In Ukraine, Biden Reaps What He Sowed

In Ukraine, Biden Reaps What He Sowed

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell is given credit for popularizing the “Pottery Barn” rule of foreign policy. Though he denies using that exact phrase, in arguing against what became the disastrous 2003 U.S. attack on Iraq Powell made the point that, as in Pottery Barn, “if you break it, you own it.”

Bush and his neocons—ironically with the help of Colin Powell himself—did indeed break Iraq and the American people as a result “owned” Iraq for the subsequent 22 years (and counting). It was an idiotic war and, as the late former NSA chief Gen. Bill Odom predicted, turned out to be “the greatest strategic disaster in American history.”

Attacking and destroying Iraq—and executing its leader—not only had no value in any conceivable manner to the United States, it had negative value. In taking responsibility for Iraq’s future, the U.S. government obligated the American people to pick up the tab for a million ransacked Pottery Barns.

There was no way out. Only constant maneuvering and manipulation to desperately demonstrate the impossible—that the move had any value or even made any sense.

So it is with Ukraine. In 2014 the Obama/Biden Administration managed to finish what Bush’s neocons started a decade before. With the U.S.-backed overthrow of the Ukrainian government that year, the U.S. came to “own” what no one in their right mind would ever seek: an economic basket case of a country with a political/business class whose corruption is the stuff of legend.

Rather than admit what a colossal blunder the whole thing had been, the U.S. foreign policy establishment doubled down.

“Oh, this might be a neat tool to overthrow our own election: let’s pretend Trump is Putin’s agent!”

In fact Trump was impeached because a certain Col. Alexander Vindman—himself of Ukrainian origin and doing the bidding of a Ukrainian government installed by Washington—solemnly testified to Adam Schiff and his Democrat colleagues in charge of the House that Trump was clearly Putin’s puppet because his lack of enthusiasm for continuing to “own” Ukraine went against “the Inter-Agency Consensus.”

We “own” Ukraine and there is no way back—at least if the U.S. foreign policy establishment has its way.

That is why our hapless State Department today continues to peddle the fiction that Russia is about to invade – and thus “own”—Ukraine. U.S. foreign policy is one of projection: accuse your rivals of doing what you yourself are doing. No sane country would want to “own” Ukraine. Except the Beltway Think Tank class, thoroughly infused with military-industrial complex money.

That is why the U.S. government, though its Embassy in Kiev, is bragging about the arrival of $200 million in lethal aid, all pointed directly at Russia.

That is why the U.S. State Department is maintaining the fiction that Russia is about to launch a ground war to occupy Ukraine by dramatically announcing an “evacuation” of all “non-essential personnel” from its Embassy in Kiev.

It’s just too bad that we don’t share the opinion of who are really “non-essential” State Department personnel in Kiev: the last person out could be asked to turn off the lights.

By overthrowing an elected government in Kiev in 2014, the U.S. government disenfranchised millions of voters in eastern Ukraine who voted for the overthrown president. Those voters unsurprisingly came to view the U.S.-installed regime as illegitimate and sought self-rule under the concept of self-determination. As ethnic Russians, many of these successfully sought Russian passports.

Russia has been clear for a long time about Ukraine: it will not allow an armed invasion of eastern Ukraine that would result in the deaths of thousands of Russian citizens. Were the shoe on the other foot, the U.S.—and any country—could be expected to react the same way.

The U.S. is nearly the last country on earth that still holds to the WWII-era concept of war for territorial gain. Russia wants to “own” Ukraine like most people want to “own” a 2003 Saturn. That is why despite neocon/neo-liberal hype, magnified by the lock-step U.S. media, Russia is not about to invade Ukraine.

This fantasy is being pushed by those who desperately need to continue to gin up enthusiasm for a thoroughly idiotic and counterproductive imperial enterprise.

Biden while vice president sowed the regime change winds in Ukraine. Now his inept Administration will reap the whirlwind of that continuing train wreck and eventual dissolution of the country. No matter what Antony Blinken peddles to the contrary.

Even the comedian Zelensky knows this is a really bad joke.

This article was originally featured at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and is republished with permission.

COI #222: Cold War Served Hot, Hawks Cry For Russian Blood

COI #222: Cold War Served Hot, Hawks Cry For Russian Blood

On COI #222, Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman cover the hawks advocating the killing of Russians, the ongoing Cold War with China, and recent violence in Syria.

Connor reviews his latest column discussing the Washington imperial elite’s calls for Russian blood during the Ukraine crisis. The Biden administration, the CIA, Senators from both parties, and NATO officials have been promoting policies that will lead to war. Military aid to Kiev is skyrocketing. U.S. lawmakers seek to tie Biden’s hands and only continue increasing tensions with Moscow.

Kyle details military and political escalations with Beijing. In a move sure to anger the Chinese, Taipei’s Vice President is visiting the U.S. soon.  The Seventh Fleet is carrying out war drills with dual aircraft carrier strike groups in the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea. An F-35 recently crash-landed on the USS Carl Vinson’s deck during the provocative South China Sea exercise.  In response to a U.S. destroyer’s recent FONOP in the region, China’s military is demanding an end to these frequent hostile maneuvers.

Kyle updates the chaotic situation in Syria. An Islamic State attack on a prison in Kurdish territory reportedly holding ISIS suspects, including child detainees, has left scores dead and thousands displaced. The prison break in Hasakah began with two car bombs. Daesh prisoners overpowered prison guards, killing them and taking their weapons. Backing the Kurds, the U.S. has been committing airstrikes. On top of this, U.S. lawmakers are attempting to put a stop to Arab states’ efforts to normalize relations with Damascus.

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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.

COI #221: Biden Must Make Concessions to Defuse the Ukraine Crisis

COI #221: Biden Must Make Concessions to Defuse the Ukraine Crisis

On COI #221, Kyle Anzalone discusses the Ukraine crisis. Biden has overextended American commitments and now must make concessions to defuse the crisis. Even if it leads to war, the Blob will demand that Biden hold firm against Putin. While the US continues to take aggressive positions against Russia, behind-the-scenes talks could be working towards a deal to prevent such a war. 

Kyle talks about the U.K. High Court’s ruling that Assange can appeal his extradition to the U.K. Supreme Court. The decision is key in the Wikileaks founder’s fight for freedom. However, Assange will remain entangled in the UK justice system for months. 

Kyle updates Saudi’s brutal war in Yemen. Following a Houthi drone strike on the UAE, the U.S./Saudi air war on the people of northern Yemen accelerated. After knocking out the internet, Riyadh dropped American-made bombs on a youth soccer game and a migrant detention center.

Kyle looks at the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban took control of the country in August, the U.S. levied a brutal economic war on the Afghans, sending millions to the brink of starvation. The U.S. is talking with the Taliban this week. The Taliban, as well as the UN, are pushing the U.S. to unfreeze Afghan government accounts. 

Kyle breaks down the career paths of former Trump defense officials. Many are joining smaller tech firms’ boards. The smaller firms give more control to the former officials to direct the companies.

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COI #220: Can Biden Reverse America’s Failed Ukraine Policy?

COI #220: Can Biden Reverse America’s Failed Ukraine Policy?

On COI #220, Kyle Anzalone discusses the recent talks between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. While no deal was reached, the two diplomats were able to make progress on limited issues. However, after the talks ended, America resumed its hostile policy by promising more weapons to Ukraine. 

Kyle breaks down the recent CIA report on Havana Syndrome. The report – much to the displeasure of the mainstream media – finds HS is not caused by a foreign power. 

Kyle updates the fallout from Obama’s Libya War. Chaos and war have spread through Africa’s Sahel in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Chad. America has long backed France’s terror war in the region. Biden sought to pull the U.S. from France’s fight to maintain control over its former colonies. Though the administration ultimately increased America’s support for the war to appease France after the AUKUS deal scuttled Paris’ submarine agreement with Australia. 

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1/21/22 Richard Hanania on American Power, Public Choice Theory and the Rise of China

Scott interviews Richard Hanania of Defense Priorities. They discuss the reality of how the American military’s presence impacts global events. Hanania argues that, if it were true that the U.S. was out there defending its allies, you’d expect those countries to want U.S. troops present more than the U.S. wants to have troops stationed there. But in reality, we often find the opposite. Hanania also gives the reasons he thinks China is all but certain to become the dominant power in East Asia but that right-wing fears over a global Chinese takeover are overblown. 

Discussed on the show:

Richard Hanania is a research fellow at Defense Priorities and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. His work focuses on political psychology, the causes of civil war, and the effects of interest groups on U.S. foreign policy. Follow him on Twitter @RichardHanania

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.

COI #219: Biden’s Gaffes Highlight a Year of Foreign Policy Missteps

COI #219: Biden’s Gaffes Highlight a Year of Foreign Policy Missteps

On COI #219, Kyle Anzalone is joined by Dave DeCamp – News Editor at Antiwar.com – to review Biden’s first year as president. 

Dave breaks down Biden’s Ukraine policy. At a recent press conference, Biden suggested, if there is a small Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. may not react. The White House immediately reversed the President’s statement. This confusion in policy comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to meet with his Russian counterpart. 

Dave and Kyle discuss Biden’s Iran policy. Dave explains how Biden missed his opportunity to negotiate a more favorable deal with a moderate Iranian government. Now, Biden has set a deadline on the deal. But with a more hardline Iranian government in power, Tehran is demanding Biden live up to the commitments made by Obama. 

Dave explains how Biden has failed to successfully hold Saudi Arabia accountable and end the war in Yemen. The US-aided Saudi slaughter of Yemen increased through 2021, despite Biden’s pledge to treat Saudi Arabia as a pariah state and end offensive weapon sales.  

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News Roundup 1/20/2022

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]
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 1/20/2022

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]
COI #217: Breaking Down SCOTUS’s Vax Mandate Ruling guest Patrick MacFarlane

COI #217: Breaking Down SCOTUS’s Vax Mandate Ruling guest Patrick MacFarlane

On COI #217, Patrick MacFarlane joins Kyle Anzalone to break down SCOTUS’s ruling on Biden’s OSHA-enforced vaccine mandate and the federally-funded healthcare worker vaccine mandate. Pat explains why the court came to the decision on each case and gives a libertarian legal perspective. 

Pat discusses the Virginia Beach police generating confessions with fabricated DNA evidence. The practice can easily create false confessions. Pat and Kyle talk about the possibility of cops being held accountable for lying to suspects. 

Kyle and Pat discuss the creation of a new Department of Justice force that will target ‘domestic terrorism.’ The force is a result of the government’s inflated fear of another 1/6 event.

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COI #216: Is the CIA Creating a New Mujahideen in Ukraine?

COI #216: Is the CIA Creating a New Mujahideen in Ukraine?

On Conflicts of Interest #216, Kyle Anzalone breaks down the CIA program to train insurgents in Ukraine. While only few details of the program were revealed, since 2015, the CIA has hired a paramilitary to train Ukrainians in the US on insurgency tactics. While the program is presented as defensive, officials admit the program has been used to make battlefield gains inside Ukraine. 

Kyle discusses the recent talks between Russia and NATO. Much like the meeting between the US and Russia, the dialog ended without agreement or much progress being made. However, Russia arrested several members of a hacking group at the request of the US – presenting an opening for more dialog. 

Kyle updates the war in Ethiopia. With US drones and airstrikes, the Ethiopian government has turned back the Tigray People Liberation Front’s advance. After halting the offensive, in a move that appears to be directed at ending the war, the Ethiopian government released several prisoners.. However, Ethiopia has not let up on its air war which, so far this year, has claimed the lives of over 100 Tigrayian civilians. Ethiopian leader Abiy spoke with Biden as Ethiopian drones targeted civilian camps. 

Kyle explains the recent developments in the Yemen War. The UAE-backed Giants brigade made major gains against Houthi fighters in Maarib and Shabwah. However, the people of Yemen continue to flee to areas controlled by the Houthi as they are more stable and secure. 

Kyle wraps up the show with a discussion of North Korea’s recent missile tests. Since South Korea President Moon Jae-in announced a possible end to the Korean war, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has carried out three missile tests. The US reacted to the tests with new sanctions on North Korea. 

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