organization:arab league

  • Entering A Major Regional Reset : The Syria Outcome Will Haunt Those Who Started This War | Zero Hedge
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-14/entering-major-regional-reset-syria-outcome-will-haunt-those-who-started-

    A lire absolument si on s’intéresse à la géopolitique de cette région.

    Well, at least that speech should raise a chuckle around the region. In practice however, the regional fault-line has moved on: It is no longer so much Iran. GCC States have a new agenda, and are now far more concerned to contain Turkey, and to put a halt to Turkish influence spreading throughout the Levant. GCC states fear that President Erdogan, given the emotional and psychological wave of antipathy unleashed by the Khashoggi murder, may be mobilising newly re-energised Muslim Brotherhood, Gulf networks. The aim being to leverage present Gulf economic woes, and the general hollowing out of any broader GCC ‘vision’, in order to undercut the rigid Gulf ‘Arab system’ (tribal monarchy). The Brotherhood favours a soft Islamist reform of the Gulf monarchies – along lines, such as that once advocated by Jamal Khashoggi .

    Turkey’s leadership in any case is convinced that it was the UAE (MbZ specifically) that was the author behind the Kurdish buffer being constructed, and mini-state ‘plot’ against Turkey – in conjunction with Israel and the US. Understandably, Gulf states now fear possible Turkish retribution for their weaponising of Kurdish aspirations in this way.

    And Turkey is seen (by GCC States) as already working in close co-ordination with fellow Muslim Brotherhood patron and GCC member, Qatar, to divide the collapsing Council. This prefigures a new round to the MB versus Saudi Wahhabism spat for the soul of Sunni Islam.

    GGC states therefore, are hoping to stand-up a ‘front’ to balance Turkey in the Levant. And to this end, they are trying to recruit President Assad back into the Arab fold (which is to say, into the Arab League), and to have him act, jointly with them, as an Arab counter to Turkey.

    #grand_jeu


  • En 2011, « Le Monde » écrivait :
    https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2011/06/16/syrie-la-derniere-carte-de-bachar-al-assad_1536986_3232.html

    Sans l’Iran, le régime syrien revient dans le #giron_arabe traditionnel.

    En 2019 l’objectif resterait le même, malgré l’Iran
    https://www.france24.com/fr/20190103-syrie-bachar-assad-diplomatie-retour-ligue-arabe

    Interrogé par France 24, Mohammad al-Hammadi, politologue basée à Dubaï, estime de son côté [...] : « J’estime que les Arabes ont beaucoup perdu en coupant les ponts avec les Syriens, je parle du pays, et non pas du régime ou de Bachar al-Assad. Le boycott arabe a eu des conséquences directes sur le sort de la population, il faut donc que la Ligue arabe prenne une décision claire, pour que la #Syrie retourne dans le giron arabe ».

    • Arab nations inch toward rehabilitating Syria’s Assad
      https://apnews.com/beb8390d4a4e4e26accff0b26995fa28

      The debate now appears to be about when, not whether, to re-admit Syria to the Arab League. At a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said Syria’s return to the League is connected to developments on the political track to end the crisis. Some officials in Lebanon insist Syria should be invited to an Arab economic summit the country is hosting next week, although final decision rests with the League.

      “It could happen slower or faster, but if Assad is going to stay where he is, then obviously countries in the region are going to try to make the best of that situation,” said Aron Lund, a fellow with The Century Foundation. “American politicians can sit in splendid isolation on the other side of an ocean and pretend Syria isn’t what it is,” he said. “But King Abdullah of Jordan can’t.”

      Les MSM occidentaux adorent cette photo avec Bachir du Soudan.


  • Un intéressant éditorial du New York Times contre les tentatives du Sénat américain de criminaliser BDS

    Opinion | Curbing Speech in the Name of Helping Israel - The New York Times

    A Senate bill aims to punish those who boycott Israel over its settlement policy. There are better solutions.

    By The Editorial Board
    The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/opinion/editorials/israel-bds.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    One of the more contentious issues involving Israel in recent years is now before Congress, testing America’s bedrock principles of freedom of speech and political dissent.

    It is a legislative proposal that would impose civil and criminal penalties on American companies and organizations that participate in boycotts supporting Palestinian rights and opposing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

    The aim is to cripple the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as B.D.S., which has gathered steam in recent years despite bitter opposition from the Israeli government and its supporters around the world.

    The proposal’s chief sponsors, Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, and Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, want to attach it to the package of spending bills that Congress needs to pass before midnight Friday to keep the government fully funded.
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    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a leading pro-Israel lobby group, strongly favors the measure.

    J Street, a progressive American pro-Israel group that is often at odds with Aipac and that supports a two-state peace solution, fears that the legislation could have a harmful effect, in part by implicitly treating the settlements and Israel the same, instead of as distinct entities. Much of the world considers the settlements, built on land that Israel captured in the 1967 war, to be a violation of international law.

    Although the Senate sponsors vigorously disagree, the legislation, known as the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, is clearly part of a widening attempt to silence one side of the debate. That is not in the interests of Israel, the United States or their shared democratic traditions.

    Critics of the legislation, including the American Civil Liberties Union and several Palestinian rights organizations, say the bill would violate the First Amendment and penalize political speech.

    The hard-line policies of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, including expanding settlements and an obvious unwillingness to seriously pursue a peace solution that would allow Palestinians their own state, have provoked a backlash and are fueling the boycott movement.
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    It’s not just Israel’s adversaries who find the movement appealing. Many devoted supporters of Israel, including many American Jews, oppose the occupation of the West Bank and refuse to buy products of the settlements in occupied territories. Their right to protest in this way must be vigorously defended.

    The same is true of Palestinians. They are criticized when they resort to violence, and rightly so. Should they be deprived of nonviolent economic protest as well? The United States frequently employs sanctions as a political tool, including against North Korea, Iran and Russia.

    Mr. Cardin and Mr. Portman say their legislation merely builds on an existing law, the Export Control Reform Act, which bars participation in the Arab League boycott of Israel, and is needed to protect American companies from “unsanctioned foreign boycotts.”

    They are especially concerned that the United Nations Human Rights Council is compiling a database of companies doing business in the occupied territories and East Jerusalem, a tactic Senate aides say parallels the Arab League boycott.

    But there are problems with their arguments, critics say. The existing law aimed to protect American companies from the Arab League boycott because it was coercive, requiring companies to boycott Israel as a condition of doing business with Arab League member states. A company’s motivation for engaging in that boycott was economic — continued trade relations — not exercising free speech rights.

    By contrast, the Cardin-Portman legislation would extend the existing prohibition to cover boycotts against Israel and other countries friendly to the United States when the boycotts are called for by an international government organization, like the United Nations or the European Union.

    Neither of those organizations has called for a boycott, but supporters of Israel apparently fear that the Human Rights Council database is a step in that direction.
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    Civil rights advocates, on the other hand, say that anyone who joins a boycott would be acting voluntarily — neither the United Nations nor the European Union has the authority to compel such action — and the decision would be an exercise of political expression in opposition to Israeli policies.

    Responding to criticism, the senators amended their original proposal to explicitly state that none of the provisions shall infringe upon any First Amendment right and to penalize violators with fines rather than jail time.

    But the American Civil Liberties Union says the First Amendment wording is nonbinding and “leaves intact key provisions which would impose civil and criminal penalties on companies, small business owners, nonprofits and even people acting on their behalf who engage in or otherwise support certain political boycotts.”

    While the sponsors say their bill is narrowly targeted at commercial activity, “such assurances ring hollow in light of the bill’s intended purpose, which is to suppress voluntary participation in disfavored political boycotts,” the A.C.L.U. said in a letter to lawmakers.

    Even the Anti-Defamation League, which has lobbied for the proposal, seems to agree. A 2016 internal ADL memo, disclosed by The Forward last week, calls anti-B.D.S. laws “ineffective, unworkable, unconstitutional and bad for the Jewish community.”

    In a properly functioning Congress, a matter of such moment would be openly debated. Instead, Mr. Cardin and Mr. Portman are trying to tack the B.D.S. provision onto the lame-duck spending bill, meaning it could by enacted into law in the 11th-hour crush to keep the government fully open.

    The anti-B.D.S. initiative began in 2014 at the state level before shifting to Congress and is part of a larger, ominous trend in which the political space for opposing Israel is shrinking. After ignoring the B.D.S. movement, Israel is now aggressively pushing against it, including branding it anti-Semitic and adopting a law barring foreigners who support it from entering that country.
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    One United States case shows how counterproductive the effort is. It involves Bahia Amawi, an American citizen of Palestinian descent who was told she could no longer work as an elementary school speech pathologist in Austin, Tex., because she refused to sign a state-imposed oath that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel. She filed a lawsuit this week in federal court, arguing that the Texas law “chills constitutionally protected political advocacy in support of Palestine.”

    Any anti-boycott legislation enacted by Congress is also likely to face a court challenge. It would be more constructive if political leaders would focus on the injustice and finding viable solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than reinforcing divisions between the two parties and promoting legislation that raises free speech concerns.


  • As U.S. pushes for Mideast peace, Saudi king reassures allies |
    Reuters

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-paelestinians-usa-saudi/as-u-s-pushes-for-mideast-peace-saudi-king-reassures-allies-idUSKBN1KJ0F9

    RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has reassured Arab allies it will not endorse any Middle East peace plan that fails to address Jerusalem’s status or refugees’ right of return, easing their concerns that the kingdom might back a nascent U.S. deal which aligns with Israel on key issues.

    King Salman’s private guarantees to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his public defense of long-standing Arab positions in recent months have helped reverse perceptions that Saudi Arabia’s stance was changing under his powerful young son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, diplomats and analysts said.

    This in turn has called into question whether Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, can rally Arab support for a new push to end the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, with an eye to closing ranks against mutual enemy Iran.

    “In Saudi Arabia, the king is the one who decides on this issue now, not the crown prince,” said a senior Arab diplomat in Riyadh. “The U.S. mistake was they thought one country could pressure the rest to give in, but it’s not about pressure. No Arab leader can concede on Jerusalem or Palestine.”

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    Palestinian officials told Reuters in December that Prince Mohammed, known as MbS, had pressed Abbas to support the U.S. plan despite concerns it offered the Palestinians limited self-government inside disconnected patches of the occupied West Bank, with no right of return for refugees displaced by the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967.

    Such a plan would diverge from the Arab Peace Initiative drawn up by Saudi Arabia in 2002 in which Arab nations offered Israel normal ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in 1967.

    Saudi officials have denied any difference between King Salman, who has vocally supported that initiative, and MbS, who has shaken up long-held policies on many issues and told a U.S. magazine in April that Israelis are entitled to live peacefully on their own land - a rare statement for an Arab leader.

    The Palestinian ambassador to Riyadh, Basem Al-Agha, told Reuters that King Salman had expressed support for Palestinians in a recent meeting with Abbas, saying: “We will not abandon you ... We accept what you accept and we reject what you reject.”

    He said that King Salman naming the 2018 Arab League conference “The Jerusalem Summit” and announcing $200 million in aid for Palestinians were messages that Jerusalem and refugees were back on the table.

    FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attends Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
    The Saudi authorities did not respond to a request for comment on the current status of diplomatic efforts.

    RED LINES

    Diplomats in the region say Washington’s current thinking, conveyed during a tour last month by top White House officials, does not include Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, a right of return for refugees or a freeze of Israeli settlements in lands claimed by the Palestinians.

    Senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has not provided concrete details of the U.S. strategy more than 18 months after he was tasked with forging peace.

    A diplomat in Riyadh briefed on Kushner’s latest visit to the kingdom said King Salman and MbS had seen him together: “MbS did the talking while the king was in the background.”

    Independent analyst Neil Partrick said King Salman appears to have reined in MbS’ “politically reckless approach” because of Jerusalem’s importance to Muslims.

    “So MbS won’t oppose Kushner’s ‘deal’, but neither will he, any longer, do much to encourage its one-sided political simplicities,” said Partrick, lead contributor and editor of “Saudi Arabian Foreign Policy: Conflict and Cooperation”.

        Kushner and fellow negotiator Jason Greenblatt have not presented a comprehensive proposal but rather disjointed elements, which one diplomat said “crossed too many red lines”.

    Instead, they heavily focused on the idea of setting up an economic zone in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula with the adjacent Gaza Strip possibly coming under the control of Cairo, which Arab diplomats described as unacceptable.

    In Qatar, Kushner asked Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to pressure the Islamist group Hamas to cede control of Gaza in return for development aid, the diplomats said.

    One diplomat briefed on the meeting said Sheikh Tamim just nodded silently. It was unclear if that signaled an agreement or whether Qatar was offered anything in return.

    “The problem is there is no cohesive plan presented to all countries,” said the senior Arab diplomat in Riyadh. “Nobody sees what everyone else is being offered.”

    Kushner, a 37-year-old real estate developer with little experience of international diplomacy or political negotiation, visited Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Israel in June. He did not meet Abbas, who has refused to see Trump’s team after the U.S. embassy was moved to Jerusalem.

    In an interview at the end of his trip, Kushner said Washington would announce its Middle East peace plan soon, and press on with or without Abbas. Yet there has been little to suggest any significant progress towards ending the decades-old conflict, which Trump has said would be “the ultimate deal”.

    “There is no new push. Nothing Kushner presented is acceptable to any of the Arab countries,” the Arab diplomat said. “He thinks he is ‘I Dream of Genie’ with a magic wand to make a new solution to the problem.”

    A White House official told reporters last week that Trump’s envoys were working on the most detailed set of proposals to date for the long-awaited peace proposal, which would include what the administration is calling a robust economic plan, though there is thus far no release date.

    Editing by Giles Elgood
    Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

    • In Saudi Arabia, the king is the one who decides on this issue now, not the crown prince,
      […]
      A diplomat in Riyadh briefed on Kushner’s latest visit [in June] to the kingdom said King Salman and MbS had seen him together: “MbS did the talking while the king was in the background.

      Euh, question bête : c’est dans la même aile de l’hôpital la gériatrie de king S et la rééducation (il est probablement sorti des soins intensifs, depuis le temps) de Kronprinz bS ?

      Ce serait quand même plus commode pour Mr Son in law


  • Syria cooperation highlights progress in Egypt-Russia relations as hurdles remain | MadaMasr

    https://madamirror.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/en/2018/05/01/feature/politics/syria-cooperation-highlights-progress-in-egypt-russia-relations-

    Phone calls between high-ranking Egyptian and Russian officials have brought the two countries into accord on the Syrian crisis, according to an Egyptian government source, in what is one of several breakthroughs on pending Cairo-Moscow diplomatic discussions.

    The government source, who is involved in Egyptian-Russian diplomatic relations, says communications between the two countries were at their peak prior to the mid-April joint airstrikes carried out by the United States, United Kingdom and France against government facilities in Syria. Talks centered on possible approaches to the conflict, to be taken in the event that the then-potential tripartite strikes were carried out, that would ensure that Islamist groups do not reap any political gains.

    Egyptian-Russian cooperation was and remains mainly an exchange of information aimed at curbing Saudi Arabian and Turkish-backed militias that were deployed to Syria to “overthrow” President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, according to the source, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity.

    The alliance falls in line, the source adds, with Cairo’s position on the situation in Syria: Assad remaining in power is the best available option, despite Cairo’s reservations on certain aspects of the way he’s managed the conflict. Tellingly, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s speech the Arab League summit in Dhahran in mid-April was free of any condemnation of the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta — the stated reason for the tripartite airstrikes — as much as any endorsement of the strike.


  • Trump, Saudi Arabia in lockstep: Give Syria up to Assad, ignore Gaza -

    Trump’s talk with the Saudi crown prince made him conclude that there’s nothing Washington can do in Syria; they also see eye to eye on the weekend’s events in Gaza and the question of Hamas’ status

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-trump-saudi-arabia-in-lockstep-give-syria-up-to-assad-ignore-gaza-

    They also see eye to eye on the weekend’s events in the Gaza Strip and the question of Hamas’ status. Last Friday, the United States opposed a Kuwaiti motion in the UN Security Council to condemn Israel for the violence. Riyadh did its part by refusing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ request that it convene an emergency Arab summit to discuss the killing of Palestinians in Gaza. The kingdom gave Abbas the cold shoulder, saying the regular Arab League summit would take place in a few weeks anyway, so no additional summit was needed.
    The disinterest Mohammed and Trump both showed in the events in Gaza, combined with their capitulation to reality in Syria, reveals a clear American-Saudi strategy by which regional conflicts will be dealt with by the parties to those conflicts, and only those with the potential to spark an international war will merit attention and perhaps intervention.
    >> Gaza carnage is a victory for Hamas – and a propaganda nightmare for Israel ■ With riots and live fire, Gaza just went 25 years back in time  >>
    An example of the latter is the battle against Iran, which will continue to interest both Washington and Riyadh because they consider it of supreme international importance, not just a local threat to Israel and Saudi Arabia.
    Syria, in contrast, doesn’t interest the world, and to the degree that it poses a threat to Israel, Israel’s 2007 attack on Syria’s nuclear reactor and its ongoing military intervention in Syria show that it neither needs nor even wants other powers involved.
    >> Ten years of silence on Syria strike. Why now? ■ A turning point in Israel’s history ■ Before successful strike, Israel’s most resounding intel failure
    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also no longer seen as a global threat, or even a regional one. Therefore, it’s unnecessary to “waste” international or pan-Arab effort on it. If Egypt can and wants to handle the conflict from the Arab side, fine. But for now, that will be it.


  • EXCLUSIVE: The secret yacht summit that realigned the Middle East | Middle East Eye
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/george-nader-yacht-how-mbs-salman-red-sea-summit-mbz-sisi-plotted-qat

    EXCLUSIVE: The secret yacht summit that realigned the Middle East
    #Politics

    Arab leaders from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan plotted to counter Turkey and Iran, and replace the GCC and Arab League

    C’est tout de même écrit par David Hearst...


  • After PLO halts ties with US, Arab League steps in to salvage peace process
    Nov. 20, 2017 10:29 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 20, 2017 10:30 A.M.)
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=779498

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Arab League has reportedly approached the United States government regarding its recent decision to punitively shut down the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington D.C, over the Palestinian leadership’s efforts to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported on Sunday, shortly after the US State Department announced its decision, that the Arab League — a regional organization of 22 Arab countries — announced that its Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit approached the US President Donald Trump’s administration over the closure.

    The league is reportedly attempting to do damage control and resume US-led peace negotiations following the PLO’s reaction to the closure, in which the group’s secretary general, Saeb Erekat, threatened to “put on hold all our communications with this American administration" if the US did in fact close the PLO Washington office.

    According to Wafa, Aboul Gheit met with the league’s foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, where the two discussed the the official position of the PLO and the PA, “saying it will harm the peace process and the role of the US as peace broker.”

    The PLO announced in September its decision to submit a request to the ICC to investigate illegal Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    Separately, four Palestinian human rights organizations submitted a 700-page communication to the ICC alleging that Israeli officials have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

    International media reported that the PLO’s plans would breach conditions previously imposed by US Congress on the PLO, preventing it from taking any cases to the ICC.

    The PLO office could allegedly be reopened 90 days after closure if Trump believes the PLO has entered into “direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

    The events came amid weeks of speculation in Israeli and Palestinian media over the Trump administrations “ultimate peace plan” for the region, which is set to be presented soon.


  • “We Are Not Declaring War on Iran at This Stage” – Al-Manar TV Lebanon
    http://english.almanar.com.lb/389321

    “We are not declaring war on Iran at this stage,” Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said. “We have not taken a decision to ask the Security Council to meet, but we are just briefing the council and maybe the next stage would be for us to meet and call for a Security Council meeting and submit a draft Arab resolution (against Iran).”



  • Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington | Why the Trump Administration Should Reconsider Oman

    http://www.agsiw.org/why-the-trump-administration-should-reconsider-oman

    by Sigurd Neubauer and Yoel Guzansky
    Following his historic address to the U.S.-Arab-Islamic Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, U.S. President Donald J. Trump held bilateral talks with every Gulf Cooperation Council leader except for Oman’s deputy prime minister, Sayyid Fahd al-Said, who had his meeting cancelled at the last minute with no public explanation. Oman’s unique foreign policy record – which ranges from facilitating the early U.S.-Iranian contact that eventually led to the nuclear agreement, to its active contribution to the Middle East peace process, to more recently supporting the United Nations-sponsored Yemen peace negotiations – was also ignored altogether during the president’s speech, even though he thanked each of the other GCC countries for their respective commitments to fighting extremism and regional terrorist groups.

    In fact, it may be that the very nature of Oman’s engagement in efforts to defuse regional conflicts has prompted the Trump administration to view it warily, given Washington’s efforts to restore close relations with Saudi Arabia. In this context, Oman’s established links to both Tehran and the political leadership of Yemen’s Houthi insurgents – clearly valued by the administration of former President Barack Obama – may be seen now as reasons to keep Oman at arm’s length. Further evidence that the U.S.-Omani relationship may be heading toward uncertainty came as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cancelled his meeting in Riyadh with his Omani counterpart, Yusuf bin Alawi. This, coupled with the Trump administration’s Budget Blueprint for fiscal year 2018 – which suggests a 35 percent cut in annual military/security assistance to Oman, down from $5.4 million to $3.5 million – further suggests that Washington is revising its approach toward Muscat.

    The Sultanate of Oman has been a U.S. strategic ally for nearly two centuries, and was the second Arab country, after Morocco, to establish diplomatic relations with Washington, in 1841. Moreover, Oman is only one of two GCC countries to enjoy a free trade agreement with the United States.

    Building on these historic ties, Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, the Arab world’s longest-serving monarch, has skillfully managed throughout his 44-year tenure to serve as a regional intermediary to help defuse tensions between Washington and Tehran, and has at the same time actively contributed to Israeli-Arab dialogue by hosting the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC), a Muscat-based organization dedicated to sharing Israeli expertise on desalination technologies and clean fresh water supply.

    Given that Trump has pledged to reset U.S.-GCC relations and accelerate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as part of an apparent strategic effort to counter Tehran’s “malign” regional influence, it is also surprising that Qaboos is the only GCC leader that Trump has yet to call, especially considering Oman is the only GCC country to enjoy pragmatic relationships with Iran and Israel.

    In recent years, Oman used its channels to Tehran – and to the Houthis in Yemen – to gain the release of a half dozen U.S. citizens who had been detained, efforts that earned Oman public expressions of thanks from Obama.

    In addition, “Oman recognizes that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an irritant between the U.S. and the Arab world, but – consistent with Qaboos’ philosophy of peaceful coexistence and conflict resolution – he wanted to play a constructive role,” said Richard Schmierer, former U.S. ambassador to Oman, adding that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not a top issue on the U.S.-Omani bilateral agenda during his tenure in Muscat.

    Nonetheless, in 2010 U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton hailed MEDRC as “a model for Middle East peace making.” A year later, it was revealed that Obama personally called Qaboos to ask him to lead Arab goodwill gestures toward Israel in exchange for a settlement freeze moratorium.

    A Long History of Support for Mideast Peace

    Following the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Oman was the only GCC member to consistently engage with Israel through a number of informal diplomatic initiatives. Oman was also one of only three Arab League members not to boycott Egypt after its peace treaty with Israel while actively supporting Jordanian-Israeli peace talks in the ensuing years.

    Qaboos demonstrated his commitment to reaching a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace treaty by inviting Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to visit him in Muscat in 1994. Rabin’s visit came only months after Israel and Jordan signed a comprehensive peace treaty. Although Rabin’s landmark visit was initially conducted in secrecy, it was announced publicly upon his return to Israel.

    Though falling short of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic Knesset address in 1977 and the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty of 1994, Qaboos granted Rabin and the Israeli leadership what it had strived for since the inception of the Jewish state in 1948: recognition and legitimacy. Moreover, Qaboos’ invitation arguably signaled publicly to Rabin, the Israeli public, and the Arab world at large a willingness to distance Oman from the Saudi position by granting Israel de facto recognition.

    Following the assassination of Rabin, Qaboos once again displayed his commitment to the peace process by dispatching Oman’s foreign minister to attend Rabin’s funeral. In a subsequent interview with Israeli media, Alawi said, while being hosted by acting Prime Minister Shimon Peres, “Oman will soon have diplomatic relations with Israel, Oman was never in a state of war with Israel so there is no need for a peace agreement.”

    The brief relationship between Qaboos, Rabin, and Peres has had concrete and positive outcomes: Oman has maintained a diplomatic channel with Israel since 1996 by hosting MEDRC. MEDRC is the only surviving organization of five regional initiatives included in the Oslo Accords as part of an effort to accelerate the peace process. Through it, participants from Gaza, Jordan, and the West Bank have attended, with Israeli counterparts, a number of courses on desalination and wastewater management in Tel Aviv.

    On the surface, Oman’s quiet diplomatic style of doing business appears to be by design: By maintaining a policy of neutrality and noninterference, Oman seeks to preserve its independence and stability by closely aligning with Britain and the United States while balancing relations with its powerful neighbors, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Israeli-Palestinian angle, however, does not fit into Oman’s immediate strategic concerns; unlike Iran, with whom it shares the Strait of Hormuz, Israel is a distant power.

    Given Trump’s quest to forge a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace agreement, Oman could potentially again play a pivotal role through its MEDRC networks. A White House invitation to Oman’s newly-appointed deputy prime minister for international cooperation, Sayyid Assad bin Tariq al-Said, might provide an opportunity to explore this potential with the man who appears to be in line to become Qaboos’ eventual successor. And, unlikely as it would seem at the moment given Trump’s strident anti-Iran rhetoric, Oman could also reprise its role as a conduit for quiet messaging between Tehran and Washington on regional security issues as part of an effort to mitigate the risk of conflict.

    While the last U.S. president to visit Oman was Bill Clinton in 2000, the administration of George W. Bush dispatched vice president Dick Cheney to Muscat in 2002, 2005, and 2006 to discuss Iran and other regional issues. More recently, the Obama administration and its secretary of state, John Kerry, in particular, came to rely on Muscat on a host of regional initiatives ranging from Iran, Syria, and Yemen. In fact, Kerry grew so appreciative of Oman’s effective diplomacy that he attended Oman’s national day celebration in 2016, a most unusual public gesture for a secretary of state. Whether Oman regains this coveted position in the eyes of the current administration remains to be seen, although its unique contributions in support of efforts to resolve some of the Middle East’s most intractable problems would at the very least argue for open channels of communication.

    Sigurd Neubauer is a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. Yoel Guzansky is a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, a National Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and a 2016–17 Israel Institute postdoctoral fellow.


  • Egypt-Saudi Arabia Handshake between king and president points to waning tensions | MadaMasr

    http://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/04/13/feature/politics/handshake-between-king-and-president-points-to-waning-tensions

    Some signals suggest a possible de-escalation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, whose usually tight relations have recently witnessed turbulence.

    The Jordan Arab Summit, held on March 29, saw the leaders of both countries, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and King Salman bin Abdulaziz, meet and shake hands, while their respective ministers of foreign affairs agreed to set up a “committee for political follow-up.”

    Meanwhile, earlier in February, King Salman visited the Egyptian wing at the Jenaderiyah cultural festival, in what was interpreted as a gesture of restoring relations.

    One of the latest points of contention between the two countries concerns the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir, which Egypt ceded sovereignty over in April 2016, following an agreement between the two governments. However, the Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court ruled on January 16 against the agreement, declaring the islands Egyptian. The court argued that the Egyptian government failed to submit documents in support of Saudi sovereignty.

    But the legal contest didn’t stop here. On April 2, a court of urgent matters annulled the supreme court’s ruling. Parliament took a decisive step forward on April 10, one day after Coptic Christian churches in Alexandria and Tanta were bombed in attacks claimed by the Province of Sinai. In its first session after the bombings, Parliament referred the case to its legislative and constitutional affairs committee, where it will undergo a preliminary vote before a final vote takes place in the general assembly. It is a development aligned with what officials have said in closed quarters for some time. 

    “Saudi Arabia has reassurances from Cairo that it will receive the two islands in any case. But it also blames Cairo for managing this issue poorly,” says an Egyptian official working at the General Secretariat of the Arab League, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity.


  • The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب : A shift in Saudi policy toward Syrian regime
    http://angryarab.blogspot.fr/2017/04/a-shift-in-saudi-policy-toward-syrian.html

    A shift in Saudi policy toward Syrian regime
    There are signs of a significant shift in Saudi policies toward Syria: the shift was evident in the statement by the Arab League last week. And Ali Shihabi (childhood friend and head of a new pro-Prince Muhammad bin Salman think tank in DC), said to CNN that Syria is “a lost cause” (he later denied or corrected the statement). And now this: `Abdul-Rahman Al-Rashid (the influential propagandist of King Salman and his sons) says that Gulf regimes are likely to “adjust” (the words he used were “to deal favorably with the new political reality”—in reference to US policy of leaving Asad in power). He also looks back favorably at Hafidh Al-Asad and praised him. It seems that the new policy of Saudi regime toward Syria is reduced to calling on an end to Iranian presence there. I feel sorry for all the Syrians and the supporters of the Syrian “revolution” who—BIZARRELY—counted on the House of Saud to save their “revolution”. I also feel sorry for the leftists around the world who treated Gulf regimes as the true sponsors of “revolution”.

    (Ce qui à mes yeux explique le soudain battage autour des attaques chimiques, mais je dois être cynique.)

    #syrie


  • Al-Akhbar outraged over letter from a united front of “ex-presidents” on Hezbollah | The Mideastwire Blog
    https://mideastwire.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/al-akhbar-outraged-over-letter-from-a-united-front-of-ex-presidents-on-hezbollah/?fb_action_ids=1069128716526512&fb_action_types=news.publishe

    On March 28, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report: “Al-Akhbar learned that a new crisis has risen to the surface on the evening of the Arab summit as it turned out that former Presidents Amin Gemayel and Michel Suleiman and former PMs Fouad Siniora, Najib Mikati, and Tamam Salam, held a meeting that resulted in sending a letter to the president of the Arab summit that includes negative positions regarding Hezbollah.

    “According to the available information, this is a three page letter that carries the signature of all the meeting participants on each of the three papers. The letter stressed on “Lebanon’s respect of the Arab consensuses reached through the Arab League’s conferences” and that “Lebanon does not approve of Hezbollah’s interventions in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen.”

    “The officials went back to using the “wooden language” of the former President, Michel Suleiman, as they brought up the Baabda statement and the self-distancing policy. Interestingly, the statement failed to mention the Israeli offensives or the Israeli greed when it comes to the Lebanese gas and oil or the Israeli violations to the Lebanese sovereignty and the Israeli occupation of some Lebanese lands. The statement merely called for supporting Lebanon’s position regarding Israel. Naturally, the former presidents and PMs failed to mention the terrorist threat to Lebanon and they turned a blind eye to the fact that there are Lebanese lands that are occupied by terrorist groups in the barren areas of Ersal. The “official” letter nearly limited all of Lebanon’s problems to what it deemed the “illegal weapons.”


  • Disagreement between Egypt, Palestine over proposed amendment to Arab Peace Initiative | MadaMasr

    http://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/03/09/feature/politics/disagreement-between-egypt-palestine-over-proposed-amendment-to-arab-peace

    Disagreement seems to be brewing within the Arab League this week between the delegates of Egypt and Palestine in light of a proposed amendment to the wording of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (also known as the Saudi Initiative) pertaining to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and other territories.

    While there have been denials regarding any official disagreement on the Arab League’s 15 year-old resolution, sources have confirmed that Egypt’s proposed amendments this week were rejected by the Palestinian delegation. These sources claimed that the Egyptian delegation aimed to open a debate to further develop the Arab Peace Initiative, a proposal which was supported by the Secretary-General of the League and Egypt’s former foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

    In his comments to reporters at the conclusion of the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo on Tuesday, Aboul Gheit spoke of the need to consider “new ideas with which to resolve the crises in the region.” However, the meeting’s closing statement mentioned the adherence of state-parties to the Arab Peace Initiative without amendments to it.


  • Jordan ponders a change of course on Syria | The National
    http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/jordan-ponders-a-change-of-course-on-syria

    “Since the beginning of the crisis, we haven’t operated against the regime at all, our relations with the regime have remained, and our diplomatic relations with Syria have also remained,” he said. “Our objective is to fight terrorism anywhere.”

    Crucially, Lt Gen Freihat noted that Jordan has remained in touch with the Syrian government despite his country’s ­anti-Assad position.

    Driving the backchannel contacts was the status of the border and the refugee flows that have placed social and economic strain on Jordan. The message from Amman was clear: once the Syrian army re-establishes control of the border, Jordan will move to reopen it completely.

    Less than a week after these remarks, Mohammed Al Momani, Jordan’s minister for information, echoed Lt Gen Freihat’s comments, stating Jordan had maintained diplomatic relations with Syria throughout the crisis and embassies in both countries remain open. Mr Al Momani noted that the Arab League had voted to suspend Syria’s membership and recall Arab ambassadors from Damascus, with Jordan voting in favour of the first motion, but abstaining from the latter.


  • Lavrov calls for Syria’s return to Arab League | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR
    https://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2017/Feb-01/391854-lavrov-calls-for-syrias-return-to-arab-league.ashx

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Syria’s return to the Arab League would allow the organisation to play a role in finding a political solution to the country’s conflict.

    “The League could play a more important, more effective role if the Syrian government was part of the organisation,” Lavrov, whose country is a key ally of the Damascus regime and also a broker in peace efforts, told a press conference in the Emirati capital.

    He said Syria was a “legitimate” member of the United Nations and yet “can not take part in discussions inside the Arab League”.

    “This does not help our joint (peace) efforts,” said Lavrov.

    But Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who was also at the press conference, ruled out an early return of Syria to the Cairo-based organisation.


  • Attempting Regime-Change in Palestine | رأي اليوم
    http://www.raialyoum.com/?p=519213
    By Abdel Bari Atwan | September 11, 2016

    All of a sudden and with no preliminaries, the world was informed that there exists an ‘Arab Quartet’ on Palestine, and that it has a plan.
    This group – consisting of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and the UAE — proposes reviving and taking forward the Palestinian cause by brokering two reconciliations. The first would be within the Fateh movement, based on the readmission of former Gaza Strip security chief Muhammad Dahlan who was expelled along with some of his supporters in 2011, and has since been based in and sponsored by the UAE. The second would be between Fateh in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and that would in turn enable the moribund in stitutions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to be reactivated.
    The proponents of this plan, according to leaked accounts of the talks they held, threatenedthat if no agreement were reached – in other words, if Palestinian Authority (PA) President and Fateh leader Mahmoud Abbas were to refuse to reinstate Dahlan and his acolytes — the Arab League would be prepared to intervene. It would take measures it deems to be in the Palestinian people’s interest, and some Arab states might individually consider adopting alternative approaches to the Palestinians and the conflict with Israel.

    • (...)In the current case, it there is clearly no political difference to speak of between Abbas and Dahlan. Both remain devoted to the 1993 Oslo Accords and the never-ending process of negotiations. Both oppose resistance, whether armed or otherwise, as a means of ending the occupation. Both believe that the Palestinian right of return is impractical and redundant. And both are committed to security coordination with Israel and maintain close contacts with the occupying power. They were once allies against Arafat. Dahlan used to boast that it was he who propelled Abbas to the leadership of Fateh and the PA after Arafat was assassinated. The disagreement between the two men has never been over national causes, but personal and financial issues.
      (...)
      Equally worrying is the prospect that the Arab Quartet’s pressure could drive Abbas into offering even bigger concessions to the Israelis to ensure he remains in his post. In a very real sense, the contest between him and Dahlan is over who can be more accommodating to Israel. Two of the Quartet’s members, Egypt and Jordan, openly have diplomatic relations with Israel and routinely coordinate their moves with it. The other two, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have covert and indirect contacts with it, and could well be seeking Palestinian cover for full normalization with Israel. Their sudden activity on the Palestinian front should be seen in this light. The identity of the individual who provides the cover – Abbas or Dahlan – is of secondary importance.
      The Palestinian cause does not need a change of figureheads. It needs a change of course, and a political renewal based on new foundations, foremost of which is resistance to the occupation.


  • UN ‘buries’ resolution on Gaza’s environmental health crisis under US, Israeli pressure
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/un-buries-resolution-gaza-s-environmental-health-crisis-under-us-isra

    The final round of government meetings at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in the last week of May resulted in the passing of 25 resolutions, including a landmark resolution calling for states to implement all international law on protecting the environment during war in national legislation.

    However, the draft resolution on #Gaza calling for a UN field assessment of environmental damage caused by war 2012 and 2014 was aborted amidst a storm of controversy.

    The resolution had originally been tabled by Morocco with the backing of the Arab League, Lebanon, Oman, Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Djibouti, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

    Sources at the meeting said that heated debate over the resolution was followed by a technical sleight-of-hand that allowed delegates to claim a vote on the Gaza resolution was impossible.

    The original resolution proposed by Morocco was opposed by three member states, the US, #Canada and #Israel, while the European Union suggested deleting substantive portions of the text.

    #Etats-Unis #UE #ONU


  • Erdogan suggests name change for Arab League - Al-Monitor : the Pulse of the Middle East
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/05/turkey-erdogan-accuses-arab-league-of-splitting-islam.html

    Ce n’est pas un gag, Erdogan suggère, dans une conférence relativement mineure il est vrai, de changer la Ligue arabe en Ligue musulmane... (Il s’en verrait d’ailleurs assez bien le patron alors que pour la Ligue arabe, ce n’est pas gagné et la place est déjà prise de toute manière !)

    “We always talk about Turks and Arabs. I am saddened by this. They talk about the Arab League. So does this mean we should put a Turkish League in front of this?” Erdogan said. “You talk about Islamic cooperation on the one hand and about an Arab League on the other. What kind of business is this? Why don’t we just call it the ’Islamic League’ instead of the Arab League?”

    #arabisme


  • Si les Séoudiens n’aiment pas Obama, ce n’est pas pour sa politique syrienne ou iranienne, c’est avant tout parce qu’ils craignent que, si eux-mêmes subissaient une révolution démocratique, Obama ne les soutiendrait pas. What’s really wrong with the U.S.-Saudi relationship - Marc Lynch
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/04/20/whats-really-wrong-with-the-u-s-saudi-relationship

    Much of the discussion of U.S.-Saudi tensions has focused on Gulf regime grievances over the nuclear deal with Iran and the American refusal to intervene in Syria.

    As I argue in my forthcoming book, “The New Arab Wars,” the deeper driver of these tensions, however, is the existential fear for regime survival unleashed by the Arab uprisings and the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Arab leaders suddenly feared that Washington would be unwilling or unable to come to their rescue if they faced renewed popular mobilization. The erratic and counterproductive policies they pursued in response, at home and across the region, have exacerbated their domestic problems — and put them sharply at odds with American strategic goals in the region.

    • Vraiment intéressant.
      Mais l’idée qu’il y aurait une crainte saoudienne que Washington ne voudrait pas ou ne serait pas capable de venir les sauver en cas d’un Printemps arabe 2.0 (renewed popular mobilization) est, à mon avis, encore en-dessous de la réalité.
      Les Saoudiens savent parfaitement, comme la plupart des gouvernements, qui a préparé le terrain pour les « printemps arabes ». Que l’on songe à tous les gouvernements qui l’ont dit ou qui ont pris des dispositions législatives contre les ONG étrangères pour se prémunir contre ce genre d’évènements que sont les révolutions colorées : Russie, Iran, Venezuela, Egypte de Sissi, Biélorussie, ...
      A mon avis, ce que craignent les Saoudiens, c’est qu’alors qu’ils ont une première fois réussi à repousser cela loin de leurs alliés, une seconde vague ne vienne ébranler leur pouvoir avec comme toujours, leur grand « allié » américain à la manœuvre.
      La première fois ils ont réussi à sauver la monarchie bahreïnie en envoyant 1000 soldats réprimer dans le sang le soulèvement bahreïni, à flinguer les Frères musulmans en Egypte et à rabattre le caquet du Qatar - les FM et le Qatar étant les principales forces sur lesquelles s’appuyaient les USA en 2011-2012. Maintenant que les prétentions des FM et du Qatar ont été rabattues, les Saoud peuvent de nouveau s’entendre avec eux - par exemple au Yémen avec le parti Islah issu des FM.
      L’article note certains de ces points :

      The Saudis have won on many important issues, while Obama has prevailed on his own highest priorities. The Saudi side of the ledger includes Obama’s willingness to turn a blind eye to the sectarian repression of Bahrain’s uprising, support for an obviously doomed and devastating war in Yemen, billions of dollars in arms sales and grudging acceptance of the Gulf-backed military coup in Egypt.

      Mais là aussi l’article est à mon avis encore un cran en-dessous de la réalité. L’administration Obama n’a pas laissé les Saoudiens sauver le roitelet de Bahreïn, en regardant ailleurs, parce que ce n’était pas un point important pour les USA, comme le suggère l’article, mais parce que c’était la condition pour intervenir en Libye contre Kadhafi.
      Pepe Escobar avait écrit un article sur ce deal :
      http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD02Ak01.html

      You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a “yes” vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya - the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.

      Qui, sur le terrain à Bahreïn, effrayait les Saoudiens ? Les militants des droits de l’homme à la Nabil Rajab et alKhawaja soutenus par les fondations américaines, et le Wefaq que Ryadh perçoit comme un parti satellite de l’Iran - et qui aurait pu jouer le même rôle que les FM ailleurs.
      Donc Ryadh a obtenu de Washington (Clinton) de pouvoir écraser ces deux forces à Bahreïn, avant que des forces similaires ne viennent contester le régime absolutiste saoudien sur son propre sol au nom de la démocratie pour les uns, ou du droit des chiites pour les autres (dans le Hasa pétrolier). Et les USA ont donc laissé ceux qu’ils avaient soutenus (les militants des droits de l’homme) se faire tranquillement torturer à Bahreïn... Mais c’est un coup d’urgence pas une politique sur le long terme. Il n’y aura pas éternellement un Kadhafi à sacrifier pour apaiser le Moloch du regime-change américain.
      Sur le long terme les Saoudiens ont donc tenté d’une part de constituer une Sainte-Alliance des monarchies, avec au centre un CCG qu’il leur fallait dominer, pour dévier la vague uniquement vers les seuls régimes républicains-autoritaires, et d’autre part de relancer la guerre sunnites/chiites contre l’Iran et ses alliés dans le cadre d’une compétition déjà ancienne.
      D’où d’ailleurs leur acharnement à refuser la défaite en Syrie où les deux enjeux se conjuguent.


  • Origins of the Syrian Democratic Forces: A Primer | Syria Deeply, Covering the Crisis
    http://www.syriadeeply.org/articles/2016/01/9346/origins-syrian-democratic-forces-primer

    The Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, is a coalition of Kurdish, Sunni Arab and Syriac Christian fighters, but is completely dominated by its Kurdish element, which is a powerful and well organized militia known as the Popular Defense Units, YPG, with an all-female branch called the Women’s Defense Units, or YPJ. These organizations, in turn, are Syrian front groups for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK. The other militias involved in the Syrian Democratic Forces are either long-standing PKK allies or proxies, such as the armed wing of the Syriac Union Party, or more recent allies drawn from the Sunni Arab tribal landscape in this part of Syria and from the remains of small Sunni Arab rebel groups crushed by the so-called Islamic State.

    The coalition as a whole receives American air support for operations against Islamic State, as did the YPG/J before it. That started in the Battle of Kobane that began in autumn 2014, which was enormously successful—really the first major battlefield defeat inflicted on Islamic State. It has provided the template for US-PKK cooperation. In addition, the Pentagon has picked out a number of these little Arab groups that work under the SDF umbrella as favored recipients of arms and support. It terms them, collectively, the Syrian Arab Coalition, though no one else seems to use that name.

    • The coalition is equally useful for the YPG/J and the PKK more generally, not only because they get arms and other kinds of support. It also helps rehabilitate them politically and provides a great platform to engage in public diplomacy. Since the creation of the Syrian Democratic Forces, they’ve set up a political branch called the Democratic Syrian Assembly, DSA. This is made up of two main components. [...]

      The other main element of the SDF is a loose network of Syrian leftists and other secular activists, most of them connected in one way or another to Haytham Manna, a Europe-based human rights activist from the Deraa Governorate in southern Syria. These groups—particularly Manna himself—are well versed in regional Syria diplomacy, with useful links to all sides, including the opposition, European states, U.N. diplomats, parts of the Arab League, Egypt, Russia and so on. On the other hand, they are not popular in the broader Sunni Arab and more Islamist-dominated Turkey- and Gulf-backed opposition that forms the mainstay of the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad.[...]

      Manna has now been elected one of two co-presidents of the DSA, operating in exile. llham Ahmed from TEV-DEM holds the other seat, although the longstanding PYD leader Saleh Muslim Mohammed is far more visible as a representative of this segment of Syrian Kurdish politics. The fact that Ahmed and Muslim are more or less interchangeable in diplomatic talks, despite belonging to two different organizations, is of course because both actually represent the “hidden” PKK structure that underpins the whole political order in northern Syria’s Kurdish areas. Though the interests of Manna’s people and the Kurdish bloc might not correspond perfectly, they are closely allied and have been so even before the creation of the SDF and the DSA. They have fundamentally shared interests in a secular and multisectarian Syria, with minimal Turkish and Gulf state influence, but with some role for Russia to balance out American or Saudi hegemony.

      #SDF #Syrian_Democratic_Forces #Syrie #YPG #PYD #al-Manna


  • Tuer les autres, se tuer soi-même

    http://orientxxi.info/magazine/tuer-les-autres-se-tuer-soi-meme,1103

    La violence des jeunes auteurs des attentats de Paris fonde une identité valorisante de héros moderne, d’un romantisme guerrier que les réseaux sociaux contribuent à construire dans un contexte européen d’intolérance raciste et d’absence d’avenir pour toute une jeunesse. L’organisation de l’État islamique (OEI) la récupère à son profit en lui offrant un espace concret où elle peut s’incarner.

    #is #isis #ei #daech #syrie #irak

    • Le même Peter Harling, en mars 2012 : In mid-February, an observer with the Arab League in Homs told AFP that “many foreign fighters,” including Pakistanis, Afghans, Lebanese, Iraqis, Sudanese, Libyans and Yemenis led most of the fighting and “dominated everybody.”
      Harling dismissed that as fantasy.
      “It is a product of his imagination. I do not see how foreigners at this stage of the conflict would impose anything” on the Syrians and “I do not believe that they are many.”
      Harling’s views were echoed by Karim Emilie Bitar from the French Institute of International and Strategic Relations.
      (http://tribune.com.pk/story/346709/foreign-militants-fighting-in-syria-battlefields)
      #mieux_vaut_tard

    • @thibnton Yes, une discussion avec l’ami Gresh sur si c’est un état ou pas, mais je vois qu’ils continuent à mettre OEI (même s’il m’a dit lui même qu’il préfère maintenant EI car ce « proto-état » agit et est organisé comme un état ayant un pouvoir sur un territoire plus grand que celui de la France. Nous, maintenant, on utilise EI.

    • Ok, merci. Le problème c’est que du coup ça légitime le discours guerrier en un sens : on peut donc faire la guerre à un Etat. Or dans le même temps nos représentants refusent le terme, lui préférant son acronyme arabe (qui désigne pourtant la même chose, précision géographique en moins). Alors bon, je ne sais pas ce qu’il faut mieux.

    • @Nidal répond s’il en a le temps. Perso, je trouve qu’un des grands avantages d’internet, c’est qu’il a de la mémoire ! Ravi de voir que Peter Harling s’intéresse désormais aux jeunes jihadistes/mercenaires dans les rangs de l’EI. Je note juste qu’il ne les voyait pas avant, alors que c’est un grand connaisseur du terrain syrien.

    • « pas un clou » ? Non évidemment. Et au contraire, ça rend d’autant plus problématique cette espèce d’« aveuglement » collectif de nos experts sur la question syrienne.

      Ce sont des scientifiques, mais au lieu de s’interroger sur cette erreur scientifique, il semble que la fuite en avant médiatique soit la bonne solution.

      Au point qu’on en arrive à citer « le chercheur Romain Caillet » dans un de ces n-ièmes articles qui prétendent dénoncer les « faux experts » :
      http://www.slate.fr/story/110375/faux-experts-terrorisme
      qui recommande une liste de « good fellas » recommandables :
      http://aboudjaffar.blog.lemonde.fr/2015/11/18/goodfellas
      face aux faux-exports, donc, des listes de « vrais experts » dont, pour nombre d’entre eux, la lecture depuis 2011 est une accumulation d’erreurs coupables.

      (Je n’irais pas défendre tous ces « faux experts » – au contraire –, mais j’adorerais qu’un jour ceux qui se sont autant trompés prennent le temps de nous expliquer pourquoi ils se sont autant trompés.)

    • @thibnton je ne pense pas que la terminologie « légitime » quoique ce soit, discours guerrier ou pas. je cherche juste - comme dans d’autres cas genre nommer les lieux du conflit israélo-palestinien - à trouver les mots appropriés pour qualifier une situation ou un lieu. Ce n’est peut-être pas si important dans le débat, mais en fait si, parce que nommer c’est aussi qualifier une situation telle qu’on la comprend (@alaingresh et @nidal et @gonzo et @rumor et les autres peuvent nous donner leur point de vue sur cette question, et sur la manière dont eux même nomment Daech/EI/OEI). J’ai discuté de cette question avec Gresh, il avait l’air de pencher pour EI mais je vois qu’Orient XXI continue d’utiliser OEI. D’autres « experts » (vrais et faux confondus ha ha !) utilisent à peu près tout le registre terminologique en mélangeant français et anglais : EI IS ISIS Daech Proto-État etc... Pour l’instant je me suis rangé derrière la terminologie la plus simple et celle dont je pense qu’elle correspond le mieux à la situation actuelle (qui peut changer assez vite) et qui est EI puisque je constate qu’ils gèrent un territoire énorme de la même manière que le ferait un Etat, Qu’ils ont réussi à nouer des liens très étroits avec des groupes armés situés assez loin de la Syrie et de l’Irak, et d’avoir des « échanges » avec ces groupes dans un système de circulation assez soutenu (Y compris apparemment en Europe). Mais je ne suis pas du tout spécialiste de la région et je suis ouvert à tous les arguments et les proposition.

      Je constate tout de même en relisant mes archives de 2013 que tous les experts - y compris les très sérieux - qui me disaient que Daech/EI/OEI n’était qu’un feu de paille et qu’il ne pouvaient pas durer et allait se désintégrer dans les semaines ou les mois qui viennent se sont lourdement trompés, et je me demande pourquoi.

    • J’ajoute que je n’ai pas parlé de l’aspect cruel et barbare de EI/OEI/Daech parce que c’est encore un autre problème à replacer dans son contexte régional au sens large du terme. Parce que la Barbarie de l’EI pourrait sans aucun doute être largement mis en concurrence avec celle de Bachar et ses barils, de l’Arabie saoudite avec ses décapitations, ses coups de fouet et sa guerre contre le yémen, des israéliens et de son meurtre de masse à Gaza l’année dernière, des américains et de leur embargo meurtrier contre ’Irak et sa campagne de drone aussi meurtirère.


  • « عرب سات » تضغط على لبنان لإقفال « الميادين » :: الصفحة الرئيسة | جريدة السفير
    http://assafir.com/Article/1/454871

    «عرب سات» تضغط على لبنان لإقفال «الميادين»

    Le Liban risque d’être "sanctionné" par Arabsat à travers le transfert du relais terrestre du Liban à La Jordanie. Il s’agit en réalité pour les Saoudiens de punir les Libanais qui hébergent Al-Mayadeen, une chaîne TV ouvertement anti-saoudienne.

    #eadlt #liban #médias


  • What to do with the people who do make it across?

    Since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, more than 12 million people have been displaced by the fighting, 4.1 million of whom have fled the country. The flow of refugees from Syria has been constant, but there have been two great surges in the past four years. The first was in the middle of 2013, when fighting intensified. That was when the Assad regime stepped up its attacks, the Arab League agreed to arm rebel groups, and a former branch of al-Qaida emerged as Isis. Between March and September that year, a million people fled the country – as many as had left in the two years before.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n19/daniel-trilling/what-to-do-with-the-people-who-do-make-it-across
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Syrie #réfugiés_syriens