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Deal of the Century and Downing of a Shadow US Intelligence Plane in Afghanistan

Published Jan 29, 2020
Updated Feb 29, 2020

Deal of the Century

The first vector for alert in the Middle East is the US President Donald Trump’s Deal of the Century to resolve the Israel Palestinian impasse that has spread over decades.

The  broad plan is creation of two states – Israel and Palestine, even though the latter will be a quasi state entity.

Announcing the contours of the plan in the White House President Trump said, “Today’s agreement is a historic opportunity for the Palestinians to finally achieve an independent state of their very own.  After 70 years of little progress, this could be the last opportunity they will ever have.”

“We will form a joint committee with Israel to convert the conceptual map into a more detailed and calibrated rendering so that recognition can be immediately achieved. 

We will also work to create a contiguous territory within the future Palestinian State for when the conditions for statehood are met, including the firm rejection of terrorism”.

Though the agreement is to be promoted by a joint committee the Palestinians are clearly not on board.

Thus creation of a viable Palestinian state will remain questionable. Dividing Palestinian territories which will be surrounded by Israel is also an issue that may invite resistance while control over Palestinian security with Israel is another factor.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas  thus typically stated after announcement of the plan, “Trump, Jerusalem is not for sale. Our rights are not for sale”.

Palestinian officials have also threatened to withdraw from the Oslo Accords signed with Israel if United States President Donald Trump announced just such a plan.

Thus how the complex situation manifests in the future remains to be seen?

Iran and US Proxy War

The thrust of Iran and US conflict seems to be shifting from a direct open confrontation on the high seas or in Iraq to a proxy shadow war after the intensity of protests in Iran over the killing of Quds Force Commander Qaseem Soleimani has died down.

One reason for the same was the disaster of shooting down of the Ukrainian airlines passenger craft which drew widespread condemnation leading the IRGC air defence commander to acknowledge a case of mistaken identity.

However Iranian quest for revenge has hardly subsided and reports indicated that the crash of

Bombardier/Northrop Grumman E-11A plane in central Afghanistan on 27 January could be attributed to the Quds Force fighters and their proxies in Afghanistan.

Afghan Shia Fatimyoun Brigades, who are trained by the IRGC are reported to have a presence in Afghanistan where the present commander of the Quds Force Ismail Qaani has been operating for many decades.

The downed plane is said to be the mobile CIA command post of Michael D’ Andrea, responsible for the assassination of Iran’s top commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

D’Andrea was apparently on the aircraft at the time of the crash though there is no confirmation of the same.

E-11A aircraft was reportedly assigned to 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron for use as an overhead communications-relay platform in SW Asia allowing disparate battlefield communications systems to share data.

The highly-specialised aircraft work alongside drones to provide 24/7 support for US forces by linking incompatible communications systems together.

If these reports are correct there are strong grounds to believe that there will be a retaliatory response from the United States which could also remain an undercover operation denoting that the shadow war between the two sides will be triggered.

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