The Trump administration this coming week will formalize a proposal that could make it one of just four countries in the world that charge asylum-seekers for entry.
As the New York Times reported late Friday, the administration plans to publish in the Federal Register a proposal to require a $50 application fee for asylum-seekers as well as a $490 charge for work permits.
“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees,” Doug Rand of the immigrant assistance company Boundless Immigration told the Times.Continue reading →
A protest in support of the Kurds in front of the Turkish Embassy in Seattle. Photo: Amy Moreno/Twitter
Kurdish forces in northern Syria announced Sunday that the Syrian government has agreed to deploy troops to battle an ongoing Turkish offensive against the Kurds after U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed that President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of the remaining 1,000 American troops in the region.
Following a call with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last weekend, Trump withdrew about 50 U.S. troops from the Turkey-Syria border. Critics accused Trump of betraying Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who allied with the United States in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). Turkey on Wednesday launched airstrikes and ground incursions targeting Kurdish-held areas. Continue reading →
Less than a day after President Donald Trump bragged to supporters at a campaign-style rally in Minnesota Thursday that he was working hard to bring U.S. soldiers home from foreign wars, the Pentagon announced Friday that 1,800 troops and advanced weapons systems have been ordered to Saudi Arabia—a move critics decried as both hypocritical and deeply dangerous.
“This is a dangerous escalation of a crisis created by the president’s inability to conduct a coherent and sensible foreign policy and his reliance on the war hawks who profit from endless war,” advocacy group Win Without War said on Twitter. Continue reading →
An Aramco petrochemical facility, Jubail, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia raced today to restart operations at oil plants hit by drone attacks which slashed its production by half, as Iran dismissed US claims it was behind the assault. The Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, have claimed thi weekend’s strikes on two plants owned by state giant Aramco in eastern Saudi Arabia. Photo: Suresh Babunair [CC BY 3.0]
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi forcefully rejected Sunday unsubstantiated charges by by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) regarding the recent drone attacks that caused serious damage to two crucial Saudi Arabian oil installations.
“It has been around 5 years that the Saudi-led coalition has kept the flames of war alive in the region by repeatedly launching aggression against Yemen and committing different types of war crimes, and the Yemenis have also shown that they are standing up to war and aggression,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said in a statement. Continue reading →
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo . (Photo: Fox Business)
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif on Wednesday accused the Trump administration of engaging in “outright blackmail” after the Financial Times reported a State Department official offered the captain of an Iran-owned oil tanker millions of dollars to divert the ship to a nation which would detain it on behalf of the United States.
According to FT, Brian Hook, head of the State Department’s Iran Action Group, sent an email promising the captain of Iranian supertanker Grace 1 “several million dollars” to do the bidding of the Trump administration. Continue reading →
Israel over the weekend launched drone attacks against three of its neighbors, adding to tensions in the region. (Photo: U.S. Army/cc)
Iraqi parliamentary Shiite leaders in the Fatah Movement political party on Monday issued a statement calling weekend airstrikes allegedly carried out by the Israeli military in western Iraq tantamount to a “declaration of war.”
The statement placed blame for the strikes not only with the Israeli military but also with American forces. Continue reading →
Despite years of Donald J. Trump talking tough on Iran and recent escalations bringing Iran and the United States to the brink of war, there are a few tell-tale signs that the U.S. will not be bombing the country anytime soon.
The first clue comes from the recent and highly controversial leaked cables of British ambassador to the United States, Sir Kim Darroch, published by the Mail on Sunday. While the leak was damning to the unbreakable U.S.-U.K. relationship due to Darroch’s description of Trump as “inept”, “insecure” and “incompetent,” it turns out the leaks revealed something even more intriguing about Trump’s strategy regarding Iran. Continue reading →
raqi President Barham Salih speaking in an interview that aired Tuesday with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. (Screengrab/CNN)
Iraqi President Barham Salih said Tuesday that the United States has no right to use his country as a launchpad for a strike against Iran.
Salih, in his interview with CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour, also talked about the adverse impacts his own country has felt as a result of U.S. imposed sanctions, stressed the need to prevent another war, and warned that tearing up the nuclear deal entirely “could be disastrous for the entire neighborhood as a whole.” Continue reading →
John Bolton, National Security Advisor, receives a command and control update from Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), on the command’s Battle Deck during his trip to USSTRATCOM, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Feb. 14, 2019. Photo: Julie Matyascik
As the Trump administration prepares to deploy 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East in a move critics warned will heighten the possibility of all-out war with Iran, United Nations officials reportedly believe the U.S. is also planning a major “aerial bombardment” of an Iranian nuclear facility.
United Nations officials are “assessing the United States’ plans to carry out a tactical assault on Iran,” the Jerusalem Post reported Monday, citing anonymous diplomatic sources at the U.N. headquarters in New York. Continue reading →
Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military budgets are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, has secretly approved the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reutersrevealed this week. Saudi Arabia is reportedly attempting to construct at least two nuclear power plants as part of its effort to diversify its energy sector and its economy as a whole. As part of this plan it has accepted bids from Russia, South Korea and the U.S. for the lucrative contract. Perry’s approval is known as a Part 810 authorization, which allows energy companies to begin the process of planning and starting preliminary work in anticipation of the closing of a formal deal in the future.
While the Saudi proposals are presented as civilian and do not mention nuclear weaponry, U.S. approval and sale of nuclear technology has been seen by many as a prelude to the development of a Saudi nuclear weapon, which could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the region. Riyadh has long coveted atomic weaponry and has considered developing its own in its quest to maintain military dominance in the region. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit” Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, told the Guardian in 2011, noting that the kingdom may feel “compelled” to pursue the option in the future, if tensions with Iran remain high. Continue reading →