Tuesday, July 29, 2014
It's now all about disarming Hamas
Fragmentation of the Middle-East is headed faster than ever sprouting from Saudi Arabia's stubborn resolve to crush Hamas seen as a branch of Muslim Brotherhood.
It arises from apprehensions concerning the Ikhwans of Arabia going back to the early 1900s. In 1902 (almost 80 years after being sacked by the Ottomans), Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud with some 60 of his brothers and cousins rode out into the desert to restore the rule of Al Saud. He recaptured Riyadh. But to conquer all of the Arabian Peninsula he needed the help of the nomadic Bedouins called ‘Ikhwan’ or Muslim Brothers who were recognized warriors wanting to spread their brand of Islam throughout the Middle East. With the help of the Ikhwans, Abdul Aziz captured province after province of the vast desert shedding plenty of blood. But the Ikhwans were still restless and wanted to take over regions beyond Arabia. When Abdul Aziz disagreed, the Ikhwans rebelled. With the endorsement of al-Wahab religious authority who have been the "moral guardians" of the Sauds, Abdul Aziz crushed the Ikhwans, declared himself "king" in the 1930s and gave his name to the entire Arabian peninsula. Around the same time, a conscientious young schoolteacher, Hassan al-Banna, established a different branch of 'Muslim Brotherhood' in Egypt which was a peaceful social-welfare organization that gained considerable popularity among the Egyptian middle-class. Brotherhood network gradually stretched across Egypt, Gaza, Jordan and Syria. But with the passage of time, the ideology established by Hassan al-Banna changed and Brotherhood began voicing its own school of Salafiism as a formidable rival of the al-Wahab Salafiists in Saudi Arabia. Thus, once again the Sauds began looking upon the 'Ikhwans' as a threat.
Coming to the present:
Between Saudi Arabia, USA, Israel, Egypt and UAE, the goal is to disarm and disband Hamas while every other issue takes the back seat. On the opposite side are Qatar and Turkey supporting Hamas. Qatar's relations have lately soured tremendously with the House of Saud. Ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim, was awfully disappointed on Saudi Arabia's rigid stance against Hamas and treating other gulf countries like puppet states of the Saudi kingdom.
Hamas isn't welcomed in Egypt either, and Turkey isn't on good terms with post-Morsi Egypt. The unofficial or secret Egyptian initiative on the Palestinian issue refuses to condemn Israeli crimes against Gaza. It also refuses to highlight the rights of the Palestinian people under occupation in both Gaza and the West Bank. Despite the blatant bias, Saudi Arabia has firmly endorsed the Egyptian initiative with no alternatives. No wonder Israeli officials have recently been hinting on their security cooperation with Egypt and the gulf states and asking for Saudi / UAE cooperation for disarming Hamas. As recently as mid July 2014, an Israeli daily wrote of Israel’s plan proposing to the United Nations for providing $50 billion to rebuild Gaza after disarming Hamas. Likewise, sources close to Hamas and Islamic Jihad are abuzz with news on lucrative offers coming from the gulf states to Mahmoud Abbas for the the same purpose. The immediate Saudi / UAE assignment is to garner support for the Egyptian 'scheme.' While the world expected Egypt to be an honest broker for providing relief to the Palestinians abused and stifled by the 66-year-old occupation, Egypt instead decided to worsen their ordeal based on its own selfish whims.
The complication goes on ....
Chances of Riyadh / Tehran rapprochement couldn't be slimmer after Iran's willingness to cooperate with Iraq to confront and halt ISIL operations in Iraq. Furthermore, Iran is now selling higher quality and cheaper super light crude (or condensate) to China that leaves little room for U.S. crude to enter the market for the world's top energy consumer. China has already finalized annual contracts with Tehran and is not expected to take any U.S. oil in the short-term. That's not only annoying for the US but the Sauds are no less glowing with fury and jealousy.
Mahmoud Abbas was supposed to visit Riyadh for talks on Hamas with the Saudi king but the visit was abruptly called off. Reportedly Abbas didn't agree with the Saudi proposal which suggested to send Palestinian soldiers from the West Bank to the Rafah Border to demonstrate their willingness for disarming Hamas and Islamic Jihad with full financial support from Saudi Arabia and UAE. Abbas felt it was too dangerous a move and would likely ignite a civil war in Palestine with national unity becoming history forever. Abbas' reversal of policy and the dire need for national reconciliation as first priority has been unexpected for Israel and its allies. Surprisingly he confirmed accepting the conditions of the Palestinian resistance. Presently in a scenario as dim as this, Abbas (a well-known dissembler) happens to be the only friend of the Palestinian resistance factions. His sudden volte-face is apparently an indication of conceding defeat from the resistance factions, their rising popularity and his own dwindling image in comparison. The other silver lining reflects another surprising element. The US isn't showing much enthusiasm for the Egyptian initiative. Have the Americans sensed that it's a bad idea which will unite and strengthen the Palestinian resistance movements in Gaza who would never agree to any of the conditions of the Egyptian brokerage plan and instead, adamantly decide the course of future action independently?
Category:: Unveiling dirty secrets.