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Donald Trump to meet press on 11 January over conflict of interests

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World has been looking for the news about real policies of newly elected US President Donald Trump to have an idea about what kind of presidency he would prefer to install- particularly if he would make nay departure from the usual US foreign policy matters with regards to Russia and Palestine or he would also continue the Neocon ideas of regimes everywhere by terror wars to make entire world to promote US agenda for the world.

Already, Trump has revealed his conflictual mindset by making contradictory statements, especially its readiness to promote Israel in Mideast to shield the crimes being perpetrated by its military and police against humanity in Palestine. His policy statement would make the matter somewhat clear to the world.

Precedent has seen American presidents-elect field numerous press conferences during the transition to power to discuss matters such as their choices to fill their cabinet and policy plans for the incoming administration. The methods of the new president communicating news about the transition have been unorthodox for an incoming head of state.

President elect Donald Trump has largely snubbed thus far the tradition that the presidential news conference has become. Instead Trump has relied largely on rallies, photo ops, select interviews and — in unprecedented fashion — on tweets.

Trump, elected in November, has not held a press conference since July, and his announcement gave just the latest date set for the much-delayed event previously due to take place 15 December.

In a tweet, Trump said he will hold a press conference on 11 January, during which he has previously indicated he would unveil his governance plans in order to avoid any conflict of interest between the White House and his business dealings.

Economic announcements of this magnitude are rare and generally take place through a news release or a carefully planned press conference, requiring the efforts of many public relations experts who carefully consider every word and gesture. Last month, he unexpectedly announced to reporters camped in the lobby of his Manhattan Trump Tower skyscraper that Masayoshi Son — the flamboyant head of Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank and a self-made billionaire — had announced a $50 billion investment in the US that would create 50,000 jobs. Steven Mnuchin, tapped to become Secretary of Treasury, and Wilbur Ross, the commerce pick, announced on CNBC television that they had been appointed to their Cabinet positions by Trump. The official announcement was published several hours later.

Trump voiced new doubts that Russian hackers attempted to influence the US election on his behalf, accusing Democrats of lax security and saying WikiLeaks had denied Moscow was behind the documents it made public. Trump, in a spate of notes on Twitter, continued to raise questions about the findings by US intelligence agencies that Russia was behind a series of leaks that embarrassed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign ahead of the Nov. 8 vote. Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager, were leaked to the media in advance of the election. One email showed the Clinton campaign received a question in advance of a town hall forum.

Trump, who will take office on Jan. 20, is scheduled to receive a briefing from intelligence officials on the hacking issue on Friday. He has suggested the briefing was postponed to give intelligence officials more time to build their case.”The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

Over years of occupational and expansionist brutalities of the Zionist regime in Palestine have emboldened the Israeli soldiers (heroes”) to kill any Palestinian anywhere at will because they know the Israeli government would call the state crimes like this as heroism.

Meanwhile, a Jewish soldier , another “Our hero!” , who shot dead a Palestinian lying wounded and motionless on the ground in the occupied West Bank was surprisingly convicted of manslaughter on January 04 Wednesday in one of the most polarising cases in Israel’s history. So far Israeli courts do not punish any Jew even if he or she commits heinous crèmes against Palestinians.

The decision to court-martial Sergeant Elor Azaria, who shot the Palestinian after he stabbed a Israeli soldier last March for routine harassment, stirred public controversy in Israel from the start, with right-wing politicians calling after the verdict on President Reuven Rivlin to pardon the 20-year-old defendant. As the decision was being read at a heavily guarded military court in Tel Aviv, several hundred far-right core backers of Azaria – one of them even carrying a Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” banner – willingly clashed with police. Ten months ago, Azaria was an army medic serving in the Israeli-occupied city of Hebron when two Palestinians carried out the stabbing. Hebron has been a longtime flashpoint of violence, and the incident occurred during a wave of Palestinian street attacks on Israeli criminals. .

While one of the two Palestinians was shot dead by troops, the other was shot and wounded. Eleven minutes later, as the wounded man, Abd Elfatah Ashareef, 21, lay on the ground incapacitated, “hero” Azaria shot him in the head with an assault rifle. At the trial, Azaria contended that he believed the Palestinian, though motionless, still posed a danger because his knife was nearby, and that he might have been carrying explosives. “He deserves to die,” Azaria was quoted in the verdict as telling another soldier after pulling the trigger. The three-judge panel rejected Azaria’s argument.”One cannot use this type of force, even if we’re talking about an enemy’s life,” the court said in its verdict. “We unanimously convict the accused of manslaughter and of conduct unbecoming (a soldier).”Azaria, who was smiling as he awaited the verdict as the chief judge read out the conviction.

Video footage of the shooting, taken by a Palestinian human rights activist, showed the knife was not within Ashareef’s reach, and no bomb was found. The video was distributed to news organisations, ensuring that the incident drew international attention amid allegations by Palestinians and rights groups that Israeli soldiers have been using excessive force against the Palestinians they come across on daily basis.

The point is the Israeli military thinks Trump is going to be on the side of Zionists to shield their crimes as his own and, as his predecessors haves done, would naturally work against Palestinians.

Guantánamo Bay controlled by CIA-Pentagon duo in Latin America to terrorize Muslims the worst possible inhuman ways is the most shameful black blot on western democracy claims. The 59 prisoners who remain at Gitmo today have never faced a fair trial. Many – like more than 700 before them – are held on the basis of a mix of bogus statements, made under torture or coercion. Unfortunately, Trump – a self-proclaimed patriot – appears happy with this most un-American state of affairs.

The president-to-be obviously knows nothing about Guantánamo Bay, like many other things, including foreign policy, said that “There should be no further releases from Gitmo.” His tweet adds: “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.” And on top of leaving people to rot in Gitmo without trial, President-elect Trump promises to bring back “a hell of a lot worse than water boarding”. Trump doesn’t “think it’s tough enough.” Trump seems to be fairly ill-informed about torture techniques as well: the main conclusion of the US Senate’s 2014 probe into Bush-era torture was that it “was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence.”

What Trump doesn’t appear to understand is that most Gitmo prisoners can’t go “back to the battlefield” – because they were never there in the first place. In 2002, the last Republican administration said that those held at Guantanamo were “the worst of the worst,” but thus far the vast majority of the prisoners held there have been cleared. Most of the men there were never the worst of anything.

Those who Trump would keep forever without trial, but for whom my charity Reprieve will continue to advocate, including a former Pakistani taxi driver who was mistaken for a terrorist called Hassan Gul, and taken to a secret prison for “unauthorised” torture over a year. And a young man from Yemen who had travelled far from home in search of work, and then got caught up in the chaotic aftermath of 9/11. The US military was offering life-changing sums of bounty money to Afghans and to Pakistanis if they turned over Arab men.

The outgoing president Obama was dead right to say that Gitmo is a blot on the US. As long ago as 2004, an intelligence agent opined that for every detainee we hold at Guantanamo, we have provoked 10 people to want to do us harm. Today, the same expert would no doubt revise this estimate up to hundreds. Osama bin Laden estimated that he had 100 followers in 2001.

It is time to make America great again, and to apply such Trump parlance where it rightly belongs. That is emphatically not torture, rendition, detention without trial and assassination. It is respect for human rights, and US values like due process and the rule of law.

The horrific ways in which Guantanamo’s prisoners have been repeatedly tortured makes it surprising there aren’t more who hold a mighty grudge. In my experience, the overwhelming majority just want to return home, rebuild their lives and forget the terrible nightmare of the last decade and more.

Meanwhile, much peace loving Americans seek a month of resistance leading up to the president-elect’s inauguration on January 20. Thousands of activists, journalists, scientists, entertainers, and other prominent voices took out a full-page call to action in the New York Times on Wednesday making clear their rejection of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence with the simple message: “No!” Trump is “assembling a regime of grave danger” that is an “immoral peril to the future of humanity and the earth itself,” the call to action continues. “Millions must rise up in a resistance with a deep determination such that we create a political crisis that prevents the Trump/Pence fascist regime from consolidating its hold on the governance of society.” “Stop the Trump/Pence regime before it starts! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America!” the ad states, followed by a list of signatories that includes scholar Cornel West; author Alice Walker; Chase Iron Eyes of the Standing Rock Sioux; educator Bill Ayers; poet Saul Williams; CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill; Carl Dix of the Communist Party USA; and numerous others.

Trump can end bloodshed in Palestine as well as entire Mideast or help Israel complicate the saturation further. Does he also seek disasters?

Choice is Trump’s

As the unusual president elect, Trump would do well by pursuing a new set of policies abroad that would greatly benefit the shivering humanity. Terror wars must end. Trump should recognize Palestine and ask Israel also do the same for the sake of creating the necessary preconditions for the natural establishment of Palestine and for peace in Mideast.

Hopefully Trump would have to let the world know that he cares for humanity and peace in the world and he is well reformed from being a mere political hawk to become a genuine statesman to lead America and world positively and in the best ways possible.

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Americas

Nancy Pelosi and her dual approaches

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In her remarks, the United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asserted that Trump’s border wall campaign has nothing to do with border security. She said it’s one of the US President’s plans for energizing his conservative base, and in this way, he aims to distract the country from the various scandals dogging his administration.

“I don’t even know if the president wants the wall. I think he just wants a debate on the wall. And he’s having some difficulty with it,” Pelosi said during a press briefing at the Capitol.

“He keeps increasing the amount of money; increasing the amount of beds; increasing the obstacles to finding a solution — because I don’t think he really wants a solution,” Pelosi said. “I think he loves the distraction that this is from his other problems,” She added.

Pelosi, along with Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, noted that they disagree with Trump over building a physical border wall, which according to them, would be expensive and ineffective.

“Democrats and the president both want stronger border security. However, we sharply disagree with the president about the most effective way to do it … Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration,” said Schumer in answer to Trump’s recent remarks.

On the other hand, Pelosi is among those who are seriously standing against Trump’s impeachment. This dual approach taken by Pelosi towards the White House, and the fact that the House speaker and other Democrat leaders have argued against the serious consideration of Trump’s impeachment, may lead to conflicts inside the Democratic Party in the future.

“We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason. So we’ll just have to see how it comes,” Said Pelosi.

However, Pelosi’s remarks were not unprecedented! When Pelosi was the House Minority Leader in the years between 2016 and 2018, she opposed the idea of impeaching Trump. Nancy Pelosi has made it clear that she has a conservative approach towards Trump. This is while with a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, Democrats can initiate impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. The fact that some Democrat leaders have opposed Nancy Pelosi’s Minority leadership in the US House of Representatives is rooted in the same reason. In any case, it seems that Pelosi prefers scenarios such as “making a political deal with Trump” to “Confrontation with the President”. Nancy Pelosi argues that Democrats’ direct confrontation with Trump, and in particular the impeachment of the President of the United States, will lead to the anger of some American citizens, and the Democrats will be accused of posing a blow to the American political and social equations. However, it seems that some Democrats do not agree with Nancy Pelosi’s opinion! Politicians such as Bernie Sanders believe that Trump is not politically negotiable. They believe that any compromise reached between Democrats and Trump will hold a bad result for them in the US 2020 presidential election.

At any rate, there’s plenty at stake: Amid this crisis, Trump has come with the idea of declaring a national emergency at the border, a move that could free up wall funding without the Congress approval.

“If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely,” said Trump.

The US government shutdown, which is resulted from the disagreements over border wall funding, is still ongoing. Trump is demanding $5.7 billion for new wall construction; Pelosi and the Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border security measures, but have opposed construction of any new physical barriers. In spite of this, Trump has previously claimed that he’s ready to hold the shutdown for months and even years! If Pelosi surrenders in the face of Trump’s demands, she would be regarded as a defeated figure inside the US political circles.

First published in our partner MNA

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Trump is mocking Biden

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News sources in the United States announced that Joe Biden, the U.S. former Vice-President (from 2009 to 2017), and a prominent figure in the Democratic Party will soon announce his run for the president in 2020. Biden has previously said that he’s “the most qualified person in the country” for being president.

Biden mentioned these words in a controversial interview which has attracted the attention of many American analysts. However, Biden’s final decision for participating in the presidential campaigns wasn’t clear. Eventually, a number of Biden’s followers, including his brother Frank Biden, announced his final decision to run for the general elections. Polls conducted in the United States indicate that Biden is currently more popular than other potential candidates of the Democratic Party in the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, Biden is probably to face rivals such as Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, and Elizabeth Warren, and even Hillary Clinton. During the 2016 presidential competitions, Biden was also scheduled to attend the in-party election competitions, but he changed his mind due to his son’s death and Hillary Clinton’s insistence on attending the presidential campaign. Biden’s remarks, however, show that he’s greatly interested in defeating Trump in the 2020 election.

However, we shouldn’t forget that Biden can’t really count on the current polls conducted among Democrat supporters! We can all remember that during the 2008 presidential elections and inside the Democratic Party, Obama had far less chance of reaching the final round of the elections than those like Hillary Clinton. But his successful speeches in states like Iowa and South Carolina led to Clinton’s final defeat and Obama’s victory.

Hence, the success of Biden’s rival candidates in states like Iowa and New Hampshire (where American in-party elections begin with them) can completely change the equations, and that won’t be to Biden’s advantage.

Accordingly, Trump’s position on Biden’s participation in the presidential competitions are noteworthy. In a phone interview with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, Trump called Joe Biden “weak”. He also claimed that he’s not worried about a potential challenge from the former vice president in the 2020 presidential race; “You know, a lot of people say Biden’s doing OK, but he was always a 1-percenter. He was a 1 percent guy. He ran two or three times, he never got above 1%, and then, Obama came along and took him off the trash heap, and he became the vice president. He’s weak. So, we’ll see what happens with him.”

Trump’s words came on the same day that Biden had told some top Democrats that he was definitely running for president. “If I’m walking, I’m running,” said Biden.

Trump’s literature on Biden’s presence in the U.S. presidential race, reflects the U.S. President’s dissatisfaction and anger with the country’s former Vice President and his candidacy. Obviously, Trump preferred figures such as Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren to be his potential rivals in the next general elections.

However, Trump knows well that Biden can challenge his position at the White House by maneuvering again on issues such as public medical health insurance plan. On the other hand, Trump attempts to turn the game into an emotional rivalry through using ugly words against Biden, and this is very much like Trump’s populist personality and approach. However, Biden now has his main focus on Democrats’ inner-party race, and he doesn’t consider direct competition with Trump until he has won his victory in the competition.

First published in our partner Tehran Times

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John Bolton’s Hawkish Flight

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The American edition of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), citing former and currently serving politicians who wished not to be named, reported a few days ago that the US National Security Council (NSC), led by presidential adviser John Bolton, turned to the Pentagon last autumn with a request to devise several variants of striking Iran.

The reason for such a request was a mortar attack carried out in September 2018 by a pro-Iranian group against the diplomatic quarter of Baghdad, where the US embassy is located. Two days later, a similar attack was reported to have occurred in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, where the American consulate is based. No casualties or damage were reported. However, former deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel described the shelling as an “act of hostilities” and made it clear that the United States should have responded with a “similar act.”

As a result, the US national security team held a series of meetings to discuss how the American side should respond. After that, Mr. Bolton urged the Pentagon to provide options for attacking Iran.

Officials neither confirmed nor denied the WSJ reports. NSC press secretary Garrett Marquis did not provide a clear answer to the question of whether the Council had been considering a military strike against Iran. “We are considering a  full range of measures to ensure security and guarantee our interests,” he said.

It should be noted here that the general staffs of the armed forces of any self-respecting country plan variants of both offensive and defensive operations against a potential adversary in advance. This work is carried out with a constant analysis of the changes taking place in the camp of the enemy, and in their own country. Therefore, undoubtedly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (US General Staff) has in its secret vaults a variety of options for a war with Iran – the main potential opponent of the United States, as Washington has called it on more than one occasion.

Another matter is the case of John Bolton, when his personal request, even through the channels of the National Security Council, was carried out, according to observers, bypassing President Trump. Such a request took the Pentagon by surprise and put defense department officials who were used to everything “in a shock.” However, the request was accepted for consideration.

According to the WSJ, the Pentagon provided a complete layout proposing some general options for the operation, including a cross-border air strike on an Iranian military facility, which would be mostly symbolic. But the then Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and other senior military officials strongly opposed retaliatory actions, arguing that the damage from the shelling of the US diplomatic missions was insignificant. And this basically logical viewpoint eventually prevailed.

But how will acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, act?

Any blow on Iran may lead to a full-blown armed conflict. Hypothetically,  considering the possibility of an airstrike on an Iranian military facility, it will undoubtedly trigger a return missile strike by the Iranian armed forces on any US military base in the Middle East. The Iranian missile forces have every potential to do so. And this means a war.

Is the United States ready for such a scenario?

It has to be pointed out that even massive missile and air strikes against Iran will not force Tehran to surrender. As in any war, the winner must march over the conquered territory. This calls for a ground operation.

Is the United States ready for this?

As the Field Service Regulations the US Army recommends, in order to achieve the goal of an offensive in the direction of the main blow it is necessary to create at least 6-fold superiority over the defensive forces and facilities. The question arises whether the US Armed Forces are capable of building such a superiority at least in one direction of the Iranian theater of war?

The number of regular armed forces of Iran ranges, according to various sources, between 540 and 900 thousand. The defense doctrine of the IRI puts a major emphasis on the Basij Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps resistance forces, a paramilitary, irregular militia and a reserve force of the regular armed forces whose main task is to participate in the defense of the country’s territory. The main combat units of “Basij” are “Ashura” battalions, which consist of men, and “Al-Zohra” female battalions, numbering an average of 400 each. Currently, 2500 such battalions are formed in Iran, consisting of 1 million volunteers, well trained both militarily and ideologically. In total, Iran’s “Basij” system embraces more than 12 million Iranians.

Is it possible for the United States and their allies to outnumber, if not 6-fold, then at least by 2-fold, the regular and irregular forces of Iran in the Iranian theater of military operations on the ground (without using nuclear weapons)? The answer is clear – no. And the Pentagon is fully aware of this.

For this reason, the likelihood that the United States will venture into an armed conflict with Iran is small.

John Bolton’s actions can be described as dangerous amid the current situation in the top echelons of power in the United States, which is controversial, to put it mildly. The opposition Democrats are exerting a serious and effective pressure on President Trump, while the State Department (and other as significant structures) is trying, as journalists say, to prevent the president’s “reckless” decisions from being put into effect.

In turn, US National Security Advisor John Bolton is making the most of the current state of affairs putting an end to internal strategic debates and discussions that could reveal the controversies within the Donald Trump administration. Mr. Bolton does not want to hear conflicting points of view, hates leaks, and wants to control the entire flow of information that is sent to the US President. This is a sure way towards excessive consolidation of power in the hands of one individual. Moreover, sometimes he acts without notifying President Trump, like in the recent case in which he appeals to the Pentagon.

John Bolton is one of the irreconcilable hardliners on the issue of Iran. Having assumed  his current position, Bolton stepped up the administration’s policy of isolating and exerting pressure on Iran, thereby demonstrating his hostile attitude toward Iranian leaders, which dates back to the days when he served as an official for the administration of George W. Bush. As a private individual, he called for military strikes on Iran, as well as a change of regime. In March 2015 – three and a half months before the signing of a nuclear deal, when it became clear to everyone that the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) was ready and its authors were busy putting the final touches to it, – Mr. Bolton published an article in The New York Times under a provocative headline “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran”. From the very beginning, John Bolton was against the JCPOA and fully backed President Trump in his efforts to pull out of the nuclear deal.

Bolton summed up his political credo in one phrase: “There is no such thing as the UN. There is the international community that can be headed by the world’s only superpower, which is the United States of America. ”  This he says despite the fact that in 2005-2006, he was the US representative to the UN.

Defense department officials, The New York Times writes, express growing concerns that John Bolton may indeed provoke a serious conflict with Tehran at a time when President Trump is losing influence in the Middle East.

Concern is being voiced not only by US military and politicians but throughout the world. After all, the main danger lies in the unpredictability of actions of President Trump and his hawkish employees, like John Bolton.

first published in our partner International Affairs

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