memri
January 14, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8492

Russian Ambassador To Lebanon: The Assassination Of 'Our Comrade' Soleimani Is Condemnable; The U.S. Should Leave Syria, Iraq

January 14, 2020
Iran, Russia | Special Dispatch No. 8492
In a January 10, 2020 report in the Lebanese daily Al-Jumhouriyya, journalist 'Imad Marmel presented statements by Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin, who harshly criticized the U.S. policy in Syria and Iraq, including the assassination of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani. Zasypkin described the assassination of Soleimani, who he said cooperated with Russia in fighting terror and was greatly esteemed by the Russians, as a "crime" and a disproportional response to the attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq. He added that the Iranian response to the assassination, on the other hand, was prudent and that Iran therefore couldn't be blamed for escalating the tension, especially since the U.S. is the one that withdrew from the nuclear deal in the first place. The U.S. plays a negative role in the region and should pull its forces from Syria and Iraq, he concluded. The ambassador also noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin recently visited Damascus and discussed the Iran-U.S. tension with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and that the visit was meant to convey that the alliance between Russia and Syria is solid and that the two countries will continue their joint fight against terror. Alexander Zasypkin (Source: Al-Jumhouriyya) The following are excerpts from the Al-Jumhouriyya report:  The Attack On The Embassy Did Not Justify A Response Of This Magnitude "Amid the growing pressure on the U.S. presence and interests in the region, in the wake of the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, it seems that Russia is the main beneficiary in the current situation, which may cause its 'rivals' in the region to face difficult trials. "Regardless of the results on the ground of Iran's military response to the attack on the IRGC Qods Force commander, the important point, as far as Iran and its allies are concerned, is the strategic significance of this response, which launched a war of attrition against the U.S. forces. [This war] will probably last until the [U.S.] presidential elections, so that Donald Trump will arrive at the elections weary and exhausted and will have difficulty winning them. "It is at this complex juncture in the region that Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus, for a meeting that received several [different] interpretations in terms of [its significance for] the Russian moves in the region at this [particular] political timing. "Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin told Al-Jumhouriyya that Putin's recent visit to Damascus was very important in light of the unusual circumstances in the region, whether this refers to the assassination of Qassem Soleimani or to the situation in Syria. He noted further that the visit also 'reflected the relations between Russia and Syria and between Presidents Putin and Assad, and conveyed a message to all that their alliance was solid and forms a point of strength.' He added that during the meeting between Putin and Assad, 'emphasis was placed on the continued struggle against terror and on improving the economic and humanitarian situation in Syria. There was also an assessment of the latest developments in the region and especially the criminal assassination of Qassem Soleimani and his companions.' "The Russian ambassador stressed the gravity of the American actions: 'It is important to note the outrageous [nature of] the assassination itself and not to try to justify it or link it to anything else. There is need to focus on the crime of targeting Soleimani and his companions, and not to seek mitigating reasons by inflating the scope of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, as was done in the West. The attack on the embassy clearly does not justify a response of this magnitude, [that is,] killing Soleimani and the others.'" "Soleimani Was Our Comrade And Friend, A Unique Man Whom We Greatly Esteemed" "Stressing that the criminal assassination was utterly condemnable, Zasypkin said, 'America's considerations do not interest us, for they are the ones responsible.' He noted [further]: 'Soleimani was our comrade and friend, a unique man whom we greatly esteemed. We cooperated with him in the war against terror, and his assassination caused us great sorrow.' "According to Zasypkin, Iran's response to the American aggression was prudent. [He added:] 'In principle, we are against the outbreak of wars, and we hope that we prevented the outbreak of a war today, although we know who is responsible for the escalation of the danger and know that the ones who withdrew from the nuclear deal and initiated the assassination of Soleimani and the others are responsible for the increase in tension.'" The U.S. Plays A Negative Role In The Region, Must Withdraw From Iraq, Syria "[The ambassador] said further that some positions in the West try to point [the  finger] at Iran alone and to accuse it of starting the escalation, 'when [in fact] it was America that initiated the moves that escalated the tension, whether it did so by political means, [i.e., by] evading the nuclear deal, or through actions on the ground, such as the recent escapade [of killing Soleimani].' "Zasypkin believes that the U.S. presence in the region faces greater difficulties today, after the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. [He said]': '...The U.S. presence in Syria is completely illegal and they must leave. As for Iraq, they entered it as occupiers to begin with, and the position taken recently by the Iraqi parliament [demanding a U.S. withdrawal from the country] is very significant.' "The Russian ambassador noted that one of the main factors that has caused the demand for a U.S. withdrawal from the region to be explicitly expressed today is the negative role that the U.S. has consistently played in the Middle East. 'While we strive to find solutions to the crises, they take the path of obstruction and delay'..."

Share this Report:

'Ghazwa-e-Hind' Magazine Warns Jihadis Against Joining 'Official Jihad' Of Pakistan, Alleges 'Jewish Conspiracy' Behind Passports And Borders

print
January 14, 2020

The full text of this post is available to subscribers.
Please login or register to request subscription information from MEMRI

.

The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

Read More

Senior Hurras Al-Din Official: Hamas Expressions Of Sorrow At The Death of Qassem Soleimani – An Aberration Of Islam

print
January 14, 2020

The full text of this post is available to subscribers.
Please login or register to request subscription information from MEMRI

.

The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

Read More
cta-image

Donate

Donations from readers like you allow us to do what we do. Please help us continue our work with a monthly or one-time donation.

Donate Today
cta-image

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to receive daily or weekly MEMRI emails on the topics that most interest you.
Subscribe
cta-image

Request a Clip

Media, government, and academia can request a MEMRI clip or other MEMRI research, or ask to consult with or interview a MEMRI expert.
Request Clip
Jan 11, 2020
Share Video:

Iranian Analysts: Protesters Are Acting at the Behest of “American Devils”; They Want to See More Bereaved Families; Even If There Are 10 More Similar Plane Incidents, It Will Be Nothing Compared to the "Main Event"

#7729 | 04:48
Source: IRIB Ofogh TV (Iran)

In a panel about the downing of the Ukrainian Airlines passenger plane and the recent protests in Iran, Dr. Mohammadsadegh Koushki of Tehran University said that the protesters who claim to mourn the downing of the plane, are the same people who mourn the attacks on the U.S. bases in Iraq. Dr. Koushki claimed that the protesters were acting at the behest of "American devils." He continued to say that the mission of the protest organizers is to create more bereaved families like in the November 2019 protests. He accused Iranian celebrities and artists of support for the protests. Dr. Koushki lamented: "Do we have to experience the sweetness of our victory over America coupled with the recurrence of the November (2019) incidents?" Dr. Koushki added that U.S. President Trump fantasized about attacking 52 places in Iran, but he couldn't do it so he sent his "soldiers on Instagram and Twitter" to set those places on fire in his stead. Nader Talebzadeh, an Iranian TV host and filmmaker, said that they are protesting the turnout at Qasem Soleimani's funeral and the "might" of the Iranian retaliation against the U.S. killing of Qods Force commander Qasem Soleimani. The show's host, Amir Hossein Sabeti interjected by saying that the protesters want to "exact revenge for this epic week". Sabeti was the former head of the student Basijis at Tehran University faculty of Law and Political Science. Talebzadeh continued to say that even if there will be 10 more incidents similar to the downing of the Ukrainian plane, this would not compare to the magnitude of the "main event", i.e. the missile attacks on the U.S. bases. The host, Sabeti, added that if Iran had really wanted to cover up its role in the incident, it could have claimed that the Americans "messed" with the American Boeing aircraft. The show was aired on January 11, 2020, on the Iranian Ofogh TV, which is considered to be affiliated with the IRGC.

 

Dr. Mohammadsadegh Koushki: "Why would a group of people who view themselves as Iranians and claim to be mourning the incident [of the downing of the Ukrainian airliner], pump such hatred in order to make the November [2019] incidents repeat themselves? Today, they called on people to gather across from Tehran University. Several people showed up and they desecrated a poster of Hajj Qasem Soleimani – the very same Hajj Qasem Soleimani who millions in Iran said they love. Is that incident Qasem Soleimani's fault? Is this why you at Amir Kabir University desecrated his poster? What kind of logic is this? Do you really feel sorry for the victims of this incident and mourn them? Is it Qasem Soleimani's fault? These are the same people who mourn [the missile attack on the U.S. bases]. The Americans were hit with missiles and become mournful, and today, these people issue calls to gather somewhere in Tehran tomorrow. These people who want to gather – what to do they expect to happen? Do they want to resurrect the victims of the incident? That is the question. Or maybe they are acting at the behest of someone. The mission of those who call to gather tomorrow in Tehran or other places is to turn families into bereaved families. If, God forbid, there is a %1 chance that this will happen, the responsibility for the victims of the coming days – in case there is a gathering like in November [2019] – will lie squarely with those American devils who are pumping hatred in our country today. These people are the media hypocrites of today. They call themselves artists, but they place their art in the service of spreading hatred. They call themselves artists and celebrities. If you are a celebrity, why do you call for a gathering where Qasem Soleimani's poster will be desecrated?

 

[...]

 

"Do we have to experience the sweetness of our victory over America coupled with the recurrence of the November [2019] incidents? Do they have to act so freely that they target 40 years of IRGC service?

 

[...]

 

"Trump fantasized about striking 52 points [in Iran] but he couldn't, so now he gave the job to his soldiers on Instagram and Twitter, who work for free, so that they will set those 52 points on fire."

 

[...]

 

Nader Talebzadeh: "We say that there was a mistake by our air-defense. Such mistakes happen in all countries in a time of war.

 

[...]

 

"The people who protest and gather in a certain place – it’s really interesting... They are protesting against three things: They are protesting against the PMU attack on the U.S. embassy [in Baghdad]. They are protesting and they don't like that a huge crowd showed up throughout Iran, and frightened even America... I am talking about the people who came to Qasem Soleimani's unique funeral. [They are also protesting] against Iran's retaliation. This group is upset about all three things and does not like any of them.

 

[...]

 

"These are the same people who are upset that Iran managed to retaliate with might."

 

Amir Hossein Sabeti: "They want to exact revenge for this epic week..."

 

Talebzadeh: "Even if there will be 10 more incidents like [the downing of the Ukrainian plane], they will be nothing compared to the main event [the missile attacks on U.S. bases]. How many times do we have to say... There could be, for example, an incident where a plane hits a mountain. In that case people also become mournful and sad. In this case, the air-defense thought that this was an enemy missile or plane.

 

[...]

 

"There will be more such incidents, and this is a test for us too: How do we treat such things. In how many languages do we have to say that this was a mistake, that we are sorry, and that we will fix what needs to be fixed? [We said this] three days after the incident."

 

Sabeti: "Like Dr. Koushki said, the Ukrainians did not have the evidence to blame us. If we really wanted to cover this up, we could have said that the Americans messed with the plane, which is an American Boeing aircraft."

cta-image

Donate

Donations from readers like you allow us to do what we do. Please help us continue our work with a monthly or one-time donation.

Donate Today
cta-image

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to receive daily or weekly MEMRI emails on the topics that most interest you.
Subscribe
cta-image

Request a Clip

Media, government, and academia can request a MEMRI clip or other MEMRI research, or ask to consult with or interview a MEMRI expert.
Request Clip
Jan 06, 2020
Share Video:

Fatah Anniversary Ceremony: Pledges to take up arms; Model Israeli Settlement Set on Fire

#7728 | 01:55
Source: Palestinian Authority TV

Speaking at an anniversary ceremony for Fatah in Nablus, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, the deputy chairman of the Fatah movement said that the Palestinians' main enemy is "the occupation and America" and he expressed Fatah’s wish for national unity. Another speaker at the ceremony pledged that "Fatah of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade" will return to take up arms. A model of an Israeli settlement was set on fire and a speaker was heard saying that [Fatah] will soon escort the "war criminals" to the International Criminal Court. The ceremony was aired on the Palestinian Authority official TV channel, on January 5, 2020.

 

Mahmoud Al-Aloul: "We say this clearly: Our conflict is with the occupation and with America. Our main enemy is the occupation and America. Other than that, we want to formulate national unity. This is what we do.

 

[...]

 

"We will never allow anyone to go along with what Trump wants with regard to Jerusalem. Therefore, we insist that Jerusalem and Gaza be part of this process."

 

[...]

 

Other Speaker: "Yes! Fatah! Fatah of the Black Panther. Fatah! Hawks of the Fatah. Fatah of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. They will return to their pledge of the past. They will take up arms. We shall escort the war criminals to the [International] Criminal Court. It will be soon and it will be with the support of all of us."

cta-image

Donate

Donations from readers like you allow us to do what we do. Please help us continue our work with a monthly or one-time donation.

Donate Today
cta-image

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to receive daily or weekly MEMRI emails on the topics that most interest you.
Subscribe
cta-image

Request a Clip

Media, government, and academia can request a MEMRI clip or other MEMRI research, or ask to consult with or interview a MEMRI expert.
Request Clip
Jan 12, 2020
Share Video:

IRGC Commander-in-chief General Hossein Salami: I Wish I Had Crashed and Burned with the Ukrainian Plane; I Wish to be “Cut in Pieces and Sacrificed” for the Sake of the Iranian People

#7727 | 05:15
Source: Channel 1 (Iran)

On January 12, 2020, IRGC Commander-in-chief General Hossein Salami briefed the Iranian Majles on the circumstances of the downing of the Ukrainian Airlines passenger plane. He said that on the night of Iran's attack against U.S. bases in Iraq, amidst all the commotion, the air-defense system showed an attack from U.S. cruise missiles, as cruise missiles fly at the same speed as a passenger plane does in low altitudes. General Salami added that "this brother of ours," referring to the system's operator, was momentarily disconnected from the security operations center. General Salami said that the IRGC was the source of the theory that it was an Iranian air-defense missile that had caused the Ukrainian airliner to crash, because of the proximity in time to the attack on the U.S. bases in Iraq, otherwise, no one else would have noticed. General Salami expressed his wish to have crashed and burned on that plane "rather than witness this sad affair." He added that the only thing he and his "brothers" can think about is their wish that "one day we will be cut in pieces and sacrificed for the sake of [the Iranian] people, its wishes and its prosperity." He continued to swear that from now on, the IRGC would "not allow a single Iranian to be harmed even in the slightest way." General Salami's statements were aired on Channel 1, Iranian TV.

 

 

Hossein Salami: "The Americans failed to intercept any of the missiles [fired at Ayn Al Asad Base]. All our missiles, with the exception of two, which in a natural manner, failed and landed in Iranian territory before reaching Iraq... All the other missiles reached [Iraq] and hit their targets.  

 

[...]

 

"We were all prepared. In the midst of all this commotion, we were getting various reports. For example: Our [air-defense] systems received reports about several [U.S.] cruise missiles in the air. All our people manning these systems prepared themselves to destroy the enemy's missiles or airplanes. Since a cruise missile, in terms of speed... In principle, it is a large drone. It has no pilot. Usually, it flies at the same speed as a passenger plane. When planes fly at low altitude... Cruise missiles also usually fly at low altitude. This brother of ours was on his highest alert.

 

[...]

 

"In addition, he had a report about cruise missiles in the air. For moments, he was disconnected from the security operations center.

 

[...]

 

"Our brothers found it suspicious that the firing of the [anti-aircraft missiles] coincided with the plane crash. I must tell you that. As God is my witness, we were the source of the theory that our missile might have hit [the plane] – only because of the timing. If we were not the source for this theory, nobody would have noticed.

 

[...]

 

"As God is my witness, I wish I were on that plane. I would have rather crashed and burned with them than witness this sad affair.

 

[...]

 

"As God is my witness – and I swear by the life of my children... I swear by God, that the only thing my brothers and I can think about is our wish that one day we will be cut in pieces and sacrificed for the sake of this people, its wishes and its prosperity.

 

[...]

 

"Never in my life have I been so ashamed. Never. Never. We may have made a mistake. We did. Some of our compatriots have turned into martyrs because of our mistake. But it wasn't on purpose. We apologize, we are ashamed, and there will be compensation. We will not allow a single Iranian to be harmed even in the slightest way. We are here – strong, steadfast, like a pillar.

 

[...]

 

"Rest assured, as long as we are here, nobody in the world... Even if all the forces united [against us], not a single hair will fall from your heads and the heads of our people.

 

[...]

 

"This regime is the best regime there is. Go and see where in the world there is a regime... Where is there a military force that tries to prove the truth rather than conceal it?"

memri
January 13, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8491

Commanders Of Shi'ite Militias In Iraq Continue To Threaten U.S. Forces While Seeking To Mend Internal Rifts

January 13, 2020
Iran, Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 8491
On January 12, amidst escalating tensions between the U.S. and pro-Iran militias in Iraq, Balad Air Base in northern Iraq, which houses U.S. personnel, was attacked. The attack, which wounded four Iraqis, including two officers, was carried out by a group of fighters who fired eight Katyushas at Balad Air Base according to a statement by the Iraqi military media center. Shortly after the attack, Bashar Al-Sa'adi, the media officer of the Al-Nujaba Movement, a group in the Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), tweeted[1] that the PMU was behind it. "Balad Air Base, where the soldiers of the U.S. occupation are based, was knocked out with several rockets, by the resistance it seems. Death to America." He later deleted the tweet after the Iraqi military announced that the attack led to causalities among Iraqis. (Source: Twitter.com) On January 13, Al-Saadi tweeted[2] again, this time condemning the attack, saying that "the resistance" fighters would never target Iraqis. "What happened in Balad base yesterday is similar to what had happened to the embassy [i.e., U.S. Embassy]. Those who target Iraqis and those who missed targeting the embassy are the same. No targeting for non-Americans in the dictionary of the resistance." In the tweet, he quotes Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, saying that the latter instructed them not to target American civilans, "so [that there would be] no way we would target Iraqis." (Source: Twitter.com) On his side, Akram Al-Kaabi, Secretary-General of the Al-Nujaba Movement in Iraq, made a visit to the family of Qassem Soleimani in Iran, where he pledged, in a video released by his office, that Iraq "will not be safe for the Americans." In the video he further says: "The resistance front will soon retaliate against the perpetrators of this terrorist act."  Addressing Zainab Solemani, Al-Kaabi says: "You have the right to demand revenge and take revenge against the killers of your father, Haj Qassem Soleimani, and you will soon hear news in this regard." He then concludes: "I came here to offer my condolences to you, and I promise that Iraq will no longer be safe for the Americans."[3] Al-Kaabi visiting Soleimani's family (Source: Twitter.com) PMU Commanders Meet In Iran Along with Abu Alaa Al-Walai, leader of Kata'ib Sayyid Al-Shuhada, Al-Kaabi participated in a meeting for PMU leaders with Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr. The meeting, which took place in Qom, Iran, is reportedly part of efforts between the PMU factions to agree on a unified position regarding their new roles following the deaths of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. It is worth noting that Qais Al-Khazali, commander of Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq, was not present at the meeting, yet his media office says his deputy was. Local media[4] in Iraq reported that the meetings discussed reinstating Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to his position following his call[5] to expel U.S. forces from Iraq, a move that was welcomed by pro-Iran elements in Iraq. PMU commanders met with Muqatda Al-Sadr (Source; Al-Nujaba media office) It should also be noted that Hadi Al-Amiri, the new deputy commander of the PMU and commander of the Badr organization traveled to Qom, Iran, where he met separately with Al-Sadr[6]. Rifts Among PMU Commanders The recent meetings between the PMU leaders and Al-Sadr coincides with speculation in Iraqi media about "intractable" rifts among PMU leaders over influence and power that some say have "worsened after the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis". It is worth mentioning that some of the PMU leaders such as Qais Al-Khazali and Akram Al-Kaabi were part of Al-Sadr's Jaish Al-Mahdi militia before they had defected and were later empowered by Soleimani to establish and head their own militias. Al-Sadr himself is said to have been marginalized by Soleimani who saw in Qais Al-Khazali a better candidate for an Iraqi version of Hassan Nasrallah. Meanwhile, photos showing the PMU flag in a recent press conference for the Iranian Air Force Commander of the Revolutionary Guards,[7] reinforces the belief that some PMU commanders are no longer willing to stay under the umbrella of the Iraqi government and feel more comfortable openly aligning with Iran following Soleimani's assassination. PMU flag raised in a recent press conference for the Iranian Air Force Commander of IRGC. [Source: Baghdad Today] Another series of photos that surfaced on Iraqi social media show some PMU leaders holding hands with Esmail Qa'ani, the new commander of the Qods Force. These photos raise questions regarding the future association of the PMU with the Iraqi government, and specifically whether the latter will become a source that provides the PMU with salaries but has no authority over them.   [1] Twitter.com/Hamzoz/status/1216488109635969025, January 12, 2020. [2] Twitter.com/basharsaad1985/status/1216611615270998021, January 12, 2020. [3] Twitter.com/basharsaad1985/status/1216453997978169348, January 12, 2020. [4] Nasnews.com, January 13, 2020. [5] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8483, After His Call To End U.S. Military Presence In Iraq, Adel Abdul-Mahdi Seeks To Be Reinstated As Iraq's Prime Minister With The Support Of Pro-Iran Lawmakers, January 9. 2020. [6] Rudaw.net, January 12, 2020. [7] Baghdadtoday.news, January 9, 2020

Share this Report:

Hamas Military Wing 'Izz Al-‎Din Al-Qassam Brigades Claims Palestinians Subscribed To Military Media Service On WhatsApp 'Highest' In 2019, Says Groups Have More Than 15,000 Arab, Muslim Subscribers

print
January 13, 2020

The full text of this post is available to subscribers.
Please login or register to request subscription information from MEMRI

.

The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

Read More
memri
January 13, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8490

Gulf Cooperation Council Official: Persistent Military And Economic Pressure On Iran Is The Way To Bring it To The Negotiation Table

January 13, 2020
Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates | Special Dispatch No. 8490
In an article in the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, 'Abd Al-'Aziz Hamad Al-Aluwaisheg, assistant secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for political and negotiation affairs, commended the bold military action recently taken by the U.S. against Iran. It is precisely this policy, he said, that can curb Iran's aggression and bring it back to the negotiation table – unlike America's previous policy of overlooking Iran's provocations and avoiding significant military action against it, which failed to achieve these goals. Al-Aluwaisheg called on the U.S. to regard military action as an integral part of its overall strategy vis-à-vis Iran, not just as a temporary and limited measure, since combined military and economic pressure may yield results, while also showing America's allies that it is now serious and consistent in its policy. 'Abd Al-Aziz Hamad Al-Aluwaisheg (Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London) The following are excerpts from his article:[1] Decisive Military Action Will Deter Iran And Also Convince America's Allies Of Its Serious Intentions "The U.S. made two significant moves lately that can affect the developments in the region by deterring Iran and bringing it [back] to the negotiation table after it has long tried to avoid this. On December 29, [2019] the U.S. bombed five military facilities of the Hizbullah Brigades, an Iraqi organization close to Qassem Soleimani, in retaliation for this militia's firing of 30 missiles on coalition bases in Kirkuk, which caused the death of an American contractor and the wounding of several soldiers. On January 3, 2020, a U.S. drone [strike] killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of the so-called Qods Force and the mastermind behind Iran's actions in the region, as well as several of his aides, after his agents attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. "These two events were surprising, because they were conspicuous in their bold, daring and direct confrontation of Iran, and because they came after several months in which the U.S. avoided responding to Iran's provocations. A decisive response of this kind is crucial in order to demonstrate America's sincerity and convince Iran that there will be devastating consequences to its provocations and its stubborn [attempts] to determine the political future of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen against the will of their peoples and even if this requires the use of force. "But in order for these blows to be effective in deterring Iran, the American military pressure must persist, along with the economic pressure, whenever Iran and its agents carry out another escapade, and this must be accompanied by diplomatic efforts more energetic than the ones made until now. An accepted principle in foreign policy is that diplomacy is not effective unless accompanied by military and economic pressure (sanctions and other economic tools). Similarly, military achievements will not yield the desired results unless accompanied by diplomatic action that translates them into political profit. "The weakening of the [Iraqi] Hizbullah Brigades and the assassination of Qassem Soleimani are two good examples of the diplomacy of force, but they will not be sufficient to change Iran's behavior unless the latter is convinced that they represent a long-term strategy with clear goals, rather than isolated events in response to a specific provocation. "U.S. policy considers negotiation as the only way to resolve the crisis in Iran's [relations] with the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf and beyond. Paradoxically, the American attacks in Iraq will [actually] increase the likelihood of this happening. Iran has been escalating [the crisis] for years, and especially in the past year – but it never encountered any meaningful response, so it had no incentive to negotiate and nothing to lose by using violence and refusing to conduct negotiations. In other words, the policy of turning a blind eye [to Iran's actions] and keeping quiet did nothing to curb Iran's appetite for adventures, with Soleimani representing the highest degree of this adventurousness. Now That Soleimani Is Gone, It Is Possible To Weaken The Hardliners He Represented "But now the situation has changed, and if the U.S. responses continue at the same level, Iran will [suddenly] see the benefit of negotiations as an alternative to the method of force, aggression and destruction. "Some observers point to the feelings of sorrow and fury over Soleimani's death, and infer that Iran is now interested only in revenge and is not thinking rationally. That is true, but we must consider that the funeral ceremonies and the displays of support [for Soleimani] were coordinated and orchestrated on the official level, and do not necessarily reflect enthusiastic [popular] support for Soleimani and for continuing his path. We must not confuse these temporary displays [of support] with the long-term interests of the Iranian regime. "It is a well-known fact that Soleimani was an embarrassing figure for moderate Iranians, and it is no secret that some government officials regarded him as an obstacle to their efforts to enact a different foreign policy. Some Iranians saw him as an instrument of oppression in the domestic arena and an instrument of war in the external one. Moreover, they held him responsible for perpetrating war crimes that undermined Iran's historical relations with the [rest of] the region. Soleimani's opponents obviously cannot express their true feelings in [the present] charged atmosphere, but [now] that he is gone from the political arena, it is possible to weaken the radical elements he represented... "In other words, the atmosphere in Iran and Iraq does not make negotiation, the [option] Trump favors, very difficult to realize. On the contrary, it may make [this option] easier to achieve, now that Trump has rendered the option of Iranian expansion and refusal to negotiate unprofitable [for Iran]. True, the leader of the Iranian revolution [Ali Khamenei] rejected [the option of] dialogue with Trump, but what is needed is not open-ended negotiations, which the other sides reject as well, but rather negotiations on specific issues, based on principles agreed-upon by everyone. "The negotiations do not have to be bilateral, between the U.S. and Iran, but should be multilateral, between Iran and all the sides that are harmed by its policy. The GCC has already clarified the principles that should underpin the relations between countries of the region, and Iran was informed of this when it proposed [to conduct] a regional dialogue. These principles include commitment to the U.N. charter, which demands to respect the international borders, the political independence and the territorial integrity of neighboring nation-states. They also include a commitment to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs [of other countries] and from using force and civil war to attain political goals. "To increase the chances of successful negotiations on all issues, not just on the nuclear issue, it is crucial to maintain the military and economic pressure [on Iran], along with an ongoing diplomatic track with clear goals that will be determined through consultation, especially with the countries of the region. "The diplomatic activity of the present U.S. administration is clearly limited, compared to that of the previous [administration], and this has caused the [U.S] policy vis-à-vis Iran to gain insufficient support, [both] inside and outside the U.S. Launching [this policy] in the U.S. will initially be difficult, given the election period, since many [Americans] view the administration's actions with a degree of skepticism – but internal support is crucial [given the challenging nature of the tasks ahead]. For example, American diplomacy faces the difficult task of convincing some of its allies and partners of the serious and ongoing [character] of its strategy vis-à-vis Iran, and the effectiveness of its means. In the recent days, [the U.S.] has come a long way towards convincing the skeptics by proving that it is able to take bold and direct military action against Iran."   [1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 8, 2020.

Share this Report:

memri
January 13, 2020 MEMRI Daily Brief No. 205

The Making Of A President?

January 13, 2020 | By Yigal Carmon
Iran | MEMRI Daily Brief No. 205
A few months ago, due to the repeated haplessness of President Trump in the face of major Iranian provocations, I wrote a scathing article titled "No Principles, No Dignity, No Power, No Deterrence",[1] in which I argued that apparently the comprehension that principles, dignity and power translate into deterrence, and prevent escalation into a more costly war, was beyond Trump's understanding as a great hotelier. Today, I must salute him; he has clearly undergone a major change. Today, he seems to understand that leadership is not deal making and particularly not deals with evil. Finally, he understands that the art of the deal belongs to the commercial world, and as a leader of the one superpower responsible for the free world's security, he must stand on principles, yes even on dignity and the readiness to apply power when absolutely necessary. In the operation to take out Qassem Soleimani he reversed all the elements of weakness that characterized his prior conduct. This time the national security team he commanded showed intelligence, technological and political superiority and politically surprised the Iranian adversary and all this combined into deterrence. The scared and deterred Iranian regime was extremely careful not to take American lives in their response, that merits a global innovation prize for waging war without casualties (except for smashed plastic crockery).[2]  Just as the Iranians did not dare to make good their threats, so the Pyongyang Rocketman did not dare play Santa with his promised Christmas present– he too feared a "disproportionate response" by Trump. Those guided by Trump's previous track record view his dramatic strike on Soleimani as yet another sign of capricious behavior. They scoff: he simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed; he needed to kick start his election campaign and so on. They refuse to credit him with undergoing a profound change. Only Trump's response to future crises will tell whether the Soleimani operation, was a one-off based on an instinctive response rather than an assumption of presidential responsibility and leadership. However, Trump's follow up moves after the crisis, attest to a genuine change. For example the policy of combining a halt to further escalation, with standing tough to every Iranian demand and threat. Yesterday, (January 12, 2020) he tweeted: "Actually, I couldn't care less if they negotiate,"[3] showing his deep comprehension that negotiating with evil is both futile and self-defeating. Trump, as is well known, is ready to quit both Iraq and Afghanistan but not as a defeated power as Soleimani wanted, and as the Taliban seek. Ever since the crisis, we do not hear Trump talking about a deal with an Iran that attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad and was a hairbreadth away from capturing it and taking the embassy staff hostage or worse. Instead, Trump sends his encouragement to the protesters seeking the downfall of the dictatorial regime." To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage."[4] He gets it: Confrontation with evil is unavoidable because evil pursues you even if you try to avoid it. The choice is between standing up or being humiliatingly defeated, and President Trump rejects defeat. In my previous critical article, I questioned Trump's gesture of restoring the bust of Churchill, which Barack Obama had banished from the Oval Office because he believed in peace through appeasement.  At the time, Trump's gesture seemed to me a hollow one, since his actual policy was the opposite of Churchillian. However, in the way he handled the current crisis vs. Iran, he intuitively began to display Churchillian principles.  The deterrence that he achieved extends beyond Iran to other rogue leaders in the Middle East and globally. Whoever had the courage to take out Soleimani, is apparently willing to stand up to other bullies.  Trump set red lines, and as opposed to his predecessor, he stuck to them. Trump's success in the confrontation with Iran is a learning experience for his presidency and America's adversaries and friends. It could mark Trump's personal metamorphosis from celebrating a deal where there is no deal to be made, to growing into the role of fighting evil, which even in victory is a heartbreaking and tragic role for a president and leader of the free world.   [1] See MEMRI Daily Brief No. 198, No Principles, No Dignity, No Power, No Deterrence, September 19, 2019. [2] A reference to the ridicule heaped on Iran by the Islamist Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS): "The losses at an American base resulting from the Iranian attacks include: 12 tea cups, 6 plastic plates, 6 forks, 5 spoons, a gas stove, a pair of plastic slippers (may Allah honor you), half a kilo of sugar, two stacks of bread, and two cans of sardines bought with credit at the Salih Al-Samman Shop." [3] Twitter.com/realdonaldtrump, January 11, 2020. [4] Twitter.com/realdonaldtrump, January 12, 2020.

Share this Report:

Pages