Saudi Arabia Bolsters Coordination with Horn of Africa to Secure Red Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Arabia Bolsters Coordination with Horn of Africa to Secure Red Sea

Thursday, 8 August, 2019 – 09:45
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki receives Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz, commander of the Saudi-led coalition forces, in Asmara. (SPA)
Riyadh – Fatehelrahman Yousif
Lieutenant General Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz, commander of the Saudi-led coalition forces, discussed Tuesday with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki the South Red Sea security and the fight against terrorism and smuggling in all its forms.

A number of issues of common concern were discussed during the Asmara meeting, especially threats against international shipping lanes, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The meeting was held less than a year after the Kingdom announced the launch of a regional bloc of seven Arab and African countries bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. It includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia and Jordan.

The bloc aims at bolstering regional security and stability and securing navigation and international trade. It was established following a military exercise in Jeddah earlier this year.

“This meeting and the Saudi-Eritrean talks stem from Riyadh’s acknowledgment of the need to secure the Red Sea navigation and activate the bloc,” expert in Iranian affairs Dr. Mohammed al-Salmi told Asharq al-Awsat.

The Saudi approach stems from the potential it possesses to lead these countries and create a regional deterrent bloc that can secure navigation in the Red Sea and protect it from piracy and terrorist threats, he stressed.

Prince Fahd’s visit is an extension of this Saudi-led approach, he added, expecting a summit to be held by countries bordering the Red Sea to maximize joint action.

Salmi explained that the security of the Red Sea and international waterways is a global security and strategic joint task, highlighting the great political, security and military importance of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stepping down

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JOURNAL TIMES)

 

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stepping down, Trump tweets

  • Updated 
Trump nominates Rep. John Ratcliffe as new intel chief
CNN
Dan Coats will step down as the director of national intelligence on August 15, President Donald Trump announced in a tweet. Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe will be nominated by the President to replace Coats.
Published at: 05:50 PM, Sun Jul 28 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is leaving his job next month, ending a two-year tenure marked by President Donald Trump’s clashes with intelligence officials.

Trump announced Coats’ departure on Aug. 15 in a tweet Sunday that thanked Coats for his service. He said he will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to the post and that he will name an acting official in the coming days. Ratcliffe is a frequent Trump defender who fiercely questioned former special counsel Robert Mueller last week during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Coats often appeared out of step with Trump and disclosed to prosecutors how he was urged by the president to publicly deny any link between Russia and the Trump campaign. The frayed relationship reflected broader divisions between the president and the government’s intelligence agencies.

Coats’ public, and sometimes

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence. A former U.S. Attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves. Dan Coats, the current Director, will….

16.2K people are talking about this

personal, disagreements with Trump over policy and intelligence included Russian election interference and North Korean nuclear capabilities. Trump had long been skeptical of the nation’s intelligence community, which provoked his ire by concluding that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of getting him elected.

A former Republican senator from Indiana, Coats was appointed director of National Intelligence in March 2017, becoming the fifth person to hold the post since it was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to oversee and coordinate the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies.

Coats had been among the last of the seasoned foreign policy hands brought to surround the president after his 2016 victory, of whom the president steadily grew tired as he gained more personal confidence in Oval Office, officials said. That roster included Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and later national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Dan Coats
In this Aug. 2, 2018, file photo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats listens during a daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. Coats is to resign in days, after a two-year tenure marked by President Donald Trump’s clashes with intelligence officials, U.S. officials said on Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, FIle)

Coats developed a reputation inside the administration for sober presentations to the president of intelligence conclusions that occasionally contradicted Trump’s policy aims.

His departure had been rumored for months, and intelligence officials had been expecting him to leave before the 2020 presidential campaign season reached its peak.

Trump’s announcement that Coats would be leaving came days after Mueller’s public testimony on his two-year investigation into Russian election interference and potential obstruction of justice by Trump, which officials said both emboldened and infuriated the president.

Coats had been among the least visible of the president’s senior administration officials but, in his limited public appearances, repeatedly seemed at odds with the administration, including about Russia.

For instance, he revealed to Mueller’s investigators how Trump, angry over investigations into links between his campaign and Russia, tried unsuccessfully in March 2017 to get him to make a public statement refuting any connection.

“Coats responded that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has nothing to do with investigations and it was not his role to make a public statement on the Russia investigation,” Mueller’s report said.

Trump later called Coats to complain about the investigation and how it was affecting the government’s foreign policy. Coats told prosecutors he responded that the best thing to do was to let the investigation take its course.

In February, he publicly cast doubt on the prospects of persuading North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program despite the diplomatic efforts of the administration, which has touted its outreach to the isolated country as one of its most important foreign policy achievements.

Coats, in testimony to Congress as part of annual national intelligence assessment, said North Korea would be “unlikely” to give up its nuclear weapons or its ability to produce them because “its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival.”

Trump publicly bristled at the testimony of Coats, the head of the CIA and other officials who contradicted his own positions on Iran, Afghanistan and the Islamic State group as well as North Korea. The intelligence officials were “passive and naive,” he said in a tweet.

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Last July, Coats and the president appeared at odds following Trump’s widely panned news conference in Helsinki alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump said he saw no reason to believe Russia had interfered in the 2016 election, drawing bipartisan criticism and a rebuttal from his intelligence chief.

“We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security,” Coats said.

The president later said he misspoke in Helsinki.

John Ratcliffe
In this Wednesday, July 24, 2019, file photo, Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., questions former special counsel Robert Mueller as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that the nation’s top intelligence official would step aside on Aug. 15, and that he would nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe to the post, following a report Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is leaving his job next month. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

That same month, Coats appeared to scoff when told in an interview that Trump had invited Putin to Washington.

“Say that again,” Coats said, cupping his hand over his ear on live television. He took a deep breath and continued: “OK. That’s going to be special.”

He later said his comments at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado were “in no way meant to be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the president.”

In December, Coats said he was “deeply saddened” when Mattis resigned in protest of Trump’s foreign policy, including the decision to withdraw American troops from Syria. Coats called Mattis a “national treasure” who “will be sorely missed.”

Coats, 76, served in Congress from 1981 to 1999 as a member of the House and in the Senate. He served as ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005 and returned to the Senate in 2011. He decided not to seek re-election and retired from Congress in January 2017.

In a tweet, Trump praised Ratcliffe: “A former U.S. Attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves.”

India: ‘NRC important for a foreigner-free state’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

‘NRC important for a foreigner-free state’: Sarbananda Sonowal

20th Kargil Vijay Diwas: “Assam’s people want the NRC to be error-free and have no place for infiltrators. Our government pledged to build a foreigner free Assam,” said chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

INDIA Updated: Jul 26, 2019 09:13 IST

Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times
Sarbananda Sonowal,Sadiq Naqvi,flood and erosion
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.(PTI)

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced and over 70 people have died as heavy rain has triggered floods in Assam. Assam chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, spoke to Sadiq Naqvi about the flood situation and the steps his government is taking to tackle it. Edited excerpts:

How bad is the situation and what are the challenges you are facing in dealing with it?

The flood and erosion problems have been there in Assam for almost 70 years…The biggest challenge now is to provide adequate relief, medical checkups, and fodder for livestock. Standing by each and every affected person and to provide relief is our primary duty… Earlier, during the Congress’s rule, the relief distribution was not managed properly and the affected people would not get it at the right time. Many middlemen would siphon off the relief and lots of scams would happen… Over the last three years, the relief management system has become more efficient and its quality has improved.

Could you give us an example?

Earlier, the families [of those who died in floods] would not get ex gratia from the government and they would end up struggling and going from one office to other. We ordered that within 48 hours, deputy commissioners would visit houses of flood victims and hand over the ex gratia payments. So far, 71 persons [as on Wednesday] have died. Their families have been given Rs 4 lakh ex gratia payment each within 48 hours.

What has been the estimated loss so far?

We cannot estimate it at the moment. Roads, bridges, culverts, houses, farms, crops have been damaged. Government schools and health centres have been hit. Tremendous damage has happened. But to get specific information about the damage, we will have to do spot verifications. We have ordered every department to collect the information… once the information comes, we will send it to the Centre.

Assam has suffered floods for years. Has the state government received adequate funds from the Centre apart from the yearly State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)?

In 2017, the Centre allocated Rs 2,000 crore for the Northeast. Assam received Rs 1,200 crore out of it. This was a special fund for infrastructure. Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] visited [the region] and met five chief ministers separately. A committee was formed under the leadership of [government think tank] NITI Aayog’s vice-chairman [Rajiv Kumar] to provide a permanent solution to problems of erosion, floods and landslides in Assam and the Northeast… A Northeast Water Management Authority has been proposed. Through the [Union] jal shakti ministry, steps will be taken to implement the proposal. Nobody gave so much attention to this issue as Prime Minister Modi has. Modi released Rs 251 crore from the SDRF and sent the jal shakti minister [Gajendra Singh Shekhawat] who came and reviewed the flood situation…Both Modi and home minister, Amit Shah, have taken note of the situation here. So we are not having any difficulty in managing it…

Does the state need a special package?

We get it every year. It will be given this year as well. The prime minister has assured us that there is nothing to worry and whatever assistance Assam needs, the Centre will provide it.

Many officials are involved in updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Has it impacted the relief work?

Over the last three years, 55,000 of our employees have been involved in the NRC exercise… If 55,000 out of 5 lakh [employees] are engaged only in one work, then you can imagine the kind of challenge the government has had to face in implementing its schemes. But we have not taken a step back and have succeeded in implementing them.

Do you think NRC work could have been suspended to put more officials on flood relief duty.?

In the times of any calamity, our first duty should be to provide relief to people… This is a people’s democracy — of the people, by the people, for the people. For the sake of humanity, standing by the flood-affected people is our biggest duty. On this issue, there should be no compromise in any situation. If we do not stand by the flood-affected people, it will be a big sin, an injustice, a violation of their human rights.

The state government has been demanding verification of the NRC. Are you not satisfied with how the exercise has progressed?

A verification is important. Such a massive constitutional document is going to be brought out for the first time. The document is about the security and identity of the bona fide Indian citizens. It is a question also of the country’s unity and sovereignty. Identification and detection of illegal immigrants has to be done through the NRC… Assam’s people want the NRC to be error-free and have no place for infiltrators. Our government pledged to build a foreigner free Assam. For that a foreigner free NRC is important.

.

First Published: Jul 25, 2019 23:49 IST

Give Me Soft Targets And I’ll Kill you all!

Give Me Soft Targets And I’ll Kill you all!

 

This title is for two purposes, to get your attention and to try to get people to actually think a little bit. I had just finished my supper and had sat down to write a poem for this blog but I got distracted by the news of a mass shooting in southern California so I decided to write this first. I am also writing this letter to you today so as to make sure to everyone exactly how I feel on the issue of firearms. I am a person that when I do go out of the house I very often carry a 45 Ruger (concealed) everywhere I go. When I go into a store around here I know that plenty of folks are carrying a sidearm also. If I go into a store or business of any kind I know that if I chose to act the part of a fool and pull my sidearm that most likely several people around me would shoot me dead, as they should. The management of businesses also know that the people like me who carry are actually extra security for their business and for their employees and they don’t even have to pay for the protection. It is the same for when people go to a House of Worship, if there are let’s say, 200 people in the building probably at least 20 are carrying a firearm. Because of the Constitutional right that we all have to protect ourselves we then become not such a ‘soft’ target.

 

Cowards love soft targets and the reason is simple, they want to cause as much death as possible without getting shot themselves. If a person goes into a ‘soft target’ like a synagogue they are not expecting to be shot at, they want to be the only one with a gun so that they can continue to kill people until they run out of bullets. Today at the Chabad Synagogue in Poway California a 19-year-old man walked into the Passover Service and started shooting, he shot four people killing only one even though he was using (reportedly) a semi auto AR-15 assault rifle. There is only one reason there are not many more dead people this evening and that was because there was a member of the Congregation, a Border Patrol Agent there WITH HIS FIREARM. This agent shot at the murderer (missing him) and the coward fled. Having a gun in the building saved many lives today.

 

Here in the U.S. the Democratic Party Platform has for years been trying to make every law-abiding citizen an easy kill for every lunatic, A-hole, hate filled soul as well as for all the terrorist. Also remember that not all police officers or all military personal are honest decent people either, this is why the framers of the Constitution insisted that the people have a way to defend themselves from a tyranny filled government. Have you ever noticed that the people who scream the loudest about ‘gun control’ like Hillary Clinton have multiple guns protecting her and Bill at all times. That is called hypocrites folks. These same people who do not want the U.S. building walls have themselves built high walls around themselves and their homes. Terrorists in this country have always chosen soft targets to do their evil, places like Churches, synagogues, and schools. The day will come where terrorists, domestic and foreign will start mass bombings and shootings here on our soil against police agencies and government agencies as well as against the politicians. If people like Hillary had any sense they would advocate for good background checks and for the citizens to be able to protect themselves. That is what honest politicians would do, ones who trusted their own citizens, but then again, that statement does say it all. You notice I did say ‘honest politicians’ whom actually trust their own citizens!

Did NATO Cause the Crisis in Libya?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘POLYGRAPH.INFO’)

                 (YES)

Did NATO Cause the Crisis in Libya?


LIBYA -- Libyan National Army (LNA) members, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, head out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, in Benghazi, April 7, 2019
LIBYA — Libyan National Army (LNA) members, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, head out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, in Benghazi, April 7, 2019
Sergey Lavrov

Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister

“The reason for the Libyan crisis lies in NATO’s actions in 2011. Precisely since that time, Libya has turned into a failed state and a ’black hole,’ through which terrorists, the smuggling of weapons, go south, and to the north – flows of illegal migrants.”

MISLEADING

The ongoing crisis in Libya was the reason for NATO intervention

Commenting on latest escalation of fighting in Bengazi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused NATO of causing the crisis, claiming Libya’s problems with terrorism, weapons smuggling and illegal immigration began “precisely” after the NATO intervention in 2011.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Russia in USA 🇷🇺

@RusEmbUSA

The cause of the Libyan crisis lies in ’s actions in 2011. Since then, has become a destroyed state and a ‘black hole’ for terrorists, arms trafficking and illegal migrant flows –

▶️ https://www.facebook.com/RusEmbUSA/photos/a.493759737501088/995742573969466/ 

100 people are talking about this

Opinions about the effect of NATO’s seven-month operation in Libya vary from praising the intervention as “highly successful” to condemning it as a “catastrophic failure.”

RT

@RT_com

US & NATO will always share blame for ’s re-descent into chaos

(Op-Ed by Darius Shahtahmasebi)https://on.rt.com/9rul 

28 people are talking about this

Yet, even the harshest critics agree NATO’s involvement in Libya did not cause that country’s deterioration: it was already in a civil war, with the UN and Arab League warning the regime could commit mass atrocities amid Muammar Gaddafi’s vows to “cleanse Libya.”

Mona Eltahawy

@monaeltahawy

In 1996, I was a Reuters correspondent in . I went to to cover the 27th anniversary of the “Green Revolution.”I don’t have access to the Reuters articles I wrote from but here are some opeds I’ve written about Gaddafi the dictator and the hypocrisy of the West

Mona Eltahawy

@monaeltahawy

’s quirks should never have distracted from his abysmal human rights record. Arbitrary arrests, a muzzled press, a ban on political parties and the squandering of ‘s oil wealth have never been laughing matters for Libyans. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/2004/07/13/warming-up-to-a-dictator/5500a4a1-1cdb-49aa-adaa-0d6d5e3a2c94/?utm_term=.27787bb19427 

Warming Up to a Dictator

washingtonpost.com

See Mona Eltahawy’s other Tweets

Thus, Lavrov’s claim that NATO caused Libya’s crisis is misleading.

The legal basis for NATO’s intervention is also in dispute.

The United Nations University (UNU) wrote in a 2011 analysis: “Whenever States decide to use force against another State, whether individually or as a group, the first question that arises is whether such an action is pursuant to the right of self-defense (Article 51 UN Charter) or is one authorized by the Security Council. In the case of Libya, Article 51 does not apply, as Libya had not attacked any NATO member State. It therefore follows that only an authorization by the Security Council could provide a sound legal basis for any military action against Libya and keep NATO action from being in violation of UN Article 2(4). The question is: Was NATO action in Libya authorized?”

UN Security Council Resolution 1973 of March 11, 2011 created a no-fly zone over the whole of Libya. This was done in order to help protect civilians. The Security Council called on “Member States that have notified the Secretary-General and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary means to enforce compliance with the ban on flights imposed by paragraph 6.”

The UNU analysis noted: “Thus far, NATO could not have legally responded to the Security Council’s mandate issued to ‘regional organizations and arrangements’ in Resolution 1973 because, by virtue of its own treaty, the alliance is neither such an organization, nor one that could be held bound by either Article 53 or Article 54 of the UN Charter. And since NATO acted in Libya collectively, in contradistinction from acting nationally, the latter caveat in the mandate does not save NATO from being in violation.”

The UNU analysis concluded that the Libya operation revealed a “gap between the law –­ UN Chapter VIII provisions — and NATO’s increasing policy of responding to Security Council resolutions and the Security Council’s silent reception of NATO’s generosity. It would be disingenuous, to say the least, to argue that NATO should not assist in implementing Security Council resolutions just because the alliance is not one of the organizations that could adhere themselves to the enabling mandates with any legal exactitude.”

NATOSource@NATOSource

Libyan military leader order his troops to take Tripoli from backed government. remains ‘s unfinished business in North Africa. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security/eastern-libyan-commander-orders-his-troops-to-move-on-tripoli-video-idUSKCN1RG0RT 

See NATO Source’s other Tweets

Critics argue that NATO wrapped up Operation Unified Protector and left Libya when the country was still in a state of political chaos. In reality, NATO followed the UN Security Council’s resolution ending international military operations in Libya on October 31, 2011.

Why Trump’s Golan Heights move should worry India and Taiwan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘QUARTZ NEWS’)

 

AP PHOTO/SUSAN WALSH
United Nations who?
NOT THE WORLD’S COP

Why Trump’s Golan Heights move should worry India and Taiwan

By Heather Timmons

Donald Trump signed a proclamation today (March 25) recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel, overturning 50 years of US precedent and defying international law on sovereign borders.

That means that the world’s most powerful military has decided to support Israel’s 1967 occupation and 1981 annexation of a region that the rest of the world and the United Nations recognize as belonging to Syria. “Aggressive acts by Iran and terrorist groups, including Hizballah, in southern Syria continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks on Israel,” Trump said, explaining the move.

By ignoring the United Nations charter pledge to refrain from “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” Trump is putting the future of other long-disputed territory in jeopardy, foreign policy experts say. “It sets a terrible precedent,” said Edward Goldberg, a professor with New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. “If the US doesn’t recognize international law as the ‘cop,’ then who does?,” he said.

“What if China goes into Taiwan tomorrow, isn’t that the same thing?,” Goldberg said, “or Pakistan into Kashmir?”

Beijing considers Taiwan part of China, despite the fact that the island nation has an indigenous population, is self-governing, and has conducted independent democratic elections since the 1990s. Most other democracies around the world don’t recognize Taiwan as an independent country, in deference to China, and it is barred from the United Nations. While the United States has recently partnered with Taiwan officials to fight intellectual property theft, this January Chinese president Xi Jinping warned that Beijing could retake the island by force.

The Kashmir region between India and Pakistan has been disputed for more than 70 years, a legacy of the Partition that accompanied Britain’s withdrawal from India in 1947. Tensions rose in the volatile region in recent weeks, after India conducted a “pre-emptive strike” in Pakistan-controlled territory, and Pakistan captured an Indian fighter pilot. The mostly Muslim residents of the India-administered Kashmir Valley view the national government as an occupying force, and Pakistan officials support their self-government.

So far there are no signs that the Trump administration is interested in inserting itself into the long-simmering Pakistan-India dispute. However, the US Navy has increased its presence in the Taiwan Strait, most recently on March 24, responding to Beijing’s circling of the island in recent drills.

Trump made the unprecedented Golan Heights decision in a bid to boost prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of national elections April 9. Netanyahu has been charged in several corruption cases, although he still maintains an edge in polls. He applauded as Trump signed the proclamation, while secretary of state Mike Pompeo and vice president Mike Pence looked on:

Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and the United Nations immediately condemned Trump’s proclamation, and the UN declared Israel’s annexation of the area “null and void.” As president, Trump has pulled the US out of international agreements, including the Paris Climate Accord and the TransPacific Partnership, but the Golan Heights decision is being specifically criticized as breaking international law.

Kremlin: U.S. Must ‘Babysit’ Poroshenko After Funding Ukrainian Revolution

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLYGRAPH.INFO)

 

Kremlin: U.S. Must ‘Babysit’ Poroshenko After Funding Ukrainian Revolution


Ukraine - the first day after "victory" at the Maidan in Kyiv, 23Feb2014
Ukraine – the first day after “victory” at the Maidan in Kyiv, 23Feb2014
Dmitry Peskov

Dmitry Peskov

Russian presidential spokesman

“Too much money was invested into Ukraine, too much money was poured into the coup in Ukraine, and justifying this coup also requires too much money.”

FALSE

Claim that U.S. funded “coup” in Ukraine long-since disproven

On Thursday December 20, Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told theTASS news agency that the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine, set for March 31, 2019, is further straining bilateral relations with Russia.

“[Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko has to win electoral support by all means, because the approval of him is low compared to the rivals who have overtaken him in the electoral rating. And this is exactly what he is doing, and this is clearly visible to us all,” Peskov said.

Peskov said that despite Poroshenko’s “relatively weak electoral positions,” the United States was stuck “babysitting” him on account of the sunk cost fallacy.

“Too much money was invested into Ukraine, too much money was poured into the coup in Ukraine, and justifying this coup also requires too much money,” Peskov said.

Kremlin officials and the state media in Russia label the popular pro-EU uprising in Ukraine a “coup” when in reality the movement was civilian in nature and involved no military support.

Claiming Washington is waiting for its investment in Ukraine to “yield dividends,” Peskov said the U.S. “did not quite succeed” and now needs to do its best “to save the situation.”

“Washington has to support Poroshenko and turn a blind eye to the real situation, which is exactly what it is doing now,” he said.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine flared following a November 25 incident, in which three Ukrainian ships attempting to transit through the Kerch Strait in the Sea of Azov were fired on and then captured by Russian vessels.

Tweets by the Russian foreign ministry accounts
Tweets by the Russian foreign ministry accounts

The following day, martial law was introduced in Ukraine for 30 days in the 10 regions that would be on the front lines of a military conflict with Russia.

Russian media and officials have argued that Poroshenko provoked the incident in the Sea of Azov as a pretext to introduce martial law and buoy his electoral prospects.

No media source currently available

0:001:230:43

During his annual year-end press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Poroshenko had sent Ukrainian servicemen to die in the Sea of Azov to provoke Russia and boost his approval ratings.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has gone so far as to claim that Kyiv is planning a chemical weapons attack in Ukraine’s war-torn east.

Peskov’s claim that the U.S. funded the “coup” in Ukraine is false.

While not stated explicitly, his comment is likely based on a claim promulgated by Russian state media that the U.S. invested $5 billion in the Ukrainian uprising.

Politifact reported the claim stems from a December 2013 speech by then Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, a non-governmental agency promoting democracy in Ukraine.

In that speech, Nuland said that the United States had invested over $5 billion since Ukraine’s independence in 1991 to help the country “build democratic skills and institutions” so it can “achieve its European aspirations.”

As Brian Bohm noted in the Moscow Times in May 2014: “U.S. law prohibits the funding of opposition leaders and movements, and there have been no violations of this law in Ukraine.”

Since the annexation of Crimea and Russian-backed war erupted in Ukraine in 2014, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $1 billion in security assistance.

In July, the Pentagon told CNN it had released $200 million in security assistance to Ukraine.

In March, the U.S. State Department formally approved the sale of 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and 37 launchers for an estimated cost of $47 million. That was the first time lethal military aid to Kyiv has been approved.

Citing the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Council on Foreign Relations said the U.S. had spent $49 billion on foreign aid in 2016, around 1.2 percent of the federal budget. That included security and military assistance.

USAID, which put total U.S. obligations at $50 billion that year, said $513 million, or roughly 1% of the total, had gone to Ukraine.

The idea that U.S. support for Ukraine is based strictly on a need to “recoup an investment” and not on broader security issues in the region does not appear to be supported by the data.

As for Peskov’s argument that the U.S. funded the 2014 revolution in Ukraine, Polygraph.info finds that claim to be false.

Lebanon Questions Int’l Stances for Ignoring Syrian Refugee Right to Return Home

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Lebanon Questions Int’l Stances for Ignoring Syrian Refugee Right to Return Home

Tuesday, 27 November, 2018 – 10:15
Lebanese President Aoun meets with President of the Belgian House of Representatives, Siegfried Bracke, and his accompanying delegation at Baabda. (Dalati & Nohra)
Beirut – Asharq Al-Awsat
Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Monday emphasized the need for Syrian refugees to return to safe areas in their country.

Aoun was speaking during a meeting at the Baabda palace with President of the Belgian House of Representatives, Siegfried Bracke, in the presence of his accompanying parliamentary delegation.

The president said linking the Syrian refugees’ return to their homeland to reaching a political solution in Syria “raises doubts regarding their stay in their host countries,” citing the example of the Palestinian refugees.

“Seventy years have passed and the solution of the Palestinian issue has not yet been reached,” he noted.

Aoun informed Bracke that Lebanon has asked the international community and the international organizations affiliated to the United Nations to provide assistance to the displaced Syrians after their return, because they are contributing to the reconstruction of their country.

In response to a question, Aoun expressed his surprise at “international positions that ignore the need for the return of Syria refugees.”

He stressed that Lebanon was witnessing an economic crisis due to accumulating challenges, the impact of the international economic situation and the influx of displaced Syrians.

Bracke, for his part, said his country would become a member of the Security Council as of next January, and would contribute to supporting Lebanon’s causes at international platforms.

Also on Monday, Speaker Nabih Berri and Bracke signed a three-year extension to 2021 of a partnership protocol between the two countries’ councils, which provides for parliamentary cooperation in sharing expertise in legislation and supervision.

U.N.: Grow Some Balls, Expel Communists China’s Government From U.N. Right Now

U.N.: Grow Some Balls, Expel Communists China’s Government From The U.N. Right Now 

 

This article to you tonight is one I have been thinking about writing for a couple of weeks but because of the length I knew it would be I have avoided taking the time to write it. First I want to let you know that I got a lot of the information for this article from the New York Times so I want to make sure to credit them. Also, a lot of this information is simply garnered from all of the years of taking history classes in high school and in college. There is another point that I want to make clear to folks about how I feel/believe about the “People’s Republic of China” or the ‘PRC.’ for the purpose of this article I will refer to the Communists murderers in Beijing as the rulers of the Mainland. My personal opinion and belief is that Taiwan’s government, the “Republic of China” is the real legal government of all of China, not just the Taiwan Island.

 

The PRC is a leading member of the U.N., they also sit as one of the 5 permanent member seats of the Security Council. Up until 1950 the ROC was a founding member of the U.N. and had a seat on the Security Council. In 1950 the balless wonders at the U.N. not only removed the rightful government of the Chinese people from the Council they removed them as a member State and they demoted them to an “Observer State.” If you are a person who has not been paying attention to the blatant aggression of the PRC government through their President Xi Jinping, you need to, everyone on the planet does. The following is information on some of the reasons that I made that statement and is some of the reasons that I have decided to take the time to write this article to you.

 

July 12th of 2016, the Communist government of Mainland China totally told the U.N. and the rest of the world to go  F–k themselves. On that day the World Court which is through the U.N. made a ruling concerning the PRC’s blatant aggression in the South China Sea. The PRC was told to quit their activities of aggression toward their neighbors and the rest of the world. The Communist government of the Mainland told the U.N. and the World Court that they “did not recognize the authority of the U.N or of the World Court.” So, the question I have for you, and to the U.N. is, if they refuse to recognize the authority of the World Court and the U.N. then why in the bleep has the U.N. not removed these murderers both from the Security Council and from the U.N. itself? Why on earth would the balless wonders who run the U.N. allow the PRC to remain on the Security Council where they have Veto Power to cancel out all of the good things that the rest of the world is trying to accomplish? This makes no sense, it is totally stupid. The only thing that I can think of is, they are cowards! If the U.N. cared about the world in general they would remove the PRC from the Council, and reinstate the ROC (Republic Of China/Taiwan) to its rightful position in the U.N. and on the Security Council. Also, they should lower the PRC to the position that the ROC has now, only as an Observer State and if the PRC chooses to balk at that then they should be removed from the U.N. all together.

 

July 12th, 2016. The International Tribunal at the Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke of the PRC and their actions in the South China Sea which includes the construction of artificial islands. The Court also ruled that their expansive claim to sovereignty over the air and sea has no legal basis. The PRC could have been and should have been named as an “International Outlaw.” This was the first time that the PRC has ever been summoned before the International Justice System. The PRC claims that they have “Historical rights over almost all of the South China Sea,” basically about 90% of it. The International Court disagrees and they sided with their neighbors who brought the suit against them. The International Court also said that the PRC violated International Law by causing “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, endangering Philippine ships and interfering with Philippine oil exploration. Globally the rulings of the International Court are binding but the problem is that there is no system in place to physically enforce the law. At the very least the U.N. does have the authority to require all UN member nations to totally and completely boycott all imports and exports into and out of the PRC Mainland. The PRC obviously knew that they were going to lose this court battle so they didn’t even bother to send a low-level representative to the Court. They also made it very clear to the U.N. before the litigation began that they would not abide by the Court’s ruling.  The countries that brought the complaint to the Court were the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

 

Speaking at a meeting of European Leaders the PRC President Mr. Xi Jingping was defiant in his claims about them having sovereignty over the South China Sea since “Ancient Times.” Since the ruling the PRC has accelerated their aggression in the South China Sea trade routes, fishing waters as well as stealing the oil and other mineral rights of their neighboring. The PRC has built a large artificial island upon an atoll known as Mischief Reef. They have built a large military airstrip and Naval births there even thought the World Court ruled that this was in Philippine National waters. The PRC claims what they call the “nine-dash-line” which encircles 90% of the South China Sea, the area we are talking about here is equivalent to the size of Mexico. The Philippines had asked the International Court to rule against the PRC because the PRC is in violation of the U.N. Convention on the “Law Of The Sea” which both the PRC and the Philippines signed and ratified as being valid.

 

The International Court also ruled that several disputed rocks and reefs in the South China Sea were too small to claim control of economic activities in the waters around them. As a result the Court ruled that the PRC was engaging in unlawful behaviour in the Philippines waters including activities that have made the dispute worse. This is no light matter, think about what the PRC is trying to do. They say they control all shipments of goods into and out of all of these Nations. They are saying that they control all air routes into and out of all of these Nations that would go into or over the South China Sea. If these illegal actions are not forcibly stopped right now the PRC will be able to totally control and or totally tank every Nation’s economy not just in the region but in the world. At the very least the PRC is quickly becoming capable of charging every ship and every plane a toll of their own chosen level, they can do anything they choose to any nation or people. The whole world, the U.N. must grow a set of Balls and stand up against the PRC in every possible way, right now, for if not, we will all soon be needing to learn how to speak Mandarin Chinese. If you have paid any attention the Communist PRC isn’t even the Legal Government Of China, the Legal Government is the ROC (Republic of China) which at this time resides on the Island of Taiwan. These mass murderers killed ten of millions of China’s people when they forced themselves onto the Mainland population. The first Leader of the PRC was Chairman Mao and during the 1950’s he murdered tens of millions if not a few hundred million of the Chinese people via starvation. You may ask, what that has to do with now and that is a fair question. The answer is that the President for life of the PRC, Mr. Xi Jinping is a devout student, believer and follower of Chairman Mao. Wake up world, grow some Balls U.N. or soon you will not exist any longer.

 

 

 

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Add IRGC and Individuals to Terror Lists

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Add IRGC and Individuals to Terror Lists

Tuesday, 23 October, 2018 – 15:00
Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards march during a military parade in Tehran September 22, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo
Riyadh- Asharq Al-Awsat
In multilateral action, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain added on Tuesday Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and senior officers of its Quds Force to their lists of people and organizations suspected of involvement in terrorism.

SPA quoted a statement from the security services saying Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, and the force’s Hamed Abdollahi and Abdul Reza Shahlai were named on the list.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia’s State Security Presidency and the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), a US-Gulf initiative to stem finance to militant groups, sanctioned and designated nine individuals associated with the Taliban and their Iranian facilitators.

TFTC has taken action “in a collective effort to identify, tackle and share information related to terrorist financing networks and their activities of mutual concerns, including threats emerging from countries supporting terrorism and terrorist organizations,” a statement on SPA read.

It designated the following Taliban figures and Iranian facilitators: Mohammad Ebrahim Owhadi, Esmail Razzavi, Abdullah Samad Farugui, Mohammad Daoud Muzzamil, Abdulrahim Manan, Mohammad Naim Barich, Abdulaziz Shah Zamani, Sadr Ibrahim, and Hafiz Abdulmajid.

The center was established in May 2017 during US President Donald Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and the US co-chair the group and Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. This action is the third collective TFTC designation action since the center’s establishment.

The TFTC is a bold and historic effort to expand and strengthen TFTC members cooperation to counter terrorist financing, coordination to disrupt funding of terrorism, sharing the information and capacity building to target the financing networks and the related activities that pose threats to the TFTC members national security.

As a result of this action, and pursuant to TFTC members domestic laws, all assets, properties and related revenues to these names will be frozen in the designating countries and persons are prohibited from engaging in any transaction with the designated names.

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