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Aggression in Syria, repression in Turkey: How Erdogan forges his Sunni Islamist ‘New Turkey’

Turkish President Erdogan’s response to the July coup attempt and his invasion of Syria are all aspects of his religious sectarian vision to form a ‘new Turkey’ governed by Sharia law with himself as absolute President.

Can Erimtan

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The momentous events of 15 July 2016 have shaken the Turkish nation to its core, in the process even awakening hitherto unknown reserves of popular courage and unquestioning obedience.

The official narrative has it that the people of Turkey, supported by their political leadership (government as well as opposition), resisted the country’s military and so thwarted a coup that would have spelled the end of Tayyip Erdoğan’s political career and life.  And now, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (or AKP, led by the hapless PM Binali Yıldırım) have emerged stronger than ever, and Turkey will never be the same again . . .

Terror Distractions and Other Threats

A little more than a month later, a terror attack occurred that was to have serious consequences in the weeks and months to come:

“[o]n August 20, 2016, ISIS carried out a suicide attack in Gaziantep, Turkey targeting a Kurdish neighborhood wedding ceremony killing fiftyone people and wounding sixtynine others.”

And, as always seems to happen in Turkey Tayyip Erdoğan personally entered the controversy, this time by means of blaming a child suicide bomber for the attack (August 21), only to have his proxy deny this claim subsequently. Speaking to reporters in Ankara, the hapless Prime Minister stated namely that

“[w]e do not have a clue about who the perpetrators behind the attack were. Early information on who did the attack, in what organisation’s name, is unfortunately not right.”

In other words, this terror attack is now quite cosily fulfilling the function of a distraction, with the news media happily participating in the frenzy.

Yet another factor that always seems to occur in Turkey whenever the “Caliph” (ie. ISIS leader Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi) and his Merry Men (aka the IS or ISIS/ISIL) are involved

“[n]o group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.”

The weekly news magazine Newsweek‘s Jack Moore muses that

“ISIS rarely claims attacks in Turkey, which analysts speculate to be because of its use of Turkey as a transit country to get foreign fighters into its self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria.”

But Moore’s statement seems rather weak and unconvincing. The Turkish state under the AKP has had warm relations with many, if not all, Islamist factions across the border in Syria. But, last year the “suicide blast in the Turkish border town of Suruç” (20 July 2015) was then the first effective spill-over of violence from the Syrian theatre into Turkish territory.

That particular “attack was targeted at a meeting organised by the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF), bringing together young people from all around the country planning to travel across the border in order to offer aid and support for the re-building of the recently liberated Kurdish town of Kobanê.”

The terror attack was thus specifically aimed at Turkey’s Kurdish minority, its sympathisers and political representation.

Even though AKP-led Turkey was quick to blame ISIS or the Islamic State for the outrage, responsibility for the attack was never claimed and this suicide blast effectively brought an end to the Kurdish Peace Process.

Following this first foray into Turkish territory many more suicide attacks followed, particularly in Ankara and Istanbul — attacks which the government was always keen to blame on the “Caliph” and his Merry Men, though following renewed hostilities with the country’s Kurds, the name PKK (ie. the main Kurdish anti-government militia) also managed to pop up occasionally.

The parallels between the Suruç and Gaziantep attacks appear striking, the latter taking place exactly a year-and-a-month after the former. And in both cases, the official narrative has it that Islamist terrorists hailing from across the border were targeting Turkey’s Kurds . . .

Last year, I wondered whether

“the Suruç suicide bombing [was] a false flag attack?? [Whether] the Turkish Army [would] now enter Syria to fight the IS and the Assad regime?? . . .”

In the end, Turkey’s Armed Forces (or TSK in acronymised Turkish) stayed put. and according to Russia, Turkey traded freely with the Islamic State, importing stolen oil and reaping huge profits.

The relations between the Erdogan, the “Caliph”, and the Kurds seem most tangled up. Or is AKP-led Turkey merely using the name ISIS (or ISIL or the IS or DAESH, the Arabic acronym now also popularly used by Turkish politicians and media alike) to deflect attention from those really responsible for inflicting grave harm on the Turkish Kurds? And this question would then lead us to ask who is hiding behind this government-sponsored obfuscation?

For one thing, the local Kurds seem rather clear about the matter. Following the recent Gaziantep suicide attack the Kurdish news agency Ajansa Nûçeyan a Firatê (ANF) reported

“AKP members were protested and expelled from the funeral of 42 people that had been massacred in [Gazi]Antep,”

even adding that the massacre was perpetrated by

“ISIS gangs supported by the AKP.”

A Policy of Sunnification or Erdogan’s Dream

It really looks like Erdogan and the current hapless Turkish Prime Minister Yıldırım are keen to insinuate that the Republic of Turkey is under constant threat from either foreign terrorists, Kurdish separatists or, as recently witnessed, from apparently U.S.-directed “traitors” – as the coup-plotters have now been termed.

And these threats are all sneakily used to deflect attention from the fact that Tayyip Erdoğan is in the process of establishing a new land on the Anatolian peninsula, a “New Turkey” (as the AKP now self-assuredly also boasts), a new country completely at odds with the state founded by Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk] in 1923.

From late 2013 onwards, I have been using the term “policy of Sunnification” to describe the AKP’s domestic agenda.

In fact, Turkey’s affairs next door in Syria are but a continuation and sounding-board of this self-same policy, as the Assad regime in Damascus is supposedly led by an Alawite clan, though in reality the Syrian government appears to be much more inclusive than that, counting its fair share of ethnic and religious minorities among its members, in addition to a number of Sunni Muslims  – arguably, a circumstance most displeasing to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the self-proclaimed champion of Sunni Islam, arguably forever dreaming of a revived Islamic Turkey emboldened by righteous and obedient believer-citizens pledging allegiance to the Prophet and his representative on earth, Tayyip Erdoğan.

After all, as long ago as 20the January 2004 the then-U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman penned a confidential report for his masters in Washington, D.C. describing Erdoğan as “a natural politician,” possessing an “unbridled ambition stemming from the belief God has anointed him to lead Turkey.”

At the outset of his political career – on 22 November 1994, to be precise – when he was Mayor of Istanbul, the then 40-year old Erdoğan participated in a television programme via the telephone and proclaimed in a loud and clear tone of voice

“alḥamdulillāh [or praise be to God or Allah], I am a Muslim . . . alḥamdulillāh, I am a proponent of the Shariah.”

As a result, it should not come as a far-fetched idea to assume that the ambitious (yet also apparently equally avaricious) Tayyip Erdoğan would someday like to overthrow the Kemalist consensus and even venture to re-introduce the Shariah in Turkey.

Some have argued that the AKP’s long-term goal for the year 2023, the centenary of the Republic’s foundation, has always been to

“transform the nation state Turkey into an Anatolian federation of Muslim ethnicities, possibly linked to a revived caliphate”

with a re-introduced Shariah legal system . . .

The botched military coup of 15 July came as a “gift from God [or Allah],” offering the opportunity to effectively emasculate, if not extinguish, the opposition and other unwanted adversaries.

That fateful night, when Erdogan used his FaceTime interview on CNN Türk to call upon the people to take to the streets, they responded in huge numbers filling the main squares of Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara, imbued with a religious zeal that, according to some, seemed to mirror the fanaticism displayed by the “Caliph’s” suicide commandos (ISIS/ISIL or IS) and other religiously inspired agitators.

The masses took to the streets, proclaiming their allegiance to the Prophet and his cause by means of shouting “God is great” (or ‘Allahu Akbar’) over and again.

The political scientist Professor Alpaslan Özerdem, present in Ankara during the coup attempt, relates that following Erdoğan’s FaceTime words of encouragement

“members of the public stormed the state TV studios in Ankara, and the same broadcaster who read out the coup statement only a few hours before announced that the state TV had been brought back under civilian control. However, an army unit then stormed the studios of CNN Türk just after 3.30am, and the Turkish public were treated to the bizarre spectacle of a military coup taking over a TV broadcast and journalists fighting back. Half an hour later, the public stormed the CNN building too, chanting ‘Allahu Akbar.’ A man entered the studio itself from the fire escape and asked his fellow protesters to join him there, apparently without realising that all cameras in the studio were broadcasting live – instantly making him something of an unwitting national icon.”

The news agency Reuters adds that

“[m]ore than 290 people were killed in the violence, 104 of them coup supporters, the rest largely civilians and police officers.”

And that means that about 186 Turkish individuals have now joined the ranks of martyrs, arguably residing in heaven in clear reciprocal sight of Allah.

The AKP-led government after all ensured that Turkish civilians-perishing-for-the-cause-of-Turkey would join their military martyr brethren. As explained by Erdoğan himself (March 2012): now

“[w]e are including civilians who died in terror events into the category of martyrs. Civilians who become invalid or die by reason of a terror event and their relatives will receive compensation and a monthly allowance’. In this way, the Turkish state takes on the responsibility to take care of those who have died (or suffered) for the cause of the fatherland, which has now become equal to the cause of God.”

In this way, Erdogan encouraged his followers to become Mujahids (or individuals striving for the cause of Allah) and potential martyrs (or Shaheed), with 186 civilians actually sacrificing themselves for the sake of their leader, the President or rather Recep Tayyip Erdoğan:

“This uprising is a gift from God [or rather, Allah] to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army [and the whole of the nation of opposition-minded antagonists, desperately clinging to the memories of Atatürk and the achievements of Kemalism]. “

The Turkish Bin Laden or Pennsylvania

Erdogan and the whole of the AKP apparatus immediately blamed the self-exiled former government employee-or-cleric Fethullah Gülen, and, capitalising on the Ankara judiciary’s inventive phraseology (7 May 2015), accused a “shadowy, clearly elusive, and possibly even non-existent, organisation” known only as the supposed terror group FETÖ (Fettullahçı Terör Örgütü or Fethullahist Terror Organization) of being behind the coup attempt.

In fact, for all intents and purposes, one could put forward that Gülen has now become Turkey’s very own Usamah bin Laden, as the shadowy figure veiled in a cloak of Islamic learning and authority threatening life and limb across the nation from behind the scenes, supposedly orchestrating last July’s momentous Friday happenings: but

“[b]y 5am, [on Saturday morning 16 July] it [had] become clear that the coup attempt . . . failed”

and Erdoğan made a public announcement, addressing Gülen by means of a rhetorical flourish:

“I have a message for Pennsylvania: You have engaged in enough treason against this nation. If you dare, come back to your country”

— using the name of the Keystone State as a means to directly appeal to the figure of the fugitive former government employee-or-cleric Gülen (totum pro parte).

The same night, quite some time after all was said and done, a clearly relieved Erdogan stated confidently that

“[t]he army is ours . . . I am the Commander-in-Chief.”

Post-coup-attempt, Erdoğan, his proxy Yıldırım, and the whole of the AKP establishment immediately started a concerted campaign to ensure that the momentum was not lost, encouraging citizens to take to the streets in so-called “Democracy Guards” and giving speeches left, right and centre — television sets as well as purposefully erected large screens in public squares constantly airing the figure of the President admonishing his followers and threatening his opponents.

The press reported on 25 July that a

“total of 13,165 people have been detained in connection with the foiled coup attempt in Turkey, President Erdogan said on Sunday [, 24 July]. He mentioned that 8,838 of those arrested are soldiers, 2,101 are judges and prosecutors, 1,485 are police officers, 52 are local authorities and 689 are civilians, as reported by the Hurriyet daily. He added that 934 schools, 109 dormitories, 15 universities, 104 foundations, 35 health institutions, 1,125 associations and 19 unions were closed as they belonged to what he described as the ‘Fethullahist Terrorist Organization’.” And the authorities also determined then that “8,651 members, or 1.5%, of the nation’s armed forces took part in the failed coup on 15 July.”

Official Backlash: Purging the State

Following the successful suppression of the coup attempt, the official reaction has been nothing but a severe continuation of the repression that occurred in the wake of the corruption scandal, commonly referred to as #AKPgate.

But now, these purges are much more severe, as a three-month State of Emergency has been proclaimed on Wednesday, 20 July 2016, following a five-hour meeting of the National Security Council and a meeting of Erdoğan’s privy cabinet.  The President then told the press that

“the aim is to rapidly and effectively take all steps needed to eliminate the threat against democracy, the rule of law and the people’s rights and freedoms.”

It seems ironic that an act allowing the president and the PM “to bypass the parliament in enacting laws is cited as a means of protecting and safeguarding democracy.

On the same day, two members of Turkey’s constitutional court were arrested, in addition to more than 100 judiciary officials also taken into custody.

In early October the Turkish cabinet agreed to extend the State of Emergency for another 90 days, as then made public by the government spokesman Numan Kurtulmuş.

According to the Turkish Constitution, a state of emergency can only last for a maximum period of six months and this could mean that a possible constitutional amendment could by the end of January 2017 very well turn the current State of Emergency into the new normal and the Republic of Turkey into a veritable AKP-led police state, known as the “New Turkey”.

Thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions were forcibly closed down on Saturday, 23 July.

At the same time, the authorities immediately set out to purge the ranks of government officials and employees, abolishing vacations and restricting foreign travel. Whilst, as explained by the the journalists Josie Ensor and Zia Weise

“licences of 21,000 staff working in private schools have been revoked, [and] more than 20,000 employees at the education ministry fired, and the state-run higher education council demanded the resignation of 1,577 university deans. The Turkish education ministry [also] announced the closure of more than 600 state school across the country.”

The much-anticipated meeting of the High Military Council of Turkey (or YAŞ, in acronymised Turkish) in early August was moved forward as a clear means to cull the ranks of suspected (or possibly unwanted) members — in short, a grand total of 149 generals and admirals.   More than a thousand commissioned and 436 non-commissioned officers have been made redundant and nearly 1,700 military personnel have been summarily discharged.

The five-hour Council meeting, headed by the hapless Prime Minister Yıldırım and the Defence Minister Fikri Işık, came to an end Thursday night (28 July) and was greeted by numerous “democracy supporters” taking to the streets to celebrate in honking cars.

The news agency Reuters‘ Ece Toksabay and Daren Butler remark insightfully that Tayyip Erdoğan

“wants the armed forces and national intelligence agency brought under the control of the presidency”

moving towards an absolute presidency.

Also 45 newspapers, 16 television channels and 23 radio stations have been shut down, muffling the free press basically.

And on 31 July an emergency decree effectively closed down all military high schools and military academies, venerable institutions going back to the Ottoman era and representing a tradition that seems to be at odds with the current regime.

These institutions used to furnish an officers’ class steeped in Kemalist ideology and thus ensured that the Turkish Armed Forces was led by a cadre that saw its function primarily as safeguarding the status quo. Or, as expressed by the BBC in 2007

“[t]he army sees itself as the guardian of Turkey’s secularism.”

Forging an Absolute Presidency for Turkey

But those days are over now, and talk of “defending democracy” and of reintroducing “capital punishment,” as oftentimes voiced by anti-coup protesters as well as the AKP machinery, should really be understood as coded messages.

I would argue that the use of the term “democracy,” invariably accompanied by enthusiastic proclamations that God is great or ‘Allahu Akbar’ by Erdoğan supporters is nothing but a veiled call for the re-introduction of Shariah law in Turkey.  And in this context, the return of capital punishment could very well function as a catalyst that would convince wider swathes of the population that stricter and more stringent laws are in order . . . and no law is stricter than the law of God, or the Shariah in an Islamic context.  And the strongman that is Tayyip Erdoğan, as the “anointed” leader of Turkey is the one to achieve this feat, something that seemed all but unthinkable and even unimaginable just ten years ago.

As voiced by an anonymous intellectual in Istanbul interviewed by the veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn:

“Erdogan’s lust for power is too great for him [to] show restraint in stifling opposition in general,”

and pursuing his ultimate policy aims, no doubt.

And in this connection, his first goal has to be seen as a changed constitution and the introduction of a presidential system to replace the parliamentary one, in place since 1923 (or 1908, if you want to include its Ottoman forebear).

In other words, Tayyip Erdoğan seems intent on turning “15 July” into a symbolic date, comparable to “31 March” in reverse.

The so-called ’31 March Incident’ (or in Turkish, 31 Mart Vakası) refers to the defeat of a 1909 countercoup, a countercoup that would have abolished the constitutional regime introduced the previous year and reinstated Sultan Abdülhamid II as an absolute autocrat ruling the Ottoman lands.

At the time, counter-revolutionary army units were joined by hordes of theological students (softa) and turbaned clerics (ulema) shouting, “We want Shariah.”

Future history books might very well relate the events of “15 July” as a successful counter-revolution that established Tayyip Erdoğan as Turkey’s first absolute president, overseeing Turkey’s successful return to its Islamic roots of yesteryear.

On 24 August, the Prez addressed a crowd of disabled citizens at his residence, the so-called Beştepe Palace in Ankara, boasting more than a 1,000 rooms,  making an announcement befitting an absolute ruler guiding the ship of state:

“This morning at 04:00 our army, our security forces have begun an operation in the north of Syria, aimed at terror organisations posing a continuous threat to our country from there.”

And in this way, following years and years of looking for a convincing casus belli, Erdoğan has now taken the initiative and unilaterally invaded Syria (the military operation receiving the moniker ‘Euphrates Shield’ and its own requisite English-language twitter feed. . .

One could argue that Erdogan has in this way started acting as Turkey’s absolute president, making do without any constitutional amendments or parliamentary approval.

At one fell swoop, Tayyip Erdoğan has now established a new Turkey, the “New Turkey” that is not afraid to invade its neighbours for political gains at home.

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Damaged goods Saudi Crown Prince MbS remains political thorn in Trump’s side (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 20.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump said his administration plans to stand by Saudi Arabia amid the Khashoggi crisis.

In a statement on Tuesday, Trump said he intends to maintain Washington’s strong ties to Saudi leaders, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), despite the “unacceptable and horrible crime” committed against Jamal Khashoggi.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Trump’s decision to stand by the House of Saud and the Crown prince, as US lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and mainstream media outlets, have denounced Trump’s statement.

Meanwhile a G20 summit looms in Argentina, where MbS will be in attendance sitting side-by-side with other G20 leaders.

Within the Saudi Kingdom Prince Ahmed, King Salman’s only surviving full brother, has returned to Riyadh after 2-1/2 months abroad, in what many analysts believe to be a bid by the exiled brother to wrestle away the throne from the Crown Prince.

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Read Trump’s full statement below:

America First!

The world is a very dangerous place!

The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Iran is considered “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.”

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism.

After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!

The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!

I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction – and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!

Via The Middle East Eye


Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan called Trump’s comments a “betrayal” of American values, accusing the president of putting his personal relationships and “commercial interests” above US interests.

Ryan said the White House should make public any evidence it may have that would contradict an earlier CIA conclusion that bin Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi.

“An innocent man, brutally slain, deserves better, as does the cause of truth and justice and human rights,” Ryan said in a statement Tuesday.

He also called on the US Congress to act where Trump has apparently failed. “In this failure of leadership from President Trump, it now falls to Congress to stand up for America’s true values and lasting interests,” Ryan said.

Washington Post editor Karen Attiah, who edited Khashoggi’s columns at the newspaper, called the White House’s statement “juvenile” and “clumsy”.

She also condemned the US president for repeating a “Saudi lie” in his statement, which Trump used to convey Saudi assertions that Khashoggi was “an enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, claims the journalist’s family has refuted as baseless.

In a column published on Tuesday afternoon, Attiah went on to say that Trump’s handling of the crisis emboldens repression and endangers journalists around the world.

“If the administration continues down this path, it will further destroy whatever is left of America’s moral credibility on global human rights and freedom of expression,” she wrote. “It puts truth-seekers and journalists who dare challenge the Saudi regime and other intolerant governments in grave danger, no matter where they live.”

US lawmakers call for MBS to be held accountable

Several members of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate also expressed their dismay at the president’s vow to stand alongside Saudi Arabia despite Khashoggi’s killing.

Bob Corker, the retiring Republican chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, accused Trump of acting like a public relations agent for the Saudi government.

The incoming US House Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff, said Trump’s statement harms Washington’s standing in the world.

“To say ‘maybe he did and maybe he didn’t,’ or that we are incapable of finding out the truth, or that knowing the truth our silence can be bought with arms sales, undermines the Presidency, credibility of our intelligence professionals, and our role as a champion of human rights,” the congressman said on Twitter.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, said she was “shocked” by the president’s decision not to impose consequences on the Saudi crown prince, also known as MBS, for the murder.

“I plan to vote against any future arms sales and appropriation to Saudi Arabia. I also believe that the United States should consider sanctions against the crown prince and that the Saudi ambassador to the United States should not be allowed to continue in that role,” Feinstein said in a statement.

Left-wing Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also condemned Trump’s “rambling and dishonest” statement.

Sanders dismissed the White House’s assertion that Tehran, not Riyadh, is to blame for the war in Yemen.

“Trump is clearly very afraid of the prospect of the Senate delivering a serious rebuke to his policy by voting to end U.S. support for the Yemen war. But that is exactly what we will do when we vote on SJ Res 54 next week,” Sanders wrote on Twitter.

Senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said although international diplomacy requires dealing with “bad actors and imperfect situations,” the US should not lose its “moral voice” at the world stage.

“While Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, the behavior of the Crown Prince – in multiple ways – has shown disrespect for the relationship and made him, in my view, beyond toxic,” Graham wrote on Twitter.

“I firmly believe there will be strong bipartisan support for serious sanctions against Saudi Arabia, including appropriate members of the royal family, for this barbaric act which defied all civilized norms.”

Saudi officials have repeatedly denied that the crown prince had any knowledge of the plan to murder Khashoggi or cover up the crime. Still, human rights groups, journalists, UN experts and others have pointed the finger at MBS, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, saying it’s impossible the crown prince was not involved.

Former CIA chief John Brennan, meanwhile, urged the US intelligence agency to release its finding on the murder, criticising Trump’s dishonesty.

“Since Mr. Trump excels in dishonesty, it is now up to members of Congress to obtain & declassify the CIA findings on Jamal Khashoggi’s death. No one in Saudi Arabia – most especially the Crown Prince – should escape accountability for such a heinous act,” he wrote on Twitter.

Brennan has been an outspoken critic of Trump, and previously had his security clearance revoked by the White House.

Iran’s foreign minister weighs in

Trump also used his statement on Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia Tuesday to criticise the Iranian government, saying strong ties between Washington and Riyadh were necessary in “the fight against Iran”.

Shortly after the US president’s comments were made public, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Trump’s decision to bring Tehran into the crisis was “shameful”.

“Mr. Trump bizarrely devotes the FIRST paragraph of his shameful statement on Saudi atrocities to accuse IRAN of every sort of malfeasance he can think of,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

Zarif then made a dig at Trump’s suggestion – which came over the weekend after a massive, deadly wildfire ravaged parts of California – that Finland prevents wildfires by raking leaves.

“Perhaps we’re also responsible for the California fires, because we didn’t help rake the forests – just like the Finns do?” the Iranian foreign minister asked sarcastically.

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The Geopolitical Strategy Of The US’ Global Hegemony By A Notorious Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski

The achievement of a New World Order after 1990 is being tested for some time in Washington.

The Duran

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Authored by Vladislav Sotirovic via Oriental Review:


If we have to use force, it is because we are America.

We are the indispensable nation.

(Madeleine K. Albright, February 1998)[1]

Madam Secretary

As a matter of very fact, regardless to the reality in global politics that the Cold War was over in 1989, Washington continued to drive toward the getting the status of a global hyperpower at any expense for the rest of the world. The Balkans undoubtedly became the first victim in Europe of the old but esthetically repacked American global imperialism. The US’ administration is a key player during the last 25 years of the Balkan crisis caused by the bloody destruction of ex-Yugoslavia[2] in which Washington played a crucial role in three particular historical cases:

  1. Only due to the US’ administration (more precisely due to the last US’ ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann), a Bosnian-Herzegovinian President Alija Izetbegović (the author of the 1970 Islamic Declaration) rejected already agreed Lisbon Agreement about peaceful resolution of the Bosnian crises which was signed by the official representatives of the Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks in February 1992. Alija Izetbegović was one of those three signatories. The agreement was reached under the auspices of the European Community (the EC, later the European Union) that was represented by the British diplomat Lord Carrington and the Portuguese ambassador José Cutileiro. However, under the US’ protection, a Bosnian-Herzegovinian Bosniak-Croat Government declared independence on March 3rd, 1992 which local Serbs decisively opposed. Therefore, two warmongers, Warren Zimmermann and Alija Izetbegović pushed Bosnia-Herzegovina into the civil war which stopped only in November 21st, 1995 by signing the Dayton Accords in Ohio (Slobodan Milošević, Bill Clinton, Alija Izetbegović and Franjo Tuđman).[3]
  2. It was exactly the US’ administration which crucially blessed the ethnic cleansing of the Serbs from the Republic of Serbian Krayina committed by Croatia’s police and army forces (including and neo-Nazi Ustashi formations) on August 4−5th, 1995. For the realization of this criminal operation (under the secret code Storm/Oluja) Washington gave to Zagreb all logistic, political, diplomatic and military support. As a consequence, around 250,000 Croatia’s Serbs left their homes in two days which were quickly occupied by the Croats.[4]
  3. South Serbia’s Autonomous Province of Kosovo-Metochia was firstly occupied in June 1999 by the NATO/KFOR’ forces and later in February 2008 politically separated from its motherland when Albanian-dominated Kosovo’s Parliament proclaimed the formal independence primarily as a direct consequence of the Serbophobic policy by the US’s administration of President Bill Clinton and his warmongering hawk Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. Today, Kosovo, except its northern part, is ethnically cleansed from the Serbs[5] and transformed into a mafia state with a silent blessing by Washington and the rest of the Western gangsters from the NATO and the EU who recognized its quasi-independence.[6]

Here is very important to stress that, basically, during the Bill Clinton’ administration, the US’ foreign policy in regard to the Balkans (ex-Yugoslavia) was primarily designed and directed by Madeleine K. Albright who became a chief US’ war criminal at the very end of the 20th century. Who was Mrs. Albright – the author of Madam Secretary: A Memoir, New York: Talk Miramax Books, 2003, 562 pages.[7] Madeleine K. Albright was born in Czechoslovakia in 1937. She was confirmed as the 64th US’ Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001. Her career in the US’ government included positions in the National Security Council and as US’ ambassador to the United Nations. The highest-ranking warmonger female hawk in the history of the US’ Government was telling an unforgetable whitewashed story of lies in her memoirs of the US’ imperialism at the turn of the 21st century. She was the first woman in the US’ history to be appointed to the post of Secretary of State (Minister of Foreign Affairs). For eight years during the first and second Bill Clinton’s terms, she succeeded drastically to ruin America’s image of a democratic and freedom fighting country mainly due to her direct and crucial involvement into the US-led NATO’s aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the FRY) in 1999 composed by Serbia and Montenegro that was the first aggression of this organization in its 50 years long history of the preparation for the invasion of Russia. The aggression lasted for 78 days from March 24th to June 10th, 1999 and was one of the most brutal and barbaric in the modern history of the world breaking all international laws, rules of war and, most important, the Charter and principles of the UNO. Madeleine K. Albright tried in her memoirs to whitewash her extremely important and even crucial participation in the post-Cold War US’ policy of imperialism but primarily her focal role in the preparation and conduction of the US/NATO’s unprecedented war on the FRY as being one of the most influential policy-makers in her adopted country. The Madam Secretary’s memoirs are firstly the story of a woman of great warmongering character with a fascinating talent to lie and whitewash the truth. Her memoirs are surely a valuable contribution to the political history of aggressive diplomacy of the project of the US’ global hegemony after the collapse of the USSR. But who was her mentor?

Former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright

If we are speaking about the US’ foreign policy, the fundamental question is what are the US policy’s interests and its implications in both the Balkans and Europe.

The US’ involvement in the Balkans and Europe

The achievement of a New World Order after 1990 is being tested for some time in Washington. We have to keep in mind that for some first 20 years after the end of the Cold War, the strongest military and economic power, the leaders of the NATO and the UNO, the initiators of the international peacekeeping missions and negotiations in the regions of „failed states“ in which they provoked the crises and wars, especially at the Balkans, the champions against the international terrorism and crime that was a reaction to their dirty foreign policy of unmasked imperialism and global hegemony, were the USA.[8] Nevertheless, the US’ interests in the Balkans cannot be understood apart from a larger picture of the American interests in Europe in general.

There are many American scientists and politicians who argued that a leadership in Europe will either be American or it will not be, since France and Germany (the axis-powers of the EU) were not too strong to take over and Germany was still in the 1990s too preoccupied with the consequences of its reunification (i.e., the absorption of the DDR). However, the recent (on November 11th, 2018) French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative to create a joint European Army shows that probably the Europeans finally became enough matured to maintain security in their own home by themselves but not anymore under the umbrella of the US-led NATO. The question, in essence, is not if, but what kind of leadership the US has and will have in the case that the current post-Cold War’s international relations are not going to be drastically changed? In this respect, the US need to be aware that the best leadership is the one shared with other partners, in this case with the EU/NATO, more specifically France, Germany, and Britain but, of course, Russia have to be seriously taken into the consideration too. With the involvement of Russia into a common European security system on the bases of equal reciprocity, friendship and partnership, the final aim will be to obtain a common vision and an efficient coordination in conflict management, as well as in political and economic cooperation. At such a way, the cases of violent destructions and civil wars, for example on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia, will be avoided for sure.

U.S. Marines escorting Yugoslavian soldiers in Kosovo to be handed over to Yugoslavian authorities

The US’ political analysts are keen to suggest that the American presence in Europe should not be regarded as a competition, but rather as a part of the transatlantic partnership between the two continents, as well as a necessity demonstrated by the sad experience in the former Yugoslavia. According to official Washington, the NATO’s intervention in both Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995 and Kosovo in 1999 (in both cases against the Serbs) under the US’ leadership was the only credible action along with many initiatives taken by the international community.[9] However, on the other side, military intervention is in many cases creating more political and security problems for a longer period of time. It is understandable that the US cannot assist apathetically to the collapse of countries vital to their own interest but such principle is valid to be applied for any great power too. Besides, regional instability only expands, engaging other areas and creating new confrontations. Thus, the economic support offered to some countries, and the military one offered to others shows that the US formally believe in the regional stability as an enforcer of the international stability but in reality only if such stability is put under the umbrella of Washington’s interests and benefits. The case of Kosovo is, probably, the best example of such practice: by bringing a formal stability this province of Serbia is put at the same time under the full Western (primarily American) political control and economic exploitation.[10]

In supporting the NATO’s expansion, there is a hesitation in treating all aspirant countries in a non-discriminatory fashion. And that, because interests are more important than global security, can be the reason. The advocates of the „Pax Americana’s“ view of the global security would publically say that they are not propagating the US as the savior of the world, or the world’s policeman, but they are just the most fervent supporters of the global peace and stability. However, in the practice they are working oppositely: as many as conflicts and insecurity issues in the world, there are more chances and practical opportunities for Washington to become the regional policeman and global savior of the order.[11] In their relationship with other NATO’s countries, the USA regard the process of integration in the Euro-Atlantic space (i.e., the area of the US’ control and administration) as a two-way street in which each partner needs to accomplish its tasks. An addition to those is, of course, the geostrategic position (Turkey instead of Greece, for instance, in the 1974 Cyprus crisis) and short, medium and long-term declarative promises like the economic gratification of security which can at the end to be turned to its opposite side. For instance, the US’ offering military, political and financial assistance to the countries of East-Central and South-East Europe as a mean to build up their security shield against „aggressive“ Russia can be easily transformed into their very insecurity reality coming from the US’ imperialistic policy toward Russia as there were already the cases with Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 as the „Pax Americana’s“ approach in international relations is as its countereffect just provoking the Russian (and Chinese) counteraction in enhancing its own nuclear and other military potentials as Vladimir Putin exactly stressed during his electoral campaigns.

The US’ geopolitical strategy by Zbig

(Vietnam) war criminal Henry Kissinger (ex-US’ Secretary of State), summarized the post-Cold War’s international relations from the American geopolitical viewpoint:

„Geopolitically, America is an island off the shores of the large landmass of Eurasia, whose resources and population far exceed those of the United States. The domination by a single power of either of Eurasia’s two principal spheres – Europe or Asia – remains a good definition of strategic danger for America, Cold War or no Cold War. For such a grouping would have the capacity to outstrip America economically and, in the end, militarily“.[12]

It is not surprising that in the 1990s there were raised voices in Washington which required that the US has to find a way of dominating Eurasia at any reasonable cost. The US’ neocon warmongering hawks, like Zbigniew Brzezinski, recognized that the area of the enlarged Middle East (with the Balkans, North Africa, and Central Asia) is from the strategical viewpoint, economically, ideologically and above all geopolitically at the center of the Eurasian issue. However, the US’ neocon hawks’ much wider global geopolitical aims which were coming closer to the aim to continue domination in the Middle East were launched during the Bill Clinton’s presidency as a result of a wider shift in the American foreign policy’s profile led by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright (“Madam Secretary”) and her extremely Russophobic mentor Zbigniew Brzezinski (known as Zbig).

Warsaw-born Zbig (1928−2017) was a focal personality in the US’ foreign policy’s elite establishment since President Jimmy Carter’s administration in which he was a National Security Advisor. During the Ronald Reagan’s administration, Zbig was the main mediator between Washington and its clients in Afghanistan – the anti-Soviet Taliban forces and Osama bin-Laden with whom Zbig has several common photos (in 1979) on which he is training Osama to operate with just donated American guns to fight the Soviets. Further, Zbig has a great influence on the first Bill Clinton’s administration and he was at the same time an early advocate of the NATO’s eastward expansion (started in 1999). It is assumed that it was exactly Zbig who was instrumental in getting the US’ President Bill Clinton to commit himself to this course of the American imperialism in 1994. Furthermore, Brzezinski’s influence on the US’ foreign policy became stronger during the second Clinton’s administration through a Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright – his former pupil at Columbia University. It is worth to note that Albright was working under his supervision in Carter’s administration. If we have to summarize Zbig’s chief imperatives of the US’ imperialistic global policy and geostrategy of the making America world’s hegemon, they are going to be as follows:

  1. To prevent collusion and maintain security among the US’ vassal states (the NATO/EU).
  2. To keep tributaries pliant and protected.
  3. To keep the barbarians (the Russians and their supporters) from coming together.
  4. To consolidate and perpetuate the prevailing geopolitical pluralism in Eurasia by manipulation in order to prevent the emergence of a hostile coalition that could finally attempt to challenge the US’ supremacy in the world.
  5. Those that must be divided and eventually ruled are Germany, Russia, Japan, Iran, and China.[13]

Former US national security advisor Zbigniew Former US national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski

The American direct and infamous participation in the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia in 1991−1995 followed by the 1998−1999 Kosovo’s War can be understood, therefore, as the steps in the realization of Zbig’s geopolitical strategy of making America global hegemon. The US-led bombing of Serbia and Montenegro from March to June 1999 (78 days) was carried out by enlarged NATO and the UNO was only called at the end to sanctify the resulting colonial policy of Washington. The aggression on Serbia and Montenegro was formally justified by a reference to the TV-show plight of Kosovo’s Albanians, developing at the same time the new doctrine of the „humanitarian imperialism“. We have to keep in mind on this place that the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s were fought in a geographical area which is the crucial courtyard of the Eurasian continent that is as such opening a direct way to the ex-Soviet republics on the shores of the Caspian and the energy sources they control.[14] Nevertheless, Kosovo’s War became for the US the genuine precursor of its later invasion of Iraq in 2003.

„Madam Secretary“ was a firm advocate of bombing Serbia and Serbs in Washington primarily due to the direct influence by notorious Russophobe Zbig who saw the Balkan Serbs as „little Russians“ and the Balkan wars of the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia as a testing ground for the US’ policy throughout the whole Caspian and Central Asian area. However, in addition, being an advocate for the US’ oil companies wishing to establish their business on the territory of ex-Soviet Union in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Zbig regarded the American political and geostrategic supremacy in this region as a crucial aim of the US’ foreign policy in the 1990s. In order to accomplish his aim, among other manipulations and instruments, Zbig championed the American support to the Islamic Pakistan, the Taliban Afghanistan (till 9/11) and the Islamic resurgence in Saudi Arabia and even Iran.[15]

Multidimensional aspect of security

It is true that globalization, stability, and security offer to the countries a greater capacity to cooperate and focus on the economic prosperity of its citizens but in practice, this particularly means much more important businesses and more money for the US’ economy and citizens. Today, security has multidimensional aspects. If during the Cold War security only had a military-political component, today it has gained a new aspect – the economic one. The non-military aspects of security comprise everything from macroeconomic stability to environmental health. The proponents of the US’ global hegemony will all the time argue that where there is a harmony (established by the US) and well-being the chances of conflicts to erupt are smaller and the gain is exclusively financial and economic (primarily for the US).

There is, of course, a combination between interest per se and their consequences. To illustrate, the case of Macedonia could be interesting. Macedonia at the first glance benefits of the US’ military presence on her territory since 1991 as it is a geostrategic spot in the Balkans of the highest importance. As a matter of fact, this military presence maintained Macedonia’s economic level at a higher standard than some of the other countries in the area up to 2001, despite the fact that was still the poorest of the former Yugoslav six republics affected by two economic embargos by Greece in 1991−1993. Macedonia was illustrated till 2001, especially by the Western media, as being a success story in conflict prevention and peace maintenance primarily due to the presence of the US/NATO’s military troops. However, in 2001 erupted inter-ethnic conflict between the Slavic Macedonians and the local Albanians (supported by the Kosovo Liberation Army) what brought the question of the US/NATO’s efficiency in the region.

The NATO’s eastward expansion is a particular story of Zbig’s geostrategic designs against his eternal enemy – Russia. It is a fact that just before the NATO’s aggression on Serbia and Montenegro in 1999, this military organization accepted as the member states three East-Central European countries: Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic (the next eastward enlargement was in 2004). Therefore, the southern flank of the NATO between Hungary and Greece became now interrupted only by the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. Subsequently, such situation gave NATO a considerable strategic interest in controlling the Balkans where the Serbs were the most numerous and geostrategically important nation. However, as a direct effect of the NATO’s eastward enlargement, the Iron Curtain was moved further to the east and closer to Russia’s borders with all spectrum of the expected and unexpected consequences of such anti-Russian Drang nach Osten. Now, the Iron Curtain, once dividing Germany, it came in 1999 to run down the eastern borders of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, ending on the state-borders of the ex-Yugoslav republics, now independent states. The crux of the matter is that a decade-long process of the NATO’s eastward enlargement became at the beginning of 1999 blocked in the Balkans by the Serbs – the only ex-Yugoslav nation firmly opposing a NATO’s membership. Subsequently, it was exactly Washington to assume the role of leading the NATO to the new anti-Russian front and borders. That was the crucial reason why the Serbs had to be bombed in 1999 and Kosovo occupied by the US-led NATO’s troops in the form of the UNO KFOR. What regards this issue, both Zbig and „Madam Secretary“ were clearly speaking through the mouth of the US’ President Bill Clinton: the stability (the US’ control) in the Balkans could only be established if the EU and the USA do for this region what it was done for Europe after the WWII and Central Europe after the Cold War – occupation and economic-financial exploitation within the formal framework of the NATO’s and EU’ (the USA) enlargement.

Conclusion

The brutal expansion of the NATO is very visible since 1999 and even expected if we are taking into consideration the final aims of the US’ foreign policy in Eurasia framed by a notorious foreign policy gangster – Zbigniew Brzezinski. As a consequence, the EU is going to continue to be America’s main colonial partner in the NATO’s preparations for the war of aggression against Russia and most probably at the same time China. Subsequently, there will be a need for much work and a common will to overcome violence, injustice, and suffering in order to achieve a global security without the hegemonic dominance by any great power.[16]

Endnotes:

[1] Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy, Cambridge, Massachusetts−London, England: Harvard University Press, 2002, the page before 1.

[2] On the Western approach about a modern Yugoslav history, see in Allcock B. John, Explaining Yugoslavia, London: Hurst & Co, 2000; David Gowland, Richard Dunphy, Charlotte Lythe, The European Mosaic: Contemporary Politics, Economics and Culture, Third Edition, Harlow, Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2006, Section 5.3 Yugoslavia.

[3] About the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia and particularly on the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, see in Jelena Guskova, Istorija jugoslovenske krize 1990−2000, Beograd: Izdavački grafički atelje “M”, 2003.

[4] Вељко Ђурић Мишина (уредник), Република Српска Крајина. Десет година послије, Београд: „Добра воља“, 2005, 48.

[5] On this issue, see more in Zoran Anđelović, Miroslav Marković (eds.), Days of Terror (In the Presence of the International Forces), Belgrade: Center for Peace and Tolerance, 2000; Dragan Kojadinović (ed.), March Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija (March 17−19, 2004) With a Survey of Destroyed and Endangered Christian Cultural Heritage, Belgrade: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia−Museum in Priština (displaced), 2004.

[6] Pierre Pean, Sébastien Fontenelle, Kosovo une guerre juste” pour créer un etat mafieux, Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2013.

[7] This article is a constructive-critical contribution to the new, revised and updated edition of the memoirs of the “Madam Secretary”.

[8] About the post-Cold War’s US’ foreign policy, especially through the prism of the “Bush Doctrine”, see in David P. Forsythe, Patrice C. McMahon, Andrew Wedeman (eds.), American Foreign Policy in a Globalized World, New York−London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2006.

[9] About a typical American approach on the case of Yugoslavia’s destruction in the 1990s, see in Susan L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution after the Cold War, Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1995. However, the focal lack of such books is the fact that a crucial US/EU/NATO’ role in creating Balkan tragedy and Yugoslavia’s chaos is omitted.

[10] Hannes Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009.

[11] There are well-known words by Theodor Roosevelt uttered in December 1899: “Of course, our whole national history has been one of expansion”.

[12] John Rees, Imperialism and Resistance, New York−London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2006, 18.

[13] Ibid., 19−20.

[14] About the issue of a strategic environment from the Adriatic to the Caspian, see in Stefano Bianchini (ed.), From the Adriatic to the Caucasus: The Dynamics of (De)Stabilization, Ravenna: Longo Editore Ravenna, 2001.

[15] Differently to all other American warmongers and imperialistic hawks, Zbig favors the alliance with the Shia Islamic Republic of Iran.

[16] On global security, see in Peter Hough, Understanding Global Security, Third edition, New York−London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2005.

 

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Trump hands over written responses to Mueller’s Russia probe questions

The written answers submitted by Trump Tuesday have the same legal implications as an oral testimony, meaning that if the statements are proven false, he might be accused of perjury.

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Via RT…


A lawyer for Donald Trump has confirmed that the US President has submitted answers to the questions penned by FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. The questions refer to the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Moscow.

“The president today answered written questions submitted by the special counsel’s office,” Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said in a statement, as cited by AP.

The issues Trump covered in his responses are “the Russia-related topics of the inquiry,” Sekulow said. Trump’s legal team has indicated that the president would not answer any additional questions aside from potential follow-ups. Likewise, Trump is not expected to answer any questions that refer to allegations of obstruction of justice, with his lawyers insisting that the constitution protects the sitting President from answering questions on policies he conducted while in office.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani said Tuesday, that “much of what has been asked raised serious constitutional issues and was beyond the scope of a legitimate inquiry,” without elaborating.

Giuliani has not ruled out that Trump might answer further questions if forwarded by Mueller, but said that it is “unlikely we will answer any more questions.”

The contents of both the answers and the questions themselves will not be made public, Sekulow said.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Trump said he prepared the answers himself, and that it did not take him “very long.”

The written answers submitted by Trump Tuesday have the same legal implications as an oral testimony, meaning that if the statements are proven false, he might be accused of perjury.

Trump’s cooperation with Mueller’s office has been seen as a compromise. The president’s attitude toward a potential face-to-face interview with the federal prosecutor has shifted over time. Back in January Trump said that he was “looking forward” to speaking under oath. He doubled down in May, saying that he “would love” to sit down for an interview with Mueller “if treated fairly.” There have been reports, however, that the president’s legal team has been staunchly opposed to a personal encounter between Trump and Mueller and eventually talked the president out of it.

The personal interview might still happen if Mueller’s office issues a subpoena for Trump to testify. However, it would first need to be signed off on by the Acting Attorney General, the probe’s well-known critic Matthew Whitaker, and even then it could be thrown out by the Supreme Court.

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