Week of July 11th, 2014

Executive Summary

 

This last week included the American Independence weekend holiday, so the number of papers dropped significantly.  In addition, much of the focus was on the US southern border issue, which is seeing a flood of illegal immigrants.  These tended to drown out events in Gaza, including the typical pro-Israel bias of the media that focused on the Israeli side of the issue and largely ignored the kidnapping and horrendous murder of an Arab Palestinian youth.

Although events in Gaza are moving rapidly, the Monitor Analysis looks at a couple of issues.  The first issue is the lack of interest and reaction by Obama to events in Gaza.  We look at the evolving profile of the Jewish voter, who Obama and the Democrats need to come out in the November elections and see that the American Jewish voter is becoming more conservative and pro-Israel.  This encourages Obama to let Israel continue its attacks in hopes of winning these voters.

The Monitor Analysis also looks at the new technologies on both sides of this conflict.

 

Think Tanks Activity Summary

The pro-Israel Center for Security Policy sees serious societal problems within Israel that led to the kidnapping and murder of the Arab youth and argues that they must be stamped out if peace is to be achieved.  They conclude, “Israel will have to deal with our Jewish terrorist problem.  The weeds of our society must be uprooted. And we must take action to heal Israeli Arab society…We must build on the actions of the Arab mayors who have begun to stand up to the rioters and actively encourage Israeli Arabs to integrate into Israeli society while enforcing the laws without prejudice against those who incite, condone, facilitate, organize or otherwise abet mob violence and irredentism among Israeli Arab society.  Israel faces a difficult, violent period ahead. But there are certain imperatives of freedom that we cannot shirk.”

The CSIS looks at trying to roll back the gains made by ISIS/IS.  They note, “the U.S. must find some way to limit and roll back ISIS/ISIL without taking sides in Iraq’s broader civil war. It means creating a bridge across Iraq’s increasingly polarized and divided factions while also meeting the challenges to create a more effective and unified national government in Iraq, and try to support and to rebuild Iraqi forces.  At the same time, the U.S. must consider the risks posed by a much broader set of new strategic forces in the Middle East that go far beyond Iraq’s borders and are beginning to involve the U.S. in a new form of competition – or Great Game – with Russia and possibly, China as well.”

The American Enterprise Institute looks at the Iraqi crisis through the eyes of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).  They note, “They intend to defeat the Islamic State, of course, and their interests coincide with the U.S. in that regard. But they embrace the sectarian mobilization of the Iraqi Shi’a community as part of a broader regional mobilization that they see tilting the balance of power in their favor and against the U.S. and its allies. Their enthusiastic embrace of regional sectarianism—despite their rhetorical denunciations of it—is even more dangerous for American interests, however, than their overt hostility toward the U.S. It signals IRGC support for a regional sectarian war that will continue to destabilize the Middle East and create fertile recruiting ground not only for their ersatz basijis, but for al Qaeda sympathizers as well. The U.S. cannot support a basiji strategy.”

The Carnegie Endowment looks at Egypt and the expansion of authoritarianism in the name of protecting national security and combating terrorism.  They recommend, “Egyptians should not be made to choose between stability, security, and freedom. To move forward, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi could call for a national dialogue on translating the key principles of the constitution into actionable legislative frameworks, programs, and institutions and on addressing current and future challenges, priorities, and opportunities. This dialogue would also consider the policy trade-offs required to address Egypt’s daunting socioeconomic issues, deal with the escalating needs of its vulnerable population, and implement the structural economic reforms that are necessary to place the country on the path of sustainable development.”

The Washington Institute looks at the movie “Red Lines,” which is about the crisis in Syria.  A video of the post movie question and answer session is included.

The CSIS has prepared three related reports that illustrate the current security threats in stabilizing the Afghan security forces; the post-election challenges to Afghan reconstruction; and the challenges facing Afghan governance and the Afghan economy.  These reports all show a rising risk that Transition will fail. They show that the “surge” in Afghanistan did not achieve anything like the positive results that the surge in Iraq achieved before U.S. and allied forces left, and that Afghan security forces still have critical problems in quality and funding. These are problems that Obama largely discounted in his May 27, 2014 speech on Transition in Afghanistan.

The Heritage Foundation looks at countering China’s military moves to deny access to the United States military in case of a crisis in the region.  They conclude, “To counter Chinese plans for A2/AD capabilities, the United States needs to field a comparably holistic approach, incorporating political measures, operational military deployments, as well as technical counters to Chinese military capabilities. Washington has one major advantage over Beijing—almost all of the countries on China’s littoral are U.S. friends and allies. Leveraging these relationships, and in the process underscoring American credibility and commitment, is key.”

 

 

ANALYSIS

 

Israeli Aggression on Gaza and U.S. Acquiescence

Kidnappings, torture and murder, missile strikes, and bombings by American made Israeli aircraft are ripping Gaza apart, but the White House seems unwilling or unable to act.  When most presidents would cancel events and spend more time in Washington in order to influence events and monitor hostilities in the Middle East, Obama has taken off on a trip that will raise money for fellow Democrats who running for reelection.  What’s going on?

Actually, the fact that Obama is raising money for the elections in four months rather than dealing with the Gaza crisis makes his strategy clear – his inaction is political and geared towards helping the Democratic Party in November.  With dismal polls, a weak economy, and a Democratic Senate at risk of going Republican, Obama is focused on politics, not foreign policy – especially Middle Eastern foreign policy.

Obama knows he has lost the American swing vote, which usually votes based on the state of the economy.  That means limiting the damage on Election Day in November depends on getting his Democratic voters to be energized enough to vote.

Since young people, who helped Obama win in 2008 and 2012, are less likely to vote in mid term elections, Obama is trying to craft a coalition of likely voters that will come to the polls and help incumbent Democratic senators at risk of losing.  This is reflected in current White House policy.

In the last week, Obama has criticized the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby case that allowed closely held corporations to restrict coverage of abortifacients, in order to boost the turnout of women voters, who tend to vote Democratic.  He has also allowed illegal immigrants to flood the Border States in order to solidify his hold on the Hispanic and progressive pro-immigration voter base.

However, these voting blocs are not as likely to turn out in midterm elections.  That means Obama has to rely more on the one Democratic group that votes regularly in midterm elections – likes the Jewish vote.

American Jews are more politically aware and have the highest percentage of voter turnout of any ethnic group in America.  And, although 2-2.5% of the United States population is Jewish, 94% live in 13 states, which give them more power to help vulnerable Democratic politicians.

Despite attempts by Republicans to crack the Jewish vote, they remain solidly Democratic.  According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, 70% of Jews self-identify as leaning towards or are members of the Democratic Party. That compares with just 49% of the American public overall who at least lean Democratic.  This makes the Jewish vote a critical one for Obama and the Democrats.  In fact, they are critical in battleground states like Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

But, why should Obama worry about the Jewish vote since they are traditionally Democratic voters and many Jewish voters don’t have a strong interest in American policy towards Israel.  In fact, polls regularly show that American Jewish voters aren’t concerned about Israel because most American Jews are becoming more American and less Jewish.  A Pew survey showed that 71 percent of non-Orthodox Jews intermarries and two-thirds of Jews do not belong to a synagogue.  These are the ones more likely to vote Democratic regularly and who don’t have a strong affinity for Israel.  In fact, 54% of American Jews say American support of the Jewish state is “about right.”

What about the other 46% of American Jews?  These are the Jewish voters that Obama needs in November and there are concerns that not only are they drifting towards the Republican Party, their higher birthrate mean that they are becoming a larger percentage of the American Jewish voting bloc.  And, they are the Jewish voters who are concerned about Obama’s lack of support for Israel.

One of the fastest growing Jewish American groups is Orthodox Jews.  Orthodox Jews, represent 12% of the United States’ Jewish population, but about 75% of Jewish children under 18.  It is this group that tends to make up the majority of Republican Jews.  And, like the rest of Jewish voters, they tend to congregate together in key states.  For instance, in New York City, a major Orthodox Jewish Community, a Jewish voter is 33% more likely to be Republican than Democrat.

A recent survey of Jews in New York City showed that 40% of Jews in the New York area identify as Orthodox, up from 33% a decade ago, and today three in four Jewish children there are Orthodox.  That means that in a generation, the Jewish vote could be more reliably Republican than Democratic

Orthodox Jews are more likely to vote Republican than other Jews because they identify with the party’s more conservative positions on same sex marriage, abortion, church-state separation and other social issues.  In 2012, Orthodox Jews voted 86% Republican compared to 28% among the non-Orthodox. By comparison, 72% of non-Orthodox and 14% of Orthodox Jews voted for Obama.

Orthodox Jews are far more likely to put Israel as a top priority in making choices at the polls.  That’s one of the reasons reason for Obama’s neglect of the Gaza crisis – if he is to continue to rely upon the Jewish vote, he must make concessions to Israel in order to win the growing pro-Israel Jewish vote.

New Technology in war between Palestine and Israel

The events in Gaza are taking a new high tech profile.  From anti missile systems to long range missiles, this war has taken on a different appearance than clashes in the past.

While Hamas and other resistant forces have always had a large arsenal of rockets, they were short range.  However, that has changed.  Today, they have a small quantity of M-302 Chinese designed and Syrian\Iranian produced rockets that can reach deep inside Israel with their 100 mile range.

Although still inaccurate, they carry a 20 kg warhead or more and are designed to strike large targets like cities, military bases, and industrial complexes.  It was the missile that hit Hadera this week.  It was the use of these missiles, which have operational characteristics that lay outside the Iron Dome operational envelope, which forced the IDF to make a prototype David’s Sling/Magic Wand system operational.

Of a larger concern to Israel is the more accurate M-75 rocket.  These have been used to target Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  The fact that it weighs nearly a ton and is 31 feet long indicates that is probably produced locally and hasn’t been smuggled in.  It has a range of 75 kilometers and a warhead of 100 kilograms. Palestinian resistant forces have claimed that three were fired at the Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona.

Despite the improved quality of the Palestinian rockets, they haven’t been able to exact any toll on Israel partially due to their inaccuracy and partially due to Israeli’s Iron Dome anti missile system.  All seven batteries are deployed near Gaza and although they haven’t been able to handle the salvos fired from Gaza, the radar’s ability to calculate the individual rocket’s trajectory and impact point allow the system to only target and intercept those rockets headed towards populated and sensitive areas.

According to Israeli newspapers, Iron Dome only targeted 27% of the 180 missiles fired this week.  Of those interceptors launched, 90% were effective, if it is true, a much better hit ratio than the 84% rate, when they were used in Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.

Although the interceptor missiles of the Iron Dome are expensive, their ability to counter  some of the Palestinian rocket salvo has allowed Israel to strike more aggressively in Gaza, knowing that the Palestinians are unable to defend themselves or strike back with effective rocket attacks.

Another interesting facet to the current fighting was the amphibious commando assault against Israel by Palestinian forces. It shows that Palestinians has developed an amphibious capability that will force the IDF to more carefully watch its coastline.

All of this indicates that fighting will continue.  Israel has called up 40,000 reservists and Netanyahu has said that Operation Protective Edge will take time.  Israeli Air Force aircraft have already hit over 550 targets including populated areas, command and control targets and missile launch facilities.  And, the number of reservists called up indicates that extensive ground action inside Gaza can be expected.

This was confirmed, when Netanyahu said, “We have decided to further increase the assault on Hamas and the terrorist organizations in Gaza. The IDF is prepared for all possibilities. Hamas will pay a heavy price for firing at Israel’s citizens…The operation will be expanded and will continue until the firing at our communities stops and quiet is restored.”

President Shimon Peres, whose role is largely ceremonial and is not involved in setting policy, said that he believed a ground offensive “may happen quite soon.”

Meanwhile, don’t expect Obama to take any tangible action that will risk his or the Democrats’ political future.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

The U.S. Needs an Integrated Approach to Counter China’s Anti-Access/Area Denial Strategy

By Dean Cheng

Heritage Foundation

July 9, 2014

Backgrounder #2927

As the Chinese military has been comprehensively modernizing its air, naval, and ground forces, it has been incorporating a variety of anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) systems and capabilities. These include not only weapons, such as anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles, but also political warfare methods, including legal, public opinion, and psychological warfare techniques. To counter these A2/AD capabilities, the United States needs to adopt a comparably holistic approach, incorporating political measures, operational military deployments, as well as technical counters to Chinese military capabilities. Washington has one major advantage over Beijing—almost all of the countries on China’s littoral are U.S. friends and allies. Leveraging these relationships, and in the process underscoring American credibility and commitment, is key.

Read more

 

 

The New “Great Game” in the Middle East: Looking Beyond the “Islamic State” and Iraq

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Center for Strategic and International Studies

July 9, 2014

Report

The U.S. has good reason to try to prevent the creation of a violent, extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, to reverse the gains of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria)/ ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham), and to help move Iraq back towards a more stable and unified form of government. This may still be possible in spite of a steady drift towards civil war that has now lasted at least three years, and in spite of IS’s gains and Maliki’s failures and intransigence.  Such an effort does mean, however, that the U.S. must find some way to limit and roll back ISIS/ISIL without taking sides in Iraq’s broader civil war. It means creating a bridge across Iraq’s increasingly polarized and divided factions while also meeting the challenges to create a more effective and unified national government in Iraq, and try to support and to rebuild Iraqi forces.

Read more

 

 

Afghanistan and the Growing Risks in Transition

By Anthony H. Cordesman

Center for Strategic and International Studies

July 8, 2014

Report

As the Vietnam War and recent events in the Iraq War have shown all too clearly, every serious counterinsurgency campaign involves at least three major threats: the enemy, dealing with partners and allies, and dealing with ourselves. A review of the trends in all three areas raises growing questions as together the U.S. and its allies can carry out a successful Transition in Afghanistan.  The Burke Chair has prepared three related reports that illustrate the current security threats in stabilizing the Afghan security forces; the post-election challenges to Afghan reconstruction; and the challenges facing Afghan governance and the Afghan economy.

Read more

 

 

Iraq Through the Eyes of Iran’s IRGC

By Mehrdad Moarefian

American Enterprise Institute

July 7, 2014

The rapid advances in Iraq of the Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham; formerly known as al Qaeda in Iraq) have forced the U.S. to confront a complex reality.  Iraqi Security Forces have been unable to stop the advances on their own, but President Obama is extremely reluctant to provide U.S. support.  Some analysts argue that the U.S. should align with Iran against the common al Qaeda enemy, even suggesting that we should combine military efforts.  Iran’s efforts in Iraq are controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei through the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), especially Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.  The feasibility of cooperation with Iran in Iraq depends in part on how the IRGC sees the problem.  This post is the first in a series that will look at the Iraq crisis from the perspective of the IRGC.

Read more

 

 

Choosing Security and Freedom in Egypt

By Maha Yahya

Carnegie Endowment

July 1, 2014

Egyptians, it seems, are being asked once again to exchange their political freedoms for stability and security. However, the expanding clampdown on fundamental rights overlooks the fact that security and stability cannot be attained in the absence of freedom.  Recent Egyptian court rulings have signaled the expansion of authoritarianism in the name of protecting national security and combating terrorism. International and Egyptian rights organizations have condemned the long-term imprisonment of well-known political activists and journalists and the doling out of death penalties en masse. They argue that the judicial proceedings leading up to the sentences were politicized and flawed and that the crackdown is a gross violation of basic freedoms, including the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and due process.

Read more

 

 

Fighting enemies from within and without

By Caroline Glick

Center for Security Policy

July 10, 2014

Sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir was doing his own thing last Tuesday when he was abducted by Jewish terrorists, who slaughtered him. They killed him because he was an Arab, and they are racist murderers.  The police made solving Abu Khdeir’s murder a top priority. In less than a week, they had six suspects in custody. Three confessed to the murder.  There are dark forces at work in Israeli society. They need to be dealt with.  And they will be dealt with harshly.  They will be dealt with harshly because there is no significant sector in Israeli society that supports terrorism.  There is no Jewish tradition that condones or calls for the murder of innocents. In Jewish tradition, the line between protecting society from its enemies and committing murder is long, wide, unmistakable and unmoving.

Read more

 

 

Red Lines: Inside the Battle for Freedom in Syria

By Mouaz Moustafa, Andrew J. Tabler, and Andrea Kalin

Washington Institute

July 9, 2014

Forum

Syria’s declared chemical weapons material has left the country, but Bashar al-Assad’s onslaught continues, and the beleaguered non-Islamist forces are now caught in a multifront fight against both the regime and a new generation of brutal jihadist groups. Red Lines, a gripping documentary from Washington-based Spark Media, follows young activists Razan Shalab al-Sham and Mouaz Moustafa across battlefields, smuggling routes, and foreign capitals, putting a human face on the struggle for Syria’s future that is often lost in debates about “redlines” and acceptable levels of international response. Red Lines was an official selection at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto, where it was among the audience’s top-rated films.

Read more

 

Mounzer A. Sleiman Ph.D.
Center for American and Arab Studies
Think Tanks Monitor

www.thinktankmonitor.org

C: 202 536 8984  C: 301 509 4144

التحليل 07-11-2014

:التحليل

غزة تقاوم وتصمد

 نتنياهو يصعّد واوباما يغطي ويرصد الانتخابات النصفية

لا ينبيء العنوان بشيء جديد او مغاير للتحولات التاريخية التي شهدها مسار الصراع العربي  الصهيوني على ارض فلسطين. الفارق الساطع هذه المرة هو في وحدة وصلابة رد المقاومة الفلسطينية الممنهج على مراكز ومقرات ومؤسسات استراتيجية للكيان الغاصب، اوضح تعبيراتها تجسد في صعود الفلسطينيين اسطح منازلهم واكواخهم المتهالكة للمشاهدة والاحتفال بوصول صواريخ المقاومة الى اهدافها تحدث العلع في اوساط المستعمرين الصهاينة وهم يهرولون للاختباء في اقبية الملاجيء، يرافقهم تصريحات قادتهم الفاشيين يعدونهم “باستئصال شأفة المقاومة،” بعد اضطرارهم في كل مرة الى استدارة دباباتهم وفوهات مدافعهم تراجعا وتقهقرا

        جولة جديدة دشنتها “اسرائيل” بغطرسة وصفاقة واجرام معهود: قيام ذراعها من المستعمرين بخطف شاب عربي واضرام النار بجسده حيا،ً وارسال حمم طائراتها المقاتلة اميركية الصنع لتدك شعب يرزح بأكمله تحت الحصار في غزة، في ظل استمرار حرص السلطة الفلسطينية على العودة للتفاوض واستمرار التنسيق الأمني، وتسجيل اميركا احتجاجها شفويا ضد “الجيش الذي يقهر ويذل” لاعتدائه وخطفه شاب فلسطيني آخر صادف حمله للجنسية الاميركية وتعذيبه بمشهد مروع صورته الكاميرا

        في الفضاء الاوسع ، وبعد اقرار للمسؤولين الصهاينة ان قطاع غزة وخلال ايام العدوان الخمسة الاولى المتواصلة تعرض لما يفوق 900 غارة جوية بطائرات اميركية الصنع والذخيرة، والقاء حممها بزنة نحو 1000 طن من المواد المتفجرة، وتدمير اكثر من 200 منزل تدمير كامل ونحو 6000 منزل تدمير جزئي، وخسائر بشرية، شهداءً وجرحى، تتزايد باضطراد. امام هذا المشهد كرست الحكومة الاميركية مواقفها العدائية بالوقوف امام استصدار قرار من مجلس الأمن الدولي يدين العدوان الصهيوني، سبقه تصريحات متكررة لمسؤولين كبارا عبرت عن عدم رغبة او توفر ارادة للتدخل الاميركي بنية وقف العدوان. بل تجاهل الرئيس اوباما المستجدات والتطورات الاقليمية ومضى زائرا يجول في عدد من المدن الاميركية توسلا لتبرعات مالية تعين الحملات الانتخابية لمرشحي الحزب الديموقراطي

        وبهذا اثبت الرئيس اوباما انه ليس في عجلة من امره لوقف العدوان سيرا على خطى اسلافه السابقين واتساقا مع الاستراتيجية الاميركية المعادية للشعوب المطالبة بحريتها واستقلالها. بل لم يدب فيه الحماس لاستقبال شخصي للعاهل الاردني الزائر، الملك عبد الله الثاني، وارجأ الأمر الى نائب الرئيس جو بايدن ليستضيفه على مأدبة افطار صباحي باجواء عائلية، مرسلا بذلك رسالة لمن يعنيهم الأمر ان الظروف الميدانية والسياسية لم تنضج بما فيه الكفاية بعد كي تدخل الولايات المتحدة بثقلها لانقاذ “اسرائيل” بدافع التهدئة وحقن الدماء

        وعليه يستطيع المرء تلمس حقيقة اولويات الرئيس اوباما بالالتفات الى حملة تبرعات دشنها منذ شهور اربع لتعزيز فرص المرشحين عن حزبه الديموقراطي، بعد بضعة شهور، وارجاء القضايا الاخرى ذات الابعاد الاستراتيجية ابرزها العدوان على غزة. هذا الاستنتاج يعززه نتائج استطلاعات للرأي اشارت بثبات تدهور شعبية الرئيس اوباما وتدني الاداء الاقتصادي وتهديد ماثل لخسارة الحزب الديموقراطي زعامته لمجلس الشيوخ، وتراجع الاهتمام الرسمي بالشؤون الخارجية بشكل عام

        ادرك الرئيس اوباما اخيرا ان معركته لكسب اصوات المستقلين خاسرة كانعكاس لتدهور الحالة الاقتصادية، ويضاعف مهامه ومهام مرشحي حزبه لادامة لحمة القاعدة الحزبية. ويسعى اوباما جاهدا لبناء تحالف قاعدة انتخابية اوسع امتدادا دلالة على الاستراتيجية الجديدة للبيت الابيض بالاستدارة لصقل سياسات داخلية

        في الشأن الداخلي ايضا، تواصلت ازمات الرئيس اوباما بتسديد المحكمة العليا هزيمة اضافية لبرامجه الداخلية واصطفافها الى جانب اصحاب المصالح الكبرى التي طالبت بتقييد حرية العامل والموظف التمتع بمزايا نظام الرعاية الصحية تخص توفير وسائل منع الحمل، الأمر الذي قد يترجم انتخابيا بتضخم صفوف العامل النسائي في صفوف الحزب الديموقراطي احتجاجا على تدخل “السلطات العليا” بامورهن الخاصة والشخصية. كما استشاط اقطاب الحزب الجمهوري غضبا من سياسة الرئيس اوباما “المتساهلة” مع موجات الهجرة “غير الشرعية” نحو الولايات الجنوبية المشتركة حدوديا مع المكسيك، واتهامه باسترضاء القاعدة الانتخابية للجالية اللاتينية؛ مع ادراك الطرفين ان تجمعات انتخابية بعينها لا تلعب دورا مفصليا في تقرير النتائج الانتخابية، ولجوء قادة الحزب الديموقراطي برئاسة اوباما الى فرط الاعتماد على القوى الانتخابية المنظمة، اهمها الجالية اليهودية، التي تتميز بحسن تنظيمها وتعبئتها ومشاركتها الاكبر في الانتخابات من غيرها. جدير بالذكر ان اليهود يشكلون نسبة تتراوح بين 2 – 2.5% من عموم الشعب الاميركي، تقطن اغلبتهم المطلقة بنسبة 94% في 13 ولاية من مجموع الولايات الخمسين

        توزيع اصوات الجالية اليهودية يذهب بغالبيته لصالح الحزب الديموقراطي، تقدر احدث الدراسات ان 70% منهم يميلون للصف الديموقراطي، مقارنة مع نسبة 49% من عموم الاميركيين يؤيدون الحزب. النسب المذكورة تشير الى اهمية وحساسية الفوز باصوات اليهود بالنسبة للرئيس اوباما والمرشحين الديموقراطيين، لا سيما في الولايات التي تصنف حاسمة: اوهايو وفلوريدا وبنسلفانيا

        مرجعية الاصوات اليهودية، فيما يتعلق بالانتخابات الرئاسية بشكل خاص، طرأ عليها بعض التغيرات في المراحل الاخيرة، وان لم تكن حاسمة وقاطعة الا انها تدل على تعديل بعض المسلمات السابقة لمن يهتم بحسبان الاصوات. اشارت احدث استطلاعات معهد “بيو” ان غالبية اليهود ينظرون الى انفسهم كمواطنين اميركيين اولا، واهتمامهم “باسرائيل” يحتل المرتبة الثانية مع ملاحظة تراجع حدة الانتماء للطائفة اليهودية – وفق استطلاعات “بيو.” واضاف “بيو” ان نحو 71% من اليهود غير المتدينيين يتزاوجون خارج الطائفة اليهودية، ونحو 60% منهم لا يمارسون شعائرهم داخل المعبد. هذه الشريحة بالذات هي التي يراهن عليها الحزب الديموقراطي لاستقطابها يعززها اعراب 54% من اليهود الاميركيين عن تأييدهم لمدى الدعم الاميركي “لاسرائيل”

        النسبة المتبقية من اليهود، 46%، هي التي يرمي اوباما لاستقطابها في ظل توارد معلومات بان قطاعها الاوسع بات يميل لتأييد الحزب الجمهوري سيما وانها الشريحة الولادة بين اليهود، وبعضها لا يكن تأييدا للرئيس اوباما ويعارض سياساته “المتشددة نحو اسرائيل”

        شريحة الارثوذوكس او المتدينيين من اليهود هي الاكثر نموا وتشكل نحو 12% من مجموع الجالية اليهودية في اميركا؛ مع الاشارة الى ان الجيل الفتي تحت سن الثامنة عشر ويشكل 75% من مجموع اليهود. الجزء الاكبر من هذه الشريحة هو الاميل لتأييد الحزب الجمهوري لدوافع اقتصادية وتجارية بالدرجة الاولى، ويتجمهرون في المدن الرئيسة. على سبيل المثال، يميل نحو 33% من شريحة الارثوذوكس الكبيرة في مدينة نيويورك لتأييد الحزب الجمهوري

        في التفصيل ايضا، اعتبر نحو 40% من اليهود القاطنين مدينة نيويورك انهم من الارثوذوكس، مقارنة بنسبة 33% اجريت قبل نمحو عقد من الزمن. بلغة الاحصاء، ان استمرت تلك الظاهرة بالتصاعد فان شريحة الارثوذوكس من اليهود ستشكل كتلة متراصة وثابتة الدعم للحزب الجمهوري، نظرا لتأييدهم البرنامج المحافظ للحزب في الابعاد الاجتماعية والسلوكية والاقتصادية، والدينية ايضا. سجل عام 2012 تصويت 86% من اليهود الارثوذوكس لصالح الحزب الجمهوري، مقارنة مع نسبة 28% تأييدا للحزب من غير الارثوذوكس. بالمقابل صوت نحو 72% من غير الارثوذوكس اليهود للرئيس اوباما وحاز على نسبة تأييد 14% فقط من اصوات الارثوذوكس اليهود

        يهمنا الاشارة في هذا الصدد الى التزام شريحة الارثوذوكس اليهود بالسياسة “الاسرائيلية” كأولوية على ما عداها من قضايا، وربما هذا ما يفسر نأي الرئيس اوباما بالنفس عن الاهتمام بالعدوان على غزة، دون تجاهل البعد الاستراتيجي في السياسة الاميركية المعادية لقضية العرب المركزية

دور التقنية المتطورة في العدوان على غزة

        في ظرف زمني قصير لا يتجاوز عشرة اعوام يتعرض قطاع غزة لعدوان “اسرائيلي” شامل باشتراك اسلحة الطيران والبحرية والمشاة، وتتصدى فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية المختلفة بسلاحي التصميم والارادة البشرية والصواريخ المتواضعة، بل فاجأت بتطور دقتها وعمق امتداداتها الاصدقاء قبل الاعداء. وتدريجيا صعدت المقاومة الفلسطينية تنويع صواريخها بدءا بقصيرة المدى المصنعة محليا، وصولا الى المديات التي تصل لنحو 160 كلم من طراز 302 سورية الصنع (كما نقلت مجلة الايكونوميست البريطانية واكدتها مصادر المقاومة)، وكذلك الاشد قدرة تدميرية من طراز ام-75 محلية الصنع التي تحمل رأسا متفجرا بزنة 100 كلغم، استهدفت منطقة مفاعل ديمونا وتل الربيع

        تصدت “القبة الحديدية” لعدد محدود من الصواريخ التي اصابت اهدافا في عمق فلسطين المحتلة، امتدادا من المستعمرات المحيطة بقطاع غزة وصولا الى حيفا ومرورا بتل الربيع والخضيرة، ولم تسلم القدس المحتلة من دقة التصويب. بل اصابت مطار اللد، مطار بن غوريون، للمرة الاولى في تاريخ الصراع العربي الصهيوني مرات اربع

        اعتاد الكيان الصهيوني على المفاخرة بفعالية القبة الحديدية، بل المبالغة المفرطة فيها بالزعم انها تراوحت بين 84 و 90% من الدقة. الارقام الصادرة عن هيئاته العسكرية والرسمية تدحض ذلك. في مطلع اليوم الخامس للعدوان، اوردت وكالة “أ ب” الاميركية للانباء  ان مجموع ما اطلقته المقاومة الفلسطينية من مختلف الاعيرة بلغ 420 صاروخا اعترضت “القبة الحديدية” 90 صاروخا. اي ما يعادل 21%. في اليوم الذي سبقه، اوردت الانباء اطلاق 117 صاروخا اعترضت “القبة الحديدية” 19 صاروخا؛ اي نسبة 16%

        نشرت “اسرائيل” 7 بطاريات صواريخ للقبة الحديدية بالمنطقة المحيطة مباشرة بقطاع غزة، ورغم كثافتها فان اداءها كان بالغ التواضع وفق الارقام الرسمية المنشورة، فضلا عن الكلفة العالية للبطارية (50 مليون دولار) وصواريخها (40،00 – 100,000 دولار). واستدعت ايضا 40،000 من جنود الاحتياط للخدمة الفعلية دلالة على نواياها باطالة أمد العدوان لكن قادتها من سياسيين وعسكريين يترددون في اتخاذ قرار الاجتياح البري الذي يلوكونه يوميا في ظل مناخ تبادل الاتهامات بين قادة الاجهزة الاستخباراتية والعسكرية لشح وفشل جمع المعلومات عن اسلحة ومواقع المقاومة

        في الشق الاميركي، الانتظار والترقب يلازم الحركة السياسية مع رشح معلومات عن نقاشات داخلية عالية المستوى تشير الى عدم تفضيل الجانب الاميركي لاجتياح “اسرائيلي” بري، في الوقت الراهن، والمماطلة باطالة القصف الجوي لالحاق اكبر قدر من الخسائر البشرية طمعا في تبلور معطيات مغايرة عما تنبيء به النتائج الميدانية، في ظل تعطيل حركة الملاحة المدنية في مطار اللد وخضوع ما لا يقل عن 3 ملايين مستوطن يهودي في اقبية الملاجيء

التقرير الأسبوعي 07-11-2013

:المقدمة

        صراع التيارات السياسية الاميركية اتخذ من قلق المناطق الحدودية المشتركة مع المكسيك ذريعة لتفريغ حممها، بحجة انها اضحت منفذا مفتوحا لموجات متواصلة “لمهاجرين غير شرعيين” من دول اميركا الوسطى والجنوبية. وانعكس الصراع بتراجع الاهتمام الاعلامي للعدوان على قطاع غزة، واغفال اعتداء المستعمرين الصهاينة على خطف وحرق شاب فلسطيني حيا

        سيستعرض قسم التحليل مسألتين ضاغطتين على المشهد الاميركي: ظاهرة اللامبالاة للرئيس اوباما لاستمرار العدوان “الاسرائيلي” على غزة، وتطلعه لكسب تأييد الجالية اليهودية في ظل المتغيرات الجارية على الخريطة الانتخابية وجنوح الغالبية اليهودية لتأييد التيارات والبرامج المحافظة وابرزها “اسرائيل.”  المسالة الاخرى تتناول جديد التقنيات الحربية لدى المقاومة الفلسطينية و”اسرائيل” رغم شح المعلومات الموثقة وتكاملها

ملخص دراسات ونشاطات مراكزالابحاث

فلسطين المحتلة

        اعتبر مركز دراسات السياسة الأمنية ان اغتيال الشاب الفلسطيني، محمد ابو خضير، حرقا بالنار وهو حي انما يجسد “ازمات اجتماعية عميقة داخل اسرائيل،” منوها انه ينبغي على “اسرائيل” الالتفات الجاد لتلك “الآفات واستئصالها .. وعليها معالجة ظاهرة الارهاب اليهودي التي تنمو كالاعشاب الضارة ويجب اقتلاعها.” ورحب المركز بالخطوات التي ارساها “رؤساء البلديات العرب الذين تصدوا للمحتجين وناشدوا عرب اسرائيل الاندماج في المجتمع الاسرائيلي ..” وخلص بالقول ان “اسرائيل تواجه فترة صعبة وقاسية امامها، بيد انه لا يمكننا التهرب من موجبات الحريات.”

العراق

        حث مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية والدولية الولايات المتحدة على مواصلة جهودها الرامية “لتقييد حركة تنظيم داعش وفرض تراجع على اندفاعه دون الاضطرار الى المفاضلة بين الاطراف المنخرطة في الحرب الأهلية الشاملة .. والسعي لدعم جهود الحكومة المركزية اعادة بناء قواها الأمنية.” وحذر المركز من “المخاطر الاستراتيجية للقوى الجديدة في الشرق الاوسط والتي تتعدى حدود العراق وبدأت تستدرج انخراط الولايات المتحدة في صيغة تنافسية جديدة – او اللعبة العظمى – مع روسيا وربما مع الصين ايضا”

        سلط معهد المشروع الاميركي الانظار على الدور المفترض لقوات الحرس الثوري الايراني في الازمة العراقية، منوها الى ان اهدافه في “انزال هزيمة بالدولة الاسلامية تتقاطع مع اهداف الولايات المتحدة، بيد انه يضع نصب عينيه احتضان تعبئة شيعة العراق كجزء من سياسة التعبئة الطائفية الاقليمية .. ضد الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها الاقليميين التي تشكل تهديدا اضافيا للمصالح الاميركية في المنطقة.” واوضح المعهد ان “جهود الحرس الثوري ستمضي قدما لزعزعة الاستقرار في الشرق الاوسط وانشاء بيئة خصبة لتجنيد قوات الباسيج البديلة فحسب، بل لمؤيدي القاعدة ايضا”

مصر

        حرض معهد كارنيغي الشعب المصري ضد السلطات الجديدة التي تسعى “لتمديد نطاق نفوذها واستبدادها بدواعي حماية الأمن القومي ومكافحة الارهاب .. وعليه عدم القبول بالتضحية بالحريات مقابل بسط الاستقرار والأمن،” مناشدا الرئيس المصري عبد الفتاح السيسي المبادرة الى “اجراء حوار وطني يرمي الى ترجمة مباديء الدستور الاساسية الى اطر تشريعية عملية وبرامج ومؤسسات .. ومواجهة تحديات مصر الاجتماعية والسياسية الشاقة وتوفير المتطلبات الشعبية، وارساء اطار للاصلاحات الاقتصادية”

افغانستان

        اعد مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية والدولية ثلاث دراسات متتالية تعالج الشأن الافغاني والتحديات الماثلة “لزعزعة الأمن” في ضوء الانتخابات الرئاسية التي لم تحسم نتائجها بعد. واعرب المركز عن اعتقاده بفشل المرحلة الانتقالية سيما وان الضخ بقوات اضافية الى الميدان الافغاني، الطفرة العسكرية، “لم تحصد النتائج الايجابية المرجوة .. ولا زالت القوى الأمنية الافغانية تعاني من تحديات بالغة في النوعية والتمويل، وهي التحديات التي تفادى الاقرار بها الرئيس اوباما في خطابة حول المرحلة الانتقالية الافغانية بتارؤيخ 27 أيار 2014”

الصراع الاستراتيجي في آسيا

        حثت مؤسسة هاريتاج المؤسسة العسكرية الاميركية المضي في جهودها “لمواجهة مساعي الصين انشاء منطقة نفوذ اقليمية تهدد الوجود الاميركي .. واستخدام عدد من السبل السياسية وعمليات الانتشار العسكرية والمعدات التقنية لردع العسكرية الصينية .. واستغلال ميزة عداء كافة الدول الاقليمية للصين “

:التحليل

غزة تقاوم وتصمد

 نتنياهو يصعّد واوباما يغطي ويرصد الانتخابات النصفية

لا ينبيء العنوان بشيء جديد او مغاير للتحولات التاريخية التي شهدها مسار الصراع العربي  الصهيوني على ارض فلسطين. الفارق الساطع هذه المرة هو في وحدة وصلابة رد المقاومة الفلسطينية الممنهج على مراكز ومقرات ومؤسسات استراتيجية للكيان الغاصب، اوضح تعبيراتها تجسد في صعود الفلسطينيين اسطح منازلهم واكواخهم المتهالكة للمشاهدة والاحتفال بوصول صواريخ المقاومة الى اهدافها تحدث العلع في اوساط المستعمرين الصهاينة وهم يهرولون للاختباء في اقبية الملاجيء، يرافقهم تصريحات قادتهم الفاشيين يعدونهم “باستئصال شأفة المقاومة،” بعد اضطرارهم في كل مرة الى استدارة دباباتهم وفوهات مدافعهم تراجعا وتقهقرا

        جولة جديدة دشنتها “اسرائيل” بغطرسة وصفاقة واجرام معهود: قيام ذراعها من المستعمرين بخطف شاب عربي واضرام النار بجسده حيا،ً وارسال حمم طائراتها المقاتلة اميركية الصنع لتدك شعب يرزح بأكمله تحت الحصار في غزة، في ظل استمرار حرص السلطة الفلسطينية على العودة للتفاوض واستمرار التنسيق الأمني، وتسجيل اميركا احتجاجها شفويا ضد “الجيش الذي يقهر ويذل” لاعتدائه وخطفه شاب فلسطيني آخر صادف حمله للجنسية الاميركية وتعذيبه بمشهد مروع صورته الكاميرا

        في الفضاء الاوسع ، وبعد اقرار للمسؤولين الصهاينة ان قطاع غزة وخلال ايام العدوان الخمسة الاولى المتواصلة تعرض لما يفوق 900 غارة جوية بطائرات اميركية الصنع والذخيرة، والقاء حممها بزنة نحو 1000 طن من المواد المتفجرة، وتدمير اكثر من 200 منزل تدمير كامل ونحو 6000 منزل تدمير جزئي، وخسائر بشرية، شهداءً وجرحى، تتزايد باضطراد. امام هذا المشهد كرست الحكومة الاميركية مواقفها العدائية بالوقوف امام استصدار قرار من مجلس الأمن الدولي يدين العدوان الصهيوني، سبقه تصريحات متكررة لمسؤولين كبارا عبرت عن عدم رغبة او توفر ارادة للتدخل الاميركي بنية وقف العدوان. بل تجاهل الرئيس اوباما المستجدات والتطورات الاقليمية ومضى زائرا يجول في عدد من المدن الاميركية توسلا لتبرعات مالية تعين الحملات الانتخابية لمرشحي الحزب الديموقراطي

        وبهذا اثبت الرئيس اوباما انه ليس في عجلة من امره لوقف العدوان سيرا على خطى اسلافه السابقين واتساقا مع الاستراتيجية الاميركية المعادية للشعوب المطالبة بحريتها واستقلالها. بل لم يدب فيه الحماس لاستقبال شخصي للعاهل الاردني الزائر، الملك عبد الله الثاني، وارجأ الأمر الى نائب الرئيس جو بايدن ليستضيفه على مأدبة افطار صباحي باجواء عائلية، مرسلا بذلك رسالة لمن يعنيهم الأمر ان الظروف الميدانية والسياسية لم تنضج بما فيه الكفاية بعد كي تدخل الولايات المتحدة بثقلها لانقاذ “اسرائيل” بدافع التهدئة وحقن الدماء

        وعليه يستطيع المرء تلمس حقيقة اولويات الرئيس اوباما بالالتفات الى حملة تبرعات دشنها منذ شهور اربع لتعزيز فرص المرشحين عن حزبه الديموقراطي، بعد بضعة شهور، وارجاء القضايا الاخرى ذات الابعاد الاستراتيجية ابرزها العدوان على غزة. هذا الاستنتاج يعززه نتائج استطلاعات للرأي اشارت بثبات تدهور شعبية الرئيس اوباما وتدني الاداء الاقتصادي وتهديد ماثل لخسارة الحزب الديموقراطي زعامته لمجلس الشيوخ، وتراجع الاهتمام الرسمي بالشؤون الخارجية بشكل عام

        ادرك الرئيس اوباما اخيرا ان معركته لكسب اصوات المستقلين خاسرة كانعكاس لتدهور الحالة الاقتصادية، ويضاعف مهامه ومهام مرشحي حزبه لادامة لحمة القاعدة الحزبية. ويسعى اوباما جاهدا لبناء تحالف قاعدة انتخابية اوسع امتدادا دلالة على الاستراتيجية الجديدة للبيت الابيض بالاستدارة لصقل سياسات داخلية

        في الشأن الداخلي ايضا، تواصلت ازمات الرئيس اوباما بتسديد المحكمة العليا هزيمة اضافية لبرامجه الداخلية واصطفافها الى جانب اصحاب المصالح الكبرى التي طالبت بتقييد حرية العامل والموظف التمتع بمزايا نظام الرعاية الصحية تخص توفير وسائل منع الحمل، الأمر الذي قد يترجم انتخابيا بتضخم صفوف العامل النسائي في صفوف الحزب الديموقراطي احتجاجا على تدخل “السلطات العليا” بامورهن الخاصة والشخصية. كما استشاط اقطاب الحزب الجمهوري غضبا من سياسة الرئيس اوباما “المتساهلة” مع موجات الهجرة “غير الشرعية” نحو الولايات الجنوبية المشتركة حدوديا مع المكسيك، واتهامه باسترضاء القاعدة الانتخابية للجالية اللاتينية؛ مع ادراك الطرفين ان تجمعات انتخابية بعينها لا تلعب دورا مفصليا في تقرير النتائج الانتخابية، ولجوء قادة الحزب الديموقراطي برئاسة اوباما الى فرط الاعتماد على القوى الانتخابية المنظمة، اهمها الجالية اليهودية، التي تتميز بحسن تنظيمها وتعبئتها ومشاركتها الاكبر في الانتخابات من غيرها. جدير بالذكر ان اليهود يشكلون نسبة تتراوح بين 2 – 2.5% من عموم الشعب الاميركي، تقطن اغلبتهم المطلقة بنسبة 94% في 13 ولاية من مجموع الولايات الخمسين

        توزيع اصوات الجالية اليهودية يذهب بغالبيته لصالح الحزب الديموقراطي، تقدر احدث الدراسات ان 70% منهم يميلون للصف الديموقراطي، مقارنة مع نسبة 49% من عموم الاميركيين يؤيدون الحزب. النسب المذكورة تشير الى اهمية وحساسية الفوز باصوات اليهود بالنسبة للرئيس اوباما والمرشحين الديموقراطيين، لا سيما في الولايات التي تصنف حاسمة: اوهايو وفلوريدا وبنسلفانيا

        مرجعية الاصوات اليهودية، فيما يتعلق بالانتخابات الرئاسية بشكل خاص، طرأ عليها بعض التغيرات في المراحل الاخيرة، وان لم تكن حاسمة وقاطعة الا انها تدل على تعديل بعض المسلمات السابقة لمن يهتم بحسبان الاصوات. اشارت احدث استطلاعات معهد “بيو” ان غالبية اليهود ينظرون الى انفسهم كمواطنين اميركيين اولا، واهتمامهم “باسرائيل” يحتل المرتبة الثانية مع ملاحظة تراجع حدة الانتماء للطائفة اليهودية – وفق استطلاعات “بيو.” واضاف “بيو” ان نحو 71% من اليهود غير المتدينيين يتزاوجون خارج الطائفة اليهودية، ونحو 60% منهم لا يمارسون شعائرهم داخل المعبد. هذه الشريحة بالذات هي التي يراهن عليها الحزب الديموقراطي لاستقطابها يعززها اعراب 54% من اليهود الاميركيين عن تأييدهم لمدى الدعم الاميركي “لاسرائيل”

        النسبة المتبقية من اليهود، 46%، هي التي يرمي اوباما لاستقطابها في ظل توارد معلومات بان قطاعها الاوسع بات يميل لتأييد الحزب الجمهوري سيما وانها الشريحة الولادة بين اليهود، وبعضها لا يكن تأييدا للرئيس اوباما ويعارض سياساته “المتشددة نحو اسرائيل”

        شريحة الارثوذوكس او المتدينيين من اليهود هي الاكثر نموا وتشكل نحو 12% من مجموع الجالية اليهودية في اميركا؛ مع الاشارة الى ان الجيل الفتي تحت سن الثامنة عشر ويشكل 75% من مجموع اليهود. الجزء الاكبر من هذه الشريحة هو الاميل لتأييد الحزب الجمهوري لدوافع اقتصادية وتجارية بالدرجة الاولى، ويتجمهرون في المدن الرئيسة. على سبيل المثال، يميل نحو 33% من شريحة الارثوذوكس الكبيرة في مدينة نيويورك لتأييد الحزب الجمهوري

        في التفصيل ايضا، اعتبر نحو 40% من اليهود القاطنين مدينة نيويورك انهم من الارثوذوكس، مقارنة بنسبة 33% اجريت قبل نمحو عقد من الزمن. بلغة الاحصاء، ان استمرت تلك الظاهرة بالتصاعد فان شريحة الارثوذوكس من اليهود ستشكل كتلة متراصة وثابتة الدعم للحزب الجمهوري، نظرا لتأييدهم البرنامج المحافظ للحزب في الابعاد الاجتماعية والسلوكية والاقتصادية، والدينية ايضا. سجل عام 2012 تصويت 86% من اليهود الارثوذوكس لصالح الحزب الجمهوري، مقارنة مع نسبة 28% تأييدا للحزب من غير الارثوذوكس. بالمقابل صوت نحو 72% من غير الارثوذوكس اليهود للرئيس اوباما وحاز على نسبة تأييد 14% فقط من اصوات الارثوذوكس اليهود

        يهمنا الاشارة في هذا الصدد الى التزام شريحة الارثوذوكس اليهود بالسياسة “الاسرائيلية” كأولوية على ما عداها من قضايا، وربما هذا ما يفسر نأي الرئيس اوباما بالنفس عن الاهتمام بالعدوان على غزة، دون تجاهل البعد الاستراتيجي في السياسة الاميركية المعادية لقضية العرب المركزية

دور التقنية المتطورة في العدوان على غزة

        في ظرف زمني قصير لا يتجاوز عشرة اعوام يتعرض قطاع غزة لعدوان “اسرائيلي” شامل باشتراك اسلحة الطيران والبحرية والمشاة، وتتصدى فصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية المختلفة بسلاحي التصميم والارادة البشرية والصواريخ المتواضعة، بل فاجأت بتطور دقتها وعمق امتداداتها الاصدقاء قبل الاعداء. وتدريجيا صعدت المقاومة الفلسطينية تنويع صواريخها بدءا بقصيرة المدى المصنعة محليا، وصولا الى المديات التي تصل لنحو 160 كلم من طراز 302 سورية الصنع (كما نقلت مجلة الايكونوميست البريطانية واكدتها مصادر المقاومة)، وكذلك الاشد قدرة تدميرية من طراز ام-75 محلية الصنع التي تحمل رأسا متفجرا بزنة 100 كلغم، استهدفت منطقة مفاعل ديمونا وتل الربيع

        تصدت “القبة الحديدية” لعدد محدود من الصواريخ التي اصابت اهدافا في عمق فلسطين المحتلة، امتدادا من المستعمرات المحيطة بقطاع غزة وصولا الى حيفا ومرورا بتل الربيع والخضيرة، ولم تسلم القدس المحتلة من دقة التصويب. بل اصابت مطار اللد، مطار بن غوريون، للمرة الاولى في تاريخ الصراع العربي الصهيوني مرات اربع

        اعتاد الكيان الصهيوني على المفاخرة بفعالية القبة الحديدية، بل المبالغة المفرطة فيها بالزعم انها تراوحت بين 84 و 90% من الدقة. الارقام الصادرة عن هيئاته العسكرية والرسمية تدحض ذلك. في مطلع اليوم الخامس للعدوان، اوردت وكالة “أ ب” الاميركية للانباء  ان مجموع ما اطلقته المقاومة الفلسطينية من مختلف الاعيرة بلغ 420 صاروخا اعترضت “القبة الحديدية” 90 صاروخا. اي ما يعادل 21%. في اليوم الذي سبقه، اوردت الانباء اطلاق 117 صاروخا اعترضت “القبة الحديدية” 19 صاروخا؛ اي نسبة 16%

        نشرت “اسرائيل” 7 بطاريات صواريخ للقبة الحديدية بالمنطقة المحيطة مباشرة بقطاع غزة، ورغم كثافتها فان اداءها كان بالغ التواضع وفق الارقام الرسمية المنشورة، فضلا عن الكلفة العالية للبطارية (50 مليون دولار) وصواريخها (40،00 – 100,000 دولار). واستدعت ايضا 40،000 من جنود الاحتياط للخدمة الفعلية دلالة على نواياها باطالة أمد العدوان لكن قادتها من سياسيين وعسكريين يترددون في اتخاذ قرار الاجتياح البري الذي يلوكونه يوميا في ظل مناخ تبادل الاتهامات بين قادة الاجهزة الاستخباراتية والعسكرية لشح وفشل جمع المعلومات عن اسلحة ومواقع المقاومة

        في الشق الاميركي، الانتظار والترقب يلازم الحركة السياسية مع رشح معلومات عن نقاشات داخلية عالية المستوى تشير الى عدم تفضيل الجانب الاميركي لاجتياح “اسرائيلي” بري، في الوقت الراهن، والمماطلة باطالة القصف الجوي لالحاق اكبر قدر من الخسائر البشرية طمعا في تبلور معطيات مغايرة عما تنبيء به النتائج الميدانية، في ظل تعطيل حركة الملاحة المدنية في مطار اللد وخضوع ما لا يقل عن 3 ملايين مستوطن يهودي في اقبية الملاجيء

Analysis 07-04-2014

ANALYSIS

 

Ruptures in the Governing Fabric of America

 

As Americans celebrate their independence from Britain this weekend, the American system of government is showing cracks in it – cracks that were quite evident this last week.  That system, outlined by the US Constitution, creates a limited form of government with checks and balances.  It also recognizes the central power of the people, who not only have a right to vote for their leaders, but also retain the power, according to the original founding document, the Declaration of Independence, to abolish a government they don’t like.

But, it is becoming increasingly clear that many Americans think that the government and president has exceeded its authority and is restricting the freedoms expressly written into the US Constitution?  Polls are reflecting disapproval of their leadership and the institutions of government.  The US Supreme Court, which has the traditional role of interpreting the Constitution, is frequently ruling against the government in key court cases.  And, people are taking to the streets, not to demonstrate, but to physically stop government actions.

All three of these things have happened just in the last week.  A string of newly released polls showed high disapproval percentages for Obama and the other branches of the Government.  They are also showing that the American people are becoming more pessimistic about their freedom and future.  The highest court in the United States ruled in four cases in the last week alone that the Obama administration has exceeded its powers granted under the US Constitution.  And, finally, Americans physically stopped the movement of illegal immigrants by government employees in California on Tuesday.

Is America at the brink?  Can we expect more unrest?

Although it’s very hard to predict, there is a likelihood that America is on the edge of civil unrest.

To better understand these problems, we have to look at how America is governed and how Americans perceive their relationship with the government.

Limited Government – Separated Powers and Shared Sovereignty

Unlike the governments of many other countries, the US government has limited powers and those powers are separated into three different branches of the federal government – the presidency, congress, and the judiciary.  In addition, sovereignty is shared between the federal government, the states, and the people.  However, this isn’t the way the American government began and the United States underwent 15 years of trial and error before settling on the current system of government.

The first government of the United States was the Continental Congress, which was assembled on September 5, 1774.  Its president, and therefore the first president of the United States, was Peyton Randolph.  It was this government that fought the American Revolution and was recognized by France, the Netherlands, and Morocco.  Although it did handle foreign policy and the conduct of the war, it had very few powers.  The problem was that the Continental Congress was an assembly of sovereign states and it could do little unless all the states agreed.

As the war continued, the Continental Congress form of governance was shown to be too weak, so it was replaced by a second form of government formed under the Articles of Confederation, which gave the central government more power, but recognized that the states retained full sovereignty.  The US operated under the Articles of Confederation from 1779 to 1788.

When this central government proved to be too weak, a new Constitution was proposed – the one that the US currently operates under.  However, the states were worried about an all powerful central government, so certain checks were put into the document.  These checks provide the tension that governs the US today.

One new power that was granted in the Constitution was the recognition of the sovereignty of the people.  While the previous forms of government gave sovereign power to the states, the US Constitution stated in its opening words, “We the People of the United States,” a radical and controversial statement giving ultimate power to the citizens.  In fact, well known Founding Father Patrick Henry stated, “What is this “We the People” in the Preamble?  This is a Confederation of states.”  Future president Samuel Adams stated, “I stumble at the threshold. We are a confederation of states.”

Therefore, the United States represents a balance of powers granted to several entities, with the idea, that although not the most efficient government, it is the best one to protect the rights of the people and states.  It also prevents the central government from becoming too powerful.

The balance between the three sovereign powers is as follows:

Federal government – powers granted by the Constitution

President – executes laws, carries out foreign policy, Commander-in-Chief of military

House of Representatives – power of the purse, must initiate budget and tax bills

Senate – Originally represented states, but now an upper chamber that must pass bills

Supreme Court – Interprets the constitution

State Government – powers granted by the Constitution and the 10th and 11th amendments.  The bulk of laws and police enforcement reside here.

People – Power to elect federal, state, and local leaders.  Also powers and rights granted by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (Amendments 1 – 10). These include freedom of religion, assembly, and speech; right to own weapons; prohibiting the quartering of soldiers in peacetime; privacy against searches; rights of the accused; right to a fair trial and counsel; trial by jury; ban on excessive punishment; and recognition that all other powers not given to the federal government or states reside in the people.

The role of the People in the United States is relatively unique.  In most countries, even democracies, sovereignty resides in the government or in the person of a monarch.  However, the key founding documents of the US, the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution recognize that ultimate sovereignty resides in the People.  In fact, the Declaration of Independence states, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”

This position was ratified in the 2008 Supreme Court Ruling of the District of Columbia vs. Heller, which held that keeping and bearing arms was an important constitutional right of the people because, “they are better able to resist tyranny.”

That right of the American people to abolish a government and the right to own weapons, “to resist tyranny,” gives it a unique power people in other countries don’t have.  And, the average American is well aware of this power, which is one reason why attempts by the government to control gun ownership in America always fail.

This brings us to the current situation.  The federal government, especially the presidency, has moved rapidly to centralize power.  It has acted without the approval of the Congress, it has tried to assume powers reserved to the states, and it has tried to restrict the freedoms of the People.

And, the people aren’t happy.

Obama Versus the Supreme Court

One tool the state governments and the people have to remedy the overstepping of power by the federal government is the Supreme Court, which has the traditional role of interpreting the Constitution.  And, it has been this court that has dealt some of the most far reaching losses against the Obama Administration, even though Obama has named two of the justices sitting on the court himself.  Since January 2009, the Obama administration has suffered at least 20 unanimous defeats in cases it argued (not counting cases in which it filed an amicus brief), according to Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

“President Obama’s unanimous Supreme Court loss rate, for the five and half years of his presidency, is nearly double that of President Bush and is 25 percent greater than President Clinton,” Cruz notes in a survey of how Obama’s lawyers performed before the high court.

Last week, in a unanimous, 9-0 rebuke, the justices ruled Obama had overstepped his constitutional authority when he went around the US Senate and unilaterally appointed three members to the National Labor Relations Board.  This clearly upheld a US Senate Constitutional right to approve the people nominated to key positions in the US government.

They also ruled 9-0 that the government couldn’t search cell phones without a search warrant.  Although the case dealt with a state law, the Obama Administration had argued for the additional power.  However, the court ruled unanimously that the 4th Amendment of the Constitution protected the people from such abuses.

Several Freedom of Speech rulings went against Obama as the court ruled last week that the government couldn’t force people to join a union and pay dues for political speech that they didn’t agree with.  They also agreed that anti-abortion protesters had a right to speech around abortion clinics.

Freedom of Religion also was defended when the court ruled that private companies can refuse to provide some contraceptives, mandated under Obamacare that the company owners felt were against their religious beliefs.

States have also used the Supreme Court to shift power back to themselves.  The court ruled against Congress and the Department of Justice by declaring some of parts of the Voting Rights Act, which gave the federal government power over some states voting laws, unconstitutional.

The Declining Popularity of Government in America

Although the Supreme Court has acted in its traditional role of determining the role of government and its limitations under the Constitution, the damage to the image of the government and Obama is great.

Currently Obama is suffering from approval ratings lower than any president in recent history.  According to a new poll from Quinnipiac, Americans pick Obama as the worst president in the last 70 years (Ronald Reagan was voted the best).  There is also a considerable amount of buyer’s remorse as voters now say America would be better off if Republican Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election (45 percent to 38 percent).

An Investors Business Daily poll this week gave Obama more bad news.  59% of Americans blame Obama for the current immigration crisis.  56% think his withdrawal of troops from Iraq has caused the current conflict there.  And, 65% think his administration is trying to cover-up wrongdoing in the IRS.

“Mr. Obama finds himself in the uncomfortable position where every age group, independents, and whites all agree that the public has given up on his ability to accomplish anything before the end of his term,” said pollster John Zogby.

This negative perception isn’t limited to Obama.  It has permeated feelings towards government as a whole.  According to a Gallup poll released this week, 79% of Americans think that corruption is widespread in the US government.  That is up 20 points since 2006 and places the US government in the top 30% of nations in terms of perceived corruption.

The poll also showed that only 29% of Americans have great confidence in the presidency, down from 36% at the beginning of the Obama Administration.  Congress’s approval rating is only 7%.  The Supreme Court ranked highest at 30%.

Americans, who have traditionally felt America was the freest country in the world no longer think so.  The same Gallup Poll showed fewer Americans are satisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives compared with seven years ago – dropping 12 percentage points from 91% in 2006 to 79% in 2013. In that same period, the percentage of Americans dissatisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives more than doubled, from 9% to 21%.

Today, countries like Cambodia and Uzbekistan rank higher in freedom (New Zealand and Australia come in first and second).  America comes in 36 out of 150 countries.  The decline in American freedom isn’t as great as that experienced in Egypt according to the poll, but is similar to the loss of freedom in Yemen and Pakistan from 2006 to 2013.

What does this mean for America?

The fact is that America’s society is much more brittle than many think.  A decreasing standard of living, a perception that freedom is declining, a lack of faith in government, and a perception that the US has a corrupt government have seriously hit the underpinnings of American society.

While the Supreme Court has been a relief valve in some cases, there is a growing sense of frustration in Middle America – frustration that is leading to action.  This week about 200 Americans in California physically blocked three buses that were going to drop illegal immigrants off in their town and forced the Border Patrol to reroute them to another destination.  The action was very similar to the incident 10 weeks ago at the Bundy Ranch, where people stopped the BLM from rounding up cattle.  There are also reports of armed private militia units patrolling the border in Texas and Arizona.

Historically in cases where a society becomes brittle and likely to break down, governments that back down usually can restore normalcy.  However, leaders that continue to pursue unpopular policy often face rebellion.  Czar Nicholas II in Russia is an excellent example.

Will Obama step back from the actions that have elicited rebukes from the Supreme Court and plummeting approval ratings from the public?  Possibly not.  Despite dramatic disapproval from the public, Obama has announced he will unilaterally make changes to American immigration law.  He has also promised other unilateral actions that are currently unpopular.  This will only fuel more unrest.

How far can Obama push?  We can’t say.  However, a belief that the current course of action can continue without repercussions to the government and society is likely wrong.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

Why Defense Matters: A New Narrative for NATO

By Judy Dempsey

Carnegie Endowment

June 24, 2014

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is in search of a new narrative. While Russia’s involvement in Eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea will not give NATO a new sense of solidarity, these events have highlighted what the alliance and its members must urgently do. It is time for all NATO countries to engage in a real strategic debate about why defense matters and what members should do to uphold the transatlantic relationship.  Alliance countries face many threats apart from Russia, including terrorism, cyberattacks, instability south of the Mediterranean and in the Sahel in particular, Iran’s nuclear program, and China’s strategic ambitions. NATO has no strategies to deal with them.

Read more

 

 

EU-Iran Relations: A Strategic Assessment

By Cornelius Adebahr

Carnegie Endowment

June 23, 2014

The EU’s approach to Iran has emerged as one of the few successes of European foreign policy. In particular, the signing of an interim agreement in November 2013 that put limits on Tehran’s nuclear program for the first time marked a historic victory for EU diplomacy. Catherine Ashton, the EU’s top diplomat, continues to lead negotiations with Iran on behalf of the international community and aims to reach a “comprehensive” long-term agreement by late July 2014.   Even so, the EU is not thinking strategically. Despite the EU’s central position in the P5+1 talks, a strategic assessment of its overall approach to Iran reveals that Europe falls short.

Read more

 

 

The Iraq Crisis Is Not a US Intelligence Failure

By Fred Fleitz

Center for Security Policy

July 2, 2014

Stories are being circulated by Obama officials and some former intelligence officers that the Obama administration was caught off guard by the recent offensive in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorist group because of a failure by U.S. intelligence agencies to provide warning about the ISIS threat.   Some former intelligence officers are blaming this failure on a lack of human intelligence sources in Iraq and an over-reliance on technical intelligence collection.  Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, disagrees. He says the Iraq crisis is a policy and not an intelligence failure.  Rogers says the signs were there about the ISIS threat and the deteriorating situation in Iraq but Obama officials ignored them. He contends that “It was very clear to me years ago that ISIS was pooling up in a dangerous way — building training camps, drawing in jihadists from around the world. We saw all of that happening.”

Read more

 

 

ISIS Battle Plan for Baghdad

By Jessica Lewis

Institute for the Study of War

June 27, 2014

There are indications that ISIS is about to launch into a new offensive in Iraq. ISIS published photos of a military parade through the streets of Mosul on June 24, 2014 showcasing US military equipment, including armored vehicles and towed artillery systems. ISIS reportedly executed another parade in Hawijah on June 26, 2014. These parades may be a demonstration force to reinforce their control of these urban centers. They may also be a prelude to ISIS troop movements, and it is important to anticipate where ISIS may deploy these forces forward. Meanwhile, ISIS also renewed the use of suicide bombers in the vicinity of Baghdad. An ISIS bomber with a suicide vest (SVEST) attacked the Kadhimiya shrine in northern Baghdad on June 26, 2014, one of the four holy sites in Iraq that Iran and Shi’a militias are most concerned to protect. ISIS also incorporated an SVEST into a complex attack in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, on June 25, 2014 in a zone primarily controlled by the ISF and Shi’a militias on the road from Baghdad to Karbala. These attacks are demonstrations that ISIS has uncommitted forces in the Baghdad Belts that may be brought to bear in new offensives. ISIS’s offensive has not culminated, and the ISIS campaign for Iraq is not over. Rather, as Ramadan approaches, their main offensive is likely imminent.

Read more

 

 

What Kurdish Independence Would Mean

By Lee Smith

Hudson Institute

July 1, 2014

The president of the Kurdish Regional Government Massoud Barzani announced today that he intends to call for a referendum on independence within the next few months. And if the Kurds do elect to break free of the central government in Baghdad, they’ll have at least one regional actor eager to acknowledge them as an independent state—Israel.

“They are a warrior nation, that is politically moderate,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the Kurds in a speech Sunday. They are “worthy of statehood,” Netanyahu continued. “We need to support the Kurdish aspiration for independence. They deserve it.”

Read more

 

 

Turkey‘s Kurdish Buffer

By Soner Cagaptay

Washington Institute

July 1, 2014

Foreign Affairs

If anything good comes out of the turmoil in Iraq, it will be improved ties between Turkey and the region’s Kurds. Until recently, they were bitter enemies. Ankara had never been able to stomach the idea of Kurdish self-government — in Iraq or Syria or Turkey — and it had generally refused to give in to Turkish Kurds’ demands for cultural rights. Instead, it preferred to crack down. Meanwhile, the region’s Kurds had never been able to stomach Iraqi, Syrian, or Turkish rule and, taking issue with Ankara’s treatment of Kurds within Turkey’s borders, threw their support behind the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a violent separatist movement in Turkey.  The Syrian civil war and developments in Iraq have started to change all that. These days, from Turkey’s perspective, Kurdish autonomy doesn’t look half bad. The portions of northern Iraq and Syria that are under Kurdish control are stable and peaceful — a perfect bulwark against threats such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)…It is a tall order, but the stars may be aligned in favor of a Turkish-Kurdish axis.

Read more

 

 

Mounzer A. Sleiman Ph.D.
Center for American and Arab Studies
Think Tanks Monitor

www.thinktankmonitor.org

C: 202 536 8984             C: 301 509 4144

Week of July 04th, 2014

Executive Summary

It has been an unusually quiet week for the Washington think tank community as it is a short week because of American Independence Day on July 4th.

Although the American government has proven to be quite stable and resilient, this week saw several cracks in the American system of government as the Supreme Court ruled against Obama on several key cases and polls show a plummeting favorability rating for the president.  In fact, one poll showed that Americans consider Obama to be the worse president in the last 70 years.

The Monitor Analysis looks at these issues in light of the American system of government, its separation of powers, how it evolved in its early years, and the unique role of the people in the American system.

 

Think Tanks Activity Summary

 

The Institute for the Study of War thinks that IS may be readying itself for the battle of Baghdad.  They note, “ISIS is formidable, but it is also predictable. ISIS has exposed many of the core elements of its strategy, and it is possible to anticipate their next steps. ISW assesses with confidence that ISIS’s urban offensive begun in Mosul has not culminated, and its campaign for Iraq is not over. ISIS’s next urban objective will likely be to clear the Haditha-Ramadi corridor along the Euphrates River in Anbar. ISIS’s ultimate military objective in Iraq is likely to destroy the government in Baghdad.”

The Center of Security Policy argues that the crisis in Iraq isn’t a failure of the American intelligence community, but a policy failure.  The paper says, “There was a wealth of information in the news media over the last year that a sectarian war was brewing in Iraq and ISIS was gaining strength in both Iraq and Syria. I am certain U.S. intelligence agencies provided similar assessments to U.S. officials based on classified information.

The event that should have caused Obama officials to shift their approach to Iraq occurred last December when ISIS seized control of Fallujah and parts of the city of Ramadi. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn issued a public warning about the significance of this development in February when he testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that ISIS “will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014, as demonstrated recently in Ramadi and Fallujah, and the group’s ability to concurrently maintain multiple safe havens in Syria.”  That sounds to me like a top U.S. intelligence official was doing his job by warning U.S. officials about major global security threats.”

The Hudson Institute looks at what Kurdish independence would mean.  They note, “The problem, however, is in getting to the point where you can draw borders, which has little to do with the right to self-determination, or even material wealth, which the potentially oil-rich Kurdish Regional Government, or KRG, may soon have in abundance. Rather, it’s about geopolitics and the disposition of larger, more powerful states. And at this point it seems that besides Israel, none of the regional and international players involved—above all, Turkey, Iran, and the United States—have any interest in promoting Kurdish statehood.”

The Washington Institute takes a different position and argues that Turkey will want a Kurdish state as a buffer.  They note, “ISIS’ advances in Iraq — including a June 11 attack on the Turkish consulate in Mosul, during which the group took Turkish diplomats and security officials hostage — has added urgency to the drive to improve relations between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds. It also made Turkey go back on some clear redlines it had previously set for the Kurds; back in 2005, Turkey had threatened military action should they occupy Kirkuk, an oil-rich city in northern Iraq. Kirkuk’s oil reserves would have given the Kurdish regional government independent income (it relies on Baghdad for financial transfers), which would have been a first step toward full sovereignty. But on June 12, when Kurdish forces moved to occupy Kirkuk, Ankara did not utter a word.

It now seems safe to say that if the Iraqi Kurdish regional government declared independence, Ankara would be the first capital to recognize it. In today’s Middle East, in other words, ISIS is a bigger threat to the Turks than Kurdish independence in Iraq.”

The Carnegie Endowment also argues that the European Union must reassess its relationship with Iran.  They note, “The EU should also work more closely with the United States, beyond the well-established cooperation between their negotiating teams. Broader outreach to U.S. policymakers and the American think tank community is necessary given that the EU’s role on the Iran file is generally poorly appreciated by the American public and that Congress plays a crucial part in many decisions regarding U.S. sanctions. In a concerted effort, the EU delegation and member states’ embassies in Washington should work with members of Congress, both before and after the midterm U.S. elections that will take place in the fall of 2014, to secure the necessary U.S. support for sanctions relief if a comprehensive agreement is achieved—or indeed to devise a new common approach to Iran if the talks break down.”

The Carnegie Endowment argues that NATO must reexamine its priorities.  They conclude, “Contrary to intuition, the Ukraine crisis has not provided NATO with a new raison d’être. Quite the opposite: the fact that allies have such widely differing views on whether Russia constitutes a threat could actually pull NATO apart even further. The example of Poland shows the effects of disappointment in the alliance’s cohesion. That country may become even more unwilling to engage in pooling and sharing if it believes it cannot trust NATO to show full solidarity in a conflict. If NATO turns itself into a convenient toolbox for coalitions of the willing, it will not be sustainable as a coherent alliance.  NATO needs to re-create a sense of solidarity among its members, and this will be possible only if all of them regain at least some shared perception of threats. This is the challenge that lies behind the post-Afghanistan narrative. The Ukraine crisis is no solution, but it does have the merit of highlighting what NATO and its members urgently need to do.”

 

 

ANALYSIS

 

Ruptures in the Governing Fabric of America

 

As Americans celebrate their independence from Britain this weekend, the American system of government is showing cracks in it – cracks that were quite evident this last week.  That system, outlined by the US Constitution, creates a limited form of government with checks and balances.  It also recognizes the central power of the people, who not only have a right to vote for their leaders, but also retain the power, according to the original founding document, the Declaration of Independence, to abolish a government they don’t like.

But, it is becoming increasingly clear that many Americans think that the government and president has exceeded its authority and is restricting the freedoms expressly written into the US Constitution?  Polls are reflecting disapproval of their leadership and the institutions of government.  The US Supreme Court, which has the traditional role of interpreting the Constitution, is frequently ruling against the government in key court cases.  And, people are taking to the streets, not to demonstrate, but to physically stop government actions.

All three of these things have happened just in the last week.  A string of newly released polls showed high disapproval percentages for Obama and the other branches of the Government.  They are also showing that the American people are becoming more pessimistic about their freedom and future.  The highest court in the United States ruled in four cases in the last week alone that the Obama administration has exceeded its powers granted under the US Constitution.  And, finally, Americans physically stopped the movement of illegal immigrants by government employees in California on Tuesday.

Is America at the brink?  Can we expect more unrest?

Although it’s very hard to predict, there is a likelihood that America is on the edge of civil unrest.

To better understand these problems, we have to look at how America is governed and how Americans perceive their relationship with the government.

Limited Government – Separated Powers and Shared Sovereignty

Unlike the governments of many other countries, the US government has limited powers and those powers are separated into three different branches of the federal government – the presidency, congress, and the judiciary.  In addition, sovereignty is shared between the federal government, the states, and the people.  However, this isn’t the way the American government began and the United States underwent 15 years of trial and error before settling on the current system of government.

The first government of the United States was the Continental Congress, which was assembled on September 5, 1774.  Its president, and therefore the first president of the United States, was Peyton Randolph.  It was this government that fought the American Revolution and was recognized by France, the Netherlands, and Morocco.  Although it did handle foreign policy and the conduct of the war, it had very few powers.  The problem was that the Continental Congress was an assembly of sovereign states and it could do little unless all the states agreed.

As the war continued, the Continental Congress form of governance was shown to be too weak, so it was replaced by a second form of government formed under the Articles of Confederation, which gave the central government more power, but recognized that the states retained full sovereignty.  The US operated under the Articles of Confederation from 1779 to 1788.

When this central government proved to be too weak, a new Constitution was proposed – the one that the US currently operates under.  However, the states were worried about an all powerful central government, so certain checks were put into the document.  These checks provide the tension that governs the US today.

One new power that was granted in the Constitution was the recognition of the sovereignty of the people.  While the previous forms of government gave sovereign power to the states, the US Constitution stated in its opening words, “We the People of the United States,” a radical and controversial statement giving ultimate power to the citizens.  In fact, well known Founding Father Patrick Henry stated, “What is this “We the People” in the Preamble?  This is a Confederation of states.”  Future president Samuel Adams stated, “I stumble at the threshold. We are a confederation of states.”

Therefore, the United States represents a balance of powers granted to several entities, with the idea, that although not the most efficient government, it is the best one to protect the rights of the people and states.  It also prevents the central government from becoming too powerful.

The balance between the three sovereign powers is as follows:

Federal government – powers granted by the Constitution

President – executes laws, carries out foreign policy, Commander-in-Chief of military

House of Representatives – power of the purse, must initiate budget and tax bills

Senate – Originally represented states, but now an upper chamber that must pass bills

Supreme Court – Interprets the constitution

State Government – powers granted by the Constitution and the 10th and 11th amendments.  The bulk of laws and police enforcement reside here.

People – Power to elect federal, state, and local leaders.  Also powers and rights granted by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (Amendments 1 – 10). These include freedom of religion, assembly, and speech; right to own weapons; prohibiting the quartering of soldiers in peacetime; privacy against searches; rights of the accused; right to a fair trial and counsel; trial by jury; ban on excessive punishment; and recognition that all other powers not given to the federal government or states reside in the people.

The role of the People in the United States is relatively unique.  In most countries, even democracies, sovereignty resides in the government or in the person of a monarch.  However, the key founding documents of the US, the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution recognize that ultimate sovereignty resides in the People.  In fact, the Declaration of Independence states, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”

This position was ratified in the 2008 Supreme Court Ruling of the District of Columbia vs. Heller, which held that keeping and bearing arms was an important constitutional right of the people because, “they are better able to resist tyranny.”

That right of the American people to abolish a government and the right to own weapons, “to resist tyranny,” gives it a unique power people in other countries don’t have.  And, the average American is well aware of this power, which is one reason why attempts by the government to control gun ownership in America always fail.

This brings us to the current situation.  The federal government, especially the presidency, has moved rapidly to centralize power.  It has acted without the approval of the Congress, it has tried to assume powers reserved to the states, and it has tried to restrict the freedoms of the People.

And, the people aren’t happy.

Obama Versus the Supreme Court

One tool the state governments and the people have to remedy the overstepping of power by the federal government is the Supreme Court, which has the traditional role of interpreting the Constitution.  And, it has been this court that has dealt some of the most far reaching losses against the Obama Administration, even though Obama has named two of the justices sitting on the court himself.  Since January 2009, the Obama administration has suffered at least 20 unanimous defeats in cases it argued (not counting cases in which it filed an amicus brief), according to Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

“President Obama’s unanimous Supreme Court loss rate, for the five and half years of his presidency, is nearly double that of President Bush and is 25 percent greater than President Clinton,” Cruz notes in a survey of how Obama’s lawyers performed before the high court.

Last week, in a unanimous, 9-0 rebuke, the justices ruled Obama had overstepped his constitutional authority when he went around the US Senate and unilaterally appointed three members to the National Labor Relations Board.  This clearly upheld a US Senate Constitutional right to approve the people nominated to key positions in the US government.

They also ruled 9-0 that the government couldn’t search cell phones without a search warrant.  Although the case dealt with a state law, the Obama Administration had argued for the additional power.  However, the court ruled unanimously that the 4th Amendment of the Constitution protected the people from such abuses.

Several Freedom of Speech rulings went against Obama as the court ruled last week that the government couldn’t force people to join a union and pay dues for political speech that they didn’t agree with.  They also agreed that anti-abortion protesters had a right to speech around abortion clinics.

Freedom of Religion also was defended when the court ruled that private companies can refuse to provide some contraceptives, mandated under Obamacare that the company owners felt were against their religious beliefs.

States have also used the Supreme Court to shift power back to themselves.  The court ruled against Congress and the Department of Justice by declaring some of parts of the Voting Rights Act, which gave the federal government power over some states voting laws, unconstitutional.

The Declining Popularity of Government in America

Although the Supreme Court has acted in its traditional role of determining the role of government and its limitations under the Constitution, the damage to the image of the government and Obama is great.

Currently Obama is suffering from approval ratings lower than any president in recent history.  According to a new poll from Quinnipiac, Americans pick Obama as the worst president in the last 70 years (Ronald Reagan was voted the best).  There is also a considerable amount of buyer’s remorse as voters now say America would be better off if Republican Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election (45 percent to 38 percent).

An Investors Business Daily poll this week gave Obama more bad news.  59% of Americans blame Obama for the current immigration crisis.  56% think his withdrawal of troops from Iraq has caused the current conflict there.  And, 65% think his administration is trying to cover-up wrongdoing in the IRS.

“Mr. Obama finds himself in the uncomfortable position where every age group, independents, and whites all agree that the public has given up on his ability to accomplish anything before the end of his term,” said pollster John Zogby.

This negative perception isn’t limited to Obama.  It has permeated feelings towards government as a whole.  According to a Gallup poll released this week, 79% of Americans think that corruption is widespread in the US government.  That is up 20 points since 2006 and places the US government in the top 30% of nations in terms of perceived corruption.

The poll also showed that only 29% of Americans have great confidence in the presidency, down from 36% at the beginning of the Obama Administration.  Congress’s approval rating is only 7%.  The Supreme Court ranked highest at 30%.

Americans, who have traditionally felt America was the freest country in the world no longer think so.  The same Gallup Poll showed fewer Americans are satisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives compared with seven years ago – dropping 12 percentage points from 91% in 2006 to 79% in 2013. In that same period, the percentage of Americans dissatisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives more than doubled, from 9% to 21%.

Today, countries like Cambodia and Uzbekistan rank higher in freedom (New Zealand and Australia come in first and second).  America comes in 36 out of 150 countries.  The decline in American freedom isn’t as great as that experienced in Egypt according to the poll, but is similar to the loss of freedom in Yemen and Pakistan from 2006 to 2013.

What does this mean for America?

The fact is that America’s society is much more brittle than many think.  A decreasing standard of living, a perception that freedom is declining, a lack of faith in government, and a perception that the US has a corrupt government have seriously hit the underpinnings of American society.

While the Supreme Court has been a relief valve in some cases, there is a growing sense of frustration in Middle America – frustration that is leading to action.  This week about 200 Americans in California physically blocked three buses that were going to drop illegal immigrants off in their town and forced the Border Patrol to reroute them to another destination.  The action was very similar to the incident 10 weeks ago at the Bundy Ranch, where people stopped the BLM from rounding up cattle.  There are also reports of armed private militia units patrolling the border in Texas and Arizona.

Historically in cases where a society becomes brittle and likely to break down, governments that back down usually can restore normalcy.  However, leaders that continue to pursue unpopular policy often face rebellion.  Czar Nicholas II in Russia is an excellent example.

Will Obama step back from the actions that have elicited rebukes from the Supreme Court and plummeting approval ratings from the public?  Possibly not.  Despite dramatic disapproval from the public, Obama has announced he will unilaterally make changes to American immigration law.  He has also promised other unilateral actions that are currently unpopular.  This will only fuel more unrest.

How far can Obama push?  We can’t say.  However, a belief that the current course of action can continue without repercussions to the government and society is likely wrong.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

Why Defense Matters: A New Narrative for NATO

By Judy Dempsey

Carnegie Endowment

June 24, 2014

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is in search of a new narrative. While Russia’s involvement in Eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea will not give NATO a new sense of solidarity, these events have highlighted what the alliance and its members must urgently do. It is time for all NATO countries to engage in a real strategic debate about why defense matters and what members should do to uphold the transatlantic relationship.  Alliance countries face many threats apart from Russia, including terrorism, cyberattacks, instability south of the Mediterranean and in the Sahel in particular, Iran’s nuclear program, and China’s strategic ambitions. NATO has no strategies to deal with them.

Read more

 

 

EU-Iran Relations: A Strategic Assessment

By Cornelius Adebahr

Carnegie Endowment

June 23, 2014

The EU’s approach to Iran has emerged as one of the few successes of European foreign policy. In particular, the signing of an interim agreement in November 2013 that put limits on Tehran’s nuclear program for the first time marked a historic victory for EU diplomacy. Catherine Ashton, the EU’s top diplomat, continues to lead negotiations with Iran on behalf of the international community and aims to reach a “comprehensive” long-term agreement by late July 2014.   Even so, the EU is not thinking strategically. Despite the EU’s central position in the P5+1 talks, a strategic assessment of its overall approach to Iran reveals that Europe falls short.

Read more

 

 

The Iraq Crisis Is Not a US Intelligence Failure

By Fred Fleitz

Center for Security Policy

July 2, 2014

Stories are being circulated by Obama officials and some former intelligence officers that the Obama administration was caught off guard by the recent offensive in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorist group because of a failure by U.S. intelligence agencies to provide warning about the ISIS threat.   Some former intelligence officers are blaming this failure on a lack of human intelligence sources in Iraq and an over-reliance on technical intelligence collection.  Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, disagrees. He says the Iraq crisis is a policy and not an intelligence failure.  Rogers says the signs were there about the ISIS threat and the deteriorating situation in Iraq but Obama officials ignored them. He contends that “It was very clear to me years ago that ISIS was pooling up in a dangerous way — building training camps, drawing in jihadists from around the world. We saw all of that happening.”

Read more

 

 

ISIS Battle Plan for Baghdad

By Jessica Lewis

Institute for the Study of War

June 27, 2014

There are indications that ISIS is about to launch into a new offensive in Iraq. ISIS published photos of a military parade through the streets of Mosul on June 24, 2014 showcasing US military equipment, including armored vehicles and towed artillery systems. ISIS reportedly executed another parade in Hawijah on June 26, 2014. These parades may be a demonstration force to reinforce their control of these urban centers. They may also be a prelude to ISIS troop movements, and it is important to anticipate where ISIS may deploy these forces forward. Meanwhile, ISIS also renewed the use of suicide bombers in the vicinity of Baghdad. An ISIS bomber with a suicide vest (SVEST) attacked the Kadhimiya shrine in northern Baghdad on June 26, 2014, one of the four holy sites in Iraq that Iran and Shi’a militias are most concerned to protect. ISIS also incorporated an SVEST into a complex attack in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, on June 25, 2014 in a zone primarily controlled by the ISF and Shi’a militias on the road from Baghdad to Karbala. These attacks are demonstrations that ISIS has uncommitted forces in the Baghdad Belts that may be brought to bear in new offensives. ISIS’s offensive has not culminated, and the ISIS campaign for Iraq is not over. Rather, as Ramadan approaches, their main offensive is likely imminent.

Read more

 

 

What Kurdish Independence Would Mean

By Lee Smith

Hudson Institute

July 1, 2014

The president of the Kurdish Regional Government Massoud Barzani announced today that he intends to call for a referendum on independence within the next few months. And if the Kurds do elect to break free of the central government in Baghdad, they’ll have at least one regional actor eager to acknowledge them as an independent state—Israel.

“They are a warrior nation, that is politically moderate,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the Kurds in a speech Sunday. They are “worthy of statehood,” Netanyahu continued. “We need to support the Kurdish aspiration for independence. They deserve it.”

Read more

 

 

Turkey‘s Kurdish Buffer

By Soner Cagaptay

Washington Institute

July 1, 2014

Foreign Affairs

If anything good comes out of the turmoil in Iraq, it will be improved ties between Turkey and the region’s Kurds. Until recently, they were bitter enemies. Ankara had never been able to stomach the idea of Kurdish self-government — in Iraq or Syria or Turkey — and it had generally refused to give in to Turkish Kurds’ demands for cultural rights. Instead, it preferred to crack down. Meanwhile, the region’s Kurds had never been able to stomach Iraqi, Syrian, or Turkish rule and, taking issue with Ankara’s treatment of Kurds within Turkey’s borders, threw their support behind the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a violent separatist movement in Turkey.  The Syrian civil war and developments in Iraq have started to change all that. These days, from Turkey’s perspective, Kurdish autonomy doesn’t look half bad. The portions of northern Iraq and Syria that are under Kurdish control are stable and peaceful — a perfect bulwark against threats such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)…It is a tall order, but the stars may be aligned in favor of a Turkish-Kurdish axis.

Read more

 

 

Mounzer A. Sleiman Ph.D.
Center for American and Arab Studies
Think Tanks Monitor

www.thinktankmonitor.org

C: 202 536 8984             C: 301 509 4144

التحليل 07-04-2014

:التحليل

:أميركا في ذكرى الاستقلال

مكابرة، ارتباك، وتصدع في بنى مؤسسات الدولة

          يشب الفرد الاميركي منذ نعومة اظفاره متشبعا بنموذجية واستثنائية نظام بلاده السياسي ويزج به باتجاه انه النظام الامثل والافضل في العالم مرجعيته نصوص الدستور وفصل السلطات فيما بينها، من ناحية، وبين السلطة الدينية، بل لما يتميز عن نظام اسلافه في الامبراطورية البريطانية؛ واحتكاره الميزات والخصوصيات والتحكم بمقدرات الشعوب البشرية

          في ذكرى احتفال الولايات المتحدة “باستقلالها” عن اصولها الامبراطورية وزهوها بنص دستوري يعطي مواطنيها الحق في اسقاط الحكومة التي تنتهك حرياتهم، برزت حديثا مؤشرات تدل على تصدع آليات الحكم والاجهزة المتعددة وتوارث التوازنات فيما بينها، بالتوازي مع تنامي مشاعر جماعية ضد استغلال الحكومة لنفوذها للحد من الحريات المدنية المصانة بدلا من تعزيزها وحمايتها. مؤشرات استطلاعات الرأي، التي ابتكرتها القوى النافذة في السلطة لتشريع تدخلها في الوقت الانسب لخدمة مصالحها، تشير مؤخرا بوتيرة ثابتة الى حالة الاحباط العامة من القادة والمؤسسات السياسية، وانحراف مؤسسة المحكمة العليا عن رسالتها في الانتصار لاولوية النصوص الدستورية على الممارسات المُخِلّة بالتوازن والاصطفاف الى جانب فريق ضد آخر، مما استدعى قوى كيرة وشرائح متضررة الى الاحتجاج والتظاهر باستمرار ضد توجهاتها المقيدة للحريات

          في الجانب التقني البحت، اصدرت المحكمة العليا قرارات اربعة متتالية، الاسبوع الماضي، ارضيتها المشتركة ان ادارة الرئيس اوباما “تجاوزت نطاق صلاحياتها الدستورية” وقوضت مساحة الحرية، ليس صونا لنصوص الدستور كما تفترض مهمتها ومبرر وجودها، بل اصطفافا لجانب القوى المناهضة لسياسات الادارة الداخلية، ابرزها برنامج الرعاية الصحية الشامل – اوباما كير، ومصالح الشركات والمصالح الاقتصادية الضخمة. ايضا، عززت قرارات المحكمة العليا جنوح القوى الاجتماعية المحافظة  توجيه غضبها واحباطها السياسي نحو ما تصر على تسميته “الهجرة غير الشرعية” لمواطني دول اميركا الوسطى واللاتينية الى الاراضي الاميركية، واحتجاز الناجين من عذاب الرحلة، صغارا وكبارا من الجنسين، في معسكرات اعتقال لاذلالهم قبل اعادتهم قسرا الى المناطق الحدودية المشتركة مع المكسيك. بالمقابل، سارع الرئيس اوباما، في ذكرى الاستقلال، الى ترويج “تاريخ البلاد الغني كدولة مكونة من المهاجرين تمتثل لسلطة القانون ..” التي تشكل احدى ثوابت الخطاب الرسمي الاميركي، داخليا وعالميا

          الاحتجاجات الشعبية تدل على تنامي الشرخ الاجتماعي، بجذوره السياسية والاقتصادية، مما يستدعي التساؤل ان كان المجتمع الاميركي على ابواب انشقاق اوسع وتصاعد موجات الاحتجاج. المرجح الاكبر ان المشهد الاميركي مقبل على تنامي وتيرة الاحتجاجات والتظاهرات يعززها تفاقم الفروقات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية وتراجع مساحة الحريات وتنامي المعارضة للمتضررين من سطوة الأجهزة الأمنية التي لا زالت اسرار تدخلاتها في صغائر الحياة اليومية للمواطنين تتوارد باضطراد. اوضاع وصفها استاذ القانون في جامعة هارفارد، لورنس لَسيغ، بالقول “يعتقد الاميركيون من كافة انتماءات الطيف السياسي ان النظام السياسي الاميركي محطم ومعطل. ما ينوف عن 90% منا (كمواطنين) يرجح جذر الفشل الى دور المال الطاغي على السياسة” والسياسيين. واضاف محرضا المواطنين على التحرك ان مراكز القوى في “واشنطن معطوبة ولن تبادر لاصلاح نفسها – يتعين على المواطنين القيام باتخاذ مبادرات” لوضح حد لفساد رأس المال والسياسيين

          تنوعت المساهمات والتحقيقات الساعية لاماطة اللثام عن آليات نظام الحكم الاميركي، قلة منها لامست جوهر النظام وتركيبته والغوص في القوانين الاجتماعية والتاريخية الناظمة، ولجأ الجزء الاكبر منها الى اطلاق الاحكام الجاهزة والمعلبة طمعا في التغني بمحاسن النظام مقارة بالنظم الاخرى، لا سيما في عدد من الدول النامية ومن ضمنها الدول العربية، في حين تنعدم ارضية المقارنة العلمية بين نظم معظمها جيء به لتأدية وظيفة او جملة وظائف محددة خدمة للنظام السائد ومفاضلة النمط الغربي والاميركي تحديدا

          بجرعة واقعية وموضوعية تدعمهما دقة السرد والتحليل سنسلط الضوء للتعرف النقدي على كنه الآليات والعلاقات الناظمة بين المواطنين الاميركيين والسلطة السياسية وتقديمه للجمهور بمقاربات واقعية  لما اضحى ملموس لديه من اتضاح الشرخ الفاصل بين الدعاية والواقع

سلطات حكومية محدودة، فصل بين السلطات وسيادة مشتركة

          تركيبة النظام الاميركي تقف على دعامة “فصل” السلطات عن بعضها وتعزيز مبدأ الحكم بالتوافق والشراكة بين المكونات الثلاث: التنفيذية (الرئاسة)؛ والتشريعية (الكونغرس بمجلسيه)؛ والقضاء (ممثلا بالمحكمة العليا)، درءا لاحتكار السلطة من قبل احداهن على حساب الاخريتين. مسألة السيادة “الوطنية والقومية” هي ايضا مسألة مشتركة بين الحكومة المركزية وسلطات الولايات المحلية والشعب، تم التوصل الى صيغتها بعد صراع التجربة والخطأ استمر لنحو 15 عاما قبل رسوّ الاختيار على الصيغة الراهنة

          صيغة الحكم الاولى اضحت تعرف بمجلس “الكونغرس القارّي” الذي التأم يوم 5 أيلول 1774 وانتخب “بيتون راندولف” رئيسا له الذي بات الرئيس الاول للاتحاد الاميركي. ورغم اضطلاعه بالسياسة الخارجية وصلاحيات شن الحروب، الا ان سلطته الحقيقية كانت محدودة الطابع نظرا لطبيعة تكوين المجلس كاطار جامع “لدول (ولايات) سيادية” تحد من سلطاته الا اذ توصلت الى اجماع فيما بينها

          مع نشوب الحروب وامتدادها في تلك الفترة اثبتت صيغة “الكونغرس القارّي” عن قصورها وعمق مواطن ضعفها، مما استدعى “المسؤولين” استبدالها بنظام يحتكم الى اعلان مواد كونفدرالية، الذي رسم حدود السلطات المتاحة في ايدي الحكومة المركزية، مقابل اقراره بمبدأ السيادة التامة للولايات المحلية على اراضيها؛ واستمر العمل بتلك الصيغة نحو عقد من الزمن، 1779 الى 1788

          عقب اكتشاف مواطن ضعف بنيوية في تلك الصيغة تم التوصل الى طرح مشروع دستور، الذي بعد المصادقة عليه اضحى دستورا معتمدا لغاية الزمن الراهن. بيد ان ذلك لم يبدد مخاوف الولايات المحلية من تمركز السلطات الحقيقية بيد الحكومة الفيدرالية، الى ان تم التوصل الى وضع بعض الكوابح القانونية في النص، والتي بمجموعها ارست ارضية التوترات وتعارض الصلاحيات التي نشهدها حاليا بين السلطات المركزية والمحلية

          من بين تلك الكوابح تم اضافة بند على الدستور يقر بسيادة المواطنين / المحكومين مقارنة مع الصيغ السابقة التي ارست مبدأ السيادة لسلطات الولايات المحلية، عززها فقرة افتتاحية الدستور التي تنص على “نحن افراد الشعب الاميركي ..،” اثارت جدلا في مراكز القوى اذ اعتبرت بانها تقوض نطاق نفوذها. للدلالة قال احد “الاباء المؤسسين،” باتريك هنري، تندرا بتلك الافتتاحية “ماذا تعني ’نحن الشعب‘ في الديباجة؟ الصيغة التي نحن بصددها هي اتحاد كونفدرالي بين الولايات؛” شاطره الرئيس المقبل للبلاد، صموئيل آدامز، قائلا “اجد نفسي امام عثرة منذ البداية. نحن عبارة عن اتحاد كونفدرالي بين ولايات”

          وعليه، ارسيت قواعد النظام السياسي على اركان توافقية بين سلطات توزعت على عدة هيئات على خلفية الاعتقاد السائد آنذاك بانها الصيغة الامثل لحماية حقوق الشعب والولايات، مع الاخذ بالاعتبار انه لا يشكل صيغة كفؤة وفعالة لنظام الحكم، بل يحجم نفوذ السلطات المركزية من مراكمة سلطات اخرى

:بالنظر الى صيغة التوازنات المنشودة بين السلطات المختلفة نجد التالي

:الحكومة الفيدرالية تستمد سلطاتها من الدستور

الرئيس يطبق القوانين الناظمة ويمارس السياسة الخارجية الى جانب موقعه كقائد اعلى للقوات المسلحة؛

مجلس النواب يتحكم باقرار الميزانيات ومنوط به التقدم بميزانية مقترحة وفرض الضرائب؛

مجلس الشيوخ الذي يعد الممثل الاول للولايات اضحى يمارس دوره كمجلس تشريعي اعلى صلاحياته تتضمن اقرار القوانين والمصادقة عليها؛

.المحكمة العليا وظيفتها تقتصر على اضفاء التفسير الدستوري على القرارات والاجراءات والتيقن من امتثالها لنصوصه

.سلطة الولايات المحلية منصوص عليها دستوريا عززتها مادتي التعديل العاشرة والحادية عشر

:صلاحيات الشعب

          تشمل الصلاحيات الفردية ممارسة حق الانتخابات لاختيار ممثليهم في مستويات الحكم المختلفة: قوميا ومحليا ومناطقيا، ورد ذكرها نصا صريحا بالدستور واعلان حقوق المواطنين (مواد التعديل الدستورية 1 الى 10)، تشمل حريات العبادة والتجمهر والتعبير واقتناء الاسلحة، وتحرم ايواء الجنود (الهاربين) ابان زمن السلم، والحصانة ضد التفتيش الشخصي، وحقوق المتهمين لاجراءات محاكمة عادلة بحضور وكيل قانوني ومحاكمة امام هيئة محلفين، وحظر العقوبات المفرطة، والاقرار بأن كافة الصلاحيات الاخرى غير المنصوص عليها لصالح الحكومة الفيدرالية او مجالس الولايات المحلية هي ملك الشعب

          تجدر الاشارة الى ان اعلان الاستقلال ونصوص الدستور الاميركي بهما اقرار ان “السيادة هي بيد الشعب في نهاية المطاف .. وان الحكومات تستمد سلطاتها من موافقة المحكومين .. واينما نجد ان نظام الحكم  اصبح يهدد الغايات المقصودة، فمن حق الشعب النهوض لتغييره او ازاحته، وتنصيب حكومة جديدة”

اعيدت المصادقة على هذا النص من قبل المحكمة العليا عام 2008 اثناء البت في قضية مرفوعة ضد السلطات المحلية في واشنطن العاصمة، اذ اكدت العليا على “حق الشعب اقتناء السلاح كاحد عناصر الدستور الهامة بحكم انه اوفر قدرة لمقاومة الاستبداد.” نظريا، توفر النصوص الحقوقية للشعب الاميركي التمتع بصلاحيات غير متوفرة في عدد من الدول والنظم الاخرى، ويتم استحداث وادخال النص في الخطاب اليومي كوسيلة تذكر الاميركيين “بتفوق” نظامهم السياسي ودلالة على فشل المساعي المتتالية للهيئات الحكومية الحد من انتشار السلاح الفردي في المواطنين الاميركيين

في هذا السياق، تنبغي الاشارة الى سعي الحكومة المركزية، وخاصة السلطة التنفيذية ممثلة بالرئاسة، بثبات واصرار على تركيز السلطات بيدها، ومضت قدما دون استشارة السلطة التشريعية، بل حاولت الاستيلاء على صلاحيات تخص الحكومات المحلية حصرا، الى جانب جهودها لتقييد مجال الحريات العامة. الامر الذي اثار غضب قواعد شعبية متعددة

الرئيس اوباما في مواجهة المحكمة العليا

تلجأ السلطات التنفيذية، المركزية والمحلية في الولايات، الاحتكام للمحكة العليا للبت في مسألة استقواء السلطة المركزية وتعديها على صلاحيات الآخرين، اتساقا مع نصوص الدستور المركزي. يشار الى ان تسليم الحزب الديموقراطي بسطوة اليمين واقطابه من المحافظين الجدد على السلطة التشريعية، ابان فترة الرئيس جورج بوش الابن بشكل خاص، اخل بمعادلة التوازن المرجوة وادى لاحقا الى اصدار العليا عدد من القوانين بعيدة المدى المناهضة للرئيس اوباما وحزبه، على الرغم من دعمه وترشيحه لقاضيين من اعضائها خلال ولايته الرئاسية. ومنذ مطلع عام 2009، تعرضت ادارة الرئيس اوباما الى ما لا يقل عن عشرين قرار هزيمة على ايدي العليا، وفقا لما ذكره السيناتور عن تيار حزب الشاي، تيد كروز

وقال كروز “ان صافي خسارة الرئيس اوباما من معدل قرارات العليا بالاجماع هو ضعف المعدل تقريبا لما تكبده سلفه الرئيس بوش وما يعادل 25% مما لحق بالرئيس الاسبق بيل كلينتون

امتدادا لهذا السياق، اصدرت المحكمة العليا قرارا بالاجماع، 9 مقابل 0، اعتبرت ان الرئيس اوباما تجاوز حدود صلاحياته الدستورية عند لجوئه لتعيين ثلاثة مسؤولين خلال فترة اجازة الكونغرس ليتفادى خضوعه للابتزاز السياسي. اهمية القرار تكمن ايضا في تأييده لحق مجلس الشيوخ الدستوري التصويت على مرشحين لمناصب حكومية رفيعة

واتبعت قرارها بصدمة اخرى للحكومة والاجهزة الأمنية اذ صوتت بالاجماع ايضا على قرار يحد من صلاحيات الحكومة واجهزتها تفتيش الهواتف الشخصية دون توفر امر قضائي مسبق يسمح بذلك نصاً، وفشل ادارة الرئيس اوباما انقاذ مشروعها للسطو على صلاحيات اضافية تقيد الحريات الفردية.  واستندت المحكمة الى نص مادة التعديل الدستوري الرابعة التي تحصن المواطنين من تلك الممارسات – التفتيش دون اجازة قضائية

كما قضت المحكمة العليا ببطلان جهود الادارة الاميركية الزام العمال بعضوية نقابتهم وتسديد رسوم العضوية عند اعتراضهم على توجهاتها السياسية؛ وقضت ايضا بحق المواطنين المناوئين للاجهاض التجمهر والاحتجاج على مقربة من المستوصفات الطبية التي يتم الاجهاض تحت سقفها بذريعة التمتع بحرية الرأي

 ومن بين القرارات المثيرة للجدل صادقت المحكمة العليا على حق الشركات والمؤسسات الخاصة برفض ضم وسائل منع الحمل كجزء من برنامج الرعاية الصحية، كما ينص عليه “اوباما كير،” بدافع انها تتناقض مع المعتقدات الدينية لاصحاب تلك المصالح

في المسائل الداخلية الصرفة، اصطفت العليا بقراراتها الى جانب السلطات المحلية في الولايات تعزيزا لسيادتها على قراراتها عند تعارضها مع القرارات المركزية، مما اعاد عقارب الساعة الى الوراء بضعة عقود في مسألة صلاحيات الدولة المركزية لتطبيق بعض مواد قانون التصويت، مثلا، واقرت بمعارضته للنصوص الدستورية

انحسار هيبة الحكومة المركزية

تسارع وتيرة قرارات المحكمة العليا ومناهضتها لتوجهات الادارة الاميركية الراهنة قوّض مقام ووقار الاداء الحكومي والحق اضرارا جمة بسمعة الرئيس اوباما تحديدا، مما اسهم في انخفاض معدلات شعبيته في استطلاعات الرأي التي اجريت مؤخرا واعتبره احدها “اسوأ رئيس اميركي على مدى 70 عاما”

وتتالت الاخبار السيئة تباعا للرئيس اوباما مع اصدار يومية “انفستر بيزنس ديلي” نتائج استطلاع اشرفت عليه يفيد بأن 59% من الاميركيين يحملون الرئيس اوباما مسؤولية أزمة تفاقم “الهجرة غير الشرعية” للاراضي الاميركية؛ و 56% يحملونه مسؤولية تدهور الاوضاع الأمنية في العراق نتيجة قراره بالانسحاب؛ و 65% منهم يعتقدون ان ادارته تجهد لاخفاء الممارسات والتدابير الخاطئة التي اقدمت عليها مصلحة الضرائب باستهدافها منظمات سياسية مناوئة لها في الرأي

امعانا في احراج الرئيس اوباما والاداء الحكومي العام، اصدر معهد غالوب الشهير نتائج استطلاعات للرأي منتصف الاسبوع  مشيرة الى ان 79% من الشعب الاميركي اعربوا عن اعتقادهم بأن الفساد يستشري في عموم الاجهزة الحكومية، مسجلا ارتفاعا بنحو 20 نقطة عن ذات الاراء المستطلعة عام 2006، مما يحيل الولايات الى احتلال مرتبة مرتفعة بين الدول المشهورة بالفساد. بالمقارنة، افادت الاستطلاعات ان نسبة المؤيدين للرئيس لم تتعدى 29%، بينما بلغت 36% في مطلع ولاية الرئيس اوباما. اما الكونغرس فلم يحظى الا على نسبة 7% من الرضى الشعبي، بينما حصدت المحكمة العليا نسبة 30% من الرضى، هي الاعلى من بين كافة المؤسسات الرسمية

ترافقت نتائج الاستطلاعات مع انخفاض نسبة الاميركين الذين يقرون بمركزية بلادهم في مجال الحريات الفردية المتاحة بين الشعوب الاخرى، وانخفض معدل الزهو بالامتيازات بينهم الى نسبة 79% عام 2013 مقارنة مع 91% عام 2006 وفق احصائيات معهد غالوب سالف الذكر

تداعيات الانحسار على المشهد الاميركي

النظرة الموضوعية لما يمور تحت سطح التحولات الاميركية تؤشر على هشاشة النسيج الاجتماعي بمعدلات مقلقة تفوق توقعات الكثيرين. تتمثل عوارضها في: انخفاض حاد في معدلات مستوى المعيشة؛ تنامي القلق من تقلص مساحة الحريات؛ فضلا عن تصاعد معدلات الاحساس الشعبي بفساد الاجهزة الحكومية التي تتآكل مكانتها باضطراد

في هذا السياق لا بد من الاشارة الى تصاعد موجة الاحتجاجات سيما التي شهدتها ولاية كاليفورنيا حديثا باقدام نحو 200 مواطن على التعرض باجسادهم لمنع سير ثلاث حافلات كانت تنقل “مهاجرين غير شرعيين” والالقاء بهم على الجانب الآخر من الحدود المشتركة مع المكسيك، تعبيرا عن مشاعر الاحباط التي تنتاب الطبقة الوسطى في المجتمع من الاولويات المقلوبة للشريحة السياسية؛ مذكرا بحادثة مربي البقر “بندي” في ولاية نيفادا وتصدي مسلحين من مؤيديه الى ممثلين الحكومة المركزية؛ فضلا عن توالي معلومات تفيد بتشكيل ميليشيات خاصة من سكان الولايات الجنوبية، تكساس واريزونا، تجوب المناطق الحدودية المشتركة بحثا عن الموجات البشرية من”المهاجرين غير الشرعيين

تصدع النسيج الاجتماعي، كما تدل التجارب التاريخية، لا يوقف تدهوره الا خطوات وتدابير تراجعية تبادر اليها الحكومات المركزية؛ اما تجاهل الامر فسيؤدي الى تصاعد الاحتجاجات وانزلاق الاوضاع من سيء الى اسوأ – كما دلت تجربة القيصر الروسي نيقولاس الثاني وغيره

السؤال الذي يتبادر الى الذهن هو هل سيقدم الرئيس اوباما بالابتعاد عن بعض الممارسات التي حصدت توبيخا له من قبل المحكمة العليا وانهيار معدلات شعبيته بين المواطنين؛ الاجابة بالنفي هي الاكثر ترجيحا سيما وانه اعلن عن نيته الاقدام على تعديل قانون الهجرة من جانب احادي، بموازاة تدابير اخرى وعد بها مع ادراكه بعدم تقبل الشعب لها. الأمر الذي سوف يؤدي الى تغذية مسببات الاحتجاج

من العسير الجزم بالمدى المرئي الذي يمكن الرئيس اوباما الذهاب به، بيد ان الثابت هو عقم المضي في المسار الراهن دون المجازفة بتداعيات سلبية تدهم البنية الحكومية والمجتمع بشكل عام

التقرير الأسبوعي 07-04-2013

:المقدمة 

          انتقل مركز ثقل الاهتمامات الشعبية والرسمية من تدهور الاوضاع الأمنية في العراق الى مواكبة قرارات المحكمة العليا التي سددت سلسلة ضربات متتالية للرئيس اوباما وسياساته، في ظل اجواء احتفالات ذكرى استقلال البلاد

          اثبت النظام الاميركي في صيغته الراهنة قدرته النسبية على التعامل بصعوبة مع التحديات الداخلية؛ اما الخارجية فهي مسألة شائكة لا تدعو على الطمأنينة والارتياح بالنسبة لعموم المواطنين. في الشأن الداخلي برز صراع النفوذ بين السلطات، التنفيذية والقضائية، بقوة الاسبوع الجاري في اعقاب اقرار المحكمة العليا سلسلة احكام قضائية مخالفة لتوجهات الرئيس اوباما وسياسات السلطة التنفيذية، رافقه نتائج استطلاعات للرأي متدنية بالنسبة لمكانة الرئيس اوباما ومدى التأييد الشعبي له الذي شهد انخفاضا حادا لم تشهد المؤسسة الرئاسية مثيله منذ 70 عاما

          سيستعرض قسم التحليل آليات النظام الاميركي وركائزه القائمة على مبدأ الفصل بين السلطات وارساء توازن بين مديات نفوذها؛ وتوصيف للتداعيات التي تهدد لحمة النسيج الاجتماعي

ملخص دراسات ونشاطات مراكزالابحاث

العراق

          اعرب معهد الدراسات الحربية عن اعتقاده بأن تنظيم داعش يمضي في استكمال استعداداته للانقضاض على بغداد سيما وانه “يملك قوة هائلة، فضلا عن يسر التنبؤ بخطواته المقبلة بعد كشفه عن عناصر اساسية لاستراتيجيته .. ولم يبلغ اوج انجازاته في العراق بعد.”  واضاف ان الهدف المقبل المرجح لداعش سينصب على ممر الحديثة – الرمادي للانقضاض على مقرات الحكومة المركزية في بغداد

          القى مركز السياسة الأمنية مسؤولية الفشل الاميركي في العراق على كاهل “الساسة وصناعها وليس على الاجهزة الاستخبارية .. سيما وان سيلا غنيا من المعلومات تم تداولها في الوسائل الاعلامية عبر السنة الماضية تشير الى انفجار وشيك للحرب الطائفية في العراق وتنامي قوة داعش في كل من العراق وسورية.” واضاف انه كان يتعين على ادارة الرئيس اوباما الاتعاظ بسيطرة داعش على مدينة الفلوجة ومناطق اخرى في محافظ الانبار “واتخاذ الاجراءات الكفيلة لتعديل سياستها العراقية ..” وذكّر المركز بشهادة مدير وكالة الاستخبارات العسكرية، مايكل فلين، امام لجنة القوات المسلحة في مجلس الشيوخ، شباط 2014، محذرا من “سعي داعش للسيطرة على اراضٍ في العراق وسورية جنبا الى جنب مع احتفاظها بعدد من الملاذات الآمنة لنشاطاتها داخل سورية”

          تصاعد وتيرة تصريحات قادة اقليم الحكم الذاتي في كردستان العراق كانت محط اهتمام معهد هدسونمعربا عن اعتقاده ان “التحدي الاكبر يكمن في القدرة على ترسيم الحدود، التي لا تمت بصلة قوية لحق تقرير المصير  او حتى الثروة المادية .. بل في التحولات الجيوستراتيجية وتموضع دول اكبر واشد قوة.” واضاف انه في هذا الجانب “تنفرد اسرائيل على غيرها من اللاعبين الاقليميين والدولين، وعلى رأسها تركيا وايران والولايات المتحدة، بامتلاك الرغبة في ترويج  (انفصال) استقلال كردستان

          بينما اوضح معهد واشنطن لشؤون الشرق الادنى ان “تركيا تبدي استعدادها لرؤية دولة كردية على حدودها وظيفتها تشكيل منطقة عازلة .. وشكل اندفاع داعش السريع ضغطا مضاعفا على تركيا لتطوير علاقاتها مع اكراد العراق وما يتطلبه ذلك من تراجع تركيا عن بعض الخطوط الحمراء التي رسمتها سابقا وعدم تجاوز الاكراد لها ..” واضاف انه عند اقدام اقليم كردستان على اعلان استقلاله “ستكون انقرة في الصف الاول لاستغلاله والاعتراف به .. وباتت التطورات تشير بوضوح الى ان داعش تشكل خطرا داهما اوسع على تركيا مقارنة مع اعلان اكراد العراق الاستقلال”

ايران

          ناشد معهد كارنيغي دول الاتحاد الاوروبي اجراء مراجعة لمواقفه مع ايران “بالتعاون الوثيق مع الولايات المتحدة، وخارج نطاق سبل التعاون الراهنة بين فريقيهما للتفاوض .. سيما وان دور دول الاتحاد حيال الملف الايراني لا يعطى حقه من قبل الشعب الاميركي في الوقت الذي يدخل عامل الكونغرس ليمارس دورا حاسما في عدد من قرارات المقاطعة الاميركية .. وتسخير نفوذه الجمعي لضمان الحصول على موافقة اميركية لتخفيف العقوبات عند التوصل الى اتفاق شامل (مع ايران) او ابتداع مسار جماعي جديد نحو ايران في حال فشل المفاوضات الجارية معها”

مستقبل حلف الناتو

          في تقييم نادر من نوعه، طالب معهد كارنيغي دول حلف الناتو “مراجعة اولوياته” الاستراتيجية على ضوء من افرزته الأزمة الاوكرانية التي اثبتت ان “الحلف لم يوفر مبررات كافية لاستمرارية وجوده .. بل على العكس فان التباينات الواضحة في مواقف اعضاء الحلف حول خطورة تهديد روسيا قد تدفع بدول الحلف الى مزيد من التباعد، كما اثبتت بولندا خيبة أملها (وشكوكها) في استمرارية تماسك الحلف.” وحذر من تحول الحلف الى “صندوق حافظ للادوات والمعدات يستخدم لصالح تحالف الراغبين متى ارادوا، والذي لن يستطيع الحفاظ على ديمومة تماسكه .. الا باستعادة اعضائه مفهوم مشترك لطبيعة التحديات والمخاطر.”  ومما دلت عليه الازمة الاوكرانية “تسليطها الضوء على ما ينبغي على اعضاء الحلف القيام به على وجه السرعة”

:التحليل

:أميركا في ذكرى الاستقلال

مكابرة، ارتباك، وتصدع في بنى مؤسسات الدولة

          يشب الفرد الاميركي منذ نعومة اظفاره متشبعا بنموذجية واستثنائية نظام بلاده السياسي ويزج به باتجاه انه النظام الامثل والافضل في العالم مرجعيته نصوص الدستور وفصل السلطات فيما بينها، من ناحية، وبين السلطة الدينية، بل لما يتميز عن نظام اسلافه في الامبراطورية البريطانية؛ واحتكاره الميزات والخصوصيات والتحكم بمقدرات الشعوب البشرية

          في ذكرى احتفال الولايات المتحدة “باستقلالها” عن اصولها الامبراطورية وزهوها بنص دستوري يعطي مواطنيها الحق في اسقاط الحكومة التي تنتهك حرياتهم، برزت حديثا مؤشرات تدل على تصدع آليات الحكم والاجهزة المتعددة وتوارث التوازنات فيما بينها، بالتوازي مع تنامي مشاعر جماعية ضد استغلال الحكومة لنفوذها للحد من الحريات المدنية المصانة بدلا من تعزيزها وحمايتها. مؤشرات استطلاعات الرأي، التي ابتكرتها القوى النافذة في السلطة لتشريع تدخلها في الوقت الانسب لخدمة مصالحها، تشير مؤخرا بوتيرة ثابتة الى حالة الاحباط العامة من القادة والمؤسسات السياسية، وانحراف مؤسسة المحكمة العليا عن رسالتها في الانتصار لاولوية النصوص الدستورية على الممارسات المُخِلّة بالتوازن والاصطفاف الى جانب فريق ضد آخر، مما استدعى قوى كيرة وشرائح متضررة الى الاحتجاج والتظاهر باستمرار ضد توجهاتها المقيدة للحريات

          في الجانب التقني البحت، اصدرت المحكمة العليا قرارات اربعة متتالية، الاسبوع الماضي، ارضيتها المشتركة ان ادارة الرئيس اوباما “تجاوزت نطاق صلاحياتها الدستورية” وقوضت مساحة الحرية، ليس صونا لنصوص الدستور كما تفترض مهمتها ومبرر وجودها، بل اصطفافا لجانب القوى المناهضة لسياسات الادارة الداخلية، ابرزها برنامج الرعاية الصحية الشامل – اوباما كير، ومصالح الشركات والمصالح الاقتصادية الضخمة. ايضا، عززت قرارات المحكمة العليا جنوح القوى الاجتماعية المحافظة  توجيه غضبها واحباطها السياسي نحو ما تصر على تسميته “الهجرة غير الشرعية” لمواطني دول اميركا الوسطى واللاتينية الى الاراضي الاميركية، واحتجاز الناجين من عذاب الرحلة، صغارا وكبارا من الجنسين، في معسكرات اعتقال لاذلالهم قبل اعادتهم قسرا الى المناطق الحدودية المشتركة مع المكسيك. بالمقابل، سارع الرئيس اوباما، في ذكرى الاستقلال، الى ترويج “تاريخ البلاد الغني كدولة مكونة من المهاجرين تمتثل لسلطة القانون ..” التي تشكل احدى ثوابت الخطاب الرسمي الاميركي، داخليا وعالميا

          الاحتجاجات الشعبية تدل على تنامي الشرخ الاجتماعي، بجذوره السياسية والاقتصادية، مما يستدعي التساؤل ان كان المجتمع الاميركي على ابواب انشقاق اوسع وتصاعد موجات الاحتجاج. المرجح الاكبر ان المشهد الاميركي مقبل على تنامي وتيرة الاحتجاجات والتظاهرات يعززها تفاقم الفروقات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية وتراجع مساحة الحريات وتنامي المعارضة للمتضررين من سطوة الأجهزة الأمنية التي لا زالت اسرار تدخلاتها في صغائر الحياة اليومية للمواطنين تتوارد باضطراد. اوضاع وصفها استاذ القانون في جامعة هارفارد، لورنس لَسيغ، بالقول “يعتقد الاميركيون من كافة انتماءات الطيف السياسي ان النظام السياسي الاميركي محطم ومعطل. ما ينوف عن 90% منا (كمواطنين) يرجح جذر الفشل الى دور المال الطاغي على السياسة” والسياسيين. واضاف محرضا المواطنين على التحرك ان مراكز القوى في “واشنطن معطوبة ولن تبادر لاصلاح نفسها – يتعين على المواطنين القيام باتخاذ مبادرات” لوضح حد لفساد رأس المال والسياسيين

          تنوعت المساهمات والتحقيقات الساعية لاماطة اللثام عن آليات نظام الحكم الاميركي، قلة منها لامست جوهر النظام وتركيبته والغوص في القوانين الاجتماعية والتاريخية الناظمة، ولجأ الجزء الاكبر منها الى اطلاق الاحكام الجاهزة والمعلبة طمعا في التغني بمحاسن النظام مقارة بالنظم الاخرى، لا سيما في عدد من الدول النامية ومن ضمنها الدول العربية، في حين تنعدم ارضية المقارنة العلمية بين نظم معظمها جيء به لتأدية وظيفة او جملة وظائف محددة خدمة للنظام السائد ومفاضلة النمط الغربي والاميركي تحدي

          بجرعة واقعية وموضوعية تدعمهما دقة السرد والتحليل سنسلط الضوء للتعرف النقدي على كنه الآليات والعلاقات الناظمة بين المواطنين الاميركيين والسلطة السياسية وتقديمه للجمهور بمقاربات واقعية  لما اضحى ملموس لديه من اتضاح الشرخ الفاصل بين الدعاية والواقع

سلطات حكومية محدودة، فصل بين السلطات وسيادة مشتركة

          تركيبة النظام الاميركي تقف على دعامة “فصل” السلطات عن بعضها وتعزيز مبدأ الحكم بالتوافق والشراكة بين المكونات الثلاث: التنفيذية (الرئاسة)؛ والتشريعية (الكونغرس بمجلسيه)؛ والقضاء (ممثلا بالمحكمة العليا)، درءا لاحتكار السلطة من قبل احداهن على حساب الاخريتين. مسألة السيادة “الوطنية والقومية” هي ايضا مسألة مشتركة بين الحكومة المركزية وسلطات الولايات المحلية والشعب، تم التوصل الى صيغتها بعد صراع التجربة والخطأ استمر لنحو 15 عاما قبل رسوّ الاختيار على الصيغة الراهنة

          صيغة الحكم الاولى اضحت تعرف بمجلس “الكونغرس القارّي” الذي التأم يوم 5 أيلول 1774 وانتخب “بيتون راندولف” رئيسا له الذي بات الرئيس الاول للاتحاد الاميركي. ورغم اضطلاعه بالسياسة الخارجية وصلاحيات شن الحروب، الا ان سلطته الحقيقية كانت محدودة الطابع نظرا لطبيعة تكوين المجلس كاطار جامع “لدول (ولايات) سيادية” تحد من سلطاته الا اذ توصلت الى اجماع فيما بينها

          مع نشوب الحروب وامتدادها في تلك الفترة اثبتت صيغة “الكونغرس القارّي” عن قصورها وعمق مواطن ضعفها، مما استدعى “المسؤولين” استبدالها بنظام يحتكم الى اعلان مواد كونفدرالية، الذي رسم حدود السلطات المتاحة في ايدي الحكومة المركزية، مقابل اقراره بمبدأ السيادة التامة للولايات المحلية على اراضيها؛ واستمر العمل بتلك الصيغة نحو عقد من الزمن، 1779 الى 1788

          عقب اكتشاف مواطن ضعف بنيوية في تلك الصيغة تم التوصل الى طرح مشروع دستور، الذي بعد المصادقة عليه اضحى دستورا معتمدا لغاية الزمن الراهن. بيد ان ذلك لم يبدد مخاوف الولايات المحلية من تمركز السلطات الحقيقية بيد الحكومة الفيدرالية، الى ان تم التوصل الى وضع بعض الكوابح القانونية في النص، والتي بمجموعها ارست ارضية التوترات وتعارض الصلاحيات التي نشهدها حاليا بين السلطات المركزية والمحلية

          من بين تلك الكوابح تم اضافة بند على الدستور يقر بسيادة المواطنين / المحكومين مقارنة مع الصيغ السابقة التي ارست مبدأ السيادة لسلطات الولايات المحلية، عززها فقرة افتتاحية الدستور التي تنص على “نحن افراد الشعب الاميركي ..،” اثارت جدلا في مراكز القوى اذ اعتبرت بانها تقوض نطاق نفوذها. للدلالة قال احد “الاباء المؤسسين،” باتريك هنري، تندرا بتلك الافتتاحية “ماذا تعني ’نحن الشعب‘ في الديباجة؟ الصيغة التي نحن بصددها هي اتحاد كونفدرالي بين الولايات؛” شاطره الرئيس المقبل للبلاد، صموئيل آدامز، قائلا “اجد نفسي امام عثرة منذ البداية. نحن عبارة عن اتحاد كونفدرالي بين ولايات”

          وعليه، ارسيت قواعد النظام السياسي على اركان توافقية بين سلطات توزعت على عدة هيئات على خلفية الاعتقاد السائد آنذاك بانها الصيغة الامثل لحماية حقوق الشعب والولايات، مع الاخذ بالاعتبار انه لا يشكل صيغة كفؤة وفعالة لنظام الحكم، بل يحجم نفوذ السلطات المركزية من مراكمة سلطات اخرى

:بالنظر الى صيغة التوازنات المنشودة بين السلطات المختلفة نجد التالي

:الحكومة الفيدرالية تستمد سلطاتها من الدستور

الرئيس يطبق القوانين الناظمة ويمارس السياسة الخارجية الى جانب موقعه كقائد اعلى للقوات المسلحة؛

مجلس النواب يتحكم باقرار الميزانيات ومنوط به التقدم بميزانية مقترحة وفرض الضرائب؛

مجلس الشيوخ الذي يعد الممثل الاول للولايات اضحى يمارس دوره كمجلس تشريعي اعلى صلاحياته تتضمن اقرار القوانين والمصادقة عليها؛

.المحكمة العليا وظيفتها تقتصر على اضفاء التفسير الدستوري على القرارات والاجراءات والتيقن من امتثالها لنصوصه

.سلطة الولايات المحلية منصوص عليها دستوريا عززتها مادتي التعديل العاشرة والحادية عشر

:صلاحيات الشعب

          تشمل الصلاحيات الفردية ممارسة حق الانتخابات لاختيار ممثليهم في مستويات الحكم المختلفة: قوميا ومحليا ومناطقيا، ورد ذكرها نصا صريحا بالدستور واعلان حقوق المواطنين (مواد التعديل الدستورية 1 الى 10)، تشمل حريات العبادة والتجمهر والتعبير واقتناء الاسلحة، وتحرم ايواء الجنود (الهاربين) ابان زمن السلم، والحصانة ضد التفتيش الشخصي، وحقوق المتهمين لاجراءات محاكمة عادلة بحضور وكيل قانوني ومحاكمة امام هيئة محلفين، وحظر العقوبات المفرطة، والاقرار بأن كافة الصلاحيات الاخرى غير المنصوص عليها لصالح الحكومة الفيدرالية او مجالس الولايات المحلية هي ملك الشعب

          تجدر الاشارة الى ان اعلان الاستقلال ونصوص الدستور الاميركي بهما اقرار ان “السيادة هي بيد الشعب في نهاية المطاف .. وان الحكومات تستمد سلطاتها من موافقة المحكومين .. واينما نجد ان نظام الحكم  اصبح يهدد الغايات المقصودة، فمن حق الشعب النهوض لتغييره او ازاحته، وتنصيب حكومة جديدة

اعيدت المصادقة على هذا النص من قبل المحكمة العليا عام 2008 اثناء البت في قضية مرفوعة ضد السلطات المحلية في واشنطن العاصمة، اذ اكدت العليا على “حق الشعب اقتناء السلاح كاحد عناصر الدستور الهامة بحكم انه اوفر قدرة لمقاومة الاستبداد.” نظريا، توفر النصوص الحقوقية للشعب الاميركي التمتع بصلاحيات غير متوفرة في عدد من الدول والنظم الاخرى، ويتم استحداث وادخال النص في الخطاب اليومي كوسيلة تذكر الاميركيين “بتفوق” نظامهم السياسي ودلالة على فشل المساعي المتتالية للهيئات الحكومية الحد من انتشار السلاح الفردي في المواطنين الاميركيين

في هذا السياق، تنبغي الاشارة الى سعي الحكومة المركزية، وخاصة السلطة التنفيذية ممثلة بالرئاسة، بثبات واصرار على تركيز السلطات بيدها، ومضت قدما دون استشارة السلطة التشريعية، بل حاولت الاستيلاء على صلاحيات تخص الحكومات المحلية حصرا، الى جانب جهودها لتقييد مجال الحريات العامة. الامر الذي اثار غضب قواعد شعبية متعددة

الرئيس اوباما في مواجهة المحكمة العليا

تلجأ السلطات التنفيذية، المركزية والمحلية في الولايات، الاحتكام للمحكة العليا للبت في مسألة استقواء السلطة المركزية وتعديها على صلاحيات الآخرين، اتساقا مع نصوص الدستور المركزي. يشار الى ان تسليم الحزب الديموقراطي بسطوة اليمين واقطابه من المحافظين الجدد على السلطة التشريعية، ابان فترة الرئيس جورج بوش الابن بشكل خاص، اخل بمعادلة التوازن المرجوة وادى لاحقا الى اصدار العليا عدد من القوانين بعيدة المدى المناهضة للرئيس اوباما وحزبه، على الرغم من دعمه وترشيحه لقاضيين من اعضائها خلال ولايته الرئاسية. ومنذ مطلع عام 2009، تعرضت ادارة الرئيس اوباما الى ما لا يقل عن عشرين قرار هزيمة على ايدي العليا، وفقا لما ذكره السيناتور عن تيار حزب الشاي، تيد كروز

وقال كروز “ان صافي خسارة الرئيس اوباما من معدل قرارات العليا بالاجماع هو ضعف المعدل تقريبا لما تكبده سلفه الرئيس بوش وما يعادل 25% مما لحق بالرئيس الاسبق بيل كلينتون

امتدادا لهذا السياق، اصدرت المحكمة العليا قرارا بالاجماع، 9 مقابل 0، اعتبرت ان الرئيس اوباما تجاوز حدود صلاحياته الدستورية عند لجوئه لتعيين ثلاثة مسؤولين خلال فترة اجازة الكونغرس ليتفادى خضوعه للابتزاز السياسي. اهمية القرار تكمن ايضا في تأييده لحق مجلس الشيوخ الدستوري التصويت على مرشحين لمناصب حكومية رفيعة

واتبعت قرارها بصدمة اخرى للحكومة والاجهزة الأمنية اذ صوتت بالاجماع ايضا على قرار يحد من صلاحيات الحكومة واجهزتها تفتيش الهواتف الشخصية دون توفر امر قضائي مسبق يسمح بذلك نصاً، وفشل ادارة الرئيس اوباما انقاذ مشروعها للسطو على صلاحيات اضافية تقيد الحريات الفردية.  واستندت المحكمة الى نص مادة التعديل الدستوري الرابعة التي تحصن المواطنين من تلك الممارسات – التفتيش دون اجازة قضائية

كما قضت المحكمة العليا ببطلان جهود الادارة الاميركية الزام العمال بعضوية نقابتهم وتسديد رسوم العضوية عند اعتراضهم على توجهاتها السياسية؛ وقضت ايضا بحق المواطنين المناوئين للاجهاض التجمهر والاحتجاج على مقربة من المستوصفات الطبية التي يتم الاجهاض تحت سقفها بذريعة التمتع بحرية الرأي

 ومن بين القرارات المثيرة للجدل صادقت المحكمة العليا على حق الشركات والمؤسسات الخاصة برفض ضم وسائل منع الحمل كجزء من برنامج الرعاية الصحية، كما ينص عليه “اوباما كير،” بدافع انها تتناقض مع المعتقدات الدينية لاصحاب تلك المصالح في المسائل الداخلية الصرفة، اصطفت العليا بقراراتها الى جانب السلطات المحلية في الولايات تعزيزا لسيادتها على قراراتها عند تعارضها مع القرارات المركزية، مما اعاد عقارب الساعة الى الوراء بضعة عقود في مسألة صلاحيات الدولة المركزية لتطبيق بعض مواد قانون التصويت، مثلا، واقرت بمعارضته للنصوص الدستورية

انحسار هيبة الحكومة المركزية

تسارع وتيرة قرارات المحكمة العليا ومناهضتها لتوجهات الادارة الاميركية الراهنة قوّض مقام ووقار الاداء الحكومي والحق اضرارا جمة بسمعة الرئيس اوباما تحديدا، مما اسهم في انخفاض معدلات شعبيته في استطلاعات الرأي التي اجريت مؤخرا واعتبره احدها “اسوأ رئيس اميركي على مدى 70 عاما”

وتتالت الاخبار السيئة تباعا للرئيس اوباما مع اصدار يومية “انفستر بيزنس ديلي” نتائج استطلاع اشرفت عليه يفيد بأن 59% من الاميركيين يحملون الرئيس اوباما مسؤولية أزمة تفاقم “الهجرة غير الشرعية” للاراضي الاميركية؛ و 56% يحملونه مسؤولية تدهور الاوضاع الأمنية في العراق نتيجة قراره بالانسحاب؛ و 65% منهم يعتقدون ان ادارته تجهد لاخفاء الممارسات والتدابير الخاطئة التي اقدمت عليها مصلحة الضرائب باستهدافها منظمات سياسية مناوئة لها في الرأي

امعانا في احراج الرئيس اوباما والاداء الحكومي العام، اصدر معهد غالوب الشهير نتائج استطلاعات للرأي منتصف الاسبوع  مشيرة الى ان 79% من الشعب الاميركي اعربوا عن اعتقادهم بأن الفساد يستشري في عموم الاجهزة الحكومية، مسجلا ارتفاعا بنحو 20 نقطة عن ذات الاراء المستطلعة عام 2006، مما يحيل الولايات الى احتلال مرتبة مرتفعة بين الدول المشهورة بالفساد. بالمقارنة، افادت الاستطلاعات ان نسبة المؤيدين للرئيس لم تتعدى 29%، بينما بلغت 36% في مطلع ولاية الرئيس اوباما. اما الكونغرس فلم يحظى الا على نسبة 7% من الرضى الشعبي، بينما حصدت المحكمة العليا نسبة 30% من الرضى، هي الاعلى من بين كافة المؤسسات الرسمية

ترافقت نتائج الاستطلاعات مع انخفاض نسبة الاميركين الذين يقرون بمركزية بلادهم في مجال الحريات الفردية المتاحة بين الشعوب الاخرى، وانخفض معدل الزهو بالامتيازات بينهم الى نسبة 79% عام 2013 مقارنة مع 91% عام 2006 وفق احصائيات معهد غالوب سالف الذكر

تداعيات الانحسار على المشهد الاميركي

النظرة الموضوعية لما يمور تحت سطح التحولات الاميركية تؤشر على هشاشة النسيج الاجتماعي بمعدلات مقلقة تفوق توقعات الكثيرين. تتمثل عوارضها في: انخفاض حاد في معدلات مستوى المعيشة؛ تنامي القلق من تقلص مساحة الحريات؛ فضلا عن تصاعد معدلات الاحساس الشعبي بفساد الاجهزة الحكومية التي تتآكل مكانتها باضطراد

في هذا السياق لا بد من الاشارة الى تصاعد موجة الاحتجاجات سيما التي شهدتها ولاية كاليفورنيا حديثا باقدام نحو 200 مواطن على التعرض باجسادهم لمنع سير ثلاث حافلات كانت تنقل “مهاجرين غير شرعيين” والالقاء بهم على الجانب الآخر من الحدود المشتركة مع المكسيك، تعبيرا عن مشاعر الاحباط التي تنتاب الطبقة الوسطى في المجتمع من الاولويات المقلوبة للشريحة السياسية؛ مذكرا بحادثة مربي البقر “بندي” في ولاية نيفادا وتصدي مسلحين من مؤيديه الى ممثلين الحكومة المركزية؛ فضلا عن توالي معلومات تفيد بتشكيل ميليشيات خاصة من سكان الولايات الجنوبية، تكساس واريزونا، تجوب المناطق الحدودية المشتركة بحثا عن الموجات البشرية من”المهاجرين غير الشرعيين”

تصدع النسيج الاجتماعي، كما تدل التجارب التاريخية، لا يوقف تدهوره الا خطوات وتدابير تراجعية تبادر اليها الحكومات المركزية؛ اما تجاهل الامر فسيؤدي الى تصاعد الاحتجاجات وانزلاق الاوضاع من سيء الى اسوأ – كما دلت تجربة القيصر الروسي نيقولاس الثاني وغيره

السؤال الذي يتبادر الى الذهن هو هل سيقدم الرئيس اوباما بالابتعاد عن بعض الممارسات التي حصدت توبيخا له من قبل المحكمة العليا وانهيار معدلات شعبيته بين المواطنين؛ الاجابة بالنفي هي الاكثر ترجيحا سيما وانه اعلن عن نيته الاقدام على تعديل قانون الهجرة من جانب احادي، بموازاة تدابير اخرى وعد بها مع ادراكه بعدم تقبل الشعب لها. الأمر الذي سوف يؤدي الى تغذية مسببات الاحتجاج

من العسير الجزم بالمدى المرئي الذي يمكن الرئيس اوباما الذهاب به، بيد ان الثابت هو عقم المضي في المسار الراهن دون المجازفة بتداعيات سلبية تدهم البنية الحكومية والمجتمع بشكل عام

Analysis 06-27-2014

ANALYSIS

 

 

What Middle East Hot Spots Could Cause Another World War?

 

Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of the incident that started World War One, the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo.  The incident is more than just a historical event because it shows how a small event can cause a world war and turmoil that lasts decades.  This assassination not caused the First World War, it caused the downfall of the Russian czar, which lead to the Communist takeover that precipitated the Cold War.  In addition, it was the post WW I unrest in Germany that led to Hitler’s rise in Germany and the Second World War.

At the time of the assassination, the world was enjoying a period of international peace.  France and Germany, historical enemies, hadn’t fought since 1870.  England, Germany, and Russia were close since their ruling families were closely related.

The death of Franz Ferdinand changed that.  The Balkans were a tinderbox and many major powers were trying to expand their influence there – especially the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Russian Empire.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire, who was anxious to use the assassination to expand its influence in the Balkans, demanded severe concessions from Serbia, where the assassination took place.  When Serbia refused to agree to one of those demands, Austro-Hungary declared war on them.  This caused a string of declarations of war that soon set the whole world at war.

Russia, as an ally of Serbia declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Germany then declared war on Russia in order to support Austro-Hungary.  France then declared war to support its ally Russia.  When Germany invaded Belgium in order to attack France, they triggered the declaration of war from Britain.

How does this equate to the situation in the Middle East today?  The assassin, Gavrilo Princip, was a political extremist and Serbian nationalist.  And, today, the region is filled with political and religious extremists that threaten to create an incident that could cause another major conflict.  And, just as the Balkans were a tinderbox before WW I, the Middle East is a tinderbox today with unrest and small scale conflict throughout the region.  It is also a region where several world powers are seeking to expand their influence.

Let’s look at some of the potential scenarios that could cause a wider conflict.

The Strait of Hormuz

Iran lies currently at the intersection of many sources of potential dangers in the Middle East and one of the most likely is a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz.  The Strait allows the passage of about 20% of the world’s oil and choking off this waterway could cause a major war.

There are several events that could spark a closure.  One would be a move by the US, Israel, or other Western powers to prevent Iran from fielding a nuclear bomb.  The most likely would be an attack by Israel against Iranian nuclear facilities.  In retaliation, Iran would launch a barrage of ballistic missiles and close the Strait and move additional military assets to the disputed islands of Abu Musa and the Tunb islands.

Such a move would likely spark a move by the US and NATO naval forces to force opening the Strait.  Although Iran couldn’t stop the NATO forces from inflicting serious damages, they might counter such an attack by launching missiles against other targets in the Middle East, like U.S bases and GCC oil fields and Israel.  In the case of an attack on

Israel, a major Israeli retaliation could be expected.  It’s even possible that Israel might even launch nuclear tipped missiles against Iran.

Although Russia and China would be expected to stay out of the conflict initially, it’s possible that Iranian allies like Syria and Hezbollah might then attack Israel with missiles and possible incursion in the Galile occupied area.  Israel would then retaliate, leading to a major war in the Middle East that would range from the Mediterranean to the Strait of Hormuz.

The ramifications would be enormous.  As in WW I, many governments and ruling houses might fall and more radical regimes might take power.  Casualties would be high from the possibility of WMD attacks and the possibility that violence would spread beyond the region is great.

Coup Against one of the GCC Nations

The GCC nations are ruled by hereditary ruling families that aren’t always in tune with the population (Bahrain being a prime example).  And, the history of the last few decades is replete with attempted coups in the Middle East.

The most likely scenario is a military coup against the ruling families in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.  The coup leaders would be quickly recognized by Iran, which might quickly move Iranian forces into the country to solidify the new government’s control.

Reaction to the coup and Iranian presence could be quick.  Other GCC nations could attempt to move forces into the country in response to the ruling family’s request for assistance and in order to secure oil facilities.  As with the previous scenario, Western nations might also act in order to guarantee their oil supply.  The result would be a wide spread conventional war in the entire Gulf.

Although the war would probably remain conventional, it could escalate if Iran decides to blockade the Strait of Hormuz in order to stop oil shipments or to stop reinforcement of GCC nations by NATO naval forces.  However, since nuclear armed Israel wouldn’t be involved, the chances of the incident going nuclear are less.

Iraq, Syria, and ISIS

The current events in Iraq are certainly capable of causing a major conflict.  And, unlike the other scenarios, the war could be multi-sided with Kurds, ISIS, Iran (and the Maliki and Assad governments), and extremist forces vying for control of Syria and Iraq.

As it stands, no side has the ability to achieve a total win.  Iran and its allies in Syria and Iraq control the capitals, but not all of the surrounding territory.  ISIS has control of a lot of territory in Iraq and Syria, but its radical version of Islam has caused it to lose support from larger population, which precludes a quick win.  Meanwhile, other militias have more support from outside countries, especially GCC nations, but don’t have the manpower to convert that support into major battlefield victories.  The Kurds are currently satisfied to harass ISIS and consolidate their hold on Kurdistan in hopes of creating an independent Kurdistan as Iraq fractures.

Much depends on ISIS’s moves because they are currently fighting a two front war – in Iraq and Syria.  As it stands, they can’t advance much further in Iraq, so military strategy says, it would be in their best interest to shift their military assets into Syria in order to attempt to defeat the other Syrian militias and the regime.  Then, theoretically after securing Syria, they shift back to Iraq, with a larger force.

The recent bombings of ISIS forces in Iraq by Syria could be a move to preclude this shift.

Since ISIS has captured considerable Iraqi military equipment, they are much more powerful than before and pose a greater threat to other Syrian militias and Arab Syrian Army.  The most likely result of a ISIS shift to fighting in Syria is that the GCC nations, Russia, Turkey, and Iran will provide more support to their allies in Syria, which will only increase the bloodshed.

There is also an additional threat of widespread conventional war if neighboring countries see ISIS threatening them.  For instance, if ISIS moves closer to the Saudi border, it is likely that a call by some Iraqi factions opposing Maliki government” to protect” them might mean Saudi Arabia (or even a joint GCC force) would move into Iraq to protect them and provide a buffer against ISIS advances.  The same could happen with Jordan.

As violence escalates in Syria, Israel could become involved; either in response to attacks against it (as seen in the last few days) or in order to support a militia that would occupy the Golan Heights and act as a buffer between ISIS and Israel.  It would also try to covertly stop ISIS, which would create the interesting position of Israel, the GCC nations and Iran all having the same goal of stopping ISIS.

Kurdistan

Although it appears that Turkey has acquiesced to the creation of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan, in the past they have threatened an invasion lest independence fever cross the border and inspire Turkish Kurds to seek independence.

If Kurdistan becomes independent, Turkish, Syrian, and Iranian Kurds may seek to join that nation.  Although Syria is less powerful now, both Iran and Turkey have the forces to try to quash such desires for independence.  In such a case, Kurdistan might need to switch sides and sign a truce with ISIS and shift those forces against Turkey and Iran.  This, in turn would give ISIS more forces to move against Baghdad or Damascus, which would further destabilize the region.

Collapse, Coup, or Assassination of Assad

Just like the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the assassination of President Assad (a dream of his desperate) opponents could change spark a wide ranging conflict.

Opponents of President Assad still hoping to affect the collapse of the Syrian regime, but such outcome would benefit the militia with the greatest resources – currently ISIS.  In that case, the plans of the outside nations to train and equip other rebel militias would go out the window as ISIS could be expected to take nearly total control of Syria.  Even Israel might move further into Syria to build up a buffer zone, under a friendly, puppet militia as they did in Lebanon.

Elsewhere in the World

As we saw in WW I, events in one part of the world can cascade into other regions.  World War One saw conflicts in Africa, where the Germans were actually winning when the armistice was signed.  In addition, Japan took German colonies in the Pacific and several nations, including the US invaded Siberia in an attempt to stop the Soviet rebels in Russia.

Spreading unrest in the Middle East would allow Russia to push its interests in the Ukraine.  Currently, world attention and NATO deployments in Eastern Europe have forced Putin to rein-in his territorial interest in the Soviet era.  However, if those NATO forces need to deploy to the Middle East, he would have the opportunity to move against the Ukraine and the Baltic nations.

China would also benefit as they have become increasingly active in the South China Sea and have had military confrontations recently with Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.  Since any hostility in the Middle East would require the movement of American aircraft carriers from the Western Pacific to the Arabian Gulf, it would remove the largest threat to Chinese influence and power.

The same movement of American military assets would also encourage North Korea.

Even events inside America could have an impact on Middle Eastern events.  Obama and his administration are unpopular with American voters and plagued with scandals.  This makes his reactions hard to gage if events occur overseas.  Many presidents who are unpopular try to regain favor with voters with foreign military initiatives,, which may mean that Obama might suddenly take an aggressive stance towards events in the region.

However, Obama has been unwilling to intervene much in the Middle East and polls show Americans are uninterested in sending troops to the region again.  Therefore, Obama might try to regain popularity by steadfastly refusing to move internationally.  This uncertainty only makes the situation more dangerous as world leaders are more likely to misjudge.

And, it is misjudgment that led to WW I.  The Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire misjudged Serbia’s response to its demand.  Germany misjudged its ally, when it gave unconditional support for Austro-Hungary.  And all the countries misjudged when they thought the war would be over in months instead of 4 years.

Such a misjudgment today could turn a small event in the Middle East into a major war.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

FYSA: For Your Situational Awareness

By Samuel J. Brannen, David Miller, Robert Kim, and Sarah Weiner

Center for Strategic and International Studies

June 24, 2014

Newsletter

The Eastern Mediterranean was once a strategic geography discussed in reverent tones in Washington. It was NATO’s southern flank: a gateway to chokepoints and supply routes,in the crosshairs of the Soviet Union, and ignored at the peril of global stability. The Eastern Mediterranean demanded deep subject matter expertise, drove Pentagon planning, and invited big geopolitical strategy from the Truman Doctrine through the Camp David Accords.  After the Cold War’s end, the United States largely managed crises as they appeared and fostered stability in the region despite waves of instability on its periphery.  This was a successful overall strategy for the region for several decades.  But in recent years, shifting domestic politics, internal violent conflict, and uncooperative governments across the region have challenged an ad hoc and disaggregated approach to advancing U.S. interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Traditional regional allies such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel are asserting themselves in ways that are increasingly at odds with U.S. policy. NATO has failed to reengage the region. And Russia, China, and Iran are increasingly asserting themselves, exposing the region again to the return dangers of international competition with consequence for transatlantic and global security.

Read more

 

A-10 vs. fighters and bombers

By Mackenzie Eaglen

American Enterprise Institute

June 25, 2014

The Hill

 

It’s a time-honored tradition inside the Beltway to “kick the can” on really hard decisions while making sure immediate “solutions” to defer pain only cost more and create bigger problems later. Congress is set to do it again.  But the jig is up for these cut-off-the-nose-to-spite-the-face answers. Thanks to the defense drawdown underway, the military can no longer avoid political pain for the politicians in charge.  One high profile example of this is the Pentagon proposal to retire the fleet of A-10 Warthog aircraft. Members of Congress are set to pat themselves on the proverbial back for rejecting the president’s proposal once the defense bills are finalized. But the cost of saving the A-10 fleet will be much larger numbers of fighters and bombers that will be on the chopping block instead. If the outcry was loud from the A-10 proposal, just wait until next year’s budget lands with a thud on Capitol Hill.

Read more

 

 

The Economics of Egypt’s Rising Authoritarian Order

By Amr Adly

Carnegie Endowment

June 18, 2014

Egypt’s economy is in crisis as the new military-backed regime seeks to reestablish its authority. Fiscal restructuring and austerity measures are necessary to spur economic recovery, but they may be politically difficult to pass at this time. The new regime, therefore, will have to broaden its base and forge a more inclusive coalition of supporters in order to stabilize Egypt, retain power, and restore economic growth.  Egypt Between Populism and Austerity.  Years of political turmoil following the overthrow of then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 have exacerbated many of the country’s economic problems.  Annual rates of growth have declined and there has been massive capital flight, which has worsened budget, balance of payment, and foreign reserve deficits.

Read more

 

 

Liberal Attitudes and Middle East Realities

By Michael Bell

German Marshall Fund

June 25, 2014

A multitude of issues contribute to the dysfunction of Arab Middle East polities, including traditions of colonialism, authoritarianism, the rentier state, clientalism, corruption, and imagined history. Most importantly Arab politics is dominated by ethno-nationalism and ideological belief systems. There is little tolerance for liberal pluralism. Despite the yearning of many for a meaningful pluralistic governance system, there is at best only modest prospect for successful liberal reform, so much are these traditions part of a deeply ingrown culture. For Western policymakers, “sober realism” must be the watch phrase. The spread of what we call “progressive values” is important but can only be satisfying when seen in the light of what “can be” rather than what we think “should be” done. To ignore this reality risks making matters worse rather than better.

Read more

 

 

Moscow’s Afghan Endgame

By Richard Weitz

Hudson Institute

June 25, 2014

Few will have been watching the troubled Afghan presidential elections with greater attention than Russia. Although Moscow has not shown a strong preference for either candidate, and has managed to develop a good working relationship with outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Russian policymakers have been seeing nightmares in Kabul for years. Now the Iraq breakdown, coming after the years of civil strife in Syria, has deepened Russian anxieties about social and economic chaos along its vulnerable southern front at a time when relations with NATO remain strained over Ukraine.

Despite its public complaints, Russians have viewed the Obama administration’s initial surge into Afghanistan and its subsequent military drawdown with unease. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin acquiesced to the U.S. and then NATO interventions in Afghanistan, he did so reluctantly, with a fearful eye on potential threats to Russia’s regional influence.

Read more

 

 

Iraq’s House of Cards: The Primary Mission

By Robin Wright

Wilson Center

June 23, 2014

On Friday, a new report by the International Crisis Group, an independent research and policy institute, bluntly warned of both the political and military challenges in Iraq. Under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the report declared, “Parliament has been rendered toothless, independent state agencies shorn of their powers. Ministries, to an unprecedented extent, have become bastions of nepotism and other forms of corruption; the severely politicized judiciary represents anything but the ‘rule of law,’ with even the Supreme Court doing the government’s bidding.”  This week, as the jihadi juggernaut solidifies its control over almost a third of the country in a Sunni proto-state, a token American team of Special Forces will embed in Iraq to assess and advise Iraq’s disintegrating military. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry is conferring with regional leaders about ways to prevent a geostrategic prize from imploding into a failed state. He, too, is expected in Baghdad.

Read more

 

 

Hezbollah in Iraq: A Little Help Can Go a Long Way

By Matthew Levitt and Nadav Pollak

Washington Institue

June 25, 2014

PolicyWatch 2277

As Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) captured Mosul two weeks ago and set their sights on Baghdad, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah offered to send fighters to Iraq to help turn the jihadist tide. In Syria, the Lebanese Shiite group’s forces have already deployed in large numbers over the past several years and made all the difference in the Assad regime’s battle for survival. In Iraq, Hezbollah would likely dispatch only small numbers of trainers and special operators. Yet given the group’s past special operations and training activities in Iraq and its close ties with Iran’s elite Qods Force, even a modest deployment would likely have a significant impact.

Read more

 

 

Mounzer A. Sleiman Ph.D.
Center for American and Arab Studies
Think Tanks Monitor

www.thinktankmonitor.org

C: 202 536 8984  C: 301 509 4144

Week of June 27th, 2014

Executive Summary

The eyes of the Washington think tank community remain fixed on Iraq.

In this week’s Monitor Analysis we note that this Saturday is the 100th anniversary of the event that started World War One, the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand.  We note that just as the Balkans was a tinderbox in the early 20th Century, the Middle East is a tinderbox today, where an incident could cause a widespread war.  We look at several situations and how they could become a major conflict.

 

Think Tanks Activity Summary

 

The CSIS Situational Awareness newsletter talks about the growing strategic importance of the Eastern Mediterranean.  They conclude, “Former Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral Jim Stavridis and others have rightly observed that the United States needs a new strategic approach for the Eastern Mediterranean. But before such a strategy can be created, the United States simply needs an updated understanding of the changesunderway across the region. Washington needs to understand how Eastern Mediterranean capitals view their own regional dynamics, and what it is they would want from U.S. influence, let alone how they might be willing to cooperate to reinvigorate a regional security approach. In the year ahead, working across its functional and regional programs, CSIS plans to engage in this deep analysis and understanding of a region that has returned to strategic prominence and peril.”

The Wilson Center looks at American options in Iraq.  They conclude, “For the United States, these political challenges are formidable—and perhaps insuperable—but there’s no real alternative. Washington should beware “quick fixes,” the new International Crisis Group report cautions. “The U.S. can achieve little through air strikes, the insertion of special forces or other light-footprint tactics without, in its counter-insurgency jargon, an effective Iraqi army to ‘clear’; an accepted Iraqi police to ‘hold’; and a legitimate Iraqi political leadership to ‘build.’ ”

The Hudson Institute looks at Russian concerns in Afghanistan.  They note, “Russian leaders have expressed growing anxiety that NATO was withdrawing prematurely from the region, dumping a massive regional security vacuum into Moscow’s unwelcoming arms. Russia still exercises military primacy in Central Asia but is threatened already by religious militants in the North Caucasus and other Russian regions with large Muslim populations. Russian officials expressed dissatisfaction with NATO’s decision to remove most if not all its forces from Afghanistan while the Taliban insurgency remains severe, believing the withdrawal would contribute to terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and instability throughout Central Asia. Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has said that ISAF “has been too hasty about making the final decision to pull out.”

The A-10 aircraft has been used by the US Air Force in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  The American Enterprise Institute disagrees with the Congress’s attempt to keep it operational.  They agree with the US Air Force decision to decommission the A-10 fleet saying, “this fight is really about lack of money and ability to meet the war plans. The Joint Chiefs signed up to the defense strategic guidance, but the president owns it. He has issued clear guidance that the U.S. will not be engaged in major counterinsurgency or nation-building or long-term stabilization operations, period. So long as this remains the official doctrine from on high, then expect the Air Force to stand by the plan to retire the A-10. Eventually Congress will, too.”

The Washington Institute looks at Hezbollah sending forces to Iraq to fight ISIS.  They note that even a small force could be quite decisive and conclude, “The war in Syria requires a great commitment from Hezbollah in terms of personnel and weapons, and significant numbers of its fighters have already lost their lives in helping the Assad regime. Yet given its willingness to answer Iran’s call for help in Syria, the group will probably answer the call to fight in Iraq as well. Nasrallah is already laying the groundwork to justify such involvement by invoking the same hollow excuse of “defending Shiites and Shiite holy places.”  As in the past, Hezbollah’s contribution does not have to include hundreds of fighters, but only a limited number of experienced trainers and special operations “consultants.” This type of contribution would not overstrain the organization, and it could facilitate far-reaching achievements for Iraqi Shiite militias.”

The Carnegie Endowment looks at the growing authoritarian nature of the Egyptian government and what it means to the economy.  One of the problems the paper notes is, “The interim military regime seems as desperate as the governments of Mubarak and Morsi before it to keep the old Nasserist constituencies, mainly state employees, as appeased as possible. Most government measures target those working for the state’s civilian and military bureaucracies and state-owned enterprises—a total of around 6 million employees, which is a significant share of the total workforce and the overall population if their families are counted as dependents. These groups also include state security and the two law-enforcement bodies, the military and the police force.”

The German Marshall Fund looks at the potential of liberal pluralism in Middle Eastern governments.  They conclude, “If liberal values are to find a home in the Arab world, Tunisia enjoys the best prospects, as was the consensus at a recent Ditchley Park conference. That country merits considerable time and investment from liberal reformers, while recognizing the regional impact of Tunisia will be limited by its remoteness from the Arab heartland.  For the rest, however, the constructionist model fits well, in a region beset with growing exceptionalism when faced with the evolving global norm. The challenge for policymakers is to establish realistic goals, accepting the seemingly unending reality of Arab states beset with autocratic leaderships and riven societies. To articulate and channel political ambitions and create meaningful civil societies in this environment is no easy task.”

 

 

ANALYSIS

 

 

What Middle East Hot Spots Could Cause Another World War?

 

Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of the incident that started World War One, the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo.  The incident is more than just a historical event because it shows how a small event can cause a world war and turmoil that lasts decades.  This assassination not caused the First World War, it caused the downfall of the Russian czar, which lead to the Communist takeover that precipitated the Cold War.  In addition, it was the post WW I unrest in Germany that led to Hitler’s rise in Germany and the Second World War.

At the time of the assassination, the world was enjoying a period of international peace.  France and Germany, historical enemies, hadn’t fought since 1870.  England, Germany, and Russia were close since their ruling families were closely related.

The death of Franz Ferdinand changed that.  The Balkans were a tinderbox and many major powers were trying to expand their influence there – especially the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Russian Empire.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire, who was anxious to use the assassination to expand its influence in the Balkans, demanded severe concessions from Serbia, where the assassination took place.  When Serbia refused to agree to one of those demands, Austro-Hungary declared war on them.  This caused a string of declarations of war that soon set the whole world at war.

Russia, as an ally of Serbia declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Germany then declared war on Russia in order to support Austro-Hungary.  France then declared war to support its ally Russia.  When Germany invaded Belgium in order to attack France, they triggered the declaration of war from Britain.

How does this equate to the situation in the Middle East today?  The assassin, Gavrilo Princip, was a political extremist and Serbian nationalist.  And, today, the region is filled with political and religious extremists that threaten to create an incident that could cause another major conflict.  And, just as the Balkans were a tinderbox before WW I, the Middle East is a tinderbox today with unrest and small scale conflict throughout the region.  It is also a region where several world powers are seeking to expand their influence.

Let’s look at some of the potential scenarios that could cause a wider conflict.

The Strait of Hormuz

Iran lies currently at the intersection of many sources of potential dangers in the Middle East and one of the most likely is a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz.  The Strait allows the passage of about 20% of the world’s oil and choking off this waterway could cause a major war.

There are several events that could spark a closure.  One would be a move by the US, Israel, or other Western powers to prevent Iran from fielding a nuclear bomb.  The most likely would be an attack by Israel against Iranian nuclear facilities.  In retaliation, Iran would launch a barrage of ballistic missiles and close the Strait and move additional military assets to the disputed islands of Abu Musa and the Tunb islands.

Such a move would likely spark a move by the US and NATO naval forces to force opening the Strait.  Although Iran couldn’t stop the NATO forces from inflicting serious damages, they might counter such an attack by launching missiles against other targets in the Middle East, like U.S bases and GCC oil fields and Israel.  In the case of an attack on

Israel, a major Israeli retaliation could be expected.  It’s even possible that Israel might even launch nuclear tipped missiles against Iran.

Although Russia and China would be expected to stay out of the conflict initially, it’s possible that Iranian allies like Syria and Hezbollah might then attack Israel with missiles and possible incursion in the Galile occupied area.  Israel would then retaliate, leading to a major war in the Middle East that would range from the Mediterranean to the Strait of Hormuz.

The ramifications would be enormous.  As in WW I, many governments and ruling houses might fall and more radical regimes might take power.  Casualties would be high from the possibility of WMD attacks and the possibility that violence would spread beyond the region is great.

Coup Against one of the GCC Nations

The GCC nations are ruled by hereditary ruling families that aren’t always in tune with the population (Bahrain being a prime example).  And, the history of the last few decades is replete with attempted coups in the Middle East.

The most likely scenario is a military coup against the ruling families in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.  The coup leaders would be quickly recognized by Iran, which might quickly move Iranian forces into the country to solidify the new government’s control.

Reaction to the coup and Iranian presence could be quick.  Other GCC nations could attempt to move forces into the country in response to the ruling family’s request for assistance and in order to secure oil facilities.  As with the previous scenario, Western nations might also act in order to guarantee their oil supply.  The result would be a wide spread conventional war in the entire Gulf.

Although the war would probably remain conventional, it could escalate if Iran decides to blockade the Strait of Hormuz in order to stop oil shipments or to stop reinforcement of GCC nations by NATO naval forces.  However, since nuclear armed Israel wouldn’t be involved, the chances of the incident going nuclear are less.

Iraq, Syria, and ISIS

The current events in Iraq are certainly capable of causing a major conflict.  And, unlike the other scenarios, the war could be multi-sided with Kurds, ISIS, Iran (and the Maliki and Assad governments), and extremist forces vying for control of Syria and Iraq.

As it stands, no side has the ability to achieve a total win.  Iran and its allies in Syria and Iraq control the capitals, but not all of the surrounding territory.  ISIS has control of a lot of territory in Iraq and Syria, but its radical version of Islam has caused it to lose support from larger population, which precludes a quick win.  Meanwhile, other militias have more support from outside countries, especially GCC nations, but don’t have the manpower to convert that support into major battlefield victories.  The Kurds are currently satisfied to harass ISIS and consolidate their hold on Kurdistan in hopes of creating an independent Kurdistan as Iraq fractures.

Much depends on ISIS’s moves because they are currently fighting a two front war – in Iraq and Syria.  As it stands, they can’t advance much further in Iraq, so military strategy says, it would be in their best interest to shift their military assets into Syria in order to attempt to defeat the other Syrian militias and the regime.  Then, theoretically after securing Syria, they shift back to Iraq, with a larger force.

The recent bombings of ISIS forces in Iraq by Syria could be a move to preclude this shift.

Since ISIS has captured considerable Iraqi military equipment, they are much more powerful than before and pose a greater threat to other Syrian militias and Arab Syrian Army.  The most likely result of a ISIS shift to fighting in Syria is that the GCC nations, Russia, Turkey, and Iran will provide more support to their allies in Syria, which will only increase the bloodshed.

There is also an additional threat of widespread conventional war if neighboring countries see ISIS threatening them.  For instance, if ISIS moves closer to the Saudi border, it is likely that a call by some Iraqi factions opposing Maliki government” to protect” them might mean Saudi Arabia (or even a joint GCC force) would move into Iraq to protect them and provide a buffer against ISIS advances.  The same could happen with Jordan.

As violence escalates in Syria, Israel could become involved; either in response to attacks against it (as seen in the last few days) or in order to support a militia that would occupy the Golan Heights and act as a buffer between ISIS and Israel.  It would also try to covertly stop ISIS, which would create the interesting position of Israel, the GCC nations and Iran all having the same goal of stopping ISIS.

Kurdistan

Although it appears that Turkey has acquiesced to the creation of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan, in the past they have threatened an invasion lest independence fever cross the border and inspire Turkish Kurds to seek independence.

If Kurdistan becomes independent, Turkish, Syrian, and Iranian Kurds may seek to join that nation.  Although Syria is less powerful now, both Iran and Turkey have the forces to try to quash such desires for independence.  In such a case, Kurdistan might need to switch sides and sign a truce with ISIS and shift those forces against Turkey and Iran.  This, in turn would give ISIS more forces to move against Baghdad or Damascus, which would further destabilize the region.

Collapse, Coup, or Assassination of Assad

Just like the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the assassination of President Assad (a dream of his desperate) opponents could change spark a wide ranging conflict.

Opponents of President Assad still hoping to affect the collapse of the Syrian regime, but such outcome would benefit the militia with the greatest resources – currently ISIS.  In that case, the plans of the outside nations to train and equip other rebel militias would go out the window as ISIS could be expected to take nearly total control of Syria.  Even Israel might move further into Syria to build up a buffer zone, under a friendly, puppet militia as they did in Lebanon.

Elsewhere in the World

As we saw in WW I, events in one part of the world can cascade into other regions.  World War One saw conflicts in Africa, where the Germans were actually winning when the armistice was signed.  In addition, Japan took German colonies in the Pacific and several nations, including the US invaded Siberia in an attempt to stop the Soviet rebels in Russia.

Spreading unrest in the Middle East would allow Russia to push its interests in the Ukraine.  Currently, world attention and NATO deployments in Eastern Europe have forced Putin to rein-in his territorial interest in the Soviet era.  However, if those NATO forces need to deploy to the Middle East, he would have the opportunity to move against the Ukraine and the Baltic nations.

China would also benefit as they have become increasingly active in the South China Sea and have had military confrontations recently with Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.  Since any hostility in the Middle East would require the movement of American aircraft carriers from the Western Pacific to the Arabian Gulf, it would remove the largest threat to Chinese influence and power.

The same movement of American military assets would also encourage North Korea.

Even events inside America could have an impact on Middle Eastern events.  Obama and his administration are unpopular with American voters and plagued with scandals.  This makes his reactions hard to gage if events occur overseas.  Many presidents who are unpopular try to regain favor with voters with foreign military initiatives,, which may mean that Obama might suddenly take an aggressive stance towards events in the region.

However, Obama has been unwilling to intervene much in the Middle East and polls show Americans are uninterested in sending troops to the region again.  Therefore, Obama might try to regain popularity by steadfastly refusing to move internationally.  This uncertainty only makes the situation more dangerous as world leaders are more likely to misjudge.

And, it is misjudgment that led to WW I.  The Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire misjudged Serbia’s response to its demand.  Germany misjudged its ally, when it gave unconditional support for Austro-Hungary.  And all the countries misjudged when they thought the war would be over in months instead of 4 years.

Such a misjudgment today could turn a small event in the Middle East into a major war.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

FYSA: For Your Situational Awareness

By Samuel J. Brannen, David Miller, Robert Kim, and Sarah Weiner

Center for Strategic and International Studies

June 24, 2014

Newsletter

The Eastern Mediterranean was once a strategic geography discussed in reverent tones in Washington. It was NATO’s southern flank: a gateway to chokepoints and supply routes,in the crosshairs of the Soviet Union, and ignored at the peril of global stability. The Eastern Mediterranean demanded deep subject matter expertise, drove Pentagon planning, and invited big geopolitical strategy from the Truman Doctrine through the Camp David Accords.  After the Cold War’s end, the United States largely managed crises as they appeared and fostered stability in the region despite waves of instability on its periphery.  This was a successful overall strategy for the region for several decades.  But in recent years, shifting domestic politics, internal violent conflict, and uncooperative governments across the region have challenged an ad hoc and disaggregated approach to advancing U.S. interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Traditional regional allies such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel are asserting themselves in ways that are increasingly at odds with U.S. policy. NATO has failed to reengage the region. And Russia, China, and Iran are increasingly asserting themselves, exposing the region again to the return dangers of international competition with consequence for transatlantic and global security.

Read more

 

A-10 vs. fighters and bombers

By Mackenzie Eaglen

American Enterprise Institute

June 25, 2014

The Hill

 

It’s a time-honored tradition inside the Beltway to “kick the can” on really hard decisions while making sure immediate “solutions” to defer pain only cost more and create bigger problems later. Congress is set to do it again.  But the jig is up for these cut-off-the-nose-to-spite-the-face answers. Thanks to the defense drawdown underway, the military can no longer avoid political pain for the politicians in charge.  One high profile example of this is the Pentagon proposal to retire the fleet of A-10 Warthog aircraft. Members of Congress are set to pat themselves on the proverbial back for rejecting the president’s proposal once the defense bills are finalized. But the cost of saving the A-10 fleet will be much larger numbers of fighters and bombers that will be on the chopping block instead. If the outcry was loud from the A-10 proposal, just wait until next year’s budget lands with a thud on Capitol Hill.

Read more

 

 

The Economics of Egypt’s Rising Authoritarian Order

By Amr Adly

Carnegie Endowment

June 18, 2014

Egypt’s economy is in crisis as the new military-backed regime seeks to reestablish its authority. Fiscal restructuring and austerity measures are necessary to spur economic recovery, but they may be politically difficult to pass at this time. The new regime, therefore, will have to broaden its base and forge a more inclusive coalition of supporters in order to stabilize Egypt, retain power, and restore economic growth.  Egypt Between Populism and Austerity.  Years of political turmoil following the overthrow of then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 have exacerbated many of the country’s economic problems.  Annual rates of growth have declined and there has been massive capital flight, which has worsened budget, balance of payment, and foreign reserve deficits.

Read more

 

 

Liberal Attitudes and Middle East Realities

By Michael Bell

German Marshall Fund

June 25, 2014

A multitude of issues contribute to the dysfunction of Arab Middle East polities, including traditions of colonialism, authoritarianism, the rentier state, clientalism, corruption, and imagined history. Most importantly Arab politics is dominated by ethno-nationalism and ideological belief systems. There is little tolerance for liberal pluralism. Despite the yearning of many for a meaningful pluralistic governance system, there is at best only modest prospect for successful liberal reform, so much are these traditions part of a deeply ingrown culture. For Western policymakers, “sober realism” must be the watch phrase. The spread of what we call “progressive values” is important but can only be satisfying when seen in the light of what “can be” rather than what we think “should be” done. To ignore this reality risks making matters worse rather than better.

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Moscow’s Afghan Endgame

By Richard Weitz

Hudson Institute

June 25, 2014

Few will have been watching the troubled Afghan presidential elections with greater attention than Russia. Although Moscow has not shown a strong preference for either candidate, and has managed to develop a good working relationship with outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Russian policymakers have been seeing nightmares in Kabul for years. Now the Iraq breakdown, coming after the years of civil strife in Syria, has deepened Russian anxieties about social and economic chaos along its vulnerable southern front at a time when relations with NATO remain strained over Ukraine.

Despite its public complaints, Russians have viewed the Obama administration’s initial surge into Afghanistan and its subsequent military drawdown with unease. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin acquiesced to the U.S. and then NATO interventions in Afghanistan, he did so reluctantly, with a fearful eye on potential threats to Russia’s regional influence.

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Iraq’s House of Cards: The Primary Mission

By Robin Wright

Wilson Center

June 23, 2014

On Friday, a new report by the International Crisis Group, an independent research and policy institute, bluntly warned of both the political and military challenges in Iraq. Under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the report declared, “Parliament has been rendered toothless, independent state agencies shorn of their powers. Ministries, to an unprecedented extent, have become bastions of nepotism and other forms of corruption; the severely politicized judiciary represents anything but the ‘rule of law,’ with even the Supreme Court doing the government’s bidding.”  This week, as the jihadi juggernaut solidifies its control over almost a third of the country in a Sunni proto-state, a token American team of Special Forces will embed in Iraq to assess and advise Iraq’s disintegrating military. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry is conferring with regional leaders about ways to prevent a geostrategic prize from imploding into a failed state. He, too, is expected in Baghdad.

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Hezbollah in Iraq: A Little Help Can Go a Long Way

By Matthew Levitt and Nadav Pollak

Washington Institue

June 25, 2014

PolicyWatch 2277

As Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) captured Mosul two weeks ago and set their sights on Baghdad, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah offered to send fighters to Iraq to help turn the jihadist tide. In Syria, the Lebanese Shiite group’s forces have already deployed in large numbers over the past several years and made all the difference in the Assad regime’s battle for survival. In Iraq, Hezbollah would likely dispatch only small numbers of trainers and special operators. Yet given the group’s past special operations and training activities in Iraq and its close ties with Iran’s elite Qods Force, even a modest deployment would likely have a significant impact.

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Mounzer A. Sleiman Ph.D.
Center for American and Arab Studies
Think Tanks Monitor

www.thinktankmonitor.org

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