Short overview of the Greater Middle East: Iran, Turkey, Palestine and Saudi Arabia

Short overview of the Greater Middle East: Iran, Turkey, Palestine and Saudi Arabia

Breaking news. The Iran negotiations in Vienna have now ended, a draft treaty has been drawn up, and it is now up to the USA and Iran whether they agree to it. No further details, including the content, can be found.

„Nuclear talks with Iran ended According to a diplomat, negotiations to restore the nuclear deal have been completed. Now the participating states have to decide

The EU has declared the Vienna negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program and American sanctions to be over. The text for an agreement is on the table, said a senior EU official on Monday in Vienna. It is the best possible compromise that clarifies all open questions to date. There is no further room for negotiation. Now „the ball is in the capitals“. In effect, this means that the decision must be made by the governments in Tehran and Washington. It is about a return to the rules of the 2015 agreement, called the JCPOA, which provided for strict limitation and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program and lifting of international sanctions against the country. The United States, and subsequently Iran, have meanwhile flouted the agreement. A crucial issue lies outside of the EU-coordinated JCPOA negotiations: Iran is demanding that the International Atomic Energy Agency draw a line under its investigations into alleged top-secret nuclear tests by Iran in the past.”

It remains to be seen whether both will agree to this, since the negotiating positions were quite different at the beginning. The USA emphasized that there would not be a simple return to the JCPOA, while Iran didn´t want to see its missile programs as well as foreign policy expansion and proxy wars in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and Iraq put at risk, moreover, Iran is now on the verge of the degree of enrichment for a nuclear weapon. The Revolutionary Guards also emphasize that with the new underground nuclear facility in Fordow, a US-Israeli military strike such as that last drill during the US-Israeli Chariots of Fire maneuvers can no longer stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program, even the use of earthpenetrators and Nuclear weapons could no longer reverse this development. They also make it clear that a nuclear Iran should not only be directed against Israel in the medium and long term, but would also be directed against Israel´s allies in the West, such as the EU and the USA:

“Iran says it will ‘build nuclear warheads’ and turn NY into ‘hellish ruins’

The video declared Iran’s regime can move its “peaceful nuclear program to a nuclear weapons program” at a fast pace.


Published: JULY 31, 2022 06:32

Updated: JULY 31, 2022 15:46

Iran expert Ben Sabti tweeted that an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) “Telegram channel threatens to produce atomic warhead for missiles,” citing the channel’s message: “Iran can immediately return to Emad project and build an atomic bomb if Natanz facilities are attacked.”

#BREAKING#Iran #IRGC Telegram channel threatens to produce atomic war head for missiles: „Iran can immediately return to Emad project and build an #ATOM bomb, if Natanz facilities are attacked“.

— BenSabti (@BeniSabti) July 30, 2022

The Emad, cited in the message, is an Iranian long-range missile.

The IRGC-linked Bisimchi Media (Radioman Media) Telegram channel published a video titled „When Will Iran’s Sleeping Nuclear Warheads Awaken,“ according to the London-based Iran International news outlet. 

Turning New York into hellish ruins

The short video declares that Iran’s regime will develop nuclear weapons in a rapid-fire period of time “if the US or the Zionist regime make any stupid mistakes.”

Per Iran International, the video states that Iran’s ballistic missiles have the capability of “turning New York into hellish ruins,” in an ostensible reference to Iran’s space program.

“The nuclear facilities of Fordow have been built deep under mountains of Iran and are protected against trench-busting bombs and even nuclear explosion“

“The nuclear facilities of Fordow have been built deep under mountains of Iran and are protected against trench-busting bombs and even nuclear explosion… all infrastructures required for nuclear breakout have been prepared in it,” the video said, according to Iran International.

The news organization paraphrased the video as stating that “the facilities at Natanz may be highly vulnerable to a possible attack by Western powers and Israel but Fordow will immediately assume war footing and begin the nuclear breakout project within a short time if Natanz comes under missile attack.”

The video declared that the regime can move its “peaceful nuclear program to a nuclear weapons program” at a fast pace.

According to the report, the video noted that Iran’s uranium enrichment process to build a nuclear weapon in the underground facilities of Fordow, near Qom, has enabled it to be on the brink of nuclear breakout and membership in the club of nuclear powers.

Any compromise will be rejected by hardliners in the USA, Iran and Israel, especially since Biden is now also considering buying oil from Venezuela and Iran, but the midterm elections are also taking place in 2022 and the Republicans, the neocons, AIPAC and the Trumpists are fighting a new Iran deal and will portray Biden as an appeaser, especially since the cruciial pointthat such a Irandeal  may again be delaying a nuclear Iran, but not include the final prevention of a nuclear Iran, as has been repeatedly demanded. Maybe Biden will take his time until the midterm elections are over and the matter will not be officially touched on.

Second topic: Erdogan Turkey and his meeting with Putin. At the Putin-Erdogan meeting (after the Russia, Turkey, Iran meeting), Erdogan seemed to have hoped for the green light from Russia for his northern Syrian offensive. This does not seem to have happened, although there may also have been such diplomatic bargaining chips as NATO membership for Finland and Sweden (still not ratified by Turkey’s alibi parliament, especially since the Minister of Justice again branded both states, as well as Germany and the USA, as terrorist supporters) and any deliveries of drones, which apparently Iran has now taken over, were up for negotiation. The skyrocketing inflation in Turkey and the fall of the lira have caused Erdogan’s popularity to plummet, including among AKP supporters. In addition, the mood in Turkey towards the Syrian refugees is becoming increasingly hostile, especially since the CHP is also chanting slogans like “Syrians out of Turkey! “. In his view, Erdogan’s northern Syria offensive had several goals. First the fight against the Kurds, then the repatriation and settlement of northern Syria with the loyal Assad opponent Arabs, who bring relief to Turkey, all of which is also supported by secular Turks, and he also wants to build a bridgehead for the neo-Ottoman Empire in Syria with the perspective of toppling Assad one day by means of the bridgehead, the Muslim brothers supported by Erdogan and other Islamist murder-burning militias. However, like Assad and Iran, Putin does not seem interested. That makes it more likely that Erdogan will now change direction. Be it that he wants to renegotiate the refugee deal with the EU and/or is now turning more to Greece, as indicated by the current gas drilling in the Aegean. He will not be satisfied with the extradition of a few PKK and Gülen supporters by Western states, provided that they come about at all.

The grain export agreement between Ukraine and Russia was a diplomatic masterpiece by Erdogan and apparently the Russians don’t want to gain the reputation of being the world hunger killers – despite the shelling of Odessa. But the grain agreement does not solve the economic dissatisfaction of most Turks and the self-inflicted economic crisis in Turkey. Since an offensive in northern Syria does not seem opportune at the moment, one can read:

“Turkey provokes Greece: will the dispute go to the next round? Created: 08/09/2022 10:36 am Tensions between Turkey and Greece escalated again after Turkey dispatched a drillship to the Mediterranean.

 Istanbul/Athens – Turkey wants to send another gas drilling ship to explore the Mediterranean Sea. The „Abdülhamid Han“ is to be dispatched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, the state news agency Anadolu reported. Destination and route are not yet known. Neighboring Greece in particular is keeping a very close eye on Turkish gas explorations – also because Turkey has not shied away from researching in areas that Athens claims for itself in the past. Given that relations are at a low ebb, the mission seems particularly delicate.”

 A former German ambassador commented on this as follows:

 “In any case, I agree with your analyzes of the Erdogan-Putin meeting and the grain agreement. On Greece and gas: 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the Lausanne Agreement. It is fundamentally called into question by Erdogan’s policies, especially with regard to the Dodecanese (Rhodes, Kos, etc.). I expect an escalation in the TUR-GR relationship in 2023. How far Erdogan is willing to go cannot be predicted at the moment. Erdogan is an „occasionalist“, i.e. he thinks less strategically than tactically and uses every opportunity to gain foreign policy power as the situation requires. Nobody can predict with certainty what the international situation will be like in 2023.”

Palestine/Israel: After killing a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, the latter now fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, some of which were intercepted but also resulting in no Israeli deaths, afterwards Israel launched some lossy airstrikes against the Gaza Strip and threatened to invade Gaza. Islamic Jihad, which has fewer members but more weapons, rockets and money than Hamas, mainly due to donations from Iran, especially since it relies almost exclusively on armed struggle and terrorism, and also has more hard core religious-Islamist ideas than Hamas, which is more oriented towards the Muslim Brotherhood, also wanted to expose the Islamist competitior Hamas and force them to take a stand, but Hamas only called for action in East Jerusalem, also in view of the actions of nationalist Israeli groups there, but did not fire rockets of solidarity for Islamic Jihad and before there could be any further escalation, Egypt’s President Al Sissi brokered a ceasefire, which has been observed so far, especially since Israel has now opened the border crossings to Gaza again. The Palestinians should actually be rebelling against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in view of the disastrous economic and political situation, which cannot only be explained by Israel’s blockade of Gaza, but it seems that, a revolution in the West Bank against the Palestinian Authority seems to be more imminent PLO member Barghouti and Kidwa and Hamas are now planning to topple  Abbas in the West Bank, be it via a palace revolt, be it through new elections, be it through a new intifada. Will there be another intifada, a Palestinian spring, which will then turn into an Islamist Hamas winter?

“Palestinians demand elections as discontent with leadership grows

PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS: Abdel Kareem Salameh: „The people want change. These are the initial signs of a revolt against the Palestinian leadership.“


Published: AUGUST 5, 2022 11:45

Hundreds of Palestinian political activists and academics are preparing a petition to demand that the Palestinian Authority leadership hold general elections without delay.

The new petition, which will be announced in the coming weeks, reflects the widespread discontent with the Ramallah-based leadership. It also reflects the acute crisis that the PA leadership has been facing in recent weeks in light of protests by lawyers, engineers and teachers and the increased activities of gunmen in the northern West Bank.

The demand for holding new elections comes more than a year after PA President Mahmoud Abbas called off the parliamentary and presidential elections, which were supposed to have taken place in May and July 2021.

Although the 87-year-old Abbas cited Israel’s refusal to allow the elections to take place in Jerusalem, many Palestinians argue that the real reason he called off the elections was his fear of losing the vote to his rivals in Hamas. He does not want to see his fragmented Fatah faction suffer another humiliation, similar to the one in 2006, when Hamas won the parliamentary election.

“The Palestinian situation is complicated, and it is getting more complicated every day,” Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a former presidential candidate, told the Palestinian website Safa. “We are now working, together with a large group of personalities and parties, on an initiative to issue a document, signed by thousands of people, calling for holding general elections without delay.”

“We are now working, together with a large group of personalities and parties, on an initiative to issue a document, signed by thousands of people, calling for holding general elections without delay.”

Mustafa Barghouti

According to Barghouti, the main purpose of the new initiative is to emphasize the principle of democratic partnership and a unified national leadership.

“Now is the time for people to regain their right to democracy and elections,” he said. “If the people do not see a democratic way to obtain their rights, they will resort to violence, and this is what we are witnessing recently.”

Barghouti’s new campaign came days after a similar move by Nasser al-Kidwa, a former PA foreign minister, who was expelled from the ruling Fatah faction last year after announcing his intention to run in the parliamentary elections on a separate list.

Kidwa, a nephew of former PLO leader Yasser Arafat, launched his campaign under the title “National Rescue Initiative” with the aim of pressuring the PA leadership to endorse major reforms and changes in the Palestinian political system and institutions. Dozens of Palestinian figures have signed on to Kidwa’s initiative.

“We present this initiative over one year after the cancellation of the presidential and legislative elections and the insistence in February this year on the convening of the PLO Central Council in a manner that was legally and politically flawed,” read a statement issued by Kidwa and his team.

“Amid the continued severe deterioration of all aspects of Palestinian life, which has been met with political complacency, this initiative is an effort at preventing imminent collapse. We seek to push toward a national mobilization that can effect deep, extensive change to the Palestinian political system and rebuild its institutions, with the aim of empowering our people to confront the massive and national existential threats that we face.”

The initiatives by Barghouti and Kidwa are seen by Palestinian political analysts as a direct challenge to Abbas and the PA leadership’s authoritarian rule.

Is Mahmoud Abbas worried?

So far, however, Abbas and his top aides don’t seem to be worried at all by the calls for reforms and elections. Nor do they seem to be concerned about the possibility of an uprising against them.

The Palestinian security forces remain loyal to the PA and in control of the situation, and there are no signs that this is about to change anytime in the near future.

“The people behind these initiatives are saying enough is enough,” said political analyst Abdel Kareem Salameh. “The people want change; they are saying that they don’t agree with the way President Abbas and those around him are managing the affairs of the Palestinians. These are the initial signs of a revolt against the Palestinian leadership.”

Encroachment on the judicial system

The PA leadership has in recent weeks been facing an unprecedented protest by hundreds of Palestinian lawyers against Abbas’s “encroachment” on the judicial system, Salameh pointed out.

The lawyers are opposed to Abbas’s moves to create laws or amendments through “presidential decrees” in the absence of the Palestinian parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council, which has been paralyzed since 2007, when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip.

Abbas’s decrees are seen by Palestinian legal experts and human rights activists as another sign of his disregard for the independence of the judicial system and the interests of the Palestinian people.

The lawyers are now threatening to step up their protests in the coming days, a move that would effectively paralyze the entire judiciary and pave the way for more scenes of anarchy and lawlessness in the West Bank.

In addition to the lawyers, unions representing Palestinian engineers and teachers have also launched their own protests, accusing the PA government of failure to implement agreements to improve their work conditions and raise their salaries.

The protests of the lawyers, engineers and teachers, however, are not the only challenge facing the Palestinian leadership.

The main problems: Abbas’s absolute control, anarchy and lawlessness

For many Palestinians, the main problem remains Abbas’s absolute control of the decision-making process and his refusal to share powers with others. In addition, many Palestinians are worried about the anarchy and lawlessness in their communities.

Abbas’s recent decision to appoint his top confidant, Hussein al-Sheikh, to the post of secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee has infuriated not only his longtime political opponents, but several senior officials of Fatah. These veteran officials see the decision as an attempt on the part of Abbas to pave the way for the 61-year-old Sheikh to become the next PA president.

“In the past few years, the Palestinian Authority has been run by three people only,” said a veteran Fatah official who previously served as a cabinet minister. “In addition to Abbas and Hussein al-Sheikh, the head of the General Intelligence Service, Majed Faraj, has also emerged as a dominant and influential actor in the Palestinian political arena. Many people are challenging the trio’s right to represent them.”

Meanwhile, the security situation on the ground, especially in the northern West Bank, appears to have compounded the challenges facing Abbas and the PA leadership.

In the largest cities there, Nablus and Jenin, there is a feeling that the PA has lost control due to the increased activities and presence of gunmen belonging to Fatah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Abbas is reluctant to rein in the armed groups, because he knows that he would face a backlash from the Palestinian public. He is already facing sharp criticism for refusing to implement resolutions of Fatah and PLO institutions to halt the security coordination and suspend all signed agreements with Israel. He can’t afford to be seen as a subcontractor for the Israeli Defense Ministry’s war on terrorism.

Abbas knows he and his policies are disliked

ABBAS IS undoubtedly aware of the widespread resentment against him and his policies.

In the past few days, an online campaign calling on him to step down has resurfaced, with many Palestinians accusing him of “collaboration” with Israel, cracking down on political opponents, corruption and imposing economic sanctions on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

He is also undoubtedly aware of recent public opinion polls that show that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians want him to resign.

The recent shooting attack against former Hamas minister Nasser al-Shaer in the village of Kafr Kallil near Nablus has reinforced the feeling that the PA security forces are losing control of the situation. Hamas claims that the attack, which left Shaer moderately wounded in the legs, was carried out by Fatah members who are linked to the PA security services.

The attack is seen by many Palestinians in the context of the PA’s effort to silence its critics and deter others from speaking out against Abbas and the top brass of the Palestinian leadership.

Blame Israel for everything

The PA leadership, meanwhile, continues to hold Israel solely responsible for the security and political crises. In a meeting with US Congress members in Ramallah this week, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh again accused Israel of systematically sabotaging the two-state solution through its actions on the ground.

“We will continue to work to break the fait accompli that Israel is trying to impose on our land and our people,” Shtayyeh said, totally ignoring the challenges facing the PA leadership from its political opponents and the armed gangs in the northern West Bank.

“The Palestinian leadership continues to bury its head in the sand,” remarked another political analyst. “Most people are no longer interested in the talk about a two-state solution, because they realize it won’t work. That’s why they are now focusing their attention and efforts on the need to fix all the problems at home. The people want elections, democracy and an end to the chaos and lawlessness. If the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah does not wake up, we may soon see a popular rebellion against Abbas.”

Developments in Saudi Arabia are also interesting. Today a very interesting article in the FAZ about the modernization in SA. It seems now to be returning to the more „liberal“ conditions of the 1970s, before the Sauds established a repressive religious system following the 1979 storming of the Mecca mosque due to the rise of Islamism, with Muhammed Bin Salam now realizing his vision 2030 from infrastructure programs to new industrial settlements and economic reforms. No political or democratic reforms, no conditions in the leisure sector with real nightclubs like in Lebanon, but „The whole country is a disco“ (FAZ). But the bleeding of the villages, the increasing rural-urban divide, income differences, resistance and resentment from Islamists and traditionalists and parts of the poorer population, who cannot afford many things, from rents to shopping malls and the shisha bar, are also addressed and form a recruitment pool for a possible backlash, which lurks behind the glitter facades similar to the Shah of Iran and his White Revolution.

„Saudi Arabia: Between high-tech and holy places In Saudi Arabia, social change is as rapid as the modern high-speed train „Haramain Express“. Many do not recognize their country. But freedom has limits that hardly anyone dares to approach.”

The German ex-ambassador quoted above comes to similar conclusions as earlier BND assessments of MBS and SA:

“Thank you for your note and wise review which I share. The big problem seems to me to be the concentration of power in MBS, a problematic personality who has made many enemies. A system based on one man’s rule is not necessarily stable, although it may appear so on the outside. I would continue to classify S-A as a critical observation case.”

MBS has also made a lot of enemies. On the one side within the royal family—think of the mass arrests of the other crown princes (albeit staying in luxury hotels) and the Wahhabi clergy. Even in Jordan, previously assumed to be stable, an attempted coup by a member of the royal family was recently prevented – although Jordan’s dynastic and royal family relationships are easier to understand than those of  SA. This concentration of power can also have negative effects. Be it in the sense of erratic action or if there were follow-up battles in the event of an assassination attempt on MBS. In addition, it was often not the case that urbanization processes automatically allowed modernizing states to become more secular and liberal, but rather that a large number of rural populations with very archaic and traditional values ​​entered the metropols and became   that a recruitment pool for Islamists and opponents of modernization concentrationg in the mosques around the bazaars and they considered the urban elites and middle classes to be immoral, decadent and antisocial and godless enemies, (religious) morality and social envy there produced an explosive mixture, such as in Iran under the Shah. Saturated democratic, urban and more hedonistic middle-class forces have it much more difficult in terms of mass support, organization and willingness to fight and would be fought more strongly by MBS than any Islamist.

Kommentare sind geschlossen.