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Trump: UAE to open relations with Israel, halting West Bank annexation UPDATE

MB Zayed, Trump, Netanyahu
© Jerusalem Post
1 Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
President Trump on Thursday announced the U.S. is helping to support the full normalization of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, a breakthrough in relations in the Middle East and part of the administration's efforts to shore up support against Iran.

The move will also halt efforts by Israel to annex territory in the West Bank that was outlined in Trump's plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but widely opposed by the international community and Arab world, according to the announcement on Twitter. The statement read:
"As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump and with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President's Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Muslim world."
The Trump administration has made Israel a cornerstone of its foreign policy, frequently touting its decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital and its recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

But Thursday's announcement represents more of a diplomatic breakthrough than a unilateral action, giving the president something to hang his hat on less than three months before Election Day.

Comment: Other aspects and remarks on this Middle East development include the 'elated', the 'doubters' and the 'betrayed':
The agreement will include establishing embassies and exchanging ambassadors, investments into the Israeli economy, trade, direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, and cooperation in matters of energy and water. An important element of the deal for the UAE is the expectation that its citizens would be able to visit the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal
"full, formal peace" with "one of the strongest countries in the world. Together we can bring a wonderful future. It is an incomparably exciting moment. I have the great privilege to make the third peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country, the UAE."
Trump said in a statement posted to his twitter account:
"Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East's most dynamic societies and advanced economies will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation, and forging closer people-to-people relations."
In subsequent remarks in the Oval Office, Trump alluded to "many more countries" in the region normalizing ties with Israel, and "some very exciting things including, ultimately with the Palestinians." Bahrain is likely to be next, to the extent that there was a chance they would have announced normalization before the UAE.

Netanyahu touted a formula of "peace for peace," based on shared interests, emphasizing economic cooperation, and peace that comes from a position of strength, rather than peace in exchange for concessions. However, bin Zayed presented the matter as though he had exacted concessions from Israel, emphasizing the suspension of sovereignty plans over normalization.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah a-Sisi similarly called it
"the agreement to stop Israel's annexation of the Palestinian Territories and taking steps to bring Peace to the Middle East."
Netanyahu said that he still plans to apply Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. He said he "did not and will not remove sovereignty from the agenda... I will never give up on our right to our land."

A senior Likud source remarked that
"the Israeli and international Left always said we can't bring peace with Arab states without peace with the Palestinians, that there is no other way than withdrawing to '67 lines, evacuating settlements, dividing Jerusalem and establishing a Palestinian state. For the first time in history Prime Minister Netanyahu broke the paradigm of 'land for peace' and brought 'peace for peace.'"
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett praised the normalization, saying "relations between the countries are no longer held hostage by Palestinian recalcitrance," but slammed Netanyahu for suspending sovereignty plans.
"It's unfortunate that Netanyahu gave up a once-in-a-century chance to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, Ma'aleh Adumim, Bet El and the rest of Israeli settlements. It is tragic that Netanyahu did not seize the moment and didn't have the courage to apply sovereignty to a centimeter of the Land of Israel, but sovereignty over the parts of our homeland will come from somewhere else."
Joint List MK Mtanes Shihadeh accused the UAE of a
"betrayal... no less than a knife in the back of the Palestinian people and the Arab nations. Netanyahu and Israel never really meant to annex, but in order for him to abandon the plan, the UAE agreed to make its secret relations open. Nothing will change and anyone who thinks the Palestinians will disappear are mistaken."
Given the most recent explosions and tragedy in Beirut, Netanyahu's 'exciting peace moment' may bring to mind those dancing Israelis of 9/11.

Update 13/8/2020: The 'annexer-in-chief' still has his eye on the prize, awaiting 'full coordination with the US'. Palestinian leaders are livid:
The Palestinian ambassador to the UAE is being recalled over Abu Dhabi's decision to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called "treason."

He has called on the UAE to reverse Thursday's decision, which formalizes years of sub-rosa rapprochement between Israel and the oil-rich state, and urged other Arab nations not to follow its example "at the expense of Palestinian rights."

Hamas, which rules Gaza, also denounced the agreement, calling it a "stabbing in the back of our people. The UAE is using its gravitas and promise of a relationship to unscrew a time bomb that is threatening a two-state solution," Emirati official Anwar Gargash told reporters.



Dollar

Trump succeeds against abusive Democrats in economic stimulus showdown

Nancy Pelosi
President Trump won re-election this weekend with his four executive orders.

We haven't even reached the DNC convention in Milwaukee and it looks to me like this election season is over.

I know the polls keep trying to convince me that Joe Biden, most likely suffering from dementia, is leading President Trump but I just don't buy it.

And neither do the Democrats.

Because if they did they wouldn't be so desperate to push through unlimited mail-in voting as their political hill to die on.

And die on it they have.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi held up a new round of stimulus legislation over this issue. The massive gap between the GOP and DNC proposals highlight only part of the political divide between the two sides (see graphic, H/T Zerohedge).

Dem vs Republican spending
The real divide was in enshrining in law the kind of mail-in voting which would ensure near unlimited cheating and ballot harvesting which would give the Democrats their best chance at "winning the election."

Comment: What other Democratic party talking points and narratives will Trump be able to out-do and deconstruct before everything is said and done? This is one of the most intense and rancorous of all internal political wars that the US has ever seen. And we can only hope that the many horrible agendas at play can be mitigated somewhat by those who are doing the work of fighting the pathological power-hungry virus.


Bulb

Let there be gas: Putin & Merkel gave Trump the finger

merkel putin
Russian and German Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Heiko Maas have removed any doubts about the prospect of completing the largest Russian-European energy project, Nord Stream 2. Although previously, they arose in the light of unprecedented threats from the United States against more than 100 European companies, officials, and even an entire port in the Baltic Sea cooperating with Gazprom in the implementation of the project.

At the conclusion of the first face-to-face talks between the Russian and German Foreign Ministers since the beginning of the pandemic in Moscow on Tuesday, an upbeat Lavrov announced at a joint press conference with Maas: Nord Stream 2 will be implemented. Russian, German, and other participants are determined to complete the project and "there is reason to believe that this will be done in the very near future". The Russian Foreign Minister stressed:

Comment: See also:


Eye 2

Kamala Harris led the Kavanaugh character assassination attempt

kamala harris brent kavanaugh
© CSPAN
Senator Kamala Harris questions Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in his September 2018 confirmation hearing.
One of the ringleaders of the Democratic Party's attempt to destroy Brett Kavanaugh's life in 2018 has been named Joe Biden's running mate for the 2020 presidential election.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., used the Kavanaugh nomination in 2018 as a springboard for her failed presidential campaign. Focusing on her support for abortion and position on the Senate Judiciary Committee that handled the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, Harris strongly opposed Kavanaugh's nomination within moments of it being announced, and long before she had a chance to review his record.

She joined other Democratic presidential hopefuls on the steps of the Supreme Court the next day to further express her opposition. She ran 3,600 different advertisements on Facebook before the second round of hearings began in late September 2018.

"Her performance during the Kavanaugh circus stood out as particularly demagogic, cynical & abysmal," wrote TownHall political editor Guy Benson.

Comment: It's certainly fitting that the Democrats have paired doddering, lyin' Joe Biden, with amoral snake, Kamala Harris. A match made in hell.


Propaganda

How The Guardian betrayed not only Corbyn but the last vestiges of British democracy

Jeremy Corbyn
© Dorset Eye/KJN
Jeremy Corbyn
It is simply astonishing that the first attempt by the Guardian - the only major British newspaper styling itself as on the liberal-left - to properly examine the contents of a devastating internal Labour party report leaked in April is taking place nearly four months after the 860-page report first came to light.

If you are a Labour party member, the Guardian is the only "serious", big-circulation paper claiming to represent your values and concerns.

One might therefore have assumed that anything that touches deeply on Labour party affairs - on issues of transparency and probity, on the subversion of the party's democratic structures, on abuses or fraud by its officials - would be of endless interest to the paper. One might have assumed it would wish both to dedicate significant resources to investigating such matters for itself and to air all sides of the ensuing debate to weigh their respective merits.

Footprints

Did the FBI mislead the Senate Intel Committee on the Steele Dossier? The media is uninterested

ComeyTrump
© Salon
Former FBI Director James Comey • US President Donald Trump
I recently wrote a column concerning a pattern of willful blindness by the media as new evidence emerges of serious wrongdoing by the FBI in the origin and continuation of the Russian collusion investigation. The latest information comes from the Senate Intelligence Committee which released a declassified briefing report to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2018 on the Steele dossier's Primary Sub-source. It is hard to read the document linked below and not conclude that the FBI misled the Congress on the subject. This occurred after the FBI misled the FISA court, including the submission of falsified documents to continue the surveillance.

The statement that most stands out from the briefing is that the Primary Sub-source "did not cite any significant concerns with the way his reporting was characterized in the dossier to the extent he could identify it."

Keep in mind that this is a statement made in 2018. FBI agents had already warned that dossier author Christopher Steele may have been used by Russian intelligence to plant false information to disrupt the election. Indeed, Steele's allegations were quickly discredited by the FBI.

Vader

New Zealand acclaimed 'world leader' in handling Covid-19 as it announces enforced relocation of 'infected' to 'quarantine centers'

jacinda ardern zealand

"Hi! I'm Jacinda! I'm really smiley and nice! Now hand over your daughter, we're taking her to a quarantine centre..."
New Zealand reported 13 new community coronavirus cases on Thursday as the country tackles a fresh outbreak that ended an enviable run of more than 100 days without any locally transmitted infections.

The new cluster, which now totals 17 cases, has prompted the country to put its most populous city under lockdown as authorities scramble to trace the source of the outbreak. New Zealand now has 36 active infections, including imported cases. In total, the country has reported 1,238 confirmed cases and 22 deaths.

Authorities are warning that the number of cases are likely to increase, raising the prospect that a three-day lockdown in Auckland could be extended and putting the date of the country's upcoming general election in doubt.

"As we all learned from our first experience with Covid, once you identify a cluster it grows before it slows," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference Thursday. "We should expect that to be the case here."

New Zealand's outbreak is a dramatic turn of events for the country, which was heralded as a world leader in how it handled the outbreak. For months, life was largely back to normal, and the country went 102 days without a locally acquired case.


Comment: "Our measures are working because they give people freedoms," she says... as she TAKES AWAY ALL THOSE FREEDOMS.

Don't you just love how Ardern and her collaborators present their policy decisions as if those were the only 'obvious', 'scientific' options?

Sweden, hello!?!

This New Zealand govt is - like its Aussie and British counterparts - stark raving mad.

Who would have thought 'the Nazis' this time around would be, first and foremost, British liberals and their descendants, all joyfully goosestepping us towards the New World Order...




Russian Flag

Too little, too late - but the open letter 'It's time to rethink our Russia policy' at least opens the free-speech gates in the US

us capitol
© Getty Images / Tim Graham
A group of 103 international-relations scholars has called for change in America's course on Russia in an open letter titled 'It's time to rethink our Russia policy.' One is tempted to respond simply, "No sh*t."

More appropriately, such a call might have been a surprise, but it has been needed since about 1992.

It's not only the text that's comment-worthy; the group of signatories is of some interest, too. Some of the statement's backers possess a sound record of sincere support for a realist or at least reasonable American policy towards Russia. Indeed, at least one of them, Dmitry Simes, has been accused of being a Kremlin asset in the Soviet vigilante style of US media copiously on display during the Russiagate hysteria.

However, many are partly responsible for the sad state of US-Russian relations in having supported some of the worst aspects of America's Russia policy. Some are only narrowly or casually familiar with Russian politics, and many are compromised by the specific nature of their deep involvement in American politics.

Consequently, their collective statement has both weak and strong points. Most disappointingly, the latter do not go far enough. Therefore, it's unlikely their call for a new Russia policy will impart the necessary drive for a significant revamp of US policy and will have little demonstrable effect on US-Russian relations. It will have equally limited impact on the already hyper-cynical Russian elite's view of the American policymaking circle's own cynicism, biases, insufficient knowledge, and considerable Russophobia.

Its most positive effect may be in preventing the complete monopolization by the most jaundiced perception of Russia, gradually establishing a stranglehold on US discourse about Russia. But let's review the statement's actual content. Unfortunately, one has the sinking feeling, or at least fear, that the appearance of the letter in the midst of the US presidential election campaign reveals that the authors are issuing a subtle rebuke to President Donald Trump, for such a statement should have come during every previous US administration.

Comment: See:


Broom

Homeland Security chair Johnson subpoenas FBI in review of Russia probe origin

Wray
© Alex Brandon/AP
FBI Director Christopher Wray
The subpoena demands that he produce 'all records related to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation'

The Senate Homeland Security Committee on Monday subpoenaed the FBI and Director Christopher Wray as part of its broad review into the origins of the Russia investigation, Fox News has learned.

Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., issued the first subpoena as part of the panel's review to Wray.

The subpoena, obtained by Fox News, demands that he produce "all records related to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation."

"This includes, but is not limited to, all records provided or made available to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice for its review," the subpoena states, referring to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz's review of abuses related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Comment:


Eagle

New report reveals US Special Forces active in 22 African countries

US soldiers in Africa
© Sidney Sale | DVIDS
Mauritanian Soldiers simulate a casualty during the Flintlock Exercise in partnership with US Special Forces in Nouakchott, Mauritania on Feb. 27, 2020
The US has roughly 6,000 military personnel scattered throughout the continent with military attachés outnumbering diplomats in many embassies across Africa.

A new report published in South African newspaper The Mail and Guardian has shed light on the opaque world of the American military presence in Africa. Last year, elite U.S. Special Operations forces were active in 22 African countries. This accounts for 14 percent of all American commandos deployed overseas, the largest number for any region besides the Middle East. American troops had also seen combat in 13 African nations.

The U.S. is not formally at war with an African nation, and the continent is barely discussed in reference to American exploits around the globe. Therefore, when U.S. operatives die in Africa, as happened in Niger, Mali, and Somalia in 2018, the response from the public, and even from the media is often "why are American soldiers there in the first place?"

The presence of the U.S. military, especially commandos, is rarely publicly acknowledged, either by Washington or by African governments. What they are doing remains even more opaque. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) generally claims that special forces go no further than so-called "AAA" (advise, assist and accompany) missions. Yet in combat, the role between observer and participant can become distinctly blurry.