‘We Will Not Be Able to Succeed Without Israel,’ Saudi Prince Told NY Rabbi

State-backed Saudi media and clerics are signaling change is already underway with Israel.

By Associated Press

Saudi Arabia, the most powerful Arab nation and home to Islam’s holiest sites, has made its official position on the region’s longest-running conflict clear: Full ties between the kingdom and Israel can only happen when peace is reached with the Palestinians.

Yet state-backed Saudi media and clerics are signaling change is already underway with Israel — something that can only happen under the directives of the country’s powerful heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The divergent messages on the possibility of Saudi ties with Israel reflect what analysts and insiders say is a schism between how the 35-year-old prince and his 84-year-old father, King Salman, view national interests.

“It’s no secret there’s a generational conflict,” said New York-based Rabbi Marc Schneier, who serves as an adviser to Bahrain’s king and has held talks in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to promote stronger ties with Jews and Israel.

Gulf capitals have been increasingly looking to Israel as an ally to defend against common rival Iran amid quiet concerns about the direction of U.S. foreign policy and the uncertainty around the upcoming presidential election. But it’s not only countering Iran that’s brought Israel and Arab states closer in recent years.

The rabbi said the former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Khalid bin Salman, told him that the top priority of his brother, the crown prince, is reforming the Saudi economy.

‘We Will Not Be Able to Succeed Without Israel’

“He said these exact words: ‘We will not be able to succeed without Israel.’ So for the Saudis, it’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a question of ‘when.’ And there’s no doubt that they will establish relations with Israel,” Schneier said.

Prominent Saudi royal, Prince Turki al-Faisal, insists “any talk of a rift between the king and the crown prince is mere speculation.”

“We’ve seen none of that,” said the prince, who served for years as head of intelligence and briefly as ambassador to the U.S.

Analysts and observers say Saudi Arabia is unlikely to formalize ties with Israel as long as King Salman wields power. While the king has handed off day-to-day control of Saudi affairs to his son, he has stepped in on occasion to intervene and even push back with statements in support of the Palestinians.

In a phone call with President Donald Trump on Sept. 6, King Salman repeated his commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The initiative offers Israel normal ties with Arab states in return for Palestinian statehood on territory Israel captured in 1967 — a deal that starkly contradicts the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.

When the White House announced last month the United Arab Emirates and Israel agreed to establish full diplomatic ties — a move matched by Bahrain weeks later — Saudi Arabia refrained from criticizing the deal or hosting summits condemning the decision, despite Palestinian requests to do so.

The Palestinians have slammed the agreements as a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause,” but government-controlled Saudi media hailed them as historic and good for regional peace.

The kingdom also approved the use of Saudi airspace for Israeli flights to the UAE, a decision announced the day after Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, met with Prince Mohammed in Riyadh. Kushner has been pushing Arab states to normalize ties with Israel.

Prince Mohammed was quoted in The Atlantic during his most recent visit to the U.S. in April 2018 saying Israel is a big economy and “there are a lot of interests we share with Israel.” He said Palestinians and Israelis have the right to their own land, before adding there has to be a peace agreement to assure stability and to have normal relations.

His comments were interpreted as support for the eventual establishment of full ties between the kingdom and Israel, which would annihilate what’s left of the Arab consensus that recognition of Israel can only come after the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Most telling, however, was the Sept. 11 announcement that the tiny-island nation of Bahrain was establishing ties with Israel. Analysts say the move could not have happened without Saudi approval.

It strongly suggested Saudi Arabia is open to the idea of formal ties with Israel, said Hussein Ibish, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

“It tells me they are willing to look at this themselves in the future, possibly,” he said. “There is a sense that this might be a very good move for Saudi Arabia, but they don’t want it to be an expression of Saudi weakness. They want to make sure it’s an expression of or a contributor to Saudi strength.”

Prince Turki says Arab states should demand a high price for normalizing ties with Israel. He said Israel remains “the stumbling block in all of these efforts.”

“My view is that if you take a sounding now of Saudi positions on Palestine … you see more than 90% of the population as supporting the official position of Saudi Arabia that there must be a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Prince Turki told The Associated Press.

Younger Generations Want Normality

Raghida Dergham, a longtime Arab columnist and co-chair with Prince Turki of the Beirut Institute Summit in Abu Dhabi, said younger generations in the Middle East want normality rather than a confiscation of ambitions and dreams.

“They want solutions, not a perpetuation of rejection,” said Dergham, whose Beirut Institute e-policy circles have tackled questions about the future of the region and its youth.

When the UAE-Israel deal was announced in August, the top trending hashtag on Twitter in Saudi Arabia was against normalization with Israel. Still, public criticism in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain has largely been muted, in part because these governments suppress free speech.

“It is very hard to get accurate data, even when polling people,” said Yasmine Farouk, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Farouk said public opinion on Israel in Saudi Arabia is diverse and complex, with opinions varying among different age groups and among liberals and conservatives. She said there is an effort to prepare the Saudi public for change and to shape public debate around Israel.

As Saudi Arabia prepares to mark its 90th National Day on Wednesday, clerics across the country were directed to deliver sermons about the importance of obeying the ruler to preserve unity and peace.

Earlier this month, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, delivered another state-backed sermon on the importance of dialogue in international relations and kindness to non-Muslims, specifically mentioning Jews.

He concluded by saying the Palestinian cause must not be forgotten, but his words caused a stir on social media, with many seeing the remarks as further evidence of the groundwork being laid for Saudi-Israeli ties.

The English-language Saudi daily, Arab News, which has been featuring op-eds by rabbis, changed its social media banner on Twitter this past Friday to say “Shana Tova,” the Jewish New Year greeting.

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Explosion rocks alleged Hezbollah arms cache in Lebanon, casualties reported

 

Military declares site in Ain Qana a closed zone, amid reports blast was in a weapons depot belonging to the terror group

By AARON BOXERMAN22 September 2020, 4:13 pmUpdated at 6:55 pm  4Smoke billows in the Lebanese village of Ain Qana after an unexplained explosion, September 22, 2020. (Twitter screen capture)

A Hezbollah weapons cache exploded in a small town in southern Lebanon on Monday, sending up billowing clouds of black smoke, causing widespread damage and several casualties, according to unconfirmed reports.

While there was no immediate confirmation by officials as to the cause of the explosion in the small town of Ain Qana, an unnamed source told Reuters the site was an arms depot.

UAE-based Al-Hadath, citing security sources, also reported that the explosion took place at a Hezbollah weapons storehouse. Another channel, Lebanon’s MTV, reported several injured.

A Hezbollah official confirmed there was an explosion but declined to give further details. Hezbollah security forces deployed in the area and prevented journalists from investigating on the scene.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1308379892858355712&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.timesofisrael.com%2Fexplosion-rattles-hezbollah-stronghold-in-lebanon-casualties-reported%2F&siteScreenName=timesofisrael&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

Residents said ambulances had carried away several of the wounded, while the National News Agency reported only limited material damage. However, sources in Hezbollah told the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International TV news channel that no one was injured in the blast.

Ain Qana is in the hilly Iqleem al-Tuffah region. A prominent Hezbollah tourist site that draws thousands of visitors a year lies on a neighboring hilltop just a ten-minute drive away.

The Lebanese Army said in a statement that its forces were at the scene to conduct an investigation into the cause of the explosion.

Lebanese state media implied that Israel may have been involved in the explosion, but emphasized that the causes “are not known.”

“The explosion that occurred in a house in the town of Ain Qana…coincided with the intensive flight of hostile Israeli military and espionage aircraft, which had not left the airspace of Nabatiyeh and Iqlim al-Tuffah since the morning,” the Lebanese National News Agency reported.

Sources in Hezbollah told LCBI that the explosion was not part of a targeted attack on senior officials in the Lebanese terror group.https://www.youtube.com/embed/BR034Rdkvr4?feature=oembed&showinfo=0&rel=0&modestbranding=1

Every blast in Lebanon since August’s devastating Beirut port explosion has gone viral on social media, with thousands waiting with bated breath to see whether or not a tire fire or gas blaze would turn into the next Lebanese catastrophe. Most Lebanese TV networks gave the explosion in Ein Qana wall-to-wall coverage, with experts and analysis on call to speculate about its source.

Viewers of official Hezbollah TV or one of its affiliates, however, may not have heard of the blast at all until hours later. Official Hezbollah al-Manar TV continued to broadcast reruns about its community projects and features about holy sites in south Lebanon; pro-Hezbollah al-Mayadeen ran a story on Lebanon’s financial crisis instead.

In its nightly news broadcast, an al-Manar newscaster delivered the semi-official Hezbollah line: that a house in Ain Qara had exploded due to unspecified “damages.”

“As usual, the media got up and began theorizing and pontificating and analyzing. They were so exceptional that they even beat the security services to finding out the root cause of the incident,” she said sarcastically.

The Beirut port explosion — which killed over 180 and rendered 300,000 homeless overnight — was caused by ammonium nitrate of unknown provenience. While many corrupt officials allowed the explosive material to remain in the port until the day it unleashed a firestorm in Beirut’s downtown, some evidence suggests that Hezbollah could have been involved in bringing it to Lebanon.

The explosion raised new questions about the placement of Hezbollah weapons caches in civilian areas. Hezbollah has long defended what it considers its right to possess arms as part of its “resistance” to Israel.

“Everyone knows where the weapons are. The issue of these weapons in villages and cities is now an issue of life and death. It is neither justifiable nor acceptable for Hezbollah to consider to store its weapons in such places,” Ali al-Amin, a journalist covering south Lebanon, told UAE-based al-Hadath TV.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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US to reach F-35 jet deal with UAE despite Israeli objections, report says

https://worldisraelnews.com/us-to-reach-f-35-jet-deal-with-uae-by-december-report-says/

U.S. looking for angles to keep Israel a step ahead as the UAE will become first Arab country to get advanced stealth fighter jet.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The U.S. and the United Arab Emirates are aiming to reach agreement by December on the sale of advanced F-35 stealth bombers to the Gulf Arab country despite objections from Israel, which wants to maintain its qualitative military advantage in the region, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Sources close to the negotiations told the news service the two sides want to sign a letter of agreement for the UAE’s National Day which is scheduled to be celebrated on December 2.

Israel has objected to the sale, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejecting a New York Times report earlier this month that claimed the Israeli leader had given quiet consent to the deal.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is in Washington Tuesday for a one-day lighting trip to meet with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and other senior Pentagon officials. Before leaving Israel, Gantz tweeted that his mission to America was indeed to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge.

“As part of my efforts to maintain Israel’s security superiority, I am embarking this evening on a 24-hour security mission in Washington,” Gantz tweeted Monday, “to ensure that our quality advantage is maintained,” adding that Iran would also be on the agenda.

Signed during the Obama Administration, the Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries detailed the U.S. “commitment to Israel’s capacity to defend itself with a qualitative military edge over all potential regional adversaries.” No Arab country has the advanced bomber that can evade enemy radar, with Turkey, a NATO member, being the only other country in the region with the jet in its inventory.

Israel has reportedly been using its F-35 bombers in numerous successful attacks against Hezbollah and Iranian targets in Syria.

Located only 80 kilometers away from the UAE, Iran is also an adversary of the Gulf state. In order to make the sale palatable to Israel, one solution the Pentagon is looking at is to make the F-35 more visible to Israeli radar systems, the report said. Other modifications are being considered that would boost the performance of the Israeli version of the F-35.

The Pentagon and UAE embassies refused to comment on the Reuters report.

Although details were never released, the Israel-UAE peace accord signed last week in Washington was suspected to have been reached only after Israel agreed to delay extending sovereignty on settlements in Judea and Samaria, and the U.S. agreed to the UAE being able to purchase the F-35.

Even if the deal is signed in 2020, the actual delivery of F-35s to the UAE will take years, Reuters said, citing that Poland purchased 32 planes at the beginning of 2020, but will only take its first delivery in 2024.

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Hets mot folkgrupp i ena fallet – men inte andra? Dubbla måttstockar avslöjade!

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MSM continues to DENY PROOF of George Soros’ actions | So, who’s the ‘conspiracy theorist’ now?

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Trump addresses the UN

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US to enforce Iran-sanctions despite UNSC rejection; EastMed-Forum created- TV7 Israel News 22.09.20

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Has Fox News ‘turned’ on President Trump?

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President Trump’s long history of kindness goes unreported by mainstream media

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U.N. rebukes only Israel for violating women’s rights

 

 

BREAKING: U.N. rebukes only Israel for violating women’s rights. Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia & Belarus say Jewish state…

Posted by Hillel Neuer on Thursday, September 17, 2020

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A Tale of Two White House Signing Ceremonies

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A Tale of Two White House Signing Ceremonies

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Washington: Attending the White House signing ceremony on Tuesday of the Abraham Accords – which normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – was both moving and jarring. Standing at the South Lawn, just meters from the Rose Garden where the Oslo Accord were signed 27 years ago on September 13, 1993, the comparison between the two agreements was inescapable.

That ceremony was an act of political theater unsurpassed in the history of Israel. Yasser Arafat, chairman of the PLO, and architect of modern terrorism, grinned ear to ear as he received the royal treatment on the White House Lawn.

Seeking peace, Israel’s then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin promised the PLO land, money and weaponry, which Arafat used to build a terror state on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Arafat in turn promised to end terrorism, accept Israel’s right to exist and resolve all outstanding issues through peaceful negotiations. Arafat was lying.

I wanted to believe in the fake peace of 1993. But the grim facts made it impossible. For the past 27 years, first as a member of Israel’s negotiating team during my service in the IDF and then as a writer and a lecturer, like thousands of other Israelis and friends of Israel in the US and around the world, I devoted myself to exposing the lies and warning about the danger of empowering those who seek Israel’s destruction. I wrote hundreds of articles, briefed hundreds of politicians and community leaders in the US and worldwide. I wrote a book.

And as I sat in the garden at the White House today, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Mahyan and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani standing in the portico before me, the names of the victims of that previous peace agreement rushed through my head. David Biri, Nachson Waxman, Kochava Biton, Ohad Bachrach, Ori Shachor, the Lapids, the Ungars, the Fogels, the Schijveschuurders, Madhat Yusuf, Shalhevet Pas and on and on and on.

I have been demonized as an “extremist” a “far right-winger,” an “enemy of peace,” and a “fascist” by members of the so-called “peace camp.” Think tanks and professionals with ties to the EU – the co-sponsor of the fake peace process – were afraid to invite me to speak, cite my articles or to review my book.

Now, 27 years and two days later, the Palestinians are outside the White House with Israeli “peace activists” protesting the peace ceremony at the White House. The EU is boycotting the peace ceremony. And sitting in the audience with me are politicians and leaders like Zionist Organization of American President Mort Klein; Senator Ted Cruz; radio host Mark Levin and former presidential candidate and Evangelical leader Gary Bauer whom I met with over the past decades to discuss the dangers of fake peace for Israel, for the United States and for prospects for true peace ever being achieved between Israel and the Arab world. Like me, they were devoted to ending the lie that peace is possible with people who justify the murder of innocent Israelis as a form of “legitimate resistance.” They too were reviled by the “peace camp” for speaking the truth.

Many of the guests made great efforts to come to the White House even in the midst of the global pandemic because it is clear that that this peace is something else. As people like Mossad director Yossi Cohen have said, it only seems like this event happened suddenly. It didn’t. It is the outgrowth of years of work by dedicated officials from all sides who quietly and carefully cultivated ties based not on lies but on real common interests and common concerns. The UAE, Bahrain and Israel have come together because of the courageous leadership of President Donald Trump and his advisors who were willing to acknowledge the reality on the ground and listen to the voices those who opposed what happened at the White House 27 years ago. Trump and his team were willing to break ranks with generations of American policymakers who insisted that terrorists are the true peacemakers, the road to peace is appeasement, and those who look for mutual respect, human decency and shared interests as the basis of peace are right-wing warmongers.

This peace is not a function of Netanyahu changing his tune as his Likud predecessors Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and others did, and joining the chorus of the fake peace camp. This peace owes to Netanyahu staying true to the core truths that stood at the root of the anti-Oslo protests. You cannot make peace with people who justify your murder and seek your destruction. You can only make peace with those who accept you as you are for what you are.

This peace is real peace. It is a peace to celebrate and cultivate. It is a peace based on respecting, and missing and loving and never forgetting the victims of the political theater that happened here 27 years ago. Where this peace will lead is unclear. The sky is the limit. But unless something goes terribly wrong, it will not lead to more Jewish victims of fake peace.

Originally published in Israel Hayom.

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Israeli Minister Delivers Strong Warning to the Palestinians

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Obama Officials Claimed Arabs Would Never Make Peace After Embassy Move

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US Election 2020: Twitter places warning label on Trump tweet about voting by mail | World News

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Steve Bannon gives first interview since his arrest exclusively on ‘Tucker’

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Biden delivers ‘weak performance again’ at CNN town hall: Ari Fleischer

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For the first time ever, China has issued any type of threat to Russia. Putin won’t like it.

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How Wall Street Sold Out America to China | Clive Hamilton

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Dandong gives the world an opportunity to kick China out of the UN Security Council

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My way, not Huawei!

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Trump is a wrecking ball

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Coronavirus whistleblower speaks out about possible COVID origin on ‘Tucker’

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Jared Kushner on future of US-Iran relations after ‘historic’ Middle East pacts

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LIVE: UAE and Bahrain sign agreement with Israel at the White House

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Meeting Netanyahu, Trump says 5-6 more Mideast countries ready to make peace

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Meeting Netanyahu, Trump says 5-6 more Mideast countries ready to make peace

PM meets with US president ahead of ceremony normalizing ties between Israel and UAE, Bahrai

 

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania welcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wife Sara to the White House for the Abraham Accords ceremony on September 15, 2020 (GPO screenshot)

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania welcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wife Sara to the White House for the Abraham Accords ceremony on September 15, 2020 (GPO screenshot)

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Tuesday’s developments as they unfold.

Trump says he’s going to make a ‘great deal’ with Iran

Trump also predicts a new Iran deal after the November election.

“I’m going to make a great deal with Iran… I will help them in any way possible. But they should wait until after the election. Because Sleepy Joe Biden would be a dream for them,” says Trump in the Oval Office.

On Saudi Arabia, adds the US president:”Great things will happen.”

He says “We’re talking to the Palestinians too” and they’ll join “at the right time.”

Trump declines to comment on West Bank annexation.

Trump says Israel is a “warring nation,” but seeks peace.

“Even Bibi [Netanyahu] gets tired of war,” he says, to laughter.

Trump meets Netanyahu, says 5-6 more countries ready to make peace with Israel

Trump gives Netanyahu a “special token of affection,” namely a key to the White House.

“You’ve been an amazing leader for a very long time,” says Trump.

Israel “is getting peace,” says the US president.

Trump says, “We have many nations ready to follow” and make peace with Israel.

He says there are “at least five or six countries coming along very quickly.”

“They’re warring countries but they’re tired of fighting,” he says.

“You’re going to see a lot of great activity. There’s going to be peace in the Middle East,” adds Trump.

But he declines to name the countries.

Trump says the differences with Israel over the F-35 sales to the UAE “is going to be very easy to work out.”

Netanyahu says Trump has “the hearts of the people of Israel.”

Netanyahu arrives at White House to sign historic peace deals

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sara Netanyahu pull up at the White House.

They are met by US President Donald Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania welcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wife Sara to the White House for the Abraham Accords ceremony on September 15, 2020 (GPO screenshot)

The two leaders wave at each other rather than shaking hands due to COVID-19 concerns.

None of them are wearing face masks.

— with Jacob Magid

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Secretary Pompeo Attends the Abraham Accords Signing Ceremony at the White House – 12 p.m.

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Bahrain-Based Political Writer Yusuf Mubarak Speaks to i24NEWS

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Iran’s entrenchment of strategic infrastructure in Syria threatens balance of deterrence in the Middle East

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July 13, 2020

https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/irans-entrenchment-of-strategic-infrastructure-in-syria-threatens-balance-of-deterrence-in-the-middle-east

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Contributors: John Dunford, Katherine Lawlor, Brandon Wallace

Iran is realigning its force posture in Syria to retain and expand its deterrence, freedom of action, and leverage with the US, Israel, and Russia. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (ORGANIZATIONIRGCTHE ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS CORPS WAS FORMED AFTER THE …IRGC) began moving some of its forces in Syria away from the front lines in the spring of 2020 while expanding and consolidating its footprint in eastern Syria. This shift offers Tehran more secure bases more directly under its control to threaten Israel and the US as instability risks some of its positions in Iraq and Lebanon.

 The IRGC has increased efforts to establish advanced weapons capabilities and command infrastructure in Syria since early 2019. Iran has been building a military and proxy network in Syria since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011. Iranian and Iranian-backed forces have since expanded their military presence into an arc stretching from eastern Syria, along the Iraqi border, through central Syria to south and southwestern Syria, along the Israeli and Lebanese borders.

Iran’s strategic presence has allowed Iranian and Iranian-backed forces to move troops and equipment from Iraq to Lebanon. Iran increasingly sees Syria as more than a safe passage to Lebanon, however. Iran’s expanded presence in southern Syria since 2018 has given Iranian forces direct access to Israel not reliant on positions in Lebanon.

Iranian forces have been constructing a new heavily fortified base at Abu Kamal in eastern Syria since the summer of 2019. Iran has been expanding its military presence in Deir ez Zor province since 2017, when an Iranian, Russian, and Syrian Arab Army offensive took control of the area from the Islamic State. The Abu Kamal base is the first military facility of this scale that Iranian forces have built in Syria. The base has a new level of fortification, featuring a 400-foot-long underground tunnel and housing facilities for thousands of troops. Its underground storage facilities and large personnel encampment represent a long-term effort to entrench Iranian-controlled military assets and personnel in Syria.

The newly outfitted Abu Kamal base in Deir ez Zor province along Syria’s border with Iraq has become an increasingly important command and control node over the past few months. Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah confirmed Abu Kamal’s growing importance in a *speech on May 13, acknowledging that Iranian-backed fighters were moving from the front lines to Abu Kamal. IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Amir Ali Hajji Zadeh and IRGC Quds Force Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s successor, visited Abu Kamal in April and June, respectively. At least 400 fighters from Liwa al Muntadhir, an Iranian proxy Shia militia group from Iraq, reportedly deployed to Deir ez Zor province in early March. Iran’s most trusted Iraqi Shia militia groups have been active in Syria alongside a host of Iranian-backed Pakistani and Afghan foreign fighters for many years, but a new deployment to Syria is rare. A growing troop presence in Abu Kamal likely indicates Iranian forces intend to expand a newly fortified strategic command and control node along the Iraq border.

The base will likely also give Iran a safe platform to expand advanced weapons capabilities in Syria. Hajji Zadeh, who is responsible for the development of Iran’s missile and drone programs, reportedly visited Syria in the past six months. Hajji Zadeh has been involved in technology sharing abroad, visiting Venezuela at least once likely to share drone technology. Arab media has reported that Hajji Zadeh visited various locations in Syria several times since December 2019.[i] Syrian media confirmed Hajji Zadeh visited Abu Kamal at the end of April 2020. Israeli airstrikes additionally targeted *Safira and *Maysaf in May and June, locations linked to missile and chemical weapons development, suggesting that the Iranians were bringing new strategic capabilities to those locations.

Iranian consolidation to eastern Syria likely results from a confluence of factors. Competition with Russia to solidify economic and political advantages has grown as Syria potentially enters a reconstruction phase. Iraq’s turbulent political situation since the fall of 2019 has challenged Iran’s military and political influence there. Economic collapse in Lebanon confronts Iran’s most important proxy, Lebanese Hezbollah, with challenges that may reduce its reliability and even its own stability in Lebanon. Israel has steadily increased the frequency and scale of its aerial attacks on Iranian infrastructure in Syria. The Iranian regime, lastly, faces unprecedented economic strain caused by the US maximum pressure campaign, mounting stagflation (inflation without economic growth), and the COVID-19 pandemic. All these factors likely make establishing a stable and secure Iranian base in eastern Syria, not dependent on Iranian positions or proxies in Lebanon or Iraq, attractive.

Instability in Iraq and Lebanon makes Syria especially important to Tehran. Syria has become a more important base to house advanced weapons capabilities and regional command and control centers due to the uncertainty faced by Iranian allies in Iraq and Lebanon.

Iranian repositioning in Syria is likely a partial hedge against political change in Iraq. Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi submitted his resignation in November 2019 after nearly two months of anti-government protests and a bloody security crackdown. Months of political instability followed as Iraqi politicians sought to balance US and Iranian influence to pick a new candidate for prime minister. The new prime minister, Mustafa al Kadhimi, has already shown a proclivity to side with the US and has conducted dramatic and unusual efforts to rein in Iranian militia proxies. An expanded Iranian force presence along the Iraqi border in Syria gives Iran’s proxy militias in Iraq some insurance against such efforts.

The March 2020 US withdrawal from its base on the Iraq-Syria border at al Qaim facilitates this insurance policy. US forces at al Qaim could have observed and interfered with Iranian ground movements to and from Abu Kamal and could have reinforced Iraqi troops that Kadhimi might have used to disrupt such movements should he so choose. The withdrawal of those forces has made Iran’s ground route to Abu Kamal and the rest of Syria more secure, likely giving the Abu Kamal base and Iran’s positions in eastern Syria even greater importance than they previously had.

Lebanon’s devolving political and economic conditions additionally make securing strategic depth in Syria more important. Lebanon faces instability on a scale not seen since the end of its civil war. Protests against government mismanagement and ineffectiveness erupted in Lebanon in the fall of 2019, quickly taking on anti-Iranian and anti-Hezbollah overtones.

Hezbollah and the rest of the Lebanese government were unable to address the grievances or manage the protests. The accession of Hezbollah ally, Hassan Diab, to the premiership in January 2020 has deprived the group of the facade from behind which it had been developing its political influence since 2009. Lebanon’s currency has devalued by more than half in June alone, causing exorbitant food prices and increased blackouts. The collapse of Lebanon’s economy and continued corruption in the Hezbollah-aligned government, further threatens Hezbollah’s position, particularly since the group has now assumed more formal responsibility for the country’s fate.

These developments in Lebanon likely change Iranian leaders’ calculus when considering whether they can use Hezbollah’s weapons arsenal to threaten or attack Israel. The resulting conflict with Israel could restabilize Hezbollah in Lebanon as happened after the 2006 war, but it could also trigger the collapse of the Lebanese state and the unraveling of Hezbollah’s control over it. Even if Iran’s leaders are willing to run that risk—and can convince or cajole Hezbollah into taking the same view—the risk itself could still undermine Hezbollah’s deterrent effectiveness in the eyes of Israeli leaders.

Advanced weapons capabilities in Syria allow Iran to sidestep the new complexities its allies in Lebanon face. Iranian forces have tried to launch *weaponized drones from Syrian territory to target Israel previously. Neither the US nor Israel retaliated against those attacks by hitting targets in Lebanon on a large scale, of course, establishing the precedent that Iran risks only the forces in Syria by conducting attacks from Syria.

The expansion of the IRGC footprint in eastern Syria can also help mitigate command and control challenges in the “Axis of Resistance” after Soleimani’s death. Soleimani had personal relationships with leaders throughout Iran’s Axis of Resistance that the new Quds Force commander, Ghaani, cannot maintain in the same way. Ghaani does not speak fluent Arabic and had focused on non-Arab Quds Force efforts, leaving him with fewer personal connections in the Levant. Soleimani, whom Iran’s supreme leader called a “living martyr,” had a unique status among IRGC partners in the Levant—a standard Ghaani cannot meet.

The death of Kataib Hezbollah leader Muhandis, killed in the Soleimani strike, also challenges Iran’s influence and control over militia groups in Iraq. Muhandis, though an Iraqi politician and commander, was an Iranian citizen who spoke Persian, making him a pillar of Iranian influence in Iraq. Muhandis, like Soleimani, was also a revered figure among Iran’s most ideologically committed proxies in Iraq. Kataib Hezbollah in particular has borne a heavy cost for Iran, taking multiple US and Israeli airstrikes and becoming a target for US sanctions. Some of its members may have demanded a bloodier retribution for Soleimani and Muhandis’ death than the pragmatic approach Iranian leaders instead adopted. Kataib Hezbollah announced that Kadhimi’s nomination for prime minister in April was a declaration of war even as known Iranian Quds Force officials and former Iranian ambassadors to Iraq *publicly *endorsed it. Iranian English language media outlets *falsely reported that Kataib Hezbollah supported Kadhimi, possibly to cover up a lapse in command and control. This unusual divergence in messaging likely reflected real tensions. Tehran’s commitment to increasing strategic assets in eastern Syria directly controlled by the IRGC may give the IRGC greater ability to manage such tensions and more directly oversee its proxies in Syria and Iraq.

Iran’s consolidation in eastern Syria also gives Tehran leverage as tensions with Russia rise. Iran is escalating efforts to build strategic infrastructure likely in response to tension between Russia and Bashar al Assad, Iran’s allies in the Syrian civil war. Russian media published rare articles *criticizing Assad in April, emphasizing corruption and the failing economy. Iranian media subsequently *implied that Russia has condoned Israeli airstrikes on Iranian-backed, pro-Assad forces in Syria, a previously taboo topic for Iranian media. Russia and Iran have even engaged in tactical struggles for control over troops in southeastern and southern Syria over the past few months.

Moreover, Iran’s relationship with Assad has itself been challenged recently. An Iranian official fiercely *denied rumors that Iran and Russia had a secret deal to pull support for Assad in May. The rumors and anti-Assad regime protests in southern Syria criticizing the presence of Iranian militias, which Russia has shown little interest in subduing, may also stoke tensions. The worsening economic conditions in Syria further destabilize the country and could strain the Assad-Iran relationship even more, particularly as Tehran faces its own economic crisis and Iranian officials pressure for a return on their $30 billion investment in the country.

Advanced weapons and command infrastructure give Tehran assets in Syria to leverage during Syria’s reconstruction even if Syria transitions to less Iran-friendly leadership. Expanded force presence in Abu Kamal offers military leverage over oil assets in surrounding Deir ez Zor province in the medium term. The Syrian Parliament and Oil Ministry *drafted legislation giving Iran oil rights in Abu Kamal in May, the first step toward Iran’s first major oil deal in the country. Iran and Russia continue to battle over rights to strategic naval and land bases, phosphate and oil exploration rights, and major reconstruction projects. Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah officials have indicated they *value the Abu Kamal-al Qaim border crossing as a transit point for longer-term economic trade in postwar Syria. New economic challenges to Iran from the US maximum pressure campaign and the COVID-19 pandemic and to Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon from economic collapse incentivize Iran to solidify economic interests in Syria.

Iran’s campaign to increase weapons capabilities directly under IRGC control and entrench command and control capabilities in Syria will have a lasting effect on the balance of deterrence in the Middle East. The regime is reacting opportunistically to regional political and economic challenges to safeguard its long-term investment in Syria and expand strategic deterrence in the region. Protests and the subsequent unrest in the key Iranian strongholds of Lebanon and Iraq since the fall of 2019, which sparked similar unrest inside Iran in November 2019, posed a near existential threat to Iran’s strategic depth and consequently the Islamic Republic itself. The instability in Iran’s key theaters incentivized regime decision makers to renew and expand strategic assets and deterrence. Iran additionally faces new pressure amid economic hardship to secure economic incentives from its near decade-long involvement in Syria. Iranian forces are building up advanced weapons capabilities to have a new level of fortification against enemy attacks that can be used to strike at multiple points in the Levant. The newly fortified Abu Kamal compound will be a key strategic base for Iran to expand its military, economic, and political influence in the region and maintain its strategic depth.

Iranian leaders may be more willing to exercise their strategic capabilities in Syria in the fall if the UN arms embargo does not lift in October and the US president-elect in November does not demonstrate a commitment to reducing US sanctions. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s increasing isolation and a new hard-line-majority Iranian Parliament could also contribute to more aggressive regime calculus in coming months. Economic pressure and regional instability have not stopped Iranian efforts to militarily entrench in Syria in the past year. Iran instead has increased efforts to secure strategic depth by building new and more advanced military facilities in Syria. US policymakers must reckon with the leverage and capabilities those facilities give the Islamic Republic going forward.

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Latest News Update !!! America is ready to use military bases in Greece, Turkey is in danger

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Are Turkey And Greece On The Brink Of War? – Steve Forbes | What’s Ahead | Forbes

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Mediterranean leaders ready for EU sanctions on ‘confrontational’ Turkey

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TURKISH propaganda:

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Turkey-Iran ties grow;Russia claims Syria EastMed oil;Lebanon fraud tackled-TV7 Israel News 09.09.20

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Cyprus Talks: Turkey begins military exercises in Northern Cyprus

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Turkey has ‘no patience left’ negotiating its accession to the European Union Sep 10, 2020

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TURKEY using REFUGEES as WEAPONS in GREECE CONFLICT

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Is the US about to move its 50 nuclear bombs from Turkey to a Greek island?

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Speculation is growing that the US could be preparing to withdraw the 50 nuclear warheads it currently stores in the former Armenian town of İncirlik in Turkey’s Adana province near the Syrian border, to Greece.

The İncirlik Airbase has been under joint Turkish-American control since 1955 and is one of the most strategic assets to the NATO alliance as it is at the doorstep to the Arab World and was a suitable location to store American nuclear bombs aimed against the Soviet Union and its successor state, Russia.

However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “disturbing” foreign policy has spurred US officials to intensify preparations to withdraw from İncirlik Air Force base, according to a senior Republican senator and American analysts speaking to Washington Examiner.

“We don’t know what’s gonna happen to İncirlik,” Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee for Europe, told the Washington Examiner. “We hope for the best, but we have to plan for the worst.”

“We want to maintain our full presence and cooperation in Turkey,” Johnson said. “I don’t think we want to make that strategic shift, but I think, from a defensive posture, I think we have to look at the reality of the situation that the path that Erdoğan is on is not good.”

Erdoğan has not shied away from expressing in the past that he could kick out the Americans from İncirlik, meaning that up to 50 nuclear nuclear warheads could be needing a new home in the region.

“We’re already looking at Greece as an alternative,” Johnson said while considering a prospective exit from İncirlik.

“It’s very unfortunate the path that Erdoğan is taking Turkey, or has put Turkey on,” Johnson said. “It’s disturbing. It’s very concerning, which is one of the reasons we certainly are increasing and improving our military cooperation with Greece … beefing up our presence in Souda Bay, because our presence, quite honestly, in Turkey is certainly threatened.”

This statement by Johnson comes at a time when Erdoğan has raised the stakes in the East Mediterranean by continually violating the continental shelves and maritime spaces of both Greece and Cyprus, the former also being a NATO member.

Erdoğan has found himself very alone in this escalation as he has not found a single state that has openly supported his aggressive actions against Greece and Cyprus.

Even for Cyprus, it has been a whirlwind as it is put in centre attention.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Cyprus days ago to confirm and consolidate their historically rich ties, particularly in matters of weapons procurement considering the US has maintained an injust arms embargo against the island country.

Today and four days after the Lavrov visit, without prior arrangement US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Cyprus. Next are the Foreign Minister’s of France and Austria to visit.

Cyprus of just over a million people is catching attention, and highlights how important its veto on EU sanctions against Belarus got attention.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ senior Turkey analyst Aykan Erdemir, who is also a former Turkish lawmaker and is a critic of Erdoğan, said ““Washington is not necessarily thinking of one alternative to İncirlik, but a number of rebasing options which are complementary as a contingency plan to İncirlik.”

“This has been going on for quite some time, in steps. I would definitely argue that it’s nothing new, but it might be changing qualitatively in terms of the nature and the extent of US presence and investments in these alternative sites,” he said.nuclear bombs

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Sverige ”Libanoniseras”

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Polisen nekar tillstånd för koranbränning i Stockholm i helgen.

Hade de nekat tillstånd för bibelbränning? Talmudbränning?

Som vanligt får muslimer som de vill.

 

 

Först går det INTE att bränna koranen, sen ska det INTE gå att kritisera koranen.

 

Bara i ett sjukt land behöver man ”tillstånd” från polisen för att kunna bränna en bok som var skriven på medeltiden. Ja, muslimska länder är sjuka. Men även Sverige har blivit ett sjukt land.

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Trump nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

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Oklahoma man kills three home intruders with AR-15

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Sudan signs deal with rebel group to remove Islam as state religion | World News | WION News

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Tucker: What to expect after the November election

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Sources: Chinese Army allegedly abducts 5 Indians in Arunachal Pradesh | WION News

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The story of the icy winters of Ladakh and why India chose the time to ruin the Chinese

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“Definitely, not with China”, Russia has made it very clear

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Steve Hilton: President Trump’s revolution is not an aberration

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Gravitas: China threatens Czech official over Taiwan visit

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Exclusive Interview With An Arab Muslim From The UAE

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