News Roundup 1/27/2022

News Roundup 1/27/2022

Covid

  • The Navy has now removed 45 sailors for failing to take the covid vaccine. [Link]
  • The US donates 900,000 Pfizer covid vaccine doses to Laos. [Link]
  • The US will send two million Pfizer covid vaccine doses to Kenya and Morocco. [Link]

US News

  • In the first half of 2021, Twitter received fewer requests from governments for information on users but complied with the requests more often. When US law enforcement made informal requests for information, Twitter gave the info 68% of the time. [Link]
  • The Pentagon wants to accelerate its development of hypersonic missiles. [Link]
  • The Army will begin testing anti-aircraft lasers on Strykers. [Link]

Latin America

  • One body was found and 38 people are missing after a migrant boat capsized off the Florida coast. [Link]
  • The Coast Guard intercepted nearly 200 Haitians attempting to sail to the US. [Link]
  • Cuba asks the US to restaff its embassy after a CIA report on ‘Havana Syndrome’ found no diplomats were attacked by a foreign power. [Link]

Russia

  • Some large US companies lobby the Biden administration and Congress for waivers to continue business in Russia if more sanctions are imposed. [Link]
  • Germany offers Ukraine 5,000 military helmets. Some Ukrainian politicians felt insulted by the German aid. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Americans should strongly consider leaving Ukraine. [Link]
  • Ukraine says the number of Russian troops near its border is insufficient for a large-scale invasion. [Link]
  • Ukraine and Russia agreed to uphold the ceasefire in the Donbas during ‘Normandy format’ talks that included Germany and France. [Link] 
  • State Department Spokesperson Ned Price says Nord Stream 2 will not move forward if Russia invades Ukraine. [Link]
  • The US delivers its written response to Russia’s security proposal. [Link]

China

  • China says it is dissatisfied that the US is allowing embassy staff to leave China because of strict lockdowns. [Link]

Korea

  • North Korea test-fires two short-range ballistic missiles. [Link]

Middle East

  • Jeff Flake became the US Ambassador to Turkey. [Link]
  • US special forces continue to have an active role in the fight against IS. [Link]
  • The SDF claims to have regained control of a prison that holds alleged IS members and 700 children after IS captured the facility six days ago. At least 70 were killed in the fighting. [Link]
  • The Houthi threaten to attack The Dubai Expo. [Link]

Africa

  • France leads a group of 15 countries demanding Mali allow Danish troops to remain in Mali. [Link]
  • At least 20 Congolese soldiers were killed in an attack by M-23. [Link]
News Roundup 1/27/2022

News Roundup 1/26/2022

US News

  • The Department of Labor drops the OSHA-enforced vaccine mandate. [Link]
  • As many as 500 criminal cases could be dropped because NYPD detective Joseph Franco was caught planting drugs. [Link]
  • Twitter says it removed nearly 45,000 accounts in the first half of 2021 for promoting violence or terrorism. Over the same time span, Twitter forced users to delete 4.7 million posts. [Link] Twitter also saw a record number of government requests to remove content. [Link]
  • Lockheed Martin is investing heavily in hypersonic missiles. [Link]

Venezuela

  • The US-recognized leader – although he holds no actual power – of Venezuela Juan Guadio offers the country’s true leader – Maduro –  talks in exchange for the possible reduction in some US sanctions. [Link]

Russia

  • US and Ukrainian officials are giving conflicting statements on the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. [Link]
  • The UK delivered thousands of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. [Link]
  • The US delivered 80 tonnes of Javelin missiles and launchers to Ukraine. [Link]
  • The House will vote on the Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act as early as next week. The bill would impose sanctions on Russia and give Ukraine $500 million in military aid. [Link]

China

  • China and Russia conducted joint naval war games. Russia said it discussed conducting bilateral trade with China in national currencies. [Link]
  • The US flew operations with patrol and spy planes around Taiwan. [Link]

Korea

  • North Korea test-fired two cruise missiles. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • The accounts for the Afghan embassy in the US have been frozen. [Link]
  • Thousands of Afghans – many CIA-trained commandos – have been stranded in the UAE. [Link]

Middle East

  • A senior Human Rights Watch employee had their device hacked by the Israeli NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. [Link]
  • Talks between Israel and Russia could reduce Israeli airstrikes in Syria. [Link]
  • The US says it is ready for direct talks with Iran. [Link]
  • Ted Cruz introduces a bill that will put the Houthi on the terrorism list. [Link]
  • UAE-backed forces report making gains in Marib against the Houthi. [Link]

Africa

  • The Biden administration approves a $2.5 billion weapons sale to Egypt. [Link]
  • Senegal says two of its soldiers were killed and nine went missing while on operations in The Gambia. The Senegalese military said the Movement of Democratic Forces for Casamance was behind the attack. [Link]

1/21/22 Annelle Sheline on Why Yemen Matters

Scott is joined by Annelle Sheline of the Quincy Institute to discuss Yemen. Sheline wrote an article recently about the shifting balance of the war. One year after Biden announced an end to U.S. support for offensive Saudi operations, the bombing campaign remains as brutal as ever. Sheline argues that, while all sides have committed atrocities, the scale of the Saudi coalition’s brutality has outshone all others. Further, the war can only happen with continued U.S. support, which puts it on Americans themselves to stop this tragedy.  

Discussed on the show:

Annelle Sheline is a Research Fellow in the Middle East program at the Quincy Institute and an expert on religious and political authority in the Middle East and North Africa. Follow her on Twitter @AnnelleSheline.

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: The War State and Why The Vietnam War?, by Mike Swanson; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; EasyShip; Free Range Feeder; Thc Hemp Spot; Green Mill Supercritical; Bug-A-Salt and Listen and Think Audio.

Shop Libertarian Institute merch or donate to the show through Patreon, PayPal or Bitcoin: 1DZBZNJrxUhQhEzgDh7k8JXHXRjYu5tZiG.

Israel’s Founding Father Called for Villages to Be ‘Wiped Out,’ Confirming Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Israel’s Founding Father Called for Villages to Be ‘Wiped Out,’ Confirming Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Archival institutions are not known to be pioneers of technological innovation. They are preoccupied with the past, after all. That is why censors still often black out classified information physically, with a marker, a piece of paper or whatnot.

The Israeli State Archives, on the other hand, have apparently been experimenting with virtual censorship tools. In the minutes of a cabinet meeting of Israel’s provisional government during its “War of Independence,” released following requests of the Akevot Institute, digital blackouts were included to cover the more problematic statements made by the Zionist leaders present. As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently found out, however, these comments could be unveiled with a simple click. Woops! (Perhaps due to a similar technical error, I was able to access the paywalled Haaretz article once. Fortunately, the details can be found at Middle East Eye, too.)

The technical malfunction put the war-time document, dated July 1948, suddenly in an entirely different perspective. The censored version had shown David Ben-Gurion, the prime minister of the brand-new State of Israel, as saying that “I am against the wholesale demolition of villages.” But then, once the blackout was removed, there followed a “but.” Indeed, he quickly elaborated: “But there are places that constituted a great danger and constitute a great danger, and we must wipe them out. But this must be done responsibly, with consideration before the act.”

These comments are testimony of the well-documented ethnic cleansing of Palestine during Israel’s foundational war.1Ilan Pappe, The ethnic cleansing of Palestine (Oneworld Publications, 2006). In fact, the ‘wiping out’ of Arab forces and the “expulsion” of the Palestinians was officially sanctioned policy during the conflict. The censorship, which the Israeli State Archives claims to have been unintentional, is only the latest attempt to obscure this historical crime against humanity.

The Roots of Ethnic Cleansing

David Ben-Gurion is widely celebrated in Israel as the country’s founding father who led the war effort during and after the declaration of independence of May 14, 1948. Travelers flying to Tel Aviv today are immediately reminded of this historic figure as they land in Ben Gurion Airport. But the airport in fact predates the founding of Israel. Established in 1934, Arab and European airlines used Lydda Airport, as it was called before World War II, for local and transcontinental travel. In July 1948, however, the same month as the above-mentioned cabinet meeting, the Israelis seized the airport and gave it a Hebrew name: Lod Airport. In 1973, after Ben-Gurion’s death, it was renamed again to its present name in honor of Israel’s first prime minister.

This is just one tiny example of how Palestinian land—and Palestinian history for that matter—was ‘wiped out’ as a result of the 1948 war. This process, as well as the massive expulsion of Palestinians that went along with it, was not a haphazard outcome of the war, however. Rather, as this article argues, ethnic cleansing was at the root of the Zionist project and was implemented as policy by Ben-Gurion in the late 1940s.

From the very beginning, political Zionism implied the “transfer” of the indigenous population to other countries. In their early efforts to gain support from Western nations, Zionist leaders proclaimed that Palestine was “a land without a people for a people without a land.” In reality, they knew that the first part of that slogan was a lie. The Palestinian people were like “the rocks of Judea, obstacles to be cleared on a difficult path,” as Chaim Weizmann, a prominent Zionist figure and future first president of Israel, put it in 1918.2Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians: the concept of ‘transfer’ in Zionist political thought, 1882-1948 (Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992), 5-48. Quote at page 17.

This dismissive attitude towards the pre-existing civilization in Palestine perhaps explains the early Zionist optimism surrounding the “Arab question.” Theodore Herzl, the founding father of political Zionism, believed that the Palestinians could be uprooted with non-violent methods. In 1895, he wrote that “we shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country.” The property owners, on the other hand, could easily be tricked into giving up their lands according to Herzl. “Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us something far more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.”3Idem, 8-9.

The free market turned out not to be a very good ally, however. Only 5.8% of Palestinian land was under Jewish ownership by December 1947, more than half a century after Herzl’s remarks. Realizing that Jewish immigration, establishing kibbutzes and buying property was not enough, Zionist leaders soon turned to political and military means.

Political help was secured first. During the First World War, a great-power patron was found in Britain, which pledged to put its weight behind “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” in the so-called Balfour Declaration of 1917. When the British secured a League of Nations mandate over Palestine in 1922, words were followed by deeds. During the Mandate period, the British allowed for the creation of a Jewish Agency to function as a semi-governmental body while denying similar advantages to the Palestinians. As such, the Palestinians had to bear the brunt of two colonial movements simultaneously: a settler-colonialist movement in Palestine, aided and abetted by the world’s foremost colonial power in London.4Rashid Khalidi, The hundred years’ war on Palestine: a history of settler colonialism and resistance, 1917-2017 (Metropolitan Books, 2020), 17-54.

The more extreme branches of the Zionist movement, such as the “Revisionists” led by Ze’ev Jabotinsky, were the first to resort to military means. As far back as 1925, Jabotinsky wrote that “Zionism is a colonizing venture and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed forces.”5Idem, 51. Since he was open about an “Iron wall of bayonets” that needed to separate Jews and Arabs, there was little confusion about the purpose of the paramilitary militias that Jabotinsky endorsed. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Irgun and the Stern Gang launched a terror campaign against Palestinian civilians (and British officials towards the end of the Mandate period) that left hundreds of casualties.

Lest these extreme forms of intimidation be seen as evidence that the need for ethnic cleansing was solely a right-wing policy aim, it was actually accomplished under the leadership of the dominant “Labor” branch of the Zionist movement. With the help of sympathetic British officers, the Jewish Agency was allowed to expand its military arm, the Haganah, during the Great Palestinian Revolt of 1936-1939. Meanwhile, the mainstream Zionist leadership, too, was gravitating towards a military solution to the “Arab Question.” Ben-Gurion, for instance, told his compatriots of the Jewish Agency in June 1938—ten years before the ‘wipe out’ comment—that “I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it.”6Pappe, The ethnic cleansing of Palestine, XI.

The Execution of Ethnic Cleansing

But how was this “compulsory transfer” to be accomplished? How, indeed, did the Zionists gain control over the majority of Palestine by the beginning of 1949 if a little over one year earlier they owned barely 5% of the land, the majority of which was concentrated in the cities? Here, the political and military clout they had built up over the years converged.

This time, foreign political help came from the recently founded United Nations, which, bear in mind, before decolonization in Africa and Asia was in large part a club of the Western Great Powers. These nations felt obliged to compensate the Jews for the Nazi Holocaust. In February 1947, the British decided to turn the fate of Palestine over to the UN. On November 29 of that year, after nine months of deliberation, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, which envisioned the partition of Palestine into two separate states. 56% of the land was to go to a Jewish state, while the Palestinians were left with only 43%. (A small enclave around Jerusalem was to become internationally governed.)

The Palestinians were vehemently opposed to partition, however. They considered it unfair since they held almost all of Palestine and had lived on their lands for generations. Moreover, while only 10,000 Jews would end up under Palestinian governance, 438,000 Palestinians—as well as hundreds of villages and the most fertile land—would end up under Jewish rule overnight. Leaving these Palestinians in the hands of an ideology which had openly vowed to de-Arabize Palestine contributed to the fate that was to befall them.

Indeed, the Palestinian and Arab rejection of the UN plan allowed the Zionist leadership to claim the moral upper hand. Ben-Gurion was a good tactician; like many of his successors, he kept the most extreme Zionist elements at bay and made sure to demonstrate to the outside world that the Jewish side, contrary to the Arabs, did accept the UN plan. Behind closed doors, however, he knew that the borders of the Jewish state “will be determined by force and not by the partition resolution.”7Idem, 36-7.

Still, the two-state solution created a huge problem that preoccupies Zionists until today: the so-called “demographic balance.” Jews would constitute only a tiny majority in the future Jewish state, and this did not stroke with the exclusionary Zionist ideology. As Ben-Gurion said in a speech a few days after the publication of the UN partition plan, “there are 40% non-Jews in the areas allocated to the Jewish state. This composition is not a solid basis for a Jewish state. […] Only a state with at least 80% Jews is a viable and stable state.”8Idem, 48.

And thus, the plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine was born. By the end of the year, parallel to an escalation in terrorist attacks by Irgun and the Stern Gang (and later on also the Haganah), Ben-Gurion gave the green light for lethal assaults on Arab villages. The object was clear: “Every attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion.”9Idem, 64. In early March, ethnic cleansing was adopted as official policy in Plan Dalet (or Plan D), which sanctioned operations aimed at “destroying villages (by setting fire to them, by blowing them up, and by planting mines in their rubble). […] In case of resistance, the armed forces must be wiped out and the population expelled outside the borders of the state.”

It is difficult not to read “in case of resistance” here as a silly pretext. Indeed, in a letter to the commanders of Haganah brigades, Ben-Gurion stated unequivocally that “the cleansing of Palestine [is] the primary objective of Plan Dalet.”10Idem, 128. Moreover, although there was certainly Palestinian armed resistance (and at times acts of retaliation), the systematic ethnic cleansing of 531 villages and eleven urban neighborhoods and towns that followed happened regardless of the presence and activity of Arab armed forces. Hundreds of civilians were killed in dozens of cold-blooded massacres, which, as intended, drove more than 750.000 Palestinians to flee beyond the territory under control of the Israelis. These refugees would never be allowed back in.

The Memory-Holing of Ethnic Cleansing

Like all subsequent assaults on Palestine, Israeli propaganda has done its best to try to paint the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1947-1949 as a defensive war. Echoing later proclamations that the Jews were about to be “driven into the sea,” Ben-Gurion and company justified their military action as a desperate attempt to stave off a “second Holocaust.” In private, however, Ben-Gurion was well aware of the superior military power of the Zionist forces. In a letter from February 1948, for instance, he wrote that “we can face all the Arab forces. This is not a mystical belief, but a cold and rational calculation based on practical examination.”11Idem, 46.

The Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian, and Jordanian forces that entered Palestine following Israel’s declaration of independence in May 1948 almost exclusively operated in the areas allocated to the Palestinians under the UN partition plan. For the Jordanians, not crossing the UN-proposed borders was even part of a secret deal with the Jewish Agency. But even at defending those borders the Arab forces did a bad job. Indeed, after the war was over the Israelis controlled 78% of historic Palestine, having conquered almost half of the land that was supposed to become part of a Palestinian state. What was left was the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, the first two of which were annexed by Jordan and the last by Egypt. In 1967, finally, Israel conquered and occupied these areas (as well as the Egyptian Sinai and Syrian Golan Heights), too.

In the procrastinated peace process that has dragged on ever since, the acceptance of the State of Israel within the 1949 armistice lines (the so-called “Green Line”) has formed a sine qua non for the Israelis. Everything that happened before 1967 is considered a fait accompli and is simply not on the negotiating table. Israel, with diplomatic help from its new great-power patron, the United States, to this day ignores UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which affirms the right of return for the millions of descendants of the 750,000 Palestinians it expelled between 1947 and 1949. Meanwhile, under Israel’s 1950 Law of Return, every Jew in the world has the right to “return” to Israel and acquire citizenship.

The fate of the Palestinians that the Israelis failed to expel beyond the borders of historic Palestine is perhaps even more tragic. Palestinians inside the State of Israel, which today make up around 21% of the population, live under a system of Apartheid. Palestinians living in the West Bank continue to live under occupation. And Palestinians in Gaza are confined to what is often called “the world’s largest open-air prison,” suffering at the hands of a devastating fifteen-year-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade and intermittent Israeli bombing campaigns.

News Roundup 1/27/2022

News Roundup 1/25/2022

US News

  • The Massachusetts Department of Health reports that about half of people hospitalized with covid have incidental covid infections. [Link]
  • The US donated 150,000 doses of the Pfizer covid vaccine to Kyrgyzstan through Covax. [Link]
  • Seven sailors were injured during a landing accident on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson. [Link]
  • The US deploys two aircraft carrier strike groups to the South China Sea, including the USS Vinson. [Link] 

Russia

  • Cyber Partisans – a ‘pro-democracy’ hacker group – claims to have carried out a ransomware attack on Belarus’ rail system to prevent the transportation of Russian weapons. [Link]
  • Ukrainian separatists warn the government is planning to invade the breakaway Donbas region. [Link]
  • Ukraine is unhappy with the US withdrawing staff from its Kyiv embassy. [Link]
  • The Department of Homeland Security warns Russia could launch a cyberattack. [Link]
  • Without providing details, NATO announced it was moving additional aircraft and warships to Eastern Europe. [Link]
  • The US places 8,500 troops on heightened preparedness to deploy. [Link]

Iran

  • Iran rules out any preconditions – including releasing American prisoners –  for returning to compliance with the JCPOA. The US recently suggested Iran would have to release American prisoners to return to the nuclear deal. [Link]
  • Iran says it is willing to engage in direct talks with the US. [Link]
  • The Deputy Iran Envoy, Richard Nephew, leaves the nuclear deal negotiation team. [Link]

Middle East

  • Airstrikes in Iraq killed ten militants, and three soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb. [Link]
  • The US carried out airstrikes on a prison in northeastern Syria. The prison is run by the US-backed SDF but was taken over by IS. Fighting for control of the prison continues. [Link]
  • CENTCOM reports it used Patriot missile interceptors to defend the UAE. [Link]
  • The UAE-backed Giants Brigades say they have halted their offensive in Marib. [Link]

Africa

  • Mali calls on Denmark to withdraw its special forces. [Link]
  • Burkina Faso soldiers claim they have captured the country’s president. [Link]
  • Three protesters were killed by security forces in Sudan. [Link]
News Roundup 1/27/2022

News Roundup 1/24/2022

Covid

  • A federal judge in Texas blocks Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal employees. [Link]
  • The US donates three million covid vaccines to four African countries through covax. [Link]
  • The US donates nearly two million Pfizer covid vaccine doses to Egypt through Covax. [Link]

Haiti

  • The judge overseeing the investigation into the assassination of President Moise quits. [Link]

Russia

  • The Biden administration notified Congress of its plan to transfer Mi-17 helicopters to Ukraine. [Link]
  • The US delivers 90 tonnes of weapons – from a December aid package – to Ukraine. [Link]
  • The Baltic States’ arms transfers to Ukraine include Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. [Link]
  • Fewer than one in six Americans support sending US troops to Ukraine to prevent a Russian invasion. [Link]
  • The US will allow non-essential staff at the embassy in Ukraine to leave the country. The US ordered the family of staff to leave the country. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Vienna. The US agreed to give Russia a written response to its security proposal. The two diplomats will meet again next week. [Link]
  • Blinken asked Russia to release two US citizens who were convicted of crimes in Russia and serving prison sentences. [Link]
  • Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia will send political advisers to Paris for talks this week. [Link]
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declined an invitation to speak with Biden about the Ukraine crisis. [Link]
  • The UK says Russia is planning to install a new government in Ukraine. [Link]
  • Blinken rejects calls to sanction Russia now. He explained that sanctions cannot work as a deterrent if they are already in place. [Link]
  • Biden is considering applying the ‘foreign direct product rule’ – cutting off semiconductors and related technology – to Russia in response to an invasion of Ukraine. [Link]
  • Biden is considering plans to deploy between 1,000 and 5,000 troops to Eastern Europe and the Baltic States. [Link]
  • Blinken says there are a number of areas for the US and Russia to work together. [Link]

China

  • Taiwan reports 39 Chinese military aircraft entered its Air Defense Identification Zone. [Link]

Afghanistan 

  • The Taliban will meet with officials from Western governments in Norway. [Link]
  • ISIS-K claims it is behind a bombing in Afghanistan that killed at least six. [Link]

Iran

  • Shipments of thinning agents from Iran have allowed Venezuela to double its oil exports over the past year. [Link]
  • US and European officials warn time is running out in Iran nuclear talks. [Link]
  • Iran and Russia are in talks to upgrade Iran’s nuclear power plant. [Link]
  • The US Envoy to Iran Robert Malley says it is unlikely the US will return to the nuclear deal if Iran continues to hold four American prisoners. [Link]

Yemen

  • Saudi Arabia bombed a Houthi-run prison in Yemen, killing at least 80 people. [Link]
  • Shards from an American-made bomb were found at the prison. [Link]
  • The US claims it intercepted a ship transporting Urea-based fertilizer in the Gulf of Oman. The US alleges it was headed to the Houthi in Yemen. [Link]

Middle East

  • Israel’s cabinet voted to launch an investigation into the “submarine affair” that could implicate former prime minister Netanyahu. [Link]
  • The UAE bans civilians from using drones. [Link]
  • The UAE says it intercepted two ballistic missiles. [Link]
  • Eleven Iraqi soldiers were killed in an IS attack. [Link]
  • Nearly 200 people have been killed in three days of fighting between the US-backed SDF and IS for control over a prison in Syria. [Link]

Africa

  • A top Ethiopian military official says his army will attempt to eliminate the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. [Link]
  • Aid groups warn the people of Mali will pay the price for the sanctions recently imposed on the country. [Link]
  • A French soldier was killed in Mali. [Link]
  • Reports from Burkina Faso say several soldiers have mutinied against the government and a possible coup is underway. [Link]
News Roundup 1/27/2022

News Roundup 1/21/2022

Covid

  • New Mexico is requesting National Guard soldiers and state employees to fill in as substitute teachers. [Link]
  • The US donated over 300,000 Johnson & Johnson covid vaccines to Bangladesh. [Link]
  • The US donated over 600,000 Pfizer covid vaccine doses to Ukraine. [Link]
  • At least 2.8 million covid vaccine doses donated to Africa have expired. [Link]

Russia

  • The US charged four Belarusians with air piracy. [Link]
  • The US announces sanctions on four Ukrainians for assisting an alleged Russian influence campaign in Ukraine. [Link]
  • A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill that would give the president more power to arm Ukraine. [Link]
  • Germany rejects a request to send weapons to Ukraine. [Link]
  • CIA Director William Burns traveled to Germany and Ukraine. [Link]
  • Spain will deploy warships to the Black Sea. [Link]
  • Russia will carry out a series of naval war games over the next six weeks. [Link]

China

  • Taiwan’s vice president will visit the US on his trip to Honduras. [Link]
  • The US is looking for ways to accelerate the delivery of F-16s to Taiwan. [Link]
  • The USS Benfold – a guided-missile destroyer – sailed near the Chinese-claimed Paracel and Spratly Islands to challenge the Chinese territorial claim. [Link]
  • China responds to the USS Benfold maneuvers by calling on the US to stop violating Chinese territorial claims. [Link]

Middle East

  • Israel calls for Iranian proxy forces to be an issue at Vienna talks. [Link]
  • China, Russia, and Iran hold joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman. [Link]
  • The Islamic State carried out an attack on a prison run by the US-backed Syrian Kurds. Some IS fighters were able to escape. [Link]
  • The US bombed the Tabqa Dam in 2017. [Link]
  • Saudi airstrikes led to a nationwide internet outage in Yemen. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia bombed a Yemeni youth soccer game causing casualties. [Link]

Sudan

  • The US says it will withhold aid from Sudan until civilian rule is restored. [Link]
News Roundup 1/27/2022

News Roundup 1/20/2022

US News

  • The police officers who restrained Cedric Lofton at a Kansas juvenile facility until he died will not face charges. [Link]
  • The city of Baltimore settles with two men – who police officers planted drugs on  – for $200,000. The officers were members of the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force. [Link]
  • An interim CIA report has concluded it is unlikely that ‘Havana Syndrome’ is caused by an adversary or weapon. [Link]
  • The Pentagon will spend over $52 million in 2022 on 18 blimps to surveil the southern border. [Link]
  • Rodolphe Jaar – wanted for his role in the assassination of Haitian President Moise – was extradited to the US from the Dominican Republic. [Link]

Russia

  • Mark Brzezinski, son of former US national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, has been sworn in as US ambassador to Poland. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Ukraine and pledges an additional $200 million in military aid. [Link]
  • The US approved US-made weapons to be transferred from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to Ukraine. [Link]
  • Russia calls on the US to stop arming and training Ukrainians. [Link]
  • Biden says there is room to work with Russia on Ukraine. [Link]

China

  • Biden says it is too soon to consider easing tariffs on China. [Link]

North Korea

  • North Korea threatens to resume suspended activities. North Korea is likely referencing its pause on nuclear and ICBM tests. [Link]

Middle East

  • Biden says there is some progress being made in the Iran nuclear deal talks. [Link]
  • Biden says he is considering redesignating the Houthi are a terrorist organization. [Link]
  • The UAE claims the Houthi launched cruise and ballistic missiles along with drones in the recent attack on a fuel depot and international airport. The UAE says some of the missiles were intercepted. [Link]

Africa

  • US soldiers deployed to Niger for several days to help the country design a basic training program for its military. [Link]
  • Chad began releasing some rebel prisoners ahead of peace talks next month. [Link]
News Roundup 1/27/2022

1/19/2022

Covid

  • SCOTUS rejects an emergency appeal challenging the mask mandate on airplanes. [Link]
  • Wisconsin will deploy over 200 National Guard soldiers to nursing homes over the next two months. [Link]
  • The US gives seven million Pfizer covid vaccine doses to Bangladesh through Covax. [Link]

US News

  • A grand jury recommended charges against three police officers that opened fire on two teens and killed an 8-year-old girl. Initially, the state charged the two teens with Fanta Bility’s murder, even though prosecutors knew it was one of the cops that fired the shot that killed her. [Link]
  • Police in California and Kansas have seized over $1 million from three armored trucks that service the legal marijuana industry. [Link]
  • The Washington National Guard will deploy 100 troops to Poland. First, the soldiers will train at Fort Bliss. [Link]
  • Tennessee will deploy 25 members of its National Guard to Kuwait. [Link]

Russia

  • NATO says it will treat an attack on any of its members’ space assets as an attack on the alliance. [Link]
  • NATO signs an agreement with Ukraine to boost cyber cooperation. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy. [Link]
  • The US is concerned about Russia moving troops to Belarus for war games. [Link]
  • The US says Russia could invade Ukraine at any time. [Link]

China

  • Taiwan will pay Ballard Partners $900,000 to lobby on behalf of Guatemala to US officials. [Link]
  • The US increased its number of aircraft carrier deployments to the South China Sea to ten in 2021, up from six in 2020. The warships engaged in more unpredictable routes and maneuvers. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • The Taliban are attempting to place their officials in Afghan embassies. [Link]

Israel

  • The US and Israel claim to have successfully tested the Arrow-3 missile interceptor system. The Arrow-3 is designed to intercept missiles outside the atmosphere. The system could be used to hit satellites. [Link]
  • A report says Israel targeted its citizens with Pegasus spyware. [Link]
  • Women rights activists in Jordan and Bahrain had their phones targeted with the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. [Link]
  • Israel offers security and intelligence support to the UAE in response to the Houthi drone attack. [Link]

Middle East

  • South Korea will sell the UAE $3.4 billion in anti-aircraft missile systems. [Link]
  • The US sanctioned three Lebanese men over alleged ties to Hezbollah. [Link]

Africa

  • Four people were killed by an al-Shabaab suicide bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia. [Link]
  • An IED in Burkina Faso wounded four French soldiers. [Link]
COI #218: Biden Team Blames Trump for Iran Nuclear Deal Failure

COI #218: Biden Team Blames Trump for Iran Nuclear Deal Failure

On COI #218, Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman update the Iran talks, the new Cold War with China, and the genocidal war in Yemen.

Connor discusses the ongoing indirect negotiations in Vienna to restore the JCPOA. There are troubling signs that the Biden administration may be preparing for the talks to fail. House Republicans are demanding President Biden’s team immediately end the talks. Whatever happens, a decision is coming soon, and Biden’s team plans to continue scapegoating Trump. Although there are still positive statements coming from the EU foreign policy chief, the Chinese, and the Iranians themselves.

Connor covers China’s growing Middle East influence. Beijing and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are working toward building a free trade area and a strategic partnership. China is the GCC’s top trading partner and the region forms a centerpiece in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China recently invited Syria to join the BRI as well. Additionally, last year’s Tehran-Beijing comprehensive cooperation agreement is now entering its implementation stage.

Kyle and Connor talk about the U.S. military carrying out massive military exercises with Japan. Tokyo also sailed warships near Chinese-controlled islands twice in the last ten months. The U.S. just wrapped up war drills in the South China Sea including with an aircraft carrier strike group. Washington sent an Ohio class nuclear submarine to Guam, it carries dozens of nuclear warheads and 20 Trident ballistic missiles.

Kyle reports on the war in Yemen where the Saudis announced they will be increasing the bombings of the long battered country. Massive strikes, killing civilians, are being carried out including in the capital city. The Houthis have retaliated, they conducted a high-profile drone attack on Abu Dhabi that destroyed three oil tankers and killed three people. The UAE wants the U.S. to redeclare the Houthis a terrorist group. Such a move would make it even more difficult for aid to enter the blockaded and starving country. Most of Yemen’s civilians live in the northern territory held by the Houthis, the threat of U.S. sanctions would designedly deter most any humanitarian assistance.

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News Roundup 1/27/2022

News Roundup 1/18/2022

Ukraine

  • A bipartisan group of seven Senators traveled to Ukraine. They met with President Zelenskyy and restated America’s support for Ukraine. [Link]
  • The UK will give Ukraine anti-tank weapons and deploy troops for training on the weapons. [Link]
  • Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko returned to Ukraine to face treason charges. [Link]
  • Germany calls for four-party talks – Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia – to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis. [Link]

Russia

  • Russian forces are arriving in Belarus for war games. [Link]

Korea

  • North Korea says it test-fired tactical guided missiles. [Link]

Israel

  • The US denies brokering an energy deal between Israel and Lebanon. [Link]
  • A Palestinian family was forcefully evicted from their home in Sheikh Jarrah. [Link]
  • A 75-year-old Palestinian activist who was hit by a tow truck, contracted by the Israeli police, dies from his injuries. [Link]

Yemen

  • A UAE oil facility was damaged by a drone attack, killing three. The Houthi claim responsibility for the attack. [Link]
  • Saudi bombs Yemen’s capital after the drone attack on the UAE, killing at least six. [Link]
  • The UAE is calling on the US to label the Houthis as a terror group. [Link]

Middle East

  • Iran says nuclear talks are being stalled by the US. [Link]
  • The Wall Street Journal reports Iran is seeking a legal promise from the US not to exit the nuclear deal once an agreement is made. [Link]
  • Two members of Iraq’s parliament had their offices targeted with explosives. [Link]

Africa

  • Libya’s eastern parliament calls the internationally recognized government illegitimate. Presidential elections scheduled for December were canceled. [Link]
  • The UN is pushing for Libya to hold elections in June. [Link]
  • Biden names Lucy Tamlyn to head the US Embassy in Sudan. [Link]
  • Medics say seven protesters were killed by security forces in Sudan. [Link]
News Roundup 1/27/2022

News Roundup 1/16/2022

Corrected on 1/17 to say the USS Nevada visited Guam, not Taiwan.

Covid

  • Covax claims to have distributed one billion covid vaccine doses. [Link]
  • The US donates 2.8 million Pfizer covid vaccine doses to the Philippines through Covax. [Link]
  • The US donated four million covid vaccine doses to African nations through Covax. [Link]
  • The US donated three million Pfizer covid vaccine doses to Egypt through Covax. [Link]

US News

  • Ohio police officers will face no punishment after dragging a paraplegic man from his car by his hair. [Link]

Haiti

  • Jamaican authorities arrested former Haitian Senator John Joel Joseph, a suspect in the assassination of Haitian President Moise. [Link]
  • A Haitian hospital will close because gangs stole the generator that would be used to power the hospital. [Link]

Russia

  • Several Ukrainian government websites were targeted with a cyberattack. The US offered Ukraine support in recovering from the attack and investigating the source. [Link]
  • Ukraine blames Russia for the cyberattack. [Link]
  • The Pentagon says Russia is planning a false flag to give reason to invade Ukraine. [Link]
  • Russia says it took down the ransomware crime group REvil at the request of the US. [Link]
  • Kazakhstan authorities now report 225 deaths in the recent riots/protests. [Link]

China

  • Poland will sell the Philippines 32 Black Hawk helicopters. [Link]
  • The US and Japan participate in the annual Yama Sakura war games. [Link]
  • The USS Nevada – a nuclear, Ohio-class submarine – makes a port call in Guam. [Link]

Korea

  • North Korea is expected to reopen its border with China for rail freight. North Korea closed the border due to covid in 2020. [Link]
  • An early warning system incorrectly predicted that a missile launched by North Korea could hit the US. [Link]
  • North Korea says its third missile test in January was fired from a train. [Link]
  • North Korea carried out its fourth missile test this month. [Link]

Myanmar

  • Opposition forces in Myanmar are using 3D-printed guns. [Link]
  • Former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi – who was removed in a coup – faces five new charges. She is currently serving a multi-year sentence imposed by the ruling militia. [Link]

Afghanistan 

  • At least four people were killed in fighting between Uzbek fighters and the Taliban. [Link]

Middle East

  • Eight members of the House and Senate form the Abraham Accords caucus. [Link]
  • Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vows not to engage in peace talks with Palestinians. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken says there are only a few weeks left to save the Iran nuclear agreement. [Link]
  • Lebanon says that it will not be subject to US sanctions on Syria for importing Jordanian and Egyptian energy through Syria. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia announces an increase of bombing in Yemen. [Link]
  • The UN is calling on the Houthi to release a UAE-flagged ship. The UAE says the ship was carrying medical supplies, and the Houthi claim it was carrying weapons. The Houthi rejected the UN call. [Link]

Africa

  • The spokesperson for Somalia’s prime minister was injured in an al-Shabaab suicide bombing. [Link]
  • The UN says airstrikes have killed over 100 civilians in Ethiopia since the start of the year. [Link]

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