MIDEAST MIRROR 05.11.18, SECTION B (THE ARAB WORLD)
1-Fasten your safety belts
2-A pointless attack
1-Fasten your safety belts
Iran is wagering on the time factor. And it may be also be wagering on the end of Trump's term in office. Equally, it is wagering on certain European voices that believe that sanctions harm people but do not harm these kinds of regimes, and that Iran's reformist current will be the main victim of any new sanctions, which the regime will portray as a blockade imposed on the country and not on its political regime. In light of the North Korean precedent, Trump dreams that painful sanctions will ultimately convince Iran to return to the negotiating table, but ready to change its behavior this time around. We will have to wait to find out if Iran will confine itself to resisting the sanctions inside its borders, or whether it will use its regional cards in one country or another – and if its reactions will go so far as to harass U.S. troops in the region directly or by proxy, or whether it will tamper with the security of naval straits and passageways. A new chapter is beginning. The sanctions' winds are blowing on the Iranian economy. And when the weather gets turbulent, we must fasten our safety belts--Ghassan Charbel in Saudi Asharq al-Awsat
Iran is not a party that can be easily broken or uprooted from the region, or whose role in many of the region's conflicts can be ended. It has built many 'mansions' inside Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine over the past four decades. It is unimaginable that any of these countries' open-ended crises can find a final resolution without Tehran's presence at the negotiating table in some form or another. Indeed, Washington's regional cards are neither more numerous nor significantly stronger than Tehran's…The sanctions will not break Tehran's back. They will not compel it to raise the white flag of surrender and accept Pompeo's preconditions, which are just a variation of Netanyahu's terms. But it is also naïve to believe that Iran will be unaffected by these harsh sanctions, or to think that it has not adopted sufficient measures to avert severe damage to its economy and its citizens' prosperity. And this means that the confrontation and the arm-twisting game between the two sides may last for a long time to come. In fact, Trump may leave the White House before Tehran screams out in pain or collapses to its knees and begs for the U.S.'s forgiveness-- 'Urayb ar-Rintawi in Jordanian ad-Dustour
Iran is entering a new phase as it faces the sanctions' guillotine. This was inevitable after the regime's rash behavior reached a point that was impossible to ignore, and after its schemes for imposing Iranian hegemony and control became clear to everyone, and after Iran's extensions began to threaten the region's countries and their Arab character, and after its expenditure on armament and the production of missiles of various sizes and ranges reached levels that gave rise to suspicions regarding Tehran's aims and objectives… The Tehran regime has driven the Iranian people into a bottleneck against its people's will. It is responsible for the blockade and Iran's isolation from the world, and for leaving the Iranian people hostage to the sanctions and the tragedies and catastrophes that will unfold in the form of hunger, deprivation, and misery. But the Iranian people, who have been living under the mullahs' regime which has deprived them of their freedom and dignity for forty years, will not stand by with folded arms as they see themselves hanging from the sanctions' gallows against their will--Emirates' al-Khaleej
The Trump administration's policies enjoy only a little popularity, whether in the U.S. or among its European allies. But the administration now faces a test of how serious and able it is when it confronts a shrewd and difficult opponent that has managed to benefit more from the U.S.'s mistakes than from its own capabilities. For Iran has emerged the winner from every regional confrontation that the U.S. has engaged in, and today more than at any previous time, it is backed by strong international allies, with Russia and China at their forefront. It is as if Iran were the spearhead in a war that will only end either by surrendering to unilateral American hegemony over the world, or by inaugurating a new multi-polar world order base--Mustafa as-Sa'id in Egyptian al-Ahram
As the U.S.'s latest round of sanctions on Iran take effect today and a new chapter in the history of the conflict between the two countries begins, it is clear that while the Iranian economy will suffer greatly, Tehran will simply not comply with Washington's demands, maintains the Lebanese editor-in-chief of a Saudi daily. The question is whether in its attempt to resist these sanctions, Iran would go as far as to harass U.S. troops in the region or in its strategic water straits. Although the sanctions are certain to hurt Iran, they are unlikely to do so to the extent that Washington believes or hopes, argues a leading Jordanian commentator. President Trump is much more likely to depart the White House before Iran falls to its knees and begs for America's forgiveness. The sanctions will force Iran to its knees, insists the editorial in an Emirati daily. But the Iranian people will not stand back and watch their descent into the disasters inflicted on them by the regime's rash policies. In light of the new sanctions' unlikely prospects of success, Washington's prestige in the region and on the world-stage is at risk, argues an Egyptian commentator. Since a direct military confrontation with Iran will be extremely costly, and since it has consumed all its other options, the U.S. is most likely resort to its regional allies and to wage a media campaign so as to portray its moves as a victory against Iran.
TRUMP'S DEMANDS: "Donald Trump is demanding things of the Iranian regime that it cannot provide or accept," writes Editor-in-Chief Ghassan Charbel in Monday's Saudi daily Asharq al-Awsat.
He is demanding a full and final divorce between the regime and its nuclear dream, which some of its hawks view as 'an insurance policy' against American surprises. He is also demanding that the Iranian revolution should go into retirement in the shadow of a state that, together with its army and its 'Revolutionary Guard,' subsists within the revolution's map. He wants the revolution to refrain from infiltrating other peoples' lands, undermining their stability, and surrounding them with missiles. He also wants Iran to submit and behave as a normal state that does not give itself the right to deploy its oil returns and militias in order to restructure the region based on its designs and confiscate some capital or another's decisions.
But those familiar with the Iranian regime say that fanning the revolution's burning embers is one of the preconditions for its survival, and that ceasing to 'export the revolution' would undermine the entire project and confront the regime with the domestic test of an economic performance that is not encouraging at all.
And so, a new chapter in the U.S./Iranian confrontation, which has been going on for the past four decades, begins. This has been a political, diplomatic, and economic conflict, with a number of security-related interludes, but without sliding into a large-scale and direct military confrontation.
There are those who believe that the new chapter may be the most difficult so far, and that its result will determine Iran's position on the regional map and the extent of its role. For the U.S. sanctions, that have taken effect as of dawn today, target the country's vital oil and banking sectors. And analysts agree that they will inflict severe damage on the Iranian economy, despite the Iranians expertise' in circumventing previous sanctions.
Nor is it any exaggeration to say that the region's countries are totally involved in the results of the new chapter in this confrontation. For Tehran is deeply implicated in the region's conflicts. For decades now, it has been managing a large-scale program that seeks to overturn the region's previous balances and traditional roles.
On the eve of this new chapter, the exchanged messages were frank and heated. President Trump clearly stated, 'Our objective is to force the regime into a clear choice: Either abandon its destructive behavior or continue down the path toward economic disaster.' And he urged the regime 'to abandon its nuclear ambitions, change its destructive behavior, respect the rights of its people and return in good faith to the negotiating table.' So, via numerous statements from its senior members, the U.S. administration has set the main features of its policy, confirming that its aim is to change Iran's behavior and not its regime, and that the door is open for Tehran to return to the negotiating table if is serious about reconsidering its behavior and ambitions.
And the messages were also clear from the other side of the divide. Thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran and reminded everyone of what happened on November 4th 1979, when demonstrators attacked and stormed the U.S. embassy. Angry students held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. The aim was to humiliate the 'Great Satan' and give the impression that the U.S. itself had been driven into a small cage, just like its embassy's hostages.
The slogan that resounded most loudly that day was 'Death to America.' And it has been repeated many times over the past decades. But it is clear is that America has not died, and proof is provided by the fact that it is launching a new round of unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian regime today. And the Revolutionary Guard's commanders have appeared in the context of their mobilization to confront the new phase, stressing their determination to hold their ground, while supreme leader Ali Khamene'i intervened to announce that Trump has 'brought shame to what remains of the U.S. and liberal democracy's standing.'
Before being elected president, Trump had said that the nuclear deal with Iran was a 'disaster' because it gave the impression that Tehran was well-behaved although it had not changed its behavior. He said that the agreement allowed Tehran to use its financial and diplomatic gains in pursuit of its missile program and its policy of undermining the stability of [Arab] regimes and altering the identity of [Arab] cities.
There were those who believed that Trump was merely threatening to withdraw from the agreement, but that he would not carry it out, especially since the other signatories had publicly opposed his step. But this is Trump we are dealing with: It is difficult to predict how far he may be ready to go, in one direction or another.
The new chapter of U.S. sanctions comes at a time when the difficulties that bedevil the Iranian economy are evident. The past few months have sent clear signals such as the fall in the Iranian Rial's value and the rise in the rate of inflation and unemployment. The itinerant Iranian protests were an expression of popular anger, as manifested in the truck-drivers and teachers' strikes. And to this we should add the ordinary Iranian citizen's sense that they must prepare for more difficult days ahead, forcing them to tighten their belt more than ever before.
On the other hand, the Iranian authorities do not have many other options. They will clearly try to elicit a stronger and clearer European position; but nothing suggests that Europe can play an exceptional role in this regard. The 'financial mechanism' [to avoid U.S. sanctions] that has been spoken of will not take effect for months and may have only limited results. The leading European companies prefer safety and it would be difficult for them to prefer the Iranian market if that entails losing their American markets. Moreover, Europe is not in the best of its days. The UK is persisting with its divorce measures, and the rebellion against the EU's spirit continues to spread. Angela Merkel does not want to seek a new term, and there are some who expect Germany to suffer a degree of political instability.
Iran is wagering on the time factor. And it may be also be wagering on the end of Trump's term in office. Equally, it is wagering on certain European voices that believe that sanctions harm people but do not harm these kinds of regimes, and that Iran's reformist current will be the main victim of any new sanctions, which the regime will portray as a blockade imposed on the country and not on its political regime.
In light of the North Korean precedent, Trump dreams that painful sanctions will ultimately convince Iran to return to the negotiating table, but ready to change its behavior this time around. We will have to wait to find out if Iran will confine itself to resisting the sanctions inside its borders, or whether it will use its regional cards in one country or another – and if its reactions will go so far as to harass U.S. troops in the region directly or by proxy, or whether it will tamper with the security of naval straits and passageways.
"A new chapter is beginning. The sanctions' winds are blowing on the Iranian economy. And when the weather gets turbulent, we must fasten our safety belts," concludes Charbel.
SECOND INSTALLMENT IMPLEMENTATION: "The second installment of U.S. sanctions on Iran has entered the phase of implementation, specifically targeting its two strategic sectors, energy and banking" writes 'Urayb ar-Rintawi in Monday's Jordanian daily ad-Dustour.
Washington's original wager was on cutting Iran's oil exports down to 'zero' and severing its relations with the international banking system (SWIFT). But there are serious doubts about its ability to achieve these aims; in fact, some people believe that it is more likely to return to negotiating table with Iran from a much lower point than that suggested by [U.S. Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo's twelve demands.
As the first 'exemptions' that Washington has allowed eight countries were announced, four have been revealed – Turkey, South Korea, Japan, and India. And this has immediately confirmed that it is impossible to implement a 'zero exports' policy. After all, these four exempted countries alone consume half of Iran's crude oil exports. And when the identity of the other four countries is revealed, the proportion of exported oil will rise, possibly significantly.
Moreover, because replacing Iranian oil does not seem easily achievable for the oil-producing and exporting countries, the price of crude oil is expected to rise notably in the coming phase, which means that Iran will compensate for any reduction in its income as a result of the U.S. ban on its exports via these high prices. Consequently, Tehran will be able to maintain a 'reasonable' level of oil returns.
Furthermore, if Europe succeeds in honoring its commitments by creating a 'new mechanism' that protects those of its companies that want do business with the Iranian market, Tehran would ensure its trade exchanges with the most important international centers outside the U.S., such as Russia, China, India, the BRIC countries, Turkey, and the EU.
Tehran is well known to have escaped the clutch of previous strict and comprehensive international and global sanctions, in which most of the abovementioned parties took part. Is it likely to submit to the new sanctions in the coming days, when most of the world's countries have no intention of complying with the American demands?
As for using the dollar as the currency for Iran's trade exchanges and its exclusion from the 'SWIFT' system, which it never joined to begin with, this is a different story; one whose medium-term effects on Washington may be even worse than its effects on Tehran. For the Trump administration's excessive imposition of sanctions on a large number of countries around the world – in effect two billion of the globe's inhabitants – is driving these countries to seek alternative and parallel systems to 'SWIFT' and the U.S. dollar as the currency for international trade. Iran would be the main beneficiary of such a new system, and many countries are ready to continue trading with Tehran using local currencies or hard currencies other than the U.S. dollar.
Furthermore, Iran is not a party that can be easily broken or uprooted from the region, or whose role in many of the region's conflicts can be ended. It has built many 'mansions' inside Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine over the past four decades. It is unimaginable that any of these countries' open-ended crises can find a final resolution without Tehran's presence at the negotiating table in some form or another. Indeed, Washington's regional cards are neither more numerous nor significantly stronger than Tehran's. Experience has demonstrated Iran's success in winning its wagers on its allies in more than one arena, unlike Washington, which has often displayed little staying power in managing these crises or trying to resolve them.
For these reasons, the Trump administration has continued to issue one invitation after another to Tehran to join a new round of negotiations over its nuclear and missile programs and regional influence. And, in fact, despite the deafening din of the confrontation between them, many well-informed sources speak of direct and indirect negotiations mediated by various parties – one of which is Oman – in order to contain the situation and prevent a slide towards the abyss of a confrontation whose outcome is unknown, possibly leading to new understandings over the abovementioned issues.
The sanctions will not break Tehran's back. They will not compel it to raise the white flag of surrender and accept Pompeo's preconditions, which are just a variation of Netanyahu's terms. But it is also naïve to believe that Iran will be unaffected by these harsh sanctions, or to think that it has not adopted sufficient measures to avert severe damage to its economy and its citizens' prosperity. And this means that the confrontation and the arm-twisting game between the two sides may last for a long time to come.
"In fact, Trump may leave the White House before Tehran screams out in pain or collapses to its knees and begs for the U.S.'s forgiveness," concludes Rintawi.
TODAY IS UNLIKE TOMORROW: "The situation in Iran tomorrow will be unlike before," writes Monday's editorial in the UAE daily al-Khaleej.
Tehran is facing a new form of sanctions that may be the strongest and harshest so far. They will leave a clear imprint on the Iranians' life and on the behavior of the regime that is in charge of Iran's rash policies that have produced these sorts of sanctions.
These are unprecedented financial, oil, and economic sanctions that include target specific persons as well as political and military institutions and bodies and oil sectors. And Tehran will be unable to evade their effects because they will affect the countries and foreign companies that have investments in Iran and that will be unable to bypass these sanctions.
Tehran is dismissing the sanctions. Its leaders repeat that they can defeat them, just as they have defeated earlier sanctions. But experts confirm the situation in Iran will be catastrophic in the long- and medium-term. It will lead to social and economic crises that will not be easy to confront, especially since oil exports– the mainstay of the Iranian economy – will shrink severely and in a manner that will affect the country's entire economic situation. The fact that certain countries will not comply with the sanctions and have been exempted from them, or are trying to circumvent them, will not be sufficient to provide the requirements of development or satisfy the Iranians' daily livelihood demands. And this may produce stronger and more violent popular protests than those Iran's cities have witnessed over the past few months.
Iran would not have had to suffer these and other sanctions had its leaders been sufficiently wise and realized that playing with fire may burn them, or that their interventions in neighboring countries would confront them and the Iranian people with disaster. Anyway, these leaders have brought this upon themselves and the people they claim to represent.
As of today, Iran is entering a new phase as it faces the sanctions' guillotine. This was inevitable after the regime's rash behavior reached a point that was impossible to ignore, and after its schemes for imposing Iranian hegemony and control became clear to everyone, and after Iran's extensions began to threaten the region's countries and their Arab character, and after its expenditure on armament and the production of missiles of various sizes and ranges reached levels that gave rise to suspicions regarding Tehran's aims and objectives. Meanwhile, the Iranian leadership has been depriving its people of their right to their monies, which have been squandered on armament and backing regional groups that area loyal to it and that operate to promote its aims.
The Tehran regime has driven the Iranian people into a bottleneck against its people's will. It is responsible for the blockade and Iran's isolation from the world, and for leaving the Iranian people hostage to the sanctions and the tragedies and catastrophes that will unfold in the form of hunger, deprivation, and misery.
"But the Iranian people, who have been living under the mullahs' regime which has deprived them of their freedom and dignity for forty years, will not stand by with folded arms as they see themselves hanging from the sanctions' gallows against their will," concludes the daily.
LENIENT-SOUNDING BOLTON: "One day before the second installment of U.S. sanctions on Iran took effect, and contrary to previous American threats that Washington was determined to totally strangle Iran, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton made a lenient-sounding declaration, saying that Washington does not wish to harm its friends and allies, and realizes that a number of countries that are geographically close to Iran cannot stop buying its oil," notes Mustafa as-Sa'id in the authoritative Cairo daily al-Ahram.
It is as if Bolton were paving the way for the U.S.'s failure to convince most of the countries that purchase Iranian oil to join the sanctions, but wanted to present this as being up to the U.S. to decide rather than a rebellion and rejection of its policies. As a result, he gave the countries allied with or close to Iran permission not to take part in the oil embargo.
But Bolton is fully aware that the U.S. has done everything possible to convince each of these countries to take part in the embargo, either by threatening them or by offering them incentives, all to no avail. The EU, India, Pakistan, and South Korea have all insisted on continuing to import oil from Iran. For their part, China and Russia will lend Iran a helping hand in marketing its oil and overcoming the sanctions. Russia has announced that it will sell Iranian oil on its stock exchange, while China plans to increase its imports of Iranian oil. All of which means that the U.S. sanctions will have paltry results.
Iran will not submit to the American demands regarding the development of ballistic missiles or amend its policies because it believes that the U.S. only understands the language of power. Moreover, it has already been subjected to comprehensive sanctions that lasted for almost 40 years, and it will not be severely damaged if it withstands sanctions for a few more years, especially since Trump is facing domestic problems and opinion polls predict that the Democratic Party will win the mid-term elections. And the Democrats are opposed to the U.S.'s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran. Therefore, the incoming U.S. Congress may obstruct Trump's policies, even if it does not manage to impeach him.
The worrisome thing for the Trump administration is that it will be forced to escalate its clash with Tehran or lose much of its prestige after it its economic war on Iran fails to produce any tangible results. But it will not find new means of pressure, having already consumed all such means. In fact, Iran's allies in Yemen will benefit from the growing pressure from public opinion in the U.S., France, and Britain to end a war that is threatening millions with starvation or lethal epidemics with growing numbers of civilian victims of a conflict that is about to enter its fourth year with no prospect of victory. The result will be that Iran will achieve greater influence in a region that is of extreme importance for international navigation.
Meanwhile, all this is happening against the background of the PMU's (largely Shiite Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units') growing military activity, reports that Syrian military formations are being trained in waging guerilla warfare [against U.S. troops in Syria], growing Israeli concern at its inability to resume its air raids in Syria after Russia has provided the Syrian army with S-300 missile systems, the Russian president's refusal to meet with Binyamin Netanyahu, and an end to contacts between the Russian and Israeli defense ministries.
Bolton has threatened the EU countries that are ruining the attempt to strangle the Iranian economy to impose sanctions on the international 'SWIFT' system that links and coordinates transactions between banks. This is an extremely dangerous card that could damage the international banking system, which is largely dominated by the U.S., and it may harm American banks before anyone else.
All this means that Washington has limited options, especially since military action has been ruled out from the very start because it would expose the U.S. presence in the region to serious threats. The U.S. is thus more likely to confine itself to media and political pressure while persisting with the sanctions and claiming that it has achieved many gains and succeeded in weakening Iran, shifting the burden to the region's states and demanding that they should do what is expected of them.
The Trump administration's policies enjoy only a little popularity, whether in the U.S. or among its European allies. But the administration now faces a test of how serious and able it is when it confronts a shrewd and difficult opponent that has managed to benefit more from the U.S.'s mistakes than from its own capabilities. For Iran has emerged the winner from every regional confrontation that the U.S. has engaged in, and today more than at any previous time, it is backed by strong international allies, with Russia and China at their forefront.
"It is as if Iran were the spearhead in a war that will only end either by surrendering to unilateral American hegemony over the world, or by inaugurating a new multi-polar world order base," concludes Sa'id.
2-A pointless attack
The latest Saudi/Emirati assault on the Houthi-held port of Hodeida is desperate attempt to seek some advantage before the war is forced to an end, says Luqman al-'Abdullah in today's Lebanese al-Akhbar
The recent escalation represented by the attack on the Yemeni Port of Hodeida comes against the background of statements by U.S. officials calling for an end to the Yemeni war, notes a Yemeni commentator in a pro-Hezbollah Lebanese daily. The attack clearly represents a last-ditch attempt by the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition to achieve gains before serious political negotiations begin.
NO RATIONALE: "The current attack on the Port of Hodeida can only be described as pointless, with no political or battlefield rationale," writes Luqman al-'Abdullah in Monday's left-leaning pro-Hezbollah Beirut daily al-Akhbar.
This is not only because of the recent American position calling for an end to the war on Yemen, but also because of the formidable defensive line that the [pro-Houthi] Yemeni army and the Popular Committees have set up at the city's environs.
The latest attacks come after more than four months of repeated failures, demonstrating that military operations have ran their course and proven to be ineffective as a means of attaining any achievements. The motive behind the current operations is to exploit the extra time before political negotiations begin, because both Riyadh and Abu-Dhabi feel the need to compensate for their failure at every level by trying to capture advanced positions on Yemen's western coastline, especially the Port of Hodeida, thereby controlling the main gateway for delivering supplies to three-quarters of the Yemeni people living in the country's North and center. They also hope to deprive the [Houthi] Ansarullah of a naval position that overlooks the Red Sea.
It would appear that concern that U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis's call for a form of [Yemeni] self-rule may become the 'terms of reference' for a political settlement lies at the background of this effort. This would be tantamount to recognizing the Ansarullah's presence and power and allowing it to occupy a geo-political position in the region.
But the motives for the latest attacks on Hodeida are not confined to the [Saudi-led] coalition's interests. They are a mix between Riyadh and Abu-Dhabi's genuine fears of being defeated by the Ansarullah and the resounding effect that would have on them, and domestic considerations having to do with the local Yemeni forces that are loyal to the coalition who fear that a political settlement will come at the expense of their presence and role, after these have been revived by their role in the war economy over the past years.
The U.S. call for ending the war on Yemen – assuming it is serious – undoubtedly represents an admission of the equation that has been imposed by the Yemeni people's legendary steadfastness. This will be followed by a long and difficult political negotiating track that aims to uphold that equation. And this, in turn, calls for staying power and political acumen since the coming negotiations will include maneuvers and attempts at deception, as well as incentives regarding reconstruction and alleviating the humanitarian situation.
Attempts will be made to make reconstruction and improvement of the humanitarian situation contingent on [Houthi] political concessions in the hope of denuding the power equation of its content and achieving by politics what the aggression has failed to achieve by war. In other words, the political confrontation will be no less ferocious and brutal than the military battles.
The coming days and weeks will reveal how serious the American position is, and whether it was merely in temporary compliance with public pressures, especially after the war on Yemen has become part of the U.S. electoral calculations, forcing the Trump administration to deal with it in a manner that is different than before. Alternatively, the U.S.'s position may be an expression of Washington's realization of the scale of the predicament in which its ally – Saudi Arabia – has implicated itself, but without succeeding in finding an exit strategy.
If the latter explanation proves to be correct, it seems to have been motivated by journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder that has exposed the Saudi regime's brittle nature and has highlighted the fact that Crown-Prince Mohammad bin Salman's 'boat' is overloaded in a manner that is almost drowning his regime and is taking U.S. and Israeli interests towards an unknown fate.
In light of this, Washington finds itself forced to reduce the weight in the 'boat' by helping the Kingdom find a strategy to disengage from regional crises and direct its efforts towards consolidating domestic Saudi stability, employing what remains of its foreign resources in the service of the U.S./Israeli project, especially in terms of the [U.S.-sponsored Palestine/Israel] 'deal of the century' and the sanctions on Iran.
Be that as it may, what appears to be certain is that Washington has woken up to a humanitarian crisis whose images have been filling the media for the past three years. The image of the starving little girl Amal and the subsequent announcement of her death two days later was not one of a kind. The UN has ensured that world hears that Yemen is facing the worst humanitarian crisis ever. The UN's committee of experts declared last September that the coalition was responsible for most of the civilian victims.
"Yet the U.S. administration did not bat an eyelid at the time. Instead, after absolving themselves of any responsibility for these violations, American officials emerged repeatedly to renew their full support for the Saudi and Emirati regimes and confirm their commitment to participating in the war by providing intelligence, logistical, and technical aid, and providing the coalition's warplanes with air-to-air refueling, as well as unlimited political protection," concludes 'Abdullah.