Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Four Reasons Why Liberation of Aleppo Would Mean an End to the Syrian War

As the Syrian army advances in the jihadist-ravaged city of Aleppo, Russian political analysts explain why the once-vibrant metropolis, formerly home to 2.3 million people, is of prime importance to all the parties of the conflict and can play a key role in settlement of the ongoing crisis.

The first group of residents trapped in Aleppo’s militant-occupied eastern neighborhoods has started to escape through a humanitarian corridor created with Russia’s help, according to reports broadcast by Al Mayadeen TV.

Leaflets were dropped on Thursday over the city with instructions on how to approach checkpoints and a map showing the corridors.

Those who want to leave are supposed to wave the leaflet with their right hand raised above their head and the other hand either around their head or holding a child’s hand, the leaflet reportedly says. While approaching checkpoints the residents are advised to move slowly and to follow the commands of the Syrian military.

Once near checkpoints, they will be required to turn around to demonstrate they do not have explosives on them.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Thursday that Russia and the Syrian government have jointly launched a large-scale humanitarian relief operation in Aleppo, establishing three corridors for civilians and one for militants wishing to lay down arms.

Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Thursday that President Assad has issued a decree granting amnesty to all militants who surrender within three months. This prompted “scores of terrorists” to turn themselves in and lay down their arms.

Meanwhile, local media reports suggest that the Syrian government forces are ready to retake the desperate city; they’ve already re-established full control over two more strategic districts along the last access road into opposition-held east Aleppo: the neighborhood Bani Zeid and a second rebel-held district adjacent to Bani Zeid.

A military source told SANA that army engineering units had dismantled the explosives and removed mines from its streets and squares, with the Syrian army establishing full control over the Efrin bus station, youth housing and all the building blocks and factories in al-Liramoun in the northern outskirts of Aleppo.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Shapovalov, the Director of the Institute of Political Science, Law and Social Development has explained to RT why Aleppo, Syria’s most important economic and geopolitical center, might become a key to fully resolving the Syrian conflict.

Aleppo — Syria’s most important economic and trade center with advantageous geopolitical position

“Aleppo is of prime importance to all the parties of the conflict as it is Syria’s most important economic and trade center; the city lies on the crossroad of the country’s trade routes and holds a very advantageous geopolitical position,” he said.

“Full control over Aleppo allows one to control not only all of northern Syria but the whole territory along the border with Turkey, the district inhabited by Kurds, and the territory of northwestern Iraq,” the political analyst explained.

“Aleppo is the dominating center of this whole region. And for the Syrian government forces, for their adversaries, for Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US it is the key to control over the whole Syrian territory and adjacent regions.”

Hence, Shapovalov said, there’s no wonder that since the very start of the military conflict in the country there has been fierce fighting for this city.

It is the key to control over the whole Syrian territory and adjacent regions

Another political scientist, head of the Center for Middle East and Central Asia Studies Semyon Bagdasarov, also explained that Aleppo is the top strategic point, the economic capital of Syria and its clean-up could be a grandiose victory for Syria and Russia.

“However the liberation of Aleppo without closure of Syrian-Turkish border crossings, first and foremost in the city of Azaz, will be a hard task,” he said.

It is essential for cooperation with the Syrian Kurds

“Azaz — is a Turkish crossing gate and a whole load of arms, ammunition and thousands of militants have got into Syria through this crossing. It must be closed and it could be dome only in alliance with the quasi-state [known as] the Federation of North Syria – Rojava, or otherwise the Syrian Kurds,” Bagdasarov explained.

The political analyst further said why the territory under the control of the Syrian Kurds will play a vital role in the recapture of Aleppo:

“There are over 2,000 NATO servicemen on this territory, including the American special forces and its engineer-sapper battalions and the Danish, UK, French and German units. There is no clear border among them and during an offensive there might be undesirable clashes.”

Vladimir Shapovalov also noted the Kurds, more than anyone else are interested in the liquidation of the jihadists and might become a key ally to President Assad.

“For the Kurds, the most important thing is the fight against the Islamist militants, which are their major adversary in establishing Kurdish autonomy,” he said.

“In such a context, the alliance with the Syrian government is of primary importance to the Kurds, as it is Assad who could ensure the security of the Kurdish areas, not only from the terrorists but from Turkish claims as well,” he added.

Control over Aleppo would allow for the completion of the restoration of the Syrian government’s authority over most of the country

Semyon Bagdasarov also agreed that Aleppo is a sweet spot for Turkey, as it is the gateway to the whole north-west of Syria, including Aleppo Province.

“Turks historically regard Aleppo as their city and think that the population of the city gravitates more towards Turkey, but it is not the case,” he said.

The political analysts agree that the liberation of the city would mean the liberation of Syria and the end of the war.

“Control over Aleppo would allow for the completion of the restoration of the Syrian government’s authority over most of the country, the most densely populated and the most economically developed part of the country” said Vladimir Shapovalov.

“After establishing control over Aleppo, control over the rest of Syria would only take a couple of weeks”, he concluded.

Paris Peace Talks Embolden Status Quo of Incremental Genocide in Palestine

The ill-fated peace talks denounced by both parties do little but provide a veneer of legitimacy to the rightward creep of Netanyahu’s apartheid regime.

Peace talks began in Paris on Friday, led by US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, with an espoused aim to restart negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians that have repeatedly failed since the Jewish state was established in 1948, in the heart of ancient Arab lands.

The diplomats were joined by representatives from the Arab League, the European Union and several neighboring Arab states, but notably the meeting, designed to reestablish peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, included no representatives for either of the adversaries.

The Israeli Prime Minister publicly blasted the initiative as his country makes a hard shift toward more aggressive militarism against their Palestinian neighbors. In May, Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed controversial far-right politician Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister to replace the more moderate Moshe Ya’alon. Reacting to the appointment, UN Middle-East envoy Nikolay Maladenov said on Wednesday that Israeli ministers are “killing hope” for peace, following comments by the Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, that a Palestinian state will never be allowed.

“As long as we are in the government, there will be no Palestinian state, there will be no settlement evacuations and we will not give any land to our enemies,” Shaked said on Tuesday.

The situation for Palestinians has grown more desperate in recent years, with childhood poverty increasing at a near exponential rate, people repeatedly dispossessed of their land and under constant bombardment by Israeli defense forces. The climate of violence and fear has been repeatedly noted as closely resembling the South African regime of apartheid, including remarks by former US President Jimmy Carter.

The Palestinian people have been devastated by efforts by Israeli officials to co-opt their leadership, providing victims with few options to voice their dissent to a global audience about the daily tragedy they endure.

Mass killings of Palestinians by IDF forces have given way to a rash of stabbings in Israel by beleaguered Palestinians. More peaceful approaches, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) program advanced by Palestinian leadership have had limited effect on Israel, with the world refusing to cut trade ties with the country and leading to ever-higher levels of poverty in Gaza and the West Bank.

On Thursday, Loud & Clear’s Brian Becker sat down with peace activist Miko Peled and political analyst Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich to discuss whether the Paris peace talks are about peace or if they are a fig-leaf to justify the status quo of Palestinian displacement.

Do the Paris peace talks have any significance or hope of success?

“Frankly the answer is no,” said Sepahpour-Ulrich. “Israel has never been interested in a political solution and the fact that we continue to hold these peace talks, with the first one in 1949, the Lausanne Conference, and many more since 1979.”

“This whole thing reminds me of what Desmond Tutu said about the missionaries – ‘They had the bible and we had the land, they told us to close our eyes and then they had the land and we were holding the Bible,’ and the same thing is true now with these peace talks,” she said.

“Nothing ever comes out of these talks and it tends to buy Israel time to further occupy Palestinian land and engage in incremental genocide,” stated the analyst. “All of these rounds of talks are just buying more time while the Palestinian land is shrinking and so is the number of Palestinian people.”

“If somebody is serious about creating peace then we need more than talk, we need action,” she said.

Why is there no focus in these talks on holding Israel accountable for settlements?

“Let me reframe the conversation for a second if I may. I believe that the only way to move forward is to recognize the following: Palestine was occupied in 1948 and a racist, apartheid regime known as Israel was established in Palestine. In 1967, the state of Israel completed that occupation of Palestine by taking a few small parts that it left out in the West Bank and Gaza strip that then calling it Israel, even though we know it is Palestine,” said Peled detailing the history of Palestinian displacement.

“The establishment of a single state with exclusive rights for Jewish people has been in place ever since and that is it. This idea that there is a Palestine different from Israel and Israel different from Palestine and that somehow the state of Israel will negotiate with a Palestinian entity for some sort of compromise within this framework is hallucination, it is science fiction,” he said.

“The only way to move forward is a complete condemnation of the racist, colonialist project that is called the state of Israel and to get rid of it just like apartheid was done away with in South Africa, with a democracy of equal rights, where Palestinians have all of their rights, the right of return is materialized, and this whole racist, colonialist project is done away with. That is the only way to move forward,” stated the activist.

Peled commented that hope for Palestinians will come not through talks, but through resistance, likening their situation to the South African apartheid. The activist praised Palestinian leadership for modeling their Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) effort on the successful struggle for liberation in South Africa, but considers the situation in the Middle East to be more perilous, with countries around the world refusing to join in solidarity by cutting off trade with Israel.

Sepahpour-Ulrich agreed that the commonplace notion of a two-state solution has always been a false cry for peace, and criticized Europe and the United States for allowing the oppression to continue.

“There is no question in my mind that there is no will to change the status quo, the Europeans and the Israelis and their trade has grown over the years. If you are under the belief that there needs to be a two-state solution or you think that this occupation needs to end, then you freeze your trade, you don’t allow it to grow,” she said. “The United States has been funding this occupation, so, what they are doing is giving lip service, and it is just propaganda, they are selling a false truth.”

“There is no reality to these peace talks. The world is being lied to,” said the analyst. “They are just biding their time to wipe Palestine off the map, which Google incidentally did in one instance.”

Chomsky: Obama ‘Dangerously Escalating Tensions Along the Russian Border’

In a new interview, linguist Noam Chomsky warns that US President Barack Obama’s military buildup in Eastern Europe is threatening to destabilize the region.

“He has been more reluctant to engage troops on the ground than some of his predecessors and advisers, and instead has rapidly escalated special operations and his global assassination (drone campaign), a moral disaster and arguably illegal as well,” Chomsky said during a recent interview with Truthout, referring to Obama’s foreign policy.

“On other fronts, it is a mixed story,” he adds. “Obama has continued to bar a nuclear weapons-free (technically, WMD-free) zone in the Middle East, evidently motivated by the need to protect Israeli nuclear weapons from scrutiny.”

“By so doing, he is endangering the Nonproliferation Treaty, the most important disarmament treaty, which is contingent on establishing such a zone.”

But the biggest problem may be Washington’s actions in Eastern Europe.

“He is dangerously escalating tensions along the Russian border, extending earlier policies,” Chomsky said.

The United States has spearheaded NATO’s gradual buildup in Poland and the Baltic states, citing “Russian aggression.” Upcoming military drills have been criticized by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov.

“We are convinced that these exercises carry a serious destabilizing component,” he told reporters on Thursday. “Their main goal is to continue the aggravation of tensions along the Russian borders.”

Obama’s policy on nuclear weapons is also worrying to Chomsky.

“His trillion-dollar program for modernizing the nuclear weapons system is the opposite of what should be done,” he said.

While treaties forbid the United States from expanding its nuclear arsenal, the upgrades include improved targeting systems, as well as adjustable yields, which could, in theory, make the weapons easier to use.

“These and other moves amount to a mixed story, ranging from criminal to moderate improvement,” Chomsky said.

While a new President will take office after the November elections, the philosopher doesn’t have much hope that things will change.

“Financialization has of course exploded during the neoliberal period, and the general policies, pretty much global in character, are designed to enhance private and corporate power,” he said. “That sets off a vicious cycle in which concentration of wealth leads to concentration of political power, which in turn yields legislation and administrative practices that carry the process forward.”

The Day That OPEC Died: Saudis Aim to Bankrupt Cartel, Seek Oil Monopoly

The oil export alliance failed to reach an agreement to cap production on Thursday. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih again walked away from the table as the kingdom looks to consolidate market share.

The collapse in negotiations, along with a forward-looking refusal by the influential Saudi delegation to consider capping production, means a free-for-all fight for market share among the world’s oil producers that is all but certain to lead to collapsing oil prices.

Economic analysts have already raised the alarm that oil-export dependent countries like Venezuela, Algeria, and war-torn Libya, who lack access to global credit markets, will be unable to weather the storm, leading to humanitarian crises and widespread social strife.

Why is Saudi Arabia pushing for overproduction?

In February 2016, world oil prices cascaded to $27 per barrel, down from a July 2008 peak of $145 per barrel, as the Saudis ramped up oil production from a 2009 dip. In the midst of the 2008 market crash, Saudi’s top oil official, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, called for the kingdom to immediately increase oil production to 11.5 million barrels of oil per day, and then to 12.5 million barrels daily by the end of 2016.

Energy market analysts initially scoffed at the aggressive move to undercut world oil prices, noting that Saudi Arabia’s own budget is dependent on a $66.70 per barrel oil price, with oil-extraction prices much higher for other OPEC countries. Market watchers predicted that Saudi Arabia would eventually push the oil alliance to cap production so as to keep prices at economically sustainable levels.

Saudi Arabia instead sought to increase market share when competitor peers were at their most vulnerable. North American oil producers, unlike Saudi Arabia, are not state-sponsored enterprises propped up by government handouts during down markets. When these US and Canadian oil resource industries fell into bankruptcy they became ripe for capture by foreign investors.

As energy analyst Marin Katusa told Radio Sputnik, Saudi Arabia has swooped into the North American energy market, through private equity firms, buying US and Canadian fracking technology and oil fields at pennies on the dollar.

Similarly, the kingdom looks to rebuff efforts by other OPEC members to expand oil market share. By pushing oil prices to their lowest level in years, the Saudis look to not only bankrupt Western oil companies, but also render insolvent entire oil producing states in order to snatch up foreign oil resources on the cheap.

Oil prices have recovered some in recent months, to $49 per barrel, due to oil disruptions in Canada after the Fort McMurray fire and oil extraction remaining offline in war-torn Syria, Iraq, and Nigeria.

Before Thursday’s OPEC meeting, Radio Sputnik sat down with Justin Dargin, Global Energy Scholar at the University of Oxford to discuss the fracturing of OPEC and the kingdom’s plans to corner oil energy markets.

Do OPEC member states face a fiscal crisis if an agreement is not reached?

“Yes, the breakeven oil price, which is the price that most OPEC member states need for their budgets to remain solvent, for most Gulf States, is between $80 and $100 per barrel, to maintain their budgetary outlays without having to go into some kind of major deficit,” said Dargin. “The price currently is not viable for the long term, but I believe there is this sentiment for the OPEC members that prices may rebound in the future.”

The analyst suggested that the market rebound over the past few months may be little more than an oasis for the smaller, fiscally-strapped OPEC member states, based primarily on seasonal demand changes, especially an increase in demand during the summer for air conditioning, travel, and leisure.

Dargin noted that he does not expect that market prices will recover in the near-term, citing a lack of structural changes in the market after prices collapsed to a low of $27 in February.

Can smaller OPEC member states survive these historically low prices?

“We can see already that in the case of Venezuela that they are not weathering it very well and they don’t have as much sway in OPEC as other members,” said Dargin. “It will be quite hard for Venezuela and the smaller producers to encourage or force Saudi Arabia to come to an agreement.”

“Many of these smaller oil producers like Venezuela and Algeria will not be able to weather the storm and it will be a very rough road ahead,” he said.

At least 88 killed, dozens more injured in triple car bombings across Baghdad

The Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has been rocked by three successive bombings that claimed the lives of dozens of civilians, according to police sources and media. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the so-far deadliest of the attacks.

The car bombing attack in the city’s district of Sadr City killed at least 63 people and injured dozens of others, AP reported citing Iraqi officials.

An SUV rigged with explosives was parked near a beauty salon in a busy market in the Sadr City neighborhood, Iraqi police reported.

The bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber, a media outlet that sympathizes with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) reported.

The blast killed over 20 people on the spot while others succumbed to their wounds shortly after. At least 60 people were injured by the blast, and many remain in critical condition.

Shortly after the first blast, two more attacks were recorded in the city. One of them occurred in the Kadhimiya district of northern Baghdad – an area of the city considered a center of Shiite Islam. The attack claimed the lives of 18 people, Iraqi police and hospital officials told AP on condition of anonymity, adding that at least 34 people have been injured.

One more bomb that went off in the Sunni district of Jamiya killed seven and wounded at least 22 people.

The officials told Reuters that the death toll figures are likely to rise.

IS targeted Sadr City in February in a twin bombing attack, which claimed the lives of 70 people.

The group is ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim and considers Muslims adhering to other sects of Islam apostates and their enemies.

Sectarian violence remains one of the biggest security challenges in Iraq, since the US invasion of Iraq deposed its Sunni minority in power and installed a Shiite majority government.

Military officers and former officials of Saddam Hussein’s government, whose careers were ruined by the change of regime in Baghdad, were instrumental in Islamic State’s rise from a little-known Iraqi ally of Al-Qaeda to the most-publicized terrorist threat in the modern world.

 

9,000 sorties, 400 localities freed: What Russia has achieved during its 5-month Syria operation

As Russia’s Vladimir Putin announced the start of the withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has reported the anti-terror operation’s achievements to the Commander-in-Chief.

“Backed by our aviation, Syrian forces have freed 400 populated areas and over 10,000 square kilometers [3,860 square miles] of territories,” Shoigu said during a Kremlin meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Terrorists have been forced out from Latakia and Aleppo, and Palmyra has been “blocked,” the military official reported to Putin, saying that military actions to free the UNESCO heritage site from militants continue. Hama and Homs Provinces in central Syria have been largely mopped up, and Kuweires airbase that had been besieged by terrorists for over three years was retaken.

Saying that Russia’s Air Force in Syria has conducted more than 9,000 sorties starting from September 30, 2015, the Defense Minister added that for the first time massive strikes at a range over 1,500 kilometers [930 miles] with both air and ship-launched missiles have been conducted.

With Russia’s support from the air, the Syrian army managed to retake control of oil and gas fields near Palmyra.

Three large fields have already started functioning in normal mode, the minister added.

In all, 209 oil production facilities and almost 3,000 oil delivery vehicles have been destroyed by Russia’s airstrikes.

“As a result of airstrikes, terrorists’ resources’ provision has been largely cut,” Shoigu told Putin, saying that petroleum trade routes with Turkey, as well as main routes of weapons provisions to terrorists have been blocked

Putin orders surprise Syria withdrawal – Beginning Tuesday

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In a surprise move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his military to start withdrawing the “main part” of its forces in Syria from Tuesday.

He said the Russian intervention had largely achieved its objectives.

The comments come amid fresh peace talks in Geneva aimed at resolving the five-year Syrian conflict.

Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose office said in a statement he had agreed to the move.

The pullout was “in accordance with the situation on the ground”, the statement said.

Russia began its campaign of air strikes in Syria last September, tipping the balance in favour of the Syrian government and allowing it to recapture territory from rebels.

Intra-Syrian Talks in Geneva Likely to Continue Until March 19 – Source

An informed source at the talks told Sputnik that the current round of Intra-Syrian talks in Geneva will most likely last until Friday.

The current round of Intra-Syrian talks in Geneva will most likely last until Friday, March 19, an informed source at the talks told Sputnik on Sunday.

“Most likely, this round of Intra-Syrian talks won’t go beyond Friday, March 19, ” the source said.

A new round of talks between the Syrian opposition and the country’s government is scheduled to start on Monday, and is expected to be over by March 24.

 

Al-Moallem: De Mistura Can’t Talk about Syria Presidential Elections

Syrian Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem said Saturday UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has no right to talk about Syrian presidential elections, noting that the Syrian Arab Republic delegation will not wait in Geneva forever for other parties to decide to show up.

During a press conference, al-Moallem said the Syrian Arab Republic delegation received a letter from de Mistura  scheduling Monday as a date for meeting at the UN HQ in Geneva within the Syrian-Syrian dialogue.

“Meeting with our delegation at first is a good thing,” he said, adding however that the Republic’s delegation “will not repeat the same mistake that happened in the previous round. They are going to wait for 24 hours only.”

“We are looking forward to having dialogue with the broadest spectrum of opposition groups in implementation of de Mistura’s mandate by the UN Security Council and the Vienna and Munich communiqués, particularly the national opposition…that is not linked to any foreign agendas,” al-Moallem added.

He commented on the UN Envoy’s recent statements setting up a schedule for Geneva talks which he said will discuss the regime, the constitution and the parliamentary and presidential elections, saying de Mistura doesn’t have the right to set a schedule, which is something up to the dialogue parties.

He went on saying that de Mistura must be aware, when he talks about the constitution, that it is the national unity government, the subject of discussion in the future, that will appoint a committee to draft a new constitution or amend the standing one, stressing that any outcome will be subject to referendum for approval.

Regarding the presidential elections, al-Moallem stressed that neither de Mistura nor anyone else whomsoever can discuss this issue as it is “an exclusive right of the Syrian people,” dismissing what the envoy said as “a deviation from all the UN documents.”

“We will no longer accept that [de Mistura] gives up objectivity to please this or that party, and our delegation will reject any attempt to put this issue on the schedule,” he added.

As for the upcoming parliamentary elections, al-Moallem said fulfilling the elections is part of the constitution, stressing that this issue should be respected where no reservations can be accepted by anyone, calling for a high turnout of Syrian voters.

Al-Moallem stressed that Syria is committed to the cessation of hostilities agreement, noting that there have been breaches of the agreement by the armed groups that were responded to by the army sometimes and overlooked in other times.

“We affirm out armed forces’ right to respond to breaches,” he added.

He used this opportunity to urge those who have taken up weapons to utilize the agreement of the cessation of hostilities and engage in reconciliations.

The crisis, he affirmed, is coming to an end, and we hereby welcome all those who want to join our armed forces in the fight against ISIL, al-Nusra Front and the terrorist organizations linked to them,” added al-Moallem.

In his comments on the talk about foreign ground intervention in Syria that came up in the past period, al-Moallem reaffirmed that “No one dares to intervene in Syria in a ground war, and that this talk has receded, noting that US President Barack Obama’s recent speech proved that he is not going to such a war.

“I say with confidence that our people will reject any attempts at dividing [the country],” he said.

Al-Moallem referred to the recent statements about a federal model in Syria made by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov as circulated by the media, clarifying that the statements were not quoted objectively because Ryabkov made it contingent on the Syrians’ approval.

“I say as a Syrian citizen, and I’m sure you are with me, that we reject the talk about federalism and we are with the unity of Syria,” he added.

The Foreign Minister reiterated in comments on statements by the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir that the latter is always repeating his talk at all occasions and what he said “was worthless”. “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” al-Moallem said.

He asserted that the Syrian people are optimistic about the talks in Geneva, adding however that while the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation is going to Geneva with the intention to made the dialogue a success, this issue depends also on the other parties as well.

“If those have illusions of taking over power through Geneva after they failed in the battlefield, they will fail once again,” he added.

He made it clear that nowhere in the UN documents there is something that talks about a transition period of presidency, “which is why there should be agreement on the definition of transition period.”

“As far as we understand it, transition is to move from a standing constitution to a new one and from a standing government to another that involves the other party,” he said.

Al-Moallem went on saying that the standing constitution will remain in place until holding a referendum by the Syrian people on a new or an amended one, reiterating again that there is no link between the legislative elections and what is going on in Geneva.

“We are going to Geneva and we do not know with whom we will have dialogue,” he said, reiterating that the Republic’s delegation will wait only 24 hours for the other parties to show up and if the other parties don’t show up by that time, the delegation will leave Geneva and the other party will be held responsible for the failure of the talks.

Al-Moallem affirmed that the Republic’s delegation does not put preconditions for the dialogue in Geneva, adding that those who know Syria and the Syrian leadership well realize that “we do not bow to anyone, whether states or groups.”

“We will not have dialogue with any side that discusses the position of the president. This is a red line and it is up to the Syrians alone,” he reiterated.

Asked about the Kurds in Syria, al-Moallem affirmed that “Our brothers, the Kurds, are Syrian citizens, and they are with us in the same trench against ISIL.”

مصر تحافظ على “شعرة معاوية” مع الخليج إزاء ملفات الشرق الأوسط العالقة

 

الرئيس عبد الفتاح السيسى وخادم الحرمين والرئيس الباكستانى نواز الشريف والسودانى عمر البشير – الاربعاء 9 مارس 2016

استقبل خادم الحرمين الشريفين الملك سلمان بن عبدالعزيز آل سعود في مدينة الملك خالد العسكرية في حفر الباطن مساء الأربعاء الرئيس عبد الفتاح السيسي والرؤساء والمسؤولين الذين قدموا لحضور المناورة الختامية لتمرين رعد الشمال والعرض العسكري للقوات المسلحة السعودية والقوات المشاركة في التمرين

وقالت مصادر مصرية إن السيسي سيشهد الخميس 10 مارس/ آذار العرض مع خادم الحرمين الشريفين الملك سلمان بن عبدالعزيز وعدد من قادة الدول، منهم أمير دولة الكويت الشيخ صباح الأحمد الجابر الصباح وعاهل الأردن الملك عبدالله الثاني بن الحسين وملك البحرين الشيخ حمد بن خليفة والشيخ محمد بن زايد ولي عهد أبوظبي والرئيس السوداني عمر البشير وعدد من الرؤساء ووزراء الدفاع ورؤساء الأركان وكبار المسؤولين بعدد من الدول الإفريقية والعربية والإسلامية

وأضافت أنه من المقرر أن يعقد خادم الحرمين الشريفين الملك سلمان بن عبدالعزيز جلسة مباحثات ثنائية مع الرئيس المصري لبحث تعزيز التعاون الثنائي، ومناقشة قضايا المنطقة، وفي مقدمتها الأوضاع في سوريا ومنطقة الخليج واليمن وجهود مكافحة الإرهاب

وأكدت الرئاسة المصرية، على لسان المتحدث الرسمي باسمها علاء يوسف، أن حرص مصر على المشاركة في مناورات “رعد الشمال” جاء في إطار دورها لتعزيز أمن المنطقة العربية ومنطقة الخليج العربي، الذي تعُدُّه مصر جزءاً لا يتجزأ من أمنها القومي، والتزاماً بتعزيز روح التعاون الإيجابية البناءة بين الدول العربية في هذه المرحلة الدقيقة، التي يمر بها عدد من الدول العربية، والتي تستدعي تحقيق وحدة الصف والتضامن العربي

وتعكس المشاركة المصرية سعيها الحثيث لتشكيل القوة العربية المشتركة، التي عطلتها الرياض فعليا حتى الآن، على أمل أن تكون نواة لقوات تتحرك لتحقيق مهمات داخل منطقة مضطربة، بقيت مصر حتى اللحظة منها استثناء، بينما تسعى قوى غربية للدفع بالخليج العربي في اتجاه حرب طائفية بين أحد أطرافها بزعامة سعودية-خليجية-تركية، والآخر بقيادة إيرانية قد تنجر إليها سوريا والعراق ولبنان

وعلى الرغم من عدم اتفاق مصر مع كثير من وجهات نظر قادة الخليج في قضايا مختلفة، بشكل واضح، ومن بينها الملف السوري، حيث يريد بعضهم حل الأزمة السورية عسكريا، بينما ترى مصر، بتنسيق كامل مع روسيا، وقوى كبرى في العالم، أن الحل يجب أن يكون سياسيا، وأن الشعب السوري هو من سيحدد مصيره، مع الحفاظ على مؤسسات الدولة هناك

ومن الواضح أن الملف السوري لا يمثل الخلاف الوحيد مع دول الخليج، إذ لا تتفق القاهرة معها أيضا بشأن الملف الليبي، حيث تساند مصر الجيش ومؤسسات الدولة الليبية، بينما تهمل دول الخليج هذا الملف، باستثناء قطر، التي تخدم الأجندتين التركية والغربية في ليبيا، وفق مراقبين

وعلى الرغم من ذلك كله، فإن القاهرة لا تريد أن تخسر الخليج، وتحديداً السعودية، ولذا تحافظ معها على “شعرة معاوية”، وخاصة فيما يتعلق برؤيتها المختلفة، والأكثر شمولا لملفات الإرهاب، التي تحيط بالمنطقة العربية من كل جانب، وهو الأمر، الذي سيكون محل نقاش في جلسة مباحثات، تجمع الرئيس السيسي بالملك سلمان

ولا شك في أن مصر محطة حاسمة في كثير من ملفات الشرق الأوسط، وهذا ما يبدو واضحا عبر تنسيق دول عظمى معها في الملفين الأخطر الآن على الطاولة الدولية. ففي سوريا يظهر تقارب مصري-روسي بشأن مكافحة الإرهاب، وسبل حل الملف السوري سياسيا، وهي الرؤية، التي تدعم الحل السياسي، وتؤمن بضرورة القضاء على الإرهاب في كل أرجاء العالم باستراتيجية موحدة ومشتركة

أما في ليبيا، فهناك تنسيق مع روسيا، وهو الأمر، الذي كان محورا لمحادثات هاتفية أجريت بين الرئيسين المصري والروسي، حيث أكد فلاديمير بوتين، وفق بيان للكرملين، أن الالتزام بشروط الهدنة يعدُّ العامل الرئيس لتطبيع الوضع الداخلي في سوريا، وتحسين الظروف الإنسانية، بينما أيد السيسي إطلاق عملية سياسية لتسوية الأزمة السورية، تحت رعاية الأمم المتحدة، في أقرب وقت ممكن. وقد اتفق الرئيسان على مواصلة التعاون الوثيق في إطار المجموعة الدولية لدعم سوريا، كذلك شدد الطرفان على ضرورة مواصلة الحرب بصورة فعالة ضد الإرهاب الدولي، ليس في سوريا فحسب، بل وفي ليبيا واليمن أيضاً

وقد أعقبت المكالمة الرئاسية، التي جرت منذ يومين، محادثات هاتفية بين وزيري الخارجية المصري والروسي أمس الثلاثاء 8 مارس/ آذار، حيث أعرب الجانبان عن ارتياحهما للتقدم في سير تنفيذ الاتفاقات بشأن الهدنة، مع تشديدهما على ضرورة إطلاق الحوار سريعا بين الحكومة السورية والمعارضة في جنيف برعاية أممية، وكذلك على تبادل وجهات النظر حول سبل المساعدة في تسوية الأزمة الليبية والصراع في اليمن

الخبير العسكري والاستراتيجي اللواء حسام سويلم، رأى أن لمشاركة الرئيس السيسي، في ختام فعاليات “رعد الشمال” – أكبر مناورات العرب – دلالات، أهمها: تكذيب كل ما روج له الإعلام في الفترة السابقة عن خلافات بين القيادتين المصرية والسعودية، والتمهيد لزيارة الملك سلمان إلى مصر في أبريل/نيسان المقبل، ودعم السعودية في مواجهة التدخلات الإيرانية، وتأكيد التزام مصر بالمسؤولية تجاه الأمن القومي العربي والخليجي

وختاما، إن القاهرة التي تجمعها علاقات استراتيجية بالخليج وموسكو وعدد من القوى المؤثرة عالمياً، والتي تحسم في إطارها كثيرا من الملفات الساخنة، تحافظ على صلات قوية بالخليج، من دون التأثير على توجهاتها ورؤاها فيما يرتبط بمحاربة الإرهاب، والحفاظ على الأمن القومي العربي