Thursday, August 6, 2015


When we do a translation it is only because it is very important and not translated or reported in the West. This piece is another one of those momentous news pieces!

This is an article that appeared in the Arabic Al-Akhbar yesterday. We had it translated into English. It is very interesting to note that parallelism it has with Sharmine's recent article. There is much more than meets the eye to the current posturing of the US and Turkey. One has to read in between the lines and see what is happening behind the scenes.
GAME OVER. Syria will soon have peace and victory. Now, to the actual article:

It is published in THE SAKER and here is the link


Al Akhbar   5 August 2105   By Nahed Hatter
Translated by Ghassan Kadi and Intibah Kadi.

The regional and international scene looks like a kaleidoscope of colours in a fantasy painting. However, this is what is currently happening in between two phases and two regional regimes. After the major two powers reached an agreement and the American-Iranian plus the Russian-Saudi talks about the new regional Middle Eastern order took place, the latest development is the secret Syrian-American dialogue. Whilst it is true that it is a low-level dialogue, it has gone past the Iraqi mediators and security communications to become a political discussion that was initiated by American Foreign Affairs diplomats. It is based on the American recognition of the status-quo in Syria that; there will be no alternative for President Bashar al Assad and for having a dialogue with him, that it is not about internal political affairs, but about co-ordinating efforts to fight terrorism, resolving Kurdish issues, fighters who are not classified as terrorists etc.
Whilst Foreign Secretary, John Kerry, continues to blab about excluding President Assad from the political solution in Syria, his superiors have had detailed discussions with their Syrian counterparts.
Americans have agreed to widen their air strikes against terror organisations to include Al Nusra Front and its allies in addition to ISIS. This is considered as a political victory for Syria which had invariably faced the danger of America re-arming al Nusra Front and describing it as “moderate opposition”. With this, 80 per cent of anti-government forces become targeted in accordance to the American–Syrian agreement. This can be considered as the cornerstone for the new anti-terror coalition as suggested by Russia. As for the other fighters, the local ones, as well as those associated with the Western/GCC foreign intelligence, discussions are underway to make decisions about them. This includes merging some elements of the FSA with the Syrian Army and/or with the National Defence Forces.
Ironically, Washington is now closer to Damascus that it is to Ankara which has not yet severed its strong ties with terror organisations, and which continues to take advantage of the war on terror to hit the PKK, all the while its Syrian branch is an ally to both the Syrians and Americans. Turkish President Erdogan will soon have two choices; he will either have to join the anti-terror coalition by action, not just by words, or, he will lose his political cover to confront the PKK and face his destiny domestically.
The American announcement of securing air defence to “moderate opposition” is in reality aimed against Al Nusra, ISIS and Turkey and not against the Syrians. The wording of the declaration however, and which included the Syrian army in the list of targets, is simply for political consumption.
This analysis finds congruence with the ambiguous American endorsement of creating a “safety zone” in northern Syria. Was it really achieved and does it have any meaningful significance on the ground other than turning it into a compound which sorts out what to do with fighters who do not belong either to ISIS, al Nusra or any of its partners? Either way, any step in such a direction will not happen without consultation with the Syrians.
In the meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem received a formal invitation from his Omani counterpart Youssef bin Alawi to visit Muscat for bilateral discussions, leading up to a meeting between Mouallem and his Saudi counterpart, Adel Al-Jubeir. A trilateral meeting may also eventuate during this same visit.
The Omani initiative falls within the escalating sequence of events in pursuit of a resolution, the highlights of which have been clarified in the Russian – American - Saudi meeting in Doha the day before yesterday. It does not contradict, as a matter of fact it complements, the amended Iranian initiative that is being discussed by the Iranian – Russian – Syrian trio in Tehran, the launching of which may signal the end of war on Syria.
The new phase will have a bold agenda: fighting terrorism and exterminating fundamentalism, containing the Muslim Brotherhood, regional security, reducing geo-political and sectarian conflict, reaching resolutions on hot topics and, regional and international co-operation for reconstruction.
In brief, failure to isolate Iran and breaking Syria, Hezbollah and Houthis, together with the Bahraini struggle, has led to the acquiescence to a new regional, political structure that recognises Russian influence and regional interests as well as recognising Iran as a major regional power, not forgetting the Syrian Army and Hezbollah as they have been the major partner in combatting terrorist organisations and securing regional safety.
In Yemen, after the military breakthrough in Aden, Saudi Arabia and the UAE may declare victory and enter negotiations to reach a political resolution which in reality will mean a settlement between Riyadh and Houthis who will be recognised as a fundamental power in the Yemeni Republic. Whilst the Syrian and Yemeni files are being dealt with, the Bahraini Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman, who is considered to be a major obstacle for reconciliation, may find that he has to resign. This will open the door for a resolution that is analogous to the Kuwaiti model.
The Deputy Crown Prince, Saudi Minister of Defence, Mohomed bin Salman, was quick to visit his Jordanian ally to tell him “game over!” War Rooms conducting the fight in southern Syria will be shut down and arrangements will be made to separate its military from political wings with the fighters that belong to Al Nusra front left without any protection.
Amman, which did not make any clear statements regarding the Iranian nuclear deal and what followed it in terms of repercussions, has received the green light to move forward with making settlements. The Jordanian government has got logistic, security and trade offers for Damascus. In return, Amman wishes to reach reconciliation and the ability to resolve the issue of Syrian refugees in Jordan. Syrian refugees are also a problem for Lebanon. It is worthy to note here that different Lebanese stakeholders, with the exception of Hezbollah, are excluded from the discussions and settlements.
Throughout all of these developments, it was interesting to see that Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, found the time and enough concern to meet with the Hamas Chief of the Politbureau, Khaled Meshaal, to write two letters, the first of which was addressed to the regional and international leaders, stating that Moscow is committed to the Palestinian cause which has been shelved since the beginning of the Arab Spring and, the second letter was addressed to Hamas, urging it to reconsider its position vis-à-vis the recent developments in the region, especially in Egypt. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Seeking Senator Black's Wisdom.
By Ghassan Kadi
4 August 2015
Senator Black is undoubtedly a good man and well-intentioned, but unfortunately, it is only a fine line that invariably separates wisdom from the lack of it.

“Let he who is without a sin cast the first stone”.

The threat of ISIS is not at all to be ignored or undermined. As a matter of fact its danger is much larger than many think; including some of those who are now posturing and pretending to be fighting it. With that said, for any criticism and philosophical attack on ISIS to be constructive and positive, it has to be based on good intentions that are backed by knowledge and wholesome antitheses. The Senator Black article seems to lack those very significant underpinning qualities.

To begin with, the “Army of Conquest” is not a threat to Western Civilization as Senator Black has put it. It is rather a threat against humanity and rationality as a whole. Reading in between the lines, it seems that Senator Black is not making this distinction because he seems to put the Western Civilization in par with humanity and wisdom. Apparently he sees them as synonyms.

Whilst Senator Black acknowledges that the US government has supported ISIS and helped create it, he conveniently ignores that one of the main recruitment drives that ISIS is capitalizing on is the unjust and unfair stand of the Western Civilization towards the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is ignoring that the USA and its allies have waged totally unjustified wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and left Iraq and Libya in total ruins. 

There is a huge logical contradiction in his discourse. If Western Civilization fostered the rise of ISIS, as it did and as he acknowledges, then logic stipulates that the biggest threat to Western Civilization comes from within itself; not from ISIS. Rational analysis implies that the roles of each of the West and ISIS be dissected transparently without any preconceived prejudice of any sort. The evidence of prejudice is however clear in later parts of his article.

To this effect, Senator Black goes back in history to make mention of how the Ottomans pillaged and sacked Constantinople, which is a historical fact that is not to be denied. But a look at the earlier history of Constantinople is a testimony of Christian versus Christian barbarity and blood baths that went on for decades leading up to the split of the Roman Empire and the Church into Catholicism and Orthodoxy. That same fire was rekindlednot long ago in the Balkans where virtually the same dividing lines that separated the Roman Empires became battle fields again between Catholic Croatia and Orthodox Serbia.

To be fair, Senator Black is not categorically demonizing Islam and all Muslims, but he is not putting any doctrinal blame of the current tragedy on other than radical Muslims and their “interpretations”; all the way failing and bypassing what the “real interpretations” are and the actual humane value and message that they carry.

Sad but true, the rise of ISIS has given many who do not have much respect for Islam a field day for them to capitalize on, blaming most if not all of the World’s problems and evil on Islam without having an honest look at themselves, their archaic theology, belief systems, their history and the huge negative role that they continue to play whilst looking clean-shaved, nicely dressed and lecturing about humanity and civility. 

Syria has become the place where all covert evangelists come out from their hiding.

Last but not least, Senator Black seems to also ignore or deny that the biggest number of victims of ISIS in Syria were/are Syrian Sunni Muslims. His closing paragraph seems to deliberately keep them out. 

This is not about bashing Senator Black. We should be thankful of his efforts to rally up support for Syria and we are. With all due respect to him however, he should get his facts right because it does not take much to stretch information and use it as a tool to create mindsets and enough fuel for an all-out anti-Muslim vendetta. We count on his wisdom to take note of his obligations.

Refer to Senator Black's Article in WND:

Sunday, August 2, 2015


By Ghassan Kadi
Global Research, August 01, 2015
Intibah Wakeup 31 July 2015

“The miracle meeting” has happened. The Syrian chief of the office of home security general Ali Mamlouk has visited Riyadh and met with the Saudi deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman [son of current king] as a result of a Russian-brokered initiative. Differences were discussed. 
On the 19th of June, President Putin received the Saudi Minister of Defence the deputy Crown Prince. The meeting with the “uncrowned king” dealt with many files: Yemen, weapon deals, nuclear reactors, price of crude, and most importantly Syria and terrorism.
Clearly, Putin prepared for this meeting very well, as by then:
– The Russian prediction was that the nuclear deal with Iran was ready, constituting “bad news” for Riyadh.
– It was clear that ISIS has declared mutiny on its original supporters and turned into an international danger, especially for Saudi Arabia taking into account its status as the home of Islam. It is also a danger for Russia considering that many of its fighters come from central Asia.
– It became obvious that the war on Yemen was not going to be a walk in the park and may end up as a long protracted war. Saudi Arabia had already been giving signs of dissatisfaction from the inadequate American support and became convinced that any settlement will require a Russian role, especially that Russia has vetoed the Arab-initiated UNSC resolution seeking placing Yemen under Chapter Seven and which would prohibit any army shipments to the Houthis and enforces sanctions against their leaders.
It must be remembered that the previous Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal was one of the staunchest advocates of this failed resolution, together with Prince Bandar Bin Sultan who was sacked earlier on the 29th of April.
Moscow seized the moment and Putin laid out his vision of the situation in Syria to Mohamad Bin Salman: After four years of fighting, there is a tangible change of in the international mood. Geneva 3 is no longer on the table neither is Moscow 3 or Moscow 4. In the meanwhile, terrorism is creeping towards your homeland. In the meantime also, the position of the Syrian Army is improving on the ground and there are no other parties left who are convinced that the Syrian “regime” should fall other than Saudi Arabia and Turkey. There is no option but to cooperate with him [ Assad] in order to fight terrorism that is threatening everyone.
The Saudi Prince seemed convinced though very reluctantly that the essence of Putin’s harangue was that the Syrian “regime” is here to stay. This encouraged his host to go a step further and suggest a meeting between the Prince and a Syrian official without any preconditions.
Ten days later, on the 29th of June, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem together with his deputy Faisal Al-Makdad and Buthaina Shaaban who is a counsel for the Syrian President, arrived in Moscow. Putin renewed his commitment towards Syria’s “government and its people”. He suggested the formation of a quadrilateral anti-terrorism coalition to be comprised of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan. Iran was excluded as the Russians are careful not to intimidate the Saudis. The Syrian envoys were unable to hide that they were taken by surprise, and this is what Mouallem referred to later on when he said that this “will require a miracle”. Putin however insisted that the proposal be taken to President Assad and he [is Assad] agreed. The proposal remained confidential between Assad, Mouallem and the chief of home security general Ali Mamlouk.
The Russian secret service was given the task of communicating with Mamlouk to make it happen. Then there was a second communication from the Russians saying that the Saudis insist that the meeting should be held in Riyadh, and Damascus did not object. A few weeks later, a special plane carrying the deputy Russian chief of intelligence landed in Damascus and flew with general Mamlouk on board bound for Riyadh. The meeting was held in the presence of the Saudi chief of intelligence Saleh Al-Humaidan.
This will be the end of the actual translation. All of the above, including the introductory paragraph are actual translations of the original text (Al Akhbar). The remaining part of the original article dwell into the details of the talks, but the gist of it is actually captured in the introductory paragraph.
Both parties lashed at each other accusing each other of inflaming the situation. There is nothing to indicate that this was not done within the norms of diplomacy. The meeting concluded without reaching any results, but the ice has been broken.
The significance of this extremely historic meeting is enormous. It has the potential to be pivotal in whatever happens from this point on. It is very important to note at least the following ramifications, corollaries and conclusions :
  1. It confirms that the original anti-Syrian coalition has capitulated.
  2. It is a recognition of Syria’s upper hand on the situation on the ground.
  3. It implies an admission of failure on the part of Saudi Arabia.
  4. It further reconfirms Russia’s role and commitment towards Syria.
  5. It is a further proof that the US is disengaging in the Levant.
  6. In trying to reach a deal between Saudi Arabia and Syria, the only remaining obstinate foe of Syria, Turkey, will be left out alone in the cold. In any future negotiations, Turkey will have to strike a deal of its own without the support of any partners to count on. This will prove very difficult if and when the intended safety zone plan in the north of Syria fails.
No doubt many cynics will look at this step with their regular short-sighted cynicism. They will argue it is a sell-out, just like they did with the chemical weapons deal. Many will not be able to read in between the lines, and because this meeting did not conclude in any results per se, they will not see that the fact that is was actually held heralds a whole new and very bright chapter for the near, and possibly, very near future.
It is not unrealistic to see this meeting as the beginning of the end. There will be many hurdles to overcome, but the road is getting clearer and smoother for a huge victory.
Translation, Interpretation and Analysis by Ghassan Kadi
This text is a translation of an Al Akhbar article published in Arabic

THE MOHAMED BIN SALMAN DILEMMA; The Throne or the Abyss By Ghassan Kadi 2 August 2015

By Ghassan Kadi
2 August 2015
Love them or hate them, the descendants of King Abdul-Aziz, the founder of the House of Saud, had always been united, and they always made consensual decisions. That was the wish of the dying king, a wish that his eldest sons heard, took to heart and never forgot.
A combination of intense procreation, time, money and greed has diluted this death-wish over the years, and the second generation royals were less determined to stick to it than their own fathers.
The biggest issue that played into this was that of succession. Given that the founding grandfather had forty five sons with a huge age gap in between them, succession was made initially from Abdul-Aziz to his eldest son Saud, but from there onwards it was based on a succession from older brother to younger brother.
When Khaled inherited the throne from his half-brother King Faisal who was murdered, there was an established and consensually-reached lineage for the first three in line, with Fahed as the Crown Prince, Abdullah as the Deputy Crown Prince, and Sultan as the third in line.
Khaled, Fahed and Abdullah eventually all became kings and all passed on, but there was a little twist that changed the fate of the next steps. 
The infamous Bandar Bin Sultan was hoping that once his father becomes king, he would become the rightful successor and the first grandson of Abdul Aziz to take the throne.
After all, his father Sultan had been the minister of defence for many years, and one of the senior princes in terms of hierarchy. But Bandar did not rest on his laurels, he had his own profile as a long-term Saudi Ambassador at Washington to capitalize on. To bolster his position and also be able to land a lethal blow on Iran, he decided to spearhead the campaign against Syria.
Never before had the Saudis taken such a hawkish approach with their foreign policies. Bandar however managed to rally up some princes around him and gained a lot of stature and his dream to become the first second generation prince to become king looked attainable.
But Bandar had two disasters that he was totally unprepared for down the pipeline. First of all, his father died before he made it to the throne. As if this was not bad enough, his hawkish policies failed in Syria. Bandar eventually fell on his sword and was marginalized in a couple of swift royal decrees; the first was when he was sacked as chief of Saudi intelligence by the late king Abdullah, and secondly when he was stripped off all office titles by the incumbent king Salman.
King Salman is one of the junior sons of Abdul Aziz. As a matter of fact, he is only four years older that his heavy-weight nephew Saud Al-Faisal who died recently. Salman has also been always junior in stature. His ascendance to the throne was meant to be a brotherly gesture done in accordance with the death-wish of Abdul-Aziz.
That said, the late king Abdullah had a huge succession problem to deal with.
Because of their ageing, many of the sons of Abdul Aziz who reached the throne did so at a very late age. They always counted on their younger half-brother Crown Princes to be in charge. Fahed was the first to assume this uncrowned king role. By the time his half-brother Khaled became king, he was very old and Fahed became the uncrowned king, and later on, the same happened when Fahed became king and Abdullah took over the runnings of the kingdom.
The lineage to the crown that was set up in 1978 with Sultan as the third in line remained in force for over thirty years. But after the death of Sultan, Abdullah had to change the lineage twice because of the deaths of ageing and ailing crown princes among other things. When Abdullah died, he was unable to leave behind that firm lineage that had the same power like the one that lifted him to the throne. Whether he liked it or not, the succession lineage he left behind had the hallmarks of “after me, the flood”
The new king Salman who is 79 years old, and also reportedly a sufferer of Alzheimers disease, didn't have the regular Saudi established either political or succession lineage to follow. His power-hopeful son Mohamad wanted to secure his position to be the first king from the second generation, so he talked his father into turning the tables, making a coup within the royals, thereby marginalizing the old guards and appointing him as the deputy crown prince. With the king and crown prince both old and sick, in effect, the arrogant and inexperienced 30 years old Mohamed bin Salman became the uncrowned king and the first to assume this position from the second generation royals.
If Bandar was bad enough to take the gamble of launching the proxy-war against Syria, the new arrogant king-hopeful did not only ignore the death-wish of the grandfather let alone learned from the mistake of his cousin Bandar, he has gone further and actually engaged the Saudi Army for the first time ever in combat, and in Yemen out of all places.
He thought it was all planned well. He truly counted on Pakistani and Egyptian ground troops to support him and put boots on the ground for him. He was wrong on both counts. Then came the icing on the cake; the signing of the Iran nuclear deal. His “Royal arrogance” is feeling the coldness of being alone.
Given that he has no idea how to deal with what is left of Bandar's war aka Syria. Suddenly he sees himself facing two huge threats; Syria and Yemen... well make that three when you add ISIS to the equation.
He is quickly realizing that Yemenis are not less fierce as fighters than the Afghanis. With recent bomb attacks in the Saudi Eastern Province and Kuwait, his fear is not only about his own self-promised throne, but also about the continuity of the House of Saud.
But according to reliable recent reports, it seems that Mohamed has learned something from his cousin Bandar.
By a twist of fate, almost exactly to the day two years ago his cousin Bandar stormed into Moscow parading like Don Quixote trying to intimidate, threaten and bribe President Putin. Two years later, Mohamed now realises that President Putin is an important person not to be under-rated. Feeling abandoned by the Americans and bogged down in two wars and facing the threat of ISIS, when Putin offered him an opportunity to extend an olive branch to Syria, it is not at all surprising that he grabbed it like someone drowning grabbing a lifebuoy.
His eventual Russian-sponsored and brokered meeting with Syrian General Ali Mamluk was meant to be the ice-breaker. The two parties agreed to disagree on many issues, but agreed to meet again.
Neither the Saudis nor the Syrian officials denied this secret meeting after it was reported on the Arabic paper Al-Akhbar and co-published on the highly reliable Al-Manar. The only medium who denied it ever happened was an obscure anti-Hezbollah Shiite Arabic-language online newspaper by the name of Al-Jounouieh. Parties who are in shock or in denial that the meeting did take place are suddenly quoting Al-Jounoubieh.
This meeting was not expected to solve the huge impasse between Syria and Saudi Arabia. As a matter of fact, it was not expected to happen at all, and the fact that it did happen is a miracle of its own.
Where will Mohamed Bin Salman go from here is not really the pertinent question. What is more pertinent is what options has he got. He has nothing left to gain in Syria and a lot to lose in Yemen. Deep down inside he knows that if he can count on Russia to get him out of the mess in Syria, he may use her services later on in Yemen. It is truly a choice between the throne and the abyss.