organization:white house

  • Is Saudi Arabia repaying Trump for Khashoggi by attacking Linda Sarsour?

    A Saudi-owned website considered close to the royal family claimed that Sarsour, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are agents of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood who declared a ’jihad’ on Trump

    Allison Kaplan Sommer
    Dec 10, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-how-saudi-arabia-is-repaying-trump-for-his-support-on-khashoggi-1.

    There is nothing earth-shattering about seeing Women’s March leader and Arab-American activist Linda Sarsour criticized as a dangerous Islamist by the conservative right and pro-Israel advocates in the United States. But the latest attack on the activist comes from a new and somewhat surprising source: Saudi Arabia.
    Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned, pan-Arab news channel closely linked to the country’s royal family and widely viewed as reflecting Saudi foreign policy, published an article Sunday strongly suggesting that Sarsour and two incoming Muslim congresswomen are puppets planted by the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar to undermine the Trump administration.
    The feature, which profiles Sarsour, seems to cast her as the latest proxy figure in the kingdom’s bitter dispute with Qatar, and its bid to strengthen ties and curry favor with the White House.
    It also focused on two Democratic politicians whom Sarsour actively campaigned for in the 2018 midterms: Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar and Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, who are set to be the first-ever Muslim congresswomen when the House reconvenes in January.

    The Al Arabiya story on Linda Sarsour’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood, December 9, 2018.Screengrab
    Headlined “Details of calls to attack Trump by US ‘Muslim Sisters’ allied to Brotherhood,” the article is light on actual details but heavy on insinuation.
    Activists like Sarsour, and politicians like Tlaib and Omar, the Saudi publication wrote, are “mujahideen” (a term used to describe those involved in jihad) – fighting against “tyrants and opponents of Trump’s foreign policies.”

    The story says the policies they are fighting include “the siege of Iran, the fight against political Islam groups, and [Trump’s] choice of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a strategic ally.”
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    Tlaib and Omar, Al Arabiya asserts, are agents designed to “restore” control of political Islamist movements on the U.S. government by attacking Trump. The article says this effort is being directed by Sarsour – who, it writes, is purportedly funded and controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood - a claim it fails to provide any clear basis for.
    Tamara Cofman Wittes, a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, Washington, says it should come as little surprise to those familiar with the region that “a state-owned Arabic news outlet would publish conspiracy theories about people whose views don’t accord with those of the government that funds it.”
    Al Arabiya, based in Dubai, but Saudi-owned, was founded in 2002 as a counter to Qatar’s popular Al Jazeera TV station – which frequently runs material sharply critical of the Saudis – as well as other Arabic media outlets critical of Saudi influence and supportive of political Islam.
    The article comes as rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has heated up in recent times, with Qatar’s emir skipping this weekend’s Gulf Cooperation Council summit hosted by Saudi Arabia, which has led a diplomatic war on its neighbor for the past 18 months.
    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and non-GCC member Egypt cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar in June 2017, charging that the country supports terrorism. Qatar denies the charges and says the Saudi boycott aims to curtail its sovereignty. Last week, the Gulf nation announced it was withdrawing from the OPEC oil cartel.
    Islamists vs Islamists
    “Democrats’ battle against the Republican control of the U.S. Congress led to an alliance with political Islamist movements in order to restore their control on government, pushing Muslim candidates and women activists of immigrant minorities onto the electoral scene,” the report states.
    The “common ground” between Omar and Tlaib, the article adds, is to battle Trump’s foreign policy “starting from the sanctions on Iran to the isolation of the Muslim Brotherhood and all movements of political Islam. Those sponsoring and supporting the two Muslim women to reach the U.S. Congress adopted a tactic to infiltrate through their immigrant and black minority communities in general, and women’s groups in particular.
    The article ties Sarsour to Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood through multiple associations with the Arab American Association of New York, which “was created by Palestinian Ahmed Jaber, a member of the Qatar International Foundation responsible for funding the association,” and also her attendance at an annual meeting of the International Network of Muslim Brotherhood in North America and Canada in 2016.
    The article compares Sarsour’s rhetoric to that “used by Muslim Brotherhood teachings and in the views of Sayyid Qutb, a scholar and co-founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, as well as from Abul A’la Maududi’s books ‘Islam and Ignorance’ and ‘Fundamentals of Islam.’
    “From all that is mentioned, we can touch the influence of Muslim Brotherhood in shaping the thoughts of American activist Linda Sarsour and consequently her declaring her ‘jihad’ against U.S. President Donald Trump, in addition to her call for the application of ‘Sharia,’ the rule of Islam in the United States of America,” the piece asserts.
    No one knows for sure whether Al Arabiya received direct orders from the Saudi government to attack Sarsour, Tlaib, Omar and other politically active Muslim women on the American left.
    Those familiar with Middle East media say conspiracy-minded attacks against figures in American politics aren’t particularly unusual in Arabic,
    but what is unique about this article is the fact it appeared in English on the network’s website.
    It seems to be a highly creative attempt to somehow repay the Trump White House as it deals with the fallout from the Jamal Khashoggi assassination. As Trump continues to take heat for staying close to the Saudis, they, in turn, are demonstrating their loyalty with their willingness to vilify people who were President Barack Obama’s supporters and are now Trump’s political enemies – even if they wear a hijab.

    Allison Kaplan Sommer
    Haaretz Correspondent


  • Venezuela : 72,6% d’abstention aux élections municipales (41,6% en 2018)
    96,1% des mandats nominatifs et 91,0% des mandats par liste pour le PSUV (au pouvoir)

    CNE anunció que participación fue de 27,4% en elecciones municipales
    http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/politica/cne-anuncio-que-participacion-fue-274-elecciones-municipales_262777

    Tibisay Lucena, presidente del Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), anunció este domingo en horas de la noche que la participación de las elecciones de Concejos Municipales fue 27,4%.

    La rectora del CNE acotó que los resultados emitidos corresponden a 92,30% de la transmisión de votos.

    De acuerdo con cifras del organismo, para este proceso de votación el Registro Electoral fue de 20.704.612 electores, por lo que aproximadamente 5.673.063 millones de ciudadanos ejercieron su derecho al sufragio durante los comicios de este 9 de diciembre.

    El porcentaje de participación de este año 2018 disminuyó en relación con las elecciones municipales del año 2013, cuando se situó en 58,36% del Registro Electoral.

    Lucena informó que los cargos quedaron adjudicados de la siguiente manera: De 467 cargos nominales, 449 son adjudicables para el Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV). De 156 cargos lista adjudicables, 142 son para el PSUV.

    También indicó que de 69 circunscripciones indigenas 45 son adjudcables.

    Al terminar de leer los resultdos, Lucena autorizó a las juntas municipales para adjudicar a los ganadores del proceso,

    • Maduro’s grip on Venezuela tightens, warns of Trump threat - The Washington Post
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/maduros-grip-on-venezuela-tightens-warns-of-trump-threat/2018/12/09/4a148f70-fc29-11e8-a17e-162b712e8fc2_story.html

      Socialist President Nicolas Maduro further consolidated power in Venezuelan local elections Sunday, while accusing President Donald Trump of plotting to overthrow him.

      The majority of nearly 2,500 council seats spread across the crisis-stricken country went to members of Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela, election officials loyal to Maduro said.

      After casting his ballot, Maduro spoke on state TV scoffing at Trump and other foreign leaders who have labeled him a dictator.

      An attempt is under way today coming straight from the White House to destroy our way of life in Venezuela and to overthrow our constitutional democracy,” Maduro said.
      […]
      Little more than 27 percent of some 20 million eligible voters cast ballots in Sunday’s council races, said Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Electoral Council, praising the election as strengthening Venezuela’s democracy.


  • The Secret Service wants to test facial recognition around the White House
    https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/4/18126136/secret-service-dhs-white-house-facial-recognition-test-privacy

    The US Secret Service has revealed plans for a test of facial recognition surveillance around the White House, with the goal of identifying “subjects of interest” who might pose a threat to the president. The document was published in late November, but the American Civil Liberties Union publicized its existence today. It describes a test that would compare closed circuit video footage of public White House spaces against a database of images — in this case, featuring employees who volunteered (...)

    #algorithme #CCTV #biométrie #vidéo-surveillance #surveillance #facial



  • CIA director Haspel caught in Khashoggi briefing tug-of-war - CNNPolitics
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/27/politics/cia-haspel-senate-briefing/index.html

    Another congressional aide said Tuesday that the White House is attempting to “hide” Haspel in an attempt to prevent her from sharing details that may not align with its public response to Khashoggi’s murder.
    “If they were confident in their story they would send her to the US Senate and have her brief US senators. But the fact that they are hiding her and not allowing her to tell the Senate what she knows ... it really tells you all you need to know,” the aide said.
    But Bolton denied claims that the White House was preventing Haspel from participating in the briefing, responding “certainly not” when asked about the reports.

    #khashoggi


  • Russia-Ukraine tensions rise after #Kerch Strait ship capture - BBC News
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46340283

    Ukraine’s parliament is to decide whether to bring in martial law, after Sunday’s capture of three of its naval vessels and 23 crew members by Russia.

    The three ships were sailing off the coast of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, when they were seized.

    Russia opened fire, before its special forces stormed the vessels. Between three and six Ukrainians were injured.
    Ukraine said it was a Russian “act of aggression”. Moscow said the ships had illegally entered its waters.

    On Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was proposing that parliament back a 30-day martial law - half the length of that recommended by Ukraine’s security and defence council a day earlier.

    In a televised address, Mr Poroshenko said he did not want martial law to affect presidential elections set for 31 March 2019. If backed by MPs, martial law would enter into force at 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on 28 November.

    Sunday’s clash between Russian and Ukrainian vessels marks a major escalation of tension between the two countries.
    This is the first time the two militaries have come into open conflict in recent years, although Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists and Russia volunteers in the east of the country.

    #Crimée

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpxNuTlwwEA

    • La Russie bloque le passage en mer d’Azov en immobilisant un pétrolier sous le pont de Crimée.

      Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula with a cargo ship beneath it after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea - H24info
      https://www.h24info.ma/monde/la-russie-capture-trois-navires-ukrainiens-escalade-de-tensions-entre-kiev-et-moscou/attachment/russian-jet-fighters-fly-over-a-bridge-connecting-the-russian-mainland-with-

      Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula with a cargo ship beneath it after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea

    • Détroit/Kertch : la Russie a agi « en stricte conformité avec le droit international »
      http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2018/11/26/97001-20181126FILWWW00122-detroitkertch-la-russie-a-agi-en-stricte-conformi

      Les gardes-frontières russes qui ont arraisonné dimanche trois navires ukrainiens dans le détroit de Kertch ont agi «  en stricte conformité avec le droit international  », a assuré aujourd’hui le porte-parole du Kremlin Dmitri Peskov au lendemain de cet incident sans précédent. «  La partie russe a agi en stricte conformité avec la législation, à la fois le droit international et le droit intérieur_ », a-t-il déclaré aux journalistes, précisant qu’il s’agissait d’une «  intrusion de navires de guerre étrangers dans les eaux territoriales de la Fédération de Russie  ».

    • Occasion de clarifier (à chaud !) le statut de la mer d’Azov et du détroit : s’il s’agit d’eaux internationales, la Russie n’a pas le droit de bloquer l’accès,…

      Tensions en mer d’Azov | Grip
      https://www.grip.org/fr/node/2634

      Statut juridique de la mer d’Azov

      Le statut juridique de la mer d’Azov est complexe pour deux raisons : la chute de l’URSS et l’annexion russe de la Crimée. Cet espace maritime était considéré du temps de l’URSS comme une mer intérieure et la question se pose de savoir si ce statut aurait pu être transmis à la fois à l’Ukraine et à la Russie après 1991. Selon cette hypothèse, la mer d’Azov serait donc une mer intérieure partagée entre l’Ukraine et la Russie. Dans un autre scénario, la mer d’Azov aurait perdu ce statut de mer intérieure lors de l’indépendance de l’Ukraine et le régime classique du droit de la mer s’appliquerait donc avec des zones économiques exclusives pour la Russie et l’Ukraine et un régime d’eaux internationales au centre de la mer d’Azov. L’annexion de la Crimée complexifie l’équation puisque les deux États revendiquent des zones économiques exclusives autour de la Crimée. Pour compliquer davantage le casse-tête juridique, plusieurs accords bilatéraux ont été signés entre l’Ukraine et la Russie garantissant la liberté de navigation sur cette mer. En 2003, un Accord de coopération sur l’usage de la mer d’Azov et du détroit de Kertch a été signé entre l’Ukraine et la Russie réitérant le statut de « mer interne partagée ». L’Ukraine pourrait cependant dénoncer cet accord au vu des incidents récents et revenir au régime classique de partage des eaux territoriales selon les définitions de la Convention des Nations unies sur le droit de la mer. Cette question du statut de la mer d’Azov est importante car elle conditionne la possibilité pour l’Ukraine d’intenter une action devant la justice internationale.

    • Russia Ignores Western Calls to Free Captured Ukrainian Ships

      Ukraine introduces martial law citing threat of Russian invasion | Reuters
      https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ukraine-crisis-russia-idUKKCN1NV0MW


      Seized Ukrainian ships, small armoured artillery ships and a tug boat, are seen anchored in a port of Kerch, Crimea November 26, 2018.
      REUTERS/Pavel Rebrov

      The crisis erupted when border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tug boat after opening fire on them and wounding three sailors on Sunday.

      The Ukrainian vessels had been trying to enter the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea via the narrow Kerch Strait that separates Crimea from the Russian mainland.

      Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, as saying on Monday that 24 Ukrainian sailors were being detained. Three of the sailors were wounded but were not in a serious condition and were recovering in hospital.

      The FSB said the Ukrainian ships had ignored warning shots, forcing Russian vessels to open fire for real, after they illegally entered Russian territorial waters.

      A Reuters witness in Kerch, a port in Crimea, said the three Ukrainian vessels were being held there on Monday.

    • Trump Says He Does Not Like Russia-Ukraine Situation
      http://themoscowtimes.com/news/trump-says-he-does-not-like-russia-ukraine-situation-63606

      U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he does not like what is happening between Russia and Ukraine, a day after Russian crews seized Ukrainian vessels near Crimea.

      We do not like what’s happening either way. And hopefully it will get straightened out,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House.

      Trump said European leaders were working on the situation. “They’re not thrilled. We’re all working on it together,” he said.

    • Et donc, il s’agit des canonnières Nikopol (P176, le nom est très clairement lisible sur le côté de la passerelle) lancée en novembre 2015 et Berdiansk (P175) lancée en juin 2017, de la classe Gurza-M.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyurza-M-class_artillery_boat


      P175 Berdiansk
      Ministry of Défense of Ukraine, via WP

      et du remorqueur Yani Kipu, A947 (bizarre, c’est un nom turc !?)

      EDIT : non, le nom donné par liveuamap
      https://liveuamap.com/en/2018/26-november-photo-tugboat-yani-kipu-a947-and-2-armored-boats
      n’est pas le bon…

      il s’agit du Krasnoperekopsk, A947 de la classe Prometey
      http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=1091579


      Photographer : Igor Terokhin
      shipspotting.com

      EDIT (bis) ben si, Yani Kapu et Krasnoperekopsk sont deux noms pour désigner les mêmes choses :

      • une ville du nord de la Crimée (juste à l’ouest de l’isthme de Perekop) nommée donc, Perekop la rouge
      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krasnoperekopsk

      • qui a donné son nom à un remorqueur « d’attaque » (« de raid » disent les versions en anglais) soviétique en 1974
      https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/Яни_Капу_(буксир)

      La ville a été rebaptisée par l’Ukraine Yani Kapu (Yañı Qapı, la nouvelle porte en tatar) le 12 mai 2016, deux ans après l’annexion de la Crimée par la Russie… Et le remorqueur a suivi.

    • Vladimir Poutine qualifie les incidents en mer Noire de « provocation »
      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2018/11/28/vladimir-poutine-qualifie-les-incidents-en-mer-noire-de-mousse-politique_538

      Jusqu’ici plutôt en retrait, Vladimir Poutine a, pour la première fois, commenté en public, mercredi 28 novembre, les incidents survenus quatre jours plus tôt en mer Noire entre la marine ukrainienne et les forces de sécurité russes. Interrogé sur le sujet en marge d’un forum d’investissement organisé par la banque VTB à Moscou, le chef du Kremlin a répondu : « C’est une provocation, bien sûr ! »

      Sans jamais prononcer le nom de Petro Porochenko, le chef du Kremlin a ouvertement accusé son homologue ukrainien de calculs politiques. « C’est une provocation organisée par les autorités actuelles, je pense même par son président actuel, à l’approche de l’élection présidentielle en Ukraine au mois de mars de l’année prochaine », a souligné M. Poutine. Qui ajoute : « Les sondages, si je ne me trompe pas, placent le président au cinquième rang, il y a même des chances qu’il ne passe pas au second tour, donc, il fallait faire quelque chose pour exacerber la situation et créer des obstacles infranchissables pour ses concurrents. (…) Je suis sûr de cela. »

      A aucun moment, le président russe n’a évoqué les trois navires ukrainiens saisis par les forces de sécurité russes – sauf pour déclarer qu’elles avaient accompli « leur mission » et respecté « les ordres » – ni même le sort des 24 marins capturés à leur bord. Ces derniers comparaissent depuis mardi devant un tribunal russe pour être placés, les uns après les autres, en détention provisoire pour deux mois.

      « C’est un incident frontalier, pas plus », a-t-il minimisé, en évoquant des éléments récents « d’une autre envergure » tels que « le rattachement de la Crimée à la Russie » en 2014, ou « la guerre civile » dans le Donbass, dans l’est de l’Ukraine qui opposent les séparatistes prorusses soutenus par Moscou et les forces armées de Kiev. « Une guerre de facto, a poursuivi M. Poutine, et pourtant, aucune loi martiale n’avait été instaurée. Et là, un petit incident et on instaure la loi martiale ! C’est évident que c’est organisé à l’approche de l’élection présidentielle. »

    • Un avion espion US mène une reconnaissance près du détroit de Kertch - Sputnik France
      https://fr.sputniknews.com/russie/201811281039082977-vol-reconnaissance-boeing-detroit-kertch

      Au surlendemain de l’incident en mer Noire, où trois navires militaires ukrainiens ont violé les eaux territoriales russes, un avion de lutte anti-sous-marine Boeing P-8A Poseidon de l’US Navy a effectué un vol de reconnaissance dans la région du détroit de Kertch et de la Crimée, selon le portail de suivi des vols PlaneRadar.

      Le mardi 27 novembre un Boeing P-8A Poseidon américain a mené une mission de reconnaissance dans la région du détroit de Kertch et de la Crimée, a annoncé le site PlaneRadar via Twitter.


      Un avion de patrouille maritime, Boeing P-8A Poseidon de l’US Navy, immatriculé 168848, effectue un vol de reconnaissance le long des côtes russe de la mer Noire, a annoncé le site.

      L’appareil, appartenant à la 26e escadrille de patrouille de la marine américaine est passé à une distance de 31 km des côtes de la Crimée.

      Plus tôt le même jour, cette même région a été espionnée par un drone stratégique RQ-4A Global Hawk de l’US Air Force, qui avait également été repéré à proximité de la ligne de séparation dans le Donbass.

    • Un excellent article de synthèse antérieur à la crise (12 septembre 2018) par Igor Delanoë.

      Jeux dangeureux en mer d’Azov - Le portail des forces navales de la Fédération de Russie
      http://www.rusnavyintelligence.com/2018/09/jeux-dangeureux-en-mer-d-azov.html

      Voilà plusieurs mois que la tension monte en mer d’Azov entre Russes et Ukrainiens au sujet de la liberté de navigation. Pour l’instant, les escarmouches n’ont pas dégénéré en accrochages, mais l’Ukraine a commencé à transférer par chemin de fer des vedettes armées depuis la mer Noire vers la mer d’Azov.

      Depuis le printemps derniers, des chalutiers ukrainiens et autres navires étrangers souhaitant se rendre dans les ports d’Ukraine situés en mer d’Azov sont régulièrement arraisonnés par les gardes-côtes russes. La Russie fait en outre attendre parfois pendant plusieurs jours les navires qui souhaitent transiter par le détroit de Kertch depuis la mer Noire à destination des côtes ukrainiennes de la mer d’Azov. Depuis l’annexion de la Crimée par Moscou, cette mer est de facto sous contrôle de la Russie qui en commande l’accès par le détroit de Kertch, situé entre la péninsule criméenne et la presqu’île russe de Taman. Russes et Ukrainiens ont signé en 2003 un accord selon lequel les eaux de la mer d’Azov et celles du détroit de Kertch sont considérées comme des eaux intérieures. Toutefois, depuis l’annexion de 2014, Kiev souhaite déchirer ce papier et internationaliser le régime de la mer d’Azov, en espérant ainsi que l’arrivée de nouveaux acteurs maritimes étrangers fera contrepoids à l’hyper-influence russe dans cette sous-région du bassin pontique.

      L’inauguration du pont de Kertch qui relie la Crimée à la Russie continentale en mai dernier a aiguisé les tensions. La Russie, qui n’écarte pas la possibilité que l’Ukraine tente une opération de sabotage contre l’édifice, a transféré depuis la flottille de la mer Caspienne, via le canal Volga-Don, 2 canonnières fluviales ainsi que des petits navires lance-missiles, qui ont rejoint plus tard le détachement opérationnel russe en Méditerranée. Kiev, de son côté, a transféré 2 vedettes du Projet 58155 faiblement armées depuis la mer Noire vers le port de Berdiansk par chemin de fer. La première unité est arrivée le 8 septembre et la seconde, le 11 septembre. Une troisième vedette doit prochainement être basculée en mer d’Azov. L’idée pour les Ukrainiens est de pouvoir assurer la protection des deux principaux ports de commerce que sont Marioupol et Berdiansk. A terme, Kiev souhaite établir une division de vedettes en mer d’Azov. Compte-tenu du peu de profondeur de cette mer - 6 mètres en moyenne - seules des unités de faible tonnage peuvent y être engagées. Toutefois, pour Moscou, le bassin de la mer d’Azov demeure fermé à toute activité des flottes de l’OTAN - qui ont en revanche accès à la mer Noire selon les conditions énoncées dans la Convention de Montreux (1936). Aussi, en cas de conflit dans le Donbass, ce « lac russe » constituerait une plateforme de tir potentiel pour des missiles Kalibr ainsi qu’un point de départ pour des opérations amphibies.

      Quels sont les objectifs recherchés par les uns et par les autres à travers ces escarmouches ? Pour Kiev, il s’agit de maintenir à l’ordre du jour le sujet « Crimée » qui est une affaire classée - outre la question des sanctions criméennes - par nombre de chancellerie occidentale. Par ailleurs, l’année 2019 sera une année charnière en Ukraine : l’élection présidentielle à lieu en mars, et le contrat de transit gazier qui lie Kiev à Gazprom depuis la fin des années 2000 arrive à son terme. Aussi, ces escarmouches visent potentiellement à renforcer la position de négociation de Moscou tout autant que la rhétorique patriotique à Kiev. L’Ukraine ne se satisfait pas du statu quo en mer d’Azov et souhaite mettre sur la table la question de la délimitation des frontières maritimes, sans être pour autant prête à sérieusement négocier. Rappelons par ailleurs que l’Ukraine a coupé les canaux d’alimentation d’eau fraîche vers la Crimée. Il pourrait y avoir là une monnaie d’échange potentielle.

      Contrairement à ce que pourrait laisser croire le nom de son blog, Le portail des forces navales de la Fédération de Russie, il ne s’agit pas d’un site officiel.

      A propos - Le portail des forces navales de la Fédération de Russie
      http://www.rusnavyintelligence.com/pages/A_propos-4830107.html

      A propos
      Igor Delanoë est docteur en histoire moderne et contemporaine de l’Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, et chercheur associé au Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (Harvard University) ainsi qu’au Center for International and European Studies (université Kadir Has, Istanbul). Il est le directeur adjoint de l’Observatoire franco-russe, le centre d’analyse de la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie franco-russe depuis septembre 2015.

    • Pour mémoire, l’accord russo-ukrainien de décembre 2003 sur la circulation en mer d’Azov (il est parfois – pas systématiquement – cité) est officiellement toujours en vigueur malgré l’annexion de la Crimée en 2014.

      Et personne ne semble réellement se soucier de savoir si l’Ukraine avait demandé l’autorisation préalable de franchissement du détroit, étant entendu que, des deux côtés, on renforce les (faibles) moyens militaires…

      Il est difficilement concevable que la Russie ait pu arraisonner les navires ukrainiens si l’autorisation avait été demandée et, a fortiori, accordée…

      Accord russo-ukrainien sur la mer d’Azov - Libération
      (article du 27 décembre 2003)
      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2003/12/27/accord-russo-ukrainien-sur-la-mer-d-azov_456591

      La conclusion, mercredi [24 décembre], d’un accord russo-ukrainien sur la mer d’Azov était interprétée, à Kiev, comme une nouvelle concession du président Léonid Koutchma à Vladimir Poutine. Selon le texte signé par les deux chefs d’Etat, la mer d’Azov et le détroit de Kertch (en Crimée, sud de l’Ukraine), qui la sépare de la mer Noire, seront désormais « gérés conjointement ». Les bateaux ukrainiens et russes jouiront de la liberté de navigation. En revanche, les bâtiments militaires des pays tiers ne pourront y entrer que sur autorisation des deux pays, ce qui permettra à Moscou d’empêcher l’entrée de navires de l’Otan. « Cette mesure est peu compatible avec l’intention de l’Ukraine d’adhérer à l’Alliance atlantique », relève l’hebdomadaire Zerkalo Nedeli. Un différend a récemment éclaté après que la Russie a mis en doute l’appartenance à l’Ukraine de l’île de Touzla, dans le détroit de Kertch.

    • J’aime bien le double discours – dès les éléments soulignés après le titre… _ la part du trafic qui passe par Kertch est marginale (moins de 5% et déplorable vers d’autres ports) mais le blocus (temporaire) souligne le risque sur les approvisionnement en blé ukrainien (qui sera très abondant cette saison)

      Chokepoint Blockade Exposes Supply Risk for Black Sea Grain - Bloomberg
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-26/russian-flareup-with-ukraine-brings-focus-on-shipping-chokepoint

      •  Access cut to Kerch Strait between Black Sea and Sea of Azov
      The ports handles a relatively small share of Ukrainian grain
      •  Access cut to Kerch Strait between Black Sea and Sea of Azov
      The ports handles a relatively small share of Ukrainian grain

      Russia’s brief blockade of a key shipping channel for Black Sea grain highlights the risk of disruption to an important source of global supply.

      Russia cut off access to the Kerch Strait between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea after tensions with Ukraine flared up over the weekend, and has since reopened the passage. Still, the conflict means some traders will likely reroute cargoes to avoid passing through the strait, according to the Ukrainian Grain Association.

      We are expecting a record harvest this season, and we plan record exports,” said Mykola Horbachov, head of the Ukrainian Grain Association. “So any window that is being closed for us means heavier pressure on our infrastructure, both seaport and railway. We are stretched to the limit.

      Ukraine ranks among the world’s biggest corn and wheat producers, supplying food to major markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Analysts said they didn’t expect much market impact because the proportion of Ukrainian grain that moves from ports on the Sea of Azov is relatively small, and the incident seems limited so far.

      Grain markets largely shrugged off the news. Benchmark prices in Chicago rose 1 percent and milling wheat futures in Paris added 0.2 percent.

      Shipments from the Ukraine ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk make up about 5 percents of the country’s grain exports, and cargoes that had previously planned to leave those areas may instead move by rail or other ports, Horbachov said. The two ports are on the Azov Sea and rely on the Kerch Strait.

      In terms of grain exports, it won’t have a big impact because I don’t think that Russia will stop their boats in the Kerch Strait, and in terms of Ukraine exports, there is not a lot of exports from the Azov Sea,” said Gautier Maupu, a Black Sea grains analyst with Agritel in Kiev. “Russian exports will not slow down, so there will not be a strong impact on markets.

      Still, the blockade highlights the threat of disruption to Black Sea supplies just as global grains markets are buffeted by the trade war between the U.S. and China. Wheat has jumped about 20 percent this year in Chicago as heat and dryness worldwide curbed output, including in the Black Sea.

    • Poutine défend sa version des affrontements avec l’Ukraine en mer Noire
      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2018/12/03/poutine-avance-sa-version-des-affrontements-avec-l-ukraine-en-mer-noire_5391


      Vladimir Poutine, à Buenos Aires, le 1er décembre.
      MARCOS BRINDICCI / REUTERS

      Privé de rencontre bilatérale avec Donald Trump, en représailles après les incidents survenus le 25 novembre au large de la Crimée qui ont abouti à la capture de trois bateaux et de vingt-quatre marins ukrainiens par la Russie, M. Poutine a livré sa version des faits au président américain « debout », comme il a lui-même décrit l’échange, en marge d’un dîner.

      Face à son homologue français, Emmanuel Macron, ou avec la chancelière allemande, Angela Merkel, avec lesquels il a pu s’entretenir en aparté, il a même sorti un stylo pour dessiner sur le papier sa chronologie des événements. Aux journalistes ensuite, M. Poutine a assuré que « la guerre va continuer » dans l’est de l’Ukraine, tant que les autorités actuelles de Kiev « resteront au pouvoir ».

      Version de VVP dont la seule chose que l’on ait le droit de savoir est qu’il qualifie l’événement de provocation. Absolument rien sur le déroulement des faits, ni en gros, ni en détail.

    • Ukraine resumes grain shipments from Azov Sea | Reuters
      https://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKBN1O30M5


      FILE PHOTO: Cranes are seen in the Azov Sea port of Mariupol, Ukraine December 2, 2018.
      REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

      Ukraine said on Tuesday it had resumed grain shipments from the Azov Sea, blocked for around 10 days after a military standoff with Russia in the Kerch Strait off Crimea.
      […]
      Earlier, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister Volodymyr Omelyan had said the two ports - vital for eastern Ukraine’s economy - had been “partially unlocked” with the restoration of some free movement through the Kerch Strait.


    • Par ailleurs,

      Some commentators predict that the Saudi crown prince is now so indebted to Trump that his support for the plan will be even more emphatic, but it’s more reasonable to assume that his newly-precarious hold on power will dissuade him from expressing emphatic support for a peace plan that is bound to enrage Palestinians as well as the proverbial “Arab street” in Riyadh, Mecca and other Arab cities.

      Netanyahu might actually welcome Saudi reticence that could help convince the Trump administration to hold off once again with its plan. The recent coalition crisis made it crystal clear that Netanyahu could be one of the first victims of his Washington BFF’s blueprint. Any peace plan published by the White House, even one viewed by Palestinians and the world as completely one-sided in Israel’s favor, will necessarily include relinquishment of territory, in East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank. It will be uniformly rejected by most of the Israeli right. Netanyahu is certainly loath to reject the fruit of Trump’s pro-Israel peace team’s labor, but anything less than a resounding “no” on his part could persuade even more voters to opt for parties to his right in the upcoming elections.

      The bottom line is that even the friendliest U.S. president in human history, as Netanyahu often describes him, is carrying a ticking time bomb that could soon blow up in the prime minister’s face. And as Netanyahu has recently learned from the botched military incursion in Gaza, the downing of the Russian plane and the horrid Khashoggi killing in Istanbul, unexpected developments can shake up the Middle East and demolish his image as its master manipulator. When lady luck thumbs her nose at the start of an election year, even the conventional wisdom about Netanyahu’s inevitable victory could dissipate in an instant, along with his hitherto-lauded grand strategies.


  • With Nearly 400,000 Dead in South Sudan, Will the U.S. Change Policy? - FPIF
    https://fpif.org/with-nearly-400000-dead-in-south-sudan-will-the-u-s-change-policy

    The United States has also taken sides in the war. The Obama administration supported President Kiir, helping him acquire arms from Uganda, a close U.S. ally in the region. “Uganda got a wink from us,” a former senior official has acknowledged.

    To keep the weapons flowing, the Obama administration spent years blocking calls for an arms embargo.

    [...]

    Jon Temin, who worked for the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff during the final years of the Obama administration, has been highly critical of the Obama administration’s choices. In a recent report published by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Temin argued that some of the worst violence could have been avoided if the Obama administration had implemented an arms embargo early in the conflict and refrained from siding so consistently with President Kiir.

    “The United States, at multiple stages, failed to step back and broadly reassess policy,” Temin reported.

    [...]

    More recently, the Trump administration has started paying some attention. The White House has posted statements to its website criticizing South Sudanese leaders and threatening to withhold assistance. Administration officials coordinated a recent vote at the United Nations Security Council to finally impose an arms embargo on the country.

    In other ways, however, the Trump administration has continued many of the policies of the Obama administration. It has not called much attention to the crisis. With the exception of the arms embargo, which could always be evaded with more winks to Uganda, it has done very little to step back, reassess policy, and change course.

    The United States could “lose leverage” in South Sudan “if it becomes antagonistic toward the government,” U.S. diplomat Gordon Buay warned earlier this year.

    #etats-unis #sud-Soudan


  • Are Jared and Ivanka Good for the Jews? - The New York Times

    Jewish communities stand more divided than ever on whether to embrace or denounce Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

    By Amy Chozick and Hannah Seligson
    Nov. 17, 2018

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/17/style/ivanka-trump-jared-kushner.html

    On election night in Beverly Hills, Jason Blum, the hot shot horror-movie producer, was accepting an award at the Israel Film Festival. The polls in a string of midterm contests were closing, and Mr. Blum, a vocal critic of President Trump, was talking about how much was at stake.

    “The past two years have been hard for all of us who cherish the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of this country,” Mr. Blum said.

    That’s when the crowd of mostly Jewish producers and power brokers started to chant, “We like Trump!” An Israeli man stepped onto the stage to try to pull Mr. Blum away from the microphone as the crowd at the Saban Theater Steve Tisch Cinema Center cheered.

    “As you can see from this auditorium, it’s the end of civil discourse,” Mr. Blum said, as security rushed the stage to help him. “Thanks to our president, anti-Semitism is on the rise.”
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    In the weeks after a gunman killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in one of the most horrific acts of anti-Semitism in years, debates about the president’s role in stoking extremism have roiled American Jews — and forced an uncomfortable reckoning between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and his daughter and son-in-law’s Jewish faith.
    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers greets Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
    Credit
    Doug Mills/The New York Times

    Image

    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers greets Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
    Rabbis and Jewish leaders have raged on Twitter and in op-eds, in sermons and over shabbat dinners, over how to reconcile the paradox of Jared Kushner, the descendant of Holocaust survivors, and Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism to marry Mr. Kushner.

    To some Jews, the couple serves as a bulwark pushing the Trump administration toward pro-Israel policies, most notably the decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. To many others, they are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, allowing Mr. Trump to brush aside criticism that his words have fueled the uptick in violent attacks against Jews.

    “For Jews who are deeply opposed to Donald Trump and truly believe he is an anti-Semite, it’s deeply problematic that he’s got a Jewish son-in-law and daughter. How can that be?” said Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.
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    Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump serve as senior advisers in the White House. At a time when Judaism is under assault — the F.B.I. said this week that anti-Semitic attacks have increased in each of the last three years — they are unabashedly Orthodox, observing shabbat each week, walking to an Orthodox Chabad shul near their Kalorama home in Washington, D.C., dropping their children off at Jewish day school and hanging mezuzas on the doors of their West Wing offices.

    After the Pittsburgh attack, Mr. Kushner played a key role in Mr. Trump (eventually) decrying “the scourge of anti-Semitism.” And Mr. Kushner helped arrange the president’s visit to the Squirrel Hill synagogue, including inviting Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States to accompany them. There, in Pittsburgh, thousands marched to protest what one organizer described as the insult of the Mr. Trump’s visit.
    Arabella Kushner lights the menorah as her parents look on during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in 2017.
    Credit
    Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

    Image

    Arabella Kushner lights the menorah as her parents look on during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in 2017.CreditOlivier Douliery/Getty Images
    The White House has referenced Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump’s religion to dismiss accusations that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric has emboldened anti-Semites. “The president is the grandfather of several Jewish grandchildren,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters.

    Using the couple in this way has unnerved many Jews who oppose the president and say Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump violated the sacred, if sometimes unspoken, communal code that mandates Jews take care of each other during times of struggle. “I’m more offended by Jared than I am by President Trump,” said Eric Reimer, a lawyer in New York who was on Mr. Kushner’s trivia team at The Frisch School, a modern Orthodox yeshiva in New Jersey that they both attended.

    “We, as Jews, are forced to grapple with the fact that Jared and his wife are Jewish, but Jared is participating in acts of Chillul Hashem,” said Mr. Reimer, using the Hebrew term for when a Jew behaves immorally while in the presence of others.
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    For Mr. Reimer, who hasn’t spoken to Mr. Kushner since high school, one of those incidents was the administration’s Muslim ban, which prompted members of the Frisch community to sign an open letter to Mr. Kushner imploring him “to exercise the influence and access you have to annals of power to ensure others don’t suffer the same fate as millions of our co-religionists.”

    Leah Pisar, president of the Aladdin Project, a Paris-based group that works to counter Holocaust denial, and whose late father, Samuel Pisar, escaped Auschwitz and advised John F. Kennedy, said she found it “inconceivable that Jared could stay affiliated with the administration after Pittsburgh” and called Mr. Kushner the president’s “fig leaf.”

    Those kinds of accusations are anathema to other Jews, particularly a subset of Orthodox Jews who accused liberal Jews of politicizing the Pittsburgh attack and who say that any policies that would weaken Israel are the ultimate act of anti-Semitism.
    Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May.
    Credit
    Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

    Image

    Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May.CreditSebastian Scheiner/Associated Press
    “Jared and Ivanka are one of us as traditional Jews who care deeply about Israel,” said Ronn Torossian, a New York publicist whose children attend the Ramaz School, the same Upper East Side yeshiva where Mr. Kushner’s eldest daughter Arabella was once enrolled. “I look at them as part of our extended family.”

    Even some Jews who dislike Mr. Trump’s policies and recoil at his political style may feel a reluctance to criticize the country’s most prominent Orthodox Jewish couple, grappling with the age-old question that has haunted the Jewish psyche for generations: Yes, but is it good for the Jews?
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    To that end, even as liberal New York Jews suggest the couple would be snubbed when they eventually return to the city, many in the Orthodox community would likely embrace them. “They certainly won’t be banned, but I don’t think most synagogues would give them an aliyah,” said Ethan Tucker, a rabbi and president of the Hadar yeshiva in New York, referring to the relatively limited honor of being called to make a blessing before and after the reading of the Torah. (Mr. Tucker is also the stepson of Joe Lieberman, the first Jewish candidate to run on a major party ticket in the U.S.) “I don’t think people generally honor people they feel were accomplices to politics and policies they abhor,” Mr. Tucker said.

    Haskel Lookstein, who serves as rabbi emeritus of the Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, the modern Orthodox synagogue on the Upper East Side that Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump attended, wrote in an open letter to Mr. Trump that he was “deeply troubled” by the president saying “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” in response to the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va.

    When reached last week to comment about the president’s daughter and son-in-law days after the Pittsburgh attack, Mr. Lookstein said simply, “I love them and that’s one of the reasons I don’t talk about them.”

    Talk to enough Jews about Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, and you begin to realize that the couple has become a sort of Rorschach test, with defenders and detractors seeing what they want to see as it relates to larger rifts about Jewish identity.

    “It’s not about Jared and Ivanka,” said Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “People look at them through the prism of their own worldviews.”
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    From left to right on front row, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara Netanyahu, Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
    Credit
    Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

    Image

    From left to right on front row, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara Netanyahu, Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.CreditSebastian Scheiner/Associated Press
    Those worldviews are rapidly changing. One in five American Jews now describes themselves as having no religion and identifying as Jews based only on ancestry, ethnicity or culture, according to Pew. By contrast, in the 1950s, 93 percent of American Jews identified as Jews based on religion.
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    As Jews retreat from membership to reform synagogues, historically made up of political liberals who were at the forefront of the fight for Civil Rights and other progressive issues, Chabad-Lubavitch, the Orthodox Hasidic group with which Mr. Kushner is affiliated, has become a rapidly-growing Jewish movement. The growth of Chabad correlates with fierce divisions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a small but growing contingent of American Jews who prioritize Israel above any other political or social issue.

    Mr. Kushner, in particular, has become a sort of proxy for these larger schisms about faith and Israel, according to Jewish experts. “There is a great deal of anxiety around the coming of the Orthodox,” said Dr. Sarna, the Brandeis professor. “Jared in every way — his Orthodoxy, his Chabad ties, his views on Israel — symbolizes those changes.”

    Mr. Kushner is the scion of wealthy real-estate developers and his family has donated millions of dollars to the Jewish community, including through a foundation that gives to settlements in the West Bank. Mr. Kushner influenced the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy, to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and to shutter a Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington.

    “You’d be hard pressed to find a better supporter of Israel than Donald Trump and Jared plays a role in that,” said Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. Mr. Kushner is currently working on a Middle East peace plan expected to be rolled out in the coming months.

    Haim Saban, an entertainment magnate and pro-Israel Democrat, is optimistic about Mr. Kushner’s efforts. He said in an interview from his hotel in Israel that although he disagrees with some of Mr. Trump’s policies, “Jared and by extension the president understand the importance of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel on multiple levels — security, intelligence, but most of all, shared values.”
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    That embrace has only exacerbated tensions with secular Jews who overwhelmingly vote Democratic and oppose Mr. Trump. According to a 2018 survey by the American Jewish Committee, 41 percent of Jews said they strongly disagree with Mr. Trump’s handling of U.S.-Israeli relations and 71 percent had an overall unfavorable opinion of Mr. Trump. (In response to questions for this story, a White House press aide referred reporters to an Ami magazine poll of 263 Orthodox Jews in the tristate area published in August. Eighty-two percent said they would vote for President Trump in 2020.)

    “To wave a flag and say ‘Oh, he’s obviously pro-Jewish because he moved the embassy’ just absolutely ignores what we know to be a deeply alarming rise of anti-Semitism and all sorts of dog-whistling and enabling of the alt-right,” said Andy Bachman, a prominent progressive rabbi in New York.
    President Trump praying at the Western Wall.
    Credit
    Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

    Image

    President Trump praying at the Western Wall.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times
    In September, Mr. Kushner and his top advisers, Jason D. Greenblatt and Avi Berkowitz, hosted a private dinner at the Pierre Hotel on the Upper East Side. Over a kosher meal, Mr. Kushner, aware of concerns within the Jewish community that Israel policy had become an overly partisan issue, fielded the advice of a range of Jewish leaders, including hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor Paul Singer and Mr. Saban, to craft his Middle East peace plan. “He called and said ’I’ll bring 10 Republicans and you bring 10 Democrats,’” Mr. Saban said.

    The undertaking will only bring more kvetching about Mr. Kushner. Indeed, some of Mr. Trump’s most ardent Jewish supporters have already expressed their displeasure at any deal that would require Israel to give up land.

    “I’m not happy with Jared promoting a peace deal that’s sending a message that we’re ready to ignore the horrors of the Palestinian regime,” said Morton A. Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America and a friend of Republican megadonor Sheldon G. Adelson.

    “But …” Mr. Klein added, as if self-aware of how other Jews will view his position, “I am a fanatical, pro-Israel Zionist.”
    Amy Chozick is a New York-based writer-at-large and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, writing about the personalities and power struggles in business, politics and media.


  • Top White House Official Involved in Saudi Sanctions Resigns - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/17/us/politics/trump-khashoggi-saudi-arabia.html

    A top White House official responsible for American policy toward Saudi Arabia resigned on Friday evening, a move that may suggest fractures inside the Trump administration over the response to the brutal killing of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

    The official, Kirsten Fontenrose, had pushed for tough measures against the Saudi government, and had been in Riyadh to discuss a raft of sanctions that the American government imposed in recent days against those identified as responsible for the killing, according to two people familiar with the conversations. Specifically, she advocated that Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, be added to the list, and he ultimately was.

    Mauvais timing pour le renvoi de cette fonctionnaire de la Maison blanche en charge du dossier saoudien et qui souhaitait apparemment des sanctions : cela vient juste au moment des fuites sur le rapport de la CIA mettant en cause #MBS et, par dessus le marché, une vidéo (totalement invérifiable) se met à circuler montrant des morceaux choisis (!) du démantèlement (https://twitter.com/mazmbc/status/1063753281099325440)

    #gore de gore #arabie_saoudite #grand_jeu


  • Exclusive: Khashoggi murder further complicates ’Arab NATO’ plan - U.S. sources | Reuters

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mideast-alliance-exclusive/exclusive-khashoggi-murder-further-complicates-arab-nato-plan-u-s-sources-i

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s strategy to contain Iranian power in the Middle East by forging Arab allies into a U.S.-backed security alliance was in trouble even before the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Now, three U.S. sources said, the plan faces fresh complications.

    FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
    Khashoggi’s murder on Oct. 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has drawn international outrage against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with Turkish officials and some U.S. lawmakers accusing the kingdom’s de facto ruler of ordering the killing.

    The Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) aims to bind Sunni Muslim governments in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan in a U.S.-led security, political and economic pact to counter Shi’ite Iran. 

    But feuds among Arab allies, especially a Saudi-led economic and political boycott of Qatar, have hampered the founding of the alliance since Riyadh proposed it last year.

    A summit meeting in the United States where Trump and the Arab leaders would sign a preliminary accord on the alliance was expected in January. But the three U.S. sources and a Gulf diplomat said the meeting now looks uncertain. It has already been postponed several times, they added. 

    Khashoggi’s murder raised “a whole bunch of problems” to be solved before the plan - informally referred to as the “Arab NATO” - can move forward, one U.S. source said. One issue is how the Americans could have the Saudi crown prince, who goes by the initials MbS, attend the summit without causing widespread outrage.

    “It’s not palatable,” the source said.


  • UAE. The Other Murderous Gulf - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    https://carnegieendowment.org/2018/10/30/other-murderous-gulf-pub-77606

    Since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad in early October, Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and patron of Saudi Arabia’s own crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), has resembled the cat that swallowed the canary. The disastrous regional adventurism and ruthless despotism of his protégé has averted Washington’s gaze from the UAE’s own responsibility for the carnage that is roiling the region. But the UAE should not be given a get out jail free card. If the White House refuses to hold the Emirates accountable for undermining U.S. interests, Congress should use its constitutional power to step into the leadership void.

    Richard Sokolsky

    Richard Sokolsky is a nonresident senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program. His work focuses on U.S. policy toward Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
    Throughout Yemen’s three-and-a-half-year civil war, the Emiratis have been as brutal and reckless as the Saudis. While Saudi aircraft slaughter innocent civilians at wedding halls, funerals, homes, markets, schools, and ports, UAE boots on the ground have also contributed to the humanitarian disaster. The UAE-led military offensive in and around the port city of Hodeidah has been a catastrophe: over 400,000 Yemenis have been displaced since June and the fighting has considerably worsened the country’s already alarming food crisis and famine. Human rights organizations have reported on secret UAE-administered detention facilities where torture, beatings, electric shocks, and killings have occurred. The UAE royal family has paid retired U.S. Special Forces soldiers to track down and assassinate Yemeni political figures that it believes are in league with the wider Muslim Brotherhood movement. In Aden, the UAE has organized, supplied, and paid militias to foment fractious proxy violence. Yemenis who once saw the Emirati intervention as an heroic act to defend their nation’s sovereignty from a ruthless Iran-supported militia are now depicting it as an occupation, if not colonization.

    The UAE is part of the coalition of “Saudi-led” Arab countries (along with Bahrain and Egypt) that imposed a blockade against Qatar in May 2017. These nations were attempting to, among other things, end Qatar’s “terrorism,” cut its ties to Iran, get it to stop meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, and force it to pursue a less independent foreign policy. The UAE has taken an even more hardline stance against the Qataris than the Saudis, in part because it is more fanatical than Riyadh about eradicating any trace of Muslim Brotherhood influence in Qatar and the region more broadly. The boycott, which has divided America’s partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council, has been a disaster for both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, affording both Iran and Turkey opportunities to expand their influence in Doha. Nor has it worked out well for Washington, which hoped to forge a united Gulf front to contain Iranian influence. But for the UAE, the Saudis have been a useful surrogate for outsized regional ambitions; the Emiratis’ relationship with the Kingdom has allowed them to punch well above their weight. That’s not a good thing.


  • Khashoggi murder: Saudi prince ’said he was dangerous Islamist’ - BBC News
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-46067959

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the US he considered murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi to be a dangerous Islamist, media reports say.

    Prince Mohammed’s reported phone call to the White House came before Saudi Arabia admitted he had been killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

    Saudi Arabia has denied the reports in the Washington Post and New York Times.

    A Saudi national and well-known critic of Saudi rulers, Khashoggi was killed and his body dismembered on 2 October.

    #arabie_saoudite #de_plus_en_plus_gore


  • Report: Netanyahu asked Trump to stick with Saudi crown prince after Khashoggi murder - Middle East News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/netanyahu-asked-trump-to-stick-with-saudi-crown-prince-after-khashoggi-murd

    WASHINGTON - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked senior officials in the Trump White House to continue supporting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

    Citing U.S. officials, the report stated that Netanyahu described the Crown Prince as a “strategic ally” in the Middle East.

    The report said that a similar message was conveyed to the White House by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.


  • How Vilification of George Soros Moved From the Fringes to the Mainstream - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/31/us/politics/george-soros-bombs-trump.html

    On both sides of the Atlantic, a loose network of activists and political figures on the right have spent years seeking to cast Mr. Soros not just as a well-heeled political opponent but also as the personification of all they detest. Employing barely coded anti-Semitism, they have built a warped portrayal of him as the mastermind of a “globalist” movement, a left-wing radical who would undermine the established order and a proponent of diluting the white, Christian nature of their societies through immigration.

    In the process, they have pushed their version of Mr. Soros, 88, from the dark corners of the internet and talk radio to the very center of the political debate.

    “He’s a banker, he’s Jewish, he gives to Democrats — he’s sort of a perfect storm for vilification by the right, here and in Europe,” said Michael H. Posner, a human rights lawyer and former State Department official in the Obama administration.

    Mr. Soros has given his main group, the Open Society Foundations, $32 billion for what it calls democracy-building efforts in the United States and around the world. In addition, in the United States, Mr. Soros has personally contributed more than $75 million over the years to federal candidates and committees, according to Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service records.

    That qualifies him as one of the top disclosed donors to American political campaigns in the modern campaign finance era, and it does not include the many millions more he has donated to political nonprofit groups that do not disclose their donors.

    By contrast, the network of conservative donors led by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, who have been similarly attacked by some on the American left, has spent about $2 billion over the past decade on political and public policy advocacy.❞

    The closing advertisement for Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign featured Mr. Soros — as well as Janet L. Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve at the time, and Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, both of whom are Jewish — as examples of “global special interests” who enriched themselves on the backs of working Americans.

    If anything, Mr. Soros has been elevated by Mr. Trump and his allies to even greater prominence in the narrative they have constructed for the closing weeks of the 2018 midterm elections. They have projected on to him key roles in both the threat they say is posed by the Central Americans making their way toward the United States border and what they characterized as Democratic “mobs” protesting the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

    The National Republican Congressional Committee ran an ad in October in Minnesota suggesting that Mr. Soros, who is depicted sitting behind a pile of cash, “bankrolls” everything from “prima donna athletes protesting our anthem” to “left-wing mobs paid to riot in the streets.” The ad links Mr. Soros to a local congressional candidate who worked at a think tank that has received funding from the Open Society Foundations.

    Even after the authorities arrested a fervent Trump supporter and accused him of sending the pipe bombs to Mr. Soros and other critics, Republicans did not back away. The president grinned on Friday when supporters at the White House responded to his attacks on Democrats and “globalists” by chanting, “Lock ’em up,” and yelling, “George Soros.”

    #Antisémitisme #Georges_Soros #Néo_fascisme #USA


  • The three types of WhatsApp users getting Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro elected | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/25/brazil-president-jair-bolsonaro-whatsapp-fake-news

    If the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s charge to the White House were jet-propelled by Facebook, the rise of Brazil’s likely next president, the far-right firebrand Jair Bolsonaro, owes much to WhatsApp.

    The Facebook-owned messaging app is wildly popular in Brazil, with about 120 million active users, and has proved to be the ideal tool for mobilizing political support – but also for spreading fake news.

    To understand the motivations, hopes and fears of Bolsonaro’s tens of millions of supporters I joined four pro-Bolsonaro WhatsApp groups.

    After four months of receiving an average of 1,000 messages per group, per day, this is what I found:

    There are three key clusters of members, who I classified as Ordinary Brazilians, Bolsominions, and Influencers.

    They use sophisticated image and video editing software to create convincing and emotionally engaging digital content. They are smart and know how to manipulate content into memes and short texts that go viral.

    They work fast to undermine any person or news outlet that criticizes Bolsonaro. For example, after the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s described some of Bolsonaro’s comments as “extremely unpleasant”, the Influencers quickly published a meme accusing her of being a communist.

    Some of the fake news stories are simply astonishing. A group of “movers and shakers” created a bogus flyer claim that Bolsonaro’s leftist rival Fernando Haddad, planned to sign an executive order allowing men to have sex with 12-year-olds.

    During the first round of votes they repeatedly circulated fake videos that showed malfunctioning electronic voting machines in order to reinforce the idea that the elections were rigged.

    These three groups have different roles, but they have a lot in common: they share a total disbelief in Brazil’s representative democracy and have concluded that the system only serves those at the top.

    Despite their support for the idea of military intervention, they don’t want a new dictatorship, arguing instead that Brazil needs someone to end the corruption that has benefited politicians of both the left and the right – and devastated the country’s economy.

    #Whatsapp #Brésil #Infox


  • Donald Trump Spell-Check : Why Does Our Leader Insist on Capitalizing ’Country’ ? | Alternet
    https://www.alternet.org/donald-trump-spell-check-why-does-our-leader-insist-capitalizing-country

    Trump’s bizarre spelling choices may seem amusing. But stop laughing: His use of “Country” has a hidden meaning

    By Chauncey DeVega / Salon
    October 26, 2018, 3:06 AM GMT

    There is nothing funny about Donald Trump. Like other autocrats and political thugs he thrives on being underestimated. Last week there was another example of this error by Donald Trump’s detractors and others who oppose him.

    On Twitter, his preferred means of communication, Donald Trump proclaimed last week:

    When referring to the USA, I will always capitalize the word Country!

    Trump was mocked by comedians on late night television for this supposed gaffe. Other prominent voices pointed to Trump’s ‘misspelling’ as further proof that he is a dolt and a fool. By implication, his voters are fools and dolts as well. This version of liberal Schadenfreude is a defining feature in the Age of Trump.

    It is small comfort which ignores the fact that Donald Trump’s grammatical errors and odd spelling are — as admitted by White House insiders some months ago — strategic choices designed to make him appear more ‘folksy’ and ‘authentic.’ Trump’s faux-populist appeal depends upon his ability to relate to his supporters by sharing their grievances and hostility toward those liberals and progressives they perceive as looking down on ‘real Americans.’

    To understand Donald Trump, one must begin with the fact that he is an American fascist — an autocrat and authoritarian by instinct, behavior, and values. This is the nucleus of his being. This is the prism through which to best understand Donald Trump.

    I asked several leading experts on fascism and authoritarianism to help me understand Trump’s conversion of ‘Country’ into a proper noun.

    Ruth Ben-Ghiat, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, author of the forthcoming book ‘Strongmen: How They Rise, Why They Succeed, How They Fall,’ and featured commentator in Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’:

    Trump’s statement that he’ll capitalize the word Country represents yet another attempt to polarize the American population and set up one half as ‘moral,’ “just” and politically and, above all, racially acceptable. It is a technique used by every authoritarian leader, often with success. Some may look at this tweet as just another quirky Trump language proposition, but nothing he does is accidental, including his capitalization strategies.

    Richard Frankel, professor of modern German History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, an expert on the rise of Nazism in Germany whose work has also been featured in Newsweek and on the History News Network:

    I see it as another way of saying ‘America First.’ He’s putting the emphasis on country, on nation, on America before anything else. He’s contrasting himself and his followers with those who see America as part of a much larger community of nations, in which cooperation, not confrontation, is what is what’s best for everyone. Those who see it his way are the “real Americans.” Those who don’t are the enemy. It’s the pitting of ‘America Firsters’ against the dreaded “Globalists.” It’s another way to divide the country — inclusion through exclusion.

    Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale University and author of ‘How Propaganda Works’ as well as the new book ‘How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them’:

    Via linguistic style and repetition, Trump is inculcating his followers with an ethic of authoritarian nationalism. Organized religion is a local authoritarian structure; the authority of God is signaled linguistically, by capitalizing ‘God’ or not completely spelling out the word. According to Trump, like ‘God,’ “Country” should be capitalized. This is a linguistic means of signalizing the quasi-religious authority of the nation. And since the nation is not a person, or even a person-like figure, that religious authority should be transferred to its leader, Donald Trump.

    It (again) reminded me of this quote from Victor Klemperer’s ‘Language of the Third Reich’: ‘Nazism permeated the flesh and blood of the people through single words, idioms and sentence structures which were imposed on them in a million repetitions and taken on board mechanically and unconsciously … language does not simply write and think for me, it also increasingly dictates my feelings and governs my entire spiritual being the more unquestioningly and unconsciously I abandon myself to it.’

    Several days after Trump made his declaration about the correct spelling of our ‘Country,’ he announced that he was a proud ‘nationalist.’ Because Trump is a racial authoritarian — and a student of ‘alt-right’ guru Steve Bannon as well as White House adviser Stephen Miller, principal architect of his nativist immigration policy — his brand of nationalism is in no sense ‘neutral.’ It is in reality white nationalism, whether called by that name or not. Donald Trump may evade or deflect from that fact. But it is true nonetheless. This is evident through his repeated and overt hostility toward nonwhites and Muslims.

    An embrace of nationalism by Donald Trump fits neatly within his logic for capitalizing the word ‘Country’ when referring to the United States of America.

    Benjamin Hett, professor of history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, author of ‘Burning the Reichstag: An Investigation into the Third Reich’s Enduring Mystery’ as well as the new book ‘The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic’:

    This is language I do not remember hearing from any other president. And this is where the significance of ‘Country’ comes in. Trump the ‘nationalist’ with his capital C in ‘Country’ uses ‘globalist’ as a pejorative. He is step by step dismantling the international infrastructure which the United States created after the Second World War to maintain a democratic and prosperous global order. Just recently he has begun dismantling the key INF treaty with Russia, another horrifically dangerous step. This is all reminiscent of the nationalism of the German administrations of the early 1930s, up to and including Hitler — turn away from the world, turn away from crucial international connections, turn away from peace and democracy. We know, or should know, that this cannot and will not lead anywhere good.

    *

    Some people laugh when they are terrified. It is not that the situation is funny; rather, their brains process existential dread through the physical act of laughter. This is why so many of us laugh at Donald Trump’s supposed gaffes and misspellings, and his other crude and boorish behavior. Donald Trump’s America is a real thing. We are stuck in it and many of us still cannot believe this has all come to pass. In the final analysis, laughter provides some short-term relief during the walk to the political gallows. The laughter feels good. The noose is still waiting.

    #Trump #Fascisme #Typographie #Histoire #Linguistique


  • Trump pulls US out of UN postal scheme on China price concerns | US news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/17/trump-universal-postal-union-withdraw-foreign-postal-rates

    The Trump administration will begin withdrawing from a United Nations treaty that offered low rates for foreign postal deliveries of small packages in the US – the latest move to challenge practices it sees as unfairly advantageous to China.

    White House officials said on Wednesday the US would start the process of leaving the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a Switzerland-based organisation that connects postal services worldwide.

    The White House said the UPU enabled foreign postal services to take advantage of cheap shipments to the US, creating an unfair cost advantage over US companies that shipped goods, and hurting the US Postal Service.

    Shares of internet-based mailing and shipping provider Stamps.com fell nearly 9% after the announcement. Online shoppers in the US have often benefited from the arrangement, gaining access to foreign goods at little cost.

    Donald Trump is distancing the US from international multilateral organisations and accompanying policies that he says hurt US interests.

    #Union_Postale_Universelle, fondée en 1874 …


  • All the president’s men: what to make of Trump’s bizarre new painting | Hannah Jane Parkinson | Opinion | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/15/president-trump-new-painting-white-house-republican

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, unless it’s a shredded Banksy, obviously, which is worth around £1m. But how to put a value on the majestic artwork Donald Trump was revealed to have gracing the wall outside the Oval Office, as eagle-eyed viewers of 60 Minutes spotted?

    So far, we know of two other “artworks” that Trump has: that Photoshopped picture of his inauguration crowd (dude, let it go), and the electoral college map. It is no wonder Trump wanted to spruce the place up in his own way, given that he referred to the White House as “a dump”. I still cackle at this, given its sheer, disparaging rudeness – like how when Location, Location, Location’s Phil shows a couple around a three-bedroom semi with a north-facing garden, Kirstie mugs to the camera and draws an imaginary knife across her throat.

    #on_est_en_2018 #allégorie #images #propagande #représentation


  • Blake Hounshell (powered by blockchain) sur Twitter : “Compare this to the White House’s Saudi Arabia response https://t.co/zOLGKnK1h1” / Twitter
    https://mobile.twitter.com/blakehounshell/status/1050035007488741377

    Ben Gittleson
    @bgittleson
    White House
    @PressSec
    issued a statement saying the U.S. “condemns the Maduro regime’s involvement in the death of Venezuelan opposition councilman Fernando Alban” #Venezuela

    #Etats-Unis


  • Israel can ’definitely’ absorb 100,000 West Bank Palestinians, justice minister says - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    ’It’s impossible to ignore the processes taking place in the Democratic Party (in the USA). You know, the party itself is becoming less and less what’s considered Zionist,’ Ayelet Shaked tells The Atlantic

    Haaretz
    Oct 10, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israel-can-definitely-absorb-100-000-west-bank-palestinians-justice-ministe

    Shaked acknowledged that annexation could put Israel at odds with the United States, especially if Democrats take the White House in 2020. “Sadly, it’s impossible to ignore the processes taking place in the Democratic Party. You know, the party itself is becoming less and less what’s considered Zionist,” Shaked said.


  • Thank you, Mother Russia, for imposing boundaries on Israel - For the first time in years another state is saying to Israel: Stop right there. At least in Syria, that’s the end of it. Thank you, Mother Russia.

    Gideon Levy SendSend me email alerts
    Sep 28, 2018
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-to-russia-with-love-1.6511224

    A ray of hope is breaking through: Someone is setting limits on Israel. For the first time in years another state is making it clear to Israel that there are restrictions to its power, that it’s not okay for it to do whatever it wants, that it’s not alone in the game, that America can’t always cover for it and that there’s a limit to the harm it can do.
    Israel needed someone to set these limits like it needed oxygen. The recent years’ hubris and geopolitical reality enabled it to run rampant. It could patrol Lebanon’s skies as if they were its own; bombard in Syria’s air space as if it were Gaza’s air space; destroy Gaza periodically, put it under endless siege and continue, of course, to occupy the West Bank. Suddenly someone stood up and said: Stop right there. At least in Syria: That’s the end of it. Thank you, Mother Russia, for setting limits on a child whom no one has restrained for a long time.
    >>What Russia and Turkey really want in Syria | Explained ■ Russia’s claims on downed plane over Syria are dubious, but will usher in new reality for Israel | Analysis ■ Russia vs. Israel: The contradicting accounts of the downing of a plane over Syria

    The Israeli stupefaction at the Russian response and the paralysis that gripped it only showed how much Israel needed a responsible adult to rein it in. Does anyone dare prevent Israel’s freedom of movement in another country? Is anyone hindering it from flying in skies not its own? Is anyone keeping it from bombing as much as it pleases? For decades Israel hasn’t encountered such a strange phenomenon. Israel Hayom reported, of course, that anti-Semitism is growing in Russia. Israel is getting ready to play the next victim card, but its arrogance has suddenly gone missing.
    In April the Bloomberg News agency cited threats from retired Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin and other officers that if Russia gives Syria S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, Israel’s air force would bombard them. Now the voice of bluster from Zion has been muted, at least for the moment.
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    Every state is entitled to have weapons for defense against jet bombers, including Syria, and no state is permitted to prevent that forcibly. This basic truth already sounds bizarre to Israeli ears. The idea that other countries’ sovereignty is meaningless, that it can always be disrupted by force, and that Israeli sovereignty alone is sacred, and supreme; that Israel can mix in the affairs of the region to its heart’s content – including by military intervention, whose true extent is yet to be clarified in the war in Syria – without paying a price, in the name of its real or imagined security, which sanctifies anything and everything – all this has suddenly run into a Russian “nyet.” Oh, how we needed that nyet, to restore Israel to its real dimensions.
    It arrived with excellent timing. Just when there’s a president in the White House who runs his Middle East policy at the instructions of his sponsor in Las Vegas and mentor on Balfour Street; when Israel feels itself in seventh heaven, with an American embassy in Jerusalem and no UNRWA, soon without the Palestinians – came the flashing red light from Moscow. Perhaps it will balance out, just a bit, the intoxication with power that has overtaken Israel in recent years, maybe it will start to wise up and recover.
    Russia, without meaning to, may yet turn out to be better for Israel than all the insane, corrupting support it receives from the current American administration, and from its predecessors, too.
    Russia has outlined for the world the way to treat Israel, using the only language Israel understands. Let those who truly care for Israel’s welfare, and for justice, learn how it’s done: Only by force. Only when Israel gets punished or is forced to pay a price does it do the right thing. The air force will think twice now and perhaps many times more before its next bombardment in Syria, whose importance, if indeed it has any, is unknown.
    Had such a Russian “nyet” hovered above Gaza’s skies, too, so much futile death and destruction would have been spared. Had an international force faced the Israeli occupation, it would have ended long ago. Instead, we have Donald Trump in Washington and the European Union’s pathetic denunciations of the evictions at Khan al-Ahmar.


  • Mug Shot - Jane Fonda
    https://www.janefonda.com/mug-shot

    My first speech was given at a college in Canada and when I re-entered the US at the Cleveland airport all my luggage was seized and gone through. They discovered a large bag containing little plastic envelopes marked (in red nail polish) ‘B’, ‘L’, ‘D’–signifying breakfast, lunch and dinner- that contained the vitamins I took with each meal. They confiscated that as well as my address book (which was photocopied) and arrested me for drug smuggling. I told them what they were but they said they were getting orders from the White House–that would be the Nixon White House. I think they hoped this “scandal” would cause the college speeches to be canceled and ruin my respectability. I was handcuffed and put in the Cleveland Jail, which is when the mug shot was taken. (I had just finished filming “Klute” so, yes, it was the Klute haircut).


  • The White House has revealed massive mission creep in Syria. Here’s why.
    https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/09/25/the-white-house-just-revealed-massive-mission-creep-in-syria-heres-wh

    Officially, the only mission for U.S. troops on the ground in the region ― including about 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 2,200 in Syria ― is to defeat and destroy ISIS.

    But recently the White House has begun to reveal a massive new mission on the horizon for U.S. troops in the Middle East: containing Iran.

    National security adviser John Bolton on Monday said countering Iran’s influence in Syria and elsewhere is a major goal of the U.S. military mission in the Middle East.

    “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,” Bolton said, signaling a fundamental shift from the current counter-terrorism operations to a mission focused more on geopolitical maneuvering and proxy warfare.


  • Les États-Unis dévoilent la condition de leur retrait de Syrie - Sputnik France
    https://fr.sputniknews.com/international/201809241038218472-bolton-etats-unis-syrie

    « Les troupes des États-Unis ne quitteront pas la Syrie tant que des troupes iraniennes se trouvent en dehors d’Iran », a-t-il déclaré lors d’une conférence de presse à New York.

    En vo : “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,” White House national security adviser John Bolton said while traveling in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, according to the Associated Press." (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/john-bolton-us-will-stay-in-syria-until-iran-leaves)

    Et moi qui croyais qu’ils étaient là pour défendre la révolution syrienne ! Comme j’étais naïf !

    #syrie #grand_jeu

    • US military document reveals how the West opposed a democratic Syria, by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed (Le Monde diplomatique - English edition, September 2018)
      https://mondediplo.com/outside-in/syria-democracy-documents

      Despite acknowledging that opposition groups would probably fail to overthrow Assad, the document still assesses that they could be mobilised to counter Iranian encroachment. It was accepted that this would empower Islamist forces among the Syrian opposition, rather than democratic and secular forces: ‘Turkey does not have good options nor the capability to effect change in Syria any time soon, but it will gradually attempt to build up linkages with groups inside Syria, focusing in particular on the Islamist remnants of the Muslim Brotherhood in trying to fashion a viable Islamist political force in Syria that would operate under Ankara’s umbrella. This will take time to develop, but the geopolitical dynamic of the region points to a gradually [sic] weakening of the Alawite hold on power in Syria.’

      The anti-democratic nature of the strategy was clear. Regardless of the democratic aspirations driving the Syrian uprising, US military officials were content with the idea of encouraging foreign powers to nurture Islamist forces in Syria who would operate under the ‘umbrella’ of those foreign powers: all to try and weaken Iran’s foothold.