Coalition Wars – Austerlitz 2005 Tue, 13 Jul 2021 03:48:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Coalition Wars – Austerlitz 2005 32 32 As Saudis and Emiratis take aim at each other, Israel could get hit by ricochets Tue, 13 Jul 2021 01:12:09 +0000 To the surprise of many, Saudi Arabia seemed to target Israel last week when it specifically mentioned the Jewish state in its announcement about new tax break policies. Last Monday, Riyadh amended its rules on imports from other Gulf Cooperation Council countries to exclude goods made in tariff free zones or “using Israeli input” — […]]]>

To the surprise of many, Saudi Arabia seemed to target Israel last week when it specifically mentioned the Jewish state in its announcement about new tax break policies.

Last Monday, Riyadh amended its rules on imports from other Gulf Cooperation Council countries to exclude goods made in tariff free zones or “using Israeli input” — containing a component made by Israel, or made by a company fully or partially owned by Israelis — from preferential tax breaks.

Rather than auguring renewed hostility toward Israel, the Saudi move is actually part of an escalating competition with the United Arab Emirates for the mantle of regional powerhouse.

While Israel is not directly involved in the rivalry, there are a number of potential ways it can still get dragged into the middle as the two kingdoms vie for economic and political dominance over the Gulf region.

With Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi now allied openly, Israel is most likely to feel the shockwaves of the Gulf battle via its ties with the Emirates. The UAE sees its budding relationship with Israel as a potential driver of economic growth and expansion of political influence, while the Saudis now have an economic interest in either joining the party — which they have declined to do thus far and have shown little interest in lately — or playing spoiler.

“They’re trying to punish the Emiratis for the Abraham Accords,” explained Brandon Friedman, director of research at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, “which gives the UAE a regional economic advantage, and also a political advantage.”

The unraveling

While the current dispute is mainly economic, it comes against the backdrop of years of rising tensions as the two kingdoms fell out of sync on diplomatic and security affairs.

It was not always this way. Over the past decade, the Saudis and Emiratis appeared to be in lockstep, coordinating on a number of major initiatives, countering populist Arab Spring-inspired movements, intervening militarily in Yemen, boycotting Qatar and introducing a sales tax across the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his arrival to Cairo, Egypt, for a visit meant to deepen the alliance between two of the region’s powerhouses, on March 4, 2018. (Mohammed Samaha/MENA via AP)

The same period was also marked by a close friendship between the crown princes of the two countries. When Saudi King Salman appointed Mohammed bin Salman — popularly known as MBS — as defense minister at age 28 in 2015, and two years later as crown prince, Abu Dhabi’s older Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, or MBZ, took him under his wing and served as something of a mentor.

But despite the outward appearances, there have long been stresses in the alliance, which in the past both sides labored to keep quiet. In recent months, those stresses have managed to crack the normally airtight veil of secrecy surrounding Gulf royals and decision makers.

“Something happened in the last 10-20 years that caused every country to dig in more in their own national goals, and to work together less,” said Moran Zaga, an expert on the Gulf region at Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies.

She noted that a regional shift away from overreliance on the US for military support had put a premium on countries being able to throw their weight around, which may have given the UAE the impetus to attempt to wriggle out from under the Saudi shadow.

“They don’t have the defense umbrella that they once had, and the desire of each one is to increase their relative value in the region,” Zaga said.

Egyptian men chant anti-Israeli slogans during a Muslim Brotherhood-staged anti-Israel rally in Cairo. (photo credit: Khalil Hamra/AP)

The resulting friction has not only affected the region’s economic relationships, but also their defense agendas, which do not always line up.

For the Saudis, the Iranians represent the main security threat, while the UAE sees the Muslim Brotherhood — and the Turkey-Qatar axis backing it — as its primary foe.

“You see this different emphasis,” said Friedman. “Whereas the Emiratis are very much concerned and cognizant of wherever the Muslim Brotherhood seems to be rearing its head in the region, the Saudis ––while certainly seeing the Brotherhood as a threat internally — externally I think have a less aggressive approach to the Brotherhood outside of Saudi borders.”

While the Saudis have worked closely with the US and Israel to counter Iran, the Emiratis maintain open diplomatic channels to Tehran and a healthy trade relationship from Dubai to the Islamic Republic.

The differences between the two approaches became more marked and significant in 2019, said Joshua Krasna, Middle East scholar at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University.

That year saw a number of brazen attacks attributed to Iran and its regional allies.

The Emirati-flagged oil tanker A. Michel, May 13, 2019, one of four ships damaged in what Gulf officials called a ‘sabotage’ attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. (UAE National Media Council via AP)

In May 2019, three oil tankers and a fourth commercial ship were rocked by explosions off the UAE coast. In September, Saudi oil facilities were attacked by drones, temporarily cutting the kingdom’s oil production in half.

Despite its bellicose rhetoric, the Trump administration opted not to attack Iran militarily, forcing both sides to reconsider their security posture.

The UAE, a nation whose economy relies on shipping, realized that the US was not going to protect it as aggressively as it would have liked, and decided to take matters into its own hands by calming tensions with Tehran. Its official government statements after the tanker attacks avoided naming Iran as the perpetrator, its media was relatively muted about Iran’s role, and Emirati officials began engaging Tehran on maritime security.

Illustrative: US President Donald Trump, left, speaks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during family photo session at G-20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool Photo via AP)

The Saudis were initially much more aggressive, reportedly preparing a military response against Iran.

In 2019, the alliance in Yemen fell apart as well. The UAE announced it would be withdrawing forces from the war zone, possibly taking their Saudi partners by surprise.

The move was precipitated by increasing international criticism of the Saudi-led coalition over the civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis in Yemen. There was also significant domestic criticism that influenced Abu Dhabi’s decision.

“You won’t see street demonstrations,” said Zaga. “It is expressed in other ways. In private conversations, in the Majlis, in newspaper articles, in posts by intellectuals who ask ‘Why are our soldiers being killed on foreign ground that isn’t our enemy, and who we haven’t declared war on?’”

People march with the flags of south Yemen, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia, as portraits are raised of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C-L), his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C-R), UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L), and his brother Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R), during a demonstration titled the “million-man march of gratitude for Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” in the center of the second-largest city Aden on September 5, 2019. (Saleh Al-OBEIDI/AFP)

The Saudis, who share a border with Yemen, are much more invested in the conflict, and can’t pull out easily. Moreover, they see the Houthi rebels as an extension of their Iranian nemesis, and are more determined to see to their defeat.

The UAE is more invested in the Libyan civil war, as it is more directly tied to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. In Yemen, Abu Dhabi backs a separatist movement in southern Yemen, breaking with the Saudis, who back a Brotherhood-aligned government in Sanaa and have exempted Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Islah from its terrorist list.

In Libya, the Emiratis actively backed the Khalifa Haftar government against the UN-recognized Government of National Accord. The latter is firmly backed by Turkey and they fear it is ripe for domination by Islamists.

Fighters of a military battalion loyal to Libyan General Khalifa Hafta patrol the streets in the eastern city of Benghazi during a state of emergency to combat the coronavirus outbreak, on March 21, 2020. (Abdullah DOMA / AFP)

The UAE also appeared to be behind the 2017 GCC blockade on Qatar. The Saudis and Qataris moved quickly to repair ties after the January 2021 Al-Ula summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, leading many to believe that it was largely a UAE-driven policy.

The Emiratis — not the Saudis —  have also sought observer status in the EastMed Gas Forum, meant to counter Turkish ambitions in the Mediterranean.

A zero-sum economic rivalry

The economic rivalry between the two erstwhile partners is escalating as well.

“Part of the reason that’s happening is that the Saudis have very publicly pushed back on the Emiratis’ larger regional profile economically and politically,” said Friedman.

Illustrative: An unidentified person walking on a deserted road covered by sand dunes with the Dubai Skyline in the background. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (iStock)

The two kingdoms find themselves competing economically as they pursue similar goals. They are both looking to move beyond their reliance on oil exports and rapidly diversify their economies.

The Saudis seem to see this situation as a zero-sum competition, passing laws aimed to cut into the UAE’s regional economic standing.

In February, Riyadh announced that by 2024, any multinational company that has not moved its regional headquarters to the kingdom would be barred from lucrative government contracts, a move clearly meant to erode Dubai’s position as the regional business hub.

Newly constructed towers in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital and main financial hub, on December 16, 2020. (FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP)

Other measures have included a Saudi flight ban to the UAE and attempts by the Saudi port management company Red Sea Gateway Terminal to challenge Dubai’s DP World. And on Monday, the Saudis announced that products with components made in Israel would not be eligible for import tax benefits.

The economic competition was on full display over the past two weeks as the two sides clashed openly at a crucial OPEC+ meeting. The talks between OPEC members and Russia centered around attempts to agree on increases in oil outputs as the world opens up again after the COVID-19 shutdown.

The Emiratis, who have invested heavily in their ability to produce oil in order to fund economic development, demanded that their output match their new capacity.  The Saudis disagreed, and talks fell apart without an agreement.

DP World’s chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem at a presentation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

“The fact that it’s playing out publicly is the dimension here that’s most interesting,” said Friedman.

Israel in the middle

Saudi efforts to stymie the UAE’s economic program have pulled Israel — which signed the Abraham Accords with the UAE and Bahrain in September — into the fray.

US President Donald Trump, center, with, from left, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, during the Abraham Accords signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, September 15, 2020, in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)

For the Saudis, curbing the UAE may mean quashing the areas where it’s making the biggest strides, including opening up to Israel.

“They might be unhappy with how quickly, how nicely, things are moving between us and the UAE,” Krasna posited.

Riyadh could move to challenge or slow important technological and business deals between Israel and the UAE if it seen as giving Abu Dhabi an undue advantage.

At the same time, if their economic or security needs overcome the domestic risk of normalization, the Saudis could begin bringing their ties to Israel out into the open.

However, they have to tread far more carefully than their neighbors.

There is vocal Salafi opposition to normalization, and the House of Saud is wary of endangering the longstanding set of understandings with the religious establishment that has provided the regime with stability and legitimacy.

They also find it difficult to gauge the sentiment of young Saudis, who have no memory of the major wars between Israel and Arab states, and make up two-thirds of the population.  “They have to manage that risk very carefully,” said Zaga.

It appears that the royal family is not united on how it should approach Israel.

In October, former ambassador to the US Bandar bin Sultan told Al Arabiya, “We are at a stage in which rather than being concerned with how to face the  Israeli challenges in order to serve the Palestinian cause, we have to pay attention to our national security and interests.”

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan at his palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2008 (photo credit: AP/Hassan Ammar)

Two months later, past intelligence chief Turki bin Faisal lambasted Israel at a conference in Bahrain.

The two leading Saudis are also split over normalization. While the young MBS met then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2020 and appears open to outing Saudi cooperation with Israel, his 85-year-old father King Salman sees support for the Palestinian cause and the defense of Al Aqsa as an obligation of the Saudi royal family.

The change of government in Israel paradoxically makes it easier for the Saudis to normalize with Israel, while simultaneously making Riyadh pump the brakes. The regime feels it has more legitimacy to cooperate with leaders who did not lead the May military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on June 20, 2021.(Photo by Alex Kolomoisky)

On the other hand, its rulers must now familiarize themselves and assess a new slate of leaders and ministers in Israel, Zaga explained.

In the meantime, the rivalry with the UAE is expected to grow.

“The moment it starts,” Zaga said, “it’s very hard to stop.”

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Time to change our priorities Fri, 09 Jul 2021 18:29:44 +0000 With the last US forces leaving Afghanistan in America’s longest war, it is time to reflect on our foreign policy over the past 60 years and recognize that it is time to change the way we use our tax dollars. We spent $ 844 billion and lost 58,220 Americans in nearly 18 years in Vietnam […]]]>

With the last US forces leaving Afghanistan in America’s longest war, it is time to reflect on our foreign policy over the past 60 years and recognize that it is time to change the way we use our tax dollars.

We spent $ 844 billion and lost 58,220 Americans in nearly 18 years in Vietnam to fight communism. And what did we achieve? Vietnam has a communist government.

The Persian Gulf War, which cost $ 117 billion and 383 lives, was fought primarily to protect the interests of US oil companies. Although this was seen as a success due to the international coalition that was formed to combat the conflict, the decision to leave Saddam Hussein in power, along with later false information that Hussein had a supply of weapons of mass destruction, ultimately led to the Iraq war . This cost another $ 1 trillion and the lives of 4,410 soldiers. While this war formed the basis of democracy in the region over time, the country continues to be characterized by conflict and terror.

After all, we wasted the war in Afghanistan, $ 910 billion and another 2,285 lives defeating the Taliban, who will most likely regain control of the entire country after the US leaves. And these costs do not include the amount the government must spend on lifelong care for the wounded veterans of these wars, nor the interest payments on the money borrowed to fund these wars.

We spent far too much money and lost far too many lives, mainly to enrich the military-industrial complex, while our country’s infrastructure collapsed. Former President Carter said, when asked if China is overtaking us economically, “Do you know how many times China has been at war with anyone since 1979? None. And we stayed in the war. ”

Carter said the US was “the most bellicose nation in the history of the world” because it wanted to impose American values ​​on other countries, and suggested that China invest its resources in projects like bullet trains rather than defense spending.

Cyberattacks are America’s greatest threat today, and gun spending, which in many cases the military doesn’t even want, is pointless. Former NSC Counterterrorism Coordinator Richard Clarke said in 2001 that cybersecurity was the focus of our national security, but it has been largely ignored by the hawks in the Bush administration.

It is time to cut military spending and use our tax dollars to rebuild our infrastructure and provide a sustainable health system for our citizens.

Tom Thomason


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Salva Kiir: The man who led South Sudan to independence and then to war Fri, 09 Jul 2021 03:28:11 +0000 Issued on: 07.09.2021 – 05:28Changed: 07.09.2021 – 05:26 Nairobi (AFP) The towering guerrilla commander Salva Kiir led South Sudan to independence a decade ago before shattering the dreams of its people and pulling them back into a brutal civil war. His political rivalry with Vice President Riek Machar sparked a civil war in late 2013 […]]]>

Issued on: Changed:

Nairobi (AFP)

The towering guerrilla commander Salva Kiir led South Sudan to independence a decade ago before shattering the dreams of its people and pulling them back into a brutal civil war.

His political rivalry with Vice President Riek Machar sparked a civil war in late 2013 that was marked by ethnic atrocities, rape, torture and the death of nearly 400,000 people.

The conflict, which opposed several peace efforts until the formation of the most recent unity government in February 2020, devastated the emerging country’s economy and displaced around four million people, resulting in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

“I’m not really proud because we fought and the things we did were destroyed, so we always have to start over,” Kiir said in an interview with Kenyan broadcaster Citizen TV in July.

A devout Catholic, Kiir is known for preaching sermons in Juba Cathedral, which tower over the pulpit and wear his signature black cowboy hat, the original of which was a gift from US President George Bush.

But for years the tall, bearded commander was more used to leading troops in the Bush War than to making political speeches.

Born to the majority of the Dinka in the remote herding state of Warrap in 1951, Kiir spent much of his life with a weapon.

He was a bush fighter and battlefield commander both in the first civil war in Sudan – which lasted shortly after independence from Great Britain in 1956 to 1972 – and in the subsequent conflict from 1983 to 2005.

Both wars were fueled by the demand of the southern, predominantly Christian and animist region of Sudan for more autonomy vis-à-vis the northern, predominantly Muslim north.

Kiir only took power after the death of his boss, veteran rebel leader from the south, John Garang, in a helicopter crash in 2005.

“Most South Sudanese view Kiir as an accidental president who came to power only through the unexpected death of John Garang, with whom Kiir often clashed despite standing in for him,” said Alan Boswell, an expert at the International Crisis Group (ICG).

– A man with a different dream –

While Garang – the first president of the then semi-autonomous South Sudan – tried to reform Sudan as a whole, Kiir and his allies wanted independence.

Kiir oversaw the birth of a nation whose southern capital, Juba, peacefully freed itself from former enemies in Khartoum in July 2011.

South Sudan enjoyed immense international benevolence and billions of dollars in financial support for development after decades of conflict with the north, but Kiir was unable to contain corruption, which meant that under his leadership the country was plundered rather than rebuilt.

Huge sums of money from oil revenues were wasted under Kiir’s watch. He admitted some of it in a 2012 begging letter to 75 former and current officials, asking them to return $ 4 billion in stolen funds.

– Back to the war –

Meanwhile, tensions between the new nation’s leaders increased, and in 2013 Kiir accused Machar – whom he had sacked as vice president months earlier – of plotting a coup against him that sparked an armed struggle.

The ensuing conflict was marked by serious human rights violations – ethnic massacres, recruitment of child soldiers, mass rape, sexual violence and sexual slavery as well as attacks on civilians, aid workers and UN peacekeeping forces.

A January 2016 UN report said there was “clear and compelling evidence” that Kiir and Machar directed or knew about most of the violence committed during the war.

Both leaders also enriched themselves in the wake of the conflict, according to The Sentry’s investigation team.

“President Kiir and his family have amassed a considerable amount of fortune – far more than he could have made in his official capacity – and parked a considerable amount of assets outside of South Sudan,” their 2016 report said.

Getting Kiir and Machar to try peace at all was grueling, years of diplomatic drudgery, with Pope Francis kissing both men on the feet at one point during a breathtaking intervention by the Vatican in early 2019.

Although Kiir has ruled South Sudan since 2005, he was only directly elected once in 2011, as there were no elections in 2015 due to the fighting. An election scheduled for 2022 as part of a further peace agreement with Machar has been postponed to 2023.

He remains a mysterious and fickle leader who rules with Machar in a fragile coalition with whom suspicion is simmering as the promised power-sharing agreements under their latest pact do not materialize.

“Kiir is often a mystery to even his closest advisors. He listens more than he speaks and can surprise his advisors with abrupt changes in position,” said Boswell of ICG.

“Sometimes he has served as a national reconciler, sometimes as a divider.”

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Was Sie in Washington wissen sollten: Biden erhöht Ransomware-Bedrohung Wed, 07 Jul 2021 11:33:02 +0000 Präsident Joe Biden wird sich der schnell wachsenden Bedrohung durch Ransomware gegen Unternehmen und Orte stellen, indem er wichtige Beamte zusammenruft, um die Verwaltungsstrategie nach einem hochkarätigen Angriff von Hackern zu diskutieren. Biden wird sich heute hinter verschlossenen Türen mit verschiedenen Behördenführern treffen, um Ransomware und Möglichkeiten zu ihrer Bekämpfung zu erörtern, sagte das Weiße […]]]>

Präsident Joe Biden wird sich der schnell wachsenden Bedrohung durch Ransomware gegen Unternehmen und Orte stellen, indem er wichtige Beamte zusammenruft, um die Verwaltungsstrategie nach einem hochkarätigen Angriff von Hackern zu diskutieren.

Biden wird sich heute hinter verschlossenen Türen mit verschiedenen Behördenführern treffen, um Ransomware und Möglichkeiten zu ihrer Bekämpfung zu erörtern, sagte das Weiße Haus gestern Abend in einer Erklärung, in der das Risiko als „Priorität der nationalen und wirtschaftlichen Sicherheit für die Regierung“ bezeichnet wurde.

Die Diskussionen werden auf ein ähnliches Treffen folgen, das gestern von Anne Neuberger, der stellvertretenden nationalen Sicherheitsberaterin für Cyber- und neue Technologien, abgehalten wurde und mit der US-Bürgermeisterkonferenz über Schwachstellen und Strategien diskutierte.

Die Bekämpfung von Ransomware gewinnt für die Verwaltung nach einem dreister Angriff am Feiertagswochenende, von dem mehr als 1.000 Unternehmen mit Opfern in mindestens 17 Ländern betroffen waren, so Cybersicherheitsforscher. Hinter dem Angriff soll eine mit Russland verbundene Ransomware-Gang namens REvil stecken, die mehrere bisher unbekannte Sicherheitslücken in der IT-Management-Software von Kaseya Ltd. ausnutzte.

Städte und Gemeinden sowie lokale Einrichtungen, darunter auch Krankenhäuser, sind Opfer von Angriffen geworden. Neuberger sagte den Bürgermeistern bei dem virtuellen Treffen, dass einem kürzlich durchgeführten Pilotprogramm zur Stärkung der Verteidigung von Stromversorgern „bald ähnliche Initiativen folgen würden, um die Cyber-Resilienz anderer kritischer Sektoren wie Pipelines, Wasser und Chemikalien zu stärken“, die White Haus sagte. Die Aussage wurde nicht näher ausgeführt. Sie versprach, dass lokale, staatliche und Regierungen „bei der Reaktion auf einen Cybervorfall über die vollen Ressourcen der Bundesregierung verfügen würden, einschließlich der Unterstützung von Cybersicherheitsexperten des FBI und der Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency“, fügte das Weiße Haus hinzu. Lesen Sie mehr von John Harney und William Turton.

Fotograf: Sarah Silbiger/UPI/Bloomberg

Biden spricht am Dienstag, 6. Juli, im Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC.

Russische Hacker verstoßen gegen GOP: Laut zwei mit der Angelegenheit vertrauten Personen haben Hacker der russischen Regierung letzte Woche, etwa zur gleichen Zeit wie der massive Ransomware-Angriff, die Computersysteme des Republikanischen Nationalkomitees durchbrochen. Die Hacker der Regierung gehörten nach Angaben der Bevölkerung zu einer Gruppe, die als APT 29 oder Cozy Bear bekannt ist. Lesen Sie mehr von William Turton und Jennifer Jacobs.

Geschehen auf dem Hügel

Demokraten drängen auf Kürzung der DHS-Finanzierung: Ein Dutzend demokratische Senatoren fordern Kollegen auf, die Mittel für die Durchsetzung der Einwanderungsbehörde des Heimatschutzministeriums zu kürzen – ein Bereich, der ein wichtiger Streitpunkt sein wird, wenn der Gesetzgeber das Budget des DHS festlegt. Sens. Bob Menendez (NJ) und Alex Padilla (Kalifornien) führte a Brief an die Aneigner, die Kürzungen beim US-Zoll und beim Grenzschutz sowie bei der Einwanderungs- und Zolldurchsetzung fordern, wie es die Demokraten im Haus getan haben vorgeschlagen, berichtet Ellen M. Gilmer.

Demokrat warnt vor Haushaltsentwurf ohne Einwanderung: Ein demokratischer Abgeordneter des Repräsentantenhauses warnte davor, dass er es ablehnen würde, für das Gesetzespaket zu stimmen, in das die Parteiführer einen Großteil von Bidens längerfristigen wirtschaftlichen Vorschlägen aufnehmen wollen, wenn das Gesetz keine Einwanderungsreformen vorsieht. Lautsprecher Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) kann es sich nur leisten, eine Handvoll Stimmen von ihrem Caucus zu verlieren und immer noch ein Gesetz zu verabschieden, wenn sich die Republikaner dagegen einig sind, was die mögliche Komplikation durch die gestrigen Kommentare von Rep unterstreicht. Jesus Garcia (Krank.). Lesen Sie mehr von Sophia Cai.

Breitband-Kampfgruben Glasfaserlüfter versus Kabelindustrie: Eine große Koalition von Industriegruppen und Lobbyisten des öffentlichen Interesses drängt den Kongress, in “zukunftssichere” Hochgeschwindigkeits-Glasfasernetze zu investieren, um im Kampf um die Aufteilung der 65 Milliarden US-Dollar, die für den Ausbau des Breitband-Internetdienstes vorgeschlagen werden, zu kämpfen. Die Ausgaben sind in einem Infrastrukturpaket enthalten, dem eine parteiübergreifende Gruppe von Senatoren und Biden vorläufig zugestimmt hat. Aber während sie die Details des Plans ausarbeiten, müssen sich die Gesetzgeber mit einem Konflikt zwischen Unternehmen und Gruppen auseinandersetzen, die wollen, dass das Land in die schnellsten und innovativsten Netzwerke investiert, und einigen der traditionelleren Anbieter, die einen solchen Ansatz für zu teuer halten argue und lenkt vom Ziel ab, die Internetreichweite zu vergrößern. Lesen Sie mehr von Megan R. Wilson.

Gruppen Presse Vilsack über Tierversuche: Das USDA muss seinen Rohstoffforschungs- und Promotionsgremien die Finanzierung von Tierversuchen mit von landwirtschaftlichen Erzeugern verlangten Beurteilungsgebühren untersagen, schrieb eine nationale Interessenvertretung für schwarze Bauern in a Brief heute an Sekretär Tom Vilsack, berichtet Megan U. Boyanton. Family Agriculture Resource Management Services schloss sich der Tierrechtsorganisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals an, um die Ausgaben für landwirtschaftliche Checkoff-Programme für Tests einzudämmen, von denen die gemeinnützigen Organisationen sagen, dass sie das Lebensmittelmarketing fördern sollen. In Schwierigkeiten geratene Bauern „brauchen keine barbarischen Tierversuche, um ihre landwirtschaftlichen Waren zu verkaufen“, schrieb die Gründerin von FARMS, Jillian Hishaw, in dem Brief. „Vielmehr brauchen sie eine wirtschaftliche Entlastung durch überhöhte Beurteilungsgebühren, die für wertlose Tierversuche verschwendet werden.“

Bildung Bürgerrechte Pick, um Gehör zu bekommen: Catherine Lhamon, Bidens Kandidatin für die stellvertretende Bildungsministerin für Bürgerrechte, wird am 13. Juli vor dem Gesundheits-, Bildungs-, Arbeits- und Rentenausschuss des Senats eine Bestätigungsanhörung erhalten. Lhamon hatte während der Obama-Regierung von 2013 bis 2017 dieselbe Funktion inne zu dieser Zeit leitete sie die Politik der Verwaltung, um härtere Reaktionen auf sexuelles Fehlverhalten an Colleges zu fordern, berichtet Andrew Kreighbaum.

Republikaner befragen Tech-Firmen zu Studentendaten: Republikanische Gesetzgeber unter der Führung von Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) befragte Microsoft und Google zu Praktiken der Datenerhebung in Bezug auf Schüler, Lehrer und Schulen. „Eltern sollten in der Lage sein, ihre Kinder online zu schützen und ihre Aktivitäten zu überwachen, um sicherzustellen, dass sie nicht auf unangemessene Inhalte zugreifen oder angegriffen werden“, sagten Cloud und 14 andere republikanische Gesetzgeber in einem Brief. Brody Ford-Berichte.

Dauerhafter Fix für abgeschobene Tierärzte: Der Gesetzgeber auf beiden Seiten des Ganges drängt auf Gesetze, um Menschen zu helfen, die nach ihrem Dienst im US-Militär abgeschoben wurden. Die Biden-Administration angekündigt letzte Woche würde sie die Abschiebung von nichtstaatsangehörigen Militärangehörigen, Veteranen und Familienmitgliedern überprüfen; die zu Unrecht Abgeschobenen nach Hause bringen; und sicherzustellen, dass sie Zugang zu staatlichen Leistungen haben. Mehrere Kongressabgeordnete lobten die Entwicklung, sagten jedoch, dass sie auf dem Capitol Hill verstärkt werden müsse. Lesen Sie mehr von Ellen Gilmer.

Rund um die Verwaltung

Die heutige Tagesordnung: Biden wird sich um 9:30 Uhr mit Beamten treffen, um die Bemühungen zur Bekämpfung von Ransomware zu besprechen. Der Präsident wird dann um 10:30 Uhr das Weiße Haus auf dem Weg nach Illinois verlassen, wo er um 14:05 Uhr das McHenry County College besichtigen und seine wirtschaftlichen Vorschläge in einer Rede vorbringen wird. Biden in Illinois wird heute Steuersenkungen für Unternehmen und Verbraucher diskutieren Investitionen in saubere Energietechnologien und die Festlegung eines Standards für sauberen Strom, Kasia Klimasinska berichtet. Er werde ein Ziel für Klima-, Naturschutz- und Resilienzarbeiter festlegen, sagte das Weiße Haus.

Microsoft und Amazon teilen Vertrag als 10-Milliarden-Dollar-Deal auf: Das Verteidigungsministerium wird zu einem neuen Enterprise-Cloud-Vertrag wechseln, nachdem es seinen umstrittenen Cloud-Zuschlag in Höhe von 10 Milliarden US-Dollar an Microsoft storniert hat. Stattdessen wird das Pentagon die Arbeit mit Microsoft, Amazon Web Services und möglicherweise drei anderen US-Anbietern, hochrangigen Pentagon-Beamten, aufteilen angekündigt. Microsoft und AWS sind die einzigen beiden Anbieter, die die Cloud-Anforderungen des Pentagon erfüllen können, sagte John Sherman, Chief Information Officer des amtierenden Pentagon, gestern gegenüber Reportern. Die Auszeichnungen könnten bereits 2022 erfolgen, sagte er. Lesen Sie mehr von Chris Cornillie.

Biden verlagert Covid-Gelder an Kinder an der Grenze: Das Department of Health and Human Services plant, den National Institutes of Health 860 Millionen US-Dollar an Mitteln zuzuweisen, um einen Anstieg der pandemiebedingten Kosten im Zusammenhang mit unbegleiteten Kindern an der Grenze zu decken. Laut einem Brief von Bloomberg News . teilte Gesundheitsminister Xavier Becerra gestern den Mitgliedern des Kongresses mit, dass die Abteilung die Mittel umverteilen werde, um die erhöhten Kosten zur Gewährleistung der Sicherheit von Kindern, die an der Südwestgrenze ankommen, sowie von Mitarbeitern, die sie in Notunterkünften betreuen, zu decken . Lesen Sie mehr von Riley Griffin.

Pentagon wiegt vorgeschriebene Impfstoffe für Truppen: Beamte des Pentagons diskutieren, ob Truppen zur Einnahme von Covid-19-Impfstoffen verpflichtet werden sollen, während die Food and Drug Administration sich der vollständigen Genehmigung der Schüsse nähert, sagte DOD-Sprecher John Kirby gestern. Die Impfung bleibt für 2,9 Millionen Militärangehörige und Zivilpersonal freiwillig, da Pfizer-BioNTech-, Moderna- und Johnson & Johnson-Impfstoffe nur bundesstaatliche Notfallgenehmigungen erhalten haben. Lesen Sie mehr von Travis J. Tritten.

Trump Country lehnt Impfstoffe ab: Biden hat sich zum Ziel gesetzt, dass 70% der amerikanischen Erwachsenen bis zum 4. Juli mindestens eine Covid-19-Impfung erhalten, eine symbolische Anspielung auf den Unabhängigkeitstag. Trotz reichlicher Impfstofflieferungen hat er dieses Ziel verfehlt, vor allem, weil die Regierung Schwierigkeiten hatte, in ländlichen, zutiefst konservativen Regionen, die Bastionen der Unterstützung für seinen Vorgänger Donald Trump sind, Schüsse zu verteilen. Lesen Sie mehr von Josh Wingrove.

US sagt, dass seit dem Angriff vom 6. Januar mehr als 535 Angeklagte festgenommen wurden: Ein halbes Jahr nach dem Kapitol-Aufstand vom 6. Januar wurden laut einer Erklärung des Justizministeriums über 535 Menschen festgenommen. Brody Ford-Berichte. 495 Angeklagte wurden des Betretens oder des Aufenthalts in einem eingeschränkten Bundesgebäude oder -gelände angeklagt. Mindestens 165 wurden wegen Angriffs, Widerstands oder Behinderung von Beamten oder Angestellten angeklagt. Das Publikum gab mehr als 200.000 digitale Medientipps.

Veteran von Obama Admin zum Leiter des Medicare-Programms ernannt: Ein Veteran der Obama-Ära der Affordable Care Act-Kriege und ein Chirurg wird das Medicare-Programm des Landes unter Biden leiten, teilten die Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services mit. Meena Seshamani, Kopf-Hals-Chirurgin, die zuletzt Vice President of Clinical Care Transformation bei MedStar Health war, wurde gestern stellvertretende Administratorin von CMS und Direktorin des Center for Medicare. Lesen Sie mehr von Christopher Brown.

USA ernennt Taiwan-Gesandten: Die USA ernannten einen neuen Top-Repräsentanten für Taiwan, als die Biden-Regierung die Beziehungen zu Taipeh angesichts des zunehmenden Drucks aus Peking stärkte. Sandra Oudkirk ist die neue Direktorin des American Institute in Taiwans Büro in Taipeh, die de facto US-Botschafterin in Abwesenheit offizieller Verbindungen, und folgt Ende dieses Sommers auf Brent Christensen, teilte das Institut gestern Abend in einer Erklärung mit. Lesen Sie mehr von Samson Ellis und Betty Hou.

US-Arbeiterhilfe wird zum Opfer, wenn die Handelsbehörde von Biden endet: Bidens Versprechen an Refrain davon ab, neue Handelsabkommen zu verfolgen, hinterlässt ein wichtiges Schulungs- und Unterstützungsprogramm für Arbeitnehmer, die nach Angaben der Regierung im Mittelpunkt ihrer Agenda stehen, ohne einen klaren Weg zur Erneuerung. Biden verlor am 1. Juli offiziell die Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Aber das Ablaufen von TPA fiel mit dem Ende der erweiterten Hilfe bei der Handelsanpassung, oder TAA – ein Programm, das vor sechs Jahren zusammen mit der Fast-Track-Autorität erneuert wurde. TAA leistet Hilfe für Amerikaner, die ihren Arbeitsplatz verlieren oder deren Stunden und Löhne aufgrund der Konkurrenz durch Importe gekürzt werden. Schätzungsweise 48.000 Arbeitnehmer, vor allem in Dienstleistungsbranchen, werden nach Angaben des Arbeitsministeriums im Laufe des nächsten Jahres den Anspruch auf Leistungen verlieren. Lesen Sie mehr von Eric Marin und Benjamin Penn.

USA dürfen gegen Auslieferung von Assange Berufung einlegen: Der US-Regierung wurde die Erlaubnis erteilt, gegen eine Londoner Gerichtsentscheidung Berufung einzulegen, Julian Assange nicht auf „begrenzter Basis“ auszuliefern, sagte ein Sprecher des WikiLeaks-Gründers. Die USA dürfen anfechten, ob die Richterin das Gesetz korrekt angewandt hat, ob sie die USA rechtzeitig über ihre Entscheidung informiert hat und ob Zusicherungen der Regierung Assanges Selbstmordrisiko mindern. Lesen Sie mehr von Ellen Milligan.

Mit Unterstützung von Megan U. Boyanton

Um die Reporter zu dieser Geschichte zu kontaktieren: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at; Brandon Lee in Washington bei

Um die für diese Geschichte verantwortlichen Redakteure zu kontaktieren: Zachary Sherwood beim; Loren Duggan beim; Michaela Ross beim

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Trump stirs up Republican lies. I’m joining the Lincoln Project to stop them. Tue, 06 Jul 2021 07:15:28 +0000 opinion Joe Trippi | Opinion maker America is exhausted. We had the worst presidency in our history when the concept of what it means to be an American was challenged. A pandemic killed over 600,000 of our compatriots in America, more than we lost in either of the two world wars of the last century. […]]]>


America is exhausted. We had the worst presidency in our history when the concept of what it means to be an American was challenged. A pandemic killed over 600,000 of our compatriots in America, more than we lost in either of the two world wars of the last century. There is a desperate longing for normalcy. We finally have a normal president with a competent administration. But this is not a normal time. American democracy is in crisis.

Many are pushing us to take the bipartisan path to get us out of this danger. As much as the Biden government tries to restore a sense of normalcy to our nation after the past four years, and as much as Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va. and others seek the time-honored goal of bipartisanism and community to solve our problems, these are elusive goals.

We have all lived in a two-party America for generations. This is the only way we can participate and talk about our policies. A two-party lens is the only way the news media can cover Washington and, of course, elections. This is why so many of us cannot give up the idea that there has to be a two-party solution to the danger of the moment. I wish it was possible. It is not.

Keeper of Lincoln’s legacy

America no longer has two sane parties. The catastrophic mistake for our nation is to continue to see the struggle as Democrats versus Republicans, left versus right. We are at war with an authoritarian movement fueled by former President Donald Trump. It contains many of the 147 Republicans who pledged treason with their January 6th vote, protesting Joe Biden’s victory, and it has grown since then.

The authoritarian movement now has so much power within the Republican Party that officials of goodwill are either purged or held hostage – out of cowardly fear for their political careers or even out Fear for their safety. It matters what the rest of us do now. It is time to choose your side and take action: fight this authoritarian movement and become one of the guardians of President Abraham Lincoln to ensure that the people rule is by the people, for the people will not perish from the earth.

The truth matters. Many have been lied to and many have come to believe these lies. They are not the enemy – for them we must offer the truth and join as Americans to find a way forward together.

January 6th invoice: Republicans fear the truths about the attacks on the Capitol, and Democrats need to find out why

Every American, every business, the news media and social platforms must understand that there are no longer two functioning political parties in our country. Moving between them means not understanding our circumstances and the threat of an authoritarian movement trying to take power by all means. It is time for all Americans to join this fight. Not one party over the other. But all Americans against an authoritarian movement and its poison until it dies and another generation of Americans makes our democracy live.

Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi, right, is campaigning on January 5, 2004 in Des Moines, Iowa.

I have spent it last four decades as an advisor to the Democratic Party fighting Republicans on issues such as taxes, health care and foreign affairs. These were important issues in yesterday’s politics and will hopefully be important again in future politics. But today in America there is a question: will the American experiment survive?

During the Trump years, I watched with admiration as Republicans stood up with conscience and decency to stand up for America. They were called anti-Trump, but I always saw them more as pro-democracy. They were republicans. I am a democrat. But these labels mean little today.

Confront Trump’s authoritarianism

As citizens, we must unite in a pro-democratic coalition that opposes the authoritarian movement in our midst at every turn. President Biden and those trying to rule must find compromise and common ground wherever they can to achieve things, and we must all give them the space to do so. But there is no compromise with those who continue to fuel the authoritarian movement with lies.

Mark your calendar: January 6, 2025 could be the date American democracy dies

This movement, led by Trump and supported by far too many Republican senators and members of the House of Representatives, is so dangerous to our democracy that its only goal is Lincoln project is to halt attempts by Republicans to regain majorities in the House and Senate in 2022. We will succeed when the American people understand the threat and danger and join the pro-democracy coalition to defeat them. Each of us can and must do his part in his own way.

This is not about politics or petty politics or our individual history and past partisan struggles. It’s about the future of our democracy and, as Lincoln’s guardian, making sure it survives. So today I’m joining the Lincoln Project on this.

Joe Trippi, a national Democratic strategist whose clients included former California Governor Jerry Brown, former Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, and presidential candidates Walter Mondale, Dick Gephardt, and Howard Dean, is the author of “The revolution will not be televised“and moderator of the podcast”This Trippi show.“Follow him on Twitter: @JoeTrippi

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A timeline of more than 40 years of war in Afghanistan Fri, 02 Jul 2021 18:00:32 +0000 The former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 1979, claiming that it had been invited by the new Afghan communist leader Babrak Karmal, and led the country on a path of 40 years of seemingly endless war and conflict. After the humiliated Soviets left the country, America was the next great power to invade. […]]]>

After the humiliated Soviets left the country, America was the next great power to invade. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States invaded to overthrow the Taliban regime that hosted Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

After almost 20 years, the US ends its war in Afghanistan and withdraws the last American troops.

What remains is the US-allied government, torn by corruption and divisions, and having to fend off the advancing Taliban insurgents amid stalled peace talks. Many Afghans fear that their country will plunge into chaos and intergroup fighting between warlords in the next chapter.

Here is a timeline of some key dates in Afghanistan’s 40 year war:

December 25, 1979 – The Soviet Red Army crosses the Oxus River into Afghanistan. Afghan mujahideen, or Islamic holy warriors, are gathering in neighboring Pakistan, armed and financed by the United States, for an anti-communist war. More than 8 million Afghans are fleeing to Pakistan and Iran, the first of several waves of refugees over the decades.

1980s – The CIA’s covert Operation Cyclone is smuggling weapons and money for the war through Pakistani dictator Mohammed Zia-ul Haq, who calls on Muslim countries to send volunteers to fight in Afghanistan. Bin Laden is among the thousands who volunteer.

1983 – President Ronald Reagan meets in the White House with mujahideen leaders whom he calls freedom fighters.

September 1986 – The US supplies the mujahideen with shoulder-mounted Stinger anti-aircraft missiles that change the course of the war. The Soviets begin negotiations to withdraw.

February 15, 1989 – The last Soviet soldier leaves Afghanistan and ends the ten-year occupation

April 1992 – Mujahideen groups invade Kabul. The fleeing Najibullah is stopped at the airport and placed under house arrest on a UN compound.

1992-1996 – Power sharing among the mujahideen leaders collapses and they spend four years fighting each other; much of Kabul is destroyed and nearly 50,000 people are killed.

1994 – The Taliban appear in the south of Kandahar, conquer the province and establish a strict interpretation of Islam.

September 26, 1996 – The Taliban capture Kabul after sweeping the country almost without a fight; Northern Alliance forces are retreating north to the Panjshir Valley. The Taliban hang Najibullah and his brother.

1996-2001 – Although the Taliban were originally welcomed for ending the fighting, they rule with a heavy hand under Mullah Mohammed Omar, imposing strict Islamic edicts that deny women the right to work and girls the right to school. Punishments and executions are carried out in public.

March 2001 – The Taliban blow up the world’s largest standing Buddha statues in Bamyan Province to a global shock.

September 2001 – After the 9/11 attacks, Washington gives Mullah Omar an ultimatum: surrender bin Laden and dismantle militant training camps or prepare for an attack. The Taliban leader refuses.

October 7, 2001 – A US-led coalition invades Afghanistan.

November 13, 2001 – The Taliban flee Kabul to Kandahar when the US-led coalition with the Northern Alliance invades the Afghan capital.

December 5, 2001 – The Bonn Agreement is signed in Germany, which gives the most important actors in the Northern Alliance a majority in power and strengthens the warlords who ruled between 1992 and 1996. Hamid Karzai, an ethnic Pashtun like most of the Taliban, is called Afghanistan. denotes President.

December 7, 2001 – Mullah Omar leaves Kandahar and the Taliban regime officially collapses.

May 1, 2003 – President George W. Bush declares Mission Accomplished as the Pentagon says the great fighting in Afghanistan is over.

2004 and 2009 – In two general elections, Karzai is elected President for two consecutive terms.

Summer 2006: With the US stuck in Iraq, the resurgence of the Taliban is gaining momentum with escalating attacks. Soon they are beginning to recapture areas in rural areas of the south.

April 5, 2014 – The election of Karzai’s successor is deeply flawed and both front-runners, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, claim victory. The US brokered a deal with Ghani as president and Abdullah as chairman of the board, ushering in an era of divided government.

December 8, 2014 – American and NATO forces officially end their combat mission and assume a support and training role. President Barack Obama authorizes US forces to conduct operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets.

2015-2018 – The Taliban continue to rise, launch attacks against Afghan and US troops almost daily, and take almost half of the country. A subsidiary of the Islamic State Group is established in the east.

September 2018 – Following his election promise to bring US troops home, President Donald Trump appoints veteran Afghan-American diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad as a negotiator with the Taliban. Talks will run until 2019, although the Taliban refuse to negotiate with the Kabul government and the attacks are escalating.

September 28, 2019 – Another sharply divided presidential election will take place. Ghani will only be declared the winner in February 2020. Abdullah rejects the results and holds his own inauguration. Months later, an agreement is reached that sets Ghani as president and Abdullah as head of the peace negotiation committee.

August 18, 2019 – Islamic State committed a suicide attack at a wedding in a primarily Hazara neighborhood of Kabul, killing more than 60 people.

February 29, 2020 – The US and Taliban sign an agreement in Doha, Qatar, which sets a schedule for the withdrawal of the approximately 13,000 US troops remaining in Afghanistan and obliges the insurgents to stop attacks on Americans .

September 12, 2020 – February 2021 – After months of delay, negotiations by the Taliban-Afghan government in Qatar open, stutter for several meetings and finally come to a standstill with no progress. Ghani rejects proposals for a unity government, while the Taliban rejects a ceasefire with the government.

March 18, 2021 – After the US tabled a draft peace plan, Moscow hosted a one-day peace conference between rival Afghan sides. Attempts to resume the conversations fail. The Taliban and government negotiators have not sat at the table since then.

April 14, 2021 – President Joe Biden says the remaining 2,500 to 3,500 US troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by September 11 to end America’s “Eternal War.”

2019-present – Violence is increasing in Kabul. IS is carrying out brutal attacks, including on a maternity hospital and school, and killing newborns, mothers and schoolgirls. There is also a growing wave of indiscriminate attacks, undetected and mysterious, with shootings, assassinations and sticky bombs on cars spreading fear among Afghans.

May 2021 – Today – Taliban gains on the ground accelerate. Several districts in the north, outside the Taliban heartland, fell victim to the insurgents, some of them without a fight. Ghani cites a public mobilization in which local volunteers are armed, a move that could exacerbate the many factions.

July 2, 2021 – The United States surrenders Bagram Airfield to Afghan military control after the last troops leave the base. The relocation of Bagram, the centerpiece of the US military presence in Afghanistan throughout the war, signals that the full withdrawal of American forces is imminent, which is expected in days, well ahead of Biden’s 9/11 schedule.

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Opinion | The rest of the world is worried about America Thu, 01 Jul 2021 09:00:15 +0000 This is evident in our institutions. A society that values ​​democracy and political participation would not shape the system we have. “For example the electoral college,” said Altman. “From my point of view, this is a Neolithic institution. It surprises every democracy scientist worldwide. ”Or the planning of American elections. “Why are you voting on […]]]>

This is evident in our institutions. A society that values ​​democracy and political participation would not shape the system we have. “For example the electoral college,” said Altman. “From my point of view, this is a Neolithic institution. It surprises every democracy scientist worldwide. ”Or the planning of American elections. “Why are you voting on Tuesday?” Altmann asked me. “You don’t give people room to choose. You need to ask your employer to have the time to go out and vote. It’s weird. “Then there is the role of money.” It looks more like a plutocratic democratic regime, “he told me.

From this perspective, the Republican Party’s continued efforts to silence certain voters and politicize the electoral administration are not deviations from a glorious past of fair and competitive competition. They are inversions of our mean. And that makes them all the more successful.

“Younger democracies tend to be weaker,” said Lindberg. “Young democracies fail much more often than older ones. If America went so bad that it could no longer count as a democracy, it would be a return to America’s historical norm: some liberal rights for some people, but not to the extent that it is a real democracy. “

It is less about the idea of ​​democracy than about who is allowed to participate and how their participation is weighted. “It’s not about how people choose their government,” said Ivan Krastev, a political scientist and chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Bulgaria. “It’s all about what kind of people the government wants to vote for – who you give citizenship to, who you vote for, who you try to exclude from voting.”

Krastev’s theory, based on both European and American history, is that democratic states often have two types of majorities. One is the historical majority of the nation-state. In Europe, these majorities are usually ethnic. In America, it is more closely related to race and religion. But then there is the more literal definition of a democratic majority: the coalition of voters who come together to win elections. In contrast to the historical majority, the electoral majority can and will change every few years.

Often these two converge. The electoral majority reflects the historical majority. But in America they are increasingly conflicting. “It used to seem like those majorities were in line, but now it’s about how much the electoral majorities can change the permanent majority,” he told me. During the Yugoslav Wars, said Krastev, there was a famous saying. “Why should I be a minority in your country when you can be a minority in mine?”

Sometimes this is shockingly clear, as Robin Vos, Republican spokesman for the Wisconsin Assembly said, “If you took Madison and Milwaukee out of the state election formula, we would have a clear majority.” For Krastev, however, Vos’ comment simply makes that Subtext of the moment to the text. “The greatest power in the political community is the power to include and exclude,” he said. “Who decides who to exclude?”

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Undeclared conflict? America’s fighting with the Iranian-backed militia is escalating again Tue, 29 Jun 2021 13:25:00 +0000 WASHINGTON, June 29 (Reuters) – The recent attacks by US President Joe Biden against Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq were neither the first nor likely the last of his young presidency. For some of Biden’s Democrats the crucial question is: does the pattern of attacks and counterattacks amount to an undeclared conflict? If so, […]]]>

WASHINGTON, June 29 (Reuters) – The recent attacks by US President Joe Biden against Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq were neither the first nor likely the last of his young presidency.

For some of Biden’s Democrats the crucial question is: does the pattern of attacks and counterattacks amount to an undeclared conflict?

If so, there is a risk that the United States, without the involvement of Congress, could find itself in a direct war with Iran, an issue that is becoming more politically tense after two decades of “perpetual wars”.

“Given the pace of attacks on US forces and the increasing frequency of our responses, it’s hard to argue,” Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat who heads a key Senate foreign affairs subcommittee, told Reuters.

“What we always fear is that the United States will slide into war with no real American public intervention.”

The two countries got close to a conflict that Democrats feared in January 2020 when the United States killed a top Iranian general and Iran retaliated with missile strikes in Iraq that caused brain injuries to more than 100 US soldiers. This was followed by a series of talks with Iran-backed militias.

In the final round on Sunday, U.S. fighter jets targeted operational and weapons caches at two locations in Syria and one in Iraq in a direct response to drone strikes by militias on U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

On Monday, US troops in Syria came under rocket fire in apparent retaliation, but remained injured. The US military responded with artillery fire from the counter battery at missile launch positions.

“A lot of people think that the term ‘Eternal War’ is only emotional, but actually it’s a decent description of the kind of strike we saw again (Sunday): no strategic goal, no end point in sight, just permanent presence and tit-for-tat strikes, “said Emma Ashford, an Atlantic Council scholar, on Twitter.


The White House has stressed that Sunday’s air strikes were designed to limit escalation and deter future militia operations against US personnel.

They were also legal, according to Biden.

“I have this Article 2 authority and even those on the hill who are reluctant to acknowledge that it is,” Biden said, referring to part of the US Constitution that establishes the powers of the president as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army Soldiers look at an F-16 fighter jet during an official ceremony to receive four such aircraft from the United States at a military base in Balad, Iraq, July 20, 2015. REUTERS / Thaier Al-Sudani / File Photo / File Photo

Brian Finucane, a former official in the State Department’s office of legal advisor, said the current administration, like others before, does not see the episodes as part of an ongoing conflict.

He called it a “salami slice” approach.

“You would call this temporary hostilities. We had a hit in February and then the war forces’ 60-day clock was essentially reset,” said Finucane, now with the International Crisis Group.

He drew a comparison to the tanker wars with Iran in the 1980s, when the Reagan administration viewed “each round of combat as a kind of closed event.”

However, experts say that view fails to take into account that the Iran-backed militia is waging an ongoing – and escalating – campaign against the US military presence in Iraq.

Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy warned that the use of drones by the militia seems increasingly dangerous as they use GPS guidance and precisely target US-led coalition intelligence agencies, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, and missile defense.

“Attacks by Iraqi militias on coalition presence points in Iraq are increasing in quantity and quality. If deterrence is not restored, US deaths are becoming more likely,” said Knights.

In addition to driving the United States out of the region, the militia’s secondary goal is to signal the United States, the Iraqi government and others that they have command of more advanced weapons like the explosive-laden drones, said Phillip Smyth, also at the Washington at Institute for Middle East Policy.

“They live off some of their covert actions,” he said.

Members of Congress are currently working to revoke some of the war permits used by presidents of both parties to justify previous attacks in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

But that wouldn’t necessarily prevent Biden or any other US president from launching defensive air strikes.

After being briefed by Biden’s national security team, Murphy said he was still concerned. US troops were in Iraq to fight the Islamic State, not an Iranian allied militia.

If Biden is suspicious of going to the War Forces Congress, then maybe he needs to heed Americans’ skepticism about intervention in the Middle East, he said.

“If Congress had a hard time approving military action against Iran-backed militias, it would be mainly because our constituents don’t want it. And that is missing from this debate,” he said.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; additional reporting by Jonathan Landay and Patricia Zengerle; Adaptation by Mary Milliken and Sonya Hepinstall

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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That’s why I will never give up Hong Kong Sat, 26 Jun 2021 20:00:00 +0000 Brian Wong is a Hong Kong Rhodes Fellow and founding editor-in-chief of the Oxford Political Review. Should i stay or go This question is preoccupying Hong Kongers, who are desperate for what they believe to be the city’s political and civil liberties, perhaps best embodied by the shutdown of the pro-democracy Apple Daily last week. […]]]>

Brian Wong is a Hong Kong Rhodes Fellow and founding editor-in-chief of the Oxford Political Review.

Should i stay or go

This question is preoccupying Hong Kongers, who are desperate for what they believe to be the city’s political and civil liberties, perhaps best embodied by the shutdown of the pro-democracy Apple Daily last week.

Beijing, on the other hand, sees it as the restoration of normalcy in a society permeated by Western interference.

Many others are fed up with the sluggish economy and frustrated that the local government cannot keep up with regional rivals like Shanghai, Singapore and Shenzhen.

Those who go in search of a better life or a better career have every right to do so. But be careful, the grass is always greener on the other side. Those who choose to leave the country face a precarious future, including a lack of job opportunities and language barriers.

That is not to say that the situation is so great in Hong Kong too.

Stripped of dignity, ascent stifled by an increasingly opaque and narrow-minded economy, it is no wonder that a large majority of the city’s low-wage earners, as well as the struggling so-called sandwich classes, harbor such resentment towards Hong Kong’s rich elite.

Hong Kong, a city of over 1 million millionaires, is shaped by inequality. In 2019, 1.4 million of its 7.5 million people lived in poverty and a staggering 90% of residents live in houses less than 70 square feet for which they have to pay some of the highest rents in the world.

From the government’s questionable handling of the COVID pandemic – as evidenced by the slow adoption of vaccines – to the lack of political acumen about how to respond to escalating misunderstandings and divergences between Beijing and Hong Kong, urgent reforms are needed to Improve transparency, accountability and responsiveness.

There remains a reformist way forward that necessarily adheres to Beijing’s guidelines on critical issues, but also tries to maximize the interests of the more than 7 million people who continue to call this city their home.

Real reform will require Hong Kongers of all political orientations and walks of life to put aside their partisan, class and ideological differences – if only for the moment – in order to revive the urge for gradual and ultimately substantial change in the city’s governance, socio-economic structure and industrial landscape. None of this has to contradict the central sensitivities and fundamental demands of Beijing.

Those pushing for change must find ways to work with progressive members of the city establishment to identify and advance reform in areas where Beijing and Hong Kong interests converge. You must also argue to the central government that it would be in Beijing and Hong Kong’s interests to preserve the city’s particular assets: its cultural pluralism, laissez-faire capitalism, low taxes, and the resounding rule of the city’s right.

The focus must definitely be on what Beijing has to gain from such a reform agenda – not on selfish rhetoric that serves Hong Kong only.

Protesters gestures in Hong Kong on March 1st: The focus must absolutely be on what Beijing has to gain from a reform agenda. © Reuters

That brings us to the question of democracy. The past 20 years have shown that the democratic movement’s pursuit of elections completely free from Beijing’s intervention is politically impossible. However, this does not mean that we should thereby give up the rights enshrined in the Hong Kong Basic Law, our quasi-constitution. Free, competitive elections consistent with Beijing and Hong Kong baselines are in everyone’s best interests. Still, we have a long way to go to get there.

The coalition of people and groups that can bring about change of this magnitude lies beyond the conventionally defined elites.

It must include grassroots and labor unions, as well as supporters of the pro-establishment, who recognize Beijing’s rightful share and interests in the city but are ready to steadfastly support the city’s socio-cultural idiosyncrasies. The Coalition for Change must also include mainland Chinese citizens who immigrated to Hong Kong to enjoy the stark differences, as well as moderate Democrats who have always tried – and should continue to do – civil and political freedoms within the boundaries of that Basic Law.

We must also readily acknowledge that international lobbying and one-sided criticism of China are actually of no benefit to Hong Kong. The more the international community tries to force Beijing, the less likely China will soften its position.

Compromises are best sought not through open wars, but rather through indoor dialogues and discussions in which Hong Kong’s interests are represented by all parties.

Myself, I want to stay and try to make things better for those who cannot afford to leave. Ultimately, however, I want to stay because Hong Kong is my home.

Much of what makes this city great has been damaged by the upheaval, but is basically still there: its unique blend of Western and Chinese values ​​and ideals, its openness to trade, investment and business, its unusually dense but beautiful Urban space and its lush mountains and landscape.

The short-term forecast may be ugly, but it’s not all doom and gloom. The rumors of the death of this city are greatly exaggerated. For those still living here, we will not give up repairing this city and repairing its relations with their own country, China. The message to Beijing and the rest of the world is: don’t write us off yet.

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751 unmarked graves in the former residential school for indigenous children in Saskatchewan. found Fri, 25 Jun 2021 13:57:21 +0000 In Canada, at least 751 unmarked graves were found in a former boarding school for First Nations children in Saskatchewan. The graves were found near the now demolished Marieval Indian Residential School. This is Cowesss First Nation chief Cadmus Delorme, speaking at a news conference Thursday. Cadmus Delorme: “We all have to put aside our […]]]>

In Canada, at least 751 unmarked graves were found in a former boarding school for First Nations children in Saskatchewan. The graves were found near the now demolished Marieval Indian Residential School. This is Cowesss First Nation chief Cadmus Delorme, speaking at a news conference Thursday.

Cadmus Delorme: “We all have to put aside our ignorance and our accidental racism not to speak of the truth that this country has with indigenous peoples. We do not ask for pity, but for understanding. … We did not remove these tombstones. Removing tombstones is a crime in this country. And we’re treating it like a crime scene at the moment. “

The graves were found just weeks after the bodies of 215 Indigenous children were discovered on the grounds of the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia. About 150,000 Indigenous children attended government-funded boarding schools founded in the 19th century and run by the Catholic Church. Many children have been torn from their families and sent to schools, which have been marked by abuse and neglect. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 said schools are committing “cultural genocide.” Now there is growing public pressure to hold the Catholic Church accountable for its atrocities and to remove memorials to Canadian leaders who participated in the First Nations genocide.

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