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A Conflict Of Interests?

There is lots of back and forth from the pundits bout the forthcoming Trump government…..I admit that I am concerned about his new foreign policy team, whoever they will be…..I am concerned because of his rhetoric during the campaign….although I did hear a bit of policy that I could get behind…..

But my biggest concern at least right now is his business concerns that he is involved in…..if he does not choose the right path then I can see where there will be problems with ethics……

Donald Trump has a web of international business interests with few rivals in American history, let alone presidential history, warn ethics experts getting ready to take on a Trump presidency. According to a Washington Post analysis, at least 111 Trump companies have business interests in 18 countries and territories, including China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, creating potential conflicts of interest all over the world. “There are so many diplomatic, political, even national security risks in having the president own a whole bunch of properties all over the world,” warns Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer of the George W. Bush administration. A roundup of coverage:

  • The Guardian reports that a coalition of watchdog groups has asked Trump to put his business holdings in a “genuine blind trust,” meaning that an independent trustee would sell all his assets and put the proceeds in investments that would not be disclosed to Trump. The Trump Organization has said control of Trump’s assets will be handed to his children, not an independent outsider.
  • The New York Times reports that the developers behind the Trump Towers Pune project in India flew to New York and met briefly with Trump last week. The developers say that contrary to reports in Indian newspapers, they did not discuss business with the president-elect. Ethics lawyers, however, say that the meeting created the impression that Trump and his partners are trying to profit from his position in a way that “is unprecedented in modern history.”
  • The Los Angeles Times reports that in a Fox News Sundayappearance, Mike Pence said lawyers are working on creating the “proper separation” between Trump and his business interests. “I’m very confident working with the best legal minds in the country that the president-elect and his family will create the proper separation from his business going forward,” he said.
  • The AP looks at the roles of Trump’s three eldest children—Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric—and notes that when they enter Trump Tower every day, it’s never clear whether they’re going to business offices, campaign offices, or their father’s penthouse residence. Ivanka Trump caused controversy last week when her company promoted a $10,800 bracelet she wore during a 60 Minutesinterview.

I realize that Trump is a business man….but he is far above that now….he is president of the USA….his main concern must be for the health of the country not his personal holdings…..

This has all the making of a “scandal” waiting to happen.

With more than 100 companies with business interests around the world, Donald Trump has attracted the attention of ethics experts, who contend his possible conflicts of interest are “unprecedented” for a modern-day US president. Now the New York Times offers a closer look at some of these global projects and plans in at least 20 countries, with the paper noting those endeavors are concentrated on developing nations and which are hard to completely untangle due to the president-elect’s refusal to release his taxes or a roster of lenders. “It is uncharted territory, really in the history of the republic, as we have never had a president with such an empire both in the United States and overseas,” says Michael J. Green, a DOD alum who also served on the National Security Council under George W. Bush.

Trump himself bragged to the Times earlier this week that “I’ve built a very great company and it’s a big company and it’s all over the world,” though he then added: “I don’t care about my company. It doesn’t matter. My kids run it.” His spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, released a statement noting that “vetting of various structures and immediate transfer of the business remains a top priority for both President-elect Trump, his adult children, and his executives.” Nations under the Timesmicroscope:

  • The Philippines, where Trump is the partner on a $150 million tower in Manila’s financial district with a developer who was appointed a special envoy to the United States in October by President Rodrigo Duterte.
  • Brazil, where a Trump-branded luxury hotel is embroiled in a probe rife with allegations of bribes and illegal commissions.
  • Ireland and Scotland, where environmentalists are prepping to fight against a Trump Organization-driven flood-prevention barrier that could bring down an endangered snail’s habitat.
  • India, where the lion’s share of Trump’s non-North America projects lie, where it’s “routine” for bribes to be part of the approval process, where most major developers have “some sort of alignment, direct or indirect,” with regional politicians, and where some politicians are tied to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
  • And Turkey, where Trump confessed last year (in a radio interview with his soon-to-be chief strategist Steve Bannon) that he may have a “little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul.”

The Times goes deep around the world here.

I am not a big fan of the NYTimes….but all reports are saying the same thing…..this is a problem waiting to happen.

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Croat Among New Europe 100 Changemakers

Croat Among New Europe 100 Changemakers// Croatia, the War, and the Future

Mate Rimac at Geneva car show March 2016 Photo: Gregor Prebil

Mate Rimac at

Geneva car show March 2016

Photo: Gregor Prebil

Res Publica, Google, Visegrad Fund and the Financial Times have named 15 November 2016 Croatia’s Mate Rimac, the founder and chief executive of Rimac Automobili, a Croatian car manufacturer that develops and produces high-performance electric cars, as one of Central and Eastern Europe’s top 100 changemakers.

The event held at BIP Brussels brought together the New Europe 100 challengers and the EU policymakers to celebrate success and debate the digital and innovation agenda across Europe. The individuals and organisations involved, business innovators, political challengers, social entrepreneurs, and cultural animators leverage technology to transform the region and create impact at a pan-European or even global scale. Their stories offer important lessons on technology-driven innovation, entrepreneurship, and broader socio – economic transformation in Europe, which currently (as many other parts of the world do) urgently needs to reboot its economic and innovation performance.

The list of New Europe 100 was created as part of a campaign, which aims at promoting innovation in Central and Eastern Europe by distinguishing those who are the engine of positive changes. Candidates for the New Europe 100 list could have been people and teams that use new technologies in their industries, and their activities have a positive impact on the economy, science, culture and the local communities. 2016 produced a list of outstanding challengers, leading world-class innovation from Central and Eastern Europe, this list celebrates their achievements, tells their stories and establishes a community of people whose work may change the world.

Autonomous driving software for self-driving cars, telemedicine company supporting women during pregnancy, animated sign language messenger, self-driving car software, ‘iKnife’ scalpel that can tell surgeons if tissue is cancerous – these are only some of the 2016 finalists of the third edition of the New Europe (NE) 100 list.

NE100 challengers create apps, run social initiatives, invent projects of usefulness in many life’s and living domains and technologies useful for people in Europe and around the world in business, in society and politics, in science and in media and culture. They share creative approach both to their projects, and the region in which they work – Central and Eastern Europe.

“We want to tell a story of inspiring, creative and socially engaged innovators from Central and Eastern Europe. Our region can be proud of developers, business owners, scientists and cultural managers, who are now the driving force behind the innovation for the future” – says Wojciech Przybylski, president of the Res Publica foundation, initiator of the project.

The final one hundred was chosen from nominations submitted by Nominating Partners and general public. This year, the largest group of finalists represent individuals and teams working in business (54%), for society and in politics (29%). Other categories include science (10%), media and culture (7%).

“It is great to see there are more and more cases of successful and innovative businesses that were born in Central and Eastern Europe. It shows how immense potential exists in our region and how new technologies and digital economy became not just a challenge, but rather a great opportunity for outstanding scientists, ambitious entrepreneurs and creative activists to transform their plans and ideas into reality” – said Marta Poślad, Head of Public Policy & Government Relations CEE Google.

“The idea behind New Europe 100 was to show the potential and creativity of people from Central and Eastern Europe. It is also a networking platform, which helps challengers to meet and exchange. We believe this is the best way of supporting the advancement of fresh, innovative ideas, the progress of which benefits all of us in the region” – added Beata Jaczewska, Executive Director of the International Visegrad Fund.

New Europe 100 aims to continue supporting innovation in Central and Eastern Europe by identifying leaders of positive change. This year is the third edition of the project, organised by Res Publica, Google, the International Visegrad Fund and the Financial Times, in collaboration with many other institutions from Central and Eastern Europe. It’s about attracting central and eastern Europe’s brightest and best people as well as plus the organisations who are changing the region’s societies, politics or business environments and displaying innovation, entrepreneurialism and fresh approaches to prevailing problems.

The aim is to raise the profile of world-leading changemakers in emerging Europe and to build connections among those in the vanguard, says Financial Times.

Countries in Central and Eastern Europe are home to some of the world’s oldest universities, best inventions and it’s no surprise that efforts such as NE 100 are a potent focus on the value of nurturing progress and connectedness into the future. The American visionary inventor and entrepreneur, Thomas Edison, Eastern European born Nikola Tesla’s contemporary, once said “to have a great idea, have a lot of them”. The constant and abundant flow of ideas is a prerequisite for the emergence of technologies that can make a positive difference to society. As bastions of knowledge and learning, universities and research institutes are awash with curious minds that seek to develop creative solutions to present-day challenges. As hubs of creativity, universities and research organizations represent countless opportunities to forge intellectual potential into creative solutions. Hence Start-up companies and projects are a whole relatively new breed of economic promises that may hold solutions to quite a few problems today’s societies face, which include gainful employment in areas we hardly are able to dream of without our young innovators. Countries in Central and Eastern Europe have a strong academic tradition, are home to some of the world’s oldest universities dating back to 14th century. Countries in the region have a deep pool of talented and well-educated inventors and creators and a strong capacity for producing and expanding knowledge.

“Nearby Hostel” a Croatian budding idea for a new startup mobile or pop-up hostel, what a great idea Photo:

“Nearby Hostel” a Croatian

budding idea for a new startup

mobile or pop-up hostel, what a great idea


While, in general, Central and Eastern European countries have significantly boosted their innovative capacities, many within the business community are acutely aware that further progress is needed to ensure the region realises and benefits from its full innovative potential. Croatia, in particular has so much great talent and innovation drive in its people who, regretfully, due to either the lack of local support or the lack of investments in innovative ideas more often than not find themselves searching the world for a place outside of Croatia that will embrace and support their innovations. Start-up venture capital has been rather slow coming to Croatia, however, the World Bank did in 2015 announce some interesting movements in this area of development. The development objective of the World Bank Innovation and Entrepreneurship Venture Capital Project for Croatia is to strengthen risk capital financing for innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups in Croatia. The project comprises of three components. The first component, pilot venture capital fund will consist of both public and private financing, in a ratio consistent with European Union (EU) state aid regulation. It will be established with the purpose of providing financing, in the form of equity or quasi equity instruments, to innovative SMEs (including startups) with the locus of activity in Croatia. The second component, seed co-investment fund will strengthen the early stage investing industry in Croatia by providing smaller amounts of risk capital financing alongside investors in the market such as angel investors and incubators. The third component, technical assistance consists of following four sub-components: (i) global advisory network; (ii) capacity building and networking; (iii) monitoring and evaluation; and (iv) project management and audit.

A push for faster burning of red tape in Croatia to facilitate and aid faster small to medium business growth is still on the agenda and has been for decades. But, with each new government we get promised it’ll all go away and business will thrive, investments will pour in, startups will rise like mushrooms after rain. I personally would like to see more entries from Croatia in the New Europe 100 competitions and in others like it but for that to occur the new Croatian government will need to take a hard look into the incentives and supports it provides for young innovators on a daily basis.

The new government in Croatia keeps saying it wants to stop the “brain-drain” from Croatia; it wants to stop or slow down emigration of young people in particular. It would do well to see that closer and more effective collaboration between academia and business can help stem the outflow of skilled labour from the country. The current “brain drain” experienced is making it increasingly difficult for universities and businesses to retain the high-calibre individuals they require to enhance their capacities to generate high-value technologies. The link between technological development and economic growth is now firmly established throughout the world and Croatia needs to do much more in retaining its talent. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.,Ps. (Syd)

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Trump And The Puzzle Of The Middle East

Since I am a foreign policy nerd I will be posting for the next couple of days on what a Pres. Trump will be facing…

Let me begin with the Middle East……

The region is awash with conflict and new prez will have to face the music and decide which is the best course for the US…….

I have found a couple of op-eds from the region that take on a Pres. Trump…….

The one statement made by then nominee Trump was that he would push to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv…..that one short sighted statement could make the Middle East a lot more confusing than it is today……

Israeli government ministers and political figures are pushing the US president-elect, Donald Trump, to quickly fulfill his campaign promise to overturn decades of US foreign policy and recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

Their calls came as one of Trump advisers on Israel and the Middle East, David Friedman, told the Jerusalem Post that Trump would follow through on his promise.

(the guardian)

This one issue will illustrate to me if he has the nuts to be the president……..

First is a letter to the American people from a Middle Easterner…….

Dear American people, congrats on the new president! There are 59 Million of you who are celebrating this. Let me tell you how things look like from the other part of the world, the Middle East.

Some people here are happy as you are, but for a different reason. They see Trump as representing the true face of America: white supremacy. He does not try to beautify racism, elitism, xenophobia behind rhetorics, he says it as it is. They think for what America has done in the world, this is what suits it best. Others are wary of his deeds as a president, internally and towards the outside. However, both camps agree on one thing: he is a very bad choice. And he is no different from the leaders we are fighting to overthrow here.

Source: A Middle Eastern take on Trump’s election | openDemocracy

Next is an op-ed on the election results……

The election of Trump today may not necessarily be the unmitigated disaster it is currently being portrayed as – at least not necessarily for the Middle East.

There may even be a sigh of relief in many quarters in the Middle East precisely because Trump’s more isolationist discourse, if it were to be put into practice, would mark a sharp departure from Clinton’s hawkish, interventionist record.

Though by no means a dovehimself, Trump has publicly expressed concern over the US expanding its security umbrella across the world to secure allies that Clinton would have been more willing to protect with US blood and treasure – even if that means propping up unsavoury dictatorships at the expense of the people they rule.

Source: The devil you don’t know: Trump is not all bad news for the Middle East | Middle East Eye

My last op-ed is one about the US and other international powers and the Middle East…….it is pretty good advice….the US has been using the Middle East as its playground and experimental canvas… may not agree with their points but they are looking at it from their point of view not some pundits that has never set foot in the region…….

It is important that you read these…..America has troops fighting and dying in the region we all should be concerned on what Trump’s policies will be…..

From my point of view there are a couple of positive whispers on Trump and the Middle East……

While the 2016 presidential campaign didn’t focus all that heavily on foreign policy, President-elect Donald Trump made it pretty clear during the debates he wasn’t enamored of the US strategy in Syria, and within days of the vote was already very public in his intention to end a significant aspect of US involvement.

Trump revealed in an interview on Friday that he fully expects to end the US aid to “moderate” rebels in Syria, saying that the US “have no idea who these people are,” and insisting that the focus of the war should be on ISIS, not on starting a fight with Syria and Russia.

While the exact details aren’t clear, this would be a massive shift in US foreign policy toward Syria, as while publicly the US has sometimes suggested their focus is wholly on ISIS, privately officials have conceded for years that the US goal in Syria has been a stalemate, with the hope of the country becoming such a wreck that they can impose terms to resolve the situation.


And then there is the Palestinian question……for decades the US has pussy footed around a real solution to the problem of a 2 state solution……we have turned a blind eye at the suffering and the abuses by Israel on the Palestinian people…..but will Trump approach it any differently?

Despite top figures in Israel’s far-right government seeing his election as the end of the peace process, President-elect Donald Trump is talking about his serious interest in the challenge of trying to reach “the deal that can’t be made.”

During the campaign, Trump had presented his experience as a deal-maker as a major boost for making a push at peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, fueling considerable disquiet during the Republican primary for promising to approach the talks as a neutral broker.

There has been considerable split both in the expectations from outside of the Trump campaign on what he will bring to the peace process, and also within, as Trump’s campaign aides within Israel certainly didn’t do anything to harm the far-right’s impression that he’d roll over and let them do whatever they want.

Was his statement about the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem just another campaign device? Could there be a solution hidden in the Trump agenda?

Then there is the M-IC under a Trump administration……

President Donald Trump will confront a major contradiction: on the one side, he has made noises about tearing up the US-Iran deal, and on the other side, he wants better relations with Russia. Can he have both?

Incoherence has been at the heart of a great many of the policies articulated by Trump. He has moved away from his postures easily – after his election he has ducked the question of repeal of President Obama’s health insurance reform and of the Muslim ban. He demoted the wall on the US-Mexico border to a fence. His surrogate – Walid Phares – told BBC that Trump would not tear up the deal with Iran. ‘Ripping up is maybe too strong a word,’ Phares said. ‘He’s will take that agreement, review it, send it to Congress, demand from the Iranians to restore a few issues or change a few issues, and there will be a discussion.’ Even this is unlikely. Most rationally Trump would have to bury his denunciation of the Iran deal.

Source: Donald Trump’s Middle East Policy Is a Disaster | Alternet

Granted Trump is not an open book at this point…..but will he be any different after 20 January 2017?

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Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy: What Will He Really Do?

I have neglected my posts on foreign policy because of the election and all the situations swirling around DC these days……but things are starting to slow down and I can once again return to international situations……

I am on record as saying that are some aspects to Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric that I could agree with……the thing is NO one knows what it will be like in his cabinet right now……

It all depends on who is chosen for the new administration.

Donald Trump’s upset election win has set the media both here and abroad all aflutter about the probable direction of his foreign policy. Panicked internationalists already are proclaiming that the surprise outcome of America’s presidential election represents a great triumph for Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who is supposedly a great friend, if not the puppet master of Donald Trump. Since Trump has expressed both a desire for friendly relations with Russia and has made extremely critical comments about America’s NATO allies, Moscow, they contend, is the big beneficiary of the Trump electoral win.

Likewise, some internationalists speculate that the unexpected Trump presidency will also strengthen China’s hand. Again, the reasoning is that President Trump will undercut U.S. relations with Japan, South Korea and other traditional U.S. allies in East Asia. Beijing, the argument goes, would benefit greatly from such developments. More sophisticated analyses point out that Trump’s trade protectionist views could lead to tensions with China and might even undermine China’s growing power. But Beijing is still generally seen as better off than it would have been under a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Source: Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy: What Will He Really Do? | The National Interest Blog

I will be watching the appointments….those will be very telling on the international direction that the new prez has in mind…..

Here are the front runners for the top diplomat post…….

Scary…the only sane one of the bunch is Corker.…..Giuliani should not be in consideration in the first place…..why?

He has taken money from too many foreign entities……Venezuela, Qatar and Iranian entities….this is tantamount to the Clinton Foundation revolving door….you Righties remember what a deal that was when you listened to your candidate, right?

America’s mayor looks likely to be America’s top diplomat, Donald Trump aides tell the New York Times, with Rudy Giuliani sitting pretty as the president-elect’s top choice for secretary of state. The former NYC mayor would be what the Times calls a “startling choice” due to his lack of actual diplomatic experience. But that’s not all that might give the Senate pause before confirming him. According to Politico, Giuliani took money—said to be in the millions of dollars—as a consultant for multiple foreign governments. His benefactors included a state-run oil company in Qatar, a Singapore gambling project with ties to North Korea and organized crime, a Venezuelan state oil company controlled at the time by Hugo Chavez, and the oil ministry in Saudi Arabia.

Giuliani gave multiple paid speeches in 2011 and 2012 for an Iranian group called MEK, the Washington Post reports. It’s an exiled group of Iranian Marxists that “resembles a cult” and at the time was considered a terrorist organization. It’s that last part that could make Giuliani taking money from them illegal. And if Giuliani believes the MEK is Iran’s legitimate government, as the group claims, it could completely upend Iranian-US relations if he becomes secretary of state. While Giuliani is seen as the most likely candidate for secretary of state, he’s also been floated as attorney general, a position he says he won’t take, according to Fox News. Hillary Clinton was heavily criticized because the Clinton Foundation received donations from foreign governments while she was secretary of state; but Politico notes that Giuliani has actually profited from them directly.


Even the US Senate is having a problem with Trump’s foreign policy picks……

Next year, Donald Trump will have Republican congressional majorities at his back, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Senate will back all of his priorities.

And already, as the transition enters its second week, foreign policy is emerging as a potential trouble spot for Trump. It started with Dave Weigel’s report Tuesday that Sen. Rand Paul would be inclined to oppose John Bolton or Rudy Giuliani as secretary of state, arguing gingerly that he is merely defending the very positions Trump ran on:

Source: Senate Republicans are showing some signs of resistance to Trump’s foreign policy – Vox

All this has me thinking of a quote from H.L. Mencken.…”On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

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ISIS: Will The Song Remain The Same?

The election was all consuming for some and it kept the subject of ISIS off the front pages except when one candidate mentioned it in passing….but now that the election is in the history books maybe it is time to once again think about the terrorist group…..

The push to Mosul has begun and the battle for the caliphate capital Raqaa is about to commence….but there are several questions that everyone has been ignoring for about a year……

The battle against ISIS may not need a fresh influx of American troops…..

As Islamic State loses ground in Iraq and Syria, earlier demands from Official Washington’s neocons for a major reintroduction of U.S. troops appear to be just the latest misjudgment of these war hawks,

The so-called Islamic State or ISIS is on the decline, and its “caliphate” on the ground in Iraq and Syria is shrinking to extinction. In Syria, the group has lost about a quarter of the territory it used to control, including its access to the Turkish border, and recapture of its de facto capital in Raqqa is coming into sight. In Iraq, ISIS has lost half the territory it once had, and a coalition of forces is knocking on the door of the group’s biggest prize, the city of Mosul.

We should reflect on the arguments we were hearing not very long ago that more force than the Obama administration was using would be needed to defeat the ISIS menace. ISIS was the main focus of the “do more in Syria” cries before the cries shifted more to the Syrian regime and its warfighting methods

Source: How Neocons Got ISIS Wrong, Too – Consortiumnews

They may have missed the boat on their analysis but is the battles for Mosul and Raqqa the last stand for ISIS? (Below article is from a Libertarian-esque site so their analysis may be a bit skewed)……

As a former soldier and war correspondent who has covered 14 conflicts, I look at all the media hoopla over tightening siege of Mosul, Iraq and shake my head. This western-organized “liberation” of Mosul is one of the bigger pieces of political-military theater that I’ve seen.

Islamic State(IS), the defender of Mosul, is a paper tiger, blown out of all proportion by western media. IS is, as this writer has been saying for years, an armed mob made up of 20-something malcontents, religious fanatics, and modern-day anarchists. At its top is a cadre of former Iraqi Army officers with military experience.

Source: Last Stand for ISIS? – The Unz Review

I have written in the past about the possibility of an ISIS defeat and what it would mean to the whole terrorism thing…..

Source: Generation Jihad | Ace News Room

Source: The “Lone Wolf” Scenario – In Saner Thought

If the battle is successful against ISIS then there is the possibilities of more “lone wolf” attacks….the coordination may be lacking but the terrorist are not…..we need to be extra vigilant. Because……..

During his speech at the third Middle East Forum held in Erbil Oct. 26, Iraqi parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri warned of future threats from the Islamic State (IS), saying that the terrorist organization “will not follow the same tactic once defeated in Mosul and will seek to reinvent itself to produce a new generation of terrorists with the ability to cope with the post-defeat phase and meet the resulting challenges.”

The results of an investigation, published Oct. 19, showed that over the past two years of controlling Ninevah province and other Sunni areas in Iraq, IS has managed to indoctrinate and militarily train 4,000 children to carry out suicide attacks and other terrorist tasks in the future. Europol warned July 30 that these child recruits will be the new generation of jihadis.

Source: New generation of jihadis poised to replace IS in Iraq

Keep in mind that the defeat of ISIS does not mean the defeat of terrorism…..

The US has a new president.….and what could that mean in the fight against ISIS?

President-elect Donald Trump has said he will give his generals 30 days after he takes office to come up with a plan to soundly defeat the Islamic State.

What will it look like?

There’s not a lot to go on, since he has been short on specifics. Trump has said he would ramp up the war against the radical militant group, but avoid getting the United States into a Middle East quagmire. He has not advocated using large numbers of U.S. ground troops to do the fighting.

Source: What Trump’s war against ISIL might look like

There are so many unanswered questions and the world will be looking to the US for leadership….will they find it?

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Editors Notes:

I would remind you that this blog is produced free for the public good and you are welcome to republish or re-use this article or any other material freely anywhere without requesting further permission.

News & Views welcome always published as long as NO bad language or is not related to subject matter.

To keep online information secure, experts recommend keeping your social media accounts private, changing your passwords often, and never answering unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for your personal information. Need help and guidance visit and leave a comment or send a private message on Telegram @Aceone31

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Yemen: Back To The Future?

This American election has pushed Yemen from the headlines….for over a year now the Saudis have been bombing the crap out of Yemen...mostly under the pretense that the Shia Houthis were a threat to the sacred sites of Islam….not so sure.…I think it is that the monarchs were afraid of their hold on the wealth and power….

The conflict has destroyed much of Yemen…killed many civilians and left survivors hungry and without hope for the world has sort of pretended that it is a just cause for the Saudis….

There have been a couple of attempts to end the conflict but most peace tries have been in vain….but now the UN has a deal on the table….

The UN offered a glimmer of hope for a peace process 19 months in Yemen’s war last week, offering a peace deal which would see the installation of an interim government made of mostly technocrats, and in which former President Hadi would be a figurehead.

The Shi’ite Houthis, who had previously ruled out any deal in which Hadi was returned to power, expressed support for the UN plan as a “basis for discussion.” The deal would force Hadi’s main deputy to resign, and give Hadi little to no real power.

Hadi’s rejection, assuming it is upheld by his Saudi backers,means a continuation of the war, and greatly increases the likelihood that Yemen as a unified nation is over. The nation is already in a state of de facto split, and roughly on the same borders as before the 1990 unification.

This may ultimately make more sense for Yemen at any rate, resolving long-standing secessionist ambitions in the south, and leaving Hadi with control of South Yemen, where he is from, and where his limited political support is centered.


Split the country into North Yemen and South Yemen? Where have I heard this before?

North Yemen became independent of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The British, who had set up a protectorate area around the southern port of Aden in the 19th century, withdrew in 1967 from what became South Yemen. Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation. The massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the south to the north contributed to two decades of hostility between the states. The two countries were formally unified as the Republic of Yemen in 1990. A southern secessionist movement in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to a delimitation of their border.
(Source: CIA – The World Factbook)

Although there are no cultural, ethnic and linguistic elements that could divide the North and the South of Yemen, the process of unification did not happen without conflict. In 1972 and in 1979, simmering tensions between the two Republics of Yemen led to fighting and attempts towards unification after these conflicts did not succeed. However, a draft constitution for a united State was written in 1981. In 1988, an agreement was concluded to demilitarize the borderline and exploit in common the oil wells discovered in 1984. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the main sponsor of South Yemen, and the cessation of Saudi aid to North Yemen, were determining factors in the movement towards the unification.

On 22 May 1990, the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) merged to form a sovereign State, the Republic of Yemen. Sanaa, the former capital of the YAR, became the political capital while Aden with its free trade zone became the economical capital.

Unification implied a complete fusion of the institutions of both States, thereby obliterating the federal or co-federal options envisaged previously. Within 30 months elections had to take place in order to give legitimacy to the new government.

(As a reminder…this is what Yemen looked like before 1990)…….

(the battle lines are breaking down along the very same borders)

All this was well and good but what benefit did it actually have? Not mush and actually it has been called “the marriage that could not be“……(and now for that dreaded historical perspective)……

In January of this year (2015), a group of Shi’a rebels in Yemen referred to in the West as the “Houthis” marched into the Yemeni capital Sana’a, forcing the current president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to the southern city of Aden and eventually leave the country altogether. These rebels were supposedly fighting to convince President Hadi and his administration to reconsider a constitution that would divide the country into six federal regions. The Houthis also accused the Yemeni government of willingly harboring al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) in the southern part of the country. Because of this, they see their conquest of Yemen as something justified to ensure the safety of Yemenis and security of the region.

Iran, the only majority Shi’a Muslim country in the world, has been named a likely supporter of the rebels for religious reasons. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, a Sunni majority country and spiritual home of Islam, has been sponsoring airstrikes against the Houthis to prevent their advancement and protect Sunni Yemenis. Because these two major Muslim powers are supporting opposite sides in the conflict, the crisis in Yemen has been portrayed as a “proxy war” between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’a Iran. While it cannot be denied that both countries are at odds with one another and want to protect their interests in the region, the history and demographics of Yemen may say more about the conflict than any theories about foreign intervention.

Source: North and South Yemen: The Marriage That Wasn’t Meant To Be? |

Will Yemen breakdown into North and South again? If so then the last 20+ years have been for naught….could this be yet another problem that would have been better served by leaving it alone?

The failure of the latest cease-fire in Yemen suggests a long process of attrition is ahead. Neither side appears interested in a political settlement. The de facto partition of the country is increasingly likely.

The 72-hour truce barely ended before Saudi and coalition airstrikes resumed on targets in the rebel-controlled cities in northern Yemen.

The United Nations had said the truce was mostly holding, but the coalition charged that the Zaydi Houthis and loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh had violated it repeatedly. Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and UAE Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed met during the cease-fire and apparently agreed to resume the war.

Saudi-backed Prime Minister Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has rejected a United Nations road map for starting a political process. Hadi and the coalition remain committed to the 2015 UN Security Council resolution that demands Hadi’s return to power in Sanaa and the rebels’ disarmament. As long as that resolution remains the basis for negotiations, the war will go on.

Source: Is Yemen headed for partition?

There seems be yet another “peace” deal in the works……if successful will Yemen become a two nation nation yet again?

The UN peace plan for Yemen, which involves the creation of an interim unity government, appeared dead on arrival when it was endorsed by the Shi’ite Houthis as a promising start, but immediately condemned by the Saudi-backed Hadi government. New reports, however, suggest the Saudis may be breathing new life into the matter.
The plan would allow Hadi to hold a nominal leadership position, but insists it would be entirely a figurehead position with little to no real power. Hadi became Yemen’s president in 2012 in a one candidate vote, and unilaterally extended his two-year term in office beyond that date.

If so then the last 25 years has been for nothing except thinning the population.

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Editors Notes:

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News & Views welcome always published as long as NO bad language or is not related to subject matter.

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Mosul And Beyond

The election has the spotlight but the Iraqi army and its cronies have began the attack on the ISIS stronghold in Mosul…….and so far it is going as well as ca be expected….

Iraq’s special forces fought their way into the outskirts of Mosul on Tuesday, taking its state television building despite resistance by Islamic State group fighters that is only likely to stiffen when combat reaches the inner city, the APreports. It was the first time Iraqi troops have set foot in the city, Iraq’s second-largest, in more than two years. The advance was the start of what is likely to be a grueling and slow operation for the forces as they fend off booby traps and ambushes in difficult, house-to-house fighting expected to take weeks, if not months. Mosul is the last major IS stronghold in Iraq, the city from which it drove out a larger but demoralized Iraqi army in 2014 and declared a “caliphate” that stretched into Syria. Its loss would be a major defeat for the jihadis.

Tuesday’s battle opened with Iraqi artillery, tank, and machine gun fire on IS positions on the edge of Gogjali, with the extremists responding with guided anti-tank missiles and small arms in an attempt to block the advance. Airstrikes by the US-led coalition supporting the operation added to the fire hitting the district. Inside the village of Bazwaya, 3 miles east of Mosul, white flags hung from buildings, put up a day earlier by residents eager to show they would not resist the Iraqi forces’ advance. Some residents stood outside their homes, and children raised their hands with V-for-victory signs.

All seems well and there is even the optimism that after Mosul then on to Raqaa in Syria the capital of the caliphate……and let us hypothesize that Raqaa goes as well as Mosul and the barbaric ISIS meets with doom…..but who will be the spear point in Raqaa?

US military officials say an operation to isolate the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa should get underway within weeks, warning that intelligence shows planning is taking place there for external terror attacks. The officials said the only capable local force to work with in such an operation in the near term is the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). But the officials acknowledged that intense consultations with Turkey in recent days, including a phone call between US President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Oct. 26, had not resolved the matter of Turkey’s intense opposition to using Kurds in any operation to take the IS stronghold in Syria.

Source: Who will liberate Raqqa?

Obama is making U.S. special operators and locals do most of the fighting. When ISIS falls, Iraq and Syria need better leaders to keep this from happening again. So, what’s the plan?

Who will get to Raqqa first? What happens after Mosul falls? And what comes next for Syria and Iraq?

President Barack Obama is on the verge of seeing the central tenet of his Middle East strategy hit on-the-ground reality. After the U.S.special operations war against ISISends – the war thousands of American troops today are leading thousands more Iraqi, Syrian, and Kurdish locals to fight — who does the president think should hold, build, and govern those key cities that U.S. forces soon are expected to help liberate? And who actually will?

Source: What Comes Next After Raqqa and Mosul? – Defense One

(Keep in mind that the above is a pro-war site with very optimistic observations)….

Will this be the end of ISIS?

Most military analysts believe it’s only a matter of time before Mosul falls.

Mosul is Iraq’s third largest city. The Islamic State captured it in June 2014 during a campaign that left it in control of territory the size of the United Kingdom. But on Oct. 16, 2016, a coalition of the Iraqi army, military forces from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region and paramilitary units, began an attackto recapture the city.

Source: Is the Islamic State finished? Five possible scenarios | Informed Comment

With the downfall of ISIS, will this be the end?

Even as coalition forces mass on the suburbs of Mosul and prepare their assault on the last major ISIS stronghold in Iraq, strategic planners are far from declaring victory. After all, only two years ago the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or ISIL, captured the Middle East and the world by storm when they launched their bold and brutal offensive across broad swathes of Iraq and Syria. Major cities from Ramadi to Aleppo were toppled like dominoes, and for a time even Baghdad appeared vulnerable. Today, as ISIS begrudgingly withdraws from occupied territories, they are re-inventing themselves as a transnational threat, as evidenced by horrific ISIS-affiliated or inspired terror attacks in Brussels, Paris, Jakarta, San Bernardino, and Manhattan. US ground commander Lieutenant General Sean McFarland’s grave warning is already proving prophetic: “Military success in Iraq and Syria will not necessarily mean the end of [ISIS]. We can expect the enemy to adapt, to morph into a true insurgent force and terrorist organization capable of horrific attacks.”

Source: ISIS: An Adaptive Hybrid Threat in Transition | RealClearDefense

There is more to come than people realize…..but will the world be ready?

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Chuqs News

Editors Notes:

I would remind you that this blog is produced free for the public good and you are welcome to republish or re-use this article or any other material freely anywhere without requesting further permission.

News & Views welcome always published as long as NO bad language or is not related to subject matter.

To keep online information secure, experts recommend keeping your social media accounts private, changing your passwords often, and never answering unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for your personal information. Need help and guidance visit and leave a comment or send a private message on Telegram @Aceone31

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Rise of the American Mercenary

I have been very verbal on what I think of private “security contractors” or what they really are…mercenaries……

But first….a mercenary?

The word “mercenary” comes from the Latin “merces,” which means “wages” or “fee.” Thus, taken literally, a mercenary is any person who serves merely for wages. Although this definition could apply to many of us in the working world, it’s most closely associated with the professional soldier, or someone who is hired by a political entity to fight in a conflict. That conflict could be a war, a coup attempt or a prohibition campaign designed to reduce illegal drug trade.

Back in the 1930’s Americans that went to fight in the Spanish Civil War were labeled as treasonous because they were fighting for another country. In thew 1960’s Americans signed on to fight for numerous African civil wars and were threatened with loss of citizenship……let’s not forget those Americans that freely go and fight in the ranks of the IDF….these were all mercenaries.

Today we have thousands of armed mercenaries fighting across the globe but they are safe under the crappy deal of a defense contractor……

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has asserted several times, and quite vociferously, that there will be “no American ground troops in Syria” if she is elected president in November.

While the definition of “ground troops” is flexible, there is a second reality that very few people are talking about in Washington today.

Not unlike the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—where private military contractors fed, trained, equipped, and protected U.S. military forces “on the ground” in unprecedented numbers—an escalation of hired security forces in a hot spot like Syria would likely boost the presence of U.S. “boots” without causing the political heartburn of putting more actual soldiers and Marines in harm’s way.

Source: Rise of the American Mercenary | The American Conservative

A retort is that it is a free market….and yada yada yada…..

Clearly, the division between mercenary and non-mercenary soldiers was getting fuzzy. The four Geneva Conventions had to account for these nuances as they tried to formalize rules regarding how combatants and noncombatants would be treated during wartime. According to the Geneva Conventions, a lawful combatant is a soldier who belongs to the armed forces of a state. Lawful combatants can legally participate in hostilities with an enemy of the state and must be granted prisoner-of-war status if captured. Notice that members of the French Foreign Legion are lawful combatants by this interpretation.

One of three amendments of the Geneva Conventions, the first Protocol of 1977 clearly defines all of the criteria that a soldier must meet to be considered a mercenary. A mercenary is a person who:

  • Is speci­ally recruited to take part in a conflict, but isn’t a member of the armed forces of the state that recruited him
  • Ac­tively engages in hostilities
  • Is motivated by private gain and is paid substantially more than the ordinary armed forces of the state
  • Isn’t a national of the states involved in the conflict
  • Doesn’t reside in a territory controlled by the states involved in the conflict

As such, a mercenary isn’t a lawful combatant and enjoys no protection under the Geneva Conventions. He can be executed or charged with murder if he kills either a combatant or a noncombatant.

In 1989, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution that outlawed the use of mercenaries. However, only 30 countries have ratified the resolution to date. Many countries, including the United States and Iraq, have not signed the accord, mainly because mercenaries, while discouraged by international law, offer several advantages that make them attractive to countries at war. (as usual the US only recognizes laws that benefit them not to make the world a better place)

To be labeled a mercenary hurts their feelings…..but by any definition they are mercenaries. So do not get all butt hurt by the truth.

We have a military….and if it is not capable then may I suggest that we reinstate the draft and make room for more troops.

If Johnny wants to go to war then do the honorable thing and go as a soldier defending your country not some greedy toad looking for a big payday.

The Middle East is awash in mercenaries…..fighting from all sides not just Americans……

Media reports have recently focused on the role of Iraqi Shia militias in the battle for Aleppo, essentially foreign legions fighting on behalf of the Syrian state.

Despite their differences, both the Spanish and Syrian civil wars witnessed the intervention of foreign legions, entire units of regular armies, militias, and air forces from other states, opposed to foreign fighters, independent individuals who chose to fight for an ideological cause.

Source: Column: Syria, the Spanish Civil war and foreign legions – Middle East Observer

A mercenary by any other name is still a mercenary……if you live for war then do not get butt hurt by the term.

Ace News Room

Chuqs News

Editors Notes:

I would remind you that this blog is produced free for the public good and you are welcome to republish or re-use this article or any other material freely anywhere without requesting further permission.

News & Views welcome always published as long as NO bad language or is not related to subject matter.

To keep online information secure, experts recommend keeping your social media accounts private, changing your passwords often, and never answering unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for your personal information. Need help and guidance visit and leave a comment or send a private message on Telegram @Aceone31

Ace News Services Site Links Listed Here:

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