Blowing up the Nuclear Agreement

It was a matter of time before the clock ticks to reconsider the Iranian nuclear agreement, repeatedly described by US President Donald Trump as “the worst deal ever”. It is the worst. Trump needed 10 months to start an actual confrontation with Iran, while Obama took eight years to throw the safety buoy to Iran.

Iran was delighted by the agreement since it is the greatest winner. Iran was allowed to exceed the limited heavy water quantities, which means that it would move on with its nuclear project. Even more dangerous is its terrorist arm IRGC, described by Trump as “the Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia”.

Trump added that Iran spreads death, destruction, and chaos and doesn’t abide by the agreement spirit, but benefits from lifting the economic sanctions. Reimposing sanctions on Iran and its military militias (IRGC) was Trump’s new strategy to face a nuclear deal that has flaws and which undermined the regions’ states.

Washington didn’t announce withdrawing from the agreement since this scenario is seen by US officials as a knock out that would make European partners slam the US. Washington, however, chose a modest solution by neither withdrawing from the deal nor permitting it to continue with its dangerous impact on the world and region’s security and stability.

Trump decertified that Iran committed to the deal, describing it as an extremist regime. He added that the topic will be referred to the Congress and US allies will be consulted on ways to amend the deal. This step probably aims at dragging Iran to breach the deal or withdraw it, decreasing Washington’s responsibility infront of European allies.

More than two years since signing the deal, Iran has earned a huge amount of money. The White House affirmed earlier that Iran has recovered USD50 billion of its foreign assets then started its attempts to open the nuclear door. It insisted on dealing with the missile file separately from the nuclear one. IRGC conducted several experiments on ballistic missiles, a matter described by Washington as a violation of the agreement.

Iran manipulated the world via the bad nuclear deal, its militias expanded more and it exploited its IRGC in strengthening its militias. If Iran was left to go on with its subversive strategy during the agreement deal without confronting it, then it would have been impossible to halt its terrorism around the world at a point where its militant arms would have expanded and become a reality such as “Hezbollah” in Lebanon.

When enthusiasm was at its peak after announcing the nuclear deal in 2015, Saudi Arabia remained among the few states that sensed danger. It was frank in expressing concerns over Iran not abiding by the deal and warned the Iranians of their intervention policy in the region. The kingdom considered that using the lift of economic sanctions term to cause tension will be faced decisively by the region states.

Back then, it was said that Riyadh is being strict towards the chance to contain Iran and return it to a normal state to the international community. Here is the US proving that Riyadh was right and affirming that it wasn’t a strict stance but a forecast vision to an infidel state that was granted several chances but remained adamant to its project of sabotage.

In her book “Hard Choices”, former United States Secretary of State and one of the main sponsors of this agreement Hillary Clinton said that nothing makes the US trust the Iranians. She added that despite reaching a nuclear agreement, Iran remains a threat to the international community, US, and allies – due to its hostile attitude and support to terrorism.

This reveals that the agreement was a purpose for the Obama administration and not a means to terminate the danger of Iran.

Maybe it is finally time to snatch the winning card from Iran, which it has been exploiting to spread terrorism in the world.

Yemen and the Catastrophic Role of ‘Lone’ Nations

United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed presented again, before the Security Council, a new UN proposal to resolve the Yemeni crisis. Possibly, even Yemenis can no longer count the number of initiatives launched by Ould Cheikh whether a proposal, truce or a road-map. Though they are many, none succeeded.

Labels and means varied, yet the UN is neglecting the easiest and shortest road which is to apply the Security Council resolution 2216 which demads Houthis to halt their rely on violence and to withdraw their forces from all regions ruled by them including Sana’a, in addition to stopping the mobilization of children, dismissing current ones and abstaining from provocations or threats to neighboring states.

Throughout 29 years, the UN failed via its former secretary general and then the new Portuguese secretary general Antonio Guterres to carry out one practical step to resolve the Yemeni crisis through applying any of the UN resolution terms. Further, the UN contributed in prolonging the crisis through encouraging insurgents to move forward with their project to kidnap the state.

In plain sight of the UN, insurgents are practicing the collective punishment policy in regions ruled by them and have mobilized around 10,000 Yemeni children.

Strangely, the UN-affiliated international organizations operating in Yemen are lenient with Houthis as if they are not responsible for the comprehensive siege and the crimes, neglecting the clear international resolution and the violations and practices adopted by Houthis and Saleh militias.

This approach encouraged them and caused a shock for the legit Yemeni authority that is acknowledged by the UN, Arab League, international organizations and all states.

It seems that the UN role in Yemen has become an obstacle rather than an aid to reaching a resolution. For example, two years ago the UN pursued to settle truce more than once by which it endowed militias the chance to recover and make a field infringe. Although the truce was necessary for civilians, Houthi militias used it to logistically support their war effort. Off course, the truce quickly collapsed but the UN refrained from announcing that and from holding the breaching party legally responsible.

Mark Malloch Brown, Deputy Secretary-General and Chief of Staff of the UN under Kofi Annan, stressed earlier that the UN is in pressuring need for reforms. In fact, the chaos in the UN will worsen if it continues to depend on false standards that deal with militias as states, thieves as supporters, and prefer insurgents over those who possess international legality.

Who would believe that the UN, which is supposed to be applying the highest levels of credibility and objectivity in its reports, would issue reports against the coalition without double checking the data from the coalition or the legit government?

Antonio Guterres, however, occupies this new position in a world where confidence in the UN and the global values it represents has declined. Until now, his performance is frustrating especially that he lacks high capabilities to communicate and didn’t yet take any decisive stance towards the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya or South Sudan.

Obviously, he didn’t present himself as a strong secretary general whether on the level of foreign leaders or internal reforms.

US President Donald Trump previously criticized the UN, describing it as a “club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.”

His description seems to be correct since the UN credibility is scattering and its objectify is on the verge. Despite its original role in being part of the solution, it has become part of the problem and its complexities.

Especially in Yemen, it is no more the united nations but the ‘lone’ ones.

Saudi Alliances between Washington and Moscow

Saudi

Hours after Moscow’s announcement that Saudi Arabia is interested in purchasing the most advanced Russian air defense system, the S-400, Washington declared that the American government agreed to sell the advanced THAAD missile defense system to the kingdom. This means that Riyadh has obtained the two most advanced air defense systems in the world to add to its military systems.

More important than the military deal is the political one that the Saudi government is making with the two rivals in the east and west. Saudi Arabia has the unique ability, shared with a few countries in the world, to deftly grasp the lines of alliance between the two rivals, who eye each other suspiciously whenever anyone cooperates with the other. It is only natural that neither Washington nor Moscow would want any partner to cooperate with their rival, as voiced by the Pentagon when it expressed its concern that many countries that the US considers as its ally, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are buying military equipment from Russia. These stances are made out of understandable political, economic and commercial considerations.

A country such as Saudi Arabia, which has a deep political heritage and a balanced and sound diplomacy, could not have struck deals with two of the world’s greatest powers without hurting its interests somewhere. This was voiced by the US after the THAAD deal was made, which could be interpreted as an American political message to Riyadh that it does not oppose its partnership with Moscow, albeit reluctantly.

Riyadh realizes very well that solidifying its ties with Moscow does not mean abandoning its historic ally, the US. The Riyadh-Washington ties are much deeper and more important strategically. Improving ties with Russia means that the kingdom is seeking national interests away from narrow alliances in their traditional sense. These alliances expired with Riyadh’s opting to expand its future options and exploiting Russian efforts to regain its role in the world in areas it had power in the past.

Riyadh’s actions are taking place at a time when the international scene is witnessing major changes with world powers where even the US’ major traditional European allies are seeking to improve their ties with Moscow. This is in contrast to the past when turning to the east used to be considered taboo. Despite their current shift to the east, the European powers have maintained their strong alliances with Washington. We also cannot overlook the turbulence affecting the ties among world powers caused by their differences over various contentious crises, such as the Ukraine conflict and regional issues related to Iran, Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s visit to Moscow has opened the doors wide for a meeting of Saudi and Russian visions. No one can prevent Riyadh from seeking contact with influential world powers in order to improve its interests, partnerships and investments. This will in turn garner it additional support and allow it to preserve its current alliances and balances, which would serve its security and stability. It will also preserve regional and international security and stability. This is an equation that Riyadh has been able to achieve in a manner that few other countries have been successful in over the past seven decades.

Whether Saudi Arabia turns to the east or west and whether it cements its strategic alliance with Washington or opens new horizons with Moscow, Riyadh has the political and economic tools to allow it to continue to solidify its position among major players without harming its interests and those of its partners no matter where they may be.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are not Foes

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With steady steps, Russia returned over the past decade to the Middle Eastern arena. This coincides with the development of its relations with Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, the Syrian regime, and surely Iran.

However, Moscow’s relations with Saudi Arabia were going through rocky roads after which tensions became high following different positions on the Syrian crisis.

The first thing that comes to mind when discussing the relations between the two countries is the Syrian issue. It remained a complicated point of disagreement between both countries and a barrier to the development of the bilateral relations despite several attempts.

However, after decades of discords, June 2015 was crucial in restoring the Saudi-Russian relations during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Russia under the directives of King Salman.

Riyadh and Moscow reached an inevitable result in their future relations that they would rather focus more on common interests available in promising fields rather than disagreeing on issues that affected them negatively.

One can say that Riyadh succeeded back then in breaking the ice in its relations with Moscow.

Prince Mohammed’s visit was reflected in the country’s success to overcome the Syrian crisis. They both realized that what brings them together is much more important than disparities.

King Salman’s current visit to Russia is a decisive development in the course of Saudi-Russian relations. The visit aims to eliminate elements that affected the relations, or as the Russian Ambassador in Saudi Arabia said that some parties are trying to target the Saudi-Russian relations through the Syrian issue.

Through King Salman’s visit to Russia, a new phase of a coalition began based on joint interests that will be reflected on the region’s stability and security which is a strategic goal both Riyadh and Moscow aim to reach.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia continues to present itself as a regional and international player that is indispensable.

Saudi foreign policymakers are credited for taking into consideration long-term planning in their relations with Russia through a packet of strategic relations.

Side differences or even special relations with the West can’t hinder the success of the Saudi-Russian partnership.

Saudis are also credited for adopting a balanced foreign policy based on diverse options through openness to Russia as well as other international forces.

Saudi policy aims to diversify its activity with different partners which grant it the ability to manage the international relations on common interests.

Needless to say that as soon as this partnership is activated economically, commercially, and militarily Moscow will have to balance its complicated relationship with Iran.

Architects of Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy are aware of this aspect especially after Tehran took advantage that Riyadh steered clear of Kremlin’s maze.

Indeed, Riyadh disagrees with Moscow on the Syrian issue. But, at the time it is adopting a realistic policy aimed at establishing partners and not allies on the basis of exchanged interests, Saudi Arabia realizes that there is a lot to be achieved from strong relations with Russia.

With 60 percent of Russia’s budget revenues from oil imports, the kingdom is aware that Moscow prioritizes a sort of coordination and agreement with Riyadh on oil prices and production.

For the first time, the two countries succeeded in leading the international oil market out of the most critical crisis. They managed to leave the bottleneck and reach a price close to $60 after it fell below $28 two years ago.

During an energy forum in Moscow attended by several OPEC oil ministers, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday: “Everyone is interested in a stable market. What we did with OPEC, I believe, is beneficial for all the global economy.”

Saudi Arabia and Russia appeared as though they were enemies separated by miles apart. Several attempts to reproach the two countries failed until facts and realities proved that the two states are not like that at all.

King Salman’s visit to Russia is a historic moment that will drive both countries closer and the relations will enter a new phase of further understanding and deeper cooperation.

Before the Spark Breaks Out in Kurdistan

Kurdish people protest outside the Erbil International Airport in Erbil

On Sept. 25, the region woke up on a decisive moment with 92.7 percent of Kurdish people voting for independence from Iraq. Then events accelerated and the Iraqi government announced, in coordination with Ankara and Tehran, its willingness to restore control over four cross-borders (two with Turkey and two with Iran) and to impose an air-embargo on flights from and to Iraqi Kurdistan with scenarios of likely armed conflicts in disputed regions especially the oil-rich Kirkuk.

Two days before the referendum, the Iraqi Army advanced to launch an offensive on ISIS strongholds in Hawija – the scene foresees a spark of military confrontation that would break out anytime.

True that the local government in Kurdistan confronted the international community with its insistence to carry out the referendum, but the tension in Iraq and the region wasn’t caused only by it. Announcing the referendum is not something new, its date has been previously set and the Kurds reiterated several times their determination to separate from Iraq.

Kurds attribute this demand to years of abuse that have made them realize that it is time to establish their own state. Where was this international rejection before? (Especially that of the US, European Union, Turkey and Iran) Back then, none of them attempted to reform ties between Kurds and the central state, especially that Kurdistan government has been accusing the central government in Baghdad for years of depriving the Kurds from fair shares in power and resources.

Despite all that, the dispute was neglected and this pushed Kurds to insist on the referendum, whose outcome came as expected. This gives Iraqi Kurdistan a strong card to use in upcoming negotiations with the central government on natural resources as well as reinforcement of its political position as a self-ruled region.

The severe escalation by the Iraqi central government, Iran and Turkey with the unprecedented siege and threats of starving the Kurds, disregard the fact that Kurds announced earlier that the referendum is not an announcement of independence — it only acknowledges the necessity to move to the next step and to negotiate with Iraq and neighboring states in addition to the international community the conditions of separation, if it happened.

Confederation with enhanced conditions and possibly a new version of the current self-ruling which means that Kurds moved on with the referendum after they lost hope in any of the main powers to understand the situation. They moved on with a referendum that enhances their condition and urges European countries to focus on reforming ties between Kurds and the central government.

It should be mentioned that it is difficult for Kurdistan dream of independence to become true amidst this regional and international rejection. Geographically, the anticipated Kurdish state has no navy border and is surrounded by states that reject its independence.

Economically, Kurdistan government economy depends on oil transported via pipes that pass through Turkey or is exported via the central government. Iraqi Kurdistan exports around 550,000 bpd – out of daily produced 600,000 bpd – via a pipe in Turkish Jihan’s Port overseeing the Mediterranean Sea. All these basic-income sources would be hindered if the tension remains. How would Erbil establish a state without the ability to export its oil?

With the referendum card in its hand, the government of Kurdistan has a strong negotiation card that permits it to move on with a confederation that maintains its status, doesn’t marginalize its people -as it is the case now- and ensures that Iraq remains united as everyone wishes.

This would contribute to finding solutions for pending topics, including the disputed regions between Erbil and Baghdad based on the Iraqi constitution and providing joint market and currency as Kurdistan maintains its independent cultural, economic, political and foreign policies.

Saudi Arabia: Women to Drive after Community Persuaded

Similar to other historic decisions, some are petrified of announcing them, supporters anticipate in boredom while conservatives persistently warn of such moves. Once the clock ticks and the time is adequate to take the decision, the fear of people vanishes.

This is what happened when King Salman issued a reformatory decision in allowing women to drive as part of an overall process, which began on the first day of his leadership in January 2015, to empower Saudi women.

Saudi passwords are always on time. This has been the case in the past two years and nine months during which great decisions have been taken. Many were intimidated by them and probably warned of them, but surprisingly decisions were issued in remarkable flexibility.

I don’t agree with those who describe this decision as political in the first place. Any political decision on a community-linked cause first needs a suitable environment for it to be accepted based on
cultural and intellectual consensus.

Had it been purely a political decision, it would have been implemented long time ago. The problem throughout the past period was that some movements continued to exploit the matter and exaggerate the consequences of issuing such a decision.

When removing the aura around those who spread such ideas, the Saudi community appeared pragmatic, and it was supported by the stance of the Council of Senior Scholars that saw no problem in permitting women to drive.

Therefore, we can’t deny the huge organized work done during the previous period to provide an adequate environment in which the community accepts the decision. I don’t think the surprise is in issuing the decision itself – the development taking place in Saudi Arabia indicates that women getting behind the wheel is absolute.

Because the social reform is on track in Saudi Arabia without any slowdown and because the historic moment was set to come even if late, the woman in the kingdom now drives a car after a reform-based decision by the Saudi leadership that has not stopped making drastic changes politically, economically and socially within a short period.

Why do we say finally? Because the Saudi community has finally got rid of previous stages’ consequences that had led to delays in taking such a decision. During the past three years, the Saudi community has proven its readiness to develop and accept community reforms that were considered prohibited for long decades.

Besides the social and economic benefits of this step in Saudi Arabia and its contribution in a comprehensive project to empower women as part of the economic and social reform process, the topic of allowing women to drive, which used to be stirred while discussing any political issue on every occasion, has now been dropped.

We can say that this decision is better than dozens of billions of dollars worth media campaigns in the West. Its positive outcome won’t be restricted to one day, month or year but the kingdom will yield its positive influence for several years to come.

When launching the Saudi Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman answered a question on the matter of women driving cars saying that he relies on the society’s wish between granting the women this right or not.

He later noted that future decisions are built on social change. True, when the change happened, society witnessed a long-anticipated historic decision. The password was: social change; this is the magical equation and real power for the launching of a new Saudi Arabia that was once mentioned by Mohammed bin Salman: “In case the Saudi people were convinced, then skies are the limits of our ambitions.”

How Saudis Refused to Suppress Patriotic Joy

Saudis

In 2005, Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz acknowledged that as of the 75th National Day, the occasion will become a national holiday celebrated annually.

The Saudi National Day is celebrated on every September 23 to commemorate the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by King Abdulaziz in 1932.

Establishing the holiday saw multiple opposition attempts from groups that sought to thwart every act aimed at bolstering national pride and identity. Joy for the holiday, unfortunately, was shy.

Saudis were not used to freely express their happiness celebrating independence.

Shortly after, Saudis began rejoicing in a homeland that united them after dispersion and started expressing suppressed and forbidden joy openly.

The joy spread nationwide, young or old, men and women, and even a large group of those who initially criticized and rejected the whole idea have become part and parcel of a national system commemorating a dear memory to all.

National pride and joy filled every Saudi home.

Muslim Brotherhood cells played a major role in promoting fatwas prohibiting the celebration of the National Day.

They aimed at spreading a culture of frustration among the Saudis, despite knowing that national pride for Saudis is untouchable given.

The idea of removing any manifestations of renewed loyalty to the nation year after year contributes to the promotion of several negative concepts marketed as criticism of enforcing strong national state institutions.

They hope to reach the ultimate goal of destroying confidence in the state little by little. What is more is that those who often oppose celebrating the National Day in Saudi Arabia do not hold the same views for neighboring.

Clearly displaying double standards, they even celebrate national independence days in other countries, as if Saudis alone hold the dim duty of suppressing national pride.

As soon as a policy was adopted to actively diminish the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence, patriotic feelings surged all over the kingdom. The celebration went extended beyond Saudi Arabia to all who love and admire the kingdom such as Kuwait, Egypt and others also rejoiced, in a reflection of the size and influence of Saudi Arabia.

This exclusive and unprecedented joy has become a “registered trademark” for Saudis as if they want to make up for what they missed.

Saudis and their sincere willingness to express their patriotism this year, in particular, seemed amazing and striking. It was a terrible blow to anyone who believed in a false ability to manipulate national feelings in the hope of achieving dubious goals or undermined the statehood of Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom’s public spoke in a loud voice that the rules of the game had changed and it was no longer allowed for the terrible exploitation of religion to deprive them of patriotism. They completely stood against any agenda promoting a pro-group and an anti-state ideology.

It is enough for Saudis to rejoice in their homeland and take pride in their kingdom without looking at their living problems as the “Brotherhood” works on spreading this absurd equation.

Yes, the Saudi citizen has a fair share of living problems. Yes, Saudis have many worries about life, but all this doesn’t collide with sincere patriotism, which has long been stifled.

Whether oil rates rise or fall, whether daily worries worsen or disappear, there is a big difference between a citizen making demands of his state as a natural right and his government’s right to improve their living conditions, and that this is exploited horribly to reduce patriotism.

The greatness of Saudis is awe-striking! In just two years they managed to demolish an organized and years-in-the-making project to put a barrier between them and their homeland.

The Truth behind Military Intervention in Qatar

Only 48 hours into Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt putting their boycott with Qatar into effect, Doha straightaway announced resorting to Turkish army troops.

The move shocked all Gulf States and even other foreign forces. Neither was the rift with Qatar a newly found dilemma, nor was the list of demands put forth by the quartet unexpected. Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani had already signed onto them, but without fully falling through with implementation.

Political disputes and crises– among Arab Gulf countries in particular– have long been known to be settled through diplomacy and never military interventions.

In a nutshell, the four countries practiced rights dictated by sovereignty and have shut down all vents that could allow for evil or terror to come through the Qatari peninsula. On the other hand, Qatar’s response was to open up all ports and airspace to military troops—although it paradoxically made claims of being put under a brutal siege. The move presented a disastrous escalation for the region.

Doha, without previous warning, decided on militarizing a diplomatic crisis, unaware of the grave tensions it brought along by inviting foreign troops into the region.

Even though boycotting countries made it clear on many occasions that the row with Qatar goes beyond independent perceptions and is based on views shared by many other Arab and Islamic countries, Qatar’s reactions were shocking, nonsensical and quite rebellious–anyone could see that.

Many times, Doha’s policy-making decisions went against the interests of the Qatari people. Its confused stance and promotion of delusional claims on military threats, counteractively verifies the truth behind the quartet’s position and reasons for distancing itself up until this very moment.

Qatar’s escalatory stances sent a dangerous message it fails to see the aftermath entailed, given they compromise regional security and stability. Despite the Saudi-led bloc of four not going after a military option itself, the boycotting countries –like any other country in the world- are obliged to uphold their national security.

It is only natural that they do not allow for Doha to bring about impending threats to the security and stability of their people, which inviting foreign troops into the Gulf region exactly does. All the more, Qatar’s move was based on invalid justifications.

Absurdly, a state coming from a politically, socially and military weak position would still take on the risk of provoking mightier neighboring states which itself accuses of attempting to impose a regime change within its territory.

The matter of the fact is that regime change in Qatar was never an option, and that the goal was clearly defined by forcing the peninsula to reconsider its aggressive behavior.

It is worth noting that by Qatar turning to loud rhetoric, political cries, and foreign military intervention to escape its diplomatic crisis evidently proves that Doha policies weren’t strong enough to preserve the stability of its ruling regime in the first place. A thought-provoking scene of political adolescence?!
 
 US President Donald Trump summarized the whole feeble Qatari cry on it being under the threat of military intervention by telling the Emir of Qatar himself “no,” when he asked Trump on whether he had warned the Saudis against taking up military action against Qatar.

Qatar’s position was embarrassing as the president of a world super power snubs its narrative which was the product of a grievances-based policy. The same cry it used to justify allowing foreign forces to set foot in the region. Qatar wrongly employed a strategy to incite the four countries, but it only backfired as it proved Doha’s regime fragile and a volatile threat to both Gulf state and regional security.

Doha’s credibility before the world has been compromised by its own lies. The Qatari regime has emerged with no cover to confront the boycott’s effects. Promoting military intervention only shows how fear-struck the peninsula regime is.

Day by day, the crisis deepens as Doha turns a blind eye.  What Qatar truly fears is not ‘military intervention’, but its revolutionary policies proving a costly failure which the regime cannot easily dodge.  

Will September be Decisive for the Nuclear Agreement?

Iran

Two frustrating years out of ten have passed since the nuclear agreement was signed. The world is stepping into the third year of an agreement described by US President Donald Trump as the worst in ages. It is obvious that September will be decisive for the nuclear agreement as the US administration is considering a comprehensive strategy for all noxious Iranian acts – a strategy that calls for more strictness against Iranian forces and its agents of extremist Shi’ite groups in Iraq and Syria.

Through its new strategy, Washington aims to increase pressure on Tehran to curb its ballistic missiles program and its support to extremists. It also targets cyber-spying and possibly, nuclear proliferation.

According to Reuters, the new US strategy “could be agreed and made public before the end of September.” Once agreement is reached on this comprehensive strategy, then we will face a new phase of a serious attempt to downsize Iranian expansion after it lasted eight years (during the term of Obama) and, ironically, reached its zenith after signing the nuclear agreement.

Most importantly, the strategy will be the first practical step by Trump’s administration towards a stricter supervision of the nuclear agreement without letting it be an advantageous award to Tehran’s arms and militias in the region.

The real catastrophe is that Iran has already received all it had to gain from the nuclear deal, which serves its interest and doesn’t terminate uranium enrichment. Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, said it is likely that Iran has already accumulated enough reactors to produce a nuclear bomb.

The problem with the agreement was and still is that it does not stand against Iran’s aspirations to expand aggressively in the region. Furthermore, it does not effectively tackle Iran’s previous efforts for nuclear armament at a time when it still continued to the violate the agreement.

The truth is, no one opposes a nuclear agreement that falls in the interest of the world. No one wishes to besiege Iran as long as it doesn’t violate international laws. It is in no one’s interest to call for abolishing the agreement, but the concerns that appeared when announcing the agreement in July 2015 seemed obvious after the deal was signed.

In short, Iran had violated the agreement in the first month and it continued to manipulate it under the pretext of “the spirit of the agreement”. But in fact it has been violating central details without being held accountable.

For example, the agreement stipulates that Iran be notified if it violates any of the articles, and in case it abides by it again later on then this wouldn’t be considered a breach. In this way, Iran continues to violate the agreement, and then it stops when being notified.

I think that this is the best agreement Iran has ever signed because it is benefiting from it in any way it wants, while the region is jeopardized by Iran’s use of its terrorist networks under the umbrella of the international agreement.

We can say that this is the first article that should be revised strictly so that Iran becomes aware of the consequences of its violations. Who would believe that the US navy can’t strongly respond when IRGC-affiliated armed ships provoke it (a thing that occurred several times in the past two years)? The desire not to give Iran an excuse to disrupt the nuclear agreement is the only thing stopping them. What better gift could be given to Iran?

In his famous interview with Atlantic magazine in 2015, Obama said that the long negotiations with the Iranians that led to the agreement would help restore respect to Iran and calm in the region. He pointed out that he has no excessive concerns over Iran’s corruption and that supporting the US allies against Tehran would trigger conflicts.

Two years of the agreement have proven that everything Obama said and believed in, and everyone who supported the agreement, was wrong. The region didn’t calm down, but the opposite. The agreement didn’t help Tehran respect its neighbors. The only thing that happened is that ignoring Tehran’s attitude led to an escalating threat to the world, not only the region.

Maybe it is time to call Iran to account for violating the nuclear agreement, even after two years of signing it.

Intelligence Cell in Saudi Arabia

terrorism

The year 2010 was a turning point in Saudi Arabia. That year saw the spark of the so-called “Arab Spring”, the riots in Awamiya, which later turned into terrorist acts before they too faded and came to end, and Saudis began using the most popular social networking site in the Kingdom, Twitter.

From 2010 onward, internal and external parties realized the importance of the site and attempted in any way possible to control the Saudi Twitter, which has become a remarkable phenomenon in the world as social media is considered a powerful mean through which one can, negatively or positively, influence tweeters.

Thus, it wasn’t surprising to discover later that this account, which is followed by hundreds of thousands of users, did not operate from Saudi Arabia, but from Turkey, or those who participate in local discussions and tweet through organized cells located outside the Kingdom.

It appeared that the greatest hashtags related to domestic issues originated from abroad.

Within this context, Saudi Arabia suddenly found itself at a different stage compared to those preceding it where its people found an outlet where they can express their views freely and without any censorship.

The new platform gave rise to new celebrities and also revived old ones, who date back from the cassette tape era. These figures have a long history of contributing to the suspicious activities and through this platform, they found the means to, unfortunately, create incitement on the street, hit national cohesion and try to create chaos in any way under several labels.

There is no doubt that the best description that these people hid behind to market their agendas is “reform.” Of course, no one asks since when reform has been achieved through inciting a revolution, for example, or creating a violent public opinion on all issues. Or, how can reform be achieved through challenging and doubting the credibility of all state institutions?!

On Monday, an official source said that Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of the State Security was able to uncover and monitor the intelligence activities of a group of people who worked for external parties against the security of the Kingdom and its interests. “The cell worked to disturb the interests, methodology, capabilities and social safety of the Kingdom in order to stir up sedition and destabilize national unity.”

In my opinion, it is significant that the majority of the names of the members of the intelligence cell did not surprise any of the observers. The only real surprise was the delay in holding them accountable and bringing them to trial because their impact, harm and incitement was known to all.

Of course, no country that accepts that someone use his fame, status or means of communication, such as Twitter, to incite civil peace. The Saudi government however gave them many chances, hoping that they would go back on implementing their agendas and sense the danger of their scheming.

However, they did not get the message and they continued to pursue their agendas and contacts with sides working on fragmenting Saudi society from the inside. They continued to strike national unity for long years, in means that appear to be gentle, but were extremely volatile in reality.

Notably, the Saudi security services have evidence and proof that condemn the members of the intelligence cell when they are brought to trial.

The issue, as some people argue, is not because of their peaceful views, as they claim, since there are thousands of Saudis who have their own views that are inconsistent with the general policy of the Kingdom, yet no one has come near them for a simple reason: they did not promote their views in a dangerous and chaotic way, and they did not use these views to harm their country and its citizens.

I recall that I once asked a senior Saudi security official about the measures taken in case someone incited against the country or if someone has stances that are contrary to the state’s. He answered: “We do not care what people say or what they think. We do not hold people accountable for their opinions and stances as long as they do not turn into harmful acts that affect the people’s security.”

In all the countries there are destabilizing forces that deal with foreign countries for several purposes. This is the nature of good and evil in humans. Saudi Arabia also has one of these destabilizing forces and states are responsible before their people to prevent these forces from causing instability regardless of their excuses, whether they are religious or social, to carry out their heinous acts.