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Surge of Russian influence in Middle East at US expense

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] A [/yt_dropcap] merican efforts to support the opposition by arming them directly and through Arab nations have brought Russian forces there and now Russia is firmly footed in Syria, influencing Arab nations and Israel. With which it coordinates certain terror operations.

Syria is unofficially divided and destabilized, thousands of Muslims have been murdered by all “stake holders” in Syria, both Muslim and non-Muslim as well as anti-Muslim forces – objective of global anti-Islamism and Islamophobia.

Fall of Aleppo

Shift in Russian policy for West Asia by joining the fighting foreign forces led by USA, destabilizing Sunni Syria misruled by a Shiite president, has worked miracles for president Putin as Russia is seen as a formidable force in the world to take on US militarism..

Syrian Aleppo has finally fallen to Russian forces favoring President Assad.

As Aleppo rebels are defeated in an asymmetric fight, and UN and Western leaders prove unable to protect civilians from what they expect to be retribution by the regime, comparisons abound to the Russian pounding of the Chechen capital, Grozny, in the 1990s, and the Serbs’ slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica, Bosnia, in 1995.

Russian intervention in Syrian war has now almost ensured, thanks to president Putin’s firm commitment to dictatorial dynastic misrule of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad that he can just enjoy his remaining life without even holding any referendum, let alone elections, to continue his misrule and claim legitimacy for presidency for the rest of his life.

Apparently, for the Arab nations and Iran, fear of America would soon be the fact of the past as the ongoing Russian war maneuverings in Syria targeting Muslims in the Arab nation may have impressed the rulers in the region as well as Israel and, more importantly, Russian effort is helping Assad stay in power against the will of the world’s super power USA. Having complicated the conflictual situation in Syria, Americans do not seem to have clues to end the war and possibly looking to the Kremlin to find some solution, even if not a long term one.

Ending wars of course is not the US idea.

Syrian leader Assad’s key allies Russia and Iran could claim that the victory over rebels in Syria’s second city Aleppo advances their standing in the region in the globally.

The bombardment of rebel-held east Aleppo by Russian forces, the Syrian army, and Iran-led militias has been unprecedented in its intensity, even by the standards of Syria’s brutal six-year civil war. The blitz has also been effective at removing rebels – some of them backed by the USA, others Islamic jihadists ¬– from their most significant urban stronghold in Syria.

Russia dramatically stepped up its intervention in September last year, its first projection of hard power beyond former Soviet borders in decades, reportedly at Iran’s request. Soon after, Obama said “it just won’t work,” and predicted that Moscow would get stuck in a “quagmire.”

President Putin, however, has pointed to Western failures in Syria, and last week told the NTV channel that “the world balance is gradually being restored. The attempts to create a unipolar world failed.”

So Russia seems to have outsmarted its arch rival USA in Syrian war but with no quick end to the conflict, they are likely to push for a political solution if they sincerely seek peace in West Asia.

With Russia maintaining upper handling war operations in Syria, Arab nations could now rely on Russian terror goods instead of depending on costly US weaponry.

Iran’s challenges

For Iran, that means expanding the influence of its “axis of resistance” against the USA, Israel, and their allies. For Russia, it marks a critical step toward restoring past influence, even as American power projection and willingness to engage in the Middle East declines. “This is what really matters to Iran and Russia, that the political, geo-strategic project of the anti-Assad and anti-Iranian position has failed, and it has been buried in the Aleppo rubble,” says a Middle East expert at the London School of Economics who has studied the history of ISIS. “Syria really could be a signpost for the emergence of a new international system.”

Iran has supported Assad from the start with advisers – losing numerous high-ranking officers along the way – and mobilized the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah. It has also marshaled thousands of Shiite militiamen from Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Pakistan to fight in Syria.

Few predict that the departure of rebel forces from Aleppo means the end of the Syrian war, which will continue as a guerrilla fight on many other fronts. And analysts say there are limiting factors to the current ascending influence of Iran and Russia. The brief cease-fire that fell apart did so amid wrangling between Russia and Iran about how and whether rebel fighters – all of them considered “terrorists” by pro-Assad forces – and tens of thousands of trapped civilians could be evacuated from the remaining sliver of ground they control.

The Assad “victory” in Aleppo has also been dented by Islamic State (IS) fighters’ recent recapture of Palmyra, the ancient city held and damaged by IS earlier in the war that was reclaimed by Assad forces with great fanfare last spring. “There was big hope that this victory in Aleppo would shatter the morale of the Syrian opposition, and it would begin to crack, and there would be serious defections,” says a defense columnist for Novaya Gazeta in Moscow.

Iran faces its own challenges, not least because of uncertainty about how a new government under President Donald Trump may improve ties with Russia at Iran’s expense. So it, too, is inclined to seek a political solution. The perception in Tehran is there is no military ending in Syria.

In other words, since Assad has won the nasty battle and would stay forever, it is a good time to go for a negotiated solution, because from a position of strength it is easier to convince Assad to give concessions, rather than a position of weakness. Some conservative factions in Iran revel in the Aleppo victory of “resistance,” that view “is not going to be shared universally. Iranian forces are also overstretched. We know there is no light at the end of the tunnel. “Any tactical closeness of Russia and the US may hurt Iran, and so their preference would be to quickly turn that victory into a negotiated solution.

That is to say if USA, Russia and Syria think seriously about   ending war and rebuild the economy of Syria and strengthen Mideastern politics and economy.

Unfinished task?

However, even after seizing all of Aleppo, Assad still controls only one-third of the country. Russia and Iran therefore see the war in Syria as continuing, and are likely to press for a political solution to the conflict.

President Assad is celebrating his most significant battlefield victory so far, even though Iran-Russia squabbling interrupted what was supposed to be a final cease-fire, and images showed block after block of pulverized neighborhoods – punctuated by terrified citizens’ please on social media “save Aleppo.”

Assad told Russian television that liberating Aleppo doesn’t end with liberating the city itself, it needs to be secured on the outside. The next target, he said, “depends on which city contains the largest number of terrorists.” But the strategic reverberations of Aleppo’s fall reach far beyond Syria’s second city and signify a retooling of power dynamics in the Middle East.

It is here that Russia and Iran invested military power and orchestrated an outcome they desired, preserving the Assad regime and preventing a takeover by USA or ISIS and even greater chaos. At the same time, they defeated the half-hearted effort pursued by anti-Islamic USA and its allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to remove Assad by backing rebel groups.

There was a triumphant tone in Iran, as well. “Resistance paid off; the horns of America and House of Saud broken,” ran one headline in the hard-line Kayhan newspaper. “The liberation of Aleppo is the defeat of all political, military and arrogant powers in one spot of the Muslim world, where the flag of resistance has been hoisted,” declared Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

The human cost continues to grow, with the fight for Aleppo and its years of regime barrel bombing in the city contributing heavily to the war’s death toll of some 470,000. Among reports of atrocities on both sides, the UN said that 82 civilians had been killed by pro-Assad troops as well. Heavy shelling of the city resumed with the collapse of a Russia-announced deal for the departure of rebel fighters. n“For Aleppo they gathered everything they could. Hezbollah brought in two fresh brigades.… The Russians organized a Grozny-type very heavy barrage that worked. But at the same time, the Syrian second-rate infantry was overrun in Palmyra, caches of weapons were seized, intervened in the morale-crushing effect of Aleppo.

Yet as Russia stepped up its intervention in Syria, the quagmire scenario grows, along with the risks. Russia waited a bit to launch the final hit on Aleppo. An official from the Kremlin had explained in May that it will be a bloodbath in Aleppo and Russia had to make a serious political decision. As the extent of that bloodbath sinks into the Sunni Muslim world, there can also be repercussions over murdering Sunnis in Syria. There is none indeed to shed tears over the genocides of Muslims anywhere in the world, including Syria or Turkey or Saudi Arabia. Millions have been slaughtered by fascist forces led by USA and EU and supported by Israel and its state terror ally India.

Another limit may be the cost for Russia, which one general recently said has shipped 700,000 tons of terror goods like military equipment and weaponry to Syria via the Bosporus waterway in Turkey. The problem is how long Russia can maintain such a policy, when it runs out of resources with Western sanctions remain in place and notwithstanding Russian efforts to end or at least ease they refuse to end the economic punishment of the Kremlin. And that is a serious burden on the Russian navy and the Russian budget. There is also the problem of Russian morale here just of American prestige.

Russia’s experience in other conflicts, therefore, is behind its push for a political settlement.

The Syrian army is thinly spread and dispersed in many areas. Assad can never impose his centralized control on all of Syria anymore. In fact, what we see today as a significant military gain for Assad, could, experts say, easily mutate in a year or so into Afghanistan of the 1990s. And Russia knows this.

Without a political settlement, Syria will remain a battlefield for many years to come.

What is Russia’s goal in Syria?

Hard pressed by its economic sanctions, Russia with its intervention in Syria has clearly challenged the imperialist unilateralism, any way and under President Trump no more such military misadventures could be expected. President Obama made a decision not to involve, not to entangle, not to invest major political and military capital in the Middle East. “It’s not the lack of capability; it’s the lack of will”. The frequent WH statements about ending US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and no desire to start new ones is encouraging. In contrast, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a strategic investment, and so far the returns are excellent.

A year ago the Kremlin appeared to be stepping up its role in the Syrian crisis, possibly laying the groundwork for a new strategy against ISIS in the region. In order to achieve meaningful results on the ground, Russia would need to send thousands of well-trained troops to Syria as well as a significant amount of military equipment. Presently there are well less than one thousand of Russian personnel operating in the country, and judging by recent images of Russian landing ships crossing the Bosphorus, trucks and armored personnel carriers. The news of Russian troops appearing across Syria has appeared in numerous media outlets around the world in recent days.

The financial burden of engaging in fighting in order to help Assad’s army regain ground without any guarantee would be extremely heavy on the Russian budget. Some suggested that just as in previous years, Russian specialists are merely training Syrian President Assad’s army to use Russian equipment that Moscow keeps sending to Syria, while others went as far as to suggest that newly-arrived Russians are fighting on the front lines alongside the Syrian army.

Only a few months ago, reports suggested that Russia could have been changing its Syria strategy and might abandon Assad. Russia even withdrew its diplomatic staff from Damascus and stopped honoring its agreement with Syria to maintain Russian-made fighter jets. But now there is no denial that in recent months Russia has slightly intensified arms deliveries to the Assad government. In fact, the latest data shows that in the first 8 months of 2015 Russian southbound landing crafts passed the Bosphorus 39 times, compared to 36 times in the same period of 2014.

After Ukraine, Moscow can’t afford another major deployment of troops, both financially and politically especially with western sanctions in place. Moscow knows the price of such a policy all too well. The US reaction to initial reports of Russia boosting its presence in Syria was quite harsh. White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested that Russia’s involvement would lead to an escalation in the conflict and even to direct confrontation with the coalition taking on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Greater Syria (ISIS). Direct involvement in this crisis is also risky due to Western sanctions that theoretically could be toughened over Syria.

Russia and Syria reactivated the 1980 “friendship” treaty that sees Moscow taking over the Latakia air base. Russia has reportedly delivered its newest BTR-82A armored personnel carriers (APCs), Ural trucks and shipments of firearms to the Syrian government. It has also allegedly started assembling prefabricated buildings for 1,000 military specialists in Latakia to establish a broad anti-ISIS coalition. Russia has been continuously delivering cargo to Syria, both humanitarian and military. As well, Russia could be setting up a mobile air traffic control unit.

Are Russian forces really fighting for Assad? Vladimir Putin’s intentions with regards to Syria are both domestic and foreign, particularly . Despite reports claiming that Russian troops were seen taking part in action in Syria, engaging in direct fighting is off the table for the Kremlin, at least for now. Probably the most important reason why Russia would think twice before sending its troops into battle in Syria is that it would certainly be used for PR purposes in Russia’s North Caucasus by ISIS to recruit new Russian-speaking fighters. But it would be even more detrimental to the Kremlin if ISIS captured a Russian soldier in Syria whose brutal execution would set large groups of Russians against the Kremlin’s irresponsible strategy.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Moscow continues to provide military equipment per previously signed contracts; in addition, Moscow continues to send Russian military specialists to train the Syrian army to use this equipment. Some reports suggest that most equipment that Russia delivers to Syria these days is intended for the military base in Latakia.

Observations

By increasing its military presence in Syria, Russia may also be raising the ante in the ongoing negotiating process with the Assad government. So much so, now Western governments would have to deal with Russia instead of Assad regarding Syrian future or military deals. .

The big question now is whether the USA under Trump will continue to push Europe to hold Russia accountable — something that is currently in doubt, given President-elect Donald Trump’s open admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his selection of Russia-friendly Exxon Mobil boss Rex Tillerson for very important post of secretary of state. President-elect Donald Trump’s Russian sympathies have raised the possibility of a shift in US foreign policy vis-a-vis Moscow.

The devastation in Aleppo and the rollover of sanctions against Russia was part of the EU summit agenda on December 15.   While the summit ultimately sent a strong message to Moscow about the EU’s willingness to extend sanctions and support Ukraine, in reality EU foreign policy towards Russia is predicated on what happens next in terms of US foreign policy and the ongoing political maneuverings in Syria. European Union leaders recently decided in Brussels to extend sanctions against Russia until July –sanctions that were imposed after the annexation of Crimea in the spring of 2014

The moot question is will the anti-Islamic nations , condign Arab countries, leave Syria even without going for the rebuild costly operations from Syrian resources by dividing the construction-destruction works   among all of them, and China and Israel- the anti-Islamic nations waiting for orders?

Clearly Russia has firmly stay put in West Asia including Mideast and the Sunni Gulf states are already singing military deals with Moscow, pushing the US super power, the traditional shareholder in the region, to sideways.

Russia’s expanded role in Syria is yielding some benefits. Moscow is being courted by Persian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, and is rebuilding ties with Turkey and Egypt – all of them traditional US allies. Palestinian leaders have also requested Putin’s help in convincing arrogant Israeli PM B. Netanyahu to resume peace talks – a role long played by Washington. Israel just wants bogus talks and it abruptly cancels by putting conditions, difficult for the Palestinians to accept. .

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Middle Eastern Geopolitics in The Midst of The Russo-Ukrainian War

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Russia’s national interests have been harmed by the West’s efforts to obstruct Eurasia’s integration and provoke conflict. Support from the United States and the European Union for Ukraine’s anti-constitutional coup d’état sparked a societal upheaval and a bloody conflict. Right-wing nationalist ideology is getting more and more popular, Russia is being painted as an enemy in Ukrainian society, the violent resolution of internal problems is being gambled on, and a profound socioeconomic catastrophe is making Ukraine a chronic centre of instability in Europe and along Russia’s border.

US military-biological labs in Russia’s neighbours are being expanded. There are four ways Russia utilizes to keep the world safe: political, legal, diplomatic, and military. To protect national interests, armed force can be employed only after all other options have failed.

NATO has effectively rendered Russia’s Black Sea control worthless in terms of gaining access to warm water. “Irresponsible” would be a better word to describe Ukraine’s attempt to join NATO. Russia’s Eurasian aspirations are jeopardized by Ukraine’s proclivity for self-determination. From Ukraine to Abkhazia, Russia seeks to control the northern Black Sea coast and to turn it under its sovereignty. For Russia, it is necessary to remove Western influence from this region and Russia’s immediate surroundings. However, it is impossible for Ukraine to remain “neutral” because of its geopolitical and ethnic realities.

Russia’s geopolitical security is threatened by Ukraine’s borders and sovereign orientations, which are equivalent to invading Russia’s land. Eastern Ukraine (east of the Dnieper River to the Sea of Azov) is inhabited by Great Russians and Orthodox Little Russians, whereas the rest of the country is controlled by Ukrainians. Anti-Russian sentiment runs deep in Crimea, a region with a wide range of nationalities (such as the Tatars). Crimea is under Moscow’s authority for strategic reasons. From Chernigov to Odessa, an area has cultural ties to Eastern Ukraine and a place in the Eurasian geopolitical context.

The Eurasian core (Russia) and the European core (Germany) should work together to complete the long-term disengagement between Europe and the United States by forming a Eurasian continental military complex.

Russian intervention in Ukraine is urgent in order to avert an attack by NATO. The foregoing suggests that Russia’s policy of severing all ties with Western security systems in the vital territory directly adjacent to Russia is being carried out in Ukraine. The only way to achieve this aim peacefully is to use force.

There are two main actors engaged in this conflict; the Russian Federation (the official heir to the USSR) and the United States, which is slipping in several soft and hard power indicators. Paul Kennedy saw imperial overstretch as a precursor to strategic decline for the United States, while Richard Barnet predicted decline for the United States in the 1980s. Flora Lewis’ research, published a year after Paul Kennedy’s, confirmed the fall of the United States. It was prophesied by James Schlesinger that the United States will lose both its economic and military power. Peter Passell and Tom Wicker argued that the United States has lost its economic and scientific leadership to Japan because of its dependence on foreign sources of raw resources and energy.

According to Niall Ferguson’s 2004 study on US diclinism, the United States wants to expand free markets, the rule of law, and representative government around the world, but it is unwilling to make the long-term investments in human capital and financial resources necessary to end conflict resulting from state inefficiency. When it comes to internal weaknesses like financial deficits and people power, as well as ignoring global responsibilities, he thinks that the United States is a failing empire that refuses to accept its own demise. “Terrorist” groups and organized crime gangs will fill the void, he predicts. Ferguson sees this as a strong endorsement of the US-China-European partnership.

Biden should not threaten China and should treat Russia as a serious power in Eurasia, as argued by one of the most anti-EU thinkers in the United States, Francis Ferguson, Jr. An analysis conducted by the US National Intelligence Council in 2008 predicted that the international system would become more multipolar due to the emergence of new major powers, the continuation of economic globalization, the transfer of wealth from the West to the East, and the expansion of sub-state and supra-state entities.

According to the report, by 2025, there would be less disparities between regions and governments in the international system. In order to avoid further collapse in Russia’s interior and to enlarge Russia’s critical space, each empire looks to exploit geostrategic territories. NATO’s laxity has made it easier for the other empire (the United States) to halt its collapse and strengthen relations with Europe.

All of the foregoing has an impact on the Middle East, particularly on the Arab region. The Middle East is no longer a priority for US policy, according to President Joe Biden’s strategic plan. Some countries in the region have attempted to compensate for the loss of the United States by forging ties with Israel to counter internal opposition and strengthen the anti-Iran coalition.

It is possible that the Ukraine issue could divert American attention away from the Middle East in the next months, which could have an impact on Arab relations with Israel, Iran and Turkey. Because of the lack of response from the Middle East in response to US demands about the Ukrainian issue (blockade of Russia, military support for Ukraine, increased gas and oil production, etc.), there has been a “relative” shift in the region’s position in US strategy.

Currently, there are many thorny issues in the Middle East, including: Russia’s policy in the Arab region is hampered by its inability to overcome regional power imbalances. Russian, Iranian and Israeli differences. Reconciling Iran with Gulf States and a number of Arab nations. Reconciling the security needs of Israel and Syria. Israeli demands vs. Russian pledges on Palestinian rights.

The trade volume differential between Russia and the Arab region just adds to the complexity of these political issues already in existence. Over the previous three years, Russian trade with the Arab world has averaged $18 billion each year. One group of Arab countries imports Russian civilian goods, such as wheat and iron, whereas the other group imports Russian military equipment. Russia exports civilian goods to Egypt, Morocco, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Jordan, and Qatar. After Syria, Algeria (81 percent), Iraq (44 percent), Egypt (41%), and the United Arab Emirates (5.3%), Russian arms sales to Arab countries account for 21 percent of Russia’s overall sales, or $5 billion yearly, making them the top five countries acquiring Russian weaponry.

It’s not uncommon for relations between Arab countries that acquire Russian civilian items and those that import Russian military hardware to be strained. In the near future (within the next five years), when Russia’s global economic embargo will cover more civilian items than military ones, it will be difficult for Russia to limit the influence of Arab disputes on its relations with all Arab countries.

Due to its military-to-civilian trade imbalance, Russia may have to reassess its regional priorities. Relations between the Arab world and Russia could take a dramatic turn in the near future. Russia’s trade with Israel ($3.5 billion) and Iran ($777 million) is impossible to compare. Even in light of the boycott, Russia’s relations with Iran and Israel will be problematic.

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Creating Building Blocks for Cooperative Security in the Middle East

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Fading hopes for a revival of the 2015 international agreement that curbed Iran’s nuclear program potentially puts one more nail in the coffin of a regional security architecture that would include rather than target the Islamic republic.

The potential demise of the nuclear agreement, coupled with America redefining its commitment to Middle Eastern security as it concentrates on rivalry with Russia and China, spotlights the need for a regional security forum that would facilitate confidence-building measures, including common approaches to transnational threats such as climate change, food security, maritime security, migration, and public health.

Mitigating in favour of a firmer grounding of the reduction of regional tension is the fact that it is driven not only by economic factors such as the economic transition in the Gulf and the economic crisis in Turkey, Iran, and Egypt but also by big-power geopolitics.

China and Russia have spelled out that they would entertain the possibility of greater engagement in regional security if Middle Eastern players take greater responsibility for managing regional conflicts, reducing tensions, and their own defense.

Rhetoric aside, that is not different from what the United States, the provider of the Middle East’s security umbrella, is looking for in its attempts to rejigger its commitment to security in the Gulf.

In addition to the emerging, albeit tentative, unspoken, macro-level big power consensus on a more inclusive, multilateral approach, efforts by the major regional powers – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Israel, and Iran, except for as it regards ties between the Jewish state and the Islamic republics — to reduce tensions and put relations on a more even keel, contribute to an environment potentially conducive to discussion of a more broad-based security architecture.

The need to focus on conflict prevention and improved communication between regional rivals alongside more robust defense cooperation is evident irrespective of whether the Iran nuclear accord is brought back from the dead, given that the covert war between Israel and Iran will continue no matter what happens.

Israeli officials this month warned that an Israel airstrike against Syria’s Aleppo airport was a warning to President Bashar al-Assad that his country’s air transport infrastructure would be at risk if he continues to allow “planes whose purpose is to encourage terrorism to land,” a reference to flights operated on behalf of the Iranian military and Revolutionary Guards.

Even so, the Biden administration remains focused on broadening responsibility for a regional security architecture that targets Iran rather than an inclusive structure that would give all parties a stake, seek to address root problems, and stymie an evolving arms race.

The administration has encouraged security cooperation between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the two Arab states that two years ago established diplomatic relations with Israel, and Saudi Arabia, which has changed its long-standing hostile attitudes towards the Jewish state but refuses to formalise relations in the absence of a resolution of the Palestinian problem.

The year’s move of Israel from the US military’s European to its Central Command (CENTCOM) that covers the Middle East facilitates coordination between regional militaries. In a first, Israel this year participated in a US-led naval exercise alongside Saudi Arabia, Oman, Comoros, Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan, countries with which it has no diplomatic relations, as well as the UAE and Bahrain.

In March, top military officers from Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt met in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss the contours of potential military cooperation.

Similarly, the US, the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia are attempting to create a regional air defense alliance. In June, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz claimed the partnership had already thwarted Iranian attacks.

Similarly, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are working on a fleet of naval drones to monitor Gulf waters and ward off Iranian threats.

Furthermore, CENTCOM plans to open a testing facility in Saudi Arabia to develop and assess integrated air and missile defense capabilities.

Scholar Dalia Dassa Kaye argues that focusing on confidence-building aspects of cooperative security involving a dialogue that aims to find common ground to prevent or mitigate conflict rather than collective security that seeks to counter a specific threat is one way of breaking the Middle East’s vicious circle.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) patchwork of security structures, alliances between external powers and individual association members, and inclusive regional forums demonstrate that the two security approaches are not mutually exclusive.

The ASEAN model also suggests that, at least initially, a less centralized and institutionalized approach may be the best way to kickstart moves towards regional cooperative security in the Middle East.

Negotiating an agreement on principles guiding regional conduct on the back of exchanges between scholars, experts, and analysts, as well as informal, unofficial encounters of officials, could be a first step.

To be sure, Iran’s refusal to recognize Israel and its perceived goal of destroying the Jewish state likely constitutes the foremost obstacle to initiating an inclusive, cooperative security process.

The carrot for Iran will have to be credible assurances that the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel will not pursue regime change in Tehran and recognize that Iran’s security concerns are as legitimate as those of others in the region. However, even that could prove to be a tall order, particularly if the negotiations to revive the nuclear accord fail.

Nevertheless, that may be the only realistic way of putting Iran’s support for militants in various Arab countries, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah Shiite militia, various pro-Iranian paramilitary groups in Iraq, and Houthi rebels in Yemen, as well as the Islamic republic’s ballistic missiles program – the two major concerns of Israel and the Gulf states — on an agenda to which Iran is a participating party.

Ms. Kaye argues that “despite these serious obstacles, it is important to present a vision and pathway for an inclusive, cooperative process when a political opening emerges, or when a crisis erupts of such severe magnitude that even bitter adversaries may consider options that were previously unthinkable.”

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Israel’s Annexation of East Jerusalem

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The Israel-Palestine conflict began with the inception of Israel in 1948 and continues till date upon various levels. Palestine is a small region that plays a key role in Middle East’s history. It has been under several conflicts and violent land occupiers due to its geographic location. The area has been occupied and annexed by several countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Syria. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 and the West Bank in 1967. In 1981, Israel declared the Golan Heights as its territory and extended its control over it. In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinians in these regions are under military rule of Israel. In 1993, Israel and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed an agreement known as the Oslo Accords. However, it did not specify which parts would be evacuated by Israel and which parts would remain under its control. The agreement was expected to lead to an independent state of Palestine but never materialized due to various reasons. After the collapse of Oslo Accords, Israel began building Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The settlements are considered illegal according to international law because they are built on occupied land. The settlements have created problems for the Palestinians living in these regions because they are surrounded by these settlements. The expansion of settlements has reduced more Palestinian land that could have been used for constructing settlements for Palestinians. The settlements have also made it hard for Palestinians to reach their agricultural land because they are usually located next to these settlements. Objective of this research is too understand the distribution of land after Arab-Israel war, to analyze what is going on in Israel and Palestine, to learn about Israel’s annexation and to highlight the annexation’s effect on Palestine. This research is followed by the theory of hegemonic stability. The attempt of Israel to dominate the Middle East will increase its influence to survive as sole regional hegemone in the international system. John Mearsheimer is one of the leading proponents, keeping in view the atrocities of Israel it is considered as a threat.  As many theorist argue that capabilities explain why states and nations act in a certain way. Powerful states act in a certain way to posses more power and create the situation of hegemony, and weak states don’t do that because they cannot. The research methodology is the process used to collect the data to be analyzed. It involves the process of data collection and the analysis of the gathered data. The data was collected by the researcher through written sources including books, journals, articles, newspaper reports, website articles and reports. The data was collected from the library of university and from the internet. The researcher made use of the internet by carrying out a background search of the internet, visiting WebPages of International NGOs, reading newspaper, analyzing WebPages of Middle Eastern newspapers and news agencies using the keywords annexation, Jerusalem and Palestine.

Background

  • Zionism and Early Jewish Immigration to Israel, 1900-1917


The war dates back to the early 1900s, when the predominantly Arab and Muslim territory was part of the Ottoman Empire and, beginning in 1917, a British’ mandate. 

Hundreds of thousands of Jews were migrating to the area as part of a Zionist movement among largely European Jews seeking to escape persecution and build a state in their ancestral homeland (Subsequently, vast numbers of Middle Eastern Jews moved to Israel, either to escape anti-Semitic violence or to avoid being forced evicted.) In British Palestine, communal violence between Jews and Arabs began to spiral out of control.

  • After the Nazis took power in Germany, there was a wave of Jewish immigration to Palestine from 1933 to 1936.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, a tremendous refugee crisis erupted as German Jews sought a safe haven from persecution. Between 1933 and 1936, more Jews immigrated to Palestine from Germany than from any other country. Around 154,300 Jews (including 34,700 from Germany) had entered Palestine lawfully and thousands more had come illegally, bringing the Jewish population in Palestine from nearly 17% in 1931 to nearly 30% in 1935.

  • World War II and Jewish Resistance to the British Mandate, 1939-1945

At the onset of World War II, a huge number of Palestinians and Zionists joined to assist the British in their hour of need. But they both had their longterm goals in mind: they both saw British imperialism as the long-term adversary of freedom.

Attacks against British troops and police, raids on British armaments and supply dumps, and bombings of British installations had become routine by 1944, and military training camps were established in several kibbutzim to build an army to fight the British.

  • The British Government refers the question of Palestine’s future to the United Nations on February 14, 1947.

    Unable to reconcile its conflicting duties to Jews and Arabs, the United Kingdom proposed that the United Nations take up the Palestine issue in 1947. A General Assembly resolution established the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) in May. The goal of UNSCOP was to look into the situation in Palestine and make such ideas as it may judge appropriate for the solution of the Palestinian problem.

The Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem was the result of this conflict. The Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem is the major point of conflict between Israel and Palestine. The annexation was declared in 1980 and was carried out by the Knesset in July 1980. The annexation of East Jerusalem was carried out after Israel captured the territory in the Six-Day War of 1967. The annexation was made in order to unify the West and East Jerusalem and to ensure that the West Bank and Gaza Strip remained part of Israel. The annexation was declared by the Israeli Knesset in 1980 and was made effective from that year. The annexation is an illegal action and has been criticized by many nations. The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution in August 1980 condemning Israel for the annexation. This resolution was non-binding and was not enforced. The United States and the European Union also condemned the annexation. The UN General Assembly adopted several resolutions condemning Israel for its annexation of East Jerusalem. The UN Security Council passed a resolution in 1980 which condemned the annexation and declared it to be null and void. The United Nations Human Rights Council and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People have also condemned the annexation. The United States and the European Union have publicly condemned the annexation. Israel has also been condemned by the international community for the annexation of East Jerusalem.

Illegal Annexation of East Jerusalem

The annexation has been criticized by many authors and the criticism has been based on various reasons. The international community and the United Nations have declared the annexation to be illegal and a violation of international law. The United Nations has condemned the annexation. The Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem has turned the status of the city into an international issue.

Negative impact of Annexation on Palestinians:

Palestinians strongly condemn the illegal annexation because it kills their hopes for a viable Palestinian state with territorial contiguity. The United Nations has been criticized for its inability to stop the annexation. It undermines the Palestinian peoples of their right to self-determination.

Status of East Jerusalem according to international law

Therefore, according to Israeli domestic law, not only does Israeli law apply to the territory of East Jerusalem, but Israel also considers East Jerusalem to be an integral part of its territory. The territory of a state or its sovereign, on the other hand, is indeed an issue to be decided by international law rather than domestic law. As a result, it is critical to investigate how international law views Israel’s passage of legislation pertaining to east Jerusalem.

The Occupation Law

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, came under Israeli occupation following the 1967 War, as previously stated. As a result, Israel’s conduct in this land should be reviewed first and foremost in light of the principles of international humanitarian law, which deals primarily with periods of armed conflict and includes a set of standards relevant to the situation of occupation.

Restrictions to changes to local laws and introducing new legislation

“The Authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all measures in his power to restore and ensure, as far as possible, public order,” according to Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, which established the basic tenets of the role of the occupying power in administering an occupied territory, including the temporary nature of occupation.

As a result, Article 43 does not provide the occupying power sovereign powers; rather, it limits the occupying power’s right to protect public order and civic life “while respecting, unless absolutely prohibited, the laws in force in the nation.” The occupying power may not enact its own legislation or operate as a sovereign legislator in the occupied territory. It must, as a matter of principle, follow the laws that were in effect in the occupied region when the occupation began. Article 43 is a one-of-a-kind limitation clause whose purpose is to restrain the occupying authority rather than grant it benefits.

Palestine’s stance

Israeli lawmakers are adopting hawkish positions in the aftermath of the March 23 Israeli elections, which have yet to produce a new coalition government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, and their main rivals, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, have all stated their desire to strike a major blow to Hamas. “Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid and will pay a very heavy price for their aggression,” Netanyahu declared on May 11th. “Their blood is on their heads,” I declare this evening.

Israel benefits from the ability to conflate the Palestinian liberation struggle with Hamas’ Islamist ideology and indiscriminate rocket fire at residential areas. It can use the latter in particular to justify responding with even greater force, highlighting the severe power imbalance between the two sides, and avoiding responsibility for its own attacks that kill civilians by claiming that Hamas, a designated “terrorist” organisation, is using Gaza residents as “human shields” for its military facilities.

International response

Consistent with the preceding analysis, it is not surprising that the Security Council and the General Assembly have repeatedly condemned Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem, as well as the legality of the normative steps Israel has taken to assert its sovereignty over East Jerusalem. In a long series of pointed decisions, these international institutions have repeatedly emphasised that Israel’s practical and normative steps in annexing East Jerusalem violate international law. The Security Council declared in Resolution 252 (1968) that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.” In Resolution 478 (1980), the Council condemned “in the strongest terms” the passage of the Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, and declared that any measures attempting to change the status of Jerusalem are “null and void.”

Except for Israel, all of the world’s states agree on the UN bodies’ stance. None of the countries with ambassadorial relations with Israel recognise the annexation, as evidenced by the fact that their embassies are located in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem. Furthermore, Western countries considered friendly to Israel, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, and Japan, have all stated their refusal to recognise the legality of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) stated in its 2004 Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem is not lawful under international law. It’s worth noting that the ICJ didn’t look at the legal status of East Jerusalem in particular; rather, the subject of the legitimacy of the Wall’s construction and its consequences was addressed. However, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had to assess the legal status of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in order to answer these questions.

Future of the conflict

While the United Nations and Europeans can also play important roles, only the United States, Israel’s primary supporter, can make a significant difference in Israel’s calculations today. Israel will want to be able to tell its citizens that it has paid the appropriate price for Hamas’ rocket barrage that it has, in the words of its security establishment, “restored deterrence.” However, with the Security Council meeting on May 16, the White House’s diplomatic considerations could shift. Domestic considerations may also be a factor. The longer the fighting in Israel-Palestine continues, the greater the risk of spill over into domestic American politics.

There is a new variable at work in this escalation: Palestinian-Israeli violence on Israeli streets. It is unclear whether a cease-fire with Gaza would put an end to all of this bloodshed. However, continuing to bombard the coastal strip will almost certainly feed the country’s internal convulsions. Israel must choose between a faster ceasefire and a faster unravelling of its social fabric.

In a broader context, Israel, regardless of source, should denounce violence and incendiary hatred speech and impartial justice to all. Israeli officials bear a special responsibility to combat ethnic hatred emanating from the Jewish far right and to ensure that Palestinian citizens are protected from both police and civilian violence in the same manner as Jewish citizens. The Israeli leaders have a parallel duty within their own communities. Many people around the world, particularly in the United States and Europe, have been taken aback by images of Jewish mob violence, but the sentiments they represent did not emerge overnight. They were cultivated and supported at the highest state levels for a long time. Camping ethnic incitement is a matter for the Jewish majority to preserve themselves, since the alternative is already in the horizon, which is an escalation in civil struggle.

Reason of the conflict

Reasons on which the Israel-Palestine conflict is largely due to

  • Security,
  • Borders,
  • Water rights,
  • Control of Jerusalem, 
  • Israeli settlements, 
  • Palestinian freedom of movement,
  • Palestinian right of return.

Recommendation

  • Despite tremendous effort exerted since the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution, peace has been elusive. Today, there is a growing feeling among Palestinians, Israelis and the international community that the two-state paradigm may no longer be viable.
  • A commitment by Israel to end settlement expansion beyond the wall
  • Easing restrictions on Gaza
  • Redesigning parts of the West Bank currently falling under full Israeli administration as areas that fall under partial or full Palestinian administration
  • Removing impediments to Palestinian economic development
  • Ending home demolitions and other forms of collective punishment
  • Removing impediments to Palestinian elections in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza
  • Alleviating restrictions on movement and access
  • Gradually releasing Palestinian prisoners
  • Allowing the reopening of Palestinian institutions, such as the Orient House, in East Jerusalem.

Conclusion:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a long lasting one that started in the year 1947-1949. The conflict originated from the Israeli-Palestinian war in the year 1947-1949. During this war, Israelis drove out the Palestinians from their homes and took over their land. Israel has expanded its boundaries by annexing the Palestinian territories. The annexation of Palestinian land by Israel is a contentious issue. This annexation has been a reason for the prolongation of the conflict. It has been a reason for the loss of lives and properties. It has also been a reason for the suffering of the Palestinians.

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