The Saudis have denied that any clashes are even occurring.
URGENT Saudia Arabia#MBS supporters deny any unrest in Khozamy neighborhood in Saudi capital but this is the latest video to corroborate reports of increasing gunfire in the Saudi capital. https://t.co/klS93eEaAp
Yesterday, the Democratic National Committee announced that they were filing a suit against any and all meanie-heads who cost them the 2016 Presidential election.
Yesterday, Senator Claire McCaskill called it a “silly distraction” and now today CNN Chief Political analyst, Gloria Borger, says the lawsuit is “100 percent stunt” to raise campaign funding, on CNN no less.
Borger also noted that the Democrats have already stuffed their coffers off the narrative that Trump colluded with the Russians to win the Presidency. Borger said they want to “get in the act”. Quite a telling slip; is it all an act?
She also says “they want to keep the story moving ” which is understandable as the actual story is that Democrats ran a candidate no one likes and didn’t even campaign in Wisconsin. One would think it would be a humiliation Democrats would like to forget happened. But apparently, it is easier and more lucrative to file a lawsuit against the people who beat them than it is to develop a better message to reach voters.
Such childishness, but alas these charades are likely to become more common as the midterm election season heats up.
Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill talks with Missouri Attorney General and likely Republican challenger Josh Hawley during the Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Mo., Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill appears set to be under the same tent as likely Republican opponent Josh Hawley (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch via her spokesman that the lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee is a “silly distraction”.
Smart move by the senator from Missouri who is up for a tough reelection race. She is also a former prosecutor and knows there is no way to spin this as a credible strategy for the Democratic Party.
Perhaps no one encapsulates the Democratic Party’s identity crisis more than Claire McCaskill. She’s a Truman-democrat who criticized Bill Clinton, but rode the progressive wave of the Obama years.
Her state, Missouri, is a deeply red with a handful of deep blue pockets, like St. Louis and Kansas City. It’s not a blended “purple” state, it is ideologically segregated for the most part. After The Ferguson Event, rural democrats and urban democrats found they had little in common and that is the core of McCaskill and her party’s problem.
This statement may not help her chances, but at least she saved some face.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND (Nick Wass/AP Images for United Way Worldwide)
Confirming Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State is proving to be much more theatrical than confirming him as CIA Director. Today he got a little closer to being confirmed and tackling the many, many geopolitical problems that America faced when North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp said she would vote to confirm Pompeo.
Full Heitkamp statement on her decision to vote YES on the Pompeo nomination. This just about pushes Pompeo across the finish line (depending on Flake), with a handful of other Dems still making up their minds: pic.twitter.com/vwWQV1t9EJ
Heitkamp is, so far, the only Democrat to confirm Pompeo as both CIA Director and Secretary of State.
Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Senator Jeanne Sheehan of Minnesota have announced that they have changed their minds on this confirmation vote. Even if Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, who abstained during Pompeo’s last confirmation, voted to block him it still would require a significant number of Republicans to flip.
That is unlikely as Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee who is easily one of President Trump’s biggest critics said he will also vote to confirm.
Barring some crazy event it appears as if the President has the numbers to get his nomination through the Senate. To be perfectly blunt, Mike Pompeo scares all the right people and his arrival could not come at a better time.
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya, left, speaks to American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley before a Security Council meeting on Iran, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
There has been intense media focus on the White House undercutting Ambassador Nikki Haley after she said on Sunday that new sanctions on Russia were imminent.
On Tuesday, Trump’s new top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that Haley was “confused” on the matter. The ambassador made it clear that she was in no way “confused” and Kudlow later rightly apologized.
What likely went down here (and Kudlow hinted at this) is that Haley was not brought in on backchannel discussions between Russia and the White House that almost certainly took place Sunday night. The White House has not commented on communicating with the Russians, but the timeline adds up.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported that a journalist in Russia had revealed the backchannel. She implies that President Trump is yet again acquiescing to Russian demands.
The Russian government was given a backdoor assurance on Sunday that no more sanctions were coming and to just ignore Nikki Haley. pic.twitter.com/bC8JeSbehg
But it’s a piece in Bloomberg that likely clears all this up and makes it far less scandalous than the paranoid MSNBC host would have you think it.
Russia’s leader wants to give President Donald Trump another chance to make good on pledges to improve ties and avoid escalation, according to four people familiar with the matter. One said the Kremlin has ordered officials to curb their anti-U.S. rhetoric.
Putin’s decision explains why lawmakers Monday suddenly pulled a draft law that would’ve imposed sweeping counter-sanctions on U.S. companies, two of the people said.
Note that line in the second paragraph. “Lawmakers Monday suddenly pulled’… Monday, during the day, it says. Which would be Sunday night in Washington D.C. So, by the looks of it, America and Russia engaged in a quid pro quo and Haley was not informed until after the fact.
This is far less intriguing than a conspiracy, and in no way satisfies the salacious interest in stupid gossip and rumors like an internal battle between Trump administration officials.
Giving something to get something is basic diplomacy. That appears to be the case here, per normal actions of government, and merely the case that there was a failure to communicate that information to Ambassador Haley prior to her comments.
As an extra note, the Bloomberg piece also says Russia does not want war and moreover that it can’t sustain one.
“Putin is ready to make numerous, deep concessions, but he has to appear like he’s not losing,” said Igor Bunin of the Center for Political Technologies, a consultancy whose clients include Kremlin staff. “He understands Russia can’t compete with the West economically and he doesn’t plan to go to war with the West.”
Will relations with Russia improve? Only time will tell. Will the product the American media is selling to its consumers improve? Don’t count on it.
Since Sunday Ambassador Nikki Haley has been taking criticism from the media and distasteful pundits over the apparent disconnect between her statements on Russian sanctions, and the White House’s official position.
“She got ahead of the curve,” said Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow on Tuesday. “She’s done a great job. She’s a very effective ambassador, but there might have been some momentary confusion about that.”
If you can’t see the tweet, Haley, always the graceful southerner, said “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”
If this nonsense blows up into a media scandal President Trump could lose his most vital foreign policy asset at a crucial time. Haley is utterly critical and superbly effective. Is it worth blowing her up to preserve one man’s pride?
If you think Ambassador Haley is easily flustered or caught off guard, just go watch the videos of her operate at the United Nations Security Council where she’s been sticking it to the Russians with poise, grace and refinement.
Haley is in possession of qualities this White House cannot afford to lose. Not least the unique in this administration ability to deliver crushing blows to Russia with little to no blowback from the Trump base.
This should not turn into an exchange of insults, and if Haley has anything to do with it, it won’t. But she rightly also won’t back off of a correct position or truthful statement.
Let’s just hope this doesn’t become some unnecessary distraction amid such serious events.
On Monday, Republican Senator from Tennessee Bob Corker and Democratic Senator from Virginia Tim Kaine launched what is framed as a bipartisan resolution to change the authorization for use of military force (AUMF). The AUMF is the legal authority given to the President by congress to conduct War, in this case against al Qaeda and their many bastard offshoots. It is vital that the President have the ability to rapidly respond as Islamist such as al Qaeda exploit the glacier pace at which American laws are made.
This is the delicate balance the United States strikes everyday and many, if not most, Americans go blissfully unaware of the process. If you aren’t in the military, a family member of someone in the military, or some giant nerd who studies foreign policy for fun or money — you likely don’t give the AUMF a second thought. After all, that’s how the American Experiment works; Americans elect people, they go to Washington D.C., and make the decisions for the people who sent them to make.
That’s a perfect system in theory, but the nature and pace of the enemy’s capabilities have adapted and that means the response to threats have to adapt as well. What Corker and Kaine have proposed does that to some extent, especially since America has plans to jump with both feet into Africa’s growing jihad problem, but this newly proposed AUMF does not address a non-nuclear Iran or Bashar al-Assad.
RedState was able to ask a foreign policy adviser close to the White House about this resolution. The adviser was less than impressed with the proposal, saying,
“The kindest thing that can be said about this is that it’s merely irrelevant but more probably it’s a deliberate distraction. As the president said on Friday, we’re mopping up ISIS and the real threat now is that Iran and its proxies like Assad will fill in the vacuum. They’re the ones we’re launching spectacular multilateral raids against. Congress looked at the president attacking Assad and leaped into action with sleuthing irrelevant.”
The joint resolution never names Assad or Iran, despite the White House, the Department of Defense, and every other American intelligence agency saying they are a direct threat to America’s national security. Since scrolling through 20-pages of a joint resolution does not sound like a fun time here are some screenshots.
This is the If Obama did it it is okay clause.
It makes every single war started by Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former President of the United States Barack Obama necessary and legal. The reason some Democrats likely wouldn’t think to put Iran in the new AUMF is they legitimately believe the Iran Deal signed by Obama is working, but Corker knows better which is why he appeared to oppose the the Iran deal. Despite throwing his hands up early in the process, Corker was once quoted by the Tennessean as follows,
“The fact that we’ve had this rogue nation with a boot on it’s neck and it has been able to negotiate with Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and us … and end up in the place that they are to me is very concerning”
This is the Assad Clause
Basically, to continue, any action against Assad and/or Iran, the President has to have permission from Congress even though the U.S. has already engaged four different state and non-state actors in Syria. This is a feckless and counterproductive move on the part of Kaine, Corker, and anyone who supports it. If the goal is to avoid war with Iran the worst possible move is to indicate that the United States will not follow through on threats.
Placing them in this new resolution sends the message to Iran that their destabilizing behavior is no longer going to be tolerated in the region or by the global community. It would be policy matching rhetoric, which is how the theory of deterrence in foreign policy works. If there is no intentions on following through on threats it is a useless waste of breath and ink.
And if those on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee think quietly pivoting to Africa will help them avoid a conflict with Iran or even Russia by simply ignoring Assad, they should think again. Perhaps even go back and read some of the CIA’s reports on Iranian adventurism on the African Continent. Not to mention listen to what Russia is saying about what they see as a completely open security market.
Being nice to Iran hasn’t worked, giving Iran billions in cash didn’t work, and ignoring Iran won’t work. Iran is a regional bully who wants to expand and there is only one way to to deal with a bully and that is to confront them directly.
How the United Kingdom and France have handled the reaction from their domestic critics in the wake of Syrian airstrikes is a tale of two narratives.
France made the first move, by immediately reporting after a phone call with American President Donald Trump, that they had convinced him to stay in Syria. The White House has downplayed the optics but the rumor is that the President was furious at the French claim.
#BREAKING Macron says France has convinced Trump to "stay in Syria long-term"
It’s hard to blame the French for wanting to get out in front of this to avoid being labeled as doing Trump’s bidding. However, if they want Trump to actually stay in Syria, appearing to bully him into it is the worst possible approach to this situation. It is only a matter of time before President Trump goes off script and tells his version of how the conversation between French and American leadership really went. Will this end French and American cooperation? No, it’s just makes it more difficult.
In contrast, the British Prime Minister Theresa May handled the pressure from her opposition masterfully. She went to the British Parliament and argued her case with some help from her own party.
These Members of Parliament spoke passionately and bravely about the plight of Syrians under Bashar al-Assad. Frankly, they put the American congress to shame. But the United States Congress will get its chance to debate the merits of the action moving forward against Assad and his benefactors Iran soon enough.
American lawmakers would be wise to follow Britain’s example and ignore France’s media showboating. Syria has been politicized enough.
Something Redstate has been covering since it broke is the story of Wagner Mercenaries who attacked United Special and Syrian Democratic Forces in eastern Syria and were soundly humiliated. Friday CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed on Friday that “a couple of hundred” mercenaries had been killed in the fire fight outside Deir Ezzor, Syria along the Euphrates River.
As if that wasn’t confirmation enough today it was reported that the journalist, Maxim Borodin, who broke be story fell out of his fifth floor Yekaterinburg apartment to his death. The joke during the Cold War use to be “it isn’t true until the Kremlin denies it” in this new phase the saying should be “it isn’t true until the journalist who broke the story is dead.”
Yekaterinburg journalist Maxim Borodin died after falling out of the window of his flat. He was among those who broke the story about Wagner contractors from Asbest who died in Syria. He was previously attacked in connection with protests against Matilda, the controversial film.
Committing to kinetic force is not something to be taken lightly. Sure, the television images are exciting and captivating but what is the strategy after the ratings come down? Reactions from lawmakers have been predictably partisan but Senator Ted Cruz of Texas had the soberest take on the situation, saying:
“In addition to any military action that we may choose to take, we must also take action against Assad’s financiers. We should withdraw from President Obama’s disastrous Iran deal that is enriching the Iran government with billions of dollars, and those ill-gotten gains are in turn being funneled to Syria to prop up the Bashar regime.”
It is impossible to ignore the fact that President Obama allowed the war in Syria to fester in order to get Iran to agree to stop developing their nuclear program. The Senator wants President Trump to make the case for why continued action in Syria “is in the national security interests of this country” like in the good ol’ days. This is a consistent point for Cruz who opposed Obama’s action in Syria in 2013 while also being one of the biggest critics of the Iran Deal and clashing with his own party is familiar territory for Cruz.
The case does not seem like a difficult one to make. Is it in America’s national security best interests to stay in a deal with people who send the message of Let us do what we want in the region or we will nuke everything starting with Israel? This doesn’t seem like a difficult decision to make.
Being concerned that things in Syria could go sideways is not colluding or aiding Russia; it’s called being a grown-up. Iran’s regional aspirations are an issue that is not going away.