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World Insights: U.S. influence in Mideast declines due to biased policies

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CAIRO, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) — The United States is attempting to enhance its presence in the Middle East through visits and military cooperation. However, its influence on the region has been dwindling due to decades-long wars wreaking havoc on regional peace and development, its “unfair policies” on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and other factors, Egyptian analysts said.

DEMOCRACY USED FOR U.S. HEGEMONY

In the name of democracy and freedom, the United States has waged cruel wars in the Middle East, causing huge casualties and displacing a huge number of people. Observers believe U.S. military intervention has nothing to do with its so-called democracy, but aims for its own global and regional hegemony.

The “main reasons for the U.S. pursuit of rebuilding a new Middle East” are to benefit from the large oil reserves in the region, control international navigation lines, and secure Israel; and the United States has been trying to achieve its goals through falsely spreading the principles of democracy and freedom, Egyptian political expert Akram Hossam told Xinhua recently.

The United States is obsessed with maintaining a unipolar system by maximizing its military and political power. And its failed military intervention in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen has destroyed its image as a democracy, he said.

“The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq dealt a blow to U.S. democratic theories and showed that the Western power could use power and interventions unwisely to the extent it causes instability,” he added.

The U.S. botched retreat from Afghanistan, as well as its military withdrawal from Iraq and Syria, signaled that Washington had stumbled over its Mideast policies, said Hamid Faris, an international relations professor at Misr University for Science and Technology.

The Mideast policies pursued by the current White House are of no difference from the former administrations. Despite the wars in the region, the United States has never achieved security, stability and prosperity as it had promised, Faris added.

BIASED MEDIATOR

Despite calling for a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the United States as a one-sided mediator has no way to increase chances of securing a peace deal, according to analysts.

In the eyes of Palestinians, the United States has been flagrantly backing Israel’s assaults. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, in particular, orchestrated the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and cut aid for the main UN program for Palestinian refugees, Hossam said.

On Monday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken the ongoing escalation of tensions between Palestine and Israel.

As part of his three-day Mideast trip, Blinken arrived in Israel on Monday to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before traveling to Ramallah to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.

His visit seems to ease the tensions on the surface; nonetheless, assuming a weak and unfair mediating role, his country has not presented anything new to serve the Palestinian cause in the past few years, according to Hossam and Faris.

Faris described Washington as one of the struggling parties, but not a broker of a fair settlement based on the two-state solution.

Mokhtar Gobashy, vice chairman of Cairo-based Arab Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, doesn’t expect the U.S. diplomat’s visit to bring tangible results for the settlement of the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict, though it “might lead to a surface calm for the interest of Israel.”

Washington is reassessing its role in the Middle East amid changing geopolitical landscapes and “is keener now to return to fill in a political vacuum in the Middle East,” Gobashy said.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Middle East countries voice concern over military escalation after alleged Israeli attack on Iran

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Countries in the Middle East have voiced their concern over military escalation in the region after Israel on Friday allegedly struck sites near the city of Isfahan, central Iran, in what appeared to be its military response to Iran’s recent retaliatory attack.

In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry called on the two sides to exercise the utmost restraint and to fully comply with the rules of international law and the UN Charter, warning against widening the conflict and instability in the region.

Egypt stressed that it will continue to intensify communications with all concerned and influential parties to contain the ongoing escalation and tension.

In addition, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the ministry “is constantly monitoring the tension in the region,” expressing its deep concern about the attack targeting Isfahan on Friday morning.

The ministry said that the escalation must not distract attention from the destruction and loss of innocent lives in the Gaza Strip, renewing its call on the international community to perform its duties and work to stop the suffering of the Palestinian people, according to the statement.

Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi on Friday stressed the need to reduce the dangerous escalation in the region and reiterated that “Jordan will not allow it to be turned into an arena of conflict between Iran and Israel and to endanger its security and the safety of its citizens.”

Safadi, who also serves as the Jordanian foreign minister, added on social media platform X that “the current escalation only serves to divert attention away from the Israeli aggression on Gaza, stopping which must be the priority.”

The Israeli attack came after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed Saturday that it had launched missile and drone attacks on Israel in retaliation for earlier airstrikes by Israel on April 1 on the Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which killed seven Iranians.

So far, Israel has not officially acknowledged the strikes on Isfahan, while Iran has not publicly accused Israel of carrying them out.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned the Israeli strikes on Syrian military sites earlier in the day as a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty and a threat to regional stability.

In a statement, the ministry warned that such actions could escalate tensions in the region, potentially leading to a broader conflict, and urged the international community, including the UN Security Council, to condemn the attack and take decisive measures to halt the “crimes” committed by Israel.

In the early hours of Friday, the Israeli military launched a series of airstrikes targeting Syrian air defense sites in the southern region, according to the Syrian Defense Ministry. The strikes caused material losses, while no casualties were reported, it added.

The attack was also confirmed by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported that more than six Israeli aircraft were observed flying intensively in southern Syria.

The radar battalion responsible for monitoring the airspace, located in the east of Syria’s Daraa province, was targeted, the war monitor added.

Source(s): CGTN

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EU, Finnish leaders call for de-escalation amid Iran-Israel tensions

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HELSINKI, April 19 (Xinhua) — European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo on Friday urged de-escalation amid Iran-Israel tensions.

They made these comments at a press conference held at southeastern Finland’s Lappeenranta airport on Friday. The event followed a visit to the Finnish eastern border near the town of Imatra.

“We must do everything possible to ensure that all sides refrain from escalating the situation in the region,” said von der Leyen. She emphasized the necessity for stabilizing in the region.

Orpo expressed hope that both sides would avoid retaliatory attacks.

According to local media reports, the purpose of their visit to the eastern border was to inspect a pilot fence, about three kilometers long, built near the Imatra border crossing.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Blinken says U.S. not involved in Israeli attack against Iran

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that he can’t speak to media reports about the details of an Israeli attack against Iran overnight, stressing that the United States was not involved in any offensive operations by Israel.

“The reports that you’ve seen, I’m not going to speak to that, except to say that the United States has not been involved in any offensive operations,” Blinken told a press conference in Italy as he wrapped up a meeting with foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) countries.

He was responding to a reporter’s question seeking confirmation of media reports saying Washington received advance warning from Israel on Thursday of an imminent strike against Iran in retaliation for Tehran’s assault on Israel last week.

“What we’re focused on, what the G7 is focused on, and again, it’s reflected in our statement and in our conversation, is our work to de-escalate tensions, to de-escalate from any potential conflict,” Blinken said in what were first public remarks on the Israeli attack by a cabinet member of U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration.

What Blinken also refused to address during that round of questions and answers was the White House’s assessment of whether the Israeli strikes were over and if Iran would retaliate.

Earlier on Friday, Iran’s air defense systems shot down several “flying objects” near the central city of Isfahan, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

The Israeli side has not yet made any announcement regarding the attack.

Source(s): CGTN

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