On April 27, General Khalifa Haftar, the military and political leader of Cyrenaica and especially of the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced that he “accepted the popular mandate to deal with the country’s issues, despite the burden of responsibilities and obligations, as well as the vast extent of responsibilities that lie on the shoulders of the Army”. He said so in a television speech on the evening of April 27, besides other statements on military tensions.
The General of Cyrenaica also added that the Army commanders would “be available to the people and work to the best of their abilities to alleviate the suffering of the people”. Gaddafi-style tones were used by a political-military leader who, as early as 2016, had his Cyrenaica’s banknotes printed in Russia with the Sirte Colonel’s profile.
We should not be ironic about these matters. The Libyan national sentiment, forged by the anti-colonialist struggle against the Italians at first and the Brits later, is by no means secondary to the widespread sentiment of loyalty to one’s own tribe.
Since 2016 Russia has already spent at least 10 billion dinars in Libya for aid to the population and, directly, to Khalifa Haftar’s Forces.
Furthermore, all the Libyan coastal areas from which migrants leave belong to the Forces linked in some way to the leader of Tripolitania, al-Sarraj. The same holds true for the detention centres.
Without this money flow the Misrata Forces, led by Zahwia and linked to the Warshafana tribe, would have no certainties in the distribution of salaries and payments for weapons and supplies.
In al-Sarraj’s Tripolitania the cycle of central-periphery funding is often uncertain.
On this Tripoli’s coast there is also Sebha, as well as Surman, used as migrant detention areas and military support to Tripoli, not to mention even Tripoli’s internal security militias, as well as the Nawasi and Tajouri, and the RADA forces that are Salafists linked to Abdel Raouf Kara and are now permanently deployed in the airport of Mitiga. Finally, there is still the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade, led by Tajouri, that controls all the branches of banks in Tripoli.
The Nawasi own all the branches of the Libyana company, which deals with post and telecommunications- and we can imagine with what level of security. Here there is the issue of the clash – not yet ended – for gaining control of the currency black market between the Nawasi and the Ghazewy Brigade that still controls the old city.
In May 2017 the Nawasi Brigade also attacked the Foreign Ministry, whose Minister, Mohammed Taher al Sayala, had even been accused of having “covert” relations with Haftar, probably because of his frequent meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.
In August 2017, the Nawasi brigade – as rich as and often even more than the government of Tripoli – also attacked the Coast Guard’s Head of security. Currently, however, nothing has changed.
The Tripoli polyarchy – while the Benghazi group shows greater unity – is the main enemy of its own stay in power.
This is the Libya that currently Italy has totally abandoned to its own devices, believing that the fate of Tripoli’s and Cyrenaica’s coasts is not interesting for it. Obviously except for paying lip service to the U.N., the E.U., as well as the Kantian Perpetual Peace and some other universalist nonsense carefully devoid of any idea of national interest.
A fatal mistake for which we will pay a terrible price, not only for the future arrival of a huge number of migrants in the midst of a very harsh economic and financial coronavirus crisis.
Shortly before Haftar’s TV message on April 27, some members of the Benghazi Parliament issued press releases in which they stated they entrusted the country’s leadership to Khalifa Haftar.
Internal rebalancing that hides Haftar’s residual ability to control his political team and supporters better than al-Sarraj.
Without external support, however, neither side, i.e. Tripoli’s GNA and Cyrenaica’s LNA, have the possibility of going on the offensive – hence a stable and effective war of movement.
In my opinion everything began in early April 2019, when Haftar announced his plan to take Tripoli and even to free – as he said – al-Sarraj’s government itself from the grip of the Islamists, who held the region and the local politicians on a string.
Haftar’s plan was a real lightning war, with Tripoli quickly encircled and commando groups that would later enter the city, with a view to eliminating the pockets of resistance of al-Sarraj’s GNA and its “brigades”, well-known for their scarce political and military reliability and often autonomous forms of financing.
For Haftar that was a way of forcing also the countries that supported all the various warring parties – which currently prefer to side with al-Sarraj in negotiations – to sit at the table with him who was finally the dealer giving the cards.
But the blackmail of the LNA leader was even simpler: either you pay heed to me or I put the great migration routes back in action and close the oil supplies.
.Most of the weapons related to Haftar’s LNA are still those in the stores of Gaddafi’s old Libyan army that was not bad at all logistically.
The logistical support and the military upgrade are still prerogative of the Emirates and Egypt, while a large part of liquidity is provided by Saudi Arabia and France has supremacy in the field of intelligence. Russia has a friendly wait-and-see attitude, with indirect support of mercenaries and weapons, to avoid frictions with Turkey, al-Sarraj’s primary partner, and to avoid an entanglement in the Maghreb region which, according to the Russian equation, would have been an excessive investment liable to weaken Russia’s operations in other regions it still considers of primary interest.
However, significant support has been lent to Haftar by the above mentioned Russian mercenaries of Wagner, who currently amount to 2,400 units approximately. Wagner is a subsidiary of Evgeny Prigozhin, a businessman very close to Vladimir Putin.
Wagner’s Russians have their base at Al-Jufra, in the fully safe area for Haftar, but they also directly command the LNA Brigade No. 106, the best elite unit of Haftar’s army.
The Tobruk Brigades that are part of Cyrenaica’s LNA are the following, for a total number of 25.000 soldiers: the 9thBrigade of Tarhouna, the city that was also the birthplace of a recent director of the Italian intelligence service AISE; the Zintan Forces, led by Idris Mathi and Mukhtar Fernana; the militants of the Bani Walid tribe; the al-Wadi Battalion of Sabratah; the Anti-Crime Force of Zawiyah; the 12th Brigade of Brak-al-Shati, 7 Battalions and two Brigades, and finally the 106th Brigade of Benghazi, the Special Forces, four additional line brigades.
At tactical level, despite the Wagner strong support, currently the war against Haftar’s Tripoli has stopped in the Tripoli Southern districts.
In this case, it is said that some European intelligence services, especially from Southern Europe, have provided strong support to al-Sarraj in view of blocking the LNA’s initiative and prepare, in time, the best groups currently supporting Tripoli’s government.
Last June, however, two specific new situations changed the tactical equation in favour of al-Sarraj.
The first was the long chain of logistical links between the front lines and Haftar’s Commands, which was slowly breaking down and making the links between the various LNA forces on the ground and between them and the central Command increasingly difficult.
Moreover, precisely for the above stated reasons, the offensive positions south of Tripoli shifted slowly from Haftar’s forces–which were also subject to slow disintegration, as always happened in those areas – to al-Sarraj’s best units, where the penetration of Haftar’s LNA agents, probably for specifically financial reasons, was not successful. Thatwas an eminently political factor
Haftar, however, had planned to stay around Tripoli only a few days, or two weeks at the most. On the contrary, the situation reached a stalemate that greatly favoured the forces linked to al-Sarraj.
It was precisely Ghayan, the starting point of Haftar’s attack, which was conquered, a few days after the LNA’s attack, by al-Sarraj’s best forces, “well directed” by some European Intelligence Services – as we would say about the first four Caliphs after the Prophet.
After over four months of stalemate, al-Sarraj trapped Haftar’s first lines that, at the time had either escaped or were without food and ammunition.
Another immediate change of scenario: after a network of support to Haftar’s LNA lines, above all by the French Intelligence Services and the Russian Wagner group, the attack potential of Cyrenaica’s LNA changed. It reached Tripoli and was encircled, above all, by the Zintan Forces, immediately south-west of Tripoli.
However, the new supply and command lines – rapidly rebuilt by Russia and France – meant that Haftar could again bomb the headquarters of the Tripoli military academy in Hadhba in early 2020, precisely on January 5, with a toll of 30 dead and about 500 wounded people.
Immediately afterwards, the real partners of the two Libyan warring groups, in Tripoli and Benghazi, namely Russia and Turkey, pushed – with the methods we can imagine – their representatives on the ground into a truce, at least temporary, but capable of making the two countries put forward a new independent and autonomous Libyan project, right at the beginning of the Berlin Conference, planned and then held as from January 19 of that year onwards.
The results are now well known.
Just free words and unfiltered thoughts, but we had already talked about it at the time.Later a clear and inevitable stalemate between Tripolitania and Cyrenaica was reached, and it would not even be difficult to imagine why, given the typically Western idea – that currently everyone must necessarily follow, without even wondering why – of the Perpetual Peace projects that would have made even Kant, a careful reader of Machiavelli, smile.
France and Great Britain broke Gaddafi’s treasure box to avoid the Colonel’s often “salvific”financial support for Italy, precisely in the phase in which the Euro was being designed as a model of “austerity”, i.e. a stable stop to Italy’s development in favour of others.
ENI was obviously the primary object of desire and the Maghreb region’s closure to the presence of a non-homogeneous partner, such as Italy, not in line with the British and French oil interests did the rest.
In 2011, at the time of the great financial spread in Italy, Great Britain punished the Colonel who, upon direct choice of the Italian Intelligence Services, staged the coup against King Idriss, a British-made King as no one ever before, while the Cyrenaica King who boasted of “never having visited Tripoli” was “undergoing hydrotherapy treatments” in Turkey.
Gaddafi’s was punished because he sent the Brits away, also successfully seizing their bank accounts, and immediately opened the way to the Italians of ENI.
The ENI team had played some role in the coup staged by the pro-Nasserian “free officers” supported by the Italian Intelligence Service SID.
Later they warned, twice, of British targeted insurgencies, attacks and attempted assassinations against the “Colonel”.
A third time Gaddafi was put on alert by the Italian Intelligence Services in relation to a U.S. attack against the Colonel’s usual tent inside his base of residence.
There was enough to be severely punished. In the intelligence world nothing is forgotten, and the day of reckoning comes sooner or later.
France, however, still wants ENI or in any case a hegemonic Libyan areafor its reference oil company, Total.
Since early this year, however, Haftar has been controlling almost all the oil wells, such as Sarara and Al Fil, as well as the entire Sirte area and the coastal terminals to transport this oil.
The oil issue by which Haftar sets great store started in 2016, when the U.N. Security Council extended a motion enabling only the Tripoli government to manage exports through NOC, the Libyan State-owned oil company.
As we will see later on, this is the real and strong link between France and Khalifa Haftar’s LNA.
As already said, no result was reached at the Berlin Conference, but a factor materialized that was to clarify the future strategies of the two Libyan partners. Al-Sarraj’s GNA was then strongly and explicitly supported by Turkey, which wanted to play a role of Mediterranean – and later global – protection and expansion of the Muslim Brotherhood networks – hence above all of the Tripoli government – while Russia certified its lateral role, but always well connected with Haftar, for indirect oil interests and, above all, for reaching the strategic goal of a military base on Cyrenaica’s coast, a real game changer in the relations between the Russian Federation and NATO.
Both al-Serraj and Haftar, however, share only one assessment: the structural inefficiency of the U.N. mandate for the region and the irrelevant role played by Ghassan Salamè as U.N. Envoy.
Nevertheless, one of the current factors underlying the radicalization of the conflict between Tripoli and Cyrenaica lies also in the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Haftar heavily bombed Tripoli, hoping to make military use of the efforts that, however, al-Sarraj is making to curb the contagion.
The civilian population has thus become a primary war target.
As many as 2.4 million people were left without drinking water in Tripoli because, on April 10 last, Haftar’ Sherif Brigade cut off water supplies.
The Turkish support, with drones and advanced weapons, is still very important for the GNA in Tripoli.
The first target of Tripoli’s forces was the air base of Al Watiya, the area enabling to hit the capital of al-Sarraj’s government with the drones supplied by Saudi Arabia.
The Benghazi LNA militias responded with an offensive along the coast, which enabled Haftar’s GNA to secure the city of Zuwara until the conquest of Ras Jedir, a position on the border with Tunisia.
To the east of the coast, the two Libyan governments are still fighting for taking control of Abugrein, from which supplies leave for Misrata, which is the real military cover both for al-Sarraj’s government and for the city of Tripoli.
The third bone of contention in the current clash is the city of Sirte.
Cleared from the Islamic State, above all by the Misrata forces, linked to the GNA, Sirte is currently in Haftar’s hands after a jihadist Salafist unit defected to the Benghazi LNA.
Al-Sarraj arrived also at Sabratha and Sormanto control the line from the Tunisian border to Misrata, i.e. the key to Tripoli.
Hence currently the battle is mainly in the area of Tarhouna, Haftar’s most important base towards Tripolitania. Tarhouna is controlled by the 7th Brigade, an elite brigade of the Benghazi LNA led by the Al Khani brothers.
It is said, however, that Tripoli’s forces – strongly supported by the Turkish militias – are about to enter that city, which is crucial to hit and control coastal Tripolitania.
The Turkish drones are essential to provide cover and information to the GNA forces towards Tarhouna that, if lost by Haftar, would no longer allow the supply chain from Benghazi to West Tripoli, and would therefore permanently block Khalifa Haftar’s LNA at the borders of Tripolitania.
After conquering Tarhouna, Tripoli’s GNA is expected to head for Al Jufra, the key city for the cross-control of Fezzan, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica.
As everybody knows, the Libyan war is a proxy war, which only the Westerners’ strategic carelessness does not allow to solve in a rational way.
This rational way would finally be to determine the birth of a Libyan Federal State, with areas controlled by local players in stable coordination with their international contacts and counterparts.
By now the possibility of a new unitary State in Libya, like Gaddafi’s, is increasingly remote.
We all know it is a bad thing, but now the “Arab Spring” disaster has taken place also in Libya, and above all against Italy, and it is no use crying over spilt milk.
Milk that we, too, spilt, obtorto collo and probably, without being fully aware of what the loss of Libya meant for Italy.
It should be recalled that al-Sarraj still has the U.N. support, as well as that of Great Britain, responsible for the regime change against Colonel Gaddafi, immediately after France. He also has the less decisive Italian support, as well as the support of Tripoli’s real backers, namely Qatar and Turkey.
But why does Turkey support al-Sarraj?
Firstly, because the government in Tripoli is supported by the United Nations, i.e. an international legal space that is vital to protect Turkey in its operations in Central Asia and the Mediterranean.
Secondly because this loyalty to the United Nations envisages a legalistic role for Turkey, like “we side with the lawful and legitimate State, while others support an illegal warlord”.
Then there is a much more substantial issue, i.e. the agreement between Turkey and Libya on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between the two countries, which enables Turkey to balance its weight between the East and the West of the Mediterranean. Finally,Turkey does not want another refugee crisis, even in the Maghreb region, which could spill over onto its shores, considering that Turkey is already the Mediterranean-Asian country with the highest concentration of refugees.
With the future control of its oil and gas exploration EEZ off the coast of Tripoli, Turkey is building its absolute role as the sole mediator between the Middle East oil and gas and its European and Western consumers.
This Turkish strategy is directly against Greek and above all Italian interests, but this is probably not even known to the Italian government, which now believes that foreign policy is always a version of Lenin’s “gala dinner”.
On Haftar’s side, albeit in various degrees, there are still the following countries: France, which is still the axis of LNA’s intelligence; clearly the Russian Federation, as we have already seen; Egypt, which does not want in any way an “infection” and a contagion of the Muslim Brotherhood from al-Sarraj’s Libya through Tunisia, which is now also a Turkish platform, up to its borders, given that it was Al Sisi who staged a coup against the Muslim Brotherhood in power in Egypt.
Again on the side of Haftar, there is Saudi Arabia, the rich supplier of capital and weapons, and finally the Emirates.
It is good to note that on one Libyan side there is Qatar, while the Emirates are on the other side.
Qatar is the world’s largest producer of natural gas, while the other Emirates extract oil, and the two markets are different and often opposed.
The core of the issue is that France supports Haftar because it believes that he is the only credible military force to control the passage of soldiers and weapons into the Sahel, where since 2014 France has been maintaining its Operation Barkhane.
Obviously the fact that a man linked to France holds most of the Libyan oil fields enables it to take the lion’s share in Total, especially against ENI interests.
But Russia, too, has significant oil interests, with Tatneft and Gazprom operating in Libya since Gaddafi’s time.
Russia, however, also intervened directly in favour of the Chad troops operating in the Sahel that are clearly opposing those of Haftar’s GNA that Russia supports in Libya.
Hence, considering that the possible lines of connection between Benghazi and the area of clashes with Tripoli’s GNA are now in the hands of the Turkish militiamen and of some other GNA’s “militias”, in this phase the only rational choice for Haftar and his points of reference could be that of creating a large political-media operation in view of achieving – with the maximum political and military clout – an international negotiation ensuring a decisive role to the LNA in the future partition of Libya and, above all, a further strong and credible role in the sharing out of oil revenues.
But what does Haftar really want? First and foremost, the General of Cyrenaica wants to maintain the unity of Libya which, despite many “federalist” and non-historical speeches by Western analysts, is a widespread feeling among the population.
Furthermore, the Algerian and Egyptian support to the LNA is still decisive, but it is also essential for the two States.
Without Haftar’s backing, the feeble balance between the “sword jihad”, Islamic radicalism – not yet violent – traditional secularism, border and internal security, in Algeria and Egypt, would be completely undermined.
A role that neither al-Sarraj nor the protectors of Tripolitania can take up on their own or credibly guarantee in Algeria and Egypt.
Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, apart from Qatar, do not even want to hear about the Muslim Brotherhood, that is decisive in al-Sarraj’s government, but strongly present also in Benghazi, for old reasons of internal stability, but they do not want, above all, the oil and political crisis of the second largest oil producer in Africa.
The mediation between Russia and Haftar is still in the hands of the Algerian Intelligence Services. The Russian arms pass through Algiers and are then assigned to Haftar.
Moreover, Russia has no interest in letting Haftar alone definitively win since it does not entirely trust him. It supports Benghazi’s LNA to have a preferential accessto the Libyan oil resources, as well as for the already mentioned future possibility of building a large base in the Mediterranean.
Russia also wants a real and definitive negotiation between Benghazi and Tripoli, but largely managed by Russia alone, above all pending the great post-war contracts (such as the Benghazi-Sirte railway, which is worth 2 billion US dollars). Russia’s interests in Libya, however, are mainly focused on a rapid de-escalation of the conflict – an operation directly connected to the strategic agreement between Turkey and Russia, which is of primary importance for Syria and Turkish Stream compared to the other peripheral scenarios. These scenarios also include the Libyan ones in which Russia has entered only because the Western naivety has enabled it to do so. Certainly, Bashar el Assad backs Haftar also materially, while strange rumours are rife of non-occasional relations between Iran and Cyrenaica’s LNA.
The best idea would be, therefore, that of “sanitizing” the Libyan issue, putting the new players outside the European area out of play, as well as allowing an agreement between the EU, the United States and Russia to end the war operations in Libya and creating Zones of Regional Interest inside the old Gaddafi’s area, thus turning the war economy of the countless gangs -that is self-sustaining and allows the arrival of all the external players who want to do so – into the economy of reconstruction, possibly managed by the same gangs that are currently fighting one another.
As said above, it is federal plan but within a national Libyan framework, establishing the traditional identity of the Libyan people and allowing the country’s transition from a war economy to the great reconstruction.
Moreover, on January 20 last, Italy and Great Britain submitted a joint declaration condemning the closure of the oil wells in south-east Libya, ordered by Khalifa Haftar himself.
France obviously blocked it within the EU. There was also a basic U.S. consensus on this declaration, which came after an explicit and direct request from the Tripoli government.
The underlying idea was to condemn the fact that “NOC (the Libyan State-owned company) was forced to suspend operations in critical installations throughout Libya” and hence urge the immediate reopening of all facilities.
France, however, asked that the two countries present with their diplomacy in Libya, namely Cyprus and Greece, joined the operation. This means that while Turkey takes Tripoli and a minimal part of the Eastern Mediterranean area, France acquires two reference countries in the region, namely Greece and Cyprus.
And probably also the old Lebanon, now undergoing a financial crisis and sufficiently far away from Saudi Arabia.
On the other side, the Turkish jihadist and pro-Turkish militiamen gathered in Idlib, Syria, by the Turkish MIT, are already fighting for Tripoli, with 2,000 dollars a month on average, as well as 50,000U.S. dollars going to families in case of death and 35,000dollars in case of severe disability.
Turkey has also announced the sending of a ship for oil prospections off the Somali coast. The Libyan circle widens and this creates ongoing and uncontrollable instability.
Troubles for the Emirates or nuisance operations for the United States and China off Aden.
China’s Saudi Iranian mediation spotlights flawed regional security policies
A Chinese-mediated Saudi-Iranian reconciliation potentially casts a spotlight on fundamentally flawed security policies of regional powers, including not only the kingdom and Iran but also the United Arab Emirates.
While much of the discussion in recent years has focused on Iran’s strategy of creating a defense line far beyond its borders by nurturing and/or supporting aligned militias in various Arab countries, Saudi Arabia, and, even more so, the UAE, have adopted similar approaches.
To be sure, Iran has itself to blame for being the focal point of the debate.
Its nurturing and/or support of militias-cum-political organizations such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen, and in Syria, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, has been one driver of US and Arab efforts to contain the Islamic republic.
Even so, the Saudi-Iranian agreement could bring into sharp relief the challenges posed by what scholar Andreas Krieg has termed ‘surrogate warfare’ not only to the short-term resolution of conflicts like the Yemen war but also the long-term rejiggering of the Gulf’s overall security architecture.
Support for militias “empowers complex networks of surrogates…that…become increasingly actors in their own right who disrupt post-conflict resolution and state building… Security assistance to non-state actors…does not contribute to building institutions in recipient states but exacerbates conflict polarization and division,” Mr. Krieg said in a just-published study of UAE policy in Yemen and Libya.
It’s an approach that reduces conflicts to a zero-sum game and exploits weak institutions and governance rather than seeking to empower the state by building strong foundations and transparent and accountable authorities.
It also allows supporters of non-state actors to evade responsibility under the guise of plausible deniability.
Shielded by public relations and public diplomacy mastery, the UAE has long been able to keep out of the public eye the downside of its regional security strategy that shapes its defense, foreign, and soft power policies, including its militant opposition to political Islam and the quest to be the dominant power in defining what constitutes moderate Islam.
Much like what happened in Libya where the UAE, together with Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and others, support renegade Libyan Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar against the country’s internationally recognised government in debilitating civil strife, Emirati support for secessionist groups in Yemen could complicate if not thwart efforts to end its war.
In a sign of what could happen in Yemen, Mr. Haftar’s Libyan National Army has refused to relinquish control of oil-rich swathes of eastern and southern Libya. Mr. Haftar has threatened to renew fighting if the country’s political stalemate persists.
Policymakers and analysts see an end to the Saudi-military intervention in Yemen as the litmus test of the recently Chinese-mediated agreement between the kingdom and Iran.
The UAE withdrew the bulk of its troops from Yemen in 2019 but continues to support the Southern Transitional Council (STC) that demands independence for South Yemen in what would be a return to two separate Yemeni states as they existed before unification in 1990.
In a first response, the Council welcomed the China-mediated agreement “as an embodiment of our keenness to strengthen relations between the peoples and countries of our region.”
The Council controls southern Yemen’s strategic ports and waterways, the UNESCO-protected Socotra archipelago, and the volcanic Mayun Island in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
The UAE is operating Socotra as if it were Emirati rather than Yemeni territory with infrastructure projects that link it to the Gulf state and Emirati immigration and social service policies.
The UAE strategy resembles Iran’s support for Arab non-state actors.
That may be one reason why the UAE was stepping ahead of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states such as Bahrain in rebuilding relations with Iran,. This included returning its ambassador to Tehran in 2022.
The UAE downgraded its diplomatic representation in Iran in 2016, but, unlike Saudi Arabia, did not break off relations in the wake of the ransacking of Saudi diplomatic outposts in the Iranian capital and the shrine city of Mashhad.
The missions were attacked by crowds protesting the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr.
Moreover, the UAE sent Emirati coast guard commanders in 2019 to Tehran for discussions with their Iranian counterparts on maritime cooperation in the Strait of Hormuz.
To be sure, mounting uncertainty about the reliability of US pledges to guarantee Gulf security was the most immediate driver of Emirati outreach to Iran.
Uncertainty is also what governs the UAE’s engagement in surrogate warfare in a bid to project power and influence.
In that sense, the drivers of surrogate warfare are equally valid for Iran, which sees itself as encircled by hostile US-backed powers with varying degrees of security ties to Israel, and Saudi Arabia which views Iranian-supported non-state actors and Iran’s weapons programs as existential threats.
With Yemen as a litmus test, the Chinese-mediated Saudi-Iranian rapprochement offers an opportunity to reduce regional tensions more structurally by positioning surrogate warfare as a threat to long-term stability and security rather than a partisan issue that puts Iran but not others in the hot seat.
“One of the most concerning drawbacks of security assistance being provided to non-state actors that do not cooperate but compete with government authority is that it creates new fault lines in already polarized conflicts,” Mr. Krieg said.
He went on to say, regarding Libya and Yemen, that “rather than offering avenues for the integration of conflicting parties into an inclusive national framework that could assist with reconciliation,” support for non-state militias adds “additional layers of conflict to already conflict-torn countries.”
That is as true for Iranian and Emirate surrogate warfare and degrees of Saudi support for non-state actors as it is for direct Saudi military intervention in Yemen or Iranian involvement in Syria.
To be sure, dialling down the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran is in the interest of all parties.
So are inclusive security approaches that consider the concerns of all and strengthen institutions and governance rather than mitigate against reconciliation and reconstruction.
The ultimate valuation of the Chinese mediation will depend on the degree to which it contributes to sustainable conflict management, if not conflict resolution.
What is certain is that in the words of analyst Raffaello Pantucci “people will look at China’s proposals and its attempts at mediation as evidence of Beijing offering something new which, while not perfect, is at least not simply stoking the flames of conflict.”
Potentially, that is what offers an opening for a rethink of security strategies and the development of approaches that that could help create a more sustainable security environment.
A common vision for China with the Egyptian General Intelligence Service
China relies a lot on the Egyptian role and the role of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service as an active and original party in resolving the problem of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and China is following very carefully the meetings that took place in the Palestinian Gaza Strip between Major General Abbas Kamel, head of the Egyptian General Intelligence, with the various factions, parties and rival Palestinian forces. Here, China is trying to enter as an active and acceptable party to all concerned parties in the Middle East region through full cooperation and coordination with the official Egyptian side and the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, as it is the most prominent responsible for the file of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the mediation and reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian factions and the Fatah and Hamas movements. And this is within the framework of China’s endeavor to solve the problematic of the Palestinian-Israeli issue with the help, understanding and full support of the Egyptian side and its Egyptian General Intelligence Service, considering the Palestinian issue for the Chinese as the core and heart of the thorny problems in the region. Hence, the Chinese depended a lot on the Egyptian role, represented by the Egyptian General Intelligence Service and its chief, Major General “Abbas Kamel”, to keep the dialogue open through Egyptian mediation efforts with all Palestinian factions continuously. China is also trying to benefit from the Egyptian experience represented in its intelligence apparatus, and the experience of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in dealing with the Palestinian issue and all its parties in the Middle East region to be a new battleground for the Chinese competition with Washington, and in my belief that Israel has been involved in This burning conflict between China and the United States of America, as a Chinese way to harm Washington’s image in the international community, and China’s move to play more effectively in the Palestinian issue with the help of the Egyptian and Jordanian General Intelligence Services, as a new Chinese approach away from the old Chinese approach as a wall guard only regarding the issues of the region, especially the issue Palestinian.
The Chinese statements in confronting the United States of America regarding Israeli violations and provocations against the Palestinians also emerged as a Chinese attempt in the first place to undermine regional and international confidence in the United States of America. Therefore, China tried to put pressure in international forums to obtain greater global influence in confronting Washington within the United Nations, as a kind of challenge to the traditional leadership of the United States, and to display Chinese multilateral power within other international organizations on the other hand. Here, China appears keen to present itself as an alternative peace mediator, taking advantage of the failures or unwillingness of the (Biden administration) to resolve conflicts in the Middle East. Therefore, China is trying to benefit from the experience and the Egyptian intelligence experience, through its Egyptian intelligence apparatus and its chief, “Abbas Kamel”, to enter into the heart of the game of mediation and arbitration in order to reach a binding political settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and then between the disputing Palestinian factions on the other side. In my opinion, China’s entry as a political player in the Middle East region, its proximity to the Egyptian side qualifies it to learn from its experience, to lead mediation efforts regionally to solve the thorny issues between Palestine and Israel, and then between Fatah and Hamas on the other hand.
In recent years, (mediation diplomacy according to the principle of Chinese President “Xi Jinping” known as: the common destiny of mankind) has emerged as one of the main pillars of Chinese foreign policy goals and practices, with Beijing deliberately positioning itself as a peacemaker in the Middle East region. Since Chinese President “Xi Jinping” assumed power in 2013, China has played an active and remarkable role in proposing various plans and visions for peace, supporting the Palestinian right to self-determination, and supporting the two-state solution. Therefore, Beijing hosted (a symposium for advocates of peace between the Palestinian and Israeli sides) in December 2017. The directions of Chinese foreign policy emerged from the political settlement process binding on the Israelis, coinciding with the approach of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, to the United Nations and international forums, and to obtain the support of the Chinese internationally, then Egypt, Jordan and the rest of the Arab countries regionally in the face of Israel’s provocations until the support of Egypt and Jordan for five meetings that included the United States of America, Palestine and Israel in the Jordanian city of Aqaba in February 2023, and then other five-party meetings in the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh in March 2023, as part of a broader regional solution led by Egypt and Jordan and their leaders represented by King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein of Jordan and Egyptian President “Abdel Fattah El-Sisi”.
The activity of Chinese mediation diplomacy in the affairs of the region comes amid growing expectations among the regional powers of a gradual decline in the role of the United States in confronting Israel and establishing binding settlements for the Palestinian issue, amid China’s aspirations for this leading role in mediating in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by relying on the experience of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service and its head, Major General “Abbas Kamel”, in addition to the great Jordanian experience of King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein, considering Jordan responsible for the guardianship and international protection of religious sanctities in Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territories. Therefore, China needs to benefit from the Egyptian and Jordanian experience in order to obtain great influence and significant mediation experience in managing the Palestinian issue file in a balanced and binding manner between all its parties.
Here, we can monitor the developments of Chinese foreign policy and its repercussions on the Palestinian cause, to follow up on the impact of that policy on the Palestinian cause, to reach a set of results that agree with all the countries of the region, Egypt and Jordan as current sponsors of the Palestinian-Israeli mediation efforts according to a five meetings plan that includes Washington, Palestine and Israel with them, and from The most important of which: Chinese policy is distinguished by adopting positions of support and support for the struggle of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation, with a strong official Chinese condemnation of Israeli policies and practices on the other hand. The most important Chinese criticism of supporting the Palestinians in confronting the Israelis emerged, through:
– The strong Chinese criticism of the policy of aggression and expansion of the Israelis.
– China’s official condemnation of the establishment of Israeli colonies and settlements in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
– As it becomes clear by looking at the official Chinese position, which we find confirming its support for the Palestinian cause, that the region will not enjoy permanent and comprehensive peace except by establishing an independent and sovereign Palestinian state and restoring the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
– The Chinese also demanded the need for concerted efforts by the international community to strengthen Palestinian-Chinese relations so that China would be of assistance to the Palestinians in extracting their legitimate rights in the face of Israel.
– In addition to exploiting the Chinese positions in support of the Palestinian right to put pressure on the various parties in order to find a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause.
– Recently, the role of the Palestinian community and other Arab communities in China has emerged, to highlight more efforts in order to explain the Palestinian cause and the extent of its justice to Chinese public opinion, and to clarify the extent of the justice of their cause in the face of the continuous Israeli policies of aggression and escalation.
– It is possible to summarize and understand the Chinese position towards the Palestinian issue in general and its positions between the Palestinians and the Israelis, through the comment of the prominent Chinese researcher in Middle East affairs, “Sun Degang”, that:
Beijing’s position is “moral superiority” with Palestine, and “cooperation superiority” with Israel.
Accordingly, Chinese President “Xi Jinping” affirmed that: “The Palestinian issue is the core of Middle East issues, and a comprehensive and just settlement affects regional peace and stability”. This was during the congratulatory message that Chinese President “Xi” sent to the United Nations meeting, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people and their just causes against the Israelis. During the message of Chinese President “Xi Jinping” to the Palestinians before the international community, the full Chinese emphasis on:
– China’s commitment to consolidating the authority of the Palestinian National Authority and promoting unity among all parties in Palestine.
– China calls for Palestine and Israel to resume peace talks as soon as possible in order to push the Middle East peace process to the right track.
– Chinese President Xi Jinping’s assertion that China will provide humanitarian and development assistance to the Palestinian side, and will support building its capacities, in addition to helping Palestine develop its economy and improve the livelihood of its people.
President “Xi Jinping” was also keen to present China as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and as a responsible major country in the international community, that it will continue to work with the international community to make positive contributions to lasting peace, comprehensive security and common prosperity in the Middle East region.
Here, perhaps one of the most prominent phrases that stopped me regarding China’s support for the Palestinian cause in recent years was the phrase ”Zhang Jun”, the permanent Chinese representative to the United Nations, in his statements during a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation in Palestine and to reduce the Israeli escalation against the Palestinians by emphasizing the importance of adhering to integrity and justice to solve the Palestinian issue. His candid statement is that:
“What is lacking in resolving the Palestinian issue is not a grand plan, but rather a living conscience to establish justice. The fulfillment of the Security Council’s responsibilities does not depend on loud slogans, but on concrete actions against the Palestinians”
The Chinese-Israeli relations to solve the problem of the Arab-Israeli conflict are deep and thorny, and range from rapprochement to coldness or ignoring, and examples of this are numerous and perhaps absent from the minds of many. We find the official Chinese refusal to receive the Israeli Prime Minister “Benjamin Netanyahu” in China in 2013, until the Israeli pressure on the American side to drop a case filed in New York City against China’s “Bank of China”, claiming that there are American accusations that this Chinese bank is laundering Funds to pass Iranian money to Palestinian groups, specifically to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the Islamic Jihad Movement, and indeed the case was dropped in favor of China with the help of Israel. On a personal level, what stopped me the most in the whole issue was that Israeli disregard and silence mixed with coldness and silence at other times on China’s continuous vote at the United Nations headquarters in support of Palestinian rights and the legitimate right of the Palestinian people and the permanent Chinese demand to stop building Israeli settlements, while the Israelis do not stand idly by. Thus, they remain silent in the event of this act by other countries, including countries from Europe, Africa and others around the world. This raises a big question mark in me, to wonder about the reasons for this Israeli silence in confronting the Chinese compared to others regarding the same positions and issues related to Palestinian rights, stopping settlement construction, respecting sanctities, border issues, and others.
These developments related to China’s own policy towards the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict coincided with the launch of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, with the change of the Palestinian strategy itself several years ago from armed struggle against Israel, to peaceful political negotiations accompanied by popular resistance through peaceful means with the Israeli side. And this coincided with global changes that took place, with a state of continuous international polarization occurring among all its parties, especially between the Chinese, Russian, and American sides and their allies, and reliance revolved around the exchange of interests and development, as a way to resolve international differences, and the common destiny of mankind according to the principle of the Chinese President, “Xi Jinping” after launching his well-known Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese commitment to support the (Palestinian state-building program) came as part of a Chinese vision supporting the two-state solution, which included building a Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967.
Here, the incident of strained relations between Beijing and Tel Aviv evokes me, following the objection of the Israeli embassy in Beijing to some statements issued by the presenter of one of the media programs on the official Chinese government channel “CGTN”, run by the Chinese state on May 18, 2021, which the Israelis considered She is an anti-Semite, during a discussion of US support for Israel in the UN Security Council and the United Nations. The Chinese presenter’s statements came by accusing the powerful pressure groups of the Jews in the United States of America, as being responsible for influencing and shaping Washington’s position regarding the Middle East and Palestine crisis, and that the Jews dominate the financial, media and Internet sectors in Washington. Here, the Israeli embassy in Beijing responded, in a series of tweets via the Twitter social networking site, that Israel was “appalled to see blatant anti-Semitism being expressed in an official Chinese media for the first time”. On the other hand, however, some Israeli pens appeared, trying to mitigate the deteriorating situation between Beijing and Tel Aviv, by emphasizing that these anti-Semitic comments issued by an official Chinese media are more likely to relate to defaming the United States of America in the context of its competition with China than Israel.
Here, it becomes clear that the new Chinese strategy, after Chinese President “Xi Jinping” launched the Belt and Road Initiative to solve the problem of outstanding issues around the world, on top of which is the Arab-Israeli conflict, lies in the economy and development as a top priority of Chinese foreign policy priorities, and this largely governs its position to solve All the conflicts burning around the world, including issues such as Palestine and Israel. China’s peaceful efforts, even with its support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, are inseparable from several broader economic perceptions of China, according to the Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations, “Liu Ji” during a meeting with him in June 2018, by stressing that China sees both the Palestinians and the Israelis, As important partners for China in the strategy of the Belt and Road Initiative in the Middle East region. This official Chinese statement coincided with the increase in Chinese financial and development allocations directed to the Palestinians, through the training of thousands of Palestinian human cadres inside China, and the operation and opening of hundreds of projects in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip by China, with the increase in Chinese financial allocations and grants provided by the Chinese side to the United Nations Relief and works with the Palestinian refugees Agency (UNRWA).
Accordingly, the perceived Chinese reference for resolving the problem of the protracted dispute between the Palestinians and the Israelis has become centered on the necessity of continuing bilateral negotiations, negotiated settlements, economic development, institution-building and high-quality economic development, as the only and sound solution to the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, with the faltering of the political process, and the continued Israeli procrastination to reach a real settlement based on the principle of the two-state solution, and the decisions and provisions of international law. The Palestinian side has officially begun to call on the world to intervene, led by China as a pole opposed to Washington in the region and the world, to implement international law in the face of the Israelis. It has also become necessary for us to understand the determinants of the Chinese position on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue, which is summarized through a long legacy of Chinese support based on liberal foundations that completely reject colonialism. The issue of Chinese support for the Palestinian national liberation movement is long and well known, and even documented, through the close relations between the leaders of the Palestinian liberation movement, known as the “Fatah Movement” and the Chinese side.
Accordingly, China considers the great role of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service and the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the great role they play in reducing escalation between the Palestinians and the Israelis, in a way that paves the way for creating an appropriate atmosphere that contributes to the resumption of the comprehensive peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis with the Chinese appreciating the Egyptian and Jordanian mediation efforts through the Egyptian invitation to hold the five-way meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, as a continuation of the meeting that was held on February 26, 2023 in the Jordanian city of Aqaba, with American mediation between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and it was the first of its kind since many years ago, mainly with Egyptian and Jordanian mediation efforts. Here, the concerned Chinese departments analyzed the reasons for the failure of the last Aqaba meeting in February to stop the raging cycle of violence between the Palestinian and Israeli sides on the ground, despite the existence of Israeli and Palestinian pledges to reduce escalation between them, which did not happen in reality. Therefore, the great Chinese interest in the outcomes of the second meeting in the city of Sharm el-Sheikh came to try to push the Palestinian and Israeli sides to calm down through mainly Egyptian-Jordanian mediation efforts, with a great Chinese focus on the efforts and role of Major General “Abbas Kamel”, the head of Egyptian General Intelligence, to learn and benefit from his experience in managing this thorny file for calm and mediation between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
According to my reading of the scene, China has paid great attention, through the Department of West Asia and North Africa in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the Egyptian and Jordanian roles and the role of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, to put an end to the raging conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians as a pivotal and influential role after Sharm El-Sheikh hosted the five-way meeting with Washington in the presence of the two Palestinian delegations. And the Israeli side in particular, with the attempt of the Egyptian side, represented by the Egyptian General Intelligence Service and its chief, Major General “Abbas Kamel”, to reconcile the Palestinian and Israeli sides in a number of thorny and outstanding issues between the two parties. Beijing believes that Cairo’s management of this dialogue through its Egyptian intelligence service and its head, Major General “Abbas Kamel”, is primarily in the interest of achieving stability and security in the region, especially due to the problem of the Arab-Israeli conflict, through the success of the Egyptian side represented by Major General “Abbas Kamel”, head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, in developing a vision General to prevent the renewal of the conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, through:
– The Chinese agreement on the success of the Egyptian intelligence delegation, led by Major General “Abbas Kamel”, in converging views between the Palestinian and Israeli sides in order to develop a mechanism to limit and address violence, incitement, statements and moves that may cause the situation to flare up. This mechanism will submit reports to the leaders of the five countries by next April 2023, when the activities of the meeting session in Sharm El-Sheikh are resumed again.
– China’s desire to play a role with the Egyptian side and with it the Jordanian side in the future within the framework of mediation efforts regionally and internationally by entering China as an active and acceptable party with the Palestinian and Israeli delegations, to agree on establishing a mechanism to take the necessary steps to improve the economic conditions of the Palestinian people in accordance with previous agreements made with the Egyptian side and its intelligence apparatus, which greatly contributes to strengthening the financial position of the Palestinian Authority, which is what China strongly desires by offering a number of development initiatives for the benefit of the Palestinians. This is what was agreed upon in the Sharm El-Sheikh meetings in March 2023, by agreement on this mechanism, provided that reports are submitted to the leaders of the five countries participating in the meeting during the next meeting agreed upon in April, when the activities of the next meeting session in Sharm El-Sheikh resume.
And the most important thing remains, is the admiration of the Chinese for the role of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service in settling the file of the conflict between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, and its attempt to oblige all parties once again to commit not to prejudice the existing historical status of the holy places in the city of Jerusalem, while renewing the emphasis on the importance of the Hashemite guardianship over the holy places in order to prevent the ignition situation, through the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in this context.
In my opinion – as is the opinion of the concerned authorities in Beijing – that Israel is not as serious this time as the previous times in developing a binding solution to the Palestinian issue, and this is the same confirmed by the Israeli reports issued immediately after the end of the meeting, emphasizing that there are no new decisions from the meeting issued in Sharm El-Sheikh, except to confirm what the participants had reached in the previous Aqaba meeting, which was held at the end of February 2023 with the Israelis, on the other hand, emphasizing the importance of continuing what was agreed upon.
The Israelis are also afraid of the lack of real guarantees to ensure that the safety of their citizens will not be compromised according to the same Israeli analyzes, and what we mean here is the shooting attack in the (Palestinian Hawara Town in the West Bank), located in the Nablus Governorate, through the threat issued at the moment of the five-party meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh by the Israeli Prime Minister, “Benjamin Netanyahu”, that: “Those who try to harm the citizens of Israel have their blood spilled, and it is more severe at the hands of the security forces in the field”. With the presence of Israeli calls by members of the Israeli Knesset during the moments of the five-party meeting in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh calling for erasing (Hawara Town) in the West Bank of Palestine from existence now without apology and without stuttering, according to statements made by a number of Israeli officials themselves.
There are also fears that the Israelis will not adhere to what was agreed upon in the Sharm El-Sheikh meetings, as was the case in the meetings in the Jordanian city of Aqaba in February 2023, for not extracting real guarantees and pledges from the participating Israeli delegation and its procrastination in making an accurate Israeli commitment to restraint in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the release of Palestinian prisoners in return for reducing the ongoing Palestinian operations. The refusal of the Hamas movement itself to participate in any meetings with the Israeli side came as a question mark, especially with the Hamas movement itself denouncing the participation of the Palestinian Authority in the meeting, by asserting that meeting with Israeli officials means giving them the opportunity and cover to commit more crimes and violations against the Palestinian people and sanctities religious.
Nor did the Sharm El-Sheikh meeting address the political issues circulating between Palestine and Israel, foremost of which is the existence and continuation of the Israeli occupation, the apartheid regime and the continued construction of Israeli settlements imposed by the Israeli occupation, in addition to the massacres it commits against the Palestinian people themselves.
Also, the formula of the final statement that was agreed mainly upon in Sharm El-Sheikh talked about stopping talking about establishing settlement units for the next four months, which implicitly means turning a blind eye to the 13 second Israeli settlements, in addition to turning a blind eye to the 10,000 settlement units that it approved. Israel recently. This raises concerns about the Israeli lack of commitment to any real outputs to resolve the crisis, mainly with the Palestinian side.
The same Palestinian refusal also revolves around the part of talking about the need to put in place mechanisms to put an end to violence, which means, from the Palestinian point of view, their equality in this regard with the Israelis who use violence the most. Therefore, the main fear remains that the Israelis will try to drag the Palestinians to stop the resistance without real Israeli and American guarantees to the Palestinian side, while at the same time trying to lure the Palestinian side by Israel into an internal conflict, at a time when the Palestinians are subjected to violence and physical liquidation by the Israeli occupation forces and its settlers. These are all points of great importance in confronting the Israelis, and the Israeli side did not undertake to develop a final and binding solution to them.
Hence, China is trying to study and benefit from all the accumulated Egyptian experiences through its intelligence apparatus and its chief, Major General “Abbas Kamel” to present itself as an acceptable alternative and as a guarantor to advance the peace process in the region. Accordingly, we find that the consensus of visions between the Chinese and the Egyptian, Jordanian and Palestinian sides to resolve the outstanding issues with the Israelis is that the solution to the issue must be based on the principle of long-term solutions to solve all the outstanding problems in proposing a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli issue, such as the issues of refugees, Israeli settlements and the protection of religious and Islamic sanctities in The city of Jerusalem, the cessation of escalation and violence, and other issues, which must be based on the principle of the two-state solution, according to an international and Chinese consensus and a basic line of integrity and justice led by Egypt and Jordan regionally, to ensure firm adherence to them, especially by the Israelis. Here, the West Asia and North Africa Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for following up, analyzing and evaluating all Middle East issues, affirms that the concerned parties must be able to translate political will into constructive policies and procedures, and make tangible efforts through the Egyptian intelligence mediation efforts of Major General “Abbas Kamel” and the Jordanian side, then as a desire A future Chinese to engage with them as an active and acceptable party to mediation and settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis, to achieve a two-state solution on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative, and other well-known international consensuses and standards, with which China is compatible with the Egyptian General Intelligence Service and its head. Major General “Abbas Kamel” and the Jordanians.
Iranian Strategic Patience: Israel and the Soft Wars
Unfortunately, by tracking the pattern of strategies of many countries based on exaggerated interest in human rights, women’s and democracy issues in Iran (such as the case of the death of the Iranian girl Mahsa Amini), it is no longer possible to ignore the extent of the political, security and cultural exploitation that is taking place. This pattern was adopted previously in Syria, which led to its entry into the quagmire of war since 2011. Therefore, based on the presence of Iran in the same political direction, the same pattern was followed, as the issue is linked primarily to confronting Iran’s rising power.
In principle, there is a strategy that has become clear and known, it is based on cultural backgrounds whose main goal is to fragment societies from within (soft wars). As many countries (Israel in particular) cannot accept at all the reality of Iran’s presence as a major regional power. Where, despite all the sanctions policies pursued to isolate and marginalize Iran during the past 45 years, Iran was able to build its own strength and consolidate its regional influence.
Consequently, those countries that are hostile to Iran have no choice but to move towards exploiting some controversial issues within Iranian society related to human rights, women and democracy, in order to destabilize and weaken it. Accordingly, these countries moved towards the option of soft war through:
- Cultural penetration within Iranian society to tear apart its political structure.
- Supporting terrorist movements, including trying to reproduce a new ISIS.
In this context, there is a lot of evidence confirming these external interventions aimed at plunging Iran into internal conflicts and wars, including but not limited to:
- Seizing arms shipments coming from abroad, which coincided with the internal riots.
- Dismantling terrorist cells that were planning to assassinate figures of Arab origin and carry out terrorist operations in religious places in order to ignite a civil war.
- Arresting terrorist groups linked to foreign intelligence working to smuggle weapons.
Based on these facts, it seems that the main goal is to destroy the societal structure, exaggerate political polarization, and undermine security stability. So that Iran becomes more fragile and subject to division. Practically, the Iranian Republic is facing a hybrid war, whose political goal is based on confronting Iranian influence, where this influence is based on:
– Sticking to the nuclear program.
– Supporting the resistance movements in their confrontation with the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
– Being present in Syria and assisting the Syrian army in its war against terrorist movements.
– Supporting the Houthis in Yemen permanently.
– Consolidate influence in Iraq at all levels.
– Strategic rapprochement with both Russia and China.
Here, it must be recognized that the internal Iranian tensions are a winning card that the United States and Israel have tried to exploit to incite the Iranian people against the regime and clash with it. This new situation or challenge required the Iranian government to adopt a different vision on how to deal with such developments. Where the Iranian government and its security institutions followed a policy of restraint and not taking any provocative step that might lead to a clash. On the contrary, work has been done to:
1- Absorbing the anger of the people and allowing demonstrations.
2- Closely monitoring the security situation and controlling terrorist cells.
3- Revealing to Iranian society the dirty policies of mobilization and media incitement.
4- Evidence that many opposition movements are linked to the agenda of foreign countries.
5- Linking the internal events with the pattern based on the implementation of the Syrian model in Iran.
In this context, and regardless of the extent of the Iranian government’s ability to confront these soft wars, there are very serious political, cultural and internal security challenges that can no longer be ignored, and they require a reconsideration of many policies that were thought to have become axiomatic, including:
– It is no longer possible to pursue a policy that is based on holding Iranian governments accountable and neutralizing the Supreme Leader of the Revolution or the institution of the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist(Guardianship of the Faqih), from any responsibility.
– The existence of radical changes linked to security threats, which are no longer confined to the Israeli threat, but have extended to include terrorist movements.
– Increasing the complexities associated with foreign plans that seek to undermine the foundations of the Iranian state.
– Internal crises appear to be the most dangerous, and may lead to making strategic concessions at the level of the nuclear file, the Palestinian cause, and the relationship with Syria and the resistance movements.
In sum, the exaggerated interest in human rights issues comes in the context of the pressures that Iran has been exposed to for decades, to achieve geopolitical goals. However, according to how Iran faced the previous challenges, it seems that it is able to overcome the current difficulties, as the pillars of the state are still solid at all levels.
Furthermore, Iran’s ability to reassess its foreign relations should not be underestimated, based on the equation that Iran’s security is linked to the security of the region. Iran has many options that enhance this equation. There are multidimensional entitlements linked to the Iranian reality, whether in terms of the nuclear program or an increase in the intensity of the collision with Israel or energy security. For example, it is no longer possible to always rely on Iran’s continued restraint in Yemen, the resulting regional and global strategic repercussions, at least on the level of global energy security balances.
Not to mention that if Iran’s strategic patience runs out, it is not at all unlikely that Iran will directly target Israeli interests. Perhaps at some point the confrontation may be direct within occupied Palestine itself. As Iran is fully aware that all attempts to destabilize it cannot be separated at all from the reactions of Israel, which faces an existential danger after losing all its wars with the axis of resistance that is fully and unlimitedly supported by the Iranian Republic.
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