Tag: Trump

US staging ‘fatal provocations’ against Russian forces in Syria

Washington is playing a dangerous game of encouraging terrorists in Syria to attack government forces and the Russian military, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. Moscow won’t leave aggressive US steps unanswered, but wants to overcome the political deadlock, he added.

In an interview with the London-based, Arabic-language Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, taken ahead of the visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Moscow, Lavrov noted that the US-led coalition and the Syrian rebel forces they support consistently act in a way that helps Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and other terrorist groups.

“In some cases, these forces mount allegedly accidental strikes against the Syrian Armed Forces, after which Islamic State [banned in Russia] counterattacks. In other cases, they inspire other terrorists to attack strategic locations over which official Damascus has restored its legitimate authority, or to stage fatal provocations against our military personnel,” Lavrov said.

Washington is guided by “double standards” in Syria, the Russian foreign minister said, slamming the US for failing to acknowledge that there are no such things as bad or good terrorists.

“If you apply double standards, divide terrorists into ‘bad’ and ‘very bad,’ force others to enter the coalition on political motives, forgetting about the necessary UN sanction to approve these actions, then it’s hard to speak about the effectiveness of an anti-terror campaign,” he said.

Russia’s involvement in the campaign against ISIS in Syria aids not only Russia’s national security, but also regional stability, Lavrov said. He added that it is not enough to defeat terrorists on the ground to bring peace to embattled regions, noting the importance of diplomatic efforts.

“It’s impossible to eradicate terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa through military means only. We are deeply convinced about that. The advantage of our policy lies in that it is not self-interested and does not have a hidden agenda,” he said. rt.com

Pentagon falsifies paperwork to keep Syria rebels armed

In July 19, the Trump administration announced that it would end the CIA’s covert program aimed at arming and training terrorist-linked “moderate rebels” in Syria, sparking hope among some Trump supporters that he was finally enacting the anti-interventionist rhetoric of his campaign.

However, a recently released report shows that the Pentagon has picked up the slack left by the end of the CIA’s program — pumping billions of dollars worth of weapons into the hands of Syrian “rebels,” while attempting to mask the paper trail and their suppliers’ ties to organized crime.

The report, published Tuesday by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), provides conclusive evidence that the Pentagon plans to provide up to $2.2 billion in weapons to Syrian “rebel” groups, particularly Kurdish militant groups like the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). While the Pentagon has been arming “rebels” since 2015, the Department of Defense began requesting increased funding for the program once the CIA covert arms program was ostensibly slated to shut down.

While the Pentagon has been arming “rebels” since 2015, the Department of Defense began requesting increased funding for the program once the CIA covert arms program was ostensibly slated to shut down.

The Pentagon has requested an additional $322.5 million for the financial year ending October 2017 and $261.9 million for the following 12 months. For fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the budget for the program has been set at $584 million while another $900 million has been earmarked to continue the program through 2022. mintpressnews.com





Military hysteria over N. Korea may lead to catastrophe

The examples of Iraq and Libya have convinced the North Korean leadership that only nuclear deterrence can protect them, so no sanctions can dissuade them, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Pyongyang will not relinquish its military program under pressure of sanctions and military threats, because the examples of Iraq and Libya have convinced it that nuclear deterrence is the only credible way to ensure its security, President Putin told journalists on Tuesday.

“Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end,” he added. “It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue.”

The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya both came after the leaders of those countries submitted to international pressure and relinquished their programs of weapons of mass destruction in exchange for sanctions relief.

North Korea for its part chose confrontation with the world community, successfully developing nuclear weapons and currently, rapidly perfecting the means of their delivery.

“As I told my colleagues yesterday, they will eat grass but will not stop their program as long as they do not feel safe,” Putin said. “What can restore their security? The restoration of international law. rt.com

Disarmament of Libya

The Libyan disarmament issue was peacefully resolved on December 2003 when Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi agreed to eliminate his country’s weapons of mass destruction program, including a decades-old nuclear weapons program.

Donald Trump vows to answer North Korea nuclear threats with ‘fire and fury’

Launching strike on N. Korea possible, but outcome would be uncertain – Putin

Trump to expand US military intervention in Afghanistan

US reinforcements could start arriving in Afghanistan within days, a US commander in the region said in the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to raise the US stakes once more in the 16-year war.

In a televised address to troops at Fort Myer in Virginia on Monday night, Trump did not say how many more soldiers he was willing to send to Afghanistan, but he made it clear he was going to increase the US military presence there.

“The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory,” Trump said. “They deserve the tools they need, and the trust they have earned, to fight and to win.”

US defence officials have pointed to a pending order for 3,900 soldiers, agreed by Trump in June to bolster the 8,400-strong US force that is already there, training and supporting Afghan troops and conducting counter-terror operations. The extra deployment had been delayed by the Pentagon pending agreement on an Afghan strategy. theguardian.com

Daughter of U.S. envoy Friedman immigrates to Israel

The daughter of the American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has immigrated to Israel and taken Israeli citizenship.

The 24-year-old Talia Friedman arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday on a charter flight carrying over 200 new immigrants from North America and was greeted by her father.

Friedman, President Donald Trump’s former bankruptcy attorney, was appointed ambassador earlier this year. His appointment was opposed by Democrats and some Jewish groups because of donations to Israeli settlements, opposition to Palestinian statehood and vocal support for hard-line Israeli government positions.

Friedman told Israeli media that he was proud of his daughter. He said that “she loves Israel, we all love Israel. Our whole family loves Israel.”

Friedman is a member of Trump’s team spearheading efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. dailymail.co.uk

Pentagon and State Dep. Said to propose arming Ukraine

The Pentagon and State Department have proposed to the White House a plan to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and other arms, according to Defense Department officials.

The proposed transfer — which also would include antiaircraft arms that would be defined as defensive weaponry — comes as fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists has increased in recent days, and the United States is taking steps to deter aggressive military actions by Moscow.

The plan by the Pentagon and State Department has been presented to the White House, but no decision has been made, said a Defense Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a proposal still under review. It was not clear if President Trump had been briefed on the proposal.

Whether to provide more substantial weaponry to Kiev’s beleaguered forces has embroiled American policy makers for several years.

Two years ago, eight former senior American officials urged the Obama administration to send $3 billion in defensive arms and equipment to Ukraine, including anti-armor missiles, reconnaissance drones, armored Humvees and radars that can determine the location of enemy rocket and artillery fire.
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President Obama ultimately decided against providing such lethal assistance, despite a series of striking reversals that Ukraine’s forces suffered on the battlefield.

Fearing that the provision of defensive weapons might tempt President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to raise the stakes, the Obama administration limited American aid to “nonlethal” items, including body armor, night-vision goggles, first aid kits and engineering equipment. nytimes.com

cnn.com


“Donald Trump drops CIA programme in Syria”

Donald Trump has decided to halt the CIA’s covert programme to equip and train moderate rebels fighting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, in a move likely to be welcomed by Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The CIA programme began in 2013 as part of Barack Obama’s support for the overthrow of Assad but met with little success, two officials told Reuters. Some armed and trained rebels defected to Islamic State and other radical groups.

One of the officials was quoted as saying the US is not making a major concession, given Assad’s continued grip on power, but “it’s a signal to Putin that the administration wants to improve ties to Russia”.

Along with Iran, Moscow has played a critical part in shoring up Assad during the the six-year civil war.

The decision was made with national security adviser HR McMaster and CIA director Mike Pompeo after they consulted with lower ranking officials, and before Trump’s 7 July meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany, Reuters reported. It was not part of US-Russian negotiations on a limited ceasefire in south-west Syria the two leaders agreed to at the summit, the officials said. theguardian.com


U.S. in Qatar for drills days after Trump slams Doha

Two combat US Navy ships have reportedly sailed into Doha for joint drills with the Qatari navy. It comes amid a widening rift between Qatar and a number of Gulf states, and US President Donald Trump accusing Doha of sponsoring terrorism.

The deployment follows a set of sharp remarks by Trump, in which he accused Qatar of channeling support to extremists, stating that the Gulf Kingdom has “historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”

The US leader took up a harsh tone against Doha after several Middle Eastern countries, including the US major ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, as well as Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Qatar earlier this month, accusing it of supporting terrorism and cozying up to Iran.

Praising the move on Twitter, Trump appeared to take credit for the political and economic blockade of Qatar, led by the oil-rich Gulf monarchies, implying that it was a direct consequence of his first foreign trip across Middle East, which he boasted “was already paying off.”

“I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar-look!” he wrote, adding that “perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism.”

READ MORE: Middle East trip ‘already paying off’ – Trump on Qatar-Arab League rift

However, not everyone in the US administration appeared to share Trump’s stance on the issue, with US State Department attempted to distance itself from the president’s remarks by calling on all parties to engage in “a calm and thoughtful dialog with clear expectations.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged parties embroiled in the dispute to ease the blockade, as it hampering the US military action in the region and, in particular, the US-led effort to defeat Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL).

The Pentagon went even further, voicing support for Qatar, which hosts the US Central Command contingent, serving as a command and logistical hub for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. rt.com


Iran slams Trump’s condolences to Tehran attacks victims

Iran’s foreign minister has branded condolences sent by the White House over recent Tehran attacks as “repugnant.” The US administration sent sympathies to Iran, but lectured that “states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

“Repugnant White House statement … as Iranians counter terrorism backed by US clients. Iranian people reject such US claims of friendship,” Javad Zarif tweeted.

At least 13 people died and dozens were injured in gun and bomb attacks at the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s shrine in Tehran on Wednesday. The attacks were claimed by Islamic state (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), said Amaq news agency, which is affiliated with the terrorists.

The five attackers were Iranian citizens who had joined IS before returning to Iran in summer 2016, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry confirmed on Thursday.

“The five known terrorists… after joining the IS terrorist group, left the country and participated in crimes carried out by this terrorist group in Mosul and Raqqa,” the ministry said.

On Wednesday evening, the White House sent condolences to Iran, including the controversial cautionary note.

“We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” the White House said in a statement. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards [IRGC] accused Saudi Arabia of masterminding the attacks, saying that the assaults “happened only a week after the meeting between the US president [Donald Trump] and the [Saudi] backward leaders who support terrorists.”

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, IRGC deputy commander, vowed to “take revenge” for the attacks.

“Let there be no doubt that we will take revenge for today’s attacks in Tehran, on terrorists, their affiliates and their supporters,” he said, Mehr news agency reported.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, rejected Tehran’s accusations.

“We condemn terrorist attacks anywhere they occur and we condemn the killing of the innocent anywhere it occurs,” Jubeir said.

According to the director of the Crisis Research Institute, Mark Almond, it is highly possible IS was, as it claims, behind the attacks in Iran as the group is interested in stirring up a Sunni-Shiite conflict. However, other groups and regional player involvement can’t be ruled out, he added. rt.com

Iran attacks: ‘Saudi Wahhabi ideology is main culprit’

“Trump’s Saudi pivot is a golden opportunity in terror fight”


Trump should discuss avoiding new 9/11 while in Saudi Arabia

Are Saudi deals worth more than American lives?

US President Donald Trump should discuss how to avoid “the likes of” the 9/11 terrorist attacks with his Saudi Arabian partners during his first official visit abroad, Iran’s foreign minister said in an opinion piece.

Tehran and Riyadh have recently engaged in a war of words, accusing each other of undermining security across the Middle East, sponsoring fundamentalist organizations, and seeking regional dominance.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister and an outspoken diplomat, advised Donald Trump, who is on a tour of the Middle East, to tackle the issue of fueling Islamist extremism with his interlocutors in Saudi Arabia.

According to the minister, Trump “must enter into dialogue with them about ways to prevent terrorists and takfiris [Sunni extremists] from continuing to fuel the fire in the region and repeating the likes of the September 11 incident by their sponsors in Western countries,” Zarif wrote for the London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed media outlet.

There are widespread allegations that Saudi Arabia played a role in the 2001 attacks.

In March, a lawsuit filed on behalf of the families of 850 victims alleged that nine Saudi Arabian charities, which served as proxies for Riyadh, ran terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and worked with Osama bin Laden, the former of Al-Qaeda leader believed to be the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.

Saudi Arabia denies any complicity in the attack and dismisses allegations of supporting the 19 hijackers, most of whom were Saudi citizens. rt.com

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