Skip to main content

How Trump’s declaration inflames a Middle East already ablaze

Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a turning point in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, the issue is much bigger than Palestine as Donald Trump may have just lit the match that will set off the powder keg of the Arab World.

by Eric Draitser

Part 3 - A region at war

Though it is often seen in a vacuum, the Palestine issue cannot be divorced from the broader dynamics of the region. And, given the heightened tensions and turmoil in the Middle East – the war in Syria, Saudi-Qatar conflict, the war in Yemen, the Islamic State’s rise, etc. – Palestinian resistance must be examined as part of a broader regional transformation.

Hezbollah has for years been seen by many, especially the Israeli state, as a principal belligerent on the side of Palestinians. Since 2006 and Hezbollah’s resounding victory over Israeli military forces, the organization has become perhaps the primary force for armed resistance against Israel. As such, the organization would undoubtedly have a vital role to play in any potential resistance. But questions remain about Hezbollah’s capabilities in the wake of its intervention in Syria and, to a lesser degree, Yemen.

According to a survey of news coverage of Hezbollah fighter funerals, more than 1,000 Hezbollah fighters were killed in combat in Syria in the four and a half years of Hezbollah’s involvement (September 2012 – April 2017). As Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council noted:

This number [1000 killed]…must be treated as an absolute minimum, since the Hezbollah leadership has every reason to downplay losses. Giving full information on number of killed would increase domestic (Lebanese) resistance to Hezbollah’s involvement and reveal more information about its forces to its adversaries… Of these Hezbollah fighters, 60 were identified as al-Qaid al-Shahid (martyred commander) or al-Qaid al-Maydani (field commander), which distinguishes them from the rank-and-file members of the Shia militia.

Aside from demonstrating how much blood Hezbollah has shed on the battlefields of Syria, the death toll indicates that, at the very least, Hezbollah’s battlefield leadership has been significantly impacted by the losses. Naturally, new commanders rise to take the place of their fallen leaders but, as any general could tell you, it’s not easy to replace competent field commanders. Indeed, some of those leaders were veterans of the 2006 campaign against Israel, and it remains an open question whether that experience can truly be replaced.

Of course, Hezbollah has also been actively involved in Yemen — if not in military actions, then certainly as advisers. According to a 2015 Financial Times exclusive, Hezbollah sources in Beirut were quoted as saying that Houthi fighters had “trained with us in Iran, then we trained them here and in Yemen,” and that Iran was “probably” supplying weapons to the Houthis. One Hezbollah source told the FT that “We are the guerrilla experts, so we give advice about the best timings to strike back, when to hold back.

While these points are disputed by some in the organization and its supporters, the fact remains that Houthi capabilities, to say nothing of tactical victories, owe much to Hezbollah as a role model, if not a direct mentor.

As Paul Salem — Vice President for Policy Analysis Research, and Programs at the Middle East Institute — noted recently:

Hezbollah has been building up its presence in Yemen and Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has raised the Houthi cause and the war against Saudi Arabia there as a main cause of Hezbollah in recent speeches. Hezbollah’s role in the missile that was launched at Riyadh on November 4 only punctuated the threat. Saudi Arabia fears that Hezbollah and Iran could build missile systems that threaten the kingdom from Yemen as they have done against Israel from Lebanon.

So, it seems that the war in Yemen, like that in Syria, has implications for the Palestinian resistance. While it’s highly unlikely that Yemen has drained much in terms of material resources from Hezbollah, that conflict has made Hezbollah into a direct belligerent against Saudi Arabia, a significant escalation from the indirect proxy conflict in Syria.

The implications for Palestine should be self-evident: why would Saudi Arabia, and MBS specifically, allow Hezbollah to become the leading edge of a fight against Israel when the organization remains the leading edge of the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran in both Syria and, to a lesser extent, Yemen? The contradiction here makes it apparent that, in the context of Palestine, any appearance of unity would be mere window-dressing. Beneath the surface, these forces would remain in conflict.

Also, one has to wonder whether MBS would attempt to extricate himself from the self-created quagmire in Yemen by using Palestine as a bargaining chip. Might Riyadh make a backroom deal wherein they sell out the Palestinian resistance in exchange for political and/or military support from the U.S. in Yemen? This would make some sense given President Trump’s recent comments urging the Saudis to end the blockade of Yemen, a statement widely regarded as an indication that Washington’s political cover for Saudi war crimes was wearing thin. Could we see a renewed backing from Washington in exchange for non-interference in any Palestinian uprising? It is a definite possibility.

And, given the recent news of the death of former Yemeni President Saleh, the chances of an escalated war against the Houthis have grown exponentially. The Saudis will need U.S. political cover and military/logistical support to prosecute their war.

Not to be forgotten, the ongoing diplomatic conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar complicates the situation in Palestine further. As mentioned above, the financial and political backing that each has provided to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas respectively will undoubtedly spill over into a proxy conflict in Palestine, one that could torpedo any chance of a truly unified resistance to Israeli oppression and occupation.

Of course, one cannot forget Turkey’s ongoing war against the Kurds, and the criminal networks and death squads operating under the Islamic State banner that have been decimated in recent months. The latter is particularly crucia,l as southern Lebanon had become a major battleground against ISIS fighters, which culminated in the controversial agreement between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Government and ISIS to provide safe passage for more than 300 ISIS militants and their families.

All these factors complicate the picture of a unified Palestinian resistance. Do they make it impossible? Of course not. However, it must be understood that any uprising in Palestine is connected to, and not divorced from, the politics of the region.

But what of the global players, specifically China and Russia? How might they factor into this increasingly complicated mosaic of political relations?

Source, links:


[1] [2] [4] [5]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

In another bizarre moment, CNN suffers from a real-journalism crisis and exposes the US war crimes in Yemen ... again!

It’s almost like watching The Twilight Zone!
globinfo freexchange
When the corporate media finally decided to dedicate some of their 'precious' time to focus on the war crimes in Yemen, we thought that it was just a smokescreen. The 'unexplained phenomenon' happened after the unimaginable war-crime in which a school bus was bombed by the Saudi coalition, fully supported by the US.
The global condemnation was so loud that the corporate media couldn't avoid it. They had to speak about it. However, we were right. It was just a small parenthesis away from the common agenda. The US-Saudi coalition war crimes in Yemen continue at the same rate, but the corporate media continue to act like if the war doesn't even exist.
Yet, surprisingly enough, we had an unexpected exception to this corporate media norm. CNN decided to return to the issue and condemn the US involvement in Yemen!
In the following video, Kyle Kulinski was also surprised by the fact that CNN covered again th…

Jeremy Corbyn: 'We are in touch with Bernie Sanders and his campaign'

globinfo freexchange
Jeremy Corbyn and Yanis Varoufakis had an interesting conversation in August 20, at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Varoufakis challenged Corbyn to lead an international progressive movement that will end the brutal policies of the dominant neoliberalism.
Interesting parts of the dialogue:
JC: We saw the way in which the European Central Bank treated yourselves and also the austerity that was imposed on Ireland on Portugal and Spain.
YV: It's not just a state. They committed a crime against the Irish people. The head of the Central Bank of Europe put a gun on the Irish Prime Minister's head and demanded that overnight the losses of private investors, mostly from Germany, should be transferred on to the books of the Irish state and the Irish Prime Minister's account. Now, that's, you know, robbery, just daylight robbery. That's what they did.
JC: I actually challenged the whole Maastricht idea, which established the European Central Bank, because it wa…

Τελευταία ευκαιρία για Grexit ... πριν αναλάβει ο Κούλης

globinfo freexchange
Η τελευταία κερδοσκοπική επίθεση κατά του τραπεζικού συστήματος δείχνει ότι ακόμα και όταν υποκύπτεις σε ότι ζητάει η διεθνής χρηματοπιστωτική μαφία, δεν είναι αρκετό.
Το ότι θα δικαιωνόμασταν για άλλη μια φορά και μάλιστα τόσο γρήγορα, πραγματικά δεν το περιμέναμε.
Μετά την υποτιθέμενη έξοδο από τα μνημόνια και το περίφημο διάγγελμα Τσίπρα είχαμε γράψει πως οι μετριοπαθείς 'Αριστεροί' προσπαθούν να μας πείσουν ότι τώρα η χώρα θα έχει περισσότερη ελευθερία να χαράξει τις δικές της πολιτικές. Δηλαδή, η χρεοκοπημένη Ελλάδα (που βρίσκεται σε χειρότερη κατάσταση απ'ότι όταν μπήκε στο πρόγραμμα διάσωσης), θα κολυμπήσει ξεβράκωτη στα ίδια νερά με τους καρχαρίες των αγορών και θα επιβιώσει. Αυτό πάνω-κάτω μας λένε.
Πράγματι λοιπόν, μετά από περίπου ενάμισι μήνα, ένα από τα βασικά εργαλεία του μηχανισμού της διεθνούς χρηματοπιστωτικής μαφίας (το Bloomberg), αποφάσισε να εξαπολύσει επίθεση κατά του τραπεζικού συστήματος και ο πανικός δεν άργησε να εξαπλωθεί. Όπω…

How Bezos tricked Bernie and workers

globinfo freexchange
The truth is that Bernie Sanders fought, and still fights for the workers more than any elected US president combined for decades. And his crusade against Amazon and Jeff Bezos' enormous greed resulted in the unprecedented decision of the company to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour.
But it was too good to be true.
As Bloomberg reported:
           Amazon.com Inc. is eliminating monthly bonuses and stock awards for warehouse workers and other hourly employees after the company pledged this week to raise pay to at least $15 an hour. Warehouse workers for the e-commerce giant in the U.S. were eligible in the past for monthly bonuses that could total hundreds of dollars per month as well as stock awards, said two people familiar with Amazon’s pay policies. The company informed those employees Wednesday that it’s eliminating both of those compensation categories to help pay for the raises, the people said.


As a pure product of the neoliberal culture, Bezos found the op…

The Podesta emails - top US plutocracy group attempted to approach Hillary Clinton under newly elected chairman Jeff Bezos

WikiLeaks series on deals involving Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta. Mr Podesta is a long-term associate of the Clintons and was President Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff from 1998 until 2001. Mr Podesta also owns the Podesta Group with his brother Tony, a major lobbying firm and is the Chair of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington DC-based think tank.
globinfo freexchange
An email by a Business Council* representative to John Podesta was expressing the desire of the group to 'approach' Hillary Clinton.
The email was sent nearly two years before the 2016 presidential election at the time where Jeff Bezos was the newly elected president of the group. Also, according to the email, the group consisted of more than 120 "of the biggest CEO's in the US.", meaning, the elite of the American plutocracy.
According to the email, the group was interested for a speech by Hillary Clinton in their meeting, but also, for some informal contacts of he…

This is the real EU ...

failed evolution
When the European Parliament voted recently to sanction Hungary for neglecting norms on democracy, civil rights and corruption, we wrote:
This is the Union that exhibited some "humanitarian sensitivity" by packing thousands of refugees in Greek islands under inhuman conditions and paid Turkey to keep them in its soil. And now, these hypocrites want to punish Hungary for neglecting norms on democracy, civil rights and corruption!
We were right.
According to a recent article by the NY Times:
There is growing acrimony — and now an investigation — over why the camp [Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos] is so bad when so much money has been provided by the European Union to help improve the Greek asylum system since migration levels started to rise in 2014.
[...]
Aid groups have been warning of a need for expanded facilities for several years, however. For some, the failure to improve the camp and hasten the asylum process suggests neglect on the…

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - neoliberal establishment 0-3 ... so far

globinfo freexchange
More than a month ago, we identified an immediate mobilization of the establishment machine to push progressives into the establishment lines after the 'shocking' victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Under the fierce pressure of the corporate media, Cortez was essentially forced to declare loyalty to Nancy Pelosi. That was a first, significant victory of the establishment against Cortez and the progressive movement.
After that, we saw an unexplained and bizarre contribution of both Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to the establishment pro-McCain 'litanies'. In this totally unnecessary self-recruitment for the McCain's legacy whitewash operation, Cortez retreated unconditionally and the establishment marked a second victory against her.
Now, the establishment 'scored' one more time, as Cortez was forced to endorse establishment's agent, Andrew Cuomo.


We mentioned already that corporate media will focus mainly on pushing progressives to b…

Rapid drop of the recruitment rates may accelerate hyper-automation and privatization of the US army

globinfo freexchange
Younger generations have been 'trained' by the dominant culture to act in more 'pragmatic' terms in the arena of a brutal economic cynicism. As the fight for a place in this system becomes harder and harder, more and more people are being left out of the game. More and more of the them struggle to survive.
Despite these perfect conditions for the US empire components to exploit the growing numbers of the 'brigades of the poor’, not everything went well for the empire.
After 9/11 disaster, the Internet, the WikiLeaks, the alternative sources of information, the whistleblowers and the powerful combination of all these, brought some unprecedented changes. They managed to destroy the deceptive facade of the US deep state narratives, propagated through the corporate media.
With all the big lies, war crimes, war propaganda exposed to great extent, millennials and new generations are not easy targets for "war on terror"-type narratives.
As a con…

In Brazil too we see what has become now neoliberalism's common practice: recruit the far-right to do the dirty job

globinfo freexchange
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, professor of sociology at Coimbra University in Portugal, and a distinguished legal scholar at the University of Wisconsin Madison, spoke with Greg Wilpert of the Real News, about the shocking rise of neofascism in Brazil through presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro.
Santos explained:
It’s very well documented that the United States is - through several organizations - really advising, financing Bolsonaro’s campaign. Bannon has said that he had talks with the Bolsonaro’s son and they have particularly advised him in terms of digital strategies. That’s what they are doing. But we know that the Koch brothers have also been helping fund him.
We are in a society in which the class inequalities go together with the racial prejudice. In this society, which in fact for a long time it was very conservative and run by the oligarchies, in the last 15 years, there was a revolution in terms of the social policies - particularly the identity policies.…

WikiLeaks paper reveals Congressional think tank specific techniques for 'persuading' audiences

This document was obtained by WikiLeaks from the United States Congressional Research Service. The CRS is a Congressional "think tank" with a staff of around 700. Reports are commissioned by members of Congress on topics relevant to current political events. Despite CRS costs to the tax payer of over $100M a year, its electronic archives are, as a matter of policy, not made available to the public. Individual members of Congress will release specific CRS reports if they believe it to assist them politically, but CRS archives as a whole are firewalled from public access. This report was obtained by WikiLeaks staff from CRS computers accessible only from Congressional offices.
globinfo freexchange
A report from April 12, 2007, was "Prepared primarily for congressional staff members called upon to help prepare speeches for Members,” and “provides basic guidance on obtaining speech material, using it to prepare a speech draft, and presentation.”, as we read in the abstract. …