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Iran Counters EU Threat Of Snapback Sanctions

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US President Donald Trump wants to destroy the nuclear agreement with Iran. He has threatened the EU-3 poodles in Germany, Britain and France with a 25% tariff on their car exports to the US unless they end their role in the JCPOA deal.

In their usual gutlessness the Europeans gave in to the blackmail. They triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the deal. The mechanism foresees two 15 day periods of negotiations and a five day decision period after which any of the involved countries can escalate the issues to the UN Security Council. The reference to the UNSC would then lead to an automatic reactivation or "snapback" of those UN sanction against Iran that existed before the nuclear deal was signed.

Iran is now countering the European move. Its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran may leave the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if any of the European countries escalates the issue to the UNSC
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The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

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The Trump administration sees the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani as a form of deterrence not only with regards to Iran but also towards Russia, China and others. That view is wrong.

The claim that the murder of Soleimani was necessary because of an "imminent threat" has been debunked by Trump himself when he tweeted that 'it doesn't really matter' if there was such a threat or not.

In a speech at the Hoover Institute Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the assassination was part of a new deterrence strategy. As Reuters reported:
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said Qassem Soleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by US foes that also applies to China and Russia, further diluting the assertion that the top Iranian general was struck because he was plotting imminent attacks on US targets.
In his speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institute, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Soleimani.

The speech itself, headlined The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example, makes that less explicit as Reuters lets it appear...
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Impeachment Theater

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Ukrainegate is the new Russiagate. The "whistleblower complaint" is the new "dirty dossier." The 'former' MI6 spy Christopher Steele wrote the dossier. The current CIA spy Eric Ciaramella wrote the "complaint":
Federal documents reveal that the 33-year-old Ciaramella, a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. 

Further, Ciaramella (pronounced char-a-MEL-ah) left his National Security Council posting in the White House’s West Wing in mid-2017 amid concerns about negative leaks to the media. He has since returned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

'He was accused of working against Trump and leaking against Trump,' said a former NSC official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

Also, Ciaramella huddled for 'guidance' with the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, including former colleagues also held over from the Obama era whom Schiff’s office had recently recruited from the NSC. Schiff is the lead prosecutor in the impeachment inquiry.

And Ciaramella worked with a Democratic National Committee operative who dug up dirt on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, inviting her into the White House for meetings, former White House colleagues said. The operative, Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who supported Hillary Clinton, led an effort to link the Republican campaign to the Russian government. 'He knows her. He had her in the White House,' said one former co-worker, who requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.
The whole impeachment show the Democrats launched is a major political mistake.
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When Ukraine's Prosecutor Came After His Son's Sponsor Joe Biden Sprang Into Action

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There are some serious questions around the Biden family involvement in the Ukraine that the media have not picked up on.

The first regards the ownership of the company which hired Joe Biden's son Hunter for an exorbitant amount of money while Joe Biden ran the US Ukraine policy.

The second question is about the firing of the Viktor Shokin, the former Prosecutor General of the Ukraine. Trump accuses Joe Biden of having intervened in favor of his son's sponsor to get Shokin fired. The timeline below supports that assertion.

At Naked Capitalism Yves Smith reposted a 2014 piece by Richard Smith who at that time looked into the Hunter Biden appointment to the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas producer. Yves writes...
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Trump Pushed Ukraine's President To Investigate Issues Of US Public Interest

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The misguided 'impeachment inquiry" develops with the declassification and publication of the whistleblower complaint (pdf) that underlies the case.

It alleges what was publicly known even before the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian President Zelensky was published.

During the then still ongoing Mueller investigation Rudi Giuliani, as a private lawyer for President Trump, tried to find exculpating information which he hoped would debunk the allegations of collusion between Trump and Russia.

It was known that there had been involvement of Ukraine related people as well as of Ukrainian officials in Russiagate and the election campaigns...
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30+ Afghans Killed In Drone Strike While CIA Celebrates 18 Years Of War On Afghanistan

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From the abstract of a (paywalled) piece about the never ending US war on Afghanistan:

"Slow failure: Understanding America’s quagmire in Afghanistan

"The United States government has no organised way of thinking about war termination other than seeking decisive military victory.

"This implicit assumption is inducing three major errors.

"First, the United States tends to select military-centric strategies that have low probabilities of success.

"Second, the United States is slow to modify losing or ineffective strategies due to cognitive obstacles, internal frictions, and patron-client challenges with the host nation government."
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Saudi Arabia Acknowledges Defeat In Yemen - Starts To Sue For Peace

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Two weeks ago we wrote that war on Yemen will soon end. The Saudis lost their ally, they lost the war and would have to sue for peace. They are now doing so. But their fighting in Yemen will continue until that country finds a new balance.

Today the United Arab Emirates airforce bombed the Yemeni proxy forces of its 'ally' Saudi Arabia:
Yemen's internationally recognized government accused the Emirati air force of attacking its troops Thursday as they were heading to the key southern port city of Aden to fight separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates. The airstrikes killed at least 30 government forces, a Yemeni commander said. 
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Col. Mohamed al-Oban, a commander of the government's special forces in Abyan province, said the troops were on the road, headed from Abyan toward Aden on Thursday, when the strikes took place, killing at least 30. 
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At least six raids were carried out by Emirati warplanes around the temporary capital, according to government military sources who asked to remain anonymous.
Southern separatist forces under the Southern Transitional Council and supported by the UAE hold Aden.
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Violent Protests In Hong Kong Reach Their Last Stage

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The riots in Hong Kong are about to end. The protests, as originally started in June, were against a law that would have allowed criminal extraditions to Taiwan, Macao and mainland China. The law was retracted and the large protests have since died down. What is left are a few thousand students who, as advertised in a New York Times op-ed, intentionally seek to provoke the police with "marginal violence."
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Violent 'Color Revolution' In Hong Kong Fails Despite Strong NYT Support

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When the US instigates its so called 'color revolutions', the transatlantic main stream media are usually supportive. But the support is rarely as extreme as the extraordinary one the New York Times gives to the rioters in Hong Kong.

For the timeline we check with Wikipedia on the 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests:
Demonstrations against the bill first occurred in March and April, but greatly expanded in scale and intensity beginning in June. At least 240,000 people (up to one million according to organisers) marched in protest of the bill on 9 June. 
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Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the extradition bill on 15 June and further declared it to be "dead" on 9 July.
Shortly before the first large demonstrations against a proposed amendment to an exiting extradition bill, the New York Times gave space to one (in)famous 'political activist' from Hong Kong. On June 4 one Ray Wong Toi-yeung wrote on the Times opinion pages:
When the tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989, many Hong Kongers watched in horror on their TVs. A few days before, one million of them had marched in solidarity with the rebellious Chinese gathered in the square to ask for more liberalism and democracy from the Chinese authorities. Thirty years on, it is Hong Kong that is fighting for democratic values — for its very political survival, actually — against another onslaught by the same Communist government in Beijing.
Wong, who now lives in Germany, was a leader of the 2014 Umbrella movement, also known as the (NED Financed) Hong Kong Riots. He was since with several other anti-mainland organizations in Hong Kong. In 2016 he was seen in secret meetings with US consulate staff.
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