Sun Jan 19th, 2020 at 01:37:45 PM EST
It is well known that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton favoured the coalition of Turkey, Qatar and Morsi of Egypt for rapprochement to Iran. This proved to be a too daring policy and was shut out of the air by Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Emirates and most important the opposition Republicans in Congress.
After removing Colonel Gaddafi from power in Libya, the struggle for the nation and its fossil fuels supplies began. The dozens of tribes in Libya sought new alliances. A protected CIA asset from Alexandria, Virginia, returned from exile to set up a militia centred around Benghazi and the oil infrastructure on the coast. Haftar eliminated strongmen competition and his influence grew supported by the Sunni Arab states.
Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter [also spelled Haftar, Hefter] switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. In the early 1990s, he moved to suburban Virginia, where he established a life but maintained ties to anti-Gadhafi groups.
According to a State Department summary of the meeting ...
The episode and others like it, the officials said, reflect a Libyan culture rife with corruption, kickbacks, strong-arm tactics and political patronage since the United States reopened trade with Colonel Qaddafi's government in 2004. As American and international oil companies, telecommunications firms and contractors moved into the Libyan market, they discovered that Colonel Qaddafi or his loyalists often sought to extract millions of dollars in "signing bonuses" and "consultancy contracts" -- or insisted that the strongman's sons get a piece of the action through shotgun partnerships. [Source: McClatchy and Business Insider]
The Morocco Agreement of 2015 was ratified by a unanimous decision of the UN Security Council. It established to GNA government in Tripoli and lasted until the end of 2016 with the loss of Democrats to the Republicans of Trump.
The GNA was supported by Morocco, Tunisia, Italy, Greece and the global powers. After the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt, strongman Gen. Sisi turned to the Sunni States of the Gulf for funding and economic recovery. The Suez Canal was widened for higher proceeds of shipping and initiatives were started for industrial zones offering a great number of jobs.
More below the fold ...
As the foreign governments sought to destabilize Libya, the internal struggle and chaos became a battleground for the Shia-Sunni proxy wars. Saudi Arabia and the UAE send mercenaries (jihadists) into Libya in support for the forces of Haftar. Saudi Arabia employed 3,000 Sudanese fighters and Russia sided with Haftar by adding some 600 "advisors". Turkey had already lost influence in North Africa when Morsi was overthrown and Erdogan threw his weight behind the Tripoli government.
The attempted brokering in Moscow failed, as Haftar who see his gains on the ground halted for a diplomatic offer. Now the circus has moved to Berlin under brokerage of Angela Merkel. The supporters of the Moroccan Agreement were not invited and the UN is searching for a new solution which favours the Sunni faction in support of Haftar.
As strange as alliances are formed and grow per region, in Libya you find Russia and Turkey on opposing sides with Russia joining the Sunni States and in the background the United States. Pompeo will join the meeting in Berlin, he was not invited in Moscow for the talks.
These past days and weeks, we see a pronounced shift of the major European nations towards US foreign policy of Trump in fear of US economic sanctions over Iran. This piecemeal form of appeasing a bully will offer gains in the short term, but lacks foresight in a future which offers peace instead of war and a climate policy to save Planet Earth. It is all in the sign of the US dollar and to be represented on the global stage.
Unfortunately, the Trump foreign policy is one of the neo-Conservatives to force regime change in the Islamic Republic of Iran, create further chaos and suffering for another great nation. Wrecking the planet to save the planet?
STOP ALL WAR OF CHOICE! IT'S NOT WORTH THE DEATHS, CASUALTIES AND SUFFERING OF THE PEOPLE.
Iran and Iraq - GCC Rapprochement | Middle East Policy Council - Oman |
After more than a decade of active animosity, relations between Iraq and certain GCC member states have been warming up. However, Iran will resist an inter-Arab rapprochement at the expense of its own interest. Tehran has invested heavily in the coming to power of a friendly Iraqi Shiite administration. Isolated in the Middle East and facing active hostility from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Iran will do everything it can to sabotage normalization between Iraq and its Arab neighbors. It is a zero-sum game in which any gain by Saudi Arabia and its allies is a loss for Tehran.
What is Baghdad's room for maneuver in this context of regional intrigues? How can it maintain normal relations with its neighbors to the south without affronting Iran and incurring its wrath or at least its meddling? As an old civilization and a modern state whose project remains unfinished, Iraq in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries had a tumultuous history. Shaped by the colonial order that defeated the Ottoman Empire in the Great War (1914-18), the fate of Iraq was sealed with the Sykes-Picot agreement (1916), which "established artificial borders which failed to reflect the demographic, cultural and social identity of the varied communities that had lived for centuries under Ottoman suzerainty."
Since the 1920s, the territory that would later become Iraq has suffered political and military disorder and repression, resulting in thousands of deaths. Although the domination of foreign powers -- especially the British and later the Americans -- lasted for decades, the Arab character of Iraq has never been questioned. But, with the exception of the years following the U.S. invasion in March 2003, the Iraqi government has always been controlled by the Sunni sect. The invasion ended Sunni rule over Iraq's politico-military apparatus and handed power to the Shia majority, which had been excluded from power. This change of regime plunged Iraq into chaos and a civil war, spawning al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and waves of terrorist attacks. Change has also propagated dissent among Shia groups and the intervention of regional powers in Iraq's internal affairs.
IRAN'S ROLE IN IRAQ
The most valuable lesson that Iran learned from the eight years of war with Iraq and Saddam Hussein is never to allow the emergence of a strong country on its western border. Tehran needs a weak and friendly Iraq, a kind of backyard. To achieve this objective, Iran apparently intends to consolidate and deepen its influence in Iraq by intervening in its political, economic and security affairs.
Iraqi Shia, Iraqi Kurds
Iran has direct and significant influence over two of Iraq's four major political groups -- the Shia and the Kurds -- and uses its leverage when necessary. There are several Shia and Kurdish parties in which Iran has invested significant money and resources. Iranian influence is more evident in the military arena. The Qods Force, a special branch of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), responsible for extraterritorial operations, has created Shia Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq (al-Hashd al-Shaabi) and Syria. They have received arms, training and financing from Tehran and are used in proxy wars that the Qods Force is waging in the region. This paramilitary militia has been created on the model of the Bassij,4 a multipurpose militia attached to the IRGC land force, numbering in the thousands, and often called out into the streets at times of crisis to control neighborhoods and repress groups hostile to the Islamic regime. The Qods Forces, numbering in the tens of thousands of Iraqi Shia, confronts the helpless and anxious Sunnis. While not all PMF units have Shia fighters or are under the influence of the Qods, it uses many PMF units to promote an Islamic system for Iraq and the full authority of Iran's Khamenei, whom they consider the leader of the Islamic world.
○ JCPOA: Role played by Oman's ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said
United Nations: Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1947
Anglo-Arab understandings on Arab independence
These assurances appear in correspondence during 1915-1916 between Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt, and Sherif Husain, Emir of Mecca, who held the special status of the Keeper of Islam's most holy cities. He thus acted as a representative of the Arab peoples, although not exercising formal political suzerainty over them all.
In the course of the protracted correspondence, the Sherif unequivocally demanded "independence of the Arab countries", specifying in detail the boundaries of the territories in question, which clearly included Palestine. McMahon confirmed that "Great Britain is prepared to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs in all the regions within the limits demanded by the Sherif of Mecca".
To assuage Arab apprehensions aroused by the revelation of the Sykes-Picot agreement by the Soviet Government after the 1917 revolution, and by certain conflicting statements of British policy (see sect. II below), further assurances followed concerning the future of Arab territories.
A special message (of 4 January 1918) from the British Government, carried personally by Commander David George Hogarth to Sherif Husain, stated that "the Entente Powers are determined that the Arab race shall be given full opportunity of once again forming a nation in the world ... So far as Palestine is concerned, we are determined that no people shall be subject to another".
Six months after General Allenby's forces had occupied Jerusalem, another declaration, referring to "areas formerly under Ottoman dominion, occupied by the Allied Forces during the present war", announced "... the wish and desire of His Majesty's Government that the future government of these regions should be based upon the principle of the consent of the governed, and this policy has and will continue to have support of His Majesty's Government".
A joint Anglo-French declaration (7 November 1918) was more exhaustive and specific, affecting both British and French spheres of interest (the term "Syria" still being considered to include Lebanon and Palestine):
"The object aimed at by France and Great Britain in prosecuting in the East the War let loose by the ambition of Germany is the complete and definite emancipation of the [Arab] peoples and the establishment of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the initiative and free choice of the indigenous populations.
In order to carry out these intentions, France and Great Britain are at one in encouraging and assisting the establishment of the indigenous governments and administrations in Syria and Mesopotamia now liberated by the Allies, and in the territories the liberation of which they are engaged in securing, and recognizing these as soon as they are actually established."
>>>>>>>> British mercenaries secrecy covert action between world wars
The role of MI6 in Egypt's decision to go to war against Israel in May 1948 by Meir Zamir | Syria Comment |
Seventy years on from the end of the Arab-Israeli War, new documents shed light on the political intrigue that surrounded the motives of the geopolitical powers in the region. Just as Israel wields influence with the Arab Gulf States in the ongoing crisis with Iran, the 1940s saw the European powers play a role in the pivotal conflict that drastically altered the Middle East for decades to come.
David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the State of Israel, repeatedly accused Britain of provoking the Arab states to invade Israel the day after its establishment in May 1948. To date, historians have not found proof of his accusations in British archives. However, evidence may be found in French archives, especially in Syrian and secret British documents obtained by the French secret services, originating from agents who had infiltrated the Syrian government in Damascus and the British Legation in Beirut.
This article, based on French, Syrian, Israeli and British sources, argues that under the Labour government, Arabist MI6 officers in the Middle East, in collaboration with the British High Command in Cairo, pursued an alternative policy to that of the Foreign Office. They provoked Egypt's King Faruq to go to war against Israel without the knowledge or approval of either Prime Minister Clement Attlee or Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, frequently misinforming and misleading them.
British Mandate Palestine Files Opened: "Jewish Terrorist Activities in the Middle East."
○ From the Bench @Nuremburg to the Accused Today
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Traversing the Tribal Patchwork of Libya’s South West | International Crisis Group |
At the airfield, I split off from the oil workers to follow the road less travelled. I’m with Abderrahim, my long-time driver in Tripoli, who accompanies me on my journeys. I speak Arabic and have known Libya for ten years, but his solid presence is an interface and reassurance for everyone I meet – and for me. He has a warm smile, is soft-spoken and somehow manages to get along with all Libyan interlocutors of different religious and political affiliations whom I meet across the country.
It is vital to have local contacts as well, ready to receive me wherever I go in Libya. This is Tuareg country, so I have arranged for a Tuareg acquaintance to meet and look after us on the first leg of my journey. He is a trusted and well-connected civil society activist. We have been introduced by a very respectable Tuareg sheikh I have known for years. Like anywhere else in the country, you need to know who you can trust.
What I didn’t expect is for my contact to be accompanied by three cars and several gunmen. It is not uncommon for the Tuareg to carry weapons, and many residents –not necessarily professional soldiers – are armed. The men who escort me are discrete and do not flash their weapons ostentatiously, but I notice that aside from the ubiquitous semi-automatic AK-47 rifles, they also have PK heavy machine guns with belts of bullets. My guide explains it is just a precaution against kidnapping. Two Italian engineers were seized in a nearby town last year and he alleges that a ransom was paid for their release.
The main political-military actors from the north vie for influence in the south, especially control of main roads and key infrastructure. Haftar’s LNA works with the eastern government and parliament, whereas Misrata’s Third Force is nominally loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord headed by Prime Minister Faiez al-Serraj in Tripoli. Still others are aligned with a rival government in Tripoli headed by Prime Minister Khalifa al-Ghwell. The picture is further complicated by local factions that are loosely aligned with the above-mentioned centres of power. More often than not, these factions are internally split, with some of their members supporting one political-military grouping or another.
○ New militia grouping supports ex-premier Khalifa Ghwell | Libya Herald – Feb.9, 2017 |
Given our arsenal, it’s not surprising that these men would not be comfortable going through checkpoints manned by members of other tribes. All of the checkpoints between Sharara and Obari, where we are headed, are under the control of Tuareg in military fatigues who say they take orders from a Qadhafi-era Tuareg commander, Ali Kana. So as long as I stay in this area, I am able to move around easily with my escort.
We reach my first stop, the town of Obari. Under Qadhafi, Obari was a hub for any traveller seeking to experience desert life in the Sahara. I myself had been here back in 2008, part of an archaeological mission from Oxford University researching rock art.
They and others fill me in on the downward spiral of commercial collapse, the gradual shutting down of links with the outside world and two years of war between two groups: the Tebu, a dark-skinned people who live in Sudan, Chad, Niger and Libya; and the Tuareg, a historically nomadic Berber people who straddle the borderlands of the Sahara across Niger, southern Algeria and Mali. In 2014, the Tuareg accused the Tebu of attempting to impose themselves militarily on Obari, which the Tuareg consider historically their territory. For their part, the Tebu claim that they had to attack Obari, where some Tebu also live, because it had become a hotbed for jihadists. The war ended in the summer of 2016 with a ceasefire but without a clear winner.
From my diaries ...
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There is NO military solution to these conflicts by means of foreign mercenaries ...
The old favorites are gone, meet the new favorites for Angela Merkel and the EU3 ...
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed meets Angela Merkel in Berlin | The National - UAE |
Sheikh Mohamed said: "A political and peaceful solution is the best approach for achieving security and stability in the region and fulfilling the aspirations of the Libyan people."
The Crown Prince said that the UAE has always been on the side of the Libyan people and fully supported their legitimate aspirations for peace, reconciliation, unity and development.
Libyan rivals Sarraj and Haftar leave Moscow without signing ceasefire deal | EuroNews |
Libya's rival leaders have left Moscow without reaching agreement on a ceasefire deal proposed by Russia and Turkey in an effort to bring an end to the country's long-running civil war.
Fayez Sarraj, the head of Libya's UN-recognised government in Tripoli, and General Khalifa Haftar - the power behind the eastern government - came to Moscow to discuss a truce hosted by Russian and Turkish officials. The talks lasted about seven hours, but Sarraj and Haftar didn't meet directly.
After the meetings, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, announced that Sarraj signed the draft document spelling out the details of the proposed ceasefire deal, while Haftar requested more time to consider it.
Lavrov said that efforts to broker a peace deal will continue. "We all work in the same direction and urge all the sides (of the conflict) in Libya to negotiate instead of trying to sort things out violently,'' the minister said.
Libya's Haftar left Moscow without signing ceasefire deal: Russia | The National - UAE |
Head of the Government of National Accord , Fayez Al Sarraj, had signed the deal after a day of negotiations in Moscow brokered by Russia and Turkey, which seized the initiative from the west in attempting to end nine months of fighting around the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
Haftar asked for a delay until Tuesday to consider signing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference on Monday. Hours later, however, Haftar and his entourage left Moscow without agreeing the deal.
Turkey and Russia, which back rival forces, had pushed the fighting parties to accept the cease-fire. The truce began shakily over the weekend and now threatens to fall apart entirely.
"There will be no signing on any document at the expense of the heroic sacrifices and aspirations of the Libyans to salvation," Haftar's Libyan National Army said on Twitter early Tuesday, confirming the departure of the general and his accompanying delegation from Moscow.
"We have worked with our Russian partners all day long for the factions in Libya to sign a cease-fire letter and we drafted a text," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said alongside Lavrov on Monday. "We have taken into account suggestions, especially from the Haftar side, to reach a mutual understanding."
Haftar's departure casts doubt over hopes for an end to the battle over Tripoli.
Erdoğan arrives in Berlin, meets with Putin ahead of summit | Hürriyet Daily News |
○ Turkey's Erdogan says country starts sending troops to Libya, backing legitimate Libyan gov't | Hürriyet Daily News - Jan. 16, 2020 |
Warning! FDD source ...
The Consolidation of the Turkey-Qatar Axis
On June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, enacting a land, sea, and air blockade. Qatar's neighbors charged the country with supporting terrorists, collaborating with Iran, and sowing the seeds of chaos around the Middle East. The sudden move closed Qatar's only road link to foreign markets, through which it received nearly 40 percent of its food requirements. Qatari residents panicked, picking clean supermarket shelves. But the panic subsided less than 48 hours later, as Turkey began sending cargo planes with food and other goods.
Turkey's assistance was not simply a humanitarian gesture. Rather, it was the most visible sign of Ankara and Doha's strategic convergence. This was also evident when Qatar was one of the few actors, alongside Hamas and Pakistan, that supported Turkey's cross-border operation into northeast Syria in October 2019.
Diplomatic relations between the emirate of Qatar and the Republic of Turkey go back almost 50 years but picked up steam only after the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in Ankara in 2002.
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