person:rex tillerson

  • EXCLUSIVE : Pompeo announces international summit on Iran | Fox News

    Discussions avec le régime syrien pour l’avenir du pays contre lâchage de l’Iran (en prélude à une attaque) : la carotte et le bâton as usual.

    The United States will host an international summit next month to promote stability and freedom in the Middle East, focusing on Iran’s regional influence, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an exclusive Fox News interview, while traveling in the Middle East.

    "We’ll bring together dozens of countries from all around the world,” said Pompeo, announcing the February 13-14 event in Poland. “Countries will all come together to focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence.”


    The secretary is in the middle of a nine-country trip through the Middle East, as the Trump administration is confronted with questions over when and how it plans to remove American forces from Syria.

    Pompeo’s predecessor, Rex Tillerson, said in October 2017, that Syrian President Bashar al Assad had no role in Syria’s political future, but when asked whether that is still the U.S. position, Pompeo today said the Assad regime will be part of those conversations.

    “We want to make sure all the options are open as that political discourse begins,” he said. “We are very hopeful that we will get the bad actors in the region, the Russians and the Iranians, to come to the table, along with the regime and all the other stakeholders in there to come to the table and have conversations about what a post-civil-war political structure might look like in Syria.”

    #syrie #iran #grand_jeu

  • Saudi Arabia Planned to Invade Qatar Last Summer. Rex Tillerson’s Efforts to Stop It May Have Cost Him His Job.

    THIRTEEN HOURS BEFORE Secretary of State Rex Tillerson learned from the presidential Twitter feed that he was being fired, he did something that President Donald Trump had been unwilling to do. Following a phone call with his British counterpart, Tillerson condemned a deadly nerve agent attack in the U.K., saying that he had “full confidence in the U.K.’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible.

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had called the attack “reckless, indiscriminate, and irresponsible,” but stopped short of blaming Russia, leading numerous media outlets to speculate that Tillerson was fired for criticizing Russia.

    But in the months that followed his departure, press reports strongly suggested that the countries lobbying hardest for Tillerson’s removal were Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which were frustrated by Tillerson’s attempts to mediate and end their blockade of Qatar. One report in the New York Times even suggested that the UAE ambassador to Washington knew that Tillerson would be forced out three months before he was fired in March.

    The Intercept has learned of a previously unreported episode that stoked the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s anger at Tillerson and that may have played a key role in his removal. In the summer of 2017, several months before the Gulf allies started pushing for his ouster, Tillerson intervened to stop a secret Saudi-led, UAE-backed plan to invade and essentially conquer Qatar, according to one current member of the U.S. intelligence community and two former State Department officials, all of whom declined to be named, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

    In the days and weeks after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and closed down their land, sea, and air borders with the country, Tillerson made a series of phone calls urging Saudi officials not to take military action against the country. The flurry of calls in June 2017 has been reported, but State Department and press accounts at the time described them as part of a broad-strokes effort to resolve tensions in the Gulf, not as an attempt by Tillerson to avert a Saudi-led military operation.

    In the calls, Tillerson, who dealt extensively with the Qatari government as the CEO of Exxon Mobil, urged Saudi King Salman, then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir not to attack Qatar or otherwise escalate hostilities, the sources told The Intercept. Tillerson also encouraged Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to call his counterparts in Saudi Arabia to explain the dangers of such an invasion. Al Udeid Air Base near Doha, Qatar’s capital city, is the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command and home to some 10,000 American troops.

    Pressure from Tillerson caused Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the country, to back down, concerned that the invasion would damage Saudi Arabia’s long-term relationship with the U.S. But Tillerson’s intervention enraged Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and effective ruler of that country, according to the U.S. intelligence official and a source close to the Emirati royal family, who declined to be identified, citing concerns about his safety.

    Later that June, Mohammed bin Salman would be named crown prince, leapfrogging over his cousin to become next in line for the throne after his elderly father. His ascension signaled his growing influence over the kingdom’s affairs.

    Qatari intelligence agents working inside Saudi Arabia discovered the plan in the early summer of 2017, according to the U.S. intelligence official. Tillerson acted after the Qatari government notified him and the U.S. embassy in Doha. Several months later, intelligence reporting by the U.S. and U.K. confirmed the existence of the plan.

    The plan, which was largely devised by the Saudi and UAE crown princes and was likely some weeks away from being implemented, involved Saudi ground troops crossing the land border into Qatar, and, with military support from the UAE, advancing roughly 70 miles toward Doha. Circumventing the U.S. air base, Saudi forces would then seize the capital.

  • The Perils of a Putsch in Venezuela – Foreign Policy

    Encouraging a coup in Caracas will give Russia and China a foothold in the United States’ backyard.

    In recent months, high-ranking U.S. officials have been signaling to Venezuelan military leaders that they have Washington’s blessing to take the reins in Caracas. In a February speech ahead of his trip to Latin America, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people.

    Others have been blunter. Just a few days after Tillerson’s remarks, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) took to Twitter to say that the world “would support the Armed Forces in #Venezuela if they decide to protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator.” And earlier this week, in a speech at Florida International University, Juan Cruz, U.S. President Donald Trump’s special assistant and senior director for western hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council, urged “the military to respect the oath they took to perform their functions.
    Giving the green light for a military coup is not only bad for America’s image; it is also a threat to U.S. strategic interests.Giving the green light for a military coup is not only bad for America’s image; it is also a threat to U.S. strategic interests. That’s because encouraging a putsch in Venezuela could backfire and end up increasing Russian and Chinese influence in the Western Hemisphere.
    The U.S. officials praising the prospect of a military takeover seem to disregard the fact that U.S.-Venezuelan military relations are virtually nonexistent today. U.S. defense contacts with Venezuela declined sharply in the years following the rise of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 1999. Meanwhile, the Russians, Chinese, and Cubans have replaced the United States as the primary sources of financial, technical, and material support to the Venezuelan military. The mere threat of a coup in Venezuela could be enough to rally the military around hard-liners and compel U.S. rivals to consider their preferred alternatives to the Maduro regime as collapse becomes imminent. Rivals with economic, political, and geostrategic interests in Venezuela, such as Russia and China, are far better positioned than the United States to influence the Venezuelan military during any transition.

    Moscow and Beijing will be especially interested in cultivating ties with the top brass in Caracas if they sense that offering economic and political support to a new Venezuelan leadership could change the mineral-rich country’s trajectory from an economic basket case to an economically and politically stable authoritarian regime. In such a situation, Russia, China, and Cuba — in some formal or informal configuration — could abandon the flailing and ineffective leadership of President Nicolás Maduro and back a military regime in uncomfortably close geographic proximity to the United States.

    The current situation in Venezuela is untenable. Oil production is declining, public unrest is spreading, inflation is up nearly 13,000 percentage points in the last two months, and military and civilian elites are becoming increasingly dissatisfied. Moreover, other countries in Latin America that stood by Chavez in the past are now denouncing Maduro. Pressure for regime change is growing.

  • Analyse intéressante (d’opposition) sur la situation politique au #Venezuela y compris lexicologique.

    El « #pranato » que nos gobierna |

    Nuestro problema no es solo de derechos humanos y democracia o crisis humanitaria sino de articulación del régimen con grupos y países con intereses geopolíticos y delincuenciales en Venezuela.

    El camino de las discusiones académicas, políticas e incluso lingüísticas para caracterizar la organización del poder en la Venezuela chavista ha consumido mucho tiempo, durante el cual ha sido complicado un acuerdo sobre la mejor vía para liberarnos de esta lacra que nos acogota. Es reciente que en los círculos académicos, en los pasillos de las cancillerías y en las organizaciones internacionales se comience a aceptar que estamos en dictadura. Distintas caracterizaciones aparecieron en estos largos años, entre ellas, neodictadura, autoritarismo, autoritarismo competitivo y totalitarismo sin olvidar lo de fascismo. Catalogarlo como dictadura no fue una tarea fácil. Formalmente la OEA, por ejemplo, no ha sido capaz de hablar de “ruptura del hilo constitucional” sino de “violación”. Y menos de actuar en consecuencia. Hubo que crear un grupo extra OEA, el Grupo de Lima, para ser más claro y contundente y hablar de “ruptura”. Hoy hay algunos miembros, como Chile, que le tienen miedo al término dictadura y prefieren decir que “no hay democracia”.

    Una más fácil transición fue pasar de hablar de #gobierno a #régimen. Entendiendo que gobierno se refiere más a aquellos que están destinados a rotar en el poder, mientras que regímenes serían los que se quieren perpetuar, especialmente imponiendo una hegemonía y redefiniendo el modelo económico, político e incluso cultural de un país.

    Ahora nos hemos dado cuenta del carácter delincuencia del régimen. Primero hablamos de que somos un país secuestrado por unos malandros que se han apropiado de las riquezas y de las instituciones para ejercer su dominio sobre el territorio y la gente. Es una figura metafórica que nos permite entender el tipo de relación entre nosotros y quienes nos someten. Alí Babá y los cuarenta ladrones.

    Luego hemos caído en cuenta de que el asunto es más serio. Algunos señalan el tema del narcotráfico para caracterizar a Venezuela como un ‘#narcoestado’. Pero se quedan cortos. Estos ‘secuestradores’ están articulados internacionalmente a una serie de fuerzas e intereses, en lo concreto con organizaciones y gobiernos, todos persiguiendo sus intereses geopolíticos o delincuenciales, y no solo son las drogas.

    Por esto preferimos hablar de pranato, neologismo proveniente de otro: #pran. Viene del submundo criminal venezolano e identifica al jefe o capo de los presos en una cárcel cuya red delincuencial se extiende fuera de la prisión.

    Usamos pranato en vez de régimen, pues va más allá al significar una articulación o alianza con fuerzas delictivas organizadas. En él no solo participan venezolanos filocubanos chavistas, militares corruptos, Cuba y los boliburgueses, sino grupos guerrilleros como las FARC y el ELN, potencias extraregionales como Rusia, China e Irán y movimientos radicales islamitas, además de bandas criminales locales e internacionales y los miembros del Foro de San Pablo. Pero nuestro problema no es solo de derechos humanos y democracia o crisis humanitaria. El pranato venezolano al ser parte de las “organizaciones delictivas transnacionales” es además una “amenaza más inmediata para nuestro hemisferio”, como planteó Rex Tillerson.

    • Entendiendo que gobierno se refiere más a aquellos que están destinados a rotar en el poder, mientras que regímenes serían los que se quieren perpetuar, especialmente imponiendo una hegemonía y redefiniendo el modelo económico, político e incluso cultural de un país.

      «  Étant entendu que gouvernement s’applique plutôt à ceux qui autorisent une alternance au pouvoir alors que régime serait pour ceux qui cherchent à se perpétuer, en particulier en imposant une hégémonie et en redéfinissant le modèle économique, politique et même culturel d’un pays.  »

      #régime pour @biggrizzly (je crois…)

  • Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Top three stunning admissions from the top U.S. general in the Middle East

    Assad has won, Iran deal should stand and Saudis use American weapons without accountability in Yemen: head of U.S. military’s Central Command’s stunning Congressional testimony

    Haaretz and Reuters Mar 16, 2018

    The top U.S. general in the Middle East testified before Congress on Tuesday and dropped several bombshells: from signaled support for the Iran nuclear deal, admitting the U.S. does not know what Saudi Arabia does with its bombs in Yemen and that Assad has won the Syrian Civil War.
    U.S. Army General Joseph Votel said the Iran agreement, which President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from, has played an important role in addressing Iran’s nuclear program.
    “The JCPOA addresses one of the principle threats that we deal with from Iran, so if the JCPOA goes away, then we will have to have another way to deal with their nuclear weapons program,” said U.S. Army General Joseph Votel. JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is the formal name of the accord reached with Iran in July 2015 in Vienna.
    Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the accord between Tehran and six world powers unless Congress and European allies help “fix” it with a follow-up pact. Trump does not like the deal’s limited duration, among other things.
    Votel is head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia, including Iran. He was speaking to a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the same day that Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a series of public rifts over policy, including Iran.
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    Tillerson had joined Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in pressing a skeptical Trump to stick with the agreement with Iran.
    “There would be some concern (in the region), I think, about how we intended to address that particular threat if it was not being addressed through the JCPOA. ... Right now, I think it is in our interest” to stay in the deal, Votel said.

    When a lawmaker asked whether he agreed with Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford’s position on the deal,Votel said: “Yes, I share their position.”
    Mattis said late last year that the United States should consider staying in the Iran nuclear deal unless it was proven Tehran was not complying or that the agreement was not in the U.S. national interest.
    A collapse of the Iran nuclear deal would be a “great loss,” the United Nations atomic watchdog’s chief warned Trump recently, giving a wide-ranging defense of the accord.
    Iran has stayed within the deal’s restrictions since Trump took office but has fired diplomatic warning shots at Washington in recent weeks. It said on Monday that it could rapidly enrich uranium to a higher degree of purity if the deal collapsed.
    Votel also discussed the situation in Syria at the hearing.
    During the Syrian army’s offensive in eastern Ghouta, more than 1,100 civilians have died. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, backed by Russia and Iran, say they are targeting “terrorist” groups shelling the capital.
    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned on Monday that Washington “remains prepared to act if we must,” if the U.N. Security Council failed to act on Syria.
    Votel said the best way to deter Russia, which backs Assad, was through political and diplomatic channels.
    “Certainly if there are other things that are considered, you know, we will do what we are told. ... (But) I don’t recommend that at this particular point,” Votel said, in an apparent to reference to military options.
    Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked whether it was too strong to say that with Russia and Iran’s help, Assad had “won” the civil war in Syria.
    “I do not think that is too strong of a statement,” Votel said.
    Graham also asked if the United States’ policy on Syria was still to seek the removal of Assad from power.
    “I don’t know that that’s our particular policy at this particular point. Our focus remains on the defeat of ISIS,” Votel said, using an acronym for Islamic State. 
    Saudi Arabia
    In a stunning exchange with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, Votel admitted that Centcom doesn’t know when U.S. fuel and munitions are used in Yemen. 
    “General Votel, does CENTCOM track the purpose of the missions it is refueling? In other words, where a U.S.-refueled aircraft is going, what targets it strikes, and the result of the mission?” Warren asked.
    “Senator, we do not,” Votel replied.
    The Senator followed up, citing reports that U.S. munitions have been used against civilians in Yemen, she asked, “General Votel, when you receive reports like this from credible media organizations or outside observers, is CENTCOM able to tell if U.S. fuel or U.S. munitions were used in that strike?”
    “No, senator, I don’t believe we are,” he replied.
    Showing surprise at the general’s response, Warren concluded, “We need to be clear about this: Saudi Arabia’s the one receiving American weapons and American support. And that means we bear some responsibility here. And that means we need to hold our partners and our allies accountable for how those resources are used,” she said.

  • Pompeo, Big Oil and the attack on Iran Deal | Informed Comment

    By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –
    All you need to know about Mike Pompeo, the four-term congressman from Kansas who is actually from California, is that most of his life he has been in business with the Koch brothers. His appointment as Secretary of State puts a seal on Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords.
    More dangerously, Trump was straightforward that he put Pompeo in to replace Rex Tillerson in order to destroy the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action treaty between the United Nations Security Council and Iran.
    Pompeo, despite his obvious brilliance, appears to be driven by profound currents of anger, resentment and vindictiveness, and to be unable to feel remorse for purveying falsehoods. His shameful performance at the circus he ran attempting to blame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the 2011 Benghazi attack and its aftermath demonstrated a willingness to play fast and loose with the facts and an inquisitorial, McCarthyite mindset.
    His lack of a moral compass makes his connection to the Kochs especially dangerous.
    Charles and David Koch, the notorious billionaires gnawing like termites at the foundations of American democracy, are all about petroleum. They fund phony climate denialism with a Potemkin village of foundations and expert frauds, to make sure oil keeps its value for as long as possible (even at the cost of visiting catastrophes on our children and grandchildren, since burning oil is causing catastrophic global heating).

  • Donald Trump limoge son chef de la diplomatie, Rex Tillerson et le remplace par l’ex-chef de la CIA — RT en français

    En outre, le chef d’Etat américain a évoqué des désaccords avec Rex Tillerson, notamment sur l’Iran. « Nous nous entendions bien mais nous avions des désaccords », a lancé Donald Trump depuis les jardins de la Maison Blanche, en partance pour la Californie. « Quand vous regardez l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien, je pensais qu’il était horrible, il pensait qu’il était OK », a-t-il expliqué.

    L’ex-secrétaire d’Etat américain Rex Tillerson, quant à lui, n’aurait pas parlé à Donald Trump avant son limogeage et ignorerait les raisons pour lesquelles il a été écarté et remplacé par le patron de la CIA Mike Pompeo, selon un responsable de la Maison blanche cité par l’AFP.


    Les relations entre Donald Trump et Rex Tillerson étaient par ailleurs réputées tendues et la perspective d’une démission de l’ex-patron du géant pétrolier ExxonMobil faisait l’objet de spéculations récurrentes depuis plusieurs mois.

    Début octobre, la chaîne NBC News attestait également que Rex Tillerson avait qualifié le président américain de « débile » à la fin d’une réunion au Pentagone.

    #usa #diplomatie

  • When Rex Tillerson toured some of Africa’s “shithole” countries

    “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” “Why do we need more Haitians?” “Take them out.” –  these words, allegedly uttered by U.S. President Donald Trump, referred to the immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries to the United States. These comments garnered various reactions from U.S. lawmakers, Africans–both on the…

    #POLITICS #Chad #Djibouti #Ethiopia #Kenya #Nigeria

  • Emails show UAE-linked effort against Tillerson - BBC News

    The BBC has obtained leaked emails that show a lobbying effort to get US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sacked for failing to support the United Arab Emirates against regional rival Qatar.
    Major Trump fundraiser and UAE-linked businessman Elliott Broidy met Mr Trump in October 2017 and urged him to sack Mr Tillerson, the emails reveal.
    In other emails, he calls the top US diplomat “a tower of Jello”, “weak” and says he “needs to be slammed”.
    Mr Broidy says Qatar hacked his emails.
    “We have reason to believe this hack was sponsored and carried out by registered and unregistered agents of Qatar seeking to punish Mr Broidy for his strong opposition to state-sponsored terrorism,” a spokesman for the businessman said.
    He said some of the emails “may have been altered” but did not elaborate.
    Saudi Arabia, UAE and a number of Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017 over its alleged support for terrorism, a claim which it denies. The unprecedented move was seen as a major split between powerful Gulf countries, who are also close US allies.
    Qatari royal ’held against will’ in UAE
    Nations silent on Tillerson Qatar blockade plea
    The BBC has asked the Qatar embassy in Washington for a response to the accusations.
    Mr Broidy’s defence company Circinus has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts with the UAE, according to the New York Times newspaper.
    He had recently returned from the UAE when he met Mr Trump at the White House in October.
    What did the emails say?
    According to a memorandum he prepared of the meeting, Mr Broidy urged continued support of US allies the UAE and Saudi Arabia and advised Mr Trump against getting involved in last year’s row with Qatar.
    Mr Broidy called Qatar “a television station with a country” - alluding to broadcaster Al Jazeera - and said it was doing “nothing positive”, according to the emails.
    He said he touted a regional counter-terrorism force being set up by the UAE that his company was involved with, and suggested that the US president “sit down” with Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and a top UAE military commander.
    “I offered that MBZ [the crown prince] is available to come to the US very soon and preferred a quiet meeting in New York or New Jersey. President Trump agreed that a meeting with MBZ was a good idea,” Mr Broidy wrote in an email.
    He also said he advised the president on Mr Tillerson - who was “performing poorly and should be fired at a politically convenient time”.
    Mr Tillerson had criticised the blockade of Qatar and called for it to be eased, in comments that contrasted with Mr Trump’s support for the move.
    Mr Tillerson spent most of the first year in his position embattled and weakened.
    Last autumn, in a rare move for the soft-spoken secretary, the state department held a press conference in which Mr Tillerson pushed back against reports he had called the president “a moron”.
    Who did Mr Broidy email?
    He emailed a detailed account of his meeting with the president to George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman with decades of experience serving as an interlocutor between the Middle East and Washington.
    Sources familiar with the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and possible links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, tell the BBC that Mr Nader has become a person of interest and has been questioned in recent weeks.
    Investigators questioned Mr Nader and other witnesses on whether there were any efforts by the Emiratis to buy political influence by directing money to Mr Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a New York Times report.

    What else was in the leaked emails?
    Mr Broidy also detailed a separate sit-down with Mr Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, according to the emails.
    After Mr Broidy criticised Qatar extensively to Mr Kushner, “Jared’s demeanour was very passive and pleasant but he seemed to not want to engage on this issue,” he wrote to Mr Nader.
    Kushner Companies - owned by the family of Jared Kushner - is reported to have in April 2017 sought financing from Qatar for its flagship property at 666 5th Avenue, New York.
    However, Mr Kushner has maintained that he has had no role in his family’s business since joining the White House last year.
    Has anyone else claimed to have been hacked?
    UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba - who in diplomatic circles is known as the most effective and influential ambassador in Washington - has himself been a recent victim of email hacking.
    It’s well known in Washington that Mr Otaiba and Mr Kushner have enjoyed close relationship.
    Industry experts looking at both hacks have drawn comparisons between the two, showing reason to suspect links to Qatar.
    “This is rinse and repeat on Otaiba,” a source familiar with the hack told the BBC.
    The UAE has also been known to use similar tactics, and was accused of hacking Qatari government websites prior to the blockade, according to the FBI.

  • #Irak : le Parlement demande un calendrier de retrait des troupes étrangères - L’Orient-Le Jour

    Une polémique était née fin octobre quand le secrétaire d’État américain Rex Tillerson avait appelé « les combattants étrangers » et « les milices iraniennes en Irak » à « rentrer chez eux ».


  • Face au secrétaire d’État [étasunien], le #Liban campe sur ses positions de principe - Scarlett HADDAD - L’Orient-Le Jour

    Le Premier ministre avait toutefois surpris les participants à la réunion du Conseil supérieur de défense qui s’était tenue récemment au palais de Baabda par la fermeté et la clarté de sa position. Il avait ainsi donné des instructions à l’armée libanaise de riposter à toute agression israélienne et au commandant en chef de l’armée qui lui demandait : « Cela signifie-t-il que s’il y a une agression israélienne, nous avons le droit [sic] de tirer en riposte ? » il avait répondu par l’affirmative.

    Pour la première fois depuis 2000, le Liban officiel a donc une position unifiée sur l’attitude à adopter à l’égard des ambitions israéliennes au Liban. Le secrétaire d’État adjoint pour les Affaires du Proche-Orient David Satterfield avait senti cette unité au cours de la visite qu’il a effectuée au Liban début février, en prélude à celle de Rex Tillerson. Au cours de ses rencontres avec les responsables libanais, M. Satterfield avait entendu ainsi les mêmes réactions aux propositions qu’il leur avait faites, notamment celle d’accorder 55 % de la superficie du bloc 9 de la Zone économique exclusive au Liban et de laisser 45 % à #Israël, dans un partage qui se voulait équitable. Les responsables libanais avaient d’ailleurs senti que l’émissaire américain pouvait monter jusqu’à accorder 60 % de la superficie au Liban, en laissant cette marge aux négociations pour montrer aux Libanais que les États-Unis leur ont obtenu une concession. Mais, selon des sources libanaises officielles, la manœuvre n’a pas abouti au résultat escompté puisque le Liban officiel a refusé de céder la moindre parcelle de ses eaux territoriales, dans le cadre d’un accord avec les Israéliens parrainé par les #États-Unis.

  • Les forces américaines en Syrie repoussent une offensive des troupes pro-Assad

    La coalition internationale conduite par Washington a bombardé des partisans du régime partis à l’assaut d’une région défendue par les Forces démocratiques syriennes.

    C’est le premier accrochage d’envergure entre les forces américaines et les forces pro-régime depuis que les Etats-Unis ont annoncé leur intention, à la mi-janvier, de prolonger leur présence militaire dans l’est de la Syrie. Dans la nuit de mercredi 7 à jeudi 8 février, la coalition internationale anti-djihadiste conduite par Washington a aidé les Forces démocratiques syriennes (FDS), la milice kurdo-arabe à laquelle elle est alliée, à repousser une attaque de paramilitaires loyalistes, dans la province de Deïr Es-Zor.

    Les deux camps avaient contribué, à la fin de 2017, chacun de leur côté, à chasser l’organisation Etat islamique (EI) de cette région riche en hydrocarbures. La confrontation, qui a causé entre 45 et 100 morts dans les rangs des assaillants, a été qualifiée d’« agression » et de « massacre » par Damas. Même si un porte-parole du Pentagone a affirmé que Washington « ne cherche pas un conflit avec le régime », les partisans de Bachar Al-Assad ont promis de se venger.

    Les hostilités ont débuté lorsque des combattants affiliés au régime Assad ont franchi l’Euphrate, en violation de l’accord russo-américain qui fait du fleuve une ligne de démarcation : à l’ouest, les pro-gouvernementaux, soutenus par Moscou et à l’est, les FDS, appuyés par les Etats-Unis. Plusieurs centaines d’hommes, équipés de tanks, de mortiers et de canons de campagne, ont pris part à l’offensive, visant le secteur de Khasham, qui abrite à la fois le quartier général des FDS et un important gisement pétrolier.

    Fiasco sanglant pour les pro-régime

    Selon le Centcom, le commandement de l’armée américaine au Proche-Orient, les forces kurdo-arabes ont commencé à riposter après qu’une vingtaine d’obus se sont écrasés à 500 mètres de leurs positions. Les conseillers de la coalition anti-EI, qui sont principalement des soldats américains, ont participé à la défense de la base, au moyen de frappes aériennes et de tirs d’artillerie. Selon le Centcom, le contact a été maintenu en permanence avec l’armée russe, avant, pendant et après l’attaque.

    Celle-ci se solde sur un fiasco sanglant. Les pro-régime auraient perdu une centaine d’hommes selon un officier américain, et quarante-cinq selon l’Observatoire syrien des droits de l’homme. Les victimes sont des membres des Forces de défense nationale, une milice supplétive de l’armée régulière, et des combattants chiites afghans, dépêchés sur le champ de bataille syrien par Téhéran, allié de Damas. En face, la coalition ne déplore qu’un blessé, dans les rangs des FDS.

    L’incursion des loyalistes à l’est de la ligne de déconfliction n’avait pourtant rien d’une opération de dernière minute. Des partisans du régime avaient annoncé son lancement la veille sur les réseaux sociaux, signe d’une préparation en amont. Selon le journaliste syrien Hassan Hassan, les combats avaient été précédés par la diffusion de rumeurs, insinuant qu’un accord secret avait été passé entre les kurdes et le régime, pour restituer l’est de l’Euphrate à ce dernier. Objectif : semer le doute parmi les partisans des FDS, au moment même où Damas mobilisait ses relais au sein des tribus, très puissantes dans l’est syrien. Mais cette manœuvre, visiblement prématurée, a fait long feu.

    Moscou fait profil bas

    Les stratèges du régime ont peut-être voulu tester la résolution de la coalition internationale, sa détermination à défendre ses alliés, maintenant que le gros de la lutte contre l’EI est terminé. « La réponse de la coalition a été claire : ce n’est pas parce que les Kurdes ont été momentanément lâchés à Afrin qu’ils le seront dans le nord-est du pays », estime une source proche de la direction kurde. Une référence à l’offensive lancée par la Turquie en janvier contre un autre bastion des FDS, dans le coin nord-ouest de la Syrie, avec l’accord tacite des Etats-Unis, qui ne disposent pas de troupes dans cette zone.

    Damas ne peut même pas se consoler auprès de Moscou. La Russie, qui a suivi la déroute des pro-régime en quasi-direct, fait profil bas, comme si elle voulait se dissocier de cette attaque mal pensée. Le ministère russe de la défense s’est contenté de déclarer que Washington ne cherche pas à lutter contre les djihadistes, mais à « saisir et à conserver des biens économiques syriens ». Tout laisse penser que le régime Assad n’est pas près de se relancer dans une attaque frontale contre les FDS.

    « Les choses ne sont pas terminées pour autant, prévient Robert Ford, ancien ambassadeur américain à Damas, aujourd’hui membre du Middle East Institute, un think-tank de Washington. Les Américains et leurs alliés locaux doivent se préparer à des actions non conventionnelles, telles que des assassinats, des attentats à la voiture piégée et des coups de main conduits par de petits groupes très mobiles ». Une confédération tribale qui a perdu plusieurs de ses jeunes dans l’offensive, a appelé à la vengeance.

    Les trois objectifs de Washington

    Le 17 janvier, lorsqu’il avait annoncé que les troupes américaines resteraient en Syrie, le secrétaire d’Etat Rex Tillerson avait justifié cette décision en citant trois objectifs : empêcher toute reformation des groupes djihadistes, lutter contre l’influence de l’Iran, et peser sur une éventuelle transition politique à Damas.

    Des soldats américains observent la frontière avec la Turquie, près de la ville de Manbji, dans le nord de la Syrie, le 7 février.

    Lors d’une intervention devant la Commission des affaires étrangères de la Chambre des représentants, mercredi, Robert Ford a préféré mettre en avant le danger inhérent à ce genre d’initiative : l’enlisement. L’ancien diplomate a relevé que l’effort de « stabilisation » poursuivi par la coalition dans la zone libérée de l’EI est une forme de « nation-building », un projet pourtant prescrit par le président Donald Trump.

    « Les Américains sont isolés, confie Robert Ford. La Russie veut les sortir de l’est de la Syrie ; L’Iran veut les sortir de l’est de la Syrie ; le gouvernement syrien veut les sortir de l’est de la Syrie ; et la Turquie est très hostile à leur approche, énumère-t-il. Il est difficile de voir comment cela pourrait se terminer rapidement ou heureusement pour les forces américaines. »

  • Sur injonction israélienne, les États-Unis tentent de faire disparaître l’UNRWA
    par Ali Abunimah - 17 janvier 2018 – The Electronic Intifada – Traduction : Chronique de Palestine

    « C’est la pire crise financière de l’histoire de l’UNRWA », a déclaré Chris Gunness, porte-parole de l’agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine, à The Electronic Intifada ce mercredi.

    Le terrible avertissement de Gunness a été fait au lendemain de l’annonce par l’administration Trump d’une réduction brutale des contributions américaines à l’organisation qui fournit des services de santé, d’éducation et d’aide humanitaire d’urgence à cinq millions de réfugiés palestiniens.

    Mardi, le Département d’Etat a annoncé que les États-Unis retenaient plus de la moitié d’un paiement de 125 millions de dollars dû à l’UNRWA ce mois-ci.

    Alors que 60 millions de dollars seraient versés immédiatement, la porte-parole du département d’État, Heather Nauert, a déclaré que le reste était « gelé » et « retenu pour futur examen ».

    Les États-Unis ont été le plus important donateur de l’UNRWA, fournissant près de 370 millions de dollars du budget de 1,2 milliard de dollars de l’agence en 2016.

    Le président Donald Trump et son ambassadeur Nikki Haley ont menacé ces dernières semaines les Palestiniens de couper leurs financements en représailles à l’opposition de l’Autorité palestinienne à la reconnaissance par les États-Unis de Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël, et suite à son refus du parrainage américain d’une paix par d’inexistantes négociations.

    Haley aurait plaidé pour que le financement américain soit complètement supprimé, malgré son soutien public au travail de l’agence, y compris une photo-op avec des enfants réfugiés en juin dernier.

    Dans un article sur Twitter, Haley déclarait à l’époque que sa visite dans une école de l’UNRWA lui avait donné « l’occasion de parler avec des filles et des femmes de leurs vies, de leurs espoirs et de leurs rêves ».

    Mais selon le Washington Post, le secrétaire d’État Rex Tillerson aurait prévalu sur Haley dans la bataille interne sur le financement.

    Tillerson aurait soulevé l’affaire « personnellement avec Trump et obtenu l’accord du président pour soutenir la position du département d’État » que tout le financement ne devait pas être coupé.

    Israël avait appelé au démantèlement de l’UNRWA, dans le cadre de sa volonté de faire disparaître tout soutien soutien aux droits des réfugiés palestiniens, lesquels restent en exil en raison du refus d’Israël de leur permettre de rentrer chez eux uniquement parce qu’ils ne sont pas juifs.

  • With Bannon banished from Trump World, pro-Israel hard-liners pin their hopes on Pence

    Far-right U.S. Jewish Republicans believed the one-time Breitbart supremo had their back, but his fall from grace shifts their focus to the vice president and a very unlikely blast from the recent past

    Allison Kaplan Sommer Jan 16, 2018

    Few American Jews shed tears at the downfall of Steve Bannon, whose humiliation was made complete Tuesday when he stepped down from Breitbart News following his ugly estrangement from President Donald Trump – confirmed by the insulting new nickname of Sloppy Steve.
    skip - Donald Trump tweet
    The catalyst for his fate were his uncensored remarks in Michael Wolffs White House tell-all book, Fire and Fury, alienating Trump and then, fatally, the Mercers (Bannons arch-conservative financial backers who bankrolled both Breitbart and his endeavors to become a renegade Republican kingmaker.)
    The vast majority of Americas overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic Jews viewed Bannon as either an anti-Semite or an anti-Semite enabler whose conspiratorial references to demonic global financiers awakened and emboldened white supremacists. His oft-quoted description of Breitbart as the platform for the alt-right white nationalist movement confirmed such views.
    But for the minority of staunchly hard-line, pro-Israel Jews (and evangelical Christians) who support Israels settlement enterprise, oppose a Palestinian state and any form of territorial compromise, Bannon was an important force in the White House.
    For this group, his out-of-the-box positions on Israel far outweighed any threats the views of the Trump-voting, alt-right fan base from which he drew his influence might pose.
    Notably, it was Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America – who invited Bannon to address his organizations annual gala last November – who was the sole loyalist quoted as willing to speak up for Bannon in a lengthy Politico piece on Sunday. Klein said: If there is anyone, like Bannon, who is a strong supporter of Israel and a strong fighter against anti-Semitism and that person ends up having less influence on the administration, that is something that would sadden me.

    In Fire and Fury, the extent to which Bannons position on Israel matched hard-liners like Klein was described in detail. The book not only revealed that Trumps then-strategic adviser planned to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Day One after entering the White House, but, moreover, had an extreme and highly unorthodox approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Let Jordan take the West Bank, let Egypt take Gaza, says Bannon in the book. Let them deal with it. Or sink trying.
    He then claimed that both GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were all in on his plans.
    Taken as a whole, it is a depiction of an extreme right-wing cabal, one that could find its place on the right fringes of Likud, that has been guiding if not running [President Donald] Trumps Middle East policies, Haaretzs Chemi Shalev wrote. Shalev described it as an axis that dominated Trumps Middle East policies during his first year in office. It is an alliance that Netanyahu appears to have cultivated, with the assistance, or at the direction, of his Las Vegas benefactor, Adelson. All three operate under the premise ascribed to Bannon that the further right you were, the more correct you were on Israel.
    This hard-line trio of influence presumably acted as a counterweight against the more pragmatic former military men in the White House – most prominently National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, but also former Secretary of Homeland Security and current Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis – whom, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the far right privately scorn as Arabists who are soft on Israel. It was also a bulwark against Trumps fantasies of making the ultimate deal, which they believed were being cultivated by Bannons nemesis – Trumps son-in-law and aide, Jared Kushner.
    Bannons banishment from the White House, and now his political self-immolation and disappearance from Trumps circle of influence, comes as a deep disappointment to those who embraced and celebrated his outlook and that of satellite foreign policy Bannonites like Sebastian Gorka.
    Sad, tragic and disappointing, one pro-Trump Republican on the Jewish far right told me, asking not to be identified by name. Israels lost a really important voice.
    With that sadness comes concern over the increased influence of the generals, as well as Javanka (Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump), on Middle East policy. The Jewish Trump supporter said he believes the presidents son-in-law has got his head in a very dark place when it comes to this peace thing. I think Jared is really wrong on this whole peace plan and can only do damage, he noted.
    But the hard-liners are still hopeful, attributing their optimism that the Trump administration will avoid any Kushner-fueled peace attempts to three factors.
    First, and most prominently, their hopes are pinned on Vice President Mike Pence – who will visit Israel on January 22-23 – and the evangelical Christian base he represents. Rejecting the portrayal of a sidelined Pence in Wolffs book, they call him a powerful player, particularly on Israel.

    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, January 9, 2018. JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS
    Clear evidence for this, they argue, lies in the fact that last months declaration of recognizing Jerusalem as Israels capital and the plan for an embassy move came after Bannon left the White House. It was Pence and the evangelicals – not Adelson, Netanyahu and Bannon – who ultimately got something done, and they are the ones who will have Israels back in the post-Bannon era.
    Secondly, there are the Palestinians themselves, who called the Jerusalem declaration a kiss of death to the two-state solution.
    Third, there is Trump himself. Much as the president is portrayed as an utterly transactional empty vessel, his Jewish supporters dont believe his views were artificially foisted on him by Bannon, but instead come from his own core beliefs. It was the president himself who wanted to move the embassy at the very beginning of his administration, they say, and it was Netanyahu himself who told Trump it would be better to wait.
    skip - Conor Powell tweet
    Return of the Mooch?
    If there is now a vacuum in the conduit between the far-right Klein/Adelson crowd and the Trump White House, one figure is clearly eager to fill it. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is not only different from Bannon – as slick and public as Bannon is unkempt and secretive – but he is also Bannons nemesis.

    In this July 2017 file photo, Anthony Scaramucci blows a kiss after answering questions during the press briefing.Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
    Call it a coincidence, but on the same day Bannon departed from Breitbart, it was also announced that Scaramucci – who spent the day dancing on his grave – would be a keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. The RJC confab is set for early February at Adelsons Venetian hotel and casino. In the past, ZOAs Klein has described Scaramucci as being supportive of Israel in the ZOA way, not in the mainstream Jewish way.
    Scaramucci has made a point of cozying up to the Adelson-backed Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. It was at a Boteach Hanukkah party that Scaramucci reportedly took a verbal detour from recounting his trip to Israel to insult Bannon, allegedly calling the former Trump aide messianic and a loser, warning that Hell be a stalwart defender of Israel until hes not. Thats how this guy operates. Ive seen this guy operate. He was a stalwart defender of me until it became better for him not to be.
    In the end, it was not his failure to defend Israel that proved to be Bannons undoing. It was his failure to defend Donald Trump.

    Allison Kaplan Sommer
    Haaretz Correspondent

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  • Le CRIF ne représente pas les Juifs de France. Il nous mène à la catastrophe.

    L’UJFP s’adresse solennellement aux Juifs de France. Donald Trump vient de violer un peu plus le droit international en reconnaissant Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël et en mettant fin pour longtemps à toute perspective de paix fondée sur l’égalité des droits et la justice au Proche-Orient. Il confirme son alignement complet sur les Chrétiens sionistes américains (qui sont des antisémites) et sur un gouvernement israélien d’extrême droite qui a totalement libéré la parole raciste ou la déshumanisation de « l’Autre ». Source : UJFP

  • North Korea: The U.S. Imperialist Order Reasserted in Asia — Class Struggle 94 (The Spark, USA)

    The escalation in the war of words between U.S. president Donald Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has already produced many hysterical headlines about the threat of a nuclear war – and, even, of a new world war. And indeed, this is precisely what would appear to be the implication of Trump’s reactions to North Korea’s ostentatious missile launches and nuclear experiments, if his reactions were to be taken at face value – for instance, his promise to respond “with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Especially so, as all rich countries’ governments have been unreservedly lining up behind Trump’s condemnations, including those which expressed some timid reservations about his bellicose threats.

    But then, what seems to be a rather insane contest between the two leaders to raise the stakes with each other is one thing – but real world politics is quite another. So, while American U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley was dutifully upholding Trump’s line by accusing North Korea of “begging for war” and stating that “the time for talking is over,” Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was declaring to the media that the U.S. administration was in direct contact with North Korea through multiple channels. And although Tillerson’s statement was immediately disowned by Trump, tweeting that he was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man” and asking him to “save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done,” Tillerson’s admission was probably a more accurate reflection of what is really happening behind the scenes.

    Indeed, whatever their rhetoric, neither Trump nor, of course, Kim Jong-un has any interest in triggering a war, which would be politically costly for the former and suicidal for the latter. Nor is the present standoff simply due to the “loose cannon” policy underpinned by Trump’s aggressive “tweets,” or Kim Jong-un’s alleged “paranoia.”

    In the meantime, however, a raft of new U.N. sanctions have been...

    #Etats_unis #Corée_du_Nord #impérialisme #Trump #Kim_Jong_un

  • Les « Paradise Papers », nouvelles révélations sur les 350 milliards cachés de l’évasion fiscale

    13,5 millions de documents, dont une bonne part issus d’un cabinet d’avocats spécialisé dans la finance offshore, ont été analysés par « Le Monde », associé au Consortium international des journalistes d’investigation et à 95 médias partenaires.

    Le ministre du Commerce américain Wilbur Ross est au coeur des nouvelles révélations des « Paradise Papers ».


    Qu’ont en commun Wilbur Ross et Rex Tillerson, hommes forts de la Maison Blanche, Stephen Bronfman, trésorier du Parti libéral du Canada et proche du premier ministre Justin Trudeau, mais aussi des multinationales comme Nike et Apple, de grandes fortunes françaises, des oligarques russes, des hommes d’affaires africains et des grands sportifs ?

    Ils partagent l’affiche des « Paradise Papers », la nouvelle enquête internationale sur les paradis fiscaux (...)

  • U.S. Has Three Aircraft Carriers in West Pacific for First Time in a Decade - Bloomberg

    The U.S. Navy has three aircraft carriers and their assorted missile-carrying vessels deployed to the western Pacific Ocean for the first time in a decade as tensions with North Korea remain high and President Donald Trump prepares to depart for Asia next week.

    The milestone was reached Wednesday when the USS Nimitz and its strike group entered the Western Pacific region after operating in the Middle East, according to a Navy press release. The USS Theodore Roosevelt strike group, including a cruiser and three destroyers, entered the region Oct. 23, joining the USS Ronald Reagan.

    The high-profile deployments are part of a larger build-up. In addition to the aircraft carrier strike groups, capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles, the Navy announced Oct. 13 that the USS Michigan — one the service’s four specialized submarines for carrying as many as 66 Navy SEAL commandos and 154 Tomahawks — arrived in Busan, South Korea.

  • Who’s Afraid of George Soros? – Foreign Policy (10/10/2017)

    BUCHAREST, Romania — Last winter, in the middle of anti-corruption demonstrations, a television broadcaster accused George Soros — the Hungarian-born, Jewish-American billionaire philanthropist — of paying dogs to protest.

    The protests in Bucharest, sparked by dead-of-night legislation aimed at decriminalizing corruption, were the largest the country had seen since the fall of communism in 1989. Romania TV — a channel associated with, if not officially owned by, the government — alleged the protesters were paid.

    “Adults were paid 100 lei [$24], children earned 50 lei [$12.30], and dogs were paid 30 lei [$7.20],” one broadcaster said. 

    Some protesters responded by fitting their dogs with placards; others tucked money into their pets’ coats. One dog stood next to a sign reading, “Can anyone change 30 lei into euro?” Another dog wore one that read: “#George_Soros paid me to be here.”

    “The pro-government television, they lie all the time. In three sentences, they have five lies,” investigative journalist Andrei Astefanesei told Foreign Policy outside a gyro shop in Bucharest. “I told you about that lie, that Soros paid for dogs. ‘If you bring more dogs in the street, you get more money.’” He laughed.

    Romania TV was fined for its false claims about Soros. But the idea — that roughly half a million Romanians, and their dogs, came to the streets because Soros made them do it — struck a responsive chord. It’s similar to the idea that Soros is personally responsible for teaching students about LGBTQ rights in Romanian high schools; that Soros manipulated the teenagers who led this year’s anti-corruption protests in Slovakia; and that civil organizations and what’s left of the independent media in Hungary wouldn’t exist without Soros and his Open Society Foundations.

    The idea that the 87-year-old Soros is single-handedly stirring up discontent isn’t confined to the European side of the Atlantic; Soros conspiracies are a global phenomenon. In March, six U.S. senators signed a letter asking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s staff to look into U.S. government funding going to Soros-backed organizations.

    “Our skepticism about Soros-funded groups undermining American priorities goes far beyond Eastern Europe,” said a spokesperson for Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who led the initiative, when asked if there was some specific piece of evidence of Soros-funded activity in Eastern Europe that prompted the letter or if concerns were more general.

    Soros has even been linked to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality. “Congrats to Colin Kaepernick for popularizing the hatred of America. Good work, bro,” Tomi Lahren, a conservative commentator, tweeted during the controversy. “Your buddy George Soros is so proud. #istand.”

    On Twitter, Soros has also been held responsible for the recent Catalan independence referendum and the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

    But one of the places in which suspicion of Soros is most obvious is Central and Eastern Europe. There, Soros is not unlike the Mirror of Erised in Harry Potter, except that while the fictional mirror shows what the viewer most desires, Soros reflects back onto a country what it most hates.

    In Romania, where the head of the ruling party said Soros wants to do evil, the billionaire is not to be trusted because he’s Hungarian. In Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban has reportedly declared that Soros will be a main campaign theme in next year’s general election, he’s a traitor. And everywhere, he is Jewish, his very name a nod to the anti-Semitism that runs deep throughout the region.

    Now, Soros’s effectiveness as a bogeyman for conservative governments will be put to the test, literally. This week, Hungary is holding a “national consultation,” essentially a referendum designed to condemn Soros and his views on immigration. The government-funded questionnaire will be open to the country’s adult citizens and is meant to solicit their views on the Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor.

    “George Soros has bought people and organizations, and Brussels is under his influence,” Orban said in a radio interview Friday in the run-up to the consultation. “They want to demolish the fence, allow millions of immigrants into Europe, then distribute them using a mandatory mechanism — and they want to punish those who do not comply.”

    Soros declined an interview for this article, but a spokesperson for the Open Society Foundations, the main conduit for Soros’s philanthropic efforts, chalked up the backlash to his outspokenness. “He’s a man who stands up for his beliefs,” Laura Silber, a spokeswoman for the foundation, told FP. “That’s threatening when you’re speaking out against autocrats and corruption.”

    Blame and hatred of Soros are, to borrow from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, a specter haunting Central and Eastern Europe. But how did an 87-year-old billionaire thousands of miles away become the region’s most famous ghost?


    • George Soros lègue 18 milliards de dollars à sa fondation

      Open Society Foundations (OSF) a reçu 18 milliards de dollars (15,2 milliards d’euros) de ce grand donateur du parti démocrate américain, a indiqué à l’AFP une porte-parole. « Cette somme reflète un processus en cours de transfert des actifs » de M. Soros, « qui prévoit de laisser la vaste majorité de sa fortune à Open Society Foundations », a-t-elle souligné.

      Cette donation fait d’Open Society Foundations la deuxième plus riche ONG aux Etats-Unis après la Fondation Bill et Melinda Gates, qui dispose de 40 milliards de dollars pour promouvoir les problématiques de santé publique et de développement à travers le monde, d’après la National Philanthropic Trust.

      L’OSF est un réseau de 39 entités aux opérations interconnectées à travers le globe et fait la promotion de ses valeurs dans plus de 120 pays. La première a ouvert ses portes en 1984 en Hongrie, pays d’origine de M. Soros. La dernière a vu le jour en 2016 en Birmanie. George Soros en est le président et ses fils Alexander et Jonathan sont membres du conseil d’administration. D’autres de ses enfants sont également impliqués.

      Le milliardaire américain d’origine hongroise, connu pour ses paris financiers risqués, avait donné jusqu’à ce jour 12 milliards de dollars (10,2 milliards d’euros) de sa fortune à des oeuvres caritatives. Depuis des décennies, il donne environ entre 800 et 900 millions de dollars à des associations chaque année d’après des chiffres mentionnés par le New-York Times. C’est en 1979 que le financier avait fait son premier don en attribuant des bourses d’études à des élèves noirs sud-africains en plein Apartheid, rappelle OSF sur son site internet. Selon le président de la Ford Foundation, Darren Walker interrogé par le quotidien américain :

      "il n’y a aucune organisation caritative dans le monde, y compris la Ford Foundation, qui a plus d’impact que l’Open Society Foundations durant ces deux dernières décennies. [...] Parce qu’il n’y a aucun endroit dans le monde où ils ne sont pas présents. Leur empreinte est plus importante et plus conséquente que n’importe qu’elle organisation de justice sociale dans le monde".

      v/ @hadji

    • Soros turns antisocial: Billionaire says Facebook & Google manipulate users like gambling companies

      Soros, whose investment fund owned over 300,000 shares in #Facebook until last November, said social media platforms are deliberately engineering “addiction to the services they provide.” Facebook and Google deceive their users by “manipulating their #attention and directing it towards their own commercial purposes,” he said.

      In this respect, online platforms have become similar to gambling companies, Soros asserted. “#Casinos have developed techniques to hook gamblers to the point where they gamble away all their money, even money they don’t have.

      “Something very harmful and maybe irreversible is happening to human attention in our digital age,” he said. Social media companies “are inducing people to give up their autonomy,” while the power to shape the public’s attention “is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies.”

      The billionaire financier, whom the Hungarian government has labeled a “political puppet master,” then struck an even gloomier tone by offering a full-on dystopian conspiracy theory.

      In future, there could be “an alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data-rich IT monopolies,” in which tech giants’ corporate surveillance would merge with “an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance,” he said.

      That “may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined,” he said, referring to the British authors of two famous dystopian novels.

      Last year, some tech corporations fell out of favor with Soros when his investment fund sold 367,262 shares in Facebook, although he chose to keep 109,451 of the network’s shares. Soros’ fund also offloaded 1,700 shares in Apple and 1.55 million in the owners of Snapchat. It also reduced its stake in Twitter by 5,700 shares, while still holding 18,400 shares in the social media service.

      Soros was not the only Davos speaker to launch a verbal attack on Big Tech. American entrepreneur and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said on Tuesday that Facebook should be regulated just like a tobacco company.

      “I think you’d do it exactly the same way you regulate the cigarette industry. Here’s a product, cigarettes, they are addictive, they are not good for you,” Benioff said. “Maybe there is all kinds of different forces trying to get you to do certain things. There are a lot of parallels.”

  • Quand Le Monde vire complotiste Le vilain petit canard - Ph. Huysmans - 30 September 2017

    Le Monde, journal de révérence, accessoirement deuxième titre de la presse française derrière le gorafi figaro, se fendait hier d’un article pour le moins croquignolet. Dans un monde où l’on fait engager un conseiller scientifique auprès du gouvernement pour le seul plaisir de faire censurer [1] le blog d’une voix dissidente, où les journalistes du Monde, précisément, s’érigent en censeurs et en arbitres des élégances pour décréter qui peut être lu et qui doit être mis à l’index ; c’est plutôt savoureux, et j’imagine que dans leur infinie candeur, ils n’ont pas réalisé de quel côté de la ligne ils se trouvaient.

    L’article, intitulé « Washington rappelle ses diplomates à Cuba, touchés par un mal mystérieux » est la parfaite illustration d’un délire complotiste. On ne sait pas quoi, on ne sait pas qui, on ne sait ni pourquoi ni comment, mais ce sont les Cubains ! À moins que ce ne soient les Russes ? Ou les Vénézuéliens : c’est vicieux, le Vénézuélien ! Et comme ils ne sont qu’à 500 kilomètres...`

    Le complot (attachez vos ceintures, c’est du lourd)

    L’intrigue semble tirée des plus grands romans d’espionnage. Vingt et un employés de l’ambassade des Etats-Unis à La Havane ont été atteints d’un mal mystérieux, qui aurait débuté à la fin de 2016, se caractérisant par des maux de tête, des nausées ou encore des étourdissements. Un phénomène qui inquiète Washington, au point que le département d’Etat américain a rappelé, vendredi 29 septembre, « plus de la moitié » des diplomates américains en poste à La Havane.

    Evoquant des « attaques » ciblant la santé du personnel de l’ambassade, perpétré dans des résidences diplomatiques mais aussi dans des « hôtels fréquentés par des citoyens américains », le secrétariat d’Etat américain, Rex Tillerson, a expliqué que le personnel non essentiel et toutes les familles des employés seront rapatriés. (...)

    Car le mystère ne désépaissit pas. Malgré une enquête menée par le FBI, la police canadienne et les autorités cubaines, l’énigmatique mal, révélé seulement au mois d’août, reste inexpliqué. « Nous ne connaissons ni les objectifs, ni les méthodes, ni le mode opératoire de ces attaques », a répété vendredi le haut responsable du département d’Etat, qui a fait savoir que cinq familles canadiennes sont également concernées. (...)

    Par le passé, des rapports avaient évoqué la piste d’une attaque sonique, notamment à travers des « vagues d’ultrasons » qui auraient provoqué des lésions auditives. Une hypothèse que n’a pas confirmée le département d’Etat vendredi.

    Preuve que l’énigme est loin d’être résolue, l’embarras est flagrant lorsqu’il s’agit de qualifier ces « attaques ». Le département d’Etat parlait jusque-là d’« incidents » ayant provoqué plusieurs « symptômes », et Rex Tillerson avait évoqué des « attaques contre l’intégrité physique » des diplomates. L’administration américaine s’en est tenue vendredi à dénoncer des « attaques précises », « ciblées » mais d’« une nature inconnue ». (...)

    Les auteurs des « attaques », « quels qu’ils soient, tentent clairement de saper le processus de normalisation entre les Etats-Unis et Cuba », a estimé vendredi le sénateur démocrate américain Patrick Leahy

    Tout d’abord, il est amusant de noter scrupuleusement le nombre de circonvolutions et de formules alambiquées utilisées pour que nous puissions bien nous pénétrer du caractère totalement incroyable (voire abracadabrant) de l’histoire, dont le fond devrait pourtant être vrai puisque les Américains le prétendent, et que Le Monde en a fait un article ! On insiste aussi sur l’aspect mystérieux , ce qui présente l’avantage de masquer l’ indigence de l’argumentaire derrière une façade romanesque .

    Dissection du bobard ( Voir l’article, c’est un tableau )

    Quand la théorie du complot devient une information
    Vous aurez noté que si c’était le gouvernement russe qui avait fait état « d’attaques » contre son personnel consulaire ou diplomatique à Washington, le même quotidien de révérence aurait immédiatement hurlé au conspirationnisme, et décrété que c’était une fausse nouvelle, une fake niouze. Étrangement, quand ce sont les Américains qui profèrent ce genre d’élucubrations sans aucun fondement, ça ne fait rire personne ? Au contraire, l’AFP en fait une dépêche... Et Le Monde en fait un article.

    Un peu de bon sens, svp
    Si ces pauvres vacanciers du bout du monde étaient en effet victimes de sournoises « attaques soniques » depuis 2016, vous ne pensez pas que la CIA se serait rendue sur place, équipée de matériel super high tech capable de détecter ces ondes maléfiques ? Un micro, quoi, couplé à un petit dispositif capable d’enregistrer ou de visualiser les ondes sonores sur une bande de fréquence donnée, pas forcément audibles pour un être humain incapable de percevoir les sons au-delà de 20 Khz.

    On avait déjà cru comprendre que le nouveau président américain, pour qui le respect des accords internationaux n’engage que les imbéciles qui les ont signés, voulait revenir tant sur les accords bilatéraux avec Cuba que sur l’accord iranien. Du coup, la déclaration du sénateur démocrate américain Patrick Leahy pourrait bien faire sens.
    _ Les auteurs des « attaques », quels qu’ils soient, tentent clairement de saper le processus de normalisation entre les Etats-Unis et Cuba.

    On ne saurait mieux dire.

    [1] * Le 26 septembre dernier, OpenEdition, dont le co-fondateur Marin Dacos se trouve avoir été nommé conseiller scientifique pour la science ouverte auprès d’Alain Beretz éjectait Jacques Sapir de sa plateforme de blogs (hypothè sous un prétexte spécieux.

    #le_monde #médias #merdias #média_mensoge #Cuba #censure

  • The world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis is taking place in Myanmar. Here’s why. - Vox

    Entire villages have been burned to the ground. Women have been raped. Rohingya refugees report that soldiers shot at them as they fled. Along the border with Bangladesh, there are reports that the military has laid land mines to ensure those fleeing won’t return. Though independent observers have no access to the region, the Myanmar government now says 175 villages in the region — 30 percent of all Rohingya villages — are empty.

    “We are hearing really horrendous stories of people who have survived by the skin of their teeth,” Paolo Lubrano, an Oxfam worker in Cox’s Bazar, a town on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, told me by Skype Friday morning. Lubrano described “dire violence” and an enormous number of very young, and very traumatized, Rohingya refugees. Among those fleeing Myanmar, he added, are many pregnant women who have been walking for three, four, or even five days to find safety.

    The military calls the campaign a “clearance” operation against an insurgent terrorist military group. They claim the crackdown is in response to a series of armed attacks on border police by Rohingya militants on August 25 that left 12 officers dead, the second such type of attacks in the past 12 months. But observers say that though armed Rohingya insurgents exist, their overall numbers are small, and they are poorly equipped. And the crackdown has affected the entire ethnic group.

    Meanwhile, in a Facebook post on Sunday, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the head of Myanmar’s military, was dismissive: “They have demanded recognition as Rohingya, which has never been an ethnic group in Myanmar.”

    Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, has dubbed this crisis a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Some are going further — saying the country is tipping toward crimes against humanity and even possibly genocide. On September 14, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke out about the “horrors that we are witnessing occurring in Burma.”

    • Exclusive: Facebook Silences Rohingya Reports of Ethnic Cleansing

      Rohingya activists—in Burma and in Western countries—tell The Daily Beast that Facebook has been removing their posts documenting the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people in Burma (also known as Myanmar). They said their accounts are frequently suspended or taken down.

      The Rohingya people are a Muslim ethnic minority group in Burma. They face extraordinary persecution and violence from the Burmese military; military personnel torch villages, murder refugees, and force hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

      Human rights watchdogs say the persecution has intensified in recent months, and a top UN official described a renewed offensive by the Burmese military as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh. Sen. John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, has called for reduced military cooperation with the Burmese government because of the violence.

      Rohingya people trying to use social media to share information about the attacks on them tell The Daily Beast they have had their posts removed and their accounts shut down, and that they hope Facebook stops silencing them.

      A Facebook representative told The Daily Beast the company would look into the situation. “We want Facebook to be a place where people can share responsibly, and we work hard to strike the right balance between enabling expression while providing a safe and respectful experience,” said Facebook spokesperson Ruchika Budhraja in a statement. “That’s why we have Community Standards, which outline what type of sharing is allowed on Facebook and what type of content may be reported to us and removed. Anyone can report content to us if they think it violates our standards. In response to the situation in Myanmar, we are carefully reviewing content against our Community Standards.”

      Facebook is currently facing substantial criticism for what appears to be an indifferent attitude toward promoting divisive material. Last week, ProPublica revealed that the network sold ads tailored to “Jew haters.” Days earlier, The Daily Beast reported that Russian front groups used Facebook to

    • L’armée syrienne se rapproche de l’EI à Deir Ezzor - Le Temps

      En outre, indique cet organisme proche de l’opposition syrienne, des frappes aériennes menées par la Russie d’une part et par la coalition internationale contre l’EI dirigée par les Etats-Unis d’autre part ont tué au total plus de 30 personnes dans toute la province de Deir Ezzor ces dernières 24 heures. Les FDS se sont plaintes samedi dans ce contexte d’avoir été la cible de l’aviation russe et des forces armées syriennes. Moscou nie.

      Le chef de la diplomatie américaine Rex Tillerson a téléphoné samedi à son homologue russe Sergueï Lavrov pour discuter de la situation en Syrie. Mais le communiqué du ministère russe des Affaires étrangères qui relate l’entretien ne dit pas si les deux hommes ont discuté de l’accusation des FDS. Ni ce que Moscou a éventuellement répondu.

      Les FDS ont exhorté le même jour les forces du régime syrien à ne pas franchir l’Euphrate, considéré comme « une ligne rouge ». A Damas, une conseillère du président Bachar al-Assad a affirmé de son côté que l’armée syrienne s’en prendrait à tous ceux qui s’opposent à la reconquête du territoire national.

    • ‘I Want to Finish This’: US Special Ops Leaders Urge Washington to Stick by the Syrian Kurds - Defense One

      ““They are more like us; they are just aggressive,” this commander said of the SDF and its Kurdish contingent, the YPG, to me. “A stable group of pragmatic people.” And in the case of the Kurds, pragmatic people who see this conflict as an opportunity to govern themselves. “They want to win,” says the second commander. “You don’t spend your time pushing them into the fight — they want to go into the fight.”

      “There is a real desire to be seen as a legitimate partner,” he said of the Syrian Kurds and the Syrian Democratic Forces more broadly. “These people want to do the right thing. They see it as this is their opportunity to change the perception of them.” Indeed, the varying perceptions of Syrian Kurds and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units of the YPG are a source of tension between the State Department and the Pentagon.

      For their part, the U.S. special operators see them as partners who never leave a fight. And the mission, they say, doesn’t cost a lot for all that it offers America. “It is not a major investment,” says the second commander. “We have a working partner here and that is a rarity in this part of the world.”

      And they say there is one scenario that could turn the situation from dream to nightmare: the U.S. abandons the Syrian Kurds.

    • Syrie : l’armée franchit l’Euphrate à Deir Ezzor pour prendre l’EI à revers - Moyen-Orient - RFI

      Ce débarquement répond à deux objectifs. Le premier est de prendre à revers les jihadistes et d’encercler totalement leurs troupes qui occupent encore le tiers de la ville de Deir Ezzor. Le deuxième est de barrer la voie à la coalition arabo-kurde, soutenue par Washington, qui n’est plus, en certains points, qu’à 6 kilomètres de la rive du fleuve.

      Les Syriens et leurs alliés ont donc décidé de ne pas partager le terrain à Deir Ezzor avec les Américains et leurs alliés. Ils veulent clairement poursuivre leur progression à l’est vers la frontière syro-irakienne, et au sud-est vers les deux derniers bastions jihadistes en Syrie, les villes d’Al-Mayadeen et de Boukamal.

    • Fabrice Balanche : À Boukamal, le régime syrien est tombé dans une embuscade, comme à Qousseir - Propos recueillis par Élie SAIKALI - L’Orient-Le Jour

      La question qui se poserait aujourd’hui concernerait la rive nord de l’Euphrate. Celle-ci est tenue actuellement par les FDS. Mais si actuellement le commandement est kurde, l’essentiel des combattants sont des Arabes qui ont rejoint le mouvement. Quand l’EI sera vaincu, qui contrôlera cette zone ? Selon le plan de Washington, ce sont les tribus arabes locales qui devraient contrôler cette zone sous protection américaine et kurde. Mais la question du contrôle futur de la région est encore en suspens.

  • Tillerson is working with China and Russia — very, very quietly - The Washington Post

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has often been the silent man in the Trump foreign policy team. But out of the spotlight, he appears to be crafting a broad strategy aimed at working with China to resolve the North Korea crisis and with Russia to stabilize Syria and Ukraine.

    The Tillerson approach focuses on personal diplomacy, in direct contacts with Chinese and Russian leaders, and through private channels to North Korea. His core strategic assumption is that if the United States can subtly manage its relations with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin — and allow those leaders to take credit for successes — complex regional problems can be solved effectively.

    Tillerson appears unfazed by criticism that he has been a poor communicator and by recent talk of discord with President Trump. His attitude isn’t exactly “take this job and shove it,” but as a former ExxonMobil chief executive, he doesn’t need to make money or Washington friends — and he clearly thinks he has more urgent obligations than dealing with the press.

    Tillerson appears to have preserved a working relationship with Trump despite pointedly separating himself from the president’s controversial comments after the Charlottesville unrest. Although Trump didn’t initially like Tillerson’s statement, it’s said he was ultimately comfortable with it.

    The North Korea crisis is the best example of Tillerson’s diplomacy. For all the bombast of Trump’s tweets, the core of U.S. policy has been an effort to work jointly with China to reverse the North Korean nuclear buildup through negotiations. Tillerson has signaled that the United States is ready for direct talks with Kim Jong Un’s regime — perhaps soon, if Kim shows restraint. Tillerson wants China standing behind Kim at the negotiating table, with its hands figuratively at Kim’s throat.

    Despite Pyongyang’s hyper-belligerent rhetoric, its representatives have conveyed interest in negotiations, querying details of U.S. positions. But Kim’s actions have been erratic and confusing: When it appeared that the North Koreans wanted credit for not launching missiles toward Guam, Tillerson offered such a public statement. Bizarrely, North Korea followed with three more weapons tests, in a reckless rebuff.

    Some analysts see North Korea’s race to test missiles and bombs as an effort to prepare the strongest possible bargaining position before negotiations. Tillerson seems to be betting that China can force such talks by imposing an oil embargo against Pyongyang. U.S. officials hope Xi will make this move unilaterally, demonstrating strong leadership publicly, rather than waiting for the United States to insert the embargo proposal in a new U.N. Security Council resolution.

    Tillerson signaled his seriousness about Korea talks during a March visit to the Demilitarized Zone. He pointed to a table at a U.N. office there and remarked, “Maybe we’ll use this again,” if negotiations begin.

    The Sino-American strategic dialogue about North Korea has been far more extensive than either country acknowledges. They’ve discussed joint efforts to stabilize the Korean Peninsula, including Chinese actions to secure nuclear weapons if the regime collapses.

    The big idea driving Tillerson’s China policy is that the fundamentals of the relationship have changed as China has grown more powerful and assertive. The message to Beijing is that Xi’s actions in defusing the North Korea crisis will shape U.S.-China relations for the next half-century.

    Tillerson continues to work the Russia file, even amid new Russia sanctions. He has known Putin since 1999 and views him as a predictable, if sometimes bullying, leader. Even with the relationship in the dumps, Tillerson believes he’s making some quiet progress on Ukraine and Syria.

    On Ukraine, Tillerson supports Russia’s proposal to send U.N. peacekeepers to police what Putin claims are Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s assaults on Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine. The addition of U.N. monitors would help implement the Minsk agreement, even if Putin gets the credit and Poroshenko the blame.

    On Syria, Tillerson has warned Putin that the real danger to Russian interests is increasing Iranian power there, especially as Bashar al-Assad’s regime regains control of Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria. To counter the Iranians, Tillerson supports a quick move by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to capture the lower Euphrates Valley.

    Trump’s boisterous, sometimes belligerent manner and Tillerson’s reticence are an unlikely combination, and many observers have doubted the relationship can last. But Tillerson seems to roll with the punches — and tweets. When Trump makes a disruptive comment, Tillerson seems to treat it as part of the policy landscape — and ponder how to use it to advantage.

    Tillerson may be the least public chief diplomat in modern U.S. history, but that’s apparently by choice. By Washington standards, he’s strangely uninterested in taking the credit.