MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE JEWISH “BLITZKRIEG!” – Intelligence Documents Reveal What Ben-Gurion Knew When Declaring the State of Israel on May 14, 1948

David Ben-Gurion on the front in 1948.

By Meir Zamir

Late on the night of Wednesday, May 12, 1948, Israel’s provisional government convened in order to make a fateful choice: whether to accept the American demand for a cease-fire, or to declare the establishment of an independent Jewish state.

It was clear to the meeting’s 10 participants that the consequence of declaring statehood after the British Mandate expired on May 14 would be total war against all the Arab armies. The reports that had arrived overnight about the dire situation of the Etzion Bloc settlements, south of Jerusalem, only heightened their concern. With the memory of the Holocaust painfully fresh, the participants were confronted with a grave moral dilemma: Did they have the right to make a decision that might inflict a second catastrophe on the Jewish people?

Etzion Settlements, 1947

Despite the decision’s historical importance, the motivations that led David Ben-Gurion to push for a declaration of statehood continue to be shrouded in fog. Did he act rashly, driven by a sense of mystical, almost messianic redemption, or on the basis of a judicious appraisal of the situation derived from precise intelligence and a thorough examination of the capabilities of the forces of the Yishuv – the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine – to repel the Arab offensive?

Documents recently found in French and Israeli archives support the second option. The documents show that during the fateful meeting, Ben-Gurion, the leader of the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Palestine), received secret information from French intelligence to the effect that the leaders of the Arab states, who were meeting at that time in Damascus, had decided, with secret British support, to launch a lightning attack (blitzkrieg) and had devised a coordinated invasion plan.

“It is learned from an authoritative source that the Arab states have made a final decision to attack together and simultaneously on May 15,” read a telegram received by a Ben-Gurion aide shortly after the meeting started. “They have decided to do so even if it entails a risk of failure. They are relying on a lack of heavy weapons and of Jewish air power. Tel Aviv will be attacked immediately from the air.”

The cable, from French intelligence sources, elaborated on the Arab attack plan and on the forces that would be participating. This was supremely important strategic information, and it stands to reason that even if Ben-Gurion did not share its content with the majority of those present at the meeting, it formed the crux of his considerations as to whether to delay the declaration of the state’s establishment in order to gain time, as weapons shipments were on the way. The “authoritative source” was the French consulate in Jerusalem; the cable was sent the previous day by the French military attaché in Beirut to army headquarters in Paris.

Ben-Gurion found out as early as July 1947 about a British plot involving Iraqi leader, Nuri al-Said, to incite war in Palestine and exploit it as pretext for Iraqi army’s invasion and taking over of Syria. French intelligence informed him that senior British military and intelligence officers in Cairo and Bagdad were working secretly to thwart His Majesty’s government’s decision to evacuate Palestine by sparking a general war between Jews and Arabs.

On the eve of the meeting of the provisional government  it had become clear to Ben- Gurion that it was precisely the Yishuv’s military successes against the Palestinian forces and the Arab Liberation Army – particularly the capture of Haifa and Jaffa and the subsequent wave of Palestinian refugees – that enabled the British officers to overcome the rifts and deep rivalries between the Arab leaders. They succeeded in persuading the Arabs to join forces and go to war to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state, or at least to confine its area to the coastal plain only.

British evaluation of the forthcoming war

A May 7 memorandum sent to the Chiefs of Staff in London forecast accurately the stages of the 1948 War  and some of its conclusions would be reflected in the Arabs’ war plan. The memorandum refers to the war as an unalterable fact and ignores mediation efforts by Washington, as well as dismissing the apprehensions harbored by Arab leaders about going to war.

According to the memo, in the first stage, the Arab armies would exploit their advantage in terms of regular forces and heavy arms and munitions to launch a lightning strike and seize the areas allotted to the Arab states, based on the United Nations Partition Plan of November, 29, 1947, as well as the Negev, which was to be part of  the Jewish state. The Arab forces, it was predicted, would also successfully conquer Jewish-controlled areas in the northeastern part of the country. In response, the Jews would quickly expand their fighting forces by means of massive immigration and a general mobilization of those fit for combat in the Yishuv. Concurrently, they would greatly expedite the importation of arms and ammunition, ignoring the American embargo.

In the second stage the Jewish forces would launch a counteroffensive and would gain the upper hand, given the Arab forces’ shortage of weapons and ammunition and their demoralization.

The document postulates that “there might consequently be opportunities for the Jews to exploit the situation in this phase and recapture some of the Arab areas and even possibly to launch attacks on Arab states.” If the Arabs survived the second stage, the subsequent stage would take the form of a “war of attrition” in which the Arabs would have the upper hand owing to their superior resources. At the same time, the Arab regimes could face domestic crises and have to cope with the rise of extremist political movements.

From the memo, it emerged that the British would end up adopting the following four operative conclusions during and after the war:

1. The Arab armies would conduct a lightning war to ensure rapid ground achievements.

2. An Israeli counteroffensive should be prevented by imposing a cease-fire to secure the Arab military achievements. Indeed, the French ambassador to the UN at that time, Alexandre Parodi, reported that on May 19 the British representative had worked to torpedo his initiative in the Security Council for a cease-fire, but the same representative was eager for a similar resolution to be adopted at the end of the same month, when the Arab forces were in retreat.

3. Military intervention, based on existing defense treaties between Britain and Egypt and the Kingdom of Jordan, would be considered if Israel invades its neighbors. Thus, the British threatened to intervene in the wake of the Israeli attack in Sinai in December 1948 and as a result of their fear of an Israel assault on Transjordan. This was the background to the downing of five British Spitfires by the nascent Israeli air force and the transfer of large quantities of heavy weapons by the British Navy to Aqaba. Simultaneously, British destroyers staged a demonstration of strength off the coast of Beirut at the request of the Lebanese prime minister.

4. It was imperative to ensure the conquest of the Negev by the Arab forces. It bears noting that in January 1947, the British Army had completed its fieldwork in the Negev in order to examine the feasibility of transferring its camps and air bases there from the Suez Canal. The recommendations included building roads that would connect the army’s bases in the Sinai and the northern Negev to Aqaba, which was to become a central port for the arrival of reinforcements, or for evacuation of British forces to East Africa if needed. Israel’s conquest of the southern Negev, and Eilat, adjacent to Aqaba in March 1949 thus not only heightened British fears of an Israeli takeover of the West Bank and of a direct assault on Transjordan, but also derailed a vital British strategic plan.

The question that arises from the British memorandum is why senior MI6 intelligence officers and  generals in the High Command in Egypt urged the Arab leaders to launch a war, even though they foresaw a possible defeat. Some of them apparently were wrong in their assessment of the abilities of the Yishuv’s leaders and of the fighting force at their disposal to contain the Arabs’ thrust. They believed that the major goal – conquering Tel Aviv – could be accomplished by a combined attack of Egyptian forces from the south and the Arab Legion from the east.

Others maintained that, win or lose, the Arab states would be increasingly dependent on Britain and would rescind their objections to the signing of defense pacts. The British High Command viewed such treaties as crucial in the light of its assessment that the Middle East would be one of the main arenas in a projected third world war against the Soviet Union.

What Ben-Gurion knew

A leader who knows that he and his movement are a target of covert, subversive activity possesses an advantage: He can thwart the adversary’s intentions. This was certainly true in the case of Ben-Gurion, who knew about the British officers’ intention to foil the establishment of a Jewish state. With this information, by the summer of 1945, Ben-Gurion – contrary to the leaders of the Haganah, the pre-state underground militia – was able to foresee the outbreak of a general war with the Arab states, and to make vital strategic decisions on how to conduct the struggle against the British, on acquiring arms production means in the United States and on procuring heavy weapons.

During his lengthy sojourn in Paris, in 1945-46, Ben-Gurion learned how British intelligence agents had manipulated the leaders of Syria and Lebanon to oust the French from the areas of their mandate in the Levant. The agents also made use of these leaders and others – notably the secretary general of the Arab League, Abd al-Rahman al-Azam – to forge the Arab invasion coalition.

Ben-Gurion developed an almost fatalistic belief in the ability of British intelligence to manipulate both Arab leaders and their own government in London, to achieve their goals. His belief proved prescient.

On the eve of the May 12, 1948 meeting of the provisional government Ben-Gurion received information from French sources to the effect that British intelligence officers and the British High Command in Egypt had succeeded in persuading King Faruq to reverse his earlier position and join the Arab war coalition.

The king made the decision on his own and forced it on his prime minister, Mahmud Fahmi al-Nuqrashi, overriding his opposition and that of senior government figures, senators, the royal family and the Egyptian High Command. From May 10 to May 13, Nuqrashi held secret discussions with other members of the government, in which the participants arrived at the conclusion that the Egyptian army lacked sufficient war matériel and was unprepared for combat.

Research in the archives of the French army, intelligence  and Foreign Ministry has revealed many details about how British intelligence personnel and generals in Egypt manipulated Faruq to join in the war against Israel. Among other tactics, British agents made use of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Thousands of the organization’s members attacked and plundered Jewish and foreign property and demonstrated on the streets of the cities, demanding that the king order the army to take action to save Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and Palestine’s Muslims.

In the Negev, hundreds of the Brotherhood’s members operated against Jewish settlements. At the same time, the king was told that the Arabs’ conquest of the Negev would encourage the British Army to accede to his request to move its forces there from Egypt.

However, the most potent lure was the secret supply of weapons to the Egyptian army, in spite of the British government’s embargo on arms sales to the Middle East. In the second week of May, the French noted unusual visits by King Faruq to British army headquarters in Tel al-Kabir. Intelligence that reached the French indicated that the British officers promised the king that if he were to join the war effort, Britain would provide the Egyptian forces with the necessary weapons, ammunition and aircraft.

According to a report of the French military attaché in Cairo, during the period of May 1-25, the British Army supplied the Egyptian expeditionary force with large quantities of weapons and equipment from its Suez Canal depots, including rifles, machine guns, field artillery, ammunition, water  tankers and other items.

Special emphasis was placed on strengthening the Egyptian air force: It received 16 Spitfires, a number of Dakotas, air-to-ground bombs and a great deal of ammunition. The British also agreed to replace planes that were damaged. For their part, the French suspected that British officers were directly involved in planning the Egyptian offensive.

Israeli-American fighter pilot Lou Lenart with a shot down Egyptian Spitfire.

Faruq’s decision was a pivotal event for Egypt and for the entire region. Israel was now forced to fight on several fronts simultaneously: The Egyptian army advanced from the south toward Tel Aviv, while the armies of Transjordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon attacked from the east and the north.

British intelligence officers were also successful in Damascus, as Ben-Gurion learned, again, from French sources. The Arab leaders met there in the second week of May to discuss whether to accept the American call to extend the British Mandate by 10 days in order to make possible an Arab-Jewish agreement, or to decide to go to war and come up with a coordinated scheme for the invasion.

According to information given to a French intelligence officer by a senior Syrian figure, the British compelled the Iraqi regent Abd al-Ilah, and King Abdallah to replace Iraqi Gen. Ismail Safwat. by another Iraqi general, Nur a-Din Mahmud, who was more compliant from the British point of view.

The report also indicates that Arab League secretary Azam, Jamil Mardam and Riyad al-Sulh, the prime ministers of Syria and Lebanon respectively, and the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, were ready to accept the American proposal to extend the Mandate, but yielded to the pressure of the Jordanian monarch, whose representatives informed them that the Arab Legion (Jordanian Army) would invade Palestine in any event.

Abdullah’s stance compelled the other Arab leaders to back an invasion, lest they be seen by their own people as being less committed than the Jordanian king to defending the Arabs of Palestine. Those present at the Damascus meeting, some of whom were secretly collaborating with the British intelligence agents, had no doubt that Abdullah was acting at the directives of his English sponsors. It follows, then, that the visit by Golda Meir, then head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department, to him on May 11, in a last-ditch attempt to avert war, was hopeless from the outset.

The capture of the Etzion Bloc by Arab irregulars, mostly from the surrounding villages, in cooperation with units of the Arab Legion, which concluded on the morning of May 13, persuaded even those Arab leaders who were still hesitant that their armies were capable of defeating the Jewish forces and of liberating Palestine. This was overwhelmingly affirmed by the events in the Etzion Bloc, during which many of the residents of Kibbutz Kfar Etzion were massacred and hundreds more from neighboring settlements were taken captive and paraded in trucks through the streets of Amman to the cheers of the crowd. Indeed, furnishing such proof was one of the objectives of the operation, whose architect was the commander of the Arab Legion, Glubb Pasha (the British officer John Bagot Glubb), who was in direct contact with the British High Command and intelligence services in Egypt.

But the conquest of the Etzion Bloc also had an immediate military purpose: ensuring the functioning of the supply lines from the British Army depots at the Suez Canal to the Arab Legion. Significantly, British intelligence documents and reports of Syrian army intelligence show that Glubb was involved in British intelligence activity in Transjordan and Syria, including in the recruitment of Bedouin tribes in the Syrian desert as irregular auxiliary forces for the Arab Legion. Some of them later took part in the battles against the Israeli forces at Latrun, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Deciding on a state

It can be concluded that before and during the meeting of Israel’s provisional government Ben-Gurion received reliable, precise information about the decision of the Arab leaders, with British backing, to go to war, and about the invasion plan and the participating forces.

The members of the provisional government took part in the long deliberations, which lasted for over 10 hours. Golda Meir reported on the failure of her mission to King Abdullah, and Israel Galili, the head of the National Command, and Yigal Yadin, the acting chief of staff, reported on the war situation. Yadin estimated that the Yishuv had an “even” chance to withstand the Arab offensive.

It can be argued that the decision by Israel’s provisional government was necessary, given the Arab leaders’ decision two days earlier to invade on May 15, after the departure of the Mandatory forces. In the light of the Arab leaders’ hesitations and the pressure from Washington, it is very unlikely that the Arab leaders would have acceded to British pressure and ordered the invasion to go ahead, if the Jewish state had not been declared.

The decision to establish the state was made from a deep conviction that this was a historic moment for the Jewish people and the Zionist movement. But it was based on a realistic situation appraisal, on up-to-date intelligence about the enemy and its intentions, and on an assessment of the ability of the Yishuv’s forces to contain a lightning attack by the Arabs and launch a counteroffensive.

The magnitude of the responsibility that Ben-Gurion felt he bore is attested to in a diary entry he made on May 14, after the declaration of the state: “In the land intense joy and jubilation – and again I am a mourner among the joyful…”

Intelligence Report No. 68 of May 11, 1948, sent by the French Military Attache in Beirut to Paris, based on information he received from a high-placed Syrian leader
Summary of the French intelligence report no. 68 received by Ben-Gurion on May 12, 1948
Telegram from the French Ambassador in Cairo on May 15, 1948, providing information on the role of the British High Command in King Faruq’s decision to join the war against Israel

Meir Zamir is a professor emeritus at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, who researches British, French and Israeli Intelligence in the 1940s and 1950s. His  book, The Secret Anglo-French War in the Middle East: Intelligence and Decolonization, 1940-1948, was published by Routledge in 2015

Joshua Landis Responds to Meir Zamir
May 23, 2020

Meir Zamir has done us a great service in bringing to light that French Intelligence informed Ben Gurion on the eve of war in May 1948, that the Arabs, with British support, had a “coordinated invasion plan” to “launch a lightning blitzkrieg” on May 15, 1948″ to “prevent the establishment of a Jewish State or confine it to the coastal plain, as the French informed Ben Gurion?” Surely, these reports influenced Ben Gurion’s plans.

But was this French intelligence correct? I argue that it was largely false in my article: “Syria in the 1948 Palestine War: Fighting King Abdullah’s Greater Syria Plan,” in Eugene Rogan and Avi Shlaim, eds., Rewriting the Palestine War: 1948 and the History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001, pp. 178-205.

Meir writes that the British were able “to overcome the rifts and deep rivalries between the Arab leaders” to pursued them “to join forces and go to war to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state, or at least to confine its area to the coastal plain only. ”

For a very different interpretation of the Arab motivations in the 1948 War, I encourage you to read my article. In it, I demonstrate that the Arabs did not have a coordinated plan to destroy the Jewish state or even to limit it to the coastal plan. Rather, I argue,

“the primary concern of the Arab states in entering [into Palestine] was the inter-Arab conflict and the balance of power in the region.[3] In this respect it is useful to view the 1948 war primarily as an inter-Arab struggle or an Arab civil war.”

Arab leaders refused to help each other during the War of 1948. They failed to agree on a battle plan, although each Arab leader did send troops into Palestine on May 15, 1948. They failed to agree on a common leadership for the Arab forces, fearing each others pan-Arab ambitions. They failed to overcome their deep rivalries to join forces. They refused to provide Palestinian forces with arms, money or reinforcements. They also refused to come to each other’s assistance, when the Zionist military defeated one Arab force after the other.

Here is my concluding paragraph.

Although the Arab armies did not openly fight each other, their actions were mutually destructive. By refusing to cooperate and willfully standing by as Zionist forces destroyed one Palestinian militia and Arab army after the next, the Arab leaders forfeited any chance of saving Palestine. Their inability to agree on a common battle plan or objectives in Palestine quickly led to the demoralization of their military commanders and troops in the field. Not surprisingly, the anger and disappointment that grew out of this bitter experience quickly turned back on the Arab rulers themselves. The assassination of Egypt’s Prime Minister Nuqrashi Pasha in 1948 by a Muslim Brother, King Abdullah’s assassination in 1951 by a vengeful Palestinian, and the overthrow of Egypt’s monarch in 1952 by the Free Officers all have their roots in 1948. But Syria, the country that pushed hardest for war and was the last to sign an armistice with Israel, was hardest hit by the pervasive sense of  popular disappointment and the belief among the military that its leadership had let them down.

ANALYSIS : THE RED CHINESE INFLUENCE IN ISRAEL

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS

How can Israel mitigate the risk from Chinese investments?

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington-based think tank that hosted a simulation review of Chinese investments in Israel, has released a summary with its key findings.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS BREAKING: Audio Tape Released Between Corrupt Former Ukrainian President Poroshenko And Joe Biden Discussing Corrupt Activities.

John Kerry Also On Tape.

by CD Media Staff May 19, 2020 54 47624  AND TSARIZM 

Vice President Biden Stands With Ukrainian President Poroshenko Before Their Bilateral Meeting in Davos This story is developing…

Highlights:

POROSHENKO: Yesterday I met with General Prosecutor Shokin, And despite of the fact that we didn’t have any corruption charges, we don’t have any information about him doing something wrong, I specially asked him – no, it was day before yesterday – I specially asked him to resign. In, uh, as his, uh, position as a state person. And despite of the fact that he has a support in the power. And as a finish of my meeting with him, he promised to give me the statement on resignation. And one hour ago he bring me the written statement of his resignation. And this is my second step for keeping my promises.

BIDEN: I agree.

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MESOPOTAMIA MIDDLE EAST NEWS WATCH ON SYRIA : “In short, whatever internal reshuffling may occur, the regime appears to be just as durable as it was before the crisis.

DON’T OVERTHINK THE ASSAD-MAKHLOUF FEUD
by Oula A. Alrifai  – PolicyWatch 3319 May 22, 2020

The Syrian leader’s dramatic war of words with his massively wealthy cousin may seem like a major fracture inside the regime, but the dynamics of past and present family disputes paint a different picture.

Over the past three weeks, President Bashar al-Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf has taken to social media to express frustration with the regime’s latest threats against his business empire, which reportedly constitutes a colossal 60-80 percent of Syria’s economy. Assad and his wife, Asma, have publicly accused Makhlouf of corruption, both to deflect blame for the country’s economic turmoil and pressure him into remedying it. The tycoon’s numerous holdings include telecom monopoly Syriatel and substantial firms in the oil, gas, banking, construction, retail, and real estate sectors. In 2011, Le Monde estimated his net worth to be $6 billion; that fortune, coupled with his ties to Syria’s inner circle of power, played a massive role in both financing Assad’s crackdown on the 2011 uprising and keeping the regime afloat through nine years of conflict.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : Russian Ambassador: Our Relations Are Stronger Than Ever Before

May 22nd, 2020 by AL-WATAN (pro-government newspaper)

Amid reports of a rift between the two countries, Russia’s ambassador in Damascus has insisted that they remain close allies reports Al-Watan.

Russia’s Ambassador to Damascus, Aleksandr Yefimov, confirmed in an interview with Al-Watan that there is no basis to the rumors currently circulating about a dispute in relations between Russia and Syria, and that those lying and spreading fake news about cooperation between Moscow and Damascus are simply carrying out media sabotage. Those who benefit from the fake news about Russia and Syria are those two countries’ opponents, who need an opportunity to offend and distort all their positive achievements secured in recent years.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE CHINESE CORONA RESPONSIBILITY & THE WHO !

China & the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Roie Yellinek May 21, 2020 / An Israeli Opinion –  BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,576, May 21, 2020

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The coronavirus pandemic is providing insights into the conduct and thinking of the Chinese leadership, which has far-reaching implications both internally and externally.

The coronavirus is not the first pandemic to be exported from China to the rest of the world. In this instance, the outbreak was initially believed to have been triggered by cross-species transmission originating in a market in the city of Wuhan selling exotic wildlife for domestic consumption, though it was subsequently argued that the cross-species transmission originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : ERDOGAN’S BIG HELPERS ! – Qatar triples swap line with Turkey / Qatar has offered support to Turkey’s central bank, expanding a currency-swap agreement to $15 billion as Ankara seeks to

Diego Cupolo – AL MONITOR –   May 20, 2020 – ISTANBUL — As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rattle global economies, Turkish banking officials have been seeking fiscal support from a number of countries and Qatar was the first to respond.

On Wednesday, Qatar expanded an existing swap deal to $15 billion, raising the prior limit from $5 billion to help bolster depleted Turkish central bank reserves and help steady the lira. The move underlines strong relations between the two nations, which opened swap arrangements during a 2018 currency crisis in Turkey and continue to cooperate amid a Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates-led economic blockade on Qatar.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS ANALYSIS : Salim Çevik

New Political Parties and the Reconfigu­ration of Turkey’s Political Landscape  / SWP BERLIN  19 May 2020

The recent emergence of two splinter parties from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) points to a deepening crisis within the party and growing discontent toward party leader and president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Although the leaders of the two new parties, Ali Babacan and Ahmet Davutoğlu, are both former high-ranking AKP politicians, they differ significantly in their style of politics and ideological leanings. Babacan is trying to position himself at the center of Turkey’s ideological spectrum and emphasize issues of good governance and the rule of law. Davutoğlu is aiming for the more conservative voters, focusing on the moral shortcomings of the current regime. Davutoğlu’s strategy has better chances in the short term, whereas Babacan is poised for a long game. The importance of both parties relies on their potential to attract votes from the AKP base. In a country that is deeply divided into two almost equal-sized camps that support Erdoğan and oppose him, even a small fraction of votes shifting from the AKP to the opposition can be a game changer.
Dr. Salim Çevik is an Associate at the Center for Applied Turkish Studies (CATS) at the SWP.
SWP Comment 2020/C 22, May 2020, 4 Pages

doi:10.18449/2020C22

https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/publication/new-political-parties-and-the-reconfiguration-of-turkeys-political-landscape/

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : IMPORTANT PROMISES ! – ​​​​​​​Trump’s advisor: Our alliance with SDF (PYD/PKK) is strategic; our aim in Syria is to weaken Russia, Iran

Gabriel Soma, a member of Trump’s advisory board, said that USA ‘s strategy in Syria is based on weakening Russia and Iran, and stressed that their alliance with SDF is strategic, alluding that the problem of Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 system is still being studied, and pointed out that the withdrawal of the Patriot from Saudi Arabia came because it is late for reducing oil production after its prices have deteriorated.

 

18 May 2020, Mon – 07:57 2020-05-18T07:57:00 NEWS DESK – AZAD SAFO ANHA

Hawar news agency (ANHA) held an exclusive interview with member of the advisory board of US President Donald Trump and a professor in international law, Gabriel Soma, who talked about the conflicts that are intensifying in the Middle East region, overlapping international and regional interests, talking about the military presence of the armies of several countries in Syria and its violation of international resolutions, the purpose of the American presence in Syria, Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 system, the fate of the American presence in Iraq, and the future of relations with Iran and other topics.

The following is the text of the interview:

* America says that its position on the Syrian crisis is to end it with political solutions in accordance with the United Nations and Security Council Resolution 2,254, but how can this crisis be ended with the presence several armies from different countries with agendas on Syrian soil?

There is a UN Security Council resolution affirming the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria, so the presence of several foreign armies on Syrian soil today contradicts UN Security Council Resolution 2,254, at the present time Assad is supported by Russia and Iran and the United States is trying to undermine both.

The strategy of the United States of America is based on weakening Iran and Russia alike, and today we see that Iran is pushing number of its forces out Syria, as well as Russia resenting relations with Assad to find a peaceful solution to the problem of Syria, indeed the presence of these foreign forces at the present time is violating with the decision United Nations Security Council No. 2,254.

* America cooperates with SDF militarily and they are partners in the war against ISIS, but it does not support the region politically What are the reasons and what prevents it from that?

The presence of the American forces in north and east Syria was for one reason and that is the presence of ISIS, at the present time we have at least 500 American soldiers still deployed alongside the local allied forces, and we are still there to support the operations against the remaining ISIS.

The Trump administration has chosen a very limited U.S. military presence, with very limited goals of pursuing ISIS and supporting the military operations of other countries in various ways, focusing on economic and diplomatic pressure, the United States of America has opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, and has supported groups of rebel groups Anti-Assad at that time and later sided with the Kurdish-led forces in the northeastern part of Syria.

* What is the future of north and east Syria in light of the continuing threats by ISIS and the Turkish state despite the American presence?

As long as the American forces are in north and east of Syria, I do not think that there will be harm to our allies. The American President, as you know, decided to keep the American forces in eastern Syria to preserve the region and oil wells from ISIS, America is the reason for its existence is ISIS, were it not for ISIS, the US army would not be there.

ISIS was selling oil to other countries and benefiting from it financially.

Oil is an essential element in the war against ISIS because the Syrian oil was at ISIS’ hands, and ISIS was selling it to other countries and benefiting financially from selling it, so the president believes that it is necessary to preserve oil if we want to eliminate ISIS and not allow it to return to Syria, so we are existed there, and the alliance between America and SDF is a strategic alliance, we are collaborating together to eradicate ISIS.

* Recently, statements were issued by Special Envoy James Jeffrey about the necessity of all forces leaving Syria, with the exception of Russia, how will these forces, especially Turkey, which provide support to Jabhat al-Nusra, be pushed out, and what is the US position on Turkish support for Jabhat al-Nusra? And there is talk about an American-Russian agreement on a specific solution to the Syrian crisis, is there really an agreement and what kind, or is there a new American policy in the region and what is it?

“There are problems between Russia and Assad, and the latter does not agree with Russia’s proposals to solve the problems.”

Russia does not have a political solution from its problems with Assad. There appear to be problems between the Russians and Assad in several matters related to dealing with the political situation, and it seems that the Syrian President does not agree to solve the political problems proposed by Russia.

Our mission is to address the problem by the United Nations in accordance with Resolution No. 2,254, and it requires Russia to distance itself somewhat from Assad and Iran, and this is what Russia is well aware of.

Recently, we are witnessing some withdrawal of the Iranian-led forces, some withdrawal is tactical because they are not fighting now, but there is a second reason which is a shortage of Iranian money, and as James Jeffrey recently stated, the United States participates in Turkey in ensuring the security of Idlib, and that it does not fall into the hands of forces Assad, and the United States, as Jeffrey said, works with Turkey in the Constitutional Committee and in the political solution and America’s ultimate goal, according to Jeffrey, very similar to the goal of Turkey, and Ankara also considers Iran a threat.

* There is coordination between a US partner in NATO (Turkey) and Russia in Syria, and Turkey bought Russian missiles that affect the American F-35. What is the future of relations between America and Turkey if the latter activates the Russian S-400 systems?

With regard to Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile systems, this is a problem that is still being studied between the two countries. This system contradicts with the presence of the American F-35 fighters. As the United States knows, Turkey expelled Turkey from the F-35 program after the S-400 deal was completed. Turkey and Russia, and the situation as it was We are strongly opposed to the purchase of the Russian system on the one hand Turkey, and the United States promises that this contradicts with Turkey’s will to buy American F-35 fighters, for its part Turkey considers this issue related to the sovereignty of the Turkish state in its decisions.

* When the Syrian crisis is being talked about, it cannot be seen far from what is happening in neighboring countries, especially Iraq, in terms of withdrawing American military bases there, and removing Patriot batteries from Saudi Arabia; Is what is happening is a change in the US strategy in the Middle East? What is this strategy based on?

Saudi Arabia, as you know, is an ally of the United States since the beginning of the thirties of the twentieth century, and the recent withdrawal of the patriot by President Trump took place as a result of the Saudi delay in reducing oil production, the increase in oil production by Saudi Arabia caused tremendous damage to the American oil market, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who work in the American oil fields, they are vulnerable to losing their jobs if the oil price remains low, so it was necessary to put pressure the Saudi government to reduce oil production in order for prices to rise, and now we see that prices are gradually increasing.

* Tensions between America and Iran have intensified at the beginning of this year after the killing of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and this has greatly affected the political situation in Iraq and the American presence there. Will the Trump administration resort to truce with Iran as US elections are close or will the situation go towards escalation?

The presence of American forces at the present time is very important because large numbers of the PMF are loyal to Iran and have become part of the Iraqi military system, but in reality they are part of the militias that receive financial support, training, and weapons from Iran and are operated by orders from the Iranian, not Iraqi, military leadership. Therefore, these organizations pose a threat to the security of Iraq and the security of our forces in Iraq. Next month, June, there will be negotiations between the United States and Iraq to deal in relation to the Strategic Framework Agreement of 2008, this agreement includes political, diplomatic, and commercial relations. And finance, as well as energy, judicial aspects, law enforcement, and services … Also, there is a security agreement between us and Iraq, the security agreement relates to the American military presence in Iraq, all of these matters will be the subject of research in the next month when the American and Iraqi delegations meet to discuss the fate of the agreements between the two countries, at the time The same is that there is a new government in Iraq that won the confidence of the House of Representatives and the United States stands with the head of this government, and hopes that it will implement what was promised, which is restricting weapons to the military forces and removing these militias from the Iraqi military system.

Firstly, the killing of Soleimani came as a result of intelligence information indicating that he was about to order acts against the United States of America, as you know Soleimani , he was behind the explosions that were happening near the American military vehicles while they were in Iraq since 2003, and these explosions led to the killing of some nearly 600 American soldiers, as well as Soleimani was constantly working to create tension in Arab countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, and therefore President Trump considered that it is necessary to eliminate Soleimani before taking any military action against the American forces, of course Soleimani contributed to the elimination of ISIS in Iraq, with the help of American aviation and the United States in technical and intelligence terms, but does this mean that the United States will appease Iran as a result of the upcoming elections, I do not think so, the harsh economic sanctions on Iran have greatly affected the Iranian economy, for example foreign investment in Iran has ended, exports have been struck Oil, US sanctions prevent foreign countries and companies from dealing with Iran, sanctions have tightened restrictions on the Iranian banking sector and have deprived the regime of its main source of income, which is oil. The Oil Fund expects zero growth for the Iranian economy, and with Corona has decreased Z the price of oil, the Iranian economy has become in a state of stagnation, so there is no need to negotiate with Iran, if Iran wants to stop its hostile actions in the region and stop manufacturing and producing the nuclear bomb, then you can negotiate with Iran, and find an agreement other than the one that President Trump ended in May 2018 And there is even a possibility of increased economic sanctions on Iran, so it must stop manufacturing nuclear bombs and missiles and stop its military operations in the Middle East.

* Recently, a new problem arose in the Mediterranean, which is Turkish exploration in the Cyprus economic zone, and its signing of the maritime border demarcation agreement with al-Sarraj government in Libya, which is opposed by Arab active powers such as Egypt and the UAE. How does America view what is going on in the eastern Mediterranean?

With regard to oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, as you know there is tension between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots over drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean for oil and gas, and this attracts regional stakeholders such as Egypt, Israel and Greece to this conflict.

The eastern Mediterranean region at the present time is considered conflicts zone of energy with great discoveries of Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, in recent years Turkey is determined to secure a share of energy in the eastern Mediterranean, and at the present time the European Union is discussing whether to impose sanctions on Turkey.

In the United States, we want to reduce tension in that region, and that peace and security prevail there, and the United States is not an importer of oil. Before coronavirus, the United States was exporting oil, our production was greater than Saudi Arabia, and it was more than Russia.

As for the countries of the European Union, Europe does not wish to prospect for oil or gas, because it considers that this harms the environment, but it buys oil from other countries. This situation appears to be contradictory, but in reality this is what is happening in Europe.

ANHA

 

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : ASSAD’S FINANCAL EMPIRE = CRASHED !

Enab Baladi – Murad Abdul Jalil  (18 May 2020)  – The rare and sudden appearance of Rami Makhlouf, a wealthy Syrian businessman and the first cousin of Syrian regime president Bashar al-Assad, speaking of being pressured by figures surrounding the “decision-maker” to give up on his assets, was no small matter for Syrians regardless of their political views, and key countries influencing the Syrian file.

Makhlouf was the financial pillar of the regime’s economy over the past two decades. He controls a conglomerate business empire that ranges from telecoms to real estate, oil, and other fields. Hence, Makhlouf’s two video recordings became an indication of the rift’s level between both sides.

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