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Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning to Israel’s enemies

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Benjamin Netanyahus warning to Israels enemies

Israel has been threatened with annihilation since before it was even a nation. These threats have often been followed by actions by other nations against Israel and by Israel against her enemies.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s long-standing position today, ironically while visiting their little-publicized nuclear reactor at Dimona. The comments were for all but directed particularly towards Iran who today noted they may back out of the nuclear deal.

Will Iran back out of the Iran nuclear deal?

http://noqreport.com/2018/08/29/will-iran-back-iran-nuclear-deal/Rouhani is under increasing pressure to figure something out as every economic indicator in Iran is failing. It’s the worst recession the Middle East nation has seen in decades and shows no signs of getting better any time soon.

For this reason, it is very likely Iran will end up backing out of the deal. Without the United States participating, there’s very little reason for them to continue. They will need to engage even more with Russia and China, potentially even giving up more than they’d like in order to avoid a Venezuela-style collapse.

Iran is being backed into a corner and has a difficult time directly reaching the United States. That leaves Israel and possibly even Saudi Arabia as the targets with which it can direct its frustration. While this is always a looming threat, one thing that should be noted about Iran is they haven’t engaged in many direct conflicts since their war with Iraq.

They prefer to use proxies and fund terrorism over direct military intervention. Nevertheless, Israel will remain on its guard.

“Those who threaten to wipe us out put themselves in a similar danger, and in any event will not achieve their goal.”

Source: Reuters

At Dimona reactor, Netanyahu warns Israel’s foes they risk ruin

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-nuclear/at-dimona-reactor-netanyahu-warns-israels-foes-they-risk-ruin-idUSKCN1LE270Netanyahu’s remarks, issued by his office in a transcript, came as Israel lobbies world powers to follow the United States in exiting their 2015 deal with Iran that capped the Islamic Republic’s nuclear capabilities.

The Israelis deem the agreement insufficient for denying their arch-foe the means to eventually get the bomb – something that Tehran, which is a signatory to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treatry (NPT), denies wanting.

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Foreign Affairs

The Saudi predicament requires radical changes in our foreign affairs positions

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Saudi predicament requires radical changes in our foreign affairs positions

The United States is at a foreign affairs crossroads. One of our most important allies in the most important region in the world is being led by a man that U.S. intelligence (and pretty much everybody else) believes ordered the murder of a journalist living in our nation and writing for one of its biggest news outlets. How can we reconcile between what’s right and what’s smart?

Further evidence was leaked today that Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month. The CIA concluded this based on multiple pieces of circumstantial evidence, including phone calls intercepted between Khashoggi and Mohammed’s brother assuring Khashoggi’s safety if he went to the Saudi consulate where was murdered.

CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-concludes-saudi-crown-prince-ordered-jamal-khashoggis-assassination/2018/11/16/98c89fe6-e9b2-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html?utm_term=.718b2d26599cThe CIA’s conclusion about Mohammed’s role was also based on the agency’s assessment of the prince as the country’s de facto ruler who oversees even minor affairs in the kingdom. “The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved,” said a U.S. official familiar with the CIA’s conclusions.

Among the intelligence assembled by the CIA is an audio recording from a listening device that the Turks placed inside the Saudi consulate, according to the people familiar with the matter. The Turks gave the CIA a copy of that audio, and the agency’s director, Gina Haspel, has listened to it.

This is much more complicated than deciding whether or not to punish Mohammed. The stakes are unfathomably high, including balance of power in the Middle East, a potential oil crisis that could cripple the world economy, and the future of a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, what’s right and what’s smart are diametrically opposed in this situation.

What’s right?

Every ounce of evidence points to the near-certainty that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He was a permanent residence of the United States who lived in Virginia and worked at the Washington Post. While not a citizen, he lawfully earned the right to fall under our nation’s protections.

The right thing to do is to condemn the Crown Prince, even if that will irreversibly damage our relationship with Saudi Arabia.

What’s smart?

Based on the current geopolitical status quo, Saudi Arabia is our best proxy to keep Iran in check in the Middle East. They are also the reason the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency despite efforts by Russia, China, and other nations to change that. This status allows the dollar to maintain artificial stability. There are many factors in play that could cripple the dollar if Saudi Arabia and OPEC started dealing in other currencies, bur national debt alone would be enough to catastrophically collapse our entire economy if the world had the means to turn its collective back on us.

Saudi Arabia and the so-called “petrodollar” is the force that maintains the illusion of stability.

The arms we sell Saudi Arabia account for a substantial chunk of revenue and jobs in the United States, but more importantly it gives them the technological edge they need over Iran. If the Saudis turn to Russia or China, our influence over the region would diminish greatly.

The smart thing to do is to sweep this under the rug. Throw symbolic punishment at some sacrificial Saudi lambs and move on.

Time for change

There is no way to do what’s right and still do what’s smart, so it would seem the White House has to pick between the two.

Perhaps they don’t. Perhaps there’s a third option.

Even if we do the “right” thing by condemning Saudi Arabia Mohammed, ties will not deteriorate immediately. There will be a wind down during which time the Saudis will be looking for other partners and the Americans will be trying to salvage the relationship.

What if we didn’t? What if we acknowledged for the first time that Saudi Arabia is more than just the country that murdered Khashoggi. Their human rights record is atrocious. They have directly or indirectly harmed the United States for years, including a significant role in terrorist attacks. They spread Wahhabism across the world. If you haven’t heard much about Wahhabism, it’s because the radical Islamic sect that drives the House of Saud is protected from media scrutiny. See Network, which only partially satirizes the influence the Saudis have on U.S. media.

Saudi Arabia is a horrible ally. They’re necessary because we’ve made them necessary, but if we drastically cut budgets and spending, the economic ramifications of a break with them would be mitigated. It’s time to make deals with nations that do not smile at us in public and subvert us in private. Nations that do not like us, including Brazil and Venezuela, could be brought under our wing to replace Saudi Arabia on the oil front. It’s unimaginable now, but we live in fast-moving times.

Also, build the Keystone XL pipeline.

As for stability in the Middle East, it’s time we go all-in with Israel. They are the only true democracy and the one nation in the Middle East we can count on to not stab us in the back. They are capable of being the check against Iran. Abandon all talks of a two-state solution, work with Israel as our primary proxy in the Middle East, and make Saudi Arabia turn to others for support.

All of this sounds dangerous because, well, it is. The dominoes that will fall when we take drastic measures against Saudi Arabia will be painful. But there’s one thing to consider before balking at this. We may be heading in this direction already. The difference is it wouldn’t be us initiating (and therefore prepared for) these changes. Saudi Arabia has been quietly seeking a better deal for decades. They haven’t found it yet, but someday they will. When that happens, they’ll pull the rug out from under us.

We should be the ones pulling the rug. If we’re not, the permanent repercussions will be devastating.

Radical change in our foreign affairs stance is long overdue. Saudi Arabia is the worst kind of ally to rely upon, not just because of Khashoggi but because of everything else they’ve done. None of this seems feasible now, but it may be the only path forward.

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Foreign Affairs

Three observations about Julian Assange following charges filed against him

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Three observations about Julian Assange following charges filed against him

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged by the United States. The charges are sealed and were not intended to be released to the public yet. Now, there is plenty of speculation surrounding his future.

He has been holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. He sought asylum there to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape charges. He has always asserted the charges were fabricated to get him extradited to the United States, a conspiracy theory proven no longer valid since Sweden has stopped pursuing charges.

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange has been charged in US, prosecutors accidentally reveal

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/julian-assange-charged-us-wikileaks-prosecutors-court-filing-ecuador-embassy-a8636336.htmlThe Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal with unspecified offences in the US, prosecutors have accidentally revealed in an unintentional court filing.

Federal prosecutors had hoped to keep the indictment against Mr Assange a secret “due to the sophistication of the defendant, and the publicity surrounding the case”, and so that Mr Assange would “no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter”.

There are three peculiar observations about his situation that should be noted.

  1. Sealed charges may signal the charges are related to the Mueller investigation. Most have assumed the charges are based around his leaking of classified military information and videos that started getting leaked in 2010. The timing of the “leak” might lend more to the possibility that Robert Mueller’s 2016 election interference investigation is the source. This week, Jerome Corsi said he believes he will be indicted over his association with Wikileaks. Corsi rightly “predicted” Wikileaks would release John Podesta’s emails. Did he or Roger Stone know about the emails being hacked? If so, did President Trump know as well?
  2. Ecuador hates him. If there was a honeymoon, it ended years ago. Living in the same building for six years can change a person, but it seems more likely that he really is just a jerk. Complaints have come through his stay, but they’ve ramped up recently with embassy personnel and visitors complaining about his hygiene, treatment of his cat, and a generally bitter attitude. He even sued them for violating his rights. Ecuador wants him out and these new charges might be enough to make them reverse their course. If he were extradited to the United States, a deal would probably including taking the death penalty off the table.
  3. The leak may have been intentional. Either someone is an idiot for copying and pasting information about Assange’s charges from a different document or this was supposed to get leaked. If the latter is true, the motivation could be to start pressuring Ecuador into handing him over to the United States.

Some say he’s a hero. Others call him a traitor. Whatever he is or isn’t, one thing is certain. If he ever leaves the embassy, he will be arrested.

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Foreign Affairs

Did North Korea pull a con job on President Trump?

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Did North Korea pull a con job on President Trump

For most of 2018, President Trump has been tooting his horn as the great negotiator who forced Kim Jong un and North Korea to the table. He has showered praise on the dictator, a sharp contrast to the Twitter wars they had in the past. Now, it seems that negotiations may be falling apart.

On top of that, it now appears North Korea has continued to work on their nuclear and missile programs the whole time.

Undeclared North Korea: The Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base

https://beyondparallel.csis.org/undeclared-north-korea-sakkanmol-missile-operating-base/Located within the Tactical Belt in North Hwanghae province, 85 km north of the DMZ and 135 km northwest of Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is the Sakkanmol missile operating base (38.584698° 126.107945°).1 Although occasionally and incorrectly referred to as an “underground missile storage” facility, it is a forward Hwasong-5/-6 missile operating base subordinate to the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), which is responsible for all ballistic missile units.2 The base is located near the point where the three counties of Pongsan, Sohung, and Yontan in North Hwanghae province meet. Disambiguation of references to reported missile bases in these counties indicates that they are actually referring to the Sakkanmol missile operating base. This is likely true for references to a missile base at Togol, 9.5 km to the northeast, and may also be true for a reported ballistic missile unit in the Sariwon area, 31 km to the west.3

According to former CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman, North Korea is just trying to wait us out. They are trying to wiggle out of sanctions while simultaneously breaking them through secret deals with countries like Russia and China.

Was this all just a big con job? Did the North Koreans take advantage of President Trump’s desire for a foreign relations win? Are these latest revelations signs that they will not negotiate in good faith? It seems so.

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