Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Best for the Bosses

"REVEALED: How Gulf states hatched plan with Israel to rehabilitate Assad" (Hearst):
"Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi who has been described as a mentor figure to his younger Saudi counterpart, has been in the forefront of attempts to patch up the rocky relations between the White House and the royal court in Riyadh.
Bin Zayed first intervened to mend relations between King Salman and Mohammed bin Salman. The king was furious when he heard about the role of his son in the murder of Khashoggi. It was notable that bin Salman was not present at the meeting between the king and bin Zayed in November.
Then, after CIA Director Gina Haspel’s presentation to selected members of the US Congress in which Mohammed bin Salman was held responsible for Khashoggi’s murder, bin Zayed got his brother and national security adviser, Tahnoun bin Zayed, to ask for a meeting with Haspel.
The request was refused, MEE was told. When that approach failed, bin Zayed sent his son Khaled to Washington. A day was agreed for a meeting with Haspel, but it did not take place, according to MEE’s sources.
MEE has contacted the CIA and the Emirati embassy in Washington for comment.
A month earlier, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, saw bin Zayed, but that meeting failed to break the deadlock.
MEE has previously reported on how Saudi officials sought the support of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a series of damage-limitation initiatives as details about Mohammed bin Salman’s culpability for Khashoggi’s killing made global headlines.
These included a proposed Camp David-style handshake between Netanyahu and the crown prince.
But MEE understands those efforts have stalled because of a realisation in the White House that riding to the rescue of the image-battered crown prince may be more trouble than it’s worth.
US officials appear to be losing patience with Riyadh’s handling of its own probe into Khashoggi’s killing, with one anonymous senior official saying on Friday that the Saudi investigation lacked credibility and accountability.
The comments came as the State Department announced that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would visit Riyadh later this month, his second visit to the Saudi capital since Khashoggi’s death.
Pompeo himself has repeatedly said that there is no direct evidence of a link between Mohammed bin Salman and the murder.
Following Pompeo’s first visit in October, MEE reported that he brought with him a road map to shield the crown prince from the fallout.
A Saudi payment of $100m to the US made on the same day of the visit was “a coincidence” according to a US official quoted by the New York Times."

"Elizabeth Warren on Why 1970s Feminism Was Best for the Bosses" (Sailer).  I've always thought feminism was supposed to normalize the position of women as working drones for capital, just as the earlier civil rights movement was supposed to do the same thing for blacks.  I'm not saying these are bad ideas, just that no 'progress' is ever made unless the elites find it is also in their best interests.

"The blob strikes back" (Robinson):
"The Trump presidency would seem to be a paradigm of bizarre policy making processes – impetuous announcements from the leader followed by bureaucratic opposition, resulting in what can only be described as an incoherent mess. But it would be wrong to see this as a peculiar outcome of Trump’s unusual character. A quick look at defence policy in Canada, where I live, indicates that things aren’t much better elsewhere. The ongoing saga of Canada’s efforts to buy fighter planes is an indication. And then there was this story which appeared in the Canadian press earlier this week:
Nearly three years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to send weapons to Kurds in Iraq the armaments are still sitting in a military warehouse in Montreal. … The government went as far as arranging to have a military aircraft transport the weapons to the Kurdish region of Iraq, where Canadian special forces were to distribute them to Kurdish soldiers. … But the armaments, with an estimated value of around $10 million, got no further than the Canadian Forces Supply Depot in Montreal, where they remain. … A Department of National Defence official said no plans currently exist to distribute weapons in Iraq.
The reason for this fiasco? Before Trudeau announced that he would arm the Kurds he never bothered to check with the Iraqi government whether it was ok with that. As it turns out, the Iraqis weren’t ok with it, as they didn’t want Canada providing weapons to what they regard as a separatist force. As we used to say when I was in the army, ‘you don’t need the brains of an Archbishop’ to know that arming Kurds is somewhat incompatible with the objective of creating strong states in Iraq and Syria, likely to cause problems further down the line, and unlikely to be popular in Baghdad. As Canadian journalist David Pugliese points out, ‘ Some defence analysts warned the Canadian government and military from the beginning that providing the Kurds with weapons was a mistake.’ But I don’t think that anybody has ever suggested that Trudeau has the brains of an Archbishop. I don’t have insider information on how the government reached this decision, but it strikes me as likely that its zeal to be seen to be ‘doing something’ got in the way of rational analysis. This is defence policy as gesture politics. It’s not at all what it’s meant to be about. But it’s often what it ends up being."
"Updating Some Canadian Political Prisoners January 2019" (Gerald).  At some point, this period of madness when the Canadian judicial system decided to conduct a racist war on Muslims is going to have to be sorted, with apologies, reconciliation commissions, mass embarrassing of the guilty judges and prosecutors, and compensation.

"Modi curries favor with Trump but it won’t work" (Bhadrakumar):
"The Indian foreign-policy establishment is watching with unease the US-Pakistan rapprochement, which is gaining traction and is leading toward a visit by Prime Minister Imran Khan to the White House at Trump’s invitation. Last week, Trump hinted that he hoped to receive Imran Khan “in the not-too-distant future.”
. . .
Suffice to say, in the brew that Trump is cooking with Imran Khan, Kashmir issue will almost inevitably become an ingredient at some point. It cannot be otherwise because Imran Khan is willing to accommodate US interests in Afghanistan, including continued American military presence in some form or the other. The US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Qatar and, importantly, China are cheering Imran Khan along.
Suffice to say, Imran Khan’s meeting with Trump will be a defining moment in regional security. A Pakistani paper reported today from Islamabad,
“Diplomatic sources say Pakistan does not agree with a US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan without establishing a stable police system and institutions. Pakistan wishes to first bring stability in Afghanistan and believes that Afghanistan should not be left the way it was ignored after end of the Cold War.”
“The US annually spends $50 billion on Afghanistan. However, if the US stops this aid it will become difficult for Afghan government to sustain and the country will once again fall into the hands of warring factions.”
Simply put, although the US couldn’t win the war in Afghanistan, Trump is extricating the American troops out of the war while also keeping the US regional strategies intact and forward looking. Trump couldn’t have asked for more from Imran Khan.
Now, Imran Khan has been articulating on the crisis situation in J&K with increasing frequency. He senses that Kashmir is Modi’s Achilles heel. Most certainly, he’d know that Trump himself is open to intervening in the Kashmir dispute. Trump has said so publicly. (So has Vice-President Mike Pence.) According to the former US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, Trump spoke of it explicitly in a National Security Council discussion in the White House."
"War Criminals at Large" (Ganser!).  Three examples.
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