Expert: Americas big chess in the Middle East, there are also times when Israel wants to get rid of it

 Expert: Americas big chess in the Middle East, there are also times when Israel wants to get rid of it

On January 28, U.S. President trump announced the so-called New Middle East peace plan to promote the settlement of the Palestinian Israeli issue, which Pakistan explicitly refused. In recent days, large-scale demonstrations have been held in Jerusalem, the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Jordans capital Amman, Istanbul, Turkey and other places. People have expressed solidarity with Palestine and protested against the new plan of the United States. Since January 2020, the Middle East has been in a state of unease and tension. The United States, Iran and even the Third World War have become hot words on twitter. In response to the situation in the Middle East since January, interviewed pan Guang, senior consultant of China middle east society and director of Shanghai Jewish research center. Professor Pan is also a senior researcher of the state high-end think tank of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and a soft science expert of the state anti terrorism office.

Observer: Hello Prof. pan. Up to now, the Middle East, which once made the outside world think that the war is about to break out, has gradually calmed down. Looking back at the US Iraq conflict, it is still puzzling why the United States took extreme measures to assassinate suleymani at this time? According to the current statement, Sulaimani is the leader of the Revolutionary Guard, and the United States once recognized the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, so when Sulaimani appears in Iraq, it will carry out targeted clearance. Does this explanation work? Is the act of the United States a war act?

Pan Guang: after more than ten days of fermentation, there are two main statements. One is that the United States has arranged a lot of local informants. Sulaimani will know his whereabouts as soon as he arrives, and then take action immediately. But this action proposal is actually the last of many options offered by the CIA and the military to President trump, none of which mentioned assassination. As a result, they didnt expect trump to directly choose the last one, so many high-level people in the United States were surprised. That is to say, according to the traditional practice, since the Revolutionary Guard holy city brigade is listed as a so-called terrorist organization by the United States, it is necessary to kill the head of the terrorist organization.

In addition, another popular saying recently is that the United States lured suleymani. Iraq invited suleymani to Baghdad to discuss some plans to ease the relationship between the United States and Iraq. Because Iraq invited suleymani, maybe the Americans also know that, so suleymani relaxed his vigilance, took a commercial flight, and did not keep his whereabouts secret. He probably thought When we arrived in Baghdad, we had a discussion with the Iraqi Prime Minister. The Iraqi Prime Minister acted as a lead, and there might be Americans on the scene. As a general rule, he may dress up and not take a commercial flight, but the result is unexpected.

In fact, this statement also hit the American face hard, which is equivalent to tricking suleymani out and carrying out the assassination. It should be said that the vast majority of people think that the American approach is wrong. The United States lured and killed another countrys general. Irans highest rank is major general. Sulaimani is already the highest rank. Now his successor is only brigadier general. If the second statement is true, the United States is really despicable. Now, the popular statement on the Internet basically blames the United States.

As for the fact that the Revolutionary Guard and its Holy City Brigade are regarded as terrorist organizations by the United States, its not the same day or two. It was announced in April last year. In the past, the United States has killed notorious terrorists, such as bin Laden and Baghdad di. Suleymani is indeed the leader of the terrorist organization recognized by the United States, but he is also the general of another country, and he has carried out assassination on the territory of Iraq, a third country. The outside world thinks that the United States is wrong in this step. Maybe trump realized that he had gone too far, so he stepped back.

Observer: just before Sulaimani was killed, a large number of Iraqis surrounded the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Is there any connection between this incident and the assassination?

Pan Guang: the context of this incident is like this. The United States first bombed Shiite organizations in Iraq, causing many casualties and causing the anger of the Iraqi people. So they went to the U.S. Embassy in Iraq to protest, damaged some facilities, but did not cause casualties of American diplomats. This is related to the death of Sulaimani, but similar events have happened many times before, but why Sulaimani arrived in Baghdad at the right time, so it is speculated that Sulaimani was lured and killed. At present, it can only be said that there is a connection, but there is no inevitable connection.

Observer network: after Sulaimanis assassination, Iran has also returned a tit for a tooth and listed the U.S. military as a terrorist organization. How do you evaluate the mutual reference of terrorist organizations by both sides? Will it be recognized by the international community? Will it affect the future?

Pan Guang: this kind of behavior is mainly symbolic. In fact, when both sides declare each others organization as a terrorist organization, they legitimize the attack against each other. But that does not mean an immediate declaration of war. The United States regards an Iranian Organization as a terrorist organization, and Iran lists a military region of the United States as a terrorist organization. In fact, it is legal for me to fight you in the future. Of course, this will certainly increase the tension between the two sides in the confrontation.

Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei awarded Sulaimani the highest medal of Iran, the order of salfar

Observer network: after Sulaimanis death, there are many articles and news about him. Of course, on the one hand, they let us know more about the complexity of Irans internal structure, but on the other hand, because of anti American sentiment, many of them are slightly biased, so can you talk about Sulaimani in detail? More reduction of his own complexity and his circle in the Middle East, Europe and the United States should be able to better understand the current situation.

Pan Guang: Sulaimani is an active participant in the Islamic revolution in Iran and a hero in the Iran Iraq war. Later, he gradually became a commander in the Revolutionary Guard Holy City Brigade. He can command Shiite armed forces and secret organizations around the world, so he is also a mysterious figure in the eyes of the outside world. But Sulaimani has also cooperated with the United States, such as fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, fighting the Islamic state of Baghdad Di and so on.

From the perspective of China, our view of Iran has actually gone through an evolutionary process. I remember the detention of US embassy personnel during the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. At that time, there was a lot of opposition in China, believing that Irans approach was wrong. At that time, China and the United States just resumed diplomatic relations, and there was pro american sentiment among Chinese young people. Before the Islamic revolution, China had good relations with Iran. Just before the overthrow of King Pahlavi, President Hua Guofeng also visited Iran. Iran at that time was very advanced in our view. When Iran held the Asian Games in 1974, the Chinese delegation found that it was much more advanced and westernized than China when it arrived in Iran. But it is precisely this point that has become an important reason for the Iranians to oppose the United States, thinking that Iran has been Americanized.

When Irans Islamic Revolution was just successful, it also criticized China for being pro american. There is even an interesting saying that it is impossible for King Pahlavi to seek refuge in China. Later, King Pahlavi went to Egypt and died abroad. In the whole process of evolution, many people have no good opinion of Irans Islamic Revolutionary Guard - why does the country have a regular army and build a revolutionary guard? From the 1990s to the new century, the relationship between China and Iran became more and more normal. In addition, the United States oppressed other countries everywhere, and the mood of Chinese people began to change. But even so, the Chinese people dont like the Holy City Brigade very much. They always feel that they are engaged in assassinations, explosions and so on. The most typical example is the bombing of the Jewish community in Argentina in 1992, which killed dozens of people in the whole building. Israel said it was done by the Holy City Brigade and even now some people say it was under the command of Sulaimani.

Observer: however, after Iran admitted mistakenly hitting the Ukrainian airliner, its domestic political atmosphere became very treacherous again. Different peoples statements were quite different, even led to demonstrations. In some occasions, people even took out Trumps photos and so on. This is obviously quite different from the demonstration after Sulaimani was killed. What do you think of this different scene? What layers of Iranian society can be seen? It is interesting to see that Iran has four governments: religious, secular, revolutionary guard and Iranian military.

Pan Guang: after this series of events, there are two kinds of marches in Iran, one is the anti American March, because Sulaimani was killed, the other is seemingly dissatisfied with the airliner incident, but actually dissatisfied with the regime. When I visited Iran in 2005, I saw that their roads were full of old cars and their houses were very old. I asked Iranian young people why they didnt talk in public, but they talked at home. They said that our money was used to support the Islamic Revolution and there was no money for construction. Young Iranians are very critical of the export revolution.

Later, when there was a lot of trouble in Iran, it was mainly young people who wanted to change. They thought that religious power was too big, they exported revolution everywhere and supported Islamic Revolution all over the world. On the contrary, their domestic economy and other aspects did not develop much. So in 2015, when President Rouhani and foreign minister Zarif signed the Iran nuclear agreement and returned to Iran, they were warmly welcomed at the airport, mainly by young people. But in fact, religious leaders are quite ambiguous about this agreement. They only say that we can see if the agreement is OK first. Now Khamenei says publicly that the United States is a liar and no one is allowed to negotiate with the United States in the future. Therefore, it is a reality to see that there are reformers in Iran, especially young people, who are even Pro Western to some extent. Many people took this opportunity to demonstrate, and the United States expressed its support, but it soon subsided.

The United States, of course, is afraid that the world will not be in chaos and wants to carry out a color revolution in Iran. However, Irans political and religious forces are too strong to carry out the so-called Color Revolution without such conditions, and it will not end. As for what western media say about repression, there is no concrete evidence. But there has always been a demand for liberalism and pro western power in Iran, especially among young people. In fact, the young people in Iran are very lovely. We witnessed it when we visited in 2005. They want to change, but they dont know how to change. They are also anti American, but they are particularly interested in western culture, especially films. Iran has done very well in recent years. Iran is a country with a long Persian culture. We visited Isfahan. It is the essence of Islamic civilization. It is also a manifestation of Greek culture. It is a cultural exchange between different cultures.

Iran admitted to mistakenly hitting the Ukrainian airliner. The people were dissatisfied and protested on the street. From Associated Press

Observer network: one of the problems is that organizations like the Revolutionary Guard, because of religious power, across the so-called nation-state in general sense, but at the same time there are still national sovereignty and borders in this region. What impact will the recent series of emergencies have on the whole Middle East region, especially where secular power and religious divine power are intertwined?

Pan Guang: of course, it has an impact. Its not just Iran. Now the most affected are Sunni countries, especially Saudi Arabia. Now the reform process in Saudi Arabia is very fast. Women can drive or watch performances. Sunnis are more orthodox than Shiites, like the Taliban, and women have to wear veils, not drive, and so on. After the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia came to power, there was a great deal of reform. On the contrary, the Shiite reform in Iran has not made much progress recently. This anti American trend and domestic March are still difficult to promote the Shiite religious reform.

In fact, Sunni countries are very different. For example, the United Arab Emirates is also a Sunni country. There is no election in the United Arab Emirates, so the Taliban want to establish the United Arab Emirates. Everyone disagrees. They think that there should be elections in the new Afghanistan, but now the United Arab Emirates is also very open, democratic and free, as is Qatar. The most orthodox are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait, but now they are also starting to carry out reforms, at least at the level of womens liberation.

At present, Irans most important issue is not religion, but the country is under sanctions, the economy is very difficult, and facing the threat of the United States. With the accidental attack of the airliner disclosed, the young people came out again. But I dont expect that the young people who hope to carry out the reform immediately will be able to get up for the time being due to the anti us and Middle East political conflicts. When the regime feels the crisis, the Revolutionary Guard will certainly pressurize, and they wont allow the situation to become a Color Revolution. We all know that to talk about reform, we must have stable domestic political situation. Saudi Arabia can do it now, because at least the current political situation is stable and can be carried out from the top to the bottom, and they will never allow mass demonstrations. While Iran is facing threats from the outside and unstable internal situation, it is difficult to carry out reform. However, it is true that Iranian women are still much more free than Saudi Arabia. They can participate in elections and enter politics. The United States always wants to promote democracy in the Middle East. In fact, there are only two countries with democratic elections in the Middle East, one is Israel and the other is Iran. All members of Parliament are elected by secret ballot. Its just that Iran is different. There is a religious leader, Khamenei, on top of the regime. But sometimes he also accepts the criticism from the outside world, so its a bit like the combination of religious theocracy and democratic politics.

Observer network: Iraq undoubtedly played an important role in this conflict. For example, why did Sulaimani go to Iraq and what changes have taken place in bilateral relations since the Iraq war. After Sulaimanis assassination, the Iraqi parliament voted to expel all American troops. What do you think of Iraqs performance? What is the impact on the future relationship between the United States and Iran.

Pan Guang: lets talk about Irans missile strike back at the U.S. military base. Basically, both sides come and go, take care of face, and dont want to really start a war at the same time. But since then, attacks on US bases and embassies have been intermittent, but not directly launched by Iran. Until recently, U.S. military aircraft were shot down in Afghanistan, and it is said that the head of the CIA who directed the assassination of Sulaimani was also killed on board. The Taliban claim to have done it, but Iran may be behind it.

As for Iraq, the problem is very complicated. The key problem in China is the conflict between Shia and Sunni. Now Shia is in power. The resolution passed by the Congress is mainly supported by Shia members. It is reported that Sunni members have all retired and did not attend the meeting of the day. Sunnis and Kurds are not active in driving away Americans. The Kurdish autonomous region is closely related to the United States. China has also set up a Consulate General in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region. The Americans also saw this and said they would not leave. Moreover, there are so many military bases in the United States. If you leave, you need to compensate for the loss.

In addition, there are contradictions within the Shiites, among which the Sadrists are both anti American and anti Iranian. This time, because the United States also killed a Shiite military leader, Sadr strongly condemned the United States, but they also condemned Iran, saying that if Iraq wants to develop, it must eliminate the influence of Iran. So it was interesting a while ago that Iranian embassies and consulates in Iraq were also attacked, mainly by Sadrists and Sunnis. Now the March is causing casualties and calling for the government to step down, mainly Sunnis, possibly including Sadrists. Americans also see that there are many forces in Iraq that do not want them to withdraw, so they will not leave, but agree to negotiate. The attitude of European countries is different. Some countries withdraw their personnel, such as Germany, which did not want to send people to stay.

Observer: so, the latest situation is about the Iran nuclear agreement. Before Trump claimed that he would abandon the agreement and make a new one. Iranian attitude towards the agreement has been repeated. Recently, Iran expressed its willingness to talk with Europe, but did not mention the United States. What do you think of this issue? What will China, as one of the parties, say about how the faltering Iran nuclear agreement will be maintained?

Pan Guang: in fact, except for the announcement by the United States to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, other countries have not withdrawn, but the United States has withdrawn and it is difficult to implement. At present, Britain, France and Germany want to establish another currency exchange mechanism, but it is very difficult; China and Russia continue to participate in the Iran nuclear agreement, but some enterprises will involve sanctions, which is also very difficult.

The problem for Chinese enterprises is that if they have business with Iran and the United States at the same time, they must choose to withdraw from one of them. Ten years ago, the United States imposed sanctions on Iran. Huawei left Iran at that time, but it is still under pressure from the United States. Of course, we do not recognize the unilateral sanctions of the United States, we only recognize the sanctions of the United Nations, but the United States has changed the sanctions into domestic laws, which can be used to sanction Chinese companies. This is the case with Huawei Meng Wanzhou. The United States has accused her of violating American laws, but now the charges have been changed, accusing her of cheating HSBC. For Chinese companies in Iran, China should certainly ensure their legitimate rights and interests. To sum up, the next step of the Iranian nuclear agreement is really dangerous. Earlier, I joked with the Americans that you said that the Iranian nuclear agreement is flawed, but why do you want to leave? You can make up for the defects. With this agreement, the Middle East is more peaceful. Without an agreement, the Middle East is less secure. When trump announced his withdrawal, he said that the Iranian nuclear agreement is the worst agreement. In fact, there is a strong voice of Israels withdrawal. Of course, recently, Israels mediation has also been reduced. In the past, it said nothing about this agreement, claiming that with this agreement, Iran can obtain nuclear weapons and so on. But we should note that Irans supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has said that we will never develop nuclear weapons. So the current situation is that the U.S. side withdraws, Britain, France and Germany want to maintain it, and China and Russia firmly support it. Its really stormy, we hope it will last, but its not up to us.

A few days ago, some netizens announced on the Internet that if the US and Iraq started to fight, they could give China another ten-year strategic opportunity. This claim has been refuted. Let alone anything else, if there is a real war in the Middle East, we will lose a lot. For example, the three major oil fields in Iraq are all developed by Chinese enterprises in combination with BP and total of France, but Chinese enterprises hold the majority. The United States has said publicly that we are a military presence in Iraq, you are an economic presence, and both sides can cooperate. The current Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mehdi visited China last October. The two sides reached an agreement on oil for reconstruction, that is, Chinese enterprises participate in the reconstruction of Iraqi infrastructure, while Iraq promised to provide oil to China. Last year, Iraq provided nearly 20 million tons of oil to China.

When I gave a lecture in the United States, I said that in 2003, we also made a mistake. At that time, we always said no war for oil. We should not fight for oil. It is right to oppose Bushs launching the Iraq war. But now oil has not arrived in the United States, but it has arrived in China. The United States does not need Middle East oil now. At the Singapore meeting held a few days ago, I suggested that the United States must leave the Middle East sooner or later because the United States does not need Middle East oil, and Russias return to China will also extend its one belt and one road initiative. Therefore, the United States will retain a strategic presence on the ground, but the military will certainly be reduced, and the economic presence will be weakened.

At the end of September 2019, Iraq and China signed agreements covering multiple fields. Picture from Reuters

Observer network: you mentioned China and Russia earlier, and they also appeared in this tension. China said that it would play a responsible role. Not long ago, China, Russia and Iran held military exercises. How do you interpret some of Chinas statements? Will China and Russia exert greater influence in the Middle East in the future?

Pan Guang: the military exercise does not mean that China, Russia and Iran want to engage in military cooperation, it is more symbolic, and of course, it is also a kind of mutual support. There is a lot of cooperation between China and Russia, but we have never reached this level with Iran.

For example, both China and Russia have played an important role in the SCO, but before that, Russia was very active in bringing in India and Pakistan, while China was not active. Now we see that India and Pakistan are a pair of contradictions when they come in. However, of course, this is also beneficial. If the situation between India and Pakistan is tense, the SCO can also play a mediation role and ease the conflict.

Iran is currently an observer of the SCO and would like to become a full member. However, the SCO has a rule that countries under UN sanctions cannot join the SCO, and Iran is still under UN sanctions, so it cannot enter.

The SCO now has a great influence. Dozens of countries, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and even Syria, want to join. Of course, this is unlikely. After all, Syria is still in a split state. So I put forward a point: we can engage in Shanghai Cooperation +, similar to BRICs +, invite some special guests at each meeting, that is, guests of the presidency, and let some countries that have not joined Shanghai Cooperation participate in the process of Shanghai Cooperation first.

Russia is more active and hopes to make the organization bigger and better, but it is easy for the outside world to mistake it as forming an anti US alliance, so China is still more cautious in this regard.

Observer: can you add the role of Israel in the Middle East? Although Israel did not rush ahead in this US Iran tension, there is no doubt that his attitude towards the US and Iran deserves attention from the outside world.

Pan Guang: Iran always believes that Israel is a country that does not need to exist, because it is made by western countries such as Britain and the United States. They said, we are against Israel, but not against Jews.. When Irans Consul General in Shanghai visited our Jewish Center, he said that Jews have already lived well in all countries of the world, so there is no need to establish another country. More than 30000 Jews now live well in Iran, and there are three Jewish members of the Iranian parliament. In fact, before the Islamic revolution in Iran, Israel had the closest relationship with Irans Pahlavi Dynasty. At that time, the two closest allies of the United States in the Middle East were Iran and Israel. But after the revolution, Iran went to the other extreme and wanted to eliminate Israel.

Of course, Israel believes that if Iran wants to eliminate itself, it will call Iran an evil regime and join hands with the United States to suppress Iran. Trump has gone too far in this regard than the previous US president. Most of the former presidents of the United States supported the peace between Palestine and Israel. They wanted to establish two countries - the Arab state and Israel. They did not recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, nor did they move the embassy to Jerusalem. Obama, in particular, not only negotiated the Iranian nuclear agreement, but also prepared to visit Iran at one time, but failed to do so. At that time, Israel also attacked Obama violently.

Trumps election to the presidency of the United States relies on the strong support of Christian evangelicals, who firmly support Israel. Both the right wing of American Jews and the Evangelical Church demand that Jerusalem be owned by Jews. In order to consolidate the evangelical and Jewish voting positions, trump took a series of steps to undermine the Palestinian Israeli peace talks. According to the United Nations resolutions, Jerusalem is under the joint control of the international community. The trump governments recognition that Jerusalem belongs to Israel is contrary to the resolutions of the United Nations. The recognition that the Golan heights are Israeli territory is also contrary to the resolutions of the United Nations, because the Golan heights were taken by Israel from Syria. It is not right to support Israel to establish new settlements in the occupied territories recently The occupied territories are still Arab, and no new settlements should be built.

It turns out that we still have a lot in common with the United States on the issue of Palestine and Israel, and now there is only one last thing left to support the two countries plan. But now the United States has put forward a new Middle East peace plan, the so-called century agreement. Even the two countries plans have changed. Palestine has established a state with a small town outside Jerusalem as its capital, and the whole Jerusalem, almost all occupied territories and Golan Heights belong to Israel. This is against the resolutions of the United Nations. Palestine will not accept it, nor will the Arab States, the Islamic world and the international community.

(function() {(window. Slotbydup = window. Slotbydup u307d []). Push ({ID: u5811557, container: ssp_, async: true});))))); one of the interesting points in the US Iraq conflict is that Israel left the relationship and said that it did not participate in the assassination of sulaymani, and did not know about it in advance until after the assassination. Israel does not want to fight with Iran for this matter. Its goal has been achieved - the U.S. withdraws from the Iran nuclear agreement, and the Iran nuclear agreement is only half dead. Moreover, Netanyahu himself has been involved in corruption cases. After three elections, no cabinet has been set up successfully, and the domestic situation is also a mess. In addition to Israel, other US allies in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, said they did not know. It can be seen that trump is really reckless this time, without consulting with other parties in advance. Of course, Israels support for the United States is positive. For example, there is a view that whether Sulaimanis whereabouts were transferred from Israel to the United States is not impossible, because Israels Mossad is very strong, and has an intelligence exchange relationship with the United States. There are many U.S. operations in Iraq and Iran that Israel may participate in. This time, however, Israel made it clear that it was not involved. Source: responsible editor of observer network: Yao Wenguang, nn1682

One of the interesting points in the US Iraq conflict is that Israel has left the relationship and said that it did not participate in the assassination of suleymani and did not know about it in advance until after the assassination. Israel does not want to fight with Iran for this matter. Its goal has been achieved - the U.S. withdraws from the Iran nuclear agreement, and the Iran nuclear agreement is only half dead. Moreover, Netanyahu himself has been involved in corruption cases. After three elections, no cabinet has been set up successfully, and the domestic situation is also a mess. In addition to Israel, other US allies in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, said they did not know. It can be seen that trump is really reckless this time, without consulting with other parties in advance.

Of course, Israels support for the United States is positive. For example, there is a view that whether Sulaimanis whereabouts were transferred from Israel to the United States is not impossible, because Israels Mossad is very strong, and has an intelligence exchange relationship with the United States. There are many U.S. operations in Iraq and Iran that Israel may participate in. This time, however, Israel made it clear that it was not involved.