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Pompeo: Qatar diplomatic crisis ‘has dragged on too long’

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Pompeo Qatar diplomatic crisis has dragged on too long

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday an ongoing boycott of Qatar by four of America’s allies in the Middle East “has dragged on too long,” though he gave no sign of any coming breakthrough in the dispute.

Stopping off in the small, energy-rich nation as part of a Mideast tour, America’s top diplomat made a repeated point to say that “great things” were happening between Qatar and the United States.

“We’re all more powerful when we’re working together,” Pompeo said at a news conference. “Disputes between countries that have a shared objective are never helpful.”

Pompeo said he signed a memorandum of understanding with Qatar regarding the expansion and renovation of al-Udeid Air Base, which hosts the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command and some 10,000 American troops.

However, comments by Pompeo and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani gave no sense of any movement in the ongoing diplomatic crisis with Doha.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates began a boycott of Qatar in June 2017, alleging Qatar funds extremist groups and has too-cozy ties to Iran. Qatar has long denied funding extremists, but Doha shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Tehran that gives its citizens the highest per-capita income in the world. It restored diplomatic relations with Iran after the crisis erupted, marking a setback for Saudi Arabia, which views the Shiite power Iran as its main regional rival.

A similar dispute involving Qatar erupted in 2014. But this time positions have hardened against Qatar, whose support for Islamist opposition groups has angered the Arab nations now boycotting it.

Earlier this month, Gen. Anthony Zinni, a former commander of U.S. Central Command who retired from the Marine Corps in 2000, resigned as special American envoy to resolve the dispute. Regional analysts suggested it may be in part to intransigence of those involved in the crisis.

“The departure of Mr. Zinni in no way reflects any change in America’s Middle East efforts, our strategy or our ongoing commitment to the region,” Pompeo said. “It was a time for change. He made this decision to move on, but America’s commitment remains unchanged.”

From Qatar, Pompeo travels to Saudi Arabia on his Mideast tour. The relationship between Riyadh and Washington remains tense following the October assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Members of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage have been implicated in the killing and U.S. lawmakers have demanded America pull back its support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

“We will continue to have a conversation with the crown prince and the Saudis about ensuring that the accountability is full and complete with respect to the unacceptable murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” Pompeo said.

“We’ll continue to talk about that and make sure we have all the facts so that they are held accountable certainly by the Saudis, but by the United States as well, where appropriate,” he added.

___

Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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Foreign Affairs

Mike Pompeo responds to Venezuela, Biden’s world tour, Hezbollah, and Israel

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Mike Pompeo responds to Venezuela Bidens world tour Hezbollah and Israel

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Fox News last night to talk to Shannon Bream about the tumultuous state of affairs around the world and how the United States is handling them.

First, he discussed Venezuela and recent developments where Nicolas Maduro’s regime has essentially framed members of Juan Guaido’s team in an effort to jail and stop the opposition to his presidency there. The Secretary of State said they would hold Maduro’s regime accountable for their actions, but would not elaborate on how U.S. intervention in the poverty-torn nation would manifest.

He jabbed at potential Democratic 2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is being allegedly courted by world leaders to run for the White House in hopes he could bring back proper relations. As Pompeo noted, our relations with world leaders is in a current state of positive action despite the President’s harsh stance with many of them.

As for Hezbollah, Pompeo said the U.S. would press Lebanon for the sake of its people to facilitate change from the anti-Israel, anti-American Hezbollah rule that has basically made the nation a pawn for Iran.

As for the Israel front. where Pompeo was speaking from, he said calls by people like Beto O’Rourke and others to undermine the conservative base shared by the United States and Israel would not help the situation. Only through the President’s peace plan can the Middle East move forward, according to Pompeo.

My Take

Until the Venezuelan government asks directly for help, there should be no action by the United States other than aid for the people. This is an internal affair. Just because the leadership is challenged doesn’t make it our problem. If there was ever a time when the United Nations should flex its puny muscles, that time is now and the place is Venezuela.

Any foreign leaders calling on Biden to replace Trump are doing so because they do not want the United States to continue to maintain and improve upon its position of strength on the world stage. They prefer the good ol’ days under President Obama when the United States was a pawn for many other nations.

Hezbollah must go. That’s not to say we need to be involved with that, but Lebanon will never be free and prosperous as long as they’re the proxy for Iran.

Lastly, the Secretary of State seemed to be echoing a notion that the President would push for a 2-state solution. If that’s the case, it’s a huge mistake. Otherwise, Pompeo is correct in asserting the backwards notions of the Democrats lashing out against President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

We’re in a time when foreign affairs are starting to take center stage. Yes, we have problems of our own, but to ignore the growing threats abroad would be a mistake. It’s good the administration is handling these issues.

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Foreign Affairs

Kudos to the President for calling on the U.S. to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights

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Kudos to the President for calling on the US to recognize Israels sovereignty over the Golan Heights

It’s always hard to tell where the administration may be going following policy Tweets from the President. He’s been known to say one thing, then the administration slowly shifts reality away from the initial intent of the Tweet. On the other hand, many of his Tweets have turned into policy. It’s just a matter of waiting and seeing what the official word from the White House is.

In this case, it’s the President’s bold declaration that the Golan Heights, considered by enemies of Israel to be disputed territory, is actually sovereign Israeli land. As he noted in the Tweet, this is long overdue.

Considering the stances the President has been taking on Twitter this week with sustained attacks on George Conway and John McCain, this is a breath of fresh air. If Israel ever gave up he Golan Heights, they would be losing one of the most important strategic areas through which enemy militaries could easily become entrenched and launch attacks that would be difficult for Israel to counter. While the IDF enjoys technological advances over their enemies, terrain and proximity are still major factors in the defense of their lands. The Golan Heights represents a piece of land that must never be given easy access to their enemies.

There’s one important caveat to the kudos I’m giving the President. If it turns out acknowledgement of the Golan Heights as sovereign territory is used as a precursor to asking Israel to give up the West Bank in a Middle East peace agreement, then it’s a whole other situation entirely. Just as giving up the Golan Heights would make Israel a very easy target, so too would the idea of a two state solution that grants “Palestine” control over the West Bank.

If the motives are pure, this is a great move. If this is an early olive branch, it’s dangerous.

Israel’s control of the Golan Heights is absolutely essential to its security. The lands just south would be completely indefensible if the United Nations ever got its way and the Golan Heights fell under control of Israel’s enemies.

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Conspiracy Theory

Turkish President Erdoğan says Christchurch was not an individual act but rather an organized part of a wider attack on Turkey

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Turkish President Erdoğan says Christchurch was not an individual act but rather an organized part of a wider attack on Turkey

See also previous NOQ Report articles:

Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud, needs to step back and look at Christchurch objectively

Was Christchurch a lone gunman or a conspiracy?

Today Radio New Zealand published an article entitled, “Erdoğan says attackers targeting Turkey will go home ‘in caskets’“.

Following are pertinent excerpts:

“President Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday described a mass shooting which killed 50 people at two New Zealand mosques as part of a wider attack on Turkey and threatened to send back ‘in caskets’ anyone who tried to take the battle to Istanbul.”

“‘They are testing us from 16,500km away, from New Zealand, with the messages they are giving from there. This isn’t an individual act, this is organised,’ he said.”

The Turkish tyrant, in reference to the “1915 Gallipoli campaign, when Ottoman soldiers defeated British-led forces including Australian and New Zealand troops trying to seize the peninsula, a gateway to Istanbul,” told today’s citizens of New Zealand and Australia: “Your grandparents came here … and they returned in caskets.”

“He has said the gunman issued threats against Turkey and the president, and wanted to drive Turks from Turkey’s northwestern, European region.”

“‘You will not turn Istanbul into Constantinople,’ he added, referring to the city’s name under its Christian Byzantine rulers before it was conquered by Muslim Ottomans in 1453.”

The RNZ article confirms that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was in Christchurch and visited Turkish citizens wounded in the attack.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is no friend of New Zealand, Australia or the United States of America. As former Prime Minister and current President of Turkey, he has transformed his NATO-member country from a staunch ally into an ideological, political and military adversary of western nations, Israel and Christians throughout the Middle East.

Erdoğan’s delusions of grandeur revolve around restoring the Ottoman Empire as a new Islamic Caliphate and enthroning himself as new Caliph. That is the only reason he ever opposed ISIS as it was a competitor for control of the Sunni Dar ul-Islam.

The Christchurch gunman is obviously a very conflicted man with many competing concepts and objectives. We will not reward his evil bloodshed by recognizing him by name here.

The perpetrator could have been manipulated by those with motives different from his own. That’s why the report about the suspicions of Turkish intelligence is so significant.

See previous RNZ article:

Turkish intelligence investigating Christchurch accused – report

There are factions in Turkey who oppose Erdoğan for reasons of their own, altruism not being among them. Consider a young uneducated Aussie traveling throughout the world seeking to define himself and to find a cause to champion.

In Turkey and the Balkans, he learns about the Ottoman Empire and the assault of Islam on Europe centuries ago. He comes in contact with elements in Turkey that see a conduit through which they can accomplish their own different objectives.

The young fellow from Grafton, New South Wales believes an armed assault on Muslims during Friday prayers in a city named Christchurch across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand will further his own concepts of white supremacy and that it will suppress Muslim immigration. But elements in Turkey see this as a way to instantly change the narrative and remove the focus on Islamic Jihad as a world threat, substituting a mad rush of useful idiots in western governments to come to the aid of Muslim victims of religious bigotry.

Today, a 37-year-old Turkish male killed three and wounded five on a tram in Utrecht, Netherlands. Europe is under siege. Alas, this is far more common in the world than the anomaly in Christchurch! But politicians will continue to beat their breasts and say we ♡ diversity. Diversity and open borders are who we are. Welcoming the unvetted world is our raison d’être.

We’ll conclude today with an urgent reminder:

There is reason for New Zealand authorities to put your political correctness aside and mount serious international investigations of the Christchurch gunman’s potential handlers in Turkey. Censorship and gun grabs in NZ will not keep you safe if this was orchestrated abroad.

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