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A Blatant Violation of Iraq's Sovereignty

by Oui Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 10:32:40 AM EST

Parliamentarians call emergency session "to discuss blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump"

Iraqi politicians criticise Donald Trump's visit to country | The National UAE |

President Donald Trump's surprise visit to American troops in Iraq was criticised by political and militia leaders as a violation of the country's sovereignty.

Iraqi parliamentarians also revealed that a meeting between the US president and Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had to be cancelled due to a disagreement over venue.

Sabah al Saadi, the leader of the Islah parliamentary bloc, called for an emergency session of parliament "to discuss this blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump who should know his limits: the US occupation of Iraq is over."

Continued below the fold ...

Prime minister Abdul Mahdi's office said in a statement that he had been informed about the visit. The statement said the Iraqi prime minister and US president talked by telephone due to a "disagreement over how to conduct the meeting."

Iraqi lawmakers told Reuters that the pair had disagreed over where their planned meeting should take place: Mr Trump had asked to meet at the Ain al-Asad military base, an offer which Mr Abdul Mahdi declined.


Qais Al Khazali, the leader of the powerful Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia said on Twitter, "Iraqis will respond with a parliamentary decision to oust your (US) military forces. And if they do not leave, we have the experience and the ability to remove them by other means that your forces are familiar with."

Some Iraqis, however, were less concerned with the US president's visit.

"We won't get anything from America," said Baghdad resident Mohammad Abdullah. "They've been in Iraq 16 years, and they haven't given anything to the country except destruction and devastation."

The US legacy in Iraq: violence, sectarianism - and elections | Al Jazeera - Qatar |

Of course UANI is quite active on social media with all frustrations about decision to pull out of Syria while antagonizing the Iranian people hit by US sanctions.

In recording, Netanyahu boasts Israel convinced Trump to quit Iran nuclear deal | Times of Israel |
Trump Touts Arms Sales To Saudi Crown Prince, Discusses Iran | RFERL |

Trump: We give Israel billions, it can defend itself in Syria
Israeli official confirms Syria airstrikes, says Iran was the target | Ynet News |
Russia's MFA press briefing on Syria
Putin heralds successful tests of Russia's new hypersonic missile

Iraq Elections: How Iran won a face-off with the US in Iraq

Following Iraq's "inconclusive" national election on May 12, the United States tried hard to guarantee a second term for former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Washington's special envoy Brett McGurk spent months talking Iraqi politicians into following the American blueprint aimed at isolating Tehran and "keeping anyone friendly to Iran out of power." But it was all in vain. The US failed to place its desired candidates in the important positions of prime minister, president and speaker of the parliament. Instead, Iran's Iraqi allies got their way. All three positions were filled with new faces who would not allow Iraq to turn its back to Iran.

Iran needed to make sure that Iraq's new government would not tilt towards Washington, and support the renewed US sanctions - the way Abadi did. Abadi had adopted the new set of US sanctions against Iran in August, in an attempt to countervail the electoral setback he faced in May and ensure a second term.

Exposing identity of US Navy Seals in Baghdad ...

Trump: Saudi to pay 'necessary money' to help rebuild Syria

Well, not so fast Donald, first we need to do some negotiations. We'll welcome you to our place amongst the tribes in the desert. Remember Libya?

Saudi Arabia clarifies Trump tweet: No new Saudi pledges to rebuild Syria | CNBC |

An official at the Saudi embassy in Washington told CNBC that the kingdom has not made any major new financial pledge to Syria since August. That is when the State Department announced that Saudi Arabia had committed $100 million to a fund to stabilize areas of Syria liberated from ISIS militants by a U.S.-led coalition.

"The Kingdom is a major contributor to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, flying the second highest number of sorties against ISIS in Syria, as well as, donating millions of dollars for relief efforts there," a Saudi embassy official told CNBC in an email on Tuesday.

UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia estimated the costs of Syria's reconstruction at $388 billion
Rebuilding Assad's Syria: Who should foot the bill? | DW |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 02:50:40 PM EST
Decision to expulse Syrian president al-Assad from Arab League was too hasty ...

UAE reopens embassy in Damascus after six years | The National |

The UAE announced the resumption of its diplomatic service in Damascus in a sign of thawing relations between the Syrian government and the Arab world after years of diplomatic isolation.

The Emirates closed its embassy in the early phases of the Syrian conflict but the reopening ceremony on Thursday afternoon marked significant reconciliation between Damascus and Abu Dhabi, which was previously part of the international Friends of Syria collective which supported opposition groups.

Thursday's resumption of diplomatic ties is the latest sign President Bashar Al Assad has emerged unscathed from a war in which more than 500,000 Syrians are estimated to have died.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said the Emirate's decision comes after a "careful reading of developments" and the "birth of a conviction" that the coming phase requires Arab involvement in the "Syrian dossier" to protect Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He said on Twitter that an Arab role in Syria has become "necessary" to combat the growing influence of Turkey and Iran.

"The UAE is working to activate this role through it's presence in Damascus," he said, adding that the Emirates is also hoping to contribute to political solution to the war.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said the reopening of the embassy "reaffirms the keenness of the UAE to restore relations between the two friendly countries to their normal course".

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 03:21:21 PM EST
Could somebody please explain how this is any more a violation of their sovereignty than having the US soldiers there in the first place is?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 04:01:14 PM EST
It isn't really, but it is more fuel to the fire.

The Iraqi parliament is set to discuss the removal of US forces from the Arab country, a senior Iraqi lawmaker said.

Ahmad al-Assadi, the leader of the Iraqi Construction Alliance, said the legislators will step up their demands that the Iraqi government force US troops leave the country, Arabic-language Arabi21 online newspaper reported.

Calls for the withdrawal of US troops had begun during the last legislature, but lawmakers are now seeking a "clear timetable" for a pullout, he said.

And that was in November. IIRC, the reference to last parliament was a vote last spring that stated quite clearly that the Iraqi parliament wants the US troops out. So maybe Trump will soon succeed in getting those troops out too.

by fjallstrom on Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 04:37:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Passes Away, World Leaders Condole With King Salman | Asharq al-Awsat - Dec. 22, 2018 |

Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the half-brother of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, passed away on Saturday at the age of 87.

Funeral prayers will be performed in Riyadh on Sunday following the afternoon prayers, at Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque, according to a statement announced by the Royal Court.

"Prince Talal was called by God on Saturday," his son Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal wrote on Twitter.

The family will receive condolences on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at home in Riyadh, he added.

King Salman received a number of cables of condolences from several world leaders, including: UAE's President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the representative of the President Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Not likely that US president Trump will come by to offer his condolences ...

From my diary - Hariri II - the American Puppet .

Corruption 'Crackdown' Hits Saudi Arabia Princes

Reformist Saudi Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz dies at 87 | Middle East Eye |

The 'Red Prince'

Defiantly liberal and dubbed the "Red Prince," Talal was known as a tireless advocate of reform, sometimes in defiance of the royal family, AFP said.

Prince Talal lived in exile abroad in the 1960s, Reuters said, when Saudi authorities revoked his passport after he led a group of princes demanding constitutional reforms and allied himself with then Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, an arch-foe of the Saudi monarchy.

Prince Talal returned to the kingdom after Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud become king in 1964, and after toning down his rhetoric.

He was a long-standing advocate of allowing Saudi women to drive, a right that was finally granted to female citizens this year.

Born in 1931, the prince headed the Arab Gulf Fund for Development, a UN body that promotes education and health in developing countries.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 05:22:08 PM EST
Saudi Arabia reshuffles Council of Ministers | Al Arabiya |

Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, issued a royal decree on Thursday reshaping the country's cabinet.

A royal decree was also issued to restructure the Political and Security Affairs Council, headed by the Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Ibrahim al-Assaf was appointed as Foreign Minister and Adel al-Jubeir as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz was appointed as Minister of National Guard, Turki Shabbaneh as Minister of Media, while Hamad al-Sheikh was appointed Minister of Education.


Khalid bin Qarar al-Harbi has been appointed the Director of Public Security.

Bader bin Sultan was appointed Deputy to the Governor of Mecca and Eman al-Mutairi as assistant to the minister of commerce.

Under the orders, a body will be established on behalf of the General Organization for Exhibitions and Conferences.

The Authority will have a Board of Directors appointed by a Royal Decree. Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah al-Qassabi will be appointed as Chairman of the Board.

Ambassador to Britain, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has been appointed Advisor to Saudi King Salman with the rank of a minister.

Further reading ...

Bandar Bush the Black Ops Bagman by LondonYank @ET on June 13th, 2007
Executions and UK Military Alliance with KSA
KSA: Convert to Sunni Wahhabism or Die

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 27th, 2018 at 06:10:48 PM EST

Outrage after Netflix pulls comedy show criticising Saudi Arabia | The Guardian |

Netflix defended its decision, stressing that it was in response to a "valid legal request" from the kingdom's communications and information technology commission, to which it acceded in order to "comply with local law".

"We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and only removed this episode in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request - and to comply with local law," the company told the Financial Times.

It added that the Saudi telecoms regulator cited a cyber-crime law that states that "production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers" is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine not exceeding SR3m ($800,000).

The episode can still be seen in other parts of the world - and in Saudi Arabia on YouTube - yet it is likely to raise pressing new questions about the limits of free online expression and the responsibility of western companies to uphold liberal values.

Karen Attiah, Khashoggi's editor at the Washington Post, said that it was outrageous that Netflix had caved to pressure from Saudi Arabia.

"Hasan Minhaj of Patriot Act has been a strong, honest and (funny) voice challenging Saudi Arabia + Mohammed bin Salman in the wake of #khashoggi's murder," she tweeted. "He brought awareness about Yemen. Quite outrageous that Netflix has pulled one of his episodes critical of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia prosecutor says people who post satire on social media can be jailed
EFF 2018 in Review: Bloggers and Technologists Whose Voices Are Offline

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Jan 1st, 2019 at 11:02:32 PM EST
CBS 60 min. interview Egypt's president al-Sisi

    Watch and read the good interview conducted by @ScottPelley from @ 60Minutes with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, and learn about the background of the interview arrangement and the Egyptian authorities' subsequent attempts to prevent its broadcast. It was clear that Sisi was surprised by difficult questions no one in Egypt would dare to ask.

Secretary Pompeo's Travel to Amman, Cairo, Manama, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Muscat, and Kuwait City

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Jan 7th, 2019 at 10:43:32 PM EST

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