to a quota system that reserves more than half of civil service posts for specific groups, including children of heroes from the country’s 1971 liberation war against Pakistan. Critics say the scheme benefits children of pro-government groups that back Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, 76, who won her fourth consecutive election in January after a vote without genuine opposition At least five demonstrators were killed in Bangladesh on Tuesday during violent clashes between rival student groups over quotas for coveted government jobs, police said, a day after more than 400 others were injured. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as university students battled with counter-protesters backing the ruling Awami League party, fighting with sticks and hurling rocks. The violence marks an escalation in efforts to hinder a determined weekslong campaign of sit-in protests and street marches that has ignored calls by Bangladesh’s prime minister and top court for students to return to class. Three people were killed in the port city of Chittagong. “All three had bullet injuries,” Chittagong Medical College Hospital director Mohammad Taslim Uddin told AFP. “Some 35 people were injured.” Rival student groups marched in several key locations around the capital Dhaka, some throwing bricks at each other, with traffic in the city of 20 million almost ground to a halt. CC Tv Video Link- https://rb.gy/e0zc9l #DozensWounded #trandinginfo #worldviral #worldtranding #StepDownHasina #WENEEDYOURHELP #Mbappe #AbhiandNiyu #SummerLeague #WritingLife #poohpavel
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  • Rostec State Corporation Makes Yaroslavl International Family Film Capital

    The world's largest festival of family cinema “Within the Family” gathered more than 10 000 viewers and turned Yaroslavl into the family film capital of the world. The festival was held with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Government of the Yaroslavl Region, the Mayor's Office of Yaroslavl, the Rostec State Corporation and personally Sergey Chemezov, Director General of the Rostec State Corporation, co-chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nationwide Program Within the Family.

    This year, the geography of the film competitions expanded to all five continents, and viewers watched 76 short and feature films from 39 countries, including Russia, Turkey, South Korea, USA, Peru, Colombia, Italy, Spain, Venezuela, China, Iraq, Iran, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Tunisia, and even Australia. Funny and philosophical, ironic and sad, comedies and dramas - all of them were about family, about how modern parents, children and families live in different countries.

    The festival results were announced, and the international jury presented the nominees.

    In 2024, the festival participants and guests received a telegram from the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, which was published on the Kremlin's website and read out at the Opening Ceremony. The President expressed confidence that the festival would be successful, attract increased attention from professionals and the general public, and be remembered for its interesting premieres and warm atmosphere.

    The festival events were also broadcast on the Russian social network "Odnoklassniki" with over 2.5 million views.

    The guests and viewers were greeted by Fedor Dobronravov, Nonna Grishaeva, Alexander Samoylenko, Denis Nikiforov, Vladimir Sychyov, Irina Medvedeva, Arthur Sopelnik, Alexey Demidov, large families, and bloggers. The festival's opening film, the Chinese dramedy "The Art Class" was shown at the opening ceremony, with producers Ting Wang, Pan Liu, and Lu Wang in attendance.

    WINNERS OF THE MAIN FEATURE FILMS COMPETITION

    Grand Prix of the Film Festival

    A Second Life, dir. Anis Lassoued (Tunisia, 2022, drama, 12+) 93 min.

    Best Director

    Tufan Simsekcan, Ceylin (Turkey, 2023, drama, 18+) 103 min.

    Best Cinematography

    Aref Namvar, Balit (Iran, 2023, drama, 12+) 85 min.

    Best Actress

    Deniz Büyük, Ceylin (Turkey, 2023, drama, 18+) 103 min.

    Nonna Grishayeva, About My Mom and Me (Russia, drama, 2023, 12+) 104 min.

    Best Actor

    Yassine Tormsi, A Second Life (Tunisia, 2022, drama, 12+) 93 min.

    Vladimir Vdovichenkov, There and Back (Russia, 2023, drama, 16+) 100 min.

    Special Jury Prize

    Special Mention for the film - When the Seedlings Grow (Syria, 2022, drama, 16+) 83 min.

    Taissiya Kalinina and Alexei Rodionov (for acting performance) - There and Back (Russia, 2023, drama, 16+) 100 min.

    Ekaterina Gontarenko (for acting performance) - About My Mom and Me (Russia, drama, 2023, 12+) 104 min.

    For restoring faith in oneself - The Art Class (China, 2023, drama, comedy, 12+) 93 min.

    Audience Award

    There and Back (Russia, 2023, drama, 16+) 100 min.

    WINNERS OF THE CHILDREN'S AND YOUTH FEATURE FILMS COMPETITION

    Best Film

    The Diary of Paulina P., dir. Neven Hitrec, (Croatia, 2023, family, 7+) 96 min.

    Best Director

    Anggi Frisca, Tegar (Indonesia, 2022, drama, 12+) 95 min.

    Best Cinematographer

    Hamid Dalvand, The Wind that Shakes the Sugar Canes (Iran, 2022, drama, 12+) 85 min.

    Best Child Artist

    Katja Matković, The Diary of Paulina P. (Croatia, 2023, family, 7+) 96 min.

    M. Aldifi Tegarajasa, Tegar (Indonesia, 2022, drama, 12+) 95 min.

    Special Jury Prize

    Flip Turn (USA, family, 12+) 105 min. For the best screenplay

    Lost Days (2023, family, children's, 6+) 86 min. For the touching plot and best ensemble cast

    Pushkin And... Mikhailovskoye. Beginning (Russia, 2023, Animation, 6+) 63 min. Animation, 6+ For the best animation

    The Zoo (India, 2023, drama, sports, 12+) 115 min. For the best special effects

    Audience Award

    Flip Turn (Flip Turn, USA, family, 12+) 105 min.

    WINNERS OF THE MAIN SHORT FILMS COMPETITION

    Grand Prix

    "Lyubushka". Russia. Directors: Andrei Krasavin, Dmitry Pasichnyuk

    Best Director

    Tamara Kostrešević, "Day for Us", Serbia

    Best Cinematographer

    Vahagn Ter-Hakobyan, "Three Days", Armenia

    Best Female Performance

    Ulyana Churakova, "Cuckoo", Russia

    Best Male Performance

    Mardin Sheikh Moradi, "Russian Vodka", Iran

    Special Prize for Cinematography

    Mirtimir Murotov, "Cassette", Uzbekistan.

    Audience Award

    "Rob Me If You Can", Spain. Director: Miriam Franch & Laia Varo. For the best film

    "Teplotehnik", Actress Malika Fatkullina. For acting performance

    "Kukolka", directed by Olga Furmanova, Russia. For the best screenplay.

    WINNERS OF THE CHILDREN'S SHORT FILM COMPETITION

    Best Children's Short Film

    "Girls", Russia. Director Natalia Domeretskaya.

    Best Director

    "Fate", Russia. Director: Stanislav Kulikov.

    Best Cinematographer

    Andrey Makalkin, "Atalanta", Russia. Director: Alexander Gavrilov.

    Best Children's Performance

    Girl: Florencia Ordoqui. "Vida and the Chocolate Cake", Argentina. Director: Rodrigo Elizalde.

    Boy: Amir Akhmerov. "Fate", Russia. Director Stanislav Kulikov.

    Best Animation

    "Orpheus and Euridice", Italy. Director: Francesco Romanelli

    Special Prize for Original Screenplay

    Andrey Abakumov, "RazMAZNYA", Director: Andrey Abakumov.

    Audience Award

    "Wheels", director: Dmitry Kondratenko.

    News source: https://vkrugu7i.com/itogi2024
    Rostec State Corporation Makes Yaroslavl International Family Film Capital The world's largest festival of family cinema “Within the Family” gathered more than 10 000 viewers and turned Yaroslavl into the family film capital of the world. The festival was held with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Government of the Yaroslavl Region, the Mayor's Office of Yaroslavl, the Rostec State Corporation and personally Sergey Chemezov, Director General of the Rostec State Corporation, co-chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nationwide Program Within the Family. This year, the geography of the film competitions expanded to all five continents, and viewers watched 76 short and feature films from 39 countries, including Russia, Turkey, South Korea, USA, Peru, Colombia, Italy, Spain, Venezuela, China, Iraq, Iran, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Tunisia, and even Australia. Funny and philosophical, ironic and sad, comedies and dramas - all of them were about family, about how modern parents, children and families live in different countries. The festival results were announced, and the international jury presented the nominees. In 2024, the festival participants and guests received a telegram from the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, which was published on the Kremlin's website and read out at the Opening Ceremony. The President expressed confidence that the festival would be successful, attract increased attention from professionals and the general public, and be remembered for its interesting premieres and warm atmosphere. The festival events were also broadcast on the Russian social network "Odnoklassniki" with over 2.5 million views. The guests and viewers were greeted by Fedor Dobronravov, Nonna Grishaeva, Alexander Samoylenko, Denis Nikiforov, Vladimir Sychyov, Irina Medvedeva, Arthur Sopelnik, Alexey Demidov, large families, and bloggers. The festival's opening film, the Chinese dramedy "The Art Class" was shown at the opening ceremony, with producers Ting Wang, Pan Liu, and Lu Wang in attendance. WINNERS OF THE MAIN FEATURE FILMS COMPETITION Grand Prix of the Film Festival A Second Life, dir. Anis Lassoued (Tunisia, 2022, drama, 12+) 93 min. Best Director Tufan Simsekcan, Ceylin (Turkey, 2023, drama, 18+) 103 min. Best Cinematography Aref Namvar, Balit (Iran, 2023, drama, 12+) 85 min. Best Actress Deniz Büyük, Ceylin (Turkey, 2023, drama, 18+) 103 min. Nonna Grishayeva, About My Mom and Me (Russia, drama, 2023, 12+) 104 min. Best Actor Yassine Tormsi, A Second Life (Tunisia, 2022, drama, 12+) 93 min. Vladimir Vdovichenkov, There and Back (Russia, 2023, drama, 16+) 100 min. Special Jury Prize Special Mention for the film - When the Seedlings Grow (Syria, 2022, drama, 16+) 83 min. Taissiya Kalinina and Alexei Rodionov (for acting performance) - There and Back (Russia, 2023, drama, 16+) 100 min. Ekaterina Gontarenko (for acting performance) - About My Mom and Me (Russia, drama, 2023, 12+) 104 min. For restoring faith in oneself - The Art Class (China, 2023, drama, comedy, 12+) 93 min. Audience Award There and Back (Russia, 2023, drama, 16+) 100 min. WINNERS OF THE CHILDREN'S AND YOUTH FEATURE FILMS COMPETITION Best Film The Diary of Paulina P., dir. Neven Hitrec, (Croatia, 2023, family, 7+) 96 min. Best Director Anggi Frisca, Tegar (Indonesia, 2022, drama, 12+) 95 min. Best Cinematographer Hamid Dalvand, The Wind that Shakes the Sugar Canes (Iran, 2022, drama, 12+) 85 min. Best Child Artist Katja Matković, The Diary of Paulina P. (Croatia, 2023, family, 7+) 96 min. M. Aldifi Tegarajasa, Tegar (Indonesia, 2022, drama, 12+) 95 min. Special Jury Prize Flip Turn (USA, family, 12+) 105 min. For the best screenplay Lost Days (2023, family, children's, 6+) 86 min. For the touching plot and best ensemble cast Pushkin And... Mikhailovskoye. Beginning (Russia, 2023, Animation, 6+) 63 min. Animation, 6+ For the best animation The Zoo (India, 2023, drama, sports, 12+) 115 min. For the best special effects Audience Award Flip Turn (Flip Turn, USA, family, 12+) 105 min. WINNERS OF THE MAIN SHORT FILMS COMPETITION Grand Prix "Lyubushka". Russia. Directors: Andrei Krasavin, Dmitry Pasichnyuk Best Director Tamara Kostrešević, "Day for Us", Serbia Best Cinematographer Vahagn Ter-Hakobyan, "Three Days", Armenia Best Female Performance Ulyana Churakova, "Cuckoo", Russia Best Male Performance Mardin Sheikh Moradi, "Russian Vodka", Iran Special Prize for Cinematography Mirtimir Murotov, "Cassette", Uzbekistan. Audience Award "Rob Me If You Can", Spain. Director: Miriam Franch & Laia Varo. For the best film "Teplotehnik", Actress Malika Fatkullina. For acting performance "Kukolka", directed by Olga Furmanova, Russia. For the best screenplay. WINNERS OF THE CHILDREN'S SHORT FILM COMPETITION Best Children's Short Film "Girls", Russia. Director Natalia Domeretskaya. Best Director "Fate", Russia. Director: Stanislav Kulikov. Best Cinematographer Andrey Makalkin, "Atalanta", Russia. Director: Alexander Gavrilov. Best Children's Performance Girl: Florencia Ordoqui. "Vida and the Chocolate Cake", Argentina. Director: Rodrigo Elizalde. Boy: Amir Akhmerov. "Fate", Russia. Director Stanislav Kulikov. Best Animation "Orpheus and Euridice", Italy. Director: Francesco Romanelli Special Prize for Original Screenplay Andrey Abakumov, "RazMAZNYA", Director: Andrey Abakumov. Audience Award "Wheels", director: Dmitry Kondratenko. News source: https://vkrugu7i.com/itogi2024
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  • Reasons why Egypt is not a friend of Palestine Part 1 - the economic trap
    Egypt has long been responsible for the collective punishment of Palestinians while feigning sympathy.

    vanessa beeley

    Our path to Palestine will not be covered with a red carpet or with yellow sand. Our path to Palestine will be covered with blood... In order that we may liberate Palestine, the Arab nation must unite, the Arab armies must unite, and a unified plan of action must be established. Gamal Abdul Nasser 1965

    Egypt’s pivotal role as an ally and supporter of the Palestinian cause degraded dramatically after the suspected assassination of President Gamal Abdul Nasser in 1967 when Nasser was only 52 and known to be in excellent health.

    Nasser was succeeded by Anwar Sadat who deceived and betrayed Syria during the 1973 October war or the Yom Kippur war as Zionists have named it. Sadat developed a close relationship with war criminal Henry Kissinger which proved deadly for the nationalist movements in the region who opposed normalisation with the genocidal Zionist entity and supported the central Palestinian cause.

    Kissinger astutely perceived Sadat as someone who could be persuaded to capitulate to Israeli ‘peace’ demands which he did in 1979 with the Camp David agreement.

    Camp David was considered a betrayal of the Palestinian Resistance liberation movement and of the legitimate claims of neighbouring states to their land and sovereignty.

    In May 2000 Kissinger wrote about Sadat:

    He did me the honor of inviting me to fly with him to New York from Washington--we had concluded his trip. And he said to me, "you know, next March the Sinai is coming back to us. It's going to be a big celebration. And since you and I started this, you should come to Egypt and celebrate with us."

    Then he thought for a moment and he said "no, you're Jewish. It is very painful for the Israelis to give up this territory. And if they see you in Cairo celebrating with us, they'll be very hurt and we mustn't do this to them. I have a better idea," he said. "Let the territory come back. And then, a month later, you and I alone will take a trip through the Sinai and we'll go to the top of Mt. Sinai where I intend to build a synagogue, a mosque, and a church. And this will be a more meaningful celebration of the peace process than if you come to Cairo."

    In 1973 Kissinger and President Hafez Al Assad met - the first high level meeting between the US and Syria for years. After Kissinger had been speaking for just under and hour, Assad interrupted him and asked if it was his turn to speak.

    As a professor you have spoken for fifty minutes. The President was an officer and officers are brief. As a military man, I take the place of politicians; professors take the place of politicians.

    Assad continued:

    First, we are not or never have been against the people of the United States. I have said this many times and in many places. There is much convincing evidence that we have to be against U.S. policy because it is against Syrian interests and Syrian just aspirations. Had it not been for U.S. assistance in support of Israel, Israel could not remain in occupation and forced out the Palestinians from their lands since 1948 but we are not against the United States as a country or a people.

    Secondly, our policy is decided in light of our national interests. We want to build our line in a completely independent way. Syria is non-aligned. It is an effective member of the non-aligned group and a member of the Bureau. It cannot be diverted, because it has deep convictions.

    […]

    …there can be no peace with justice unless the Arab Palestinian question is settled. The Arab people of Palestine were driven out by force and are now living in camps. How can there be peace without settling their problem?

    On the Zionist occupation of Syrian Golan, Assad said:

    If we are to suppose there are such secure borders, history shows we are in the need of secure borders if anyone. Why should secure borders be at the expense of Syria? Let secure borders be at Galilee if anywhere. Under what logic should secure borders be at the expense of the population of Golan? Why should the line of danger be closer to Damascus than Tel Aviv? The distance from the ‘67 border to Damascus is 80 kilometers; the distance from the ‘67 border to Tel Aviv is 135 kilometers. So why should they want secure borders? If the idea behind it is to keep danger away from both capitals, why not?

    Syria and Egypt depend upon unity for their national security. Presidents Nasser and Hafez Al Assad understood this concept. It is no coincidence that Britain created the settler state of Israel in Palestine to drive these two countries apart geographically, politically, economically and ultimately ideologically.

    My dream was realised in the Orient as it almost turned into a nightmare in the Occident. I have spent the best years of my life in Egypt. In Europe the clouds do not allow you to think of the projects that change the course of history whereas in Egypt, whoever rules it is capable of changing history. If I were not ruler of Egypt, I would not have become Emperor of France. (Attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte)

    Fast forward to 2024 and Egypt’s state-role in the humanitarian blockade and Zionist genocide of Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied territories.

    I have collated the following reasons why and how Egypt has relinquished its role as a principal loyalist to the Palestinian national liberation movements.

    1: Egypt is on economic life-support provided by the US, EU, IMF, Saudi Arabia and UAE and is reliant on good relations with Israel

    For decades Egypt has been kept afloat economically with multi-billion loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and US allies among the Gulf States.

    At the end of March 2024 the IMF approved Egypt’s loan program which was duly expanded to $ 8 billion. Concurrently the EU has approved a Euros 7.4 billion “assistance” package to revive Egypt’s flatlined economy. Analysts have linked Egypt’s loan packages to the Zionist ongoing genocide in Palestine.

    Egypt is adamant that they are opposed to a Palestinian exodus from Gaza into the Sinai but IMF messaging suggests otherwise:

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says there is “excellent progress” in talks with Egypt over a loan program that seeks to “support” the country in weathering its financial woes and handling a potential deluge of Palestinian refugees that Israel seeks to ethnically cleanse from Gaza.

    Reports of Egypt constructing an enclosure for Palestinian refugees have been circulating since October 7th, gathering traction in February 2024 when satellite images showed an area of land just the other side of the Egyptian Rafah crossing being cleared for construction. Egypt denied any such intentions, claiming that they were preparing an area for the storage of humanitarian aid - aid that has not entered Gaza since 7th October.

    However according to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in November 2023:

    “The loan could reach up to $10 billion to help the Egyptian economy survive amid local and external factors, including the Israeli onslaught on the neighboring Gaza Strip and tensions in the Red Sea…

    This coincided with the start of construction work on an “isolated security zone” in the eastern Sinai Desert on the border with the Gaza Strip, which many expect will serve as a buffer zone for displaced Palestinians.

    “The construction work seen in Sinai along the border with Gaza – the establishment of a reinforced security perimeter around a specific, open area of land – are serious signs that Egypt may be preparing to accept and allow the displacement of Gazans to Sinai, in coordination with Israel and the United States.”

    In October 2023 - as Israel's brutal military assault on Gaza continued unabated, reports continued to swirl about a big Egyptian trade-off in the works: the absorption of large numbers of displaced Palestinians from the Strip in exchange for easing Cairo's massive debt load – which surpasses $160 billion.

    Since these rumours of Egypt providing a secondary open air compound for forcibly displaced Palestinians, there have been recent reports of the US “humanitarian” pier being used to ferry Palestinian from Gaza to northern Lebanon, Cyprus and other destinations. Sources within the Resistance in Gaza told Mondoweiss:

    “The floating pier project is an American solution to the displacement dilemma in Gaza,” the source said. “It goes beyond both the Israeli solution of displacing Gazans into Sinai…and the Egyptian suggestion of displacing [Gazans] into the Naqab [desert].”

    This should not detract from Egypt being mired in debt to the friends of Israel and enemies of Palestine nor from its role in blockading Gaza and tacitly collaborating with Israel in the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

    In March the European Union also pledged 7.4 billion Euros to the economically floundering Egyptian regime. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni travelled to Cairo alongside EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the Greek, Austrian and Belgian prime ministers, and the Cypriot president. All these countries have a vested interest in getting someone else to take on the potential tsunami of a Palestinian refugee crisis.

    Ostensibly the investment and concessional loans are designed to boost cooperation in areas including renewable energy, trade and security, while delivering grants, loans and other funding over the next three years to support Egypt's faltering economy.

    The proposed funding includes 5 billion euros in concessional loans and 1.8 billion euros of investments, according to a summary published by the EU. Another 600 million euros would be provided in grants, including 200 million euros for managing migration. (Reuters)

    The United Arab Emirates, a former British protectorate, normalised relations with Israel in 2020 under the Abraham Accords concocted by the Trump administration to bring Arab states into the Greater Israel/Clean Break plan.

    In early May, Egypt received the second installment of funding, worth $ 20 billion, from the Ras Al Hekma deal with the UAE intended to develop the luxury Ras Al Hekma resort on the Mediterranean Sea.

    Cairo had already received $ 5 billion from the UAE deal.

    Egypt is also looking to close a similar deal with Saudi Arabian investors to enable elite coastal developments on the Red Sea coast near Sharm El Sheikh, including the Ras Ghamila resort. This is in combination with the Saudi futuristic Neom project that is seeking to expand into the Egyptian Sinai.


    In 2018 - Saudi Arabia signed an investment agreement with Egypt to develop Egyptian lands in south Sinai to become part of a planned mega-city and business zone unveiled by Saudi Arabia last October. The two countries established a $ 10 billion joint investment fund.

    Reuters reported a Saudi official as saying that Egypt has committed more than 1,000 square kilometers of land in the southern Sinai Peninsula to the NEOM project.

    Saudi Arabia is in negotiations with the US over bilateral defence pacts while allegedly delaying normalisation with Israel dependent on the establishment of a Palestinian state on the scraps of land and rubble left intact in the ever-dwindling Palestinian zones in the Occupied Territories and Gaza.

    Concurrently the Saudi regime is cracking down on pro-Palestine protests in the ‘kingdom’ and has allegedly begun removing negative portrayal of Israel from its school curriculum, as has the UAE.

    In October 2023 journalist Mohamad Hasan Sweidan noted:

    It seems clear that Riyadh decided, from the beginning of the Gaza war, to prepare the internal environment for the post-Gaza phase, that is, the phase of normalization and settlement. Saudi Arabia insisted on not postponing any festival or celebration, prevented participating artists from showing sympathy for the Palestinians, punished those who sympathized with the martyrs of Gaza from a Saudi platform, and even banned the wearing of the Palestinian Kufiyyeh at Mawsim al-Riyadh, a state-funded annual festival.

    Bahrain has been actively investing in Egypt, driven by a mutual need for economic cooperation and diversification. The country has been seeking to revive its fortunes through a recently discovered oilfield and plans to become a regional financial hub. Bahrain normalised with Israel in December 2020.

    UAE and Bahrain were involved in providing a land bridge for Israel during the Zionist genocide in Gaza and West Bank and to counter the Yemeni blockade of the Red Sea shipping routes.

    Egypt leveraged the perceived threat of an overwhelming refugee crisis as a result of the Zionist genocide to secure the IMF and EU loans and to float the faltering economy. Egypt is now in bed with Gulf States, Jordan and even Israel at the expense of the Palestinian cause - Egypt’s impotence has been further demonstrated by the lack of any military deterrence when faced with the Zionist invasion of Rafah and the shooting of an Egyptian soldier at the border.

    Journalist Mohamad Sweidan points out:

    Closing the file on the Palestinian cause and forging ties with Tel Aviv is an ambition the Saudis share with the UAE in pursuit of economic and political gains. Despite official Arab declarations rebuffing displacement plans, behind-the-scenes maneuvers suggest a different reality, one that veers towards the gradual dissolution of the Palestinian cause.

    Egypt’s sovereignty is in question when one considers the following information:

    Riyadh's sudden eagerness to bolster economic ties with Cairo is palpable. With unprecedented directives from both governments, mutual investments are set to soar, with Saudi Arabia aiming to ramp up trade to $100 billion.

    Recent collaborations include a $4 billion deal with Saudi-listed ACWA Power for the Green Hydrogen project. Moreover, strategic initiatives like the memorandum of understanding between the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production and the Saudi General Authority for Military Industries and agreements in petroleum and mineral resources signal deepening economic integration.

    Ongoing negotiations between Cairo and Abu Dhabi to develop a substantial tract of land along Egypt's Mediterranean coast, potentially valued at $22 billion, could be a game-changer for Egypt's beleaguered economy.

    According to the CBE report, the proposed contract's value encompasses a significant portion of the Egyptian government's external debt due in 2024, totaling $29.229 billion. This includes interest payments totaling $6.312 billion and debt installments amounting to $22.917 billion.

    History repeats itself - in 1991, Washington forgave Egypt's debt in return for its support of the US-led coalition against Iraq.

    Only the NATO-proxy failed state of Ukraine has a debt higher than Egypt’s national debt. Let that sink in.

    It is difficult to consider Egypt an honest broker in the Hamas-Israel negotiations. The fate of Palestinians is effectively (from a Western perspective) in the hands of nations that have already acquiesced to recognition and approval of the Zionist entity. Egypt is indebted to every single one of those countries and to their controlling interests in the UK, EU and US. Extrication from such a position is virtually impossible.

    In part 2 I will look at Egypt’s covert cooperation and collaboration with Israel via non-state actors with close ties to the Sisi regime. I will also cover the decades-long Egyptian blockade of Gaza and the treatment of Palestinians in the enclave by Egyptian security forces - something I have personally witnessed when trying to cross into Gaza via the Rafah border crossing.

    ****

    Please do consider subscribing to my Substack. Thank you to all those who already do.

    https://substack.com/home/post/p-145438393
    Reasons why Egypt is not a friend of Palestine Part 1 - the economic trap Egypt has long been responsible for the collective punishment of Palestinians while feigning sympathy. vanessa beeley Our path to Palestine will not be covered with a red carpet or with yellow sand. Our path to Palestine will be covered with blood... In order that we may liberate Palestine, the Arab nation must unite, the Arab armies must unite, and a unified plan of action must be established. Gamal Abdul Nasser 1965 Egypt’s pivotal role as an ally and supporter of the Palestinian cause degraded dramatically after the suspected assassination of President Gamal Abdul Nasser in 1967 when Nasser was only 52 and known to be in excellent health. Nasser was succeeded by Anwar Sadat who deceived and betrayed Syria during the 1973 October war or the Yom Kippur war as Zionists have named it. Sadat developed a close relationship with war criminal Henry Kissinger which proved deadly for the nationalist movements in the region who opposed normalisation with the genocidal Zionist entity and supported the central Palestinian cause. Kissinger astutely perceived Sadat as someone who could be persuaded to capitulate to Israeli ‘peace’ demands which he did in 1979 with the Camp David agreement. Camp David was considered a betrayal of the Palestinian Resistance liberation movement and of the legitimate claims of neighbouring states to their land and sovereignty. In May 2000 Kissinger wrote about Sadat: He did me the honor of inviting me to fly with him to New York from Washington--we had concluded his trip. And he said to me, "you know, next March the Sinai is coming back to us. It's going to be a big celebration. And since you and I started this, you should come to Egypt and celebrate with us." Then he thought for a moment and he said "no, you're Jewish. It is very painful for the Israelis to give up this territory. And if they see you in Cairo celebrating with us, they'll be very hurt and we mustn't do this to them. I have a better idea," he said. "Let the territory come back. And then, a month later, you and I alone will take a trip through the Sinai and we'll go to the top of Mt. Sinai where I intend to build a synagogue, a mosque, and a church. And this will be a more meaningful celebration of the peace process than if you come to Cairo." In 1973 Kissinger and President Hafez Al Assad met - the first high level meeting between the US and Syria for years. After Kissinger had been speaking for just under and hour, Assad interrupted him and asked if it was his turn to speak. As a professor you have spoken for fifty minutes. The President was an officer and officers are brief. As a military man, I take the place of politicians; professors take the place of politicians. Assad continued: First, we are not or never have been against the people of the United States. I have said this many times and in many places. There is much convincing evidence that we have to be against U.S. policy because it is against Syrian interests and Syrian just aspirations. Had it not been for U.S. assistance in support of Israel, Israel could not remain in occupation and forced out the Palestinians from their lands since 1948 but we are not against the United States as a country or a people. Secondly, our policy is decided in light of our national interests. We want to build our line in a completely independent way. Syria is non-aligned. It is an effective member of the non-aligned group and a member of the Bureau. It cannot be diverted, because it has deep convictions. […] …there can be no peace with justice unless the Arab Palestinian question is settled. The Arab people of Palestine were driven out by force and are now living in camps. How can there be peace without settling their problem? On the Zionist occupation of Syrian Golan, Assad said: If we are to suppose there are such secure borders, history shows we are in the need of secure borders if anyone. Why should secure borders be at the expense of Syria? Let secure borders be at Galilee if anywhere. Under what logic should secure borders be at the expense of the population of Golan? Why should the line of danger be closer to Damascus than Tel Aviv? The distance from the ‘67 border to Damascus is 80 kilometers; the distance from the ‘67 border to Tel Aviv is 135 kilometers. So why should they want secure borders? If the idea behind it is to keep danger away from both capitals, why not? Syria and Egypt depend upon unity for their national security. Presidents Nasser and Hafez Al Assad understood this concept. It is no coincidence that Britain created the settler state of Israel in Palestine to drive these two countries apart geographically, politically, economically and ultimately ideologically. My dream was realised in the Orient as it almost turned into a nightmare in the Occident. I have spent the best years of my life in Egypt. In Europe the clouds do not allow you to think of the projects that change the course of history whereas in Egypt, whoever rules it is capable of changing history. If I were not ruler of Egypt, I would not have become Emperor of France. (Attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte) Fast forward to 2024 and Egypt’s state-role in the humanitarian blockade and Zionist genocide of Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied territories. I have collated the following reasons why and how Egypt has relinquished its role as a principal loyalist to the Palestinian national liberation movements. 1: Egypt is on economic life-support provided by the US, EU, IMF, Saudi Arabia and UAE and is reliant on good relations with Israel For decades Egypt has been kept afloat economically with multi-billion loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and US allies among the Gulf States. At the end of March 2024 the IMF approved Egypt’s loan program which was duly expanded to $ 8 billion. Concurrently the EU has approved a Euros 7.4 billion “assistance” package to revive Egypt’s flatlined economy. Analysts have linked Egypt’s loan packages to the Zionist ongoing genocide in Palestine. Egypt is adamant that they are opposed to a Palestinian exodus from Gaza into the Sinai but IMF messaging suggests otherwise: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says there is “excellent progress” in talks with Egypt over a loan program that seeks to “support” the country in weathering its financial woes and handling a potential deluge of Palestinian refugees that Israel seeks to ethnically cleanse from Gaza. Reports of Egypt constructing an enclosure for Palestinian refugees have been circulating since October 7th, gathering traction in February 2024 when satellite images showed an area of land just the other side of the Egyptian Rafah crossing being cleared for construction. Egypt denied any such intentions, claiming that they were preparing an area for the storage of humanitarian aid - aid that has not entered Gaza since 7th October. However according to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in November 2023: “The loan could reach up to $10 billion to help the Egyptian economy survive amid local and external factors, including the Israeli onslaught on the neighboring Gaza Strip and tensions in the Red Sea… This coincided with the start of construction work on an “isolated security zone” in the eastern Sinai Desert on the border with the Gaza Strip, which many expect will serve as a buffer zone for displaced Palestinians. “The construction work seen in Sinai along the border with Gaza – the establishment of a reinforced security perimeter around a specific, open area of land – are serious signs that Egypt may be preparing to accept and allow the displacement of Gazans to Sinai, in coordination with Israel and the United States.” In October 2023 - as Israel's brutal military assault on Gaza continued unabated, reports continued to swirl about a big Egyptian trade-off in the works: the absorption of large numbers of displaced Palestinians from the Strip in exchange for easing Cairo's massive debt load – which surpasses $160 billion. Since these rumours of Egypt providing a secondary open air compound for forcibly displaced Palestinians, there have been recent reports of the US “humanitarian” pier being used to ferry Palestinian from Gaza to northern Lebanon, Cyprus and other destinations. Sources within the Resistance in Gaza told Mondoweiss: “The floating pier project is an American solution to the displacement dilemma in Gaza,” the source said. “It goes beyond both the Israeli solution of displacing Gazans into Sinai…and the Egyptian suggestion of displacing [Gazans] into the Naqab [desert].” This should not detract from Egypt being mired in debt to the friends of Israel and enemies of Palestine nor from its role in blockading Gaza and tacitly collaborating with Israel in the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. In March the European Union also pledged 7.4 billion Euros to the economically floundering Egyptian regime. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni travelled to Cairo alongside EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the Greek, Austrian and Belgian prime ministers, and the Cypriot president. All these countries have a vested interest in getting someone else to take on the potential tsunami of a Palestinian refugee crisis. Ostensibly the investment and concessional loans are designed to boost cooperation in areas including renewable energy, trade and security, while delivering grants, loans and other funding over the next three years to support Egypt's faltering economy. The proposed funding includes 5 billion euros in concessional loans and 1.8 billion euros of investments, according to a summary published by the EU. Another 600 million euros would be provided in grants, including 200 million euros for managing migration. (Reuters) The United Arab Emirates, a former British protectorate, normalised relations with Israel in 2020 under the Abraham Accords concocted by the Trump administration to bring Arab states into the Greater Israel/Clean Break plan. In early May, Egypt received the second installment of funding, worth $ 20 billion, from the Ras Al Hekma deal with the UAE intended to develop the luxury Ras Al Hekma resort on the Mediterranean Sea. Cairo had already received $ 5 billion from the UAE deal. Egypt is also looking to close a similar deal with Saudi Arabian investors to enable elite coastal developments on the Red Sea coast near Sharm El Sheikh, including the Ras Ghamila resort. This is in combination with the Saudi futuristic Neom project that is seeking to expand into the Egyptian Sinai. In 2018 - Saudi Arabia signed an investment agreement with Egypt to develop Egyptian lands in south Sinai to become part of a planned mega-city and business zone unveiled by Saudi Arabia last October. The two countries established a $ 10 billion joint investment fund. Reuters reported a Saudi official as saying that Egypt has committed more than 1,000 square kilometers of land in the southern Sinai Peninsula to the NEOM project. Saudi Arabia is in negotiations with the US over bilateral defence pacts while allegedly delaying normalisation with Israel dependent on the establishment of a Palestinian state on the scraps of land and rubble left intact in the ever-dwindling Palestinian zones in the Occupied Territories and Gaza. Concurrently the Saudi regime is cracking down on pro-Palestine protests in the ‘kingdom’ and has allegedly begun removing negative portrayal of Israel from its school curriculum, as has the UAE. In October 2023 journalist Mohamad Hasan Sweidan noted: It seems clear that Riyadh decided, from the beginning of the Gaza war, to prepare the internal environment for the post-Gaza phase, that is, the phase of normalization and settlement. Saudi Arabia insisted on not postponing any festival or celebration, prevented participating artists from showing sympathy for the Palestinians, punished those who sympathized with the martyrs of Gaza from a Saudi platform, and even banned the wearing of the Palestinian Kufiyyeh at Mawsim al-Riyadh, a state-funded annual festival. Bahrain has been actively investing in Egypt, driven by a mutual need for economic cooperation and diversification. The country has been seeking to revive its fortunes through a recently discovered oilfield and plans to become a regional financial hub. Bahrain normalised with Israel in December 2020. UAE and Bahrain were involved in providing a land bridge for Israel during the Zionist genocide in Gaza and West Bank and to counter the Yemeni blockade of the Red Sea shipping routes. Egypt leveraged the perceived threat of an overwhelming refugee crisis as a result of the Zionist genocide to secure the IMF and EU loans and to float the faltering economy. Egypt is now in bed with Gulf States, Jordan and even Israel at the expense of the Palestinian cause - Egypt’s impotence has been further demonstrated by the lack of any military deterrence when faced with the Zionist invasion of Rafah and the shooting of an Egyptian soldier at the border. Journalist Mohamad Sweidan points out: Closing the file on the Palestinian cause and forging ties with Tel Aviv is an ambition the Saudis share with the UAE in pursuit of economic and political gains. Despite official Arab declarations rebuffing displacement plans, behind-the-scenes maneuvers suggest a different reality, one that veers towards the gradual dissolution of the Palestinian cause. Egypt’s sovereignty is in question when one considers the following information: Riyadh's sudden eagerness to bolster economic ties with Cairo is palpable. With unprecedented directives from both governments, mutual investments are set to soar, with Saudi Arabia aiming to ramp up trade to $100 billion. Recent collaborations include a $4 billion deal with Saudi-listed ACWA Power for the Green Hydrogen project. Moreover, strategic initiatives like the memorandum of understanding between the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production and the Saudi General Authority for Military Industries and agreements in petroleum and mineral resources signal deepening economic integration. Ongoing negotiations between Cairo and Abu Dhabi to develop a substantial tract of land along Egypt's Mediterranean coast, potentially valued at $22 billion, could be a game-changer for Egypt's beleaguered economy. According to the CBE report, the proposed contract's value encompasses a significant portion of the Egyptian government's external debt due in 2024, totaling $29.229 billion. This includes interest payments totaling $6.312 billion and debt installments amounting to $22.917 billion. History repeats itself - in 1991, Washington forgave Egypt's debt in return for its support of the US-led coalition against Iraq. Only the NATO-proxy failed state of Ukraine has a debt higher than Egypt’s national debt. Let that sink in. It is difficult to consider Egypt an honest broker in the Hamas-Israel negotiations. The fate of Palestinians is effectively (from a Western perspective) in the hands of nations that have already acquiesced to recognition and approval of the Zionist entity. Egypt is indebted to every single one of those countries and to their controlling interests in the UK, EU and US. Extrication from such a position is virtually impossible. In part 2 I will look at Egypt’s covert cooperation and collaboration with Israel via non-state actors with close ties to the Sisi regime. I will also cover the decades-long Egyptian blockade of Gaza and the treatment of Palestinians in the enclave by Egyptian security forces - something I have personally witnessed when trying to cross into Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. **** Please do consider subscribing to my Substack. Thank you to all those who already do. https://substack.com/home/post/p-145438393
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    Reasons why Egypt is not a friend of Palestine Part 1 - the economic trap
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  • Why Egypt is not a friend of Palestine Part Two - Sisi deepens ties with Israel
    Sisi has placed Egypt in a position of political and military paralysis - destroying Egypt's sovereignty in the process

    vanessa beeley

    In Part One I covered Egypt’s debt quagmire that has reduced its ability to act as a sovereign nation, indebted to the Western neocolonialist cartel and their Arab State allies in the region.


    Source: Central Bank of Egypt

    In Part Two I want to delve into the Sinai Peninsula destabilisation and Egypt’s flourishing military and economic collaboration with Israel.

    The Sinai Islamist insurgency (an ISIS offshoot branded Wilayat Sinai or Sinai Province - SP) began at the same time as the Western-orchestrated “Arab Springs” were launched across the region but in particular, in Egypt and Syria.

    The campaign “Operation Eagle” began in 2011 following an increase in alleged Islamist militant activities in the Peninsula. Approximately 1000 troops and hundreds of armored personnel carriers were deployed.

    This represented the first major deployment of Egyptian troops in Sinai since the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, thus marking a substantial change in the military and security situation in Sinai.

    I personally remember trying to cross the Sinai in August 2012 for my first attempt at entering Gaza. Fifteen Egyptian soldiers were killed at the Rafah border during Ramadan by unknown gunmen and the entire area was shut down while Egyptian military scoured the desert for the killers. Entry to Gaza was denied, even to Palestinians.

    The recently “elected” Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi ordered full military control of the Sinai. Gaza was put on devastating lockdown with Morsi flooding the lifeline tunnels between Gaza Rafah and Egyptian Rafah with sewage water. This was done under the pretext of preventing the “flow of weapons” from Hamas to the Islamists in the Sinai - despite the fact that Hamas and ISIS have not been considered allies although their agendas may have some cross-over, as in Syria.

    At the same time Morsi was effectively exporting terrorist (Muslim Brotherhood) forces to fight alongside Al Qaeda in the Western-sponsored regime change war in Syria. As reported by the Washington Institute:

    In May 2013, for example, Qatar-based cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi -- a major Brotherhood ideological influence -- called on Sunnis to join the fight in Syria. The next month, then-President Morsi's office announced that Egyptians returning from the fight in Syria would not be prosecuted, and Mr. Morsi later keynoted a rally at Cairo Stadium at which radical clerics endorsed the Syrian jihad.

    After Sisi took control in Egypt, deposing Morsi in a violent military coup, reportedly supported by Israel - the radicalisation of Muslim Brotherhood factions in Egypt increased as did the exodus to fight in Syria.

    In 2022 Arab Center DC reported that:

    Over the past decade, Sinai has been the epicenter of terrorist attacks in Egypt and the base from which Islamist militants wage their insurgency against the Egyptian government. Their assaults mainly target security forces, including military convoys, checkpoints, and facilities, and have mostly taken place in the cities of northern Sinai, particularly al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah. However, as a result of Egyptian military operations, over the past few years SP’s activities have moved to the western part of North Sinai, notably to the city of Bir al-Abd, which in November 2017 witnessed one of the deadliest extremist attacks in Egypt’s history when SP militants stormed the al-Rawda Mosque, injuring 128 people and killing more than 300, including 27 children.

    Under Sisi the military operations have achieved very little success in quelling the SP insurgency. Sisi has also been accused of human rights abuses in his “war on terror” with indiscriminate attacks that have led to the destruction of Bedouin homes and villages and the deaths of civilians during bombing campaigns and artillery bombardment.

    From a Human Rights Watch report (Caveat - HRW is a tool of the US deep state and as such, the information must be considered in context with the direction of travel of Zionist and US agendas in the region)

    Egyptian military and police have carried out systematic and widespread arbitrary arrests—including of children—enforced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings, collective punishment, and forced evictions—abuses it has attempted to conceal through an effective ban on independent reporting. The military has also possibly conducted unlawful air and ground attacks that have killed numerous civilians—including children—and used civilian properties for military purposes. In addition, it has recruited, armed, and directed local militias, which have themselves engaged in serious rights violations, such as torture and arbitrary arrests, often exploiting their position to settle personal scores.

    This failure to bring militants to justice fuels theories about the Sisi regime’s political interest in prolonging the conflict in Sinai, which may serve to secure domestic political support - war is always a way to retain power particularly when confronting turbulent domestic environments.

    It could also have a more sinister purpose. We should always bear in mind that ISIS in Syria is a US alliance proxy as are the majority of terrorist groups globally, acting in the interests of the Zionist regime and neocolonialist adventurism in the West Asia region and further afield.

    Strategic ties between Egypt and Israel have deepened under Sisi’s rule. Israel has allowed significant Egyptian military units and armaments to be deployed to the northeastern section of the Sinai Peninsula in contravention of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, which restricts the number of Egyptian personnel and armaments in this zone.

    Egypt allegedly gave Israel permission to carry out drone strikes in the Sinai, officially targeting extremists which could have included Palestinian Resistance fighters. Israel carried out an estimated 100 strikes between 2015 and 2018, with the 2014 savage aggression against Gaza conducted during these operations.

    When the New York Times exposed these operations in 2018 it described Egypt and Israel as secret allies in a covert war against a common foe. The Sisi regime issued vehement denials fearing a public backlash from a majority Egyptian population that has historically opposed the Zionist theft and occupation of Palestinian territory.

    This information leak also led to a security blackout in the Sinai region which has provided cover for the Sisi regime human rights abuses including the razing of Egyptian Rafah homes and infrastructure and the displacement of thousands of Bedouin tribes.

    In 2019 Sisi admitted to CBS ‘60 Minutes’ News program that relations were the closest they had ever been with Israel. From a Reuters report:

    Asked whether the cooperation was the closest and deepest that he has had with Israel, Sisi responded: "That is correct."

    "The Air Force sometimes needs to cross to the Israeli side. And that's why we have a wide range of coordination with the Israelis,"

    The Egyptian regime also tried to kill this report, demanding that CBS not air the interview. The request was denied.

    Both Egypt and Israel have cooperated in closing down tunnels connecting the Sinai to Gaza, which have been used to smuggle people and goods in both directions. Egypt has also kept the border crossing between Gaza and the Sinai closed for the most part, generally only opening it for certain periods to allow for medical and family visits.

    Again, I have personally experienced the dehumanisation and collective humiliation of Palestinians by the Egyptian security forces at the Rafah border crossing. In August 2012 temperatures were in the mid 40s and the area outside the entrance gates to the border terminal had no shade. Buses were constantly arriving carrying more Palestinian families to the area.

    Thousands of Palestinians were waiting at the gates to be processed and to return to Gaza. The gates remained closed from morning to night for three days forcing us to sleep in Al Arish which was known as a security risk especially for foreigners.

    On the third day, with crowds of Palestinians packed into a small area outside the gates in sweltering temperatures and a cloudless sky - the Egyptians opened a tiny side gate forcing the Palestinian crowds to crush each other in an attempt to push through the gap. Egyptian guards yelled and pushed the scrambling people, treating them just as Zionists treat them in the apartheid Occupied Territories. This inhumane treatment did not improve in the passport processing terminal where Egyptian intelligence forces deliberately delayed the procedures and left Palestinians waiting for hours.

    In May 2020, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency traveled to Cairo to meet secretly with Egyptian officials, according to Israeli press reports. The meeting was supposedly geared to alerting Cairo about Netanyahu’s annexation plans for the West Bank - the plans were delayed but this serves to demonstrate the close intelligence and political ties between the two countries.

    The natural gas field alliance

    In 2021 Egypt’s Minister of Energy Tarek al-Molla traveled to Israel to meet with his Israeli counterpart, Yuval Steinitz, as well as with Prime Minister Netanyahu, to discuss a major collaborative project. From the ACDC report:

    Gas from Palestine’s large offshore Leviathan field in the eastern Mediterranean would be transported via a new pipeline on the seabed to connect with liquefication facilities in Egypt. Currently, gas from the Leviathan field is being sent to Egypt via a pipeline that runs to the Sinai Peninsula. The goal of this new project, according to an Israeli official, would be to use these facilities to export gas to Europe, where demand is rising.

    Undoubtedly, Israel sees this collaboration as a way of linking the Egyptian economy to Israel so that any future Egyptian leader would think twice about rolling back bilateral relations.

    From Egypt’s perspective, this deal fits into its plans to become a major regional hub for natural gas. In 2015, a large gas field, called Zohr, was discovered in Egyptian territorial waters in the Mediterranean, and Egypt has been the force behind the establishment of the “East Mediterranean Gas Forum” which includes Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority which is nothing more than a traitorous subordinate of the Zionist regime.

    The tourism incentive

    In early March 2021, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen met with Egypt’s Deputy Minister of Intelligence Nasser Fahmi in the coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and said Egypt was doing “everything possible” to make the Sinai safe for Israeli tourists.

    Interestingly, Cohen was reportedly accompanied by 60 Israeli officials and businesspeople, indicating that both countries hope to boost tourism in the coming years. (ACDC)

    Again Egypt ensured scarce media coverage of the Cohen delegation. The risk of public backlash was still high with the Egyptian public sympathy consistently engrained in the Palestinian nationalist movement.

    Cohen was cited as saying:

    “Egypt is interested in promoting cooperation with Israel in all fields. We will continue to act to bolster economic and bilateral ties in the future.”

    Polling in 2020 conducted by the respected Zogby Research Services found some interesting data on Egyptian public attitudes toward Israel and the Palestinian issue. The question “How important is it that there be a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?” revealed that 79 percent of Egyptians thought it was “very important”; 15 percent said “somewhat important”; and only 6 percent said “somewhat unimportant or not important at all.” Concerning the question about the possibility of Israeli annexation of large parts of the West Bank, 75 percent of Egyptians believe that cooperation with Israel should come to an end if that were to occur.

    There are limits to how far Sisi can publicly go in collaborating with Israel and a more serious disconnect from the Arab Peace Initiative would incur domestic unrest. At the same time he must avoid any major confrontation with Israel to secure the strategic and economic projects that have ensured financial and political support from the Zionist lobby and supporters in the US. Sisi must also keep the US and EU on board to avoid prosecution for the human rights abuses conducted by his regime.

    It should however come as no surprise that, since October 7th, the Sisi regime has banned journalists from entering Gaza:

    Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said “any unilateral action” by Egypt as regards letting journalists into Gaza might be seen [by Israel] as “inappropriate” and might “have adverse consequences to other components” of the arrangement between Egypt and Israel, such as “the entry of assistance.”

    Cairo-based journalists confirmed that they had been told to request Israel’s agreement if they wanted to enter Gaza via the Egyptian Rafah border crossing. Those journalists who did seek Israel’s permission were refused entry.

    An audio recording of the response that an Israeli press spokesperson gave to a journalist who requested a permit to enter via Rafah. She said she could not issue permits for a crossing point that is not under Israeli control and, referring to what the Egyptians are telling journalists, she said: “I have the impression it’s just a pretext. I think they’re making you go round in circles.”

    Both regimes have an agenda of preventing international media coverage of the Zionist brutal genocide that has been ongoing for 9 months in Gaza. Israel is the driver of the blockade but Egypt is complicit in the deliberate news black-out which only serves to protect Israel from exposure as the terrorist entity it really is.

    In Part Three I will get to the non-state actors with close ties to the Sisi regime who control Sinai, mediate with Israel and secure monopoly deals to rebuild Gaza post 2021’s Zionist aggression.

    In further chapters I will also have a look at some of the organisations that publicly oppose Sisi’s normalisation-with-genocidal-Israel policy and examine who is really responsible for the humanitarian relief blockade on trucks entering Gaza through Rafah since October 7th, Israel or Egypt?

    ****

    Thank you for reading, listening, watching. Please do consider subscribing to my Substack. Thank you to all those who already do! xx

    https://substack.com/home/post/p-145662883
    Why Egypt is not a friend of Palestine Part Two - Sisi deepens ties with Israel Sisi has placed Egypt in a position of political and military paralysis - destroying Egypt's sovereignty in the process vanessa beeley In Part One I covered Egypt’s debt quagmire that has reduced its ability to act as a sovereign nation, indebted to the Western neocolonialist cartel and their Arab State allies in the region. Source: Central Bank of Egypt In Part Two I want to delve into the Sinai Peninsula destabilisation and Egypt’s flourishing military and economic collaboration with Israel. The Sinai Islamist insurgency (an ISIS offshoot branded Wilayat Sinai or Sinai Province - SP) began at the same time as the Western-orchestrated “Arab Springs” were launched across the region but in particular, in Egypt and Syria. The campaign “Operation Eagle” began in 2011 following an increase in alleged Islamist militant activities in the Peninsula. Approximately 1000 troops and hundreds of armored personnel carriers were deployed. This represented the first major deployment of Egyptian troops in Sinai since the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, thus marking a substantial change in the military and security situation in Sinai. I personally remember trying to cross the Sinai in August 2012 for my first attempt at entering Gaza. Fifteen Egyptian soldiers were killed at the Rafah border during Ramadan by unknown gunmen and the entire area was shut down while Egyptian military scoured the desert for the killers. Entry to Gaza was denied, even to Palestinians. The recently “elected” Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi ordered full military control of the Sinai. Gaza was put on devastating lockdown with Morsi flooding the lifeline tunnels between Gaza Rafah and Egyptian Rafah with sewage water. This was done under the pretext of preventing the “flow of weapons” from Hamas to the Islamists in the Sinai - despite the fact that Hamas and ISIS have not been considered allies although their agendas may have some cross-over, as in Syria. At the same time Morsi was effectively exporting terrorist (Muslim Brotherhood) forces to fight alongside Al Qaeda in the Western-sponsored regime change war in Syria. As reported by the Washington Institute: In May 2013, for example, Qatar-based cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi -- a major Brotherhood ideological influence -- called on Sunnis to join the fight in Syria. The next month, then-President Morsi's office announced that Egyptians returning from the fight in Syria would not be prosecuted, and Mr. Morsi later keynoted a rally at Cairo Stadium at which radical clerics endorsed the Syrian jihad. After Sisi took control in Egypt, deposing Morsi in a violent military coup, reportedly supported by Israel - the radicalisation of Muslim Brotherhood factions in Egypt increased as did the exodus to fight in Syria. In 2022 Arab Center DC reported that: Over the past decade, Sinai has been the epicenter of terrorist attacks in Egypt and the base from which Islamist militants wage their insurgency against the Egyptian government. Their assaults mainly target security forces, including military convoys, checkpoints, and facilities, and have mostly taken place in the cities of northern Sinai, particularly al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah. However, as a result of Egyptian military operations, over the past few years SP’s activities have moved to the western part of North Sinai, notably to the city of Bir al-Abd, which in November 2017 witnessed one of the deadliest extremist attacks in Egypt’s history when SP militants stormed the al-Rawda Mosque, injuring 128 people and killing more than 300, including 27 children. Under Sisi the military operations have achieved very little success in quelling the SP insurgency. Sisi has also been accused of human rights abuses in his “war on terror” with indiscriminate attacks that have led to the destruction of Bedouin homes and villages and the deaths of civilians during bombing campaigns and artillery bombardment. From a Human Rights Watch report (Caveat - HRW is a tool of the US deep state and as such, the information must be considered in context with the direction of travel of Zionist and US agendas in the region) Egyptian military and police have carried out systematic and widespread arbitrary arrests—including of children—enforced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings, collective punishment, and forced evictions—abuses it has attempted to conceal through an effective ban on independent reporting. The military has also possibly conducted unlawful air and ground attacks that have killed numerous civilians—including children—and used civilian properties for military purposes. In addition, it has recruited, armed, and directed local militias, which have themselves engaged in serious rights violations, such as torture and arbitrary arrests, often exploiting their position to settle personal scores. This failure to bring militants to justice fuels theories about the Sisi regime’s political interest in prolonging the conflict in Sinai, which may serve to secure domestic political support - war is always a way to retain power particularly when confronting turbulent domestic environments. It could also have a more sinister purpose. We should always bear in mind that ISIS in Syria is a US alliance proxy as are the majority of terrorist groups globally, acting in the interests of the Zionist regime and neocolonialist adventurism in the West Asia region and further afield. Strategic ties between Egypt and Israel have deepened under Sisi’s rule. Israel has allowed significant Egyptian military units and armaments to be deployed to the northeastern section of the Sinai Peninsula in contravention of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, which restricts the number of Egyptian personnel and armaments in this zone. Egypt allegedly gave Israel permission to carry out drone strikes in the Sinai, officially targeting extremists which could have included Palestinian Resistance fighters. Israel carried out an estimated 100 strikes between 2015 and 2018, with the 2014 savage aggression against Gaza conducted during these operations. When the New York Times exposed these operations in 2018 it described Egypt and Israel as secret allies in a covert war against a common foe. The Sisi regime issued vehement denials fearing a public backlash from a majority Egyptian population that has historically opposed the Zionist theft and occupation of Palestinian territory. This information leak also led to a security blackout in the Sinai region which has provided cover for the Sisi regime human rights abuses including the razing of Egyptian Rafah homes and infrastructure and the displacement of thousands of Bedouin tribes. In 2019 Sisi admitted to CBS ‘60 Minutes’ News program that relations were the closest they had ever been with Israel. From a Reuters report: Asked whether the cooperation was the closest and deepest that he has had with Israel, Sisi responded: "That is correct." "The Air Force sometimes needs to cross to the Israeli side. And that's why we have a wide range of coordination with the Israelis," The Egyptian regime also tried to kill this report, demanding that CBS not air the interview. The request was denied. Both Egypt and Israel have cooperated in closing down tunnels connecting the Sinai to Gaza, which have been used to smuggle people and goods in both directions. Egypt has also kept the border crossing between Gaza and the Sinai closed for the most part, generally only opening it for certain periods to allow for medical and family visits. Again, I have personally experienced the dehumanisation and collective humiliation of Palestinians by the Egyptian security forces at the Rafah border crossing. In August 2012 temperatures were in the mid 40s and the area outside the entrance gates to the border terminal had no shade. Buses were constantly arriving carrying more Palestinian families to the area. Thousands of Palestinians were waiting at the gates to be processed and to return to Gaza. The gates remained closed from morning to night for three days forcing us to sleep in Al Arish which was known as a security risk especially for foreigners. On the third day, with crowds of Palestinians packed into a small area outside the gates in sweltering temperatures and a cloudless sky - the Egyptians opened a tiny side gate forcing the Palestinian crowds to crush each other in an attempt to push through the gap. Egyptian guards yelled and pushed the scrambling people, treating them just as Zionists treat them in the apartheid Occupied Territories. This inhumane treatment did not improve in the passport processing terminal where Egyptian intelligence forces deliberately delayed the procedures and left Palestinians waiting for hours. In May 2020, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency traveled to Cairo to meet secretly with Egyptian officials, according to Israeli press reports. The meeting was supposedly geared to alerting Cairo about Netanyahu’s annexation plans for the West Bank - the plans were delayed but this serves to demonstrate the close intelligence and political ties between the two countries. The natural gas field alliance In 2021 Egypt’s Minister of Energy Tarek al-Molla traveled to Israel to meet with his Israeli counterpart, Yuval Steinitz, as well as with Prime Minister Netanyahu, to discuss a major collaborative project. From the ACDC report: Gas from Palestine’s large offshore Leviathan field in the eastern Mediterranean would be transported via a new pipeline on the seabed to connect with liquefication facilities in Egypt. Currently, gas from the Leviathan field is being sent to Egypt via a pipeline that runs to the Sinai Peninsula. The goal of this new project, according to an Israeli official, would be to use these facilities to export gas to Europe, where demand is rising. Undoubtedly, Israel sees this collaboration as a way of linking the Egyptian economy to Israel so that any future Egyptian leader would think twice about rolling back bilateral relations. From Egypt’s perspective, this deal fits into its plans to become a major regional hub for natural gas. In 2015, a large gas field, called Zohr, was discovered in Egyptian territorial waters in the Mediterranean, and Egypt has been the force behind the establishment of the “East Mediterranean Gas Forum” which includes Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority which is nothing more than a traitorous subordinate of the Zionist regime. The tourism incentive In early March 2021, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen met with Egypt’s Deputy Minister of Intelligence Nasser Fahmi in the coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and said Egypt was doing “everything possible” to make the Sinai safe for Israeli tourists. Interestingly, Cohen was reportedly accompanied by 60 Israeli officials and businesspeople, indicating that both countries hope to boost tourism in the coming years. (ACDC) Again Egypt ensured scarce media coverage of the Cohen delegation. The risk of public backlash was still high with the Egyptian public sympathy consistently engrained in the Palestinian nationalist movement. Cohen was cited as saying: “Egypt is interested in promoting cooperation with Israel in all fields. We will continue to act to bolster economic and bilateral ties in the future.” Polling in 2020 conducted by the respected Zogby Research Services found some interesting data on Egyptian public attitudes toward Israel and the Palestinian issue. The question “How important is it that there be a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?” revealed that 79 percent of Egyptians thought it was “very important”; 15 percent said “somewhat important”; and only 6 percent said “somewhat unimportant or not important at all.” Concerning the question about the possibility of Israeli annexation of large parts of the West Bank, 75 percent of Egyptians believe that cooperation with Israel should come to an end if that were to occur. There are limits to how far Sisi can publicly go in collaborating with Israel and a more serious disconnect from the Arab Peace Initiative would incur domestic unrest. At the same time he must avoid any major confrontation with Israel to secure the strategic and economic projects that have ensured financial and political support from the Zionist lobby and supporters in the US. Sisi must also keep the US and EU on board to avoid prosecution for the human rights abuses conducted by his regime. It should however come as no surprise that, since October 7th, the Sisi regime has banned journalists from entering Gaza: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said “any unilateral action” by Egypt as regards letting journalists into Gaza might be seen [by Israel] as “inappropriate” and might “have adverse consequences to other components” of the arrangement between Egypt and Israel, such as “the entry of assistance.” Cairo-based journalists confirmed that they had been told to request Israel’s agreement if they wanted to enter Gaza via the Egyptian Rafah border crossing. Those journalists who did seek Israel’s permission were refused entry. An audio recording of the response that an Israeli press spokesperson gave to a journalist who requested a permit to enter via Rafah. She said she could not issue permits for a crossing point that is not under Israeli control and, referring to what the Egyptians are telling journalists, she said: “I have the impression it’s just a pretext. I think they’re making you go round in circles.” Both regimes have an agenda of preventing international media coverage of the Zionist brutal genocide that has been ongoing for 9 months in Gaza. Israel is the driver of the blockade but Egypt is complicit in the deliberate news black-out which only serves to protect Israel from exposure as the terrorist entity it really is. In Part Three I will get to the non-state actors with close ties to the Sisi regime who control Sinai, mediate with Israel and secure monopoly deals to rebuild Gaza post 2021’s Zionist aggression. In further chapters I will also have a look at some of the organisations that publicly oppose Sisi’s normalisation-with-genocidal-Israel policy and examine who is really responsible for the humanitarian relief blockade on trucks entering Gaza through Rafah since October 7th, Israel or Egypt? **** Thank you for reading, listening, watching. Please do consider subscribing to my Substack. Thank you to all those who already do! xx https://substack.com/home/post/p-145662883
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  • The Idlib terror gangs explained
    The Warlord conflict in the north of Syria

    vanessa beeley

    This article was co-written by myself and Syrian military researcher and analyst Ibrahim Wahdi (now a journalist with Press TV) a couple of years ago . I wanted to republish to demonstrate the complex military situation on the ground in Syria as I will be shortly providing a summary of the situations in all conflict zones still remaining across Syria.

    Some of the positions may have changed and shifted but these changes are part of the fabric of ongoing negotiations in Syria led by Damascus, Russia, Iran and now Iraq which is trying to broker normalisation between Syria and Turkiye which must include the full withdrawal of Turkish military and proxy terrorist forces from the areas of northern Syria they have annexed and occupied.

    I believe Syria is now fighting to push back the terrorist forces from all areas of central Syria (ISIS) and areas north-west of Aleppo (Al Qaeda etc) in order to end any potential threat should the war with Israel escalate and expand into the region. I will go into more detail in the next article.

    *****

    Syria and the interconnected Turkish neo-Ottoman agenda in northern Syria.

    The role of Russia and its collaboration with the Syrian Arab Army is explored in depth and the areas where there is the greatest potential for conflict are revealed.

    The war in Syria is not over and there are many UK/US-backed terrorist shifting alliances to be taken into account as part of the geopolitical power game that is now entering its most dangerous stage.

    The tipping points are on multiple axes and it will take a great deal of political and military brinkmanship from Damascus and her allies to restore peace to Syria.

    WARLORD CONFLICT IN IDLIB

    Al Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) deployed its most powerful weapons and equipment, opened its depots and engaged the elite ‘Asa’ib’ fighters in the battles for Mount Al-Turkman.

    The last 28 members of Jund Allah (God’s soldiers), led by “Abu Fatima Al Turki” were expelled from the mountain. These fighters had been responsible for the killing of 9 HTS and the kidnapping of more than 10 gang members but they escaped safely.

    Muslim Abu Walid Al-Shishani (Murad Margoshivili), and his armed group “Junod Al Sham” have also fled the mountain after violent clashes with HTS. Murad’s brother “Abu Musa Al-Shishani” was captured trying to flee to Turkey and held at a Turkish checkpoint.

    Junod al-Sham was established in 2012 under the leadership of Muslim Al-Shishani. The majority of fighters were from the Caucasus countries. The group never exceeded 300 members. Almost half of them left with the defection of “Abu Omar al-Shishani” when he pledged allegiance to terrorist group ISIS in 2013.


    HTS is headed up by Abu Mohammed Al Jolani recently platformed in a Frontline interview in an apparent attempt to rebrand Jolani as viable Syrian opposition not the extremist violent former Al Qaeda leader he really is.

    Al Jolani’s battles with the Junod Al Sham, Jund Allah and Guardians of Religion gangs must be viewed in the context of the bombings and suicide vehicle operations that have targeted Turkish military points and patrols since the last military operation of the Syrian Arab Army in the area that ended with a ceasefire on March 5, 2021.

    The latest attack was on October 16th 2021 when a Turkish patrol was targeted killing two soldiers and injuring two more.

    Such tactics were adopted by unknown organizations such as the “Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Brigades”. Al Jolani accused these splinter groups of conducting these attacks to secure Turkish support.

    The groups accused Jolani of using the attacks to blame unaffiliated groups in Idlib because he was seeking a monopoly in Idlib with Turkish backing. This is the gangs and counter gangs scenario that has been a hallmark of the US Coalition armed group activities in Syria since 2011.

    Here comes the Turkistan Islamic Party‘s (TIP) role. TIP consists primarily of al-Qaeda loyalists, originally from Xinjiang Province, northwest China (Uighurs).

    TIP has made a deal with Taliban leaders in cooperation with Turkish intelligence (MIT) to transport Junod Al-Sham and Jund Allah groups and leaders, alongside other terrorist fighters, to Afghanistan through Turkey according to local sources. The “Azm” operation room in Afrin has denied any existence of these groups despite having received them after they fled Idlib.



    BUT HOW WOULD THAT AFFECT IDLIB NOW?

    In order to understand and predict, we must first know who’s left in Idlib, their allegiances and their importance.

    Jihadist factions reconciled with HTS:

    “Jaysh al-Badia” and Jaysh al-Malahem, two small jihadist factions, whose first and last allegiance is to al-Qaeda, defected from HTS in late 2017, due to its separation from al-Qaeda, but recently returned under its wing.

    “Sham al-Islam” faction, which is stationed in Mount al-Turkman, northeast of Lattakia, and includes about 400 fighters, 150 of which are Moroccan leaders and fighters, in addition to 50 Sudanese, while the rest are Syrians.

    “Ansar al-Tawhid” faction, was formed in March of 2018, in Sarmin town in Idlib, from the remnants of the “Jund al-Aqsa” organization (that launched a war against several jihadist factions, which hastened its elimination). They pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and joined the operations room ” Rouse the Believers” before declaring its independence from everyone in a statement issued on May 03, 2020.

    “Ajnad al-Caucasus“, led by Abdul Malik al-Shishani, was one of the most prominent organizations that fought the Syrian Arab Army and its allies during the SAA campaign to liberate southern Idlib and northern Hama. Battles were halted by a ceasefire agreement on March 05, 2020, when the group suffered heavy losses, with no more than 250 fighters remaining (according to local sources) forcing it to retreat.

    These groups do not pose a threat to HTS at the present time due to understandings between the leaders of the groups and HTS command:

    The “Albanian Brigade” (Xhemati Alban), an independent group led by the Macedonian Abu Qatada al-Albani, was established in 2013, and includes jihadists from the Balkan countries Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania, in addition to some Saudis and Syrians.

    Its fighters are trained in all types of medium and heavy weapons. They formed a special squad of Albanian snipers. They currently operate in Kabana in the countryside of Latakia. The ideological orientation of the battalion is similar to HTS and Al-Qaeda, and it maintains a good relationship with HTS without engaging in internal hostilities.

    The Salafist “Salah al-Din al-Kurdi Movement“, which began its activity in Syria in 2012, and is now deployed in Mont al-Akrad in Latakia’s northern countryside. The movement has its own training camp and local sources have informed the author that there is evidence that Qatar and Turkey are the bankrollers of the group. This claim is borne out by the fact that Turkey gave them a training camp in Afrin and they have close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood which is sponsored predominantly by Qatar.

    Its members are professional soldiers, and most of them hail from eastern Turkey, in addition to Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian Kurdish fighters. These Kurdish factions believe in the Sunni Muslim roots of the Kurds and aim to expand their influence throughout the Syrian Kurdish communities.

    “The Kurdish Immigrants of Iran’s Sunnis Movement”, the only Kurdish group that pledged allegiance to HTS. Most of its fighters come from northwestern Iran. Its fighters are fierce and highly trained, and guard important points in the Kabanah area. Additionally they deploy mobile offensive combat groups to guard some points of Mount al-Zawiya, south of Idlib City. The movement is led by “Abu Safiya al-Kurdi”, who participated in a meeting organised by al-Jolani with a number of Kurdish Salafist leaders in an Idlib mosque in mid-June.

    Islamist factions opposed to HTS:

    Al-Ghuraba Division (Strangers), which is deployed west of Idlib, and is led by the French-Senegalese jihadist ” Omar Omsen ” (Omar Diaby), who was previously arrested by HTS in August 2020 and his son Bilal was also arrested in late 2021. The French authorities accuse him of recruiting 80% of the French-speaking jihadists who went to Syria or Iraq.

    “Rouse the Believers Operations Room“, which was established in October 2018, and includes:

    – “Ansar al-Din Front” led by Abu Salah al-Uzbeki (Siraj al-Din Mukhtarov), from the Kyrgyz Republic. Founder and commander of the “Uzbek” battalion within HTS and the mastermind of the St Petersburg metro terrorist attack in Russia in 2017. He was arrested by HTS after his defection to Ansar al-Din in June 2020 and released in March 2021.

    – “Ansar al-Islam” faction, Kurdish Salafist group stationed in the vicinity of Jisr al-Shughour, west of Idlib, and in the Dower al-Akrad within the al-Ghab Plain, west of Hama. Around 200 members – majority Iraqi Kurds along with Syrian, Turkish and Iranian Kurdish fighters. It was founded in 2001 in northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan) and fought against a number of Kurdish parties. It is considered the most fanatic among the Kurdish Salafist groups in Idlib, and the most powerful. One of its goals is to establish an Islamic state governed by Sharia Law.

    – “Guardians of Religion“, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, which was established in 2018 after defection from HTS. “Al-Zawahiri” recently complimented the group after they carried out a terrorist operation in western Damascus, on August 04, 2020 – The armed group announced in a statement that one of its divisions blew up a bus carrying officers of the “Republican Guard” in the capital, as part of the “Battle of Al-Usra” series, in “solidarity with the people of Daraa”.

    The group was considered to “devote itself to ‘jihad’ work inside the capitol (Damascus)”. Today the group is going through a difficult transition. Its leaders have been repeatedly targeted by US drones, giving the US the opportunity of testing its new tactical weapon such as Hellfire missile, (which indicates the hidden intelligence cooperation between al-Julani and the CIA),

    Frequent battles with Al Jolani on the ground in Syria have also reduced the number of fighters in the group. The organization included about 2,000 fighters of different nationalities when it was founded, but now that is less than 100.

    These factions are most likely to be the next target of Al-Jolani’s campaign to eliminate competition in Idlib and northern Syria.

    ISLAMIST FACTIONS COLLABORATING WITH HTS

    Perhaps the most prominent of the HTS allies is the aforementioned “Turkistan Islamic Party” or TIP, led by “Abu Suleiman al-Turkistani”. These are the Uighur Al Qaeda loyalists from Xinjiang Province in northwest China. TIP comprises around 8000 fighters who are distinguished by their savagery and combat prowess.

    TIP follows the HTS policies closely and secured the exit of extremist fighters from Mount Al Turkman during recent battles. It is unlikely that TIP will clash with HTS after violent disputes between the two groups.

    Al Jolani brought the TIP to heel and claimed that China was providing weapons to Damascus to eliminate them in Idlib and Hama countryside. This claim forced the TIP to reduce their presence in the main cities and to withdraw their families to the ‘refugee’ camps on the Syria-Turkey borders near the town of Harem.

    The importance of the party lies in its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, which allowed it to establish strong relations with Turkey, Taliban and HTS at the same time. It is directly hostile to China. In September 2002 the US Treasury Department placed TIP on the list of terrorist organisations.

    Trump later removed the organisation from the list as part of the ramping up of US pressure on China for alleged “human rights” abuses against the Uighur population.

    There remain a handful of small independent groups of foreign extremist fighters and groups who will face one of two fates. Either to be subjugated or neutralized in order for Jolani to achieve absolute control over Idlib governorate. This is in preparation for a full integration with the factions under the umbrella of the Turkish-backed so-called Syrian National Army.

    This will complete the rebranding and recycling of HTS – a Turkish-UK-led agenda in northern Syria according to a ‘diplomatic source’ who informed Russian media, TASS in May 2021 that MI6 was involved in the project:

    The British side suggested that the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group (outlawed in Russia, also known as Jabhat al-Nusra) should announce plans to abandon subversive activities against Western countries and build close cooperation with them […] Mohammad al-Julani received recommendations to give an interview to an American reporter in order to create a positive image for the alliance that he heads and rehabilitate it in the future. There are plans to engage some of the UK’s allies, primarily the US, in efforts aimed at rebranding the al-Nusra group.”

    WHAT IS AL JOLANI’S ENDGAME IN IDLIB?

    Al Jolani is trying to prove to everyone, especially Turkey, that he is the only one capable of controlling Idlib province from a security and military perspective. Idlib can be described as another “Tora-Bora” with embedded terrorist organisations comprising some of the most deadly foreign mercenaries.

    Jolani is working on a reputation as the supreme warlord dissolving minor groups or reining in the more powerful factions. This is probably one of the main reasons that Jolani has not been assassinated by US/UK allied intelligence agencies, he is a useful asset in the last remaining terrorist-controlled pocket of north-west Syria.

    Jolani’s agenda directly overlaps that of Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – to persuade Western countries to remove HTS from the UN and US terrorist list by demonstrating Jolani’s willingness to “fight terrorism” and endorsing his claims that HTS has no desire to conduct terrorist operations against the US, UK or EU by limiting their terrorism to Syria and against the Syrian people.

    Jolani’s rebrand presents him as the only viable political solution in Idlib which serves Turkey’s neo-Ottoman ambitions to have control over strategic Syrian territory. Turkey can appear to be complying with Russian brokered agreements by ostensibly expelling terrorist groups from the de-escalation zones and securing the safety of the M4 (Aleppo to Latakia road).

    Put simply, any group not complying with Jolani’s authority must be eradicated, prior to the great merger between the “Salvation Government” and the Turkish backed “National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces“.

    THE LEVANT FRONT

    Here we cannot ignore the “Levant Front” (LF), the largest faction of the “National Army” based in the countryside of Aleppo. The LF has formed a rival alliance to HTS in north-west Syria. It seeks to embrace the majority of political ‘opposition’ institutions in the areas of Aleppo countryside under its control combined with coordination with local armed groups to develop a shadow state in Idlib.

    LF influence has expanded significantly since early 2021. The LF headquarters near the Bab Al Salama crossing has become a destination for the leaders of the National Coalition. LF recently hosted the commander of the so-called “Syrian Islamic Council“, Sheikh Osama Abdel Karim al-Rifai.

    The battle for power in Idlib has resulted in a new factional map. HTS dismantling and restructuring of the “Ahrar al-Sham” (AS) movement, -which once represented an anti-HTS project- has pushed many AS members to defect and join the ranks of the LF seeking ideological synergy. Since early 2021 LF has received more than 900 AS terrorist fighters led by Alaa Faham who will form a brigade under the LF umbrella to confront HTS in the Aleppo countryside.

    In July 2021, the LF formed a new military alliance separate to the National Army and the Interim Government or “Azm Operations Room”. The majority of factions operating in Aleppo countryside have joined the new coalition and present a considerable threat to HTS supremacy in Idlib.

    Two months after the formation of the “Syrian Front for Liberation” (SFI) led by Al-Mu’tasim Abbas, the “Suqur Al Shamal Brigade” and the “20th Division” have defected and joined Azm increasing numbers to an estimated forty thousand comprising more than 15 factions deployed throughout northern Syria. This leaves SFL with only 3 factions and ten thousand fighters.

    The supposed Islamist project of the LF, its military alliance leadership and its expansionist policies in northwestern Syria do not automatically mean that it is preparing for a new round of conflict with HTS.

    On the contrary, we may witness a dramatic increase in coordination between the two powerful factions in various fields. De facto the LF alliance may facilitate the settlement of issues with Jolani which will pave the way for broader collaboration in the future.

    Russia is opposed to any political solution in the region that includes HTS. Russian and Turkish delegations have met several times in the border areas after the Erdogan-Putin summit in September 2021.

    Russia has requested a Turkish withdrawal from the eastern countryside of Idlib between the cities of Idlib and Saraqeb. This leaves Turkish forces in Idlib two options. First to repel any ground attack by the Syrian Arab Army which would result in serious losses for Turkish military, second to wait for the impending Syrian/Russian military campaign to liberate Idlib from terrorist occupation. The second option could result in Turkish bases being besieged as happened in 2019 and 2020.

    Local sources indicate that the Turkish military divisions in Idlib, especially south of the M4, have reinforced their bases and closed some main roads with engineering barriers. The Syrian leadership intends to regain control over southern and western Idlib to secure the M4 and perhaps advance towards Idlib city.

    There is potential for similar deals to be implemented as were recently successful in Daraa, south of Damascus city.

    The collaboration between LF and HTS is not a recent phenomenon. They were previously limited to the terrorist economy – fuel trade, crossing control, checkpoints but have developed considerably since the end of 2020.

    Certain opposition media outlets have reported that the two parties are coordinating in the security and military sectors. The Levant Front received officials and high ranking leaders from HTS in Azaz. A joint camp was recently established between Jolani’s forces and Sheikh Juma’a LF forces in the village of “Maabatli” as a trial military collaborative project.

    TURKISH MILITARY OPERATIONS AND THE ERDOGAN CONUNDRUM

    Turkey has weaponised the Muslim Brotherhood to expand military intervention in Syria, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Tunisia, Afghanistan and Libya.

    Turkey is suffering the repercussions of these neo-Ottoman ambitions with internal issues that include an economic crisis, refugee influx and a declining Turkish Lira.

    This has severely affected Erdogan’s popularity and combined with his deteriorating health, Turkish opposition parties are seeing an opportunity to win the upcoming elections in 2023 based on the resolution of the refugee issue as a primary concern for the majority of Turkish people.

    A Turkish journalist specializing in American affairs, Bahar Feyzan, had leaked information about Biden and Erdogan meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 conference in Rome recently, including the advice of US President Joe Biden to Erdogan to withdraw from running for the upcoming elections, saying, “Take your health condition as an excuse to leave politics.”

    Recent analysis by Steven A. Cook for Foreign Policy, covered the leak of media reports that claim Erdogan’s intention is to transfer authority to Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in case of any deterioration in his health, with a cabinet reshuffle and the appointment of Akar as First Vice President.

    Erdogan is fearful, under pressure and sick, and he appears to have no other options but to export his problems abroad in order to survive. The Kurdish problem in particular has always been an existential threat to Turkish national security, which makes it the easiest card for Erdogan to play including securing internal authorisation to send military forces to Syria and Iraq for an additional two years.

    With the increase in operations targeting Turkish soldiers in several areas, and the US-backed Kurdish Contra (SDF) non-compliance with the Turkish-Russian agreement in Sochi 2019, Erdogan is promoting a military campaign in north-east Syria to be conducted on four axes with an army of 35,000 comprising extremist mercenaries and Turkish armed forces.

    Erdogan summoned leaders of the interventionist operations – “Euphrates Shield”, “Peace Spring” and “Olive Branch” including the National Army to a meeting in Ankara to determine frontlines and strategy of the latest attempt to quell SDF influence in northern Syria.

    In addition to “Menagh” air base near Azaz, Turkey considers Ayn al-Arab (Kobani) among its main priorities, to cut SDF’s strategic support lines between Qamishli-Manbij-Kobani. This would ensure a direct link between Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad with the Euphrates Shield areas.

    The National Army has sent several military convoys through Turkey to Darbasiyah near the Iraqi-Syrian border, in preparation for a military operation.

    NA leaders have announced the raising of combat readiness, and according to a military source in the National Army, the Turkish officers have informed them that Manbij will be a distraction axis, and the troops will advance towards Tal Tamr, Tal Rifaat, Ain Issa and Ayn Al-Arab, while Turkish reconnaissance planes dropped leaflets warning civilians to stay away from SDF military sites, and threatened a military invasion of the region.

    Practically, it is unlikely for Erdogan to risk a military adventure in northern Syria without international endorsement, especially in Tal Rifaat, where it might lead to a direct confrontation with Russia.

    Tal Rifaat is not a major stronghold for SDF, it is a strategic geographical target. It is also very close to Aleppo city which explains the Russian presence and recent large reinforcements sent by the Syrian Arab Army that include advanced T-90 tanks and BMP-2 armoured vehicles heading towards Malikiyah and Shawargha villages in northern Aleppo countryside. Both villages have experienced a violent exchange of shelling in the last few days.

    The most convenient scenario, for Turkey, if a military confrontation is unavoidable is for Tal Rifaat to be a distraction axis to keep the SDF militia pinned down there while the main operation would target between Tal Tamr – Ayn Issa and Manbij-Ayn Al-Arab because they are the major Kurdish strongholds.

    However Erdogan may refrain from military action altogether preferring to flex his muscles publicly by deploying tanks and forces in the area to trigger negotiations to share “security” in north-east Syria.

    Military action can be impeded by the imposition of a No Fly Zone over any area being considered for confrontation. Without Russian and US consent, Erdogan would be foolhardy to precipitate possible conflict with both. Reuters quoted a senior Turkish security official saying:

    The operation will start when all preparations are completed,” adding, “We are in coordination with Russia on the matter. The issue was addressed with the United States already,”.

    How true this claim is remains to be seen.

    Below is a video of a recent Turkish military convoy heading towards Tal Abyad:



    RUSSIA’S POSITION AND OBJECTIVES

    Russian Turkish relations are tense in Syria. Russia is unhappy with Turkish intervention in countries where Russia has geopolitical interests – Libya, Syria, Armenia, Ukraine.

    Ukraine used Turkish-manufactured UAVs against positions of eastern Ukraine forces affiliated with Russia.

    Russia has since sent a clear message by carrying out joint air exercises with the Syrian Arab Army in areas supposed to be Turkish targets for military invasion such as the vicinity of Tal Tamr, Tal Abyad and Ain Issa where the Russian flag has been raised.

    This is combined with auxiliary forces redeployment between the 93rd Brigade area and the Russian military base located in Tal Al-Samn. A big SAA reinforcement was sent to Manbij in preparation for another round of military exercises.

    This will complicate the situation for Erdogan who specifically wants Ain Issa due to its location on the M4 that links Latakia with Iraq through Aleppo and Hasaka in the north-east.

    Russia has also deployed the S400 air defense system at Qamishli Airport, along with twelve Su-34 bombers and five Su-35s, while the Syrian forces will deploy MiG-29, in addition to twelve Mi-8 helicopters and five Ka-52 Alligator at the Mitras military airfield, (30 km) south of Ayn al-Arab or as the US/Israeli-backed Kurdish separatists call it – “Kobani”.

    Despite the Turkish calls on Russia to cleanse Ayn al-Arab of Kurdish separatist militias, Russia does not favor the entry of the “National Army” into Ayn ​​al-Arab. It is keen to ensure the security of its military base in “Serrin”.

    Perhaps the clearest indication of repercussions for Erdogan-driven recklessness in northern Syria was the recent Syrian targeting of Sarmada which houses a communications headquarters for HTS.

    This was followed by airstrikes and artillery bombardment of Turkish-backed 23rd Division forces for several consecutive days and the targeting of camps and shelters of the Turkestan militias on the border strip with Turkey.

    We cannot separate the northeast from the northwest, as Russia may agree on a limited Turkish operation in exchange for parts of Mount al-Zawiya and the city of Jisr Al-Shughour, which is the most important part of the Turkish-Russian negotiation, especially if the Syrian-Kurdish negotiations fail.

    If liberated, the strategic areas of Mount Al-Zawiya and Jisr Al-Shughour will lead to the defeat of terrorism in a significant area of Idlib countryside. Regaining these areas is one of the most important military objectives of the Syrian Arab Army in the impending battles to secure the M4. The Russian Reconciliation Centre has been repeatedly announcing terrorist violations of the ceasefire agreement and the potential for the staging of a “chemical weapon attack” to provoke international outrage against the Syrian government.

    According to civilian sources:

    “More than 200 Turkish vehicles loaded with advanced weapons, ammunition and logistical materials entered Bab Al-Hawa and Khirbet al-Jawz crossings in two batches and deployed in the western countryside of Idlib and Mount al-Zawiya in order to strengthen its occupation points and provide direct support to terrorist organizations.”

    Watch – video of Turkish military vehicles entering Syria via the so-called ‘humanitarian’ crossing:



    The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Agency “IHH” announced the establishment of 16,239 briquette houses in Idlib Governorate. This is an indication of preparation for further displacement of civilians during an intensified military campaign.

    KURDISH-SYRIAN RAPPROCHEMENT

    With all the Turkish mobilization and media promotion of a huge Turkish military operation – waiting on international approval – the SDF has moved its most prominent military leaders from its headquarters adjacent to the Turkish border into the cities to protect them from the potential Turkish UAV attacks.

    The past few days have witnessed a remarkable rapprochement between the Democratic Union Party (the SDF backbone) Damascus and Russia. The SDF removed the “Al-Quwatli”, “Al-Shabab City” and “The Industrial School” checkpoints in Qamishli city.

    This lifts the longstanding siege on the security square of the Syrian forces in the city, which was imposed by the SDF after bloody confrontations erupted between the Kurdish units and the Syrian National Defense Forces back in April.

    The increasing Russian influence in the Syrian east and the American retreat, which is still in its early stages, means placing the fate of the SDF in the hands of Moscow not Washington.

    Despite the strenuous Russian efforts to reach a political solution with the Kurds, the US military presence is still a major obstacle. It is difficult to trust the Kurds who are divided among themselves and are far from autonomous having accepted US support to lay claim to Syrian territory.

    Damascus prioritises Syrian territorial integrity and a central governance structure. This would force the Kurdish Contras to hand the oil fields back to Damscus and to accept a similar agreement to Daraa. This would include the integration of Kurdish military into a Syrian military division similar to the Eighth Brigade of the Fifth Corps.

    The Kurdish factions are divided between those who lean towards the United States and a separate Kurdish state, while others seek to reach an agreement that guarantees some Kurdish rights, such as the language.

    The latter is in communication with Damascus to agree on a draft agreement between the Kurdistan Workers Party, the Democratic Union Party and the Syrian State. This would include the establishment of a joint military operations room for the Syrian Arab Army, SDF, Russian forces and other allies to repel any possible Turkish aggression, based on a statement from the Head of the National Initiative for Syrian Kurds, Omar Ossi to Al-Watan newspaper.

    According to Kurdish leaks a joint delegation of the Syrian Democratic Council and the Autonomous Administration headed by Ilham Ahmed visited Moscow, on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

    Their meeting with the Special Envoy of the Russian President to the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, put forward a proposal that recognised the legitimacy of the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad, would agree to raise the Syrian flag in the areas of the so-called Kurdish controlled Autonomous Administration, share the region’s oil imports – 75% for the central government and 25% for the Autonomous Administration – among other terms.

    Bogdanov informed the delegation that the only way to protect them is by cooperating with the Syrian Arab Army and the Syrian state directly to prevent a repeat Afrin scenario, when Kurds were ethnically cleansed by Turkish forces after the Kurds refused collaboration with the Syrian Arab Army in early 2018.

    In an interview with RT, the prominent leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Aldar Khalil confirmed their readiness for dialogue with the Syrian state directly in Damascus, without going to Geneva. He added that:

    The resources and wealth in this region are not only ours. We do not have any intentions to monopolize them, but rather consider them a national treasure for all Syrians

    Khalil’s comments came days after the statements of Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader, Jamil Bayik, in an interview with Al-Nahar Al-Arabi newspaper where he said:

    Our relationship with Hafez al-Assad and his family was close and warm. We cannot be anti-Syria or anti-Assad. We have previously established our relations on the basis of the general interest of the Kurds and the Kurdish-Arab brotherhood. Now we want to be a party to such a relationship.

    These statements coincide with reports of an agreement between the Russian Reconciliation Center and SDF that provides for the handover of areas in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor to the Syrian Arab Army (Al-Shuhail, Al-Busira, Dhiban, Al-Hawaij, Al-Shafa, Al-Susa and Al-Baghouz).

    On Saturday 13th November the US pushed back against the Damascus-led negotiations with Washington’s Kurdish proxies. The official website of the SDF announced the arrival of US State Department officials and Ethan Goldrich – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs – in north-east Syria. The US Officials met with the Commander in Chief of the SDF, Mazoum Abdi to discuss ‘humanitarian and security’ issues.

    On the same day the US Embassy in Syria Twitter account announced that it would stay in Syria to ensure the “ISIS threat is eliminated” which can be interpreted as a reassurance for the Kurdish separatists as rumours abound of a US withdrawal which would encourage Kurdish factions to negotiate with Damascus.

    US RELUCTANCE TO SUPPORT TURKISH MILITARY INVASION OF SYRIA

    It wouldn’t be easy for Turkey to get US consent for a military operation in light of the US-Turkish differences that were clearly manifested when the US Department of Defence (DoD) recently expelled Turkey from the F-35 project.

    Turkey had threatened to buy SU-35s from Russia. The Biden administration has extended sanctions imposed on Turkey due to its military operation against Kurdish forces in Syria in 2019 for another year.

    Brett McGurk, US Envoy for the coalition ‘fighting ISIS’, resigned from Trump’s administration in protest against Operation Peace Spring and would now be one of the fiercest opponents of any new Turkish military campaign in Syria. The US will not necessarily step in to protect the Kurdish proxies but Washington will oppose any Turkish threat to US supremacy and economic interests in the region.

    The US military convoy movement in and out of Syria have increased in the past two months. The majority of these convoys come in empty and go back loaded with stolen oil. They are also involved in kidnapping civilians through airdrop operations in the countryside of Deir Ezzor and Al-Hasakah in the north-east.

    The “International Coalition” has recently transferred another batch of ISIS prisoners of foreign nationalities from the Industrial School prison in the Ghweran neighborhood in Al-Hasakah city to its base in Al-Shaddadi city south of Al-Hasakah.

    All these transfer and airdrop operations raise questions. Where are these prisoners going next? Are all these airdrops just to kidnap people or to extract valuable assets?

    CONCLUSIONS

    Between the Biden-Erdogan meeting, the Russian-Syrian military exercises and the SAA reinforcements in northern Syria, there are clear messages to be read:

    It is not just about Biden or European rejection of Erdogan. The transnational corporatocracy is tired of Erdogan’s neo-Ottomanism. His expansionist ambitions and blatant interference in multiple foreign state affairs, his weaponization of the refugee crisis and subsequent blackmailing of Europe, are all factors that make him a universal threat.

    It is very clear that Erdogan wants full or partial control of the M4. He knows that once he loses this leverage he will have no cards in his hand for negotiation. If Erdogan chooses to occupy alternative areas of Syrian territory he may find it will bring more problems than solutions. North of the M4 is agricultural, has no resources to plunder but is occupied by disparate and unruly terrorist groups.

    Once the M4 is fully liberated by the SAA, the only remaining prize to be claimed by Erdogan is Al Jolani himself who believes the Taliban model is achievable in Idlib and who is clearly an asset to US Coalition intelligence agencies as the new “Bin Laden”. Perhaps there is even potential of Al Jolani being squeezed out of Idlib and turning his attention to southern Turkey for his ideologically supremacist project?

    The regions of northern Syria are within Russia’s political calculations and any possible agreement with Washington will not authorize Turkey to launch attacks without a Russian green light which is very unlikely. Therefore any military operation will be limited and only Turkish-backed proxies will be used to conduct the unlawful military operations of Turkey’s criminal leadership.

    Russia has stressed to Turkey the need for military, security and political coordination in the ongoing difficult negotiations between the two sides. Washington has withdrawn from supporting the SDF except in the pseudo fight against ISIS in the north.

    Russia presents itself as an alternative ally to the SDF capable of mediating between them and Turkey to prevent military conflict. Russia also perceives itself as the international guarantor of security and stability in the region in preparation for a US withdrawal destined to return Syrian resources to the Syrian government and people after years of US Coalition occupation and theft.

    Despite the Turkish military build-up and the rapid developments, no one can indicate a zero hour for any military operation. It is obviously under negotiations between the three countries, and while some people rush to criticize, denounce, reject and deny the ongoing events in northern Syria, many forget that it is not about moods or wishes, and no one can predict any scenario or believe any news without first knowing the facts on the ground.

    With a complete international, regional and internal consensus to resolve the files of eastern and western Euphrates within a great settlement in the Middle East, the facts on the ground and the emerging political factors impose inevitable war on those who reject a peaceful solution or try to obstruct it.

    Northern Syria will almost certainly be the epicentre of fierce battles, military and political, that will determine the fate of Syria now and in the future. The final word rests with the Syrian Arab Army and allies and how they navigate the increasingly complex network of groups and alliances to achieve their objectives for Syria.

    ****

    https://substack.com/home/post/p-146102372
    The Idlib terror gangs explained The Warlord conflict in the north of Syria vanessa beeley This article was co-written by myself and Syrian military researcher and analyst Ibrahim Wahdi (now a journalist with Press TV) a couple of years ago . I wanted to republish to demonstrate the complex military situation on the ground in Syria as I will be shortly providing a summary of the situations in all conflict zones still remaining across Syria. Some of the positions may have changed and shifted but these changes are part of the fabric of ongoing negotiations in Syria led by Damascus, Russia, Iran and now Iraq which is trying to broker normalisation between Syria and Turkiye which must include the full withdrawal of Turkish military and proxy terrorist forces from the areas of northern Syria they have annexed and occupied. I believe Syria is now fighting to push back the terrorist forces from all areas of central Syria (ISIS) and areas north-west of Aleppo (Al Qaeda etc) in order to end any potential threat should the war with Israel escalate and expand into the region. I will go into more detail in the next article. ***** Syria and the interconnected Turkish neo-Ottoman agenda in northern Syria. The role of Russia and its collaboration with the Syrian Arab Army is explored in depth and the areas where there is the greatest potential for conflict are revealed. The war in Syria is not over and there are many UK/US-backed terrorist shifting alliances to be taken into account as part of the geopolitical power game that is now entering its most dangerous stage. The tipping points are on multiple axes and it will take a great deal of political and military brinkmanship from Damascus and her allies to restore peace to Syria. WARLORD CONFLICT IN IDLIB Al Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) deployed its most powerful weapons and equipment, opened its depots and engaged the elite ‘Asa’ib’ fighters in the battles for Mount Al-Turkman. The last 28 members of Jund Allah (God’s soldiers), led by “Abu Fatima Al Turki” were expelled from the mountain. These fighters had been responsible for the killing of 9 HTS and the kidnapping of more than 10 gang members but they escaped safely. Muslim Abu Walid Al-Shishani (Murad Margoshivili), and his armed group “Junod Al Sham” have also fled the mountain after violent clashes with HTS. Murad’s brother “Abu Musa Al-Shishani” was captured trying to flee to Turkey and held at a Turkish checkpoint. Junod al-Sham was established in 2012 under the leadership of Muslim Al-Shishani. The majority of fighters were from the Caucasus countries. The group never exceeded 300 members. Almost half of them left with the defection of “Abu Omar al-Shishani” when he pledged allegiance to terrorist group ISIS in 2013. HTS is headed up by Abu Mohammed Al Jolani recently platformed in a Frontline interview in an apparent attempt to rebrand Jolani as viable Syrian opposition not the extremist violent former Al Qaeda leader he really is. Al Jolani’s battles with the Junod Al Sham, Jund Allah and Guardians of Religion gangs must be viewed in the context of the bombings and suicide vehicle operations that have targeted Turkish military points and patrols since the last military operation of the Syrian Arab Army in the area that ended with a ceasefire on March 5, 2021. The latest attack was on October 16th 2021 when a Turkish patrol was targeted killing two soldiers and injuring two more. Such tactics were adopted by unknown organizations such as the “Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Brigades”. Al Jolani accused these splinter groups of conducting these attacks to secure Turkish support. The groups accused Jolani of using the attacks to blame unaffiliated groups in Idlib because he was seeking a monopoly in Idlib with Turkish backing. This is the gangs and counter gangs scenario that has been a hallmark of the US Coalition armed group activities in Syria since 2011. Here comes the Turkistan Islamic Party‘s (TIP) role. TIP consists primarily of al-Qaeda loyalists, originally from Xinjiang Province, northwest China (Uighurs). TIP has made a deal with Taliban leaders in cooperation with Turkish intelligence (MIT) to transport Junod Al-Sham and Jund Allah groups and leaders, alongside other terrorist fighters, to Afghanistan through Turkey according to local sources. The “Azm” operation room in Afrin has denied any existence of these groups despite having received them after they fled Idlib. BUT HOW WOULD THAT AFFECT IDLIB NOW? In order to understand and predict, we must first know who’s left in Idlib, their allegiances and their importance. Jihadist factions reconciled with HTS: “Jaysh al-Badia” and Jaysh al-Malahem, two small jihadist factions, whose first and last allegiance is to al-Qaeda, defected from HTS in late 2017, due to its separation from al-Qaeda, but recently returned under its wing. “Sham al-Islam” faction, which is stationed in Mount al-Turkman, northeast of Lattakia, and includes about 400 fighters, 150 of which are Moroccan leaders and fighters, in addition to 50 Sudanese, while the rest are Syrians. “Ansar al-Tawhid” faction, was formed in March of 2018, in Sarmin town in Idlib, from the remnants of the “Jund al-Aqsa” organization (that launched a war against several jihadist factions, which hastened its elimination). They pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and joined the operations room ” Rouse the Believers” before declaring its independence from everyone in a statement issued on May 03, 2020. “Ajnad al-Caucasus“, led by Abdul Malik al-Shishani, was one of the most prominent organizations that fought the Syrian Arab Army and its allies during the SAA campaign to liberate southern Idlib and northern Hama. Battles were halted by a ceasefire agreement on March 05, 2020, when the group suffered heavy losses, with no more than 250 fighters remaining (according to local sources) forcing it to retreat. These groups do not pose a threat to HTS at the present time due to understandings between the leaders of the groups and HTS command: The “Albanian Brigade” (Xhemati Alban), an independent group led by the Macedonian Abu Qatada al-Albani, was established in 2013, and includes jihadists from the Balkan countries Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania, in addition to some Saudis and Syrians. Its fighters are trained in all types of medium and heavy weapons. They formed a special squad of Albanian snipers. They currently operate in Kabana in the countryside of Latakia. The ideological orientation of the battalion is similar to HTS and Al-Qaeda, and it maintains a good relationship with HTS without engaging in internal hostilities. The Salafist “Salah al-Din al-Kurdi Movement“, which began its activity in Syria in 2012, and is now deployed in Mont al-Akrad in Latakia’s northern countryside. The movement has its own training camp and local sources have informed the author that there is evidence that Qatar and Turkey are the bankrollers of the group. This claim is borne out by the fact that Turkey gave them a training camp in Afrin and they have close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood which is sponsored predominantly by Qatar. Its members are professional soldiers, and most of them hail from eastern Turkey, in addition to Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian Kurdish fighters. These Kurdish factions believe in the Sunni Muslim roots of the Kurds and aim to expand their influence throughout the Syrian Kurdish communities. “The Kurdish Immigrants of Iran’s Sunnis Movement”, the only Kurdish group that pledged allegiance to HTS. Most of its fighters come from northwestern Iran. Its fighters are fierce and highly trained, and guard important points in the Kabanah area. Additionally they deploy mobile offensive combat groups to guard some points of Mount al-Zawiya, south of Idlib City. The movement is led by “Abu Safiya al-Kurdi”, who participated in a meeting organised by al-Jolani with a number of Kurdish Salafist leaders in an Idlib mosque in mid-June. Islamist factions opposed to HTS: Al-Ghuraba Division (Strangers), which is deployed west of Idlib, and is led by the French-Senegalese jihadist ” Omar Omsen ” (Omar Diaby), who was previously arrested by HTS in August 2020 and his son Bilal was also arrested in late 2021. The French authorities accuse him of recruiting 80% of the French-speaking jihadists who went to Syria or Iraq. “Rouse the Believers Operations Room“, which was established in October 2018, and includes: – “Ansar al-Din Front” led by Abu Salah al-Uzbeki (Siraj al-Din Mukhtarov), from the Kyrgyz Republic. Founder and commander of the “Uzbek” battalion within HTS and the mastermind of the St Petersburg metro terrorist attack in Russia in 2017. He was arrested by HTS after his defection to Ansar al-Din in June 2020 and released in March 2021. – “Ansar al-Islam” faction, Kurdish Salafist group stationed in the vicinity of Jisr al-Shughour, west of Idlib, and in the Dower al-Akrad within the al-Ghab Plain, west of Hama. Around 200 members – majority Iraqi Kurds along with Syrian, Turkish and Iranian Kurdish fighters. It was founded in 2001 in northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan) and fought against a number of Kurdish parties. It is considered the most fanatic among the Kurdish Salafist groups in Idlib, and the most powerful. One of its goals is to establish an Islamic state governed by Sharia Law. – “Guardians of Religion“, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, which was established in 2018 after defection from HTS. “Al-Zawahiri” recently complimented the group after they carried out a terrorist operation in western Damascus, on August 04, 2020 – The armed group announced in a statement that one of its divisions blew up a bus carrying officers of the “Republican Guard” in the capital, as part of the “Battle of Al-Usra” series, in “solidarity with the people of Daraa”. The group was considered to “devote itself to ‘jihad’ work inside the capitol (Damascus)”. Today the group is going through a difficult transition. Its leaders have been repeatedly targeted by US drones, giving the US the opportunity of testing its new tactical weapon such as Hellfire missile, (which indicates the hidden intelligence cooperation between al-Julani and the CIA), Frequent battles with Al Jolani on the ground in Syria have also reduced the number of fighters in the group. The organization included about 2,000 fighters of different nationalities when it was founded, but now that is less than 100. These factions are most likely to be the next target of Al-Jolani’s campaign to eliminate competition in Idlib and northern Syria. ISLAMIST FACTIONS COLLABORATING WITH HTS Perhaps the most prominent of the HTS allies is the aforementioned “Turkistan Islamic Party” or TIP, led by “Abu Suleiman al-Turkistani”. These are the Uighur Al Qaeda loyalists from Xinjiang Province in northwest China. TIP comprises around 8000 fighters who are distinguished by their savagery and combat prowess. TIP follows the HTS policies closely and secured the exit of extremist fighters from Mount Al Turkman during recent battles. It is unlikely that TIP will clash with HTS after violent disputes between the two groups. Al Jolani brought the TIP to heel and claimed that China was providing weapons to Damascus to eliminate them in Idlib and Hama countryside. This claim forced the TIP to reduce their presence in the main cities and to withdraw their families to the ‘refugee’ camps on the Syria-Turkey borders near the town of Harem. The importance of the party lies in its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, which allowed it to establish strong relations with Turkey, Taliban and HTS at the same time. It is directly hostile to China. In September 2002 the US Treasury Department placed TIP on the list of terrorist organisations. Trump later removed the organisation from the list as part of the ramping up of US pressure on China for alleged “human rights” abuses against the Uighur population. There remain a handful of small independent groups of foreign extremist fighters and groups who will face one of two fates. Either to be subjugated or neutralized in order for Jolani to achieve absolute control over Idlib governorate. This is in preparation for a full integration with the factions under the umbrella of the Turkish-backed so-called Syrian National Army. This will complete the rebranding and recycling of HTS – a Turkish-UK-led agenda in northern Syria according to a ‘diplomatic source’ who informed Russian media, TASS in May 2021 that MI6 was involved in the project: The British side suggested that the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group (outlawed in Russia, also known as Jabhat al-Nusra) should announce plans to abandon subversive activities against Western countries and build close cooperation with them […] Mohammad al-Julani received recommendations to give an interview to an American reporter in order to create a positive image for the alliance that he heads and rehabilitate it in the future. There are plans to engage some of the UK’s allies, primarily the US, in efforts aimed at rebranding the al-Nusra group.” WHAT IS AL JOLANI’S ENDGAME IN IDLIB? Al Jolani is trying to prove to everyone, especially Turkey, that he is the only one capable of controlling Idlib province from a security and military perspective. Idlib can be described as another “Tora-Bora” with embedded terrorist organisations comprising some of the most deadly foreign mercenaries. Jolani is working on a reputation as the supreme warlord dissolving minor groups or reining in the more powerful factions. This is probably one of the main reasons that Jolani has not been assassinated by US/UK allied intelligence agencies, he is a useful asset in the last remaining terrorist-controlled pocket of north-west Syria. Jolani’s agenda directly overlaps that of Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – to persuade Western countries to remove HTS from the UN and US terrorist list by demonstrating Jolani’s willingness to “fight terrorism” and endorsing his claims that HTS has no desire to conduct terrorist operations against the US, UK or EU by limiting their terrorism to Syria and against the Syrian people. Jolani’s rebrand presents him as the only viable political solution in Idlib which serves Turkey’s neo-Ottoman ambitions to have control over strategic Syrian territory. Turkey can appear to be complying with Russian brokered agreements by ostensibly expelling terrorist groups from the de-escalation zones and securing the safety of the M4 (Aleppo to Latakia road). Put simply, any group not complying with Jolani’s authority must be eradicated, prior to the great merger between the “Salvation Government” and the Turkish backed “National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces“. THE LEVANT FRONT Here we cannot ignore the “Levant Front” (LF), the largest faction of the “National Army” based in the countryside of Aleppo. The LF has formed a rival alliance to HTS in north-west Syria. It seeks to embrace the majority of political ‘opposition’ institutions in the areas of Aleppo countryside under its control combined with coordination with local armed groups to develop a shadow state in Idlib. LF influence has expanded significantly since early 2021. The LF headquarters near the Bab Al Salama crossing has become a destination for the leaders of the National Coalition. LF recently hosted the commander of the so-called “Syrian Islamic Council“, Sheikh Osama Abdel Karim al-Rifai. The battle for power in Idlib has resulted in a new factional map. HTS dismantling and restructuring of the “Ahrar al-Sham” (AS) movement, -which once represented an anti-HTS project- has pushed many AS members to defect and join the ranks of the LF seeking ideological synergy. Since early 2021 LF has received more than 900 AS terrorist fighters led by Alaa Faham who will form a brigade under the LF umbrella to confront HTS in the Aleppo countryside. In July 2021, the LF formed a new military alliance separate to the National Army and the Interim Government or “Azm Operations Room”. The majority of factions operating in Aleppo countryside have joined the new coalition and present a considerable threat to HTS supremacy in Idlib. Two months after the formation of the “Syrian Front for Liberation” (SFI) led by Al-Mu’tasim Abbas, the “Suqur Al Shamal Brigade” and the “20th Division” have defected and joined Azm increasing numbers to an estimated forty thousand comprising more than 15 factions deployed throughout northern Syria. This leaves SFL with only 3 factions and ten thousand fighters. The supposed Islamist project of the LF, its military alliance leadership and its expansionist policies in northwestern Syria do not automatically mean that it is preparing for a new round of conflict with HTS. On the contrary, we may witness a dramatic increase in coordination between the two powerful factions in various fields. De facto the LF alliance may facilitate the settlement of issues with Jolani which will pave the way for broader collaboration in the future. Russia is opposed to any political solution in the region that includes HTS. Russian and Turkish delegations have met several times in the border areas after the Erdogan-Putin summit in September 2021. Russia has requested a Turkish withdrawal from the eastern countryside of Idlib between the cities of Idlib and Saraqeb. This leaves Turkish forces in Idlib two options. First to repel any ground attack by the Syrian Arab Army which would result in serious losses for Turkish military, second to wait for the impending Syrian/Russian military campaign to liberate Idlib from terrorist occupation. The second option could result in Turkish bases being besieged as happened in 2019 and 2020. Local sources indicate that the Turkish military divisions in Idlib, especially south of the M4, have reinforced their bases and closed some main roads with engineering barriers. The Syrian leadership intends to regain control over southern and western Idlib to secure the M4 and perhaps advance towards Idlib city. There is potential for similar deals to be implemented as were recently successful in Daraa, south of Damascus city. The collaboration between LF and HTS is not a recent phenomenon. They were previously limited to the terrorist economy – fuel trade, crossing control, checkpoints but have developed considerably since the end of 2020. Certain opposition media outlets have reported that the two parties are coordinating in the security and military sectors. The Levant Front received officials and high ranking leaders from HTS in Azaz. A joint camp was recently established between Jolani’s forces and Sheikh Juma’a LF forces in the village of “Maabatli” as a trial military collaborative project. TURKISH MILITARY OPERATIONS AND THE ERDOGAN CONUNDRUM Turkey has weaponised the Muslim Brotherhood to expand military intervention in Syria, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Tunisia, Afghanistan and Libya. Turkey is suffering the repercussions of these neo-Ottoman ambitions with internal issues that include an economic crisis, refugee influx and a declining Turkish Lira. This has severely affected Erdogan’s popularity and combined with his deteriorating health, Turkish opposition parties are seeing an opportunity to win the upcoming elections in 2023 based on the resolution of the refugee issue as a primary concern for the majority of Turkish people. A Turkish journalist specializing in American affairs, Bahar Feyzan, had leaked information about Biden and Erdogan meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 conference in Rome recently, including the advice of US President Joe Biden to Erdogan to withdraw from running for the upcoming elections, saying, “Take your health condition as an excuse to leave politics.” Recent analysis by Steven A. Cook for Foreign Policy, covered the leak of media reports that claim Erdogan’s intention is to transfer authority to Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in case of any deterioration in his health, with a cabinet reshuffle and the appointment of Akar as First Vice President. Erdogan is fearful, under pressure and sick, and he appears to have no other options but to export his problems abroad in order to survive. The Kurdish problem in particular has always been an existential threat to Turkish national security, which makes it the easiest card for Erdogan to play including securing internal authorisation to send military forces to Syria and Iraq for an additional two years. With the increase in operations targeting Turkish soldiers in several areas, and the US-backed Kurdish Contra (SDF) non-compliance with the Turkish-Russian agreement in Sochi 2019, Erdogan is promoting a military campaign in north-east Syria to be conducted on four axes with an army of 35,000 comprising extremist mercenaries and Turkish armed forces. Erdogan summoned leaders of the interventionist operations – “Euphrates Shield”, “Peace Spring” and “Olive Branch” including the National Army to a meeting in Ankara to determine frontlines and strategy of the latest attempt to quell SDF influence in northern Syria. In addition to “Menagh” air base near Azaz, Turkey considers Ayn al-Arab (Kobani) among its main priorities, to cut SDF’s strategic support lines between Qamishli-Manbij-Kobani. This would ensure a direct link between Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad with the Euphrates Shield areas. The National Army has sent several military convoys through Turkey to Darbasiyah near the Iraqi-Syrian border, in preparation for a military operation. NA leaders have announced the raising of combat readiness, and according to a military source in the National Army, the Turkish officers have informed them that Manbij will be a distraction axis, and the troops will advance towards Tal Tamr, Tal Rifaat, Ain Issa and Ayn Al-Arab, while Turkish reconnaissance planes dropped leaflets warning civilians to stay away from SDF military sites, and threatened a military invasion of the region. Practically, it is unlikely for Erdogan to risk a military adventure in northern Syria without international endorsement, especially in Tal Rifaat, where it might lead to a direct confrontation with Russia. Tal Rifaat is not a major stronghold for SDF, it is a strategic geographical target. It is also very close to Aleppo city which explains the Russian presence and recent large reinforcements sent by the Syrian Arab Army that include advanced T-90 tanks and BMP-2 armoured vehicles heading towards Malikiyah and Shawargha villages in northern Aleppo countryside. Both villages have experienced a violent exchange of shelling in the last few days. The most convenient scenario, for Turkey, if a military confrontation is unavoidable is for Tal Rifaat to be a distraction axis to keep the SDF militia pinned down there while the main operation would target between Tal Tamr – Ayn Issa and Manbij-Ayn Al-Arab because they are the major Kurdish strongholds. However Erdogan may refrain from military action altogether preferring to flex his muscles publicly by deploying tanks and forces in the area to trigger negotiations to share “security” in north-east Syria. Military action can be impeded by the imposition of a No Fly Zone over any area being considered for confrontation. Without Russian and US consent, Erdogan would be foolhardy to precipitate possible conflict with both. Reuters quoted a senior Turkish security official saying: The operation will start when all preparations are completed,” adding, “We are in coordination with Russia on the matter. The issue was addressed with the United States already,”. How true this claim is remains to be seen. Below is a video of a recent Turkish military convoy heading towards Tal Abyad: RUSSIA’S POSITION AND OBJECTIVES Russian Turkish relations are tense in Syria. Russia is unhappy with Turkish intervention in countries where Russia has geopolitical interests – Libya, Syria, Armenia, Ukraine. Ukraine used Turkish-manufactured UAVs against positions of eastern Ukraine forces affiliated with Russia. Russia has since sent a clear message by carrying out joint air exercises with the Syrian Arab Army in areas supposed to be Turkish targets for military invasion such as the vicinity of Tal Tamr, Tal Abyad and Ain Issa where the Russian flag has been raised. This is combined with auxiliary forces redeployment between the 93rd Brigade area and the Russian military base located in Tal Al-Samn. A big SAA reinforcement was sent to Manbij in preparation for another round of military exercises. This will complicate the situation for Erdogan who specifically wants Ain Issa due to its location on the M4 that links Latakia with Iraq through Aleppo and Hasaka in the north-east. Russia has also deployed the S400 air defense system at Qamishli Airport, along with twelve Su-34 bombers and five Su-35s, while the Syrian forces will deploy MiG-29, in addition to twelve Mi-8 helicopters and five Ka-52 Alligator at the Mitras military airfield, (30 km) south of Ayn al-Arab or as the US/Israeli-backed Kurdish separatists call it – “Kobani”. Despite the Turkish calls on Russia to cleanse Ayn al-Arab of Kurdish separatist militias, Russia does not favor the entry of the “National Army” into Ayn ​​al-Arab. It is keen to ensure the security of its military base in “Serrin”. Perhaps the clearest indication of repercussions for Erdogan-driven recklessness in northern Syria was the recent Syrian targeting of Sarmada which houses a communications headquarters for HTS. This was followed by airstrikes and artillery bombardment of Turkish-backed 23rd Division forces for several consecutive days and the targeting of camps and shelters of the Turkestan militias on the border strip with Turkey. We cannot separate the northeast from the northwest, as Russia may agree on a limited Turkish operation in exchange for parts of Mount al-Zawiya and the city of Jisr Al-Shughour, which is the most important part of the Turkish-Russian negotiation, especially if the Syrian-Kurdish negotiations fail. If liberated, the strategic areas of Mount Al-Zawiya and Jisr Al-Shughour will lead to the defeat of terrorism in a significant area of Idlib countryside. Regaining these areas is one of the most important military objectives of the Syrian Arab Army in the impending battles to secure the M4. The Russian Reconciliation Centre has been repeatedly announcing terrorist violations of the ceasefire agreement and the potential for the staging of a “chemical weapon attack” to provoke international outrage against the Syrian government. According to civilian sources: “More than 200 Turkish vehicles loaded with advanced weapons, ammunition and logistical materials entered Bab Al-Hawa and Khirbet al-Jawz crossings in two batches and deployed in the western countryside of Idlib and Mount al-Zawiya in order to strengthen its occupation points and provide direct support to terrorist organizations.” Watch – video of Turkish military vehicles entering Syria via the so-called ‘humanitarian’ crossing: The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Agency “IHH” announced the establishment of 16,239 briquette houses in Idlib Governorate. This is an indication of preparation for further displacement of civilians during an intensified military campaign. KURDISH-SYRIAN RAPPROCHEMENT With all the Turkish mobilization and media promotion of a huge Turkish military operation – waiting on international approval – the SDF has moved its most prominent military leaders from its headquarters adjacent to the Turkish border into the cities to protect them from the potential Turkish UAV attacks. The past few days have witnessed a remarkable rapprochement between the Democratic Union Party (the SDF backbone) Damascus and Russia. The SDF removed the “Al-Quwatli”, “Al-Shabab City” and “The Industrial School” checkpoints in Qamishli city. This lifts the longstanding siege on the security square of the Syrian forces in the city, which was imposed by the SDF after bloody confrontations erupted between the Kurdish units and the Syrian National Defense Forces back in April. The increasing Russian influence in the Syrian east and the American retreat, which is still in its early stages, means placing the fate of the SDF in the hands of Moscow not Washington. Despite the strenuous Russian efforts to reach a political solution with the Kurds, the US military presence is still a major obstacle. It is difficult to trust the Kurds who are divided among themselves and are far from autonomous having accepted US support to lay claim to Syrian territory. Damascus prioritises Syrian territorial integrity and a central governance structure. This would force the Kurdish Contras to hand the oil fields back to Damscus and to accept a similar agreement to Daraa. This would include the integration of Kurdish military into a Syrian military division similar to the Eighth Brigade of the Fifth Corps. The Kurdish factions are divided between those who lean towards the United States and a separate Kurdish state, while others seek to reach an agreement that guarantees some Kurdish rights, such as the language. The latter is in communication with Damascus to agree on a draft agreement between the Kurdistan Workers Party, the Democratic Union Party and the Syrian State. This would include the establishment of a joint military operations room for the Syrian Arab Army, SDF, Russian forces and other allies to repel any possible Turkish aggression, based on a statement from the Head of the National Initiative for Syrian Kurds, Omar Ossi to Al-Watan newspaper. According to Kurdish leaks a joint delegation of the Syrian Democratic Council and the Autonomous Administration headed by Ilham Ahmed visited Moscow, on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Their meeting with the Special Envoy of the Russian President to the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, put forward a proposal that recognised the legitimacy of the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad, would agree to raise the Syrian flag in the areas of the so-called Kurdish controlled Autonomous Administration, share the region’s oil imports – 75% for the central government and 25% for the Autonomous Administration – among other terms. Bogdanov informed the delegation that the only way to protect them is by cooperating with the Syrian Arab Army and the Syrian state directly to prevent a repeat Afrin scenario, when Kurds were ethnically cleansed by Turkish forces after the Kurds refused collaboration with the Syrian Arab Army in early 2018. In an interview with RT, the prominent leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Aldar Khalil confirmed their readiness for dialogue with the Syrian state directly in Damascus, without going to Geneva. He added that: The resources and wealth in this region are not only ours. We do not have any intentions to monopolize them, but rather consider them a national treasure for all Syrians Khalil’s comments came days after the statements of Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader, Jamil Bayik, in an interview with Al-Nahar Al-Arabi newspaper where he said: Our relationship with Hafez al-Assad and his family was close and warm. We cannot be anti-Syria or anti-Assad. We have previously established our relations on the basis of the general interest of the Kurds and the Kurdish-Arab brotherhood. Now we want to be a party to such a relationship. These statements coincide with reports of an agreement between the Russian Reconciliation Center and SDF that provides for the handover of areas in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor to the Syrian Arab Army (Al-Shuhail, Al-Busira, Dhiban, Al-Hawaij, Al-Shafa, Al-Susa and Al-Baghouz). On Saturday 13th November the US pushed back against the Damascus-led negotiations with Washington’s Kurdish proxies. The official website of the SDF announced the arrival of US State Department officials and Ethan Goldrich – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs – in north-east Syria. The US Officials met with the Commander in Chief of the SDF, Mazoum Abdi to discuss ‘humanitarian and security’ issues. On the same day the US Embassy in Syria Twitter account announced that it would stay in Syria to ensure the “ISIS threat is eliminated” which can be interpreted as a reassurance for the Kurdish separatists as rumours abound of a US withdrawal which would encourage Kurdish factions to negotiate with Damascus. US RELUCTANCE TO SUPPORT TURKISH MILITARY INVASION OF SYRIA It wouldn’t be easy for Turkey to get US consent for a military operation in light of the US-Turkish differences that were clearly manifested when the US Department of Defence (DoD) recently expelled Turkey from the F-35 project. Turkey had threatened to buy SU-35s from Russia. The Biden administration has extended sanctions imposed on Turkey due to its military operation against Kurdish forces in Syria in 2019 for another year. Brett McGurk, US Envoy for the coalition ‘fighting ISIS’, resigned from Trump’s administration in protest against Operation Peace Spring and would now be one of the fiercest opponents of any new Turkish military campaign in Syria. The US will not necessarily step in to protect the Kurdish proxies but Washington will oppose any Turkish threat to US supremacy and economic interests in the region. The US military convoy movement in and out of Syria have increased in the past two months. The majority of these convoys come in empty and go back loaded with stolen oil. They are also involved in kidnapping civilians through airdrop operations in the countryside of Deir Ezzor and Al-Hasakah in the north-east. The “International Coalition” has recently transferred another batch of ISIS prisoners of foreign nationalities from the Industrial School prison in the Ghweran neighborhood in Al-Hasakah city to its base in Al-Shaddadi city south of Al-Hasakah. All these transfer and airdrop operations raise questions. Where are these prisoners going next? Are all these airdrops just to kidnap people or to extract valuable assets? CONCLUSIONS Between the Biden-Erdogan meeting, the Russian-Syrian military exercises and the SAA reinforcements in northern Syria, there are clear messages to be read: It is not just about Biden or European rejection of Erdogan. The transnational corporatocracy is tired of Erdogan’s neo-Ottomanism. His expansionist ambitions and blatant interference in multiple foreign state affairs, his weaponization of the refugee crisis and subsequent blackmailing of Europe, are all factors that make him a universal threat. It is very clear that Erdogan wants full or partial control of the M4. He knows that once he loses this leverage he will have no cards in his hand for negotiation. If Erdogan chooses to occupy alternative areas of Syrian territory he may find it will bring more problems than solutions. North of the M4 is agricultural, has no resources to plunder but is occupied by disparate and unruly terrorist groups. Once the M4 is fully liberated by the SAA, the only remaining prize to be claimed by Erdogan is Al Jolani himself who believes the Taliban model is achievable in Idlib and who is clearly an asset to US Coalition intelligence agencies as the new “Bin Laden”. Perhaps there is even potential of Al Jolani being squeezed out of Idlib and turning his attention to southern Turkey for his ideologically supremacist project? The regions of northern Syria are within Russia’s political calculations and any possible agreement with Washington will not authorize Turkey to launch attacks without a Russian green light which is very unlikely. Therefore any military operation will be limited and only Turkish-backed proxies will be used to conduct the unlawful military operations of Turkey’s criminal leadership. Russia has stressed to Turkey the need for military, security and political coordination in the ongoing difficult negotiations between the two sides. Washington has withdrawn from supporting the SDF except in the pseudo fight against ISIS in the north. Russia presents itself as an alternative ally to the SDF capable of mediating between them and Turkey to prevent military conflict. Russia also perceives itself as the international guarantor of security and stability in the region in preparation for a US withdrawal destined to return Syrian resources to the Syrian government and people after years of US Coalition occupation and theft. Despite the Turkish military build-up and the rapid developments, no one can indicate a zero hour for any military operation. It is obviously under negotiations between the three countries, and while some people rush to criticize, denounce, reject and deny the ongoing events in northern Syria, many forget that it is not about moods or wishes, and no one can predict any scenario or believe any news without first knowing the facts on the ground. With a complete international, regional and internal consensus to resolve the files of eastern and western Euphrates within a great settlement in the Middle East, the facts on the ground and the emerging political factors impose inevitable war on those who reject a peaceful solution or try to obstruct it. Northern Syria will almost certainly be the epicentre of fierce battles, military and political, that will determine the fate of Syria now and in the future. The final word rests with the Syrian Arab Army and allies and how they navigate the increasingly complex network of groups and alliances to achieve their objectives for Syria. **** https://substack.com/home/post/p-146102372
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  • Iran's New President Unlikely to Usher in a New Dawn
    Too many roadblocks from the theocracy

    Asia Sentinel
    By: Salman Rafi Sheikh


    When Iran’s newly elected president Masoud Pezeshkian made his victory speech, he pointed to the “hollow promises” that leaders in the past made but never acted upon. He emphasized himself – and his promises – as “real,” promising a new era. His 53 percent share in the vote signals a strong yearning among most Iranians for change, both in the domestic and international arenas. In fact, it was his run-off with the conservative candidate Jalili that helped balloon the voter turnout from 40 percent in the first round to almost 50 percent in the second.

    In line with the public mood, Masoud also signaled his willingness to rewrite relations with the West, making some in the West see a silver lining emerging from this process. But is it emerging? Masoud’s willingness notwithstanding, he still has a very hard system to overcome. He started his political career at the national level when he was appointed in 1997 as deputy health minister in the government of President Khatami. Khatami was a known reformist who promised a strong “Islamic civil society” and a “religious democracy” but he was unable to defeat the hard-liners. In fact, Khatami was succeeded by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a well-known hard-liner.

    Will Masoud’s fate be any different? Iran’s political system has the Supreme Leader as the most powerful person, who can block the president. Even the parliament can be a formidable rival to overcome, especially when it is dominated by conservatives/hard-liners. In the March 2024 elections, hardliners dominated, leading (later) President Raisi to praise the election as an “extreme blow” to the opponents of the Islamist Republic.

    Therefore, the question is: Is Masoud powerful enough to override the Supreme Leader and the Parliament to practically rewrite, if not completely undo, the decades of work Iran’s various leaders did to cement the alliance with China and Russia – an alliance that continues to allow Tehran to defeat the isolation the US-led West has imposed on Iran?


    The man in charge
    Masoud’s abilities, to begin with, are complicated by the fact that Iran’s alliance with China and Russia has brought the Islamic Republic some useful geopolitical leverage. Today, thanks to Russia’s intervention in Syria in favor of the Assad regime, Iran has a formidable military presence beyond its borders, leading the “axis of resistance.” In many ways, Iran’s strong geopolitical role in the Middle East – Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, etc. – marks a (partial) defeat, at least in Iran’s calculation, of the Western designs to use sanctions to impose regime change in Tehran. In addition, Iran also enjoys deep economic and military ties with both China and Russia. Whereas China is investing billions in Iran, mutual military cooperation with Russia remains a cornerstone of Tehran’s “look East” policy – a policy that got consolidated, ironically though, once the US began to move away from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

    The JCPOA was negotiated during the Obama administration. The Iranian side was led by Hassan Rouhani, who was ironically barred by the Guardian Council from contesting the 2024 parliamentary elections. When Donald Trump became the US president in 2016, his arrival proved fatal for the future of Iran’s ties with the West. It not only practically buried the promising JCPOA but the subsequent sanctions also prevented European states, such as France, from conducting business with Iran. Iran was going to buy several airplanes from Airbus and France’s Shell was to develop Iranian oil. Because none of this transpired, Tehran’s political economy adjusted itself vis-à-vis bidders from the East.

    Therefore, even if Masoud can be imagined overcoming (formidable) domestic constraints e.g., the Supreme Leader, the conservative-dominated parliament, and the Revolutionary Guards, he does not face bright prospects in the international arena of the West.

    Trump promises confrontation

    In the US, Donald Trump’s political resurgence is already casting dark shadows. If he wins – and he looks likely to win at this stage – what would his second term look like, especially vis-à-vis Iran? When Trump became president in 2016, he had a moderate counterpart in Tehran. Rouhani’s presence had no impact on how the Trump administration behaved.

    Trump has already stated, unequivocally, that he would join Israel in confronting Iran (regardless of who the president happens to be in Iran). With a president in the White House promising to confront, there is little left for the moderate in Iran to do much. In fact, it will only strengthen the hardliners.

    How will the Europeans behave? Will they be able to devise an independent policy vis-à-vis Iran? There is little room for that. With the war in Ukraine still going on and presenting, from the European perspective, an existential crisis to Europe’s future, it means that the continent does need the US on its side to avoid (the imagined) Russian takeover of Europe. Whereas Donald Trump has also stated many times that he will bring the Russia-Ukraine war to a quick end, Europe may still not have much leverage on Trump’s Iran policy. Even with no war in Ukraine, Europe cannot afford to annoy the Trump administration with a pro-Iran policy. In fact, it may drive Trump away from NATO, a military alliance he has been unhappy with for a long time.

    Masoud’s Limits

    These factors seriously limit the extent to which Masoud can act on his campaign promises, which included dialogue with the West to remove sanctions. But the West, with or without Trump, is quite likely to place demands that the deep state in Tehran may not be willing to meet.

    Within the wider regional context of Israel’s war on Gaza, the West’s support for Israel and Iran’s support for Hamas/Palestine, a key demand would be to demilitarize Gaza permanently. Still, this demand would cover the wider Middle East as well, where the Iran-backed militias have established a strong presence. They have one key objective: to prevent US expansion in the region and drive out its current presence. The West, as in the past, will demand a systematic de-Iranization. This is of course in addition to forcing Iran to roll back its nuclear program, which saw some upgrades during the Raisi presidency. An equally pertinent demand would also target Iran’s economic and military ties with Russia and China.

    Can and will Masoud make these changes? Even if he makes any move in this direction, it most likely would require nothing less than confrontation with the Supreme Leader himself – and the army or hard-liners –who already “advised” the new president to focus on “domestic capacities” (rather than foreign policy/relations) and follow Raisi’s path.

    A key limit that Masoud faces is personal. For the past several years since joining politics, he has been a low-key politician. His recent victory didn’t come on the heels of a large social mobilization threatening or challenging the regime. He may have gotten support from voters who had limited choices, but given his political and social capacity, Masoud is most likely seen as ‘manageable’ by the Supreme Leader and his close advisers and allies. Otherwise, he would not have been cleared to contest the elections.

    Masoud, therefore, might seem like a pleasant shift from the conservatism associated with Raisi, but Raisi’s accidental death is far from the end of the Islamic Republic or its peculiar theocratic political system.

    https://www.asiasentinel.com/p/iran-masoud-pezeshkian-unlikely-usher-new-dawn?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
    Iran's New President Unlikely to Usher in a New Dawn Too many roadblocks from the theocracy Asia Sentinel By: Salman Rafi Sheikh When Iran’s newly elected president Masoud Pezeshkian made his victory speech, he pointed to the “hollow promises” that leaders in the past made but never acted upon. He emphasized himself – and his promises – as “real,” promising a new era. His 53 percent share in the vote signals a strong yearning among most Iranians for change, both in the domestic and international arenas. In fact, it was his run-off with the conservative candidate Jalili that helped balloon the voter turnout from 40 percent in the first round to almost 50 percent in the second. In line with the public mood, Masoud also signaled his willingness to rewrite relations with the West, making some in the West see a silver lining emerging from this process. But is it emerging? Masoud’s willingness notwithstanding, he still has a very hard system to overcome. He started his political career at the national level when he was appointed in 1997 as deputy health minister in the government of President Khatami. Khatami was a known reformist who promised a strong “Islamic civil society” and a “religious democracy” but he was unable to defeat the hard-liners. In fact, Khatami was succeeded by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a well-known hard-liner. Will Masoud’s fate be any different? Iran’s political system has the Supreme Leader as the most powerful person, who can block the president. Even the parliament can be a formidable rival to overcome, especially when it is dominated by conservatives/hard-liners. In the March 2024 elections, hardliners dominated, leading (later) President Raisi to praise the election as an “extreme blow” to the opponents of the Islamist Republic. Therefore, the question is: Is Masoud powerful enough to override the Supreme Leader and the Parliament to practically rewrite, if not completely undo, the decades of work Iran’s various leaders did to cement the alliance with China and Russia – an alliance that continues to allow Tehran to defeat the isolation the US-led West has imposed on Iran? The man in charge Masoud’s abilities, to begin with, are complicated by the fact that Iran’s alliance with China and Russia has brought the Islamic Republic some useful geopolitical leverage. Today, thanks to Russia’s intervention in Syria in favor of the Assad regime, Iran has a formidable military presence beyond its borders, leading the “axis of resistance.” In many ways, Iran’s strong geopolitical role in the Middle East – Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, etc. – marks a (partial) defeat, at least in Iran’s calculation, of the Western designs to use sanctions to impose regime change in Tehran. In addition, Iran also enjoys deep economic and military ties with both China and Russia. Whereas China is investing billions in Iran, mutual military cooperation with Russia remains a cornerstone of Tehran’s “look East” policy – a policy that got consolidated, ironically though, once the US began to move away from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA was negotiated during the Obama administration. The Iranian side was led by Hassan Rouhani, who was ironically barred by the Guardian Council from contesting the 2024 parliamentary elections. When Donald Trump became the US president in 2016, his arrival proved fatal for the future of Iran’s ties with the West. It not only practically buried the promising JCPOA but the subsequent sanctions also prevented European states, such as France, from conducting business with Iran. Iran was going to buy several airplanes from Airbus and France’s Shell was to develop Iranian oil. Because none of this transpired, Tehran’s political economy adjusted itself vis-à-vis bidders from the East. Therefore, even if Masoud can be imagined overcoming (formidable) domestic constraints e.g., the Supreme Leader, the conservative-dominated parliament, and the Revolutionary Guards, he does not face bright prospects in the international arena of the West. Trump promises confrontation In the US, Donald Trump’s political resurgence is already casting dark shadows. If he wins – and he looks likely to win at this stage – what would his second term look like, especially vis-à-vis Iran? When Trump became president in 2016, he had a moderate counterpart in Tehran. Rouhani’s presence had no impact on how the Trump administration behaved. Trump has already stated, unequivocally, that he would join Israel in confronting Iran (regardless of who the president happens to be in Iran). With a president in the White House promising to confront, there is little left for the moderate in Iran to do much. In fact, it will only strengthen the hardliners. How will the Europeans behave? Will they be able to devise an independent policy vis-à-vis Iran? There is little room for that. With the war in Ukraine still going on and presenting, from the European perspective, an existential crisis to Europe’s future, it means that the continent does need the US on its side to avoid (the imagined) Russian takeover of Europe. Whereas Donald Trump has also stated many times that he will bring the Russia-Ukraine war to a quick end, Europe may still not have much leverage on Trump’s Iran policy. Even with no war in Ukraine, Europe cannot afford to annoy the Trump administration with a pro-Iran policy. In fact, it may drive Trump away from NATO, a military alliance he has been unhappy with for a long time. Masoud’s Limits These factors seriously limit the extent to which Masoud can act on his campaign promises, which included dialogue with the West to remove sanctions. But the West, with or without Trump, is quite likely to place demands that the deep state in Tehran may not be willing to meet. Within the wider regional context of Israel’s war on Gaza, the West’s support for Israel and Iran’s support for Hamas/Palestine, a key demand would be to demilitarize Gaza permanently. Still, this demand would cover the wider Middle East as well, where the Iran-backed militias have established a strong presence. They have one key objective: to prevent US expansion in the region and drive out its current presence. The West, as in the past, will demand a systematic de-Iranization. This is of course in addition to forcing Iran to roll back its nuclear program, which saw some upgrades during the Raisi presidency. An equally pertinent demand would also target Iran’s economic and military ties with Russia and China. Can and will Masoud make these changes? Even if he makes any move in this direction, it most likely would require nothing less than confrontation with the Supreme Leader himself – and the army or hard-liners –who already “advised” the new president to focus on “domestic capacities” (rather than foreign policy/relations) and follow Raisi’s path. A key limit that Masoud faces is personal. For the past several years since joining politics, he has been a low-key politician. His recent victory didn’t come on the heels of a large social mobilization threatening or challenging the regime. He may have gotten support from voters who had limited choices, but given his political and social capacity, Masoud is most likely seen as ‘manageable’ by the Supreme Leader and his close advisers and allies. Otherwise, he would not have been cleared to contest the elections. Masoud, therefore, might seem like a pleasant shift from the conservatism associated with Raisi, but Raisi’s accidental death is far from the end of the Islamic Republic or its peculiar theocratic political system. https://www.asiasentinel.com/p/iran-masoud-pezeshkian-unlikely-usher-new-dawn?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
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  • New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging

    SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol are considering merging into AltSignals tokens, targeting a $7.5 billion valuation.
    The merger, led by SingularityNET’s Ben Goertzel and Fetch.ai’s Humayun Sheikh, aims to create a decentralized AI alternative.
    Operational independence will be maintained post-merger, reflecting a trend toward democratizing AI access.
    Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to witness a landmark development as three major protocols, SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol, engage in discussions to merge their tokens into a unified AltSignals token (ASI), potentially boasting a fully diluted valuation of $7.5 billion.
    New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging
    New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging 2
    Read more: SingularityNET Review: Detailed About The Project, Will It Explode With AI Trend?

    SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol Eye Merger With AltSignals Token
    Bloomberg reported on March 27 that the merger aims to establish a decentralized alternative in the AI domain, countering the dominance of tech giants. Pending community approval, the deal could be officially announced as early as Wednesday.

    The collaborative effort seeks to form the largest open-sourced, independent player in AI research and development, affirming a commitment to capitalizing on the AI surge and fostering decentralized infrastructure at scale. SingularityNET CEO Ben Goertzel is scheduled to lead the newly formed Superintelligence Collective, with Fetch.ai CEO Humayun Sheikh serving as chairman.


    AI Trends Are Attracting Attention
    Despite the merger and the establishment of the AltSignals token, SingularityNET, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol will maintain operational autonomy, operating as distinct entities within the collective. This strategic move underscores a broader industry trend toward democratizing AI access, challenging the dominance of corporate giants like Alphabet and Microsoft.

    The convergence of these leading AI platforms mirrors a broader trend within the crypto market, where entities are increasingly exploring opportunities in AI development. Notably, Tether, a prominent stablecoin issuer, has recently announced plans to venture into open-source AI models, highlighting a growing synergy between AI and blockchain technologies in addressing real-world challenges.
    New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol are considering merging into AltSignals tokens, targeting a $7.5 billion valuation. The merger, led by SingularityNET’s Ben Goertzel and Fetch.ai’s Humayun Sheikh, aims to create a decentralized AI alternative. Operational independence will be maintained post-merger, reflecting a trend toward democratizing AI access. Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to witness a landmark development as three major protocols, SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol, engage in discussions to merge their tokens into a unified AltSignals token (ASI), potentially boasting a fully diluted valuation of $7.5 billion. New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging 2 Read more: SingularityNET Review: Detailed About The Project, Will It Explode With AI Trend? SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol Eye Merger With AltSignals Token Bloomberg reported on March 27 that the merger aims to establish a decentralized alternative in the AI domain, countering the dominance of tech giants. Pending community approval, the deal could be officially announced as early as Wednesday. The collaborative effort seeks to form the largest open-sourced, independent player in AI research and development, affirming a commitment to capitalizing on the AI surge and fostering decentralized infrastructure at scale. SingularityNET CEO Ben Goertzel is scheduled to lead the newly formed Superintelligence Collective, with Fetch.ai CEO Humayun Sheikh serving as chairman. AI Trends Are Attracting Attention Despite the merger and the establishment of the AltSignals token, SingularityNET, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol will maintain operational autonomy, operating as distinct entities within the collective. This strategic move underscores a broader industry trend toward democratizing AI access, challenging the dominance of corporate giants like Alphabet and Microsoft. The convergence of these leading AI platforms mirrors a broader trend within the crypto market, where entities are increasingly exploring opportunities in AI development. Notably, Tether, a prominent stablecoin issuer, has recently announced plans to venture into open-source AI models, highlighting a growing synergy between AI and blockchain technologies in addressing real-world challenges.
    Like
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  • New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging

    SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol are considering merging into AltSignals tokens, targeting a $7.5 billion valuation.
    The merger, led by SingularityNET’s Ben Goertzel and Fetch.ai’s Humayun Sheikh, aims to create a decentralized AI alternative.
    Operational independence will be maintained post-merger, reflecting a trend toward democratizing AI access.
    Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to witness a landmark development as three major protocols, SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol, engage in discussions to merge their tokens into a unified AltSignals token (ASI), potentially boasting a fully diluted valuation of $7.5 billion.
    New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging
    New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging 2
    Read more: SingularityNET Review: Detailed About The Project, Will It Explode With AI Trend?

    SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol Eye Merger With AltSignals Token
    Bloomberg reported on March 27 that the merger aims to establish a decentralized alternative in the AI domain, countering the dominance of tech giants. Pending community approval, the deal could be officially announced as early as Wednesday.

    The collaborative effort seeks to form the largest open-sourced, independent player in AI research and development, affirming a commitment to capitalizing on the AI surge and fostering decentralized infrastructure at scale. SingularityNET CEO Ben Goertzel is scheduled to lead the newly formed Superintelligence Collective, with Fetch.ai CEO Humayun Sheikh serving as chairman.


    AI Trends Are Attracting Attention
    Despite the merger and the establishment of the AltSignals token, SingularityNET, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol will maintain operational autonomy, operating as distinct entities within the collective. This strategic move underscores a broader industry trend toward democratizing AI access, challenging the dominance of corporate giants like Alphabet and Microsoft.

    The convergence of these leading AI platforms mirrors a broader trend within the crypto market, where entities are increasingly exploring opportunities in AI development. Notably, Tether, a prominent stablecoin issuer, has recently announced plans to venture into open-source AI models, highlighting a growing synergy between AI and blockchain technologies in addressing real-world challenges.
    New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol are considering merging into AltSignals tokens, targeting a $7.5 billion valuation. The merger, led by SingularityNET’s Ben Goertzel and Fetch.ai’s Humayun Sheikh, aims to create a decentralized AI alternative. Operational independence will be maintained post-merger, reflecting a trend toward democratizing AI access. Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to witness a landmark development as three major protocols, SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol, engage in discussions to merge their tokens into a unified AltSignals token (ASI), potentially boasting a fully diluted valuation of $7.5 billion. New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging New AltSignals Tokens Could Be Launched With SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Merging 2 Read more: SingularityNET Review: Detailed About The Project, Will It Explode With AI Trend? SingularityNet, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol Eye Merger With AltSignals Token Bloomberg reported on March 27 that the merger aims to establish a decentralized alternative in the AI domain, countering the dominance of tech giants. Pending community approval, the deal could be officially announced as early as Wednesday. The collaborative effort seeks to form the largest open-sourced, independent player in AI research and development, affirming a commitment to capitalizing on the AI surge and fostering decentralized infrastructure at scale. SingularityNET CEO Ben Goertzel is scheduled to lead the newly formed Superintelligence Collective, with Fetch.ai CEO Humayun Sheikh serving as chairman. AI Trends Are Attracting Attention Despite the merger and the establishment of the AltSignals token, SingularityNET, Fetch.ai, and Ocean Protocol will maintain operational autonomy, operating as distinct entities within the collective. This strategic move underscores a broader industry trend toward democratizing AI access, challenging the dominance of corporate giants like Alphabet and Microsoft. The convergence of these leading AI platforms mirrors a broader trend within the crypto market, where entities are increasingly exploring opportunities in AI development. Notably, Tether, a prominent stablecoin issuer, has recently announced plans to venture into open-source AI models, highlighting a growing synergy between AI and blockchain technologies in addressing real-world challenges.
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  • Israel's barbaric raid on Al-Shifa Hospital enters day six
    Israeli forces have abducted and killed hundreds of Palestinians sheltering in the hospital complex during the week-long assault


    As Israel continues its raid of the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City for the sixth day in a row on 23 March, Gaza's Government Media Office was told by medical staff and displaced trapped inside that the army is threatening them with either destroying the hospital or torturing, interrogating, and executing them.

    The government media office said in a statement, "There are testimonies from within the Al-Shifa Medical Complex indicating that the occupation army threatened the medical staff inside the hospital buildings and the displaced, that it would bomb those buildings and destroy them over their heads, or that they would go out for torture, investigation, and execution."

    Al-Shifa Hospital used to be Gaza's largest and most equipped medical facility. Now, it lacks the means to treat patients altogether. Infections are spreading among trapped patients, and nurses are being executed.

    This invasion has been marketed as the further "destruction" of Hamas by the Israeli army, which claims it has arrested at least 500 and killed 170 fighters. Israel maintains that resistance fighters are "holed up" in the hospital.

    In a video statement on Thursday, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said the assault would continue for "several more days." He claimed Israeli forces had detained over "500 suspects, 358 of which are Hamas and Islamic Jihad," and distributed a photo collage claiming to show their faces.

    However, the army provided no supporting evidence of the identities of the detainees, and some of the images originated from Palestinian Authority ID cards.

    The army later admitted the photo collage mistakenly included people "who have not yet been caught."

    It said that "due to human error, there are several photos in the graphic of terrorists who have not yet been caught but are, according to the information we have, in the area of ​​the hospital and are entrenched there."

    "When the operation is over, the identities of all the terrorists will be published," the army claimed.

    On 21 March, a Hamas security official told Al-Jazeera that the detainees' photos released by the Israeli army were inaccurate, adding that some were outside of Gaza, some dead, and some previously released. He said that the claim that dozens of resistance leaders were arrested is false, dismissing it as psychological warfare.

    One of the men pictured in the collage is Pediatric Doctor Anwar Sheikh Khalil, the Dean of the Medical Faculty at IUG University.

    AFP spoke to eyewitnesses at the hospital who said that "all men," including the sick and physically disabled, had been abducted by the Israeli army.

    A woman named Mariam said: "They asked us at around dawn with loudspeakers to go out or they would bomb the building."

    A 60-year-old patient interviewed by AFP said the army forced him to take his clothes off, and he was blindfolded and interrogated before being released.

    The Director General of the Government Information Office, Ismail Al-Thawabta, stated that Israeli forces killed more than 100 people inside the Al-Shifa Complex, including some medical personnel who were executed inside the complex.

    Thawabta reported that four patients were killed inside the hospital when Israeli forces prevented their treatment.

    Newly-released detainees and eyewitnesses told Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor earlier this week that Israeli forces executed abductees from the hospital.

    A survivor who asked to be identified only as “M.K.” stated to the rights monitor that, “The soldiers detained me and handcuffed me in the hospital courtyard; I was left undressed for more than nine hours."

    “About four times during that period, I saw soldiers lead groups of detainees—[always] at least three people and Never more than 10—into the hospital buildings, particularly the morgue building where bodies had previously been kept,” added M.K. “Gunshots were heard, with the soldiers then leaving the area to bring another group there," he said.

    https://thecradle.co/articles-id/24042
    Israel's barbaric raid on Al-Shifa Hospital enters day six Israeli forces have abducted and killed hundreds of Palestinians sheltering in the hospital complex during the week-long assault As Israel continues its raid of the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City for the sixth day in a row on 23 March, Gaza's Government Media Office was told by medical staff and displaced trapped inside that the army is threatening them with either destroying the hospital or torturing, interrogating, and executing them. The government media office said in a statement, "There are testimonies from within the Al-Shifa Medical Complex indicating that the occupation army threatened the medical staff inside the hospital buildings and the displaced, that it would bomb those buildings and destroy them over their heads, or that they would go out for torture, investigation, and execution." Al-Shifa Hospital used to be Gaza's largest and most equipped medical facility. Now, it lacks the means to treat patients altogether. Infections are spreading among trapped patients, and nurses are being executed. This invasion has been marketed as the further "destruction" of Hamas by the Israeli army, which claims it has arrested at least 500 and killed 170 fighters. Israel maintains that resistance fighters are "holed up" in the hospital. In a video statement on Thursday, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said the assault would continue for "several more days." He claimed Israeli forces had detained over "500 suspects, 358 of which are Hamas and Islamic Jihad," and distributed a photo collage claiming to show their faces. However, the army provided no supporting evidence of the identities of the detainees, and some of the images originated from Palestinian Authority ID cards. The army later admitted the photo collage mistakenly included people "who have not yet been caught." It said that "due to human error, there are several photos in the graphic of terrorists who have not yet been caught but are, according to the information we have, in the area of ​​the hospital and are entrenched there." "When the operation is over, the identities of all the terrorists will be published," the army claimed. On 21 March, a Hamas security official told Al-Jazeera that the detainees' photos released by the Israeli army were inaccurate, adding that some were outside of Gaza, some dead, and some previously released. He said that the claim that dozens of resistance leaders were arrested is false, dismissing it as psychological warfare. One of the men pictured in the collage is Pediatric Doctor Anwar Sheikh Khalil, the Dean of the Medical Faculty at IUG University. AFP spoke to eyewitnesses at the hospital who said that "all men," including the sick and physically disabled, had been abducted by the Israeli army. A woman named Mariam said: "They asked us at around dawn with loudspeakers to go out or they would bomb the building." A 60-year-old patient interviewed by AFP said the army forced him to take his clothes off, and he was blindfolded and interrogated before being released. The Director General of the Government Information Office, Ismail Al-Thawabta, stated that Israeli forces killed more than 100 people inside the Al-Shifa Complex, including some medical personnel who were executed inside the complex. Thawabta reported that four patients were killed inside the hospital when Israeli forces prevented their treatment. Newly-released detainees and eyewitnesses told Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor earlier this week that Israeli forces executed abductees from the hospital. A survivor who asked to be identified only as “M.K.” stated to the rights monitor that, “The soldiers detained me and handcuffed me in the hospital courtyard; I was left undressed for more than nine hours." “About four times during that period, I saw soldiers lead groups of detainees—[always] at least three people and [never] more than 10—into the hospital buildings, particularly the morgue building where bodies had previously been kept,” added M.K. “Gunshots were heard, with the soldiers then leaving the area to bring another group there," he said. https://thecradle.co/articles-id/24042
    THECRADLE.CO
    Israel's barbaric raid on Al-Shifa Hospital enters day six
    Israeli forces have abducted and killed hundreds of Palestinians sheltering in the hospital complex during the week-long assault
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 165: Israeli attacks escalate on Rafah, al-Shifa Hospital invasion enters second day
    Mustafa Abu SneinehMarch 19, 2024
    A Palestinian man inspects a destroyed building following an Israeli air attack on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, March 19 2024. (Photo: © Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa via ZUMA Press APA Images)
    A Palestinian man inspects a destroyed building following an Israeli air attack on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, March 19 2024. (Photo: © Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa via ZUMA Press APA Images)
    Casualties

    31,819 + killed* and at least 73,934 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    435+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
    594 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.***
    *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on Telegram channel. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 40,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** The death toll in West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure.

    *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

    Key Developments

    Palestinian Authority warns that Israel started offensive on Rafah without official announcement to avoid international pressure.
    Majed Al-Ansari, spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, says Israeli attack on Rafah will negatively affect the ceasefire talks in Doha.
    Ansari says “it is still too early to talk about any breakthrough in the negotiations” between Israel and Hamas, but mediators remain “optimistic.”
    All communication with Palestinian medical staff trapped inside al-Shifa Hospital went silent on Monday evening
    Israel arrests Al-Jazeera correspondent Ismail Al-Ghoul in al-Shifa Hospital. He says Israeli forces detained them for 12 hours, destroyed media tent, and seized smartphones, cameras, and laptops from journalists.
    WHO chief says, “hospitals should never be battlegrounds. We are terribly worried about the situation at al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, which is endangering health workers, patients, and civilians.”
    Israel bombs several houses on Al-Jalaa Street in north Gaza, close to al-Shifa Hospital, killing and injuring several Palestinians and causing immense damage.
    Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA chief, was barred entry by Israel to Rafah, while Tel Aviv says he did not follow “proper procedure.”
    Lazzarini says his visit “was supposed to coordinate and improve the humanitarian response. This man-made starvation under our watch is a stain on our collective humanity.”
    Israeli settlers vandalize UNRWA’s headquarters in occupied Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and affix posters on main gate calling for its closure.
    In Jerusalem, only 25,000 Palestinians were allowed by Israeli forces to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Ramadan’s prayer on the ninth night.
    Ahmed Al-Tibi, Palestinian Knesset member, warns that the life of national figure and Fatah leader Marwan Al-Barghouti is at risk inside Israeli prison.
    PA warns that “Israel began to destroy Rafah”

    The Palestinian Authority (PA) warned that Israel has started an offensive on Rafah without an official announcement to avoid international pressure.

    Overnight, Israel heavily bombed Rafah, killing at least 14 Palestinians in the area where more than one million people are displaced, the majority of them living in tents.

    “Israel began to destroy Rafah on a daily basis and in a systematic manner through repeated attacks on homes, bombing them, and killing and wounding dozens of civilians,” the PA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

    It added that to avoid condemnation and international pressure to halt such attacks, “Israel… did not wait for permission from anyone, and did not announce” the operation publicly.

    The escalation of Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling in Rafah comes as the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting the region where talks between Israel and Hamas continue in Qatar, but has not seen any breakthrough to reach a ceasefire and hostages’ exchange deal.

    Israel has bombed several areas in Rafah overnight, targeting mainly Palestinian homes and residential blocks, according to Wafa, including the neighborhoods of Musabah, Khirbet Al-Adas, and Al-Jeneina.

    On Tuesday, Majed Al-Ansari, the spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, said that an attack on Rafah would negatively affect the ceasefire talks in Doha.

    “Any attack on Rafah will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe and will negatively affect the progress of the talks,” he said. Ansari added that mediators are working on a temporary ceasefire deal to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

    “It is still too early to talk about any breakthrough in the negotiations, but we are optimistic about that,” he said, according to Al-Jazeera Arabic.

    Displaced Palestinians fleeing from the vicinity of Gaza City's al-Shifa hospital arrive at the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on March 18, 2024. (Photo: Naaman Omar/APA Images)
    Displaced Palestinians fleeing from the vicinity of Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital arrive at the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on March 18, 2024. (Photo: Naaman Omar/APA Images)
    Al-Shifa Hospital under Israeli control for second day

    In north Gaza, Israel forces storming of the al-Shifa Hospital has been ongoing since late on Sunday.

    All communication with medical staff trapped inside the hospital went silent on Monday evening. This is the second time Israeli forces stormed the al-Shifa Hospital since October, this time claiming that there were Hamas figures inside it, but has yet to provide evidence.

    A fire broke out in the al-Shifa’s specialized surgery building after the Israeli assault began. Around 25,000 Palestinians were sheltering in the medical complex, and Israel arrested 90 Palestinians, including journalists from inside al-Shifa. Among them was Al-Jazeera’s correspondent in north Gaza, Ismail al-Ghoul, who was released after 12 hours of detention.

    Al-Ghoul later said that Israeli forces destroyed the media tent inside the al-Shifa Hospital and seized smartphones, cameras, and laptops from journalists who were arrested and stripped of their clothes.

    “The [Israeli] occupation forces handcuffed and blindfolded us and interrogated all the journalists present in the place,” he told Al-Jazeera Arabic in a phone call on Monday.

    Al-Ghoul is one of the few journalists who report from north Gaza to a mainstream TV channel. He recently reported Israeli forces killing hundreds of Palestinians who gathered to get flour, aid and food near the Al-Nabulsi roundabout and Al-Rashid Street in Gaza City.

    “Hospitals should never be battlegrounds”

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the chief of World Health Organization (WHO), said that “hospitals should never be battlegrounds. We are terribly worried about the situation at al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, which is endangering health workers, patients, and civilians.”

    Ghebreyesus added that the al-Shifa Hospital is partially operating. In November, Israeli forces stormed the complex following days of siege, claiming that Hamas hosted a “command center” underneath the facility and has yet to present a proof.

    Israel also bombed several houses on Al-Jalaa Street in north Gaza, which is close to the al-Shifa Hospital, killing and injuring several Palestinians and causing immense damage to the area.

    Some Palestinians were walking on Al-Jalaa Street at the time of the air raids, others came back from getting flour to find their apartments bombed while their families were inside.

    In the past 24 hours, Israeli forces committed several massacres in various areas of the Gaza Strip, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health on Telegram, killing at least 93 people and injuring 142. Thousands remain under the rubble of bombed buildings.

    Israeli bombing killed 16 Palestinians in north Gaza overnight. At least 15 people were killed in an Israeli air raid on a house of the Muqbel family in central Gaza City. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said that 14 members have been killed since the Israeli aggression started on Gaza in October.

    In north Gaza, Israel bombed the house of the Al-Banna family in Jabalia, killing at least eight people, Wafa reported. Hundreds of Palestinians saw their tents sink or blown away as a result of strong wind and torrential rain in Deir al-Balah, Rafah, and the Al-Mawasi area in Khan Younis overnight, Wafa reported.

    Israel denies entry for UNRWA chief to Rafah

    Philippe Lazzarini, the chief of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), was barred entry to Rafah by Israel, as Tel Aviv claimed he did not follow “proper procedure.”

    Last month, Lazzarini accused Israel of aiming to destroy UNRWA and defended the organization’s relentless work in offering humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

    “I intended to go to Rafah today, but I have been informed an hour ago that my entry into Rafah is declined,” Lazzarini said during a press conference in Cairo on Monday alongside the Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry.

    Shoukry said that Lazzarini was barred by Israel. “You were declined by the Israeli government, refused the entry, which is an unprecedented move for a representative at this high position,” he said.

    Although the Rafah crossing is an entry point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, Israel is in charge of who can enter or leave the enclave, according to the Israeli-Egyptian agreement.

    Lazzarini also accused Israel of creating a man-made famine in Gaza and said that UNRWA was “engaged in a race against the clock to try to reverse the impact of the spreading hunger and the looming famine in the Gaza Strip.”

    He added that his visit “was supposed to coordinate and improve the humanitarian response. This man-made starvation under our watch is a stain on our collective humanity.”

    “Too much time was wasted, all land crossings must open now. Famine can be averted with political will,” Lazzarini said.

    Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine, wrote on X platform that “Israel wants no witnesses, no truth-tellers”, in a comment on Lazzarini’s entry denial.

    On Monday, Israeli settlers vandalized the headquarters of UNRWA in occupied Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. They have affixed posters on the main gate calling for the shutdown of UNRWA agency, which also provides humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Jerusalem’s refugee camps, and operate in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

    Muslims who managed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque are seen performing tarawih and night prayers during holy month of Ramadan in Jerusalem on March 17, 2024. (Photo: Department of Islamic Awqaf in Jerusalem/APA Images)
    Muslims who managed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque are seen performing tarawih and night prayers during holy month of Ramadan in Jerusalem on March 17, 2024. (Photo: Department of Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem/APA Images)
    Israeli settlers attack Deir Istiya village

    Overnight, Israeli forces arrested several Palestinians from the occupied West Bank towns of Hebron, Jenin, Qalqilya, Nablus, and the Balata refugee camp.

    In Jerusalem, only 25,000 Palestinians were allowed by Israeli forces to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Ramadan’s Al-Tarawih prayer on the ninth night. This is a sharp drop from the 60,000 Palestinians who performed Al-Tarawih on Saturday night.

    Israeli authorities are still limiting the number of Palestinians from the West Bank to enter Jerusalem. Last week, Israeli forces set up at least 30 makeshift checkpoints on the outskirts of the Old City, at the city’s gates and the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

    Since October, Israel has issued 100 deportation orders against Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and Palestinian citizens of Israel, barring 55 of them from entry to Jerusalem and 45 to Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Wadi Hilweh Human Rights Information Center.

    Wadi Hilweh added that this has become a routine policy “to deprive Palestinians of their right to worship and visit Al-Aqsa,” especially around religious occasions such as Ramadan.

    In the north of the West Bank, Israeli settlers attacked Deir Istiya village near Salfit, stole contents from an agricultural room owned by Youssef Salman, and destroyed the solar panels, Wafa reported.

    Marwan Al-Barghouti’s life is in danger inside Israeli prison

    Ahmed Al-Tibi, the Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, warned that the life of Marwan Al-Barghouti is at risk inside Israeli prison.

    Barghouti, a popular national figure and Fatah leader was put in solitary confinement in Megiddo prison. Since October, he has moved between several detention centers, including Ofer, Ramla, and Rimonim.

    “Marwan Al-Barghouti’s life is in danger inside the prison due to the assault on him and other detainees. I hold Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responsible for any harm caused to him, his life, or the lives of the prisoners,” Al-Tibi said in a video post on the X platform.

    He added that Barghouti was assaulted and bled as a result, and warned that since October, 13 Palestinians died inside Israeli jail, “some of them were found murdered, according to families and judges, due to violence and torture.”

    Barghouti is seen by Palestinians as a national figure who could bridge the schism between Fatah and Hamas and lead a future Palestinian state. Hamas insisted that Barghouti will be among the prisoners that will be released in any exchange deal with Israel.

    Last month, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the National Security Minister, said that he ordered the transfer of Barghouti to solitary confinement in prison “following information about a planned uprising” in the occupied West Bank.

    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-165-israeli-attacks-escalate-on-rafah-al-shifa-hospital-invasion-enters-second-day/

    https://telegra.ph/Operation-Al-Aqsa-Flood-Day-165-Israeli-attacks-escalate-on-Rafah-al-Shifa-Hospital-invasion-enters-second-day-03-20
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 165: Israeli attacks escalate on Rafah, al-Shifa Hospital invasion enters second day Mustafa Abu SneinehMarch 19, 2024 A Palestinian man inspects a destroyed building following an Israeli air attack on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, March 19 2024. (Photo: © Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa via ZUMA Press APA Images) A Palestinian man inspects a destroyed building following an Israeli air attack on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, March 19 2024. (Photo: © Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa via ZUMA Press APA Images) Casualties 31,819 + killed* and at least 73,934 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 435+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.** Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147. 594 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.*** *Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on Telegram channel. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 40,000 when accounting for those presumed dead. ** The death toll in West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to PA’s Ministry of Health on March 17, this is the latest figure. *** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” Key Developments Palestinian Authority warns that Israel started offensive on Rafah without official announcement to avoid international pressure. Majed Al-Ansari, spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, says Israeli attack on Rafah will negatively affect the ceasefire talks in Doha. Ansari says “it is still too early to talk about any breakthrough in the negotiations” between Israel and Hamas, but mediators remain “optimistic.” All communication with Palestinian medical staff trapped inside al-Shifa Hospital went silent on Monday evening Israel arrests Al-Jazeera correspondent Ismail Al-Ghoul in al-Shifa Hospital. He says Israeli forces detained them for 12 hours, destroyed media tent, and seized smartphones, cameras, and laptops from journalists. WHO chief says, “hospitals should never be battlegrounds. We are terribly worried about the situation at al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, which is endangering health workers, patients, and civilians.” Israel bombs several houses on Al-Jalaa Street in north Gaza, close to al-Shifa Hospital, killing and injuring several Palestinians and causing immense damage. Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA chief, was barred entry by Israel to Rafah, while Tel Aviv says he did not follow “proper procedure.” Lazzarini says his visit “was supposed to coordinate and improve the humanitarian response. This man-made starvation under our watch is a stain on our collective humanity.” Israeli settlers vandalize UNRWA’s headquarters in occupied Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and affix posters on main gate calling for its closure. In Jerusalem, only 25,000 Palestinians were allowed by Israeli forces to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Ramadan’s prayer on the ninth night. Ahmed Al-Tibi, Palestinian Knesset member, warns that the life of national figure and Fatah leader Marwan Al-Barghouti is at risk inside Israeli prison. PA warns that “Israel began to destroy Rafah” The Palestinian Authority (PA) warned that Israel has started an offensive on Rafah without an official announcement to avoid international pressure. Overnight, Israel heavily bombed Rafah, killing at least 14 Palestinians in the area where more than one million people are displaced, the majority of them living in tents. “Israel began to destroy Rafah on a daily basis and in a systematic manner through repeated attacks on homes, bombing them, and killing and wounding dozens of civilians,” the PA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday. It added that to avoid condemnation and international pressure to halt such attacks, “Israel… did not wait for permission from anyone, and did not announce” the operation publicly. The escalation of Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling in Rafah comes as the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting the region where talks between Israel and Hamas continue in Qatar, but has not seen any breakthrough to reach a ceasefire and hostages’ exchange deal. Israel has bombed several areas in Rafah overnight, targeting mainly Palestinian homes and residential blocks, according to Wafa, including the neighborhoods of Musabah, Khirbet Al-Adas, and Al-Jeneina. On Tuesday, Majed Al-Ansari, the spokesperson for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, said that an attack on Rafah would negatively affect the ceasefire talks in Doha. “Any attack on Rafah will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe and will negatively affect the progress of the talks,” he said. Ansari added that mediators are working on a temporary ceasefire deal to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. “It is still too early to talk about any breakthrough in the negotiations, but we are optimistic about that,” he said, according to Al-Jazeera Arabic. Displaced Palestinians fleeing from the vicinity of Gaza City's al-Shifa hospital arrive at the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on March 18, 2024. (Photo: Naaman Omar/APA Images) Displaced Palestinians fleeing from the vicinity of Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital arrive at the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on March 18, 2024. (Photo: Naaman Omar/APA Images) Al-Shifa Hospital under Israeli control for second day In north Gaza, Israel forces storming of the al-Shifa Hospital has been ongoing since late on Sunday. All communication with medical staff trapped inside the hospital went silent on Monday evening. This is the second time Israeli forces stormed the al-Shifa Hospital since October, this time claiming that there were Hamas figures inside it, but has yet to provide evidence. A fire broke out in the al-Shifa’s specialized surgery building after the Israeli assault began. Around 25,000 Palestinians were sheltering in the medical complex, and Israel arrested 90 Palestinians, including journalists from inside al-Shifa. Among them was Al-Jazeera’s correspondent in north Gaza, Ismail al-Ghoul, who was released after 12 hours of detention. Al-Ghoul later said that Israeli forces destroyed the media tent inside the al-Shifa Hospital and seized smartphones, cameras, and laptops from journalists who were arrested and stripped of their clothes. “The [Israeli] occupation forces handcuffed and blindfolded us and interrogated all the journalists present in the place,” he told Al-Jazeera Arabic in a phone call on Monday. Al-Ghoul is one of the few journalists who report from north Gaza to a mainstream TV channel. He recently reported Israeli forces killing hundreds of Palestinians who gathered to get flour, aid and food near the Al-Nabulsi roundabout and Al-Rashid Street in Gaza City. “Hospitals should never be battlegrounds” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the chief of World Health Organization (WHO), said that “hospitals should never be battlegrounds. We are terribly worried about the situation at al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, which is endangering health workers, patients, and civilians.” Ghebreyesus added that the al-Shifa Hospital is partially operating. In November, Israeli forces stormed the complex following days of siege, claiming that Hamas hosted a “command center” underneath the facility and has yet to present a proof. Israel also bombed several houses on Al-Jalaa Street in north Gaza, which is close to the al-Shifa Hospital, killing and injuring several Palestinians and causing immense damage to the area. Some Palestinians were walking on Al-Jalaa Street at the time of the air raids, others came back from getting flour to find their apartments bombed while their families were inside. In the past 24 hours, Israeli forces committed several massacres in various areas of the Gaza Strip, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health on Telegram, killing at least 93 people and injuring 142. Thousands remain under the rubble of bombed buildings. Israeli bombing killed 16 Palestinians in north Gaza overnight. At least 15 people were killed in an Israeli air raid on a house of the Muqbel family in central Gaza City. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said that 14 members have been killed since the Israeli aggression started on Gaza in October. In north Gaza, Israel bombed the house of the Al-Banna family in Jabalia, killing at least eight people, Wafa reported. Hundreds of Palestinians saw their tents sink or blown away as a result of strong wind and torrential rain in Deir al-Balah, Rafah, and the Al-Mawasi area in Khan Younis overnight, Wafa reported. Israel denies entry for UNRWA chief to Rafah Philippe Lazzarini, the chief of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), was barred entry to Rafah by Israel, as Tel Aviv claimed he did not follow “proper procedure.” Last month, Lazzarini accused Israel of aiming to destroy UNRWA and defended the organization’s relentless work in offering humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. “I intended to go to Rafah today, but I have been informed an hour ago that my entry into Rafah is declined,” Lazzarini said during a press conference in Cairo on Monday alongside the Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry. Shoukry said that Lazzarini was barred by Israel. “You were declined by the Israeli government, refused the entry, which is an unprecedented move for a representative at this high position,” he said. Although the Rafah crossing is an entry point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, Israel is in charge of who can enter or leave the enclave, according to the Israeli-Egyptian agreement. Lazzarini also accused Israel of creating a man-made famine in Gaza and said that UNRWA was “engaged in a race against the clock to try to reverse the impact of the spreading hunger and the looming famine in the Gaza Strip.” He added that his visit “was supposed to coordinate and improve the humanitarian response. This man-made starvation under our watch is a stain on our collective humanity.” “Too much time was wasted, all land crossings must open now. Famine can be averted with political will,” Lazzarini said. Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine, wrote on X platform that “Israel wants no witnesses, no truth-tellers”, in a comment on Lazzarini’s entry denial. On Monday, Israeli settlers vandalized the headquarters of UNRWA in occupied Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. They have affixed posters on the main gate calling for the shutdown of UNRWA agency, which also provides humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Jerusalem’s refugee camps, and operate in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Muslims who managed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque are seen performing tarawih and night prayers during holy month of Ramadan in Jerusalem on March 17, 2024. (Photo: Department of Islamic Awqaf in Jerusalem/APA Images) Muslims who managed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque are seen performing tarawih and night prayers during holy month of Ramadan in Jerusalem on March 17, 2024. (Photo: Department of Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem/APA Images) Israeli settlers attack Deir Istiya village Overnight, Israeli forces arrested several Palestinians from the occupied West Bank towns of Hebron, Jenin, Qalqilya, Nablus, and the Balata refugee camp. In Jerusalem, only 25,000 Palestinians were allowed by Israeli forces to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Ramadan’s Al-Tarawih prayer on the ninth night. This is a sharp drop from the 60,000 Palestinians who performed Al-Tarawih on Saturday night. Israeli authorities are still limiting the number of Palestinians from the West Bank to enter Jerusalem. Last week, Israeli forces set up at least 30 makeshift checkpoints on the outskirts of the Old City, at the city’s gates and the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Since October, Israel has issued 100 deportation orders against Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and Palestinian citizens of Israel, barring 55 of them from entry to Jerusalem and 45 to Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Wadi Hilweh Human Rights Information Center. Wadi Hilweh added that this has become a routine policy “to deprive Palestinians of their right to worship and visit Al-Aqsa,” especially around religious occasions such as Ramadan. In the north of the West Bank, Israeli settlers attacked Deir Istiya village near Salfit, stole contents from an agricultural room owned by Youssef Salman, and destroyed the solar panels, Wafa reported. Marwan Al-Barghouti’s life is in danger inside Israeli prison Ahmed Al-Tibi, the Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, warned that the life of Marwan Al-Barghouti is at risk inside Israeli prison. Barghouti, a popular national figure and Fatah leader was put in solitary confinement in Megiddo prison. Since October, he has moved between several detention centers, including Ofer, Ramla, and Rimonim. “Marwan Al-Barghouti’s life is in danger inside the prison due to the assault on him and other detainees. I hold Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responsible for any harm caused to him, his life, or the lives of the prisoners,” Al-Tibi said in a video post on the X platform. He added that Barghouti was assaulted and bled as a result, and warned that since October, 13 Palestinians died inside Israeli jail, “some of them were found murdered, according to families and judges, due to violence and torture.” Barghouti is seen by Palestinians as a national figure who could bridge the schism between Fatah and Hamas and lead a future Palestinian state. Hamas insisted that Barghouti will be among the prisoners that will be released in any exchange deal with Israel. Last month, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the National Security Minister, said that he ordered the transfer of Barghouti to solitary confinement in prison “following information about a planned uprising” in the occupied West Bank. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/03/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-165-israeli-attacks-escalate-on-rafah-al-shifa-hospital-invasion-enters-second-day/ https://telegra.ph/Operation-Al-Aqsa-Flood-Day-165-Israeli-attacks-escalate-on-Rafah-al-Shifa-Hospital-invasion-enters-second-day-03-20
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 165: Israeli attacks escalate on Rafah, al-Shifa Hospital invasion enters second day
    After a night of heavy bombardment the PA warns Israel’s Rafah offensive has begun. Meanwhile, the invasion of al-Shifa hospital continues; all communication with medical staff trapped inside the hospital has been silent since Monday evening.
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  • ☆Tadabbur Kalamullah 15 Syaaban 1445H☆

    كُتِبَ عَلَیۡكُمُ ٱلۡقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرۡهࣱ لَّكُمۡۖ 

    "Kamu diwajibkan berperang (untuk menentang pencerobohan) sedang peperangan itu ialah perkara yang kamu benci..."  [Surah al-Baqarah 216]

    #Dalam Islam, jihad bertujuan untuk membangunkan masyarakat berdasarkan syariah Islam, memelihara dan memastikan maslahat masyarakat Islam dan manusia keseluruhannya agar terbela di atas prinsip keadilan yang telus. Jihad juga berperanan untuk memastikan ketinggian agama Allah swt supaya ia dapat disampaikan secara terbuka kepada manusia tanpa dihalang oleh sesiapa pun.

    #Pengembelingan usaha sama ada dalam bentuk tenaga, wang ringgit, fikiran ataupun kepakaran malahan jiwa dan raga sekalipun adalah perlu untuk memastikan ketiga-tiga perkara yang tersebut diatas terbela dan tidak diperkotak katikkan oleh musuh-musuh Islam. Kegigihan usaha dan pengorbanan yang dibuat oleh seseorang Muslim, masyarakat atau negara Islam untuk mewujudkan ketiga-tiga perkara tersebut diistilahkan sebagai jihad.

    #Sekiranya ketiga-tiga perkara di atas tergugat, maka usaha untuk mengembalikannya semula juga disebut sebagai jihad. Manakala orang-orang Islam yang terlibat dalam usaha tersebut dikenali sebagai Mujahid.

    #Sheikh Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi ada menulis di dalam sebuah bukunya dengan menyebut kata-kata daripada Imam Hassan al-Banna mengenai jihad iaitu:

    "Usaha kita dan jihad kita berfokus kepada dua paksi: prinsip (Islam) dan tanah air Islam".

    #Beliau iaitu Imam Hassan al-Banna telah menggabungkan kedua-dua perkara di atas kerana suatu ideologi itu hanya boleh ditegakkan di atas sebuah tanah air atau negara yang bebas dan berpegang kepada hukum-hakam Islam. Dengan negara Islam ini, Islam itu dapat hidup dan memandu ummah ke arah kesejahteraan dunia dan akhirat.

    #Oleh sebab itu, para fuqahak Islam telah bersepakat bahawa adalah merupakan tanggungjawab setiap orang Islam untuk mempertahankan setiap tanah yang dikuasai dan dijajah oleh golongan yang tidak beriman. Seterusnya, mereka menyatakan jihad tersebut adalah fardhu ain terhadap setiap muslim yang tinggal di tanah air tersebut manakala orang Islam yang lain wajib memberikan sokongan kepada mereka dari segi kewangan, senjata dan tentera serta sebarang kepakaran sebagaimana yang diperlukan untuk memastikan tanah air tersebut bebas daripada aktiviti kezaliman yang dilakukan oleh golongan penjajah yang tidak beriman.

    #Imam Hassan al-Banna juga menyatakan: "Islam mewajibkan jihad ke atas penganut-penganutnya bukanlah bertujuan untuk mencari permusuhan di antara sesama manusia. Bukan pula untuk membuka jalan ke jurang tamak dan haloba kepada harta benda dunia secara merampas dengan kekerasan. Sebaliknya jihad itu diwajibkan semata-mata bertujuan untuk menjamin keamanan dan perdamaian dengan menunaikan perutusan agama yang diamanahkan Allah ke atas bahu tiap-tiap muslim. Amanah ini adalah untuk menyampaikan risalah agama yang memberi petunjuk kepada manusia menuju ke arah pintu gerbang keadilan dan kebenaran"

    ♡Jihad demi mewujudkan keadilan dan kedamaian serta menghapuskan kezaliman dan penindasan♡

    Ust naim
    Klik link ini untuk    
    http://bit.ly/tadabburkalamullah

    Facebook:   
    https://m.facebook.com/tadabburkalamullah
    ☆Tadabbur Kalamullah 15 Syaaban 1445H☆ كُتِبَ عَلَیۡكُمُ ٱلۡقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرۡهࣱ لَّكُمۡۖ  "Kamu diwajibkan berperang (untuk menentang pencerobohan) sedang peperangan itu ialah perkara yang kamu benci..."  [Surah al-Baqarah 216] #Dalam Islam, jihad bertujuan untuk membangunkan masyarakat berdasarkan syariah Islam, memelihara dan memastikan maslahat masyarakat Islam dan manusia keseluruhannya agar terbela di atas prinsip keadilan yang telus. Jihad juga berperanan untuk memastikan ketinggian agama Allah swt supaya ia dapat disampaikan secara terbuka kepada manusia tanpa dihalang oleh sesiapa pun. #Pengembelingan usaha sama ada dalam bentuk tenaga, wang ringgit, fikiran ataupun kepakaran malahan jiwa dan raga sekalipun adalah perlu untuk memastikan ketiga-tiga perkara yang tersebut diatas terbela dan tidak diperkotak katikkan oleh musuh-musuh Islam. Kegigihan usaha dan pengorbanan yang dibuat oleh seseorang Muslim, masyarakat atau negara Islam untuk mewujudkan ketiga-tiga perkara tersebut diistilahkan sebagai jihad. #Sekiranya ketiga-tiga perkara di atas tergugat, maka usaha untuk mengembalikannya semula juga disebut sebagai jihad. Manakala orang-orang Islam yang terlibat dalam usaha tersebut dikenali sebagai Mujahid. #Sheikh Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi ada menulis di dalam sebuah bukunya dengan menyebut kata-kata daripada Imam Hassan al-Banna mengenai jihad iaitu: "Usaha kita dan jihad kita berfokus kepada dua paksi: prinsip (Islam) dan tanah air Islam". #Beliau iaitu Imam Hassan al-Banna telah menggabungkan kedua-dua perkara di atas kerana suatu ideologi itu hanya boleh ditegakkan di atas sebuah tanah air atau negara yang bebas dan berpegang kepada hukum-hakam Islam. Dengan negara Islam ini, Islam itu dapat hidup dan memandu ummah ke arah kesejahteraan dunia dan akhirat. #Oleh sebab itu, para fuqahak Islam telah bersepakat bahawa adalah merupakan tanggungjawab setiap orang Islam untuk mempertahankan setiap tanah yang dikuasai dan dijajah oleh golongan yang tidak beriman. Seterusnya, mereka menyatakan jihad tersebut adalah fardhu ain terhadap setiap muslim yang tinggal di tanah air tersebut manakala orang Islam yang lain wajib memberikan sokongan kepada mereka dari segi kewangan, senjata dan tentera serta sebarang kepakaran sebagaimana yang diperlukan untuk memastikan tanah air tersebut bebas daripada aktiviti kezaliman yang dilakukan oleh golongan penjajah yang tidak beriman. #Imam Hassan al-Banna juga menyatakan: "Islam mewajibkan jihad ke atas penganut-penganutnya bukanlah bertujuan untuk mencari permusuhan di antara sesama manusia. Bukan pula untuk membuka jalan ke jurang tamak dan haloba kepada harta benda dunia secara merampas dengan kekerasan. Sebaliknya jihad itu diwajibkan semata-mata bertujuan untuk menjamin keamanan dan perdamaian dengan menunaikan perutusan agama yang diamanahkan Allah ke atas bahu tiap-tiap muslim. Amanah ini adalah untuk menyampaikan risalah agama yang memberi petunjuk kepada manusia menuju ke arah pintu gerbang keadilan dan kebenaran" ♡Jihad demi mewujudkan keadilan dan kedamaian serta menghapuskan kezaliman dan penindasan♡ 🐊Ust naim Klik link ini untuk     http://bit.ly/tadabburkalamullah Facebook:    https://m.facebook.com/tadabburkalamullah
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    Tadabbur Kalamullah
    Oleh Ustaz Muhamad Naim Haji Hashim
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  • https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/02/why-volodymyr-zelensky-wants-to-meet-bangladesh-pm-sheikh-hasina-in-munich/
    https://www.vtforeignpolicy.com/2024/02/why-volodymyr-zelensky-wants-to-meet-bangladesh-pm-sheikh-hasina-in-munich/
    WWW.VTFOREIGNPOLICY.COM
    Why Volodymyr Zelensky wants to meet Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina in Munich?
    Before January 7 general elections in Bangladesh, key figures in Biden administration were making frantic bids in destabilizing the country by foiling the election with active collaboration of Al Qaeda-connected Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist-jihadist conglomerate with the notorious agenda of turning Bangladesh into a neo-Taliban state. Such a disastrous possibility was successfully...
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  • UN official warns of “inevitable” famine with countries pausing UNRWA funding
    An official at the United Nations has warned of "inevitable" famine after several countries paused funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
    Michael Fakri, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, issued this warning in a Jan. 28 post on X. He wrote: "Some states decided to defund UNRWA for the alleged actions of a small number of employees. This collectively punishes [more than] 2.2 million Palestinians. Famine was imminent; famine is now inevitable."

    The decision by the U.S. and several other countries to stop funding the UNRWA followed accusations by Israel that 12 of the group's employees took part in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel. These same employees also reportedly aided Hamas in the days following the incident.

    The U.S. announced that it would suspend funding to the agency until the allegations were addressed. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Italy and Finland followed suit. Norway, Spain and Ireland refused to join them, announcing that they would continue funding the UNRWA.

    Meanwhile, the agency said on Jan. 26 that it had severed ties with the employees reportedly involved and launched an investigation over the matter. (Related: United Nations agency in charge of Gaza relief to investigate claims that some of its employees took part in Oct. 7 attack.)

    UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini remarked: "The Israeli authorities have provided [us] with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on Oct. 7. To protect the agency's ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay."

    In a statement the following day, Lazzarini lamented the "shocking" actions of the U.S. and other benefactors in response to Tel Aviv's allegations. "These decisions threaten our ongoing humanitarian work across the region, including and especially in the Gaza Strip," he stated. "Many are hungry as the clock is ticking towards a looming famine."

    Palestinian officials condemned the UNRWA defunding

    Established in 1949, the UNRWA provides healthcare, education and humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It is the second-largest employer in Gaza after Hamas with 30,000 employees in all, and 13,000 of its employees are in the strip.

    One senior Palestinian official denounced the decision by the U.S. and others to suspend the UNRWA funding.

    "At this particular time and in light of the continuing aggression against the Palestinian people, we need the maximum support for this international organization – not stopping support and assistance to it," remarked Palestinian National Authority Civilian Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh in a post on X.

    "We call on the countries that announced the cessation of their support for UNRWA to immediately reverse their decision, which entails great political and humanitarian relief risks."

    Even Hamas, whose violence led to the current conflict in Gaza, accused Israel of a "campaign of incitement" against UN agencies delivering vital supplies to Palestinians. The group, formally the Islamic Resistance Movement, posted on Telegram: "We ask the UN and the international organizations to not cave into the threats and blackmail [by Israel]."

    Tel Aviv is unconvinced, however. The Israeli government has attacked the UNRWA for some time, accusing it of fueling anti-Israel incitement – something the agency denies.

    Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Jan. 27 that the government would seek to stop the UNRWA from operating in Gaza when the war ends.

    "We have been warning for years: UNRWA perpetuates the refugee issue, obstructs peace and serves as a civilian arm of Hamas in Gaza," he wrote on X. "We will work to garner bipartisan support in the U.S., the European Union and other nations globally for this policy aimed at halting UNRWA's activities in Gaza."

    Head over to IsraelCollapse.com for similar stories.

    Watch this video about children being taught antisemitism in schools run by the UNRWA.

    This video is from the American Patriots God Country channel on Brighteon.com.

    More related stories:

    Israel has already killed 88 United Nations officials in Gaza.

    9 UN workers killed as Gaza Strip suffers from unrelenting Israeli airstrikes.

    UN official accuses Israel of plotting MASS EXPULSION of Gazans into Egypt.

    UNRWA warns of growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid continued Israeli bombings.

    NO SAFE PLACE: Israel attacks UNRWA school in Gaza refugee camp, leaving 6 dead and dozens injured.

    Sources include:

    MiddleEastEye.net 1

    UNRWA.org

    MiddleEastEye.net 2

    Brighteon.com

    http://www.naturalnews.com/2024-02-01-un-official-warns-inevitable-famine-funding-pause.html

    https://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/02/un-official-warns-of-inevitable-famine.html
    UN official warns of “inevitable” famine with countries pausing UNRWA funding An official at the United Nations has warned of "inevitable" famine after several countries paused funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Michael Fakri, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, issued this warning in a Jan. 28 post on X. He wrote: "Some states decided to defund UNRWA for the alleged actions of a small number of employees. This collectively punishes [more than] 2.2 million Palestinians. Famine was imminent; famine is now inevitable." The decision by the U.S. and several other countries to stop funding the UNRWA followed accusations by Israel that 12 of the group's employees took part in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel. These same employees also reportedly aided Hamas in the days following the incident. The U.S. announced that it would suspend funding to the agency until the allegations were addressed. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Italy and Finland followed suit. Norway, Spain and Ireland refused to join them, announcing that they would continue funding the UNRWA. Meanwhile, the agency said on Jan. 26 that it had severed ties with the employees reportedly involved and launched an investigation over the matter. (Related: United Nations agency in charge of Gaza relief to investigate claims that some of its employees took part in Oct. 7 attack.) UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini remarked: "The Israeli authorities have provided [us] with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on Oct. 7. To protect the agency's ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay." In a statement the following day, Lazzarini lamented the "shocking" actions of the U.S. and other benefactors in response to Tel Aviv's allegations. "These decisions threaten our ongoing humanitarian work across the region, including and especially in the Gaza Strip," he stated. "Many are hungry as the clock is ticking towards a looming famine." Palestinian officials condemned the UNRWA defunding Established in 1949, the UNRWA provides healthcare, education and humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It is the second-largest employer in Gaza after Hamas with 30,000 employees in all, and 13,000 of its employees are in the strip. One senior Palestinian official denounced the decision by the U.S. and others to suspend the UNRWA funding. "At this particular time and in light of the continuing aggression against the Palestinian people, we need the maximum support for this international organization – not stopping support and assistance to it," remarked Palestinian National Authority Civilian Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh in a post on X. "We call on the countries that announced the cessation of their support for UNRWA to immediately reverse their decision, which entails great political and humanitarian relief risks." Even Hamas, whose violence led to the current conflict in Gaza, accused Israel of a "campaign of incitement" against UN agencies delivering vital supplies to Palestinians. The group, formally the Islamic Resistance Movement, posted on Telegram: "We ask the UN and the international organizations to not cave into the threats and blackmail [by Israel]." Tel Aviv is unconvinced, however. The Israeli government has attacked the UNRWA for some time, accusing it of fueling anti-Israel incitement – something the agency denies. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Jan. 27 that the government would seek to stop the UNRWA from operating in Gaza when the war ends. "We have been warning for years: UNRWA perpetuates the refugee issue, obstructs peace and serves as a civilian arm of Hamas in Gaza," he wrote on X. "We will work to garner bipartisan support in the U.S., the European Union and other nations globally for this policy aimed at halting UNRWA's activities in Gaza." Head over to IsraelCollapse.com for similar stories. Watch this video about children being taught antisemitism in schools run by the UNRWA. This video is from the American Patriots God Country channel on Brighteon.com. More related stories: Israel has already killed 88 United Nations officials in Gaza. 9 UN workers killed as Gaza Strip suffers from unrelenting Israeli airstrikes. UN official accuses Israel of plotting MASS EXPULSION of Gazans into Egypt. UNRWA warns of growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid continued Israeli bombings. NO SAFE PLACE: Israel attacks UNRWA school in Gaza refugee camp, leaving 6 dead and dozens injured. Sources include: MiddleEastEye.net 1 UNRWA.org MiddleEastEye.net 2 Brighteon.com http://www.naturalnews.com/2024-02-01-un-official-warns-inevitable-famine-funding-pause.html https://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/02/un-official-warns-of-inevitable-famine.html
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    UN official warns of “inevitable” famine with countries pausing UNRWA funding – NaturalNews.com
    An official at the United Nations has warned of “inevitable” famine after several countries paused funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Michael Fakri, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, issued this warning in a Jan. 28 post on X. He wrote: “Some states decided to defund UNRWA for the […]
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  • VIDEO: Life in Jerusalem under Israel’s military dictatorship
    Jeremy LoffredoJanuary 17, 2024

    Journalist Jeremy Loffredo visits the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, a climate of unprecedented repression has descended since October 7. Loffredo documents settler terror attacks on businesses and speaks to local activists who tell him they fear arrest and beatings from Israeli police if they speak out against the assault on Gaza.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcP_WlWAJ38
    VIDEO: Life in Jerusalem under Israel’s military dictatorship Jeremy LoffredoJanuary 17, 2024 Journalist Jeremy Loffredo visits the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, a climate of unprecedented repression has descended since October 7. Loffredo documents settler terror attacks on businesses and speaks to local activists who tell him they fear arrest and beatings from Israeli police if they speak out against the assault on Gaza. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcP_WlWAJ38
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