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Saudi Arabia’s Yemen Offensive, Iran’s ‘Proxy’ Strategy, and the Middle East’s New ‘Cold War’

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Riyadh’s war in Yemen marks a dramatic escalation in its efforts to roll back Iran’s rising influence in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia portrays its Yemen campaign simply as a battle of “good” Arabs and Sunnis supporting Yemen’s legitimate government against “evil” Iranians trying to overthrow it via local Shi’a “proxies”—reiterating a generalized Saudi (and Israeli) narrative about Iran’s use of proxy allies to consolidate regional “hegemony.” More considered analysis shows that Iran’s “proxy” ties are part of an effective strategy to expand political participation in contested regional venues. While Saudi Arabia (like Israel) considers this a mortal threat, it is essential to effective conflict resolution. Riyadh’s intensely sectarian response—including its Yemen war—now fuels what some call a new Saudi-Iranian/Sunni’- Shi’a “Cold War” in the Middle East.


Riyadh’s increasingly destructive war in Yemen has sparked overripe discussion in Western capitals about Iran’s use of “proxies” to subvert otherwise “legitimate” Middle Eastern governments. Driving such discussion is a self-serving narrative, promoted by Israel as well as by Saudi Arabia, about Tehran’s purported quest to “destabilize” and, ultimately, “take over” the region.

Assessments of this sort have, of course, been invoked to justify—and elicit Western support for—Saudi intervention in Yemen. More broadly, the Israeli-Saudi narrative about Iranian ambitions is framed to prevent the United States from concluding a nuclear deal with Tehran—or, failing that, to keep Washington from using a deal as a springboard for comprehensively realigning US-Iranian relations.
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Maidan 3.0: Another Revolution in Ukraine?

Will Ukrainians take to the streets in sufficient numbers to overthrow their US-backed leaders? Over the weekend a large protest in Kiev was violently broken up by masked men while the police looked on. No word from the US condemning the violence. Elsewhere, the US admits sanctions are hurting Europe and not harming Russia, but still it presses for even more of them. RPI Director Daniel McAdams joins RT's CrossTalk today to discuss US policy toward Ukraine and the possibility of more unrest:
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Are Waco Bikers Getting Justice?

Three weeks after a deadly shootout at a biker rally in Waco, TX, there are more questions than answers. Why are more than 100 of those arrested still being held without any real charges filed? Why do witnesses familiar with firearms insist that most of the shooting came from police automatic weapons? Why won't the police release any information about the incident? Is it another case of disproportionate police response? Just this weekend in McKinney, TX, we saw another apparent example of disproportionate police response when an officer pulled a gun on unarmed teenagers at a pool party. The Ron Paul Liberty Report takes a look at the increasing divide between police and the people...
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Cold War II to McCarthyism II

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Perhaps it’s no surprise that the US government’s plunge into Cold War II would bring back the one-sided propaganda themes that dominated Cold War I, but it’s still unsettling to see how quickly the major US news media has returned to the old ways, especially the New York Times, which has emerged as Official Washington’s propaganda vehicle of choice.

What has been most striking in the behavior of the Times and most other US mainstream media outlets is their utter lack of self-awareness, for instance, accusing Russia of engaging in propaganda and alliance-building that are a pale shadow of what the US government routinely does. Yet, the Times and the rest of the MSM act as if these actions are unique to Moscow.

A case in point is Monday’s front-page story in the Times entitled “Russia Wields Aid and Ideology Against West to Fight Sanctions,” which warns: “Moscow has brought to bear different kinds of weapons, according to American and European officials: money, ideology and disinformation.”
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The Washington Intellectual Gravy Train

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Intellectuals have long been glorified as champions of truth and defenders of society’s highest values. But in Washington, they serve as Leviathan‘s Praetorian Guard. Intellectuals are thriving in DC thanks in large part to the ruinous policy advice they proffer.

The District of Columbia has 120 times more political scientists per capita than the rest of the nation. But rather than producing “good governance,” the 3,200 political scientists and legions of other would-be Brain Trusters provide endless excuses to further extend the federal sway. Intellectuals usually come to Washington to help politicians leash other Americans, not to leash the government. And since they presume their preferred policies are better than freedom, intellectuals propel government programs to force their inferiors to “take their medicine.”

Washington think tanks have proliferated at the same time federal policies have become far more intrusive and harebrained. There are now roughly 400 think tanks in the Washington area, some of which are little more than “cash machines for power” for politicians. Clifford May, the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, commented in 2005: “It is the job of think tanks to create political capital. It is the job of politicians to spend it.” May’s think tank extols politicians who advocate bombing Muslim nations.
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Afghan Drone Strike: Expect More Blowback

On Friday, US drones killed 34 at an Afghan funeral. US officials claimed they were all terrorists but the locals on the ground disagreed. Will family members of those killed seek revenge on the US? Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan admitted that this kind of blowback could be a problem for the US. As he put it, "sometimes our engagement and direct involvement will stimulate and spur additional threats to our national security interests." Today's Liberty Report takes a look at these two important events together to see how the first and second are intimately related...
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Soros Pushes US Bailouts and Weapons for Ukraine

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If you look at the track record of the interventionists you might think they would pause before taking on more projects. Each of their past projects has ended in disaster yet still they press on. Last week the website Zero Hedge posted a report about hacked emails between billionaire George Soros and Ukrainian President Poroshenko. 
 
Soros is very close to the Ukrainian president, who was put in power after a US-backed coup deposed the elected leader of Ukraine last year. In the email correspondence, Soros tells the Ukrainian leadership that the US should provide Ukraine “with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force." In other words, despite the February ceasefire, Soros is pushing behind the scenes to make sure Ukraine receives top-of-the-line lethal weapons from the United States. Of course it will be up to us to pay the bill because Ukraine is broke.
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Military Madness: US Officials Consider Nuclear Strikes against Russia

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US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was at the headquarters of the US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany this week with two dozen US military commanders and European diplomats to discuss how to escalate their economic and military campaign against Russia. They will assess the impact of current economic sanctions, as well as NATO’s strategy of exploiting the crisis in eastern Ukraine to deploy ever-greater numbers of troops and military equipment to Eastern Europe, threatening Russia with war.


A US defense official told Reuters that the main purpose of the meeting was to “assess and strategize on how the United States and key allies should think about heightened tensions with Russia over the past year.” The official also said Carter was open to providing the Ukrainian regime with lethal weapons, a proposal which had been put forward earlier in the year.

Most provocatively, a report published by the Associated Press this week reports that the Pentagon has been actively considering the use of nuclear missiles against military targets inside Russia, in response to what it alleges are violations of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. Russia denies US claims that it has violated the INF by flight-testing ground-launched cruise missiles with a prohibited range.
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TSA Has No Excuse to Continue the Groping

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Last August, Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole attacked an article I wrote, stating that it was "Misleading, inaccurate and unfairly disparages the dedicated (TSA) workforce. … We will not sit back and allow misinformation and conjecture to malign our employees."

Pistole resigned last December — in time to miss the uproar this week about TSA agents failing to detect 95% of the weapons and bombs smuggled past them by Inspector General testers. While Pistole is leading the PR pushback to absolve his former agency, the I.G. report is the latest confirmation that TSA continues blindly blundering and pointlessly abusing Americans' rights and privacy.

Shortly after TSA was created in late 2001, one of its early mottoes was "Dominate. Intimidate. Control." From the start, the TSA put more focus on browbeating hapless travelers than intelligently focusing on actual aviation hazards.
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Brzezinski’s Delusion of Eurasian Conquest

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Russia historian Stephen Cohen points to the neoconservative establishment for America's latest outbreak of what can only be referred to as late-stage imperial dementia. Neocons Robert Kagan and wife Victoria Nuland have certainly done the heavy lifting to make Ukraine the staging ground for what appears to be a NATO blitzkrieg on Moscow. But whatever the determination of the neocon plot, they are only the barking dogs of 
master imperialist Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose grand design has been creeping over the globe since he stepped into the Oval office as National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter in 1977. 

Brzezinski stands apart as the inspiration for the Ukraine crisis. His 1997 book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives lays out the blueprint for how American primacists should feel towards drawing Ukraine away from Russia because, "Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire."
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