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Is the US changing sides in the regional conflict between Iran and its enemies?

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A report by respected Washington DC based journalist Hussein Abdul Hussein in the Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper this week revealed details of an indirect US channel with Hizballah.

The report comes, of course, close on the heels of the interim agreement concluded between the P5 + 1 and Iran allowing the latter to continue to enrich uranium.

News items are also surfacing suggesting a stark split between the US and Saudi Arabia over regional policy in general and policy toward Syria in particular. Saudi officials are going on the record expressing their alarm at the direction of American policy. Happily stirring the pot, some Iran-associated outlets have suggested that Washington is actively seeking to rein back Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who favors a hard line against Iranian interference in the region.

Meanwhile, agreement has now been reached over the long postponed ‘Geneva 2’ conference to discuss the war in Syria. The conference will go ahead because US-backed Syrian opposition representatives abandoned their demand that President Assad could have no part in any transitional phase of government in the country.

What does all this add up to? There are an increasing number of voices who perceive a shape behind all these details: namely, an effort by the current US Administration to turn the Iranian regime from an adversary into a partner. The method: acceding in part or whole to key Iranian demands.

Let’s take a look at each item in more detail.

The usually reliable Hussein Abdul Hussein’s report details the mechanism by which the US is speaking to Hizballah, in spite of that organization being a US-designated terrorist group. British diplomats are the ones who do the talking. The channel of communication between UK officials and the ‘political wing’ of the movement was recently revived, in tune with the improving relations between London and Teheran. It is now serving to transfer messages between Washington and Teheran.

An un-named diplomatic source quoted by Abdul Hussein explained that this dialogue is ‘designed to keep pace with the changes in the region and the world, and the potential return of Iran to the international community.’ The official went on to explain that because the US does not concur with the (British, entirely fictitious) division of Hizballah into ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings, direct dialogue is currently not possible.

The report goes on to outline moments in recent months when the US has found itself on the ‘same page’ as Hizballah. One of these, very notably, was the occasion in June when the Lebanese Army, together with Hizballah fighters, fought against the partisans of the pro al-Qaeda Salafi preacher Ahmed al-Assir in the Lebanese town of Sidon. The US backed the army, without reference to the key role played by Hizballah fighters in the action, which resulted in al-Assir’s defeat.

The other was the US condemnation of the recent al-Qaeda linked bombing at the Iranian embassy in Beirut. The condemnation, well noted in Lebanon, did not contain any reference to the presence of Iranian and Hizballah fighters in Syria.

Thus far the Abdul Hussein report. It tells us that the US ‘outreach’ to Iran is not on the nuclear file alone. Rather, even before any comprehensive agreement is reached, Washington appears to have begun to dismantle the carefully assembled diplomatic structure seeking to contain Iranian regional ambitions.

Even Teheran’s proxy Hizballah, which killed 241 US Marines in Beirut in 1983, is evidently now a fit subject for communication, as part of Iran’s return to the ‘international community.’

Reports suggesting US reining in of Bandar are somewhat less reliable, coming as they do from pro-Iran and pro-Hizballah media outlets (al-Manar and the Revolutionary Guards associated Fars News Agency). But certainly the deep Saudi frustrations with the direction of US policy are not an invention of pro-Iran propagandists.

Nawaf Obeid, a senior adviser to the Saudi royal family, this week accused Washington of deceiving Riyadh over the Iran nuclear deal. ‘We were lied to, things were hidden from us,’ Obeid told an audience in London, as quoted in the Daily Telegraph.

He went on to vow continued Saudi resistance to Iranian machinations across the region. In particular, he expressed Saudi determination to turn back the Iranians in Syria. ‘We cannot accept Revolutionary Guards running around Homs,’ the adviser said.

But this defiant tone appears in stark contrast to the developing US position. The Geneva 2 conference is now scheduled to take place on January 22nd. It is a US-sponsored affair. It is not yet clear if Iran itself will be there.

But what is clear is that the conference will take place entirely according to the agenda of the Assad regime and its backers. That is – the US backed Syrian National Coalition will directly face the regime, while the regime now flatly rejects any notion of its stepping down.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, humming with the old Ba’athist rhetoric, the Syrian foreign ministry said that ‘The official Syrian delegation is not going to Geneva to surrender power… The age of colonialism, with the installation and toppling of governments, is over. They must wake from their dreams.’

The armed rebels will not be sending representatives to the conference. They, financed and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have formed a new ‘Islamic Front’ which is battling the regime around Damascus, in Aleppo, and in the border region of Qalamun this week. The military advantage continues to ebb and flow.

But the stark contrast between the US-led diplomacy and the events on the ground is another clear reminder of the extent to which Washington’s position has moved away from confrontation, away from Riyadh – and toward Teheran.

Assad has revived his fortunes in the course of 2013 mainly because of the massive Iranian assistance he has received. Washington, which officially backs the opposition, appears to be sponsoring a conference which will crown this achievement.

So is the US in fact changing sides in the contest between Iran and those regional forces seeking to contain and turn back its advance?

Michael Doran of the Brookings Institute, suggested this week that Washington is in the first phase of seeking a ‘strategic partnership’ with Iran, an ‘entente cordiale’ which would see a US-Iranian alliance forming a lynchpin of regional stability.

If this is indeed what the welter of evidence detailed above portends, then the Middle East is headed into a dangerous period indeed. As Doran also notes, there is no reason at all to think that Iranian designs for regional hegemony have been abandoned.

The effect of US overtures to Teheran and undermining of allies will be to build the Iranians’ appetite. This will serve to intensify their continued efforts at expansion. The corresponding efforts by other regional powers, Israel and Saudi Arabia chief among them, to resist this process will also increase. That, in turn, is likely to mean greater instability across the region. An eventual direct collision could result.

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Trump Quietly Orders Elimination of Assange

Eric Zuesse

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On June 28th, the Washington Examiner headlined “Pence pressed Ecuadorian president on country’s protection of Julian Assange” and reported that “Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.” Pence had been given this assignment by U.S. President Donald Trump. The following day, the Examiner bannered “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms” and reported that the White House had told the newspaper, “They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”

On August 24th, a court-filing by Kellen S. Dwyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia, stated: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure [than sealing the case, hiding it from the public] is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged. … This motion and the proposed order would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” That filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. On November 15th, he posted an excerpt of it on Twitter, just hours after the Wall Street Journal had reported on the same day that the Justice Department was preparing to prosecute Assange. However, now that we know “the fact that Assange has been charged” and that the U.S. Government is simply waiting “until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter,” it is clear and public that the arrangements which were secretly made between Trump’s agent Pence and the current President of Ecuador are expected to deliver Assange into U.S. custody for criminal prosecution, if Assange doesn’t die at the Ecuadorean Embassy first.

On November 3rd (which, of course, preceded the disclosures on November 15th), Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Ann Hawkins, described in detail what has happened to her son since the time of Pence’s meeting with Ecuador’s President. She said: “He is, right now, alone, sick, in pain, silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact, and being tortured in the heart of London. … He has been detained nearly eight years, without trial, without charge. For the past six years, the UK Government has refused his requests to exit for basic health needs, … [even for] vitamin D. … As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. … A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes. … They will stop at nothing. … When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador, a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He said that because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally…   to such a point that he will break and be forced to leave. … The extradition warrant is held in secret, four prosecutors but no defense, and no judge, … without a prima-facie case. [Under the U.S. system, the result nonetheless can be] indefinite detention without trial. Julian could be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum security prison, or face the death penalty,” for “espionage,” in such secret proceedings.

Her phrase, “because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high” refers to the worry that this new President of Ecuador has, of his cooperating with the U.S. regime’s demands and thereby basically ceding sovereignty to those foreigners (the rulers of the U.S.), regarding the Ecuadorian citizen, Assange.

This conservative new President of Ecuador, who has replaced the progressive President who had granted Assange protection, is obviously doing all that he can to comply with U.S. President Trump and the U.S. Congress’s demand for Assange either to die soon inside the Embassy or else be transferred to the U.S. and basically just disappear, at Guantanamo or elsewhere. Ecuador’s President wants to do this in such a way that Ecuador’s voters won’t blame him for it, and that he’ll thus be able to be re-elected. This is the type of deal he apparently has reached with Trump’s agent, Pence. It’s all secret, but the evidence on this much of what was secretly agreed-to seems clear. There are likely other details of the agreement that cannot, as yet, be conclusively inferred from the subsequent events, but this much can.

Basically, Trump has arranged for Assange to be eliminated either by illness that’s imposed by his Ecuadorean agent, or else by Assange’s own suicide resulting from that “torture,” or else by America’s own criminal-justice system. If this elimination happens inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, then that would be optimal for America’s President and Congress; but, if it instead happens on U.S. soil, then that would be optimal for Ecuador’s President. Apparently, America’s President thinks that his subjects, the American people, will become sufficiently hostile toward Assange so that even if Assange disappears or is executed inside the United States, this President will be able to retain his supporters. Trump, of course, needs his supporters, but this is a gamble that he has now clearly taken. This much is clear, even though the rest of the secret agreement that was reached between Pence and Ecuador’s President is not.

Scooter Libby, who had arranged for the smearing of Valerie Plame who had tried to prevent the illegal and deceit-based 2003 invasion of Iraq, was sentenced to 30 months but never spent even a day in prison, and U.S. President Trump finally went so far as to grant him a complete pardon, on 13 April 2018. (The carefully researched docudrama “Fair Game” covered well the Plame-incident.) Libby had overseen the career-destruction of a courageous CIA agent, Plame, who had done the right thing and gotten fired for it; and Trump pardoned Libby, thus retroactively endorsing the lie-based invasion of Iraq in 2003. By contrast, Trump is determined to get Julian Assange killed or otherwise eliminated, and even Democrats in Congress are pushing for him to get that done. The new President of Ecuador is doing their bidding. Without pressure from the U.S. Government, Assange would already be a free man. Thus, either Assange will die (be murdered) soon inside the Embassy, or else he will disappear and be smeared in the press under U.S. control. And, of course, this is being done in such a way that no one will be prosecuted for the murder or false-imprisonment. Trump had promised to “clean the swamp,” but as soon as he was elected, he abandoned that pretense; and, as President, he has been bipartisan on that matter, to hide the crimes of the bipartisan U.S. Government, and he is remarkably similar in policy to his immediate predecessors, whom he had severely criticized while he was running for the Presidency.

In any event, the destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government; and, just like in Khashoggi’s case, the nation’s ruler controls the prosecutors and can therefore do whatever he chooses to do that the rest of the nation’s aristocracy consider to be acceptable.

The assault against truth isn’t only against Assange, but it is instead also closing down many of the best, most courageous, independent news sites, such as washingtonsblog. However, in Assange’s case, the penalty for having a firm commitment to truth has been especially excruciating and will almost certainly end in his premature death. This is simply the reality. Because of the system under which we live, a 100% commitment to truth is now a clear pathway to oblivion. Assange is experiencing this reality to the fullest. That’s what’s happening here.

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Americas

Quiet Does Not Flow This Don: A Week Of the ‘Pathetic Inadequate’

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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That the current U.S. president places a premium on loyalty has been evident from the start —  loyalty not to the institutions of government and their legal functions but loyalty to the boss.  Former FBI director James Comey cannot forget a certain memory of Donald Trump’s style recalling for him something familiar.  It took him back to the days when he was investigating the Mafia.  The boss was the dominant center:  the loyalty oaths, serving the boss, the family first … as in this White House, not emphasizing what is right for the country.

It explains some of what happened this week.  In Paris, Mr. Trump was pilloried for foregoing a visit to a First World War cemetery (where Americans are also interred) to pay his respects to the fallen.  He explained it was raining.  The outpouring of criticism included Nicolas Soames, Churchill’s grandson and a Member of Parliament, who labeled Trump “that pathetic inadequate.”

Trump’s tweeting attack on his host, French President Emmanuel Macron, began almost immediately, focusing on his proposal for a European army, his brand of nationalism, even his low poll ratings.  French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux in response noted November 13 as the day of the 2015 attacks when 130 died in suicide bombings and mass shootings, adding Trump’s attacks on the same day lacked “common decency.”

Mrs. Trump had her own cavils.  She wanted Mira Ricardel, Deputy National Security Adviser, fired according to news reports because she was upset by the seat allocations on the plane during her Africa trip and also because she ascribed negative leaks to her.  Mrs. Ricardel in her seven months at the White House developed a reputation for such leaks as well as of a strong personality tending not to suffer fools gladly.  She has been moved to pastures as yet unknown — not fired because anti-Iran policy architect John Bolton the National Security Adviser hired her as his top aide.  Mrs. Trump appears also to be overcome by the miasma of loyalty and who one can trust or otherwise.

But why has Donald Trump soured on his erstwhile friend Emmanuel Macron.  It is true the French leader’s response to Mr. Trump’s ‘America First’ mantra has been to advocate multilateralism but his words were sharper in Paris this time when he stated, “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.”  He didn’t stop there.

Responding to Trump’s repeated shaming of Europeans to increase contributions to NATO, he has called for a ‘true European army’ in an interview with France’s Europe 1 radio, adding when Trump abandons “a major disarmament treaty” that resulted from “the 1980s Euro-missile crisis … who is the main victim?  Europe and its security.”  Later he added that Europe’s increased defense expenditures should be with European manufacturers if Europe is to be self-sustaining and truly sovereign.

One can argue that despite this backdrop, Trump was hoping to win over his bro on another matter so pressing for him … Iran.  He clearly got nowhere.  The Europeans continue to prepare for Iran trade via a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), though Austria the country designated to host the SPV has withdrawn from fear of U.S. penalties severing access to U.S. markets.  The new host chosen is Luxembourg.

The stakes are high.  Should the plan fail, Iran might well decide to build a nuclear weapon.  Will Saudi Arabia perceive it as a threat?  Will Israel launch preemptive strikes?  Will the U.S. join them?  These are unsettling questions.

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Donald Trump and America’s People

Sajad Abedi

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The American mid-term elections in the current situation can be considered one of the most sensitive elections in American history; the unusual character and Donald Trump’s extreme actions at the level of domestic and foreign policy have led the American community to more bipartisan and bipartisan competition than ever before. And in the upcoming election, the Democrats are trying to prevent the victory of the Republicans in any way possible and to control Donald Trump’s extremists through the congressional congress.

The division of the American political community into the scene of the opponents and proponents of Trump

What distinguishes Congressional elections from the last election is the division of American society into the bipartisan opponents and supporters of Donald Trump in this election. In fact, in the new situation, the rivalry of the two main US parties has become more or less a controversial scene based on opposition or alignment with the Trump, rather than on the basis of traditional competition between the two parties. This led to a less pronounced party and rivalry between the two political currents, but the critique of the actions and the character of Donald Trump were centered on Democrats.

In support of this, former US President Barack Obama’s remarks can be seen after two years of silence against his tangled attacks. Obama’s Democrats ‘Democrats’ campaign, and with several releases, has directly targeted Donald Trump. Obama says in his most remarkable remarks: “We are witnessing unprecedented behaviors in the White House, which has violated custom and common habits among Democrats and Republicans. If you are young voters worried about what happened over the past two years at the White House, the only way to monitor this behavior is to have congresses and positions that are emerging for the values and ideals of the United States. “In another move, he released a video message asking the youth to participate in November’s mid-term elections. Obama also said in a speech at the University of Illinois with a direct attack on the White House chairman: “The Trump is a disease itself, not a sign, and now we have the chance to bring wisdom back to the political scene of the country.”

In addition, the bipolar society of Donald Trump’s opponents and opponents is now in a position that some political experts talk about the possibility of a civil war in the United States. In the same vein, Professor Nil Ferguson, a professor at Harvard University, says: “Lately, internal disputes in the United States are intensifying and cultural conflicts are proud. On the Internet, there has long been a kind of civil war in the United States, and this war is getting hotter as the congressional election approaches. Sending a bomb to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will pave the ground for predicting the civil war in the United States. “Also, Emily Wylan, a science fiction candidate from the University of Texas in an article comparing the civil war in Lebanon and the United States, pointed out that Jonathan Randall had not paid attention to it in his time. “There is a common ground between Lebanon in 1975 and the United States in 2018,” he wrote. Washington believes that Washington has powerful and uncompromising allies that have their own interests and are, in fact, an “ineffective cartoon state”. Meanwhile, the Republican Party of America reminds Lebanon’s conservative forces on the brink of civil war, and Democrats, like the Lebanese advanced parties, are decentralized and dispersed. ”

The November 6 decisive election

In spite of the apparent political divide and political divide within the political community of America between its two main parties, Republicans and Democrats, on the axis of the problem called “Trumpism,” prominent members of the Democratic Party or supporters of the Democratic Party in all electoral campaigns, and sometimes even prominent American figures of art Opponents of Trump have emphasized the decisive importance of the inter-period election and the need for its participation, and since November 6th, it has been remembered as a historic moment to restore rationality to the American political scene.

Indeed, mid-term congressional elections are important for Democrats, which if they win, the two final years of the presidency of Donald Trump can turn into a nightmare and a nightmare for him and his government members until the 2020 election. The symbol of this can be seen in 2014, as a result of the Republican victory in the inter-congressional election, a large level of tensions between the Obama administration and the congress was formed, and even the level of conflict was so advanced that, at a time when President Barack Obama was forced to The federal government closed its 16th day.

Now, if Democrats win the mid-term election, they are considered vital for three reasons. On the first level, if the Democrats win the congress and take over the majority, they can stop most of the Trump government’s approvals that they argue against US national interests. On the second level, a Democratic majority congress can provide grounds for plotting against Donald Trump for engaging in several issues, such as secret relations with Russia, illegal sexual relations and lying. In the event of approval of the problem in the House of Representatives and bringing the matter to the Senate, the Democrats can still be successful in raising the maximum pressure and stopping Trump in his most recent extremism. The third dimension, the decisive outcome of the November 6 Congressional election for Democrats, is that they will create a psychological environment for a grand victory against Trump in the presidential election of 2020, if they win in the recent election. Political facts in American history indicate that victory in inter-parliamentary elections has always had a serious and massive impact on the election of the next American president in the next two years.

The congressional election meets the general satisfaction of Trump

In the midst of the turbulent state of the mid-term elections in the United States, Donald Trump’s premature runaway escapes from accepting Republican defeats. According to the results of the polls, the Republicans’ defeat to a certain extent seems to be necessary; as a result, Donald Trump as a senior Republican party can be the first factor in this defeat; in other words, early election results for measuring public policy satisfaction He will be in the past two years.

In the analysis of the disappointment of the Republicans and the Trump on the victory over the inter-congressional elections, it is possible to look at Trump’s performance at two levels of domestic politics and foreign policy. On the one hand, at the internal level, Trump faces numerous problems at the individual and moral levels, and his moral scandals, economic activities, and his relations with the Russians during the electoral campaign have reduced American confidence and, on the other hand, his domestic policies It is mostly based on racism and even fascism; it has placed non-white Americans in front of him. Meanwhile, immigration policies, his opposition to the colorful people, as well as Trump’s opposition to the general insurance plan introducing Obamawalker, have created a backdrop of dissent and disgust of American citizens from Trump.

At the foreign policy level, Trump’s catastrophic performance in partnering with traditional US allies and his efforts to get close to Russia has put a lot of criticism into the White House’s performance. In fact, Trump has frustrated US voters by importing America into a war of commerce with all the world powers, including China, Russia and even European countries as traditional allies. Also, Trump’s action in support of the Yemeni war that killed thousands of innocent people, and in particular the silence in the savage murder case, the Saudi-critic’s journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, has disappointed the Republican Party’s supporters of the Trump performance. Taken together, these two levels can be said that Donald Trump’s two-year performance at the domestic and foreign levels has turned into Republican Achilles heels in the mid-term elections.

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