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Saudi foreign minister does damage control on American press

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The foreign relations mess stemming from Jamal Khashoggi’s murder continues to grow more chaotic despite Saudi Arabia’s attempt to cover it up with regularly changing stories. The latest attempt at damage control comes from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

Fox News’ Bret Baier him, pressing multiple times about Mohammad bin Salman’s role in or knowledge of the operation that led to Khashoggi’s murder. The blame is being placed on the individuals who carried out the operation; as much space is being created between the direct actors and Saudi leadership as possible.

One important note in the interview was when al-Jubier said they do not believe the entire 15-man “kill team” was at the consulate where when Khashoggi was killed there. He admitted he did not know whether Turkey really had a recording of what happened during the incident, nor whether the United States had intelligence that contradicted the Kingdom’s story.

The responses from the foreign minister were in stark contrast to the indignation exuding from the Kingdom for two weeks following the initial report of Khashoggi’s disappearance.

My Take

As I wrote last week, Saudi Arabia gravely underestimated the international response to this incident. They thought they could get rid of a dissident as they have done in the past and the response would be muted. They didn’t take into account his American ties and the desire of the Turks to expose them at every turn.

How is this going to end? It won’t, at least not for a while. Unlike other international news stories of similar magnitude, this one has multiple forces bent on keeping the story going until a satisfactory resolution is reached. It won’t be reached. The White House and the Kingdom will do whatever they can to sweep this under the rug and make people forget.

This stinks, but here’s the sad reality: “Justice” will not be delivered the way it should and the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States will return to the status quo in a few months.

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Foreign Affairs

Venezuela is colluding with Russia while America is distracted by Trump not colluding with Russia

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Venezuela is colluding with Russia while America is distracted by Trump not colluding with Russia

Two Russian jets carrying troops and equipment landed in Caracas, Venezuela, as part of a mission to “fullfil technical military contracts,” according to Russian media. But it’s almost certain this is part of Russia’s play on Venezuela to prop up socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro just as they did with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, most Americans who follow the news cycle were bombarded with perspectives on Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Robert Mueller investigation report. In it, President Trump and his 2016 campaign were found to not have colluded with the Russians in their election hacking endeavors.

My Take

While most were focused on fake Russian collusion, the real thing was happening in one of the world’s hottest spots, Venezuela.

Russia’s play here is simple: keep Maduro in power at all costs. They got the drop on any actions the United States may have been planning, though it’s unlikely those plans included military intervention. Still, Russia isn’t taking any chances. By getting troops and equipment on the ground, they’ll be able help Maduro by offering cover from outside actions while bolstering his support internally.

Any defections or coup attempts will be much less likely with Russia directly involved.

The opposition leader who America and over 50 other nations consider to be the rightful interim president, Juan Guaido, has been trying to get international support while maintaining domestic support, but Maduro’s move may have prevented that from happening.

In essence, the battle over Venezuela is now over. It’s unfathomable to conceive of action by the United States or any other’s who support Guaido other than diplomatic efforts that will accomplish nothing. Venezuela is doomed to retain their socialist dictator now.

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Foreign Affairs

Israel suffers another rocket attack from Hamas

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Israel suffers another rocket attack from Hamas

A confirmed rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on Israeli homes near the border in the Kfar Saba area outside Tel Aviv. Sirens were heard prior to the rocket explosion and posted by the IDF Twitter account.

Six people were injured in the attack.

My Take

The conflict between Hamas and Israel has been getting old for years, but now is not the time to blow off the news. Hamas is having internal strife as its citizens protest living and economic conditions in the Gaza Strip. To garner international support and save face for failing to help their own people, Hamas is trying to start another war.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is caught between a contentious election at home and the need to get his own international support, particularly from the United States. He’s in Washington DC now to meet with President Trump, who has offered his support and endorsement for the long-time Prime Minister.

Hamas would love nothing more than for Netanyahu to be gone, replaced by a leftist who will wheel and deal for “peace” with the Palestinians regardless of the cost. If that happens, the toll will be great on Israel and the world.

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Foreign Affairs

Here’s hoping there’s a plan we don’t know about with North Korea

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Heres hoping theres a plan we dont know about with North Korea

In a move that many, including supporters on the right, are calling a move of weakness, the President reversed the Treasury Department’s additional sanctions on North Korea.

My Take

I’m just not sure what to make of this. I understand many have been concerned about how nicely the President has treated Kim Jong un, but I’ve always felt there was some sort of plan happening behind the scenes that would justify it. Now, I’m not so sure.

This move emboldens Kim to continue avoiding any compromise on his nuclear weapons program. It tells him and the rest of the world President Trump isn’t going to be playing hardball and intends to coax the North Korean dictator into signing some sort of agreement before the 2020 elections.

Dare I say, this seems very Obamaesque? Where’s the hardball? Where’s the threats against Rocketman? If there’s some sort of 4D chess being played in the background, I seriously hope we see it in play soon. This is a strange move.

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