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 4 - Beijing, Moscow, and competing interests in Palestine

China and Russia have, each in its own way, begun asserting themselves in the Middle East. Naturally, Russia’s military intervention in the war in Syria has made Moscow a belligerent in the region, with all the baggage that comes with that role. In contrast, Beijing has begun asserting itself economically, which is fairly typical of the Chinese strategy for power projection. These differing approaches, each capitalizing on the strengths of the respective countries, further complicate the picture in Palestine.

In response to the move by Trump, China’s foreign ministry spokesman reaffirmed that China “support[s] the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights and stand behind Palestine in building an independent, full-sovereignty state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.” This was, of course, a reiteration of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s address to the Arab League in 2016, in which he proclaimed that Beijing supports East Jerusalem as the capital of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Rhetoric aside, it should be remembered that Palestinian President Abbas’ visit to China over the summer resulted in Xi making a new four-point proposal for Palestine, which not only reiterated China’s stance on East Jerusalem, but also offered financial support in the form of Chinese companies investing in Palestine to develop industrial parks and solar power plants.

China sees in the Middle East a linchpin of its Belt and Road Initiatives, which attempt to develop land-based access for Chinese goods to Europe and elsewhere in the global economy. China has offered $15 billion in investment for large-scale projects in the Middle East, but does China have the political stomach for wading into the minefield of Middle East politics?

Would China also jeopardize its chances to build the Red-Med railway in Israel — the plan to connect the Red Sea Israeli port of Eilat with the Mediterranean port of Ashdod — which could be seen as arguably the most geopolitically important project China has in the entire Middle East?

This rail project would effectively offer China an alternative to the Suez Canal, which today is one of the most important commercial shipping chokepoints in the world, and one on which China relies heavily. For China, the big prize at the center of all its Belt and Road initiatives is unfettered, mostly land-based access to the European market. The Red-Med railway provides that. Would Beijing risk it in order to take a stand for Palestine? This remains to be seen.

And then there’s Russia. While the Kremlin’s gamble on intervention in Syria has paid off in terms of winning the war for Assad’s government and securing Russia’s place as patron and protector of Syria, it has also made Russia hated in much of the Middle East, especially among Sunni power brokers, from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar to Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine itself. The Russians have put themselves in a strategically complex scenario wherein they have more influence with one side (Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and the Shia alliance) while also losing, or at least significantly weakening, their ability to play all sides.

Add to that the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have a warm, friendly relationship that both have worked very hard to cultivate, obviously for self-interested reasons. Netanyahu needs Putin as leverage against Washington to continue to ensure that the Americans not only remain loyal to Israel, but that they increase their backing as a means of undermining Putin. For his part, Putin needs Netanyahu and the Israelis both as a political chess piece against Washington, and because of the significant cultural ties between Russia and Israel, in the form of Russian-Jewish emigres who account for a significant proportion of Israel’s population.

Russia needs to maintain a good relationship with Israel to placate not only internal forces inside Russia, but also to maintain influence in Israeli politics.

It’s also critical to note that — while Russia has intervened in Syria and has generally been seen as more pro-Iranian, pro-Shiite than its western counterparts — the Kremlin still eyes the Shia warily, and views Iran as part friend and part enemy.

As Khaled Yacoub Oweis of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs told Deutsche Welle earlier this year, “Russia supposedly gave the green light when Israel attacked pro-Iranian military targets. In one way or another, Putin has warned the Iranians about tangling with Israel.” Such is the balancing act Putin maintains in the Middle East where, despite Russia’s involvement in Syria, Moscow remains close to Israel and, at least tangentially, the United States.

And of course, there are also economic factors at play in the Israel-Russia calculus. Russia’s only two significant exports remain energy and military hardware, both of which factor into Israel’s position.

Being leaders in military technology and innovation, the Israelis see partnership with the Russians as a lucrative investment. Similarly, the Russians want Israeli know-how on surveillance and security, counter-terrorism, drone technology, app development, and much more. The Russians don’t see any such potential with any of their Arab partners.

As for energy, the Russians are keenly aware that the Israelis want to exploit Eastern Mediterranean gas reserves (i.e., Leviathan field), which could potentially make them into exporters to Europe. This would significantly weaken Russia’s position at a time when Europe is looking for ways to diversify away from reliance on Russian gas. This complicates the relationship further. Needless to say, a cost-benefit analysis for Russia is likely the outcome, and if I were a betting man I’d say that Moscow, on balance, sees little benefit from direct support for Palestinians.

Source, links:


[1] [2] [3] [5]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why the US rushed to propagate the 'naval mine' scenario to explain recent attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman

globinfo freexchange

The incident of the recent attack against two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman elevated the heat between the US and Iran. Naturally, the attack also produced some level of turmoil in the oil global market.

Trump's hostile attitude against Iran was clearly evident even before his election. His totally unjustifiable and completely incomprehensible action to kill the Iran nuclear deal, destroyed any remnants of US reliability. Consequently, even the US Western allies refused to follow this evidently counterproductive strategy.

Under these circumstances and given the endless history of US manufactured incidents used to justify the start of another war, most people rightfully thought that this has been just another false flag operation.

And it makes sense actually. Why the hell Iran would attempt to blow up its relations with Japan in the midst of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visit in the country? Only the US empire would have reasons to do it in order to force one of its…

Confirmed: the US empire seeks to 'clear' the path for the invasion of Iran

globinfo freexchange

Sometimes it's quite surprising how fast some estimations appear to be confirmed.

Only four days ago, we wrote that the US imperialists know that an all-out war with Iran would equal a suicide. The goal is probably a 'surgical' invasion on the south shores of the country that would last just as long as to permit the US and allies to control the Strait of Hormuz, and therefore, the global oil market. The first step towards such an operation would be the mine-clearing of the strait.

This probably explains why the Western media insisted to circulate the scenario of the 'naval mine'. They want to drag Western leaderships behind US in an operation to clear the mines in the Strait of Hormuz, in the name of global energy security.

Well, we were quite close actually. Three days later, the US leadership attempted a broader global alignment - including rival countries like China - towards the protection of "freedom of navigation in the region". …

Όσοι περνάν των χώρα της απόγνωσης παθαίνουν αμνησία ...

globinfo freexchange
Δανειστήκαμε αυτή τη φράση από ένα παλιό κομμάτι της Ελληνικής ροκ μπάντας "Τρύπες", για να περιγράψουμε με λίγα λόγια αυτό που φαίνεται να έχει πάθει η Ελληνική κοινωνία. 
Πώς είναι δυνατόν μια ολόκληρη κοινωνία να έχει ξεχάσει ποιοι τη χρεοκόπησαν; Ποιοι έστησαν το άθλιο σύστημα των κρατικοδίαιτων 'ημέτερων' και της οικογενειοκρατίας; Ποιοι έσωσαν τις τράπεζες με πακτωλό δισεκατομμυρίων σε βάρος της μεσαίας τάξης; Ποιοι έκαναν τη μίζα και το ρουσφέτι επάγγελμα; Πώς είναι δυνατόν αυτή η κοινωνία να ετοιμάζεται να ξαναφέρει στην εξουσία ένα κομμάτι αυτού του άθλιου πολιτικού κατεστημένου, με την επιστροφή μάλιστα του αμετανόητα νεοφιλελεύθερου Κυριάκου Μητσοτάκη και της ομάδας του;  
Η απόγνωση που έφεραν εννέα χρόνια βάρβαρων νεοφιλελεύθερων πολιτικών και σκληρής λιτότητας και που ανάγκασε τη χώρα να διαβεί τον εφιαλτικό μονόδρομο της μόνιμης χρεοκοπίας, πρέπει να έπαιξε σημαντικό ρόλο. 
Διότι ως γνωστόν, η απελπισία λίγο απέχει από τ…

The 'Julian Assange' index: another evidence that Elizabeth Warren is establishment's last resort

 globinfo freexchange

We should be grateful to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for uncovering the ruthless and ugly face of the establishment. For the exposure of the biggest war crimes by the US empire in the Iraq war. For the exposure of the dirty war by the DNC against Bernie Sanders, and many more.
But even now, being in this extremely hard situation because of the absolutely inhuman treatment by this imperialistic crypto-fascist regime, Assange remarkably becomes the cause that forces more masks to fall.

Therefore, the 'Julian Assange' index can even help us identify the real and the fake progressives.

As The Interceptreported:
The Justice Department filed 17 charges against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange on Thursday, deploying the controversial Espionage Act as a cudgel against First Amendment protections and press freedom. It’s the first time the U.S. government has used the Espionage Act to prosecute a publisher, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

[..…

Brussels bureaufascists are ready to replace Alexis Tsipras with their most faithful puppet in Greece

globinfo freexchange
The latest European election in Greece was a real shock for the government. Alexis Tsipras and his party SYRIZA took the second place and suffered a heavy defeat with almost 10 points behind the right-wing New Democracy. Tsipras was forced to declare national elections on July 7th and it seems that blog's predictions are about to become true.

As we wrote already in 2016, right after the internal elections for the new leadership in New Democracy:
The result for the leadership of the main opposition party, New Democracy, in Greece after Sunday's elections, must had brought waves of relief to the Brussels-Berlin axis. Brussels bureaufascists and Berlin directorate have now the best "backup" alternative in case that Tsipras administration attempt to diverge from the catastrophic policies imposed by the European Financial Dictatorship (EFD).
The new leader of New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is probably the ideal alternative solution. The man that co…

Το σύστημα της διαπλοκής παίζει τα ρέστα του, αλλά ο Τσίπρας δεν φαίνεται να βάζει μυαλό ...

failed evolution
Η εικόνα αρχίζει σιγά-σιγά να γίνεται όλο και πιο ξεκάθαρη. Όσο πλησιάζουμε προς την ημέρα των εθνικών εκλογών το σύστημα της διαπλοκής παίζει τα ρέστα του. Τα ιδιωτικά κανάλια των ολιγαρχών συνεχίζουν την προπαγάνδα και σε συνδυασμό με την Τρόικα εσωτερικού και εξωτερικού προωθούν 'με τα χίλια' το νεοφιλελεύθερο οδοστρωτήρα, Κυριάκο Μητσοτάκη.

Η απόπειρα σαμποτάζ ξεκίνησε από ένα κομμάτι της Τρόικας εσωτερικού, προκειμένου να δημιουργήσει σύγχυση και επιπλέον αγανάκτηση στους πολίτες μέσω του ευαίσθητου τομέα της υγείας. Προς το παρόν, η συγκεκριμένη φράξια της Τρόικας εσωτερικού αποφάσισε την αναστολή των κινητοποιήσεων, μετά τις αντιδράσεις που προκάλεσε το εκβιαστικό lock out με την υπογραφή του Γιώργου Πατούλη, σύμφωνα με το οποίο απαιτούσε από τους ασφαλισμένους να καταβάλλουν το 85% του κόστους των εξετάσεων. Φαίνεται ότι το σαμποτάζ δεν είχε πολύ μεγάλη επιτυχία.  
Στη συνέχεια είχαμε τις καταγγελίες Αγγελή, ο οποίος εμφανίστηκε 'όλως τ…

Έρχεται ο νεοφιλελεύθερος "οδοστρωτήρας" Κούλης που θα ισοπεδώσει τους εργαζόμενους

globinfo freexchange
«Επταήμερο εργασίας. Όχι ο εκβιασμός που γίνεται από τους ελέγχους εδώ πέρα, όχι εξαήμερο, επταήμερο! Απαιτούμε να γίνει πιο εύκολο, πιο ευέλικτο το θέμα των 7 ημερών και όχι να επικρέμεται η σπάθη των προστίμων», απαίτησε ο "ευγενής" επιχειρηματίας από τον Κυριάκο Μητσοτάκη που επισκέφτηκε την Κω. 
Δηλαδή, το "αφεντικό" δεν θέλει να έχει κανένα έλεγχο πάνω από το κεφάλι του και να κάνει ότι γουστάρει με τους εργαζόμενους. Αν μπορεί δηλαδή να τους βάζει να δουλεύουν και δωδεκάωρα (όπως πέρασε με νόμο στην Αυστρία η συντηρητική δεξιά) και να τους δίνει ένα ξεροκόμματο, ίσα-ίσα για να μπορούν να δουλεύουν.  Θεωρεί τον έλεγχο, δηλαδή αν τηρείται με λίγα λόγια η εργασιακή νομοθεσία, "εκβιασμό". Καταλάβατε νοοτροπία; 
Προσέξτε το ύφος του: το "αφεντικό" με θράσος απαιτεί, χτυπώντας σχεδόν το χέρι στο τραπέζι, να μπορεί ουσιαστικά να εφαρμόζει συνθήκες σύγχρονης δουλείας, όχι μόνο χωρίς καμία επίπτωση, αλλά ούτε καν ενόχληση.  

The prosecution of Julian Assange is an attack on our Freedom of Speech

The Intercept
The Trump Department of Justice has openly declared war on the First Amendment. And the case they have chosen to pave the way for criminally prosecuting journalists and publishers is that of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act. It is the first time since the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enshrined in law, that the government is criminally charging a publisher for publishing truthful information.
This indictment centers around the exposure of war crimes committed by the forces of the most powerful nation on Earth. It is about publishing documents that laid bare the blackmail, the backroom deals, the threats, the lies of the U.S. government in nations across the world. It is retaliation against an organization that presented to the world video evidence of a U.S. helicopter gunship massacre on Iraqi civilians and two Reuters news journalists. 
This prosecution is revenge for publishing documents on the U.S. kill campaign in Iraq and Afgha…

Οι λούμπεν μικροαστοί είναι έτοιμοι να επιλέξουν τον δήμιο τους που αποτελεί και την καλύτερη εφεδρεία για τους γραφειοφασίστες των Βρυξελλών

του system failure
Το πρόσφατο αποτέλεσμα των ευρωεκλογών δείχνει ότι το νεοφιλελεύθερο ιερατείο Βρυξελλών/Βερολίνου θεωρεί ότι έφτασε η ώρα να αντικατασταθεί ο Αλέξης Τσίπρας με την καλύτερη εφεδρεία του: τον Κυριάκο Μητσοτάκη. 
Πράγματι, οι προβλέψεις φαίνεται να επαληθεύονται εντυπωσιακά. Όπως είχαμε αναφέρει σε προηγούμενο άρθρο ήδη από το 2016 και αμέσως μετά την εκλογή Μητσοτάκη στην ηγεσία της ΝΔ, τα αποτελέσματα των εκλογών στη ΝΔ λύνουν τα χέρια του άξονα Βρυξελλών-Βερολίνου. Οι γραφειοφασίστες των Βρυξελλών και το διευθυντήριο του Βερολίνου έχουν τώρα μια πρώτης τάξεως εφεδρεία σε περίπτωση που τα πράγματα "στραβώσουν" με την σημερινή κυβέρνηση.  
Ήδη, η κυβέρνηση ΣΥΡΙΖΑ έδωσε κάποια μικρά σημάδια ανυπακοής ενάντια στη λιτότητα που επιβάλλει το ιερατείο, ρέποντας 'επικίνδυνα' προς μια πιο φιλολαϊκή πολιτική. Δεν είναι τυχαίο φυσικά ότι τα πρώτα αυτά σημάδια άρχισαν να γίνονται ορατά μόλις η χώρα βγήκε από το πρόγραμμα επιτήρησης που επέβαλε η Τρό…

Trump's top hawkish neocon gives signs that the US could possibly participate in a military coup against Jeremy Corbyn

globinfo freexchange

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt held a joint press conference in London after meeting for talks in the UK capital.
Pompeo condemned what he described as the support of certain UK and US leaders for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. "It is disgusting to see leaders, not only in the United Kingdom but in the United States as well, who continue to support the murderous dictator [Nicolas] Maduro," said Pompeo.

What's disgusting is that Pompeo has gone so far as even to launch indirect threats against US/UK leaders who refuse to align with the empire's typical regime change operations against legitimate governments.

It's obvious that these warnings are targeting progressive anti-war leaders like Tulsi Gabbard, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders.

Pompeo depicts the anxiety of the empire, as it finds more and more difficult to make countries and leaders align behind US regime change efforts. …