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[–]penelopepnortneyBecome ungovernable[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Related: Napolitano interview w/Col. Douglas Macgregor: Escalation at Israel’s Borders, starting with Israel's killing of Egyptian soldiers at the Philadelphia corridor (Macgregor talking unless noted otherwise):

We're looking at this through the lens of Egypt vs Israel but it's actually regional, almost global in its importance.

Starting at the lowest level: the treaty from 1973 gave control of the border crossing at Rafah and the so-called Philadelphia corridor to Egypt. Israel now insisting they must control the Philadelphia corridor to prevent aid for Hamas from slipping through.

This isn't going down well in Egypt. Egypt in very precarious position, it's the largest Arab state in the region, the Nile River and Suez canal give it enormous geostrategic power and influence in the region. Egypt is also in internal turmoil: a serious debt problem, a population of 100 million living on infrastructure designed for 30 million. Sisi on very shaky ground, widely viewed as US and/or Israel puppet. If he doesn't respond in some decisive way w/the use of force against the Israelis, he stands an excellent chance of being removed from power. I'm told by someone who just returned from Egypt that the sense on the street is that war with Israel is inevitable, they see it as incomprehensible that Sisi and other Arab leaders would stand by and watch the Israelis slaughter thousands in Gaza and do nothing.

At the same time, something of enormous strategic importance is happening, the Arab-Chinese summit in Beijing; where you have Sisi and his delegation from Egypt, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia with his delegation and the United Arab Emirates all gathered in Beijing to talk to the Chinese.

There's a growing consensus among the Arabs in the region that the US and its influence in the region needs to be stopped or at least drastically curtailed to the point of irrelevance because it's seen as the power that underwrites the rogue state of Israel.

At this conference they're going to look at a number of things, including the criticality of trade and commerce between the Middle East and China, specifically the North-South Transport Corridor that runs from Russia to the southern port of Iran at Chabahar that will facilitate trade between the Arab states, India, Russia and China. This route is a more secure and more attractive alternative to the standard route that goes through the Suez Canal. It also avoids Israel, that's important because we were trying with the Abraham Accords and our own notion of an India-Middle East-Europe connection to build something that would favor and support Israel's interests. That's over.

If Sisi's the man I think he is, he's in Beijing asking China to invest in Egypt as an alternative to the $3 billion/year they've gotten from the US, and I think China will say yes. And I think the Saudis who are talking about investing in that Iranian port along with India is right on board with Sisi as the UAE will be. So what's dying in the Middle East is any semblance of US strategic power and influence, we're now entirely isolated along with Israel. No one trusts or believes us and they want to do business in spite of us.

The other strategic sea change is the sudden decision in Berlin, for instance, to say that if Netanyahu comes to Germany he could be arrested because of the ICC. Macron has said the same thing, and Spain, Norway and Ireland have all recognized Palestinian statehood. Things are moving in directions no one thought was possible. And this isn't just about Israel, it's a signal to the US: we're prepared to move on without you.

Germany is moving inch by inch intellectually, mentally and strategically toward Russia, we're going to see a definitive break between the US and Berlin in the months ahead, it's the only way Germany can ever recover economically and hold its society together. And what happens in the Middle East is inextricably entwined with that German need. Historically Germany had good trade relations with Iran and with Turkey. The Turks who are at least in theory are still part of NATO and allied with the US are having to choose sides as well and they can't support us in what we're trying to do as we support Israel.

Re: Ukraine, Macgregor thinks that the saber rattling is a facade, that of the 32 or 33 NATO members only a handful seriously contemplate a war with Russia. Even Macron seems to have toned down the rhetoric, maybe his military advisors had a serious talk with him, and the Polish electorate have probably started to realize that if there's a war they'd be first in the firing line. And he thinks at some point Germany will say enough is enough, and that will be the beginning of the end of NATO.

[–]penelopepnortneyBecome ungovernable[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The King of Bahrain went to Moscow and had a very friendly meeting with Putin. This is part of the Arab League's plan to rally support for an international peace conference to resolve Arab-Israeli disputes. Bahrain has long been one of the most loyal allies of the US, but the US doesn't want an international peace conference, they have monopolized the Israeli-Palestinian "peace" process since the 1970s, which explains why the Arab League is reaching out to Moscow. They will probably next solicit the support of China (whose foreign minister, Wang Yi, first broached the idea some months back) as well as India and maybe other BRICS countries.

The proposed international peace conference will break that monopoly with the goal of settling problems of the Middle East without the US at center stage. Alexander points out that in the past the Arab League has been very fractured but on this they're completely unified. I think this is something we've seen happen over the past couple of years due to the efforts of Russia and China to mediate, respectively, between Syria and Turkey, and between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Statements by various Arab leaders suggested that they were beginning to realize they would all be better served by solving their problems with each other internally, a change from the past when the West used its mediation role to play different Arab states against each other.

This is where the prospective trip of MbS to Iran comes in as well. The Saudis have a long-standing diplomatic relationship with the US and are continuing that but in the process gaining many concessions. They want heavy weaponry like bombs and fighter jets and according to Alexander have even been promised nuclear technology.

On Rafah and the recent ICJ directive: the US is still doing foreign policy as though nothing has changed when their position in the Middle East has eroded. This is evident with the western reaction to the ICJ case and the most recent ICJ order. The latter is an update from the January order and if you read it closely it's clear that the ICJ is taking a more hardened view of Israel as they realize Israel is paying no attention to the orders. It suggests that we may see a final ICJ judgment sooner than expected, these things usually go one for years but in this case, the defiance of Israel and the West are making it easier for the ICJ to rule against Israel. It's part of the wider story about the Arab League's actions and the erosion of US influence in the Middle East.

Alex and Alexander also discuss the difference between Western reaction to the ICC case against Putin and the ICJ/ICC case against Israel, a reminder that "setting bad precedents create bad outcomes." Israel argued and the West echoed that it's not a signatory to the Rome statute (which governs the ICC), but neither is Russia and that didn't stop the West from orchestrating the ICC's involvement in the latter case. Now it's coming back to bite them in the butt - not that they'll care, they'll just wave the "rules-based international order" banner and carry on.

In another case of unintended consequences, in the 2000s the West got the ICJ to issue an advisory opinion on Kosovo's independence and Russia has been continuously using this opinion with regard to Crimea and the Donbass (also Kherson and Zapparozhia).